Confessions of a TV Addict #5: Aaron Ruben, Man Behind the Laughter


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So what could a Jewish kid from Chicago possibly know about life among rural Southerners or the black experience in Watts? Probably not a whole heck of a lot, but if that kid’s name is Aaron Ruben, there’s one thing he  does know – funny! For Aaron Ruben was the producer/writer behind such classic sitcoms as THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and SANFORD AND SON, who used his comedic talents behind the scenes keep America laughing while glued to the boob tube for over forty years!

Milton Berle in his radio days

Ruben was born on Chicago’s West Side in 1914, and after service in WWII began his show biz career writing for comic Wally Brown on Dinah Shore’s radio show. He was soon hired by Burns & Allen for their program, and then wrote for Milton Berle alongside Nat Hiken, who would play an important role in Ruben’s later career…

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Halloween TV Havoc!: Richard Pryor Meets The Exorcist on SNL!


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Back when SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE was actually funny, guest host Richard Pryor (making his first and only appearance on the show) starred in an EXORCIST parody called THE EXORCIST 2, which is no relation to the later film (and much better!). Pryor and Thalmus Rasulala (BLACULA ) play two priests battling Satan for a little girl’s soul, with Laraine Newman in the Linda Blair role. Enjoy this priceless Halloween spoof from 1975:

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Turning Back the Cuckoo Clock with Wheeler & Woosley in THE CUCKOOS (RKO 1930)


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We last left the wacky world of Wheeler & Woolsey with a look at the looney HOLD ‘EM JAIL . Today we delve deeper into comedy’s film vault with their 1930 effort THE CUCKOOS, based on the hit Broadway musical by Guy Bolton, Bert Kalmar, and Harry Ruby. The play featured the team of Clark & McCullough, who are even more obscure than W&W to most film fans (they appeared in a series of shorts from 1928-35), but RKO (after the success of 1929’s RIO RITA) put W&W into the film version, hoping the team’s antics would click with Depression Era audiences.

And click they did, leading to an RKO contract and nineteen more features! THE CUCKOOS’ plot concerns romantic entaglements at a plush hotel, with  heiress Ruth (June Clyde) in love with pilot Billy (Hugh Trevor), but pushed toward the oily Baron de Camp (Ivan Lebedeff ) by her…

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Free Movies for all!


Going to try something new and if this catches on I’ll keep it going with them.

A list of movies that you can stream absolutely free, no logins, no subscriptions, no add-ons, no payments, just free movies*.  I’m thinking 4-5 movies per weekend spaced across several genres of movies; Comedy, Drama, Family/Kid-friendly,  Horror, Sci-Fi, and Romance.

Okay, cool, you get the idea! So here we go!

Drama:

Ali:

Amazing performance by Will Smith portraying the G.O.A.T. Muhammad Ali. From Academy award nominated director Michael Mann and co-staring Jon Voight, Ali is a gripping story into his life

Ali is free on Crackle

Ali trailer is here:

 

Comedy:

Woke Up Dead:

Starting out as a web series, Woke Up Dead was turned into a full length feature film. Starring Jon Heder and Krysten Ritter.

A young man who awakes in a full bathtub after ‘drowning’ and has no heartbeat, prompting his friends to believe him to be a zombie.

More in the, um, vein, (sorry for the pun) of comedy-horror, still a funny movie.

Woke Up Dead is also available for free on Crackle

And you can watch the trailer here:

 

Family Movie:

All Dogs Go To Heaven

A-sit-around-the-TV family friendly movie, All Dogs go to Heaven is a song filled story of laughs,tears and true love! Burt Reynolds, Dom Delouise and Lonnie Anderson star in this classic!

All Dogs Go to Heaven is available on TubiTV for free!

And you can see the trailer here:

 

Horror:

Puzzlehead:

For you horror fiends, this movie really twisted me. It’s very post-apocalyptic, Frankenstein-ish twist, with all the suspense and gore you want.  (what is it like to be dead)

Puzzlehead is on MidnightPulp for free.

and you can see the trailer here:

 

There it is y’all, four free movies you can stream this weekend across various genres!

 

If you like the idea of what I am trying to do, please comment, RT or Like!

 

*Can’t say there won’t be commercials in these movies, likely they are, but that is just time for bathroom breaks!

 

 

 

 

Quirky Jerky: Jerry Lewis in THE BELLBOY (Paramount 1960)


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The late, great Jerry Lewis was not just a funny man, he was an innovative filmmaker whose talents behind the cameras matched his onscreen antics. Paramount Pictures gave him carte blanche on THE BELLBOY, his first film as producer/director/writer/star, a film with “no story, no plot, just a series of silly sequences” following the misadventures of Stanley, the world’s most inept bellboy. To the best of my knowledge it is the first of its kind… even W.C. Fields’ bizarre NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK and Olsen & Johnson’s wacky HELLZAPOPPIN’ had some semblance of loose plot foisted on them by nervous studio execs!

Lewis was doing his nightclub act at Miami’s Fontainebleu Hotel at the time, and already had CINDERFELLA in the can. Paramount wanted a summer release, but Lewis thought the film would do better in the Christmas season, so he concocted this loose, madcap romp done…

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Pre Code Confidential #14: THE HALF-NAKED TRUTH (RKO 1932)


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Director Gregory LaCava is remembered today mainly for a pair of bona fide classics: MY MAN GODFREY and STAGE DOOR. LaCava, who started his career in early silent animation, was also responsible for THE HALF-NAKED TRUTH, a Pre-Code screwball comedy begging to be rediscovered. It’s a crazy, innovative, pedal-to-the-metal farce headlined by fast-talking Lee Tracy and “Mexican Spitfire” Lupe Velez as a pair of carny con artists who work their way up to The Great White Way in grand comic style.

Tracy does his rapid-fire spieling schtick as a carnival barker promoting hot-tempered tamale Lupe, a hootchie dancer who spends most of the movie wearing next to nothing. Together with pal Eugene Pallette , they leave the carny life behind (with the law on their tails!) and head for Broadway, where Lee promises Lupe he’ll make her a star. The trio pawn Lupe off as Turkish Princess Exotica (with Tracy pawning off an unwitting…

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The Day the Clowns All Cried: RIP Jerry Lewis


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Jerry Lewis is an acquired taste for many. His unique comic persona isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, especially among the highbrow set (except in France, where for decades he’s been hailed as a genius). He was zany, manic, childlike, and the last of the great slapstick comedians, his career spanning over eighty years. He was a comic, writer, director, actor, singer, businessman, innovator, and philanthropist. Jerry Lewis is a true American icon, and the embodiment of the American  dream.

Joseph Levitch was one of those “born in a trunk” kids referenced in many a classic movie. His father was a vaudevillean, his mom a piano player, and by the time he was five Lewis was appearing with his parents onstage at Catskill Mountain resorts. A high school dropout, Lewis did what was known as a “record act” as a teen, where he’d lipsynch popular tunes of the day with comic results. During…

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