January 26

G.I. Joe : “Arise, Serpentor, Arise!”, -1986

Welcome back to another brand new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking a trip down memory lane, covering an epic story from a monumental television series from our collective youth. The boys are revisiting the animated classic G.I. Joe, and the 5-parter storyline that premiered Season 2 and reset the series, called “Arise, Serpentor, Arise! “, from 1986.

 

Arise, Serpentor, Arise! VHS cover

Blake and Dion analyze the origins and history of G.I. Joe as a toyline from Hasbro, and how with its reinvention in 1982 (with the help of Marvel Comics), became one of the biggest and most popular toy lines in history. In typical SNMS fashion, they discuss the Serpentor storyline and utilize as a cross reference, the differences in the comic book‘s story arc, to unpack how ahead of its time this and other core stories were in G.I. Joe, and how the Season 2 reset launched an entire new line of toys for us to buy. So come on and have a listen as the boys revisit a classic, on an all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*The 1945 Robert Mitchum/Burgess Meredith film is titled The Story of G.I. Joe, not just G.I. Joe.

*Dion misspoke and said Lifeline when he meant Lift-Ticket, who piloted the Tomahawk helicopter.

Extras!

As discussed in the podcast, Blake & Dion attended Hascon in September of 2017. Here are some photos they took of the G.I. Joe display (We apologize for the reflections in some of the pictures- we just couldn’t eliminate those pesky things; and for the framing of other pics- we were moving as quickly as we could to see all the displays! ):

For more extras, click more!

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October 24

Garfield in Disguise AKA Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, 1985

Welcome to a surprise installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover’s October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to do an impromptu episode and look back at their childhoods, particularly during the Halloween season. More specifically, they wanted to cover a television special that has endeared itself to an entire generation of cat-lovers, who secretly would love nothing more than to sit around all day watching TV, while being served pasta and lasagna. That’s right, the boys are talking about everyone’s favorite orange & black house cat, Garfield and his cult classic, Emmy award-winning primetime special, Garfield in Disguise, or more widely known as Garfield’s Halloween Special, from 1985.

Garfield's Halloween Special

Another special near and dear to Dion‘s heart, the boys start off by discussing their memories of the Jim Davis comic strip. They discuss other popular comic strip stars, Garfield‘s primetime television specials, and the many other holiday specials of the era. The boys reminisce about their own childhood Halloween memories, the old costumes they wore, and what other thoughts come to mind when discussing this spooky Autumn holiday. They get into creator Jim Davis‘ original inception of Garfield the cat, the evolution from newspaper comic strip to book form, Davis’ genius in merchandising his creation and Garfield‘s journey to Primetime television. They chat about the eerie narrative theme recur in the various Garfield specials–where a child is lulled into a false sense of security until the third act goes completely off the rails, and becomes anything BUT what you’d think would wind up in a children’s cartoon special. So how scary was this for children growing up? Did this special actually push the limits of what the CBS Broadcast’s Standards and Practices would allow in a children’s cartoon? And how do the boys feel about this compared to the other holiday specials of the era? Well you better get your Halloween costume’s together, make sure you have your partner to go trick-or-treating with, and be careful not to trespass on any small islands that contain abandoned houses with cursed pirate treasure…on the exact night when said pirates’ ghosts are rising from the dead to claim what is their’s…because Blake and Dion are back with a special surprise edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!

EXTRAS:

Check out Garfield’s Halloween Special as it aired for only the 2nd time on CBS, on October 23rd, 1986, courtesy of YouTube, original commercials included!

Here is Garfield’s Halloween Special minus the commercials, in HD, again courtesy of YouTube.

Take a look at this great 2017 interview with creator Jim Davis, as he talks about the creation and longevity on the Garfield character, in this short called Jim Davis- The Man Behind the Cat.

Have a look at this CBS Television Special from May 17, 1988 called Happy Birthday Garfield!, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Garfield the cat, courtesy of YouTube

And check out this Jim Davis-hosted 2012 short about the modern process of Garfield comic strip is drawn

July 7

Spider-Man, 1977

Welcome True Believers to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are talking a character that is a personal favorite of the boys- particularly J. Blake -and with a new film hitting theaters this week, what better time then to discuss a certain New York City Web-Slinger! That’s right, your ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man‘ is the topic and his journey through television with an emphasis on the 1977 TV movie entitled just Spider-Man, and the live-action series that blossomed out of that movie pilot, The Amazing Spider-Man, which ran from 1978 to 1979.

Spider-man

With such a huge topic to cover, the boys initially set out to only talk the 1970’s live-action series but decided they needed to touch on the original 1967 Spider-Man cartoon series that ran until 1970, as well as the first live-action appearance of the character which appeared on of all places, PBS, on 1970’s series The Electric Company. They also felt compelled to discuss the little known, but amazing (no pun intended… or maybe it was…) live-action Japanese TV show entitled Spider-Man (or Supaidâman) that ran from 1978-1979, coinciding with the live-action America series. The fellas do touch upon the other iterations of Spidey in his various animated forms but set up the conversation by going into how much of an influence the character was for Blake growing up, even as far as a very young Blake (with the help of his Mom) submitting Spider-Man artwork to Marvel in hopes of becoming an artist there. The boys then go through the history of the character: summing up comics in the Golden Age, specifically pre and post war; Timely / Atlas Comics’ evolution into Marvel Comics; and Stan Lee‘s fight to breakout of the then-standard storytelling molds for comic books of the day, to be able to tell new kinds of stories that humanize the characters portrayed within. From the 1967 cartoon and appearances on The Electric Company, they dive deep into the 1977 TV movieBackdoor Pilot‘ (as it was called), to the last two-part episode of that series in 1979 called The Chinese Web, released theatrically later as The Dragon’s Challenge overseas. They also breakdown the pilot to the 1978 Japanese show and try to put into words how much the Japanese show blew their minds… So could it be argued that Spider-Man‘s origin story is in fact more tragic than Batman‘s? How does the life-action adaptations from the 70’s hold up? And just how freaking amazing is the Japanese show really? Well make sure you grab some extra web cartridges, your camera and pack a lunch, cause we’re swinging through the glass and cement canyons of New York City this week in an all new and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Excelsior!!!

*(This podcast was recorded prior to the passing of Stan Lee’s wife, Joan. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Mr. Lee and his family.)

EXTRAS:

Take a look at Blake’s Turkish Spider-Man poster for the theatrical release of The Dragon’s Challenge, signed by Stan Lee! AND here is the American edition of that same poster.

As brought up in the podcast, here is a link to the Society of Illustrators‘ current exhibit on The Art of Spider-Man.

Check out the original 1977 ‘Backdoor Pilot’ TV movie that greenlit the 1970’s series, courtesy of YouTube

Here’s Stan Lee talking about why he disliked the 1978-79 American television series.

Have a look at the great opening for the 1978-79 Japanese series, with subtitles!

And if you didn’t believe the boys about the awesomeness of the Japanese series, have a look at this trailer for it’s re-release from Marvel.com!

For anyone who didn’t know or forgot this existed, please check out the full video of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, from 1986, starring Stan Lee and John Buscema!

Also discussed in the podcast, have a listen to Michael Bublé‘s great big band cover of the 1967 animated series theme, which starts as Sing Sing Sing and segues into Spider-Man. And to the show how popular this rarity must of been overseas, check out this live version with stage show, on Italian TV!

June 23

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are going “way down the alley“, to discuss a monumental film that marked a seminal event in cinema history, something that to this day has never been replicated. What is it you might ask? Well have a listen as the boys talk the film noir/live-action/animated mash-up, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, from 1988!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Dion and Blake jump right into things, reminiscing about the late 80s, discussing the time period this film was released within. Another movie highlighting the glory of the pre-CGI era, the fellas analyze the various practical methods used to bring this amazing story to the silver screen, from the hand-drawn cell animation, to the practical SFX, to the sheen ILM applied to help make the finished product look that much more ‘real’. The boys go through the 1981 Gary Wolf book the film is based on Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and the similarities and major differences in plot and tone. Blake and Dion attempt to add perspective and really underscore how amazing this project was to be able to bring together various characters from Warner Bros., Disney and Tex Avery‘s troupe at MGM– a colossal feat that still 29 years on, hasn’t again been achieved. They also discuss meeting pioneering animation Ink and Painter Martha Sigall, who personally knew icons like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc, as well as meeting Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer. So how dark is this film really, even though it was billed as a children’s picture? And is the book actually much darker? What is the real-life plot point in Roger Rabbit that audiences forget actually happened, and how is it somehow related to Robert Towne‘s Chinatown series? And what is Dion‘s Bob Hoskins story- did he actually carry him around on his back, Yoda-style for a day? Well get ready and make sure you take your heart medicine, because the lads are taking you on a trip into Toontown in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dean Cundey actually directed Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, not the original Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

EXTRAS:

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with the late legendary Ink and Painter Martha Sigall about her career in the animation business, in a time when the industry was still in it’s infancy.

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer, as he reminisces about his work at the animation studios, and discusses the iconic characters he helped create.

Here is Dion with the amazing Bob Hoskins in 2005, when the former carried the latter on his back for a day while undergoing his Jedi training.

Have a look at this great 1988 behind-the-scenes TV special, Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown, hosted by Joanna Cassidy.

Take a look at this rare deleted scene, entitled the “Pighead Sequence.

Check out the three rare Roger Rabbit post-film shorts: Tummy Trouble, from 1989; Roller Coaster Rabbit from 1990; and from 1993,Trail Mix-Up!

March 17

Beauty and the Beast , 1991

It’s that time again… time for another exciting, thrilling and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake have a whammy of an installment this week: a lighthearted, musical affair from a company that at the time of this film’s release, was going through a proper-resurgence themselves. And this movie marked its crowning achievement to-date for that company’s Animation Department, which broke new ground in its pioneering uses of CGI in this project… Yes, “it is a tale as old as time” as the boys explore the enchanted world of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, from 1991.

Beauty and the Beast

The fellas jump right in and go back to the beginning, discussing everything Disney in this epic podcast: They ‘set the table’ by giving a concise timeline on Walt‘s meteoric rise to fame, from his beginnings with the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit animated shorts and the work with his good friend and genius Ub Iwerks (among others), to bringing in Carl Stalling for help creating animated musical shorts, pioneering color cartoons and his finally creating a feature-length animated film in 1937 with the ground-breaking Snow White and the Seven DwarfsBlake and Dion follow Disney‘s journey through the war years and his upswing in the 1950s, and Walt then getting side-tracked with live-action films, a new medium called television, and theme park construction. These side ventures unconsciously begin to take its toll on the animation department and with Walt‘s death in 1966 it almost becomes rudderless, culminating with the near closing of the entire animation branch in the mid 1980s. The boys then go through the renaissance in the late 80’s that brought the famed animation unit back and to the biggest cartoon film to-date, Beauty and the Beast. They go through the history of the popular fairytale with the 1946 live-action Jean Cocteau movie, even hitting on the late 80’s TV series. Dion and Blake then discuss the work it took to get Beauty and the Beast on screen, with the brand new CAPS technology that changed the face of animation, and the work by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman that gave us all those classic songs we know today. So what 1949 Disney animated film do the lads draw similarities between? What are the controvers