Monday, October 31, 2022

A Forever Question: Will That Be Cash, or Chargex?

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Can one rent money?

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Disney Who ― Question Mark Not Included

This week came the news that Disney has acquired the rights to do a Doctor Who show ― actually a coproduction with the BBC. Some fans are going crazy with the elation that the franchise will now benefit from big U.S. television budgets. While the BBC version has always been low budget, even in television terms, and the latest "Who" has lessened this term with much help from wonderful imaging technologies, more money will not make the franchise better. Any such improvement happens at the computer keyboard, and from what a major Whovian friend of mine has told me over the last few years, the series has suffered from "poor writing"... and low ratings.

My take is "Who" has gone on for way too long. It's time to give it a rest. Good night, nurse!

Do something else.

Some Whovians might not appreciate my negativity, negativity which was refreshed when I watched a NewWho episode a couple of years ago, I've not always been that way. In July of 2017 I wrote this....

"I found out this past week that the next 'Doctor' will be played by a woman. It's about bleedin' time! While I did clock some episodes in the new Doctor Who's first season (2005) I do not watch the show, but I know when it's time for a long-running television series to change with the times ― even when it's behind the times."

The news, as relayed by The Guardian....

The good news in all this is a person of colour, Ncuti Gatwa, will be the incoming "Doctor".

It's about time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Book: The Prisoner (Fairclough)

The Prisoner
- The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series -

Robert Fairclough

forward by
Kenneth Griffith

Carlton Books Limited

Monday, October 24, 2022

A Forever Question: Darn

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Where can one find a pair of cold socks?

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Model Kit: Star Trek Motion Picture Klingon Cruiser

On Wednesday I posted a piece about genius Walter Matt Jefferies' brilliant Starship Enterprise design. For Star Trek he also produced another brilliant space vessel, the Klingon Battle Cruiser.

Last week a friend of mine gave me the above AMT-ERTL plastic model kit: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture Klingon Cruiser", the souped-up movie version from 1979. He's been going on a buying spree, of a sort, grabbing old AMT Star Trek kits. He's managed to find the "Romulan Bird of Prey" (designed by the great Wah Chang) and an early "U.S.S. Enterprise" kit. "Early", meaning it is an example produced within the first few years of, essentially, a decades-long manufacturing run by AMT ― and later, AMT-ERTL.

My collecting friend was able to get the 1984 pressing of the "Star Trek: The Motion Picture Klingon Cruiser", not the 1979 version. Sans "Battle", but many thanks!

Postscript: Geeks

CD: The Music of Alexander Mosolov (Mosolov)

The Music of Alexander Mosolov
(1900 - 1973)


Friday, October 21, 2022

Poem: Time Merchants

This morning I coffeed
on Yonge Street               
with an old friend
caught up on
issues since

I last saw him
last week

He and I disbanded:
My friend went back
to his conference and
I decided
to do something I
rarely do

walk up Yonge

"Look at all the
(going up
or already spiking
the cloudy sky)"

This town is out of
Zoning going to
The Twilight Zone

Yonge Street has
much these last few years
by Premium stacks
from holes

Before I made it
to Bloor Street I
was stopped by

a woman selling
in front of a shop


Why not?....

No, I
don't use facial moisturizers
but I should

I could

The sales lady was
in top form
having worked a little sales

I know the bad
the good

The cosmetic's test was done
on my forearm
I can imagine

With every peek into the bathroom
mirror my imagination tweaks
with age

** return **

Bloor Street



Simon St. Laurent

Thursday, October 20, 2022

CD: Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin)

Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin

Atlantic Recording Corporation

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The USS Enterprise ― Starship NCC-1701 Returns

Star Trek's restored eleven-foot Starship Enterprise studio filming model is back on display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, after the museum underwent some major renovations.

She's a work of beauty, and is still, in my opinion, the greatest of all starships. (Its designer was the brilliant Walter Matt Jefferies.) As an old friend of mine said: "It just glows."

Monday, October 17, 2022

A Forever Question: Transparency

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Is it desirable to have a clear head?

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Friday the 13th The Series Visual Effects Crew

In October of 1988 I worked on a few episodes of the television series titled, simply enough, and not with any nod to accuracy, Friday the 13th: The Series.

The show's visual effects supervisor was John Gajdecki, one of the more talented film-artist/technicians to have worked in this town (Toronto), and also one of the most congenial. He went on to set up his own company, GVFX (Gajdecki Visual Effects).

When I worked at Film Effects - Toronto in the early to mid 1990s, I again met up with John when my employer and GVFX got the 'opticals' contract for the television series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. John, and his team, produced original FX elements on a Quantel "Harry" system at his facility; elements which he then outputted to 35mm film, which were then turned over to Film Effects. I took these film rolls and composited them with the appropriate live-action photography on the optical printer/camera.

Back to the photo.

My friends would spot me in a second. I've already gotten: "You look the same!" Think: a tall British-looking guy standing at the back in a brown jacket. My boss is sitting at the front of the gang.

Seeing my overall look now, I don't think I fit the image of an "inker" as much as I do a director from LWT or Thames Television.

Postscript: I remember most of the people in that photo. Gudrun Heinze, extreme left, and Claude Theriault, to my left, I more than remember since they were still with John during my Film Effects years. Fun times, even with the hard work and sometimes long hours.

Monday, October 10, 2022

DVD Liner Notes Reviewed (Stuff This Turkey, Me)

"Extras: The best extra for me was the enclosed booklet that provided some production information about the show itself, the situation that led to the show ever airing, and some of the issues that resulted in it falling into oblivion."

A friend sent me the above review when he learned that I wrote the liner notes for VCI Entertainment's DVD boxed set, "The Starlost: Complete Series".

The above snip was taken from the review, here, which is from the fine home-video review website, "DVD Talk".

It's a pretty fair review, although it, as always, is a matter of personal taste; and, if one remembers watching the NBC/CTV series when it aired, "memories".

A look-back at my experience writing the DVD set's liner notes: The Starlost DVD Set Liner Notes

As I note in my 'liner notes' piece, I interviewed a fair number of people who had been involved in making Canadian Television. In this show's case, they were: writer/creator Harlan Ellison; producer William Davidson; story editor Norman Klenman; writer Doug Hall; writer Martin Lager; actress Gay Rowan; actor John Colicos; designer Jack McAdam; and a few others ― a cast and crew all helpful and much appreciated.

A Forever Question: Thanksgiving Leftovers

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Are there any turkeys left for "American Thanksgiving"?

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Sunday Fun: Polishing My Act

"Have any nail polish ideas?"

Something like that, and it brought back a memory; one, perhaps, best left to the drains of time.

But before I pull out the figurative acetone, an admission....

When I was in high school years ago, I arrived at the house of learning one day and proceeded to pull out my school books only to notice something odd about one of my fingertips.

Cut back to the evening before:

As I chatted with a friend over the living room telephone I noticed my sister's nail polish sitting on the table to my left. Pinching the phone's receiver between my left shoulder and cheek freed up my hands, allowing them to uncap the glass bottle and go to work. Almost unconsciously ― which is something I've long excelled at ― I coated, with great care and dexterity, a fingernail on my left hand with the glowing liquid.

Hot Pink, baby. Hot Pink!

Hey, I was ahead of my time!... in my own mind.

Friday, October 7, 2022

DVD: The Flash

The Flash
- The Complete Series -

Warner Home Video

Monday, October 3, 2022


The rowboat is leaking. I'm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There’s a sandbar up ahead.

Made it.

The ratty old duffle bag holds emergency supplies: the infamous “desert island” physical media.

I discovered what was in my hastily-packed bag.

My discipline held to one of each:

Music: Carmina Burana
Movie: Metropolis


I just realized that while I had remembered to pack a disc player, I forgot the a/c (alternating current) plug and adaptor.

I cheated in that I had packed quite a few books: Kafka; Allen; Hesse; Kerouac; “The English Channel” (Calder); “The Pearl” (Steinbeck); “The Mysterious Island” (Verne); “Roy Hinkley’s Guide to Making Coconut-based Electronics”....

A Forever Question: Alley Cats

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Can one have fun at a bowling ball?

Sunday, October 2, 2022

I Hail Cesare!

Lee was a character. He still may be; I lost contact with him a few years ago. "Irreverent" is a word Lee would have called into being if it had not already existed.

One day over beers in the local pub Lee and I shot the breeze about our sports backgrounds. As we sat on our stools at the bar I told Lee that I had been a teenage hockey goaltender. He asked who I fancied myself to be when I stood between the pipes all those years ago. A young ice hockey player "pretending" to be one of his or her idols from the big leagues is natural, almost expected. (For me it was more a pre-teen road hockey thing.)

"Cesare Maniago."

Lee emitted his trademarked laugh, and said, somewhat mockingly: "You must have been a s**t goalie!"

I was not an "inadequate" puck-stop but that unimportant fact did not stop me from drooling a mouthful of beer down my shirt and onto my lap.

Origin: Latin. in 'not' + reverent 'revering'.

Elmer Bernstein on Jerry Goldsmith

"He's the composer I would pick if I were a film's producer."

Mr Bernstein said this in an interview in the 1980s. (Goldsmith died in 2004.)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Tales of Television Centre (Documentary on the Telly)

Tales of Television Centre gets one nostalgic for a place of work even if one did not work there. The sprawling complex wasn't merely a place of work, just as importantly, as pointed out by several interview subjects, it was a place of immense creativity.

The BBC's Television Centre was a hotbed of television production for over half a century (1960 to 2013), and its ultimate 'reconfiguration' remains a touchy subject for some. "Why?"

With the help of British television entertainment luminaries such as David Frost, Brian Blessed, David Attenborough, Peter Davison, and Terry Wogan, the how, where, and why are covered briskly but with some necessary detail. And with a lot of smiles.

The Centre was a culture all its own. Magic was in and on the air.

I wish I had worked there. (Here in Toronto we have the CBC's boring Canadian Broadcasting Centre. Only in Canada, eh? Pity.) Many presenters (hosts), actors, comics, technicians, designers, writers, and producers are thankful they did. There's that wistful nostalgia one expects to wrap up a documentary titled Tales of Television Centre.

On a humorous final note, I must mention that one thing I found obvious in the building's architectural style was the overall 'Soviet' vibe. This point is brought up by a few interviewees. The similarities are striking. (Does it mean anything?)

Book: TV North (Kenter & Levin)

TV North
- everything you wanted to know about Canadian television -

Peter Kenter

with notes by
Martin Levin

Whitecap Books

Picturing: An Unmarked Passenger Jet Takes Off

I love flying, even on unmarked jets. Actually, it's a Bombardier Aerospace "Global 7000" being flight-tested here in Toronto.