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Cancel My Reservation (1972)
His best in some time
Bob Hope is a stressed out New York TV host. His doctor orders him to take a vacation so he heads off to his ranch in Arizona for a couple of weeks. But ,instead of getting away from it all, he ends up being accused of a murder that takes place during his stay in the desert.
The comedy is broad, farcical and loose much like a sketch on one of Hope's TV specials. Perfectly valid approach. As usual, Bob's in a jam and firing off a succession of wisecracks helps him to cope with a sticky situation.
Forrest Tucker and Ralph Bellamy play the bad guys in their respective roles as a con on the run and an evil land baron who's trying to frame the twitchy TV star. Keenan Wynne, as the cigar - chomping sheriff who has to find the real murderer, seems to have based his characterization on Yosemite Sam (with great success !)
This is a free - wheeling '70s movie and it's better than most of the pictures that Hope made near the end . In fact, as it turned out,this was to be his last, major big screen feature and , happily, it also proved to be his best in some time.
Trader Horn (1973)
The beginning of the end for Taylor
As it turned out, 1973 was destined to be a transitional year for Rod Taylor. Somewhat deceptively, it began on a comparatively high note in February when he opened in "The Train Robbers" , a lightweight but pleasant Western for Warner Bros. Co-starring opposite John Wayne and Ann-Margaret, it was Taylor's last hurrah as far as box office success was concerned. With his next release, the golden apple which he had been carrying on his journey through Movie Land for two decades suddenly turned into a lemon.
The trouble began in June when he bobbed up in Metro's "Trader Horn", an ill-considered remake of the 1931 Harry Carey picture. As the famed explorer of darkest Africa, Taylor had to lead a safari of day workers from Central Casting through an obstacle course of every conceivable B- movie cliché. There were rampaging natives, tangled vines, quick- sand and assorted wildlife - all of which materialized via a disconcerting gaggle of all-too-obvious stock footage and back projection. It looked liked the former life saver from Sydney had accidentally walked in front of a home movie screen while his brother-in-law was running a bad 1940s travel documentary. All that was missing was a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. It was the beginning of the end for Taylor as far as his big career was concerned
The Deadly Trackers (1973)
The final bomb that flattened Taylor's movie career
A brutal and uninspired revenge Western, this was the second really bad film that Rod Taylor starred in during 1973 with its immediate predecessor being the almost - as - bad "Trader Horn".
As for "The Deadly Trackers", The New York Times called it "viciously senile" and warned that it contained nothing more than "fireworks and gore". Even Leonard Maltin, a frequent advocate for the versatile Australian actor, has dismissed it as being just plain "dreadful". And, sadly, I would have to agree.
Indeed, it turned out to be the final bomb that flattened Taylor's movie career.By the mid-'70s he'd become trapped on a runaway train to cinematic oblivion. With his stay at the top seemingly over, he would be increasingly called upon to do nothing more substantial than lend his name to a string of low budget obscurities.Some were fair. But most were unworthy of his talent. Still, he continued to work regularly and better chances came his way on television via guest shots and support roles.
Another one for the "Brilliant but Cancelled" file
In April, 1971, after ten years away from the small screen, Rod Taylor made another attempt to gain a permanent spot on television with the nostalgic CBS series " Bearcats !". With the story unfolding in America's dusty Southwest in 1914, it featured Taylor and Dennis Cole as characters Hank Brackett and Johnny Reach respectively, a pair of trouble shooters for hire. Loaded with period charm, the show took its name from the majestic and sporty roadster in which Reach and Brackett went about their business - a yellow Stutz Bearcat.
As with Taylor's previous series, "Hong Kong", the venture faced stiff competition when it was programmed up against NBC's well established "Flip Wilson Show" and it lasted only thirteen weeks.
"Bearcats" ! was a breezy, action - packed and entertaining production based around a novel idea which featured two excellent stars who had an engaging and believable on screen rapport. Sadly, however, the show is now remembered as being yet another of those noble efforts that fell between the cracks and ended up in the "Brilliant but Cancelled" category of television history.
Hong Kong (1960)
More exotica from ABC
Rod Taylor became a star on both the big and small screens in 1960. Movie fame came along when he landed the lead role in George Pal's science fiction block buster "The Time Machine". He then got his first major chance in television the same year with the ABC drama series "Hong Kong".As Glenn Evans, a "two-fisted" news correspondent who had been assigned to cover the Orient, the hunky he - man was equally adept at solving crimes and romancing lovely ladies.
The show proved to be extremely popular here in Australia, aided no doubt by the star's local origins and also, perhaps, due to our geographical proximity to the title location. However, in a strange twist of fate, its Stateside reception was tinged with more than a touch of irony. Although it managed to win a Golden Globe award, American viewers did not cotton to its sophisticated, upmarket leanings and brought about its rapid demise by staying loyal to NBC's "Wagon Train".
The producers, 20th Century Fox, had another exotic, off - shore series going to air on ABC at the time that was also based around the Asia - Pacific region - namely "Adventures in Paradise". In fact, Fox music maestro, Lionel Newman wrote the theme for both shows.
The Time Machine (1960)
The beginning of Taylor's big career
As the gin-soaked wreckage of Errol Flynn was being swept off the Hollywood landscape in the late 1950s, a younger but more stable Aussie Adonis was training hard down on Santa Monica beach. A former lifeguard and amateur boxer, his name was Rod Taylor and movie critics of the day quickly got to the core of what the sandy-haired, blue-eyed newcomer was all about. He was soon being described as "solid", "ruggedly handsome", "charming" and, after proving himself in a string of successful pictures, "reliable".
Following a succession of support roles on both the big and small screen, Taylor finally got his first crack at movie stardom in 1960 when the producer-director George Pal gave him the lead in "The Time Machine", MGM's rendering of the landmark novel of the same name by H.G.Wells.
Ideally cast as George, the strong-willed inventor in late Victorian London who speculates about the possibility of being able to travel through the fourth dimension to the future, Taylor struck gold. In an effort to realize his ambition, he builds an amazing machine, a wondrous creation of brass rails, ivory and rock crystal with a red velvet seat.
Launching himself in a spectacular blaze of flashing colored lights, he hurtles away and, after a blistering burst of speed, he arrives in the year 802,701 where he comes across what looks like a paradise on earth.
Populated by a society of beautiful young people known as the Eloi, the air is fresh and clean and magnificent fruit grows in abundance. But he soon discovers that all is not well. The gentle Eloi are, in fact, being held virtual prisoners by a brutal colony of mutants called the Morlocks who run the place from their underground hideaway. After falling for Weena, a particularly cute Eloi girl, George snaps into hero mode and with, the damsel's life at stake, he decides to save her people from the evil ones. However, there are matters he has to attend to back in his own world. What follows is a study of divided loyalties and a moral dilemma which stretches between the ages.
Unsure about making another foray in science fiction, Taylor was swayed after he met George Pal as he explained in the July,1986 edition of Starlog magazine. "George was a genius. He had a marvelous talent for illustration and I was fascinated by his pre -production drawings".
Movie novice Yvette Mimieux played Weena and provided just the right look of wide-eyed innocence and vulnerability for the brave and chivalrous Taylor to defend. Other cast members included TV regular Alan Young as the inventor's closest friend David Filby together with Sebastian Cabot, Tom Helmore and Whit Bissell. Writer David Duncan supplied an intelligent and imaginative script while veteran cameraman Paul Vogel did the cinematography and Russell Garcia handled the music.
Released on August 16,1960, The Time Machine became an overnight sensation at the box office, with the special effects by Gene Warren and Tim Baer going on to win an Oscar.
Now considered to be a classic of the genre, both the picture in general and Taylor's contribution in particular were hailed by the critics. Pauline Kael, of the New Yorker later described it as being "one of the best of its kind". Bosley Crowther of the New York Times drew attention to the standard of the photography, saying that "The color lends exciting hues to everything from Victorian wine glasses to the Morlocks flashing green eyes". Variety called Taylor's characterization "a gem".
Most significantly, it marked the beginning of Taylor's big career which, as it turned out, barely extended beyond the end of the decade.However, during his stay at the top he stood alone as Australia's only major Hollywood identity. Greatly respected for his range and versatility as an actor, he moved easily and competently between drama, comedy, romance and, later, action movies as he co - starred opposite the likes of Rock Hudson, Doris Day, John Wayne and many others.
Flynn was discovered by Warners in England not Hollywood
Interesting and entertaining. However, there is one significant error in regard to the sequence of events that were involved in Flynn's rise to stardom. Contrary to what's mentioned in the documentary, he did not go straight from New Guinea (or Sydney) to the US where he instantly became a Hollywood star. He, initially, went to England where he spent a year or so gaining experience in stage work. While he was there he also appeared in two movies that were produced at the Warner Bros. studios in Teddington and it was local studio head, Irving Asher, who signed Flynn to a contract for the company. Also, it's been reported that Asher described Flynn to the powers that be in Hollywood as being "Irish". Did he simply jump to an incorrect conclusion, based purely on Errol's surname or had Flynn decided to reinvent himself ? Neither of these points were raised in the documentary
The Road to Hong Kong (1962)
After a break of ten years, this was to be the last entry into the long -running and extremely popular cycle of "Road" movies.
Hope and Crosby were in their late fifties by the time this one came along and they were obviously due to retire from their familiar, high energy roles as roustabout con men / adventurers. But, even though they may have been slowing down just a touch, the generally snappy pace and witty banter of earlier outings remained intact.
This quirky offering was made in England on a seemingly low budget. Shot in black and white, it must have been a visual disappointment for audiences after the color escapades of its immediate predecessor - 1952's "Road to Bali".
As usual, there's a couple of good songs, the best of which, "Team Work", opens the picture.The supporting cast is excellent and the cameo appearances by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin just before the curtain falls was a nice touch.
Despite it's somewhat bargain basement look, it still manages to provide a fun finale to the series
Sinatra's best effort on the small screen
Unquestionably one of the finest TV music specials ever produced, this top shelf presentation marked the beginning of what could be called the "Third Age" of Sinatra's career.
The two previous stages had been followed by extended periods of inactivity. The first, in the early 1950s, was due to a sudden and dramatic decline in his popularity - the inevitable fall out, perhaps, of extreme over exposure (along with other factors). But the second break, some twenty years later,was very much a self imposed 'retirement',all be it a fairly brief one as it turned out.
The story of Sinatra's phoenix-like rise from the ashes is now a celebrated part of show business history.
After surviving the collapse of his career, major personal and health problems, he went on to make a spectacular comeback with his Oscar-winning performance in the war movie "From Here to Eternity" (1954?). With that success, his status was restored almost overnight and his career rapidly soared to stratospheric new heights. Throughout the '60s and beyond, he reigned supreme as the world's leading concert performer, most accomplished recording artist and Hollywood power broker. The pace was frenetic.
In 1971, however, he decided to retire, saying that he needed time to reflect upon his life in general. He played golf and prepared lots of home-cooked meals for members of his inner-circle. But the fans grew restless. And some of those admirers were not without influence.
In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon put a call through to Sinatra's Palm Springs compound. Nixon was about to play host to Italy's Presient, Mr Andreotti, and both heads of state were hoping that the world's most famous Italian American could be cajoled into singing a few songs at the official banquet.
It seems that Frankie needed very little persuading. His private show at the White House had the small but very select audience pounding their well manicured hands red raw with enthusiasm. Sinatra's chums in the media ran glowing reports of his triumphant 'return' and, later in the same year, Reprise issued "Ol' Blue Eyes is Back", the album that marked the official end of his retirement.
Although a somewhat uneven collection of ballads, it was a generally impressive release. The mood was low key but the album contained some fine songs such as "Let me Try Again", "You Will be my Music" and the inspirational "Winners". But the standout track was Sinatra's extraordinary version of "Send in the Clowns", the show-stopper from the smash Broadway production "A Little Night Music".
Conceived as a dual purpose promotional vehicle to launch both the album of the same name and the "Third Age" of Sinatra's career, the TV special "Ol Blues Eyes is Back" was based around a theme of 'yesterday and today'.
The first part of the show featured the star taking a musical 'look back' at some of his choice cuts from the golden years. Turning on a massive revolving stage, and working with obvious relish to a packed house of Hollywood celebrities and other special guests, Sinatra punches his way through such favorites as "I Get a Kick out of You", "I've Got the World on a String" and "Street of Dreams".
A change of pace then finds him alone in a sprawling bar room set where he presents the wistful ballads "Last Night when We Young" and "Violets for your Fur". The segment also reveals the first signs of rust being scraped away from the famous 'reed' with the usually seamless flow of sound momentarily cracking up in a minor way.
Back with the audience, Sinatra shares some decidedly tongue in cheek memories of the high and low points of his "other" career in the movies. After introducing a brief montage of film clips featuring himself and Gene Kelly in such classics as "Anchors Aweigh" and "Take me out to the Ball Game", the pair are reunited in the studio to do a couple of outstanding songs together. One in particular, "You Can't do that Anymore" brings the house down.
The hour concludes with Sinatra working before the orchestra (led alternatively throughout the program by Nelson Riddle and Don Costa) showcasing a selection of songs from his new album.
All in all, the show was a huge success. Well conceived and presented, it was tight, entertaining and attractively staged.
Although television was never Sinatra's strong point, he really seemed to enjoy doing this one. A fine production, it will probably be remembered as his best effort on the small screen.
Oh, how I miss '70s TV !
The Green Hornet (1966)
Good but forgotten.
It was remarkably tough, comparatively sophisticated and genuinely action-packed.
Comparisons will always be made between "The Green Hornet" and its TV stable mate "Batman". So what were some of the similarities?
To start with, both were made by 20th Century Fox. In keeping with the time-honored super hero tradition, the "real-life" identities of the respective title characters were successful, well-connected and highly respected members of the community. When in character as their alter egos, both drove amazing custom-built cars that were veritable killing machines on wheels, armed with a vast array of deadly, concealed weapons. Both had capable, intelligent and gutsy sidekicks who could more than hold their own when the chips were down and the fists were flying.
But there were some major differences as well.
Where "Batman" was decidedly over the top and essentially in the business of extracting squeals of the delight from the younger set, "The Green Hornet" was deadly serious when it came to crime fighting. In the former show, the resident bad guys were exotic fantasy figures who wore crazy and colorful costumes and had cute names like "The Joker" and "The Penguin". Indeed, the Art department at 20th really pulled out all the stops on "Batman" to cash in on the newly-arrived novelty of color TV.
In "The Green Hornet", the villains of the piece were traditional bad guys and girls.
Star Van Williams handled the dual role of Britt Reid, Editor of "The Daily Sentinel" newspaper and the Green Hornet with panache. Creating a stern-faced 007 type of character, Williams proved to be no slouch when it came to manufacturing his own brand of ice-cube intensity in the style of James Bond.
Bruce Lee, as Kato, the Hornet's faithful Chinese partner in crime busting, was there primarily to handle the ultra rough stuff. And, indeed, when he made with the high kicks and karate chops he created some for good television.
Generally well-written, sharply directed and competently acted by all those in the cast who really mattered,"The Green Hornet" flashed across our TV screens only fleetingly but it made a lasting and favorable impression on a lot of us.
What it lacked was true fantasy and humor - the two key ingredients that made "Batman" a classic.
"The Green Hornet" was good - very good in fact. But it didn't have those special qualities that guarantee immortality.
Secret File: Hollywood (1962)
Has a certain grotesque charm
Yes, it's all true what they say about "Secret File Hollywood". In all honesty you would have to describe it as being a really bad movie. Yet, in a way, it's actually a minor classic.
It's one of those ultra low budget, flea pit quickies that "came back" to wander around the graveyard of late night TV in the 1970s. But, unlike most of its kind, it isn't so bad nor so completely devoid of entertainment value that it's entirely unwatchable.
OK, so what's the story? Well, it's pretty simple.
After becoming involved in a bar room shooting incident somewhere around L.A, deadbeat private eye Maxwell Carter (Robert Clarke) loses his snooping ticket and suddenly find himself out of work. With a couple of months back rent to pay on his sleazy dump of an office and a mean bookie on his tail who won't take "no" for an answer in regard to some outstanding pony debts, Maxie boy has to come up with some serious cash - pronto.
Enter Nan Torr (Francine York), the luscious, smartly - tailored editor of a cheap-jack scandal rag called (you guessed it) "Secret File Hollywood". Now, this is where the whole thing gets really exciting.
It just so happens that the serpent-like Nan (who stares out at the world through a pair of phony black-rimmed glasses) is a good pal of "Hap" Grogan, the bookie 'oom Max is into for about three grand.
To the sound of a sexy saxophone (or is it a trombone ?) smoldering away in the background, Miss TNT slides into Max's miserable hole in the wall and starts to whisper something about a high paying job.
Badly hung-over from a night on the sauce, its takes our hero a moment to get a hook on Nan's batty proposition. Turns out that it's a pretty shady assignment even by Max's lowly standards. Clear away all the bells and whistles and what it gets right down to is blackmail. In short, Nan wants the poor slob to take some compromising photos of a famous(and married) Hollywood director. Of course, Nan will take care of all the staging requirements. All Max has to do is stand in the bushes and snap away at the right moment with his 35mm SLR.
But things rapidly get out of hand and blackmail soon turns to murder and suicide (one of each). Before long, however, we come to learn that neither Nan nor the gun-toting Grogan are the real brains behind the operation. They actually take their orders from a mysterious "Mr Big" -someone whom they have never personally met (he gives them their instructions via tape recorded messages).
Anyway, as utterly desperate as he may be, murder just isn't Max's style and, bein' the kinda guy that he is, he decides to blow the lid "clean 'awf" the whole stinkin' racket.
Although listed as having been made in 1962, those who care about such things will note that there are no cars later than '59 models in any of the street scenes.
The boom mike does, indeed, frequently appear at the top of the frame -something that was not unusual in bargain basement movies of the period.
Despite all its faults, however, this creaky little gem does have a certain grotesque charm and I'll always have fond memories of watching it on Channel 9's "Nightowl Theatre" many moons ago.
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Solid enough but not one of Corman's best
Roger Corman provides his own unique take on the ever-popular '50s sci-fi plot whereby nuclear testing upsets the balance of nature and unleashes yet another "nightmare horror" onto the world.
In a refreshing change of pace, however, Corman adds a touch of exotica to the standard scenario by setting his version of the events on a remote Pacific island. Also, in keeping with the new locale, he substitutes the usual line up of over-sized insects with man-eating crustaceans as the villains of the piece. So what's the story? Let me explain.
After a group of scientists fail to return from an expedition to the aforementioned tropic isle, a fresh batch of eggheads is shipped out from California to investigate the disappearance of their colleagues. Needless to say, the replacement team quickly get to the bottom of the mystery and what they find out proves to be downright 'ugly'(sorry, there's no other word for it).
Discovering that the radio equipment on the island has gone "fut", our heroes must reconcile themselves to the fact that they are completely cut off from the outside world. Securely ensconced in their tastefully appointed beach hut, however, the brainy lot (quite wrongly) believe that they are as snug as a bunch of radioactive bugs in a rug. Of course, it's only a matter of time before one them goes outside after dark to investigate a strange noise - enter the "unspeakable terror" that lurks within the shadows.
Trivia buffs will note the prophetic casting of Russell Johnson (later to become famous as "The Professor" on the TV sitcom "Gilligan's Island") as one of the team members.
Shot at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Southern California, "Attack of the Crab Monsters" cost just $70,000 to make and raked in a cool million according to Roger Corman in his autobiography "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hoillywood and Never Lost a Dime".
Although it lacks much of the zany sense of humor that made "Creature from the Haunted Sea" so appealing, this picture does have its redeeming features. Not one of my personal favorites but solid enough and worth a look if you're a student of Corman's particular style of movie-making.
The Man from Hong Kong (1975)
A legend in its own time tunnel
Unlike most contemporary Australian movies, 'The Man From Hong Kong' at least offered some entertainment value.
Coming from a background in commercial television, director Brian Trenchard - Smith was new to feature films. However, his years in the mass media had given him a keen sense of what the 'average punter' was looking for in the way of screen fun.
Subtlety is not one of this picture's strong points. Clearly, it wasn't meant to be.The script was never going to win any awards for its deeply philosophical leanings and perhaps some of the fight scenes go on a bit too long for anyone other than the keenest fans of the genre. But the pace never lets up. And what it lacks in sophistication it more than compensates for with sheer energy and a refreshingly uninhibited charm.
The use of the hang glider scenes to top and tail the movie was inspired and the final car chase was, unquestionably, one of the toughest and best-staged of the period.
The theme song 'Skyhigh' was, quite simply, a classic of '70s pop which, in this writer's humble opinion, sounds as good today as it did three decades ago. Now hauntingly evocative of the era, this beautifully produced and performed hit was almost sublime in terms of its striking originality. It certainly beats the hell out of the mindless, head- banging rubbish that masquerades as pop music these days.
Special credit must also go to cinematographer Russell Boyd whose highly creative twisting, turning and hoisting of his camera(s) throughout the shoot truly 'made' the whole production. Fellow Australian cinematographer Robert Krasker of 'Third Man ' fame would have tipped his sun visor to Mr Boyd.
Sydney Harbour has always provided a stunning backdrop for location filming.
As a movie mad teenager at the time, I can vividly remember the media hype that surrounded this picture. After years of being comatose, it was exciting to watch our feature film industry not only coming back to life but actually enjoying some commercial success.
In the final analysis, Brian Trenchard - Smith deserves a whacking great pat on the back of his purple corduroy suit (you know the one with the wide lapels and the flared pants ).Armed with only a modest budget, some personable actors and loads of raw enthusiasm, he crafted one hell of a fine little action flick.
In fact, in the small but endlessly fascinating world of retro cult movies which it now occupies, 'The Man From Hong Kong ' has become a legend in its own time tunnel. And deservedly so.
Give me a good ghost story any day of the week
This is what I really like about the Internet Movie Database. It's like rummaging through a box of old Top 40 records which you left in the attic twenty years ago. I'm forever coming across something that immediately brings back happy memories ... " Oh, my God ... do you remember THIS " ?
Enter ... " Sightings". What a great series! And no wonder ... it was produced by the same creative talent who gave us "Unsolved Mysteries".
Thinking back to shows like this only reconfirms my long-held belief that television has really hit the skids over recent years. I used to love TV. Now, I hardly ever watch it.
Oh for those olden, golden days of home entertainment. Give me a good ghost story any day of the week.
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955)
Yes, this was, indeed, a fine production. Richard Green certainly brought the character of Robin Hood to sparkling life with a dashing personality and great conviction. Australia's own Errol Flynn did a pretty good job as well.
These shows were fun. They made history entertaining.
It's a shame that kids don't have this sort of educational fare to fire their imagination these days.
Period films and television series have frequently come in for a great deal of criticism over the years and much of the flack has been entirely justified.
However, some of the better productions which have graced both the big and small screens have presented tales of earlier times in a way that the printed word has often been unable to.
Thunderbirds Are GO (1966)
Try to see it on the big screen
Further to my previous post regarding this film, I would just like to add that seeing it in a really good cinema ( as opposed to seeing it on television ) makes A lot of difference. The special effects, the art direction, the sound ... everything is SO much more imposing and impressive.
I never worried too much about "The Thunderbirds" when they were on TV in the 60s. I usually watched something else.
But seeing this picture up on the silver screen with the soundtrack coming through a decent sound system it's just superb.
I went along purely out of curiosity. It appeared on a double bill with "Thunderbird 6" which wasn't quite as good but still fun. BUT .... "Thunderbirds Are Go" was WONDERFUL !
The Delo and Daly Show (1963)
Sparkling U.S imports on early Australian TV
During the first decade of Australian television (1956 - 66) local stations over here relied heavily on imported talent. Dozens of American performers were brought "Down Under" to provide an international flavor to our viewing fare and most of them enjoyed considerable success. Some stayed only briefly while others became permanent residents.
The comedy team of Delo and Daly proved to be one of the most popular Pan Am deliveries to reach our shores during that period.
Comprising swing singer Ken Delo and toothy sidekick Jonathan Daly, this dynamic duo presented what was essentially a rapid fire and somewhat boisterous night club act which appeared to be heavily influenced by Martin and Lewis.
First seeing the light of day on Channel 9's "In Melbourne Tonight", their breezy combination of irreverent humor and snappy musical duets immediately struck a chord with audiences. The applause was deafening and rival station HSV 7 wasted no time in offering these two new discoveries a regular night time variety show of their own.
Over the next couple of years the likable pair attracted an impressive following, eventually winning TV Week "Logie" awards - Australia's equivalent to the Emmys.
It was all heady stuff but the allure of their homeland finally proved too strong and by 1965 the boys had said farewell to their loyal Aussie fans.
In the ensuing years, Ken rose to national prominence in the US as a regular cast member of the long running "Lawrence Welk Show" while Jonathan became a familiar face on numerous TV sitcoms such as "Bewitched", "Petticoat Junction", "Chico and the Man" and other favorites of the era. He also enjoyed a film career with the Disney studios in the 1970s.
Always a passionate believer in positive thinking and the powers of the mind, Ken is now a successful hypnotherapist and self help guru in Los Angeles while Jonathan has also long since scraped away the grease paint to pursue a writing career .
Despite their new callings,however, both will always be fondly remembered here in Australia for the many hours of outstanding entertainment that they provided during those first magical years of television .
Unsolved Mysteries (1987)
Waiting for it to resurface
The late, great Robert Stack certainly "made" this show. BUT, he had plenty of good things to work with including well written and intelligent scripts and excellent production values.
Quality story telling has become something of a lost art in present day films and TV. It's all noise, special effects and four letter words now. Mr Stack was blessed with a fine voice and an authoritative screen presence. His style of presentation reminded me of a top radio talent.
Dramatic impact is much more effectively generated by using a slow, deliberate style of delivery rather than waving your hands about, ranting and raving. The use of dramatized recreations in the flashback scenes of this series were always masterfully handled.
I continue to comb the program guide regularly to see if this terrific show has resurfaced. I'm still waiting .
An all time favourite !
I can remember like it was yesterday, flopping down on the "Danish Deluxe" in front of B&W Astor TV to watch this terrific show.
I'm just trying to recall the opening credits. I seem to remember the music theme featuring a harmonica and there was a shot of McGooley fishing from a jetty at Balmain (or somewhere like that). Coming from Melbourne, it was quite a 'buzz' for me as a kid to holiday in Sydney and visit 'McGooley locations' around the Harbour.
Yes, what ever happened to genuine Australian humour ? (as distinct from the dreadfully unfunny and contrived "Ocker" nonsense which, sadly, continues to this day ).
"McGooley" is DEFINITELY one of my all time favorites. Would love to see it again.
They're a Weird Mob (1966)
Portrays a different Australia which has long gone
A largely accurate portrayal of typical Australian attitudes, lifestyles and aspirations of the era, this movie was a celebration of the country's easy going and proudly egalitarian spirit. And, even more significantly, as it predates the contrived, heavy handed and deliberately boorish "Ocker" nonsense that came into vogue a bit later, it remains an excellent example of genuine, laid back Aussie humor at its best.
However, looking at it again, all these years later, it now provides a stark reminder of just how much things have changed. Sadly, Australia is no longer quite the same sun drenched "workers paradise" where the average punter could afford a Sydney Harbourside home on little more than a basic wage and buy a crayfish (lobster) for a couple of dollars on a Saturday night. It really was one big endless summer.
Mack & Myer for Hire (1963)
Gave us a few chuckles
Children's live action comedy show about two bumbling handymen who regularly got into trouble while they were on the job.
I don't remember much about this one. It used to go to air as part of "The Super Flying Fun Show" on the Nine Network here in Australia back in the 1970s. Although, it had probably premiered years before that.
The "Fun Show" was basically made up of cartoons which included "King Leonardo", "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and the like. It went to air around 7.00 to 9.00 am during the week and was intended for kids and teenagers to watch as they were getting ready for school. Featured a live host - Miss Marilyn who introduced each segment and conducted competitions.
I don't think "Mack & Myer" will be remembered as one of the all time classic kids shows but it filled a gap and gave us a few chuckles.
The Onedin Line (1971)
A "Must See" for history buffs
I've always been of the opinion that the 1960s and 70s was the golden era of English cinema and television.
"The Onedin Line" was an all class act. There was nothing slip-shod about this fine production. Being a keen history buff, it was always high on my list of viewing options. Indeed, the show enjoyed considerable popularity here in Australia because it regularly featured Australian references in its story lines.
The choice of Peter Gilmore in the title role of James Onedin could only be described as ínspired.
Some aspects of this series are probably a bit dated now but I recently watched a few episodes for the first time in many years and got a lot of pleasure out of seeing it again.
A must see for lovers of history.
Happy memories !
It never ceases to amaze me that some of the best shows from the "Golden Days of Television" attract so little comment. This is yet another example. Only two of us (so far) have ventured an opinion.
'King Leonardo' is right up there with 'Milton the Monster' as one of my all time favorite TV shows. The animation was very basic but the characters and the comedy were both memorable. It's often overlooked that several of the character voices were, in fact, based on Hollywood movie stars. Biggy Rat was Edward.G.Robinson and Odee Colonee was Ronald Coleman.
One of my favorite moments in the show came when Itchy Brother got dressed up as a mother and Biggy Rat was in a pram dressed as a baby complete with cigar! This unlikely ploy was cooked up in an effort to get past the guards at King Leonardo's palace. Needless to say, the jig was soon uncovered.
A great little show which brings back lots of happy memories.
Pretty colors and nice visuals
Small town soap operas really aren't my cup of tea as a rule but this one is, on the whole, a superior offering despite the fact that it has a few problems.
Joshua Logan's direction resulted in many of the scenes being played in a style which was far too theatrical and over the top for the screen (Logan was, of course, primarily a stage director...and a highly successful one too!)
Although William Holden strikes me as being too old for the role he's playing he injects his usual shot of sheer brilliance into the picture. Kim Novak is photogenic and .. well ..photogenic. The rest of the cast mainly consisted of reliable and competent players who had been around for some time. But, again, their performances were occasionally hijacked due to inconsistent and confusing direction. When Logan was able to switch his mind into "movie mode" rather than "stage mode", however, everything went just fine.
Particularly noteworthy is a very young Susan Strasberg who plays Novak's sister. Strasberg successfully creates one of the most interesting characterizations in the whole show displaying an extraordinary level of skill and versatility which belied her tender years.
In regard to the look of the film, some pretty colors and nice visuals add much to the enjoyment quota and the memorable theme tune is now very evocative of the era.
"Picnic" was a major box office hit. It provides a generally pleasant and occasionally powerful viewing experience for those who enjoy this type of movie.
Has long since joined the ranks of the Living Dead
This is yet another of those dreary old films which people desperately WANT to love for purely sentimental reasons. Certainly, it cannot be denied its place in Hollywood history. But it needs to be evaluated for what it is - a fairly unprepossessing example of the genre.
It's a sad comment on any sound movie to say that it compares unfavorably to an earlier silent version but that's the undeniable truth in this case.
In 1922 director F.W. Marnau filmed the first screen adaption of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" in Bavaria under the title of "Nosferatu". With this landmark production Marnau created an extremely chilling piece of cinema which contained some genuinely spooky images. Nine years later Hollywood sanitized the whole concept and came out with Lugosi's painfully slow and almost comical remake.
Today, this sleepy old clunker is, in all honesty, only of interest as an historical curiosity. It moves along with all the pace of a funeral procession (appropriately enough). The dialogue regularly stops for long periods and with nothing much happening on the screen to fill the void you'll find yourself glancing over at the video shelf to consider other options.
The almost total lack of incidental music throughout the picture also doesn't help the situation. Bela pulls his usual collection of rather idiotic facial expressions most of which will lead you to believe that he's just spotted something nasty on the carpet.
As far as being a viable source of entertainment for contemporary audiences I'm afraid that this movie has long since joined the majority of Dracula's unfortunate victims in the ranks of the Living Dead.