Big Weekend

While projecting the film at The Fab Fox Saturday, no sooner than I would start the shows, I'd hear the "Pink Panther" ringtone.

I'd sigh and stop what I was doing to answer my cell, "Hello? ... Hello? ... Hell-O?! ... I know it's you, Trudy ... Hello? ... Hello?...," but no one was there.

I'd hang up and go stick my head out of the window into the auditorium to check on the sound. Yep, of course, I'd get another call.

"Hey! I'm trying to run a movie here, people! Hello!"

Nothing. This pattern repeated for six or seven minutes at a clip.

"Darn pranksters."

Moments ago, I realized it wasn't my phone. It was the cartoon.

Apologies to Trudy.


Why Am I Here?

I encounter little reality checks from time to time, regarding my very existence.

Last night, during the final minutes of the summer's Fox Theatre film festival, I stood in the shadows of the projection booth, exhausted after the hectic pace, stressful challenges, and the grueling hours undertaken in recent weeks to bring the presentations together.

I considered my surroundings. Then, it hit me.

This is the very room where they first showed "Son of Flubber."

Life has continuity, destiny, and texture, and I was suddenly happy.

Son of "Son of Flubber"

"Son of Flubber" (1963) TV Spot via YouTube



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I may have a health problem. Up all night, going to the bathroom, doing #7 and a couple of 3.4s.

I'm at the Fox Theatre in the morn for a projection gig. I'll be alone, pre-screening THE PROPOSAL. I needs my quiet time with Betty White.

I'm missing BONNIE AND CLYDE at the drive-in tonite. Instead of "We Rob Banks," it's "We Munch Quiche at Tea Parties." There may be gin play.

I'm passing on TRANSFORMERS and GI JOE, but already queuing for Quentin Tarantino's SLINKY.

I'm miffed. Cable TV kaput. Seeing VIVA LAS VEGAS at a drive-in tonite. Ann-Margret better not freeze up. I suspect she's already vibrating.

I hate gardening. Must replace milkweed with healthier cranberry-mangoweed.

I asked my doctor if I'm healthy enough for sex and he told me his dance card is full.

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Big Weekend

Fretted Wilford Brimley's moustache behaves uneven.


Movies in the Movies: 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

The final sequence of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) plays out in a short, dead end New York alley on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. Audrey Hepburn and Cat pass by a 3-sheet for Jerry Lewis' Paramount release, "Visit to a Small Planet" (1960).

I've seen a lot of posters hanging in alleys during my motion picture viewing, which forces the question, "Why?"

Why would anyone go to the effort and expense to display advertisements in an alley where less than few eyes are destined to see them? Wouldn't it be more reasonable to mount the publicity out on the busy road where the folks actually travel?

Movie logic.


Movies in the Movies: 'Girls! Girls! Girls!'

I'm amused to spot how the movies treat movies, especially when it comes to the product placements within. For example, look at this image from Hal Wallis' "Girls! Girls! Girls!" (1962), released by Paramount Pictures.

Twice during the film, Elvis Presley and Laurel Goodwin stroll in front of a theatre in their neighborhood. Each time, the same advertisements appear in the frames.

Golly, what do you know? It's a poster for "Summer and Smoke" (1961) from producer Hal Wallis and Paramount! What are the chances of that happening?

Nothing gets between the lovebirds...

Except multiple one-sheet posters for "Blue Hawaii" (1961) from Hal Wallis and Paramount and starring Elvis Presley!

This is an example of what drives me nuts about movies. Elvis and Laurel are a new couple in Hawaii, getting to know each other. They linger at a cinema showing "Blue Hawaii." Promotional material is everywhere. Elvis went to Hawaii to make "Blue Hawaii." He was in the papers. He caused an uproar. He was on everybody's lips.

Although we don't see it, you know the couple would be standing under a huge marquee and bright lights boasting "Elvis Presley in 'Blue Hawaii,'" a box office sensation of the day, yet she not once mentions how Elvis looks exactly like Elvis.

And Elvis sings and dances regularly at the nightclub next door to the theatre. Nobody ever remarks on his stunning similarities to Elvis or refers to him as an Elvis impersonator.

Aw, c'mon!


Off the Wall

Saving Facebook: My Confessions
Ordinarily, I don't mind being home alone, but our poltergeist just wafted through the bedroom, singing "Viva, Viagra!"

In a word: He'p.

I'm smelling traces of Hai Karate.

And Sen-Sen.

The room's turned cold and it's whispering questions about The Toni Twins.

The Next Morning

Woke up with a smile on my face and a carton of half-puffed Chesterfield's on my pillow. Since I don't smoke and seldom smile, I'd better turn on INSIDE EDITION and see what I've been up to.

Also need to hide my assets and pray I was wearing the mirrored underpants with decals of silver bullets and the cast of GHOSTBUSTERS 2 on them.

Thankfully, linen reeks of garlic, which suggests I warded off evil spirits or, heavens forbid, I had a Larry King sleepover.

My paranoia increases with my intake of neighborly veggies from the toothless troll under our porch. Hmm, the mushrooms are Jitterbugging and the spork is levitating a heap o' DayGlo kidney beans with an ominous drip my way. Hate to eat or run...

Haircut today. I hate mingling at the farewell 'poo. After the shear, I'll be expected to say a few words, like "Looks good." Buck up, Mike.

Some men have a Rendezvous With Destiny. I have the occasional Get-Together With Smock.

Actually, smocks kinda embarrass me. The worst part is the sucking in of the gut.

I'm always hoping the flare pants come back, mainly because that's the shape of my ankles.



Being a huge fan of the floor-to-ceiling, deep-curved CINERAMA movie process, I sure hate to miss seeing this rare event at the CINERAMA Dome in Los Angeles.

First off, "Woodstock" is not a CINERAMA presentation and far from one. The bulk of the documentary was shot with hand-held low resolution 16mm cameras.

We showed this movie last month at the Fox in Atlanta. Just like us, the Dome is promising the expanded "Director's Cut."

What does that mean?

More mud.

My favorite of all the CINERAMA productions is "How the West Was Won" (1962) and every effort should be made to catch it in the original 3-strip 35mm process, a thrilling, realistic experience. I did at the Dome in 2003. I think I'm still dusty from the buffalo stampede. I'm certainly winded.

"This Is CINERAMA" (1952) is the debut film in the big screen format. It's a travelogue of sorts, including the most famous CINERAMA sequence, the one with actual, point-of-view rollercoaster footage. I can't open my eyes during the ride. I don't know why I go.

"The Golden Head" (1964) and "Holiday in Spain" (1960) are not true CINERAMA productions, but were acquired by the company from outside sources and shown in limited 70mm releases.

"Holiday in Spain" is also known as "Scent of Mystery," an excruciating, lame picture, starring Denholm Elliott and Peter Lorre. At the New York engagement, it played in Smell-O-Vision with 30 aromas pumped into the auditorium at key moments of the film.

I saw "Scent of Mystery," 20 years ago, perhaps, on MTV. The music station provided scratch-and-sniff cards in lieu of Smell-O-Vision. Via visual cues, we inhaled the corresponding odors. The whole experience had a bad reek and I couldn't dance to it.

Gotta love the original theatrical ad campaign, however, welcoming Smell-O-Vision to the movies:

"First they moved (1895)! Then they talked (1927)! Now they smell!"

Related: "How the West Was Won" Trailer | "CINERAMA Holiday" | "'How the West' Was Run"

Thanks to Rich Greenhalgh
"This Is CINERAMA" photo:


Big Weekend

I had my first, very own, old guy nose whistle.



Morty at the Movies with Morty the CatI caught my cat chuckling at this performance.

I think he was being sarcastic.

"Meow!" by Rossini via YouTube

Morty thanks Gail Harris


The Ann-Margret Sex Kitten Dance

We made our way through Atlanta to see "Viva Las Vegas" at the Starlight Drive-in Theatre, returning five years after a previous viewing of the film, which was fully documented in these beloved stories of cherished American literature:
"My Night With Elvis: Kitten With a Dip"
"My Night With Elvis: Clamfake?"
"My Night With Elvis: Swallow That Dream"
"My Night With Elvis: Paradise, Drive-In Style"
Epilogue: "My Night With Elvis Redux"

Wherever I go, fans probably want to ask me to favor them with my signature performance piece, a little something I call "The Ann-Margret Sex Kitten Dance." It, of course, is derived from a sensational musical number within "Viva Las Vegas."

In bygone appearances, technically referred to as "glories," I partnered the choreography alongside my wife. These days, Donna vivas Sudoku.

Portions of the original fanciness have been excerpted in this video montage with Mr. Presley.

"Viva Las Vegas" via YouTube

Squeezing our van between many dozens of audience vehicles, we were lucky to park front row center, although in the picture, Elvis is Lucky.

Happy movie buffs shared pre-show refreshments and banter. I could hear their giddy chatter and high expectations on this magical occasion, as we all awaited darkness and I stretched my legs.

I knew this crowd. I could see them eying me. I blushed a bit, hung my head, shook my arms in mock wacky defeat, and announced, "Alright, I'll do it!"

I ran out to the big screen, took my position underneath, and, indeed, I favored the kids with my patented Ann-Margret Sex Kitten Dance. I gave it my frenetic and my frisky, and soon I was whirlin', wigglin', and dazzlin'.

I understand the Webmaster located a snapshot and will post it here. The photo was taken immediately following my spot. I collapsed by the van, missed my ovations and encores, and snoozed through the flick.


Big Weekend

I gave this hitchhiker a 20-mile lift.

Hope he wanted to go. He had no thumb.



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I can't get no satisfaction. ... I am also having trouble procuring Atomic Fireballs with Unguentine and Chunky Ranch Prell.

I feel worthwhile. I stopped the car, got out & physically carried a box turtle across the road. I hope he was flattered not to be flattened.

I'm tired of folding underwear. Why we can't play poker with chips is beyond me.

School starts on Aug. 3? We never returned before Labor Day. These kids today with their tight pants, wild hairdos and early schools!

News Item: "400-year-old mummified cat found in walls of cottage." O my god! This can mean only one thing. BEWARE: The Invisible Litter Box!

Sadly, I'm losing my hip. The Disney Channel is advertising a "brand new ZEKE & LUTHER." I haven't even seen the brand old ZEKE & LUTHERs.

Finished my bi-decadal weedwacking. New nemesis on the lawn: pine forest.

My bottle of Pert Plus tells me "YOU'RE GORGEOUS" this morning. Sure, it is a comedown, but I am starting to sag.

Without trying, I've lost 4 pounds since giving up milk. Now I'm giving up Circus Peanuts, Parcheesi tokens, and Mugwumps. Call me "Tiny."

[Mike Durrett] is glad to be done with his massive Hell Week so he can resume his important life's work: Cursing traffic and Walmart together on the fives.

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15 Movies That Stick With You

Here's a little exercise I got tagged with on Facebook. These types of surveys drive me crazy because I could easily list 500 more flicks that are always stuck in my head. It's a film festival in there every day, except when it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich festival or we got any chips festival.

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. "Rear Window" (1954) Probably my favorite. I first saw this film in a reissue during the fifth grade. It fascinated and horrified me at the same time. Like the characters, I can't keep my eyes off it. Alfred Hitchcock, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Thelma Ritter are wonderful. For added creepiness, Raymond Burr here reminds me of my father.

2. "The Ladies' Man" (1961) You know I adore Jerry Lewis, my most influential inspiration. This picture is his funniest hour on film, although it kinda falls apart after the hat sequence with Buddy Lester. In fairness, I've seen nothing in cinema that can top that bit.

3. "The Bank Dick" (1940) W.C. Fields is his own language. For my money, he is the funniest man in films. Fields is physical AND verbal, where most comedians are one or the other, usually with lesser degrees of mastery. Adjust for inflation and the times and "The Bank Dick" could very well be the funniest movie comedy ever. The tiny bit with the pith helmet on the end is so endearing to me, I think of it often. Indeed, The Great Man. (Apologies to Mr. Muckle, honey)

4. "North by Northwest" (1959) The Hitchcock I tend to return to the most. I credit Cary Grant and Bernard Herrmann for the extra boosts. Cary is among the best screen comedians ever, although I often wonder if I'm the only one noticing.

5. "Psycho" (1960) The Bates' boy. Unforgettable.

6. "Cinema Paradiso" (1988) This movie mirrors my life more than any other. I am Pedro, the little kid in the projection room. Although I grew up decades later, I had comparable experiences and a fine man as my mentor, friend, and surrogate father. No matter how many times I see it, when that mysterious reel of film unspools, I can't help but become overwhelmed.

7. "The Quiet Man" (1952) If it's good enough for E.T., it's good enough for me.

8. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Good mornin' and golly!

9. "State Fair" (1945) It's a great state fair and one I visit over and over and over.

10. "Citizen Kane" (1941) As a dopey 17-year-old, this movie stunned me with its craft and still does.

11. "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) I caught this on late night TV when I was in early high school. A mesmerizing look at fame that still resonates. Andy Griffith is amazing.

12. "Bambi" (1942) One of the few movies my mother took me to see. I'm so glad she did or that walk home at age six would have been awful. I've wondered how much my love for animals is due to "Bambi."

13. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) Oh my. I've heard the faint strains of the theme music inside a supermarket and started weeping. If this one doesn't stay with you, you are damaged.

14. "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963) Not even close to being as funny as it thinks it is, but I'm possessed by this movie and have thought about it regularly since that initial CINERAMA viewing.

15. "The Searchers" (1956) It stays with me for the usual reasons and now that Monument Valley has become our favorite place to visit, it's the grandest of home movies!

The films "that will always stick with you" aren't necessarily the same as the ones you'd watch again and again. I can't get "Fluffy," "Flipper," or "The Fly" (1958) out of my head either, but I'd say I've seen them enough.

Gee, "The Fly" should definitely be on my list. I saw it at age 7 on a "Kiddie Show" (!) at the neighborhood theatre. That one brain fried me and the uneasy horrors have never gone away.

Help meeeee! Please, help mee!


Big Weekend

We spent the better parts of Saturday and Sunday sitting around the meat morgue at the supermarket, having a conversation.

Mostly, we conversed about how we wouldn't be purchasing this furniture.
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