“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” welcomed children with low-key warmth and delivered its affirmations and lessons with great sweetness. It ran nationally from 1968-2001 and its reruns are still watched by the children and grandchildren of the original viewers. PBS has announced an animated spin-off featuring some of the characters from the neighborhood. It will be called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and will premiere next year and it will focus on the next generation in the Neighborhood of Make Believe, including Prince Wednesday, son of King Friday and Queen Sara; Miss Elaina, daughter of Lady Elaine Fairchild; Katerina Kittycat, daughter of Henrietta Pussycat; and O the Owl, nephew of X the Owl. Trolley and Mr. McFeely will be on hand as well.
The shows will count down from fifty to one, eventually revealing what our panel of preeminent film critics, academics and industry insiders has chosen as the most entertaining, powerful and influential modern documentary. However, this is not your average list show. Renowned documentarian Morgan Spurlock will embark on a road trip to track down the filmmakers and characters behind some of the most remarkable moments in contemporary cinema. Along the way, he’ll meet maverick directors and eccentric contributors, travel to iconic locations and explore the impact that the documentaries have made on both their subjects and society, all the while counting down to number one.
Current will also be running some of the documentaries he recommends.
In honor of this week’s release of the new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” prequel, I have something really spectacular — one copy of the 40th anniversary Blu-Ray box set of the classic Apes series: “Planet of the Apes,” “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” “Escape From the Planet of the Apes,” “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.” The first disc has commentary by actors Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Natalie Trundy, and makeup artist John Chambers. Extras include make-up tests, costume design sketches, trailers, and backstage footage. You’ll even get a close-up look at props like the Apes newspapers to see what they were reading.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Apes” in the subject line and tell me your favorite character in the series. Don’t forget your address! I’ll pick one lucky winner August 8, 2011.
Brilliantly funny Joe Queenan has a great piece in The Guardian about how today’s technology would have saved some classic movie characters a lot of misery — and eliminated the plots for the movies and the enjoyment for the audiences.
Imagine Janet Leigh, driving around with that stolen money, looking for a place to spend the night. She’d check Trip Advisor on her iPhone and end up bypassing the Bates Motel. And Clint Eastwood could use caller ID to block those “Play Misty for Me” calls from Jessica Walter. The mistaken identity in “North by Northwest?” Not after Google!
You’ll think of some of your own examples when you read his list. “Casablanca?” You could print out fake letters of transit using Photoshop. “Citizen Kane?” He wouldn’t have to spend all that money on the newspaper; he could be a blogger!