Cinedisc – The Forgotten Record

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I’m always looking for anything offbeat that’s cinema related which is how I found this unique record from 1975 on ebay recently. It’s a promotional single for a very short lived attempt to sell records through cinema advertising during the intermission. Cinedisc was a specially recorded radio style show that would play new record releases, all linked by a smooth voiced DJ, during the cinema intermission before the main film started.

The idea would be that record companies would pay for their records to be featured on the show which would play to cinema audiences each week. At first I thought this record was one of the actual shows but it turns out that was distributed on tape due to the length of the show. This record is actually a promo single that was sent to record stores before Cinedisc launched, to try and drum up interest in the show. It features a 5-minute sample for the show along with a written explanation of the what it’s all about, plus there’s the chance to have your store featured in the 35MM advert that would be the first thing played on screen once the Cinedisc show had finished, there was a generic advert created where you could drop the name of your local store in at the end, now there’s an advert I’d love to try and track down!

It’s a great record and a fun find, but sadly it’s wasn’t a very good idea, people are there to watch a film, they’re not really interested in thinking about buying music, apparently Cinedisc went our of business by the end of the year and slipped into obscurity. But we still have this promo single to listen to, plus one day one of the original cinema show tapes might turn up! You can listen to the record below via our YouTube upload and check out the scans of the sleeve info as well. We’ll see you at in the front row!

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The Jerry Maguire Video Store

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The route that lead me to being able to actually check out the Jerry Maguire Video store was a total unexpected coincidence, it wasn’t originally planned at all it was just a true and very luck fluke, but one that I was so glad actually came together.

You see every year in San Francisco they hold the Film Noir Festival and every year Evrim and I look forward to checking out what obscure Noir goodness they’ve unearthed. The festival always looks so much fun that way back in at the start of 2016 I decided that I was going to make the journey and attend the 2017 festival. So a year of planning and figuring out how to get the best out of the city goes by and things are looking great, but then as the trip is getting closer and closer things suddenly look even better…

You see the psychedelic found footage warriors Everything Is Terrible announced they’d be playing two nights in San Francisco, right when I was going to be there! Not only that but at around the same time in Los Angeles they were going to unleash the Jerry Maguire Video Store to the general public. Yes a video store that only stocked one thing, but it’s possible the greatest thing know to the human race, yes the store was only going to stock VHS copies of Jerry Maguire – 14,000 copies of it…

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Now I’d actually planned on heading down to LA for a day trip to visit two of my oldest friends who live there as I’d not seen for quite a while, it would have been odd to be all the way over on the other side of the planet and be so close without going to see them. So the master plan was hatched: pay a visit to Henry & Heidi and check out the Jerry store all in one chaotic day – Friday 27th January 2017!

So an early start, realising I’d forgotten to bring anything to read, then a delayed flight, forgetting my shades, an hour long drive across LA and I’m back in a place I’d not been for 2 and a half years. It was so great to catch up with Henry and Heidi and have lunch in our regular place once again.

Now I’d planned on checking out the Jerry store on my own, figuring Henry wouldn’t be into it, but he wanted to take me over there as he couldn’t figure out what it was I was going to see, which was really great of him, so another long drive across LA and were suddenly there, all the way across the globe and I’m stood right outside the I Am 8bit Gallery, also known as the Jerry Maguire Video Store. In fact I actually walked past it at first as I was still looking at the window of the record store that’s right next to it; Henry had to point me in the direction of the door.

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The very first thing that hits you when you stepped through the door was just how simply overwhelming it was to be surround by 1000s upon 1000s of the same object, let alone that it’s seemingly an infinite amount of Jerry Maguire VHS tapes, it kind of took my breath away.

We were greeted by the amazing volunteer staff who were all wearing the Jerry Store uniform and totally act the part of video store clerks, but even better than that was that one of them was my friend Nate who I’d met when I’d been in town two years before for the Everything Is Festival event. I’d told him I was coming so he was expecting me and it was so great to see him again.

The store was so amazing, it was so worth going all the way there for, it’s so strange and overpowering being in it, the red and white videos cases almost become psychedelic as they’re all you can see every which way you turn. Nate showed us around the back areas where there were even more copies of Jerry used to decorate the party area, along with Jerry art, the plans for the Jerry pyramid and even the legendary copy of Jerry that was sent and signed by the man himself: Cameron Crowe.

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Yes the ultimate plan with all this is to build a pyramid in the desert constructed only from Jerry VHS tapes and leave them there for people to wonder about and worship through the years. So why Jerry and why all these tapes? Well I think my friend Henry put it best by saying it’s reflecting your own culture back at you, Jerry was one of the biggest selling VHS releases of all time, but what where did all those tapes go and what does it matter now? Well here you are, here’s all of your tapes looking back at you, what do you think of them now?

We only got to spend about an hour at the store, but it was so funny, Henry loved it and I’m so pleased he came along and we got to check it out together.  I could have stayed there for the rest of the day, it made me wish that I’d spent more time in LA and been able to volunteer in the store for a day shift, it would have been so funny!

After that we headed back across town to hang out for a while and before I knew it I was in another taxi heading back to LAX and a flight back to San Francisco. It was such a great day, very hurried, but so much fun, I had such a great time hanging out with some of my oldest friends and plus the always amazing Everything Is Terrible crew!

You can check out more about the Jerry Maguire Video Store and the Jerry Pyramid right here!

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Alex’s Top Film Discoveries of 2016

Here we go with my favourite vintage films I watched for the first time this year, they’re in no order and I can’t vouch that you’ll enjoy them if you watch them, but here are my favourite new old finds from the past 12-months!

Alias Nick Beal (1949) An undeservedly obscure Noir here, starring Ray Milland as the shadowy figure of Nick Beal, a mysterious man who helps out an ambitious district attorney with leads that crack big cases, but who really is Nick Beal? An essential slice of prime Noir mixed with a teasing dose of the fantastic; it’s a great watch and well worth trying to track down.

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An American Dream (1966) Stuart Whitman leads the cast of this over-the-top drama that comes with a crime tinged edge, it’s a powerhouse of back stabbing and over acting as a TV hosts finds himself mixed up with the police and the mob after the death of his wife.  The nihilistic tone is perfect and the eye popping colours and sets place this obscurity right in the heart if the 60s! Also know by the fantastic title of: See You In Hell, Darling.

The No Mercy Man (1973) Possibly my favourite film find of the year, it’s a familiar tale but an early take on it, where we follow a Vietnam veteran who returns home to find his town overtaken by bikers, carnies and all sorts of corruption.  Of course things are going to get violent, but it’s how violent and how freak-out psychotic our hero gets that places this at the top of the list. Vietnam flashbacks are all over the place as the tensions builds to a truly wild showdown.

Family Honor (1972) We’ve already talked about this super low budget gangster feature on the blog, but it’s worth highlighting again simply for how raw and gritty this thing is! Unseen for years this is more of a drama really with a dose of crime dropped in towards the end, fans of grim and raw New York City should check this one out for sure.

Geronimo (1990) We dropped this Christian scare film on the Duke audience back in 2016 and it rocked the place all night long. A disillusioned Christian camp volunteer agrees to work with a group of inner city kids over their stay at a summer camp in the hope of him finding his religion again and them learning how to get along with everyone. Only things don’t work out like that as everything seems to go wrong in the worst possible ways. Featuring a group of street kids who act the Christians off the screen this is a super fun watch and way better than the standard Christian efforts.

Joey (1986) This super obscure 1980s music drama doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, but does pack itself with enough guts and authenticity that it makes the list simply for how enjoyable it is. Mix that in with a host of great musical appearances, including the one and only Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and you’ve got yourself a totally mixed up rock’n’roll, doo-wop infused 1980s teen film oddity.

Paris Is Burning (1990) The only documentary to make the list this year is a fascinating look at the world of male drag balls in late 80s New York City. This one had passed me by but I’m so glad to have caught up with it now, it’s a great document of a scene I knew nothing about and it’s incredible to see how important these events are for those taking part and how they live for their glamorous short time in the spotlight.

Child’s Play (1972) A classic slice of psychological drama from the always great Sidney Lumet, here Beau Bridges stars as an idealist young teacher who gets mixed up in a long running feud between two teachers at an exclusive religious school. Dark as night and very bleak with a film stealing performance from James Mason, who seems to embody every unpleasant teacher that’s ever walked the hallowed halls of education.

The London Connection (1979) Imagine if Disney decided to make their version of The Sweeney, only it’s aimed at kids; that’s what we’ve got here with this little known Disney live action crime thriller. OK it’s really more of a spy adventure, but the sight of old British cars chasing around the dusty backstreets of 1970s London brings to mind far more violent images than I think they really intended. Roy Kinnear features, of course.

Blue Murder (1985) Ah here we go with an entry from the great Emmeritus Productions from Canada, a company who manage to imbue a strange other-worldly tone to all their productions, as if the films are produced from another dimension where people don’t have real emotions, just pretend ones. Here’s another odd entry from them as a policeman tracks down a killer who’s taking out porn stars in an attempt to stop their films from being made, yes it’s as odd as it sounds…

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Here’s a few other films I watched but that didn’t quite make the top list: Fresh Horses (1988), Sheila Levine Is Dead And Living In New York (1975), War Dancing (1989) and Rock’N’ Roll Cowboys (1987).

Plus my favourite new film of 2016 was…

And my favourite new TV show was…

Check out my favourite films finds from 2014 here!