Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Avenues and Alleyways - Remembering The Protectors

The Protectors was a British Television series, an action thriller created by Gerry Anderson. It is Anderson's second TV series using live actors as opposed to animated puppets, and also his second TV series to be firmly set in the present day (following The Secret Service). It is also the only Gerry Anderson-produced television series to date that was not of the fantasy or Science Fiction genres. It was produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment production company. Despite not featuring puppets or any real science fiction elements, The Protectors became one of Anderson's most popular productions, easily winning a renewal for a second season, and a third was in the planning stages when the show's major sponsor pulled out, forcing its cancellation.
The Protectors first aired in 1972 and 1973, and ran to 52 episodes over two series, each 25 minutes long - making it one of the last series of this type to be produced in a half-hour format. It starred Robert Vaughan (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Harry Rule, Nyree Dawn Porter (The Forsyte Saga) as the Contessa Caroline di Contini, and Tony Anholt (Space 1999, Howards Way) as Paul Buchet. Episodes often featured prominent guest actors.
Three inexplicably affluent international Private Detectives/Troubleshooters who were charged with ensuring the protection of innocents. They belonged to an organization called The Protectors and were based in London. Harry led the group. The Contessa lived in Italy (when she wasn't working with Harry). She ran her own detective agency that specialized in exposing art frauds and recovering stolen art. Paul Buchet worked out of Paris, and was the group's researcher and gadget specialist. Adventures ranged from simple kidnapping to convoluted cases of international intrigue. These characters were all very wealthy and drove exotic cars of the era, like the Citroen SM and Jenson Interceptor.

According to Anderson, the show's format was outlined in a brief note that Grade gave him, and he was then given a free hand to develop it, although Grade ultimately cast two of the main actors himself. The format of the series allowed for occasional episodes in which not all of the main actors appear, including two episodes in which Vaughn's character is absent.

Like The Persuaders!, a similar series also produced by ITC, that aired around the same time, The Protectors was shot on location at numerous "exotic" locations throughout Europe, such as Salzburg, Rome, Malta and Paris, giving the series a sixties "jet set" feel (it was also the first Anderson production to have such a luxury). Some critics feel that the series has dated badly, with weak plots used as an excuse to string together the location footage. In order to offset the cost of location filming, and also perhaps because the equipment was more portable, the series was shot on 16mm film rather than the usual 35.

The theme tune for the series, "Avenues and Alleyways", was a minor hit for Tony Christie (and was later successfully revived by Christie in the 2000s thanks in part to its use in the soundtrack to the film Love, Honour and Obey.

Sons and Daughters - Episode Ten

1982 Opening Titles

John has been to the beach to try to get his head together. He tells Fiona he has three options - he can either go to the police, ring Bill and have it out with him or call his mum and dad. John decides on the second option - he can't believe Bill's really a murderer, and maybe he can talk him into doing the right thing. Fiona tells John to play on Bill's love for Susan. John says he would have liked to have called his parents, but David has never stood by him in his life, so this isn't an option.

John 'phones Bill at work. He tells Bill he can't marry Susan and demands to know how Bill knew Selmar was on the 'phone when he was attacked. John tells Bill he's packing it, but Bill says he has an alibi. John tells his ex-best mate that Mrs. Todd would say anything her son wanted. John tells Bill that if he loves Susan, he can't marry her, and asks what will happen to her when the police find out the truth?

As Beryl ices the wedding cake, Susan comes in and tells her mother the cake is 'nice'. When Beryl appears hurt, Susan changes this to 'great!' Susan hopes her grandad won't take over when he arrives. David comes in from collecting his dad from the airport, but says Mr. Palmer wasn't on the flight. David hopes his father might have changed his mind about coming.

While John contemplates his problems, he sits and solves a Rubick's cube! Fiona tells John that she hates him, as she'd been trying for six months to complete that! John tells Fiona there's nothing he can do. Fiona agrees, and says it's back to being "Scott Edwards". John adds, "..for so long as my luck holds out."

David's father turns up in a taxi. As Susan looks out the window, she tells Beryl that David and his father are already at it. It turns out that Doug Palmer caught a standby flight, as it was cheaper. Beryl tells Doug he's sleeping in John's bed. Doug says, "Silly young idiot - and that's all I'm saying about it." David tells his father he tries not to interfere too much in his kids' lives. David wants to go out and work on his van. Beryl says she wants him at the table for tea. David says he and his dad should avoid each other to stop the inevitable arguments.

Nora and Bill join the Palmers for tea. Doug guesses Bill didn't really want a church wedding and says Bill mustn't let Susan wear the pants. After the meal, David and Kevin want to watch cricket - David says it'll stop there being any arguments with his father. Beryl tells Nora that she was very quiet at dinner. Nora asks if Beryl thinks John is innocent, and adds that she couldn't bear to lose Bill. Bill goes into the kitchen and tells his mum it's time to go home. Susan asks Bill if he's OK and gets the reply that it has been a tough day. Susan tells Bill that Beryl wonders why she runs to the 'phone every time it rings. She says "You don't think I'd marry a murderer, do you?" Bill says "I love you."

The day of the wedding dawns, and Kevin tells Lynn she looks great in her bridesmaid's dress. Lynn says she likes Kevin's grandad. Kevin says it's funny how you see people differently when you're older. As Doug Palmer waits in the front garden, a van draws up from Network 7 Regional News. A reporter, Andrew Fuller, wants to interview Susan, but asks to talk to Doug first. David spots what's going on and tells Fuller to buzz off and go home. Doug tells Fuller he'll talk David round. David tells Fuller he'll call the police if the reporter puts one foot inside his gate. Doug tells his son that he made a galah of himself.

When Bill and Mrs. Todd turn up, Andrew Fuller tries to talk to them. Bill gets very angry and tells Fuller to shove it. He also threatens to crack some of the news team's equipment over Fuller's head if he doesn't leave it. In the house, Nora asks Bill if he killed Selmar. Bill avoids the question, but Nora says she's scared for him. Nora says she has to know. Bill tells her "You should know..."

After the wedding, the reception takes place in the Palmer house. Bill thanks everyone and tells his mum he appreciates everything she's done - everything... She looks at him, warily.

In Sydney, John isn't eating much because he's deep in thought about Angela. He tells Fiona that he wants to clear himself because of Angela, but then reminds himself that he hasn't got much to offer Ms. Hamilton.

In Kevin's bedroom, Lynn says she feels great. Kevin tells her she's drunk! Lynn says she only had a few glasses of champagne. As they lie on the bed together, Doug enters the room and orders Lynn to get out. Kevin tells his grandad it's not like it looked, but Doug says he'll tell David when he gets back from Mrs. Todd's.

Upon David's return, Doug lays into his son and tells him how he found Kevin and Lynn on Kevin's bed. Doug says they were up to the same thing as David was twenty years ago. Doug tells David to do something, or Kevin will end up making as big a mess of his life as David.

When Sting was walking on the moon!

The Police,Walking On The Moon,France,Deleted,7
"Walking on the Moon" was a song released back in 1979 by The Police, from their second album, Regatta DeBlanc. The song was The Police's second number-one hit single in the United Kingdom. It reached number nine in Australia but did not chart in the United States. It is one of The Police's more reggae-influenced songs.

Sting said that he wrote the song when he was drunk:

I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and starting walking round the room singing : 'Walking round the room, walking round the room'. That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But 'Walking round the room' was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was 'Walking on the moon.'

In his autobiography, Sting alludes that the song was partially inspired by an early girlfriend:

Deborah Anderson was my first real girlfriend...walking back from Deborah's house in those early days would eventually become a song, for being in love is to be relieved of gravity.

The video for the song was filmed at Kennedy Space Centre on October 23, 1979. It features the band members pantomiming to the song amidst spacecraft displays, interspersed with NASA footage. Both Sting and Andy Summers strum guitars (not bass) in the video, and Stewart Copeland strikes his drumsticks on a Saturn V moon rocket.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American thriller directed by Don Siegel and starred Clint Eastwood. It dramatizes the only possible successful escape attempt on Alcatraz Island. The film co-stars Fred Ward, and also features Patrick McGoohan as the suspicious, vindictive warden, and features the film debut of Danny Glover.
Frank Morris is sent to the prison on Alcatraz. There, he meets his old friends, brothers John and Clarence Anglin and also makes the acquaintance of the prisoner in the cell next to his, Charlie Butts. After a series of negative experiences involving the warden of Alcatraz, Morris decides to escape and persuades the other three men to join him.
The inmates dig through the walls of their cells with spoons, make Papier-machier dummies to act as decoys, and construct a raft out of raincoats. On the night of their escape, Butts gets frightened and does not go with the others. Morris and the Anglin brothers make it out of the prison and paddle their raft towards the mainland, never to be seen again. Still, there is some hint at the end of the film that they made it to shore.

Screenwriter Richard Tuggle spent six months researching and writing a screenplay based on the 1963 non-fiction account by J. Campbell Bruce. He went to the Writers Guild and received a list of literary agents who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. He submitted a copy to each, and also to anybody else in the business that he could cajole into reading it. Everyone rejected it, saying it had poor dialogue and characters, lacked a love interest, and that the public was not interested in prison stories. Tuggle decided to bypass producers and executives and deal directly with filmmakers. He called the agent for director Don Siegel and lied, saying he had met Siegel at a party and the director had expressed interest in reading his script. The agent forwarded the script to Siegel, who read it, liked it, and passed it on to Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood was drawn to the role as ringleader Frank Morris and agreed to star, providing Siegel direct under the Malpaso banner. However, Siegel insisted that it be a Don Siegel film and out-maneuvered Clint by purchasing the rights to the film for $100,000. This created a rift between the two friends. Although Siegel eventually agreed for it to be a Malpaso-Siegel production, Siegel went to Paramount Pictures, a rival studio and never directed an Eastwood picture again.

The Moomins - Part One

The Moomins (Polish: Opowiadania Mumink√≥w, German: Die Mumins) is a animated childrens' television series based on the Tove Jansson's Moomin series of books which was originally produced by Se-Ma-Fo and Jupiter Film between the years 1977–1982, originally for Polish, Austrian and German television. The series was later on sold to other countries including the UK. The British version was adapted by Anne Wood at Film Fair and first broadcast in the UK in 1983 on CITV and was repeated until 1989, and was narrated by British actor Richard Murdoch.
This series was often referred to as the Fuzzy Felt Moomins, due to the appearance of the characters. It was the third series to be made based on the Moomin books, with two more made since then. Nonetheless, it is one of the two best known Moomin series, along with Moomin (1990). This version has at times been criticised for being scary in places and rather dark in tone for the young audience at which it was aimed. It is, in contrast to the 1990s series, widely believed to be by far the most faithful TV adaptation of Tove Jansson's stories, and much closer to her vision.
The scripts for each episode were translated from Polish into Finnish and sent to Tove and Lars Jansson, who, if they felt that anything needed to be changed, would correct the script, expand or rewrite its parts; afterwards, the scripts were sent back and only then would production of the particular episode begin.

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) - Episode Seven: Murder Ain't What it Used To Be

Murder Ain't What it Used to Be is the seventh episode of the classic 1969 Series, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. The episode was first broadcast on 2 November 1969 on ITV. The episode was Directed by Jeremy Summers.
Crime boss Paul Kirstner flies over to England from New York to attend to "business" in London. Behind most of the rackets in Chicago, he hires Jeff to protect his daughter from any of his enemies whilst in London. However, Kirstner is being haunted by the white suited Bugsy "Smiler" Spanio (closely modelled on Al Capone), a man he double-crossed and murdered after they stole a million dollars worth of alcohol before they ended prohibition.
Knowing that Jeff is being hired by Kirstner, Bugsy contacts Marty and begins to terrorise Jeannie unless Jeff kills Kirstner for him. His trademark cigar, white hat and raucous laughter is stereotypical of a Chicago gangster of the 1920s, and he appears in the mirror several times to taunt Jeannie as she is taking care of her appearance.
With Jeff constantly stalling, Bugsy changes his tactics and asks Jeff to dial a number on the telephone and tell the person on the other end that if there are any messages for Kirstner then he's with his daughter. Unbeknownst to Jeff, the man on the other end of the line is Jack Lacey, a rival criminal who also wants Kirstner dead. Lacey and his henchmen arrive at Kirstner's retreat, and they force entry and wait for Paul Kirstner to return at night fall. Shortly before he arrives, Jeff encourages Marty to make Bugsy mad by hitting him and throwing objects at him, so that Bugsy's attack on the property will distract Lacey and his armed henchman. After he does so, Kirstner arrives and gains the upper hand of the surprised enemies and leads them both outside in the dark to be murdered, planting a gun on Lacey and telling him he'll claim to the police it was self-defence. However, Kirstner is distracted by the ghost Bugsy, that only he can see and he finally gets his revenge on Kirstner by allowing Lacey to kill him.
File:Randall and Hopkirk Deceased titlecard.jpg

Bay City Rollers Official Magazine

The Bay City Rollers Official Magazine was printed back in the 1970s and paid homage to one of the most famous bands of that period. The image above is for Magazine no 2 back in January 1975.
Issue No 3 from February 1975.
Issue No 4 from March.
Yes, it's no 5 in the series published in April 1975.
No 7, June 1975
No 8 July 1975