Effects of Living Longer – WIF into the Future

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Ways the Aging Population

Will Affect the World

Overpopulation isn’t something this generation has to worry about much, but under-population? That’s a very real problem that many countries will have to deal with. Most developed countries in the world, like the United States, Japan, Germany, China, Canada, Australia, and many more, will have a population with a disproportionate amount of citizens who are over 65-years-old.

There are a number of causes for this, notably the Baby Boom after the World War II and the fact that people are living longer. For example, globally life expectancy has risen by almost 20 years from about 53 in 1960 to about 71 in 2012. With more seniors and fewer young people, how will that impact the world?

10. Movies Made for Senior Citizens


One interesting change is already happening in the movie industry. Generally, since the 1970s, movies have been marketed to young people. There are many reasons for this, like younger people have more disposable income, young people line up on opening nights of movies, and making movies for a younger crowd hits more demographics. While there have always been movies for more adult audiences, movies have never really targeted mature adults or senior citizens specifically.

However, movie studios are now realizing the lucrative potential in making movies for the aging population. Retirees have more spare time and movies have always been a viable and (relatively) inexpensive source of entertainment. What else is interesting is that young people are actually going to the movies less because they’ll watch films on various devices outside of a theater, while mature adults are more likely to go to theater. So alongside movies like The Avengers and Avatar, expect to see more movies without any computer graphics, but which are character driven and usually about finding love late in life.

9. More Car Accidents


When it comes to driving cars, seniors simply aren’t as responsive as other drivers. In fact, the Center for Disease Control says that the older someone gets, the worse they are at driving. Also, on average, 15 seniors are killed and another 500 seniors are injured daily from car accidents in the United States. That doesn’t include the people they kill or hurt in the collision. Thanks a lot for the fractured spine, grandma.

In fact, it will be such a big problem that carmakers are looking at ways to make driving safer for seniors. This includes Toyota, which plans on releasing a car system that allows cars to communicate with one another to avoid accidents. It is also one of the reasons that Google is developing its self-driving car.

Both Toyota and Google hope that these measures will allow seniors to maintain their independence along with keeping roads safe.

8. Employment Opportunity


One of the benefits of the aging population is that for people under the age of 65, there are going to be work shortages, meaning that there will be lots of opportunity for employment. It will also benefit people over 65 who don’t want to retire because there will be more avenues to start a second career.

What’s so interesting about this is that, while there have always been products for seniors, the demand is going to explode for more innovative and new products that are directed toward them. For example, such industries include obvious things like health care initiatives such as nursing homes and specialized doctors that take care of seniors, like geriatrics. Other products like wheelchairs and specialized bathtubs will be in high demand. Or it may be as simple as having a company that makes large print crosswords. The problem is that since the world was never built for seniors, it’s going to have to retroactively change to fit their needs, which will be big business.

By creating and investing in companies and products that are geared specifically for the aging population, it could help invigorate the economy.

7. A Healthier and Happier Society

old and happy

A lot of the entries on this list will look at the gloomier side of the aging world population. However, there are some benefits to it.

One of the countries with the most seniors is Germany, and when looking at the effect it has had, researchers found some interesting things. For example, the population is healthier because they are investing more money into healthcare. Also, since people will be able to keep much busier, there will be ample opportunity for work and just because people can retire around the age of 65, doesn’t mean they will. This means that, as a whole, countries have the opportunity to be incredibly productive.

Another bonus for the children and the grandchildren of those people who are over 65 is that they will be better prepared for their own retirement. That is because they will receive their inheritance later in life if seniors are living longer. So while there is going to be a strain on society, not all the effects of the grey wave is going to be bad.

6. Strain on Health Care


It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but seniors access healthcare morethan other demographic. For example in Canada, where the healthcare is funded by the government, seniors account for 45% of all health care expenses. The problem is that treatment is more expensive for people over the age of 65 than it is for any other demographic. Another interesting stat is that in places like the United States, 25% of all healthcare is spent on end-of-life care. Granted, people below the age of 65 do get terminal illnesses, but a majority of it is still spent on seniors.

Seniors haven’t been a huge burden on healthcare systems, because so far, the aging of societies has been a pretty gradual process. That is changing though, with a number of countries having the amount of citizens doubling or even tripling in the next 30 years. It’s feared that there simply won’t be enough hospital beds or health care professionals to handle the demand ofthe aging population.

5. Possible Bankruptcy of Pensions


When countries developed their pension plans in the earlier part of the 20thcentury, it was at a time when people weren’t living as long. If someone made it past the age of 65, they wouldn’t live much longer after that and there simply wasn’t as many people living for that long.

In the United States, it is feared that, unless changes are made, the pension pool is expected to be in dire conditions by the year 2033. Once that happens, it could be devastating, especially to seniors where that is their only source of income. Payments will forced to be cut, while the cost of things like healthcare will go up.

Meaning that serious changes will need to be made, like…

4. Increased Tax Levels


With the added strain of more seniors, one of the biggest problems is how we will pay for healthcare and pension plans. The answer is most likely that taxes will be raised. The problem is that governments should be planning and investing for this right now, but they aren’t. A slight increase now would be less devastating than a giant tax hike in the future. The problem is that in the United States, for example, Congress is getting older along with people who vote for them. So it isn’t unrealistic to think that bills that raise taxes will be passed, especially if it means that seniors can afford basic necessities.

An example of this is Japan, which is the “greyest” country in the world, where currently 25% of the population is seniors and it’s only going to get worse from there. In 2014, they had to increase sales tax from 5% to 8% and other countries are expected to do the same, meaning the cost consumer goods across the world will go up.

3. Increased Immigration


One interesting thing about emerging birthrates is that in developing countries they are staying the same or decreasing, but in less developed countries, like those in Africa, Asia (excluding Japan and China), Latin America, and the Caribbean, populations continue to grow.

What might be able to save economies is immigration and a lot of governments are realizing it. In fact, immigrants are one of the things that are helping with the United States economy as the population gets older. Helping with the aging population is one of the arguments pro-immigration groups are using. People want to come to the developing countries to work and developing countries will have work shortages.

2. Euthanasia


A major moral dilemma that countries are starting to deal with, and will continue to deal with in the future, is euthanasia. If someone who is advanced in years and has a terminal illness it may be understandable that they would want to die as peacefully as possible. What may not be understandable is healthy people doing it.

The problem is that in places like Canada, elderly men have the highest suicide rate compared demographics. What’s even scarier is that in the United States murder-suicides are on the rise in the senior demographic. There are a variety of reasons for this, loneliness, quality of life and loss of hope; a lot of which stem from growing old.

If people feel their best years are behind them and are killing themselves, sometimes in gruesome ways, the argument for euthanasia could be made. Euthanasia would be a dignified, painless way to die. Also, it would be better for people who find the bodies of those people who kill themselves. Or even worse, if no one is checking in on the senior, it may be a while before their bodies are found.

A country that already allows people with non-terminal illnesses to euthanize themselves is Belgium, which has most the open euthanasia laws in the world. For example, a pair of deaf twins who were going blind chose to take their own life in 2013. Perhaps, with the strain of too many seniors, other countries or states will follow in the footsteps of Belgium.

1. World Peace


The aging population may have one incredible advantage to people on Earth: it could actually lead to world peace. No, seriously, just hear us out here. There are a couple of reasons for this, for example senior citizens are simply less violent than other age groups. There will be less political turmoil, like political revolutions and terrorism. Also, as we mentioned in prior entries, as health care and pensions become extremely expensive, governments simply won’t have the money to spend on defense.

Lastly, with a lack of young people in the workforce, there simply won’t be the manpower needed for armies. All this could come together to make the most peaceful time in recorded history.



Effects of Living Longer

WIF Future-001

– WIF into the Future

Drones – The View from Above

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Drones –

Life in a Remote Control World

With the FAA still figuring out how to speed-up the process of incorporating commercial drones safely into U.S airspace, European authorities have realized thepotential and possibilities for growth in both the economic and technology sectors.

It might also be an exciting time for those business owners who have already tried using drones towards fresh and innovative marketing ideas, or even a boost in productivity, only to be kept back by current restrictions.

With Google already working on ways to track UAV’s safely beyond the FAA’s ‘line of sight’ rule, it’s obviously just a matter of time as unmanned aerial systems for commercial use have created a slight buzz over the last few years, but it will prove to be much more than that …

10. Farming


Even Old McDonald knows that optimization is the key to running a successful farm, as an ever growing world population will require future agriculture to maximize gain from a minimum amount of input. “High-throughput plant phenotyping” (HTPP) revolves around a combination of technologies where scientists use aerial data to determine the health and identify problem spots within a crop field.

Previously, helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft could be used to spot differences in the colour of crops and diseased areas not always seen from ground level, but at great cost.  The combination of software and infrared capability, standard on almost all high-end commercial drones nowadays, will allow any farmer to utilize these crucial scientific methods on a regular, cost effective basis and implement the necessary procedures before crop diseases has time to spread.

Farmers will be able to manage resources and expenses like pesticides more accurately, eliminating overuse and keeping their negative environmental effects to a minimum.

9. Real Estate Marketing



Some real estate agents have already started using drone photography and video footage, but removed it due to uncertainty and possible legal issues. Marketing homes and properties in ways that has not yet been seen created a slightenthusiasm across the country with real estate marketers.

Houses located closer together might be an issue, like in Washington or in forested areas for instance, but those will not be a real estate agent’s only clients. With the FAA easing up on regulations for the use of commercial drones in the next few years, realtors will welcome a change that will most likely lead to agents’ using drone footage more often, maybe even permanently.

The real estate marketing business is booming. Client demands, pressure from competitors, or just being able to show-off scenic views around a clients home in a creative way, is guaranteed to cause major changes in the industry.

8. Motion Pictures



The action packed motorcycle chase over rooftops in the Bond film “Skyfall” was shot in Istanbul with a UAS. Of course their function in the U.S. motion pictureindustry could become invaluable, after FAA regulators gives the final word.

As Hollywood has also been battling for years to use drones, its no real surprise that the first legal use for a UAV has only been recently, marking an era where filmmakers could be allowed more chances for experimenting with clever camera angles and shots that were previously not possible with a helicopter.

Drones suddenly open up all kinds of opportunities for smaller film companies to acquire aerial footage more easily and filming of various other cinematography productions in the U.S., creating economic growth and more jobs. It is all-good and simply means that once drone-use is permanently established in the industry, filmmakers will be wondering: why has it taken so long?

7. Photography


With wedding photographers across the country describing it as an “arms race,” almost half of their potential clients now inquire about capturing aerial drone footage during ceremonies, sometimes inside the church.

Other wedding photographers risk serious penalties trying to sneak their way around FAA-regulations, but it all just points towards how big the dronewedding industry could possible become, once more permissive structures are put into place.

Nature photographers have taken spectacular aerial shots of meandering rivers and glowing green forests from a fix-wing or rotor aircraft before, so it’s nothing new, but the profound effect that some nature photographers have experienced while using drones can only be described as revolutionary.

From the usual 1,000 feet with a helicopter and telephoto lens to 100 feet with super wide-angle lens, the sudden change in perspective and elevation from a drone, now creates more intimacy and allows for views never seen before.

6. Humanitarian Logistics



Recent disasters like Hurricane Sandy have compelled the American Red Cross and other major logistical companies to study, evaluate and predict performance of unmanned aerial systems during times of crises.

Research and input from various other organisations also show the substantial benefit that drones could provide, especially to first responders and those emergency services operating in difficult terrain, after a disaster has occurred.

The ability to deliver small packages of lifesaving antibiotics, or vital surgical components to remote areas without risking further loss of life, makes it hard for aviation authorities around the world to ignore. Once certain bans and restrictions are lifted, the advancement of commercial drone technology will most likely spill over into these areas, making it an obvious future tool for humanitarian aid

5. Construction



With some of the biggest projects in Europe already using them for aerial surveying, drones are starting to form a vital component in the way construction companies plan, build and improve on major projects.

The future of construction will mainly focus on energy resourcing, conservation and efficiency as images and aerial data obtained from scanning sites is then relayed to teams during the building process. Together with software, the data provides thermal images and offers builders with different ways to improving and optimizing areas towards maximum energy efficiency.

The use of drones during massive construction projects is offering an increased level of accuracy that is sure to be implemented on a permanent basis once local construction companies make aviation regulators in the U.S. aware of this.

4. Anti-Poaching



The war between poaching syndicates and wildlife conservationists are very real, with the price of rhino horn now standing at US$60,000 per-kilogram, bloody battles are fought on a daily basis.

Rhinos have been around for 50 million years. Unfortunately the current rate of decline due to continued ignorance, this magnificent animal will be no more in less than 20 years.

Since 2013, drones have been used to catch poachers, but considering some parks in Africa are the size of New Jersey, the role and value of UAV’s towards the future of conservation becomes apparent. Recent upgrades to drone software, algorithmsand technology, combined with analytics and data, forms a type of system that tries to predict, thru patterns, where poachers might attempt to strike next.

Conservationists have in fact been using drones to outsmart poachers and achieve a measure of success, due to constant maneuvering and correct placement of anti-poaching patrols. The understanding, advancement and full support from local government institutions toward the use of drones will be critical in curbing the rampant slaughter of all endangered species.

3. Deliveries



A restaurant chain in Singapore has already started experimenting with drone waiters, leaving staff free to improve customer service in general. After testing and approval of cheap transmitters in the next few years, drones will be able to operate beyond the aviation authorities’ “line of sight” rule, making the future for deliveries by a unmanned aerial system limitless.

Research and development by Amazon focuses on perfecting the algorithms and software that will keep a drone flying in the event of signal loss and also deals withavoiding birds, trees, buildings, thrown rocks, kites, bullets, other drones, profanity and anything else the human race will be hurling at it coming D-day.

With Amazon intent on using a section of airspace between 200 and 500 feet, it seems logical that other companies would also be focusing on the same corridor, while maintaining a maximum standard of safety, especially over populated areas. Taking delivery vehicles off the road would also do well towards easing congestion, pollution from vehicle emissions and people in general wanting to beat each other up due to road rage.

2. Storm Chasing


An RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft like the one shown is currently flying non-military mapping missions over South, Central America and the Caribbean at the request of partner nations in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bobbi Zapka)

Predicting extreme weather conditions like tornadoes, hurricanes and tropical storms have always been a major challenge for scientists. The best they are able to manage is 20 minutes, which leaves almost no chance of safely evacuating a relatively populated area or town.

Some scientists believe that UAS and drones could access certain areas in the lower atmosphere that was previously inaccessible, leading to an increase in warning-times from threats like tornadoes and hurricanes by 40 minutes.

Thru the years, universities and researchers have looked at the idea of using drones for gathering storm data, but serious commitment only happened in 2010, when NASA flew its Global Hawk drone over a tropical storm for the first time.

Tornadoes have claimed the lives of many researchers thru the years. Future advancements in commercial drone design and power will enable storm-chasing scientists to gather crucial data from a much safer distance.

1. Search-and-Rescue



People with Alzheimer’s and autism have been known to walk away from their homes, only to be found hours later and a few miles away. Organisations like Project Lifesaver also aid families by tracking registered persons with a cognitive condition, but these searches could sometimes take up an enormous amount of time, cost and resources from local authorities and emergency services.

Drone design in the coming few years will make them more compact and versatile, able to be deployed by first responders, or by the family member of someone with a cognitive condition, once more permissive laws are in place.

With UAV’s already saving countless lives around the world in search-and-rescue efforts, even regular drone-hobbyists are now establishing the value of the technology after assisting authorities in numerous cases of missing persons. By incorporating UAS with helicopters during routine exercises, search-and-rescue teams have also found cost effective ways of extending their search areas by well over 5 miles, making the future-use of more than one drone for search-and-rescue purposes, obviously.

1b. Guilt-free Bombing

When the United States entered the Global War on Terror, U.S. military officials found difficulty in fighting irregular warfare. The U.S. military turned to Harlan Ullman and James Wade’s Shock and Awe doctrine, which states “the most efficient way of fighting asymmetric threats in irregular warfare is to conduct fast and destructive operations in order to incapacitate the enemy”

MQ-1 Predator UAVs armed with Hellfire missiles have been used by the U.S. as platforms for hitting ground targets. Armed Predators were first used in late 2001 from bases in Pakistan and Uzbekistan, mostly aimed at assassinating high profile individuals (terrorist leaders, etc.) inside Afghanistan. Since then, there have been many reported cases of such attacks taking place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The advantage of using an unmanned vehicle rather than a manned aircraft in such cases is to avoid a diplomatic embarrassment should the aircraft be shot down and the pilots captured, since the bombings take place in countries deemed friendly and without the official permission of those countries.

The “unmanned” aspect of UAVs has raised moral concerns. Some believe that the asymmetry of fighting humans with machines that are controlled from a safe distance lacks integrity and honor that was once valued during warfare. Others feel that if such technology is available, then there is a moral duty to employ it in order to save as many lives as possible.

Drones –


The View from Above

WABAC to Technicolor – Pre-HD

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WABAC to Technicolor – Pre-HD

b8e59-the_rocky_and_bullwinkle_show-show"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?


“Our friends Rocky & Bullwinkle want us to visit the movie set of the first Technicolor film. So set the WABAC to 1939 Hollywood California.”

June 12, 1939: Dr. Cyclops, The First Technicolor Horror Film Begins Production

Dr. Cyclops, The First Technicolor Horror

Cut & print that….

On June 12, 1939, for the first time production began an a horror film filmed in “three strip” Technicolor.  At this time, color movies were just beginning to reach the masses and were still quite a novelty, so Dr. Cyclops was expected to make quite a stir.

On the Cutting Room floor……

The plot centers around a mad scientist (Dr. Thorkel) deep in the South American jungle that sends for several other scientists.  When they arrive, he has them look at samples under a microscope, is delighted by what they see, and then asks them to leave.

Irritated that they traveled so far just to be dismissed, the scientists snoop around and find the Dr. Thorkel has apparently discovered rich deposits of radioactive material.  To their shock, they also find that he has discovered a way to shrink living things, a fact revealed by Dr. Thorkel under pressure from the others.  Thorkel then tricks the other scientists into his radiation chamber and shrinks them down to about a foot tall.  When they attempt to flee, Thorkel’s cat menaces them and they are saved by a dog.  (Which is why dogs are man’s best friend, not cats.) When one of the scientists attempts to reason with Thorkel, Thorkel discovers the scientist is growing, meaning the shrinking effect is temporary.  Thorkel then kills the little man, while the others attempt to escape through the jungle, having little people adventures along the way. The fugitive scientists sneak their way back to Thorkel’s lab and manage to smash a lens of his eyeglasses, hence the moniker,

Dr cyclops.jpg

Dr. Cyclops.  As Thorkel/Cyclops chases the 3 remaining scientist into a mine, he breaks through a board and dangles by a rope.  The relieved scientists cut the rope, causing the evil Dr. Thorkel to fall to his death.  In true Hollywood fashion, 2 of the surviving American scientists grow back to regular size and fall in love. The film was directed by Ernest Schoedsack, the man that directed King Kong.  It was nominated for an Academy Award for special effects.  Not the blockbuster that King Kong was, at least the film maintains a somewhat positive rating by Rotten Tomatoes and the IMDb. If you are a horror movie fan, or if you are in the mood for a few good laughs at the expense of pre-World War II Hollywood, watch this film.  Without all of today’s graphic gore it is hard to believe this movie terrified audiences back then, but of course times were different.




WABAC to Technicolor – Pre-HD

Pigs, Apes and Lassie – No Asses

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Top Tenz from WIF

Top Tenz from WIF

 10 Movie Actors Who Recreated

Their Roles for Television

Although the trend these days is to turn old-but-at-one-time-popular TV shows into movies, it used to more common to try and recreate the magic of a popular movie on the small screen.  There are usually two major issues with this.  First of all, most movies, by their very nature, are self-contained stories.  Oh sure, they can be set up to generate a sequel or two (or 10 if it’s a horror movie), but most of the time the story has a beginning, a middle and an end.  Secondly, most of the time, the stars of the movies are not interested in moving to a television series.  In fact, years ago, it was considered a huge step down to go from the movies to TV.  None the less, there were those rare times when actors decided to re-create their “iconic” movie roles for the small screen.  Please note that to qualify, the actor/actress had to play the same role on the series as they did in the movie.  Here are the top ten.

10. Roddy McDowell (Caesar/Cornelius/Galen) – Planet of the Apes, et al (Movies) and Planet of the Apes (TV Series)


This is what happens when you set up rules.  Right off the bat, they get broken.  Technically, Roddy McDowell didn’t play the same character on the television show as he did in the movies.

But then, he also played two different characters in the movies as well – Cornelius in the first three movies and Caesar in the last two.  Never the less, his character, Galen in the television series was essentially the same character as both Cornelius and Caesar.  Apparently, though it bombed in the US, it was quite popular in the UK.  Apparently the post-apocalyptic exploration of California was a fun ride.  Not only did Roddy make the jump from the movies, but he brought along the original spaceship (which was actually made of plywood) from the first and third movies.  It was the last time either of them would be on the Planet of the Apes.

9. John Vernon (Dean Wormer), Stephen Furst (Flounder), Bruce McGill (D-Day), and James Widdoes (Hoover) – Animal House (Movie) and Delta House (TV Series)


What can you say?  Obviously everyone involved had to have known that there was no way that Animal House was going to be able to transition from the big screen to television, but this quartet decided to enjoy the ride a little longer (although it only turned out to be a measly 13 episodes longer.  Not even Josh Mostel (filling in as Bluto’s brother, Blotto) and Michelle Pfeiffer (in her first acting role) could save this one.  In fact, Ms. Pfeiffer, didn’t even get an actual name, even though she was in eight episodes, she is only referred to as “The Bombshell”.

8. Michael Gross (Burt Grummer) – Tremors, et al (Movies) and Tremors (TV Series)


Michael Gross knows a good thing when he sees it.  Not only was he in all four Tremors movies, but he also decided to “Graboid” onto the series as well.  Michael continued his role as the survivalist/redneck, Burt Grummer.  The premise, according to IMDb, is that the latest Graboid, El Blanco, is on the endangered species list and that’s all that’s keeping the greedy land developers away from the sleepy little town of Perfection.  How did Michael make the list?  Because Burt Grummer is not only an amazing character but he’s also just mean enough to come after us if he didn’t make the list.  On top of everything else, after the series tanked, they went back and made another movie – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins.  This time Michael Gross plays Burt’s ancestor, Hiram Grummer.

7. Kevin Peter Hall (Harry) – Harry and the Hendersons (Movie) and Harry and the Hendersons (TV Series).


Kevin Peter Hall and Roddy McDowell could have been grouped together.  After all, they both portrayed an ape-man, or is it man-ape?  Or, some have speculated that maybe Bigfoot is a descendent of Wookies (but let’s not go there).  Either way, Kevin still deserves his own spot on the list. First of all, Harry and the Hendersons ran for three seasons and 72 episodes.  Sadly, however, Kevin Peter Hall passed away (at the age of 35) after completing only 16 episodes as Harry.  But they were good ones, especially his last appearance when Harry becomes a professional wrestler.  All in all, Harry and the Hendersons was simply a good old fashioned, fun, family-oriented sitcom (with a Sasquatch instead of a family dog). 

6. Eileen Brennan (Captain Doreen Lewis) – Private Benjamin (Movie) and Private Benjamin (TV Series)


Here is a series that actually did pretty well in the ratings and garnered some critical acclaim.  It ran for three seasons and Eileen Brennan won an Emmy and Golden Globe.  Also, the series was nominated for a Golden Globe.  This is on top of the Oscar nomination that she had already received for her movie version.  Brennen’s character, Captain Lewis was toned down a bit for the series, but she was just as amazing.  Sadly, Brennen was involved in a very serious accident in the third and final season.  She was replaced by Polly Holliday.  Ironically, Holliday had previously starred in another series that had been based on a movie, Alice (based on the 1974 film, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore).  Hal Williams also revised his role from the movie as Private Benjamin’s immediate superior and antagonist, Sargent Ross.

5. Adam West and Burt Ward (Batman and Robin) – Batman the Movie (Movie) and Batman (TV Series)


We’re cheating again.  Batman the series actually came out before Batman the movie, but according to IMDB, the movie was originally planned as a pilot film for the series so we’re trying to get by on a technicality.  Either way, Adam and Burt were the quintessential Batman and Robin of the 60’s.  Hey, they were the only Batman and Robin of the 60’s.  However, their movie/TV crossovers never missed a beat.  Of course it didn’t hurt that they kept all their supporting cast in the film and the series.  Plus, since the movie had a real budget, we got to see things like the Bat-copter and the Bat-cycle, not to mention the flipper-propelled Penguin-submarine.

4. Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Colson) – The Avengers, et al (Movies) and Marvel’s Agents of SHEILD (TV Series)


It may be a little early for this one, since (as of this writing) MAofS has only been on for half a season.  But Clark Gregg carries this show.

It’s even more amazing since he started out with just a small role (not much bigger than a cameo) in the first Iron Man movie.  He subsequently had similar screen time in Iron Man 2 and Thor before his penultimate role in The Avengers.  And then came the real tricky part.  He was so popular that the series creators actually managed to (spoiler alert) bring him back from the dead to head up the new point team in Marvel’s Agents of SHEILD.  His understated and unflappable dedication to SHEILD have made him a fan favorite on both the small and big screen.

3. Debbie Allen (Lydia Grant) – Fame (Movie) and Fame (TV Series)


Debbie Allen essentially had little more than a walk on role in the movie version of Fame.  According to IMDb, “Debbie Allen commented in interviews that the role of Lydia was originally bigger in the movie, written as a star dance student always competing for roles with Irene Cara’s Coco. So the role would not outshine Cara and the other young cast members, the role was then drastically cut down and made into the audition judge that you see in just the first ten minutes of the film. The character of Lydia, of course, was carried over to and made the star of the TV version of Fame (1982).” And star is the correct term.  Debbie Allen became the cornerstone of the popular series that ran for five seasons (136 episodes).  During that time, Allen was nominated for four Emmys for Best Actress and won another two for choreography.  On top of that, during the final season, she was also starring on Broadway (in Sweet Charity) and was nominated for a Tony.  Allen was also in the 2009 remake.  Although she has a different name, according to IMDb, Allen considered it the same role with a new name and a promotion from teacher to principal.  Albert Hague and Gene Anthony Ray also revised their roles from the movie.

2. Yul Brenner (King Mongkut) – The King and I (Movie) and Anna and the King (TV Series)


Most of you are probably saying to yourself, “WTF, when did they make a TV series of the King and I?”  Yes, they actually brought the King of Siam to the small screen, although only for a single season.  What makes this truly unique is that Yul Brenner gets the distinction of being the only actor to reprise his role (and a leading role no less) on Broadway, the big screen and on television.  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to add an Emmy to his previously won Tony and Oscar for the same role.  That would have been the ultimate trifecta!

1. Gary Burghoff (Corporal Radar O’Reilly) – M*A*S*H (movie) and M*A*S*H (TV Series)


While there may be debates about the other nine, the number one pick is a no brainer.  Gary Burghoff’s portrayal of Radar O’Reilly is truly iconic.  In fact, he was so iconic that he was the only character that wasn’t actually replaced when he left the series.

Jamie Farr’s character, Klinger took over his duties as company clerk, but he wasn’t replaced the way that Henry Blake, Trapper John and Major Burns were.  Burghoff really developed the character of Radar.  In the movie he had a pretty small role and even in the series his role wasn’t too significant in the beginning.  But as the series evolved and grew, he evolved and grew right along with it.  He was able to play the comedy and drama on equal ground with Alan Alda and the rest of the cast.  So much so that he ended up being nominated for six Emmys.

Honorable Mention – Pal (Lassie) – Lassie Come Home, et al (Movie) and Lassie (TV Series)


Lassie is the definitive movie/TV canine and had to be included somewhere on this list.  Pal (who played Lassie) meet the list’s qualifications.  He not only originated the role of Lassie (in Lassie Come Home), but went on to play her in six more movies.  He then played Lassie in the two pilot episodes of the television series before retiring and handing over the role to his son, Lassie Junior.  Lassie had such an impression on the public that, according to IMDb, the number of purebred collies registered in the United States in the late 1940s increased from 3,000 to 18,400 (Lassie Come Home came out in 1943).  Take a bow Lassie.

Michael Young was born and raised in Iowa.  He inherited his mom’s love of movies and television.  He has been a school teacher, insurance underwriter and, of course, the manager of a movie theater.  He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Iowa.

Pigs, Apes and Lassie – No Asses

Indiana Jones Artifacts

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Top 10 Indiana Jones Artifacts (Not Found In The Movies)


In the Indiana Jones universe, there are many “artifacts,” such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, that Indy searches for on his quest to never have to teach a class ever again. In his “expanded universe” however, there was a much more diverse set of artifacts than what the movies limited him to. We examine those in this following list.

10. Thomas Edison’s Electric Car


It is a historical fact that Thomas Edison worked on a battery powered by electricity for the Electric Vehicle Company. As a matter of fact, the Electric Vehicle Company was once the largest producers of automobiles in the United States. Don’t get too excited, they were mostly all for lease or rent. In the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, there was an episode titled “Princeton, 1916.” The show starts with an elderly Indiana Jones looking at a monster truck, before reminiscing about meeting Thomas Edison and the time he helped to stop German spies from breaking in to Edison’s old laboratory and making off with his electric motor.

9. Golden Mask of the Ramploo Elephant


In African societies of the 19th century, Elephant Masks would often denote a member of a royal society or the messenger/emissary of a royal. The masks were rare, but did in fact exist. Often, the masks would be painted red and have colorful beads to show wealth, as well as the ability to negotiate purchases. Often, the wearer of an elephant mask would wear a black robe, which would mean that they could even interact between the living and the dead.

In 1987, a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style adventure, entitled Indiana Jones and the Mask of the Elephantset Indy off on an adventure to find the fabled Golden Mask of the Ramploo Elephant. The Golden Mask was made of actual gold and bespectacled with jewels. Jones’ ability to find the mask depended on how well you navigated the choices in the book. According to the book’s legend, the Mask was made in order to ward off the spirit of a gigantic elephant.

8. The Great Machine of the Tower Of Babel

indy-n64-gameThe Book Of Genesis, Chapter 11, refers briefly to the Tower of Babel. As an affront to God, the Tower of Babel is destroyed, and the people who made it are confounded with different languages and forced to spread out among the Earth. In the game Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Jones gets a possible idea of why the Tower needed to be destroyed. The Infernal Machine is actually divided into four parts. The assembled machine was in the heart of the Tower of Babel. In the game, when the parts were assembled they could reach out to the realm of the God Marduk.

7. Cup of Djemsheed


The 1984 “Find Your Fate” adventure Indiana Jones and the Cup of the Vampire may have foreshadowed a bit the eventual plot of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Cup of Djemsheed is a cup of the vampire Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula. The cup of blood (something like an anti-Grail) has the same effect as the Grail. and his book was published a half decade before the movie. There were several endings, including one which Indiana Jones found the fabled Cup of the Vampire. However, recovering the item also caused Dracula to be resurrected.

6. The Knife of Cain


In the 1990 book Young Indiana Jones and the Secret City, Indiana Jones comes into contact with the Knife of Cain. Supposedly, this was the object that Cain used to slay Abel in Genesis, Chapter 4. The exact verse states “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” There is no mention of a knife anywhere, but there had to be some method that the murder was carried out in. And, since guns didn’t exist back then, and a rock would have been too much of a pain, we can presume a knife did Abel in.

5. The Spear of Destiny


In April to July of 1995, Dark Horse Comics published Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny. Sometimes referred to as the Holy Lance, this is the spear that pierced Christ during the crucifixion. In the comic, there is a race to assemble the Spear between the Nazis (who have the tip) and Jones (who must find the rest.)  The plot is not all that dissimilar from the made-for-television movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Of course, you would have to factor in that the television movie was released nearly a full ten years after the Indiana Jones comic.

4. The Philosopher’s Stone


If the title Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone sounds a bit familiar, then remember that the book was released in 1995, a full two years before the initial release date in Britain of J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The object is the same in both books. The Philosopher’s Stone in McCoy’s novel turns lead to gold, as well as grants eternal life. Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone also begins in London, England as well. There is a chance that maybe McCoy should think about writing books about boy wizards.

3. Eye of the Fates


In Greek Mythology, witches are referred to as the Graeae (or grey ones.)  The witches have a mystical eye that they pass around to see not only their surroundings, but into the greater world as well. In the legend of Perseus, the Eye is alternately telling of where to find the objects to kill the Gorgon Medusa, or just where to find Medusa herself. In the “Find Your Fate” adventure Indiana Jones And The Eye of the Fates, Dr. Jones is on a quest to find the legendary eye, and may do so, with your help of course.

2. The Golden Fleece


In antiquity, the Golden Fleece was the fleece of a golden winged ram. In order to ascend to his kingdom, the hero Jason must recover the Golden Fleece by order of the King Pelias. The story was current in the time of Homer and, unlike Ray Harryhausen’s vision, included no mention of any type of army of skeletons. To be fair though, the army of skeletons was a wonderful touch. The Fleece held the promise that any army holding it could not be conquered. In order to stop the Nazis from having an assurance of eternal victory, Jones finds the Fleece in the two-issue comic book Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece. Man, Indy dealt with Nazis more than we did. Too bad he wasn’t real; if he were, World War II would have been over in a month.

1. The Lost City of Atlantis


Ever since the time of Plato, there have been legends associated with the lost city of Atlantis. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was released as a comic by Dark Horse in 1991. LucasArts turned around and released a video game associated with Indy finding the lost city, in 1992. Since the franchise was fresh off the success of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, there was a belief by many fans that they were looking at the potential script for Indiana Jones 4. We all found out, a mere 16 years later, that this was not to be the case.

Of course, now Disney owns Lucasfilm, as well as the rights to the Jones character. Who knows what will happen next? Finding the lost underwater city of Atlantis, as well as all its secrets, certainly seemed more plausible than a bunch of crystal skulls that proved aliens existed.

Indiana Jones Artifacts

Top Ten Movie Musical Montages

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Top 10 ’80s Musical Movie Montages

All hail the glorious ’80s musical montage! Perfect for depicting long passages of time in a matter of minutes, the montage has come to be one of the defining characteristics of popular ’80s cinema. Many of the most beloved movies from the decade have them. So which are the best? Luckily, questions like that are what we’re here for. So, in chronological order, here are our favorite ’80s musical montages.

10. Chariots of Fire (March 30, 1981)


Since we’re going in chronological order, let’s begin with one of the first great ’80s montages, the “Run In God’s Name” scene from Chariots Of Fire. With the sound of Vangelis’ Academy Award-winning soundtrack blazing in the background, this scene depicts the training of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, two athletes bound for the 1924 Olympics. This is one of the first great training montages of the decade, depicting an athlete’s rise from mediocrity to greatness. Many of the entries on this list are training montages, so clearly, the first would have to among the most important.

9. Scarface (December 9, 1983)


“First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the women.” This immortal line from Tony Montana, the antihero of Scarface, summarizes the business ethics of both ’80s America and the cut-throat Miami drug trade. Set to the pumping synths of Paul Engemann’s “Push it to the Limit,” this montage shows Tony’s rise to power and glory. Who knew that high crime could look and sound so cool?

8. Ghostbusters (June 7, 1984)


If you were alive during the ’80s, then you knew Ray Parker Jr.’s theme from Ghostbusters better than the National Anthem. And who can blame you? It’s one of the catchiest songs of the decade! And it was given a killer montage in the film, too. During the film, the song plays while we watch the eponymous group of paranormal crusaders rise to fame and riches. Well, maybe not riches, but definitely fame!

7. The Karate Kid (June 22, 1984)


If this list wasn’t in chronological order, then there’s a good chance that this would be much, much higher. The tournament montage featuring Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best Around” is one of the most famous and beloved of the decade. Who didn’t want to see Daniel-san wipe the floor with those Cobra Kai bullies? This montage depicts part of the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament, where we see the two months of training with Mr. Miyagi pay off. It only stands to reason that one of the best underdog sports movies of the ’80s would have one of the best montages, too.

6. The Breakfast Club (February 15, 1985)


One of the defining teen movies of the ’80s, The Breakfast Club is one of director John Hughes’ true masterpieces. For a film that is so dialogue-heavy, one would think that there wouldn’t be cause for an awesome musical montage. But Hughes proved the world wrong with a scene where the five students dance to Karla DeVito’s “We Are Not Alone.” The shots of the teens dancing together ranks not only as some of the most iconic images of the film, but of the decade in general.

5. Teen Wolf (August 23, 1985)


1985 was a huge year for Michael J. Fox. Not only did he star in Back To The Future, he also appeared in the incredible Teen Wolf. While the former wasn’t short on music, the latter would be the film to deliver a kickin’ musical montage. With Mark Vieha’s “Way To Go” blaring, this montage combines two things that ’80s movies loved: sport competitions and becoming popular. It’s pure ’80s goodness!

4. Rocky IV (November 27, 1985)


You knew that the Italian Stallion would show up eventually on this list. Of all of his movies (and montages), Rocky IV might well have been the best. Why? Because it perfectly captures the spirit and over-the-top glory of the ’80s. Who didn’t love watching Rocky beat the tar out of Drago and, simultaneously, Communism?

3. Dirty Dancing (August 21, 1987)


Another great training montage, the scene in Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze teaches Jennifer Grey how to dance, is a classic teen romance moment. The song that plays, Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” is unfortunately usually overshadowed by the award-winning smash hit “The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. But it is still a great song from a great movie with, of course, a great musical montage!

2. Bloodsport (February 26, 1988)


Sylvester Stallone isn’t the only ’80s action god with an entry on this list. Enter Jean-Claude Van Damme, the Belgian martial arts expert that rose to fame in Newt Arnold’s Bloodsport. Stan Bush performs “Fight To Survive” during a montage depicting several fights from the film’s central tournament. This is one scene that is sure to get the blood pumping and the masses chanting “KUMITE! KUMITE!”

1. The Naked Gun (December 2, 1988)


Let’s end this list with a montage from the delightfully hilarious Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad. A magnificent spoof (before “spoof” was a dirty word that became shorthand for “add farts to everything”) of police dramas, the film features a montage where Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley fall in love and cavort throughout town to the sound of Herman Hermit’s “I’m Into Something Good.” This scene is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and a catchy tune in your head.

Top Ten Movie Musical Montages

National Treasure

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1. The Declaration of Independence Has A Treasure Map In Its Other Side


When the Founding Fathers were not busy fighting a war of independence  against Britain (and eating people,) they also stockpiled priceless  treasure, with a special map revealing its location on the most important  document in American history. They probably thought their secret was safe that  way, especially since they secured the Declaration behind a wall of  uber-security but, contrary to popular belief, it can be stolen much more easily  than anyone of us would have guessed possible. Luckily, for all of us interested  in the true tales of history, Nicolas Cage was on the call, quickly recovering  the booty and safely preserving it for generations to come.


National Treasure 

A Review of a Well-lived Life (Roger Ebert)

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“The movie review is a specialized form of writing and Roger Ebert crafted it into an art. Every next movie, is connected to any number of previous movies.”


Roger Ebert (extract) by Roger Ebert.jpg
Ebert in 1970

Roger Joseph Ebert

June 18, 1942

UrbanaIllinois, U.S.

Died April 4, 2013 (aged 70)
ChicagoIllinois, U.S.
Occupation Author
Film historian
Film critic
Language English
Nationality American
Education Urbana High School
Alma mater University of Chicago,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Period 1967–2013
Subjects Film
Notable work(s) The Great Movies
The Great Movies II
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Life Itself: A Memoir
Notable award(s) Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Spouse(s) Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert[1]
(July 18, 1992 – April 4, 2013; his death) 


Tribute to Roger Ebert

Stop the (Word) Presses

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Stop the Presses


If you have been hankerin’ for some juicy (a matter of perception) insight into the mystery girl (me), here you go.

I am a lifelong Star Trek fan, having fallen in love with Science Fiction while in a Sci Fi book club in sixth grade. I am one of the 110,000 fans who wrote a letter to NBC to keep the television show on the air; such was my level of loyalty. Sadly the campaign lasted only for a half-dozen episodes.

From that high school letter, I went on to start my own book right after graduation.