Saturday Frights Podcast Ep. 088 – Top 5 Tales From The Darkside

Friends, it has been a little over a month since we have been able to release a new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast – I address the reasons for that on the show itself – but in short I became ill back in October. I am feeling much better as is the Projectionist, who I might have passed my illness to if we are being totally transparent on the subject. Let us hope that we have the podcast back on schedule for the remainder of Season three – starting with this show – which is a look at the Top 5 Tales from the Darkside episodes as voted on by fans of the television series. In this episode we give a synopsis and thoughts on what we liked most about each of the Top 5 episodes – as well as a brief history on Tales from the Darkside itself.

Of the five episode of Tales from the Darkside that made the grade, you might recognize some of the names of those in front of and behind the camera. Like George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead), Stephen King (Pet Sematary), Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs), Robert Bloch (Psycho), and Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice) to name just a few.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

We sincerely hope that you are enjoying the third season of the Saturday Frights podcast so far – will your favorite episode of Tales from the Darkside make cut?

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Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 015 – Halloween Special II

Friends, as Halloween is nearly upon us, my fellow PCR contributors felt that it might not be such a bad idea to get together and produce our second Halloween Special for the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast. As the Projectionist and myself had no plans for such a special for the Saturday Frights podcast – this sounded like an excellent idea. Besides giving those of us on the site an opportunity to help you get into the spirit of the Season – this second Holiday Special when all is said and done focuses on a lot of spooky and Halloween themed television shows and specials. For example, Rockford Jay not only shares his memories of a time that his Family threw an impressive Halloween party – but catching Trick or Treat – the pilot episode for the Tales from the Darkside series.

In addition on this second Halloween Special we have Ashley Thomas aka The Nerdy Blogger of Fangirlish – who shares her love for the 1993 animated adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. A Holiday treat that I have shared my love for many times in the past.

Allison Venezio-Preston joins us once again, this time to talk about an episode of Quantum Leap, one that surprisingly wasn’t released in time for Halloween back in the day. But after hearing her segment, I think you will agree that it is a perfect episode to watch during the Season.

Earl Green shares his thoughts on the recently released Doctor Who: Fury From the Deep – a formerly lost episode during the Patrick Troughton era of the television show. A story that involves the Doctor and his companions getting mixed up in an investigation of an odd sort of seaweed – one capable of both mind control and even poisoning it’s victims.

As for myself, I talk a little about Walt Disney’s The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, the 1963 adaptation featuring Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) as the Reverend Dr. Christopher Syn aka the Scarecrow. The character who first appeared in the 1915 book entitled Dr. Syn: A Tale of Romney Marsh by Russell Thorndike.

While the official release of the second season of the Pop Culture Retrorama podcast is still a month or so away – we hope you are enjoying the new direction of the show so far. Without further ado, have a safe and Happy Halloween as you listen to our second Halloween Special.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.

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Interview With The Vampire With… Adam West And Frank Gorshin?

Adam West and Frank Gorshin - Interview with the Vampire - MTV Movie Awards 1995

Friends, back in 1994 when Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles was released into movie theaters, I was unaware of the popularity of Anne Rice’s book series. All I knew before walking into the theater with my friends is that it was about a vampire being interviewed about his life and that it starred folks like Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas – the latter I knew from The Mambo Kings from ’92. Of course I knew of Christian Slater from films such as The Name of the Rose, Heathers, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Pump Up the Volume, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. At the very least I can say that I knew of Brad Pitt at that time thanks to his roles in Cool World, Kalifornia, and the overlooked 1989 slasher Cutting Class – although I also knew him from his brief role as Randy in the popular TV series Dallas.

Video Provided by DALLAS70.

Having not read any of The Vampire Chronicles at that point, on leaving the movie theater I was pretty impressed with what I had seen – although a few of my friends weren’t as wowed. I think it would be honest to say that the film did well for itself though – with an estimated budget of around 60 million dollars it earned 224 million. In addition I recall the popularity of it when it reached home video as that was one of my jobs at the time. Having said all of that, I suppose it was due to my work schedule that I missed this hilarious parody from the 1995 MTV Movie Awards – featuring Adam West in the role of Louis and Frank Gorshin as Malloy… sort of. Because with these two iconic actors – probably best know for their work in the Batman television show from ’66 – they just can’t help referencing their old roles, right?

Video and Article Image Provided by Archiovegetales.

Rest In Peace: Danny Aiello (1933 – 2019)

Danny Aiello - Rest in Peace - 2019

Friends, as I’ve gotten older I cannot help but feel that in the last couple of years, as we watch the year itself ending – we start to get hammered with the news of iconic artists and performers passing away. Just last week we had the passing of both Rene Auberjonois and Caroll Spinney – who I literally have not been able to put into words how much he meant to me as of yet. Then today it was announced that Danny Aiello passed on the other day at the age of 86 – a good run I suppose and in my opinion he left behind an amazing number of films as his legacy at least. While Danny Aiello will rightfully be remembered for his roles in 1987’s Moonstruck as well as 1989’s Do the Right Thing – in my youth the first movie I recall seeing him in was 1981’s Chu Chu and the Philly Flash.

Video Provided by Sean Mc’s YouTube Channel.

Danney Aiello most definitely didn’t start out in life with the intention of becoming an actor – as it turns out at the age of 16 he enlisted into the U.S. Army after lying about his age. He served for three years and upon returning to New York City supported his Family with a variety of jobs – including as a bouncer at none other than The Improv. His first acting gig was in 1973’s Bang the Drum Slowly where he appeared along with the likes of Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty, and Vincent Gardenia to name a few. I should also point out that in 1973, Aiello had turned 40 years old – the following year found him being cast as Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II. A small part perhaps but it also allowed him to have the distinction of ad-libbing a line in a Francis Ford Coppola film. In fact, Aiello would go on record about his late start in acting – courtesy of the Internet Movie Database:

“I was 40 when I did my first movie. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. My interpretation of acting at the time, because I didn’t know how to build a character, was pure energy. People call me an instinctive actor. I used to consider that an insult early on, only because I had never studied. Now… I love it.”

Aiello it would seem won quite a bit of acclaim thanks to his role as Morgan, the racist Police Officer in 1981’s Fort Apace the Bronx, the same year as Chu Chu and the Philly Flash I should add. He made a cameo in an episode of the popular PBS educational children’s show 3-2-1 Contact as a florist – before appearing in the likes of Once Upon a Time in America, the Tales from the Darkside episode entitled The Odds, and then Larry Cohen’s The Stuff. Of course he famously was featured in 1986’s “Madonna: Papa Don’t Preach” – a hugely successful song off her 1986 album True Blue – the video however caused quite a bit of controversy. Danny Aiello would comment that he accepted the role because his Daughter was a big fan of Madonna – it would seem he felt the need to create a music video of his own – to show the Father’s side of the story from Madonna’s video with “Papa Wants The Best For You“.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyF0_vRuEgU
Video Provided by The M Magazine’s YouTube Channel.

Danny Aiello would go on to appear in 1987’s Man on Fire, starring alongside Scott Glenn, Joe Pesci, and Jonathan Pryce. In addition he was cast in 1989’s Harlem Nights – although in the ’90s he would be featured in two of my favorite films. The first was 1990’s Jacob’s Ladder as Louis and while I do quite like Hudson Hawk from ’91 – it is his role as Tony in 1994’s Leon: The Professional that is my second favorite.

Video and Article Image Provided by The Trailer Guy’s YouTube Channel.

When Danny Aiello passed away on December 12th – he left behind 105 acting credits as his legacy. He may have had a late start in the acting game but he truly managed to make himself memorable in many of those roles he accepted.

“We will dim the lights in the auditorium.”

Rest In Peace: Robert Forster (1941 – 2019)

Robert Forster - Jackie Brown - Movieclips

Friends, there is obviously never any joy in writing a RIP article – but I find there are certain entertainers that made such an impact on me that I am forced to write something to mark their passing. Robert Forster passed away yesterday at the age of 78 and he recently might be best known for his appearances in the Breaking Bad series as well as his Oscar nominated turn for 1997’s Jackie Brown. In fact the reason there is a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus poster in his office in that film is because his Father had worked as an elephant trainer in his youth. While the very first time I ever saw a performance from Robert Forster was in Walt Disney’s 1979 cult classic The Black Hole – it was his role as Police Officer David Madison in 1980’s Alligator that made me a fan for life. I caught that film in my youth when it was aired on television in 1982 as the ABC Sunday Night Movie – one day after my birthday in fact. I know this because for my tenth birthday I was lucky enough to receive a tape recorder and I recorded the entire movie on a couple of audio cassette tapes.

Video Provided by KLXT77‘s YouTube Channel.

I feel it is proper to say that Robert Forster was a working man’s actor – comfortable in film and television as well as the stage. He certainly got his career off to a bang – considering his first role was in John Huston’s 1967 film Reflections in a Golden Eye. A part that allowed him to appear with Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Harris, and Brian Keith. Forster had actually appeared just two years previously on Broadway in Mrs. Dally Has a Lover by William Hanley – Robert went on to appear in productions on and off of Broadway. Some of those you will no doubt recognize like Twelve Angry Men, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and A Streetcar Named Desire to name just a few.

Forster’s rugged good looks served him well I think in his roles in television – such as the early 70’s TV series Banyon – in which the actor played private investigator Miles C. Banyon, with the series being a period piece set in the late 1930s. Robert also appeared in the cult classic made for TV film The Death Squad, and even 1983’s Vigilante where he co-starred with Fred Williamson – then he portrayed the leader of the Lebanese terrorist group in 1986’s The Delta Force. If appearing with both Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin wasn’t awesome enough – he would star in a very memorable 1987 episode of Tales from the Darkside entitled The Milkman Cometh before starring in 1989’s The Banker where would work with Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Jeff Conaway (Taxi), Leif Garret (The Outsiders), and Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad, Zorro).

He hit a stretch in that period of the 80’s where he wasn’t getting the type of work he wanted. The actor turned to public speaking as both a motivational speaker to all manner of businesses and as an acting coach for various film schools. Forster appears to have never given up though – creating a motto that applies to everyone – which he shares in this fantastic interview video below while discussing his fateful meeting with Quentin Tarantino.

“1. Accept all things. 2. Deliver excellence right now. 3. Never quit – you can win it in the late innings.”
Video Provided by Strombo‘s YouTube Channel.

There was a saying I adopted from my time working at a local movie theater in my neck of the woods when I was much younger – a co-worker upon hearing of the passing of a beloved entertainer would say “We will dim the lights in the auditorium in their honor”. I have been saying that ever since – although I am grateful that Robert Forster left us with 183 acting credits as his legacy I am very sad to know we will not see a new performance of his in the future.

Video and Article Image Provided by Movieclips‘ YouTube Channel.

In addition I implore you to listen to this heartfelt interview with Leonard Maltin and his Daughter Jessie, from an episode of Maltin on Movies that was released on August 26th of 2016. It is totally personal and honest and will make you love Robert Forster all the more – it has been a few years since I last heard but I believe I need to warn you there might be some SALTY LANGUAGE in the interview.