Charles Austin Miller

New this month Trivia: In this 1955 horror film, Hollywood newcomer Clint Eastwood memorably appeared as a lab assistant (a speaking role) with a white rat in his pocket. Earlier the same day on a different set, Eastwood filmed his very first big-screen role as a jet fighter pilot (another speaking role) in the 1955 horror film "Tarantula," making it a big day for Clint Eastwood.

Charles Austin Miller

5th Nov 2018

Tarantula (1955)

New this month Trivia: Clint Eastwood filmed his very first big-screen role as a jet fighter pilot (an uncredited speaking part) in 1955's "Tarantula"; later that afternoon on another set, Eastwood filmed his role as a lab assistant (a more extensive speaking role) in 1955's "Revenge of the Creature," making it a big day for a Hollywood newcomer.

Charles Austin Miller

New this month Trivia: In addition to portraying and voicing the eponymous 7 Faces (Dr. Lao, the Abominable Snowman, Merlin, Appolonius of Tyana, The Giant Serpent, Pan, and Medusa), actor Tony Randall also appeared without makeup in a two-second cameo, as a solemn spectator in the crowd, for a total of 8 roles in the film.

Charles Austin Miller

21st Oct 2018

Common mistakes

Deliberate mistake: Characters who are being pursued on foot frequently hide in plain sight of their pursuers. You see characters (typically the "good guys") duck around the corner of a building, or a tree, or some other obstacle, where they freeze and glance over their shoulders to watch their oblivious pursuers (typically the "bad guys") wander past just a few feet in the background. Nevermind the fact that the good guy's body is only partially concealed by said obstacle, or not concealed at all. This is an old film-making trick intended to heighten audience tension, even though it is totally illogical.

Charles Austin Miller

Plot hole: Even if Dr. David Trent's and Annabelle Loren's elaborate plan had worked flawlessly (framing Nora Manning for Frederick Loren's death), the fact remains that they faked Annabelle's death for everyone to see, which would immediately arouse suspicions for investigators. Even if Annabelle and Dr. Trent somehow fled the scene before the police arrived the next morning, their actions would still raise many questions that implicated them; thus, their clumsy and convoluted scheme was far from being the "perfect crime" they imagined.

Charles Austin Miller

2nd Oct 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Show generally

Continuity mistake: Over the course of many Dark Shadows episodes set in the year 1795, Countess Natalie Dupres' dark, distinct, three-dimensional facial mole changes sides from left jaw to right jaw, briefly vanishes altogether, then returns as a faint, painted beauty mark on her right jaw.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: A phrase that is traditionally attributed to Liberace is "crying all the way to the bank." Liberace used the phrase throughout his career as a response to critics who often derided his extravagance and flamboyance on stage (in spite of the fact that he was a popular and financial success). The first documented time Liberace used the phrase was following a reception at Madison Square Garden (New York City) in 1956, when he humorously remarked, "The take was terrific, but the critics killed me. My brother George cried all the way to the bank." Thereafter, Liberace used the phrase so often that, over the decades, he came to be regarded as the originator of "crying all the way to the bank"; some sources have even retro-credited him with originating the phrase as far back as 1954. However, newspaper columnist Walter Winchell apparently originated the phrase in 1946, nearly a decade before Liberace started using it.

Charles Austin Miller

25th Sep 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Trivia: Of Dark Shadows' 1225 videotaped episodes, the master tapes of 30 episodes were inadvertently destroyed by the time the series went into syndication. Of the 30 episodes destroyed, 9 were black and white (from the series' first year) and 21 were full-color. Fortunately, 29 of the destroyed episodes were recovered, but only as black-and-white kinescope copies. Thus, when watching the entire original series today, the sequential episodes occasionally switch from color to black-and-white and back to color, with much lower image resolution in the black-and-white kinescope copies. The last episode (number 1225) was lost and the video was never recovered; only an audio backup existed. So, the final episode can only be seen today as a slideshow of production stills accompanied by the audio backup.

Charles Austin Miller

21st Sep 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Trivia: In the opening lines of episode 286, when Victoria Winters admits that she feels very close to the late Josette Collins, Barnabas says, "It's very easy for me to believe that you are descended from Josette." Except that Barnabas knew very well Josette had no descendants; Josette died childless in the late 18th Century (a suicide). The implication is that Victoria is a reincarnation of Josette. Later in the series, however, Victoria travels back in time and actually meets Josette, but the two characters share no closeness at all, even though they share the same soul.

Charles Austin Miller

21st Sep 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Trivia: Actor Dennis Patrick brilliantly portrayed the cruel, manipulative character of Jason McGuire in the first and second seasons of the show. In the story line, Jason McGuire was blackmailing Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard for the death of her husband, Paul Stoddard, 18 years earlier. Deservedly, Jason McGuire was murdered by Barnabas Collins. Two years later, Dennis Patrick returned to the show, this time portraying Elizabeth's long-lost and very-much-alive husband Paul Stoddard.

Charles Austin Miller

21st Sep 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Trivia: A prominent first-season character, Burke Devlin was originally portrayed by actor Mitchell Ryan. However, Ryan was abruptly fired from the show in 1967 due to his alcoholism. Actor Anthony George assumed the remainder of the role until Burke Devlin's death (in a plane crash) in 1968.

Charles Austin Miller

21st Sep 2018

Dark Shadows (1966)

Trivia: Barnabas is typically seen wearing a gold ring with a large black onyx stone on his right hand (as also depicted in both of his portraits). However, depending on the requirements of the camera shot, the ring occasionally appeared on his left hand (as when Barnabas reached from his coffin to strangle Jason McGuire, for one example).

Charles Austin Miller

Revealing mistake: Early in the film, when Commander Chris Draper is still wearing his space gear on the Martian surface, multiple helmet reflections reveal that at least two and as many as four powerful artificial light sources (in addition to the Sun) were used to illuminate the exterior scenes.

Charles Austin Miller

10th Sep 2018

Fireball XL5 (1962)

Trivia: The characters of "Fireball XL5" frequently left the protection of their spacecraft and floated around in open space with no helmets or spacesuits whatsoever. Producer Gerry Anderson's lame explanation was that, in the year 2067, spacefarers used "oxygen pills" that not only kept them oxygenated but also protected them from vacuum, lethal radiation and temperature extremes (so they didn't need spacesuits). In reality, the "Fireball XL5" characters didn't wear spacesuits or helmets because costume changes meant literally ripping the previous costumes off the puppets and meticulously sewing on new costumes, which would have exceeded the show's production schedule and budget.

Charles Austin Miller

Stupidity: As the movie progresses, we see the deranged killer, Martin, collecting a dozen victims for his Human Centipede project and depositing the victims in a sealed chamber. Every time we see the victims, they are nude, face-down (always in the same positions on the floor), struggling and moaning and sobbing. However, their hands are only duct-taped behind their backs, and their ankles are duct-taped. There is nothing to prevent these victims from rolling over, sitting up, standing, and even assisting each other to escape. Yet they never change positions or attempt to escape.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: During the surgical operation, Dr. Heiter makes incisions on the buttocks for the triangular flaps of connecting flesh; but the flaps are pointing outward, rather than inward. The only way to graft the buttock flesh to the face of the next subject would be with the buttock incisions pointing inward.

Charles Austin Miller

10th Sep 2018

The Exorcist (1973)

Trivia: For the scene in which Father Dyer rushes to give last rites to Father Karras before his death, actor William O'Malley (who played Dyer) was not conveying the urgency, anxiety and grief that director William Friedkin wanted for the scene. According to O'Malley, William Friedkin grabbed O'Malley by the shoulders, screamed and cursed in his face and slapped him before rolling the camera. Thus, O'Malley was authentically shaken up, trembling and on the verge of sobbing in that scene.

Charles Austin Miller

10th Sep 2018

Tom Horn (1980)

Factual error: In this poorly-researched film ("based on a true story"), Tom Horn lugs around a government-issue, lever-action 45.60 caliber rifle and even claims that he prefers the 45.60 because the ammunition is plentiful wherever he goes. However, there is no historical or biographical record of Tom Horn carrying and using a 45.60 rifle. In point of fact, the real Tom Horn's weapon of choice was the lever-action 30.30 rifle (a common range weapon of the day, often known as a "brushbuster"). When Tom Horn was arrested for murder in real life, he was carrying his 30.30 rifle, but a 45.60 cartridge was discovered in his pocket. This film fabricated its fictional plot around that 45.60 cartridge found in his possession.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: In his crude attempt to replicate the Human Centipede surgical procedure, Martin employs several handyman tools, including a carpenter's staple gun (using T50 staples as sutures). Problem is, carpenter's staples would never join soft human body tissues, they'd pull right out with little effort (T50 staples only join to very solid base materials, such as wood). Martin's victims, hysterical as they were, could have freed themselves from the T50 staples almost immediately.

Charles Austin Miller

3rd Sep 2018

Fireball XL5 (1962)

Show generally

Question: In various episodes, Steve Zodiac, Venus and Matt use odd slang, such as "tootie" and "tooties" and "toot," usually in a demeaning or disparaging way. Venus says, "I'm a tootie!" when she forgets to make the coffee, for example, and Steve says "I'm a tootie!" when he forgets to press a certain button or something. In at least one episode, Matt is called "a cheating old toot." I gather that saying "toot" or "tootie" is like saying "fool" or "doofus" or something similar. Is this slang that producer Gerry Anderson just arbitrarily dreamed up? Or is it part of an English dialect that I've never heard elsewhere?

Charles Austin Miller

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