April 23, 2017

SPY VIBE RADIO 2

It's time to cue up some cool soundtracks as Spy Vibe hits the airwaves. I've teamed up with Cocktail Nation, that swinging show out of Australia, and every month I will be introducing one of my favorite spy films/series and talking about the music. Spy Vibers can now listen to Episode Two on Cocktail Nation, where I spotlight the Mod, Sp-Fi classic The 10th Victim (1965), starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress. As many readers may know, the 1965 Elio Petri movie adaptation of Robert Sheckley's sory starred Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni, and the film looms large here on Spy Vibe. Ever since I was a kid, I've been completely fascinated by the film's cocktail of groovy music, op art, pop art, space-age fashion, and modern design. I was even fortunate to be able to create the entire poster/still gallery to the Blu-ray edition from Blue Underground! It might not be Citizen Kane (or From Russia With Love), but the movie serves as an outstanding time capsule of the art and design scene in 1965. The 10h Victim sported a soundtrack by composer Piero Piccioni, who set out to create Jazz of the future for director Petri. Tune in to the show here. Info about Episode One featuring Danger Man here. Below: a selection of images illustrating the rich style of The 10th Victim. Enjoy! Some related 10th Victim posts: Elsa Martinelli Autodromo10th Victim Japanese editionFuture ListeningSet Countdown #5SoundtrackfashionFear and FashionMods to Moongirls, German Edition10th Victim Photo






Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Spy Vibe Radio 1James Bond StripsPropaganda MabuseFahrenheit 451 50thInterview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.

April 14, 2017

JAMES BOND STRIPS

New release: Titan Books just released the third volume in their Complete James Bond Classic Comic Strip Collection! The new hardcover edition includes strips from 1960-1966: Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Man With the Golden Gun, and The Living Daylights. I love looking at the original strips, especially the work of the great John McLusky, which pre-dated the films and drew more directly from Ian Fleming's novels. From the press release: "James Bond returns to action in six thrilling adventures, starting with 007’s encounter with the titular Auric Goldfinger, the man with the Midas touch. Also included are Risico, From A View To A Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Man With The Golden Gun and The Living Daylights, each of which has been painstakingly restored to create the highest quality reproduction of the original Express Newspapers’ strip available." More info at Amazon. Previous volumes include 1958-1960 (Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, Dr No) and a SPECTRE omnibus (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me). Enjoy! Spy Vibers, I'm writing and producing a new Spy Vibe radio segment for Cocktail Nation out of Australia! More info HERE.


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Propaganda MabuseFahrenheit 451 50thInterview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.

April 13, 2017

PROPAGANDA MABUSE

The arch-villain Doctor Mabuse was created by novelist Norbert Jacques and popularized in a series of films between 1922-1971, most notably by director Fritz Lang. He was a master criminal, much like Fantomas, whose dedication to organized evil became, in the lore, an undying idea that lived on in the hearts of his followers. Dr Mabuse returned as a character in the 1980s in a single by avante-pop band, Propaganda. The group hailed from Dusseldorf and recorded under Trevor Horn's ZTT label in the mid-1980s. Spy Vibers may remember Horn from The Art of Noise. After relocating to the UK, Propaganda released a number of interesting projects, including a cover of Throbbing Gristle's Discipline and the acclaimed album, A Secret Wish (1985). One of the album's singles, Dr. Mabuse, charted in both Germany and in the UK and became a popular track on entertainment programs such as The Tube (1982-1987). The promotional video (version 1) for Dr. Mabuse celebrated the era of German Expressionist films, and it was one of the first video projects by Anton Corbijn- famed photographer for many 1980s/1990s bands and director of The American (2010) starring George Clooney. Filmed in beautiful black and white at night, the Mabuse video featured the band members in cloak and dagger vibe, and none other than actor Vladek Sheybal (From Russia With Love, Secret Agent, The Baron, The Saint, Casino Royale, Billion Dollar Brain, The Champions, Callan, UFO) in the role of Dr. Mabuse! The video's rich imagery also recalls Fritz Lang's M and the hooded menace and secret societies of Edgar Wallace Krimi stories. The lyrics of the song warn: "The man without shadow promises you the world. Tell him your dreams and fanatical needs. He's buying them all with cash. Sell him your soul." Check it out below. Read more about Propaganda member Claudia BrückenSpeaking of music, I'm writing and producing a new Spy Vibe radio segment for Cocktail Nation out of Australia! More info HERE.



Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Fahrenheit 451 50thInterview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.

April 10, 2017

WILD WILD WEST OST

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Inner Circle group has been discussing some very cool news from Wondercon this weekend. La-La Land Records is apparently working on a release of the TV soundtrack to the classic 1960s spy-western, The Wild Wild West later this year. And the news might get even better! It is believed this CD release will be produced by Jon Burlingame, who has been peerless in his efforts to research and preserve rare soundtrack recordings, as well as to provide insightful commentary tracks for film releases. He also wrote The Music of James Bond. Spy Vibers probably already have his collections of U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible scores. If not, go get 'em! More info about Jon here. I'll keep an eye out for an official announcement from La-Lan Land. Stay tuned for updates as the project develops. Can't wait! Speaking of music, I'm writing and producing a new Spy Vibe radio segment for Cocktail Nation out of Australia! More info HERE.


Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Fahrenheit 451 50thInterview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art.

April 9, 2017

FAHRENHEIT 451 50TH

New release: Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Francois Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 this summer. Adapted from the original novel by Ray Bradbury, Truffaut's 1966 film starred Oskar Werner (Spionage, Jules and Jim, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold), Julie Christie (A For Andromeda, Billy Liar, The Saint, Doctor Zhivago, Petulia), and Cyril Cusack (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Where the Spies Are, 1984). The crew also included creative giants of the era, such as composer Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho), cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (Petulia, Performance, Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth), and production designer/art director Syd Cain (Billion Dollar Brain, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The New Avengers, Our Man in Havana, Lolita, Goldeneye, Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, The Road to Hong Kong). I've always loved the film, although the pacing and dynamics can feel somewhat sleepy at times. As a fan of 1960's aesthetics, the movie stands as a beautiful time capsule of the period- especially for its stunning design and use of stark blacks and reds. It's interesting to compare the film with Goddard's Alphaville, in that both French New Wave directors chose to create sci-fi atmospheres by photographing minimal geometric shapes, lights, and modernist architecture as a way to imply futurism, or in the case of Fahrenheit, to accentuate the notion of uniformity and conformity in a society that would fear books and the potential chaos of ideas. From the press release: "Ray Bradbury's best-selling science fiction masterpiece about a future without books takes on a chillingly realistic dimension in Fahrenheit 451. Montag (Oskar Werner), a regimented fireman in charge of burning the forbidden books, meets a revolutionary school teacher (Julie Christie) who dares to read. Suddenly, he finds himself a hunted fugitive, forced to choose not only between his rebellious mistress and his pleasure-seeking conformist wife (also played by Julie Christie), but between personal safety and intellectual freedom. Directed by one of the most important screen innovators of all time, Francois Truffaut, this classic film is an eerie tale where mankind becomes the ultimate evil." The Blu-ray will be released on June 6th and will include bonus features: the making of Fahrenheit 451, a discussion about the novel with Ray Bradbury, the music of Fahrenheit 451, commentary with Julie Christie, and more! Pre-Orders are now available on Amazon for $14.99. With recent screenings of Orwell's 1984, current discussions in the culture about privacy and ideas, Bradbury's tale about protecting human creative and intellectual output may be as relevant as ever. Enjoy! By the way, have folks heard Spy Vibe's new radio segments on Cocktail Nation? More info HERE.





Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Interview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art 

April 6, 2017

BEAT FILM POP

As youth culture exploded as the dominant force in society in the early 1960s, movie studios began to release projects that hoped to capitalize on new attitudes and music trends. The early Rock and Roll movies from the US inspired similar projects in late-50s Britain, which often focussed on Trad Jazz, skiffle, and popular American acts like Gene Vincent. The "Beat Films" of the new decade continued to spotlight music, youth, fun, as well as occasional dashes of rebellion (look for the biker films). The Beatles first cinematic outing, A Hard Days Night (1964), set a high bar in terms of artistry and profits, and a number of British Invasion acts jumped on the band wagon with their own attempts- none of which were especially memorable. One movie of note was the Dave Clark Five film, Having a Wild Weekend (1965), which somehow captured quite a bit of counter-culture vibe years before it was mainstream to do so. Art & Hue has celebrated the era of Beat Films in a new series of Pop Art prints. The collection includes Beat Girl (Wild For Kicks/1960), which launched the soundtrack career of James Bond composer, John Barry! See samples below. More info at Art & Hue. Enjoy! By the way, have folks heard Spy Vibe's new radio segments on Cocktail Nation? More info HERERelated posts: Jet Set Prints, Interview: Avengers Pop Art, Paul McCartney At 71, Folk Boom: Pete Seeger, John Barry: The Knack, Beat GirlThe Curious Camera, Fabulous 1960s, Lee King Perry: Pussy Galore, Pussy Galore Calypso







Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Interview: 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 ComicsTrina Robbins InterviewThe Phantom at 80007 MangaAvengerworld BookDiana Rigg Auto ShowThe Prisoner Audio Drama ReviewDavid McCallum novelAndre Courreges R.I.P.Who's Talking on Spy VibeUFO Blu-rayAvengers Pop Art 

April 3, 2017

INTERVIEW: POLICE SURGEON

New release: Television scholars/archeologists Alan Hayes and Richard McGinlay have just released a new book about Police Surgeon, the UK crime drama that, through its cancellation, historically laid the foundations for The Avengers. Not much information has been available about the series- until now! Spy Vibers may remember Alan for our interviews about his Avengers books and for his in-depth review of The Prisoner audio drama series. Alan stopped by the Spy Vibe lair today to chat about his new release. Welcome! By the way, have folks heard Spy Vibe's new radio spot on Cocktail Nation? More info HERE.


For readers who are not familiar with Police Surgeon, can you tell us a bit about the show and its context?

If Spy Vibers have heard of The Avengers, and are aware of its history, chances are they will have heard about Police Surgeon. They may even have seen the one surviving episode (of 13 made), which has been issued on some DVD sets of The Avengers. Probably, though, they’ve heard little more than that, as information has not until now exactly been forthcoming.

Whenever the series is discussed, it is almost without fail in terms of its ancestral link to The Avengers (its sudden cancellation led to the creation of The Avengers in late 1960). In writing our book – Dr Brent’s Casebook: An Unauthorised Guide to Police Surgeon – Richard McGinlay and I have endeavoured to look into the series for itself, and deal with it on its own merits, not just for the Avengers connection (which of course we do touch upon).

Essentially, Police Surgeon was a short-lived 1960 British half-hour series made by ABC Television (the now defunct British company) that attempted to combine two popular television formats – police and medical, or cops and docs, if you prefer! It’s star, Ian Hendry (playing Dr Geoffrey Brent), was new to the scene, but quickly became very popular with audiences (a film career and more television beckoned, including The Avengers, The Informer, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun and Get Carter). In many ways, it had a lot going for it… but in true Spy Vibe style, it had trouble from an enemy agent, who was working against its chances of success. Sadly, the enemy was real, not fictional. But the book reveals the full story.

What is the scope of the new book? What areas are covered?

As the title suggests, the book is an episode guide. For many TV series, this sort of information is freely available on the internet, but with Police Surgeon, the facts are buried deep in the past, so it’s been quite a challenge to present the information in the sort of depth that we wanted to do. Beyond the normal focus on the narrative content of the episodes, we look at the production process, the creation of the series, its ultimate cancellation, and its legacy (which is where we get to The Avengers, of course, but also other series that perhaps it had an even greater influence on). We also present biographical details of some of the actors and production people involved, including all the major players.

Additionally, and this is something that I think really enhances the book, we’ve commissioned artist Shaqui Le Vesconte to produce a series of illustrations for the book – and they are beautiful, quite breathtaking! There are 14 in total, and a few of them are reproduced here at Spy Vibe.


You've unearthed quite a bit of information about the series. What was your process of research and gathering materials?

It’s been a long – but enjoyable – process, actually. We originally began writing the material for this book in 2014, when it started out as a prologue in which we discussed Police Surgeon for one of our Avengers books (now combined as Two Against the Underworld, published by Hidden Tiger). We chanced upon a set of 11 scripts, held in public collections in Britain and Australia, and quickly our short prologue ballooned, and we started thinking of Police Surgeon in terms of a book of its own (though of course it does get a mention in Two Against the Underworld).

In terms of the actual research process, it has involved a variety of sources, including newspaper archives, the aforementioned scripts, archive interviews, and discussion with a variety of people who were involved in the series, such as the producer, Leonard White (who sadly passed away before the book was completed), ABC programme controller Brian Tesler and Peter Yeldham, who wrote two episodes. Of course, one of the problems with writing about a series made in 1960, is that a significant number of those involved in the making of the series are no longer with us. However, we feel that with the sources and support we’ve had, we’ve been able to present a pretty clear picture of exactly what happened.

Is there any surviving footage from Police Surgeon?

Just the one episode, as mentioned earlier, called Easy Money. It was the first to be transmitted, despite being the third in production. In many ways, it was of course helpful to us to be able to see an episode of the series, to get a feel for the show as transmitted (rather than just in terms of how it read on the pages of the scripts), but like everything with the research tools for Police Surgeon, it wasn’t going to give up all the secrets of the series. Bizarrely, it is the only episode not to feature Ian Hendry’s regular companion in the series, the actor John Warwick, who played Inspector Landon. A similar character, played by Robin Wentworth, takes his place in this episode.

It is, however, fascinating to see, and sports a superb performance from Hendry and another that equals it from a young Michael Crawford (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Barnum, Phantom of the Opera), both demonstrating their burgeoning star quality.


As the series that laid the foundation for The Avengers to happen, did you recognize any qualities - either from the common creators or in content - that were carried over? 

There are certainly thematic links with the earliest Avengers, but the emphasis in Police Surgeon was on authenticity, on presenting as accurate a dramatisation of the cases of a London police surgeon. It’s probably best described by John Warwick, who said this in 1960: “Police Surgeon scripts are vetted by Scotland Yard to prevent us giving a wrong impression of the force… We aim at sincerity before high drama. There is much more interest in creating a true picture of the police at work than just an exaggerated story.”

The Avengers very quickly took a very different approach! However, there’s room for all sorts of styles, eh? :)

Who were some of the familiar faces re: cast/crew that worked on Police Surgeon and The Avengers?

The most obvious “familiar face” belongs to Ian Hendry, who of course transferred to The Avengers when Police Surgeon was unexpectedly ended. Alongside him in a couple of episodes was Ingrid Hafner, who also gained a regular role in the first series of The Avengers, as Carol Wilson, the nurse at the GP surgery run by Hendry’s character Dr Keel. Here, she plays… a nurse… at the surgery of Dr Brent! (The character’s called Amanda Gibbs in Police Surgeon.) The weekly episodes also featured appearances by Harry H. Corbett (Steptoe and Son, Carry On Screaming), Jean Anderson (The Brothers, Tenko), Geoffrey Palmer (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Doctor Who, Butterflies), Janet Davies (Dad’s Army) and Mavis Ranson, who had the distinction of being one of the first people seen on screen in Doctor Who in 1963.

On the production side, Police Surgeon was co-produced by Leonard White, who became the first producer of The Avengers, and Avengers directors Don Leaver, John Knight and Guy Verney and designer Alpho O’Reilly also figured in the show.

Was there ever any merchandizing inspired by the show? Any novelizations?

We do have a full list of merchandise in the book, but it’s very short… We even listed our book in it to pad it out! That probably answers your question!

What are a few discoveries that stood out to you through the course of writing this book?

There have been many, and some pertain to the creation of The Avengers, but we’re reserving them all for readers of Dr Brent’s Casebook. (Spoilers!)

The joy of researching and writing this book is that the discoveries have been pretty much a continuous thing. It’s not like writing about The Avengers, where so much of the research has been done before. With Police Surgeon, it has really felt like treading new ground, as so little was known before. To be able to present the storylines in detail has been a particular pleasure. For the first time since 1960, episodes of Police Surgeon are more than just a story title in an online guide, more than just a brief paragraph loosely summarising the narratives, and that has been a revelation. It’s meant that to Richard and I, Police Surgeon has gone from being a mysterious footnote in Avengers history to a living, breathing entity with its own voice. And now readers have the opportunity to introduce themselves to Police Surgeon as a whole, too.

Where can Spy Vibers find it?

Dr Brent’s Casebook has been published in hardcover, paperback and digital versions by Hidden Tiger with the printing and delivery of electronic versions handled by Lulu. Lulu frequently run special promotions, and currently Spy Vibers can save 15% on the print versions with the discount code FWD15 (electronic versions are rarely subject to such promotions – sorry!).

In terms of the electronic versions, currently there is an EPUB version available from Lulu. A Kindle version is in the works as is a paperback edition via Amazon.

A PDF preview of the book is available for download from this page.

Fascinating! Many of us have devoted much our lives to researching and celebrating this era, and it's exciting to see that new things are still being discovered. Thank you for stopping by the Spy Vibe lair, Alan.

Thanks for the opportunity to chat about Dr Brent’s Casebook to Spy Vibe readers. It’s been a pleasure!



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