Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Radio Times (December 1940)

Keeping in the spirit of the festive season I came across this cover from the 1940 edition of the Christmas Radio Times.

Pages from Countdown (1971)

Back in 1971 the kids magazine Countdown was simply a must. The advert at the bottom of the page really does take me back. The breakfast cereal Sugar Smacks were offering six Doctor Who badges, one free inside each pack. Put like that, how could any kid contain themselves!

Morning has broken: Cat Stevens (1971)

"Morning Has Broken" is a popular and well-known Christin Hymn first published in 1931. English Pop Musician and Folk singer, Cat Stevens included a version, easily, the hymn's finest rendition, on his 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat. The song became identified with Stevens when it reached number six on the US pop chart and number one on the US Easy listening chart in 1972.
Cat Stevens,Teaser And The Firecat - Sealed,USA,Deleted,LP RECORD,403404

Writing credit for "Morning Has Broken" has occasionally been erroneously attributed to Cat Stevens, who popularised the song abroad. The familiar piano arrangement on Stevens' recording was performed by Rick Wakeman, a classically trained keyboardist best known for his tenures in the English Progressive Rock band Yes.

In 2000, Wakeman released an instrumental version of "Morning Has Broken" on an album of the same title. That same year he gave an interview on BBC Radio Five Live in which he said he had agreed to perform on the Cat Stevens track for £10 and was "shattered" to be omitted from the credits, adding that he never received the money either.

When shaping "Morning Has Broken" for recording, Stevens had to start with a hymn which took around 45 seconds to sing in its basic form. Producer Paul Samwell-Smith told him he could never put something like that on an album, and that it needed to be at least three minutes in length. Although an acoustic demo exists of Stevens playing an early version which lasts almost three minutes. Prior to the actual recording Stevens heard Wakeman play something in the recording booth. It was a rough sketch of what would later become "Catherine Howard". Stevens told Wakeman that he liked it and wanted something similar as the opening section, the closing section and, if possible, a middle section as well. Wakeman told Stevens he could not as it was his piece destined for a solo album, but Stevens persuaded him to adapt his composition. The familiar piano intro and general structure of the piece may be attributed to Stevens or to Wakeman.

Cat Stevens,Morning Has Broken,UK,Deleted,7

On his return to performance as Yusuf Islam, Stevens made a payment to Wakeman and apologized for the original non-payment, which arose from confusion and a misunderstanding on the record label's part. On a documentary aired on British television, Wakeman stated that he felt Stevens's version of "Morning Has Broken" was a very beautiful piece of music that had brought people closer to religious truth. He expressed satisfaction in having contributed to this.

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The Munch Bunch have run away, the Munch Bunch are here to stay: The Munch Bunch have found a home, with a garden!


The Munch Bunch is the title of a series of children's books, written by British author Denis Bond (under the Pen name Giles Reed) and illustrated by Angela Mitson, a teenager who had created the characters. They were published between 1979 and 1984 by Studio Publications (Ipswich) Ltd. in the UK and Rourke Publications, Inc. in the US. The Munch Bunch are a group of unwanted vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts who were swept to the corner of a shop but ran away together and set up home in and around an old, forgotten garden shed.

There was also a 1980 marionette/puppet-based television show that I remember very well, produced by long-time Gerry Anderson associates Mary Turner and John Read for ITC Entertainment, that featured the characters from the books. The stories for the television series were different from those contained in the books and were written mainly by Denis Bond (this time under his real name), though other writers such as Rosemary Kingsland also contributed. The series characters were voiced by the husband-and-wife team of Judy Bennett and Charles Collingwood probably best known for their work in The Archers. 52 ten minute editions were produced.

  • Series 1: 12 editions,first shown from 24 September 1980
  • Series 2: 13 editions, first shown from 25 March 1981
  • Series 3: 21 editions, first shown from 30 September 1981
  • Series 4: 6 editions, first shown from 7 April 1982

The books went out of print in the mid-to-late 1980s after a fire at Studio Publications apparently destroyed all the original artwork, and the brand name only survived as a range of yoghurts. These had been launched circa 1981 to coincide with the launch of the television series, with Mitson's characters as well as a few non-book characters such as Jenny Cherry and Charlie Chocolate but by the 1990s had struck out completely in their own right retaining only the logo and a few character names.
The brand did enjoy something a resurgence in the UK during the mid-1990s, largely thanks to a popular TV commercial for the Munch Bunch"pot shots" range (a petits-filous type yoghurt aimed at the young) set in a pool hall which ran from May 1994 until February 1996, although this renewal in popularity proved short-lived, and only three of the Munch Bunch characters were featured in the "pot shots" range. A completely different series of Munch Bunch books was published in 1998 by Ladybirds Books in the UK to tie in with the yoghurts following the resurgence brought about by the TV commercials of 1994-96. Denis Bond and Angela Mitson had nothing to do with these and the characters were different although a few were similarly named e.g. Sally Strawberry.
The Munch Bunch yoghurt brand name itself nevertheless still continues to this day under the Nestle umbrella, although it is now almost completely unrecognisable from the 1980s and 1990s, with the "fruit and veg" characters having been dropped completely and replaced by a "cow" mascot named Munch.

The Original Characters:
  • Aubrey Aubergine
  • Adam Avocado
  • The Banana Bunch
  • Barnabus Beetroot
  • Billy Blackberry
  • Bounce (spring onion)
  • Button and Tiny (mushrooms)
  • Casper Carrot
  • Chunky Pineapple
  • Corky Coconut
  • Corny-on-the-Cob
  • Dick Turnip
  • Emma Apple
  • Lizzie Leek
  • Lucy Lemon
  • Merv Marrow
  • Nurse Plum
  • Olive
  • Olly Onion
  • Peanut
  • Pedro Orange
  • Pete Pepper
  • Penny Parsnip
  • Percy Prune
  • Pippa Pear
  • Professor Peabody
  • Rory Rhubarb
  • Rozzy Raspberry
  • Runner Bean
  • Sally Strawberry
  • Scruff Gooseberry
  • Spud (Potato)
  • Supercool (cucumber)
  • Suzie Celery
  • Tom Tomato
  • Wally Walnut

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Joe 90: Episode 5 - Three's a Crowd

Three's A Crowd

"I Know everything. Think of a number."

Joe 90 receives the brain patterns of a lovely girl
who has attracted his Father's attention but is suspected of being a spy!

In an episode originally entitled, "Think of a Number" Professor McClaine finds his heart ruling his head when an extremely lovely girl named Angela Davis comes along to see him, saying she is an American reporter. McClaine ignores the possibility that she may be an Agent working for a foreign country - which she is, in fact - and is both flattered and interested to find that she is knowledgeable about electronics and that she finds him attractive.
Joe 90 views the friendship with growing mistrust. So does Sam Loover, who is worried when given a report on their many meetings by the Security people who have Mac under surveillance.
When Sam speaks to Mac about it, he draws a blank. Mac insists that his personal life is no concern of Sam's. Sam, however, finds a willing ally in Joe 90, who is given Miss Davis' brain patterns. When Sam begins to question him, it is almost as if Joe can read Angela's mind and his story of what he thinks she intends to do reveals that she is definitely a spy! Joe can clearly see her taking photographs of the laboratory and stealing vital plans, then d riving to an aircraft waiting to take her to an unknown destination.
Dare Mac be told? It is Joe 90 who sees a way to outwit the scheming Angela.......

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