September 19, 2018

DAVID MCCALLUM AT 85

Happy Birthday to David McCallum! Born on this day in Glasgow in 1933, McCallum is best known for his work in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.The Great EscapeThe Outer LimitsSapphire & SteelThe Invisible ManJAG, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS. In recent years, he has also lent his voice to a number of projects, including Ben 10The Replacements, and Batman projects. His first thriller novel, One a Crooked Man, was published in 2016! Spy Vibers are likely to know about McCallum's role as Illya in U.N.C.L.E., so I want to focus today on his lesser-know efforts- in the record industry! Music was a large part of David McCallum's upbringing and education, so it was actually serendipitous that his first character note in his U.N.C.L.E. script was that Illya kept a collection of Jazz records under his bed. Like many stars in the 1960s, McCallum recorded a number of albums that crossed between easy listening, pop, and rock. As a classically trained musician, he made arrangements of popular songs for oboe, French horn, strings, guitar, and drums. McCallum also conducted and contributed his own compositions. Four LPs were made for Capital Records between 1966-1968. Speaking to Record Collector Magazine, McCallum said, : "Well, 'Communication' was just a 50's type novelty record, with me talking over the music.  The follow-up was 'In The Garden, Under The Tree', which came from a film called 'Three Bites Of The Apple.'  It was meant to be a comedy with a lot of funny things in it, but the studio took it upon themselves to recut it and make it into a romantic picture." McCallum was then asked to take on LP projects. "MGM came to me and said, with the success of 'U.N.C.L.E.', you ought to sing a whole album of songs. I said, I'm an actor, not a singer.  They said, well, just read the telephone book or something and we'll put music to it. I found that somewhat reprehensible, and suggested that I could do some orchestral arrangements of contemporary pop songs, using woodwind with four French horns as a back up, and rhythm. The idea was to do it with straight orchestral instruments and no guitar or amplification. They gave the idea to David Axelrod at Capitol, who passed it onto H.P. Barnum, the arranger there, who was involved in Motown and rock. When I arrived at the studio they had the finest musicians sitting there, and you can see it was going to be full rock." Asked if he minded the modern instrumentation, McCallum said. "No, it was great fun doing it.  My father was touring America with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the time, and he came along to a couple of those sessions. The whole period was very exciting. I'm still listening to those [Pop] songs now. That early '60's music is unique and very expressive of the emergence of the whole rock thing that followed. The toughest thing was the selection of the music." And speaking of that exciting period, McCallum's father was a noted classical violinist (look for David Sr's 78s on Parlophone) who played on some famous tracks from the SGT Pepper sessions with The Beatles! David McCallum released four LPs, a number of singles and EPs, and various narration albums- including works by H.P. Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce. Spy Vibers might enjoy the German compilation of instrumental tracks, Solo Für I.L.L.Y.A., which sported a cool grid of McCallum images originally included as a bonus with the promo pressing of A Bit More of Me (1967) in a sheet of 15 photos (also used partially on the EMI House on Breckenridge Lane '68 sleeve below). You can still find his second record, A Bit More of Me, on CD, and other albums are available as MP3 downloads at Amazon and on iTunes. By the way, Val McCallum, son of David and Jill Ireland, has carried on the family tradition by working as a touring musician with major acts and contributing to soundtracks. Below: various record sleeve designs (I love the cover of "McCallum" from 1967) and the recently-sampled song, 'The Edge', from A Bit More of Me (1966). More McCallum info at Discogs, the Fans From U.N.C.L.E. website. Related links: Spy Vibe Radio: Man From U.N.C.L.E.Robert Vaughn R.I.P.1966 Pep SpiesUNCLE FashionsUNCLE Island MusicGerman UNCLEMcCallum HullabalooNew McCallum NovelNotes From UNCLE EventUNCLE SchoolAgente Secreto ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEJapanese UNCLE editionsUNCLE GunUNCLE Turns 50UK ComicsUNCLE MangaU.N.C.L.E. ComicsEnjoy!



Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Fab DressesEurospy Music CollectionBeetle Bailey in West BerlinWhy Mort Walker?Spy Vibe radio: The Beatles Help!, Avengers Critical GuideThe SpotnicksBenny SpiesJames Pond 0017'Satire StonesAnnette Andre BookCat DaySpy Vibe Radio: Get SmartCaine: My GenerationInterview: Ian Ogilvy, ITC Elstree EventHorror of Party BeachSylvie Vartan RenownRingo At 78Dark Shadows StripsSpy Vibe Radio: FlintArchie Batman 66Paul at 76Beatles Pac-ManSpy Vibe Radio: Jerry CottonThe Invaders007 Horowitz Book TourMcGoohan/Prisoner Event at ElstreeThe Prisoner Interviews Vol 1British Underground PressInterview: Fab4 ManiaBond Cocktail BookBond at BletchleySpy SmasherSpy Vibe Radio: Peter GunnAgent Zero MNew Prisoner ComicDr. No Villains Edition,  Spy Vibe Radio: Danger DiabolikDr. No 60thOy-Oy-SevenSpy Vibe Radio (UFO)Cold War Comic StripsThunderball EventMission to IndiaMort Walker Celebration,  Peter Wyngarde CelebrationBatman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack 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 ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

September 17, 2018

FAB DRESSES

One of the more interesting corners of 1960s merchandising was the production of Beatles shift dresses. Images of music and film stars had appeared on goods in the past, but the 1960s offered the unique inclusion of ready-to-wear fashion. In the post-Warhol world of Pop Art, manufacturers cultivated a market for cloth and paper garments that combined notions of pop imagery, advertising, disposability, and idolatry. Below: various dresses made by C&A and N.V. Stoomweverij Nijverheid (Modemuze). Spy Vibers, please check out my new book about one of America's most successful cartoonists. Enjoy! related posts: Batman Warhol, Warhol 15 Minutes, Agent 99 by Warhol, Paul at 76Beatles Pac-ManInterview: Fab 4 ManiaThe Beatles: Mission to India, Sgt. Pepper 50thThe Beatles: The Curious CameraRevolver At 50Ringo Rocks At 71Pattie Boyd ExhibitPeter Sellers to John Lennon: UK SatireRingo TributeJohn Lennon RememberedVintage VinylExperimental BeatlesIvan VaughanEssential RingoPaul at 72, Notes Behind the Curtain 1Notes Behind the Curtain 2Notes Behind the Curtain 3Notes Behind the Curtain 41960s OverdriveMake Love in LondonGeorge Martin R.I.P.Tony Sheridan R.I.P.Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Encouragement From YokoMy Experimental Re-Mix & Film with YokoLennon70 Tribute FilmHome MoviesSean Lennon ReleaseGilbert Taylor R.I.P.Atomic ArtLove PieceSean Lennon ScoresSean Lennon Limited EditionFab Fall 2013George HarrisonNew Beatles FashionYellow Submarine 50th









Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Eurospy Music CollectionBeetle Bailey in West BerlinWhy Mort Walker?Spy Vibe radio: The Beatles Help!, Avengers Critical GuideThe SpotnicksBenny SpiesJames Pond 0017'Satire StonesAnnette Andre BookCat DaySpy Vibe Radio: Get SmartCaine: My GenerationInterview: Ian Ogilvy, ITC Elstree EventHorror of Party BeachSylvie Vartan RenownRingo At 78Dark Shadows StripsSpy Vibe Radio: FlintArchie Batman 66Paul at 76Beatles Pac-ManSpy Vibe Radio: Jerry CottonThe Invaders007 Horowitz Book TourMcGoohan/Prisoner Event at ElstreeThe Prisoner Interviews Vol 1British Underground PressInterview: Fab4 ManiaBond Cocktail BookBond at BletchleySpy SmasherSpy Vibe Radio: Peter GunnAgent Zero MNew Prisoner ComicDr. No Villains Edition,  Spy Vibe Radio: Danger DiabolikDr. No 60thOy-Oy-SevenSpy Vibe Radio (UFO)Cold War Comic StripsThunderball EventMission to IndiaMort Walker Celebration,  Peter Wyngarde CelebrationBatman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack 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 ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.

September 16, 2018

THE HEP STARS

Happy weekend, Spy Vibers! It was another super-busy week here in the Spy Vibe lair, but I did find time to cover Mattel's design for Astronaut Barbie in 1965 (and explore Barbie's controversial role) and to continue some promotion for my new book, Talking Mort Walker: A Life in Comics. With the first semester in full swing, days have been devoted to teaching my film, photo, drawing, and cartooning classes. One of the great highlights so far this year is working with my group of 9th-grade drawing students, who found a fun way to channel their positive energy by singing ABBA songs to recharge. I'd never really explored ABBA until this summer, but I can tell you it's a pretty sweet scene when young kids break out into song- it's like a musical in the studio! A couple of choruses of Mamma Mia or Honey Honey and they're psyched and ready to re-focus on their work. Long before ABBA formed, all the band members had careers as popular entertainers. In fact, songwriters Björn and Benny were both busy recording and touring in two of Sweden's most successful bands in the 1960s, The Hootennany Singers and The Hep Stars (ABBA history). Below: 1965 clip of The Hep Stars doing a classic Jerry Lee Lewis number (written by Dave Curlee Williams). That's young Benny Andersson at the keyboards! The Hep Stars had a dynamic stage act that included swinging the bass perilously over the singer's head -reminds me of pounding mochi in Japan! Benny and The Hep Stars found success within Sweden, pounding out rockers and, as many groups did at the time, adapting folksongs for the mainstream -this was back in the days of easy publishing credits for arranging traditional tunes. On a side note: Björn began his music career caught up in the skiffle and Trad Jazz wave, much like The Beatles, Jimmy Page, Van Morrison, and many others (Skiffle on Spy Vibe). The Hep Stars and Hootennany Singers met up at a party in June 1966 and Björn and Benny started to build their friendship and future writing partnership. They had a hit together by 1969, and by 1972 they were launching ABBA with their talented partners Agnetha and Anni-Frid. Benny's most recent release is the 2017 album Piano. Check out records by The Hep Stars from the 1960s at Discogs. Enjoy!



Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Eurospy Music CollectionBeetle Bailey in West BerlinWhy Mort Walker?Spy Vibe radio: The Beatles Help!, Avengers Critical GuideThe SpotnicksBenny SpiesJames Pond 0017'Satire StonesAnnette Andre BookCat DaySpy Vibe Radio: Get SmartCaine: My GenerationInterview: Ian Ogilvy, ITC Elstree EventHorror of Party BeachSylvie Vartan RenownRingo At 78Dark Shadows StripsSpy Vibe Radio: FlintArchie Batman 66Paul at 76Beatles Pac-ManSpy Vibe Radio: Jerry CottonThe Invaders007 Horowitz Book TourMcGoohan/Prisoner Event at ElstreeThe Prisoner Interviews Vol 1British Underground PressInterview: Fab4 ManiaBond Cocktail BookBond at BletchleySpy SmasherSpy Vibe Radio: Peter GunnAgent Zero MNew Prisoner ComicDr. No Villains Edition,  Spy Vibe Radio: Danger DiabolikDr. No 60thOy-Oy-SevenSpy Vibe Radio (UFO)Cold War Comic StripsThunderball EventMission to IndiaMort Walker Celebration,  Peter Wyngarde CelebrationBatman 66 ExhibitPrisoner Fifty EventIan Fleming Publications 2017-2018Interview: Ed Hulse PulpAvengers Audio DramaInterview: Callan At 50Interview: Playboys, Spies, Private EyesTWA ReturnsSpy Vibe Radio 8Interview: Ryan HeshkaMid-Century Modern SchulzAgent WerewolfMata Hair ExhibitJohnny Sokko 50thInterview: Trina RobbinsEddie IzzardThe Prisoner Capt Scarlet 50thHugh Hefner R.I.P.Jack Good R.I.P.Interview: Shaken Not StirredCallan 50thSpy Vibe Radio 7The Prisoner 50th EventSpy-Fi EventKaho Aso 007Two MillionBo DiddleyCarnaby PopLe Carre EventsBilly Bragg SkiffleElvis 68Jack 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 ComicsThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama Review.
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