Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, September 12, 2003

Cool! The Storyteller is now on DVD! Remember this show? I saw it as part of The Jim Henson Hour. It aired in the late-1980s. John Hurt played the Storyteller, who would always tells us some freaky old European folk tale, which would be brought to life by Jim Henson and his geniuses. It was freaky cool. Actually, the entire Jim Henson Hour was.

Speaking of things from my childhood, how many people remember these? When I was a really young guy, like 5 or 6 years old, malls had these "cartoon booths." It was a little booth, just big enough for you and another 6 year old to sit in. You put in a quarter, and you'd get to watch a cartoon. They were always in malls, next to the pony rides and race car rides and such. My brother and I would always go to them and bug Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, or whoever brought us to the mall for a quarter so we could watch a cartoon. Those things rocked! They kind of started disappearing when I turned 8 years old or so. They are one of the few things from my childhood that seem to have been eridacated from the face of the Earth.

My mind was just wandering the other day, and I started thinking how easy it would be to retrofit one of these things with DVD technology. You could put in a flat screen monitor to be your screen, completely wire the whole booth with 5.1 surround sound, and you stick a DVD player in there, with a disc containing 100 cartoons or so, and you're in business! Ideally, the flat screen monitor should actually be a touch-sensitive screen, so when you put in your quarter (well, with this level of technonolgy, probably a twonie), a menu screen will pop up and you can select which cartoon you want to watch.

How much you wanna bet that these things started disappearing from malls when I was 8 years old because that was also the age the VCR finally caught on? Who wants to go to the mall, drop in a quarter and watch one cartoon when you can watch dozens at home on video?

Let's see...what else in the news. Christian Bale, the young actor still best remembered as the psychotic Patrick Bateman in American Psycho has just signed on to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in the next Batman film. It's being directed by Christopher Nolan, who also brought us the indie thriller hit Memento. Nolan wrote the script along with David S. Goyer, who also wrote all three Blade films. Rumor has it the villain is the immortal Ra's Al Guhl. Filming begins in February.

The WB network, still trying to duplicate the success of Smallville, has ordered a new TV show based on the DC comic The Flash. Just like the comic, this new TV Flash will be a young guy (early 20s) just discovering his powers and learning that he's just the latest in a long line to wear the mantle of the Flash. Unlike the comic, he will never wear his trademark red tights, be from Gotham City, and always use his powers to time travel and put right what once went wrong. So, essentially, Dr. Sam Beckett is now The Flash. You may recall that The Flash was brought to TV screens once before, back in 1990, and it was one of the all-time favourtie TV shows to my 13-year old self. I hope they at least bring back that kick-ass Danny Elfman theme.

And, on a sad note today, veteran actor John Ritter died at the age of 54. He just keeled over and died of a previously undetected heart defect. When I was 6 or 7 years old, and still watching cartoons in booths in the mall, I was at home every night at 5 to watch Three's Company reruns. I loved that show when I was a kid, and Ritter one of the first actors I began to recognize. Hell, when my family first bought that VCR and I stopped watching cartoons in booths in the mall, I think the first thing I taped was a rerun of Three's Company.

Next issue...Who is Ra's Al Guhl?

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