California Typewriter - Title

California Typewriter The Documentary

I was browsing the documentary section of Hulu the other day and a title caught my eye: California Typewriter. The word “typewriter” brought back memories of my mother using her typewriter for medical transcription at both a doctor’s office and home. I remember her using an IBM Selectric and then a daisy wheel. She was using a typewriter up until the early 2000s. This isn’t to say she wasn’t using a word processor or a word processing program on Windows 3.1 as well, but the typewriter was still used.

Back to the documentary.

California Typewriter is named after a business in Berkeley, CA. As you can imagine, the business struggles to keep their doors open these days. This documentary looks into the day to day activities of the employees as well as looking into the patrons of this business. Folks bring in typewriters for repair and maintenance, others come in to buy.
California Typewriter - Maintenance

The documentary also shows us some famous collectors like Tom Hanks as well as typewriter advocates singer John Mayer and actor Sam Shepard. They explain why they choose to still use these mechanical devices and steer clear of computers for their writing.

Most of the typewriters featured California Typewriter are non-electric. We even get to see some of the earliest typewriters from the 1800s. Some didn’t even have a qwerty keyboard.

[Via] Zero Media

As someone who collects vintage computers, I appreciate their love of these devices even though some of the people on camera put down computers (it hurt a little). However, computers had their say at the end of the film. Halfway through the documentary, I was regretting giving my ex-girlfriend not one, but two mechanical typewriters (she’s a writer). The commentary in this film has convinced me that I need to type letters, ideas, and basically anything that needs to be on paper with a typewriter.

I have a spot for it in my home office. I just need to visualize…
California Typewriter - Justin's desk

The 'Burbs - Shout! Select

Shout! Select Presents: The ‘Burbs (1989)

You’ve probably figured this out by now. I love the work of Joe Dante. Whether that be Gremlins, Innerspace or The ‘Burbs to name a few of the films he has directed. There is always a mischievousness that comes through in all of his movies and TV shows that I am drawn to. Certainly that is why back in 1989 I really wanted to see The ‘Burbs when it played at our local Drive-In.

Not only was I already a Joe Dante fan when The ‘Burbs hit theaters. Additionally I was a huge fan of both Tom Hanks as well as Bruce Dern. Hanks thanks of course to his roles in Bosom Buddies, Splash, and Dragnet. And Dern was the lead in one of my all-time favorite science fiction films, 1972’s Silent Running.

[Via] maslidukan

The ‘Burbs works so exceptionally well thanks to it it’s ensemble cast. Besides Hanks and Dern you have Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Dick Miller, Gale Gordon, and Henry Gibson. All portraying suburbanites who find themselves in a bizarre mystery when new neighbors arrive on the block.
The 'Burbs - The Kopeks

In fact I think a better description is that the film is actually a thriller/horror/comedy. Hanks’ role as Ray Peterson is an everyman. His sole wish is to be able to experience a relaxing vacation at home. Sadly, his neighbors have other plans, in particular his friend Art (Ducommun). Who has begun to believe that those new neighbors, the Klopeks, are not just strange…but murderers!

This viewpoint of the Klopeks quickly begins to spread to the rest of the neighbors. Before you can say The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, the once peaceful cul-de-sac that is Mayfield Place is turned upside down. However unlike in that famous Twilight Zone episode, the actions of the neighborhood are incredibly funny.

Personally I feel that while Dern almost steals the entire film, it is the late Ducommun that really shines. Hanks and Fisher naturally are great but their roles are mainly to provide the foils to Ducommun’s antics. Like many Dante films, the humor can cross over into the slapstick but it always feels appropriate.

With The ‘Burbs Blu-Ray collector’s edition being released by Shout! Select, you know there are special features:

  • 2017 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • Interviews With Director Joe Dante, Editor Marshall Harvey, And Director Of Photography (Additional Scenes) John Hora
  • Audio Commentary With Writer Dana Olsen, Moderated By Author Calum Waddell
  • There Goes The Neighborhood: The Making Of The ‘Burbs – Includes Interviews With Director Joe Dante, Actors Corey Feldman, Courtney Gaines, And Wendy Schaal, Director Of Photography Robert M. Stevens, And Production Designer James H. Spencer
  • Alternate Ending
  • Original Workprint From Joe Dante’s Archive (Includes Deleted And Extended Scenes)
  • Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
  • Stills And Posters Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Now you can visit the Shout! Factory official site and pre-order your copy of The ‘Burbs, right now. Or wait until next week when it’s released on the 20th to better stores everywhere.

Want to see what Siskel and Ebert thought about The ‘Burbs?

[Via] Oiler Fanatic 1

You Are Standing in the Cavern of the Evil Wizard


If you’ve seen the movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks then you should be familiar with this graphic text adventure computer game Josh Baskin plays in the film. The Web site BoMToons features what might be the shortest video game ever, a replica play-through of the Cavern of the Evil Wizard game scene from the movie.


Your knowledge of the film will help you solve the puzzle and feel like Josh Baskin himself.