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You Know You’re a Film Fanatic When–This is Your Gym Tee!

Spellbound by Movie's Beth Ann Gallagher in Rock Rebel's Universal Monsters Collage Tee

I can’t resist showing my movie love when at my new gym. Since I’m only a beginner, its circuit training sessions are grueling, but I keep myself peppy by wearing film-related tees. Today’s reflected my lifelong enjoyment of the Universal Monsters series.

Starting as a tot, I’d tune in to local station WLVI for The Creature Double Feature every Saturday. The show didn’t have the typical costumed horror host, but the announcer was enthusiastic, and he never talked down about the material. The program’s introductory sequences built anticipation of what was to come by containing horror clips, sometimes altered in psychedelic ways, accompanied by electronic music and vocal effects.

I credit The Creature Double Feature as one of the influences that turned me into a film fanatic. It was pure cinema of entertainment until commercials temporarily interrupted whatever was onscreen. Besides Universal, the program showcased Toho Studio‘s giant monster movies, American International Pictures‘ fifties films, Hammer Studios, and Roger Corman‘s sixties horror flicks.

Mention The Creature Double feature to anyone who grew up watching it, and you’ll get a smile from someone eager to chat. The name acts like a secret handshake. If you search the web, you’ll find fan pages and a message board run by people nostalgic for the show. I even found a list of every movie it ever played. That’s a great help because I know I’ve watched Hammer movies, but sometimes I can’t remember which ones. I enjoyed them, but the melancholy monsters of Universal Studios stuck with me.

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Back from the Rodeo & Will Rogers’ The Ropin’ Fool

Yesterday I went to my first rodeo at the Stanislaus County Fair. Keeping today’s post in a cowboy theme, here’s an excerpt of Will RogersThe Ropin’ Fool.

This novelty, silent short from 1922 was written and produced by Rogers and directed by Clarence G. Badger. There is a slight plot that provides the frame for Rogers’ roping tricks. It’s when those tricks supersede the plot, that the film takes us to a delightfully surreal place. That’s when his character “Ropes” Reilly shows off his talents in the town square. Rogers looks joyful as he slings his rope around and performs the types of tricks that made him famous at the Follies.

His ropes painted white show up well against his dark horse Dopey, but it’s a cinematic convention that makes those roping scenes amazing–slow-motion photography. We get to see all the details of the tricks that go by too quickly for our eyes normally, and their slowed down speed not only gives us a greater appreciation of how difficult these tricks were, but also makes these moments have a mesmerizing dreamlike quality.

The above clips comes from a video promoting Reelclassicdvd.Com’s edition featuring a musical score by Ben Model. If you’d like to see some more scenes minus any plot, but full of roping Turner Classic Movies has an excerpt of outtakes with narration.


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Say It With Firecrackers

Somehow it’s a little too dry and a little too chilly for fireworks in the Bay Area, but I’m going to wish you a happy Fourth of July and say it with fireworks anyway. From the original jukebox (movie) musical, here is Fred Astaire tapping out his tribute to tomorrow’s holiday:

This is one of my favorite Astaire solos. A little movie magic tricks the eye and the ear, but the moves are all his. I love how happy he looks when done. He’s probably imagining how the finished scene will look, and it is a stand-out in a film full of production numbers.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
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