Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MY VISIT TO FLORENCE

Wait! Wait! Wrong Florence!

Some time ago I did an interview on "The Florence Henderson Show" on the RETIREMENT LIVING CHANNEL. Florence does a terrific show and has some great guests (Hey, she had me, didn't she?) You can watch the interview right NOW (Over and over again) in the privacy of your very own computer.

You'll see a few clips from my long awaited DVD and ME, live, right there next to FLORENCE HENDERSON.

TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW CLICK BELOW

video

Thank you Florence Henderson for having me on your show.


Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

STUFF HAPPENS

I seem to keep veering away from my Rock & Roll roots on this blog. You have to remember, The Lloyd Thaxton Show represented 10 years of my TV life. I spent 18 years producing and directing Fight Back-with David Horowitz on NBC, which was partially responsible for my latest career as co-author of a self-help book.

The book Stuff Happens - and then you fix it (originally titled Shit Happens, cleaned up as $#&@ Happens before Stuff won out), was published by John Wiley and Sons in 2003. It was co-written by John Alston, a remarkable motivational speaker (and remarkable motivational friend). My very own personal copy is enclosed in a glass case on my office wall with the words, "IN AN EMERGENCY-BREAK GLASS." I have been tempted many times.


Right after the book was published, Donald Rumsfeld made the title immortal when he used it to explain away the uncontrolled looting that went on at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. I sent him a copy of the book, but never heard back. This was foolishness on Donald's part because the book would have told him how to fix it. It's a fact that stuff happens to everyone every once in a while and, according to one of the book's Reality Rules, "It's not what happens to you that's important, it's how you respond to what happens." Rummey (sic) did not respond very well and, as you know, he is history. He should have broken the glass. Had he done so, he might have been King of Iraq by now.



The reason I bring all of this up is because of a marvelous book, I'll Be In My Trailer, written by feature film director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, War Games, Stake Out, Point of No Return, Nick of Time) & Craig Modderno. John called the other night. Wow, John Badham calling me? No! He was calling my wife Barbara. Barbara worked on two Badham films and he was calling from the set of a film he was doing in Canada just to say hello. HELLO!

John’s book, I'll Be In My Trailer - The Creative Wars Between Directors & Actors is fantastic: a must-read for anyone who is considering a career in the movies, either as a director OR as an actor. It explains how a director deals with the endless joust between director and actor for control, recognition and respect? This is something that isn't taught in film school. And, with all the great behind-the-scenes stories experienced by John Badham, it's also a fun- read for anyone interested in how movies are made. That certainly includes me.
Check it out. I’d love to hear from all you cinemaphile cliquers on what you think of it. You’ll find me in my trailer.


And, while you're in the Mouse Cliquer mode, check out Stuff Happens - And Then You Fix It.


It was written by two other nice guys.

Lloyd Thaxton & John Alston

Question of the day: If you were the director of a movie, how would you handle an actor that wouldn't take your direction?

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU KID

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t watch a lot of shows on television. For a guy who spent over 50 years in the “biz” (thousands of TV shows), that is a shameful confession. On the other hand, I did one (ONLY ONE?) movie (The Patsy), and feature films became my favorite visual entertainment. I remember the first time I ever saw a feature film on TV, I was mesmerized. It was so unbelievable that one could actually sit at home and WATCH AN ENTIRE MOVIE.

Here’s something that will blow your movie watching mind. In the early days of TV, the promise of seeing an “entire” movie was not always true. Movies, with their widely different running times, created problems for local television programming staffs. For example, what does one do with a movie that has a running time of 1 hour and 30-minutes and it has to fit into a 1 hour and 30-minute program slot with 12 1-minutes commercial breaks? You won’t believe this, but some stations just KEPT THE MOVIE RUNNING while the commercials were playing. Made the movie fit in perfectly.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I said you wouldn't believe it. In the late 50s I was staff announcer at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles and I will swear to the fact that this was a very common practice. But, you know what was the most unbelievable part? The audience never seemed to figure it out. Many did suspect that the movie was leaving out some important points, like the time where the star was killed and everyone wondered what happened to him, but, they watched anyway. People were so hungry for TV programming in those days, they would watch the test pattern (if you're too young to remember test patterns, let me tell you they were really neat to watch).

I got on this subject of watching movies on TV because I think I have invented a new movie surfing technique that I call the “TV Movie Roulette Wheel.” It works like this. After dinner I go into the den and turn on the set. I take my remote and start at the bottom of the movie channel listing. I just start spinning the wheel (clicking the remote). When I find a movie that interests me (Criteria for "interests me:" A great movie I’ve already seen many times), I stop, settle back, and watch it to the end. I don’t have to see the beginning because I already know it by heart. Now, of course to make this work, you have to have a very long list of favorite movies so you are never disappointed in finding just the right one. A movie you know so well you can lip-sync the dialogue along with the actors.

Example. A few nights ago I hit the jackpot when the wheel stopped at Absolute Power, with Clint Eastwood. This is a real thriller and I never tire of watching it. After I had watched about ten minutes, my wife Barbara came in to the room and said, Absolute Power? When did it start?” I said “Who cares?” Barbara sat down and we watched it to the end (for about the tenth time). Great film.






But, my all time roulette movie favorite is Casablanca. If I land on that movie, there is no way I can possibly turn it off. I know every line. At the end of the movie when Claude Reins walks through the fog with Humphrey Bogart, I can't help lip-syncing "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

LOVE THAT BOGEY!



Speaking of Bogey. Our unbelievably wonderful parakeet says so clearly, “Here’s looking at you kid.” Then he says, "My name is Humphrey Bogart." What do we call our little fine feathered person? "Bogey.”

"MY NAME IS HUMPHREY BOGART"

The original Die Hard is also a must-stay-with-it-to-the-end favorite. I remember seeing that movie with Barbara at a screening on the 20th Century-Fox movie lot before it was released. After watching the skyscraper in the film almost completely destroyed, we left the lot, turned the corner, and there it was ... the same building; still standing right there in Century City. And, without a dent in sight. As we drove by I couldn't help but imagine machine gun fire coming from the top. I think of the movie every time I drive by that building. Hooray for Hollywood!


I admit that coming in at the middle of a movie dates me a bit. Back when I was a kid in Toledo, Ohio and went to movies with my parents or my buddies, we never (EVER) planned on coming in at the beginning of a movie. You went to a movie when you went to a movie and just walked in and sat down. You would see the movie to the end and then wait through a newsreel, a cartoon, the coming attractions and sometimes a Flash Gordon serial, AND, a second FULL feature, before the original movie came back on. You watched that movie until someone in the group said, “This is where we came in.” You stood up, excused yourself, and left. Does any one remember doing that? Does anyone ever say, “This is where we came in” anymore.” Man! Am I getting nostalgic, or what?

Hey! While I'm on the subject, remember the Drive In Theater? Ever drive away and pull off the speaker ? (CLICK HERE FOR THE USUAL WARNING).

I should do a blog on the drive-in theater. Got some great stories. Later, perhaps.

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU KID

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t watch a lot of television shows …

"This is where we came in."

Stay tuned.

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