Monday, February 10, 2014
10 February 2014
Chloe Grace Moretz b. 1997 (Carrie , Dark Shadows, Hugo, Let Me in, Jack and the Beanstalk, Kick-Ass)
Emma Roberts b. 1991 (American Horror Story, Scream 4, Aquamarine)
Elizabeth Banks b. 1974 (The Hunger Games, Spider-Man)
Laura Dern b. 1967 (Jurassic Park, The Master, October Sky, Fat Man and Little Boy)
Vince Gilligan b. 1967 (writer, Hancock, The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen, Wilder Napalm)
Robert Addie b. 1960 died 30 November 2003 (Red Dwarf, Excalibur)
Michael Apted b. 1941 (director, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Jerry Goldsmith b. 1929 died 7/21/2004 (composer, Star Trek, Congo, Omen IV, Twilight Zone)
Hazel Court b. 1926 died 15 April 2008 (Omen III, Masque of the Red Death, Twilight Zone, The Raven, Premature Burial, The Curse of Frankenstein , Devil Girl From Mars)
Douglas Spencer b. 1910 died 6 October 1960 (Twilight Zone, This Island Earth, The Thing from Another World)
Lon Chaney Jr. b. 1906 died 12 July 1973 (Dracula vs. Frankenstein, House of the Black Death, The Alligator People, The Cyclops, Indestructible Man, Bride of the Gorilla, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, House of Dracula, The Mummy’s Curse, House of Frankenstein, The Mummy’s Ghost, Son of Dracula, The Mummy’s Tomb, The Ghost of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Man Made Monster, One Million B.C.)
The Picture Slot goes to Lon Chaney Jr. today, wearing the iconic make-up from the first Wolf Man movie. Chaney got into the movies because his dad was a star. He started out with a lot of bit parts and called himself Creighton Chaney early on to downplay the connection to the silent actor known as The Man of a Thousand Faces. While he got a great role in Of Mice and Men in 1939, it was Universal who gave him steady work churning out the horror movies of the 1940s. He showed a willingness to be in a lot of make-up, and when Karloff decided he didn't want to do that anymore, Chaney played The Mummy and Frankenstein's monster, even Count Dracula once. While he still got lots of roles in Westerns, including big budget movies like High Noon, he would still take roles in monster movies all the way through his career, some of them very small budget affairs.
Compare that to young Chloe Grace Moretz, who turns 17 today. The genre films she's made are her best ticket to stardom. The only way she could have caught a luckier break is if she was the lead in one of the huge hit genre movie series like Twilight, Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.
The entertainment industry was turned entirely upside down by Star Wars and Star Trek.
As for some of our other birthday folk, the late Robert Addie played Robin Hood on British TV and Mordred in Excalibur, Hazel Court was a great scream queen in the Vincent Price movies, and Douglas Spencer was a bald, bespectacled "Oh That Guy" back in the 1950s and 1960s. He's the reporter Scotty in The Thing From Another World and gets the last line "Watch the skies! Watch the skies!"
Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island released, 2012
Predictor: OMNI Future Almanac, published 1982
Predictions (reality in parentheses): Future movie trends
1. Cartoons, westerns and love stories will still constitute the predominant hits of the 21st Century. (This is a very weird statement in 1982. Westerns had faded badly as a genre and animated features were at a low point. By this time, the first two Star Wars movies had been out and E.T. and The Wrath of Khan were the big hits of 1982, though it's not clear if the book was released before or after these movies hit the screens in June. In any case, we know the truth. Genre movies are the big hits, cartoons are hits because they are genre and love stories sometimes get lucky, but not that often. Westerns are rare.)
2. Future audiences, unfamiliar with classic films like Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and The Godfather, will see these enduring tales remade with the stars of the future. (Hmmm... not quite. True enough, Hollywood is full of remakes, but look at Chloe Grace Moretz's movies to see what gets remade. Carrie, a 1970s monster movie. Dark Shadows, a gawd-awful 1960s TV show. Let Me In, the Americanization of the Scandanavian vampire movie Let the Right One In. As I wrote eariler, the industry is upside down and these guys in 1982 could have spotted the trend, but didn't.)
3. Instant classics will be created by increased Hollywood hype and intensive advertising. (It doesn't always work, but this prediction is better than the first two. I'd replace "instant classics" with "huge hits". It's remarkable how many of the top grossing films of the century are now despised even by the fanbase.)
4. Black and white films will be colored by computer techniques. (Hah! They get one right, but they don't realize how short-lived a fad it will be.)
5. Trends at the concession stand will come and go, but popcorn will remain America's favorite movie-going snack. (With as many swings and misses as they had on this list, at least they go out with a home run. Popcorn = movie snack is still true thirty two years later.)
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
Ray Kurzweil is back, predicting the future of computers and getting stuff almost right.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!