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‘The Future is Theirs’: BOAC promotional film from 1950s
06.19.2011
05:44 am

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History

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The Future is Theirs is a promotional film made by British Overseas Airways Corporation (B.O.A.C.) in the 1950s to advertise the quality and standard of their services.

B.O.A.C. was the former British state airline from 1939-1946, and the long-haul British state airline from 1946-1974.

In 1971, following an act of parliament, B.O.A.C. was merged with British European Airways (B.E.A.) - Britain’s largest domestic airline 1946-1974 - to become British Airways. 

This fabulous film shows the various operations from the ground up, required to maintain B.O.A.C. flights across the world:

“What makes it possible to cross continents and oceans in the count of hours, straddle the world in an easy chair?

The answer is: people and planning.

Individual skills, integrity, and fore-thought that add up to the organization of a world airline.”

Where:

“Precision, power, reliability and comfort are the measure of an airline.”

Directed by John Spencer, with commentary read by the actor William Franklin (best known for his advertizsing work for “Sch…you know who”) and a lively and dramatic musical score, composed by Frank Cordell, a former World War II radio navigator, who flew missions with RAF Bomber Command, and was later involved with establishing London’s famed Institute of Contemporary Arts. Cordell also composed the film scores for Tony Hancock’s The Rebel, David McCallum’s Mosquito Squadron, Cromwell and Ring of Bright Water, amongst many others.

The Future is Theirs is a fascinating piece of advertising, which captures a world full of optimism and promise. Just like today, but with wings.
 

 
Relax and enjoy the rest of this in-flight presentation, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Una Gallacher
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Peanuts’ and race-mixing, 1969
06.17.2011
05:05 pm

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History
Race

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Beloved cartoonist Charles Schulz received this unsigned letter dated November 12, 1969 concerning the new addition of “Franklin,” the first black character appearing in “Peanuts.” How strange this seems now, but just imagine the uproar on FOX News if a gay kid was added to the gang today.

We know Bryan Fischer would hate it. But haters gonna hate, what can you do?

Click here to view larger image.

United Feature Syndicate
220 East 42nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10017

Gentlemen:

In today’s “Peanuts” comic strip Negro and white children are portrayed together in school.

School integration is a sensitive subject here, particularly at this time when our city and county schools are under court order for massive compulsory race mixing.

We would appreciate it if future “Peanuts” strips did not have this type of content.

Thank you.

Here’s a link to an article written by Chris Haft, now a sportswriter for The Cincinnati Enquirer, about his youthful correspondence with Charles Schultz about why there were no black kids in “Peanuts”.

(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Timothy Leary’s papers acquired by New York Public Library
06.17.2011
10:37 am

Topics:
Drugs
Heroes
History
Thinkers

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Timothy Leary with Boing Boing founders Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair at Golden Apple Comics. Photo: Richard Metzger
 
At some point in 1995, I was visiting Dr. Timothy Leary in his home in Benedict Canyon. I showed up at the appointed time and waited outside on the patio.

And I waited. And waited. And waited and waited and waited. After about an hour and 45 minutes—the guy was one of my greatest heroes, how long are you supposed to wait in a situation like that?—I made to leave when Tim finally arrived. It had been some time, maybe five years, since I had seen him last and he looked terrible. Until recently Leary could have passed for a man 20 years younger, but now he looked just awful. It was the week before he told the media that he had terminal cancer.

That day, a delivery of several boxes of items which had been confiscated during one of his many drug busts of the sixties, had arrived at the house. There were several people in the housre cataloging the contents (one of them was Bill Daily, the antiquarian book dealer here in Los Angeles and I think former SNL comedy writer Tom Davis might have been there, too).

One item had the group on stitches when it was discovered: A tin flour container (my grandmother owned the exact same one) full of flour. It was surmised by the group that whoever grabbed it must have suspected the flour jar was where the cocaine was hidden. I recall Leary quipping “I wonder where they thought we kept our flour?”

It’s taken over a decade since Leary’s death, but yesterday an article in the New York Times reports that Leary’s personal papers have been acquired by the New York Public Library:

When the Harvard psychologist and psychedelic explorer Timothy Leary first met the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1960, he welcomed Ginsberg’s participation in the drug experiments he was conducting at the university.
Multimedia

“The first time I took psilocybin — 10 pills — was in the fireside social setting in Cambridge,” Ginsberg wrote in a blow-by-blow description of his experience taking synthesized hallucinogenic mushrooms at Leary’s stately home. At one point Ginsberg, naked and nauseated, began to feel scared, but then “Professor Leary came into my room, looked in my eyes and said I was a great man.”

Ginsberg’s “session record,” composed for Leary’s research, was in one of the 335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more that the New York Public Library is planning to announce that it has purchased from the Leary estate. The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.

The archive will not be available to the public or scholars for 18 to 24 months, as the library organizes the papers. A preview of the collection, however, reveals a rich record not only of Leary’s tumultuous life but also of the lives of many significant cultural figures in the ’60, ’70s and ’80s.

Robert Greenfield, who combed through the archive when it was kept in California, for his 2007 biography of Leary, said: “It is a unique firsthand archive of the 1960s. Leary was at the epicenter of what was going on back then, and some of the stuff in there is extraordinary.”

Leary, who died in 1996, coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and was labeled by Richard M. Nixon as “the most dangerous man in America.” He was present in Zelig-like fashion at some of the era’s epochal events. Thousands of letters and papers from Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson, Arthur Koestler, G. Gordon Liddy and even Cary Grant — an enthusiastic LSD user — are in the boxes.

 

 
Thank you Douglas Rushkoff!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Norman Bates: Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ turns 51 today
06.16.2011
04:43 pm

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History
Movies

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Today in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was released, ushering in the age of ultra-violence in American cinema and to some extent the independent movie (Paramount were aghast at Psycho‘s script, so Hitchcock financed the film via his own Shamley Productions for $806,947.55)

Based on the novel of the same name by famed author Robert Bloch, Psycho was inspired by real-life murderer Ed Gein. It was filmed in black and white, not just to save money, but because Hitchcock knew that the shower scene would have just been too much in color. Principle filming took place on the set of Revue Studios, the same location where Hitchcock shot his television show. The Bates Motel set is still standing at the Universal Lot (see above).

Janet Leigh was apparently so upset after she saw the infamous shower scene (which had over 50 edits and used chocolate sauce for as the blood stand-in) that she tried to avoid them for the rest of her life. Leigh told documentary producers in 1997 that she would only shower if everything in the house was locked down first and she felt safe. She also always left the bathroom door open.

As, well, psychotic as Psycho is, it would take another twelve years before Hitchcock would film his sickest film of all, Frenzy. You wanna talk about a sick film? Frenzy makes Psycho seem tame by comparison. Today’s “torture porn” ain’t got nuthin’ on Hitch, baby!
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Prisontown: The Malefactors of Great Wealth
06.15.2011
06:12 pm

Topics:
Drugs
History
Music

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Unique music video for “Prisontown” by a group with such a cool name, The Malefactors of Great Wealth.

The video uses seldom-seen archival footage from the infamous “Narcotic Farm” in Lexington, KY, a prison for drug addicts which once housed writer William S. Burroughs, musician Sonny Rollins, and actor Peter Lorre, among thousands of others. From the 1930s until 1975, if you were convicted of a drug-related crime, this was where they would send you. (As you might also suspect, human drug testing went on there and the CIA did clandestine research on LSD at the Narcotic Farm, too).

No surprise there were a lot of musicians about. Find out more about the Narcotic Farm here.
 

 
Thank you J.P. Olsen!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Vintage ad for women who have no sex appeal
06.14.2011
01:09 pm

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Feminism
History
Sex

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July 1937 issue of “True Romance”
 
Times have changed: From a different era, when women weren’t expected to achieve—from fashion magazines constantly shoving it down our throats—the unrealistic goal of the “emaciated runway model” look.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite message in this ad. 

(via World of Wonder )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Clash live in Manchester, 1977
06.14.2011
12:09 pm

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Heroes
History
Music
Punk

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Before he started Factory Records or the Hacienda nightclub, as the host of And So It Goes on Granada Television, the late Tony Wilson was personally responsible for some of the most iconic punk bands getting preserved on film and videotape. The Sex Pistols, Magazine, The Buzzcocks, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, The Banshees, The Fall, The Jam and many other performers found a TV outlet on And So It Goes that they wouldn’t have had elsewhere.  It ran for two years until a foul-mouthed moment by Iggy (wearing a horse’s tail, I might add) got it canceled.

This And So It Goes footage of The Clash playing at the Elizabethan Ballroom in Manchester on November 15th, 1977 is probably the best footage of the Clash that there is. It’s certainly the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a helluva lot of it. The camera placement is perfect for showing what utter havoc and mayhem the band could cause. You can practically feel the gob in the air that night. According to The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town by Marcus Gray (highly recommended, btw) fans queuing up for the show got rowdy and pushed the door in causing quite a bit of damage.

Richard Hell and the Voidoids were not in fact the opening act. The were replaced at the last minute by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Note ticket price!

During “What’s My Name?” Strummer sings “Here we are on TV. What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you? FUCK ALL!”:
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Kim Sisters: Rat Pack-era Vegas headliners, fierce Korean divas
06.13.2011
04:29 pm

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History
Music
Pop Culture

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The beautiful and talented Kim Sisters were one of the most popular acts of all in Las Vegas during the 1960s, although they are little remembered today. The group was comprised of three of the seven children of well-known Korean classical music conductor, Kim Hae-song. Their mother, Lee Nan-Young, was one of Korea’s most famous singers, best-known for her version of “The Tears of Mokpo,” a traditional folk song.

When their father was killed by the North Koreans during the war, their mother had Sook-ja, Mi-a and Ai-ja (then 11, 12 and 13-years old) form a vocal trio to entertain the U.S. troops and to help support the rest of the family. Speaking no English at the time, the girls sang phonetically and were given gifts of beer and chocolate bars which they could then trade on the black market for real food. The G.I.s would also gift the girls with American pop records that they would learn to perform.

When news of the singing Kim Sisters reached America after the war, the girls were invited to become a part of the “China Doll Review” at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas. Eventually the Kim Sisters became accomplished musicians playing a dizzying array of instruments in their glitzy stage show. They were the act on The Ed Sullivan Show more than any other performer, a total of 22 times. Sullivan made the Kim Sisters a nationally known act and soon they were making $13,000 a week. When Sullivan became aware that their mother was still in Korea, he generously intervened and helped her get a visa, the catch being that she had to perform on his program.

During the 70s, all of the Kim sisters got married and the act ended. Ai-ja Kim died of lung cancer 1987, but Sook-ja and Mi-a are still alive and living in America. They are rumored to be working on a documentary about their lives. I hope that’s true.

You can read a fascinating oral history of the Kim Sisters here.
 

 
None of the Ed Sullivan clips have made it to YouTube, sadly. Below is a clip of The Kim Sisters on the Hollywood Palace television show. Stay with it for when they all three start playing the xylophone together (or go directly to about 3:22 in). It’s pretty cool:
 

 
Thank you Douglas Hovey and Billy Beyond!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Twilight World of Syd Barrett
06.13.2011
11:59 am

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History
Music

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There was a terrific, moving documentary last week on BBC Radio 4, “The Twilight World of Syd Barrett.”  Featuring Barrett’s caretaker/sister Rosemary, original Floyd manager Peter Jenner, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and one of the last interviews with Rick Wright:

Five years after his death, Syd Barrett lives on freeze framed, still young and a striking lost soul of the sixties whose brief moment of creativity outshines those long years of solitude shut away in a terraced house in his home town of Cambridge.

This revealing programme hears how his band Pink Floyd (and family) coped with Barrett’s mental breakdown and explores the hurriedly arranged holiday to the Spanish island of Formentera - where the star unravelled. In the programme we also hear about Barrett’s pioneering brand of English psychedelic pop typified on early Pink Floyd recordings ‘Arnold Layne’, ‘See Emily Play’ and the strange songs on Pink Floyd’s impressive debut album ‘The Piper At the Gates of Dawn’.

Undoubtedly Barrett’s experimentation with the drug LSD affected him mentally and the band members reveal how concerned they were when he began to go catatonic on-stage, playing music that had little to do with their material, or not playing at all. By Spring 1968 Barrett was out of the group and after a brief period of hibernation, he re-emerged in 1970 with a pair of albums, ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’, but they failed to chart and Barrett retired to a hermit life existence under the watchful gaze of his caring sister Rosemary (featured in the programme)

John Harris presents the program. Listen to it here.

Below, “Rhamadan,” a sprawling, 20-minute-long instrumental jam recorded during The Madcap Laughs sessions with Tyrannosaurus Rex bongo player Steve Peregrine Took. This comes only as a free download for people who bought An Introduction to Syd Barrett on iTunes or the physical CD. As someon\e who owns more Syd Barrett bootlegs than is perhaps necessary, it’s great to be able to finally hear this quasi-legendary track.
 

 

 
It’s worth noting that the new stereo remixes done by David Gilmour are especially nice-sounding. I thought they were a huge improvement myself. If you have any doubts, have a quick listen to “Octopus.” Not an insignificant upgrade in the audio fidelity department, I think you’ll agree:
 

 
One question for EMI, though: Where are “Scream Thy Last Scream” and “Vegetable Man” anyway??? WHEN will these tracks be given a proper release?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Black Flag: Spray Paint the Walls
06.10.2011
04:11 pm

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History
Music
Punk

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Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag by Stevie Chick is now available in a revised edition for U.S. readers via PM Press. The story of the band in all of its various incarnations, SST Records and their fellow travelers, comes in at a hefty 403 pages:

They were the pioneers of American hardcore, forming in California in 1878 and splitting up 8 years later leaving behind them a trail of blood, carnage and brutal, brilliant music. Throughout the years they fought with the police, record industry and their own fans. This is the band’s story from the inside, drawing upon exclusive interviews with the group’s members, their contemporaries and the groups who were inspired by them. It’s also the story of American hardcore music, from the perspective of the group who did more to take the sound to the clubs, squats and community halls in American than any other.

Read an excerpt from Spray Paint the Walls at The Quietus.

Below, a segment on Southern California punk featuring Black Flag, from The Tomorrow Show in 1980. Rona Barrett interviews Chuck Dukowski!
 

 
Via Glen E. Friedman

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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