MANHATTAN - When the “new” season of Mad Men runs next year, AMC needs to have Talking Mad like they did with Talking Bad and Talking Dead. But they do not need to call up Chris Hardwick to host the show. There’s already a Mad Man who can handle the duty.
Who? How about Lou Avery? Lou? Yeah, Lou! Well not exactly Lou. Allan Havey who plays Lou is your Man to talk to the Mad Men cast. Why? Because as far as I’m concerned, Allan Havey is the true King of Late Night TV.
Back in 1989, Allan Havey was Don Draper for cable TV viewers. He hosted Night After Night on the Comedy Channel (before it merged with HA! to become Comedy Central). His late night talkshow was hip, cool and cultish. He did things on his talkshow that Steve Allen never imagined. He’s the real father of The Daily Show. You want a little taste of prime cut Allan?
Besides myself, do you know who was glued to Havey’s Night After Night? A young boy in the midwest named Jon Hamm lived for the shag and bag. Who do you think Hamm would want to talk about the impact of Don Draper after the final episode: Chris Hardwick or Allan Havey? Doesn’t Hardwick have enough shows on TV now? Here’s another sample of what Havey can bring out of a guest:
AMC needs to just give Havey the hour after the show. Have the guests walk into Lou Avery’s office. Reunite him with Nick Bakay as the Shagmaster General. And just let the love flow. If you don’t hire Havey and go for Hardwick, I curse the suits at AMC with Spotted Dick.
Peekarama: Deep Tango & Young Secretaries is a double feature of semi-spoofs. Deep Tango combines the glory of Deep Throat with Marlon Brando’s Last Tango In Paris. It really does make fun of both films unlike the recent Deep Roots. They have several spoofings scenes including the meeting on the train platform. The most hilarious is the mocking of the classic butter scene. This time the filmmakers introduce the french bread to the action. They even have a theme song that you can dance to. Young Secretaires seems to be a play on the Young Nurses movies. This is the simple joyful plot of a bunch of bosses getting some action from their nubile assistants. But are they getting the upperhand on the old guys? The films are from 1974 so don’t get shocked by the vintage grooming.
Jungle Blue goes ape with its legit home video debut. This adult feature was the strangest attempt to draft on Dino DeLaurentiis’ King Kong and almost predicts Bo Derek’s Tarzan. A group of explorers head deep into the jungle on a treasure hunt. The group meet a loin cloth wearing Tarzan-esque guy. While that’s not unusual in the adult world, the ape man has a gorilla pal who doesn’t mind doing more than throwing feces at the ladies. You think Ron Jeremy is hairy, wait until you see this Kong go king on a few females. This movie proves that bizarre adult action wasn’t invented in 21st century Gonzo videos.
Peekarama: Pretty Peaches 2 & Pretty Peaches 3 - The Quest is double feature directed by Alex deRenzy. Don’t worry that you’re not getting the original Pretty Peaches since neither of these films will feel like you’re missing out on story. And Desiree Cousteau doesn’t play Peaches in either of these sequels. Basically she’s a girl who goes through a series of carnal mishaps with odd characters as she seeks enlightenment. Pretty Peaches 2 has Siobhan Hunter hitting the road after her mother seduces her boyfriend (Peter North). She visits a bizarre set of relatives that includes Ron Jeremy in a frightening suit that might blow out the color in your HDTV. Jamie Gillis arrives as a dirty version of Medea. Pretty Peaches 3 - The Quest stars Keisha on the road to see a televangelist played by Jamie Gillis. Things go weird for the gal and she ends up with the guy who played Sticks on Happy Days. Keisha (Beer League) does a fine job in the role. She has an amazing naive look while still being able to deliver her lines. Don’t worry too much about starting in the middle of the series since both Pretty Peaches stand up on their own.
Nosferatu The Vampyre is a retelling of the original vampire flick from the legendary Werner Herzog. The film is based on F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu except Werner gets to employee color and sound to his undead version of Dracula. Klaus Kinski (Aguirre Wrath of God) is perfect as Count Dracula with his natural creepy nature adding to the makeup effects. Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) heads out to Transylvania to show off real estate to the Count. His client merely is interested in a picture of Harker’s wife (Isabella Adjani). This leads the Count taking a boat trip that ends up bringing lots of rats to the German town. While the Count drains the blood from the townspeople, his own heart is stolen by Mrs. Harker. This is an extreme art film in the horror genre. The music is good and creepy. Herzog doesn’t go for cheap scares on the screen. The film holds up well after 35 years. Herzog shot the film in English and German (although French actors were dubbed in both cuts). The dual movies are here. Herzog gives away his secrets on the commentary track. There’s also vintage featurette on the film. Herzog looks so young.
The Honeymooners “Classic 39″ Episodes deserves an extra edition of the Brooklyn Bugle. One of the all time classic sitcoms finally looks more elegant that the rundown apartment that hosted so much of the action. Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) wants to escape his life as a NYC bus driver. He comes up with amazing schemes to become rich. His best pal Ed Norton (Art Carney) works in the sewer yet lives a little sweeter one flight. The only thing keeping Ralph in check is his wife Alice (Audrey Meadows). She is the only thing that can bring silence from his big mouth. Ed’s wife Trixie (Joyce Randolph) is Alice’s biggest fan. The show as a proper sitcom only lasted for 39 episodes. Jackie Gleason started the characters as a sketch on his variety show. CBS wanted the show as a sitcom, but after a while, Jackie wanted to do more than Ralph. He revived his variety show and did a few more Honeymooner sketches. These episodes are scared for TV fanatics. They’ve been repeated for over 60 years and still seem fresh. This is the best the episodes have ever looked. Fans will react with joy to the extra resolution. The details will be amazing. Bonus features include early anniversary specials and Jackie’s legendary 60 Minutes profile with extra footage. This Blu-ray will take you to the Moon.
The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1 takes you back to Mayberry with a Blu-ray glow. Growing up in North Carolina, the series is often confused with a book of the Bible. There’s a state law that Andy Griffith must be shown once a day on the TV. But we never saw the show so cleanly as these 1080p resolutions. It’s like you’re really in the jail cell. The first season is great because Elinor Donahue (Father Knows Best) plays Andy’s sweetheart Ellie. This was her only season so cherish her. Barney Fife remains one of the greatest characters on TV. Now you get to see even more of Don Knotts’ face. Cancel your acting lessons and merely watch these episodes. This will teach you everything about the approach to creating laughs. The bonus features included the Return to Mayberry TV movie. They also have the backdoor pilot when Danny Thomas got busted by Andy in Mayberry. There’s also Ron Howard’s family home movies from the backlot. This is a reason why your country aunt needs to buy a Blu-ray.
I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 is the ultimate view of Lucy. Do I really need to explain I Love Lucy? Cause it is the building block of every sitcom. They want to be as good as I Love Lucy. They want a cast as fantastic. They want to have as many episodes. They want to be in syndication for decades. This is a black and white series that’s still beloved by an audience that now demands everything in living color. They accept a crazy redhead who has grey hair on the screen. The show will now keep going thanks to the HDTV transfers that brings out the subtle genius of William Frawley. This is the way to experience her zany schemes. The bonus features include plenty of her My Favorite Husband radio shows that set up the TV show. The original pilot is included. There’s screen tests, audio commentaries, original openings, Philip Morris commercials and lots of background facts. This is what Lucy fans have been craving to possess. This is the perfect Mother’s Day gift no matter when you give it to her.
The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series finally allows fans to get seasons 5 & 6. Don’t get bitter because the big reason to upgrade is that this collection doesn’t have flipper discs. All the episodes are on the same side of the DVD. Shout! Factory has imported all the original bonus features from the Fox releases including the commentaries and gag reel. The new bonus features include a roundtable chat that reunited Bob, Peter Bonerz (Jerry the Dentist), Jack Riley (Mr. Carlin) and Bill Daily (Howard). “The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary” special from 1991 expands on the ending of Newhart. It’s a clip show with a purpose as Bob deals with his dream of life in Vermont. The most important find is the original pilot for the series. While elements of the script were rewritten into other episodes, they didn’t take air the pilot. Jerry has a different job and Bob spends more time dealing with his neighbors. The Bob Newhart Show ran for 6 seasons with 142 episodes and never had a down season. Bob played Bob Hartley, a Chicago psychologist who had a rather interesting group of patients. A major part of the comedy came from the group therapy session that allowed the various personalities to give each other the business. Bob had the ultimate TV wife in Emily (Birds‘ Suzanne Pleshette), She had the ability to keep him in check yet still needed his help when necessary. “Fly The Unfriendly Skies” has her joining Bob and his therapy group to overcome her fear of being in the air. This was one of the best sitcoms to ever aired and to have it complete is a thrill.
Rawhide: The Eighth and Final Season brings to an end the endless cattle drive. Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) had been promoted to Trail boss when Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) rode off into the sunset (and drowned while making a movie in Peru). Sadly Yate’s run at the top only lasted 13 episodes. Why did the show end so abruptly? My only guess is that the producers must have been resistant to breaking out the color film since CBS was finally going color in 1965. Odds are high that Clint Eastwood didn’t start a “Save Rawhide campaign since he was becoming an international star in Spaghetti Westerns. He would soon board a plane to make The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The episodes are still good. “Encounter at Boot Hill” brings a showdown with Simon Oakland (Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and Timothy Carey (Paths of Glory). “Walk Into Terror” strides with Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo), Bruce Dern and Raymond St. Jacques (Come back, Charleston Blue). Rip Torn (The Larry Sanders Show) is your “Escort to Doom.” Rowdy get threatened to hang in “Hostages for Hanging.” Helping with the lynching is Warren Oates (The Wild Bunch) and Robert Blake. “Duel at Daybreak” puts Charles Bronson against Eastwood. “Crossing at White Feather” ends the show with Rowdy hiring the wrong man that leads to the herd in jeopardy. It was a quick and painless end for the drovers. But they’ll forever be remembered for keeping those doggies movin’.
The Revengers reunites William Holden and Ernest Borgnine a few years after their triumph in The Wild Bunch. This is not a sequel. Holden is a rancher who goes off on the hunting trip. He comes home to find his life has been destroyed. He wants to get revenge on the men who destroyed his family. He “hires” a crew of outlaws to go after the outlaw. Among the cut throats are Borgnine and Woody Strode (Spartacus). It’s a fine Western to give dad on Father’s Day.
Happy Day: The Fifth Season brings three of the major moments in the series history: Leather Tuscadero, Mork from Ork and Jumping the Shark. “Hollywood” was a three part special that took the Happy Days gang out to California. A movie producer thinks he can turn the Fonz into the next James Dean. But things don’t quite go according to plan. This leads to the semi-infamous TV moment when the Fonz gets on water skis to leap over a caged shark. Will he get his thumb chewed off by Jaws? Many people have turned “Jump the Shark” into the moment that a show ceases to be cool. But that’s not right since “Fonzie - Rock Entrepreneur” marks the arrival of Leather Tuscadero. She’s Pinky’s rocking younger sister. She’s not welcomed by the law because of her troubled youth. But the Fonz wants her to play. Rocker Suzi Quatro rules the role. The biggest real event of the season was “My Favorite Orkan.” Mork (Robin Williams) arrives in Milwaukee and wants to take Richie (Ron Howard) back to his planet. It’s up to the Fonz to save his buddy from being alien abducted. Soon after Mork and Mindy would become another hit and turn Robin Williams into a superstar. As much as folks want to write the series off after the Shark Jump; introducing America to Robin Williams and Suzy Quatro kept it cool.
LA Law: Season Two marks the arrival of Blair Underwood as the suave lawyer Jonathan Rollins to the team at McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak. He give Jimmy Smits and Corbin Bensen a challenge for staff hunk. Also on the floor is Larry Drake who was so good at playing Benny, the clerk that people thought he was his character. The 20 episodes keep up the sexy escapades at the firm. “The Lung Goodbye” brings up the subject of suing tobacco companies. Shannon Tweed gets divorced which means she’s free to marry Gene Simmons. “Auld L’Anxiety” makes Grace (Susan Dey) beg a witness to testify against a nasty group. “The Bald Ones” brings the FDA’s required dosage of Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show & Arrested Development). “Chariots of Meyer” pits Grace against James Earl Jones. Is it a fair fight between Darth Vader and Laurie Partridge? LA Law remains a smooth and slick peak into the people on the Bar.
Perry Mason Movie Collection - Volume 2 brings six more cases from Raymond Burr’s return to his iconic legal role. He’s a little bit heavier and mobile, but he hasn’t lost a step in the court room. “The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel” puts Perry and Della Street (Barbara Hale) on the cover of a tabloid for an alleged affair. Robert Guillaume (Benson) is the publisher spreading such a lie. When he ends up dead, Perry must find the real killer. William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) is Paul Drake Jr, Perry’s main investigator. “The Case of the Avenging Ace” puts Larry Wilcox (CHiPs) in cuffs for homicide. Erin Gray (Buck Rogers) and Patty Duke (The Patty Duke Show) are tangled in the military intrigue. “The Case of the Musical Murder” has a Broadway director dying and an underling behind bars. Somehow Jerry Orbach and Debbie Reynolds might be part of the encore for elimination. “The Case of the Lady in the Lake” busts David Hasselhoff for killing his rich wife. What? The Hoff? There’s more hunk on the screen with the arrival of John Beck (Rollerball). Still it’s the young Hof in serious trouble and not a cheeseburger in sight. “The Case of the All-Star Assassin” has a hated pro sports team owner found dead. Nobody loved the guy. What sort of major sports team owner can be so hated? The star guests include Deidre Hall, Bruce Greenwood (Exotica), Shari Belafonte and Pernell Roberts For those of you who haven’t picked up Volume 1, the six titles have now been released as double feature single DVDs. These separated titles include Double Feature 1: Perry Mason Returns/The Case of the Notorious Nun, Double Feature 2: The Case of the Lost Love/The Case of the Shooting Star and Double Feature 3: The Case of the Murdered Madam/The Case of the Sinister Spirit. Volume 3 with another 6 cases is slated for release on August 5. For those curious, Burr made 26 Perry Mason movies.
Martial Arts Movie Marathon is a collection of 4 post-Bruce Lee Hong Kong action films from Golden Harvest. These films have all the buttkicking glory you’d expect from a Kung Fu Theater on TV. All the movies are anamorphic so they fill your home big screen. You can also choose between the Chinese soundtrack and the English dub. There are English subtitles for those wanting the authentic experience. The Skyhawk has Kwan Tak Hing as the legendary Wong Fei Hong. He has to battle a few local crime lords to get justice. Hing played Wong Fei Hong for years in movies. The Manchu Boxer is about a tournament run by an evil warlord. A travelling man is forced into the fight. Sammo Hung and Liu Yung get into the ring. The Dragon Tamers is the second movie directed by John Woo (The Killer). This is back when John Woo meant exciting cinema. It’s a good old battle of good vs. evil with fists flying all over the place. Woo’s getting a feel for his dynamic cinema. The Association is not about the NBA. This association is in charge of a major prostitution organization. Angela Mao Ying (Hapkido) must fight to free herself. Fans of Angela Mao Ying will be excited to know that six of her ’70s prime films will be out in The Angela Mao Ying Collection on June 17 from Shout! Factory. Consider this a revival of her career on your DVD player. This marathon is worth enjoying until the break of day or your nose.
Transformers: Energon is the second part of The Unicron Trilogy (following Armada). The series originally aired way back in 2004. Which it turns out was a decade ago. For the casual fan, Energon is the big power source. Once again, the Autobots and the Decepticons are going at it. Megatron wants to have a major comeback and somehow use the Unicron to claim victory over the Earth. There’s plenty of action and exciting soundtrack music. It’s more exciting than any of the Michael Bay movies. The 51 episodes are spread over 7 DVDs.
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