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!

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)