Category Archives: Television

Blu-Ray News #125: The Rockford Files – The Complete Series.

“Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I’ll get back to you.”

Mill Creek has announced a Blu-Ray set of the complete run of The Rockford Files (1974-80), coming in June. To me, this is one of the greatest things to ever turn up on TV. Jame Garner was perfect for this show, or maybe it’s the other way around — the perfect show was put together around him.

There isn’t anything about this show that isn’t cool — Rockford’s trailer and Firebird; his dad, Rocky (Noah Beery, Jr.), and his GMC pickup; the answering machine and theme song.

The LA locations are always a lot of fun to study, so it’ll be great to see em in high definition. Not that I (or you) really need a reason to go through this show yet again. Essential.

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Filed under James Garner, James Stewart, Mill Creek, Television

Dialogue Of The Day: Adam-12 (1968).

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From the first episode of Adam-12, “The Impossible Mission,” which was actually directed by Jack Webb.

Pete Malloy (Martin Milner): “This black and white patrol car has an overhead valve V-8 engine. It develops 325 horsepower at 4800 RPMs. It accelerates from zero to 60 in seven seconds. It has a top speed of 120 miles an hour. It’s equipped with a multi-channeled DFE radio and an electronic siren capable of admitting three variables: wail, yelp and alert. It also serves as an outside radio speaker and public address system. The automobile has two shotgun racks, one attached to the bottom portion of the front seat, one in the vehicle trunk. Attached to the middle of the dash, illuminated by a single bulb is a hot sheet desk. Fastened to which you will always make sure is the latest one off the teletype before you ever roll.”

Felt like we were overdue for some Jack Webb. By the way, the patrol carMalloy’s referring to (and leaning on) is a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere.

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Filed under Dialogue Of The Day, Jack Webb, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, Television

Superman And The Mole Men (1951).

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Directed by Lee Sholem
Original Screenplay by Richard Fielding
Cameraman: Clark Ramsey

Cast: George Reeves (Clark Kent/Superman), Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane), Jeff Corey (Luke Benson), Walter Reed (Bill Corrigan), J. Farrell MacDonald (Pop Sheridan), Stanley Andrews (The Sheriff)

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Judging from what little I’ve seen of them, the comic book movies they churn out these days aren’t my cup of tea. Far from it. Superman And The Mole Men (1951) is more to my taste. (For what it’s worth, my other favorite comic book/strip movies are the first Blondie feature, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome,  The Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore, the 1966 Batman feature, Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik and The Rocketeer.)

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Clark Kent and Lois Lane travel from Metropolis to Silsby to do a story on the world’s deepest oil well. Out of that hole come the mole men, a group of maybe-radioactive midgets in furry suits and bald wigs who live in the center of the earth. The frightened townspeople, led by Jeff Corey (who’d soon be blacklisted), try to get rid of them, but Superman saves the day (along with the mole men).

Superman: “You’re not going to shoot those little creatures. In the first place, they haven’t done you any harm. In the second place, they may be radioactive.”

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Superman And The Mole Men kinda served as a pilot for the Superman TV series — and it would be split in half to create a two-part episode to wrap up the show’s first season. The movie’s the first time we see George Reeves as Clark Kent and Superman, and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. Shot (in a hurry) on the RKO-Pathé lot, it made use of some oil derricks down the street. Lippert Pictures released the feature, and the TV show would go into production not long after. Director Lee Sholem did a number of the episodes, too.

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It’s a cheap affair, to be sure. The mole men’s weapon appears to be a vacuum cleaner (Electrolux, perhaps?) with a funnel attached to one end. Superman doesn’t have all that much screen time, with much of the picture’s 58 minutes devoted to a couple of mole men trying to outrun the citizens of Silsby. But, Superman And The Mole Men has the distinction of being the first feature film based on a DC comic book. (I’m not counting the Batman and Superman serials.) And there’s a ragged charm to it you’ll never see in the big-budget, computer-effects-laden movies of today.

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On DVD, Warner Bros. added Superman And The Mole Men to the first season of the Adventures Of Superman TV show, which also includes the two-episode version. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1951, George Reeves, Lippert/Regal/API, Phyllis Coates, Television

DVD News #96: The Blue Knight (1973).

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Directed by Robert Butler
Starring William Holden, Lee Remick, Anne Archer, Sam Elliot, Joe Santos, Vic Tayback

Word on the street is that Warner Archive has located decent material for an eventual DVD release of The Blue Knight (1973), the terrific mini-series starring William Holden as L.A. cop Bumper Morgan. It won a few Emmys (including a well-deserved one for Holden), played theaters overseas in a feature-length cut, and spawned the series starring George Kennedy.

Thanks to Graham for the news.

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Filed under 1973, DVD/Blu-ray News, Television, Warner Archive, William Holden

RIP, John Zacherle, The Cool Ghoul.

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John Zacherle
(September 26, 1918 – October 27, 2016)

John Zacherle, the revered horror host Zacherley, has passed away at 98. Starting in Philadelphia in 1957 and continuing in New York through the 60s, Zacherley hosted Shock Theater and other horror-movie shows.

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His single “Dinner With Drac” was a Top 10 hit in 1958. And he was featured on the cover of Famous Monsters Of Filmland #15 (up top).

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DVD/Blu-Ray News #85: Dimension 5 And Cyborg 2087 (Both 1966).

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Dimension 5 (1965)
Directed byFranklin Adreon
Written by Arthur C. Pierce
Starring Jeffrey Hunter, France Nuyen, Harold Sakata

United Pictures Corporation produced nine films between 1966 and 1968, with the idea that they’d quickly make their way to TV, where they’d be attractive thanks to name actors (even if past their prime) and color photography. Two of those nine UPC pictures, Dimension 5 and Cyborg 2087 (both 1966) have been announced for DVD and Blu-Ray release early next year.

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Cyborg 2087 (1966)
Directed byFranklin Adreon
Written by Arthur C. Pierce
Starring Michael Rennie, Wendell Corey, Warren Stevens, Eduard Franz, Harry Carey, Jr.

Both films were directed by Franklin Adreon from time-traveling scripts by Arthur C. Pierce. Pierce wrote a slew of low-budget sci-fi pictures: The Cosmic Man (1959), Beyond The Time Barrier (1960), Women Of The Prehistoric Planet (1966) and more. A weekend retrospective of his work would be a real hoot — and would allow you to spend time with the likes of John Agar, Mamie Van Doren, Scott Brady and John Carradine.

1966 was quite a year. You had Pet Sounds, Revolver and Blonde On Blonde to listen to and cheeseball movies like these to watch. Those were the days.

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Filed under 1966, John Agar, John Carradine, Kino Lorber, Television, The Beatles

CD News: Jonny Quest Soundtrack.

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La-La Land Records and Warner Bros. is about to release the original television score to the Hanna-Barbera adventure series Jonny Quest (1964-65). This deluxe 2-CD tribute to the musical genius of Hoyt Curtin is something a certain demographic has been waiting for for years.

La-La Land has brought out a lot of really great stuff — their complete score to It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is terrific, but this might be the best yet.

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Filed under 1964, 1965, Hanna-Barbera, Television