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Category Archives: Cathode Rays

Tokyo Drifter on TCM

Cool movie alert! Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting director Seijun Suzuki’s 1966 film Tokyo Drifter late Friday night. I would describe this film as a nihilistic gangster tale with a groovy use of color and the occasional weird song. Hunky Tetsuya Watari plays Tetsu, an ex-con who tries to go straight but finds himself up against his former colleagues and assorted meanies in stylish ’60s Tokyo. Tetsu also gets to sing the title theme (a twangy, Gene Pitney sorta thing) and shoots at gangsters in the film’s unforgettable climax set at an empty but stylishly designed nightclub. Some of the film admittedly is pretty standard, but you can always sense director Suzuki pushing the envelope with the wild colors, music and energy.

Blah Blah Blah

Got a few chuckles reading through the a.v. club’s 15 People You Meet Listening To DVD Commentaries. I especially recognize the Scholar, the Narrator, and (having attempted not one but two Vincent Sherman yak tracks) the Doddering Old Man.

TV Boneyard

I get jazzed whenever I find out about forgotten clips from not-so-classic old TV shows, as two of my favorite pop culture bloggers have recently done. Jaime Weinman of Something Old, Nothing New wrote about the opening credits of a short-lived 1979 sitcom called Out of the Blue. The sequence is very ABC sitcommy with its outdoor vignettes of the family playing around, the names typeset in Bauhaus, and Charles Fox’s ingratiating theme song (cute, but not up to the standards of his excellent Angie theme). I don’t remember this show at all; strange considering that I spent every waking moment of 1979 sitting in front of the tube — the way most ten-year-olds do, right?

Moving on to something that I do remember (somewhat), Mark Evanier of News from Me recently posted about a longish but impressive dance sequence from the 1985 special Night of 100 Stars. As Evanier points out, much of these specials consisted merely of the stars walking across the stage while the audience applauded (hey, we had lower entertainment standards back in the ’80s). That’s probably why now nobody seems to remember them. Back then, however, it was a huge deal, especially the original 100 Stars telecast from 1982. I recall that the highlight on that one was a gorgeous, monochromatic fashion show scored to that “Hooked On Classics” song. If anything cries out for a fancy schmancy DVD reissue, it’s that!

With a Pinch of Cinnamon

Best thing I’ve heard all day. The news is especially refreshing in this case, since Mission: Impossible has been so hard to find lately. The FX network used to air repeats back in the early to mid-’90s, but now it appears that the episodes are only being shown locally in the Los Angeles area. These DVD sets will be an opportunity for many to reacquaint themselves with one of the most acclaimed series of the ’60s. I’m just barely familiar with the Barbara Bain/Martin Landau/Peter Graves period, which turn out to be only two years of a seven season run.

P.S. I know this space is starting to turn into The TV Blog, but it’s hot out and I’m bored. Humor me a little.

Alternative Fuel, CTW-style

We interrupt this weblog for a funky flashback from Sesame Street (or was it The Electric Company?). Have a nice Memorial Day? We just ate a huge lunch of BBQ hot dogs and cherry pie. I’m porked.

Does She Puke Pink, Too?

A.V. Club blogger Kyle Ryan singled out MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 as the most offensive show on television. I’ve managed to avoid that one, but now I’d like to see episode with the Scottsdale girl who dyed her pet poodles pink for a pink-themed party and got two brand new cars for her birthday. Her dad is a local auto dealer ’round these parts, and apparently the show has touched off a controversy after it was found that Daddy and his fellow super-rich Scottsdale auto dealers finangled a deal to promote their businesses using city taxpayer money. Read about it here and here.

Over on another channel, more details on Turner Classic Movies’ efforts at acquiring a more youthful audience (via TV Squad). I’m looking forward to Rob Zombie introducing cult horror films, and the one with young actors interviewing their older peers looks promising — if it’s done the right way. The other show they’re producing, Take Two, deserves to die a quick death. From the article: “This unique concept will give a young star the opportunity to act out (or completely re-imagine) an iconic scene from a classic Hollywood movie. The pilot for the series will feature Wilmer Valderrama re-creating a scene from The Lost Weekend.” Blecch!