Archive for the ‘Film & Books’ Category


Boys Life poster picIf case you do not know it yet, today, May 4th, is Star Wars day. That means it is time to say, May the fourth be with you! Yes, it is a bit of a silly pun, but it is a fun silly pun. The folks at Boys Life Magazine have decided to have a spot of fun with Star Wars day by creating their own poster to celebrate the new holiday. What is your favorite part of the design? Is it Pedro the burro as Luke Skywalker? Or could it be Pee Wee and Westly as the two droids? How about the Death Star depicted as a glazed donut? I do not think I would care for the alfalfa shake, even with the cherry on top.

The poster can be downloaded at http://boyslife.org/poster/  .

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    Boy Scout NovelsSaturday, May 3rd, was free comic book day so I went to St. Cloud to pick up a few at Granite City Comics. I arrived downtown early to get a good parking spot so I decided to walk around to get some exercise and to see what kind of stores were in downtown St. Cloud these days. After all, I had not been shopping downtown for years. There has been no need for me to go downtown since this was on the east side of town and most of the big stores and shopping malls were on the west side of town, closer to where I live.

    While I was walking the streets I noticed that there was a used bookstore a block away from the comic book store. I did not realize there was such a store in the downtown area so I decided I needed to check this place out when I was done at Granite City Comics. And I did.

    There were two main types of books I looked for once I arrived at the used book store, science fiction and old Scouting books. I was lucky enough to find two old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900′s. Both were in pretty good shape considering that they were over 100 years old. One was The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol written by Howard Payson, published in 1911. The other was Boy Scouts In An Airship by G. Harvey Ralphson, published in 1912. I was able to pick up the two of them for under twenty dollars.

    As I laid them on the counter I thought to myself, I hope I do not already have these books. I could not remember if they were already part of my collection or not. Oh well, if they were I would now have two of them. I could always use one as a prize at a Scout Roundtable or something. I was happy to discover when I arrived at home that I did not own either one yet. I also discovered that I have the ebook version of The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol on my computer.

    Do you collect old Boy Scout novels? How many do you have? Where do you find them?

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      Near the end of this month’s Scenic District roundtable meeting I asked the Scouters if many of them had any of the digital copies of the old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900′s. I had noticed that many of the Scouters owned smart phones and tablets and that they used these during meetings, so I thought it was a valid question. I do not think a hand went up in reply. That surprised me a little.

      I have collected over 50 of these old books in the open source epub digital book format. They are novels featuring the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. You may recognize those names from the Boy’s Life magazine cartoon pages. There are stories of the Banner Boy Scouts and the members of the Eagle Patrol. All of these old novels have fallen into the public domain. I think I have more eBooks than I do actual hardbound books in my collection.

      I understand the epub eBook file works well with many current tablets, including the iPad, but does not work with the Amazon Kindle tablets. I guess Amazon would rather sell you a copy in their own format. However, I hear that there are free programs available to reformat epub files to something the Kindle can use. It is just an extra step needed to work on the Kindle.

      I asked the Scouters if they would like a digital copy of these books. Most of them said yes. This morning I got busy and started burning cd’s of the 50 Scouting novels for the next roundtable. I will bring 12 cd’s to the meeting. It will be a nice bonus for some of the Scouters who take the time to come to the roundtable. If more than one Scouter from a troop attends I am sure they would be willing to share the cd of books.

      How many of these digital novels do you own?

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        ThinkStock/AMCIt is Friday night. More than likely, somewhere in this country there is a group of Boy Scout teens watching a horror movie of some sort. While in decades past these movies may have included Frankenstein, the werewolf, Dracula, or the mummy, today’s youth seem to love teen wolves, sparkling vampires, serial killers, or the worse of all – zombies! Between World War Z and the television series The Walking Dead, zombies are the rage today.

        I like a good horror movie, but I am not big on the gore. I prefer suspense instead of seeing blood gushing 50 feet into the air. I prefer movies like Spielberg’s original Poltergeist. I have yet to see a Saw movie, and I really have no desire to see one. I laughed through the original Halloween movie when I saw it in the theater, except for that one part when the dead guy swung out of the kitchen closet.

        Back to zombies. I hate zombies. Several months after seeing the original black and white Night Of The Living Dead on late night PBS twenty-some years ago I had one of the worse nightmares of my life. And that movie is basically PG-13 by today’s standards. I watched the first season of The Walking Dead when I received the dvd’s from Netflix. I have not watched any other seasons. I did like Shawn Of The Dead however. I thought it was hilarious.

        So when I read an article online today about a new movie about to be made it sent mixed feelings through my system. Paramount Pictures hopes to start production on a new movie in the spring of next year. It is currently called Boy Scouts vs Zombies, which I read about on the Screen Crush website. According to the article “…this new film is exactly what it sounds like. ‘Boy Scouts vs. Zombies’ is based on a Black List script from Carrie Evans and Emi Mochizuki, and centers on a boy scout troop that must save girl scouts from the walking dead.”

        Will this movie be strictly a horror film? Will it be a comedy? Something in between? Will it be a strong R, or receive a PG-13 rating? Will this be a movie I will want to add to my Scouting themed film collection? I just don’t know. What do you think? Does it sound like something you will want to watch?

        http://screencrush.com/boy-scouts-vs-zombies-paranormal-activity-christopher-landon/

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          lasteaglescoutOne of Boy Scout Troop 68′s Eagle Scouts stopped by Sunday afternoon to watch a new movie I had recently received in the mail. Both of us had been waiting for “The Last Eagle Scout” to be released since we had read about it on Facebook a couple years ago. Here is the synopsis from the movie’s website:

          In the not-so-distant future, society has allowed political correctness to go beyond the point of the absurd. For years the Boy Scouts have been under the government microscope and finally have been mandated to close their doors for good. Boy Scout, Cliff Elliot, stirs the pot as he tries to cling to the last shreds of patriotism and earn his Eagle Scout Award. In this ‘dramedy’, watch as Cliff jumps through ridiculous hoops, avoids the bumbling antics of government cronies, and tries to escape murderous plots against him, as he sets out to accomplish what he sees as the ultimate honor—becoming the Last Eagle Scout.

          As we sat down with our pizza, popcorn, and soda Dakota and I understood that this was an independent made film, not a major studio financed super blockbuster. We had both seen the trailer which looked interesting and promising. We hoped that it would be a decent and fun film.

          By the time the end credits rolled across the scene Dakota and I both agreed that we enjoyed the movie. The plot may have been simple but the film moved along at a nice pace and kept our interest. A few of the special effects may not have had the polish of a high budget Hollywood film but the acting was good and the action sequences were fun.

          The movie is described as a dramedy in the description above, but I felt it played a bit more toward the drama side. There were a couple scenes that gave me a good chuckle though. Cliff, the hopeful Eagle Scout, decides to go against a government ban of flying the US flag on public property and in teenage fashion may not have though about the repercussions before doing the deed. The slow moving chase scene was another part I found humorous. I also enjoyed the homemade “iWatch” used by the Scouts in the movie.

          One thing Dakota did not like was that for a lot of the movie Cliff was not wearing his uniform properly. It did not bother me because Cliff was on the run for nearly half the film. Keeping your shirt tucked in would be a low priority when you are running from government stooges.

          Dakota and I both felt the “political correctness run amok” theme was a bit frightening. To tell the truth, we felt the tone set at the beginning of the film may not be that far in our future if this country continues on its current course. Can you imagine a United States of America government that decides to shut down the Boy Scouts of America?

          Like I stated earlier, Dakota and I both enjoyed The Last Eagle Scout and give it a thumbs up. I consider it a solid addition to my Scouting-themed movie collection. Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

          The trailer for the movie can be scene at:
          http://lasteaglescout.com/ .

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            scout dvd movie collectionLike many Scout leaders and families I have collected a few Scouting-themed movies over the years. I know my collection is far from complete but it does contain some of what we could call “classics”.

            Scouts To The Rescue, starring a young Jackie Cooper, is the only VHS tape I own for this collection. It is a twelve part series from many decades ago, 1938. Cooper plays an Eagle Scout of a troop which finds a buried treasure which turns out to be a stash of counterfeit money. Unfortunately, It is the only movie of my collection I have not watched yet since I bought it after I got rid of my VHS player for my television. Some day I will have to transfer it to dvd.

            Mr. Scoutmaster is a 1953 comedy featuring Clifton Webb as a television personality who becomes a scoutmaster to learn more about teenage boys when his tv show begins to lose ratings. I saw this on tv a couple decades ago and found someone on eBay who was selling DVD copies. Today there are several online stores which sell this movie.

            Follow Me Boys is probably the most well known movie about Scouting. It was released by Disney in 1966 and features Fred MacMurray as he serves as a scoutmaster for twenty years with the same troop. A young Kurt Russell is a member of that Boy Scout Troop. I first saw this movie in 1984 when I attended scoutmaster training at Philmont Scout Ranch. I quickly picked up a copy when it came out on DVD. This movie belongs in everyone’s Scouting collection.

            The Wrong Guys is a 1988 movie which features popular comedians of the time, including Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis, and Richard Belzer. The plot follows a group of men who where members of a Cub Scout den in their youth as they gather for a camping reunion. Of course, none of them know much about camping. And to top it off, a couple of escaped convicts get mixed up in the story. Not a strong plot but still fun to watch.

            Down And Derby is a comedy with a Cub Scout Pinewood Derby at the core of its story. Or I should say how some fathers take a Pinewood Derby too far and try to win no matter what the cost. This 2005 movie features Greg German and Pat Morita. This family film is a great one for this time of year as packs across the country prepare for their own Pinewood Derby. One of my favorite lines from the movie is when one of the Cub Scouts says that he cannot wait to grow up so he can race his own car.

            Pixar’s Up really is not a movie about Scouting but has a main charater that is 100 percent Boy Scout, or should I say Wilderness Scout? Some of Russell’s (the Scout) Scouting knowledge comes in handy as he and the old man Carl have an adventure that takes them to South America. The movie pokes fun of Scouting but does it gently and with respect. This movie is a must for a Scout collection.

            Scout Camp, The Movie came out in 2009. It follows the adventures of one Boy Scout troop during their week at summer camp. While some people did not feel that this was a very good movie about Scouting, after all, the Scouts do not always follow the Scout Oath and Law (sound familiar?), I enjoyed it as a fun story. I was surprised to see a wide number of Scouts-types in the film who I could identify as members of my own troop over the years. There was also one or two scenes that struck home a little too closely.

            759: Boy Scouts Of Harlem is a 2009 documentary filmed by Justin Szlasa and Jake Boritt as they follow four Boy Scouts from Harlem troop when they attended summer camp. The newest Scout, eleven-year-old Keith, spends his first week at camp and faces the challenges of the woods: the dock test in the deep lake, creatures of the night, and the climbing tower. The film is well done and you really get to know the boys and their leaders during the film.

            The last film of my collection is the Philmont Documentary Collection. If you have been to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico you need to have this DVD in your collection. I feel it really captures the sense of what it is like being at the ranch. It not only gives the viewer an in-depth history of Philmont but also follows a Venture co-ed crew and they partake in a twelve day trek. I call this dvd the best thing next to being there. Be sure to purchase the blu-ray version of the film for your HiDef television.

            Which of these movies do you have in your collection? Which ones am I missing?

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              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “New Feature Film Aims to Pay Tribute to Scout Leaders” 

              Utah based filmmaker Garrett Batty has announced development of SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE, a feature film tribute to Scout Leaders.  Principal photography is set to begin in October 2012.

              When Batty wrote and directed SCOUT CAMP: THE MOVIE, he had no idea the reception the film would receive.  3 years later, the ultra-independent movie has become a must-see among scouting families, screening at the National Jamboree, and at scouting events all over the country.  “The reception has been wonderful, and the people I have met through the process are remarkable,” Batty says, as he considers those whom he has met over the past 3 years touring with the film.

              Scout Camp: The Klondike Screenwriter Jake Van Wagoner with Director Garrett Batty film a fundraising campaign for their next film.

              It’s that spark that has ignited a fundraising campaign for a brand new scouting movie, this time with a focus on Scout Masters. “Scout leaders deserve their story to be told,” Batty explains. “The time, energy and sacrifices that they make for scouts, and the little recognition that they get– There are some wonderfully relatable stories that would show a positive side of scouting that is not often shared the media.” Working with screenwriting partner and fellow eagle scout Jake Van Wagoner, they’ve come up with SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE, a full length feature about winter camping, that will finally give hardworking scout masters their time in the sun– or snow. A funding campaign for the independent film has recently been launched on Kickstarter.com, a site that promotes crowdsourcing to launch creative projects.

              “We chose to go to kickstarter as a way to get scouts involved with the film,” explains screenwriter Jake Van Wagoner. Batty joins in, “We’re letting the audience get behind this film BEFORE it is made. As a thanks, we’ll put their name in the credits, or send them a limited edition patch, or even come be an extra in the film. The rewards are pretty amazing…” The kickstarter campaign allows anyone to pledge money to the project, from $10 or more, with different incentives given based on the amount you pledge. However, the film will only be made if the kickstarter campaign gets completely funded before it expires– in this case, May 24th. It’s an incredibly short amout of time to raise enough money to get the film started. “It’s really an urgent campaign, so we hope the audience will make a pledge, then spread the word.”

              With a complete script, a ready crew, and 3 years of gathering scout stories from all over the country, they now look to take the film into production. More information on SCOUT CAMP: THE KLONDIKE can be found at www.scoutcampthemovie.com or find Scout Camp on Facebook.

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                It looks like there is going to be a sequel to the film Scout Camp: The Movie. It will be called The Klondike. A website has been posted for people who would like to be a part of this new film by donating money (as little as $10) to the financing of the project. I am thinking about it since I enjoyed the first movie. The website can be found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/threecoinproductions/scout-camp-the-klondike-a-comedy-with-merit . Check it out. Here is a video from screenwriter Jake Van Wagoner and writer/director Garrett Batty introducing the project. They hope to premiere the movie at the 2013 National Jamboree!

                By the way, if you did not get a chance to hear our interview with Garrett Batty when Scout Camp: The Movie was released you should check out episode #67 of The Leaders Campfire podcast.

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