Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Searching for Michael Nirenberg

I rewatched Searching for Bobby Fischer last night. It's a superb film about kids playing chess. It's like the Rocky of kid chess films.

The villain of the film was a little kid played by Michael Nirenberg. He was great in the film. Looked a little like Elijah Wood:

According to IMDB he has one other film credit.

Find a grave has a page for him:

Many pages on the internet list him as having died of cancer in 1996.

IMDb also has another person same name, born on the same day who is a documentary director.
Her confirmed on twitter that it isn't the same guy.

However, it also brings to question the birth date. It says this actor was born in 1978. That would have made him a teenager playing a 9 year old. Which doesn't add up at all.

So, the birth date of the director is probably incorrectly listed as the actor's birth date.

In the IMDB message boards we have the following:
Someone claiming to be his brother, saying he was born on Aug. 3rd 1983. He also claims he is now a chef:

A poster claimed to be his mother and says he is alive.

Someone in the comments of this blog:
Posted this:
"Max Pomeranc and Michael Nirenberg actually went to high school together! I was in Michael’s year (2001) at the Bronx High School of Science, and Max was a year behind us. I’m Facebook friends with Mike, so I can tell you he’s very much alive!"

If that's true then he is a chef:

"Bruce" the Shark dead at 44

 Shark starred in the 1975 film Jaws 
Bruce clowns around on set with unknown crew member.

(AP) Bruce, the ferocious looking shark who starred in the Universal movie “Jaws,” has died of unknown causes.

Bruce’s death Tuesday came six months after the shark had made a rare appearance at the Universal Studios party for Superbowl 50. He died in his sleep at his San Diego home, Universal said.

“Jaws,” released in 1977, showcased Bruce's ability to bite things and look ferocious, however off camera Bruce was different than his screen alter ego. "He was a sweetheart. He always enjoyed making others happy, even if he knew he was going to eat them." friend Kevin Clarkson said.

Starting his career very young, some say Bruce became a household name after them film. However, Universal Studios CEO Ted Innis disagrees "I've never seen a household named Bruce." he said shaking his head.

Bruce declined to appear in the sequel, Jaws 2, because he wanted more money than Michael J Fox.

"I thought it was a legitimate request," Bruce said in an 1992 interview, "Fox was just a kid at the time and didn't have that much money."

The studio refused and instead cast Jeffrey Weissman as Jaws and made him hang upside down for all his scenes. "I don't know what we were thinking," said a remorseful Ted Innis, "By the way, how did you get my phone number?"

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Geman ALF Gremlins Ride

Wow, this is a doozy.

My friend Jonathan Navarro pointed me to this video. I'm stunned that I had never heard of it.

There once was a ride at the Warner Brothers Movie World theme park in Germany that featured both ALF and the Gremlins.

I'm not surprised that a Gremlins ride sailed under my radar. I love the Gremlins but the idea of a Gremlins ride would have been interesting to me, but I'm not totally surprised that it existed.

ALF ride? That's surprising. I love ALF. I have been a big fan since the original TV run and I have enjoyed a lot of his comebacks. Particularly I enjoyed the ALF's Hit Talk Show that ran on cable back in 2004.

ALF was a pretty deal in the US, but I have always heard he was a bigger hit in Germany. I understand he had some hit records in Germany and that his TV movie Project ALF actually had a theatrical run there.

So this ride existed in Germany from 1991 (shortly after the cancellation of the show) to 2001. There was a version in Australia, BTW but Beetlejuice replaced ALF in that version.

Guests would enter into a theater and watch a film.

We start things off with a dubbed greeting from Sandra Bullock in German.
 Then we get a series of random film and TV bloopers:

Then color bars appear and it sounds like the German announcer tells us we are going live to the set of ALF.

This was pretty neat. I always enjoy seeing television sets.
 ALF, who has a much more commanding German voice, chases the cat into the kitchen cabinets. He reaches in and is attacked by a Gremlin.

Gremlins then destroy the Tanner house.

The camera falls to the floor and ALF addresses the audience.

The screen melts and the Gremlins do the shadow puppet thing they did in the movie.

Then we board a vehicle and head into the Warner Archives. An animtronic ALF and Gizmo are trying to defeat the Gremlins.

This is really cool. When I first saw this I assumed there would be no more ALF after the video section.

An animatronic ALF!

 The ride moves slowly through elaborate set pieces seeing both ALF and Gizmo trying to maintain order and save the archive. Meanwhile the the Gremlins are trying to destroy it.

Here the Gremlins have tied a projectionist up with film. They keep lowering and raising him from the ceiling:

We also see some small set pieces with Gremlins on them.

The end of the ride seems to come out of nowhere. Perhaps I'm missing something due to it being in German. The Gremlins wiki says "Things look bleak, but just when you think you are forever trapped by the little green beasties, Gizmo and ALF find a 'Shocking' way to eliminate the Gremlins and save the day!" so the lever must shock them all to death.

At the end of the ride ALF is on a firetruck as we exit. He waves to us.

Below are some additional shots I found online that provide clearer images of the Gremlins and ALF:

It looks like a really fun ride! Surprised something like this flew under my radar for so long! Really grateful to the folks that took the video and photos above.

EDIT: There are some other videos on YouTube that show the ending clearer:
 They are spraying water around the room, ALF turns on the high voltage and they get zapped and with a pretty cool effect they disappear:

At the end Gizmo is hanging on the fire truck with ALF:

Friday, January 29, 2016

The complete Saga of Frosty Freddie

In the winter of 1984 a penguin in a chef's hat appeared in the pages of the Reading Eagle and promised exciting news about frozen foods in the coming weeks.

What would they be? Could we now eat them frozen? A penguin would know the answer to that question. A nation waited for one week.

Then Frosty made us wait. WHY FROSTY? Plus, now it's bargains? I thought it was exciting news!

And with that Frostie Freddie went off on a month long frozen food bender.

The factory closed in 1996 just days before Frozen Food Month.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Guy Hutchinson at Magic City Comic Con

Come and say hi at my booth! I will have copies of my book Sesame Place as well as some great Drunk on Disney swag for sale! 

Plus I will be doing panels all weekend! See below for all the details:


12:00pm -1:45pm Signing Booth # 422

2:00pm-2:45pm  Caroll Spinney Q&A (moderator) - main stage

3:00pm-4:15pm Signing Booth # 422

4:30pm-5:30pm    How Sesame Street Started - room 113

5:45pm-6:15pm    Signing Booth # 422

6:30pm-7:30pm    Lucha Movies - room 112

8pm - ?   VIP Party

10:30pm-11:30pm    Cocktail History       room 214


12:00pm -12:45pm    Signing Booth # 422

1:00pm-2:00pm  Sesame Place Book Q& A - room 112

2:15pm-3:15pm    MARK DODSON Q&A (Moderator) - Room # 202 

3:30pm-4:30pm   TV Puppetmasters - room 108

5:00pm-6:00pm    Forgotten Disney Attractions - room 108

6:15pm-7:15pm    Signing Booth # 422

7:30pm-8:30pm     Atari: A Look Back - room 202

11:45pm-2:00am    Drunk on Disney Karaoke - MACC 2


12:00pm-3:45pm Signing Booth # 422

4:00pm-5:00pm    Theme Parks You Never Heard Of - room 202

5:15pm-5:45pm  Signing Booth # 422

6:00pm-7:00pm    History of Disney Attraction Posters - room 202

6:15pm-7:15pm    Signing Booth # 422

7:30pm-8:30pm       Back to the Future Podcast  -room 202

Guy Hutchinson
Guy Hutchinson with Dana Snyder

Thursday, November 19, 2015