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Monthly Archives: January 2006

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A Shelley Winters Memory

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Farewell to Shelley Winters, who died Saturday at age 85. The Shelley I grew up with was the blowsy, muu muu clad Poseidon Adventure lady who’d arrived at “The Tonight Show” looking like she knocked off a few Jack Daniels before showtime. It wasn’t until much later when I saw her in stuff like A Place in the Sun and The Night of the Hunter that I realized what a multifaceted actress she was. In these days of vapid magazine-cover celebrities, she was and will remain a true talent.

My favorite memory of Shelley was an early ’80s “Tonight Show” appearance. Shelley had finished her spot with Johnny Carson and they’d moved on to the next guest, a pre-Designing Women Annie Potts. Annie and Shelley were happily chatting away when Shelley suddenly asked “Haven’t we met somewhere before?” Well, it turned out that the two had actually made a movie together which Shelley had completely forgot. Her gradual realization, on national TV, that Annie Potts was one of her former co-stars was unforgettably hilarious.

Wannabe Film Critic Blues

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The Internet Movie Database has accepted my mini review of the 1943 Roy Rogers vehicle Silver Spurs, which I submitted solely because nobody else commented on it. The same reason I just finished another mini-review, for the uneven ’41 Warners ‘B’ Steel Against the Sky. That one hasn’t yet been approved.

Speaking of the IMDb, I just noticed that they’re linking to my Mindjack Film reviews in the external reviews sections for each film. Their pages for Kinsey, In the Realms of the Unreal, The Razor’s Edge, Anna and the King of Siam and The Best of Everything all have my name on them. Makes me feel like a real, bona fide film critic! I’d love to do more of these reviews, but the larger DVD companies make it so difficult to get review copies and press releases. One such organization wouldn’t send anything because my editor is based in Canada. Another has a Byzantine online application process, and my many queries to them as to why I’m unacceptable have gone unanswered. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to deal with any Joe Shmoe wannabe with a website, but come on. I now have lots of respect for full time freelance writers who have to deal with this. Nobody needs to constantly be jumping through hoops to prove their validity.

A Found Find

The Christian Science Monitor just did a nice article on FOUND magazine. The FOUND empire — website, magazine, book, and traveling exhibit — is devoted to found notes, photos and pieces of paper. In their words, “We decided to make a bunch of projects so that everyone can check out all the strange, hilarious and heartbreaking things people have picked up and passed our way.” Like this melancholy snapshot of an abandoned BBQ:

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Sequins Aplenty

A YouTube find: vintage performance clips of The Supremes from 1964-77 — the Diana Ross phase, the Jean Terrell phase, and the “three women singing nondescript disco” phase. This took up way too much of my time this morning.

Where the Hell Is My Chiffon?

I don’t usually go for them newfangled thingies known as podcasts, but two lately have been sticking with me. One is a weekly podcast from the nasally voiced but affable guy who runs Retrocrush.com. This week he pontificates on, among other things, the timeless appeal of Olivia Newton-John and Britney hubby/professional hanger-on Kevin Federline’s forthcoming attempt at becoming a gangsta hip-hop star (you’ve been warned). Another podcast I’ve been digging is the Project Runway one from Tim Gunn. Anyone who’s ever watched a Runway knows that Tim Knows All, and much of the show’s entertainmnet derives from whenever a would-be fashion designer ignores the dapper professor’s constructive criticism. Mr. Gunn’s intelligent podcasts reveal lots of goodies that didn’t end up on camera.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Appropos of nothing: a Hello Kitty totem pole rendered in granite (via Sarah).

Artistry In Motion


Hip to our love of midcentury art, friends of ours gave us a cool Christmas gift: Tin Lizzie: The Story of the Fabulous Model T Ford by Philip Van Doren Stern (Simon & Shuster, 1955). While the book itself is a pretty straightforward, whimsical look back at the Model T Ford phenomenon, what really stands out here are the illustrations from the great Charles Harper. Although I’ve posted about Mr. Harper’s work before, with this particular project you can see his exquisite sense of line and motion applied to the odd non-natural subject. Who knew that car parts could appear so alive? Check it out.
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