Directors’ Federico Fellini and David Lynch Share More Than a Birthday

by Shannonn Kelly
02:40PM, EST, January 20, 2014

Today, January 20th is the Birthday of two very different yet somehow similar Filmmakers:

  • Living: Director, writer, David Keith Lynch born 1946 in Missoula, Montana. He’s 68.
  • Deceased: Director, writer Federico Fellini, born 1920 Rimini, Italy.
Birthday Buddies Federico Fellini and David Lynch
Birthday Buddies Federico Fellini and David Lynch

I started watching films that were age inappropriate when I was in single digits. So it was probably the same story when I saw “Blue Velvet” in 1986, as I believe it was ‘Restricted’ and I probably snuck into the movie theater. I loved the spooky premise of finding a severed ear in a farmers field, loved the character Frank Booth played by now deceased Dennis Hopper. I just completely loved that movie. Continue reading “Directors’ Federico Fellini and David Lynch Share More Than a Birthday”

‘Tis the Season of ‘Peanuts Creator’ Charles M. Schulz

Peanuts creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz
Peanuts creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz

by Shannonn Kelly
09:12AM, EST, November 26, 2013

There’s something very special about waking up and realizing it would have been the 91st birthday of Charles M. Schulz. From October to December, it’s really, the Season of Charles Schulz, the cartoonist who created warm and funny scenarios to take us through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with his “Peanuts Gang”, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and my personal favorite “Pig Pen”.

I wrote a blog last year which you can read here, so I wondered what should I write this year..?

I enjoyed writing my 2012 blog, and I really researched it a lot. In my mind, nothing could really top it. But then I read the Huffington post this morning and I thought, okay, here’s another angle. But then I read that they too, revisited their blog from last year and tweaked it for this year.

So with permission, I’m re-posting their article below. I just don’t know who it’s written by because I’d like to give them their props in my blog.

I hope you read my blog from 2012 right here. I’d love to know what’s your favorite Charlie Brown special? Who’s your favorite Peanuts character? Please leave me a comment and enjoy your day!

Re-posted with Permission from Huffington Post

Today is the birthday of American cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz, that beloved “Peanuts” creator who would turn 91 years old if he were still alive today.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz is remembered most fondly for the wholesome characters he created throughout his 50-year-long illustration career. Among them are the eternally hesitant Charlie Brown and the mischievous Snoopy, two characters who came to represent the iconic four-panel gag strip known as “Peanuts.” Schulz devoted much of his life to the American comic standard, which ran up until the day after his death in 2000.

In honor of the 91st anniversary of Schulz’s birth, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the man behind the cartoon, so we’ve put together 20 facts you might not have known about the great American artist. Behold, the quirks of a “Peanuts” legend:

1. The man, Charles Schulz, and the comic character, Charlie Brown, are pretty similar.

charles schulz

Schulz’s father was a barber and his mother a housewife, just like Charlie Brown’s parents. Plus, as the youngest in his class at Central High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Schulz was famously shy.
2. Schulz’s childhood nickname was based on a comic strip.

charles schulz

Schulz’s childhood nickname, Sparky, was given to him by his uncle and refers to the horse Spark Plug in Billy DeBeck’s comic strip, “Barney Google.”
3. Schulz had his own unusual dog named Spike.

When Schulz was a young boy, he submitted a picture of his dog, Spike, to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! His drawing appeared in Robert Ripley’s syndicated panel, describing Spike as an usual dog who ate pins, tacks and razor blades.
4. Schulz served in WWII but never fired his weapon.

charles schulz

In 1943, Schulz was drafted into the United States Army where he served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe. During his service as a squad leader on a .50 caliber machine gun team, his unit saw very little combat, and Schulz later explained that during the only opportunity to fire his machine gun he discovered that he had actually forgotten to load it.
5. Schulz debuted his two most famous characters in a comic strip known as “Li’l Folks.”

charles schulz

The name of Schulz’s most famous character — Charlie Brown — first appeared in an earlier cartoon written by the Peanuts creator titled “Li’l Folks”, which was published from 1947 to 1950. That same series also featured a dog that resembled Snoopy.
6. Schulz didn’t actually name “Peanuts.”

In 1950, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his comic strip Li’l Folks. The syndication company accepted Schulz work but decided that the name “Li’l Folks” was too close to the names of two other comics of the time: Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” and a strip titled “Little Folks.” So, to avoid confusion, United Feature Syndicate settled on the name “Peanuts” after the peanut gallery featured in the “Howdy Doody” TV show. In the end, Schulz did not name his famous work.
7. And he hated the name.

charlie brown christmas

Schulz always disliked the title of his famous comic strip, “Peanuts”. In a 1987 interview, Schulz said of the name: “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity — and I think my humor has dignity.”
8. Schulz wanted to call Snoopy “Sniffy.”

charles schulz

Schulz was originally going to call his star dog character “Sniffy”, that is until he discovered that name had already been used in a different comic strip. So the cartoonist changed it to “Snoopy” after remembering that his late mother Dena Schulz told the family that if they were ever to acquire a third dog, it should be called Snoopy, an affectionate term in Norwegian. (The word is “Snuppa”.)
9. And Schulz wanted Snoopy to be entirely silent.

snoopy

Schulz originally imagined Snoopy as a silent character. It was only after two years of the comic that Snoopy verbalized his thoughts to readers in a thought balloon in 1952.
10. Schulz named many of the other “Peanuts” characters after his friends.

charles schulz

Linus and Shermy, prominent characters in the Peanuts comic strip, were named for good friends of Schulz, Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler.
11. Relatives served as inspiration too.

peanuts comic

The character of Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of Schulz’s cousins on his mother’s side. Schulz came up with the full name when he saw peppermint candies in his house.
12. And ex-girlfriends.

The character of the Little Red-Haired Girl (Charlie Brown’s love interest in “Peanuts”) was based on a woman in Schulz’s life named Donna Mae Johnson. She was an Art Instruction Inc. accountant with whom the cartoonist had a relationship, but when he proposed to her, she turned him down.
13. Schulz was adamant about “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

charlie brown christmas

For “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, network executives were hesitant about a scene involving Linus reciting the story of Christ’s birth. But in a documentary about the making of the program, Charles Schulz states, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” And so the scene remained. Schulz also felt strongly about the absence of a laugh track in the televised cartoon, maintaining that the audience should be able to enjoy the show at their own pace, without being cued when to laugh. CBS created a version with a laugh track, but that version never aired.
15. Schulz was an avid hockey fan.

hockey charles schulz

Schulz was an avid hockey fan. In 1998, he hosted the first Over 75 Hockey Tournament and in 2001, the city of Saint Paul, MN renamed the Highland Park Ice Arena the Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena in his honor.
16. Schulz loved the Space Program.

charles schulz space

Schulz was also a huge proponent of the space program, so much so that the 1969 Apollo 10 command module was named Charlie Brown and a lunar module was named Snoopy.
17. Schulz was pals with Reagan.

ronald reagan

Ronald Reagan once wrote a fan note to Schulz saying that the president identified with Charlie Brown.
18. Schulz really wanted Charlie Brown to kick the football.

When Schulz was asked if Charlie Brown would finally get to kick the football in the final “Peanuts” strip, his response was: “Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn’t have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century.” But in a December 1999 interview, Schulz recounted the moment when he signed the final comic panel, stating, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football!’”
18. Schulz was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

peanuts met life ice

Schulz was posthumously inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2007.
19. Schulz was published in 75 countries.

peanuts comic

At its height, Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip was published in 75 countries, in 21 different languages.
20. Schulz created one of the longest stories ever told by one human being.

peanuts comic

According to Robert Thompson of Syracuse University, Schulz created “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”. In total, Schulz produced 17,897 published strips from 1950 to 2000, with reruns continuing after.

In honor of Charles Schulz birthday, we are revisiting a post originally published last year honoring the artist’s life and work.

 

 

TIFF 2013 :: Breaking Down The Program – 100 Picks at TIFF

by Shannonn Kelly
05:12AM, EST, Thursday September 05, 2013

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Bateman bring their personal best to TIFF 2013
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jason Bateman bring their personal best to TIFF 2013

Well film lovers – the behemoth that is known as the 38th Annual Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing starting Today!

As my readers know, I try and give you the best bang for your $23.50 per ticket by breaking down the monster program book into a pop-culture-y take and make it all user friendly.

I always try to find the gems from all over the world and not just Hollywood blockbusters. Especially interesting to filmgoers should be films without distribution. Those are the films people need to see so the filmmaker can build and audience through word-of-mouth, no matter what country they’re from. This year was tough to stay ‘indie‘ with so many good people making good movies and a few GREAT directorial debuts, by the likes of (my crushes) Jason Bateman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for instance.

I’ve been following Chiwetel Ejiofor since he played ‘Okwe’ in Stephen Frears‘ film Dirty Pretty Things (2002). I saw the premiere of this film when I was still in school but came here for TIFF. I was blown away by his performance and the screenplay in general.the script was originally submitted by writer Steven Knight to the BBC Writersroom. This screenplay went on to become ‘Dirty Pretty Things’. Ejiofor won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. He went on to co-star in  Love Actually (2003), Woody Allen‘s Melinda and Melinda (2004), Kinky Boots (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children of Men (2006), American Gangster (2007) which I really thought he was the star and not Denzel Washington.

This year Ejiofor stars in two heartfelt and dramatic films at TIFF. He plays ‘Odenigbo’ in Half of a Yellow Sun about family and war in Nigeria by director and starring opposite Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose.

In “12 Years a Slave“, Ejiofor also stars as ‘Solomon Northup’ in this horrendous based on fact story about a fiddle playing 19th-century free black man abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War era Deep South. Directed by Steve McQueen “Hunger” (2008) and Shame (2011). Cast your early Oscar vote for for Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”. It’s going to be a Winner.

Continue reading “TIFF 2013 :: Breaking Down The Program – 100 Picks at TIFF”

Holy Cowl Neck – Ben Affleck Confirmed as the New Batman

by Shannonn Kelly
06:41AM, EST, August 23, 2013

Academy Award Winning Actor/Director Ben Affleck Confirmed to Play Batman
Academy Award Winning Actor/Director Ben Affleck Confirmed to Play Batman

It’s not the best news to the ears of Batman fans. But you know we’re all going to rush to the box office to see it. Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck has been cast as the new Batman in the “Man of Steel” sequel, according to a statement released by Warner Bros. just after last month’s San Diego Comic-Con International.

The announcement follows weeks of speculation about who would don the Dark Knight’s cape in the Batman-Superman film currently titled “Batman vs. Superman“.

Greg Silverman, Warner Bros. President of Creative Development:

We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular superheroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.

Continue reading “Holy Cowl Neck – Ben Affleck Confirmed as the New Batman”

Happy Birthday – Julie Newmar – Still Purrfect…

Julie Newmar - Still the Purrfect Villainess
Julie Newmar – Still the Purrfect Villainess

by Shannonn Kelly
10:41AM, EST, August 16, 2012

If you are a Batman fan like I am, you are also a Catwoman fan. Today is the birthday of TVs first Catwoman, Ms. Julie Newmar. She is 79.

The statuesque Newmar stands at 5′ 11″ while her counterpart in Season 3 the fabbbbulous Ms. Eartha Kitt was 5′ 4″. Newmar played Catwoman in seasons 1 and 2 in the Batman TV Series. She was set to continue to the 3rd and final season but had a schedule conflict.

One of the things people might now know is that Newmar ‘s mother was a fashion designer under the name “Chalene” and between the two of them, they decided to modify her Catwoman outfit by moving the the belt from the waist to the hips to emphasize Newmar’s  hourglass figure.

That costume is now on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History along with Halle Berry’s costume from the movie “Catwoman” (2004) and the cowl worn by George Clooney in Batman & Robin.

Making a name for herself both on stage and screen, Julie wanted to be known for her comedy. She once told the New York Times: “Tell me I’m funny, and it’s the greatest compliment in the world.” Continue reading “Happy Birthday – Julie Newmar – Still Purrfect…”

FaceBook Friend of The Week – Marvel Comic Writer Jim McCann

by Shannonn Kelly
06:58AM, EST, January 07, 2013

To my readers who didn’t celebrate over the last 2 weeks – Happy Orthodox Christmas!

"Lost Vegas", "Hawkeye and MockingBird", comic book writer Jim McCann
“Lost Vegas”, “Hawkeye and MockingBird”, comic book writer Jim McCann

Today is the birthday of writer James Andrew “Jim” McCann II, born in 19 and 74 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Even though he’s worked in film, on music videos and even spent time as a writer for the daytime soap, “One Life to Live” on ABC, he’s most noted as a writer for Marvel comics and other graphic novels.

McCann has a degree in Communications with minors in English and Theater, which he received from Cincinnati, Ohio, Xavier University in 1996.

In June 2010, McCann joined forces with DC and Marvel comic book artist David Lopez working on a re-boot of the Marvel Comic story that started in 1983 “Hawkeye and Mockingbird“.

Continue reading “FaceBook Friend of The Week – Marvel Comic Writer Jim McCann”