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Largo's Shark
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:57 am

Salomé wrote:
Erica Ambler wrote:
George Sluizer (1932-2014)

Embarrassed to say I have only just learnt of the death of George Sluizer yet he died in late September. I can't say when exactly; his career had dwindled away to that extent.

I'll remember Sluizer for the unique distinction of directing one of the best and one of the worst films I've seen; both were called The Vanishing. The original is up there along with Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the most terrifying film I've seen. The Hollywood remake ... isn't.

What went wrong with Sluizer might make an interesting film in its own right. Right now, maybe it's enough to say that - like so many great Europeans before him - his talent simply didn't survive the move to Hollywood.

I have to agree with your appraisal of both Spoorloos and the quite terrible remake. The horrendous nature of the American version would be more understandable if the project had been helmed by another director, who did not fully understand the material.
But Sluizer himself cannot possibly have been unaware of the fact that changing the ending would destroy the feature's emotional wallop. Which means he most likely gave in to pressure from the producers.

What probably added to the quick nose-dive of his Hollywood career was River Phoenix untimely, early death.

As a side-note, Gene Bervoets (the lead in the original) recently married his mistress of many years.

I've seen both UTZ and DARK BLOOD, which were impressive - the former more than the later.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:33 am

Glen A. Larson, Creator of TV’s 'Quincy M.E.,' 'Magnum, P.I.' and 'Battlestar Galactica,' Dies at 77


Quote :
The writer-producer also was behind 'Knight Rider,' 'Fall Guy' and 'Six Million Dollar Man'


Glen A. Larson, the wildly successful television writer-producer whose enviable track record includes Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider and The Fall Guy, has died. He was 77.

Larson, a singer in the 1950s clean-cut pop group The Four Preps who went on to compose many of the theme songs for his TV shows, died Friday night of esophageal cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, his son, James, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Larson also wrote and produced for such noteworthy series as ABC’s It Takes a Thief, starring his fellow Hollywood High School alum Robert Wagner as a burglar now stealing for the U.S. government, and NBC’s McCloud, with Dennis Weaver as a sheriff from Taos, N.M., who moves to Manhattan to help the big-city cops there.


After ABC spurned the original pilot for The Six Million Dollar Man (based on the 1972 novel Cyborg), Larson rewrote it, then penned a pair of 90-minute telefilms that convinced then-network executive Barry Diller to greenlight the action series, which starred Lee Majors as a former astronaut supercharged with bionic implants.

Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multiseries, multimillion-dollar deal.

With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.

CBS’ Magnum, P.I., toplined by Tom Selleck as a charismatic Ferrari-driving private instigator based in Oahu, Hawaii, also aired eight seasons, running from 1980-88 with 162 installments. Larson created the ratings hit with Donald Bellisario, with whom he had worked on Quincy and Battlestar.

NBC’s Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff as a crime fighter aided by a Pontiac Trans-Am with artificial intelligence (K.I.T.T., drolly voiced by William Daniels), lasted four seasons and 90 episodes from 1982-86. And ABC’s Fall Guy, with Majors as a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter, prevailed for five seasons and 113 episodes spanning 1981-86.

If you’re counting, Quincy, Magnum, Knight Rider and Fall Guy accounted for 513 hours of television and 21 combined seasons from 1976-88.

During a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson was asked how he could possibly keep up with such a workload.

“I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk,” he said.

“If you believe in something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”

Battlestar Galactica lasted just one season on ABC from 1978-79, yet the show had an astronomical impact. Starring Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch as leaders of a homeless fleet wandering through space, featuring special effects supervised by Star Wars’ John Dykstra and influenced by Larson’s Mormon beliefs, Battlestar premiered as a top 10 show and finished the year in the top 25. But it was axed after 24 episodes because, Larson said, each episode cost “well over” $1 million.

“I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years earlier had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek's Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.”

Much like Star Trek before it, Battlestar became much more beloved after it was canceled. Universal packaged episodes into two-hour telefilms and added a “Battle of Galactica” attraction to its studio tour that proved hugely popular. A new version debuted in 2004 on the Sci-Fi Channel, followed by a spinoff, Caprica.

Yet for all his success, Larson had his share of critics.

Writer Harlan Ellison, in a 1996 book about his Star Trek teleplay for the famous episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” infamously called him “Glen Larceny,” accusing him of using movie concepts for his TV shows.

It often has been noted that Battlestar premiered soon after Star Wars, that Alias Smith & Jones arrived shortly after Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and that the setups for McCloud and B.J. and The Bear bore similarities to the Clint Eastwood films Coogan’s Bluff and Every Which Way But Loose, respectively.

“Larson is undeniably a controversial figure in TV history because of his reputation for producing video facsimiles of popular films, but scholars, fans and critics should also consider that ‘similarity’ is the name of the game in the fast world of TV productions,” John Kenneth Muir wrote in his 2005 book, An Analytical Guide to Television’s Battlestar Galactica. “Shows are frequently purchased, produced and promoted by networks not for their differences from popular productions, but because of their similarities.”

Fox in 1978 sued Battlestar studio Universal for infringing on Star Wars copyrights but lost the suit years later, vindicating Larson, who described his TV show as “Wagon Train heading toward Earth.”

He also said that Alias Smith & Jones was “certainly in the genre of Butch Cassidy, a New Wave Western” and compared B.J. and the Bear to something along the lines of the 1977 film Smokey & the Bandit.

He was not apologizing for any of this.

“Television networks are a lot like automobile manufacturers, or anyone else who’s in commerce. If something out there catches on with the public … I guess you can call it ‘market research,’ ” he said in the TV Archive interview. “You can go in and pitch one idea at a network and they’ll say, ‘You know, we’d really like it if you had something a little more like this.’ ”

And the trend goes on: new versions of Battlestar, Knight Rider, Manimal, Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy have been floated about for the big screen in recent years.

Glen Albert Larson was born an only child on Jan. 3, 1937, in Long Beach, Calif. He and his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was young, and he became enthralled with the art of storytelling while listening to hour after hour of radio shows.

He met Wagner while hitchhiking to Hollywood High and landed a job as a page at NBC, then home to such live anthologies as Lux Video Theatre and Matinee Theatre.

Music took over when Capitol Records A&R exec Nik Venet signed The Four Preps to a long-term contract in 1956, and the wholesome youngsters recorded such hits as “Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina),” “Big Man," “Dreamy Eyes” and "Down by the Station."

“Ultimately, The Four Preps’ biggest influence can be heard via their impact on Brian Wilson, whose harmony-driven production for The Beach Boys was a direct antecedent of The Four Preps’ sound,” or so says a biography of the group on AllMusic.com.

The Preps appeared on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand, played college campuses around the country and toured the world. But with a new wife and child, Larson wanted to get off the road, so he pursued a career in television and sold a story idea for a 1966 episode of The Fugitive.

Larson then wrote an episode of It Takes a Thief, and within the short span of a season he went from story editor to producing the series.

He created his first show, the ABC Western Alias Smith and Jones, which starred Peter Duel and Ben Murphy as outlaw cousins trying to go straight. He exited the series soon after Duel died of a self-inflicted gunshot on New Year’s Eve in 1971.

He did not get along with Klugman on Quincy and eventually left the show in the hands of Bellisario.

Selleck, who was under contract at Universal and had done a couple of pilots that had not made it to series, was obligated to do Magnum, whose pilot was written by Bellisario.

“We got the star, it was a perfect fit,” said Larson, who was a fan of the 1960s CBS series Hawaiian Eye, which centered on a detective agency. “I had a house over there [in Hawaii] and a guy [like Selleck’s character] who lived in a guest house and took care of it.”

Larson based the unseen novelist character Robin Masters, the owner of the home, on author Harold Robbins.

After years at Universal — where he also did The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries for ABC and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for NBC — Larson left for Fox. But to get out of his Universal deal, he had to give the studio one more show, and that would be Knight Rider.

“Michael Knight [Hasselhoff’s character] in a way is prototyped by the Lone Ranger,” Larson said. “If you think about him riding across the Plains and going from one town to another to help law and order, then K.I.T.T. becomes Tonto.”

At Fox in the spring of 1983, he sold four new series: Manimal to NBC and Trauma Center, Automan and Masquerade to ABC, but all were quickly canceled.

Larson’s next show, CBS’ Cover Up — about a photographer (Jennifer O’Neill) who replaces her late husband as an undercover CIA agent — lasted one season. During production, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died as a result of an accidental self-inflicted blank-cartridge gunshot wound on the set.

In July 2011, Larson sued Universal, alleging a decades-long fraud perpetrated by a studio that he said never once sent him profit participation statements despite his shows earning hundreds of millions of dollars.

More recently, Larson reteamed up with The Four Preps, reuniting in 2004 for a PBS reunion show, Magic Moments, with best friends and fellow group members David Somerville and Bruce Belland.

Survivors include his wife Jeannie, half-brother Kenneth Peterson, a Hollywood prop master, and nine children (including his son James) from former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis: Kimberly, Christopher, Glen, Michelle, David, Caroline, Danielle and Nicole.

A memorial service will be held in the near future, his son said.

Despite his remarkable career churning out hits, Larson earned but three Emmy nominations, two for producing McCloud and one (for outstanding drama) for Quincy. He never won.

His shows, Larson said in the TV Archive interview, “were enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor. All struck a chord in the mainstream. What we weren’t going to do was win a shelf full of Emmys. We got plenty of nominations for things, but ours were not the kind of shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think we brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:39 am

Always thought of Larson as a human photostat machine taking film hits and knocking off TV versions at high speed. Hard to argue with his huge list of credits so I'd just like to go on record that Tom Selleck is not gay. His moustache is, however.

Liked this title sequence. Six million dollars wouldn't buy a paper cup at NASA prices.

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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:19 am

Reading James Garner's book a couple of years ago he recounted how he bumped into Larson from time to time and one time it was after Larson's knock-of of Rockford came out. Larson came over, arm round Garner saying no hard feelings, Garner knocked the arm off then knocked Larson on his arse. Still can't figure out the copy...I guess it's Switch with Wagner.

Be it as it may, Galactica, Buck Rogers, Alias Smith & Jones and Knight Rider were huge parts of my childhood and for my sins I remain an original Galactica fan.

Definitely puts pay to any Galactica movie, which isn't a bad thing.

Well, I'll toast him, for his faults.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:55 pm

Mike Nichols  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-30129848

Will be best remembered for The Graduate, but I quite enjoyed  his last film Charlie Wilson's War (2007), which many criticised for downplaying one of the USA's more shortsighted foreign policies.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:49 am

Sad news. Talented director. And it's interesting how Nichols, a German, went on to create some of the most celebrated American films.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:10 am

His masterpiece will always be WHO's AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:44 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
His masterpiece will always be WHO's AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

A notable play, but hardly cinematic.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:53 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Largo's Shark wrote:
His masterpiece will always be WHO's AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

A notable play, but hardly cinematic.

With its innovative use of handheld cameras, low-light, and Haskell Wexler's cinematography on it general, it's hardly just a filmed play.



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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:19 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
With its innovative use of handheld cameras, low-light, and Haskell Wexler's cinematography on it general, it's hardly just a filmed play.

Same dialogue and actors in rooms? Stagebound seems a fair description. Motion pictures should have, you know, motion.

Not having a go at Nichols here, but faithful adaptations are for people who can't make it the theatre. Or, in this case, those who buy into the Taylor-Burton legend.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:34 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Same dialogue and actors in rooms? Stagebound seems a fair description. Motion pictures should have, you know, motion

The direction in the jukebox scene has more motion than most motion pictures today. Seems like you're myopically focused on the choice of locations and faithfulness to the text, rather than Nichols's radical approach. BTW, 95% of the film was on location in New England - only the brief in-car sequence was a studio process shot (due to the Burton-Taylor media circus).
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:42 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
Seems like you're myopically focused on the choice of locations and faithfulness to the text, rather than Nichols's radical approach.

Leave me out of this. This is what the great Stanley Kaufmann said of Nichol’s adaptation back in 1966:

Quote :
Any transference of a good play to film is a battle. (Which is why the best film directors rarely deal with good plays.) The better the play, the harder it struggles against leaving its natural habitat, and Mr. Albee's extraordinary comedy-drama has put up a stiff fight.

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E04E3DA1731E43BBC4C51DFB066838D679EDE
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:26 am

Well, I tried Googling reviews from my favourite critics to counter that (Kael, Simon, Agee, Sarris) and they all turned out to be negative. I humbly back down.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:35 am

Did you and Armond White get a divorce? I hope you got the house - I could do with a place to crash in NY.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:51 am

White's one of my favourite living critics, but I often disagree with the guy. There are other good ones I've discovered, like Gregory Solman and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:53 pm

Joseph Sargent ( 1925-2014)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three will be the one he's best remembered for, but he also did a lot of good work for television even for the more formulaic shows such as The Invaders.

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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:59 am

The gorgeous Anita Ekberg has passed away:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/11/376515134/anita-ekberg-50s-screen-star-and-sex-symbol-dies-at-83

Francesco Rosi has also passed away. He directed HANDS OVER THE CITY and THE MATTEI AFFAIR.
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jan/11/francesco-rosi
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:51 pm

Ekberg. A beautiful creature from an age when no self-respecting woman chose to look like a weedy little boy.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:07 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Ekberg. A beautiful creature from an age when no self-respecting woman chose to look like a weedy little boy.

A beautiful creature, indeed. Andress was a looker in her heyday, but I've always preferred Anita Ekberg over her.



I was sad to hear of her being broke and confined to a wheelchair a few years back. Hopefully she died peacefully.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:10 am



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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:15 am

Well, now it's time to forget all of that. Here's the new symbol of beauty:




Disagree? Then you're a sexist and misogynist.
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:26 am

I'm all for progress:
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:33 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
I'm all for progress:

He or she? And is that Monkeys in the dark shades?

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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:58 pm

Sad to note the passing of Brian Clements, very creative and skilled writer of so much of my favoured early TV notably the Avengers and The Professionals.

BBC website article
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PostSubject: Re: Obituaries   Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:41 pm

lachesis wrote:
Sad to note the passing of Brian Clements, very creative and skilled writer of so much of my favoured early TV notably the Avengers and The Professionals.

BBC website article

Sad news indeed. Brian Clemens was one of my favourite screenwriters. His work for The Avengers and Hammer had a very imaginative touch so his claim to have originated Survivors may have been true. His other great success, The Professionals was more of a pot-boiler for me, though it's still fondly remembered by many in the UK.
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