TV Fact #219 – May 31st, 2015:

While several of the story lines and even some of the dialog for “China Beach” (1988-1991) were taken directly from the experiences and recollections of actual Vietnam era military nurses, actor Troy Evans, who played the character Master Sergeant Bob Pepper for seasons 3 and 4, was actually a Vietnam veteran himself.

During a reunion on Good Morning America he even stated the show gave him a sense of closure. Peace is never impossible to find…but sometimes you have to face your demons to put it all to rest. For Evans that meant jumping back into the boots of his past horrors…and he won.

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 3:24 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #768 – May 31st, 2015:

During the sequence where they are chasing the stagecoach in, well the 1939 film “Stacecoach”, a device known as a “Running W” was used on the Indians’ horses. Here’s how it worked.

Strong, thin wires are fixed to a metal post, then the other end of the wires are attached to an iron clamp that encircles the legs of a horse, and the post is anchored into the ground. Then, the horse is ridden at full gallop until the wire’s maximum length is reached when is just when the rider is “shot” at which time the animal’s legs are jerked out from underneath it, causing it to tumble violently and throw the “shot” rider off. This brutal stunt design had it’s problems though.

The trouble here was that the rider knew when the horse was going to fall but the horse didn’t which resulted in many horses either being killed outright or having to be destroyed because of broken limbs incurred during the falls.

You can imagine that the use of the “Running W” was eventually discontinued after many complaints from both inside and outside the film industry occurred. Safe to say PETA would have had a field day if they were around at the time.

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 3:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #768 – May 31st, 2015:

“The most important thing in life will always be the people in this room, right here, right now.”

– Vin Diesel, “Furious 7”

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 3:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #218 – May 30th, 2015:

“Richard Diamond, Private Detective” (1957-1960) was first a very popular radio show that starred actor Dick Powell as the titular sleuth. It ran for a few years in the early 1950’s. When it was decided to make it a TV series, Powell was approached to do it. However, he felt he was too old and instead recommended younger actor David Janssen who would ultimately play the role on television.

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 3:07 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #767 – May 30th, 2015:

As many know, stage actor Orson Welles had never directed or starred in film before his 1941 film “Citizen Kane”. In fact, even though the film is hailed as the greatest film of all time, Welles was quite the novice in filmmaking when he made it…but that was something quickly rectified.

Production advisor Miriam Geiger quickly compiled a handmade film textbook for Welles which served as a practical reference book of film techniques that he studied carefully. Welles then taught himself filmmaking by matching its visual vocabulary to the 1920 silent horror film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, which he ordered from the Museum of Modern Art. He also ordered films by directors Frank Capra, René Clair, Fritz Lang, King Vidorand Jean Renoir. The one film he genuinely studied was director John Ford’s 1939 film “Stagecoach”, which he watched 40 times. Welles novice abilities, but coupled with his desire to learn, was shown in this quote:

“As it turned out, the first day I ever walked onto a set was my first day as a director,” Welles said. “I’d learned whatever I knew in the projection room — from Ford. After dinner every night for about a month, I’d run Stagecoach, often with some different technician or department head from the studio, and ask questions. ‘How was this done?’ ‘Why was this done?’ It was like going to school.”

Perhaps it was with this wide-eyed wonder of film that Welles conquered with his film. Perhaps he was just gifted. Either way, none can deny “Citizen Kane” and it’s profound effect on the world that would inspire directors of all kinds from Steven Spielberg to Paul Thomas Anderson.

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 3:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #767 – May 30th, 2015:

“In every moment there’s a possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality.”

– Hugh Laurie, “Tomorrowland”

Published in: on May 31, 2015 at 2:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #217 – May 29th, 2015:

There was an agreement among the writers of the show “Alice” (1976-1985) that if they found themselves in a joke that they couldn’t get out of they would just give one of the characters a funny costume or a funny hat.

The chemistry of this team was pretty strong as the show lasted for nine seasons with just over 200 episodes. So, irony, the show was no joke…it was the real thing.

Published in: on May 29, 2015 at 12:04 PM  Leave a Comment  

Movie Fact #766 – May 29th, 2015:

Just to be clear, 2014’s “300: Rise of an Empire”, the follow-up to 2007’s “300” which itself is based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, was not an original work. “300: Rise of an Empire” is actually based on the as-yet-unreleased Frank Miller graphic novel “Xerxes”. The film is also co-written and co-produced by Zack Snyder, who directed and co-wrote the first “300”.

“300” in 2007 was made to follow the graphic novel, from which it was based on, to the letter in terms of it’s story. In fact, Snyder used the graphic novel like pre-conceived storyboards for the film to capture the story correctly from the graphic novel. I wonder how closely “300: Rise of the Empire” is adapted from it’s source material? Maybe the graphic novel “Xerxes” will be released some day and we’ll find out.

Published in: on May 29, 2015 at 8:27 AM  Leave a Comment  

Quote #766 – May 29th, 2015:

“Sooner or later, every man shows himself.”

– Elizabeth Olsen, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

Published in: on May 29, 2015 at 8:25 AM  Leave a Comment  

TV Fact #216 – May 28th, 2015:

A little history lesson about technology shown through the show “Cannon” (1971-1976). In an era decades before cell phone use, the character Frank Cannon (Played by William Conrad) used a “mobile phone” in his car, which was highly rare at the time although actor David Janssen used one as the character Richard Diamond in the 1950’s show “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” (1957-1960). Anyway the character of Cannon would begin by asking the mobile operator to dial a call for him.

These phones of this type were precursors to modern cell phones. On a technical note, the phone prop itself, in his car, was a Motorola brand MTS mobile phone. Hey, we had to start somewhere.

Published in: on May 28, 2015 at 2:27 AM  Leave a Comment