Saturday, 21 May 2016

YOUNG AT HEART

Farewell to Alan Young (1919-2016) that engaging actor whose many roles on stage, film and television include Wilbur Post, the klutzy owner of a loquacious Palomino horse in one of the wackiest of the goofy '60s TV sitcoms Mister Ed (1961-66) and, later, the voice of Disney's Scrooge McDuck in Mickey's Christmas Carol and numerous TV animations.

Anyone thesp who can share the screen with a talking horse without being totally upstaged and can speak like a stingy Scottish duck is, surely, an actor with genuine talent!


Friday, 13 May 2016

LUCKY FOR SOME!




FRIDAY 13...?

What better day to celebrate my blog's TENTH BIRTHDAY?

Since 13 May 2006 this blog has featured 1920 posts (including this one) and received 9368 published comments –– thanks to YOU!!

It is true that recently I have been somewhat seduced away from blogging by that coy mistress, Facebook, but I still enjoy coming back here, once in a while, where so many weird and wonderful, delightful and dubious things have been celebrated and where, over the years, so many friendships have been made!

Friday, 6 May 2016

100 YEARS OF SNOW

Today would have been the 100th birthday of a very special lady who, for several years, I called a friend...


Her name was Adriana Caselotti (1916-1997) and although it never appeared on the film's credits, she was the speaking and singing voice for Snow White in Walt Disney's classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.


Rather than retell Adriana's extraordinary story, I am going to let you hear it from the lady herself in an archive recording of a  long-distance, virtual-interview which I conducted in June 1987 while researching for the book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Making of the Classic Film which I wrote in collaboration with Richard Holliss to mark Miss White's 50th birthday.

I mailed my questions to Adriana and she answered them onto tape. The quality isn't great: it was recorded in a very echoey acoustic and there are one or two amusing stops and starts (and a few inaccurate answers!) but it gives a good idea of what a fascinating person she was.

As you will quickly deduce, she was something of an eccentric, but she was – once you became acclimatised to the near-exhausting enthusiasm – an utterly charming and adorable person. I loved her dearly...

Anyway, here's Snow White's adventures as she herself recounted them, aged 71...


Alas, she never did visit England, but I visited Los Angeles and got to meet her in person at her extraordinary Polynesian style home (with an anachronistic wishing well and a Japanese bridge in the garden!). I knew I was in for an experience when she answered the door-phone as Snow White telling Grumpy: 'Brian's at the door!' and singing 'I'm Wishing'!


On the subject of singing, here's another unique recording for you: the seventy-year-old Adriana singing six karaoke numbers that she recorded in November 1986: 'B├ęsame Mucho', 'Strangers in the Night', 'Harbor Lights', 'Autumn Leaves', Beyond the Reef' (both vocals!) and 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco'. This recording concludes with 'I'm Wishing', from Snow White, recorded (as she explained in the interview above) for the Fantasyland Wishing Well in Disneyland in 1983, when she was age sixty-seven...


I corresponded with Adriana up until the end of her life and made a number of memorable visits to see her, by myself or with dear friends – on various occasions, Richard and Chris, Muir, Michael and Malcolm – all of whom shared my affection for this wonderful character...


Every visit was commemorated with some keepsake of our friendship... 



Finally, here's The Fairest of Them All – a vintage BBC radio feature marking Snow White's 50th anniversary that I wrote and presented on the BBC World Service programme strand, Meridian on 8 December 1987...


And if you're not snowed-up by now, you can read the story of the making of this iconic film on today's post over on my sister blog, Decidedly Disney.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

HAPPY & GLORIOUS!

Loyal salutations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th Birthday!

Here's my favourite royal portrait by cartoonist Trog (Wally Fawkes), made shortly after Her Majesty had visited 'The Queen Vic' on the set of the BBC soap-opera, EASTENDERS...

Sunday, 27 March 2016

EASTER LIGHT!


"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

 – The Prophecy of Isaiah, Chapter 9, Verse 2

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

– The Gospel of St Mark, Chapter 16, Verses 1-6

[Photo: Window in St John the Divine, Kennington, © Brian Sible, 2012]

Saturday, 26 March 2016

DRAWN TO SUCCESS


Tomorrow (Sunday 27 March)

Channel 5 Television 

presents
a celebration of the   

GREATEST ANIMATED MOVIES 

This cartoon marathon will be transmitted from 4:10 to 7:00 pm

Honouring some of the finest and funniest films in the history of animation will be Brian Cosgrove, Craig T Nelson, Floyd Norman, Henry Selick, Brian Sibley, David Silverman and Billy West ––––

PLUS... 7 Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians, Wallace & Gromit, The Snowman, The Iron Giant, Shrek, Roger Rabbit, a boy named Charlie Brown and many others!

Tune in to see how your favourites fare against those voted Top of the Toontown Toons!


Roger says...

"DON'T MISS IT!!!"


Friday, 25 March 2016

LAMENT



I wake and feel the fell of dark not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

– Gerald Manley Hopkins




Photo:  Part of the bronze sculpture known as the Kelham Rood by the English sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger, depicting Christ on the cross flanked by figures of St John and Mary the Mother of Jesus. The sculptural group was commissioned in 1927 to adorn the Great Chapel at Kelham Hall, Kelham, Nottinghamshire, when it was a theological training college run by the Society of the Sacred Mission. It is currently in the church of St John the Divine, Kennington.

(c) Brian Sibley 2012

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD STORY

Here, by way of a little Easter surprise, is a rather unusual retelling of the greatest story ever told–––

THE WOODLAND GOSPELS 
(According to Captain Beaky and His Band)

Jeremy Lloyd's The Woodland Gospels dramatised for Radio by Brian Sibley 

Starring David Langton as Artful Owl, Jeremy Lloyd as Captain Beaky,
Clive Swift as Timid Toad, Nigel Davenport as Reckless Rat, 
Beryl Reid as Batty Bat and Leslie Phillips as Hissing Sid

The programme, produced by Graham Gauld and directed by John Forrest.
was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 23 December 1984 at 18:15



Wednesday, 23 March 2016

EGGSCRUCIATINGLY YOURS!

What better way to celebrate the forthcoming festivities in praise of chocolate than to send you a batch of eggstremely weird vintage Easter cards?

You have been warned...


















What can I possibly add, other than to wish you...


Thursday, 17 March 2016

ST PATRICK'S DAY COVERAGE

St PATRICK'S DAY GREETINGS!

Courtesy of The New Yorker cover artists...




 




Art by Charles E Martin, Arthur Getz, Leonard Dove and Abe Birnbaum