Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Diary of Magecraft

Being a Chronicle of the Inner Secrets of, and Spells of Magick as Wielded by, the Philosopher of the Internet and Unofficial Sorcerer-in-Residence of the City of New York

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

As New York's Unofficial Wizard, my mission is to encourage the Mortals of Manhattan to imagine responsibly!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tollbooth Returns!

Your humble Dragonmaster's parent company, Electric Pirates Entertainment, has, from virtually the microsecond of its founding, wanted to make the ideal film version of one of the most unusual children's books of all time --- The Phantom Tollbooth! It is written elsewhere here in this Diary of Magecraft concerning the original film version's tragicomic behind-the-scenes saga, wherein the powers then in vogue at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer delayed the intended release of Chuck Jones' film version (which Norton Juster has said he is not entirely fond of), and then, dealt Jones a coup de grace by firing him and the team of animators they'd hired to bring Tollbooth alive on the screen!

Since then, several other attempts to bring
The Phantom Tollbooth back into the limelight have been mounted. Most have stumbled at the starting gate --- until now. This, then, from's Dustin Rowles:

Gary Ross is a director whose name gets associated with a lot more projects than he's actually directed --- for such a supposedly in-demand director, he's not exactly prolific. He's helmed exactly two movies since 1998 --- Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, yet his name nevertheless remains attached to the Venom spin-off, and he was behind a re-write for the now-dead Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man 4.

In addition to Matt Helm and Tokyo Suckerpunch (among others), you can now add this one to the list of features he's currently developing: The Phantom Tollbooth, a remake of the 1969 Chuck Jones animated/live-action feature based upon the 1961 children's book by Norton Juster.

Ross is producing his own hybrid live-action/animated fantasy remake with Warner Bros. and his own production company, Larger Than Life Productions, as a project he himself hopes to direct. Alex Tse (Watchmen) wrote the potential first draft screenplay, but Warners and Ross are currently seeking out another take on the treatment prior to moving it ahead.

The Phantom Tollbooth is the story of Milo, a young boy who finds a mysterious package containing a magical tollbooth which transports him into the enchanting Kingdom of Wisdom, which he must restore to its proper glory by rescuing the Princesses Rhyme and Reason from a dark, evil power that threatens the land's destruction.

Ross most recently scripted the remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon for producer Carl Rinsch, and is currently putting together The Crusaders, with Tobey Maguire; and the Civil War drama The Free State of Jones, which he's scheduled to write and direct.

(Source: The Hollywood Cog)

We look forward to seeing how Gary Ross handles The Phantom Tollbooth. One thing's for sure: the visual effects better be nice and properly digital!

Blackwolf vs NBC: Of an Unlikely Ally!

Under normal circumstances, your Dragonmaster would wisely steer clear of the likes of Howard Stern. I have not yet immersed me Wizardly person into the full spectrum of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, but I nonetheless marvel at the tremendous opportunities presented by the two networks. And indeed, Howard is as ribald and as feisty as the Legend advertises. Which explains why he is a rather unlikely ally to the vast forces out there thirsting for the fall (cancellation, if need be) of the new Tonight Show with Jay Leno! This, then, from's Dylan Stableford:

Howard Stern brought his Jay Leno-bashing to the CBS Early Show Tuesday morning --- and, as promised, the Sirius/XM shock jock delivered, by referring to Leno as a "lapdog" and a "thief" who filches bits from both him and David Letterman.

"Jay Leno pushed Johnny Carson outta The Tonight Show," Stern ranted to Harry Smith during an interview simulcast on both The Early Show and on his Sirius program. "And he did it in a merciless way."

Toning down his uncensored remarks for the benefit of the CBS viewers, Stern framed his loathing for Leno thus: "Just the mere mention of Jay Leno makes me wanna vomit! He's the kind of showbiz animal that just will not let go." Stern further suggested that Leno, not Conan O'Brien, should have walked when NBC decided to move him to 10 o'clock, as Letterman did when the network picked Leno to take over Tonight as opposed to him. "Jay shoulda dusted himself off and gone to another network to beat [Conan]."

As the segment ended, Stern was asked to respond to rumors about his possible return to terrestrial radio, as well as potential interest in joining the cast of Fox's American Idol. Stern brushed off the terrestrial radio question, repeating his views on doing Idol, stating that if Fox were to pay him $100,000,000 to judge a "talent show," he'd go for it.

Doubtless Howard Stern wants the new Tonight Show to fail miserably, thus inadvvertently fulfilling Conan O'Brien's prophecy of the destruction of, in Conan's words, "the greatest franchise in broadcasting history." Again, my dears, the power of corporate greed is called into play here. The evil done by most Mortals in corporate America these days continues unchecked and unceasing. They'll tell you that Google's motto is "Do no evil," but frankly, I've lived too long not to have forgotten that there will always be liars in this business we call show. There has always been a dark side to show business, and those who believe otherwise aren't worth the time of most folks in the entertainment community.

Nonetheless, America, I need your opinions about this. Gimme an e-mail at either or

Master Blackwolf