Monday, July 31, 2006

Lohan: M.I.A. a/o: 9:30am

All weekend long the Hollywood Thoughts staff has been wondering what sight would await them upon returning to the studio on Monday morning...

Would the Georgia Rule crew be hard at work... or waiting around for their always-seems-be-missing starlet?

As of 9:30 ayem -- late for a movie set -- the crew sat around the outside of the stage munching morning treats.

By outward appearances, it seems getting a letter from studio head James Robinson didn't motivate the young lass to arrive any earlier.

Before word of the Lohan hubbub appeared in the press last week, Hollywood Thoughts had noticed that the set for Georgia Rule was unlike any other that had recently called the Sunset-Gower lot their home: this crew sat around idle. A lot.

Thanks to Robinson and The Smoking Gun, now we know why...


2:30pm UPDATE:

No shooting going-on inside the soundstage today as the giant elephant doors are wide-open. A few crew electricians are returning from off-site lunches in private automobiles (a very rare occurrance)-- which makes you wonder if any filming is taking place if the crew can afford to leave the lot.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Goodwill To All Men*

Donating your used clothing to Goodwill -- or some other agency dedicated to helping the less-fortunate -- should make you feel good knowing that the clothes you previously wore are now gracing some grateful soul.

Cleaning-out your closets is a great way to give back to your community and help those who are less fortunate.

Many people only think of doing this when the weather gets cold and pass along the sweaters and coats they haven't worn for awhile... but there's also a great need for summer weather clothing.

With that in mind, Hollywood Thoughts passes along a photo that we recieved via e-mail that illustrates the point.

May it serve to remind all of you remind that your efforts won't go unappreciated... or unnoticed.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Best Show On T.V.

If you're tired of watching non-stop coverage of bombs exploding in Israel and Lebanon, allow us to point you in the direction of some of television's most interesting -- and beautiful -- pictures this week: NASA TV.

But hurry... the show ends on Monday.

Since the Columbia disaster, NASA has rigged more cameras on the Shuttle orbiter than in any other time during the program's history. If you are a space geek or you just like watching the Earth spin far below, take a look at NASA TV.

I have NEVER seen so many interesting angles of the Earth... spacewalkers... or the shuttledoing giant loops in Earth orbit. There's more coverage of this trip than in a Michael Bay action film.

During one spacewalk this week, small cameras mounted on the helmets of the astronauts provided crystal clear images of the men working on the space station.

Talk about an 'up-close-and-personal-point-of-view.'

Even the banter from the astronauts is becoming less guarded and loaded with NASA-speak (Spacewalker: "Lemme give the airlatch a twist... ugh! This is a real mother to get closed.").

Can't get NASA TV? Don't fret-- just log on to NASA and take a look at some of their archived video clips. One of the most fascinating shots is from a camera mounted onto one of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters. The camera captures the neck-breaking moment that the orbiter blasts free of the launchpad gantry... and continues all the way to reaching the boundry of space. The moment of separation between the shuttle and the booster rocket is an absolutely incredible sight. Buck Rogers lives! We've come a long way since those grainy images of Neil and Buzz...

For the serious student of NASA-land, point your browser to another NASA website that allows you to view -- with your bare eyes -- the shuttle and International Space Station. I'm traveling this week, so I've seen the shuttle both in Los Angeles and high above New York City. This is probably the tenth or eleventh time I've done this, and I'm still amazed when I consider that I'm watching a small bit of humanity whizz over my head at 17,000 miles per hour.

This week you're reminded by the Shuttle's images that from two hundred miles up, borders are invisible... and the bigger picture becomes more clear.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Disneyland: Hidden Perspectives

Today we'll reveal a few hidden gems at the 'Happiest Place on Earth.' What all of these "finds" have in common are their unique views of -- and uncommon way to experience -- Disneyland.

Sometimes when you discover something special, it's followed by that typical (read: selfish) urge to keep it all to yourself.

Not so at Hollywood Thoughts.

OK, That's a lie. At first, we weren't going to share any of this, either. But in the interest of the greater good, we're gonna spill everything.


Make your way to the train station at the top of Main Street. When you push through the turnstile, ask one of the conductors if it's possible to take a 'tender ride.' Depending on shift changes, crew training, or the need to take-on water at the Frontierland station, you might just find yourself riding a small bench on the car directly behind the train's engineers.

These are real steam engine locomotives, folks, so the ride can get a bit toasty during the summer months... but the trip will be a one-of-a-kind experience. The crews are extremely friendly and will answer any of your questions about the trains.

Where else can you get that 'up close' view of the engineer ringing the bell and tugging the rope to make that familiar, "toot-toot" on the whistle? If you've got kids, this will be the ride of a lifetime that'll leave them saying, "Thomas, who?" Tender rides are only available from the Main Street station.

Disneyland, in fact, would have never been built were it not for the fact that Walt needed a place for his trains...

In the mid-1930's, Disney suffered a nervous breakdown and was urged by his doctors to develop a stress-relieving hobby that would take his mind off the pressures of running a studio. Walt was drawn to miniature trains and, in time, he built a miniature railroad system that filled his entire Holmby Hills backyard (he even tunneled under his wife's flower garden-- the first Disney 'dark ride' attraction!).

With his love of trains growing, Disney drew plans for a small, "Mickey Mouse Park" across the street from the Burbank studio (where the animation building now stands) that would include a closed-loop train ride. As plans for other rides grew, it quickly became apparent that more land would be needed.

Smash cut to breaking ground in Anaheim. The rest, as they say, is history.

If a tender ride isn't available, ask the Main Street conductors if it's possible to ride aboard the 'Lily Belle' caboose.

This car was completely refurbished in April, 2006 and is named after Walt's wife, Lillian. To get a ride is a real treat-- and a real step back in time. Plush red velvet couches line the warm cherrywood walls of the car. Victorian potted palms and delicate gold light fixtures complete the turn-of-the-last-century decor. Looking out the big picture windows as you chug around the river bend into the Frontierland 'forest,' you'll truly feel transported to a place from the past.

When you exit the train station, look for the double-decker bus. Hop on board, and climb to the top for a rare (low-flying) birds-eye view.

Pay attention to the second floor windows on the stores that line Main Street. Most of them are filled with the names of artists that contributed to the success of the Disney studio and theme parks.

The first name ever etched on a Main Street window was of Elias Disney; It was Walt's way of honoring his Dad.

Ready for the last tip?

Head over to Frontierland, and make your way to the Mark Twain steamboat.

Once you're on the dock, ask one of the employees for a ride in the Captain's wheelhouse. Once inside, they'll put you to work as you take-on most of the Captain's duties (don't get nervous-- the whole operation is on a submerged track).

Aside from being the guy tempting the dog with a bone in the 'Pirates' ride, we can't think of anything more cool than ringing the ship's bell or pulling the rope to blow the big steam whistle.

And whatta view!

PS: Don't forget to ask for the certificate commemorating your special voyage aboard the Mark Twain.

And, hey, do us all a favor, please... keep this stuff to yourself, OK?!?