Thursday, 26 July 2012

Kubrick, Bowie & Batman

July 23, 2012, the week started off with the death of the U.S.A.'s first woman in space Sally Ride who was immortalized in song by The Young Rascals with their 1967 "Mustang Sally" and its repeated refrain "...ride Sally, ride...", which was indeed a big deal even though the U.S.S.R. had America beat 22 years earlier when Valentina Tereshkova had the honor of actually being there then, during the height of the Cold War.
That same day on TV, Judge William Sylvester read the charges against 2012's Charles Whitman, James Holmes, his fluorescent orange reminiscent of, of...
The very next day Amelia Earhart's birthday and another unanswered enigma.
Lou Reed posts a picture of the first Velvet Underground & Nico LP to let fans know that a boxed 6 CD set will be released, a day before the birthdays of both Mick Jagger and Stanley Kubrick.
Discussion of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" on Facebook where the Duncan Jones-Sam Rockwell indie film "Moon" is mentioned.
The anniversary of NASA's creation in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower.
All in the space of a week.
So when this 2OO1 mash-up/homage was posted on YouTube it was ESPecially timely as it seemed not just a commentary on how the mass media markets movies currently, but how these various unconnected events actually DO seem to come together to form new meanings and contexts.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Robert Wagner, "Sgt. Pepper", and William Campbell

This past weekend, June 30, 2012, was watching the NYC area's "Antenna TV" affiliate WPIX-11.2 and the old Robert Wagner series from the late 60'sIt Takes A Thief was on, two curious episodes filmed and aired in order from 1968 were also aired back-to-back at 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm EST on Saturday night:
"When Thieves Fall In" about impostors and doubles wherein femme con "Charlene 'Charlie' Brown" (Susan Saint James in a dual role) impersonates a British fashion model, "Sydnor Cavendish" who receives a fur coat, the Kavka Sable from an Eastern bloc Commissar, that contains a map of all the I.C.B.M. sites in Siberia, which is to be used in a plot by the Soviets to discredit the UK and Baltic States
Unknown whether a hot dog made her lose C.O.N.T.R.O.L., though admittedly those Ukraine girls DO really knock me out!
Wagner himself also does several interesting characters, accents, especially when he gets dressed up as the hotel staff donning bellhop red uniform & hat, a fake 'stache completing the look, to which "Charlie"/"Sydnor"/Susan amusingly quips, 
"You look like Sgt. Pepper!"
Wagner's hat is not unlike Ringo's as "Billy Shears" (as he originally portrayed him) on that LP cover and wears several fake moustaches as a "Mustachio Disguisey" in this episode, and as most of you know when you play the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Reprise) on Side 2 backwards you hear, " was a fake moustache, it was a fake moustache, it was a fake moustache..."
but the business of Wagner's character "Alexander Munday" wearing them has more to do with the show's early episodes doing a "Mission: Impossible" type riff than with some collusion of the makers of Thief with The Beatles, or their management and handlers...right?
Chalk it up to 'coincidence'.
This episode was originally from February 27, 1968 on the ABC-TV network.
Then right afterwards, the next one up was the March 5, 1968 episode, "A Spot Of Trouble", again Wagner doing his ersatz "IMF" bit, this time as a Texas millionaire, while trying to discover who is murdering SIA agents - the henchman Ken Osmond for the swingin' photog played by none other than: 
William Campbell.  
The one and only, who was also the ONLY male onscreen to sing a duet with Elvis in his first Paramount silver screen feature, Love Me Tender (Do), married to Judith Exener, and after their divorce she became the mistress to both J.F.K. and mobster Sam Giancanna!Now the airing of these episodes, both in 1968 and 2012, in sequential order originally and back-to-back last weekend, could just be attributed to a colossal serendipity, but then what are the odds, and when you consider the subject matter, and the real-life connections then how stranger and more 'cosmic' can it get?
The first one, "When Thieves Fall In" was written by Leslie Stevens, the co-creator (with Joseph Stefano) of the original Outer Limits, and also co-creator (with Glen Larson) of the original Battlestar Galactica, both also ABC-TV network programming, as was Thief.
The other, "A Spot Of Trouble" was by Gene LCoonGene Roddenberry's right hand man for NBC-TV's Star Trek.The homophonically named actor William Campbell himself aired in the Star Trek episode "The Squire Of Gothos"Season 1, Episode 17 (originally aired (January 12, 1967), and was frequently misidentified with Liberace, who the petulant alien space-child "Trelaine" was clearly based on.
Interesting, very interesting as Liberace may have been the first choice to play "Squire Trelaine", as he would have been an instant ratings boost for the low rated show, like what happened when he appeared a few months earlier on the two-part (ABC-TV again) Batman.
As twin brothers "Chandell" and "Harry" his episodes "The Devil's Finger's" Season 2, Episode 15 (originally aired Wednesday October 26, 1966) and "Dead Ringers" Season 2Episode 16 (originally aired Thursday October 27, 1966) and had the highest ratings of any of the Adam West-Burt Ward Batman series before or since.
To further confuse a target audience of already befuddled blue-haired ladies, the 'good' Chandell was also the former brothel piano playin' "Fingers", also a criminal and cheating by faking his ivory-tickling skills with a player piano, and whom the real bad-ass (no pun) bro "Harry" planned to kill in the course of the episodes, substitute himself in his stead 
marry "Aunt Harriet", then kill her, "Bruce Wayne" and "Dick Grayson", 

thus inheriting the Wayne fortune as sole survivor.

Note too that these Batman episodes were aired just 2 weeks before the alleged November 9, 1966 incident so that whole business of duplicates, doppelgangers, impostors, and "William Campbell" lore that later developed after the 1969 initial PID story in LIFE may have had origin(s), it's genesis if you will,  based largely on ABC-TV (and NBC) prime-time sci-fi and fantasy programs circa 1966-68, other influences, and a confluence with 'real' world events.

Could be.

Now, after reading all of the above, you might conjecture that the purpose of this post, the whole
exercise, was to attempt to 'debunk' the whole PID theory, as evidence of influence of other
pop cultural events during the seminal stages of the ever-growing lore surrounding this 'mystery'
seems likely, and contamination since then quite conceivable as the story morphs into areas more and more incredible than just the tall-tales told by unhinged minds, or a simple pedestrian conspiracy.

I was going to finish it after typing "...and a confluence with 'real' world events." 

Not so fast.
An even more unbelievable 'high weirdness' phenomena concludes this as an eerie postscript---

Masaru EmotoJapanese researcher, claims that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water.
Emoto's water crystal experiments consist of exposing water in glasses to different words, pictures, or music, and then freezing and examining the aesthetics of the resulting crystals with microscopic photography.
Here's his site:
"REIKO: Have you come across a particular word or phrase in your research that you have found to be most helpful in cleaning up the natural waters of the world?
DR. EMOTO: Yes. There is a special combination that seems to be perfect for this, which is love plus the combination of thanks and appreciation reflected in the English word gratitude. Just one of these is not enough. Love needs to be based in gratitude, and gratitude needs to be based in love. These two words together create the most important vibration. And it is even more important that we understand the value of these words. For example, we know that water is described as H2O. If we were to look at love and gratitude as a pair, gratitude is the H and love is the O. Water is the basis that not only supports but also allows the existence of life. In my understanding of the concept of yin and yang, in the same way that there is one O and two Hs, we also need one part yang/love to two parts yin/gratitude, in order to come to a place of balance in the equation.
Love is an active word and gratitude is passive. When you think of gratitude -- a combination of appreciation and thankfulness -- there is an apologetic quality. The Japanese word for gratitude is kan-sha, consisting of two Chinese characters: kan, which means feeling, and sha, apology. It's coming from a reverential space, taking a step or two back. I believe that love coming from this space is optimal love, and may even lead to an end to the wars and conflicts in the world. Kan-sha is inherent in the substance H2O -- an essential element for life."
Whether you agree with his supposition and subsequent findings or color him 'crackpot' matters not, as we not discussing (for the moment) water-crystals, Mr. Emoto,
 or Peter Lorre

but the influences on the PID story, and all things seemingly (quantum?) entangled with it.

The June 2007 album released almost 40 years to the day after Sgt. Pepper's and attributed to Sir Paul McCartneyMemory Almost Full had a song on it entitled "Gratitude", with the lyrics " by you, show my gratitude...", so you can just imagine my surprise and utter puzzlement after going on YouTube and 'discovering' this vid not long afterwards:
Even if all the aforementioned television programming had a part, and many that are unknown by me and may be 'out there' radiating outwards into interstellar space a near half a century since first broadcast, in forming the different facets of the PID belief system, this one correlating the Japanese "love and gratitude" expression with thought experiments, water-crystal images, AND "William Campbell" is the most perplexing.

What, if anything does it mean? 

Finally the recent FOX television series Fringe, a show that postulates an alternate parallel universe that co-exists with ours, with more or less equivalent duplicates on their version of Earth (a concept that goes back to comics' The Flash) main characters routinely zipping back and forth to the respective continuum's, had a character who was a colleague of the resident nutty professor "Dr. Walter Bishop" (John Noble) for several seasons named "William Bell"- Leonard Nimoy.

To J.J. Abrams and his Fringe writers the cosmic jape should be obvious: 
"William (Camp) Bell" played by Star Trek actor Len N.
if this was done intentionally then they've a wicked sense of humor, and wasn't the first time that they were being so playful, as an agent was named "Lincoln Lee" in the second and third seasons, no doubt another Star Trek reference as actor Lee Bergere portrayed President Abraham Lincoln in the classic episode
"The Savage Curtain".

But, if as in the above esoteric example of Mr. Emoto' H2O crystals and the playback in reverse of a recent McCartney song, that these more likely exist independently of each other and do not form anything meaningful until someone takes the time and effort to find the commonality, "the missing link", then all the more a marvel.
What then, eh?

There was even an LSD themed Yellow Submarine type episode featuring "Bell": 

What was/is happening here? Your guess is as good, or better, than mine!

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Truth About Barry Gray's DEVOlution

The Neoteric/NewWave/Electronica/o

Resident Composer:

To most, the name Barry Gray is basically unfamiliar, except for the ex-WMCA talk radio host of the late '60s/early '70s with which he fortunately- or unfortunately -depending on your political slant, shares a moniker with.
But the Barry Gray I'm talking about was born Jack Eccles, and to fans on both sides of the Atlantic, the UKUSA, and world-wide, this Barry Gray was the exclusive composer of ALL the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson created imaginative programs for children and (some not so) young adults:
Supercar, Fireball XL-5, Stingray, Thunderbirds,Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe90, The Secret Service,
To The Far Side Of The Sun, UFO, and his last
SPACE: 1999.

But did you know that besides all the fame, accolades, and adulation he garnered 
through his career- woefully underrated in my opinion - ranking right up there with John Barry and Bernard Herrmann, with whom he collaborated on Francois Truffaut's film 
of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 45(the temperature where book paper catches fire) - and he may also have incidentally, unknowingly, unwittingly, been one of the forefathers of New Wave and Electronica!

Which is kind of fitting and appropos since Truffaut was also one 
of the cinema's
French 'New Wave' directors in the 1960s.

Most of his work is of the lush epic orchestration, snappy martial, and pop
jingle variety, quite familiar to all avid Andersonfilm aficionados, but there are a few instances where now and then his music is so unusual and off-beat that it was regarded as unusable  such as:
But doesn't it remind of you of, of...
MarkJerryBob 1Bob 2
and imagine them doing
a version of this, o
r even (gulp) 

After all they've got the International Rescue uniforms already.
Ah DEVO- and they've Brains too! 

Okay, so that last track was an anomaly, a coincidence, in the words of Brian Enowho produced DEVO's debut Are We Not Men?
"a happy accident".
But was it?
The washing-machine rhythm and vocoder sound of this one is definitely in 
DEVO territory, Captain Scarlet.mp3, right up there with Mechanical Man.

DEVat times maybe a little Residents too, no?
(from the 1963 bicycle safety film 
La Planete Des Singes by One Got Fat)
Speaking of which there's another similarity/parallel:
In January 1967 Barry Gray released an album, Space Age Nursery Rhymeswhich was an EP, now rare and out of print,
Three Refined Mice.mp3
while The Residents in 1976 released
Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, the noteworthy tracks "Farmer" & "Twinkle", strange reworkings of Old Mac Donald, Pop Goes The Weasel, and 
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Mere coincidence.
Thought for food.

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