Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"At The Matinee" Looks back at 2014

1977 advertisement in Boxoffice Magazine
for Washington-area cinema chains, film
laboratories, and distribution branches.
I can't believe that 2014 has been a quick and successful year for my blog, At The Matinee.  It's been a joyful and interesting year, writing about classic/contemporary/cult film, television, music, and technology.

Here are some of the most notable events that happened throughout the year (not only on this blog, but in the area as well):

-My article in the January 2014 edition of The Woodsboro-Walkersville Times (formerly The Woodsboro Times, on the bottom-half of page 15) on the town's movie theater in the Woodsboro Bank building* that operated for nearly forty years.

-Praised by Turner Classic Movies for my article on the network's twentieth anniversary.

-A conversation with Mr. Ron Hutchinson of The Vitaphone Project, and how those weren't Warner Bros. Vitaphone discs on the wall of the Shepherdstown Opera House (it must have been the labels that threw me off, from this News-Post photograph of the theater's office).

-Mentioned in The Digital Bits (in Mr. Bill Hunt's My Two Cents column) on MGM's negligence to restore and preserve the "roadshow" print of The Alamo (1960).  This was published shortly after veteran film preservation expert Robert A. Harris' account of the condition of the film.

-Finally got to see several classics on the big screen in one of the classes that I enjoyed at Hood College, History of American Film. They included the classic Laurel and Hardy short- The Music Box, The Marx Brothers' 1932 comedy classic- Horse Feathers, and Orson Welles' 1941 masterpiece- Citizen Kane.

-Spreading the word about At The Matinee to fellow students and friends at Hood, along with flyers about the blog on the library bulletin board.  Will make new fliers in 2015 (not only on bulletin boards on the Hood campus, but in other area locations with community bulletin boards).

-Helped stop WJLA-TV's constant preemptions of Me-TV's Saturday lineup (including iconic horror host Svengoolie, portrayed by Rich Koz).  This was done with the help of fellow Me-TV viewers in the area.


-Revival screenings of classic films shouldn't be ignored by Frederick's cinema venues.  Sadly, classic cinema is still under-appreciated in the Frederick area.  As I've said before- classic films should be shown the way they were meant to be seen, on the big screen.  This is why Frederick needs a repertory cinema house (besides The Weinberg Center For The Arts).

-Hood College shouldn't be ignorant of showing classic films on the big screen in their Hodson Auditorium film series (which would be a great way to compliment their "blockbuster film series").  Yet unfortunately, their "Film club" hasn't responded to my message, nor have they set up any club meetings.  Even worse, my application to the college's "Campus Activities Board" (the organization programs the "blockbuster film series") was rejected.  I wonder if I should start a classic film club of my own at Hood...

-MGM should finally come to their senses, and restore the "roadshow" version of The Alamo before it's too late (or at least have someone else restore the film).  There won't be enough time to save it (due to the deteriorating Eastmancolor stock) if MGM is ignorant of the film.

Thanks to all for reading!  Happy New Year to everyone from the author of At The Matinee!

*There will be an update on the movie theater that was in the Woodsboro Bank building in 2015.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from "At The Matinee"!

Circa 1938.

At The Matinee wishes all readers (along with fellow classic/cult/contemporary film and television buffs) a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Television Corner: Farewell to several Late Night favorites: "The Colbert Report", the "Late Show" Christmas Tradition, and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson"

At The Matinee bids farewell to several Late Night favorites (and one Holiday tradition): The Colbert Reportthe iconic "Christmas Tradition" on CBSLate Show with David Letterman. and the last episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Here I am standing next to Stephen Colbert's portrait at the
National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., during a
Frederick Community College Political Club field trip in 2008.
FAREWELL TO THE "COLBERT NATION": Nation- on the evening of December 18th, Comedy Central aired the last episode of The Colbert Report.  After nine years of his popular satirical show (a "spin-off" of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Stephen Colbert bid farewell along with a cavalcade of iconic guests (including Jon Stewart) that have appeared on the show over the years, joining the legendary "fake pundit" in a rousing rendition of We'll Meet Again.

To those that haven't heard, Colbert will be the successor host of CBS' Late Show, when David Letterman retires from his show on May 20th, 2015.  Daily Show correspondent and comedy writer Larry Wilmore will take over Colbert's old Comedy Central time slot on January 19th, with a new spin-off series- The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

I'll be watching his 2009 Christmas special for the Holiday season, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All (in addition to reading his best-selling books, I Am America and So Can You! and America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't)!

SPEAKING OF LETTERMAN- THE LAST "LATE SHOW" CHRISTMAS TRADITION: One of the most interesting aspects of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman is the show's annual Christmas tradition with Jay Thomas and iconic singer Darlene Love.

The "Late Show Christmas Tree Meatball Challenge" has been an annual favorite since 1998, where Thomas and Letterman throw footballs to hit the "meatball" (in place of the traditional star) on top of the Late Show Christmas tree.  In addition to the "meatball challenge", Thomas recounts his famous story (when he was a disc jockey in Charlotte, North Carolina) about his encounter with "The Lone Ranger"- Clayton Moore.

Years before the "meatball challenge"- another iconic guest on Letterman's Christmas show is Darlene Love, who sang her legendary 1963 Christmas song (from the Phil Spector Christmas album)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)- with musical accompaniment by bandleader Paul Shaffer.  She has sung her popular Christmas song on the program since 1986, dating back to Letterman's previous show on NBC- Late Night. 

This will mark the final Late Show Christmas tradition, due to Letterman retiring from late night television (in May 2015).

THE FINAL "LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON":  After the final Late Show Christmas Tradition, CBS aired the final episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (which is also produced by Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants).  To commemorate Craig Ferguson's  special opening montage, past guests of The Late Late Show decided to honor the host in a special rendition of the song "Bang Your Drum" (including Regis Philbin).  The final program also included an interesting "farewell" to the series (NOTE: I'm not giving away the ending- including Secretariat's real identity, you'll have to see the conclusion for yourself).

For nearly ten years, the Scottish comedian/actor has entertained many with his edgy, off-the-wall jokes during the opening monologue and his "tweets and e-mails" segment.  Earlier this year, Ferguson announced that he was stepping down from The Late Late Show, to concentrate on his new game show, Celebrity Name Game and other projects.  British comedian James Corden has been named as the successor host to The Late Late Show in March 2015.   Farewell to Craig, his wise-cracking skeletal robot sidekick- Geoff Peterson (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson), and "Secretariat."

A "tip of the hat" to Steven Colbert, Darlene Love, Jay Thomas, Craig Ferguson, and to one of the greats of late night television- David Letterman.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Frederick's cinemas ignore another holiday classic (Paramount's first "VistaVision" film)

1954 advertisement for 
White Christmas at the
City Opera House (now
Brewer's Alley), from the
November 18th edition
of The News.

NOTE: Though this may be brief (due to upcoming finals at Hood College), there will be more Holiday-related posts on At The Matinee soon.  Be on the lookout for further developments!

Paramount Pictures and NCM Fathom Events will present a revival screening of Irving Berlin's White Christmas in theaters nationwide for two days only (on December 14th and 15th).  The 1954 classic features Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and Dean Jagger.  It was directed by Michael Curtiz, and was Paramount's first feature film in their exclusive widescreen process, VistaVision (it was utilized from its introduction in 1954 until 1960, when Paramount decided to release upcoming features in Technirama and Panavision).

Unfortunately (according to the Fathom Events list of participating theaters), the Frederick area will miss out on this Holiday classic, same with last week's double feature revival screening of A Christmas Carol (1938) and Christmas In Connecticut (1945). It's funny how the film was welcome with open arms in the area during its run in 1954, and sadly ignored by Frederick's cinemas for its sixtieth anniversary re-release.  It would be nice to experience White Christmas the way it was meant to be seen, on the big screen.

To all cinema venues in the Frederick area: I've said it before, and I'll say it again- don't ignore special revival screenings of classic films!