There has been a disturbing trend recently to dismiss as "Imaginary" the individual known to us in North America as "Santa Claus." Some children have of course been disturbed by this incorrect and scientifically invalid position.
For those of you who have children that simply want the hard facts, here they are:
1) Santa has been granted a special privilege of eternal life.
2) He lives at the North Pole in a secret complex shielded from any type of radar or satelite imaging. The various Nations of the world know this but have determined after thirty -seven different Top Secret closed-door UN meetings that he poses no threat. (Check the records on this)
3) He possesses technology that enables him to slow/stop time.(This is why it has been virtually impossible to photograph him or capture him on video.
4) He does in fact keep detailed behavior records(ie: The List) but word has it that he is notoriously lax in this regard and has never left coal. (The 1930's Kentucky incident has been proven to be false.)
5) He is in fact helped in his work by a virtual army of what we call "Elves."(Who are actually smaller statured denzens from a planet (They pronounce it "Xylpho") in the next solar-system-considered by over Two hundred and six advanced civilizations to be the most brilliant Toy and Amusement designers and builders in the universe. (Unfortunately this information will not become public knowledge until the year 2346.)
Here are some other links that prove his existence:
All of a sudden my film "Monday Wednesday, Friday" became a Featured Film on YouTube- Thank you all for watching and all your kind and supportive comments for this decidedly less than kind character. Later, Paul Parducci
Or maybe the question is: Why am I an Artist? Or more particularly why am I a Filmmaker?
After two decades of professional creative endeavor I am still both energized and vexed by the constant drive to do certain things: to make films, to write screenplays and to learn more about presenting my ideas and stories visually.
I was walking through a bookstore last night and I wondered, why don't I want to write books but I want to make films? Why this type of Storytelling and not others? Why do it at all? It would be better and certainly "easier" not to make them. I could focus on acting alone, an area I have done pretty well in.)
This drive to create Cinema has been called the "Silver Addiction,"(because of the silver salts on film stock) and I can understand why. Sometimes it feels like one. But it's no different I suspect from other Artists driven to create what they have to create.
In many respects Creativity itself is still a mystery, here is an excellent overview of the subject.
I absolutely loved this movie as a kid-the dinosaur, the crystal cave! It seemed to play on local television at least twice a year in the Tri-state area and I watched it almost every time. Fox Movie Channel just ran it and it brought back great memories. Later, Paul Parducci
And please excuse these suggestions: do your best to refrain from discussing politics or religion at the table.(You know that no matter what the people at your table believe or follow they would be there for you if you needed them.) And take a secret moment to look around at all your family and friends. I don't have to tell you why.
I am a Film Noir fan. From "Kiss Me Deadly" to "The Spiral Staircase" on to "Gun Crazy" and beyond. But I recently caught a corner of Black-hearted brilliance called Detour Filmed by the Poverty Row Auteur Edgar G. Ulmer (Before he was sent away from mainstream Hollywood, he made The Black Cat) it is definitely something to put on your queue. Here is Robert Weston's excellent piece on both the man and his movie.
Val Lewton was a genuinely Creative Producer and Screenwriter who made eleven innovative films for RKO's B-Unit in the 1940's working with such outstanding Director's as Jacques Tourneau, Robert Wise and Mark Robson.
I have a clear memory of seeing an image of Rat Fink Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's seminal creation on American Bandstand as a toddler sitting in the center of the livingroom floor. It came and went quickly but that fiendishly cool-looking rat stayed in my head to this day. Ed Roth American designer and artist has had a profound effect on all aspects of the visual arts, from skateboards to Chrysler. Ed has gone to the big garage in the sky but here are some excellent links to get you up to speed on this amazing creator.
Robert Fuest's Over-the Top Deco Horror Masterpiece "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" is a must see during the Halloween season. It stars the always solid Joseph Cotton and Vincent Price ( at his tearing up the screen best) delightfully disturbed revenge sequences and a clockwork band. Later, Paul Parducci
Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung was a man of expansive interests one of which was the determining and categorizing of personality Types. Repetitive testing has me pegged as an INFJ Type. This is my type from similarminds.com More about Meyers Briggs and to find out your type.
Of course not everyone agrees, this is from The Skeptic's Dictionary. If you have the time here is an excellent documentary on Jung called "Matter of Heart" Later, Paul Parducci
The Soldier and Marine Both a year from their proms Sat in the depot, brothers in arms They talked of Fallujah, Bastogne and Yalu They spoke of Ramadi and Route Irish too. They joked and they bragged And remembered brave men Knowing they’d never serve with their likes again At three in the morning came the northbound train squeals One felt for his duffle, one unlocked his wheels One pushed and one watched There’s no need to delve One got the Six The other the Twelve
We American's work too hard. Myself included. With cell phones and computers, PDA's and Blackberries we are always gettin it done. Achievement is nice but so is taking time to be with family and friends and simply existing. I know. "Bills." Forget them just for today and do something fun. Gotta go now, we're off to the beach. Later, Paul Parducci
After a long battle with Alzheimer's my father passed away on Friday morning August 17,2007. I was on my way to see him when he died. In fact I got the call just before I reached the first security check point at LAX. My father was a great man. A true genius who always took an interest in those around him. He was a Vaudevillian, a Musician, a Bandleader, a painter (oils) a Chess Master, Boat builder, Mountain climber and a Design Engineer.(Among many accomplishments, he worked for Tucker and was on the Jet engine team during World War II) He was a devoted Husband(married to my Mom for 62 years) and father of five sons. (He had his first son at the age of 38 and his last at the age of 55.) Over the past few years my father's amazing mind began to shut down.This happened right after the sudden loss of his first born son (My brother Bill-Four or five years ago I stood on the lawn of my boyhood home while my father tried to stave off memory-loss by reciting multiplication tables.He used his mind constantly and was acutely aware when it started to fail him.) He always had several books going at once and a chessboard set up by his chair. One of my favorite things to do was to make him laugh. My father had a great laugh. Inevitably what worked best was repetition. I would keep repeating some inane voice or stupid remark until he started to shake with laughter and lean forward guffaw tears streaming down his face and swat me lightly on the shoulder. I have my father's chess board now, it rests on my coffee table in the livingroom. I have an old pair of his glasses, a mechanical pencil and his violin. I have a handful of photos too. At the end of the day though these things though symbols of a life well-lived are all simply trinkets. What's not a trinket is the love my father had for me and all of us. I miss you Dad. See You Later. Your Son Paul
PS: The top photo is my father at the drafting table in the 40's, the other one is my dad on stage in 1929
With the new horror movie "Ouija" out I thought I'd revitalize this post I did on this creepy parlor activity.
One of my earliest memories concerning a Ouija Board is my Mom warning me never to use one. She owned one as a teenager and while using it to communicate with a favorite cousin who had been killed in the war, had a very unpleasant and terrifying experience. After that she threw it away never to even touch one again.
As for myself, after reading extensively about this purported communication device, my advice is to stay away. A better source of answers is a good encyclopedia or your Aunt Martha (Your living Aunt Martha that is.)
Here is a blog dedicated to them.
OK, even after my Mother's warnings and my own promise to never touch one myself, while writing this post I had a nearly overwhelming urge to try it.(Read: "nearly" I didn't do it.) I guess there will always be a desire deep inside for extra-earthly, extra-here and now information.
Recently the book "The Secret," which touts the Law of Attraction has been flying off the shelves. Although it's is slowing a bit now (I'm starting to see unsold stacks of books and CD's.)Despite the strong feelings on both sides of the concepts espoused by the books experts, at the heart of all this current inquiry into "mind Power," is the legitimate question as to whether an individual's thoughts can actually influence the physical world.
In addition to armies of True Believers, there are also scientists involved with determining whether or not there is anything to this.
Although Max Rosenberg is listed as the producer of Director John Llewellyn Moxey'sHorror Hotel it was by all accounts also produced by Milton Subotsky which makes this the first film produced by the team that would bring the world Amicus Studios.
Horror Hotel is an atmospheric giant of the genre and more than worthy of a thorough perusal.
Today marks the 232nd anniversary of The United States Army. I am a former Soldier, I volunteered for the Army Infantry (Airborne) right after I completed High School. In many ways I count myself least among this amazing organization that includes men like Paul Smith and women like Deborah Samson. But at the end of the day, now and always I claim the title of "Soldier." I graduated from the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning as well as the Airborne Course. That Blue cord and those hard-earned jump wings ( I jumped injured for my last three qualifying jumps -I have a total of Five Military Jumps) are among my proudest possessions. My Honorable Discharge is framed and hangs over my College Diploma. The discipline, loyalty and commitment to excellence I learned in the Army have supported me in all aspects of my life. I was fortunate enough to have served during peace but my brothers and sisters now under fire are constantly in my thoughts.
They say "Once a Soldier, Always A Soldier," and I have found this to be true. I am proud of all the branches of our Military but my heart belongs to the US Army. To be sure there is a quietness about my branch, a reluctance to display and discuss, this probably emanates from the concepts of the "Quiet Professional," (Army Hero SFC Chapman)and the legacy of George Washington and the Citizen Soldier (Barry Strauss piece on the Citizen Soldier) all of which find themselves lodged in the collective unconscious of the American Soldier. There is also it seems a professional acceptance at being unsung-by being the boots on the ground doing the tough thankless jobs, day in and day out frequently under unbelievably dangerous conditions.
The spiritual core of the US Army is the common Foot Soldier or Infantryman. He is the individual who when asked by America to do so, takes and holds ground. Even as we speak there are young men volunteering to do this. Volunteering to go in harms way.
LTC Randolph C. White speech gives an excellent overview about what it means to be an Infantry Soldier.
The hard lessons learned while at the Infantry School in the searing heat of summer in Georgia have stayed with me. When I encounter a problem I still say to myself ;"Over, Around, Under or Through." When a task is at hand I frequently think of the Infantry motto; "Follow Me!" Or the Airborne call,"All the Way!"
Because Soldiers are so frequently reluctant to talk about their service once it is done, you may be surprised by the number of Former Soldiers now serving in Congress.
Yes, Once a Soldier Always A Soldier. So even though my time as a Spartan is done and I now work in the dream factory making stories, I would like to tell all my Army family from Valley Forge to Kirkuk, from the beaches of Normandy to the rough mountains of Afghanistan.
Thank you for your service, Happy Birthday and remember this Soldier's prayers always have your six.
Later, Paul Parducci
Sorry Almost forgot: HOOAH!
When I was a kid I used to watch re-runs of the the British import series the Avengers.(I think on New York's WOR TV ? Please help me readers.)
One episode in particular has stayed with me, in it the bad guy wore rubber boots and special gloves and sent lethal doses of electricity through the air. I didn't remember the name but I looked it up: "The Positive Negative Man."
It was the announcement of discovery of scientists this week of the ability to actually transmit electricity that prompted this post.
"Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is a film deals with the human aspects inherent in bringing someone back to life. Although I have never been able to get through Shelley's Frankenstein (chalk it up to ADD.) Others who have have stated that this film comes the closest to Shelley's vision.
I just saw it and was extremely impressed by director Terence Fisher's vision. I highly recommend this movie for anyone interested in seeing a Frankenstein movie that isn't all about stomping around, dark castles and villagers. Hammer studios the venerable Studio that dripped blood put out this film. As I have spoken about before in this Blog, Hammer's rival (Amicus) has been a great influence on my take on this genre as well as my love of film. Amicus tended to present Modern Horror in a Contemporary setting. This was always more naturally to my liking so I generally avoided any scare pic with gaslights and horse-drawn carriages in it. Consequently I have not seen that many films put out by Hammer. But this take on the Frankenstein story has moved me in a whole new direction and made me want to see more of Fisher's brilliant yet largely over-looked work . And as he made most of his most memorable works with Hammer there will now be lots of Hammer on my queue.
It's already a Junior Library Premier Selection and here's what Lane Smith says about it:
"What an odd, sweet, surreal, and hilarious adventure from Newgarden and Cash. It's what Crockett Johnson, Ernie Bushmiller, and Rod Serling might have come up with if they shared a bench at the doggie park. I love it!"
As visual story telling goes this is a perfect box of smiles for both you and the kids in your life.
Paul Morrissey is a director who was closely associated with Andy Warhol during the days of the Factory. He is a resolutely independent filmmaker with a definite vision. Nothing more can be asked of an Artist.(Of course you can ask many more things of an Artist, but you know what I'm getting at.) Here is the trailer for his film "Flesh For Frankenstein," Shot in Italy in 1973. It's not for everyone (especially kids )but if you see it you won't soon forget it. Later, Paul Parducci
I could give you a lot of Film School jargon about one of my favorite Filmmakers: Guy Maddin. Instead I'll let the man speak through his brilliant work. Here is "The Heart of the World." Later, Paul Parducci My buddy Stephen is Blogging about his latest in New York.
Fitzcarraldo is a film about ambitious dreaming. The kind of dreaming that is usaulally beaten out of you by age eleven or twelve here in the Western world.
Made without the computer effects we take for granted these days it is a stunning testament to the genius and recklessness of Herzog who worked (and worked his cast and crew) under unbelievably difficult conditions. Werner Herzog was at his auteur best and Klaus Kinski was never better.
Just watched George Romero's 1985 Day of the Dead. It is the least discussed of his Zombie masterpieces. Night of the Living Dead is of course both the genesis of the modern Zombie movie as well as the benchmark. The original 1978 Dawn of the Dead is also considered a classic. However, as I see it,"Day of the Dead" although planned (from what I have heard) as the third of a trilogy has gotten short shrift. Last seasons Land of the Dead was wonderfully executed and an extension of the myth of Zombiedom.(particularly with it's theme of Zombie development) But "Day" for this cinema consumer is Romero's darkest vision. With it's subterranean setting and edge of sanity performances, it is a must add for your queue.
I can't thank you all enough for the unbelievable success of the very demented the very angry Nightmare Boss. The DVD has now been released. It includes all 15 Episodes plus the Nightmare Boss Holiday Special. The best place to get it is at Amazon. Later, Paul Parducci
Prepare yourselves, I'm going to say it. We live in amazing times. Technology is advancing geometrically--especially in the area of Artificial Intelligence and computer memory. We may very well be at the threshold of Robots who truly think for themselves. Here is an excellent piece on this from the Daily Mail The potential consciousness of the Internet itself is also becoming a topic of some considerable inquiry, even though a solid definition of consciousness is problematic. This is Computational Neuroscientist Terrence Sejnowski's piece on the Internet from Edge: The World Question Center. And here is an interesting post on Self-Aware Spam. I have to go now, I'm creeping myself out. Later, Paul Parducci
My prayers go out to all the innocent victims of this horrifying crime. Here is the In Memoriam site. Any news organization who is showing the video tape of the monster who did this should be deeply ashamed. To promote or glorify this senseless act in any way is evil beyond words. I believe in a God of Absolute Love and Perfect Justice and right now my prayers are for the power of this Loving God to wrap around the families who have suffered such an unthinkable loss. God Bless, Paul Parducci
Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday in New York at the age of 84.
I read one of his most celebrated works: "Slaughterhouse Five" while in Brother Tom's Lit class in High School. The imagery of it has stayed with me in the form of a crown of white yellow over the shadow edges of ornate buildings. A visual Haiku. It is the novelization of Mr. Vonnegut's direct experience of the fire-bombing of Dresden.
Here is a thorough piece on this one of a kind American author from the LA Times.
Just watched Neil Marshall's Appalachian Cave Horror; "The Descent." (I know I'm late, but my excuse for not watching it in a theater would bore you to death.)
If you enjoyed his previous film "Dog Soldiers," (I certainly did.) you will have a great time with this one. I must warn you however that it is very claustrophobic at times. At one point I had to pause the DVD to geta breath of fresh air.
Marshall is a Writer/Director who is not afraid to go to the bleaker edges of life. In fact the original title for this film was "The Dark."
So, get an oxygen tank and a bowl of popcorn or almonds if you eat low carb and follow Sarah, Juno and the rest of the gals into the bowels of the earth for some tight squeezed, hard to breath, help me please...fun.
My Mom is a terrific lady. with my Dad (also terrific) she raised five boys. She was never however a Joke-ster. I mean she would laugh and she would tell jokes from time to time etc. But she was primarily about the business of cooking meals for her huge brood and doing laundry and keeping the house immaculate, telling us she loved us,(and praying for us) in short my Mom was then and is now a textbook example of the perfect loving Domestic Engineer. That is why the coming of April first was always a surprise for me. I remember one incident in particular, it was a Saturday morning and we were driving to the Grant's department store. (We went there a lot on weekends.) On the way to the on ramp we always passed through a neighborhood of tightly grouped houses. So this morning as we were passing through my Mom said,"Look at that huge hole in that house!"I turned immediately to look and said of course, "Where?" My brother Jim turned as well, craning his head to the side of mine as we both peered out the back window of our Impala station wagon. "April Fool!" my Mom called out. She has gotten me many times over the years. I never expect it, so I always look. We live a continent apart now-so the Fool has to come by phone. Maybe this year I'll get my Mother first. I have to go now and think up something real good. Love you Mom!
I have been overwhelmed by the support for Nightmare Boss. It is now one of the most popular Comedy Mobisodes in the world. (Sprint Powervision Channel 19) As a Filmmaker the greatest feeling is to have a project that you made connect with an audience. After receiving thousands of requests I am happy to announce that Nightmare Boss will be coming to DVD! The entire series is being completely remastered and will be released on or around May 1st. Thank you! Paul Parducci
This Seminal Film Noir really holds up. Directed by Joseph H. Lewis, written by Mackinley Kanter and Dalton Trumbo (who had to use a Pseudonym at the time because of the Blacklist) and starring John Dall and Peggy Cummins in the roles of their lives. For lovers of the Noir style of Crime film this movie is a must see. The Femme Fatale, the existential world-view it's all there as well as the famous Hampton Bank Robbery sequence-(shot in one take from the back seat of the get-away car,word has it that the script had the scene at 17 pages that Lewis simply threw away.)