Monday, 21 June 2021

FILM POSTERS

 FILM POSTERS 

THAT WERE ACTUALLY MORE EXCITING THAN THE MOVIE ! 

Numerous posters, (particularly in the sci-fi and fantasy genre) have depicted their respective movies in such a way, that they often tended to be more exiting than the films themselves. Advertising campaigns where often costly affairs, requiring huge bill-boards (with the posters themselves wallpapered upon them in sections like a giant jig-saw), depicting highly detailed scenes from the films. More or less.

Smaller variants donned the entrance and lobbies of cinema theatres, while (depending on the budget) larger posters (Such as the ones made for Moonraker) over-hung the canopy, sometimes depicted in a three-dimensional manor. 

Thus the more striking the movie poster, the more likely it was to reel in the paying customer (mainly parents of nagging kids). As a result, posters progressively became more extravagant extensions of the films, conveying little in coherency, but often compiling the main characters vs their nemeses in such a way to convey action and excitement. However, the more extravagant the poster, the less in common with the movies they actually advertised...
Case in point: Films like Barbarella, suggested more in the poster than there was in the film while, at the same time, leaving certain things out. (where for example, is Pygar's Angel Wings?).  

More often than not, the artists responsible for the posters never actually got to view the movies, (usually because they were still in production) thus the illustrator was somewhat working in the dark,  relying entirely on a brief to follow and some production photos, featuring the actors and props etc.  This method was common place throughout the 20th Century world of film-making. Leaving much to the illustrators imagination and artist licence.
 
But invariably the posters where too good. Such methods lead to the movies never quite living up the hype. The 1976 King Kong was a far cry from the imaginings of the artist who depicted its movie poster. The Land that Time Forgot is another example, that never quite fulfilled the action of its poster. 
So in some ways, the illustrator (in actuality) made a better job of the movie than the struggling low-budget production team that made it in the first place!  Not hindered by difficult actors turning up late (with hangovers), or wobbling film sets, dodgy scale models and questionable fake-looking monsters, the illustrator had free reign to interpret the movie as they saw fit. They ultimately came up with a narrative, (a snap shot of the film if you will), that summed up the entire movie, in such a compelling manor, that it often drew viewers to the cinemas in their droves.
However, this resulted in a slight false marketing ploy, which ultimately depended on public taste. Many films lambasted by critics, have now gained huge cult followings. Never the less, it was the poster that could make or break a movie and thus the more exciting it was the better. Ironically the National Lampoons: Vacation poster suggested a post-apocalyptic Mad Max style nightmare, where as the film was nothing of the sort. 
 
Yet said poster did its job, as a metaphor for the domestic holiday turned sour by a comedy of errors, in which the scantily clad Griswold Family survived against all odds. By that same token, the artist who painted it (Boris Vallego) also depicted David Carradine in equal posture (plus a princess with four tits), for The Warrior and the Princess. Yet this time, metaphor was out the window, as the movie (yet again) failed to deliver what the poster alluded to. 

Numerous other posters of the same ilk have come and gone, all never quite living up to the majestic action packed potential that they proposed. 

Another item in question: Battle Truck promised us a science fiction adventure of the near future! But what we got was a turkey that would make fans of Mad Max cringe at its laughable ‘Battle Vehicles’ and terrible storyline.  
 

Personally, when it comes to movie posters being actually more exciting than the movie, theres none that does it better than Bill Wiggins lavish poster for Daleks Invasion Earth 2150ad. This poster is as exciting as it gets! Depicting an Dalek invasion force in full throttle: with wave after wave of Dalek saucers flying overhead, blasting the city of London (in lavish Technicolor) and toppling the (then newly erected) Post Office Tower. St Pauls is in flames, as our intrepid heroes try to escape the chaos, while multi-coloured Daleks exterminate the populous and a single Roboman dominates the image, blasting (us the viewer) with his formidable laser rifle. None of which actually happened in the movie! 
Still, this particular poster was a gateway drug for me into the lurid landscapes of the illustrator. To back track a little, many moons ago (when I was a kid), I came across this sci-fi shop tucked away in the back streets of my home town. It was called “TimeView” and I spent most my time in there, flicking thru old Dr Who and Starlog mags and looking in wonder at their collection of vintage corgi and Dinky toys. Back then this was like an Aladdin's Cave of all things horror/sci-fi/fantasy. 

Today one can just shop on e-bay. 

But it was here, back in this stone-age time before the internet, that I learned that they had actually made a couple of Dalek movies in the 1960s and this particular Dalek poster was up on the wall, above a shelving unit of Dr Who Target books. I think I spent ages browsing thru those books and looking up at this awesome poster and my imagination going into overdrive as to what this film must be like. Judging by that poster, I figured this Dalek movies gotta be even more exciting than Star Wars! 

So when BBC 2 finally aired Daleks Invasion Earth 2150ad (way back in 1985'ish) I hijacked the family Tv and insisted we watched it. However, I was a little disappointed by its actual lack of invasion forces, levelling the city and such but became fascinated by it at the same time for what it was. It never actually lived up to the movie poster at all but it didn’t really matter, it was Daleks doing what they did best and after watching that film (like 300 times (!) on VHS), I guess the poster had done its job as it got me hooked on that movie. 

So never underestimate the power of a good movie poster, as such things can often take you down some strange and weird paths, creating whole communities and comic cons. These are not just posters, but instigators of inspiration and creative debate. 

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Why were Dalek Toys so crappy ?

A brief look at the evolution of the Dalek Toys 

from 1964 to present. 

By 1964, Dalek Mania was on the rise. Xmas stockings wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of Dalek merchandise. In the days before mass produced merch, (and a good two decades before the rise of Star Wars and its subsequent global toy industry), Dr Who was already way ahead of the game. However, nobody was at the helm to steer this crazy juggernaut, at least when it came to making accurate Dalek toys…

DALEK$$$$$ ! 
From an toolmaker or engineers perspective, in stuns the mind at how terribly inaccurate Dalek toys originally were. I imagine the chaps at Shawcraft too, were probably needing a stiff drink (or twenty), in the wake of toy manufacturers making a stupendous mint, on the design that Shawcraft had sweat blood and tears over, only not to see a penny of its rewards and to add insult to injury, they didn't even look like Daleks! 


Of course, it wasn't about accuracy, it was about business. Toy manufacturers of the time basically couldn't care less about Daleks actually looking proportionally correct and such shrewd business men (who didn’t know a Dalek from a Ducks elbow) simply saw the Dalek success story, as a window of opportunity, to be exploited by every means possible. 

However the results were less than favourable but for most kids, it didn’t matter. Owning any crappy toy Dalek was better than nothing and moreover, like owning gold itself, a status symbol, in effect, the emperors new clothes. If it was labelled a ‘Dalek’, thats all that mattered and much like today, (where we buy expensive trainers labelled Nike etc) the Dalek image, was an indelible currency for trade.  


Still, why did they look so crappy? Lets have a look. 

FLEETING GLANCES 
The 1960's :
In a time, when there was no internet, no home VHS video recorders, (and no repeats), catching that brief glimpse of the Daleks on Television must have been rather like the ornithological equivalent of bird watching. It basically meant kids had to be at home at a certain time, (negotiate with the parents),  sit in front of the Television, tune in and be ready to watch and pay attention, (if and when) the Daleks might appear, which in those days was quite a rarity. 
In fact, the sequel to the first ever Dalek story, (Dalek invasion of Earth) caused an absolute outrage across Britain, because kids had been waiting months for the Daleks to return, only for one Dalek to appear out of the river Thames, right at the very end of the episode! 
This outrage meant of course, that an entire country of school kids, would have to wait yet another entire week of school drudgery, just to find out what was going to happen on Dr Who next. Such a concept now seems ludicrous but that’s just the way it was. 

In fact, it became such a big deal,  that BBC switchboards were jammed with complaints from angry parents, drawn into the madness of childhood anxieties, that they ended up watching the show too and becoming fans themselves! Suddenly Dr Who had become a family affair and with it the demand for Dalek toys at Christmas was inevitable. 

ANY OLD CONE WILL DO 
But as far as the merchandise was concerned, literally anything cone-shaped was used by the toy companies. A combination of making a fast buck and a general apathy towards accuracy didn't help. Plus it was extremely difficult for small toy firms to get a real grip on the Dalek shape without decent source material. Useful reference photos of Daleks where quite rare, and what was available was confined mainly to the odd cover of the Radio Times and other magazines or the odd article in news papers, which again were difficult to acquire unless one was astute enough to save them from the bin. Even the Dalek annuals, merely presented the Daleks as cones. 


So it was no surprise that the original Dalek toys produced, were terrible and allowed to get away with being as rubbish as they were, for the kids didn’t have much to go on either. If a child’s only reference point was his own memory of a Dalek, (seen fleetingly on Tv for a mere few minutes a week), then such withdrawal symptoms were sure to explode at the first sight of any Dalek related toy available, no matter how inaccurate.  

Thus anything chucked out on the toy market and labelled a ‘Dalek’ was better than nothing at all and (like so many hopelessly dependent addicts) kids went wild for Dalek pencils, cut-o-matics, Rollykins, playsuits, bump and goes, clockworks and anything else with vaguely cone shaped potential, which (all in all) looked nothing like what was actually seen trundling across the television screen, briefly once a week. Never the less, it kept the kids placated from storming the gates. 

It could also be argued that the kids imprinted there imagination upon such terrible renditions, compensating mentally, for the lack of accuracy in their possession. I imagine prisoners of war, had similar feelings over a morsel of mouldy bread. Probably. 
I know I did. 

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE 
Anyway, no matter. Dalek Mania was gearing up a notch, in the shape of Louise Marx Bump and Go Daleks, all made of brittle plastic, allowing the arms to break off instantly. In fact this would be a lingering bugbear of any subsequent Dalek toy, for decades to come. While other toy manufactures had conquered this problem years ago, it seemed that Dalek toy manufacturers were simply unable  (or couldn’t be arsed) to re-calibrate the elasticity of the plastics used to make the Dalek appendages. 

Then again, why should they? When a broken Dalek meant Mum and Dad would have to go out and buy yet another toy Dalek. So if you are wondering why the seas are full of plastic, well, now you know. Out there somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, is probably an island of discarded broken Dalek toys! If only they had been made of metal, they might rust in peace.

CORGI & DINKY TOYS 
In hindsight, had the BBC approached more reputable companies (such as Corgi or Dinky Toys), we might have had cast aluminium Dalek toys of a reasonable standard by the mid-sixties! 
Talking of which, Corgi, (famous for making accurate metal toy cars), was churning out James Bond Aston Martin DB5’s, with ejector seats and various other gadgets and selling them like hot cakes. 

Around this time, Shawcraft models had already produced a stunning Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang model for the movie of the same name, which Corgi later manufactured as an very faithful toy car, complete with retractable wings. 
Meanwhile, numerous other toys were now available, absolutely authentic reproductions in miniature: mini works of art being sold globally, (such as Dinky Toys fantastic range of Thunderbirds Vehicles), yet somehow, when it came to Dalek toys, the results were less than retarded, to say the least. 

DODGY DEALS 
In retrospect, Dr Who Director Richard Martin said as much in an interview, that the Dalek merchandise was simply awful. One can imagine some sort of sponsorship ‘deal’ was struck with toy manufactures to use them in the Dr Who episodes but the lack of accuracy was likely due to time and money and due care.  Despite these merchandisers were approached by the BBC to make accurate models (Richard Martins circle, at least had tried to persuade them) even offering them the plans etc, these pleas were ignored and it has annoyed the hell out of everyone ever since. 

The 1970's 
Palitoys attempt was as good as it got. The selling point that it could now make a toy Dalek that could talk. However, the appendages were plagued with the age old problem of brittle plastic components, making them easy to break off in the hands of small children, such as myself. 

The Denise Fisher Dalek was perhaps the better of the two, in only that it was miles more in proportion, than that of its Palitoy rival. Up until that time, this was the most accurate Dalek ever made, and interestingly based on Terry Nations Red Top Dalek, that he owned, intended for a Dalek Tv serial that never materialised. 

Nevertheless, Dalek toys still had a long way to go,  in terms of accuracy. 

THE NEXT GENERATION 

The 1980's : 
It was only by the 1980's and 90’s, when diligent fans (such as Julian Vince) turned the tide, by making fantastic Dalek models, (even animating them), soon followed by Stewart Sevans, who actually took measurements from a rare as hell honest to god original Dalek prop.

 
In the advent of the internet, it was not long before such endeavours were spurning a whole new generation of builders, to begin making accurate DIY Daleks and thus forming memberships to various builders guilds, such as Project Dalek. 

DAPOL -SCHMAPOL ! 
The 1990s' 

Yet, despite all this, toy companies such as Dapol were still insisting on making crude Dalek toys,  perhaps the only improvement was the durability of the plastic and improved elasticity of the appendages, making them less prone to snapping off but as far as accuracy was concerned, they still had a long, long way to go...




PRODUCT ENTERPRISE 
The 2000's

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in Dalek toys was Product Enterprises wonderful range of Talking and Radio Controlled Daleks, which also included micro push and goes and fabulous rollykins etc.



Another breakthrough was their release of movie Dalek variants, of various sizes. All these versions had reasonable detail. Gone were the brittle appendages (that break off in a child’s clumsy hands in five seconds) and more importantly, they were dimensionally correct. Well, almost. 






DALEKS WITH CHARACTER 
The 2010's 
However, it would take another decade before a totally screen accurate Dalek figurine was finally available, courtesy of Character Options and to this date, these are the most accurate Dalek toys ever produced. In fact everything about them is fantastic. They are essentially the result of a culmination of 50 years of Dalek toy evolution, stemming from rubbish plastic cones (with brittle appendages) to the latter day talking varieties.  Plus they come in every range of Dalek design possible, from movie variants, to NSD's and those bloody new paradigms. But the less said about those the better. 
All in all, these models are so respectable looking, that no Dr Who fan, (young or old) should be without a few cluttering up the shelf or mantelpiece, in effect replacing mothers china ornaments of yesteryear. 



BIGGER IS BETTER


But for those who want bigger, (for the ultimate Dalek toy), one can buy a full size totally accurate Dalek reproduction from This Planet Earth for £3,500. But to own such a status symbol, sacrifices may have to be made and divorce settlements may ensue…




Friday, 14 May 2021

Dr Who without Pepperpots



Dr Who without Pepperpots

A universe without Daleks is scarcely worth thinking about


At the time, there was so much adversity to Dr Who by the BBC management, that without the Daleks, it is (with all probability) that the show would have been scrapped short of completing its first season. 


Verity Lambert (left!) 

Saying that, its youthful strong willed producer (Verity Lambert) might have discovered new ways to save the show, (which could have given it a little more staying power) but it would still only have stemmed the inevitable and seen the show promptly cancelled, perhaps within three seasons at best. 


Bare in mind, its hard to imagine Dr Who being any sort of huge success without the Daleks. People forget that these Nazi Pepperpots were not only the most successful monsters in Dr Who but they were also the first of many moralistic tales about the abuse of power and science, opening the flood gates for a whole plethora of monsters. 

Take the Cybermen for instance, basically a stark warning to humanity about the dangers of wanting to live forever in a body, impervious to heat or cold. Also impervious to love and hate and any other emotion. Look at the Sontarons, a warning, of excessive militarisation and cloning. The Zygons, a warning to… well who cares by that point, it didn’t really matter, so long as the monsters looked cool. 


But the Daleks clinched it first. Take a thousand year war between two races, followed by centuries of nuclear fallout and you have radiated mutant human beings, withered to that of mere octopuses, dependent on their travel machines to throw their weight around. And for a children’s Tv series, (akin to Bill and Ben and Juke Box Jury), this was pretty heavy science for kids, who had just missed the more adult orientated Quatermass serials a few years earlier. 




Essentially every Dr Who monster tale, is a reminder of Mary Shelly’s Modern Prometheus. It is the Frankenstein Syndrome, by which scientists create monsters that destroy their creators and rampage across the local community.  The point is, the Daleks cemented the moralistic format and gave the show options for other monsters to be dreamed up, so long as they had some reflection of humanity’s deepest fears or shortcomings. 


Basically, the Daleks are us, taken to the absolute extreme of far right neo socialism values, which had thrown us into a second world war, in the first place. Of course, it takes two to tango and Nazis wouldn’t be Nazis without a suitable nemesis. Divide and conquer. Exterminate the other. That is essentially the Daleks. 


Without this moralistic format, Dr Who would have strictly spiralled into various historical romps, such as the Romans, Marco Polo and so on. Good stories in their own right but too many historical tales would have made Dr Who too bland for fans of American science fiction and difficult to sell overseas to the USA etc. 


Without the Daleks, the ailing Doctor would have had to contend with things like the Zarbi, basically a bunch of blokes in giant ill conceived Ant costumes and that would have killed the show off for sure. 

So its with heartfelt thanx to Verity Lambert for standing her ground, allowing Terry Nations story the green light, thus permitting Ray Cusick, Bill Roberts and Shawcraft to create the most successful monsters in Television history. Who would have thought, that these angry pepper-pots would become as famous as Santa and a British institution in their own right. 


Its all about teaching the kids 

because one day, they will inherit the Earth, 

perhaps one day the U*N*I*V*E*R*S*E !  


Friday, 29 January 2021

 

With a Little Help From My Friends:

The True Origins of The Daleks?


On the 23rd of November 1963, Dr Who came to our screens amidst the chaos of President Kennedys assassination in Dallas the previous day. With a public still reeling in grief over this brutal death, there was little thought to noticing a little sci-fi show on BBC 1, about some old codger and his granddaughter, who kidnap two teachers, whisking them back in time to the stone age, in a rickety old metropolitan police box, to fight off cave men. 

And had the series continued on that vain of historical interlopes, it is likely that Dr Who wouldn’t have lasted much longer than a few episodes. However, that was all to change, with the subsequent introduction of the Daleks in the second story, which not only captured the imagination of children across Britain, but anchored the family unit for half an hour every Saturday night, creating the highest Tv ratings that BBC 1 had ever seen. Over nine million viewers tuned in to watch the Doctor fight the metallic monsters, so it was only inevitable that they would return again and again and thus make Dr Who one of the BBCs longest running television serials and the Flagship show of the Beeb. 

With their sudden success, “Dalek-Mania” soon swept across England as every toy manufacturer in the land spat out Dalek toys, playsuits, books and comics and so on, culminating in two big budget movies starring Peter Cushing as Dr Who. 

And at the heart of all this, was the Daleks creator, a welsh writer by the name of Terry Nation, who literally become a millionaire overnight. But not it seems, without a little help from his friends.

As we shall see...  


DALEK ORIGINS

Nation has often been vague about where the idea of the Daleks actually came from. If you ask many a famous writer, you might get a similar response. A sort of vague look into the horizon, a rubbing of the chin and then some convoluted story that has no meaning. “They just came to me!” He would often say. When interviewed in 1968 by Alan Wicker, his stock answer was “I needed a villain, and the Daleks just appeared somehow.”  Take the money and run like a thief! was another popular expression he used to bandy about.  But perhaps there was more to this expression than Nation was letting on. After all, that’s what makes being a writer fun, to be inspired by the writings of say HG Wells or John Wyndham and to be just as successful as them. Ultimately, that’s what we writers do, we build upon one idea and create something new. Case in point, The Daleks. Lets just suppose for the remainder of this blog, that they were not just some divine idea that popped into Nations head. There was no Eureka! moment at the type writer. If anything, lets just suppose that the Daleks were a culmination of ideas, solidified by Nation but ultimately lets just suppose, that like many writers on the skids, he lifted the idea from somebody else. 


HARD TIMES 

Being a writer sucks. Particularly when nobody notices you even exist, even worse, when you rely entirely on it to pay the rent. Time and time again it seems, much like in the film and music industry, the only way to get ahead, is to plagiarise other artists work. Much like the law suit that ensued after the Kinks ripped off a guitar riff used by the Doors. Writers are just as notorious for lifting ideas off each other. Hence we now have copywrite laws to protect victims of such underhandedness, yet this practice still prevails. 

No doubt, there are still times in a writers life when his back is against the wall, when the ideas simply don’t put food on the table and the alternative is to pack up and hitch a lift back to Nowheresville and die in obscurity and shame. Nation was a driven man and I believe he would rather die than risk absolute failure. With a wife and kids in tow, it might not come as a surprise, that he might have borrowed a few ideas off other writers, in order to maintain the bourgeois lifestyle he was accustomed to. Thus his biggest career break came when he was finally employed by comedian and writer Tony Hancock and this is where seeds of the Daleks were likely sown. 


PING PONG BALLS. 

Its no secret that Tony Hancock was a nightmare to be around. A constant drunk, it soon overshadowed his genius. Even comedian Spike Milligan noted he seemed to outrage everyone and push them away, sooner or later. However, as far as Terry Nation was concerned, beggars couldn’t be choosers and he worked alongside Hancock on various ideas for sketches. Usually this would entail the familiar surroundings of the local pub. 

On one such drinking session, rumour has it, that Hancock suggested they do a sketch that included a robot shaped like a big upturned cone, covered in ping pong balls and a sink plunger for an eye. 


FROM CROATIA, TO BEER PUMPS   

And when it came to the actual naming of the Daleks, even that is of some debate. Writers of sci-fi are always on the lookout for weird and unusual names, particularly when it comes to naming things of alien origin. C3PO from Star Wars for example, was actually a grid reference from a ordinance map, that Director George Lucas drew upon.  Contrary to popular belief, the very name Dalek may very well have come from the same source (the pub that is). Again when interviewed, Nation would rub his chin about where he got the name from. Was it from his collection of encyclopaedias? Or was it in fact, a Croatia word, meaning a far and distant place? Possibly. But then again, possibly not. The real origins are probably less dramatic and again surround the pub, which sounds a lot less exciting than Croatia, probably. 

In most English pubs you cared to enter,  there were a range of famous beer pumps called "DALEX". The Dalex brand was quite clearly labelled upon the base of the beer pump (or on the pump handles) and it is most likely that Hancock (or Nation) must have noted this, when eyeing up the buxom bar maid, while waiting for several pints of the good stuff. 


BBC OR BUST

However, this robot idea never came to fruition, as Hancock’s drunken antics soon got the better of him, including crazy things like running around a train carriage naked one night, with Nation in pursuit, trying to get his clothes back on. To add to this frustration, Hancock saw little value in Nations ideas, often dismissing them in favour of his own, driving a wedge further between them. 

So it was only inevitable that Terry would be fired, (and with a family to feed) Nation had little option but to come crawling back to the BBC (who had already asked him to do Dr Who), subsequently he would write the script for the first Dalek story and most likely drew upon all his experiences to pull it off and get that pay cheque and run like a thief. It was now or never time, BBC or bust and so Nation would need to crystallise his writing career once and for all,  drawing (allegedly) upon Hancocks drunken ideas (about inverted cones with ping pong balls and sink plungers), throwing in some HG Wells for good measure and thus the Daleks were born. 


CLOAK AND DAGGER AFFAIR 

The idea of radioactive mutants in cone shaped machines resonated heavily with series producer Verity Lambert and despite fierce opposition from BBC stalwarts, (including head of BBC Drama Sydney Newman) she fought tooth and nail, to get that script the green light. 

Soon Dalek production was underway, with Terry Nation hinting his (lifted) design ideas to Ray Cusack, over various phone calls during the Daleks development. Cusick was already an talented and accomplished designer anyway but drew heavily from Nations suggestions that the Daleks should have no recognisable human features. One night Cusick saw the Georgian Dancers performing on Tv and immediately phoned Nation about basing the Daleks movements on them. Nation apparently had seen the same show and stated he was thinking the exactly the same thing also but then again, he could have just taken advantage of Cusicks suggestion. 

 Soon things would escalate into a cloak and dagger affair, with Nation likely using Cusicks Georgian Dancers idea as a clever ruse, so not to arouse suspicion from Tony Hancock, who undoubtedly would have scuppered the whole production with a law suit, had he got wind of the Daleks construction. 

Subsequently, Shawcraft Models were quickly employed to make the actual Dalek props and did a fantastic job of interpreting Cusicks interpretation, of Nations suggestions, lifted from Hancock (who may well have himself lifted the idea from somebody else). 


QUESTIONABLE LEGACY

With the subsequent rise of Dalek Mania (and millionaires being made overnight from Dalek Toys), Nation himself had already accumulated around four million pounds in Dalek related mechanise, never sharing any of his success with Ray Cusick or Shawcraft, let alone his poor drunken writing buddy Tony Hancock. Even script writer David Whitaker, (who was heavily involved in all Dalek related media), would only receive the standard fees, despite contributing more to the Dalek phenomena, than anyone else involved. 

Rumour also had it, that when Tony finally saw his creations on Tv, he was understandably enraged but ultimately too devastated to act upon it.  

Thus, within four years of "Dalek Mania" exploding across Britain, (and Terry Nation living the high life), Tony Hancock would emigrate to Australia and drinking heavily, eventually committed suicide in 1968.  He left a note that read: "Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times."

Ultimately, if any of this was true, then Hancock should be credited for coming up with the Daleks, or at least contributing to the final Dalek design. If anything, the Daleks were not any one singular idea but a combination of talents that eventually culminated in what we know and love today. From Beer pumps and sink plungers, to heated arguments in the production office, the success of the Daleks and their credit has been of endless debate, with unsung hero’s still yet to surface for sure. 

For these reasons, the entertainment business is at times, a cut throat culture best avoided and yet irresistible to the aspiring novice, until it is way too late. No more so than for the many writers that have succumb to its allure, like moths to the flame.





Sunday, 3 January 2021

How do you define ‘reality’? Is it just physical?


Posed by Jenna Lyons
Answered by JS Adams


Reality is not just defined by the physical. Most of us define our existence by the physical world but we can only go by what we actually know and can prove. We know that we exist thru our senses and that we can interact with our surroundings. However, to prove an object (or a person), actually exists on the quantum level is another story. There is also the non-physical and the Metaphysical. The further we delve into the realms of Inner Space, the trickier it is to define what exactly is happening within, say a quark for instance. In the non physical realms, there is the astral projection aspect,  transcendental outer body experiences and so on, which are also tricky to prove. 

The most reliable info being the test to see if there is life after death. This consists of putting items on the tops of shelves and high levels, which patients (legally dead and revived) later describe with accuracy. The test proves that we at least project from the body and can return to it. Beyond that is the Metaphysical: Schrödinger's cat, Plato’s Cave, Monkeys and Typewriters and humanists etc. 

Then we can branch off to other things such as Neo and Proto-physics and the concepts of time and space and alternate realities. None of which can be proved either. So ultimately we each choose our own version of reality and commune with others who share in that reality. Whether we believe in God or decide to gas six million Jews, we require validation by tipping the balance of the status quo. Therefore reality is not just defined by the physical but by a series of things, pertaining to personal belief. 



Wednesday, 21 October 2020

 

Star Trek: The Enemy Within 

Spocks Final Line Controversy

in the Age of Neo Feminism 


In this episode, a transporter malfunction splits our hero Captain into two Captain Kirks, representing Jekyll and Hyde. The nice Kirk goes about as his usual (altho dithering) self. His alter ego however has a great time stealing Sarian Brandy off McCoy and trying to rape Yeoman Janice Rand among other things. The story is eventually resolved and Kirks halves are put back together again and all is well. Even Spock tries to make light of the situation when he ends the story with the clumsy remark:           "The Imposter had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say Yeoman?"

Probably not the wisest thing to say to a woman, after she's nearly been raped (and its dated terribly) but lets put that line into context. To begin with, we live in an age where we think we are somehow all knowing and wise. Yet we still point nukes at each other and pulling down statues seems to be the latest fashion. Neo Feminism is part of that whole deal. Im all for equality but I cant be in the same room with a Neo Feminist anymore and heres why: 

NEO FEMINISM & THE WOKE GENERATION 

I once had a conversation about TOS (in the naughties) with a work colleague (at a bar in Brighton). I don't think she ever saw an episode and dismissed it as capitalist propergander. 'Just look at the starship they fly about in...' She said folding her arms. 'Its called ENTERPRISE!' She alluded that Trek was irrelevant in todays society and only evoked a mans future with mens philosophies based on greed. 

She was of course an extreme feminist, part of the 'woke generation', so "woke" that she couldn't tell the difference between Star Trek and that Nazi piece of shit 'Triumph of the Will'. If she even bothered to watch  Star Trek, I imagine it wouldn't have changed her opinion and she'd defo had a field day with the Janice Rand assault scene and Spocks dumb-ass comments about it. A line most likely added at the last minute by Gene but more likely renowned "serial killer" Fred Friedburger.   

But to put Spocks dumbass line into perspective, Kirk and Janice had a 'thing' and this episode was part of a set up to establish this growing relationship. When Kirks evil side is put back, she walks on the Bridge to reconcile things with Kirk and the viewer is left with the impression that she still fancies him, (to which Spocks comment is supposed to be a way of teasing her affections and lighten the mood).

Watched in sequence the entire scene makes sense but in the age of extreme Neo-Feminism, it is easy to make more of this scene than there really is. 

SEXUAL ASSAULT 

However, in real life, actress Grace Lee Whitney was actually sexually assaulted by an executive on the show (probably Roddenbury but could easily have been Friedburger, Shatner or even studio Desilu owner Desi Arnaz) but Grace never divulged his identity anyway and Gene is now dead.           

She would later be written out of the series after just eight episodes. Shatner said it was because she was always drunk but it was most likely because of the 'incident'. So you can take this episode or leave it. Personally I think its one of the best stories on the Jekyll and Hyde theme and thus the attempted rape scenes are valid and altho Spocks final comments are supposed to make you laugh, it kinda backfires especially in light of what happened to Grace Lee Whitney. The scenes were probably not shot in order either, so this shot may have seemed like a good idea at the time but is used as a prime target for so called "woke activists", jumping on the Neo Feminist band wagon. 

FREE LOVE & NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST

Bare in mind also, that the series was overshadowed by the relentless technical (and personal) problems behind camera, (Star Trek struggled to get shot at all).  Bare in mind also that sexual assault walked hand in hand with casual sex, and the line would often be blurred by the cocaine and booze and thus was part of the landscape 1960's America and television even more so. That doesn't make rape ok but these were crazy drug fuelled times, when the world was literally on the brink of Nuclear Holocaust.

Ultimately this was the whole point of Star Trek. For nations to put aside their differences and work towards the exploration of space. Unfortunately its cast and crew were falliblle flawed beings, firmly stuck in the turmoil of the 1960's. 

MOVING FORWARD 

Never the less,  the series has prevailed despite controversy on every level and over decade after the original series had aired, the world still hadn't blown itself up and Star Treks future was assured.  By now all was forgiven, as Grace finally returned for Star Trek Phase II, later to become The Motion Picture.