Amoeblog

Richard Pryor’s Forgotten Masterpiece—Moving

Posted by Chuck, February 8, 2011 02:00pm | Post a Comment

Richard Pryor

I’ve always thought the best comedy ever conceived was Moving, starring Richard Pryor. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration—“ever” goes back further than 1988. But, you know, without getting snagged up on the front end of eternity, I will add that Moving is also the most underrated comedy and could have been a cult classic on par with Dazed and Confused or Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space had the film come out on DVD sooner than 2006 as a sort of b-side throw-in with Greased Lightning. Twenty-one years after its theatrical release, it’s still excruciating, smart, subtle and funny. I think this way because of Dana Carvey’s schizoid character(s), and Randy Quaid's playing the ex-con Crawford brothers/neighbors, Edward and Perry and King Kong Bundy from Hummingbird Movers, and Morris Day . . . eh, I could go on. But mostly because of Pryor’s character Arlo Pear, whose life spirals out of control when he’s fired from his suburban job as a mass transit engineer in New Jersey and is forced to move to the more remote suburbs of Boise “fucking” Idaho.


Hilarity ensues. The best line is a throwaway, when the movers are idly driving around Boise with all of the earthly Pear’s belongings, and Pryor’s Arlo drives up beside them in his ruined Saab dressed like Rambo and tells them to pull over. “Hey, it’s that Arlo Pear man,” says the driver. “What? Ah man, forget about him,” says the other with complete disregard. This makes no sense on so many levels it will never get old.

The movie is made all the better because it’s so unheralded. The many people I’ve talked to who know it (at least half a dozen) either like it as much as me (which is compulsively), or at least like it very much (in which case I tell them to watch it again). Come on, there’s some real irony to the notoriously foul-mouthed Pryor having a “swear jar” for his family to pay into, a quarter for every slip. And you’d have no indication from watching movie the fiction-like qualities of Pryor’s real life.

Cruise to Mexico: Part 7

Posted by Job O Brother, December 6, 2010 11:37am | Post a Comment
mexico

Day 5 (Part 2)

Thursday. September 16, 2010

PUERTO VALLARTA



As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”

You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.

Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.

“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”

It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.

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YELLOW SUBMARINE REMAKE TO STAR PETER SERAFINOWICZ

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment
RIngo remembers John Lennon's "Imagine"(from The Peter Serafinowicz Show)

The hilarious The Peter Serafinowicz Show is coming out next month on DVD. The UK TV show was created by Peter Serafinowicz, and the comic has nailed the Beatles on the popular series. Above is the clip "Ringo remembers Imagine" and below is the great Beatles spoof clip from the TV show, titled "RIngo Remembers 1969." Besides expertly channeling Ringo Starr, Serafinowicz can also equally do spot-on interpretations of any one of the other Fab Four members.

Director Robert Zemeckis, who is making the 3D Disney remake of the Beatles classic musical cartoon Yellow Submarine, wisely cast the British comic as Paul McCartney. The currently in production animated remake also features Epic Movie's Adam Campbell as Ringo. Dean Lennox Kelly (who many may know from the UK TV bizarre comedy series Shameless) will be playing John Lennon, while George Harrison is being voiced by Cary Elwes of Princess Bride and Christmas Carol fame. 

For more background information on the Yellow Submarine remake by Zemickis, which will not be completed and released until 2012, read the UK Independent's report here. Meantime, be sure to pick up The Peter Serafinowicz Show at Amoeba Music when it is released on DVD early next month, and check out both the Beatles skit from the show below and the other non-Beatles clip that is equally funny; it's a mock commercial for The Butterfield Karaoke Bar that offers only twenty songs that include Abba, Sinead O'Connor, Queen, and "the chairman of the board himself" (no, not Sinatra) --  "the late great Notorious B.I.G."

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Carl Ballantine 1917 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, November 8, 2009 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Carl Ballantine
The comically inept magician known as The Amazing Ballantine or The Great Ballantine or the perfectly over the top moniker, Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician, has died. The truly amazing Carl Ballantine, the comedian and character actor who is perhaps best known for his role of Lester Gruber, the confident con artist in McHale's Navy, was 92.

He died in his sleep this past week at his home in the Hollywood. I used to see him around the neighborhood all the time, usually at the post office or the grocery store. In a town jammed with celebrity sightings, it was only a Carl Ballantine sighting that would elicit an email or a phone call from several friends of mine.

Born Meyer Kessler in Chicago on September 27, 1917, he started performing magic tricks as a 9 year old, tricks learned from a local barber. By the time he was a teenager he was successful enough as a magician that he supported his family. When he felt a slight change in his magic career was needed, he renamed himself; 'Ballantine' came from an advertisement he saw for Ballantine whisky. One night when a magic trick failed miserably and he threw out a couple of one-liners to cover the error, the Amazing Ballantine was born. His career spanned vaudeville, film, television, Vegas and Broadway. Since the early 1940s, Ballantine always performed in a top hat, white tie and tails, his reason: “If the act dies, I'm dressed for it.”

In 1956 Ballantine was the first magician to play Las Vegas, appearing on a bill at the El Rancho Vegas Casino with Harry James, Betty Grable and Sammy Davis Jr. To promote the show, he rode a horse down the Las Vegas strip.

Ballantine appeared in a number of films, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, (1968), The World’s Greatest Lover (1977), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), and Speedway (1968) starring Elvis Presley, who offered Ballantine a Cadillac. His wife, comedian Ceil Cabot (who died in 2000 after 45 years of marriage), wouldn’t allow him to accept it. His most recent film appearance was in the biopic, Aimee Semple McPherson (2006).

Soupy Sales 1926 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, October 22, 2009 11:11pm | Post a Comment
SOUPY SALES

Soupy Sales
has died. After some 25,000 pies to the face and more than 5,000 live TV appearances over the past six decades, the comedian, actor, kids show host, author and raconteur passed away at 9:51pm, Thursday at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. Sales had been having health problems and entered the hospice last week. He was 83.
 
Best known for his long-running local and network kids television shows like Lunch with Soupy Sales, he was the king during the 1950s and '60s. Known as the man who would do almost anything for a laugh including bad puns and cheap gags, his trademark was his pie-throwing and his style was improvisational; kids of all ages loved his manic zaniness and slightly blue antics and innuendos. A-list celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine would stop by and seldom left pie free. A friend of mine tonight commented that Sales was like a “cool, hilarious soupy salesbig brother.”
 
The name Soupy Sales originates from a childhood nickname, "Soupy” and "Sales" was the suggested by a television station executive who knew another comic named Chic Sale. Born Milton Supman on January 8, 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, Soupy was the youngest of three sons and his parents ran a dry-goods store; according to legend his family, the only Jewish family in town, sold sheets to the Klu Klux Klan. Sales grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, and received his B.A. in Journalism from Marshall University. During the Second World War he served in the Navy in the South Pacific, and it was there he created some of his strange characters he would use years later, such as “White Fang, the meanest dog in all the United States.”
 
Sales began his Television career in 1950 on WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, hosting America's first teen dance show, Soupy's Soda Shop. In 1951 in a skit on his late night comedy series Soupy's On!, he got his first pie in the face on television. Two years later he moved to Detroit and WXYZ-TV, where his kids show Lunch with Soupy Sales was a huge success. After seven years on the air in Michigan he moved to Los Angeles in 1961.
 
He really hit his stride in 1964 when he moved the show to WNEW-TV in New York. The Soupy Sales Show, had amazing ratings and was syndicated throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during its two year run. When the series ended, Sales had appeared on 5,370 live television programs, the most in the TV history.
 
In the mid sixties Sales recorded two albums and had a Top Ten single in 1965 with "Do the Mouse;" Sales even performed "The Mouse" on the Ed Sullivan Show. Eventually his single in New York City alone sold 250,000 copies.
 
His most notorious stunt took place in New York on New Year's Day, 1965 when he ended his live broadcast by telling his viewers to “take some of those green pieces of paper with pictures of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln and Jefferson from their parents’ wallets and send them to him and he would send them a postcard from Puerto Rico.” Unfortunately the bit worked a little too well and money started rolling in, and though the money was returned, he was still suspended by WNEW for a two weeks. Of course, kids showed up picketing Channel 5 over Sales’ suspension and his popularity went through the roof.
 
During the 1970’s and 80’s Soupy was a regular on game shows like What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, The $10,000 Pyramid and Match Game. In 1985 he joined WNBC-AM as a disc jockey, and is perhaps best remembered as having the show between the two shock jocks, Don Imus and Howard Stern.
 
Over the last ten years Sales turned to writing. In 2003 he published his autobiography, Soupy Sez!: My Zany Life and Times, and a collection of his humor, Stop Me If You've Heard It!: Soupy Sales' Greatest Jokes. Finally in 2005, Soupy Sales received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
 
Soupy Sales is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony, famous in their own right as musicians who have worked with the likes of David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop.
 
"Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you."




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