Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Here is some spaghetti related music you might enjoy....furnished by my friend Lauren at EMI.
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi present: ROME - album release date 16th May.
Featuring vocals by Jack White and Norah Jones.

United by their shared passion for classic Italian film music, Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi created the ROME album over an intense songwriting period using vintage equipment and original musicians from films such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. Every effort was made to replicate the recording practices of the 1960s/70s golden age.

For all its cinematic qualities, what follows is a complex, nuanced pop record with intensity and darkness as well as uplift and light. It’s an ambitious work with a uniquely modern sound that has been achieved through traditional, vintage processes. It is, above all, a fully realised album, perfectly formed and hauntingly beautiful.

Check out a trailer for ROME, including interviews with Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi, Jack White and Norah Jones here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Recently I watched James Coburn in THE INTERNECINE PROJECT a movie, up until a few days ago, I had never heard of before finding it at Interact in Pasadena. Costars are Lee Grant, Keenan Wynn and Harry Andrews. Story involves Coburn as a Professor and former secret agent who is given the job opportunity of a lifetime: advisor to the President of the US. Of course o'l Jimmy has some skeletons in his closet (or else there would not be a movie) that need eliminating, namely the four people aware of his shoddy past. So, in order for him to make sure no one will ever know about his past dirty life, he hatches an ingenious plan to get rid of his four nemeses by getting them to unknowingly kill each other in the course of a single night. Interesting to find out how they will do it. manages to make a long sequence in which one man sits alone in a room waiting for the phone to ring quite suspenseful. 
Good film, even with it's 70's music and 70's pacing, and with a very good performance by JC (has he been bad?).....a movie that would never get green-lit today. DVD contains an interview with writer Jonathan Lynn (directed MY COUSIN VINNY) which is interesting in itself and is about both TIP and other projects Lynn has worked on. In passing, Lynn talks about the actor Harry Andrew's performance in the film...he feels it was a little over the top and somewhat homophobic.....considering Harry was homosexual. Never knew that...never ever heard that before and frankly I don't care. I've always liked Andrews, and like JC, was always good in every part he played. TIC was released originally in 1974...for Jimmy a year after HARRY IN YOUR POCKET and a year before BITE THE BULLET.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Robert Horton

In the late 50's and early 60's Robert Horton was one of my favorite tv cowboys and if an episode of WAGON TRAIN came on that didn't say "Tonight Starring Robert Horton" I wouldn't bother watching it and you can imagine my dismay when he left the series to "branch out on his own." Watching him in the opening credits, posted above, and hearing him sing the main theme to A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH almost always brings tears to my eyes. His vocals are impeccable and the background scenes remind me of one of my favorite spaghetti westerns....Sergio Corbucci's classic THE GREAT SILENCE which was filmed a few years later. I had the fortune of meeting Robert at the 2004 Golden Boots...the year he received his Golden Boot (way too late) and was delighted that he signed one of my old TV Guides with a picture of him from Wagon Train on the cover. Very nice man. Very friendly man... but I, to me, felt a sense of sadness about him and I feel this even more when I hear him sing A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH. Needless to say when he left WAGON TRAIN, a mistake on hind sight, the series, to me, died with his departure. To the "Powers That Be" out there...."SHENANDOAH" is crying for a dvd release.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

the name CRUMMETT

Crummett is not that common a name and is a name you don't hear mentioned you can imagine my surprise when on last week's episode of TNT's wonderful and very (and I do mean very) well done cop show SOUTHLAND (that NBC which needs a hit gave up on) I heard my last name mentioned in a start of a shift squad briefing about half way through the episode (#9 of 10). I was so taken aback at hearing it that I had to rewind my DVR to make sure that I had hear it. When the squad leader was handing out beginning of the shift assignments he said in passing..."Crummett and so and so do this and that." Don't remember what the assignment "Crummett" got or who his partner was, but I did hear Crummett. Kudos to the writer(s). For a really enjoyable and fast hour tune into this show and better yet rent or buy each season's box set.

Monday, March 7, 2011


No, the book "BRADY, BRADY, BRADY" is not about the life and times of Scott Brady but about the tv show THE BRADY BUNCH ..written by Sherwood Schwartz creator of the show and his son Lloyd. Interesting way they did the book...Sherwood wrote about creating the show and putting it together and finally getting it on the air and Lloyd wrote about the show after it aired...he went from Dialogue Coach (for the kids) to producer and director. Book confirmed what I had always heard about Robert Reed. He was an Asshole with a capital A and always was in disagreement with everyone about almost everything. Apparently, Reed was disliked universally all over H'wood. "Well," you say, "why would you read a book about the Brady Bunch written by the creator of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND?" so happens that I met both Sherwood and Lloyd back in the early 70's when I was kind of involved in the development of different quiz a somewhat professional freelance quiz show contestant. One day I get a call from Dick Clark Productions asking me if I could meet Dick and some others at the Universal Sheraton Hotel for some run throughs for a quiz show they were developing. Much to my delight when I got was Dick Clark and the Schwartz's (who were going to co-produce the show with Dick who was, needless to say, going to be the host). I cannot for the life of me remember what the name of the show was or the format but it was going to have celebrity guests as a part of the game since Abbe Lane was there, too. She still had it (beautiful and sexy) and was very funny and down to earth as were Dick and the Schwartz's....everyone had a great sense of humor. We even joked about how many people called her Abby Road (after the Beatles's Album). I had a great time, picked up some extra cash and went home. The show never sold and that was the one and only time I ever met Dick Clark and the Schwartz's. And, if you can believe it....totally forgot about it until I saw the BRADY, BRADY, BRADY book. Book is worth the read if only for how hard it is to sell a tv show and the many travails of doing a tv show for five years. A book about the life and times of Scott Brady might be interesting too.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Director george waGGNer

For the past several weeks/months I've seen this name pop up in the credits as the director of various MAVERICK, CHEYENNE and WAGON TRAIN episodes. Yes, the fact that it was spelled george waGGner caught my eye. I never thought much about it until I started watching some of the extras on the Universal Legacy Series dvd set of the classic horror film THE WOLF MAN with Lon Chaney Jr and I saw this name again...this time spelled George Waggner. I put two and two together and discovered that they were and are one the same. So, I wonder, why hasn't this man gotten the acclaim he deserves for helming the best ever of the werewolf films or the recognition that other notable horror film directors got...such as James Whale (FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE INVISIBLE MAN) or Tod Browning (DRACULA, FREAKS)? Is it because he continued to direct almost every or tv show that was offered him or because scandal seemed to elude him like Whale whose sexual persuasion, some say, ended his career prematurely or like Browning who's movie FREAKS is now a classic, but at the time cost him dearly professionally? waGGner should be mentioned in the same breath as Whale and Browning as he, like them, helmed one of Universal's major triumvirates of horror and produced a character that everyone is still interested in and still talking about some 70 years later.

waGGner did direct some other films of note...THE FIGHTING KENTUCKIAN with John Wayne sidekicked by Oliver Hardy (yes that Oliver Hardy) and OPERATION PACIFIC also with the Duke.

And kind of like waGGner the other great Universal horror director Karl Freund (The Mummy) went on to be involved with all kind of genres and ended up, like waGGner, doing episodic tv work...but in the great scheme of things Freund made more movies that are known today, than wagGGner, but as a cinematographer not as a director.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

STUNTMAN new book by Hal Needham

Just finished this book and was very disappointed in it....didn't really shed any new info on anything. Yeah, Hal takes credit for a lot of break-throughs in stunt work such as air cushions for high falls and trampolines and explosives set under steel plates to make people "blown up" look more realistic and he helped design a new camera car to film high speed chases, etc. He dwells a lot on his NASCAR racing team and gives himself credit for all the product placements now found on the cars and on the drivers' suits. But not enough anecdotes about the movies he directed and he says nothing at all about why he stopped directing. Some interesting tidbits on his quest to break the sound barrier on land. Don't get me to Yakima Canutt he probably is the next best stuntman ever. Just wish he'd given us more stories about his various film-tv projects. He did confirm that the Robert Klein director in HOOPER was based on Peter Bogdanovich whom he worked for on NICKELODEON. Hal said, in passing, that Jack Elam once turned down a tv series at Warner's because they wouldn't allow card playing on the set...wonder what series that was as Jack later starred in THE DAKOTAS for Warners?