Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Odds and Ends

As I blogged a few days ago, I got my complete, uncut version of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack.  However, I just finished listening to disc 2.  Disc 2 is the digitally-remastered version of a little piece of Star Trek kitsch called Inside Star Trek.  This album was originally released in 1976.  It consists of recordings of Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi convention appearances in the mid-1970s, along with Roddenberry's thoughts and musings on making Star Trek.  Roddenberry also interviews Issac Asimov about sci-fi, William Shatner about playing Captain Kirk, DeForrest Kelly about playing Dr. McCoy, and a very awkward piece where Roddenberry interviews Mark Lenard, in character as Sarek, Spock's father, about Spock.

The fact that Leonard Nimoy wasn't interviewed about Spock shines a very interesting light on Star Trek lore.  I love hearing Leonard Nimoy's stories about Gene Roddenberry.  Nimoy's stories tend to take the piss out of everything.  See, most everyone associated with Star Trek will tell you about Gene Roddenberry:  the visionary science-fiction author with an optimistic view of humanity.  Nimoy, however, tends to tell stories about Gene Roddenberry:  the Hollywood producer who only had one big hit and set out to milk it for all it was worth.  Everything I've ever read about Star Trek says there was a lot of friction between Nimoy and Roddenberry, especially when it became the cult item it did throughout the 1970s.  Some say it came down to money...others say it came down to Nimoy simply wanting recognition for what he brought to the character of Spock.

My favourite story, though, about Roddenberry, the producer in it for the money, doesn't involve Nimoy.  It involves Alexander Courage, who wrote the classic Star Trek theme we all knew and love.  Well, what Roddenberry did, was he went behind Courage's back, and he wrote lyrics to the Star Trek theme.  That way, Roddenberry could claim 50% writer's credit on the Star Trek theme, and forever be entitled to the royalties.  Courage confronted Roddenberry about this, and Roddenberry reportedly said, "Oh, come on.  Let me have this, cuz I sure as hell ain't gonna make any money off this show."

But the tales of Roddenberry only being in it for the money...well, they humanize Roddenberry to me.  As I've learned in my short life, everybody has a different story about certain things.  Some folks will tell you that a certain person is the nicest person in the world...others will say that person is the devil incarnate.  Some folks will say that a certain vacation destination is the greatest place in the world...some will say it's a hellhole.

Some where, in between those two extremes, lies the truth.

The Baily Theatre is an icon of the City of Camrose.  It has stood for...I don't know how long.  My father tells me tales of my grandparents going to movies at the Baily when they were dating.  When I was going to college, it was the only movie theatre in Camrose at the time, so it's where I spent many an evening catching a movie instead of studying.

I was enraptured with the Baily as a movie theatre because it was the first movie theatre I'd ever been to in my life that had a balcony.  I was starting to think that balconies in movie theatres were a thing of the past, something that I would never see, but here was one.  Whenever me and my friends would go see a movie, I'd implore them that we sit up in the balcony, but most times, I'd be out-voted.

The Baily's days came to a close during my time at Augustana.  It was Christmas of 1997 when Camrose got its nice, shiny new 5-screen cineplex.  I dabbled a little bit in writing for the school paper, and my best friend was the editor of the paper, so shortly after the new cineplex opened, we did a news story on the new cineplex and what it might mean for the Baily.  As my best friend and I chatted, we knew that this probably meant the end for the Baily.  I still remember the last movie I saw in the Baily...spring of 1998.  On the last day of classes, me and my best friend went to see Lost in Space.  I came back in the fall of '98 to begin my final year, and the Baily was closed.

 But the Baily has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years.  New owners have acquired it, and they've been working to restore the Baily to its 1940s, art deco appearance.  They've turned it back into the multipurpose theatre it originally was, capable of all manner of live entertainment and movies.  I discovered this a few months ago, when an old college friend that I follow on Twitter tweeted that he was off the the Baily to see the legendary classic Citizen Kane.  I tweeted back, "If they ever do the original King Kong, I'm there."

I just found out they're showing the original King Kong TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!  Gosh darn it, I'm going to miss it.

I finally found the Baily's website and I see that, a couple of weeks ago, I missed the Beatles classic A Hard Day's Night.  Aw, man, that's another one I'd love to see on the big screen!

I've now got the Baily's website bookmarked.  I'll be keeping an eye on it...a road trip might be in my future.

Here's the Baily's website.

Be a fan on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

I keep thinking that if I ever win the lottery, I might buy an old movie theatre and turn it into a revival house.  For those who don't know the lingo, a "revival house" is a movie theatre that specializes in showing older and classic movies.  There are many older films that I would love to see on the big screen.  Say what you will about home theatres and such today, but I still think there's something about the theatrical experience that can't be replicated at home.  And I'm not talking about 3D and vibrating seats.

"When you go see a movie, you're sitting in the dark for two hours with a bunch of strangers."  I had a co-worker who used that phrase to describe movies as being a lesser form of entertainment.  I read an interview with a director in which he used that phrase to describe movies as being a magical experience.  I'll let you decide what it describes.  

2012 is going to be a good year for Spielberg fans, as many of his classic films are coming to Blu-Ray this year.  It's been previously announced that the entire Indiana Jones films are coming to Blu-Ray this fall.  As part of their 100th anniversary celebrations, Universal announced a few months back that Jaws is finally hitting Blu-Ray this August.  And it was announced a week or two ago that E.T. will be hitting Blu-Ray this October. 

Of course, the first question everyone had was, "Will E.T. be the original theatrical version or the 2002 special edition?"  Well, we can rest assured that it will be the original theatrical edition.  It's kind of weird...in many interviews, Spielberg seems almost embarrassed that he made the special edition of E.T.  When asked about which version of the film is his "definitive" version of E.T., he's always quick to say the original theatrical version.  I do kind of hope the Blu-Ray includes the 2002 special edition...for historical completeness and all. 

I might wind up picking up Jaws, too, when it comes out.  I don't think I've ever seen Jaws from beginning to end...I always come in in the middle when its on basic cable.  But I do understand its historical significance.  It really was the first summer blockbuster.  The production model, the distribution model, every big event picture that we have today took its model from Jaws

It's also notable in that the Jaws Blu-Ray is also going to include the documentary The Shark is Still Working.  This documentary has become a legend in its own right.  A documentary about the making of Jaws, made and funded by die-hard fans, and they managed to interview absolutely everyone who was even remotely connected to the making of Jaws.  They say it's one of the most comprehensive documentaries about a film ever made. 

That's one thing I don't understand about Jaws.  It has a massive fandom.  It doesn't seem like the kind of movie that would have a fandom.  It doesn't have spaceships, it doesn't have dragons, it doesn't have the massive, developed internal universe that films with massive fandoms typically have.  But, there it is.  

And then there's Indy...not so sure yet about picking up the Indiana Jones Blu-Rays.  As I've blogged before, I'm not in a big rush to upgrade a lot of my favourite movies to Blu-Ray because I don't have the HDTV yet to fully enjoy them in hi-def.  But if you want to kick a few bucks my way to help my fund, I won't say no. 

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