Ask 411 Movies for 01.11.10: The Mysteries of Chillicothe, Ohio!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 01.11.2010
Elvis in cheese puffs, 3 South, Undergrads, TMZ, Super Friends, James Cromwell, M. Emmet Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton and manly musicals
January has been designated Elvis month for YouTube. And why we're here, I caught a bit of "TNA Impact" last Monday and Scott Hall looks like Elvis the day he died. If you're readying a death pool for the year, I'd bet the Bad Guy. Anyway, here is a video of a guy speed painting an Elvis portrait on black velvet with cheese puffs. My questions is, does it keep or do you need to shellac it with something?
I watched a bunch of Elvis movies on TCM Friday and noticed two obscure references to Chillicothe, Ohio. In Viva Las Vegas Ann-Margaret lists Cillichothe as one of the places she and her father lived. In Blue Hawaii, Floyd the Barber as a tourism company owner quizzes Elvis to see if he has what it takes to be a tour guide and poses a question as a tourist from Chillicothe. The only other movie reference to the town I can think of is that is where Martin Sheen's Capt. Willard claims to be from in Apocalypse Now. What does that all mean? Hell, if I know.
Q: Hey Leonard, I'm trying to think of the name of a tv show. It used to air on mtv right after one of the seasons of Tough Enough around 2001-2003. It was an animated show about a couple of high school friends getting used to college life. The animation wasn't very good, but I remember it being a pretty funny show and The Flaming Lips did the theme song. Any help is appreciated.
A: We got a bunch of help with this one in the column comments last week. Apparently the show Richard was thinking of was "3 South," but some people also suggested "Undergrads," which was also known as "The Click."
"3 South" ran for 13 episodes in the fall of 2002 to early 2003. The theme was "Fight Test" by the Flaming Lips. The show was created by "Family Guy" writer Mark Hentemann based on a short film he had made years before. Sanford (Brian Dunkleman) and Del (Brian Posehn) are life long friends who are attending Barder College. Barder is the bottom of the barrel and everyone there is pretty stupid and inept, including Sanford and Del. Their roommate Joe (Hentemann) is the smartest kid at the school and is usually the villain of most episodes.
"Undergrads" also had 13 episodes and aired from April to August 2001. Good Charlotte did the theme "The Click." The series was created by Pete Williams after he dropped out of college at 19 and he does most of the voices. The show traced four high school friends who went to different colleges close to each other. The primary characters were average guy Nitz, frat boy Rocko, jock Cal and nerd Gimpy. Nitz makes friends with cool girl Jessie and has a crush on beautiful and ditzy Kimmy. Teletoon and DHX Media was set to produce a second season, but MTV pulled their funding. The first season was re-shown on Comedy Central in a late Sunday night slot and they refused to finance a second season either. According to Wikipedia, as late as Dec. 2008 Williams was talking about doing a comic book or webisodes to resurrect the series.
Q: Another "X" program I for me is TMZ. I don't care about the celebs. I've never even been to the websight. What I enjoy is the way the people in the office love teasing each other. By the way, what does "TMZ" even stand for?
-The Great Capt. Smooth
A: TMZ stands for thirty mile zone. Also known as the studio zone, is an area from the intersection of West Beverly Blvd. to North La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles. The area is designated by entertainment industry unions and affects pay rates, mileage and work rules as inside the zone is considered local and outside the zone is considered non-local. TMZ.com took the name as most of what they would be reporting on would be inside that zone.
"TMZ on TV" is a syndicated program in its fourth season. Executive producer and executive editor of the website is Harvey Levin who also serves as the sort of ‘lead character' on the series as he coordinates ideas and wrangles his bullpen of writers and photographers as they collect and pitch to him celebrity gossip and news for the website.
Q: Great column as usual...got some questions for you.
1. Since comic book movies have become huge over the past decade, are there any plans to give DVD treatment to some of the cheesy comic book movies or TV shows that came out years back? I'm thinking of the Captain America movie from 1990, the live action Spider Man show from the late 70s, and various other stuff. I know most of the stuff is corny/awful but I'd think that someone would try to profit off of the "comic movie craze."
2. I was a huge fan of all the "Super Friends" cartoons when I was a little kid for some reason. Are all of the episodes on DVD? Also, did any of the guys created especially for the show ever appear in DC comics?
3. Who's your favorite horror actor & actress? I've been watching horror movies for over 20 years and I'd have to give my votes to Boris Karloff and Jamie Lee Curtis.
A: A lot of the old comic book movies and TV shows can be found on bootlegs online and at conventions. I think the basic idea is that some of these lesser and cheesier adaptations could be considered as weakening to the character or franchise. Also, there are often times legal rights issues between production companies and the comic book companies. For instance, "Batman" the sixties series has not been released on DVD due to Warner Brothers, who owns DC Comics, and 20th Century Fox who produced the show having some legal wrangling issues.
There are various "Super Friends" DVD releases, which I believe covers most of the series in its entirety. There were many incarnations under different names with different hero and villain line-ups.
"Super Friends" 1973-1974
"The All-New Super Friends Hour" 1977-1978
"Challenge of the Super Friends" 1978-1979
"The World's Greatest Super Friends" 1979-1980 (not on DVD)
"Super Friends" 1980-1983
"Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show" 1984-1985
"The Super Powers Team: Galactic Gardians" 1985-1986
There was a Super Friends comic book that ran from the early seventies to the early eighties that tried to tie into mainstream DC continuity. The Wonder Twins were given a backstory and secret identities and Marvin and Wendy were tied to other DC characters. Wendy was the niece of one of the detectives that trained Batman and Marvin was the son of the original Diana Prince, who befriended Wonder Woman and gave her her name as a cover when she came to man's world.
There were four characters specifically created for the series that had not previously appeared in the comics. They are:
Black Vulcan: He was basically a take off on Black Lightening. Black Lightening was intended for the show, but could not be used due to legal disputes between DC Comics and the character's creator Tony Isabella. Black Vulcan could shoot electricity from his hands and fly by changing his bottom half to an electrical whirlwind. A similar character named Juice was a member of the Ultimen in DC Comics.
Apache Chief: He could change his size and grow large by saying the word Inyuk-chuk. His primary villain in the Legion of Doom was Giganta, a former Wonder Woman villain. AC had an Ultimen counterpart in Long Shadow and also spawned Manitou Raven.
Samurai: He shares similar powers to that of Red Tornado in that he can create tornadoes of wind to attack enemies and to fly. Lesser powers that Samurai used on the show include invisibility, the ability to turn into flames and the ability to cast illusions. His Ultimen counterpart is Wind Dragon.
El Dorado: He is thought to be Mexican in origin and was just another attempt to make the Super Friends more diverse ethnically. He could teleport by wrapping his cape around him, create holograms from his eyes, fly, had super strength and exhibited telepathy. In some regards he could be seen as the replacement for the Martian Manhunter.
My favorite horror actor is Vincent Price. I think he had a great star look and voice for classic, gothic horror films and a slick sense of humor, which often crept on in delicious ways in performances. Price also had a longevity in the genre that made him the master of the macabre to several generations. And he did the narration for "Thriller." Beat that.
For women, it's hard to say for me. You either have low budget scream queens or those who never really put much of a filmography of horror together to consider. Jamie Lee Curtis did some horror early on, but I wouldn't really consider her a horror actress. Maybe she's one of the most talented and varied actresses to do horror, sure. Maybe I'd go with Barbara Steele. I've met her and she was very beautiful in her prime. She's done a bunch of Italian horror and some Hammer stuff.
Q: Going back to character actors, James Cromwell is one of the best. If you see his name in the credits it is a pretty safe bet you're in for a good film. Babe, The Green Mile, and countless other films were made just a little bit better thanks to him.
A: James Cromwell, 69, was born in L.A. but raised in Manhattan. His mother was actress Kay Johnson and his father was filmmaker John Cromwell, who was blacklisted in the fifties. He set out to be an engineer, but fell into acting. He did some TV guest spots in the early seventies, including the recurring role of Stretch Cunningham on "All in the Family" that I mentioned last week. He did bit parts in movies and television for several years until really breaking through as the farmer in Babe in 1995. Some of his notable movies since then include Star Trek: First Contact, LA Confidential, The Green Mile, Snow Falling on Cedars, The People vs. Larry Flynt, W. and The Queen. He's earned Emmy nominations for his work on "Six Feet Under," "ER" and as William Randolph Hearst in the tele-film RKO 281. He has three children with Anne Ulvestad who he was married to from 1976 to 1986. Since '86 he's been married to Julie Cobb.
Q: Another great character actor is Harry Dean Stanton (Alien, Red Dawn, Big Love) in fact Roger Ebert once said that any movie he was in couldn't be all that bad.
I thought that quote was about M. Emmitt Walsh
A: Actually Roger Ebert was quoted as having the Stanton-Walsh Rule in which any film that contains either actor in a supporting role can't be all bad. However, he has said that 1999's Wild, Wild West, which featured Walsh and 1989's Dream a Little Dream with Stanton violated the rule.
M. Emmet Walsh, 74, was born in Ogdensburg, N.Y., and raised in Vermont. His father was a customs agent. Walsh attended college at Clarkson University. Some of his roles include, Straight Time, Blood Simple, Blade Runner, Christmas with the Kranks, Snow Dogs, My Best Friend's Wedding, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, White Sands, Narrow Margin, Raising Arizona, Harry and the Hendersons, Missing in Action, Reds, Ordinary People and Slap Shot.
Harry Dean Stanton, 83, was born in West Irvine, Ky., his parents were hair stylists and his father also did some tobacco farming on the side. He studied journalism and radio at the University of Kentucky and later studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He served in the Navy during World War II. He is a fan of classic rock and country music and has performed playing guitar and singing in public along with popping up in videos by Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakam and Ry Cooder. His movies include Cool Hand Luke, Kelly's Heroes, Two-Lane Blacktop, Dillinger, Up in Smoke, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Godfather Part II, Straight Time, Alien, Escape from New York, Christine, Paris Texas, Pretty in Pink, the Last Temptation of Christ, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Straight Story, The Green Mile, Alpha Dog and You, Me and Dupree.
Q: What do you think are some of the best musicals guys can enjoy? I'm talking movies like Blues Brothers, Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny, (criminally underrated btw) South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, etc. I love movies and I love music, but I can't stand most musicals. Do you have any recommendations?
A: As far as classical musicals go, we talked last week about Gene Kelly and I think he's relatable to even a modern male audience because of his more athletic style of dancing and he has several films where he's pursuing manly vocations like military service, pirate and baseball player. And he always scored hot chicks.
I would also recommend Sweeney Todd, This is Spinal Tap, 1776, Newsies, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors and, of course, what is more manly than Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon.
"I'll be back in ten minute with a football hero's lament 'I left my knee at USC.'"