Tag Archives: Saturday Night Live

Danny Trejo’s new role: As author of his autobiography, revealing the good, the bad, the ugly, the success

He’s Hollywood’s Bad Guy with a Heart of Gold. And fans of Danny Trejo, known for his roles in films such as Machete, Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn and Con Air, has a new starring role beginning July 6, 2012.  That’s when Atria Books released Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood ($27). The book follows the actor’s unforgettable and inspirational journey through crime, prison, addiction, loss and unexpected fame as Hollywood icon.

Trejo, who has played a baddie in more than 300 films and, at the age of 76, still books between 10 and 20 film and television roles a year, may be one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood.  His memes are some of the most shared of all time on Instagram.  In the summer of 2020, he was the subject of a viral Pete Davidson tribute on Saturday Night Live. But if you ask Danny, as popular as he is, no one has ever really captured the gritty, emotional journey that brought him to where he is today.

Trejo first used heroin at only 12 years old, learning that loyalty only came through violence and peace was found in oblivion. For a period of time, he did stints in some of America’s most notorious prisons, including San Quentin, Folsom, and Soledad. Then he was offered a part as a boxer in Runaway Train, giving him the opportunity to choose a new path. In Trejo, he describes how the difficult lessons he learned in childhood both saved his professional life and hindered his personal one, offering an inspirational and brutally honest look at his fascinating life. He shares how he rebuilt his life after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement and went on to become a success, hobnobbing with A-list celebrities and using his memories of his adrenaline-fueled robbing heists to inspire him as an actor.

“Danny Trejo is more than an actor for the millions of Mexican Americans, like me, who love him,” says Michelle Herrera Mulligan, senior editor, Atria Books. “He is a legend. A role model. The first Chicano action star. Someone we can always hold up as a hero who made it. One of my proudest acquisitions to date, this book shows us the difficult path it took to get him there, in unforgettable, literary detail.”

In this startlingly honest and intimate memoir, for the first time, Trujo explores his journey from an abusive childhood, a life in prison, a struggle with addiction, and a redemptive journey from recovery to love and loss, in a the warm, funny, brutal, gritty voice everyone has come to love.

“At seventy-six, this memoir was an opportunity for me to be fearlessly honest for the first time about the terrifying brutality of my experiences in the hardest prisons in the world, the family secrets that tore lives apart, my personal bottom while I was in the hole in Soledad facing a possible death penalty charge and the role God played in turning my life around, ” Trejo confesses. “There’s my acting career that started at the age of forty by simply showing up to a set to help another addict in need, and how all of it shaped the person I am.  I hope by sharing my experiences they can somehow be of benefit to others and let them know that where you start doesn’t matter, it’s how you finish. “

Trejo is cowriting his memoir with his best friend of 20 years, actor Donal Logue  to craft a revealing, intimate portrait of an extraordinary life, rife with never-revealed details of his transformative experience.

“A special thank you to Donal, who is not only an incredible actor, but a beautiful writer,” Trujo adds. “We’ve been on sets together for everything from Reindeer Games to Sons of Anarchy, but the three years we spent working on this book brought us closer than ever.  “He’s talented in so many ways, but the way he crafted my story really brought it to life. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else. He’s my best friend.”

Petrucelli Picks: 2018 Gift Guide to the Best DVD Box Sets of the Year

It was an era of monsters, madness and great movie-making. Dare you say the flicks have universal appeal?

Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

This is the best DVD Box Set of the Year.

Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the ’30s to late-’50s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The collection showcases all the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

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The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula’s Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy’s Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy’s Ghost (1942), The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1942),Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy’s Curse (1944), The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D


Oh! We cried when we heard that tk was releasing this must-have collection of rarely-seen shorts made by two of filmdom’s most marevlous comedians. Restored from the original negatives, Thelma Todd & ZaSu Pitts: The Hal Roach Collection 1931-1933 (Kit Parker Films) features sexy, pre-code two-reel comedies showcasing Todd’s timeless beauty and impeccable comedic ability that wowed audiences during the Depression, tickling their funny bones as well.

The vivacious, talented and lovely Todd was Roach’s top female comedian, who in her short 29-year lifetime graced more than  100 films. This collection brings together all of the films from her collaboration with Pitts, a veteran character actress with wonderful comedy timing and delightful comedic gestures who proves a fine comic foil for the blonde beauty. These two-reel short comedies also feature the wonderful Hal Roach stock company of comedians: Billy Gilbert, James C. Morton, Charlie Hall, Anita Garvin, Bud Jamison, and others, as well as special collaborations with other top Hal Roach stars like Laurel and Hardy and Charley Chase.

More classic shorts can be found in ClassicFlix’s The Complete Hal Roach Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly Comedy Collection. For the first time on home video come all 21 of Hal Roach’s two-reelers starring the lovely Thelma Todd and the pugnacious Patsy Kelly.

These timeless shorts showcase the incredible comedic talents of an unsung duo who simply wanted to make audiences laugh—and succeeded.

Still more classic comedy can be found in Kit Parker Films’ Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31. Chase was a consistent box-office money and fun-maker for Roach during the silent and sound Eras.Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31

Volume One is the beginning of the first comprehensive collection of Chase’s Roach talkie comedies, culled from 1930-31, years in which many of his films featured Charley’s frequent leading lady the lovely and vivacious Thelma Todd.


The box set De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films showcases the actor on the big screen for the first time and highlights the beginnings of his wonderful relationship with the legendary director. De Palma & De Niro: The Early Films [Limited Edition Blu-ray]The collection includes three films from the iconic duo—The Wedding PartyGreetings and Hi, Mom!—all of which have been newly restored by Arrow Video. Bonus treasures include brand-new interviews, commentaries, trailers, artwork and writings. Don’t miss!


Missing your favorite pals from Bayside High? It’s alright, ’cause you’re Saved by the Bell. On October 2,  Shout! Factory invites TV aficionados to a very special class reunion with the 16-disc collector’s release of Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection, a DVD set of the iconic and addictive ’90s Saturday morning sitcom.

Set in the fictional town of Palisades, California and in the hallways of Bayside High, the breezy adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends — Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie Myrtle Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), and Samuel “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond) — were a cultural touchstone for a generation of teens, changing teen programming forever and launching the careers of its break-out stars.
Now, home audiences can relive the laughter, lessons, and love all over again with this loaded set containing more than 46 incredible hours of Bayside bliss, including every episode from 1988’s Good Morning, Miss Bliss which became Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years and the fan-favorite Saved by the Bell to Saved By the Bell: The College Years and the two feature-length TV movies that followed.
From 1989 to 1993, for a generation of TV viewers, Saved by the Bell was the show that perfectly echoed their lives in middle school and high school. Originally titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss with Hayley Mills in the title role, the first thirteen episodes of the series featured Zack, Screech, Lisa and Mr. Belding, and was based at John F. Kennedy Junior High in Indianapolis. Following its cancellation, NBC retooled the show as Saved by the Bell and the rest is history…and math, and science, and…

Across 86 glorious episodes, audiences followed the memorable experiences and adventures of Zack and the gang. And, following graduation, Zack, Kelly, Slater and Screech enrolled at California University where the successful franchise could matriculate with the prime-time sitcom, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. The series finally wrapped with two feature-length, prime time TV movies, Hawaiian Style, which brought the Bayside bunch to the Big Island for a wacky Waikiki adventure and Wedding in Las Vegas, which saw the on-again, off-again lovebirds Zack and Kelly make their relationship official on a day the gang will never forget.


Get ready for a laugh in the cult-classic comedy that has captured everyone’s hearts with The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment). Fans can relive the hilariously freewheeling plot of one of the most beloved films of all-time with the twisted crime-comedy starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro. This is the perfect gift for any fan and the exclusive set includes a collectible bag, bowling ball pencil holder, polishing cloth and sweater packaging offering an experience like no other.The Big Lebowski 20 Beauty Shot.jpg

With unforgettable scenes and outrageous humor, The Big Lebowski 20th Anniversary Edition showcases hours of bonus features including retrospective documentaries, an interactive map, an in-depth look at the phenomenon known as the Lebowski Fest taking audiences deeper than ever before into the upside down world of “The Dude.”


For more than 50 years, The Three Stooges’ orgy of pie-throwing, eye-poking and head-bonking routines cracked up multiple generations.  They were the masters of mirth, merriment and mayhem, turning slapstick comedy into an art form. Now, one of the greatest comedy troupes of all time is here to poke, smack, slap and bonk their way onto your screens with The Best of Three Stooges.
Time Life has brought together the Stooges’ greatest hits in one exclusive collection.

The collection boasts 13 discs, in which viewers will yuk it up with more than 45 hours of knee-slapping content brought together for the very first time. The set features more than 45 hours of hysterics . . .including all the Columbia Pictures shorts (1934-1945); four feature films (the biopic The Three Stooges; Have Rocket, Will Travel; The Outlaws is Coming and Rockin’ in the Rockies); vintage animated cartoons, the 9-part documentary Hey Moe! Hey Dad! which takes fans behind the scenes with the family of The Three Stooges as they share never-before-seen footage and photos. The best of The Three Stooges is available only at ThreeStoogesDVDs.com


To celebrate the 100th birthday of television’s original genius, Shout factory has released an amazing collection of volumes of groundbreaking, rule-breaking, surreal and charmingly silly comedy of Ernie Kovacs. Included are more than 22 hours of decidedly offbeat entertainment from across his many television shows and specials, all of which showcase an utterly unique sensibility that has influenced such comedy institutions as Monty Python and SNL.Ernie Kovacs: The Centennial Edition
Featuring:
* Episodes From His Local And National Morning Shows
* Episodes From His NBC Prime-Time Show
* Kovacs On Music
* Five ABC TV Specials
* The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show, Eugene
* His Award-Winning Commercials For Dutch Masters Cigars
* Short Films, Tributes, Rarities
* 18 Bonus Sketches Featuring Many Of His Most Beloved Characters
* 3 Complete Episodes of His Offbeat Game Show Take A Good Look
* A Pony For Chris: His Rare TV Pilot for Medicine Man Co-Starring Buster Keaton
* The Lively Arts, Featuring The Only Existing Filmed Solo Interview With Ernie Kovacs
* 2011 American Cinematheque Panel


Without Sid Caesar, comedy would have been a lot less funny.
In 1949, television was an infant technology. No one knew how long it would last . . . or whether it would last at all. A 27-year-old Broadway star, along with a team of writers and performers who would become legendary, including Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and Woody Allen, revolutionized sketch comedy by telling stories rooted in the human condition. They redefined television sketch comedy, and paved the way for landmark comedy shows like Saturday Night Live.

Sid Caesar The Works is a comprehensive five-disc collection of the best work of Caesar and his teams, beginning with The Admiral Broadway Review, through Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour, and featuring many interviews and extras, including the 2014 Paley Center For Media Tribute with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Billy Crystal.


Uncensored, electric, intense and unfailingly hilarious, Robin Williams made it his life’s work to make people laugh–whether he was holding forth on culture, politics, the human body or drugs–with razor-sharp wit and insight.

Time Life, in conjunction with the Trustees of the Robin Williams Trust, celebrates his incomparable career with 
Robin Williams: Comic Genius  

Available exclusively at RobinWilliams.com, this definitive collection of Williams’ comedy highlights arrives as interest in his life and career increases in the wake of HBO’s critically acclaimed documentary, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind from Emmy-winning director Marina Zenovich and Oscar-winning producer Alex Gibney, and Dave Itzkoff’s biography Robin, a New York Times best-seller.

Robin Williams: Comic Genius

The 22-disc collection spans Williams’ memorable 40-year career, from his uproarious turn as lovable alien Mork and his legendary HBO stand-up specials to his numerous appearances on late night.
Also available is a singular 12 disc collection featuring more than 60 performances and 30 hours of peerless comedy, along with a bonus disc containing the HBO documentary and the memory book.

‘Robin’ offers an insider’s look into Williams’ extraordinary life and career

The laughs ended in August 2014 when Robin Williams killed himself at 63.  His death not only raised questions about how and why it had happened, but also prompted reassessments of his extraordinary life and career. F or anyone with the slightest acquaintance with popular culture over the past four decades, he seemed to be everywhere, from stand-up to TV, movies, and late-night talk shows, with an uncanny sense of the zeitgeist matched by few others.

Now, Dave Itzkoff presents a full and revealing portrait of one of the most beloved and original comedians and actors of our time in Robin (Henry Holt and Company, $30)Illuminating both the man and the performer, Itzkoff draws on more than one hundred interviews with Robin’s family, friends, and colleagues, as well his own encounters and interviews with Williams over the years.  Included are insights from fellow comedians, actors, and collaborators such as Billy Crystal, David Letterman, Pam Dawber, Dana Carvey, Barry Levinson, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Jeff Bridges and Bobcat Goldthwait.

Robin

Among the topics covered and the news-making revelations offered are:

  • The largely untold story of Robin’s family background and his privileged but lonely upbringing in the upscale suburbs of Detroit, where he entertained himself with make-believe and toy soldiers. As Itzkoff shows, Robin was indelibly shaped by both his father—a stern, self-made auto industry executive—and his glamorous, eccentric and funny Southern mother.
  • How Robin was first exposed to improvisational comedy and acting through a stray course at prestigious Claremont College, and later honed his talents at the humbler College of Marin. Sharp-eyed mentors there eased his way into the elite acting program at the Juilliard School in New York City, where his fellow students included Christopher Reeve, who became one of his closest friends.
  • How Robin burst into local prominence in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the stand-up comedy boom of the 1970s, and quickly became known as a rising star. Candid interviews with his first wife, Valerie Velardi, who has not spoken on the record in years, reveal how he began to indulge heavily in cocaine and alcohol, and how his hidden vulnerabilities, self-doubt, and deep loneliness helped to fuel his addictions.

  • The improbable circumstances that got Robin cast in a guest-starring role as Mork from Ork on the hit television series Happy Days after Henry Winkler’s Fonzie character literally “jumped the shark.” (Producer Garry Marshall’s young son loved Star Wars and said TV needed more aliens.) That one appearance was such a sensation that it soon resulted in Robin getting his own ABC sitcom, Mork & Mindy.
  • How Robin’s substance abuse led to a personal crisis, and to John Belushi’s hotel bungalow in Los Angeles on the night the Saturday Night Live star died of an overdose. Belushi’s death convinced Robin to swear off drugs and alcohol for the next 20 years, but his sobriety could not repair the damage he had caused to his first marriage.
  • How Robin’s failure to win an Oscar the first three times he was nominated weighed heavily on him, until he finally took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting.
  • Robin’s own unflinchingly honest assessment of how he relapsed into alcoholism, which ended his two-decade-long marriage to his second wife and close collaborator, Marsha Garces. He then had to struggle simultaneously with addiction, divorce, and open-heart surgery.
  • The most complete and balanced account of Robin’s decline and death. Drawing on official autopsy results, Itzkoff concludes that Robin’s suicide was not a result of depression or substance abuse, as had been widely assumed, or from Parkinson’s Disease, as his own family had originally believed, but from a little-known and often misdiagnosed condition called Lewy Body Dementia.

  • Previously unpublished tributes from Robin’s private memorial service, including remembrances from his three children; his close friends Billy Crystal, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Eric Idle.

 

  • Details of the bitter legal conflict over Robin’s estate. The courtroom battle exposed long-simmering tensions between Robin’s children and his third wife Susan Schneider, to whom he had been married for less than three years.

 

As Itzkoff notes, there is no actor or comedian today who can be considered Robin’s protégé or his heir, although he inspired many performers.  He had many admirers but no imitators—no one who tried to do what he did the way he did it.  When he died, his reputation for joyfulness and humor stood in stark contrast to the sad and solitary manner in which his life came to an end.  Inevitably, people asked, Who was he? What was behind all the accents and characters, the blurs of motion and flashes of energy?  How much did he truly reveal and how much did he keep hidden?

 

“Some part of him would be present in every set and stand-up role he played,” Itzkoff writes, “but in their totality these things did not add up to him.  The real Robin was a modest, almost inconspicuous man, who never fully believed he was worthy of the monumental fame, adulation, and accomplishments he would achieve.  He shared the authentic person at his core with considerable reluctance, but he also felt obliged to give a sliver of himself to anyone he encountered even fleetingly.  It wounded him deeply to think that he had denied a memorable Robin Williams experience to anyone who wanted it, yet the people who spent years by his side were left to feel that he had kept some fundamental part of himself concealed, even from them.” [p. 3]

 

With ROBIN, Dave Itzkoff gives us a comprehensive and revelatory portrait yet of a performer loved and admired by millions for his generosity of spirit, his quickness of mind, the laughter he sparked, and the hopefulness he inspired.  Nearly four years after the passing of Robin Williams, it will be eagerly read by anyone seeking to understand who he truly was.