One Season Wonders (kind of…)

At Last the 1948 Show (1967)  Prior to 1967 it was a dark time. Comedy hadn’t yet been invented and the population was just starting to accept the world becoming colorized after thousands of years being a nice, calm, black and white.

Enter two scholars from Cambridge, John Cleese and Graham Chapman. Well, them and this other guy they dragged off the street by the name of Marty Feldman. And maybe a couple other people too. I mean, who really remembers 1967? Anyways, after a 19-year delay the long awaited At Last the 1948 Show finally hit the airwaves. People around the world were overjoyed.

Initially there were 13 shows aired in the UK, and technically it was 2 seasons, but much of it was lost (possibly due to an invasion of Norwegian Blue Parrots) and only a few of the missing episodes were able to be pieced together, probably by a mixture of magic and rifling through the cushions of innumerable British couches.

This series is a great look at the development of the folks that went on to become Monty Python and wonderful showcase of the great Marty Feldman’s talent.

And now for something completely different… Continue reading “One Season Wonders (kind of…)”

One Season Wonders – Mystery Edition

Just because a show only lasts a single season is no reason to think it is a bad show. Yes, yes, I know, most WERE bad and were thankfully put out of our misery quickly, but some were tossed by the wayside merely due to the way the TV industry machine works. Here are a few of those gems in the library’s collection that you may want to take a look at.

Back in the 1970s NBC ran an anthology series that collected several shows under the banner of the NBC Mystery Movie. It included shows like Columbo and Banacek which were longer format shows (90-120 minutes each) that NBC didn’t think would stand on their own as a scheduled TV series. I loved the show and the intro was great; a dark storm-cloud laden sky, a shadowy figure Continue reading “One Season Wonders – Mystery Edition”

Who You Gonna Call?

Life can be uncertain, sometimes things get out of hand, and sometimes things are so bad that you need to call in a professional to solve it. Well, if you need help with an Ancient One, outbreak of werewolves, or just a simple disappearance, then these are the folks to call. (If it’s just ghosts, call these guys.)

The Atrocity Archives by Charles StrossThe Laundry Files by Charles Stross

Bob Howard is a computer expert. Not exactly a hacker, but with that little bit of curiosity that never ends well. Playing around with new (to him) fractal equations, Bob finds out, in a most direct manner, that he came quite close to “landscaping Wolverhampton with alien nightmares” and is, um, strenuously encouraged to work for The Laundry, a secret division of British intelligence. Though an office job (cubicle included) Bob does a surprising amount of travel for work, often to deal with Cthulian nightmares, suppress a breakout of Gorgonism, or the like. Unfortunately for Bob, though, saving the world requires quite a few meetings. Continue reading “Who You Gonna Call?”

Ray Harryhausen – Featuring Creatures

As a kid in the 1960s I loved the Sunday afternoon movies. Sometimes a Tarzan flick, sometimes a Kung Fu movie, sometimes a Hammer Horror, and sometimes it was a creature feature. Sure Godzilla or Mothra were fun, but the BEST creature features were done by a guy by the name of Ray Harryhausen.

Harryhausen was inspired by the work of one Willis O’Brien, and specifically by O’Brien’s 1933 film King Kong that used stop-motion animation beside live action. On O’Brien’s advice, the teenaged Harryhausen dove into graphic design and sculpture classes and, along the way, made friends with an aspiring writer named Ray Bradbury. When World War II came about, Harryhausen enlisted and was stationed with the ‘Special Services,’ the entertainment branch of the Army, where he served under Colonel Frank Capra and worked with Ted Geisel. If those names sound familiar – the former was already a directorial giant in the movie industry before enlisting, and the latter became known to folks as Dr Suess. Continue reading “Ray Harryhausen – Featuring Creatures”

Book Series by Volume – Sleuth Edition

Today’s Book Series by Volume adds three more cubic feet to your already stuffed bookshelves (if they aren’t over-stuffed then you need to get to work on that) with three series you should investigate.

Leaphorn and Chee by Tony Hillerman – This series of 18 books fills in about one cubic foot, though the area it covers is as large as the Navajo Nation. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police Department is a craggy, quiet, and thoughtful man who is intensely curious and logically rigorous. Officer Jim Chee holds Leaphorn in great esteem, but feels the weight of his shadow at times. Chee has a greater attachment to Navajo spirituality than the Lieutenant which, at times, causes an odd juxtaposition where the younger man espouses traditionalism versus the older man’s respectful rejection of superstition.

Throughout this series, Hillerman educates the reader in Navajo social, spiritual, and artistic culture and somehow makes the intensely hot, dusty, and rocky expanse of the Navajo Reservation a thing of beauty. For someone born and raised here in the Evergreen state of Washington as I am, that is quite the trick. Continue reading “Book Series by Volume – Sleuth Edition”