Saturday, August 18, 2007

Centenaries, Centenaries! They Pleasure Me!


Greetings, my friends. We are all interested in old age, for that is how you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember, my friends, drier skin and creakier bones and varicose veins will affect you in the future -- if you are lucky.

You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you visit this blog each day. And now, for the first time, I am bringing to you, the full story (well, the short version) of what happened on that fateful day -- August 18, 1907. I am bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony of the marcelled-hair soul who was launched that day on a life of prophecy and prediction. My friends, I cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us call a spade a spade. Let us praise those who have entertained us. My friends, can your heart stand the shocking fact of The Amazing Criswell's centenary?

For years, he told us the almost unbelievable, related the unreal and showed it to be more than a fact. He might never have believed that such a day would come, but yes, friends, the gentleman born Jeron Criswell Konig, better known as The Amazing Criswell, narrator of Ed Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, was born 100 years ago today.

All of us on this earth know that there is a time to live, and that there is a time to die. Yet death is always a shock to those left behind. It is even more of a shock when Death, the Proud Brother, comes suddenly without warning -- as it did for brother Criswell, on October 4, 1982. Who could have predicted it?

But, fortunately for us, Criswell has become one of the Threshold People, people who are dead but who continue to entertain us from the Beyond. Some sooth-sayers claim that because he took his rest in a coffin in life, Criswell now spends his death in a proper bed. Could this be the reason for his longeivity? Who among us can say? Who are we going to ask -- Jeanne Dixon?

My friend, you have now read this blog, based on sworn testimony. Happy 100th birthday, Cris. And as for the rest of you... Can you prove that it didn't happen?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dick Miller to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award


And it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Dick Miller -- one of the most beloved and iconic character actors of the past half-century, known particularly for his many roles in Roger Corman and Joe Dante pictures -- will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd annual Cinecon, the world’s oldest film festival devoted exclusively to classic motion pictures. The award will be presented by Joe Dante at the gala awards banquet on Sunday, Sept. 2nd at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood.

Also receiving awards will be three other actors with significant genre credits: John Saxon, Piper Laurie (an actress who's always had a place in my heart for once marrying a film critic -- Joe Morgenstern of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL) and, of course of course, the time machinist's best friend, Alan Young.

Although you may want to attend just for the banquet, anyone who knows enough about movies to know and revere the name of Dick Miller is strongly encouraged to register for the full conference as well. Over two dozen extremely rare features will be screened -- all but one in 35mm, as well as nearly a dozen shorts (including three chapters of the 1941 Columbia serial THE IRON CLAW). If you love old movies of any stripe, you won’t want to be anywhere else Labor Day weekend.
For more information, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Ultimate Bava Book Auction is Here!

Actually, it's on eBay -- but, believe me, it's worth the trip. Click right here and check out the wealth of production materials and rarities Donna and I have assembled for the 10 lucky winners -- in addition to the first 10 signed and only numbered copies of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK!

What could we possible offer in an "Ultimate Bava Book Auction"? Well, let me put it this way...

You've been pining to hear my never-released KILL, BABY... KILL! commentary? Here's your chance!

You've always wanted to eavesdrop on interviews with the likes of Vincent Price and Cameron Mitchell? Here's your chance!

You've thought of how nice it might be to have some actual manuscript pages from this historic effort? To see how I changed things before they went to press? Here's your chance!

You think 12 pounds and 1128 pages is awfully unwieldy and wish you could own a second copy that could be conveniently slipped into your laptop or jeans pocket? Here's your chance!

And you know what? That's still not even the half of it.

Go to the auction page now (why are you still here?) and check out the full details. Donna and I have worked very hard to make this auction as attractive and exciting and generous as possible. Our goal is to honor this once-in-a-lifetime publishing event by knocking your socks off not once, but twice -- first with the auction, and then with the book itself, which should start shipping shortly after the auction ends!

And remember... If you've already pre-ordered the Bava book, no problem -- you can still participate in the bidding. If you win the auction and have already pre-ordered, we'll gladly refund the price you paid for the book on request! (Some people may want to keep that second copy anyway, since they got it for less than half the cover price, so you'll have to speak up.)

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Orson Bean's New Book

I've written here in the past about my admiration for this gentleman to my left. Actor, author, raconteur, cutting-edge educator (he and his second wife once founded an arts-oriented school where kids were graded for self-expression), stand-up comedian and game show panelist, Orson Bean -- I feel -- has lived an exemplary life. His two works of autobiography, ME AND THE ORGONE and TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH, are amazingly brave and candid works of self-exploration that encompass such matters as his experience in Reichian therapy, the founding of his school, an LSD trip, being stalked by a Satanic cult in Australia, and the failure of his second marriage following a visit to Sandstone (a free sex community) and later experimentation in open matrimony. I should note that the failure of Bean's second marriage was not a failure of the bond between husband and wife; I'm told that Carolyn Bean is still very much a part of Orson's current life with third wife, actress Ally Mills. They all spent last Thanksgiving together.

While visiting Mark Evanier's blog last night, I was surprised and pleased to learn that Orson has written a novel -- his first -- a novella, actually, as the whole thing amounts to less than 125 pages. Originally called MIKEY, it's apparently about spirituality as experienced by people outside of, or alienated by, the Church. Initially, Orson's agent couldn't place the book because Christian publishers found the book too candid (it reportedly includes some profanity and allusions to sexual activity or human sexuality) and mainstream publishers found it too... spiritual. With great largesse, Orson opted to give the book away free online for a short time... until Barricade Press, a publisher in Fort Lee, New Jersey, came forward to express interest in publishing a more polished draft. Now retitled MAIL FOR MIKEY, the book is set to be published in early October 2008.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm betting it's as interesting and as embracing of life and its mysteries as anything else Orson Bean has written.

Scorsese on Antonioni

Just linking to a terrific NEW YORK TIMES memoir by Martin Scorsese of how the films of Michelangelo Antonioni impacted his life.