Wednesday, August 20, 2014

RANKIN/BASS' RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER 50th ANNIVERSARY BLU RAY and DVD



Speaking of BLU RAYs, I have been getting many angry emails about a recent posting at www.blu-ray.com  about the BONUS CONTENT for the upcoming BLU RAY of RANKIN/BASS' RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER.  I know it is disappointing and I can assure you, I had nothing to do with it at all.  Many people ask:  What is the best release of RANKIN/BASS' RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER to date and I always tell them the one that came out around 2001 issued by GOLDEN BOOKS FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT.   Why?  They enlisted the help of Arthur Rankin, Jr. and myself and did everything right.  The cover featured the name of the creators...RANKIN/BASS and a 4 x 5" transparency I lent GOLDEN BOOKS of an actual photograph of RANKIN/BASS' RUDOLPH (Which they credited myself on the back).  I believe the cover photo that is being used today, is a heavily altered version of my original photograph, that no longer represents the RANKIN/BASS RUDOLPH well. 

     The content featured on this disc includes an introduction/documentary featuring Arthur Rankin, Jr. and many of my photographs (properly credited) that runs for about 10 minutes.   Apparently, this is the closest we are going to get to a BEHIND-THE-SCENES documentary.  Why?  I have no idea.  When CLASSIC MEDIA removed the RANKIN/BASS name from the front of the cover in 2003, Arthur Rankin insisted they remove this introduction.   The DVD also features  a wonderful NBC PROMO from 1965 right off of the master.  This disc also features the famous "Fame and Fortune" segment re-mastered as well.  This is the BEST version released to date and worth seeking out.



     You can also find it in a wonderful RANKIN/BASS box set!  The FROSTY THE SNOWMAN DVD also features a wonderful introduction from the late/great ARTHUR RANKIN, JR. with wonderful insight as to why he chose linear animation for FROSTY Plus a RARE FROSTY THE SNOWMAN pencil test.

     I have a friend, Gary Matheson, that located the original 1964 ending and credits for RANKIN/BASS' RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER IN-COLOR in early 2014.  I reached out and attempted to help with the 50th Anniversary release back in August of 2013 and again in June of 2014.  I was told that fans don't like "Long, boring documentaries."  They like pop up books and sing-a-longs.   That is not what my emails are telling me right now....not at all.

FOLLOW THAT DREAM : ELVIS PRESLEY GOLD



I agree with Julie Kirgo (who wrote the liner notes for the BLU RAY) when she said:  "It's a relaxed, charming, unforced performance-One of Presley's very best."  



The film looks magnificent on BLU RAY and is truly one of Elvis' best!  Very funny and well acted.   The soundtrack is GREAT and I was surprised to read that Elvis requested the song "Sound Advice" to be kept off of the EP (It was later issued on an LP), because it is one of my favorites!   Elvis had many winners mixed into his movie career :  KING CREOLE, VIVA LAS VEGAS, LOVING YOU, ROUSTABOUT are some of my favorites.   This film is special.  Watch the speech that Elvis carries off in the court room towards the end of the film.  It wasn't an easy role to pull off.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A WALT DISNEY TREASURE!


This BLU RAY is far superior than anything that is produced by DISNEY today...yet it is NOT carried in THE DISNEY STORE (They have it on their website BUT what happened to THE DISNEY STORE???).  WALMART carries it BUT if you call TARGET, they have no idea what you are talking about :)
In short, the GREAT Disney animation isn't being promoted and the awful stuff is :)  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1979 Chex Cereals TV commercial (animation by Jack Davis)

THE MARX BROTHERS TV COLLECTION




I have no complaints with THE MARX BROTHERS TV COLLECTION (SHOUT FACTORY) BUT it probably should have included RANKIN/BASS' THE MAD, MAD, MAD COMEDIANS.   I do have it on DVD, but it would have been a nice addition to put on the fourth disc (only available from SHOUT directly).  Arthur Rankin always told me how much Groucho liked THE MARX BROTHERS segment of the special.  The one way you could still bring the comedy team back together in 1970, was through animation.  Paul Frees did the voice of Chico for the RANKIN/BASS special, which Groucho also liked.   I read in the booklet of this DVD set that FILMATION did a pilot of THE MARX BROTHERS in 1966.  I would love to see that.  It doesn't state if Groucho did his own voice, as he did in the RANKIN/BASS TV special.



Just a few weeks ago, I watched their last film LOVE HAPPY and enjoyed it!  OLIVE FILMS recently released it on DVD and BLU RAY.   I always liked Harpo's scenes on the roof top.  I think the film gets a bad wrap.   No, it is not their BEST work BUT it is still entertaining.





Hours and hours of GREAT MARX BROTHERS TV stuff in this DVD set!  After watching the first disc, I thought if this was all they could find...that would have made me happy!   Now I am into disc two and am so impressed with how many great things SHOUT FACTORY brought together for this set!   AMAZING! SHOUT FACTORY offers the four disc version, while AMAZON only has the three.


I had to pull out my HARPO CD :)