August 19

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: An Evening with Jurgensen

Jurgensen and Sinatra

Due to the astounding popularity and success of our last series of interviews with retired NYPD Homicide Detective Randy Jurgensen that aired here last December in 2 parts, and because of the content of last week’s SNMS episode on the 1980 film Cruising, we decided to reissue our first groundbreaking interview which originally ran in February of 2012 on our now defunct sister site, The Podwits.com.

So the name Randy Jurgensen doesn’t sound familiar to you? Well, SNMS Side Castbelieve it or not you know him. The retired NYPD Homicide Detective and film icon has acted in and produced dozens of films, and has worked on some of New York City’s most famous cases. His book, Circle of Six, is his real-life tale of going against the system and practically the entire department brass in order to bring to justice the murderer of a fellow brother-in-blue, in what turned out to be one of the city’s most notorious cop killings. This passed April marked the 44th anniversary of the killing of Officer Phil Cardillo at Mosque #7 in Harlem, and the case that forever changed the seasoned detective as well as the fabric of the entire New York City Police Department. In this SNMS EXCLUSIVE, Randy sits down with Dion Baia and talks about his very colorful career as a homicide detective and his unlikely segue into the cinema. The NYPD veteran gives his opinion of the mindset of the police hierarchy that made it so hard to be a policeman in New York City in the 60’s and 70’s. He recounts his involvement in the Patsy Fuca case, Randy Jurgensenwhich became the 1971 film The French Connection. Perhaps for the first time, Jurgensen goes into detail of the sequence of events of the case he was assigned to, having to go underground into the gay leather-bar scene in the 1960s which eventually because the Al Pacino film Cruising. The Homicide Detective also discusses a crime scene that to this day still haunts him, and how he learned how to deal with ‘the job’. He then explains why it was so easy for him to make the gradual transition from detective to film consultant, actor and producer, examining his career in cinema. Mr. Jurgensen goes into his close friendship with legendary director William Friedkin, and actor Joe Spinell among others, and his memories working on films like The French Connection, The Godfather, Maniac, Cruising, Superman, and Sorcerer, among others. So what famous person was Jurgensen temporary pulled out from undercover to then go and arrest? What did his old childhood friend, legendary comedian George Carlin have to say about that notorious arrest? And what special message (through Dion) does actor Ed O’Neill have for Randy? Well come on and listen to a groundbreaking and highly educational episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ Side-Cast!

Here are Randy and Dion in 2012 after recording this interview.

Have look at Randy in Cruising, interrogating Al Pacino, as Paul Sorvino and Ed O’Neill look on. 

A young Ed O’Neill and Randy share a scene together in Cruising.

Gene Hackman in The French Connection, with Randy over his right shoulder.

August 12

Cruising, 1980

The boys are back, taking on a film that is legendary for it’s controversy, so much so that not only did it taint the actual production of the movie but also led to it being regarded as a ‘bomb’ at the box office, despite an entire cast and crew of A-list talent. Dion and Blake this week take a hard look at the Al Pacino classic, Cruising from 1980, by the auteur William Friedkin.

Cruising poster

Now the fellas are the first to admit that this wouldn’t top their list as the perfect nostalgic vehicle that a group of twelve or thirteen year old friends would knowingly rent (due to the subject matter) and watch at a sleepover back in the day, but they are also in agreement that Cruising has gotten a terribly raw deal ever since it’s first day of production. Blake and Dion start off by relating the facts of the real case that this film was partly based on, directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak, by chatting with their friend, former NYPD Detective turned actor, producer, stuntman and technical consultant Randy Jurgensen, who in real life was the one who actually went undercover into this world to solve a case, in an SNMS exclusive. They explain the backstory and the original book of the same name, and how it got into director William Friedkin‘s hands, eventually becoming a film he helmed. They lay-out the outcry that came from the gay community about the film and it’s subject matter, and the concerns behind that worry. Dion and Blake delve in and really dissect the plot, trying to flesh out all the twists and turns this noir thriller takes. So WHY was Cruising so controversial for Hollywood and the gay community in particular, and for the public at large? How “X-Rated” was this when it was first released? What about the new pseudo-documentary co-directed by actor James Franco called Interior. Leather Bar., and how much of it really focuses on Friedkin’s film that it was supposedly inspired by? What other personal and exclusive incite do the boys have from speaking with Paul Sorvino, Ed O’Neill and the great forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden about Cruising? And why the heck would the boys ever think of cosplaying with this film?! Well, come on down to find it all out, on an all new, highly informative and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly referred to 1970 Cruising novel author Gerald Walker, as Gerald Butler…who knows why.)

EXTRAS:

Here’s the original trailer for Cruising!

Have a look at the rare TV trailer!

Check out this featurette on the making of Cruising !

Take a listen to the great soundtrack to this film, courtesy of YouTube!

Here’s our very own Dion Baia with legendary forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden around 2011.

This is the very rare Kenneth Anger film the boys referred to in the cast, called Scorpio Rising, from 1964.

Have a look at a great alternate, original poster for Cruising!

Here’s William Friedkin talking about the James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar.

 

July 29

Summer Rental, 1985

Get ready because it’s time for another brand new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! We’re in the hot, sweaty and sticky days of summer, when the daily grind really starts to try the patience of most. So Blake and Dion are planning a little excursion down memory land as they pack into the family car and head for a tiny beach house that they thought was going to be cozy and isolated, but instead ends up being a 100 year old bungalow which is ten feet away to the another identical house. Have you guessed? They’re watching the 80’s summer classic, Carl Reiner‘s Summer Rental, from 1985 starring the hilarious John Candy.

Summer Rental, 1985The boys start off with another quick installment of ‘what-has-Blake-brought-back-from-his-parent’s-house-to-surprise-Dion-with? ‘ game and briefly dip into the genre of 3D, after which they get into talking about memories of summer vacations (the backseat activities that used to occupy kid’s time while getting there), summer comedies we associate with them, and then the genius of John Candy and Carl Reiner. Dion and Blake trace back the many careers the comedian, actor, writer, producer and director Carl Reiner has had through the decades. They even go as far back to Reiner and his other contemporaries main influence, Vaudeville, and give a CliffsNotes’ overview, and the comedy genre’s evolution through the subsequent broadcast mediums. They also visit the backstory — the real life incidents that became the main inspiration for this screenplay, and how each small event contained within this story setup a beautiful and hilarious onscreen crescendo. So aside from the obvious John Candy association, how does Summer Rental actually share a meaningful connection with SNMS last episode’s film, Ghostbusters? How interchangeable would one say this plot is, within not only an 80’s summer comedy, but also an early 60’s, beach, bikini/surfer flick? How great is Richard Crenna and Rip Torn in this film, and full stop? And we again have another Alan Silvestri score to talk about..! Well grab your cooler, sunscreen and swimsuits, because we’re all piling into our family station wagons and minivans, and heading to the crowded beach, in another all new summer edition episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out the original movie trailer for Summer Rental!

Here’s the very rare Jimmy Buffett song Turning Around he did for Summer Rental!

Have a look at this great, rare television commercial!

Take a look at these original, theatrically-issued 3D glasses that Blake discovered from when he went and saw the 1991 film Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; and here are the boys trying them on and as before, Dion’s dog Babe wanting to again get in on the action.

The highly recommended book on the history of Vaudeville and it’s famous performers, mentioned in the cast is titled: No Applause ~ Just Throw Money by local New York writer and performer Trav S.D.. If you’re interested in this amazing and sadly almost forgotten influential genre, check out another book called: The Voice of the City: Vaudeville and Popular Culture in New York, by Robert W. Snyder, which highlights the history of the establishment and goes into the nuts and bolts about the the conglomerates who oversaw and pioneered the industry, men we still know today because of the theater chains that still bare their name.

 

 

Category: Classic, Comedy, Film
July 15

Ghostbusters, 1984

The boys are back with another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week and Dion and Blake take on a popular favorite from their childhood that has stood the test of time and is regarded now as a cult classic. Of course we’re talking about the spook and goblin-filled spectacular, Ghostbusters, from 1984!

Ghostbusters, 1984

After briefly dipping back into last podcast’s discussion on the ‘Wold Newton Universe‘ theory by bringing up the companion ‘Tommy Westphall Hypnosis‘, and after also playing another exciting addition of what-has-Blake-brought-back-from-his-parent’s-house-to-surprise-Dion-with? game (which ends up playing brilliantly into this week’s choice of movie), the boys attempt to dissect the origins of the Ghostbusters by laying out the backstory and various incarnations of the script. They play their patented what-if’ game, and discuss the many people who were originally envisioned to play the now famous characters. They also talk about Elmer Bernstein‘s score and his issues with unused portions of his compositions for the film, leading to a bigger chat about other legendary music cues in cinema that have went unused, or completely omitted scores altogether (see Lalo Schifrin‘s notorious rejected Exorcist soundtrack), and then the eventual legal problems that Ray Parker Jr‘s now iconic song saw. So what was the idea for the potential third installment in the series that Dan Aykroyd outlined in the 1990s involving a ‘ManHellTown‘? Was the original Ecto-1 really supposed to be a different color and fly? What about the bigger world that was fleshed out by the NOW/Marvel UK comics, and the fabulous cartoon? How about that elephant in the room, an explanation to what the heck was the difference between The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series and the Filmation Company’s live-action 1970s Ghostbusters show and it’s subsequent 1986 cartoon reboot?(which ended up confusing the heck out of all of us kids at the time!) So prepare for an eerie, mysterious and terrifying journey as Dion and Blake try to do the Ghostheads some justice, as they throw on their jumpsuits and proton packs, jump into their converted ‘59 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, and embark on another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

As discussed in the cast, take a look at some of the deleted scenes from the original film!

Have a look at the original full Ghostbusters television commercial with the cast from the 1984 film.

Here’s a great 1984 interview with Harold Ramis about the film.

Check out this vintage 1984 commercial for the Ghostbusters toys.

Watch this EXTREMELY RARE the behind-the-scenes video from the voice recording sessions of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show featuring the legendary Frank Welker, alongside fellow voice acting great, Maurice LaMarche!

Take a look at the classic Ray Parker Jr. music video for his song Ghostbusters.

Have a look at London’s Waterloo Station and see what has invaded!

Here’s the picture Dion snapped of the new Ecto-1 parked in Manhattan.

These are Blake’s original 1984 Ghostbuster pinsHERE and HERE!

Lastly, here’s the progression of selfies Blake and Dion attempted to take wearing their pins, as Dion’s Yorkshire Terrier Babe wanted in on the action: HERE, HERE, and HERE!

July 1

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, 1984

It’s that time once again… Welcome back to another, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are covering a true epic, a film that was meant to return a property back to its original source material, and also reinvigorate a franchise that had been around (at the time) close to seventy-plus years. This go around the boys are taking on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, from 1984.

Greystoke- The Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes

Blake and Dion have a lot on their plates to get through: first laying out the backstory that legendary writer Edgar Rice Burroughs set up in his original 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes when creating the title character, and the bigger role Burroughs played as one of the original pillars in the Pulp Tradition. They give an overview of that groundbreaking genre, and explain the vast influence it still has on the entertainment we seek out today. They also discuss sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison‘s scathing review of this film Greystoke, and use that critical essay as a template in comparing this 1984 version to Burroughs’ original work, and if it is indeed appropriate to label this work “the definitive version“- is it a fair criticism? The lads also go into depth about Rick Baker‘s groundbreaking contribution to this project, and how his help specifically was the key in getting this production off the ground. But what was the reasons for having the screenwriter, Robert Towne who penned this script, sacked as director of this adaptation? What other problems did a production like this run into while trying to get this project off the ground? What exactly is the Wold Newton Family, and how is it connected here? And is Dion really a Lord ? Well come on and have a listen as the fellas match an epic movie with an epic cast as they attempt to answer all the questions in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Read Edgar Rice Burroughs1912 book, Tarzan of the Apes, absolutely free!

As talked about in the podcast, here is a link to some of the Rick Baker props that went up for auction that were specifically from Greystoke.

Check out the original trailer for the film!

Have a listen to composer John Scott‘s overture!

For further writing on sci-fi writer Philip José Farmer‘s Wold Newton Universe, click here.

Also created by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, here is concept animation from an never-produced 1936 animated John Carter of Mars series, which was helmed by legendary animator Bob Clampett.

 

June 24

Alan Jones: Dario Argento & Beyond…

As a little added bonus to last week’s Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ podcast on Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975), this week we’d like to present a conversation that our very own J. Blake had, way back in October of 2013, with British film critic, journalist, author and Argento expert, Alan Jones.

cinefantastiqueJones runs the Frightfest film festival in London, has contributed to many publications (Empire, Premiere, Fangoria and the iconic Cinefantastique to name only a few), can be heard on numerous noteworthy Blu-ray and DVD audio commentaries and is the author of The Rough Guide to Horror Movies and the definitive Dario Argento guide, Profondo Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic (with its latest edition being titled Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic).

A few years ago, actually on the eve of an unforgettable sold out Goblin concert at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn NY, Mr. Jones was nice enough to take Blake’s call and chat about his passions for horror movies, Argento, disco and the Sex Pistols; an odd combination I know, but he is a complex and interesting guy.

So take a few moments, sit back with a glass of wine and read forth…if you dare!

(The interview is presented in an alternate font, to make it easier to read.)

Continue reading

June 17

Dario Argento’s Deep Red, 1975

Buon Giorno dear friends, and welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip to picturesque Italy to visit a filmmaker near and dear to both their hearts, the maestro Dario Argento. The boys tackle a film they feel is a classic and a quintessential representation of a genre that was reinvigorated within the mediterranean country, by Argento, in the 1970’s. The fellas are going back to film school with this one, covering arguably the director’s most commerically successful and popular film, Profondo Fondo or Deep Red, from 1975.

Deep Red

 

As Argento the auteur is a huge favorite here at SNMS, especially for Blake, he and Dion waste no time getting into the topic of discussion, by setting the stage and first explaining the sub-genre known as ‘giallo‘ and what are the essential elements that classically make up a giallo film. They also lay out a crucial element: what it was like engaging in the Italian cinema experience of the time; how going to the movies back then and specifically that social aspect affected how Italian films of this elk were subsequently written, and even paced.  The boys examine Argento’s career rise to a filmmaker and his Animal Trilogy of films, and review how Deep Red began his seque from ‘who-dun-it’-type stories, to eventually Supernatural and straight Horror vehicles. And how on a larger scale, he singlehandedly revitalized an entire genre within Italian cinema. Dion and Blake also cite American auteurs like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma, who vocally or even subconsciously have been influenced by the Italian maestro. They also discuss the legendary Italian progressive rock band Goblin in detail, as this was the first collaboration between band and filmmaker. So get ready as the boys take you on a trip filled with mystery, intrigue and horror, in another fabulous and informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referenced Michael Mann‘s Manhunter, when he was actually referring to the director’s 1981 film Thief.

EXTRAS!

Check out Blake’s exclusive interview with film critic and Argento lover Alan Jones.

Here is Deep Red, remastered, in all it’s original gorgeous uncut glory, courtesy of YouTube!

Now watch the shorter, exported version of Deep Red, again courtesy of YouTube!

Take a gander at one of the original posters for Deep Red, aka Profondo Rosso, which interestingly bares a very close resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1958 classic, Vertigo poster.

Have a look at the original Italian theatrical trailer for Profondo Rosso, aka Deep Red.

And here’s a REAL treat, watch Goblin live on Italian television circa 1975 or 1976, perform the title track to Profondo Rosso!

And to preorder J. Blake’s new book Scored to Death, click here!

Category: Books, Film, Horror, Thriller
June 3

SNMS Double Feature: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990 & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze, 1991

Has it been 2 weeks already?! Well then welcome back to another exciting, wacky, and in this week’s case, new and unique edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia are doing a bonafide double feature, something that was to weekend sleepovers as Jack Daniels was to Frank Sinatra. And after throwing dump truck-loads of money at Quinnipiac University polling and hosting scores of focus group studies, they came up with the perfect pair of films for their inaugural double feature. And what lucky pair did they choose? Well the 1990 and 1991 classics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze of course!!!

TNMT Double-Feature

The boys are completely sleep deprived this time around but still working on all cylinders, trying to cram as much info as they can about this classic franchise into a tiny, humble podcast. After voicing their concerns about the growing intelligence of the machines on the Island of Sodor (which oddly has NOTHING to do with the TMNT), the fellas quickly jump right into the topic at hand, the backstory of the beloved Ninja Turtles. They discuss the Half Shelled Heroes’ incredible journey from comicbook page to the small screen, leap to action figures, and finally their landing on the 35mm big screen. After the original 1990 film became such a success, Blake and Dion reminisce about the Turtle phenomenon that overtook the world.  This popularity greenlit a second film, which made it to the screen just 10 days shy of a calendar year from the original’s release; making it possibly the quickest sequel put into production since the old studio system days of yesteryear.

So was the 1990 movie really an ‘independent’ film? How technically advanced and also cumbersome were the turtle suits, comparably, from one movie to the next? Was the original film really criticized for being so dark and violent, that it actually was censured in the U.K. and some other European countries because of it’s ninja connotations? And then was the 1991 sequel actually criticized for being too light-hearted and not as faithful to the source material.. wait, wha?! And will the lads actually get through the podcast before becoming too incoherent? Well order your pizza pies, grab your skateboards and your favorite pair of Nunchakus, because the guys are heading down into the sewers this week in this colossal double header, on another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

Here is one of the original sketches of the TMNT, quite possibly the earliest sketch of the whole quartet, which in May 2012, sold at auction for $71,700.

Check out the 2014 documentary on the TMNT discussed in the cast, entitled Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Have a look at the deleted scenes from the original 1990 TMNT film!

Here are the fab four on Oprah, circa 1990, with an entire child audience!!

While we’re here, have a watch of the long out of print 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour film!

Have a look at this amazing arrangement of the TMNT cartoon theme song, performed by Scott Bradlee and Post Modern Jukebox (from their Saturday Morning Slow Jams series), sung by Righteous Music Media‘s own Drue Davis!

Last but certainly not least, check out this rare gem, the music video for the 1990 Partner in Kryme single, Turtle Power!

May 20

Commando, 1985

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week the boys are kicking the Summer Season off with a ‘bang’, taking on an epic action extravaganza, one that has become an out-and-out classic in cinema history and for some, the complete embodiment of the 1980s action genre on a whole. Dion Baia and J. Blake are going all in with absolutely no regards as they cover the Arnold Schwarzenegger exemplum, Commando, from 1985.

Commando

The fellas are unabashed about their love for this film, and as some attribute this movie a classic only because of it’s supposedly ‘camp’ valve or consider it a ‘guilty pleasure’, Blake and Dion instead firmly put their feet down and gush about their love for this Schwarzenegger classic. There’s so much to talk about here that they carefully break the film down, scene by scene, so not to miss any fan cherished moments, performances, or legendary dialogue. They explain the background behind the making of the film, realizing very quickly that this vehicle could be called the original version of the Liam Neeson fan-favorite, Taken. They methodically and painstakingly analyze the pacing, structure, and winding journey, leading to it’s eventual climax. So… how does this film hold up after 30+ years? Is it really ‘the gold standard‘ for action films of the time, and can it actually represent that genre perfectly on a whole? And is it the apex of that trend of 80s action-hero movies? Aside from Arnold, how are the other performances? And what the heck does the legendary silent film comedic star Harold Lloyd have to do with all of this? Well, grab your favorite Kalashnikov, RPG, combat vest and some burnt cork, because the boys are taking no prisoners in this brand edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take a look at the original trailer!

Have a look at this short documentary on Commando.

Check out this unbelievably awesome 1/6th statue of John Matrix, for sale courtesy of Sideshow collectibles.

Here’s Dion in 2013 with Cheech Marion and Tommy Chong.

Brought up in the podcast, take a look at his highly recommended 2010 documentary entitled Marwencol.

May 13

SNMS Presents: The Side-Cast-Origins, Travels and Close Encounters

Hello True Believers!! Welcome to a very special and impromptu edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia sit down and deliver a brand new episode of the Side Cast, laying the foundation for summer installments of both new, and reissued editions of this podcast series.SNMS Side Cast

The boys set the table and explain the premise of the Side Casts, and while doing that (because they go hand in hand), Dion and Blake lay out the origins of that podcast, and how it in turn morphed into Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The fellas go on to talk about Blake‘s recent trip to California, where he met up and hung out with various Horror film composers he’d interviewed for this upcoming book, Scored To Death, and the stories from those meetings. They go on to cover the fun celebrities Blake met and hung out with while attending the Monsterpalooza Horror Convention in Pasadena, and he also dissects the various studio tours he went on while out there. They also preview the upcoming Side Cast Podcasts, as well as just keep the conversation lite, not focusing on one particular topic or film, as their usual format imposes. So come on down and pull up a chair with two old friends, as they enjoy each other’s company in another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Check out the awesome James Remar photo Blake got for Dion at Monsterpalozza! AND He’s Blake with James Remar!

We’re all part of a Tribe..!” Take a look at highly recommended biography: Not Bad for a Human: The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen! AND Check out the Blake w/ the legend himself, Lance Henriksen!

Here’s Blake with The Last Starfighter star, Lance Guest!

And he Blake is with The Last Starfighter director and Halloween‘s “The Shape” himself, Nick Castle!

Take a look at Blake with 80’s action icon Al Leong!

Here’s Blake on the Town Sqaure and Church Backlot used in films such as The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys!

Have a gander at Blake having dinner with legendary film composers Harry Manfredini and Joseph Bishara!

Lastly, here’s Blake in front of Norman and Mama Bates’ house… there’s still a vacancy!!

May 9

The SNMS Boys Get Some Podcast Love!

Dion & Blake were recently interviewed on the Filmwax Radio Podcast about their lil’ ol’ SNMS Podcast and their love for movies…and it is now up!!!

So click on the icon below and head on over and check it out… we come on toward the end.filmwax

Filmwax Radio is also on iTunes and other popular podcast providers!

The boys being interviewed at FilmWax

(J. Blake [Left], Dion Baia [Right] of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers sitting in on Adam Schartoff‘s [Center] Filmwax Radio Podcast.)

 

May 6

The NeverEnding Story , 1984

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating their 50th podcast (well, sort of) and what better way than to tackle a movie that has become an absolute classic in the annals of 80’s fantasy films. In the crosshairs this week is the sleepover classic, The NeverEnding Story, from 1984.

The NeverEnding Story

Dion and Blake jump head-on into this very nuanced, multi-layered adventure, trying to psycho-analyze this “children’s movie”, which has themes and metaphors textured within that one wouldn’t really think would be included in what was again purported to be a “children’s film” ; but heck, this was the 80s! Regardless the boys delve right in, discussing the original novel and the differences from page to screen, that eventually made author Michael Ende take his name off the feature film. They also speak about German Cinema in general, and as this was the product of West Germany, NeverEnding Story became the biggest film outside of the United States and the U.S.S.R. upon release. The fellas also chat about the blossoming technology of ‘green-screening’, and the major differences between practical effects (which were utilized in this production), versus the upcoming CGI revolution which was literally around the corner. So to the big question: how does the film hold up today? AND, is it as messed up as we all remember? What was the German’s plan to make sure this was a hit with International audiences? What role did Steven Spielberg have in the film’s production? And what surprising element was NOT in the original German cut, which actually became one of the most enduring aspects of the English-speaking version? Well grab your popcorn and soda, sit back and put your feet up and come celebrate with Blake and Dion as they answer all your questions, and unveil the 50 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Here’s the original International theatrical trailer for the film!

Have a look at the original German Trailer!

Check out the Music video by Limahl for NeverEnding Story.

Mentioned in the cast, take a look at this rare 1984 German Documentary on the film!

Here’s a very interesting featurette discussing some people’s interpretations of all the esoteric allegorical spiritual symbolism within the film, courtesy of ODDTV.

Finally, have a listen of the entire audio book of Michael Ende‘s The NeverEnding Story.

April 22

Smokey and the Bandit, 1977

Hey all you gear-jammers, welcome back to another exciting and hilarious episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip down South and covering a film that endeared a generation to Trans Ams, CB Radios, Trucking, and Coors Beers. We’re of course talking about the comedic essential, the 2nd film behind Star Wars in 1977, the original Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Paul Williams and Jackie Gleason.

Smokey and the Bandit

The fellas go in depth with this beloved classic, unpacking for the listener the era this movie was released within, and set up the context for this all-star cast coming together to appear in stuntman Hal Needham‘s directorial debut film. Dion an Blake clear the air and actually spell out the details about why Coors Beer at the time wasn’t sold East of the Mississippi, and the reasons why Coors had such a short shelf life (a HUGE piece of this plot). The boys get into the nuts and bolts of the 70’s CB craze, even breaking down the various vehicles used in the movie for all those motorheads out there. How was Burt Reynolds‘ involvement integral in turning this into an A-list movie? How much of Jackie Gleason‘s dialogue was adlibbed? And what seen was entirely his idea? Why did the studio not want Sally Field? How cool is it to have singer/song writers Jerry Reed and Paul Williams in the same film together? And how does the remastering of these older film’s soundtracks into 5.1, sometimes actually muck up the original film’s sound? Well sit back and stretch out those legs because the boys are gonna put that hammer to the floor and give ’em hell, in this all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

For further reading on Jackie Gleason‘s forgotten but still legendary foray into music, check out this informative article penned by SNMS’ own Dion Baia, for Podwits.com

Have a look at Hal Needham talking about directing, Smokey and the Bandit.

Here’s the January 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction of the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit.

Check out Burt Reynolds explaining the backstory for the Trans Am that sold at the  2016 Barrett-Jackson Auction.

Take a look at this great 2015 video of the then and now locations for Smokey and the Bandit.

Have a gander at this brand new interview with Burt Reynolds and director Jesse Moss, whose 2016 film The Bandit documents the friendship between Reynolds and stuntman and director Hal Needham, and their journey to make Smokey and the Bandit!

Here’s episode three of television’s American Trucker, entitled Bandit and the Snowman, where the hosts retrace the 1,330 mile bootleg run from Atlanta to Texarkana and back in a replica of the movie’s star truck.

Have a look at this episode of GearZ, where they showcase and drive a 1977 Bandit Pontiac Trans Am Burt Reynolds Edition car.

Watch this short little featurette called Snowman, What’s Your 20?, a CB tutorial for the terms used in the film.

And lastly, but certainly not least, here is a long-lost and just discovered ORIGINAL teaser trailer for Smokey and the Bandit 3, whose original concept and way it was shot (and then scrapped), was having Jackie Gleason in the roles of both Sheriff Buford T. Justice AND The Bandit. Yep… that’s what we said.  AND he’s an ultra rare, long-lost on-set photo of Gleason, as The Bandit.

April 15

SNMS Presents: The Side-Cast: An Evening with Hollywood Make-up Legend Dick Smith

Spring is upon us, and we here at SNMS thought we should again SNMS Side Caststarted re-airing the original series that paired Dion Baia with his cohort in crime, J. Blake in a string of podcasts called the Side-Cast. Originally airing on their sister site Podwits.com, the Side-Cast was the series catalyst for what became SNMS. To showcase where it all began we are reissuing this program, highlighting the anthology podcast that covered a variety of topics, so that they can not only breath a second life, but also continue what started in the Fall (with the exclusive interviews with Randy Jurgensen and with contributor and Horror enthusiast Dave H), where brand new content is generated as an off-shoot of the regular SNMS Podcast.

Since last week’s Dick Tracy Podcast mentioned legendary make-up artist Dick Smith, and was also about a film that relied heavily on practical make-up effects, we figured why not re-air a cast solely about this legend, which also contains Blake and Dion‘s personal story of their night with Mr. Smith. We hope you enjoy.

-(This podcast originally aired August the 4th, 2014, coinciding with Dick Smith’s passing.)-

In this very special edition of the Podwits Side Cast, Dion and contributor J. Blake celebrate the life of the “God among DickSmithMonsters_largeGods“, SFX master, Dick Smith. They discuss his many groundbreaking achievements in cinema and touch upon the highlights of his extensive resume, bringing to light some films audiences may forget Smith was apart of. The boys then get to the gem of the cast (in their minds) and relay their personal, exciting and hilarious story of the time they spent an evening with the master himself, 15 years ago, at an event they organized!

It is truly an insightful and entertaining cast and a must for any film fan, celebrating the life and work of a great artist. Please come and have a listen!

EXTRAS:

Here’s a write up Dion did in 2012 about the evening he and Blake met Dick Smith!

April 8

Dick Tracy, 1990

The boys are back for yet another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are again going way down the alley, back to a huge franchise that was revisited during their childhood. A property that because of other comic book characters getting reboots around the same time, this beloved hero was able to finally see a well-deserved adaptation, with some big-time Hollywood clout behind it. We are of course talking about Warren Beatty‘s Dick Tracy, from 1990.

 

dicktracy

This Hollywood blockbuster is another example of a film with a huge cast of A-listers, and coming off the heels of 1989’s Batman, this property (which had been in the works at the time for over 10 years), had some much-needed life breathed into a then 50+ year-old franchise. Truly being a testament to a pre-CGI world, Tracy was one of the last big-budget features which utilized the old tricks of Hollywood, like SFX, matte-painting, use of miniatures, optical printing, practical sets, practical Effects, and of course, practical make-up. And because of Disney‘s involvement, boy did this movie use all of the above devices to their absolute fullest, making this film truly be a proper swan-song for old Hollywood before CGI muscled it’s way into the field. But why did Disney ultimately take it’s name off the title? Even though this movie would not have been realized without the true diligence of Warren Beatty, was he in fact miss-casted in playing the title role of the legendary police detective? How true was this film to it’s comic strip roots and creator Chester Gould‘s vision? Well all these questions will be answered it yet another epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referred to 1920’s Irish Chicago gangster Dion O’Banion, as Dion O’Brien

EXTRAS:

Here is the 2009 TCM Leonard Maltin Dick Tracy Special which explores the history of the iconic sleuth, with Warren Beatty reprising his role as the man in yellow. And Info about the special can be found here.

Have a look at this fantastic 1990 making-of TV documentary: Dick Tracy: Behind the Badge, Behind the Scenes.

Have a gander at the evolution in Al Pacino’s make up for his character, Big Boy Caprice

Check out this very rare 1990 Evening Magazine TV show episode that covers the Dick Tracy Premiere at Disney’s MGM Studios in Orlando, along with some very rare interviews with the cast.

Look at this vintage 1990 commercial for the Dick Tracy toy line.

Check out this GREAT 1990 McDonald’s commercial, promoting Dick Tracy‘s tied-in marketing campaign.

Talked about in the podcast, here’s the indispensable 1980 book, The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy, 1931-1951.

Also covered in the cast, here’s the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 1990 graphic novel prequel and comic book adaptation of the feature film, called Dick Tracy: The Complete True Hearts and Tommy Guns Trilogy.

And, have a daily dose of your favorite daily comic strip, found here at GoComics.com!