Classic Movies · Television

“Madness! Madness!”


I know many of you are too polite to come right out and say this so it’s a good thing I have the power to read minds (also to cloud them, so that you can’t see me) because I keep hearing a chorus of “When is Mayberry Mondays coming back to the blog?” out in the blogosphere.  (Then again, judging from some of the comments made by people here in the past, it’s likely that you’re hoping it never returns with all the fervor of praying that school has been cancelled due to snow.)

Anthony Zerbe, Arch Johnson, and Roscoe Lee Browne in The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970)

My first inclination was to say: “Hey, if I have to wait until Thursday for new episodes of Community30 RockThe Office, and Parks and Recreation the least you can do is cut me some slack” but the truth of the matter is I had every intention of having one done today…and then I sort of got sidetracked yesterday with other projects.  And by that I mean I put off finishing my entry for the CMBA Hitchcock Blogathon till the very last minute…and upon completing that, getting distracted by TCM’s showing of The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) last night—an interesting and amazingly underrated indictment on racial prejudice featuring some true TDOY acting faves like Lee J. Cobb, Roscoe Lee Browne (one of the classiest of all character actors—he literally had no peer), Anthony Zerbe, and Yaphet Kotto; there were also sit-up-and-take-notice turns from the likes of Lola Falana, Fayard Nicholas, Arch Johnson, Dub Taylor, and Brenda Sykes (okay, Brenda mostly just danced in a sexy fashion but you’re really not in any position to judge me).  I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but I always forget that Jones was director Willie Wyler’s swan song (for some odd reason I always think Funny Girl [1968] was).

So my solemn vow is that Mayberry Mondays will return next week in its regular time slot.  And if it doesn’t…well, I don’t know what kind of recourse you have or legal remedy you can seek but I promise that my ear will be sympathetic.

Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz in Southland

But back to the subject of this post: this Wednesday on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!) classic movie oracle Bobby Osbo will be letting actor Ben McKenzie play Guest Programmer and if you’re anything like me your first question was probably “Who is Ben McKenzie and what does he do when he’s not tending bar?”  The answer is that he was one of the stars of the popular TV series The O.C. (he now has a gig on TNT’s Southland), a show that I must reluctantly admit I have no familiarity with simply because I am not in any way hip and attuned to the viewing habits of younger folk.  I don’t know Ben but from the movies he’s chosen he seems like a good Joe (he’s got Duck Soup in the lineup; that should count for something) and the last feature of the evening (scheduled at 2am, so I’m sure every night auditor in this country has it on their viewing schedule) is the 1957 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Columbia Home Video recently released a Collector’s Edition of Kwai to Blu-Ray last year that includes a very impressive fistful of extras including a 32-page “Onset and Behind the Scenes” photography souvenir book and twelve replica theatrical lobby cards—plus, the collection also contains a DVD copy of the film in case you’ve not made the investment in a Blu-Ray player yet.  My mother offered to give me one as a Christmas present but because I’m still using one of the old-fashioned gasoline powered TV sets I was a bit hesitant to pony up the wherewithal for one, particularly since the Blu-Ray players apparently are designed to work in tandem with HD TV sets.  In fact, I so agonized over the decision to Blu-Ray or not to Blu-Ray that I asked my good friend and blogging colleague Stacia for her advice, and the transcript of that lengthy e-mail discussion follows:

ME: So…do you think I should get a Blu-Ray?

kwaiThe good people at Columbia Home Video were kind enough to send me a promotional copy of the The Bridge on the River Kwai: Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray/DVD combo and because I already have Kwai in the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives I’d like to give this to some lucky TDOY reader.  And to enter for a chance to win, it’s diabolically simple: all you have to do is send me an e-mail at igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com with “Colonel Bogey Giveaway” in the subject header (so I’ll know not to delete it if it shows up accidentally in my spam filter) and something witty like “I would like to win this because I love William Holden and want to have his baby.”

If you want to send me your snail-mail address ahead of time so that when I pick a winner Monday morning (the deadline for entering is Sunday, January 23 at 12:00 mid EST) I can get out to you as quick as I can, that’s fine—but if you’d rather I not know where you live that’s copacetic, too.  The only stipulation to this giveaway is that if you’ve won something on the blog in the past 30 days consider stepping aside so that some other TDOY fan has a chance to win a fabulous prize.  Once again, promotional consideration was supplied by Columbia Home Video and I thank them profusely for the opportunity to make someone out there a winner!

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