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Monkee Python: Micky Dolenz directs Michael Palin and Terry Jones in ‘The Box’


Micky Dolenz directing the final episode of ‘The Monkees’
 
After the Monkees, after Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, after the stage show of Harry Nilsson’s The Point!, Micky Dolenz spent a few years working as a TV director in London. He nearly made a career out of it. Dolenz was behind the camera of the robot sitcom Metal Mickey (namesake of Suede’s second single), the British version of Fernwood 2 Night (LWT’s For 4 Tonight), and the Bill Oddie series From the Top.

Dolenz also directed the TV film of a one-act play by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The Box was based on Buchanan’s Finest Hour, the second of two short plays that made up Palin and Jones’ Their Finest Hours. A footnote in Palin’s diaries gives these plot summaries:

Underwood’s Finest Hour is set in a labour room with a mother straining to give birth and a doctor straining to listen to a particularly exciting Test Match. Buchanan’s Finest Hour is about a marketing idea gone awry. The cast, including the Pope, are trapped inside a packing crate throughout.

Watch ‘The Box’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.21.2017
06:13 am
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H.R. Pufnstuf, Witchiepoo & other homages to Sid & Marty Krofft in the ‘Krofft Super Art Show’


A painting by artist Matthew Bone in the Krofft Super Art Show.
 
I’m pretty sure that most of our readers over the age of 40 are familiar with the work of Sid & Marty Krofft. The brothers were responsible for bringing strange, and sometimes psychedelic TV shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, The Banana Splits, and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters to the minds of impressionable kids back in the late 60s and early 70s. Now interpretations of the many colorful and weird TV characters the Krofft’s created for their television shows are on display at a show at the La La Land Gallery in Los Angeles.

The show opened late last month and featured work from over twenty artists including The Ren & Stimpy Show alumnus Chris Reccardi who had this to say about his childhood memories of H.R. Pufnstuf:

“It’s innocent.” People grow up, but I think the best people just grow layers around the child within them. Part of it is nostalgia, ‘Oh my gosh, this meant so much to me as a kid.’ I’ve worked in animation for 35 years and H.R. Pufnstuf—I’m not familiar with their other stuff—it’s a well-written show. Even though it’s pre-school, it’s not stupid.”

The various artistic expressions based on the characters created by the Krofft brothers that are featured in the show include paintings, three-dimensional works, and even a felt cereal box with H.R. Pufnstuf’s famous mug on it. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I’d highly recommend taking in the fantastic-looking show as it runs through September 25th. Images that are currently hanging on the walls of the La La Land Gallery below can be seen below.
 

“AhSidAndMartyWanna” by Oliver Hibert.
 

“H.R. Puf’n'Puf” by Chris Reccardi.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2017
09:28 am
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Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson of ‘The Young Ones’ beating the shit out of each other on ‘Bottom’


Actors and real-life BFFs, the late Rik Mayall and Adrian “Ade” Edmondson from their other television show, ‘Bottom.’
 
If you love Dangerous Minds, then it’s a safe bet that you are also fans of the much loved UK cult-comedy, The Young Ones. If you agree with that, then you are truly one of us and also perhaps a fan of the much-praised comedy series from two of the stars of the show, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson that aired on BBC2 starting in 1991, Bottom. And if you’re not, you should be.

The premise of the show is sort of like a sleazier, down-low version of The Odd Couple television series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Both Edmondson and Mayall are confirmed bachelors who shack up with each other out of desperation and commit equally desperate acts of violence and trickery that often center around trying to get laid. Getting laid is something that according to the storyline has eluded Mayall’s character of “Richard “Richie” Richard” his entire life as he’s still a virgin. Edmondson’s character “Edward Hitler” is just as unhinged as his flatmate as well as being an accomplished boozehound and thief. Adding another layer of cool on Bottom is that apparently, the characters created by both actors was somewhat based on their long, real-life friendship that began back in 1975 when the two were just teenagers attending Manchester University. Mayall and Edmondson would get gigs doing stand-up and sketches as “The Dangerous Brothers” at The Comedy Store in their early 20s which would, in turn, help them get regular work on the long-running UK show, The Comic Strip Presents. Coincidentally, Edmondson would meet his future wife, Jennifer Saunders of Absolutely Fabulous fame, on the set of the show. They have been married for 32 years.
 

Edmondson and Mayall performing at The Comedy Store back in the day.
 
The show is hysterically violent and pessimistically dark, and both Mayall and Edmondson did much of the slapsticky stunts in the series themselves—such as when Edmondson fell through a ceiling in the 1992 episode “Burglary.” Only eighteen episodes ever aired before the proposed fourth series was killed by BBC. After that, the duo took Bottom on the road as a stage play which according to all reports was even more tawdry and savage when it came to the vulgar displays of aggression between both Edmondson and Mayall in the name of comedy. Then in 1999 the sad-sack characters were once again brought to life, this time for the film Guest House Paradiso (directed by Edmondson) which centered around Mayall and Edmondson as the owners of the “worst” hotel in the UK. There was some talk of bringing Bottom back—in Edmondson’s words as old men who hit each other with “colostomy bags,” but that awesomeness never materialized.

Get to the ‘Bottom’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.19.2017
09:16 am
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Check out the bodacious Lynda Carter as a blonde in ‘The New Original Wonder Woman,’ 1975
09.12.2017
09:25 am
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Nothing to see here. It’s just ‘Wonder Woman’ actress Lynda Carter in a blonde wig holding a massive golden barbell back in 1975. Yawn.
 
When actress Lynda Carter got the good news that she had landed the starring role in the television series Wonder Woman, she was apparently dead broke and had already made the decision to move back Phoenix, Arizona. For the first movie-length episode of season one in 1975, The New Original Wonder Woman Carter donned a long blonde wig and a barely there white dress with her other female pals on Paradise Island—a dreamy sounding mecca inhabited only by women. So far, so good!

During the episode, Carter takes on the Nazis, has a catfight with sexy Stella Stevens (who most memorably starred opposite the late Jerry Lewis in 1963’s The Nutty Professor), and hangs out with Cloris Leachman who played the fantastic “Queen Hippolyta” aka Wonder Woman’s mother. In an interesting side-note, Leachman was paid an astonishing $25,000 for one day’s work on the set.

As is the case throughout the WW television series, the episode is about as campy as they come and still holds up a staggering 42 years later much like the lovely Ms. Carter herself who continues to defy the laws of aging entirely. I’ve posted images of the very blonde Carter in her wig below. I’ve also included footage of her sexy skirmish with Stella Stevens which is said to have inspired the claws-out brawls between the fictional divas “Krystle Carrington” and “Alexis Colby” in the epic 80s television soap, Dynasty. And because I just couldn’t resist, you can also watch an amusing clip of Carter in her more traditional WW get up flying around in her invisible jet with a shirtless with “Steve Trevor” played by the red-hot actor Lyle Waggoner. It’s all too much!
 

Cloris Leachman and Lynda Carter on the set of ‘The New Original Wonder Woman.’
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.12.2017
09:25 am
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‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’: The Ramones on ‘The Tomorrow Show,’ 1981
09.12.2017
08:45 am
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Tom Snyder’s late-night talkfest The Tomorrow Show was one of the more reliable sources of stimulating programming in the 1970s and early 80s. Snyder was a lanky Midwesterner with an emphatic speaking style and a certain fearlessness about presenting off-kilter content on TV. When John Lennon and the Clash appeared on the show in 1975 and 1981, respectively, the result was frankly riveting television. It didn’t always click to that extent, such as the Ramones’ visit to the Tomorrow studio, primarily because Snyder himself was on vacation, with regular guest host Kelly Lange stepping in.

Lange seems like a perfectly nice lady but in all honesty she didn’t really make much sense as a guest host for a show that highlighted the “provocative” so strongly, and she was certainly not a very good choice to interview the Ramones! The Ramones were supporting Pleasant Dreams and they were firmly in their permanent state of disappointment in terms of generating sales after the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century, which was widely interpreted as a move to shake things up.  Pleasant Dreams features at least one stone-cold Ramones classic, in “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” but the sales didn’t live up to expectations.

The Ramones’ segment on The Tomorrow Show starts with a rendition of “We Want the Airwaves,” after which we get a few minutes of fairly innocuous chitchat. After the conversation the Ramones re-take the stage and play “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away.”

According to Marky in his book Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, the band didn’t care too much that they hadn’t gotten Snyder himself for the interview:
 

We liked The Tomorrow Show because an interview with Tom was not standard fare.

Tom sat you down like a guest in his own living room and plunged headfirst into your situation like a half-journalist/half-shrink. If three million or four million people happened to be watching, so be it. He laughed hard, he scoffed hard, and he set the bar for a good interview right around the bar for good sex—nothing short of sheer exhaustion was acceptable. Once Dan Aykroyd of Saturday Night Live had captured the manic flap of the head and arms in his brilliant impression, Tom Snyder was permanently etched into the brain of everyone who stayed up past eleven thirty.

The official name of The Tomorrow Show was Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, but that applied to tomorrow, not today. Tom was out, so for our afternoon taping we were getting the substitute host, Kelly Lange. Lange had done the news with Snyder out in Los Angeles and was a fairly regular stand-in, but she was no Tom Snyder. We didn’t care. We were happy to get a national spot.

 
Sensitive Joey, however, may not have been able to shrug it off so easily. According to Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh in his book I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Punk Rock Family Memoir, Joey said of the appearance, “We waited all these years to come on The Tomorrow Show and meet Tom Snyder, and we find out he was on vacation. Tom doesn’t even show up!”

One of the best things in this clip is the tight close-up of Marky’s nervously bobbing Chuck Taylor—if you watch you’ll see what I mean.
 
Watch the video after the jump….....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.12.2017
08:45 am
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George Romero wanted ‘Lady Aberlin’ to star in ‘Night of the Living Dead’ but Mr. Rogers said ‘no.’
09.08.2017
07:45 am
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George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead and its sequels, sadly passed away in July of this year. In researching a different topic related to Romero, I stumbled across a short but informative interview with the director that appeared in SFGate in 2010.

In this interview, Romero discusses getting his start in filmmaking, working for Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame.

Romero describes Mr. Rogers as “the sweetest man [he] ever knew,” and the first person who ever trusted him to shoot film. According to Romero, most anyone working in film in Pittsburgh got their start with Mr. Rogers.

Remarkably, according to Romero, Mr. Rogers had seen both Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and enjoyed them both. On Dawn of the Dead Mr. Rogers remarked: “It’s a lot of fun, George.”

But, most mind-blowing to me was the revelation that Romero had originally wanted to cast Betty Aberlin (“Lady Aberlin” from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood—MAJOR childhood crush) as the lead in Night of the Living Dead. Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers was not keen on the idea.

According to Romero, “he wouldn’t let me use Lady Aberlin.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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09.08.2017
07:45 am
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What if ‘Game of Thrones’ characters had released iconic albums?
08.29.2017
12:56 pm
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Jon Snow as Peter Gabriel
 
Well, another season of Game of Thrones has come and gone, leaving boffo ratings, now-useless .mkv downloads, and millions of thrilled fans in its wake. It’s enough to make you feel like you’ve been brained by the Mountain himself (who seldom seems to brain anybody, by the way, have you noticed that?).

A raven recently brought dispiriting news that we might have to wait until 2019 (!) for the next season, but if that’s true we can at least take for granted that the six (extra long) new episodes that remain will be chock full of awesome shit. In the meantime, we have little recourse but to ponder the fate of Tormund Giantsbane (he died, right?) and enjoy amusing GoT/rock music mashups such as those perpetrated by the Why the Long Play Face Instagram feed.

Usually this feed is dedicated to Star Wars album cover inspirations, but in honor of the big season finale on Sunday, they put up a few Game of Thrones versions instead. Perhaps we can send whoever is responsible to undertake further such labors in the Citadel, where grim lectures from Archmaester Ebrose punctuate the day (but we benefit, at least).
 

The men of the Wall as the Ramones
 

Melisandre as Taylor Swift
 

Daenerys Targaryen as Lana Del Ray
 
More Game of Thrones album cover mashups after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.29.2017
12:56 pm
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Janis Joplin’s band play a wild, psychedelic version of ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’

Ball & Chain
 
In April 1967, a then little-known San Francisco group, Big Brother & the Holding Company, appeared on their local public television station, KQED. This was a few months before their legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival—which would make Joplin a star—and the release of their first album, which came out later in the year. Their live set for the KQED cameras is now appreciated for its documentation of Joplin pre-fame, but the highlight of the footage doesn’t involve her at all. It’s her band’s untamed interpretation of a nearly 100-year-old piece of music that made for unusually great TV. Still does!

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” was written by Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg. It was commissioned for Peer Gynt, an 1876 play concerning the vagabond life of the title character. The Grieg piece is played during a fantasy sequence in which Grynt sneaks into the castle of the Mountain King.

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra sets the scene:

The music begins with the tiptoeing theme in B minor, played slowly by the cellos and bassoons, indicating Peer Gynt’s careful footsteps as he creeps into the castle. A second statement of the theme, played at another pitch and on different instruments, represents the king’s trolls, who eventually give chase to Peer. The tempo gradually escalates, and the music gets faster and faster and louder and louder. A series of crashing cymbals and thunderous timpani rolls silence all the other instruments, as the mountain tumbles to the ground and destroys the trolls who have been chasing after the fleeing Peer.

Even non-classical music fans will probably recognize the piece.
 

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.25.2017
08:47 am
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Brian Wilson’s haunting rendition of ‘Surf’s Up’ is just one highlight of this amazing 1967 pop doc


 
On April 25, 1967, CBS ran a special documentary that had been put together by David Oppenheim called Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. The program was significant on a number of fronts. First, the hour-long program has been called in some quarters the first documentary about rock and roll ever made. There had certainly been ample treatment in feature films (mainly the Beatles) of the new forms of pop music that were budding in that decade as well as ample news coverage—whether Inside Pop merits this distinction I will leave for others to debate.

What is clearer is that the program represents almost certainly the first sustained effort to make a positive case for pop music to a mainstream audience on national TV. In other words, if the generational divide caused all cultural matters to be filtered through an “us” versus “them” filter, Inside Pop made no bones about debating the aesthetic and cultural merits of Herman’s Hermits, the Hollies, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, etc. from “their” perspective, from the perspective of those who had not instinctually embraced the new music.

Oppenheim’s resume up to that moment neatly illustrates the point, having made his reputation through working with figures such as Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Casals. Not long after making this program, Oppenheim was hired as Dean of NYU’s School of the Arts, which he has been credited with transforming into a first-rate cultural arts institution. (His son Jonathan Oppenheim edited the groundbreaking documentary Paris Is Burning.)

The program is divided into two halves. The first half is given almost entirely over to Leonard Bernstein, whose credibility as a cultural commentator to the mass audience at that moment can hardly be overstated. Bernstein had been music director of the New York Philharmonic for roughly a decade and had also composed the operetta Candide as well as West Side Story, and if you had asked ten moderately informed citizens in 1962 what American was best known for his work in classical music, probably all of them would have named Bernstein.

As stated, the first half of the program belongs to Bernstein—he is seated at a piano, playing snippets of songs by the Monkees, the Beatles, the Left Banke, and so on, and making observations about unexpected key changes as well as the skillful manipulation of Lydian and Mixolydian modes, whatever they might be. Bernstein goes out of his way to call 95% of pop music “trash” but nevertheless, his essential curiosity and openness to new forms would be impossible to miss. It would have been difficult indeed for such a presentation to be entirely devoid of fuddy-duddy-ism, but it’s truly an impressive performance—if only TV nowadays had similar semi-improv’d disquisitions on music by qualified commentators. Oh, and halfway through it all Bernstein brings in 15-year-old Janis Ian to sing “Society’s Child,” her hitherto blacklisted song about an interracial relationship, which incidentally soon became a hit after being heard on national television.
 

 
The second half of the program is a conventional narrated documentary focusing on the West Coast music scene with some British Invaders mixed in. Frank Zappa pops up and says a few sardonic things. Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits and Graham Nash of the Hollies get into an animated post-gig debate about the efficacy of pop music in bringing about societal change (Noone pessimistic, Nash optimistic). Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, still going by “Jim” at that point, materializes to tell every adult in America that “the drug revolution is just coming about and there are gonna be a lot of heads rolling from it,” which I’m sure went over like gangbusters.

The program gets a little boring around the 2/3 mark by focusing too long on Herman’s Hermits, who whatever else their virtues are don’t make a good case for groundbreaking trends in music, but hang on because Oppenheim saves the best for last, an extended in-studio rendition of “Surf’s Up” by Brian Wilson. Recorded on December 17, 1966, Wilson’s performance is made much more haunting because we have information the home audience did not, namely that Wilson was undergoing severe psychological stress at the time, that the Beach Boys nearly broke up over the Smile album (for which “Surf’s Up” was composed), and that more than three decades would pass until said album would reach the public in its final form.

Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.21.2017
09:36 am
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Jodie Foster’s very, very brief pop music career
08.18.2017
09:23 am
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What were you doing when you were 15? How many movies had you appeared in? How many singles had you put out? How many books had you written? (Or read?)

That Jodie Foster, in 1977, was an unusual 15-year-old isn’t news. By that time she had already appeared in at least one box-office hit, Bugsy Malone, as well as arguably the most bracing and accomplished product of the New American Cinema ever committed to film, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. She was attending a French lycée which she once described to Andy Warhol in the pages of Interview thus:
 

It’s great, man. All the teachers are like 21 or 22 and have long hair and beards and everything. Being in this school, you don’t have to do anything.


 
A minute later Warhol offers Foster a Bloody Mary (she was 14 at the time). Foster may not have been “doing anything” at that lycée, but two things are clear: she was perfectly fluent in French by that time, and her education was at least good enough to enable her to attend Yale as well as become one of the top actresses in the world as an adult.

In 1977 Foster flirted briefly with pursuing a career in pop music. She released a couple of singles and made some appearances on French TV as a singer. She appeared on the soundtrack for a movie called Moi, fleur bleue (in America the title was Stop Calling Me Baby!) singing a song called “When I Looked at Your Face.” She released that track as a single and also put out another single called “Je t’attends depuis la nuit des temps.”
 
Watch the video after the jump, along with Foster’s rendition of a famous Serge Gainsbourg song…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.18.2017
09:23 am
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