Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Bird in the Hand…

Mogul logoAN EARLY episode of drama series The Troubleshooters has been returned to the BBC.

The series two episode “Birdstrike”, from 1966, was handed over earlier this month after the intervention of Kaleidoscope.

The classic TV organisation had been called upon to act as an intermediary between the BBC and an unnamed collector due to “concerns” on the part of the latter.

A digital copy of the 16mm telerecording is now back in the BBC archives and Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry says the recovery demonstrates “that collectors have nothing to fear” about returning lost shows.

He said: “The collector had concerns with the returning of the episode, including the worry that the BBC would retain it and only give him a digital copy – something no enthusiast wants.

“But after we were approached, we were able to expedite the process of returning the episode quickly and smoothly, with the collector getting to keep his original copy.

“It just goes to show that collectors have nothing to fear about returning missing material to the BBC.

“Kaleidoscope is always happy to help facilitate this and collectors can contact us in strictest confidence by email.”

Broadcast between 1965 and 1972, The Troubleshooters was a 50-minute drama series created by author John Elliot, who co-wrote A for Andromeda with Fred Hoyle, and based around international oil company “Mogul”.

The first series, which went out under the title Mogul, was concerned with the internal politics of the company, but was not as well received as expected.

For series two (or one, depending on your viewpoint), the show was renamed and rebooted – shifting and broadening the focus to the actual workings of the company and international dealings of the Mogul field agents, the eponymous “troubleshooters”.

It went on to run for seven series, making the transition to colour from the fifth series in 1969, and ending in 1972.

In the newly discovered episode, “Birdstrike”(tx 04/06/66), the troubleshooters have to investigate who was to blame for the crashing of the first aircraft using Mogul’s new fuel – the company or the pilot?

Geoffrey Keene as Brian Stead

Geoffrey Keen as Brian Stead

It stars a young Robert Hardy as “ruthlessly ambitious” troubleshooter Alec Stewart and Geoffrey Keen as Mogul’s “tough” deputy managing director Brian Stead.

Archive television enthusiast Marcus Payne was also involved in the recovery of “Birdstrike”, being the first person to spot the episode’s rarity and open a dialogue with the collector.

Marcus, who last year found a missing episode of The Rat Catchers on a file sharing website (read the Wiped feature here), said:

“I was glad to act as a conduit for a second time and am always happy to help as a consultant to anyone else who might want to know the value of what they have or how to return it.”

The recovery now means there are 15 extant episodes from series two, out of 26. Of the other series, 6 of 13 survive from series one (Mogul), six out of 26 from series four, two of 26 from series five, and two of 17 from series six.

Thankfully, all 15 episodes of the final series are still held in the archives, though only as b&w 16mm film copies.

Only one colour episode of The Troubleshooters survives in its original colour 2″ videotape form- “Camelot on a Clear Day” from Series 5 (tx 1/06/70). A copy of this episode can be viewed at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

A well-researched article on The Troubleshooters is posted on the Britmovie forum.

  • To contact Kaleidoscope, email: cp@kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk

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Filed under Discoveries, Television, Video

Weekly Round-Up – 09/05/10

PHOTO FIND SHEDS LIGHT ON THE WICKER MAN

A CACHE of previously unseen photographs from the filming of seminal ’70s horror movie The Wicker Man have solved a long-standing movie mystery.

The rare images, hidden away in a suitcase for almost 40 years, confirm the existence and substance of missing scenes from the acclaimed cult horror.

Following the film’s release in 1973, Christopher Lee, who played sinister Pagan devotee Lord Summerisle, claimed several scenes had been cut.

The contents of that missing footage and its eventual fate have never been solved, though it has been suggested the negatives were used as landfill during the building of the M3.

With the discovery of the pictures, in the attic of photographer John Brown, some gaps at least can be filled – namely, that the scenes were indeed filmed as Lee stated.

Brown was employed to document the film and the images, including stills from missing scenes, are to be published for the first time in a revised edition of Inside the Wicker Man, by Allan Brown.

They include a scene in which Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) closes a mainland pub that is open after-hours and another where the policeman receives a massage from Willow McGregor (Britt Ekland). Also captured on the contact sheets is a drinking contest in The Green Man pub

There’s a highly informative story on the discovery over on The Times website.

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Weekly Round-up – 02/05/10

FRAGMENTS OF HOLLYWOOD

SNIPPETS from missing silent-era movies were screened as part of the first TCM Film Festival, held in Hollywood, last Sunday (April 25).

The program “Fragments (1916 – 1929)” featured a rare collection of scenes, reels and segments from lost silent films restored by the Academy Film Archive and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Included in the line-up were tantalizing clips from Clara Bow silents Red Hair and Three Weekends, early John Ford film The Village, Colleen Moore comedy Happiness Ahead, and Roman Novarro romance A lover’s Oath.

Trailers for 1928’s The Patriot, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and particularly notable for being the only best picture Oscar nominee that no longer exists as a complete or near-complete print, and Beau Sabreur, starring a young Gary Cooper, were also screened.

There’s a story on “Fragments” over at The Los Angeles Times.

MORE OUT OF THE UNKNOWN ON YOUTUBE

Last week’s round-up featured a link to the only surviving clips from Out of the Unknown episode Liar!, this week’s features a link to what’s left of Satisfaction Guaranteed.

YouTube user ‘snhbuk’ has uploaded the only extant footage from the series 2 episode, broadcast 29/12/66. The Isaac Asimov story was adapted for the small screen by High Leonard.

The clip lasts for 1’22” and is a scene featuring Wendy Craig (Claire Belmont) being introduced to her new domestic robot TN-3 or Tony (Hal Hamilton). Basic audio restoration work has been on the soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/snhbuk#p/a/u/1/zhqrdxooOd0

Also, ‘snhbuk’ has updated his video containing the remaining footage from ‘The Caves of Steel’ (tx 4/5/64), a BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel of the same name broadcast as part of BBC2′s anthology strand Story Parade. We now get to hear star Peter Cushing speak:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3HXyJhXpPo

RARE COMPUTER GAME ON EBAY

ONE OF only three copies of PlayStation 1 game NBA 2 Ball still in existence has come to light and is being auctioned on eBay.

Between 500 – 1,000 copies of the PSP game were given away at the 1998 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden, New York, but almost all have been lost.

As Multiplayer Games.com posts, only two others are left, “one in the hands of the original programmer, and the other in the hands of a writer at Game-rave, his copy now unfortunately cracked in two.”

The third copy was bought at the time by an NBA fan for $5 from a friend, whose father had won two copies of the ultra-rare demo at the event.

It is now being sold on auctioning site eBay, with a starting bid of $300.

DOCTOR WHO HOAX

There was a minor flurry of excitement this week among Doctor Who fans after a poster on forum Gallifrey Base claimed to have footage from two missing TV adventures.

Writing on the Shada section of the forum, ‘Jethryk’ asserted that he had come into possession of 8mm home recordings of episodes of Patrick Troughton stories “The Abominable Snowmen” and “The Ice Warriors”, following the death of his grandfather.

It later emerged ‘Jethryk’ was a hoaxer. The thread on OG has now been deleted.

Looking back, the signs that this was another Who hoax (there are many, unfortunately), were clear:

  1. The poster claimed not to have much knowledge of Doctor Who, but at the same time knew enough to name himself after an item mentioned in Tom Baker story “The Ribos Operation”, one specifically concerned with a confidence trick.
  2. The poster said he would have access to the material shortly and would update the forum accordingly. In other words, dangling a carrot and making the gullible drool in anticipation.
  3. When the day came to prove his claim, the poster failed to provide clear evidence.
  4. He then tried to back out by further claiming the footage had gone to a private buyer – a trick to keep the flame of hope burning regardless of the current outcome.

This is a cruel deception but the lesson is clear: don’t be lured in by stories of discoveries until confirmed by a member of The Doctor Who Restoration Team. The best procedure is to point the poster in the direction of the RT, who have strong links with the BBC, and then wait for things to take their course.

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Filed under Cinema, Clips, Doctor Who, Other Media, Screenings, Television, Websites, Weekly Round-Up

Morecambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes

PREVIOUSLY lost recordings featuring celebrated comedy duo Morcambe and Wise are to be aired for the first time in over 50 years.

Morcambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes documents the rediscovery of 45 hours’ worth of material – including episodes of their first radio show – found last year during a clear-out.

The BBC Radio 4 programme, presented by impressionist Jon Culshaw has been made by Whistledown. The independent radio company was contacted by Doreen Wise, widow of Ernie, after she came across two boxes of reel-to-reel tapes and a leather suitcase packed with 78rpm acetates.

These were passed on to Whistledown radio producer David Prest, who says that “three-quarters” of the old recordings were missing from the archives.

He said: “There were 45 hours of tape and we worked out that three-quarters of this stuff was thought lost. The BBC hadn’t kept much of it, but Ernie had.

RESTORED: Producer David Prest cleaning one of the 78rmp acetates.

“After six months of restoration, we had a little piece of history – the missing link between their stage and TV careers.”

The most important find is a near-complete run of Morcambe and Wise’s first radio show, You’re Only Young Once, made for the BBC BBC Northern Home Service between November 1953 and June 1954.

Also found were the fledgling duo’s appearances on BBC radio programmes Variety Bandbox and Variety Fanfare going back to 1949, sound copies of their Sixties’ Great Yarmouth and Blackpool stage-shows, song demos and audio doodles, and the speeches from a 1974 Variety Club lunch held in their honour.

You’re Only Young Once featured skits, songs and cameos from fellow comics such as Bob Monkhouse and Harry Secombe, and, according to William Cook, author of Morecambe & Wise Untold, are important for illustrating the evolution of their comedy.

He said: “They were never Northern comics in the vein of George Formby. They looked across the Pond to that Abbott & Costello style of quick-fire repartee.

Jon Culshaw, a Morcambe and Wise fan, narrates The Garage Tapes.

“It’s recognisably Morecambe & Wise. But it’s like The Beatles’ Hamburg tapes. They’re almost playing cover versions, haven’t yet discovered the thing that makes them special.”

The garage tapes are believed to be ‘run off’ copies recorded at 33/4 ips by studio engineers immediately after the recordings, and acetate copies for which Doreen Wise paid the studio engineer a few shillings.

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