Category Archives: 1970

Don Rickles, RIP.

Donald JayDonRickles
(May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017)

Mr. Warmth, the great Don Rickles, has passed away at 90. From his nightclub act to his appearances on Johnny Carson to Bikini Beach (1964) to Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Don Rickles could effortlessly make me laugh. There’s just something about him that cracks me up.

Bikini Beach Big Drag

One of my goals in life has always been to put myself in a place where I’d be insulted by Mr. Rickles. Boy, it’s a Big Drag that he’s gone.

1 Comment

Filed under 1970, Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles

Blu-Ray News #100: When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970).

when-dinosairs-ruled-hs

Written and Directed by Val Guest
Starring Victoria Vetri, Robin Hawdon, Patrick Allen, Imogen Hassall

Hammer’s One Million Years B.C. (1966) was a huge international hit, thanks largely to Ray Harryhausen’s dinosaurs and Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. It’s followup, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970), boasts stop-motion effects from Jim Danforth — and Victoria Vetri in a fur bikini (or less).

Val Guest and Victoria Vetri

It presents a world where dinosaurs and cave people lived at the same time. Danforth’s work is excellent and Val Guest demonstrates his usual flair. Here in the States, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth had a G rating. Elsewhere, it was was longer and certainly racier. That’s the version Warner Archive will release on Blu-Ray in February.

dinosaurs-ruled-dictionary-poster

To help you make the most of your viewing experience when your Blu-Ray arrives, hang onto this Caveman’s Dictionary — its a poster that hung in the lobbies of U.S. theaters back in 1970.

By the way, Victoria Vetri is currently in prison for attempted voluntary manslaughter.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1970, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hammer Films, Val Guest, Warner Archive

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).

tora-tora-tora-premiere-os

Directed by Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku

This being a movie blog, the best way for me to honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who went through the attacks at Pearl Harbor is to encourage you to seek out Darryl F. Zanuck’s Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), the mammoth Japanese-American co-production that depicts December 7, 1941, from both the American and Japanese viewpoints.

While it’s not as sublimely wonderful as Zanuck’s D-Day epic, The Longest Day (1962), it has scenes that are truly jaw-dropping. You certainly get an idea of the chaos, terror, loss and heroism that marked the “day that will live in infamy.”

I’m in awe of this generation of Americans, and I thank them all for fighting to keep us free — and for setting such a terrific example for us all.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1970, 20th Century-Fox, Richard Fleischer

Blu-ray News #57: Airport, The Complete Collection (1970-1979).

airportad

Universal has always been big on “franchises,” from the Universal Monsters and Ma And Pa Kettle to Back To The Future and Tremors.

Certainly one of their biggest would have to be the Airport pictures. And while they’re a cases study in the Law Of Diminishing Returns, there’s still something about them, something we can all own on Blu-ray in June.

Airport (1970)
Directed by George Seaton
Starring Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Barry Nelson

Van Heflin (in his last movie) blows a hole in Dean Martin’s plane. Shot in 70mm Todd-AO by Ernest Laszlo, it was a massive success — and kick-started the disaster movie craze of the 70s. Note the Easter ad for Radio City Music Hall.

Airport ’75 (1974)
Directed by Jack Smight
Starring Charlton Heston, Karen Black, George Kennedy, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Helen Reddy, Gloria Swanson, Linda Blair

A small plane runs into the cockpit of a 747, leaving no one to fly the plane. It seems to be the movie most parodied in Airplane! (1980).

275997

Airport ’77 (1977)
Directed by Jarry Jameson
Starring Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, James Stewart, George Kennedy, Brenda Vaccaro, Christopher Lee, Joseph Cotton

A hijacked 747 crashes and sinks in the Bermuda Triangle.

The Concorde: Airport ’79 (1979)
Directed by David Lowell Rich
Starring Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Robert Wagner, Sylvia Kristal, George Kennedy, Eddie Albert, Charo, John Davidson

Where the previous pictures had the likes of Helen Hayes, James Stewart, Gloria Swanson and Joseph Cotton in supporting roles, here we have Charo and Sybil Danning. It plays like a TV movie, and a bad one at that.

1 Comment

Filed under 1970, 1974, 1977, 1979, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Dean Martin, DVD/Blu-ray News, Jack Lemmon, Universal (-International)

Blu-ray News #31: Horror Classics, Volume 1.

Mummy 59 TC

The recent passing of the great Christopher Lee makes this upcoming (October) Blu-ray set a bigger deal than it already was. Horror Classics, Vol. 1 from Warner Bros. brings four key Hammer horror films to Blu-ray, three of them starring Lee. Each title will be also be available on its own.

The Mummy (1959)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux

For Hammer Films’ entry into the mummy movie business, writer Jimmy Sangster borrowed from Universal’s The Mummy Hand (1940), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) and The Mummy’s Ghost (1944). Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee had already starred in Hammer’s Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). The Mummy‘s gorgeous Technicolor really sets it apart.

D Risen LC

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing

As Hammer’s third Christopher Lee Dracula picture went into production, director Terence Fisher was ill — and replaced by Freddie Francis. Francis adds some stylistic touches that help out a lot, but the fact that it was shot at Pinewood rather than the typical Bray Studios hurts it a bit.

F Destroyed LC

Frankestein Must Be Destroyed! (1969)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones, Simon Ward, Thorley Walters, Maxine Audley

Hammer’s Frankenstein films focus on the doctor and his experiments, not the typical monster. In this one, Frankenstein (Cushing) plays around with brain transplants — with the usual unpleasant results.

Taste Blood D LC

Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1970)
Directed by Peter Sasdy
Starring Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Lynda Hayden, Ralph Bates, Roy Kinnear, Michael Ripper

This sequel to Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is quite good. Since Dracula’s killed off in each picture — maybe because Lee always wanted to quit doing them — it’s fun to see what ingenious way they find to bring him back.

I’m really looking forward to this set — it’s sorta like Warner Bros. took a chunk of my childhood and mashed it onto onto some little silver circles.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1959, 1968, 1969, 1970, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Freddie Francis, Hammer Films, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher

The Jack Webb Blogathon: Behind The Badge.

Webb behind badge

This post is part of The Jack Webb Blogathon, a celebration of his huge, and hugely influential, body of work. For more Webb on the web, appearing October 17-19, visit Dispatch (or click on the banner below).

Jack Webb Blogathon HOR

As The Jack Webb Blogathon comes to a close, here’s some interesting trivia about Jack Webb and his work.

In lieu of compensation for assistance and information, what did Jack Webb’s Mark VII Production Company do for the Los Angeles Police Department?
The Company made generous contributions to the Los Angeles Police Orphans and Widows Fund.

How did Dragnet get the stories as basis for their episodes?
Through an arrangement with the Los Angeles Police Department, an officer wrote up a three-page report void of names and intimate details. Dragnet writers filled in the blanks and wrote a story around it. They were not given access to actual police files.

Where did the number 714 come from on the famous badge?
Jack Webb thought 7 was a lucky number. The television series began in 1949 and Webb thought badges issued in the 700s was way in the future for police. So, he choose 7 as the first number and just doubled it for the last numbers – 14.

Mark VII Productions, Inc. was Jack Webb’s production company. What is the meaning behind the logo that can be seen at the end of Dragnet episodes (iron door with a hand pounding the Roman numerals with a hammer)?
Jack Webb “stole” the idea from Arm & Hammer baking soda. He said he liked the look of it as a kid. The door to him also meant strength. The VII for 7 was probably, again, use of his lucky number.

d717_1

Jack Webb used a real badge and revolver during the first run of Dragnet. What happened to those items after the show ended and what did he use for a badge and revolver in the new Dragnet show?
When the show ended in 1958, he returned the official, registered items to the LA Police Department, which had issued them to Webb for the show. He got them back from the Police Department for the new Dragnet show.

What Emergency! regular doubled for Jack Webb’s Joe Friday character in long shots on the original Dragnet?
Marco Lopez. He also had small parts on Dragnet, as well. He admitted that he liked to cook while on that show and the cast and crew got to partake in his hobby to their delight. This led to the fully-equipped kitchen at the firehouse on Emergency! — he could not only be a regular on the show, but keep on cookin’.

Which actor did Jack Webb want as Sgt. Joe Friday in the original series, but reluctantly took the role himself, when it didn’t pan out?
Lloyd Nolan, best known for his acting roles portraying private detectives Michael Shayne and Martin Kane.

In 1953, a famous movie producer friend and his wife sold their house to Jack Webb, so they could be closer to a park for their son. Who was this producer and what special thing did they do to the house to sell it to him?
Stanley Kramer. He and his wife replaced the doorbell with one that played “dum-da-dum-dum.”

What was the “Jack Webb Special?”
A deluxe, chartered airplane provided by Warner Brothers for Webb’s cross-country tour promoting Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955). It had an eight-person crew, dining room, bedroom and even a conference room.

Speaking of Pete Kelly’s Blues, Herm Saunders played the pianist. What was his relationship to Jack Webb in real life?
At the time, he was Webb’s press agent.

a12pilotwebb

Jack Webb directing Martin Milner and Kent McCord in the Adam-12 pilot.

How did Ozzie Nelson (of Ozzie And Harriet fame) come to direct a segment in an episode of Adam-12?
Nelson phoned Webb and requested the assignment. He said he wanted to work with his old family friend Kent McCord again. (As you may remember, McCord was a regular on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.) Nelson did such an impressive job, he was asked to direct the episode called “The D.A.”

Jack Webb turned down the chance to make a movie, which lead to great animosity between the guy who wrote the story for the movie and Kent McCord. Who was the author, what was the movie and why all the hostility?
Joseph Wambaugh wrote The New Centurions, among other books about police like The Onion Field and The Blue Knight. He also created and advised on the television show Police Story. After Webb declined to do The New Centurions, according to McCord, Wambaugh set out to tarnish the badges of Jack Webb and his Adam-12. In interviews, Wambaugh would misquote McCord, trash the show’s acting and call into question the realism of the characters they portray. McCord was hot under the collar about Wambaugh’s mouthing off and was quoted as saying: “He spends his days sitting on his rear and reading burglary reports. I think he‘s out of touch with the guys who patrol the streets,” and “He shouldn’t be telling me how to act. I don’t give him advice on how to read burglary reports.” He also didn‘t like how Wambaugh‘s police characters were “jerks“ or “petty criminals,” which of course was an insult itself to Jack Webb’s style. McCord went on to say about Wambaugh, “If he had anything to say he could tell it to my face or I’d punch him in the face,” and “I’m tired of picking up newspapers and magazines and seeing Wambaugh rap me. If he keeps it up I’m going to rap him.”

zh3wLpC
Hopefully, this blogathon has you wanting to see more Jack Webb, or better yet, own it. (I can’t wait to revisit The D.I.) Here’s where you can get the stuff written about over the weekend. Physical evidence, I guess you could say.

Dragnet (TV, 1951-59)
Public domain episodes are available from various companies. Quality varies from pretty darn good to absolutely wretched. You can also find some on YouTube and Roku.

Dragnet (Feature, 1954)
Available from Universal’s Vault program. If I didn’t consider this movie absolutely essential to life as a human, I’d tell you to wait till it was redone, preferably for Blu-ray.

Dragnet (TV, 1967-70)
You’ll find Dragnet on MeTV and Hulu Plus, along with Adam-12 and Emergency! They’re also on DVD from Shout Factory, complete with some really terrific extras, including the 1966 TV movie.

He Walked By Night (1948)
Several DVD sources for this one. Stay away from Alpha, and you’ll be OK.

Dark City (1950)
This is available on DVD from Olive Films—and in the same Blu-ray noir set as Appointment With Danger.

Appointment With Danger (1951)
Olive Films has brought this to DVD as a stand-alone disc and on Blu-ray as part of a film noir set.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)
Warner Brothers brought this out on DVD, and Warner Archive recently announced a Blu-ray. Can’t wait.

The D.I. (1957)
You can get this one on DVD from Warner Archive (and you should).

-30- (1959)
Again, our friends at Warner Archive can set you up with this one on DVD.

SOURCES: Various newspapers, 1954-1976
Thanks to my wife Jennifer for researching and writing the trivia stuff.

2 Comments

Filed under 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, DVD/Blu-ray News, Harry Morgan, Jack Webb, Janet Leigh, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, MeTV, Olive Films, Shout/Scream Factory, Television, Warner Archive