Off Beat Cinema
|Off Beat Cinema|
|Genre||Horror / Science-fiction / Comedy|
|Format||Horror hosted show|
|Created by||James Gillan|
|Written by||James Gillan|
|Theme music composer||David Kane's Them Jazzbeards|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||20|
|Executive producer(s)||John Di Sciullo|
|Location(s)||Buffalo, New York. USA|
|Cinematography||Richard John Lee|
|Running time||120 minutes|
|Original run||October 31, 1993– Present|
|Off Beat Cinema|
Off Beat Cinema is a two-hour hosted movie show that airs on television stations throughout the United States late at night and features "the Good, the Bad, the Foreign..." but mostly cult movies like Night of the Living Dead, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and even more art house fare like The Third Man in a format not unlike the Creature Double Feature of the 1970s and 1980s. It originated from WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York from its launch on Saturday October 31, 1993 until July 2012. It shifted to local competitor WBBZ-TV on August 4, 2012.
On occasion, a clip show will air featuring episodes of public domain shorts and sitcom episodes (an example of this was a Christmas episode aired in 2007 that featured a Metro Goldwyn Mayer short, a 1963 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, and an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet).
Off Beat Cinema was created and is written by Paragon Advertising executive James Gillan. It originally started airing in 1993 in the Buffalo/Toronto area on WKBW-TV. On the show's official site, he states, "Off Beat Cinema was created to provide a forum for films that are not regularly shown on television – and in many cases – are not readily available, even on DVD. There is an enormous cache of films out there that an entire generation grew up watching that are otherwise unavailable. We wanted to create a program reminiscent of the hosted late night film shows of the 1960s and 1970s – the kind of show that made you beg your parents to let you stay up late to watch. Where else can you watch Teenagers from Outer Space and a week later watch Bergman’s The Seventh Seal in its original language version?"
The show's producer John Di Sciullo says on the official site that "Off Beat Cinema was originally a reaction to the insidious spread of infomercials and the void of late night television. The program really struck a chord with viewers." Off Beat Cinema has its own slate of advertisers, usually targeting alternative crowds. Poster Art, Terrapin Station (a Grateful Dead inspired head shop in Buffalo, named after the album of the same name), and Mighty Taco, among many other area restaurants, are among the show's numerous sponsors.
Award winning writer and independent producer Sarah JM Kolberg is the show's Public Relations Director. She is quoted on the show's website: "The fan mail we get is such a barometer of our viewers’ love for the show. We have our regulars who write all the time – suggesting possible movies and commenting on recent selections – and then there’s all the first time writers. It’s always amazing to me that we’ll receive these glowing letters from viewers after only a few weeks in a new market and even sometimes after we’ve left a market, writing to say how much they miss the show – that’s very rewarding."
The series began originating on WBBZ-TV starting August 4, 2012, where it follows Svengoolie, a similar program from Me-TV, of which WBBZ is affiliated with. John Di Sciullo has moved to that station as Executive Director of Production and Promotion. The series is produced in WBBZ's studio at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence, which includes (for the first time in the series' history) the possibility of a live studio audience. The series also began adding more well-received "classic" films into its rotation after the move to WBBZ, a move that helps contrast the series from the strictly B-movie and Z-movie films that Svengoolie and other midnight-movie series regularly feature.
Hosts and special guests
The show's original trio of hosts were high-energy bearded beatnik "Oscar Wild" (Matthew Bauer), his slightly more low-key friend "Maxwell Truth" ("Airborne" Eddy Dobosiewicz), and spacey-but-friendly beatnik chick "Luna" (Loraine O'Donnell). The three hosts would irreverently discuss the movies they were showing, whilst ingesting significant amounts of coffee at the Hungry Ear Coffeehouse.
Luna was seen less frequently after the first year or so, often being replaced by her friend "Zena" (Alex Dimiziani). Bauer left the show in 1995, and the character of Oscar was replaced by pseudo-profound beatnik artist and would-be philosopher "Bird" (Tony Billoni). ("Bird" had been seen several times on the show before this, having previously filled in for absent cast members on occasion.) Shortly thereafter, the third host slot was permanently filled by "Zelda" (Constance McEwen Caldwell), who was quite friendly with the boys, but also enjoyed deflating their pretensions with a well-timed barb. The trio of Maxwell, Bird and Zelda would then go on to host the show for the next 15+ years, and counting. Each week they're often joined by guest stars like Emo Philips, Lauren Bacall and Keanu Reeves, and music acts like the Barenaked Ladies, and the Tragically Hip. Interstitial segments are shot in black and white.
Off Beat Cinema can also be seen nationwide on many Retro TV affiliates, as well as on Tampa, Florida's WTSP, the Vision Communications stations (WYDC Corning and WBGT-CD Rochester) and many other stations. Due to the shift of the originating station to WBBZ-TV, it is no longer seen on cable television in Canada, as that station is not authorized for carriage in that country; the station can be seen in most parts of the Niagara Region via antenna. Negotiations are taking place to syndicate the show to an unspecified Canadian station.
A one-disc "The Best of Off Beat Cinema" DVD was released by a local distributor[who?] in 2003. Due to the time limits of the medium, only clips of the featured films were presented, along with a large selection of studio segments.
- Off Beat Cinema website Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- WBBZ press release John Di Sciullo leaving Ch 7 News Director position to join WBBZ-TV as Executive Director of Production and Promotion. buffalonews.com Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- Kwiatkowski, Jane (August 4, 2012). Off the beaten path. The Buffalo News. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- Click on Off-Beat-Cinema-Network movie schedules Off Beat Cinema website. Retrieved 19 August 2012.