Howie Fields and “Big” John Wallace discuss music and Harry Chapin

As much as I admire many of the actors, musicians, ball players and others that I’ve grown up watching, I’ve only cried at the death of four of them:  John Lennon, because it was so senseless; Roy Scheider, because he was my friend; Ron Santo, because he was my first “idol” and Harry Chapin… just because.

When I was 13, Chapin’s song Cats in the Cradle came out.  It struck a chord in me that I never forgot.  It was almost like Harry was singing about my father and me.  My son is going to be 31 later this month, and that song still rings true.  Where I was once the little boy that wanted to spend more time with his dad, now I’m the father who has to accept that my son now has a family of his own.  As I got older I became a fan of Harry Chapin’s music and I was crushed when he was killed 34 years ago today, July 16, 1981.

Today, Harry’s music is still being played, the torch being carried by his brothers Tom and Steve and the members of Harry’s band.  I recently asked drummer Howie Fields and bass player “Big” John Wallace a few questions about Harry Chapin and his music.

Mike Smith:  What were your musical backgrounds before joining up with Harry?
Howie Fields: Drum lessons at age 15 followed by a parade of teenage basement and garage bands playing Beatles, Stones. Rascals, Dylan, Kinks, Hollies, Who, etc. Better bands WITH PAY in my college years leading up to my entry into Harry’s band in 1975.
John Wallace:  I started out as a vocalist in the Grace Church Choir in Brooklyn, New York, where I met Harry and the other Chapin brothers.  I dabbled with the bass guitar in my teen years and my first public appearance on bass was in my teens when Harry asked me to perform his songs with him in people’s homes in Brooklyn. Fast forward approximately 10 years when he asked me to join his band.

MS:  When did you join the band?
HF: 1975
JW: I was a founding member, 1972.

MS: How was Harry to work with – was he open to collaboration when working out his songs with the group?
HF:  That ran the gamut. Sometimes Harry would run down a new song or two and ask us to come up with some ideas during concert sound checks (which he rarely attended) and at other times he would come in with a song and have very precise ideas. The rest of the time it would be pretty equitable collaboration in the recording studio.

MS:  Is there a favorite song you enjoyed playing live?
HF:   “Mercenaries,” “Odd Job Man,” “The Mayor Of Candor Lied”
JW:  Too many to choose from.

MS:  Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share?
HF:   Quite notably for me, within the run of the show (NOTE – in early 1975 Harry and the band performed on Broadway in a show titled “The Night That Made America Famous” with words and music by Harry.  The show went on to earn two Tony Award nominations), was the night of March 1, 1975. Both Saturday performances were completed and Harry entered the band dressing room and asked Big John if he would come with him to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony at The Uris Theater for which he had one extra ticket and for which he had been nominated as Best Male Vocalist for “Cat’s In The Cradle”. He was also performing the song that night but John politely declined. Harry then put the ticket up for grabs and only after it appeared no one else was taking, I found myself in a cab with Harry, his wife Sandy, and his dad Jim, rushing over to the Grammy’s which had already begun. We entered the building and as we approached the doors leading from the lobby into the actual theater, a young usher (about 20) noted that Harry was overburdened with a guitar (not in its case), a leather bag, and one or two other items. He offered to take the guitar which Harry gladly gave up and then, somehow, as the usher was holding the guitar and at the same time attempting to open the door to the theater for us, he simultaneously dropped the instrument and tripped in such a way that one of his feet came down right on the guitar. So…there the guitar lay…smashed on the ground. It happened in a nano-second and it wasn’t pretty. All I remember at that point was Harry putting his arms around this devastated and horrified kid, saying “Don’t worry about it bro”. He could be like that.

MS:  Harry was killed on his way to perform at a benefit concert.  Did that show ever go on?
HF:  No, that show did not occur but one year later the band plus Tom Chapin did a memorial show on the same stage in Eisenhower Park in Long Island.

MS: Are you amazed that, three decades after he passed away, Harry’s music continues to gain new fans?
HF:   I am, as it’s pleasantly remarkable to me that Harry’s music has endured AND in many circles/families has been passed down to younger generations. The variety of age groups are evident at many of our concerts.

Rock and roll fans take notice:  I first “met” Howie when I was working on a screenplay about Harry’s life.  I contacted Howie and asked him if he had any idea what the set list was at Harry’s last show.  He sent me a copy of it.  Not a list of the songs, but a copy of the actual set list.  Howie runs a web site called “Rock Paper” and I’ll let him tell you about it:

HF:   Rock Paper is a business I have had going for over 20 yrs. It’s an archives of rock music and its two main entities are a complete archives of Rolling Stone magazine, whereby ANY article, record review, concert review, advertisement EVER published in the magazine can be located. Rock Paper has over 10,000 back issues o the magazine going back to the issue #1 (1967). There are also thousands of other back issues available of other classic rock magazines….Crawdaddy, Circus, Creem, etc, etc, etc,

It also has an archive of concert ads cut from newspapers from NYC & the UK.

You can search for whatever you’re looking for at www.RockPaper.net.

All photos copyright www.harrychapin.com

 

Universal Orlando Resort And Warner Bros. To Host Second Annual “A Celebration Of Harry Potter” Event In January 2015

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” will Feature Incredible Experiences at Both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida Jan. 30 – Feb. 1

Vacation Packages with Exclusive Benefits, Including Exclusive Q&A Sessions with Harry Potter Film Talent, Go on Sale Thursday, August 21 at Noon EST

ORLANDO, Fla.Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced today that they will host the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event – a special event for fans celebrating the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

Beginning January 30, 2015, fans will enjoy three days of incredible experiences – including the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and more. Special vacation packages, including annual passholder packages, will go on sale August 21 and will include exclusive benefits such as access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  Full vacation package details are below.

All general admission park guests will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and other special guests (talent attendees will be announced at a later date)
  • Experience and participate in the interactive and unique exhibits of the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Enjoy special discussions regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter franchise
  • Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket.
  • And much more!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley officially opened in Universal Studios Florida on July 8, 2014 bringing even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life at Universal Orlando Resort. The new land features incredible shops with windows full of magical surprises, authentic dining experiences, a fire-breathing dragon and the new multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Guests with a park-to-park ticket will also be able to board the iconic Hogwarts Express and enjoy a unique journey as they travel between London and Hogsmeade. The new immersive area expands upon The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, launched in 2010 in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and doubles the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures to create a spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

While most of the activities for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando park guests and annual passholders, only guests who purchase the exclusive event vacation package or annual passholder package will enjoy certain special benefits and reserved seating for select events. Packages are limited and will go on sale at noon EST on Thursday, August 21, 2014. See below for full package details.

Packages for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort

On Sale at Noon EST on August 21, 2014

On-Site Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at  $219 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando Resort’s all-new retro-themed moderate & value priced hotel
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk
  • Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

On-Site Deluxe Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at   $285 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s spectacular deluxe on-site hotels:  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks for all three days – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk

Universal Partner Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $185 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel near Universal Orlando
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Free scheduled transportation between the hotel and Universal Orlando Resort
  • Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

 To book special annual passholder event vacation packages, please call 1-888-343-8991 starting August 21, 2014 at noon EST.

Access to select events within “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included in regular admission to Universal Orlando or with an annual pass. For more information about the event, tickets and vacation packages, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages. The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. And now, you can step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort; and Universal CityWalk – a unique dining and entertainment complex featuring one-of-a-kind restaurants, shops and nightclubs.  And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

Universal Orlando Announces All-New Vacation Package Featuring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley


New Vacation Package Available Now for Travel Beginning June 29 –
Giving Guests the Opportunity to Experience the Incredible New Land

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2014) – Universal Orlando Resort is announcing an all-new exclusive vacation package giving guests the opportunity to enjoy this year’s most anticipated theme park experience:  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  Travel for the vacation package begins June 29.

The new travel offer starts at $135 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for a four-night stay on-site at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and includes multi-day Park-to-Park tickets to experience both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. As part of the vacation package, guests will enjoy access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, plus exclusive benefits like Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.  They will also receive a specially themed Welcome Parcel delivered to their doorstep.

Additional vacation package details can be found below.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package

The Wizarding World of
Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package

Summer Package
~ Starts at $155 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for travel June 29 to Aug. 16

Fall Package
~ Starts at $135 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for travel Aug. 17 to Oct. 2 and Nov. 30 to Dec. 18

  • 4-night on-site hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – an all-new hotel inspired by the iconic beach resorts of the 1950s and 1960s
  • 3-day Park-to-Park tickets
  • One breakfast per person at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and the all-new Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme parks open
  • Special themed Welcome Parcel
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk
  • Book by July 31
  • Upgrade to one of three AAA Four-Diamond deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort to receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at select attractions in both theme parks all day (a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day)
  • Vacation package also available at Universal Partner Hotels

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida will double the size of the Harry Potter experience offered at Universal Orlando Resort – expanding it across both of Universal’s theme parks.  Guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. The new land will offer one-of-a-kind adventures where guests can:

  • Experience the next generation thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – where guests are propelled into a pivotal scene from the final Harry Potter book and film
  • Stroll along the streets of Diagon Alley and stop inside well-known shops like Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie and Quality Quidditch Supplies
  • Experience the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley
  • Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC
  • And more!

And, just like in the books and films, guests can ride the iconic Hogwarts Express to travel between King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. The scenic, breathtaking journey will transport guests through the British countryside as they encounter magical creatures and familiar Harry Potter characters.

In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which opened in 2010 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests can experience Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction.

To book a vacation package, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com. For additional information about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/HarryPotter.

About the Harry Potter Series 
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages.  The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family.  Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.  And, coming this summer, you can step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels:  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort; and Universal CityWalk – a nighttime entertainment complex featuring a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops.  And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on Facebook,TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

 

Related Content

Leigh Janiak and Harry Treadaway talk about their film “Honeymoon” at Tribeca Film Festival

Director Leigh Janiak debuted her first feature, the horror film Honeymoon, this week at the Tribeca Film Fest. The film stars Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) and Harry Treadaway (Showtime’s upcoming “Penny Dreadful”) as happy young couple, Bea and Paul. Their blissful honeymoon is interrupted when Bea is found disoriented in the woods one night, resulting in a terrifying personality change.

MediaMikes: Can you describe the idea of using something as happy as a honeymoon as your starting point?
Leigh Janiak: That’s where we came from when we started it. It was we’re going to take something really happy and seemingly beautiful and see what we need to do to it to really destroy it and watch it decay. And it was just like idea of how something so personal can become foreign and fall apart.

MediaMikes: Can you talk about your cast, because it’s mostly just the two of them throughout?
Janiak: They’re both lovely. It was the first time they’d both really done American accents to the full extent but I think that they did an amazing job, I’m completely blown away and you believe them. And you believe their love. They both have an incredible energy, they’re obviously extremely talented, but you never know chemistry-wise. We didn’t do a chemistry read before and it was kind of just like feeling their different vibes separately and it worked, thank god.

MediaMikes: Rose Leslie specifically has to undergo such a huge change in the middle of the film, did you discuss with her specifics about how her character is, I’ll say, pre- and post-op?
Janiak: We spent a lot of times with Rose just generally tracing her transformation and just understanding where she was hiding from Paul, when her character was trying to tell the truth but couldn’t do it. But it was really a scene by scene basis. And we did the same thing with Harry too by the way because Paul’s character transforms as well, just not quite so physically.

MediaMikes: Horror films tend to go either the way of the supernatural or the way of aliens, which one do you find scarier?
Harry Treadaway: I don’t know, like it depends! It’s also about almost what you don’t see, I think that’s what makes me scared. It’s sort of the emotions and stuff behind it that would actually get me scared. I think. Not aliens though, the other one!

MediaMikes: Ghosts?
Treadaway: Yeah!

MediaMikes: Coming up, you’ve got Penny Dreadful where you’re playing Dr. Frankenstein, what is the show bringing to this character?
Treadaway: That’s not for me to say…all that I’ll say is that it was, I mean, John Logan is you know a pretty incredible writer…Sam Mendes producing and then Juan Bayona who directed the first two is really amazing and we’ve got a cool exciting cast. And I’m just doing my little bit, really.

Here MediaMikes got into a little spoiler territory with both Leigh and Harry, so if you’d like to remain unspoiled, you can check out the trailer below, and keep an eye out for Honeymoon, which has recently been acquired by Magnet Pictures. For those of you who’d like some more gorey details head past the video. 

Spoilers ahead…In the film’s climatic scene with now-transformed Bea, the long suffering Paul has to essentially birth a slimy alien entity from Bea. I asked both Janiak and Treadaway to talk about creating and performing this standout horror moment.

Treadaway: That was another night. Just another night…That was the fourth scene up that night and we were like ‘right, how are we going to do this?’ and we tried to do it the best we could. But it was uh, certainly one of the most unusual scenes I’ve probably done.
Janiak: My special effects makeup artist was this guy named Christopher Nelson and he’s been working in this business forever. He’s also incidentally the groom in Kill Bill Volume 2, super talented, he works on American Horror Story. I had put together a really extensive look book and it’s funny I actually referenced like a shower cord but I wanted biological material. And we looked at things like The Fly or Alien. We wanted that really tactile physical effect. And he created this thing and it was perfect and really disgusting and awesome. That scene took two nights to shoot so it was a very intense time.

MediaMikes: Why did you opt for the alien approach rather than supernatural for your feature?
Janiak: It was really just about making an intimate body snatcher movie. So I think that a lot of the horror is actually grounded body-horror and then there was this idea of, we wanted to give answers, the main thing for me is about this relationship falling apart but beyond that we wanted the answers of what’s actually driving these transformations. And that’s why it was the extraterrestrial thing.

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Details for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

2014’’s Most Anticipated New Theme Park Experience Opens This Summer and Brings More of Harry Potter’s Adventures to Life 

Expansive New Area Will Feature Something for Everyone:

  The Hogwarts Express, A Groundbreaking Ride, Plus Spectacular Shops and Dining

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 23, 2014) – Never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you.  And it is all real.

With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

The two companies today revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family.  The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.

Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010.  That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.

After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city.  There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to: 

  • Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.
  • Experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults
  • Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops
  • Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items
    • Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:
      • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone
      • Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes
      • Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs
      • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses
      • Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more
      • Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards
      • Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron
      • Visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others
      • And more!


More details about the unique experiences that can be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time. For more information about the area, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.

About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages.  The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  With two incredible theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex, Universal Orlando is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family.  Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms.  A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

 

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Universal Orlando and Warner Bros. announce “A Celebration of Harry Potter” in January 2014

Universal Orlando and Warner Bros. to Host Celebration of Harry Potter in January 

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT AND WARNER BROS. TO HOST AN EVENT IN CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER IN JANUARY 2014

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” will Feature Exciting Activities Across Both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure from Jan. 24 – 26

Vacation Packages with Exclusive Benefits, Including Access to a Private Evening Reception in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Go on Sale Thursday, August 22 at Noon EST

Orlando, Fla. (August 7, 2013) – Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced today that they will host “A Celebration of Harry Potter” – a special event for fans of all ages that will celebrate all of Harry’s adventures, from the beloved books to the Warner Bros. feature films.

Beginning January 24, 2014, fans will enjoy three days of unforgettable experiences – including interactive Q&As with Harry Potter talent and more. Special event vacation packages will go on sale August 22 and will include exclusive benefits such as access to a private evening reception held in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Full vacation package details are below.

Guests will have the opportunity to:

Attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter talent, filmmakers, and other special guests (talent attendees will be announced at a later date)
Revisit some of their favorite Harry Potter film moments during a film tribute with Harry Potter talent and filmmakers (talent attendees will be announced at a later date)
Learn the art of “duelling” at a wand masterclass that’s featured at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter and hosted by Paul Harris – the choreographer who trained the cast of the Harry Potter films
And much more!
Guests will also have access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, where they can soar above Hogwarts on the thrilling attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, sip Butterbeer at the Hog’s Head pub, see a wand choose a wizard in Ollivanders, explore iconic shops like Honeydukes, Zonko’s, and more.

While most of the activities for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando park guests and annual passholders, only guests who purchase the special event package will enjoy exclusive benefits and reserved seating for select events. Packages are extremely limited and go on sale at noon EST on Thursday, August 22. See below for full package details.

Packages for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort On Sale at Noon EST on August 22, 2013

On-Site Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $675 per adult, tax inclusive

  • · 3-night accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s award-winning on-site hotels – including complimentary Universal Express access to select rides and attractions
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida
  • Access to the exclusive evening reception held in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Reserved seating for select events – including the Harry Potter film tribute, Q&A sessions and the wand masterclass
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks

Off-Site Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $395 per adult, tax inclusive

  • 3-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel near Universal Orlando
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida
  • Access to all celebration activities– including reserved seating for select events and access to the exclusive evening reception in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks
  • Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express access

Access to select events within “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included in regular admission to Universal Orlando or with an annual pass. For more information about the event, tickets and vacation packages, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

About the Harry Potter series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into more than 70 languages. The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

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About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. With two incredible theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex, Universal Orlando is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, be transformed into a banana-loving minion in the hilarious Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. Follow Universal Orlando Resort on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

Book Review “Harry Potter Film Wizardry (Revised & Expanded)”

Author: Brian Sibley
Hardcover: 164 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: October 23, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, not a crazy fan, but definitely a huge fan.  This is the first time that I am experiencing the book “Harry Potter Film Wizardry”, but I wouldn’t really call it a book.  It is more like an amazing interactive experience. This book for the first page literally transports you into the world of “Harry Potter” and doesn’t let you go.  Every single page is not filled but jam-freaking-packed with goodies.  This book has recently been revised and expanded but I don’t know how it could get any better.  If you are a fan of the “Harry Potter” franchise than this is the ultimate item to add to your collection.  But even better if you are the causal fan or maybe not a fan at all, this will provide you with more information that you can even process.

This book not only covers everything you need to know about Harry Potter and the film series, but also cool facts like why Yule Ball ice sculptures never melt? where Galleons, Sickles and Knuts are really “minted”? How to get a Hippogriff to work with actors? The inspiration behind Hogwarts castle?  and Why Dementors move the way they do?  I can’t say how amazing this all is.  Being a big fan, I am always looking to find out new and cool things and this definitely delivers.  If you are wondering what is different with this revised and expanded, there is plenty new! There are additional pages included which cover the final two film installments.  There is also an exclusive, stand-alone photo album, with never-before-seen photos with the cast and crew.  Worth it just for the purchase a lone.

Author Brian Sibley is known for his work with the BBC, including serialized dramas for J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, C. S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia”.  After handling those wonderful franchises, he is definitely the best person for this book.  He knows quality and delivers it. David Heyman, Executive Producer for the “Harry Potter” films, gives a wonderful introduction to this essential guide of the series.  You can tell that the book was written and designed in collaboration with the cast and crew that since it really takes you deep into the series and shares filming secrets, rare artwork, and other exclusive stories. If the book doesn’t look sharp enough it is also full of removable reproductions of props and papers the “Harry Potter” films.   Congrats and thanks to Harper Design, you just delivered my favorite “Harry Potter” book yet!

 

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Blu-ray Review “Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection”

Directors: Chris Columbus, David Yates, Mike Newell, Alfonso Cuarón, David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman
Number of discs: 31
Running Time: 1180 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG / PG-13
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Release Date: September 7, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

If you could have ever wanted an ultimate set for the “Harry Potter” film franchise…it has arrived! “The Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection” is a beautiful 31-disc extravaganza that includes all eight films. In addition to the theatrical release of every film, the collection also includes the extended versions of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; and the 3D versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows –- Parts 1 and 2. Also there is an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy of each film as well. There is a ridiculous amount of special features totaling more than thirty-seven hours, which more than ten hours of it is new-to-disc bonus content and five hours of never-before-seen material. Fans are going to have a field day with this. I will get more into the special features below but just looking at this wonderful box. This is such a creative way to look slick but pack of hell of a lot of content. Overall it is relatively small (12¾” x 10½” x 11¼”), but it is a very neat series of swing-out and slide-out drawers and cubby holes that hold all of the set’s discs and collectibles. Now for all the goodies that are included in this release, included is a 48-page hardcover book “Harry Potter Catalogue of Artefacts”, a 32-page “Harry Potter Label Collection” booklet, an envelope containing five wonderfully detailed black-and-white Stuart Craig drawings which are printed on heavy-stock cards, concept art color paintings also on heavy-stock cards, a Holocrux locket replica, a weathered blueprint poster of the Hogwarts castle, a large 24″ x 36″ cloth map of the Hogwarts grounds (pictured below) and, of course, a numbered certificate of authenticity. Sounds good? Well don’t just run out just yet since this releases does not come cheap.  The average price for this release is well over $300 bucks.  So unless you are the biggest of “Harry Potter” fans or unless you don’t own any of these film’s on Blu-ray then I would suggest this release highly.

Since we all have seen these movies before and watched the available special features, this review will focus on the content that has not be available before (and because those are the only ones Warner Bros sent us to review 😉 ) which lies on discs 25, 29 and 31.  Disc 25 is “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Bonus Disc”, it includes over 2 hours of features including the all new! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Pt. 7: Story”.  This feature runs 47 minute and is the seventh documentary released as part of each film’s Ultimate Edition Blu-ray releases.  This is centered around series author J.K. Rowling and saga screenwriter Steve Kloves, who really just dive into every aspect of the series from book to film, all of the challenges in between and a reflection on the results.  Next up is “The Deathly Hallows, Part 1: Behind the Magic” runs about 45 minutes and has previously aired on TV but never released.  It basically is a pre-release EPK focusing on what we can expect from the upcoming 7th film. “Harry Potter on the Road” follow a production crew all over the UK stopping at various location shoots from the series.  This could have been a 10 hours feature in its own but runs a short 20 minutes. “The Deathly Hallows, Part 1: Behind the Story Featurettes” is an 80 minutes feature that is split into fourteen mini featurettes focusing on the film’s production and nine of these are new to the film.  There is eight deleted scenes included from “Deathly Hallows, Part 1”, decent scenes but well cut. “The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Sneak Peek” is a short taste of what we were waiting for in part 2 and final “Harry Potter” film. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Promotional Tour” features Radcliffe and his castmates, J.K. Rowling and other VIPs as they give us a then sneak peek of the new theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. “Behind the Soundtrack” chats about Alexandre Desplat’s score but doesn’t spend enough time on it. Lastly there is a teaser and a theatrical trailer for The Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

Disc 29 is the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Bonus Disc”, it included over 4 hours of features including the all new! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Pt. 8: Growing Up” and an all new! extended “A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” with 15 minutes of new footage. “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 8: Growing Up” runs slightly longer than the 7th part and puts a conclusion to the whimsical ten-year journey that was the Harry Potter film saga. “A Conversation with Rowling and Radcliffe” is an extended version from 53 to 63-minutes of this conversation from the creator and Potter himself, one of the best features on this release and a must watch for all fans. “The Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Behind the Magic” like with Part 1 as well, is another pre-theatrical release TV special. “The Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Behind the Story” includes seven featurettes, which includes six new to the Wizard’s Collection.  “The Deathly Hallows, Part 2: The Quest” continues with more featurettes, in fact, sixteen more though shorter featurettes. A little bit of repeat but die-hard will eat it up. There are eight deleted scenes, nothing that will knock you out of your chair but decent. “Hogwart’s Last Stand: Extended Version” is an truly awesome  dissection of the films’ final showdown, which runs about 30 minutes. “The Women of Harry Potter” is an in-depth look at the strong women throughout the series books and the films. Next up, you can go behind-the-scenes of the UK attraction in “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London”. Rowling gives an in inside preview into her new website, “Pottermore”. Lastly’ there is the teaser and theatrical trailers for Part 2. The last disc and most awaiting is disc 31, which is the exclusive Wizard’s Collection Bonus Disc.  It is includes about four hours of all new features starting with: “When Harry Left Hogwarts – Extended Version”, which runs just shy of 90 minutes.  It is quite the emotional ride through the final days of filming. “The 50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments – Definitive Version” runs just over an hour and covers everything from”The Sorcerer’s Stone” to “The Deathly Hallows, Part 2”. “Designing the World of Harry Potter” features production designer Stuart Craig and his team as they show what it took to make the world of Harry Potter come to life. There is a two parter called “Secrets Revealed!” The first looks at the secrets of Quidditch and the second discusses Hagrid, both amazing. Lastly rounding out this amazing disc is “The Harry Potters You Never Met”, which gives some spotlight to Harry’s many stunt doubles.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/HPWCSEP7
Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/harrypottermovie
For Additional Film Clips: http://www.youtube.com/harrypotter
For More Information: http://www.harrypotterwizardscollection.com/

Here is a detailed breakdown on what is on each disc:

Disc 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Theatrical Version + Extended Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 2: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 3: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Creating The World: The Magic Begins (Blu-ray)
Disc 4: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Disc 2 from the Special Edition (DVD)
Disc 5: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version + Extended Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 6: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 7: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Creating the World: Characters (Blu-ray)
Disc 8: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Disc 2 from the Special Edition (DVD)
Disc 9: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
Disc 10: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 11: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Creating the World: Creatures (Blu-ray)
Disc 12: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Disc 2 from the Special Edition (DVD)
Disc 13: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Theatrical Version (Blu-ray)
Disc 14: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 15: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Creating the World: Sound & Music (Blu-ray)
Disc 16: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Disc 2 from the Special Edition (DVD)
Disc 17: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Theatrical Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 18: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 19: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Creating the World: Evolution (Blu-ray)
Disc 20: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Theatrical Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 21: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 22: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Creating the World: Magical Effects + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 23: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Theatrical Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 24: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 25: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Creating the World: Story + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 26: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (Blu-ray 3D)
Disc 27: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Theatrical Version + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 28: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Theatrical Version (DVD)
Disc 29: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Creating the World: Growing Up + Extra Content (Blu-ray)
Disc 30: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (Blu-ray 3D)
Disc 31: Wizard’s Collection Exclusive Bonus Disc (Blu-ray)

Book Review “Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book: Based on the Film Phenomenon”

Author: Lucy Kee
Creator: Bruce Foster
Reading level: Ages 7 and up
Hardcover: 12 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: November 16, 2010

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “Harry Potter”, it is a franchise that I can never get enough of. I thought that the idea of a pop-up book would be extremely cool for this series and I was not let down. This book is extremely detailed and should be a must purchase for all fans of “Harry Potter”. Based on the creative development of the films, this book includes amazing original artwork by Andrew Williamson, the concept artist for all eight movies. This is one of the most detailed and impressive 3D pop-up books that I have seen.

The book has five pop ups throughout its twelve pages, inclduing Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Castle, Magical Creatures, Magical Games and the Triwizard Tournament and the Dark Arts. It is not just the pop-ups though on each page,
there are side pop-ups and interactive bonuses as well. It is really amazing how much is packed into this book. Everytime that I pick it up I feel like I find something new.  There is still more included with this, such as three pull-out posters for the series.

The quality of the book is really high. Bruce Foster has created such elaborate designs on each page. Normally with pop-up books there are issues with opening and closing each page without folding or creasing. But those are not found here at all, which is very impressive. If you are looking for a different way to enjoy JK Rowling’s stories and relive your Harry Potter memories, look no further. This piece of memorabilia will not disappoint you at all especially since each page is packed with its own magic.

DVD Review “Harry O: The Complete First Season”

Starring: David Janssen
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1210 minutes
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Release Date: July 10, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Warner Archive is studio behind this new fantastic release. This is the first time that the complete season of “Harry O” has ever been released on DVD.  David Janssen, who is probably known best for his role in “The Fugitive”, recreates the role of a detective in this show. Though after watching this season, I must saw that this might have been David Janssen at his best. If you are reading this WB, please don’t keep us waiting and release season two ASAP!

“Harry O” blends a mix of action and humor.  It definitely represents some good ole’ fashioned television. This releases consists of six DVD, which include all 22 episodes from the entire first season.  Besides David Janssen, the show also co-stars Henry Darrow and Anthony Zerbe and includes a bunch of special guests including Stefanie Powers, Linda Evans, Martin Sheen, and Cab Calloway. The DVD looks great for a show from the 70’s and comes presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 and is in full frame. The audio comes in a Dolby Mono track, which also sounds great for its age. Besides containing the entire first season, this DVD release also comes with a special bonus of the original pilot episode “Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On”.

Harry Orwell is a decidedly different detective. And Harry O is decidedly different TV show. Forced off the force thanks to a bullet lodged near his spine, former police detective Harry Orwell gets by on his disability pension and the occasional private detecting gig (“100 bucks a day. Plus expenses”). No flashy car for the downtrodden Harry – he’s as apt to get around town on bus as he is on foot. But he’s as savvy as he is sophisticated, and though he might have to avoid the slugfests, he can crack any case. Even if it sometimes breaks his heart. Harry O features an actor at the top of his game, playing a character complex enough to contain his talents.

XBOX 360 Review “LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7”

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform: XBOX 360
Genre: Action-adventure
Mode: Single-player, Multiplayer

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this game, honestly. I have played both the “LEGO Indiana Jones” and “LEGO Star Wars” series and loved them both, and I was really looking forward to playing another one in the series. Sadly this one fell short of my expectations.

For the most part the game sticks to the normal genre of the LEGO games franchise with great graphics and characters. However when it came to the most important part of the game, like navigation and interaction with game pieces…that has changed a lot. Gone are the days of the simple click and move. You know how to focus on an object before interacting with it, sometimes having to drag it around. The worst part is having to put LEGO pieces together to build a bridge or set of stairs to move on to the next stage. I spent a good bit of time on the first set of stairs just trying to get the pieces together the way they were suggested to go.  I found myself settling on whatever I was able to use to jump up to the next stage. So it became very frustrating overall.

The story it’s self sticks very strictly to the books, which I am sure fans will love.  However if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies I could see where a lot of the story line could be lost on you, as well as a vast majority of the jokes.  I found the sub par navigation way too annoying and very quickly into the game I lost interest. I wish LEGO had demanded more strict guidelines for continuity, as I enjoyed being able to get immersed in game play with the two previous games in the series. Perhaps I was rather spoiled with the concept of being able to just pick up the controller and jump right in like my prior experiences.

If you are able to get through the navigation challenge and through the game I still recommend it. The LEGO games are adorable, entertaining, and fun for all ages. The ability to even play as a team with others online is a fantastic option, one of which I enjoyed immensely in the past. Then there is the thousands of interactive objects on each map, as well as numerous fun puzzles to get through. As for me I will perhaps attempt it again another time and hopefully then have a better experience with it.

“Harry Potter” Press Event Coverage at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Island Of Adventure
Universal Orlando Resort
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, FL 32819

To celebrate the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2”, there was a special celebration and some magic throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Island Of Adventure park in Orlando FL.  This special event hosted by Warner Bros. celebrated not only the home entertainment release but also a decade of movie history by allowing fans to share their love for the Harry Potter films. During the day on Friday and Saturday, we were given VIP press park tours of Island Of Adventure and Universal Orlando parks.  Friday night was packed with excellent press conferences with the following talent and filmmakers: David Barron (Producer of “Half-Blood Prince” and “Deathly Hallow, Part 1 & 2) , David Yates (Director of Order of the Phoenix, “Half-Blood Prince” and “Deathly Hallow, Part 1 & 2) , Rupert Grint (Ron Wesley), Warwick Davis (Griphook/Professor Filius Flitwick), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan), Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), David Bradley (Argus Filch), David Heyman (Series Producer), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), George Harris (Kingsley Shacklebolt), Nick Moran (Scabior) and Stanislav Ianevski (Viktor Krum).

After a great day of touring the parks, Saturday night featured a red carpet media event at Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The energy was very high during the red carpet event which ran from the middle of Island Of Adventure leading into Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  During the red carpet, the talent was on hand for interviews as they walked down the red carpet.  Even with all the red carpet action, the coolest event of the weekend had to be Warwick Davis conducting the Frog Choir.  This event was also held at the opening of Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year, but overall it was a very fun and amazing event.

The guests also had a chance to celebrate this event where they had the chance where they can celebrate their love of “Harry Potter” with the filmmakers, cast members and other fans.  The guests were able to attend an exclusive evening gala, autograph signings and Q&A sessions with stars from the “Harry Potter” films,  and lastly there were screenings of all eight Harry Potter films – including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” – at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 in Universal CityWalk. Fans of the series were having “Harry Potter” overload. It was an event that could not have been missed.  If you were not able to attend this event, you still need to take a trip down to Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Island Of Adventure and check out this amazing attraction.

 

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Blu-ray Review “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Warner Brothers

Overall Score: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Well this is the end of one of the biggest franchises in film history.  “Harry Potter” series has taken us on a journey with eight films ending with this very climactic film. I quite recommend that you watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as a whole for the full effect but this film does stand very well on its own.  It is sad to see this series end but this film is a great way to do it.  The video on the Blu-ray is really amazing especially since most of the film is so dark.   The dark scenes look very crisp and sharp.  If you though that “Part 1” was dark, this film puts it to shame but it looks real good.  The sound is outstanding boasting a phenomenal DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  The surround track is very intense and adds so much to the film.  If you get a chance to see this film in 3D though, I would highly recommend that as well since it is very subtle but adds a great dimension to the film. Overall if you are a fan of this series then you have obviously seen this film already numerous times but this release is a must own.

The extras on the disc are damn good for one main reason called “Maximum Movie Mode”. Warner Brothers’ trademark Picture-in-Picture track includes many great interviews, behind the scenes, in-depth special effects analysis, production designs, concept art and more. It is also hosted by Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), producer David Heyman and much more talent from the film.  “Focus Points” is a great collection of production featurettes including “Aberforth Dumbledore,” “Deathly Hallows Costume Changes,” “Harry Returns to Hogwarts,” “The Hogwarts Shield,” “The Room of Requirement Set,” “The Fiery Escape,” “Neville’s Stand” and “Molly and Bellatrix.”.  “Final Farewells” is short but is a sad goodbye from the franchise cast and crew.  There are seven minutes of deleted scenes including “Shell Cottage,” “Grave on the Beach,” “Hog’s Head,” “Marble Staircase: Harry & Ginny,” “Wooden Bridge,” “Hogwart’s Battlements,” “Slytherin Dungeons” and “Marble Staircase: Ron & Hermione.”  Not spectacular but definitely worth a watch. “A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” runs about about an hour and is one of the best features easily.  The duo chat about their favorite parts of the franchise and it is really fun to watch.  “The Women of Harry Potter” is a very important look at the strong women from the books and films. “The Goblins of Gringotts” gives some props to the series’ pit-eyed goblins.  There is a cool sneak peak at the UK attraction in “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London”. Lastly J.K. Rowling introduces her new website, Pottermore.

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Synopsis: In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. It all ends here.

 

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Interview with Harry and the Potter’s Paul DeGeorge

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe started the band Harry and the Potter in 2002. Since that time the duo have been the subject of a documentary titled “We Are Wizards” a film that delves into the impact of the Harry Potter book series on its fans. The group has also been credited with the creation of “Wizard Rock”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to talk with Paul about a variety of things related to the band.

Adam Lawton: What led you to starting Harry and the Potters?
Paul DeGeorge: It kind of started with reading the books. My brother and sort of pop culture at large turned me onto the books. I just thought there was something about the Harry Potter character that was similar to some of my punk rock heroes. I figured it would be cool if Harry had his own punk rock band.

AL: Can you tell us what some of those influences were?
PD: I would say as far as punk rock goes Fugazi as well as Adam and his Package were both real big influences. The thing about Adam and his Package was that they played really fun and goofy punk rock songs that were also smart. I remember being in college reading their tour diaries which made it sound like anyone could get out on the road and have a band.

AL: How did you guys get involved with the “We Are Wizards” documentary?
PD: We had received an email from the directors of the film telling us that they were interested in us being a part of a film they were planning that was going to talk about Harry Potter fans and different theories and phenomena’s related to Harry Potter. We said sure we would be interested and then one day they showed up to film us at our parents house.

AL: How was your experience with the filming?
PD: It was fun! Every two or three months the guys would pop up at a show or something and start shooting. As with most documentaries they use only a small portion of what they shoot. They shot some of our coolest shows ever played and I wish I could see some of the footage. I remember they were at one show in Brooklyn and it was a bigger show at a newer venue. At night I guess it’s a pretty intense place so they had their normal security crew there who were these huge dudes. These guys were patting down every 12 year old that was trying to get into the show. It started to freak everyone out so we moved the show to the space next door and it was really great. The place we had the show at now has shows pretty regular and is called Death by Audio.

AL: What is your take on being dubbed the originators of “Wizard Rock”?
PD: I guess we were in the right place and right time. (Laughs) We didn’t set out with any purpose to create a genre. A lot of what our band is about fostering the DIY punk spirit of doing things for yourself.

AL: Other than the show you already mentioned are there any others that stick out?
PD: We are all about pushing the boundaries of what you would expect a concert to be. From the start we were trying to do rock shows in libraries. The library is already a safe all ages places for anyone to go to. No one gets turned away at the library. We don’t want people to be turned away from our shows and the library is that kind of space for us.

AL: Can you tell us about the Harry Potter Alliance?
PD: The idea behind the Harry Potter Alliance was to form a real world Dumbledore’s Army and become the heroes that we read about. The books are really empowering and tell the storey of teens who all stick together to help change the world. We wanted to use the premise of the books to get youth involved with social activism and social justice issues. We try to draw parallels out of the books and relate them to real social and political issues. One of the current campaigns we are working on is that we are trying to get Harry Potter fans to lobby Warner Brothers who control all the merchandising related to the films to make their Harry Potter chocolate fair trade chocolate. Chocolate is notorious for really bad working conditions especially along the Ivory Coast where about 2/3rds of the worlds chocolate comes from. The main idea behind the campaign is to educate Harry Potter fans about the fair trade issues. We also have the opportunity to use our power as Harry Potter fans to maybe affect change on a large corporate level. We can use our leverage as an organization to get our message into the press which will hopefully influence Warner Brothers to change their business practices. We really want to tryand use Harry Potter as a tool to create global citizenship.

AL: What other upcoming plans do you have for the band?
PD: We just finished a two month summer tour and we are going to take it easy during the fall. I think the biggest thing on the horizon for us as of right now is we are in the planning stages for our annual Christmas shows. We have been doing these shows for a few years now in our home base of Boston, MA. This year will be our 7th annual Yule Ball in Boston. Last year we branched out to New York and Philadelphia which we plan to do again this year. We might possibly being do one other city but I can’t say too much about that just yet.

For more info on Harry and the Potters you can go to www.harryandthepotters.com