Saturday, 23 July 2016

Farewell to the Las Vegas Showgirl.

 With Jubilee taking its final bow earlier this year, there is no longer a traditional Las Vegas showgirl revue on the Strip.  Taken directly from original slides here's a tribute to the Las Vegas Showgirl and the production shows Las Vegas is known for.


Monday, 5 October 2015

Vintage Qualatex Balloons

Everyone remembers the joy of being a kid and playing with a helium filled balloon.  The disappointment when your balloon drifted away and the memory of your mother telling you to "hold the string tightly" was for good reason.  We didn't have Mylar balloons in my day.  Your average latex balloon lasted a few hours before floating to the floor.  Imagine my surprise when the Mylar was still floating a week later.  Kids don't know how lucky they are! Qualatex (quality latex - get it!?) have been around for years.  
Whether it was Qualatex, Ansell, The Eagle Rubber Company - a simple balloon can offer hours of enjoyment to the young.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

I've Seen That Before!

When American Horror Story first came to television I tried to watch but completely freaked out after the first few episodes and gave up.  Then, when I heard about season 4 AHS: 'Freak Show', I had to watch.  I became obsessed with it.

Watched it I did.  Read about it on line I did.  Surfed Youtube endlessly.  Absolutely obsessed.  I haven't been this interested in a TV series for a long time.  I loved the premise, the era, the acting, everything was spot on.

So, if you read this blog you'll notice I also have a love of Disney.  How on earth are they these two related? I absolutely enjoyed, 'Saving Mr. Banks'.  It was wonderful.  Recently I was travelling on a plane and the person across the aisle was watching 'Saving Mr. Banks' on his iPad.  Suddenly, from the corner of my eye I noticed something, something I instantly told my friends about, but as usual they didn't care and changed the conversation. Bah!

During the 'Saving Mr Banks' flashbacks to rural Australia they (the family) attend a fair.  There it was!  The Freak Show merry-go-round (or carousel if you prefer).

So if you watch it, you'll notice the exact swan (the one Twisty sits in) ,matches the insert from 'Saving Mr. Banks', it all matches, same horses, same canvas top.  So there.  I'm glad I spotted it.

I wonder if I've seen the Freak Show Ferris Wheel in anything?

© Disney, AHS Freak Show

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Na na na na na Batman!

Holy Home Video Release!

Yes, the Caped Crusader is back!  Released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, everyone is going Bat-crazy again.

While I'm not a true Batman fan, (I did enjoy Batman Returns) it's not really my thing.  I remember the same thing back in the early 70's.  My favourite after school cartoon ended to be replaced by Batman.  I was bummed.  For some reason I gave Batman a chance and ended up loving it.  These two images have stuck with me.

The Penguins gigantic umbrella that stopped traffic and the Jokers giant spring that saw him, catapult over the prison walls.  Fantastic stuff!  I guess I just love over sized props.  Batman had the best villians.  Egghead and King Tut remain absolute favorites.

Most of Batman (ok, nearly all of it) was shot on three different backlots in Hollywood.  Gotham City looked fake and almost deserted most of the time, except for the occasionally passer by walking in the distance.  Batman filmed at 40 Acres the old Desilu Studios, Warner's backlot and 20th Century Fox.  It's fun today spotting the various locations.

I'm glad we got the HD transfer and I'm glad Fox and Warner could finally come to an agreement and release this fantastic television series.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Farewell Moose and Squirrel

For 52 years, yes, FIFTY-TWO years, the statue of Rocky and Bullwinkle have gazed over Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.  A pretty remarkable feat considering the show ended it's original run in 1964.  Not bad for Moose and Squirrel.

The statue was removed earlier this week and has been taken to the Dreamworks Studio for restoration.  Apparently the statue will not be returning to gaze over the Sunset Strip once restoration is completed. 

It's a sad farewell but a 52 year run is pretty impressive. Thanks R& B for the smiles you've given me over the years.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Bates Motel from Psycho II

 In 1982, Psycho II, went before the camera’s to capture the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho.  Agreeing to reprise their roles from the original movie were actors, Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles.  The Bates Motel was a key factor in the original movie and when the Universal Studio backlot was redesigned in the early 80’s the Bates Motel was raised. 

The Motel was not featured heavily in Psycho II, there was no need to rebuild the entire set.  (The Bates Motel seen today was rebuilt for Psycho III in 1986). Albert Whitlock created a matte painting of the entire motel (seen as Norman and Dr Raymond arrive at the Motel).  Here is a very rare continuity photograph showing what was built of the Bates Motel during production of Psycho II in 1982.

Friday, 31 May 2013

My evening with Julie Andrews

Let’s start at the very beginning; actually, it’s a very good place to start.  First, you need to time travel back to the mid-sixties.  You couldn’t attend a cinema or drive-in without seeing something to do with Julie Andrews.  Heading to a record store and the Sound of Music or Mary Poppins soundtracks were plentiful.  I’ve certainly grown up with Julie Andrews, from her movies, her TV series, her TV specials; they were always watched at our house.  I’ve simply lost count how many times I’ve subjected myself, my parents, my friends, my neighbors to The Sound of Music.  I’ve had it on vinyl, CD, BETA, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, download and I’m sure a music-cassette at some point.  

Earlier this year it was announced that Julie Andrews would be touring Australia.  I was even more excited to find that this tour was a retrospect of Julie's life and it was to be hosted actor Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich in the Sound of Music).  It was a day I will never forget.  Finally I was going to get my chance to finally see Julie Andrews in person. The day tickets were made available I was experiencing internet issues – certainly not a good time to have the internet pack-up.  I rang my friend to find that he had purchased two tickets to the show.  Phew! Imagine my complete shock when I found out I was going to meet Julie after the show as my birthday gift for my 50th.   

 Julie Andrews

© Eva Rinaldi

Leading up the show the house was certainly in Julie Andrews mode, I was pumping out her movies, playing her music and occasionally sitting quietly contemplating that in a few days I was meeting Miss Andrews.

Show day arrived and I promptly arrived at the theatre and took my seat with the other VIP’s.  The show was opened by Nicholas Hammond showing a Telegram from Twentieth Century Fox advising his success in landing the role in The Sound of Music and then he introduced a video montage of Julie Andrews career.  After a few moments Julie arrived on stage to a standing ovation and one of the loudest applauses I have ever heard.  For the next hour Julie shared her story of her life and sometimes had us laughing and sometimes wiping tears from our eyes.  A beautiful segment was devoted her beloved husband, Blake Edwards.  After an hour we were treated to a 20 minute interval where Julie told us she “was going to have a cup of tea, or maybe something stronger.”

After intermission Julie returned to the stage with Nicholas to answer audience questions.  They regaled stories of Mary Poppins , Broadway, behind the scenes stories of Sound Of Music while showing behind the scenes footage from the movie.  To see these legends of the screen together laughing and sharing stories made for such heartfelt warmth it made for an incredible evening.

The finale got a huge gasp from the audience when we were invited to sing Edelweiss with Julie and Nicholas.  Nicholas’ commented that you all go home and tell your friends “you’ve sung with Julie Andrews”.  With that, Julie left the stage again to huge applause and another standing ovation.

All that was left was to wait and finally meet Dame Julie Andrews.   With all the confidence I could muster I walked up to Julie and just blurted out, “How are you?!” to her reply, “I’m good thank you, and you?”  I thanked her for a wonderful show and congratulated her on her amazing career.  She was most gracious and after a few more pleasantries she said, “Let’s get our picture taken shall we?”  I now own one of my most treasured items, a photo with Julie Andrews.  Me!  Standing next to Julie Andrews!  I’m still in shock every time I look at it.  Congratulations should go to all concerned – the night was magical and I’m so pleased to say it was a night I will never forget for so many good reasons.