Cammie King, who played Bonnie Blue Butler, Rhett and Scarlett's daughter in "Gone With The Wind," died this week after a long battle with lung cancer. She was 76. King's older sister had originally been cast in the role but by the time it came to shoot her scenes she was judged to be "too old" so the producers replaced her with Cammie. Ms. King's only other professional role was as the voice of Young Faline in "Bambi." She would often say that her career peaked when she was 5.
Karl Urban will star as the title character in the upcoming "Judge Dredd" re-boot. "Juno" co-star Olivia Thirlby will co-star with Urban as Dredd's rookie partner.
Guillermo del Toro is trying to convince Tom Cruise to star in his next film, "At the Mountains of Madness." The film, based on a novel by H.P. Lovecraft is being produced by James Cameron.
According to comic book creator Mark Millar, a sequel to "Kick Ass" is on it's way. Even though the film wasn't a huge box office success, it's $28 million budget was quickly recouped and the film is expected to bring in another $100 million in home video sales. Money talks.
Thriller - by Michael Jackson
The Wiz - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released in November 1982, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is one of the few albums I've had to replace because I played it so much I ruined the grooves in the vinyl. Kind of like playing your 8-track tapes repeatedly (please, God, don't let anyone email me and ask what an 8-track tape is. I'm 50 next week and I feel old enough as it is).
Over a fourteen month period (7) of the (9) tracks on the album were released as singles. All of them made the top 10, which was unheard of then and now. The album's first single, "The Girl is Mine," was a duet featuring Jackson and Paul McCartney. The song was released in October of 1982 and hit #2 on the Billboard chart. One year later, in October of 83, the duo released another song, "Say Say Say," which did "The Girl is Mine" one better by hitting #1. Later singles, like "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," rocketed up the charts, helped in part by ground breaking videos that played on MTV (yes, kiddies, there was a time when MTV actually played music videos). The album is one of only three to spend a consecutive year in the top 10 and was number one for 37 of the 80 weeks it stayed on the chart. It was certified (29) times platinum, meaning over 29 million copies sold, in August 2009, shortly after Jackson's death in June. "Thriller" is the biggest selling album in the world (estimates but sales at anywhere between 70 and 100 million copies) and is tied with "The Eagles Greatest Hits - Volume One" as the biggest selling album in America. Here's a look at "Billie Jean:"
On the 20th Anniversary CD of "Thriller" producer Quincy Jones tells the story of how Michael Jackson came to write the song. According to Jones, Jackson told him that one morning he had looked outside and saw a woman sitting by his pool. When he went out to talk to her she told him that he was the father of ONE of her twins! Of course, the big video for the album was for the title track, "Thriller." It was such a huge hit that there was a best selling video about the MAKING of the video.
Released for Halloween 1978 (don't ask me why), Universal's production of the Broadway musical "The Wiz" died a very sad death in theatres. It's not that the film wasn't good (I enjoyed it) or that the music wasn't catchy (it was indeed). In my 18 year old opinion, and those of film critics everywhere, Diana Ross was about 100 years too old to play Dorothy! Directed on location by the great Sidney Lumet (who even managed to bring his mother in law at the time, the dynamic Lena Horne, out of retirement to star as Glinda the Good Witch), the film features some great performances, including Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man and, recreating his Tony Award winning role as the Cowardly Lion, Ted Ross. The film is full of energy, except of course when Ross shows up and slows everything down. I'm assuming that Ross' name is what got the film made. If not, the producers could have chosen anyone from Natalie Cole to Donna Summer to Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the original production. In fact, Berry Gordy, whose Motown Films was producing the film, wanted Mills in the role. Ross had asked Gordy for the part and he told her she was too old. Wanting the part badly, Ross went behind Gordy's back and by the time Universal agreed to fund the movie the only way they would do it was if Ross played Dorothy. FYI: Lumet was not the first choice of director. John Badham was slated to direct but quit as soon as Ross was cast feeling, rightly, that she was wrong for the part. Produced for a cost of $24 million (then the highest budgeted musical ever), "The Wiz" managed only $14 million at the box office. It did make a little money when it was re-issued after the release of "Thriller" to take advantage of the Michael Jackson-mania that was gripping the country. Speaking of Jackson, he affords himself well in the film. In fact, this period of time, up until the release of "Thriller" is how I like to remember Michael Jackson. To me he will always be a talented kid that conquered the world.
Well, that's all for now. Have a safe holiday and a great week. See ya!
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