OK, I'M HOOKED
If you weren't able to catch the "Star Wars - Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" trailer during "The O.C." you can still catch it this weekend at the beginning of the film, "Robots." Actually, to say "during "The O.C." would be a lie. Shrewd people that they are at Fox, they waited until the end of the show to premiere the spot. And, like he has done with the previous two prequels, George Lucas has pulled me in. Lots of spaceships, Jedi Masters, the evil Chancellor, the too cool Mace Windu, a quick shot of Jimmy Smits, a howling Chewbacca, a gorgeous Amadala, a perceptive Yoda, a wizened Obi Wan Kenobi and a thoroughly brooding Annakin Skywalker. The last 30 seconds covered me in goose bumps as Obi Wan and Annakin battle each other, with an anguished Obi Wan crying out, "You were the chosen one!" Fade out on Darth Vader and I'm in line now for my tickets! Let's hope that, unlike "Episode One," this one doesn't disappoint. I am happy to report I didn't see one frame of Jar Binks!
Quite a flurry of activity over at the "Superman Returns" production offices. Sam Huntington has signed on to play Jimmy Olsen while Eva Marie Saint, still beautiful at the age of 80, will play Martha Kent. James Marsden, Cyclops in the "X-men" films, will play Lois Lane's love interest, Richard White and Hugh Laurie, now seen on television in the show, "House," will play Daily Planet editor Perry White. But the most surprising bit of casting concerns the actor tapped to play Superman's father, Jor El. Rumor has it that Marlon Brando will reprise the roll via footage not used in "Superman II." During the filming of "Superman: the Movie" a scene with Brando and Christopher Reeve was shot but never used in "Superman II" after Brando demanded more money for his likeness to be used in the sequel. The scene was re shot with Reeve and Susannah York, who played his mother. Apparently there is enough footage of Brando to include him in the new film. You may recall that Brando authorized his likeness and recorded some lines for the "Godfather" video game, so he may have given his permission to use the footage before he died.
A GREAT VOICE SILENCED
Being a baseball fan my whole life, I have been very fortunate to hear some of the classic voices of the game. Radio and, later, television, brought the voices into my world and I learned to distinguish teams not by their players but by their broadcasters. Ernie Harwell - Detroit Tigers. Vin Scully - the LA Dodgers. Curt Gowdy handled the Red Sox while Jerry Coleman covered the San Diego Padres. I'm proud to say that former Baltimore Orioles and current San Francisco Giants and ESPN broadcaster Jon Miller is my friend. This week, another great Baltimore voice was silenced. Chuck Thompson, who did the NFL broadcasts for the Colts until they left town and the Orioles for parts of 50 years died this past Sunday at the age of 83 after suffering a massive stroke. Whether exclaiming "Go to War Miss Agnes" after a Colts touchdown or proclaiming "Ain't the beer cold?" after an O's home run, Chuck Thompson was a familiar voice to all who heard him. When he was inducted into the broadcaster's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Thompson ended his speech with the following lines: "If you should happen to come across my plaque in the hall of fame and someone asks you if you knew him, please say "yes........he was my friend."
ALSO LEAVING US
Debra Hill, who in 1978 produced and co-wrote the classic horror film "Halloween," died this week from cancer. She was 54. Teamed with director and co-writer John Carpenter, Hill also produced "Halloween II" and "The Fog." Among her other producing credits are "The Dead Zone," "Adventures in Babysitting," "The Fisher King," "Escape from L.A." and an upcoming remake of "The Fog."
Teresa Wright, Oscar winning actress best known for playing Lou Gehrig's wife in "Pride of the Yankees" also passed away this week at the age of 86. Cause of death was a heart attack. She made her film debut in 1941's "The Little Foxes," for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The next year she appeared in "Pride of the Yankees" and "Mrs. Miniver." She was nominated as Best Actress for "Pride" and won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for "Mrs. Miniver." To date she is the only actor ever to be nominated for an Oscar for their first three film roles. After appearing in "The Best Years of Our Lives," she worked sporadically, briefly retiring in 1960. In 1969 she returned to acting in a series of television films and also appeared on the CBS Soap Opera "The Guiding Light." She returned to film with a role in "Somewhere in Time." Her last screen appearance came in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rainmaker."
Two Step Too, one of 10 horses to portray Seabiscuit in the film of the same name, died this week from a rare nasal tumor. He was 11.
JAWS: THE STORY - PART 9
With filming beginning in earnest in May 1974, the biggest obstacle facing the production was the upcoming summer season. Like the fictional town of Amity, Martha's Vineyard generates most of it's business from the tourists that flock there to enjoy a little fun in the Massachusetts sun. Many sets, like Quint's shack, had to be up, filmed and torn down as quickly as possible lest the offending structures draw a fine from the local governments. With such celebrities as Ruth Gordon, Carly Simon, James Taylor and others living there, the film company didn't seem that exciting to most of the islanders. In fact, Ruth Gordon turned down an offer to cameo in the film as a woman whose valet carries her out to the water for her swim.
Many of the islands inhabitants found a way to earn extra money by appearing as background extras. Of the many locals that appeared in the film, one stands out. Craig Kingsbury, who was so much like Quint that Robert Shaw based his performance on him. According to Carl Gottlieb, when Kingsbury's wife Gertrude heard that the production was looking for "a filthy, nasty, foulmouthed fisherman" she told her husband "you have it made." Mr. Kingsbury died in 2002 at the age of 89.
Well, all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.