Monday, October 31, 2016

Trivia Quiz! Twenty questions about 1978's Halloween:

(1) The film begins on what day?
a. Halloween 1963.
b. Michael Myers' birthday.
c. The day before Halloween 1963.
d. It's never said.

(2) When Dr. Loomis and the psychiatric nurse approach the Warren County Sanitarium, they are unable to enter the grounds. Why?
a. Escaped mental patients bar the way.
b. They don't even try, because they stop on the road long before getting to the main gate.
c. The gate is closed, and there is no guard.
d. Michael Myers attacks the car.

(3) The Strode house and the abandoned Myers house are how close together?
a. A couple of miles.
b. A couple of blocks.
c. Next door to one another.
d. Around the corner and a few houses down.

(4) Judith Myers is Michael's first victim in the film. Who is his second?
a. The Phelps Garage man.
b. Annie Brackett.
c. A dog.
d. Lynda Van Der Klok.

(5) Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Brackett investigate the abandoned Myers house and discover that Michael has been eating something. What did he eat?
a. Trash.
b. They never say.
c. A dog.
d. A can of soup over some Sterno.

(6) Lindsey Wallace and Tommy Doyle watch two different films during the night. What are these films?
a. The Mummy and Dracula.
b. Them! and Tarantula.
c. The Thing and Forbidden Planet.
d. The Wolf Man and Dracula.

(7) Tommy Doyle dressed up as what for Halloween?
a. A clown.
b. An astronaut.
c. A cowboy.
d. A doctor.

(8) Annie Brackett and Laurie Strode arrive at the Doyle house. The Wallace house is across the street. Michael Myers, driving the station wagon he stole from Dr. Loomis, parks in front of the Doyle house. Where is the station wagon seen next?
a. Almost in front of the Myers house.
b. Right where Michael left it.
c. In front of Paul's house.
d. In front of the Strode house.

(9) Annie goes to get her boyfriend, Paul. She goes to the garage, and then goes inside the house. Why does she go inside the house again?
a. She wanted to brush her hair.
b. She was cold and wanted a shawl.
c. She heard the phone ring.
d. The car door was locked, and she needed her keys.

(10) Michael Myers strangles Annie Brackett. How does he kill Bob Simms?
a. A hot iron to the face.
b. A hand in the toaster.
c. A knife alone.
d. Strangulation, then a knife.

(11) How many bodies does Laurie Strode discover in the bedroom of the Wallace house?
a. One.
b. Two.
c. Three.
d. Five.

(12) How many times does Laurie injure Michael Myers?
a. One.
b. Three.
c. None.
d. Four.

(13) Dr. Loomis tells Sheriff Brackett that the Myers house hasn't been lived in since.... when?
a. 1963, after Michael killed Judith.
b. 1971, when Dr. Loomis gave up trying to treat Michael.
c. 1964, a year after Judith died.
d. "A few years ago" (he doesn't make it any clearer than this).

(14) Dr. Loomis goes to the Haddonfield Cemetery to see the grave of Judith Myers. Who is buried next to her?
a. It's not shown.
b. Her parents, on either side of her.
c. Her mother, but not her father.
d. Two strangers (with the names of director "John Carpenter" and producer "Debra Hill").

(15) Dr. Loomis stops to use a pay phone to contact Sheriff Brackett on his way to Haddonfield. By sheer coincidence, he discovers the abandoned Phelps Garage truck nearby, and a matchbook from the "Rabbit in Red Lounge". But he misses another piece of evidence. What does he miss?
a. A dead body.
b. Michael's mental hospital robe.
c. A knife.
d. HA! He doesn't miss anything!

(16) At any time during the film, does Michael Myers ever get one of the children in his grasp?
a. Yes, he grabs Tommy Doyle in the house but lets go of him when he sees Laurie.
b. Yes, he grabs Lindsey in the bathroom but lets go of her when Tommy stomps on his foot.
c. No.
d. Yes, he grabs Richie as the boy runs out of school.

(17) Annie washes her clothes in the laundry room in the cottage. The door slams shut, and she is accidentally locked in. How many times did the door actually slam shut before it locked?
a. Twice.
b. Once.
c. It never slams shut; it closes quietly.
d. It never slams shut; she closes it when she enters the cottage.

(18) With great foresight, Michael Myers has blocked the kitchen doors in the Wallace house so that no one can get out the back way. What does he use to block the doors?
a. A table.
b. A chair.
c. A rake.
d. The dead body of the dog, Lester.

(19) After escaping the Wallace house, Laurie runs to the house next door while screaming for help. Is anyone home?
a. A light is on, but no one looks out.
b. No, the house is dark.
c. A light is on, and they look, but they shut the blinds again.
d. The house is dark, and she runs off -- only to have a light come on after she's gone.

(20) Michael Myers is strangling Laurie on the landing of the second floor of the Doyle house. Dr. Loomis saves Laurie by shooting Michael Myers. Michael staggers back into the bedroom, where Loomis shoots him again. How many times did Dr. Loomis shoot at Michael while Michael was on the landing?
a. Once.
b. Twice.
c. Three times.
d. Five times.

Answers behind the cut...........................................

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ah, Bel Ami... what would we do without you?

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that from 1855 to 1861, Jacques Jouvenal helped sculpt the capitals of the columns of the United States Capitol, then undergoing a major expansion?
I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that from 1855 to 1861, Jacques Jouvenal helped sculpt the capitals of the columns of the United States Capitol, then undergoing a major expansion?
19 days.

All American.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Secrets of The Exorcist -- REVEALED!

To create the effect of the words "help me" appearing on Regan's torso, special effects artist Dick Smith created a foam latex replica of actress Linda Blair's stomach. The words were then written on the latex using cleaning fluid. This caused the words to "rise up" out of the latex due to a chemical reaction. The words were then filmed. As the film ran, the words were heated with a blow dryer, causing them to deflate. When the film was run backwards, it appeared as though the words were rising out of Regan's skin.

For the scene where Regan's throat expands, a simple bladder was used beneath a latex appliance.

To achieve the effect of cold breath in Regan's bedroom, the bedroom set (20 feet on each side, with a 20 foot high ceiling) was insulated with 8 inches of fiberglass. Four cooling units, designed for use in meatpacking warehouses, hung from the soundstage rafters and cooled the set down to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. These $50,000 air conditioning units kept breaking down, causing extensive repair bills and delaying the shooting of the scenes for days on end. Even when they worked correctly, delays were common because the camera lights heated the room so much that shooting would have to be delayed so that the air could return to below freezing. It was so cold on the set that the crew had to wear parkas and gloves, and at time frost would appear on props and furniture.

There were three separate beds built to do three separate movements in the film. Each bed was made out of steel tubing, because the effects crew knew they would take a severe beating during production.
  • One version of the bed had a hydraulic brace fitted to a steel plate under the mattress. To make Regan appear to be sitting up and falling down in bed at high speed, actress Linda Blair was strapped tightly to the brace using a leather harness, and her costume placed over the brace and harness. The hydraulic brace forced Blair upright and back down every second. Her neck and head were allowed to flop around, as were her arms, to make the effect appear fluid. Run at slightly higher speed, the effect appears very violent. (Blair injured her upper back and neck during the filming of this effect, although the severity wasn't apparent until years later. She suffers from terrible spine problems to this day.)
  • For the "leaping bed" effect, a beam was attached to the steel headboard. This beam went through the wall behind the bed, where it was attached to some counterweights. With the bed slightly off the ground (supported by that headboard beam), crew on the other side of the wall then pulled on the counterweights -- causing the bed to rock violently side-to-side. (Essentially, the effect was "done in reverse": The bed was already in the air, and the effects team behind the wall were trying to pull it back down to the floor.)
  • For the slowly levitating bed effect, a steel beam was attached to the headboard and inserted through the wall. Behind the scenes, a forklift slowly raised and lowered the bed.
For the scenes in which Regan levitated, or where her body appeared to "leap" into the air, Blair was strapped to a board and simple piano wire attached to it. "Plucking" the piano wire behind the scenes caused her to leap up two or three inches and fall back; reels were used to make her rise up toward the ceiling in the exorcism scene. (You can see the wires in some DVD and VHS releases, although they were digitally removed for blu-ray.)

To achieve the effects of furniture moving across the floor, the bedroom set was actually built on gimbels. When tilted, the set literally threw people or furniture across the room.

The bedroom set also had a false ceiling. It was not attached to the walls, and could be literally pulled apart by winches behind the scenes. When Father Merrin first hits possessed Regan with holy water, the winches would activate and the ceiling would crack open.

The the head-turning? A radio-controlled mechanical body double. To ensure that the thing looked real, effects supervisor Marcel Vercoutere rode around Manhattan in the back seat of a taxicab with the thing in the back seat. Whenever they'd stop at a red light, he'd activate the head -- and if the people in the car behind screamed, he knew the effect worked.

But the film is best known for the power-vomiting scene.

To create this effect, 30-year-old stunt double Eileen Dietz was made up to look like Linda Blair. Smith created flattened tubes out of heat-formed plexiglass that ran from the corners of Dietz's mouth, across her cheeks, and behind her head. These connected to tubes running down her back and beneath the bed to pumps. In Dietz's mouth was a black tube (similar to the device a dentist uses to keep a patient's mouth open) that connected to the plexiglass at the corners of her mouth. A nozzle close to the center of Dietz's mouth spewed the "vomit". Dietz could barely swallow or close her mouth. The "vomit" was actually Andersen's pea soup, mixed with a little wet oatmeal. The crew tried Campbell's soup, but didn't like the effect. The effect was filmed.

The same pea soup mixture was loaded into a projector and aimed at actor Jason Miller ("Father Karras") to get his reaction shot. Friedkin told Miller the mixture would hit him in the chest, but the aim was wrong and it hit Miller directly in the face. Miller's reaction was so good, Friedkin kept it in the final film.

Once the film got into editing, Friedkin became unhappy with the look of the vomiting scene. So the footage of Dietz was junked! Instead, Vercoutere quietly filmed new footage of a thicker pea soup mixture in his garage. A shot of Linda Blair miming the vomit action was also filmed, and the two images composited together. In stills, you can see that the vomit does not come from the center of Blair's mouth but from just inside the cheek -- because the angles of the shots were every so slightly off.

During the 50th anniversary celebrations for Star Trek, a lot of people made claims that Lucille Ball not only "created" but also "saved" the show.

No, I don't think so. Lucille Ball had a lot less to do with Star Trek than people think. In their book Inside Star Trek, executive in charge of production Herb Solow and co-poducer Robert H. Justman talk about how Lucy really didn't know what Star Trek was and didn't have much to do with the show.

When Solow was hired, Lucy told him "I'm just the girl from Stage 12." (Stage 12 is where The Lucy Show was filmed.) She made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with running the studio, and that she'd had no experience doing so. She'd relied heavily on her husband, Desi Arnaz, to run the business side of things. But Lucy and Desi had divorced in 1960, and Lucy bought out Desi's interest in Desilu in November 1962. Lucy may have occasionally relied on Desi (with whom she remained friends) for personal business advice, but the studio was going to be run by Oscar Katz and Herb Solow. (Katz was a producer whom Desilu had hired to be Executive Vice-President for Production. But since Katz had little in the way of television experience, that meant Solow.)

In 1963, CBS had given Lucy a $600,000 TV pilot develpment fund out of gratitude for what she'd done for the network with I Love Lucy and then The Lucy Show. By that time, Desilu was almost moribund, with just two series in production -- You Don't Say! (a game show entering its fourth season), and The Lucy Show (entering its fifth season). (A bunch of other programs -- The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, USMC, I Spy, and Hogan's Heroes -- all filmed on the Desilu lot, however.) The studio was dilapidated, antiquated, and small. To try to generate some production, Desilu signed a deal with Ashley-Famous, a talent agency that represented writers. In March 1964, Ashley-Famous sent Gene Roddenberry to meet with Solow. Roddenberry's existing series, The Lieutenant starring Gary Lockwood, had just been cancelled by NBC. Roddenberry had a 16-page treatment for a science fiction series he called Star Trek, and Solow committed to it on the spot.

As is well-known, Roddenberry next set up a meeting with CBS without Desilu assistance, and fucked it up. CBS passed on the show. (Star Trek was not very original. Television had been littered with outer space exploration shows throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.) In early May, Solow set up a meeting with friends at NBC, which included future network head Grant Tinker. NBC agreed to consider the pilot.

Roddenberry now began writing a script for a pilot. An outline was ready by the end of June, and a first draft by mid-September. A final draft was ready for pre-production by the middle of October. As usual, Solow gave all Desilu executives -- including Lucille Ball -- a copy of the script for the Star Trek pilot, "The Menagerie". Months later, Solow was in Lucy's dressing room and saw the script laying exactly where she'd put it down months earlier. Unread. As per her agreement, Lucy allowed Solow to run the studio with carte blanche.

Work on "The Menagerie" was finished in December 1964 and shown to NBC, but the network wanted changes. So a second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", was produced and completed in in January 1966. NBC approved it the following month.

Solow met with the Desilu board members in April 1966 to discuss the studio's slate of productions for the coming year. The board included Lucy herself; Mickey Rudin, Lucy's personal attorney; Art Manella, Lucy's tax attorney; Katz; Ed Holly, Desilu's Vice president for finances; Argie Nelson, Desilu's Vice President for production; Fred Ball, Lucy's brother; and Bernie Weitzman, Desilu's Vice President for business affairs. Lucy was chairman of the board, but she was content (Solow says) to let her executives make the decisions. She might ask an occasional question, but that was all. Nevertheless, once her executives reached a decision, it was her job to approve or not. She'd nod her head, yes or no, and that was that.

NBC had agreed to paid Desilu just $160,000 per episode of Star Trek, but each episode was going to cost $200,000. Desilu was going to lose money on the series. The board had to approve these losses, which the studio hoped to make up in syndication sales, merchandising, and so on. But that came later: Right now, Desilu would lose money. That was a problem, because Desilu also had a second, expensive series which CBS had purchased: Mission: Impossible.

Solow met privately with Lucy before the board meeting. He knew that most of the board opposed greenlighting these two series, on which they'd lose a lot of cash. So Solow laid it on the line: You've got a hit show, you've got fame, you've got other shows renting your studio. You've got the money. And if we keep things just the way they are, you'll do fine. But don't you want to rebuild Desilu's prestige? Don't you want to make it into a major player?

Rudin and Weitzman supported Star Trek. Holly and Nelson didn't. Fred Ball and Art Manella didn't involved themselves in the debate. Katz, as COO of Desilu, had no say. So the decision was up to Lucille Ball, and Lucy approved production on Star Trek.

At the next board meeting three months later, Lucy asked Solow "about that celebrity variety show". Solow was taken aback; had there been a memo or meeting he'd missed? Lucy, sensing his surprise, said, "Yes, the one where all my old friends from Hollywood are going to show up. The one set in the south Pacific." Solow stammered out something about how that show didn't sound familiar. "You know the one," Lucy said, annoyed. "Star Trek. The show where the movie stars in the USO go across the Pacific during World War II and entertain troops and have adventures."

Solow said everything was fine, and the meeting ended. He later had a private discussion with Lucy to bring her up to speed on what Star Trek was. She listened, and thanked him. Meeting over.

After that, Lucy rarely got involved with Star Trek. On one occasion, she blew her top. During the second season, Nichelle Nichols had been found naked under Roddenberry's desk. At a staff party, Nichols showed up in a tennis sweater and nothing else. Her behavior and affair with Roddenberry were scandalous. But she wasn't the only one having an affair with Roddenberry, who was a well-known lothario and who had had a number of sexual encounters with women in his office, on the set, and elsewhere. When Lucy learned about this, she went ballistic. Solow and Justman had to reign in Roddenberry (a married man with two daughters). On another occasion, Lucy pestered Justman about Green Stamps. It seems her husband, comedian Gary Morton, had seen Star Trek crew and actors using the Shell gas station across the street. She didn't understand the studio, but she understood what Green Stamps were -- and wanted Desilu to be collecting them.

Lucy didn't like that Star Trek lost money. She was furious about it. But what could she do?

In February 1967, Gulf + Western announced they were buying Desilu. The sale closed on July 27, 1967. Star Trek had seen its first season come to a close, and NBC had ordered a second season.

But Lucy had nothing to do with "saving Star Trek". Rumors about NBC's desire to cancel the show didn't begin until December 1967, long after Lucy was gone. NBC renewed the series for a third season on on March 1, 1968.
20 days...

Sunday, October 9, 2016


October 31 is the day.

So, what intrigues me about this guy is how boyish and square his face is, how aquiline the nose, how thin the mouth. And yet, he's got those mega-broad shoulders, lats that astonish, and muscle to last all day long.

It's coming! Just 22 days...

YAY!! My wrist is better! I injured it almost six weeks ago, and while a lot of healing had occurred it didn't allow me to do much typing. it was as if I had carpal tunnel syndrome: If I typed or moved my mouse for more than just 10 minutes, I had such incredible pain in the wrist that I couldn't continue.

But now it's better!
Dorm room follies.