Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Animaniacs, Vol. 1 and Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 1
My college friend Ben first turned me on to these witty 'toons, among producer Steven Spielberg's greatest achievements.

Masters of Horror: Homecoming

Thanks again to Ben for tipping me off to this episode from the scary Showtime series! Director Joe Dante serves up a daring, dizzying mix of zombie horror, political satire, and sheer silliness with this controversial Iraqi war revamping of Dale Bailey's story Death and Suffrage. If you're too chicken to watch it (or if you've seen it and you want to learn more about it), check out this Village Voice article by Dennis Lim. (To those who have seen Homecoming: I'm not the Production Designer, though I think I would've done something similar with those two gravestones.)

Naked City (Set 1, Set 2, Set 3)
From the listing for Media Funhouse Episode 659:
"I celebrate my birthday this year with a presentation of select clips and reviews of the recent DVD releases of Naked City episodes. The program is notable for its incredible location shooting in the five boroughs and for its sad, nearly grim, noir-style plotting. Based on the 1948 movie of the same name, the show’s only 'normal' moments focused on sensitive, Freudian police detective Paul Burke, his gruff boss Horace McMahon, and always chipper sidekick Harry Bellaver; each episode generally spun into high gear when covering the life of a criminal or disaffected city dweller. In this episode, I discuss the show’s 'cold openings' where we join the crooks/misfits in media res and try to figure out exactly where the show will go from there. Also discussed are the fledgling stars who appeared on the program, most of whom were struggling NYC theater actors or film stars who had moved down the work-scale, and the noir directors and scripters who moved on to this series after the noir cycle had wound down in the mid/late ’50s. Last up is a discussion of favorite Funhouse actresses as they appeared on the show as mere lasses: Sandy Dennis, Barbara Harris, and the ever-radiant Tuesday Weld. All three starred in particularly grim episodes that can truly be labeled 'TV noir.'"
Other talent involved in the series: Alan Alda, Diahann Carroll, Lee J. Cobb, William Daniels, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper, Walter Matthau, Burgess Meredith, Gene Roddenberry, Claude Rains, Maureen Stapleton, Rip Torn, and Eli Wallach. I understand that Torn claims that one episode inspired the movie Bonnie and Clyde. (But what about Gun Crazy?) And some of the camerawork was wild!

The Pee-wee Herman Show: Live at The Roxy Theater
Reviewed here.

The Prisoner: Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition)
Capsule review here.

Sybil: 30th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition
The classic TV movie of the Seventies.

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