MY TOP 10 FAVORITE TIME MACHINES

This piece was originally published March 29th, 2010.

Morlock Post IconTime travel is something that has fascinated, charmed and bewildered humans for centuries.

Who among us has not pondered the thought of traveling back and forth via “the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past”?

To celebrate the latest film offering which features a uniquely entertaining method of time travel, I decided to list my Top 10 fave Time Machines.

I have decided to only list those films and television shows where an actual device that you must either get into, sit on, or otherwise operate as a big machine, is used for the time travel. So no funky wristwatches, drug induced methods, or mind manipulation will be mentioned this time around…

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MY TOP 13 BRADY BUNCH OBSESSIONS

This piece was originally published February 15th, 2010.

Johnny Bravo IconHere at Mystery Box H.Q. we spent a couple of months watching the entire run— all five seasons, 117 episodes— of The Brady Bunch.

As I have mentioned before, there is no other more enjoyable way for me to watch a television series and appreciate all the continuity, or lack of continuity, the scripting, progression of an actor’s character development and seeing just how a show is brought to a final ending, or if it just hangs there forever in limbo without any closure.

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Robert Jaz’s Disoriented Guide to Super Bowl XLIV

This piece was originally published February 1st, 2010.

Larry Fine Football IconThe Super Bowl.

You’re reading those words and doubtlessly experience an instantaneous reaction to them.

In an era of total media saturation and immersion in the commercial build-up that proceeds it, a fairly difficult task is to not be bombarded by a mention of this grand American institution somewhere along your daily travels.

This Sunday is Super Bowl XLIV (that’s number 44 which means next year will be the really grand one with Super Bowl XLV, until we get to really really grand one which I guess they need to call Super Bowl L !? if they stay with the Roman style of numbering them. then again maybe they will go with XXXXX or maybe they will move to Sanscrit numbers because they look better).

 

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Hey Arnold Stang!

This piece was originally published January 25th, 2010.

Arnold Stang IconIf ever there was a legend worthy of writing about here at The Mystery Box, then Arnold Stang is one of those legends.

On December 20th, 2009 Arnold Stang left the world for that great comedy club in the sky.

I grew up with such admiration for Stang that I felt the indebted to include Arnold Stang, the 2nd selection for this installment of a regular Mystery Box feature called Great Comedians Of The Past.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you:

GREAT COMEDIANS OF THE PAST #2: ARNOLD STANG

Arnold Stang migrated from his 1918 birthplace of Chelsea, MA to Brooklyn and grew up as as a young kid chasing showbiz, stardom and everything else that a lifestyle in the big city could offer him. He was savvy from the get go, winning an audition for a children’s radio show at the age of nine.

Unlike say, the naive child actors who would become the Brady Bunch kids, Stang had drive, focus and adult ambition.

 

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FRANK NELSON: Comedy’s Original Yeeeesssss Man

This piece was originally published October 5th, 2009

Harpo IconWelcome to a new column feature that I will be often revisiting here at The Mystery BoxGreat Comedians Of The Past.

With this feature, I look forward to paying tribute to the many wonderful actors and actresses of comedy who have helped me to laugh throughout my life, with the hopes that you may find a particular one that you may have not known of before and will add to your own list of favorites.

Warning: Obscure and yet, not so obscure, comedic character actor alert!
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SEINFELD: My 13 Favorite Episodes

This piece was originally published August 3rd, 2009 The Secret Word IconThere is nothing like a viewing a great, multi seasoned television series by having it all compiled into one big box set. It becomes my favorite way to view the entire series, chronologically, with an episode or three every night until I make my way through the whole thing. For such an incredible show as Seinfeld, I passed on purchasing the single season sets, knowing that at some point all 180 episodes would be available as one huge boxed collection. Little did I know that a couple of years ago, not only would this box finally come out, but I could purchase an exclusive version that included a fun refrigerator sleeve wrapped around the box, goofy magnets of show related items as “The Fusilli Jerry,” and a beautiful hardbound tribute book. It took awhile to crack the set open, at least a year, knowing the magnitude that getting through nine seasons would involve, but finally, last Fall and into Winter, I watched each and every episode. From the pilot of July 5, 1989 “The Seinfeld Chronicles” all the way to 179/180 May 14, 1998’s “The Finale.” For anyone who is already a Seinfeld fan, has never seen the show, or for anyone that has seen a few episodes out of order and wishes they could enjoy it more than they have, well…this is really the way Seinfeld should be appreciated.

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Forgotten TV: JOHNNY STACCATO’S Cool Jazz Noir

This piece was originally published June 29th, 2009

1947 Philco IconFor one season, from 1959 through 1960 on NBC, one of the cooler television series of the era (and there were quite a few) aired.

That show was Johnny Staccato.

Johnny Staccato starred none other than the prolific actor, screen writer, and director John Cassavetes who could play cool because he was actually…

pretty freakin’ cool.

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A Tribute to Allan Melvin: Character Actor Extraordinaire and the Voices of Magilla Gorilla and a Banana Split!

This piece was originally published on May 25th, 2009

Greg Brady IconOn January 17th of 2008, Allan Melvin passed away and television lost one of the great and perhaps more unsung character actors to ever traverse the world of sitcoms, animation and commercials; he was always working, always memorable.

Who else could have a list of credits that includes boyfriend to the Brady Bunch’s housekeeper, best pal to both Sgt. Bilko and Archie Bunker, and the voices of none other than a Banana Split and that very large Gorilla for sale in the window ?

Lately, here at Mystery Box Manor, we’ve been watching episodes of The Brady Bunch on DVD. A big green fuzzy shag rug of a box set for the entire series run. These days this is my preferred way of viewing any television show—chronologically, in back to back chunks—which is made easier now that more and more entire shows are available in this way.

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TREK WEEK: 13 Things I Obsessed About On Star Trek, The Original Series a.k.a. Just Where Are the Bathrooms On the Starship Enterprise?

This piece was originally published May 4th, 2009

Vulcan Man IconAh, classic 1966 Star Trek. We know it all too well: William Shatner’s inimitable Captain James T. Kirk; Leonard Nimoy’s half Vulcan, half human Mr. Spock; and Sulu. Not to mention, an immeasurable amount of fodder for discussion, trivia, merchandising and collectibles.

1966 Star Trek, in its endless cycle of syndicated reruns during my teenage years, was my very first foray into any type of a full blown obsessive, deep fan-trance, geeked out, collector type mentality.

Call it the beginning of my lovable/sick desire to collect memorabilia, toys, books and to actually go beyond that of merely absorbing something as just entertainment.

Sure, I had other loves before and spent any money I had on courting them as well. There was James Bond and all things spy; monster movies; music; models; MAD magazine and comic books (I was a proud member of Marvel’s FOOM); Saturday morning animation, and other groovy syndicated tv shows like Batman (Adam West),The Green Hornet, The Munsters and The Addams Family. Yet, Star Trek is where my young brain skipped a therapy session and decided to dive into things. I needed the toys, the books and devoted my pondering thoughts to all things Star Trek in a way that I not yet experienced.

Where no “I” had ever gone before.

Now, a small sampling of these as I list 13 things about Star Trek: The Original Series that I heavily obsessed about. In no particular order of importance, as they were all important…

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The Great Horror Family: Yet another wacky tv horror sitcom (!?) and one you may have missed…

This piece was originally published March 23rd, 2009 Onibaba IconThere have been plenty of horror and supernatural television series that have had a great deal of wit and/or a tongue in cheek aspect to them (think The Night Stalker and its offspring, The X-Files) but an all out goofy, slapstick filled, bloody horror / monster sitcom? You can pretty much count the television sitcoms that could be listed under “horror” on one hand. In the sixties, when television genres really started to loosen up and take chances begetting successful shows involving witches, genies, spies and animated cavemen or flying squirrels, you had two of the best loved—and primarily the only ones most people can think of as straight up horror comedies: The Munsters and The Addams Family. Both of these classic shows exemplified the love and obsession with monsters that had viewers flocking to cinemas and drive-ins throughout the ’50s and ’60s and reading magazines such as the ones that help spawn the love, Famous Monsters of Filmland or the omnipresent kid staple, MAD. For awhile it was monsters, monsters and more monsters—at least until the mid sixties James Bond spy craze took over and everyone needed a briefcase that contained a pop out throwing dagger.

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