Month: May 2014

Harry and the Hendersons – tape 1255

Remember when they made a TV show based on the film Harry and the Hendersons? (the film was called Bigfoot and the Hendersons in the UK, possibly because it hadn’t done well in the US under the original title and they thought they were missing out by not having the word Bigfoot in the title.)

But I guess it had something, because they made a TV series based on the premise, with Bruce Davison replacing John Lithgow, but with Kevin Peter Hall reprising his role as the Bigfoot Harry.

Designed by Rick Baker

It’s nice to see Rick Baker get a good credit for his work on the movie. I don’t know if Baker himself worked on the show, or if they just used his designs (and presumably moulds and suits).

The series lasted three seasons.

After a few episodes, the recording follows on with a short trail for BBC Children in Need, then Last of the Summer Wine – not a show I would normally record. After about ten minutes, the recording stops, and underneath, fairly randomly, is a scene from Twin Peaks. What’s underneath is a Late Show piece on Twin Peaks, narrated by Tracey McLeod, with interviews with David Lynch and Mark Frost. This was broadcast the week after the show premiered in the states, an indication of the critical interest it had generated. As McLeod says afterwards, the show had been bought by BBC2 but didn’t yet have an airdate. “The nation waits” says McLeod.

This piece is followed by a piece of The Black Comedy Club. It starts with comedian Angela Le Mar and her toddler watching Lenny Henry on the TV. She asks the toddler “who’s that?” and he replies “Eddie Murphy”.

Then there’s a musical performance my Larry McCray, and Matthew Collings talks about the late critic Peter Fuller.

After The Late Show, recording stops again, and there’s yet another recording underneath, this one appears to be One More Audience with Dame Edna.

Adverts:

  • Friends Provident – the strangely sad sight of Nigel Planer and Ade Edmondson, playing Neil and Vyvyan from the Young Ones, advertising an investment company. Even the fact it’s for ethical investment doesn’t lessen the sting of betrayal.

  • Nat West
  • Fiat Tipo
  • Amstrad PC2286

Kolchak the Night Strangler – Saturday Night Clive – tape 1247

First on this tape, The Night Strangler, the second TV Movie featuring Darren McGavin as carl Kolchak, the reporter who investigates paranormal-themed stories. This show was a precursor to The X Files, which owed an awful lot to this series.

Among the cast was Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. It also features Nina Wayne as ‘Charisma Beauty’ and a pre-Oscar Goldman Richard Anderson.

Following Kolchak, we have Saturday Night Live. It starts with jokes about the ITV franchise sell-offs (see also Clive Anderson). The main guest in the first episode is Peter Ustinov.

Following this, recording stops after a look at programmes for Sunday. underneath there’s an old recording. It’s a documentary about fossil hunters, looking at a possible fraud case of a professor of archaeology.

Next, there’s a trail for Inspector Morse, A trail for Paul Merton – The Series. Then we have an episode of Classic Cars.

Following this, a trail for Drop the Dead Donkey.

Then we have American Football, preceded by a fairly poor variant of the Channel 4 logo.

Channel 4 football logo

The tape ends during this show.

Adverts:

  • N&P
  • Fruitini
  • Renault Clio
  • BT
  • BP
  • Canon
  • Under Suspicion
  • Evening Standard
  • Miller Pilsner

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin – Film 91 – Making of Terminator 2 – tape 1241

Here’s a nice mixed bag of a tape.

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin is the first thing here, one of many repeats for David Nobbs’ peerless comedy of the desperation of the suburban middle class. This episode is from season two, when Reggie has created Grot, the shop that only sells useless rubbish.

Before the second episode of Reggie Perrin, there’s a trailer for Christmas films on BBC1. Then, another episode of Reggie Perrin. This one features an interview on Pillock Talk which are always hilarious, due to a combination of the great writing and Leonard Rossiter’s superb performance. This was the final episode of series two.

After this episode there’s an advert for Radio Times. Then we get the start of A Question of Sport. Bill Beaumont and Ian Botham are the captains, with David Coleman in the chair.

After a few minutes of QoS the recording switches to the end of a movie. Steve Guttenberg is racing to rescue a woman being threatened by the bad guy (neither of whom look familiar enough to recognise). After a scuffle and a bit of a car chase, all is resolved. But Guttenberg is still facing “a matter of perjury and obstruction of justice”. So here’s the credits list, Guttenberg plays Terry Lambert, which makes this The Bedroom Window, which I remember watching a long time ago, when I used to rent virtually every movie in the local video store (Video Vista on London Road in Apsley – don’t look for it, it’s not there any more).

Following this, a trailer for “Saturday Night is Movie Night on BBC1” – remember when they used to show movies in the evening on TV when it wasn’t a Bank Holiday? This time it’s two Clint Eastwood films, Every Which Way But Loose and Escape from Alcatraz.

Then, an episode of Film 91. Barry Norman looks at the following films:

There’s a location report from Venice on Dudley Moore’s new movie, Blame it on the Bellboy.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 10th December 1991 – 23:20

Following Film 91 we have a programme on The Making of Terminator 2. This is a fairly mundane Making-Of, basically a big EPK rather than anything insightful, with no really meaty interviews with any regulars.

Next, another Film 91, the last before Christmas, in which Barry reviews:

There’s an interview with Jodie Foster about her directorial debut, Little Man Tate.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th December 1991 – 23:00

Following this episode, there’s a trailer for Witness, the Harrison Ford Amish thriller, then there’s music “supplied by the ex-cleaning lady from Big Pond Nova Scotia, who’s taken Europe by storm, Rita MacNeil.” I’ve genuinely never heard of this person.

Rita MacNeil

There’s a few minutes of Rita singing, then this recording stops, and a previous recording is revealed underneath. It’s part of an episode of Telly Addicts, Noel Edmonds’ early evening family TV quiz game. This episode pits the Telly Addicts family of the year against a team of Telly Stars, including Rod Hull, Karl Howman and Andrew O’Connor.

Very oddly, in the spotlight round, although the celebs do well, Rod Hull definitely gets one question wrong, but Noel says they got 12 out of 12. Very suspicious.

Following the end of Telly Addicts, there’s an advert for the Christmas Radio Times.

The tape then ends during an episode of Lifesense looking at human-bred aggression in animals.

Moonraker – tape 1249

I love Bond. Even when he’s rubbish and Roger Moore, I like him. One of my favourite Bonds is The Spy who Loved Me, possibly because it was the first one I saw in the cinema, but mainly because the underwater car was so cool.

Moonraker was the next film after The Spy who Loved Me. It wasn’t intended to be – the end credits of Spy promised that ‘James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only’. But then Star Wars happened, and the Bond producers decided that Bond needed to be Sci-Fi, so they dusted off the most Sci-Fi Bond title they could find, and Moonraker was fast-tracked.

It’s by no means all bad. The opening sequence features the surprise reappearance of Richard Kiel’s Jaws from the previous movie, the only recurring villain excluding Blofeld. And it’s one of the greatest pre-credits sequences Bond ever did. He’s in a plane, frolicking with a young woman when she pulls a gun on him. The pilot shoots up the console, puts on a parachute, but Bond fights him. The door is opened, the pilot falls out, still wearing the parachute, then Bond is suddenly pushed out f the plane by a previously unseen Jaws (although where the 7 foot tall Kiel is hiding on such a small plane is a mystery).

So there’s James Bond, falling without a parachute. No hope of rescue.

So he falls towards the still falling pilot, the struggle in mid air as Bond tries to wrestle the parachute from him.

All this action is taking place for real, with almost no cuts to Roger Moore in front of unconvincing front projection. It’s exhilarating, and the first time you see it it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

And frankly, even after you find out how it was shot, it’s still amazing. All the stuntmen had to wear specially made, thin parachutes under their costumes, and the sequence was filmed in lots of tiny sections – which involved not only the on-screen stunt performers but also a parachutist wearing a specially made film camera that was able to take the Panavision images necessary for a Bond movie. Producer Michael Wilson explains some of how it was done:

I don’t think the film really lives up to the promise of this opening sequence. The rest of the movie is a fairly uninspired runaround, climaxing in an unlikely battle on board a giant space station. But there’s some typically superb Derek Meddings miniature work, and some typically grandiose Ken Adam sets, so it passes the time on a wet Saturday afternoon.

After Moonraker, there’s a trail for the Rugby World Cup, and one for The Dame Edna Experience. Then an ITN world news bulletin, mostly about opinion polls for the forthcoming election.

Then we have the start of an episode of The Dame Edna Experience. Her guests include Magnus Magnusson and Vivienne Westwood. Recording stops during this episode.

Adverts:

  • Weetabix – I’d say this was heavily influenced by Roger Rabbit – possibly even done by Richard Williams’ team.

    Cartoon bullets in the form of Edward G Robinson, Peter Lorre and Jimmy Cagney

    Cartoon bullets in the form of Edward G Robinson, Peter Lorre and Jimmy Cagney

  • Nike
  • Talking Pages
  • Intercity
  • Gillette Sensor
  • Heineken
  • Teen Agent
  • Sega Master System II
  • Vax
  • BT
  • Castella Classic – Russ Abbott
  • Levi Jeans – Brad Pitt
  • Hovis White
  • Federal Express
  • Crunchie
  • Sunday Mirror
  • BMW
  • Boost – Vic and Bob
  • Japan Airlines
  • Royal Mail Stamps
  • News of the World
  • Danté olive oil
  • Intercity
  • Fruitini
  • Perrier
  • The European
  • Scottish Amicable
  • American Airlines
  • San Marco
  • Esso Superlube
  • True Identity
  • Leeds Home Arranger
  • European
  • Fruitini
  • UPS
  • Vittel
  • AA
  • Crown wallcoverings
  • BT
  • Santé foam bath
  • Vax
  • Talking Pages – John Cleese and Gabrielle Drake
  • N&P
  • Federal Express
  • Intercity

Journey to the Far Side of the Sun – tape 1137

Also known as DoppelgangerJourney to the Far Side of the Sun was a full length feature written and produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson of Thunderbirds fame. It was actually the first live-action production from Anderson, coming a year before UFO. Stylistically, it shares the same look as UFO, although thematically it’s entirely self contained. It concerns the discovery of a previously unknown planet orbiting the sun in the same orbit as Earth, but directly opposite, so it’s always hidden by the sun. (Why this planet hadn’t already been discovered because of its gravitational influence on all the other planets in the solar system isn’t discussed.)

Obviously, a manned flight to the planet is convened, at a cost of Four Thousand Million Pounds Sterling. (The English scientist delivering this is clearly hanging on to the English definition of Billion as a million million to the bitter end.)

Roy Thinnes is the American pilot of the manned flight, along with Ian Hendry. They fly to the planet and attempt to land in a particularly rocky landscape, when they inexplicably crash. A strange craft comes to rescue them, manned by an unfamiliar figure who then reveals himself to be Mongolian search and rescue.

It appears that they have actually landed back on Earth, and their project leaders need to find out why the mission has gone so wrong. Thinnes soon notices that things are different – that everything is a mirror image of how he remembers things. He believes that he has actually landed on the Counter-Earth, but nobody believes him.

As with a lot of Anderson’s live-action work, this is quite downbeat, but it does offer a typically brassy Barry Gray score, and some lovely miniature work from Derek Meddings.

There’s one thing I don’t understand about this broadcast, though. Once Thinnes is on the Counter-Earth, he’s supposed to see all writing as reversed, but they clearly aren’t. Here, he first sees the names of the perfume bottles in the mirror, but they are genuinely reversed, and when he looks at them normally, they read normally.

not reversed at all

(I swear this screengrab is as it came off the videotape.)

Also, Thinnes notices the light switch is on the other side of the door to where he is used to – but checking an earlier scene on True-Earth, it’s always on the left hand side of the door.

Plus, the car he drives is left hand drive on ‘both’ earths.

Rather unbelievably, this broadcast does seem to have deliberately flipped the entirety of the second half of the movie. I had wondered if I had only imagined that the Counter-Earth was mirrored – maybe the point of the movie is that the Roy Thinnes in the second half actually came from the Counter-Earth. So I checked a YouTube trailer of the movie. This shows at least one scene – in the car – is flipped. Also, his passport is reversed in the trailer but not in the broadcast. But, oddly, one single shot of Thinnes looking in a mirror at a bottle of Cologne is the same way round in both (a different shot to the one above, by the way).

If anyone else has a DVD of this movie, could they check it? Here’s another couple of screengrabs from after Thinnes returns – I think these should all be flipped.

Thinnes passport

Here’s Thinnes trying the light switch in his bedroom.

Trying the light switch

And here’s Thinnes and his wife in the car, just before an almost collision.

Thinnes and wife

Following the movie, it’s Cartoon Time, with the cartoon High Note directed by Chuck Jones. Then, Flying Circus.

These are followed by the Sports Results Service, when the recording stops.

Adverts:

  • Terry’s All Gold
  • Ambrosia Devon Custard
  • John Smith’s
  • Texas Homecare
  • Sunkist
  • Bradford and Bingley
  • Lunn Poly
  • Revlon Activ balance
  • Renault Clio
  • Esso
  • Direct Debit
  • Martini
  • Lyons Decaffeinated Tea Bags
  • Sprite
  • Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  • Miller Lite
  • Tennent’s Extra
  • Dunlop
  • Vax
  • Sunday Express
  • Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
  • McDonalds
  • 7-Up
  • Hamlet – Ronnie Corbett coxing a boat
  • Duckhams Hypergrade
  • King Ralph
  • Castlemaine XXXX
  • British Gas – Cookability
  • Sunkist
  • Tia Maria

Clive Anderson Talks Back – tape 1251

If the announcer is to be believed (“and it’s welcome back to talking back”) this is a new series of Clive Anderson Talks Back.

In the first episode, Clive’s guests are:

  • Gerald Kaufman MP
  • Dr George Dodd, director of Warwick University’s institute of olfactory research

George Dodd

  • Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders

French and Saunders on Clive Anderson

In the next episode, Clive talks back to:

  • Phil Collins

Phil Collins on Clive Anderson

  • Lady Olga Maitland – She once came to our school to speak. She had gained recent prominence after forming a sort-of Anti-CND group called ‘Women and Families for Defence’ which opposed CND’s calls for unilateral disarmament – indeed, I think she opposed any form of disarmament. She didn’t get an easy ride, and at one point she even resorted to the most tired old cliché of the right – “If you like Russia so much why don’t you go and live there?” Yes, a supposedly savvy columnist and pundit could only offer that nugget when arguing with a bunch of sixteen year olds.

Lady Olga Maitland

  • Stephen Fry, clearly coming hotfoot from a catalogue modelling assignment

Stephen Fry on Clive Anderson

There are lots of jokes and comment about the changes in the ITV franchises after all the licenses were auctioned off, and some, like Thames, lost out.

In the next episode, Clive’s guests are:

  • Richard Branson – I’ve talked about this interview before on another tape. They’re discussing the TV franchise sale, for which Branson had three failed bids. Branson is a very uncomfortable interview, and at the end he pours a glass of water over Clive’s head. It didn’t seem to be because the interview was particularly combative – certainly by Anderson’s standards it was very pleasant. I think he did it because he thought it would be funny. I’m not sure he’s right.

Richard branson

  • Mark Burgess and Count Nicholas Breisgau – two inventors.

Mark Burgess and Count Nicholas Breisgau on Clive Anderson

  • Nicholas Ridley MP

Next episode features interviews with:

  • Douglas Adams – he tells some stories about his failed attempts to develop a Hitchhiker script in Hollywood, and mostly talks about his book Last Chance to See.

  • Dave Nellist MP

Dave Nellist MP

  • Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Next Episode features conversation with:

  • John Sessions

John Sessions Clive Anderson

  • Carolyn Jabs – a recycling expert

Carolyn Jabs

  • Roy Jenkins

After this last episode, there’s a trailer for S&M – after a series of episodes of Clive Anderson with no sign of Tony Slattery, our Slatterywatch klaxon gets a dusting off for this trailer for his and Mike McShane’s improv comedy series. There’s also a trail for The Word.

There’s a trailer for Whicker Way Out West. And another for The Ladykillers (the good Alec Guinness version).

There’s also a trailer for Laurie Pike’s weird phone-in show Ring My Bell.

Laurie Pike Ring my Bell

Then we have the start of an episode of The Word. Katie Puckrick comes live from Munich.

Katie Puckrick presents The Word

Guests on the show are Rob Newman and David Baddiel, then of The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

And Katie Puckrick talks to John Waters in New York about True Crime reporting. Following this report, Terry Christian asks Rob and David if they are like serial killers. Or something.

This is where the recording stops.

Adverts:

  • In Love – compilation album
  • Prudential
  • Allied
  • John Smiths
  • hardcore Ecstasy – compilation – HMV
  • Lyons coffee
  • Tina Turner – Simply The Best
  • Vauxhall Astra – Tom Conti and Nigel Hawthorne
  • National Power – Wind Farms
  • Black & Decker Cordless Hammer Drill
  • Kenco – Cherie Lunghi
  • HMV – Wild at Heart Video
  • Piat D’Or
  • Canada
  • American Express
  • Greene King IPA – Robert Bathurst in a lovely parody of all those Gillette ads

  • A-Ha – Headlines and Deadlines
  • Renault Clio
  • Scottish Amicable
  • Rhythm Divine 2

House of Games – tape 1139

David Mamet likes his games. House of Games was his first film as director, and features a convoluted plot revolving around various cons and games. He revisited the themes in a later movie, The Spanish Prisoner, whose title comes from a famous confidence trick. And it’s no coincidence that renowned magician Ricky Jay is a Mamet regular.

Lyndsay Crouse plays a psychiatrist who gets pulled into a shady world of con men, gambling, and bluffs layered upon more bluffs, all leading to a surprising finale.

Following the movie there’s a trail for a new season of programmes: Scarfe on Sex, A Secret World of Sex and Divorce. I sense a theme.

This is followed by the start of a benefit concert given from the Brian Keenan trust, Hostage. There’s 20 minutes of this before the recording stops.