A spectacular new book about Ray Harryhausen is cause for celebration—but more about that later. The estimable Mr. H was inspired to pursue his art, and craft, by the films he saw as a boy, especially The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933). But the man who created the stunning animation in those films, Willis O’Brien, wasn’t the only person experimenting with the wonders of stop-motion. Steve Stanchfield, Stewart McKissick and Ken Priebe at Thunderbean Animation have compiled a dizzying DVD collection of rare short subjects appropriately titled Stop-Motion Marvels! and it’s a must for anyone interested in this field.
The centerpiece of the disc is the Kinex collection, a series of ingenious silent shorts that were created expressly for the 16mm home-movie market in the late 1920s, and marketed as—
I love music almost as much as I love movies. That’s why I start every morning with a visit to Tin Pan Alley at www.youtube.com/user/petermintunmusic, where the gifted pianist, singer and musicologist Peter Mintun offers “A Different Tune Each Day.” I’ve also had some wonderful experiences in recent months watching DVDs that celebrate a wide variety of music I happen to like. These documentaries and performance videos don’t have marketing muscle behind them, so they depend on loyal followers and word-of-mouth. That’s why I’m happy to recommend them here, in the hope that I can expand that audience just a bit.
Sons of the Pioneers 75th Anniversary Show, Volume 1 is a live 2009 performance by the current incarnation of the classic country music group formed in the 1930s by Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer, and a young fellow who would become world-famous as Roy Rogers. The group has undergone many changes over the decades but the present-day group keeps the—
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