Saturday, 28 April 2012
Laughter In The Rain' is one of Neil Sedaka's biggest hits. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 1, 1975. The song also spent two weeks at the top of the adult contemporary chart, covered by a huge number of artists and now the title of the West End musical, which is a story of his life. Neil Sedaka has written more hits and classic tracks than anyone can remember 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore', 'My Way', 'Solitaire', 'Calendar Girl', 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do', 'Oh! Carol' and many more!).
Friday, 27 April 2012
"Join America in the pleasure of Camels - the most popular cigarette today! Enjoy Camel's good, rich taste and real smooth mildness. You'll see why Camels give more pleasure - to more smokers today - than any other brand. Only Camels taste so rich, yet smoke so mild!"
This classic ad with Phil Silvers aka Sergeant Bilko advertising Camel Cigarettes dates back to 1956.
"Bicycle Race" was a single by rock band Queen. It was released on their 1978 album Jazz and written by Queen's frontman Freddie Mercury. It was released as a double A-Side single together with the song "Fat Bottomed Girls". The song is notable for its video featuring a bicycle race with nude women at Wimbledon Stadium, which was edited or even banned in several countries. The song has a very unusual chord progression with numerous modulations, a change of meter (from 4/4 to 3/4) in the bridge, and the multi-tracked vocal and guitar harmonies.
The song was written by Mercury and was supposedly inspired by his observing a leg of Tour de France. It starts with a chorus unaccompanied by instruments. The chorus is followed by two verses connected with a bridge, both followed by a chorus. Around the middle of the song there is a solo played with numerous bicycle bells. During the live performances, it was often played by the audience who specially brought the bells for this purpose.
The video for the song became scandalously famous for featuring 65 naked women, all professional models, racing at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. It was filmed by Dennis de Vallance. The group rented the stadium and several dozen bikes for one day for filming the scene; however, when the renting company became aware of the way their bikes were used, they requested the group to purchase all the bicycle seats. The original video uses special effects to hide the nudity.
The song was released as a single and also included in the following albums and box sets:Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, 15 Of The Best, Queen Live In Concert, Greatest Hits and The Singles Collection Volume 1.
The single was mostly distributed in 1978, on 7-inch vinyl records, with "Fat Bottomed Girls" on the B-side and EMI record label. In Argentina, the titles were translated as "Carrera de Bicicletas" and "Chicas Gordas", respectively. The labels were changed to Pepita in Hungary and to Elektra in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The Polish issue had the label of Tonpress and either "Spread Your Wing" or nothing on the B-side. Both 7-inch and 12-inch records were issued in the US; there the song also appeared in 1979, on the B-side of the single "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". In nearly all countries, the covers featured a backside photo of a naked woman on a racing bike, with red bikini painted over the original photo. A bra was added to the US covers.
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Jazz|
|A-Side||Fat Bottomed Girls|
|Released||October 13, 1978|
|Producer||Queen and Roy Thomas Baker|
|Queen singles chronology|
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Purdey was a character in the British TV series The New Avengers, another classy series that takes me back to those innocent days of my childhood! Purdey was played by the lovely Joanna Lumley from 1976-77. She was a spy working for British Inteligence, partnered with John Steed (Patrick MacNee) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt).
When Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell first mapped out the characters for The New Avengers - an updating of The Avengers - the female lead character was to have been named Charlie (or Charley). The decision was made not to use the name, possibly due to the Charlie perfume brand, or the fact a new American TV series called Charlie's Angels had just premiered. Lumley is credited with suggesting the character be named Purdey, after James Purdey and Sons', a famous shotgun manufacturer.
Purdey is a martial arts expert (learned, according to her, during her time with the Royal Ballet [which let her go for being too tall!]) and (true to her namesake) an expert markswoman, who is often called upon to use her feminine attributes to distract villains. Purdey saw Steed as an attractive, yet fatherly figure, and there was also on-going banter and playful flirting between Purdey and Mike Gambit (although the series never indicated anything more in her relationship with either man).
During the two-year run of the series, no second name was ever given to the character and it was never revealed on screen whether Purdey was the character's first or last name. Although critical reaction to the series was lukewarm, the casting of Lumley was seen as inspired and following the tradition of iconic Avengers actresses Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
This edition of the cult comic Countdown was number 3 in the series and dates back to 1971. On the cover is the third and best Doctor Who portrayed by Jon Pertwee. The picture strips are from the classic sci-fi series UFO.
The great Fozzie Bear the legendary Muppet, created by Jim Henson was an orange, particularly fuzzy bear who worked as a stand-up comic and whose catchphrase, "Wocka Wocka!". shortly after telling the joke, he is usually the target of rotten tomatoes and ridicule, especially from hecklers Statler and Waldorf. He wears a brown Pork pie hat and a red and white polka-dot necktie...........
He was originally performed by puppeteer Frank Oz, although in recent years he has been performed by Eric Jacobson. In Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, his voice was provided by Greg Berg, who also voiced Baby Scooter. Berg also voiced him in the ill-fated Little Muppet Monsters. Massahi Ebara voiced the character on the Japanese productions.
Though it is often believed Fozzie's name is a play on Frank Oz (F.Oz), he was actually named after Faz Fazakas, the person who created the mechanism that allowed Fozzie to wiggle his ears.
Fozzie Bear (Fa-zee) was originally Oz's main character. The popularity of Miss Piggy overtook Fozzie's, but he remained popular. One of his largest roles ever was in A Muppet Family Christmas, where he took all of his friends to his mother's farm for Christmas.
In 1988, a video titled Hey, You're as funny as Fozzie Bear! was released, and was intended to help kids develop comedic talent.
During the 1990s, his roles became much smaller, due to the fact that Oz had turned his focus to directing non-Muppet films and reduced his time with the Muppets. Fozzie was only a supporting character in the Muppet films of that decade, and only appeared in six episodes of Muppets Tonight. However, he returned to prominence when Eric Jacobson took over beginning with It's a Very, Merry Muppet Christmas, in which Fozzie was the focus of a number of scenes.
The character now belongs to The Muppets Studio, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, after Disney bought the franchise from The Jim Henson Company. The original puppet is kept in the teddy bear museum in Stratford-Upon-Avon, founded by Gyles Brandreth.
Fozzie's mother Emily Bear (performed by Jerry Nelson) appeared in A Muppet Family Christmas special. To Fozzie's surprise, she was friends with Statler and Waldorf, despite the heckling they inflict on him. In The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie are questionable news reporters and apparently twin brothers. Fozzie also has a cousin who appeared in the first season of The Muppet Show, also performed by Frank Oz. In the Muppet Movie Fozzie makes reference to his uncle, whose Studebaker he traded in while his uncle was hibernating.
His cousin is an audience member. In one episode of the Muppet Show he begged the other audience members not to insult his cousin Fozzie.
Since the early days of The Muppet Show, Fozzie has often interacted with Kermit as he is Kermit's best friend. Fozzie got Kermit to reluctantly assist him for one of his best-known monologues, "Good Grief! The Comedian's a Bear!", and has also had quite a bit of interaction with Kermit backstage.
In Episode 115, Fozzie constantly annoys Kermit with a running gag, delivering a number of pun items, such as a "wire" and a "letter" for Kermit the Frog which turned out to be a clothes wire and the letter R, respectively.
Another running gag is Fozzie's hat — as a bear, he is naturally covered with fur, all over. However, upon removing his hat, it is clear that his head shape is modeled on the pate of a bald headed man — thus, the juxtaposition of being both furred and bald simultaneously. This was referenced in the 2011 film The Muppets, where he saw an old picture of himself at the Muppet Theater and ridiculed the "'80s haircut" he sported back then.
Kermit and Fozzie have also frequently been paired together in countless movies, books, and specials. In The Muppet Movie, Fozzie is the first Muppet that Kermit meets on his journey. After Fozzie's unsuccessful comedy performance at the El Sleezo Cafe, Kermit invited Fozzie to come to Hollywood with him. The two friends sing the duet "Movin' Right Along" in the film. Several episodes show Fozzie as dedicated to Kermit, usually responding to his instructions with a chipper "Yes sir." On those rare occasions when Kermit must be away from the theater, he invariably leaves Fozzie in charge of the show, although he equally invariably regrets it.
Fozzie was also frequently teamed up with Rowlf the Dog. In Episode 101, Fozzie plays a western bandit to Rowlf's role as a western hero. Fozzie also appeared in two Veterinarian's Hospital sketches, in which Rowlf starred as Dr. Bob.
In Episode 218, Rowlf learns that Fozzie could play the piano, and they play the piano together in a performance of "English Country Garden". Rowlf has also played back-up to Fozzie's renditions of "Hi Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)" and "I've Got a Rythm". During the latter number, Rowlf attempts to help Fozzie with his singing but is finally reduced to changing the hapless bear's lyrics to "I Don't Got Rhythm." The young incarnations of Fozzie and Rowlf are also frequently paired together on Muppet Babies.
In the first season of The Muppet Show, the show's opening featured Fozzie telling a joke during an instrumental portion of the theme song. Fozzie was often featured in a sketch where he did a comedy monologue, in which Statler and Waldorf would heckle him (he was their favorite victim). In the second season, Fozzie's comedy routines often had gimmicks such as ventriloquism or performing on roller skates. As the series progressed, he did fewer comedy routines, becoming more involved in the show as a whole. He also preformed as a magician occasionally.
Occasionally, Fozzie uses Jewish Humour on the show, presumably because of Frank Oz's Jewish ancestry. For example, "The Telephone Pole Bit" included a reference to Frank Oz's Polish Jewish father, and in Fozzie's magic act, he pulls a rabbi out of his hat.
Though his main job was to be the show's comedian, he has had a number of other roles on The Muppet Show. He sang and danced in many musical numbers, and frequently acted in sketches (most famously his recurring sketch Bear On Patrol where he plays an unlucky police officer). He also often helps backstage and even attempts to plan out the show in one episode, and write the script in another.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Wouldn't You Like It? was the third studio album to be released by the Scottish pop group, Bay City Rollers. The LP, issued in the UK in late 1975, saw a marked change in the group's musical direction: all the songs save one were the band's own compositions. The one outside-written tune, "Give a Little Love", was a smash UK hit, and the only single released from the album..........
The album also included, in the form of a giant letter, a free color picture book of the individual members, with a band picture on the front.........
Seven of the tracks from the album would appear on Arista Records' 1976 US-only album, Rock N' Roll Love Letter using the same cover photo and artwork.
Seven of the tracks from the album would appear on Arista Records' 1976 US-only album, Rock N' Roll Love Letter using the same cover photo and artwork.
|1.||"I Only Wanna Dance With You"||Les Mckeown||2:59|
|2.||"Don't Stop the Music"||McKeown||2:49|
|3.||"Shanghai'd in Love"||Faulkner||3:29|
|5.||"Maybe I'm a fool to love you"||McKeown||3:55|
|6.||"Too Young to Rock & Roll"||McKeown||2:17|
|1.||"Give a Little Love"||McKeown||3:28|
|2.||"Wouldn't You Like It?"||McKeown||3:14|
|3.||"Here Comes That Feeling Again"||Alan Longmuir||3:41|
|4.||"Lovely to See You"||McKeown||3:57|
|6.||"Derek's End Piece"||Instrumental, Spoken Outro:Derek Longmuir||2:34|
Sunday, 22 April 2012
The late Brian Wilde first played Foggy in, "Last of the Summer Wine" back in 1976 when his character was brought in to replace Cyril Blamire (Michael Bates)....
Foggy was a former soldier who liked to boast of his military exploits in Burma during the Second World War (in fact, he was a sign-writer).........
Although Foggy considered himself very regimental and heroic, when confronted Foggy was generally meek and incompetent. Like the previous third man- and all subsequent third men- he considered himself the leader of the trio, and frequently took charge of Compo and Clegg. Foggy Dewhurst was infamous for trying to figure out a solution to the trio's everyday problems, only to make them much worse. In earlier years Foggy wore a scarf with regimental colours on it. When Wilde left the series in 1985 to star in his own sitcom as well as to pursue other TV work, it was explained that Foggy had moved to Bridlington to take over his family's egg-painting business.
Returning in 1990 following the impromptu departure of Michael Aldridge, he claimed he had tired of a life of egg painting, and wanted to return to his old life. In 1997, when Wilde's illness prevented him from taking part in the series, he was written out in the Special, "There Goes the Groom", (in which the character was only seen in brief, non-face shots, played by a double; this episode also introduced his successor, Truly).
An unconscious, hung-over Foggy was swept off to Blackpool by the local postmistress. There he inadvertently proposed to her in a verbal slip-up over the wedding rings of which he had taken charge "for safe keeping" (out of the dubious care of Best Man, Barry).
But he must have at least liked her, as he was never heard from again after that. Foggy's real first name was revealed to be Walter (with the middle initial "C"); "Foggy" is a nickname, derived from the traditional song "The Foggy Foggy Dew", aided perhaps by the fact that, in his earlier episodes, he would occasionally "blank out" everything around him to help himself to concentrate, particularly when he was thinking up new ideas or finding solutions to problems. This is particularly noticeable in the episode "The Man from Oswestry."
This classic cover from TV Times dates back to 1967 and on the cover is the late actor Gerald Flood who at the time was starring in the ITV intelligence series, "The Rat Catchers....."
The Rat Catchers was a 1960s British television series about a top secret British Intelligence Unit who receive orders from the Prime Minister and without questions battles enemy spies, saboteurs, and other criminals in order to protect the security of Great Britain and the Western Alliance. The show centred around three major characters: Peregrine Pascale Smith (portrayed by Gerald Flood), the Oxford University-educated managing director with 12 years experience under his belt, Brigadier H. St. J. Davidson (portrayed by Philip Stone), the emotionless analytical brains behind the group, and newly-recruited Richard William Hurst (portrayed by Glyn Owen), formerly a superintendent at Scotland Yard who though he was said to have gone by the book in the police force, seems to have some problems with authority now. Part of the problem is that the Brigadier refuses to tell him more than the minimum that he needs to know about the organisation. Officially he works for Smith's company: Transworld Electronics and in episode 3, he is not sure whether Smith or the Brigadier is his boss.
The organisation was based at Whitehall but officially didn't exist, being denied at the highest level as they worked with the greatest secrecy. The show began with the arrival of Hurst who is out of step with the other two. Raymond Francis was originally picked for the Hurst role but changed his mind at the last minute. Many of the stories were continued, sometimes with cliff-hanger endings.
The show aired from February 2, 1966 to April 27, 1966 and December 15, 1966 to March 9, 1967 and comprised 25 60-minute episodes. It was a Rediffusion TV Network Production. Producer Cyril Coke. It was in the Monday 8 pm slot. Theme music composed and arranged by Johnny Pearson. Directed by James Ormerod and produced by Cyril Coke.
The Delicate Delinquent was a 1957 American black-and-white film which starred Jerry Lewis. It was filmed in 1956 and released on June 6, 1957 by Paramount Pictures and is notable as the first film that Lewis made without his longtime partner Dean Martin.
- The Delicate Delinquent was filmed from September 5-October 12, 1956 and is based upon a script entitled Damon and Pythias. Darren McGavin stepped in to fill the role of a police officer that was originally written for Martin. Although the credits show a copyright date of 1956, the film was released the following year, a common practice in Hollywood.
- Lewis, who also produced the film, played a 'juvenile', although he was 30 years old at the time.
- The romantic interest in the film was provided mainly by actress Martha Hyer, who married Hal Wallis in 1966, the producer of the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis films. Hyer's fancy dresses in the film were designed by longtime Paramount costumer designer Edith Head.
- Comedian/impressionist Frank Gorshin made a rare dramatic appearance as a gang member in the film.
When a gang fight breaks out in the alleyway next to his lower-class New York apartment building, Sidney Pythias, a well-meaning apprentice janitor, is mistakenly arrested, along with a group of juvenile delinquents that includes Monk, Artie and Harry. The arresting officer, Mike Damon, is chastised by Capt. Riley, his new supervisor, who points out that Mike's efforts to reform teenage delinquents has only landed Riley in the hospital. In turn, Mike, a decorated policeman, argues that he was once a delinquent himself who was saved from a life of crime by a policeman, and he is merely trying to follow that example. Riley then gives Mike one month to reform at least one juvenile delinquent or be transferred out of the precinct. Seeing a scared and grateful Sidney groveling at a police sergeant's feet upon his release, Mike decides to make the young janitor his project.
When Mike tries to make friends with Sidney, however, the lonely janitor questions the policeman's motives, but accepts his dinner invitation when Mike tells him he has a twenty-one inch television. Back at the police station, Riley orders Mike to work with Martha Henshaw, a city council aide sent to their precinct to investigate the juvenile crime problem. When Martha asks to meet a juvenile delinquent, Mike tells the wealthy socialite to go out and find one herself, and, in turn, Martha finds Sidney. When the three meet at the policeman's apartment for dinner, Mike and Martha agree to pool their efforts to help the young man, but Sidney quickly leaves when the two reformers begin fighting with each other. Later, back at his apartment, Sidney tells Mike that he is "a nothin'...but would sure like to be a somethin'." Trying to build up the young man's self-confidence, Mike assures Sidney that he can do anything he wants, but is shocked when the novice janitor tells him that he wants to be a policeman.
Though he initially refuses Mike's request that he endorse Sidney's admission to the police academy, Riley relents after hearing Martha's glowing endorsement of Mike's handling of the bumbling Sidney. While helping Sidney fill out his application to the academy, Mike cannot stop talking or thinking about Martha, and when she arrives at Sidney's apartment to check up on the young man, Mike readily agrees to escort her home. The two soon begin seeing each other socially. Sidney's love life also takes a turn for the better when Patricia, an attractive young tenant in his building, reprimands him for not asking her out. Sidney tells the student nurse that he cannot date her until he makes something of himself. Although he struggles every step of the way through his police training, which includes judo and sumo wrestling lessons, Sidney makes it through the initial stages of the academy. Mike becomes so obsessed with helping Sidney, however, that Martha breaks up with him. Meanwhile, Sidney is visited by Monk and Artie, who try to talk him out of becoming a policeman.
Though Monk tells Sidney that the world is against them, Sidney argues that there are a lot of decent people in the world and he is just trying to be one. On his first patrol, Sidney is assigned to walk a beat with Mike in his own neighborhood, and the trainee ends up delivering a baby. Later that evening, however, Sidney gets involved in a police scuffle with his old hoodlum friends, and Artie is shot by his gun. Monk later confesses that the gun fell out of Sidney's holster during the fight, and he accidentally shot Monk while trying to steal the weapon. Cleared of the shooting, Sidney finally receives Riley's full endorsement to join the force, and he rushes home to give Patricia the good news. Later, policeman Sidney L. Pythias meets with his old hoodlum friends and offers them the same encouragement to improve themselves that Mike offered him.
I love the classic sit-com, On The Buses, despite being derided by the so called critics I think this is one of the best sit-coms from this particular period. I feel that the three feature films based around the series are even funnier than the actual series itself. Holiday on the Buses made in 1973 was the third and final film based on the series. Directed by Bryan Izzard, Holiday On The Buses starred Reg Varney and Doris Hare. The film succeeded the films On The Buses (1971) and Mutiny On The Buses (1972). The film was produced by Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe for Hammer Films.
After a series of incidents at the bus depot, Stan (Reg Varney), Jack (Bob Grant) and Inspector Blake (Stephen Lewis) are sacked. Stan and Jack get a job as bus crew at a holiday camp, only to find that Blakey has also got a job at the camp, as security inspector. Stan invites the family to stay whilst he proceeds to chat up the guests and staff. Meanwhile, Blakey thinks he can teach the guests old time dancing. Stan and the family get into an adventurous holiday, including repainting the whole of a bedroom as Little Arthur squirts ink around the room, a suitcase full of murky river water, and an exploding toilet.
Reggatta de Blanc was the second album by The Police, released in 1979. It features the band's first two number 1 hits, "Message in a Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon".
The album took four weeks to record, spaced over several months. Unlike its successor, Zenyatta Mondatta, there was no pressure on the band. Stewart Copeland described it, "We just went into the studio and said, 'Right, who's got the first song?' We hadn't even rehearsed them before we went in."
Against the wishes of A&M, who had wanted to equip the promising band with a bigger studio and more famous producer, the Police opted to again record at Surrey Sound with Nigel Gray. The small budget (between £6,000 and £9,000) was easily covered by the profits of their previous album, Outlandos D'amour, further ensuring that the record label would have no control over the actual creation of the band's music.
Whereas Outlandos d'Amour had benefited from one of the most prolific songwriting periods of Sting's life, the recording sessions for Regatta de Blanc were so short on new material that the band even considered re-recording "Fall Out" at one point. To fill in the gaps, Sting and Copeland dug up old songs they'd written and used elements of them to create new songs. Much of the lyrics to "Bring on the Night" were recycled from Sting's Last Exit song "Carrion Prince (O Ye of Little Hope)", and "The Bed's Too Big Without You" similarly started as a Last Exit tune, while "Does Everyone Stare" originates from a piano piece Copeland wrote in college.
The album's title is a pseudo-French translation of "White Reggae".
The instrumental "Regatta De Blanc", one of the few songs written by the Police as a group, came from the long instrumental break in the live performance of "Can't Stand Losing You" and earned the band the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance for "Bring on the Night" is about the execution of Gary Gilmore - though purely by accident. Under its original title of "Carrion Prince", the song was about Pontius Pilate. After adapting it into "Bring on the Night" for Regatta de Blanc, Sting read The Executioner's Song and was shocked that the intentionally abstract lyrics he'd written fit exactly with Gilmore's life story. He claims that since then, "I sing it with him in mind." "The Bed's Too Big Without You" was covered by reggae singer Sheila Hylton in 1981, which became a UK Top 40 hit.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Leonard Swindley was played by the late, great Arthur Lowe on Coronation Street between 1960 and 1965. The character of Mr Swindley also appeared in two spin-off series following his departure from the Street -Pardon the Expression and Turn Out The Lights, making him a unique character in UK soap opera.
At the time filming commenced of the pilot episode of Coronation Street, the character of Leonard Swindley had not even been cast. Because he wasn't supposed to appear until episode three, auditions were still taking place until Arthur Lowe walked in and read for the producers. Lowe, who went on to become most recognised as Captain Mainwaring in sitcom Dad's Army, was already an established actor by the time of his Coronation Street casting, having been in several feature films, but it was his turn as pompous Mr. Swindley that made him a household name in the early 60s.
In December 1961, only a year after the show's launch, a strike of the actor's union Equity meant that Lowe, who was not under contract with the show at that point, was forced to leave the series along with several other stars of the Street. The strike lasted until April 1962, and Lowe agreed to reprise his role once again, returning in June along with Eileen Derbyshire
Upon hearing of Lowe's decision to quit the series in 1965, ITV bosses offered him the chance to continue in the role as the star of a new sitcom based around his character. The end result Pardon the Expressoin debuted two months on from his final appearance in Coronation Street and ran for two series until 1966. It in turn produced its own spin-off Turn Out The Lights, again based around Swindley, which lasted only six episodes.
Swindley, in his role as lay preacher, was a central figure in the local community. The Mission Hall would regularly play host charity ventures and plays among other uses. Swindley and his assistant Emily also organised several trips out for the locals.
In 1962, Swindley's clothes store was failing and piling debts forced him to sell up. The buyer, Niklos Papagopoulos, was the owner of a successful chain of clothes shops in Manchester called 'Gamma Garments'. Papagopoulos re-opened the store as Gamma weeks later, deciding to keep Swindley on as manager and Emily and Doreen Lostock as his assistants.
After working closely for over three years, Swindley's relationship with his colleague Emily grew and in 1964 she proposed. Swindley hesitated before accepting and a date was set for only a few weeks later. When the wedding day came however, Emily realised that neither of them truly loved each other and decided to call off the marriage. He assured her that he felt the same way and the pair managed to salvage their friendship to continue working together.
The next year, following Arthur Lowe's decision to quit, Swindley was offered a promotion at Gamma Garments and duly accepted, leaving the Mission, and Weatherfield behind. The character later moved on to work as manager for Dobson and Hawkes, the clothes store seen in the spin-off Pardon The Expression.
This classic Radio Times cover dates back to the year of my birth, 1966 and gracing this cover are Leslie Crowther and Peter Glase from the classic Friday afternoon kids show, Crackerjack. Also featured on this cover is Harry Corbett the originator of Sooty!
Saturday, 14 April 2012
"Stand and Deliver" was Adam & The Ants' most successful single. It entered the UK Top 40 at Number One and stayed there for five weeks. It was featured on their Prince Charming album. The lyric "stand and deliver - your money or your life" was a phrase commonly used by highway man Dick Turpin in 18th century England during robberies.
The song's video features Adam Ant dressed as a "dandy highwayman" who is captured and escapes being hanged from the gallows with help from his accomplices (his band members). The video's opening sequence of Adam Ant putting on his makeup before going out on a robbery became a defining visual image for Adam Ant in the years that followed. The video also has an early appearance by Amanda Donohoe who at the time was Adam's girlfriend.
No Doubt released the song along with their entire music catalogue for those who bought tickets to their North American Tour in 2009, though it is not to be counted as a single officially and will not appear on their upcoming album. They alao performed the song while playing a fictional 1980s band, Snowed Out, in the Gossip Gin episode "Valley Girls" as well as in their 2009 tour during the encore.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Elvis Presley appeared in a Memphis city court on Oct. 19, 1956 along with Gulf service station employees Edd Hopper (left) and Aubrey Brown. The trio had a fight the previous night when Elvis pulled into the station at Gayoso and Second for repairs and was besieged by fans. Hopper, the station manager, ordered Presley away and a brief altercation ensued. All three were booked for assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
Charges against Presley were dismissed. Hopper and Brown both had to pay fines.
I loved this when I was a kid. The Perils of Penelope Pitstop was an American animated TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions that premiered on CBS on September 13, 1969. The show lasted two full seasons, with a total of 17 half-hour episodes produced and released, the last first-run episode airing on January 17, 1970. Repeats aired until September 4, 1971. It is a spin-off of the Wacky Races cartoon, reprising the characters of Penelope Pitstop and the Anthill Mob. This show airs re-runs on Cartoon Network classic channel Boomerang.
The series was patterned on the silent movie era melodrama cliffhanger movie serial The Perils of Pauline using the most successful characters of Wacky Races, namely Penelope Pitstop, the members of Ant Hill Mob and originally Dick Dastardly and Muttley though Dastardly and Muttley were later dropped in pre-production according to this series DVD release information. Those characters would be later reused in their own series.
Deciding to feature the characters in a different setting, studio heads decided to set the characters into an active adventure format strongly reminiscent of the 1920s. Adding to the cliffhanger serial feel, episodes typically started with a recap such as "Last time we left Penelope, she was in the clutches of the Hooded Claw". Contrary to later editing of the series in rebroadcasts, the original format of the series was to introduce the successive episodes at the end of the just-finished broadcast for the successive week that would present and leave Penelope in the middle of a dangerous situation to overcome. The cliffhanger would end with Penelope being shown placed in direct danger such as being shot out of a circus cannon to land in the wild animal cage. The audience is left there with the indication "Tune in next week for danger in the 'Big Top Trap' ". The successive episode would include recapping the previous week's end scene introduction and continue onto Penelope's successful avoidance of the danger she encountered. In all rebroadcasts of the series since the original broadcasts as well as on the DVD release of the series, these introduction endings have been removed from the main episodes. Some of the foreign broadcasts have retained these introductionary endings, akin the same plot device used in the sci-fi series Quantum Leap.
Also from the Wacky Races was the Ant Hill Mob, originally portrayed as a group of crooks but in this incarnation are now are either reformed, never had the criminal background of their earlier Wacky Races incarnation, or are engaging in a protection racket. The members also has completely new names from the original Wacky Races series (except for their leader Clyde, who was named "Big Clyde" in the Wacky Races), who, with their largely self-aware car, Chugga-Boom, acted as the heroes and were constantly rushing to Penelope's rescue. But their attempts to save her were only half effective. The Mob's reason for being Penelope's friends and guardians is never explained, although the narrator mentions that they were "benefactors."
The Hooded Claw (voiced by Paul Lynde), aided by his pair of near identical henchmen who always speak in unison, the Bully Brothers (both voiced by Mel Blanc), concocted needlessly Goldbergian plots to kill Penelope (such as a device to drop her from an aircraft, cut her parachute, and then have her drop into a box of wildcats). While the Mob often rescued Penelope, as often as not she needed to rescue the Mob from the unintended effects of their attempts to rescue her. While Penelope was curiously helpless whenever The Hooded Claw grabbed her, once he left her tied up for his fiendish plans to take effect, she usually became resourceful and ingenious, sometimes coming up with spontaneous and creative methodologies to escape her peril.
Penelope was always in a different part of the globe for every peril. Mainly she was in America, but she did go to locations such as Egypt, England, the jungle, Baghdad and the North Pole. These settings were painted by background artist Walter Peregoy.
Just like in other spin-off series, like Dastardly and Muttley in their flying machines, the Wacky Races series is never mentioned, not by Penelope, nor by the Ant Hill Mob. Plus the Compact Pussycat from Wacky Races is never seen in the series. Instead of that vehicle, Penelope usually drives a green sports car, or any other vehicle that she finds, or even Chugga-Boom. However, there is a singular reference to the earlier Wacky Races series in this series. In the origin episode "Jungle Jeopardy", in response to Penelope's statement of introducing the character "It's you! My arch enemy, The Hooded Claw!", the Hooded Claw replies "Who did you expect? Dick Dastardly?" The only other suggestion to the Wacky Race version is shown when the Anthill Mob members are all standing behind period convict stripped suit cut-outs in the episode "Carnival Calamity" hackening back to their original criminal versions, opposite to this heroic incarnation. It should be noted this is the only time that the character of Dum Dum is shown in this series with an angry face, same as his Wacky Races version Ring-A-Ding.
Also, in the first sketches of the series, Penelope was supposed to have a younger brother named Johnny Pitstop, who would help the Ant Hill Mob save her from the clutches of the Hooded Claw. In those same sketches, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were supposed to be Johnny Pitstop's personal bodyguards, using once again their car, The Mean Machine. This was all in the first sketches, and never make out in the final works.
Unlike other cartoon shows of the era, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop did not contain a laugh track.
Created by veteran Hanna-Barbera voice actress Janet Waldo, Penelope is a classic "damsel in distress" stock character as in the old serial The Perils of Pauline. Her catchphrase is "Help, help!" (spoken in an affected upper-class U.S. Southern accent). Throughout the series, she displays a curious combination of ingenuity and helplessness. She often figures out clever ways to get out of a jam, and is very athletic; if any sport happens to be mentioned, it is revealed that she was the women's champion in said sport in college. Nonetheless, when her arch-nemesis The Hooded Claw, voiced by Paul Lynde (who, unknown to her, is her guardian Sylvester Sneekly) grabs her, she is somehow incapable of doing anything other than yelling for help. Like the show's villain The Hooded Claw, she often interacted with the narrator of the show.
The Hooded Claw was the main villain and the alter ego of Sylvester Sneekly, Penelope Pitstop's guardian. Contrary to what his name suggests, he has neither a hood nor a claw, preferring to wear a purple suit, and a green hat and cape. In the event of her death, Sneekly stood to inherit Pitstop's fortune. He was a master of disguise, and often aided by his henchmen, the Bully Brothers, twin brothers who dressed alike and talked like movie directors, as well as speaking as one. Each episode's plot involved Sneekly trying to kill Penelope and claim her fortune for himself. She never suspected his intentions, however, because he performed his nefarious deeds only in his costumed persona, The Hooded Claw. However, there was a running gag where Penelope commented to Sneekly that he looked like the Hooded Claw, but there was no way her kind guardian could be that villain. In "Big Top Trap," Sneekley actually reveals to Penelope that he is the Hooded Claw, but Penelope does not believe this, thinking it is just a circus act. Sneekly/Hooded Claw was voiced by Paul Lynde, whose participation was uncredited. (In the Japanese version, he was played by Kyoshi Kawakubo).
Like Boris Badenov in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Sneeky/Hooded Claw would break the "Fourth Wall" by at times directly addressing the narrator as the narrator was revealing the crime to the audience, defeating the surprise the Claw was about to spring. He would then belittle the narrator by calling the narrator "Buster", "Nosy", "Tattle-tale", "busy-body" or "wise guy" for verbally interfering with his crimes. Despite knowing about the narrator and interacting with same, at no time does the Hooded Claw/Sneekly acknowledge that he and all the people of his world are merely characters in a scripted film.
Penelope was often rescued from peril by the Ant Hill Mob, a group of seven diminutive men with exaggerated personality traits, clearly owing quite a bit to the characters of the Seven Dwarfs in the Walt Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as the Keystone Cops which they obviously imitated twice in the series. The seven members usually were portrayed as having unique usable talents such as Zippy's speed, Pocket's technical intellect and gadgetery, and Dum Dum's marksmanship though at times the members were obviously not effective in using their skills as Pitstop's guardians. The seven members are:
- Clyde – The leader, a caricature of Edward. G. Robinson in Little Caesar and the one in the gray suit; When he gives instructions to the others, they always respond: "Right, Clyde." He gets irritated when the mob screws up or when a certain member of the mob (especially Dum Dum) misinterprets his instructions. His catchphrases are "Oh brother", "No kiddin'", and "You Dum-Dum!". He was voiced by Paul Winchell.
- Dum Dum – (Ring-A-Ding in Wacky Races) Played stupid and is identified by a plum-colored stripe on his hat; his catch phrases are "Here we come, Penelope!" and "What'll we do now, Clyde?". Like his Wacky Races counterpart, he was normally the cause of a plan's failure. Dum Dum also has trouble remembering his own name, and speaks like a clown. He was voiced by Don Messick.
- Pockets – Able to bring out useful objects to get the Mob out of trouble, even ones of ridiculous size. He has a green stripe on his hat, and pockets all over his suit (hence his name). He was voiced by Don Messick.
- Snoozy – The dozy one, sleeping through moments of emergency; but despite sleeping on the job, he's always aware of what's going on at the present time and appears able to pilot Chugga-Boom (the mob's car) while asleep. He can dream up a suggestion that Clyde finds very reasonable. Snoozy has the blue stripe on his hat, and leans over when upright, with his head on Dum Dum's shoulder. Snoozy is the only member of the Mob other than Clyde who is portrayed reliably without a full head of hair. He is a pun on The Seven Dwarfs' Sleepy. He was voiced by Don Messick.
- Softy – Cries at any possible emotional or stressful moment; whether those moments were happy or sad was irrelevant; he often chimes in mother memories. Very seldom does he smile, or even laugh. Viewers can identify him by both his constant blubbering, and his hat's pink stripe. He was voiced by Paul Winchell.
- Yak Yak – The talkative one, made a kind of 'yuk yuk' laugh, no matter how disastrous the news he was imparting. The worse the news he imparts, the harder he laughs. Yak Yak would laugh distinctively when The Mob was in peril, recognizing the danger but would still laugh ("We're gonna crash!! Heeheeheehee!"). Yak Yak is identified by his hat's chartreuse stripe, and his blonde hair. He was voiced by Mel Blanc.
- Zippy – A fast runner and a fast talker. If Pockets cannot provide what the mob needs, Clyde will send Zippy somewhere to get it (which is where he tends to mess up). Whenever Zippy screws up, Clyde would sometimes call him Dippy-Zippy. Like Clyde, his hat has a red stripe on it. He was voiced by Don Messick.
The Ant Hill Mob had previously appeared in Wacky Races alongside Penelope Pitstop, although of all seven Mob members, only Clyde kept his Wacky Races name here. The Mob's original Wacky Races car, the known as The Bullet proof bomb replaced by "Chugga-Boom" (voiced by Mel Blanc), which was mostly articulate and seemed to have a mind of its own though at times the Chugga-Boom seemed completely inanimate and was at those times drawn without eyes on the headlights.