September 15

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981

Welcome back to another installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week marks the third anniversary of the podcast. So to keep with the theme of other past anniversaries, Dion Baia and J. Blake are going back and celebrating the pulps– the subgenre of the serials that so many of our modern iconic characters we know and love today were born out of. And what better character epitomizes that history than the figure created to celebrate that very style in cinema, everyone’s favorite archeologist and adventurer, Indiana Jones, and the film that started it all, Raiders of the Lost Ark, from 1981!

Raiders of the Lost Ark

After a brief Joe Piscopo interlude, the boys start a very deep-dive into the origins of Dr. Jones and one of the most successful franchises of all time. Taking on their first Steven Spielberg-directed movie, Blake and Dion discuss the essential genius of Spielberg as well as analyze the brilliance of George Lucas and his connection with this film, while challenging a lot of the guff by critics concerning Lucas in his years post-1977‘s Star Wars– and even encountering Spielberg detractors while in film school. The boys utilize the little known transcription of the legendary story conference between Spielberg, Lucas and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan from January of 1978 (a fabulous read for any fan or writer), which lays out Indy as a protagonist, the other supporting characters, and even the story arc for Raiders. They also discuss the 1954 Charlton Heston film Secret to the Incas, and it’s supposed connection to Indiana Jones. They get into this love-letter to those serials of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, and focus on the elements that transcend genre and the other various forms of media, as they attempt to pin down what makes this property so unique and utterly timeless. The boys get into the artwork of legendary artist Jim Steranko and his input into the look of this iconic character. They also get into Indy‘s superhero costume, even laying out the actual brand-name items that the adventurer prefers to wear. So, how much was exactly cut out of the original story and shelved only to be used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? How much of Chuck Heston and Secret of the Incas really influenced the Indy property? What does famed artist Carl Barks and his iconic character, Scrooge McDuck, have to do with Indiana Jones? And what the heck does The Big Lebowski have to do with any of this? Well, come have a listen to our longest running podcast yet, as we “Tickle the Brim” a little and celebrate our 3rd anniversary in this all new mega-edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! *(The 1951 film that first introduced the Wilhelm scream was actually called Distant Drum, not The Distant Dream as mentioned. )

#GoingFullIndy #TickletheBrim #WettheForceps

Extras!

Here is the much-referenced and highly recommended full text of the 1978 Raiders of the Lost Ark Story Conference Transcript between George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Larry Kasdan.

Often referenced as an inspiration of Indy and Raiders, please check out the 1954 Charlton Heston film, Secret of the Incas, courtesy of YouTube!

Take a look at the original concept art legendary comic book artist Jim Steranko did for Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark, and specifically the look of Indiana Jones.

So you wanna be Indiana Jones? Well don’t look any farther than to TheRaider.net‘s list of the official items worn by Ford, and how you can acquire those specific brand-names.

And for everything else Indiana Jones, look no farther than the aforementioned TheRaider.net!

Have a look at the often forgotten Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones appearance (circa 1950), in Chapter 20 of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, entitled Mystery of the Blues, from 1993.

Lastly, if you missed it, check out Harrison Ford‘s hilarious 2013 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! while promoting the biopic 42, where he is questioned about the upcoming installment of Star Wars.

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.

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.

 

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!

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 20

Commando, 1985

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week the boys are kicking the Summer Season off with a ‘bang’, taking on an epic action extravaganza, one that has become an out-and-out classic in cinema history and for some, the complete embodiment of the 1980s action genre on a whole. Dion Baia and J. Blake are going all in with absolutely no regards as they cover the Arnold Schwarzenegger exemplum, Commando, from 1985.

Commando

The fellas are unabashed about their love for this film, and as some attribute this movie a classic only because of it’s supposedly ‘camp’ valve or consider it a ‘guilty pleasure’, Blake and Dion instead firmly put their feet down and gush about their love for this Schwarzenegger classic. There’s so much to talk about here that they carefully break the film down, scene by scene, so not to miss any fan cherished moments, performances, or legendary dialogue. They explain the background behind the making of the film, realizing very quickly that this vehicle could be called the original version of the Liam Neeson fan-favorite, Taken. They methodically and painstakingly analyze the pacing, structure, and winding journey, leading to it’s eventual climax. So… how does this film hold up after 30+ years? Is it really ‘the gold standard‘ for action films of the time, and can it actually represent that genre perfectly on a whole? And is it the apex of that trend of 80s action-hero movies? Aside from Arnold, how are the other performances? And what the heck does the legendary silent film comedic star Harold Lloyd have to do with all of this? Well, grab your favorite Kalashnikov, RPG, combat vest and some burnt cork, because the boys are taking no prisoners in this brand edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take a look at the original trailer!

Have a look at this short documentary on Commando.

Check out this unbelievably awesome 1/6th statue of John Matrix, for sale courtesy of Sideshow collectibles.

Here’s Dion in 2013 with Cheech Marion and Tommy Chong.

Brought up in the podcast, take a look at his highly recommended 2010 documentary entitled Marwencol.

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 11

The Last Starfighter, 1984

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

The Last Starfighter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subscribe to SNMS on iTunes!

Listen to SNMS on Stitcher!

Listen to SNMS on PlayerFM!