Friday, October 05, 2012

Awesome infographic of Doctor Who companions through the years

This is fun. And timely!

Lots of Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey pics

Here's a big batch of photos from the upcoming Hobbit film.

Beach Boys 50th anniversary live concert on DVD Nov. 20

A live performance disk of the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary tour will be out Nov. 20 on DVD and Blu-ray.  Zero details beyond that, but we'll keep you posted as we hear more.

Deal alert: James Bond Blu-rays for $007.99!

Today only from Amazon you can pick up a selection of James Bond flicks on Blu-ray for a mere $7.99. Click here.

Pop culture roundup: Miles Davis; Jack Kirby; The Monkees; The Beatles and more!

Birth of the hot: Here's Mile Davis' chili recipe.


Los Bros Hernandez at Jack Kirby’s birthplace.


See the Monkees and more from the 1967 Emmy Awards.


Cool shirt!


I've been enjoying the Marvel Comics-related posts on Sean Howe's Tumblr and am looking forward to reading his upcoming book about the company's history. There's a pretty hefty excerpt available for perusal here. From Sean's Tumblr, here's a fun picture of the great Marvel artist Jack Kirby in a rare moment away from his drawing board.


See the Beatles eat fish and chips!

Disney live-action movie posters: The Castaway Cowboy

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mojo announces Magical Mystery Tour Beatles special

Should be fun:
Roll up! Roll up! MOJO's new 132-page Magical Mystery Tour And Beyond! special edition chronicles the most pivotal period in The Beatles' history.

Celebrating the re-release of the band's mythical 1967 film on DVD/Blu-ray (out on October 8), this one-off issue combines archival features on Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper... with brand new material including Jon Savage's reassessment of the Magical Mystery Tour film, a rundown of The Beatles' 67 Greatest Psychedelic Moments and a treasure trove of iconic and unseen photographs.

As you can see from the images below, there are two covers to choose from. But Beatlesheads take note - the Special Limited Edition 'Walrus' cover is officially the rarest issue of MOJO ever (only 1000 copies are available, all exclusively via - get your copy now via the link below).

Magical Mystery Tour And Beyond! will be in all good UK newsagents from Wednesday, October 10. But if you want to bag yourself a copy right now, and have it sent straight to your door, you can order an issue here

Fantagraphics to publish Peanuts Christmas rarities

Out Nov. 22, Fantagraphics' "Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking" collects some of Charles Schultz's non-comic strip holiday outings with the Peanuts gang.

Here are details:
During his fifty-year career, ninety-nine percent of Charles Schulz's creative energies went into the daily Peanuts comic strip. But once in a while he would create a special something else on the side, and this adorable little package collects two of his best "extras" from the 1960s: two Christmas-themed stories written and drawn for national magazines.
Created in 1963 (two years before the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special) as a supplement for Good Housekeeping magazine, "Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking" comprises 15 original captioned vignettes featuring the entire Peanuts cast of the time — Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Frieda, Violet, Shermy, and Sally — each with a joke or reflection about the season.
"The Christmas Story" is an original tale created for Woman's Day in 1968, this one focusing just on Snoopy and the Van Pelt siblings, with Lucy and Linus each explaining the meaning of the holiday to Snoopy. "I’m going to have to be careful," Snoopy reflects at the end of the story, resting on his doghouse next to his bone-decorated tree; "all this theology could ruin my Christmas."

BBC Radio this week - stream music documentaries, drama, comedy

Click the links to hear these programs.

A Year in the Life: The Beatles 1962
Roger McGough narrates the pivotal breakthrough year for the mop-topped Fab Four.

How did Liverpool shape the Beatles, and what did they share of the city with the world?

The Goon Show
Classic material from one of the all-time radio comedy greats

James Bond - Casino Royale
Alex Jennings reads the classic Bond story by Ian Fleming

Kenny Everett - Captain Kremmen
Kenney Everett's 1970s sci-fi serial starring the world's most fabulous starship captain

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Thirteenth Stone
A school trip for the kids turns to horror when mysterious standing stones come to life.

William Gibson - Pattern Recognition
William Gibson's cult thriller

Disney live-action movie poster: Monkeys Go Home

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Hope I'll be able to see this somehow!

The Arena documentary will be broadcast on Oct. 6 at 21;45 on BBC2, with a 55 minute duration.
Following the documentary will be a showing of the film itself.
Here is the BBC blurb for the showing.

Magical Mystery Tour Revisited

Duration: 55 minutes

Arena presents the greatest Beatles story never told, a blockbuster double-bill. A documentary full of fabulous Beatles archive never shown before anywhere in the world and the only film conceived and directed by The Beatles themselves. Fully restored to the highest technical standard with a remixed soundtrack, Magical Mystery Tour comes out of the shadows and onto the screen.

Songs you'll never forget, the film you've never seen and a story that's never been heard. In 1967, in the wake of the extraordinary impact of Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles made a film - a dreamlike story of a coach daytrip, a magical mystery tour. It was seen by a third of the nation, at 8.35pm on BBC1 on Boxing Day - an expectant public, hoping for some light entertainment for a family audience.
Magical Mystery Tour was greeted with outrage and derision by middle England and the establishment media.
'How dare they', they cried, 'They're not film directors, who do they think they are?' they howled.

Where were the four lovable moptops of Help! and A Hard Day's Night?

What propelled The Beatles to make this surreal, startling and - at the time - utterly misunderstood film?

Roll up Roll Up for the Mystery Tour!

New Lone Ranger movie poster

S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series character details

TVLine has posted the following descriptions of characters in the pilot script for Joss Whedon's upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series:
SKYE | This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident – with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.

AGENT GRANT WARD | Quite the physical specimen and “cool under fire,” he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He’s a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he’s the kind of guy that grows on you.

AGENT ALTHEA RICE | Also known as “The Calvary,” this hard-core soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.

AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS | These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other’s company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies – she deals with biology and chemistry, he’s a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.

Beatles vinyl box set now available for pre-order via Amazon

Amazon has listed the upcoming Beatles vinyl box set. I think I'll stick with my CDs at this point in the game. The 2009 stereo and mono versions sound spectacular. Plus, I've got all my old Capitol LPs! But vinyl revivalists and audiophiles may dig this new set.

The Beatles' acclaimed original studio album remasters, released on CD in 2009, make their long-awaited stereo vinyl debut.

 Manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork, the 14 albums return to their original glory with details including the poster in The Beatles (The White Album), the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band's cut-outs, and special inner bags for some of the titles. The albums are accompanied by a stunning, elegantly designed 252-page hardbound book in a lavish boxed edition which is limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.
The book, exclusive to the boxed edition, is authored by award-winning radio producer Kevin Howlett and features a dedicated chapter for each of the albums, as well as insight into the creation of the remasters and how the vinyl albums were prepared. The 12"x12" book showcases a wealth of photographs spanning The Beatles' recording career, including many images which were not included in the 2009 CD booklets.
The titles include The Beatles' 12 original UK albums, first released between 1963 and 1970, the US-originated Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the group's core catalogue, and Past Masters, Volumes One & Two, first released individually in 1988, featuring non-album A-sides and B-sides, EP tracks and rarities.

With this release, The Beatles' first four albums make their North American stereo vinyl debuts. There has always been demand for The Beatles' albums on vinyl. Indeed, 2011's best-selling vinyl LP in the United States was Abbey Road.

Following the success of The Beatles' acclaimed, GRAMMY Award-winning 2009 CD remasters, it was decided that the sound experts at EMI's Abbey Road Studios should create new versions of The Beatles' vinyl LPs.

The project demanded the same meticulous approach taken for the CD releases, and the brief was a simple one: cut the digital remasters to vinyl with an absolute minimum of compromise to the sound.

However, the process involved to do that was far from simple. The first stage in transferring the sound of a master recording to vinyl is the creation of a disc to be used during vinyl manufacture. There were two options to consider.

A Direct Metal Master (DMM), developed in the late seventies, allows sound to be cut directly into a stainless steel disc coated with a hard copper alloy. The older, alternative method is to cut the sound into the soft lacquer coating on a nickel disc - the first of several steps leading to the production of a stamper to press the vinyl. A 'blind' listening test was arranged to choose between a 'lacquer' or 'copper' cut. Using both methods, A Hard Day's Night was pressed with ten seconds of silence at the beginning and end of each side. This allowed not only the reproduction of the music to be assessed, but also the noise made by the vinyl itself. After much discussion, two factors swung the decision towards using the lacquer process. First, it was judged to create a warmer sound than a DMM.

Secondly, there was a practical advantage of having 'blank' discs of a consistent quality when cutting lacquers. The next step was to use the Neumann VMS80 cutting lathe at Abbey Road. Following thorough mechanical and electrical tests to ensure it was operating in peak condition, engineer Sean Magee cut the LPs in chronological release order. He used the original 24-bit remasters rather than the 16-bit versions that were required for CD production. It was also decided to use the remasters that had not undergone 'limiting' - a procedure to increase the sound level, which is deemed necessary for most current pop CDs. Having made initial test cuts, Magee pinpointed any sound problems that can occur during playback of vinyl records.

To rectify them, changes were made to the remasters with a Digital Audio Workstation. For example, each vinyl album was listened to for any 'sibilant episodes' - vocal distortion that can occur on consonant sounds such as S and T. These were corrected by reducing the level in the very small portion of sound causing the undesired effect.

Similarly, any likelihood of 'inner-groove distortion' was addressed. As the stylus approaches the centre of the record, it is liable to track the groove less accurately. This can affect the high-middle frequencies, producing a 'mushy' sound particularly noticeable on vocals. Using what Magee has described as 'surgical EQ,' problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this.

The last phase of the vinyl mastering process began with the arrival of the first batches of test pressings made from master lacquers that had been sent to the two pressing plant factories. Stringent quality tests identified any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing in the same place. If this happened, it was clear that the undesired sounds had been introduced either during the cutting or the pressing stage and so the test records were rejected. In the quest to achieve the highest quality possible, the Abbey Road team worked closely with the pressing factories and the manufacturers of the lacquer and cutting styli.

An additional and unusual challenge was to ensure the proper playback of the sounds embedded in the 'lock-groove' at the end of side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Requiring a combination of good timing and luck, it had always been a lengthy and costly process to make it work properly. In fact, it was so tricky, it had never been attempted for American pressings of the LP. Naturally, Sean Magee and the team perfected this and the garbled message is heard as originally intended on the remastered Sgt. Pepper LP.

Disney live-action movie posters: The Absent-Minded Professor

The Absent Minded Professor/Son of Flubber

New comics Oct. 3, 2012: Creepy Archives; Batman the Dark Knight: Knight Terrors: Avengers: Bride of Ultron: Man-Thing Omnibus; Spider-Man: Juggernaut; Complete Flash Gordon 1; Wrinkle in Time by Hope Larson

New releases of note. Click links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Dark Horse Deluxe Marvel Classic Character Series 2 #3: Captain America Statue

Creepy Archives Volume 14

Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 1: Knight Terrors (The New 52)

Superman/Batman: Sorcerer Kings

Avengers: The Bride of Ultron

Man-Thing Omnibus

Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut

Flash Gordon: On the Planet Mongo: The Complete Flash Gordon Library (Vol. 1) (Complete Flash Gordon Libr 1)

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson