An Interview with Tim Lapetino

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Tim Lapetino, author of The Art of Atari decided to return the 456 calls we made to his office and finally agreed to come onto our podcast if we would stop bothering him….and it worked!  Mark and Tim discuss collections, inspirations for the book and in general just have an cool and relaxed conversation about America’s favorite gaming company, ATARI!

http://www.artofatari.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Atari-Tim-Lapetino/dp/1524101036

I recommend each and every one of you go buy The Art of Atari – the book is a remarkable collection of Atari memories and the price is amazing!

I would like to thank the one and the only Weird Paul Petroskey for letting me use his “Don’t Break my Atari” song which is another favorite of mine.  You should really check out Weird Paul on Youtube – he is, after all, the FIRST Video Blogger (going back to the 1980’s!)

https://www.youtube.com/user/weirdpaulp

Psycho II (1983)

Season 3 – Episode 12
ep36

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Yeah, yeah, we know, we get it, we understand,

Hitchcock/PSYCHO, Hitchcock= PSYCHO, Hitchcock is PSYCHO, even more than Tony Perkins’ Norman Bates.

Fuck Hitchcock. Forget Hitchcock. It’s old, he’s old, you’re a poseur to talk Hitchcock, Hitchock this, Hitchcock that.  Dude, whatever.

I’m more impressed if you champion the lesser-known, the hardly-known-at-all things: Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, Vietnamese iced coffee over anything at Starbucks, xerox printed fanzines from the late 1980s / early ’90s over digital musings of the faceless internet, Spider-Man as drawn by artist Ross Andru throughout the 1970s over Spider-Man as drawn by artist Steve Ditko in the 1960s, PSYCHO II over PSYCHO.

I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have watched the original PSYCHO but PSYCHO II, on the other hand, is, like, well, double digits. Lots of double digits. #polydactylism

This is one of the greatest sequels ever made, its ROAD WARRIOR great, 1978’s DAWN OF THE DEAD great (I hate how I actually have to qualify which one I mean because of the abominable remakes/reboots/reruns that are a daily part of our lives nowadays, already deadened by rampant shootings and Donald-Trump-for-president-for-real), STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN ferchrissakes.

This week, VHS Rewind hosts Chris and Mark will have you doubting your sanity with their black-is-white, white-is-black, through-the-looking-glass, PSYCHO II-over-the-original-PSYCHO babble.

– Christopher

CBS Fall Preview (2015)

Season 3 – Episode 9
ep33

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2015 ABC Fall Preview

Mark and Christopher discuss the new shows that are the focus of
the ABC television lineup for the 2015 season!

 

VINTAGE CABLE BOX: “American Pop”, 1981

cable-box-001-2696“A stripper gettin’ dressed ain’t beautiful unless she’s ugly to begin with.”

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“American Pop”, 1981 (Ron Thompson), Columbia Pictures

“American Pop” is a song with a simple rhyme; the condensed history of recorded music from big-band to punk, where the journey begins over a hundred years ago with Russian émigrés traveling to the United States to escape Cossack persecution. The descendants of an extended family fight in wars and face episodes of tragedy while trying to realize their musical aspirations. The story settles with young Tony, a Long Island punk who writes songs by night, washes dishes by day, all the while fighting an increasing dependency on heroin.

Tony reunites with his long-lost son, Pete, who also shares an interest in music. Together they deal drugs to high-profile musicians. Tony’s addictions grow worse and he sells his musical instruments in order to pay for more drugs. He abandons Pete after taking all their money. Pete, obviously learning from his family’s missteps in life in pursuit of their own musical dreams, is hired on-the-spot by a musical group whom are stunned by his talent.

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This was the nadir of adult animated features, and because of rights issues with the music used in the soundtrack, a forthcoming video release was blocked until 1995. The same problems arose with a pending video release for “Heavy Metal”, another cult favorite. Animated adult movies are not produced anymore. The market is now consistently geared for children.

“American Pop” is an incredible movie to behold; predating “A Scanner Darkly” by 25 years, this mixed media marvel uses rotoscoping to create realistic movements in astonishing dance and music sequences (which recall classic Disney), and the result is tremendously rewarding. Ralph Bakshi, most notably, directed the first X-rated cartoon, “Fritz The Cat”, as well as a popular adaptation of “Lord Of The Rings”, and later, “Cool World”. “American Pop” serves to remind the audience that talent and dreams are not enough to succeed in this increasingly cold world. Sometimes all we need is a little luck.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.

Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties. You can hear my podcast at Misadventures In BlissVille and you can visit my Facebook group page.

“Vintage Cable Box” artwork by Bronwyn Knox.

Vintage Cable Box: “Easy Money”, 1983

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“Work banishes those three great evils. Boredom, vice and poverty.”

An eleven-year-old in the year of Our Lord, 1984. Hankins Drive in Lebanon, Tennessee. It was our first cable box. At first glance, a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.

easy-money-movie-poster-1983-1020232411

Easy Money, 1983 (Rodney Dangerfield), Orion

The resurgence of the classic screwball comedy started with “Arthur”, continued with “Easy Money” and “Trading Places”, and ended with “Brewster’s Millions”. The ne’er-do-well gets a shot at untold riches, ludicrous amounts of money, power, and respect but only if he or she can turn their life around. “Easy Money” follows the “Arthur” paradigm except that Rodney Dangerfield’s character already has a pretty awesome life. He smokes weed, he gambles, he drinks, he eats unhealthy food, he tosses money at big-breasted strippers, he bowls, he has fun. Yet, he’s happily married. His daughter is getting married, and he runs a business taking baby pictures.

Typical of this narrative, his mother-in-law hates him. There is a definite ethnic vibe running through the familial hostility. Uptight Irish in-law hates stereotypical Italian. When she drops dead, her executor makes note of a clause in her will which stipulates Rodney (or his family) doesn’t get a dime unless he changes his “evil” ways. Something on the order of $10,000,000! Where did this lady get that much green? So the movie spends some time showing Rodney getting increasingly frustrated as he tries to live a life of restraint (i.e. no fun) or else he won’t get the cash.

Rodney Dangerfield’s particular brand of humor, from “Caddyshack” on, bordered between obnoxious and likable, a happy schlub who carried a wild party in his back pocket everywhere he went. Considering his Al Czervik character in “Caddyshack” is another nouveau-riche elemental force and an annoyance to the uptight members of the country club, “Easy Money” could very well be a prequel. 1986’s “Back To School” could also fit into a trilogy of this character’s story.

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Post “Raging Bull”, pre-“Goodfellas” Joe Pesci plays Dangerfield’s best friend, Nicky. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Dangerfield’s daughter, who is about to marry the sexually-ambiguous Taylor Negron. The director, James Signorelli, a frequent Dangerfield collaborator, produced over 400 films for Saturday Night Live. This is classic Dangerfield; a fun, sexy movie filled with large-breasted women (is it me or were breasts much bigger in the 80s?). Billy Joel performed the catchy title theme.

Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties. You can hear my podcast at Misadventures In BlissVille and you can visit my Facebook group page.

“Vintage Cable Box” artwork by Bronwyn Knox.