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

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

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!

March 11

State of Grace , 1990

Welcome back true believers to another exciting and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys noticed that St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and figured they’d roll out a podcast about a long-forgotten, classic gangster film (surprisingly the first in the genre for Dion and Blake), that has its climatic scene coincide with the St. Patty’s Day Parade. Haven’t guessed it yet? This week their chatting up the Irish-American Mob film State of Grace, from 1990. 

State of Grace

The boys reminiscence about the 1990’s era of gangster movies, and the connection this one has to that timeframe. Truly an unorthodox choice and certainly not the first on anyone’s list when remembering gangster films of that period, this video store staple boosts a very impressive cast of principle and supporting actors that makes it a truly forgotten gem that is certainly worth a visit (or revisit). Blake and Dion talk about their unbridled love for costar Gary Oldman, focusing particularly on his early body of work, which the boys feel doesn’t get its deserved do. Often cited by Oldman himself as one of his favor roles, why did this film literally come and go in the cinema? Did Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas (out the same year) actually have anything to do with it? Or is that just speculation? What inside stories do the boys themselves have from people they know who worked on this film and others around this time, that paints the picture of what was happening behind the scenes for the lead actors during this period? And how much foresight did this story have about the revitalization and gentrification that is currently happening in New York City, that had its roots in this film’s backdrop, Hell’s Kitchen circa 1989-90? Well get your favorite gun, leather jacket and your flasks, cause this week the lads are paying a kailee to their favorite Hell’s Kitchen public house in this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Erin go Bragh!

 

EXTRAS:

Spoiler Alert! Here’s what you may call a 1990 ‘Red Band’ Trailer for State of Grace coming to video, complete with 3 or 4 scenes that do not show up in the theatrical cut of the film!

Have a watch of a rare, fascinating 1997 television documentary series called The South Bank Show with this episode dedicated to Gary Oldman, where at the 26:30 mark, he speaks about his role in State of Grace 

Here’s some great highlights from a Q&A with Gary Oldman at Film Independent at LACMA where he discusses his characterizations and his methods of finding a character through their ‘voice’.

And here’s Mr. Oldman‘s full interview from A Life in Pictures at BAFTA, a MUST watch for any fan of this legend’s work.

Have a look at Colin Quinn talking up State of Grace and Gary Oldman

Take a look at the official trailer for the film.

February 12

Tombstone, 1993

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week’s podcast is a true epic, with the boys breaking new ground and covering their first Western. The choice for their first in the genre is a film near and dear to both Dion Baia and J. Blake‘s hearts, a momentous pick that has become a modern classic, George P. CosmatosTombstone, from 1993.

Tombstone Poster

After Blake relates a recent story about attempting to see the obscure Michael Mann film The Keep at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the boys lay out their history with Tombstone, and setup the history of the western genre, laying out the evolution of the complexities and sophistication of themes and presentation of these stories within the film industry, through the second half of the 20th Century. Then the boys get onto the winding road that is the back story of this film, laying out the actual history of the Earps and the Cowboy Gang in the 1880’s in the city of Tombstone, and the lead up to this 1993 film being made and the extensive cast this movie boasts. How accurate was this story to the real historical events? Why was the first director Kevin Jarre (who actually penned the script) fired mere days into production? Did new director George Cosmatos actually oversee the production as credited or did one of the lead actors actually secretly direct the picture? Who was originally cast as Doc Holliday, only to be denied by the film’s distributor because of past controversy? How did the film’s rival production, Kevin Costner‘s Wyatt Earp actually help and hurt Tombstone‘s fate? Well grab your dusters, Winchester Repeaters and Colt Peacemakers, because all these convoluted stories will be explained and put into context in this all new, massive and epic installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Have a look at the making-of featurette!

Check out the original 1993 theatrical teaser trailer for the film.

Take a look at some of the deleted scenes that were restored in the 2002 Director’s Cut, found here, here, here and here!

Who really killed Johnny Ringo? Take a look a some historians giving their theories.

Discussed in the podcast, here is J. Blake’s blog entry celebrating the boy’s favorite in Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood‘s Spaghetti Western Trilogy, For a Few Dollar’s More!

 

January 29

The Night Stalker, 1972

Welcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! To celebrate the return of The X-Files to the small screen, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to go back and cover a film and character that is very close to both their hearts, which has been also cited by Mulder and Scully creator Chris Carter as a direct inspiration for his show. If you haven’t already guessed, this week the fellas are talking about the ground-breaking TV movie The Night Stalker, from 1972 starring the great Darren McGavin as the iconic Carl Kolchak.mcgavinnight-stalker

The boys setup the podcast by giving a little backstory about the ‘TV movie” or as it was called, the “Movie of the Week“, adding some context on how popular the format was and continues to be; and the astounding precedent The Night Stalker achieved by becoming the highest viewed TV film up until that time. Dion and Blake discuss all things Kolchak and shamelessly gush about their love for Darren McGavin and the amazing character he helped bring to the screen. They also explain the story about how an unpublished manuscript by Jeff Rice was taken and adapted by legendary writer Richard Matheson and turned into the highest rated tv movie up until January 11th, 1972. So, what was it about this story that was so popular for audiences? How does the film hold up more than 44 years later? What occured that made McGavin become so disenchanted with the 1974 TV series, which eventually got cancelled after only one season? What has become the legacy of Kolchak the Night Stalker? And what was the flub during the podcast that practically stopped the recording in it’s tracks, and turned the lads into two laughing school girls? Well all those juicy questions will be answered on this awesome and exciting all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out this great and VERY interesting page on the official Darren McGavin and wife Kathie Browne McGavin‘s website about Kolchak the Night Stalker, giving a timeline for the series and the actor’s direct perceptive during the project, along with very candid interviews about the show.

Here’s another link to the McGavin/Browne website, showing the unproduced Kolchak scripts, including what was to be the third film, The Night Killers.

EXCLUSIVE: Straight out of the SNMS Archive, check out this original art by Douglas Klauba for the C. J. Henderson Kolchak novel, The Lost City. Here is the finished product, as it looks with it’s titles.

EXCLUSIVE: Another work of art right out of the SNMS Archive, take a look at this original comic book page #38 from issue #2 of the 2002 run of the Kolchak comic book series, entitled Get of Belial.      Here is the finished page as it looked.

EXCLUSIVE: Another out of the SNMS Archive, this original newspaper advertisement for Darren McGavin starring in the brand new 1974 Kolchak The Night Stalker television series

Check out the link to John Carpenter’s The Thing limited edition Christmas ornament brought up in the podcast.

December 30

Rocky, 1976

Welcome to a very special, New Years edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. Blake and Dion picked a classic to usher in 2016, a film very close to the hearts at SNMS, a movie that shows us that anyone can go the distance, as long as you have the drive and determination. This week, the boys are taking on Rocky, from 1976.

rocky-1

After Dion and Blake quickly chat the Rick Baker Gremlins clay bust they forgot to bring up in their last podcast on Gremlins, the boys try to pack as much information as they can into a 2+ hour podcast about Rocky. They kick things off by speaking about their personal love for the film, which for Blake, ranks up in his top 3. From discussing the origins of Stallone’s story and the serendipitous moment for how Sly was even able to pitch it, to his firmness to play the lead and the shoe-string budget to get the film made, was it all really like catching lightning in a bottle? Is it really a sweet, upbeat story about never giving up? Could this film be done today and have the same feel and power? Did having such a tight budget actually end up making the film better ? Was Stallone’s guiding force the lone pilot that kept the project on course, seeing the movie through to completion? Well you’ll have to listen to find out in this brand new, New Years Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Take a look at the story of getting Rocky made, as told by Sylvester Stallone himself, in Part 1 of 4. Here’s Part 2.  Here’s Part 3. And here’s Part 4.

Check out the legendary fight that Sly (used to say) was the inspiration for his story of Rocky. Here is the March 24, 1975 Championship Match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner.

Here’s really rare footage of Sylvester Stallone Choreographing the end fight with Carl Weathers.

Have a look at Sylvester Stallone & Talia Shire Introducing Rocky at the American Film Institute.

Have a listen to the incredible Bill Conti Soundtrack.

And take a look at the moment when they won the Oscar for Best Picture.

December 23

Gremlins, 1984

Welcome to another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion and J. Blake are taking on another holiday classic for their Christmas viewing this season, and have decided on an iconic genre mash-up. It’s a film that really goes to show you the 1980’s was a time when you could practically market anything you wanted to children, even a dressed up Horror film parading as a cute, Christmas/Comedy that subtlety pokes fun at American and Western culture in general. Of course we’re talking about Joe Dante‘s classic, Gremlins, from 1984.

Gremlins

The trifecta of Chris Columbus writing, Steven Spielberg executive producing, and Dante directing, gave us one of the most interesting and fun films of the 1980s. Blake and Dion try to flesh out the back story of this love letter to Frank Capra, B-Horror films of the 1950’s, and Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes cartoons, among a slew of others, while trying to wrap their heads around some terrifying concepts layered within. How much darker was this film originally supposed to be? Does this movie really convey themes like anti-technology, as well as lament about the ignorance of Western society as a whole? Have some critics read into the film and actually injected elements of supposed racism which surprisingly, doesn’t even have to do with the culture that is presented within the story? How has the movie held up after 30+ years, as both a genre mash-up and holiday film? And is this a movie that could even be attempted in 2015 without severely changing the story itself and its primary antagonists? Well the boys are wearing their Santa hats and have their sleigh bells ringing in this all new, Christmas installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(We’d like to give a shout out to Jason Derenick for recommending Gremlins, and we’d like to apologize for not remembering his name during the podcast. Thank you!)

(When speaking about New Line Cinema, Blake mistakenly said Friday the 13th, when he was actually referring to Nightmare on Elm Street.)

Extras:

Jason’s name isn’t the only thing we forgot this time around; we’d like to share straight out of the SNMS Archive, a clay Gremlin bust sculpted by Rick Baker‘s SFX team for Gremlins 2: The New Batch, something we completely forgot to bring up, and something we will touch on at the beginning of the next Podcast. Check out this bad-boy here, here, here, here, and here.

Check out the original theatrical trailer!

Take a look at the 1943 Merrie Melodies Bug Bunny short Falling Hare, which is credited by director Joe Dante as an influence on his 1984 film Gremlins.

Also mentioned in the podcast, please watch the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED documentary on the artist, animator and auteur Chuck Jones, entitled Extremes and In Betweens: A Life in Animation.

Go read the HUGELY RECOMMENDED book Outrageous Conduct, which examines the events surrounding the infamous filming of the John Landis short for Twilight Zone The Movie, where veteran actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed.

Here’s the cartoon adaptation of the book Monster’s Ring, mentioned by Blake in the Podcast.

Have a look at this absolutely hilarious parody of Gremlins mashed-up with Taken, courtesy of How it Should of Ended.

December 18

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 2From Homicide to Hollywood

SNMS Side CastWelcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversSide-Cast. We present Part 2 of our exclusive interview with retired NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, consultant, writer and producer Randy Jurgensen. In this episode, we segue into Randy’s fascinating career in Hollywood and his body of work in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. We go in-depth about the first film he was drafted to be an advisor and actor for, The French Connection, and how he prepped the actors to be New York City cops (back when background prep was rare). We also discuss his friendship with director William Friedkin, as well as the four plus films they would collaborate together on. He also explains his role as of one the stunt drivers in one of the greatest car chases of allsorcererrandy time. He then goes into great detail about becoming a producer, and fighting the Screen Actor’s Guild for Larry Cohen‘s God Told Me To ; ‘stealing’ filming locations in New York City for Maniac and Viligante ; surviving the jungle and the Federales in Central America while filming Friedkin’s Sorcerer ; to fighting city hall (literally) in a small Maine town to get Stephen King‘s Thinner completed. As astounding as it is that a retired Detective was able transition into a life in Hollywood, what’s more incredible is that legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Roy Scheider were vying to hang out with him, because he was the ‘real’ deal, and moreover was the lead Detective on a very cruising_01publicized case at the time involving probably the most notorious cop killing in New York City’s history! Again, it’s a case where truth is stranger (and more entertaining), than fiction! So come listen to an absolutely fascinating and exclusive installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! (above picture Randy and Roy Scheider in Sorcerer, 1977; left picture is Randy in the NYC Coroner’s Office in Cruising, 1980)

EXTRAS:

The very iconic photo of the finale of The French Connection– Randy can be seen over Gene Hackman‘s right shoulder.

Here, here, here and here are behind the scenes shots of Randy on set on The Godfather, during the scene where Sonny is assassinated.

Check out Randy in The Godfather poster, up in the top right corner.

Here’s Randy at the end of Maniac, with real life partner Jimmy Aurichio!

Have a look at another picture from Cruising, with Randy center, interrogating Al Pacino, with Paul Sorvino standing against the wall.

Here’s another from Cruising, this time with a very young Ed O’Neill.

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December 11

Invasion USA , 1985

Tis the Season! The boys are back with an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion and Blake are ushering in the holidays with a classic, Invasion USA, starring the great Chuck Norris and directed by the supremely underrated Joseph Zito.

invasion usa
Blake and Dion discuss the burning holiday questions, like does Santa shave his beard on December 26th, or has he had to up his game because of all the high-tech toys kids have nowadays? Then they get to the film: The year is 1985 and along with movies like Commando, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, a low-budget Studio named Cannon releases this gem, a great example of pure, unabashed 80’s Action Escapism. Chuck is Ex CIA agent Matt Hunter and is after a terrorist who plans to destroy America, at Christmas time no less!  But why has this film fallen through the cracks of time and other Christmas-themed Action movies only bring Die Hard or say Lethal Weapon to mind? Does this deserve to be up there with those classics? Is this the film that helped solidify Chuck as the ultimate bad-ass? And what did Chuck really mean to say when he signed Dion’s poster?

All those questions (hopefully) will be answered in this all new holiday edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly said Lebanon when he met Iran when speaking about he 1979-80 American hostage situation)

EXTRAS:

Check out the original trailer to Invasion USA

Have a look at a great Q & A with Chuck, as he discusses how he and Bruce Lee would fare today in MMA

Take a listen to the Jay Chattaway score to Invasion USA

Here’s Dion with the man, the myth, the legend, Chuck Norris

December 4

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 1The Bad, Old Days

SNMS Side CastWelcome to an ALL NEW edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ “Side-Cast“. This episode takes SNMS listeners in an entirely different direction, presenting an all new and very rare interview with a retired NYPD Detective and Hollywood legend, Randy Jurgensen. He has appeared in over 50 films and television shows, including The French Connection, The Godfather, The Seven Ups, God Told Me To, Maniac, Sorcerer, Kojak, Fort Apache the Bronx, Superman, Vigilante, Cruising,  C.H.U.D., Randy Jurgensen TodayManiac Cop, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Juror, Thinner and Donnie Brasco among many others as an advisor, actor, producer and writer. Two of his cases were turned into major Hollywood films by his good friend William Friedkin, and are now classics.

But before all of this, Randy was a Homicide Detective in Harlem, “making a living among the dead” as he calls it, in the 2-8 Precinct dubbed “the Murder Factory“, navigating through some of the most awful times in New York City’s history. He and his fellow officers battled to keep the crime and murder rate down, while at the same time struggled to not lose a city to radical groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army (BLA). He was involved in the worst cop killing in the city’s history and made it his mission to bring the killer to justice, even if it meant sacrificing his career as a police officer. The experience led him to write a book in 2006 about the case, entitled Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him, a must read and cannot be recommended more highly. But to understand how he got to work in films with legends like Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, and his good friend (and SNMS favorite!) Joe Spinell, one has to hear the incredible and unbelievable story of how he got there.

blue cover Part One of our interview with Randy is the prequel to his film career, as he goes into detail on what it was like being a cop in a city that had on average 2000 murders a year, and speaks about some of the parallels that can be seen today with law enforcement. It is truly a case where fact is stranger (and at times more interesting) than fiction. A must listen! #RememberCardillo

Click here to see Randy back in the day, a picture from the 1977 Frank Sinatra film Contract on Cherry Street.

(Here is Randy with Ol’ Blue Eyes)

Click here to see Randy on April 20, 1972, moments after being hit in the back of the head by a brick thrown off a roof, during the Harlem riot that occurred after the shooting of Officer Phil Cardillo in Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7.

Check out this short Documentary starring Retired Detective Jurgensen.

Here are some more interesting facts about Randy.

 

October 16

The Black Hole, 1979

The boys are back for week 3 in their epic October Halloween month of Horror! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia tackle what some might call an unorthodox choice for a scary movie pick, but it certainly is Disney‘s darkest entry in film and also their most frightening (heck, [spoiler alert!] they go to Hell at the end)! Of course we’re talking Disney’s breath-taking and highly ambitious venture into cosmic Sci-Fi, The Black Hole, from 1979.

The Black Hole, 1979

The boys get into all the minute details of a movie that was so shocking, it quite possibly might have scarred an entire generation of children while at the same time, begot a merchandising campaign so vast, it even gave us a Little Golden Book Edition for those too young to follow along with the terror onscreen. Dion and Blake attempt to dissect the film in the context of the space-mania in the late 1970’s, and Hollywood’s race to the stars on the big and small screen. They talk in detail about the pioneering and breathtaking visuals that sadly, at times were to the detriment of the movie’s story. Was this film actually in development years before Star Wars, as a disaster film no less? Were its groundbreaking Special Effects actually more involved than Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, combined? What’s really going on onboard the U.S.S. Cygnus between Hans Reinhardt and his evil companion, the hovering robot Maximilian? And learn about the roots of Dion’s fascination with Ernest Borgnine and the yearly event that he attends in the actor’s honor, all on another, terrifying and brand new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take look at some EXCLUSIVE PICTURES of some rarely seen items on display in the Frank G. Wells Building located on the Disney Studios Burbank Lot, from when Dion and Blake were given a tour by Uncle Walt and Mickey (okay, Walt and Mickey didn’t give the tour but the lads like to remember it that way!). Here is one of the Palomino models used in the film; along with one of the scale models of V.I.N.CENTAND here‘s one of the laser pistols used in the filmALSO, here is the plaque outside of Studio A, the recording Soundstage designed to record Disney’s live orchestra music since 1939, and where The Black Hole‘s score was the first to be digitally recorded.

Here’s a GREAT Behind the Scenes picture of Peter Ellenshaw overseeing the photography of the U.S.S. Cygnus model, courtesy of AintitCool.com

Check out this awesome rarely seen commercial for a toy robot version of V.I.N.CENT!

While you’re at it, here’s a vintage commercial for its action figures!

Courtesy of BugEyedMonster.com, along with the regular toys, check out some UTRA-RARE Black Hole toy prototypes that NEVER made it to market.

Have a look and listen to the Black Hole Read Along and Aloud record, most notably with different actors voicing the characters, with the exception of Roddy McDowell.

Here’s the LP versionStory of the Black Hole“, this time with the actor’s from the film. And he’s Part 2, Side B!

For more on the Manhattan West Side Mexican Restaurant Tortilla Flats click here, and for more on Borgnine Night, click here for a CBS News Profile on the event (where SNMS’ own Dion Baia can be seen at the 2:25 mark!)

Take a listen to the sister-site Podwits.com Podcast where Dion, Brian Zino and J. Marcus recorded live from the 2012 Borgnine Night!

 

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September 25

Batman, 1989

This week is a celebration here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers because we’ve turned ONE year old!

To usher in the monumental anniversary, J. Blake and Dion Baia have recorded a podcast that could be their most EPIC yet, presenting a film that played a huge role in their upbringing and practically revolutionized Hollywood moviemaking and marketing in the late 20th century; basically the 1977 Star Wars of their generation. If you haven’t guessed it already, we are speaking about 1989’s Batman, directed by Tim Burton.

batman

Dion and Blake start off by reflecting on turning a year old, and the humbling experience it has been to hear from the fans they’ve gained who share the same love for movies as they do. The fellas chat about being part of a nostalgic generation, and attempt to set-up what it was like for them to be 10 year-olds living in a pre-Batman era and then live through that unbelievable summer of 1989, a perfect storm which has been dubbed in the annuls of history as Batmania.

Then they get into all things Batman: The lads go back and setup the history of comic books, from dime-store novels, pulp magazines to comic strips, and detail the elements in the culture that helped Bob Kane and Bill Finger create the Dark Knight. The boys proceed to go through the various eras of Batman, from the post WWII 50’s era Fredric Wertham crusade to clean up comics, to the ‘Pop1966 show that defined an era, to the ’70’s and ’80’s push to bring the character back to his roots. Once they get to the main course, Tim Burton’s 1989 tour de force, they track the 10-year journey of getting the film made, the various casting challenges posed (with Dion and Blake playing the BIGGEST version of their ‘What If ? Game EVER), and even tackle the argument of who was a better JokerJack Nicholson or Heath Ledger? Not to mention the 26 year-old surprise that could ultimately send them both to the HOSPITAL to get their stomach’s pumped!

Yes, as epic as this description is, it barely scratches the surface of this MEGA podcast to commemorate Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s one year anniversary. Go ahead and have a spin today!

EXTRAS:

(As of this recording, some great news has been released about Bill Finger finally receiving the Batman credit he deserves!)

(Straight out of the Saturday Night Movie Sleepover’s Archive, here is an original sketch by none other than Bob Kane himself!)

(As mentioned in the podcast, another straight out of the SNMS’s Archive is an ultra-rare, one of a kind original piece of art done by the Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer of Batman and Robin with Scooby and Shaggy.

(To READ MORE on artist Bob Singer and his role in developing Hanna Barbara’s cartoon library, please read this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW the boys did for Podwits.com) 

(Check out the TRAILER that started it all, released Christmas of 1988 to build excitement for the June 23rd 1989 premiere)

(Have a look at various 1989 commercials to promote all things Batman, including toys, Nintendo games, the *cereal*, Michael Gough as Alfred in a Diet Coke commercial, and many more! Wow it brings back memories!!)

(Here’s an VERY RARE Warner Bros. Industrial Short [courtesy of 1989Batman.com] part of the 1988 press kit, which some say was made to show the stockholders how the tone and look of the film would be, which was shot while the project was still in preproduction, and has in-depth interviews with Production Designer Anton Furst, Director Tim Burton, SFX man John Evans, among many others.)

(For all everything else related to the 1989 Burton film among other things, check out 1989Batman.com)

(HERE and HERE are some photo’s of the actual cereal box the boys opened on set and tried during the recording of their Batman 1989 podcast.)

(As referenced to in the podcast, have a gander at the 2011 Podwits article Dion did arguing Tim Burton‘s Batman films over Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy. )

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September 11

The Last Starfighter, 1984

To close out the long and hot summer, J. Blake and Dion Baia have embarked on a journey that will take them out of the trailer park canyons of California and up into the galaxy to help defend the cosmos against horrifying alien evildoers who are hell-bent on, well… doing whatever they plan to do- and the key to this adventure is provided to us by one cleverly disguised, humble arcade game console. Yes, we are talking about the highly-underated 1984 film The Last Starfighter, directed by Nick Castle.

The Last Starfighter

Yes Joystick Jockeys, this cult classic is hailed as the first film to showcase CGI Imagery to replace the tradition Stop-Motion and Practically Special Effects, and is sometimes forgotten for that milestone. But how does a space film in a post-Star Wars world stand out without ultimately being compared to the property that set the bar? The boys reminisce about the era of the late 1970’s and 80’s when one actually had to go out of their house and travel to a local arcade or restaurant if they wanted to socialize while gaming, and/or see the latest and greatest in video game technology vis-à-vis the big console units. Has time and the public been fair to this ground-breaking film? Can this movie actually be considered as influential as Star Wars in certain circles? And what’s this film’s 3-way connection to John Carpenter? And does Blake‘s Lance Guest story really involve a late-night encounter in the adult section of a 24-hour New York City store? Well we’re not pulling any punches on this all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Inter-stellar!!

(Check out the site for the Kenner Star Wars toys documentary discussed in this podcast entitled, Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys.)

(Here’s the link to Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, the great book that discusses the history of game consoles; the success of Mario starting from the failed arcade console Radar Scope which was then converted into the legendary Donkey Kongleading to the rise of Nintendo and the legacy we are all familiar with today.)

(Have a look at composer Craig Safan conduct a performance of The Last Starfighter Suite, live!)

(The name of the Cleveland Restaurant that had VHS tapes to watch behind the bar was The Greenhouse Tavern)

(And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note, here is Dion meeting to man, the myth, the legend- Mr. Ron Jeremy)

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August 28

The Warriors, 1979

Get Ready! Dion Baia and J. Blake have picked a whopper of a movie for this week, which could be their BIGGEST podcast yet! Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers is putting on their jean jackets, leather vests, face paint, bandanas, and grabbing some subway tokens, because they’re screening the cult classic gang film, Walter Hill’s The Warriors, from 1979.

The Warriors

The boys attempt to find a logical order to their excitement while trying to dissect this classic. Having read the 1965 Sol Yurick novel of the same name, Blake and Dion compare the differences from book to film (like for example the gang not even actually being called The Warriors, but instead the Coney Island Dominators!). They try to give a historical context as well, speaking about the real gangs of the era, that in some cases were even more frightening than those in the film. And speaking of contexts, what about the historical Greek story Anabasis by Xenophon from 401 BC, and how it influenced both the author Yurick and subsequentially the director. And what of Walter Hill’s 2005 Director’s Cut (which seems to be the only version available to view this film nowadays); how does the Lucas-esque changes made compare to the original theatrical cut? Well, Dion and Blake try to fit as much as they can into this brand new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! So spread the word! Cause we’ll be ‘boppin’ our way right through this podcast! Now… can you dig it?!

(Check out the New York City locations that were used to film, from then and now, in this GREAT site found Here1, Here2 and Here3!)

(Here’s some more locations to have a look at.)

(Look at the deleted scenes from the film and see if you agree with their exclusion from the final product!)

(Take a gander at the UK site devoted to The Warriors, which is indispensable to any hardcore fan!)

(Have a look at the trailer to the brand new documentary entitled Rubble Kings, about the real gangs in NYC in the 1970’s, and how close they actually resembled the fictional ones in The Warriors, and how a real truce and organization almost came to be by the real life Cyrus!)

Here’s a link to the HUGE Reunion at Coney Island of The Warriors planned to happen Saturday, September 13th, 2015!

 

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