Posts Tagged ‘The Three Stooges’

Movie Night

April 2, 2014

Monday March 31st, 2014 – Kenosha, WI

Every once in a while at least a little time off is necessary to charge up the batteries. I’ve been one busy little bumble bee, and hadn’t had a night just to goof off in a long time. Tonight was it, and purpose was well served. It was a relaxing night in the tree house with friends, food and fun.

My director friend Mark Gumbinger has a fantastic man cave in his basement, and I can’t think of a better place to watch sports, movies and just hang out with buddies. He has a TV with one of the biggest screens I have ever seen, full cable and a sound system that rivals any movie theater.

He also has a world class collection of guy stuff like Three Stooges videos, cartoons, and a lot of obscure movies that he likes because he’s a director. The people he invites are usually eclectic entertainment types, and likely to appreciate what’s on the bill. I always enjoy being a part of it.

Tonight’s guest roster included Lou Rugani from AM 1050 WLIP, and one of the biggest fans of film that I know. He knows a lot of interesting trivia, and it’s always an education to hear him throw in little known facts about little known films. I always learn something every time I attend.

Mark is a terrific party host, and there is always an ample supply of freshly popped popcorn and other snacks and ice cold beverages. It’s just a fun time to relax with people that appreciate good entertainment and interesting company, and I’m always flattered to be included on the invite list.

Before the main attraction, we’re usually treated to some opening entertainment to get us in the mood. Tonight it was some vintage Johnny Carson from before his Tonight Show days, and what a treat that was. He appeared on Jack Benny’s show, and was the host of “Who Do You Trust?”

We also watched a couple of episodes of “You Bet Your Life” with Groucho Marx. Mark likes to pop things in with no particular rhyme or reason other than they’re interesting, and these were tremendous examples. Both Johnny and Groucho were loaded with natural talent and wit, and we were all impressed at how well the content held up. We’re still laughing long after they’re gone.

The main attraction tonight was the 1981 movie “Thief” starring James Caan. That has always been one of my favorite movies, and I saw it when it came out. It’s rather dark, but James Caan is absolutely riveting in his role, and I never get tired of watching it. I’ve probably seen it twenty times, and a lot of comedians happen to like that movie too. I know several, and we quote lines.

James Caan plays an intense bad ass, and those are always the most colorful characters to quote from. Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” is one, as is just about anyone from “Goodfellas”. Caan has some classic lines in this role, and I’ve quoted them – even on stage – for many years.

I don’t know where Mark found it, but this version happened to be the director’s cut. I’d never seen that version before, and it was fun to see it in a different form. There were some scenes I’d not seen, and some lines that were left out. Lou hadn’t seen it at all, so it was fun to observe how he reacted. We could have gone to a theater and seen a new film, but this was so much more fun.

"Thief" starring James Caan is one of my all time favorite movies.

“Thief” starring James Caan is one of my all time favorite movies.

Tonight I watched it again with Lou Rugani in attendance. He's one of the most talented radio voices in the business. Check him out on 'The Music of the Stars' on AM 1050 WLIP radio in Kenosha, WI.

Tonight I watched it again with Lou Rugani in attendance. He’s one of the most talented radio voices in the business. Check him out on ‘The Music of the Stars’ on AM 1050 WLIP radio in Kenosha, WI.

Thanks to director Mark Gumbinger for hosting movie night at his world class 'man cave'. Here he is with singer Gordon Lightfoot.

Thanks to director Mark Gumbinger for hosting movie night at his world class ‘man cave’. Here he is with singer Gordon Lightfoot.


Borrowing From Broadway

April 17, 2013

Tuesday April 16th, 2013 – Hoffman Estates, IL

   As unimportant as it may seem, I want to be known for something positive after I’m dead. It’s difficult to be known for anything after one is dead, and that’s why I want to do it. It means there has been effective work done somewhere along the line, and future generations benefit from it.

  Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges and Buster Keaton are perfect examples. I used to watch their work with my grandpa when I was a kid, and we both laughed uproariously. I have pleasant memories to this day because of them, and most of them were dead before I was born. They gave millions pleasure while they were alive, and millions more after they died. That’s true success.

   I don’t know if I can do that, but it sure is a noble goal. I think I’m on or close to the right track at least a little, and I intend to keep working for as long as I’m breathing. It will end soon enough anyway, so why not shoot for the moon and beyond? Making a difference would make me proud.

   Right now, the project at the top of my mind is ‘Schlitz Happened!’ That may well be what I’m known for if anything, so I want to knock it out of the park and make it a high quality product for years to come. It may only be enjoyed by a select few, but I want those people to love it dearly.

   I’ve been doing my due diligence to improve myself on every level of late. Meeting in Atlanta with James Gregory and taking Steve Hofstetter’s business seminar really inspired me to take my level of business up a notch, and today I met with my friend Todd Hunt to continue that process.

   I always learn from Todd, as he’s one of the top marketers I know along with James, Steve and precious few others. There is major skill required to be a top marketer, but it also involves a well executed plan and a lot of plain old hard work. James, Steve and Todd have all done it correctly.

   Not only that, they’ve all done it in different areas. James works comedy clubs and theatres for the most part, while Steve works colleges and comedy clubs. I doubt if any of James’ fans have a clue as to who Steve is, and vice versa. And I’d bet none of any of those fans would know Todd.

   Todd isn’t even a comedian. He’s a ‘business speaker’, which isn’t the same as a ‘motivational speaker’, and neither of the two have a ‘circuit’. Todd has to dig up jobs one at a time, but he has done it successfully for years and continues to grind out his marketing plan on a consistent basis.

   I would bet 95% of his business or higher comes from his relentless cold calling, sending flyers and mailers and constantly shaking the trees of human resource people nationwide. If I had to do what Todd does to get work, I’d be out of business in a week. He really knows what he’s doing.

   Not only that, he’s a huge fan of Broadway shows. How does that help me? Well, he’s into that world like I’m into sports, and he has a working knowledge of the entire culture. I am completely clueless to that subject, but it doesn’t mean I can’t learn from it. Todd explained a lot of how that game works, and I listened intently trying to pick out anything that can help me with my project.

   Todd is also really good at making critiques and suggestions, and was kind enough to offer his input on the shows I’ve already done. I will listen to what he says, and incorporate the things I’m able to use to keep the show constantly improving both onstage and business wise. He gave me a one on one seminar just like James Gregory did, and I am grateful to have friends that are willing to offer help. I’ve always tried to be that way myself, but when it comes back it feels fantastic.