Wednesday, October 31, 2007

one mo' time

I couldn't resist.... one more cartoon. With "special presentation" logo and everything. See if this doesn't bring back memories. (And in case you missed it last night).

"Your regular program will not be seen tonight. Now it's time for a special program."

Part one:

Retro Commercial Break!

Now we return to our special presentation:

Retro Commercial Break!

Now, back to the show!

And the finale!

That's it for now kiddies. Get ready for all those ghosts and goblins who will coming round tonight! Be good to them...or else!
We'll be back with a special Halloween Themed DVD review special. Don't miss it!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I got a rock.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

cartoon time.......

Well, it's that time again. Cartoon time. Unfortunately this will probably also be the last of the cartoons we post for Halloween until next year. We've saved some of the good stuff for last as today we have ,for your viewing pleasure, Popeye and Donald Duck! Included is a great Toys r' Us commercial. (The Yoda costume is my favorite.) Sit back, relax and let Uncle Wolfy start the show!

Fright to the finish!

Retro commercial break!

Trick or Treat!

That's all for today folks. Remember to sign up for The Reef give away.

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.

Please feel free to comment if the need strikes you.

“Now if anything frightens you. Anything at all. You just holler.”

Friday, October 26, 2007

very chilling, very thrilling

It's time again for The Shelf's weekly Double Feature Chiller Thriller! This week's guest star is that Master of Macabre himself, Vincent Price. Vincent Price in real life was very urbane, generous and very nice man. He had a varied career in films, doing comedy, film noir, etc until he started doing suspenseful horror films. Audiences delighted in his work and directors found he had a unique quality that could bring humor, dread and a literacy to films. He is best known for a lot of Edgar Allan Poe films and of course, The Fly. Today we feature some of his lesser known radio work. First up: Lux Radio Theater adaptations of some of his best film noir and then Vincent Price starring in several episodes of Suspense! Again it's a double, double feature!

Turn the lights low, grab the popcorn and your significant other, but with different hands. No one likes to hold buttery hands.

Lux Theater:
1. VP in Dragonwyck
2. Price stars in the classic Laura

1. Episode: The Strange Death Of Charles Umberstein
2. Episode: The Pit and the Pendulum

As always, click on the link and then click the download button.
That's all for this week's chilling, thrilling, Halloween double features! Don't be too scared.... Stay tuned for more Halloween Madness 2007.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I sometimes feel that I'm impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

hey burt!

Dizzying. Well, what other word would you use to describe so much cool stuff coming out this week? Some of it will just have to end up on a Christmas wish list. If you are a classic film fan, then October has been a boom month after a somewhat lackluster September. Rooney and Garland, Kubrick, Jolson, Lancaster and Stanwyck are all getting the red carpet treatment this month, and there is enough action and adventure and spooky stuff to boot. But this week is probably more full than most. So make the most of it. Besides you need something fun to watch while making all those Halloween cookies and treats, right? Save the Great Pumpkin for next week.

Top Shelf Pick of the Week!
Burt Lancaster: Signature Collection
I have to admit that I never set out to be a Burt Lancaster fan. Oh, there was no denying that he was talented, but to me there was something always…off-putting about him. I could never place my finger on it. People would tell me they loved The Swimmer. Me – not so much. Birdman of Alcatraz is considered a classic. I thought it was OK. From Here to Eternity is a classic, but I always liked Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra better.
It took his last film for me to begin to see something else. Field of Dreams is a great film, an iconic film to some people. People loved it for various reasons. I loved it because of Burt Lancaster. His role as “Moonlight” Graham, the baseball great turned Doctor was the standout to me. His simple choice of saving a little girls life over a return of his youth was so simple and understated, and great. I saw a different side of the actor. I went back to other films I hadn’t seen: Tough Guys, The Killers, The Rainmaker, Gunfight at OK Corral; all of them great flicks. It just goes to show that the more you explore movies, the more you see in actors, stories or directors that you didn’t previously liked. I still don’t care for some of Lancaster’s movies, but I like him as an actor and love to discover his films. That’s the great thing about this week’s top Shelf pick: The Burt Lancaster Signature Collection, as I haven’t seen any of the films collected. I’m excited to get a set where I can discover all of the classic films. The titles included are: Executive Action, The Flame and the Arrow, Jim Thorpe - All American, His Majesty O'Keefe and South Sea Woman. I hope to have a full review up for you later on.

Meet the Robinsons
I haven’t seen this film either. My kids saw it and thought it was very funny. I’m looking forward to seeing this one. The commercials looked cute, and there seemed to be some “Disney” inside jokes as well. This week 2719 Hyperion posted an article about Entertainment and the marriage of Disney/Pixar and how some of us have forgotten the value of entertainment. Worth a read.

Stanley Kubrick: Directors Series
Most of these Kubrick films have seen DVD releases. What this Director’s series aims to do is to pull some of them together and re-release them in special edition form, with all the accompanying bells and whistles, and add a bonus disc of special features. The films included in this set are: 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. The Bonus disc is a biographical documentary entitled: Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures. Also available as special editions, but not as a part of this set, are: Barry Lyndon and Lolita. The titles in the set will be available separately as well, including the bonus disc. So if you are happy with your present editions- you can pick up the ones you want.

Battleship Potemkin
This is a rarely seen film in today’s culture, and that’s too bad. It was very influential on many film makers and you’ve seen several of it’s sequences redone in later films, including the Railroad station stairway sequence in The Untouchables. Until now, Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent masterpiece has only been seen in redacted form or poorly transferred public domain editions. Kino International, in cooperation with film archives and associations all across Europe, have search far and wide for complete prints, or missing footage. The result is this two disc restored edition that, I’m told, looks fantastic. The Russian film follows the despairing crew of armored cruiser Potemkin and their decision to not only mutiny against the Captain, but against the Czar. This takes place during the Russian-Japanese War in 1905, presaging a more successful revolution years later. The Czar’s White Russian Calvary comes to crush their rebellion and tragedy ensues on the Odessa Steps, becoming one of the most famous sequences in film history. It may be famous, but you may not know why or from what film. Now, thanks to Kino, you can see it in it’s restored, full version.

A Christmas Carol: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (1951 Alistair Sim version)
Talk about another restored treasure: This 1951 Alistair Sim classic is considered by many to be the best film version of the Charles Dickens holiday classic. Doubtless many of you have seen it many times, and may even own it on DVD. Trust me when I say that you will want to pick this up. This is without a doubt the best DVD edition of the film you will see. The two disc set includes a colorized version and a black white version. The film has been digitally restored, cleaned up and has much improved audio track. It’s also crammed with features, including: An audio Commentary by Marcus Hearn & George Cole, Spirit of Christmas Past - George Cole remembers Alastair Sim, Richard Gordon Remembers George Minter & Renown Pictures, Charles Dickens - His Life & Times, Bonus Colorized Version, Original American Theatrical Trailer, Original British Theatrical Trailer, Before & After Restoration Comparison, Optional English & Spanish Subtitles, Optional Narrative for the Blind, Photo & Press Book Gallery, Cast Bios, Scrooge (1935 Seymour Hicks Version)

Young Indiana Jones
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Vol.1
We told you about this great set not too long ago, and not only is it here, but Vol.2 will follow by the end of the year. This show features the adventures of Indy as both a nine year old and a teenager, spanning over 12 discs and brimming with special features. Each disc has a feature length episode, historical documentaries and more. This is one to please any Indy fan.

NCIS Season 4
NCIS is one of my favorite shows, and even though I hated to see the character of Kate killed off, it seems the show just keeps picking up steam. I enjoy the season long twists and turns that payoff in the final episodes. This past season had a great cliff-hanger that had equally great start for the current season. Don't miss it.

The Shelf's TCM Picks for the week:
Be sure not to miss these great flicks. You could just sit and watch the channel all day if you ask me, but I know that's not possible. That's why give you some of our weekly picks. That doesn't mean there aren't more that you could watch- just some great choices to pick from.

Oct. 25th:
The Long Voyage Home (1940), Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), Come Blow Your Horn (1963) and To Sir, With Love (1967).

Oct. 26th:
The Mad Miss Manton (1938) [Cool flick! Needs to be on DVD!], White Zombie (1932), The Pit And The Pendulum (1961) and Ring of Fear (1954).

Oct. 27th: Gangsters Galore!
Little Caesar (1930), The Public Enemy (1931), and The Public Enemy (1931).

Oct. 28th:
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), and Lilies of the Field (1963).

Oct. 29th:
49th Parallel (1941), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and St. Louis Blues (1958).

Oct. 30th:
Night And Day (1946), Rhapsody In Blue (1945), The Gene Krupa Story (1959) and The Glenn Miller Story (1954).

Oct. 31st:

House Of Usher (1960), The Haunting (1963), Bedlam (1946) The Invisible Ray (1936), The Body Snatcher (1945) and The Old Dark House (1932).

Well, that's all for this week's edition of the roundup. Be sure to stick around for some new DVD reviews, more Halloween OTR, Candy Reviews and Cartoons!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

it's halloween cartoon time again

Grab the popcorn, or candy corn if you will, and sit tight. It's time for another Shelf special presentation of Halloween cartoons! This week some frightfully funny Looney Tunes. Enjoy!

Bewitched Bunny!

Retro Commercial Break!

Night of the Living Duck! (Featuring Mel Torme)

That's all for tonight. Stay tuned for the Roundup and a special series of DVD reviews. Also, don't forget to sign up for our special contest: The Reef Giveaway.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Monsters lead such interesting lives.

Monday, October 22, 2007

the weekly Shelf halloween candy review..

We've been a little off of our game this year with the Halloween candy reviews, but we're going to make it up to you starting with this one. This week we bring you a double feature: 'Frite Bites' and the 'Horror Bag'. When I spotted these in our local chain pharmacy my thoughts went immediately to Wolf Jr. Both of these items are gummy candies and he loves gummies. I also thought about how glad I was to see an actual Halloween candy. Year after year, large candy companies do the most unoriginal thing and repackage the same old stuff in Halloween wrappers.
I can't understand why a big company like Hershey won't get a new idea just for the holiday season. I mean, they make gads of money and they can't put a little of it into creativity and holiday spirit? Business experts will say that going out of your way to make a product just for a month's worth of sales that requires specific ingredients and equipment just for that product is not a sound move. That's where we see that they are not experts. Personally as a consumer, I love to see this type of creativity from manufacturers. When a company puts out something creative and fun for the holidays, I remember that while I'm shopping the rest of the year. The most I see from Hershey during Halloween is the Reese's Pumpkin. I did see they stepped it up a notch this year with the "King Size" Reese's Pumpkin which will kill a diabetic at 50 yards when the aroma gets out.

On to today's candy. I'll start small with the 'Horror Bag'. This gummy candy comes to us from Morris National Inc. and is a decent offering for a low price of $0.99. It's a simple collection of gummy candy in Halloween style shapes. The package I got included a skeleton in 7 pieces, one set of eyes, two sets of fangs and a pair of pumpkins. Wolf Sr. has cut back on the sweets due to a family history of diabetes and his realization that he doesn't have the metabolism he did some years ago. I'm told by my colleague that it all just tasted like "gummy". As profound as this statement was, I asked for a little elaboration. It was explained to me that the pumpkins tasted "like orange", the fangs tasted like "strawberry mixed with gummy", the eyes were "marshmallow mixed with gummy" and the skeleton was just "gummy". All in all it appeared to be quite good since it disappeared completely while I was changing my camera's battery.

Next up is 'Frite Bites'. This is a creative product from Bee international Candy. The bag catches your eye as it is shaped like a coffin and though it is a bag, it stands upright. 'Frite Bites' are individually wrapped gummy candies in various shapes fashioned into finger puppets and rings. This was a particularly enjoyable experiment for Wolf Jr. as you can see in the pictures. The finger puppet shapes are (from left to right in the picture): Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and a witch. The rings beneath are quite obvious. What's so great about these is they are not skimpy candies floated out to dupe the public. The faces and clothing are actually made from a firm candy substance and adds to the base flavor. I am informed that the flavors are "orange" for the pumpkin, "berry" for the bat, "blueberry" for Frankenstein, "cherry" for Dracula, "berry" for the witch and "I don't know, but it's good" for the Mummy. This is the straight dope folks. Quoted verbatim. Now, don't complain if your flavor experience is quite different 'cause our taste-tester is only 5. That's the market this candy is aimed at, though. It's directed to the ones whom Halloween is for: the children.

The verdict:

As far as price is concerned, the 'Horror Bag' is a definite bargain. The 'Frite Bites' are not so much as they weigh in at $5.99. It's not that bad ,though, considering they're worth at last a few bucks and I don't mind 'tipping' them a buck or two for providing a true Halloween product. As far as taste goes, I don't think there is a problem. The now sugar-laced Wolf Jr. will attest to that.

I applaud both of these companies for their efforts in trying to do what they can to aid the Halloween experience for children everywhere by providing products that are truly made for Halloween. There's not enough of that anymore. As a kid, I anxiously waited for the Halloween candy to arrive on store shelves. That's because there would be something there that you only get in the Halloween season and it helped to create an anticipation and aided in the atmosphere of the season. Believe it or not, for the children, candy really is an important part of the holiday experience and helps to give them memories that they will keep with them and share with their own children. At The Shelf, we strive every holiday season to keep that spirit alive and find the products and entertainment out there that we feel helps us to accomplish this task. We want to find special things out there that add to the mood and help to conjure up feelings of holidays past. If you will , Shelfers , help us to wage this good fight by supporting the products that you feel aid the holiday spirit and implore others to do the same. If there is something you have found and would like for us to spread the word, just send the information to us at and we will bring it to the Shelf. Enjoy the season and let's help create memories for those that the retail community forgot.

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.

Please feel free to comment if the need strikes you.


Friday, October 19, 2007

chiller thriller featuring peter lorre

Tonight's Double Feature Chiller Thriller is another 4 pack of frights and laughs! This week's Halloween guest star is Peter Lorre. Mr. Lorre appeared in many OTR shows as a guest and even starred in the anthology show, Mystery In the Air. That voice was unmistakable, and if you've never seen M- his big break through role in Germany which brought him to the attention of Hollywood, you should check it out.

So grab your honey, or your pillow, and turn out the lights!

1. First- Peter Lorre in an episode of his show, Mystery In the Air titled, The Lodger.
2. Then- Another Mystery In the Air: Crime and Punishment.

1. First up, Peter Lorre as a guest star on a 1944 episode of The Abbott & Costello Show.
2. Next, ol' P.L. makes an appearance on The Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Show.

As always, click on the link and then click the download button.
That's all for this week's chilling, thrilling, Halloween double features! Don't be too scared.... Stay tuned for more Halloween Madness 2007.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

All that anyone needs to imitate me is two soft-boiled eggs and a bedroom voice.

contest under the sea

It's contest time again folks and this is a pretty big one! Enter today to win a copy of the recent Wonderworld Studios DVD release, The Reef. My kids loved it and yours will enjoy this charming undersea adventure.

This time we are giving away 5 copies of The Reef (one per household) and the contest will run through Halloween! So enter today!

As before, the rules are pretty simple-
Email us your entry at
1.You MUST include: Your name and full address in the body of the email, and "The Reef" must be in the subject line.
2. The contest is only open to US residents
3. Only one entry per email address (and household, please!)
4. Contest ends on Wednesday October 31st, 2007 at 11:59pm. We will draw the winner and notify them by email sometime on November 1st.
Please note that your information will be held confidential and will not be published and only used solely for identifying the winner and shipping the prize. Also, we will mail the prize to you, but cannot guarantee that the post office will treat it with the same respect as we will when we send it out. We will only guarantee that we will mail it to the address you provide to us.
So get those emails in and good luck!

Let the contest begin!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I thought we were gonna get television. The truth is... television is gonna get us.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

meerkat contest is over

Congrats to Matt- he has won the Meerkat Manor contest. The Season One set is on it's way. Thanks to the great folks at Animal Planet/ Discovery and Genuis Entertainment for sponsering the last two contests. We'll be having another great contest coming soon, so stay tuned!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Daylight's precious when your a youngen'.

true end of an era

As if this day wasn't sad enough, now news comes that comedian and actor Joey Bishop has passed away. He was 89. Joey had an extensive career beyond Vegas. He was in many movies and television shows, including a record number of appearances as guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. He also had his own television show, The Joey Bishop Show, from 1961-1965 where he played a talk show host. Then he actually had his own talk show later which helped to unleash Regis Philbin on the world!

Bishop was the last surviving member of the famous Rat Pack. Dean, Frank, Peter and Sammy have been gone for awhile now. Now Joey has joined them and somewhere in the great beyond there is music and laughter.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

My doctor is wonderful. Once, in 1955, when I couldn't afford an operation, he touched up the X-rays.

an actress to remember

Word comes today of Deborah Kerr's passing. She died Tuesday in Suffolk, England at the age of 86. She had suffered from Parkinson's disease for some time. Many will remember her roles in From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember and The King and I. The King and I is perhaps my favorites of her roles, but I also loved her very much in King Solomon's Mines with Stewart Granger.

By all accounts she was very professional and a classy lady, in addition to being a gifted actress. Something that I found interesting about her was that retire from films in 1968, saying she was disappointed in the many films being made that contained explicit sex or violence. You can read some very nice tributes at the Siren, Laura's Musings, and Libertas.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

When You're young, you just go banging about, but you're more sensitive as you grow older. You have higher standards of what's really good; you're fearful that you wont live up to what's expected of you.

hide the valuables. wolfy's back....

First of all I would like to say, "Hello, again." I feel like some sort of creepy uncle who only shows up for the holidays. I tend to have prolonged absences from The Shelf for various reasons and then just pop up from out of nowhere looking to put in my thoughts and ask to sleep on the couch. My excuse THIS time is a pretty good one though. My hard drive pulled a Steve McQueen and drove too fast and too hard for too long. One morning it decided to retire without warning. Since then, I have struggled to find a replacement and when I did, things didn't go according to plan. Let's just say that I am up and running in a temporary status. I've also been doing a lot more in my employment as I was recently asked to conduct a training class which consume a lot of my time recently. Hopefully I will find stitches for my computer to replace the current band aid so I won't disappear, like a creepy uncle, drunkenly into the night without warning and carrying much of the silverware. That being said, let's go to it.

This week we review the recent suspense film 1408 starring John Cusack. Is this the film to freak you out this Halloween, or will it only mildly raise your heart rate? Is it worth your hard earned dollars, or a rental? Check out The Shelf's review of 1408: Two disc Special Edition to find out.

The Hard Facts:
1408: Special Edition
Two Disc in a keepcase
Distibutor: Genius Entertainment
Original Studio: Dimension Films
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Rated: PG-13
Stars: John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson

The film is adapted from a Stephen King short story in the Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. Like many previous films based on King's short stories, things have been changed around a bit here or there and added to, to create a film. Film makers have had success with previous short stories like the memorable Stand By Me, but Stephen King is a one-of-a-kind author- and film makers have to be faithful to the elements and atmosphere to really translate King to film. Side note: King himself has commented how the numbers of the title add up to unlucky number 13.

The Film:I like Stephen King. I've liked his books and most of the big screen adaptations. My first foray into the world of Stephen King was through a short story collection called 'Different Seasons'. Three of those stories from that collection would later be made into the films 'Stand By Me' , 'Apt Pupil' and 'Shawshank Redemption'. I especially liked Mr. King's non-horror writing. One in particular was called 'The Eyes of the Dragon'. I read the standard King novels as well and I liked them too. I just feel he is awfully underrated as a story teller and is always shoved into the horror drawer. This film captures the best of both worlds.
The story follows writer Mike Enslin who makes a living writing tales of haunted locations across America. His problem is that he is a closet skeptic. He gets the opportunity to check out room 1408 in New York hotel and he regrets that choice for the rest of the movie as the room itself proceeds to take the skepticism right out of this character. The great thing about this film is that it's not typical horror. I would classify it more as a creepy thriller. The room doesn't just scare the character with the typical tactics. It reaches into the soul of it's victim and discovers his worst fears and life's anxieties. Room 1408 uses Mr. Enslin's past to frighten him and does a darn good job of it. Samuel Jackson plays a minor role which I felt was below his talents and did not allow him to give it any depth with the scenes he was given. It seemed like he was there to garner attention for the film and bring him a paycheck. It's always good to see him on the screen, though.
The film was definitely worth the watch and did a good job giving you creepy feelings as they used enough of Mr. King's influence to give it just the right amount of chill and story mixed together. It's one that I may watch just one more time before Halloween to get my chill factor up properly for the holiday.

Bonus Features:
Disc 1: Behind the scenes featurettes: John Cusack on 1408 and Inside room 1408, and the Theatrical trailer. Disc 2: Feature commentary by director Mikael Håfström and writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, featurette: The secrets of 1408, deleted scenes and optional commentary. Also includes collectible Dolphin Hotel postcards.

Audio/Video: Obviously there are no problems with the audio/video of the DVD with it being a new release. Saying that, I will mention that the camera work was very good considering the film takes place largely in one set. The camera allows you to explore the room an doesn't make you feel claustrophobic.

The Bottom Line: It was O.K. I hate to sound so bland, but the actual disc and features left me wanting. In the recent releases of classic films it's understandable to not have any 'making of' featurettes or interviews with your favorite star, but they still try. The special features in this package made me feel as if they just threw in some filler to make it stretch for two discs. The small featurettes that are present repeat themselves and offer very little in the way of interesting facts. The best one shows how they did the special effects in the room itself. I think someone should have taken the time to give the DVD collector more to buy for.

Review Rating:
The film itself garners a B grade, but the overall grade for the DVD package would have to be a C. They could've done a lot more with it than they did.

Overall rating: 3 stars (Groucho Glasses)

In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.

Please feel free to comment if the need strikes you.

“They say you can't die in your dreams... is that true?”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

monumental roundup

Monumental as in huge or big? Well, yes, but not size-wise. We're talking monumental importance. There are only a couple of worthy releases today (unless you are checking out Transformers, which I haven't yet, but will), but that's alright. You're saving up for that Halloween costume, right? That's what I thought. Just don't forget to pick up a very important DVD release as well...

Top Shelf Pick of the Week!
The Jazz Singer
That's right. If you are interested in movie history, or the evolution of film technique- heck even American Culture in the 20th century, then this week's release is a no brainer. Warner's releases the three disc Deluxe Edition of the monumental 1927 film, The Jazz Singer. Starring Al Jolson in the title role, the film's story isn't revolutionary. It's a fairly typical tale of the age when European immigrants crowded New York. It's a story of a first generation American child of immigrant parents who yearns to discover what America holds for him, contrary to the wishes of his parents clinging to the old ways. The story appealed to many Americans and Al Jolson was a known quantity, starring in a adaptation of a popular Broadway play. What was new was the sound. And not so much the sound, as the new process where sound was synced with the film and coming from the film instead of an in-house organ. It was a revolutionary process called Vitaphone, and Warner's was banking on the system to bring them out of financial problems. In essentially what amounted to an ad-lib on Jolson's part, audiences were thrilled to hear Jolson talking to them. It was a landmark sea change for films, and Hollywood never looked back.
This week's three disc release is a treasure trove of film history and extras. In addition to the feature itself, there are a ton of Vitaphone Varieties (3 1/2 hours worth), several documentaries, commentaries, stills, reproduced programs, photocards and much more. It's one of the most important releases of the year and we'll have a full review of the DVD here at the Shelf later, so stay tuned.

MGM Holiday Classics:
Another set that comes out today is the MGM Holiday Classics collection. The 3 disc set includes the traditional holiday films, The Bishop's Wife, March of the Wooden Soldiers, and Pocket Full of Miracles. These have seen previous releases, but mostly with some disappointing prints. We love The Bishop's Wife in particular, and hope that they've received a print and audio restoration or upgrade. No extras to speak of - so we're not holding our breath. Still it's a great set of films to add to your holiday collection to start watching around Christmas.

Thomas Fleming: The Perils of Peace: America's Uncertain Fate After Yorktown
It was a war that seemed to be without win. Although America had secured a victory, the enemy did not acknowledge defeat. Sporadic fight continued to break out, and our relationship with our allies was becoming strained. Sound familiar? It's the situation in America in the two years between the defeat of the British a Yorktown and the signing of the peace treaty. War and peace are never easy. And for those armchair pundits and historical revisionists, it would do you some good to read just how difficult peace, freedom and a new government can be. And the effect that determined leaders, like George Washington, can have in seeing the ultimate goal through, no matter the odds.

That's all for today, kids. Hey- I never said it would be a long roundup- just monumental one!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothin' yet!

Monday, October 15, 2007

another shelf special halloween presentation

I picked one of my favorites for this week's Halloween special presentation: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Not the whole thing of course, but my two favorite sequences: Bing Crosby, as Brom Bones, singing the Headless Horseman song and The Bridge scene. Enjoy!

Brom Bones:

Retro Commercial Break!:

Bridge scene:

Thanks to Sallie for loading up the video at YouTube!
Stay tuned for the roundup,coming later, and more DVD reviews and even more Halloween Madness!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Odd's Bodkins. Gad zooks. Take a look at that spook of spooks!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

double double chiller thrillers

For tonight's Thriller Double Feature we actually have four shows. Perhaps then it's a double double feature! And who better to feature than that master actor and classic voice of suspense and the Grinch himself: Boris Karloff! As always, click on the link and download the files.

Or first double feature is full of fright and screams
1. An episode of the classic show, Lights Out: Cat Wife
2. Here's a spooky episode of Suspense with Boris Karloff: Drury's Bones

Now for our next double feature that's full of screams of laughter:
1. Here's the Screen Guild Theater adaptation of Arsenic and Old Lace
2. A classic episode of Jack Benny featuring Boris Karloff: I Was Condemned

That's all for this week's chilling, thrilling, Halloween double features! Hope you've enjoyed them. Stay tuned for more Halloween Madness 2007.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops.

horrifying roundup

Ghosts and goblins abound this time of year, as we all know. And so do horror films on DVD. I have never been one for modern horror movies with the gore, the nastiness and all of it’s conventions. It all seems tasteless, nasty – and almost like cheating. Creating an atmosphere, developing mystery and building suspense almost seem lost. But the horror and suspense classics of yesteryear had those in spades for the most part. Sure, there weren’t many chainsaws and killer clowns or dolls, but they could be frightening nonetheless. Perhaps more for the horror of mankind’s unexplored psyche and whispered cruelties, than the gory stuff. There is classic suspense and horror on Old Time Radio shows that creates more frightening images in your mind than anything else. Either way, the classics still mean something today. This Halloween, as with Halloweens past, countless people will be watching the Universal monster movies, or the Vincent Price Edgar Allan Poe movies or maybe even some of the Sci-Fi riddled funky monster movies of the 50s and 60s. Many will be dressing like them or dressing their kids up like them. Whatever the case maybe, we shouldn’t loose that sense of scary fun. This week there are several classic horror and suspense films hitting the shelves that should make you jump. Take a chance and check them out.

Top Shelf Pick of the Week!
Fox Horror Classics Collection (The Lodger / Hangover Square / The Undying Monster)
Fox is finally bringing these films for the first time to DVD. While billed as Horror Classics, these films have more suspense and an edge of psychological drama to them. All three of the films were directed by John Brahm and have an underlining sense of tragedy to them. The Lodger stars Laird Cregar as a border in the house of a financially strapped family, and who may or may not be Jack the Ripper. Hangover Square also stars Cregar as a classical pianist suffering from occasional blackouts that he can’t explain and is in love with a young singer (Linda Darnell), which relationship may be doomed. The Undying Monster is more in the “monster’ frame of horror movies. It stars James Ellison and is the story of a family long afflicted with an centuries old curse that one of their member will be a werewolf. When members of the family begin to be murdered, an inspector arrives to get to the bottom of the mystery.
I’ve looked forward to this set for quite a while, as I’ve always liked Laird Cregar. He died way too young and tragically. He was a gifted actor, with a flair for the comedic and a booming theatrical voice and presence. He was a favorite in such movies as Charly’s Aunt, This Gun For Hire, The Black Swan, Heaven Can Wait and I Wake Up Screaming. He was tired of playing the heavy in films and longed to be a romantic leading man, which lead to an obsession with trimming down his frame for the film Hangover Square. It would be his last. His crash diet and taking of drugs to reduce caused a strain on his body which ultimately caused his death at the age of 28.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ultimate Edition)
Some of you may already own a DVD of this film, now Image Entertainment brings us an Ultimate Edition of the 1923 silent classic starring Lon Chaney. Included in the set are reproductions of the souvenir program; Gallery of original 3-D stills (3-D viewing glasses are included with this DVD); extensive gallery of 2-D stills, including production shots, scenes and advertising materials; excerpt from Alas and Alack, a 1913 Universal film in which Lon Chaney plays two roles - one of them a hunchback; and behind-the-scenes footage of Lon Chaney out of makeup on the Hunchback set. Pretty sweet edition for any silent film or classic Halloween film fan.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Three
If you've been collecting the season sets of this classic television series, you should be happy to know that Universal is continuing to put out the season sets. Several stars make appearances in this season of the popular anthology series: a young William Shatner, Keenan Wynn, Paul Henreid, Peter Lorre and Barbara Bel Geddes. Also this season includes an episode directed by Hitch himself: The Perfect Crime, which is the one and only collaboration between Hitch and horror-film icon Vincent Price.

Twilight Zone - The Movie/ Poltergeist: 25th Anniversary Edition

1980s horror and suspense usually meant Freddy or Jason. Not for me: Twilight Zone and Poltergeist stepped up the fright and freak out quotient for me. This is the first DVD release for The Twilight Zone movie and the 25th Anniversary Edition of Poltergeist. So you would think it would be accompanied by all the appropriate bells and whistles. Not really Twilight Zone is pretty bare and Poltergeist really only has a couple of docs. But ripe for Halloween nonetheless.

Surf's Up and The Reef
Man, the talking animals and the Penguins virtually invaded theaters last year and this year. My kids liked Surf's Up and they recently watched The Reef and liked it as well. I can't speak to Surf's Up, but I wasn't too impressed with The Reef. While they tried to make it kid friendly and accessible to adults, the premise and writing just wasn't anything new. I didn't care for it, but you may find the kids will get a kick out of it.

TV on DVD:
Michael Palin - Pole to Pole
I was always intrigued by how some of the Monty Pythons made out in their post-MP careers. One who impressed me quite a bit was Michael Palin. His treks across the world were always entertaining and the books that followed the series were just as fascinating. The series Pole to Pole follows Michael as he travels from the North Pole to the South Pole. Adventure, danger and interesting people and lands abound. Worth picking up for anyone who loves National Geographic or similar series.

Meerkat Manor - Season 1
I've watched this set and of course my young amateur zoologists love it. I've been really impressed by how the show is handled and the drama it creates. It puts me in mind of the Disney nature documentaries.
And if you would like to try your hand at the contest, you could win one! Click on the contest on the sidebar to see how!
Also - stay tuned for a full review of this DVD release, here at The Shelf.


Josh Groban: Noel
Eric Clapton: Complete Clapton
There are many Christmas CD's that start coming out this time of year, in anticipation of the Holidays. However, so many of them are too much of "been there, done that". It takes something different and special to catch my ear, and after sampling Josh Groban's Noel, I can say this is something special. Worth picking up and saving til after Halloween.

The title of Clapton's new release is deceptive. There is really no way any one disc could contain all of his music. Rather, this CD is a companion to his new autobiography. It contains tracks from over the course of his entire career. Pick up the book and the CD.

Ken Follett: World Without End
Clarence Thomas: My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
Besides picking up Clapton's new book, you will really want to add these to your library. Ken Follett's World Without End is a sequel of sorts to his bestselling novel of Historical fiction: The Pillars of the Earth. Taking place several hundred years after the story of the building of the massive cathedral in Pillars, Follett brings together an assortment of characters whose lives intersect at the cathedral. A must-have.

I've been very impressed with listening to the interviews with Justice Thomas about his life and this book. He is a very impressive man, and one of the most important Supreme Court Justices to sit on the bench in years. After listening to his life story, (and after reading it soon) one should walk away with a profound respect for this independent thinker and truly great American.

That's all for now kiddies. Stay tuned for those reviews coming soon and for our weekend OTR double thriller! And don't forget to sign up for the Meerkat Manor giveaway!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

You wouldn't think that anyone could hate a thing and love it too.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin