#53 June 2003
CLUB NEWS
OH HECK…JUST READ THEM ALL

TV NEWS
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA RE CREATED
BUFFY STAR TALKS OF THE SPIN OFF 
BLUE TO DEBUT 
DOING THE ANGEL SHUFFLE
MORE SHOWS BITE THE GALATIC DUST
THE “DEAR GOD WHY?” DEPARTMENT
EVENT NEWS
June 13-15    BUFFYCON 
June 15-16 Asian Fantasy Film Expo 
July 4-6 CastleCon 16 
July 11-13  Shore Leave 25
LITERARY NEWS
JEANNES BOOKSHELF 
THE COMICS and GRAPHIC NOVELS HOUR
MOVIE NEWS
SHORE WILL SCORE WITH KING KONG! 
TOSS HIM THE WHIP 
BOOK 3 – RETURN OF THE KING 
6 MINUTES OF THE 28 DAYS 
VAMPIRE IN ULTRAVIOLET 
STEPFORD WIVES – THE COMEDY? 
DUNST OUT, HOWARD IN - THE WOODS
T3 WRITERS GO WESTWORLD 
ROSS MAY BE AT THE HELM OF BUTTON 
WRITER NOW DIRECTS IN BLADE III
COMIC, A MOVIE

MOVIE NEWS
CAVIEZEL GETS FINAL CUT 
JOHN WILLIAMS – A BUSY 
CAMERON TAKES ON THE BATTLE
FLYING THE KITE
LIVE ACTION LONE WOLF AND CUB 
HULK SMASHING TIME
ACTION FIGURE NEWS
COLLECTIBLES CORNER
MUST SEE MOVIES 
HULK, 28 DAYS LATER, SINBAD, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, XLG
DVD NEWS
THE ANIMATRIX – THIS IS THE ONE
DIE ANOTHER DAY
VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR 
GENESIS CLIMBER MOSPEADA
FAREWELLS
Robert Stack

THE LAST "WARD"
 

ICS CALENDER
MARK THESE DATES:
JUNE 13 – BUFFY CON weekend
JUNE 20 – HULK opens
JUNE 27 – 28 DAYS opens
JUNE  28 – ICS meeting – With guest Tom Weaver 
 

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 MAY MEETING – FIRST - SKILLS 

    Our May 2003 meeting began with a rousing game of ICS Academic; MC’d by Dave Willard.  Tim Fleming, John Ward and John Weber played on the winning team; THE BRAINS THAT WOULDN’T DIE and all walked away with double vote cards!  John Weber won the grand prize, a 6 pack of DVDs.  Congrats to the winners and a big thanks to all whom played!  Their opponents were Barry Murphy, Gary Roberson and Blake Woodward-Sherbloom on THE BRAINS FROM PLANET AROUS team and Skip Phillips, Steve Vaught and Troy Farwell on THE HEADLESS GHOSTS team. 
    And it was a game of champions.  Applause to all the contestants and a side note, Tim will never forget that Killer shrews and Shakespeare do not mix. 

THEN - THRILLS
 SHAZAAM!  Our own Masked Auctioneer, Barry Murphy, presented previews of five serials.  After seeing 10,000 pieces of smashed pottery, 5,000 fistfights and two-fifths of the Village People, the club voted THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL as our next serial.  Stay tuned next month for Chapter 1 as we watch a bewildered Billy Batson transform into the titular superhero.

FINALLY - CHILLS
 Another club superhero, The Minimum Bid Kid (AKA Joe Plempel), brought in the film selections for the evening.  We watched TALE OF THE MUMMY.  Thanks for the great film, Joe!

NEWS OF OUR JUNE MEETING: THE BASICS 
  Our June meeting will be held on Saturday June 28 at 5:30 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it, there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll talk you in. 

SPECIAL JUNE EVENT!
  Mark your calendar!  Film researcher, historian and author, Tom Weaver, is coming to our June meeting.  He will do a presentation on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, show the film and have a discussion afterwards.  For the past 20 years, Tom has interviewed numerous actors, writers, producers and directors, has written nearly 20 books.  This includes 'Universal Horrors', an examination of the studio's classic chillers of the 1930s and 1940s, has written liner notes, production histories and cast bios for hundreds of laserdiscs and DVDs, and has provided DVD audio commentaries for several films.  It will be an enjoyable and informative meeting!

WELCOME TO THE CLUB - SIMON!
  Simon is a buddy of Steve Vaught.  He has lots to say about imaginative cinema and TV and fits into our club just great!  Welcome to ICS, Simon! 

SPY MUSEUM FIELD TRIP– IT HAS SELF-DESTRUCTED
 The second attempted group trip to the Spy Museum planned for May 10th fell through.  Tickets were sold out until 1:00 in the afternoon.  At this point, there are no further plans made for group trips.  This seems like a hot ticket, so if you’re up for a day trip to DC, consider going to the Spy Museum.

FANEX 17
    FANEX 17 is scheduled to take place from Friday August 1 to Sunday August 3.  We are asking for donations of movies (tape, DVD, laserdisc) and collectible figures/toys for a dealer’s table.  We will also need help at the tables, so please think about donating an hour or two.  We’d really appreciate it!  Check out www.midmar.com for more info on FANEX 17.

A DRIVE IN MOVIE FIELD TRIP
    Bengie’s Drive In is going to be the scene of an ICS field trip extravaganza.  Slated for July 19, 2003 ICS members will meet and enjoy the summer fun of the drive in movie.  Bengie’s is one of two remaining Drive Ins here in Maryland.  It has the perfect flavor to it – the snack bar loaded with real food, (burgers/dogs/pizza and such) the big screen and even the mosquitoes!  A new way to hear the movie is through the car radio.  They will set the sound to play on a certain so you turn your car radio on and tune the movie in.  And remember there are always the back seat windows to get steamy!

“What sort of respectable mummy snuffs it without leaving a mother curse on her tomb?”
– Bradley Cortese – TALE OF THE MUMMY (1998)
“We belong dead.”  - Boris Korloff in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN  (1935)

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA RE CREATED
    Fans are curious about the "reimagined" BATTLESTAR GALACTICA currently under production in Vancouver for the SCI FI Channel.  A report at www.scifi.com indicates that the new series will be a mix of the original TV series with new designs. 
A few items will remain the same -- the Colonial coins -- cubits -- are modeled after the original props.  The Galactica Vipers are identical to the original, but a new ship, the Raptor, has been added to the fleet. 
    However, some old favorites are missing -- the fighter pilot Egyptian-style helmets will be more streamlined.  The villainous Cylon appearance is still under wraps.  Visual special effects supervisor Gary Hutzler said in a recent interview that the old-style Cylon has been renamed "the harbinger of doom" and will be on display as an example of what the Cylons looked like in the past.  Battlestar Galactica will debut in December.
BUFFY STAR TALKS OF THE SPIN OFF 
    Former BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER star Anthony Stewart Head, who played Giles on the show, says he and creator Joss Whedon hope to make a TV movie in coming years called RIPPER.
    The project would focus on Head's frequently bemused character's darker side. Although the idea could become a TV series, he said, neither he nor Whedon want the character to get mired in a monster-of-the-week format.  "He said he's more interested in the character of Giles and what happens to him alone, in his solitude," Head said.
BLUE TO DEBUT 
    The SCI FI Channel will premiere the original feature-length UFO documentary OUT OF THE BLUE as part of its Tuesday Declassified prime-time block, 9 p.m., June 24. 
    Filmmakers James Fox, Tim Coleman and Boris Zubov produced the documentary, which takes a look at the legitimacy of the UFO phenomenon and features military and government personnel going on record for the first time saying that certain unidentified flying objects could be of extraterrestrial origin.  Peter Coyote narrates.
    The documentary features former astronauts, including Apollo 14's Edgar Mitchell, disclosing knowledge of the covert effort to keep the subject matter classified.  Military personnel also recall witnessing UFOs' disabling nuclear missiles during test flights.  And former U.S. presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter come forward to offer accounts about their involvement with the UFO phenomenon.

DOING THE ANGEL SHUFFLE
    WB has renewed ANGEL for another season.  Also, James Marsters (Spike) will become a full time cast memeber on Angel next year.  Joss Whedon will write several scripts for the show and also direct some episodes.
    A bit more news about next season's ANGEL: Charisma Carpenter (Cordellia) will not be returning as a series regular next season. The BUFFY cast regulars may make guest appearances next season, and that in addition to ordering a fifth season, WB has an option for a sixth season.
MORE SHOWS BITE THE GALATIC DUST
    This past TV season started off with what looked like a promising variety of new speculative fiction shows.  A number of them were killed off before they had even been given a full first season.  HUANTED was the first to go (and wasn't much of a loss).  Then BIRDS OF PREY and FIREFLY joined the list of early cancellations.  Now, at the end of the season, two more shows have been added to the list of casualties.  UPN has cancelled THE TWILIGHT ZONE after its first season.  Also FOX has cancelled JOHN DOE as well as officially acknowledging that that FIREFLY and FUTURAMA are really cancelled and not just "on hiatus". 
THE “DEAR GOD WHY?” DEPARTMENT
    SCIFI has ordered up nine new episodes of SCARE TACTICS starting Friday, June 20.  Host Shannen Doherty will also return for the new episodes.  Created by Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey (NBC's "Spy TV"), SCARE TACTICS debuted on April 4 and the producers have been flooded with requests from people eager to set friends and family up on a good natured science fiction hoax. 
    One suggestion was to have Tim surrounded by Killer Shrews and the only way out is for him recite Shakespeare to them.

“WHHHIIINNNNEEEEYYYYY!!!!!”.......
The Horse after Frau Blucher’s name is mentioned anytime in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)

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June 13-15    BUFFYCON will be held at the Holiday Inn in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. It is a fan-run convention for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Angel, and all the associated comics and novels. 
Guests include Robin Sachs (Ethan Rayne) and Laura Ann Gilman. 
Pre-registered memberships are $30 prior to 4/28.  Contact information is: BUFFYCON/P.O. Box 1935/New York, NY 10159-1935 or 617-776-3243 (Fax) or email info@buffycon.org.

June 15-16 Asian Fantasy Film Expo! America's ultimate Japanese giant monster & sci-fi event kicks into its 3rd big year.  It’s being held on at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey with an all new line-up of celebrity guests, professional presentations, exhibits, film screenings, a HUGE dealers room chock full of the latest Japanese sci-fi collectibles, a model kit building contest and lots more! Stay tuned to the web site for all the latest news and information as it develops.

July 4-6 CastleCon 16 "The Washington area's most unique convention".  Featuring Gaming, LARPing, dealers' Room, Music, Dancing, Poetry, Art Gallery (and Art Auction on Sunday), Discussions, Workshops, Movies, Miniatures-Painting.

July 11-13  Shore Leave 25: The Ultimate Trek Con in the Baltimore area!!!
This years Guests include:
John Rhys-Davies Gimli in Lord of the Rings, Sallah in Indiana Jones, Professor Arturo in Sliders.
Marina Sirtis Cmdr. Deanna Troi in ST:TNG 
Andrea Thompson Talia Winters in Babylon 5
Marc Singer Dartanus in Beastmaster, Mike Donovan in V 
Vaughn Armstrong Admiral Forrest in Enterprise; played ten more different roles in four Star Trek series
Carolyn Seymour Cmdr. Toreth in TNG, 
Phil Morris Lt. John Kelly in VOY, other Trek/B-5 guest roles Alan Ruck Captain John Harriman in Star Trek: Generations 
BarBara Luna Lt. Marlena Moreau in Star Trek
Robert O'Reilly Klingon Chancellor Gowron in ST:TNG and ST:DS9
J.G. Hertzler Klingon General Martok in ST:DS9, Hirogen in Voyager
Denise Crosby has just joined the party and will be doing some filming for her sequel movie called TREKKIES 2.  They are looking for participants.

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JEANNES BOOKSHELF                           by Jeanne Matcovich
This section will be short reviews on books new and old and all read in this month

The Wee Free Men
by Tery Pratchett  $12.99

    When you have an author as good as Terry Pratchett, you expect that the result will be a novel of great invention, assured comic timing and a generally all-round highly readable fantasy.  Readers of The Wee Free Men will not be disappointed.  After winning the prestigious Carnegie Medal award for his previous story of Discworld, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Pratchett has followed up with another irresistibly entertaining adventure.

   In this story we find a Miss Perspicacia Tick, a witch of some renown, worried about a ripple in the walls of the universe--probably another world making contact.  As we know, this is not good.  This errant activity is centered on some chalk country--where traditionally good witches simply do not grow well. 

    Fortunately, Miss Tiffany Aching, who is nine years old, does want to be a witch and has just proved herself to be of great potential by whacking a big Green Monster from the river with a huge frying pan while using her annoying younger brother as bait.  Seeing this, Miss Tick is impressed. So, after dispensing some stop gap advice to Tiffany (the new witch) about holding the fort until she gets back, Miss Tick is off.

 Tiffany realizes the seriousness of the situation when the Queen of the Fairies kidnaps her younger brother.  The real adventure begins.  With the help of a talking frog, loaned by Miss Tick, and an army of thieving, warmongering, nippy, boozy wee free men called the Nac Mac Feegle (who used to work for the Queen but rebelled), Tiffany sets off rescue her kin. 

    There's humour at every turn, and the situations that follow are both wonderfully dramatic and preposterously unreal.  Pratchett really is the master of his genre and it's difficult to imagine a more entertaining read. 

AND INTRODUCING – THE COMICS and GRAPHIC NOVELS HOUR

This months feature - the ANIME Graphic novels coming out this summer. 
By Taylor Sherblom-Woodward

“G-Gundam”, volume 1, by Koichi Tokita, english language version published by Tokyopop. Release date, 06/17/03, $9.99, A total of 3 volumes to come in all
    This is the manga version of the TV show MOBILE FIGHTER G GUNDAM (currently airing on Cartoon Network, in the Toonami block).  The story is set in an alternate world of the Gundam universe where instead fighting wars, countries fight for power in tournaments with giant robots with young pilots.

“Pet Shop of Horrors”, volume 1 by Mari Akino, english language version published by Tokyopop. Release date, 06/17/03, $9.99, total of ten books.
    A rather unusual horror story about a pet shop that doesn't sell ordinary pets.  Owned by the mysterious "Count D", each of the pets sold come with a special gift and a certain contract which the new owners must follow. 
    Each book has four stories about the various people who go into the store, and the detective who has been investigating the store for the deaths connected to it.  There were also some short animated pieces produced for this show, released on DVD by Urban Vision here in the US.

“Vampire Game" volume 1, by Judal, english language version published by Tokyopop. Release date 06/17/03, $9.99. 12 volumes in all.
    Hundreds of years ago two kings, Phelios and Dusel fought to the death where they prophesized that they shall meet again.  But now King Dusel finds himself reincarnated as a cat, and even worse, he's adopted by Phelios' great-granddaughter Ishtar.  So now he has to continue his quest for revenge to find Phelios himself without tipping off Ishtar, her caretaker, Sir Keld or her guard, Captain Dales, about the truth.

"Samurai Deeper Kyo" volume 1, by Kamijyo Akamine, english language version published by Tokyopop.
Release date 06/10/03, $9.99, 18 volumes
    A fairly popular series in Japan, and also an anime, the first DVD of which is being released by Media Blasters on June 24th.  A peaceful medicine man name Kyoshiro is mistaken fo the fearful Warrior Demon Eyes Kyo by a bounty hunter, Yuya Shina.  After realizing the mistake, she takes Kyoshiro with her for help, but later in battle he is revealed to also contain the spirit Kyo within himself.  Kyo and Kyoshiro are different entities in one body, and while Kyo does not wish to hurt anyone, outside forces wish to draw the spirit
 
 

If any ICS members would like to share their view on a recent book that they’ve read – fiction or non-fiction, please email it  attn betsy at ICSBETSPOTS@aol.com.

We are a cinema club, but many movies we watch were started in book form with our own imaginations creating the images that come to life in the films we love.
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SHORE WILL SCORE WITH KING KONG! 
    Academy Award-winning LORD OF THE RINGS composer Howard Shore will reportedly continue to work for director Peter Jackson after completion of the trilogy.
    "Peter has asked me to work with him on KING KONG and I am looking forward to our further collaboration", Howard said.
    KING KONG, to be written by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, is aiming for a 2005 release date.
TOSS HIM THE WHIP AND HAT AGAIN
    Harrison Ford has completed his script for a proposed fourth INDIANA JONES movie. "Steven [Spielberg]'s quite happy with it," Ford said "I'm expecting to see it in a couple of weeks."
    Ford added that he worked closely with director Spielberg, Darabont and executive producer George Lucas on the story.  "The way the process works is that George and Frank work together, then Steven gets the script, then I get the script, and we all work together.  We all met together and talked about it before they started writing."
    Ford said that he remains eager to reprise his most famous role because of fans' demands for a fourth installment in the franchise.  "It pleases me to play a character that audiences want to see," he said.  "I know that it's eagerly anticipated, and I want us to do a good job, make a film at least as good as the ones we've made before."  The fourth as-yet-untitled Indy movie is slated to begin filming in the summer of 2004, with an eye to a July 2005 release.
BOOK 3 – RETURN OF THE KING PREMIERES DOWN UNDER 
    The Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand, will host the world premiere of LOTR: THE RETURN OF THE KING on December 1.
    Mayor Kerry Prendergast believes it could be the biggest event ever held in the capital, surpassing the premieres of the first two movies. Director Peter Jackson was unavailable for comment. He is currently filming additional scenes for ROTK in Wellington. 
    The announcement follows a chaotic six weeks which saw the council meet three times to first agree to funding for the Embassy refurbishment, then rescind the decision, before finally this month agreeing to a $4.5 million underwrite.
6 MINUTES OF THE 28 DAYS 
    Fox Searchlight wants to scare you a bit earlier than June 27, when Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER is set for release here.  The studio has made available the first six minutes from the creepy film at Apple!
    The movie follows like this, a powerful virus is unleashed on the British public following a raid on a primate research facility by animal rights activists.  Transmitted in a drop of blood and devastating within seconds, the virus locks those infected into a permanent state of murderous rage.  Within 28 days the country is overwhelmed and a handful of survivors begin their attempts to salvage a future, little realizing that the deadly virus is not the only thing that threatens them. 

VAMPIRE IN ULTRAVIOLET 
    After signing Milla Jovovich to topline the Alexander Witt-directed RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE, Screen Gems has set her to follow by playing the title character in ULTRAVIOLET, a futuristic vampire film that will shoot in Shanghai in December.
    Jovovich plays the title character, a tough woman who finds herself the protector of a 9-year-old boy targeted for death.  The backdrop is a civil war in the late 21st century between humans and a subculture turned into vampires.  She's one of the latter.
Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium) wrote the script and will direct.  He wrote the film specifically for Jovovich after watching her work in RESIDENT EVIL.
STEPFORD WIVES – THE COMEDY? 
    According to Donald De Line, producer of the upcoming remake of THE STEPFORD WIVES, the film reinvents the story by going for laughs, but preserves the central SF premise.  In the original and the remake the men of a Connecticut village have replaced their wives with robots.  "You can remake something, [or] you can do it in a way where you take iconic elements of an original and then make it original again for its time," De Line said in an interview.  "That's what is done with THE STEPFORD WIVES, [which] completely turns it on its head, because now it's a comedy."
STEPFORD—based on Bryan Forbes' 1975 movie and Ira Levin's novel—starts filming June 16 in New York, with a cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Glenn Close and Matthew Broderick, De Line said. Frank Oz directs from Paul Rudnick's script.
DUNST OUT, HOWARD IN - THE WOODS 
    Kirsten Dunst has dropped out as the female lead in M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming supernatural thriller film THE WOODS and will be replaced by newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard.  Howard, 21, is a stage actress and actor-turned-director Ron Howard's daughter.
    Howard will co-star with Ashton Kutcher and Joaquin Phoenix.  THE WOODS is set in 1897 and tells the story of a close-knit community and a mythical race of creatures residing in the nearby forest.  The movie is slated to shoot in October in Philadelphia.
    Yes as Gary will tell us, there are mythical creatures in Philadelphia.
T3 WRITERS GO WESTWORLD 
    Writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato (Terminator 3: ROTM) will pen Warner Brothers' proposed remake of WESTWORLD, to be produced by Jerry Weintraub and T3 star Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The writers have already drafted a script for CATWOMAN, a Pitof-directed film at Warner to star Halle Berry.
    Warner and Weintraub are eyeing WESTWORLD as the next star vehicle for Schwarzenegger, who will not be playing Yul Brynner's role of the robotic gunfighter, but will instead play one of the virtual resort's guests.  The original 1973 SF movie was based on Michael Crichton's script.

ROSS MAY BE AT THE HELM OF BUTTON 
    Filmmaker Gary Ross is in final talks to direct the fantasy film THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON for Paramount Pictures.  The film adapts F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, about a man who begins aging backward from the age of 50.
    Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, who worked with Ross on his upcoming SEABISCUIT, are producing BUTTON with Ray Stark and Marykay Powell.
    At one time, Spike Jonze was attached to direct. Jim Taylor originally adapted the story for the screen, and Ross came aboard after reading a new draft by Eric Roth.
WRITER NOW DIRECTS IN BLADE III 
David Goyer, who wrote all three BLADE movies, will get his chance to direct with the upcoming BLADE III.  Goyer and star Wesley Snipes haven't met to sign off on dates, but the studio expects to begin production in Vancouver, B.C., this summer.
    In the third installment of the franchise, which is based on the Marvel Comics series, Blade the vampire hunter must reverse an apocalyptic event that threatens to bring Earth under the vampires' control.
    Goyer is also writing BATMAN for Warner Brothers.  He also co-wrote New Line's upcoming FREDDY VS JASON, which is slated for an Aug. 15 release.
COMIC, A MOVIE ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE US 
    STAR WARS actor Mark Hamill will star in and direct COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE, a semifictional documentary for Creative Light.  Slated for a fall release, COMIC BOOK is an improv film that follows the world's biggest comic fan, who has been hired to direct a documentary about his favorite comic-book heroes of all time.
    The movie was filmed on location at San Diego's Comic-Con International and features cameos from SPIDER MAN creator Stan Lee, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and SIMPSONS creator Matt Groening, among others.  Mark Hamill is himself a huge comic book collector and has often voiced for animated cartoons like Batman.  This will be an interestinG movie to see. 
CAVIEZEL GETS FINAL CUT 
Jsim Caviezel (The Passion) will star opposite Robin Williams in the SF thriller film FINAL CUT for Lions Gate Films.  The movie goes into production June 29.
Written and to be directed by Omar Naim, FINAL CUT is set in a world where implanted microchips can record all moments of an individual's life. Caviezel portrays the leader of the organization that opposes the technology's development.
Nick Wechsler produces the project, with Guymon Casady executive producing.
JOHN WILLIAMS – A BUSY YEAR FOR YOU! 
    Conductor-composer extraordinaire John Williams has signed on to write the score for the next Harry Potter film, which recently began production and is due out next year.  Williams supervised the music for the first two movies, but for HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN he's actually writing it.  (If all goes well, he'll do the score for ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,'' the fourth film based on J.K. Rowling's novels.) 
    Williams is booked for a slew of movies in 2005, including Steven Spielberg's remake of THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, INDIANA JONES 4 and of course, STAR WARS EPISODE III.  Busy guy that Mr.Williams!
CAMERON TAKES ON THE BATTLE
    James Cameron's next work will not be a sequel to the popular TRUE LIES but instead may be a live action adaptation of Viz's graphic novel Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kashiro. 
    GUNNM, as the work was originally titled in Japan, is the story of a young female cyborg found in a scrap heap by a man named Ido who fixes her up and renames her "Gally" (changed to "Alita" by Viz when the work was brought over to America).  The set of books follow her journey as she struggles to remember who she was and to free herself of the violence and horror of the world she lives in.
    The script and story is being worked on, Cameron says of the work "It needs to be focused and fused and given a more central storyline.  But the character will be very true to Alita as she is in the manga".  The fact that he refers to her as Alita may indicate that he is following the Viz adaptation of the work and not exactly Kashiro's model.
    Even more interesting is the fact that Cameron is already talking about a sequel, he says, "I definitely want to do more than one film.  I want to create a world and a character that can go through at least more than one film, possibly more… there's the possibility for a real mythology here, so I feel that this is a good canvas to do something with a bit more scope."  Something to look forward to here.
FLYING THE KITE
    And also jumping on the bandwagon for cashing in on popular anime francises is Distant Horizon, who has acquired the rights to make a live action version of Yasuomi Umetsu's controversial work KITE.
   Rob Cohen is already lined up to direct, as he is apparently a big fan of the work.  "Kite", which is about a young girl named Sawa, who is manipulated by a crooked detective, who uses her as a tool for vigilante justice.  This is mostly known among anime fans for it's highly controversial but thought provoking content, containing a lot of brutal violence as well as several graphic adult situations.
    When the original was brought over to the US these scenes were edited out, though most of them were added back in for the later "Director's cut" edition.  In the press release, Distant Horizon stated that "The beautiful but deadly action sequences will remain, as will the tense and gut-wrenching approach to character conflict, but the live action Kite will forego the graphic adult situations in the Umetsu version." 
    Aw, no live action graphic nudity – just gut wrenching character conflict.  Well we can go see it anyway!
HOW ABOUT LIVE ACTION LONE WOLF AND CUB 
    Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) has been asked to direct an American live-action adaptation of the “Lone Wolf and Cub" graphic novels by Kazuo Koike. 
    "Lone Wolf and Cub" is an Edo period drama about a disgraced samurai seeking to restore his family's honor.  Released in America by Dark Horse it has been one of the best selling graphic novels published in America, and is also reported to be an influence on the ROAD TO PERDITION.
HULK SMASHING TIME
Premiere Movie Special
Beware-this is a piece written and researched by Betsy -it may contain some spoilers 

    "We knew we wanted to make a movie that, in essence, paid real homage to "The Incredible Hulk" and also to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original vision" said HULK producer James Schamus.  "We also knew that we wanted to create a movie that nobody had ever seen before, both in terms of its language, the transitions and the multiple frames, as well as the place it takes you emotionally in this comic book world."
    They did that.  This movie is a combination of various aspects of film - CGI is a big part and the part that everyone is talking about.  What they don't know is the 'why' that goes behind the movie. 
    Schamus says "We wanted to emphasize the psychology of it. One of the first things I did was I screened for those involved Rouben Mamoulian's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" from 1932.  There is a line in the HULK, where Eric says, "the thing that scares me the most is I like it."  That was inspired directly from watching Fredric March become Mr. Hyde and knowing that he just loves it!  The 1932 version of Jekyll and Hyde was the sexiest and most creepy performance, I think, in Hollywood history." 
    HULK opens on June 20th.  And there are still a lot of questions that fans have.  Some are about his coloring.  The color of the Hulk and the CGI motion creation of him and how real will it seem.  In this movie, the Hulk started out as a very bright green character and when they saw the first shots they decided to add to his hue and texture.  He has some gray to his green, and it is ironically reminiscent of the very first Hulk in the comics who was gray.  The green was added to the comic when more color was thought to make him more likable a character. 
    These thoughts and more have come up through out the filming. There was even some talk -believe it or not -about giving Hulk some nudity and whether or not his pants would stay on.  James Shamus said  "There was a lot of thought put into pants or no pants.  It sounds funny but we talked about a couple of things.  The frontal nudity was a bigger issue than the back nudity.  We struggled with that all the way." 
    There is a scene where he fights some mutant horse/dog creatures and originally it was shot with him having nothing on.  The producers and director took a look at that and then they tried to darken that area.  Schamus says “the chuckle came when we realized, even if we were to darken it, the kids of today looking at it on the DVD - well they would just want to crank that up.  Somehow they're going to get to the point where they realize that there's nothing there and it's gonna blow the cover”.  So, they made the decision to stay within the norm of superheroes. 
    The Incredible Hulk is a comic that has been around for many years and often the question is simple one, "Is The Hulk really a super hero?" 
    James Schamus said, "I would have to say, even now, no, not really in the traditional sense.  He is the anti hero that is and isn't good.  Unlike most super heroes who get in the long underwear and go save kids on the bus from the bridge, the Hulk, as we know, has a hard time keeping his clothes on and not breaking things.”
    The Hulk has gone through many events and changes in his years as a comic book hero and in the TV show from the eighties that showed us many stories of his life.  One thing seems to be shown and is found in this movie also the innocence factor. 
    On the innocence factor Schamus said "He does things yet he's an innocent.  He's like a kid.  A two-year-old has a temper tantrum and they're just screaming and gurgling and hyperventilating and hulking out.  That's Hulk.  That kid in the supermarket not getting the candy.  There's the Hulk, right there.  But at the same time it's a kid.  Now most kids can't smash you with their thumb.  Yet Hulk has some of that kind of innocence.”  They selected a Director that could show this. Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger), was chosen.  Ang Lee took the Hulk to heart and wanted to tell his story.  The story about Hulks emotions and his feelings and perspective."
    Besides being Director, Ang Lee was the Hulk.  He wanted to act out the body and face used for the close up shots.  He knew what he wanted the Hulk to be portraying and he could do it.  So he was garbed in a wired motion capture unit that recorded his movements - Ang was the raging Hulk, the Hulk in love and the Hulk wondering his purpose in life. 
    Ang said that he loved the chance to do this and said that he found it very theraputic.  He was able to release emotions and not be hindered.  He said he enjoyed being the Hulk for a little while. 
    As a Director, Ang Lee has said that he was very inspired by the comic and often went back to look at it.  He also had specific panels from the classic books that he envisioned and wanted to include in the story.  There were big, huge blow-ups of certain comic book pages that struck him as he went through. The art department was full of those sorts of inspirations. 
    There is a lot of fervor about the trailer and how all look so cartoony and not drawing you in to see it.  For the marketing people it seemed an impossible task with this movie, because they not only dealt with what you kind of see in that trailer, which is "Hulk smash," but also trying to show it also as an engaging, engrossing psycho-drama.  James Schamus said "They had a lot of stuff to do in thirty seconds or sixty seconds to show both the action and the drama."
    Schamus had this to say about the fan worries, "Try to remember that this Hulk is a computer generated character. It's not a computer generated effect.  He’s a character.  That's one of the things that we stepped beyond in this picture. We referred to that as "he" not "it." That's a big step, which hasn't ever been done before.  He was a member of our cast." 
    Why has Hulk been popular after all these years? Well he is everybody. Everybody's The Hulk. Think about it.  You've had your moment. You've ended up with a broken toe or a plate of food on your lap or something, and then you've Hulked out, done the ARGH thing and at that moment it felt great. That one second, or even a nanosecond. It's after that that we all have to deal with which is, "oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." 
    The Hulk just wakes up and he doesn't remember that that's what happened to him or what he has done.  He has the innocence not to know but the human consciousness to wonder.  It's in all of us. 
.

“You won’t like me when I’m angry”   - Banner , THE INCREDIBLE HULK  (1978)
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COLLECTIBLES CORNER
BY GARY  I Love Model Kits But I'm Too Lazy  To Put Them Together
So They Sit On My Closet Shelves For Some Future Time ROBERSON

     "Mrs. Peel... We're Needed!"  If those words bring back pleasant memories of one of the most creative shows in television history, then you might want to look into getting the set of 12" John Steed and Emma Peel  Action Figures from the BBC classic series, THE AVENGERS.  These are strictly an import item from the U.K., and I personally ordered mine from www.amoktime.com, however some other outlets carry them....but... they're going fast!   Steed comes resplendant in a light brown Edwardian suit with his bowler and umbrella, and Emma kicks butt in her black leather jumpsuit and carries her gold-plated revolver.  The set even comes with a tiny champagne bottle and 2 glasses!

     The Disney classic 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA will be out on DVD shortly, and if you have a hankering for a 12'' replica of the Nautilus, complete with attacking Giant Squid(!), again, check out www.amoktime.com.  This is an import item from Japan (you now know it's going to cost a lot of Yen...) which I haven't found on any other outlets.  There's a hidden button on the sub that, when depressed, plays a recording of Kirk Douglas (as harpooner Ned Land) singing "Whale of a Tale" from the movie.  This toy is made by the incredible company, X-Plus, who puts out all those great cold cast Ray Harryhausen figures!

    I have seen advanced photos of several dioramas from a little film called LORD OF THE RINGS that are intriguing.  The sets are called Armies of Middle Earth with Environment, but I don't know who puts them out...  One is Bridge at Khazad-Dun and features Gandalf fighting Balrog on the crumbling footbridge, with a goblin archer(?)   Looks verrrryyyy cool, although it's not in scale. (I guesss if it was, with a 2" Gandalf, the set would be 5' long!)  The other one I've seen is Sauraman's Chambers, and features Gandalf battling Saruman, and smacking Wormtongue around. (Brad Dourif has got to be the greatest actor, this side of Andy Robinson, at playing Weasal - Boys!)   Again, it might sound like I'm getting a kickback, but these are orderable from, you guessed it!, www.amoktime.com

      This should get Hillbilly Jim's attention, if he doesn't already know.  DAWN OF THE DEAD Set of 4 Action figures, including the Tom Savini "Biker" , "Bald Head", "Fly Boy Stephen" and "Hatchet Head"!  Each comes with a "Carnage Strewn" base!!!    A fold-up Pittsburgh Mall Carrying Case is probably in the works...At your favorite neighborhood toy store..  By the way, this set comes with a warning label: Small Children Should Be Aware That These Action Figures Might Eat THEM!!!!

       Coming soon from Toonami:  A collectors set of figures from one of my favorite old Saturday morning cartoons: The Herculoids.  For some reason, in the Philadelphia vicinity, this cartoon came on at like 6 in the morning, which, even for kids who got up early to watch the shows, was EARLY!  Anyway, now I can watch it at 3 in the morning on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.  The set comes complete with King Zandor, his lovely mate Tara, son Dorno, dragon Zok, 8-legged rhino- thing Tundro, andddddd, those lovable. laughable sacks of goo,  Gloop and Gleep! Be forewarned, however, this set goes for $150.00 +

       Well, that's all for now folks, so save up your pennies and maybe in a few years, you'll actually be able to afford one of these things! Just remember: COLLECTIBLES AREN'T CHEAP! (except, of course, at the world famous I.C.S. Auction! {shameless plug...] )

       One last suggestion. Go in the web to the Sideshow Toys site, and sign up for their mailers. Several times a year they have fabulous sales on some of their superb figures - I've been able to collect alot of the CLASSIC UNIVERSAL MONSTERS 12" Action Figures at up to 50% Off!!!!     If you've seen these figures, you know they're well worth the regular price!

       Now get out there and buy up all those discarded BATTLEFIELD EARTH  toys, 'cause John Travolta's got another kid on the way and Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

'SIX Finger, SIX Finger, Man Alive!! How did I ever get along with FIVE?  - TV ad shown in TOY STORY (1995)

“I may not be a smart dog, but I know what roadkill is.”  - Slinky Dog in TOY STORY 2 (1999)

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THE HULK - Release Date: June 20th 
Cast: Eric Bana (Dr. Bruce Banner), Jennifer Connelly (Betty Ross), SamElliott (General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross), Nick Nolte (Dr. David Banner)
 Premise: The story of Dr. Bruce Banner, exposed to Gamma Rays and transformed into the Hulk, a creature of incredible strength. Lots of CGI and fun with a comic favorite.
28 DAYS LATER - Release Date: June 27th 
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston 
Premise: A virus that locks those infected into a permanent state of killing rage, is accidentally released from a British research facility. Twenty-eight days later, a small group of survivors are trapped in London, caught in a desperate struggle to protect themselves from the infected.  They find that their most deadly enemy is not the virus, but other survivors. 
SINBAD – LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS - Release Date July 2nd
Cast: (voices) Brad Pitt (Sinbad the Sailor), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Marina), Joseph Fiennes (Proteus), Michelle Pfeiffer (Eris). 
Premise: The classic Arabic character that first appeared in Arabian.  In that book, Sinbad the Sailor related the details of his seven voyages, but it appears this film may cover adventures that weren't in that book (since Proteus and Eris weren't in Arabian Nights).  Sinbad has been adapted to film several times, but the most famous are the three films (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is one of them) produced by Ray Harryhausen, and 1947's Sinbad the Sailor, starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 
 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - Curse of the Black Pearl  Release date July 9th, 
Cast: Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow), Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa; AKA Captain Blackheart), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann), Jonathan Pryce (Governor Swann), Lee Arenberg (Pintel), Jack Davenport (Norrington) 
Premise: This film is based upon the classic theme park attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean, which features singing robotic mannequins.  Set in the Caribbean Sea it is the story of a gentleman rogue of a pirate, Jack Sparrow (Depp), who teams up with the daughter (Knightley) of a governor to stop the evil plan of a ship of dangerous pirates (led by Rush) who are trying to reverse an ancient curse that has hit them.

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN  Release date July 11th 
Cast: Sean Connery (Allan Quatermain), Tony Curran (Rodney Skinner, AKA The Invisible Man), Jason Flemyng (Dr. Henry Jekyll), Tom Goodman-Hill (Sanderson Reed), David Hemmings (Nigel), Richard Roxburgh (M), Max Ryan (Dante), Naseeruddin Shah (Captain Nemo), Stuart Townsend (Dorian), Shane West (Detective Thomas Sawyer), Peta Wilson (Mina Harker nee Murray) 
Premise: I think it was -Lets put all these characters together and have some fun!

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THE ANIMATRIX – THIS IS THE ONE TO SEE
Released 6/3/03

    Larry and Andy Wachowski have gathered up an impressive creative to work on this new project, a set of nine films, all set in the world of THE MATRIX.  Seen in the movie THE ANIMATRIX are works from animation studios and directors from the US, Japan and Korea, and several notable names involved like Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Macross Plus), Peter Cheung (Aeon Flux, Reign the Conqueror) and Andy Jones (Final Fantasy -The Spirits Within).  This film has gotten some awesome reviews and is worth a see for any Matrix lovers.
    There are some shorts here that directly tie into the movie and then some that play with the Matrix in exciting ways.  Four of the shorts have debuted online and another the CGI FLIGHT OF THE OSIRIS was in the theatres before joining the four that premiere on this DVD. 
    Aside from the films, the DVD also contains several interesting extras including four audio commentaries, a 20 minute section on the history and culture of anime, and seven "making of" features.  There is also a choice between English and Japanese audio (though with both countries working on the project, it's difficult to determine which would be considered the "original" dialogue), and subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

DIE ANOTHER DAY
Released 6/7/03

    Bond, James Bond.  Well, you can guess the story - Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry meet, kick butt and conquer evil and save the world.  Invisible cars, ice palaces and a really big diamond…oh and the laser, can’t forget the laser.  All done well and with director Tamohori giving some clever nods to previous 007 movies – Berry’s outfit coming out of the ocean and such.  Berry did such a great job in her character that there is talk of her having a spin off with Brosnan as a guest star. 
In the words of a valuable ICS club member and new addition here, (wink wink Gary) “DIE ANOTHER DAY just came out on DVD in a 2- disc set, crammed with a ton of extras, including muliple audio commentaries, several documentaries, a music video, CD-rom features, buy it now!” 
 

And now thanks to Taylor, here are the new Anime DVD releases featured this month –

VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR 
released 06/10/03 by ADV films 
Japanese anime, and a particularly unique title at that. 25 minutes.
    The story follows two lovers, seperated by time and space. While a young woman Mikako sets out into space to hunt down a race of aliens that threaten mankind she leaves her boyfriend, Naboru behind. The two can communicate by emails via their cellphones but as Mikako warps through space the more Naboru ages and the longer she waits for messages. (hmm, didn't we discuss something like this in an ICS presentation in the past?)
    This is a critically acclaimed peice that was written, directed and animated all by one person, Makoto Shinkai,who used outside sources only for sound, music and some voice acting.  The work was done on his Power Macintosh 64/400 using software like Photoshop and Lightwave 3D.
    The R1 DVD release is from a master directly from the hard drive so the visual quality should be excellent. In addition there will be several extras, such as the five minute short also by Makoto, "Her and her Cat" and some of the original Japanese trailers made for VOICES.  There will be three audio tracks, including the original Japanese track with Makoto Shinkai and his fiancee doing the voice acting.  It will also feature the Japanese audio track that was later made for the commercial release of the DVD in Japan, as well as an English dub added by ADV Films for the benefit of those who cannot read subtitles.

GENESIS CLIMBER MOSPEADA 
Released 06/17/03by ADV Films 

    This is an anime sci-fi classic, made in the early 80's.  This title is of particular signifigance to American anime fans as it was one of the three shows that made up ROBOTECH, to be specific it was used to make ROBOTECH: NEW GENERATION.  However when it was made into ROBOTECH, much was changed, to the point where it had little resemblance to it's source material.
Originally due out on March 25, the release of the box set was delayed because ADV managed to acquire better masters to use for their release.  These were then carefully cleaned up and remastered so that all imperfections and defects would be removed, while preserving the look of the hand painted cel animatation.  The box set contains all 25 episodes in the original Japanese with English subtitles.

“Your questionable aesthetics have caused mass destruction in the city!”
--Lina Inverse to Naga, SLAYERS (1995)

Its not the color of the dress that makes it special, it’s the heart that is inside. 
Mom to Kiki,  KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE

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Robert Stack, best remembered as the straight ahead, no nonsense Eliot Ness of TV’s UNTOUCHABLES, has died at his home in California. He was 84.
    A Los Angeles native whose family socialized with Hollywood's elite, Stack played polo with Spencer Tracy and other Hollywood luminaries as a teenager in the 1930s, and later as a former national skeet-shooting champion gave lessons to stars like Clark Gable. It was Gable who urged him to take up acting and told him, “Look kid, if you ever become a celebrity, use it to help people. And if you kick people around, I’m going to kick you.”
    His big break came with his first role, starring with Deanna Durbin in FIRST LOVE in 1939, followed by parts in films like THE MORTAL STORM, LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN, EAGLE SQUADRON, and TO BE OR NOT TO BE. At this point, like many others, his career was interrupted by World War II.
    Struggling to regain his career after the war, Stack eased into grittier, more mature roles in movies such as BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY, the 3-D BAWANA DEVIL, WAR PAINT, SABER JET and HOUSE OF BAMBOO. His movie making peaked during this period when he starred with John Wayne in  THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY  and received an Academy Award nomination for  WRITTEN ON THE WIND.
    When parts got scarce in the late 1950’s he turned to television and landed the part of Eliot Ness in a two-part TV movie called THE UNTOUCHABLES. It was such a success that it became a series and in 1960 Robert Stack took home an Emmy for his efforts.
    His long and distinguished career in film and television prompted close friend Robert
Wagner to comment, “He was admired by his fellow actors. You knew he was going to give you everything he could give you. He raised the standard in every way. As a human being, he was a true gentleman and a man of great integrity.” 

“This nut thinks he’s a vampire!”  - Kolchak in NIGHT STALKER (1972)

“Last night I went through another of my horrible experiences.” – Lon Chaney Jr as Wolfman in “ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN  (1948)

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”  Anthony Perkins in PSYCHO (1960)

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THE LAST WARD…
by John Ward
Movie lovers are notorious for picking their “favorites” in all sorts of different categories.  Favorite sci-fi movie, favorite theater, favorite movie theater candy…the list goes on, and on, and on.  I plead guilty to jumping into this fray more often than I’m embarrassed to admit, because it’s fun to get into some kind of “hot stove league” discussion for films.  Many of the threads on our ever-popular online forum are a testament to that.  But there’s one topic for which I will never, ever change my preference:  favorite old-time movie actor.  For as long as I’ve loved movies, and probably for the rest of my life, there will be only one name:  Jimmy Stewart.
 There are several reasons for this choice, not the least of which was the fact that he was a wonderful actor.  He had an “everyman” quality that, of all the actors working today, only Tom Hanks could hope to equal.  Life was one of the first publications to notice this. Years ago, for a special Hollywood issue, the editors put together a portfolio of old Hollywood stars posed with representatives of the “New” Hollywood.  Stewart and Hanks were smiling together in one of those shots.
 I have my favorite Jimmy Stewart movies, of course, and I’ll get to those in a moment.  (After that opening paragraph, I guess a list becomes kind of obligatory.)  But first, I wanted to talk about my other reason for picking Jimmy Stewart as my favorite old-time movie actor:  we share the same hometown roots.
 Last weekend, our family made the 4-hour drive to Indiana, Pennsylvania, as we do nearly every Memorial Day, to visit my mother.  The big difference this time was that we took the dog along, but that’s another column in itself (and not even fit for this newsletter).  As we drove down Philadelphia Street, the main drag in town, I was struck yet again by how much it reminded me of the main street in Bedford Falls, the beloved locale of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.  I do not believe this is a coincidence.  I feel certain that director Frank Capra shared setting ideas for the film with his star, and I am equally sure that Stewart drew upon his own memories.  The street is not nearly as quaint as it used to be, of course.  Indiana is a college town, after all, so it has to cater to that demographic.  Instead of the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan, there are pizza joints and coffee houses.  There might even have been a cyber café on one corner, but I was driving through the intersection too quickly to be sure.  Philadelphia Street is quiet, made even more so by the presence of the Wal-Mart SuperCenter outside of town.  With every visit, this monstrosity of All-American capitalism has sucked just a little more life out of the downtown area.
 Right in the center of town sits the County Courthouse, which makes sense, since Indiana is the county seat of Indiana County.  In front of the courthouse, bigger than life, is a gleaming bronze statue of the movie star himself.  The likeness is not taken from one specific movie, but rather a period:  that time of the early ‘50s, when Jimmy Stewart was one of the most bankable stars on the planet.  Stewart stands simply, right hand in pocket, left hand gesturing to make a point, hat cocked slightly on his head.  A lot like Elwood P. Dowd, but a bit more self-assured.
 Across the street from the courthouse sits a Savings & Trust bank, and in the plaza walkway next to the bank stands a solitary sundial, the only remaining piece of the original Stewart Hardware Store.  The hardware store was a town landmark; a little bit of everything was sold there.  It is a fact, not a legend, that when Jimmy Stewart won his Oscar for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, he sent the statuette back home to Indiana, where it remained on display in the window of his father’s hardware store for years.
 The original Stewart home commands a great view above the center of town, at the top of a set of steps that remind me strangely of the steps below Regan’s window in THE EXORCIST.  The area is known as Vinegar Hill, and the house is still in use.  A family named Miller lives there now.  I visited once; the family redesigned the basement to look like an old-time general store, the kind with candy, tobacco, and other assorted dry goods under glass.
 Finally, just down the block from the courthouse, one is drawn to the Indiana Free Library.  It’s a three-story brick mansion, the first floor and basement given over to a perfectly ordinary assortment of books, magazines, and references.  As libraries go, it’s not much.  The college library makes it look puny.  But the third floor of the building, if you’re a true movie fan, is where you really want to be.  That’s where you’ll find the Jimmy Stewart Museum.
 It’s no joke, either.  The Museum was opened in the spring of 1995, I believe, with as much hoopla as the town could muster without embarrassing its favorite son.  There was some talk early on about a separate building to house all the memorabilia, but Stewart refused to authorize anything that flashy.  So the planning committee was left with the third floor of the library.
 I’ve visited the Museum four times, including last weekend, and the biggest change from my previous visit was that you could no longer climb the stairs to the third floor; visitors must take an elevator from the basement.  I imagine this is in deference to the average age of the Museum’s clientele (Sorry about that).  When you exit the elevator, you could turn left or right immediately and enter the exhibit areas without being noticed; there’s no security guard.  But this is small town America, where they still believe in the honor system, so your conscience guides you straight ahead to the ticket window.  Five bucks gets you in.  (The same price as 1995, by the way.)
 On the left, past the ticket window, are two large rooms of memorabilia.  Okay, large is a relative term; we’re talking about 15 square feet apiece.  The first of these rooms contains a wrap-around timeline of the Stewart family and the county itself.  One corner has been refashioned to look like the Stewart hardware store, right down to the dust on the floor.  It’s the only time I’ve ever been in a museum and thought the dust was placed deliberately.
 The second room focuses on Jimmy Stewart’s awards and other recognitions.  There’s the American Film Institute award, awards from the Boy Scouts and the Air Force Reserve, certificates from the President, and the huge desk and upholstered chair from his study.  Another corner of the room has been redesigned as a booth from Chasen’s, the famous L.A. eatery where Stewart was a regular.  I remember seeing the Academy Award on a previous visit, but it must have been on loan from the family, because it wasn’t there this time.
 A few steps through the gift shop takes you to the Jimmy Stewart Theater, a walled-off room containing 50 chairs in front of a video screen about the size of our ICS screen.  A life-size stuffed Harvey the Rabbit relaxes comfortably in the center row of seats.  A different Stewart movie is screened here daily; DESTRY RIDES AGAIN was showing when we walked through.  Ringing the theater is a corridor that traces Stewart’s film career, from the MGM shorts of his early days to the Technicolor extravaganzas of the ‘70s.  Each film is represented by a still, a lobby card, a poster, a shooting script; you name it.  The walls are covered.  For such a small museum, there’s a lot to see.  But even the most careful of browsers can get in and out of the place in about an hour and a half.
 Walking through the rooms last weekend, I was taken back to a culture that no longer exists, to a Hollywood that no longer exists, to an innocence that no longer exists.  But the town is still there, thank goodness.  Despite the fact that I have come to call Baltimore my home, it’s a comforting thought to know the place you grew up is still there, still breathing.  I’m sure Jimmy Stewart used to think that very same thought.

John Ward’s Top Five Jimmy Stewart Movies:

1. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) My very favorite Stewart film, just edging out no. 2.  Classic Americana.  It should have won the Best Picture Oscar, but it couldn’t top the GONE WITH THE WIND juggernaut.
2. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) This was the movie that really showed Stewart’s range as an actor.  His best work always exemplified the small-town ideals he grew up with.
3. REAR WINDOW (1954) I rank this one ahead of VERTIGO because I’ve always thought it was a much more fun movie to watch.  Great cast, one of Hitchcock’s best films.
4. THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962) Stewart’s first teaming with John Wayne; he even got star billing over the Duke.  Lee Marvin played the title character as one of the all-time great movie villains.  When he met Stewart on the street with a gun, you knew Stewart was outclassed.
5. SHENANDOAH (1965) Kind of an “Eastern Western,” with Stewart as a Virginia farmer and a patriarch keeping his sons out of the Civil War.  One of those endings that makes guys cry.  The last big hit Stewart ever had.

Honorable Mention:  VERTIGO (1958), THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955), THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB (1970), HARVEY (1950), CALL NORTHSIDE 777 (1947).

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MAY CALENDAR
MARK THESE DATES
 

JUNE 13 – BUFFY CON weekend

JUNE 20 – HULK opens

JUNE 27 - 28 DAYS LATER opens

JUNE 28 – ICS meeting – 
  Honored Guest - Tom Weaver 

“To kill or not to kill that is the question…” 
 - Tim when surrounded by the Killer Shrews from TAMING OF A KILLER SHREW (2006)