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close-encounters1Trading cards were, for Generation X, a past-time like baseball to the Baby Boomers, but having to do with motion pictures like SUPERMAN and the original STAR WARS franchise. For some reason there were no JAWS trading cards (although JAWS 2 and 3D were covered), and let’s now center on another Steven Spielberg film, and probably his most personal… CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND was his first cinematic encounter that he wrote himself and that deals with UFO’s, something he would later revisit in E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL and years after that, WARclose-encounters2 OF THE WORLDS… The thing about the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards is something a lot of people miss… There are many cards with Melinda Dillon, the little boy and a lot of spaceships… The coolest aspect is the artwork to the bottom-left where each is numbered, a sort of dime novel rendition of the famous highway with the spray of light at the end of the vanishing point… Now to the real point: of all the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS trading cards, there is not one of the film’s main star, Richard Dreyfuss… We don’t know the reason but it obviously had something to do with his contract, or something… He appears in other CLOSE ENCOUNTER propaganda, and being a JAWS alumni it’s obviously not anything personal against the director, so someone out there, clue us in why there’s no Dick Dreyfuss on these cards… we’ll watch the skies for an answer.



Picture 4PROJECT: Chinatown YEAR: 1974 DIRECTOR: Roman Polanski TALENT IN SCENE: Jack Nicholson as Jack Gittes and Perry Lopez as Escobar SETUP: Jack Nicholson’s resilient gumshoe Jack Gittes is finding out about a body that literally washed up… He faked his way onto the crime scene taking place at the Los Angeles reservoir where he meets up with classy chief lawman Escobar, played by Perry Lopez. DIALOGUE: Gittes: “Lou, how are ya?” Escobar: “Lousy cold I can’t seem to shake, but otherwise,” stretches neck, “I’m okay.” Gittes: “Yeah,” pulls out cigarette. “Summer colds are the worst.” Escobar: “Yeah,Picture 3 they are.” IMPORTANCE: We get to know there is a backstory to these two seemingly contrary characters by this subtle banter, which is awkward but comfortable, like a worn shoe. And we realize that Escobar was once probably… not so by-the-book being he was Jack’s partner working in, of all places, Chinatown: We’re told this when the uniformed cop tells Jack not to smoke, and Escobar unveils the exposition. Also, in the next scene, the overweight coroner seems to have the same cold, not being able to shake “this darn cough.” Followed by Jack getting his nose cut at the same location, only at night (by a goon played by Roman Polanski): His nose bandaged for most of the film thereafter. CLOSURE: Perry Lopez was in the biz as far back as the 1950’s, appearing in B-crime-movies, a sort of poor man’s Ricardo Montalban. And he turned up once again as Escobar in the sequel, directed by Nicholson, titled The Two Jakes.



title05_012020597PROJECT: Death Valley GENRE: Horror Action YEAR: 1982 TALENT: Edward Herrmann KNOWN FOR: The Lost Boys OTHER PROJECTS: Annie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Paper Chase, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Great Gatsby, The Betsy CHARACTER: Paul Stanton POSITION: Paul is an upper class businessman in New York whose son Billy is about to go on a trip to meet his mother’s new boyfriend: spending the summer in a place called Death Valley, a desert town that would love up to its name in this underrated horror yarn. CLOSURE: Edward Herrmann proves that even in a small, seemingly unimportant scene he makes a difference… We get to learn how much Billy, played by “shoot your eye out kid” Peter Billingsly, loves his dad; how depressed he is about his parent’s divorce; and how much New York City means to him just by the conversation with his father… That’s setting up a movie right since the first seven minutes have no action or suspense, just dialogue ala Hitchcock. MEDIA: Edward Herrmann passed away today, and he was a great actor, one of a kind, and will be missed… But just to note: imdb should not have described his Lost Boys character… spoilers suck, fellas.



10390407_10205751254283011_4070241691393192583_nTITLE: The Cannonball Run ITEM: Blu Ray CAST: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Bert Convy, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Jack Elam, Terry Bradshaw, Peter Fonda, Jackie Chan, George Furth ORIGINAL AND NEW ARTWORK: The original artwork looks just like this Blu Ray only they added the American Flag, somewhat resembling a Japanese flag, and some other things are added around the original cast member mural,photo-164 including black and white racing flag colors at the bottom… This has always been a great image for this eclectic ensemble cast that worked, unlike some of Burt’s road movies with director Hal Needham, especially the horrendous sequel. PROBLEMS ARE: No problems here at all. This is an example of taking the film’s original artwork and adding enough to make the picture look better than ever, a very rare thing since usually, with DVD or Blu Rays, the original art is replaced with a lame photoshop style image. Luckily for fans of Cannonball Run we get a brand new bag. BACK COVER: The back of the Blu Ray looks almost as cool as the front… A picture that looks like a portrait of Burt Reynolds wearing a tank top holding Farrah Fawecett with three boxes of scenes below… and to the left, under the description, is Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis’s car diving into the swimming pool.



10882363_10205727714974543_1413326031938588438_nTITLE: National Lampoon’s Vacation ITEM: Blu Ray celebrating 30th Anniversary. CAST: Chevy Chase, Beveryl D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron, Christie Brinkley, Anthony Michael Hall ORIGINAL ARTWORK: National Lampoon’s Vacation came out in 1983, which was a year after the John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan The Barbarian pillaged theaters, and the Vacation poster was a parody: a retro painting ala Frank Franzetta of Chevy Chase with co-star wife Beverly D’Angelo and supermodel cameo Christie Brinkley clinging to each leg like pallid servant girl wenches: also parodying the theme of the movie in which Chase’s put-upon husband/father is anything but in control. NEW ARTWORK: The original artwork was used for the annoying Warner Brothers Snapcase:VACATION+95 the sole source where you could find Vacation, and in full screen ratio, not wide… There was another awful reissue cover replacing the original artwork, but this new crap beats all… PROBLEMS ARE: First off, Chevy Chase portrayed a family man, not a bachelor or businessman, so the fact he has a set of golf clubs over his shoulder and a tennis racquet just doesn’t fit (he’s holding a racquet on the original cover, but replacing a sword it has purpose)… His Caddyshack character Ty Webb would vacation this way but Clark had other junk to carry on the cross-country trip… Also, the moose antler cap is just plain awful, making our hero look like a complete clown when in fact, Clark Griswold was perhaps Chase’s best career performance: he really got into the role as an oblivious suburban dad doing anything and everything possible to make a hellish trip wonderful and failing at every turn… And this new Blu Ray cover ruins everything, plain and simple. If only Vacation were a Warner Archive: the plastic cases may smell awful, but the real artwork is used.



photo-163PROJECT: Animal House CELEBRITY: Tim Matheson CHARACTER: Eric “Otter” Stratten ITEM: Something called a VideoDisc, a cross between a video tape and a laserdisc, and so great to have autographed since they are shaped like a board, and you can place them anywhere in the house. Best of all, they usually have the original artwork unlike so many DVDs. LOCATION: Comic Book Show at the Shrine near USC… STORY: Well this was an excitingPicture+21 day because Tim Matheson had never done an autograph show, and is one of my favorite actors… He was very cool and down to earth, and tripped hard on the video disc itself: he never seen or heard of these things… CLOSURE: My autograph hound buddy JB had something for me to give Tim to sign, for him, and Tim liked it so much he wrote his phone number down, for my friend to call him… It was a cartoon glossy of Tim’s work on THE VIRGINIAN… Tim was at this show because of his voice work on the classic Hanna Barbara cartoon JOHNNY QUEST… He didn’t just sit at a booth, he showed up at 1 and left at 2… The line was long at first then dwindled… I was his first customer and last… Got a few more things signed which will show up here eventually…



photo-162PROJECT: Southern Comfort CELEBRITY: TK Carter CHARACTER: Tyrone Cribbs ITEM: Blu-Ray/DVD Combo, Shout Factory… Turned the fancy front artwork inward and had the original more scant artwork signed up front. LOCATION: A Horror film niche show, DAYS OF THE 88039_fullDEAD, in LA… Went with fellow collector JB from the Courts Celebrity Show at Burbank Airport Marriott at noon, Saturday through thick traffic winding over to the LAX Hilton, parked underground and walked right in… No one checked our tickets… Problem is, I paid for mine a month earlier online, a good $30 that would have been terrific to save. I could only afford one autograph at this show. STORY: TK was at a table with other cast members of THE THING including Thomas Waites and David Clennon… The latter was dressed artistically shabby, carried a laptop case and said, “I just came from a screening of the new movie, GONE GIRL.” I turned to David, who had spoken to me like he’d known me for years, and said with a casual nod, “I heard that’s getting a lot of buzz.” And he replied, wide eyed, “I’m in it!” But back to this particular autograph, TK was pretty thing-palmercool. Lit up remembering CORVETTE SUMMER which I mentioned… TK had a cameo as a car washer, and played in the scene with Brion James… Picture 1Leading us back to SOUTHERN COMFORT where the man provided an awesome signature with his character’s name in quotes. Although he seemed kind of like the odd man out with the other THING dudes, hogging up most of the main table. CLOSURE: More autographs would be nice on this… Missed a chance to get Peter Coyote although my friend got a Coyote on his, which lacks TK… And although having interviewed Les Lannom in the past, he’ll probably never do a show being that hardly anyone would recognize him. So let’s just hope that Fred Ward needs money or attention or a chance to see old friends, or perhaps Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe and more realistically, Lewis Smith: the James Franco of 1980’s peripheral character actors.



Early Nothing by Cult Film Freak

Cult Film Freak's Early Nothing was founded by Jim Mullen Tate, using this new outlet to educate his illiterate boarder about nostalgic motion pictures: The tenant asks the questions while the landlord answers, creating a hybrid of Movie Reviews and Interviews known as Intereviews...


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Deadhead Miles

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