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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Chick-a-boom, chick-a-boom

The Temptations work out on “I Can’t Get Next to You”.

This one also impresses.

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Don LaFontaine, the man of a thousand trailers, died yesterday.

His voice is familiar to us all, but he also got a little screen time in a recent GEICO commercial.

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Jerry Reed, 1937-2008

Jerry Reed, best known for his role as Snowman in “Smokey and the Bandit,” died yesterday.

“Smokey and the Bandit” is a great and timeless comedy. It’s still hilarious after 30 years, in large part because of Reed’s good ol’ boy character.

The theme song from that movie, Reed’s “East Bound and Down”, is available on iTunes, and I highly recommend it.

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During the summers when I was a kid, I would watch two old television shows every weekday: Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone. The first one would have been no surprise: I loved mysteries and puzzles, and had an unhealthy fascination with Los Angeles. The latter one, though…I have always steered clear of things (roller coasters, horror movies) that I thought would scare the hell out me, and The Twilight Zone gave me nightmares for years and years and years.

The Twilight Zone appealed to me, though, because it made me think. It taught me irony. It taught me tolerance. It taught me how to see events from multiple perspectives. It taught me to be so careful for what I wish, lest I get it good and hard.

But above all, I liked Rod Serling. I used to imitate his mannerisms and his clipped way of speaking. When in a certain mood, I still love to write the way he spoke—in bitten-off phrases punctuated with semi-colons. In retrospect, it’s a miracle I didn’t take up smoking.

Here’s Rod Serling just before his prime, introducing a new television series called The Twilight Zone to the people who would sell ads for it.

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A charming video of the Getz/Gilberto version of “The Girl from Ipanema”.

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“My Winnipeg”

The pseudo-documentary “My Winnipeg” is playing at the Hollywood Theatre. One of the film’s recurring themes is sleepwalking, which might explain why I fell asleep while watching it.

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“Sputnik Mania”

I watched the documentary “Sputnik Mania” at the Hollywood Theatre this afternoon. Using contemporary audio and video clips, the film tells the story of how the United States responded to the launching of the two Soviet Sputnik satellites in 1957.

The documentary is a skillful series of dated vignettes, each one related to the main theme and connected to the other vignettes, but each a small separate story of its own as well. The film clips the director included fascinated me—they were a view into another time, similar to our own yet distinctly alien. I especially enjoyed the clips of President Eisenhower, demonstrating his crafty command of language.

The showing I attended was the last in Portland, sad to say. The film’s website can help you find out whether it will come to your town.

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