Tuesday, 27 September 2011

And now from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week. Remembering Sale Of The Century

Sale of the Century was a game show based on a US game show of the same name. It was first shown on ITV from 1972 to 1983, hosted by Nicholas Parsons. The first series was aired in the Anglia region only, but it rolled out to other regions from early 1972 and achieved full national coverage by the end of 1975, at which point it was one of the most popular shows on the network - spawning the often-mocked catchphrase "and now, from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week."

It has twice been revived: first, on Sky One from 1989 to 1990 hosted by Peter Marshall; second, on Challenge TV from 1997 to 1998 hosted by Keith Chegwin.

The ITV and Challenge versions followed the rules of the original American version. Three contestants start off with £15. Questions are worth different values starting with £1, later increasing to £3, and finally £5. The question is asked and players can buzz in at any time. Correct answers add the money to their score and incorrect answers subtract the money from their score with only one player allowed to buzz in on each question.

At six points during gameplay, all contestants would be offered the opportunity to purchase merchandise at a bargain price. The first player to buzz in after the prize was revealed purchased that prize. (In so doing, a "losing" contestant might not advance to go shopping at the end of the show, but could leave the show with a considerable haul for one day's play.) In the early days, the prices of all prizes offered were expressed much as one would hear in a department store, and would increase as the show progressed (e.g., £7.95, £11.95, £14.95, £21.95). All prize values were rounded up to the nearest pound before being subtracted from the score of the player who purchased the prize (later on, prizes were in full pounds, like £8, £12, £15, £22). Each instant bargain was hidden behind a curtain; the announcer would mention the price, and then the curtain would open as the prize was revealed. If a contestant buzzed in before the curtain opened, it was declared "No Sale", the contestant would have the price deducted from his/her score (but not win the prize), and the other contestants could then buzz in.
Also, an "Open Sale" was offered just before the commercial break, in which a number of smaller gifts were offered for less than £5 each. In this situation, more than one player could buy a given gift, and a player could buy any or all of the prizes on offer. They could even buy two or more of some items.

The Challenge version kept the rules of the ITV version, except there was no "Open Sale", and players were spotted £15 to start. There were five rounds with questions being worth £1 in round one, £3 in rounds two and three, and £5 in rounds four and five. Finally, the game ended with 60 seconds of £5 questions. The player in the lead at the end of this round was declared the champion.

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Friday, 23 September 2011

Mighty TV Comic Annual 1978

"The gods have come" - On the edge of Galaxy 517, the Enterprise picks up strange signals from planet Alpha 332. Investigating, Kirk and Spock find a peaceful race called the Parracas whose leader Maracu tells of an impending battle with the hostile Turracas. The races live either side of a volcano that is set to erupt so Kirk tells Maracu to lead her people away to safety while he and Spock try to warn the Turracas. The warrior priest Turr does not believe them and tries to sacrifice Kirk and Spock to the volcano god but they are able to transport out as it erupts, wiping out the warlike race.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Judge Judy. The people are real. The cases are real. The rulings Are Final. This is her Court-Room!

Judge Judy is an American Court show featuring former family court judge Judith Sheindlin arbitrating over small claims cases. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution, the successor company to its previous distributors Worldvision Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television, and CBS Paramount Domestic Television.

Since premiering on September 16, 1996, the show has been the ratings leader in courtroom-themed reality-based shows. As of 2010, the Judge Judy program has been nominated 13 times for Day time Emmy Awards In January 2008, Judge Judy was extended through the 2012-13 season (the show's 17th). It was announced on May 2, 2011 that once again the show has been extended with Judy renewing her contract until 2015 which will be the show's 19th Season.

The program earned Sheindlin a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she was awarded in February 2006. Two DVDs have been released; the first in 2007 and the second the following year.

The 2011-2012 season premiere (the show's 16th season) begins September 12, 2011.

The show's creation stemmed from Judith Sheindlin's reputation as one of the most outspoken family court judges in the country, becoming the topic of a Los Angeles Times article in February 1993. The piece caught the attention of 60 Minutes, leading to a segment about Sheindlin on the show, which brought her national recognition. This led to her being approached by television producers, who asked her to "preside" over her own courtroom reality show. The title of her show was originally going to be "Hot Bench" or "Her Honor". Unhappy with that title, however, Sheindlin convinced her television producer, Big Ticket, to change it. Although Judge Judy is the title of the show, it has also become a nickname for Judith Sheindlin. Judy Sheindlin became the first television judge whose name was included in the title of the show. The creator and original executive producer of the show, Peter Brennan (creator of the original A Current Affair with Maury Povich) subsequently created Judge Joe Brown and more recently Cristina's Court with Cristina Perez. Randy Douthit and Timothy Regler are currently the show's Executive Producers.

At the beginning of court proceeding, off-camera announcer Jerry Bishop (best known as the original Svengoolie), introduces proceedings. Sheindlin then questions the parties about dates, times, locations, and other facts central to the lawsuit. Judge Sheindlin demands decorum in her court. She will sometimes chastise participants, even audience members, for showing up in inappropriate clothing, and silence audience outbursts, even if they are in response to quips she herself made. Order is maintained by her bailiff, officer Petri Hawkins-Byrd. After this process, Sheindlin renders the judgment, either by finding for the plaintiff (typically by saying "judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of ... dollars, that's all") or by dismissing the case (the award is not displayed on an on-screen graphic, which is rare among shows in the genre). When a counter claim has been filed, it will be handled during the same show segment. However, if a case is dismissed without prejudice, such as Sheindlin's being unable to rule due to other circumstances (such as something that cannot be ruled on within the binding arbitration structure of the series), the litigants are invited to come back and resume the case later in another episode if the outside issues are resolved.

In the first two commercial breaks, a preview of the upcoming case is shown. When the show returns from the first two commercial breaks, it airs the voice-over, "Real cases! Real people! Judge Judy!" (recorded by announcer Jerry Bishop), followed by a recap of the current case. After the third commercial break, the voice-over is heard again, providing the show's telephone number and the website to submit cases. Generally each show presents two cases, but infrequently an episode will present a single long case, three shorter ones, or four even-shorter ones. At the end of a case, the plaintiff and the defendant express their feelings about the case, although sometimes this part of the program is omitted, especially after cases involving contentious or removed litigants.

In order to ensure a full audience, the producers of Judge Judy hire extras who compose the entire gallery. Though tickets are not offered for the show, arrangements can sometimes be made with Sheindlin's production staff to allow fans of the show into the audience. Once all the cases are through, all of the audience members receive payment. The extras must not dress casually, and no logos or brand names may be visible on their clothing. Extras are also instructed to appear as if they are having discussions with each other before and after each case, so the bailiff may make such announcements as "Order! All rise" and "Parties are excused; you may step out." As far as the court cases are concerned, however, what is seen on Judge Judy is neither staged nor scripted. The plaintiffs have actually sued the defendants, and those very cases are heard and decided upon by Judith Sheindlin. The court show acquires cases by people s
ubmitting claims into them via their website or phone number.

The producers' employees call both parties and ask them questions about their case to make sure it is suitable for Judge Judy. If the parties agree to be on the show and sign a waiver, agreeing that arbitration in Sheindlin's court is final and cannot be pursued elsewhere (unless she dismisses the lawsuit without prejudice), their case will air on Judge Judy. The award limit on Judge Judy, as on most "syndi-court" shows (and most small claims courts in the U.S.), is $5,000. The award for each judgment is paid by the producers of the show, from a fund reserved for the purpose. About forty percent of the cases are money judgments, while the remaining sixty percent are either dismissed or involve an order for an exchange of property.

Three days every other week (two weeks a month), Sheindlin and her producers tape the court show. They usually produce ten to twelve cases for each day they tape the show. A week's worth of episodes consists of approximately ten cases. Anywhere from thirty to thirty-six cases are filmed over the three days they tape per week. During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sheindlin appeared as a guest September 13, 2011. When asked by Kimmel how many days a month she works, Sheindlin replied five days. However, Sheindlin and her producers sometimes only tape five cases per day and two days per week. The show has fifty-two taping days a year. For each season, some 650 claims are brought to the set to be "presided" over by Judge Judy. This means approximately 8,450 claims have been brought to Judith Sheindlin's Hollywood set as of the end of its thirteenth season (2008–09).

For the most part, cases are taped all throughout the year except for two breaks Sheindlin and all of the members of her show have for the year. One of the two breaks includes an extra week off in December, as the show is only taped one week out of that month because of the holidays. The other break is from mid-July (only taping one week in July) and all through August. According to members of the show, the reason for this break is that people are more interested in taking vacations than in filing lawsuits around that time.

Judge Judy tapes at the Sunset Bronson Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Every other week, Sheindlin flies out on her private jet to tape Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The Judge Judy set is directly beside the Judge Joe Brown set, in the same studios. Both shows are produced by Big Ticket Entertainment The two shows alternate taping weeks.

Despite its California location, the show displays various images of New York City upon returning from commercial breaks, including a subway train that is passing by the camera which reads World Trade Centre, but is only noticeable if the footage is paused. It also features the phrases "State of New York" and "Family Court" (Sheindlin was previously a New York family court judge) within the letter boxes used going to and from breaks since the ninth season. The set features a New York State Flag behind Sheindlin's seat. Furthermore, the title sequence features a woman posing in white robes with light emanating from a raised hand, evoking the Statue of Liberty and therefore New York City (though it should be noted that the woman is actually posing as Lady Justice, as evidenced by the blindfold over her eyes and the weighing scale suspended from her left hand). Immediately before each episode, the Judge Judy version of Lady Justice is shown lifting the blindfold of neutrality to greet the audience with a Wink.

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Monday, 5 September 2011

Christmas Radio Times (December 1959)

Granted, I know it's still four months until the Yuletide season but I came across this Radio Times Cover for Christmas 1959 and couldn't resist do a post about it!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Film Pictorial - Ginger Rogers

Film Pictorial was published in the United States and ran from the 1920s through to the late 1930s. The magazine went through many formats during that time, all of which I intend publishing on this site. The covers dedicated to this first post all feature Hollywood Icon, Ginger Rogers. The above cover dates back to 1938. The covers directly below all date back to 1936.

When Johnny was Animal Magic!


Johnny Morris had been a voices man on children's radio and was well-known as television storyteller the Hot Chestnut Man (seen in Playbox, BBC, 1955-64) when approached by Desmond Hawkins, then setting up the Natural History Unit at BBC Bristol and looking to create a programme for children.

The first programme aired 13 April 1962, featuring zoo vet Gerald Durrell and reporter Tony Soper out in the field with a film from Pembrokeshire. Morris meanwhile had a run in with a woolly monkey called Darkie - it climbed over Morris' head as the presenter tried to do his piece to camera but Johnny took it all in good humour, setting the tone for the next twenty-odd years.

The series was a mix of animals brought into the studio, film location reports and bought-in animal footage. the anthropomorphic antics of 'Keeper' Morris, always finding humorous ways of explaining animal facts, were its best remembered aspect. Morris dressed up as a zookeeper for a succession of films (most shot at Bristol Zoo), encountering every kind of animal and post-dubbing them with a variety of silly voices and personalities.

The programme tried to keep up with modern techniques, for instance quickly and successfully aping the special effects-heavy approach of Bellamy's Backyard Safari (BBC, 1981) in a special programme Animal Magic Goes Down To Earth (tx 8/9/81). Johnny and co-host Terry Nutkinswere shrunk to a few inches high to explore a farmyard now full of dangerous giant creatures.

The whimsical eccentricity for which Animal Magic was most loved led to its demise when in 1983 new BBC bosses judged it too 'unscientific'. Tony Soper pioneered more scientific approaches in Wildtrack (BBC, 1978-85) and Terry Nutkins headed Animal Magic's award-winning successor The Really Wild Show from 1986.

Ernest John "Johnny" Morris OBE (20 June 1916 – 6 May 1999) was best known for narrating the imported, Canadian-produced Tales of the Riverbank series of stories about Hammy the Hamster, Roderick the Rat, GP the Guinea Pig, and their assorted animal friends along a riverbank and children's programmes for the BBC on the topic of Zoology, most notably Animal Magic.

Morris was discovered telling stories in a pub by the then BBC Home Service West Regional producer Desmond Hawkins. Morris made his radio debut in 1946, and featured in a number of Regional series throughout the 1950s often employed on light and entertainment programs as a storyteller, such as in Pass the Salt, or as a commentator on local events.

A natural mimic and impersonator, Morris first appeared on television as The Hot Chestnut Man, a short slot in which he was shown sitting roasting the chestnuts, he would tell a humorous yarn in a West Country Accent, often ending with a Moral.

In 1960 he narrated the imported, Canadian-produced Tales of the Riverbank series of stories about Hammy the Hamster, Roderick the Rat, GP the Guinea Pig, and their assorted animal friends along a riverbank. The show used slowed-down footage of real animals filmed doing humanised things such as driving a car or boat, and living in houses. In the 1960s Morris also narrated books 1 - 8 of The Railway Stories, recordings of the railway series books by the Rev. W. Awdry.

Morris's ability to create a world which children could relate to through his mimicry led to his best-known role, that of the presenter, narrator and 'Zoo Keeper' for Animal Magic. For more than 400 editions, from 1962 until 1983, and with inserts shot at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Morris would carry out a comic dialogue with the animals, whom he also voiced. His regular companion on the show was Dotty the Ring Tailed Lemur. When the idea of imposing human qualities and voices upon animals fell out of favour the series was discontinued.

Morris carried over his comedic commentary technique into other programmes, such as Follow the Rhine, a BBC2 travelogue which included a witty Morris commentary featuring his companion Tubby Foster – actually his producer Brian Patten. Follow the Rhine was based on Morris' earlier BBC Radio 4 series Johnny's Jaunts. These series chronicled not only the Rhine journey but other worldwide journeys and were broadcast between 1957 and 1976. Included in this series were tales based upon his visits to such places as Austria (a skiing misadventure!), Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South America, South Sea Islands, France; and even a cruise on the River Thames.

Morris was also Vice President of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex from its early days in the 1960s until the late 1980s, attending several anniversaries and landmark events over the first few decades of the railway's existence. He also made two promotional LP's for the Railway in the 1970s.

In the 1970s, Morris read children's bedtime stories for the Post Office to be heard via the telephone. Children could dial 150 and hear a different story over the telephone each week. He was also a presenter on BBC School Radio's Singing Together and wrote and read stories on BBC School Radio's A Service for Schools which was later renamed Together.

In a nod to his role with Animal Magic, Morris also added his voice to the award-winning Creature Comforts series of electricity advertisements, created by Aardman Animations. These advertisements featured animated claymation animals speaking about their life and conditions in a way comparable to the dialogues that Morris has created in the earlier television show.

Although latterly criticised in the 1990s for his anthropomorphic technique of introducing television viewers to animals, Morris was active in environmentalism in his eighties demonstrated against the building of the Newbury Bypass near his home. In June 2004, Morris and Bill Oddie were jointly profiled in the first of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters.

Morris was awarded the OBE in 1984. His autobiography, There's Lovely, was first published in 1989.

A diabetic, Johnny Morris collapsed at his home in Hungerford, Berkshire in March 1999 when he was about to star in new animal series Wild Thing on ITV. Admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon for tests, he was discharged to a nursing home in the Devizes and Marlborough district, where he died on 6 May 1999. His wife, Eileen, had died ten years previously, but he had two stepsons. He bequeathed his house to his co-host on Animal Magic, Terry Nutkins, and cut his family out of his will. Morris also left a large sum of cash to his housekeeper, Rita Offer, and smaller sums to his gardener and his builder. He left nothing to his stepsons, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Queen & The Prowler! (1982)

Michael Fagan was the intruder who broke into Buck House and entered Elizabeth 2nd's bedchamber in the early hours of 9 July 1982. The unemployed father of four children managed to evade electronic alarms as well as both Palace and Police guards.

It was the 32-year-old's second successful attempt to break into Buckingham Palace. On his first attempt, he scaled a drainpipe, briefly startling a housemaid who called security, who subsequently decided not to act. Fagan entered through an unlocked window on the roof and spent the next half hour eating cheddar cheese and crackers and wandering around. He tripped several alarms, but they were faulty. He viewed the royal portraits and rested on the throne for a while. He then entered the postroom, where the pregnant Diana, Princess of Wales had hidden presents for her first son, William. He drank half a bottle of California white wine before becoming tired and leaving.

On the second attempt, an alarm sensor detected him. A worker in the Palace thought the alarm to be false, and silenced the alarm. En route to see the Queen, he broke a glass ashtray, lacerating his hand.

Her Magesty woke when he disturbed a curtain, after which he sat on the edge of her bed talking to her for about ten minutes. The Queen phoned twice for police but none came. He then asked for some cigarettes, which were brought by a maid. When the maid did not return to base for some time Footman Paul Whybrew appeared. The incident happened as the armed police officer outside the royal bedroom came off duty before his replacement arrived. He had been out walking the Queen's dogs.
Since it was then a civil wrong rather than a criminal offence, Michael Fagan was not charged for trespassing in the Queen's bedroom. He was charged with theft (of the half bottle of wine), but the charges were dropped when he was committed for psychiatric evaluation. He spent the next six months in a mental hospital before being released on 21 January 1983. It was not until 2007, when the Palace became a "designated site" for the purposes of section 128 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, that what he did became illegal. Fagan's mother later said, "He thinks so much of the Queen. I can imagine him just wanting to simply talk and say hello and discuss his problems." Altogether now, Arrhhh!

Singles Chart For Week Up To 03/01/1970

Yes folks, it's time to look at the UK Top 10 for the week up to, 03/01/1970. Just see how the acts of yesteryear compare with the Cowell induced dross that we get today!

Rolf Harris - Two Little Boys
No 1.
Rolf Harris - 2 Little Boys
First appeared in chart (at position): 22/11/1969 (32)
Last seen in chart (at position): 20/06/1970 (50)
Length of time in chart: 25 weeks
Highest position in chart: 1

Kenny Rogers And The First Edition - Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town
No 2.
Kenny Rogers & The First Edition - Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town
First appeared in chart (at position): 18/10/1969 (48)
Last seen in chart (at position): 21/03/1970 (46)
Length of time in chart: 23 weeks
Highest position in chart: 2

Archies - Sugar Sugar
No 3.
The Archies - Sugar, Sugar.
First appeared in chart (at position): 11/10/1969 (43)
Last seen in chart (at position): 04/04/1970 (45)
Length of time in chart: 26 weeks
Highest position in chart: 1

Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds
No 4.
Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds.
First appeared in chart (at position): 29/11/1969 (39)
Last seen in chart (at position): 15/09/2007 (72)
Length of time in chart: 18 weeks
Highest position in chart: 2

Blue Mink - Melting Pot
No 5.
Blue Mink - Melting Pot.
First appeared in chart (at position): 15/11/1969 (50)
Last seen in chart (at position): 21/02/1970 (41)
Length of time in chart: 15 weeks
Highest position in chart: 3

Stevie Wonder - Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday
No 6.
Steveie Wonder - Yester Me - Yester You Yesterday.
First appeared in chart (at position): 15/11/1969 (31)
Last seen in chart (at position): 07/02/1970 (39)
Length of time in chart: 13 weeks
Highest position in chart: 2

Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell - All I Have To Do Is Dream
No 7.
Bobbie Gentry & Glenn Campbell - All I Have To Do Is Dream.
First appeared in chart (at position): 06/12/1969 (27)
Last seen in chart (at position): 07/03/1970 (27)
Length of time in chart: 14 weeks
Highest position in chart: 3

Engelbert Humperdinck - Winter World Of Love
No 8.
Englebert Humperdinck - Winter World Of Love.
First appeared in chart (at position): 15/11/1969 (46)
Last seen in chart (at position): 07/02/1970 (38)
Length of time in chart: 13 weeks
Highest position in chart: 7

Cufflinks - Tracy
No 9.
The Cuff Links - Tracy.
First appeared in chart (at position): 29/11/1969 (40)
Last seen in chart (at position): 14/03/1970 (42)
Length of time in chart: 16 weeks
Highest position in chart: 4

Tom Jones - Without Love (There Is Nothing)
No 10.
Tom Jones - Without Love (There Is Nothing)
First appeared in chart (at position): 13/12/1969 (21)
Last seen in chart (at position): 14/03/1970 (49)
Length of time in chart: 12 weeks
Highest position in chart: 10

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Look-In - Brian Moore's On The Ball

Those of you from the 1970s who regularly took possession of the classic magazine, Look-in will remember the page, Brian Moore's On The Ball. On The Ball was the regular feature for, yes, you've guessed it, footie fans! Named after a section of ITV's World of Sport. The feature was headed by Brian Moore who also introduced, On The Ball on TV. Look-in already had from the beginning a football feature, prior to On The Ball. It was called, Young Footballers Club. As well as giving a bit of information on a team or a player, the feature also gave interesting tips and information on improving your game, a feature mirrored in On The Ball later as 'Star Tip' in which a tip was given to improve your skills, sometimes highlighting a player who used this tip in real life.
On The Ball was usually in two parts, a text page which was full of information about a team, player or Football event. This page was always dressed in an array of brilliant drawings by Sheridon Davies who also wrote the page. The second part was a colour poster (as shown above) featuring the team the article was about or more often, one of their star players, these were obviously popular as later Football had as many heartthrobs as Pop Music! The feature ran until early 1979 and a few weeks after finishing Brian Moore reappeared in a new feature called, 'Sports Spotlight' which covered a more varied selection of sports and still included Sheridon Davies' masterful drawings.

Crossplot (1969)

Crossplot was a 1969 film that starred Roger Moore. Italian actress Claudia Lange was also featured in her largest English-speaking role. Bernard Lee, famous for his role as M in the James Bond films, also appeared.
The film is essentially a thriller. Roger Moore is Gary Fenn, a London advertising executive, who is trying to select a model for a promotional campaign. A series of events means that only one girl will be good enough for his bosses, a Hungarian Marla Kugasg (Lange). He finds her among the anti-war movement in the bohemian depths of swinging London. She is in the company of a young man, Tarquin, who is extremely protective of her and overtly aggressive to Fenn.

The young Hungarian, an illegal refugee from her native homeland, accompanies Fenn to a photoshoot. However she admits she is in fear of her life, and seems disturbed by the presence of her aunt. When she is nearly killed, the girl drops out of sight and Fenn has to go on the run himself, suspected of a separate murder. He locates her to a country house, which turns out to be the home of Tarquin, an aristocrat in spite of his anti-war sentiments.

It is revealed that Marla's aunt is part of a shadowy organisation trying to destabilise the existing world order so they can take over themselves. They will go to any length to try and shut Fenn and Marla up, including sending a helicopter after them. Fenn and his friend manage to escape to London, where they realise that the shadowy movement are planning to assassinate a visiting African Head of State in Hyde Park. They manage to foil the plot.

The film is not particularly well regarded by critics. One suggested that the film quickly became "tedious" in spite of the numerous action sequences, and the plot was far too "convoluted" and "confusing". Another critic called it "dull", "unsuccessfully trying to emulate the feel of a Bond film" and it was also compared to feeling like an extended episode of The Saint. It is now seen largely as a dry-run for the Bond role Roger Moore would take on four years later.
Crossplot
Crossplot - 11 x 17 Movie Poster - Style A
Directed byAlvin Rakoff
Produced byRobert S. Baker
Written byLeigh Vance
John Kruse
StarringRoger Moore
Claudie Lange
Alexis Kanner
Music byStanley Black
CinematographyBrendan J. Stafford
Editing byBurt Rule
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date(s)25 November 1969
Running time96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish