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IN 1968, the Funland theme park in Margate, Kent, introduced a new attraction.
Created by Keith Albarn, The Spectrum presented psychedelic rooms, each space presenting intrigued youth with an adventure and a challenge. Rooms features “Ekistikit” – a GRP modular building and furniture system.
This was not infertile ground for sensory experimentation. Margate is a seaside town had a reputation for artistic endeavour:
Pathe News was there to showcase Albarn’s mental adventure:
Albarn did not stop there. As he tells us, he got better. In Girvan, a seaside town in Carrick, South Ayrshire, he created the Fifth Dimension, another psychedelic, fibreglass fun house.
MOVIES adapted for television series aren’t necessarily terrible; in fact, the outcome is often quite good. The Odd Couple and M*A*S*H* both had great translations for the small screen. Even Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, a dark drama by Martin Scorsese found an interesting niche in the sitcom universe via Alice.
Unfortunately, for every success, there are a sizeable number of failures. This is where I come in and deliver up ten tragic examples of where a movie was adapted for television yielding regrettable results.
Animal House (1978)
1979 TV Adaptation: “Delta House”, 13 episodes
When you remove the bawdy humor from Animal House, you’re cutting out its heart. It’s like removing the dancing from Singin’ in the Rain. Crass jokes and irresponsible humor were the lifeblood of the original film; to clean things up for prime time TV was a mistake of epic proportions.
WHEN Villarreal fans taunted Barcelona’s Dani Alves by throwing him a banana, it was not entirely surprising.
Spain does, after all, have a history of this kind of racist goading, including such notable incidents as the monkey chanting directed at England players during the 2004 international in Madrid….
MAX Clifford has been found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault.
Ron Greenslade recalls his dealings with the great story fixer. He focuses on the story of Mandy Allwood. Britain’s own Octomum, gave birth to two girls and six boys in September 1996. They were premature.
Within hours of being born, all of the children had died.
Mandy and the babies – Kypros, Adam, Martyn, Cassius, Nelson, Donald, Kitali and Layne – were big news, as they had been ever since she had hired a publicist. He was, of course, Max Clifford.
FROM the women’s fashion section of the 1974 Fall-Winter Sears Catalog, here are 35 pages of earth-toned acrylics, skin-tight polyester, and knitted creations that should have never seen the light of day. Seventies fashions are fun to behold because they could be so frighteningly terrible; however, if you can resist the easy temptation to scoff at 70s styles and view them with an open mind, some are actually quite brilliant. Today’s everyday styles can be so tired and unremarkable – it’s refreshing to see something bold and unique. Come take a look….
A black and orange striped sweater-vest over a tight olive green turtleneck sweater…. can somebody explain how this happened? The simple answer is widespread recreational drug use, but I’m open to other theories.
CHUCKING banana skins and grunting like a monkey are things of history in British football. Over in Spain, racism is more prevalent. Last night, Barcelona’s Dani Alves fielded a banana tossed from the crowd at Villarreal’s Estadio El Madrigal and ate it.
He didn’t even pick off the black and stringy bits. He just peeled and ate it, in a move that mocked both the mentally negligible fool who’d tossed it and the threat of indigestion.
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THE sad truth is, nonfiction garbage is hard to come by. Libraries regularly cull their shelves, ridding the world of their outdated and tacky tomes. Plus, how many people are going to display any one of these books in their home library and endure the subsequent deep and abiding shame? Not many. So, they end up on the trash heap, gone forever…. That is, until someone like me resurrects them (at least their covers) for your viewing enjoyment. You’re welcome.
Your Horoscope for Today: With Venus moving into gentle Pisces this week, you will feel a distinct urge to dry hump human legs. You may even decide to accept a friend’s invitation to smell his/her anus. The afternoon and evening brings the possibility of lots of indoor pooping.
This book is fine, but I’m more interested in the companion volume: How To Live Selfishly, Enjoy Pornography, And Still Go To Heaven.
Finally, a guide to enduring those insufferable Polish people.
“Are you being sexually aroused by this picture?”
If your answer is “yes”, I think it owes more to your debilitating alcohol addiction than any advertising trickery. Is this orange rind supposed to remind me of a flaccid and dismembered sex organ? If so, then I am most definitely not aroused…. nor will I be for quite some time thanks to this.
In every life this woman was prone to staring blankly upward. Nutty theories like this were rampant in the 1970s, here’s another…
Among the many promises offered on the back:
How to use rituals and spells to attract money and prosperity!
How to use rituals and spells to attract and hold a lover!
How to ward off the Evil Eye and protect yourself against Secret Psychic Attack!
It says that the author was an accountant before he flaked out. Personally, it’s hard for me to take a witch or warlock seriously with those kinds of credentials.
“Morgan La Fey, Enchantress, Tax Professional and Financial Advisor” just doesn’t work. Neither does “Angmar the Witch King, C.P.A.”
In which we learn how to fire people via poetry or haiku. Especially interesting is the chapter on creating beautiful watercolor paintings of nature scenes… all signed “you’re fired”, of course.
Yeesh. This is just awkward. Let’s move on…
“Are the new sex therapists part of the legitimate medical community – or are they prostitutes?”
What in the ever lovin’ f**k? Was this really a question? I can understand if there was a healthy skepticism about this new profession; however, it seems a stretch to speculate that it entailed having sex for money. (But if it is true, I hope it’s not too late for me to make a drastic career change.)
“Is she the bearded lady, or is she part porcupine, or what? [see back cover]”
Ummm.… why in the name of all this holy would you ever think she is the bearded lady? For the curious, the back cover reads:
“What she has on her face are ordinary toothpicks broken in half; for some reason, a light touch makes them cling. Believe it… or Not!”
We know you’ve been faking it for a long time. Now, it’s time to learn how to really love that brat. And once you’ve figured that out, it’s on to that spouse of yours…
Well, it certainly makes things a lot easier if your wife happens to be a stone cold fox…
The back cover reads “The author and his (non-neurotic) wife.”
First of all, Stephen Baker obviously used Al Manning’s White Witchcraft to make this happen (there can be on other explanation). Second, I’m not thrilled with his cocky grin. We know you did well for yourself, Stephen. No need to gloat.
IF you’ve visited Richard Littler’s Scarfolk, you will have come away with a feeling of how life was in mid-20th Century Britain. Scarfolk is a dystopian town in the North-West of England gripped by fear of witches, children, babies and salad.
“If He Fires Me, I’ll Thank Him For It”: Five Great Character Moments in the Timothy Dalton James Bond Era
HORROR movies, like any other genre, are products of their time. So, naturally, their soundtracks are going to reflect the popular music of the day. This can be a good thing…. or a devastating handicap when the popular music of the day is disco and breakdancing. Yet, many horror flicks of the 1980s managed to get it right. The soundtrack to Halloween is expertly menacing, as were the soundtracks to Dario Argento’s films (thanks in no small part to Goblin). Perhaps one day we’ll look at the ones that did things right, but today we’re looking at the ones who did things oh so terribly wrong.
Graduation Day (1981)
“Everybody Wants to be the Winner”
I don’t know who sings this opening song, but I can only assume it’s a coked up Leo Sayer. Granted, I’m not a horror movie expert, but I think I’m correct in assuming the opening sequence of a horror film shouldn’t incite peals of mocking laughter. I could be wrong.
Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)
An excellent song to breakdance to, I’m sure; however, it seems utterly ridiculous as the opening theme to a slasher movie. The rather disturbing head on a table juxtaposed with a beat-box jam is downright laughable. This would have been right at home as the theme to Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, not a horror movie. I suppose you could make the argument that the Friday the 13th films weren’t exactly serious horror films. Whatever the case, this breakdancing opener is still a laugh.
The House on Sorority Row (1983)
Music by 4 Out Of 5 Doctors
The band in the following video clip is “4 Out of 5 Doctors”, who play several songs throughout the film. When you watch this clip, be sure to pay attention to the part where the 3 girls are checking out a “cute” guy who winks at them – this may very well be cinema’s finest moment.
This dude is sporting what was commonly referred to as the “butt cut”. This scene is just priceless – I want to give this dude a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
4 Out of 5 Doctors actually released a few albums, and were Billboard’s “best new band” one month. In an interview with PM Magazine, the band stated their debut record took five years to craft – each day methodically perfecting the ultimate album.
Hmmm…. not quite. They were also the house band in another horror flick, The Boogieman (1980).
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987)
“We Live To Rock” by Jon Mikl Thor
You’ve heard the phrase “so bad it’s good.” Well, this is “so bad it’s a blight upon all mankind.” Bodybuilder turned heavy-metal train-wreck, Thor, takes metal music to the absolute bottom of the barrel. Picture the worst songs by Quiet Riot, Ratt, and Twisted Sister all rolled into one. Oddly enough, Thor’s music ends up being the only thing remotely horrifying in the entire film.
The Pod People (1983)
“Burning Rubber Tires”
Repetitive, woefully generic, and best of all, the lyrics are incomprehensible. This would have been terrible on a record, but this embarrassing mess is being filmed, and the results are beyond cringeworthy. The moment at the end when the supposed rock star signals “It Stinks” has become something of an iconic moment among B-movie nerds. Most of the notoriety of “Hear the Engines Roll Now” is owed to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 who parodied it brilliantly.
For those wanting to read the lyrics (and I’m assuming that’s literally everyone reading this article), here they are in their entirety. You’re welcome.
With a fickle mind we kick the nickel beer
Steady as a goat, we’re flying over trout.
Ghetto down the highway at the speed of light;
All I want to feel now is the wind in my eyes.
Sack of monkeys in my pocket
My sister’s ready to go.
Hear the engine roar now
Idiot control now
Hideous control now
Ninny on the road now.
Minnie in control, wheel’s on fire, burning rubber tires.
Leer at jelly rolls now
Hiddy let’s it go now
Ninny inches po down
Pityin’ a po’ boy
Hear the engines roar, bees on pie, burning rubber tires.
ON 12 Dec 1966, Harry Roberts, John Witney and John Duddy were convicted of the murders of David Wombwell, Christopher Head and Geoffrey Fox.
The murders were known as the Shepherd’s Bush murders as well as the Massacre of Braybrook Street.
On 12 August 1966:
Harry Roberts, John Witney and John Duddy were sitting in a Standard Vanguard estate preparing for a robbery when 3 unarmed policemen in plain clothes – David Wombwell, Christopher Head and Geoffrey Fox – pulled up near them in a Triumph 2000 Q-car, and started asking questions about their insurance and MOT.
Because they were carrying guns and thought were would be arrested they shot the policemen dead and drove off. A local resident made a note of the van number plate and they were later caught.
The hunt for the killers was on:
The Independent recalled the murders:
As two of the officers started to search the van, Roberts drew a 9mm Luger pistol and shot DC Wombwell through the left eye, and then shot DS Head in the back as he tried to flee. As the dying officer staggered away Roberts tried to shoot him in the head, but his gun jammed twice.
PC Fox had remained in the police car. Duddy fired a revolver at the officer twice from close range through the passenger window. Both bullets missed, but a third shot hit him in the left temple. The shot caused the policeman’s foot to push down on the accelerator and the car jumped forward, running over the body of DS Head and getting stuck there, with smoke pouring from its rear wheels. All three Metropolitan Police officers died from the gunshot wounds.
Roberts went on the run, hiding on Epping Forest.
It took 96 days before he was caught after one of the biggest manhunts the British police had mounted.
Roberts knew how to hide. He would later say:
“I was a sergeant and we used to go out on ambushes in the jungle. I would fire the first shot and then everyone would blast away… When I returned to Britain, I took up my old life as a criminal. I teamed up with Witney and we did dozens of armed robberies together – on betting shops, post offices. The most I earned was £1,000 from a single job. Witney was the eldest, the boss: he knew the best places to rob. Duddy joined us later…
“I was only caught because I was stupid. I had been trying to break open a safe at a * * factory and was late getting back to my camp. I had to cross a main road and had a blue holdall with me – no one in the country had a bag like that.”
All three were sentenced to life in prison.
John Duddy died in Parkhurst prison on 8 February 1981.
John Witney was released in 1991.
Roberts lives. In 2004, he spoke to the media. He had served 30 years and wanted parole:
“I don’t want to be Harry Roberts the cop killer. The media talk as if the shootings were yesterday: this keeps alive this image of me as a 30-year-old cop killer. I’m not that person any more. The Home Secretary is just responding to the media hype about me. When does punishment becomes vengeance? I feel my treatment has turned into institutionalised vengeance.”
His time in prison had not been uneventful:
In 2009, The Mail alleged that Roberts was no victim:
In April, The Mail on Sunday exclusively revealed how from his cell Roberts orchestrated a five-year campaign of intimidation against Joan Cartwright, 65, and her son, including horrific attacks on her animals. Mrs Cartwright works at an animal sanctuary in the Midlands, where Roberts worked on day release from Sudbury open prison.
When she secretly complained about his behaviour, he was moved from an open prison to a closed one.
But he then initiated his hate campaign in a bid to stop Mrs Cartwright and her son giving evidence against him at a parole hearing. The triple murderer rang Mrs Cartwright up to five times a week for nearly four years from Channings Wood prison in Devon.
The calls included terrifying veiled threats that coincided with the attacks on her animals. In the worst incident, a horse’s head was hacked at with an axe the night before Mrs Cartwright and her son were due to give evidence.
Another of Mrs Cartwright’s horses had to be put down days after her husband Peter had resisted giving Roberts a character reference. Other assaults between 2002 and 2006 led to a horse losing an eye; a donkey dying after its pelvis was shattered, probably with a baseball bat; the family’s pet cat being electrocuted, and a peacock being strangled.
Roberts also coerced Mrs Cartwright to visit him in jail, so he could repeat his threats to her face.
Not nice. But Roberts’ is a folk hero to some, well at least to those who want to cock a snook at the cops. His name continues to be evoked in song:
“Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend / Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.”
The band Chumbawamba replaced Hare Krishna with a tribute to Harry Roberts:
You can buy a Harry Roberts T-shirt:
And you can watch the TV show of the novel:
The Times reviews:
He Kills Coppers, confidently adapted by Ed Whitmore from the Jake Arnott novel, is based on the story of Roberts, a small time, semi-deranged crook who knew how to use guns because he had handled them in the Army.
The Times again:
He Kills Coppers is superior, feel-the-lining-on-this stuff – bafflingly good for ITV1. Spall is a low, sure, hypnotic note – a cocksure, slightly bent rookie detective in 1966; all fags, Brylcreem and tarts. The great casting continues with the mesmeric Kelly Reilly as a prostitute who is both fragile and brassily capable: a certain kind of working-class girl you got in “the olden days”, who was a feminist before feminism was invented
After the deaths come the myth and the glamour…
READING old romance comic books is like slipping into the subconscious mind of the mid-century female. It was a time when their entire well-being and happiness revolved around dumb men; when every single action and decision was predicated on pleasing oblivious males. Thus, in comic after comic, with rarely an exception, you have the requisite scene of the beautiful female lying in bed pining desperately over some clueless oaf.
No doubt, it’s still pretty common for females to fantasize over men. Women’s Lib made great strides towards creating a more level playing field, but it didn’t do away with human nature. To a certain extent, the cliché is a timeless truth: girls will be girls, and boys will be boys.
JOSIE Cunningham is the victim of a Twitter hunt. Righteous of Twitter is in favour of killing the mum-of-two who said she would abort her child to appear on Big Brother. These clear thinkers would leave Josie’s children motherless and possibly orphaned. The “bitch”, “c*nt” and “slag” had it coming. We’ve compiled a selection of the more robust tweets. They all seem sincere and devoid of humour. And, remember, that what you say on Twitter can earn you a prison sentence two and a police raid.
But there is a caveat, if the Twitter police don’t like you (see Emma West should be raped and “Let’s hunt him down”) you really can say what you like. Free Speech, it turns out out, is only free on Twitter if the illiberal mob agree that their target is fair game and won’t snitch on you.
Let’s kick off with a call for the children to be taken away from their mother, whose been jailed for having an abortion:
THE BBC say it’s 60 million while The Guardian wrote that it was 120 million, The Scotsman, no doubt proud of the band’s Scottish roots, guessed 300 million.Whatever the amount was the Bay City Rollers certainly sold a lot of records although they still grumble to this day about how little they saw of the profits. Forty years ago the band was just about to become massive. The lead singer, Les McKeown, who was just eighteen when he joined the band late in 1973, had his name inked onto a million school bags and notebooks. He was the Harry Styles of the day, maybe even more popular – there was less music to go round in those days.
FOLLOWING the incredible box-office and critical success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), the slasher film quickly became the go-to-format for up-and-coming horror filmmakers in the 1980s. These films had titles like Happy Birthday to Me (1981) and My Bloody Valentine (1981), and most of them concerned bloody massacres on holidays.
Although critics denigrated these slasher films as “dead teenager movies” or “knife-kill” films and slammed their apparent sense of misogyny, and formulaic story lines, the slasher craze of the epoch actually produced a number of great and memorable horror films.
WHEN eight-track tapes hit the shelves in the latter part of the Sixties, it was seen as a godsend. All of a sudden, you could listen to your music collection in your car, or out-and-about with the new boom-boxes. There were even rumors it would completely replace the vinyl record. Yet, just over a decade later, the humble cassette tape was able to drive it to extinction. Its heyday lasted from 1968-1975, and by 1980 the poor eight-track was in history’s dustbin, a sort-of laughable derelict from the Seventies.
So what happened? Here are 8 reasons for its untimely demise.
OTHER than a brief Capri pants fad during the early Sixties, women rarely wore pants in public. It was dresses and skirts only. Then the Women’s Liberation movement hit its stride in the Seventies, and the ladies started to get in on the pants action. Just as the miniskirt had been a proclamation of the youth culture, pants became a proclamation of gender equality. If men can wear hideous corduroy bell-bottoms, by God, the women can too!
WE need to talk abut Khat. We’ll begin with Khat the cat, the three and a year-and-a-half-old pet who attacked his human hosts. He clawed the face of its owner’s sister, tore into the arms and legs of its owner’s mother and gashed the legs of its owner’s young brother.
The owner says: “He’s never been an aggressive cat, he’s never been mean, he just flipped.”
The British State would argue that Khat is a product of nominative determinism, the process by which your name explains your actions. It would argue that Khat has been driven mad by the drug that last month UK home secretary Theresa May said would be banned.
Why ban it? What is khat?
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious: Sod the Big Allotment Challenge, bring on the Great British Moan Off
THE BBC seems intent on presenting Britain as a land of twee crafting-obsessed hobbyists whose interests differ only marginally from those of 1950s housewives and labourers making the most of their one day off before the moustachioed factory boss forces them to sever another figure in the lathe. Having only recently finished another bombardment from The Great British Sewing Bee and it’s less soporific sibling The Great British Bakeoff, BBC2 has once again reheated the format for the less boastfully titled Big Allotment Challenge.
A WHILE back, we covered some pretty peculiar games; however, there still remain board game curiosities which cry out for your attention. It seems there was no limit to the imagination (and debilitating insanity) of board game manufacturers. For every winner (i.e. Monopoly, Risk, Candyland) there were a hundred losers. Here’s a look at some of those losers.
No doubt, this board game is a staple in the NSA break rooms. “Video Village” has such a nice sound for a mass surveillance system; much better than London’s “Ring of Steel”. How fitting that it shows a woman behind bars.
THIS Easter, take care not to be left behind at the Rapture. It can, of course, happen at any time. It happened in 2011. Well, it could have done. And when it does, boy will they be right and you be wrong.
The Rapture is believed true. It is an end-times event when all believers in Christianity will be taken from the earth by God into heaven. The rest will be left behind (including the pets).
In preparation, we’ve compiled a library of Rapture Guide Videos. Study them hard. Questions later:
In 1952, Rapture film The Missing Christians hit the movie theatres. YouTuber Robert Smith tells us:
THE MISSING CHRISTIANS is set in the home of a devoted Christian widow and her three children. The story opens with the mother and two younger children leaving a tent revival meeting where a large number have responded to the invitation. At home, they discuss the meeting until after Norma, the elder daughter has returned from a night of pleasure. Norma ridicules the thought of revivals. Being tired and emotionally disturbed, she gets to her room, falls across her bed and is soon asleep and dreaming.
An angel appears and talks to her. In the dream the Rapture of the Church takes place. Her mother, sister and brother change, rise and join others who disappear in the clouds.
Her dream continues as she and Mrs. Store, a wealthy socialite, confer in the church office of Rev. Wise, pastor of a liberal church. Norma denounces him for his deceptive preaching.
The scene of the ten virgins with the pleading and remorse of the five foolish should sober any careless heart and mind. Norma awakens from her dream—recognizes her lost condition— confesses her sins—prays and receives Christ as her Saviour. The climax is thrilling as she realizes she is saved and thanks God for her new found joy. The film closes as she and her mother embrace while the choir sings “Softly and Tenderly”.
In The Blink Of Eye…. YouTuber WordNews has the details:
This is a trailer …the Movie was released 2009 about a vacationing detective begins to suspect that the Biblical apocalypse is at hand after being forced to relive the day of the Rapture time and again. Detective David Ramsey (David A.R. White, his wife, and their friends are cruising the Sea of Cortez in a luxury yacht when nearly everyone aboard vanishes without a trace. Confused, Detective Ramsey contacts his captain (Eric Roberts) and learns that the boat captain and his boss may have ties to the underworld. Suddenly, Detective Ramsay wakes up in a cold sweat. Initially determining that it was all just a dream, his relief turns to anxiety when the day begins playing out exactly as he had just envisioned it. What forces are dictating this strange occurrence, and what will happen if Detective Ramsay manages to solve the perplexing mystery before the cycle starts all over again….the moral of the movie is to be ready for the rapture …Jesus makes it clear in John chapter 3 how to go to heaven and to be ready for the rapture – you must be born again…To be born again is to admit to Jesus who is God and savior that you fall short of being perfect and need to be forgiven…right now let Jesus know you are sorry for anything you have done wrong meaning any sin and to come into your life as God and savior…..AMEN
Apocalypse: Caught in the Eye of the Storm. ChurchCinema has the blurb:
Army after army descends into the Valley of Armageddon in central Israel. Millions of people suddenly vanish. It’s the media event of the century and the entire world is glued to their television sets. At that very moment, a great charismatic leader arises and performs a miracle of astounding dimensions. Is he the long-awaited Messiah? The whole world is convinced that he is.It’s a time of great tribulation and only Bronson Pearl (Richard Nester)and Helen Hannah (Leigh Lewis), the two co-anchors of the World News Network, are in a position to uncover the truth. But as Helen discovers the true identity of this great leader, she is torn between her deep love for Bronson and her new-found knowledge about Christ and the antichrist.
Final: The Rapture
End Times laughs on Rapture-Palooza:
When the Apocalypse actually happens and a billion people are raptured up to heaven, Lindsey (Kendrick) and her boyfriend Ben (Daley) are left behind in suburban Seattle. The young couple try their best to lead a normal life surrounded by talking locusts, blood rain showers, and pot-smoking wraiths. But when the Anti-Christ (Robinson) makes his home base in their neighborhood, Lindsey finds herself the object of his affection. With the help of her family, friends, and a lawn-mowing zombie neighbor, the young couple set off to stop the Anti-Christ from taking her as his bride… and just maybe, saving the world in the process.
We survived the 1970s:
Sunday Morning Rapture
And Lights, Camera, Rapture!
If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971)
Based on the preachings of Reverend Estus W. Pirkle, this film warns what will happen to America if the citizens do not give up their depraved ways and turn to God and Jesus for salvation. Communist infiltrators, the “footmen”, will pave the way for an all out invasion by weakening our will through TV, dance, rock music and alcohol. Once the invasion begins, the new Communist government will proceed to round up all Christians, and either execute them or force them to undergo re-education. Only by putting their faith in the bible where it belongs, says Rev. Pirkle, can America resist the coming Red Menace.
A Distant Thunder. It’s 1978….
HAVE you seen Heaven Is For Real, the film about the boy who “had a trip to Heaven”.
Sony Pictures acquired had actioned its rights on the book Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip To Heaven And Back, written by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent:
Burpo is a small town Nebraska pastor whose four-year old son, Colton, nearly died during an emergency appendectomy operation. As he recovered, Colton began telling his family that he went to Heaven, actually looking down at the doctors operating on him and his family praying in the waiting room. And he slowly began telling them details about his miscarried sister, and his long-dead grandfather, none of which he should have known about. He then revealed to his family what it was like during his visit in Heaven, before he was sent back to his family. He’s now 11.
THE Liberal Democrats claim they had no idea Sir Cyril Smith, the Labour mayor of Rochdale (his mother wash his mayoress) who became the town’s Liberal MP and that Party’s chief whip, was a pervert. In response to current Rochdale Labour MP Simon Danczuk’s book on Smith, Smile for the Camera: the Double Life of Cyril Smith, a LibDem spokesman says:
“Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and we have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined. His actions were not known to or condoned by anyone in the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats.”
None of them?
THROUGHOUT cinematic history, our most beloved monsters — from Dracula and The Wolf Man to Freddy Krueger and King Kong — have returned again and again to haunt our nightmares, and our movie screens.
In any horror movie or monster movie sequel, the primary challenge is thus always quite specific: how do we get our beloved monster back after so thoroughly and completely defeating him at the end of the previous movie? How do we snatch defeat from what seemed like victory?
Some movie franchises have proven cleverer than others at threading this particular needle, finding fresh and inventive ways to get our beloved monsters stalking again.
WITH every fall season in the US comes another batch of TV shows doomed to failure. The history of American television is littered with roadkill – most of which we have collectively forgotten. Well, no longer. I have personally scooped up the scattered remains of nine TV shows to share with you. It won’t be pleasant, but you can feel good that it’s all in the name of historical preservation.
Co-Ed Fever (1979)
Animal House was such a big hit at the box office, TV networks thought they could translate that frat house magic for the small screen. They were horribly, horribly mistaken.
ABC’s Delta House was cancelled quickly, but that was nothing compared to Co-Ed Fever which was cancelled after one – count’em ONE – episode!
Turn On! (1969)
Of all the shows that bear the dubious distinction of being cancelled after one episode, the most infamous is the Laugh-In rip-off called Turn-On. It premiered a year after Laugh-In and was actually cut mid episode for being too raunchy. It is the shortest running TV show ever. Complaints poured in as the show was running, and the executives actually decided to pull the plug on the series within the first 17 minutes.
All That Glitters (1977)
Norman Lear (All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Good Times) once again tries to push the envelope. Here we have women who work for a powerful corporation, Globatron; meanwhile, the men are portrayed like 1950s housewives. Oh, so very controversial. Did I mention Linda Gray plays a transgender character?
I think the “testing the limits of convention” shtick had worn thin by the end of the Seventies. People got tired of being challenged, and just wanted mindless entertainment. Thus, All That Glitters was an abysmal failure, and the A-Team a triumph.
Perhaps the worst thing to come of this train wreck is Neil Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” When Norman Lear decided against using it as a theme song, Neil took it to Babs for a duet. Sadly, she agreed, and mankind has been haunted by this sapfest forever after.
What a Country! (1986)
Remember Yakov Smirnoff? He was the exceedingly not funny Russian comedian constantly pointing out the differences between the US and Soviet Union. His sitcom was the same miserable punchline repeated over and over of misunderstandings of American culture.
“At the grocery store: “Powdered milk, powdered eggs, baby powder . . . what a country!”
Somebody kill this man.
Bridget Loves Bernie (1972)
The production company, Screen Gems, had been churning out light-hearted sitcoms throughout the Sixties with great success (I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Hazel, Gidget, Hazel, Dennis the Menace). Now it was the Seventies – time to get serious and topical. Screen Gems put away childish things and tried for something akin to All in the Family. Bernie is a Jewish cab driver and his wife, Bridget is an Irish-Catholic. Hilarity ensues!
Not surprisingly, the show was a flop and Screen Gems folded and absorbed into Columbia. Even worse, American audiences had their feathers ruffled and Jewish and Catholic groups publicly panned it. The difference: All in the Family openly tried to be confrontational, and people were happy to take a ride through its hazardous terrain; whereas, Bridget Loves Bernie tried to act like Bewitched, like nothing was difficult to swallow, meanwhile playing the card of being “edgy” by having an interfaith marriage.
To add to the mess, the show wasn’t even remotely funny, and the characters were wholly unlikable. Ultimately, the show was doomed anyway. Bernie thought he was too good for television, and eventually Meredith Baxter would publicly reveal he was abusive to her. A disaster in every conceivable way.
I Had Three Wives (1985)
Unfortunately, they aren’t his wives all at the same time – that might’ve actually been interesting. Instead, we get a douche bag detective and his three hot ex-wives (who, let’s face it, never would have been attracted to this loser in the first place). Predictably stale hi-jinx ensue.
When the Whistle Blows (1980)
Synopsis: Unfunny construction worker misfits commit tomfoolery much to the chagrin of their even less funny bosses. Even copious amounts of eye candy in the form of Susan Buckner couldn’t save this dud.
Here’s an episode complete with original commercials entitled “Miss Hard Hat USA” guest starring Barbi Benton.
Shadow Chasers (1985)
Of the 106 shows on the 3 big US networks in the 1985-86 season, Shadow Chasers finished dead last. It was up against a couple heavy hitters, Magnum PI and The Cosby Show, so maybe it deserved better. The series was created by Brian Grazier (Imagine Entertainment co-founder and the man behind Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind). So, perhaps it had potential – although, this clip seems to prove otherwise….
The Two of Us (1981)
A single mother places an ad for a housekeeper, and who should answer but Peter Cook. What follows is an endless stream of jokes highlighting the differences between stereotypical British culture and stereotypical American culture. It’s so tiresome and predictable it’ll have you yearning for Yakov Smirnoff…. and I don’t need to tell you that if you’re yearning for Yakov, you’re in a very dark place indeed.