Christmas All-Time All-Stars – WIF Pop Culture

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 People Who

Helped Define

Modern Christmas

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Christmas All-time

 

All-Stars

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #227

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #227

…April 1920 has begun with casting for the minor parts, a charming custom that helps add local flavor to the production…

Casting Call-001

True to his word, especially now that the Atlantic Ocean is free of enemy submarines, Sir James Matthew Barrie is bringing his play, A Kiss For Cinderella, to the United States; Tallahassee specifically. This is quite a coup for a Southern city with a population of less than 70,000. The news has spread quickly through the theater world, leaving New York’s Broadway wanting, immediately establishing Florida’s capitol a destination of some note.

The buzz about the April 10th 1920 premier is all around, well except for Martha Ferrell, whose buzz is mainly a bug up her behind, claiming still that it is Barrie’s doing that her husband was taken from her (even though he was a adulterating, lying, “will” changing man). Everybody else is very excited about this fairy tale translated for the stage, which will be the Auditorium on the Florida State University campus.

Stepmother-001    April has begun with casting for the minor parts, a charming custom that helps add local flavor to the production. There is plenty of talent in these parts, or at least people who think they have it. Auditions are well attended, with some being the last person you would think has any leaning for the stage. Some will need an extensive make-over, like Phoebe Love, who has actually won the part of the evil stepmother, displacing the actress who was traveling with the production and not at all pleased by the demotion. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It may be the only time you will witness Phoebe acting contemptibly mean.

Stepsisters Cinderella

“Stepsisters returning home after the ball” by Arthur Rackham

Others are cast as extras, and a chosen few are understudies, ready to step in if a star falls ill or loses his or her voice. Agnes is one, learning the role of Euphronia, not the role she coveted, but at least she would be the prettier of the evil stepsisters. ‘Drat! Wouldn’t you know that Abbey would get the part of Cinderella?’ Herb Love is the natural choice for the Baron, so that would mean if circumstances were right, it is he who would let Cinderella’s stepmother bully and belittle her, equally out of character.

James Barrie has chosen his son, Matthew for the part of the prince, not so much nepotism, as Matthew is an actor of good repute and he is lucky to have corralled him for this one month engagement.

Baron Cinderella

@CostumeKen

King, queens, princes, step family and extras work long hours rehearsing stage blocking and speaking parts. Barrie is a stickler for perfection and even though he did not write Cinderella, C.S. Evans did, his adaptation is crisp and demands much of his actors.

And the costuming——whew——-Cinderella has more than a dozen changes herself, quite an arrangement of rags and riches. But for the sake of a happy ending, in this case many happy endings, it is well worth the effort.

 


Alpha Omega M.D.

Cinderella

Aschenputtel by silhouette animation shadow master Lotte Reiniger

Episode #227


page 212

Fave Film Origins – WIF @ the Movies

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Popular Films

Adapted From

Crazy Sources

Lots of iconic stuff is adapted from other iconic stuff – Jaws the movie from “Jaws” the novel, the Pirates Of The Caribbean skeleton monsters from Keith Richards, and the works of Terry Gilliam from full-blown dementia.

But not these. These iconic works are adapted from … well, weird crap. Crap you’d never think to adapt to film, unless you were on an obscene amount of cocaine, which is the only explanation we have for these:

10. The Producers (2005)

Moviegoers could be forgiven for being a little confused about 2005’s The Producers, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. Or was it an adaptation of the 1968 Mel Brooks film? Both? Who knows?

The 2005 film is a rare successful example of a recursive adaptation – that is, an adaptation to medium A from medium B, which was originally adapted from medium A. The 1968 film was adapted into the Broadway musical, which was then adapted back to film in 2005. The, um, producers of the 2005 film never even looked at Brooks’ original – it was wholly an adaptation of the musical, which had been running since 2001.

It was a great adaptation but, if it gets adapted back into a stage play based solely on it, we think that the fabric of reality might start to get a little wobbly.

9. An Inconvenient Truth

After his defeat in the 2000 Presidential election, Al Gore returned to a topic that had fascinated him for years – global warming. He finished compiling a slide showon the subject that he had started years earlier and took it on the road, giving his presentation to hundreds of audiences over several years.

In 2005 the presentation was seen by Laurie David, a television producer and part-time environmental activist, who somehow got the ball rolling on convincing Gore to turn it into a movie. Now, Gore was very passionate about his subject, but was not exactly known as a dynamic speaker. Yet instead of getting, say, The Rock to narrate, he chose to do it himself.

The 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth is largely just a filmed version of Gore’s presentation, making it the only film we can think of to be adapted from a lecture. We won’t argue with the potential importance of its message, but we will argue that its success was probably singular, and that “Adapted Lectures” do not need to become a regular thing.

8. Adaptation

Ask any screenwriter to adapt a narrative-free rumination on orchid poaching and life, like Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief”, and you’ll likely end up with pages and pages of unusable garbage, and a screenwriter hanging by his neck in the closet. Unless the writer is Charlie Kaufman, in which case you’ll end up with an epic mindscrew containing Nicolas Cage’s two best performances, filmed from one of the greatest screenplays ever written.

Kaufman turned the unadaptable novel, itself based on Orlean’s original New Yorker article, into a meditation on the nature of adaptation itself – not only in the literary but the evolutionary sense – with himself as the star, a screenwriter struggling to adapt a screenplay which, of course, will eventually be made into the movie you’re watching.

It’s an approach only Kaufman could have pulled off, and whoever’s bright idea it was to make “The Orchid Thief” into a movie should thank their lucky stars that Kaufman was their writer.

7. He’s Just Not That Into You

This 2009 Affleck-and-Aniston wankfest is a pretty standard ensemble rom-com on the surface. It’s one of a handful (a very small handful, mind) of ill-advised self-help book adaptations- this one a 2004 Oprah Book Of The Month that was inspired by, O Holy Grail of creative inspirations, a line of dialogue from “Sex And The City.”

The book is essentially a long series of really obvious telltale signs that the person you’re pursuing is – wait for it – not into you. How to pad this out into a feature film instead of, say, a damn commercial? Why, by turning several of its points into a series of (supposedly) comic vignettes in the style of a bland, vacuous rom-com with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston!

Needless to say, the movie did not do very well critically or commercially. Moviegoers were just not that into it, and even though that joke ss ridiculously obvious, but it was right there. We’re not even sorry.

6. The Box

For his next trick, following the epic argument starter Southland Tales, Richard Kelly turned to an adaptation of a classic … okay, an underrated … fine, a really obscure story, whose most well-known version is as a 15-minute segment from the 80’s Twilight Zone revival called “Button, Button,” which itself was adapted from a very short (8 pages!) story by Richard Matheson.

The story is too thin to fill out 15 minutes of TV, let alone a feature film, and the film itself got very mixed reviews, to say the absolute least. You wonder why labyrinthine-plot-meister Kelly would turn to it at all rather than, you know, just coming up with another of his wackaloon original stories. Sadly, it’s starting to look less and less like Kelly is ever going to make another movie as unbelievably awesome as Donnie Darko.

5. The Shop Around The Corner/You’ve Got Mail

Quintessential chick flick You’ve Got Mail is essentially an updated version of the 1940 romantic comedy The Shop Around The Corner, repackaged as a vehicle for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and co-starring AOL instead of the US Postal Service.

The earlier film was adapted, for some reason, from an obscure Hungarian play called “Parfumerie” that was never even translated into English, let alone performed for English speaking audiences. Many of the plot tropes have become standard issue for rom-coms, so the next time you’re watching one, and find yourself wondering why in the heck all of these movies have virtually the same plot, you can thank Hungarian playwright Miklós László. Or go back in punch his lights out; that works too.

4. The Fast And The Furious

Vin Diesel’s surprise hit from 2001 was loosely based on a Vibe Magazine article about illegal street racing, titled “Racer X.” The 1998 article chronicled the underground drag racing scene, which had been spreading throughout Southern California in the early 1990’s. While we suppose a movie about the scene makes sense, we’re surprised there was apparently no other source material to adapt. For that matter, we’re surprised an adaptation was even necessary.

Just one in a long, long series of one film based on Vibe friggin’ Magazine, The Fast And The Furious spawned a ridiculous series of five films (soon to be six) that are still going strong, almost like an engine of some kind.

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer

This 1997 film is known mainly for ripping off the vibe of the previous year’s Scream – perhaps because it was written by the same guy – and also for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts. Like Scream, it’s a kind of combination slasher flick / whodunit with a twist ending, and it’s also pretty damn gory.

Unlike Scream, or practically any other slasher movie, it’s adapted from a novel. And not just any novel; the kind you used to order from Scholastic catalogs when you were a kid. Yes, this movie was originally a Young Adult novel – from freakin’ 1973.

Of course, the novel did not feature any gory murders (one character was shot, but survived), and being a YA novel, its focus is largely on the romantic relationship between the female protagonist and her hunky boyfriend (giggle!) Which begs the question: why didn’t the filmmakers just come up with an original story for their slasher flick? Why adapt any novel, let alone this one?

2. Braveheart

The 1995 historical film Braveheart is fondly remembered as one of the last films in which Mel Gibson was undisputedly awesome. It is NOT typically remembered for being based on a 15th century epic poem entitled – we kid you not –  “The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace” by a poet known as Blind Harry. Not only did we not make that up, we can’t even pronounce it.

As one of the only historical records of Wallace, the poem’s accounts of his deeds were leaned on heavily for the film’s story, even though almost as little is known about Blind Harry as about Wallace.

1. Live Free Or Die Hard

The Die Hard films have a history of adapting weird crap, but none this weird: the 2007 installment takes its premise from a 1997 (timely!) article in Wired magazine by John Carlin. The article describes “war games,” of the sort meant to anticipate and respond to an information attack, the type that wouldn’t be possible for several years.

Originally set to be adapted to film in 1999, as its own entity, the project stalled until it was absorbed (like so many other things) by the Die Hard franchise. The PG-13 rated film notoriously failed to please fans, or anyone else really, with its bloodless violence, neutered dialogue and absurd explosions. Fortunately, the 2013 installment A Good Day To Die Hard is rated R and – get ready for this – is not an adaptation of anything, but an original story for the first time in franchise history.


Fave Film Origins –

WIF @ the Movies

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 235

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 235

Chapter Twenty-0ne

A DOOM WITH NO VIEW

…My cameras were rolling during the most amazing event in the recorded television history of the world and the film is blank…

The sounds of silence speak loudly. Like traveling through a tunnel without an opening and no end, the Libbyites wander the empty grounds of Comiskey Park barely able to speak. And if they do, what can they say. Nearly all of them starts, then stops before anything meaningful get shared; a dropped jaw tells no tales.

Even for a Californian like Sam Jr. who thought he had seen it all in his young life, can only gather up his equipment and check on his people. He is being told that none of the cameras had recorded anything from the time of the blackout, until BG spoke after the light & dark show. “But they weren’t turned off; you’ve got to be kidding me! We were rolling during the most amazing event in the recorded history of the world and we don’t have it!”

“You got all the other shots Sam, that’s where the rubber meets the road,” encouragement comes from a likely source. The ringmaster, of what turned out to be the Greatest Show On Earth, has accepted the events of the evening for what they are, God with us. “Do you know how many souls were won for Christ tonight?”

Can you imagine what it would have been like to have a camera following Moses around, pre-, present and post Egypt? Examples:

  • Joseph a Jewish Prince of Egypt
  • Ten plagues against Pharaoh
  • The burning bush
  • Parting of the Red Sea
  • Rod & staff, asp & snake

“My father’s friend C.B. Demille is starting a film about the Ten Commandments. I hear it is quite the production.” Goldwyn keeps his finger on the pulse of what’s hot in Hollywood. Had he only been able to capture the divine acts of the evening, what story it would have been, yet still is and it will affect him for years to come, as it does the “others”.8 of 'em in Forever Mastadon

“Nothing surprises me about this bunch anymore,” Eddie D. is childlike in his assessment of the experience. “None of my cousins have a story like this to tell.”

“Did not Constance tell you that you and Edie would be the cousins with all the attention in the future? Sam has been getting feedback, on the shortwave radio, from NBC and they tell him that over 50% of all television sets in the United States were watching the Revival!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 198

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 222

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 222

…the Comiskey Park Greater Chicago Billy Graham Crusade Revival is heating up

It’s getting close to showtime…

So Samuel Goldwyn is treating the production of the Comiskey Park Greater Chicago Billy Graham Crusade Revival like it will be an Academy Award contending production. He has become quite familiar with the crusade concept by now, but this is going to be seen by millions of people around the world and his name is going to be listed as producer, director and managing editor (& popcorn vendor).

— “The three stationary cameras in the middle of the stadium… you guys pick a carriage and follow it for as many times they go around… and not two of you on the same one, got it? —REVIVAL CAM-001

— “And I want all cameras panning the crowd during Communion. Zoom in on their faces, especially the ones who are crying or have their hands reaching for the sky. That is the image I’m looking to spotlight. —

— “Remember, for those of you who work with me in my movies, I cannot possibly control all the shots you are capturing. I want you to use your instincts, resisting the temptation to focus in on the crazies. Remember the Chicago Stadium meeting, the kook with the “You Are Going to Hell!” t-shirt or the chick who rushed the stage wanting to plant a smooch on BG?” –

“Did I hear my name?” asks the man who leads thousands of seeking souls to salvation. “I was eavesdropping on your production meeting and all I can add is that I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the word Revival. From here on out the Crusades are going to be billed as Revival Meetings. Whether it is an intimate gathering or a thunderous throng, I want the spirit of Revival to spread through this nation like wildfire!”

Billy Graham thinks big… h-u-g-e, big.

“And we are going to put faces to names and stories to faces; real people pulling on the same end of the rope, all for the sake of a fundamental truth.” BG tears up about how at this moment in time. Literally millions of united souls helped produce a moving and monumental 5 months. “We are witnessing a seminal moment in the history of modern man, Sam my boy!”

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. is thinking big-screen big.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 186

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 221

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 221

Chapter Nineteen

??? GUESSING ???

…a trio of Carbon-14 Coaches will make an undetermined number of circuits around Comiskey Park...

Related image

C-14 COACH ONE:

Willard Libby (makes sense)Carbon 14 Coaches-001

Billy Graham (ditto)

Sister Mary Joseph (lucky charm)

Dr. Louis Steinberg (good-luck doc)

 

C-14 COACH TWO:

Constance Caraway (fearless leader)

Fanny Renwick (right-hand gal)

Martin Kamen (faithful Libby friend)

Agent Daniels (man of many names)

 

C-14 COACH THREE:

Eddie Dombroski (taxi driver/storyteller)

Edie Dombroski (dedicated to Eddie)

Ajax Bannion (fearless flyer)

R Worth Moore (legal eagle)

Above is the lineup of the parade that will enter Comiskey Park through the right field gate, after the concluding altar call. The trio of Carbon-14 Coaches will make an undetermined number of circuits around the ballpark. late this April 1951 afternoon.

Sam Goldwyn has assembled a film for the occasion, each of the coach riders retelling the highlights of their experience for posterity; to be projected onto a 40’h x 60’w screen bought from a drive-in theater for the price of hauling it away. It will be shown after BG’s opening sermon and before Communion.

Heaven only knows what will happen in~between.

Crusade-001

When Billy Graham envisioned his Midwest Crusade, he thought about asking many titans of faith to join him, but the more time he spent around the so-called Libbyites, he realized that he had all the evangelistic fuel he needed with them alone.

The Bible is filled with “ites”, the easiest being the Israelites. Name six more andLibbyites-001 win a prize:

  1. Moabites
  2. Jacobites
  3. Amalekites
  4. Hittites
  5. Levites
  6. Reubenites

Ding-ding-ding, everyone is a winner. Some “-ites” are more famous than others and if you can name the hundred or more “-ite” clans, God bless you.

Libbyites are found only in the collection of words named CONSTANCE CARAWAY ~ Forever Mastadon~. To add your name to the current roster of the lucky twelve dedicated members, there will be a form to fill out in APPENDIX B section at THE END of Forever Mastadon. (Placed therein for WIF readers only)


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 185

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 214

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 214

…Samuel Goldwyn needs to which of the Graham All-Stars will be taking part, so to skillfully place his cameras…

Billy Graham All-Stars-001

“Pray for good weather Samuel. There won’t a tent or roof to cover us from the elements.” Billy Graham recommends prayer in all things life, but much is at stake at the April 28 finale. “I’m not sure that the Holy Father cares whether it rains, snows, is hot or cold. I remember one time in Ventura, California… the Santa Ana’s were howling that day and 5,000 people were wearing canvas hats that morning.”

jesus treeThe accidental acquisition of the Holy Scroll, which was conveniently (if not beautifully) placed in the path of CCPI, has been enclosed in a huge shatterproof glass display case, just like the Constitution of the United States. Crusaders can come within inches of a document produced by an undoubtedly verified heavenly author.

It’s no statue of the Virgin Mary, crying blood for all the wanting witnesses. Nor is it a eucalyptus tree with a dark bark patch resembling the figure of Jesus on the Cross.

But what it is is backed by team of antiquities (not antiquated) experts, including a librarian from a quaint town in Wisconsin. Otherwise easily persuaded people can only guess what Mary’s son looked like, or whether that is real blood or not.

“Is Willard going to be at this one?” Sam needs to know which of the Graham All-Stars will be taking part, so to skillfully place his cameras for the paramount cinematic effect. How about “all of them” MisterMovieMan asks.

“Now that the veil of secrecy has been tossed to the side, I need to keep my entire Chicago friends close and the enemy of all mankind even closer; I’m expecting a whiz-bang doozy of a day!”

The excitement is building.

“We are going to tell the Willard Libby story, end to end—top to bottom.”Libby thoughts-001

“You couldn’t write a movie script this good!”

“Constance and Martin are putting together the glorious and amazing timeline, quite a story indeed.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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