Thursday, 29 September 2011

James Dean Remembered 56 Years Later

CLARK GABLE, his career would last 30 years & would make 67 movies.

HUMPHREY  BOGART, his career would last 27 years & would make 80 movies.

MARILYN MONROE, her career would last some15 years & she would make 33 movies.

JAMES DEAN, his career would only last a short 16 Months and only with 3 movies under his belt (EAST OF EDEN , REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, and GIANT) before his untimely death at age 24 when he crashed his Silver Porsche 550 Spyder Sportscar where Highway 466 met Highway 41, some 30 miles from Paso Robles on September 30, 1955.

But his screen presents was so dynamic, his work so extraordinary that it would earn him a place among the Pantheon of the Hollywood Immortals.

It was reported at the time that not since the death of silent screen star RUDOLPH VALENTINO had there been such mass hysteria. DEAN's legions of fans refused to accept that their Idol was taken away from them. He was like a voice for them, telling the older generation that they were there and they wanted to be heard. No more going off quietly to one's room. This was new class of people called Teenagers  & their voices would be heard shouting aloud into the next decade as the 1960s came and beyond.


JAMES DEAN would be compared in Movie Magazines to his acting heroes MONTGOMERY CLIFT & MARLON BRANDO, who's new Method acting style were taking over Hollywood at the time. DEAN would attended the famous ACTORS STUDIO in NEW YORK CITY that CLIFT & BRANDO were founding members of. He would say to his friends that he had CLIFT in one hand saying "Help Me" & in the other hand BRANDO saying "FuckYou". Now the acting students imitate him.

But it's His name now that's attached to any up & coming young actor entering Hollywood with the title of "the Next JAMES DEAN". He influenced a generation of young actors who were his peers and immediate successors (PAUL NEWMAN, DENNIS HOPPER, STEVE McQUEEN, JACK NICHOLSON, WARREN BEATTY, MARTIN SHEEN, & ETC.) and continues on down to today's HOLLYWOOD (JOHNNY DEPP, KEANU REEVES, SEAN PEAN, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, BRAD PITT, JAMES FRANCO, & ETC.)

JAMES DEAN was the 1st Actor to receive a posthumous ACADEMY AWARD nomination for Best Actor for his role in EAST OF EDEN.

For me, it was that film that I would be introduced to JAMES DEAN one cold Winter afternoon as kid. I sit in the living room by myself (which was unusual, cause I had 3 brothers, & being alone rarely happened) watching this young man on the TV screen try to reach out to his estrange mother, who was lying drunk on a chair (a scene that I unfortunately can relate with, my mother was drunk also), a desperation for any type of parental love, not receiving any from home by his stern father (my father too was much like this man). It was one of the few times I can remember as a child relating to a character in fiction that wasn't a fantasy based wish fulfillment.

Then as a teenager I discover the 1955 classic REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It spoke to me like no other film did at the point. It was a film about what it was like growing up as a teenager. Never mind that it was set in the 1950s, the problems were the same. Wanting to belong, to fit in & be accepted. Not to feel like an outsider anymore. The fears that if you let someone know the real you that they might reject you, but the hope the you may also fine kindred spirits. If there was anyone who spoke to teenagers it was JAMES DEAN.  

Today JAMES DEAN is immortalized in Books, Films, & Music. FORBES magazine estimates that his estate earns about $5 Million per year. His likeness appears on Posters, Calendars, T-Shirts, Coffee mugs, and anything else they can think of.

But it is in the Hearts of his Fans that he is truly Immortalized.

Here's a beautiful passage from one of JAMES DEAN's favorite books


~  "What is essential is invisible to the eye. One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye".

                                                                 JAMES BYRON DEAN
                                                                 February 8, 1931
                                                                 September 30, 1931

~ Rajadevilman74

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

End of an Era as Blockbuster Canada Closes

It's the End of an Era, unable to complete with the new digital movie download revolution from such places as NetFlix, so after some 21 years the Blockbuster Canada video rental store in my town finally closed it's doors as so many others did across Canada putting out 2,500 of people out of work Nationwide.

It didn't take long as Blockbuster put it's movies up for sales, 50% off or even lower. It was sad as I walked into Blockbuster one last time with my daughter and seeing all the empty sleeves.

As a family, we would make weekly trips or as we called them "family walks" to Blockbuster to rent the latest releases or pick up an old favorites. My daughter would feel like such a grown-up as we let her choose her own movies and with a big smile on her face let her give it to the cashier to rent it.

It was also a place for me to try out the latest video games without spending the huge amounts on a game that I might not like.

Ironically, it was Blockbuster that put out the old "Mom & Pop" video stores on it's rise to the top and now it suffers the same fate.

- Rajadevilman74


Monday, 12 September 2011

The 15th Anniversary of the Death of Tupac Shakur

Today is the 15th Anniversary of the Death of American Rapper & Actor TUPAC SHAKUR (2Pac to his fans) who was shot 4 times in LAS VEGAS, NEVADA on September 7, 1996, then died 6 days later on September 13, 1996 from respiratory failure & cardiac arrest. 

2PAC's parents were both active members of the BLACK PANTHER PARTY in the late 1960s and 2Pac was born just one month (June 16, 1971) after his mother's acquittal on more than 150 charges of "Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks" in the NEW YORK PANTHER 21 court case.
2PAC started out as a roadie and back-up dancer for the alternative hip hop group DIGITAL UNDERGROUND before he released his 1st solo album in 1991, 2PACALYPSE NOW. In it 2PAC dealt with themes of violence and hardship in the inner cities, racism, & other social problems of the day, and later on in his music career his conflicts with other rappers like the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. during the infamous EAST COAST - WEST COAST hip hop rivalry, whom many thought might of been involved with his death. 

Since his death 2PAC SHAKUR has sold over 75 Million albums worldwide, making him one of the biggest selling music artists in the world still, with ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE naming him the 86th GREATEST ARTIST OF ALL TIME.

Today Rap music has degraded to where the so-called rappers have songs about how much "Bling Bling" they wear & whom they've Fucked. I Hope Today that some of those "Artists" listen to some of those songs from that Great Street Poet and remember that they can do so much more with their music than they have so far, as it is right now the most listen to music genre on the Planet. Yes I do Believe a Song can change the World, but we need the people to Try and write that Song, instead of Shaking their Ass in some Music Video that some Producer thought would look good.2PAC may be dead, but I think he's still watches Us from Above waiting for someone to Step Up.

- Rajadevilman74

Pro Wrestling Ramblings: My Top 10 Dream Matches, Part 2

Now here's numbers 6 to 10

6.                                        HULK HOGAN (Mid-1980s Era) 


                                                     SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM (Late-1970s Era)

HOGAN himself would admit that he was just another SUPERSTAR knock-off, but a damn good one. GRAHAM himself was a man before his time. Even though he was thought of as just a heel (wrestling villain), the fans of the time period cheered for him because of his flamboyant personality & amazing bodybuilder physique. He was the cool heel before cool heels became popular in the 1990s with the likes of the NWO & STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. While this match could of happen with the SUPERSTAR's return in the WWF in 1987, the years of steroid abuse did a number on GRAHAM's heath & sadly wasn't the same SUPERSTAR he was in 1977. But I could just imagine what it could of been like if the stars aligned right and the veteran pro wrestler confronting this upstart who dared copy his look. Not to mention that he holds on to his World Heavyweight Championship Belt. The Battle of the Pythons would begin, making this HOGAN greatest challenge ever.

7.                                            De-GENERATION X 

                       (the Original 1990s Group: HBK SHAWN MICHAELS, TRIPLE H, & CHYNA )


                                           The FABULOUS FREE BIRDS 


This would be a 3- Man/ Mix Tag Team Match between two very similar groups. Both worked as a 3 person heel team, but were so damn cool that you couldn't help but like them. The FREEBIRDS had legendary feuds with the VON ERICHS in WCCW and the ROAD WARRIORS in the AWA. While DX faced off against the likes of the NEW HART FOUNDATION in the WWF.
It would start off with each group being introduced & respected theme music played (for the FREEBIRDS it would be the classic LYNYRD SKYNYRD song). Both MICHAELS & HAYES would strut their stuff in the ring for the ladies, with HAYES showing SHAWN why he was called "Purely Sexy". The Big Men would go at it with BAM BAM GORDY having a slight edge over TRIPLE H. BUDDY JACK ROBERTS would try to lure one of DX out of the ring and make them do a classic chase round which would end with another FREEBIRD sneak attack, but this would back fire as the 9th Wonder of the World CHYNA would be waiting around the corner with a clothesline of her own. Who would come out on top? I don't known, but the fans would've had a great show.

8.                                                CACTUS JACK (aka, MICK FOLEY) 


                                                                 BRUISER BRODY 

This would be a Hardcore Wrestling Fans Dream Match. FOLEY would be in his old WCW/ECW CACTUS JACK persona for this one. BRODY was Hardcore before Hardcore was a term in wrestling. His matches with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER in WCCW were just legendary bloodly brawls. I could see new standards in gore set for this match up if it ever happened, this could out do the famous "HELL IN A CELL" match.

9.                                                           MIKE AWESOME 


                                                                  ROB VAN DAM

Back during the Original ECW's heyday, ECW Promoter PAUL E. HEYMAN teased the ECW Fans for many months with a "Champion vs. Champion" match with then ECW World Heavyweight Champion MIKE AWESOME  and the popular ECW World Television Champion ROB VAN DAM. This match done right could've been ECW's most lucrative Pay-Per-View Main Event in the company's history and HEYMAN was depending on this match to bring an influx of badly needed money. HEYMAN was failing to pay his Wrestlers and some of his bigger names like RAVEN & The SANDMAN left for greener pastures. But sadly VAN DAM broke his ankle during a successful title defence against RHINO on January 29, 2000 forcing VAN DAM to vacate the World TV Championship. MIKE AWESOME would later leave ECW for WCW while still the ECW World Heavyweight Champion in April 2000 after HEYMAN failed to pay him overdue wages.      

                                                    STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN


                                                      DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS 

Back during the WWF ATTITUDE ERA of the 1990s, the biggest name of the time was STONE COLD STEVE WILLIAMS. The WWF was looking around for opponents to challenge AUSTIN, so on the advice of WWF Executive & MONDAY NIGHT RAW commentator JIM ROSS, the WWF signed former NWA/WCW & ALL JAPAN Champion DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS in 1998 (funny thing was that STEVE AUSTIN's real name was Steve Williams).
The WWF wanted to built up DR. DEATH's reputation as a legitimate toughguy fo the WWF fans who didn't know him, so the WWF Creative team of VINCE RUSSO and ED FERRARA came up with one of Pro Wrestling's Stupidest Ideas Ever! They wanted to try to capitalized on the recent interest on Toughman Contests around the country by having volunteers from the WWF Rosters complete in a Shootfighting tournament. To entice volunteers they would start off with a $5, 000 payday, with a maximum of $ 75, 000 at the end of the tournament. It was thought that DR. DEATH would easily win this being a NCAA Wrestler & All-American Football player, but not thinking that DR. DEATH had never boxed in his life, which would later could to haunt them. Also at that point in time the WWF had sent years educating the WWF fans that they were no longer Pro Wrestling, but Sports Entertainment and everything was now fake. So the fans didn't believe anything in the ring was real. So when the WWF debut it's BRAWL FOR ALL in June 1998, many of the audience didn't understand the rules (if there were any), the action was so slow that they chanted (to VINCE McMAHON's embarrassment), "WE WANT WRESTLING!"
Many of the wrestlers had never trained for such a competitive competition, only for in-ring performance. So a number of them were injured and unable to work after this fiasco ( List of the injured included: STEVE BLACKMAN; The GODFATHER; SAVIO VEGA; & ROAD WARRIOR HAWK).
DR. DEATH made it to the 2nd Round of the tournament where he was matched against former WWF Tag Team Champion BART GUNN. GUNN was different from the others, as he had previous Toughman experience and was a Golden Gloves boxer. In the 3rd round GUNN gave DR. DEATH a punch that knocked him out and caused a concussion. This lost lessened DR. DEATH's tough-guy mystique the WWF was trying to built for this character, effectively ending his planned push against STEVE AUSTIN.
So not only did the BRAWL FOR ALL injury a number of pro wrestlers needlessly, it cost the WWF Millions of Dollars in Pay-Per-View buys that a STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN vs. a DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS Main Event match would generate.

- Rajadevilman74

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pro Wrestling Ramblings: My Top 10 Dream Matches, Part 1

Since I was a kid I would make-up pro wrestling "Dream Matches" of my favourite wrestlers. Pitting wrestlers from rival promotions against each other. When the 1990s came I was in high school, my friends & I would create these WWF vs. WCW Dream Cards during the height of "the Monday Night Wars".
It seemed in 2001 when WWF bought WCW that those Dream Matches could come true, but sadly we know how that turned out.
Thinking about this I decided to do I Top 10 list of Dream Matches. Here are numbers 1 to 5.

1.                                               STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN 


                                                                      BILL GOLDBERG 

This was perhaps every wrestling fan's #1 Dream Match during the 1990s when the Monday Night Wars was Hot! Their looks & styles were similar, some say that GOLDBERG was a direct rip-off by WCW of STONE COLD. I really hoped that this match would happen when WWF had their 2001 Invasion angle starting off, but instead when got almost everybody from the WCW B-Roster. Only Brooker T & DDP were big names and WWF totally mishandled them. My thoughts on the WWF's total mess up of the Invasion will be for another time. But the the time GOLDBERG made it to the WWF in 2003, AUSTIN's back was so messed up that he couldn't wrestle anymore.

2.                                                          THE UNDERTAKER 


This Dream Match was talked about happening at the last WRESTLEMANIA during when STING was a free agent from TNA. Two of Pro Wrestling darkest characters in a face-off would've made a great last match for the UNDERTAKER. During the Monday Night Wars era, these 2 were larger than life, real life comic book characters.

3.                                               The MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE 


                                                                      THE ROCK

Could the Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment take on the Madness? The one wrestling Superstar the ROCK didn't get to face. After GOLDBERG, their was just SAVAGE or STING for the ROCK to face off. But sadly with  the death of the MACHO MAN this year that will now never happen.

4.                                                              KEN SHAMROCK 


                                                              KURT ANGLE 

The World's Most Dangerous Man vs the American Olympic Hero. SHAMROCK was just leaving the WWF as ANGLE was just starting out there, so the fans missed out a potential rivalry. But way back in March 2002 I can remember reading about the WWF having talks about bring back SHAMROCK for a shoot-fighting style program with KURT ANGLE to capitalize on the growing popularity of the UFC. Sadly the deal fell apart when the WWF wouldn't give SHAMROCK the easy schedule that HOGAN, HALL, & NASH were given. So once again the short-sighted WWF missed out an what could of been a series of great matches with 2 great wrestlers. They might of pick up a few UFC fans also, instead of losing them.

5.                                                     THE BRITISH BULLDOGS

                                                      THE ROAD WARRIORS 

This one a little different as it's a tag team dream match. This one goes way back to my childhood in the 1980s as I put two of the greatest tag teams in history against each other. Both are Powerhouses, little more in the ROAD WARRIORS, but the BULLDOGS had the great mate technician the DYNAMITE KID. I wished the WWF picked up the WARRIORS before the BULLDOGS broke up in the 1980s.

- Rajadevilman74