The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again



Fox 21 Television Studios

Directed by Kenny Ortega

Produced by John Ryan

Based on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” by Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien

And “The Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O’Brien

The first thing that people said to me when I said on social media that I liked THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: LET’S DO THE THE TIME WARP AGAIN was: “Well, you must have not seen the original, then.”

Not only did I see the original but I saw the original back in the 1970s when it was a Midnight Movie cultural event. I saw the 1975 “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” twice at the Waverly Theater. The first time I went with a bunch of friends and the second time I went with a girl I was dating (a really hot blonde girl, by the way) at the time. And no, I didn’t go in costume but I really enjoyed the experience of watching the movie with people who were really into the movie and were having a great time jumping up on stage and performing along with the movie. I talked to some of those people after both showings I attended and a lot of them told me they attended every single week, along with their friends, family and acquaintances. It was not just a cultural event or a movie for them. It was a lifestyle. And it’s a lifestyle that simply doesn’t have the shock value that it did back it the 1970s. Back in the 1970s Tim Curry is full drag was shocking, risqué and daring. Now? It’s something we see everyday on “The Maury Povich Show”

Years later after I had settled down, married and matured (HAH!) I rented “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to watch on VHS. And while watching it I discovered something that most fans of the movie will no doubt crucify me for. But hey, I gotta say it: it’s not a good movie.

Let me explain. The movie itself was simply a film version of the stage play “The Rocky Horror Show” and so the movie version didn’t aspire to be anything more than that. The movie version was a theatrical flop and didn’t become a hit until audiences started showing up in costumes and making fun of it. As a movie it’s a mess. There is no story and it’s driven along simply because there’s a force of nature called Tim Curry as the star. You say “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to people and I guarantee they’ll say; “that’s the movie Tim Curry is in drag in, right?”

So why did I watch Fox’s production ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN? Well, I’ll be honest…I thought this was going to be a live production like they did with ‘Grease.’ But a half hour in I didn’t care and I was having a great time watching it.

I was hooked with Ivy Levan as Trixie The Usherette escorting patrons to their seats as she was singing ‘Science Fiction Double Feature.’ The audience she escorts to their seats is the surrogates for the people who back in the day jumped up onstage to perform with the movie playing on screen and it’s a wonderfully imaginative way to start the movie off. And during the running time of the movie they’ll talk back to the screen and perform actions that audiences watching the move back in the day, such as throwing toast and toilet paper at the screen. I’ve read reviews that thought it was corny but I dunno…I like it and thought it was cute.


The plot is fairly simple: Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Laverne Cox) An alien transvestite scientist decides to hold a convention of her/his fellow aliens from the planet Transsexual to unveil his/her greatest creation, Rocky (Staz Nair) The Perfect Man. This coincides with the unexpected arrival of Janet Weiss (Victoria Justice) and Brad McCartan (Brad Majors) a newly engaged couple who will have their perceptions of sexuality challenged by their stay in Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle on this dark and stormy night.


But the plot doesn’t matter. The story doesn’t matter. Really. What matters are the songs and the performances and the goofy callbacks to the original. So here we go:

Laverne Cox: Is good enough of an actor that she can do the same thing Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto do in the modern “Star Trek” movies with the character of McCoy and Spock. She channels the spirit of Tim Curry without doing an outright imitation of him. And she is having so much fun it’s impossible not to have fun watching her.


Christina Milan: I’ve been a fan of her ever since you guys dissed her in the “Get Shorty” sequel ‘Get Cool” so don’t expect me to be on your side now. I loved her in this, ‘Nuff said.


Ben Vereen fills the “Who The Hell Let Him Into This Movie?” Slot.


I really liked how whenever Tim Curry (The Narrator/Crimonologist) appeared, the faux movie audience gave him a standing ovation.


“Meatloaf? AGAIN?”

Laverne Cox knocks it out of the park with “I’m Going Home.” And “Wise Up, Janet Weiss”

Annaleigh Ashford actually does her best to give Columbia more characterization than the original and I think she succeeds. Adam Lambert comes in long enough to sing one of the movie’s better songs; “Whatever Happened To Saturday Night?” but I’m with those who say that Jack Black would have been better.


Like most things in life it comes down to personal taste. I’ve read reviews where the reviewers complain that this version is too polished and too theatrical. But I like it because of that reason. I love how during the run time the movie subtly and gradually turns into a stage production, honoring its roots as a play. And it also gives nods to the 1975 movie as well.

I dunno…I just can’t find it in me to work up such hatred for remakes that most other people do. Especially when it’s a remake that so obviously honors and respects the original. Or maybe I’m just getting to the stage in life when I care more about if my entertainment choices actually entertain me more than anything else. On that basis, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN has done its job because it certainly did entertain me for two hours. Highly Recommended.

88 Minutes











Universal Studios

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Produced by George Eckstein

Written by Richard Matheson

Before we get into the actual review a brief history lesson: The Made-For-TV Movie is a phrase you don’t hear much these days but it was used all the time back in the 1960’s and especially during the 1970’s when ABC, CBS and NBC who at that time were The Big Three of programming got into the business of producing their own movies specifically made for a television audience and tailored for 90 minute prime time broadcast television viewing slots. Which meant that no longer did they have to rely on movies they purchased from Hollywood movie studios. Now all three networks had their own special movie night but the one that most people remember is the “ABC Movie Of The Week” which aired from 1969 to 1976 on Tuesday nights. ABC had other movies nights such as their Sunday Night Movie but those were generally theatrical features. And of course there was the long-running and classic “The 4:30 Movie” which had an opening credit that was so popular it eventually was adopted as the opening for all of ABC’s late night movies:

And then of course there’s the opening for The Tuesday Night Movies itself:

Now, yes, most of ABC’s Tuesday Movie Of The Week’s movies were forgettable, disposal entertainment.  Many TV series such as “The Six Million Dollar Man” “Alias Smith and Jones” “The Immortal” and “Starsky and Hutch” made their debut as 90 minute pilot films here. And then you had a whole truckload of movies that are still remembered and indeed have become legendary in pop entertainment culture. “The Love War” “Brian’s Song” which is still hailed today as one of the best football movies ever made and a movie that guys unashamedly admit they cry when they watch it. “A Cold Night’s Death” which is a movie that screams to be remade. “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” starring Elizabeth Montgomery. “Get Christie Love!” “Bad Ronald” “Haunts Of The Very Rich” And then there’s the movie we’re going to talk about now: DUEL, which along with “Trilogy of Terror” and “The Night Stalker” comprises The Holy Trinity of Made-For-TV horror movies.

DUEL is a Made-For-TV Movie with the most interesting history of any Made-For-TV Movie. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Richard Matheson, based on his short story originally published in Playboy. The movie was only Steven Spielberg’s second feature-length directing job and the movie proved to be such a critical success and ratings hit that Universal asked Spielberg to spend a couple of days filming additional scenes and it was then released to theaters overseas where it played to sold-out audiences. Then, amazingly, Universal released DUEL theatrically in some venues here in the United States. This was an unheard of event back in those days and Universal was rewarded with DUEL going on to make a very respectable profit in its limited U.S. theatrical run.

But it’s no surprise to me why the movie has gone on to earn the reputation it has. Next to “Trilogy of Terror” and “The Night Stalker” DUEL is probably the best known Made-For-TV Movie of all time and rightly so. It’s a white-knuckle thriller that taps into the deepest fear of any motorist on the highway. I know that for me, DUEL is a movie that represents one of my worst nightmares. A movie like “Saw” doesn’t scare me at all because there is zero chance of me being forced to play some bizarre game by a hyper-intelligent serial killer. But there’s every chance I can innocently piss off some maniac behind the wheel of a truck and without meaning to find myself engaged in a life or death battle on a highway.

David Mann (Dennis Weaver) starts out his day peacefully enough. He’s a salesman, driving on his way to an important business meeting. In a wonderful bit of characterization, during a phone conversation with his wife (Jacqueline Scott) we learn that David actively works at avoiding confrontation, a personality trait that greatly factors into what happens to him during the course of his horrifying day.

During his drive he encounters a tanker truck driving slower than the posted speed limit. David passes the truck and thinks no more of it. But after a stop at a gas station he is passed by the same truck which gets in front of him and again slows down. David again passes the truck and the truck’s driver (who we never see) appears to take umbrage with this as he first tries to trick David into a collision with another vehicle. The truck’s driver continually ups the ante of this deadly game, chasing David down the highway, trying to push his vehicle into the path of a passing freight train. As this long day goes on, David cannot escape the fact that the driver of the truck is trying to kill him and if David wants to survive he is going to have to stop running and confront his unseen enemy.

And eventually it does come down to just David and the truck driver. David cannot convince anybody he meets along the road that this man is trying to kill him. Taken from a psychological point of view, the truck represents David’s fear of confrontation that is relentlessly pursuing him, forcing him to make a stand and fight for what his important to him. In this case: his life.

But you can throw that psychological stuff out the window. Taken purely as a horror movie, DUEL delivers on every level. Dennis Weaver gives an Academy Award level performance. He’s on screen for the entire running time of the movie and he is just flat out terrific. He is never less than totally convincing as this perfectly regular guy caught up in a situation way over his head, caught up in a deadly road game with a serial killer and no idea of how he’s going to survive.

So should you see DUEL? Absolutely YES. DUEL is an absolute masterpiece of suspense on all levels. You can see echoes of Spielberg’s later work on “Jaws” in this movie and the story by Richard Matheson is so tight it hurts. You used to be able to watch the entire movie on YouTube but it’s been taken down. No matter, it’s available on DVD from Amazon and I’m sure that if you ask nicely, The Internet Fairy can help you out.

Haunts Of The Very Rich



Directed by Paul Wendkos

Produced by Lillian Gallo

Written by T.K. Brown III and William P. Wood

Before we get into the actual review a brief history lesson: The Made-For-TV Movie is a phrase you don’t hear much these days but it was used all the time back in the 1960’s and especially during the 1970’s when ABC, CBS and NBC who at that time were The Big Three of programming got into the business of producing their own movies specifically made for a television audience and tailored for 90 minute prime time broadcast television viewing slots. Which meant that no longer did they have to rely on movies they purchased from Hollywood movie studios. Now all three networks had their own special movie night but the one that most people remember is the “ABC Movie Of The Week” which aired from 1969 to 1976 on Tuesday nights. ABC had other movies nights such as their Sunday Night Movie but those were generally theatrical features. And of course there was the long-running and classic “The 4:30 Movie” which had an opening credit that was so popular it eventually was adopted as the opening for all of ABC’s late night movies:

And then of course there’s the opening for The Tuesday Night Movies itself:

Now, yes, most of ABC’s Tuesday Movie Of The Week’s movies were forgettable, disposal entertainment.  Many TV series such as “The Six Million Dollar Man” “Alias Smith and Jones” “The Immortal” and “Starsky and Hutch” made their debut as 90 minute pilot films here. And then you had a whole truckload of movies that are still remembered and indeed have become legendary in pop entertainment culture. “The Love War” “Brian’s Song” which is still hailed today as one of the best football movies ever made and a movie that guys unashamedly admit they cry when they watch it. “The Night Stalker” which along with “Duel” and “Trilogy of Terror” makes up The Holy Trinity of Made-For-TV horror movies. “A Cold Night’s Death” which is a movie that screams to be remade. “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” starring Elizabeth Montgomery. “Get Christie Love!” “Bad Ronald.” And then there’s the movie we’re going to talk about now: HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH.

Why HAUNTS OF THE VEY RICH you ask? I remember seeing this years ago back in the 70’s as it was a movie that somebody in ABC’s programming department either liked a lot or they got frequent requests to air it. You have to remember that this was an era that was even pre-VCR so the only way you could rewatch a movie if it was broadcast again. And HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH was a movie that got quite a bit of airplay during the 70’s. It’s not a classic by any means but it is an awfully intriguing premise with some solid performances. And for those of you reading this who are “Lost” fans then this is a movie you might like to check out as I see a lot of similarities between that TV show and this movie.

An eclectic group of tourists are flying to a mysterious tropical resort called The Portals of Eden. Each of them have brochures that appear to be tailored to their specific desires. All except for Al Hunsicker (Ed Asner) who was supposed to be on a flight to Texas for an important business meeting. Dave Woodrough (Lloyd Bridges) is an aging ladies’ man who’s looking for another sexual conquest and thinks he’s found it in Ellen Blunt (Cloris Leachman) an emotionally needy woman obsessed with her appearance and thinks that The Portals of Eden is a beauty spa. Annette Larrier (Anne Francis) is looking for somewhere she can recover from her nervous breakdown which probably was caused by her husband and kids. Lyle (Tony Bill) and Laurie (Donna Mills) are newlyweds who only want to spend their honeymoon doing what honeymooners do. The Reverend John Fellows (Robert Reed) is suffering a crisis of spirit and hopes that by participating in a peyote ritual performed by the local Indians he can have a religious vision that will restore his faith.

The resort’s host, Mr. Seacrist (Moses Gunn) at first seems a most genial and amiable sort. But that’s before things start to go wrong. First there’s a hurricane that wipes out their communications with the outside world. Their supplies and fresh drinking water start to dwindle. The resort staff abandons them. The guests are left alone with nothing and nobody to rely on but each other. And the more desperate their situation becomes, the calmer Mr. Seacrist becomes. Any and all attempts at rescue or to get help are frustrated and the little band begins to turn on each other as their idyllic dream vacation turns into Hell. And soon, that’s exactly what Ellen and Dave start to think as they discover that everybody has had a brush with death shortly before coming to the island.

Are they all dead and in Hell or some kind of Purgatory? There’s a lot of evidence to indicate so but there’s as much evidence to the opposite. Maybe they’re just a buncha folks with some truly shitty luck in picking vacation spots…but then there’s the dead body that apparently gets up and walks away and one of their number who tries to commit suicide and loses way more blood than a human can reasonably lose and still live….

I’m probably making HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH seem way more interesting than it really is but while watching it I couldn’t help but think of this as a “Lost” prequel where The Dharma Initiative has brought these people to their island as part of an experiment. What kind of experiment I have no idea but if you decide to watch the movie we can argue about it later.

The acting in this movie is quite strong, especially from dependable pros like Ed Asner who is set up to be the typical stereotyped loud-mouth but develops into a really reasonable character who treats his situation the way I expect a businessman would and doesn’t just rely on his mouth to do his thinking. He and Lloyd Bridges have a couple of nice scenes where they’re discussing their situation as they both turn out to be the natural leaders in this kind of situation. Cloris Leachman is an actress who has never really impressed me in anything she’s done but in this movie I find her amazingly good and she convinced me to invest in her character. But who walks away with the acting honors in this movie? Mr. Brady himself; Robert Reed. And he does it in an amazing scene near the end when he describes what happened to him during the peyote ceremony and explains to each and every one of the other guests why they think they’re dead and in Hell and why they think they’re alive and not in Hell. The man owns the scene from start to finish and it’s worth watching the movie just for that scene. If you only know Robert Reed from “The Brady Bunch”  you watch that scene and you can’t believe it’s the same guy. It’s that good a scene.

So should you see HAUNTS OF THE VERY RICH? It won’t cost you a thing because you can see it on YouTube and I’ve provided a link below. But if you don’t want to watch it, it’s no biggie. But it does have a solid story and good performances. And as I said, if you’re a “Lost” fan and want to look upon this as a prequel, I think it more than works in that context. Enjoy.

The Richard Pryor Show


National Broadcasting Company (Original Airing)

Directed by John Moffitt

Produced by Burt Sugarman

Written by Richard Pryor, Robert Altman, Sandra Bernhard, Vic Dunlop, Paul Mooney, Tim Reid, Marsha Warfield and Robin Williams

Most people would know the brilliant Richard Pryor from his movie work and mainly hit Netflix to relive his amazing talent in that medium but if you ask them about his TV work you would probably get a look of bafflement.  Richard Pryor did a TV special for NBC and on the strength of that was then was given a contract for ten shows. Production was shut down after only four episodes were aired.  Fortunately we live in an age where nothing that has been televised is lost and THE RICHARD PRYOR SHOW is available on DVD and while it’s nowhere near his legendary concert films, which is what you really want to see to get the raw Richard Pryor, his brief TV career is well worth a look at.

First of all, THE RICHARD PRYOR SHOW is the only place you’re going to see Richard Pryor in comedy sketches with Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Tim Reid, Marsha Warfield, Johnny Yune, John Belushi, John Witherspoon (the voice of Grandpa on “The Boondocks”) and the legendary Paul Mooney who is probably the funniest man on the planet.  And before seeing this DVD if anybody had told me that Marsha Warfield could actually look hot I’d have called him or her a dirty liar.  But here she is and looking quite sexy in a couple of very funny sketches including one where she and Richard Pryor are in a restaurant and getting turned on by the ferocity in which they attack their food.

The sketch that is the major standout is the one where Richard Pryor is a bartender in the “Star Wars” bar of Mos Eisley.  Here he has to service all the major alien characters that we know and love from those movies.  And he acts just as we expect Richard Pryor to act in such a circumstance.  The best part is when Richard brings Greedo and the alien who looks like The Devil their drinks.  When you watch this scene you have to really look at Pryor’s face since he says absolutely nothing for two minutes and the aliens are gabbling at him in their own languages.  The live studio audience is cracking up and it’s obvious it’s not canned laughter.  The reactions are honest and it all comes from Pryor’s expressions.   It’s a brilliant example of how funny Richard Pryor could be when he said absolutely nothing and only worked with his facial and body expressions.

Another classic sketch is the one where Pryor is President Of The United States and he’s a press conference that starts off with the press (Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Time Reid, Paul Mooney among others) asking him questions about such lofty matters as The Neutron Bomb, Space Travel and The FBI’s persecution of Huey Newton and quickly degenerating into questions about why does The President like dating white woman and who his momma sleeps with.

My personal favorite of the comedy sketches are the ones where Pryor plays Mojo, a crazed backwater spiritual healer who doesn’t really heal…when a paralyzed woman comes to him and says she can’t walk, the dreadlocked Mojo screams; “Of course you cain’t walk!  You in dat damn wheelchair!” He kicks her out of the chair into the dirt and hollas: “Let Mojo handle IT!”  And there’s an improv piece where Richard Pryor, Sandra Bernhard, Robin Williams, Tim Reid, Marsha Warfield and Johnny Yune all play out-of-workers trying to get their unemployment checks from Paul Mooney that has to be seen to be believed.

Think that’s all?  There’s also a sketch where Richard Pryor plays the only black person on a lifeboat after The Titanic sinks that doesn’t end the way you think and another where Pryor plays a wino in London who has an unfortunately hilarious run-in with a certain doctor named Jekyll which leads to…well, you can guess the rest.  And some of the other sketches show another side of Richard Pryor such as the one where he plays a man who walks into a gun shop, eager to buy a gun…until the guns start to talk to him and tell them their histories of death.   It’s effective and it shows a different side of Richard Pryor.  The man was a naturally gifted actor and this sketch is a nice little showcase for his talent as he reacts to the stories of death these guns are telling him.  And there’s another sketch where he plays a homeless man who puts on a pathetically earnest show for the neighborhood kids that says more about human nature than I’m comfortable with.

But I’ve saved the best for last: The DVD has Richard Pryor doing his legendary and totally uncensored version of what I call “The Miss Rudolph Story” but which is officially known as “Little Tiny Feet”.  It’s the story that Pryor does as his Mudbone character and he relates how he takes a friend of his who has been cursed with these…really, really BIG feet by a jilted girlfriend to the voodoo lady Miss Rudolph to get him cured.  What happens after Mudbone gets his friend to Miss Rudolph is one of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard and I’m not going to spoil it for you here.  Suffice it to say that I’ve heard the story perhaps 50 times in my life and the way Richard Pryor/Mudbone tells it, I laugh every time I hear it as though it were it the first time.  The DVD set also has a Celebrity Roast that his co-stars/collaborators on the show throw for Pryor and it has the version that was aired on NBC and the version they did for ‘themselves’, if you know what I mean.

So should you see THE RICHARD PRYOR SHOW?  That’s entirely up to you.  It all depends on how much you liked the man and his humor.  Personally, I think his genius lay in that he was and still is the best storyteller I have ever heard.  And the funniest.

God Bless You, Richard Pryor.  And thank you.

TV Theme Song Fever: Part 2

Hey, how you doin’?  Hope everything is well with you and yours and I’m glad to see you’ve decided to come on back.  Stay awhile and let’s have some fun, okay?

You may remember a post I made a few days back: TV THEME SONG FEVER where I put up some videos of some of my favorite TV theme songs.  The response took me by surprise, to say the least.  Mostly it was you guys demanding to know why I left out this theme song or that one or to remind me of some that I had forgotten.  So I decided to do it again and so here we go with TV THEME SONG FEVER: PART 2!

This is a theme song I can’t believe I forgot the first time around as it’s one of the true classic TV theme songs.  And so ingrained in pop culture are THE JEFFERSONS that nowadays, whenever somebody becomes a success or moves into a bigger, better house, we say that they’re “Movin’ on up like George an’ Weezie”  This isn’t the original or even the intro as for some reason it’s virtually impossible to find.  But it’s a good cover of the song.  Enjoy.

In the interest of full disclosure I must confess to having a pervy old man crush on Mayim Bialik back her BLOSSOM days.  I am so happy to see her back on TV in THE BIG BANG THEORY.  The theme song for BLOSSOM was done by Dr. John, of all people.

This is one of those TV theme songs I can’t believe I forgot as I was such a huge S.W.A.T. fan back in the day.  I even liked the movie.

This is another theme song I forgot and this one I really should be taken out back of the barn and hosswhipped as THE FALL GUY has one of the absolute best theme songs of all time.  Sung by none other than the star of the show himself, Lee Majors who really ain’t bad at singing at all.  Somebody needs to get hold of Mark Valley and put him in a brand new FALL GUY series like right now

And this one needs no intro from me.  Quite frankly, that would spoil it’s glory.

When I was informed that I had to be a blithering idiot for not including the theme song to DOCTOR WHO I determined that it would be included in Part 2.  But which DOCTOR WHO theme?  It’s gone through some slight changes and tweaks here and there, regenerating much like The Doctor himself into different arraignments but still recognizable as the beloved theme song that has become as iconic as the John Shaft theme song or the Indiana Jones march or the James Bond theme.  Fortunately this video has all of them.

This is one of those shows that even though you may not ever have seen a single episode, you can sing the theme song.

This is a show I watched during it’s original run and I’m not ashamed to say I still watch the reruns to this day.  It’s one of those shows that like “The Honeymooners” and “I Love Lucy” we’ll still be watching 50 years from now.  It’s just that good, funny and honest.

I miss Bea Arthur.  The theme song was sung by the great, great Donny Hathaway

MONK is without a doubt one of the best detective shows ever.  And it had two of the best theme songs ever.  I loved both the first one with the mandolin and the second one, written and sung by Randy Newman.  But when it was changed, it set off a mini-war among MONK fans as to which one was better.  There was even a memorable episode guest-starring Sarah Silverman where the Monk Theme Song War was addressed.  Me, I like ’em both so you’re going to get both:

And here’s the version of “It’s A Jungle Out There” that was done by Snoop Dogg when he guest-starred on an episode of MONK.

And I think we’ll end this with what I think everybody can agree is the undisputed King of TV Theme Songs:

TV Theme Song Fever

vintage television

Every so often, on a Better In The Dark episode, you’ll hear Tom and I lament about there aren’t any real TV theme songs anymore.  Well, of course there are but we usually go on and on about the ones we grew up with that were small works of art in their own right and did the absolutely amazing job of encapsulating the essence of the show we were about to watch in 30 seconds.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of my all-time favorite TV themes songs for a bit.  You down?  Okay, then let’s start…

THE GREEN HORNET : A jazzy, hyped-up version of ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’ with a standout trumpet performance by Al Hirt who must have had to take a couple of days off to recover as it’s done in a wild crazy style that promises action. Probably the best superhero TV theme song ever done although the theme for “The Greatest American Hero” ‘Believe It or Not’ comes damn close.  I have a personal theory that any movie adaptation of a TV show that uses the original theme song of the TV show will be a success and any that doesn’t will be a flop.  Soon as the recent “Green Hornet” movie started and the TV theme song wasn’t playing, I knew it was doomed to failure.

JONNY QUEST: A classic theme that lets you know right from the start of the show that you’re going to be in for 30 minutes of sheer adventure. Bold and brassy and in your face. Combined with the opening credits, it’s one of my all-time favorites as is the show itself.  I keep hearing there’s a movie in the works with Dwayne Johnson as Race Bannon.  Whoever is going to be in it, the movie won’t be worth two cents if they don’t reproduce the opening credits in live action.

SPEED RACER: Another perfect example of a theme song and opening credits that work together to give you a feel of what the show promises: flat out action and adventure.

And as an added bonus here’s the updated theme for the totally phenomenal SPEED RACER movie which to me is so utterly brilliant in so many ways the English language doesn’t have words for me to lavish the praise on this movie it deserves

THE WILD WILD WEST: A magnificently lush theme song that also does what I think a theme song should do: it tells you what kind of show you’re going to be watching. It’s adventurous, romantic and heroic.


THE ROCKFORD FILES: I have to admit that I don’t hold THE ROCKFORD FILES in as such high regard as a lot of people but I have to admit one thing: if I’m channel surfing and happen to stop when the opening credits are being run, the theme song catches my attention every time and I’ll stop to watch the show. So I guess it does its job in that regard. I dunno what it is about that theme song but it’s alright by me.

BATMAN: Who doesn’t know or love this one?

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES: “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett” is a small masterpiece in that if you’ve never seen the show you get the entire premise right in that theme song.

THE BRADY BUNCH: Like the THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, the theme song does a wonderful job of summing up the entire show in a small amount of time.  Bonus points for anybody who can tell me the connection between a character from “The Brady Bunch” with a character from “Gilligan’s Island”

GILLIGAN’S ISLAND: Absolutely a work of genius. In 30 seconds, the entire premise of the show, the situation they’re in and the characters are introduced. I dare you, no, I double dog dare you to find a person on the planet that doesn’t know the theme song of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. Even if they’ve never seen the show I’m willing to bet you that they know the song.

IT’S GARY SHANDLING’S  SHOW:  Another brilliant theme song that tells you everything you need to know about the show in 30 seconds.  I think it’s probably my favorite of all time because it’s so wonderfully simple and encapsulates perfectly what the show is about.

WONDER WOMAN: I don’t think we’re ever going to get an new Wonder Woman TV show because Lynda Carter nailed it so well that there’s never been anyone since that even comes close.  The theme song and title sequence do their job in that they work together to tell you exactly what kind of show you’re going to be watching.  And I really can’t think of another superhero theme song that has so much of that genuine 70’s funk sound.

STAR TREK: VOYAGER: I love all the Star Trek shows (well, ‘love’ is too strong a word for “Enterprise”…tolerate is a better term) but the theme song for VOYAGER takes the prize for the best.  It’s stirring, heroic, classy and along with the opening credits captures the sense of wondrous exploration that I think is necessary for Star Trek.

THE AVENGERS:  Really, do I need to explain why it’s on my list?  I didn’t think so.

SPIDER-MAN: Really, do I need to explain why it’s on my list?  I didn’t think so.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: Really, do I need to explain why it’s on my list?  I didn’t think so.

And as a bonus here’s the Adam Clayton/Larry Mullen version from the first “Mission:Impossible” movie.  Despite whatever you think about the movie, you have to admit, these cats kicked ass with the update.

SANFORD & SON: Deserves mention here because as far as I know, it’s the only TV theme song ever done by Quincy Jones.  The theme song is so iconic that a whole episode of the TV show “Malcolm & Eddie” was based around Eddie (Eddie Griffin) trying to convince his partner Malcolm (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) that there were words to the SANFORD & SON theme song.

MAGNUM, P.I.: My favorite detective series.  The memorable theme song was the work of Mike Post who undoubtedly is the most famous and successful TV theme song composer of all time.  During the 80’s it seemed as if just about every TV show that was on the air had a Mike Post theme song.

TALESPIN: One of the best TV series ever made, animated or live.  Basically an animated remake of the 1982 ABC TV series “Tales of The Gold Monkey” it starred Baloo from “The Jungle Book” as a free-wheeling pilot in a vaguely 1930’s setting on the island of Cape Suzette where he flew a ramshackle plane called The Sea Duck and got into all sorts of Indiana Jones-ish adventures with his kid sidekick, Kit Cloudkicker. A great series with a kickass theme song.  The two-hour introductory pilot move, “Plunder and Lightning” is just about as good a pulp adventure story as you could want.

BiTD Basement of Horrors!

It’s become a tradition–around Halloween, The Boys Outta Brooklyn always discuss horror films you might not have considered when planning your movie marathons for the spookiest holiday of all. And during the past seven years we’ve build up a graveyard full of spooktacular episodes focusing on the creepy and the ooky as well as the mysterious and kooky. Here’s a complete listing of the horror themed episodes of BETTER IN THE DARK. Maybe you’ve listened to some or all of ’em of them before. But if you haven’t, here they go. Bounce on over to the BiTD Fan Page Episode Archive and get to clickin’! 

EPISODE #5: Once again with more enthusiasm than facts (although we’re getting better), Tom and Derrick spend an hour looking at George Romero’s DEAD series. From NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to LAND OF THE DEAD we examine the entire canon, including the remakes. Plus, the guys from Brooklyn tackle the eternal question of “Canada–what gives?”

EPISODE #12: What Made Haddonfield Famous–The Halloween Series
The Guys Outta Brooklyn unleash almost 90 minutes of filmic goodness. Join Thomas and Derrick as they go through the entire eight-film cycle, from the John Carpenter classic to the dumb-ass sight of Busta Rhymes kung fu-ing Michael Meyers. No film goes unmentioned or unpunished!

Episode #17: Hunting In A Black Cemetery For A Haunted Phantasm Before Dawn
Join the Boys From Brooklyn as they discuss with more enthusiasm than facts six of their favorite horror films. From the classic-but-near-forgotten PHANTASM to the insanely wrong-headed (in the positive sense) CEMETARY MAN we’re sure to turn you onto something that’s perfect for your tastes. Also, Tom and Derrick talk about the charms of both versions of THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. It’s a gruesome grab bag of cinematic chillers, so what are you waiting for?

EPISODE #43: The Sleepy Wicker Man Under The Stairs On The Descent To Hell’s Cell
Join Derrick and Tom as they discuss such underground classics as the British pagan thriller THE WICKER MAN, the African-American economic scare story THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, the very literal comedic horror tale HIGHWAY TO HELL and other treats to trick you into screaming! Plus Thomas imitates Gilbert Gottfried, the Guys discuss movies to make you claustrophobic, and we ponder the fate of Patrick Bergin.

The Guys Outta Brooklyn go continental as we examine a quintet of giallo films by the man who helped originate the genre, Dario Argento! From the insanely plotted but compelling TENEBRAE to the insanely plotted and craptacular TRAUMA to the clip show love letter DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?, Tom and Derrick examine the handiwork of this seminal Italian director. Plus Tom gets an excuse to trot out another accent, how the Three Mothers trilogy is like Kill Bill and a word from our sponsor, The Argento Decapomatic! You know it’s all like a dream brought on by too much Ziti Fra Diablo, so get to clicking!

Tom and Derrick team up with Des Reddick, host of Dread Media as they discuss the unique cinematic vision of Clive Barker! Join the trio as they examine HELLRAISER, NIGHTBREED and LORD OF ILLUSION, as well as a number of other films based on the writer’s work. Plus far too many references to baboon butt, teaching our Junior Correspondent how to properly punch his dad, and how Jennifer Rubin ended up on the poster of Nightbreed! It’s a damn sight better than murdering the world, so get to clicking!

Derrick chooses three films from the 70’s including one of Steven Spielberg’s first and a creepy guignol tale featuring a young Jodie Foster, and Tom chooses such gems as a high school ghost story and a ‘documentary’ that follows an aspiring serial killer as he plans his night of grue! It’s a six-pack of sinister ideas–plus some suggestions for a second feature to make those choices even more fun–so get to clicking!

It started out as a simple episode examining the career of George Romero by looking at some non-zombie movies in his canon. But before it’s done, the Boys Outta Brooklyn will find themselves engaging in the first–and maybe last–edition of Better In The Dark Fight Night, featuring a selection of action movie stars…and Tom Savini. Plus Derrick tells us why Wes Craven deserves a daily kick in the ass, Tom has fun with public domain blaxploitation films, and gratuitous Kristen Bell. After all, it wouldn’t be an authentic BiTD episode without gratuitous Kristen Bell, right?

In an episode three years in the making, Derrick does for Freddy Krueger what Tom did for Michael Myers and examines the entire NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET ouvre, from the absolutely classic first entry through the rather…goofy end to the attempts to recreate the series in WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE and the monster rally FREDDY VS. JASON! Along the way, The Guys Outta Brooklyn discuss the importance of Robert Englund in creating this horror icon, how Wes Craven attempted to kill the franchise repeatedly, and how the films, as bad as they got never lost money. Plus…we find a connection between the series and the ultra-obscure Adam Sandler vehicle The Unsinkable Shecky Moscowitz and address a great disservice done to Curtis Mayfield. Every town has an Elm Street so get to clickin’!

The latest edition of Better In The Dark brings an icon of Drive-In Cinema before the docket! Tom and Derrick examine the influence American original Roger Corman had on Hollywood as both a director and a producer in a career that spans five decades. From his Poe adaptations to the long list of creative types he influenced to the series of giant animal movies that prowl the fringes of Syfy, Corman entire life is put under the microscope. Plus Tom and Derrick mourn Gary Coleman, who you should never patronize a business run by Klaus Kinski, and why a certain film should’ve been renamed MURDER HYUNDAIS! You’ve never lost money listening to us, so get to clicking!

It’s time for this year’s iteration of a Better In The Dark tradition, as Tom and Derrick once again provide you with suggestions for Obscure Horror Films to light up your Halloween festivities. This year, however, they welcome the Patriarch of the First Family of BITD (and host of Dread Media), Des Reddick, to join in. The results are an international six pack of horror flicks ranging from the Finish period piece SAUNA to the New Zealand (pretending to be Nebraska) should’ve been a period piece STRANGE BEHAVIOR to the Spanish chiller WHO COULD KILL A CHILD. Plus zombie chickens! Tom Cruise sitting around in his underwear! The world’s most unscary home invaders! Everything goes better with monkeys, so get to clicking!

Episode #116: The Company of Beguiled Wittering Magic Shadows Must Die (Guest: Desmond Reddick)

The Boys Outta Brooklyn once more sit down with their Brother From the North, Des “Dread Media” Reddick, to discuss another six-pack of Obscure Horror Films designed to spice up your Halloween marathons! Tom, Derrick, and Des put the spotlight on werewolves and maniacs, with films set in the Old West, Feudal Japan, a fairy tale forest, and a British boarding school. Plus, oysters, monkeys, and most importantly, The Werewolf Break! You know one of us is a beast, so get to clicking!

Episode #118: Gatekeepers of Childhood Nightmares – The American Horror Host Tradition (Guest: Lord Blood Rah)

The Guys Outta Brooklyn return to their upbringing when they welcome modern-day horror movie host Lord Blood Rah to discuss the origins, history, and resurgence of the American Horror Movie Host tradition! Of course, this being a guest host episode of Better in the Dark, it soon morphs into a freewheeling discussion of the state of horror movies in general. It’s almost two hours of fun and frights in the BITD manner! Plus, the forgotten blaxploitation mummy epic, why Dr. Frankenstein always has the upper hand when other mad scientists host tea parties, and why it might be a good thing that Guillermo del Toro isn’t adapting Lovecraft. It’s time to cut up that giant ameba, so get to clicking!

Episode #129. Director’s Court – Tim Burton

The Boys Outta Brooklyn reconvene Director’s Court to pass judgement on Tim Burton. Tom and Derrick cover the man’s entire career, and try to figure out if he is still blazing new trails or relying on the same old tropes. Plus, Derrick knows the value of Johnny Depp to moviegoers, why the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka may be a demented serial killer, and, for the first time ever, our subject may get his revenge. You know Spectre is really swell, so get to clicking!

Episode #130. The Gentleman with Blood in His Teeth – A Celebration of Christopher Lee

The Boys Outta Brooklyn raise their glasses to honor the great Christopher Lee! Join Tom and Derrick as they explain why this is one of the most remarkable actors they’ve ever discussed, and not just because of his defining horror film roles! If that’s not enough, they struggle to explain the plot of one of Lee’s weirdest films, the insane Scream and Scream Again! Plus, Tom sings heavy metal, Derrick suspects the word “Huguenots” is dirty, and writing talk. You know the world will hear from us again, so get to clicking!

Episode #138. And Soon May The Header Man Skin? With Special Guest Desmond Reddick!

Tom and Derrick once more team-up with Dread Media’s own Des Reddick to pick a bunch of horror films you may not have heard of! From the bleak coming of (twisted) age story, The Reflecting Skin, to not one but two iterations of the atmospheric psychological thriller, And Soon the Darkness, the Guys Outta Brooklyn (and Vancouver) serves up an hour and a half of conversation and movie recommendations for your Halloween festivals. Plus, the debut of Clemens’ Peelers, and the new film rating Ebola! There are too many pretty parts, so get to clicking!

The Reflecting Skin3