32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 7: The New Addams Family & Black Friday!

Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in Black Friday (1940)

First up for today, Cosette brought to my attention that the Addams Family had their own Halloween special way back in very colorful 1977. Pretty much the entire cast of the original show returned for this TV movie, although it was called Halloween With The New Addams Family, although they are really not new and they're certainly not tied to the actual New Addams Family series that would show up in 1998. But, you know, maybe this is the Earth-1 Addams Family. Who knows?

Speaking of that later series, I don't recall watching it or Addams Family Reunion, the movie that spawned it. I certainly didn't recall that Kevin McCarthy (the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers) was Grandpa Addams in that film, nor that John Astin would take over the role as a guest star in the 90s series. Regardless, here 'tis.

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By |October 6th, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 6: Bradburypalooza!

Rox of Spazhouse and Uncle Ray BradburyRox of Spazhouse and friend

What’s not to like about October? Candy corn, Halloween, crisp cool air, leaves turned and dropped to the ground. The crunching noise of dried dead leaves. Wind whistling through the bare leaves. Darkness comes early.

At this time of year, my thoughts always turn to the landscape of change and to that imaginer of the strange, who wrote eloquent prose to ignite the imagination. I am talking about Ray Bradbury and his great body of literary work. Several occasions he spoke of meeting carnival folk in Illinois and one such person, a magician, befriended him. At some point this conjurer pointed a finger at him and announced, "You will live forever." It has been some time since his passing, but legend Ray Bradbury (Uncle Ray to us hardcore fans) is still very much alive to us.

I crack open my beat up paperback copy of October Country. (One day I will own Dark Carnival but that is another post.) Those of us who are blessed by being born in October really believe the book is for us and about us. We are the October's children. Stories I am recalling as I write this are bringing tears to my eyes. They are tears, though tears of happiness, because these stories--though creepy, strange and horrifying--bring me joy. The language of his prose had the power to place me into the mind of his main characters. Running through his landscape of autumn. October with its vibrancy of color and desolation; intensity then death. October and Ray Bradbury, and you can’t have one without the other. Both are magic.

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By |October 5th, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 5: Gorgo


And now, before we go to our movie for this evening, let's go to Sir Christopher Lee for a snippet of cinema history: the accessories of Dracula and why the Count was a mute in one of Lee's appearances. Nice.

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By |October 4th, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

Headsup: An Animated Pair of Sixes

Ventures Bros Season 6 Blu-Ray Adventure Time Season 6 Blu-Ray

Out today on Blu-ray (with DVD thrown in for good measure) is Season Six of The Venture Bros., where we see the newly-rich Dr. Venture and sons situated in their swanky new compound in New York City, a prime location for more (mis)adventures. This season started off with the special All This and Gargantua 2, which features pretty much every character we've ever seen on the show as circumstances clash them together against the backdrop of the epic space station Gargantua 2. If you haven't seen this season yet, do make sure to start with the special as it does affect the rest of the season (and the Ventureverse in general), with important plot points including (seemingly) killing off several characters. It is included among the special features on the DVD and Blu-ray sets along with very amusing creator commentaries for each episode plus some deleted scenes (you can see editors' logic behind cutting them, but they're still an entertaining bonus nonetheless.)

In addition, whether you love Adventure Time because of its critical acclaim (BAFTA, Emmy, Peabody awards and more), because it's something you can enjoy with your kids, or just because you like saying "The Land of Ooo," you were probably among the 2.5 million people watching last season and following the exploits of Finn, Jake, and all the rest.

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By |October 4th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 4: The Vampire and the Ballerina!

The Vampire and the Ballerina

First, it's time for another commercial. Man, we should figure out a way to get paid for these. Anyway, this is by far one of the scariest commercials we've ever had during 32 Days of Halloween...because it pairs horror-meister Stephen King...with Skynet.

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By |October 3rd, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 3: Karloff & a Twilight Zone Twofer

Jack Warden and Jean Marsh from Twilight Zone: The Lonely

Before we get to tonight's special television two-parter, we need to pause for a commercial break.

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By |October 2nd, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween IX, Day 2: Alice Cooper & Faust!

Faust (1926)

Welcome to Day 2. For today's selections, I was going to go with Alice Cooper's 1978 appearance on The Muppet Show. Specifically his performance (with his own band of Muppets, The Vile Bunch) of "Welcome to My Nightmare." However, Mr. Cooper has provided a commentary of sorts on his appearance, so we have to go with that. Be warned, he doesn't say a whole lot, but what he does say is pretty much gold.

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By |October 1st, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween Goes To Hell Starts Here!

Earth vs. The Spider 1958

If history has taught us anything, it's never fight a land war in Asia. If history has taught us a second thing, it's that you can't keep a good franchise down. Or a bad one. Either way, down is not something franchises can remain for long. So we're back. And here's where we draw our line in the crypt dust and declare Year Nine of 32 Days of Halloween to be open. I said if I could just get to October, everything would be fine, much like if Antaeus could get in contact with earth he was invulnerable. So I'm eating a candy bar I've just grabbed from a sibling's trick or treat bag, I'm drinking a big cup of coffee (having thrown that pumpkin spice crap out the window) and I'm watching Sweeney Todd. No, the good one with Angela Lansbury. Yeah.

As we are wont to do, we begin with a cartoon. This time it's Trick or Treat from 1952, in which Donald Duck needs to be taught a lesson about the holiday spirit by Witch Hazel and his three nephews.

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By |September 30th, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series on DVD

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Vault Series

Let's take a moment to consider this: there are people today who say "Somebody else used to host The Tonight Show?"  When people my age asked that, we were learning about Jack Paar.  When people today ask that, they're talking about Johnny Carson.  He truly was the King of Late Night, and the standard by which people judged everybody else who hosted a talk show.  And yes, while the bits they have on talk shows today are cool and make for great YouTube fodder, Carson was funny just by his own self.  Granted, you could always count on an animal handler to make things interesting, but that's been the way of things since the beginning of television.

All of this to say that you, no matter your age, need to check out Time Life's release of The Vault Series.  It's from the "Carson Vault," which if memory serves, is stored in a mine for safekeeping.  You get twelve complete shows across six DVDs which--and I love this—contain commercials as well.  We're looking here at the medium-sized release of this--the six-disc'er--since it also comes in three-disc (appetizer) and twelve-disc (entrée) form.  With this edition you get vintage appearances from the likes of David Brenner, Steve Lawrence, Tony Randall and Carl Reiner.  I picked the names you'd have to ask your parents about on purpose, kids.

The set also comes with two hours of bonus bits, including bonus [...]

By |September 26th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

The Wonder Years: Season 6 on DVD

Wonder Years Season 6 on DVD

This is the season that wrapped up the iconic series that we all knew and loved--where we said goodbye to Kevin, Winnie, the Arnold family, and all the rest, leaving behind them six Emmy award-winning seasons and a lasting place in television history. This DVD set presents all 22 episodes and does so intact: Time Life did extensive work in clearing the music rights as well, so viewers can enjoy tunes from The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge and others the same way they would have watching back in 1992-1993.

Time Life is quite good at maximizing bonus features wherever possible, so we've got two hours-plus here. First we have "At Last: The Final Episode," in which members of the cast and crew reminisce about making the series finale (did you know that they were unaware it would be the last one as they were taping?). Next is an interview with Executive Producer Bob Brush, in which he covers everything from casting choices to challenges working with child actors to the artistic navigation of Kevin's love life. Also included is "From the Vault: Alley Mills and Bob Brush Letters," in which Alley Mills (Norma) shares a letter she wrote to Bush as the show ended (and what he wrote back).

It is worth noting this is not the only place you can snag these episodes. Does Netflix have them? Yes. If you're [...]

By |September 26th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments