August 16, 2017

ELVIS 68

Elvis Presley passed away forty years ago today. He was the hillbilly cat of the mid-1950s, who brought a hybrid of Blues and Country called Rock and Roll to the mainstream. Our music history is filled with legends who credit his Heartbreak Hotel single as their baptism into the world of electric guitars and dreams of stardom. Both Paul McCartney and Terry Gilliam (Monty Python) listed the song on their BBC Desert Island Discs. McCartney called Elvis their "messiah" and George Harrison said the song was a Rock and Roll epiphany. John Lennon said, "When I first heard Heartbreak Hotel, I could hardly make out what was being said. It was just the experience of hearing it and having my hair stand on end." And Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) also sited the song as a turning point. I first discovered Presley about seventeen years after his rise to stardom. And even at that point, Heartbreak Hotel was the song that drove me to a life-long passion for playing electric guitar. Carefully picking out the riff and solo by ear, it was the first tune I learned. Neat family trivia: I learned recently that my maternal grandmother, a professional singer, was managed by Colonel Tom Parker in the early days! Despite Elvis' wide influence, however, I never really did become an Elvis fan per se. I was far more interested in The Beatles, the British Invasion, and the original Blues masters. But for many, he was the king of Rock and Roll. I suppose my distance as a kid might have been due to seeing him as a then-current cultural icon in the throws of his Las Vegas years of the 1970s. Where was that fiery young blues fan I heard in Heartbreak? His post-Army career (he served 1958-1960) in the 1960s was lucrative and filled with movie deals, but the years also marked the beginning of compromise. Like any powerful force that challenges the status quo, 1950s rebel-Elvis was acculturated and stripped of his potency by becoming a mascot to commercial and mainstream goals. It's interesting to note that even his final appearance on Ed Sullivan in 1957 had to be filmed from the waist up in order to censor his provocatively swinging hips. His string of films seemed to mark a trajectory from method-actor-wannabe in 1956 to posing onscreen with a fake guitar like a cartoon of himself by 1969. And by the time I saw him on television in the 1970s, that cartoon version had graduated to the full glitz of Vegas showbiz. Yet I've always found an interesting crossroads point in his 1968 Comeback Special. Although the program included some glitzy numbers, it also included segments of Elvis sitting around with jamming his band in intimate, "Unplugged" style. Elvis seemed to relax a bit and the rebel was allowed to reemerge. I loved their version of Jimmy Reed's Baby What You Want Me To Do. Elvis just seemed to throw himself into the guitar playing and the groove. My old guitar students will recognize the arrangement- this is where I got it, folks! Another highlight was when he did a take of One Night. The original lyrics, which lamented "one night of sin is what I'm now paying for" had been watered down early in his career to make the song more radio friendly to "one night with you is what I'm now praying for." But Elvis got carried away in the fun of the '68 jam and let slip some raunchier lines: "The things I did and I saw would make the earth stand still." Hey, this kind of personal confession was hot stuff in the old days! Even his guys shouted their encouragement when they hear what he'd done, just as they had, in fact, shouted, on the original recording. Watching the '68 Special, I always wondered if Elvis could have made a different decision about where to take his career after that. Maybe he could have reclaimed his edge and been a  rebellious role model in the late 60s? Or at the very least, perhaps he could have enjoyed his days rocking out with Scotty Moore and his band, reminding us all that he could sing and play- and that he meant every word. He seemed to be at a crossroads. But Elvis didn't go down that road. Instead, the last scenes of his story were played out in Vegas rhinestone splendor, with his sad decline into addiction to prescription drugs, poor health, and an early death at forty-two. I believe Elvis had some good moments left in him after the '68 Special, and I don't want to take away from the enthusiasm his fans still felt for him, but this was the last time we'd see the leather-clad rebel who had started it all for so many fans and musicians back during the first wave of Rock. The  '68 Special is currently out-of-print, but hopefully fans will be treated to a 50th anniversary edition next year? In the meantime, check out some clips below. In other news, my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show from Australia are now live: Episode #1(Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceEpisode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), Episode #5 (The Avengers). And coming soon- Episode #6 (The Prisoner). Enjoy!




Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Jack Kirby The PrisonerCasino Royale ConcertReview: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

August 15, 2017

MIKE TRIM BOOK

Sale alert: Spy Vibers can now pick up The Future Was Fab: The Art of Mike Trim for $10 at Bud's Art Books. If you ever found yourself swooning over the incredible miniature vehicles in Gerry Anderson's classic sci-spy adventure shows, this would be a great addition to your library. About the book: "Fans of British science fiction television—Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, UFO—will instantly recognize the work of designer and illustrator Mike Trim. Working with special effects director Derek Meddings, Trim designed many of the characteristic spacecraft, aircraft, and ground vehicles for these and other programs and feature films. He also created the dramatic images of the Martian invasion for Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. All this and more in 150 captioned color plates." More info at Mike Trim and Bud's Art booksIn other news, my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show from Australia are now live: Episode #1(Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceEpisode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), Episode #5 (The Avengers). And coming soon- Episode #6 (The Prisoner). Enjoy!


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Jack Kirby The Prisoner, Casino Royale ConcertReview: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

August 13, 2017

JACK KIRBY THE PRISONER

New release: Spy Vibers, are you ready for some exciting news? Amazon and The Unmutual have announced the upcoming release of The Prisoner Jack Kirby Gil Kane Artist Edition! The book will include original artwork based on Patrick McGoohan's classic series, The Prisoner. Both Kirby and Kane, prominent comic book artists, developed projects in the 1970s for Prisoner comics that remained unpublished. Fans have hoped for decades to see more examples and now Titan Books promises to deliver a collection scanned from the artists' original pages. Publication is set for March, 2018 (on the 6th- of course!). Stay tuned for updates as more info is released. In other news, my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show from Australia are now live: Episode #1(Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceEpisode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), Episode #5 (The Avengers). And coming soon- Episode #6 (The Prisoner). Enjoy! Related posts: Review: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Guide Portmeirion Photography 1Portmeirion PhotographyThe Prisoner London Flat, Alan Hayes Prisoner Audio ReviewInterview: Ian OlgivyInterview: Brian GormanPrisoner SupergrassPrisoner XTCPrisoner XTC 2Prisoner DC Fontana.


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Review: The Prisoner Vol 2Interview: The Prisoner Essential GuideMaud Russell MottisfontSpy Vibe Radio 4Batman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

August 12, 2017

SLEEPER AGENTS

I've often said I prefer the fictional world of spies to the real deal. What really went on during the Cold War (and the new Cold War?) could be pretty grim. But it is interesting to hear stories and learn more about how groups operated. The May edition of Car and Driver, for example, had an interesting article about patrols who would travel in east Germany to report back on movements of troops and equipment. Although there was some small tolerance for mutual reconnaissance, there were many instances of patrols having to make a run for it- often traveling in fast off-road vehicles. And the BBC reported on June 23rd about a Russian KGB man who trained Soviet spies, often over decades, to successfully plant themselves as citizens of foreign nations in order to gather intelligence. One common method in the pre-internet days was to study cemeteries and find names of people who died young and who were the approximate age of the agents. They would then assume those identities and start a new cover life. Amazingly, a group of ten Russian sleeper agents were arrested in New York in 2010. This case apparently inspired The Americans TV series, which I couldn't stand by the way (Any story that relies on violence and sex in the first ten minutes to get our attention is too crass and inauthentic for my tastes. I'm sick of characters acting and talking like "tv people"). My favorite sleeper-agent story is probably The Carriers, episode 10 from the first season of Mission Impossible. The plot centered around the IMF team (with the help of George Takei) infiltrating a fake town, where sleepers were trained to act "American". The government suspected the baddies were cultivating biological weapons, so the team was sent to sabotage the operation and leave undetected. That was the beauty of Mission Impossible: get in, sabotage, and send the enemy back to the drawing board wondering where they made a mistake. I sure hope the movies can capture that someday, rather than relying on gun battles. Below: Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain) of the IMF team in The Carriers (1966). Related post: Spy Camera GuideIn other news, my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show from Australia are now live: Episode #1(Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceEpisode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), Episode #5 (The Avengers). Enjoy!


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Roger Vivier FashionSpy Vibe Radio 41960s Pop ModelsBatman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseFahrenheit 451 50thInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.

August 9, 2017

WILD WILD WEST MOVIES

New release: The Wild Wild West TV movies have just been released on DVD as a double feature by Paramount. Produced ten years after the original series ended The Wild Wild West Revisited (1979) and More Wild Wild West (1980) were in that short list of nostalgia projects to capture some of the 1960s spy magic- or at least to appeal to fans by bringing back actors to reprise their popular characters. The common premise dealt with spies coming out of retirement to foil arch enemies from their past. It doesn't sound like much, and they weren't, but it sure was great to see those familiar faces again. The Wild Wild West movies did not appear on the series box set, so this standalone DVD release might be just what the doctor ordered. Although Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were on hand, sadly Michael Dunn passed away in 1973, leaving Paul Williams to be cast as "Dr. Loveless, Jr" in the first title. It's likely Richard (Jaws) Kiel was busy making the James Bond film Moonraker with Roger Moore and couldn't return as "Voltaire". Other titles riding this wave at the time were (not including later re-makes of 1960s theatrical releases) Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1983), Get Smart The Nude Bomb (1980), Get Smart, Again! (1989), and I Spy Returns (1994). Made in the late Cold War with different sensibilities and style, none of the projects really matched the originals. But these TV movies could be a fun ride down memory lane, and in some cases, true fans did their best to add authenticity (nod to Robert Short and U.N.C.L.E.). More info at Amazon. The bigger news for WWW fans is the new release of a 4 CD set featuring music from the series! Curated by Jon Burlingame, it's definitely something to check out. More info at Screen Archives EntertainmentIn other news, my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show from Australia are now live: Episode #1(Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceEpisode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), Episode #5 (The Avengers). Enjoy!


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Spy Vibe Radio 41960s Pop ModelsBatman GallantsAdam West R.I.P.Village TriangleRoger Moore R.I.P.Spy Vibe Radio 3Sgt Pepper 50thSatanik Kriminal OST60s OverdriveMake Love in LondonSpy Vibe Radio 2Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseFahrenheit 451 50thInterview: Police SurgeonXTC Avengers1966 Pep SpiesBatman Book InterviewExclusive Fleming InterviewAvengers Comic StripsRobert Vaughn RIPUNCLE FashionsThunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film GuideLost Avengers FoundThe Callan FileMission Impossible 50thGreen Hornet 50thStar Trek 50thPortmeirion Photography 1Filming the PrisonerGaiman McGinnins ProjectIan Fleming GraveRevolver at 50Karen Romanko InterviewMod Tales 2Umbrella Man: Patrick MacneeNew Beatles FilmThe Curious CameraEsterel Fashion 1966Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview007 Tribute CoversThe Phantom Avon novels returnIan Fleming FestivalArgoman DesignSylvia Anderson R.I.P.Ken Adam R.I.P.George Martin R.I.P.The New Avengers ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.
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