Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: Z is for Zero Movie Posters!

Let me just say before we get to the actual post - that this is

Let's Get Out of Here's 400th Blog Post!


For the second year in a row, the final post in the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge falls on the last day of the month - coincidentally my birthday! So we might get up to some shenanigans in addition to our regularly scheduled

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #66!

But this one is a little weird - not counting any birthday hoopla - because we are definitely looking at three movie posters...and yet...

Z is for Zero Movie Posters!

But I don't care what this post's title is - we're still looking at three posters!

The Zero Boys  (Lightning Video, 1987)

I saw this on video back in the day - and really enjoyed it! A fun mix of genres, going from fratboy lowjinx to action and survivalist horror, I'd like to see it again, actually. Also, the film's star, Kelli Maroney - actually follows this blog - and I'm hoping she sees this and comments! (cross fingers)

Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero  (Warner Bros., 1998)

With the original 1990's animated series voices - Kevin Conroy as Batman and Michael Ansara as Mr. Freeze - this very low budget DTV movie is actually a more satisfying film experience than the live action Batman & Robin. It also only costs 75 minutes of your life.

Z.P.G. (Zero Population Growth)  (Paramount, 1972)

I've never seen this cautionary tale of a doomsday to come -  but with that cast - I sure want to!

Now, today is indeed my birthday - so let's throw in some other junk for no particular reason.

Here are a few pictures that could have illustrated some part of this A-Z blogstravaganza - but didn't make the cut:

That's six Barnstable sisters for you - courtesy Quark!

And since it's my birthday - here's a fan made version of the credits to Wonder Woman - featuring an episode (and guest stars) that never existed - but his editing and clips are as good as (better than?) the original show's credits...

And that wraps it all up - 26 posts running the alphabet. I'm going to take a couple of days off - but I'll be back before the week is out! Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: Y is for Yor-The Hunter from the Future!

In this penultimate April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge we need to think about the past...and the future...as we check out another...

Saturday Night at the Movies 4/28/12!

Who cares what picture we see?

Reb Brown looks like he might, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and call it...

Y is for Yor: The Hunter from the Future!

I saw this goofy damn movie in the theater in 1983. It is quite the sight to behold. If you don't think that you need to see this with me - let 27 seconds of the movie convince you.

This resides in the video vault in some form - VHS or DVD, and would be easily tracked down should you decide you need to see it - even tonight!

Z last post is coming Monday, and I hope you'll come back for it! Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: X is for Xaviera Hollander!

What a treasure trove of incredible people and wonderful posts it has been, eh? Did I say treasure? Why, yes I did! And you know what always designates a treasure? Of course, X marks the spot! And in this spot...

X is for Xaviera Hollander!

Xaviera Hollander is the author of the 1971 memoir The Happy Hooker: My Own Story. In it she tells her tale of leaving her job as the secretary of the Dutch consulate in Manhattan  in 1968 - when she was in her mid-twenties - to become a $1000 a night call girl. A year later she opened her own brothel and soon became New York City's leading madam. In 1971, she was arrested for prostitution by the New York police department and was forced to leave the U.S. whereupon she wrote her memoir (with co-authors Robin Moore and Yvonne Dunleavy) and became a notorious celebrity of the time.

Four years later, she starred in a Canadian movie - My Pleasure is My Business, an R rated sex farce directed by Canadian character actor Al Waxman - perhaps best known as the boss on TV's Cagney and Lacey.

    After that, and separately from her Canadian cinematic adventures, Hollander's memoir was snapped up for filming in Hollywood. However, Ms. Hollander was not chosen to play herself. Instead, British actress and redhead Lynn Redgrave was cast as Xaviera. The film was, of course, The Happy Hooker, from 1975:

Lynn Redgrave as Xaviera Hollander

Hollander and Redgrave together on set.

The filmic legend of Xaviera Hollander didn't stop there. Oh no! It seems The Happy Hooker made some money - as it was a relatively clean dirty movie. So, in 1977, there was a sequel. Lynn Redgrave did not return, so blonde Joey Heatherton was brought in to play Ms. H as The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington.

Joey Heatherton as Xaviera Hollander

In case you didn't realize she had a face.

And then, after cable airings of the first two movies made some extra money, a third and final adventure for the notorious madam hit the theaters in 1980. This time brunette Martine Beswicke took over the role for The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood...

Martine Beswicke as Xaviera Hollander

After the three movies, Xaviera Hollander continued to be a well known adult entertainment celebrity, with a sexual advice column appearing in Penthouse magazine for years. The column was indeed written by her according to her documentary producer John Patrick Patti in the comments below.

More recently, quoting Mr. Patti: "Nowadays, she produces English speaking theatre out of her fabulous villa in Marbella Spain, and runs a successful B&B business out of her hometown residence in Amsterdam, Holland."

Here's the poster to that cool documentary - courtesy Mr. Patti:

These days, of course, she would have found herself in a reality TV show - but back in the 70's - it was movies that called her - and you can try to track down and check out her four movies - the Happy Hooker movies are conveniently collected in one DVD set, but you'll only find My Pleasure on VHS - if you dare! And you can keep an eye out for Xaviera Hollander The Happy Hooker: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary as it makes the rounds of film festivals!

My thanks to John Patrick Patti for getting in touch with me and helping me bring this spotlight more up to date!

Y not come back tomorrow for our penultimate post in this challenge, and until you do, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: W is for The Wizard of Speed and Time!

With the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge nearing its end - I find myself wishing for the magic to live it all again. And magic should be easy to find in this post, since...

W is for The Wizard of Speed and Time!

Spotlight on: Mike Jittlov!

Mike Jittlov had been making short films for about ten years in the mid-to-late 70's, full of pixellated animation and ingenious effects, with lots of heart and imagination. Legend has it that he'd come to the Disney company's attention when Regis Philbin saw some of his work and got some of the shorts aired on California television. Jittlov was first hired to produce a short film for one of Disney's television specials celebrating Mickey Mouse's 50th birthday. The short was called Mouse Mania. Here is is, introduced by Leonard Maltin, and with Spanish subtitles, for some reason:

    In the late 70's, The Wonderful World of Disney aired Sunday evenings on NBC. It was not a staple of my Sunday night viewing, but I would tune in once in a while when they had something cool or unusual. Somehow I found out - perhaps through Starlog magazine, but considering a monthly magazine's lead time more likely TV Guide - that there was going to be a special on how Disney did their special effects - told in a fantasy fictional way with Wizards in charge of the various kinds of effects at the studio. It aired December 19th, 1979. Among the wizards was "Makeup Wizard" played by future Friday the 13th Part 6 Jason Lives director Tom McLoughlin.
    But I digress. And so soon!
    The wizard we're here to talk about - The Wizard of Speed and Time - was played none other than Mike Jittlov.

Because Jittlov was known to always wear a green jacket, the WoS&T wears a green hooded robe in exactly the same color. Jittlov produced another special effects short for the Disney special, but apparently somehow was able to maintain ownership of the short itself as he has shown it in festivals, and later expanded on it - more on that in a bit. Here is the original Wizard of Speed and Time short:

It is truly an amazing piece of effects work - keep in mind this is a guy working with a crew of one or two - interiors done in his garage, and exteriors done guerrilla style - run in, shoot, run out - no licenses, no clearances, no insurance, nothing. I'm not going to exhaustively break the short down - but I have to mention some jaw dropping bits, because how they were achieved just makes them all the more incredible! When the Wizard runs down the wall in the alley? That was shot by having Jittlov jump up, hitting both feet on the wall - while his cohort snapped off one frame in the movie camera. Then Jittlov, now on the ground, would get up, dust himself off, move a couple of feet down the alley, and repeat the jump. Take a look at how many steps the Wizard takes getting down that alley and be amazed. The race with the train was achieved by watching the local train yards for slow moving trains - then jumping the fence, outrunning the train while the camera was under cranked, and then escaping before the yard security could show up to arrest them for trespassing. Now that's filmmaking!

Not long after that special aired Mike Jittlov was featured in an article in Starlog magazine, even making the cover as can be seen above. It revolved mainly around the Disney special, though it did also mention Jittlov's history of shooting his short effects flicks. It was a good article and one I read and re-read several times. But then, a short time later again, a lesser light in the world of sci-fi mags, Fantastic Films, put out an even better article on Jittlov and his work. It went over the short films in detail, with Jittlov telling funny stories about their production.

Actually, I found the whole article posted page by page. If you want to read it, click on the pictures, each one will hopefully blow up to a full readable size. Those who don't want to read several pages of thirty year old magazine article written by someone else can just skip down to the next paragraph.

What an eclectic and interesting guy, too! Grew up in Los Angeles, developed into a truly interesting Renaissance man - he speaks multiple languages, writes 23 lines to the inch, and built a motorized briefcase that can be ridden at 30 mph thanks to spring out handlebars that are built in. He took animation as a necessary arts course for his elongated college career and developed his love of filmmaking while producing his first short.  The rest of the article details the shorts themselves.

Mike Jittlov demonstrates the Fastest Briefcase Ever.

As much fun as that Fantastic Films article/interview was, there was an equally notable bit to be found in the Classifieds section of the magazine. Firstly, in these days just before the home video boom, there was an ad offering 16mm prints of Mike Jittlov's shorts for $110 a pop! (I wonder how many he sold?). Even more interesting than this ad was another classified ad - this one from Mike Jittlov offering free filmmaking advice and publishing his home telephone number!!! I was boggled by this, but having no filmmaking questions to ask (not that my Super-8 filmmaking couldn't have used some advice) and fearing long distance calls appearing on my parents' phone bill, I didn't call. I did, however, put that magazine away carefully.

After this he developed video pieces used for the launch of the Disney Channel, including a Mickey Mouse Satellite, and other video effects pieces used for a few years over there. Here is the very first image ever seen on The Disney Channel, created by Mike Jittlov, along with some later shot video of Mike holding the satellite model - which he was at one time planning to sell. Anyway, it's 15 seconds long - what have you got to lose?

 Years pass, and I see a movie sitting on my local video store's shelf - The Wizard of Speed and Time! Apparently Jittlov started work on a feature film version of the short in 1983. It had a small and brief theatrical run somewhere in 1989, and came out on home video in 1990.

The movie cleverly avoids trying to take the Wizard character and building a feature length film around him. Instead it tells the story of Mike Jittlov, the filmmaker, and his trials and travails in Hollywood, but with his usual magic and fantasy bits intact. It incorporates the short - with a new leading lady in carefully refilmed shots substituting for the original young lady. I really enjoyed the movie - it's low budget and rough around the edges but has an undeniable sweetness and lots of heart.

At this point in my life I had graduated college with a film degree and was living at home with my parents, marshalling my resources for a move somewhere with a film industry. Having been delighted by his movie, and now needing advice on how to break into the movie business, I dug out that old magazine and called Mike Jittlov. Sure enough, he hadn't moved, and within seconds I was speaking to the man himself.

He was very pleasant on the phone, accepted my praise of TWoSaT with good grace, then proceeded to tell me that in a bizarre twist of fate, the story that he told in the movie of losing the movie to a underhanded producer actually happened, and making it all even weirder, the real-life underhanded producer was also the man who played the underhanded producer in the movie! As a result, he said the movie that I had watched was not complete - there were still unfinished special effects and editing issues with the movie in Jittlov's mind, but he was glad I enjoyed it. He told me if I had the ability to dub off a copy of the VHS tape I had his permission. Obviously, this would not have cut much soap with Interpol (who have been assigned to the case of video piracy since that big meeting on September 8th, 1977...) but I felt morally okay doing that very thing - dubbing off a copy of the movie with Jittlov's permission. I have since purchased a prerecorded VHS copy too, now that the prices aren't so outrageous.

The rest of the conversation dealt with my impending push to gain employment in the film industry. Unfortunately Jittlov was at a low point at the time, having just gone through the whole thing with his first feature, so he mostly offered cautionary advice to be careful who I trusted. But I appreciated his viewpoint nonetheless, and thanked him for his time, which ended up being 30-40 minutes on the phone.

Since that time Jittlov has carried on, occasionally working on the visual effects crews of movies like Ghost and doing whatever it is that he does in the day to day, although from research I've done online it appears the bitterness against the film industry that was developing at the time we spoke on the phone has fully taken hold and he now no longer has anything to do with filmmaking per se.

Mike Jittlov circa 1996
He did though have some notoriety in the last few years when he helped out on a Star Wars fan film called Vader's Psychic Hotline, providing the voice for Han Solo. He maintained a website - Wizworld.com -  and although it doesn't appear to have been updated for years, there is a lot of entertaining info there. And no matter what he chooses to do or if he never makes another movie he'll always be our once and future Wizard.

Cheers to Mike Jittlov! Thanks for all the entertainment!

And that is a wrap. I think an X cellent idea would be for you to return for tomorrow's post. Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: V is for The Video Vault of Mora Tau!

We can see the finish line for the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge from here - but before we get there, we have a few more posts to view.

View? That starts with a V...and this time..

V is for The Video Vault of Mora Tau!

Whenever I want to put together a few video clips, I do it under this department title - but where did that title come from?

Well, I got it from the incredible Hollywood Boulevard - the movie Joe Dante and Allan Arkush made for Roger Corman in 1976. In it there is a movie being produced called Machete Maidens of Mora Tau - and I always liked that title.

Here's a screen shot of a movie marquee from Hollywood Boulevard:

Sadly, the art department stopped adding letters before they got to "of Mora Tau," but that is the movie's full title in Hollywood Boulevard.

Now, Dante and Arkush got the name Mora Tau from an old pre-George Romero zombie movie - here's the trailer:

So I borrowed the location - as it sounds exotic and mysterious - for this blog department.

Let's throw in a few other random video segments - to make this a proper VVoMT post...

Here's a horror host I got to see on a couple of Florida vacations - and meet on Halloween in 1988...

And let's close out with a fun tune from the Monkees. That's pretty random.

If you're not planning to come back for tomorrow's post - and you're going to be vocal about it - I hope you don't mind if I W so it sounds like you are coming back...until then...when we'll be much further away from the reach of a letter pun...you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: U is for Ursula Andress!

It is the 21st post in the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge - and I think the time has come to bring out a little of the Eye Candy we like to spotlight around here. And, why not make it a Bond Girl. In fact, let's make it the First Bond Girl as...

U is for Ursula Andress!

And here's the famous scene now - Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder - emerging from sea in Dr. No.

That is not Ursula Andress's voice - talking or singing. She was dubbed for the whole movie, as Cubby Broccoli thought she sounded like "a Dutch comic."

Regardles of whose voice box she was using in the movie - she was a gorgeous specimen of womanhood - and started a fine tradition of lovely ladies appearing as the female leads in the James Bond movie series.

She looked good in other movies too:

V only have a few more posts to go in this challenge - please come back for the next one and until that post you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: T is for Terror Movie Posters!

We're in the homestretch of the April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge, and it's another start to the work week - which means another trio of movie posters for perusal for

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #65!

And this time out, it's three times the terror, because...

T is for Terror Movie Posters!

Terror in the Haunted House  (Howco International, 1960)

Here's what I had to say about this movie and "Psychorama" in an earlier post about cinematic technologies that never really caught on:

To make their not-particularly-frightening scarepic a bit more terrifying, the producers latched on to the then-new process of subliminal imagery, flashing quick split-second shots of images chosen to produce fear, or at least a sense on unease in the viewer. It didn't really work, so they tried again the next year with A Date with Death. However, someone in authority somewhere suddenly got nervous about subliminal imagery, and soon after the process of using subliminals and Psychorama were banned from being used in films or television for years, so the producers went back to making their usual boring movies.

(By the way, if you like this - and want to read about nine more of these movie technologies - the whole post can be accessed through here.)

A Study in Terror  (Columbia Pictures. 1966)

This serious (and well made) drama that pits Arthur Conan Doyle's famed sleuth against the notorious killer was released in its native England in 1965. When Columbia brought it over to America the next year, the Batman TV series was all the rage, resulting in this regrettable choice for the poster.

The Terror  (American International, 1963)

The story of how and why this Roger Corman movie was made is almost more entertaining that the movie itself.

There were some impressive castle sets about to be torn down after Corman's The Raven wrapped. That show had been shot early, so Boris Karloff still owed Corman four days of work. Corman shot for four days on the castle set with the cast - then had others take turns shooting exterior footage with everyone but Karloff across the next nine months, finally piecing the movie together from all this stuff.

And it surprisingly works pretty well as an old fashioned gothic chiller. Of course, I'd watch Karloff eat soup with a leaky spoon, so there you go.

U will hopefully return tomorrow for another post, until we meet - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: S is for The Spy Who Loved Me!

In this April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge I'm making no secret that I love James Bond - in this, the 50th Anniversary year of 007 in the Movies. So could you be the tiniest bit surprised that I'm jumping on the Bond Wagon for this...

Saturday Night at the Movies 4/21/12!

Who cares what picture we see?

Walter Gotell does more than you could ever know, and in his honor:

S is for The Spy Who Loved Me!

Roger Moore's third Bond movie was the first to be produced solely by Albert Broccoli - and if anyone was worried whether or not "Cubby" could handle producing a 007 picture without his former partner Harry Saltzman - they needn't have bothered. It's a heck of movie - a huge production that entailed building the largest soundstage ever built to that time - and the 007 stage at Pinewood was used for other big movies - like The Empire Strikes Back until its untimely demolition in a fire in the mid-80's. Thankfully, it was rebuilt even bigger and christened the Albert R Broccoli 007 stage.

And since we're having some fun - check out this teaser trailer for the movie - with Roger Moore narrating!

And let's throw in a recently put together "fan trailer" edited by some clever person and uploaded to YouTube - here's how the trailer might go these days - ala 2006's Casino Royale...

I think it would be T riffic if you would come back Monday for the next post - until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: R is for Random Stew!

It is the second year running, and I can think of no better idea in this April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge for the eighteenth letter of the alphabet than another visit to the least structured recurring department this blog produces...which means...yes...

R is for Random Stew!

Whatever I think of - goes in!

Let's see...how about some photographic proof that although we only get one at a time on The Big Screen - away from the theater they're friends to the end?

While we ponder that, I thought we might do a little reading to broaden our minds.

I haven't read this book but good golly do I want to!

Who remembers The Mommies?

After the success of the Pet Rock, there was a brief craze of trying to come up with the next completely useless thing to sell that might catch the public's fancy and make the creator a fast million - and my favorite was The Invisible Piranha:

Yes, it was a boxed kit containing this fishbowl, something that was supposed to contain the unseen fish, and a pretty funny instruction booklet.

One of my favorite TV shows from back in the day - for the brief time it was on, anyway...

The Pan-Am of its day, this CBS series had three stewardesses (before they were called flight attendants) and their various adventures flying hither and yon, with comedy and drama, but the comedy in greater proportion.

The show starred Kathryn Witt, Pat Klous...and *sigh* Connie Sellecca.

Left to right: Witt, Sellecca, Klous

The fourth member of the ensemble was their usual pilot - played by Howard Platt - who'd become a familiar face on TV as Hoppy - the Caucasian cop on Sanford and Son who just didn't get the jive talk.

Howard Platt and the ladies.

Apparently Howard Platt and Connie Sellecca were romantically involved back in those days! Yowza! Does John Tesh know this?

They got 19 episodes on the air before cancellation grounded them forever. Klous went on to replace Lauren Tewes on The Love Boat; and Connie Sellecca went on to live in my heart forever as Pam Davidson on The Greatest American Hero.

I recently posted a review of the novelization of the 80's horror classic Brain Damage - and an interview with the book's author - "Uncle" Bob Martin - who was known to us horror movie fans as the editor of Fangoria magazine in those days.

Well, one of my blog buddies - the awesome Kaijinu of Sticky Red: A Bodycount Compendium - that's a link, by the way - sent me a link to a piece of his art - depicting Brain Damage monster star Aylmer doing what he does best...check this out:

That is a beautiful piece of art, right there. And, just a side note - I've managed to get this in front of Uncle Bob - who liked it a lot - and Brain Damage film director Frank Henenlotter - who had this to say: "Oh, man, that's a beauty! Love it!!!"

And we shall wrap up this Random Stew meal with our usual dessert - cheesecake!

I give you the gorgeous Tanya Memme, looking a little
more risque than she does on Sell This House!

S soon as tomorrow there will be another post in the A-Z Challenge appearing here - I hope you'll come back for it! Until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!