Friday, April 26, 2013

Irwin Allen: A Time of the TV Giants

What Irwin Allen did for television in the 60's and 70's is what J.J. Abrahms is doing for the this format today: making entertainment fun and interesting.

And it's sites like these that amaze me:

IANN is everything you need to know about Irwin Allen and his entertaining shows. Well... entertaining when I was growing up :-).

Watching LAND OF THE GIANTS first season now, and with a different eye than when I was a wee lad, but fun all the same. My teenager is actually showing some interest in it as well. The massive sets that were built for this show are amazing for their time. No CGI in these shows, just basic film ingenuity with film angles and making the best of what was available at the time.

This IANN website has information that would make the IMDB microprocessor spin out of control. Everything from Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and other Allen productions. From actors, episodes, dates, current news on the shows, convention appearances, pictures (past and present) music - you name it - you can probably find out what you need here.

If you've never heard of some of these shows, then just give them a shot and have fun with the funky sets, the so-so acting, and the over-the-top music. These were some fun fantasy and science fiction shows in my time and I think they're still great today. They certainly helped shape what is currently being produced for the boob tube these days.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ob-La-Dee, Ob-la-Daa

Took the family to see OBLIVION today. Enjoyed it.

Good futuristic mystery / thriller. Good action and I didn't want to leave my seat to re-fill my drink... and give some back (I needed to give some back however).

    Well, the men here enjoyed it. The ladies were very confused. I don't think this was a gender thang, I just think Trey and I are wired for this futuristic ideology. That said I think anyone who can keep up with what's going on will appreciate what the filmmakers have delivered.

   It's not that it's necessarily original, but I was thoroughly
intrigued. It sucked me in as there was obviously a lot more to this story than met the eye. Once you take in the history of what happened, to a devastated Earth after an invasion, you begin to wonder what's really going on.

   Jack and Victoria live off world nearby to help maintain the machines that's converting water into energy. This will help what's left of humanity live, which is on the Titan moon, one of Jupiter's satellites. The duo work and live together in an amazing, but basically sterile, floating domicile. Victoria stays at "home" and manages and communicates with "Mission," while Jack takes his space vehicle to maintain any issues that come up on the Earth below.

   There are "Scavs" which are not quite explained to us - in the beginning at least - that will attack certain areas on Earth, drones (who help maintain security, etc.) and this seems to be the only lot that Jack  has to deal with.

That and his dreams.

   Jack has these dreams that seem to creep in every so often. He doesn't seem to share them with Victoria, who is not only his partner in this venture, but his companion. The dreams feature another woman you see, which appear to have a romantic connotation. He seems confused by the recurring dreams, almost as if they're real. 

   All hell breaks loose when one of the water machines meets an untimely fate, and Jack and Victoria are thrown into a moment of real crisis with "Mission." An old earth satellite crashes down, and people, "live" people, are discovered within the wreckage. Not only is the Earth supposed to be uninhabited, but now it's growing in numbers - from the sky!

   There's a lot going on here, and I don't want to give anymore away. I enjoyed it. Yes, there are holes in the script, but with scenarios, especially with science fiction scenarios like this, you have to suspend some belief and go with the flow. This is one of the better of these "holey" films, but it's going to have its mixed reviews for sure. 

   I grabbed on and enjoyed the ride - thoroughly. I hope you will too. If you like a good mystery, then you'll enjoy watching this one unfold. You'll figure out some of it, and those moments are fun, but mostly it's just plop your butt down and let them take you by the hand and eat the salted corn in yer lap.

Those are my favorite. 

In honor of Roger Ebert's passing, I give this one a Thumb's Up!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Too Extreme?

One of the best albums produced in the early 90's was the ill-fated


Never heard of it?  Don't be surprised. 

Except for the die-hard fans, not many did. 

What a shame too as it truly is one of the most amazing albums I've ever had the pleasure to listen to, over and over again. I actually worked this record when I was at Polygram Records and let's face it, by writing this piece, I'm still promoting it.

The writing, singing, the many changes made throughout this album shows an insight and strength to song writing and production. it's now over two decades later and I still enjoy listening to this, dare I say... yes, a masterpiece. 

This was Extreme's third album, and it was the followup to the hugely successful "Pornograffiti," their second album, which features the massive airplay hit "More than Words."

The first time I met Extreme, Gary, Nuno, Pat, and Paul, we all ended up playing tug-of-war over someone's recent acquisition of the newly popular Gameboy. They were on tour for the recently released "Pornograffiti" and it wasn't a success... yet. We as a company purposely held back on promoting "More Than Words" - we knew it was going to be huge - so the band hadn't broken the "hit barrier" just yet. We promoted to their rock audience first before we released the pop ballad. So here we were at a restaurant, The Country Place, in Colony Square here in Atlanta, and they were passing the Gameboy around the table. It was the first time I ever played "Tetris." It was addictive
and everyone was fighting for a turn. Who needed food? We had the Gameboy man

There is also a story of a woman, a Harley, and both of them riding down the hallway of the hotel room...

.. but I digress.. let's get back to "my side" of "Three Sides to Every Story." It would have been of interest to me to talk to them at length about this album, find out where the inspiration for this wonderful collection of songs and just where did this phase came from? It received positive response from some fans and critics, and also confusion from the same lot. This was understood as it was a different direction, and experimental to some degree.

This release, their third album, came at a time when the music was changing course with the "grunge" sound that was beginning to take over. This album appears to have gotten lost in the new atmosphere of radio. Again, it was still very different from a mainstream release so I'm not sure it would really have gained any foothold in radio anyway. I know it was a courageous  effort for them to release this album. It was not an easy sell. Wikipedia reports that it sold 700,000 albums. As the previous album sold 2 million, it's easy to attribute some of this popularity for "Three.." to fans who were collected during that sophmore run in "Pornograffiti." I'm a bit surprised that it even made it to gold status (500,000) given this very different direction.

Out of all three Extreme albums at the time, I think "Three..." is a perfect album, and Extreme's best. I liken this release to KISS's "The Elder" which was quite a different album for them, experimental, and here again it's my favorite KISS album. I won't go into it here, as I'm sure I'll have more to say about the "The Elder" at another time, but these two experimental albums both achieved clarity and substance that these bands other albums never even got close too.

The best
way to show you this is to have you listen to the album, but for now here is a piece "Everything Under the Sun (all 3 parts),"  that will give you an idea of what this album is made of:

Greatness in rock n' roll.

Play the above piece and let me know what you think.


~  Dave