Monthly Archives: December 2011

Movies | It’s A Wonderful Life – the script and intriguing tales about the production, director, writer, cast

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IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a 1946 film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story “THE GREATEST GIFT” written by Philip Van Doren Stern.

it's a wonderful life movieThe original story THE GREATEST GIFT was written by Philip Van Doren Stern in November 1939. After being unsuccessful in getting the story published, he decided to make it into a Christmas card, and mailed 200 copies to family and friends in December 1943.

The story came to the attention of RKO producer David Hempstead, who showed it to Cary Grant’s Hollywood agent and, in April 1944, RKO Pictures bought the rights to the story for $10,000 hoping to turn the story into a vehicle for Grant.

It’s A Wonderful Life movie trailer

RKO created three unsatisfactory scripts before shelving the planned movie with Grant going on to make another Christmas picture, THE BISHOP’S WIFE.it's a wonderful life, james stewart, angel

At the suggestion of RKO studio chief Charles Koerner, Frank Capra read THE GREATEST GIFT and immediately saw its potential. RKO, anxious to unload the project, sold the rights in 1945 to Capra’s production company, Liberty Films, which had a nine-film distribution agreement with RKO, for $10,000,and threw in the three scripts for free.

Capra, along with writers Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett with Jo Swerling, Michael Wilson, and Dorothy Parker brought in to “polish” the script — turned the story and what was worth using from the three scripts into a screenplay that Capra would rename IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.    Continue reading »

Apps | RedLaser – compares product prices online or in stores

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I’ve found RedLaser is the best app for comparing product prices. It also delivers food nutrition and allergen info, finds library books and more.

RedLaser-pricing-check-app,-thumbRedLaser uses your smart phone’s camera to scan the barcode of products that you might buy. It then hits the Internet to pull down a list of prices so you can see if you’re getting a good deal. Better price online?

Then, with a few taps, RedLaser lets you jump to a merchant’s online site to close the deal or e-mail yourself the details if you prefer to do your online shopping from a desktop.

RedLaser is the best app for comparing product prices & it delivers food nutrition, allergen info, finds library books

RedLaser is the best app for comparing product prices & it delivers food nutrition, allergen info, finds library books

RedLaser app how-to video

.    Continue reading »

Podcasts | Marc Maron’s WTF – thoughtful, talented comedian interviews other comedians

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I’ve enjoyed over 100 of Marc Maron’s WTF podcasts. This smart comedian has a talent for coaxing surprisingly revealing and interesting things from his comedic guests which results in excellent and unique interviews not usually obtained by others.

Here’s what Jonah Weiner of Rolling Stone wrote: Acid-tongued, rage-prone satirist Marc Maron has been a stand-up-circuit fixture since the Eighties, hosting Comedy Central shows and befriending guys like Judd Apatow and Conan O’Brien along the way.

WTF podcast Marc Maron comedian photo

WTF podcast by Marc Maron comedian

But his new podcast, “WTF,” may be his greatest achievement yet: a series of unvarnished shit-shoots with comedians that move from laugh-geek joke anatomy to quasi-therapeutic venting. Louis C.K. wept during his epic two-part interview. “The podcast began in desperation,” Maron says.

“I was broke, in the middle of a divorce, and I decided I needed to talk to my peers.” Maron’s guests range from comedians’ comedians like Todd Barry to hip young acts like Aziz Ansari to megastars like Ben Stiller.

The podcast has been good for his career — fans in the industry have approached him about developing other projects — but Maron says that’s just a happy byproduct. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do,” he says. “That’s rare.”

WTF podcast episode – Chris Rock talks about early days with Eddie Murphy

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Recipes | Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar – with how-to video

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Bring a little bliss to your holiday gatherings with Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar.  A blondie cake base, topped with sweet cream cheese icing and tart dried cranberries, garnished with white orange drizzle.

If there are fruits for every season, cranberries might just be it for the holidays. Say hello to our Cranberry Bliss Bar. The sweet cream cheese icing and tart dried cranberries go perfectly with the hints of orange zest in the white drizzle.

Give one to a friend or enjoy a bar all to yourself. We know you’ll just love it.  Continue reading »

Photo Essay | Cancer Can’t Catch Her – she peered into death’s eyes, spit in its face and lived happily ever after

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A Los Angeles cancer survivor struts her stuff for a photo shoot, tells her touching story to the photographer, and brings about a rare occurrence–he’s inspired to write a poem. And the fair maiden is living happily ever after.

Los Angeles photographer shot these photos of a cancer survivor who poses with sun behind her

Los Angeles cancer survivor pictures shot by photographer Gregory Mancuso ©

CANCER CAN’T CATCH HER

A photographer poses a Los Angeles cancer survivor against the afternoon sun

A photographer poses a Los Angeles cancer survivor against the afternoon sun

I know cancer can be fast.
Just a blur
Just a flash
A loved one is here
Then catch
Then gone

They told this lady she was caught
You don’t have long
Just a blur
Just a flash

The fine lady did protest
My days are not half done
I have another marathon to run
Life to love
More fun in the sun

Doctors here and doctors there
They shook their heads
Not much we can do
Not many days left

This lady didn’t give up
She searched far and wide
And when all hope was lost
It was found again

There’s a new medicine trick
It sounded like magic
But it hadn’t been tried
The lady bravely stood up
Let’s give it a ride.

…and then…

Los Angeles photography of cancer survivor smiling while running outside for photographer

Los Angeles photography of cancer survivor smiling while running outside for photographer

Lo and behold
Just like a fairy tale
The enchantment did work
The fair maiden was saved

I’ve seen cancer catch many, and drag them away. Uncles, aunts, cousins. Two friends, too young. One father, too sad.

So I was pleased, when this lady asked a favor of me. Make pictures for others, who are sick, to see, how they may be.

Show me running, healthy, happy and free.

Los Angeles woman running fast for the photographer during a shoot about cancer survivors

Los Angeles woman running fast for the photographer during a shoot about cancer survivors

Catch how I can be fast
Just a blur
Just a flash

The fine lady did attest
My days are not half done
I have another marathon to run

Photographer has low angle shot of woman running down Los Angeles street for fitness

Photographer has low angle shot of woman running down Los Angeles street for fitness

Life to love
More fun in the sun

Sun streams down on cancer survivor during photographer shoot in Los Angeles

Sun streams down on cancer survivor during photographer shoot in Los Angeles

written & shot by Los Angeles photographer Gregory Mancuso