A Few Words About Gary Kurtz

cracked rear viewer

The name Gary Kurtz isn’t well known except among STAR WARS fans. Along with his partner George Lucas, Kurtz produced the first two films in the original trilogy, and had a lot to do with the franchise’s early success. Gary Kurtz passed away yesterday at age 78 of cancer, and as I looked back on his filmography, I found he was much more than just the “Star Wars” guy.

Monte Hellman’s “Ride in the Whirlwind” (1965)

Gary Kurtz, like many young tyros back in the 1960’s, was a graduate of what’s known as the Roger Corman School of Filmmaking. Getting his start as an assistant director on Monte Hellman’s 1965 Western RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND, cowritten by and co-starring another Corman alum, Jack Nicholson , Kurtz worked in various capacities on such Corman-related films as VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN (production manager), BEACH BALL (camera operator, assistant director…

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Artist Profile: H.R. Van Dongen (1920 — 2010)

Get ready for an alien invasion with these covers from artist H.R. Van Dongen.  Born in New York and trained in commercial art at the Mechanics Institute, Van Dongen served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and spent eleven months in a German POW camp.  After being liberated in 1945, Van Dongen returned to the United States and launched a prolific career as an illustrator.  Though he did covers for all genres, Van Dongen is best remembered for his science fiction covers.  Here are just a few of them:

Music Video of the Day: Our House by Madness (1982, directed by Dave Robinson)

There are many houses featured in the music video for Madness’s Our House.  While the song is about the day-to-day life of the British working class, the video still offers up glimpses of the Playboy Mansion and Buckingham Palace.  However, most of the video was filmed at a terrace house in northwest London.

This song is often mistakenly referred to as being a one-hit wonder.  While it may be the band’s best-known and most popular song in the United States, it’s just one of the many hits that Madness had in the UK.  First formed in 1976 and still together (though they did temporarily break-up for 6 years, from 1986 to 1992), Madness has had 15 singles reach the UK top ten, one UK number one single, and two numbers ones in Ireland.  Over the course of the 80s, Madness spent a record 214 weeks on the UK singles charts.

This video was directed by David Robinson, who directed several other videos for Madness.  He also directed videos for Robert Plant, The Belle Stars, Robert Palmer, and Tracey Ullman.