Category Archives: television

Joe 90 intro – 1968

Psychedelic late 60s visuals and sound from the esteemed Gerry & Sylvia Anderson team. A 9 year old boy who undergoes brain washing to undertake deadly spy missions? Could they get away with it today? I guess its ‘children’ are the likes of the Robert Rodriguez ‘Spy Kids’ trilogy (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spy_Kids_trilogy), and the Charlie Higson ‘young James Bond’ novels (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Bond). Joe 90 didn’t match the success of Thunderbirds & Captain Scarlet (it was limited to one series of 30 episodes), and was the last of the classic ‘Supermarionation’ filmed Anderson productions (see here for a fuller explanation of Supermarionation).

Joe 90 Wiki entry;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_90

A huge (and very nice looking) fansite;
http://www.bigrat.co.uk/

The mighty Fanderson site provides a list of episodes, with a lot of other resources;
http://www.fanderson.org.uk/epguides/joeeg.html

The whole series of Joe 90 is available as a DVD boxset.

The next Gerry Anderson production was ‘The Secret Service’, of which I will write about at a future date.

A different kind of newsflash from the Seventies…. (1977)

A few months ago I discussed my childhood terror of ITN newsflashes and serial killers. All I can say is, I am glad I wasnt a 7 year old home alone (and I would like to stress no 7 year old should be left home alone) when this happened.

OH. MY. GOD.

On the evening of November the 26th, 1977, the ITN news broadcast was interrupted at 17:10 – although the video remained the same, the audio signal was hijacked by an alien!

The voice proclaimed to be ‘Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command’, and had a message for Earth, warning of total destruciton if Humans carried on their present path.

This is from the esteemed ‘Fortean Times’ article on the event (courtesy of http://www.strangeattractor.co.uk/further/?p=522

And this from Fortean Times #24, Winter 1977

“Mention must be made here of an event that startled several thousands of TV watchers in Southern England. At 5.06pm, just as the news was being read on Saturday evening, 26 November 1977, a deep voice, accomapnied by an eerie booming sound likened to a “hollow drumming”, drowned out the newscaster’s voice and delivered a short message…

This is the voice of Asteron. I am an authorised representative of the Intergalactic Mission, and I have a message for planet Earth. We are beginning to enter the period of Aquarius and there are many corrections which have to be made by Earth People. All your weapons of evil must be destroyed. You have only a short time to live to learn to live together in peace. You must live in peace… or leave the galaxy.

Somehow the originators of the message had jammed the sound signals frmo Southern TV’s transmitter at Hannington, Wiltshire, so viewers from Newbury and Reading to Winchester and Andover heard the weird voice superimposed over the ITN news bulletin. It caused sufficent panic for SOuthern TV to put half-hourly announcements insisting that it had been a hoax and that the planet was not being invaded. Predictably the IBA and Post Office took a rigid humourless stand, vowing prosecution of the culprits… and if the planet had been invaded we’d like to have seen them try!

Whoever did the deed knew their stuff, for the android (as one Post Office representative persisted in calling the mystery voice) needed sophisticated equipment or techniques to break into and dominate a TV transmission. One perceptive letter in the Times pointed out that if this was the first time this had ever happened in Britain, as the IBA claimed, then how could they be sure it was a hoax? Inexplicably the News of the World and Daily Mail call the owner of the voice ‘Gillon of the Ashdown Galactic Command’ and that he said “Unless the weapons of Earth are laid dow, destruction from outer space invasion will quickly follow”. We hope their regular news reportage is more accurate than that, for the indication is that they’ve simply invented a more shocking message. The Sunday Times claimed to have tracked down a student group who invented a new type of transmistter (for £80) which can ‘hich a ride’ on conventional transmissions. But again, how can they be sure that this isn’t a bandwagon hoax?

Incidentally, we’re sure you noticed that the ‘entity’ and message closely conform to the messages given to UFO prophets, psychic sitting groups and contactees (see UFOs:John Keel’s Operation Trojan Horse and Clark & Coleman’s The Unidentified for discussions of names and messages from UFOs). Whoever perpetrated the hoax had done his homework; especially if he was a terrestrial. Of course the massive TV publicity of the imminent Star Wars must have reinforced its effect for those ripe for the salvation-from-the-stars belief. One professor (quoted in the Carlisle, Penn Evening Standard 3 Dec 1977) said that the reference to Aquarius proved the message was a hoax… he reasoned that as the most intelligent body on Earth, the scientists, do not believe in astrology, then ipso facto intelligent life elsewhere would not believe in it either.”

Enough of the words, lets hear the transmission! This is courtesy of Labyrinth 13;

http://labyrinth13.com

and hosted on vimeo (http;//www.vimeo.com). Nice use of the theremin on the introductory test….

Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command Incident from Labyrinth13 on Vimeo.

Ashtar Command it is claimed, are an extraterrestrial organization associated with and promoted by New Age believers and contactees, including George Van Tassel and others (see the Wikipedia entry);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtar_Galactic_Command

Whoever or whatever hijacked the broadcast, it is certainly effective. I will change my ways forthwith!!

Some thoughts on the Vrillon broadcast on a Hoax forum (if you don’t want to ruin the magic, don’t read it!);

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/2024/

It even makes it into this sites televisual events of the year, 1977 (and rightly so);

http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/1977-in-television/events.html

There is a very good article on TV hijackings at the splendid trandiffusion.org site, including the Vrillon ITN hijack;

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/geohistory/hijack.php

Police Woman Intro – 1974

A groundbreaking television show – a 40-something female cop (played by the brilliant Angie Dickinson) in a very male environment, probably paved the way for the likes of late seventies shows such as Charlies Angels.

Wiki entry for Police Woman

For me, it’s all about that theme tune, which is up there with the best. A track thats been used several times over the years (RZA used it on Masta Killas brilliant ‘No Said Date’ album).

There’s a nice blog out there by a guy in Macedonia, and it’s called Lazars Lounge. On it, he has a few Henry Mancini theme tunes as mp3’s. Well worth a look;

Lazars Lounge – mp3 of Police Woman

One of the sites I link to , Diddy Wah, has the theme in a ‘disco’ mix, though I don’t think its neccesarily very disco (although it (Police Woman Theme) seems to get labelled as lounge as well, which I don’t think is appropriate.

Diddy Wahs disco mix (with Police Woman Theme)

As an aside, there’s a review of some of Mancinis work, and a whole glut of excellent soundtrack archiving (with some mp3’s to check out), here;

scorebaby.com

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Six Million Dollar Man Intro – 1974

A fantastic intro to a fantastic show of the 70’s.

Did you know?

1) One shot of the control panel depicted for the crashing aircraft in the opening sequence is actually stock footage of the controls for a musical synthesizer, and the settings for ADSR envelope can be clearly seen.
2)The aircraft seen crashing in the opening sequence of the show is real and the dialogue spoken by actor Lee Majors during the opening credits is reportedly based upon communication prior to a crash that occurred on May 10, 1967: (“I can’t hold her; she’s breaking up! She’s breaking—”). Test pilot Bruce Peterson lost an eye due to infection following the crash, but likewise also miraculously survived what appeared to be a fatal accident even though his lifting body aircraft hit the ground at approximately 250 mph (400 km/h) and tumbled six times.
3)The show was based on a novel by Paul Caidin, entitled ‘Cyborg’. The opening sequence of the television show closely follows the Paul Caidin story of how Steve Austin became the Six Million Dollar Man.

(Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Million_Dollar_Man)

The Time Tunnel Tv series intro & clips 1966

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More 60’s television. I have fond memories of all these shows (Batman, Green Hornet, Time Tunnel) from the 70’s, when they were Saturday morning or tea-time viewing. The Time Tunnel was really visually arresting, and the effects still stand up today. This post is a bit clip heavy, but as I have stated, ‘The Time Tunnel’ was a very visual show, with some nice pop-art & psychedelic stylings. Very much a period piece, but unlike some other 60’s sci-fi, this still looks great.

Clip 1 – The Time Tunnel intro

The wiki entry for ‘The Time Tunnel’

The Green Hornet TV series intro 1966

The visuals are not as dynamic as the Batman introduction, but you cannot fault the theme music. Composed by Billy May, with a trumpet solo by Al Hirt, its a variation on Rimsky-Korsakovs ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’, with a theremin providing the sound of the hornet. The theme tune was later used by Tarantino for the major fight scene in ‘Kill Bill Volume 1’.

The Green Hornet TV show ran for one season in 1966-67, as opposed to the 3 seasons that Batman had. It starred Van Williams as the ‘Green Hornet’, and more famously, Bruce Lee, in his breakthrough role in the west, as ‘Kato’.

Wiki entry on The Green Hornet