December 30, 2014

IMITATION GAME

If you see one film during the holiday season, Spy Vibe recommends The Imitation Game. The backstory of Alan Turing's time at Bletchley Park during WWII included regular strained meetings with James Bond author Ian Fleming. Fleming's talent was to dream up scenarios, including schemes to steal an Enigma machine and code intelligence during the Dieppe Raid and from a captured naval vessel (Operation Ruthless). Fleming's diary entries referred to Turing's disappointment over these failed missions and new articles in The Guardian and The New Yorker suggest that the two were working under extreme pressure to withhold secrets from their allies (often at heavy expense), and to spread misinformation to outwit their enemies. Turing's vision also played a part in the development of the computer. As interesting as these connections may be to us spy fans, The Imitation Game thankfully does not explore the scope of Turing's history in a broad way. Ian Fleming does not appear. Instead, the heart of this largely intimate film is revealed by the poster tagline- "Behind every code is an enigma"- and that puzzle is Alan Turing's own struggle (outwardly) to crack the Enigma and (inwardly) to reconcile his experience as "other" in society and in social interactions. There are many layers to this, which I don't want to spoil. Although the war provides important context in the movie, the story is ultimately a beautiful character study, masterfully performed by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Alex Lawther, as the young Turing. I went into the film completely unaware of Turing's experiences and accomplishments, and I found it quite moving. Enjoy! Spy Vibe trivia: Benedict Cumberbatch's mom is Wanda Ventham (Virginia Lake in Gerry Anderson's UFO)! Turing Illustration below by Conceptcion Studios. Learn More: Alan Turning: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, Enigma: The Battle For the Code, Alan Turing: Centenary Edition, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers, the film Enigma, and new articles in New Yorker, The Guardian



Selected Spy Vibe posts: New Avengers BooksRoad to Hong KongInside Gerry AndersonRingo Does GoldfingerSixties Beat WearSPECTRE AnnouncedPopular SkulltureNew 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.

December 28, 2014

AVENGERS: RODNEY MARSHALL

Rodney Marshall stopped by the Spy Vibe lair to give us an update about his exciting new series of books about The Avengers. Like many of us, Marshall has a great love and respect for this cult-classic. But his inspiration to dive deeper started on a more personal note at home- his father, Roger Marshall, was a major writer on the show! In our previous interview, we covered his early publications and insights into The Avengers (link here). Acing as editor for a new series of books, Marshall has gathered a team of specialists from different fields to analyze our favorite 1960s spy show. Welcome back, Rodney Marshall!


Tell us more about the various Avengers books you have published and about this new series you have edited. 

The original books [Subversive Champagne, Adventure & Comic Strip, Making it New] were solely written by me and offered analysis of select episodes. The new series covers every episode in detail. Each contributor has expertise to bring to the mix, e.g. a psychiatrist offers psychoanalytical readings, a historian looks at mid-60s television, etc. Subversive Champagne tackled the episodes from one specific angle - how The Avengers mixed realism/surrealism, witty froth/darker drama etc. The new volumes tackle the episodes from a variety of viewpoints and look at issues such as gender etc as well.

What are some of the chapters that stand out for you as an editor and fan of the show? Who are some of the contributors to the new series?

These five volumes, three published to date, offer an episode-by-episode critical commentary and analytical guide. The idea was to find a broad range of perspectives: we have a psychiatrist, actor, filmmaker, writers, teachers, researcher, molecular biologist, web constructor, etc. They come from Canada, US, Australia, France, UK. The idea was that each would bring his/her own style and experience to the creative table. Among the contributors to the series are DVD commentary maker Jaz Wiseman, American cultural critic Lauren Humphries-Brooks, Australian television history expert Matthew Lee, and Avengers webmaster Piers Johnson. There is a wide variety of approaches, from scene-by-scene commentators to one critic who looks at Take Me to Your Leader from the viewpoint of the Seven Deadly Sins. 


Bright Horizons covers the Peel monochrome season and includes a foreword by Roger Marshall on serendipity and The Avengers, particularly the iconic episode The Hour That Never Was. It was the first volume in the series, but has now been updated to include a quotations glossary, like the other volumes. One major highlight is TV expert Sam Denham's exploration of The Murder Market through Freud, Hitchcock, and The Avengers as an ever-evolving show.


Mrs. Peel, We're Needed covers the Peel color season, but also includes The Forget-Me-Knot. There is a superb chapter on Return of the Cybernauts in which American Dan O'Shea argues that it is Emma Peel, not Diana Rigg, who wanted to leave The Avengers. Very cleverly argued. I also lifted the lid on my father's exit from the show and his final two episodes.


Anticlockwise, published last week, covers the Tara King era. It is the best volume to date, in my opinion, partly because Season 6 splits opinion so greatly and also because it is a period written about far less. There is the Seven Deadly Sins chapter mentioned above and two brilliant arguments pro/anti Tara King.


You grew up around the show (your dad wrote for The Avengers). Did you learn new things or find new perspectives by editing these books? 

Editing these volumes has reminded just how clever and innovative the show is, and how the best episodes - like an onion - have layers of meaning. My fear, in advance, was that there would not be enough to write about some of the episodes, but this has not proved to be the case, and often the poorer episodes have created the most interesting responses. The writers and directors thought they were making a piece of off-beat Sixties light entertainment; in fact, they were producing pretty perfect - in both senses - timeless art as well.

What’s next in the project?

The next volume, Avengerland Regained, will cover the much-maligned New Avengers, due to be published in May 2015. The final and most complicated volume, Avengerland Revisited, will then cover the entire filmed run through a thematic guide organized around topics like sets, locations, music, fashions, cars, teasers, tags, Cold War, Country House trap, the Art of Murder, diabolical masterminds, main characters, etc. That will be quite a challenge.

We look forward to these! Thank you! Spy Vibers, you can find Rodney's books on AmazonUS and AmazonUK. Enjoy!


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Road to Hong KongInside Gerry AndersonRingo Does GoldfingerSixties Beat WearSPECTRE AnnouncedPopular SkulltureNew 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.

December 26, 2014

BOND KINDLE SALE

[ENDED] Deal alert: Amazon is running a special on Kindle editions of Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels. As a prime member, I'm seeing the ebooks listed at $1.99 (marked down from $7.99). I believe this is a part of their Year-End Deals, and not exclusive to prime members. The sale also includes Solo by William Boyd. Raymond Benson's The Facts of Death is currently listed at 0.99.  If you have a Kindle, this is a great time to fill it up with 007! Ian Fleming at Amazon link here. Enjoy!



Selected Spy Vibe posts: Road to Hong KongInside Gerry AndersonRingo Does GoldfingerSixties Beat WearSPECTRE AnnouncedPopular SkulltureNew 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.

GERRY ANDERSON COMICS

New release: Egmont UK has an exciting new book coming out that will interest fans of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Gerry Anderson: The Comic Collection is a 288-page hardcover anthology of illustrated stories about characters from Captain Scarlet, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, and boy-spy Joe 90. It also features essays about artists Frank Bellamy and Mike Noble and a brief history of the strips. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson cooked up the quintessential adventures of the 1960s, capturing Space Age thrills and Cold War intrigue. For Spy Vibers still looking for more Anderson, these comics offer additional tales that didn't appear on-screen. First-generation fans who read the comics will remember that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. appeared in Lady Penelope comics in the UK. I don't believe it is included in either this collection or in the Thunderbirds comic set. Likewise, the TV Action/Countdown titles included cult-classic strips like Star Trek, Land of the GiantsDoctor Who, and Burkes Law. Perhaps more treasures to mine in the future, so stand by for action! Gerry Anderson: The Comic Collection will be published on February 1st. More info at AmazonUS, AmazonUK, and Bud's Art Books. Related posts: Inside Gerry Anderson, New DVD Collections, Anderson documentary, Thunderbirds Comic CollectionLicense to Kill PuppetsAnderson ModelsSylvia Anderson FashionThe Prisoner and Captain ScarletSet Design Countdown #9Nehru JacketsLearn More: Anderson comic historyGraham BleathmanGerry AndersonMike Trim, Mike Noble. Images below: The cover design for the new book; Archive images of Mike Noble with one of his strips and one of his illustrations of Captain Blue from Captain Scarlet. Enjoy!




Selected Spy Vibe posts: Road to Hong KongInside Gerry AndersonRingo Does GoldfingerSixties Beat WearSPECTRE AnnouncedPopular SkulltureNew 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.

December 23, 2014

DOIN' THE BING

Bing Crosby was once called the Mick Jagger of the 1920s. Spy Vibers who only know Der Bingle from his later years and Christmas tunes would be surprised to see him at his youthful prime, belting out hot jazz numbers with the likes of Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, and Eddie Lang. Bing was really the first super star, reaching the #1 spot as America's entertainer on radio, film, and records. He essentially played himself in public, cultivating a relaxed, casual vibe. Way before the hat and pipe, viewers were introduced to his trademark cool in a series of Mack Sennett shorts in the early 1930s. On Christmas Eve 1962, ABC aired the Bing Crosby Christmas Special for Clairol (his fourth special and the network's first broadcast in color). The show included guests Mary Martin and Andre Previn, and featured this fantastically modern dance devoted to Bing's casual lifestyle, Doin' the Bing. I love the design choices, from the costumes and minimal staging to the use of contemporary furniture. If your season is filled with White Christmas and Holiday Inn and you crave more Bing, I challenge you to master this hilarious (and charming!) dance. Happy Holidays from Spy Vibe! Suggested Bing CDs: Bix n Bing, 16 Most Requested Songs, Some Fine Old Chestnuts, Bing in Dixieland, So Rare, Johnny Mercer Songbook, Irving Berlin Songbook, And Some Jazz Friends, Fancy Meeting You Here, Favorite Hawaiian Songs. 


Selected Spy Vibe posts: Road to Hong KongInside Gerry AndersonRingo Does GoldfingerSixties Beat WearSPECTRE AnnouncedPopular SkulltureNew 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.
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