Thursday, 29 March 2012

Melody Maker - Wings on the Run! (1975)

Paul McCartney and Wings,Melody Maker August 1975,UK,Deleted,MAGAZINE,558414
This front cover from the classic Melody Maker dates back to 1975 and on the cover is the late Linda McCartney.  Inside there was a great feature on Paul McCartney and Wings.  There were also news, reviews and features on Genesis, Billy Connolly, Leo Sayer and more.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Matthew and Son - Cat Stevens (1967)

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"Matthew and Son" was a single written and performed by the great Cat Stevens. It was selected as the title song for his debut album. Stevens, a newly-arrived teenage singer - songwriter, was performing for a youthful audience, but during the mid-1960s, the period of the start of his musical career, was seen by his audience initially in the role of a crooner, or a young, foppish, "swinging" version of older celebrities who sang as television performers. This was in comparison to the newly emerging folk rock genre from the skiffle which had, in part, inspired him to begin writing and performing.
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The song, according to Stevens, was inspired in part, by the tailor, Henry Matthews, who made suits for Stevens. He thought up the story of the worker that became the main character in the song.
Another theory is that he noticed a shop-front in Trinity Street, Cambridge, called 'Matthew and Son'. It was an up-market shop that sold grocery provisions, cheeses, coffee and household china. It was on the site occupied by Heffer's bookshop today.
Stevens later commented, "I had a girlfriend, and she was working for this big firm, and I didn't like the way that she had to spend so much of her time working. The riff seemed to fit the words, Matthew and Son. There was a bit of social comment there about people being slaves to other people."
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Look out for Dick Turpin!


This edition of Junior TV Times, otherwise known as Look-in dates back to February 1980 and on the cover is Richard O'Sullivan as masked highway man Dick Turpin.  Also featured in this edition are colour pin-ups of Abba and the Tourists.  Picture strips of the time included, Worzel Gummidge and Charlie's Angels. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Corgi - The Thrush Buster - The Man From Uncle (1966)


This classic ad dates back to 1966 when Corgi launched the Thrush Buster, a death-dealing car to crush thrush.  Described as the ultimate weapon in crime warfare, it is the result of a combined operation between top U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo & Ilya Kuryakin and of course, Corgi!

Angie Dickinson is Police Woman (1974-1978)


Police Woman was an American Police drama series that starred the beautiful Angie Dickinson that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978. Based on an original screenplay by Lincoln C. Hilburn, the show revolves around Sergeant. "Pepper" Anderson (Angie Dickinson), an undercover police officer working for the Criminal Conspiracy Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. Sergeant William "Bill" Crowley (Earl Holliman) was her immediate superior, and Pete Royster (Charles Diekrop) and Joe Styles (Ed Bernard) were the other half of the undercover team that investigated everything from murders to rape and drug crimes. In many episodes, Pepper went undercover (as a prostitute, nurse, teacher, flight attendant, prison inmate, dancer, waitress, etc.) in order to get close enough to the suspects to gain valuable information that would lead to their arrest.

Although Dickinson's character was called Pepper, sources differ as to the legal given name of the character. Most sources give the characters legal name as Suzanne. Others give it as Leanne or Lee Ann. The Police Story episode entitled "The Gamble", which serves as a pPeppilot for Police Woman, gives Dickinson's character's name as "Lisa Beaumont". On the Season 1 DVD release of Police Woman, Dickinson states that she and producers decided not to go with the name Lisa Beaumont when the series first went into production and came up with the name Pepper.

Police Woman became the first "successful" hour-long drama series in American primetime television history to feature a woman in the starring role. This helped to make Dickinson a household name.
Police Woman was a spin-off of the Police Story (1973-1978) anthology series. Police Woman was so successful in its first season in particular, that during the first spring and summer rerun period, the show hit number one in the Nielsen's ratings. The success of Dickinson starring in an hour-long TV drama series gave the networks confidence that women can actually carry an hour-long series. This paved the way for more (albeit fanciful) 1970s shows starring women, such as Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman, as well as the more serious Cagney & Lacey in the 1980s.
"Police Woman" caused an avalanche of applications for employment from women to police departments around the United States. Sociologists who have in recent years examined the inspiration for long-term female law enforcement officials to adopt this vocation as their own have been surprised by how often "Police Woman" has been referenced.
In February 1976, President Gerald Ford re-scheduled a Tuesday press conference so as not to delay an episode of Police Woman, reportedly his favorite show.
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The Mersey Beat - Remembering Gerry & The Pacemakers

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Gerry and the Pacemakers were a British Beat Music group prominent during the 1960s. In common with The Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein and recorded by George Martin. They are most remembered for being the first act to reach number one in the UK singles chart with their first three single releases. It was a record that was not equalled for 20 years, until the mid-80s success of fellow Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. According to Billboard Magazine, the group is the second most successful band to originate from Liverpool next to The Beatles.
Gerry and The Pacemakers - How Do You Do It?
Gerry Marsden formed the group in 1959 with his brother, Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur McMahon. They rivalled The Beatles early in their career, playing in the same areas of Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England. McMahon (known as Arthur Mack) was replaced on piano by Les Maguire around 1961. They are known to have rehearsed at Cammell Laird shipping yard at Birkenhead. The band's original name was Gerry Marsden and The Mars Bars, but they were forced to change this when the Mars Company, producers of the chocolate Mars Bar, complained.
The band was the second to sign with Brian Epstein, who later signed them with Columbia Records (a sister label to The Beatles' label Parlophone under EMI). They began recording in early 1963 with "How Do You Do It?", a song written by Mitch Murray that Adam Faith had turned down and one that The Beatles chose not to release (they did record the song but insisted on releasing their own song, "Please, Please Me"). The song was produced by George Martin and became a number one hit in the UK, the first by an Epstein Liverpool group to achieve this on all charts, until being replaced at the top by "From me to You", The Beatles' third single.
Gerry and The Pacemakers' next two singles, Murray's "I Like It" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's"Youll Never Walk Alone'", both also reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, the latter recorded instead of The Beatles' "Hello Little Girl", which went on to become the first hit for The Fourmost. "You'll Never Walk Alone" had been a favourite of Gerry Marsden's since seeing Carousel growing up. It soon became the signature tune of Liverpool Football Club. To this day, the song remains a football anthem, there and elsewhere, a phenomenon due to Gerry Marsden, rather than its Broadway composers.
Despite this early success, Gerry and The Pacemakers never had another number one single in the UK. Gerry Marsden began writing most of their own songs, including "It's Gonna Be All Right", "I'm the One", and "Ferry Cross the Mersey", as well as their first and biggest US hit, "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying", which peaked at No4, and which Gerry Marsden initially gave to Decca recording artist Louise Cordet in 1963. She recorded the song (Decca F11824), but without commercial success. The song, written by all bandmembers, has also been covered by Les Carle, The Lettermen, Jackie Deshannon) This is Jack DeShannon album, 1965), Jose Feliciano, Dr Jonh, Ricky Lee Jones, Gloria Esterfan(Hold Me, Thrill Me ,Kiss Me album) among others.
They also starred in an early 1965 film called Ferry Cross the Mersey (sometimes referred to as "Gerry and The Pacemakers' version of A Hard Day's Night"), for which Marsden wrote much of the soundttrack. The title song was revived in 1989 as a charity single for an appeal in response to the Hillsborough Football crowd disaster, giving Marsden - in association with other Liverpool stars, including Paul McCartney and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Holly Johnson - another British number one.
In the US, their recordings were released by the small New York record label Laurie in 1963, with whom they issued four singles during 1963 without success (as listed below). When The Beatles broke through in January 1964, Laurie's next regular single release of "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" became a big hit and during 1964 Laurie coupled "How Do You Do It?" with "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Laurie 3261) and "I Like It" with "Jambalaya" (Laurie 3271) with some success.
By late 1965, their popularity was rapidly declining on both sides of the Atlantic. They disbanded in October 1966,] with much of their latter recorded material never released in the UK. Drummer Freddie Marsden born Fredrick John Marsden, 23 November 1940, at 8 Menzies Street, Toxteth, Liverpool died on 9 December 2006 in Southport, age 66.
In 1963 Gerry Marsden was quoted as saying, "The Beatles and ourselves (The Pacemakers) - we let go when we get on stage. I'm not being detrimental, but in the South, I think the groups have let themselves get a bit too formal. On Merseyside, it's beat, beat, beat all the way. We go on and really have a ball."
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Sid on the TV Times (1975)


This classic TV Times cover comes from January 4th-7th 1975 and gracing the cover are Sid James & the Carry On gang.  Carry On Laughing appeared for two series on the ITV network this particular year.  The series' comprised of 13 half hour segments of compilations from the Carry On series.

By 'eck chuck. It's Elsie on the TV Times (1964)






















By 'eck chuck, it's Pat Phoenix as the legendary Elsie Tanner gracing the cover of this edition of the TV Times from way back in 1964.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Kelloggs Sugar Smacks (1966)


Back to 1966 and the popular breakfast cereal at that time, Sugar Smacks.  Coming free in the Sugar Smacks packs were these 3-D cut out models of the classic puppet series, Thunderbirds.  To think, these were all the rage back in those days.  Whatever would the sophisticated kids of today make of 'em? 

When Life Was One Big Drag! (More Cigarettes - 1976)


Back to 1976 and long before the advertising of cigarettes became illegal.  More cigarettes looked more like liquorice sticks than cigarettes.  I remember the Menthol cigarettes because I used to smoke them, before I gave up the ghost!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Matchbox Streakers Set (1975)

Every kid kid growing up in the Seventies had Matchbox cars. This ad comes from 1975. The new Matchbox Streakers set with six models to collect. Altogether, the Matchbox 75 range of superfast Rola-Matic gave you 75 models to collect.

The Persuaders - Episode Eight - Take Seven (1971)


Real or fake? Danny and Brett find it explosively dangerous when trying to help a girl whose long-missing brother apparently has a rightful claim to the estate she has inherited. The outcome is surprising. The legal verdict is clear. Mark Lindley (Christian Roberts) is the man he claims to be - the long-missing brother of Jenny Lindley (Sinead Cusack), who has inherited the wealthy Lindley estate left a number of years back on the death of her parents. Now she has nothing. Under the terms of the will, Mark is the sole legate.

Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) is not so sure, though, that theverdict is right. He believes Jenny when she says her brother is dead. Is Markreal or fake? His own story is undoubtedly convincing. And when Danny Wilde(Tony Curtis) and Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) are persuaded by the Judge toinvestigate, they are also inclined to side with the attractive Jenny - much totheir discomfort, as they soon discover when they meet her and shots are firedthrough the window at them.
Mark, it seems, is ready to use violence to protect his interests. Yet he has a cast-iron alibi for the night of the shooting. Taking it from there, Danny and Brett seek the assistance of a contact known as The Farmer (Victor Platt), who first of all warns them that they are being followed by a private eye named Peter Hayward (Garfield Morgan) and later takes them to the house occupied by the man they are seeking, a professional killer called "The Major" (Colin Vancao). They come close to being his next victim (sic) - then, without warning, he topples forward dead, shot in the back.
Jenny's lawyer David Conron (Richard Hurndall) is the next link in the chain when he 'phones a message to Brett asking him to go to a farm. The farmer is a nephew of the Lindley's former nurse and he has his diary, and although an attempt is made to kill Conron and destroy the diary, it fails.
Meanwhile, Danny has discovered that Jenny has gone to Mark's apartment. He gets this message through to Brett, and both make for the house to find Mark and Jenny engaged in a cat-and-mouse game of murder. By now, Brett knows the truth. The secret has been revealed in the nurse's diary.
But can he and Danny prevent another murder? They also have some reckoning to do with the double-crossing private detective, Peter Hayward.

Red Alert! Dinky Eagles (1977)


Do you remember Space 1999?  Of course you do.  This classic ad dates back to the good old days known as 1977 and being advertised are Dinky Die Cast Eagles.  Eagle Freighter with detachable Atomic Waste Disposal Pods.  Eagle Transporter with separate Drop Out Life-Support Module.

The Annuals are here! (1979)


This classic add for WHSmith dates back to 1979.  Being advertised are Annuals ready for the Yuletide season.  Annuals included are, Look-in Television Annual, The Muppet Show, The Beano, Whizzer & Chips & the Cub Scout.

TV Times - Upstairs, Downstairs (1973)


This classic cover from the TV-Times dates back to 1973 and gracing the cover is Jean Marsh as Rose in the classic LWT series. Upstairs, Downstairs.  All this for just 6p!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Day of the Jackal (1973)


The Day of the Jackal the 1973 Anglo-French film, set in August 1963 was based on the novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth. Directed by Fred Zinnemann and starred Edward Fox as the assassin known only as "The Jackal" who is hired to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.

The film opens with the recreation of an actual event, the assassination attempt on the President of France, Charles de Gaulle, on 22 August 1962, by the militant French underground organisation OAS in anger over the French government's decision to give independence to Algeria. The group, led by Jean Bastien Thiry, raked de Gaulle's car, an unarmoured Citroen DS, with machine gun fire in the Paris suburb of Petit - Clamart, but the entire entourage escaped without injury. Within six months, Bastien-Thiry and several other members of the plot were caught and executed.
The remaining OAS leadership decides to make another attempt, and hires a professional assassin who chooses the code name The Jackal (Edward Fox). He demands half a million US dollars for his services, so to raise the Jackal's fee, OAS members rob several banks. Meanwhile, the Jackal commissions a rifle disguised as a crutch and fake identity papers. (Notably, he spares the reliable gunsmith but murders the forger who tries to blackmail him.) In Paris, he sneaks an impression of the key to a flat that overlooks a large square (where de Gaulle will make an appearance on Liberation Day).
The French service d'Action Civique (referred to throughout as the Action Service) identify and kidnap the OAS chief clerk, Adjutant Viktor Wolenski (Jean Martin) in Italy. They use torture to extract some elements of the plot, including the word "Jackal", before Wolenski dies.
Interior Minister (Alan Badel) convenes a secret cabinet. The police commissioner recommends the brilliant detective deputy commissioner Claude Lebel (Michael Lonsdale). He will have any resources he needs but must avoid publicity. One of the cabinet members, named St. Clair, unsuspectingly discloses the government's knowledge of the plot to his new mistress (Olga Georges Picot), an OAS palnt who immediately passes this information on to her contact.
Lebel uses an old boy network of police agencies in other countries to determine that suspect "Charles Calthrop" may be travelling under the name "Paul Oliver Duggan" and that Duggan has entered France.

The Jackal decides to carry on with his plan despite the fact that his code name is known. He meets and seduces Colette de Montpellier (Delphine Seyrig) in a Grasse hotel. Slipping away before Lebel arrives, he steals a Peugeot 404 that collided with his Alpha Romeo Guilietta and drives it to Madame de Montpellier's estate. After sleeping with her again and discovering that the police had talked to her, he strangles her. The Jackal then assumes a new identity as a bespectacled Dane, using a stolen passport. He drives Madame de Montpellier's Renault Caravelle to a station and catches a train for Paris.
Once the lady's servants discover her corpse and her car is recovered at the train station, Lebel is able to make an open manhunt for a murderer. But the Jackal makes it to Paris, slips into a cab and, avoiding hotels now, goes to a bath house, where he allows himself to be picked up by a man and taken to the man's flat.
At a meeting with the assembled cabinet, Lebel plays the tape of a phone call made from the house of one of the cabinet members. The cabinet hears St. Clair's mistress passing along information about the manhunt to her OAS contact. St. Clair acknowledges that the call was made from his house and leaves in disgrace. Another cabinet member asks Lebel how he knew which phone to tap, to which he replies that he didn't, so he tapped them all.
Lebel further reveals that the Jackal will most likely attempt to shoot de Gaulle in three days, when the president will make several appearances for Liberation Day.

Meanwhile, the Jackal kills the man who picked him up at the bathhouse after a television news flash reveals him to be wanted for murder.
On Liberation Day, the Jackal, disguised as an elderly veteran amputee, shows his forged papers and is allowed through to enter the apartment building he had cased earlier. He takes up a position at the window of the upper apartment. De Gaulle enters the square to present medals to veterans of the Resistance.
Lebel meets the policeman who met the disguised Jackal and becomes alarmed. As de Gaulle presents the first medal, the Jackal shoots but the bullet misses him because at that moment the president leans over to kiss the recipient on the cheek. Lebel and the policeman burst in to the room, the Jackal turns and shoots the policeman, Lebel uses the policeman's MAT-49 submachine gun to kill the Jackal as he tries to re-load his rifle.
Back in Britain, the real — and completely unrelated to the case — Charles Calthrop (Edward Hardwicke) walks in on the police in his flat. As the Jackal's coffin is lowered into a grave, the authorities wonder, "But if the Jackal wasn't Calthrop, then who the hell was he?"

The film was expensive to produce, as it was filmed in numerous locations throughout Europe. The French government was extremely helpful in the filming of the movie, providing soldiers and use of exclusive locations for the filming of the final Liberation Day sequence. Fred Zinnemann wrote that Adrian Cayla-Legrand, the actor who played de Gaulle, was mistaken by several Parisians for the real thing during filming — though de Gaulle had been dead for two years prior to the film's release. The sequence was filmed during a real parade, leading to confusion; the crowd (many of whom were unaware that a film was being shot) mistook the actors portraying police officers for real officers, and many tried to help them arrest the "suspects" they were apprehending in the crowd.
Although the story takes place in 1962 and 1963, the filmmakers made no efforts to avoid showing car models whose production began later, for example Peugeot 504 (built from 1968), Renault 12 (built from 1969), and a Fiat 128 (1969).

Zinnemann was pleased with the film's reception at the box office, telling an interviewer in 1993, "The idea that excited me was to make a suspense film where everybody knew the end - that de Gaulle was not killed. In spite of knowing the end, would the audience sit still? And it turned out that they did, just as the readers of the book did."
Among those who praised the film was Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the movie his highest rating of 4 stars, writing, "Zinnemann has mastered every detail... There are some words you hesitate to use in a review, because they sound so much like advertising copy, but in this case I can truthfully say that the movie is spellbinding." Ebert would later include the movie at No7 on his list of the Top 10 films of the year.
Some critics have seen visual and thematic similarities between the film and the John F. Kennedy Assassination. These include the shot of the exploding watermelon during the Jackal's target practice, the man being carted away by an ambulance during the parade (recalling a similar incident in Dealey Plaza), and the presence of a magazine with JFK's picture on the cover in the hotel scene. Also, the setting is in August 1963, three months before Kennedy's death. Save the last, these were not evident in the original novel.
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Did You Know Your Green Cross Code?


How many of you remember The Green Cross Code Man? The Green Cross Code Man (sometimes known simply as "Green Cross") was a costumed superhero character created in 1975 as an aid to teaching young children the Green Cross Code, and for promoting general road safety. British Actor David Prowse MBE a Bodybuilder and former Mr Universe (and the actor best known for his portrayal of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films) is famous for his realisation of the character in a well-known series of Public Information Films (PIFs) sponsored by the Central Office of Information for the UK Department of the Environment. The light-hearted spots ran on UK Television from 1975 to 1990.

In the films, Green Cross Man character has the power to teleport from his monitoring station at Green Cross Control to any location where youths are in need of pedestrian safety instruction. He accomplishes this by use of a wristwatch-like "Dematerialiser"device. On these missions he is sometimes accompanied by a whimsical robot companion. His signature exclamation of surprise or disbelief is "Green Crosses!" and his slogan is "I won't be there when you cross the road / So always use the Green Cross Code." Green Cross Man, played by Prowse, was later to guest in an episode of BBC2's Fantasy Football League - a Phoenix From the Flames recreation of a goal by Gerry Francis in a Home International against Scotland (the main premise being that Francis tended to look from side to side during interviews - as was advised by Green Cross Man in his adverts).

In 1976, the late, great Jon Pertwee famous as the Third Doctor on the TV series Doctor Who, appeared in a PIF for the Green Cross Code introducing the mnemonic "SPLINK", which appeared to stand for:
  • (Find a) Safe (place to cross)
  • (Stand on the) Pavement
  • Look (for traffic)
  • If (traffic is coming, let it pass)
  • (When there is) No (traffic near, walk across the road)
  • Keep (looking and listening for traffic as you cross).
In 1983, the television adverts employed a "Green Cross Code" rap based on the hit "The Message by Grandfather Flash. The original lyrics of "Don't push me cos I'm close to the edge" were replaced with "Don't step out when you're close to the edge." The advert was re-released for its 10th anniversary in 1993 with slightly different lyrics.
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Monday, 19 March 2012

Hopping Its Way Into History - The Spacehopper!

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Many people of my generation will remember having great fun on a Space Hopper when the inflatable orange balls made their debut in the late 1960s. With horns for handles, they were like huge rubber satsumas that you simply sat on, and bounced up and down. Also known as Hoppity Hops, Hop Balls and Kangaroo Balls, they became extremely popular - but actually served no purpose whatsoever.
TV adverts prior to their arrival promised some sort of wonder device that would see the end of cars and bicycles as a means of transport. From now on, you could just sit on your Space Hopper and bounce off to school or race your friends around the block with hardly any physical effort.

The space hopper was invented by Aquilino Cosani of Ledragomma, an Italian company that manufactured toy rubber balls. He patented the idea in Italy in 1968, and in the United States in 1971. Cosani called the toy PON-PON. Space hoppers were introduced to the UK in 1969 — the Cambridge Evening News newspaper, England, contained an advertisement for the hopper in November of that year and described it as a "trend". Although in practical terms they served absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever (in that they didn’t allow the user to go faster, bounce higher, or run further than they could on foot), nevertheless they became a major craze during the late 1960s/early 1970s.
The original UK space hopper was manufactured by Mettoy (Mettoy-Corgi). Wembley made a similar model which had smooth handles rather than the ribbed original. The orange kangaroo design is now available in adult-sized versions in the UK. In the United States, the first mass-marketed hopping ball (a version of an earlier European toy was the Hoppity Hop, released by the Sun company around 1968. Because of the market and media saturation by this toy, any such ball — regardless of origin — is now generally known in the U.S. by that name (or sometimes "hippity hop"). The earliest HHs were made of rubber (usually red or blue) with a round ring handle on top and automotive tire valve for inflation. In the 1970s Sun introduced various character versions of the HH, such as the Hoppity Horse, Disney's Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (with hard plastic versions of the character's head attached to the ball).
The HH sold rather steadily for decades, but by the 1990s sales apparently started to slip due to increased competition from foreign hoppers. At some point the HH came to be made of a vinyl-like material, some molded in fluorescent colors. The Hoppity Hop now appears to have been discontinued, but the original — sometimes still in the box — comes up from time to time on online auction sites. It is interesting to note that the Hoppity Hop's original targets (according to advertising materials) were adults as well as kids. Since the balls only inflated to around 20", however, it's doubtful any but the shortest hop-minded adults could have gotten much use out of one. Today, numerous (usually Chinese) versions can be found in most stores, ranging anywhere from 16" to 24".
The European Hop! balls appeared in the early 1990s and are still available. Made by Italy's Ledragomma/Ledraplastic, these are essentially the quality Gymnic exercise ball with a handle attached. The sizes of these balls range from the Hop! 45 to the Hop! 66 (66 cm, about 26"). While it is still is used for fun and exercise by many adults, the Hop! 66 is still borderline child-sized. So demand for truly adult-proportioned hopping balls was met with two notable items. The first of these was Kitt 2000 Velp of the Netherlands Mega Skippyballs, a huge hopping ball which by virtue of its size was intended only for adult use. There were three sizes: 120 cm, 100 cm and 80 cm. The Mega Skippyballs are made of extra strong vinyl, and in the Netherlands there are various Skippyball races and Skippyball championships.

Of course they didn't allow you to go faster, or run further than you could on foot.
But you didn't question them, because they looked cool and you had to have one.
For much of the early 70s, children grew very attached to their orange Hoppers, and spent hours bouncing up and down busy roads. After 10 bounces they were either still in the same spot, had developed a headache, or fell off and grazed their knees. Some Space Hoppers also occasionally burst - not an easy task unless they were incredibly over-inflated.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Goodies! Goodie, Goodie, Yum, Yum! Remembering The Goodies (1970 - 1982)


What can you say about the Goodies? Other than they were fuckin' brilliant! So join me as I pay homage to one of the greatest, legendary, classic shows of the 1970s.
The Goodies was a British television comedy series of the 1970s and early 1980s.
The series, which combined surreal sketches and situation comedy, was broadcast on BBC2 from 1970 until 1980 — and was then broadcast by the ITV company London Weekend Television for a year, between 1981 to 1982. The show was co-written by and starred Tim Brooke - Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie (together known as "The Goodies"). Bill Oddie also wrote the music and songs for the series — while "The Goodies Theme" was co-written by Bill Oddie and Michael Gibbs. The directors/producers of the series were John Howard Davies, Jim Franklin and Bob Spiers.
An early title which was considered for the series was Narrow Your Mind (following on from Broaden Your Mind) and prior to that the working title was Super Chaps Three.

The series' basic structure revolved around the trio, always short of money, offering themselves for hire — with the tagline "We Do Anything, Anywhere, Anytime" — to perform all sorts of ridiculous but generally benevolent tasks. Under this loose pretext, the show explored all sorts of off-the-wall scenarios for comedic potential. Many episodes parodied current events, such as an episode where the entire black population of South Africa emigrates to Great Britain to escape apartheid. As this means that the white South Africans no longer have anyone to exploit and oppress, they introduce a new system called "apart-height", where short people (Bill and a number of Jockeys) are discriminated against.
Other story lines were more abstractly philosophical, such as an episode in which the trio spend Christmas Eve together waiting for the Earth to be blown up by prior arrangement of the world's governments. The "Christmas Eve" episode titled "Earthanasia" was one of the two episodes which took place entirely in one room. The other, "The End", occurred when Graeme accidentally had their office encased in an enormous block of Concrete. These episodes were made when the entire location budget for the season had been spent, forcing the trio to come up with a script shot entirely on the set that relied entirely on character interaction - episodes known in the industry as bottle episodes.

A special episode, which was based on the original 1971 Goodies' "Kitten Kong episode, was called "Kitten Kong Montreux 72 Edition", and was first broadcast in 1972. The Goodies won the Silver Rose in 1972 for this special episode at the Festival d'or held in Montreux, Switzerland. The Goodies also won the Silver Rose in 1975 at the Festival Rose d'Or for their episode "The Movies".
The show featured extensive use of slapstick, often performed using sped-up photography and clever, though low-budget, visual effects, such as when they built a railway station together, and awoke the next morning to discover that the construction equipment outside (steam shovel,bulldozer, backhoe) had come to life, and were lumbering, growling, and battling like dinosaurs.
Other episodes featured parodies of contemporary pop music composed by Oddie, some of which went on to substantial commercial success in the British charts, among them the hit single "Funky Gibbon" as well as character-based comedy. Some early episodes were interrupted by spoofs of contemporary tv commercials.
The Goodies opening Waikato
The group also acknowledges their debt to the usage of music in silent movies. In "The Movies" episode, they buy an old movie studio, and attempt to make their own epic film, MacBeth Meets Truffaut The Wonder Dog. After several 'takes', they argue and each begins to make his own movie in a different style. The episode finished with an extended silent movie segment, in which each movie comically interferes with the others.
The characters are based on the personae of the three characters: Garden, a bright but bizarre "mad scientist"; Brooke-Taylor as a conservative, vain, sexually-repressed, upper-class royalist; and Oddie as a scruffy, occasionally violent, left-leaning rebel from Lancashire. The group have suggested that the characters of Graeme, Tim, and Bill represent the Liberal, Conservative and Labour wings of British politics or Middle-Class, Upper-Class, and Working-Class stereotypes respectively. The characters played up to their stereotypes, but were not necessarily based on the actor playing the character, even though the actors played characters with their own names, and had some minor characteristics in common. In reality, Garden is a medical doctor, Brooke-Taylor is a lawyer who is not at all conservative ("But I had the double-barrelled name so I was always going to play the Tory") and Oddie is a pacifist, Ornithologist and active Environmentalist.

The Goodies was a consistently very popular show in the UK, although, because it seemed to appeal particularly to younger viewers, some critics dismissed it as juvenile in comparison to the other contemporary UK "alternative" comedy hit, Monty Python's Flying Circus. In fact, whilst this comparison irritated them, Oddie, Garden and Brooke-Taylor were old university friends of the Monty Python cast, and had worked with them in the past, so there was considerable mutual respect between the rival shows. This led to several gentle parodies of Monty Python appearing on The Goodies.
Goodies episodes, in which Monty Python's Flying Circus was either parodied or alluded to, included the following:
  • "The Goodies and the Beanstalk" — At the end of this episode, John Cleese portrays a geenie in the guise of a Monty Python character and uses the Python catchphrase "And now for something completely different". When spotted and told to "Push off!" by Tim, he shouts dismissively: "Kids' programme!" before vanishing.
  • "Invasion of the Moon Creatures" — the opening credits of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" can be seen when Graeme switches on the television. Graeme immediately switches off the television in disgust because he has missed what he wanted to see (Moira Anderson).
  • "Fleet Street Goodies" — in which the Liberty Bell March (the theme for "Monty Python's Flying Circus") can be heard.
  • "Scatty Safari" — in which four Gumbies are featured.
  • "The Goodies RuleOK?" — in which two Gumbies are seen on Skid Row.
  • "U Friend or UFO?" — Bill plays the Python theme on the trombone with the aliens.
"Kitten Kong" (episode seven from season two) is the only Goodie episode that is officially missing from BBC archives. However, an expanded, more elaborate version of the episode called ‘Kitten Kong: Montreux '72 Edition’, especially made for 1972 Montreux festival, does exist, and is said to have only minor differences with its 1971 prototype. The Goodies were awarded the Silver Rose at the 1972 Montreux festival for this special episode. Several other episodes that were originally screened in colour are also missing, but exist as black and white telerecordings made for overseas sales.
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All Aboard Chopper One (1974)

Chopper One was the short-lived ABC drama/adventure television series in early 1974 depicting the activities of a California police helicopter team. The program aired in a half-hour time slot on Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern. It aired adjacent to Firehouse, an action-drama series about a Los Angeles fire station.Chopper One was cancelled after six months and Firehouse ended in the following month.
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Chopper One was directed by E.W. Swackhamer and was about two flying police officers (a pilot and an observer) and their adventures in a police helicopter. The helicopter was a Bell 206 Jetranger. It starred Jim McCullen as Officer Don Burdick and Dirk Benedict as officer Gil Foley. Benedict would later earn fame as Lt. Starbuck int the original 1978 TV show Battlestar Galactica and as Lt. Templeton 'Faceman' Peck in the TV show The A - Team. Ted Hartley played their boss Capt. McKeegan and Lou Frizzell played Mitch, the crusty mechanic.

The officers were assigned helicopter duty and to make things more easier these guys were given the task to catch and apprehend dangerous criminals in tight places the police couldn't get to so with the guys up in the air they can get a description of the suspect whether he is located with the help of the local authorities. Their adversaries included chasing automobiles,bank robbers,rooftop snipers,renegade cyclists,kidnappers, muggers in the park and other desperadoes foolish enough to work out in the open. The series produced 13 episodes for ABC-TV from January 17, 1974 until the series finale on July 11,1974. The show,which ran a half-hour was on Thursday night and despite the ratings it received was right in the same time slot against a ratings powerhouse drama "The Waltons" which was on a rival network.
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