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 controversial subtexts that some academics have read into the work and what are their perceptions of the themes within Beauty? How did Walt Disney‘s brilliance in knowing his own limitations actually help in making the company such a huge success? What important character from the 1946 Cocteau film did this Disney story borrow? What character was the song Be Our Guest originally supposed to be sung to? And what famous book-turned-to-film thriller (that is a staple in every serial killer library) do the boys find similarities with this animated classic? Well grab some popcorn and your favorite sipping drink, because the boys are taking you on a musical adventure this week with this mega, Disney-filled new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke during the cast, the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman was in fact a Universal, not Disney film.

EXTRAS!

As the boys described in the podcast, here our exclusive photos taken by them at the Disney Burbank Lot of the Ub Iwerk-designed 14′ high Multi-plane camera, HERE and HERE for the game challenger, Snow White, and check out Walt and the boys HERE and HERE, using it back in the day.

Check out the boys getting a tour from Walt and Mickey themselves, HERE and HERE!

Have a look at some of the original character design sculptures that animators used as references, that were on display at the Reagan Library Disney Exhibit.

Take a look at photos HEREHERE and HERE  the boys took of the original Animation Building that’s located on the Burbank lot (personally designed by Walt), that animators drew the films from Dumbo up to The Black Cauldron within. Check out the plaque inside the building.

And HERE and HERE are the pictures the fellas took of the corner window of the Animation Building that was Walt’s office.

Here’s the original trailer to the 1946 Jean Cocteau Beauty and the Beast film, narrated by Cocteau himself.

Have a gander at this chart of the different elements of animals used to make the Beast.

As talked about in the podcast, here is the Billy Joel rendition of When You Wish Upon a Star, from the 1991 Disney album Simply Mad About the Mouse.

Check out Tom Waits‘ version of Heigh Ho (The Dwarfs Marching Song) from the 1988 Disney album Stay Awake:Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.

February 3

Masters of the Universe, 1987

Good Journey to you, and welcome back to another exciting and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are revisiting a cult classic film that is tied to a legendary property that was one of the biggest franchises of the 1980s. So what do you get when you take a toy maker named Mattel® and have them shack up with the 80s action B-movie giant Cannon Films? You get the topic of this week’s podcast, Masters of the Universe, from 1987.

Masters of the Universe, 1987

The boys set up the movie on hand by reminiscing about their memories of where and when they first watched this epic. They then attempt to navigate through the steeped history of the He-Man character, explaining his basic origins and his initial backstory that was set up by Mattel when they first launched the toyline, before DC Comics it picked up and developed the vast story. Dion and Blake also try and sum up the status of Cannon in the 80s and that company’s influence in cinema, and even to moviegoers of that decade and how these two unlikely bedfellows wanted to make the “Star Wars of the 1980s” (to quote the Cannon hype). And they also spell out how and why, Masters ended up being one of the building blocks that caused everything to come crashing down- ultimately junking a toyline as well as being part of completely tanking a film company. So how vast was the He-Man franchise in it’s heyday? What problems ended up plaguing the film production from day one? What other comic book and cartoon character’s film was actually in preproduction but ultimately ended up getting halted because of the financial problems of the imploding Cannon? And what was the planned sequel to Masters of the Universe that was actually in preproduction and also had to be scrapped, AND what did that script get retooled and eventually released as? Well get your battle swords, cosmic keys, and gather your fellow Eterians, because here comes another mind-blowing installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(*CORRECTION- Within the podcast the 1989 film The Punisher is commonly referred as being a Cannon film, when it was in fact a New World production. Our apologies. Thanks)

EXTRAS:

Have a look at this 2012 panel discussion of 1987 MOTU live action film!

Here’s a great behind-the-scenes circa 1987 documentary on the film!

Check out this awesome, retro poster of the many characters, vehicles and playsets of the He-Man universe.

To completely immerse yourself in anything and everything He-Man, check out the Grayskull: The He-Man and She-Ra Wiki site devoted to the franchise.

As discussed in the podcast, here’s Dion with legendary comic book artist Mark Texeira in 2014 at 4th Annual Comic Book Marketplace Comic Convention (photo taken by Blake).

December 23

Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985

With Christmas just days away, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to seek out a film that actually was the first to attempt to lay out the backstory of old St. Nick; a movie that sadly came and went, and like any good holiday film, it’s a perfect time capsule for the era it was made within. We’ve got Santa pitted against the evil and greed of the 1980s, in Jeannot Szwarc‘s Santa Claus: The Movie, from 1985.

Santa Claus the Movie

This forgotten gem starring the great Dudley Moore, David Huddleston and John Lithgow immediately have the boys thinking back to the Christmas’ of their childhood, and the memories that come along with those experiences, like the Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs and their toy sections, or shopping with Mom and watching her use coupons for everything and then get rainchecks for what was on sale but had been 86-ed. And because of the product placement and connected marketing campaign, it has Dion and Blake longing for a McDonald‘s meal circa 1985, and all it’s unhealthy heavenly glory. They discuss the superhero-esque origin story, and relish in the glorious pre-CGI practical effects, and the beauty that has been lost in those antiquated Special Effects. So playing the SNMS-patented What-if ?” game, who were some of the other directors considered to helm this film? Was a legendary horror director actually topping the list to, at one point, oversee this project? Was this entire movie, including the parts in New York City, shot on a soundstage in another country entirely? And is it really unheard of to have that many wild reindeer pull a sleigh? Well, this week the boys hook up with the Vendequm and watch them fulfill their centuries-old prophecy, in an all new Holiday Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRA:

Check out the original trailer for Santa Claus: The Movie!

Take a look at an original 1985 TV spot.

Here’s a great example of the product endorsements tied into the movie, where we have the elves selling Kodak Disk Cameras!

And here’s local reporter Roy Leonard from WGN Channel 9 reviewing the film on the nightly news, circa 1985.

December 16

SNMS Presents the Side-Cast:Tracking Down that White Elephant at Christmas

To add to this festive Christmas season, Dion Baia ended up tracking down and recording a special Side-Cast edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, enlisting his old friends Brian Zino and J. Marcus, the cohosts of his former podcast The Podwits. Now to get them together for a recording, Dion knew there was one topic that would coincide with this season and something the boys could go on and on about: TOYS!

SNMS Side CastSo for this SNMS special, Dion brought back his old cohorts to have a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the toys they grew up with and a time that children nowadays sadly may never know about: how awesome it was growing up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s- a time when kids had a gun aisle in their local toy store, and could go buy candy cigarettes they could then ‘smoke’, just like their parents. The trio begin with chatting about the cartoons they grew up on, and some of the toys that came out of those francheses. They talk about the Mego toy empire of the 70s that had a monopoly on everything, and the segue that occured in the 1980s with the unstoppable titans Mattel, Hasbro and Kenner and their strong hold over the market, before others like Playmates and Galoob moved into the field. Along with toy figures, tThe Podwitshey also chat about building sets like Legos, Construx and Girder and Panel, and even touch on model-making and specifically superhero and movie character models, and the exciting products that were put out by companies like Aurora in the 70s and later on by Horizon in the mid 1990s. They also challenge each other by posing the ‘white whale‘ question: was there a toy they always wanted and never received? And how about the toy(s) that in theory were great but practically, either because of design or toy-playing, was frustating and annoying to say the least. Yes, they’re all over the spectrum in this special, Christmas time edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s Side-Cast. Come have a listen today!

Extras:

*The small battery powered 4×4 vehicles that Dion could not remember the name of from the early 1980s were called STOMPERS.

Check out J. Marcus in a segment where TV’s American Toy Scout Joel Magee drops by J’s apartment to take in the eclectic collection that is on display for all to see.

Here is the A-Team B.A. Baracus figure discussed in the podcast.

This is what the 1983 film Krull‘s weapon The Glaive actually looks like, that Brian attempted to make himself as a child. And here it is in the film.

As discussed in the podcast HERE, and HERE are the Star Trek, Laser Tag-esque game called Star Trek Phaser Battle.

And speaking of Laser Tag-esque play sets, here’s the imitation game Dion‘s parents got him called Phaser Force.

Straight out of J. Marcus vault, here are 2 UNOFFICIAL phasers: HERE is a resin Star Trek TNG Phaser 1 replica, and HERE is a working TOS Phaser 1 replica.

Now take a look at an OFFICIAL Star Trek TNG Playmates Communicator, next to a TNG Tricorder (Note the size difference!).

For more podcasts and specials with Brian Zino, J. Marcus and Dion Baia, check out Podwits.com.

 

 

December 9

Star Wars Holiday Special, 1978

Happy Life Day and welcome back to an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Well with Christmas time here, Dion Baia and J. Blake have decided to cover maybe their most controversial topic to date and the most anticipated event of the 1978 Holiday season: the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, that aired Friday November the 17th, of that year.

Star Wars Holiday Special

So to cut right to the chase, why is this television special so controversial for the boys at SNMS? Well probably because of the stance Blake and Dion take on this almost universally-panned time capsule from ’78. After the boys chat about last week’s podcast with guest host Mike Vanderbilt, and a dive into Dion‘s food allergies, the fellas get right into the seasonal topic at hand. They set the table and interject the context of the latter half of 1978, a year after the original Star Wars had been released and almost a year and change before the sequel Empire Strikes Back would come out in 1980. Along with a ‘variety show’ template and the majority of the original cast of 1977 film reprising their roles, we get some pretty astounding cameos by such stars as Art Carney, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur, performances by Diahann Carroll, the rock band Jefferson Starship, and even a pint-raising song by Ms. Arthur herself. The television audience was also treated to a 9+ minute cartoon that introduced one of the most legendary Star Wars characters of all time, the mysterious bounty hunter Bobba Fett. So why is this special so universally hated by critics and fans alike? How involved was George Lucas really (especially since afterward he completely disavowed himself and completely berated the special)? Why was the aforementioned Bobba Fett introduced in cartoon form, in this holiday special anyway? Another dirty little secret, was Han Solo actually supposed to be married to a wookie?! And to get right to the most controversial question: in the context of the era, was this special really as bad as everyone likes to remember…considering what else was going on in 1978? Well it could be a very interesting podcast to say the least for some hardcore Star Wars fans, as SNMS delivers another all new, holiday edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

An indispensable asset for any fans of the Holiday Special, here is an amazing website directly solely to the 1978 TV Special.

Check out this Black & White footage of the first screen test from 1978 of Bobba Fett.

Take a look at one of the BEST QUALITY versions of the Star Wars Holiday Specials SNMS has ever seen, in it’s entirety, courtesy of YouTube.

And here are all the original commercials that aired during the Holiday Special.

And speaking of rotoscoping, here is the ultra-rare and never released pre-MTV 1979 music video Tom Waits did for his song “The One that Got Away” with director John Lamb (who would go on to do American Pop with Ralph Bakshi). It was done as a test, using the pioneering ‘video rotoscope’ technology and then converted to animation, a technique that producers then brought to Bakshi to sell him on the concept for his next film, which audiences would see 2 years later in 1981, in the aforementioned, American Pop. The short ended up winning an Oscar in 1980 for Scientific and technical achievement.  More information about this story can be found here.

 

November 11

Batman: The Animated Series; Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay , 1992

Welcome once again to another all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! They boys were up really, really late the other night looking through their collection of old VHS tapes, deep down in the SNMS archive, and came across something that made them stop in their tracks. J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to call an audible, taking a left turn with the podcast to break new ground and cover a subject to that helped shape their preteen years- something they both consider not only one of the best animated series of all time but one of the best television shows of all time, Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted September 5, 1992.

Batman: The Animated Series

The boys realize that a task like this would produce a truly epic podcast, so for their purposes here they’ve picked two stories that are not only some of their favorites episodes, but also exemplify the ‘lightning in a bottle’ that was captured when this show came together, entitled Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay, Parts 1 & 2. Dion and Blake start off by remembering back in the day when kids would hang out with other kids just to play with those kid’s toys, and also Blake‘s recent trip to England and what he did on Halloween day, over across the pond. Then they get into Batman and set up the various factors brought together to bring to the small screen not only a unique take on the Dark Knight character, but also how this union of the minds brought us one of the most unique cartoons in animation history. They discuss the influences as well as the tone of the show, and particularly in these two episodes, the fact that even though these were installments in a children’s cartoon show, we have two stories that end up setting the bar, changing and even inventing some of the cannon for the entire franchise as it moves forward. So, how about the amazing performances given not only in these two stories, but throughout the entire series by the legendary actors brought in to voice the various characters in the show? Why does the animation in Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay in particular stand out from the rest of the series? How do these episodes showcase what is to come in this groundbreaking series? Well these are just some of the topics the fellas get through on this all new, and fun edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

As discussed in this episode, take a look that this rare and completely awesome limited-run vinyl record box set of the score to some of the best installments of Batman:The Animated Series, courtesy of Mondo.

Take a look some of the artwork from the box set saluting some of the various episodes, like Heart of Ice, and the Clayface episode Mudslide.

And since we’re here, have a look at another sweet Clayface art for Feat of Clay, Part 2.

Check out this re-envisioning of the iconic opening of the series, all done here with Legos!

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.

 

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.

January 11

Labyrinth, 1986

We here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers were extremely saddened to hear about the passing of icon David Bowie, after losing his eighteen month-long battle with cancer.

Originally our plan was to open up 2016 with a podcast dedicated to our female listeners, covering a movie near and dear to the hearts of so many women who’d grown up watching and loving a 1986 film directed by Jim Henson, which if you haven’t already guessed, is Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and Mr. Bowie.

Labyrinth

It is also the 30th anniversary of the film and along with the 69th birthday of Mr. Bowie on January 8th, we thought the Henson film would be the perfect way to open the year. So J. Blake and Dion Baia recorded this podcast in the early morning hours of Sunday the 10th, and it was not until the late evening of the same day that we along with the rest of the world heard the devastating news of his passing. We immediately decided to forego our usual format and release this podcast as we recorded it, as almost a dedication to Mr. Bowie. Certainly it is a seminal body of work for both he and Mr. Henson, which has now become a cult classic that has amassed a huge fan base worldwide. We hope you enjoy this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, and we’d like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Bowie’s family, friends and fans. RIP Mr. David Jones.

EXTRAS:

Here is the music video to David Bowie‘s song Lazarus, released January the 7th, one day before his latest album Blackstar premiered on his 69th birthday, and just two days before his passing.

Take a look at this great 1986 documentary Inside the Labyrinth, showing the making of the film. (Keep a close eye out for choreographer Cheryl McFadden, later known to Star Trek NG fans as Gates McFadden!)

Please check out this highly recommended and fascinating episode from the 1989 show The Jim Henson Hour entitled Inside the Muppets, hosted by Henson himself, where he takes the audience on a rare behind the scenes trip through the Muppet shows and films.

Have a look at the original theatrical trailer!

 

 

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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July 31

The Fantastic Four, 1994

Well truly believers, with the upcoming release of the latest Fantastic Four reboot, Dion and Blake thought they’d go back and revisit a classic. A film so notorious in the annals of history for maybe all the wrong reasons, being that it never even got released and was instead shelved! We of course are talking about the Roger Corman classic, the original Fantastic Four film, from 1994.

Fantastic-four-movie-poster

The boys set the scene and discuss the context of the early ’90’s and what the FF was up against, as well as other movies that never got nearly as far in production, but met the same fate. Dion and Blake also debate probably the largest question everyone has: why the heck was this film never released, even after it was allowed to be completed? Could the powers-at-be have found another way to repurpose this film in some way, and not have written it off as a total failure? Did Roger Corman‘s company that got FF finished on such a shoe-string budget, actually hinder it’s release? Is it fair to compare this to something that Troma Studios would put out? And on the subject of Troma and Lloyd Kaufman, J. Blake regales us with story of how he actually worked at Troma which only lasted a week… This week’s edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers is a must listen, dissecting a film that may go down as one of the most sought after bootlegs in cinema history. Come download it today!

(The Gunfighter starred Gregory Peck, not Burt Lancaster.)

(Please check out The Fantastic Four in its entirety, courtesy of YouTube!)

(Check out the website for the documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four)

(Here’s an ultra rare teaser trailer for The Fantastic Four!)

(In this episode Dion mentioned the great comic book artist John Byrne, whose work on FF in the 1980’s was the specific inspiration for The Thing‘s make up design. Here we have an Epic imaginary cover of an Epic imaginary crossover, commissioned by the SNMS team from Mr. Byrne himself!)

(As an added bonus, we have an ultra-rare, original pencil sketch of The Thing by legendary artist Joe Sinnott, who was the primary inker for the FF from 1965-1981!)

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July 3

Flight of the Navigator, 1986

Happy Birthday America! To ring in the July 4th holiday, J. Blake and Dion Baia are pulling out a real old-school classic, the forgotten Disney gem, Flight of the Navigator, from 1986.

Flight of the Navigator

The boys bring a slew of knowledge and personal experience to this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, relaying the history of Walt Disney‘s company, especially in the context of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, be it in animated and live-action films. Dion and Blake relay their story of the private tour of the Disney Studios in Burbank CA that they took part in, and Dion’s fortunate (or unfortunate) meeting of Michael Eisner, ex-CEO of Disney Studios from 1984-2005 and how it panned out. How does Flight still hold up today? How about the Special Effects? Was this Disney’s answer to E.T.? And wow, Disney can be dark when they want to be, can’t they?! We’re traveling the cosmos in this 4th of July extravaganza, so come on down and have a listen!

(Here’s a great 1986 featurette for Flight of the Navigator)

(Check out the trailer to the must-see documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, about the near-scuttling of Disney‘s Animation department.)

April 24

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989

The boys deliver a Special Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers this week as they go way down the alley and explore the Marvel character Daredevil‘s live-action roots (as well as The Kingpin‘s for that matter), leading them to the 1989 Bill Bixby classic, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989Dion Baia and J. Blake go into an in-depth analysis of the 2nd in the post-Incredible Hulk series TV movies, which was originally supposed to serve as backdoor pilot for a potential Daredevil TV series, which also starred Lou Ferrigno, Rex Smith and lastly John Rhys-Davies as Wilson Fisk himself. And because they are tackling Daredevil’s small-screen origins, the boys include the 1994 Spiderman Animated Series two-parter from Season Three, which debued the Man Without Fear to cartoon viewers everywhere. They also discuss the resurgence in popularity that has occurred in the past fifteen or so years for the superhero film (and television show), as well as strive to showcase the genius thespian and director that was Bill Bixby, or as they affectionately call him, “the Bix“.  Come on down and enjoy a sporadic, exciting and highly informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out this great Incredible Hulk TV Series Documentary)

(Here’s Stan Lee discussing the origins of the Incredible Hulk Television series.)

(Have a look at a great flashback of Mister Rogers visiting the Incredible Hulk set! And here’s Part 2!)

(Bill Bixby on the Arsenio Hall Show in April of 1989 to promote the Trial of the Incredible Hulk, speaking in great detail about The Courtship of Eddie’s Father)

(And please check out the final interview with Bill Bixby)