Sunday, May 22, 2022

Announcing The MGM Blogathon!

Get Ready to Roar! 

To celebrate one of the greatest film studios of Hollywood, the grand-daddy of them all, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Silver Scenes will be hosting The MGM Blogathon that will take place right smack In the Good Ol' Summertime - June 26-28th, 2022

It will be a three-day event celebrating the great stars, character actors, films, and behind-the-scenes personnel from the golden age of MGM: 1925-1959. Between these years when Leo the Lion heralded a film, audiences knew they were in for a treat. 

From the fledgling days of MGM, through the wonder years of Irving Thalberg, on up until the collapse of the studio system in the late 1950s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer made its mark in the film industry with quality productions, a galaxy of stars covering all ages, and publicity campaigns that were like no other. Poignant romances ( Waterloo Bridge, Camille ), ambitious spectacles ( Marie Antionette, The Good Earth ), and entertaining musicals ( Rose Marie, Million Dollar Mermaid ) shot out of the studio at lightning speed and set the mark for other studios to follow. 

As has often been noted, MGM never made a "B" film. There were secondary flicks such as The Thin Man or Calling Dr. Kildare, but no matter how low the budget, all films proudly bore the MGM stamp of excellence. A studio with such standards deserves a whale of a good celebration and what better way to celebrate than through the written word.

The MGM Blogathon will take place during that Strange Interlude between the start of summer and the Fourth of July: June 26-28th. You can submit as many posts as you'd like for we'll be gathering a Random Harvest of MGM-themed articles. And, just to show we have Sporting Blood, we're going to select a random participating blogger and award them with an original vintage MGM photo from the Silverbanks Pictures Archives.


Note: Only posts submitted between June 26-28th will be eligible for the award.

Are there any rules to this blogathon? Heck no! Listen Darling, you can write about any topic you want just so long as it has to do with MGM. If you want to write about an experience/memory watching an MGM film that is alright too. But since it's going to be a Big Parade and we'd like to cut down on the Greed, we have this one request to make: no two participants can write about the same film or star. Make your choices quickly then, for when a topic is gone, it's Gone with the Wind.

Why, we're so generous with the rules that if you want to join in on the fun AFTER the blogathon ends, you're welcome! If Winter Comes and we're still getting submissions we'll be happy. There are no Forbidden Hours nor forbidden bloggers. All are welcome...the Bad and the Beautiful, Freaks, and even Laughing Sinners. No Invitation is needed, no topic is Too Hot to Handle and there are No Questions Asked ( but all will be answered ). We want to create a spot for classic film fans to find great posts on their favorite MGM films, all in one place. The celebration will be lasting all year long!

If you want to join in on the fun: just click on the comment box below and leave your name, blog site and the topic you would like to write about. You can also email us at silverbankspictures at gmail ( you know the rest ).

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced some of the greatest films in cinema's history; featured more stars than there were in the heavens; and had some of the most talented directors, producers, screenwriters, and technicians the world has ever known....but just in case you can't think of any ideas at the moment, here are some suggestions:


Stars: Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Van Johnson, Frank Sinatra, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, Mickey Rooney, Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner, Robert Taylor, Jane Powell, John Barrymore, Lon Chaney, Spencer Tracy, Fred Astaire, Myrna Loy, William Powell, Jean Harlow, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy.


Films: The Women, Gigi, Ben-Hur, Singin' in the Rain, When Ladies Meet, A Date with Judy, Mogambo, Mrs. Miniver, Elephant Walk, National Velvet, State of the Union, The Three Musketeers, Daddy Long Legs, An American in Paris, Chained, Dinner at Eight, Manhattan Melodrama, Queen Christina, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Grand Hotel, He Who Gets Slapped, Naughty Marietta, Waterloo Bridge, Camille, The Good Earth.

Series: Andy Hardy, Tarzan, Maisie, The Thin Man, The Little Rascals, The Fast Series, Dr. Kildare, Tom and Jerry, Lassie.

Behind-the-Scenes: Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg, Douglas Shearer, William Tuttle, Cedric Gibbons, Helen Rose, Dorothy Jeakins, James Wong Howe, Natalie Kalmus, Victor Fleming, Clarence Brown, Busby Berkeley, George Cukor, Arthur Hornblow Jr., Irving Berlin.
 
Wikipedia also has a small sampling of MGM films listed here, and if you really want to be The Prince of Adventurers then you can head on over to IMDB.com and stay up to The Thirteenth Hour perusing their list of MGM titles.

_______________________________________

Now that you've heard the Good News, it's time to Get Happy and join The Band Wagon! Beg, Borrow, and Steal an idea if you have to ( although we don't recommend stealing Personal Property ) but let's celebrate this monumental studio in style!

Banners are available below, so please post them on your site and help promote this roaring good event!

BANNERS : 






Saturday, May 21, 2022

Dell Movie Classics: The Lost World ( 1960 )

In the 1950s, Dell Comics launched a fantastic movie tie-in series that featured comic books of current hit films. The majority of the titles they chose for this series were aimed at children, so Walt Disney titles often graced the cover of their comics, but also a good number of action and adventure films ( e.g. Hatari, Dr. Who and the Daleks, Jason and the Argonauts ). One favorite was Irwin Allen's The Lost World ( #1145 ).

This colorful comic cost a mere 10 cents when it was first released in 1960 and featured color photos from the film on the cover as well as black-and-white photos on the inside cover. The comic story follows the film quite closely and boasts some great artwork by Gil Kane. 

David Hedison and Jill St. John don't quite look like their normal selves, but he captured a good likeness of the dinosaur lizards mauling each other. 

Today, this comic sells for $20-$50 which may be a bit steep for the casual film fan, but if you are an Irwin Allen enthusiast, then it is well worth the buy. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Film Albums: The Great Race : Music from the Film ( 1965 )


Blake Edward's classic zany comedy The Great Race featured a great cast of actors ( Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, etc ), great location filming, great set design, AND a great soundtrack....by none other than Henry Mancini. This talented composer was at his peak in the 1960s and, as is evident by the prominence of his name on the cover of this album, was a top-selling recording artist in the music industry. 

Mancini's score for this film is as memorable as the movie itself and as you listen to this soundtrack recording you'll find yourself mentally picturing all the scenes in the movie. Hans Fantel's liner notes succinctly describe the score as a musical "slapstick memoir of an era when motorcars always backfired and all the bands went oom-pah!" 

Track Listing: 


Side One: 

Overture (He Shouldn't-A Hadn't-A, Oughtn't-a Swang On Me!; The Sweetheart Tree (Choral); The Great Race March) (03:35)

Push the Button, Max! (02:52)

The Royal Waltz (01:37)

Night, Night Sweet Prince (02:58)

They're Off! (01:28)

Side Two:

The Sweetheart Tree (Choral) (01:55)

The Great Race March (A Patriotic Medley) (01:48)

He Shouldn't-A, Hadn't-A, Ought'n'T-A Swang On Me (03:05)
    Vocal by Special Guest Star Dorothy Provine

Music To Become King By (02:33)

Cold Finger (02:24)

Pie-In-The Face Polka (02:21)

Top Music Picks: Overture, The Sweetheart Tree, He Shouldn't-a, Hadn't-a, Ought'nt-a Swang on Me

The Sweetheart Tree is an especially lovely piece with lyrics by the legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer. The choral version not only features wonderful vocals but a great player piano intro. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

From the Archives: Paula Prentiss in "Man's Favorite Sport?"


This beautiful headshot of Paula Prentiss was taken to publicize the Universal film "Man's Favorite Sport?", which was released in 1964. Paula played alongside Rock Hudson in this fun comedy set at a campground in California. 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store : http://stores.ebay.com/Silverbanks-Pictures

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Classic Horse Racing Comedies

It's that time of year...the grass is growing green, the magnolias are in bloom - and the horses are racing! Look at 'em go! 

A Mother's Day Weekend tradition, the 148th Kentucky Derby once again takes place this evening so why not get in the spirit of this classic American tradition by watching some horse racing films? In a previous post, we've shared our top picks of the 1940s and 1950s, but this time around we are going to stick with the funnies. Betting on the horses can be frustrating but it also makes great fodder for comedy. Here are our winning sillies about fillies: 

Three Men on a Horse ( 1936 ) - Frank McHugh stars as a meek salesman who has an uncanny ability to pick horses. For that skill alone, a group of gamblers decides that he's a man worth kidnapping. Joan Blondell and Guy Kibbee also star in this Mervyn LeRoy film. 

A Day at the Races ( 1937 ) - This certainly ranks as one of the wildest comedies about the track - and who best to star in it than a trio of real-life horse betters : The Marx Brothers! In this classic Groucho plays a veterinarian posing as a doctor who, with the help of a misfit racehorse, tries to save a New York sanitarium from bankruptcy. 

Straight Place and Show ( 1938 ) - If you thought A Day at the Races was zany, then check out the Ritz Brothers. Their comedy routines weren't as rollicking as the Marx Brothers, but it is still a good rule not to eat peanuts while you watch. In this picture, they take up jobs as wrestlers to raise money to help a young man train his first racehorse. 

Scattergood Rides High ( 1942 ) - Guy Kibbee starred in a whole slew of Scattergood films during the 1940s, so naturally the small-town philosopher ended up eventually visiting a horse farm. Jed Prouty and Dorothy Moore also star in this 4th entry in the series. 

It Ain't Hay ( 1943 ) - Bud Abbott and Lou Costello often used their own material, but on occasion they resorted to an old script, which was the case with this film. Princess O'Hara ( 1935 ) was a Jean Parker/Chester Morris comedy that perfectly suited the hijinks of the Universal boys. Lou plays a street vendor who finds his nag has been replaced with a thoroughbred. In no time at all, he is off to the tracks!

So You Want to Play the Horses ( 1946 ) - This one isn't a feature film, but a gem of a short film that can't be passed up while we are mentioning horse racing comedies. George O'Hanlon made an excellent series of "So You Want to...." comedy shorts featuring his Joe McDoakes character, and this one covers the ins and outs of the betting game.  

The Fabulous Suzanne ( 1946 ) - This amusing Republic quickie features a young Barbara Britton ( best remembered for playing the scatter-brained Mrs. Brown in the television series My Favorite Martian ) as a waitress with a surefire "system" for winning at the racetrack. Otto Kruger and Rudy Vallee also star.

Easy Come, Easy Go ( 1947 ) - Also known as Easily Seen, Easily Forgotten.....but while you watch it is fun. This Sonny Tufts comedy features one of the largest Irish casts in any film - Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields, Frank McHugh, and Allen Jenkins to name just a few. Frank Faylan and Diana Lynn also star.

The Return of October ( 1948 ) - This is a silly but engaging family comedy about a trainer ( James Gleason ) who loved horses so much that he swore he would come back to life as a horse. His niece ( Terry Moore ) believes he did just that and Professor Bassett ( Glenn Ford ) finds her to be an excellent subject for his upcoming thesis.

Sorrowful Jones ( 1949 ) - Sorrowful Jones may sound like the name of a horse, but it is really Bob Hope's character, who is a cheap bookie who is stuck playing nursemaid to a little girl after a man leaves her as a marker for a bet. Lucille Ball also stars in this comedy and the twosome of Hope and Ball were reunited in three more films, including Fancy Pants just a year later.

Francis Goes to the Races ( 1951 )
- Francis may be a mule, but he enjoys a good race just like any horse. Here, Francis gives Peter ( Donald O'Connor ) some hot insider tips "straight from the horse's mouth" that come in handy when Peter attempts to help his gal ( Piper Laurie ) and her grandfather repay debts they owe to a racketeer.

Money from Home ( 1953 ) - If Abbott and Costello can make a racing picture, so can Martin and Lewis. This one has veternarian Virgil ( Jerry Lewis ) donning a jockey outfit and racing to the finish on an underdog, much to the surprise of Dean Martin, Mara Corday and Pat Crowley.

The March Hare ( 1956 ) - This colorful British comedy is set in Ireland and stars Cyril Cusack as a drink-loving trainer who whispers a "magic word", obtained from the fairy queen, to his horse before each big race. A sideline romance between Terence Morgan and Peggy Cummins, and a slew of great British character actors ( Martita Hunt, Wilfred Hyde White ), make this a gem.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Way Down Cellar ( 1968 )

Three boys discover a secret tunnel under the vacant lot where they practice football and find that it leads to the old Burden house, where a gang of crooks is printing counterfeit money. 

Butch Patrick stars in Way Down Cellar, a made-for-tv movie that first aired on Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color in 1968. Butch was an established star of The Munsters and, when the series ended in 1966, he continued to have guest star roles in television series like I Dream of Jeannie, Gunsmoke, and Family Affair. This was one of two television films that Butch made for Walt Disney Studios that year, the other being The Young Loner

In Way Down Cellar, Butch Patrick plays Frank Wilson, a new boy in town, who quickly finds two chums, Beans and Skeeter ( Sheldon Collins, Lindy Davis ), who share his passion for flag football. The boys like to practice on the vacant lot next to the Burden house even though they know that the new owner of the place, Ethan Markus ( Ben Wright ), is rather mean and takes their footballs. When one of the boys accidentally falls into a trap in the ground, they discover an old tunnel dating back to the Revolutionary War that leads right to the basement of the Burden house. There they hear strange noises and bravely decide to investigate one evening when their parents are away....unfortunately, their snooping leads to capture!

Many of the films that were made for The Wonderful World of Color were aimed at a juvenile audience but entertained adults as well. Way Down Cellar is rather short on adult entertainment but it includes all the elements that you would want to see in a children's mystery - a secret tunnel, an intelligent crook ( with a bumbling sidekick ), some engaging lead characters, and a simple plot. 

The film was based on a book by Philip Strong ( State Fair ) which Herman Groves adapted for the screen. He did a lot of work for Disney, including the more engaging juvenile classic - Alvin the Magnificent aka The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton ( 1973 )

Way Down Cellar was shot on the Walt Disney Studio backlot so Disney fans will recognize familiar houses that reappeared in other Disney films. Car enthusiasts would also enjoy seeing the 1966 Lincoln Continental that one of the counterfeiters drive. 

Ben Wright is great as Ethan Markus, the elegant crook, but the best performance is by Richard Bakalyan, a favorite Disney character actor. Also in the cast is Frank McHugh as the sheriff, Grace Lee Whitney ( Yeoman Rand on Star Trek ), and David McLean as Frank's dad, Professor Wilson. 

Way Down Cellar is yet another film that Disney has yet to release on DVD or via streaming, but you can catch it here, thanks to a generous fan. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Is this screenshot impossibly difficult or is this super-simple to identify? It depends on if the film this scene is from is one of your favorites - in our house it certainly is!

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

GAME OVER. 

Congratulations to Damsbo for correctly identifying this screenshot as being from "Murder Most Foul" ( 1964 ) starring Margaret Rutherford. This scene is near the finale. The police and actors are entering the back stage door when Eric Francis pops his head out the window. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Check it Out! - Rare TV Show Releases from VEI

Visual Entertainment Inc. has released a number of rare television shows of the 1970s on DVD and they are currently running a great sale on these discs. You can pick up the complete series of The Protectors or The Persuaders for only $2.50, the complete collection of Angie for $5, or grab Henry Fonda's short-lived sitcom The Smith Family for $10. 

While any of these series are good, what is most exciting is seeing Bill Bixby's 1973 series The Magician finally get a release. MeTV posted an article several years ago about this series and the reasons why it should have lasted longer than one season. You can read the full article here. Needless to say, it is well worth checking out the series. 

VEI also released DVD sets of the short-lived sci-fi series The Immortal ( 1970 ) starring Christopher George, the 1971 Emmy-Awarding series Longstreet ( featuring James Franciscus as a blind insurance investigator ), and Barry Newman's legal drama Petrocelli ( 1974 ). All we need to wait for now is The New Perry Mason and Nanny and the Professor to get their own DVD releases. 

Check out Visual Entertainment Inc's complete television lineup at their website here

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Film Albums: Inspired Themes from the Inspired Movies - The Fantastic Strings of Felix Slatkin

 
Inspired Themes from the Inspired Movies is our featured film album of the month. This is a really beautiful album to listen to and, as the title suggests, it showcases music from "inspired" films. "Religious films" could have been used in the title instead, but perhaps sales would not have been so good. Nevertheless, it is music from popular religious films of the 1950s and 1960s, lovingly performed by maestro Felix Slatkin. If you like lush string music and sweeping love themes sung with choral backings, then this is an album not to be missed. The arrangements are exquisite. We heard these themes so many times, my sister and I can recognize them from their first notes......and just about anyone can recognize the opening strains of Nepheridi's Theme from The Ten Commandments ( music by Elmer Bernstein ). 

Track Listing 

Side One: 

The Song of Delilah - Samson and Delilah

Love Theme from "El Cid" - El Cid

Forever Yours - A Man Called Peter

Theme from "Francis of Assisi" - Francis of Assisi

"The Prodigal" Love Theme - The Prodigal

Theme from "King of Kings" - King of Kings

Side Two: 

Nepheridi's Theme - The Ten Commandments

The Song of Bernadette - The Song of Bernadette

Love Theme from "Ben-Hur" - Ben-Hur

Rapture of Love - David and Bathsheba

Love Theme from "Quo Vadis" - Quo Vadis

Love Theme from "The Robe" - The Robe


Top Music Picks: The Ten Commandments, A Man Called Peter, Love Theme from Ben-Hur, Love Theme from The Robe. 

You can pick up this album on eBay for around $5 or, if you are lucky enough to find it at a second-hand store, for even cheaper. But for now, have a listen to The Robe on Youtube. 

Happy Easter! 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Titanic ( 1953 )

On April 15th, 1912, in the early morning hours, the luxury liner RMS Titanic sank in the waters of the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. Over 1,500 passengers perished in one of the worst ocean disasters in history. Today marks the 110th anniversary of this tragic event, and so we'll be reviewing one of the many films that were made about the Titanic. 

Jean Negulesco's Oscar-nominated drama Titanic ( 1953 ) was not the first film telling of the famous tragedy, but it certainly ranks as one of the best with its lush setting and star-studded cast. Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck star as an unhappily married couple who struggle with family issues onboard the Titanic. These issues suddenly don't seem very serious when they face perishing in the icy waters. Traveling with them is their daughter Annette ( Audrey Dalton ), a young and beautiful socialite, and their son Norman ( Harper Carter ), a bright lad who is devoted to his father. Julia ( Barbara Stanwyck ) thinks her husband Richard is an elegant snob with very little character and sees that their children are becoming just as pompous as he, so she is whisking them off to America to get them away from the European society environment they are used to. Richard boldly sneaks onboard the ship and connives to lure the children back but when the iceberg hits the Titanic, he realizes their safety is more important than anything else. 

The story of this family may be fictional but it plays out within a framework of facts. The opening sequence states that "All navigational details of this film - conversations, incidents, and general data - are taken verbatim from the published reports of inquiries held in 1912 by the Congress of the United States and the British Board of Trade."

Titanic was one of 20th Century Fox's top productions of 1953 and it is clearly evident that all involved did their research in making the film historically accurate. The RMS Titanic sets are so meticulously crafted that the ship itself takes the center spotlight in every scene. Stanwyck probably never dreamt that she would have to vie with set props for the audience's attention. 

Lyle Wheeler, Maurice Ransford, and Stuart Reiss won an Academy Award nomination for their work on the film's art and set direction, and must be applauded for their marvelous special effects too, which included the sinking of a 22-foot model of the liner. 

Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch penned a great tear-inducing script that holds your attention from the start. It is amazing how much drama is packed into this picture considering its runtime is half the length of James Cameron's 1997 telling of the Titanic.  

The film also boasts a stellar cast of supporting players and character actors including a young and handsome Robert Wagner, Richard Basehart, Brian Aherne as the ship's Captain Smith, Thelma Ritter in a "Molly Brown"-ish role, Allyn Joslyn and Frances Bergen. 


Titanic is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and through streaming via Tubi. You can also watch it for free online at Tubitv.com

Friday, April 8, 2022

Hawaiian Eye to Air on Decades TV

Each weekend, the Decades TV channel picks one television show and airs it back-to-back in a weekend marathon. Usually, the shows they pick can be seen on other channels so watching a marathon of a popular series isn't all that special, but occasionally they unearth some not-so-frequently seen series, e.g. The Time Tunnel. This weekend, they really delved into the land of forgotten television shows and came up with a winner - Hawaiian Eye

This detective show premiered in 1959 on ABC and ran for four seasons before it was canceled in 1963. Anthony Eisley starred as private investigator Tracy Steele who operated a detective agency in Honolulu with his partner Tom ( Robert Conrad ). Usually, their cases involved security services in connection with the Hawaiian Village Hotel, one of their clients. Cricket Blake ( Connie Stevens ), who works at the hotel as a photographer/singer, helps them on occasion, as does cab driver Kim Quisado ( Poncie Ponce ). Later, when Eisley left the series, Troy Donahue and Grant Williams joined the Hawaiian Eye agency. 

The Decades TV marathon of Hawaiian Eye begins tomorrow at 12pm EST and will cover the entire first season of the series as well as part of the second season, ending Sunday at midnight. Since Hawaiian Eye has not yet been released on DVD and is unavailable through any streaming channel, be sure to tune in this weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

From the Archives: Maverick ( 1957 )

 

James Garner is pictured here with Diane Brewster in a scene from "According to Hoyle", an early episode in Garner's popular western television series Maverick. Some of you may remember Diane Brewster as Miss Canfield, Beaver's first teacher, in Leave it to Beaver

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store : http://stores.ebay.com/Silverbanks-Pictures

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Film Albums - A New Series

Since it is the beginning of April - and we just began the spring season - it seems an appropriate time to begin a new series here on Silver Scenes. This is a fun one called Film Albums where we will introduce a different film or television-related album dating from the 1950s-1980s. Judging from the number of albums I have discovered in the last few months, it should run for a very long time!

As far back as I can remember ( meaning the baby-food-age ), I have always loved listening to record albums on our stereo consel. My sister and I were introduced to the wonderful world of LPs when we were wee youngsters and we have many fond memories of dancing to the music of Enoch Light and Herb Alpert or enjoying the ballads of Frank Sinatra, Earl Grant, and Ed Ames before we even knew who these singers were. When we reached our teens, we began buying our own albums to add to the family collection and picked up dozens at second-hand stores, church rummage sales, and flea markets. 

Of course, being film buffs we were drawn to film albums. One of the very first albums we bought was this gem - Original Sound Tracks and Hit Music from Great Motion Picture Themes - from the United Artists label. It cost us only 25 cents....and we are still enjoying its music to this day. 

This album was released in 1961 and features some beautiful themes from United Artist releases of 1957-61. The Big Country, I Want to Live and The Vikings are particularly good. This album was followed up by another album in 1962 titled "More Original Sound Tracks and Hit Music from Great Motion Picture Themes" which did indeed include more great themes, and yet another album in 1967 called "Original Sound Tracks and Hit Music from Great Motion Picture Themes Volume 2".


Click here to listen to the album on Youtube. 

From here on, each post in the Film Albums series will be tagged "Film Albums" so you can simply click on the tag to see all previous posts. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Geordie ( 1955 )

In the 1950s, English actor Bill Travers was at the peak of his popularity as a leading actor in British films. Between 1950 and 1955 alone he made twelve films.....one of which was Geordie, a light-hearted tale of a Scotsman who becomes obsessed with physical fitness. 

Young Geordie ( Paul Young ) is a wee laddie who is ashamed of being so small for his age. Even his best girl Jean ( Anna Ferguson ) is taller than him. So one day he subscribes to Henry Samson's correspondence course on strength training. Before long, he becomes a strapping youth ( Bill Travers ) and one of the strongest men in the village. 

After his father dies, Geordie takes over his position as grounds and gamekeeper to the Laird ( Alistair Sim ) but he does not cease in his exercises and decides to put his strength to the test at the local Scottish Highland Games and throw the hammer. When this proves to be successful, he is invited to partake in the 1956 Olympic Games in Australia to represent Great Britain. Here, he shames his girlfriend when he kisses a fellow Olympian in public. 

Geordie makes for passing entertainment but it is sadly lacking in compelling drama. It could have been an engrossing little melodrama or, on the opposite spectrum, a fine comedy. Alack, it is neither. The film starts off well enough but loses direction midway through. Bill Travers often plays characters that are indecisive and undetermined and Geordie is no exception. The poor lad does not know what he wants to do with his life and, having no motive, he makes a very lackluster hero. If he were a big comical lug, Geordie's character would be amusing, but instead, he just seems like a lost man. 

Sidney Gilliat and Frank Lauder ( Night Train to Munich, The Blue Lagoon ) based their screenplay on the 1950 novel Geordie written by David Walker. Critics of the book state that the film is a very faithful adaptation of the novel, but I would imagine that the novel connects the incidents seen in the film more fluidly. A few extra lines of narrative here and there would have given more depth to Geordie's character, too. Frank Lauder produced and directed the film as well, one of many that he made in partnership with Sidney Gilliat. 

Geordie does feature beautiful cinematography by Wilkie Cooper of the Scottish highlands and a fine theme by English composer William Alwyn, so if you happen to catch it on television it is worth a gander.....but I wouldn't go out of the way to hunt it down. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

MeTV Schedules - Old and New

MeTV has just announced a new line-up for their Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night block which includes the addition of Sventoonie, a new show based on their popular weekday morning cartoon host Toony, at 10pm EST and Batman at 10:30pm. Star Trek is now pushed to 11pm EST and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which previously aired at 11pm, is now moved to Sunday mornings at 6am EST. 

While I'm disappointed to see Buck Rogers leave the lineup ( we'll miss you Buck!! ) it's good to see Batman get some airtime again. This shuffling of the programming got me wondering how long I have been watching MeTV's Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night and enjoying Buck. So I let my fingers do a little walking on the laptop and tracked down old schedules from MeTV. If anyone else is curious about how the station's lineup has changed over the past five years, then you can take a gander at these listings. It looks like 2017 included the most change ( the blue highlighted shows denote changes ). The new 2022 schedule is available here: 

2022 MeTV Schedule

Previous MeTV Schedules


2016 MeTV Schedule ( back when Svengoolie was on at 10pm )
2017 MeTV Schedule ( Wagon Train premiered on weekdays at 4pm that year )
2021 MeTV Schedule - shucks, couldn't find the PDF for that year

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Avengers - You Have Just Been Murdered ( 1967 )

Terence Canote, the blogger behind A Shroud of Thoughts, is hosting the 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon and this year I could not resist sharing an episode from one of the best British shows of the 1960s - The Avengers

The Avengers were comprised of the crime-fighting duo of John Steed ( Patrick MacNee ), a dapper English gentleman, and his good friend and colleague Mrs. Emma Peel ( Diana Rigg ), a spunky young woman with a talent for karate. Together, they worked as field agents for the "Ministry", a top-top secret intelligence agency that handled highly unusual cases involving British defense and security. 

Unlike most crime dramas of the era, The Avengers was unique because the cases were strange and uncommon. For example, in The Bird Who Knew Too Much, they had to track down a missing parrot who memorized information about a secret missile base; in The Man-Eater of Surrey Green they tangled with a man-eating plant from outer space; in Dead Man's Treasure, they partook in a treasure hunt on a car rally to retrieve secret papers; and in The Cybernauts, had to wrestle with a robotic killer (!). Yet, our intrepid heroes handled all of these strange occurrences with customary British nonchalant efficiency and a good deal of humor. 

The Avengers ran for six seasons, between 1961 and 1969 with Honor Blackman co-starring with Patrick MacNee in the first three seasons and Linda Thorson taking over in the last season. Like most of the show's legion of fans, I feel the best episodes were from the "Emma Peel Era" with Dame Diana Rigg, especially the color episodes of 1967....which brings us to You Have Just Been Murdered, Episode 21 of Season 5. 

In this classic, Steed receives a call from millionaire Gilbert Jarvis asking to have a word with him about a private matter. He tells Steed he has "just been murdered". A fair-haired well-suited man broke into his apartment and shot him! Only he didn't. It was a fake killing. But the intruder leaves an ominous calling card with only the words You Have Just Been Murdered printed on it. 

At a cocktail party at George Unwin's mansion, Steed and Mrs. Peel have a chat with Lord Maxted, chairman of British Banking, who informs them that a number of his clients have suddenly withdrawn £1,000,000 in cash. Sounds like blackmail. Gilbert Jarvis has just requested a million-pound withdrawal as well, which leads Steed to dash over to Jarvis' apartment...only to find that he has just been murdered - this time for real. 

The Avengers' cases are not mysteries that you are intended to solve. Quite the contrary, usually the audience sees what is happening and it is Steed and Mrs. Peel who need to put the pieces of the puzzle together to find the criminal. In this case, we clearly see that multiple millionaires are being threatened by mock stagings of their own death. If they pay the £1,000,000 blackmail, they will be left alone, otherwise, they die. 

It's a clever premise for an episode, one of many clever plots penned by Philip Levene for the series. He was the screenwriter behind other Avengers classics such as From Venus With Love, The Fear Merchants, Death's Door, Something Nasty in the Nursery, and Return of the Cybernauts. 

After Jarvis' death, the other victims of this blackmailing killer are doubly alarmed....but, in typical British fashion, not afraid enough to pay the ransom and "give in to the scoundrel". When George Unwin ( Barrie Ingham ) becomes the next target, Steed urges him to let Mrs. Peel and himself take the matter in their own hands, but Unwin insists he can defend himself and puts in a good effort, too. 

What makes this episode so enjoyable is its most ingenious plot and its appealing villian: the boisterous and scheming Mr. Needle, admirably played by George Murcell, a very familiar face in British television during the 1960s. The banter between Steed and Mrs. Peel and the location filming around Elstree ( especially Tyke's Water Lake ) are an added plus that make for an altogether delightful bit of viewing. 

To see a full list of The Avengers episodes, check out Wikipedia's summary here. And if you really want to explore the series, then stop by these two fan sites, which have some excellent material to gander at: 

The Avengers Fan Site 

The Avengers Forever 

And lastly, but not leastly, be sure to head on over to A Shroud of Thoughts to read more entries in The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Dublin's Fair City - My Three Sons ( 1964 )

There were a great number of episodes from classic television shows of the 1950s and 1960s that featured characters visiting Paris and Rome, but there were very few that had characters going to Ireland. Since today be St. Patrick's Day, we'll be sharing with ye one of the best of these rare episodes - it be the 1964 classic "Dublin's Fair City" with none other than Steve Douglas and his brood of winsome lads visiting the Emerald Isle. 

This 2-part episode begins with William "Bub" O'Casey ( William Frawley ) receiving a letter from his cousin in Ireland announcing that he won the Irish sweepstakes. Bub had been sending his cousin money from time to time to buy sweepstakes tickets and they finally won the jackpot. With his share of the winnings, Bub decides to treat his family to a trip to Ireland to visit with his Irish side of the family. 

In Ireland, Bub reunites with his cousin ( Robert Emhardt ) and his aunt ( Jeanette Nolan ) and Steve Douglas finds himself being pursued by a young woman ( Mariette Hartley ) anxious to wed and come to America. The boys have little to do in this episode but strangely enough, their absence is not noticed.  

"Dublin's Fair City" is a fun episode to watch, primarily due to the presence of Jeanette Nolan as 103-year old Aunt Kate. She's a feisty biddy, yet lovable. Nolan steals every scene she is in and clearly enjoys spewing out nonsensical Irish sayings like "A man who mumbles often stumbles." She has a strong hold on her son Mickey and treats him like a little boy, even though he be in his 50s. One afternoon, when she catches him leaving his wood shavings on the ground outside after a bit of whittling, she sends him to his room without supper. Bub remarks that "that's telling him" and then she promptly sends Bub to his room, too! Mickey is portrayed by Robert Emhardt, who is best remembered for playing the visiting businessman in The Andy Griffith Show episode "Man in a Hurry". 

There is also a fun bit of not-so-romantic play between Mary Kathleen Connelly ( Mariette Hartley ) and Steve Douglas ( Fred MacMurray ). Mary takes a shine to Steve when she learns that he is a single man from America but her boyfriend Tom Grogan ( Sean McClory ) doesn't take to this lightly and, with his slingshot, aims acorns at Steve's head anytime he sees him with his girl. 

Naturally, the countryside of California becomes "Ireland" for the episode but it is really set quite well. With Irish music playing in the background, the episode does indeed have an Irish air to it and makes you feel like you went traveling with the Douglas' overseas. 

If this episode is new to you, then it is well worth checking out. Watching it may become a new St. Patrick's Day tradition in our house. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


Once again we have a downright tricky screenshot to share with all of you. Most of you can probably guess who these boys are, but you are asked to name the film they appear in - not their occupation! Good luck!

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Friday, March 11, 2022

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ( 1978 )

In the winter of 1978, Scottish Television, a branch of ITV, released The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, a seven-part miniseries based on Muriel Spark's 1961 novella of the same name. The story centers on the life of Miss Jean Brodie ( Geraldine McEwan ), a Scottish schoolteacher, focusing primarily on her "prime" years at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh in the 1930s. 

Miss Brodie is a highly educated, enthusiastic, and well-meaning teacher but her idea of what kind of curriculum should be taught to her pupils clashes with headmistress Miss Campbell's more conservative guidelines of education. 

Miss Brodie believes that "goodness, truth, and beauty" should reign supreme in life and regards men such as Mussolini as men of heroism who "fight for what they believe". She hangs fascist posters on her classroom walls alongside prints of religious art by Giotto and Rossetti, both of which scandalize the provincial Miss Gaunt ( Georgine Anderson ), one of Brodie's most disapproving colleagues. 

Even though some of the staff find her viewpoints dangerous, she has a loyal group of worshippers among her students who become known as the "Brodie set". These girls are the creme de la creme of her class whom Brodie takes under her wing. They spend time outside of the school with her and often have tea at her apartment on weekends. 

Another one of Miss Brodie's worshippers is Teddy Lloyd ( John Castle ), the married art instructor at the school. Mr. Lloyd wants to paint one masterpiece in his life and selects Jean to be his inspiration...and his mistress. This clashes with her goodness-and-truth precepts so she never visits Mr. Lloyd's studio unchaperoned by her girls, nevertheless, she finds his romantic advancements exhilarating. 

Teaching is Miss Brodie's passion, her very life, and so she remains single to devote all her attention to her gairls and their molding into modern Scottish women. It cuts her to the core when she discovers that one of her girls turned against her and approached the headmistress to get her expelled from school. 

"Life is full of surprises and one of the greatest is the sudden blossoming of a woman's prime. One's prime is the moment one is born for and you shall have the fruit of mine."

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was first brought to the screen in 1968 with Maggie Smith giving an Academy Award-winning performance as the dedicated teacher. No film or television adaptation can improve on that masterpiece of entertainment, but this ITV production still has its merits. 

Geraldine McEwan gives a fine performance of Miss Brodie, even though she lacks Maggie Smith's beauty and regal presence. McEwan endows the role with her own charm and mannerisms and the relationship her character has with her students is much more sympathetic and compassionate. She really tries to live up to her ideals and be a virtuous role model to her girls, not just an image to be worshipped. 

The cast of girls playing Brodie's set was well-chosen, too. Jean McKinley plays the awkward Mary MacGregor, Amanda Kirby ( The Clifton House Mystery ) is pretty Jenny, Tracey Childs is Rose, and Lynsey Baxter ( Chancer ), Sandy. This was an interesting choice because Baxter's portrayal of Sandy is not at all like Pamela Franklin's portrayal of her in the film version. Franklin's Sandy was a mature and self-assured young woman whereas Baxter's Sandy is more childish and - seemingly - impressionable.

Also in the cast is Vivienne Ross as headmistress Miss Campbell, who is much more of an ally to Miss Brodie than Miss MacKay ever was. 

Jay Presson Allen penned a marvelous script for this series, which was based on her own play. Muriel Spark's original story was a scant 170 pages. Allen took this and turned it into a riveting 116-minute script for the 1968 film and, ten years later, managed to expand it into a 350-minute miniseries. Allen's new dialogue is as cleverly written as the original script and, in the first episode, she gives the audience a fascinating peek at Miss Brodie's life prior to her arrival at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. We see her wrestle with the frustrations of a narrow-minded English school system and also get to witness her turn down a marriage proposal from George Jenkins ( Robert Urquhart ) who, although not the Lord Lyon King of Arms, was a prominent businessman who loved Jean deeply.  

Like most British miniseries of the era, ITV's production was filmed in video with "halos" sometimes appearing around the actors' bodies. Fortunately, the series is not as stagebound as other filmed plays of the 1970s and there is some nice outdoor location filming around Edinburgh. The series was released both in England and in the United States when it first aired and today it can be seen in its entirety on DVD or streamed via Acorn TV. 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

From the Archives: Three Cheers for the Irish ( 1940 )

 

Priscilla Lane and Dennis Morgan are making eyes at each other while Thomas Mitchell looks on in this scene from "Three Cheers for the Irish" ( 1940 ). You can read our review of this American-Irish themed film here: https://silverscenesblog.blogspot.com/2019/03/three-cheers-for-irish-1940.html

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store : http://stores.ebay.com/Silverbanks-Pictures


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Check it Out! - Tony's Trading Site of TV/Film Annuals & Comics

If you love browsing antique stores and tend to stop and pick up old Dell or Golden Key comics just to admire their cover art ( especially the Movie/TV themed issues ), then you'll have to check out Tony's Trading Site of TV/Film Annuals and Comics. This great site is run by Tony ( natch ) and features a great selection of cover art from British "Annuals" of the 1960s-1980s. 

Film annuals are not something most Americans are familiar with since they are not common stateside. The closest thing to them is the Movie/TV-themed "collector issue" magazines you may see at a supermarket checkout line. You know, those glossy-covered-chock-full-of-pictures beauties that cost $10+. But even those aren't quite annuals because they feature articles on the entire run of a classic series ( e.g. I Love Lucy ) whereas annuals were released....well, annually. Since they were published while the series was still airing, the articles usually focused on the previous season's episodes and the cast. They also had newly-written stories based on the show and comic strips for the young fans to enjoy. 

Tony's Trading collection has a nice selection of TV-themed annuals of both American and British television series. The covers are real winners....the only disappointment is that the images were not scanned larger to properly enjoy them. Nevertheless, it's fun to find a resource like this. 

Click here to check out Tony's TV Annuals - and while you are there, head to his homepage to check out his other non-TV-themed annuals and his great collection of Doctor Who and Walt Disney books and VHS covers.