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. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Barefoot Executive ( 1971 )

"He's gonna make it!"

Steven Post ( Kurt Russell ) is a young mailroom clerk with high ambitions and a lot of enthusiasm. He wants to see UBC, the faltering television studio that he works for, become the leading network but his boss Mr. Wilbanks ( Joe Flynn ) won't listen to any of his suggestions, one of which is making a series called Abraham Lincoln's Doctor's Dog

Steve's girlfriend Jen ( Heather North ) recently found herself caring for a chimp named Raffles who loves watching television. Steve thinks the shows that Raffles likes to watch are awful, but they seem to be what the public enjoys as well. After a few days of studying his primetime TV picks, Steve is convinced that the chimp knows the public's taste and can predict which pilot shows will become the next top-rated series. He is clever enough to know that he cannot go to his boss with this information, so Steve pretends that he himself has the knack for picking winners. This plan works well for a time, but Steve soon begins to feel undeserving of all of the praise that he is receiving for being the boy wonder of the studio. 

Kurt Russell began his film career with Walt Disney Studios as a child star and, when he got older, he played the leading man in a number of great comedies for the studio. The Barefoot Executive was released right in the midst of a series of college-themed comedies ( beginning with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes ) that featured the recurring character Dexter Reilly ( Kurt Russell ). Instead of attending college, Steven Post goes to the Moonrise Night School, something that his rival Roger ( John Ritter ) finds laughable. 

Like most Disney films, the movie has a lot of humor, most of which is delivered by the straight-faced character actors. In The Barefoot Executive, it is Joe Flynn and Wally Cox who steal all the funny moments. These two comedians made a great team and are especially entertaining when they are walking on the ledge of a high-rise building attempting to steal Raffles the chimp. 

"Maybe I shouldn't say this, but you've been complaining ever since we've been up here. If you don't like the way I wheeze and hiccup, why don't you go find your own ledge to stand on?" - Wally Cox

Incidentally, Raffles was making his film debut in this movie and then took a hiatus from Hollywood before returning for one last film in 1975 - an X-rated sex comedy called Sodom and Gomorrah ( he needed a better agent ). Raffles has such a sweet and expressive face and looks especially cute in the plumber's outfit that Steve dresses him in. 

John Ritter's role is rather small and, as Roger, he does not have any of the charms of Jack Tripper. All of the charisma belongs to Kurt Russell who was a wonderful clean-cut role model for young teenagers. It's no wonder he had such a long career at Walt Disney Studios. Not just any actor can build a convincing rapport with a chimp co-star. 

Also worth mentioning is Heather North, who is adorable as his girlfriend Jen. This lovely girl is best known for voicing Daphne for the Scooby-Doo franchise. Harry Morgan, Alan Hewitt, Hayden Rorke, and Iris Adrian round out the cast on this fun family classic. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

From the Archives: Murder, She Wrote ( 1985 )

Angela Lansbury and Cyd Charisse are decked out in glamourous fashion for the second season premiere episode of Murder, She Wrote ( 1985 ) entitled "Widow Weep for Me". In this episode, the snoopy sleuth goes undercover as a wealthy widow at a posh Caribbean resort and meets up with all sorts of celebrities including Mel Ferrer, John Phillip Law, Anne Lockhart, and Ms. Charisse. 

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 Etsy store:

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ( 1958 )

"From the land beyond beyond, from the world past hope and fear, I bid you Genie now appear!"

Legendary adventurer Sinbad the Sailor ( Kerwin Mathews ) lands on the island of Colossa for provisions when he encounters and helps rescue Sokurah the magician ( Torin Thatcher ) who is fleeing from the giant cyclops on the island. After their boat is overturned in the escape, Sokurah loses his magic lamp which is retrieved by the cyclops. The conniving magician attempts to bribe Sinbad to return to the island for the lamp but to no avail and so he shrinks Princess Parisa ( Kathryn Grant ), Sinbad's betrothed, to the size of a doll. The potion to restore her to her normal size requires the shell of a bird's egg that can only be found on Colossa. With no choice before him, Sinbad agrees to make the journey back to Colossa where he must fight the cyclops and battle with Sokurah's magic to save the princess. 

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was producer Charles Schneer's fourth film collaboration with special effects artist Ray Harryhausen and it features some of Harryhausen's finest stop-motion animation, including the first appearance of his famous fighting skeleton figure. This film was also notable for being the first fantasy film that Harryhausen worked on, having previously created creatures for science-fiction films such as 20 Million Miles to Earth ( 1957 ) 

In Sinbad, our hero encounters a wide array of beasts that he must contend with. There is the giant man-eating cyclops, the two-headed roc, the fighting skeleton, and the fierce guardian dragon Taro, all of which were created by Harryhausen in the newly-dubbed Dynamation process. 

Charles Schneer pulled out all the stops with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and it had the largest budget of any of his films to date - $650,000. It took Harryhausen 11 months to create the stop-motion effects alone, in which time the cast was filming the live-action sequences under the capable hand of director Nathan Juran. Location filming took place in sunny Spain, a locale that would be used in most of Schneer's subsequent fantasy films. 

The brilliant composer Bernard Herrmann ( a favorite of Alfred Hitchcock ) was called in to compose the score for Sinbad and what he created was a marvelous and imaginative composition that conjures up ancient Arabia in its musical strains. He teamed up with Charles Schneer and Ray Harryhausen again to create the music for Mysterious Island ( 1961 ) and Jason and the Argonauts ( 1963 ). 

Kerwin Mathews plays our Arabian hero Captain Sinbad and he does a wonderful job with the part. His loyal companion is Harufa, portrayed by Alfred Brown, and his beloved Princess Parisa is played by pretty Kathryn Grant. Child-actor Richard Eyer also does a good job playing the echoing voiced genie, Barani. Being a loyal albeit reluctant genie, no matter what deed he is asked to perform Barani does his best to accomplish, meekly answering, "I shall try, o master, I shall try."

Also in the cast is the great character actor Torin Thatcher who redefined the word villain with his performance of the devious magician Sokurah. He desperately wants the genie's lamp and would willingly trade all the treasure hoarded by the cyclops' in place of that lamp, knowing full well the power it wields. 
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad would be classified as juvenile fare in today's market, but it really does entertain no matter what age you are. From its opening sequence at sea to its finale, it features non-stop action. The film was very popular at the box office ( it earned over $3 million in receipts ), inspiring Harryhausen to pursue more fantasy films but it would not be until 1973 that audiences would see another Sinbad film - The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which was later followed by the equally entertaining Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger ( 1977 ).