Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m very fond of cinematic turkeys that have seasonal tie-ins. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas bombs have gotten ample attention from me, so permit me to follow those items up with this look at bad movies with a New Year’s Eve theme. As usual, full-length reviews of these films can be found on my Bad Movie page.
TERROR TRAIN (1980) – A New Year’s Eve slasher film set on a train carrying a load of partying passengers who plan to ring in the New Year in each time zone of the United States. As required by law at the time, Jamie Lee Curtis starred since it was a slasher flick with a seasonal theme. (Look under the Federal Halloween, Halloween II and Prom Night Act of 1980 if you don’t believe me) A few years earlier Curtis and her college buddies played an initiation trick on a freshman by tricking him into bed with a female corpse. The guy had a nervous breakdown from the ugly near-necrophiliac experience (like sleeping with Barbra Streisand must feel) and is supposedly still in a mental hospital because of it.
Curtis and company are among the partiers on the Auld Lang Syne Express mentioned above and a ridiculously costumed slasher (guess who) begins knocking off her college friends as the train rolls across the countryside. Veteran actor Ben Johnson plays the heroic Train Conductor standing in for Dr Loomis in this flick and David Copperfield himself plays a Continue reading
CHAPARRALS RULE THE WORLD – Readers familiar with Balladeer’s Blog’s college football coverage are well aware of the tendency of NAIA teams to upset teams from NCAA Division 2. That tendency extends to basketball season at times, too. Yesterday the LUBBOCK CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY CHAPARRALS (logo above) took it on the road and upset D2’s NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS UNIVERSITY COWBOYS in a 90-88 game that Chaps fans will be talking about for years to come.
CENTURY CLUB – Among the teams scoring 100 or more points yesterday: The INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTHEAST GRENADIERS improved to 11-3 with a 108-75 road thrashing of the POINT PARK PIONEERS. The Grenadiers (love that name) led 59-34 at halftime and glided through the 2nd half to remain unbeaten in conference play. ### The LINDSEY WILSON COLLEGE BLUE RAIDERS clipped the wings of the HAMILTON HARRIERS by a score of 100-69 ### The UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS PATRIOTS held serve by taking down the TENNESSEE WESLEYAN BULLDOGS 100-83 ### In the Chuck Daly Tournament the NORTHWOOD (FL) UNIVERSITY SEAHAWKS slammed the VALOR CHRISTIAN COLLEGE WARRIORS by a score of 106-73 ### The OLD WESTBURY PANTHERS topped the MISERICORDIA COUGARS in a 100-97 catfight ### … And the GREENSBURG BOBCATS devoured the WRIGHT STATE LAKERS in a Continue reading
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my love of bad movies and the B-movie hosts of the past. Previously I’ve examined many of those beloved figures including Randy and Richard from The Texas 27 Film Vault and many others. This time I’ll take a light-hearted look at figures who would have made perfect movie hosts themselves.
4. SHRIMPENSTEIN – Created by Michael Dormer and Lee Teacher, Shrimpenstein the pint-sized monster was the central figure of his eponymous television show on KHJ television in California from 1966-1968. Gene Moss portrayed Shrimpenstein’s fictional creator Doctor Von Schtick and also sang the show’s opening theme song. The program aired and made fun of the VERY limited animation Marvel Comics cartoons of the 1960’s like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk.
Supporting figures on the show were Wilfred the Weenie Werewolf, a hot-dog hungry lycanthrope plus the Tijuana Bats, bat puppets who would sing sendups of popular songs. The good doctor and Shrimpenstein often took irreverent potshots at Continue reading
The votes are all in for the 3rd edition of Balladeer’s Bowl in which my readers get to vote on who would win if the NAIA college football champs played the NCAA Division 3 football champs. D3 needed a Joe Namath moment for this 3rd go-round but none materialized as the NAIA champs made it 3 Balladeer’s Bowl victories in a row.
The MARIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS came in as the NAIA title holders with the storied MOUNT UNION PURPLE RAIDERS carrying the banner of D3 football. 263 voters felt the Knights would defeat the Purple Raiders with just 212 voting for Mt Union. D3 can take solace from the fact that this was the most votes their team has gotten thus far in this hypothetical matchup.
Here’s a look at the winners and losers of all 3 Balladeer’s Bowl games:
Balladeer’s Bowl 3: MARIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS defeated the Mount Union Purple Raiders
Balladeer’s Bowl 2: Continue reading
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Has it really been a year since I wrapped up the 2011 Christmas Carol-A-Thon? As always I still have literally dozens of versions of the Dickens classic that I didn’t get a chance to include and now they’ll have to wait for 2013. Last year I closed out with the 1984 French television version of A Christmas Carol. For this season I’m wrapping up the 2012 Carol-A-Thon with one of the three 1949 American television versions.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1949) – This relic from the VERY early years of television was a syndicated production. This version’s biggest claim to fame is the on-screen presence of a bearded (despite the picture to the right) Vincent Price as the story’s narrator. For my fellow bad movie geeks the one and only Robert Clarke portrays Nephew Fred to Taylor Holmes’ Scrooge. Price is the very best element of the production, which is so haphazard that it repeatedly presents Scrooge’s first name spelled “Ebeneezer” instead of “Ebenezer” like it should be.
All things considered, this is a reasonable (but bland) presentation given its brief 25 1/2 minute running time and technical limitations. With no special effects the tableau of Marley’s Ghost walking through a solid door is accomplished by Continue reading
If you’re into celebrity trivia from the 1970’s and earlier Rich Little’s Christmas Carol will have you laughing from start to finish over all the sly jokes and riffs that abound in this Canadian- made special. For those unfamiliar with Little he was the Frank Caliendo of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, a first- class celebrity impressionist. The Canadian comic’s first venture into using the voices and personas of iconic celebrities as characters in the Charles Dickens classic began in the 1960’s. Part of Rich’s stand-up act was a several minute sendup of A Christmas Carol with John Wayne, Jack Benny and other figures playing roles in the famous story.
In 1979 Little expanded the story into an hour-long television special in which, through the aid of trick photography, costumes and makeup, he impersonated all of the entertainment legends that he worked into the Yuletide epic. Here is a rundown of the celebrities that Rich Little appeared as in this enjoyable Christmas special:
For the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge Little impersonated W.C. Fields, the whiskey- soaked and curmudgeonly comedian whose misanthropic humor made his persona perfect for the role. Little impersonated Hollywood Squares mainstay Paul “The JM J Bullock of his time” Lynde in the role of Bob Cratchit and long-time Tonight Show host Johnny Carson as the cheerful and charming Nephew Fred. Rich did a turn as Laurel and Hardy as the Charity Solicitors to Continue reading
TOP 25 ACTION: The (6) WHITEWATER WARHAWKS pummeled the EDGEWOOD EAGLES by a score of 75-48 ### At number 11, the WHITWORTH PIRATES won a much closer 77-69 game against the SIMPSON COLLEGE STORM ### The 12th-ranked ADRIAN BULLDOGS topped the LAWRENCE TECH BLUE DEVILS in a commanding 72-52 performance ### The FDU-FLORHAM DEVILS fell to the (16) ST MARY’S (MD) SEAHAWKS by a score of 73-64 ### The (17) ILLINOIS WESLEYAN TITANS edged the HOPE FLYING DUTCHMEN in a 68-67 Instant Classic ### … And the number 21 OHIO WESLEYAN BATTLING BISHOPS manhandled the ANDERSON RAVENS in an authoritative 87-71 victory.
INSTANT CLASSICS – In an Overtime donnybrook the MESSIAH FALCONS eked out a 72-71 win over the EASTERN CONNECTICUT WARRIORS in the Game of the Day ### The PACIFIC LUTHERAN LUTES fell to the RIVER FALLS FALCONS in a 57-54 defensive struggle ### The HEIDELBERG STUDENT PRINCES (love that name) topped the WILMINGTON QUAKERS by a score of 73-71 ### The CAMDEN SCARLET RAPTORS outlasted the CENTENARY (NJ) CYCLONES 68-62 ### … The Continue reading
The 1979 Broadway musical Christmas Is Comin’ Uptown is one of the versions of A Christmas Carol that often get pigeon-holed as “African American versions” but, along with John Grin’s Christmas and Ms Scrooge this tuneful adaptation transcends race and celebrates the universality of the Carol’s message. The musical continues to tour the USA to this very day and a television broadcast of a few scenes and songs from the work aired when I was a teenager and was already obsessed with variations of the story.
Gregory Hines played Scrooge in the original Broadway cast. The Scrooge in this adaptation was an inner- city slumlord about to foreclose on an apartment house, a church and a youth center. He gets the usual visits from his deceased partner and the three Christmas Ghosts and is a changed man. The urban setting is Continue reading
BACONE COLLEGE WARRIORS
Location: Muskogee, OK
Conference Affiliation: Central States
Comment: Even if you’re not an Okee from Muskogee you’ve got to love these thoroughly intimidating helmets! Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with the tendency of the Bacone Warriors to Continue reading
Since last December Balladeer’s Blog has been featuring some of the crackpot end of the world scares of the past in honor of the latest big-time fraud, the December 21st, 2012 “Mayan Apocalypse”. Since this is the Big Day here’s a look at how persistently foolish human beings are when it comes to end of the world hysteria. The Millerites stand as an all-time tribute to the way large numbers of people can be persuaded to believe ANYTHING and keep on believing it no matter how many times it’s proven false.
WILLIAM MILLER was the most famous and tenacious “Prophet of Doom” from the 1800’s and his thousands of followers were Continue reading