September 15th, 2005

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Blues Brothers" DVD is the perfect tonic for these days...

Though the 25th anniversary edition of "The Blues
Brothers" was released the day Hurricane Katrina
slammed into the gulf coast, the film is the perfect
tonic for current events. Given the somber opening to the
toe tapping grand finale, "The Blues Brothers" takes
the viewer from sad to glad with musical stops along
the way through Gospel, Rhythm & Blues, Country
Western, Rock n' Roll and Big Band. This double
sided DVD features the original theatrical version and
an extended version of the film. The additional
fifteen minutes includes some ex positional padding and
extended musical performances by John Lee Hooker,
James Brown and the Blues Brothers Band.

Joliet Jake Blues (the late John Belushi) is released
from jail and is greeted by his brother, Elwood Blues
(Dan Aykroyd), a motor head and a fine harp player.
The Blues Brothers learn that their old orphanage is
about to be closed down. During a Baptist Church
Service, Jake receives the Holy Spirit. In order to
save the orphanage, the Blues Brothers recruit their
old band to produce a musical extravaganza and a fund
raiser for the orphans.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies used the same
cornball plot to string their elaborate musical
numbers in the barn. "The Blues Brothers" does the
same thing with the difference involving surrealism
and exaggeration. Between a variety of musical numbers, Director John
Landis stages some of the best car chases ever and includes an elaborate gag
involving a Red Pinto floating in mid air over the
Chicago skyline.

This film revived the careers of James Brown, Cab
Calloway, Aretha Franklin and John Lee Hooker.” The
Blues Brothers" marked John Belushi's last appearance
in a good movie. The majority of the "Blues Brothers"
surviving cast reunited 18 years later in the
underrated "Blues Brothers 2000" which introduced John
Goodman, Joe Morton and J. Evan Bonifant as new
additions to the Blues
Family.

Growing up in Canada, Dan Aykroyd had a love
for American music created in Chicago and Memphis.
With the help of Keyboardist Paul Shaffer, Aykroyd and
Belushi recruited guitarist Steve "the Colonel"
Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Matt "Guitar" Murphy
with a fabulous horn section represented by Sax player
“Blue” Lou Marini, trombonist Tom "Bones" Malone and Frank
Sinatra's trumpeter Mr. Fabulous, Alan Rubin, to
become members of the Blues Brothers Band. While
already backstage legends to the music industry, these
performers earned some spotlight as members of the
Blues Brothers Band.

Profiting from his passion, Aykroyd (along with John's
brother, Jim Belushi) became an investor in the
restaurant chain, "House of Blues," which features
Southern cuisine and live musical entertainment.
http://www.hob.com/ This
chain of 10 restaurants in North America (including
Orlando) house the International House of Blues Foundation (IHOBF)
http://www.ihobf.org/. IHOBF features Blues Ambassador Scholarship and the Blues SchoolHouse
program for area schools. With limited arts funding in education, it is
refreshing to see responsible corporations step up and provide a
venue for such fun activities and growth.

The lesson of the Blues is that everyone faces
tragedy, hopelessness and despair; it is how one
reacts to these challenges that one truly learns to
live life. One can look at the drug induced tragedy of John
Belushi or One can marvel at his playfulness, physical prowess
and vocal characteristics.” The Blues Brothers" features an
infectious enthusiasm of the artists that dares the viewer from
not feel better.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Raider of the Lost Autograph

On October First, 1992, Kirk Douglas was presiding over a book signing in Virginia. I was unemployed at the time and broke, but I attended the book signing. I purchased his autobiography, "The Ragman's Son," the cheap paperback version. When he asked me to whom he should make the inscription out to, I gave him a slip of paper with my last name spelled out. Douglas asked me, "That's Italian?" "Yep, Scilian-Italian, that's why "The Brotherhood" is one of our favorite family films!" Considering that "The Brotherhood" was a movie about the mafia, I thought I was being funny; given that no Costra Nostra Scilian would break omerta or the code of silence. However Douglas rather froze, took my slip of paper, signed my books and sent me on my way.

It was a disappointing experience meeting one of my childhood heroes. On my way home, I was listening to the G.Gordon Liddy radio program and drove by his radio station. I picked up a copy of his paperback autobiography "Will" and waited for the end of his broadcast. Liddy turned out to be one of the most cordial celebrities I had ever met. He grabbed hand and really seemed to take an interest in me and what I had to say. That night I went home and read Liddy's book into the wee small hours in the morning. This little adventure on October First, 1992 made me realize that I enjoy the treasure hunt of an autograph.

During the Summer of 77, I chased Lily Tomlin to a closed liquor store. Tomlin graciously provided this four-eyed 14 year old an autograph. Nowadays celebrity autographs are accessible for a fee, but to me that seems like cheating.

Well, I did cheat, Richard Kiel had published his autobiography "Making it BIG in the Movies." Kiel is a favorite character actor who is most well known for portraying "Jaws" in the James Bond movies. Kiel had suffered an accident which I learned on his website (http://www.richardkiel.com). The 7'2" sized actor had lived an interesting life beyond the movies and is currently writing a biography called "Cassius Clay," which details an alternative perspective on 19th century slavery and the Republican political party. When I read this information on the website and I saw that I could read Kiel's autobiography with a free autographed picture, I could not resist the temptation and ordered his book.

"Surviving Teenage Werewolves, Puppet People and Hollywood" is Kenny Miller's sunny reflections of being a teen idol in the late 1950's. There is humor in Miller's reflections about working with Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles, Michael Landon and entertaining the late Shah of Iran. The son of an Ohioan minister, Kenny Miller takes the high rode in describing the intimate lives of his friends in such a classy and conversational way. Much like the man when you get to meet him in person.

One of my autographed treasures is a little book with very little market value. "Astride the Wind" was a series of poems written before, during and after World War II by the late Thomas Beck. Beck was a contract player under 20th Century Fox and often clashed with his boss, Darryl Zanuck. Nonetheless, Beck continued to work for the studio in four Charlie Chan movies, two Mr. Moto movies and was Pastor Schultz in Shirley Temple's "Heidi." Despite his financial success in theatre, film, advertising and real estate; Beck told me that "Astride the Wind" is the culmination of his life's work. Beck had this book self published and would distribute copies to people he liked for free.

Paul Newman does not give autographs because of a pushy autograph seeker in a restroom and that's understandable. I have seen some celebrities at autograph shows that refuse to talk to their fans until they get paid first. In my humble opinion, those celebrities can keep their signatures. However when I think of the kindness that was extended to me by Lily Tomlin, Thomas Beck, G.Gordon Liddy and Kenny Miller, I treasure the pursuit of a good memory.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Screamfest 2005 countdown: Halloween 2002: Linnea Quigley

Linnea Quigley has been bringing her dog, Doc, to the Deerfield Beach Animal Hospital for his chemotherapy treatment. Doc is the boss and most respected member of Miss Quigley's household of five dogs and two cats. If the other dogs get out of line or misbehave, Doc is the first to referee and provide discipline to the young pups. The young pups should be happy to have a life, much less a home with consistent meals. Linnea Quigley rescued them from animal shelters within hours of being put to sleep.

Linnea's compassion for animals is worthy of Saint Francis of Assisi. Perhaps she feels a debt to a myna bird who helped her break out of her childhood shyness. Maybe it was the heroic identification she felt watching the old black and white television show, "Nyoka, Queen of the Jungle." Linnea has gone as far as providing mouth to mouth rescitation (with a straw) to a lizard found on the bottom of her pool.

Linnea maintains the courage of her convictions when it comes down to animal rights, even to the point of risking her career as a film actress in Hollywood, California. Approximately 15 years ago, Director James Cameron produced his only financial flop thus far, "The Abyss." When she found out that the rats used for the production were dying, Linnea released this information to the Humane Society and to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). While Cameron went on to produce the biggest box office success of all time with "Titanic'" he has yet to have make a film in five years, Linnea has been involved in over 20 movies since 1997.

She landed a role in Richard Gere's breakthrough movie "American Gigolo'" but the scene ended up being cut due to budgetary constraints. "Graduation Day" landed Linnea a role she would play for a couple of years, that of a frequently naked high school girl who dies in an outrageously violent manner. The most outrageous doom Linnea faced in the movies seems to have been in "Silent Night, Deadly Night." Linnea's character is chased up the stairs by a Santa Claus stalker carrying a saw. She becomes impaled on the antlers of a stuffed deer. As if the scene wasn't abhorrent enough given her animal rights sensitivies, Linnea was topless during the dead of a Utah winter. "Silent Night, Deadly Night" became notorious during the mid eighties as a film that went too far and was a frequent target for politicians and talk shows.

Recently released on DVD, "The Return of the Living Dead" is Linnea's best movie thus far. With tongue-in-cheek humor, a reverence to Eerie comics and a logical progression of doom, Director Dan O'Bannon created a B-movie masterpiece. Linnea portrays Trash, a punk rocker who likes to perform a striptease on tombstones. Trash's tough girl persona melts during an acid rainstorm that revives the Living Dead. The Living Dead attack Trash and turn her into a Zuperzombie. Trash's resurection is mythical, it echoes Botticelli's famous Renaisance painting, "Venus of on the Half Shell." Unfortuantely Linnea's experience wasn't so glamorous, instead of risiing from the foam of the sea, Trash rose from the mud of a studio graveyard. During her zombie attack, some of the actors became overzealous and pawed the naked actress. After Trash becomes a Superzombie, Linnea was forced to wear two claustophobic kabuki masks, one mask for the stalking scenes and one mask for the eating scenes. Despite her post production exhaustion and strep throat, "The Return of the Living Dead" is the film Linnea loves best. On the DVD audio commentary, Dan O'Bannon mentions his admiration Linnea's professionalism The film also cemented her friendship with character actor Don Calfa, a man she has costarred with in several movies. "The Return of the Living Dead'" was Linnea's breakthrough role in B Movie productions.

She got larger roles and began to keep her clothes on longer. In "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama" Linnea portrayed the heroine who defeats a villianous wisecracking imp. The film marks the first time Linnea got injured during filming of a routine fight scene. "Sorority Babes" features the first onscreen teaming with her onscreen rival, and off screen friend, Brinke Stevens. The two rivals made a string of movies together including "Nightmare Sisters" and the soon to be released, "Corpses are Forever." Linnea earned two cameo roles in mainstream motion pictures. In "Nightmare on Elm Street Part IV" , Linnea portrayed a lost soul who escapes from Freddy Krueger's chest. The scene was often repeated in stock footage for future sequels. While she appeals nude, Linnea actually wore a costumed unitard. During this production, Linnea was given an engagement ring from Steve Johnson, her future ex husband. Linnea nursed comedian Don Rickles with disastrous results in "Innocent Blood," a Mafia influenced vampire movie which features a cameo by Deerfield's own Teri Weigler. Linnea admitted being intimidated by Director John Landis. Previously Landis had fired a started pistol to create a reaction from a group of lethartic extras. Landis was not in a good mood when Linnea had to perform her big scream scene. Linnea was so over the top that Landis whispered to an assistant; "Is she like doing that for real? Is she seriously acting?" The Rickles and Quigley scene provides "Innocent Blood" a much needed balance between the comic and the horrific.

For the last ten years, Linnea has performed in over thirty motion pictures, mostly direct to video productions with outrageous titles. She was a frequent guest on cable television scarey spoofs and she has been a popular fixture at conventions. She has been producing a documentary about her fans and how they have changed over the years. She hopes to wrap up this documentary in December. Linnea is preparing for the transition from Scream Queen to character actress. She recently returned from Kansas where she filmed two productions. One role was written for a male, but the director rewrote the part so Linnea could portray the bartender.

Barbara Stanwyck had a reputation for friendliness, professionalism and committment to the craft. Linnea Quigley belongs in the same category. During the shooting of "Corpses are Forever," the film ran into budgetary problems. Even though her scenes were completed, Linnea agreed to wear the sticky make-up required for the rewritten climax. According to Director Jose Prendes:

"She is as helpful and sweet as an actress can be, no one is more helpful or accommodating. She was willing to be coated in thick karo syrup blood for ten hours and never complained or rushed us.".

Two years ago, Linnea Quigley became one of our South Florida neighbors. Like so many of us, she's a transplant with retired parents living in the same state. She's found a home in South Florida and it should be interesting what she'll create for our local film industry. http://www.linneaquigleycircle.com/index2.html