Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Click here to see a Maltin Minute in praise of...take a guess. Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian, actually included clips of yours truly in this very nice review of the movie. Strange to see myself wandering around the set with Alan Arkin and Andy Garcia--something of a time capsule back a couple of years (I'd not previously seen this behind the scenes footage).
I feel like Leonard Maltin has been part of my cinematic life forever. Recently I've appeared at his USC class and occasionally we run into each other at the odd old movie event in Los Angeles. But his presence in my life literally goes back to the dawn of my interest in movies. When I was quite young (nine, ten?) and started getting heavily into the history of old movies, I got a subscription to Film Fan Monthly, a lovely little magazine that Maltin put out every month (or so) focusing largely on forgotten movie actors of the past, including their filmographies and rare stills. Maltin himself wasn't much older than I was at the time--I think he was a teenager (and quite an enterprising one) when he started the magazine. Soon he was compiling the articles into neat little paperback books that I collected with titles like "The Real Stars", "Movie Comedy Teams", Soon he was onto his Movies on TV series, but not before publishing one of the best and most read film reference books of all times. I speak of "The Great Movie Shorts", a thorough history of the short films put out by studios in the twenties, thirties and forties. Again, invaluable filmographies were included and I learned much about a number of film series that were (and continue to be) frustratingly unavailable. Andy Clyde anyone? Gil Lamb? The Edgar Kennedy RKO shortts? Leon Errol? These were names familiar at the time to most moviegoers but whose short films are all but invisible now. Maltin wrote with earnest passion about this sub-genre of movie history and to this day I'm delighted when I stumble on an old short that I'd read about in his book but never had the chance to see.
Thanks Leonard. And here's one of those forgotten shorts that with a thousand channels to choose from, nobody airs on TV. But then there's youtube--thank God. Ladies and Gentleman, Leon "Rubberlegs" Errol in "Gem Jams".
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:31 AM
Friday, September 10, 2010
Behold your neighborhood 7-11. Pause in front of this shrine to grease, low-cost hot dogs, crappy bathroom products, poisonous soda's in so-called "big gulp" cups (the better to hasten the poisoning process, my dear), the odd assortment of discount candies and gums, case after case of beers, burritos, motor oils and barbeque supplies (self-lite, natch). And now inhale deeply and recall the fragrant moments of your suburban youth, which without a doubt frequently involved stops at this "convenience" store as well as nighttime parking lot hangouts.
Ask yourself: how many times did you go to the 7-11 stoned and hungry? If you can't remember it's because you were stoned and hungry.
And now behold this DVD pile-up in a Red Box outside of a 7-11 in the Bronx, New York.
For me, the circle of life has been completed. From "7-11's Got Slurpy Rock Cups" (TV ad circa 1977), through "Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11" (as nauseatingly intoned by Vin Scully during coverage of best forgotten LA Dodgers Games to the final insult/compliment (take your pick): all those years of work and now, my film is a product sold at the local 7-11. I am honored/horrified. Thank you/drop dead.
Want more? No? Well who really EVER WANTS MORE OF ANYTHING AT 7-11? Nonetheless:
Oh thank heaven...for 7-11...(photos courtesy of J. Warren, Bronx NY).
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 11:54 AM