Scary Meets Hilarious Halloween Fun! Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein🎃

 

abbott and costello meet frankenstein

I’m a lifelong fan of Halloween and Universal Horror films. From “The Phantom of the Opera”(1925) to “The Wolfman”(1941), I own the entire catalog.

And, when you take those classic monster movies and add in the hilarity of the top comedy duo of the day, you end up with the hit comedy-horror flick “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948).

 

Starring the legendary comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello the production has the reputation of being the final nail in the coffin of taking seriously Universal Horror monsters. The film is also considered the swan song for the “Big Three” Universal horror monsters – Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein’s monster played by (Glenn Strange), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), none of whom had appeared in a Universal film since 1945’s House of Dracula.

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left to right – Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Frankenstein (Glenn Strange), Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.)

The movie makes glorious fun of the classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman and is one of my all-time favorites!

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the film’s poster title), or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the onscreen title)—although the film is usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein—is a 1948 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The picture is the first of several films where the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal’s horror film stable. (Wikipedia)

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The plot revolves around Lawrence Talbot-The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) making an urgent call from London to a Florida railway station where Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) work as baggage clerks. Wilbur answers the phone, and Talbot tries to impart to him the danger of a shipment due to arrive for the “McDougal House Of Horrors”, a local wax museum, which purportedly contains the actual bodies of Count Dracula (BĂ©la Lugosi) and the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange).

Bud and Lou at work

However, before he is able to warn Wilbur, a full moon rises, and Talbot transforms into The Werewolf. Wilbur, thinking the call is a prank, hangs up and continues on with his work day. Later that night, Chick and Wilbur arrive at McDougal’s “House Of Horrors”, open the first crate and find a coffin with “Dracula” inscribed on the front.

When Chick leaves to retrieve the second crate, Wilbur witnesses Dracula awaken and he tries to get Chick’s attention. However, when Chick returns with the second crate, Dracula hides just in time to go unnoticed. Dracula hypnotizes Wilbur and re-animates Frankenstein’s Monster. The plot thickens as Dracula intends to transplant Wilbur’s brain into the Frankenstein Monster. What could possibly go wrong?

The film is peppered with classic Abbott and Costello humor. In a discussion whether Costello would share an extra female admirer of his:

Chick Young: You know the old saying? Everything comes in threes. Now suppose a third girl should fall in love with you?

Wilbur Grey: What’s her name?

Chick Young: We’ll say her name is Mary.

Wilbur Grey: Is she pretty?

Chick Young: Beautiful!

Wilbur Grey: Naturally, she’d have to be.

Chick Young: Now you have Mary, you have Joan, and you have Sandra. So, to prove to you that I’m your pal, your bosom friend, I’ll take one of the girls off your hands.

Wilbur Grey: Chick, you’re what I call a real pal… you take Mary.

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Trivia:

  • The film was originally intended to be titled The Brain of Frankenstein, but its name was changed prior to the filming schedule, which ran from February 5 through March 20, 1948.

  • During filming, Glenn Strange found Costello so funny he would often break up laughing, requiring many retakes (this is readily apparent in the scene where Costello sits on the Monster’s lap).

  • Boris Karloff refused to actually see this film, although he did help promote the film and can be seen in several publicity photos, including one where he is buying a ticket. Karloff appeared with the duo the next year in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, and in 1953 in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • During the scene in the laboratory where the Monster comes after Chick and Wilbur after throwing Sandra through the window, Glenn Strange stepped on a camera cable, causing the camera to fall and break some bones in his foot. Lon Chaney, Jr., who was not working that day and who had previously played the Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein, took over the role of the Monster for that scene as well as the scene where the monster is throwing barrels and crates at Wilbur and Chick while they are trying to escape in a rowboat at the pier.

  • This was the only time BĂ©la Lugosi reprised the role he had created in Dracula (1931). He had previously portrayed vampires in Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Return of the Vampire (1943) and would do so again in Mother Riley Meets the Vampire (1952) (and made a gag cameo as Dracula in a 1933 Hollywood on Parade short), but this was the only other time he played Dracula as a sustained role on film.

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Abbott and Costello were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello whose work in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and early 1950s. Their patter routine “Who’s on First?” is one of the best-known comedy routines of all time and set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. (Wikipedia)

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Readers Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time. The film is number 56th on the list of the “American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest American Movies”. (Wikipedia)

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“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” is a playful romp through the Universal Horror franchise and a great family movie to add to your Halloween viewing list.

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“Feed Me Seymour” – The Little Shop Of HorrorsđŸŽƒđŸŒ·

 

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A funny thing happened at my 6-month dental check-up. Sitting in the dentist’s chair a lightbulb came on and the idea for this post hit me square in the mouth, “The Little Shop of Horrors”(1960)!

 

People are probably more familiar with the 1986 musical version directed by Frank Oz and starring Steve Martin (demented dentist), Rick Moranis, (Seymour) Ellen Greene (Audrey), Tichina Arnold, and Tisha Campbell (as the urchins).

 

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The 1986 film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie. (Phew, that took the long way around)

I had the fantastic experience of performing in a stage production as one of the street urchins. Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronette are fashioned after girl groups from the 1960’s. It was one of my favorite shows and roles in my community theater career.

The original 1960 film was a  black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated B-movie legend, Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze (Seymour), Jackie Joseph (Audrey), Mel Welles (Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”. It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

The film’s concept is thought to be based on a 1932 story called “Green Thoughts”, by John Collier, about a man-eating plant. However, author Dennis McDougal in Jack Nicholson‘s biography suggests that Griffith may have been influenced by Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi short story ‘The Reluctant Orchid’. (Wikipedia)

The film became the basis for the horror comedy and Off-Broadway rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors (1982). By composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, the production was notably made into the 1986 feature film.

Trivia:

  • The film also garnered attention as a movie that was made into a Broadway production; it’s usually the other way around.

  • Writer, Charles B. Griffith, was the voice of Audrey 2 in 1960 film.

  • Levi Stubbs (lead singer of The Four Tops-Motown group) was the voice of Audrey II in 1986 movie.

  • Ellen Greene played Audrey in the Off-Broadway Production.

  • The gleefully masochistic dental patient, originally played by Jack Nicholson, is not in the musical but is in the 1986 film, played by Bill Murray.

 

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Off-Broadway Production of “Little Shop of Horrors” 1982 with Ellen Greene immediately right of Audrey 2

A young Jack Nicholson‘s small role as the masochistic dental patient in the 1960 film was a hysterical standout. At the time of filming, Jack Nicholson had appeared in two films and had worked with Roger Corman as the lead in “The Cry Baby Killer”.

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Roger Corman

According to Nicholson, “I went into the shoot knowing I had to be very quirky because Roger originally hadn’t wanted me. In other words, I couldn’t play it straight. So I just did a lot of weird shit that I thought would make it funny.”

Even though this was only his third film you could see that his talent was something quite special.

Because I’m a big-time musical theater lover, my affinity is for the 1986 film. The musical numbers were fabulous, the performances outstanding, and the memories lasting.

I loved performing the opening “Urchin” musical number “Little Shop of Horrors” which was also from the Off-Broadway stage production:

The film, directed by Frank Oz (Muppets), differs only slightly from the stage play. The title song is expanded to include an additional verse to allow for more opening credits. The song “Ya Never Know” was re-written into a calypso-style song called “Some Fun Now”, although some of the lyrics were retained.

 

Four other songs (“Closed for Renovation”, “Mushnik and Son”, “Now (It’s Just the Gas)”, as well as “Call Back in the Morning”) were cut from the original production score. An original song was written by Ashman and Menken, “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space”, was created for the film.

For a fun and dark Halloween double feature, I highly recommend checking out “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960) and the remake, “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986). A little something for everyone.

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Happy Halloween!

Blacula 1972 💀🎃

 

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Original 1972 theatrical poster

Way to turn the classic “Dracula” on its’ head! I think the idea to present Blacula as an 18th Century African prince during the slave trade was historical and topical. Although considered a Blaxploitation horror film, it was taken with a serious approach and hits the mark on the classic Universal horror flick.

This trailer is so typical of an American International Picture, high on exploitation and drama. Formed on April 2, 1954, from American Releasing Corporation (ARC) by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer. It was dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget films.

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Samuel Zachary Arkoff (12 June 1918 – 16 September 2001)

The ARKOFF formula:

  • Action (exciting, entertaining drama)

  • Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)

  • Killing (a modicum of violence)

  • Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)

  • Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)

  • Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

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The plot of Blacula is the story of Manuwalde (William Marshall), an African Prince. It’s a modern twist on the classic Dracula legend and is told in a very compelling and chilling way.

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William Marshall “Blacula”

In the year 1780, while on a goodwill visit to ask Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to help him suppress the slave trade, (which existed in parts of Africa, like the rest of the world, and was a part of the economic structure of some societies for many centuries), he is refused by the Count. Instead, Manuwalde is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula and wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee) is killed.

Quote – Dracula: You shall pay, black prince. I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell. I curse you with my name. You shall be… Blacula!

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The scene then shifts to the year 1972 with two interior decorators from modern-day Los Angeles California traveling to Castle Dracula in Transylvania and unknowingly purchasing the now-undead Mamuwalde’s coffin, which they ship to Los Angeles.

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One of the interior decorators – Could he be Richard Simmons’ twin or what?😄

Later unlocking the coffin, the decorators release Mamuwalde, becoming his first two victims as a vampire, turning them and others he encounters in his bloodthirsty reign of terror into vampires like himself. (Wikipedia)

Blacula was released on August 25, 1972, to mixed reviews.  American International Pictures’ marketing department in an effort to ensure that black audiences would be interested in Blacula; created posters for the film including references to slavery.

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Noted for creating the Blaxploitation horror genre, Blacula debuted at #24 on Variety’s list of top films. It eventually grossed over a million dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1972. A sequel to the film titled Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973 by American International. The film also stars William Marshall in the title role along with actress and star of (“Foxy Brown” 1974) Pam Grier.

 

Trivia:

Blacula was in production between late January and late March 1972. While Blacula was in its production stages, William Marshall worked with the film producers to make sure his character had some dignity.

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His character name was changed from Andrew Brown to Mamuwalde and his character received a background story about being an African prince who had succumbed to vampirism.

Blacula was shot on location in Los Angeles, with some scenes shot in the Watts neighborhood and the final scenes taken at the Hyperion Outfall Treatment Plant in the beachside, west Los Angeles Playa del Rey.

The Hues Corporation - Blacula 1972

The Hues Corporation 1972

The music for Blacula is unlike that of most horror films as it uses rhythm and blues as opposed to haunting classical music. The film’s soundtrack features a score by Gene Page, who was one of the most prolific arrangers/conductors of popular music during his time and worked on more than 200 gold and platinum records.

A variety of the artists Gene Page worked with:

The Supremes, The Four Tops, Buffalo Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Donna Loren, Martha and the Vandellas, Cher, Barry White, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Whitney Houston, George Benson, The Jackson Five, Roberta Flack,Elton John, José Feliciano, Leo Sayer, Seals & Croft, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Frankie Valli, Dobie Gray, Peabo Bryson, Lionel Richie, Jeffrey Osborne

Music on the soundtrack also included contributions by The Hues Corporation. They are best known for their 1974 single “Rock the Boat”, which sold over 2 million copies. (Wikipedia)

Shampoo💇💆😎

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Shampoo (1975)

I may be dating myself, what am I saying, I KNOW I’m dating myself but there was a time back in the day when Warren Beatty (Bonnie & Clyde, Splendor in the Grass) was the finest dude, not just in Hollywood but dare I say the planet!

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Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood

Beatty was gracing the covers of celebrity magazines back in the ’50’s, long before the current crop of “world’s sexiest man” covers and was dating star Natalie Wood (“Miracle on 34th” Street, “Rebel Without a Cause“) and other beautiful ingenues making women swoon with envy.

The “fine” phases of Warren Beatty

young and hot Warren Beatty

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“Shampoo” hot and sexy Beatty

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“Shampoo” (1975) is the story of George Roundy (Warren Beatty) the womanizing hairdresser who realizes too late that his life of philandering has cost him the love of his life. George’s case is that “he can’t help it, they smell so good.”

The film stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, and Goldie Hawn (Kate Hudson’s mom), with Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill and in an early film appearance, Carrie Fisher. The movie is set on Election Day 1968, the day Richard Nixon was first elected as President of the United States, and was released soon after the Watergate scandal had reached its conclusion.

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Goldie Hawn, Nixon, Warren Beatty

The political atmosphere provides a source of dramatic irony, since the audience, but not the characters, are aware of the direction the Nixon presidency would eventually take. However, the main theme of the film is not presidential politics but sexual politics; it is renowned for its sharp satire of late-1960s sexual and social mores. (Wikipedia)

I almost didn’t publish this post because of recent disturbing events going on right now in politics but thought no, this film isn’t about committing assault, it’s about facing your viewpoint of morality and realizing how callously you’ve been living your life.

When I first thought about posting this it was based on the politics of the ’60’s then ironically found myself in mid-sentence realizing that the controversies of the Nixon era have nothing on the despicable state of politics today.

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Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Tony Bill, Warren Beatty

But I digress, I loved “Shampoo” because of one – watching fine Warren Beatty and two – the ending. You have to pay the piper and take responsibility for your actions. George represented a lot of guys who thought doing as many women as possible was cool and made them all that but, the truth is, what goes around, comes around.

“Shampoo” was Carrie Fisher’s first film and won Lee Grant the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film was directed by the brilliant Hal Ashby. (Harold and Maude 1971)

Other Academy nominations were:

Robert Towne (“Chinatown”) and Warren Beatty – Best Writing, Original Screenplay

  • Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy)

  • Best Motion Picture Actor (Musical or Comedy) – Warren Beatty

  • Best Motion Picture Actress (Musical or Comedy) – Julie Christie & Goldie Hawn

The lead character, George Roundy, is reportedly based on several actual hairdressers, including Jay Sebring and film producer Jon Peters, who is a former hairdresser. Sebring was brutally murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. According to the 2010 book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind, the screenwriter Towne based the character on Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove. (Wikipedia)

 

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Jay Sebring

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Jon Peters

The film had little critical praise but commercially, “Shampoo” was a great success. Produced on a budget of $4 million, the film grossed $49,407,734 domestically and $60 million at the worldwide box office. It was the fourth most successful film of 1975 by box office takings, beaten only by Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Wikipedia)

I had no idea that the year after its release there was a blaxploitation send-up, Black Shampoo.

Trivia: Warren Beatty is actress, author Shirley Maclaine’s brother.

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Now

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Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty

Henry Warren Beatty (born March 30, 1937) has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards – four for Best Actor, four for Best Picture, two for Best Director, three for Original Screenplay, and one for Adapted Screenplay – winning Best Director for Reds (1981).

Beatty is the first and only person to have been twice nominated for acting in, directing, writing,and producing the same film – first with Heaven Can Wait (1978), which was co-written by Elaine May and co-directed by Buck Henry, and again with Reds, which he co-wrote with Trevor Griffiths.

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In 1999, he was awarded the Academy’s highest honor, the Irving G. Thalberg Award. Beatty has been nominated for eighteen Golden Globe Awards, winning six, including the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, with which he was honored in 2007.

Among his Golden Globe-nominated films are, Splendor in the Grass (1961), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Shampoo (1975), Dick Tracy (1990), Bugsy (1991), and Bulworth (1998). (Wikipedia)

Warren Beatty’s Political Honors:

Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the Americans for Democratic Action, the Brennan Legacy Award from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, the Phillip Burton Public Service Award from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, and the Spirit of Hollywood Award from the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies.

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Beatty was a founding board member of the Center for National Policy, a founding member of the Progressive Majority, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has served as the Campaign Chair for the Permanent Charities Committee, and has participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He served on the Board of Trustees at the Scripps Research Institute and the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation. He was named Honorary Chairman of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in 2004. (Wikipedia)

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Looks like Warren Beatty has been more than just “fine”. Over his career, he’s been accomplished both in Hollywood and the political arena.

 

 

Puttin’ on the Ritz with Young Frankenstein!

Twentieth Century Fox Presents

A special event in cinemas nationwide

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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Young Frankenstein (1974)

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Special Fathom Feature:

Seeing this black-and-white masterpiece on the big screen with an audience is a rarity in itself, but to make this screening a truly one-of-a-kind experience, writer, and director Mel Brooks will introduce the film live from the 20th Century Fox Lot in Hollywood, CA.

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Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein”

As I’ve written about before, “Young Frankenstein” is one of my all-time favorite films! Mel Brooks’ genius is on full display as he accurately fuses every Frankenstein film into one of the most hilarious ever produced.

In 2003, it was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the United States National Film Preservation Board, and selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. On its 40th anniversary, Brooks considered it by far his finest (though not his funniest) film as a writer-director. (Wikipedia)

The original “Frankenstein” is no longer a horror film to me since watching Mel’s take on this Universal Classic. There are so many scenes and moments from Brook’s movie that I couldn’t possibly pinpoint one. This is a reel of some of the best moments.

Young Frankenstein brings together Brooks’s inimitable style with a cast of comedy legends, including Gene Wilder as Federick Fronkensteen, Marty Feldman as shifty humpback Igor, Teri Garr as the hay-rolling lab assistant Inga, the brilliant Madeleine Kahn as Dr. Frankenstein’s high-strung fiancĂ©e Elizabeth, Peter Boyle as the kind-hearted monster, an uncredited Gene Hackman as the blind man who befriends him, and Cloris Leachman as Frau BlĂŒcher!

“Frau BlĂŒcher”

“Young Frankenstein” is a 1974 American black comedy film directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn and Gene Hackman. The screenplay was written by Wilder and Brooks. (Wikipedia)

Check out the doctor and Frankie, Jr. “Puttin’ on the Ritz!”

Join in the fun as the young neurosurgeon (Wilder), inherits the castle of his grandfather, the famous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Young Frankenstein believes that the work of his grandfather is to put it in his words, “do do”, but when he discovers the book where the mad doctor describes his reanimation experiment, the light bulb comes on as he exclaims – “It could work!”.

“Dr. Frederick Frankenstein”

The film is an affectionate parody of the classic horror film genre, in particular, the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley‘s novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s.

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Most of the lab equipment used as props was created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To help evoke the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black-and-white, a rarity in the 1970s, and employed 1930s’ style opening credits and scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a period score by Brooks’ longtime composer John Morris. (Wikipedia)

If you’ve never experienced this Mel Brooks’ gem, make sure to check out this one-night special event! And, if you’re a fan like I am, this is a great opportunity to quote your favorite lines and re-enjoy this classic on the big screen!

Extras: Behind the scenes of the Making of “Young Frankenstein”.

Tickets available online here.  You can also, check with your local theater for showtimes and tickets.

 

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see the classic film on the big screen!

Fathom Events

 

 

Whose Your Alter Ego in Fiction Land?🎬❓

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 3 Fictional Characters That Describe You

When I first saw this challenge on Facebook I thought, Wow! That’s an interesting and tough question. Owning thousands of videos with thousands of characters to choose from, it was difficult to come up with characters to describe me. But, being the type to rarely turn down a challenge, here goes.

Agnes (Despicable Me)

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I love her innocence and open heart and strive to be like her every day. She always finds the best in any situation and despite his being a “super-villain”, she even loves Gru. I describe her as my alter ego on my About page.

And we can’t forget her affection for Gru’s “dog?“, Kyle. Whatever Kyle is, when he first sees Agnes he’s terrified by HER!  Maybe because she treats him like any other pet and Kyle likes to go for bad. However, by the end of the film, Agnes has won Kyle over with her infectious spirit and even has him enjoying playing dress up with her. (sort of)

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KYLE

 

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Agnes, Kyle, Mona

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Gru and the Crew

And the best reason of all we’re simpatico is because Agnes loves to hang out with my favorite “little people”, The Minions!

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Sparkle (Sparkle) 1976

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Irene Cara as Sparkle

Ever since I first saw Irene Cara as “Sparkle” on the big screen I made an instant connection. She was young, impressional, and fought fiercely for the people she loved.

The relationship between Sparkle and her big Sister, “Sister” is also a comparison point. I have big sisters that as a child idolized and thought were the most beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate women I knew. And those feelings are still true to this day. However, my big sisters are NOTHING like “Sister”. Lonette McKee’s character had a lot of issues, including the drugs.

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Sister, Sparkle, and Delores

The other meaningful connection is Sparkle could sing! I was in college when the film came out and had done a little warbling with my sorority sisters. As a kid, I often wished my sisters and I could form a singing group and be even bigger than the Supremes!

However, neither of my sisters had much of a voice so, that idea went out the window. Seeing the movie inspired me to pursue my love of singing. I started auditioning and was able to realize my passion as a featured vocalist in Community Theater productions.

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And now to address the “bad girl” in me.

Natasha Romanoff (Avengers) 2012

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“Black Widow”

Even though I bet friends and family might find “The Black Widow” (Scarlet Johanson) an odd choice, she is a piece of my psyche. Inside my head, I can totally see me kickin’ the butts of 29 guys simultaneously. I guess she’s my Freudian id, a force to be reckoned with yes, but watching her on the screen is a great way of working out some frustrations. Fortunately, unlike the Hulk, I can keep my girl at bay ’cause, “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”😎

 

Come on, she’s a well-rounded (no pun intended) figure. Even as an Avenger “Black Widow” takes the time to be a loving aunt to her bestie and fellow Avenger Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) children. They have an enduring friendship they both treasure and despite the fact of sometimes fighting, they remain steadfast friends.

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Hawkeye – Jeremy Renner

I love her nurturing relationship with Hawkeye’s children which is even more significant since the option of childbirth was taken away from her in training to be an assassin. Unlike “Black Widow” I was blessed with 2 beautiful children, so I really respect the fact she decided on this positive solution to her childless reality and not use her assassin training as a way to suppress these maternal feelings.

Did I mention she can take a dude down? And, she is the only one who can calm down an angry “Hulk”.

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She’s fine just chillin’ at a friends place or if the need arises, she’s down for the fight.

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Dr. Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Tony Stark, Thor, Captain America

 

I’m not an assassin and don’t feel the need to act out my Avengers fantasy but I do consider myself to be tough, determined, and self-sufficient.

Another reason I get into relating to her is because as an Avenger, “Black Widow” has no superpowers, she IS the superpower! A serious badass! And who knows, like the “Widow” when push comes to shove, I just might have to bust out some of my kick-ass moves.😎

 

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The Avengers

 

I’ve shared my 3 characters, how about sharing yours?

Take the challenge and let me know your results.

 

 

 

 

Jammin’- Music that Makes the MoviesđŸŽ¶đŸŽŹđŸ˜Ž

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Movie Soundtracks

What would the film experience be without a memorable soundtrack that sets the mood, pumps up the action and evokes nostalgic memories?

 

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The idea of musical accompaniment has been around since silent films but with the advent of sound in the 1920’s, filmmakers were able to have direct control over the soundtrack as a device to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

The first film to use a completely original score was written by composer Max Steiner for the classic ‘King Kong’ (1933).

 

Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” without those driving Bernard Herrmann violins and strings during the shower scene and the ominous “dun-dun-dun” that alerted the audience to the arrival of “Jaws” thus evoking all kinds of fear. With the Soundtrack Album, audiences have the freedom to listen to and relive the memories of their favorite films at anytime.

In developing his film projects Director, Quentin Tarantino approaches the movie process in this way:

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song.” (Tracks and Fields)

 

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“Purple Rain” (1984), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), and “Almost Famous” (2000) are 3 of my favorite films that demonstrate the impactful relationship between the storyline and the music.

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Purple Rain (1984)

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The music from “Purple Rain” has kept me groovin’ since it premiered. While rockin’ the theater, “I Would Die 4 You” also connected the events necessary to resolve the plot and “The Kid’s” conflicts, utilizing the flashback technique leading to the climactic ending scene. The album rocketed Prince to superstardom!

The soundtrack for the film was released on June 25, 1984, by Warner Bros. Records and to date, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.

“I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m a Star” and “Purple Rain” were recorded live from a show on August 3, 1983, at the First Avenue club in Minneapolis, with overdubs and edits added later. This marked the first time Prince included live recordings on any release. The show was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater and featured the first appearance of guitarist Wendy Melvoin in Prince’s band, The Revolution.

 

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Prince won two Grammy Awards in 1985 for Purple Rain, for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special, and the album was nominated for Album of the Year. Prince won a third Grammy that year for Best R&B Song (songwriter) for Chaka Khan’s cover of “I Feel for You”. Purple Rain also won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1985.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the 2014 film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Directed by James Gunn, the movie features the songs present on character Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mixtape in the film.

The album was released by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2014, and reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first soundtrack album in history consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the chart.

“Come and Get Your Love” by (Redbone) set the tone and mood of the film for me and is also a classic rock song from the 70’s. The film incorporated songs from the 1960s and 1970s, such as “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, which, according to the film’s director, James Gunn, acts as a way for Quill to stay connected to the Earth, home, and family he lost.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are fleeing after stealing a powerful artifact.

 

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Drax, Gamora, Quill, Groot, and Rocket

 

I couldn’t help but fall in love with the sweetness of “I am Groot” and subsequently, jammin’ “Baby Groot”.

“Baby Groot”

Other hits from the soundtrack and my childhood include: “I Want You Back”, Jackson 5, “Oooh Child”, The 5 Stairsteps, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell which make for one kickin’ playlist!

 

Almost Famous (2000)

almost famous movie soundtrack

Almost Famous was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and starred Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist William Miller (Patrick Fugit) writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s while covering the fictitious rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. (Wikipedia)

 

The film received four Oscar nominations, one of which led to an award to Crowe for his screenplay. It was also awarded the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Roger Ebert hailed it the best film of the year, and also the 9th best film of the 2000s. It also won two Golden Globes, for Best Picture and Kate Hudson won Best Supporting Actress.

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Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup

This scene between William and his sister Anita takes me back to the days of vinyl and a time and way of appreciating music you cannot get from a cd. Music can change your life and for child prodigy William Miller (Patrick Fugit) it does.

Frances McDormand, as the mother, strictly controls and protects him and his older sister Anita by forbidding rock music and in her opinion, other unwelcome influences which drive Anita to leave home and become a flight attendant.

 

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I’ve always loved the song “America”. It’s just as poignant today as it was when it was first performed in 1968 by Simon and Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon and concerns young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of “America”, in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a 1964 road trip that Simon took with his girlfriend Kathy Chitty.

 

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Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

Director Cameron Crowe took a copy of the film to London for a special screening with Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. After the screening, Led Zeppelin granted Crowe the right to use one of their songs on the soundtrack — the first time they had ever consented to this since allowing Crowe to use “Kashmir” in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Wikipedia)

 

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Zeppelin also gave Crowe rights to four of their other songs in the movie itself, although they did not grant him the rights to “Stairway to Heaven” for an intended scene (on the special “Bootleg” edition DVD, the scene is included as an extra, sans the song, where the viewer is instructed by a watermark to begin playing it). (Wikipedia)

 

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Robert Plant (Led Zepplin) and Cameron Crowe

This classic soundtrack takes me back to some of the best memories of my high school days. Every time I watch this film I’m inundated with emotions and remember where I was when these songs were playing on the radio.

 

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Music has the power to cross time and space. I believe it’s our common bond. Even if you don’t speak the same language you can speak the same music.

 

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