Monday, December 31, 2012

Adam Lambert Doesn't Have Nice Things to Say About the 'Les Mis' Cast

The *American Idol* alum says the film is filled with "great actors PRETENDING to be singers." Burn.

Here's What New Year's Eve on TV is Like

Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly, and Anderson Cooper are all hosting very well televised parties. Plus our tips on virtual party crashing via webcam.

'Till the Credits Do Us Part

When our favorite stars don't get together in real-life, there's always the movies.

Madonna and a Bunch of Other Oldsters Dominated This Year's Top 10 Tours

Justin Bieber didn't even crack the top 20!

'Django' vs. 'Les Miserables': Which Team Are You On?

Pick a side on the holiday season's most heated box office battle inside!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


4935 Bar and Kitchen has already moved into the former Tragara space on Cordell Avenue.

But an exterior makeover is making the building more uniquely theirs.

Ralph Hulett's Christmas, day 18

Much the same subject matter as the Christmas eve card below, but a whole different treatment.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So Why Theatrical?

The Brew, Reporter and others have noted that Disney Toon Studios will be releasing the (up to now) direct-to-video Planes on large silver screens across the U.S. and Canada.

... Planes originally was planned for a direct-to-home entertainment release when it was announced several years ago. The movie does for the world of airplanes what Cars did for the world of automobiles and even takes cues from the designs ...

So why would the Mouse be releasing a feature produced largely in India (story, design, and some animation is being done at the DT studio in Glendale, California) into theaters? ...

There's speculation that Diz Co. wants to throw an animated something against DreamWorks Animation's Turbo and there is some resonance to that. (This is the feature that's ready for release against the second DWA film of the year so ... why not?)

But I think the three biggest reasons are:

1) Merchandise

2) Merchandise

3) Merchandise

Cars toys has made gazillions for the Burbank conglomerate, and Planes has Winged Action Figure! pasted all over it. So what if it's an Indian-based production? Walt's company isn't some high-toned Florentine art studio.

This is about the MO-neeey.


Click here for a Christmas video message from Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row.

A new video each day of the 12 Days of Christmas, through January 6!

Merry Ralph Hulett's Christmas!

Once more the star in the night. You get to see back-to-back treatments of the same subject ... in different years.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Schulz-Melendez Christmas

As the Journal informs us:

Of all the "Peanuts" television specials ever made, the first—"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)—was the Charlie Browniest. The 25-minute special was an underdog, just like its hapless protagonist, and barely made it on the air. CBS gave producer Lee Mendelson so minuscule a budget, we learn in Charles Solomon's "The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation," that he was forced to fund the rest out of his own pocket—even though Coca-Cola had already guaranteed sponsorship. When "A Charlie Brown Christmas" pulled in sensational ratings, CBS grudgingly asked for follow-ups. "We're going to order four more," a network executive told Mr. Mendelson, "though my aunt in New Jersey didn't like it either"—a line that Schulz might have written.

Bill Melendez, "A Charlie Brown Christmas's" director, did almost all of Charles' Schulz's "Peanuts" specials, commercials and episodics from the start of their partnership until Schulz's death. His studio was in Hollywood, fully contained in three homey bungalows on Larchmont. The place was small, easy-going and efficient.

Bill was a die-hard unionist. He walked out of Walt Disney Productions when the animation crew went on strike in 1941, and never worked at the Mouse House again. A decade later, he was President of the Screen Cartoonists Guild (TAG's predecessor, and the union that organized Disney in '41) when Walt had his revenge against that union and teamed with the IATSE to help form a rival union.

This one.

Bill didn't take the attack on the SCG lightly or kindly. When he formed his own studio, Bill Melendez Productions, in the 1960s, he made sure he signed a union contract, but it wasn't with the Animation Guild Local 839, it was with the Teamsters. It remained that way for the next forty-plus years.

I was always sorry about it, but I understood Mr. Melendez's reasons, and respected them. Sometimes old wounds go deep.


Today's video will help you celebrate National Egg Nog Day!

It features a review of Hood's limited-edition Caramel Egg Nog.

A new video each day through January 6!


Caught at the last hour without Christmas gifts?

Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row to the rescue!

Here are gifts available right here in Bethesda that are sure to make recipients' hearts grow 3 times in size - even the Grinch!


Mr. Beer

What more do you need to know?  This kit makes homemade beer in 14 days, and is available at Sears in Westfield Montgomery Mall.


Starbucks Verissimo Coffee System

Get this money-saving home machine at - where else - Starbucks in Bethesda!


North Pole Express train set

Available at Toys R Us, this nicely priced complete train set plays Christmas carols, and even hauls animated elves on 2 of its cars!

Check out these photos (Click to enlarge):


It's not a dream!  There is a 100% chance of rain and/or sleet through this afternoon.

The current temperature in Bethesda is below freezing: 30°.

Let's hope we get above freezing soon.

The good news is that Christmas Day is forecast to be mostly sunny, with a high of 47°.

It won't be a White Christmas, but be careful on the roads today.

Ralph Hulett's Christmas Eve

Shepherds, sheep, and starlight.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bob Foster's Christmas Poem

By request, just for YOU, the President's verses.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the studios

All the artists were working, chairs stuck to their gluteus.

Christmas bonuses dangled like carrots on sticks.

Artists fell for the gag like a bag full of bricks.

Ev’ry year they fell for the same weary tune

“Help us out of this jam and we’ll pay you next June,”

Said the bosses, investors and corporate suits,

With their parachutes, options and camel hair boots.

Then they’d file for protection with chapter eleven,

Then laugh all the way to the bank with their seven,

Maybe eight bags of cash of a shocking amount

To deposit next week in their Swiss bank account.

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Pardon me, can’t you see that I must catch my flight

To my ranch in Aruba, then on to Geneva, so

Happy New Year and thanks now I really must go.

Oh, and this marks the end of your health care and bennies.

Thanks for not going union and working for pennies.”

All the artists were stunned by this rotten transgression

Against all their hard work in this noble profession

So they opened their own place and signed with the Guild

Now they all have a pension and health plan for skilled

Union workers and spouses and dependent youth.

So it pays to “Go Union,” now ain’t that the truth?

Read it off your lap top ... in front of the fire ... with your loved ones.

You'll get a warm, toasty feeling inside.

Your Overseas Box Office

The newer totals:

... Third was DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians, which collected $13.7 million in its sixth round overseas from 6,251 locations in 60 markets. The Paramount release lifted its foreign gross total well past the $100-million mark ($142.9 million). ...

Wreck-It Ralph, Disney’s 3D family animation title, boosted its foreign take to $7.3 million its eighth round in 34 territories, and nudged its foreign gross total $67.6 million. Thanks to its strong domestic performance, the film has grossed a worldwide total of $239.5 million. ...

Hotel Transylvania's foreign gross total stands at $164.6 million. Universal’s Ted, $284.2 million.

Here's an interesting comparison factoid: Rise of the Guardians has collected $222.6 million worldwide to date, and Box Office Mojo lists its costs at $145 million.

Wreck-It Ralph, generally considered a bigger success because it's done better domestically, has a global box office total of $239.5 million and a budget (per Mojo) of $165 million.

So let's crunch the numbers. You see a big difference in the amount of money they've taken in after accounting for costs*?

Neither do I. (Perceptions are much of the game.)

* Admittedly, the Mojo's production cost listings might not be super accurate, but they're what we have to go on, yes?


Today's episode of the Christmas Countdown features a review of Hallmark's 2011 Battlestar Galactica Cylon Centurion Christmas ornament.

Come back every day for a new video through January 6!


Creative Parties, LTD has officially made the big move from the little house on Woodmont Avenue into the Landow Building on St. Elmo Avenue.

Take note that CP is currently offering 75% off on Christmas items.

And that Valentine's Day items are currently appearing on some Bethesda area shelves!  While the Christmas trees are still up!

New York Never Sleeps - To The Joy Of Global Travelers

 New York

Suffering insomnia or just fancy a big night out: New
York City is the city to visit for matchless nightlife, according to a recent
survey by the hotels expert®. The survey, which questioned 27,000
travelers from around the world, shows that the Big Apple is the world’s best
city when it comes to night time entertainment. Gamblers’ paradise Las Vegas is
the globetrotters

Sydney Harbour Voted Best Cruise Port For The Eighth Consecutive Year