ANCHORAGE - Drag queens are the new rock stars. They’ve officially replaced celebrity chefs as the new rock stars. The celebrity chefs should have lasted longer, but once Paula Deen had to cry on camera for forgiveness, their time was over. There’s no Rupaulogizes for a rock star. Rock stars haven’t been the new rock stars since the Doobie Brothers forgot to break up.
RuPaul’s Drag Race on Logo is the place where the new rock stars rise up and tuck back. While other reality based gameshow get stale, RuPaul’s been able to elevate the show after 6 seasons. Why? Because the contestants really know how to give each other crap and emotionally open up on camera. This isn’t merely pro wrestling acting. They speak from the heart and talk to the hand.
While Jinkx Monsoon won the title from the last RuPaul’s Drag, Alaska ThunkerF— proved to a plucky competitor. She grew on viewers over the season since at first she came off as a lesser version of her lover Sharon Needles, the previous winner. But she became beloved with her fashion sense, morbid sense of humor and her ability to impersonate Thurston Howell III. So when it was announced that she’d be appearing at the Pinhook Club in Durham, reservations were made.
The club was small, packed and hot. Kinda like being smashed into a Bikram yoga studio except there was no space to bend. But the bodies made space for Alaska to bring her cool 49th State to the stage. In person, Alaska looks like the lost personality Toni Collete hid from us on United States of Tara. Amanda Bynes must so jealous of Alaska’s ratty blond wig collection. She knew how to brighten up the room without raising the heat index. And the crowd responded with the oddest gift ever given that wasn’t stalkerffic. Here’s a little footage I shot:
Alaska did two sets during the evening. The one thing that wasn’t too obvious is her sweet comedic singing voice. She’s like Dean Martin in her ability to dismantle the serious nature of a song. She’s knows how to sell the punchline as you’ve seen in her musical tribute to Sarah Palin.
After the show, I tried to talk to Alaska. However the loud club music made it impossible to say much to her. So we merely posed for a photograph that will ruin any chance of me running for politician. It’s the kinda picture that Nancy Grace would demand get run on the air if I ever got in a minor issue. The photo would make the home viewers swear that I sunk the Titanic. That’s how guilty we look. But that’s the only proper response to someone with dangerous rock star appeal.
Appearing with Alaska was Miss Marry Wanna, a burlesque performer who is not a drag queen. But she’s fabulous in her own way. What way can that be? How about dressing up as a pizza slice and stripping off her ingredients? Here’s a little video for those needing an excuse to order a pizza at this hour.
Dean Martin would be so proud of her.
First they fired Dave Hester and now Barry Weiss is splitting Storage Wars for a spinoff series. Normally I’d suggest that the show can survive with new people, but everyone they’ve tested on the show has been an utter bust. It’s like they’re taking rejects from that TruTV Storage Stashers show. How do you just destroy a money making machine this hard? Maybe they can find Paula Deen in a locker?
PONYS ON THE BIG SCREEN
Thanks to the digital cinema, a movie distributor can be selective with their screening times without the burden and expense of striking 35mm prints, shipping them and having them shown only a few times a week. My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is having a selective release. In my area, the movie only plays around noon on Saturdays and Sundays at the Cineplexes. This makes sense since it takes the burden off a kids movie from packing in an audience at the 9:40 p.m. screening. The movie itself does have a twist worthy of a big screen release. Twilight Sparkle has her crown stolen by an evil pony who runs through a mirror into an alternate dimension. Even though her friends want to help, only Twilight and Spike the Dragon can go through the mirror. They arrive in a world where they are turned into a girl and her dog. It’s a major adjustment. She meets alternate version of her Pony friends in human form. To get her crown back, she has to win a school princess contest. But the evil pony has no plans on losing.
I dragged along the daughter so she can give her opinion of the movie. She really got into the film and the music. She did get a little scared during the final battle scene. Here’s her big review.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series allows fans to fully appreciate the ground breaking, wall busting teenage sitcom without having to wake up extra early to catch it on Me-TV. Dobie (Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine’s Dwayne Hickman) was a girl happy high schooler eager to find that special gal. He also craved to be rich and popular. He’s constantly frustrated reaching for his dream. His father isn’t exactly making him a spoiled brat with his grocery store earnings. His only real friend is the immortal beatnik Maynard G. Krebs (Gilligan’s Island’s Bob Denver). He does have an idea of the perfect girl in none other than Thalia Menninger (Sex Kittens Go to College’s Tuesday Weld). She’s superficial and rather greedy which is just right for Dobie. Problem is that her boyfriend is Milton Armitage (Shampoo’s Warren Beatty). He’s rich, cool and popular. While he’s Dobie’s rival, Milton also represents everything Dobie thinks he needs to be. But he’s constantly reminded that he can better than Milton by Zelda (Sheila James Kuehl). The key to the show is Dobie has no problem talking directly to the camera about his situation and desires. He sits next to version of Rodin’s The Thinker statue to hash things out.
Warren Beatty and Tuesday Weld only last the first season before they went off to become bigger star on the silver screen. But Milton’s legacy would continue with the arrival of his cousin Chatsworth Osbourne Jr. (Steve Franken). He proved to a greater snob looking to make Dobie look out of his league. The women that drove Dobie’s hearts nuts was a fine list including Marlo Thomas (That Girl, Barbara Bain (Mission: Impossible) and Yvonne Craig (Batman’s Batgirl). The easiest charmer of the show is Maynard with his greasy mess of a sweat shirt and hip goatee. He’s all about the charms of the Jack Keroauc way of life except he doesn’t need to hit the road to find his kicks. He’s still enjoying his life in the hometown to split for Frisco or the Big Apple.
The producers understood the worst thing for a youth oriented show is having the young stars grow old. Thus the four season run produced 147 episodes. They also understood that there was no way people would want to see Dobie be the eternal high schooler. So things changed around. During the second season Maynard and Dobie get drafted into the army. In reality Bob Denver had been drafted. During the episode with Michael J. Pollard (Little Fauss and Big Halsey), Bob was off getting his physical. However he was given 4-F rejection and returned to the show. Luckily the TV army wasn’t so picky and thus he served. After their tour of duty, the duo returned home and enrolled in the local junior college. No need to put Dobie near 4 year college gals. The show finished its run with Dobie’s charm intact. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis remains one of the best sitcoms about teens.
The bonus features include the pilot that was cut back for “Caper at The Bijou.” Clipped from the show was Yvonne Craig (Batgirl on Batman). There’s an episode of The Stu Erwin Show that features Dwayne and Sheila. Three episodes of Love That Bob! star Dwayne as the cool kid to Bob Cumming. This is what lead to his gig as Dobie. There’s a Coke Time Special which lets Bob Denver make the girlies squeal as he and Edd Byrnes give hipster talk lessons to Pat Boone. Pat remains unhip to this day. A color Dobie routine lets Dwayne sing about his love for his teacher.
There’s also pdfs of scripts from Max Schulman.
Richard Pryor: No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert is the perfect boxset for anyone who wants to remember or discover the comedic genius. The 7 CDs and 2 DVDs focus on his time behind the microphone and not his spotty acting career. Over the course of 10 hours, Pryor changes from the next Bill Cosby into a comedy icon. He’s presented unfiltered by network censors or fettered by lame script writers. He’s a man who learned how to take the most painful parts of his life and make an audience howl at his pain. It really takes talent to make people not squirm at the story he set himself on fire in a suicide attempt. He makes the audience not feel guilt for laughing at one of the bleakest moments of his life. One of the final selections is his reflecting on M.S., the disease that would end his career and ultimately claim his life. Nothing was too personal for him not to share on stage. The 7 CDs pick the best moments of his dozens of Grammy award winning albums. They have also discovered unreleased routines and longer versions of familiar stories. Pryor is pretty raw with his language so don’t play these routines when Great Aunt Anna drops by the house. I won’t quote the titles of many of the routines since this column is not a Quentin Tarantino script. What makes this boxset essential is also the inclusion of all three major stand up movies Pryor did. Richard Pryor - Live In Concert was a major break-through since it allowed Pryor to be truly appreciated without having to tone down his material for network TV. The movie is hilarious in how Richard hits the stage before large part of the audience has returned to their seats for the intermission. He jokes about white audience members finding brothers in their seats. To show that his mocking of white audience members isn’t uncalled for, there’s a goofball at the front of the stage snapping pictures of Pryor. This guy is a massive goober who can’t take a hint when Pryor calls him out. He’s not even professional photographer since his camera is that little Kodak Instamatic your mom used. Shame there’s no bonus feature tracking down this guy. Pryor shakes off this interruption and slays the audience with takes on animals, funerals, boxers and Chinese food. He even talks about why he shot up his ex-wife’s car.
Richard Pryor: Live On the Sunset Strip was eagerly anticipated since the comic had notoriously sent himself on fire. Rumors had swirled that the flames from a cocaine freebasing accident. He attempts to set the record straight in his special way. He’s really working the crowd at Hollywood’s Palladium. Richard Pryor… Here And Now (1983) was his last major stand up film. “Slavery &Southern Hospitality” is a routine that could easily be given today in the wake of Paula Deen’s P.R. disaster. The film gives more than just Pryor on stage.
Richard Pryor: No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert is a completely satisfying distillation of his live genius. This revitalizes his work after the tarnish his image took from The Toy, Brewster’s Millions and Superman III. The man truly had few peers when he hit his prime. His fearless nature made him dangerous yet extremely insightful. With the success of the Mel Brooks and Steve Martin collections, Shout! Factory must be the place where comedians need to visit to reclaim their legacy. Robin Williams ought to give them a call.
The Producers is finally given the 1080p love. This was Mel Brooks’ first film and showed that comic writer wasn’t a joke when given the director’s chair. Zero Mostel is a producer of bad Broadway plays. He has a network of little old ladies that he seduces so the back his projects. Gene Hackman arrives to check the books and realizes that Mostel had slightly oversold the number of shares in a play. But ultimately this doesn’t matter since the play bombed and there was no profit to split up with the investors. This minor book keeping error turns into the seed of the greatest crime ever sold. Hackman realizes they can seriously oversell the number of shares in a movie, make the play for cheap and pocket the extra money when it gets shut down from lack of ticket sales. The duo seek out to produce the most horrifyingly bad spectacle in Broadway history. Can their plan work? The film remains pure genius thanks to how Mostel and Wilder work off each other with Brooks’ words. Dick Shawn’s audition remains legendary. The film became a Broadway musical, but didn’t bomb. The previously released Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray was missing The Producers. Now you can rectify that situation. The new transfer looks great. It brings out the detail in Gene Wilder’s hair. The bonus features include two documentaries about the making of the film. There’s also a deleted scene, production sketches and the original trailer. Here’s the trailer to let you know of the brilliant weirdness to expect.
Heavy Traffic marked Ralph Bakshi as an animation icon and not merely the guy who adapted Robert Crumb’s Fritz the Cat to the screen. This was his type of story. An underground cartoonist living in his parents’ Brooklyn apartment spends his days sketching and playing pinball. His life slips between live action and animation. Things seem to be going right for him when he finally gets a girlfriend. However it upsets his mobster father to no end that his new girlfriend is black. He gets so furious he attempts to use his co-workers to put an end to the romance. Will the son put up with this family feud? How much of this story is real versus a concept for the cartoonist’s next work? The amazing thing is a scene where Bakshi draws the Jawas years before Star Wars. Bakshi achieves a fragile dream state on the screen within the confines of gritty animation that blurs into reality. It’s a perfect film to get lost inside. The 1080p image brings out the details in his animation. When he does a scene using flip sketches, the blue pencil marks are easy to spot. There’s no bonus features although you can pick up Bakshi’s Unfiltered book to discover what it took to make the film.
Cohen & Tate is one of those obscure films of the ’80s that deserve a home video revival. This is a tight thriller about kid (Harley Cross) who witnesses a mob hit. His family gets put under witness protection except the cops are no help against hitman Cohen (All That Jazz’s Roy Schneider) and Tate (Adam Baldwin, Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket). The two men are hired to bring the kid to a mob boss for questioning. The kid does his best to escape the murderous duo since he might not survive the mob boss. His best chance at survival is to turn the hired killers against each other. Can the little kid pull it off? It’s really strange to have no memory of the movie being released, but at least I can rediscover it on Blu-ray so it looks theatrically proper. Tension looks so good in 1080p. Director Eric Red had just come off writing the scripts to Near Dark and The Hitcher so he knew how to create an unnerving road flick. There’s an interview documentary that mainly features Red, Cross and cinematographer Victor J. Kemper (The Friends of Eddie Coyle). Red talks away on the audio commentary. They found nearly 20 minutes of deleted scenes that include a few gruesome moments. Cohen & Tate is a film that’s worth reviving on a hot summer night.
The Kentucky Fried Movie is 82 minutes of comedy sketches from John Landis, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams. What happens when the director of Animal House hooks up with the creators of The Naked Gun? Mayhem. Lots of mayhem. In this case an R-rated sketch comedy that spoofs Bruce Lee and Irwin Allen. This was one of the classic midnight movies that ran in the late ’70s next to The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the local duplex cinema. Even after all these decades, KFM is finger licking good. “A Fistful of Yen” is the perfect spoof of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon. You’ll see the best mock Kung Fu fighting until Jackie Chan arrived in America. The massive highlights of the movie is Russ Meyer vixen Uschi Digard breasts pressing up against the glass of a shower stall during “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble.” This was one of the best comedy anthologies to come out during this era where performers could get good and raunchy. “The Wonderful World of Sex” remains pure gold. The bonus features includes the commentary track featuring Landis, ZAZ and producer Robert K. Weiss from the previous DVD incarnation. There’s also an hour long video interview with the Zuckers that guides you through their career that was devastated by BASEketball. The Kentucky Fried Movie deserves to be in your Blu-ray player for a midnight showing this summer. You can take my word or listen to producer Samuel L. Bronkowitz.
Here’s an interview I did with Bob Collins, who shot a few of the sketches in The Kentucky Fried Movie. He had previously worked with John Landis on Schlock. Collins would go on to win three Emmys for his cinematography including one for the pilot of Miami Vice. He’s responsible for the opening credit images. Thanks to Brett Clark for making the interview happen.
Tower Block reminds people that a good reason to move is witnessing a murder. The residents of the top floor of an apartment building refuse to leave and let their place be redeveloped. Even after they witness someone getting murder in the hallway, they don’t want to leave. They also don’t want to assist the cops in the investigation. This all comes back to haunt them when a sniper starts picking them off in through their windows. Who is getting an aim on them? Is it the previous killers or maybe the redeveloper wanting to force them out of the building via bodybags. The neighbors band together to uncover the killer. But will they figure it out before the last one gets picked off? You might want to watch this film with your curtains drawn and the lights off. The bonus features include a commentary track and behind-the-scenes interview.
The Power of Few brings the power of Larry King to 1080p. I’m not sure why he’s not given co-starring status with Christopher Walken and Christian Slater. The King is all over this film. Walken’s performance gets pushed when he has to tangle with the King. This is a fine little out of control movie that mixes a grocery store robbery with the Shroud of Turin heist. Rumors spread that people want to clone Jesus off the cloth. It is interesting to see Walken and Slater somewhat together again. They were the glue for True Romance along with James Gandofini. Now they have a chance to bring back the magic minus James. Instead we get Anthony Anderson sporting him some Mike Tyson face ink. The bonus features include interviews with the stars and deleted scenes. The 1080p image lets you play the game of following Walken’s eyes to where he’s hidden his lines on the set. The box features one of those smart phone scan squares so you can watch the trailer while browsing in the home video section of your favorite store.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 3 has all 33 from the final season of the original incarnation. “A Friend In Need” continues the battle between the Rangers versus Rita Revolta and Lord Zedd. However there’s even more evil when Rito Revolto arrives on the scene. He’s a bony scary character. This guy really tested small fans ability to stomach the action. As a wicked trio, they smash the Power Rangers by destroying their ThunderZords. But you can’t keep the Rangers down that way. They’re going to get some ninja powers somehow. This is the sad time when the Pink Ranger (Amy Jo Johnson) splits for a gymnastics career in Florida. How could she have left them for the life of being merely a gymnast? And isn’t she extremely old to be competitive in a sport that often features a fetus on the uneven bars? But there would be no missing Pink Ranger when a new girl takes on the identity. She’s Australian so all the boys like her accent and adventurous spirit. The most shocking part of these episodes is how Bulk and Skull no longer care about outing the Rangers identities. Why? Because they have a new dream of being cops. What’s the point of being a cop in this show since only the Power Rangers can keep things safe in the town? The series didn’t quite end with this season. The new version would be called Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
CSI: NY - The Final Season brought to an end the ninth season with only 17 episodes. They ended 3 episodes short of 200. How could they have been denied that milestone? What villain could have been so cruel? Perhaps the suspect is a network executive that can cover their tracks from Mac (Gary Sinise) and his crew? It was fun while it lasted. “Reignited” and “Where There’s Smoke…” has them tracking down an arsonist bent on revenge. They have to drag Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure) into the manhunt. “Unspoken” is a concept episode so that there’s no dialogue in the first half. They merely communicate through Green Day’s new songs. Shame they didn’t pick The Killers. “The Lady In the Lake” has the crew drain a lake while looking for a murder weapon. Instead they double their work by finding a different body. “Clue: SI” turns their investigation into a board game. “Command + P” uses a 3-D printer to make the murder weapon. That’s worse than being drowned in spam mail. “Seth & Apep” marks the final CSI crossover since CSI: Miami was killed last season. “Today Is Life” wraps up the series with a moment the fans have been waiting a few seasons to happen. No need to spoil, but it helps bring a little bit of closure without being too overly dramatic. There’s quite a few bonus features although no major farewells from the cast. They understand that this show can’t really end cause crime doesn’t stop in the Big Apple. There is a gag reel and a few deleted scenes for those wanting just a little more time with Mac. Hard to believe we’re back to just one CSI.
Matlock: The Ninth and Final Season brings to an end Andy Griffith’s amazing TV legal career. He was able to bring his successful show back to North Carolina and prove the state was able to handle episodic TV as well as movies. He blazed the trail that allowed Dawson’s Creek and Homeland to be Tarheel based productions. It’s sad that his time in the courthouse ended, but he had 17 more cases to go. This final season has him reduce his staff down to investigators Cliff Lewis (Daniel Roebuck) and Jerri Stone (Carol Huston). There’s no major guest stars this season as either victims or suspected killers. If you look very carefully, you’ll spot my brother Matt in the final courtroom scene for “The Scam.” He said that if you looks at Andy while he was on the set, you’d be fired. While this seems harsh, Andy needed to get work done and not have the people staring at him like he’s a steak on the grill. “The Accused” puts a journalist behind bars for whacking a mobster. “The Scandal” has an attorney kill her boss. She needs Matlock to prove the guy was sexually harassing people and she shouldn’t be the only suspect. “The Dare” lets Matlock solve the perfect murder that’s been set up by Terry O’Quinn (Lost). When it comes to the mystery of who ended Matlock, the answer is Andy. He was nearly 70s and was ready to end the grind and enjoy life in Manteo. At least now his complete Matlock legacy is out on DVD for people to enjoy with their hotdogs. The bonus feature is episodic previews.
Unforgettable: The First Season should have been the complete series except it’s going to be back on CBS this summer. The show was canceled at the end of its freshman run in 2012. A few cable channels were interested in keeping the show on the air, but the network stopped that when they remembered the show. Unforgettable follows the amazing memory skills of Carrie Wells (Without A Trace’s Poppy Montgomery). She has hyperthymesia, which lets her remember everything about a certain date. The only day she can’t remember is when her sister died. Her skills are brought onto the police force by ex-boyfriend Lt. Burns (Nip/Tuck’s Dylan Walsh). She had given up police work, but was needed for a big case. “Up In Flames” tests her amazing memory when she must remember the details of a crime scene that went up in smoke at the start of the investigation. “Golden Bird” features Marilu Henner (Taxi) as Carrie’s aunt. What’s interesting is that Marilu has hyperthymesia and serves as a consultant. The season ends with Carrie getting a lead on her sister’s killer. Unfortunately, the killer wants a bit of closure by going after Carries. The new season starts July 28, so you can watch all 22 episodes in case you’ve forgotten a detail or two.
Quincy, M.E.: Season 6 brings another 18 bodies onto his coroner’s office. There are few shows as charmingly addictive as Quincy. By this point Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple) had achieved a comfort level that made this feel like a reality show as he sliced open bodies. He had achieved a bit of respect from Dr. Robert Asten (John S. Ragin). Sam (Robert Ito) was still a bit leery of Quincy’s more unorthodox approaches to solve a case. Somebody has to give him a little resistance in the office to keep him from being a God amongst medical examiners. “Last Rights” has Quincy pressured to declare a kid drowned instead of overdosed on drugs so not to upset the mother. Can he lie like that? “A Matter of Principle” shows a bit of innovation when Sam comes up with a technique to measure bite mark pressure on a victim. “Stain of Guilt” has Quincy brought on set to be the technical advisor of a real murder depicted in the film. He gets in trouble when he starts to investigate what’s the real truth. Is this merely a ploy to get his name on the rewrite script by changing the third act? “Dear Mommy” gets Quincy wrapped up in a not so ancient mystery. There’s a smuggling operation that might be using a mummy their mule. “Headhunter” reminds people to not take aspirin since a stewardess gets worse than a headache. Quincy is just one of those characters that’s yet to be matched on any of the procedurals that dominate the networks. Only two more seasons until it’s all out on DVD.
MADtv: The Complete Third Season proved that the Saturday Night Live rival could swap performers and strengthen itself. People were concerned with the departures of Artie Lange (for rehab) and Orlando Jones from the cast. Little did folks realize the departures would quickly be forgotten with the arrival of Will Sasso, Alex Borstein and Aries Spears. The third season marked the last when the magazine played a part in the show. Alfred E. Neuman’s face would be less prominent. There would be no more “Spy Vs. Spy” cartoons after this season. Not every episode this season had a guest host. But where can you go after a season with Don Most, Pam Grier, Bret Hart, Phyllis Diller and Anna Nicole Smith? Who needed guest hosts when Ms. Swan arrived with her view of the world? Sasso scores right away with his amazing Kenny Rogers impersonation. There’s an I Love Lucy spoof that has Lucy and Ethel pushing cocaine for their pimp. Pam Grier introduces us to an all-black superhero show. There was a reason why people didn’t feel too guilty for turning over to Saturday Night Live halfway through watching MADtv back in 1997.
Wolverine: Origin finally nails down how the X-Man got his claws. For nearly 30 years, Wolverine’s past was kept a mystery without only a few elements cropping up in a frame or two of a comic book. Then in 2001, the secret of his past was revealed with the collaboration of writers Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada. Illustrators Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove brought out the early images. Turns out Wolverine is much older than believed. He was born in Canada back in the late 1800s. He was a sickly boy. Turns out there was a lot of turmoil in his including a strange and vicious groundskeeper who might have a clue to his nature. The six part series was adapted by Marvel Knights Animation which means the original panels and artwork are brought into motion. The characters now speak instead of just float word balloons. This is good for fans of the Wolverine movies that aren’t much into sitting around and reading comic books for fear that they’re devaluing the investment. The bonus is a retrospective with the creative team.
Blood Runs Cold is an icy horror flick. Winona (Hanna Oldenburg) is a successful musician who just wants a little peace and quiet to recover from life on the road. She needs a bit of calm so she can recharge her creative energy. It’s a little woodshedding in a remote cabin during the deep of winter. Who would bother her in such a remote location? How about an ax wielding maniac who might be some supernatural undead creature that isn’t bothered by the cold? So much for working on that new album since Winona might be a deep cut herself. This is the kinda slasher film that is best watched during summer so you don’t walk out in the cold and keep looking for an ax carrying freak chasing after you. The special feature is a short about making the movie in Sweden.
The Jungle Book, Adventures of Mowgli: Complete Collection is all 52 episodes from 1989 Japanese series. Runyard Kipling follows the life of a little boy who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. Things go well until he gets a little bit too big. The wicked tiger Shere Khan wants to take out the boy for good. His only hope is for the panther Bagheera and Baloo the bear to get him back to the humans. They don’t want their pal turned into Tiger Chow. This isn’t quite the Disney version of the tale since there’s no big musical numbers and Mowgli has a haircut that gives him a wolf tail look. The Nippon Animation series has supposedly never been aired in America before so this is a treat for folks who have merely read about the series. The show does wrap up in the 52nd episode so you won’t be pondering how it ends. The series is presented in full frame. This is perfect for people who prefer their Kipling without songs or kids who just want more of how Mowgli survived in the jungle.
The Garfield Show: Pizza Dreams reminds us that the lazy cat doesn’t only live by eating lasagna. He can also handle a good pizza pie. Who doesn’t like pizza? Now they make pizzas glutten-free with non-dairy cheese and faux tomato sauce so diet restrictions won’t prevent that love. Garfield has no restrictions to his diet. He just wants big slices in his pie hole. There’s six 12-minute episodes on the compilation DVD which also feature Vito, the pizza restaurant owner and chef. Garfield outwits Jon’s cruel cat diet in “The Spy Who Fed Me.” An alien clicks off gravity in Jon’s house for the “Gravity of the Situation.” “Master Chef” involves hunting down the man who makes a perfect lasagna. Garfield fears that eating dog food will turn into a mutt during “Fido Food Felin.” Garfield does his best to take advantage of Vito’s speedy pizza delivery service in “Great Pizza Race.” “Love & Lasgna” brings the wrecking ball for Vito’s pizza parlor. Can a single cat save the man’s dreams and life work? The bonus feature is five short cartoons featuring Garfield torturing Odie and others in less than a minute. This should only be played in the car if you plan on picking up a pizza with the kid. It must be noted that Wally Wingert does the voice of Jon.
Martha & Friends: Summer Fun is another visit with the animated 10-year-old version of Martha Stewart instead of the 71 year-old one. She might be younger, but she’s still crafty. She enjoys sharing her entertaining skills with her young friends. “Martha’s Fourth” has her explain how to have a fun patriotic holiday no matter what the situation. “Martha’s Back to School Party” is a lot less wild than Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School. She knows what can be done to excite classmates and her new teacher. There’s four short webisodes. There’s even Martha explaining crafts to the kids including Scrapbooking, card making, paper lantern constructing and s’mores. There are instructions on how to make a seashell wind chime. This is a perfect gift for grandparents to give their grandkids in the hopes of getting a cool wind chime in return.
Dynasty: The Seventh Season - Volume One and Volume Two brings 28 more episodes of back stabbing, cold calculating and brazenly open Carrington soap opera action to Denver. The season picks up with Alexis (Joan Collins) not satisfied with financially crippling Blake (John Forsythe). What is the guy to do to recover? Alexs boots him out of his mansion. Is he really that broke with Krystal (Linda Evans) by his side? His memory is rather week since he can’t tell that Amanda has swapped bodies so she’s now Karen Cellini and not Catherine Oxenberg. The press views him as a desperate man. The media swears he’s torched his massive hotel for the insurance money. This leads to him getting distracted and crashing his car. Krystle takes the worst of that accident. When doesn’t she? There’s a subplot about the family getting a heart. The big season cliff hanger is another wedding gone wrong. Who will survive to Season 8? Why would anyone go near a wedding with the Carringtons involved? Shouldn’t that be a massive warning? It’s like seeing Robb Stark’s name on the wedding seating chart. Don’t go! You can get both volumes packaged together.
Bonanza: The Official Sixth Season - Volume 1 & Volume 2 brings to an end the eldest Cartwright son’s time on the Ponderosa. Pernell Roberts wasn’t too happy playing Adam Cartwright. He was ready to bolt at the end of season five. Why would he split a hit show? Cause he wanted to return to the legit stage and play a multitude of roles. Being a Cartwright turned out to be a year round job with rarely a week off since if the show wasn’t in production, the cast was zipping around the globe promoting the series. It’s not like he had a Twitter account to do his heavy work. He wasn’t exactly pulling a David Caruso since he appeared in nearly 200 episodes by the time he rode off into the sunset. “Thanks for Everything, Friend” has Rory Calhoun save Adam’s life. But he quickly proves to be a pal with issues. Tom Skerrit (Alien) gets in trouble. George Kennedy makes another appearance in “The Scapegoat.” “The Underdog” is none other than Charles Bronson (Death Wish) as a part Commanche employee dealing with prejudice. People think he’s a horse thief. “A Good Night’s Rest” has Ben looking for a quiet place to sleep. The bonus features including Allan Sherman and Lorne Greene doing an early form of rap music. Lorne unleashes the power of “Ringo.” The good thing for Pernell is that he’d eventually return to TV as the star of Trapper John, M.D. that ran for 7 seasons. He’d also be remembered as a Cartwright since all of his episodes were in color so he didn’t get snubbed in syndication like Dennis Weaver’s contributions to Gunsmoke.
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