Friday, January 06, 2017

BBC spotlights Sherlock Holmes on the radio

Listen here.
Hear the evidence gathered clue by clue - as Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, Nick Utechin investigates how the Baker Street sleuth has been portrayed on radio across the decades.
Stretching from the Forties to the Noughties, this 3 hour showcase of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective features some rare recordings of Holmes and Watson in action:
* The Adventure of the Speckled Band (17/05/1945)
Why did Helen Stoner's twin sister die in mysterious circumstances on the eve of her wedding? Stars Cedric Hardwicke as Sherlock Holmes and Finlay Curry as Dr Watson.
* The Red-Headed League (19/10/1954);
The strange case of an ad seeking only red-haired men... Stars Ralph Richardson as Holmes and John Gielgud as Watson.
* The Boscombe Valley Mystery (12/12/1966)
The sleuth probes a murder in Herefordshire, but the crime's roots are down under. Stars Carleton Hobbs as Holmes and Norman Shelley as Watson.
* The Return of Sherlock Holmes: The Solitary Cyclist (17/03/1993)
The sleuth investigates who's following music teacher Violet Smith. Stars Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson.
* The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Abergavenny Murder (18/05/2004)
When a man dies in his Baker Street apartment, the detective is bound to investigate. Stars Clive Merrison as Holmes and Andrew Sachs as Watson.

Pic: Don Knotts

Pop Culture Roundup: Anime; Conan; Dick Tracy; The Spirit; DC Comics; Sherlock

Lists you can use: The 20 Best Anime Movies Not Made By Studio Ghibli.


Thanks Boing Boing for alerting us to these free Kindle collections of the complete Conan and complete Sherlock Holmes.


Via special arrangement with the Will Eisner Estate, the Spirit is now appearing in the Dick Tracy comic strip, which is illustrated by comics great Joe Staton. It's a win-win-win. I hope this get published in book form eventually. Thanks, Rip, for the heads up.


Good news! I you have a 1978 DC Comics calendar (which I do), it'll work for 2017, too. Or, if you prefer just Batman or Spider-Man.


Benedict Cumberbatch apparently shares a common ancestor with Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Cumberbatch, 40, and the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who died in 1930, were 16th cousins, twice removed, according to the website

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Pic: Clint Eastwood

Video find: Gerald McBoing Boing

Pop Notes: Pop '67; Kaluta and Fradon; Rogue One; Fisher and Reynolds

Hello and welcome to the New Year! I enjoyed a nice holiday from posting here at PCS. I hope you had some down time, too.
I've plugged it a couple times already, but I hope you'll check out our new side blog: Pop '67! It's a look back at pop culture 50 years ago. It's predecessor, Pop '66!, was a lot of fun to create, though it never enjoyed PCS-level readership.

And, speaking of 1966, our pal Booksteve mentioned that he's wrapped up his long-running 1966: My Favorite Year blog, too. Tune into his regular site for good stuff.

I enjoyed lots of good reading over the holidays, including the most recent issue of Comic Book Creator, one of the great many mags published by the folks at TwoMorrows.

This one featured lengthy, well-illustrated, interviews by two awesome, but very different, artists of the 1960s and 70s: Ramona Fradon and Michael W. Kaluta.

In my mind, these two exemplify the difference between a cartoonist versus an illustrator - not that one is any better than the other.

Fradon is a cartoonist - somebody with a perhaps God-given knack for telling stories in pictures. Her comic book art obeys all the fundamentals of anatomy and perspective, yet isn't overly "realistic." There's a sense she's depicting an imaginary, cartoonish world - not our reality.

Kaluta's work, on the other hand, hearkens back to the great book illustrators of yesteryear. Though his comic art conveys movement and action, it looks more like the real world. He's also a master of creating a singular image - such as a comics cover or poster - that tells a story in its own right.

Kaluta admits in his interview that storytelling is something he had to learn, while Fradon says it's something that's always come naturally.

We're very lucky to have them both. Who'd want to be without Fradon's Aquaman or Metamorpho, or Kaluta's Shadow or Starstruck? Combining these two profiles in a single magazine highlights the delightful diversity found among the great comics artists.

Good stuff, highly recommended.

 Like the rest of the world, I also saw "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" over the holidays.

SPOILERS for anyone who didn't see it!

I have to admit I was disappointed, and not simply because this is a darker story than the other Star Wars films. It boiled down to the story being unnecessary - I think we've gone back to the Death Star well enough times (before, during, after) - and the characters being a bore.

I wanted to like Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. She has a compelling screen presence, but the character gave her nothing much to work with. The two males leads had little personality, either, and the snarky droid seemed trapped in the 1990s.

Unlike "The Force Awakens," which introduced us to new characters who were fun and who I'm eager to see return to the screen, I'm left not really wanting to see any of these folks again. And - I put a SPOILER up there didn't I? - I guess I won't!

Also over the holidays, I mourned the passing of Carrie Fisher and, the following day, her mother Debbie Reynolds.

I don't have much to say that others haven't. Like many, I grew up with Fisher as Princess Leia. I was there in the theater during the summer of '77 getting swept away like everyone else. And Reynolds will forever more light up the screen each time anyone watches "Singin' in the Rain."

It will be fun to see the upcoming documentary on these two, prepared without a suspicion that we'd be losing them both before it's release. And I'm glad we haven't seen the last of Leia, as Fisher reportedly had completed filming all her scenes as the character for the next Star Wars film.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Beach Boys and Motown issue 1966 "copyright dump" releases

To prevent overseas interests from cashing in, the Beach Boys and the Motown labels have once again issued rare recordings as a way to safeguard their copyrights.

In Europe, works go out of copyright 50 years after their original release. One way to secure the copyright, is for artists and record labels to reissue them. In the past, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys and Motown have all done this by releasing download releases, expensive limited edition box sets, or conventional reissues.

The Beatles seem to have abandoned the practice after issuing an official bootlegs release via iTunes back in 2013. Bob Dylan has generally gone the route of expensive box sets. This year, his huge collection of 1966 live recordings did the job. The Beach Boys and Motown have gone the download route, although the Beach Boys conventional release of Pet Sounds and Party! outtakes this year was likely also timed to protect copyright.

But the band has also just released a digital release aimed at protecting the rights of some professionally recorded live concerts. You can order the Beach Boys' Graduation Day: Live at the University of Michigan here.

Meanwhile, Motown has gathered a collection of 80(!) outtakes as Motown: Unreleased 1966. You can order it here.

Here are the track listings:

Show 1
  1. Help Me Rhonda
  2. I Get Around
  3. Medley: Fun, Fun Fun/Shut Down/Little Deuce Coupe/Surfin' USA
  4. Surfer Girl
  5. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow
  6. You're So Good To Me
  7. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
  8. California Girls
  9. Sloop John B
  10. Wouldn't It Be Nice
  11. God Only Knows
  12. Good Vibrations
  13. Graduation Day
  14. Barbara Ann
Show 2
  1. Help Me Rhonda
  2. I Get Around
  3. Medley: Fun, Fun Fun/Shut Down/Little Deuce Coupe/Surfin' USA
  4. Surfer Girl
  5. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow
  6. You're So Good To Me
  7. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
  8. California Girls
  9. Sloop John B
  10. Wouldn't It Be Nice
  11. God Only Knows
  12. Good Vibrations
  13. Graduation Day
  14. Barbara Ann
  15. Johnny B. Goode
Bonus Tracks
  1. KOMA Radio Spot
  2. Row Row Row Your Boat

Disc 1
  1. The Soulful Shack (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
  2. Ain't Too Proud To Beg (Alternate Version) - The Temptations
  3. Suddenly I Was Alone - Marvin Gaye
  4. The Shadow Of Your Smile - Billy Eckstine
  5. I Got You (In My Soul) - The Mynah Birds
  6. I'll Wait Forever - The Mynah Birds
  7. Road Burner (Son Of Road Runner) - Junior Walker & The All-Stars
  8. For Once In My Life - Billy Eckstine
  9. That'll Be The Day - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
  10. Don't Mess With Bill  - Earl Van Dyke
  11. Flower Girl (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
  12. Can't You Hear Me Knocking  - Brenda Holloway
  13. Whenever You Need Me  - Brenda Holloway
  14. Just Too Much To Hope For  - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
  15. Stand By Me (Live At The 20 Grand, Detroit/1966)  - Earl Van Dyke
  16. A Taste Of Honey  - The Four Tops
  17. Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Obie Benson / Take 1) - The Four Tops
  18. Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Levi Stubbs / Take 3) - The Four Tops
  19. Wives And Lovers (Lead Vocal By Lawrence Payton / Take 4) - The Four Tops
Disc 2
  1. The Lonely Heart And Lonely Eyes Of Lonely Me - Brenda Holloway
  2. Give A Little Love - Marvin Gaye , Kim Weston
  3. What Good Am I Without You - Brenda Holloway
  4. Pucker Up Buttercup (Alternate Version) - Junior Walker & The All-Stars
  5. Monkey Talk - Earl Van Dyke
  6. A World Without You - Barbara McNair
  7. I Still Get Butterflies - Brenda Holloway
  8. In My Heart I Know It's Right - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  9. I'm Losing You - Gladys Knight & The Pip
  10. All These Things - Gladys Knight, The Spinners
  11. Hello, Young Lovers - The Four Tops
  12. I Wish You Love - The Four Tops
  13. Put On A Happy Face - Barbara McNair
  14. The Second Time Around - Barbara McNair
  15. Smile - Barbara McNair
  16. Day In - Day Out - Barbara McNair
  17. Nothing But A Fool - Gladys Knight and The Pips
  18. You're Gone (But Always In My Heart) - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  19. Never Stop Loving Me - Chris Clark
  20. Don't Compare Me With Her - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  21. You've Got Possibilities - Barbara McNair
  22. Never Trust A Man - Chris Clark
Disc 3
  1. Sweet Talkin' Guy - The Marvelettes
  2. I Feel Your Love Growin' On Me - Brenda Holloway
  3. Without Love You Lose A Good Feelin' - Brenda Holloway
  4. You Got A Little Of Everything - Brenda Holloway
  5. Baby I've Got It - Brenda Holloway
  6. Keep Me - Brenda Holloway
  7. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (Alternate Version) - The Miracles
  8. I Can't Let You Go - The Spinners
  9. Keep Away - Little Lisa
  10. Tea House In China Town (Alternate Version) - The Spinners
  11. I Found Something (Alternate Version) - Marvin Gaye
  12. Save Me From This Misery (Alternate Version) - The Isley Brothers
  13. I Still Love You - Chris Clark
  14. Got To Have You Back (Alternate Version)  - The Isley Brothers
  15. I Can't Take You Back - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  16. Then - The Temptations
  17. I'm Giving Up - Brenda Holloway
  18. Spellbound - Brenda Holloway
  19. For All We Know (Alternate Version) - The Spinners
Disc 4
  1. Can't Hold The Feeling Back - Brenda Holloway
  2. The Impossible Dream - Billy Eckstine
  3. Dear Miss Lonely Hearts - Marvin Gaye
  4. Need Your Lovin' (Want You Back) - The Underdogs
  5. One Of These Days - The Underdogs
  6. On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever) - The Four Tops
  7. More (Theme From "Mondo Cane") - The Supreme
  8. Somewhere - The Supremes
  9. Michelle - The Supremes
  10. I'm So Helpless (When I'm With You) - Debbie Dean
  11. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - Marvin Gaye
  12. Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Kim Weston
  13. Never Grow Old - Kim Weston
  14. How Great Thou Art - Kim Weston
  15. Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Gladys Knight & The Pips
  16. Where You There - The Supremes
  17. What Do You Choose - The Supremes
  18. Steal Away - Marvin Gaye
  19. Near The Cross - The Miracles
  20. Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Martha & The Vandellas

Stream the new Brian Eno album

You can hear Brian Eno's new ambient instrumental LP, Reflection, now on NPR.

Pic: Linda Evans and Lee Majors on "Big Valley"

Video find: The Spencer Davis Group performs "Keeping on Running"

"Wonder Woman" - new international trailer

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year from Tintin!

Meanwhile, 50 years ago ...

Our new spin-off blog, Pop '67!, launches today. Tune in daily for fresh posts highlighting the pop culture of 50 years past. You'll dig it!

Pop Focus: The live-action Josie and the Pussycats with Cheryl Ladd

1970s kids will remember "Josie and the Pussycats," the Archie-related 'toon about a kitty-cat-clad girl pop trio who got into all sorts of adventures. But they may not remember this.

When Hanna-Barbera launched the cartoon series they held a talent contest to put together a real-life group, ala the Monkees. The plan was for this trio to supply music for the show and issue records (which did happen) and also appear at the end of each episode in a live-action segment (which didn't).

Those selected to portray the real-life Josie and group were Kathleen Dougherty as Josie, Patrice Holloway - who'd already had some success as a pop/soul singer - as Valerie, and future "Charlie's Angels" star Cheryl Ladd (then known as Cherie Moor) as Melody.

According to Wikipedia, the casting of Holloway, who was African-American, resulted in some controversy:
The Josie and the Pussycats recordings were produced by La La Productions, run by Danny Janssen and Bobby Young. 
… Janssen presented the newly formed band to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera to finalize the production deal. Hanna-Barbera wanted Janssen to recast Holloway, because they had decided to portray "Josie and the Pussycats" as an all-white trio and had altered Valerie, who had been conceived as African-American and was already appearing as such in Arche's revamped Josie and the Pussycats comic book, to make her white.  
Janssen refused to recast Holloway and threatened to walk away from the project. After a three-week-long stand-off between Janssen and Hanna-Barbera, Hanna-Barbera finally relented and allowed Janssen to keep Holloway, and changed Valerie back to being African-American.  
The Valerie character was the first African-American female character on a regular Saturday morning cartoon series. The Hardy Boys drummer Pete Jones had been the first African-American male to appear on Saturday mornings a year earlier.
Heres a look at the "real" Josie and the Pussycats and their album, released on Capitol in 1970. Rhino issued a limited-edition compilation of the group's recordings several years back but it's now very hard, and expensive, the come by.