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  • MAD MEN Season Five…where are you?

    Posted on January 2nd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    madmenspreadIt’s Sunday, and as happens every Sunday my Martini alert goes off in my head and I start thinking about Mad Men. So I looked up the schedule for season five on the AMC website…and it’s blank.

    Yeah, blank. A big ole’ gray block of nothing where the schedule should be. That means one of two things: Either my computer is on the fritz and not showing the page right, or AMC hasn’t decided on when they’ll be airing the show. Now, according to the AMC Mad Men blog, Breaking Bad has been pushed off from a Spring, 2011 to a summer premier. That has people speculating that Mad Men won’t be shown until the fall.

    The fall? Aw, man, what a drag that would be, ya dig? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires.

    On that note, I must say I’m a little let down that the series has progressed so quickly in its time frame. Not to say I’m not still digging it, but the mid to late 60s is not nearly as kool an era (to me personally) than the 50s-early 60s. To me, personally, the late 60s is when the whole era of kool really disappeared in favor of acid rock, wide ties and social destruction. Oh, certainly a lot of good came out of the chaos; the true beginning of civil rights for all Americans, the eventual end of the Vietnam war, and the Mod movement…but to me, and probably many of you, that era just doesn’t hold the true swank of the Rat Pack/Cocktail set days. But I’ll still watch the show.

    If any of you kats & kittens hear anything through the pipeline on when Mad Men is going to air, please drop me a line.

    -Tiki Chris P, reporting from the cocktail lounge

  • “Which Witch?” Game from 1971!

    Posted on October 20th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    witchin-good-halloween(Again, this is a repost from last year…it’s too good not to pull our of the cellar and share with you kids!)

    In earlier posts, I talked about some of my favorite Halloween toys from the 60’s & 70’s…The Mystic Skull Game, Coffin Bank, Candles, etc. I saved one of the best for last…Which Witch? from 1971!which-witch-1

    This masterpiece of cardboard fun came from an era when board games were no longer relegated to the flat world, and rose up in glorious three dimensions. Games like Mousetrap, Operation and Hungry Hungry Hippos transformed the single-layer concepts into mechanical miracles of light, sound, and moving parts. And marbles. Which Witch? is an engineering marvel that must have taken the brains at Milton-Bradley many LSD-laden hours to conjure up.

    which-witch-2It starts with a typical game board, covered in 60’s style cartoon graphics of the floors of four rooms (in what is apparently a haunted-type house infected with three witches). Next, cardboard walls rise to form the four rooms: The Broom Room, Spell Cell, Witchin’ Kitchen and Bat’s Ballroom. In the center is a chimney which (witch?) doubles as the means to the demise of snoopy little children who enter the abode. (If you pick the card that says, “Ghoulish Gerty Drops It Down The Chimney”, you have to drop the ruby red marble down the top of the roof; which-witch-chimney

    the marble can go in any of four dimensions and wreak havoc on the ill-fated children). In the Bat’s Ballroom, the final room, sets a staircase. The first meddling kid to reach the top of the stairs and land on the “Charmed Circle” (without being turned into a mouse or knocked off his keister) wins the game!

    Two young-girl pieces and two young-boy pieces (made of plastic and very 50’s Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys looking) try to make it through these danger-ridden rooms, desperately attempting to avoid the hidden traps and spells. The fear which-witch-8of being hit by a broom, pushed down the stairs, crippled on loose floorboards or plain old hit-in-the-head with a giant ruby marble doesn’t seem to thwart our intrepid explorers. They roll the die and move their spaces, pick a witch card and hope for the best.which-witch-box

    I remember playing this game with my mother (something of a witch herself) when I was a young kid. Once, I spent almost the entire game as a mouse. That’s no fun, because you don’t get to move. Another time I got knocked over like eight times in a row. The worst part about this game was that since it was made of cardboard & plastic, it didn’t last. Putting the cardboard walls together meant twisting, bending, and ultimately tearing the parts. My original game died an illustrious wrecking-ball death in the 1970s; I was lucky enough to come across one cheap a few years ago to replace it. You can still find them on eBawhich-witch-ghosty for anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on condition (and the market). These are only going to get rarer and more expensive, so if you dig this sort of thing I’d recommend finding one soon!

    which-witch-ballroomwhich-witch-kitchenwhich-witch-boardwhich-witch-stairs Happy Halloween!

  • A Collection of Fun Old Scary Movies for Halloween

    Posted on October 18th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    ghost-stories

    The Halloween Season is a very busy one for Ole Tiki Chris P. I’ve been going bananas decorating every day for our big Halloween bash, and have been too beat to lay down some groovy stories. So I’m cheating a little…here’s a kool post from last year with some great movie ideas. Tomorrow I’ll post two new horror flicks and a couple of drink recipes too!

    If you’re into old movies, I don’t have to speil about the wonders of the original Dracula, Frankenstein & Wolfman. You’ve probably seen them, or they’re already on your list. So here’s a few creepy flicks that may have escaped your radar…some you’ve heard of, but maybe never got around to witness. Some you’ve probably never heard of, but take it from this kat, they’re fun to watch and might even give you the heebee-geebees. I’ve included the IMDB link so you can get more info. So here goes, in no particular odor (I mean order. Damned spellchecker.)

    The Haunting (1963) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/the_haunting_poster
    One of the first ghost stories I ever saw as a kid, this black & white thriller sets three unsuspecting volunteers in a secluded, creepy mansion with a scientist conducting an experiment on sleep deprivation. Secretly the well-intended scientist believes the mansion to harbor spirits, and his volunteers have been selected for their apparent sensitivity to the spirit world. The spirits come. It’s krazy. A well-crafted movie from a well-written book, you’ll want to watch this one with the lights off and some spiked hot chocolate.

    The Uninvited (1944) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037415/
    Ray Milland leads this Noir thriller centering around a haunted house on the English coast. He and his sister move into the lovely old home only to find there are skeletons lurking in every closet. A well-written and well-acted movie, this one is at the top of my ghost movie list.

    Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081505/
    Jack Nicholson at his craziest/finest. Stephen King may have hated this adaptation, but there’s no denying this is one of the creepiest, scariest, most disturbing movies ever made. From blood pouring out of the elevators to butchered children to eerie music from a not so distant past, The Shining will leave you with chills and craving for more. The sets of the Overlook Hotel are so evil and creepy looking that the hotel itself becomes one of the main characters (as intended). Even the opening credits are scary!

    A Bucket of Blood (1959) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052655/
    Beatniks, jazz, pretty girls and ‘innocently’ unintentional murder for the sake of art. This early Roger Corman film is as dark as dark comedy can get. Creepy, BW & even an actual bucket with blood in it. This is one of those movies where you’ll be saying “They got away with THAT in 1959?”

    House of Wax (1953) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045888/
    No Paris Hilton, but plenty of Vincent Price at his best. Murder, wax and insanity. Need I say more?

    mark_of_devil_posterMark of the Devil (1970) (aka Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065491/
    Hot 60’s European chicks getting tortured as witches. Amazingly realistic and gory for the time, the plot centers around Inquisitors using their power to satisfy their sadistic lusts. Pretty damned disturbing, actually. The American version is dubbed pretty well, so you don’t have to read subtitles. Lots of torture devices, dirty villagers, and torture of pretty medieval women that borders on a snuff flick. Don’t let the kids near this one.

    Young Frankenstein (1974) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431/
    It’s not easy to pull off a really great spoof of a really great movie, but they really nailed it with this one. Mel Brooks in his heyday with Harvey Korman, Peter Boyal, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, a cameo by Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder at the reins. Wilder plays the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein. He refuses to believe his grandfather’s work had any merit until he visits the ‘old country’ and finds his journal. When he decides to try the experiments himself, hilarity ensues. Shot in black and white with the same techniques as movies from the 30’s (and with some of the same sets as the original “Frankenstein”) this flick is timeless, with great gags, great writing, and Teri Garr looking like a real honey.

    The Exorcist (1973) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/exorcist_poster
    Speaks for itself. If you ain’t seen it, see it. It’ll blow your mind. Scary, evil, disturbing. Interesting note: Max von Sydow played Father Merrin, the old priest. He was only 43 at the time. He also played the role of Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Director Burgess in Minority Report (2002). Talk about a career!

    the-changeling-posterThe Changeling (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080516/
    Probably the best Ghost Story I’ve ever seen on film. George C. Scott stars as John Russell, a music composer who moves to a secluded vintage mansion outside of Seattle, hoping for some peace and quiet. What he gets are strange noises, visions, and visitations. As he unravels the mystery he gets drawn deeper into the web of the strengthening spirit. I don’t want to give anything else away! This has been one of my favorites from when I first saw it as a kid. Even though it was released in 1980, it has that old 60’s-70’s production style that makes it even creepier than any of the newer flicks can go for. Sure, new movies have great effects, but when they’re too slick they just don’t have that gritty creep factor.

    Ghost Story (1981) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082449/
    What happens when you get Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks and John Houseman together in their retirement years? A very creepy ghost story, that’s what. Add Patricia Neal, Alice Krige and a 50 year old bloody secret and you’ve got the makings of a very spooky film. 80’s production values are laughable, but if you can get past that it’s a fun flick to watch.

    christine_poster1Christine (1983) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085333/
    “She’s Death On Wheels” was the movie’s slogan. Another Stephen King adaptation, this time by John Carpenter. Nerdy teenager finds a beat to hell ’58 Fury “That’s uglier than he is”, spends all his time fixing it up and driving it, all the time becoming possessed by the demon car. It follows the book fairly well, but the way Carpenter translated the story to the screen has become legend. There’s even a Christine Car Club dedicated to restoring and preserving ’58 Plymouth Fury Christine clones (and a few real movie cars). With no computer graphics to help them, 25 Plymouths were used in the film, with about 15 of them being destroyed (which brought car guys like me to tears). It was later said that many of the destroyed cars were junkyard dogs anyway, didn’t run, didn’t even have engines, and were just painted rustbuckets used for the shots. A little Trivia: When my family and I went to see this in the movies around Christmas, 1983, we drove to the theater in my father’s ’64 Caddy. When we came out, people were pointing at his finned car and yelling, “It’s Christine!”…even though it was powder blue and didn’t look anything like a Fury! A few years later my Dad and I bought a ’59 Plymouth Savoy (with a ’58 front end on it) with the intention of making a Christine Clone. Turns out the motor was shot, and it was too much trouble to do it so we sold it back to the guy we bought it from for the same $200 we paid for it.

  • For The Mad Men Lovers: How To Succeed In Business Without Even Trying, 1967 for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on July 26th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    how_to_succeed-business_posIn honor of Sunday’s Season Four Premier of Mad Men, I thought I’d treat you swingers to a little fun flick from 1967…based on the Broadway musical, here’s

    How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying

    from 1967 starring a young and crazy Robert Morse as J Pierrepont Finch.

    When I first watched Mad Men four years ago, the one person that really clicked in my head was Cooper. He had a very familiar look, especially his expressions. Through the magic of the modern interwebs I was able to do a world-wide search for this actor’s previous accomplishments (Ok, I went right to IMDB) and realized I had recently seen the kat in How to Succeed in Business!

    Robert Morse in "How To Succeed In Business"

    Robert Morse in "How To Succeed In Business"

    Man, what a great circle of events. Robert Morse originated the part of “Ponty” in HTSIBWET in 1961 and won a Tony for best actor. When the movie came along he, along with Rudy Vallee, Ruth Kobart and Sammy Smith all recreated their roles from the Broadway version. His character starts out as a window washer who, with the help of a book entitled, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” decides to take a shot at climbing the corporate ladder. Executive is written all over his future, and his goal is to someday run the company.

    Robert Morse in Mad Men

    Robert Morse in Mad Men

    Change the timing by 30 years, and it becomes very easy to see Cooper’s character starting out with some of the same characteristics, basically making his character in How To Succeed a possible background (although a goofy one) for Burt Cooper. (What’s really funny is how the film treats the Advertising Department and its stigma at the company).

    Basically, it’s a very kool connection for the retro series Mad Men to make by hiring an actor who actually portrayed these types of characters at the actual time this series takes place. Dig?how-to-succeed-office1

    As for the movie itself, what a fun flick it is. It’s a musical with some swingin’ tunes. The sets are fantastic…more early-60s style than late. Ultra Modern and swanky-galore. Since it was originally staged in ’61, the movie maintains that era’s look and feel.

    howtosucceed-office-2There are a lot of laughs, and by the end you’ll be hoping the kid makes it. When it’s over, watch a first season Mad Men and you’ll see a few cues from this movie. The kids that put this series together definitely watched this flick once or twice!

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the screening room at World Wide Widgets.
    This is Tiki Lounge Talk, the swingin’ retro tiki blog for kool kats and hip kitties.

  • The Manhattan: Weekend Cocktails at the Tiki Bar

    Posted on July 9th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tiki-bar-drinksReady for the weekend kids? We sure are at the Tiki Bar! Since out last post was on some sophisticated Latin Jazz, lets Jazz the weekend up with some sophisticated cocktails…

    The typical Manhattan calls for rye whiskey and sweet vermouth. Here are two twists on the original:

    Bourbon Manhattan

    3/4 oz sweet vermouth
    2 1/2 oz good bourbon whiskey (I’d go with Maker’s Mark)
    1 dash bitters
    1 maraschino cherry
    1 twist orange peel

    Pour the booze and bitters over the rocks and stir gently. Add the Cherry; twist the orange into the drink and ditch the peel. A little sweeter and smoother than the traditional drink.

    The Manhattan Cocktail. Old-style is served in a rocks glass.

    The Manhattan Cocktail. Old-style is served in a rocks glass.

    Southern Comfort Manhattan

    1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
    1/2 oz dry vermouth
    dash bitters
    Cherry

    Stir with cracked ice, strain into a glass (also good on the rocks). Drop in the cherry and you’re good to go with a ’60s style cocktail that will make the southern belles melt.

    Either of these splashes would be a great accompaniment to the sultry tunes presented in our previous post.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the Tiki Bar