Pee-Wee's Big Adventure turns 35!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Some of my earliest memories include Pee-Wee Herman.  My brother took piano lessons when I was really little, and on Saturday mornings after his class, my mother would take us to the video store (remember those, kids?) followed by the pet store just to wear us out and keep us occupied for a while.  At the video store, for the longest time, my brother and I wanted to rent nothing but Pee-Wee's Playhouse tapes.  I had all of the Pee-Wee figures and playset growing up, up until fairly recently too, but they were ruined in a flood in my parent's basement during Hurricane Irene.

Somehow after weeks of renting the Playhouse tapes, we found out there was a full-length movie, Pee Wee's Big Adventure!  I had to be around 5, which would make it 1989 or 1990, a few years after the initial release.  Clear as day, I remember my brother Matt and I both had bomber jackets on in the living room early one Sunday morning as the two of us sat watching the rented Pee Wee's Big Adventure before church.  It was either winter time and a little chilly in the house, or I just thought it was cool, or for all I know, the heat was out. Still, I distinctly remember wearing that bomber jacket because when Large Marge scared the crap out of me, I went running out into the kitchen where my parents were drinking their morning coffee, and I was wearing that coat.

If you're one of the long time readers here, you'll know I love any movie or tv show that involved traveling and road trips, and Pee-Wee' Big Adventure didn't disappoint.  I love everything about this movie.  It has always appealed to all of my senses... as weird as it sounds.  I can almost taste the gum and smell the dust in the magician's shop, and I can smell the popcorn, candy, and car exhaust at the drive-in at the end of the film.

Elvira joins Scooby Doo for Halloween Fun

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Long time readers know that my wife and I love Elvira and her two films, "Mistress of the Dark" and "Haunted Hills."  Forgetting about her silly recent political commentary, I patiently await her very-long-awaited 3rd film... if it ever gets made.

For fans of Cassandra Peterson and her Elvira persona, however, you can find her in an all-new digital release (and on DVD) cartoon titled "Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo!"  The team of detective teens meet up with none other than Elvira herself (and Bill Nye the Science Guy) as they battle the famous Batman villain The Scarecrow.

The official statement reads: “With fake monsters and candy galore, Halloween is heaven for these hungry foodies going door-to-door. But this year, their sweet holiday turns sour when the neighborhood pumpkin patch is infected by toxic ooze, creating high-flying jack-o-lanterns, and a king-sized pumpkin leader squashing everything in its path. It’s up to Scooby-Doo and the gang as they team up with their pals, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, to solve this mystery of gigantic proportions and save Crystal Cove!”

Written, directed, and produced by Maxwell Atom, who is best known for creating The Cartoon Network's Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and executive producer of Disney Channel's "Fish Hooks," this project features popular voice casting for the series that includes Frank Welker as Scooby and Fred, Grey Griffin as Daphne, Kate Micucci as Velma, and Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.  Cassandra Peterson does her own voice work as Elvira.
Check out the official trailer below!

A Salute to "Salute Your Shorts"

Monday, August 3, 2020

Camp Ana-wanna, we hold you in our hearts…

As August begins and the summer heat builds to its peak, I find myself reflecting on the summers of my youth.  I never went to a REAL summer camp, but it's something I always thought I might enjoy.

But, who am I kidding?  I was a pretty lazy kid who enjoyed playing NHL Blades of Steel on Nintendo or surfing the pro wrestling "BBs" on Prodigy all night.  I've also never liked to be away from home for too long.  But the THOUGHT of summer camp seemed incredible to me as a kid.  Sports, activities, the outdoors, pine trees and lakes, new friends, girls, you name it. I always thought it would have been legendary.

I played ice hockey from kindergarten through college, and the only summer camp I ever went to was an annual week-long training camp in Boston.  It was full of good memories and fun times, but, after an early morning on-ice session, mid-day calisthenics, an afternoon two-mile run, and an evening on-ice session, I was too exhausted at the end of the week to enjoy myself.

What did I do during my summers when my neighbor, the only kid my age around, went to day camp? Watch Nickelodeon, of course!  Side note:  does anyone else remember the Weinerville or Stick Stickley programming from the 90s?  Anyway, back on topic, one of the few shows that could make me come in from playing outside was "Salute Your Shorts."

My family would spend two weeks in August with our extended family renting cabins around a lake in Maine every year.  When I was about 12, my Dad began letting me take our boat out by myself.  Across the lake was a sleepaway camp tucked into the woods, and I would sail around in the late afternoons, imagining that as I motored past Camp Hawthorne, I'd find Ug, Budnick, Donkey Lips, and the gang.