Sunday, 24 August 2014

Carry on Godzilla (cert X)

Everyone's heard of the US release of the original 1950s 'Godzilla' movie which featured a young Raymond Burr (mere years away from TV fame as 'Perry Mason') as a news reporter unceremoniously edited into scenes of death and destruction at the claws of the young giant radio active lizard. 

What isn't really know is the very rarely (if ever) seen UK version of the movie. Exclusive Films acquired the rights to the Toho film and decided to take a leaf out of their American counterpart's book and re-edited the movie with some British actors. Step forward Sidney James, Shirley Eaton and the diminutive Esma Cannon - all of whom would find legendary status as early stars of the 'Carry On' series. 

Val Guest took on the directing chores and spent three days filming the three actors in a selection of ruined sets at Bray Studios and one day on location in London's blitzed docklands. 

It was released very briefly in the south through a number of cinemas but ran into legal problems when the US distributors of the Raymond Burr version struck a deal with Rank to take their version. It hasn't been seen since.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Available From All Good Record Shops

There were some very odd releases from BBC Records over the years. Not content with providing licence payers with selections from their TV and radio output, the Aunty Beeb label gave us everything from collections of sound effects (Who can forget their 'Off Beat Sound Effects' LP complete with its stern verbal cues) to 'BBC Space Themes' (with a really lightweight cover of the Star Trek theme that appeared to have been performed by an orchestra bereft of bows for their violins).

A particular favourite is 'BBC Detective Themes' with one of the very few recordings of the third season 'Starsky and Hutch' theme that no one remembers. It also had the energetic Kathy Kirby belting out "Leave this man alone!" on the theme from 'Adam Adamant Lives'. At the time I bought the album, I'd never heard of the Victorian adventurer but the camp lyrics left me wanting to do anything but leave him alone.

Here's a selection of some of BBC Records & Tapes' lesser known releases. The 'Survivors' Christmas LP was hastily withdrawn after it was spotted that Lucy Fleming's name had been spelt wrong. You couldn't get the staff then either....

1984 - Read by Derek Griffiths

The Sound of Moog Synthesizer Funk
Doomwatch Sound Effects Vol. 7
A Very Survivors Christmas

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Look Out For Look-in Books That Weren't Very Popular At The Time

Look-in Books Newspaper Ad from Daily Chronic (c1975)

Published by Piccolo Books/TVTimes


Price: 25p

Look-in was sold as the "Junior TVTimes". It had everything - pop stars, comic strips, posters, footballers, Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart - everything as long as it was on ITV. No stuffy BBC rubbish here.

I particularly liked the comic strips which utilised some of the best British artists at the time including Mike Noble, Martin Asbury and John Burns. There seemed to be a policy that the comic strips were based on all of ITV's SF output no matter what the quality or longevity of it was. Whilst we had long-running strips based on 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and 'The Tomorrow People', there were also ones about 'The Man from Atlantis' and 'Logan's Run' (that's the TV series not the classic movie). 

Look-in also published a number of TV tie-in books usually written by the celebrity contributors to the magazine. I still have a copy of 'Is There Life In Outer Space?' by Peter Fairley (ITN's then science correspondent and star of 'Timeslip'). 

Here's a selection of some of their less well-known titles.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Great Unreleased Doctor Who Merchandise of the 20th Century - part eight

More Armada Dr. Who Novels

Published by Armada Books Ltd - c1966 - original price: 2/6d

Armada books published several TV tie-ins in the sixties - notably ones based on a number of successful Gerry Anderson shows and The Secret Service. They were often written by one John Theydon - a pseudonym for a writer whose shame prevented him from wanting to be identified with a load of kids' books. (I reckon it was Harold Pinter). 

Armada also reprinted the original first Doctor Who novel in paperback which was based on the first Dalek story and written by David Whittaker who had no such shame. 

Tempted by the success of their new venture, Armada commissioned their mysterious Mr. Theydon to adapt the two Dalek movies into novels. This he did. But being cheapskates, the publishers refused to cough up a royalty payment to Terry Nation for the use of the Daleks on the cover. Although printed, it seems that some bod got cold feet about the project and, in a fit of pique, cancelled it - leaving us only a handful of proof editions to flog on Ebay today.

(As a footnote, pissed off by their encounter with Terry Nation's agent, Armada went for the next best thing - namely the newest monster on the block - The Ice Warriors. A cover was knocked up and things were all ready to proceed when someone realised they hadn't asked Brian Hayles to write it. Such is life.)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sapphire & Steel - Their most terrifying adventure yet...

Sapphire & Steel - the popular and scary 1970s ITV drama series about two mysterious investigators of temporal anomalies - only ran for a mere six adventures. The final story saw them trapped forever in limbo and viewers were left wondering whatever became of them.

Not a lot of people realise that ATV/ITC actually made a seventh adventure but it was deemed too terrifying for broadcast. 

Here's ITC's original trade ad for it. 

What do you think...?

"Whatever you do, don't look around you.....!"

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Blake's 7 - The Virgin New Adventures... that weren't

Everybody knows that Virgin published a series of original adventures based on the then cancelled TV series Doctor Who back in the nineties. What you may not know is that, buoyed by their success, someone at the publishing decided they could do the same with the BBC's other sci-fi cash cow, Blake's 7. Though it had to be said that the cow had been fully milked by 1992, it didn't stop them commissioning writers to pen a series of novels that took the crew of the Liberator into worlds "too violent and too camp" for TV screens. 

Rumour has it that the books were curtailed by Terry Nation himself after he discovered that his signature had not been placed over the Blake's 7 logo as per agreement. 

Another rumour says that the books themselves were left to rot in a warehouse until they were sent to Romania to be used as fuel for orphanage boilers. Whilst there is no real proof of this, there is no smoke without fire.

Here's a rare cover proof for the first novel.  

(Sorry about the coffee stain, I had to put my mug somewhere whilst I was writing this rubbish.)

13.08.2014 STOP PRESS: Found some more cover proofs for the other three novels. Sorry, no coffee stain on these.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Great Unreleased Doctor Who Merchandise of the 20th Century - part seven


Test launched in certain areas of England including Tyneside and the West Midlands - c1966

price: unknown but it was in old money

Someone at Kellogg's had a real wheeze. How about a savoury breakfast cereal to go with all those high sugar ones like Ricicles, Coco Pops and Sugar Stars. They came up with PORKY POPS. Just add milk. Essentially, they were balls of pork scratching flavoured with that artificial bacon flavour that's never been within winking distance of a pig - unlike the pork rind. 

Needless to say, the product was not very popular with consumers and had to be withdrawn after an incident in a Wolverhampton motel resulted in the hospitalisation of several guests with suspected food poisoning. The manufacturers insisted it was curdled milk however, the product was hastily withdrawn from what few supermarket shelves it inhabited and was quietly forgotten.

I still have a Slyther badge and a dependence on regular penicillin shots to remind me of those wonderful tasty breakfasts of my youth, 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Seabase Atlantica: The Whole Sorry Story - part three

Since it's production in 1969, Seabase Atlantica has been largely forgotten about. The reasons are a mixture of legal and cultural. The few who saw it in early morning syndication in the US would rather forget about it as would the 'talent' who appeared in it. It's certainly not mentioned on James Darren's otherwise impressive resume.

In recent years, a few have made efforts to rectify this and in the mid-nineties, the magazine 'FanGrok' was the first to a publish a (slightly inaccurate) episode guide. Thanks to Paul Morehouse, we know the reasons for its shady past.

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Today however, I'm pleased to announce that the series will finally get a wider audience. The many political and legal obstacles that have prevented even the publication of images from the show have now been crossed. The complete series will be available on DVD from next month. We've managed to put together on a limited budget a selection of special features to accompany the HD remastered episodes. We even managed to convince some members of the original cast to contribute on the grounds that we will release it away with or without their own defence of their actions. The first 1000 copies of the box set will include a special 'Seabase Atlantica' calendar depicting many unseen photos from the show.

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All-in-all, it looks quite good having seen some of the test discs. I hope to include more details in a future post. 

Andrew-Mark Thompson

Season two – September-December 1970

SHELLEY WINTERS…Doctor Hanna Bourbon
JAMES DARREN…Captain Anthony ‘Ziggy’ Shapiro
CHAD MARTIN…Aqua, the Mer-boy
JUDY ALLEN…Cindy Crutch
JONATHAN HARRIS…Voice of Debbie the Robot

Wr. Stirling Siliphant
Dir. Irwin Allen
Professor Crutch, after a severe mental breakdown, is replaced by kindly matriarch Dr. Hanna Bourbon as commander of Seabase Atlantica. Aqua the Mer-boy discovers a giant starfish and is taken over by it. The starfish dupes him into thinking he’s the ghost of Blackbeard. Dr. Bourbon exorcises the ghostly spirit by placing a peutronic headband on Aqua to disperse the phantom. The radiation from the headband gives the Mer-boy unexpected telepathic powers that prove useful in later episodes.

Wr. William Welch and Irwin Allen
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Zsa Zsa Gabor (Mer Queen), Linda Evans, Stella Stevens (Mer Maids).
Green, scaly but beautiful mermaids capture Aqua the Mer-boy, wishing to use him to help them reproduce their race as all men on their home planet have been wiped out by a verminous space plague. Aqua telepathically communicates the location of the Uranian base to Dr. Bourbon, who launches a rocket with her, Ziggy, Susan, Cindy and Debbie the Robot on board to rescue him. But the rocket has to face a meteor storm before it reaches their friend. (Dynasty’s Linda Evans thought she was only contracted to film one episode of this two-parter and was shocked when she discovered it would involve more days filming than she really wanted. The producer was forced to lock her in her Winnebago for the duration of filming to prevent her running off.)

Wr. Peter Packer
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: David Carradine, Goldie Hawn, Dennis Hopper, Bill Williams Jnr (Hippies).
Susan is turned on by magic undersea mushrooms and become deliriously hallucinogenic. She is rescued from a man-eating crayfish by a tribe of gentle underwater hippies, desperate for new supplies of the wonder fungus. Ziggy rescues Susan and entombs the hippies forever at the bottom of the sea.
(The giant mushroom prop actually heralds from the original 1939 MGM production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Sober Martini
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr, Rick Springfield (Werewolves).
Ziggy is infected by a virulent peutronic virus that turns him into a werewolf. He goes berserk and releases another werewolf, being transported to the base, from its cage. They go on a killing rampage and, as more and more people becoming infected, the werewolves threaten to take over. It’s a race against time as Dr. Bourbon and Susan struggle to find an antidote before the entire world is taken over.

Wr. William Welch and Irwin Allen
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Zsa Zsa Gabor (Mer Queen), Linda Evans, Stella Stevens, Bill Williams Jnr (Mer Maids), Eddie Boyle (Dog).
The rocket lands on Venus but Aqua is now under the thrall of the sexy Mer Queen. Dr. Bourbon is tortured and forced into the pit of mud to wrestle to the death with the Mer Queen whilst Ziggy and Susan are rescuing Aqua. The family return to Earth after the Mermaids’ power source is sucked out.

Wr. Jack Turley
Dir. Harry Harris
A giant purple cloud approaches the Earth and releases yellow and pink spores in the oceans, from which an evil turquoise and vermilion seaweed parasite emerges. Hanna must lure the creature into an extinct volcano, where Debbie the Robot is waiting to ignite a peutronic incendiary device. The volcano erupts bathing the parasite in hot lava and burning it to death. (Footage of the volcano erupting was taken from an NBC news report that one of the show's technicians had taped the night before shooting started.)

Wr. Wanda Duncan and Bob
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: Henry Jones (Prof Sphere), Bill Williams Jnr (Sailor man).
Ziggy discovers the body of a man wearing an old fashioned sailor’s uniform and, in turn, stumbles across an ancient undersea civilisation peopled by the crews of vanished sailing ships. They are ruled over by the megalomaniac Professor Sphere, who plans to destroy the world with a giant atom crusher that will release super-heated plankton into the Earth’s core and split it open. He gets drowned when his security kitchen is flooded.

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Harry Harris
While swimming near the base, Cindy is swallowed by a giant sea anemone, which duplicates her form and sends it back to Seabase. The duplicate plans to turn the peutronic reactor on to over and infect the base with deadly radiation, in turn converting everyone into dangerous zombie werewolves. Just in time, Aqua finds the real Cindy’s body. He returns with her to help Ziggy grapple with the duplicate and toss it into a seaweed threshing machine. (This is another of Judy Allen's least favourite best remembered episodes according to one of her carers.)

WR. Bob and Esther Mitchell
Director Harry Harris
Guest cast: Peter Mark Richman (Gonadski), Lloyd Bochner (Swasslehoffmann), Bill Williams Jnr (First and second vampire man).
Evil red agents kidnap Hanna and Susan and are then attacked and killed by two blood sucking vampire creatures. But with the two women now buried alive in an undersea grotto with less than an hour’s worth of air, it’s a race against time for Aqua the Mer-boy to telepathically locate them without himself becoming trapped and sucked to death by the savage vampire devils that guard the cave system. (The Russian embassy in Washington complained about the portrayal of their citizens as blood lusting vampires. A letter appeared in Pravda a month after the episode's transmission, denying that it was based on fact.)

Wr. Dan Ullman
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Jonathan Harris (Dr. Crutch), Bill Williams Jnr (Midget fire eater).
An underwater circus visits the Seabase but unknown to the denizens of Atlantica, the lead clown and ringmaster is, in truth, the insane Dr. Crutch, who has escaped from his top secret, high security lunatic asylum and plans to blow up the base. Luckily, Debbie the robot recognises her former master’s voice and electro-zaps him.

Wr. Bruce Geller and Irwin Allen
Dir. Sutton Roley
Guest cast: Mike Connors (TV’s Joe Mannix), Kent Smith (The Murderer), Bill Williams Jnr (The other suspect).
When a visiting scientist is murdered on the Seabase, Dr Bourbon is forced to bring in outside help in the form of TV’s Joe Mannix. The private detective is forced to use all of his wits to identify the murderer before he strikes again spelling doom for the base and its crew. (Mike Connors agreed to appearing in this episode as a forfeit for losing a round of golf with Shelley Winters.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Ronald Neame
Seabase Atlantica is infiltrated by mysterious sewer dwelling entities which attack and devour people in bathrooms. Ziggy and Aqua the Mer-boy are miniaturised and sent down the plumbing in a two-man sub. They destroy the creatures with special anti-septic grenades. (This episode utilised the sub from the movie 'Fantastic Voyage' after the director discovered it on the 20th Century Fox lot under a tarpaulin. Sadly the prop was not in the best of condition and the show's budget did not allow any restorative work to be carried out on it. Look closely in the second act and you can see the phrase 'What's jammin kid?' graffitoed just by the escape hatch handle.)

Wr. Irwin Allen
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Evil tree).
In this special Christmas episode, Dr Bourbon, Ziggy and Aqua the Mer-boy journey to investigate a strange light that falls into the sea. They find what appears to be a Christmas tree sent from the stars. Returning with it to the base, they are horrified to discover that it is really a deadly space conifer that has been sent to pave the way for an all-out invasion of planet Earth. The tree paralyses Dr Bourbon and Ziggy with stinging needles but just in time, Aqua telepathically convinces it that it is an ordinary Christmas tree and is a worldwide symbol of peace and goodwill. With the conifer frozen, Dr Bourbon is able to destroy it forever with a powerful defoliant and Christmas is saved.

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Warren Stevens (Dr. Gammynekker), Bill Williams Jnr (Toad tongue operator).
The crew of the Seabase find themselves lost in the Mojha desert under threat from the giant toads of Dr. Gammynekker. The evil doctor plans to use his toads to threaten the UN with annihilation but Dr. Bourbon is able to stop him and he is devoured by one of his toad minions during a freak electrical storm caused by his peutron ray bomb.

9/8/2014 STOP PRESS: The DVD release of 'Seabase Atlantica' has been postponed due to unforseen legal issues with the estate of Irwin Allen.

Seabase Atlantica: The Whole Story

Written by Andrew-Mark Thompson
Based on material originally written and researched by Paul Morehouse and first published in the magazine ‘FanGrok

With humble acknowledgement to the work of Adam Richards and Owen Richards.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Would you trust International Rescue with this job?


Unknown maker

Originally available c1995

Price £1 (available at early Poundland stores in the Midlands)

You need someone or something REALLY reliable to carry out certain tasks. International Rescue are one of the most trustworthy organisations in the world (of fiction). Every day throughout the world (of fiction), people trust them with their lives when they need help of a desperate nature. They are the go-to guys when it comes to sorting out emergencies........ especially in the fictional world of 2066.

So let's put their name to a Pregnancy Testing Kit!

(It seems Gerry had a better agent than Sylvia did....!)

Great Unreleased Doctor Who Merchandise of the 20th Century - part seven

THE DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS BIKINI SET - M&S - c1979 - price unknown

We've all heard of the Doctor Who underpants with Tom Baker proudly emblazoned across the crotch. But did you know they also produced a matching bikini set as well? 


Neither did I...!!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Seabase Atlantica: The Whole Sorry Story - part two

In my previous piece about Seabase Atlantica, I referenced one Paul Morehouse upon whose original research these pieces are based on. He had managed to unearth fragments of the story of the TV series and the reasons for its ongoing neglect. Although he furnished me with a number of images and the odd photosopy, all I really have is the original article he wrote for us back in nineties.

The fact that 'Seabase Atlantica' was made was down to a number of unique factors at the time. The two major ones were the confidence the studio had in Irwin Allen's ability to “create another Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and the ever increasing financial problems that Twentieth Century Fox found itself in as the sixties came to an end.

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The box-out to the right is taken from Paul's original article and sets up the lie of the land that the new series was born into together with the unique way that money was found to finance the show.

The over-confidence of the show's production team to produce episode-after-episode of the first season saw them continue to produce a second the following year without realising the series had yet to air on one of the major networks.

Eventually production stopped and the financial problems of the studio suddenly took charge of the situation. The cost and value of the show roughly equated to a sizeable part of the taxes owed by the studio to the IRS. In a bizzare series of top secret discussions between studio accountants and IRS investigators, a contract was drawn up that resulted in the US Government taking posession of 'Seabase Atlantica' – its assets, episodes and intellectual ownership – as part payment of the tax bill. (Apparently, one of the documents that Paul had also allegedly included a request from a leading Senator for the telephone number of Julie Andrews who had recently starred in Twentieth Century Fox's musical flop 'Star!' but whether this was followed up, is something between the Senator and Ms. Andrews.)

Click to enlarge
The second box out to the left is also taken from Paul's original article and explains the way that the series vanished from the face of television history and the legacy it had on future film and TV production.

There may well be hope on the horizon for television aficionados to finally see 'Seabase Atlantica' soon. 

More on that in part three.

SEABASE ATLANTICA – Episode Guide - part two

Season one - September 1969-March 1970

ROBERT YOUNG…Professor Jonathan Crutch
JAMES DARREN…Captain Anthony ‘Ziggy’ Shapiro
CHAD MARTIN…Aqua, the Mer-boy
JUDY ALLEN…Cindy Crutch
JONATHAN HARRIS…Voice of Debbie the Robot

Wr. Justin Addiss
Dir. Malachi Throne
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Caterpillar man), Tarquin Font (Butterfly man).
Whilst exploring a beautiful undersea forest, Ziggy and Susan discover a giant chrysalis which, when hatched, threatens to devour the seabase. Aqua the Mer-boy must get supplies of a rare seaweed that the creature feeds on to lure it into a trap in order to electro-fry it to death, However, the giant caterpillar turns into a mystical sea butterfly and departs into outer space.
(Actor Tarquin Font was working as a waiter at a local restaurant when the director noticed how much he looked like a butterfly and cast him in the episode.)

Wr. J E Selby (Irwin Allen)
Dir. Felix Feist
Guest cast: Adam West (Marlo Pernicker), Bill Williams Jnr (The Ghost of Amelia Earhart).
A wily accountant threatens to close the seabase down due to excessive costs. However, he quickly changes his mind when the resurrected ghost of Ameila Earhart kidnaps him. Prof Crutch is able to convince the dead sea ghost pilot to release the accountant before trapping the spirit inside a peutron capsule headed for outer space. (Bill Williams Jnr is actually wearing the same costume as Florence Henderson did in the previous ‘Ghost of the Airways’ episode. To hide his distinctive male features, the costume department issued Williams with a cloak which he could bring up to cover his face when necessary. Even though he was agile at this, in one later shot, you can clearly see stubble on Amelia Earhart’s chin.)

Wr. Anthony Wilson
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Sludge man).
A giant sentient sludge creature from another dimension kidnaps Crutch and threatens to absorb his brain. Ziggy and Susan, with the help of Debbie, detonate its power supply and the monster turns into nothing more than harmless mud. (The original title for this episode - as written on an early shooting script in red crayon - was ‘Another Fucking Piece of Shit’.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: David Wayne (Shuvvitch), Denver Pyle (Captain Vagishatt), Bill Williams Jnr (Pony boy).
The team discover a shipwreck with a vast chest of gold bullion aboard. Evil foreigner agents steal the gold that is, in truth, a weapon capable of disintegrating the free will of people’s minds. Jon Crutch is affected and raids the base’s peutronic reserves. Ziggy and Aqua the Mer-boy must stop him before Debbie is affected by the power drain and turns back into a giant fish-eating robotoid werewolf. (Bill Williams Jnr wore his own Pony boy costume for his scenes in the third act.)

Wr. Dan Ullman
Dir. Nathan Juran
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Golden Octopus man).
Cindy discovers a wishing machine, capable of granting her every wish, at the base of a long-dead volcano. The golden octopus man who guards it seeks her out in revenge, but is destroyed, along with the device, when the volcano is sent back in time by an alien robotoid from the planet Jupitarius. (This episode is actress Judy Allen’s favourite least worst episode according to her carer.)

Wr. Arthur Weiss
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Davy Jones (Locka).
Aqua the Mer-boy befriends an invisible force called Locka which, when smuggled into the base by Aqua, causes havoc and mischief by playing dangerous practical jokes on everyone. Prof Crutch loses his atomic powered fountain pen that, if tampered with the wrong way, will release deadly peutronic radiation and kill everyone in a ten-mile radius. The invisible force becomes affected by it and pleads with Aqua to join with him. Eventually, the force mutates into a giant invisible werewolf. Tearfully, Aqua the Mer-boy has to destroy his new friend by flooding his body with deadly gamma rays.
(This episode was banned in Saudi Arabia which is odd because the series was never broadcast there.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Sober Martin
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Man).
The asteroid Caligari is on a collision course with Earth. The only way to stop it is to create a megalonic field around the Earth using the Prof. Crutch’s peutronic piles. The heroic plan is dangerous and enemy agents are despatched to stop Crutch. Meanwhile a rampaging sea cucumber threatens Hawaii. (The episode features stock footage from the ‘Lost in Space’ episode ‘Blast off into Space’)

Wr. Shirl Hendryx
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Eartha Kitt (Pussy Queen), Yvonne De Carlo (Pussy General), Heather Young (Pussy Alpha), Bill Williams Jnr (Pussy man).
Intelligent Pussy men from the planet Skargyll invade Atlantica. Jon and Ziggy are forced into creating a giant fur bomb that will accelerate the hair growth of every man on Earth turning them into Pussies. Crutch discovers that the Pussy men are vulnerable to fresh water and drowns them to death. (Two specially trained cats were used in the final control room scene but were lost when special effect technicians flooded the set for the explosive climax of the episode.)

Wr. Bob and Esther Mitchell
Dir. Richard Donner
Cindy’s hair is turned purple when she eats a wild undersea pomegranate. Prof Crutch races against time to save her from becoming totally purple-ized but he has become infected by a leaking peutronic container and is in danger of irreversibly becoming a werewolf forever. (The television show that Cindy is seen watching in the first scene is actually footage from Irwin Allen’s unsold TV pilot for ‘The Astounding Captain Fish’.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: Fred Gwynne (Horton Crabtree), Bill Williams Jnr (Moon man), Ken Matthews, Jock Gaynor (Other Moon men), Bob May (Robo Centurion)
Jon Crutch’s old college friend, Horton Crabtree, is in league with insane aliens from the backside of the moon who plan to extinguish the sun and plunge the Earth into total darkness and invade it as well. Just in time, Ziggy is able to radio control a giant mirrored satellite into orbit so as to reflect the sun’s rays onto the alien base, burning the vile moon men and their army of robot Roman centurions forever. (Munsters actor Fred Gwynne claimed not to remember “a bloody thing” about filming this episode in his autobiography… but we know he did.)

Wr. Harlan Ellison
Dir. Jerry Hopper
Guest cast: Bill Williams Jnr (Blue puff creature operator).
Cute furry blue creatures that develop and multiply at an alarming rate plague Atlantica. They break into the base’s peutronic stores and begin to grow in size. Jon Crutch has to inject them with a rare seaweed serum in order to poison them forever. (The blue furry creatures were actually purchased en-masse from a local toyshop. Their eyes were removed and their bodies were stuffed with red jello for their final scenes. Harlan Ellison is the pen-name of writer Cordwainer Bird.)

Wr. Richard Shapiro
Dir. Sobey Martin
Guest cast: Bette Davis (Lizard Queen), Dianne Summers, Karen Steele, Bill Williams Jnr (Lizard Women).
An old and ancient race of Amazonian Lizard women is discovered by Crutch who, believing them to be evil, eradicates them with a giant peutronic bomb.
(In the Lizard Queen’s bed chamber, the portrait hanging on the wall is of actor William Conrad and was originally used in an episode of the western series ‘Have Gun – Will Travel’ that the Cannon actor directed once.)

Wr. William Welch
Dir. Harry Harris
Guest cast: Herve Villechaise (First amphibian).
Small green amphibian men from Mars pay the base a visit but Prof Crutch is unable to decipher their electronic language and he electrocutes them. (This was actually the 14th episode to be completed but was left on the shelf until the spring because someone had forgot about it.)

To be continued in part three by clicking here.

Seabase Atlantica: The Whole Sorry Story

Written by Andrew-Mark Thompson

Based on material originally written and researched by Paul Morehouse and first published in the magazine ‘FanGrok

With humble acknowledgement to the work of Adam Richards and Owen Richards.

More ridiculous TV merchandise what I found

William Conrad's Guide to Great Telephone Etiquette

The actor William Conrad - famous as detective Frank Cannon in the 1970s in the TV show Cannon - lent his name to a series of training manuals for phone users. He had a great rich voice and was also the announcer on such TV shows as 'The Fugitive' and 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century'. In his later years, he recorded a series of generic answerphone messages that were released as an LP for use on home phones. A single from the LP reached number seven in the American Billboard charts. I really think some call centre operators need to read this wonderful book!

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Official Public Sector Technobabble Generator

Anyone who knows me will know that I have two major bees-in-my-bonnet. One is so-called 'Plain English' - the sort that sucks the life out of sentences by simplifying them to the point they become meaningless. 

The other is, oddly enough, 'Corporate Jargon'. In particular the sort of professional jargon that only workers in specific industries - like marketing and the public sector - use but allow to spill over into the public domain. Ugly terms like 'Sustainability' and 'Legacy Projects' will be familiar to fans of the BBC comedy 'Twenty-Twelve' - terms that are rendered meaningless by the fact that the folk who use them can't even agree on what they mean...

The following is my own little contribution to the area. I created it a few years ago whilst I was working for an unnamed city council - though you can possibly guess which one from some of the options below. 

I hope it provides you with at least a few minutes of unbridled pleasure.

Me? I'm off to work further on my "Sustainable Inner-city Re-alignment Initiative."

Click for larger view