July is #CleanMovieMonth!

From the blog Pure Entertainment Preservation Society

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Announcing #CleanMovieMonth!

PEPS is officially announcing that July is #CleanMovieMonth! Many months are dedicated to celebrating history or bringing awareness. #CleanMovieMonth is dedicated to both. It’s a month-long celebration of Code films, specifically cinema sealed during the Breen era (1934-1954). Frequent PEPS readers know that PEPS is always dedicated to Breen era films. However, during #CleanMovieMonth, we are inviting you to join the celebration, too!

Why is July #CleanMovieMonth?

 The idea of the Motion Picture Production Code was first announced by Martin J. Quigley at a meeting in Chicago in July of 1929, so the Code was really born in July. On July 15, 1934, the Code began to be enforced as the Production Code Administration, with Joseph I. Breen as its leader, was formed. Thus, July is dedicated to celebrating Code films and clean cinema!

How do I participate?

Watch only American films released between July 15, 1934, and…

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Only five more days until THE FAVORITE FOURSOME BLOGATHON!

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In five days, this blog will celebrate its fourth anniversary with The Favorite Foursome Blogathon, wherein bloggers will tell us about some of their fave foursomes in pop culture, be they flesh-and-blood or fictional. It’s not too late to enter — click here for the blogathon’s rules!

The Beatles – The gift that keeps on giving

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The following is my entry in The Favorite Foursome Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from July 6-8, 2018. Click on the above banner, and read about bloggers’ favorite foursomes from all venues of pop culture!

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My earliest memory of The Beatles — probably one of my earliest memories ever — is when I was 3 or 4 years old, sitting in front of my dinky little record player, listening to The Beatles’ Second Album. Why would a 4-year-old be listening to a Beatles LP? Well, it’s practically part of your DNA when your older sister is a red-blooded, full-throated Beatlemaniac.

My sister Sue, who is 10 years older than me, was one of millions of American females who would scream every time The Beatles came on TV. I have no memory of her watching The Beatles’ debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 (though I’m sure that’s how she got into Beatlemania). But I have clear recollections of her screaming heartily when the film of The Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert was broadcast, and even when ABC premiered their weekly Beatles cartoon series on Sept. 25, 1965. So it seems that I became a Beatlemaniac by proxy.

I have some strange childhood memories of The Beatles. One is that I wanted to listen to my sister’s copies of their albums, and despite her reluctance to let me do so, my father insisted upon it. One time, I left her copy of Rubber Soul too close to our front room’s open radiator. Forever after, when we played the album, the phonograph needle would have to ride over a rotating hill in the grooves.

My dad had the funniest memory of our family’s “encounters” with The Beatles. We lived in Chicago, and The Beatles played two shows there at White Sox Park on Aug. 20, 1965. Against my dad’s better wishes, he bought two tickets to the second show, for himself and Sue. My dad had two overriding memories of the concert. One was that, when he was driving himself and Sue to the concert, they got about halfway there when Sue realized she had left the concert tickets back at home, and he angrily had to drive back home to get them.

His other memory was that he was practically deafened by the screams of the 37,000 other fans who had attended the concert that night. Also, The Beatles performed on a 360-degree rotating stage. Right behind my dad and sister were a mother-and-daughter couple who had brought along a huge banner reading, “WE LOVE YOU, RINGO.” Every time they thought that the band was rotating in their direction, the mother and daughter would jump up, scream at Ringo, and waved their banner at him. 

I don’t remember the first time I listened to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but I definitely had a reaction to the album that was radically different from my sister’s. I was always fascinated by the album’s lavish artwork and era-defining music. But for my sister, that album was the beginning of the end of her fascination with The Beatles, as they had become too far-out and psychedelic for her. (She didn’t even bother buying the double-disc White Album, which would have been too expensive for her meager allowance anyway. As a result, I didn’t even know there was a White Album until I checked it out from a local library in 1972.) So from then on, I ended up carrying the Beatle torch for my family.

After 50-some years (!), their music continues to amaze me. They did so many different kinds of music — rock, ballad, country, experimental — and did them all so well, I’ve always regarded The Beatles as a genre unto themselves. And every phase of their career yields something great to listen to — from their early music with its escapist pop lyrics, to their studio-only years when they experimented with any type of sound they could imagine, to their valedictory era with its solid musicianship.

They weren’t perfect, heaven knows. Producer George Martin was probably right in his opinion that The White Album could have been cut down to a really solid single album instead of its somewhat uneven double set (but who would want to be the one to axe any of the album’s songs?). And Let It Be, while it has its moments, makes it clear that everyone (except perhaps Paul) was ready to move on to other things. (I prefer the stripped-down Naked version of the album that was issued at Paul McCartney’s behest in 2003.)

Yet the best of their music — which is surely the majority of their work — continues to reward new generations of listeners. My 22-year-old son has a friend who is as into The Beatles as I ever was. And as the 50th-anniversary edition of Sgt. Pepper — remastered by George Martin’s son Giles — proves, we continue to find layers and layers of wonderful sounds in what seemed very familiar songs. I can never get enough of them.

Happy 42nd anniversary! (Actually 6th anniversary, but in dog years)

 

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Six years ago today, to the everlasting reluctance of my wife, we adopted two rescue dogs, Lexi and Opie. At the time, this was done mostly to placate our son and daughter (who were, respectively, 16 and 19 years old).

We’d had a dog up to that point, a German Shepherd mix named Jag, but he had died the previous month. My son took it the hardest, mainly because he had watched Jag deteriorate before his eyes. We knew in Jag’s last two weeks of life that he wasn’t doing well, and my son went out of his way to treat Jag tenderly. One day, my son was getting ready to take the dog for a walk when Jag collapsed in the driveway.

My son and daughter rushed him to the vet’s office, which happened to be across the street from where my wife worked, so she came over to console the kids. When my son found out that Jag was dead, my wife said he let out a howl like she’d never heard before.

For two weeks, our house was pet-less and quiet, which was just how my wife wanted it. But the kids finally cajoled her into getting another dog, so we went to the local animal shelter.

We took a tour of the place, and as it happened, two dogs named Lexi and Opie were penned in the same cage. The shelter supervisor — who, we now believe, must have seen us coming a mile away — told us these two dogs always stayed together, and they had already been returned to the shelter twice after their owners tired of having to deal with them. The supervisor brought the dogs out, and next thing you know, two extra “people” were riding home in the car with us.

Neither of these dogs believed that they now had a permanent home. Opie curled up in a corner of our dining room and wouldn’t socialize with anyone the entire day. At one point, Lexi got out in our yard in the middle of a pouring rain, and it took me and my son to drag her out from behind some trees where she had ensconced herself.

Initially, the dogs were my daughter’s project, and she wanted to handle their discipline and training. After a couple of years of discovering that the dogs had no discipline and were immune to training, my daughter threw up her hands and let me and my son handle them.

Six years later, they still have pretty much the same quirks that they had on their first day with us. They follow me everywhere, and if I dare to close the door of the master bedroom behind me, Opie will stand outside of it and whine incessantly in the fervent belief that I am never coming back out. If I dare to show Opie the slightest affection (e.g., stroking or petting him), Lexi will jump in and demand favored-nations, because heaven forbid that she doesn’t get equal attention.

My wife, never a pet lover, would still happily euthanize Lexi and Opie. I’m more sanguine about them. Yes, they’re often very annoying. But so are my kids and my wife sometimes, and so am I. So murder is just not the answer in any instance.

Many people have misconceptions about owning a dog. For one thing, Lexi and Opie are both black dogs, which I am told are the least popular kind — I guess because they’re not photogenic enough. But if that’s the only reason you’re getting a dog, your mindset is way off anyway. They’re not beautiful and not terribly well-adjusted, which is why, I’m sure, that I relate so well to them.

Bottom line, I’m glad we saved them from an undeserved fate. I’d like to join the chorus of dog-lovers who say: If you want to purchase a pet, don’t buy from a puppy mill. There are plenty of pets who are ready to declare themselves rescue dogs and show you their gratitude for the rest of their lives.

Credit: Harry Bliss, The New Yorker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing THE FAVORITE FOURSOME BLOGATHON!

July 8 marks the fourth anniversary of this blogathon. Last year for the third anniversary, I hosted a blogathon with a theme of famous movie threesomes. So for Year # 4, I decided to do

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Rules for the Blogathon

For this ‘thon, I’d like you to write about one of your favorite foursomes in pop culture. They can be real — such as a musical quartet — or they can be fictional. They can come from movies, TV shows, books, or even comic books. As long as they work in a group of four, they can be written about for this blogathon.

After you choose your quartet, describe why they appeal to you so much. Take any approach. If it’s a musical group, write about why you enjoy their music. If it’s a fictional foursome, maybe their heroics have inspired you in real life.

My only limitation for this blogathon: Please, no duplicate entries. (I will regularly update the list of blogathon entries below. Check the list to make sure your choice isn’t already taken before you enter the ‘thon.) Otherwise, the sky is the limit!

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie trio you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8, 2018. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on July 8, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!)

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry!

Here’s the line-up so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Beatles

Movierob – The four Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings movies The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003); the starring females of Sex and the City (2008); and the starring males of The A-Team (2010)

The Stop Button – The Four Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts (1929)

Caftan Woman – The Hi-Lo’s

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – the four main students in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Tranquil Dreams – Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara, and Blake Lively in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen in Closer (2004)

The Observation Post – Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy in Libeled Lady (1936)

thoughtsallsorts – Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich in Red (2010)

Once Upon a Screen – The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

The Wonderful World of Cinema – The Doors

Moon in Gemini – The Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society – The titular siblings in Adam Had Four Sons (1940)

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The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

Sadly, we’ve had quite a few no-shows for our blogathon. Nevertheless, we shall bounce up and down with joy over those bloggers who saw it through, as we present

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(Click on the appropriate day to see the entries for Day 1 and Day 2. For today’s ‘thon finale, click on the name of each individual blog to read their entry.)

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Against their better judgment, a pent-up couple Clash by Night, as chronicled by Moon in Gemini.

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Movierob finishes his three-part blogathon entry with another threesome — Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and a leopard — in the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby.

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And Anybody Got a Match? details the sizzling chemistry — on- and off-screen — between Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, as Gilda does its best to put the blame on Mame.

Thanks to all of our blogathon participants and readers! And stay tuned for yet another blogathon coming up shortly from this blog!