March 31, 2010

THE AVENGERS ON LOCATION

THE AVENGERS ON LOCATION
After defeating the diabolical mastermind in each adventure, The Avengers would often ride off in splendor in an antique conveyance of some kind. Filmed with tongue firmly in cheek, these final tag sequences were a kind of running gag and highlighted the wit and style of the show each week. The many car sequences were filmed at Lord Montagu's Motor Museum. Spy Vibers will be pleased to see that British Pathe filmed Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg on location at the manor and captured the actors working to film many sequences during an afternoon in 1966 to be used for the 1967 color season. You'll also spot Rigg dressed in space-age hood-shield and garter boots (from the tag sequence of episode #5, The Bird Who Knew Too Much).
Click the image to view the film at British Pathe.
AVENGERS ON LOCATION

March 30, 2010

SHERLOCK SALE TODAY

SHERLOCK SALE TODAY
Spy Vibers looking for Sherlock Holmes should check out the gold box sale today on Amazon. You can pick up the Complete set of either the Rathbone films or the Brett series at a bargain!

ROMANIAN SPACE FASHION 1966

ROMANIAN SPACE FASHION 1966
With new materials being developed for the Space Race, and a healthy dose of Cold War anxiety, mid-1960s fashion took on a fabulous, futuristic style. We looked at a number of designers and trends last year in articles like Mods to Moongirls and Swinging London (More on the Spy Vibe Fashion page). We also reviewed the book, Fear and Fashion, which sports a great cover photo of a model dressed in a PVC jacket and a helmet by Edward Mann and photographed by John French.


The book is filled with similar fashion from both western and eastern Europe. With a common stereotype of the "east" being drab and functional during the Cold War, it is illuminating to see that young people of the era embraced ideas and styles regardless of which side of the Iron Curtain they lived. The groovy model in that cover image may have been a hipster from London or Rome, but according to British Pathe, like-minded designs from Romania were captured in their news reel clip from 1966 (link image below). You'll see a mini army of models in PVC gear marching down steps, one in a similar Mann-style helmet, as well as a Rabbane-style mini dress made of joined metal- or is that Rabanne himself in the footage, working his magic pliers? Click the image to view this historic film clip at British Pathe and see Space Fashion come to life.

A LOOK AT ROMANIAN FASHIONS

March 29, 2010

AVENGERS MEET TWIGGY 1967

AVENGERS MEET TWIGGY 1967
Spy Vibers may remember seeing film clips of Patrick MacNee with Twiggy in one of our fashion spots last year, Swinging London. The images came from a promo event at Teddington Studios, London in 1967 to show off new designs for The Avengers by Pierre Cardin and Alun Hughes. Patrick MacNee, Diana Rigg, Twiggy, and others posed for Photographer Terry O'Neil. As you would imagine with this crowd, things got pretty playful! At one point, weightlifter George Manners actually raised Dame Diana up over his head for a shot. The scene was filmed by British Pathe and originally screened as Rigg's New Rigs. Running just over one minute, the news clip is a wonderful time capsule that captures the style and spirit of these UK icons at their Spy Vibe peak. Click the image below to view the film at British Pathe.

AVENGERS - RIGG'S NEW RIGS

March 28, 2010

KINO SALE: JAPANESE CULT CLASSICS

KINO SALE: JAPANESE CULT CLASSICS
DeepDiscount.com is having a big sale on Kino DVDs through April 8th. Movie fans will recognize Kino as the distributor of many classics from cinema history, like
Metropolis, Nosferatu, and Tarkovky's Mirror. Well, it turns out Kino has even more to offer for Spy Vibers- a spy/crime gem from 1960s Japan called 3 Seconds Before Explosion. This is a cool movie I recently discovered that's worth checking out for its stylish action and photography.


3 Seconds Before Explosion: A renegade superspy infiltrates a violent gang of international jewel thieves in this fast-paced crime thriller from Nikkatsu Studios. His killer instincts honed to deadly perfection by a shadowy espionage bureau, Yabuki (Akira Kobayashi) abandons the organization that rained him and joins forces with fearless mercenary Yamawaki (Hideki Takahashi) to follow a trail of jewels stolen during the last days of World War II. When that trail leads Yabuki and Yamawaki to the highest levels of government and corporate malfeasance, the conspiracy is blown sky high and the bullets start to fly. -Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide


The sale also includes Seijin Suzuki's stylish Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! Japanese director Seijun Suzuki solidified his growing cult following with this offbeat adaptation of Haruhiko Ooyabu's crime novel. Jo Shishido stars as Det. Tajima, a smug investigator who nabs a pair of criminal gangs with flamboyant aplomb while the police remain baffled. Suzuki treats the rather hoary plotline as an excuse for dark-humored camp, and young audiences were delighted with his irreverent approach, which made him one of the few distinctive names in the '60s assembly-line of Nikkatsu Studios. -Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide

March 27, 2010

SPY VIBE HAIKU

SPY VIBE HAIKU
A writing challenge for Spy Vibers! Write a 1960s spy-inspired Haiku poem and share it on the message board at the Spy Vibe website. A Haiku is traditionally three lines long, with alternating syllables (5-7-5). They often allude to the season and capture a snapshot of observation and inner stirrings. Post as many as you wish. It will be fun to see what people do with it. Here is my first one to get things started:

humid night champagne
a knife tucked under the sleeve
sparring with madmen



March 26, 2010

NETWORK SALE

NETWORK SALE
Network in the UK is having a spring cleaning sale that includes some of their amazing remastered sets of classic spies. You'll find lots of treasures, like Deadlier Than The Male (I may order this just for the cover art!), The Prisoner, and Gerry Anderson's Supercar. Network DVDs are PAL format, so check your player before ordering. Network also has archival soundtrack sets with lush, thorough packaging. You'll find all of the major British shows listed, including the must-have, Music of ITC collection (now also on sale). I have the Danger Man and The Prisoner CD sets and found them to be on par with Criterion Collection's eye for detail and extras. A lucky Spy Viber won a Prisoner set as a prize last year and enjoyed it. If you're not familiar with Network, they are a Spy Vibe oasis- Good hunting!


March 24, 2010

ROBERT CULP: R.I.P.

ROBERT CULP R.I.P.
Spy Vibers lost a hero today. Robert Culp starred in I Spy (1965-1968) with Bill Cosby. In the program, which broke ground culturally in the US by portraying a multi-racial duo, Culp played Kelly Robinson- a spy posing as a tennis pro. Alexander Scott, played by Cosby, posed as Robinson's trainer. The sports-pro cover allowed the team to travel the globe incognito while fighting the Cold War. I Spy was was a rare program that actually filmed on-location in international settings. This coupled with Culp and Cosby's natural banter gave the show a sense of realism and relevance to 60s viewers. These were hip (and patriotic) young spies whose on-screen camaraderie made them come across as old high school buddies that you would enjoy hanging out with. Culp worked behind the scenes on the show as well, taking on writing duties and directing an episode. The opening credits to I Spy were quite stylish. Contrasting color blocks with font overlays, silhouette action, and split-screen B&W film clips come together like a live version of the 1960s TV tie-in comics from Gold Key and Dell. You can see I Spy steaming on-line at Netflix and Hulu.


March 23, 2010

007: BLOFELD OMNIBUS

007: BLOFELD OMNIBUS
A hero is defined by the trials they endure, how they act and react to reconcile the circumstances of their journey, and by how they measure up against what every adventure needs- a great villain. James Bond faced all manner of baddies in Ian Fleming's original novels. But no villain represented a greater, personal challenge to 007 within his Cold War context than Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Immortalized and parodied on-screen, viewers only saw the menacing hand with Spectre ring, stroking his cat and dealing out death and duty to his cowering minions. Next September, all three of Fleming's Blofeld novels that make up the Spectre Trilogy will be published in one collection.



From Amazon: Ernst Stavro Blofeld is James Bond's arch-nemesis: a deranged criminal mastermind with ambitions to bring the world to its knees in his pursuit of power. This collection brings together three novels featuring the ultimate Bond villain. First introduced in Thunderball, Blofeld's plan to steal atomic bombs and hold the whole world to ransom leads to a thrilling chase in the Bahamas. On Her Majesty's Secret Service sees Blofeld developing terrifying weapons- and destroying the one thing Bond holds most dear- and in You Only Live Twice, the shattered secret agent must get his revenge in one last, deadly encounter. Available now on Amazon for pre-order. More coverage at the Commander Bond Network.

March 21, 2010

KEVIN DART: YUKI 7 RETURNS

KEVIN DART: YUKI 7 RETURNS
Illustrator/Designer Kevin Dart has created a special universe around his character Yuki 7 and her ensemble of Tokyo HQ cohorts, The Gadget Girls.
By using the form of retro movie posters, Kevin creates a world that promisses swingin' Spy Vibe action. Like a B-movie mogul, he ignites our imaginations simply through the advertising. His images are rich in spy conventions and suggest plot and thrills (I'd jump at a chance to write a Yuki 7 screenplay!). Last year we saw the publication of Seductive Espionage and Kevin joined us on Spy Vibe for an interview about Yuki 7 and his fave spies. Kevin has continued to develop Yuki 7 projects and his website sports a cool Looks That Kill poster along with a time-elapse of his illustration process. Dart hints that there's a second Yuki 7 book in the works, as well as a new short animation!

March 19, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY URSULA

HAPPY BIRTHDAY URSULA
Born March 19th, 1936 in Bern Switzerland, Ursula Andress began her career with a small handful of roles in
Italian productions in the mid-1950s. After a number of years off-set, she then landed the plum role of 'Honey' Ryder in Dr. No (1962) and became the very first Bond Girl! Emerging from the ocean, a bikini-clad Euro-Goddess, the role established Ursula as the quintessential siren for many films to follow during the 1960s and 1970s (including Spy Vibe fave, The 10th Victim). I loved that she tended to play strong, female characters. Celebrate Ursula's birthday today with one of these essential films: Dr. No, What's New Pussycat, The Blue Max, Casino Royale, The 10th Victim, She, The Sensuous Nurse.

March 18, 2010

CINEMA RETRO MOVIE TOUR!

CINEMA RETRO MOVIE TOUR
Spy Vibers! Ever think how fun it would be to go on a movie-themed trip to England with the founders of Cinema Retro Magazine, Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall? W
ith these Spy Guys at the helm, what cool adventures would await? Let's make a wish list: An exclusive James Bond tour of Pinewood Studios. A visit to "the Village" from The Prisoner. With their love of classic film and television, surely a screening or two. Spy Vibers might remember our announcement last year about the new James Bond Museum? Stop in to check out this legendary collection of movie props and Bond vehicles (including many Aston Martins and a Toyota 2000GT from You Only Live Twice -one of three in the whole world!). What else would a Spy Viber wish for? How about quality time at Fan Fest to chat with the largest assembly of 007 actors ever? Guests might include George Lazenby, Honor Blackman, Maud Adams, Britt Ekland, Richard Kiel, Shirley Eaton, and many others. Well, Lee and Dave have such a trip planned for the end of April!


The Movie Magic Tour with Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall starts in London and runs from April 23rd to May 1st. For more information, visit their tour website.

March 17, 2010

MOST RECENT SPY?

MOST RECENT SPY
Spy Vibers! Have you discovered or rediscovered any cool classics recently? What is the most recent, retro Spy to ignite your imagination? Tell us all about it on the new MESSAGE BOARD at the SPY VIBE website and enter to win a VINTAGE GOLD KEY spy comic book! Details about this mystery prize coming soon!

March 15, 2010

GOODNIGHT MR. PHELPS

GOODNIGHT MR. PHELPS
Mission Impossible made its debut in 1966 and established iconic spy conventions that have not only endured, but have forever been linked to the show's leading character, James Phelps. Mr. Phelps, played by actor Peter Graves (1926-2010), took over from Mr. Briggs in the second season in 1967 through the program's run until 1973. Every episode began like a ritual, as viewers accompanied Phelps into some isolated location to find a drop box with orders from above. Maybe an abandoned factory or an instant photo booth? Each week was a variation on the theme and set us up to learn the plot- and the impossible mission- of the episode. Mr. Phelps received his orders via tape recording (I seem to recall an LP record as well), which began with the memorable, "Good morning, Mr. Phelps." After the briefing, and the self-destructing message, Phelps was filmed in his loft-like pad scanning through a portfolio of Impossible Mission Force operatives. Even for Spy Vibers who have not seen many episodes of the original Mission Impossible, I imagine that these conventions ring with familiarity. It was great storytelling, great spy TV, and its success was also a product of the choice to bring Peter Graves in as team leader. Graves brought a sense of fatherly authority to the chemistry of the cast. And with his light hair and tall stature, he added a needed visual contrast that worked for the screen. He will always be remembered for these qualities and for leading us on so many fantastic spy adventures. Goodnight, Mr. Phelps.

March 13, 2010

MOST RECENT SPY?

MOST RECENT SPY
Spy Vibers! Have you discovered or rediscovered any cool classics recently? What is the most recent, retro Spy to ignite your imagination? Tell us all about it on the new MESSAGE BOARD at the SPY VIBE website and enter to win a VINTAGE GOLD KEY spy comic book! Details about this mystery prize coming soon!

SPY VIBE SPRING

SPY VIBE SPRING
Spy Vibers! What are you wearing this Spring? In the spirit of playful costumes by Giulio Coltellacci for Usula Andress (The 10th Victim/1965) and the Space Girl look from Courreges, consider minimalist white, moon boots, geometric cut-outs, and helmet/visor. Here's a movie-still fashion tip from Ursula! More Spy Vibe Fashion here.


March 12, 2010

LALO SCHIFRIN BOX SET

LALO SCHIFRIN BOX SET
Fans of composer Lalo Schifrin (
Mission Impossible, Bullitt) might be interested in a new 5-disc box set coming out in April. A fantastic collection of scores including Rhino! (1964), Once a Thief (1965), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Venetian Affair (1967), Sol Madrid (1968) and more!


From
Movie Grooves: Discs four and five feature two late-1960s films in which M-G-M tried to build feature careers for the stars from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Robert Vaughn (in 1967's The Venetian Affair) and David McCallum (in 1968's Sol Madrid), by casting them (separately) in unrelated stories of international espionage. Schifrin's scores to both films are excellent: pulsating, moody Cold War intrigue for The Venetian Affair (featuring cymbalom), and diverse, often Latin-flavored pop and jazz for Sol Madrid (alongside more traditional scoring).

March 11, 2010

MOST RECENT SPY?

MOST RECENT SPY
Spy Vibers! Have you discovered or rediscovered any cool classics recently? What is the most recent, retro Spy to ignite your imagination? Tell us all about it on the new MESSAGE BOARD at the SPY VIBE website and enter to win a VINTAGE GOLD KEY spy comic book!

AMAZON TV SALE

AMAZON TV SALE
Classic TV shows are on sale right now at
Amazon and there some great box sets at bargain prices. I Spy Season One and two are on sale for $11.49 (Season Three is $10.99!). You'll also find deals on Hawaii Five-O, Remington Steele, and other fun classics.

March 9, 2010

LAMBRETTA TWIST

LAMBRETTA TWIST
Rolling out of the week looking at Mod style by Liam Gallagher and the new documentary The Who, The Mods, and the Quadrophenia Connection, I discovered an amusing curiosity for Vespa fans- "The Lambetta Twist" by
Quartetto Cetra and a little 1960s, Italian Space-Age style. Not quite Mods and Rockers at Brighton, but definitely a time capsule. Could almost be a moment from the new OSS17 films. To all you scooter-riders around the globe, twist away! And for you Mod fans of The Who looking for something with more edge, the classic documentary, The Kids Are Alright, was released today on Blu-ray!

March 7, 2010

NEW PRISONER RELEASED

NEW PRISONER RELEASED
The recent AMC mini-series based on Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 23rd. Read the review at DoubleOSection here.


From Amazon: The Prisoner miniseries is a reinterpretation of the British 1960s cult hit series that starred and was co-created by Patrick McGoohan. The Premise: A man, known as Six, finds himself inexplicably trapped in The Village with no memory of how he arrived. As he explores his environment, he discovers that his fellow inhabitants are identified by number instead of name, have no memory of any prior existence, and are under constant surveillance. Not knowing whom to trust, Six is driven by the need to discover the truth behind The Village, the reason for his being there, and most importantly -- how he can escape. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ , The Thin Red Line) plays the role of Six; and two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings, The Da Vinci Code) co-stars as Two.

March 6, 2010

JEREMY DUNS ON FLEMING'S DIAMOND SMUGGLERS

JEREMY DUNS ON FLEMING'S DIAMOND SMUGGLERS
Our Man Jeremy Duns (Free Agent) has published an interesting article about Ian Fleming's The Diamond Smugglers and the book's near-brush with the big screen. The article is available here at The Times Online.



March 4, 2010

MOD STYLE: PRETTY GREEN

MOD STYLE: PRETTY GREEN
It's been a while since Spy Vibe reported that Liam Gallagher (Oasis) formed a new men's designer clothing line inspired by Mod style. If Spy Vibe is "1960s Style Meets Action", then anyone who has seen Gallagher strut to the edge of the stage and belt out a tune knows that this guy has it in spades. Liam's passions are music and clothes, and his new company,
Pretty Green, continues to offer some really cool gear! Spy Vibers will know that Mod culture has been through many waves and incarnations. As discussed in the new documentary, The Who, The Mods, and the Quadrophenia Connection, the 1979 film version of The Who's classic concept album coincided with an upcoming underground Mod subculture (including Jam master, Paul Weller- another rocker-turned limited edition designer). Mainstreaming Mod fashion in the early 1980s seemed to kill the integrity of the movement, perhaps as it originally did in the mid-1960s. Nothing deflates the power of a subculture like success. But despite the mass-packaging of Keith Moon-style RAF target T-shirts and the like, an authentic group of Mods has endured. Perhaps these waves are not so much revivalist as much as they are, for some, sincere updates for each generation that identifies with Mod sensibilities. From what I know of Liam, he'd probably laugh at any analysis and remind us that these clothes are -just plain cool, man! Quoted on Live4Ever, Liam said, "It's more about style than fashion, and Pretty Green won't take any notice of trends. Fashion comes and goes. Style remains."
Along with limited edition Mod parkas, boating blazers, and Lennon-inspired caps at Pretty Green, you'll find a number of collarless jackets, scarves, and even a wool coat that references Paul McCartney's "Fool On the Hill" segment in Magical Mystery Tour. It appears that Liam is having fun with this project. As for his music, the last I heard is that Liam is writing new material and planning to record with Gem and Andy. Hopefully Ringo's son, Zak Starkey (The Who), will return as drummer. Pay a visit to Pretty Green and check out the catalog, as well as an archive of videos and interviews. For you iTunes people, here is Spy Vibe's best-of-Liam tracks from Oasis: Songbird, Meaning of Soul, Better Man, Born on a Different Cloud, Love Like a Bomb, Guess God Thinks I'm Abel, I'm Outta Time, and the cover of My Generation by The Who.


March 3, 2010

YOJIMBO MEETS DANGER MAN

YOJIMBO MEETS DANGER MAN
Masaru Sato (1928-1999) was an aspiring soundtrack composer who found his great inspiration in Akira Kurosawa's 1950 masterpiece, Rashomon. Sato went on to assist in Kurosawa's 1954 classic, Seven Samurai, and enjoyed a ten-year collaboration with the director on a number of films, including High and Low and Red Beard. But it was his unusual use of Jazz themes, percussion and strings, and harpsichord/keyboard sounds in Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) that brings the composer's work to Spy Vibe- and where Yojimbo meets Danger Man.


There was a quite a creative wave hitting the world in the early-mid 1960s. As Sato was scoring Yojimbo in Japan in 1961, Edwin Astley (1922-1998) was already into his first year composing music for Patrick McGoohan's run as John Drake in TV's Danger Man. Listen to sample tracks from each composer below. The similarities are most acute when hearing Astley's keyboard cues, but even his Danger Man theme illustrates notes of comparison. Sato and Astley were working in different countries, but they found a kindred sound to ignite their dramas. Though one might categorize Yojimbo as a period piece and Danger Man as Espionage/Adventure, I would say that the approach that these works share help to define what we might now term Cold War-era spy music. From Yojimbo and Danger Man, one can hear echoes of future scores from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and other 60s spy adventures. Two interesting pieces of trivia: Pete Townshend of The Who was married to Edwin Astley's daughter, bringing two Spy Vibe fave worlds together. Kurosawa's Yojimbo, of course, was re-made by Sergio Leone when he launched the Spaghetti Western boom in Italy with Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars (1964).

Masaru Sato's Yojimbo soundtrack is available through Screen Archives Entertainment. Full sets and compilation CDs of Edwin Astley's scores are available through Network. Blu-ray.com review of the upcoming Blu-ray edition of Yojimbo from The Criterion Collection here and at DVDBeaver here.





March 1, 2010

IRWIN ALLEN CONTEST WINNER!

IRWIN ALLEN CONTEST WINNER!
Humberto is the winner in the random drawing for The Complete Time Tunnel from Hermes Press! Thank you to all of the Spy Vibers who wrote about their fave Irwin Allen shows. It was awesome to hear about the qualities, both narrative and visual, that interested you. More contests coming up, so please enter for new chances to win Spy Vibe prizes.
Visit Hermes Press to check out the full catalog of cool 1960s Gold Key comic reprints.
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