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!

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 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.

 

 

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!

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!)

Subscribe to SNMS on iTunes!

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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)

October 17

The Flash ” TV Pilot, 1990

With the recent premiere in the fall of 2014 of yet another beloved DC Comics property The Flash, the boys had the idea of instead going back in time and giving another shot to the original series, 1990‘s The Flash pilot, starring the great John Wesley Shipp.

The Flash 1990

So… are they crazy? Or are they onto something? How big of an influence did Tim Burton‘s 1989 epic Batman film and Warren Beatty‘s 1990 hit Dick Tracy have on this franchise? And more importantly, what influences if any, was this show on the forthcoming iconic Batman the Animated Series from 1992? Well it’s an action packed, fast-paced, special edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. Come on down and have a listen today!

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