Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pro Wrestling Ramblings: Ring of Honor bought by Sinclair Group

Well I Just heard on a broadcast on Pro Wrestling Report that Ring of Honor, a independent pro wrestling promotion that many considered North America's 3rd Wrestling Promotion behind WWE & TNA, was sold to TV broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. with a press conference set for June 24 in Baltimore, Md. to formally announce the sale.

Behind the scenes Sinclair will still have former REO owner Cary Silkin in the front office along with REO's Syd Eick, Ross Adrams, Delirious as head booker, Jim Cornette as executive producer, Kevin Kelly as lead commentator.
Long time Sinclair executive, Joe Koff, is said that he will bring his pro wrestling TV experience he learned back in the 80s as new CEO. A former WCW executive, Gary Juster, will head ROH live event promotions, building up current markets & expanding into new locations following planned TV exposure.

Sinclair plans to air ROH TV in syndication for September 2011, no timeslots were announced at this time, but it will be in the Primetime Weekend periods on their CW & MyNetwork TV affiliates, which are not programmed by those networks.

Sinclair has a 22% market penetration in the Northeast & Midwest U.S., but not many in the Western U.S.
ROH will still show their weekly TV show online so people outside of Sinclair's distribution range can see. Lucky for me up here in Canada, cause that's how I watch ROH. I became a fan of their "strong-style" of pro wrestling in the last few years, having previously had only read about them in magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
They've had such wrestlers like A.J. Styles, the American Dragon Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, the Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels, C.M. Punk, Spanky (Brian Kendrick), Sonjay Dutt etc...

A.J. Styles

The American Dragon

Samoa Joe

The Fallen Angel 
Not to mention the Hotties like Alexis Laree (WWE Diva Mickie James), Traci Brooks (TNA Knockout), April Hunter, Trinity, Allison Danger, & for the Guys who like their Big Girls, Amazing Kong.

Sexy Alexis Laree, aka Mickie James

Tracie Brooks put the T in TNA

April Hunter

Most of these people went on to the "Big Time" working for either Vince McMahon's WWE or Dixie Carter's TNA.

Not sure how this will effect ROH's working relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling, which started in September 2010, in which they have a talent exchange with each other. But since Jim Cornette is still with ROE & being part owner of OVW (with Danny Davis) as well as OVW Head Brooker, things look good for now.

Here's hopes that Pro Wrestling will be fun to watch again
I Can't wait for September.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Wonder Woman's TV Defeat

                       Comic Book Ramblings: Wonder Woman's TV Defeat_

If you haven't hears by now NBC has decided not to pick up Writer - Producer David E. Kelley's (Creator of lawyer TV shows Boston Legal, the Practice & Ally McBeal) much talked about Wonder Woman TV reboot for it's fall 2011 schedule. 
David E. Kelley
Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment said in an interview that the reason why the pilot wasn't picked up was "it wouldn't fit with their current schedule", but did praise everyone's hard work on the pilot.

The pilot was described as "a reinvention of the iconic D.C. comic in which Wonder Woman – aka Diana Prince – is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life".

Sexy, but blonde Adrianna Palicki
February 16, 2011, it was announced that the 5'11", 27 year old actress Adrianna Palicki (of Friday Night Lights TV fame & with a newly dyed hairdo) was cast as Wonder Woman.
Elizabeth Hurley (of the Austin Powers movie fame) was cast as Veronica Cale (a sort of female Lex Luthor & the TV series planned recurring villian), Tracie Thoms (who played in the 2005 movie version of the Broadway musical Rent) as Diana's personal assistant Etta Candy, Pedro Pascal as police liaison Ed Indelicato, Cary Elwes (of the Princess Bride) as Henry Detmer will run the day-to-day operations of Diana's company, & Justin Bruening(who starred in NBC's 2008 Knight Rider series) as Steve Trevor.
Sexy Milf Elizabeth Hurley

Original Wonder Woman Costume design

DC's New Look
Fanboys went ape shit online over the costume when 1st revealed, which de-emphasizing the american patriotism & played more on comic's Greek Mythology, meaning they gave her pants. But this refected what Wonder Woman was wearing at the time in the DC Comics. But they redesign the costume again, adding her trademark bootyshorts. 

The New Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman's New Look

The New Redesign Wonder Woman costume

The New New Costume

Wonder Woman's Bootyshorts are Back!
Reported test showings of the pilot by NBC were mixed (meaning people hated it) & having it's previous superhero TV series The Cape do poorly in the ratings (not even airing the finale episode) might of scarred NBC off superhero TV shows.

NBC's The Cape
Warner Bros. TV might try shop around the pilot to other networks, but it's doubtful any will pick it up, most all ready turned it down the 1st time round it was offered in January 2011.

This is not the 1st time actress Adrianne Palicki has been in a unsold TV pilot. 2003 she played Judy Robinson in John Woo's Lost in Space TV reboot for the WB Television Network. The cast included Brad Johnson as John Robinson, Jayne Brook as Maureen Robinson, Ryan Malgarini as Will Robinson & Mike Erwin as Don West (no Doctor Smith in this series). Sets from this show were later used for the then new Battlestar Galactica TV series, redesigned for scenes on the Battlestar Pegasus.

The Robinsons: Lost in Space
Then in Palicki appeared in the WB 2006 Aquqman TV pilot called Mercy Reef  as the evil Siren. It to had an impressive cast which included Justin Hartley (who would later play Green Arrow in Smallville) as the lead "A.C." (aka, Aquaman), Lou Diamond Phillips as A.C.'s adoptive dad Tom Curry, Denise Quinones as fighter pilot Lt. Rachel Torres (who A.C. rescues),Ving Rhames as A.C.'s Atlantean mentor & lighthouse keeper McCaffery, Amber McDonald as A.C.'s best friend & business partner Eve, & Daniella Wolters as A.C.'s missing mother Atlanna
This pilot was not picked up for series as result of The WB & UPN network merger into the CW network, which occurred while the pilot was being filmed. Just not enough room for all of the WB's & UPN's old TV shows & a new series as well.

Justin Hartley as Aquaman in Mercy Reef

Siren make-up test 

Siren make-up test without wig & contacts

Complete Siren make-up test for Mercy Reef
Real shame though, it was one of the few series I was looking forward to this Fall TV Season now that Smallville is over. It would've made a great companion for NBC's CHUCK series. But maybe it's for the best.

Sarah Michelle Gellar & Jack Black at MTV Movie Awards
I bet the Warner Bros. are kicking themselves in the Ass for not making Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman movie in 2005 now that he's doing Marvel Comics' big epic Avengers movie. Just think what the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly (some of my favorite TV shows) could of done makes me weep.

An early Wonder Woman movie costume concept that I liked

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Death of The Macho Man

R.I.P. Macho Man
 I Just came home from along day at work & turn on News & found out that one of my favorite Pro Wrestlers of my youth, Randy "the Macho Man" Savage (real name Randy Poffo) die in a car cash in Florida at the all to young age 58.

Also in the car was his 2nd wife Lynn, who was sitting in the passenger side survived with "minor injuries". They only been married for a short time, about a year. Florida Highway Police say he suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his 2009 Jeep Wrangler & then hit a tree. Alcohol wasn't a factor they say.

My Memories of the Macho Man go back to 1985 when he 1st arrived in the WWF (that's Old School WWE Kids). He was a Heel at the time (that's a Bad Guy to you people unfamiliar with Wraslin' talk).
He became an even bigger Heel when he attack one of the WWF's biggest Babyfaces at the time (That's A Good Guy folks) Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat with  a ringside bell, crushing his throat!

Steamboat vs. Savage WMIII
Steamboat was out for months. The WWF would play little vignettes of the Dragon relearning how to speak, while the Macho Man would brag he "ended" Steamboat's career.
This built up for the Dragon's revenge at WrestleMainia 3. Together Savage & Steamboat stole the show in one of the Greatest Matches of all Time!
Staemboat later commented on the WWE's Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat DVD that after the show all the wrestlers congratulated them on their performance.

He would later have other great matches in his 30 year career with the likes of Jake "the Snake" Roberts, "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, & others. But that one has a special place in my heart, taking me back to a time when I was a young boy watching something that was real to me. I hung on everything that they did in the match.

Savage Vs. Hogan

Later on when I was a teenager Wrestling became the Big Thing in the 1990s & the Macho Man was there in the forefront as a member of the infamous NWO in Ted Turner's WCW.

DDP & Kimberly
There Macho Man & Miss Elizabeth had a great feud with Diamond Dallas Page & his wife Kimberly.

Macho Slimjim
Randy was so popular he became the spokesman for Slimjim in a series of memorable TV commercials.
He later split with his 1st wife, Miss Elizabeth. Returning with a new look & a new girlfriend/valet, a stripper he met named Stehanie Bellars who took the name Gorgeous George in WCW.

The New Look

Macho Man & Gorgeous George in WCW

Gorgeous George
Stephanie later lefted the Macho Man  for punk rock guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein of the Misfits when he started to work for WCW.  

When the WWE bought WCW in 2001 Savage disappeared from the Wrestling scene.

Macho Man in Spiderman
 He did land a role in the Spiderman Movie as a wrestler named Bonesaw.

Macho Man Rap album
 For some reason the Macho Man decided to release a rap album called "Be a Man" in 2003, in which he calls out Hulk Hogan for on more match (hopefully at a future WrestleMainia).

Randy Savage in TNA 2004
Then a brief stint in TNA around 2004/2005. But what all the Fans wanted was his return to the WWE. But saddly that never happen.
Vince McMahon
Rumors were that WWE Chairman & Owner Vince McMahon wasn't ever going to have him back cause of Savage having a sexual relationship with his then underage teenager daughter Stephanie. A confrontation  in a bar later ended with the Macho Man punching out Vince (This is before Bret Hart's Screwjob).

Teenage Stephanie McMahon

Smokin' Hot Steph
But in recent times the WWE has release a Macho Man DVD & Savage was starting to promote the WWE's new Wrestling All Stars video game that came out this year. It started to look like Randy & Vince was patching things up. Maybe one last run as the Macho Man.

There's been alot of talk about inducting Randy Savage into the WWE Hall of Fame next year in 2012.
I Hope So.

Randy You Will Be Missed.

- Rajadevilman74

Monday, 16 May 2011

Unmade Movies: Hammer Studios' Unproduced Vampirella Movie

Anyone who's known me for along time that a few of my passions include watching old classic horror movies & comic book collecting.

When I was a teenage, I was going though my local comicbook shop's backissue bins (Polar Quest Comics) & found some old issues of Warren's Vampirella Magazines which featured a sexy live model on the cover & declared that 'Vampi Goes Hollywood'.

Vampirella #67
I learned that in the 1970s the London based movie studio Hammer Films, who were best known for bringing back the Classic Universal Movie Monsters in (un)living color to a new generation of filmgoers starting in the late 1950s with movies like as the Curse of Frankenstein & The Horror of Dracula, were looking for their next movie project. Tastes in Horror Movies were changing by the 1970s, audiences no longer cared for Hammer's Gothic Styled movies, preferring such films like Rosemary's Baby & the Extorist. Hammer Films ran ads in Warren Publishing's Horror magazines asking the Fans 'What should be their next movie?' They answered VAMPIRELLA!!!

Curse of Frankenstein

Horror of Dracula
Vampirella's orgins began in 1969 when Warren Publishing's owner Jim Warren wanted to launched a new title to supplement their ongoing series of Horror magazines. Eerie & Creepy were the flagship titles, with a motley selection of horror stories in each issue. As a counterpoint to the male, ghoulish presenters of Uncle Eerie & Cousin Creepy, it was decided that the new title should be fronted by a female - & a Sexy one at that!
Creepy Magazine #1

Eerie Magazine #46

Forrest J Ackerman & James Warren (reputedly inspired by the film Barbarella starring Jane Fonda) came up with the idea of a "vampire-ella". And a rising star in the art world was asked to create the front cover illustration, the legendary Frank Frazetta provided the world with their 1st glimpse of Vampirella.

Jane Fonda as Barbarella

Vampirella Magazine #1

Forry J Ackerman in the Ackermansion
James Warren with model Marion Moore for Famous Monsters cover
Artist Frank Frazetta
Credit for her distinctive & minimalist costume always seems to go to Frank Frazetta, though true Vampirella aficionados will acknowledge that Trina Robbins had the idea & Frank Frazetta brought it to life.
In an interview with Park Cooper of Silver Bullet Comics, Trina states "It's true -- I described it over the phone to Frank Frazetta, who to this day, I've actually never met. His original cover art of Vampirella looked a lot like my idea, but her costume shrunk more with each issue & by now it doesn't bear any resemblance to what I designed."

Vampi by Trina Robbins
Hammer Films made a deal with Warren Publishing & the Vampi movie was under way.
The Producation began in 1975 with Hammer Studio head Michael Carreras going into a partnership with Warren Publisher Jim Warren, who did not want to give up any creative control on his character.

Vampirella Movie Poster

Michael Carreras at Hammer House 1977

Jimmy Sangster wrote the outline, which was embellished by John Starr, Lew Davidson and Christopher Wicking, makes Vampi an alien from the planet Drakulon who works as an agent of the SODS (Space Operatives for Defence & Security) with her partner, a elderly magician named Pendragon (who replaces Vampi's more sexier boyfriend Adam Van Helsing in the comics, which made no sense to Me). Together they fight the Akrons, an invading alien race.

For the Director, Carreras thought of ethier Gordon Hessler or John Hough who were Hammer Films main stays.

Then Carreras began looking at some of their famous Hammer Films "Glamour Girls" to fill-in Vampi's trademark outfit (or lack of).

One of the 1st actress offered the role was Caroline Munro, who was the only Hammer Glamour Girl they ever signed to a long term contract, making Dracula AD 1972 & Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter for the studio. Hammer did some test shots with Munro in a makeshift outfit they had. But despite liking the role, Munro turned down the part due to the required nudity the movie called for.

Caroline Munro in Dracula AD 1972

Munro 's Hammer Screentest
Munro: “During my time with Hammer there was talk of me starring as the lady herself, Vampirella, & there is a publicity shoot I did for Hammer Films with long black boots, large leather belt, & a small white tight outfit – very Vampy. They produced a script which was all nudity & not much else, so I decline the part. Shame about all the nudity because what a great character it would have been to play, kind of my own Modesty Blaise”.

Caroline Munro
Other Hammer Glamour Girls auditioned for the part of Vampi included Valerie Leon who had work on Hammer's adaptation of Dracula writer Bram Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars, renamed Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971). She to turned down the part cause of nudity.

Valerie Leon

Valerie Leon in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb

Valerie Leon in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971)

There was one Hammer Glamour Girl during this time that I remember who would have been a nice choice, Polish actress Ingrid Pitt, who starred in Hammer's The Vampire Lovers, a film based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla (which pre-dates Bram Stoker's Dracula novel), and Countess Dracula, a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth B├íthory. In both movies she appeared nude, which made her a perfect candidate. Unsure if Hammer even auditioned her around this time. She had a sexy accent & body to boot!

Ingrid Pitt in the Vampire Lovers

Ingrid Pitt in the Vampire Lovers

Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula

Two more interesting canditates I thought of both appeared as Vampirella in 1973 at the 6th Annual New York Comic Art Convention. A sexy actress & exotic dancer named Angelique “Destiny” Trouvere & a 14 year old girl Heidi Saha They were  featured in a November issue of Vampirella # 29, “2 Vampirellas stun 5,500 at 1973 Comic Art Convention.

1973 Comic Art Convention

Vampirella #29

Angelique Trouvere was well known at convetions for appearing in sexy homemade costumes & would have liked to portrayed Vampirella in a movie, but Jim Warren felt that she was way to "stutty", wanting someone with more "class" (What did he think he was making? High Art? It was a Horror movie with Nudity!) 

Angelique Trouvere as Vampi

Angelique Trouvere as Satana

Angelique Trouvere as Red Sonja
14 year old Heidi Saha is undoubtedly the youngest Vampirella model to wear the costume in public. Now a day a young girl wearing such a skimpy outfit in public is normal, but in 1973 it raised many eyebrows! Heidi was the daughter of Art Saha, a well known sci-fi editor & was President of the New York Science Fiction Society & President of First Fandom, so it is no surprise that she should accompany him to the 1973 Comic Art Convention. Heidi appeared wearing a professionally tailor made Vampirella costume, which many felt was unfare. Heidi's parents had befriend Warren Editor Forrest J Ackerman, who was so taken with Heidi that he published one of the rarest & most sought after Warren magazines - the infamous "Illustrated History of Heidi Saha", a single issue magazine that Warren Publishing released in 1973. Vampirella, Creepy, & Eerie carried large advertisements for the magazine & for a poster with Heidi dressed as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Her parents had hoped that this would help Heidi with an acting career. It's unsure if Ackerman even suggested the young Heidi for the Vampirella role to Jim Warren.

Heidi Saha as Vampi

Heidi at 1973 Comic Art Con

Heidi and Forry

Finally Michael Carreras cast the half Irish-Cherokee Native American actress Barbara Leigh, who starred with Steve McQueen in Junior Bonner (1972) & posted for a Playboy Pictorial May 1973 (measurements at 35C-22-35, at 5'7"), so she had no problem with the nudity. Hammer Films signed her to a 6 picture deal, Hammer Films seeing a series much like the James Bond fanchise 

Sexy Wet Barbara Leigh

Barbara Leigh & Steve McQueen on the set of Junior Bonner

Barbara Leigh

For the role of Pendragon, Carreras considered casting a well known American actor like Gene Kelly to appeal to the US Box office, but his agent wanted to much money. They finally  settled for a Hammer Film Alumnus, Peter Cushing, who had played Prof. Van Helsing in 1958 Horror of Dracula film, later better known as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977). He seem to be looking forward to working on the project with his co-star, sending her a letter about it.

Gene Kelly

Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing's letter
Shakespearean actor Sir John Geilgud was Carreras 1st choice for the Commander of the SODS, adding some class to the film.

Sir John Geilgud
The Vampirella trademark costume was made by Western Costumes, a costume company famous for making costumes for all the big Hollywood Movie Studios in the 1940s & 70s, with boots made by DiFabrizio.

Barbara Leigh did a photo shoot for Warren & Hammer as Vampi, which did appear on a number of Warren's magazines. Carreras even sent Cushing & Leigh to the November '75 MonsterCon to publicise the forth coming movie.

Barbara Leigh prepares for photo shoot

Barbara Leigh & Forry J Ackerman at MonsterCon '75
But the movie began to fall apart when Jim Warren started to argue over merchandising rights. Hammer Films resources were also stretched, having gone over budget over the proposed Co-production of a Loch Ness Monster movie with Japanese studio Toho called Nessie movie with Euan Lloyd. By 1978 the Vampirella movie was dropped (as well as Nessie), Barbara Leigh's movie went nowhere & both Hammer Films & Warren Publishing were soon bankrupt by the 1980s.


Nessie Movie Poster
In 1996 a direct to video movie starring Talisa Soto as Vampi (who played Princess Kitana in 1995 Mortal Kombat movie), Roger Daltrey (lead singer of the Who) as the villain and Corinna Harney,& directed by Jim Wynorski. Movie got bad reviews from critics & fans (who hated the crappy costume to the bad script).

Talisa Soto as Vampi

Talisa Soto as Vampi
The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey
Not sure if 1975 film would have been any better, but Boy, I would have Love to have Seen Barbara Leigh in a X-Rated Comic Book Movie.

Barbara Leigh as Vampirella