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Halloween favorites HOCUS POCUS, CHUCKY, and THE ADDAMS FAMILY films share DNA with DAFT PUNK and the GEICO CAVEMEN

Family-owned Special Effects Company ALTERIAN STUDIOS, INC. throws a broad net across the Entertainment Industry.



LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA /EINPresswire.com/ — Tony Gardner grew up in Ohio, and wanted to get into the film industry. Moving to California he was hired onto the makeup effects crew for “Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” He also played several zombies in the music video: crawling out of a grave, losing an arm, and advancing on Ola Ray with Michael during the finale inside the house.

Tony Gardner at Alterian Inc. with Chucky and Hocus Pocus’ Billy Butcherson.

Gardner’s first job as an independent effects artist was the creation of the animatronic “Half Corpse” character for the cult classic film “The Return of the Living Dead.” The Half Corpse was a Zombie that spoke and introduced the now-mainstream idea that Zombies ate brains.

It’s been fun to be able to create such interesting characters and bring them to life, and also have the fans be so supportive of what we’ve been doing and very vocal in regards to letting us know!”

— Tony Gardner

After leading a team of artists responsible for creating the gooey victims of “The Blob” in 1988, Tony and his wife Cindy formed a special makeup effects company named Alterian Studios. The early 90s brought a slew of genre films through Alterian’s doors, starting with the “Addams Family” films starring Raoul Julia and Angelica Houston, as well as Disney’s “Hocus Pocus,” and Sony’s “The Craft.”

Says Gardner: “The weirdest job interview that I can recall was the one for “Hocus Pocus,” that went essentially like this: “Can you design a 300 year old zombie whose mouth is stitched shut with leather cord, gets his fingers sliced off on camera, as well as his head knocked off and reattached a couple times? And while you’re at it, we also want to run over a cat with a bus and then have it re-inflate live on camera. …and please make this all “kid friendly” of course…this is a Disney film.”
The Addam’s Family films were certainly more straightforward, but not any less challenging: items to create for the first film included an animatronic House Clock with functioning figures of all of the Addams characters, a living Bear Rug, Cousin Itt, a Finger Trap, animatronic Orchids that attacked trespassers, and an sword fighting scene between Pugsley and Wednesday that sprayed 55 gallons of blood into the elementary school audience. “Addams Family Values” added a 17 foot tall “miniature” version of the Addams house and a highly combustable version of Uncle Fester’s Dream House, designed to explode into a massive fireball. “I remember the day we filmed the Dream House exploding very well,” says Gardner. “The house left Alterian fully assembled on a few flatbed trucks for filming, and then all that came back after wrap were a few milk crates with some scorched bits of the house and lawn statuary.”

n the 1990s Alterian was approached by Daft Punk to design and create a robotic look for the electronic dance music duo, thanks to a referral from Spike Jonze, who worked with Gardner and Alterian on the Jackass television series and films by way of old age disguise makeups for Johnny Knoxville and crew. Chucky came knocking at the door at the same time, and so did the Martin Agency, who was in search of someone to design and create a group of “modern Cavemen” for a series of Geico ads.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were definitely putting our foot into the pop culture waters on all three accounts. Chucky was already a twenty year franchise, but none of us expected that the Daft Punk robots and the Geico Cavemen would have the same lasting impact – or transcend it. Nor did we expect that we’d remain involved with all the same projects and people over the decades to come.” Gardner’s collaborations with Daft Punk includes multiple music videos with Gardner writing and directing one, as well as a feature film called “Daft Punk’s Electroma.”

The Chucky films spawned a TV series that is in its third season on SyFy and Peacock. Gardner is a Producer on that series in addition to building and performing Chucky along with his team. Alterian also worked on “Hocus Pocus 2,” and added Winnifred’s “Book” to their list of iconic characters.

“It will be interesting to see where Chucky and Hocus Pocus take us down the road.The fact that the fans genuinely enjoy the work that we’re doing means everything to us, and we can’t wait to show them the new ideas and characters that we have planned!”

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Original Geico Caveman Commercial


Source: Alterian, Inc.

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Arizona Athletic Grounds draws over 100,000 Attendees for Presidents Weekend

AAG is the USA’s Premier Youth Athletic Grounds



MESA, Ariz. /PRNewswire/ — Arizona Athletic Grounds (“AAG”) drew well in excess of 100,000 visits over the four days of Presidents weekend. Teams from across the USA including Alaska and Florida participated in 3 tournaments in soccer, volleyball and softball. New ownership provided a positive experience for the guests of AAG. AAG is one of the largest youth-oriented sports and entertainment facilities in North America.

Arizona Athletic Grounds at Mesa Campus (“AAG”)

Locally, Daphne from Arizona said, “For two years we have been attending tournaments and this was by far the best operationally. New ownership has quickly added options for food and comfort stations that made this weekend the best we have seen. AAG has added lots of staff and a great garden party.”

Tim from Portland said, “Volleyball has been the cleanest and biggest of venues we have seen. My daughter is 12 and we will be excited to keep coming back. The DJ is fantastic and we wanted to hang out at Cornhole even after our event was complete.”

Sherrill from Alaska came to watch her granddaughter in a soccer tournament, “AAG is beautiful and the process of attending events was smooth.”

Separately, AAG hosted the Mesa Arizona Cup from February 20-25. Cale, Professional Pickleball Player from Oklahoma said,  “This facility stands out as the best among the six I’ve played at. Without a doubt, it offers unparalleled amenities. Each court provides seating and shade, a rare feature. The parking facilities are exceptional, and if there’s another event here, I’ll definitely return.”

The Mesa facility serves over 4,000,000 visits per year, providing youth and adult athletic and special events programming. The website www.azgrounds.com / @azgrounds are the new landing pages for information. For additional information on rentals, sponsorship, or event programming at AAG, please reach out to the AAG team.

SOURCE Arizona Athletic Grounds

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Oak View Group and Invited also enter strategic partnership
focused on membership benefits and experiences



DENVER /PRNewswire/ — Marking another strategic addition to the company’s premium experience platform, Oak View Group (OVG), the global leader in live experience venue development, venue management, premium hospitality and 360 venue solutions, today announced the acquisition of the Stadium Club division from Invited, the leading owner-operator of private golf, country and city clubs in North America.

As part of the transaction, Oak View Group will own and operate Stadium Club properties at prestigious universities across the country and provide high-end premium experiences and curated member offerings. Management teams and employees will remain in their current roles at all clubs. In addition, Oak View Group and Invited have entered a long-term strategic partnership focused on enhanced membership benefits and uniquely curated experiences for both Invited and OVG club members.

Oak View Group has announced the acquisition of the Stadium Club division from Invited.

Stadium Club properties include:

  • Arizona Sands Club (Arizona Stadium – University of Arizona)
  • Baylor Club (McLane Stadium – Baylor University)
  • Ken Garff University Club (Rice-Eccles Stadium – University of Utah)
  • The Texas Tech Club (Jones AT&T Stadium – Texas Tech University)
  • University Club of Virginia Tech (Lane Stadium – Virginia Tech)
  • The Carolina Club (George Watts Hill Alumni Center – University of North Carolina)

“We are committed to advancing the expectation of a premium experience in venues across the world, and we look forward to welcoming Stadium Clubs and their members into the Oak View Group family,” said Chris Granger, President, OVG360. “We are excited to develop and grow the Stadium Clubs with unique experiences, gracious hospitality and imaginative offerings gleaned from our extensive experience of our own venues and that of our roster of stadiums, arenas, theatres, convention centers and more worldwide. We also look forward to working with our partners at Invited on creating the ultimate membership experience platform for all those in the Invited and OVG families.”

“Invited’s University Stadium Club division has been a source of great pride for the company and through the years we’ve cherished the opportunity to provide an exceptional experience for our members, their families and friends. After many discussions and to ensure a strong and viable future, we’ve decided to sell the stadium club line of business to Oak View Group. Together, we will ensure a seamless transition and Invited will stay involved by partnering on offerings in the future,” said Invited CEO David Pillsbury.

This strategic move expands Oak View Group’s sports venues and commitment to transforming the culinary experience within premium hospitality and live experiences. Last year, Oak View Group acquired Rhubarb Hospitality Collection, an international luxury catering and hospitality provider and partnered with Wally’s Wine & Spirits entrepreneur and wine expert Christian Navarro to curate the gourmet food and beverage experience at OVG venues and launch navarroswine.com with other expansion plans to be announced soon.

The acquisition comes at a time when the entertainment landscape is evolving and Oak View Group remains at the forefront, setting new standards for excellence. Stadium Clubs, known for their premium amenities and exclusive offerings, provides members with game-day experiences along with serving as a premier business and social club and gathering space for the Universities and surrounding community throughout the year. Club members will enjoy increased benefits and access to Oak View Group venue events.

About Oak View Group (OVG)
Oak View Group (OVG) is a global sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff in 2015. OVG’s mission is to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports, live entertainment, and hospitality industries. OVG is world-renowned as the leading full-service live entertainment and hospitality group, with 10 major new arenas either open or under development including: Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center; UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY; Moody Center in Austin, TX; Acrisure Arena in Greater Palm Springs, CA; and CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD; as well as arena development projects for Co-op Live in Manchester, UK;  Anhembi Arena in São Paulo, Brazil; FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON; a New Arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV; and a New Arena in Cardiff, Wales. OVG360 is a full-service venue management, hospitality solutions, and venue services company servicing more than 400 arenas, stadiums, performing arts centers, culture institutions, and convention centers world-wide. More information at OakViewGroup.com, and follow OVG on FacebookInstagramX, and LinkedIn

About Invited
Since its founding in 1957, Dallas-based Invited has operated with the central purpose of Building Relationships and Enriching Lives®. The leading owner-operator of private golf and country clubs, and city clubs in North America, Invited is relentless in its pursuit of providing extraordinary experiences, meaningful connections, shared passions, and memorable moments for its nearly 400,000 members. With approximately 20,000 peak-season employees and a portfolio of 170 owned golf and country clubs, city clubs, sports clubs, and stadium clubs in 28 states, Invited creates communities and a lifestyle through its championship golf courses, workspaces, handcrafted cuisine, resort-style pools, tennis and pickleball facilities, golf lounges, fitness centers, and robust programming.

Marquee Invited properties include Firestone Country Club (Akron, Ohio); Mission Hills Country Club (Rancho Mirage, California); The Woodlands Country Club (Houston, Texas); and The Metropolitan Club (Chicago, Illinois).

SOURCE Oak View Group

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actors & performers

Remembering Richard Lewis: The Prince of Pain

In memory of Richard Lewis, the Prince of Pain: a comedic maestro known for his neurotic humor and iconic roles. His legacy of laughter and wit will forever resonate in the hearts of fans worldwide. Rest in peace, Richard Lewis.



In the realm of comedy, Richard Lewis stood out as a maestro of neurotic humor, captivating audiences with his frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes while clad in his signature all-black attire. Known affectionately as “The Prince of Pain,” Lewis carved a niche for himself in the comedy world, leaving a lasting impact on all who experienced his unique brand of humor.

From AP’s archives: Richard Lewis on working with longtime friend Larry David. The comedian known for his neurotic, stream-of-consciousness act and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” role died Wednesday. He was 76.

With great sorrow, the comedy world bids farewell to this legendary figure as news of his passing at the age of 76 reverberates through the entertainment industry. Lewis, who courageously disclosed his battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2023, passed away at his Los Angeles residence following a heart attack, as confirmed by his publicist Jeff Abraham.

Throughout his illustrious career, Lewis graced comedy clubs and late-night TV shows with his unmistakable presence, enchanting audiences with his quirky humor and endearing vulnerability. His roles as Marty Gold in “Anything But Love” alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and as the neurotic Prince John in “Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights” showcased his versatility and comedic prowess.

A true comedic icon, Lewis endeared himself to a new generation through his role opposite Larry David in the acclaimed series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” where he continued to enthrall audiences with his relatable kvetching and sharp wit.

In the words of Richard Lewis himself, “I’m paranoid about everything in my life. Even at home. On my stationary bike, I have a rear-view mirror, which I’m not thrilled about.” His humor was a reflection of his unique perspective on life, filled with wit, charm, and a touch of melancholy.

As we reflect on the legacy of Richard Lewis, we remember a comedic genius who fearlessly bared his soul on stage, leaving audiences in stitches with his hilarious anecdotes and self-deprecating humor. His witticisms and comedic brilliance will forever be etched in the annals of comedy history, ensuring that the Prince of Pain’s legacy lives on in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of experiencing his comedic genius.

Rest in peace, Richard Lewis. Your laughter will echo through eternity, and your memory will forever be cherished by comedy enthusiasts worldwide.

Source: Associated Press



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