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!

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 23

The Rocketeer, 1991

Hello everyone, welcome back to another exciting and enthralling edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating an epic milestone with an epic podcast! It’s SNMS’ two year anniversary and the boys have picked a film near and dear to their hearts, one that has gained a sizable cult following over the 25 years since it’s original release. This week they take on the classic action/adventure, The Rocketeer, from 1991.

The Rocketeer

Dion and Blake kick off the podcast with a pseudo-State of the Union, reflecting on the past year. They chat about the movies they’ve covered, the growing community of listeners and those who also frequent their Facebook page, and how humbling it has been for them. Then they seque into this epic anniversary cast, and setup the backstory of the Rocketeer. They discuss the creator Dave Stevens‘ journey getting character from comic to screen, and Disney‘s eventual involvement and the sparring that occurred between him and the company (aka the then Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner) over keeping the property as pure as possible with the transition to screen. The boys again explain the era of the 1980’s and how hard it really was to get a comic book movie done, let alone a character from an independent publisher. They also chat about the era the movie is set within, the pre-war 1930’s and the beautiful art movement that permeated almost every medium, Art DecoBlake and Dion also discuss the genius of creator Dave Stevens, and all the ‘historical fiction’ he injected into his original content. The guys go through the various details of the historical and famous figures involved in the material, leading them to another topic they have been waiting almost two years to talk about, and one of the things that they love about this film, the homage to the great B-movie actor Rondo Hatton. They explain his history, the illness that affected his physical appearance and how by the help of Rick Baker, Rondo was able to make a posthumous appearance in one more Hollywood film, albeit 49 years later (if you don’t count Scooby-Doo!). Well there’s a lot to unpack on this week’s episode and it’s admittedly a long one, but the boys have a lot to celebrate about: a fabulous film that the fans love, and lament about a growing audience that really blows the boy’s minds. So please come on down and have a listen to another hilarious, informative and engaging episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion accidently named the Chicago-era gangster Hymie Weiss, when intending to instead reference Murder Inc. co-founder Meyer Lansky.

*Dion also accidently named the classic  1942 Humphrey Bogart film Across the Pacific, when he was actually referring to the 1941 great and little known Bogart film, All Through the Night.

EXTRAS:

Quickly mentioned in the podcast but completely forgotten to be brought up again before the conclusion and ripped from the headlines, check out this news story about a modern ‘Rocket man‘, that shows fiction becoming reality!

Take a look at this rarely seen 1991 television special entitled, Rocketeer: Excitement in the Air that aired to coincide with the theatrical release of The Rocketeer and help promote it. 

Check out the this now ended Rick Baker auction on PropStoreAuction.com for what they were selling from The Rocketeer concerning the Lothar makeup appliances, AND other items from the film, including one of the original Rocketeer helmets!

Have a read about the great Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss profiled by SNMS’ own Dion Baia for his old podcast site, Podwits.com!

Here’s actor Rondo Hatton’s 1913 High School senior yearbook photo circa 1913, before he was severely afflicted with acromegaly.

Take a look at the fabulous painting of Rondo Hatton by the legendary illustrator Basil Gogos, who was known for his covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine

Check out this amazing animated fan film, celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer‘s release!

And Please check out the fabulous 2010 book mentioned in the cast, Over Here!: New York During World War II!

August 26

Falling Down, 1993

Dion Baia and J. Blake are back for another must-listen to edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The dog days of summer are wrapping up for the boys in the mean streets of the asphalt jungle, and they had the perfect film to cover at the end of August. This week they take on an urban classic, something near and dear to a generation of film goers, Joel Schumacher‘s Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas as William D-Fens Foster, from 1993.

Falling Down

Truly a poster child film for the frustrated 9-5 worker who is fed up with their job and maybe the system in general, Blake and Dion figured this would be a great movie to wrap up this hot and steamy summer season. They get right into it and chat about how the film almost became a TV movie because of Hollywood’s passing on the script due to the controversial content. They also frame the historical context of the era it was released within, hitting on the recent recession at the time, as well as the LA riots that occurred in the Spring of 1992 (while the film was being shot). They discuss the amazing choice of casting, the fantastic Michael Douglas and once again discuss the importance of the likeability of an actor playing a role, for the audience to be on board and like that character. Dion and Blake chat about the D-Feds character and if he’s actually the protagonist or perhaps the antagonist. And they compare him to his foil in the film, Detective Prendergast, played by the legendary Robert Duvall and how they both cope with the stress of daily life. They also discuss how this story translates to today’s audience; not just by how Douglas’ character is perceived and the glorification of some of his actions, but also how modern audiences in today’s highly politically correct environment may even jump to conclusions without fully understanding the context of the era, not only of 1993, but cinema in general and the background of D-Fens as a character. Well it’s a rip-roaring blast for the lads in this fun and exciting, all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #wolfmansnards

* The David Hasselhoff TV movie Dion periodically references, is in fact called Terror at London Bridge, from 1985.

EXTRAS:

Check out the original trailer for Falling Down.

Now here’s an interesting review circa 1993 by Siskel & Ebert.

For alittle extra reading, have a look at this pretty thought-provoking thread on Reddit, as fans analyze Falling Down.

Take a look at Michael Douglas from the mid 90’s discussing the film with Jimmy Carter.

Have a look at another interview from the era of Michael Douglas discussing his role as D-Feds in Falling Down.

And here’s Barbara Her