Archive for December 18th, 2008

18
Dec
08

In Passing… Van Johnson (1916-2008)

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American film and television actor Van Johnson passed away on Dec. 12. Born Charles Van Johnson in Rhode Island, he grew up and became interested in entertainment, moving up to New York to try his luck. He gained a few parts on Broadway and was noticed by Warner Bros. in “Pal Joey” in 1940, whereby they offered him a six-month contract. After WB let him go, friend Lucille Ball got him noticed by MGM where his career really took off. After a nearly-fatal accident left him with a metal plate in his head, he was disqualified for war service but did his part by playing in war films such as “A Guy Named Joe,” and “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.” Additionally he was in comedies, musicals, and dramas such as “The Caine Mutiny.”  His film career tapered-off in the 50s and 60s and he returned to stage in such productions as “The Music Man,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” His last film was in 1992.

 

Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

 

For more information, check out his IMDB page at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004496/

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18
Dec
08

The Case for Steelbook

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For those cruising the DVD aisles of Best Buy, Target, fye, or other DVD retailers, you may have noticed a different kind of DVD case: the Steelbook Case. The Steelbook Case has the exact same front cover of a standard Special Edition case, with the exception that the outside is metal. The inside is plastic, usually transparent with see-through images (notice the “Dark Knight” Steelcase shown above).

The Steelbook Case originates from Denmark. According to the website at www.steelbook.com, Steelbook cases are being used for movies, video games, etc. According to Torsten Brix, Director Group R&D at Glud & Marstrand, “When we started developing the all-metal box we knew that logistics would be a decisive factor.” Wanting to create sturdy, durable metal casing to protect DVDs as well as being aesthetically pleasing, he hired Jan Bjerregaard to help design, create, and automate the distribution of Steelbook.

Currently, Steelbooks are few but up-and-coming for US Region 1 DVDS. Aside from those shown in the picture, there are Steelbooks for “Iron Man,” “Boondock Saints,” “X-Files: I Want to Believe,” “X-Men: The Lats Stand,” and the restored “Godfather” movies. Europe, however, has a slightly larger selection with titles such as “The Departed,” the “Bourne” trilogy, “Beowulf,” “Superman Returns,” and “The Machinist.”

Will Steelbook “catch on” in the U.S.? With Steelbook just beginning to be a player in the DVD manufacturing world, its future is unknown. Although the prices are a little higher than standard DVDs, I like the style and feel of the cases. Of note, Steelbook cases are also being made for Blu-ray.