How To Spend An Extra Day

“The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one.”
–Elvis Presley

Finally, February is over and spring is almost here.

Though I’m no fan of February, it does have one redeeming factor: Leap Day. I spent part of 2008’s extra day watching Superman Returns. February 29 is Superman’s kinda-sorta birthday, after all. It has been nearly a year since I last watched this movie, and I continue to be impressed by it. I hope that both Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh will return for a sequel within the next two or three years. I have seen rumors on both sides, but no confirmation either way.

I also watched some Star Trek episodes on Leap Day. No real connection there, I just felt like watching. I watched the original versions of “The Apple,” “Mirror, Mirror,” and “The Deadly Years.” Turns out that “The Apple” is also this weekend’s episode of Star Trek: Remastered. This is not an episode I could watch twice in the same weekend, though.

No Star Wars on Friday, but I did sneak in an Elvis movie – Harum Scarum. Definitely not one of his best, but interesting to me as an Elvis fan since I  had not watched it in a long time. Mary Ann Mobley sure made a beautiful princess in 1965. Earlier that same year, she had a smaller role in another Elvis movie, Girl Happy.

When I was a kid, the local UHF syndicated station seemed to show Elvis movie marathons nearly every Saturday afternoon. Coming from a family of Elvis fans, I spent a lot of time watching them. I will not lie to you and tell you that Elvis made the best movies, but most of them do have a quirky fun about them. He had a real gift for comedy that a lot of the mainstream really does not know about. Check out Viva Las Vegas, for instance.

Elvis made 31 scripted movies, but some of them seemed to turn up on those Saturday afternoons more often than others. Harum Scarum and Easy Come, Easy Go, for instance received a lot more airplay back then than, say, Jailhouse Rock or Change of Habit.

When the UHF station was not playing Elvis movies, it filled Saturday afternoons with Godzilla and other monster movies instead. I watched a lot of those, too. My favorite of these was Godzilla vs. King Kong-mostly because of the epic nature of such a bout. Elvis never made any monster movies, but it sure would have been cool to see him take down Godzilla with a karate chop and then nurse the beast’s wounds with a song in Elvis vs. Godzilla. You know, maybe I watched too much TV as a kid.

Hey, I wonder if Quantum Leap fans use Leap Day to celebrate their franchise? There’s even an Elvis connection to Quantum Leap. The last episode before the series finale featured Sam leaping into the body of none other than Elvis Presley, on the brink of being discovered. Though filled with inaccuracies regarding Elvis, it is still a fun episode.

One neat bit of trivia is that when Sam looks in the mirror to see the face of the body into which he has leaped, Elvis is portrayed by Michael St. Gerard – who had also played him on the short-lived but excellent ABC television series Elvis. He also appeared as Elvis in the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire. St. Gerard actually looks enough like Elvis that my local paper once accidentally put a small picture of him next to an article about the real Elvis, with the caption: “Presley.”

Due to an unforeseen circumstance, I had the day off on Leap Day this year, though I probably would have requested it off anyway. It only seems fair that Leap Day should be a worldwide holiday for everyone.

Does your employer or school really deserve an extra day of your life? It is the perfect day to catch up on time, life, and movies.

We will start the Leap Day Holiday movement right here on The Film Frontier. We will all work really hard on it – every four years or so.