Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Williams was considered one of the top wrestlers in the world throughout the 80's and early 90's. He was recruited into pro wrestling by Bill Watts and was named PWI 1982 Rookie of the Year. Watts discovered him at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a star lineman on the football team and a four-time All-American Heavyweight wrestler. Many of his peers in wrestling over the years believed had he not played football and focused solely on wrestling he would have been a strong candidate for an Olympic Gold medal in either 1984 or 1988.
While never garnering the respect he deserved in pro wrestling in the States, Williams was a big success in Japan. Eventually earning a worldwide reputation as one of the best ever to grace the squared circle.
I have met a lot of wrestlers through the years, unfortunately I cannot say I had the privilege of ever meeting Steve Williams. He was an extremely talented individual and will certainly be missed. I want to send my condolences out to his family and friends.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Ahh Cliffy. I always loved Cliff Floyd as a Met. I was lucky enough to actually see the Mets play on my birthday, sorry cant remember who they were playing, but Floyd won the game himself 2-1 with 2 solo home runs in the game. Another good locker room guy.
The last Mets game I went to was Glavine's first game after he won his 300th game. One heck of a standing ovation for him when he took the mound. I have to say I was very selfish. I had the tickets about a week in advance and knew Glavine would be pitching so the day he won his 300th I was rooting against him so I could see it in person. Does that make me a bad fan?
I had to put this one up because Luis Castillo was considered the Mets MVP last year for one reason and one reason only, he was the only opening day position player who didn't go on the d/l. How sad is that? And what's even funnier is we're trying to trade him. The best player for the 2009 Mets and we throw him on the trading block? Don't get me wrong, would I rather have Orlando Hudson playing 2nd base for us, maybe, but last year he actually looked like he deserved the contract we gave him. With the current issues the team has, I think trading Castillo should be the least of our concerns.
Alright, lastly we have Gary Sheffield. The Doctor's nephew. Gary Sheffield has wanted to be a Met his entire career thanks to Dwight Gooden. It was nice seeing him in a Mets uniform and I think he did a much better job in the field then most people thought he would. Sorry you wont be back next year, good luck elsewhere Gary.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I also got about 15,000 cards in random lot boxes. Wish me luck on those, it's gonna take me forever to organize them. Random cards from the 70's up to today. Of course a lot of them are from the 80's card boom. Which by the way means if you have a list of late 80's/early 90's give me a head's up and i will definitely check it out and see what I can do 4 U!!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
A young boy watches his parents killed by a thief in a Santa suit. He spends his youth in an orphanage, staying quietly to his self, but his mind is further bent by an ironhanded Mother Superior. He finally gets a job at a local store, where he finally snaps when he is required to wear a Santa suit, and goes on a killing spree that leads him slowly back to the orphanage.
This movie created quite the stir in 1984 when released due to the killer being dressed as Santa Claus. The PTA fought the release of this film due to it's subject matter and it's Christmas release. Siskel and Ebert even went as far as to read the film's production credit's on the air and saying "Shame, Shame" after each one. Large crowds (mostly angry families) formed at theaters and malls around the nation to protest the film. TriStar Pictures, its original distributor, pulled all ads for the film six days after its release (November 15). The film itself was also withdrawn shortly thereafter due to the controversy.
It was later re-released by an independant distributer, Aquarius Films, beginning in Spring of 1986, with an ad campaign which replaced the original "Twas the Night Before Christmas" audio track with a new one that centered around the controversy surrounding the film and edited out all the close up shots of Billy in the Santa suit with weapons.
Despite the controversy, it became a cult classic among horror fans. Myself on the other hand, I thought it was just okay. The movie is very tame by today's standards. Not that that is a big issue with me. Some of my favorite films are old school B & W films. But to be honest I personally felt sorry for the character of Billy.
As much as I love horror and the more gore and craziness in a horror movie the better. Just seeing someone in a Santa suit shooting someone or chopping them up with an axe actually did disturb me, and that takes a lot. It is a decent movie but just a little disturbing at the same time. The acting is so-so and the story does actually seem like it could happen. Overall it gets 3 burning skulls out of 5. Please enjoy the trailer below and again, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Ryota was born May 28, 1979 in Chiba, Chiba, Japan. He was drafted by the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft. He pitched for the Swallows from 1999-2009 when he became a free agent and signed with the Mets.
I have to say I'm interested to see what Igarashi can do in MLB. I worry a little with him having had Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2007 season. But he came back in 2008 and pitched well in his return. Plus for a 2 year, $3 million deal, you really cant complain. There's a lot of upside there.
His stats through 10 years in Japan consisted of a 44-27 record, 3.26 ERA, with 51 saves. He has a fastball that has been clocked at 98 mph and some very nasty off-speed stuff. Check out the video below to see him strike out the side. Wish I could translate for you all but I'm still in the process of trying to learn Japanese.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Ronald Maurice Darling was born August 19, 1960 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round (9th pick) of the 1981 MLB Draft. In his first year with the Rangers Minor League organization he put up mediocre numbers which led to a very ill advised trade in which both Darling and Walt Terrell were traded to the Mets for Lee Mazzilli. For the Mets, Darling and Terrell combined for seven double-digit win seasons. They traded Terrell three seasons later for Howard Johnson. Which by the way, when I was a kid playing baseball with friends, oddly enough, if I was pitching I would scream I'm Ron Darling, and if I was playing the field (no matter where I played) I screamed, I'm Howard Johnson. Wow, that was a run-on sentence. ANYWAY....
Darling was called up to the majors in late 1983. The Mets had the worst record in the National League and second-worst in the majors when Darling debuted on September 6, 1983. He was impressive in that start but left the game down 1–0 and the Mets lost 2–0. The Mets were also last in offense in the N.L. (Boo) Darling's 0–3 start were all in decent pitching performances that season. He finished his season with a complete game victory and was in the majors for good. Ron Darling threw five pitches, a slider, "drop" curve, circle change, splitter, and four seam fastball.
As a Mets fan, I would have to mention his performance in 1986. In 1986, everything came together for the Mets and Darling was no exception. He finished with a 15–6 record and posted his career-best 2.81 ERA which was third-best in the N.L. He also received the only Cy Young Award votes of his career, finishing fifth behind Mike Scott who had his best season. (Ball Scuffer!!!) The Mets led the way most of the season and their top four starters all received Cy Young votes. On May 27, Darling tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game victory which, despite a poor April, raised his record to 6–0. He was good on the road but even better at home with a 10–2 record at Shea. His worst blemish was off the field when, on July 19, he and teammates Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera, and Tim Teufel were arrested outside a bar in Houston, Texas for fighting with security guards (who were also off-duty police officers). All four were released in time for the following game and the worst results were $200 fines but the incident fed into the Mets' reputation as a rowdy crew that season. Despite the run-in, Darling was featured on the cover of the August 25 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. If you would like to read more about this incident, as well as more about the 1986 NY Mets, I highly recommend the book, The Bad Guys Won by Jeff Pearlman. An awesome book about the 1986 Mets. After reading it I can't believe my mother let me root for them at 6 years of age!
In his career he pitched for The New York Mets (1983-1991), The Montreal Expos (1991) and The Oakland A's (1991-1995). He finished his career with a 136-116 record, a 3.87 ERA and 1,590 strike outs. He was selected for the 1985 All-Star Game and was a Gold Glove winner in 1989. His last MLB effort was on my 15th birthday, August 15, 1995.
Since his retirement he has been a broadcaster for the Oakland A's, had a FOX show called Baseball Today and has appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period, as well as providing baseball analysis for the YES Network (EVIL) and Fox Sports Net. He currently works as a color commentator for the New York Mets on SNY with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez.
Because of their popularity, Darling along with Cohen and Hernandez have created a website, Pitch in For A Good Cause, where the net profit from the merchandise sold by the website goes to charity; specifically, the Cobble Hill Health Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Center, and The Danbury Women's Center. Please check out the website.
I have to say I was absolutely shocked to receive these autos back in the mail. Sure I mailed them, but I didn't really expect them back. This was one of, if not the, biggest surprise I've ever received in the mail. I even gave Steve, formally of The Easy Life, one of them (not pictured here).
Mr. Darling, thank you so much. I am honored to add you to my collection.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Anyway today I wanted to give you all a blast from the past. Maybe you'll remember this, maybe not but either way it is funny. Please send your donations and long live Axel Bundy! Enjoy.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I was very happy to get this card back in the mail. It is the oldest card I now have signed. It's not in the best condition but thats ok. Today's sig is Bob Shirley.
Bob Shirley was born on June 25, 1954 in Cushing, OK. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1st Round (8th pick) on the 1976 Amateur Draft. He made his MLB debut the following year on April 10, 1977. He pitched 8 2/3 innings in his debut, getting the win against one of his future clubs, the Cincinnati Reds. He struck out 11 and walked 4 in the game.
He has played in both the American and National League. Over his 10 year career he played for the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees. He was never a dominant pitcher, having his best full season in 1980 going 11-12 with a 3.55 ERA.
Shirley finished his career with a 67-94 record and an ERA of 3.82 when he retired in 1987. He never made a big impact in the game but it's still nice to add another card to my collection. And I know most of us would give up just about anything to even spend half the time in the majors that he had. Thank you Mr. Shirley.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Here is another autograph I was lucky enough to get when I saw TNA Wresting live in Binghamton. The woman who puts the T and A in TNA, the lovely Traci Brooks. After the show I bought 2 pictures, one of Alex Shelley (see previous post) because I saw he was signing autographs and the other was Traci Brooks. I didn't see her anywhere but hey I wanted the pic. All of a sudden I turn around and who's standing behind me but this vision of beauty. This is pretty much how the conversation went.
Then she hugs me. I about lost it right then and there and somehow stammered out the words asking for her autograph. Her response:
I actually had to stop and think for a minute, really I did, I reverted to being a shy little kid who hides whenever someone says hi. I was just awestruck at how unbelievably nice this woman was (especially in comparison to my experience with Alex Shelley) and of course struck by her beauty. Pictures do not do this woman justice. So she signed my picture, gave me yet a second hug and thanked me for coming to the show and was then off to greet other fans. If God took me at that moment I would've died a very happy man.
Here's a brief history for this beautiful woman. Traci Brooks, was born Tracy Brookshaw and grew up on a pig and chicken farm in St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada. In 2000, she won the Toronto Sunshine Millennium Calendar contest which led to her being named Miss June 2000 and interviewed in the Toronto Sun. Brookshaw went on to engage in promotional modeling work with the Molson, Labatt and Budweiser beverage brewers. In her interview, Brookshaw said that she aspired to be "the next WWF Superstar". This led to her being introduced to Ron Hutchinson, a professional wrestler who operated the Sully's Gym professional wrestling school out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Brookshaw began training under Hutchinson in March 2000 and debuted in January 2001 as "Tracy Brooks".
Hope you do enjoy the additional pics I have included though and again a big thank you to Miss Brookshaw for just being the great person that she is.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I'm back today with one of my more shocking TTM autographs. A man who took the country by storm and had everyone swept up in Fernandomania, Fernando Valenzuela. I sent this one out just hoping to get it back. Like most of my doubles that I send for sigs if I didn't, no big deal, but when you can add a name like this to your collection it's always good.
Fernando Valenzuela is billed as born on November 1, 1960 in Etchohuaquila, Sonora, Mexico. Like many of today's Latin American stars that date is questionable though as even in his remarkable rookie season many observers guessed him much older than 20. Many teams scouted him in the Mexican Leagues but it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who eventually signed him.
After acquiring Fernando Valenzuela in the summer of 1979, the Dodgers assigned him to the Lodi Dodgers (now the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes) of the High A Level California League, where he posted a 1-2 record and a 1.13 ERA in limited action. In 1980 Valenzuela was promoted to the Double A Level San Antonio Missions. There Valenzuela led the Texas League with 162 strikeouts, and ranked third in ERA. Valenzuela was called up to the Los Angeles Dodger bullpen in September 1980. In the last month of the season, Valenzuela helped the Dodgers to a Western Division tie with the Houston Astros, pitching 17 2/3 shutout innings of relief over the course of ten games, during which he earned two wins and a save.
Valenzuela's efforts made him the odds-on favorite to be the league's top rookie in 1981, and he didn't disappoint, starting the season 8-0 with five shutouts and an ERA of 0.50. Punctuating this dominance on the mound, Valenzuela had an extremely unusual but flamboyant wind-up (looking skyward just at the apex of every pitch), which drew attention of its own. He became an instant media icon, drawing huge crowds from the Los Angeles Hispanic community every time he pitched and triggering high demand across the country for his rookie baseball cards. The craze surrounding Valenzuela came to be known as "Fernandomania."
In addition to his skills on the mound, Valenzuela also made a name for himself at the plate. During his rookie season, Valenzuela batted .250 and struck out just nine times in 64 at bats. That season, and again in 1983, Valenzuela was the recipient of the National League's Silver Slugger Award for pitchers. In 1990, his last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Valenzuela hit .304 in 69 at-bats, with one home run, five doubles, and eleven runs batted in. In 936 career at-bats - roughly two full seasons worth of at-bats for a full-time position player - Valenzuela had ten home runs and 84 runs batted in. On at least two occasions with the Dodgers, Valenzuela was called upon to play outfield and first base in marathon extra-inning games in which he did not pitch.
Valenzuela was considered an exceptionally good hitter for a pitcher. His best year at the plate was 1990. when he hit .304 with five doubles and 11 RBI in 69 at-bats. His career batting average was .200, with 10 homers, 26 doubles, and 84 RBI in 936 at-bats. Valenzuela was even used on a number of occasions as a pinch hitter, batting .368 (7-for-19) in such situations.
In addition to his 10 years with the Dodgers, Fernando also played for the California Angels, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, and St. Louis Cardinals before retiring in 1997. The Dodgers invited him to Spring Training in 1999, but he respectfully declined. Fernando was also a 6X All-Star, Gold Glove winner (1986) and 2X Silver Slugger award winner (1981, 1983)
Since his playing days ended Fernando has done Spanish-language radio color commentator for the Dodgers and was also a coach for Team Mexico in both the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic's, and now his biggest honor ever.......being added to my collection. Thank you Mr. Valenzuela!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Troma is a film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Hertz in 1974. The company produces very low budget movies, many of which have garnered cult followings. Their films are most known for their shocking imagery. They typically contain overt sexuality, graphic violence, gore and nudity to the point where the words "Troma Film" have become synonymous with them. You may then be surprised to hear that many actors and actresses were actually involved in these films before they were "discovered". They include Vanna White (Graduation Day), Kevin Costner (Sizzle Beach, USA), Samuel L. Jackson (Def By Temptation), Marisa Tomei (The Toxic Avenger), Vincent D'Onofrio (The First Turn-On!), James Gunn (Tromeo & Juliet) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Cannibal! The Musical). Troma's most recent release is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. The following is a plot summery written by Troma Entertainment.
When the American Chicken Bunker, a military-themed fried-chicken chain, builds a restaurant on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, local protesters aren't the only ones crying fowl! The previous tenants, fueled by a supernatural force, take "possession" of the food and those who eat it, and the survivors discover that they must band together before they themselves become the other white meat! Film lovers have been starved for sustenance. The relentless diet of predictability and pretense Hollywood has been serving up just doesn't cut it. Poultrygeist is hearty food for thought. In Poultrygeist, Troma takes on the the fast-food industry-skewering the soulless restaurateurs-in the world's first horror-comedy film to feature zombie chickens, American Indians and a bit of singing and dancing! It's Poultrygeist!
Ok, first things first this movies gets 5 Burning Skulls, hands down, no questions asked and I'll tell you why. Let's start with the movie's great tagline:
Humans... the other white meat... Unless you're black, then it's dark meat... Or if you are Asian, then it's yellow meat... Or if you are Native American, it's red meat...
This movie absolutely has it all. It is a funny, gorey, love story, musical about zombie chickens!!!! Those words don't even sound like they belong in the same sentence! Now don't get me wrong here, the acting, not the best, the effects, definitely no CGI in this one, and the plot, I mean c'mon its about ZOMBIE CHICKENS! But Troma still manages to put together what is fast becoming one of my favorite movies. The first time I watched it I wasn't convinced but this movie grows on you like a fungus. It is awesome.
Even the characters names are great. The love story revolves around Arby and Wendy. That's funny. (Wendy, played by Kate Graham, is absolutely beautiful in that girl next door kinda way and is a riot) But it doesn't stop there, also in this flick we have Humus, Carl Jr., Jose Paco Bell, Micki and Denny. Denny wants to "one day leave American Chicken Bunker and open up my own place. I'll call it.........Denny's.........oh Shit!!!!" Another great bit is some of the protesters being a group of lesbians that call themselves C.L.A.M. which stands for Collegiate Lesbians Against Megaconglomerates. They are hot as hell too. They need their own movie.
I will warn anyone who attempts to watch this that it is definitely not for everyone. I originally typed a couple reasons but I decided against it. You watch it and tell me what you think. That is a challenge to every reader of my website!!! Enjoy the trailer and Pleasant dreams!
Monday, September 28, 2009
A couple weeks ago I got a great package from Thoughts and Sox. Knocked a bunch of stuff from my want lists and a big thank you goes out for that. I chose the following cards to show on here for a specific reason so lets get right to it.
Adam knows that I am a New York Mets fan (pity me please) and sent me a nice chunk of Mets cards in addition to cards for my sets. So out of all the cards sent, why did I choose these three you ask? Well the story starts like I have mentioned numerous times already so I'll try and make it brief.
As a kid I collected cards. I loved it. Collect em, trade em it was a blast. However when I hit my teen years I stopped. Last year I started again after a very long time. In my "Inaugural Season" I collected Topps, Topps U&H, Topps heritage, Topps A&G, and Goudey. Needless to say I have not finished any of them yet. Because of this I decided, being the Topps man that I am, this year I would only collect Topps, Heritage and A&G. See where this is going?
I was doing really good until I saw what the Goodwins were going to look like and then I decided, well whats one more set. Mind you I haven't bought my first box of these yet but payday is right around the corner. Now thanks to Adam I have to work on O-Pee Chee and Goudey too. I can't just have these great cards from those sets. Thanks Adam for bleeding my bank account dry. HA! :)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I got this autograph at The Broome County Arena in Binghamton, NY when TNA wrestling came to town. I always heard that this guy has an attitude and pretty much thinks his shit don't stink. After meeting him I tend to agree. He just did not seem happy to be there and in general just treated everyone like crap. Which is a shame because he is one of my favorite wrestlers. He was nice enough to sign this for me though so I guess I gotta thank him for that.
Alex Shelley was born Patrick Martin on May 23 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. He was initially trained by Bobo Brown and Breyer Wellington. He then joined BCW Can-AM Wrestling School and was trained by Scott D'Amore and Joe E. Legend and on March 2, 2002 made his wrestling debut as Alex Shelley. He chose his name by combining the forename of Alex DeLarge, the protagonist of the 1962 book A Clockwork Orange and the surname from Pete Shelley, the lead singer of the 1970's punk band, The Buzzcocks.
Shelley has wrestled for numerous independent promotions across the United States including, Border City Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, All American Wrestling and many more including my local wrestling affiliate Squared Circle Wrestling. He has also worked for Ring of Honor (ROH), Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and even had a tryout match for the WWE back June 12, 2005. He fought Simon Dean on an international version of WWE Heat in a losing effort after being hit with the Simonizor. Unfortunately, nothing came of it.
Shelley debuted in Ring of Honor in 2003. He has wrestled there as recently as 2008 and in his time there has fought many great wrestlers including Steve Corino, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. He had his own faction in ROH called Generation Next which consisted of himself, Austin Aeries, Jack Evans and Roderick Strong. He did not hold a title during his time in ROH but along with Jimmy Rave and Abyss did win the Trios tournament in 2006.
Shelley signed a non-exclusive contract with TNA on July 8, 2004. He was paired with Goldy Locks and named "Baby Bear" Alex Shelley. Shelley requested his release from TNA later that year after then booker, Dusty Rhodes, stopped utilizing him. He re-signed with the company in 2005 after Dusty Rhodes stepped down as booker. In TNA he has wrestled in both the X Division as well as in the Tag Division, wrestling the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Sonjay Dutt, Eric Young and the Dudley Boys. He is a former TNA X-Division Champion and has also won the Chris Candido Memorial Cup with Sean Waltman (X-pac) and was part of the team to with the TNA World X Cup in 2006 with Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal. He currently wrestles mostly as part of the Tag Team, The Motor City Machine Guns with partner Chris Sabin.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I got so many cards from so many different sets I'm not even sure where to begin on this one. Thanks to Ed I have eliminated some cards from the following lists, 1983 Topps, 1991 Topps, 2006 Topps, 2007 Topps, 2008 Topps, 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights, 2008 Topps A&G, 2008 Topps Heritage, 2009 Topps, 2009 Topps Heritage, and 2009 Topps A&G, as well as some various mini cards as well.
I decided to start things off with these two great 1983 cards. We'll start first with "The Kid" Gary Carter. A guy who hams it up anytime the cameras are around. If anyone was meant for a NY team, its Carter. A guy that can definitely handle the press and without his arrival to the Mets one would have to wonder if the 86 Mets could have won it all. Don't get me wrong, they were one hell of a team without the Kid, with Hernandez, Gooden, Knight, Strawberry and many more but having the Kid behind the plate definitely helped.
I also needed to include this great George Brett card because when I was little my first real baseball bat was a Louisville Slugger, George Brett bat. Not only that but I also had a George Brett glove. The funny part is, when I got them I don't even think I knew who George Brett was. Ahh to be a kid again.
Next up we have this nice 2008 Carlos Beltran Topps Heritage card. I chose this one to show because I have always been a Beltran detractor. He got his contract from the Mets after his amazing 2004 postseason and I never thought he lived up to it. Now that his contract is almost up and I take a step back and look at his production, I started to finally get on the bandwagon, especially with the way he started off the 2009 season. Hitting for average and hitting lots of balls in the gap as opposed for hitting for power. As soon as I do, what happens? He spends half the season on the D/L. Ask Steve from the Easy Life, I am the biggest jinx in the world. Anytime someone has a no-hitter going I put on the game and they blow it as soon as I do. If you have a favorite player who came close but blew it just blame me, it's probably my fault.
Lastly we have this great 2008 A&G Charles Dickens. My favorite set and a card for a man who wrote one of my favorite stories, A Christmas Carol. I actually performed A Christmas Carol at a theatre in Scranton, PA back in 1999. I played Fred, Scrooge's nephew. I used to act a lot back in those days. Did many plays/musicals in both NY and PA. A Christmas Carol was one of the best shows I ever had the privilege to work on. Unfortunately I had to quit acting due to my work schedule, but now that I have a better shift at work who knows maybe I can get back into it.
I want to again thank Ed again for all of these cards and again I will get your cards out in the mail tomorrow.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
After the eight grueling days were over, shooting wrapped and the arduous task of editing material began. In all, Ed and Dan had over 19 hours of usable footage. They kept their promise to John Pierson by producing a segment for the second season of Splitscreen. The piece, now featuring a new cast appeared on Bravo in April of 1998. The discrepancies in the cast seemed to matter little to the fans who were so enthralled by the plight of these students.
Throughout the Summer and Fall of 1998 the picture played in a handful of smaller film festivals across the country. Those successes eventually led to their acceptance into the Sundance Film Festival in 1999. In the early morning hours of January 22nd, 1999, The Blair Witch Project was the first film to be picked up from that years festival when a young company called Artisan snatched up the rights for reportedly between $1 and $1.5 million.
The next six to seven months before the film was released in theatres became a blur for the duo. They appeared on magazine covers, talk-shows, and even went to the Cannes Film Festival in France, perhaps the most prestigious place on earth a filmmaker can have their work shown. On July 16, 1999, Artisan floated the film out in a limited release. Reports quickly came in of lines around the block and sold-out theatres everywhere it was playing. Two weeks later, on July 30th, the film went wide across the country.
America had a severe case of "Blair Witch" fever. Despite Artisan's backpedaling on the "true story" angle as the release approached, large numbers of moviegoers were still confused as to what was reality and what wasn't. This created a fog of mystery and intrigue around the film, which only helped catapault its numbers even higher. In its opening weekend the film took in almost $30 million. It went on to make almost the same the next weekend, a feat almost unheard of with theatrical releases. When it was all said and done the film grossed over $140 million in the U.S. alone, the worldwide total was somewhere in the neighborhood of $248 million.
As for me personally, I love this movie. I watch it every couple of weeks. It never gets stale for me. I love the concept, though not original as many might think it be. More hardcore horror fans know this movie is very much like the 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, which is quite possibly the most shocking and controversial film ever made. Due to graphic violence and actual animals being killed, the film is still banned in many countries. However the plot is essentially the same. A group of people go out in the woods, this time the jungles of the amazon to prove cannibals do not exist. (more on this film in a later post) When they dont come home, their footage is found and viewed. Ed and Dan claim to have never seen the movie prior to making the Blair Witch Project.
However with its amazing marketing campaign, how little the movie cost to make and what it pulled in this movie by far gets 5 Burning Skulls. Was it the scariest movie? No. Was it the goriest movie? Absolutely not. But the acting was so good to the point that even though most of us knew it was fake we thought the reactions were real. And the way the characters played off each other, everything in this film from pre to post production was done beautifully and will be appreciated by many for years to come. Again, Happy Birthday Blair Witch Project. Please enjoy the trailer below followed by some brief where are they now's with the actors. Pleasant dreams!
Heather Donahue: Heather has continued to pursue acting, mostly in television. Recent roles include the sci-fi original Manticore and 2008's The Morgue. In recent years Heather has sought to distance herself from anything Blair Witch related.
Joshua Leonard: Josh has remained active as an actor in both independent film and television. He recently made the jump to directing, and is currently helming a drama titled Everything's Alright.
Mike C Williams: Mike took a three year hiatus from acting but returned to positive reviews in Ed Sanchez's film Altered. He has also worked with Dan Myrick again, co-starring in the film The Objective. Mike has his own website, www.dearmrspielberg.com
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The casting process was very important because all of the "found footage" had to be shot by the actors themselves. Because of this they not only needed people who could act but also people who could work cameras and sound equipment or were at least willing to learn.
One actor who was all but cast even before the auditions started was Josh Leonard. He learned about the project about a year earlier while living in New York and working for a Documentary production company. After seeing a listing and getting in contact with Ed, the two remained in sporadic touch. The casting notice that went out made no bones about what potential the actors were getting into. As Heather Donahue recalled during an interview on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in 1999, the notice said something to the effect of "Completely improvised film, shot in a wooded location, shooting is going to suck as much as you can possibly imagine."
Even after reading that over 2,000 people came out to audition for the roles of the final 2 campers. Josh read with many of the hopefuls. When Heather entered the room, Dan Myrick walked up to her and said "You've served 7 years of a 9 year sentence, why should we let you out on parole?" Her impromptu performance won her the role of the director.
Rounding out the cast was a young, trained actor from New York City named Mike Williams. He was fresh out of college and looking for his first film role. Williams background was strong and improv and personally believes he got the part because himself and Josh became fast friends at casting and that initial chemistry won him the role.
The Blair Witch project was shot over the course of eight days in October 1997. The scenes in the woods that make up the majority of the movie were shot in Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland, with much of the interviews and documentary footage being shot in the real life nearby town of Burkittsville.
Contrary to popular belief, the trio of actors were not simply sent out into the woods without direction or any idea of what was happening. they were equipped with a GPS and each day were given a set of coordinates. In addition, each was given a small film canister with their name on it, with character directions for that day that were to be kept to themselves.
During the day, Dan, Ed and Greg Hale would stalk the actors using Hale's military training. All of the actors stated they stayed in character for the vast majority of their time in the woods and only occasionally would the producers make themselves known to assure the actors that everything was going according to plan.
Nightfall was when all bets were off. The producers would ascend on the actors while they slept and begin their harassment. This including, stalking, pre-recorded noises, physically messing with their tent and belongings. It's a common misconception that at these points in the film what you see on screen is not acting but rather genuine reactions to the frightening things happening around them.
Unlike most narratively traditional films, the conditions and setup required that the picture be shot in chronological order. This led to the final scene at the house in the woods, which turned out to be the one major exception to the hands-off policy. Due to some technical issues on the first pass, the final scene was actually shot over multiple nights and required a little more direction by Ed and Dan in order for everything to appear seamless in the final cut. Once that was finished, the real story had just begun.
Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of my review of the Blair Witch Project.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Let me start by wishing The Blair Witch Project a Happy 10th Birthday. Thats right. Ten years ago the world was swept up by Blair Witch Mania. You could not read the paper, watch television or even talk with your friends without someone bringing up this movie. This was thanks to the excellent marketing campaign the creators, Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. Including a special one-hour show that appeared on, the then, Sci-fi Channel, entitled Curse of the Blair Witch which included friends and teachers, along with TV spots from news shows all to create further realism for this movie. Hell, there are still people out there today who actually believe this is a true story. When I went to see it in the theatre's I even stayed through the credits just to see that little note at the end that says this is a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual people or events, blah blah blah.
Dan and Eduardo met in film school in the early 90's while attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando. While bonding over their mutual love of horror films they discovered they shared and interest in one particular sub-genre, the grainy, documentary-style films and television specials from the 70's. This was where the idea for the Blair Witch Project was born.
The initial concept was simple. A film crew gets lost in the woods, and their footage is found some time later. At the start, their idea was to have the film be shot and edited like an actual documentary, showing the students footage, but also cutting back and forth between other interviews and expert analysis. This additional footage would later become the Curse of the Blair Witch special. With inspiration but no money the project was put on the back burner.
After graduation Ed moved back to Maryland and Dan stayed in Orlando where he began working in the production industry. While there Dan formed a relationship with a young producer named Gregg Hale who liked the project so much he put up the money for Dan to rent a production office and shoot what he describes as an "investor reel." It was just a short proof of concept video, shot with different actors than who would appear in the actual movie. What happened next is hard to dismiss as anything but pure fate.
John Pierson, a long time independent film guru was in town shooting a segment for his show Splitscreen on Bravo and needed a local camera crew. Dan got the job and over the course of the shoot became good friends with John. Myrick sent him the investor reel once Pierson got back to New York and almost immediately received a call back asking if the footage was real.
Pierson decided he wanted to show the footage during the last segment of the first season of his show as a cliffhanger and he would provide the money for a second segment to premiere his second season. It aired in the Fall of 1997 and after the initial airings the message boards at Splitscreens official website lit up with people wanting to know more about the students.
Ed now joined Dan in Florida and created a web page of their own. Creating an entire mythos and history along with message boards of their own. With the internet buzz going and funds coming in from Pierson and what Dan and Ed were able to get together it was time for them to put their money where their mouths were. They knew they had to find their actors.
Tune in tomorrow for part 2
Saturday, September 5, 2009
In a very shocking turn of events TNA has released Angelina love from her contract late Thursday night. Angelina was a major part of the TNA Knockouts division and a former TNA Knockouts Champion. Love along with her partner Velvet Sky were set to take part in the finals of the TNA Knockouts Tag Title Tournament. It will be interesting to see how TNA will explain this.
Love is a Canadian citizen. She came to the U.S. to work for the WWE and got a work visa to be is this country. However, when she was let go from WWE in May 2007 the visa is deemed invalid. Basically, if you are not a legal citizen of the United States, you must apply for a new working visa each time you start work with a new employer. Seeing as how Love, real name, Lauren Williams, is a Canadian citizen working in the U.S., she falls under this category. The person applying must initiate the matter themselves by either having: enough money in the bank to support themselves; a U.S. sponsor; or a company confirming they will employ them in the U.S.
In September 2007, Love was contacted by TNA to appear at their annual October pay-per-view, Bound For Glory, TNA's version of Wrestlemania. For all of the debuting Knockouts, including Love, the 10-Knockout gauntlet to crown the first ever TNA Knockout Champion was a tryout match. She passed with flying colors and was contacted only days later to sign a contract with the company and became a regular television character. As a matter of fact Love with her partner Velvet Sky otherwise known as the Beautiful People are regularly one of the highest rated portions of TNA Impact on Spike. However this is where the problem first occurred.
From a legal standpoint, her work visa issues were supposed to be taken care of before she could sign a contract with TNA but Love did not do so. Likewise, company officials carelessly ignored the issue as well. Considering Love has been working without a visa for the past two years, both she and TNA could face serious legal ramifications should Federal agents become informed of the situation. As for a possible punishment, Love could be subject to deportation and banned from entering the U.S. for ten years. She may also be forced to pay back any money she garnered by working in the U.S. as an "illegal immigrant". It wasn't until recently that this situation was brought to the attention of TNA President, Dixie Carter, and Love was promptly released.
Hopefully this entire situation can somehow be worked out as Love was an intregal part of the Knockouts division and will certainly be missed by friends, fans and co-workers. Please enjoy the match below, Angelina Love vs. Tara at Victory Road 2009. And to Lauren Williams, if we do not see you again, thanks for the memories.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I also want to send another thank you to Card Cache for running his 2009 Allen and Ginter contest. I was one of the 9 winners chosen, well 8 really, damn you Beardy. That was a really cool thing to do and really appreciated. Thanks to Card Cache I am the new owner of, Prize E: Lot of 46 Mini's, both base and SP.
You'd think I won an award or something with all the thank you's. While I'm at it I may as well also thank the Academy. "You like me, you really like me!"
Moving on. August 15 was my birthday and I was finally able to get a copy of this so even though it more than two weeks later I gotta post it. My mother made me this cake for my birthday.
Starry Night is my favorite painting. I have a huge print over my bed in my bedroom. I could not believe when my mom showed me this. It blew my mind. And those are all cupcakes. I think its insane.
Here's another pic with the border she used to make it look framed. Amazing! If ya can't tell, yes I am a Momma's boy. And in honor of Starry Night, one of my favorite cards.
He likes hanging out with the yo-yo champ and the electron in the Milky Way. Damn, I love Allen & Ginter!
Finally today I want to leave you with a trailer you may or may not have seen. Unfortunately Youtube has disabled the embed funtion for it but please follow the link below to view iti On February 12, 2010, I will be in the movie theater for the first showing. Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro in the remake of The Wolfman. I have a problem with sequels. Mostly just because they usually suck in comparison to the original but there are some which I have enjoyed, 13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill (Though the original was much better), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Again, original better but remake good as well) and Quarantine just to name a few. But this movie looks amazing and with the all-star cast that it has I can not wait to see this film! The countdown begins.
The Wolfman 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I only needed 3 more cards for the set and here they are.
I needed 2 Pete Rose cards and a checklist. There's just something about that that I find hilarious. I've been going nuts for these cards for I don't even know how long and 2 are the same player and a checklist. Well thats another set down. Thanks again Matt. This one's for you.
Ha thats like the worst movie ever made
Friday, August 28, 2009
Picking up right where the first film left off, Laurie is taken to the hospital after supposedly killing the man who was responsible for the deaths of several people in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. However, her stay at Haddonfield General becomes very brief when a very much alive Michael appears once more, brutally murdering everyone in the hospital to find his sister. Michael disappears, and Laurie survives the infamous Halloween massacre, but is still haunted by it a year later. Laurie struggles to come to terms with her dark past, or at least forget it. But the supposedly dead Michael Myers has other plans, and as the anniversary of his massacre approaches, he returns to Haddonfield once more, with a family reunion planned that Laurie will never forget.
While the film starts off looking like its going to be a remake of the original after about 10 - 15 minutes you see that just like the first film it is definitely a completely different movie. Maybe its because of the original being a horror movie classic or maybe its because Jamie Lee Curtis was so great in her role but I cannot stand Scout Taylor-Compton in the role of Laurie. I think she is a horrible actress and does a horrible job playing a once great heroine.
The movie was however, as I expected, better than Zombie's first shot at the Halloween series. Some great death scenes, great gore and sound effects really add to this movie. Overall though its not something that I think you should dish out X amount of dollars to see in the theaters it isn't a bad movie. But definitely one you wait to see on cable. 3 Burning Skulls. Enjoy the trailer and pleasant dreams.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Lee Smith was born on December 4, 1957 in Shreveport Louisiana. He pitched for 8 teams over an 18 year career in Major League Baseball. He was scouted by great Negro League Player, Buck O'Neil, and drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round as the 28th overall pick in the 1975 Major League Draft. Smith started his career as a starting pitcher but struggled in the minors and was moved to the bullpen in 1978. Smith was not happy with the move and tried his hand at college basketball instead at Northwestern State University. In 1979 at the request of former Cubs outfielder, Billy Williams, Smith returned to the AA Midland Cubs as a reliever and played so well he was promoted to AAA in 1980. With the Cubs struggling in last place that year he was given a September call-up.
Smith made his Major League debut on September 1, 1980 against the Atlanta Braves. Smith pitched one inning, giving up no hits, striking out one and walking two. He finished the season with the Cubs and was invited back in 1981 mostly as a middle reliever. A poor pitching year was broken up by the 1981 Baseball Strike. He finished that year with a 3.51 ERA.
The 1981 Cubs closer, Dick Tidrow, had a horrible year and in 1982 Smith, Willie Hernandez, and Bill Campbell all shared closing duties. Smith pitched so well he even started 5 games in 1982. He credits returning Cubs star, Ferguson Jenkins with helping him simplify his delivery and teaching him the forkball and the slider. In 1982, in what would be his last career start, he picked up his first Major League hit, a homerun, against Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. He only managed 2 singles for the rest of his career. He saved 17 games in 1982.
In 1983 he was chosen for his first All-Star appearance though he did not fare well surrendering 2 runs. Although the Cubs continued to lose Smith was pitching great finishing the year with career best 1.65 ERA and 29 saves. He received 1 point in the Cy Young balloting and 8 points in the MVP ballots. He spent his longest tenure with the Cubs pitching for them from 1980 - 1987.
Smith also played for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati Reds, and Montreal Expos before retiring in 1997. He finished his career with, at the time, a Major League Record 478 saves and a 3.03 ERA. In 1991, Smith set a National League record with 47 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals and was runner-up for the league's Cy Young award; it was the second of three times he led the NL in saves, and he later led the American League, once while with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. He also set the major league career record for games finished (802), and his 1,022 career games pitched were the third most in history when he retired; he still holds the team records for career saves for the Cubs (180), and he also held the Cardinals record (160) until 2006. He is a 7-time All Star, 3-time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, once in the AL and twice in the NL.
Give me one good reason why this man shouldn't be in the Hall!!!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I love the look. I love the way they look just like credit cards right down to the last detail. I was able to find 30 cards from this 200 card set. After very little deliberation I knew I had to have them. It went something like this.
(Joe) Wow. I really like these cards. Maybe I should grab them. I don't know, I'm just trying to buy cards I need right now.
(Steve) Oh just get them, you know you want to.
And that was that. However after getting them home and looking online it is very hard to locate boxes of these cards. Thats where you all come in. (Hopefully) I've added a new want list for this set up and I'm asking for your help to finish it.
I don't know what it is with me. I seem to have a thing for weird cards. I love this set because of their interesting look. I love the A & G sets for their non-baseball cards. I mean c'mon who doesn't want a baseball card thats an electron ala 09 A & G. That just makes me laugh. And for some reason I have to have them.
This has given me an idea. All of the blogs I read on here have their own quirk when it comes to cards they collect. Whether it be their favorite team ala White Sox Cards, A Giant Blog, or Thoughts & Sox or Night Owl who loves collecting great cards taken at night. Well I have a request. I want to start collecting weird cards. Cards that have a unique look, have players doing weird or funny things or baseball cards that have absolutely nothing to do with baseball.
If you know any full sets I should check out let me know. Or if you have some cards that you think I would appreciate please let me know. Your assistance is always appreciated.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Final Girl - This is a great horror movie site. Good reviews (much better than I could ever do) and a great sense of humor make this site lots of fun. She also talks about a lot of obscure stuff you may not otherwise hear about in the horror world.
Drunken Severed Head - I really like this guys site. A lot of personal experience stuff here but all horror a macabre related. Great read.
Frankensteinia - A site dedicated entirely to Frankenstein. He talks movies, comics, masks, cons, zines, anything and everything to do with everyones favorite monster Frankenstein.
Beautiful Wrestling - Great site dedicated to the women of professional wrestling. Great picture of some of the most beautiful women in the world and reports on what these ladies can do in the ring.
Steve's Wrestling Blog - great site for news and results. Steve details weekly shows as well as Pay Per View's in great detail. Very good read.
So please feel free to check out these sites. Help a Blogga out!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Why am I putting up a card of Mary Shelley you ask? Because this is the very talented woman who penned the classic, Frankenstein. Which is today's movie of the day.
Dr. Frankenstein is trying to create life from death. After being shunned by the medical community he previously worked with he has been reduced to stealing bodies from local graves and putting his creature together piece by piece until there's only one piece left, the brain. His assistant (not Ygor, he doesn't show up until a couple movies later) steals a brain from the local university. However the brain he steals is actually a murderer's brain. Once pieced together Frankenstein's monster is brought to life but Dr. Frankenstein and his colleagues are unable to contain the monster and he breaks free. Once out in the open the town mobs together to destroy the monster, but can they destroy what is essentially already dead?
This movie is definitely a classic and Boris Karloff is amazing as the monster. You may be wondering why I keep calling him the monster and not Frankenstein. Well that is because that was his name, the monster. In all of the movies he is never actually named. The name Frankenstein comes from his creator, Dr. Frankenstein. I'm not to sure what I can say about this film that has not been said over the years but it is a great movie to see.
The thing I love most about this film is the pity you feel for Karloff as the Monster. The more you watch the more you realize that this movie is a parody on society. Frankenstein himself does not act out at all unless someone treats him bad. Which is evidenced by his interaction with the little girl. Frankenstein himself even with a killer's brain was not a killer, more of a misunderstood soul. The film shows how we as a society try to destroy and hate all that we do not understand.
I will say this is not my favorite of the Frankenstein films. To be honest I think the best was the sequel Bride of Frankenstein. You felt even more for the monster and the special effects, yes thats right I said special effects, for a movie made in 1935 are amazing.
The original though still is a landmark in cinematic history and gets 4 burning skulls from me. Please enjoy the trailer below and again thanks to Night Owl for the card. Pleasant Dreams!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This card is based on whats known as the "Surgeon's Photograph"
It was taken in 1934 and is probably the most famous picture of "Nessie" It was, at the time, considered good evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness Monster due to it showing the head and neck of the creature where as prior photographs only showed humps and water disturbances. It was supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson of London and published in The Daily Mail in April 21 1934. When it ran Wilson refused to have his name run with the picture and with him being a doctor came the name Surgeon's Photograph.
This card however could just as easily been in the Hoax sub-set as many years later it was revealed that the photo was a fake. A man by the name of Christian Spurling who formerly worked for The Daily Mail was the one who actually sent it in to the paper. It was actually a toy submarine with carved wood for the head and neck. He sent it in after his father-in-law was ridiculed by the publication.
Also from my favorite sub-set we have The Vampire. I love vampires. Always have. I love reading about them, and watching movies about them. All the way back to the silent movie classic Nosferatu, which at the time was considered so scary people actually fainted in the audience while watching it. Here's a picture.
The scene with him rising straight up out of his coffin stiff as a board is still one of my favorite cinematic moments ever. For any other Vamp fans out there I recommend Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Series of books. They have been turned into the very popular HBO series True Blood which is also very good. It is a different take on the whole Vampire idea. In both the show and book the Vampires "Come out of the Coffin" and admit to the world they are real and try to live in modern society. Very Interesting.
Well I think i've gone on enough of a tangent here. Just wanna say thanks again to Night Owl. I will keep my eyes peeled for anything you need in the future. And between Night Owl, another package I got which I will mention in a future post, and a recent trip to the card store I am VERY close to completing the 2006 Topps Set. Please help me finish this one off.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Their slogan is "Where Wrestling is the Entertainment" And nothing could be more true. They work their storylines right into the matches and pre-match interviews. So when you go to their shows, instead of seeing two hours of soap operas you get 3 plus hours of wrestling.
They have their own group of local talent who live in Syracuse and work their shows on a regular basis but they also bring in talent from ROH and TNA as well. We have also gotten to see former WWE stars such as Scotty too Hottie, The Blue Meanie and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. From ROH we have gotten El Generico, Nigel McGuiness, Bryan Danielson, Die Hard Eddie Edwards and All Money is Legal. From TNA we have seen A.J. Styles, Homicide, The Motor City Machine Guns, and Samoa Joe.
The show has an old ECW feel to it. The fans really do become part of the show. They just had a show on my Birthday in Syracuse. Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I have included a video to hype up the show just so you can get a feel for the product. Steve at The Easy Life will definitely like this one. Definitely low budget but lots of fun. After the shows the wrestlers all come out and talk to you, sign autographs and just hang out. It's a great time. Check out 2CW.com for more details.