Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year - Abba (1980)

As we reach 2012 I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope you continue to enjoy my posts on Ado's Blog.

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The song Happy New Year was probably the closest ABBA as a group ever came to a Christmas record. But over the years the individual members have made quite a few forays into the Christmas market. In this feature, we take a look at Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Frida’s musical season celebrations over the years.

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"Happy New Year" is a popular song by Swedish pop group ABBA from their 1980 album Super Trouper. The song's working title was all the more festive and humorous; "Daddy Don't Get Drunk on Christmas Day". Although recorded in 1980, the English-language song wasn't released as a single until 1999 and charted in Sweden (No27), The Netherlands(No15) and Germany (No78) to promote the CD re-release of many of ABBA's singles.

"Felicidad" was the Spanish language version of the song. The single charted in the top 5 in Argentina. The song was also included on the South American versions of the Super Trouper album. Released in 1980 in Argentina, the single's B-Side was the album's title track, "Super Trouper".

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"Felicidad" was first released on CD as part of the 1994 Polydor U.S. compilation Mas Abba Oro, and in 1999 on the expanded re-release of ABBA Oro: Grande Exitos.

In 2008, it was released again in several countries, and charted in Denmark (No25), Norway (No11), and Sweden (No4). It re-entered the Sweden and Norway charts in 2009 at No5 in both charts and reached the Dutch Top 10 in 2011.

In Vietnam, this song is still popular and played very often during new year holidays

Classic Corrie: The Rovers is Robbed (1975)

It's back to the good old days of Coronation Street before it became too shite and the programme deteriorated beyond belief! Back in 1975 Annie Walker found herself with visitors, unexpected visitors to say the least. After hiding themselves in the toilets after time was called, Les Grimes and Neil Foxall are intent of nicking from the Rovers. After finding nothing of value in the Living Room the pair go upstairs to Annie Walker's bedroom.
Annie refuses to tell the pair where the money is and a battle of nerves with Neil begins. Albert Tatlock notices that the lights are on and informs Len Fairclough & Ray Langton that there may be something wrong at the Rovers. Neil calls Annie a liar and refuses to believe that there is no money kept at the Rovers. The pair make there escape but are intercepted by Len & Ray and a battle of fists ensues.
Annie tells Len that she is worried the Brewery might think she is vulnerable and falls down the stairs knocking herself unconscious.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Classic Kids TV - Hickory House

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Hickory House is a British television programme aimed at pre-school children. It was produced by Granada Television from 1973 to 1977 and broadcast on weekday lunchtimes.

Each programme was usually hosted by a pair of presenters, most often including Alan Rothwell. The setting was normal house, but in Hickory House household objects were brought to life through puppetry. The puppet characters included Humphrey Cushion (a grey cushion with a fondness for bananas), Dusty Mop (a mop with a long red nose) and the Handle Family. The puppets were created by Barry Smith's Theatre of Puppets.

Hickory House - Humphrey Cushion Hickory House - Dusty Mop

Hickory House - Louise Hickory House - Alan, Humphrey & Louise

All 129 episodes survive in Granada's archive, although none have yet been released on DVD.

The animated opening title sequence of Hickory House began with Granada Television's "G" logo transforming into a house. This innovation was used again in 1978 with the game show 3-2-1, when Yorkshire Television's "Y" logo was worked into an animated title sequence. Curiously, this later programme also featured a character named "Dusty" based on a household item (in this case, a dustbin).

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Persuaders - Episode One - Overture (1971)

Anonymous invitations to a luxurious Cote d'Azure hotel bring a wealthy American and an Aristocratic English man together - tricked into teaming up for what is to be a new challenging career of adventure and danger.
Danny Wilde (TONY CURTIS) and Brett Sinclair (ROGER MOORE) provide a striking contrast. Danny is a rough diamond, self polished - a man who has emerged from a tough New York slum background, now moves in high society, has made and lost several fortunes and never has to worry about being able to make another one if necessary. Brett, on the other hand, is a real live Lord from a long line of aristocrats, has the languish and polished perfection of his class and is very much a member of the caviar and champagne set.
Nevertheless, they have a lot in common. Both are handsome and highly personable and both are magnetic to beautiful women. Their meeting is unexpected, but planned. Each receives an anonymous invitation to a luxurious Cote D'Azure hotel. Their first encounters are skillfully manipulated, climaxing in a good-humoured but none the less vigorous fight which almost reduces the hotel restaurant to rubble.
Facing the prospect of imprisonment, they find themselves at the mercy of their mysterious host, a former Judge named, Fulton (LAURENCE NAISMITH) who berates them for being playboys but says he can help them. As an active Judge, he had applied justice according to the law which meant that many criminals escaped. In retirement, he has resolved to correct the balance between law and justice and Danny and Brett are his chosen instruments for righting legal wrongs!
Prison is their only alternative to complying with his wishes, so they comply. And their first task has its appealing aspects: to check out a lovely brunette by the name of Maria Lorenzo (IMOGEN HASSALL) who can be identified by a clothes-covered birthmark. This is easier said than done. Judge Fulton has set a trap to test them. They are attacked by a couple of thugs and they are shot at, but they do manage to identify Maria and discover - as Fulton already knows - that she is the sister of a crime syndicate boss said to have been shot two years earlier. But the usual battle for power following a top "Hood's" death did not materialise, why not?
Danny and Brett find that Maria really does believe that her brother is dead and that she has no idea what his business was. She is staggered when she discovers that her brother is still alive and is the most wanted man in the Mediterranean. Danny and Brett, as well as Maria and Judge Fulton himself are now in real peril!......

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

House of Fun - Madness (1982)

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"House of Fun" was a song by British ska/pop group Madness, credited to Mike Barson and Lee Thompson. It was released as a one-off single on April 30, 1982, and reached No1 in the UK charts, spending 9 weeks in the charts. The song was re-released in 1992, reaching No40. As of 2008, it is the band's only number one single in the UK.
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House of Fun was originally recorded under the title "Chemist Facade", without the "Welcome to the House of Fun" chorus. However, while the song was being recorded, head of Stiff Records, Dave Robinson demanded that the band add a chorus, to ensure the song was a hit. Upon hearing this, band member Mike Barson immediately wrote the "Welcome to the House of Fun" refrain on his piano.
However, at this point, the song was already recorded, and the management decided not to re-record the whole song. Instead, the recording was edited, and the chorus instruments and vocals dubbed onto the recording. This proved to be difficult, mainly due to technical limitations at the time, and it resulted in the first part of the word "Welcome" being cut off. Due to this, the chorus seemed to begin "Elcome to the House of Fun", so lead singer Suggs was forced to overdub the word "Welcome". Although this proved to be a tough task, it was completed successfully.
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As well as the song's single release, it has featured on various compilation albums released by Madness. It was initially included on Complete Madness which also hit number 1 in the UK at the time of the single's release, meaning Madness were at the top of both the single and album charts. The song was then included on the 1992 compilation Divine Madness, which was later reissued as The Heavy Heavy Hits. The song was further included on The Business and It's... Madness. It featured in the Our House Musical, which was based on the band's songs, and as such appears on the accompanying soundtrack, Our House. Furthermore, it was part of the US releases Madness and Ultimate Collection.
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In addition to these releases, the song also features on several "Best of the 80s" albums. In 2010, it was included on the re-release of the band's 1982 album The Rise and Fall, appearing on the second disc along with Driving In My Car, another stand-alone single from around that time. It's b-side Don't Look Back was also included.

Arthur Askey - This Is Your Life (1974)


THIS IS YOUR LIFE - Arthur Askey, comedian, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at Thames TV’s Euston Road Studios.

Eamonn sprung from a Humpty Dumpty outfit to surprise the popular comedian, who was discussing the history of Pantomime with fellow comedians Jimmy Tarbuck and Ted Ray.

Arthur was celebrating 50 years in show business, and had previously been a subject of This Is Your Life in December 1959
Arthur recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Before Your Very Eyes, beginning with a reference to his first tribute..."I would not put my This Is Your Life show among the top twenty. But sixteen years later... It is now December 1974. I am asked to do a TV discussion show, talking about pantomime with Ted Ray and Jimmy Tarbuck.

We were surrounded by pantomime animals - the cow, the cat, etc. - and the fairy, when suddenly ‘Humpty Dumpty’ waddles on and throws back the top of the egg. Out pops Eamonn, book in hand, and says (giving an impression of Mike Yarwood), ‘Arthur Askey - for the second time, this is your life.’ 
What a star-studded cast I had this time: darling Gracie Fields who had flown in from Capri, Sabrini who had travelled from Hollywood, Val Doonican, Jack Warner, June Whitfield, Dickie Henderson, David Nixon, Kathleen Harrison, Norman Vaughan, Jimmy Jewel, MacDonald Hobley, Barbara Mullen, Cyril Fletcher, Charlie Drake, Peter Butterworth, Jimmy Logan, and Charlie Chester!  Dickie Murdoch was again in South Africa so had to appear on film (ed - telephone actually!), as did Ken Dodd, who spoke from a classroom at the Liverpool Institute.

They also unearthed one of my old colleagues from the Education Offices - Frank Ball, now happily retired, as I would have been had I followed Father’s advice.  And, of course, Anthea appeared with Bill, her husband, and my three darling grandchildren - and, naturally, my sister Rene.

All in all, it was a marvelous thrill for me, only marred by the fact that I could not stay for the orgy afterwards as I had to appear in cabaret at Bournemouth at 11 o’clock.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was a 1939 film featuring the characters of the Sherlock Holmes series of books as created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was the second film to feature Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson, the final one they would make for 20th Century Fox, and the final one in the Rathbone/Bruce series to be set in the Victorian London period. The further 12 films made by Universal and starring Rathbone/Bruce would take place in contemporary times (i.e. the 1940's). George Zucco appeared as Holmes's nemesis Professor Moriarty.  In Britain, the film was originally released under the shorter title Sherlock Holmes.

The film begins with Moriarty and Holmes verbally sparring on the steps outside the Old Bailey where Moriarty has just been acquitted on a charge of murder due to lack of evidence. Holmes remarks, "You've a magnificent brain, Moriarty. I admire it. I admire it so much I'd like to present it, pickled in alcohol, to the London Medical Society". "It would make an impressive exhibit", replies Moriarty.
Later Holmes and Watson are visited at 221B Baker Street by Ann Brandon (Ida Lupino). She tells him that her brother Lloyd has received a strange note - a drawing of a man with an albatross hanging around his neck - identical to one received by her father just before his brutal murder ten years before. Holmes deduces that the note is a warning and rushes to find Lloyd Brandon. However he is too late, as Lloyd has been murdered by being strangled and having his skull crushed.
Holmes investigates and attends a garden party, disguised as a music-hall entertainer, where he correctly believes an attempt will be made on Ann's life. Hearing her cries from a nearby park he captures her assailant, who turns out to be Gabriel Mateo, out for revenge on the Brandons for the murder of his father by Ann's father in a dispute over ownership of their South American mine. His murder weapon was a bolas. Mateo also reveals that it was Moriarty who urged him to seek revenge. Holmes realises that Moriarty is using the case as a distraction from his real crime, a crime that will stir the British Empire - an attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. Holmes rushes to the Tower of London to prevent the crime, and during a struggle Moriarty falls, presumably to his death. In the end, Ann is married and Holmes tries to shoo a fly by playing his violin, only to have Watson swat it with his newspaper remarking, "Elementary, my dear Holmes, elementary."
The quote "Elementary, my dear Watson" was made popular by this film. Although it was spoken in the 1929 talkie The Return of Sherlock Holmes, starring Clive Brook, it was never featured in a canonical Arthur Conan Doyle story story; although once Holmes said, in "The Adventure of the Crooked Man", "Elementary". The quote "Elementary, my dear Watson" was ranked No. 65 in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes poll.
During the scene in which Holmes crashes the garden party dressed as a music hall performer, he sings "I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside". This is an anachronism, since the film is set in 1894, but the song was written in 1907.
The scene in which Holmes experiments with the flies in the glass while playing the violin is recreated in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Countdown: UFO (1971) Part Two - The Picture Strip: Part Four

The New Boss:
Part 1:  Issue 12: 8th May 1971.
A UFO reaches Earth and manages to strike General Henderson's car as he is returning from vacation in America, causing a crash and injuring him.  Henderson's replacement at an International Astrophysical Commission meeting is General Calper, who accompanies Straker in a ShadAir jet.  Calper is unsympathetic towards SHADO but in flight is sighted homing in on them.
UFO issue 10
Part 2:  Issue 13: 15th May 1971.
Straker calls on Skydiver for assistance and Sky 1 homes in but not before the UFO is able to fire on the ShadAir Jet.  Calper is slightly injured but the jet crew still make it to New York for the conference.  A recovered Calper addresses the delegates and tells them he believes SHADO is no longer competent in defending Earth and calls for investigation of Straker and the organisation.

Part 3:  Issue 14: 22nd May 1971.
The Commission agrees that a detailed investigation will help assist budget reviews and Straker is ordered to co-operated fully.  The Commander takes Callper back to SHADO Headquatres and gives him a full tour including a captured Alien space suit, but the General is undeterred in his opinions even when overcome with a dizzy spell.  Stating it is better the public know, Calper intends to broadcast to the nation and pulls a gun on Straker.  With little choice, Straker overcomes him, but in a Military organisation this is a court martial offence!  

Part 4:  Issue 15: 29th May 1971.
Straker escapes in a racing car that is being used for one of the studio films and Calper calls on both SHADO and Civil Police to catch him.  Out in the country, Straker is able to lose the Police and doubles back to Paul Foster's apartment to get help, but Foster is waiting in a SHADO Mobile.
UFO issue 10
Part 5:  Issue 16: 05th June 1971.
Foster disobeys orders from Calper to open fire and confronts Straker, who tells him of the General's plans.  Realising something is wrong, Foster joins Straker, who believes Calper may have come under an Alien influence.  Meanwhile, Alec Freeman has been replaced by Calper's aide, Crawford.  Freeman is also suspoicious and contacts Straker & Foster in their  mobile.  They arrange to meet in the ruins of a house destroyed by a UFO months earlier but en-route they encounter another Mobile driven by Crawford!
Part 6:  Issue 17: 12th June 1971.
The battle is short, with Foster forcing Crawford off the road and driving through a Police cordon.  At the ruin rendezvous with Alec Freeman, they discover Calper had hypnosis during recent dental treatment and think this may have made him open to outside influence.  Recalling Calper's dizzy spell when seeing the Alien suit, Straker hatches a plan and Freeman returns to SHADO.  Later, Calper is en-route to the television studio to make his broadcast when a Mobile blocks their way.  As his guards pull their weapons, an Alien approaches.
Part 7:  Issue 18: 19th June 1971.
The Alien commands Calper to stop the guards and the General barks an order.  Watching from the Mobile, Foster & Freeman realise Straker - dressed in the Alien spacesuit - was correct.  But a UFO is homing in and eliminates Calper before being destroyed by Sky 1.  Returning to SHADO Headquaters, Straker believes the Aliens knew the plan had failed and destroyed Calper to prevent how they controlled him being discovered.  Back at the Astrophysical Commission,  Straker's budget increase is granted.
UFO issue 10