Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Motor City Comic Con: Joseph Gatt talks "Z Nation" and more

Joseph Gatt has had the chance to work on blockbusters such as "Thor" and "Star Trek: Into Darkness," but you might know him as The Man / Emile Hunter on "Z Nation." He's also appeared on "Game of Thrones" and "The 100." The London-born and very buff actor has a distinctive look about him that translates well for certain roles.

Gatt talked with Cousin Don at last weekend's Motor City Comic Con about the differences between working on those movie and TV projects, as well as what has been his biggest challenge so far, as an actor. Hear what he has to say in the latest video on the BRBTV channel ...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Motor City Comic Con: Shannon Elizabeth is on a mission

Shannon Elizabeth is a woman with a cause, and that cause is our four-legged friends. The actress, known for the "American Pie" movies and "That '70s Show," is involved in Animal Avengers, a dog and cat rescue that has turned its efforts more toward broader animal conservation. She chats with Don and BRB about her work on- and off-screen, what has been her most rewarding role, the benefit event coming up in the New York City this week, and why you should never buy a pet ...



Many thanks to Ms. Elizabeth for talking with us, and special thanks to Andrea for the assist with the camera! Stay tuned for another great MCCC interview in the next couple days.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Motor City Comic Con rolls out the geeky fun

Wowzers, another great Motor City Comic Con is still going on right now at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. This author has had two great days at the con, Friday and Saturday, with yesterday being every bit the splash and fanfare of previous years. This show still seems to get  bigger every year -- we're not done riding this comic-con popularity wave just yet, in our vast and varied pop culture!!! In fact, it looks like some more parking was added to the event this year, and an expansion of the venue is planned for next spring. But on to the show itself!

Oh, wow, the cosplay!!!! So many creative ideas, all around us. We saw a Gilligan (a different Gilligan from three or four years ago, the only other time we've seen this character cosplayed). But let's first see the one that we vote best-of-show ...


Yes, that's "Planet of the Apes," and before you ask (in case you're a really hard-core Apes fan), he's from the movies, not the short-lived TV show of the early 1970s that I've been really digging on MeTV in recent months. This guy rocked!!!! Good job with that costume!!!


Andrea LOVES Minions, so she got this cool photo opp with one!


It was 10 years ago this weekend, at this very event, when I first met my bud Andrea, and possibly Don, too (though we can't remember for sure). At any rate, it was 10 years ago this weekend that we all first hung out together, so we decided to mark the milestone with a little Scooby cosplay!


OK, can I designate two best-in-show awards for cosplay???? Because seriously, this classic "Twilight Zone" homage right ranks up there for best cosplay ever! At least until I get that Aunt Esther costume together ("Sanford and Son," if you were wondering).


Nothing like a 1966 Green Hornet -- and a very big and tall Kato!!! Had to love it!


We certainly saw a lot of Wonder Women -- the movie version in particular -- along with an abundance of all manner of superhero. (And there were a lot of "Walking Dead" Negans there, complete with Lucille -- what's up with that???)





The shopping was fabulous, as usual! Picked up a couple Christmas gifts, and found a few other items almost too tempting ...







A friggin' Freddie Mercury action figure????? Who knew??? Not me, until I then looked it up online. Again, just wow ...

This is just the beginning! Look for more coverage of the 2017 Motor City Comic Con on this very blog this week, with three very cool celeb interviews, including the very nice gentleman below (he's not as gruesome as you saw on this classic TV show!!!!) ...






Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
except for the Scooby trio photo, courtesy of Don Covell Jr.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

And in "Dynasty" news ...

Have you been reading about the "Dynasty" reboot slated for the CW's fall schedule? The news broke earlier this month, and we eagerly await what the network will do with this beloved classic TV show, other than the fact that they'll take a different approach from TNT's "Dallas" reboot," which was more of a continuation of the original series. The new "Dynasty" will see everyone recast. Here's a little roundup 'round the web, in case ya missed it ...

Hollywood Reporter: 'Dynasty' Reboot, Military Drama 'Valor' Ordered to Series at The CW

Associated Press: CW to reboot 'Dynasty,' '80s prime-time soap opera, in fall

The Washington Post: CW fall lineup gambles on 'Dynasty' reboot

TV Guide: Watch the trailer for the CW's Dynasty

"Melrose Place" and "Ryan's Hope" alum Grant Show is smashing as patriarch Blake, Krystle / Cristal looks a whole lot edgier than the original character made famous by Linda Evans, the catfights will definitely be played-up, Sammy Jo is a guy (wow!!!!), and Fallon even bites off the top of the wedding cake topper, a direct reference to the original "Dynasty" pilot. This reboot is definitely rebooting from Day 1 of the original series!

This author would've LOVED to have seen the same continuation approach as with "Dallas," since like that rival show, all the kids born on "Dynasty" would be the perfect age for the audience the CW is going for ... but hey, we'll take it! We'll be there!!!!

Meanwhile, in other "Dynasty" news, one of the most iconic settings of the original series has just gone up for sale. It was the site of the well-remembered lily pond catfight scene between Alexis and Krystle, and you can snag it for a cool $25 mil ...



Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! A BRBTV Report" gets an update!

That lovable canine just keeps moving -- we can hardly keep up. New TV shows all the time, new video releases. New merchandise! We figured it was about time we updated the Kindle publication "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! A BRBTV Report," the sixth in the series of BRBTV Reports.


There are quite a few pages added with this update, since there are a batch of juicy color photos added of Scoob merchandise, everything from ballcaps to banks! And you'll see some new text in places, as well. This author hopes you enjoy! Snag it on Amazon, and accept no pirated copies out there on other sites -- they're now out-of-date, anyway!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: Isis figure by Mego, 1970s

It's another one of those banner moments -- the kind of moment when, as an adult, you can right a wrong of your childhood, aided by that wonderful modern invention called the Internet. As a kid, this author absolutely loved the Saturday-morning live-action TV series "The Secrets of Isis," the companion superhero series to the popular "Shazam!" that had been on the air for a  year at that point. At the time in the 1970s, Mego Corp. was rolling out scads of great superhero action figures and added an Isis figure to their line in 1976. Boy, did I soooooooo want that Isis figure. Queue the adulthood, where all things are possible on the Internet!!!

It's this week's Terrific TV Toys episode ...



Here's the Isis cosplayer mentioned in the episode, spotted on Free Comic Book Day a week or so ago in Michigan:


Seriously adorable, along with the Ms. Riddler!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Motor City Comic Con premieres film by pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson, plus a host of guest panels

Guardians of Galaxy, Weird Science, Freaks and Geeks, Rob Schneider, Ron Perlman among many more to headline panels at Motor City Comic Con 2017 
 
More media and comic guests added to lineup; and for the first time ever
Comic Con will present the Michigan premiere of a full-length feature film
 
Novi, MI (May 10, 2017) – Comic fans and pop culture enthusiasts from all over are gearing up for what is set to be one of the best Motor City Comic Con events yet with exciting panels and several recently added guests unveiled to the public today (follow this link to see the panel schedule). Stars from Weird Science, Guardians of the Galaxy, Arrow, Freaks and Geeks, American Pie, among others will be featured in panel discussions. Several media guests have also been added to this year’s lineup including Rob Schneider, Ron Perlman, Barbara Eden, Sean Astin, Herbert Jefferson Jr., Robin Lord Taylor, Ross Marquand, Kristy Swanson, James Remar, Marky Ramone, Ani-Mia and many more. For the first time at Motor City Comic Con, the Michigan premiere of a full-length feature film, The Space Between, by Amy Jo Johnson, who played the pink Power Ranger in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, will be featured. This year’s Motor City Comic Con will take place Friday, May 19 (12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.), Saturday, May 20 (10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, May 21 (10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the Suburban Collection Showplace, located at 46100 Grand River Avenue in Novi. Complete information about the event, tickets, panels and VIP passes is available at http://www.motorcitycomiccon.com/.
 
The weekend event features more than 300 creators, writers, illustrators and actors who will greet the fans, sign autographs, take pictures, and provide panels and Q & A discussions, while many super fans are dressed in their pop culture best. A popular event is Saturday’s cosplay contest where a mix of celebrity judges determine the best costume winners, presenting prizes and gift packages. Motor City Comic Con’s annual Saturday night bash celebrates comic con weekend with entertainment, refreshments, and light hors d’oeuvres for the public. Sunday is Kid’s Day featuring kid-friendly activities.
In addition to the previously announced guests, newly added Motor City Comic Con guests feature:
Aly Michalka: Actor and musician known for her film appearances in Easy A, Bandslam, Sequoia, and Weepah Way for Now. Television appearances include: iZombie, Hellcats and Two and a Half Men.
Ani-Mia: An International Cosplayer who writes for Otaku USA Magazine – the premier anime and manga magazine in the U.S., makes appearances at conventions and judges costume contests.
Amy Dumas: An American professional wrestler and singer, better known as Lita, is currently a WWE analyst. She performed as a WWE wrestler from 2000 to 2006 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
Austin Amelio: An actor and writer best known as Dwight on The Walking Dead, Nesbit in Everybody Wants Some!!, Thomas in Putting the Dog to Sleep, and David in Over Again.
Billie Piper: The UK singer, dancer and television star is best known for her role as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who. Piper can also be seen on Penny Dreadful. Other television film roles include: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North and Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
Dennis Rodman: A retired NBA basketball star who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Nicknamed “The Worm”, Rodman is recognized as a Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boy and as one of the best rebounding forwards in NBA history. Rodman was a New World Order wrestler in the 1990s and appeared in the television show The Rodman World Tour, and in the action films Double Team and Simon Sez.
Frank Cho: An American comic strip creator, writer and illustrator best known for his work on the professionally syndicated strip Liberty Meadows. Cho was also the writer and illustrator of the first story in the Marvel NOW! Savage Wolverine series.
Hannah Kasulak: Known as Casey Rance in FOX Network’s The Exorcist, Kasulak has appeared in Filthy Preppy Teens, The Fosters, How to Get Away with Murder, True Blood and Nashville.
James Remar: Known for his various film and television roles from over the last four decades, Remar has appeared in The Warriors, 48 Hours, The Cotton Club, Django Unchained, Dexter, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Tales from the Darkside, Sex And the City, 2 Fast 2 Furious, among many others. He can also be seen in the upcoming second season of Hulu’s The Path.
Jason Douglas: Known for his role as Tobin in seasons five and six of The Walking Dead and for his recurring appearances on Breaking Bad, Nashville, and Revolution, among others. Douglas has voice lead nearly 200 characters like, Beerus in the Dragon Ball Z films as well as Krieg the Psycho in Borderlands 2.
John E.L. Tenney: A Michigan native, Tenney is an author and one of the most recognized investigators of UFO, paranormal and occult phenomena in the U.S. Tenney is co-host on the paranormal reality show Ghost Stalkers and has appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Paranormal State: The New Class, Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Lockdown.
John Francis Daley: An actor, screenwriter, film director and musician best known for his role as Sam Weir on Freaks and Geeks and as Dr. Lance Sweets on Bones. Daley plays keyboards and sings for the band Dayplayer, and he co-wrote Horrible Bosses and will be a co-writer for the upcoming Spider Man: Homecoming film.
Jordan Trovillion: An actor, singer and Michigan native known as the host of the comic book and nerd culture TV show Comics Continuum. She has also appeared in Comedy Central’s Detroiters, Lifetime’s Secrets in the Walls, among others. Upcoming projects include The Life and Death of John Gotti and Mercy.
Joseph Gatt: A U.K. native known for his roles in Pulse, Chuck, Eagleheart, Game of Thrones, From Dusk Till Dawn, The 100, Banshee, Second Chance, Teen Wolf, True Detective, Star Trek Into Darkness and Thor. Gatt can currently be seen as The Man in Z Nation.
LaVar Burton: Best known as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Nemesis; host for PBS’s Reading Rainbow, and as Kunta Kinte in Roots. Burton is also an accomplished director and has directed episodes for Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise.
Martin Starr: Known for his role as Bill Haverchuck on Freaks and Geeks, Starr has appeared in Knocked Up, This is The End, King of The Hill, among others. He is currently reprising his roles as Gilfoyle on the third season of Silicon Valley.
Nicola Scott: An Australian comic book artist who has worked exclusively for DC Comics. Her work has appeared in titles such as Wonder Woman, Batman, Teen Titans, Superman, Birds of Prey and Secret Six, among others.
Ross Marquand: Known for his breakout roles as Aaron on The Walking Dead and as Paul Newman on Mad Men. He is also an accomplished voice over actor and has worked on productions such as Phineas & Ferb, Conan, among others.
Scott Wilson: An American actor known for his appearances in nearly 50 films such as Harvey Oberst in the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, and Dick Hickok in the 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, among many others. Wilson is also known for his role as Dr. Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead.
Tim Bradstreet: Known as Marvel’s go-to cover artist, Bradstreet is an Inkpot Award-Winning artist and is known for his work in Vampire: The Masquerade, The Punisher, The Punisher MAX, John Constantine: Hellblazer, among many others.
Tom Payne: A U.K. native known for his roles as Paul “Jesus” Rovia on The Walking Dead, Leon Micheaux in Luck, and Rob Cole in The Physician. Payne has also appeared in several U.K. television series such as Skins, Casualty and Waterloo Road.
Tony Todd: A horror and sci-fi film icon best known for his roles in The Candyman, Sleepwalk and Platoon as well as roles in the Hatchet and Final Destination franchises. Todd can also be seen in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, The Rock, The Crow, Lean on Me, Bird, Night of The Living Dead, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, among many others.
Vic Mignogna: Best known for his prolific voice over work in the anime industry involving Japanese anime characters and video games. Mignogna’s most notable character is Edward Elric from the Fullmetal Alchemist series, and he was the voice role of Broly in the Dragon Ball Z films.
Wil Wheaton: An actor, writer and voice actor known for his roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Flubber, The Guild, Eureka, and The Big Bang Theory. He also appeared in Stand by Me, Toy Soldiers and Criminal Minds, among others.
For more information regarding Motor City Comic Con guests and events, visit the website. For photo galleries, visit https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fye4o7g1iikkoj9/AADZZ0yXX2fKac-1kLS9Vt3Xa?dl=0. To apply for a press pass credentials, go to http://motorcitycomiccon.com/press-passes-2016/

Monday, May 08, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: "Dukes of Hazzard" models

We have become acquainted with the creativity of "Dukes of Hazzard" fans in the past on this blog -- "Dukes" fans tend to be quite talented, especially from an artistic standpoint. But this week on the Terrific TV Toys web series, we get to meet a "Dukes" artist who truly raises the bar. T.J. of Michigan crafts very clever scale models of key "Dukes" scenes and settings, everything from the Duke farm to Cooter's Garage to the Boar's Nest, the subject of this particular episode of the show. Travel with us to T.J.'s home, where he shows us his latest creation ...












Photos courtesy of Tubio Bethards; please do not copy without permission.
Many thanks to T.J. for sharing his talents!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Another weekend, another couple great shows

Any weekend that is a double-header for toy shows and/or comic cons is a good one in this author's book. And last weekend offered a toy show up at a DAV / VFW hall in Shelby Township, Michigan, on Saturday, plus the Motor City Nightmares show in Novi, which I took in on Sunday. Great stuff, all around, and plenty of TV-related stuff to behold ...


First up, for the Shelby Township toy show, we've got some "Munsters," we've got the requisite "Bionic Woman" and "Lost in Space." We've got a little "Man from U.N.C.L.E." And we've even got a "Planet of the Apes" item that has to be from the TV show, rather than the movie series, because it's of the character Galen, played by Roddy McDowell on the TV series. I've been loving that single-season show, DVR-ing it right now from MeTV!






Next, let's see what we can find from the Motor City Nightmares show ...


This Velma cosplayer was there in honor of Matthew Lillard, who portrayed Shaggy in the live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies. You'll see him below, talking to fans, one in particular who brought a Mystery Machine replica for Lillard to sign! :)




Sheryl Lee, that unforgettable Laura Palmer of "Twin Peaks," was also there to greet fans. Have you braced yourself for the new "Twin Peaks"??? Can't believe it's already coming out this month! We are soooooooo signed on to that! And Lee will be there, along with many other members of the cast of the original 1990 series.


Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Fan film gives a modern update to the "Green Hornet" '60s TV show

A friend passed along this fan film, which seems to be an update to the 1966 "Green Hornet" TV show, taking place in modern times, decades later, with an aged Hornet wanting to pass along his legacy to his son. Interesting approach, peppered with a lot of elements from the TV show, as well as more modern "GH" merchandise as props (love those cufflinks, released a few years ago for the big-screen movie). The 11-minute film was just posted last week:


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: Batgirl figure by Mattel

The Batgirl 50th anniversary celebration continues on the Terrific TV Toys web series. This time, it's an action figure by Mattel, part of a set that also includes Batman, Joker, Riddler, Catwoman and Penguin, as portrayed in the 1960s live-action TV show. This one was released a year or two ago. She's suited up and ready to go, complete with stand and backdrop!


Monday, May 01, 2017

Newest animated Bat-movie goes to "The Animated Series" land

The newest release from Warner Bros. Animation that takes us back to the groundbreaking "Batman: The Animated Series"? (Or is that "The New Batman Adventures"?) Anyway, loving it so much! If you haven't caught the trailer yet for "Batman and Harley Quinn," here is it. The movie so appropriately features Melissa Rauch of "The Big Bang Theory" voicing Harley, along with Paget Brewster of "Criminal Minds" as Poison Ivy. Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester reprise their own iconic roles. It's scheduled for release this summer. Thanks to our "Super Friends" guru Will for the heads-up!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cooter's in the Valley has its grand opening next weekend

A press release from Cooter's Place ...
......



(Luray, Virginia) After months of working to turn the old Outlanders building on Highway 211 west of Luray into “a hunk of Hazzard County”, Ben “Cooter” Jones and “Miss Alma” Viator are expecting a “fine turnout” for their grand opening of Cooter’s in the Valley on the weekend of May 6 and 7.

“We actually opened the doors a few days after we got the keys,” Viator says. “But we’ve worked every day since then to create an atmosphere that really reflects the fun and wholesomeness of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ At first we just had a little shop in one area, but when we have our grand opening we’ll be almost finished. We’ve got our kitchen and ice cream bar, two large shopping areas, a very large museum that will also serve as a 299-seat live concert theater, and a small recording studio where folks can record themselves. We’ve turned the old motorcycle garage into a replica of Cooter’s Garage, which will make people think that we are actually back in Hazzard County!”

Jones and Viator opened their first “Cooter’s Place” in Rappahannock County in 1998 and added stores in Gatlinburg and Nashville, Tennessee, in the next few years. A second Sperryville store ran into parking problems when, after a year of success, Rappahannock officials decided that the parking area was not zoned properly for that use, and “Cooter’s” was forced to close.

That is when Page County reached out and showed them the Outlanders property.

“It was ideal,” Viator says. “There is plenty of room for parking, room for cruise-ins, room for a children’s playground, room for free weekend musical concerts, and room for a whole lot of visitors. Folks have already come from all over America. Page County is perfect for us.”


The grand opening will feature special guest Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard" and has gone on to star in films, television, and on Broadway. Wopat will do personal appearances on both Saturday and Sunday.

Besides the regular free concerts of country and bluegrass music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, “Cooter’s” is also going to be the new home of “The Shenandoah Jamboree,” which is now in its fifth season. Jones, who helped to start the Jamboree with Page Countians Lisa and Robby Meadows, thinks its new home is going to be ideal. “Our place is so well located between Luray and Interstate 81. And the new theatre really connects the audience with the performers. We’re going to have a really fine season, and we’re kicking it off with Tom Wopat. He’s a world-class singer. He can sing anything. He’s had Nashville hits, Broadway shows, and he’s a really fine jazz and pop singer.”

The Shenandoah Jamboree premieres on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. and will feature a variety of standout performers. Upcoming shows include:
  • May 6 – Tom Wopat
  • June 3 – Michael Twitty (son of Conway Twitty
  • Sept. 2 – Larry Stephenson (Bluegrass & Gospel)
  • Oc. 7 – LuLu Roman & the Hee Haw Honeys
  • Dec. 2 – Cooter’s Country Christmas
Individual concert tickets are $25 reserved / $20 general admission, and season tickets are $100 reserved / $75 general admission.

For tickets or more information about Cooter’s in the Valley visit cootersplace.com or call 540-843-2515. Cooter’s in the Valley is located at 4768 U.S. Highway 211 West in Luray, VA 22835.

Friday, April 28, 2017

How well do you know your classic TV action figures? Take this quiz and find out!

We made it to Friday again, so let's have a little fun, shall we? This quiz, posted on the MeTV website, is right up our alley -- it shows some glorious "Terrific TV Toys," concentrating on the 1980s. How much more could we love this? From "Starsky and Hutch" to "Happy Days" to "The Six Million Dollar Man," how well do you know your action figures? And along with that, how well did the manufacturers do with the likenesses??? LOL.

http://www.metv.com/quiz/can-you-name-these-tv-actors-from-their-action-figures

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Motor City Comic Con presents another '80s extravaganza

Oh, we are so ready to roll on this year's Motor City Comic Con! The show always delivers some great stars of classic TV, after all. This year, we've got Barbara Eden, whom we know from "Dallas"; along with Herb Jefferson Jr., whom we know from a "Dukes of Hazzard" episode; Amy Jo Johnson, the Pink Ranger from "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers"; Wil Wheaton of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and Lou Ferrigno of "The Incredible Hulk." Here's this year's press release with all the great guests that matter ...

-------------------------

Motor City Comic Con 2017 Goes “Totally Tubular” as 80’s Pop Culture Stars will be featured at Michigan’s #1 Pop Culture Event; More than 300 comic, TV and film stars from The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Incredible Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, WWE and more to appear

Headliners include Ron Perlman, Michael Rooker, Rob Schneider, Lou Ferrigno, STING, Wil Wheaton, Sean Astin, Kelly Le Brock, Anthony Michael Hall, and many more
Tickets on sale for the May 19, 20 and 21 Comic Con at Suburban Collection Showplace

Novi, MI – Bring your leg warmers and mullet hair – Motor City Comic Con is bringing back the stars from the 1980’s TV, film and comics, along with some of your current pop culture favorites. The excitement is building as Motor City Comic Con 2017 is announcing a new cast of comic and media guests for its 28th annual, three-day event and has opened ticket sales online. The weekend will feature stars from popular television series and films like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, The Incredible Hulk, Saturday Night Live, I Dream of Jeannie and many more current TV shows and films like, Guardians of the Galaxy, Arrow, The Walking Dead, Gotham, Lord of the Rings, Sons of Anarchy, WWE, and much more. Comic writers and artists include Dave Gibbons, Andy Lanning, Allen Bellman, and many others. Motor City Comic Con 2017 will take place Friday, May 19 (12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.), Saturday, May 20 (10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, May 21 (10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the Suburban Collection Showplace, located at 46100 Grand River Avenue in Novi. Complete information about the event, tickets, panels and VIP passes is available at http://www.motorcitycomiccon.com/.

The weekend event features more than 300 creators, writers, illustrators and actors who will greet the fans, sign autographs, take pictures, and provide panels and Q & A discussions, while many super fans are dressed in their pop culture best. A popular event is Saturday’s cosplay contest where a mix of celebrity judges determine the best costume winners, presenting prizes and gift packages. Motor City Comic Con’s annual Saturday night bash celebrates comic con weekend with entertainment, refreshments, and light hors devours for the public. Sunday is Kid’s Day featuring kid-friendly activities.

Here is a sampling of some of this year’s Motor City Comic Con media and comic guests:

Allen Bellman: Began his career in comics as a teenager when he drew backgrounds for Captain America in 1942 and eventually worked on titles including: The Patriot, The Destroyer, The Human Torch, Marvel’s Young Allies, Jap Buster Johnson and Jet Dixon of the Space Squadron, and many more.

Amy Jo Johnson: A film maker, musician and actor most known for her role as Kimberly Hart in the series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Julie Emrick on the series Felicity, and Jules Callaghan on the award-winning series Flashpoint. Johnson recently launched her debut feature film The Space Between.

Anthony Michael Hall: Known for his roles as Farmer Ted in Sixteen Candles and Brian Johnson in The Breakfast Club, Hall went on to become the youngest cast member in history on Saturday Night Live.

Barbara Eden: Named one of America’s 200 Greatest Pop Icons of the 20th Century, Eden is best known for her role as Jeannie on NBC’s I Dream of Jeannie television series which ran for five seasons. Eden’s memoir Jeannie Out of The Bottle was recently published and debuted as No. 14 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Big Van Vader: Known for his early wrestling career in Japan, Big Van Vader went on to also beat competitors throughout Europe and Mexico and eventually, leading him to three World Heavyweight Championships. Following his WWE career, Big Van Vader returned to All Japan Pro Wrestling to form a tag team with Stan Hansen.

Dave Gibbons: A British comic book drawer and writer who has worked with comic publishers around the world. Some of his work includes: Doctor Who, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Predator and Aliens.

Herbert Jefferson Jr.: An American film, television and stage actor best known for his role as Lieutenant Boomer on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. Jefferson also appeared as Roy Dwyer in Rich Man, Poor Man and its sequel Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, Maxwell Fall in Emmy Award winning series The Law, Muntzy in Knight Rider (1982), among others.

Ilan Mitchell Smith: An American academic and former actor best known as the co-star in Weird Science, Smith has also appeared in The Wild Life, The Chocolate War and Superboy. For the past 35 years, Smith has been a role-player/Dungeon Master, Miniatures gamer and Indie/Board gamer.

John Barrowman: Singer, dancer, host and actor best known for his role as Malcolm Merlyn in the series Arrow. Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn character has made guest appearances in The Flash as well as on the CW’s Reign. He has hosted ABC’s Sing Your Face Off, among other major events.

Josh McDermitt: Comedian and star of AMC’s The Walking Dead, McDermitt made his television debut on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2006. He was casted in TV movie Rehab for Rejects and as Brandon on Retired at 35. McDermitt can also be seen in Middle Man and Odious.

Karolyn Grimes: As a child actor, Grimes became best known for her role as Zuzu on the film It’s a Wonderful Life. Grimes currently serves as the unofficial ambassador for the film, traveling the world and speaking at screenings, benefits, conventions, etc.

Kelly Le Brock: An American actress and model known for her acting debut in The Woman in Red. She also appeared in Weird Science, Hard to Kill, Betrayal of the Dove, Tracks of a Killer and Hard Bounty.

Khary Payton: Known as King Ezekiel on AMC’s The Walking Dead and Aqualad in Young Justice. Payton has been a voice actor for characters such as DC comic book hero Cyborg, Specialist Wasabi from Big Hero 6: The Series, Grimlock from Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Azrael & Killer Croc in the Batman: Arkham franchise, among others.

Kristy Swanson: Known for her appearances in Pretty in Pink, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Big Daddy, Knots Landing (1987-1988), Nightingales (1989) and B.L. Stryker (1989), among others.

Lou Ferrigno: Ferrigno is most known as playing the “Hulk” in the CBS series The Incredible Hulk. He has also appeared in other television shows, such as the CBS series The King of Queens and the film I Love You, Man.

Marky Ramone: Best known as the drummer (and last living member) of the legendary punk rock band the Ramones. In 2002, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and since then has been featured in the comic book TV series Killogy and appears in Killogy: The Animated Series.

Mena Suvari: Dubbed by People Weekly as an “All-American Girl,” Suvari is known for her film debuts in Nowhere, the American Pie film series and American Beauty. She also appeared in Loser, Spun, Rumor Has It, Domino, American Horror Story (2011), among others.

Michael Rooker: Best known as the blue-skinned alien Yondu Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy, a role he will reprise in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; and his role as Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead.

Rob Schneider: An American actor, comedian, screenwriter and director known for his sketch comedy series on Saturday Night Live as well as his starring comedy roles in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Hot Chick, The Benchwarmers and Grown Ups, among many others.

Robin Lord Taylor: Dubbed as “favorite breakout star of television,” Taylor is best known as Oswald Cobblepot or The Penguin on Gotham. Known for his role as Sam on The Walking Dead, and as Abernathy Darwin Dunlap in Accepted.

Ron Perlman: With a career spanning over three decades, Perlman has worked alongside diverse actors like Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Dominique Pinon, Brad Dourif, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Jude Law, Christina Ricci, Federico Luppi, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Wincott and Elijah Wood. He is also known for his roles in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army; biker chief Clarence Morrow on Sons of Anarchy, Norman Arbuthnot in The Last Supper and vampire leader Reinhardt in Blade II, among others.

Sean Astin: An actor and author known for his film debut as Mikey in The Goonies, Astin held the title role in the Rudy film and as Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

Sean Gunn: Best known for his role on Gilmore Girls as Kirk Gleason, Gunn can also be found reprising his role as Kraglin (Yondu’s right hand man) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Shannon Elizabeth: An American actress and former fashion model who is known for her comedy roles in American Pie, Scary Movie and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She appeared in the horror films such as Thirteen Ghosts, Cursed and Night of the Demons.

STING: An American retired professional wrestler, actor, author, former bodybuilder and WWE Hall of Famer, he is regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Sting earned 25 championships during his 30+ year career, including 21 between WCE and TNA.

Thomas Ian Nicholas: An American film actor, singer, musician, producer, director and writer best known for playing Kevin Myers in the American Pie series, Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year and Walt Disney in Walt Before Mickey.

Wil Wheaton: An actor, writer and voice actor known for his roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Flubber, The Guild, Eureka, and The Big Bang Theory. He also appeared in Stand by Me, Toy Soldiers and Criminal Minds, among others.

Zack McGowan: Known for his role as Roan on the CW’s The 100 and as Captain Charles Vane in the Black Sails series. McGowan’s character is planned to recur on Agents of Shield and as Shkelgim in Universal’s Dracula Untold.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Morgan Brittany: New book, new group

Could not love it more!!! Ms. Morgan Brittany, our own Katherine Wentworth of "Dallas," interviewed on Fox News just now as a vice-president and spokesperson for the group PolitiChicks. Brittany and two colleagues were commenting on the canceled college speaking engagement of conservative columnist Ann Coulter. Brittany has also just co-authored a book, "What Women Really Want."

This author got the chance to interview Brittany at an appearance in New Jersey a few years back, and what a sweet and gracious gal she is. Such a far cry from her evil character on "Dallas." And she was definitely keeping tabs on the newer "Dallas" show, airing on TNT at the time. "Katherine Wentworth is out there," she told me resolutely when I asked her about the possibility of her appearing on the series, which brought back so many of her castmates. Indeed, what a lost opportunity. Katherine could have really shaken things up -- and given the series more staying power beyond the unfortunate loss of Larry Hagman. And hello!!! -- Brittany looks wonderful, as evidenced this morning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: "Three's Company" trading cards by Topps

Two's company and three's a crowd -- except when you have two lovely ladies living with a guy pretending to be gay! Yea, that was the premise of one of our fave classic TV shows, "Three's Company." This author watched the half-hour sitcom faithfully every week. The show ran on ABC for several seasons, from 1977 to 1984, and had several cast changes, but can you believe it had very little merchandise released for it? Besides the typical DVDs and autographed photos, all we could find on this show nowadays was a set of trading cards by Topps, circa 1978. They're the featured item on this week's episode of Terrific TV Toys ...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

More terrific toys related to TV shows (for the most part!) at this toy show ...

Any day this author can take in a toy show is a good day, and the sun is shining, to boot! Who can argue with that? Once again, we see some TV-related goodies at this show at an Elks Hall in Metro Detroit. So cool ...








Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: Scooby-Doo gang microfigures by Character Building

That poor Danger-Prone Daphne -- she gets quite the bad rap, doesn't she? Well, she gets her due in this week's episode of the Terrific TV Toys series. We let her have her say, to say the least!!! And then we see a quartet of cute microfigures by Character Building: Daphne, Velma, the Clown Ghost and the Bayou Beast of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" lore. Check it out ...

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Behind the wheel of a jumpin' General: A chat with the founder of the Northeast Ohio Dukes

A few weeks ago, on a Friday in late February, "Dukes of Hazzard" fans got to experience a rare treat, and a truly historic moment, when a blazin' orange General Lee car went sailing through the air in downtown Detroit, the Detroit River shimmering beyond in the brilliant sunlight, the temperature unseasonably warm. There were cheers and oohs and aahs and whoas from the enormous crowd -- some standing curbside as the car hit the ramp, some perched high up at Cobo Center, enjoying a great vantage point behind the glass. Some were on a lunch hour; some took the day off work; a few traveled from other states like our friend Billy and his family. A huge accompaniment of press covered the event, with at least one of Detroit's major TV networks live-streaming the jump, which kicked off the weekend for Autorama. And there was lots of Facebook Live goin' on, for sure. Lots of selfies, lots of video like the BRBTV one below. Capturing the moment, the history, the joy, the thrill for "Dukes" fans!



The jump was over in an instant, but it took weeks -- maybe months -- of prep. No one knows this better than the man behind the wheel, Mr. Raymond Kohn (pronounced like "John" with a K). He's the founder of the group, Northeast Ohio Dukes, that brought a big crew to Detroit to make this happen. From the initial ramp setup on Atwater Street, to wheelin' the car onto the Autorama showroom floor later that afternoon, it had to be a big production, lots of planning. BRBTV had the pleasure to chat with Raymond a week or so ago about this and about the work the group does.

"I broke my left wrist in Detroit," Raymond muses of that banner day that otherwise was completed in such stunning fashion. “Yea, I broke my left wrist. Outside of that, I was perfect. I wasn’t even sore. Usually you’re sore or stiff for a few days. I wasn’t even sore or stiff or anything like that. My doctor had explained the type of break it was. I realized that this was my first daylight jump in a long time. At night you can’t see the landing; in the daytime you can. So here the car is approaching the ground, the pavement, and I’m like, I braced for it. That’s what it was. I braced for it. And I tried pushing against the steering wheel, rather than letting my safety belts do their job. I pushed against it, and overextended my wrist, and that’s how. I think they call it a fracture, like a hairline fracture.”

For Kohn, who has been doing this sort of work for 10 years, it's not the only injury he's had, certainly. And sometimes, it can be more lasting than a wrist that heals.

“I have a broken collar bone," he says. "That’s unrepairable. And of course, with a broken collar bone, it throws off your shoulder; now you’ve got a pain in your shoulder."

You can't always guarantee how a General Lee is going to land, after all.

"One time I landed flat," he says. "Even though I was off of the seat about six or seven inches, the car came down flat, like it was dropped from a plane. And it came down flat on all four wheels. The explosion, when the car landed, it broke all four rims, snapped the transmission in half. And when you land flat, it hurts. It took about six or seven months for me to actually be able to walk around right and be able to get up and move around and stuff. I was beat up pretty good on that one."

That, his coworker Jimmy reminds him while we're on the phone, was September 9, 2013. Brookville, Pennsylvania.

"There’s video of that," Raymond quickly adds. "Let me tell you, man, that one hurt. So when people say, oh, there wasn’t enough weight in the trunk, yes, there was. We had exactly the correct amount of weight in there for the jump. You can ask any professional stunt car driver who has jumped a car, landing flat is the worst way a driver can land, because the driver has one impact. I say this from my experience, and I’m not a rookie, I’ve been doing this for a while. My experience is, when you see the car pretty much unscathed, and it looks still pretty good, usually that means the driver had it pretty hard on the inside. When the car is all twisted and crunched and mangled, well, the car absorbed all of that energy and the driver had it pretty easy on the inside.”

Photo by Jason G.

Well, in Detroit, that car was pretty mangled, as you can see above, so we're glad for that! Plus, the timing of this particular jump held a certain irony for him.

“It’s awesome. I had never thought in a million years, especially the way it all happened, I mean, this is our 10th anniversary of doing the stunt shows. Somehow my 20th General Lee jump fell on the 10th anniversary, at Autorama. I felt like a million dollars, let me tell you.”

But he says, “I was scared to death. I was real happy when it was over. ... If anyone would ever ask me, and they have, well, what does it feel like to jump a car, and hitting the ramp and stuff, just imagine a really extreme roller coaster, OK, and then at the end of the roller coaster ride, it derails and falls to the ground. Hitting the ramp hurts. You’re hitting a giant wedge in the middle of the road at 55, 60 miles an hour, and that stings. It hurts, I’m telling you. And about the time you’re going, omigosh, that hurt, here comes the second one, you know.”

Kohn actually founded the Northeast Ohio Dukes unofficially back in 2005, a couple years earlier than its more official 2007 beginning, when he was asked to bring a couple replica cars -- a Hazzard County Sheriff's car and a General Lee -- to an event.

"I was asked by MTV, the producers of 'Your Movie Show,' to bring our nice cars, the Rosco car and the General Lee, down to this thing they were doing in Covington (Georgia). They were having Corey Eubanks jump over our Rosco car near Oxford College. I was already going around with the cars and showing them, and everybody calls their ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ group this or that, and where I’m from, everyone calls it ‘Northeast Ohio whatever,’ so I had to come up with something, and I said, how about Northeast Ohio Dukes.”

Thus, some stars were born. Because things grew from there, from the time of their first official jump in 2007. Not just with the crew members Raymond was able to recruit for this effort, which became more of a full "Dukes of Hazzard"-themed show, but family members, as well!

“My dad grew out a white beard and started playing Uncle Jesse," he says. "My older brother started playing Boss Hogg. That’s how it all came to be."

He says, “We noticed that 5,000 and 8,000 and 9,000 people were coming out to the first four jumps. We felt that it was important to give them more than 15 seconds of airtime, to do a jump. I thought, if we write a script and add some more stunts, we can actually play it out. So here comes all the wireless mics, and people can hear us talking. We have sound effects; we have explosions. I never expected this to happen. I really didn’t.”

For Raymond, it became a full-time gig. “I was working for a towing company for eight years, and I basically had to give that up in order to do this. There was no way I could do both.”

And it comes down to that aforementioned planning and prep thing, which takes time, not just for the bigger stunt show, but also for the single jumps like in Detroit. The Northeast Ohio Dukes only do two to four full stunt shows a year. Each lasts an hour and a half to two hours.

“Believe it or not, when we do our full stunt show, it takes a good 35, 40 people. You have at least five people on the track crew, you have your director, you have your sound technician. It’s a full production. The very, very backbone, the core of our stunt crew, if you saw the guys who were with me in Detroit, those are the guys who are here constantly, building the cars, manning the show, stuff like that. Outside of my best friend who plays Luke in our stunt shows, Rob, they were fans who saw our shows.”

He continues, “We have to build those cars to make it look like what you see flying in Detroit. That usually takes about three weeks to a month to do that to one of those cars. The cop cars usually take around three days, three or four days to get those ones caged and ready to go. We can only do a couple a year. In 2012 we did four. We did the jump in Galax, Virginia. And then, within a week apart from each other – I think one was six days apart; the other two were seven days apart. We did three full shows. So we had to have like four General Lees ready. We had to have four Sheriff Little cars, four Rosco cars. So when we get booked, and we put our minds to it, we could do probably four a year, but we actually feel comfortable with maybe two, and like your couple single General Lee jumps. It just depends. We’ve done four in a year.”

Photo by Jason G.

The experience in Detroit also gave him a certain impression of a city that has gotten a bad rap for years.

“There’s crime everywhere, no matter what city you live in," Raymond says. "What the media has made out the City of Detroit to be, is false. We had families getting their picture taken; half were black or Hispanic. People love ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’ and it doesn’t matter what color you are, what nationality.”

And despite the hoopla in recent years over the Confederate flag that the General Lee bears on its roof, all was peaceful that sunny day in Detroit, thank the Lord. Raymond says he has never jumped the car without the flag and would never, ever -- ever -- do it. To him, that would be selling out, compromising on work that has gone beyond a hobby for him, into something more meaningful, a tribute to the show and its stars that he loved so much as a kid. He tells the story of actually being asked for one particular jump to take the flag off the roof. The jump didn't happen. And there were a few armchair quarterbacks, here and there, after the Detroit jump. How the ramp was placed, how the car flew, whatever.  ("Why ya gotta go and bust up a Charger like that?") Haters gonna hate. Raymond tries not to take it to heart -- everybody has an opinion, and he's got 26,000 fans on the group's Facebook page to stand up for them, after all.

This is a seasoned professional who stands his ground, and who obviously has some good folks standing with him. It's all about the love of a TV show.

The Northeast Ohio Dukes crew at Autorama 2017. Photo courtesy of Raymond Kohn; please do not copy without permission.

And during that historic moment in Detroit, as he went sailing through the air outside Cobo Center, Raymond Kohn couldn't help but think of his very first jump, a decade ago ...

“We didn’t have all of the safety equipment that we have now," he says, "and when I look back at the first jump, I’m like, I can’t believe I did that without wearing a jump vest. Without a head restraint. I’m like, why would I do something so reckless like that? And if you think about it, that was 10 years ago. I must have been 29 years old. (Oh, if I could only go back to that age!) So I look back at the early days of me doing those, and I’m like, I must have been just stupid. Stupid. Why would I do all that stuff? Out of stupidity, right? You know? I’ll tell you this. The fear is overwhelming, whether it’s your first one or whether it’s your 20th one. I was just as scared, if not more, on No. 20 as I was for No. 1. And believe it or not, No. 20 was a lot like No. 1, the feeling. Because No. 1 was my first jump; No. 20 was my first jump landing on asphalt. Landing on the street. So they sort of went hand in hand.”

He continues, “A friend of mine who does Hollywood stunts; he’s from Ohio. I said, hey, am I ever going to not be so scared? Scared to death, scared to where you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and like the hairs on my face. I touch my cheeks, and I can’t even feel like them, like I’m numb. I’m numb. The adrenaline has got you just like so numb you can’t feel anything. He said it will never go away, and if it does, that’s when you need to quit.”

Hopefully for this crew, that won't be a very long time!

You can watch the Northeast Ohio Dukes' Facebook page for the latest on the group, and keep up with their shows at the schedule on their website.

Many thanks to Raymond for sharing this cool insight! Yeeee-haaaaaa!!!!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Another awesome episode of "Fantastic Forum" from Awesome Con!

Another "Fantastic Forum" episode has hit the airwaves on the East Coast, and it's one taped at the awesome Awesome Con in Washington, D.C.! The topic this time: what fandom means to you. This host right here, Billie Rae Bates, discusses fandom with panelists Zachary Winland, Maurice James and Michael Dougherty. In-between the two discussion segments, show producer and director Ulysses Campbell interviews Elizabeth Henstridge of Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." So cool!



Keep your eye on the "Fantastic Forum" website for the latest on this D.C.-based show, which broadcasts on REAL TV, as well as on the Internet. If you're on the East Coast, catch it here:
  • Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York, NY; Time Warner Cable MNN Lifestyle channel 2
  • PhillyCam,  Philadelphia, PA; Comcast channel 66/966; Verizon FiOS channel 29/30.
  • MCM  Montgomery County, MD; Comcast channel 21; RCN channel 21; Verizon FiOS channel 21.
  • Arlington Independent Media (AIM), Arlington County, VA; Comcast channel 69; Verizon FiOS channel 38.
  • FPA-TV,  Fairfax County, VA; Cox channel 10.
  • DCTV, Washington, DC; Comcast channel 95; RCN channel 10; Verizon FiOS channel 10.
  • Prince George’s Community Television (CTV), Prince George’s County, MD; COMCAST channel 76; Verizon FiOS channel 42.
  • Community Media of Baltimore City (CMBC), Baltimore, MD; Comcast channel 75.
  • Herndon Community Television, Cox channel 23, Verizon FIOS channel 28.