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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yet Another Minimal Post-Convention Update...

Just to let everyone that have been commenting here or emailing us, we are still working on getting a shopping cart setup (for the Special Edition STEVE CANYON DVD and hats) worked out here, so please be patient, it's coming as fast as we can hobble! In the meantime, here is another shot of the lovely and talented Miss Brinke Stevens:

Brinke Stevens
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Brinke really is the Dragon Lady, while we just happen to be the draggin' lately's...

John Ellis
Hollywood, CA

Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic-Con Update (brief)

Panelists minus 2
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From left to right, Russ Maheras, Harry Guyton, R.C.Harvey and John Ellis, in the autograph area right after the panel discussion and episode screening. Not pictured are Denis Kitchen and Diana Doalson. More pictures (and video) coming!

Just a brief post here to exclaim what a GREAT FUN TIME we all had in San Diego this past week. We accomplished exactly what we wanted to do and had a terrific time doing it. We're all back home now in "recovery-mode", so am posting to let everyone interested know I'll be doing a longer followup post within the next day or so with more pictures and news and also info about purchasing the hats and DVD's through this site. We've gotten a lot of email from folks wanting to order these (that couldn't attend the convention) and we promise to get this up and running asap. And thanks for all the mail!

Time to rest for a bit. Sleep is a GOOD thing!

John Ellis
July 30, 2007
Hollywood, CA

Friday, July 27, 2007

Comic-Con Friday

Brinke Stevens
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Longtime friend (and Dragon Lady in her own right) BRINKE STEVENS models both our commemorative hat and the Steve Canyon Special Edition DVD at Comic-Con.

Harry and I caught up with Brinke today and I seized upon the photo-op to procure our very first *product endorsement*...hehehe...

Brinke Stevens and Harry Guyton
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We met up with a lot of other folks around the convention and at the National Cartoonist's Society booth (#1307), pictured below:

NCS Booth today
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Among those that showed up today were: Jenny Robb, Associate Curator from Ohio State University's Milton Caniff reading room in their Cartoon Research Library; Artist R.C.Harvey, author of the just-released 950 page Caniff bio "Meanwhile..."; Buffy/Xena screenwriter Tom Swyden; fans Michael Bare, Steve Donnelly, Charles Davis, and a bunch of other folks too numerous to summon in my tired brain at this LATE hour...we enjoyed talking with everyone!

Tomorrow is the big day (Saturday) with our panel/screening at 2:30pm and autograph area session (spot "AA3" from 4pm to 7pm). We hope to have a full house and have a lot of fun with all of Milton's friends. We'll see you there!

John Ellis
July 27, 2007
San Diego, CA

We're at Comic-Con!

Steve Canyon DVD Inside Art
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Here's the INSIDE of the Special Edition DVD, which is reversible so you can have this image on the outside instead...we think that's kinda neat, and so far those that have seen it agree!

So Harry and I were at the con all day today, mostly at the National Cartoonist's Society booth (#1307), and we met quite a few folks who read this blog (and who also picked up copies of the DVD)... and this:

Steve Canyon DVD Inside Art
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Yep, we also have these nice air force style hats (with the embroidered STEVE CANYON logo) commemorating Milton's 100th and Steve Canyon's 60th...they also have something special embroidered on the back...more on that next time. These will also be available on this site after we get back from the convention (same as the DVD). I guess that's it for now, hope to see more of you the next few days, so don't be bashful!

John Ellis
July 26, 2007
San Diego, CA

P.S. Remember Harry and I will be screening OPERATION INTERCEPT at Comic-Con on Saturday July 28 at 2:30pm in "Room 4". There will also be a followup "autograph" session in the main autograph area from 4:00 to 7:00pm, and we will have the DVD's...and a few hats and maybe some guests and a few *secret* goodies. This is a great show and we hope you'll come up and say hi on Saturday (and various times at the NCS table). Remember buying one of these DVDs helps us get closer to the box set release.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Steve Canyon Special Edition DVD Cover Art

Steve Canyon DVD Cover
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Here's an advance look at the cover art for the DVD we are releasing at the San Diego Comic-Con next week. The design is a collaboration between Graphic Artist Johann Mitchell and myself. Johann is a superb artist and designer whom I have worked with many times since the mid 1970's, and I highly recommend her if you need a talented artist. She went way above and beyond the call of duty to help me make the delivery deadline on the DVD art and our thanks and appreciation go out to her. Thanks also go out to Laura Lozano for stepping in at the 11th hour to make sure the designs got where they needed to go. Both Laura and Johann have always been there right when I needed them, and stand out as true friends in every sense of the word.

The DVD is at the factory right now and will be arriving here just in time to take to Comic-Con for unveiling. At this time we expect to have it available at the National Cartoonist Society booth. These are true glass-mastered DVD Video disks that are manufactured from raw materials in the factory, with full four color printing inside 'n out and on the disc...none of your "home-brewed DVD's with HP labels and covers" for us...nosiree Bob! The Real Deal. Among its many virtues it has four full half hour episodes from 1958, as follows:

"Operation Zero Launch" - the second episode filmed, and this one has the original sponsors' titles and spot from Chesterfield Cigarettes (Ligett and Meyers). A lot of fun with Marion Ross from Happy Days being a babe. By the way, the Chesterfield tv spot features Dean Fredericks handling the product endorsement!

"Operation B-52" featuring a swell animated spot for Ligett and Meyers L&M cigarettes, this one features Richard Anderson, a script by Charles "Twilight Zone" Beaumont, and terrific direction by Arthur "Love Story" Hiller. Not to be missed.

"Operation Mushroom" - though originally premiered in 1958, this an ABC print from the summer of 1960 and features promos for other vintage ABC shows. One of the most popular episodes, Steve drops the first weapon-class H-Bomb on Eniwetok Island. Tons of cool planes and documentary approach.

"Operation Diplomat" - premiered in 1958, again another ABC print with ABC promos, this episode is (for my money) the one most like the Steve Canyon comic strips of the era. It's great and another one of my favorite episodes.

There is also an image gallery on the disk, and a 19 minute series promo featuring clips from 6 other episodes.

Once we return from Comic-Con, we will offer the DVD here online (for those that couldn't attend the convention). Remember, this is a lead-in for the entire series, and is intended to help us finance the restoration of the rest of the shows. I should also mention that these shows have had their audio and picture elements cleaned up somewhat, but none of the episodes on this set are fully restored.

Don't get me wrong, they look and sound terrific, but there is still a certain amount of dirt specks and such flying around in some sections of these episodes. These shows were hand picked by me as four of the best, representative of what a great series this is. Episodes not seen since their original network runs...and NEVER available as crappy dupes on ebay. The work WILL continue on these and they will be fully cleaned up and "presented for your approval" with the rest of the 34 original episodes, just as soon as we can get 'em out there. That's a promise!

John Ellis
July 17, 2007
Hollywood, CA

P.S. Remember Harry and I will be screening OPERATION INTERCEPT at Comic-Con on Saturday July 28 at 2:30pm in "Room 4". There will also be a followup "autograph" session in the main autograph area from 4:00 to 7:00pm, and we will have the DVD's...and maybe some guests and a few *secret* goodies. We're very excited about the show and we hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con BIG News

I just have time for a brief post concerning Comic-Con. We (The Milton Caniff Estate) will be hosting a panel on Saturday July 28th from 2:30pm to 4:00pm, called REMEMBERING CANIFF/CANYON: 100th/60th (1907/1947-2007).

You'll not only get to meet Harry Guyton (Executor of the Estate and Milton's nephew), R.C.Harvey (author of Meanwhile...A Biography of Milton Caniff), Denis Kitchen (Steve Canyon Magazine publisher), Russ Maheras (Steve Canyon's 50th Anniversary comic strip author/artist), Diana Doalson (Milton Caniff's Grand-Niece who was put in the Canyon strip in 1969 by Milt), and myself (John Ellis, Caniff Estate Representative and Steve Canyon DVD Producer) in a rollicking remembrance of all things Caniff, but you'll also get to witness the first public screening of the restored 1959 NBC Steve Canyon episode "Operation Intercept" in over 40 years. This is arguably the best episode of the series and is not to be missed! Don't take my word for it, just google "Steve Canyon and B-47" and read what Time Magazine and others said about the episode.

We'll screen the show at the beginning of the time slot and will have over an hour to talk about it and anything else that rises to the surface!

It'll all be in Room 4 at 2:30PM.

I know all of that was a mouthful, but I had to get it out on this post while I have a quiet moment, as we are hard at work preparing a surprise for attendees of the convention (and readers of this blog). We are issuing a limited release Special edition featuring 4 excellent episodes of Steve Canyon that haven't been seen in the US since 1960. And a couple of extras...there'll be more info on this before the con.

The reason we are doing this is that we have begun to see the light that there is just WAY too much work yet to be done to see a full release of the series in 2007, and yet we wanted to commemorate the birth of Milton (1907) and of Steve Canyon (1947), and this is the logical way to do that. It will be moderately priced (to make it reasonably affordable) and will also provide us with a "shot in the arm" to help fund the restoral on the rest of the 34 episodes. So far we have been scrimping, saving and selling some original art to fund this project over a period of time, but this will help speed things up. As I have explained to a few people recently, The Estate doesn't have deep pockets, money hasn't "rolled in" since Milton passed away in 1988. This is a seriously expensive process and we don't have a major studio or conglomerate funding us, it's all just Harry and I doing this by our lonesomes.

And also let's not forget that 2008 is the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Steve Canyon on television...! So when you take that fact into account it all begins to make sense. I've been kind of down in the dumps recently over how long the work has been taking, and not wanting to disappoint everyone with news of the delay...but this is just obviously the path we were meant to take.

Harry and I are EXCITED about Comic-Con, and getting to meet everyone that attends...so mark your calendars and gather your questions. And buy R.C. Harveys bio-book "Meanwhile..." on Milt...it's double-plus-good!

Keep tha faith...more news shortly!

John Ellis