August 27, 2015

JAZ WISEMAN SALE

Deal alert: Lulu are offering an additional 30% off (code: SAVE30) all book orders until midnight tonight on top of a 20% sale on cult TV books published by Jaz Wiseman. That means Spy Vibers can save 50% today! Wiseman is celebrated among retro spy fans for his fantastic work on The Avengers box sets, including a series of in-depth interviews with many cast/crew members, documentaries, and his tireless work archiving the graphic design history of our favorite spy shows. He was the man behind The Morning After, a richly textured magazine devoted to The Persuaders! that included many interviews, feature articles, and production history. Wiseman has re-published The Morning After in a series of two massive anthologies, and he has reached into his own vast collection of rarities to make available some unproduced scripts for The New Avengers and Shoestring. As I work on my own upcoming book about the Spy Boom and thriller genre, I'm forever grateful to Jaz for his documentation and many interviews from that world of well-dressed adventure. Sadly, many of the original cast and crew from the 1960s and 1970s have since left us, and Wiseman's publications and contributions to DVD/Blu-ray releases are essential. The current sale will last for a couple of weeks and includes three scripts by Philip Broadley (Secret Agent, The Saint, The Champions, Man in a Suitcase, Department S, Jason King, The Adventurer, Return of The Saint): ShoestringTell Me About it (New Avengers), and Tale of the Double Cross (New Avengers). Readers can also pick up the illustrated collected volumes: The Morning After 1-10 and The Morning After 11-18. More info below. Happy reading!


More about The Morning AfterThe Morning After was established in February/March 1991 as the official The Persuaders!/ITC Appreciation Society by the then copyright owners, the ITC Entertainment Group Ltd. The society mainly concentrated on The Persuaders! in the club magazine, The Morning After but some issues were 'specials' dedicated to other ITC action-adventure series made in the 1960s and 70s such as The Champions, Man In A Suitcase, Department S and The Baron.

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Notes From UNCLE, Honor Blackman at 90UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 24, 2015

NOTES FROM U.N.C.L.E.

I joined a large group of fellow fans, writers, and artists last weekend in Los Angeles to celebrate the release of the new Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, as well as to share our love and enthusiasm for the original series from the 1960s. Mission HQ was established at the famed Creature Features shop in Burbank, where we were treated to a display of TV props and memorabilia, book signings by Jon Burlingame and Cynthia Walker, and a live commentary of The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by special effect and props maestro Robert Short (Beetljuice, ET, Splash, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). Tanner of the Double O Section and I arrived mid-commentary and were immediately drawn into Bob's fascinating insights from his experiences on set for The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1983). Because of his tireless devotion to detail and to maintaining continuity with some of the original show's designs and conventions, we learned that a number of vintage-style U.N.C.L.E. elements were shot, although many of them were left on the cutting-room floor by the editor (including iconic references to the U.N.C.L.E. gun and headquarters). I also heard an interesting story about how the script called for a character to be wearing a long multi-colored scarf in reference to Tom Baker's popular Doctor Who at the time. My own film students can attest that one has to often compromise because of time and availability, and indeed the costume department only had a small silk neckerchief when cameras were scheduled to roll. Hilarious! Bob also had interesting stories about visiting sets regularly as a young man and getting a first-hand look into the making of shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and The Wild Wild West. The display, which he set up with Danny Biederman, Barry Koper, and others, included enlargements of many of his own color photographs snapped on the U.N.C.L.E. set in the 1960s. Like many fans, I never thought I'd have an opportunity to handle original show props. Spy Vibers can imagine the thrill of getting to hold a number of original U.N.C.L.E. and THRUSH guns and communicators. Beyond the simple nostalgia, it was also a thrill to note the exceptional craftsmanship of these artifacts. See below for my review of the new Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie by Guy Ritchie. Images below: my photographs of original props, costumes, memorabilia. Portrait of me by Robert Short.














On Friday night we all went to an IMAX screening of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie by Guy Ritchie and what a fun delight it was! So many films based on 1960s shows have been modern contrivances that held no connections to the source material (Wild Wild West, I Spy, The Avengers, etc). Ritchie made a wise choice early on to set his U.N.C.L.E. story in the world of the Cold War and the early 1960s. Although some fans were bothered by the film's omission of many of the symbolic elements and rituals of the original show- as well as a personality makeover for Ilya K (no spoilers here)- the overall retro vibe of the movie was really successful and fun. Many scenes were shot with a vintage image quality and, except for one modern-style chase sequence, the action was thankfully understated (sometimes silent!) and without that bombastic barrage of jarring sound fx that is so prevalent. Thank you! The soundtrack was very groovy and did a great job bringing a jet-setting (and sometimes spaghetti western) vibe to the experience. The CD has been sold out at Amazon for over a week, so hopefully that means ancillary sales are high (hey, we want a sequel!). I don't think I've seen this kind of love-letter to 1960s cool since the Oceans series by Steven Soderbergh (he was signed to make this U.N.C.L.E. movie for a while). It was clearly a labor of joy and affection for filmmaking. Spy Vibers will love the attention to detail from the production designers who recreated 1960s East and West Berlin, Rome, and other locations of international mystery. The costumes were equally stunning and never went too over the top. With so many far out designs known from the era, it would have been easy to take things too far and approach parody. Perhaps that balance was the central theme to my enjoyment of the film- fun and restraint. Maybe my only quibble design-wise was about the references to Paco Rabanne, who I believe was still making jewelry during the period of the film and hadn't yet blasted off into his celebrated solo work from later in the decade. I had been worried by the trailer and print ads, which seemed to suggest the film was all actors standing around posing like a contrived magazine spread. I needn't have worried, and I felt in good hands with everyone's performance. Hugh Grant was great as Mr. Waverly. He is one of my favorite actors (About a Boy is one of his best), and I often felt he could have played a great spy, like Patrick McGoohan, who can be charming in his cover but observant and calculating from the corner of his eye. Alicia Vikander was quite good as Gaby, though I felt the script had some trouble defining her character in terms of her agency under pressure (was she independent and capable or in need of rescue?). I also didn't quite buy the love interest angle, again a problem with the script. Without going into details, the plot raced along well and used some familiar tropes from the old days of Cold War spy adventures. Long-time fans will spot references to Connery's era of Bond and to Michael Caine's Ipcress File. I think Spy Vibers will love it! Our group followed up on Saturday night with a triple-feature screening of 1960s U.N.C.L.E. movies at Quentin Tarantino's theater. It was especially thrilling to see them projected from film prints on the big screen! You can love digital remastering all you want, but nothing compares to the natural surface quality and color of film. The presentation, which also included correct screen framing and aspect ratios, looked absolutely fantastic. Even The Karate Killers, which was shown on a reddish 16mm print, was a blast to see. As I watched, I thought back over the new movie and how it compared to the old series. I kept seeing little moments and subtle elements in the old films that were clearly tapped by Guy Ritchie to create his new iteration. Yes, maybe there were some iconic things fans will miss in the 2015 version, but I could see the heart of the show, or at least most of it, preserved in Ritchie's vision. Even the choice to redefine the original characters didn't, in my view, derail the experience. After all the disappointment we have suffered as fans through the many disastrous&nbsp remakes that tried to cash in on the 1960s, it was a joy to finally see quality and some respect for the source up there on the screen. Go see it and tell me what you think!


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Honor Blackman at 90, UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 22, 2015

HONOR BLACKMAN AT 90

Happy Birthday to Honor Blackman! Born on this day in 1925, Blackman soared to stardom in the 1960s as a role model for strong independent women. She brought an athletic, fighting spirit (she knocked out two boys as a kid!), brainy intelligence, and her natural beauty to the early years of The Avengers, where she became the first emancipated (and leather-clad!) action heroine. Her striking looks and judo skills then gained international acclaim when she appeared as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Honor Blackman has remained active in the business throughout the decades and shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 90. In the past couple of years, she has toured a memoir show, appeared in You, Me & Them, launched clothing sales for charity, and has participated in numerous anniversary events celebrating the legacy of The Avengers and James Bond. Spy Vibers can find more news, career details, and merchandise at her official website. Many Happy Returns, Honor! Below: early press photos via Getty Images. Enjoy! Related Spy Vibe links: Rodney Marshall Interview, Avengers Sing, Michael Richardson Interview, Rodney Marshall Interview 2, Farewell Steed, Season 5 Titles, Avengers Books Sale, Peeling Off the Trench CoatsCatsuitsMods to Moongirls, Set Countdown #7Lost Avengers audio CDs.













Selected Spy Vibe posts: UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 20, 2015

NETWORK SALE

Deal alert: UK distributor Network has just announced a 50% off flash sale on some of their comprehensive box sets, including Callan: the Color Years, The Persuaders (blu-ray), The Professionals (blu-ray), Robin of Sherwood, Space 1999 (blu-ray), The Sweeney, the UP Series, and Supermarionation (blu-ray). Shipping to the US can add up because of weight, so I suggest that Spy Vibers in the States try spreading their items out between a couple of orders if possible. The flash sale runs until September 2nd. More info at Network. Happy collecting! On a side note, I recently completed a successful mission to LA to see a screening of the new Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, as well as a triple feature of 1960s U.N.C.L.E. films at Quentin Terantino's theaterwith members of the Inner U.N.C.L.E. FB group. I have photographs and impressions to share. Maybe it was a THRUSH conspiracy, but I came down with pneumonia at the end of the trip, so please stay tuned while I slowly bounce back into action. I look forward to posting more about the events, as well as more photographs from my location tour in the UK, very soon! Thanks, -Jason 


Selected Spy Vibe posts: UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

August 19, 2015

BEATLES CONTRACT AUCTION

The first recording contract signed by The Beatles will go up for auction this fall. Heritage Auctions will be selling the Uwe Blaschke collection, noted as one of the largest in the world, on September 19th in New York. Blaschke was able to collect many of the band's earliest artifacts and documents from their time as a house band in Hamburg, including the contract that led to their first recording sessions with Tony Sheridan. The contract, signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, is expected to fetch about $150,000. "This is perhaps the most historically important Beatles document to ever appear at auction," said Dean Harmeyer, Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions. "Without this contract, which directly led to their involvement with Brian Epstein, the Beatles may have never been able achieve their later success as a recording group. And at the time it was a momentous career milestone — they'd finally secured an actual recording deal, something they had only dreamed of before 'My Bonnie'". The sale will also include original posters by Richard Avedon, signed artwork by Klaus Voormann, a rare photograph of George modeling his new leather jacket in 1960 (below), and original letters and postcards. John Lennon often said the band reached its peak as a performing act during the Hamburg years, when youthful ambition and a diet of Preludin whipped the group into a tight frenzy of Rock and Roll perfection. This was the genesis of Beat music. If a time machine was ever invented, you'd absolutely find me at those clubs catching every show during the band's residency. Uwe Blaschke's collection has been on display in Hamburg and I sincerely hope that most of the items will stay together through the auction, if only to enable us to have a complete museum someday devoted to The Beatles. More info at Heritage



Selected Spy Vibe posts: UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers 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 Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.
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