Episode 33: Sam Firstenberg

The association between Sam Firstenberg and Menahem Golan (of Cannon Films) had started in December of 1973.  Years later, Golan and Globus hired Sam to direct what would become a huge cult classic with REVENGE OF THE NINJA. Sam knew nothing about martial arts, but learned quickly and the film starred Sho Kosugi. Distributed by MGM to a great box-office bonanza, it set the stage for Sam's next directing assignment NINJA III: THE DOMINATION also starring Kosugi. Firstenberg eventually went on to direct BREAKIN 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO making him the king of sequels with a title that became a part of pop culture lexicon.  Now a new book is in the works, all about Firstenberg’s unique brand of action cinema entitled Stories from the Trenches: The Official Sam Firstenberg Book. Having grown up in the VHS era and a fan of cult classics including BREAKIN 2 and NINJA III, I had the immense pleasure of talking with a rather idiosyncratic talent that contributed a lot of entertaining hours to my teenage years back in the 80s.  In the first thirteen minutes during the introduction, I sing the praises of The Chicago Critics Film Festival as well as highlight the upcoming Chicago Underground Film Festival happening in about a week!

James Laczkowski