Tuesday, November 18, 2008

happy birthday mickey!

On November 18, 1928, the final sound version of Steamboat Willie was released and debuted at New York's 79th Street Theatre. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created this animated parody of Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. using Walt's new character Mickey Mouse, created after losing the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It was one of the first cartoons (and perhaps the most successful at the time) to incorporate a post-produced soundtrack of music, dialogue, and sound effects. Although several other shorts were made previously, Steamboat Willie was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to hit wide release. It was a smash and a star, indeed, an American Icon was born. More info here and here.

To celebrate how about a ride on Steamboat Willie? To do so properly, with all it's charm and remastered glory, make sure you pick up Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White.

Happy Birthday Mickey!

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 hope we'll never lose sight of one thing--that it was all started by a mouse.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

passing parade: items of classic film interest

It's been awhile since we've had a Passing Parade segment, and several news items have perked my interest, so buckle up Mr. and Mrs. Internet and let's take a quick trip around the world of Hollywood!

Item 1:
Laura (at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings) has several news posts that should be of interest to Classic Film fans. First of all, she sadly notes the passing this year of Betty Carr. Fans of the classic musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, will recognize her as one of the seven "Brides", Sarah.
Also Tyrone Power fans may be interested to know that Power's three children and several former co-stars will be on hand for a Ty tribute this weekend at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. They will screen several films, and possibly talk about the man they knew. Power still has a drawing power, and I think as more of his films hit DVD, his popularity is increasing.
You know - looking over all the DVDs we've reviewed, promoted or saw come out this year, I think the Tyrone Power set that Fox released is still one of the best this year. It's not only a testament to the talent and drawing power of Power, but also a testament to quality and enduring nature of Classic Hollywood's B films and programmers. They didn't churn out a Ben-Hur or Gone With The Wind every year, much less several times a year. Having really dived into Hollywood History this year with my reading I'm convinced more than ever that the studio system, despite it's faults, was in a much better position to market, produce and present so much more quality entertainment than today's multiple iterations of "independant production companies." Today's Hollywood can be easily divided into 4 major concerns:
1. The Oscar flick- increasingly indie, increasingly arty message or political films.
2. The Niche film. Targeted to specific demographics.
3. The Foreign market.
4. The special effects "Blockbuster"- this is how they fund #1-3.

Item 2:
Dirty Harry recently posted one of his TCM Picks o' the Day as Strangers On a Train, and proceeds to offer an excellent appreciation for the film. But it doesn't stop there- he also wrote an excellent appreciation for one of my favorite actors: Dana Andrews. As always, DHP is a great read.

Item 3:
Another actress that I believe is in the process of being "rediscovered" is Norma Shearer. Classic film fans had a great boon in the Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2 set from earlier this year that included Shearer's The Divorcee and A Free Soul. Go over the Bright Lights Film Journal for a great in depth look at Norma Shearer and proceed immendiately thereafter to the email program of your choice and send word to WB to release more Shearer on DVD!

Item 4:
Cinema Retro writer Tom Santopietro has what looks to be an interesting new book out titled: Sinatra in Hollywood, all about old Blue Eye's film career. Looks like fun to me.
While you are there be sure to check out this link to another article about the death of the Hollywood tough guy.

Item 5:
Jaqueline over at Another Old Movie Blog has a great list every classic film fan will appreciate: Ten Things I Like About Old Movies. If a flick has all 10 in it, it's sure to be some classic entertainment in my book. Swell, indeed.

Item 6:
The wonderful Siren at Self-Styled Siren has responded to a fun, but maybe difficult challenge: Can you name a favorite movie for each letter of the alphabet? Check out The Alphabet Meme.

Item 7:
Lastly, this is my favorite time of the year- when Leonard Maltin and Disney present the current wave of the Walt Disney's Treasures. This year sees three titles: The Mickey Mouse Club presents Annette, The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh: Dr. Syn, and The Chronological Donald Duck, Volume 4. Some long awaited sets, to be sure. And I have been particularly looking forward to finishing the Donald Duck series- one of my all time favorite cartoon characters.

Well that's the Passing Parade for today, Mr. and Mrs. Internet. What are you waiting for? Get to reading! And don't forget to come back to the Shelf for more reviews and Shelf 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.

I admire people who do things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

thank you veterans!

A happy and hearty Happy Veteran's Day to all of our Vets and their families out there- and our deepest thanks for the service and sacrifice you've given and continue to give. We don't and we won't forget.

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.

What we done in France, we had to do. And some as done it, didn't come back, and that kind of thing ain't for buying and selling.


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