Friday, December 8, 2023

Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983)

Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney are best friends working at the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and living in a basement apartment.  A bit of a depressing premise for a sitcom, but laughs ensue as the girls get into some hijinks and spar with their upstairs neighbors Lenny and Squiggy.  They all moved to sunnier pastures in season 6, settling in Burbank, CA.  There, Laverne & Shirley found employment as gift wrappers at Bardwell's Department Store.  The dynamic duo parted ways in the last season as Shirley married an army medic, who was transferred overseas.

Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of the hit sitcom Happy Days (1974-1984) and was created practically overnight after the two guest starred on a double date episode.  Penny Marshall was gung ho, but Cindy Williams scoffed at the idea, for fear of diminishing movie roles.  She eventually relented and after the series debuted, audiences of over 60 million people tuned in!  Things weren't as hunky-dory backstage.  The two stars were at constant odds with writers, cast and each other.  Cindy Williams left two episodes into the final season due to pregnancy leaving Penny Marshall left to carry the show alone.  One bright spot was the hit theme song "Making Our Dreams Come True" which was a top 30 hit on the charts.  The chant heard beforehand was from Penny's childhood.

Location: Schlemiel, Schlimazel!
Address: Washington Sqaure - Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Location: Laverne & Shirley's Burbank Apartment
Address: 419/421 N Sierra Bonita Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Locations Visited: June 2021, November 2023

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Spaceballs (1987)


President Skroob has used up all the air on planet Spaceballs.  He hatches a plan to kidnap Princess Vespa on the planet Druidia and use her as ransom to obtain their air.  Vespa is whisked away by Dark Helmut escaping her wedding along with her droid companion Dot.  Vespa's father, King Rowland, calls upon Mercenary Lone Starr and his half man/half dog companion Barf to rescue the princess for a hefty reward.  After a game of cat and mouse, Lone Starr uses The Schwartz in a battle against Dark Helmut, ultimately defeating him, which leads to the destruction of the Spaceballs One ship.  It is later revealed Lone Star is a prince and he returns to Druidia to marry Vespa.

Parody guru Mel Brooks delivers enough laughs to fill the galaxy in his hilarious send up of the Star Wars trilogy in addition to a few other sci-fi classics.  Spaceballs was only a modest hit upon release but has since become a cult classic.  While not considered to be one of Brooks' best, I find the film to be hilarious, even though I've never fully seen any Star Wars film.

Location: The Church
Address: 1031 Bienveneda Avenue, Pacific Palisades, CA

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church

Location Visited: October 2023

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Halloween: 45 Years of Terror Convention (2023)


Since the 40 Years of Terror Convention, Halloween (2018)Halloween Kills (2021) and Halloween Ends (2022) were all released.  Three new films meant a slew of new guests for the David Gordon Green trilogy.  In addition, Brent Le Page, Gwen Van Dam, Jennifer Rhodes and Jadeen Barbor were welcome first timers as well as fan favorites like Nick Castle, PJ Soles, Dick Warlock and Danielle Harris.  While a certain Scream Queen was absent, the convention saw its first appearance by Master of Horror John Carpenter!  Panel discussions provided some interesting and humorous anecdotes in between perusing the plethora of vendors with merchandise of all things Halloween.

Friday, September 29, 2023
Horror's Hallowed Grounds Bus Tour

In keeping with tradition, the Horror's Hallowed Grounds Bus Tour kicked off the weekend festivities.  I was fortunate to be asked back as a tour guide and led Bus #6.  With new bus restrictions, a lot more walking was required this time around - 9.2 miles to be exact.  Everyone was a trooper and a lot of people got to see the filming locations for the first time.  The standard route included locations from Halloween (1978)Halloween II (1981)Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) and Halloween (2007).

Saturday, September 30 & Sunday, October 1, 2023

Gwen Van Dam - Nurse, TV Version of Halloween (1978)

Jennifer Rhodes - Nurse, TV Version of Halloween (1978)

Brent Le Page - Lonnie, Halloween (1978)

Tom Morga - The Shape, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween (1978) Panel

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Panel

Michael Myers Panel 

David Gordon Green Trilogy Panel

John Carpenter Panel

In keeping with tradition, I always get the post convention blues.  Months of anticipation and it's over in a flash.  But it was another great experience meeting new cast and crew from the franchise as well as fellow fans.  With the news that Miramax has won the rights to the franchise, it will be interesting to see where it goes as we head toward the big 5 0.

Related Locations:

Halloween (1978) ,  Halloween II (1981)Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982),  Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)Halloween (2007)Halloween II (2009)Halloween (2018)Halloween Kills (2021)Halloween Ends (2022)Halloween: 25 Years of Terror Convention (2003)Halloween: 30 Years of Terror Convention (2008)Jamie Lee Curtis Horrorhound Weekend (2012)Halloween: 35 Years of Terror Convention (2013)Halloween: 40 Years of Terror Convention (2018)