Showing posts with label passing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label passing. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

James Horner Merges With The Infinite

I don't need to tell anyone who follows this site how important music is to a movie.  You guys know.  And I know I don't need to tell you how important James Horner was to movies of the last few decades.  The man's IMDB page reads like a list of movies we've all seen in the theater since we were kids.



Tragically, Horner seems to have died in a plane crash.  

Rather than talk about who James Horner was and what he worked on, I'm going to invite you to drop your favorite of his works in the comments.  If you want to add a why and wherefore, feel free to do so.

I will say the first score of his that I remember consciously really paying attention to and wondering "who did that?" was the score for the 1989 Civil War film, Glory.  Certainly the score wasn't the only thing Glory had going for it. but it set a new standard for the music in historical epics and I often feel like both documentaries and more recent movies have lifted from that score, or at least learned its lessons.



and, of course, I'm a fan of many more of his works.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blaze Starr Merges With The Infinite




Famed lady of Burlesque, Blaze Starr, has passed.

I have no idea how Blaze Starr first entered my consciousness, but no doubt it involved the internet.  She was of the era of Bettie Page, Tempest Storm, Lilli St. Cyr and Irving Klaw, but was more a part of the burlesque circuit than the "mail order photo" industry.  It's unlikely most of polite society in the 1950 and 60's either knew of her or would admit to knowing of her.  And that's with affairs with folks like Louisiana Governor Earl Long that led to a movie biopic containing her name (Blaze from 1989).

But the internet and public memory is a funny thing.  Despite having a path that would leave most folks an anonymous cypher, Blaze Starr has managed to permeate the edges of the American psyche for at least a half-century.  It takes all kinds (and we're all here - as my grandmother used to say).

Here's to a trailblazer of sorts, and an underground icon.

Thanks to Victoria for the link.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christopher Lee Merges With The Infinite


This is a tough one.

Actor Christopher Lee passed away this week at the age of 93.

Christopher Lee is one of the first actor's names I remember, which is weird, because I knew him from a book I read and reread as a kid about movie monsters, but I didn't see his Dracula movies until fairly recently.  And, seriously, he's phenomenal.  Hammer Horror has it's own style, and at the heart of the best of those movies, you could often find Christopher Lee as a Dracula or Mummy or Frankenstein.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Grace Lee Whitney, Star Trek's Yeoman Janice Rand, Merges with The Infinite


It seems that actress and singer, Grace Lee Whitney, has passed. Fans of the original Star Trek show will remember Whitney as Yeoman Rand, Captain Kirk's sometimes love interest, especially during early episodes of the series.

We're very sorry to hear of her passing.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Actor James Best Merges with The Infinite



Both our own Alfredo Garcia and the New York Times are reporting the passing of actor James Best, known best to Gen-X'ers as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on TV's The Dukes of Hazzard.

I did not really follow Best's career, but at some point - possibly even pre-Wopat/Schneider departure, I identified most with the good Sheriff the most of any character on the show.  All I, too, wanted was to park my car beneath a shady tree and take a snooze beside a lazy hound-dog while the cicadas chirped away.  And we were never gonna catch those durn Duke Boys anyway.

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Merges With The Infinite



We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most.... human.

This one hurts, y'all.

I only post about folks who've gone beyond the veil when it's personal, but this one...  Leonard Nimoy meant a lot to generations of us folks who grew up with Star Trek.  I was too young to get it when DeForest Kelley passed, and was saddened when James Doohan went, but now we've lost Nimoy.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lizabeth Scott Merges With The Infinite


According to the Film Noir Foundation and LA Times, noir siren Lizabeth Scott has passed at the age of 92.

If you've never seen The Strange Love of Martha Ivers or Too Late for Tears, I recommend both.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Anniversary of the Death of Buddy Holly




February 3rd marked the anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, who, in 1959, died in a plane crash in Iowa alongside Ritchie Valens, JP Richardson (aka: The Big Bopper) and the pilot of the small aircraft.  Holly was only 22 years old when he died, but he left behind an amazing catalog of music that remains relevant and powerful nearly 60 years after his death.   His legacy is evident in the many generations of rock musicians who followed in his footsteps who picked up on his mix of country and blues riffs, and no less than The Beatles were obviously influenced by Holly and The Crickets work.

I don't want to dismiss the contributions of either Valens or Richardson, but I've been a Buddy Holly man since I was 13 years old, and while I may put Buddy away for a while, every year I put him back on in heavy rotation.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream Merges With The Infinite

As noted in the title, we lost a musical pioneer this week.  Edgar Froese has merged with The Infinite.  (Thanks to Cavender for the link.)

My first exposure to Tangerine Dream was, oddly, as a reference in cult sci-fi book The Architect of Sleep that I read at summer camp when I was a kid.  The hero of the book was a Tangerine Dream fan who accidentally made his way to a parallel Earth where apes had not evolved to be the bipedal species.  Instead, raccoons were living in a sort of feudal, dark-ages-like society.  I dunno.  It's been almost 30 years.*

My take away was the hero was kind of a slacker-stoner who was into stuff even more mellow than Dark Side of the Moon's second half.  At some point in my youth, then, I was buying Tangerine Dream on vinyl and cassette and chilling out like a champ under my Captain America and Michael Jordan posters.

I also recall, not too long after reading the book - and I can't remember if it was before or after I owned any Tangerine Dream, this movie came on the local UHF station, and it was directed by Michael Mann and had a score by Tangerine Dream.  Thief?  you ask.  Ha.  NO.  The Keep, one of the most unjustly hidden gems of the 1980's.  (edit: this is now available on Amazon Instant!  holy cats!)



Anyway, after that I noticed Tangerine Dream did a lot of scores.  The aforementioned Thief, Sorcerer, Risky Business**, Near Dark.  Legend, anybody?

Yeah, Tangerine Dream can sound dated, but I put that up to how much they stamped a certain period of music, the massive influence they had and the army of imitators who flooded movie scores - never quite hitting the same level.

But we're not going to do this post and then not give you some examples.

So, here we go.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jeff the Cat Merges with The Infinite

If you think he's thinking "I didn't do it", you are right.

Jeffrey George Taylor The Cat, better known as "Jeff the Cat", passed today.

He will not be remembered fondly by many.  He had... personality.  But Jeff was my little buddy, and I am going to miss him very much.

We didn't get along the first few years he lived with us, and I was, frankly, ready to get rid of him at the drop of a hat.  Oddly, during that time, he saved my life.

I had an old oscillating fan, and one day I was working away on my computer in the era before laptops, and Jeff was circling my feet as cats do.  Suddenly, he bolted out of the room, and I thought that was a bit peculiar so I turned around and the fan was a pillar of oscillating flame.   I don't know if I would have died, exactly, but we would have certainly had a lot more property damage and many more problems if Jeff hadn't alerted me to the fire.

Still, we didn't really get along.  But at some point when we lived in Phoenix, Jeff started hanging out with me in the mornings while I was showering and getting ready.  And then started hanging out with me in the evenings after Jamie went to bed.  And soon I had a little yellow shadow wherever I went.

I will never know why he picked me over Jamie.  For years, she was far nicer to that cat than myself.  But for the past decade, he's been my constant sidekick.  And made it really hard to organize comics by walking all over them, chewing on comic bags, knocking over action figures and generally letting me know that if I was sitting on the floor, I was really supposed to be playing with him.

I am not sure I'll know when to wake up without him coming to get me.  Or how I'll know when it's time to go to bed without him giving me a pointed look around midnight each evening.  Or how to read a book or magazine without him rubbing his face against the edges and suggesting "hey, if you want to just stare at something, I'm your huckleberry".  Or how one watches TV or movies without a cat making himself at home on your chest or on your leg.  I assume I might now float away without the extra few pounds of cat to weigh me down.

We were with him when he went, and he went quietly and peacefully.  15 years is a good, long time, and for some time, as he's gotten older, my biggest concern was that he not live poorly if we could help it.  We owed him, and I didn't want for him to have a single bad day.

We'll miss you, little buddy.  You were loved very much.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Esther Williams merges with The Infinite


We bid farewell to swimmer/ performer/ actress Esther Williams who was the star of a lot of splashy musicals back in the day.


Williams was a youth swimming champ, and - at least according to IMDB - was discovered by one of those talent scouts who was always plucking counter girls and girls at Schwab's enjoying a malted and turning them into movie stars.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen Merges with the Infinite

I think I only checked out five books from the library at UT for pleasure reading while I was a student and, two of them were on Ray Harryhausen.  In college, I had dreams of becoming an animator- and then computers happened.  But until then, I really wanted to know how Harryhausen became the master he undoubtedly was when it came to creating fantastic imagery for the silver screen.

I was sad to hear of Harryhausen's passing when a tweet or two mentioned it and I saw the headline when I got back to my hotel room.


If you don't know Ray Harryhausen, he's easy enough to investigate.  He was one of the greatest FX artists in the world, spawning a world in which we eventually had movies with AT-ATs and Terminators, and his understanding of motion foretold what the CGI era would bring to the big pictures.  But he did it with tangible artistry in stop motion effects.

Harryhausen brought us Greek Titans, dinosaurs, Venusian aliens, angry skeleton armies and an endless stream of characters that mingled with live action players and fired the imagination.

I've only seen a handful of his movies (and I'm not even sure which Sinbad movies I have and haven't seen... I'd have to watch them again), but Clash of the Titans came out in 1981, and all we knew was that it was amazing.

If you've never tried to film animation by hand, it's a frame-by-frame feat of utter concentration and requires determination and love for what one is doing on a scale there whipper-snappers and their computers and whatnot from today probably get, but they do it at a monitor, not hunched over a table with lights, moving the neck of the monsters a tiny, tiny increment for every exposure - and every frame could be the last if something happens between clicks.

It's obsessive work, and craftsmanship that's fading from mainstream American film - especially as the

So long, Mr. Harryhausen.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richard LeParmentier Merges with The Force

I don't attend many signings, but a few years back I had opportunity to meet actor Richard LeParmentier when he was in town and Austin Books and Comics held a "Star Wars Day" in his honor.

It was a total circus.  Turns out, people like Star Wars and getting to meet Admiral Motti.

Mr. LeParmentier was very gracious, and signed a photo of himself that I keep on my desk at work.

your blogger, sorely in need of a haircut, and Mr. LeParmentier
You can kind of see the picture in my hand there.  It's a picture of LeParmentier in his classic role as Admiral Motti in Episode IV who questions Vader's devotion to the force and gets force-choked until Grand Moff Tarkin puts a stop to it.



He even drew a square on the Death Star with an arrow and note that says "my office".  It cracks me up every time I look at it.

I keep the picture on my desk facing whomever sits across from me, but in the years since, not once has anyone gotten the subtext.  It's a disappointment.

As Mr. LeParmentier was so nice to me and is one of the few folks I've had opportunity to meet, I am even more saddened to hear of his passing.  I'm even more sad to hear that, reading this article, that he lived in here in Austin or his children reside here, according to the ABC article.  I had no idea.

Godspeed, sir.  It was a pleasure and honor to shake your hand.


Pat Summerall Merges with The Infinite

Man.

Pat Summerall, the calm voice of commentary on CBS and Fox football, has passed.

Summerall retired a few years ago (several years ago now, I guess), and he only popped up very occasionally.  But for folks my age, he and John Madden were a sort of omnipresent twosome on in the Fall, and a fixture of Thanksgiving games.  Really, John Madden is clearly legally insane, and it was always the calm voice of Summerall that made the games make any sense or have any cohesion.

He, Costas and Al Michaels have been some of my favorite sports broadcasters over the years and I'll miss him.

Summerall and Madden

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jonathan Winters Merges with The Infinite


The great comedian and comedic actor, Jonathan Winters, has reportedly passed.  Winters hadn't been active much the past few years, so many of you kids may not know him.  But for those of us who grew up with Winters, he was sort of the crazy, beloved, nutsy next-door master of improv and characters you loved to see show up on TV.  If he hadn't mostly retired, he would fit in beautifully in today's movie scene shot on video and improvising around the script.

He'll be missed.

I'm going to YouTube to go dig up some of his stuff.  You should, too.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Annette Funicello Merges with The Infinite



It seems that original Mouseketeer, beach movie fixture and boomer icon, Annette Funicello, has passed.

 I knew Annette from her 80's-era TV appearances and also as the girl that, apparently, men of my Dad's generation all grew up having a crush on.  Annette Funicello was going through a sort of nostalgia-tour renaissance when I was a kid, in peanut butter commercials, guest appearances, etc.. at a time when we also happened to have the Disney Channel, which would rerun the old Mickey Mouse Club episodes (but not in order, because that would be nuts).  And I was just the kind of kid who was cool enough to think a good afternoon included Mr. Ed and Mickey Mouse Club re-runs.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Carmine Infantino Races into The Infinite

Reports are coming out that Carmine Infantino, original artist of the Silver Age Flash comics - and so, so many other comics - has passed.



If you can, pick up the Flash Chronicles books or the Showcase Presents: The Flash collections.  It's not just the stories that are great (and they are), but it's Infantino's visualizations of Barry Allen's powers brought to life, managing the panel-by-panel aspect of comics to keep the reader on pace with Barry when necessary and coming up with other techniques - like the "many Flashes in a single panel" technique that was even spoofed in an early episode of The Big Bang Theory.  

Roger Ebert Merges with The Infinite


Film critic, commentator and historian Roger Ebert has passed.

As co-worker Kristi said "he and Siskel had the last, old school intelligent criticism show on TV".  I agree.  Even after Siskel passed and Ebert had to take a side-line role on At the Movies after he'd grown ill, I liked the various folks who were on, but I really missed the original formula.  Smart, tweedy guys taking an art form seriously.  Back when studios were arguably trying to participate in film as an art form and less as a commercial product.

Ebert found the internet, and as recently as a few days ago he was online, blogging, talking about how he'd been ill again, but that he and his wife, Chaz, were planning new ventures and what was to come for his film festival in Chicago.  He was massively influential online, straying from movies and into politics and sociology.

I liked Ebert most of my life, but the past few years I came to respect the hell out of the man who wasn't just confined to giving movies a thumbs-up or down, who had a wide ranging field of interest, who had become somehow more verbose once stripped of his voice, and whose decades of reviews were available online for me to consider.

We lost Gene Siskel too soon when he passed more than a decade ago, and we lost Ebert just as he was really getting his engines humming for his career's second act.

His website is still up, and hopefully his team of critics is still out there doing their jobs.