Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fallout from Father's Day

Oh those stepkids...
music by Holst, "The Planets," from a 1926 recording - imagine that!

Waiting At The Church (1906)

One more twiddle-dee-dee....

A Brief Observation on the Marx Brothers

When first discovering the Marx’s features, I was rather stunned by the density of the comedy content.  I had seen bits of “Horse Feathers” and “Monkey Business” before, but presumed the clips were from far more films than part of a single release.  For comparison, I remember sitting though a lot of padding when watching W. C. Fields Paramount releases, in order to get to the comedy - a minute here, a minute there, a reprise of a reprise of a vaudeville turn or a sequence from his two-reelers at Sennett, or wholesale remake of his silent features. 

The routines in the Marx Paramount films would, in the hands of other era comedians and their producers, be parsimoniously scattered among a multitude of features.  All that comedic material often crammed into 90 minutes or less was nothing short of amazing when it came to the Marxes.  A few films by others approached their anarchy, as detailed in Henry Jenkins “What Made Pistachio Nuts,” but they lacked the foundation of Marxian talent and personality (even Wheeler and Woolsey couldn’t find a consistency to their characters from film to film). 

Their final MGM films just showed the MGM was tone deaf to comedy - “At the Circus” and “Go West” are funny films, but they’re not funny Marx Brothers films.  Bob Hope could easily have slipped into Groucho’s part in “Go West.”  And Bob Gassel proved through his masterful editing that even those movies would barely run an hour if using a Paramount pace (and they’re the only way I can watch “At the Circus” or “The Big Store” since discovering his edits - although I do like “Sing While You Sell,” a musical piece that could easily foreshadow Abbott and Costello filmmaking tone). 

So while they only made 13 films, in the hands of other comedy teams or cinematic producers, that material would have served as basis for three times as many movies.  Over half of their output is finely distilled Courvoisier in a world of Bud Light.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Kickin' some ideas around....

And then some detail...
And a bit of a tweak to check different timing and playback speed...

Continues to evolve... those wacky deadlines!

Let's add the ending roughed in shot - still working on the intro

And finally, with or without titles....

Monday, June 22, 2020

Say, want to see the evolution of Technicolor? Some links...

Thanks to youtube, you can see how Technicolor went from its two-strip to three-strip format.

Toll of the Sea (1922) - first full length 2 strip technicolor film (complete film) - the final shot was re-created for the film's restoration

Phantom of the Opera (1925) - 2 strip Technicolor sequence.  If you chance upon the restored versions, note the changes on the hallway walls as it cuts from the color to black and white shots.  This film had some insane production challenges...

La Cucaracha (1934) - first theatrical release in 3 strip technicolor - 2 reeler 

Becky Sharp (1935) - first full length 3 strip Technicolor film (restoration promotion): 

Third Time's a Charm! Last update: 25 June 2020

Well, this round is in a new location, with a different machine, and different challenges in the full-blown midst of a pandemic, regardless of the opinions of inept knuckle-draggers.
The technicians are doing their best to keep things upbeat, the clinic is providing free valet parking, and the valets are dressed better than I am, providing a layer of guilt for such an unattended-to vehicle for them to put out of sight for the 10 minutes each session takes, from entry to discharge.

The first stop is for a hospital employee to ask a series of CoVid questions, and the interviewer may be from nursing, radiation, or even finance.  Volunteer-created masks are generally available, and once the path to the radiation department was tracked, we generally opted for the stairway for the sake of speed and lessened viral exposure.  Hand sanitizers are placed at 20 foot intervals.

The entryway is festooned with donated art - and even a player grand piano - to soothe and calm the patients undergoing more rigorous experiences than I never hope to see on my electronic medical record.

Stained glass by Mathias Alten, from his Grand Rapids home.  He was reportedly one of my great grandfather's friends, "back in the day"

My new best friend and a new mask to scare the kiddies with, come this Halloween --- 

These treatments have been condensed from 14 to 12, with the same total number of Gray units.  The two fewer visits in morning traffic along another challenging Michigan highway is a welcome adjustment.
Two spurts of radiation with each visit, aligned to predetermined marks, including a black dot tattooed upon the lower sternum (which can be used as a guide for The Stake should the radiation create a vampiric mutation).  Alas, no whiff of ozone, no sensation of scorched bacon. 


Session 8 completed, 4 more to go.  At this point, there is some sense of laryngeal swelling by mid-afternoon.  Swallowing is still possible, but anything moving down the esophagus needs to be well chewed.  Mashed potatoes and pudding are very, very attractive dietary options.  Fortunately, the early CoVid stockpiling of catastrophic foodstuffs assured the presence of those particular essentials.

It should also be noted that now, three months after the end of the previous radiation treatment for the MALT in the right eye, that particular eyebrow has almost returned to its earlier configuration without the need for greasepaint.

Some redness is beginning to appear along the neckline at this stage as well.  Eucerin at hand!

Session 11 completed, 1 more to go.  Now the redness has a shade of purple emerging, indicating a heightened level of burn, but still without external pain or itching.  From a local vegetarian restaurant comes a T-loaf (tofu-based), nice and soft and crumbly, and a baked sweet potato, just begging to be lubricated with some freshly churned butter (ok, freshly refrigerated).  The rest of the refrigerator is well stocked with pudding and apple sauce, and some nine ounces of viscous lidocaine is nearby, if necessary.  There are rumors that the deep freeze contains sherbet!   Swallowing has become somewhat difficult, as predicted.  This and the evidence of external burns are expected to worsen for at least two weeks following the final treatment.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Celebrating the Cereal City - 2002 coloring book

This may have only been around a few months during 2002, and the "Cereal City USA" lasted for only a handful of years afterwards.  Ah my...