Tag Archives: Now Playing

A New Recording Log Book

Remember last year when many of the classic film bloggers gave little sneak peeks into their Entertainment Centers? Raquelle was the genius who thought it up, and we all had fun showing off our viewing areas. I showed you this book and told you how I used it to keep my Now Playing guide and my little notebook of daily recording logs:Well, that book was a great disgrace. It was nothing but a cheap three ring binder that I covered in leftover wallpaper (and not too neatly, either). At the time I made it, it was the height of my talents but I have long since outgrown it. Disgrace decided to bust its seams about 2 months ago, but as I was in the middle of a semester at the time, there was nothing I could do about it. It’s been driving me crazy every time I had to gingerly pick the thing up and squeeze it a certain way to avoid spilling all my precious notes and papers on the floor. No more! Meet my brand new Recording Log Book, designed and made by me from scratch:

It’s covered in the same leftover wallpaper as that other disgrace one, but infinitely neater and cleaner this time. The contrast black accents on the front and inside are poster board. It closes with an elastic loop secured around a huge button. I didn’t buy anything to make this book except two screws and two nuts (see below). Everything I used I already had and quite a few things are re-purposed.

The short little cover flap opens and has my log notebook secured with a gold elastic band from a candy box (I can’t bear to throw anything away. I’ve been saving that decoration for years!) The pens I use for writing on discs and in my notebooks are just clipped on the rings of the small book.

Open the large cover flap and you’ll find the latest copy of Now Playing turned to today’s date, tucked into acetate corners. I pulled the 3 ring binder piece from the old binder and attached it to this new one. (This is the only place where I spent money… I had to buy two screws and two nuts to hold the binder insert on. They cost a total of $0.75 in my local hardware store.) I use the plain large notebook to jot down film titles I want to remember or clothes ideas from films. Farther back in the notebook are my VHS and DVD library listings. I write them in the book first, then type them into my computer databases.

All the way in the back of the notebook and star listings are the most recent back issues of Now Playing in an acetate pocket. (more photos here)

Overall, I’m pleased with how this new book turned out. I wish I had planned a place for un-finalized DVDs, maybe an old spindle cut from the DVD packaging and attached somehow. However, the new layout makes it so much easier to plan my recordings for the day and I don’t have to worry about losing my papers when I pick the book up. Goodbye, so long, farewell to Disgrace!

So, what would your book look like? Have an idea for something I missed? Do let me know!


Filed under Film Bloggers, My Art

Anatomy of an Entertainment Center

Our friend Raquelle at Out of the Past issued a challenge to her fellow classic film lovers to give a tour of our entertainment centers to the bloggie world.  One common thread I’ve noticed so far is how we all watch so many films, and obviously spend quite a bit of time in front of our sets, but several of the responders (including myself) are not luxuriating in a huge, plasma flat screen set.  We’re making due with our ancient tellies and finding them completely adequate.

Well, enough of these musings – on to the tour! (btw-I’ll be referring to stuff as “ours” because none of this is actually mine – it belongs to our family.  I have a care taking relationship with all of it, though, so it’s sort of mine.)


Our tv is awfully old. Probably at least ten years.  It’s a Sony and actually it is flat screen.  I’ve tried find reasons to talk myself into getting a new one, but this one works just fine and has no intention of breaking anytime soon.  It lives in a cupboard which hides as much of its ugliness as possible.  (Have you ever noticed how ugly electronics are?   The person who makes electronics visually pleasing will make a fortune.)  Note on the left side – that’s my movie notebook.  On the right side are my Mom’s precious Julia Child DVDs.  They hold that place of honor because they are played a lot in our house. :)

Under the tv is a cupboard with doors that hides the satellite box, dvd/vcr players and part of my enormous, embarrassing collection of VHS tapes (image on the right of TV image).

Secret VHS Stash

Here’s a shot of the rest of my VHS collection.  I’m a notorious organizer, so my VHS collection is cataloged.  Each tape has a number, which is recorded in a notebook I keep by the tv.  I write down all the titles on this list, and have an alphabetical version on my computer.  These are my “films worth saving.”  This list has grown and grown and grown – to the point where I have 155 tapes in this library right now.  I think I’m going to adopt Raquelle and Jonas’ method of labeling the side of the box, instead of the front.  It would save tons of space!


My notebook – just a three ring binder that I covered in wallpaper so it would be worthy of what it was meant to hold.  It has my current copy of Now Playing, along with a smaller notebook where I write down each day’s movie recordings.  If I didn’t write it down, I’d never remember to set everything up.


These are my film catalog lists.  The handwritten one is arranged according to the number of the tape.  The typed one is each title arranged in alphabetical order.  Titles in green are Christmas films (a new feature I came up with this year!).  The red ones are films I have on more than one tape – duplicates.



Our DVD collection: it’s scattered around partly for lack of enough space in one area, partly for easy access.  Most of the collection is stored in the huge windowseat in our library. (Yup, we actually have a room in our house called “The Library” – we really do keep all of our books in this room, too.)  The rest of the DVDs are around the tv in smaller cupboards on the sides – organized by genre mostly.  British-made (Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Miss Marple (the ones from the 80s – not those new ones), Danger UXB, Upstairs, Downstairs and Pride & Prejudice, of course), Film Noir, General Classic (The Andy Griffith Show, The Avengers), etc.  You can see our much loved sets of Nero Wolfe DVDs on the shelf.  The show starring Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin was fabulous and so underrated!dvd windowseat

This is such a fun idea.  Thanks for suggesting it, Raquelle!


Filed under Film Bloggers, Noir

Ronnie Heaven

I’m just reeling from the idea of Ronald Reagan being TCM’s Star of the Month.  Ronnie is one of my top favorite actors of the 1940’s. (see my top 10 list here) So, when I received my copy of Now Playing a couple of weeks ago and saw Ronnie’s handsome face gracing the cover, I nearly swooned!

Oh, Ronnie – how I adore you.

Well, on to more serious issues.  His films – winners one and all, I’d say.  And that’s not just my Ronnie bias speaking either.  I remember hearing Robert Osborne decry the misconception of Ronnie’s films, too.  If you have been avoiding Ronnie’s films because of the prevailing idea of their awfulness, please reconsider.

I’ve got some top picks for you, if you’re game:

Desperate Journey (1942) – A terrific war thriller starring Errol Flynn, Ronnie, Arthur Kennedy and Alan Hale.  The guys are American airmen who get stranded in Germany and have to fight their way out.  There’s several truly hilarious moments of comedy with Alan Hale. (TCM – March 25 @ 12.45am eastern, not available on DVD)

The Voice of the Turtle aka One for the Book (1948) – A truly tender love story with Ronnie and Eleanor Parker.  Ronnie can’t get a hotel room for his leave, so he stays with Eleanor.  Other cast attractions include the multi-talented Eve Arden and Wayne Morris.  (TCM – March 19 @ 4 am eastern, not available on DVD either!)

The Hasty Heart (1950) – This is an amazingly good film in it’s own right and with the stellar cast, it’s nearly perfect.  Ronnie, Richard Todd and many others are recooperating soldiers in a hospital in Burma.  Patricia Neal is their nurse.  Richard Todd is a Scotsman who is determined not to get involved with the other men.  The story revolves around the group trying to break him down and make him see how beautiful life can be.  It’s quite moving. (Sadly, TCM hasn’t scheduled this one.  I’m calling Bobby Osborne to find out why! ;) But, it is available on DVD in The Ronald Reagan Signature Collection)

Have a look at dear Ronnie’s films, if you get the chance.  I think you’ll find they aren’t half as bad as people say they are.  I’m off to spend some more time in Ronnie Heaven! :)


Filed under Film Bloggers, Movie Review, Rants