Eric the Movie Man is available to bring his multi-media classes to your school, library, church, club, senior center, or anywhere else!
Classes are free for locations in Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Ham Lake, Lexington, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park and $150 plus mileage for anywhere else in the metro. E-mail Eric to schedule a class.
All available classes are listed below and consist of a one hour presentation with thirty minute set up time before hand.
The Marilyn Monroe Story
Marilyn Monroe is one of Hollywood’s greatest stars and one of the most enduring legends of the silver screen. In this class, we’ll follow Norma Jeane Mortenson’s journey from obscurity to one of the most recognizable women in the world. You’ll witness her immortal film triumphs alongside her personal tragedies as we examine a life that ended far too soon. North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston hosts this one hour look at the life and career of a true American icon.
Mickey, Bugs, and Betty Boop: The Birth of Animation
Everyone has fond memories of Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, but how were they created? And who were the cartoon stars who preceeded them? You can find that out and more in this great, one hour class from North Metro TV’s Movie Man Eric. You’ll learn about the very first animated movies, see which famous comic strip artists helped cartoons get their start, and even meet wacky characters like Gertie the Dinosaur, Felix the Cat, and Betty Boop along the way. It’s an unforgettable look at the earliest days of your cartoon heroes that you won’t want to miss!
The Three Stooges: Comedy’s Heavy Hitters
Nyuk nyuk nyuk! Get ready to learn everything you never wanted to know (and more) about America’s favorite nit-wits, The Three Stooges! Learn how Moe’s friendship with vaudeville megastar Ted Healey led to the creation of the Stooges, how Shemp entered, left, and entered the act, how Larry became a Stooge after starting out as a violinist and boxer, and just why they called him Curly. It’s an uproarious hour of in depth stories about the boys and their films from North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston.
Hollywood Goes to the Dogs
Learn all about the history of dogs in the movies with this great, one hour class from North Metro TV’s Movie Man Eric! You’ll meet Rover, the very first dog to star in a movie, and spend time with Hollywood’s other good dogs, like Rin Tin Tin, Strongheart, Benji, and even Lassie! You’ll learn which dog starred in more classic films than any other, hear the story of the movie dog rescued from a World War I battlefield, and see how Lassie went from being the dog nobody wanted to being the most beloved dog in America. If you love movies and you love dogs, you won’t want to miss this great class!
Hollywood Goes to War
On December 7, 1941, America joined the Second World War and Hollywood was quick to follow. In this great one hour class from North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston, you’ll find out all about how the movie industry switched gears to support the war effort and join the fight. You’ll learn how Veronica Lake’s hair helped the war effort, why Clark Gable sought active combat as a member of the US Air Force, and how the war reunited Marlene Dietrich with her mother. Plus, you’ll see rare, top secret films and cartoons made by Hollywood exclusively for our fighting men and women. It’s a must see salute to Hollywood and the greatest generation!
James Bond: 50 Years of 007
Celebrate the adventures of the world’s most famous spy in this class from North Metro TV’s Eric Houston. Using rarely seen film clips, photographs, and more, Eric will take you through the entire history of James Bond, from his literary origins to the most recent films. You’ll learn where the name James Bond came from, which Hollywood actor was originally cast to play Bond, and even hear the surprising words to the famous James Bond theme song! All of this will be for your eyes only during this great one hour mission with agent 007!
Star Wars: Creating a Galaxy Far, Far Away
On May 4, 1977, Star Wars debuted in theaters. This class is your chance to learn how the sci-fi adventure everyone underestimated took the world by storm. Join North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston for this great, one hour look behind the scenes of the entire Star Wars Saga. You’ll learn which famous Hollywood actors almost starred as Luke, Han, and Leia, hear the original, on-set voices of Chewbacca and Darth Vader, discover how your favorite special effects, aliens, and monsters were created, and so much more. So climb aboard your favorite Corellian Freighter, landspeeder, AT-AT, or tauntaun and join us for this can’t miss look at Jedi Knights, Sith Warriors, and the power of the Force.
Back to the ‘80s: The Decades Biggest Blockbusters
Put on your proton pack, grab your fedora and gas up your Delorean because it’s time to head back to the ‘80s! In this great, new class from Movie Man Eric Houston, you’ll travel back to the decade of Cabbage Patch Kids and Pepsi Free to look at a trio of modern movie classics as we go behind the scenes of Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Back to the Future. You’ll see rare footage of the actors who almost played Indiana Jones and Marty McFly, learn about Eddie Murphy’s part in Ghostbusters, and hear the surprising twists and turns each movie made on its way to the big screen. It’s a trip to the past you won’t forget!
We Love Lucy: The Lucille Ball Story
Spend an hour with America’s favorite redhead in this great class about the life and career of Lucille Ball. You’ll learn all about how Lucy became Hollywood’s Queen of the B Movies, how she met Desi Arnaz, and how the two of them created I Love Lucy and a whole host of television innovations still in use today! North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston will lead you through Lucy’s entire career with rare video clips and behind the scenes photos as you fall head over heels all over again for the one and only Lucy.
The Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Sometimes Zeppo
Spend a night with the Marx Brothers and North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston in this terrific, one hour class. You’ll find out how the boys got their famous nicknames, how Chico and Harpo learned the piano and the harp, whatever happened to Zeppo, all about Groucho’s tenure as the host of the wild game show You Bet Your Life, and how these Broadway superstars became some of the world’s most beloved movie stars! It’s a night of horn honking and word play that you won’t want to miss!
Over the Rainbow: Behind the Scenes of the Wizard of Oz
We’re off to see the Wizard and get a peek behind the curtain in this great, one hour class from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston. This is your chance to learn the fascinating and tumultuous behind the scenes story of one of the greatest and most popular films ever made. You’ll learn which child star was almost cast as Dorothy, hear a rare, deleted song from the film, and even see footage from early silent film versions of the story! There is so much to learn that you, too, will feel as if you’ve traveled the famous yellow brick road!
The Oscars: 90 Years of the Academy Awards
For Hollywood’s elite, there’s no suspense like the moment before that legendary envelope is opened and the presenter utters the familiar phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” Movie Man Eric Houston is here to guide you through all the glitz and glamour of more than 90 years of Oscar history. You’ll hear how the Oscar got its name, see show stopping scandals from ceremonies past, and learn tons of great Oscar trivia, from the movie that won the most Oscars to the only man to win twice for the same performance. It’s a fabulous night on the red carpet that you won’t want to miss!
Dracula, Frankenstein and King Kong: Monster Movies of the 20s and 30s
In this one hour class, we’ll trace the history of monster movies from silent era greats like Nosferatu and the films of Lon Chaney, through the first wave of Universal Pictures monster movies starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and right on into the biggest monster of them all: King Kong! You’ll learn about how Lugosi almost didn’t get Dracula and what other famous monster he nearly played, you’ll meet the men who created some of the most enduring monster make up of the age, and how special effects wizards brought a giant ape to life! The class will feature a lecture by North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston, coupled with tons of rare photographs and amazing film clips.
The Wolfman, the Creature and Godzilla: Monster Movies of the 40s and 50s
Monster movies came roaring back to movie screens in the 1940s and ‘50s with some of the greatest monsters yet: the Wolfman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla, and more. In this great one hour class, you’ll learn how the fading genre came back with a vengeance in the ‘40s, how Lon Chaney Jr. became Universal’s go to monster movie star, meet the woman who created the Creature, and find out how America saved Godzilla from obscurity! North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston will provide a lecture along with rare photographs and tons of terrific film clips!
The Monsters Come to Television: Samantha, Herman, Gomez, and Jeannie
With monster movies fleeing theaters in the late 1950s, everyone’s favorite creatures found new homes on the small screen. In this one hour class from studio manager Eric Houston, you’ll take an in depth journey into the behind the scenes stories of Bewitched, The Munsters, The Addams Family, and I Dream of Jeannie. You’ll learn the secret of Bewitched’s two Darrins, which member of the Addams clan had their name changed by censors, how producers hid Barbara Eden’s pregnancy, and see tons of rare photos and clips, including footage of the unaired Munsters color pilot. It’ll be a hair raising good time with America’s favorite monster families!
Star Trek: Behind the Scenes of the Final Frontier
Go behind the scenes of the final frontier with this great class from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston! This one hour class features dozens of fascinating facts about the Star Trek franchise as well as rare clips and videos, including the original Star Trek blooper reel, footage from the un-aired Star Trek pilot starring Jeffrey Hunter, and a scene from the rarely seen Star Trek animated series. Plus you’ll learn the important part Lucille Ball played in Star Trek history, see the original designs for the Enterprise, and even enjoy the musical stylings of William Shatner and Lenard Nimoy! Don’t miss your chance to go where no one (well, actually, several people) has gone before with this fun and informative class!
The Quiz Show Scandals and Other Game Shows of the 50s and 60s
In the 1950s, so-called quiz shows became the first real television phenomenon. Americans, including the President himself, raced home each week to enjoy shows like the $64,000 Question and Twenty-One. The shows featured big stars and even bigger prizes. There was just one problem: they were all rigged. In this terrific, one hour class from North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston, you’ll learn all about the scandal that rocked the nation and changed television forever, plus other great early game shows, like What’s My Line, To Tell the Truth, and Password.
Come on Down: Game Shows of the 70s and 80s
After years of obscurity, game shows came roaring back to American airwaves in the 1970s. You’ll learn how Let’s Make a Deal revolutionized the genre and jump started a trend, how The Price Is Right became the longest running game show of all time, and just why everyone wanted to kiss Family Feud’s Richard Dawson. We’ll also go in depth and behind the scenes of Match Game, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune. North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston hosts this one hour retrospective of America’s favorite games.
Batman: The 1966 Television Sensation
Biff! Bam! Pow! Batman and Robin are back in this special look at the classic television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward! This great class presented by NMTV Studio Manager Eric Houston will feature rare photos and videos that will take you back to the height of Batmania. You’ll learn which cast member was part of the Manhattan project, which 70s TV star almost played Batman, why there were so many Catwomen and so much more! You won’t want to miss this class! Same Bat-time, same Bat-classroom!
Superman: The Man of Steel on the Silver Screen
Superman: strange visitor from another planet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and, for 80 years, the star of screen, stage, television, and the radio. In this great, one hour class from Movie Man Eric Houston, we’ll delve into Clark Kent’s history in the movies and other media. You’ll learn how Superman’s radio show shamed the real life Klan, see scenes from his notoriously bad Broadway musical, and see the tragic stories of actors George Reeves and Christopher Reeve. Along the way, we’ll also examine rare photos and video clips from his various cartoons and movie serials. Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a Superman class!
Gilligan’s Island: A One Hour Tour
Go behind the scenes of the world’s most famous three hour tour with this fun class that is absolutely loaded with rare video clips and photographs of Gilligan, the Skipper, too, the millionaire and his wife, a movie star, and the rest! You’ll learn which castaway was a former Miss Nevada, which castaway started a Gilligan’s Island themed restaurant, and which game show host played the Howells’ son! You’ll also get to see clips from the Gilligan’s Island reunion movies, the rarely seen animated series, and the even more rarely seen pilot, which didn’t even feature Ginger or Mary Ann!
Yabba-Dabba-Do: The Fantastic World of Hanna-Barbera
Have a yabba-dabb-do time with Fred and Barney, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and all your other favorite cartoon characters as Movie Man Eric Houston takes you on a journey through the careers of TV animation pioneers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. You’ll see how the duo started out making the Tom and Jerry cartoons and how revolutionized animation by bringing it to television. You’ll learn how Frank Sinatra influenced the creation of Scoobie-Doo, hear which celebrity inspired Yogi Bear, and even see rare footage from the Flintstones pilot. You won’t want to miss this chance to relive Saturday morning all over again.
Jim Henson and the Muppets
It’s time to raise the curtains! It’s time to light the lights! It’s time to grab a seat for this terrific one hour look at the life and career of one of the most talented and creative men ever born: Jim Henson. North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston will use rare photographs and clips to take you on a tour of Jim’s work, including the birth of the Muppets. You’ll see rare Muppet commercials, clips from Jim’s most famous and most obscure movies and TV shows, and even get a look at Sam and Friends, the very first Muppet show! You won’t want to miss it!
Australian Cinema: Movies from the Land Down Under
G’day, mates! Get ready to spend an hour down under with NMTV Studio Manager Eric Houston as you explore the ins and outs of Australian Cinema. You’ll see clips and rare photographs from Aussie classics like Crocodile Dundee, Mad Max and Moulin Rouge, while also experiencing amazing films we guarantee you’ve never even heard of before. You’ll learn which big blockbusters and family favorite films are secretly Australian, spend time with the colorful characters and films of the Australian movie industry, and learn how Australia went from being the most prolific and innovative film producer in the world to practically not even existing for more than fifty years. It’s a fascinating class you won’t want to miss.
At the Movies: The Birth of Sound, Color, and the Widescreen
Throughout their first sixty years, movie theaters were home to near constant innovation. In that short amount of time, the movies became longer, added sound, developed Technicolor, and became bigger than ever! You’ll learn how it all happened and how it worked in this great, one hour class from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston. Along the way, you’ll find out how popcorn became the most popular movie snack, hear the very first words ever spoken in the movies, see clips from the earliest color films, and even find out what movie made audience start coming to the theater on time. It’s a night with the movies you’ll never forget!
This Is Orson Welles
By the age of 24, Orson Welles had already created history’s most famous radio presentation and begun work on Citizen Kane, often considered the greatest film ever made. It was all downhill from there. In this one hour class, we’ll use rare photos and film clips to trace the young genius’ meteoric rise and long, slow decline. You’ll see clips from his other masterpieces, like The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil, footage from unfinished projects like Moby Dick and The Other Side of the Wind, and find out just what made his films so special and influential. It’s a detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest artists that you won’t want to miss!
Mary Pickford: The World’s First Movie Star
Once the most famous and successful woman in the world, Mary Pickford was the original American super star. We’ll take an in depth look at her career, from her early silent films to her Oscar winning sound debut! You’ll learn all about how this amazing woman founded her own movie studio (which is still in business today), how her acting style revolutionized silent films, how she and her husband became the first world famous celebrity couple, and the huge scandal she caused by simply cutting her hair! Plus you’ll get a rare look at clips from several of her classic films and dozens of behind the scenes photographs alongside a lecture from NMTV Studio Manager Eric Houston.
Early Film Treasures: 1896 – 1901
Learn all about the birth of the movies in this great class from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston! This one hour class is your chance to see footage of nearly two dozen movies from the world’s earliest films, including the very first movie ever made! You’ll enjoy rarely seen footage from the likes of Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers while also learning about the earliest days of the film industry. Learn where the first movies were made, how people saw movies before the creation of the first movie theaters, and even see the only existing footage of the real Annie Oakley! This is a terrific opportunity to see how the movie industry started and to see some of the most influential movies ever made!
Early Film Treasures: The Great Train Robbery
Return to the fabulous world of turn of the century movie making with this class from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston! In this one hour class, you’ll follow the career of early film pioneer Edwin S. Porter through rare photographs and clips from more than a dozen movies made between 1900 and 1903! You’ll see rare footage of the 1901 World’s Fair, the funeral of President McKinley, and more. The class culminates with a look at one of the most important and influential films of all time: The Great Train Robbery. This is an amazing trip to the past that you won’t want to miss!
The Presidency on Film: John Quincy Adams to JFK
Few people in the history of the world have been as famous as the Presidents of the United States. Nowadays, the President is a daily fixture in our homes, thanks to television. In the early 1900s, though, images of the commander-in-chief were much rarer. In this class, we’ll look at the very first presidents to appear film and see how the media of the day helped shape and preserve their careers. You’ll see tantalizing glimpses of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, watch clips from the numerous films made to commemorate the assassination of President McKinley, and the first ever televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston hosts this amazing look at rare, moving documents of American history.
Christmas in Hollywood
Celebrate the holidays with a look at some of the world’s most beloved Christmas movies: Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life. The class features movie clips, rare photographs, and an insightful lecture from North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston. Along the way, you’ll learn which of these Christmas classics premiered in the summer, which Little Rascal appears in not one, but two Christmas classics, which surprising cast member appeared in the most films (over 1000), World War II’s influence on each film, and the fascinating stories of how each movie entered the hearts of Americans from coast to coast.
Rudolph, Snoopy, and the Grinch: TV’s Greatest Christmas Specials
For many of us, the holiday season isn’t complete without viewing our favorite Christmas specials. You’ve seen them dozens of times, but now is your chance to find out how they were made! You’ll learn which monster movie star provided the voice of a Christmas icon, which special was the first to use actual children as actors, and just what a Bumble really is. Join North Metro TV Studio Manager and Anoka County Film Historian Eric Houston for this trip down memory lane, featuring visions of sugar plumbs and nine, tiny reindeer.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
In this one hour class, North Metro TV Studio Manager Eric Houston will take you on a trip behind the scenes of one of the most bizarre television events of all time: The Star Wars Holiday Special! Aired only once the winter after the first Star Wars movie was released, this strange variety show featured all of the stars of Star Wars, including Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, alongside the likes of Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Chewbacca’s family. There were songs, comedy sketches, cartoons, and more. And it was all terrible. This is your chance to hear the story of this failed experiment with rare footage of the special that George Lucas himself threatened to destroy with an ax!