Thursday, September 19, 2019

Long Live the Bat: Batman Day 2019



Earlier this year, I wrote a series of articles related to Batman due to the character celebrating his 80th anniversary this year as well as the 30th anniversary of the Batman movie starring Michael Keaton. With the blog about to go into almost-full holiday mode the rest of the year, this will be the last of those articles to give the feature some closure, and we end our celebration of all things Bat with this year's Batman Day.

For the past five years, DC Comics has celebrated Batman Day, the first in the summer of 2014 and subsequent celebrations being in a Saturday in September. This Saturday, September 21st is the big day this year, and comic shops and book stores across the country will be acknowledging the day with select free comics, events, and more. For full details, try the following links:

DC Comics official Batman Day site, the best place to get details: https://www.dccomics.com/blog/2019/09/09/celebrate-batman-day-on-september-21

A downloadable Batman Day celebration kit with coloring pages, games, and fun ideas: https://www.dccomics.com/sites/default/files/imce/2019/09-SEP/BatmanDayActivityKit.pdf

Select Barnes & Noble locations are having local Batman Day events. Check your nearest location here: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/

You may be able to get free Batman comics at your local comic shop. To find out, try here: https://www.freecomicbookday.com/Article/232558-Celebrate-Batman-Day-At-Comic-Shops-September-21st

I also recommend checking your local library, as they may also be participating. I recommend checking out your local library any day for any reason, because libraries rock!

And with that, I officially bring my year(ish)-long Batman celebration to a close. But who am I kidding, I blog about Batman a lot anyway!



The only other thing I have to offer Batman-wise right now is this:


Thanks! Have a great weekend! Long Live The Bat!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Keystone Comic Con 2019 Review


On Friday, August 23rd, I had the privilege of attending Keystone Comic Con, an entertainment convention presented by ReedPOP, one of the largest comic convention organizers in the world. In its second year, Keystone continued to prove itself as a major event for the comics community of the Philadelphia area.

Keystone had a wide array of retailers and dealers for attendees to indulge in. There were plenty of toys, games, clothes, and yes, comics for fans to take home and add to their collection. There was also a long and well attended Artists' Alley where fans could meet and greet a variety of artists and writers, from industry veterans such as Jim Steranko to up and coming artists of tomorrow!

Keystone Comic Con isn't just exclusively for comic book fans. Other interests indulged there include favorite movies and TV series. Keystone even hosted a pro wrestling event!





There were also a great number of cosplayers in attendance. It was almost like having your favorite characters right by your side in the flesh!



Of course, the major attraction were the many stars of film and television in attendance, including Star Trek stalwarts Levar Burton, Marina Sirtis, and Michael Dorn, legendary horror director John Carpenter, fan-favorite voice actors Jeremy Shada and Fred Tatasciore, and the biggest attraction this year, Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, who attended Keystone on Sunday, August 25th.


A personal highlight for me was meeting Scott Patterson, who is best known for playing gruff but lovable Luke on the long-running series Gilmore Girls. Scott was gracious, funny, and welcoming--and a local boy to boot, having been born and raised in nearby Haddonfield, New Jersey!


Keystone Comic Con 2019 was clearly a big success just like its inaugural event last year. As a big-time comics fan, I'm thrilled that Philly has a great opportunity like Keystone for local fans to come together and celebrate the comics, games, and movies that mean so much to us.

Next year's Keystone Comic Con will be Friday, August 28th through Sunday, August 30th. See you there!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Maple Creme Oreos Video Review



Today is an exciting day for the blog. For the first time, I present my first ever blog video! With the help of my kids, we review the newly released Maple Creme Oreos, issued by Nabisco as a limited edition release for Fall 2019.

What did we think? Find out below!





Please forgive the amateur quality of the video, because I am indeed an amateur! No editing, no special camera or video, I just hit "record" on the laptop camera and hoped for the best. All in all, I think it worked out OK!

Thanks!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Classic Public Service Announcements from the 1980s



Welcome back everyone! Summer is over culturally if not astronomically, and it's time for everyone to get back to school, work, etc. It's best for us to put fun and frivolity aside and turn to more serious matters. One way to do this is by viewing these classic PSAs from the 80s, informing us how to take care of ourselves.

First up is possibly the most classic of all, demonstrating "your brain on drugs."




Not to be outdone, the following is also highly remembered--"I learned it by watching you!"




Even if you're sober, you'll want to make sure you're properly buckled in while driving. You don't want to be a dummy!




This is a good time to remind you not to take rides from strangers. McGruff the Crime Dog knows what he's talking about!




If we can get back to drugs--the prescription kind--make sure they're out of the reach of children. After all, they're not candy!




Finally, I realize these PSAs are too dark and serious. Let's go out on a lighter note with the help of Captain O.G. Readmore encouraging us to enjoy a good book!




Once again, welcome back from summer vacation, and I wish you all a great fall and remaining 2019. I plan on picking up the pace here at the blog this month, and starting October 1st, a certain countdown to a certain holiday rises from the grave again. Please stay tuned, we're going to have fun.

Thanks!

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Incredible Hulk, "The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow" (1982)


Happy August 2nd!

What's so special about this date? Nothing, really. But every year when it rolls around, I always think of this particular episode of the 1982 Incredible Hulk animated series.

In the following episode, "The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow," Betty Ross's nephew Jonah has a psychic vision of the future in which Betty perishes on a space shuttle mission with the Hulk in tow. The mission takes place on, you guessed it, August 2nd, and the story places emphasis on this particular date.

Now, by sharing this episode with you, you too can think of this episode every August 2nd.

Actually, you probably won't. I only think of it because I'm really, really weird.

Enjoy anyway!

UPDATE AS OF 8/16/2019: Son of a nutcracker! Sorry folks, Dailymotion has taken down the episode. I'll replace it in the future if I get a chance.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, "Spidey Goes Hollywood"



Even more than a week after seeing it, I'm still high on the experience that was Spider-Man: Far From Home. I loved it!

In that spirit, I continue to feature previous showdowns between Spidey and Mysterio, just like I did in my last article. Don't say I don't know how to beat a dead horse!

Here, from the 1980s NBC series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, is season one, episode 9, "Spidey Goes Hollywood!" Guest starring the Incredible Hulk!

Enjoy!


Monday, July 1, 2019

Spider-Man 1967 Cartoon Series, "The Menace of Mysterio"



My celebration of Batman's 80th anniversary and the 1989 Batman movie's 30th anniversary has been a lot of fun, but I think it's time to take a break from Batman and focus on other things.

Like Spider-Man!

Spidey is in fact my all-time favorite superhero, and with his hotly anticipated new movie releasing tomorrow, it's only right I acknowledge him today.

To warm you up for Far From Home, please enjoy this episode of the 1967 Spider-Man animated series, "The Menace of Mysterio." Their battle on the movie sets is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series.

Enjoy, webheads!


Thursday, June 27, 2019

June's Underappreciated Music: Long Live The Bat: "Music! BAT Music!" Prince Edition

The 30th anniversary date of Batman 1989 has passed, but I still have it on my mind. There's one aspect of the film I didn't mention yet that I should have: the song soundtrack by Prince.

At the time, Prince seemed to me to be both an odd choice to do a Batman soundtrack and the perfect choice at the same time. He was bold, he was boisterous, he's a lot like a comic book character!

Only a few of the songs were used in the actual film, but two of them became part of the Bat-Zeitgeist of the time. Here they are!

"Batdance." This doesn't appear in the movie, but it's a funky novelty tune that's a lot of fun!





Next is "Partyman," famous for being the tune that plays when the Joker makes his grand entrance to the art museum for his "date" with Vicki Vale. Some of the goofiness of the movie irks me these days, but this fun scene is an exception. I love it!





If Prince were still with us, I wonder if he'd acknowledge his musical contribution to the film today.

Thanks!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Long Live The Bat: Batman the Movie! Batman the Merchandising!



Like any highly successful movie that makes hundreds of millions of dollars, other products are going to find ways to make their money off of it, and Batman 1989 was no exception. Take a look at a tiny fraction of the products based on the film.

Behold--Batman the cereal!





The film was so big that it had not only one but two successful toy lines. The first one was by the small company Toy Biz, which also released other DC Comics characters in a separate line released concurrently with their Batman line. Ironically, the owner of the company was Ike Perlmutter, who now is the CEO of Marvel Entertainment.





The following year (1990), Kenner released The Dark Knight Collection, a larger line also based on the 1989 movie. Here are almost six minutes of commercials for the line.

I still have the Crime Attack Batman action figure from the line to this very day.




In addition to toys, you can always count on fast food restaurants to take part in blockbuster movie promotions. For Batman 1989, the fast food joint of choice was Taco Bell with these cool cups! Collect all four! Don't forget your cinnamon twists!





Finally, MTV held a "Steal The Batmobile" contest in 1989. Movie costar Robert Wuhl has all the details!





I'll bet you're now inspired to rush to Ebay and see if you can get any of this stuff cheap. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Long Live The Bat: Batman 1989 and the Home Video Revolution


The 30th anniversary of Batman 1989 is this Sunday, so it's time to ramp up the celebration!

As much as the movie revolutionized summer blockbusters and their impact on popular culture, it also caused a revolution in the home video industry. The movie was released on home video (in glorious VHS format, God love it) on November 15, 1989, a mere five months after the theatrical release, which was unheard of at the time. Movie fans usually had to wait a year or more after a theatrical release for a film to appear on home video.

Not only that, the suggested retail price was a mere $24.98 per copy, another massive change from the status quo of the industry. Videocassettes of other films sold for nearly $100, when home video was mostly a rental business. Warner Bros. decided this was a film fans wanted to own, so they made it affordable. They were right: audiences bought it right and left. Many stores sold it at an even lower price, at $20 or even $15 dollars. One of my brothers bought his copy for only $15 at our local Wall to Wall Sound and Video (RIP). He still has it today!

One of the ways Warner Bros. was able to keep the price low was by allowing a commercial to appear at the beginning of the tape, courtesy of Diet Coke. This was another radical change from the norm. Here is the commercial in all of its glory!





Also featured was this animated call for people to purchase Warner Bros. swag, with the help of studio favorites Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck!





The timing of the video release was, unsurprisingly, tied into that year's holiday shopping season, as this commercial for the video confirms. I posted this same commercial during my Christmas programming last year, and of all the countless commercials I've featured on the blog, this is one of the hardest sells I've ever seen!





Not everyone was happy with the early and affordable release of Batman on home video. Theater chains, smaller ones in particular, were upset over lost revenue to the home video release, as the movie was such a box office success that it was still playing in some theaters as late as November of that year. This local news coverage of the home video launch from Los Angeles conveys that story as well as a publicity event the studio held in LA, plus some (failed) attempts at humor by the local news team.





With all of the Internet streaming options we have today, it's easy to forget how momentous it was when a favorite film was released on home video, and up to that time, no home video release was as momentous as Batman.

Thanks for reading!



Monday, June 10, 2019

Long Live The Bat: Late Night with David Letterman, June 22, 1989, Guest Starring Michael Keaton


As the exact date of the 30th anniversary of the release of the 1989 Batman film is a mere two weeks away, it's time to ramp up the celebration quickly with some great material I've found.

In this clip, Michael Keaton appears on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman the night before the release to promote the film and shoot the breeze with Dave. You can tell that Keaton and Letterman are old friends having a good time. I watched this episode the night it aired and distinctly remember the story Keaton tells about himself and Jack Nicholson checking out each other's costumes for the first time.

Enjoy!





Also do yourself a favor and watch the guys' cringe-worthy performance back when they were cast members of Mary Tyler Moore's variety show from the late 70s.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Swamp Thing 1991 Fox Kids Animated Series, "The Un-man Unleashed"



I'm excited to see the new Swamp Thing horror series debuting tomorrow on the DC Universe streaming service. In preparation, I watched the original 1982 theatrical movie directed by Wes Craven and starring Adrienne Barbeau yesterday. After doing a little IMDB-ing on ol' Swampy, I came across something I didn't know existed.

Back in the fall of 1991, a Swamp Thing animated series appeared on the Fox network. I was in high school at the time and wasn't paying much attention to Saturday morning TV at that point, so I shouldn't be surprised I missed it. Still, I'm surprised I don't hear other geeky-minded folks bring it up.

Admittedly, it's not a great series, but for a comic book fan, it's an odd curiosity worth checking out. It fits right in with what I remember Fox Saturday morning programming being: irreverent and obsessed with wacky, gross-out kinds of characters.

See the first episode for yourself and let me know what you think. Enjoy!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Long Live The Bat: Batman 1989 Movie Trailer


When I wrote my article announcing my focus on Batman's 80th anniverary, I also mentioned the 30th anniversary of the Batman film from 1989. I'll write the majority of articles about the movie closer to the June 23rd anniversary date, but today I'll feature the trailer for the film. This was the first glimpse the public got of any of the Bat craziness that was before them, and it's fun to look back on it 30 years later.

Enjoy! Also, I learned the next morning after writing this that April 22nd is Jack Nicholson's birthday, so...Happy Birthday Jack!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Joker Starring Joaquin Phoenix Movie Trailer



Two days after I published my article looking at the several incarnations of the Joker in other media, the first official trailer for the movie Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix was released. I had totally forgotten about the movie when writing my article, but I had originally planned to feature the 30 second makeup test Joker director Todd Phillips had released on Instagram last October.





Shortly after that video was released, amateur footage of some scenes surfaced on the 'Net, something highly unusual for a major studio picture.





And now we finally have the official trailer. Roll it!





I don't know what to make of the idea of a standalone Joker origin story. Will it feel like we're seeing the Joker we know and love to hate from the comics, or will it simply feel like a crazy guy in clown makeup who coincidentally calls himself the Joker? Projects in the past that separate themselves too much from the source material have not been great artistic successes (I'm looking at you, Catwoman), but with creative bigwigs like director Todd Phillips (the Hangover films), executive producer Bradley Cooper (and former EP Martin Scorsese) and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro in tow, will this movie beat the odds? I guess we'll find out when the movie opens October 4th.

Until then, put on a happy face!



Monday, April 1, 2019

Long Live The Bat: The Joker



It may seem weird that my first official post of my yearlong Batman tribute would be dedicated to his greatest foe instead, but one of Batman's defining characteristics has been his rogues gallery of villains, most of all the Joker. And besides, who better to feature on April Fool's Day?

Like Batman, the Joker has had several incarnations the last 80s years. Sometimes he's a psychopathic killer who will do anything depraved; other times, he's simply a laughing crook who likes to wear clown makeup and challenge Batman to surfing contests. Either way, the Joker has captivated audiences unlike any other supervillain. Here he is in some of his various personas.

Here's six minutes of Cesar Romero's Joker laughing his head off!.





Not to be outdone, Mark Hamill's Joker is no slouch in the maniacal laughter department.




Jack Nicholson's Joker is basically that: Jack being Jack but in clown makeup. And audiences loved it!




Heath Ledger's Joker was a bit less histrionic that otber portrayals, but his was no less menacing. Far from it!




OK, Jared Leto's Joker was not so well received by the public at large, but I found him surprisingly effective, even if we didn't see too much of him in Suicide Squad.




Of course, for many comic book devotees, no version of the Joker in other media will ever top the Joker in his natural habit, the printed page. In any format he appears in, he will always be the one true Clown Prince of Crime.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Long Live The Bat: Batman's 80th Anniversary


Holy Anniversary! This Saturday, March 30th commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of perhaps the most popular superhero of all time, Batman!

DC Comics is celebrating this momentous occasion all year long with various events, starting this week with the publication of the 1000th issue of the comic book that started it all, Detective Comics. Further events will be announced at a special Web site DC has created, Batman80.com. Stay tuned there for more announcements all year long.

But that's not the only Web site celebrating the Year of the Bat. I will feature occasional articles honoring the Caped Crusader right here at Me and You. There are many aspects of Batman to focus on, and I hope to shine a bat signal on some of my favorite facets of him here.

Not only is 2019 the 80th anniversary of Batman's first appearance, it's also the 30th anniversary of the Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson and directed by Tim Burton. That movie is a big reason why Batman has been such a prominent part of pop culture these past 30 years, so in addition to the general bat-tastic fun I'll be posting this year, I'll place special emphasis on the 1989 film.


Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed--get ready to roll out with me all year long in celebration of Batman. Stay tuned to this blog--same Bat Time, same Bat Channel!



Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Peter Tork, 1942--2019


It's always sad to note the passing of a musician/actor/artist you've admired all your life, and this is no different.

I've been a Monkees fan since I saw reruns of the series on UHF TV as a very young child, and my love for them was solidified when they reunited in 1986. I was fortunate to attend their tour date at Veterans Stadium here in Philadelphia, and my friends and I were inspired to dive deep into their albums that were reissued at that time. We were forever hooked. And it was clear to me even then that Peter Tork, despite being the quiet "dummy" of the band, was the most talented musician.

My respect for him grew as I matured, and I was blown away by his talent back in 2011 when I saw the band on tour again. I'm glad I got to see him again one more time. Now that he is gone, I will hold those memories even closer than before.

Here is a small sample of his best work, both as a singer and songwriter. Rest in peace, Peter.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Muppet Valentine Show on the Advent Calendar House Podcast!


Hello everyone, Happy Valentine's Day!

I have a great way for you to celebrate this lovely day--by listening to me and two other fine folks discuss an obscure Muppets special!

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in an episode of the Advent Calendar House podcast, which discusses classic Christmas TV specials and movies, with occasional forays into other holidays. This time, Valentine's Day is a foray!

Podcast host Mike Westfall and guest Joey O and I discuss 1974's The Muppet Valentine Show, a special that doubled as a pilot for The Muppet Show. The special is quite different from the celebrational, Muppetational program we all know and love. You can check out the special on YouTube here, and listen to the podcast below!



Enjoy! And thanks once again to Mike for allowing me on the show. Thanks Mike! Happy Back to the Future Day!




Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Goffin/King Demos of Monkees Songs



This past weekend, my daughter and I enjoyed seeing the touring version of the Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. One of the many great songs co-written by King featured in the show is "Pleasant Valley Sunday," made famous by the Monkees. However, although that's the biggest hit written by the duo to be performed by the band, the Monkees recorded several other great songs by Gerry Goffin and King. Here are a few examples, with demos recorded by King featured first, followed by the Monkees' final version.

From the band's debut album, here is "Take a Giant Step." First is a country/western style demo by King, followed by a psychedelic folk fusion by the Monkees.





Next is "Sometime in the Morning," featured on the band's sophomore album More of the Monkees. Due to the swiftness in which the album was released and the impressiveness of King's demo, producers simply added Mickey Dolenz's vocal over King's recording.




Finally, a departure from the usual Goffin/King style, the heavily psychedelic ode "The Porpoise Song," written and recorded for the Monkees' movie Head. I love the Latin phrase King throws on at the beginning and end of her demo.




This isn't the first time I shared a Goffin/King demo of a Monkees song. You can check out King's demo for Pleasant Valley Sunday here.

Demos like this help music fans really appreciate the evolution of a song from first writing to final production. The twists and turns a song takes during this process is fascinating to me. I hope it is for you too.

Thanks!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dick Van Dyke and the Peanuts Gang, CBS On The Air (1978)



Hello everyone, Happy New Year!

After a couple weeks' break for the holidays, I'm back, at least for this post. Things may be slow this month as I continue to get back into the swing of things, but I will be back full time soon.

Today I offer a brief clip of two of my favorite performers: Dick Van Dyke, and the Peanuts gang. This momentous occasion occurred on the five-night special CBS On The Air, which aired during 1978 for CBS' 50th anniversary. Here, Van Dyke dances with the Peanuts characters similarly to the way he did with the animated characters in Mary Poppins. A cute treat I was happy to find by accident without knowing it existed.

Enjoy!


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