Ask 411 Movies for 12.03.12: Nothing Lasts Forever!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 12.03.2012
Did Steven Spielberg's Lincoln mess up the details of his assassination? Why didn't Dane Cook's latest TV show get aired? Why didn't Aliens' Michael Biehn become a huge star? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
As a note, this coming weekend I will be at the Steel City Toy Con in Monroeville, Pa., with Creepy Classics. It's one of my favorite shows we do, because it has a bunch of pop culture vendors and cool guests. Celebrities to be there include Elvira, Louis Gossett Jr., Dirk Benedict, Dwight Shultz, Richard Hatch, Sgt. Slaughter, Peter Mayhew, Alan Ruck and Paris Themmen.
Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: One West Waikiki
Air Dates: Aug. to Sept. 1994 on CBS then in syndication from Sept. 1995 to Sept. 1996
Cast: Cheryl Ladd as Dr. Dawn "Holli" Holliday, Richard Burgi as Lt. Mack Wolfe, Elsie Sniffen as Nui Shaw, Paul Gleason as Capt. Dave Herzog, Ogie Zulueta as Kimo
Premise: Holli was a highly regarded forensics expert in Los Angeles, who transferred to the Honolulu Police Department after solving the murder of an old boyfriend while at a convention in Hawaii. Mack was the detective she often worked with and butted heads with. Nui was the novice examiner working under Holli, Herzog was their captain and Kimo was a young local who helped Mack out on cases.
On Our Last Episode
I would like to thank Jay for correcting me that Carl Weathers was in the first four Rocky films. I wrote three in discussing Weathers as an actor who was tried as a top action star, but didn't catch on.
For the same topic of actors that didn't break out, I mentioned Hamlet 2 being in the can, but getting released as a reaction to the success of Tropic Thunder, which also featured Steve Coogan. Erik pointed out the movies were basically released at the same time. Tropic Thunder came out Aug. 13, 2008, and Hamlet 2 hit wide release two weeks later. That's really too short a time period to really launch widespread advertising and distribution. Unless the producers had a crystal ball and knew Tropic Thunder was going to be a huge hit. So, Hamlet 2 did fail to break out Coogan as intended, but its release wasn't a knee jerk reaction to Tropic Thunder being big box office.
Q: Regarding the movie "Lincoln," I haven't yet seen it but a friend told me that it depicts Lincoln being shot by Booth on the way to the Ford theatre, not at the theatre. (I trust that mentioning Lincoln's assasination is not a spoiler. lol) I have always read/heard that Lincoln was shot at the theatre during a performance of "Our American Cousin." Is my friend playing a joke on me to say that Lincoln wasn't shot at the theatre or was he remembering the movie incorrectly?
A:Your friend was confused by the presentation of historical facts in the film. I don't think this is much of a spoiler to go over. The last shot of Lincoln in the movie is him going to Ford's Theater. It then cuts to his son Tad watching a play. A man comes on stage announcing the president had been shot. Tad is then whisked out of the theater. This isn't directly stated in the film, but, based on historical accounts, Tad was at the nearby Grover's Theater watching another play.
I was looking for a different clip than the trailer to Lincoln to include here. I found the below fascinating clip of an actual witness to the Lincoln assassination on I've Got a Secret in 1956. I'm actually surprised how quick the panel figured it out.
Q: Staying on the topic of actors who should have been big stars what happened with Michael Biehn? Coming out of Aliens and Terminator you'd think he would have been a huge star. He's a good looking dude and showed a sensitive side in those roles which should have put him over with the ladies and he was kind of badass as well. He has had a pretty solid career, which a lot of actors would probably kill for, but I've always thought he should have been a bigger star. Also Michael Pare was fantastic in Eddie and the Cruisers, Streets of Fire and The Philadelphia Experiment then he just went into relative obscurity.
A: Michael Biehn, 56, is from Anniston, Alabama. His best remembered roles were in The Terminator and Aliens. Biehn was rumored to be up for a role in Avatar, but James Cameron didn't want to invoke Aliens too much with fans since Weaver was already going to be in the film. At one point, Biehn's Hicks was going to be the lead in Alien 3, but producers demanded Weaver return as Ripley.
In 2007, he played Sheriff Hague in Planet Terror, where director Robert Rodriguez encouraged Biehn to direct his own projects. Since then, Biehn has directed and starred in two movies, The Blood Bond in 2010 and The Victim in 2011. He's also getting into producing and has several films in various stages of production.
Basically what happened to Biehn's career is that the movies where he had a lead role after the success of Aliens and The Terminator didn't do well at the box office. This includes Rampage, The Seventh Sign, In a Shallow Grave, Navy Seals and the underperformed, but well received The Abyss.
Michael Pare, 54, is from Brooklyn, New York. His biggest hits were Eddie and the Cruisers, The Philadelphia Experiment and Streets of Fire. He still works in major features, having recently done Gone and The Lincoln Lawyer. Like Biehn, he has several projects in various stages of production for release within the next year or so.
Also like Biehn, Pare was derailed by flops with him in the lead after his couple big films. This includes Space Rage, Instant Justice, World Gone Wild, the television series Houston Knights and the Cruisers sequel Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives.
Q: The talk of successful sitcom stars made me wonder about the flip side. Who has been a main character in the most failed shows. David Walton comes to mind for me, having been a main character in Cracking Up, Heist, Quarterlife, 100 Questions, Perfect Couples, and Bent all over the last decade.
Is Next Caller the first show to be picked up, had episodes produced, and then been canceled before any episodes aired? I remember the loop got canceled after getting picked up for a second season before that season even started, but they still at least aired the season.
A: The king of the failed television series has to be Robert Urich. Between 1973 and 2001, Urich was a main player on 13 TV shows. Most lasted a season or less. His two most successful programs were Vega$ and Spenser: for Hire, which ran for three seasons each. Soap could also considered a minor hit for him, but his character was killed off after the first season. Below, Urich from one of those early failures, the Bewitched spinoff Tabitha. Thank goodness Nancy showed up when she did to prevent a date rape.
Next Caller was announced to join the NBC fall lineup in May 2012. In October, after four episodes had been made, NBC announced it would not be airing the show at all due to creative differences with star Dane Cook. Cook starred as a shock jock forced to share the radio airwaves with an innocent former-NPR host in a relationship centered call-in show.
A lot of shows have pilots filmed that never reach air. One of the most famous of that ilk is Heat Vision and Jack that was to air on Fox in 1999. Ben Stiller directed the first episode and did the introduction. Jack Black starred as a former astronaut who gains super intelligence during the daytime from the power of the sun. He rides a talking motorcycle, voiced by Owen Wilson. Jack's roommate, Doug, was fused with the bike after being struck with a ray. On their trail to bring them into the government is Ron Silver, playing himself as a NASA spook.
Blonde Charity Mafia was a reality series about Washington D.C. socialites that had six episodes made for the Lifetime Network. Lifetime sold the series to the CW. They were going to air it as a summer show, but decided to scrap all original summer programming in 2009. It was then going to be a mid-season replacement, but CW lost interest in the series and never used it. The show did air in Australia, but never in the states.
Disney produced four episodes of The Cheetah Girls in 2003 off of the television movie starring Raven-Symone. Due to her series That's So Raven, Symone couldn't do the regular series and Disney and ABC didn't think it would fly without her.
The show to probably have the most episodes actually made without ever airing was Ev and Ocho from this year. The reality show was centered around football player Chad Johnson, aka Chad Ocho Cinco, and his wife Evelyn Lozada, formerly on Basketball Wives as the long term girlfriend of Antoine Walker. Eleven episodes were made, but three weeks before the series debuted, Johnson was arrested and charged with assault of Lozada. This led VH-1 to shelve the series indefinitely.
Misconceptions had six episodes produced for The WB in 2005. It starred Jane Leeves and French Stewart. Due to the combination of the WB and UPN into the CW, the show was scrapped.
Waterfront had five episodes made in 2006, but was axed by CBS. Joe Pantoliano was the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, with Billy Baldwin as the state's attorney journal after Joey Pants for his alleged mob ties.
Q: Leonard, have you ever heard of a show called Kindred: The Embraced? It was a vampire soap opera that lasted one season, ended on a cliffhanger if I'm remembering correctly, and was incredibly addictive.
A: Kindred: the Embraced ran eight episodes on Fox from April 2, to May 9, 1996. It was loosely based on the role-playing game Vampire: the Masquerade. Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) discovers San Francisco is infested by vampires while investigating mobster Julian Luna (Mark Frankel). Julian is the leader of the five vampire clans in the city, known collectively as the Kindred. Julian and Frank actually form an uneasy alliance to prevent a vampire war as Julian deals with his feelings for a human reporter (Kelly Rutherford).
The series didn't catch on in its short run as critics said it was overly confusing and Frank was too cliched a character. However, critics also said the show had some promise and stated Julian was an interesting character.
Q: Hi Leonard,
I was hoping you can help me in identifying a specific orchestral theme. I've heard it twice from two George Lucas productions - in the trailers for the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and for Ewok Adventure. I haven't had any luck so far - have you ever heard it before?
Here's a link to one of the trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK55pX1c3fQ
A: I immediately turned to 411's George Sirois, the guru of film scores. His answer was: "Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. This is one of those "Holy Grail" pieces of trailer music that so many people have heard and everyone swears was used in an actual movie. However, it's only been used in trailers, never in a movie.
The piece is called "Reach for the Stars" and it's composed by Richard Harvey for KPM Music."
Q: My question is would you consider the Twilight Zone, 80's version & Miami Vice as either a destination for popular stars to appear (actors, would be actors such as Phil Collins & Ted Nugent) &/or a launching pad for unknowns at the time but now famous stars of tv/movies (Ed O'Neil & Bruce Willis)? Chiller has been running the Zone and I am shocked at how many actors we recognize in popular movies or hit tv shows appeared.
A: The original version of The Twilight Zone was the ultimate television show for spotting those who would go onto greater fame. The 1980s version was a pale copy of the original. It ran three seasons in syndication over the course of four years. CBS pre-sold syndication rights based on name value. Even though the series flopped, CBS still had to produce a certain number of episodes to fulfill the episodes promised. This led to rushing out a bunch of episodes on the cheap with poor scripts and casting. The earlier episodes had the better production values and talent attached. In the first season several episodes were directed by Wes Craven and featured scripts by Harlan Ellison. Guest stars ranged from the up and coming Bruce Willis to the legendary Danny Kaye. However, the third season did feature several scripts from J. Michael Straczynski, who would go onto create Babylon 5. So, the series did attract some big names based on reputation of the original show.
Bruce Willis also guest starred on Miami Vice in my favorite episode, "No Exit." Miami Vice was envisioned to be a cop show for the MTV generation. This meant a lot of current rock music, so a lot of then-popular musicians were attracted to the series. It was cross promotional. The series had a name guest star and the guest star had a hot show to promote new music. At one point "USA Today" even published what songs would be featured in the next new episode. The trend started half way through the first season when Glenn Frey played a smuggler to hype his song "Smuggler's Blues." Below, the ending of the second season episode "Definitely Miami" featuring Ted Nugent and a special version of Godley & Creme's "Cry."
Send in more questions. I still have a coupe questions from David to get to next week, but please send more by email or the comment thread below.
"And what's so special about Jersey?"
"Baby, there's nowhere else in the world like the Garden State! You got miles of swamps, and mountains of dumps... different colored rivers... automobile graveyards... breweries, factories, ballparks, all mixed up together. It's the best place to live."
"Then why does the Statue of Liberty face the other way?"