Tag Archives: Eric's Insomniac Theater

Tonight on Eric’s Insomniac Theater: “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957)!

Hey kids — don’t go running through any radioactive mists!  That’s the message of 1957’s “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”  Okay … it’s actually a little more complicated than that.   Grant Williams’ titular doomed protagonist was exposed first to insecticides, and then to the mist a couple of weeks later — so it was sort of a one-two toxic punch.  (I am linking here, by the way, to the Video Detective channel on Youtube for the trailer below.)

This movie rocked my world when I was a first- or second-grader.  It was the sort of thing that aired periodically on weekend television in the early 1980’s.  I’ll never forget the awe I felt … along with confusion at the abstract closing narration.  What did all that mean?  What happens to him next?

I was surprised to learn tonight that this was adapted from a Richard Matheson novel.  (He also wrote this screenplay adaptation.)

It’s … actually pretty good!  It holds up surprisingly well over time.  And the simple special effects are nonetheless effective.  (I’ll bet the props and sets people had a lot of fun designing giant objects to make Williams appear progressively smaller by comparison.)

Fun stuff.


Eric’s Insomniac Theater presents: “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914) and “Gertie on Tour” (1921)

I took a stroll through animation history last night with Eric’s Insomniac Theater —  I watched Winsor McCay’s “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914) and his unfinished sequel, “Gertie on Tour” (1921).

“Gertie the Dinosaur” is often thought of as the earliest animated film, but that’s incorrect — McCay himself had made earlier animated shorts, while the work of other creators preceded even these.  “Gertie” was, however, the first cartoon to feature a dinosaur.

A version of it was actually part of McCay’s earlier vaudeville act; he “interacted” with his artistic creation on stage.  The version you see here shows McCay presenting his character to some friends at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  (It was shot on location — and that made this short a little neater for me, as the museum was my favorite place to go as a boy.)

Can you imagine what McCay, a pioneering animator of his time, would think of the modern “Jurassic World” movies?  Or what about today’s mind-numbing animation on “Love, Death + Robots?”