Thursday, December 18, 2014


This time to American theater owners (caution, auto start)

As previously blogged, back in the 1920s and '30s, theater owners had guts.  Chicago's independent movie houses, 150 strong, continued to show movies without knuckling under to the Kim Jong-un of their day, Thomas E. Maloy. Maloy was the boss of the Chicago projectionist union, which had rule that all theaters would hire only their union members and two of them were required in the projection booth.  That requirement was enforced with dynamite, i.e., if a theater did not follow Maloy's union rules, their theater blew up.

For some odd reason, most owners of the theaters and projectors did not see the need for two projectionists, nor did they find enough added value in the union card carrying projectionists to hire them.  At least 13 of their theaters were blown up in 1931 alone, ordered by a disgruntled union boss.

Rather than closing, the theater owners demanded that the police actually protect the property that the citizens were paying them to protect.  And in large part the police did just that.

Fast forward a few decades to the present and we have either a group of disgruntled employees of Japanese owned Sony, a pissy little nation boss, or a combination of both, who threatened to blow up movie theaters in the USA if they showed the film The Interview.  Movie theater chain after movie theater chain cancelled scheduled showings of the movie, without so much as a match lit in the vicinity of their movie houses.

In response to all of this, especially the chicken shit theater owners, Sony decided not to release the movie at all.

It seems like a few things have changed over the decades. The terrorizing thugs don't even need to bother buying dynamite anymore.

On a lighter note, here is the opening of my work in progress documentary for the book Time Bomber:

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chicago Movie Theaters Bombed

Sony Pictures is under fire from a group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" or for the Twitter crowd, #GOP. The GoP is now threatening to physically attack movie theaters that show a particular film, The Interview. An interesting twist, that seems more and more unlikely as time passes, is the rumor that North Korea is behind the release of proprietary Sony data, as well as the threats to theaters.

Another theory is disgruntled employees, which sounds much more plausible and it has plenty of historic precedent. In the movie business, it has a very violent precedent that goes back to at least the 1920s. The book "The Perils of Movie Going: 1896-1950" highlights plenty of incidents.  Full disclosure: I have not read the book, it came up in my research and the index is quite thorough.

One string if incidents was the Movie Union War in late 1920s and early 1930s Chicago, waged by Theater Operators Union boss, Thomas E. Maloy. Numerous movie houses were attacked, with dynamite, in an effort by the movie projectionist union to have two projection operators on every shift. Below are but a few of the headlines:

"Bombs, Bullets, and Blackmail"
"Bombs Burst at Three Movie Theaters"
"Chicago Movie Houses Closed in Union War"

One can even purchase old file photos from newspapers.  This one captured the 13th theater bombed in 1931:

From Haymarket to the Movie House Union War, Chicago has endured the hellish marriage between labor unions and explosives. Later, that shifted when the unions dropped the bombs and political factions like the New Left picked them up. For example, the book and documentary I am working on, Time Bomber, about a 1971/72 bombing plot, had no labor component at all. Neither did the 1975 FALN bombings in The Loop.

With the new threats against theaters, probably by disgruntled employees, it seems the pendulum has swung back to its violent origins.

Opening credits and a tease for Time Bomber the documentary:

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

David McClure Brinkley FBI Files

Finally, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been fulfilled. Sadly, it has nothing that I was looking for regarding the Time Bomber book project. Nonetheless, there is interesting stuff in here.  Like an extortion attempt on Brinkley in 1960, as well as a 1940s story on draft dodgers.

Seems like there were quite a few folks asking the FBI if Brinkley was a Communist too.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 2014 Review

Guardians of the Galaxy

Plenty of good reviews out there of this great movie, so I am not going to cover the usual stuff everybody else covered. Also, Adam Carolla did a fantastic interview with director James Gunn about this film.  I wholeheartedly endorse the flick and encourage all to see it. However, I am not and never have been a comic book aficionado; the closest I have come is reading some classic Batman (I know he was DC, not Marvel). I do enjoy the Marvel movies and cartoons and have since I was a kid.

While I prefer 3D IMAX, my wife hates 3D, so we saw Guardians in “regular.”

Some extra cool stuff and I think this is chronological. “Come and Get Your Love,” by Redbone appears in an early scene, played on Peter Quill’s vintage cassette Walkman. I can never get enough of that tune and it brought a smile to my face when I heard it. The Regal Theater at West Town Mall has a fantastic sound system and it provided the best play of the songs in this movie that I have ever heard.  Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is now the first album of all previously released songs to top Billboard's Top 200.

There were probably many hat-tips to other films in this show, but these are what I caught:

An “E.T.” moment between Drax the Destroyer and Rocket. Remember the fingertip light touch that was on many of the “E.T.” posters? Drax and the raccoon do an approximation of that in the destruction of Knowhere sequence (I think, or it could have been the destruction of somewhere else sequence too).

The song “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways appears and immediately reminded me of the George Lucas film “Howard the Duck,” because Beverly Switzler’s (Lea Thompson) New-Wave band in that movie was named Cherry Bomb. Howard the Duck appears at the end in Knowhere, talking to The Collector.

Back in the 1990s when I was finally finishing college, members of the University of Tennessee Theater Department dubbed me "The Guy Who Liked Howard The Duck," because I was the first person any of them met who actually liked the film.

In the full credits, which by-the-way should be posted somewhere in the Marvel websites but I have yet to find, there was a credit for an “Exposito.” A common misspelling and mispronunciation for my name. Thought it nifty that the name exists in that form out there for real.

As much as I enjoy movies at Regal Theaters, the pre-movie crap has finally gotten too long for my taste. Minor glitch one was the 2D and 3D start times were incorrect under their respective posters at the theater entrance. Second, the start time was supposed to be 7:40 PM. The movie did not start until 8:10 PM, and included one preview of some football movie twice.  Maybe they can get that shaved back to 20 minutes or less.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

Saturday, June 21, 2014

That is not Politic?

On this week's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Sarah Jessica Parker uses the phrase "that's not politic." I guess I don't get out enough in wealthy leftoid circles to know that "politically correct" has been reduced to one word, and that is the context that she used it.

It was on the tail of her gem that there used to be signs in NYC that said "No Irish, No Entertainers, No Jews, No ..." Which is another new one on me. Her rendition of the "No Irish, No Negroes, Need Apply/Served Here/etc." now includes "entertainers."

While looking for a reference to, well anything that could be called research, related to this "No" sign, I found this interesting paper by Richard J. Jensen from 12/12/2004:
"No Irish Need Apply":
A Myth of Victimization
(the whole article at the link)

Irish Catholics in America have a vibrant memory of humiliating job discrimination, which featured omnipresent signs proclaiming "Help Wanted--No Irish Need Apply!" No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent. The market for female household workers occasionally specified religion or nationality. Newspaper ads for women sometimes did include NINA, but Irish women nevertheless dominated the market for domestics because they provided a reliable supply of an essential service. Newspaper ads for men with NINA were exceedingly rare. The slogan was commonplace in upper class London by 1820; in 1862 in London there was a song, "No Irish Need Apply," purportedly by a maid looking for work. The song reached America and was modified to depict a man recently arrived in America who sees a NINA ad and confronts and beats up the culprit. The song was an immediate hit, and is the source of the myth. Evidence from the job market shows no significant discrimination against the Irish--on the contrary, employers eagerly sought them out. Some Americans feared the Irish because of their religion, their use of violence, and their threat to democratic elections. By the Civil War these fears had subsided and there were no efforts to exclude Irish immigrants. The Irish worked in gangs in job sites they could control by force. The NINA slogan told them they had to stick together against the Protestant Enemy, in terms of jobs and politics. The NINA myth justified physical assaults, and persisted because it aided ethnic solidarity. After 1940 the solidarity faded away, yet NINA remained as a powerful memory.
And now, an actress wishes to add entertainers to the myth.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ