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Spook Central's April Fools Day 2017 Prank

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Apr. 2, 2017 at 1:16 PM , Categories: Spook Central
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I don't do April's Fools pranks every year, lest you be able to predict it coming. This year I decided to do one after seeing the site for the band Spook (located at SpookBand.com) pop up in search results for "Spook Central" because their main page carries that title. I thought it would be fun to replace MY Spook Central with theirs for the day.

On the Spook Central Facebook page, I gave a little hint that the prank was coming when I posted that "Spook Central v4.1" was coming this Saturday. The version number is, of course, April 1st - April Fools Day. I tried not to make the hint too obvious.

If you came to Spook Central on April 1st and saw the website of the band Spook, I hope you clicked around to the other pages. I copied over the seven main files that make up their website. For the most part, I left the pages alone, to make the prank look real. However, if you clicked over to the Contact page, the prank would have been revealed to you.

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I don't know how many people I fooled with my prank, though I know that I got a few people. I hope those of you who saw it, enjoyed it.
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Ghostbusters 2016 Soundtrack Artist Annie Stoll Interview

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 19, 2017 at 3:22 PM , Categories: Music, 2016 Parody Remake
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Last year, when I reviewed the soundtrack to Paul Feig's 2016 Ghostbusters parody remake, one of the things that I overwhelmingly enjoyed about it was the album artwork. Between July and September of 2016, I exchanged several e-mails with Grammy-nominated artist Annie Stoll about her work on the album. The idea was to post a mini Q&A on Spook Central at the time. Yeah, I'm quite late in posting this, but better late than never - right? Along with the Q&A are little tidbits of information from the e-mails that she has given me permission to share. I'll call these "Anne Anecdotes" because I love alliteration.

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Hurricane Sandy - Destroyed East Rockaway House Demolished

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 10, 2017 at 11:26 PM , Categories: Personal , Tags: hurricane-sandy
Updated on November 6, 2017

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UPDATE - In an effort to make the photo documentation of the house trips easier to find, here are the quick links to all Facebook photo galleries about the East Rockaway house.

Thu. March 9, 2017
Tue. May 30, 2017
Fri. June 9, 2017
Wed. June 14, 2017
Wed. August 23, 2017
Mon. November 6, 2017
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Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue VHS Review

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 1, 2017 at 3:43 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters, Home Video
Over at The Corner Penthouse, I've been porting over all 100+ reviews that I've written over the past 15+ years on various other sites. A new retro review will be posted on every even-numbered day for the next four months, with some truly new reviews slipped in on some of the odd-numbered days as I get them done. This one is more appropriate to post over here at Spook Central.

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This review was originally written on March 10, 2011
Awesome Crossover Special, It's A Shame It'll Never Be Released On DVD

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue was a half-hour animated drug prevention special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from American Saturday morning television shows, which was simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all three major American television networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), most independent stations, as well as cable networks Nickelodeon and USA.

Cory (voice of Lindsay Parker), is worried about her older brother Michael (voice of Jason Marsden, who would later voice Garrett in Extreme Ghostbusters) because he's started acting differently. When her piggy bank goes missing, her cartoon tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. After discovering it in Michael's room, along with his stash of drugs, the various cartoon characters proceed to band together and take him on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug-use can bring. The villain of the story, besides the drugs, is Smoke (voice of George C. Scott), an anthropomorphic cloud of smoke with a mafioso-like appearance and personality.

The "Cartoon All-Stars" that appear in the special, from 10 different franchises, with their original voice actors, are:

* The Smurfs: Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf (though Smurfette is seen on the poster and VHS cover, she does not appear in the special).

* ALF The Animated Series: Alf.

* Garfield and Friends: Garfield.

* Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, Theodore.

* The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger.

* Muppet Babies: Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo.

* The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer.

* Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck.

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo (although he appears in the special, he is not shown on the poster or VHS cover).

* DuckTales: Huey, Dewey, Louie.

The special was distributed on VHS videocassette by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Disney), but it was only available for free rental, not for sale. This is probably due to the PSA nature of the special and the legal issues with the licensing of the characters for profit. Make a video for free rental only, no profit; sell it, and there's profit. Video stores were given a poster featuring the VHS cover art (you can buy a 11"x17" reproduction) to display in their windows or on their walls to advertise that they had the tape available for free rental, hence the "Rent It Here FREE!" banner in the upper left corner of the poster. I saw the special when it aired back in April 1990 and secured one of the rental VHS tapes from the "previously viewed" section of the video store that used to be in my town. I still have that tape, and will never sell it.
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Official Ghostbusters Creative Assets

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Feb. 20, 2017 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, 2016 Parody Remake
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It was all supposed to be simple. It was never supposed to be a lot of work.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, back in October 2016, Ghost Corps and Sony released a bunch of "creative assets" for the Ghostbusters franchise on the official site at ghostbusters.com/creative-assets/. Thankfully, I stumbled upon that page just a few weeks ago, because it's since been taken down.

The files included a whole slew of images, sound effects, and effects video files, most of which have been used on official Ghostbusters merchandise and as part of the style guides for both the original movies and the 2016 parody remake. These were high-quality, print-ready, multi-layer files in .psd, .eps, .wav, .pdf, .mov, and .tif formats. Here's the blurb from the page to explain why they were so gracious to make these assets available to the fans.
Hi Ghostbusters fans and content creators! Over the past years, we have noticed and loved all of the amazing videos, art, stories, and more that you have created out of sheer passion for the Ghostbusters franchise. We wanted to say thank you and add some fuel to the fire by providing official source materials to help you create even more amazing Ghostbusters creations. You can explore the containment unit below that includes official Ghostbusters art, graphics, sound effects, 3D effects, and more! Let's see what you've got by using the hashtag #CreativeGB! Brought to you by Ghost Corps.
Being that I'm not graphics-proficient, I asked my compadre, Matthew Jordan to convert the images from the print-ready formats (.psd and .eps) to something more accessible to the average computer user, like me (such as .png or .jpg). I thought he could batch run them through one of his programs and have them outputted lickety-split. I thought wrong. Here's Matt to explain more...
Probably the most stunning thing is finding errors in one of the files. (I'm looking at ga_ca2.psd) Little dots towards the top going across. And a minute later I find more dots. All in the two base layers. I hope to god this was only a mistake for the website and not the whole campaign. There is a lot of money on the line, it would be BS to see this as the standard.

I must say this was one heck of a project. It turns out that really at the end of the day, you're are going to have to find someone else if you want the 4 large psd in actual size. I struggled at 3200 X 2--- size. The main image was made rendered at full res in jpg form. I then shrink them down and then made them tif files (to save them as transparent) as png's can't be in color setup cmyk (Photoshop won't allow me to change it to rgb either). I then cheated them into a blank png file in rgb by dragging them in. So yeah, it was a weird bitch. Had photoshop crash a large number of times while figuring out that it can't save those files as rgb pngs.

Had one computer freeze as well at the end. Mostly from over working it and running out of hard drive space (those things require many gigs if you want them in full size).

Weird little treasure I found in the one file, they had the video game version Logo in there in a turned off layer. Had a bit missing on the left side of the logo, but I fixed her up with the cloning tool. Both Slimers (one without any work, the other with a bit of work) have movable iris' so yeah if you want his eyes a different way it can be done.
Okay, so after a tremendous amount of work, Matthew made them into space-saving transparent PNGs. I then figured that I'd share the images by tossing them up on the Spook Central Facebook page as a gallery. Transparencies were lost, which is not a surprise, and no great loss for Facebook viewing. Unfortunately, the nicely formatted gallery description I included, turned into a big jumbled mess of text. I noticed Facebook doing this months ago, but I thought it was just a problem on my end. Matthew confirmed that it's one of Facebook's many screw-ups.

Since my gallery text was a mess, and since the original images are still available on Sony's servers (even though the Creative Assets page has been deleted), and because Matthew has made his transparent PNG conversions available on the Ghostbusters Wiki, I felt it would be best if I put in a little effort and wrote a Spook Central blog post to help straighten this all out and point you to everything.

Matthew deserves a BIG ROUND OF THANKS for going above and beyond the call of duty to do these conversions.

ORIGINAL FILES - Direct links to the files are in the list at the end of this post. PLEASE BE AWARE that these files are VERY LARGE! You will need over 2 GIGABYTES of space and bandwidth if you want to download them all.

TRANSPARENT PNGS - On the Ghostbusters Wiki, on the Ghostbusters Official Website article. For a VERY LIMITED TIME, Matt uploaded the entire set into this 413 Mb rar file. This file can, and likely will, be deleted without notice. For permanent access to the assets, visit the Ghostbusters Wiki.

PREVIEW IMAGES - On the Spook Central Facebook page.

GHOSTBUSTERS 1 & 2 ASSETS
GHOSTBUSTERS 2016 ASSETS
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Established August 1996
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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

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