December 29, 2010

Tyler Stout's Awesome Star Wars Posters

And these are just the variants! There are three more prints with different coloring and the corrected "Return of the Jedi" title.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...

... and Happy New Year!!!

December 23, 2010

New Retro Inspired Artwork, part 2

A long gestating project that I finally was inspired/compelled to finish. This piece is based on the Hot Rod Movie posters of the 50's and 60's.

Merry Christmas & May the Force be with You!

December 16, 2010

December 6, 2010

Fruitful visit to New Scotland once again!

So what do you think of that? I stitched together this image of the entrance to the Indian Ladder Drive-In using still frames from an 8mm film. The owner of the film was kind enough to lend me a DVD copy of the footage taken in 1957. The one-minute of drive-in footage was shot while attending a Methodist Church service held at the theater. Below are three of the stills so you can get a close-up view of them.

As soon as I have written permission I am going to post a video of the home movie.

December 1, 2010

Rediscovering [Walt] Disney: Vintage Advertising

While doing research for Project Movie House I came across these Disney movie ads from Boxoffice Magazine.

February 1940

June 1949

November 1949

Boxoffice Magazine: The Vault

November 30, 2010

"Game of Thrones" - My Geek Runs Deep

[This missive is being re-posted for those that may not have seen it on FILM+TV, 6/16/10]

I recently read an article on HBO's new series "Game of Thrones" that's premiering in 2011. That simple announcement woke a sleeping geek that has been dormant for a while now. The Sword & Sorcery Geek. (The SSG, also know as the D&D Geek, or that poor guy Mintz-Plasse played in "Role Models.)
Early on in my geek days I was a total superhero nut - JLA, Spiderman, Legion of Super-heroes - reaching it's zenith with the Byrne & Claremont Uncanny X-men era. Next came Blasters and Lightsabers (Of course!). Then, for a brief shining moment in the 80's, I fell in love with the realm of fantasy.

I had (unsucessfully) tried my hand at D&D when I was in high school. And fantasy was always on the perifery of my geekdar but I had not been sucked in yet. That is until 1981 and the release of three movies that would alter the course of history! (Not really, but it momentarliy shifted my own trajectory.)

They were: "Clash of the Titans", "Dragonslayer", and "Excalibur". And in that order they became the meal that served to fuel the SSG.

The Appetizer: Titans with it's ridiculusly hairy Harry Hamlin and timeless Ray Harryhausen creature effects. Oh, and Bubo of course. "Release the Kraken!"

The Main Course: Dragonslayer. OMG that movie was awesome! Disney's first PG rated film (made with partner Paramount) was the first great screen dragon I can remember. Made with a combination of practical and Go Motion effects created by Industrial Light and Magic it raised the bar for visual effects that were to follow. (Guillermo del Toro has stated that “One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks [of dragon movies] that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer [a 1981 movie]. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made.").

Dessert: Excalibur. I was so taken with John Boorman's film that I must have seen it a half-dozen times at the Mohawk Mall Cinema when it came out. It's hard to put my finger on it but Boorman's gritty, bloody battle scenes, Nicol Williamson's Merlin and the beauty of the locations (Ireland) all made for an incredible, incredible vision of medieval and fantastical Camelot.
After this trifecta immersion in cinematic fantasy, 1982 proved to be the year that the SSG would reign supreme.

Three more fantasy films came out that spring/summer; "The Sword and the Sorcerer" in April, "Conan The Barbarian" in May and "The Beastmaster" that August. These films had all the trappings of B-movie wonderment. Scantily clad females, over-muscled, crazy-coiffed heroes and really cool, badass swords. None of them could match the vision or splendor of "Excalibur" but for me it was "Conan" that stood out as the best of the lot. Baby-faced Ah-nuld, competent direction by John Milius a great score by Basil Poledouris and an appearance by Darth Vader, er, James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom. I was loving it, this whole fantasy thing was turning out to be alright! But it was a fantasy book series that truly cemented the deal.

By chance I discovered a paperback copy of Pawn of Prophecy at the Price Chopper supermarket on Central Avenue (next to Kmart) in September of 1982. That one book started a long list of now gone and forgotten fantasy novels read and reread over the next few years. I scoured the local Waldenbooks (Colonie Center and Mohawk Mall) to find the second book - of David Eddings "The Belgariad" - Queen of Sorcery. After devouring that book I would have to wait a whole year for Magician's Gambit. Castle of Wizardry and Enchanters' End Game followed in 1984.

This series of books, to this day, stands as my favorite sword and sorcery series (book, movie, TV or comic). The characters were wonderfully written, the story starts with a great emotional hook and an introduction of memorable foes and heroes alike. And by the end of five books you were satisfied with the outcome of the story and STILL you wanted more. I would continue reading the odd series here and there and collect all of the Eddings books that followed, but they all paled compared to The Belgariad.

1982 ended with the perfect Christmas gift in the form of "The Dark Crystal". Here too is a film that is a classic and forever linked to that magic time in the 1980's. My SSG was again thoroughly enamored with a fantastical world of crazy creatures, epic adventure and winning heroes. It didn't hurt that all this magic was brought to us by the Muppet masters at Henson Studios. The original "The Muppet Movie", "The Muppet Show" and "The Dark Crystal" are the best pieces of work they have produced. Read The World of The Dark Crystal for a look at Brian Froud's amazing artwork and character designs.

The 80's continued with a string of not-so-great and absolutely great fantasy films. My personal favorites include: Krull (1983), The Black Cauldron (1985), Ladyhawke (1985), Legend (1985), Highlander (1986), The Princess Bride (1987) and Willow (1988).

And just like that it was over. "Willow" (which I loved) was the last hurrah of the Sword & Sorcery Geek. There were no more great movies to see or books to read. I'm not sure when he actually went to sleep and gave way to more mature pursuits (chuckle) like work and college and ya know, real life. I still like fantasy and really like Anne McCaffrey's Dragons (more sci-fi I guess) and now Naomi Novik's Temeraire (Historic Fantasy?) series. But I hadn't invested in another fantasy book series until I read Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn a few years ago followed by Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book 1 by Lian Hearn. Both of which are just terrific, please take the time to them.

But now comes George R.R. Martin's massive seven tome epic: A Song of Ice and Fire. The brief footage and the few publicity stills from "Game of Thrones" [check out Sean Bean, below, as Eddard Stark... Boromir lives!]

was enough for me to go out and buy the first book in the series "A Game of Thrones" and immediately dive in. So far it's very cool. Lots of made up names with overly long titles attached, far off exotic sounding lands, haunted forests and characters that speak impossibly poetic and wordy prose. AND an immence wall of ice that protects them from the mysterious 'Others' in the north.

So what is it about this work that has me excited enough to read a massive epic fantasy and add yet another one-hour drama to the DVR queue? Well, simply put; HBO. The cable network has been home to such greats as "Deadwood", "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under". I know they will have quality production values, great actors, great writing and great directing. This isn't going to be "Xena" or "Hercules". It isn't going to be the sadly laughable "Dragon Wars" or "Dungeon and Dragons" movie. And it definitley won't be some SyFy Saturday Night Crap-Fest ("Sharktopus" anyone?)!

Since it's chic to be geek right now the SSG is back and ready for action... Bring me my sword!
Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

It will stretch from the south where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men…all will play the ‘Game of Thrones.’


Winter Is Coming... "Game of Thrones" on HBO

So I finally finished "A Feast for Crows", the fourth book of A Song of Fire and Ice, and I have never been less enthused to read a book before.

That's not to say it isn't a good book (it is) and that the entire series isn't good (it is), but it has been TEN years since the author said we would see book five! And now HBO is making a television series based on these books and the story isn't even finished yet!!! Granted the author, George R. R. Martin, is a producer on the series and that will allow them to proceed according to his overall vision. But I don't want him to NOT write the rest of the series because he's distracted be the TV show.

Will I watch the series? Heck yeah! I can't wait to see these characters in the flesh. It really is a well written, exciting, violent, mystical yet realistic world full of intrigue, back-stabbing, honor, betrayal and even love.

Check out the teasers and the first trailer below, then follow the link to the official site for more.

HBO Game of Thrones

November 23, 2010

Back to New Scotland for PMH

Next weekend I'll be headed back to New York for more research and to conduct an interview with Bob Conahan Jr. and his sister. They are the son and daughter of Robert C. Conahan who built the Mayfair Drive-In Theatre in Slingerlands.

Yeah so? Well let me tell you this is pretty exciting for our project to land this interview. To date I have been able to find almost ZERO information, photos or memorabilia for this theater. Its like it never existed. Mr. Conahan Jr. admits that he and his family didn't save any photos (or anything else) from the theater. Mr. Conahan Sr. died two weeks before the theater opened in 1957, and the family sold the business after the '58 season ended. The Mayfair never reopened after that and the land changed hand several times. Currently home to a professional building it is being further developed for apartments.

And if time allows I'll swing by the Voorheesville Public Library and the Albany Public Library to do research and look at some microfilm back issues of the Albany Times Union. Keep your fingers crossed for a great interview and a newspaper article goldmine!

November 19, 2010

Adding "Planet of the Apes" (1968) to my Blu-ray wish list

I saw this article in the latest issue of Post magazine...

IVC Uses DaVinci Systems to Restore “Planet of the Apes”
By Sean McKee, Director of Restoration, IVC.

We recently finished restoring “Planet of the Apes” for 20th Century Fox, the classic 1968 sci-fi adventure film starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall. The film, which won several awards and was nominated for two Academy Awards, tells the story of a futuristic world where apes view themselves as the dominant species and enslave the humans. The film was so popular that it spawned a television series and several remakes.

You can read the entire article at

Needless to say I am VERY excited to add this Sci-fi classic to my Blu-ray wish list. A good friend of mine and I made our own ape costumes for Halloween one year (I was a gorilla, he was chimp). I do own the massive "Planet of the Apes" - The Ultimate DVD Collection (see image below) and I'm sort of interested in the new prequel being filmed: "Rise of the Apes". But the original, restored AND in HD? Yeah it's being added to our small, but growing Blu-ray collection.

And for an added treat, here's a trailer for the original...

And the opening titles for the animated series...

"Cowboys & Aliens" - Teaser Trailer

Cowboys & Aliens on Yahoo!

November 11, 2010

"Winnie the Pooh" in theaters July 15, 2011

Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with "Winnie the Pooh," the first big-screen Pooh adventure from Disney animation in more than 35 years. With the charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, this all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical "bear of very little brain" and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo—and last, but certainly not least, Eeyore, who has lost his tail.

Hooray for the silly ol' bear! As much as I enjoyed "Bolt" and am looking forward to "Tangled", its a relief to see Disney still employing traditional, hand-drawn animation for feature films. I thought "The Princess and the Frog" was a beautiful movie and can't wait to see "Pooh" and hopefully "King of the Elves" will be along for its projected 2012 release.

November 4, 2010

Rediscovering [Walt] Disney: Three New Documentaries

On November 30th Disney will release three new documentaries on DVD. For the casual fan or the serious Disneyphile this is a great way to discover some of the great stories from behind the scenes at Walt Disney Studios. Having purchased "Magic Kingdom Imagineering the Magic" while down in WDW in October I'm really looking forward to adding these three DVD's to our collection as well.

Here are the official synopses of each movie and the trailers for you to watch as well...
It was 1941, a critical time for the world and for the Walt Disney Studio. When the U.S. Government asked Disney to be a cultural ambassador to South America, the stage was set for Walt's very own real-life adventure. With a group of handpicked artists, later called 'El Grupo,' Disney's WWII road trip achieved the impossible: goodwill. And in the process paved the way for two classic Disney films, "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros". Brought to life through rare footage and enriched with never-before-seen bonus features, "Walt & El Grupo" is a story of inspiration, joy and hope you won't soon forget.

Their music is unforgettable. Their name is legend. "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" is an intimate journey through the lives of Robert and Richard Sherman, the astoundingly prolific Academy Award®-winning songwriting team. While their songs, "A Spoonful Of Sugar (Mary Poppins)" and "I Want To Be Like You (Jungle Book)," to name a few, celebrated family entertainment and happy endings, their life together was not as harmonious. Go behind the scenes for a fascinating glimpse into how Walt Disney used the language of music to bring the brothers together, creating a cinematic legacy like no other. With insightful bonus features, "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" is a fascinating portrait of two immensely talented men who continue to enrich our lives.

Far from a fairytale, "Waking Sleeping Beauty" is an unprecedented eye-opening look at the conflict, drama and tension that ushered in the second chapter of Disney's animation legacy, a decade of unparalleled creativity that included "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty And The Beast", "Aladdin" and "The Lion King". Told by the people who were actually there: Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, John Lasseter and many more, "Waking Sleeping Beauty" is a behind-the-magic look at the people and circumstances that changed the face of animation forever.

Find these and more great Disney docs at: Disney Documentaires

November 2, 2010

Disney: New on Blu-ray!

Today is a good day for Disney/Pixar fans. We get both "Toy Story 3" and "Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales" on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD. Since we did not get to the theater to see TS3, I can't wait until Lisa gets home so we can sit down with Maddy and enjoy the latest from Buzz, Woody and the rest of the toy gang. But Maddy and I will dive right into Mater's Tall Tales as soon as she gets home from school - Dadgum!

And included with the other DVD inserts is a 'Coming Soon/Available Now' flyer. And (you know it) my favorite Disney/Pixar movie will be released on Blu-ray Spring of 2011. WOOHOO! "The Incredibles" in all its glorious digital beauty presented in dazzling Blu-ray High Definition!!! But that's not all, there will be a new 60th Anniversary Edition of "Alice in Wonderland" on Blu-ray (Spring 2011) and this month (Nov. 30th) we'll get the "Fantasia" 2-Movie Collection on Blu-ray. I'll gladly skip over Nic Cage's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "The Search for Santa Paws" thank you.

So that got me thinking, what else is coming on Blu-ray? I surfed on over to and checked their release schedule, and here's what I'll be looking for in the future...
Avatar: Extended Collector's Edition (20th Century Fox)
Shrek: The Whole Story (DreamWorks)
101 Dalmatians (1961) (Disney/Buena Vista)
Aladdin (Buena Vista)
Bambi: Diamond Edition (Disney/Buena Vista)
The Black Cauldron (Disney/Buena Vista)
Dragonslayer (Paramount)
Dumbo: Special Edition (Disney)
Excalibur (Warner)
Finding Nemo (Buena Vista)
Lady and the Tramp (Disney/Buena Vista)
The Lion King (Disney/Buena Vista)
The Little Mermaid (Disney/Buena Vista)
Mary Poppins (Disney/Buena Vista)
Mulan (Disney/Buena Vista)
Robin Hood (1973) (Disney/Buena Vista)
The Sword in the Stone (Disney/Buena Vista)
Tinker Bell: A Midsummer Storm (Walt Disney)
Tinker Bell: A Winter Story (Walt Disney)
Tinker Bell: North of Never Land (Walt Disney)
TRON Legacy (Disney/Buena Vista)

And check this out, there were no dates listed but they ARE on the list:
The Rocketeer (Disney/Buena Vista)
Tron (Disney/Buena Vista)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Paramount)
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Paramount)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Paramount)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (20th Century Fox)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (20th Century Fox)

Okay so, Dear Santa...

October 31, 2010

"Derezzed" by Daft Punk from TRON: Legacy

I was going to wait to post this but I just watched the video again and enjoyed it so much I'll share with you now...

Daft Punk
TRON: Legacy

October 27, 2010

Rediscovering (Walt) Disney: "Mary Poppins"

While searching the Boxoffice Magazine Vault I came across this reprint of a 1964 ad for "Mary Poppins" and thought I'd share with the rest of the class.

October 26, 2010

Cracking the Code

I successfully cracked the code to Boxoffice Magazine's online Vault. Not really, it was free and pretty easy to do. But, I did find three interesting clippings, one each for the Turnpike Drive-In, Indian Ladder Drive-In and the Mayfair Drive-in.




October 25, 2010

"The Incredibles" on Blu-ray, Spring 2011

As many of you know, "The Incredibles" is my favorite Pixar film to date. I think I might just be as excited for this as I am for "The Lion King" to be released on Blu-ray!

Read more on Collider.
See more at Pixar.

October 23, 2010

D23's Tron: Legacy Preview

Underwire Exclusive: First Look at Disney Mag’s Tron: Legacy Preview

The winter issue of Disney twenty-three, the quarterly magazine of the Disney fan club, will feature a nine-page special on Tron: Legacy. has an exclusive first look.

The story includes interviews with the film's creators, including personal Tron memories from director Joseph Kosinski and writer Steven Lisberger, among others.

Read more here... Underwire

October 22, 2010

Retro Aviation Posters

Okay, two more retro aviation posters done. The first is an homage to one of the greatest sci-fi, action cartoons ever; Jonny Quest. The second is a travel poster, reminiscent of the designs from the 30's and 40's.

October 21, 2010

October 20, 2010

Disney in Black & White

Inspired by a conversation I had with Mark D. as we walked through Animal Kingdom. I chose a handful of photos from our most recent Disney vacation and converted them to greyscale in PS. I played with them a bit, all to varying degrees of success.

October 19, 2010

Our Disney Vacation: The Facebook Recap

While away at Walt Disney World last week, we stayed in touch with the outside world via Facebook. Here is a full week recap of our trip -- from beginning to end -- using my Facebook posts.