Thursday, August 25, 2011

Season 5 Blu-ray Reviews are Starting to Appear...

... and the news ain't good for those of us who obsess over the music. The blu-ray set has 10 more isolated scores than the earlier Definitive Edition DVD, but all of them are stock scores. The five missing original scores remain... well, missing. They are:

"Black Leather Jackets" (Van Cleave)
"From Agnes, With Love" (Van Cleave)
"Queen of the Nile" (Lucien Morawack)
"Caesar and Me" (Richard Shores)
"Mr. Garrity and the Graves" (Tommy Morgan)

I'm particularly disappointed by the omission of the Van Cleave scores, especially the jazzy "Black Leather Jackets." There are a total of 36 episodes in season five, and 21 of them feature isolated music on the blu-ray. This leaves 15, including the five listed above, as MIA. This is dreadful, considering the fact that seasons 3 and 4 had isolated scores for EVERY episode (season 1 was only missing 2, while season 2 was missing 7*). I don't get it. If Image Entertainment accessed the original negatives (as they've widely boasted), then they should've been able to include isolated music for EVERY EPISODE.

Here's the High-Def Digest review.

Oh, and the wonderful American Masters documentary on Rod Serling seems to be absent.

On a positive note, it sounds like the image and sound quality are on par with the previous four sets. On a WTF note, the horrific Mickey Rooney commentary track is still present for "Last Night of a Jockey." Honestly, man, it's just surreal.

The set comes out next Tuesday (8/30). If I know Amazon, my copy will arrive that day and no earlier. I'm sure I'll be posting some pictures of all five sets, together at last, sometime thereafter.

*4 of the 7 episodes in question were videotaped, so these are understandable. I'm still not sure how they managed to feature isolated music scores for the other 2 videotaped episodes....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Long Live William Shatner

I follow several comedians via Twitter, and one of my favorites is Patton Oswalt. The other day, he Tweeted the following:

"Don Rickles is only 5 years older than William Shatner. SORRY FOR BLOWING YOUR MIND."

I chuckled to myself, then headed straight over to IMDB to confirm. Rickles was born 5/08/1926, and Shatner was born 3/22/1931. That's actually about six weeks shy of 5 years!

In season one's "Long Live Walter Jameson," aging professor Sam Kittridge laments how he has grown old while his best friend, Walter Jameson, well... hasn't. Jameson's response? "It happens that way sometimes." Spoiler alert: Jameson is immortal.

Both Rickles and Shatner appeared on The Twilight Zone in 1961, so we can easily compare them. First, here's Rickles in "Mr. Dingle, the Strong":

Rickles is 35 here. His thinning hairline suggests a man somewhat older, but... okay, 35. Meanwhile, here's Shatner, age 30, in "Nick of Time":

Good God. He could pass for 20, easy.

Flash forward 50 years. Here's Rickles today:

And here's Shatner today:

"It happens that way sometimes," indeed. Could Shatner outlive us all?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Repeat Report: Summer 1961, Part 2

The Twilight Zone's repeat schedule for summer 1961 (post-season 2) was 14 weeks in length, and was composed entirely of repeats from the show's first season. We covered the first half here, and we'll cover the second half here. It appears I missed two fairly obvious Forbidden Planet connections in my initial episode promos, so I'll spotlight 'em here. Oh, and make sure to click on the images to see the full-size HD beauty, thanks to Image Entertainment's stunning blu-ray release.

(originally broadcast 02/19/1960)

Forbidden Planet alert! Check out the mega-cool "Pac Man" lights, which were originally part of the film's ancient Krell laboratory... we also saw them previously in "People Are Alike All Over," and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they pop up again in the series' run.

"Mirror Image"
(originally broadcast 02/26/1960)

Damn you, Vera Miles! I'm still waiting for my autographed 8x10...

"One for the Angels"
(originally broadcast 10/09/1959)

Forbidden Planet alert! There's Robby the Robot, in wind-up toy form, making his first of three Twilight Zone appearances. Note the rather TZesque eyeball sticker on his dome.

"The Big Tall Wish"
(originally broadcast 04/08/1960)

"The Chaser"
(originally broadcast 05/13/1960)

"Nightmare as a Child"
(originally broadcast 04/29/1960)

"A World of His Own"
(originally broadcast 07/01/1960)

What can I say? I'm kind of a big deal.

Season 3 commences on 9/15 with a haunting tale of a chance encounter between mortal enemies. We'll witness firsthand that the line between love and hate is quite thin indeed. It's "Two" good to miss.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Mystical... It's Magical... It's Completely Out of My Price Range (continued)...

Yesterday's semi-rant (rantette?) about Bif Bang Pow's ultra-awesome (but prohibitively spendy) William Shatner-autographed Mystic Seer got somebody's attention.... none other than Jason Labowitz of Bif Bang Pow! First he Tweeted a link to my blog, then he posted a response on their website:

"It's Mystical.... It's Magical... It's Completely Out Of My Price Range....

Read this review about our new Mystic Seer Signature Edition - We love it!

Thanks to one of our biggest fans, Craig Beam, for not being too harsh on us! Just know that we HAD to make this item, and we had to convince Mr. Shatner to sign it. He's never signed or been involved with any Twilight Zone merchandise before, so this was our big chance. And talk about a dream come true. He came to our booth to meet us. We didn't have to wait in any line to meet him! True story - he said that he wished us well in our "Enterprising" business.

Crack open that piggy bank and pre-order yours today!. Limited to just 150 pieces!"

Note that he totally stole the title of my blog entry for his own evil purposes. Does that entitle me to a free Mystic Seer? I highly doubt it. But don't worry... I won't sue. I suppose my blog will see some additional traffic from the attention, so... thanks... I guess?

Shatner signs one of the 150 limited edition Mystic Seers. *Sigh*

All in jest, folks. Jason and the gang at Bif Bang Pow! are friends of this blog, and I love 'em.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Mystical.... It's Magical... It's Completely Out Of My Price Range....

We've already previewed the soon-to-be-released Mystic Seer Replica here (and which you can pre-order here). I've known about this particular item for quite a while now. What I didn't know (until today) was that those crafty rascals at Bif Bang Pow! are unleashing a variant version, which is ultra-cool....and ultra expensive....

Mystic Seer Replica - Signature Edition
$499.99, pre-order here

It's black and white. It appears to have a nifty spring neckpost, further differentiating it from its full-color cousin. But what makes this item truly desirable is the fact that William Shatner himself has signed it. In fact, he signed 150 of them. He introduced the item at the San Diego Comic Con last month. Here's the writeup from Entertainment Earth:

"Personally introduced at SDCC 2011 by William Shatner, this incredible, super-deluxe reproduction is an authentic, functioning replica of the Mystic Seer featured in the well-known The Twilight Zone episode #43, "Nick of Time," that starred the legendary actor. This exclusive black-and-white Signature Edition version is limited to just 150 numbered pieces and is signed by William Shatner! Complete with napkin holder and menu holder-- just like in the show-- it features a working coin mechanism and can act as a bank. It even dispenses "fortunes"! Meticulously crafted of polystone and steel, the life-size Signature Edition Mystic Seer Replica is a black-and-white replication that measures about 13 1/2-inches tall x 7 1/2-inches wide x 6-inches long and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Can't you just see this in your living room or office?"

Well... yes, yes I can. However.... well, it costs FIVE HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS. A staggering price tag. I've owned cars that cost less.

I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I will never, EVER own this. Even if I had five hundred bucks just laying around, I can't possibly justify spending it on this. I have too many real-world financial obligations. We just bought a new car two days ago. The regular color version costs half as much, and scoring that one was gonna be tough... but this? It's impossible. Kudos to Bif Bang Pow! for making such an awesome collectible, but....

...but nothin'. I'm gonna just pretend it doesn't exist. Damn it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New TZ action figures available NOW!

The latest wave of Bif Bang Pow!'s Twilight Zone action figures are now available through Entertainment Earth. As with the earlier waves, the figures are sold in pairs.

Series 4:
Doctor Bernardi ("Eye of the Beholder")
Henry Bemis ("Time Enough at Last")
$37.99, order here

Series 5:
The Venusian ("Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?")
The Invader ("The Invaders")
$37.99, order here

Six additional action figures are already available for pre-order, even though they aren't due till May of next year!

Series 6:
Clown ("Five Characters in Search of an Exit")
Nurse ("Eye of the Beholder")
$37.99, pre-order here

Series 8:
Henry Corwin as Santa Claus ("The Night of the Meek")
Alicia ("The Lonely")
$37.99, pre-order here

Series 9:
Maya the Cat Girl ("Perchance to Dream")
Alien ("Hocus-Pocus and Frisby")
$37.99, pre-order here

Hey, where's Series 7? Well, it's gotta be the Bob Wilson/Don Carter combo figure, which will be available in November...

Series 7:
Bob Wilson/Don Carter (2011 SDCC Exclusive)
("Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "Nick of Time")
$32.99, pre-order here

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this is a great time to be a Twilight Zone fan. Now to scrape up some cash.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bring Me the Head of William Shatner....

Never mind. It appears I already have it.

Let me back up. A few weeks ago, my new TZ bobbleheads arrived from Bif Bang Pow! (via Entertainment Earth). I haven’t managed to post my reviews yet because, frankly, it’s summer and I’m lazy. I did, however, manage to install the Bob Wilson (William Shatner) bobblehead in its intended display spot: the left bookend for the DVD/blu-ray shelf in the master bedroom.

There it sat for a couple of weeks or so, performing in its new job admirably. And then, a few days ago, disaster struck.

It was one of those split-second events that seem to unfold in slow motion. I was adding a few new titles to the shelf (acquisitions from Barnes & Noble’s recent 50%-off Criterion sale), and I guess I wasn’t careful enough. Poor Shatner slid toward the edge of the shelf, then over, then down to the floor below. His oversized bobbling head separated from his body with a loud crack.

I stared down in horror for a few moments, then gently picked up the pieces. I wondered if perhaps I could simply glue it back together, but the repair line would be obvious, which is unacceptable. Bobblin’ Bob Wilson was a lost cause.

Let me make one thing clear: this disaster in no way reflects the quality of the bobblehead. It’s sturdy and well-made. It’s my own damn clumsy fault that the thing fell seven feet to its untimely demise. Bif Bang Pow! is in no way guilty of shoddy workmanship. Order with confidence here.

Obviously my review will come… well, later. How much later will depend on when I can scrape up the cash to order another one. I did manage to take some pictures when it first arrived, so I could fake a review… but that’s not how I roll, folks. I can say that it’s a marvelous companion piece to last year’s Gremlin bobblehead, and the Shatner likeliness is great.

The mother of all alternate endings. Gremlin wins!

None of that 'the Devil made me do it' crap, you big furball.

My other new TZ bobblehead, Willie and Jerry, remains unscathed... for now. I'll try to get my review up before bad luck strikes again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Portrait of Genny

In the 60’s and 70’s, Rod Serling became known less as a writer of meaningful television drama and more as a pitchman. Among the many products and services he promoted was New York’s own Genesee Beer.

Now, I’m something of a beer enthusiast. I’m fortunate to reside in the Pacific Northwest, from which a seemingly endless supply of new and exciting beer perpetually springs forth. In fact, we’ve got a beer store right here in Tualatin, Oregon. That’s right, a beer store. Not a liquor store (well, we have that too). A BEER STORE. Paradise!

Birra Deli carries over 280 local and international beers. It’s been open for a couple of years now, and I just adore the place (in fact, I discovered one of my favorites, Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA, thanks to this place). I was browsing their selection recently, and spotted the following:

I immediately made the Serling connection and bought it. How could I not? As both a Serling disciple and a lover of beer, I had a duty to try it.

Y’now, I kinda wish I hadn’t. This stuff blows. Genesee is limp, uninteresting, and it has a strange unpleasant aftertaste (not the usual slight --- or not so slight --- bitterness you’d expect… this is something else). I’d honestly rather drink Budweiser, which I loathe (but will grudgingly drink, if it’s the only thing around).

Now, taken in a historical context, I can cut Genny some slack… the same slack I can cut other old-school piss-poor beers because, quite frankly, there wasn’t much selection forty years ago. The microbrew revolution hadn’t yet begun, and beer palates weren’t as developed as they are now. If all you have is cold piss on a hot day, well, you drink cold piss. It’s easier to crack open a Genny while you’re mowing the lawn than mixing up an Old Fashioned.

Wait --- Guinness was around then, so there WERE decent beers. Well, maybe not in grocery stores. Hell, I dunno.

I imagine it’s more or less a regional thing. It’s been around forever, so New Yorkers probably stand behind it no matter how many superior beers are available (Rainier Beer, a product of Seattle dating back to the 19th century, is probably Genesee’s NW equivalent). I’m actually a bit tickled that Genny found its way this far west, into a territory dominated by dramatically better brews. I guess it’s a bit of a scrapper, so maybe I owe it a bit of respect.

Just a bit. At the end of the day, it still tastes like piss. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy a nice big bottle (or three) of Ninkasi.