Tuesday, August 17, 2010
As I assemble the interviews of the cast and crew of these two films for your perusal and approval on this blog, I present a link to an brief interview with Blamire, written by David Colton, that appears in today's USA TODAY. Enjoy!
Read the USATODAY interview HERE!
And look who's on the cover (upper right corner) of the print edition! Why, it's none other than DARK AND STORMY NIGHT and THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN star Jennifer Blaire!
Both movies are available now directly from Shout! Factory, or from Amazon.
On Friday I'll post the first interview in the Behind-The-Scenes Bantam Street series!
Friday, August 6, 2010
The 2010 edition of the San Diego Comic Con International exploded on the scene July 22nd, as colorful and spectacular as the nightly fireworks display over the city’s Sea World park, threatening to burst the fortress-like walls of the San Diego convention center as over 126,000 fans packed the building and Famous Monsters of Filmland was there in the heat of the action!
Little could Comic Con founder Shel Dorf have imagined that the convention would grow to such monstrous proportions when he organized “The Golden State Comic Con” in the basement of the U.S. Grant Hotel back in 1970. Comic books are still the heart and soul of Comic Con, but over the years as the convention has grown, it has embraced related media like magazines, toys and Hollywood, itself, where the studios roll out news about their big, upcoming titles. And the late, founding Editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine Forrest J Ackerman would have undoubtedly been proud to see and hear about the re-birth of his beloved periodical, and the fact that news of future plans for the FM brand vied for fan excitement, on par with the excitement generated by things like the announcement of the final cast of the AVENGERS movie!
NO REST FOR THE FM TEAM
Fresh and invigorated from their own Famous Monsters Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana a short two weeks earlier, the FM crew, led by Publisher/Owner Philip Kim, Editor-In-Chief Michael Heisler, and Editor Jessie Lilley, collectively and tirelessly spoke with thousands of fans that visited the FM booth over the five day event.
FAMOUS MONSTERS IS BACK—BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER
Fans eagerly approached the FM booth and picked up copies of Famous Monsters numbers 250, the special tribute issue to Forrest J Ackerman, and 251, the official re-launch issue. Comic Con was the only place readers could get all of the fabulous variant covers under one roof if they wished. Eyes popped and jaws dropped as fans who remembered the magazine from their childhood approached the FM booth, recognizing the famous Famous Monsters logo. All had stories and fond reminiscences to share of which issue was their first, found at their respective local drug store magazine racks. Fans who are now parents delightfully showed the new Famous Monsters off to their children, introducing a whole new generation to their favorite monster mag. Famous Monsters and it’s fans may have grown up, but the child within has remained very much alive!
As magazines, posters, t-shirts and FM-branded apparel flew off the tables and shelves, the FM booth was visited by many stars and celebrities through-out the convention. Longtime fans of every stripe in entertainment, like writer-director Frank Darabont, wrestler Jerry Lawler, actor D.B. Sweeney and many other stopped by to wish the new venture and re-launch well. Lucky fans could have Bela Lugosi, Jr. or FM cover artist William Stout autograph their magazines or prints of FM covers for free.
BEYOND THE PAGES OF FM: THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT
But the big news concerning Famous Monsters could hardly be contained as rumor swirled to such a degree that Harry Knowles (of Ain’t It Cool News) had to blurt out an announcement at the Expendables panel he moderated on Thursday, just moments before introducing stars Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis to avid action fans: that he, himself, the one-and-only Harry Knowles, has become Editor-In-Chief of the Famous Monsters of Filmland website! The agreement between Knowles and FM publisher Philip Kim was signed at the FM booth earlier in the day, creating a memorable historic moment for fans present to witness it. Although it’s too early to reveal details about the FM website under Knowles editorship, expect on all-new Harry Knowles, very different from the one we’ve come to know and love at Ain’t It Cool News. As Knowles himself wrote at his site recently, “What you’ll see is a lot of Passion for the classics…To create a place for Families, Kids and Geeks like us (to) share a loving passion for the fantastic odd things that make us all the nieces and nephews of FJA (Forrest J Ackerman).”
(left to right) FM website Editor-In-Chief Harry Knowles, Philip Kim.
The news of Knowles stewardship of the Famous Monsters website (to be launched in October, coinciding with Fantastic Fest) was elaborated upon during the FM panel discussion on Friday afternoon.
The FM panel, moderated by yours truly, included the FM team of Philip Kim, Michael Heisler and Jessie Lilley and special guests Bela Lugosi, Jr., artist William Stout, film producer Ted Chalmers, and filmmaker Joe Moe.
Editor-In-Chief Michael Heisler revealed the fabulous cover art for upcoming issues 252 and 253, respectively, and teased the audience with hints of the rich content to come. A rousing discussion with future website editor Harry Knowles ensued, with talk of the synergy and relationship that the website will have with the print magazine. Again, no detailed plans were revealed as all is “top secret” at the moment, but the relief of finally being able to talk about the FM website after months of negotiations was palpable and felt by all on the panel.
The connection to FM’s past was touched on with humor and reverence when FM’s unofficial Ambassador of classic horror, Bela Lugosi, Jr. spoke, along with long-time Forry Ackerman friend and caretaker Joe Moe, sharing stories with the audience and speaking of their unwavering support of the new Famous Monsters of Filmland.
As the brief hour allotted to the panel discussion sped by, FM owner Philip Kim was able to sketch some of the amazing future plans, which include (beyond the new website in October) other manifestations of FM in New Media, including the possibilities of web-based video content and a host of other FM-related projects still on the drawing table.
(left to right) Mark Redfield and Frank Darabont at the Famous Monsters booth at Comic Con.
Famous Monsters of Filmland is back, and the future looks bright indeed for all fans of the fantastic, both in print, on the internet, and in the world of filmed media, both traditional and new.
Had Forrest J Ackerman lived to see this amazing revival of one of the most important aspects of his life’s work come this far, and reach even farther into the immediate future, I think he’d be very proud. Speaking for myself and the rest of the FM team, we’re extremely proud to continue to serve, and to keep the legacy alive for fellow fans, and for the new fans just discovering all things Famous Monsters.
San Diego, 2010
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FAMOUS MONSTERS COMIC CON PANEL HERE!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Candidates Praise Bargaining Partnership with AFTRA and
Reaffirm Commitment to One Union for Performers
Los Angeles, (August 4, 2010) – Seeking to extend its majority coalition on SAG’s National Board of Directors, Unite for Strength today announced its slate of 35 candidates running for election to the SAG National and Hollywood Division Boards. In addition to 15 incumbent Hollywood Board members, the UFS slate features numerous first-time candidates, including veteran actor Ron Perlman and noted comedian/actor Jeff Garlin.
“I’m inspired by our candidates,” said SAG President Ken Howard, who was elected on the Unite for Strength ticket in 2009. “These are smart, dedicated SAG members who are passionate about protecting actors. They represent the diversity of our membership and I know they’ll be terrific leaders if elected.”
Referring to the joint TV/Theatrical-Exhibit A Contract talks set to begin September 27, Jeff Garlin said, “Thanks to Ken and UFS, SAG and AFTRA have teamed up to negotiate the TV and Film Contracts, putting us in a much stronger position than last time, when we were divided. It’s hard to believe nearly a quarter of SAG’s board wanted to negotiate separately again, but the key to staying strong is to elect more board members who see the importance of working together. That’s why I’m running.”
Ron Perlman added “I became a professional actor in 1973. I’ve done just about every type of work possible in this business and it’s never made sense that my jobs were covered by separate unions. With digital video fast becoming the state of the art in filmmaking, splitting work between SAG and AFTRA goes way beyond senseless; it is unacceptable. The only ones who benefit from that division are our employers and we have to put a stop to it. Performers deserve one union that covers all their work, period – and I’m running for the SAG board to help make it happen.”
Unite for Strength was formed in 2008 after then Guild President Alan Rosenberg and his Membership First allies repeatedly attacked AFTRA, leading to the breakdown of joint bargaining and a subsequent SAG contract stalemate. In response, UFS ran its first slate of board candidates in September 2008, successfully taking control of SAG’s National Board with a coalition of board members from across the country. In 2009, running on a platform of strengthening ties with AFTRA, the group won a majority of contested board seats and elected Ken Howard as SAG President and Amy Aquino as the Guild’s Secretary-Treasurer.
This year, Unite for Strength was instrumental in reviving SAG’s historic bargaining partnership with AFTRA. The group also made progress toward its goal of permanently uniting SAG and AFTRA as a single performers’ union when Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon established The Presidents’ Forum for One Union. Candidate and UFS co-founder Ned Vaughn noted, “Recent history has proven that competing with ourselves is a terrible mistake. Actors are facing serious challenges ahead and we need to be as strong and united as possible to protect our livelihoods – that means one union for all of us. The President’s Forum is a crucial step in that direction and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Ballots will be mailed to SAG Hollywood Division members on August 24, 2010. Ballots are due and results will be tabulated on September 23, 2010.
The candidates running on the Unite for Strength slate are:
For more information, visit www.uniteforstrength.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Monday, August 2, 2010
All about Larry Blamire's new old dark house mystery-comedy-thriller DARK AND STORMY NIGHT--that's what!
Shout! Factory releases the latest Blamire thing on August 17th, 2010 (order the DVD HERE!) and so all month, beginning on the 17th, I'll be running interviews here at AN ACTOR'S NOTEBOOK with the cast and crew! And if that isn't enough, there'll be interviews with the cast and crew of THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN, because many of the same Bantam Street cast and crew worked on that picture, too!
DARK AND STORMY NIGHT stars: Daniel Roebuck, Jennifer Blaire, Fay Masterson, Brian Howe, Andrew Parks, Dan Conroy, Kevin Quinn, Christine Romeo, H.M. Wynant, Jim Beaver, James Karen,Bruce French, Robert Deveau, Trish Geiger, Alison Martin, Susan McConnell, Tom Reese, Betty Garrett, Marvin Kaplan, Larry Blamire, Bob Burns and me (Mark Redfield)!So please visit the blog daily starting on August 17th, and get to know the cast and crew of DARK AND STORMY NIGHT!