November 22, 2014

ROBERT VAUGHN

Happy Birthday to Robert Vaughn! The original Man From U.N.C.L.E. was born on this day in 1932. His career began in the 1950s with work on television and in films, including The Young Philadelphians (1959), for which he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. He joined the all-star cast of leading men in The Magnificent Seven (1960), playing a dashing gunslinger who had lost his nerve. Although I was impressed by the many noble and heroic characters in the film as a kid, it was Vaughn's ability to express vulnerability that evoked empathy and it's his image that has stuck with me all these years. After appearing in The Lieutenant (1963-1964), Vaughn was cast to play Napoleon Solo (Ian Fleming contributed the name) in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968). As a kid, I was taken with Vaughn's suave image, but it's been fun to re-explore the series as an adult and appreciate his ability to also bring subtle humor to the character. He had a funny habit of gesturing with his U.N.C.L.E. gun when he spoke, as if it were a cigarette, which gave the character a nonchalance that was both appealing and absurd. Other major highlights in Vaughn's career include Bullitt (1968), Gerry Anderson's The Protectors (1972-1974), Superman III (1983), and contemporary dramas like Law & Order, Coronation Street, and Hustle. He has also done some great Shakespeare, which I spotlighted in the Spy Vibe posts, Shakespeare Spies I and II. I grew up admiring Robert Vaughn both for his expression and presence as an actor and for his commitment to political activism. Learn more: Official fan site, Fans From UNCLE, IMDB. Related Spy Vibe posts: Japanese UNCLE editions, UNCLE Gun, UNCLE Turns 50, UK Comics, UNCLE Manga. Vaughn as Napoleon Solo below from Getty Images. 


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Popular Skullture, New Gerry Anderson SetsNew SECRET AGENT setArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyModesty MondayFeraud Mod FashionFlint Scores!Bond DanishHome MoviesNew Richard Sala BookNew 007 ComicsDesigning Bond BooksGreen Hornet MangaMargaret Nolan ArtNo 6 FestivalBarbarella Returns007 Audio Books ReturnDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Danger Diabolik Soundtrack, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

November 21, 2014

POPULAR SKULLTURE

New release: Richard Chopping's famous cover for Goldfinger is featured in an interesting new art book called Popular Skullture. Skeleton graphics have haunted the front of mystery and pulp fiction titles for decades. The use of a macabre grin or boney finger offered designers and illustrators an instantly understood symbol of danger and intrigue. Looking back at some of my own favorites from my Diabolikal image archive, I'd say The Shadow and the various detective pulps win the award for most skeletons employed. See my collage below for some faves from the world of James Bond, as well. I haven't seen a copy of Popular Skullture yet, but I would expect many of the images below appear in the collection. Book details from Bud's Art Books: "Edited and designed by award-winning art director Monte Beauchamp- with an introduction by graphic design luminary Steven Heller. Consumers embrace the skull: Nike, Calvin Klein, Zippo, and Crystal Head Vodka feature them as product lines. Skulls adorn artwork, sneakers, candy, skateboards, jewelry, and even wallpaper. The skull is everywhere in pop culture! Never before has a book addressed the skull as a cover motif during the Golden Age of American publishing, from the 1930s through the mid-50s. Monte Beauchamp is an award-winning art director and graphic designer whose work has appeared in Graphis, Communication Arts, SPDA, Print, American Illustration, and The Society of Illustrators Annual. He has received numerous awards and honors, and has served as a juror for both American Illustration and The Society of Illustrators. He is the founder and editor of the graphics-illustration-comics annual BLAB! His books include: The Life & Times of R. Crumb (St. Martin’s Press), Striking Images: Vintage Matchbook Cover Art (Chronicle Books), The Devil in Design (Fantagraphics), New & Used BLAB! (Chronicle Books) and many more." Below: Pupular Skullture cover, favorite skull images from Spy Vibe's Diabolikal image archive on Pinterest, and some favorite Bond designs with the skeleton motif. After hearing that Sting wrote the Synchronicity album at Ian Fleming's Goldeneye, I've often wondered if he was inspired by Richard Chopping's designs when he wrote the line, "There's a skeleton choking on a crust of bread." How about it, Sting? Popular Skullture Amazon page here




Selected Spy Vibe posts: New Gerry Anderson SetsNew SECRET AGENT setArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyModesty MondayFeraud Mod FashionFlint Scores!Bond DanishHome MoviesNew Richard Sala BookNew 007 ComicsDesigning Bond BooksGreen Hornet MangaMargaret Nolan ArtNo 6 FestivalBarbarella Returns007 Audio Books ReturnDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Danger Diabolik Soundtrack, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

November 20, 2014

FUNERAL IN BERLIN OST

Sou track Release: Conrad Elfers' score to the Harry Palmer classic, Funeral in Berlin (1966/Michael Caine), has been newly mixed for CD from the original masters and packaged in a limited edition with rare tracks by Intrada. The second Harry Palmer film, directed by Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger), found Palmer embroiled in an espionage tale set in cold war Berlin with operatives using funeral services as cover for defectors. All tracks from the original RCA stereo album appear. Previously unreleased material includes a pre-title sequence ("Berlin"), a second version of "Tension Among Mortuary Men - Reprise"), the original album opening track ("Theme From Funeral In Berlin") performed by The Puppets, and more. Liner notes by Jeff Bond, flipper cover design by Joe Sikoryak. Konrad Elfers conducts. 21 tracks. More details here. A 17-track CD-R version (from 2012) is also available here.


Selected Spy Vibe posts: New Gerry Anderson SetsNew SECRET AGENT setArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyModesty MondayFeraud Mod FashionFlint Scores!Bond DanishLouis FeraudRoger Moore DayHome MoviesNew Richard Sala BookNew 007 ComicsUnseen Fleming in new 007 by HorowitzDesigning Bond BooksFoster SpiesGreen Hornet MangaMargaret Nolan ArtNo 6 FestivalBarbarella Returns007 Audio Books ReturnHarry Palmer BluOne Million PrizesDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

November 19, 2014

NEW GERRY ANDERSON COLLECTIONS

On the heels of our announcement that a new Complete Secret Agent/Danger man DVD set is coming from Shout Factory, the distributor has also listed sets from their upcoming Gerry Anderson Collection. As with Secret Agent, the sets will offer fans a chance to pick up out-of-print UK TV classics from 1960s. So far they are listing Captain Scarlet and Stingray box sets. With the "Collection" banner on the boxes, I hope the company is planning to follow up with UFO, Thunderbirds, and others. There is no mention of Blu-ray editions, which is disappointing considering some of the Hi-def work being done in England by Network. Hopefully we'll be seeing improved transfers compared to the old A&E prints, and released at the proper frame-rate for US viewers (i.e. no PAL-NTSC speed-up issues). I will definitely consider picking up new sets if they mean upgrading these fabulous Sci-Spy adventure shows. Details below. Related posts: License to Kill Puppets, Thunderbirds Comic Collection, Lady Penelope/U.N.C.L.E. Comics. Learn more: Fanderson, Official Anderson site, UK PAL DVD/Blu-ray Gerry Anderson sets and new documentary from Network.


Produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson in 1967-1968, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is perhaps the best Supermarionation series the couple ever created. The technology had improved after Thunderbirds, allowing for more accurate proportions and fine articulation of the puppets themselves. Another bonus is the show's dashing lead character (a dashing puppet!) with a voice like Cary Grant. In addition to the original 32 episodes, bonus features include audio commentary, and process-related shorts with puppeteer Mary Turner, director Alan Perry, and scriptwriter (and Bond film alum) Shane Rimmer. From Shout: "Fate made him indestructible. Courage made him a hero. In the year 2068, Earth's greatest defense team, Spectrum, is tasked with fighting a cosmic battle against an ancient race from the planet Mars: the sinister Mysterons. Possessing the ability to recreate the exact likeness of any object or person they destroy, the evil aliens set their sights on Spectrum's number one agent- the intrepid Captain Scarlet. But when their initial attack on Scarlet fails, the Mysterons discover they have awoken what will be their most dangerous enemy. Obtaining the Mysterons' special power of retro-metabolism, Captain Scarlet has been rendered virtually invulnerable…and completely unstoppable in his quest to protect the Earth from any attack. Produced by the immortal Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, Stingray) and featuring his famous SUPERMARIONATION technique, all thirty-two episodes of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons are here in one convenient package, providing you 100% of your daily recommended allowance of sci-fi and cult classic television. Join the fight to save the Earth with Captain Scarlet!" Releases February 10th. Pre-order price on Amazon is only $26.94! Find out why Spy Vibe chose Captain Scarlet as #9 in our countdown of best set designs: full article, Scarlet post.


I didn't know what to expect going in to Stingray (1964-1965), but the series really won me over with its heavy use of spy conventions, secret lairs, and fiendish plots. In addition to the original 39 episodes, bonus features in the new set include audio commentary, stills gallery, and a Making-of short about the series. From Shout: "Stand by for action! We are about to launch…STINGRAY! Battle stations! Join the World Aquanaut Security Patrol in a riptide of retro t.v. with the sci-fi adventure series Stingray. Created by the immortal Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Thunderbirds, Space: 1999) and employing their classic SUPERMARIONATION technique, Stingray is a torpedo blast of action for kids of all ages. The flagship of the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (W.A.S.P.), Stingray is the world's most highly sophisticated submarine, capable of speeds of over 600 knots and the ability to submerge anywhere on the Earth's ocean floor. Under the command of the square-jawed and heroic Captain Troy Tempest, Stingray explores the most treacherous depths of our waters and protects the world from the perils that lurk undersea. Featuring all thirty-nine of the original series episodes. What are you waiting for? Put on your PJs, pour yourself some breakfast cereal and make anytime Saturday morning with Stingray!" Releases January 13th. Pre-order price on Amazon is only $27.99! Below: Captain Scarlet lounges in one of the program's groovy sets.


Selected Spy Vibe posts: New SECRET AGENT setArt of ModestyAvengers Blu-ray updateTokyo Beat 1964Polaroid SpyModesty MondayFeraud Mod FashionFlint Scores!Bond DanishLouis FeraudRoger Moore DayHome MoviesNew Richard Sala BookNew 007 ComicsUnseen Fleming in new 007 by HorowitzDesigning Bond BooksFoster SpiesGreen Hornet MangaMargaret Nolan ArtNo 6 FestivalBarbarella Returns007 Audio Books ReturnHarry Palmer BluOne Million PrizesDesigner: Gene WinfieldAvengers Blu-RayAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy OlsenDiana Rigg at 76Gerry Anderson DocMr. Hulot's Box SetRare Avengers ScriptsMan From Uncle UK ComicsMattel X-15Thunderbirds ComicsShakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies IBatman NewsMonty Python Fathom SpiesRodney Marshall Avengers InterviewAvengers Book: Bowler Hats & Kinky BootsGeorge Lois Design & Mad MenRichard Sala: Super-EnigmatixBig Fun ToysDanger Diabolik SoundtrackMod Fashion DollsCold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese BooksThe 10th Victim German EditionThe Saint books returnTrina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.
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