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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

How Janis Joplin wanted to Try (just a little bit harder)



This woman had a magnificent voice and sadly went before her time at twenty seven years of age. It seems so strange that she looks as large as life, yet Janis has been gone 45 years now. 

Still, she is captured forever and will remain with us on film as with so many stars of the 20th century. Janis Joplin was of an experimental revolutionary era where many individuals had opportunity to express themselves on a platform that allowed a world audience. If people made it the rewards could be tremendous. 

With such fame, however, came great problems and temptation. Many young people of this generation would not be able to handle the fame and adulation. Perhaps it became a prison for so many. 

This clip shows Janis Joplin during her best moments and there were, of course, many.


Neil Young Like A Hurricane



Sublime, gorgeously raw, uncomplicated and beautiful. Neil Young and this song are part of what is wonderful about being alive.

Steamhammer - Passing Through



I love this song by Steamhammer - an old Brit band from 1969. They've faded into obscurity now but I had this track on an album called 'Feel Your Head with Rock' It had many artist on including Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter. I loved the album and this was my favorite of many wonderful tracks. The good old days of nostalgia...

http://tinyurl.com/3676tmc


Does Anyone Remember The Piglets Song Johnny Reggae?



Wonderful SKA skinhead tunes of the late sixties and early seventies. The ladies voice in this song reminds me of one of my aunts - she talks this way too and as kids she used to have my sister and me in stitches of laughter because she had a sense of humor where she always portrayed herself as a victim.





Dave and Ansil Collins - Double Barrel



During the SKA skinhead times of late sixties and early seventies they danced to these wonderful tunes.


Hitchcock's The Birds - the original ending



The Birds is one of my favourite Alfred Hitchcock movies. When I first see it, I thought it was extremely creepy. I can remember well, the next day in my secondary school, we were all gossiping about the film. I think most of us expected something more from the ending, but that is because we were young at the time. But today, I think the ending is fine. However, the original conclusion was meant to be a little more extended as they drove out of the seaside town viewing the devastation left by the bird attacks.

http://tinyurl.com/3676tmc

The Fly *Help Me Help Me* (Scene) 1958.



One of the creepiest and most horrifying moments in Sci-fi history is when we see what happened to the smaller version of the Fly. This is the original story from the 1950s and it is an absolute peach of a movie. Of course the props are not good compared to nowadays, but the intention and suggestion of such a thing makes me shiver.

1950s sci/fi clip - The Incredible Shrinking Man Review

video


During the fifties there were some fabulous Sci-Fi movies and one of my favourites was The Incredible Shrinking Man. He contracts to such a small size that a house spider in the basement of his house appears as a giant and ferocious predator. He falls into the basement and no one can find him. His wife, family and friends think he has been eaten by the cat. He is forced to use his wits and confront the dreaded spider for a giant crumb of cake that is close to the web. If you get a chance watch this movie, its an absolute gem. 

http://tinyurl.com/3676tmc

Custer 1967 Television Series



When I was a kid at school we all played this out in the playground. The show was about in England in the late sixties, about 1968 or 1969 – an American television production about one of its nation’s legendary historical figures, General Custer. As a little boy – all dirty and scabby knees, I ran around the playground pretending to be Custer looking for Indians. We all thought the series was real and did not realise until we got the Errol Flynn movie, one weekend that Custer got killed at Little Big Horn by Crazy Horse.

Well, I was totally gob-smacked and felt conned by the makers of the tv show. I know Custer and Crazy Horse did not see eye to eye with each other, but in the tv show, they ran into each other every week and seemed to have begrudging adventures together. At the end of the episode, Custer and Crazy Horse would part company on even terms. Custer went back to the fort for coffee and medals and Crazy Horse went back to his wigwam for a pipe and a new feather.
Still the little boy in me would like to see one episode again, just for the nostalgia of it all.













Monday, 26 April 2010

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham.



An interesting and light hearted interview between Woody Allen and the legendary Billy Graham. You would expect the comical Woody to score points, but to be fair to Billy Graham; he certainly holds his own and can compete with the comedian on Woody's own level.

Finnish Disco Dancing - for the not so trendy geezers...





This is for all those 'know where its at lads' - Hoora! The poor girls at the disco wouldn't stand a chance. Armed with these trendy moves, the male predator will woo all these ladies with such dazzling foot work and compelling bottom wiggles.

Armed with such knowledge and moves for female attraction power; could any bloke resist not learning such trandy capers. Imagine the John Travolta glow as you go into the clapping square with the Russian/Finnish folk type call.





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The Charge of The Light Brigade (1936), Errol Flynn





Wonderful propaganda and chips – glorious cosy courage dished up by Errol Flynn –smashing stuff. When I was a youngster, I really believed this version of the military disaster. This made perfect sense as to why brave Brit lancers would attack such a position. Even though it is far fetched; I enjoy the movie very much. Good old Errol Flynn.
As kids, we would go in from playing outside for Sunday lunch and the afternoon Matinee. After lunch we would be back out playing the games of the movies we had watched. Little care free kids running about the debris of 1960s London, pretending the place was the wild setting for our make believe world.  

Bruce Lee Interview (Part 1)



Bruce Lee Interview (Part 2)



Why was Captain Nolan Blamed as the Messenger Of Death? (Charge of the Light Brigade.)



Louis Edward Nolan was born in Ontario, Canada, to Captain John Babington Nolan, and Eliza Harleston Hartley. They had been married in Scotland 1813. Eliza had been married before and had two other sons from previous marriages.

In 1819 John Babington Nolan and his family returned to Scotland. Not too much is recorded about the years back in Scotland, but in 1829 Louis Nolan was eleven and he was living with his family in Milan, Italy, which was then ruled by the Austrian Empire. Because his family had to stand in diplomatic circles, young Louis Nolan was able to join the Austrian Imperial Army.

In 1832 he was entered as a cadet in the Royal Friedrich Wilhelm III – a prestigious Cavalry Regiment. He did three years training and was posted with his regiment to Hungary and then Poland. He attained the rank of a Senior Lieutenant in 1838. In this year the young officer of the Austrian Cavalry took leave and went to Britain to see young Queen Victoria crowned Queen of Britain and all her Empire. He decided to stay and join his own nation’s army.

Nolan joined the 15th King's Hussars and went to India to serve the Empire. On arrival in India, he fell ill and was sent back to Maidstone, Kent in England. When he got well, he became a riding master. He returned to India in 1843 and began duty in the jewel nation of Britain’s Empire and became the Riding Master in his regiment because of his training at the pristine Austrian Cavalry school. In 1850 he became a Captain and returned to Britain in 1851. He wrote a book titled, The Training of Cavalry Remount Horses: A New System.

In 1852 he led his regiment in the Duke of Wellington's funeral procession and wrote his second book, Cavalry: Its History and Tactics, which was published in 1853.

In 1854 Nolan was sent to the Ottoman Empire to purchase horses for use in the Crimean War. Captain Nolan travelled to many Middle East lands including Syria and then to Varna in Bulgaria with hundreds of horses. From here he went to Crimea where the most ominous of destinies awaited him.

Of all the many good things Captain Nolan did during his military career, he is remembered because of the last twenty minutes of his life – a sequence of events that would lead to a disaster – that would lead to bards writing poems – artists painting pictures – storytellers marvelling at a show of outstanding bravery - all from a disastrous mistake.

He was upon the hill with Lord Raglan’s men, overlooking the area where the Light Brigade waited for orders and it was he who was given the message to deliver to Lord Cardigan, in charge of the Light Brigade. The order was misinterpreted and the Light Brigade began to advance into a valley in order to attack Russian artillery at the end. However, there were enemy guns upon the scarps on either flank. Cannon in front, to the right and to the left. It is believed that when Captain Nolan fell in to join the charge he was horrified when he realised that they were charging the artillery positions at the end of the valley. Maybe they were supposed to attack guns on one of the scarps. He tried to gallop to the front of the column in order to divert Lord Cardigan away from the suicidal charge. As he rode in front of the advancing horseman, he was killed during the first Russian salvo. The Light Brigade rode over his dead body and attacked the Russian positions riding a gauntlet of cannon fire from front and to the sides – six hundred plus - all men of the horse. They managed to overrun the Russian guns at the end of the valley but were driven off by a superior Russian cavalry force. It was a pointless action and of the six hundred plus men of the Light Brigade only around one hundred and ninety-five returned. Over four hundred were killed, wounded and captured. After the war, there were other recorded survivors from the famous charge who were released from captivity.

For a long time, Captain Nolan was blamed for the catastrophic event, but over the years, history has become more sympathetic to the cavalry officer, who never survived the charge to tell his side of the story. Incidentally, Lord Cardigan who led the charge at the head of his men returned with survivors after over running the Russian guns. Captain Nolan occupied the pages of history as the ill-omen 'messenger of death' for a long time and although he is still considered in this term, the attitude today is; "Don't shoot the messenger."
Light Brigade survivors of the charge


There is also an in-depth account of Captain Nolan in a book called:
MESSENGER OF DEATH by David Buttery




Sunday, 25 April 2010

Orson Wells Meets HG Wells after radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.



An Interview between H.G. Wells and his namesake Orson Wells in the USA following the famous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was Interviewed on Spirituality





Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 22nd of May 1859 and died 7th July 1930 age 71. He is, of course remembered for the Sherlock Holmes detective stories that were published in the Strand magazine during the Victorian era. He wrote other stories too. However, he constantly found Sherlock Holmes (his great fictitious creation) always surpassed many of his other fine novels.

Sometimes this aggravated him and he even tried to kill the character off. However, public outcry led Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to continue the stories. For Sherlock Holmes earned him a regular and handsome income. Although his other novels sold well; they never matched the sales of his Sherlock Holmes stories, or stood the test of time as his grand detective and Watson creation did.

Later, in his life, he developed a belief and interest in spiritualism and looked upon his Sherlock Holmes as less of a burden then in his younger years. In 1927, he was interviewed and it is believed to be the only audio and film of the great author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Do You Like Mario Lanza? (1921 - 1959)





Mario Lanza 1921 - 1959
In his brief thirty eight years he blazed his way to stardom with a voice that was second to none - really, second to none. He was the son of Italian immigrants and was born in the Philadelphia, USA. He started singing to become professional at the age of fifteen. Many refer to him as the greatest voice of the twentieth century after instant success in Hollywood movies. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s this man shone brightly in so many wonderful musicals. He was a joy to behold when seeing him on the big screen.

He only appeared on Opera stage twice and each time was successful, though he did too few performances to a have proper critic over all. What little he did in this field was extremely good however and could, no doubt, have contributed much more had he lived longer.

He was quickly signed up my MGM to make a number of films the first being Midnight Kiss and from this movie came the beautiful hit song; Celete Aida. This was followed by another movie called Toast of New Orleans and another hit song called, Be My Love. Then he got the starring role as his tenor idol Enrico Caruso 1873 – 1921 in which Mario Lanza played the Enrico in The Great Caruso. From this film came another hit song; The Loveliest Night of the Year. After this came the movie; Because You’re Mine which won an Academy Award.

Like all genius however, he had some flaws. Off film set, he often got into arguments with directors. After recording the soundtrack for The Student Prince he walked out of the movie project because of an argument over his conduct. He was known to be very ambitious and tough, but along with this he possessed a rebellious streak which often erupted into conflict with those he worked with. He had an addiction to overeating and alcohol. Finally he suffered and died of a heart attack at the age of just thirty eight in Rome.



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Thunder Child Fights the Martians in War of the Worlds Adaptation.


The countdown for the UK book market begins. The War of the Worlds adaptation of HMS Thunder child's perspective of the events. Victorian Britain in 1898 reigned supreme. 

Then H.G. Wells imagined alien beings from Mars invading the Earth and Britain with her vast Empire seemed impotent. to the terror from space. 

Today, War of the Worlds is a Science Fiction/Alternative Reality story that still thrills readers imaginations.

From 1st of January 2017, the new adaptation of The Last Days of Thunder Child will be on sale in the UK with its new added text and improved second edit. 

Thunder Child v The Martian Tripods



Read the pastiche story of HMS Thunder Child from War of the Worlds if you reside in the USA! It is available in print or Kindle Download. The kindle download edition is a mere $0.99. This is a steal for the enjoyment I hope you will get as you go aboard HMS Thunder Child in the year of 1898.

When H.G. Wells thrilled the world with his dynamic War of the Worlds story back in 1898, he made mention of an ironclad that attacked three Martian tripods in the River Blackwater off of the coastline at Maldon in Essex, England, UK. It was a very short, but dramatic piece, but no one really knew much about the brave ironclad, THUNDER CHILD.

Now SciFi lovers can, in this Science Fiction and steampunk style adaptation. We go aboard Thunder Child as she embarks upon her mission. We get to know the crewmen as the ship cruises towards her ominous appointment with fate.

All, upon the sea journey, have doubts as rumors and speculation seem unreal. Gradually the crew begin to realise that things are not usual. The surroundings are different. Even at sea.


The Last Days Of Thunder Child (Book) !

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Fabulous Ferenc Cakó Sand Animation film with Vivaldi Four Seasons Winter



The Sand Animation artist Ferenc Cakó prforms fabulous work to Vivaldi Four Seasons Winter.



The Fabulous Ferenc Cakó Sand Animation film with Vivaldi Four Seasons Autumn



The Sand Animation artist Ferenc Cakó prforms fabulous work to Vivaldi Four Seasons Autumn.



The Fabulous Ferenc Cakó Sand Animation film with Vivaldi Four Seasons Summer



The Sand Animation artist Ferenc Cakó prforms fabulous work to Vivaldi Four Seasons Summer.

The Fabulous Ferenc Cakó Sand Animation film with Vivaldi Four Seasons Spring



The Sand Animation artist Ferenc Cakó prforms fabulous work to Vivaldi Four Seasons Spring.

Andre Rieu - The Blue Danube



This is pristine from Andre Rieu. This is something from the European continent that I think we Brits generally lake from an appreciative perspective. I don't mean all Brits because there are many who like this type of classical music. I just don't think enough Brits give it a chance.
 
At the end of the day it is a loss because Andre Rieu is very big in Europe.

 

Colonel J.D.H. Stewart of Gunboat Abbas

Sometimes there are events in history that are overshadowed by bigger events. We all know of General Gordon’s fait at Khartoum in 1885. The city fell to the Mahdi’s forces when a traitor was said to have opened a gate during the night. Most of the Egyptian soldiers were overpowered before the alarm could be raised. It is believed that Gordon fell around dawn on the North East stairwell of the Palace. Obviously some of General Gordon’s bodyguard were able to mount some form of resistance before the Mahdi’s tribesmen could execute total surprise, even though Gordon’s bodyguard were eventually over powered and killed.



Some days before the city fell, Colonel John Donald Hamill Stewart took all the remaining westerners in Khartoum aboard a fortified paddle steamer called the Abbas. It was a desperate attempt to run the gauntlet of Manasir tribesmen who were on both sides of the Nile. They got past the most heavily fortified part of the blockade, but they were running low on fuel when the steamer struck a rock close to the Island of Kaniett.



The Abbas paddle steamer was in a desperate situation after stubbornly fighting its way past the most dangerous part of the blockade. Their destination was a place called Dongola and they were still some way off. A little further along the river was a smaller island called Um Dewarmat and an Arab named Sulieman – wad – Gamur invited them to land. They were offered hospitality which they accepted. While they refreshed themselves, Silieman and his tribesmen overpowered the passengers and crew of the Abbas after a brief fight.


There were many civilians among them and all were believed to have been executed including Colonel John Donald Hamill. Not much is known of the fait that befell the unfortunate people of the gunboat Abbas, but their final moments at the hands of Sulieman’s tribesmen must have been very ghastly if their captures were allied or part of Ahmed Al-Mahdi’s Manasir tribesmen.




Two days after Khartoum fell to Ahmed Al-Mahdi’s forces; the relieving British forces arrived and forced the Mansir tribesmen to leave. Ahmed Al-Mahdi died a few months afterwards.

The terrible fait that befell the passengers and crew of Abbas can only drown in speculation – flooded away by the fait of the many wretched people in the city of Khartoum who would have been accused of defying Ahmed Al-Mahdi. History does not dwell too much on the last journey of the Abbas. Unfortunately, we like heroics that are packaged right and the Abbas is not. However, I can’t help thinking that the lot of the passengers and crew of the Abbas steamer were extremely tragic.





Making Movies An Old Retro Sci/Fi Movie



I think this would look good as an Art Noir type of presentation. Perhaps using the type of settings that John Carpenter used in the Ghosts of Mars, Sin City or 300.

Please click link below:
Maken Movies: Pitch your movie ideas to the world

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Land of the Giants

The Land of the Giants was an American science fiction television show from the late 1960s and is set in the then-future year of 1983. It is a tale of crew and passengers from a futuristic transport space jet called the Spindrift.

In the pilot episode, the supersonic jet is flying from Los Angeles to London high up in the stratosphere at ultra-speed and just beyond Earth's boundary with space. The futuristic jet encounters a space storm and is propelled to a strange planet where everything is twelve times larger than its counterpart on Earth. The shipwrecked crew calls the people of this weird world "the giants". These giants are about 70 feet tall and the homes, cars - everything on the planet is built to their scale — trees and animals too, etc. The Earth people are of course tiny and they are stranded on the planet with their ship inoperable.

These giants are giant humans and their society is a dictatorship, but their look and fashion is like that of a prehistoric 1950s/1960s USA. Not much is known of this strange state where the giants live, but we do learn the giant government has offered a reward for the capture of the tiny Earth people. This is because Earth people have superior technology.


Most episodes consist of a format plot where a giant captures one of the passengers or crew, with the rest having to rescue the captive. The Earth people avoid capture most of the time because their spaceship is hidden in a forest outside the city.


The show was created by Irwin Allen who did many Sci/fi things one of which was the famous Lost in Space. With a budget of US$250,000 per episode, Land of the Giants set a new record. The actors had to be physically fit, as they had to do many stunts, such as climbing giant curbs, steps and ropes. Don Marshall who played the part of Dan Ericson, said his previous football, track and pole vaulting work helped him with the stunts required.


Elements of Allen's Lost in Space series appear in Land of the Giants, notably the relationship between the foolish, greedy traitor and on-the-run bank robber named (Naval) Commander Alexander B. Fitzhugh (Kurt Kasznar), and the young boy Barry Lockridge (played by Stefan Arngrim). This is the same type of relationship as in Lost in Space between Doctor Zachary Smith and the young Will Robinson.


It was a very entertaining show as the tiny humans made their way around the giant city using a huge safty pin as a grappling hook. I can remember them making phone calls on giagantic telephones – a huge spider in its web in a drain pipe – giant cats, dogs and mice, plus the giants spoke English (What a bit of luck) As a kid I was enthralled by the show and was a keen fan. Like most of the American television shows, it had a wonderful and exciting theme tune with alluring opening credit scene with a cartoon type giant scooping up a tiny person at the beginning.

Daleks - the retro baddies

Daleks Doing their Retro Nasty




As a kid, I was thrilled and frightened by the idea of Daleks – whenever Doctor Who was on I would be there, especially if it was the Daleks. During the Sixties I played with toy Daleks and at Christmas I got the Dalek annuals. I thought they were delightfully ghastly. Unfortunately, little kids grow up and other every day things rightly become more important.

By the late seventies, I was going out and about with mates and dating girls. I was no longer interested in the later Tom Baker stories or the Peter Davidson ones because there were other things on my mind.


Revelations of the Daleks with Colin Baker
Then I got married and had kids – settled down and put the television on one Saturday night with the elder of my sons who was four at the time. Doctor Who came on and it was Colin Baker. I told my son that I used to watch this when I was a little boy and said “the Daleks were my favourite baddies.” So with great interest and aplomb we settled down to be thrilled by the new Dalek story from the new Colin Baker sixth Doctor.

We enjoyed the story as it developed and I was talking all the way through it because my son was asking questions. I don’t think he found them particularly scary during the first episode because most of it was spent letting the watcher come to know the various characters and the plot. However when the second week came with the conclusion part of the story, all hell was let loose by the nasty Daleks – they did not disappoint. The nostalgic little kid in me bubbled to the surface as the retro baddies went on the rampage – they were exterminating people left right and centre with their heat rays, and my little boy thought it was scary and wonderful at the same time. Of course he did not get the darker side of the plot and I never told him of that. He was more interested in the visual aspect of the Daleks doing their bad thing with their ray guns and shouting exterminate, just the way they did when I was as a kid.


                                     Tasambeker (Jenny Tomasin) and Jobel (Clive Swift)
 Davros was is in it as the Great Healer needing funds from the funeral embalmers on a strange planet and at a place called Tranquil Repose – a gigantic funeral/cryogenic place where rich people of the galaxy went to be embalmed or frozen awaiting possible cure in the future. The head embalmer was an obnoxious and arrogant man with complete conviction of his vanity – a pantomime nasty that people love to dislike. His name was Jobel and he was played by Clive Swift of Keeping Up Appearance fame. Clive Swift played this man wonderfully and his distasteful character was admired by Tasambeker – a female student embalmer played by Jenny Tomasin of Upstairs Downstairs fame.

Tasambeker is hopelessly in love with egotistical Jobel, who in return is full of spiteful scorn towards the poor lady.

Down in the catacombs of the complex is Davros who is using the bodies for his own evil means, selecting the best of the embalmed crop to convert into Daleks after wicked experiments and selling the surplus as food to the rest of the galaxy – off course not letting them know what the food source really is.

A lady called Kara runs the complex of Tranquil Repose and she is played by Eleanor Bron. Her snide assistant and supreme crawler is an accountant called Vogal – a splendid wretch that again, is a person designed to be disliked. He is always sucking up to Lady Kara and the pair is a devious double act when talking to Davros over the visual intercom. Hugh Walters plays this character of Vogal splendidly. They have a thing going with Davros and his food processing plant, but are unaware that he is converting human remains into food. They are, however, worried by his constant demands for more money and are becoming increasingly alarmed by his Daleks that are ever growing in numbers. They decide to strike and remove Davros and take complete control of his food processing plant. For this they enlist a noble Knight called Orcini, played fabulously by William Gaunt. The Orcini character is heroic and honourable – his head is filled with the idea of fighting for a noble cause and the chance to take on Davros is fabulous to him, even though he and his squire Bostock don’t trust Kara and the slippery accountant Vogal.




Vogal (Hugh Walters) and Kara (Eleanor Bron)

Into all of this comes the Doctor and his assistant Perry. There are other characters too, but it all kicks off nicely when the Doctor is knocked out and taken into the catacombs. Perry is taken to see a cheesy DJ who plays songs to the embalmed, keeping them entertained – she is unaware of the Doctor’s plight at first.


Davros, meantime, gets wind of Kara and Vogal’s plan and sends Daleks to bring Kara back captive. When Vogal starts to protest and pathetically tries to chastise the two Daleks sent to collect her, he is zapped by their death ray. He gives a wretched scream and withers, while bathed in the negative aurora – doing it like a star struck Thespian – he is marvellous and when the energy glow vanishes, he lingers for a second to give the Lady Kara a pathetic and wretched look, the super crawler’s final act, before collapsing dead with his innards presumably turned to scrambled egg. Poor old Vogal – couldn’t have happened to a nicer geezer. Kara, like a spoilt brat, kneels down and with indifferent composure says something like. “How unfortunate – you know how hard it is to find good secretaries.”

                            DJ (Alexi Sayle) fights the Daleks with ultra sound rock and roll

 
Well now its game on and the Daleks are dishing it out left right and centre all over Tranquil Repose. I don’t think I can remember a story where so many people got zapped by the Daleks, plus people were sorting out double crossers as well. Orcini kills Kara for double crossing him, Jobel is done in by Tasambeker for scorning her once too often and as he falls to the floor, his wig falls off in a final ignominy of his unexpected death throws. Poor Tasambeker runs off in tears only to be zapped by Daleks – the DJ played by Alexi Sayle gets zapped but takes two Daleks out with concentrated rock and roll sound waves – guards get exterminated, saboteurs too and then the imperial Daleks turn up and want to fight it out with the Emperor Daleks.
Bostock the squire and Orcini (William Guant)


Bostok, the squire, gets zapped, fighting alongside his noble master while attempting to over power their Dalek captures. Orcini, in turn, goes out blowing Daleks up with a small but powerful bomb – its all terrific fun and my most favourite Dalek story ever – Hoora!

All my sons became avid fans of the show, but we all like that particular story because it had the Daleks really doing the nasty with their ray guns…

Power of the Daleks


The only other story that I think had the Daleks going on such a rampage, was Power of the Daleks with Patrick Troughton, but sadly that story is no longer available to watch.



Sunday, 18 April 2010

Doctor Who Memories from William Hartnell to Present Day

The one television show that seems to have drifted in and out of my life has been Doctor Who. It played an important entertaining role to me and I’ve watched it from kid to young man through the sixties, seventies and eighties. Then of course in the fresh century we have had the re-vamped resurrection in its brand new format.

This new Doctor Who is different from the old style and the nostalgic kid inside me does miss the old way. However, I enjoyed the more advanced special effects, but sometimes I can’t adapt to the new fast paced story lines with the Doctor and his assistant running around from one place to another with only a few minuets to save Earth or another collective of beings from annihilation.
       The long and the short of it, from a logical point of view, is that the show needed to under go a metamorphosis as well as the Doctor because the ratings did begin to drop in the 1980s. One of the good things about the new stories is that I do think they have a great old Brit presentation. Although, as I have said, the story often moves too fast for my liking, the actual feel of the show is very good. I think the characters and the bad guys all look great and the feel of the show has a wonderful retro – gothic edge.

When I was a kid, my earliest memory of Doctor Who was William Hartnell – the first Doctor. I can remember the giant ant creatures they called Zarbi and of course the Daleks. Many of the stories that stick in my mind are missing from the archives now. I can certainly remember the long drawn out Dalek Master Plan because, as a kid, I loved the fact that the Daleks were in it for so long. I can remember the last episode when the lady helping him collapsed and fell to the sand while the wind was blowing all around. Inside the Tardis, the Doctor and a male assistant watched the lady turn into a skeleton on a t.v. monitor.

I can remember the lady in the picture with the Doctor turned into a skeleton while he and the male assistant watched helplessly on the monitor.
I also remember being once disappointed when waiting for a new story to start and finding out it was about Cowboys. I did not like the stories when he went back in time. It seemed that a lot of William Hartnell stories were set back in the past and I was a little too young to appreciate them. I wanted to see bug-eyed monsters and was more scared of William Hartnell’s grumpy and strict Granddad style image then the monsters. I well remember the last story with William Hartnell for it was the first ever story of the Cybermen.
The last William Hartnell story was the first story to have Cybermen


Patrick Troughton became the second Doctor


When he went through his metamorphic change into Patrick Troughton, I’m sure it was Christmas time or around then and I loved the Dalek story. I remember Ben and Polly were his assistants – the skinny man with glasses and black hair who worked in the complex trying to mend dead Daleks and then getting himself exterminated in the process. I remember Ben kicking a smashed in Dalek at the end before he followed the Doctor and Polly into the Tardis on another adventure. As the Tardis took off, the smashed Daleks eye stalk raises up to the sky allowing the audience to know that the Daleks still lived to fight another day. I don’t remember watching the one about Highlanders, because it was set back in time and I would find it hard to be interested in these stories, but remember being surprised to see the Doctor, Ben and Polly being with a young Scots Highlander called Jamie. They landed on the moon and I can remember the Cybermen really did scare me. I mean real behind the sofa watching stuff – the sort of scared but can’t turn it off stuff little boys liked. One scene that is vivid in my memory is of a man in a space suit running across the Luna surface – terror on his contorted face behind the space visor while a Cyberman chases close on his heels never tiring. I can’t remember Ben or Polly leaving the show, but I do have flashbacks of some of the monsters the Doctor fought against.

The Ice warriors were one of the many monsters that Patrick Troughton confronted


The Abomnible Snowman came back in the Web of fear with guns that covered the victims in cobweb

I can remember the Abominable Snowmen in the Himalayas and something that looked like a chess board that moved the creatures about. Another is set in London with the Yetis and the army fighting in the Underground and the deserted streets of London. The Yetis have guns that leave the victims dead and covered in cobwebs. The Brigadier first appears in this one and came back in another story with Cybermen. I also remember a story with seaweed and foamy water, which was destroyed by sound and people getting possessed by it – not to mention the hissing Ice Warriors in another story. Again, I can remember many of the stories that are now missing from the archives.

The strange man in Power of the Daleks that mended and revitalised the deadly foes only to be exterminated by them.

Jon Pertwee became the third Doctor
Jon Pertwee was one of my absolute favourites. I was older by now, and my mind could wonder and understand things. It also saw the Unit stories come to the fore and Brigadier Stewart. The first story was called Spearhead from Space and I can remember all the shop manikins coming to life and shooting the shoppers in the high street. There were some very good stories and great bad guys during the Jon Pertwee season – the Silurian’s, the Sea Devils, Autons, Ice Warriors, the Daemons and not to mention the good old Daleks. Some of my favourite stories were from this period, especially, The Ambassadors of Death and the Mind of Evil. During the first two seasons, many of the stories were Earth based and set in the present, which was then the 1970s

The Autons come alive as shop manikins during the first Jon Pertwee story

Tom Baker became the fourth Doctor

In 1974 we saw the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker come to the screen and he of course was very popular. Again, there were more stories that would become very well-liked and after a long absence, all through the Jon Pertwee season, the Cybermen returned. I really liked the Tom Baker season too. It was here that the retro – gothic feel to the Sci/fi show really began to look good – even though many of the props left a little to be desired at.

A scene from Tom Bakers Doctor in the Brain of Morbius


Peter Davidson became the fifth Doctor

When Peter Davidson came along as the fifth Doctor, I was always going out and about, so I missed most of this when it was being screened, but I did catch up at a later date. I did see The Five Doctors story and enjoyed it enough to buy the video when it came out. He seemed to come and go very quickly.
Colin Baker was the sixth Doctor in Revelations of the Daleks - a splendid story...

The sixth Doctor, Colin Baker never got a fare crack of the whip, in my opinion, I saw two of his stories when they were broadcast and I caught up with the rest many years after. I thought the Rani story set during the time of the Luddites was very good and the Dalek story with William Gaunt is one of my favourites.
Sylvester McCoy was the seventh Doctor in Paradise Towers - my favorite of his era

Sylvester McCoy had all my attention as my own children were growing up and they were beginning to enjoy the show too. I thought some of his stories were very good, but sometimes it did not take itself seriously enough. I know that might sound a little naff when thinking it is a children’s television show, but I thought Paradise Towers was very good and might have been more sinister if it was not so comically presented. However, it is primarily a show for children and I was now grown up with my own kids.

Paul McGann - eighth doctor in one movie

I was bitterly disappointed by the movie in 1996. I had no complaints against the new Doctor but I did not like the feel of the movie. I thought the inside of the Tardis looked splendid.

The neverending enemy - the retro Daleks always return bringing the good old days to the new... 

I used to like the cliff hanger end every week with the four to six episode formats to each story. Now everything seems to happen within forty five minuets or maybe a two – part special. Perhaps I’m getting old and set in my ways, but I still enjoy the show and continue to look forward to watching the Doctor go on into the Universe filled with adventure and danger.

Great Cyberman Christmas Special

Some of the new stories are very imaginative and with the type of technology they have now days, the special effects do look good. I enjoyed the Cyberman story set in Victorian Britain. I try to imagine what I would think of the gigantic Cyberman emerging from the Thames and walking across the tiny houses of London during the 1850s. I suppose the new fast paced formats of the stories are more suitable for children and maybe I look at the show and want it to upgrade to a more adult standard which would be wrong.