THE 1961 BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

As always, our blogathon entrants are keeping us on our toes with their terrific blog entries about movies from the year 1961. So sit back and enjoy


Click here for our Day 1 recap. For Day 2’s entrants, click on the name of each individual blog to read their entries.


The Midnite Drive-In brings us an out-of-this-world double feature of The Phantom Planet and Assignment: Outer Space.


BNoirDetour brings us an unhappy hit man on assignment at Christmastime in Blast of Silence.


And portraitsbyjenni brings us the real-life story of The Hoodlum Priest who worked to steer ex-cons back into society.

Keep us bookmarked for the final day of our salute to ’61 cinema!




The 12 Days of Blogmas – Day 1


Two years ago, I hosted the A Movie Gift to You Blogathon, wherein I asked bloggers to pick a favorite movie that they’d like to present to someone as a Christmas gift, and then explain why they were gifting that particular movie.

This year for Christmas, I decided to do a variation of that theme, but with me playing Santa Claus. I’ve picked 12 of my favorite bloggers. Each day for the next 12 days, I would like to “gift” them with one of my favorite movie scenes as it (hopefully) relates to the movie interests they’ve expressed on their blogs.

Let me preface this with some ground rules and disclaimers. I’m not providing a list of the recipients in advance — I’ll just “gift” them on my blog here each day. If you are not one of the recipients, please don’t feel offended. I based my gifting list mainly on bloggers with whom I’m very familiar and who semi-regularly correspond with me online. (If, at the end of my 12 days, you’re really that disappointed that you didn’t make the cut, leave me a comment in the “Comments” section — maybe I’ll do a second list!)

Also, I will link to each recipient’s blog to give them a little plug. If you’re not already familar with the chosen blogs, follow the link and seek them out — you’ll have some fun movie-reading ahead of you! (By all means, check out the chosen movies as well.)

Time to play Santa…


My first recipient is Salome at the blog BNoirDetour. She knows her way around the film noir genre like Philip Marlowe knows his way around a shapely dame, and her blog is encyclopedic, insightful, and a breezy read.

To Salome, I gift what is probably my favorite scene in film noir. In Double Indemnity (1944), insurance claims adjuster Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) is arguing with his boss, who is trying to get out of paying a claim to a widow whose husband fell off a moving train and killed himself.

Keyes’ boss is trying to convince Keyes (and maybe himself) that the man did not accidentally fall out of the train but deliberately committed suicide, and therefore the claim should be nullified. From there, Edward G. Robinson hits the heights, as Keyes turns a long, dry list of suicide statistics into a Shakespearean soliloquy.

Here’s the scene. Come back tomorrow for Day 2 of the Blogmas!
















We won’t keep you in suspense any longer, as we know you must be grinding your teeth waiting to see


It’s appropriate that Terry Gilliam’s visage hovers over this recap, as his movies constitute the majority (3 out of 4) of Day 1’s blog entries. (Click on the appropriate blog’s name to link to their blogathon entry.)


The Midnite Drive-In has time to kill in more ways than one with their critique of Gilliam’s family-film fantasy Time Bandits.


Radiator Heaven cannot tell a lie — they enjoyed the otherworldly vision of Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.


BNoir Detour detected some sinister noir elements in Gilliam’s futuristic tale Brazil.


And finally, yours truly opted for a Baron Munchausen-like take on the life of Graham Chapman, as narrated by Chapman himself (with help from fellow Pythons), in the animated film A Liar’s Autobiography.

And there’s more to come, so keep us bookmarked for the next two days. As for the rest of you blogathon participants: It’s time to talk the talk and walk the silly walk!










We’ve uncovered quite a few bloggers who had misgivings about certain films that they ended up loving! Thankfully, we got them to share their stories with us in


If you’ve missed any of these enjoyable film memories, click on the appropriate blog name below to link to the blog and read the blogathon entry.


BNoirDetour came to realize that Bogie and Bacall really did have it all in The Big Sleep.

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Moon in Gemini was transformed from film snob to movie populist, courtesy of James Cameron’s The Terminator.


Love Letters to Old Hollywood decided she wanted to have what Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were having in When Harry Met Sally.

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Serendipitous Anachronisms anticipated a snark-fest and got an engrossing thriller when she watched Richard Boone in the otherworldly I Bury the Living.

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And yours truly got a pleasant surprise in black comedy when I partook of future big-name stars Denis Leary’s and Kevin Spacey’s early career work in The Ref.

We still have two more days to go in our blogathon, so keep us bookmarked for more terrific turnaround stories in cinema!

Brags About Blogs


I subscribe to more than a few blogs. You probably do, too. But even though you probably read every single blog to which you subscribe, are there a few that you sorta-extra look forward to?

Well, me, too. So I thought I’d mention them here and now in case you’re looking for something fresh to read. If I subscribe to your blog and don’t mention it here, please don’t take it personally — I’m glad to read you and look forward to you as well. But the blogs I’m about to mention have just a little extra fairy dust sprinkled on them, which might make them worth your while as well. (And I’ll bet a lot of my readers don’t put me at the top of their blog reading lists, either.)

Anyway, here are some extra-special blogs you might want to seek out. Click on each blog’s name to link to it.

By Ken Levine. Levine is a former TV and movie writer with some pretty heavy-duty credits to his name (“M*A*S*H,” “Cheers,” “Frasier”). He is also is a former radio DJ and L.A. sports announcer. Just those subjects give him some generous anecdotes to write about. He also shares his opinions on movies and TV shows, the show-biz industry, and life in general, and he does it as entertainingly as he wrote for television. I just love his stuff.

News from ME. Mark Evanier is another show-biz gadly with a little of everything to his credit. He wrote for “Welcome Back, Kotter” and other ’70s TV shows, including Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and now does the syndicated TV version of the “Garfield” comic strip. Like Ken Levine, Evanier has tons of fascinating show-biz stories and opinions to share.

Travalanche. Written by “Trav S.D.,” who covers classic movies, TV shows, and (forgive me, Trav) a lot of offbeat New York stage stuff that I’ll never see because I live in Florida. (He had a hand in the recent NYC revival of I’ll Say She Is, the Broadway revue that catapulted The Marx Brothers to fame.) It’s all presented in a very lively, loving style, and it probably doesn’t hurt that he has much of the same tastes in pop culture as I do.

Tralfaz and YowpThese blogs are written by the same person (who doesn’t go by his real name, so why post it here?) and are devoted to classic cartoons — respectively, theatrical and Hanna-Barbera. He posts a lot of fascinating animation history and drawings, and I never would have guessed that Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear cartoons were worthy of such scholarly attention until this blogger made it so.

Silent-ology and Movies Silently. I used to be quite full of myself for knowing so much more about silent movies than the film buffs with whom I conversed. Compared to what these two bloggers know, my knowledge of silent film could be lodged comfortably on the head of a pin. Silent-ology is written by Lea Stans, a woman in her mid-twenties, and Movies Silently by Fritzi Kramer. I mention Lea’s age only because I’ve read silent-film authors who aren’t as comprehensive as Lea is, and Fritzi is similarly encyclopedic. And their writing is anything but dry — their love of the silent era shines through in everything they post.

BNoirDetour. Written by Salome, this blog is devoted exclusively to film noir, and as a film professor, Salome knows her stuff. She also hosts a “Live Tweet” on every Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST in which she presents a noir movie for Twitter members to enjoy and comment on. I regard her as my noir Roger Ebert.

Hope this gives you a starting point for something new to read this weekend!