Post by mjbrathwaite on Dec 28, 2016 3:05:14 GMT -5
I can't remember the last time a John Wayne film was shown on TV in New Zealand. Fortunately, I've got a lot of them on video and DVD. This afternoon I watched "The Shootist". I'd love to have met him. In the 1960s, I wrote him a fan letter and he sent me a postcard, but it wasn't signed. I must admit New Year's Day isn't my favourite day of the year, as I always have to get up early and drive to a country town to perform at a vintage car rally. I hope yours goes well. Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Jan 15, 2017 14:46:43 GMT -5
I forgot, you're deep into Summer now, while I'm shoveling snow away from my car. I had to suspend my Folk/Comedy Act until spring where I'm joining a partner to write poetic lyrics I put to music. I had a chance to see John Wayne while in California in 1973 but at the time I still harbored resentment about his Alamo. I thought he missed an opportunity. But since then, thanks in part to the Alamo Forum and the Farkis' book, I've come to appreciate that he gave everything he had to his Alamo project. Like Teddy Roosevelt said of the "Man in the Arena," he bares the bruises and gives his all and emerges triumphant in spite of the criticism. Although not historical, he wanted to make an epic patriotic drama and succeeded. I'm also at work on a world history book for ages 9 thru 12. I'm barely out of the stone age but it is so much fun. Lou from Long Island
Post by mjbrathwaite on Jan 17, 2017 0:24:06 GMT -5
It's summer today, but we're having a strange summer with wintery days in between the 30 degree ones. Where's the global warming they promised us?! Before I saw the John Wayne film , the only "historical" thing I'd read on the Alamo was an article that presented the bogus Santa Anna report from "Men's Illustrated" as a recently discovered document. Still, it gave me a lifelong interest in how David Crockett died, and having thought that that was an undisputed view of what happened for the next seven or eight years (until I read an article claiming a woman at the Alamo had seen him die in the battle), I think it's made me more receptive to the idea that he might have survived the battle than I might otherwise have been. As a twelve or thirteen-year-old, when I saw the film, the only thing I thought was wrong was that it didn't have Crockett talking to Santa Anna after the battle! By the time I discovered James Crisp's and Bill Groneman's books and started corresponding with them, I'd become a film historian, and understood why historical events had to be depicted in terms of standard plots and conventions if the films were to become hits, so I've always been able to enjoy the film despite its inaccuracies. I especially like the director's cut - although I was under the impression that they'd shot a scene in which Jim Bowie fought with his knife, and that's not in any version of the film that I've seen. I didn't know you were a composer. I am too, but it's never made me rich or very famous. I've released quite a few records and CDs as Ritchie Venus. Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Jan 25, 2017 18:18:31 GMT -5
I never thought of myself as much of a composer. I haven't played in a studio for over 30 years. It was best working my way through college in several rock bands covering the 60s and 70s. After that it was work and family although I had a few gigs with some talented singers who never had the fortitude to advance in the New York music business (a cut-throat mess.) My real love now is creative writing where a teach a course for the local residents and have a great time.
Post by mjbrathwaite on Jan 26, 2017 16:55:20 GMT -5
I don't do much studio recording now, but some of my unreleased recordings from the 1960s came out on an EP fairly recently. It was released by a German company, but they made it look like an Italian bootleg, presumably to avoid paying Chuck Berry royalties for one of his songs that was on it. The last studio recordings I did of my music were done in 2003. One of the tracks had been a medley which included the "Deguello" from the John Wayne film, which I'd assumed was the real one, but before it was released I watched the Disney film again and noticed it had a different "Deguello", and it occurred to me that the one I recorded might have been written by Dmitri Tiomkin, in which case the copyright wouldn't have expired, so I wrote a new tune to fit the accompaniment and recorded that.
Post by loucapitano on Feb 16, 2017 15:17:57 GMT -5
Hi. Been out a few weeks having advanced glaucoma surgery on my right eye, which had deteriorated badly in just a few months. Saw the doctor today who said it's healing nicely and I'm now just starting to see out of it. Thank God the left eye can compensate with much medications. Anyone reading this, PLEASE get your eyes checked. Especially if you are over 35 and have a history or have African or Mediterranean ancestry. Doctors can do wonders, but they have to diagnose early. Our Western Channel just ran the Alec Baldwin Alamo, 13 Days to Glory from 1987. It was fun and I think a worthy try for a low budget TV movie. I liked to see the final battle scenes augmented by action clips from the Last Command. I'm waiting for some enterprising genius to splice together all the Alamo flicks into one massive March 6th Alamo spectacle. PS: I've heard several versions of the "Deguello" from several historical sources. They are mostly a repetitive collection of high C notes. I prefer the somber romance of Dmitri Tiomkin. Along with Ben Hur, I think his Alamo is one of the finest soundtracks ever made. Lou from Long island
Post by mjbrathwaite on Feb 17, 2017 1:07:50 GMT -5
It sounds like your surgery has been successful. I'd been under the impression they couldn't treat glaucoma other than with eye drops. I'm glad I was wrong! I agree with you about the soundtrack from "The Alamo". It was the first LP I ever owned, and I still play it. I've also used bits of it in my home movies. I think the "Deguello" in the 2004 film was the real one, although I'm not sure that the added harmonies were part of it. I must pay attention to the music in "Ben Hur", which I see quite often, partly because it's in the study sample for a booklet I'm writing on top-grossing action/adventure films, and partly because I watch my videos and DVDs in rotation, and I have four copies of it. (There are two videos as I already had one when I inherited another, and two DVDs as I already had one when purchased a box set of four DVDs including "Ben Hur" to get "Gone with the Wind".) Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Feb 25, 2017 17:44:53 GMT -5
For a while as a teenager, when other kids bought rock, I bought Movie Themes. Eric Korngold, Micklos Rosa, Magnificent Seven, Guns of Navarone, Zulu, Carousel, Bye Bye Birdie, Elvis Movies, Broadway Plays. I think it was my Dad's influence. He was into Opera and Classical stuff. I wanted the big orchestra sounds of the 20th Century. I found them in the movies thanks to John Williams, Mancini, Ferranti and Teicha etc. I didn't buy a rock album until the Beatles and Stones. Now I have them all up to Rod Stewart and Billy Joel.(and Lady GaGa with Tony Bennett). Today I was fiddling with my guitar trying to play Rogers and Hammerstein. Some good, some needed improvement. Lou from Long Island PS: Eyes looking good!
Post by mjbrathwaite on Mar 3, 2017 1:52:16 GMT -5
That's good news about the eyes. I think the first three LPs I got were the soundtrack albums for "The Alamo", "The Pride and the Passion" and "Blue Hawaii". I share your fondness for film music and Rogers and Hammerstein. My favourite singer P.J. Proby recorded some of their songs on his second and third albums, and I've got the soundtrack albums from "The King and I", "Carousel", "The Sound of Music", and "Oklahoma". I've also got a version of "The King and I" in which Theodore Bikel plays the king. He was the first film star I met when he toured New Zealand shortly after filming "A Dog of Flanders". Richard Rogers' style of composition reminds me of George Harrison's in that he uses chord progressions that most classically trained musicians wouldn't think of, although I imagine he was classically trained. I'm also very much into surf guitar, and recently discovered that some standards make great surf instrumentals - especially "Let's Face the Music and Dance" and "So in Love". Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Mar 8, 2017 17:45:42 GMT -5
Thanks for mentioning "Surf Guitar". That's about all my first guitar group played in 1965 &'66. Our first public concert played "Walk Don't Run, "Pipeline" and "Wipeout." Then we went for the Beach Boy Instrumentals and a little Dwayne Eddie. God, I loved that music with the deep reverb and flat-wound guitar strings. I wonder if the still make them? I love the Broadway Shows too. My kids got to play a bunch of them in high school, college and thereafter. Then they quit to have jobs and families. But I got to see my son do Conrad Birdie, Sky Masterson and Big Jules in Guys and Dolls, Caiaphas and Pilate in Superstar, and Bill Sykes in Oliver. My daughter did Tuptim in King and I, lead rolls in West Side Story and LaGuardia. A lot of talent, but they never got further than "Off Broadway revivals." It sure was fun and lots of great memories and video tapes. Also, Happy March 6th Anniversary. I'm still tackling the John Farkis Book. The Glaucoma makes reading a challenge. Lou from Long Island
Post by mjbrathwaite on Mar 9, 2017 21:56:32 GMT -5
I'm going to have the chance to play a bit of surf guitar tomorrow night. For a special event the big band I play in is doing "Smoke on the Water". For the guitar solo I'm playing the solo off my first record followed by stuff from Dick Dale's version of the song. Incidentally, I've just discovered that "Whatever Lola Wants" from "d**n Yankees" makes a reasonable surf instrumental. My son's only performing is in my films. The last one was a (mainly) true story in which he played me and I played a con man with whom I had an unfortunate encounter. It's called "Vigilante Fury 3", and our local university put it on You Tube, which is a bit of a worry as I used the con man's real name in it. I've played Pharaoh in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat", and toured in a production of "Godspell". I also played "Buddy Holly in a cut down version of "The Buddy Holly Story" not terribly long ago. We don't get any recognition of March 6th in New Zealand. The John Wayne version of "The Alamo" used to be shown during prime time back in the days when they showed old films on TV here, but the latest version has been shown only in the middle of the night. The John Wayne one still gets shown on cable TV here, along with a documentary about the making of it, which someone recorded for me. There was also a program called "What Went Down" about the Alamo on cable TV, and I got someone to record that for me too. I'm still looking out for the John Farkis book, but I'm not holding my breath. In the 1950s, we had similar reaction to America when the Disney film was shown here. The other major hero for new Zealand boys was Robin Hood, and we all wore "coonskin" caps and carried bows and arrows! Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Mar 15, 2017 16:24:48 GMT -5
I saw Richard Green play Robin Hood before I saw Errol Flynn. Years later I earned an archery merit badge in Scouts and taught it in summer camp. I guess I was in to super heroes from a young age because I thrived on the swash buckling good guys like Zorro, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Three Musketeers, Lone Ranger, Count of Monte Cristo and all the rest who worked outside the authorities to bring justice. It's just the romantic in me. I'll bet many members of the Forum had similar interests in their youth. It's amazing after 60+ years I can still enjoy those youth fantasies. Recently, one of our cable stations began running "film noire" classics and I've dug out from my Man Cave Library a bunch of Daschle Hammett, Earl Stanley Gardner and other private eye thrillers. It's amazing how stories written in the "30s and 40's can be so entertaining today. Whether it's Nick Charles or Phillip Marlow, these guys really knew the ways of the "anti-hero" that adventure readers love. Lou from Long Island PS: Glaucoma improving. I now see 20/80 out of my right eye.
Post by mjbrathwaite on Mar 16, 2017 17:56:39 GMT -5
I think I would have seen Richard Greene about the same time as I saw Errol Flynn. Did you know that some of the Richard Greene TV episodes have been colourized and put together as feature films? The Errol Flynn film is one of my all-time favourites, but I wish someone would make a film putting him in the 1220s: he didn't become an outlaw until nearly a decade after John's death, It's funny you should mention "The Count of Monte Cristo", as the first film in my "Vigilante Fury" series started out as a modern version of that. Also, the script I've written for "Vigilante Fury 4" ends with an archer shooting a traffic engineer with a red arrow! In Christchurch, where I live, we have a problem with traffic engineers who add unnecessary red arrows to traffic lights. They don't like motorists turning right at intersections unless there is a green arrow showing, regardless of whether or not anyone is coming the other way. The project started after I made a video clip for a song that talked about '"bringing down the bad guys the law can't touch". It had a montage of logos of businesses on my hit list, but it had to be shelved on the advice of my lawyer, who thought I might get sued for using the logos. I like all of the heroes you mention, but I have a special fondness for antiheroes. Another of my favourite films is "Falling Down", and I watched it quite a few times before I realized Michael Douglas wasn't meant to be a hero! My all-time favourite screen moment is in "Vera Cruz", when Burt Lancaster wants to recruit the mercenaries led by a man called Charlie, but Charlie wants to be the leader, and It's good news about your right eye. Let's hope it continues. Michael.
Post by loucapitano on Mar 30, 2017 12:34:06 GMT -5
It's almost April Fools Day. According to my superficial research the term April Fool comes from the French who adopted the Gregorian Calendar around the 1500's. It changed New Year's Day from April 1st to January 1st. Those who continued to celebrate the New Year in April came to be called "April Fools." I didn't find much verification, but it sounds plausible. Does anyone have another derivation?
Mike, are we the only ones corresponding on the Alamo Forum? Wha' happened? Dozens of guys and gals shared all types of information and fellowship though these posts. Now it's just a handful. Hey, WAKE UP y'all and Remember the Alamo!!!!
Post by mjbrathwaite on Mar 30, 2017 22:48:33 GMT -5
I must admit I don't know much about how our calendar has developed, although I'm aware that in ancient history one has to make allowances in certain areas because some ancient civilizations or parts of them got out of step with the rest of the known world. It hadn't escaped my notice that not a lot's been happening on the forum lately. A few years ago an administrator would have shifted out current conversation to another thread. Perhaps no new letters or other documents have come to light lately. I would like to see Tod Hansen's "Alamo Reader", as I get the impression from "The Blood of Heroes" that it has some Susanna Dickinson material I haven't seen. The problem is that it is ridiculously expensive to get big books sent to New Zealand now. Also, James Crisp has advised me that he doesn't think there's anything in it to add to the debate over David Crockett's death, in which I'm especially interested. Michael.