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Harvey Korman: Number 1 Second Banana

Harvey Korman was one of the funniest supporting comedy actors of all time, brightening up the big and small screen with his memorable performances. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” the funnyman’s son and biographer Chris Korman discusses his father’s career and off-camera life.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: The Euell Gibbons Grape Nuts Commercials

BOOTLEG FILES 760: “The Euell Gibbons Grape Nuts Commercials” (series of 1970s television advertisements).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for a DVD full of old breakfast cereal commercials.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

If you were watching American television in the early 1970s, you probably remember Euell Gibbons and the series of commercials he did for the Grape Nuts breakfast cereal brand. If so, you might recall the bizarre line that turned Gibbons into one of the most unlikely figures of pop culture in the decade that good taste forgot.
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The Unlikely Adventures of King Kong

The 1933 classic “King Kong” inspired a number of strange projects, including two Japanese Kong films that are considered lost and a wealth of ideas ranging from a three-camera Cinerama remake to “King Kong vs. Frankenstein” by Willis O’Brien, the genius behind the original’s special effects. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we look at these remarkable Kong projects with John LeMay, author of “Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island.”

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Castle of Doom

BOOTLEG FILES 759: “Castle of Doom” (mid-1930s re-edited version of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Vampyr”).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
On a VHS label in the 1980s.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Missing materials and a lack of commercial value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Nope!

It is not uncommon for a film be considered a flop when it first opened, only to be re-evaluated years later and belatedly declared a masterwork. One of the most striking examples of this scenario is Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Vampyr,” which opened in 1932 to withering reviews and dismal box office returns – the failure of the film caused Dreyer to have a nervous breakdown and not direct another film for a decade. Today, the film is considered a horror masterpiece – and not only did it survive its rough opening, but it also moved beyond a wretched re-edit for American audiences.
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The Bootleg Files: The Crunch Bird

BOOTLEG FILES 758: “The Crunch Bird” (1971 Academy Award-winning animated short).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: It was part of a Goodtimes Home Video VHS release at one point.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Only in an anthology of Oscar-winning shorts.

Here is a great question for Oscar trivia buffs: which Academy Award-winning production had the shortest running time? If you are reading this column, the answer is a bit obvious: it is “The Crunch Bird,” the 1971 winner of the Best Animated Short Subject Oscar, which only ran a mere two minutes.
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In Search of ‘London After Midnight’

Tod Browning’s 1927 “London After Midnight” starring Lon Chaney is the most famous lost film of all time. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” film historian Daniel Titley, author of the upcoming book “London After Midnight: The Lost Film,” discusses the film’s complex history and whether it will ever seen again.

The episode can be heard here.