Saturday, July 12, 2014

Video Find: Terry Gilliams demonstrates Monty Python animations!

Via Open Culture:

50 Years ago: Remembering the Beatles' 'Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals'

A cross post from The Glass Onion Beatles Journal:

An adapted excerpt from my book-in-progress:
"I Read the News Today: The Beatles Phenomenon: 1963-1970"
by John Firehammer

The Beatles' "A Hard Days Night" is out now in restored form on DVD and Blu-ray and in select theaters nationwide. It's a worthy celebration of a now-classic film.
But the Beatles' first feature was never intended to have a 50-year shelf life. It was created as an exploitation film, pure and simple.
The idea that the film would be held up as a classic, or even remembered, 50 years after its release would have seemed hilarious and astonishing to its makers and stars back in 1964, who saw it as nothing more than a cheap exploitation flick, meant to quickly capitalize on the likely soon-to-pass fad of Beatlemania.
Yet, “A Hard Day’s Night” still manages to captivate viewers with its manic blending of musical and visual energy, its humor and gentle social commentary, and because it’s the Beatles. People still love the Beatles. And nobody involved in the film back in 1964 predicted that.

“A Hard Days Night” started production immediately following the Beatles’ first visit to America for “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The band had captured the nation’s hearts, record charts and TV screens. But despite that triumph, there was also a sense that none of this success would last very long.

As the New York Times observed after the Sullivan show: “At their present peak, the Beatles face an awful prospect of demise. They are a craze.” 
The reason to make a film now was to capitalize on the fad while it lasted. And United Artists was the first film studio to jump. Interestingly, though, the studio’s eyes weren’t on box office receipts, but on record sales. By fronting a Beatles film, the studio saw a chance to sew up rights to a soundtrack LP that was sure to top the charts. 
Beatles manager Brian Epstein, meanwhile, was excited by the opportunity to present his boys on film, providing he and the band had at least some say over the script.
Moving fast, U.A. assigned producer Walter Shenson to hire a writer and director and get the project started. But what would a Beatles film look like? 
The obvious thing would be to build a story around the band’s musical performances and surround them with an experienced cast — the sort of film where rock-loving kids face down opposition from disapproving community elders to put on a concert where the Beatles would perform their songs. But this was the last thing the band wanted. 
“We’d made it clear to Brian that we weren’t interested in being in one of those typical nobody-understands-our-music plots where the local dignitaries are trying to ban something as terrible as the Saturday night hop. The kind of thing where we’d just pop up a couple of times between the action,” said John Lennon. “Never mind all our pals, how could we face each other if we had allowed ourselves to be involved in that kind of movie?” 
Fortunately Shenson’s first manic encounter with the Beatles in the back of a London taxi convinced him to put the band front and center. 
“It was like being in the middle of a Marx Brothers movie,” Shenson recalled. “Every time we came to a stop sign, one of them jumped out and bought a newspaper which had Beatle headlines. The taxi driver asked for their autographs for his granddaughter. It was an incredible thing.”
The band had recently returned from Sweden and Shenson asked how it was.  
“Oh,” replied John, “It was a room and a car and a car and a room and room and a car.”
The band’s humor and nervous energy, their non-stop lives and the craziness surrounding them all made Shenson think, why not make a film about what it’s like to be a Beatle? Given this approach, he couldn’t have found a better screenwriter or director. 
Playwright Alun Owen was born in Wales but grew up in Liverpool, and that city’s humor and hardscrabble character had informed the well-received plays he penned for British radio and television, such as the Liverpool-set “No Trams to Lime Street.” He was perfectly positioned to capture the Beatles’ Northern sensibility and humor in the film’s script. 
Director Dick Lester, meanwhile, was an American prodigy who’d started studies at the University of Pennsylvania at age 15 and briefly worked as a puppeteer for Ed Sullivan’s “Talk of the Town” TV show before emigrating to England in 1953. There, he found work as a TV director, earning acclaim for his humorous, innovative TV commercials and finding work on various variety shows.
Most impressive to the Beatles, however, was that Lester had worked with their personal heroes, the Goons – the antic, surreal comedy troupe featuring Spike Milligan and the brilliant Peter Sellers. The Goons were essentially the Monty Python of their era, and the Beatles had grown up faithfully listening to and memorizing their radio shows on the BBC. The fact that their own record producer, George Martin, had also previously worked with Sellers and Milligan, helped cement that partnership. 
Lester’s Goonish activities included an acclaimed 1960 short film called “The Running, Jumping, Standing Still Film,” a dialogue-free romp featuring Sellers, Milligan and assorted others miming and mucking about on London’s Muswell Hill. Shot with Sellers’ newly acquired 16mm camera, the film was distinguished by Lester’s lively use of cinematic tricks – some inspired by slapstick silent films of the 1920s, others by the French New Wave – including lots of sped-up sequences and jump cuts. It was nominated, but didn’t receive, an Academy Award. 
Lester also had pop music experience, having directed “It’s Trad, Dad!,” a 1962 teen exploitation film of the type John Lennon detested, featuring cameos by Chubby Checker, Gene Vincent and others.
Despite the low-budget and hurried production schedule, Lester and Owen were able to add some artsy touches and social commentary to the film. From the very opening, which shows the Beatles literally on the run from a crowd of wild fans, the band is in motion: On a train, in cars, being hustled in and out of hotel rooms and night clubs and through backstage corridors and stairways. They are also constantly closed in: trapped in hotel rooms, dressing rooms, limousines and train cars. They are pent-up prisoners of their own notoriety. 
The Beatles rebel against all this, mocking those around them and seeking to break loose from their rigorous schedule and the demands of fame. The group’s interactions with the film’s supportive case are all marked by a subversive, Marx Brothers-like humor. The Beatles are putting everyone on, taking nothing seriously and only out to have fun. 
In an early scene, the band finds itself sharing a train compartment with a staunch-looking British businessman, who’s not happy sharing his usual compartment with the Fab Four. Sitting down, he looks disapprovingly at the group and attempts to shut them out by retreating behind a copy of the Financial Times. It doesn’t work. John leans over and flirtingly bats his eyelashes at him while Ringo disturbs the calm by turning on a transistor radio, bopping his head to the pop music coming out of it. Johnson flips down his paper and abruptly switches off the radio, as John bats his eyelashes again, leans in and says “Give us a kiss.” Everything spirals downhill from there, with Johnson saying: “I fought the war for your sort,” and Ringo replying: “Bet you’re sorry you won!” 
In scenes like this, Lester saw an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing collapse of British classism and the rise of a more honest and equal alternative reflected by the Beatles with their working class backgrounds and Northern accents. 
“The general aim of the film was to present what was apparently becoming a social phenomenon in this county,” Lester said. “Anarchy is too strong a word, but the quality of confidence that the boys exuded! Confidence that they could dress as they liked, speak as they liked, talk to the Queen as they liked, talk to the people on the train who ‘fought the war for them’ as they liked.” 
British society, Lester said, was “still based on privilege – privilege by schooling, privilege by birth, privilege by accent, privilege by speech. [The Beatles] were the first people to attack this…they said if you want something, do it. You can do it. Forget all this talk about talent or ability or money or speech. Just do it.” 
In the film’s most memorable scene, the Beatles make a break from their manager’s schedule and the claustrophobic confines of a TV studio, rushing down a metal fire escape and onto a huge sporting field. What follows is an example of pure film, three or four minutes of cinema that dispenses with script in favor of joyful visual expression. 
Set to the sound of “Can’t Buy Me a Love,” the sequence depicts the band running, jumping and rarely standing still as they scamper and horseplay across the field. The action is sped-up, then slowed down and sped-up again. The contagious excitement and exultant sense of liberty of the scene convey everything we need to know about the Beatles’ magic and appeal. As they burst through the fire escape door to freedom, the Beatles bring their audience with them.   
In the end, U.A.’s gambit paid off. Advance orders for the soundtrack album made “A Hard Day’s Night” the first film in history to recoup its production costs before release.  But “A Hard Day’s Night” made more than money. Middle-aged film critics, quite unexpectedly, liked it, too. 
“This is going to surprise you—it may knock you right out of your chair—but the new film with those incredible chaps, the Beatles, is a whale of a comedy,” wrote New York Times critic Bosley Crowther. “This first fiction film of the Beatles … has so much good humor going for it that it is awfully hard to resist.” 
“Surprisingly,” wrote Time, “this hairy musical romp … is one of the smoothest, freshest, funniest films ever made solely for purposes of exploitation.”  
“The astonishment of the month is ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’” put in former Kennedy aide and sometime film reviewer Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. “One approached the Beatles with apprehension, knowing only the idiotic hairdo and the melancholy wail … but the Beatles … are the timeless essence of the adolescent effort to deal with the absurdities of the adult world.”  
Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris crafted the film’s lasting blurb, however, memorably proclaiming it “The ‘Citizen Kane’ of jukebox musicals.”
Nominated for best musical score and best original script, “A Hard Day’s Night” missed out at the Academy Awards, but as the second-most successful film of 1964, coming in just after that other seminal Sixties film, “Goldfinger.” 
Audiences are still fascinated by the lead character in that film, too.

Today's Best Picture Ever: Candice Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen!

Vintage DC Comics house ad: The Big Eight!

Comics solicitations for September 2014: Spider-Man; Thor; Deadly Hands of Kung Fu; Moon Knight; Teen Titans; Superman; Aurora West; Mickey Mouse; Donald Duck, more!

Highlights coming in September. Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Great Power
Volume #1 in the Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collections Written by STAN LEE Penciled by STEVE DITKO with JACK KIRBY Cover by STEVE DITKO In 1962, in the pages of a comic book slated for cancellation, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gave birth to one of the most enduring icons in American popular culture: the Amazing Spider-Man! Turning the concept of a super hero on its head, they imbued the young, guilt-ridden Peter Parker with the fantastic powers of an arachnid and the fantastic pressures of an everyday teenager. The combination was pure magic. Now, you can leap into Spider-Man's web-slinging world from the very beginning, including the tragic origin that started it all; the first appearances of the Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jameson; and the debut of classic villains including the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, the Sandman, the Vulture and Electro! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #1-17 and ANNUAL #1, and material from AMAZING FANTASY (1962) #15. 504 PGS

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu: Out of the Past
Written by MIKE BENSON, GERRY CONWAY & CHRIS CLAREMONT Penciled by TAN ENG HUAT, DICK GIORDANO & MARSHALL ROGERS Cover by DAVE JOHNSON Murder! Mystery! Martial arts! Shang-Chi's former lover is murdered while working deep undercover for MI-6. Shang-Chi travels to England, but learns that all is not as it seems -- and if he's not careful, he'll be next to die! As Shang-Chi battles mystical kung-fu masters in the streets of London and learns terrible truths about his fallen comrade, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing pitch in -- but they soon discover the danger is greater than any of them had feared! And no one saw the final twist of the knife coming! Old friends, new enemies, espionage and kung fu collide in this riveting adventure! Plus, classic tales featuring the Sons of the Tiger and the Daughters of the Dragon! Collecting DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU (2014) #1-4, and material from DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU (1974) #1 and #32-33. 160 PGS.

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Volume 13
Written by GERRY CONWAY Penciled by JOHN BUSCEMA with RICH BUCKLER, SAL BUSCEMA, ARVELL JONES & KEITH POLLARD Cover by GIL KANE Prepare to behold one of the greatest sagas in the annals of Asgard when the Mighty Thor teams up with Hercules! It's page after page of boasts, battles and broken bones as the two titans fight their way into Pluto's underworld to save the lovely Krista! And that's not all we have in store for you: Thor, Sif and Balder's journey across the cosmos to stop the mysterious Black Stars from destroying the Rigellian homeworld; the unstoppable Destroyer returns; Galactus' herald Firelord makes his debut; and the origin of Ego the Living Planet is revealed! With scripts by Gerry Conway and art by the incomparable John Buscema, there's no doubt they're Marvel Masterworks of the highest order! Collecting THOR (1966) #217-228 and MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #3 256 PGS.

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Volume 5
Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JACK KIRBY Cover by JACK KIRBY & RICHARD ISANOVE A masterpiece of immortal action, cosmic scope and boundless drama, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's THOR marks a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe -- and in this collection they kick their efforts up a cosmic notch! It begins when Thor is captured by Rigellian colonizers and pitted against Ego, the Living Planet! The action continues non-stop from there as Thor faces the High Evolutionary and his man-beasts, battles the Ulik the Troll in the under-earth menace's first appearance, and confronts the unstoppable Destroyer! There's a soft spot to these tales, too, as Thor struggles to reconcile his love for the mortal Jane Foster. And when Lady Sif returns, the cup runneth over with drama and delight! Collecting THOR (1966) #131-140 and ANNUAL #2. 264 PGS.

Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising
Volume #1 in the Moon Knight Epic Collections Written by DOUG MOENCH, DAVID ANTHONY KRAFT, BILL MANTLO & STEVEN GRANT Penciled by DON PERLIN, KEITH GIFFEN, MIKE ZECK, JIM MOONEY, JIM CRAIG, GENE COLAN, KEITH POLLARD & BILL SIENKIEWICZ Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ Discover the many faces of the Moon Knight! Mercenary. Werewolf hunter. Super hero. Millionaire playboy. Cab driver. Ghost? Moon Knight is many things to many people, with the multiple personalities to match! Follow the Fist of Khonshu as he battles to find his place in the Marvel Universe in this collection of his earliest appearances. From his startling debut as a nemesis of Werewolf by Night to an unlikely stint with the Defenders, from encounters with Spider-Man and the Thing to the solo adventures that shaped a legend, relive the rise of the moon's specter of vengeance! Collecting WEREWOLF BY NIGHT (1972) #32-33; MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1971) #28-29; DEFENDERS (1972) #47-50; PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #22-23; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE (1974) #52; MOON KNIGHT (1980) #1-4 -- plus material from HULK MAGAZINE #11-15, #17-18 and #20; and MARVEL PREVIEW #21. 504 PGS.

Spider-Man Newspaper Strips Volume 2
Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JOHN ROMITA SR. & LARRY LIEBER Cover by JOHN ROMITA SR. Extra! Extra! Read all the Spidey strips by Stan "The Man" Lee and "Jazzy" John Romita! The second volume compiling all of Stan and John's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN newspaper strips in chronological order, this titanic tome brings you the classic panels that hit the papers in the late 1970s and early 1980s! All the daily strips are printed in the original black and white, and all the Sundays in color, ready to spin a web of enchantment upon anyone who reads them! Collecting the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN newspaper strips from Jan. 29, 1979, to Jan. 11, 1981. 312 PGS

Thor Epic Collection: The God of Thunder
Volume #1 in the Thor Epic Collections Written by STAN LEE with LARRY LIEBER & ROBERT BERNSTEIN Penciled by JACK KIRBY with JOE SINNOTT, DON HECK & AL HARTLEY Cover by JACK KIRBY Pull up a seat to the beginning of one of the greatest tales of modern myth: the epic saga of the Mighty Thor! While vacationing in Norway, Dr. Donald Blake discovered a strange, gnarled cane. Upon striking it, a shower of lightning rained down -- and the hobbled doctor found himself transformed into Thor, God of Thunder! In these pages, you'll journey across the Rainbow Bridge to Eternal Asgard -- and meet Lord Odin, Heimdall, Balder and Thor's evil half-brother, Loki, for the first time. And to top it off, the mythological origins of Asgard are revealed in fan-favorite backup features! Collecting JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY (1952) #83-109. 480 PGS

Teen Titans: A Celebration of 50 Years
Written by BOB HANEY, MARV WOLFMAN, GEOFF JOHNS and others Art by NICK CARDY, GEORGE PEREZ, MIKE McKONE and others Cover by GEORGE PEREZ On sale NOVEMBER 5 * 400 pg, FC, $75.00 US TEEN TITANS: A CELEBRATION OF 50 YEARS collects a wide range of stories featuring comics' greatest teen superteam, including Nightwing, Cyborg, Superboy, Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and more! This anthology collects stories from some of the industry's legendary talents, including Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Geoff Johns.

Superman: The Golden Age Sundays 1946-1949
Various (w & a) * Pete Poplaski (c) In a full eighteen adventures, Superman's travels take him around the globe as well as through time and space. The Man of Steel solves the case of the Curiosity Crimes, becomes a rival for Cleopatra's affections in ancient Egypt, is exposed to radiation that turns him into Superbabe, battles a prehistoric animal called a "Paleomatzoball" (!), reprises the "Superman's Service to Servicemen" series with a couple of services for veterans, encounters an ancient civilization in the lost valley of Ru, meets up with Angus the talking dog, and to top it all off, witnesses Lois marrying Clark Kent--or does he?! Superman was created in 1938 by two ambitious Cleveland youngsters, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. Their defender of the oppressed became an enduring smash sensation in comics, radio, animation, television, and motion pictures. He remains the little guy's White Knight, battling terrestrial and extra-terrestrial menaces and standing for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. HC * FC * $49.99 * 180 pages * 9.25" x 12" * Collects nearly 170 sequential Sunday pages from August 11, 1946 to October 16, 1949!

Worst of Eerie Publications
Various (w) * Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Domingo Mandrafina, and more (a) * TBD (c) Collected for the first time in a deluxe edition are the comics that deserve it the least: the infamous Eerie Publications' horror comics! Incredibly gory and crazy, the Eerie Pubs pushed the boundaries of good taste with blood-drenched, spine-cracking tales ripped (and redrawn) from the pages of Pre-Code horror comics. Illustrated terror by Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Domingo Mandrafina, the Iger Shop, and many other unsung masters of the morbid, presented in glorious, carefully re-mastered black and white. And who can forget those nausea-inducing covers? A dirty dozen of deadly, full-color covers are reproduced for your discomfort and revulsion. Gratuitous gore! Multi-Monster Madness! Bound Beauties!

The Rise of Aurora West (Battling Boy)
(W) Paul Pope, J T Petty (A/CA) David Rubin The extraordinary world introduced in Paul Pope's Battling Boy is rife with monsters and short on heroes, and in this action-driven extension of the Battling Boy universe, we see it through a new pair of eyes: Aurora West, daughter of Arcopolis's last great hero, Haggard West. A prequel to Battling Boy, The Rise of Aurora West follows the young hero as she seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother's death, and to find her place in a world overrun with supernatural monsters and all-too-human corruption.

The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination
(W) Ernie Colon, Dan Mishkin (A/CA) Ernie Colon, Jerzy Drozd Within days of the murder of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a seven-member commission to investigate the assassination. In its report, the Warren Commission determined that there was "no credible evidence" conflicting with its conclusion of a lone gunman. The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination breaks down how decisions in the days that followed the assassination not only shaped how the commission reconstructed events but also helped foster the conspiracy theories that play a part in American politics to this day.

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 6: "Lost In Lands Long Ago" (Vol. 6)  (Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse)
by Floyd Gottfredson; edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth $35.00 / HC / 288 pgs / BW with some color / 10.5 x 8.75 MICKEY MOUSE VOLS 5 & 6 GIFT BOX SET by Floyd Gottfredson; edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth $49.99 / HC / 576 pgs / BW with some color / 10.5 x 8.75 Fantagraphics' award winning archival series continues with Mickey and Goofy enter a prehistoric lost world teeming with danger. From stampeding brontosaurs to saber-tooth tigers, all of Goofy's least favorite Stone Age scares are here. Author Floyd Gottfredson produced a cavalcade of rip-roaring tales starring Mickey and Lost in Lands of Long Agois no exception. Also included are several other stories and more than 30 pages of rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a clan of Disney cave bears.

Nancy Loves Sluggo: Complete Dailies 1949-1951
by Ernie Bushmiller; Introduction by Ivan Brunetti $39.99 / SC / 336 pgs / BW with spot-color / 8.5 x 8.5 Connoisseurs including Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol have recognized that Ernie Bushmiller's Nancyapproached its own kind of zen-like cartoon perfection. Fantagraphics' beloved Nancyseries finally packages Nancywith the reverence it deserves. Our third volume contains another full three years of daily Nancystrips, from an era many regard as Bushmiller's finest.

The Ghost Of The Grotto: Starring Walt Disney's Donald Duck
by Carl Barks $12.99 / SC / 96 pgs / FC / 5.5 x 7.25 One of Donald Duck's most famous adventures leads off our new line of affordable kid-sized Donald Duck books: budget-minded books packed with fun, laughs, and adventure in every 96-page edition. Each story is complete with all the original story and art. Includes the title story plus bonus stories, all written and drawn by Disney legend Carl Barks!

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue
(W/A/CA) Bill Watterson Exploring Calvin and Hobbes is the catalogue for an exhibit by the same name at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at Ohio State University, which opened in March 2014. The exhibit is Bill Watterson's personal exploration of how the wonder of Calvin and Hobbes came to be. It includes original art of Calvin and Hobbes, along with Watterson's original commentary on each. The show also includes art from cartoonists who Watterson has identified as influential in the development of his art, including Peanuts, Pogo, Krazy Kat, Doonesbury, Pat Oliphant, Jim Borgman, Flash Gordon, Bloom County, and Steadman. (STK648088) NOTE: This item may be available through other retail outlets before shipping to comic book specialty shops.

The Batman Files
(W) Matthew K. Manning (A) Various Unearthed from the depths of the Batcave, The Batman Files begins with Bruce Wayne's childhood drawings and continues along a time line of significant events in Batman's life. Complete and authentic in every way possible, all of Batman's friends and foes appear throughout the dossier to provide a framework of the Caped Crusader's entire career. Completely outlining Batman's war on crime, The Batman Files includes in-depth computer files, news articles, crime scene photos, blueprints, schematics, and actual maps of Gotham City that were collected, and in many cases even drawn, by the Caped Crusader himself. (STK648086) (C: 0-1-0) HC, 10x13, 308pgs,

75 Years of Marvel Comics
(W) Roy Thomas (A) Various From the very first issue of pulp impresario Martin Goodman's Marvel Comics in 1939, Marvel created a mythological universe grounded in a world that readers recognize as close to their own, brimming with humor and heartache. In the early 1960s, this audacious approach launched the creation of heroes who have since become household names -- Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Avengers, Thor, the X-Men, the list goes on. In celebration of Marvel's 75th anniversary, TASCHEN presents a magnum opus of the most influential comic book publisher today, with an inside look not only at its celebrated characters, but also at the "bullpen" of architects whose names are almost as familiar as the protagonists they brought to life -- Stan "the Man" Lee, Jack "King" Kirby, along with a roster of greats like Steve Ditko, John Romita, John Buscema, Marie Severin, and countless others. With essays by comics historian and former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, this book delves into the heart of thousands of costumed characters who continue to fight the good fight in comics, movies, and toy aisles of the world.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Today's Best Picture Ever: Paul and Linda McCartney!

Pop Culture Roundup: Sub-Mariner! Bernard Cornwell! Pinocchio! Beatles! Theremin! ROM: Space Knight!

Swim with Namor, via Longbox Graveyard:


 The BBC is planning a TV series based on Bernard Cornwell's "Saxson Stories" novels - sort of a "Games of Thrones" with vikings.

Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. Against this turbulent backdrop lives “The Last Kingdom’s” hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he — Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.

Richard Percy Jones, who voiced Pinocchio in the Disney classic, passed away this week at age 87,
Jones turned 10 in 1937, the year Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White, came to theaters. Until then, he was billed onscreen as “Dickie” Jones. Afterward, he shortened it to the more grown-up “Dick,” but he will forever be remembered for the boy he voiced in Disney’s second animated feature, in 1940, Pinocchio.

Mojo mag checks out the upcoming mono Beatles LPs and likes what it hears.
We’re sitting in Abbey Road Studio 3, listening to a Beatles song we’ve heard hundreds of times, a Beatles song we’re not even especially fond of, and we’re tuning into things we’re sure we’ve never heard before; the hum of the acoustic guitar’s steel strings, a frail clarity to McCartney’s voice and an odd sort of reverb that acts as a bridge between vocals and strings. Yesterday has never sounded this good.

Via BoingBoing, hear the score to "The Day the Earth Stood Still."


Via Calvin's Cave of Cool: ROM: Space Knight Mighty Mugg! It's exclusive to Comicon in San Diego.

Fab Friday: Vintage Beatles coloring book!

Visit The Glass Onion Beatles Journal!