Monday, December 26, 2022
Sunday, December 25, 2022
(After reading that, pretend you have a faulty memory. This is more correct: "He posted about the Christmas of nineteen-ninety.")
My favourite present that year was the AMT "Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Space Ship Model Kit".
(Star Trek was sparking hot. The series had finished its NBC network run only eighteen months earlier. Toronto television station CFTO was running/stripping the episodes at 5pm on weekdays.)
It was not a simple plastic model kit as it was "lighted". Small light bulbs, included in the box, could be inserted into the top and bottom of the primary hull (the saucer-shaped portion) and at the front-ends of the engine nacelles (those long tubes). The former were capped by green-tinted discs, and the latter were topped-off by amber-tinted domes. My mother helped me with the wiring and the insertion of the lamps' power source: a D-cell, not included with the kit, sat in the secondary hull (the bottom tube-like section).
Building a model kit is fun, but seeing the completed AMT U.S.S. Enterprise suspended from my bedroom ceiling was a trip, and it looked great with the bedroom light off.
I remember something else from Christmas Day 1970. My dad was in the process of carving the turkey when he looked over at the Zenith television: "I'm surprised this is on today." (The episode was "The Return of the Archons".)
Fond Christmas memories.
Saturday, December 24, 2022
As is the tradition in that great nation, opening the boxes and wrappings is done the night before. A then little one, me, not only did not complain but decided then that Germany is one great nation. I remember well one Christmas where our landlord and his wife came up to say hi and to present us with presents. I remember mine: a Matchbox toy of an early 20th century automobile.
Roll back a few years to my first Christmas in Germany. Santa Claus back in 1960s Deutschland was not a big thing ― if you'll pardon the expression. Saint Nick, however, was. Well, let me tell you what that man did to this then five year old. I remember being summoned by my parents to the entry way of our apartment. Standing beside the door was a tall figure, a woman (probably a teenager), dressed up in full Saint Nick attire. My mother said "look dear" as she pointed at my shoes which were parked neatly on the mat. I saw it, an inanimate thing in one of my shoes... a lump of coal. ("Noooo!")
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Saturday, December 17, 2022
The equipment was already "old" but that did not stop producer Irwin Allen from utilizing them for his futuristic television programs. (Makes sense; 1960s aliens in silver face paint no doubt would operate 1950s Earth equipment.)
By the way, the panels appeared in the television series Lost (2004 - 2010). My guess is they are still available for rent.
When designing my (as of yet unfinished) short film Hyper-Reality, I used the panels in question as a guide. The story requires a retro look. I had a lot of fun conjuring up this piece of fanciful equipment, but credit must go to Dennis Pike for the hours of construction, and wiring the many light bulbs ― "blinky lights" necessary to sell this machine as coming from a 1960s Irwin Allen television program.
The photo affixed above features a crew member operating a piece of projection equipment.
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Friday, December 9, 2022
Sketchpad on the lap. The 'radio' tuned to ZoomerRadio. Think of characters.
A few thumbnails pop onto the paper.
Who is this guy? How did his parents name him? I'm going to use him; I know just the project. He'll be a star.
I can imagine who he might be: He hangs around on a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) subway station platform ― specifically "St. George" Station ― but never actually boards a train. He stands there, in some sort of spiritually lost limbo, not sure in what direction to travel, and not sure if he wants to leave, if at all, via the "Bedford" or "St. George" exit.
With further imagination I begin to believe he's a former University of Toronto student; Law was his first course, but switched to Engineering Science after he figured it might be easier. It wasn't easier. And now he's drawn back to this place. Life takes an unexpected course. Can he go back and try it all over again? (That outfit he wears tells me he was the water boy for the Varsity Blues football team, circa late-eighties.)
I speak with a TTC inspector who stands on the "southbound" platform. It is important for my own sanity that I ask the big question.
"He's here almost every time I'm at this station", I offer.
The inspector answers, without editorial or judgement: "His name is Dennis."
Yes. Dennis. Dennis shall be his name!
Monday, December 5, 2022
Sunday, December 4, 2022
that we last met...
under that ship's
crane as it unloaded
a shipment of cheap
products from the "orient"
however, as you remember, but
perhaps you don't
that crane did drop its
And with that bad luck,
it's not possible for
you and I to ever meet
under that crane, or
anything else again.
Floating through Wikipedia, as I'm prone to do once I'm on a rolling wave, I went from "shipping" to "Bermuda Triangle" to "Sargasso Sea" and ended up on "The Lost Continent (1968 film)". That entertaining motion picture, produced by Hammer Films, wonderful Hammer Films, and Seven Arts Productions, captured me when I first saw it in my early teens.
I read its Wiki entry....
Saturday, December 3, 2022
This information junkie needed to clear his head while enjoying dinner this evening. A submarine dive video did the trick.
Two GoPro cameras were attached to the deck of HMS Torbay in May of 2017. Spectacular footage it is. Thanks to the video's producer music wasn't laid in. ("Please. No Hans Zimmer, please no.") It's so much nicer to hear those waves sliding and gurgling over the topside as the machine fills its water tanks.
Two months after this video was taken, HMS Torbay was decommissioned by the Royal Navy.
I'm wondering if YouTube has any episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea aboard. (The submarine Seaview was decommissioned by ABC in 1968.)
Friday, December 2, 2022
There are a few "Alien" characters in the (as of yet) uncompleted 35mm short film, Hyper-Reality.
Above are two pages of colour concept drawings I did when I was beginning to think about the look of the Aliens' "battledress". The flowing robe idea had already been established with the metallic gowns the characters wear in the first part of the film, but these sketches illustrate my roughing out the colour patterns for the battle version.
I based the idea on "Heraldry". Early on I had decided on blue and red, but it took many thumbnails ― which I will post later on ― to nail down exactly what "cut" I wanted. The final result was one of the simplest ideas; which is often the case with this sort of thing.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
In fact, 'it' started earlier: One of my elementary schools had, filed in its library's racks, copies of "The Making of Star Trek" (Stephen Whitfield) and "The Making of Kubrick's 2001" (Jerome Agel). Due to the popularity of the former, the school library had two copies of its "making of". How complex pieces of entertainment are put together makes for fascinating reading if you are interested in the art and business of film and television. (Films and television programs of the science fiction strain tend to have the making-of books; for obvious reasons, I suppose. Give me a book on the making of All in the Family, and I won't put it down.)
A few years ago I read a book about the original "Doctor Who" series. As it was a television program I watched in my youth it too made for interesting reading. I mentioned the book to a friend of mine who also grew up with Who. As it turned out, he too had read it. He cracked me up when he added: "Very often it's more interesting reading about the show than actually watching it." Very true.
(Contrary to what Globe and Mail television critic John Doyle may think, most television is best enjoyed as a television schedule listing.)
More interesting to me is the history and business of television. It's a form that occasionally, rarely, pops out a fine dramatic or comedy series. Fighting off Theodore Sturgeon's pesky "law" is essential. Somehow art is produced.