Let's begin this week's feast of vintage features on DVD with a newly remastered quintet of lessr-known noir, all culled from the Warner acquisitions library and released via their manufacture on demand imprint, Warner Archives. Monogram's The Fall Guy (1947) benefits greatly from its source material - the short story "Cocaine," by Cornell Woolrich,, whose doom-laden work also served as the inspiration for The Leopard Man (1943), Phantom Lady (1944), Rear Window (1954), The Bride Wore Black (1968) and countless other films. The Fall Guy draws from one of Woolrich's favorite tropes - the crime commited in the wake of an alcohol- or drug-fueled blackout (see also Black Angel and The Guilty, both 1947) - with actor/director Leo Penn (father of Sean, Chris and Michael Penn, and here billed as Clifford Penn) discovering that he may have murdered a woman while in the grip of a bender. The left-field upbeat ending and budget-driven is balanced by the presence of Robert Armstrong (King Kong, 1933) as Penn's cop brother-in-law and Elisha Cook, Jr., in full ferret mode as a highly suspicious stranger.
Warner Archives has issued The Bowery Boys: Volume 2, a four-disc collection featuring twelve titles from the impossibly long-running comedy series. The dozen pictures collected in the set roughly cover the first decade of the team's stint under the Bowery Boys' moniker after two previous decades as the Dead End Kids, Little Tough Guys and East Side Kids. The tone of the Bowery movies is decidedly more slapstick than in previous incarnations (thanks in part to the behind-the-camera presence of Three Stooges vet Edward Bernds and Jean Yarbrough, who directed numerous Abbott and Costello features and TV shows), and as the series progressed, swiftly moved into psychotronic territory: in Spook Busters (1946), a mad scientist wants to put the brain of Sach (Huntz Hall) into a gorilla, while a spate of candy consumption in Master Minds (1949) gives Sach psychic abilities, which attracts the attention of another mad scientist (Alan Napier from the TV Batman) with noggin-swapping designs for his monster (Glenn Strange). Bernds' The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1955) goes all-out in its grab for the horror-kid crowd, offering up mad scientist John Dehner a gorilla, robot, vampire and a man-eating tree (maintained by The Waltons' Ellen Corby). The other Boys' adventures included in the set are only moderately less weird - they develop a vitamin drink that makes Hall an unstoppable football champ in Hold That Line (1952), tangle with outlaws in Bowery Buckaroos (1947), faux spiritualists (Hard Boiled Mahoney, 1947) and con artist Amanda Blake in High Society (1955), which was accidentally offered up by the Academy for a Best Story Oscar. The Bowery Boys' titles are definitely an acquired taste, but for former Saturday afternoon matinee habitues of a certain age, their antics are comfort-food-level pleasures, dependably broad and daffy and entirely predictable; the WA set features pressed discs and widescreen presentations on Meet the Monsters and two other titles.
There's a great deal of ground to cover this week, so let's dive right in, shall we? Sony Pictures Choice Collection's new edition of Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1959) is, to date, the fifth presentation of this Oscar-nominated legal drama on DVD and Blu-ray, but it's also reportedly the first to be offered in its correct aspect ration (1.85 widescreen standard). That may or may not affect your appreciation for this stellar picture,with James Stewart and George C. Scott as lawyers facing off over an Army officer (Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering a bartender who assaulted his seductive wife (Lee Remick) and its groundbreaking jazz score by Duke Ellington.
Meanwhile, Warner Archives offers three titles starring Clark Gable that span his tenure as a leading man at MGM. Gable co-stars with Marion Davies in the light 1932 comedy-drama Polly of the Circus as a small town reverend who falls in love with Davies' circus aerialist, much to the consternation of his flock. He's then reteamed with his Call of the Wild (1935) co-star Loretta Young for the fizzy romantic comedy Key to the City(1950), which pits rough-and-tumble Gable against Young's well-heeled Maine mayor, with the expected fireworks. The Gable three-fer concludes with Never Let Me Go (1953), a sudsy Delmar Daves effort with Gene Tierney as the Russian ballerina and Gable as the American news reporter determined to get her out of the hands of the Soviets. No real classics here, but all three pics underscore Gable's magnetic screen presence and enduring popularity.
Also on the vintage Hollywood front: John Ford's Rising of the Moon (1957; Warner Archives), an
anthology of Irish stories introduced by Tyrone Power and featuring a stellar cast of Emerald Isle players, including Cyril Cusack, Jack MacGowran, Donal Donnelly and Dennis O'Day. The trio of stories, culled fromg the fiction of Frank O'Connor and a controversial one-act play from 1907, hew towards the precious at times (and apparently earned the enmity of the Northern Irish, who banned the film over alleged revolutionary overtones), but Ford aficionados will appreciate this opportunity to see one of the director's more obscure and personal projects. The Hireling (Sony) has also been out of circulation for many years, despite having shared the Grand Prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival with Scarecrow. The class drama stars Sarah Miles as a bereaved aristocrat who forms a relationship with her chauffeur (Robert Shaw); the stars are better than the material, which takes a curious and heavy-handed offramp into anarchy for its conclusion.
For those seeking lighter fare, Warner has a trio of offbeat comedies, some more successful than others, but all with something to recommend a viewing. The political comedy First Family(1980) carries an exceptional pedigree, with script and direction by Buck Henry and a cast featuring (among others) Bob
Newhart as the President of the United States, Madeleine Kahn as his wife, Gilda Radner as their hapless daughter, and a staff populated by Rip Torn, Fred Willard, Bob Dishy, Harvey Korman and Austin Pendleton. Despite this lineup, the movie is almost universally loathed, most likely for its broad slapstick tone, which wastes its cast, and a subplot involving slavery (!). Also on the nice-try front: Whiffs (1975), with Elliott Gould as a former guinea pig for Army chemical engineers who uses his first-hand knowledge of harmful gases to launch a series of bank robberies. Gould's presence was a clear indication that the filmmakers were aiming for a M*A*S*H-styled military farce, but what's delivered is a truly oddball mix of slapstick and counterculture gags. Again, it's the supporting cast that encourages a commitment to sit through the whole picture: aiding and abetting Gould is Harry Guardino, Eddie Albert, Godfrey Cambridge (as Gould's co-conspirator), Howard Hesseman, Richard Masur and Jennifer O'Neill. Eagle-eyed movie trainspotters will also note the presence of B-Western stars Don "Red" Barry and James Brown (not the Godfather of Soul). Nice one-sheet art by the prolific illustrator Robert Grossman, too.
There are a lot of interesting ideas floating around in Ralph Bakshi's Hey Good Lookin' (1982; Warner Archives), which looks at the Brooklyn of his youth and a pair of neighborhood ne'er-do-wells (voiced by Richard Romanus and David Proval) based on his childhood friends. Begun in 1975 as a mix of live action and animation that also featured the New York Dolls and Yaphet Kotto, it was held from release in the wake of the uproar following Bakshi's Coonskin and revised in 1982 as an all-animated feature at the insistence of Warner Bros. president Frank Wells. The end result is a mishmash of Bakshi's pointed satire and adult themes, as well as some striking visual elements, but probably best appreciated by the animator's diehard fans.
One wonders what Ralph Bakshi might have made of Help!... it's the Hair Bear Bunch (Warner), a short-lived Saturday morning animated series from Hanna-Barbera circa 1971 about a trio of ursine semi-hippies and their constant attempts to escape the Wonderland Zoo and its uptight director Mr. Peevly (voiced by John Stephenson). As it stands, the series, which features voice work by cartoon vets Daws Butler, Paul Winchell, Don Messick and Joe E. Ross, doing his ooh-ooh bit as Peevly's assistant, has the not-unpleasant patina of weird that clings to most Nixon-era H-B efforts (see also The Funky Phantom, the recently released Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids and CB Bears) that also manages to be curiously comforting, especially for those who remember wolfing down their Quake and Quisp in front of such shows. Can Where's Huddles? be far behind?
Warner Archives' recent slate of releases features major Hollywood stars working in the made-for-television field with two very different projects from the 1970s. Tony Curtis and Kim Novak made their TV-movie debuts in Peter Medak's The Third Girl from the Left(1973), about a fading Las Vegas chorus dancer (Novak) whose career and romance with a second-string comic (Curtis) have reached a terminal point, which spurs her to take up with a younger man (Michael Brandon). Written by Andre Previn's former spouse and lyricist Dory Previn, the drama, produced by Playboy's motion picture division (which explains the presence of Barbi Benton) occasionally takes on a sudsy tone, but is rescued by its cast of old pros, which includes support by George Furth, Michael Conrad and Larry Bishop. Curtis also gets to sing an original tune written by Previn.
J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Changeling) has a special place in his heart for Comic-Con. It's not just an opportunity for JMS to connect with fans of his work in TV, movies and comics — it helped him succeed as a writer, as he explains in this exclusive guest post, written for the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog:
What’s so special about San Diego Comic-Con? I hear you ask. Yes, that’s right, you, seated in the last row where you thought I wouldn’t notice or call on you. Sit up straight, stop fiddling with your papers and pay attention, because I’m not going to repeat this.
I lived in San Diego from 1974 through 1981, when I made the long trek up to Los Angeles to pursue my writing career in venues a bit broader than were locally available at that time. Despite being a massive comics fan, I was only able to attend SDCC a few times during those years because ... well, frankly, I couldn’t afford it. The con wasn’t unduly expensive, in fact by most measures it was quite a bargain, but at the time every penny I earned as a writer, and there were very few of them, went into buying writing supplies instead of luxuries like convention tickets or food. Which is why despite being 6’3” I weighed only about 145 pounds. I was determined to make it as a writer or die trying.
Whenever I could scrape up enough cash to buy a ticket to SDCC, I did so, even if it meant not eating for a while. It was that important. Why?
There is a vast difference between a convention like SDCC and most of the for-profit conventions that are run more by businessmen than by fans. In the case of the latter, there is the audience and there are the participants — the speakers, panelists and special guests — and rarely is there the opportunity for one to become the other.
But that transition, from audience to participant, from fan to professional, is what fan-run conventions are all about. Despite its staggering size and complexity, San Diego Comic Con is the Mount Everest of fan-run conventions. In the course of its history, it has become a Mecca for those who love the visual arts and want to do more than just look on passively.
As a college student, on the few occasions when I had enough cash to buy a ticket to SDCC, I was able to see folks like Harlan Ellison, and Robert Bloch, and Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury and dozens of other leading professional writers talking about the craft of writing. I often learned more about writing in one hour-long panel hosting luminaries of that level than I’d learned in two years of college work. And then there were all the editors and publishers and agents who came to talk about their part of the business, what they looked for in new and aspiring writers, and what it took to break through the background noise and be noticed by those empowered to purchase your work.
And further down the hall, in the dealers’ and exhibits room, you could find publishers from DC Comics, Marvel and other publishers who would actually take the time to review art by novice illustrators or talk nascent writers through the process of improving your dialogue or breaking down a plot for a comic book.
For as much as the event was about comic book companies and others showcasing their wares, it was also about bringing up the next generation of writers and artists, about the transition from here to there, from fan to professional.
And here’s the amazing, the stunning, the delicious part of it all.
It’s still about that!
There is a supportive and positive tide that runs through the core of San Diego Comic Con that crests in the panel rooms and sweeps people up from their seats and deposits them behind the dais where they encourage the next group to hold on as the tidal surge now starts to come their way. It is as regular as clockwork, as powerful as an earthquake and as intimate as the quiet turning of your considered conscience.
It is a celebration, a passing of the torch, a reunion of glorious madmen and women, a parrot-pretty parade of costumes, a top-flight university in the visual and creative arts...and every year it is my favorite place in the world to visit. Because in the final analysis, the whole thing is about hope.
Neal Adams knows superheroes. He broke new ground with Batman, X-Men and The Avengers, and recently tackled ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators, a project on the Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate (see the trailer here). Adams talked with us about the best superhero movies he's seen, plus Batman, Sherlock Holmes and what Superman needs to be super again.
Some highlights from the interview:
What do you think are the biggest pitfalls for studios looking to make a superhero movie?
Underestimating the audience. … They really have to look for good stuff. People are not thrilled necessarily with superheroes — they’re thrilled with characters with characters, just like literature forever. You need good characters. You can relate superhero movies directly to Shakespeare, or stories of the gods.
Of all the superhero movies that you’ve seen, which ones stand out to you as having done the best job?
Well, oddly enough, the last two Batman movies have done some of the best jobs, and Batman is not even a superhero; he is the antithesis of a superhero if you think about it. Nothing super about him …. Superman is probably the greatest comic book superhero, this god-like creature that’s out there. And Batman, created very shortly after that, is the opposite. He’s a superhero who is not a superhero in any way. He’s like an Olympic champion who is very much like Sherlock Holmes. And if you play him that way, then you’ve got a great character. Is he a superhero? Well, he does put on a weird costume. … Sherlock Holmes is a great character. No, he’s not a comic book character. Well, excuse me, I just saw the last two movies. He looks like a comic book character to me. In fact, I would say that of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That guy is a superhero — of a different sort.
What is Superman’s place in the world, in the 21st century. Some people say he doesn’t work anymore …
Superman is one of the most unrealistic characters. And he’s changed — he used to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, now he can leap tall planets. I think the future of Superman is to downgrade his powers so that he’s fallible and is someone who can be hurt. … I think you have to go in that direction. There are too many middle-ground characters getting too much traction. … If Superman is not making it people’s minds, but Thor is, something’s wrong and it’s gotta be fixed. And it will.
If you haven't seen this clip circling yet, check out this little Comic-Con surprise prior to the "Spider-Man" panel, then watch Andrew Garfield, aka the new Spider-Man, get choked up at the honor of inheriting the webbed mantle. --Ellen
But over the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend in 2010, Fillion played the role of Hal Jordan forGreen Lantern: Emerald Knights, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original Movie arriving today on Blu-ray, DVD, and Instant Video. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights weaves six legendary stories of the Green Lantern Corps’ rich mythology around preparations for an attack by an ancient enemy. As the battle approaches, Hal Jordan mentors new recruit Arisia in the history of the Green Lantern Corps, telling tales of Avra, Kilowog, Abin Sur, Laira and Mogo. In the end, Arisia must rise to the occasion to help Hal, Sinestro and the entire Green Lantern Corps save the universe from the destructive forces of Krona.
The ever-genuine Fillion spent some time following his initial recording session to discuss comic book justice, the perils of space travel, his love of comic books and the origin story behind his famous Green Lantern t-shirt.
QUESTION: Among the superhero role play games of your childhood, did you ever pretend you were the Green Lantern? NATHAN FILLION: As a child, when you're pretending you're different super heroes, Green Lantern was the easiest because all you needed to light the fire in the imagination was the ring. Superman, you need a cape; Spiderman, you need a full face mask. That wasn’t tough to come by in a winter town like where I’m from, but they’re just too hot to wear in the summer. So to be Green Lantern, all you needed to do is suck a lifesaver down to the right size, and to make sure it's a lime one – slip it on your finger, and you were good.
QUESTION: What is it about Green Lantern that most appeals to you? NATHAN FILLION: As a kid, what I liked about Green Lantern was that he could do anything – anything you could think of. It's like “Wow, all I need is a giant mallet, or a catapult circa 1200s,” and suddenly he had it. I just thought that would be pretty cool to have anything you could kind of imagine. Imagination was always a big thing for me.
QUESTION: You fit comfortably into animated super hero roles. Why do you think you keep getting chosen to play these comic book legends? NATHAN FILLION: I will say that I've been very fortunate. I can't tell you why people are willing to offer me the opportunity, but I can say how it pleases me because as a kid collecting comic books, I had a great time with the way it kind of lights the fire in the imagination. I always thought I had an overdeveloped sense of justice. Now looking back on my comic book days, my world kind of was formed around comic book justice. I think I have a very strong sense of comic book justice. Maybe that has something to do with how you take on a role. I mean, I'm steeped in the history of these characters. I know it and I love it.
QUESTION: Castle is a runaway hit. You’re a cover boy for national magazines with great regularity. There’s never been greater demand for Nathan Fillion. How do you stay humble through all this adoration? NATHAN FILLION: I'll tell you there sure is nothing like being an actor and having something to do every day. Get up 5:00 a.m. – I’ve got someplace to go and I’ve got a place I need to be. I’ve got stuff I gotta do. I’ve got stories I need to tell. This career that I've chosen, I'm employed gainfully in it – so I’m living the dream every day. That's a good feeling. It does good things for how you feel about your choices. There was a period of time, I'll say it was 1998 approximately, where I didn't work for nearly a year. I was really questioning my judgment. What have I done? I've made a colossal error in judgment. I'm paying my rent on credit. What am I gonna do? It's a much, much nicer feeling to know that you're doing something -- that you're playing some music that people want to hear. So I'm gonna play these notes – you tell me if you like them and we'll keep playing if you keep liking them. That's a good feeling. It's nice to walk down the street and have someone stop and politely say “I love your show.” That’s always great. As opposed to doing plays, where there’s immediate feedback, you don’t get that so much in television. So it’s really nice to hear. It doesn’t get old.
QUESTION: You’re on the Castle set at least five days a week, upwards of 14 hours each day. Given all that work, what makes you take time – on a Sunday of a holiday weekend – to record the voice of an animated superhero? NATHAN FILLION: I take the time to (voice characters in DCU films) exactly for the reason that it's fun. I get a call saying “Hey, how would you like to come on down to record Green Lantern?” And I’m asking back, “Can we squeeze it in on a Sunday because that's pretty much my only day off?” I want to make it work because I love doing it. More than that, I love being part of this lore. These are great characters – you’ve got Green Lantern, you have Superman, you have Batman, you have the Flash, all these wonderful pieces of American pop culture. And now I've got a little piece. I can say, “Oh yeah, I was Green Lantern for a DVD movie.” Not a lot of people can say that. “Oh, Steve Trevor? Funny you should mention him.” (he laughs) It may sound silly, but it means something to me.
QUESTION: You have been seen – on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, walking around Comic-Con on a Saturday, at your initial Green Lantern recording session – wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt. Did you own that shirt before being cast as Hal Jordan for Green Lantern: Emerald Knights? NATHAN FILLION: Debbie Zoller is the head of my makeup department on Castle. She saw that fan-made Green Lantern trailer and thought the t-shirt would be an appropriate Christmas present. And I wholeheartedly agree with her. I’ve been known to wear a few superhero shirts … and where better than a Green Lantern recording session to wear it today? So thank you Debbie – I told you it would come in handy someday!
On June 7, fans can experience professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper’s acting chops in his very first voiceover role for animation as the barbaric Bolphunga in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
Piper’s character – Bolphunga the Unrelenting – is the central antagonist in the episodic segment entitled “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize.” Based on the 1985 story created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the story centers on Bolphunga’s search for Mogo, the largest Green Lantern, in hopes of engaging the famed warrior in a battle worthy of the villain. The role serves as a perfect vehicle to showcase Piper’s strength and wonderful sense of humor.
QUESTION: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights was your first-ever voiceover for animation. How was the experience?
RODDY PIPER: That was about as much fun as I could ever hope to have. You can really lose yourself in an animated role. There’s so much freedom, so much room for creativity. It’s a blast.
QUESTION: Professional wrestling gave you plenty of experience being both the villain and the hero. How does the public perceive you today?
RODDY PIPER: I guess a lot of folks have grown up with me and, in an awkward way, for people who really have seen the good sides of me, I’m like a father figure. It’s remarkable – every place I go, there’s somebody that has an inspiring tale to tell. At one of my shows, there was a policeman named Paul who had been awarded a Congressional citation for saving someone’s life. He came up and gave me his citation. He said that when he was a little boy, he had troubles – but he would watch me and that’s where he found inspiration and direction. So when he goes into a tough situation, he relates to (my actions), and he says it saved his life. The profession that I took upon is a lawless, tough piece of work, and so many of my friends are dead now. So in my one-man show, I tell the folks about people that they grew up with, people that they may have related to in different ways. My profession is very renegade. But as crazy as it seems, it’s as real as it gets.
QUESTION: What’s your approach to performing these one-man shows?
RODDY PIPER: I was with Burt Reynolds at his house in Jupiter (FL) and he said to me, “The one thing I try to convey as actors is that we don’t get enough ‘Atta Boys.’ So I try to make them leave with an ‘Atta Boy.’ And that really sticks with me. Encouragement is an essential.
QUESTION: You seem like a natural for animation. What’s your attraction to playing an animated character?
RODDY PIPER: I like the fact that I can go away and lose myself so I don’t have to live in the world of courage that everyone else does. I like creating, it’s what I do, and acting allows me to stretch all those different muscles in all kinds of ways. That’s pretty cool.
QUESTION: There are those that would claim wrestling is acting. What are the key differences in those two performances?
RODDY PIPER: Wrestling and acting couldn’t be anymore different in terms of what it takes to entertain. Wrestling is explosion, acting is implosion. One really screws up the other. That’s why Hogan sucks. If I came out on camera like I do in Madison Square Garden, it would look crazy. Clint Eastwood just shakes his head and raises his eye and it works. But when you’ve got 96,000 people at Wrestlemania, I need to get through to the back row. Fighting is not internal, but it can be very spiritual. Everything acting is internal. One of my problems in making the transition is pulling back, but I’m working on it.
When we hear the term “fool,” it's often the classic image of the jester that comes to mind, from the brightly dressed tunic and jingle bell-tipped, floppy hat to the tights and pointy shoes. The fool and the jester have a long honored tradition in theater and, more recently, in cinema. The fool is occasionally, though rarely, the star of the show, but is more often relegated to sidekick status. These funny men (and women) can be found across all genres, but their presence is often most noticeable in serious fare. They get away with pointing out sensitive truths in humanity and … ah, forget about all that. They make us laugh and that's why we love 'em! So, in honor of April Fool's Day, here are a few of our favorite modern day fools.
Jim Carrey has tackled some dramatic roles over the course of his varied career, but the flexibly-faced funny man is best remembered for his comedic roles. The two that stand out the most in our minds are Ace Ventura (from the film of the same name) and Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber.
The Hangover gives new meaning to the phrase what happens in Vegas … while all four characters have their funny moment in the hot desert sun, they many times seem to exist purely to play straight man to Zach Galifianakis' Alan Garner. His fashion sense--or lack thereof--sets him apart from everyone, much in the way the jesters and fools of old used brightly colored costumes to identify themselves among the royal court.
Steve Martin has tackled many a foolish role but it's Freddy Benson, one of a pair of con men inDirty Rotten Scoundrels that sticks in our minds. While his reluctant partner in crime, Lawrence Jamieson (played by Michael Caine) is the suave one with all the moves, Freddy is crass, loud … and perfect to play the part of the patch-wearing Ruprecht as the two men scam their way through the wealthy women of the French Mediterranean.
Playing foolish and funny is what Eddie Murphy is all about, but he most fully imbues the fool as the voice of Donkey in Shrek. Like a king's jester, Donkey pushes Shrek in a manner that only a fool would have been allowed to get away with. Yet in many ways he helps the ogre discovery his humanity, the way a jester might have kept his king humble.
It's hard to pick just one stellar performance where Will Ferrell plays the fool, but the one character who most closely resembles the fool is his turn as Buddy in Elf. He may not have donned the floppy jester hat, but Buddy Jingle Bell Rocks a motley-colored costume and pointy-toe shoes like no one else can! Through in James Caan as the grouchy “king” who learns to see the Christmas spirit again, and you've got all the markings of a classic tale.
Like many other comedians of his time, Rob Corddry plays the supporting role of fool more often than not. Though he does more closely resemble the part of the fool in Children's Hospital, his role as Lou Dorchen in Hot Tub Time Machine made audiences really sit up and pay attention.
Finding Nemo might only have been the heart-wrenching tale of a father searching for his missing son (and yes, we know they're animated clown fish), and too intense for children, were it not for the comic timings of the short-term memory challenged Dory, voiced by Ellen Degeneres. She kept the mood light as she led Marin (voiced by Albert Brooks) through the waters of Australia, along the way, teaching him it's okay to let your children grow up and have some fun.
The Goonies were, in and of themselves, a motely crew, but it was Chunk (played by Jeff Cohen) who took on the role of fool. Chunk's stomach always took precedence over any and all situations, even when hiding from a murderous family of treasure hunters. It may have been over a love of chocolate that Chunk bonded with Lotney "Sloth" Fratelli--a misunderstood fool in his own family—but they showed us it's often the fool who has the heart of gold.
From the moment Michael Richards slid through Jerry Seinfeld's door as Cosmo Kramer, he established himself as the fool of the foursome. His outlandish outfits, cloud of wiry hair, and over-the-top comments only further established his place in the long-running sitcom Seinfeld.
Having made her rounds in Hollywood as a go-to funny lady, it's Jennifer Coolidge's place in Christopher Guest stable of actors, who makes us laugh the loudest, especially her turn as Sherri Ann Cabot in Best in Show. The ditzy trophy wife, with a love of poodles--and their trainer--made us fall in love with her, too.
No April Fool's Day is complete without acknowledging some notable tricksters, here are three of our favorites:
The sweets-loving, appropriately named Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.) from Supernatural gets great enjoyment playing sometimes harmless (though usually not) pranks on humans, especially Sam and Dean Winchester.
While the omnipotent being Q (John Delancie) traveled across the univere, visiting Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, it was Captain Picard who seemed to hold a special place in Q's heart … or where it would be if he had one.
Robin Williams sang it right when he claimed “you ain't never had a friend like me.” Aladdin learned that if you're going to have a wise-cracking genie in your life, it's best if he's on your side. While the genie didn't set out to cause problems, sometimes getting everything you wish for isn't all it's supposed to be.
The joke on us is that we can't include all of the funniest fools of today in one list. So, who are your favorites? --Jill Corddry