Saturday, June 1, 2013

Amazing color footage of Superman Day at 1939 World's Fair!

This is really remarkable. All those kids in Superman shirts! It's hard to imagine, this was just about 1 year after Superman debuted in the comics and already the character was a hit with the masses.

You can see DC publisher Harry Donenfeld riding an elephant, Jack Liebowitz and MC Gaines, and Jerry Siegel. I half think the woman at the end might be Siegel's first wife, but I'm not sure.



I've read about so many of these people over the years, it's wild to see them in living color.

This is all before DC really settled on the looks of Superman "S" shiefd, as evidenced by the costume and the kids' shirts.

I'm always amazed to see footage like this, candid shots of folks on the street, to see what people actually looked like and how they dressed, rather than relying on the soft filter of the Hollywood lens.

Matty Turns 40

League Pal Matt - who you rarely see mentioned here, basically because he thinks genre stuff is dumb and will not play ball - has turned 40.

Here's Matt with Nicole last year on his birthday.  We may have had a few cocktails at the time this pic was snapped.

Ladypal Nicole with Matty, the birthday boy
Matt and Nicole are in Berkeley with the California squad.  We trust they will ensure Matt has a festive b-day.

Here he is by a rock somewhere near the ocean.  I don't know what the hell he's doing there.  Maybe trying to pick a spot for the cover of his album of sea shanties.

you can tell he's really enjoying himself

Happy 40th, man.  You don't look a day over 52.




Friday, May 31, 2013

Supermarathon! Superman Returns

I've already written plenty on this movie over the past 7 years.  I mean, a lot.  Leading up to the movie, I did a whole "Summer of Superman" theme, and it was sort of a thing.  I even got re-blogged by Pop Candy at USA Today thanks to our own JimD.

I won't deluge you with all the links where the movie got a mention, but here are a few.  I'm not proud of some of this.

The first blush comments

When the press (that had oddly really been pulling for this movie to fail) started reporting with glee that there would be no sequel and I got a little pissy

Watching the movie again about 5 months later

And then in November when I watched the movie during my "let's review everything in 2012" deal

I don't think my opinions or feelings have changed much since that viewing in November 2012.  Superman Returns is a strange movie.  Beautifully shot, amazing art and set design, and it really swung for the fences when it came to subtext and layering.  But given public opinion and some wonky bits, it's a mixed bag.




Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why not? Let's talk about some music stuff

To the outrage of my techno-purist pals, I am sure, I'm quite a fan of the new Daft Punk album.  We recommend.  And it's the first time in a few albums where I like the whole album as a listen from beginning to end.

It's gonna be my summer jam.

The video below is clearly not an official video, but I kinda miss Soul Train.



I should probably email Marshall or JimD to get some intelligence on the band "Pickwick", because I've really dug this one song they keep playing on KUTX, "Lady Luck"



I think this is my summer of vaguely retro-y sounding songs or something.

Further evidence can be seen in that I've also embraced "Elephant" by Tame Impala.



Feel free to draw your own comparisons there.

And, I think on Steven's suggestion, I'm kind of checking out early-Siouxsie sound-alikes, Savages.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gone to Big D For a Few Days

Tonight I went and saw Enter the Dragon at the Alamo Ritz with Juan, CousinSue, Amy and Jason.  if you're never seen this Bruce Lee vehicle...  I am not sure I can help you other than to recommend you check it out as soon as possible.

I'm not the world's biggest Bruce Lee fan, and maybe that's a mistake.  I dig what that guy is up to, and he is absolutely fascinating to watch.  I still don't think American film has seen his like since, and even in imports, I'm not sure the guys I used to watch in college quite captured the athleticism and intensity of Lee.  Well, maybe Jet Li.

Tomorrow I am headed off for Dallas for a few days for work.

this trip will be tragically short on Victoria Principal

Happy Birthday, Christopher Lee

Yesterday, May 27th was the birthday of actor and presence Christopher Lee.

the actual most interesting man alive

At the end of the day, Christopher Lee should be known for his voice.  Booming like you imagine a Roman Senator ought to, commanding like sort of guy who bosses around dark forces of the netherworld, eloquent like the trained actor and brilliant fellow I like to believe Lee is.

I first read Lee's name in monster movie books when I was a lad.  He was a main player for Hammer Films back in the day when Hammer was in full throttle putting out new movies of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, cultists, all kinds of good stuff (I prefer his Dracula in Curse of Dracula to his "Creature" in the Frankenstein films, but it's all good) and his picture and name came up over and over.

As a cult favorite actor, Lee has also appeared in everything from The Man with the Golden Gun to Captain America '77, a TV movie.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between "fans" and folks who appreciate or follow film from the art appreciation angle, and there's always room for both.  And while you see indie darling directors and some actors, "fans" get excited by the gravitas of particular (and often peculiar) talents.  And when they come into their own as professionals, the fans cast the actors they love.

And so, at 91, Lee has two more Hobbit movies coming as Saruman, he's forever immortalized as Count Dooku - maybe one of the best parts of the Star Wars prequels, and he keeps popping up in various Tim Burton projects in cameos and small parts. And, he blew the doors off in Scorsese's Hugo.

And, he just released his second heavy metal album, this time partnering with Judas Priest.

He also does the occasional audiobook, and I highly recommend giving one a whirl.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Supermarathon! 50th Anniversary TV Special

A bonus feature in some of the various Superman DVD and BluRay box sets, the Superman 50th Anniversary Special is kind of must-see Superman TV from an era when adults were all kind of patronizing jerks about Superman.  Except for Hal Holbrook.

I recall Superman's 50th Anniversary mostly thanks to the terrific Time Magazine cover on a week during which nothing else must have been happening in the world.


What's most amazing about the special is the amazing array of talent that was known at the time, and the talent that shows up in supporting roles.

The show is presented as a sort of retrospective on the career of Superman as if he were real and Dana Carvey is your celebrity host for the walkthrough of Superman's life.  There are man-on-the-street interviews cut in, which seem as if they really asked people questions about Superman and used what they said.  It's pretty good stuff.  Others are clearly actors, and there are some sort of mini-skits thrown in for good measure, along with footage from cartoons, serials, The Adventures of Superman and the Superman movies.

Memorial Day, 2013



Supermarathon! Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Ah.  Yes.

So, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

I recall this movie coming out, hanging around local theater Showplace 6 for maybe a week or two and then disappearing.  I vaguely remember bad reviews, but as a kid who was used to every movie he loved receiving bad reviews, this wasn't anything to sweat.

One day in the Spring of 1995 I was doing laundry at my first apartment, and I remember watching the entire thing, with commercial breaks, on Austin's UHF affiliate as I ran down to the laundry room during commercial breaks to swap out loads.

Superman unilaterally threatens every nation on Earth

The thing about Superman IV is that it actually has a pretty solid premise going in, a premise that it jettisons partway through and replaces with a blow-dried Rocky Horror stand-in with shiny fingernails.

I like that the film attempts to take Superman through the question of responsibility of a Superman when it comes to the nuclear question, and that he starts at "that's not really my decision" - changes his mind - and then, through the course of the narrative, sees that mankind needs to make a decision on its own.  You can see the high-minded ideals Reeve brought to the screenwriters as a co-creator of the story.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Supermarathon: Some 60's Cartoons and "Panic in the Sky"

Back in the 1960's, Filmation had just been formed, and they had a contract to develop some cartoons based upon DC Comics characters.

The New Adventures of Superman rolled out as one of these cartoons, short cartoons long enough to get packaged with other DC characters, so you got a full cartoon between each commercial.  The animation is of the "limited" animation variety.  Lots of Superman's mouth moving and nothing else.  A static Superman in flying position as the background scrolls by behind him.  Lots of stuff re-used.  All to contain cost to deliver just a whole ton of these things at a reasonable cost.

By modern TV cartoon standards, the animations doesn't look so hot, the voice acting is stiff and awkwardly paced (Filmation would go on to do He-Man in the 1980's, a show which - even then - I thought had some very strange voices), and the stories are nigh non-existent.  Still, it's pretty clear these cartoons were aimed at little kids, and as straightforward Superman adventures, they do the trick.  And, as its more likely kids will come to Superman via cartoons than comics, it's not a bad first exposure.  If the kids can make heads or tails of 1960's technology and fashion.*

And, I like the theme song. It's jazzy!

Here's the pilot cartoon in its entirety.



I also watched a few episodes of Season 2 of The Adventures of Superman (live action, black & white, Noel Neill as Lois), including the famous episode Panic in the Sky.