Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

on the first day of Christmas...

Eartha Kitt 1927-2008

Christmas Morning!

Hope you all got what you asked for!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Gets Lonely Too!

To help make your yuletide gay - here's my friend Dudley's dirty little homage to MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET...

A Big Christmas Schmooch...

...to all my regular readers (and some of my irregular ones too!) who have made my blog so much fun to write this year. When I decided to transform my barely-read MOVIES THAT MAKE YOU SAY "HUH?" into DOUGSPLOITATION earlier this year I was afraid that no one would notice - but thanks to a little band called Sonseed (who knew?) - I've now reached close to 100,000 page views. How do yo like them apples, Mr. B?
So, like Hazel above, here's my big holiday smooch to all of you–whatever you celebrate, whatever you believe in (or don't believe in) - have a great holiday and let's hope 2009 is the year we all can experience a great, big beautiful tomorrow. I know I can't wait!!! 

Ziggy's Gift

Tom Wilson's lovable comic strip Ziggy came to life in 1982 as ABC premiered ZIGGY'S GIFT, a half-hour animated holiday tale which featured music by the late, great Harry Nilsson.
The storyline goes like this: Ziggy, along with his adorable pup Fuzz , takes a temp job as a street corner Santa Claus to raise money for the poor. Ziggy must navigate his way through the city, which is populated by cops and robbers. Along the way, Ziggy inspires others with selflessness and faith in Christmas.
The program won an Emmy Award and has been on my holiday "must watch" pile for the past dozen years or so. Unfortunately this is Ziggy's one and only cartoon appearance–maybe that's what makes it so special. Can can watch it on YouTube in three parts. Here's Part 1, which features the Nilsson song "Give, Love, Joy".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Even the Grinch has a Best Friend

Something dawned on me while flipping through my childhood copy of the original
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! the other day.
And I guess it had occurred to me a few times before – while watching the classic Chuck Jones cartoon adaptation.
But I really noticed it this time – The Grinch is not human, but yet he has a dog for a pet! Yes, even a mis-guided, small-hearted, Christmas-stealing, Who-hating Grinch is able to find room in his cold, soulless existence for a cute, loyal pooch.
Sure, he's mildly abusive to Max, dressing him up as a reindeer and forcing him to pull a sled over snow-covered mountains – but the fact that the Grinch has given Max a home and a purpose shows that even at his worst, the Grinch isn't completely evil.
And Max is about as dedicated to the Grinch as any dog is to their human companion.
So this holiday season, if you are thinking of adding a pet to your family - please consider adopting a rescued animal. Don't support puppy mills, pet stores or breeders. Check out Best Friends or do a Google search for breed specific rescue organizations or a local shelter that can match you up with a perfect dog or cat that desperately needs a home. Don't be a Grinch - open your heart to a needy animal. And remember to spay or neuter your pets - we don't need to bring any more unwanted pups and kitties into this world. Okay, I'll get off my soap box now. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oy to the World!

Happy Hanukkah from Dougsploitation and THE NANNY, Fran Fine.In the third season of Fran Drescher's amusing class struggle sitcom, the series premiered an unusual animated episode created in the style of the show's groovy opening titles. This holiday fantasy told the tale of Jewish American Princess Fran and her dog Brighton–who are magically transported to the North Pole, where they must battle the evil ice princess known as The Abominable Babcock - named after Fran's "real-life" TV nemesis, stuffy socialite CC Babcock (wonderfully played in the series by Lauren Lane).
Why THE NANNY didn't do a Hanukkah-themed cartoon, the world will never know. While we ponder that, some lovely YouTuber has posted the entire animated show in three parts. Enjoy by following these links:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Make The Yuletide Gay!

This past week I had the opportunity to "act" (as an extra) in a fun holiday film called MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY - a family comedy from Guest House Films, the fine folks who brought you the indie and film festival hits 3-DAY WEEKEND, BACK SOON and LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP.  The new film features some of my favorite people: Alison Arngrim (LITTLE HOUSE's Nellie Olsen), Adamo Ruggiero (Marco from DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION), Ian Buchanan (Duke Lavery on GENERAL HOSPITAL), Gates McFadden (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION), plus my friends Derek Long (from my film, SOCKET), Steve Callahan (who I worked with on NINE LIVES and the forthcoming PORNOGRAPHY: A THRILLER) and the fabulous Guest House regular Kelly Keaton! The Guest House guys (Rob Williams, Rodney Johnson and actor/producer Matthew Montgomery) have set up a great online shop where you can purchase their films, plus my film SOCKET and other cool projects starring Mr. Montgomery. Since there's no key art for the new film yet, enjoy this similarly-titled vintage paperback novel from the 1960s.MAKE THE HOLIDAY GAY will be making the festival circuit in 2009 and I'm sure will be an instant classic next year at this time. Don't forget to look for the guy by the eggnog bowl. ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Snowman

Of of my favorite holiday treats is a magical half-hour called THE SNOWMAN (1982). This Oscar-nominated animated short film by Dianne Jackson is based on the British children's book by Raymond Briggs, first published in 1978. 
The film, like the book it is adapted from, has no dialogue. The story is told through beautiful music by Howard Blake and features the gorgeous and haunting song "Walking in the Air", which is performed by a choirboy named Peter Auty.
This simple tale of friendship is about a young boy whose snowman comes to life. At first the snowman is hiding and playing in the boy's house, but then the two new friends explore the outdoors. Soon the boy and the snowman take flight... 
Their adventure continues as the duo attend a snowmen's party, and they meet Father Christmas. Suffice to say they must return to the boy's home, where the next morning SPOILER ALERT the boy wakes up to find the snowman has...melted. This scene never fails to make my eyes water. The Snowman and the boy return 9 years later for a brief cameo in 1991's FATHER CHRISTMAS. If you've never seen THE SNOWMAN, what are you waiting for? It's on dvd, PBS and available in three parts on YouTube. Visit the official SNOWMAN website

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Coal in My Stocking

Yesterday, for the first time since I started blogging (in Sept. 2007), I received hate mail.
The email was in response to a review of the bizarre Italian Christmas film, THE CHRISTMAS THAT ALMOST WASN'T - which my good friend Danny reviewed (more like dissected) on November 26th of last year.
Rather than ignore it, I have decided to address it here. In the spirit of the season, I will substitute some of the more colorful words with seasonal favorites. Notes will follow...Mr. Anonymous writes... "Let's see if I can be as crude and mean spirited in my acessment of YOUR REVIEW of this movie Mr.Dougy...why don't you take this DVD and rub it up against YOUR reindeer you imbecile. You dumb, hateful SNOWMAN SHMUCK--go sing Christmas Carols to your porn and leave decent wholesome films to people with a SOUL--SCROOGE!"Okay, first of all - if Mr. Anonymous would have bothered to actually read the "review" he (or she) might have known it wasn't written by me. My pal Danny has a wildly offbeat sense of humor and his interpretation of events in the film are the way he sees it. It's called comedy.Second of all - rub a dvd against my reindeer? That's just sick.Third of all - "my porn" that he is probably referring to is the feature film SOCKET which I co-produced and art directed. Which by the way, has it's television debut on Logo in January. It is not porn, it is science fiction. FYI -Netflix does not rent porn. Who's the Snowman now? Besides I'd rather sing Christmas Carols to DudeTube.Fourth of all - THE CHRISTMAS THAT ALMOST WASN'T is not a decent, wholesome film - it's a disturbing, unsettling and just plain creepy oddity that makes my skin crawl.
Fifth of all - I have no Soul? Okay, you got me there. I can't dance or sing to save my life.
So, Happy Holidays, Mr. Anonymous - I hope you don't get any coal in your stocking. Hugs & Kisses, Mr. A. - from the dumb and hateful imbecile called Mr. Dougy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tis the Season for Juul Haalmeyer

You may be asking "Who the hell is Juul Haalmeyer?" Well, look no further than CHRISTMAS WITH SCTV - a collection of 2 fabulous yuletide themed-episodes of SCTV NETWORK 90, the hysterical 90-minute late-night import from Canada that ran on NBC for two seasons in the Friday night post-TONIGHT SHOW slot. 
Juul Haalmeyer, in the real world was SCTV's resident costume designer.  In the world of SCTV,  Juul also led the Juul Haalmeyer Dancers, a group of inept, mismatched, poorly-choreographed dancers who appeared most often in Lola Heatherton's (Catherine O'Hara) spectacular variety specials.
The dancers included at various times Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis and random writers and crew members. Basically any guy who was available and could squeeze into the ridiculous costumes.
In Season 4 Juul and his boys appeared in such classic sketches as "Lola Heatherton - Bouncin' Back to You," "Perry Como - Still Alive," "The Dusty Towne Sexy Holiday Special" and "The People's Global Golden Choice Awards".

In Season 5 a highlight was "Lola Heatherton's The Love Spirit" in which Juul was Lola's co-star.

The CHRISTMAS WITH SCTV dvd contains a great extra: The Juul Haalmeyer Dancers, a documentary in which Juul explains the origins and techniques of the legendary dance troupe that bears his name. As Juul says "Nobody ever got hurt, due to the simplicity of the routines." Here he is as one of the Solid Gold dancers...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

THE JUDY GARLAND CHRISTMAS SHOW

A Dougsploitation Christmas treat from last year...THE JUDY GARLAND CHRISTMAS SHOW (1963) is actually an special episode of Judy's short-lived CBS variety series. When a Christmas episode starts out with snow in Los Angeles you know you're in for a treat. When it's sponsored by Contac time-release capsules - you are in "huh?" TV heaven!












Well, things get off to a nice start as Judy sings her official holiday tune - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" which she introduced in the film MEET ME IN ST LOUIS. As she sings she cuddles with her young son Joe, constantly touching him and even rubbing noses with him all the while poor big sister Lorna stands by attentively and must settle for a slight tap on the hand. Judy then welcomes the viewers to her "home" and tells them that tonight she's staying home with her family (i.e. - no booze and pills for Mama tonight!). She then confides in us that her eldest daughter, 17-year old Liza is out skating with her "beau".

Judy then leads the kids in a rousing rendition of "Consider Yourself at Home" from the musical OLIVER! as she takes the viewer on a tour of her living room set. This makes me wonder why CBS choose to air this series in black & white - since it was originally broadcast on Sunday nights - opposite NBC's BONANZA - which was brought to you in "living color". Go figure.













Next up is the first Contac commercial - which had a soundtrack that sounds similar to Bernard Herrmann's PSYCHO score. Speaking of psycho, after the commercial break Liza storms in the door, ignoring her little sister Lorna and pretending to not know that she's on Mama's TV show. So they finish up the OLIVER song and hoist little Joe up on the piano where he bravely struggles his way through another song from OLIVER as Judy proudly looks on. Lorna sits quitely and pretends that she is loved.

After Joe's solo number, Liza's "beau" - choreographer Tracy Everitt - arrives wearing a sweater borrowed from LOST IN SPACE and black pants that are tighter than Liza's Capezios. I surmise that Tracy is the first in a string of painfully sexy and marginally talented young men that will break Liza's heart over the years. Today, Mr. Everitt teaches dance classes in Hoboken, NJ. For real. Google him.

Liza convinces the family to watch as she and Tracy perform "Steam Heat" as a pitch for Judy's stage act. The Fosse-like dance steps overwhelm Judy who jokingly asks them how long it took them to learn their little routine. When Tracy delivers his "two and a half years" punchline, you can hear crickets in the studio. So Tracy and Liza take little Joe over to the Christmas tree so Judy can warble a tune from her animated film GAY PURR-EE. No one even wonders where Lorna is - I think she's in her room crying at this point.

Next up is another great Contac commercial featuring characters from THE WIZARD OF OZ in stop-motion animation, complaining of flu and cold symptoms. Amazing.

After the ad, handsome family friend and LOVE BOAT theme crooner Jack Jones shows up singing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from MY FAIR LADY and another song called "Lollipops and Roses". He looks at Lorna as if to say "How did the neighbor's kid get in here? Don't you people have locks on your doors?" Afterwards, Lorna tries to get attention from Mr. Jones by convincing him to let her sit on his lap and sing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Didn't this happen in LOLITA too? Meanwhile, Liza seems slightly annoyed that Lorna is getting any airtime at all, but decides to let this one slide.

Next up is an ad from Judy's "alternate sponsor" Pall Mall cigarettes! First pills, now ciggies - what's next Jack Daniels? Oddly, the announcer pronounces the brand as "Pell Mell".
















After the 'cancer sticks' ad, Liza sings a boring song as Tracy fiddles with a small package he has placed near his crotch. Huh?

After her solo number, Liza steals more camera time by getting under a blanket with Jack and Judy for a medley of snow songs - but they are rudely interrupted by a gang of Charleston-dancing Santas who crash the party - no doubt looking for pills and cigarettes! This is followed by an ad for Thrill dish soap - "it's like getting a new pair of hands in just 14 days!". Wow - what a tagline. There needs to be an episode of MAD MEN about that campaign!

After the dish soap commercial, the caroler's arrive - led by Judy's backstage nemesis Mel Torme (who I think she calls "Mort") - aka the Velvet Fog - aka the bastard who was hired to fix Judy's show. As scripted by Mel, Judy has to convince him to sing "The Christmas Song" (which he wrote) - and he invites her to sing along. Judy looks as if she's up to something. Mel begins to scat and Judy takes over the song - changing the lyrics right in front of the guy who wrote them! Judy rules.

The real lyrics:
"They know that Santa's on his way, 
He's loaded lots of toys
, And goodies on his sleigh
, And every mother's child is gonna spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly"

Judy's lyrics:
"They know that Santa's on his way
, He's loaded lots of GIFTS, 
And TOYS on his sleigh
, And every mother's child is gonna spy
,To see if RAINBOWS really know how to fly"










You can tell that Mel is seething inside and Judy's loving it. Mel later got revenge by writing a tell-all about Judy and the show after her death. Next up is another stop-motion commercial - this time for a free Betty Crocker and Gold Medal flour holiday cookbook! It's incredible! 










After the ad, Judy's house is now full of freeloaders. Tracy brings out a bowl of eggnog and then they begin an endless medley of sacred carols. The self-important ham known as Mel Torme leads the choir. Then Lorna and Joe sing "Silent Night" - followed by an ad for Head and Shoulders! This ad features a woman well into her 30s worrying about having dandruff in her graduation photo. Honey, that's the least of your problems!












After the dandruff clears up, Judy boots everyone out of her house. Liza and Tracy dash off caroling - but the dancing Santas return to perform a crazy Rockettes-style dance with Judy. Damn - I wish this was in color!!!

So, then Judy shuts off all the lights - but Lorna and Joe come out calling "Mama..." to which she replies, as if annoyed - "WHAT???!!!". Well, it turns out she forgot to sing "Over the Rainbow". Which she then does - and it is a beautiful arrangement! Then Judy says goodnight for good and the camera pulls back to show it's still snowing in L.A.. All is well with the world, until CBS cancels her show...but that's another story. This show is a total 10 outta 10. Just for kicks, here's a recent pic of Judy's kids. 











Awww...Lorna.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Married...With Christmas

After snuggling up with a cup of Rice Nog and a crackling fire to view a batch of old Christmas specials-I realized that there was actually a theme–they all were hosted by married couples! The first show in my mini-marathon was CAPTAIN & TENILLE: THE CHRISTMAS SHOW from 1976. For those unfamiliar with Daryl Dragon and Toni Tenille-they were a Grammy-winning duo who rose to fame with the instant pop classic "Love Will Keep Up Together," followed by a string of other memorable light tunes. They created quite a media sensation for a year or two. Little girls wanted their hair to look like Toni's and gay boys wanted to play with dolls that looked like The Captain.They were like a funkier version of The Carpenters, only married. As their fame grew, ABC awarded them with their own primetime variety hour which was highlighted by Toni's Southern charm and Daryl's "I didn't sign on for THIS" look in his eyes.This holiday-themed episode features an appearance by the very talented Pointer Sisters (back then it was four, later three-and now, sadly two) but to balance things out, the decidedly less talented Tenille Sisters also perform. The hour crawls by and we can't help feel sorry for the Captain, who never seems at ease when the camera is on him. Well, he must have gotten used to it because 30 years later, he's still performing Christmas with Toni! Love has kept them together!Next up I watched 3–count 'em 3–SONNY & CHER Christmas episodes. What can be said about Sono Bono and Cher Sarkissian that hasn't been said already? He was a talented Italian-American songwriter (the classic "Bang Bang") and she was a beautiful Armenian-American (among other things) singer with great comedic chops as well. Their marriage ended - and she became a solo superstar, cosmetic surgery disaster and gay icon, winning an Oscar ® along the way. He played a bigot in the original HAIRSPRAY, became a Republican senator and died by crashing into a tree on skis. Their daughter Chastity grew up and out to become a lesbian activist. The end.
Their first Christmas show from 1972 features guest William Conrad (CANNON, JAKE & THE FAT MAN) playing - who else? Santa! The highlight is an animated segment featuring the Three Dog Night song, "Black and White".For the second show, from 1973, Conrad returns, and there's another cartoon–this one set to Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground". There's also an entertaining medley of Christmas carols set in an old-fashioned Christmas village, with Cher singing an amazing rendition of "O Holy Night."
The third show in the trilogy is from 1976 after Sonny and Cher were divorced and the guests are Bernadette Peters, Captain Kangaroo and a certain duo we like to call Shields & Yarnell. These semi-annoying street mimes were discovered by Marcel Marceau (...or so the legend goes) and before you know it they were appearing on virtually every variety and talk show of the 1970s. Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell thrilled millions with their act - creating several unique characters that at times won over people who normally who hate mimes (I have no scientific data to prove this). They even hosted their own semi-popular CBS series in 1977-78 - and appeared on the cover of Dynamite magazine!
In 1978 - the still-married duo (they divorced in '86) hosted NBC's CHRISTMAS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD, not to be confused with CHRISTMAS IN DISNEYLAND. 
This unbearable hour of torment features barely any cohesiveness and guest appearances by Avery Schreiber (as Gepetto), Phyllis Diller (a highlight, as always)and WHAT'S HAPPENING's Danielle Spencer (a low point-did this child ever learn how to deliver a line?). My advice to anyone who loves Disney: avoid this at all costs. I'd opt rather for 1966's DISNEYLAND AROUND THE SEASONS (available on dvd) or 1962's HOLIDAY TIME AT DISNEYLAND (rare and hard-to-find).So there you have it - an evening of Captain, Tenille, Sony, Cher, Shields and Yarnell. And once again, I've watched them all so you don't have to!