Monday, August 21, 2017

Mickey Mouse?


Some brand new computer art from me for today's 12th anniversary of BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY! Last posts coming up here and at FOUR-COLOR SHADOWS this weekend!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

R.I.P. Jerry Lewis

We’ve had a lot of obits on this blog in the past 12 years but this is a particularly tough one because my relationship with Jerry Lewis was...well, complicated.

As a child and a tween, if someone asked me who my favorite movie star was, I’d answer unhesitatingly that it was Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis was handsome and made me laugh. He had his own comic book, his own cartoon series, his own variety show, his own talk show, his own theaters, and every year he raised millions of dollars to fight muscular dystrophy on Labor Day. What was there not to like?

Jerry’s new movies stopped suddenly around that time, though. I’d learn later that he had heart issues, a drug addiction, and the still not completely known story of his legendary unfinished and unreleased film, THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED.

As I grew older, I discovered that the real Jerry was actually much closer to the egotistical “Buddy Love” character he portrayed in his best picture, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, than to his typical likable loony character. I also discovered he had an entire career before I had ever encountered him, teamed with—of all people—Dean Martin!

As HE grew older, he wrote several very good books, he surprised with a great dramatic take in KING OF COMEDY, flopped with a couple of French-made features and a half-hearted American comeback attempt, and continued to make millions for MD research and tick off millions of people by his ego, his ill thought out comments, and his occasional racist and/or misogynistic statements.

In time, the MD let him go, he made one last movie, he promised THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED could be seen in a decade, and he did annoying live interviews and personal appearances. But he was still Jerry Lewis.

He was still the Jerry Lewis that made me laugh harder than I had ever laughed just because when it came to being silly, he was utterly fearless. He was still the pioneering filmmaker, he was still considered a genius on the level of Chaplin and Tati in France, and at heart, no matter how fake it turned out to be, he was still that crazy kid somewhere deep inside.

Rest in peace, Jerry. Thanks for everything.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

AVAILABLE NOW!


Thanks so much to all of you who have written to say how much you've enjoyed this and all my other blogs over the years. I hope you'll consider ordering this 500 page BEST OF BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY, now available in book form via Amazon!

The ebook should be available next week and for those who have asked, I should be able to have some signed copies available directly from me in a few weeks!



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Best of Booksteve's Library


I have good news and I have bad news.

This next week marks exactly a dozen years since the debut of BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY. Wow. It seems like only yesterday. But then, to me, so does 1974, and even 1968. 

Blogging, for me, has been a way for me to write, a way for me to stay in touch with the outside world as I became more and more reclusive over time.

But blogging also seems to have had its moment, with less and less visits per day and less and less time for me to actually blog anything substantial. My social needs have relocated to Facebook, where my posts get more feedback all around than anything I post here. 

So it is with some disappointment that I announce my retirement from regular blogging. My two remaining active blogs will cease to be updated after next week.

BUT...

That's the bad news. The GOOD news is that we will cap this all with THE BEST OF BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY! THE BEST OF BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY is a nearly 500 page book due out next week that features 100 annotated, illustrated highlights from the past 12 years--reviews, articles, essays, interviews, short stories, etc. And it won't be that expensive (although I don't yet have an exact price) and signed copies will be available directly from me for anyone who wants one. 

I appreciate everyone's support and can't wait for you to see the book! Ordering details will be available very, very soon!

Kathy Coleman In Singapore



Mark your calendars! On September 5th, Kathy Coleman will be addressing the Singapore Film Society IN Singapore, on the subjects of her life, her career, and OUR book! Looks like it will be streamed LIVE on Facebook, too! Stay tuned for more details. She is SO excited!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Back Issue Batman

One of my favorite things I've worked on this past year has been BACK ISSUE # 99, from TwoMorrows, which hits the stores either this week or next with mail-order copies arriving already.

Although normally dealing with the Bronze Age of Comics, editor Michael Eury themes this issue as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of one of THE great cartoon series ever, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. I have a two-page article in it on my late friend, Bob Hastings, who played Commissioner Gordon on the series.

The real hero here, though, turns out to be writer John Trumbull who interviewed nearly everyone associated with the series and pieced the talks together into a fascinating oral history. Along with my fellow blogger, Jon B. Knutson, I transcribed many of John's interviews for this and for his separate article on Harley Quinn!

The issue even covers the related comics as well! If you ever enjoyed an episode of the animated BATMAN, you'll enjoy this issue.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

R.I.P. Glen Campbell


I got to see him in person once, in November of 1978, here with Bob Hope's charity show in Cincinnati. Personally, it wasn't his best period, but man, he was still entertaining! Not just the expected great singing and guitar playing but he marched through the audience of mostly families as he played bagpipes of all things! 


Thursday, July 27, 2017

June Foray Speaks

Here are a few brief but interesting excerpts from a transcript I made years ago of the late June Foray's hour-long voice acting seminar that she presented a number of times at the San Diego Comic Con including here, from the late 1980s.

“The first thing...you have to be an actor! I just want to make that absolutely clear because I taught at USC for seven years and a lot of people would say, ‘Hey, June! Listen to this voice,’ and they do a marvelous voice but then I get out a piece of copy and nothin'. I just feel sorry for people who have this wonderful vision of being successful and they aren't prepared.  I'd never discourage anybody. I always say there's hope if you study enough. Ever since I was little I always wanted to be an actress. Since I was six years old anyway. But I was an omnivorous reader and I found that reading the classics, understanding human nature, understanding character so you can leave your own persona and get into somebody else's skin--that's extremely important. However, never let anybody discourage you because there might be that little spark there somewhere and that's very important. Study and read! Very important! Read out loud! Read the classics! Read the newspaper and make it sound interesting. Accent the right syllable y'know? Very important! This is essential. You have got to bug everybody that you meet. Because it ain't easy these days getting into this industry because people know how rewarding it is, how profitable it is, and you have fun driving to the bank with all that money.”

“When you're on-camera, you have to have your pictures. That's de rigueur. But when you just do voiceovers, it's a tape. So if you say...They don't use too many dialects anymore. There are so many segments of society that become angry at doing an accent. But you'll find the common accepted ones. French. Because you have the French chef. Some nasal who comes from Paris. Or Italian. Mel Blanc did...not Taco Bell... Frito-Lay a long time. He did a Mexican accent but he deed (sic) a sing-song of it and it wass (sic) the right one and the Mexicans raised hell about it. So they don't use too many dialects but if you do, do one GOOD one--say French or Italian--just to show your versatility.”


“You know what Daws Butler used to do and I used to admire Daws for doing this? He made a list of all of the characters and somebody would say, ‘Daws, I need a giraffe,’ or ‘I need a pencil,’ or some inanimate object. You're asked to do things like that! Frying pans! Anything! It's crazy, what starts talking! So Daws always kept a list. This voice, this voice, this voice...and sometimes if you can't think off the top of your head just surreptitiously take the paper and look at it and say, ‘Y'know, this voice might be great.’ If you can do impersonations, but maybe they aren't just right, get the idea of that voice and don't SAY it's an impersonation! Daws, in Cap'n Crunch...when he was Cap'n Crunch...There was a character actor named Charlie Butterworth and Daws copied his voice. He's long since been dead. Many, many years! And when, of course, Jay Ward did that...produced it, Daws came in and said, ‘You know what would be a great idea?’ and nobody had done it or even thought about it or maybe even knew about him and he came up with that voice and it was perfect!”

R.I.P. June Foray


R.I.P. the great June Foray who would have turned 100 in a couple of months. I was privileged to not only attend one of her voice acting seminars at Comic Con in the late 1980s but also to dub some cassettes of Stan Freberg radio shows she was on for her afterwards. She sent me a lovely, funny thank you note written as Natasha Fatale! 

Many years later, I would get an acknowledgement for doing transcriptions for her autobiography back in 2008. It was the first time I had done transcription for anyone other than myself and because of that, I now do it on a regular basis. 

I heard her on an old science fiction radio show just the other day and I'm sure I'll continue to hear her for the rest of my life, she was so prolific!