The Siskel & Ebert 500th Anniversary Special (1989)

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Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who are celebrating the 500th edition of their movie review show, perform their program for the first time on stage in front of an audience.

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14 August 2010 | tavm
| The Siskel and Ebert 500th Anniversary Special was a great tribute to the wonderful Chicago movie reviewers
With today the final showing of "At the Movies" with its current hosts Michael Phillips and A. O. Scott, I decided to review some past episodes with that show's original hosts, the late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Taped in front of a live audience at the Theater of the Stars at what was then the Disney-M-G-M Studios at Walt Disney World, Gene and Roger-for one hour-discuss their childhood experiences watching movies, their first TV teaming on a local Chicago show called "Opening Soon at a Theatre Near You" with One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest their first review, it's later transition into PBS's "Sneak Previews" with executive producer Thea Flaum credited for putting the two into balcony chairs, the special programs discussing their views on colorization and letterboxing (among others), audience questions (preceded by a Top Ten list of what they're tired of being asked such as for Roger: "Did you really write Beyond the Valley of the Dolls?"), and what each considered the best film since they started teaming together (Gene's choice-Raging Bull, Roger's-Apocalypse Now). Many parodies done by others of the two are spread throughout (My favorite is when Danny Thomas and Bob Hope do their version). Siskel and Ebert themselves provide their own witticisms and during the blooper reel, it's such a wonderfully silly treat seeing them doing "Peas Porridge Hot, Peas Porridge Cold" as they prepare to do a program! Finally, just as the show ends Roger asks one of those Top Ten questions, "Do we really like or hate each other?" Gene responds by saying, "We'll find out on next year's special." (or something similar to that, anyway) This was quite a treat to see again after all these years. I personally think they respected each other well enough.

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