Sunday, January 24, 2010

an open letter to barbara boxer

Senator Boxer, ma’am.

I am a recent emigrant to the State of California. I have been frustrated, knowing that even though I am now one of your constituents, my views were not likely to be represented. I have written you in the past about my concerns over the current federal legislative agenda, including cap and trade, the socialized approach to fixing health care, and the assaults on DOMA. Each time I have written, I have received a response that seemed to politely say “Thanks for the input, but I’m not interested.” I have been frustrated that my concerns seemed to mean so little to either of my Senators. But I wanted to tell you this:

I saw what happened in Massachusetts with Scott Brown, and I’ve seen your poll numbers for the upcoming election. It used to seem that you were guaranteed to keep your seat in perpetuity. I now know that this is no longer the case.

I urge you to start taking the concerns of your constituents seriously, or in the fall, you may no longer have constituents that you can ignore.

This isn't just a story you're covering - it's a revolution. This is the greatest yarn in journalism since Livingstone discovered Stanley.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Friday, January 15, 2010

aw, shucks...

I received word today that this humble little blog has received the Kreativ Blogger Award our pal (don't hold that against him) over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Ivan G. (the "G" stands for goin' places) Shreve, Jr. Ivan, erstwhile curmudgeonly classic culture commentator that he is, bestowed upon us this nice award- the first in Shelf history. We were further honored when we saw the august company we kept- as Ivan bestowed it upon several other blogs that we admire and love. On behalf of the trained professional staff here at The Shelf- oh, and the authors too- I thank you Ivan for being so kind.

Now it says here in the official handbook that there are several duties to which we must attend. Here they are in order:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. - Again, thanks Ivan!

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. Already proudly displayed above.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. Here ya go.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
Well, I'll speak for myself- Matt, Wolfie and Mrs. Baravelli can chime in on their own.
a. I had been known, on occasion, to enjoy a jar of Gerber Plum baby food when I was feeding my own brood. I was pretty sure they didn't mind. The banana suited them better.

b. Outside of family, I have considered Groucho Marx, Moe, Larry, Curly and Shemp and Humphrey Bogart to be my personal heroes since the age of 8.

c. My favorite comedian and star of all time is Jack Benny. It is my lifework to listen to all of his radio shows. It doesn't pay well, but it's a living.

d. If forced at gunpoint, I believe I would choose Dino over old Blue Eyes to play on the vitrolla.

e. I am working on a book. Seriously. On the long term plan. Just don't ask me what the title is, because I haven't decided.

f. I have an unusual affinity for television theme songs. I have Sanford and Son, Night Court, Barney Miller, Friends, Newhart and Cheers on what passes for my mp3 player. (By the way-You can hear the full version of Sanford and Son here.)

g. When in High School I formed a comedy club that actually spread to two other schools, and we were known for two things: 1. A prank advertising the High School Building for sell in our local newspaper (they got a few calls) and 2. Having our own Monty Python "cover" troup. Once we performed the Lumberjack song at a community fundraiser held at a friend's Unitarian Church. Believe it or not, Unitarians have a wicked sense of humor.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
Well, Ivan has nominated several that we would as well, but we have more that we think are well worth a daily read, and are quite keen to boot.

A. Jacqueline at Another Old Movie Blog.
B. Moira at Skeins of Thought.
C. C.K. Dexter Haven at Hollywood Dreamland
E. Bacall at Classic Movie Gab.
F. Raquelle at Out of the Past.
G. Operator_99 at Allure

6. There is no number 6- it says here.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Well, we have fulfilled our award winning duties and again, we would like to thank Ivan for this honor. And we encourage you to go visit the nominated blogs we've listed. We do think they are the bee's knees.

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.

Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

her majesty arrives...

It is sad, but true. I had the info in my inbox, but not having checked it for a couple of days, I completely missed it. Thanks to my friends Laura, David at Classicflix and the all knowing Glenn Erickson, AKA: the DVD Savant who kept us all abreast of this great news while old Uncle Loophole was napping. Yes, the shame is palpable, but we are in mighty fine hands with ace reporters like these. What am I talking about? Shelfers, it's news that stills my beating heart: Paramount has heard our endless pleas and announced an official street date and artwork for The African Queen DVD/Blu-Ray release. Not only that, but David at Classicflix also reports that Warners has set a release date for that other elusive entry on our DVD wish list, No Time for Sergeants. (a tip of the Shelf Top Hat to David, Laura, Glenn and Warners and Paramount for the information!)

The African Queen: Release date: MARCH 23, 2010
Paramount will release 4 different sets of the Oscar winning 1951 Bogart/Hepburn classic film, The African Queen. There will be a standard DVD and Blu Ray release, and also a Commemorative Edition for both Blu-Ray and DVD. All editions are single disc and come with special features, but the Commemorative Edition will be packed with more extras, making this the edition to get!

The film has been restored- which the VHS print I had clear demonstrates the necessity. From Paramount's press release:
"Meticulously restored using state-of-the-art 4K digital technology, THE AFRICAN QUEEN will now be available for a new generation to appreciate and for long-time fans to see again, as if for the first time. Legendary director John Huston’s treasured romantic adventure stars the incomparable Humphrey Bogart as hard-drinking boat captain Charlie Allnut—a role that won him his only Academy Award® (Best Actor, 1951)—and renowned actress Katharine Hepburn as missionary Rose Sayer in a tale of two disparate people thrown together by fate and drawn together by love.

A six-year journey filled with challenges nearly as difficult as those faced by Rose and Charlie, the restoration process began at the source: Romulus Films—one of the film’s original production companies—provided access to the original three-strip negative at a London facility where the film was carefully scanned and digitized. The separate elements were then transferred to Los Angeles and painstakingly recombined and inspected frame by frame to ensure that every detail aligned and that any dirt and scratches were removed.

To ensure that the restored picture matched the filmmakers’ original vision, Paramount arranged a screening of an MPAA archive print for the film’s original cinematographer, Academy Award® winner Jack Cardiff*, whose comments were recorded live during the screening. That same archival print was later screened alongside the newly restored version so that the restoration team could ensure that all of Cardiff’s notes had been addressed. The result is a vibrant, warm picture that reverentially recreates the film as it was originally meant to be seen."

Thankfully, Paramount went above and beyond it's usual release MO with this film and took special care to make sure it would be the release for which fans have been waiting.
Special features in both the standard and Commemorative Edition include:
A making of documentary entitled: Embracing Chaos: Making The African Queen.

The Commemorative Edition will be packed with great extras, in addition to the Embracing Chaos documentary, including:
An audio disc with a recording of the Radio broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater Presents: The African Queen.
A Senitype film frame collectible reproduction.
Collectible postcards featuring reproductions of images related to the film.
And a reproduction of a great book of film history that is now out of print: Katharine Hepburn: The Making of The African Queen or How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind.

(Side note: Hepburn's book was one of the first books of Film History I owned, having received it one Christmas as a teenager. I have that hardback edition of this book packed away somewhere and wish I could find it. It's a great first hand account of the making of the film, but also the relationships between Hepburn, Bogie, Bacall and Huston. Boffo stuff, indeed.)

A great film, and one of the first "classic films" that I ever saw which set me on the course of a lifelong love of classic films. It is definitely one to add to your collection.

No Time for Sergeants: Release Date: MAY 4, 2010
Warners is doing the right thing by this wonderfully funny film and issuing a standard release of the 1958 classic starring Andy Griffith. No Time for Sergeants is the story of an earnest young man from the country, Will Stockdale who is drafted into the Air Force, and quickly turns the AF upside down with chaos and laughter. Also in the film, Don Knotts (in their first on-screen pairing) as the aptitude tester, Myron McCormick as Will's gruff Sergeant Orville King who tries to get Will out of his hair and Nick Adams as Will's new best friend, Ben. At this time, no extras are listed on the Warner's website.

Just this past month, my grandfather had me search for a copy of this movie, one of his favorites. I had to tell him that I had heard there would be a DVD release, but I didn't no when and if they really would. He wanted me to look into finding a used VHS copy, which is not going for cheap on eBay. I told him to wait and see, as typically the studios release a lot of their upcoming plans for the year in January/February.

This just in: Also for release on May 4 by Warner Brothers:
Dr. Zhivago The 45th Anniversary edition on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Special features will include:
New to this edition: Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration (all-new production)
Commentary by Omar Sharif, Rod Steiger and Lady Sandra Lean (wife of David Lean)Introduction by Omar Sharif
Doctor Zhivago: The Making of a Russian Epic
Zhivago: Behind the Camera with David Lean featurette
David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago featurette
Moscow in Madrid featurette
Pasternak featurette
New York Press Interviews Omar Sharif featurette
New York Press Interviews Julie Christie featurette
Geraldine Chaplin Screen Test featurette
This is Omar Sharif, This is Julie Christie, and This is Geraldine Chaplin featurettes
Chaplin in New York featurette and the Original Trailer

Well Shelfers, it's a nice start to the new year. We still have some uncertainty in regards to standard releases of Classic films on DVD/Blu-Ray, but Warners Archive, The TCM/Universal on Demand and now MGM on Demand programs give hope for the future. And certainly Disney and Fox are looking into Downloads and On-Demand programs as well. Hopefully we will be able to continue to report some great releases this year and bring you more reviews.

Let's see - now I can cross off two on my wish list- now on to my next big "hoped for" item: more Jack Benny films, including George Washington Slept Here, The Horn Blows at Midnight, Love Thy Neighbor and The Meanest Man in the World. And while the studio's are at it, it wouldn't kill you to release The Jack Benny Show seasons on DVD, would it? And while we are on the subject of neglect TV releases, the rest of the seasons of Newhart? Well, I can hope, can't I?

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 never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!


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