Kills added to the thrills
Homegrown terrorist does it for dollars
On this day (August 16) in 1898, the U.S. Patent Office granted Massachusetts inventor Edwin Prescott a patent for a “railway chiefly for pleasure” that he called a “Roller-Coaster.” Though he was hardly the first to design or build such a device, he seems to have been the first to register the name. And that’s why scream machine fans around the world celebrate this date as Rollercoaster Day. Sixty years later in Vancouver, a crew of some 300 craftsmen built The Coaster on the grounds of the city’s Pacific National Exhibition. Designed by Seattle-based Carl Phare and assembled under the supervision of Walker LeRoy using lumber milled from local Douglas Fir trees, it opened in 1958. Canada’s oldest roller-coaster still in service, it stands 23 metres tall (75 feet), and the 865-metre (2,840-foot) ride takes about 90 seconds. Since it opened, some 25 million Playland visitor have taken the plunge without a single recorded fatality or serious injury. In 2009, our wooden roller coaster became one among only 38 rides in the world to receive a Coaster Landmark Award from the non-profit American Coaster Enthusiasts organization. Coming up on its diamond jubilee year, it is considered by many to be among the top 10 of its kind on the planet. Understandably, today’s Reeling Back movie has to be director James Goldstone’s 1977 thriller Rollercoaster.
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Waking to a nightmare
Exploring feminism’s consequences
A state of emergency remains in effect in British Columbia today (August 15) as the west coast province experiences its most destructive summer of wildfires since 1958. The situation brings to mind the title of a B.C.-made movie from 1993, director Harvey Crossland’s Indo-Canadian drama The Burning Season.
On a collision course
Couples sharing an heir of danger
Though he was known as “the master of suspense,” the introductions that Alfred Hitchcock shot for his 10-season television series showed him to be a king of comedy. Born on this day (August 13) in 1899, the director left movie audiences laughing with his final feature, 1976’s Family Plot.
Watching the watchers
Narrator’s voice has a built-in pant
First broadcast on this day (August 10) in 1948, Allen Funt’s Candid Camera was the first TV show to turn public embarrassment into mass entertainment. The kind of material he couldn’t put on television was used in his 1970 feature film, What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?
My Blog; Your Guide to What's New
The popular culture is a moody creature. Over the years I’ve seen genres rise and fall — science fiction now rules where the western was once king — and important new ideas emerge to drive the narrative. I believe that a major theme in movies today is women’s anger.