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Sunken treasures await your re-discovery: Blog 2016 / Blog 2017
"I always keep my word, I'll send him right where he told me to go ...HELL!"
May 2018
This Blog will be offering a colorful kaleidoscope of movie magic for cinema aficionados.
Crispy peanuts, thin-skinned baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!
The Reality behind the Fantasy! - The Story behind the Spectacle!
No inflated endlessly long stories, but short and crisp. 
'This is Helmet time!'
Photos beat content!
Welcome to the manege of madness! - Have a pleasant trip!

Jay and Kay ride through the city again to save earth from the scum of the universe.
The evil Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a wormy alien shape-changer, is searching for the Light of Zartha.
She is not squeamish in the choice of means and assembles a gruff troupe of bounty hunters to find Agent Kay,
who has the desperately wanted information about the Light of Zartha.
Creature wizard Rick Baker and his Cinovation team designed the alien thugs hunting for Kay.
The Cinovation crew, led by Bart Mixon, started to work on the hired thugs:
Ballchinian, Mosh Tendrils, Pineal Eye, Corn Face and Dog Poop.
All these aliens are portrayed by real performers in makeup and costume.
And now it's the scum's turn...
Mosh Tendrils - portrayed by Derek Mears. 
A foam latex mask, fully painted with detail. The ears are made from slip latex. 
The thug with a tentacled face and 'Spock' ears.
Special makeup genius Rick Baker has a look at the Mosh Tendrils make-up.
Pineal Eye - portrayed by Kevin Grevioux.
Pineal Eye resembles a bald dark-skinned man, except he has a third eye on the top of his forehead.
Inside a special skullcap a synthetic mechanized third eye was mounted which was able to blink.
This mask is made of cast foam latex that has been painted in full detail to match Grevioux’s skin tone. 
Small black hairs have been glued throughout the piece to serve as beard and scalp hair.
Sculpting Pineal Eye (Kevin Grevioux). Who is the artist?
Rick Baker knowns Grevioux very well from the Tim Burton 'Planet of the Apes' production, 
where he played different characters.
Ballchinian and Corn Face.
Ballchinian (like Pineal Eye) was a more complex design with makeup appliances driven by servos.
Some like the mechanized make-up stuff, I prefer the straightforward appliance make-ups like the design for Corn Face 
or Dog Poop. 
Initially Serleenas thugs are all, more or less, human-looking characters who reveal their alien characteristics 
in the height of the basement battle.
On the right is Michael Garvey (Corn Face) as a human-looking alien thug. 
This is Corn Face (Michael Garvey) without his human camouflage.
He is playing with Agent Jay (Will Smith) and checks his pliancy.
A reptilian creature with corn-textured skin and spikes on his sideburns.
I love this spiky appliance makeup, similar to a Bearded Dragon. 
Special makeup expert Stephen Prouty works on the Corn Face makeup, 
a mask/appliance made from cast foam latex and painted in detail.
The cowl has been painted in the dark brown and a cool yellow color scheme.
It is cast with a black power netting inset to help hold the piece together when in use. 
The skin is incredibly textured and detailed with pronounced spikes emerging from either side of the head.
A relatively simple but very effective appliance makeup concept.
Stephen Prouty giving Corn Face (Michael Garvey) some finishing touches.
The facial appliance is also made of foam latex.
Oscar and three time Emmy nominee Stephen Prouty is known for his makeup work on 'Jackass: Bad Grandpa', 
'Zombieland', 'Planet of the Apes' (Tim Burton) and 'Hook'. 
In 2013 he established his own Shop, FusionFX, for all kinds of state-of-the-art makeup effects services that are tailored 
to individual productions in the ever evolving entertainment industry.
Check out his website for more informtions: FusionFX.
A perfect alien roughneck appliance make-up with an excellent color scheme.
My favorite among the bloodhounds Serleena left out of the cage. A terrific design ...with matching jacket!
Dog Poop and Pineal Eye think they have everything under control.
But the tide turns quickly.
Dog Poop was portrayed by Sonny Tipton.
The concept is pretty cool, resembling a lumpy dog face.
Cinovation project supervisor Bart Mixon is fixing one of the multiple facial appliances.
The facial appliances are foam latex and consist of a main appliance covering the cheeks, 
eyes and forehead as well as a secondary appliance to cover the chin.
The cowl is also foam latex textured to be consistent with Tipton’s character in the film.
The foam latex appliance pieces have been glued together and painted in detail to be ready for the screen.
And they used a black nylon power netting inset again to help hold the piece together when in action.
Bloodhound Dog Poop is nearly ready for action.
An excellent straighforward appliance make-up without any hip mechanics. Great!
Bart makes the Dog gleam.
His career in special makeup effects is impressive, with a bunch of interesting film productions and exciting projects.
Bart Mixon has served as the shop foreman for such notable effects houses as Rick Baker's Cinovation Studios, 
the Chiodo Brothers Productions, and Fantasy II Film FX in house make-up lab, Make-up FX Unlimited.
He was a co-founder of the make-up effects studio, Mixon and Ellis FX, in 1994. 
For four years ME-FX created make-ups and creatures for such projects as 'Men In Black' (the 'Father & Son'aliens), 
Peter Benchley's 'The Beast' (three cool prop squids), 'Fargo', and 'Rushmore'.
Bart even has a museum equipped with his stuff!
I recommend his website for further information.

It's time again for another little 'behind-the-scenes' story about the shooting of 'The Fall of the Roman Empire'.
The giant 70mm Ultra Panavision Epic of massive proportions produced by the movie mogul of a special kind, Samuel Bronston.
For many a gigantic Flop, for me an extraordinary old school epic.
A damn big, broad, colorful experience!
On a day-off Anthony Quayle (1913–1989) took his wife Dorothy Hyson for a sightseeing ride around Segovia.
Buildings full of history, great views and landscapes. 
There's a lot to discover in the town and its surroundings!
Here we see the couple in front of the impressing Alcazar of Segovia.
Anthony leans against the building in just the right place. 
The old plaster on the building looks a bit like his arm. Nice shot!
Due to his classical training, Quayle was often used in historical epics, giving one of his best performances as 
Cardinal Wolsey in 'Anne of the Thousand Days' (1969), earning him an Academy Award nomination. 
Anthony Quayle enriched films like 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Lawrence of Arabia' with excellent portrayals.
The beautiful Alcazar of Segovia.
I have not read the book ('A Time to Speak') by Anthony Quayle yet, but I just finished the great 'In Spite of Myself', 
a memoir by Christopher Plummer.
Christopher Plummer tells some great stories about his time in Spain and the work on 'Fall of the Roman Empire':
"Down the street from the Alcazar, that exquisite Gothic castle, one time home to many Spanish kings, was our Hotel where 
we would return, in no pain, for the usual late supper.
Occasionally, to relieve the monotony, Sophia (bless her big heart) cooked her delicious pastas for the entire gang.
She (Sophia Loren) had charmed the hotel chefs and taken over the kitchen completely.
Then came that insane day when, for the first time, Spain could boast its own whiskey.
It was called Dic ('DYC', small correction) and the locals pronounced whiskey 'wickee' so we christened it 
'Wickee Dick!' I shall never forget the night Wickee Dick was introduced to Segovia.
Never have I seen Spaniards so drunk. They were not accustomed to whiskey of any kind, really, 
and this particular firewater had a sharper tang to it and was quite a bit stronger than our own Scottish variety.
Though it had a slight scented taste, that didn't deter me for a second.
God knows what they'd put into it, but it didn't take long before the whole town was reeling.
The bars and hotels were packed solid, wall to wall.
I remember 'Cairo Fred' (Omar Sharif), who had just come off 'Lawrence of Arabia' to guest star in our film, 
being one of the first serious victims of the dreaded Dic.
Being Egyptian/Muslim, Fred was not your average steady drinker, and the potent hooch dealt him a powerful kick.
He kept harassing the local Segovians by yelling at them, calling them 'Infidels, inferior Dogs!' in a rich mixture 
of Castilian, English and Arabic.
The film's stunt men, who fortunately were always close by, formed a phalanx between dear old Fred, who could barely stand, 
and the drunken angry mob who would have gladly, had they got near him, garroted him on the spot!.
Our loyal little group was partying it up like there was no mañana."
Destilerías y Crianza del Whisky S.A. (or Whisky DYC) is a Spanish company formed by businessman Nicomedes García Gómez in 1958. 
The first distillery, built in Palazuelos de Eresma in Segovia, began operation in February 1959. 
In March 1963, it started to produce Whisky DYC, the first Spanish whisky. 
It seems that the 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' crew was in the right place at the right time to enjoy the first samples of 
the new Spanish firewater 'DYC'.
Many movies were filmed in Segovia and its surroundings.
For the war movie epic 'Battle of the Bulge' some scenes were filmed here on a small bridge: Our River Bridge.
'In Spite of Myself' - A memoir by Christopher Plummer. 
On more than 16 pages he is dedicated to the glorious filming of 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
It immediately becomes clear that he really enjoyed the work on this magnificent production in Spain.
"...Sam Bronston was an extraordinary man, an impresario of the old school, a great dreamer whose heart was 
in the right place.
And I will always be thankful to him for introducing me to the land of Cervantes, a country I loved and was to visit 
again and again throughout my life."
Samuel Bronston loved sprinkling his table with visiting celebrities.
Actor Peter Sellers, sitting between Stephen Boyd and Sophia Loren, was one of them (and the list was a long one!).
Peter was doing a lot of photos of the Actors and Sets, but everyone was clear that he actually was chasing Sophia Loren.
Christopher Plummer: 
"The principals including myself were supplied with cars and chauffeurs twenty-four hours a day 
(a fleet of Rolls-Royce to choose from) and the catered lunches on the set were fit for an emperor.
We were at least an hour and a half's drive from Madrid, but Bronston had all the food and wine (the best Spanish and French) 
sent up each day from that city's top restaurant, the chic Jockey Club, accompanied by its waiters who served us 
attired in their formal livery.
We consumed course upon course in a heated tent, lunches lastet two hours. 
Though Stephen didn't drink, I damn well did! But I was young and the bitter cold soon sobered me up as I climbed 
back in my chariot."
In the outdoor scenes you can often see the breath of the actors, the snow you see is real!
The winter in Segovia 1962-63 was very harsh.
A fine meal in a heated tent certainly lifts the mood.
Christopher Plummer giving the beautiful Lena von Martens a helping hand with the Sword.
For almost a month before filming began, the actors trained with swords and especially with the horses and chariots, 
to be prepared for the famous CHARIOT RACE.
Action Director Yak Canutt and his stunt crew had a sharp eye on Christopher Plummer (Commodus) and Stephen Boyd (Livius) 
and their efforts to learn how to handle the Chariots perfectly.
Stephen Boyd had some experience with chariots due to his part in 'Ben Hur'.
Both Actors managed the tricky scenes, under the tutelage of stuntman Tap Canutt and Jack Williams, 
in a pretty impressive way.
Christopher Plummer can tell a lot about these exciting scenes, and I have a behind-the-scenes story ready, 
richly decorated with rare photos: Chariot Race.
Check out the blog for a few more stories about the movie.
Two more are already on the assembly line waiting for some finishing touches.
A story about the Finnish beauty Lena von Martens.
And one on Stephen Boyd meeting Marcus Aurelius in the world famous Prado museum in Madrid.
The Story behind the Spectacle! - The Reality behind the Fantasy!
Stay tuned!

Your comments are always welcome!
Trust me, I know what I'm doing. Sometimes.

'The Hindenburg' skeleton under construction.
The giant skeleton superstructure is seen on the photo being completed on the Universal Studio Stage number 12.
Eight tons of aluminum, 11.000 yards of muslin, 24.000 feet of sash cord and two million rivets were among the 
materials used to build the nose cone, belly and fin, and catwalk areas of the Hindenburg on the enormous Stage 12.
A truly gigantic studio puzzle.
Full-scale segments, plus miniatures, plus matte paintings were all skillfully combined to reproduce the flying Zeppelin.
Some of the ingenious scenes involved putting together live action, a matte painting and a miniature shot.
An interesting movie of size, scope and technical complexity.
A great show for old-school Visual Effects aficionados.
The inner aluminum structure of the Hindenburg, the giant dirigible that no longer exist.
Think this is the 'life-size' nose cone sections (or is it the stern?) constructed on one of the largest stages 
at the Universal Studios.
It's hard to decide where up and down is on this dark Kodachrome slide.
All the Studio Sets have a great design (Production designer Eddie Carfagno), as close to the original as possible.
It was pretty tricky to film inside of the spiderweb aluminum maze of the airship's substructure.
The cameraman never had the space he really needed.
Every scene and set-up was meticulously pre-planned and story-boarded far in advance of shooting, 
to recognize and avoid any problems in time.
Producer/Director Robert Wise ('The Andromeda Strain') was fascinated by the story of this flying leviathan and devoted
a lot of time into the production.
In addition to 'life-size' studio sets and mock-ups, the flying Hindenburg was created essentially by means of 
miniatures and matte paintings.
The model miniature wizard of 'Earthquake', Glen Robinson (1914–2002), handled the miniature work for 'Hindenburg'.
Under his supervision a wonderful 25 feet miniature was built, with attention to the smallest details.
The complex miniature of the Hindenburg is shown on the photo with its silver skin covering, ready to ride through the 
'effect' clouds.
Director Robert Wise proudly presents the $35.000 scale model to his other leading star, George C.Scott.
The Hindenburg miniature in action, suspended by wires from overhead tracks on a stage at Universal Studios.
A little Set was built with icebergs and a matching background cloth hangs from the studio ceiling.
The highly articulated miniature had two tiny little motors on each side and lights inside the gondola and 
other areas of the ship that could be remotely controlled from the stage floor.
The shimmering replica could also dump water ballast. 
Lighting the miniature was a problem (get good sunlight effects, reflections,...), with a lot of trial and error, 
but the finished scenes with the model miniature look pretty good.
With great ingenuity and professional competence all occurring problems were solved.
On the photo you can see the crew of Clifford Stine, Director of Photography on the miniature sequences,
lining up a low-angle shot.
Clifford Stine did some outstanding miniature shots for the show.
These low-angle shots of the miniature are particularly effective when the miniature dirigible elegantly floats 
through artificial clouds ('cloud machines').
Very well done, by the way, in the movie 'Zeppelin', with excellent sound effects (diesel engines).
'American Cinematographer' dedicated the january 1976 issue to the filming of 'The Hindenburg'.
A great edition, all your questions will be answered here.
For example the story of the excellent matte paintings. 
Al Whitlock was the artist behind the brilliant matte work.
Often barely recognizable ...perfect work, breathtaking scenes, filmed by Bill Taylor.
Whitlock himself wrote an article about the matte work for 'The Hindenburg'. 
Exciting and interesting, definitely recommended.
Try ebay to get the 'AC' january '76 -Hindenburg-  issue!
Matte paintings, miniatures, this is often overrated. 
My kids did this little visual effects scene ...on a very tiny budget.
A Zeppelin is soaring above an area of the north Atlantic which is studded with icebergs.
Okay, sure, it's not the Hindenburg, the background is a bit simple, but we have a perfect overhead track system 
(a back and forth swinging lamp) for some smooth and gentle movements of the dirigible. 
No motors, sorry. But we have original icebergs!
A pretty charming trick scene. The north Atlantic never looked better!
The Zeppelin is a four foot long inflatable toy given to some movie theatres in order to promote the release 
of the movie 'Zeppelin', 1971.
Probably a pretty rare promotion item ...and still in good shape.
Here you find a little story about the miniature work of 'Zeppelin': Emergency landing on Malta.

Last weekend I had some time for a bunch of updates, corrections and other surgical interventions!
I can proudly present more than 10 new links on the main page for your direct and easy access to the latest 'schlock' stories.
Sit down and enjoy the small stage shows! Several stories were updated with powerful new photos and dubious information.
For example 'O.K.Connery', 'Che!', and my recently started homage of the cult TV show 'Night Gallery' - All new, all fresh!
This and so much more only here on the fake news channel:

The gloomy sci-fi flick of Michael Campus starts very promising with a pretty cool atmosphere.
The earth suffers from massive overpopulation, air and water pollution.
'Z.P.G.' is visually quite groovy in the beginning, soon seems tiring and loses its power too fast.
Campus creates a disturbing sense of the future, but it regrettably lacks the right punch!
The film could have been a blast, but it is not enough just to let a few actors stumble through the smog (pollution).
Where are the crazy ideas, where is the tension and real drama?
Too many options remain unused.
The minimalist film was refined by the English expert Derek Meddings with a few model miniatures.
Here you see a miniature of a government 'execution' probe hanging on wires. 
The Probe 'E' model glides elegantly through the smog, controlled through an overhead track system.
The probe is barking the newest government decree into the city, no children are to be born for the next 30 years.
The inhabitants of the city, all in uniform protective suits, are not thrilled.
In the middle of the smog, Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin.
Today both should get their radio-controlled baby, a walkie-talkie doll ...absolutely lifelike! Ha..ha.
Toxic clouds are moving around the skyscrapers - A big city disappears in the smog.
A neat little Derek Meddings miniature show with the government probe, a city set and lots of studio mist / fx clouds.
The probe model has some light effects. Nothing special, but perfectly fitting into the atmosphere.
I like the idea of the probe and that the government only reports from a safe distance.
See more of Derek Meddings here: Goldeneye.
Costume test for Geraldine Chaplin in Copenhagen (Denmark), 1971.
Director Michael Campus and the very famous Danish fashion designer Margit Brandt talk about the costume 
with actress Geraldine Chaplin.
Margit Brandt (1945-2011) designed about 350 costumes for 'Z.P.G.'.
Together with her husband Erik Brandt she was very successful in the international fashion business. 
As jetsetters the couple developed an eccentric group of friends based in and around the famous 
New York club Studio 54 where they developed close friendships with the likes of Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, 
David Bowie, Diana Vreeland and Truman Capote.

During his time in Spain for 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' production, Stephen Boyd makes a personal 
appearance at a screening of his starring vehicle 'Jumbo' in Madrid, which was organized for the 16th US Air Force.
In an old interview he once said about the movie: “I’ve never had so much fun working in my life” (Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1962).
The crowd was very enthusiastic, of course mainly because of seeing Stephen Boyd live on stage, and not because of the 
light musical comedy with Doris Day, Stephen and some good visual effects.
Stephen Boyd was mobbed by a hundred of teenage fans after taking a bow and greeting the SRO audience from the stage.
He obviously enjoyed the surprising event very much and gave numerous autographs.

'The Games' is mainly about an English milkman who becomes a marathon runner and competes at the Olympics in Rome.
The film followed the fortunes of 4 people from different countries who end up in the Olympic marathon.
A sports film directed by Action Movie foreman Michael Winner!?
What could that be?
Well, the only impressing thing I remember are the enormous 'handmade' crowd scenes. 
They filled a stadium with tens of thousands plastic dolls!
Nearly all people behind of Michael Winner on the photo above are not paid Extras but cheap plastic spectators.
A plastic spectator needs nothing to drink and nothing to eat. Patiently, he even endures the 7th repetition of a scene.
And he is not going home ...he sleeps in the stadium!
The movie is available on DVD in the Fox Cinema Archives collection.
Those who only know Winners late Action Adventure flicks will be surprised.
Winner can do cinema!
Michael Winner on how they filled the Stadium in Rome with 'Extras' ('Winner Takes All'):
"Today this can be done digitally, using very few people. In 1969 what you saw was what you got. 
I decided to fill the Rome Stadium with seventy-five thousand plastic dummies cast in groups of twelve 
with people in slightly different positions.
I'd place real people among them to give movement.
And put different bits of clothing on dummies that were in shot! 
As many as five thousand at a time. It was an enormous enterprise.
... My seventy-five thousand dummies in the Rome Olympic stadium were a triumph!
It was bizarre going in at seven o'clock in the morning and seeing it apparently full of people.
When we put the crowd among them you couldn't tell.
Even in the still photography they looked real."
This set design is a winner!
A view of the Olympic stadium packed with cheap plastic dummies, which form the crowd scene for 'The Games'.
The cost of each plastic spectator was about one dollar, which is a considerable saving on the cost of 
live Extras.
The cheap looking pressed plastic dolls were glued together out of 2-3 parts.
You can see that on the photos quite well.
The sitting dolls all had no feet. 
Feet were not necessary, because the camera position was much deeper in the stadium.
You only see the heads and parts of the upper body in the scenes.
The book of Michael Winner, 'Winner Takes All', is a great read. 
Full to the brim with stories and anecdotes about his life in the movie business.
I really devoured the passages about his Western movies 'Lawman' and especially 'Chatos Land'.
Two very fine Genre movies.
The photo shows Michael Winner and Charles Bronson on location in Almeria (Spain) for 'Chato'.
A perfect movie to get to know the fascinating landscape around of Almeria.
See more of Chato's Land here: Almeria Legends.

Happy Birthday Werner Keppler!
The loyal lab wizard, assistent and close friend of special makeup genius John Chambers celebrates his 89th birthday on May 24th.
Werner usually stayed in the background while others were in the spotlight (Chambers, Striepeke,...).
But he is much more than the lab technician in the background! 
Werner has a great knowledge in prosthetic materials with untold contributions to the field and art of special makeup ...
largely unknown for most of us!
Werner Keppler, a native of Hannover (Germany) who went to the USA in the 1950s and worked as a lab technician for John Chambers 
at Universal and Fox, can look back on an outstanding career!
His credit list on imdb.com is a joke, a shame. It should be at least 2 times as long!
Is there nothing available on Werner, a retrospective, old magazine Interviews,...? Please enlighten me here!
The photo above shows him working with John Chambers on the 'Night Gallery' cult episode 'Pickman's Model', 
the creature head mask in mold.
A very popular episode not only for many fans, but also for Chambers and Keppler.
Werner Keppler did all the 5 classic 'Planet of the Apes' movies and many projects with John Chambers and Dan Striepeke.
For example 'Ssss' or 'Che!', where Werner did a Beauty OP (nose surgery) for Fidel Castro.
Werner was the head of the lab department on the early days of 'Battlestar Galactica'.
He did the first season of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and was in the make up crew for 'The Wrath of Khan'.
Werner you are a legend!
A first creepy 'Night Gallery' story is ready for your surprise: 'Peabody'.
If you think of the ingenious make up effects of the 'Planet of the Apes' series, you immediately think of John Chambers.
His superb craftmanship and mastery of prosthetics is matchless. 
John Chambers (1922–2001) was an imaginative wizard in his own league, an early trailblazer in the field of special make up effects.
But without competent make up experts like Werner Keppler on his side many things would not have been possible.
Here is a little 'Ape' story: 'Gorilla Lady'.
Cinematographer John Bailey, Rene Russo, Clint Eastwood and Director Wolfgang Petersen during a break in filming 
'In the Line of Fire'.
Werner Keppler did the make up for the show and for a few more Hollywood movies at the end of his career.
The famous Stan Winston brought Werner Keppler into his team of special make up experts for 'Congo'.
Stan had high hopes and really wanted to show the world that he and his shop can also do gorillas.
It was a wise decision of Stan Winston to hire Werner Keppler for the 'Congo' team, 
with his specialized knowledge of 5 'Planet of the Apes' productions.
In the end, bad lighting and questionable design restrictions did not make the gorillas look as good 
as it would have been possible.
See more of 'Congo' here: Making Of.