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Staring at the Sunn
Aliens, mountain men, and Jesus were the stars of the day for Sunn Classic Pictures. Throughout the 1970s, Sunn Classic proved to be a highly successful independent movie studio, cranking out pseudo-documentaries and G rated nature themed movies like it was going out of style. They used unique methods to get their ideas and to get their movies out to the public. The Industry takes a look at the history of the company that specialized in inventing history.
Mr. Dugan Doesn't Go To Washington
Mister Dugan had the potential to be a hit show. It was a topical series about a recently elected idealistic black congressman who gets elected and has to contend with his less than helpful staff. Norman Lear was producing, Cleavon Little was the star. However, just days before it was to air on CBS in 1979 Lear himself pulled the show from the schedule. What went wrong? We take a look at the troubled production that started when Lear's hit series Maude ended.
Bonus Episode: Waiting For Hoffman
In this bonus episode we take a look at how in the 1980s Cannon Films signed a major star to the biggest deal in entertainment history and still didn't get the movie made. LaBrava was to be an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard (Justified, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown) novel and a signal that Cannon had moved into the big leagues. Instead Cannon's own excitement over the project became it's biggest problem.
The Legend of Supertrain
The fall season for NBC in the 1978-79 season was a disaster. It was such a wreck that virtually of their fall debuts were gone by the time January rolled around. However, hope was on the horizon. For the last place network, they had an ace up their sleeve that they could not wait to play. That ace was called Supertrain, a super expensive, super marketed, super show that couldn't miss. Until it did. The failure of Supertrain is of legendaryproportions. A failure that all other giant...
Cliff Robertson Will Not Be Silenced
In 1977 actor Cliff Robertson received a notice in the mail saying he owed taxes a $10,000 payment he received from Columbia Pictures. The only problem was he hadn't worked for Columbia Pictures in the previous year. What followed uncovered embezzlement, a corporate power struggle, and the blackballing of the man who started it all and would not stop talking about it.
Director William Richert had a dream set up for his first feature film. It was based on a new popular novel from the author of The Manchurian Candidate, he had a hot leading leading man in Jeff Bridges, and he had an all-star supporting cast made of up Oscar winners, legendary character actors, and one bonafide member of Hollywood royalty. What could go wrong? As it turns out, everything! William Richert helps tell this story that involves shotguns, drug dealers, and a repossessed mink coat.
After earning massive success in the early 1970's with the movies The French Connection and The Exorcist, William Friedkin could call his own shots. For his next movie he decided on a remake of the 1953 French thriller The Wages of Fear. What started out as a small budgeted movie turned ballooned into a never ending production with casting issues, unwelcoming locals, and uncooperative rivers. Toby Roan of the Sorcerer Blog helps explain the mystique of this movie, which Friedkin considers...
Lambada vs The Forbidden Dance
When Menahem Golan left Cannon Films for 21st Century Pictures, he brought with him a grudge that would propel both companies into direct competition over the Brazilian dance craze, the lambada. From this sprang a crazy race to the theaters between competing lambada movies. J. Eddie Peck, star of Lambada (for Cannon Films) and Greydon Clark, director of The Forbidden Dance (for 21st Century Pictures) help tell the true story of this cinematic grudge match. Get Greydon Clark's autobiography...
The Rural Purge
The Rural Purge is legend of television history. A landmark time and a watershed moment when TV decided to leave behind the down home fun and wholesomeness of shows like Mayberry RFD, Green Aces, and The Beverly Hillbillies for urban skewing shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But what was it that prompted mass cancellations and started a television revolution? In this episode we explore the history of The Rural Purge with author Telly Davidson. Telly Davidson's...