Friday, October 04, 2013

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles

Remembering John.

Pop culture roundup: Doctor Who! Monty Python! The Prisoner! Bowie! more!

Radio Times shares an original 1963 blueprint for the control room of Doctor Who's TARDIS.


Michael Palin and Terry Jones recall the making of "Monty Python's Meaning of Life."
"The vomit was compressed soup, actually. We had canisters of it with lumps in – and a catapult to fling it. Everybody wanted some chucked at them. Although it became a food fight, we could only throw it at those extras who had not-so-decent costumes on."


A great find via Dangerous Minds: A 1970s educational guide prepared for use with "The Prisoner" sci-fi series and an interview with series creator/star Patrick McGoohan.


See David Bowie's 100 must-read books.  Here's the top 10:

 The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Review: Good Ol' Freda

Of all the documentaries and films about the Beatles, "Good Ol' Freda" may be the most heartwarming.

Focused on the career of the band's fan club secretary from their pre-fame days in Liverpool (when she was just 17) through their demise in London 10 years later, this documentary tells the story of a Beatlemaniac who made it into the inner circle.

To Freda Kelly, the Beatles were "the boss," but she also idolized them as a fan. This combination  made her the perfect person for her jobs of answering fan letters and penning her own column in the group's official Beatle Book Monthly magazine.

Hearing Kelly reminisce about those days in voiceovers as hundreds of vintage, rarely seen images of the Beatles (and her) stream by, it's easy to see why the Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein loved and trusted her so much. She's utterly charming, with twinkling eyes and a ready smile even today. When pressed to dish some dirt on her famed employees, she just giggles and says "that's personal!"

That's the same high road approach she took during the sixties, when sometimes angry letters about John Lennon's divorce from his wife and burgeoning romance with Yoko Ono, and similar ones about Paul McCartney's breakup with Jane Asher and marriage to Linda Eastman, flooded her office. "Beatle People," as she called the fans, owed the group some privacy in their personal affairs, she wrote in her column.

Along with responding to fans' requests for Beatle hair clippings and bits of Fab-worn shirts, Kelly also served as a liaison between the group and their Liverpool family members after the Beatles moved to London and started touring the world.

Ringo's mom took her in as the daughter she never had. George's father taught her how to ballroom dance. While Epstein could be formal and remote, Kelly helped put these worried parents at ease, taught them how to deal with and understand the fans, and helped make the Beatles' camp more of a family affair.

Despite numerous offers, Kelly never sold her story and never wrote a book. She's worked as an office secretary pretty much from 1972 when the fan club folded, content to put her Beatles years in the past.

This film, she says, is the only time she plans on sharing her experiences of those years, and she's done it with true warmth and class.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Somebody's bright idea: Mr. Potato Head Homer Simpson and Captain America

Are we going to have Mr. Potato Head Everyone now? Yes. I think we are.

BBC radio this week: Dashiell Hammett; David Tennant and vampires; Bond; Madness; Small Faces, more!

Click the links to hear the following programs.

A Night with a Vampire David Tennant reads five disturbing Victorian vampire stories.

Dashiell Hammett: Nightmare Town Steve Threefall arrives in a small desert town and encounters a dark mystery. Read by Stuart Milligan.

Edgar Allan Poe: The Oblong Box A passenger on a summer voyage to New York is curious about an artist, his new wife and his luggage. Read by James Aubrey.

James Bond: You Only Live Twice Agent 007's latest mission sparks a fatal encounter in a Japanese garden of death. Ian Fleming's thriller with Michael Jayston.

Live in Concert: Madness Madness recorded at London's Dominion Theatre in 1983. Presented by Chris Hawkins.

Classic Albums The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake.

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

The Man in Black. A creepy raconteur, played by Mark Gatiss, introduces spooky tales.

Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone. Strange and unusual sounds in music both old and new.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Somebody's bright idea: Batman, Superman "leg lamps"


Somebody's bright idea: Star Trek Captain Kirk Apron

Just in time for fall barbecue season.

Sherlock action figures on the way

These upcoming "Sherlock" figures from Big Chief Studios look pretty spiffy.

Details on new Thunderbirds are Go! TV series

Actress Rosamund Pike will voice Lady Penelope in an update of Gerry Anderson's supermarionation "Thunderbirds" series set to air on British TV in 2015.
Other leading roles are taken by Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones, Love Actually) as brothers Gordon and John Tracy, Rasmus Hardiker (Saxondale, Lead Balloon) as Alan and Scott, with fifth Tracy brother Virgil played by David Menkin.

Master villain The Hood will be voiced by Andres Williams (M.I. High, Foyle's War). New characters include Tracey brothers' friend Kayo, played by Angel Coulby (Merlin, Dancing on the Edge) and Colonel Casey voiced by Adjoa Andoh (Invictus, Doctor Who).

...Made by ITV Studios and New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures, the 26-part series will feature a mixture of CGI animation and live-action miniature sets.

The Weta Workshop, the special effects studio behind Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar, will also be working on the new series.

Video find: Herge draws Tintin

Music new releases Oct. 1, 2013

Click the links to order discounted CDs, vinyl LPs and downloads from Amazon.

Need Your Love by Steve Marriott

Mondo Zombie Boogaloo - Various Artists

Longing for the Past: 78 Rpm Era Southeast

Kassidat: Raw 45s From Morocco

DVD and Blu-ray new releases Oct. 1, 2013: Little Mermaid; Wizard of Oz; Mod Squad, more!

Click the links to order discounted DVDs and Blu-rays from Amazon.

The Little Mermaid

The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition

The Mod Squad Season Four Volume One

The Mod Squad Season Four Volume Two

Mccartney, Paul - Going Underground: McCartney, The Beatles And The UK Counter-culture