Sunday, 31 July 2011

Elvis at the Cow Palace, San Fransisco: November 28th 1976

Elvis Presley Cow Palace, San Francisco, Ca 8.30pm - Novembr 28, 1976
Elvis Presley Cow Palace, San Francisco, Ca 8.30pm - Novembr 28, 1976
Elvis Presley Cow Palace, San Francisco, Ca 8.30pm - Novembr 28, 1976
Cow Palace (originally California State Livestock Pavilion) is an indoor arena, in Daly City, California, situated on the city's border with neighboring San Fransisco. The 28th November 1976 and the King of Rock himself, Elvis, played to a sell out crowd.

Village of the Damned (1960)

John Wyndham came up with an original alien invasion in his novel The Midwich Cuckoos (1957); Wolf Rilla's film, from a script by the American Stirling Silliphant (who uses a few Yank expressions that should have been changed - 'general store' for 'village shop'), is a low-key dramatisation and all the better for it.

The first half covers the Midwich blackout, so the business with the children - which takes place over years of plot-time - is sometimes a little rushed. There are a lot of secondary characters to cope with and the splendid Barbara Shelley (most caring of the mothers) gets pushed into the background so her scientist husband (George Sanders) can shoulder dramatic weight.

landscape image

landscape image

The sleeping village set-up is classic Quatermass stuff - a tractor grinding around in a circle, an iron burning a hole in a dress, a record stuck in a groove, a cow collapsed in a field. Everyone wakes up in convincing embarrassment, which gets odder as the pregnancies are announced, delivering the sort of emotions American s-f films, pitched at kiddies, didn't do in the 1960s: the awkward joy of the Zellabys at an unexpected event, the meek terror of the teenage virgin confessing to a doctor, the mute rage of the sailor home after a year abroad to find his wife knocked up, the quiet solidarity of a pregnant mother and daughter who visit the clinic at the same time.

landscape image

landscape image

Once the kids are born, it becomes a monster movie in which the threat is a malign higher intelligence with no moral grounding. What works is the shape the threat comes in: the Midwich Children are the creepiest ever seen on film, with identical blonde wigs (an unsettling effect is achieved by casting real-life brunette kids whose colouring is subtly wrong for their hair) and staring eyes (in some prints, a glowing effect was added). The polite spokesman for the group mind is played by Martin Stephens (also notable as Miles in The Innocents (d. Jack Clayton, 1961)) but dubbed by a grown woman. Rilla hints at the children's human side (they all solve a puzzle box to get chocolates) as well as a malevolence that is scary from an alien but might be even scarier from a human kid (Stephens' flicker of an almost-smile after forcing a motorist to kill himself is one of the nastiest shots in British cinema).

landscape image

In spread-the-unease form, it ends with one of the first it-may-not-be-over endings (later a genre cliché): the glowing eyes, superimposed over the fire, zap off into the skies, suggesting that killing the kids' bodies may not have wiped out their disembodied intelligence.

landscape image



Published by


Volume 27,No.318,July 1960,page 102


When, for several hours, all life in the village of Midwich comes to a cataleptic stop, the authorities investigate. Two months pass before the implications of that eventful day become apparent, however. Six boys and six girls are born, each with the same flaxen hair and strangely powerful eyes, to women unable to account for their pregnancy. Time passes, and by the age of nine the twelve children are not only intellectual giants, but also seem to have supernatural powers. When two men oppose the children and die in mysterious circumstances, physicist Gordon Zellaby is forced to admit that the children, one of whom was born to his own wife, must in some way be responsible. Realising that there is no limit to the evil power of these children, already planning to spread out and multiply, Zellaby decides that he alone, whom they have come to trust, must be responsible for their destruction. And yet the children have long since proved themselves able to read his mind...

The solution of this excellent adaptation from John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos can be recommended for its ruthless ingenuity, the story is original as these things go and has grip, the village background is pleasing and Wolf Rilla's direction (except for some irksome glimpses of George Sanders' marital bliss) both sharp and discreet. Altogether, in fact, with chillingly effective performances from the children to add to the tension, this is probably the neatest science fiction film yet to have come out of a British studio.

The Monthly Film Bulletin was published by the British Film Institute between 1934 and 1991. Initially aimed at distributors and exhibitors as well as filmgoers, it carried reviews and details of all UK film releases. In 1991, the Bulletin was absorbed by Sight and Sound magazine.

The Daily Star: 17th September 2001

Daily Star - 17th September 2001
This edition of the Daily Star was published on 17th September 2001 and follows on from the atrocities on the World Trade Centre in New York.

1967 Smirnoff Vodka

1967 Smirnoff Vodka #001765
1967 Smirnoff Vodka original vintage advertisement. With celebrity endorsement by Zsa Zsa Gabor. "Don't Darling Me if it's not Smirnoff". Photographed in vivid color.
1967 Smirnoff Vodka - Phil Silvers #004241
1967 Smirnoff Vodka original vintage advertisement. With endorsement by Phil Silvers dressed in costume from his feature film "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum."
1967 Smirnoff Vodka Skyball #004259
1967 Smirnoff Vodka original vintage advertisement. With instructions for making a Skyball: add tonic to Smirnoff on the rocks and lime. Nothing on earth more delicious.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Fawlty Towers - Series One, Episode Five - Gourmet Night (1975)

Fawlty Towers has a new chef named Kurt who has been found for them by André, Kurt's culinary trainer and a friend of the Fawltys, just ahead of a gourmet night that Basil, ever eager to attract the upper crust of clientéle in Torquay, is intending to host at the hotel. Kurt has taken a liking to Manuel. Basil, meanwhile, is having trouble with his Austin 1100 Estate car. Despite Sybil's insistence that he take the car to be mended, the miserly Basil tries to fix the car himself. Unfortunately, when the gourmet night arrives, only four people turn up (Colonel and Mrs. Hall, both JPs and Lionel Twitchen, one of Torquay's leading rotarians, along with his wife, Lotte) due to Basil including a "no riff-raff" notice in his advertisement after a rude and pampered boy brands the hotel a "dump" simply because his chips weren't the shape he preferred and they didn't have any salad cream (to which Basil responds by "accidentally" elbowing him in the head and comparing him to "Henry Kissinger"). A party of four, the Coosters, was supposed to be in attendance, but are forced to cancel at the last minute due to one of them getting ill. When Basil learns of this, he snidely remarks "let's hope it's nothing trivial."

As the episode unfolds it is revealed that Kurt is a homosexual alcoholic and his interest in Manuel is actually on a romantic scale, but Manuel, who is straight, is not interested, so Kurt seeks solace in alcohol and ends up drunk to the point of being unable to cook, unbeknownst to Basil, as the dinner guests are arriving.

Basil displays his extreme social awkwardness as he becomes over sensitive to Colonel Hall's introduction to the other guests. The Colonel has a nervous twitch which causes his neck and head to convulse violently. When Fawlty attempts to introduce the two couples he gets hung up on the name of "Lionel Twitchen", so as not to offend the Colonel, and is unable to introduce them, thereby causing maximum embarrassment for himself. Mr Twitchen, upon seeing the Colonel's twitch, realises what has happened and gives his surname as "Twychen'.

Basil is horrified to realise that Kurt passed out, and after he vomited, now doesn't have a chef. Fortunately, André, who was aware of Kurt's alcoholism, is on hand to help Basil. However, as André's restaurant has a restricted availability, the 'gourmet' menu ends up with only three possible dishes for Basil's guests to choose from - all consisting of various forms of duck: Duck with orange, duck with cherries, or 'duck surprise' (duck without oranges or cherries). When Basil is asked what happens if they don't like duck, he responds "If you don't like duck... then you're rather stuck!" (to which Mrs. Hall responds that she loves it).

Basil's attempts to obtain the food are complicated. The first duck is ruined when Basil accidentally drops the tray and Manuel's foot gets lodged in it, so Basil ends up having to ask André for another. The second attempt is hampered by Basil's car, which finally breaks down on his way back with the food; the scene ends with what is arguably one of the most famous sequences: Basil screaming at the car and giving the vehicle fair warning, followed by a "damn good thrashing" with a tree branch after it finally completely refuses to start.

The staff try to stall for time while waiting for Basil to return with the duck: Manuel plays Flamenco tunes on his guitar, Polly sings "I Can't Say No" from the musical Oklahoma!, and Sybil drunkenly recounts an anecdote about "uncle Ted and his crate of brown ale." Basil manages to get back to the hotel on foot and the guests are finally presented with the "duck" which they have so eagerly awaited, only to discover that, due to a mix-up in Andre's kitchen, it has turned into a Bombe Surprise when Basil removes the cloche. Basil is so surprised that he searches through the trifle with his hands to see if there is a hidden duck. When asked to explain this, Basil deadpans "Duck's off, sorry."

A 1999 poll for NatWest car insurance voted the scene in this episode where Basil attacks his car with a tree branch as "most momentous motoring moment".

Friday, 29 July 2011

The Moody Blues - Long Distance Voyager (1981)

The Moody Blues, "Long Distance Voyager" (Official 1981 US RIAA Certified PLATINUM Award presented to MCA MUSIC to recognise sales in excess of 1,000,000 copies of the Threshold/Polygram Records album.) The plaque is dedicated directly to 'MCA MUSIC' where it was displayed as one of the crowing achievements of the band's enduring legacy.
Moody Blues,Long Distance Voyager,USA,Deleted,AWARD DISC,406535
Record company award discs started their life as 'Gold Discs' with the first of these awarded by RCA to Glenn Miller in February 1942, celebrating 1,200,000 sales of Chattanooga Choo Choo. Most countries have followed the original RIAA 'Gold Disc' certification which was pioneered and trademarked in the USA.

Coronation Street 35th Anniversary Commemorative Stamps (1995)

These Local Issue stamps were issued in 1995 by Gairsay in Scotland as part of a joint Omnibus issue to commemorate the 35th Anniversary (1960-1995) of Coronation Street.

Funeral In Berlin (1966)

Funeral in Berlin was a 1966 British spy film based on the spy novel by Len Deighton. It is the second of three 1960s films starring Michael Caine that followed the characters from the initial film, The IPCRESS File (1965). The third film, made in 1967 was Billion Dollar Brain.

Caine would reprise the role of Harry Palmer three decades later for Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in St Petersburg.

British secret agent Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) is summoned to a meeting with his superior Colonel Ross in London and is informed that he is to be sent to Berlin to arrange the defection of Colonel Stok (Oscar Homolka), a prominent Soviet intelligence officer. Despite his scepticism of the potential defection, Palmer heads to Berlin where he liaises with Johnny Vulkan, an old German friend of his, who runs the Berlin station for British intelligence. Vulkan arranges for Palmer to make a trip to East Berlin to meet Colonel Stok.

Palmer makes a rendezvous with Stok in the East, and finds him eccentric and likeable. Stok explains his reasons for wanting to defect he is growing old, his responsibility to guard a sector of the Berlin Wall has been a failure with a number of recent escapes, and he hopes to be rewarded for his defection with "Colonel's pay for life". He explains that he is an "Old Bolshevik" who stormed the Winter Palace in 1917. Stok calls Palmer "English" and continually tries to catch him out with trick questions. He is impressed with Palmer's answers and tells him he is "not as stupid as he looks". He asks for the defection to be managed by Otto Kreutzman, a West German criminal who has organised a number of recent escapes.

File:Funeral in berlin.jpg

Palmer returns to the western sector and puts the wheels in motion for Stok's defection. He meets a woman, a model (Eva Renzi), with whom he spends the night. Suspicious at the forward manner in which she approached him, he has his police contacts establish her identity the following day, and arranges for a criminal to burgle her apartment. She transpires to have several different false passports. Meanwhile, Palmer arranges a deal with Kreutzman to bring Stok across the wall for £20,000. Palmer then returns to London and hands in a report to Colonel Ross. Ross is convinced that Stok's defection is genuine, and he dismisses Palmer's suspicions that the model he met in Berlin was a spy. Ross gives full authorisation for Palmer to return to Berlin with documents and money to complete the deal. The false documents are provided for Palmer by a man named Hallam (Hugh Burden)

The plan, devised by Kreutzman, is to arrange a burial and bring the Colonel across the border in a coffin. Palmer agrees - meanwhile he again meets the model and unmasks her as a Mossad spy. She reveals she is in Berlin to hunt down a man named Paul Louis Broum - now operating under an alias - who she implies is linked to Palmer's current mission. He is a war criminal who stole millions of pounds of gold during the Second World War.

Kreutzman goes over to the east to supervise the defection personally, as it is such a major and difficult case. Palmer waits with Kreutzman's henchman on the western side of the border to wait for the coffin.

Betrayed by everybody he comes in contact with, Palmer manages to figure out what is going on and escape with his life.

The Avengers Calendar (2008)

This Avengers Calendar from back in 2008 is a must for fans of the classic TV hit series The Avengers from the 1960s and 1970s, starring Patrick McNee, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson. Remember those great Avengers episodes with John Steed, Emma Peel,Cathy Gale and Tara King.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) - Episode Twelve: For The Girl Who Has Everything

For the Girl who Has Everything is the twelfth episode of the classic 1969 ITC Series, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. The episode was first broadcast on 6 December 1969 on ITV. The episode was Directed by Ray Austin.
Ghost hunter James McAllister asks for Jeff's help, having been hired by wealthy American Kim Wentworth to see if her home, Crake Castle, is haunted. McAllister is killed and it looks as if Kim's husband is the murderer, trying to frighten Kim away so that he can marry girlfriend Laura but it would seem that the butler did it and the butler and Kim are the killers, anxious to run off together. Jeff is their prisoner but fortunately Marty has found a local lady who can see and hear him - in order for him to effect a rescue.
File:Randall and Hopkirk Deceased titlecard.jpg

Monday, 25 July 2011

Elvis Presley: The Complete Singles (1985)

Elvis Presley The Complete Singles is a rare and excellent 1985 Japanese limited edition 132-track Eleven vinyl LP box set, complete with the bonus 7" of 'Mama Liked The Roses' housed in it's own custom picture sleeve, each LP come housed in their own different coloured picture sleeves. Presented in a gold & black numbered slipcase box complete with an extensive 28-page booklet and the rare original peach & white '50th Anniversary' obi-strip.
Elvis Presley,The Complete Singles,Japan,Deleted,BOX SET,501721

1. That's All Right
2. Good Rockin' Tonight
3. You're A Heartbreaker
4. Baby Let's Play house
5. Mystery Train
6. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
7. I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
8. Milkcow Blues
9. Heartbreak Hotel
10. I Want You I Need You I Love You
11. Hound Dog
12. Don't Be Cruel
13. Blue Suede Shoes
14. I Got A Woman
15. I'll Never Let You Go
16. Tryin' To Get To You
17. Blue Moon
18. Money Honey
19. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
20. Love Me Tender
21. Too Much
22. All Shook Up
23. Teddy Bear
24. Jailhouse Rock
25. Don't
26. I Beg Of You
27. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
28. Hard Headed Woman
29. One Night
30. I Got Stung
31. I Need You Love Tonight
32. A Fool Such As I
33. A Big Hunk O' Love
34. Stuck On You
35. It's Now Or Never
36. Are You Lonesome Tonight
37. Surrender
38. I Feel So Bad
39. Little Sister
40. His Latest Flame
41. Rock-a-Hula Baby
42. Can't Help Falling In Love
43. Good Luck Charm
44. She's Not You
45. Return to Sender
46. One Broken Heart For Sale
47. Devil In Disguise
48. Bossa Nova Baby
49. Kissin' Cousins
50. Kiss Me Quick
51. Viva Las Vegas
52. Such A Night
53. Ain't That Loving You Baby
54. Blue Christmas
55. Do The Clam
56. Crying In The Chapel
57. Easy Question
58. I'm Yours
59. Puppet On A String
60. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
61. Tell Me Why
62. Joshua Fit The Battle
63. Milky White Way
64. Frankie & Johnny
65. Love Letters
66. Spinout
67. If Every Day Was Like Christmas
68. Indescribably Blue
69. Long Legged Girl
70. There's Always Me
71. Big Boss Man
72. Guitar Man
73. Stay Away
74. We Can Call On Him
75. Let Yourself Go
76. Almost In Love
77. If I Can Dream
78. Charro
79. His Hand In Mine
80. In The Ghetto
81. Clean Up Your Own Backyard
82. Suspicious Minds
83. Don't Cry Daddy
84. Kentucky Rain
85. The Wonder Of You
86. I've Lost You
87. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
88. I Really Don't Want To Know
89. Where Did They Go Lord
90. Only Believe
91. I'm Leavin'
92. It's Only Love
93. Merry Christmas Baby
94. Until It's Time For You To Go
95. He Touched Me
96. An American Trilogy
97. Burning Love
98. Separate Ways
99. Steamroller Blues
100. Raised On Rock
101. I've Got A Thing About You
102. IF You Talk In Your Sleep
103. Promised Land
104. My Boy
106. Bringing It Back
107. Hurt
108. Moody Blue
109. Way Down
110. My Way
111. Unchained Melody
112. Are You Sincere
113. I Got A Feelin'
114. Guitar Man
115. Lovin' Arms
116. There Goes My Everything
117. Elvis Medley
118. I Was The One
119. Little Sister
120. Always On My Mind
121. Love Me
122. King Creole
123. A Mess Of Blues
124. GI Blues
125. Wooden Heart
126. Blue Hawaii
127. Fun In Acapulco
128. It Feels So Right
129. You Don't Know Me
130. Memories
131. Life
132. Polk Salad Annie

Bonus 7"
1. Mama Liked The Roses
2. US Male

Coronation Street 35th Anniversary Commemorative Stamps (1995)

Arthur Leslie & Doris Speed as the irreplaceable Jack & Annie Walker. These Local Issue stamps were issued in 1995 by Gairsay in Scotland as part of a joint Omnibus issue to commemorate the 35th Anniversary (1960-1995) of Coronation Street.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

ATV In The Midlands (1955 - 1982)

Associated Television, often referred to as ATV, was a British Television company, holder of various licences to broadcast on the ITV network from 24 September 1955 until 00:34 on 1 January 1982.

The company was formed from the merger of the Associated Broadcasting Development Company, known as ABDC and under the control of Norman Collins, and the Incorporated Television Programme Company, known as ITC and under the control of Prince Littler and Lew Grade, two Show Business agents.

Both companies had applied for a contract to become one of the new ITV stations. ABDC won the contract but had insufficient money to operate it; ITC failed to win a contract, mainly due to a perceived conflict of interest resulting from the existing business operations of Grade and Littler. By the time of the merger ABDC were well advanced with their plans whilst ITPC planned to operate as an independent producer selling their shows to the new network contractors.

When financial problems hit ABDC the governing body of ITV, the Independent Television Authority invited Grade and Littler to join the ABDC consortium. This provided the money required and put Littler and Grade in real control of the new company, effectively sidelining Collins.

The new company was originally known as the Associated Broadcasting Company (and therefore ABC), but Associated British Corporation's parent company, who wished to call their station ABC and also ran a large chain of cinemas under those initials, successfully sued for prior ownership. The name change took place after ABC had been operating for three weeks; the new name chosen was Associated TeleVision Ltd, producing the initials ATV. The company's logo, originally designed for ABC and tweaked for the newly renamed ATV was a "shadowed eye", which was inspired by the CBS logo and reputedly designed by Lew Grade on a transatlantic flight back from the US. The logo is one of the most recognisable in broadcasting.

ATV (as ABC at first) began broadcasting in its own right on Saturday 24 September 1955 (after jointly presenting the network's opening night on Thursday 22 September). The name ATV was first seen in London on Saturday 8 October 1955. The company had won two ITV contracts, the weekend contract for London and the Monday–Friday contract for the Midlands. The latter service opened on 17 February 1956, with ABC providing the weekend programmes.

The new company ran into further financial difficulty due to the staggering losses of the first two years of ITV and the start-up costs. The London weekday contractor Associated - Rediffusion shouldered some of ATV's losses and further funding was achieved by selling shares in the company to the Daily Mirror newspaper. The company structure was changed several times until 1966, when ATV and ITC both became subsidiaries of the Associated Communications Corporation (ACC), formed by turning the old structure on its head. This marked the point where Lew Grade advanced from being the greatest influence over the company to taking actual control.

ATV's main impact on the early ITV service was in the field of Variety and Light Entertainment.

In the contract and region changes in 1968, ATV lost the weekend franchise in London to the new London Weekend Television, but its Midlands contract was renewed for the full seven days instead. The weekday/weekend "split-service" ended in the North and Midlands with the 1968 franchise round, continuing only in the London area. At this point the company renamed itself as ATV Network Limited.

In 1969, in readiness for colour broadcasting in the UK, a large new 'state of the art' television studio known as ATV Centre was built off Broad Street, near the centre of Birmingham, to replace the former Alpha Studios in Aston, run in partnership with ABC, the other franchise holder in the region.

The Broad Street site was in use until 1997 although two of the production studios had been 'mothballed' in the early 1990s as demand for production studios fell. The former ATV Centre is currently in the process of being demolished to be replaced by the Arena Central development. The Alpha Tower will survive as it is a listed Building.

A documentary about the Broad Street studios complex has been in production since early 2007. Entitled 'From ATVLand In Colour' (referring to the nickname used on Tiswas, and the building being purpose-built for colour broadcasting), the documentary features presenters, actors, announcers and behind-the-scenes staff talking about their time working in the studios, and the programmes that were made there. Contributors included, Chris Tarrant, Shaw Taylor, Jane Rossington and Bob Carolgees. The documentary series was released by Mace Media Archive for Central Britain on Monday 19th September 2011.

During the 1970s ATV had received much criticism over its lack of local programming, particularly for the east of its region; such critics held that any local shows had a Birmingham-centric focus.

In 1981 the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) decided that ATV's lack of regional programming and production (it had a major studio centre at Elstree in Hertfordshire, a legacy of its London contract and well outside of its Midlands franchise) was hampering the region, so it insisted that the new applicant for the franchise be more clearly based in the region and have separate facilities for the East and West Midlands.

ATV Midlands Limited, a shell company created by ACC solely for the franchise process, applied successfully for the contract. As a condition of its award, ACC was forced to divest itself of 49% of the company, relinquish executive roles, sell its studios in Elstree and rename the company to demonstrate that it was effectively a new business.

Crossroads (UK) (1964) tv show photo

ATV stopped broadcasting at 00:34 on 1 January 1982. The new company's name was registered as Central Independent Television plc and the new logo, advertised as being a UFO, appeared six hours later, on 1 January 1982. Central inherited the studios at ATV Centre, Birmingham and ATV Elstree along with land that ATV Midlands had purchased for their new Nottingham studio centre. The new company also maintained control of ATV's news archive and regional programmes, plus programming already in production or being shown at the time of changeover; the rest of the ATV archive was sold on by ACC.

The new contract stipulated an immediate start for separate East and West Midlands facilities. Planning issues delayed construction at the Nottingham site so Central purchased an independent production studio in the city (at Giltbrook) to act as its East Midlands newsroom. Industrial action prevented this centre from being used however, with the new studios ready by the time it was resolved.

In 1983 the Elstree centre was sold to the BBC for an undisclosed sum. In 1984 the East Midlands Television Centre in Lenton Lane, Nottingham was opened by Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.