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Messages - Tony Bensley

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1
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 13, 2017, 12:01:08 AM »
Well, the Cubs hung on to win 9-8, with a little help from a questionable overturning of an initially safe back at first call that went against Lodston of the Nats.  Both teams burned through most of their respective pitching staffs in a 9 inning game that lasted over 4.5 hours!

Chicago and LA are set to commence their NLCS rematch Saturday 8PM at Dodger Stadium, while NY and Houston are scheduled to play Game 1 of the ALCS tonight at 8PM, at Minute Maid Park.

CHEERS!  [pie]


2
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 12, 2017, 09:11:45 PM »
The Cubs are currently leading the Nats 6-4 in the top of the 5th, but the game has been a see-saw battle, thus far!  Kyle Hendricks is obviously not at his best, having surrendered 4 runs.

Will try and post again after the game.

CHEERS!  [pie]

3
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 12, 2017, 09:59:15 AM »
John Farrell getting fired, after the Sawx make the playoffs again? Maybe there's a story behind it...

Anyways, Astros/Yankees shouldn't be so bad, I guess...   :-\
Given that not that much was expected of the Red Sox this year, Farrell's firing strikes me as a bit of an overreaction on the part of management.

On the other hand, with the Indians latest choke job, who knows what the future for Terry Francona might hold?  His job might be safe for now, but who knows?

Now, can the Cubs win in Washington today?  I thought they would have made quick work of the Nats, but no!

CHEERS!  [pie]


4
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 11, 2017, 11:01:32 PM »
Well, tonight's heartbreaking loss for Cleveland makes it 6 consecutive closing out games they failed to win, dating back to last year's World Series!

And the same pitcher on the mound that got the save for the first of these, also closed them out in the latest Cleveland clinching loss - Aroldis Chapman!

What gets me are the voices in Social Media saying the Houston Astros winning the ALCS just got a lot easier with the undeserving Yankees getting in instead of the heavily favored Indians!  In my opinion, they just DON'T get it....yet!

CHEERS!  [pie]

5
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 11, 2017, 09:46:12 PM »
I'm afraid the Yankees may confound the so-called experts and end up winning it all, anyways!  As far as I'm concerned, the Yankees demonstrated being past mere rebuilding with last year's resigning of powerhouse closer Aroldis Chapman.  They WANT #28 THIS year!  :P

Again, I hope to be proven wrong, and that Cleveland will ultimately prevail in tomorrow's game on their home turf.  The Indians had better not be behind in the 8th inning, though!  [fucyc]
Well, it's going into the 8th inning with the Indians behind the Yankees 3-2.  This doesn't bode well for Cleveland, I'm afraid!

I wanna be proven wrong, DAMN IT!!!!   >:(

6
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 11, 2017, 06:38:27 PM »
As I type this, the Nats are slamming the Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley.  It appears that THIS rain induced postponement may have, indeed hurt their chances.

Hopefully, the Indians will fare better on their home turf later this evening?

CHEERS!  [pie]

EDIT:  Cleveland is down 3-0 to NY in the 5th!  Does playing at home mean nothing today? DAMN! [cry]

7
I believe you'd need a power converter because US electricity uses 120 volt / 60 hertz, whereas most of the rest of the world uses 230 V / 50 Hz.

But even if you were successful in connecting a PAL VCR to an NTSC Television, it probably wouldn't display a viewable image because a PAL signal contains 625 lines at 25 frames per second, while an NTSC television displays 525 scan lines at 30 frames per second.

Hope this helps!

For duty and humanity,
JohnH aka QuinceHead
Hi John!

Now that you've mentioned it, I do seem to recall having read something along the lines of what you've posted above many years ago.

Would the same problem of achieving a viewable image exist with modern HD Flatscreen TVs (Is the NTSC/PAL format even an issue with these, in terms of VHS playback?), or does this incompatibility apply mainly to pre HD era CRT televisions?

Thank you very kindly for your helpful input!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

8
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 10, 2017, 02:00:57 PM »
Not sure what I expected from the first round, but so far it's pretty anti-climatic. Dodgers make short work of the D-backs, Astros take out the Sawx. Maybe the only shock so far is the Yanks hanging around with Cleveland.

If the Cubs close it out today, I wouldn't shed a tear...  :laugh:
Neither would I, but I'm afraid the Yankees may confound the so-called experts and end up winning it all, anyways!  As far as I'm concerned, the Yankees demonstrated being past mere rebuilding with last year's resigning of powerhouse closer Aroldis Chapman.  They WANT #28 THIS year!  :P

Again, I hope to be proven wrong, and that Cleveland will ultimately prevail in tomorrow's game on their home turf.  The Indians had better not be behind in the 8th inning, though!  [fucyc]

CHEERS!  [pie]

9
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:19:25 PM »
Sadly, the Yankees are confirming my worst fears, leading the Indians 7-3 in the 7th.  They seem poised to tie up their ALDS.  :P

At least the Cubs managed to eke out a win today, so there's that.

CHEERS!  [pie]


10
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 09, 2017, 03:38:10 PM »
Houston just pulled ahead of Boston in the 8th.  This might be the end of the season for Red Sox nation?

11
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 08, 2017, 06:35:10 PM »
Speaking of folding, that's just what the Red Sox appear to be doing against the Astros, down 2-0 in the series, and 3-0 in the 1st inning of Game 3!  Quite frankly, I'm a bit shocked!  :o
OK, David Price shutting down the Astros for 4 innings in a postseason game (Huh? :o) was actually MORE shocking, and the Red Sox live to play another game!

I know it's Columbus weekend, but I'd love to read others takes on how the Division series are playing out.  :)

CHEERS!  [pie]

12
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 08, 2017, 02:17:22 PM »
Speaking of folding, that's just what the Red Sox appear to be doing against the Astros, down 2-0 in the series, and 3-0 in the 1st inning of Game 3!  Quite frankly, I'm a bit shocked!  :o

CHEERS!  [pie]

13
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 07, 2017, 10:10:24 PM »
I suspect the Cubs (Who won Game 1 in shutout fashion!) will also make quick work of the Nats because well, they're the Nats, and folding in the post season is what they do!
Well, it seems that the Nats proved me wrong, at least today, in their late innings comeback against the Cubs, whose bullpen obviously failed them huge!

We'll see what happens when this NLDS shifts to Wrigley?

CHEERS!  [pie]

14
General Discussion / Re: Larry Fine and my dad
« on: October 06, 2017, 11:34:24 PM »
Thank you so much for sharing this marvelous interview, and I hope that your Dad had a wonderful 95th Birthday!

CHEERS! [3stooges]

15
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 06, 2017, 11:17:00 PM »
Houston likely going to 2-0, but I wouldn't throw dirt on Boston, yet...

So far most of these games are over before the 7th. Makes me wonder about the ratings?
Not in Cleveland, it wasn't!  I suspect that Yankee fans want Girardi's head on a platter after he failed to challenge what should have been strike 3 to end the 6th with an 8 - 3 Yankee lead instead of well.... ;D

Bottom line; the Tribe indeed has a chance to make quick work of the Bronx Bombers.  Game 3 is on Sunday at New Yankee Stadium. (At least, I think it's still called that?)

I suspect the Cubs (Who won Game 1 in shutout fashion!) will also make quick work of the Nats because well, they're the Nats, and folding in the post season is what they do!

CHEERS!  [pie]

16
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 06, 2017, 10:36:11 AM »
Lets see, Houston vs. Boston, Sale and Verlander--can't decide which way to go on that one. If Cleveland doesn't make short work of the Yanks, I would be surprised.

World Series or Bust for the Dodgers, but would the Cubs still be America's darlings if they made it back to the big dance?
Should the Cubs make it, expect their previous back to back championships to be a significant part of the narrative.

Hopefully, Cleveland can make quick work of the Yankees?  I still have a weird feeling about it, though!

Boston and Houston?  That could be a toss up, though I give the Red Sox a slight edge over the Astros purely due to their history.

CHEERS! [pie]

17
Swap Meet / Re: Anybody still have the Columbia VHS tapes?
« on: October 04, 2017, 05:46:11 PM »
The DVD portion broke because the tray doesn't open anymore. Weird, eh? If it weren't for that stupid tray, it would still be fully functional. I have a lot of DVD players.... a portable one, one on the PC, one on the laptop, and two standalone players for my two TVs and none of them broke. One standalone is about 8 years old and still works fine. All of the VCRs I've bought never lived past 4 years. I look at my parents' problem as just a stroke of bad luck since I've always had great experiences with DVD players.

As for VCRs recording capability... DVD recorders work just as well. It's just that it never caught on since it was too complicated for people to use. It's not as simple as popping in the VHS tape and hitting record. It requires formatting, recording, setting chapter points, and then finalizing. It's a little more complex and many people refused to learn it. TIVOs are a lot simpler, so that's a reason why they're the fad today.
I had a similar thing happen with our Toshiba VCR/DVD player combo a few years ago, with it becoming unable to play discs.  As our Toshiba DVD Recorder conked out at about the same time (After recording thousands of DVDs!), I wanted to get a Toshiba VCR/DVD Recorder combo and to junk the player combo.  Unfortunately, the only store that carried them at an affordable price no longer had them listed as available stock and I had to settle for replacing the DVD Recorder and keeping the other unit for the still functioning VCR.  Naturally, after too much time had passed to do an exchange, the DVD/Recorder combo reappeared in the store's available stock listing! AARRGGHH!!!!

Anyway, getting back to The Stooges, the only VHS title that remotely interests me in terms of potential purchase would be the aforementioned GOOF ON THE ROOF (1953) due to the DVD aspect ratio issue.  That said, for me the two stumbling blocks are loss of visual quality (Especially as we no longer have any CRT monitors, nor plan to get one!), and personal lack of available funds at the present.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

18
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 04, 2017, 01:37:39 PM »
We've seen the Red Sox throw away bigger leads with fewer games left.

Everyone's fawning over the Dodgers, but come October we're getting treated to the standard Clayton Kersh!+ that shows up every October.  The 2001 Mariners seemed invincible too, and they won the World Series were the biggest playoff disappointment possibly of all-time.
And this year, it appears to be more of the same with Clayton Kershaw coming off the DL yet again!  ::)

Of course, the Red Sox ultimately hung onto their division lead, but these days, it just doesn't mean as much with the two Wild Card spots in each league.

Don't ask me why, and it's the LAST scenario that I want to see play out, but my gut tells me the NY Yankees are going all the way this year!  They may not be THE team that's considered among the prognosticators favorites, but that the Yankees seem to have largely been overlooked makes them even more dangerous, in my opinion!

We'll just have to wait and see!

CHEERS!  [pie]

19
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: October 04, 2017, 01:04:06 PM »
I'm very disappointed, but not at all surprised that the Yankees won the Wild Card game!  With their solid bullpen and Aroldis Chapman closing for them, they could win the World Series, I fear, especially if their starters and offense can keep the scores close!  :-*

Of course, I hope that I'm proven wrong!  What is it with Yankee players named Aaron that tend to spoil things for opposing teams, anyway? ::)

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

20
General Discussion / Re: Our Gang/The Little Rascals thread
« on: October 02, 2017, 05:41:18 PM »
Be prepared, lots to say here!

Well, I think that the main issue was that MGM didn't see the true value in 'Our Gang.' They saw some value - it was a popular, established name that could make the studio money. Gradually, MGM also began using that name as a way to shove public service announcements, patriotic messages, and mini Busby Berkely-style musicals down the throats of audiences.

The Our Gang kids are no longer the fun-loving mischief makers from the '20s and '30s. Now, they're mini-Andy Hardy's and would-be Shirley Temples, always trying to be good little American citizens who chastise other kids for doing the wrong thing. In DON'T LIE, for instance, Spanky scolds Buckwheat for lying. What is he, Buckwheat's mother? Buckwheat himself became little more than a one-note racial stereotype, getting the occasional "feets, do yo' stuff" style lines here and there. And if the kids did goof up, why, there would always be an overly-serious adult on hand to lecture them (and the audience) on good behavior.

Audiences were presented with instructional films on traffic safety, lessons on telling the truth, and Wartime information, such as the importance of rationing. Every third or fourth short seemed to be an MGM musical - especially after the War hit. Froggy's uncle (Walter Wills) would be on hand to coax the Gang into putting on over-the-top stage productions for the troops. The principal gangsters were usually overshadowed by a group of unnatural song-and-dance kids trained by choreographer Bud Murray.

I felt that the first season or so of MGM shorts was fine, for the most part. When Roach sold the Gang to Metro, he sent director Gordon Douglas and writer Hal Law and Anthony Mack (Robert McGowan's nephew) with them. Douglas was sadly let go after only the third short, ALADDIN'S LANTERN. He was replaced by George Sidney, who did a fine job - certainly for someone in his early 20s. His younger age may have given him a better rapport with the kids.

Sidney was replaced the following year by Edward Cahn, who was responsible for bringing Robert Blake into the cast. Cahn would later be succeeded by Herbert Glazer, Sam Baerwitz (who had previously directed Curly in ROAST-BEEF AND MOVIES), and others. By that point, finding a suitable director for 'Our Gang' became less about someone who worked well with kids and more about "who on the lot isn't busy?" None of these people were particularly experience in director kids - or comedy.

Hal Law and Anthony Mack were surprisingly kept with the series until the very end. While one could easily blame the quality of the scripts on them, keep in mind that they didn't have the final say - MGM did. Or rather, shorts division heads Jack Chertok and Richard Goldstone had the final say. One can assume that Chertok and Goldstone took the MGM formula and sort of forced Law and Mack to abide by it. I recently spoke with Anthony Mack's daughter, and she told me that her dad, unsurprisingly, really didn't like working at MGM. Towards the end of the series' run, one gets a sense that Law and Mack are crying, "we don't care anymore!" A perfect example is the last scene in FAMILY TROUBLES. Being that this was still technically a comedy series, it made sense to try to end each short on a joke. Here's what we got this time -
Froggy: All's well that ends well, I say.
Byron Shores: Froggy, Shakespeare said that.
Froggy: He did? Shucks!

There's no joke here.



The 'Our Gang' kids themselves (both the ones from the Roach and the ones MGM added) didn't seem to be enjoying themselves, for the most part. Some possible examples are Darla Hood and Janet Burston whenever they got a chance to sing, and Tommy "Butch" Bond. Being a freelance actor who worked at just about every major studio in Hollywood, Tommy seemed pretty accustomed to the 'studio system' and giving directors exactly what they wanted. He comes off as one of the stronger forces during this period.

Performances come off as unnatural, dialogue is often shouted, and musical numbers seem like the last thing any of these kids one to do (again, with the possible exception of Darla and Janet). As I said, the new directors chosen for the series may not have been the best fit for getting good performances from kids that weren't really trained in the professional sense.

MGM also had a habit of keeping the 'Our Gang' kids on past their prime, and failing to give them new costumes! You'll see Alfalfa and Buckwheat near puberty, and literally bursting out of their clothes.

In my opinion, The best MGMs are - in chronological order:
THE LITTLE RANGER
ALADDIN'S LANTERN
ALFALFA'S AUNT
DUEL PERSONALITIES
THE BIG PREMIERE
BUBBLING TROUBLES
GOIN' FISHIN'
KIDDIE KURE
COME BACK, MISS PIPPS
GOING TO PRESS
MIGHTY LAK A GOAT
DANCING ROMEO

The worst - again in chronological order -
TINY TROUBLES
TIME OUT FOR LESSONS
ALL ABOUT HASH
THE NEW PUPIL
GOOD BAD BOYS
YE OLDE MINSTRELS
1-2-3 GO!
DOIN' THEIR BIT
Most of the post-Spankys.
In my opinion, the above is pretty much spot on.  Yes, the post Spanky shorts, save DANCING ROMEO (1944) (Which was ironically, the last 'Our Gang' short to be released!), leaned rather heavily towards being downright dreadful from BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, JR. (1943), onward.  Among these last MGM entries, Leonard Maltin has described LITTLE MISS PINKERTON (1943) as being just about a reel too long - In itself a rather scathing (But in my opinion, well deserved!) indictment for a one reeler!

For me, Janet Burston never displayed any real acting ability in the MGM 'Our Gang' series, although some others who have seen Janet perform in other films outside the 'Our Gang' realm, have indicated otherwise, one of whom took rather strong exception to my admittedly harsh opinion that she simply wasn't a very good actress!  Perhaps Janet might have fared better at the Hal Roach Studios, where keeping the performances natural as possible for their child actors was priority?  Who knows?

CHEERS!  :)

21
In Australia, several of those shorts including Bedlam in Paradise, Booty and the Beast, Pardon My Backfire (2d) were released on commercial VHS tapes. 100% legit and licensed? Can't verify. A company called MagnaPacific (IIRC, I do still have those discs somewhere) re-released a pile of those same transfers on dvd years later. Same scratches, splices, PAL speedup and whatnot.
This post also raises an excellent point, regarding sources used for VHS, Laserdisc, and early DVD transfers.
OK, I wasn't sure if I had misread ThumpTheShoes previous post, but it appears that MagnaPacific did also release the lion's share of The Stooges Australian VHS cassettes, as well as the later DVD reissues.  I did also spot a Joe Besser featured short, "Sweet And Hot (1958)" among the 70 unique shorts listing!

I will try and incorporate these into a revised listing later on, after I've checked the eBay listing of the 70 shorts!

Also, I have a technical question.  Was/is it possible to connect a PAL VCR to an NTSC Television?

CHEERS!  [3stooges]


22
In Australia, several of those shorts including Bedlam in Paradise, Booty and the Beast, Pardon My Backfire (2d) were released on commercial VHS tapes. 100% legit and licensed? Can't verify. A company called MagnaPacific (IIRC, I do still have those discs somewhere) re-released a pile of those same transfers on dvd years later. Same scratches, splices, PAL speedup and whatnot.
Having googled MagnaPacific, they seem legit enough.  Perhaps it was an overseas sub-licensing deal from Columbia?

Here's an eBay listing of Three Stooges PAL VHS Tapes, which includes the unreleased in the US "Blunder Boys" (1955): http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/The-Three-Stooges-Moe-Larry-Curly-Shemp-VHS-Collection/132338529273?hash=item1ecffdb3f9%3Ag%3Aw9wAAOSwu%7EZZdy1c

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

23
To "Flip It," so to speak, below is a list of The Three Stooges shorts from the "Columbia 190" that were NEVER released in the NTSC VHS format.  Titles known to have been released in the PAL VHS format are double asterisked: (**)

With Curley/Curly Howard (1934 - 1947; 97 Shorts) -
None: All 97 shorts were issued to VHS by Columbia, including the single Three Stooges Public Domain title "Disorder In The Court (1936)" from the Curly era.

With Shemp Howard (1947 - 1956; 77 Shorts*)
Here is where it gets more complicated.  While 54 of the 77 "Shemp" shorts were issued to NTSC VHS, not all of these were released by Columbia.  A total of 38 were released by Columbia, and an additional 14 (Including 2 of the "Fake Shemp" shorts from 1956!) were issued by Goodtimes, plus one by Goodtimes and Columbia, "He Cooked His Goose (1952)."  In addition, "Brideless Groom (1947)" and "Malice In The Palace (1949)" enjoyed only Public Domain releases in the VHS format, while the other Shemp era Public Domain Three Stooges short "Sing A Song Of Six Pants (1947)" did also get issued to Columbia VHS.

1950 -
121 Hugs And Mugs
124 Self-Made Maids
127 Slaphappy Sleuths

1953 -
144 Up In Daisy's Penthouse
**145 Booty And The Beast
147 Tricky Dicks
**149 Pardon My Backfire
150 Rip, Sew And Stitch

1954 -
155 Pals And Gals
156 Knutzy Knights
**158 Scotched In Scotland

1955 -
159 Fling In The Ring
160 Of Cash And Hash
161 Gypped In The Penthouse
**162 Bedlam In Paradise
163 Stone Age Romeos
165 Hot Ice
**166 Blunder Boys

1956 -
**168 Creeps
**169 Flagpole Jitters
**170 For Crimin' Out Loud
172 Hot Stuff
174 Commotion On The Ocean

* Including the final 4 "Fake Shemp" shorts, which incorporated previously shot stock footage of Shemp Howard, along with new footage, featuring Shemp Howard's posthumous double, Joe Palma. Among these 1956 "Fake Shemp" releases, "Hot Stuff" and "Commotion On The Ocean" failed to make the VHS cut!


With Joe Besser (1957 - 1959; 16 Shorts)
None of the final "Sweet 16" Joe Besser featured Three Stooges shorts ever enjoyed NTSC VHS release! 

1957 -
**175 Hoofs And Goofs
**176 Muscle Up A Little Closer
**177 A Merry Mix Up
178 Space Ship Sappy
**179 Guns A Poppin
**180 Horsing Around
**181 Rusty Romeos
182 Outer Space Jitters

1958 -
**183 Quiz Whizz
184 Fifi Blows Her Top
185 Pies And Guys
**186 Sweet And Hot
**187 Flying Saucer Daffy
188 Oil's Well That Ends Well

1959 -
189 Triple Crossed
190 Sappy Bull Fighters


** Released in Australia on VHS in the PAL format


Clearly, the "Besser Man" didn't win, except maybe Down Under!  ;)

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

This post has been revised to note titles from The Three Stooges Columbia 190 that were never issued on NTSC VHS, but were released in Australia in the PAL VHS format.  Huge thank yous to ThumpTheShoes for tipping me off to this!

24
General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« on: September 30, 2017, 09:11:11 PM »
For me, even worse than the Blue Jays dropping out of post season contention this year, is the Yankees securing a Wildcard spot - AAUGH!  :P

25
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
« on: September 29, 2017, 07:12:23 AM »
A lot of comments are made regarding Curly's decline, especially in his last 12 shorts.

However. regarding Moe, it is in MICRO-PHONIES that I first noticed the bags under his eyes were more prominent.  To be fair, perhaps stress from dealing with his younger brother having recently suffered a stroke could have been a contributing factor?

Regarding the short itself, I haven't much to add comment wise, except that I found it hilarious.  I especially enjoyed the Stooges Radio performance bit, and the added twist with the lip syncing.

For me, MICRO-PHONIES scores a 9/10.

CHEERS! [3stooges]

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