Content by Kevin S.Butler
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Reviews Written by
Kevin S.Butler (Mamaroneck,New York,USA)
4.0 out of 5 stars
Paul Tripp Saves Christmas in this Musical Yultide Classic!, Dec 12 2003
Pioneer kids tv educator:Paul Tripp makes his leep to
The big screen in this musical Christmas tale that is
both heartwarming,funny and pogient.
"The Christmast That Almost Wasn't"tells the story of
a mean and vindictive miser:"Phinease T.Prune"(played by
romantic singing lead:Rosino Brazzi of "South Pacific
Movie Fame).Who hates Christmas and Santa so much..that
he buys up the entire North Pole..Including Santa's work-
shop and home and raises his rent bill so high!
That Santa can't pay the rent and he hires a struggleing
lawyer:"Sam Whipple"(Paul Tripp)to help him deal with
Seeing that "Prune"will not listen to reason and he
refuses to disregard the rent bill.
"Whipple"gets Santa a job at"Prim's Dept.Store"where
he listens to the kids'Christmas wishes ,entertains them
and helps to sell "Mr.Prim's"(played by another well known
kids tv personality:"Wonderama's","Just For Fun's"and
"Let Take A Trip's"Sonny Fox)toys during the holidays.
But "Mr.Prune"is not one to be foiled by two good
And he conspires with his manservant:"Bascome"to
ruin the plans of our heroes.
Will he succeed in evicting The Clauses and their
workers and ruin Christmas for everyone?!
The film has a wonderful story and beautiful songs
performed by Mr.Tripp(who also wrote the tunes with Mr.Ray Carter),Mr.Brazzi and the actors playing
Santa and Mrs.Claus(Played by Mr.Brazzi's late wife Lida).
The sets are dark but charming and the acting is superb.
For anyone..who wants a truly charming and tuneful
This is the one film to have.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Robby Benson tries to find true love as"Jeremy", Oct 27 2003
In the 1970's,the movie industry had some films that showed how
the establishment was abusing and misusing our funds,the military and our feelings for each other.
There were few films that showed a positive side to a relationship.
But in 1973,one film "Jeremy"showed everyone that a story about
human relationships could work with an audience.
Stage and tv vetrain:Robby Benson gave one of his most poigent and real performances as the high school nerd.Who falls in love
with a beautiful young woman(Played here with genuine sensitivty ,charm and beauty by Glyniss O'Connor).Who finds a kinderd soul mate in the serious but kindly:"Jeremy Jones".
"Susan Rollins"(Ms.O'Connor)is the daughter of a struggling unemlpoyed widower.Whose difficulties in finding work..make it
hard for the young girl to deal with her father's problems.
When she meets:"Jeremy",she finds someone that she tell her
troubles to and spend time with.
The pair develop a relationship but it ends..when Ms.O'Connor's on screen father is forced to take a job with a
company out of town and father and daughter must move to another city.
This creates a heartfelt but bittersweet ending for the couple.Who must accept the parting and move on with their lives.
While the script is not top notch,the acting is good.
Benson and O'Connor are the perfect teen actors to play the
parts of the gentle yet troubled lovers and their chemestry on
screen is special.
Very few actors even today have the ability to play gentle
but sad characters.
I first saw this film..when I was the movie critic for my
High School newspaper back in 1973.And I enjoy seing it today as I did
when I first met:"Jeremy"and "Sue"thiry years ago.
If you want a quality teen romantic drama that shows true
love and feelings.Without the use of foul lanuage and violence?
This is a video worth having!
(There is one sex scene in the film.Where Ms.O'Connor and
Mr.Benson are having sex in Mr.Benson's bedroom.While the
scene is done in good taste.It is not a scene to be viewed
by very young children or by those of very strict and con-
trolling moral vaules.)
This scene predates the love making scenes that Ms.Shields
and Mr.Atkins did in"The Blue Lagoon!" by a decade..but I'd rather watch Mr.Benson
and Ms.O'Connor making out..than seeing Ms.Shields and Mr.Atkins
3.0 out of 5 stars
Blue Lagoon is a minor jump into the tropical Pool!, Oct 27 2003
In this remake of the 1949 movie drama.
Ms.Brooke Shields and Mr.Christopher Atkins play two teens.
Who are marooned on a South Sea isle.Who are trying to cope
with their repressed sexual disires and their navie'outlook
The two actors playing their characters of "Em"and "Richard"as two overgrown children.Who play and they are unable to understand
the changes in the world around them
Ms.Shields'character is also having trouble accepting Mr.
Atkins amour for her.And Mr.Atkins wants only to leave the
island and return home to San Fransico,Ca.
When Ms.Shields almost dies from a bite from a rockfish.
Mr.Atkins takes her to a alter,used by some canibals for
their evil rituals and pleads with the lord to save his cousin.
Ms.Shields recovers from the bite and it isn't long.
Before the pair are swimming nude and making out in a quiet,
little cove with unrequited joy.
There is no real plot here and the acting is none exsistent.
The main attraction of "Blue Lagoon" is Mr.Kleiser's filming of
the lush,tropical surroundings of Fiji and the rapport between
Ms.Shields and Mr.Atkins.
"The Blue Lagoon"is good..if you want to see Ms.Shields'
character making love to Mr.Atkins'"Richard" and seeing
these two take a skinny dip either into a tropical pool
or into the waters of The South Seas?
But..if you're looking for a meaningful story?
Believe me..you woint find it here.
(This film also features camo appearances by William Daniels
and The Late Leo McKern..Despite what one reviewer of this VHS
Print of "Blue Lagoon"has stated.Mr.McKern's character of"Paddy
Button"was not the grandfather of the two kids..(Who were not
played by Ms.Shields and Mr.Atkins..they were played by two other actors).Mr.McKen played a gruff but kindhearted galley
who was also stranded with the kids).
2.0 out of 5 stars
L&H Try to fit into this musical comedy.But it's a bad fit!, Oct 19 2003
When Hal Roach began to try and create his own idea of big budget musicals? He felt that L&H should be placed into such a situation worthy of Louis B.Mayer's temple of Hollywood Musicals:MGM.
The boys are sent to The Swiss Alps as unsuccessful moustrap salesmen.Who become involved in the conniving scheams
of a beautiful but wilful actress and singer in"Swiss Miss".
L&H try to provide comedy for this forgetable musical,but the film's plot centers more on the uneven relationship of Pompus stage musical showman and performer:
"Victor Albert"(Walter Wolf King) and his need to create and
produce a swiss opera without his wife "Anna"(Della Lind).
Ms.Lind's:"Anna"is not the type of person to take no
for an answer and she conspires to get a part in her husband's
show.So she eats a big meal,can't pay the bill and she is forced
to work at The hotel as a lowley maid.So her husband can notice her and give a part in his show.
She also plays on Poor Ollie's Southern gentillity and pretends to fall in love with him.Just to get her husband to
She also has him dress her up as a gypsey girl.So that
"Anna"can perform at "The Alpine Fest"as a showcase for her
husband to see.
More and More..L&H are used in this film as comedy relief(Ala Abbott & Costello)to fill in the gaps inbetween
Mr.King's and Ms.Lind's bickering and their songs as well
as the tunes performed by the rest of the cast.Instead of
being given the oppertunity to perform their best bits.
They are some L&H gags that do appear in the film:The
boys trying to sell their collection of Rube Gioldbergish mouse-
traps to a grumpy cheese factory owner and his wife(played by Charlie Judeles..Who would go onto screen imortality two years
later as the voices of "Strombolli"and the fat,sadistic coachman of "Pleasure Island"in Walt Disney's feature length animated version of Carlo L.Collodi's:"Pinocchio!"and perrrenial
Oliver Hardy abusive wife:Daphne Pollard).Where Mr.Judeles buys the boy's worthless gimmicks with a bankroll of equally worthless Bovainian Francs.
The pair also have a frightful but hilarious second encounter with mean ape(Charlie Gamora),as they try to pre-
vent Mr.Gamora's Gorillia character from wreacking Mr.King's
piano and wreacking the rope bridge over the canyon.Which
could the boys and the ape to a deadly fall.
There is even a funny battle of witts between Stan Laurel
and a tough St.Bernard Dog.Whose keg of brandy becomes the target of Mr.Laurel's need for liquid refreshment.
Despite these three funny segments..Laurel & Hardy are
forced to give up their screentime to This moronic romantic/
musical subplot.A sad forshadowing of their even more for-
getable film work at MGM and Fox a decade later.
This is One L&H film not worth having in your video
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Boys Go To Collage and get an unexpected education!, Oct 19 2003
In their next to last:Hal Roach Comedy.Laurel And Hardy spoof the Brittish educational system in a very funny way,
Once again,they're out of work and in need of gainful employment.So they head for an employment agentcy.
While wating to be interviewed by the agentcy's rep(played with some haughty aplomb by Vivian Oakland).Ollie overhears Ms.Oakland's phone conversation with a wealthy dowager:"Mrs.Vanderveer"(Anita Garvin).Who needs a butler and a
maid for an important dinner party that both she and her husband:"Mr.Baldy Vanderveer"(Played by perrenial L&H Villian:Jimmy Finlayson)are giving.
Before you know It?
Stan is once again dressed in drag and Ollie is sporting a beautiful tuxedo.Both of the boys try to do their duties at the dinner party.But they both louse up the proceedings and they're chased out of "Mr.Vanderveer's"home at the point of a
Reduced to working as lowley sidewalk cleaners.They reflect
on their sad situtaion during their lunchbreak.
Stan believes that their lack of success stems from the
fact that the two of them have no real education.
Impressed by his friend's observation.
Ollie decides that they'll both enroll in Night School that evening.
But fate comes into play and the boys inadvertedly foil a
As a reward..the grateful bank president:"Jimmy Finlayson"
(played by character actor:Forbes Murrary)gets them"The best Education that money can buy".He gets them a scholarship at Oxford,University.
Where L&H soon become the unwitting pawns for a group of obnoxious prankters(The leader of the troup is Gerald Rogers..Movie director Charley Rogers' brother and Charlie Hall and A pre-Hammer Horror Films Peter Cushing make the rest of this group of
loveable troublemakers).The boys are manipulated into wandering
aimlessly thru the grass maze,they're frightened by another prankish student(Eddie Borden..best remembered as the foppish nobleman that the boys fleece in"Boheimian Girl"and as one of the "Bogeymen".Who chases L&H into The "Toyland"Toy Factory warehouse in "Babes In Toyland!"/"The March Of The Wooden Soldiers")dressed as a grinning ghost and they're tricked into
taking the Dean's quarters.Which they reduce the room into a shambles and
start a pillow fight with their superior(Played by Wilfred Lucas in his last movie role).
When "Dean Williams"finds out That Student:"Johnson"(Mr.Jerry Rogers)is behind these stupid stunts.
He angrily has "Johnson"and his pals expelled from Oxford and L&H are sent to their proper quarters.
Where L&H's Valet"Meredeth"(Forrester Harvey)mistakes Stan for a missing Honor Student"Lord Paddington".Stan and Ollie
refuses to believe their butler's story about "Lord Paddington".
Until "Johnson"and his pals break into L&H's quarters to beat them up and kick them out of Oxford for Ratting on their
crude pranks to the dean.When Stan tries escape via the window.
The slippery window paine falls on Poor Stan's head and
gets amnesia.Believeing that he is "Lord Paddington"and he routs the bullies and Poor Ollie And the dean too.
While the first segment at "The Vanderveer's"dinner party maybe overdone.It's still a perfect lead into the boy's
heroics in foiling the bank robbery and their trek to Oxford.
The scenes at The Hal Roach Studio's idea of the vernible English Collage is funny and Stan's Transformation
(Via his memory loss)into Oxford most brilliant athlete and
scholar is Laurel's best acting performance.
This film depends more on comic acting and a certain
ammount of farce.But it's still vintage L&H Nevertheless.
4.0 out of 5 stars
Finally Local Kids TV Has A Voice!, Oct 18 2003
Very few tv history books have looked at Local Kids shows as an important part of the genre'.Until now,Birmingham,Al.based kids tv historian:Tim Hollis takes a look at this forgoten aspect of tv history.In his second book:"Hi There!:Boys & Girls!".He covers the history of the many children's programs that have entertained and informed young viewers on many tv stations all over this country.
The book looks at the humble beginngs of kids programs from the latter days of radio.To the period before and following
WWII,when tv broadcasts were limited to the early evening hours.
To the first kids shows that were broadcast during the mid to late 1940's and then into the vintage period of local kids shows:The 1950's into the 1960's.
The story continues into the 1970's.As Mr.Hollis looks at the decline of local kids tv(Which was caused by three factions:The introduction of reruns of cartoons and filmed puppet adventure shows from overseas.Which took over the local
live kids shows timeslots,the complaints from parential pressure
groups and from station execs about certain kids tv comedy performers.Who objected to the humor that these biased censors felt were unacceptable to the young viewers and forced the per-
formers off the air and finally.The ruling by Peggy Charren's ACT and other censor groups to force broadcasters to stop using
their local kids tv hosts/performers from promoting questionable
sponsors on their shows and to create,produce and air educational kids tv shows to the speifications of the tv censors).
Some tv stations were able to weather the storm caused by
Mrs.Charren's ACT and continue to create,produce and air fun kids tv shows:WNEW TV Ch.5 continued to present The Bob McCallister Version of"Wonderama"well into the late 1970's,Chief
Traynor Halftown hosted a Saturday morning version of his popular musical/variety kids show on WFIL TV Ch.6 in Philly,Pa. right up to the end of the 20th century and WGN TV Ch.9 Chicago,
Ill.'s"Bozo Show"remained on the air until the circus closed down for good in the summer of 2001.
The era attempted a comeback in the 1980's with the de-
regulation by The Regan admin.Which allowed Broadcasters to do their own tv shows without any interference from the US Government and from Mrs.Charren.
Some kid tv performers of the past:Chuck McCann,"Casey Jones"(Roger Awsumb) and "Cousin Cliff"Holman were able to make a successful comeback during this time.
While "Hi There!:Boys & Girls"doesn't recall all of the local kids tv shows of the past.It does look back at the programs that were popular with many young people from all over the USA and takes a look at the creation,development and the
successful rapport that these many talented,creative and caring
performers and personalities had with their loyal fans and
The book also has a bibliography ,listing it's research sources(I was one of the contributors of info about The NYC Kids TV Shows)and a collection of rare photos from the many local kids tv shows of the past.
For anyone,who wants to know more about their favorite local kids tv shows and relive the memories of spending time with:"Happy Herb",Carol Corbett,Sally Starr,Johnny Ginger,Chuck McCann,Paul Tripp,Sandy Becker,Cllelan("Axel")Card,"Officer"/"Police Chief Joe"Bolton,Herb Sheldon,"Bozo","Johnny Jellybean"(Bill Britten And Keith Hefner),"Uncle Joe"Bova,"Uncle Al"Lewis,"Skipper Frank"Herman,"Pandora", "Woodrow The Woodsman"(The Late Clay Conroy),"Harlow Hickenlooper"(Hal Fryer),"Chucko The Clown"(Charlie Runyon)"Andy Starr"(Bob Bell),"Skipper Chuck"Zink,"Capt.Jet"(Stan Sawyer,Joe Silver And Dal McKennon),Sonny Fox,"Carmen The Nurse"(Mary Davies),"Captain Allen"Swift,"The Merry Mailman"(Ray Heatherton)"Cousin Cliff"Holman,Soupy Sales,"DJ Kat"and Ray Forrest?
This is the one book to have this Christmas/Hanakah!
4.0 out of 5 stars
Soupy Gives Us His Story with his own warm but crazy Spin!, Oct 14 2003
Here for the first time in print.Soupy Sales gives his fans his life story.As he takes his fans thru his early days in Franklinton,N.C.to his formative years in Huntington,West,Virgina.(The place that he still calls his home town),where he developed his talents as a radio broadcaster and as an entertainer.To his work in Cincinatti and Cleveland ,Ohio.Where he not only continued to work as a radio broadcaster and nightclub performer.But where he was introduced to the medium that would make him famous:Television.The book also looks at the creation of the kidult tv comedy show( on WXYZ TV Ch.7 in Detroit,Mi.,on KABC TV Ch.7 in L.A.,Ca. and on WNEW TV Ch.5 in NYC) for which he is still remembered.That was seen on Network and on local tv and his constant fighting with network and local station execs for creative freedom.Which he eventually lost and he was forced to work in other ventures.
While Soupy's memiors are not written in the tell all vein.He does gives us insight into the development of his many show business ventures and he allows us all to share in the memories of his childhood and his love for his family,his friends,his fans, for his hometowns:Huntington,West, Va. and NYC and for his work.
The book also recalls the recent accident that has impaired his physical stammina but not his ability to perform for his audiences and the love that has been expressed to him
at a recent Birthday Tribute that was held for Sales at The NYC
Frair's Club a few years ago.Where he still was able to maintain
a successful rapport with his fans.
The book also has some rare photos from Soupy's private
collection and a complete videography of his tv work(Which I have complied for the manuscript)that not only looks at his most
famous tv shows:"Lunch With Soupy Sales"/"The Soupy Sales Shows".The Tv Ography also recalled his guest appearances on many tv series and specials and his appearances at NYC's Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parades on NBC TV In the mid 1960's.
If you're looking for a truly enjoyable and informative
autobiography? This is the best gift to have for Christmas and/or Hankakah! BTW:"Soupy Sez!:My Life & Zany Times!" is also
available in both hardcover and in paperback. Kevin S.Butler.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Lenny Maltin Gives us another look at the films of Mr.Disney, Oct 12 2003
In this book about the film and tv work of one of animation history's most famous showmen.Leonard Maltin takes us thru the creation,development and the successes of Mr.Walt Disney and his most famous films and tv series.Using in depth research,interviews with many of Mr.Disney's staffers,cast,crew members,members of his family,friends and fellow film/tv historians.Mr.Maltin takes us thru the creation of "Mickey Mouse","Donald Duck","Snow White","Pinocchio","Peter Pan"and the rest of Mr.Disney's cast of cartoon characters and he shows us the development of his live action films.He also gives us a behind the scenes look at the creation of his tv series:"Disneyland!"/"Walt Disney Presents!"for ABC TV(Which he also served as producer and host/narrator) and why Mr.Disney left ABC TV to create,produce and host one of NBC TV's most popular family anthology shows:"The Wonderful World Of Color".
He also gives some insight into the man's life and his approach to giving joy to others.Maltin also shows us how the studio and theme parks were able to survive following Mr.Disney's untimely death in 1966 and the studio's and theme parks'future under the guidence(or lack of guidence)by Mr.Mike Einser and Mr.Roy Disney Jr.
The book is also filled with beautiful photos and illustrations and a complete listing of the production co.'s films and tv series.
For anyone..who enjoys the work of Walt Disney..or for anyone..who may not be a Disney fan(There are some Disney films:Live Action and Animated that I'm still not crazy about)."The Disney Films"will show you another side to the genius of Walter E.Disney! Bravo Lenny! Kevin S.Butler.
1.0 out of 5 stars
Mr.Lenburg gives us a dismal history of cartoons., Oct 12 2003
In his encyclopedia of animated cartoons.Mr.Jeffrey Lenburg tries to show us all.The history of animated films with text and illustrations that are neither complete or accurate or even interesting.The text has already been used in other books(With more accurate,informative and fun info than what has been presented here),illustrations that have been seen before and are depcited with inaccurate captions that do little to help enchance this book.The listing are incomplete and also untrue.Even the history of who hosted certain cartoons on local and network kids tv shows are inaccuate and insulting to the readers of this book.If you're a fan of inaccuate and ridicules triva? This book is for you.But if you're a true student of animation and kids tv/movie history? Avoid this book at all cost.Kevin S.Butler.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Dont Look And Laugh At This, April 14 2003
Following their successful return to films at Columbia Pictures."The Three Stooges"were invitied to make a sequel to":"Have Rocket Will Travel"but for less monies and they were not to be given any creative control over their next film.Moe nixed the deal and the boys left for 20th Century Fox(To appear in the forgetable:"Snow White & The Three Stooges!")and to create their own studio:Normany Productions with Moe's Son In Law:Norman Maurer as their guiding genius.When Columbia couldn't get the team to make another movie? They simply put together scenes from old "Three Stooges"Shorts from the 1930's and 40's:Starring Moe,Larry & Curly.And they hired Ventriloquist/Entertainer/Cartoon VO performer:Paul Winchell,"The Marquis Chimps"and NYC based Kids tv wraparound host/performer:"Officer Joe"Bolton(At the time that this film went into production."Officer Joe"was still hosting "The Three Stooges'Funhouse!"Weekday evenings on WPIX TV Ch.11 in NYC.The movie wasn't even filmed at Columbia Pix' in Hollywood,Ca.It was filmed at The 20th Century Fox Studios on NYC's Upper West Side.)and the released:"Stop,Look & Laugh!"to the movie going public.Columbia had hoped that "The Stooges'"Fans would love this compilation.But this film is nothing more than a feature film like tv comedy special.With the boys making guest appearances by proxiy.Mr.Winchell's narrations are forgetable to say the least and "The Cinderella"Spoof that features "The Marquis Chimps"(with the voices of the chimps provided by Ms.June Foray)is also a waiste of time and talent.Even "Officer Joe's"cameo in this mess does little to endear this piece of Hollywoodized film comedy fans and Stooge Devoutees.To those fans of "The Three Stooges",Paul Winchell and "Officer Joe"? Please don't wasite your monies and buy this video.It's Not worth the money.Kevin S.Butler.