Saturday, 11 February 2012

For Mash get Smash!.....

The Smash Martians were the stars of a series of 1970's and early 1980's TV advertising campaigns for Smash instant mashed potato in the UK. They were a family of Martian robots who would watch humans laboriously preparing mashed potato the traditional way on TV. The robots would then mock what they saw by chortling as they heard how the "Earth people peeled their own potatoes with their metal knives, boiled them for twenty of their minutes, then smashed them all to bits" – instead of using Smash instant mash. The catchphrase 'For Mash Get Smash' is still an iconic advertising slogan in the UK. The adverts featuring the Smash Martians were voted TV ad of the century by Campaign Magazine.

The Martians' behaviour and personalities were initially developed while the puppeteers were messing around on set. The Smash Martians were designed for the advertising agency Boase Massimi Pollitt by Sian Vickers and Chris Wilkins, also responsible for the four-wheeled red telephone used to advertise Dirct Line,The Gocompare opera singer, Sheila's Wheels commercials and Mr.Mouse, a blue American Rodent advertising the insurenace group esure. Unauthorised copies of the Martians were made from car parts by workers at the Ford Halewood factory near Liverpool.

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1948)

The sixth film in the Sherlock Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" is an entertaining and intriguing mystery.

"Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" is based on the Arthur Conan Doyle story "The Musgrave Ritual." While it is not the same story, there are many similarities. The names of some characters (Brunton) and places (Hurlstone) appear in both the story and the film. Both story and film involve something valuable, which is hidden in the cellar of an ancient manor, and clues to its location are hidden in a series of questions and answers, called The Musgrave Ritual. And in both the story and the film Sherlock Holmes deduces the meaning of the ritual and solves the mystery. At the beginning of the Conan Doyle story, Watson writes about Holmes adorning the wall of their London flat with bullet pocks. Sure enough, in Holme's first scene he is at 221B Baker St., shooting his gun at a figure drawn on the wall!

Thankfully the mystery in "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death" has nothing to do with Nazis, and the characters of Holmes and Watson are more in keeping with the way Conan Doyle wrote them. That makes this film especially enjoyable for a Holmes fan. Musgrave Manor is a splendid, spooky old mansion, complete with secret passageways and howling wind outside. The Musgrave siblings, Geoffrey, Phillip and Sally, have opened their home to convalescing soldiers. Dr. Watson and Dr. Sexton are also staying at Musgrave Manor, taking care of the patients.

Holmes comes to the Manor after an attempt is made to kill Dr. Sexton. Shortly thereafter both Geoffrey and Phillip are murdered. Upon assuming her inheritance Sally must recite the centuries-old ritual, which is meaningless for her. Holmes realizes that the words in the ritual describe movements of chess pieces, which are in fact clues to the location of something. Since the black and white floor of the main hall resembles a chess board, Holmes has the rest of the household move as human chess pieces. Eventually he finds a crypt in which is hidden an ancient land grant signed by King Henry I. Also in the crypt is the body of the butler. Holmes very cleverly devises a plan to lure the killer back to the crypt later that evening, and traps him into confessing all the murders. Holmes then fakes his own death and allows the killer to leave -- but he walks right into the hands of Lestrade and half a dozen policemen.

It may be of interest to note that Captain Vickery, the love interest of Sally Musgrave, is played by a young Milburn Stone (Doc Adams of "Gunsmoke" fame). A 20-year-old Peter Lawford appears in the pub scene at the beginning of the film. He plays the sailor at the bar who bandages his friend's hand and says "Blimey!" when he hears about the raven.

The Persuaders - Episode Four - Angie, Angie (1971)

The French Riviera is the setting for the fourth episode of the classic ITC series, The Persuaders. Danny Wilde meets up with a friend from way back and learns, too late, that the gaiety of a film festival is a mask for murder. Kyle Sandor (John Alderson) has come to the Cannes Film Festival to enjoy himself, somebody else has come to kill him, but who?.....This is what Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) wants Brett Sinclair 
(Roger Moore) and Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) to find out!
Sandor, ex-boss of a big union in the United States intends to testify at a Congressional Investigation into criminals taking over the Unions. The Hoods intend to see that he never makes the stand. Only Brett's speed saves Sandor from a bullet fired through the French windows at the casino where Sndor is playing the tables with his right hand man Ben (Lionel Murton) and two guards. Brett chases the gun-man into the grounds, but he gets away!
Brett has a lead - the girl, Marissa (Kirsten Lindholm) who had caught his eye as she opened the window for the mystery gunman and set up the shot for him. When he sees her again, she is with Angie (Larry Storch). Angie is Danny's boyhood pal from the slums of New York. He has turned up in Cannes, but is evasive about what he is doing there. Danny refuses to believe a suggestion that Angie could be the hit man for the crooks and sets out to prove to Brett that he is making a mistake. Angie is in trouble. He is warned that he must miss the Union boss next time, and it is Ben, Sandor's trusted Lieutenant who is giving him his orders.
That night, Sandor is to attend a special film screening and he ensures that his old friend Danny will not be there by giving him a drugged drink, and efforts to remove Brett from the scene are made by his being sent off on a wild goose chase and attacked. Brett escapes, however, and races to the cinema in time to save Kyle Sandor for a second time. In the fight that follows, Angie escapes but returns to his hotel to bid farewell to his old pal, the half conscious Danny. Danny, now knowing the truth, strains to clear his drugged senses and gives chase, following Angie to a remote mountain spot where, just like the games they played as kids, they stalk each other. This time their guns are real.
But it's more than Danny can bring himself to do, when the chance presents itself for him to kill Angie. The from the shadows a new voice breaks the night and Danny pivots to see Ben, machine pistol at his hip and aimed in their direction. He is about to fire when a rock, thrown from behind, hits his hand. It's Brett, who has forced Marissa to tell him where Angie has gone.
The advantage, though, still lies with Ben, until Danny takes a gamble on Brett's lucky number at roulette.