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For Immediate Release
A STATEMENT FROM EARL MAC RAUCH AND W.D. RICHTER on Kevin Smith's Buckaroo Banzai television project
Thursday, October 13, 2016
As fans of Dr. Buckaroo Banzai's adventures, some of you may have heard rumors or read in the latest issue of the Banzai Institute's World Watch One Newsletter (10/16) that we are engaged in an ongoing battle with MGM regarding the ownership of rights to both THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION and to the entire Buckaroo universe that Earl Mac Rauch began creating a full decade before the actual movie.
On the other hand, all this may come as news to you. Many of you perhaps are not aware that any unresolved Buckaroo rights issues actually exist because you have quite reasonably assumed for years that MGM "owned" Buckaroo Banzai lock, stock, and barrel. Others of you, even after having read about the current rights brouhaha on many different blogs, may still be confused about the exact nature of our dispute. And, of course, some of you may just wish the whole problem would go away so that more Buckaroo Banzai adventures might appear. If you're in the last category, ask yourselves, "What would Buckaroo do if something he felt rightly belonged to one person was being taken away by another?"
A little history is probably in order. Come with us in the time machine back to March 25, 1981, when the producer Sydney Beckerman received from W.D. Richter and Neil Canton a bound volume they called "A Buckaroo Banzai Sampler" consisting of extracts from no fewer than five separate Buckaroo Banzai adventures. Beckerman read the Buckaroo Sampler and the next day took Canton and Richter into MGM to give studio chief David Begelman a detailed presentation of Rauch's wholly original, multi-episode saga. They left behind a copy of "A Buckaroo Banzai Sampler" for Begelman's perusal.
One day later, on Friday afternoon, March 27, 1981, Begelman told Beckerman that he had taken a shine to one episode in particular, "LEPERS FROM SATURN - A BUCKAROO BANZAI ADVENTURE". It had been presented to him as a 57-page treatment in which Buckaroo squared off against grotesque aliens from another planet who were moving amongst us disguised as Earthlings! MGM wanted to hire Mac to turn that into a screenplay. It was crystal clear Begelman was not proposing that Mac base his MGM script upon all the separate episodes presented to the studio in "A Buckaroo Banzai Sampler"in much the same way that one would never propose that a script for "The Hound of the Baskervilles" be based upon "The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes". All of this is highly significant and, as lawyers say, "foundational".
A problem arises (the root of the dispute) in that nowhere does MGM define in the contract exactly what underlying material was to be the source of Mac's "work". He was definitely not hired to write an Original Screenplay because the MGM contract specifically engaged him only to write a script based on what it called "the Property", which the studio itself defined as "an original story idea by Writer"an idea, as we know, that came to them in the form of an underlying treatment they never owned because its acquisition was never even mentioned in the contract. Instead, all of Mac's fees were linked directly to his work only on the script itself!
Meanwhile, in 1981, while Mac was writing the first draft of his screenplay, a flurry of real-life events changed the landscape. MGM purchased United Artists and merged the two companies. On July 13, 1982, while Mac was doing revisions on his first draft, David Begelman was removed as chief of MGM/UA. The new administration was wholeheartedly unenthusiastic about BUCKAROO BANZAI and agreed to sign the project over to Begelman's freshly minted independent company, the bankruptcy-plagued outfit known as Sherwood Productions which Begelman would leverage into a complex and chaotic series of mortgages, assignments, and a host of other dubious financial manipulations involving unwitting entities like European American Bank and Trust Company, Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, Time Warner Entertainment Company LP, August Entertainment, Inc., the Kushner-Locke Company, and many, many more. These bizarre, conflicting and overlapping entanglements hollowed out and threw into great confusion the ownership rights to "THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION" and eventually resulted in the bankruptcy of both Sherwood Productions and Gladden Entertainment (a company Mr. Begelman formed after the collapse of Sherwood Productions). A despondent David Begelman committed suicide on August 7, 1995, in Los Angeles.
So as years turned into decades, the rights to Buckaroo twisted and turned, jumping from company to company, from bank to bank, disappearing entirely at times and then reappearing first in one studio's library and then inexplicably in another's, leaving a paper trail no legal bloodhound could hope to follow. In short, from the moment Begelman lost control of the title, it became, from month to month, anybody's guess who might or might not have possessed documentation proving their exclusive ownership of THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION.
By 1998, yet another MGM administration had reentered the picture, having ironically acquired a bulk library of films from Seagrams Universal that happened to contain a movie David Begelman set in motion seventeen years earlier: THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION. But in 1998, the new MGM team agreed with Begelman's immediate 1982 successors and considered Buckaroo a moribund brand of little worth to the studio. Understandably then, they saw no reason to waste time and resources investigating the spotty rights documentation that accompanied such an apparent loser.
We did take the time, however, hiring at our own expense a nationally respected firm to research ownership of the film, something like a mortgage company doing a title search to authenticate ownership of real estate. Thomson & Thomson's 1999 report made it clear that there were significant gaps in the Buckaroo chain of title - the same reality that Warner Brothers confronted ten years later. Why would Warners even figure in this controversy? Because in 2009 Warner Brothers, in a potential partnership with MGM, approached us to create an animated television series, based on a concept they dubbed "THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI". When we expressed enthusiasm, their legal team did a thorough search of the chain of title and found too many gaps to proceed with the project. As indicated by the following pair of emails Warner Bros. sent to our representatives, that studio was saying MGM could not, to Warners satisfaction, prove ownership of the title:
WB EMAILS RE: BB TITLE CHAIN
From: Adams, Ed
Sent: Fri, Oct 30, 2009 7:51 pm
To: Jeff Field; Ryan Nord
Subject: Buckaroo Banzai
Jeff and Ryan I apologize for our inability to connect by phone this week. As I previously mentioned, I passed all of the documents you sent along to our rights department. After their review and analysis, they found two major gaps in the chain of title (and perhaps some minor ones, as well). 1. There is a gap between Credit Lyonnaise and Universal/Polygram. 2. There is a gap between Polygram and Richter/Rauch. The rights department is doing further research in an attempt to close these gaps. That means we're willing to do the legwork (and bear the cost) to try and figure this out. I am hoping that will be received as good news. For now, WB will foot the bill and see what we can find out. The bad news is that this means additional time while we try to satisfy ourselves that the rights are available. I am not sure how long to expect, but we should probably touch base in about a week. That is all I have to report for now. Clearing the chain of title remains the number one issue for us, but hopefully we are moving in a positive direction. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Otherwise, let's try to touch base in a week or so.
From: Adams, Ed
Sent: Fri, Mar 5, 2010 8:11 pm
To: Jeff Field; Ryan Nord (Business Fax)
Cc: Register, Sam
Subject: Buckaroo Banzai - Chain of Title
Jeff and Ryan - At long last, I am pleased to get back to you with a response regarding the chain of title. I am sorry it took so long, but the rights department has been busy with a number of priorities for other divisions. As we have discussed a number of times, Warner Bros. would require a clean chain-of-title in order to option and move forward with development of an animated project based upon "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension." Unfortunately, because of a number of transfers of the rights in the property, there are gaps in the chain. These gaps need to be closed before we can proceed any further. 1. Agreement between MGM and Sherwood. 2. Mortgage of Copyright from Sherwood to Lyonnais. 3. Foreclosure on the mortgage by Credit Lyonnais showing its succession to the rights. 4. December 1995 assignment from Lyonnais to Alpha. 5. November 1998 assignment from Alpha to Polygram. There may be additional open questions, but these are the most pressing. My rights team has done as much as it can at this point. After you have had a chance to review the above with your clients, we should set up a time to discuss next steps. I apologize that I am not delivering better news, but I can assure you the rights team worked very hard to create the best outcome they could. I look forward to speaking with you both soon.
Meanwhile, Mac's contract sat there asserting that no matter who might actually be able to prove ownership of the movie, he, Earl Mac Rauch, still owned the rights both to his treatment for LEPERS FROM SATURN and to the world of Buckaroo Banzai. And what has been MGM's response to Mac's assertion of those rights? "Your claim is baseless. MGM owns all the rights to Buckaroo Banzai." Their lawyers, however, have never pointed out any language in the contract that supports such a grandiose claim. Nor have they pointed to any language that refutes our claim that they failed to acquire even the underlying material upon which the movie was based. In fact, in the several written studio responses to our letters asking for a detailed rebuttal to our claim, MGM has merely resorted to rephrasing, without elaboration, that same defense: "Your claim is baseless. MGM owns all the rights to Buckaroo Banzai."
You might well ask why we have chosen to bring all this to the fore now. For over thirty years we've sat back and watched the ostensible "ownership rights" to "THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION" bounce around the entertainment and financial industries, unloved in libraries thick with more commercially successful films. But now, suddenly, with the release of Shout Video's special Bluray edition of the movie, interest in the potential of the Buckaroo brand has shot up, and MGM would seem to be working with Amazon Pictures to create a Buckaroo Banzai TV series. But they have no interest in involving Buckaroo's original creators. This prompted us to pull out Mac's foundational 1981 MGM contract to see what his rights actually were and if he might, at the very least, be due some sort of royalty payment should the series become a reality. We both now read contracts with far more sophisticated eyes than we did in 1981, and something popped out at us. We hired a top-notch intellectual property lawyer to read Mac's contract to determine if we were misunderstanding what it actually said. We weren't, he told us. Then he looked at the title search and read Warner Brothers' assessment that the chain of title was plagued by numerous "gaps". He wrote a letter to MGM asserting Mac's rights.
And now, Watson, the game is afoot. We suspect there's more than enough here for you to digest, and this is not intended to be a complete statement of our legal position. It is simply a letter to our friends, one that we hope will make clear what the rights issues you have or soon may hear about really are. We'll update you in the near future, as warranted by new events in what Buckaroo would surely call "a developing situation". Until then, thanks, Blue Blaze Irregulars, the Kolodney Brothers, the Rug Suckers, assorted Hong Kong Cavalier fan clubs and auxiliariesthanks to everyone who is Team Banzai.
By the Oath of the Flying Fish, we remain
Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter
W.D. Richter's DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT reviewed!
(8/11/15) Perfect Tommy was shopping for underwear when he came across this review of W.D. Richter's spellbinding new literary masterpiece, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. It's been rated better than Fruit of the Loom Boys' Boxer Briefs! Available in Kindle edition on Amazon.com!
(3/26/15) MonkeyBoyBoox has announced that it is poised "right on the cusp" of launching its first title, WD Richter's long-simmered DON'T (aka DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT). MBB, the nascent e-publishing company whose credo is "partly truth partly fiction", describes itself as reality-based and says that it's gearing up to handle a potential firestorm of indifference when Richter's controversial debut novel becomes available shortly on iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Baker & Taylor, Copia, Gardners, eSentral, Scribd, Goodreads, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando, EBSCO, and ePub Direct.
For Immediate Release
Docudrama to be released in Blu-ray in England!
(4/2/15) From Blu-ray.com:
Peter Weller is Buckaroo Banzai, a physicist-neurosurgeon-martial arts master-secret agent-rock star who has just made history with his invention, the Oscillation Overthruster. The Overthruster allows him to travel to the 8th Dimension, but this feat draws the attention of the Red Lectroids, an alien race (led by Christopher Lloyd) who have teamed up with Banzai's nemesis, the deranged Dr Lizardo (John Lithgow). Lizardo and the Red Lectroids are seeking the Overthruster to take over the world and Banzai, with his team of agents/band musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop them before it's too late!
With strong references to sci-fi and pop culture that span Thomas Pynchon and Orson Welles, Buckaroo Banzai is a film made by fans for fans and counts filmmakers including Wes Anderson and Kevin Smith among its admirers.
· High Definition Digital transfer of the film from original elements by MGM-
· 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
· Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
· Audio commentary with writer-director W.D. Richter and Reno (writer Earl Mac Rauch)
· Q&A with stars Peter Weller and John Lithgow moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith, filmed at Lincoln Center, New York
· Buckaroo Banzai Declassified - An original featurette on the making of the film featuring W.D. Richter, stars Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow and more!
· Visual essay by critic and author Matt Zoller Seitz
· Alternate opening featuring Jamie Lee Curtis
· Closing sequence
· Deleted scenes, featuring fourteen scenes from the workprint
· New Jet Car Trailer and Teaser Trailer
· Trivia track by Pinky Carruthers
· Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
· Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original stills
UK STREET DATE: JULY 20.
MonkeyBoyBoox® Finally Reveals Plans!
(1/28/15) MonkeyBoyBoox® confirmed today that WD Richter has nearly completed work on volume one of an ambitious multi-tome futuristic sci-fi thriller that recounts the absurd life and terrifying times of Buckminster Brake (R), 49th President of the United States of America.
Richter and Earl Mac Rauch (Chronicler of our own Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, the legendary rockstar neurosurgeon and Institute founder) are in the final throes of launching their heretofore sub-rosa digital publishing house, MoneyBoyBoox®, which they intend to debut Real Soon with the release of Richter's initial offering.
A MonkeyBoy spokesperson further explained that Richter, working in self-imposed isolation since 2006, has had a difficult time piecing together the notoriously fractured and essentially non-existent historical record of President 'Bucky' Brake's harrowing early life prior to what many have called his "ridiculous" rise to the highest office in the land.
Contacted directly by the Institute, Earl Mac Rauch, while reluctant to reveal the name of his friend's book, revealed that the work had assumed the form of a short novel or a long short story because it covers only 24 hours in the 18-year-old future president's life and takes place mostly in a tree. "But they were eventful hours," Rauch stressed, and he also gave further credibility to rumors that he himself was deep into something he described as "an unfamiliar look at a familiar subject," fueling speculation at the Institute that Rauch's own in-progress manuscript might just be a new B. Banzai thriller and emerge from hiding as "An Exclusive Earl and Walter Imprint" for fledgling MonkeyBoyBoox®.
Quoting T.S. Eliot's "Burnt Nortion," Richter added in an e-mail, "I can only say, there we have been. But I cannot say where. And I cannot say how long, for that is to place it in time."
EDIT: 3/8/15: Fixed spelling error in MonkeyBoyBoox.
DOCUDRAMA WINS ROTTEN TOMATOES HONOR!
(2/11/11) IGN'S Rotten Tomatoes review program has honored the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama as the #1 Aborted Franchise of All Time. Reviewer Ellen Fox called the film "bananas," suggesting that perhaps it was "just a tad too weird for America." We can't help but agree.
Ms. Fox also mentioned the ongoing efforts by filmmaker W.D. Richter and historian E.M. Rauch to produce a follow-up docudrama, possibly documenting the ongoing threat of the World Crime League. Richter reportedly described the honor as "pretty dang rewarding!"
You can see the Rotten Tomatoes segment at:
BANZAI DAY LILY?
(2/1/11) BBI Susan, our resident horticulturist, recently came across an intriguing entry in the Rycroft Daylily Nursery's catalog. It's a flower, emblazoned with vivid colors of the Banzai Institute, bearing the name of our founder!
Do you know the story behind this glorious bloom? If so, please share the story with us at:
BTW: Fellow horticulturists can obtain the spectacular flower at:
WCL SMEAR CAMPAIGN!
(1/25/11) It has been brought to our attention that the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, an otherwise reputable reference, contains a highly-questionable review of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. The review suggests that our favorite docudrama is "badly photographed, and appears to have been made by underground junk intellectuals who accidentally stumbled over a fairly big budget."
Filmmaker W.D. Richter, contacted for a response to the negative review, reacted immediately: "Since when is $14.18 'a fairly big budget'? I'd post this scurrilous cheap shot at once to alert all Blue Blazes that Xan is feeling cornered."
You've been warned!
The entire review appears at: http://www.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~b2506017/sf/1v.htm
BANZAI INSTITUTE NOW ON FACEBOOK
(1/211) The world-famous Banzai Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Strategic Information now has an official presence on the Facebook social networking platform. Institute administrators for the new page include BBI Silver Fox, who was the publicist at 20th Century Fox for the docudrama's initial release, as well as BBI Catnip, who was one of the founding members of the Institute.
All Blue Blaze Irregulars and Institute members are invited to join us at:
A UNIVERSE BEFORE THE BIG BANG?
(12/14/10) Intercept from the Banzai Institute from Perfect Tommy, released by E.M. Rauch:
RESULTS MY RECENT THINKING
Conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) posits the existence of an aeon preceeding our Big Bang "B," whose conformal infinity "I" is identified, conformally, with "B," now regarded as a spacelike 3-surface. Black-hole encounters, within bound galactic clusters in that previous aeon, would have the observable effect, in our CMB sky, of families of concentric circles over which the temperature variance is anomalously low, the centre of each such family representing the point of "I" at which the cluster converges. These centres appear as fairly randomly distributed fixed points in our CMB sky. The analysis of Wilkinsonson Microwave Background Probe's (WMA_) cosmic microwave background 7-year maps does indeed reveal such concentric circles, of up to 6-sigma significance. This is confirmed when the same analysis is applied to BOOMERanG98 data, eliminating the possibility of an instrumental cause for the effects. These observational predictions of CCC would not be easily explained within standard inflationary cosmology.
cc: S Hawking, B. Greene, T. Hikita, M. Johnson, A.M. Polyakov
For Immediate Release
ELECTRICITY & THE DEAD
BIBRSI CLEARANCE LEMUR ALPHA
Henry Schlesinger's recently published book The Battery (available HERE) closely examines the development and history of portable power cells, and how they've been conceived, improved, and utilized over the centuries. One application discussed in the book involves Giovanni Aldini, who was among a number of researchers attempting to learn more about the affects of electrical impulses on inanimate lifeforms.
Giovanni's work pre-dates the 1818 publication of Mary Shelley's similarly themed Frankenstein by at least a decade. He never actually claimed to have fully reanimated the dead, instead extolling a command of "vital powers" and his exertion of "considerable power over the nervous and muscular systems".
In the early 19th century, Aldini's traveling exhibit featured the experimenter's strategic application of electrical currents into the corpses and decapitated heads of both humans and animals. Aldini, nephew of renowned frog zapper Giovanni Aldini and great uncle of particle physicist E. Lizardo, both thrilled and disturbed university and medical audiences in Bologna, Paris, and London with his ghoulish escapades.
A sense of Aldini's efforts can be gleaned from one of his own reports:
"...the pointed rod with one end connected to the battery was now placed in contact with the spinal marrow, while the other rod was placed in contact with the sciatic nerve. Every muscle of the body was immediately agitated with convulsive movements resembling violent shuddering from the coldOn moving the second rod from the hip to the heel, the knee being previously bent, the leg was thrown out with such force the assistants, who in vain attempted to prevent its extension."
"Electrically facilitating the re-animation of subjects postmortem is something The Institute has previously looked into..." revealed Dr. Sidney Zwiebel during a recent conference call from Bandaar Abbas. Dr Zwiebel, after whom the Akira-class large Federation cruiser/carrier "New Jersey" is named, went on to say that "It's not all that hard to raise the dead, but the energy required to do so contravenes electrical impulses in the subject's neural network. The result is troubling and distasteful."
When pressed for further details about The Institute's apparent failure to fully resuscitate deceased individuals, the doctor, often referred to as simply "New Jersey" himself, would only comment, "Well, I'll say this, and I think Dr. Banzai would agree, that was one a really long week." "And it brought us a new appreciation of liability waivers!" added Perfect Tommy.
More about Giovanni Aldini can be found HERE.
(Thanks to BBI Merrick!)
For Immediate Release
LOST XAN MASK FOUND!
(3/30/10) BBI INTERN WALDO COFFEY DISCOVERS
LOST XAN-MASK IN CREEPY STEAMER TRUNK
BENEATH PERFECT TOMMY'S ABANDONED "SECRET FORT"
Special thanks to W.D. Richter for this one!
For Immediate Release
RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED PROGRAMS
(1/2/10) Announcing an all-new feature from the Banzai Institute: RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED INSTITUTE PROGRAMS. As you know, the Institute has many amazing programs in the works at any given time. As you also know, many of them are deeply classified for reasons of national security and to avoid collateral damage to bystanders. Still, the Institute has a policy of perodically reviewing the security status of its programs, and declassifying material that is no longer considered to be highly sensitive.
Our first report is on Henrick Toth's motorcycle sidecar, obviously ispired by Dr. Hikita Banzai's original jet car design! Check it out!
Institute members wishing to share newly-declassified program data are urged to contact Reno Nevada: email@example.com
For Immediate Release
Banzai Comic Con trailer!
(12/15/09) In case you missed it when it was first released, here's a cool trailer made in 2006 to promote Moonstone Books' Buckaroo Banzai graphic novels! (Thanks to W.D. Richter for the heads-up on this one!)
For Immediate Release
W.D. Richter interviewed
(8/16/09) BBI Dan "Big Shoulders" Berger recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Buckaroo Banzai docu-drama by interviewing noted filmmaker W.D. "Rick" Richter for the World Watch One zine. Here's the interview, courtesy of Big Shoulders:
Dan-Looking back; well, first off, how do you feel about looking back on the last 25 years, Buckaroo Banzai or no?
Rick-I don't know how I had the energy to live them. I must have been considerably younger.
Dan-Do you see anniversaries like this as a welcome opportunity to reminisce or an unwelcome house guest distracting you from the future or something else entirely?
Rick-Neither. I'm not a reminisicist, nor am I distractible, because if something succeeds in getting my attention, it's probably something I'd prefer to do to what I was doing at the time it distracted me.
Dan-What is the one question you are asked about Buckaroo Banzai, besides the watermelon, that you never need to hear again?
Rick-"Why did you make that ridiculous movie? I didn't get it at all."
Dan-Unreal. What is the one question you are never asked about Buckaroo Banzai that you wish someone would?
Rick-"Did you actually have any idea what the movie was really going to be like?
Dan-And the answer is...?
Dan-If you were to take an inventory of the items in the Banzai archives, what would be some of the highlights on that list? A particular story treatment or drawing on a napkin or a photograph?
Rick-Without a doubt, the earliest drafts of Mac Rauch's partial "Buckaroo Bandy" scripts. They explain everything, even the watermelon.
Dan-It is tempting to ask questions like, "If you had it all to do again..." or, "What would you change if you were making the film today..." when an anniversary comes up. What do you think of these sorts of questions?
Rick-I think=2 0I wish Jordan Cronenweth hadn't been fired by David Begelman for making the first stuff we shot "look too much like Blade Runner,"and I wish we'd had a few extra weeks to shoot so that the truly gifted cast and crew might have been able to savor Mac's script more. Oh, the lost possibilities. What would I change? That goddamn lollipop Peter Weller insisted he suck during the crucial Orson-Welles staircase scene. I'd change it to a fish-hook-on-a-stick.
Dan-Do you naturally find yourself asking these questions as well or not so much?
Rick-You mean "Do I talk to myself?" Or "Do I ask strangers I meet?"
Dan-If you have been mulling those sorts of questions, what are some of your answers? How do they differ from they way you would have answered them 25 years ago?
Rick-Are these all trick questions?
Dan-Believe me, it was worse. Be glad, "Is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in any way a love letter to Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra?" hit the cutting room floor.
Rick-Jesus, who knows? Civilization hadn't even hinted that it was imploding back then. I was having a good time, more or less. I think.
Dan-You are trapped in a room with a loaf of bread, a penguin, the ghost of Cesar Romero, and an old beat up copy of Tiger Beat magazine. How long does it take you to totally disregard the scenario and move onto something else?
Rick-This is precisely one of those questions that's going to stall health-care reform in Congress and derail the peace process in Iraq.
Dan-Of the several Banzai projects that ran the gauntlet and didn't make it over the last 25 years, which one were you most disappointed to see go by the wayside?
Rick-The TV pilot. Mac wrote a sensational script=2 0about Dr. Lizardo and potato guns. It was too frightening for Fox, more terrifying than homosexuality in their eyes.
Dan-Which one gave you the most joy putting together?
Rick-Again, the pilot script. So many wonderful BB fans, mostly on Star Trek, designed better graphics for free than we had in the movie, and Mac's script was beyond the fringe. It was published in truncated form as a Moonstone Comic...RETURN OF THE SCREW. But if we'd actually filmed it? David Begelman would have lost his fudge in his grave. That said, I miss David. He was sincerely mean to me. He meant ill.
Dan-Are there any current goings on regarding Buckaroo?
Rick-There's chatter about a hybrid Jet Car and an animated TV series, and more comics are in the works. I'm the wrong guy to ask, though. Perfect Tommy is producing for the Institute now that Mrs. Johnson is on maternity leave.
Dan-Any final thoughts on the anniversary?
Rick-I think all BB fans should each send Mac Rauch a bottle of champagne. He picks u p his mail at Moonstone Comics. No cheap shit, either.
NOTE: BBI Dragon informs us that the sure-to-be-a-collector's-item 25th anniversary issue of World Watch One will be available in the library section of BBI ArcLight's website, along with back issues. Check it out at http://www.worldwatchonline.com/
For Immediate Release
Attention Tri-State BBIs: 25th anniversary screening
(8/11/09) Send a message to all Blue Blaze Irregulars in the tri-state area! A 25th Anniversary screening of "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension!" will occur at the Laurelhurst Theater 2735 East Burnside Street, Portland, Oregon on Saturday, August 15th at 9:30 pm. The Laurelhurst serves fresh pizza and microbrew beer. Local BBIs will be distributing a limited edition print version of the 25th Anniversary Buckaroo Banzai newsletter.
Spread the word. Come and enjoy! laurelhursttheater.com.
Editors' note: We can't believe it's been 25 years! Where did the time go?
For Immediate Release
Dr. B. Banzai statement on the election of Barack Obama
as President of the United States
(11/05/08) Earl Mac Rauch, noted writer and biographer of Dr. B. Banzai, received the following message from the good Doctor, commenting on yesterday's election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America:
"With my ascetic beliefs, I generally temper the high with the low, but not everything can be deconstructed. Certain moments in life are simply unalloyed joy. As I said to Barack in my congratulatory call last night, 'Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahhahahahahahhahahha!!'"
-Dr. B. Banzai."
(2/7/08) Many students of Dr. B. Banzai have bemoaned the absence of Pecos from the acclaimed docudrama, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. Unfortunately, as most fans are aware, during the timeframe of the film, Pecos was in Tibet, much to the chagrin of Reno Nevada, who had been looking forward to seeing his Significant Other represented on the big screen. Reno tells us that he had some interesting casting suggestions for the lovely Pecos, if she had been part of the movie's script.
Fortunately for Reno (and other Pecos fans), our friends at Moonstone Books is rectifying the situation with the publication of Wild Asses of the Kush, one of the latest issues in their Banzai graphic novel series.
Wild Asses features the mysterious gunslinger, so we can finally see the woman who won Reno's heart, and maybe understand a bit of why she is such a force to be contended with. The book was written by Banzai scribe Earl Mac Rauch and noted filmmaker W.D. Richter, with art by Paul Hanley and is published by Moonstone.
Also forthcoming from Moonstone Books is Tomb With A View, a one-shot Banzai graphic novel that will reveal the origin of Dr. B. Banzai.
For Immediate Release
Lewis Smith's Actors Academy
(12/26/07) Actor Lewis Smith, widely noted for his popular portrayal of Perfect Tommy in the docudrama, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension, has founded The Actors Academy, a training program for thespians working in film and television. Smith, a veteran Hollywood actor whose other credits include Wyatt Earp, In the Line of Duty, and The Heavenly Kid, credits such luminaries as Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Sanford Meisner for helping him to understand the theory and practice of actors. According to Smith, he founded the Actor's Academy in 1988 in an effort to give back by sharing his experience with fellow performers.
The Actors Academy, which is located in Santa Monica, California, can be contacted at ActorsAcademy@gmail.com or at their website, http://www.actors-academy.com/.
For Immediate Release
An interview with Earl Mac Rauch
(11/9/07) Scholars, Banzai Institute members, and students of Dr. B. Banzai are all aware of legendary writer Earl Mac Rauch. Along with our own Reno Nevada, Rauch has documented the life and times of Dr. Banzai, most notably in the docudrama, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. One of Rauch's latest works is the popular graphic novel series Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Screw, recently published by Moonstone Books. The series is based on "Supersize Those Fries!", the iconic pilot script for the proposed Buckaroo Banzai television series.
In Return of the Screw, Rauch (with docudrama director W.D. Richter) recounts the extraordinary period in Dr. B. Banzai's life in which he was haunted by nightmares of Penny Priddy's death, and found himself forced to meet the challenge of an unexpected threat at the hands of old enemies. Now, the three volumes of Return of the Screw are set to be collected in trade paperback to be published in mid-December 2007 by Moonstone.
Dan "Big Shoulders" Berger recently interviewed the celebrated scribe.
Dan Berger: Can you tell us a little about your personal introductions to Team Banzai?
Earl Mac Rauch: I hope to sell this story to the tabloids someday for a lot of money, so obviously I'm not going to tell it here. It's also a sensitive issue because it gets into privacy policies at the Banzai Institute. As you know, whether you show up at the Institute East or the ranch out west and are selected to become an "embryo," the file of your past life is sealed and burned in a special ritual campfire. Without naming names, I could tell you stuff about some of your heroes that would curl your toes. Some have led pretty messy lives, maybe done hard time and all the rest of it, but I imagine there are things in your background that you wouldn't particularly want to advertise, either.
DB: What started the ball rolling on the docudrama, and how did you become involved?
EMR: W.D. Richter lied to me, as he has on repeated occasions. Just kidding.
DB: Aside from lawyers and Deathheads, what kept Buckaroo and the band out of the public eye throughout most of the 1990s?
EMR: Mainly those legal issues you mention and a number of Xan's Hollywood thug operatives, who we call the "Axis of Evil." George W. Bush had it exactly right, as usual.
DB: During an appearance before the United States Senate, Senator Strom Thurmond once asked Dr. Banzai if he was or had ever been a Communist. Dr. Banzai corrected that he was in fact a "commonist." What is commonism?
EMR: "Commonism" is not any particular ideology, but a belief in "common" human beings, "ordinary" people working together for a common good. It's anti-elitist.
DB: Anything you can tell us about the next Buckaroo Banzai adventure?
EMR: The next one is called "Of Hunan Bondage" and deals with Buckaroo's early life up until Peggy's kidnapping on the eve of their wedding. I honestly don't know if she's dead. I hope she's dead, otherwise she's probably Hanoi Xan's sex slave. It's a prequel, I suppose, and blows the lid off the country music industry. After that comes "Wild Asses of the Kush."
DB: Sexy title.
EMR: Look for it in a brown wrapper, behind the counter.
Look for Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Screw, written by Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter. Art by Stephen Thompson, Keith Williams, Ken Wolak. Cover by Lee Moder. 120 pages, color, ISBN 1-933076-26-7, published by Moonstone Books. Cover price: $16.95. (Thanks to Big Shoulders!)
For Immediate Release
Buckaroo Banzai: The latest issue! (Updated 10/1/2007)
(8/30/07) What has the good doctor been up to lately? According to our friends at Moonstone Books, quite a lot, and you can share the adventures in a bounty of upcoming "latest issues"!
FIRST, Wild Asses of the Kush, an oversize one-shot graphic novel by world-famous Banzai historian Earl Mac Rauch, with art by Paul Hanley puts Dr. B. Banzai undercover, where he faces a most unusual situation.
SECOND, an all-new miniseries, Of Hunan Bondage, is a prequel to the famous Buckaroo Banzai docudrama. Written by Earl Mac Rauch, and illustrated by none other than Chewie, Of Human Bondage promises to reveal much more about the noted neurosurgeon, particle physicist, rock musician, humanitarian, and adventurer.
And if that's not enough, December 2007 will see Moonstone's release of A Christmas Corrall, a holiday special written by Rauch, with art by Ken Wolak.
Want more? Here's a sneak preview of Wild Asses, courtesy of Moonstone.
UPDATE 10/1/07: Dan "Big Shoulders" Berger just sent us the following: "Moonstone is pretty close to releasing the trade paperback collection of Return of the Screw, which will feature a lot of additional material, icluding some alternate covers they didn't print, scripting for alternate endings to the story, and an interview with Mac that I did back in June." (Thanks, Dan!)
For Immediate Release:
BB Docudrama honored
(6/26/07) The online edition of The Guardian has recognized the iconic Buckaroo Banzai docudrama as one of the 1000 most important films of all time. The British newspaper recently honored The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension in a feature titled "1000 Films to See Before You Die." The Guardian called the BB docudrama "a joy to discover," noting that "it pulls off the trick of being nearly incomprehensible, yet sharply funny." (Thanks to Joe S. Martino!)
The original article can be read at: http://film.guardian.co.uk/1000films/0,,2108487,00.html
For Immediate Release
Remembering a top scientist
By LYNN ELBER, © The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (June 13) -- Don Herbert, who as television's "Mr. Wizard" introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died Tuesday. He was 89. Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Bell Canyon home, said his son-in-law, Tom Nikosey.
In "Watch Mr. Wizard," which was produced from 1951 to 1964 and received a Peabody Award in 1954, Herbert turned TV into an entertaining classroom. On a simple, workshop-like set, he demonstrated experiments using household items.
"He modeled how to predict and measure and analyze. ... The show today might seem slow but it was in-depth and forced you to think along," Jacobs said. "You were learning about the forces of nature."
Herbert encouraged children to duplicate experiments at home, said Jacobs, who recounted serving as a behind-the-scenes "science sidekick" to Herbert on the '80s "Mr. Wizard's World" that aired on the Nickelodeon channel.
When Jacobs would reach for beakers and flasks, Herbert would remind him that science didn't require special tools.
"'You could use a mayonnaise jar for that,"' Jacobs recalled being chided by Herbert. "He tried to bust the image of scientists and that science wasn't just for special people and places."
UPDATE: Banzai director remembers Mr. Wizard
(6/18/07) From W.D. Richter, director of the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama:
"How well I remember the story Buckaroo told Mac about the time a tiny (but perfect) Tommy was on the Mr. Wizard show. He brought his own mayonnaise jar because he'd seen Mr. Wizard suggest the possibility the week before. On the air, Tommy screwed up the morning's experiment because his jar was still half full of mayo!"
Banzai preview issue selling out!
(2/10/06) The preview issue of the new Buckaroo Banzai graphic novel is selling out around the country. The Institute has gotten reports from Blue Blaze Irregulars and comic fans that many stores are already out of the special, published by Moonstone Books. The eagerly-awaited preview issue is an advance look at the styles and adventures from the forthcoming miniseries from a story written by Earl Mac Rauch. In some cases, retailers have reported selling out their entire stock of the Banzai preview on the first day!
BBI field reports indicate that a few retailers still have copies of the preview edition, so anyone wanting this sure-to-be-a-collector's-item is urged to check soon at your favorite comic or specialty store. Also, according to Joe Gentile at Moonstonebooks, a small number of additional copies are still available and are being rushed to retailers to meet the unexpectedly high demand.
The full miniseries, titled "Return of the Screw," is expected to be released by Moonstone in April.
Special thanks to BBI Big Shoulders and BBI Arclight for the heads-up!
For Immediate Release:
Banzai Institute back on-line
(12/3/05) The Banzai Institute website is back on-line following an unexplained systems failure earlier this week. Institute members attempting to access this website for much of Saturday, December 3rd, were greeted with a mysterious error message. Webmaster Scooter Lindley headed a BBI Technical Strike Team that was successful in restoring service by Saturday evening.
Early reports suggesting that the outage was due to World Crime League activity appear to be untrue, according to Lindley. Institute representatives have been working with authorities from APO and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate reports that the outage may be linked to an outbreak of mad penguin disease at the Institute's Antarctic research station. Nevertheless, Lindley has indicated that the situation appears to be under control and there is no immediate cause for further concern. We will update this report as future developments may warrant.
Our thanks to BBI Riptide and BBI Big Shoulders for bringing the outage to our attention.
For Immediate Release:
Update on Buckaroo Banzai graphic novel preview edition
(11/8/05) In response to those who have asked about finding the "preview edition" of the upcoming Banzai graphic novel, we've just gotten this update from Joe Gentile at Moonstone Books, the publishers of the upcoming Banzai graphic novel, courtesy of BBI Big Shoulders:
"The BB preview will be available to any comic shop in the US and beyond who order it from Diamond, FM, or COLD CUT. As to how many units will be printed, that really depends on how many are ordered. Fans need to tell their local shops that they are interested in BB!"
"For those living in an area without a comic shop, or in the event that their local store will not carry the issue, people can purchase a copy either through a mail order comic shop, an on-line comic shop, or at the Moonstone booth at the conventions we attend, or direct from Moonstonebooks.com!"
UPDATE 11/09: Big Shoulders informs us that Joe Gentile has confirmed that Issue #1 of Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Screw will hit the shelves in April of 2006!
For Immediate Release:
Helping victims of Hurricane Katrina
(9/2/05) Our neighbors and friends on the Gulf Coast need our help. They need a lot of it, and they need it now. Please give of your time and your money. This disaster has proven that individuals and private organizations can and do make the critical difference in a catastrophe.
The American Red Cross is on the scene with people, services, and supplies. They need money and volunteers:
Amazon.com lets you donate directly to the American Red Cross with their handy 1-Click service:
The Network For Good maintains an extensive list of organizations providing assistance to hurricane victims:
Volunteer Match specializes in helping volunteers find worthy organizations to help the public good. You can find a national organization that needs your help, or one in your own hometown. Their database includes over 34,000 organizations that need volunteers. The choice is yours:
The USA Freedom Corps has been endorsed by both former presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush. Their website offers opportunities to contribute to national and state relief funds, and it helps locate volunteer opportunities in many areas of need:
Information for members of the US military and their families from the Department of Defense:
For Immediate Release:
Banzai graphic novel previews in December
(9/1/05) As previously reported, the folks over at Moonstone are putting together a three-issue comic book miniseries about Buckaroo and the Hong Kong Cavaliers. It's called Return of the Screw, and it's written by Earl Mac Rauch, from a story by Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter. We loved their work on the docudrama movie a while back, even though Perfect Tommy thinks they ran away with his egg poacher. Rick and Mac firmly deny this "ridiculous" allegation.
This December, Moonstone will release a 16 page, black & white preview issue. This special installment will feature art from the upcoming miniseries, an interview with Mr. Richter, as well as character profiles and pin-ups. While the preview will be rendered in provocative black and white, the miniseries itself will be presented groovy color!
We got a peek at what Moonstone has in store for the preview release, as well as samples of cover art by the rockin' Matt Haley and Michael Stribling. Interior art for the preview will be handled by Stephen Thompson and Keith Williams.
When Buckaroo heard about the preview's amazing FIFTY CENT price tag, he said, "50 cents!? Wow! That's cheaper than a Jim-Jam Snappy Pop on a Midsummer's day!" We're not sure what this means, exactly, but he seemed very happy.
Banzai director pens new thriller
(7/29/05) Sony Pictures' new action flick, Stealth, was written by noted screenwriter W.D. Richter. Stealth, directed by Rob Cohen and starring Josh Lucas, Jaimie Foxx, and Jessica Biel, follows the saga of three top Navy aviators who are assigned to a top-secret weapons program, a computer-piloted fighter jet. W.D. Richter is best known to friends of the Banzai Institute as the director of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. Richter, along with Reno Nevada and Earl Mac Rauch, is serving as a consultant to Moonstone Comics for an upcoming graphic novel series based on several yet-untold adventures of Dr. B. Banzai. Richter received an Academy Award nomination in 1980 for his script for Brubaker.
Banzai Institute representatives who attended a preview screening of Stealth report that the film is a popcorn thriller with lots of exciting chase scenes and amazing visual effects. "Perfect summer fare!" proclaimed a Blue Blaze Irregular. They also note that W.D. Richter's script reveals - to those paying close attention - that the Truncheon bomber (which was once contracted to the now-defunct Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems) ultimately became a secret missile, developed for the U.S. Navy. But you have to listen carefully.
Another Banzai alumnus who worked on Stealth was production designer J. Michael Riva.
Stealth is currently in wide release in theatres (almost) everywhere.
For Immediate Release:
Banzai star treks boldly
(5/05) Actor Peter Weller, star of the acclaimed docudrama Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension, is guest-starring in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Weller plays John Paxton, the powerful leader of Terra Prime, a separatist group dedicated to keeping Earth free of alien influence. Weller, who gained popular recognition for his portrayal of Dr. B. Banzai in the 1984 docudrama, has also headlined such genre fare as Robocop, Leviathan, and Showtime's recent Odyssey 5 series. Weller's Star Trek: Enterprise episodes are titled "Demons" and "Terra Prime."
Institute operatives, reporting undercover fom Paramount Pictures, reveal that "Demons" director LeVar Burton confessed to be a fan of the good doctor. Burton even prevailed on Weller to use a replica of Dr. B. Banzai's Oscillation Overthruster as a prop in a key scene in the episode (pictured).
Weller's first episode will air on Friday, May 6th on the UPN network. "Terra Prime," his second episode, is slated for broadcast on Friday, May 13, 2005. "Terra Prime" will air together with an episode titled "These Are The Voyages..." as a two-hour "event." The latter episode is the Star Trek: Enterprise series finale, making this the last first run primetime airing of Star Trek for the forseeable future. UPN announced its cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in early February.
More information on Peter Weller's appearance can be found at startrek.com.
For Immediate Release:
MOONSTONE TO PUBLISH ALL-NEW BANZAI GRAPHIC NOVEL MINISERIES
(1/05) An all-new chapter in Dr. Banzai's exploits will soon be found in comic shops everywhere.
Moonstone Comics has joined forces with Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter (the team behind the 1984 docudrama Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension) to chronicle more of Dr. Banzai's exploits in an upcoming graphic novel miniseries.
With the exception of the underappreciated manga/candybar hybrid, The Strange Fate and Protracted Lament of Speedy the Syrian Hamster (which Buckaroo doesn't want us to talk about very much), this marks the first time Dr. Banzai & the Hong Kong Cavaliers have appeared in comic form since Marvel's adaptation of the docudrama.
Art for the new books will be handled by acclaimed Star Wars artist Stephen Thompson. If you're wondering where to find Moonstone comics, here's an extensive list of retailers.
The new Buckaroo Banzai miniseries should hit stores later this year.
In related news, the offices of Wonder Comics, Limited in Turtle Dove, Iowa completely vanished today, a few hours after Wonder CEO Leornard Morose canceled the company's upcoming Hanoi Xan: Dark Magicians and Souls Best Forgotten graphic novel. Buckaroo and the HKC are investigating now.
LENDING A HAND - SOUTH ASIA TRAGEDY
(12/30/04) In response to numerous inquiries, Dr. B. Banzai has asked us to provide the following links for friends of the Banzai Institute who wish to donate money to aid the victims of the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Southern Asia.
Amazon.com offers its customers the ability to use its "1-Click" system to make donations directly to the American Red Cross to benefit their South Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief efforts.
CNN list of aid groups accepting donations for victims.
Network for Good. Links to numerous aid and emergency response charities working for earthquake and tsunami relief.
Doctors Without Borders
United States Fund for UNICEF .
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Singapore Red Cross Society
Karuna Trust (Sri Lankan organization)
Sarvodaya (Sri Lankan organization)
American Jewish World Service
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Habitat for Humanity International
Save the Children USA
Christian Children's Fund
International Medical Corps
World Food Programme (United Nations)
Obviously, there are many options for helping. The need is immediate, critical, and unimaginably great. Dr. Banzai thanks everyone in advance for their generous contributions in this time of global need.
For Immediate Release:
Watermelon project update
(7/15/04) After 20 years of painstaking research, endless experimentation, and numerous moppings of the lab, Blue Blaze Irregular Big Shoulders reports that Phase 2 of the Watermelon Airlift Delivery Project is a complete success.
As many of you no doubt remember, Phase 1 was to develop a food source that could be dropped from a low-altitude aircraft into remote areas of the world. The watermelon was chosen and ultimately proved sucessful. Phase 2 included the introduction of a protein source. In this case, a cleaned, raw chicken was inserted into the watermelon prior to egress. After delivery, the watermelon could be heated whole, providing a perfectly cooked chicken in every green-skinned pot.
Observed Big Shoulders, "The tricky part was getting through the rind testing trials. Dynamic pressures within a watermelon really build up once the 'lid' seals in the chicken and the oven heats up. We got to see a chicken fly a few times before figuring things out. You could say the situation was explosive!" For the skeptical, Big Shoulders assures us the chicken was quite edible, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
A more complete report can be found in the upcoming World Watch One newsletter.
For Immediate Release:
First privately-funded human spaceflight
(6/21/04) The world witnessed the dawn of a new space age today, as investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites launched the first private manned vehicle beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The successful launch demonstrated that the final frontier is now open to private enterprise. Under the command of test pilot Mike Melvill, SpaceShipOne reached a record breaking altitude of 328,491 feet (approximately 62 miles or 100 km), making Melvill the first civilian to fly a spaceship out of the atmosphere and the first private pilot to earn astronaut wings.
This flight begins an exciting new era in space travel," said Paul G. Allen, sole sponsor in the SpaceShipOne program. "Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites are part of a new generation of explorers who are sparking the imagination of a huge number of people worldwide and ushering in the birth of a new industry of privately funded manned space flight." The historic flight also marks the first time an aerospace program has successfully completed a manned mission without government sponsorship. "Today's flight marks a critical turning point in the history of aerospace," said Scaled Composites founder and CEO Burt Rutan. " We have redefined space travel as we know it."
BBI Catnip represented the Banzai Institute at the Mojave Airport for the historic flight. "It was really cool to see SpaceShipOne soaring into the wild blue yonder," she said. "Not only that," she added, "it wasn't as loud as Buckaroo's Jet Car!" A large crowd watched the momentous flight live from the grounds of the Mojave Airport, joining millions of others around the world who tuned in by television, radio, and the internet.
For Immediate Release:
New Banzai Merchandise available
(10/4/03) Starland has announced it is offering for sale two new cloisinne pins from the Banzai Institute and the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama. The first pin displays the world-famous Banzai Institute seal, while the other carries the logo of the now-defunct Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. Both pins are about one inch in overall size, and bear detailed, accurate designs rendered in durable cloisinne resin. Starland is a noted dealer of film memorabilia and has been a staunch supporter of Buckaroo Banzai and the Banzai Institute since the original theatrical release of the Banzai docudrama. In addition to these two new items, Starland also offers a variety of Banzai-themed t-shirts, patches, posters, and other goodies. To purchase these items, go to the Starland website. (Thanks to ArcLight and to Steve Walker for the heads-up on this one!)
For Immediate Release:
Institute members search for extraterrestrial life (updated 9/05)
(8/4/03) Members of the Banzai Institute have banded together to join the scientific search for extraterrestrial life. They have done this by installing the SETI@Home screensaver on their personal computers. The screensaver makes use of idle computer time to perform scientific analysis on actual data gathered by the huge Arecibo radio telescope. These analyses look for signs of radio signals that might have come from extraterrestrial civilizations. Some 4.6 million people have signed up for SETI@Home, making it the largest distributed computing project in history.
The Banzai Institute's SETI@Home team was organized by two long-time Insitute supporters.
UPDATE: 9/05: SETI@Home now uses BOINC, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing. This lets you donate computer processing time to SETI research, as well as other scientific projects. It supports multiple processors, and it gives the user more control over when SETI@Home runs, and the amount of computer resources used by the application. New SETI@Home users should use the BOINC software. Previous users can continue to use Classic SETI@Home, although most have chosen to migrate to the new software. The links below have been revised for the new BOINC application:
Institute members wishing to joing the Banzai Institute team should first download the BOINC client software. Present Banzai Institute SETI team members wishing to upgrade to the BOINC software can also download the software here:
After you've installed the screensaver, you can join the Banzai Institute team by signing up at:
You can get current statistics for Banzai Institute team members at:
(Note that the BOINC server sometimes takes several days to credit your account for work processed.)
You can get Banzai Institute team stats for the original version of the SETI@Home screensaver at:
More information on SETI@Home and the scientific search for extraterrestrial life can be found at:
and at the SETI Institute website:
UPDATE: 10/4/03: Banzai Institute team members across the United States and the UK have now contributed a little over 24 years' worth of computer processing time to the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, during which they have performed number crunching on more than 13,000 SETI work units.
UPDATE: 8/10/04: The Banzai Insitute SETI team now has some 62 members from the US, UK, Australia, and Germany. Collectively, they've contributed some 77 years of CPU time, processing over 55,000 work units in the scientific search for extraterrestrial life.
UPDATE: 1/15/05 Currently, the Banzai Institute SETI team has grown to 68 members who have donated an incredible 120 YEARS of computer time, processing over 115,000 work units. For current Banzai SETI team statistics, click here.
For Immediate Release:
OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER replica to be auctioned for charity
(5/15/03) A nonfunctional replica of Dr. B. Banzai's famous OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER is being offered for auction on eBay. This is the first replica of the amazing device to be offered for sale to the general public.
The replica was made as a prop for the syndicated fantasy TV series, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. The auction, being conducted by the organizers of The Lost World Convention, will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. According to Lost World supervising producers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, the prop was a standby for the show's third-season episode, "Legacy."
Included with the prop is a Certificate of Authenticity from the Banzai Institute, with authorized facsimile signatures of Dr. B. Banzai and W.D. Richter, director of the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama film. The certificate also bears the signatures of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The entire proceeds of this auction will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, so the entire purchase price will be tax deductable in the US (except for shipping charges).The auction closes on Thursday, May 22, 2003.
UPDATE: 5/24/03: The auction has been re-listed and can be found at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3328975997. The new listing closes on Saturday, May 31, 2003.
UPDATE: 5/31/03: The auction has successfully concluded, raising $405.00 in support of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Our thanks to The Lost World Convention organizaing committee for letting us be a part of this worthy effort.
For Immediate Release:
Banzai DVD honored
(2/18/03) The MGM Home Video special edition DVD of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension has been honored by the Digital Bits web magazine in their fourth annual Bitsy Awards. The award, presented in the category of "Best DVD - Psychotronic" recognizes the Buckaroo Banzai docudrama for having "in spades the one element that most disks completely overlook: a sense of humor." The Digital Bits editors noted that the special edition disk is "possibly the first DVD ever produced with the full cooperation of its main character," and that the film is "a real cult classic and one of the most perfect marriages of content, style and disc production to date."
The special edition of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai was produced by MGM Home Video and is still available through video retailers and online dealers such as Amazon.com and Blockbuster. Special thanks to Kim and to ArcLight for the heads-up on this one!
For Immediate Release:
Buckaroo Banzai is Amazon top seller
(1/20/02) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Special Edition DVD continues to be among the top sellers for Internet superstore Amazon.com. The MGM Home Video title, chronicling the heroic efforts of Dr. B. Banzai to protect Earth against an invasion of Lectroids from Planet 10 in the eighth dimension, has consistently been in Amazon's top ten best selling DVDs. The film has often ranked as high as fifth since its DVD release on January 2, 2002.
For Immediate Release:
MGM Home Video enlists fans to promote Buckaroo
(1/16/02) Recognizing the strong role that fans have always played in the success of the Banzai property, MGM Home Video has been placing two different animated banner advertisements for the Buckaroo Banzai DVD on fan-run websites. The studio has retained ADDMarketing, a noted marketing firm specializing in Internet promotions for this effort.
For Immediate Release:
DVD Journal, AICN give Banzai disk a big thumbs up!
(1/14/02) The DVD Journal website (dvdjournal.com) praised the Buckaroo Banzai Special Edition DVD, calling it "a marvelous, surprising platter that, unlike most DVDs, extends the movie's fiction rather than deconstructing it." Reviewer Alexandra DuPont calls the disk's supplemental material a "Buckaroo Banzai Rosetta Stone," adding that the extras "expand its universe and ultimately transforms [it] into a vastly richer multimedia experience." DuPont's article, which also appears on film news site Ain't-It-Cool-News, includes a detailed breakdown of the extras on the disk, plus a listing of some of the "Easter Eggs" hidden on the DVD.
For Immediate Release:
Buckaroo Banzai sales soar
(1/8/2002) MGM Home Video executive Alyssa Moore today announced that both Best Buy and Circuit City, among the nation's largest video retailers, have both sold 66% of their inventory of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Special Edition DVD in the first week of release. So pleased are both retail giants that they are already re-ordering the title from MGM Home Video. Similarly, sales of the new Pocket Books edition of Earl Mac Rauch's novelization have been extremely strong. Bookstore sales are expected to climb, as the novel becomes stocked in increasing numbers of retail outlets over the next few weeks. (NTC News)
For Immediate Release:
Critics love Buckaroo!
(1/8/2002) After years of waiting, effort, and setback, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai docudrama DVD finally hit stores last week, and it's being talked about across the Internet.
Ali, an editor at Amazon.com (where the film is currently the fifth highest-selling DVD), calls the docudrama "one of the most agreeably insane movies ever made." Considering how mundane the film's subject matter seems to most staff members at the Institute, we're not entirely sure Ali appreciated the film's subtler "slice of life" / reflective sensibilities.
Albert Kim at Entertainment Weekly says "Fans will drool over the extras", and calls the movie "unadulterated fun".
The disc has been well-received by several DVD supersites as well. DVD File's Mark Keizer noted that its "...picture is surprisingly clean and bright; there are plenty of newer films that look worse", and called the docudrama "a dream come true" for fans.
The Digital Bits' Bill Hunt indicated "You've certainly never seen Buckaroo looking this good before...A lot of care has gone into this disc, and if you're a fan, you're really going to love it". Click on the names of these sites to access full reviews of the DVD.
Meanwhile, technophiles have begun uncovering the plethora of Easter Eggs (hidden "extras") cleverly planted throughout the DVD by Institute personnel. Dr. Banzai would not indicate how many eggs were actually hidden on the DVD, and flatly refused to address mounting speculation that these "eggs" might serve a purpose beyond mere entertainment value. To start your "egg hunt" (and to learn more about Chicken in a Watermelon), explore various menu screens and "highlight" graphics you may not otherwise think to highlight.
For Immediate Release
Buckaroo Banzai Special Edition DVD released!
(1/2/2002) MGM Home Video has released the long-awaited DVD version of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. This Special Edition DVD, produced by Michael Arick in association with the Banzai Institute, features a pristine widescreen transfer of the classic docudrama, plus an amazing collection of special features including:
- Dolby 5.1 soundtrack
- Alterate opening sequence (featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as Buckaroo's mother!)
- Deleted scene archives
- Commentary with director W.D. Richter and writer Earl Mac Rauch
- Character profiles
- Banzai Institute archives
- Photo gallery
- "Jet Car All Access"
- Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle track
- Exclusive demo trailer for Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries
- Teaser trailer
- Enhanced Nuon features (for Nuon-enhanced DVD players)
- "Easter eggs"!
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension from MGM Home Video is available at video retailers, as well as through many on-line retailers, including Amazon.com and Blockbuster.
For Immediate Release:
Buckaroo Banzai novel published!
(11/1/2001) For years, Earl Mac Rauch's classic novelization of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai has been out of print. If you weren't among the few who picked up a copy of the original limited printing, you were out of luck. Sure, maybe you could buy a copy on eBay, but you could count on paying hefty collector's prices. To the frustration of so many fans, there just weren't that many copies of the book out there!
But now, Pocket Books has published an all-new edition of the novel that started it all! Written by Earl Mac Rauch (in close collaboration with Reno Nevada), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai chronicles the astonishing Jet Car test that unleased an extraterrestrial threat from the eighth dimension.
"I speak Spanish to God, French to women, English to men, and Japanese to my horse."
-- Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai. A strange, elusive figure, his name whispered in barrooms and boardrooms, his advice sought by pashas and presidents, his exploits recounted in movies, novels, and comic books that seem somehow more real than life itself.
Buckaroo Banzai. First and foremost an extraordinary brain surgeon. In his spare time designer and driver of the electrifying Jet Car, a speed machine faster than sound! Buckaroo Banzai. A happy man whose life has been marked by great tragedy, who speaks a dozen languages and writes songs in all of them. His musical sidekicks the Hong Kong Cavaliersó Rawhide, Reno, the Swede, Perfect Tommy, Flyboy, Big Norse, Pecosóare one of the toughest, most popular hard-rocking bar bands in east Texas.
Join Team Banzai on their two-fisted, action-packed assault against the evil red Lectroids from Planet 10!
Experience the horrors of the Shock Tower and the Pitt deep within the walls of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems as Buckaroo Banzai fights against impossible odds to rescue Penny Priddy from the clutches of Dr. Emilio Lizardo, the diabolically alien dictator. Pray that Buckaroo will succeed, knowing only too well that if he fails the Earth itself will be blown to dust!
For the first time in years, Pocket Books is proud to present The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. This special edition features a new introduction by the author and a color insert featuring photos and illustration seen here for the very first time!
No matter where you go, there you are.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension is available at booksellers everywhere, as well as through many on-line retailers, including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
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