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The Rod Serling Experience

Rod Serling was one of the most influential writers of the 1950s and 1960s, creating the memorable teleplays “Patterns” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” the screenplays for “Seven Days in May” and “Planet of the Apes” and a certain TV show that takes us traveling into another dimension. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” Nicholas Parisi, author of “Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination,” discusses Serling’s remarkable career.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: The Jack Benny Birthday Special

BOOTLEG FILES 673: “The Jack Benny Birthday Special” (1969 TV special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.

During the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, Jack Benny made a number of TV specials that aired on NBC. Most of these offerings were pleasant but entirely forgettable, and Benny often seemed to be dialing in his performances.
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Winsor McCay: The Artist as a Young Man

Winsor McCay was one of the most important pioneers in the development of animated films, and his creations Gertie the Dinosaur and Little Nemo are still celebrated for their wit and artistry. In this episode, we learn about McCay’s formative years and the influences that helped to shape his creative genius. Our guest on this episode of “The Online Movie Show” is Kevin Scott Collier, author of “Winsor McCay: Boyhood Dreams: Growing Up In Spring Lake, Michigan 1867-1885.”

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Who’s Out There?

BOOTLEG FILES 672: “Who’s Out There?” (1975 documentary short hosted by Orson Welles).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Produced for the federal government, hence the absence of a copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: One public domain label carries it, but a full-throttle digital restoration is unlikely.

During the 1970s, a great deal of attention was being paid to outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kept people focused on the sky with its various lunar missions and probes into the deepest corners of the galaxy. But many people insisted that space traffic was a two-way endeavor, and sightings of UFOs along with various claims of personal encounters with intergalactic visitors became headline news throughout the decade.
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The Animated Wizard of Oz Films

Everyone knows the 1939 film version of “The Wizard of Oz,” but there were also a large number of animated film and television adaptations of the L. Frank Baum books. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” Kevin Scott Collier, author of “The Wonderful Animated World of The Wizard of Oz,” discusses how Dorothy and her friends occupied the animation genre.

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: Kokoda Front Line!

BOOTLEG FILES 671: “Kokoda Front Line!” (1942 Australian newsreel).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value for the U.S. market.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It can be found on Australian DVD, but it is not likely to be released on a U.S. label.

If you are an Academy Award trivia buff, you will recognize “Kokoda Front Line!” as the first Australian film to win an Oscar. If you are World War II history buff, you will be familiar with the importance of “Kokoda Front Line!” in covering an important battle in the Pacific combat. But if you are not up to speed on either your Oscar factoids or your World War II knowledge, then hopefully you might come away from this week’s column with something worth learning.
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The Bootleg Files: So This is Africa

BOOTLEG FILES 670: “So This is Africa” (1933 comedy starring Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No perceived commercial value.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.

It is a common misconception that the Pre-Code Hollywood era was a period when almost anything was possible on the screen. And while the implementation of the 1934 establishment of the Production Code Administration brought a heavy-handed degree of censorship to film production, there was plenty of censorship going on at both a national, state and city level.
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