ANTWERP - While the rest of the world is preparing for Christmas, Josh Mills is celebrating Mother’s Day with Here’s Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection. The DVD set contains the two seasons of variety specials his mother made after the death of her husband Ernie Kovacs. How is Josh feeling on the eve of releasing these episodes that have been secure in the vault since the early ’60s.
“I’m great because it’s finally coming out,” Josh said. “I’m really happy.”
While many variety shows have been chopped up in order to be released on DVD, the 21 episodes are uncut and include Edie’s original ads for Muriel cigars. Here’s Edie and The Edie Adams Show were revolutionary as a variety show on so many levels. Edie brought top notch talent to the small screen including Bob Hope, Spike Jones, Bobby Darin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Sammy Davis Jr. The first season had her shooting all over the place including New York City, Las Vegas and London. Even more important was that it allowed Edie to call the shots. How difficult was it to bring his mom’s legacy to DVD without massive snips of performances and guest stars?
“The great thing about this is my mom was actually the producer. In terms of having the contracts, we have all that. We could see what we were allowed to do. In terms of music clearances, we found a really good partner in MVD Music Video Distributors. They basically took care of it. It was a perfect storm. I’m really psyched they took care of that since that was a big hurdle.
Music was an issue on the Ernie Kovacs Collections with songs clipped away from quite a few episodes.
“When we did the Shout! Factory stuff, they were great,” Josh said. “But one of the things that was our error, was that when we first started talking to them, they asked us about stuff. We said there wasn’t that much music, but frankly there was.” They didn’t quite have the budget to clear all the musical moments in The Ernie Kovacs Collection. “I felt really bad since we had to take my mom stuff out because she did most of the singing in the show. When we talked to MVD, we knew exactly what we had to cut out of the Kovacs boxsets. (MVD) were like, ‘Put it all in.’”
There are dozens of Edie’s musical moments from Ernie’s early TV shows included as bonus features. This means that if you own the two volumes of The Ernie Kovacs Collection, you’ll need to pick up Here’s Edie to completely appreciate what Edie Adams brought to the show. My favorite saved moment is when Edie impersonates Marilyn Monroe singing “The Ballad of Davy Crocket.”
“It showed my mom had a flair for comedy in the 1950s that people don’t give her a ton of credit for,” Josh said. “That was a bold thing to do in the 1950s and fairly hip too. Marilyn was Marilyn, but not many people would dare to make fun of her at that point. I can’t believe that’s my mom sometimes.”
Even with truncated appearances on the Kovacs episodes, Edie’s legacy grew thanks to the previous collections that allow her musical and comedic abilities shine next to Ernie.
“People were noticing how good my mom was,” Josh said. “Now, Here’s Edie is shining a little light on her as well. And we still get her collaboration with Ernie in there.”
Here’s Edie is amazing in allowing people to see her as a talented singer, a funny comedian and a gracious host. The series happened during the time when Edie was in a major money crunch. Turns out Ernie didn’t believe in paying taxes. After his death, Edie was stuck with a massive IRS bill. She went into overdrive booking live shows and movie parts in order to retire the debt.
Here’s Edie came about thanks to the people behind Dutch Masters cigars wanting to continue their relationship with Ernie Kovacs’ widow. They made her a rare offer in the history of sponsorships in order to publicize Muriel Cigars.
“What was great about it was Consolidated Cigar Corporation came to my mom after Ernie died and said, we’d like you to do this other brand,” Josh said. “They essentially let my mom do exactly what she wanted with zero interference which is unheard of. They let her do what she wanted because the sales were so good.”
This business relationship proved very fruitful as it lasted decades.
“She used to joke in her act my contract with Muriel is longer than Jack Benny and Jell-O,” Josh remembered. ” Her contract went into the ’90s. Muriel was a brand that wasn’t doing much at all. She was sexy, but she also had a wink in her eyes. They were selling them to regular Joes. Because my mom was a good looking lady, they sold so well.”
The fact that so much of “Here’s Edie” is about cigars makes it a show that can’t be rerun on ME-TV or Ovation without editing out all the sly product placement. There’s no way a channel would be permitted to run the creative commercials Edie made to promote her sponsor. The DVD is the finest way to enjoy the show without fear of the FCC’s mandates.
“You can’t promote tobacco on television so there’s no way you’re going to see them on television,” Josh said. “The people that bought Consolidated were gracious and let use the commercials. They also let us use the commercials on Ernie’s show. This is seeing it like you saw it in 1962.”
The freedom Edie had with her sponsor allowed her to be very experimental in both her guest selection and locations. “New York” really brings her to the Big Apple with Duke Ellington and Peter Falk. She appears on stage in Las Vegas with Eddie Fisher. She hits a Wild West town with Dan Rowan, Dick Martin and Hoagy Carmichael. There’s an episode devoted to the Bossa Nova while the first season wraps up with Bob Hope as the focus. This was part of the joy of having the Consolidated Cigar Corporation footing the bill.
“When I talk to people and try to explain it, I say, ‘It’s a variety show from another dimension.’ It’s not like Carol Burnett or the Smothers Brothers. It’s Sir Michael Redgrave on London Bridge doing a Shakespearean soliloquy. It’s Peter Falk doing something. It’s comedy. It’s Vegas Show. It’s all over the place. How did this happen?”
This truly was a case of a performer getting creative freedom and a company that wasn’t looking to crank out cheap entertainment.
“They were gracious enough to work around her schedule,” Josh said. “That’s why you see on her show a show in London because she was promoting some things. She was in Las Vegas doing her act. They let her bring camera into her nightclub act. They did things in the Nevada desert. They were great to her and she rewarded them with great sales.”
Since Edie was calling the shots on the show, she found herself hiring quite a few people connected with Ernie’s crew . Barry Shear (Across 110th Street) directed several of the Here’s Edie episodes after his time in Kovacsland. “My mom really wanted to work with him because she was flying by the seat of her pants and needed some help. And as the producer, she knew she could trust him. Barry was the guy to go to London to shoot some stuff. Barry was the guy to make sure you got what you wanted.”
However there was a touch of network interference when they discovered Edie was smashing the glass ceiling on television.
“The network said, ‘Whose gonna be the writer and whose gonna be the producer?’ She said, I will. They basically said, ‘No. You need to have a man.’ She said there was a guy who showed up and didn’t do much around the set. He kinda went away. He got a nomination for an Emmy. She did face a lot of that stuff. But at the same time she hired herself as the costumer. She would hire people she really liked to do all her gowns. She had a hand in almost everything in it.”
Turns out that the costumes and the gowns would get even more use with Edie’s time on the road.
“Having the issues with the IRS, my mom realized she could pay everybody back,” Josh said. “The thing was when she put these things together, she would work her gowns into her acts.” Josh told a story about how a Muriel commercial had a giant “EDIE” that was lit up. Afterward the huge prop was shipped to Vegas for her show in the big room.
Nearly a decade after Ernie’s death, his bill to the IRS was paid off. Was there a big celebration after the final check was mailed to the tax man?
I don’t remember if there was a party,” Josh said. “It was a burden. A huge weight was lifted from her shoulders.”
What’s amazing is that even though these shows were done to pay off Ernie’s debt, Edie didn’t crank out the usual variety show. She proved inventive and made quality matter when it came to the guests. Edie didn’t settle for good enough.
“The musical director she got and the people she got conducting were the best in the business,” Josh confirmed. “She always wanted the best. She really put a lot of effort into it.”
The show was shot on videotape instead of film. While Josh wasn’t sure why this happened, it might have had something to do with how Ernie shot his shows on video. Maybe it was a format Edie was most comfortable around. What sort of shape were the 50 year old videotapes?
“They were surprisingly good,” Josh said. We (Josh and co-producer Ben Model) always went back to the Master if we could. There was one episode that we had to use the dub. There’s a great group of guys at the CBS tape vault who did a fantastic job restoring this.”
The most touching moment of our talk came when Josh spoke about what really drove him to put together this collection of his mother’s work.
“If for nothing else, this is a great thing for my daughter to see that her grandmother did these amazing things,” Josh said. “If I get nothing out of this in any other way, I’ll at least my daughter to see what her grandmother was really like.”
Although a lot of other people should also enjoy what Edie Adams brought to television in the early ’60s.
SHOUT IT OUT
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series is the Christmas gift for TV lovers. For decade people have been wanting to see the late night soap opera spoof, but nobody wanted to completely cooperate. TVLand didn’t run it too long during their Kitschen timeslot. Sony put out a DVD set with the first 25 episodes and promptly back burnered the series. Then a Festivus miracle happened! Shout! Factory put all 325 episodes in a massive boxset. Now you can get all the action of Fernwood. The show was revolutionary when it hit syndication in 1976. Mary Hartman (Louise Lasser) became an icon with her hairdo of massive bangs and huge pigtails. She represented the housewife who feels like cleaning products can bring happiness to their desperate life. The show is a real soap opera since it aired Monday through Friday. The pacing reflects what you would have seen on an episode of Guiding Light back in the Bicentennial. The first episode takes Mary into a dark place when there’s a killer in the neighborhood and her father gets busted for being a flasher. She fears her marriage is destroyed when her husband Tom (Greg Mullavey) gets his cheating ways exposed. Her mother (Dody Goodman) drives her nuts. Her best friend Loretta (Mary Kay Place) dreams of being a major country singer. Her husband Charlie (Graham Jarvis) does all her can to let her live the dream. It all makes for an addictive time in the small town of Fernwood where stuff like this isn’t supposed to happen. Lasser couldn’t take the physical and emotional strain of the character which is why it sort of ended. They brought it back for another 26 weeks as Forever Fernwood, but somehow without Mary’s hairdo, things didn’t seem the same. The show was a big trailblazer since right after it ended, ABC began to air Soap.
The bonus features include Norman Lear, Louise Lasser and Mary Kay Place speaking about the impact of the show. There’s also a focus on the Mary prolonged nervous breakdown scene. The greatest of the bonus features is 10 episodes of Fernwood 2 Night. This was the legendary faux talkshow that was filmed in a living room with Martin Mull as the host and Fred Willard as his sidekick. The duo are hilarious as they sit behind TV trays doing their best to appear hip sedate town. Band leader Happy Kyne is really Frank De Vol, the composer behind the themes to The Brady Bunch, Get Smart and Family Affair. The show aired during a break in Mary Hartman’s schedule.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition celebrates the movie that revolutionized talking to the screen. Sure there were other TV shows where the horror host talked during the movie. Most of them made normal goofy jokes. None of them every cracked a joke about Karen Finley and sweet potatoes. MST3K opened up the spectrum to quips. They could go for the simple dumb joke to the most elite of references that would soar above the heads of young viewers. Why? So the viewers of 25 years ago would be able to rewatch the show today and get the “new” jokes. In order to celebrate 25th anniversary, we get a monumental boxset inside a collectable tin. Moon Zero Two is what happens when Hammer studios gave up horror for a shot at Science Fiction. The movie was made around the same time as 2001 although the effects come off as Space: 1999 in training. Star Catherine Schell was on Space: 1999. This is a first season episode with Larry as Dr. Forrester’s assistant. Joel and the Bots joke about the moon landing and zero gravity. The Day the Earth Froze (season four) is another one of the international offerings. This is based off a tale of a hero in Finland. The budget is amazing. The story gets a bit confusing to Joel and the Bots. This turns out to be good for the audience. The short is “Here Comes the Circus.” This inspires the Bots to become a clown act. Gypsy does her own impersonation of Gypsy Rose Lee. The Leech Woman (season eight) is about getting local medicine from Africans. A woman discovers the secret of youthful skin. Instead of being Oil of Olay, the secret ingredient turns out to be sacrificing young men. The Mike and the Bots have to battle prairie dogs in the Satellite of Love. Tom Servo gets fixated on The Beverly Hillbllies. Gorgo (season nine) brings together all the stuff you like about giant monster films including a stomping of London. Leonard Maltin is part of the fun. What makes this boxset so special is all the amazing bonus features. First they have Mitchell and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die that featured the switch from Joel to Mike as the host. This was a much smoother transition than the Darrens swap on Bewitched. A three part documentary Return to Eden Prairie explores the strange development of the little show that became a massive cult success. All that matters is that Beez McKeever gets to talk about her work on the series. There’s a documentary that gives all the details you’ll ever need about Gorgo. Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl) updates us on her activities since MST3K ended. I’ve heard rumors that she knows Ken Plume. There’s even an interview with one of the stars from The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the show started to sneak into the lives of smartalecs around the world. This is a great way to mark such a historic occasion.
Scream Factory Presents TV Terrors: The Initiation of Sarah & Are You In The House Alone?! - takes us to 1978 when network TV movies did their best to spook the folks at home. The Initiation of Sarah is the classic tale of a young girl going to college and discovering her true talent with the help of an amazing mentor. However instead of Sarah (Moving Violation’s Kay Lenz) being a prodigy for biotech, she’s got witch powers. Her sorority mother is a witch that wants her to develop her supernatural powers for evil. Sarah’s encourage to seek revenge on those that give her a hard time at the university. This of this as the precursor to American Horror Story: Coven. Are You In the House Alone? is another reminder of what can go wrong when your parents don’t take you along. Kathleen Beller has it worse when she’s babysitting a neighbor’s kid and keeps getting nasty phone calls from a stranger. Can she handle the attention? Who is doing this to her? Among the suspects are Blythe Danner, Alan Fudge, Tony Bill and a really young Dennis Quaid. It’s great that these two TV movie can be watched on TV once again.
Saturn 3 reminds us that in space, Harvey Keitel loses weight and his Brooklyn accent. Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett are isolated in a research lab on Saturn’s third moon. They like their private life with limited human contact. They are researching ways to grow food in such remote and desolate climates. It’s their own version of Eden. But then a snake arrives in the form of Harvey Keitel. They don’t know it, but Harvey is not the guy that was assigned for this visit. The original person fell to pieces. They can’t check up on the guy since they’re in the midst of an eclipse that cuts off their ability to communicate with the outside solar system. Harvey doesn’t come alone. He brings along a really creepy robot that doesn’t have a human-like head. It’s a massive torso and dangerous arms. Harvey is fixated on Farrah Fawcett. Who wouldn’t be since this was 1980 when she still had her Charlie’s Angels glow. The film didn’t do too well when it was originally released, but it’s fascinating to watch with three iconic acts battling it out. Martin Amis (London Fields) wrote the script. Stanley Donen (Singin’ In the Rain) directed his version of dystopia in Outer Space. The weirdest thing about the film is how they replaced Harvey Keitel’s voice. Why? Luckily Roy Dotirice is interviewed to explain why he was called in for a few hours to give Harvey a British voice. There’s also an interview with special effects artist Colin Chlivers. The audio commentary super fan Greg Moss and critic David Bradley explain the production. The big treat on the Blu-ray is the deleted “romance” scene where Farrah puts on a more revealing costume after she and Kirk drop what looks like ecstasy. This outfit was teased in the trailer, but snipped from the film. It might have been a bigger hit with that moment included. There’s also a DVD with all the content in case you’re stuck on a moon of Saturn without a Blu-ray player.
The Horror Show dares to make us imagine that Lance Hendrickson (Aliens) can be haunted even though he looks like the guy who would be spooking. He’s a police detective that becomes a major hero when he stops the notorious Meat Cleaver Max. This killer has claimed dozens of victims with his butchering skills. But even on death row Max isn’t ready to stop. Sure they put him in the electric chair and give him the juice, but Max survives the first massive jolt. Even when they think he’s dead, Max proves he’s not ready for Hell. His ghost won’t leave Lance alone. No matter what Lance is doing, Max’s face appears to scare him. Now who could make the audience believe Lance could have the heebies? Well it’s the raw beauty of Brion James (Blade Runner). It’s hard to tell if Max is a ghost or Lance is just completely going nuts. This does have the most disturbing poultry dinner since Easerhead when Lance loses his grip while sizing up the turkey. That scene makes it perfect to watch with grandma after Thanksgiving dinner. The film was produced by Sean S. Cunningham, the director of Friday 13th. The bonus features include a chat with actress Rita Taggert and special effects expert Kane Hodder. The film was originally released as House 3, but it’s got little to do with House except the family does live in a home.
The Blue Hour w/Naked Night & Three In a Towel is a tribute to Grads Corp that distributed exploitation films in the ’70s. The Blue Hour really is an art film. Tanya flashes back to her early life in some rather beautiful cinematography. It’s like she’s one big Kodak commercial. Parts of it are just too beautiful for the roughness in the scenes. This is not the conventional grindhouse production. You can almost imagine buying popcorn to take in the film. Naked Night is a black and white flick about a young girl in the big city being turned into a bad girl She fears turning into a hooker since that’s the reason for her mom’s suicide. There’s a good about of sleazy moments from the time your grandmother swore this stuff didn’t happen. The girl can’t help the fast money and easy attention of being a hooker. Since this is from the nice era of cinema, the men only pay her to smooch. Even the morning after the orgy scene has the guys wearing boxer shorts on the floor. “Three In a Towel” is a nude fest from 1969. Thrill to the sight of out there flower children losing their top in the San Fran sun. It’s semi-sweet innocent fun with a guy who swears women can’t resist him on this special day. He’s right. There’s a trailer for Three In a Towel.
Gameshow Models won me over with the simple concept of finding out what was required to show off prizes on TV. Oddly enough, the movie isn’t really about gameshows or models. This isn’t like one of those sexy stewardess films from 1976. Turns out the main character is a John Vickery, a smut writer who grows jaded of the outlaw life after five years. He gets himself a conventional haircut and lands a job working in publicity. But is he really ready to sell out for this world of illusions. The game show angle happens when he has to help cast models. Dick Miller (any Roger Corman film) is the host of the show wanting more from his ladies than their ability to frame a fridge. He has naked behind the question holes. Thelma Houston appears as a singer needing a pop to launch her career. Why wasn’t this film only about gameshow models? Well you learn that secret with the bonus feature being a movie called The Seventh Dwarf. This was the original version of the film before the distributor changed the title, shot new scenes and chopped out the original focus. Dick Miller and the gameshow was not part of the original cut. It’s about Vickery dealing with his life at the PR firm. This boxset should be watched by any indie filmmaker curious if they could let a distributor make a few changes to get their film into a theater.
Drive-In Collection: The First Time & Oriental Babysitter is a double feature from director Anthony Spinelle (Suckula). The First Time (1978) is a contemplative piece when an adult actress (Mimi Morgan) remembers the events that led to her career. Her co-star thinks she’s been in the business for a while, but this is her first movie. Where did she get her gift for showbiz? Strangely enough, she spent no time studying at a dinner theater. Seems a lot of her talent comes from attending wild parties. There’s a touch of kink when they break out a whip for the kitten to wield. A hypodermic scene is really bizarre. A young Joey Silvera gets into the action. The love theme is amazingly poppy. Why don’t today’s adult flicks have such snappy music? Oriental Babysitter(1976) stars Linda Wong as an Asian child care provider. Turns out that when the parents get home after a night out, they’re making her work hard for the tip. Her first encounter with a parent is rather rough. A later gig has her hook up with the dad. When mom discovers them in bed, she joins in on the fun. This one is light on the plot and heavy on the action. This is a double feature that might have played a sticky Tenderloin cinema in San Francisco.
The Candidate with Johnny Gunman is a double feature about power struggles in politics and crime. The Candidate (1964) puts Ted Knight (Too Close For Comfort and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) on the road to the U.S. Senate. Oddly enough, his campaign manager (Eric Mason) is the man with troubles keeping his zipper up. What was he thinking hiring Mamie Van Doren as his secretary? She gets pegged as a pimp. He can’t stop getting into trouble when he also hires the delightful June Wilkinson as his new secretary. There’s no stopping the guy. His wild life eventually rubs off on his client. Ted Knight really does look like a guy who ought to be in the senate. Strangely enough this is the first time The Candidate has been legitimately released on home video. You’d think the legions of Ted Knight Kultists would have demanded the movie decades ago. A true neglected gem of a political film that should be watched with Rachel Maddow. Johnny Guman (1957) is a film noir about crime in New York City. There’s quite a bit of location filming for those who enjoy seeing Manhattan from this era. A female writer looking for a fun night at the Greenwich Village street fair. She gets more than food on a stick. She ends up hooking up with a wanted mobster. The law only knows him a Johnny G. She gets to know him as the love of her life. But how long can their affair last when there are cops wanting to put him behind bars? Not to mention the gangsters looking to rub out Johnny. A fine film for those eager to catch a ’50s crime flick that hasn’t been rerun to death on TCM.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season Five continues the amazing upgrade of the science fiction series as it enters the high definition universe. The series at this point had become truly embraced by fans of the original Star Trek instead of scoffed as something for the youngsters. The season kicks off with the cliffhanger resolution to “Redemption II” that featured Worf doing his best to clear his family’s name from a slur. There’s also a power struggled for the Klingon High Council that needs a little federation help. Communication issues is a theme for the season. “Darmok” has Picard needing to figure out a way to talk to an alien captain else the two of them are doomed. “Silicon Avatar” forces the crew to figure a way to contact the Crystalline Entity. There’s a little family drama when Worf deals with his son in “New Ground.” There’s a few great guest stars to spice up the crew. Ashley Judd beams in for “The Game.” The crew gets hooked on the video game. Can there be a cure for deep space Pac-Man Fever? “A Matter of Time” makes Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) time travel to warn the crew of a nuclear winter that must be prevented. Or is he trying to cause one? The massive guest star appears in the two part “Unification” episodes. Who could it be? How about Leonard Nimoy as Spock. The Federation fears that Spock has gone over to the Romulans. Why would he do that? What is going to happen? This was the highest rated event during ST:TNG original broadcast back in the ’90s. You can never go wrong with a Spock cameo. Even when the guy is selling cars, he delivers the good. The season wraps up with “Time’s Arrow.” They find Data’s head in an Earth archeological dig. What is the meaning of this discovery? Season Five kept up the quality that fans expected from the syndicated juggernaut. The bonus features include deleted scenes, original episode previews and a gag reel. Four of the episodes have audio commentaries. There are features on the music and a remembrance of the series from cast & crew. Once again the folks supervising the HD upgrade have done a fantastic job of bringing the show into 1080p for the Blu-ray.
2013 World Series Champions - Official 2012 World Series Film is this year’s shocking underdog success story. Spoiler Alert: The Boston Redsox won the title. Who would have guessed that ending? Not me. The Sox had been in a season and a month slump that first knocked them out of the 2011 playoff picture and then put them in the cellar for 2012. During the off-season they appeared to pick up a bunch of free agents who couldn’t quite pass physicals so they were given one year deals (Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and a few others). The had a bullpen with a few closers that ended up on the disabled list. And their Patriot’s Day game ended with the Boston Marathon bombing. But the team had a refuse to lose spirit that came straight from David Ortiz. For a team that was criticized for not having any real leadership as they fell apart, Papi finally took over and luckily he had players in the dugout that didn’t resist his inspiration. They also found out that Koji Uehara is a prime shut down artist in the 9th inning. Things looked rocky in the World Series when they faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals. That was the team that ruined The Impossible Dream team in ‘67. The Sox fell behind 2 games to 1. But then I changed bars to Raleigh’s Fox and the Hound to watch the games on the big screen. And the Sox not only won the next three games, they clinched the title in Fenway Park. It was the most unexpected of outcomes after crawling from the wreckage of beer, chicken, videogames and Bobby Valentine. The Blu-ray brings out the beauty of Ortiz’s dominating performance. Along with highlights from the games, the bonus features include the clinching celebrations, the World Series parade on Duck Boats and several features on Ortiz and Dusting Pedroia. After going 86 years without a World Series, title, the Redsox have won 3 in the last decade. They’re like the 21st Century New York Yankees. Maybe Spike Lee should design a ballcap for them?
Danguard: The Movie Collection is classic Japanese anime from 1977. This epic nearly six hours long film is from Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of Space Battleship Yamamoto (aka Starblazers). There’s something weird happening when the planet Promete enters the solar system. The World Space Institute sends ships to great and investigate the near entry into the intergalactic neighborhood. However something goes hideously wrong on the expedition mission. But this failure doesn’t completely dissuade the plan although they take a little bit more time to visit Promete. They don’t’ merely want to send ship, but ships that can be turned into robots. It’s an action packed space opera full of aliens, spaceships and robots. The English dub is rather perfunctory.
The Capture of Grizzly Adams brings back Dan Haggerty’s iconic role to give viewers the ending they craved when the show was canceled after its second season. Unlike Deadwood, the fans got to find out what happened to Grizzly. The story goes that he was accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Instead of being like The Fugitive and running around the country working odd jobs, Grizzly went into the frontier and lived off the land. He kept a semi-low profile and hung out with a giant bear. But was this really the way it all ended? Of course not. The man had to get one last chance to prove his innocence. He gets that in this movie. He can’t avoid civilization for that long. He gets a message that his daughter is in trouble. This leads him back, but he can’t maintain a low profile. He gets busted by Chuck Connors (The Rifleman). He wants to Grizzly to pay for his crime. Grizzly wants one last shot at justice. His big hope lies in the heart of Kim Darby (True Grit). It’s a fitting finale for the series. If you bought season 1 and 2, you’ll need this to bring that sense of closure to the legendary mountain man. You can also see Haggerty get roasted on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts boxset.
Wings of a Warrior: The Jimmy Doolittle Story is a documentary about the legendary Air Force pilot. He’s most famous for leading a raid into the heart of Tokyo in 1942. This attack let the Japanese know that they were beyond the reach of the Allied Forces after Pearl Harbor. As a commander he had few peers with his more than 20 missions. But the War Hero did more than military heroics. He once held the record from flying coast to coast. He was also vital in the development of flying with only instruments instead of following landmarks. The documentary explores his life from his birth in Nome, Alaska. He’s the only person to get the Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor. Director Gardner Doolittle (Jimmy’s third cousin) does a fine job at putting his relative in historical context. Here’s a bit of newsreel footage from Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo, but not a clip from the movie. The .
Primitive is about the things that can go wrong from hypnotherapy. In this case young Martin Blane (Matt O’Neill) goes under only to not merely tap into his true feelings, but unleash his primitive side. What really triggers this transformation is a trip to his mother’s funeral. Is his inner rage have a method to its mayhem? Is it really him going around ripping him apart in a primal creature form? Or is he the perfect patsy for a psychopath with bad dental work? Reggie Bannister brings the goods once more. You might remember him from being Reggie in the Phantasm movies. He was also in Bubba Ho Tep. The effects are from Tom Devlin from SyFy’s Face Off competition show. Director Benjamin Cooper and Matt O’Neill provide a commentary track to discuss what they did during production. There’s a piece on Devin’s work to make the nightmare creature. Reggie Bannister shares some time with us. There are a few outtakes. Plus you can watch a stream of the movie and download it off Ultraviolet.
(Impractical) Jokers: The Complete First Season lets Sal, Joe, Q and Murr drag people into a more disturbed version of Candid Camera. The four friends swap off during their various stunts at feeding the others lines to push their victims deeper into the madness. This is the first 17 episodes that have aired on TruTV. Nothing seems to be off limits to these guys and they do their best to top the other guy. They like to fake working at places to see what they can do to get the customers to freak out. The fact that they’re friends helps it more believable that they would be willing to follow through with the goofy stuff that comes over the earpiece. The boxset includes deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and interviews with the friends. There’s also five episodes with audio commentaries where the foursome are still giving each other the business.
Battle Ground is a good old World War I trench film. During a raid into the no man’s land, a few allied troops must survive the Germans. The trio isn’t exactly all for one and one for all when they do their best to survive in the hellscape of mud, metal and ammo. Even worse is that the clock is ticking since there might be another assault on their miserable turf. They either must get back to their trench or accept this godless stretch of turf as their shallow grave. It’s a gutty little film that looks amazing. The bonus features include a featurette on how they recreated the trenches without digging a massive budget hole. Directors Johan Earl and Adrian Powers provide a commentary track to break down what they did during the production to make it look and feel realistic.
Red 2 brings back America’s favorite retired secret agents. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren are joined by Anthony Hopkins in a nuclear thriller. Mary-Louise Parker is once more caught up in the explosions and shoot outs as she attempts to help Bruce. She gets a meatier role this time around. All that matters to me is that we get to see more of Helen Mirren being the elder badass. Forget her being knighted or winning an Oscar, Helen deserves to be enshrined in the Badass Hall of Fame. She’s the world’s most dangerous grandmother. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a KGB agent who might be helping out Bruce. But there’s a chance she’s going to betray them since she is KGB. This is as good as the first film and a little better since it has more Helen Mirren.
Tracie Long: Focus Series gets you ready to work off the pounds before you need to make a New Year’s resolution. Each DVD contains a 30 minute workout that has chapters in case you need to review a move. Power Up is aimed at moves that will increase your current fitness level. This is supposed to replace your cup of Starbucks when you need a jolt to wake up on Monday morning. Equipment necessary are a Step and Mat. Lift Higher is aimed at boosting your butt. The focus is on your lower body. There’s routines devoted to make you feel the burn in your bum. You need to get a set of dumbbells to press off the pounds. Kickback is all about putting a boot into your lazy day. A lot of cardio routines as wants you to burn calories putting your extremities into play. Tracie Long keeps up the energy for the 30 minutes so viewers will want to match her move for move. Pick these up before you hit the frozen turkey aisle.
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