“There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

In the mood for a throw back cartoon that will transport you to your days of youth? “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” Underdog is an American animated TV series that ran from 1964-1973. It featured the mild mannered Shoeshine boy (dog!) who transforms himself into a super hero canine by eating a super energy pill he keeps in his ring. (Incidentally, when the series re-ran on the Nickelodeon channel the network chose to edit out the pill popping part.) Revisit this gem and watch Underdog fight villains the likes of Riff Raff and Simon Bar Sinister, all in the defense of his love, Sweet Polly Purebred. For a more modern version, check out the 2007 live action movie released by Disney that features Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage and Amy Adams.

Find us at the Rolling Sculpture Show!

This Friday, July 12 from 2 - 8 pm, drop by the AADL tent (on Liberty between Main and 4th Avenue) at the Rolling Sculpture Car Show to play Pictionary, get extra points for the Summer Game, and play with trucks in sand. We can tell you all about our programs and give you a rest before you take in more rolling sculptures!

He is Legend

The world-renowned author and screenwriter, Richard Matheson died last week. He is remembered for having written numerous episodes for the legendary TV series, the Twilight Zone, but also for his science fiction novels , many of which were made into movies, such as I am Legend (made into 3 different movies: the Last Man on Earth; the Omega Man; and, most recently, I am Legend with Will Smith); the Shrinking Man (made into the 1957 classic movie, the Incredible Shrinking Man); Bid Time Return (made into the movie filmed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Somewhere in Time); and Steel (most recently made into the movie, Real Steel). He has a long list of screenwriting credits to his name including the classic Edgar Allan Poe movie adaptations directed by Roger Corman like the Pit and the Pendulum. For me the most memorable piece he ever wrote was an episode of the Twilight Zone called Nightmare at 20,000 Feet with William Shatner as the airplane passenger who sees a monster tearing apart the plane’s wings as they are in flight. This was also remade in Twilight Zone: the Movie. He was creative all his life, having been first published at eight years old and writing through his 80’s. He was 87 when he died.

"Women Who Make America" Details Struggle for Equality

Makers: Women Who Make America is a three-part PBS documentary narrated by Meryl Streep. The film delves into the story of the birth of the modern women’s movement and covers five decades of women’s struggle for equality at home, work and life. I expected to have this documentary on in the background as I worked on other things, but found the film so engrossing, I watched all of it in one sitting.

The story of activism, feminism and what became known as women’s liberation is told through old film footage and interviews with women who did more than stand by and watch; they brought about change one move at a time. The women come from social, economical, and political backgrounds that are as varied as their personalities. They are flight attendants, coal miners, mothers, politicians, secretaries, writers, actresses, telephone operators and executives.

With retro music and advertisements, "Makers" quickly pulls the viewer into the stories and lives of women such as Judy Blume, Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Nora Ephron, Geraldine Ferraro, and Hillary Clinton.

James Gandolfini, a.k.a. the iconic Tony Soprano, has died

James Gandolfini, an award-winning actor on both large and small screens, has died.

Gandolfini blasted his way into the public's consciousness with his nuanced portrayal of Tony Soprano, the complicated head of a New Jersey mob family in HBO's popular series, The Sopranos, which first aired in 1999. Tony Soprano was, by turns, violent enough to beat a man to death for dissing the memory of his dead horse, henpecked by his wife, Carmela (Edie Falco, cowed by his mother, Livia (Nancy Marchand), and anxious enough to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco).

Mr. Gandolfini, a Jersey man through and through, was a graduate of Rutgers. He came late to acting, having sat in on a friend's acting class when he was 25. His first acting role was in Sidney Lumet's 1992 A Stranger Among Us (on order). Many other silver screen roles followed, including the 2001 Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts film The Mexican, in which Gandolfini handily stole the show from both megawatt stars playing a gay hit man.

Mr. Gandolfini racked up an impressive number of awards for Tony Soprano, including three Emmys for outstanding lead actor in a drama, a Screen Actors Guild (2000) and a Golden Globe.

Mr. Gandolfini, who was on vacation in Italy when he died yesterday, was 51.

Enjoy your stay at Pines

Secret Service agent Ethan Burke wakes up on a roadside with initially no recollection of how he got there, but knowing that he is badly injured. As he walks into the idyllic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, some memories start to surface. He eventually recalls that he and his partner (wherever he is) were on their way to this town to locate two missing federal agents, but their car was struck by a semi. But does he have any proof of who he really is? of course not...Anyway to contact family or work? not a chance (although he tries!)...More mystery and suspense, not to mention a bit of horror and just plain weirdness, meld together into a book that is difficult to put down. If you like the writing stylings of Cormac McCarthy and the eerie storytelling of a Stephen King, then you will love Blake Crouch's Pines ! If you are interested to know more about the author check out his website, http://www.blakecrouch.com

He comments in the afterword that this story was inspired by his favorite TV show, Twin Peaks. And yes the story does take place in a beautiful small-town with odd folks in it and as he says, "...a pitch-black underbelly.", but his story goes somewhere altogether different...

Summer Classics Film Series @ The Michigan Theater

Summer is the time to relax at the Michigan Theater with the cool A/C and some cool movies after a long day of enjoying the sun.

Sundays and Tuesdays all summer long there will be a variety of films playing at the Michigan Theater as part of their Summer Classics Film Series, which kicks off June 16.

Enjoy big screen viewings of Blazing Saddles, Vertigo, A Night at the Opera, Dirty Dancing, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Planet of the Apes, Rocky, Sing-A-Long The Sound of Music, The Kiss, Lawrence of Arabia, Run Lola Run, and Casablanca.

For the night owls there’s another film series also playing at the Michigan this summer. The Summer Classics After Dark Series happens Thursday nights at 10pm and will feature films such as Django, Eraserhead, Taxi Driver, Willow, Sing-A-Long Trapped in the Closet, and Psycho. Be sure to check the full schedule for times and be ready for popcorn and movies. Or there's always the AADL copy to get you by.

Jean Stapleton, a.k.a. Edith Bunker to a whole generation of adoring fans, has died

Jean Stapleton, who forever endeared herself to millions of TV viewers in her role of the ditzy-but-wise Edith Bunker, has died.

As Edith Bunker, sweet wife to the unapologetic, stuck-in-his-ways, working class Queens, NY conservative bigot Archie Bunker (played by the late Carroll O'Connor) in the popular 1970s sitcom All in the Family, Stapleton packed whole essays of timid disagreement into her nasally, softly screechy "Oh, Archie" or "Oh, my!". And when Archie would go too far and Edith stood up to him, Archie cowed and audiences cheered.

Ms. Stapleton played against character. She was a strong feminist playing the role of a meek, submissive, taunted housewife to Archie's often-derisive persona. As the women's movement gained traction on the national political stage, the shows' writers kept pace. One of the most memorable episodes centered on Edith's rare flare-up, pushing back against Archie's resistance to her volunteer work in a senior citizens' residence.

In addition to the four consecutive Emmys that the show won, Ms. Stapleton earned three (19721, 1972, and 1978) or her own.

For those who thought glass would shatter on a weekly basis with the opening song of All in the Family, sung by O'Connor and Ms. Stapleton, whose latter contribution was to hit impossibly loud off-key fingers-down-the-blackboard notes, it may come as a surprise to learn that Ms. Stapleton had a lovely voice, as evidenced by her extensive work on Broadway, the movies Bells Are Ringing (2005), and TV (she sang with The Muppets).

Ms. Stapleton, who was 90, died Friday in New York.

Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days


If the fish out of water scenario appeals to you, check out Morgan Spurlock’s television show 30 Days. In this reality TV series Spurlock, or some person or people, spend 30 days immersing themselves in a lifestyle that is completely different from their own. In the pilot episode, Spurlock and his fiancé attempt to live 30 days on minimum wage. (At the time of filming minimum wage was $5.15 an hour.) They allow themselves one week of pay as a cushion (approximately $300), and are not allowed to use any form of credit. What unfolds is a window into the life of living paycheck to paycheck, without health insurance or reliable transportation, all while battling hunger. The concept for the show stemmed from Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me where he goes on a McDonald's only diet for 30 days straight. The film documents the physical and mental toll this lifestyle change makes on him and explores the world of the fast food industry. The documentary series 30 Days touches on issues in American life that ranges from poverty, outsourcing and binge drinking. This is a great experiment on walking in other people’s shoes as a way to understand who they are and why they have their beliefs and ideas.

New TV shows on DVD @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new series on their way to AADL:

Grimm
A drama series inspired by the classic Grimm's Fairy Tales. Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as 'Grimms', charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures.

Henning Mankell's Wallander
Before anyone else played the part, Rolf Lassgard established the role of Kurt Wallander in the original Swedish film adaptations of Henning Mankell's bestselling crime novels. Kurt Wallander is a cop who gets the job done; decades of coming up against criminal minds has honed his instincts for investigations and he knows where to draw the line between the job and personal vendettas. Usually. (Swedish with English subtitles) If you’re a Wallander fan, be sure to also check out another TV version starring Kenneth Branagh.

Better off Ted
A satirical office comedy centered around a morally conscious man, Ted, who works for a research and development department at a morally lax corporation.

Eureka
The quirky town of Eureka, America's brightest scientists are working on some of the government's best-kept secrets-- some lead to brilliant inventions and some to total chaos. Making sense of the mysteries is Sheriff Jack Carter, a former U.S. marshal who is stranded in the surreal small town after a random car accident.

Rules of Engagement
One married couple, one engaged couple and one of their single friends, who are all at different places in their relationships, deal with dating, commitment, and marriage.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

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