Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Simple Gifts, "No Room At The Inn"

For the last Tuesday before Christmas, I present the last installment of the long-lost PBS holiday special Simple Gifts. This installment is "No Room At The Inn" by R. O. Blechman, and it details Joseph and Mary's travel to Bethlehem and their inability to get a proper place to stay for Jesus' birth. Beautiful in its simplicity, it's easily my favorite segment of the special.

This isn't the first time I've featured Blechman's work. Here are two short promo pieces for CBS television from the 1960s that showcase Blechman's heartfelt style.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Popeye The Sailor, "Spinach Greetings"

Ahoy sailor! Sit ye down for a sea shanty tale, that of Popeye and his yuletide run-in with the witchy Sea Hag, who tries to stop Santa Claus from making his Christmas Eve ride! Well blow me down!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Simple Gifts, "My Christmas" and "December 25, 1914"

Tuesday's Overlooked TV continues to present the obscure PBS animated special Simple Gifts this holiday season. This week, the short segment "My Christmas," describing a Christmas of a childhood-era Theodore Roosevelt, and "December 25, 1914," a soldier's telling of the Christmas truce that took place that year during World War I.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Simple Gifts, "Lost and Found"

Tuesday's Overlooked TV continues to showcase segments of the 1978 PBS holiday special Simple Gifts with "Lost and Found." This segment was based on the early 20th century comic strip Toonerville Trolley (aka Toonerville Folks), which ran in newspaper syndication from 1908 to 1955.

The most lighthearted portion of the program, this brief short is played strictly for laughs. As it's comprised of just a few gags, I'll let the segment speak for itself. Enjoy!

I've been having a hard time trying to find the official order of the segments, so I may be presenting them out of order. I hope this isn't a problem for anyone. :)


Brian's Musical Advent Calendar: John Aneilio, "Batman Smells, A Rebuttal"

Christmas is a hard time of year for Batman, all thanks to that kids song. The Caped Crusader deserves better!

You can find more musical finery like this from musician and podcaster John Aneilio. Go there. Now. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Simple Gifts, "A Memory of Christmas"

As promised last week, Tuesday's Overlooked TV this month is another portion of the dormant PBS Christmas special Simple Gifts. In "A Memory of Christmas," Jose Ferrer narrates a man's remembrance of a long ago Christmas during the Depression spent with his father while looking for a Christmas gift. This is a bittersweet segment, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless. Thanks!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Brian's Musical Advent Calendar: Wizzard, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"

Happy Holidays! I hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic. It is now officially the holiday season. To help you count down to the holiday of your choice, I present to you my Musical Advent Calendar. This is a fancy way of saying that I'll be sharing some cool holiday tunes with you throughout the season.

Here's a great one to start off: "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by the British glam rock band Wizzard. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Simple Gifts: Introduction and The Great Frost

Thanksgiving--the beginning of the holiday season. Roll out the holly, trim the tree, hang up the stockings, and pour the eggnog! But these things are not the point of the holiday season, nor are the elaborate gifts we wish to give and get. The best gifts of the holidays are the simple gifts, as my latest Tuesday's Overlooked TV will demonstrate.

I'm doing something I've never done before with Tuesday's Overlooked--I'm sharing one program over the course of several weeks, starting this week and every week until Christmas day. The program in question is the 1978 PBS animated special Simple Gifts.

Simple Gifts is a collection of six animated shorts by top shelf animators and storytellers such as Maurice Sendak, Virginia Woolf, Theodore Roosevelt, and R. O. Blechman (who directed the entire special and animated its final installment). Late actress Colleen Dewhurst appears in a live action introduction and epilogue.

I just learned of this special's existence last week, and I'm eager to share it with you as part of my holiday programming this year. The special was last released on home video in 1993 on VHS and has never been released on DVD, so please enjoy the special here. This week, I feature Dewhurst's introduction and the first of the six installments, "The Great Frost," based on a story by Virginia Woolf. I hope you return each week for the next installment.

Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to the holidays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday's (Very) Overlooked TV: No Man's Valley (1981)

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked is about as overlooked as you can get. I didn't know this program existed until today, and info about it on the Web is scarce. Of course, the scarcer it is, the more I want to know about it!

The program in question is the 1981 animated TV special No Man's Valley. Based on a children's book published that same year, Valley is about one Elliot Condor, whose habitat is threatened by human development. It's up to Elliot to find a place known as No Man's Valley, a land no human has ever inhabited and therefore a great new home for Elliot and his animal friends. The special was produced by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, who of course created the legendary Peanuts specials.

What little information I can find lists the premiere date as November 23rd, 1981 on CBS, paired with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Here is a promo for the two specials that year.

It was in coming across this promo on YouTube that I learned about the special's existence. I have no recollection whatsoever of seeing this special ever, and as far as I can tell, 1981 may be the only year it aired. Voice actors for the special include Arnold Stang (whose voice is ubiquitous in 70s and 80s cartoons), Richard Deacon (The Dick Van Dyke Show), and Joe E. Ross (Car 54, Where Are You?).

There are no clips on YouTube or Dailymotion and no DVD release I could find. It was released on VHS in 1986, according to the library database of Case Western University (I had to dig deep for this info). It wouldn't surprise me if they have the only surviving copy!

Even Ebay came up empty. The only links I found were for the ad that appears at the top of this article and for the original storybook.

If anyone out there has any memory of this special at all, please let me know if the comments section. Thanks!

UPDATE AS OF 1/28/16: Reader Juan Aguirre notified me that he recently acquired an original cel from the special's production, for which he's graciously given permission for me to post above. Thanks Juan!

Friday, November 6, 2015

List O' Links for Friday, November 6, 2015

I've noticed something about you. You simply don't have enough Internet links to check out! Let me help you with that this weekend!

First, some Halloween leftovers: the Onion AV Club recently identified their 25 best horror movies released since 2000. The Babadook is rightfully present, but [REC] got robbed!

My beloved Halloween animated special Witch's Night Out is now in production as an off-Broadway stage musical. Yay!

I recently came across a blog called Autumnal, which celebrates everything that is..well, you know. Check it out!

Looking ahead to the holiday season, ABC recently announced their 2015 holiday programming. Set your DVRs accordingly!

As a lifelong Peanuts fan, I'm thrilled that the long-awaited Peanuts Movie is finally released today! I'm also excited to see this recently released book Only What's Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd. It's on my to-read list!

That's this week's short list of cool links. If you find a link you think is worthy of being mentioned here, please let me know in the comments.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Just Checking In

Hello everyone! The title of this post says it all. Today I have no YouTube clips or anything super exciting to showcase. I'm just checking in with you all to see how you're doing.

So, how are you doing?

Responsibilities kicked me in the tender region hard in October, and the rest of the year is likely to be the same way, so I want to post something while I have a slight breather this week. I hope to manage things better going forward than I did last month and make my life and the lives of my loved ones easier. This seems to happen the last few years--the holiday season comes along, and I have a hard time enjoying it because I have a hundred things to do everyday. I'm sure it's the same way for you, so please excuse my whining!

I wish my blogging frequency was more robust this year, but as you will see from the number of posts, the blog took a big hit this year. Sorry about that! Also, with social media sites absorbing so much Internet traffic nowadays, traditional blogs like this one are going the way of Geocities and Tripod. Thanks to you "old timers" who still peruse Blogger and Wordpress; I appreciate it.

Please feel free to check out my years' worth of archives for some cool stuff. If you notice any broken videos or links, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to replace them.

Enjoy the new month, and I'll see you soon! Thanks!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!

The big night is finally here! Happy Halloween one and all!

Boy, real life hit me much harder than I expected this month. I didn't get to post nearly as many great things as I wanted to. Oh well, no use crying over spilled pumpkin beer. It was still a great Halloween season. It always is!

Thank you for joining me throughout the Countdown to Halloween .I hope yours has been a safe and happy one. And of course, I hope we're all back together in October 2016 so we can do it all over again!

Here are a last few tidbits that I like to share every year that summarize the Halloween experience for me. Consider it a Me and You Halloween tradition. This year, I'm including one of the songs that started off this year's Countdown, "Ten Thirty One" by Billy Polard !

And that's a wrap on the Countdown to Halloween 2015. Happy Halloween!

Fear not--another great holiday is on the way!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween TV Commercials 2015 Edition Part 2

I promised at the beginning of the Countdown when I posted my first collection of commercials that I would be back with more. I just made it under the wire! Here are more fun commercials for your last minute enjoyment.

Here is a commercial from the 60s featuring the mascot for Sugar Crisp in which the Bing Crosby-sounding Sugar Bear gets trapped in a haunted house. This commercial is over a minute long, showing how much time and effort was put into commercials back then.

This is an awesome commercial from 1981 promoting the release of Halloween II in theaters. It does a great job of creating tension and curiosity for the movie with virtually no actual footage of it. Besides, I can't let a Countdown to Halloween go by without acknowledging the movie franchise at least once!

I love this next commercial. This is a DIY commercial made for a local cable TV system promoting a locally owned and operated video game store, Video Game Underground. This was created in 2006, when creative software was really becoming prevalent. The thing I love about this commercial is that it seems high tech and low tech at the same time. A lot of fun!

Speaking of local commercials, here's one for the 2012 Baton Rouge Halloween Parade. It's local, features a parade, encourages people to dress in costumes, and helps those in need--all things I love. What more can you ask for?

Here's a fast but wild promo for Spike TV's Halloween programming from 2009. Pretty gory at the end for a commercial!

Finally, a commercial from the 70s and 80s for the late and lamented Jersey Shore boardwalk attraction, Brigantine Castle. I've featured them here before, but this commercial is just as creepy. Everything about this commercial works: the castle itself, the grainy footage, and the amazing narration. Love it!

The big night is almost here! Get ready!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October's Underappreciated Music: Glass Prism, "The Raven"

As is appropriate for the "hallowed" month of October, this month's Underappreciated Music is a musical interpretation of Edgar Alan Poe's classic poem "The Raven" by the late 60s pysch band Glass Prism.

Glass Prism's first two albums were devoted to songs based on Poe's works, a perfect fit for their Procol Harem-ish brand of rock. I first heard the song just a couple of years ago and have included it in my Halloween playlists ever since.

Take a a listen for yourself and you may do the same. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: And Now The Screaming Starts

I'm afraid I didn't get to post an official installment of Tuesday's Overlooked Film last week, so I wasn't able to keep to my promise that I feature a crawling hand film every week like I wanted to. But this is a new week, so here I present to you the 1973 shocker And Now The Screaming Starts!

The story is set in England in 1795, and the main character is Catherine, an aristocratic young woman who visits the home of her fiance Charle to be married. While strolling through the premises, she takes interest in the portrait of Charle's grandfather Henry. Suddenly, a hand seemingly bursts through the portrait for Catherine. Things get far creepier and macabre from there.

Although not a Hammer Studios film, it's very much in that vein, even featuring Peter Cushing in a key role. If you like your horror British, gothic, and don't mind killer severed limbs, you may enjoy And Now The Screaming Starts.

In fact, you can enjoy the entire film right here and now! Thanks!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Attack of the Muppets!

The Muppets are in the spotlight in pop culture again due to the launch of their new primetime series (which I haven't seen yet, unfortunately). However, there are moments from their history that are appropriate for Halloween viewing. I have a few of these moments below.

First, two spooky ghosts do an interesting take on the Beatles tune "I'm Looking Through You" from the original Muppet Show.

Also from the Muppet Show, a Muppet News Flash reporting the spontaneous morphing of inanimate objects into monsters!

This next clip really proves how creepy and weird the Muppets can get when they want to!

From Sesame Street, we learn that the Count is a union buster against his bats.

Finally, while not an actual Muppets project, the Jim Henson Company produces PBS's Sid the Science Kid, featuring CGI preschoolers learning various science lessons. Here, they sing a song about the decay of various organic items, including autumn leaves and a jack o' lantern.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

"A Ghost for Halloween" Animated Short

There are only two weeks left of the Countdown to Halloween. Time to get serious and go on full alert!

Today I offer a cute animated short called "A Ghost for Halloween." A lonely ghost wishes he could join trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. When a real witch grants his wish, he dons a costume and joins in on the fun. This cartoon was created by RPR Studios, and you can learn more about them here.

This is a fun cartoon for all ages, so feel free to show the kids if you have them. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Will Vinton's Claymation Comedy of Horrors

The late 80s and early 90s were a good time for Will Vinton's Claymation Studios. The California Raisins commercials had made the characters household names, and their popularity enabled Vinton to make several prime time TV specials to meet audience demand for his style of animation. I've discussed Vinton's Christmas special before; now I bring to you his Halloween special, Will Vinton's Claymation Comedy of Horrors.

Although I knew about a couple other specials of Vinton's, I only learned about this one earlier this year. I can't believe I missed out on this when it first debuted in 1991! It has all of Vinton's trademark style and whimsy, but this time with a playfully Halloweenish twist.

Here for your enjoyment is the special in all its glory, and in a high quality format. Enjoy!

We're now slightly over the halfway mark of the Countdown, and boy has real life given my Countdown a hit! A thousand apologies. I'll be putting out posts at a steady clip to make up for lost time. Please be sure to check out as many articles as you can--I really appreciate it.

Have a great weekend! Go on a haunted hayride! Carve a jack o' lantern! Make a Halloween mixtape! Put the finishing touches on your costume! Do Halloweeny things!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Beast With Five Fingers

For this year's Tuesday's Overlooked Films during the Countdown to Halloween, I've decided to go with a theme--crawling hand movies! Last week I brought you 1963's The Crawling Hand; this week, it's the 1946 film The Beast With Five Fingers.

The Beast With Five Fingers is about a renown concert pianist living reclusively in the Italian countryside with his nurse, secretary (played by Peter Lorre at his creepy best), and the nurse's paramour (Robert Alda, father of Alan Alda). When the pianist dies and his estate is in dispute, murders begin to happen. Are they at the literal hand of the dead man's severed left hand?

The film is lush yet gothic, with fine performances by all. It has the distinction of being the only horror movie produced by Warner Brothers in the 1940s. I saw it this past weekend on TCM and recommend it should you come across it.

Below is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Walking Dead Theme Music by Player Piano

As I write this, I just finished watching the first episode of season 6 of The Walking Dead, and a great episode it was! The episode opened up as every episode of the show does--a cold open, followed by the great theme music written by Bear McCreary.

Recently I found a version of the theme performed almost solely on piano in classical style by a group named simply Player Piano. They do classical piano adaptations of many geeky theme music pieces, and they're all great. Check out the Walking Dead theme now! For more of their awesome videos, check out there YouTube channel here.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Casper Saves Halloween 1979 TV Special

My, it looks like I've fallen behind in the first week of the Countdown! Sorry about that! Fortunately, I have a great offering for the weekend--the 1979 animated TV special Casper Saves Halloween!

On Halloween night, Casper disguises himself as a trick-or-treater to blend in with the living, but it doesn't work out so well. Despite this, it's up to Casper to stop his ghostly friend Hairy Scary and his gang from scaring the costumes off of everyone. Spoiler alert--Casper stops them.

Enjoy the first weekend of October, and thanks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Crawling Hand (1963)

Tuesdays in October are always interesting ones here at the blog because I get to be a part of not one, but two great cross-blog festivities. Not only do I participate in the Countdown to Halloween every October, but every Tuesday (well, not every Tuesday, but when I can) I participate in Tuesday's Overlooked Film/TV/Audio/Video, hosted by my friend Todd Mason and his blog Sweet Freedom

About 20 to 30 bloggers spend Tuesdays discussing a movie, TV series, or other audio/visual product that they feel deserves a closer look. On Tuesdays in October, I make it a Halloween or horror-related item. This week, it's the 1963 film The Crawling Hand.

The Crawling Hand belongs to an astronaut who falls victim to an exploding space capsule, but not without his severed arm being possessed by an alien being. The arm lands to Earth and is found by a med student, who takes the arm for himself because he's an idiot. Soon, the alien-possessed arm starts to control the med student's mind, using the young man to lure victims for the arm to strangle to death.

Oh, the town sheriff is played by Alan Hale Jr. You know, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island!

Any other time of the year, I would NOT select this film as a movie that deserves greater attention. but for Halloween, such schlock is perfect. I remember watching this movie as a kid in Philadelphia on WKBS-TV's Creature Double Feature and being amazed at how weird it was. It's still weird today.

You can find out for yourself now, as the movie is available on YouTube. Have fun! For more overlooked items, head on over to Sweet Freedom here. Thanks!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Halloween Safety Public Service Film from 1977

As fun as Halloween always is, it's necessary to take some precautions to ensure that your Halloween is a safe one. The following public safety film from 1977, titled simply "Halloween Safety," aims to help you in that endeavor. 

This film has developed a bit of fame among Halloween bloggers, and in fact even features a blogger. One of the children that appear in this film is former blogger Jason of the defunct but legendary Scar Stuff blog. Read about his involvement here.

Generation X readers should have fond memories of Halloweens such as the one depicted here. If you're a millenial, please forgive the fashion sense.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Halloween TV Commercials 2015 Edition

One of the first types of articles I like to post at the beginning of the Countdown is a collection of fun and spooky TV commercials. That's how you know a holiday season is upon us. And just when I think I've exhausted the supply of available commercials on the Web, items come along at just the right time for me to discover. Here is this year's collection!

Directly from my childhood, here is a great commercial for Hershey's chocolate from way back in 1981. Watching this clip really is like time travel for me.

Even earlier is this Hershey's commercial from 1972. The quality of the video is poor, so you can barely tell the kids are wearing Halloween costumes, but it is definitely about the holiday.

Wicked witches are bad enough to deal with, but a wicked itch? It's time to get Lanacane!

For a much more recent commercial--2014--here is one promoting the well received Cheetos Bag O' Bones. Short but sweet.

There are many stories about the loss of a loved one and attempts to reconnect with them in the afterlife. This next commercial is the first one I've seen about a beer!

The owner of this local furniture store thinks he's really funny.

Speaking of furniture, this awesome commercial for Ikea does a great job parodying The Shining!

As usual, you can always get some great Halloween finds at Goodwill!

I haven't heard of Value Village before, but I'd buy my Halloween costume from there!

Kmart has fallen on VERY hard times the last ten years or so, but they may still be an option for your Halloween needs.

Finally, this one's on the gross side, but it is entertaining. Online is always a fine option for Halloween costume shopping. It's better than the lengths the poor fellow in this commercial went to!

I have so many commercials left over, I'll post them later in the month. Until then, I hope you enjoyed these.

Have a great weekend! We have a whole month of Halloween goodness ahead of us!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Countdown to Halloween!


Welcome one and all to the Countdown to Halloween! It's my favorite time of year to blog, and I'm thrilled to take part in this fantastic event once again. This is my seventh year participating--wow!

For those of you returning to my blog this year, thank you! And if you're new to my blog, thank you too! Here's how it works:

Nearly 200 great blogs, all available at the event's host site (click here) will be counting down to Halloween starting today, October 1st and, ideally, posting one article with a Halloween/horror/spooky theme every day until October 31st. Of course, if you can't blog every day, that's cool! This is meant to be fun, not a job, so anything you can post is awesome. I usually post Monday through Friday, with a break on weekends.

Please be sure to check out as many great participating blogs as possible. And if you have a blog that you want to join in on the fun, by all means! See the Countdown to Halloween site for details.

Happy Halloween! Let's get started!

Here are a couple of music videos to get you warmed up for the season. First are clips from the awesome, funny, yet gory, movie Zombieland set to Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls," followed by the other end of the Halloween spectrum, the sweet, wistful tune "Ten Thirty One" by Billy Polard. These clips represent the alpha and omega of Halloween: the fantastical, horrific side of the holiday, along with the realistic, fun, memorable part of the day that we experienced as children. Both totally different from one another, but both very much indicative of everything we love about Halloween.

Here's to 31 great days. Thanks!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September's Underappreciated Music: Autumn Leaves

The beautiful season of autumn is finally here! This month's Underappreciated Music honors the season by enchanting you with several versions of the classic song Autumn Leaves. Hopefully your favorite version is included here, or if you're new to the song, discover it for the first time. Enjoy!

For more Underappreciated Music, check out Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom for all of this month's contributors!

Friday, September 18, 2015

List O' Links for Friday, September 18, 2015

Wow, I haven't done these in awhile. It's high time I get back to them!

Notice that instead of the usual picture of someone using a computer, I opted for a nice autumn scene. The great season is less than a week away, so I thought it both appropriate and a nice change of pace. I hope your summer season was a fun and happy one!

Now on to the links!

For the first time in America, Burger King is releasing their Halloween Whopper, along with a Pumpkin Spice Oreo Milkshake. I'm not a big Whopper fan, but this looks interesting!

This is a long-awaited weekend for Whovians--the relaunched Doctor Who debuts its ninth season this Saturday. I started watching the new Who at the start of this year, so I'm looking forward to this!

ABC Family has announced their lineup for this year's 13 Night of Halloween. Check it out here!

The fall season, and even the summer season, sees the launch of many pumpkin flavored beers. But if you're looking for a seasonal brew without pumpkin, you have several options. Marketwatch has ten non-pumpkin brews that are still perfect for the fall!

If you use the Internet--and obviously, you do--you may wonder why memes use the same large font all the time. Look no further than this article from Vox that explains how the Impact font became the standard font of memes everywhere.

Finally, I didn't present any back to school material this year as I usually do, but I can't let September pass without mentioning it at least once. Here is a comparison of getting ready for the school season back in the 70s versus today. Sounds accurate.

Have a great weekend! And please remember that the Countdown to Halloween starts in less than two weeks on Thursday, October 1st! Be there or beware!

Monday, September 14, 2015

We Are Having Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

Hello, is this thing on?

Hey all! In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been around here much this year. I really apologize for that, but I'm afraid as I get older, blog time is sacrificed for, you know, life. It's not that I don't want to blog, I simply can't. But just when I think I'm about to call it quits, I change my mind.

Therefore, I'll still blog when I can, but it may be only a couple of times a month. I hope you keep me in your reading list even with that low output, but I really do appreciate it.

One thing is certain: starting Thursday, October 1st, I will definitely be taking part in this year's Countdown to Halloween again! It's my favorite time of year to blog, so even if this blog lays dormant the other eleven months of the year, I'll be here for Halloween. I'm still gathering material for this year's event, so please stay around for that.

Otherwise, please be patient with me, and don't be put off if my most recent post is six weeks ago. A fresh article will come along, I promise.

Feel free to follow me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. There's always good stuff there to tide you over until I'm back here.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Japanese Science Fiction TV Series Opening Sequences

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook a trailer for a live action Ultraman movie coming to theaters in Japan. It was the classic Japanese hero with his classic TV theme music yet appearing in brand new state of the arts special effects.

Seeing this trailer inspired me to track down several opening themes to some Japanese science fiction shows of the past. Although I could have gone with the English versions, I thought it would be more fun to use the original Japanese versions (in most instances). Enjoy!


Mazinger Z

Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot



Space Battleship Yamato

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bugs Bunny, "The Wild Hare" (1940)

Today is the 75th anniversary of the release of the first official Bugs Bunny cartoon, "The Wild Hare." The rest is history. In honor of this event, here is the cartoon in its entirety. Enjoy!

Bugs Bunny - The Wild Hare by bugs-bunny1

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: The 2014-2015 TV Season

I'm a bit late on this, but as I did last year, I'd like to use the Tuesday's Overlooked feature to discuss what I thought of the past television season.

And like last year, I had a very satisfying one.

I don't watch as much TV as I'd like, or at least not as much as I would if I had time to channel surf like I did when I was younger. With my time being limited, I have to be choosy with what I watch. I know I'm missing out on some good stuff, but I'm very happy with the programs I do watch.

Unlike the majority of folks I know, I still get most of my enjoyment from the broadcast networks. That's probably because there is so much superhero programming on these days. The best of all is The Flash on The CW. Everything about the series works for me brilliantly; the cast, the writing, the effects, you name it. It has great action, strong character development, and a surprising amount of heart (it's almost impossible not to get emotional during the scenes between Barry Allen and his father). It was, without question, my favorite series on television this season.

Another comic-based series I enjoyed in its second season is Marvel's Agents of S.H,I.E.L.D. Last year I complained about what I found to be unfair treatment by my fellow comic fans, which still continued a bit this season, but not as much, thanks to improved pacing and better scheduling. This was due to the inclusion of the concept of Marvel Comics' Inhumans into the mix, and their link to the former Skye, who we now know to be comic character Daisy Johnson. Unfortunately, the show doesn't seem to have improved in the ratings (the second season finale was the lowest rated episode of the series to date), which is a shame. If these ratings continue, I doubt highly we'll see a season 4; I don't see Disney/ABC/Marvel synergy helping it much further than this season. Still, I'll hold onto the series as long as the network allows me.

Also from Marvel is Agent Carter, featuring the great Haley Atwell as Carter, first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger. Her series was a great way to give Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a breather and give Marvel fans yet another expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On the Fox network, there was the Batman prequel Gotham. To be honest, the show isn't what I'm looking for in a Batman series, even a prequel. It's far too outrageous, bombastic, and Schumacher-esque.

That is not a compliment.

Still, it's a Batman show, so good or not, I'll probably continue to watch.

Gotham was paired with the second season of Sleepy Hollow. Although fans of the first season believed the show declined in its second season, I enjoyed it as much as the first. I'm curious to see where they go in season three, especially with the apparent absence of Katrina Crane (turned to the dark side) and Henry Parish from the series, and the definite departure of Orlando Jones from the cast (his contract was not renewed).

The biggest live action surprise of the year was iZombie. I didn't know what to expect from this series, but I gave it a try and I'm thrilled that I did! It's another show that is well cast, with a lot of charm and thrills at the same time. It was only on for half a season, so if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do so. It should be easy to catch up.

Speaking of zombies, longtime readers of the blog know I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead (to the point where I even have a Twitter parody account based on one of the characters), and this season, with the exception of the dreadful hospital storyline, was one of its strongest seasons to date. I'm very much looking forward to both its next season and the August debut of its spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead.

HBO's Game of Thrones continued to enthrall in its fifth season. It saved its main character deaths for the end of the season, a nice change of pace from constant death after death. Silicon Valley continued to be a great palette cleanser after Thrones, with its wacky cranked-to-11 sense of obscene humor and gripping cliffhangers.

Finally, there were my favorite animated series. Adventure Time seemed to be weirder than ever (even if it did seem to have an erratic schedule), Regular Show continued to do its thing, and Steven Universe, while I only caught a small handful of episodes, was a big surprise, with equal parts silly fun and heartwarming charm--and oh, that Garnet reveal! Teen Titans GO! made me laugh as hard, if not harder, than any live action comedy. Outside of the Flash series, Teen Titans GO! is the best product DC Entertainment is creating.  I'd love to say more about the Marvel animated series, but I let them pile up on my DVR, and I haven't been diligent in watching them. Not the series' fault, I'm just a busy guy.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, so suffice it to say, I'm really enjoying TV right now. What have been your favorites? Please let me know in the comments section.

See you soon..Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!

Friday, July 10, 2015

List O' Links for Friday, July 10, 2015

I haven't done a List O' Links in awhile, so it's high time I did so. Click away!

I love Sesame Street, and I love learning more about the series and seeing things about it I haven't seen before. This takes the cake: Sesame Street characters playing hockey against the Chicago Blackhawks! This soundless home movie reel is dated circa 1970, but I think it may actually be from much later in the decade. Either way, it's fun to watch!

This being the 40th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite movies, Jaws, here is a collection of fantastic Jaws fan art! You can also find a few other pieces at my Tumblr site!

While I type away right now, San Diego Comic Con 2015 is in full swing! It's practically always Comic Con here at the blog, but in honor of SDCC, here is a defense of the existence of the awesome Cartoon Network series Teen Titans GO! The article describes it as a "necessary evil," but I think the show is wonderful. It's my favorite product DC Entertainment is making--with the exception of The Flash TV series.

Summer is most famous for its hot, sunshine-filled days, but there are plenty of people who enjoy the rain. If you're one of them--and I do appreciate a good rainy day here and there--this site is for you: Rainy Mood. For those days you're feeling serene and introspective, this site provides the sounds of a soothing storm. Rain--it's not just for sadness!

Here's a chance to step back in time to October 1978 and see what was on the tube back then according to TV Guide magazine! 

Finally, artist extraordinaire Alex Ross has unveiled a set of work featuring the Beatles as they appeared in the animated movie Yellow Submarine. I loved Ross's work and the Beatles, so to see the two together is a real treat!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Bait

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked Film is the Australian thriller Bait.

Bait features a simple story: a tsunami hits a coastal Australian town, flooding a supermarket and inundating the store with two large great white sharks in the market's murky waters. A mixed bag of survivors do their best to escape the water and its toothy guests, working out their personal issues along the way.

Bait is by no means the next Jaws, but for a shark story fan like me, it fits the bill; especially when you record it off of SyFy in November and keep it in your DVR until June like I have.

Here is the film's red band trailer if you so inclined. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June's Underappreciated Music: Joe Jackson

This month's Underappreciated Music is the pop work of Joe Jackson.

You can read about Jackson's career here, but I'm just going to focus on his pop hits that made him famous. His work since then has been mostly jazz and classical, two genres Jackson has found more personally fulfilling. That doesn't change the fact that I'm always glad to hear any of these songs on the radio. They're like old friends that you don't see very often, but when you do it's always special, then you go back to your daily business. Nothing wrong with songs like that.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked TV-Movie, "The Stranger Within" (1990)

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked item is the 1990 made for TV thriller The Stranger Within.

Stranger stars Kate Jackson as a mother whose young son is abducted from her, and the abductor disappears without a trace. Years later, after trying to move on with her beau (Chris Sarandon), a young man (Rick Schroder) appears claiming to be the long lost boy. However, it soon becomes clear that not all is right with this man, as the locals start disappearing as soon as he walks into their lives. The movie ends with a climactic battle between mother and "son."

This movie came to my attention due to the plea of a Twitter follower of mine who remembers seeing the movie as a child, and it stayed with him all these years, but he has never known the title or even seen it air since. I passed along the info to Tuesday's Overlooked curator Todd Mason, who in turn gave the alert to his friends in the horror/suspense online communities, and lo and behold, we have this week's entry!

The movie has an interesting pedigree, too. It was directed by Tom Holland, writer and director of Fright Night and Child's Play. He also wrote the screenplays for Psycho II, The Beast Within, and a favorite of mine, Cloak and Dagger.

The Stranger Within was once available on VHS many years ago, but has never been released on DVD. Below is a promo for the movie.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mighty Mouse, "Super Mouse Rides Again"

Before the character Mighty Mouse was a mildly disguised spoof of Superman, he was an outright blatant spoof of Superman. Here is one of the earliest Mighty Mouse appearances--perhaps the earliest appearance ever--in his original name of Super Mouse (before DC Comics' lawyers got a hold of Terry Toons). It's the standard Mighty Mouse formula: cute mice frolicing in a meadow, a threat comes along to ruin the festivities (almost always a cat), and Super/Mighty Mouse "saves the day." Man, the hours I spent as a kid watching these cartoons over and over.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Super

Hello all! I hope you had a relaxing and reflectful Memorial Day weekend. It's back to the grind today with a look at my latest Tuesday's Overlooked Film, the 2010 comedy Super.

Super stars Rainn Wilson as Frank Darbo, a schlubby diner cook who is inspired to become a homemade superhero to rescue his recovering addict wife (Liv Tyler) from the clutches of a weasley drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). Lacking in both powers and fighting skills, Darbo nevertheless gives it his all in his new identity of the Crimson Bolt, armed only with a heavy pipe wrench to fight crime. Darbo also befriends a young comic book store clerk (Ellen Page) who eagerly volunteers to be the Crimson Bolt's sidekick Boltie (against Darbo's wishes). After several missteps fighting petty criminals, the dynamic duo face off with Bacon's character to bring Darbo's wife home in the movie's climax.

Super is very much in the vein of the two Kick-Ass films, the first of which was released the same year as Super, so your enjoyment of Super may depend upon your opinion of Kick-Ass. I found Super to be a fun movie; outrageous at times, shocking in a couple of moments, but funny and enjoyable throughout. Be on the lookout for Nathan Fillion as "The Holy Avenger" and director James Gunn (who directed this as well as the blockbuster Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy) in a small role as a "demon" in a Christian superhero movie within a movie.

Below is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Random Images of Awesomeness Part 3

It's been a really long time since I've done a Random Images of Awesomeness post (over two years in fact), and since I've amassed quite a collection of rad images since then, it's high time I displayed some accordingly. Without further comment, here are some pleasing images for the eyes. Artist credits are given when known. Enjoy!

Jaws by Scott Lava

Masters of the Universe by JP Valderrama

Wonder Woman by Kris Anka

For more cool images, follow my Tumblr site here. Thanks!