AndyO Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spock sings about The Hobbit: The strangest music video ever made

Watch first:

Yes, you just saw Leonard Nimoy sing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins."

According to Wikipedia:

The recording originally appeared on Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, the second of Nimoy's albums on Dot Records... A year before the recording was commercially released, Nimoy lip-synched to the recording during a guest appearance on the July 28, 1967 episode of Malibu U, a short-lived variety television series.

Can you imagine the conversation that took place between Nimoy and his agent about this video?

Phone rings. Nimoy picks it up.

Nimoy: Hello?

Agent: Lenny, there's this new show called Malibu U where you can sing your new song about that elf guy, Bilbo.

Nimoy: Ummm... he's actually a Hobbit --

Agent: Yeah, that's what I said. A Hobbit. This is the perfect tie-in with your Spock character! Hobbits have Vulcan ears, too.

Nimoy: I have to wear my ears?

Agent: OK, you don't have to wear the ears.

Nimoy: This really isn't a good idea.

Agent: Look, what if we got a bunch of young girls? What if they were wearing Vulcan ears? We can have them dancing around, and you can just sit there singing your song.

Nimoy: Can I dance with the girls?

Agent: Sure, you can get up and dance. Jump around. Whatever you want! This will make Spock look like he's hip -- dancing around with girls.

Nimoy: I don't know...

A long pause.

Agent: I wasn't going to tell you this, but I heard Bill Shatner wants to do this show, too. But the producers, they told me they wanted you. They say that everyone wants Spock -- not Kirk. Do you want to disappoint your fans? 

Nimoy: Well, can we at least be cinematic? Maybe throw in an action scene in the middle where we see Bilbo doing battle?

Agent: Sure, we can throw that in. No problem. I'll write it into the contract. Done!

Nimoy: OK, I'm in. But I'm trusting your judgment on this one...

Agent: Lenny, this is the kind of thing that's going to make you a huge star. You'll be on TV and be a recording star, selling millions of albums. And in thirty or forty years, I bet people are going to be watching this video on their futuristic devices, like something you see on Star Trek. And I'm going to say, "See, I told you that was a good idea!"

Nimoy: Send over the details.

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posted by AndyO @ 12:49 PM   0 comments

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Exorcist: The first blockbuster horror film

The Exorcist raised the bar on horror films, creating a truly terrifying story that's still scary today. The Exorcist brought a realistic approach to horror that hadn't been seen before, and was the first horror blockbuster, grossing (US) $232,906,145 in the U.S. If you adjust the gross in today's dollars (2012), it would be (US) $865,991,500 (the 9th highest U.S. domestic gross).

Opening image from "The Exorcist"

While The Exorcist didn't win the Oscar for Best Picture in 1973, it did win for Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound. It was nominated for a total 10 awards.

The other films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1973 included:

  • The Sting (Winner)
  • American Graffiti
  • Cries and Whispers
  • The Exorcist
  • A Touch of Class

For the Golden Globes, The Exorcist was nominated for seven awards and won four awards, including Best Picture.

The cinematic and cultural influence of The Exorcist

The Exorcist's influence has only grown since its release, as polls frequently rank it among the scariest films of all time. While it hasn't been added to the AFI's top 100 films, it has made the "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Thrills" list, coming in at #3. To see the effect of The Exorcist on other films and TV, see this IMDB Movie Connections page for The Exorcist.

Perhaps it's understandable why the Academy was wary of voting for The Exorcist. First and foremost, horror films didn't win Best Picture. And then there was all the hysteria and hype around the film. 

Father Lankester Merrin encounters the demon Pazuzu statue in Iraq

In L. Vincent Poupard's excellent article, "The Cultural Impact of the Exorcist," he writes of what happened when the film was released:

When The Exorcist came out, a strange occurrence happened across the country. For the first time in years, churches all over became packed. There were tens of thousands of people that were so affected by what they had seen in The Exorcist that they needed some kind of guidance to comprehend and understand what they had seen. Many people turned to the Church for guidance.

Evil vs. Good in Iraq

In John W. Whitehead's article, "Who's Afraid of The Exorcist?" he writes of how the film was released at a crucial time when many people were questioning the existence of God:

The Exorcist captured the critical questions of its time: Is God merely the delusion of a handful of prophets and gurus? Is Satan personified evil? Made against the backdrop of the Sharon Tate massacre and the chaotic events of the late 1960s, the film examined what happens when the insanity of evil and violence mash up against the soul. In a sense, with the triumph of the spirit, The Exorcist signalled the end of the death-of-God movement.

It's not often that a film has this kind of impact in society. 

One of the final shots

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posted by AndyO @ 11:28 AM   0 comments

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Best April Fools' Day jokes - 2012

I saw some funny April Fools' day jokes today, but these were among the best:

The Windows Pager, coming in 2014 (give or take a few months):


Rush on the cover of Rolling Stone!


BBC News


Kodak LIVEPrint


But my vote for the best is definitely Hipmunk, a new travel search site, who offered new modes of transportation, including:



Magic Carpet


Hot Air Balloon




Ruby Slippers




Dog Sled








And my absolute favorite, the Millennium Falcon!



posted by AndyO @ 4:19 PM   0 comments