The Making of Sesame Street

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, learn how the musical crew of Sesame Street livens up the ABCs with new iterations pretty much every single season. Plus, learn the history of The Joker before the Batman villain’s origin movie arrives in theaters this weekend, and see a much more accurate trailer for the Downton Abbey movie as portrayed by Saturday Night Live. Read More »

We’ll take this sentence to offer the ongoing meme for Showbiz Pizza‘s house band an extended welcome and a thanks for making so many parents’ divorces and kids’ birthday parties that much more awkward, wacky and bipolar. This forthcoming documentary shines a light on the magic inner workings and fandom of The Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic musical act and variety show that was a loud staple at Showbiz Pizza franchises in the ’80s.

From indie, Window Pictures, the flick centers on a 31-year-old Alabamian enviously named, Chris Thrash, who fulfilled his lifelong dream of purchasing and programming the band of robotic “artificial life forms.” Thrash now has the good fortune of being declared, “King of The Rock-afire Explosion World!” by a tan man in this trailer who wears exceedingly retro-patterned attire. Also, the Internetz already loves him: Thrash is on his way towards obtaining an invite to next year’s ROFLCon due to the popularity/badassness of his Rock-afire cover song requests, most recently Usher’s “Love in the Club.” Rock-afire also cameos in this obnoxious MGMT hipster dance off.

With its ominous suburban crime scene muzak, arcade montages, cheesy commercials (pun lalala) and telling geek confessions, the trailer will remind many of The King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts; and I really hope the hot lass seen here in a green shirt is an ’08 Rock-afire Explosion groupie. I will convert Slashfilm dollars, stalk in van and feed her bad pizza. When I was 4-feet-tall and wearing $200 Nike Pump hi-tops, if a stranger had informed me that adulthood would bring this wistful doc and The Two Coreys, I would have worn more black. But hey, times change! I now attribute these semi-customized entertainments to a lucky taxidermy collection.

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The Rock-afire Explosion opens Fall 2008.

Discuss: Wouldn’t the catchphrase currently seen/loathed on Domino’s Pizza’s boxes for The Dark Knight—“Cloaked in Pepperoni, Deliciously Mysterious”—be better utlized for The Rock-afire Explosion?

Oscar Nominated Stars That Could’ve Been


One of our favorite new websites is, a website that is dedicated to your favorite stars and the roles they didn’t get. Recently they put up a section dedicated to the directors and stars who turned down roles in Oscar nominated movies. We’re not sure about the accuracy, but that won’t stop us from taking a look at some of our favorites from the class that could have been 2007:

The Departed: Robert De Niro was originally set to play Queenan (Martin Sheen’s role), but dropped out to go ahead with his own directorial project, the Good Shepherd. Mel Gibson had to turn down a role in Martin Scorsese’s crime drama due to his commitment to Apocalypto. Denis Leary had to say no because of his ongoing commitment to his TV series. Brad Pitt was cast as Sullivan but dropped out, but continued to produce the film. Kate Winslet and Hilary Swank were reportedly some of the actresses considered by Scorsese for the part of Madolyn (Vera Farmiga).

Aaliyah was to play the lead role which later went to Beyonce Knowles. Lauryn Hill expressed interest in the role in the early to mid 1990’s. Whitney Houston was attached to the role in the late 1980’s. Terrence Howard auditioned for a part but didn’t get it. Usher could not commit six months to the project and turned down the role (Keith Robinson). Denzel Washington reportedly turned down the role of Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jaime Foxx) because he can’t sing.

Little Miss Sunshine:
The role of uncle Frank (Steve Carell) was reportedly written for Bill Murray.

Borat: Director Todd Phillips (Old School) left the project in 2005 over creative differences.