Saturday, January 31, 2009

Patrick McGoohan dies at 80; TV's 'Secret Agent' and 'The Prisoner'

Certainly not to be forgotten on the same day Ricardo Montalbán passed, Patrick McGoohan legacy, for me, will always be as Writer, Producer, and sometime director of the British television series, "The Prisoner". My friend Kevin in Boston had always been a fan of the show and it's ideology; that the fictional 'Village' was a mirror of our own society, and how we are all prisoners in some way, shape, or form.

Kevin had always raved about how brilliantly written it was, and finally, when I was working a part time job at Blockbuster video in the late 80's, I took one episode home a night to watch (they had the entire series for rent). I was immediately hooked, and over the course of the next 17 nights found myself fascinated by the countercultural themes, subtleties, and nuances the show portrayed and revealed a little at a time. You could probably say that Patrick McGoohan was a precursor to J.J. Abrams. "The Prisoner" was a completely new, cerebral kind of series, stretching the limits of the established television formulas. Its influence has been echoed in "Lost", "Nowhere Man", and "The Truman Show". McGoohan even voiced his Prisoner character on "The Simpsons".

The show was Patrick McGoohan baby, and over the years he protected the right to remake or reinvent the show into a new series or even a major motion picture. He would always decline offers because he felt the tale had been told properly and any 're-imagining' would just be a mistake.

Of course McGoohan's other big show was "Secret Agent", which many believed was linked to "The Prisoner"'s super spy anti-hero in character but not by name necessarily. This was never confirmed or denied.

McGoohan had many other roles, which included "Ice Station Zebra", "Silver Streak", and Mel Gibson's "Braveheart". In the 1970's, he guest starred on "Columbo", and even directed several episodes as well. One episode in particular had him sporting that iconic black with white piping jacket, similar to the one he wore while in The Village on "The Prisoner", as a tribute to the show.

And as his character and others would say to one another in The Village...Mr. McGoohan..."Be Seeing You".

Here is the original opening of "The Prisoner".

Apple's Macintosh Computer: The 25th Anniversary

Being the total Mac whore I am, I'd be remise if I did not recognize the milestone of last Saturday, January 24.

This was the day, 25 years ago, when Apple's personal computer was introduced to the world...and in the years to come, the world would forever be changed. Not only how life has been made easier at home and at work (think editing software in my world!), but how we listen to music and watch movies and TV shows. The Mac, iPod, iPhone; the kinds of devices we only saw in science fiction when we were kids.

Here is the iconic original "1984" inspired / Ridley Scott directed commercial that heralded the new age 25 years ago.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Barack Obama: The 44th President Of The United States

Watching the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20th was historic, moving, and inspirational. I think that best sums up a day that put our first African-American in The White House.

Some points that struck a chord.

- The sea of people stretching all the way to the Washington Monument. Many with tears in their eyes as Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy came within reach of the people he hoped to set completely free.

- Many of those same people booing George Bush as he made his way to the inauguration platform ("hey, hey, hey...GOOD - BYE!!!")

- Obama's inspirational speech that brought a clear message to this country as well as the world that things were going to change starting now...and they did, even within the last week!

- As well as his bashing Bush for all the crap he wrought upon this nation pretty much from the beginning, and how that warn out dogma of false statements, promises, and actions over the last few years (try eight) would end.

- Aretha Franklin's Gi-normous bow! God Bless her!

- Yeah, and the screw up by Justice Roberts while administering the oath of office. He should have been FAR more prepared on such a historic day!!!

- The Obama's getting out of the Presidential Tumbler to walk a few blocks on their way to The White House. The crowds screaming with excitement as the door opened.

- The Obama's walking The Bush's to their waiting helicopter for that final trip out of Washington. Bye now! See ya! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!!!

- That first dance at the Inaugural Ball as Beyonce sang Etta James classic, "At Last". You could see tears in her eyes as she blew them a kiss at the end of the song.

I couldn't help smiling and drinking in every moment of the day's events. And how will President Obama handle the overwhelming tasks ahead of him? I think I'll let Fred Armisen (portraying Obama on SNL) lay it out for you. Peace.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ricardo Montalban passes at age 88

Ricardo Montalban passing on January 13 had me researching more of his life and career. To a lot of people he will always be known as Mr. Rourke on "Fantasy Island". And yet, of course, he was so much more than that. He fought against Hollywood's racist depiction of Latinos and opened doors to a new generation of actors.

Montalban said he challenged studio executives on their portrayals of Latinos and later took the issue public by co-founding the non-profit Nosotros ("we" in Spanish), which pushes studios to give Latino actors more opportunities and present a more balanced portrayal of Latinos onscreen. That got the actor virtually blacklisted, and he was forced for years to make a living by hitting the road with a theatre troupe.

I, like so many movie fans, will always easily associate him with his role as Khan in "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan". As well as Armando, the kindly circus owner who helps Cornelius and Zira in "Escape From The Planet Of The Apes" and reprised the role in "Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes". And let's not forget those iconic automobile commercials. Which brings me to today's video presentation.

Here is a brilliant take on Montalban's original 1975 TV spot where he introduces the Chrysler Cordoba. It perfectly and hilariously blends clips from "Wrath Of Khan" with the audio from that commercial. Watch the original spot here first.

Enjoy, and always remember the suaveness, swagger, and commanding voice of an iconic actor who now belongs to the ages.

The Golden Globes & Heath Ledger's award

About a week ago I enjoyed the Golden Globes mainly for one reason: Heath Ledger's Best Supporting Actor nod.

Certainly many people felt this award would be a given. But to actually see it happen, the crowd rising for a standing ovation and Director Christopher Nolan's emotional acceptance speech, gave pause to the incredible depth of performance Heath gave us with his performance as The Joker in "The Dark Knight", and a realization that we would never see how far he would travel to explore his talent.

Kate Winslet's double win for "The Reader" (Best Supporting Actress) and "Revolutionary Road" (Best Actress) was another high point for me that night. And I am sure her performance in "Road" will translate to an Oscar nomination as well.

I have to say I enjoyed "Slumdog Millionaire" more than I expected. Even though this is traditionally not my kind of movie. We might as well consider "Slumdog" to be the Oscar winner for Best Picture this year because it seems to have everyone tightly in it's grasp.

Mickey Rourke's Best Actor win for "The Wrestler" was also very well deserved. Another movie I enjoyed even more than I originally thought I would, this is clearly the comeback performance of the year. And even though Rourke is the latest actor to have his face stretched somewhat beyond recognition, he still grabs you in the first few minutes of the movie and doesn't let go until the end.

And of course you can't go wrong when you give Tina Fey any award. I loved when, during her acceptance speech, Tina said she always loved The Hollywood Foreign Press and collected all of their action figures.

Now it's on to the Oscar nomination announcement just a few hours from now. Right now it seems very possible that "The Dark Knight" may be nominated for Best Picture. Here's hoping...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008: Yes, it really was "the best, most amazing, incredibly fun year!!!"

First and foremost, 2008 delivered on everything I had hoped for when I wrote a post last January entitled "2008: The Best, Most Amazing, Incredibly Fun Year Has Arrived!!!"

Career wise, it certainly topped all previous years due to the caliber of projects I was involved with. At New Wave Entertainment I worked on DVDs for "The Other Boleyn Girl", "Wanted", and the real capper and most sought after project of my entire year, "The Dark Knight". Then in late May, thanks to my friend Maria who happened to catch the first televised ceremony for The Golden Trailer Awards, I caught the names of several post houses I'd never heard of before and knew I had to get in touch with. Some were DVD and some were trailer houses.

One such trailer house, Happy Hour Creative, responded the very next day after receiving my reel and resume. A few weeks later I found myself working on several TV trailers for the DVD release of "The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian", as well as one of the trailers for "Sex Drive". One of my career goals had now been met; to freelance at a trailer house with the lead-in to a staff position. That's exactly what they presented to me with the view that as work increased, only then could they put me on permanent payroll. And I think that may finally be happening sometime in the first third of this year.

When work ran out at Happy Hour in late November, New Wave was right there to take up the slack, having me work on the DVD for the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Certainly not a great movie, but still a high end studio project. In fact the majority of the year was filled with high end studio work. Even by mid-year I'd surpassed the level I'd reached during 2007. Each year I move up a couple more steps in my career. And this year promises to be even bigger.

In June I met my amazing, wonderful, and incredible girlfriend Rebecca. It's fantastic to be with someone who absolutely 'gets' me, and I 'get' her as well. We laugh, we travel, we have crazy fun times! And one of the cool things is it's not just a relationship, it's like hanging out with a best friend I've known for many years. There's just this perfect comfort level.

As July approached, another amazing year at Comic-Con enticed Bill Burke to finally attend, and he had a great time! In fact, at the end of the event we, Bill, Rebecca, and I, all decided to buy our memberships for next year right then and there. Bill's looking forward to this year's Comic-Con as well as Wondercon in San Francisco which the three of us will be attending in a little over a month.

And of course, Barack Obama winning the election to become our first African-American President Of The United States!!!

So here's looking ahead, the day before Obama is sworn in, to a year filled with hope, wonder, and just flat out, full throttle fun times!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Wow, we are nearing the end of the first decade of the 21st Century! Seems like only yesterday that everyone was going mad and we were all going to die because of Y2K. Silly Americans.

So there was certainly a lot to be thankful for in 2008. First and foremost, this was the best year yet for me career wise...

However I have to stop there because once again (like way, way, WAAAAY too often) I've run out of time to finish this. Tomorrow I'll continue with my acknowledgment of the best year I've had in LA yet!