Wednesday, 27 June 2018

THE NAME'S GAVIN... JOHN GAVIN... THE BOND YOU NEVER SAW (UPDATED)...



Most JAMES BOND fans will know this already, but probably not your ordinary, everyday man in the street.  Which begs the question - what are you doing standing on the street at this time of night?  SEAN CONNERY made his first 'return' as 007 in DIAMONDS Are FOREVER, but did you know that another actor was already signed up to play the legendary super-spy for that movie, before big TAM (that's Mr. Connery to you) relented and agreed to do it?

JOHN GAVIN had signed the contract and was all set to go, when, at the last minute, the original big-screen Bond had a truck-full of money driven up to his front door and was told to 'say when' as loads of lovely dosh was pumped through his letterbox (figuratively speaking of course).  Poor John was paid his agreed fee in full and didn't even have to earn it, but that was probably no consolation for missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.  Having said that, he was in the frame for LIVE & LET DIE when Connery refused to do it, but the producers ultimately decided to use a British actor and the role went to ROGER MOORE instead.  (Wise choice if you ask me.)

If you're anything like me, you may be asking "Who the heck's John Gavin?", which is what I said when I first read of this fact in JOHN BROSNAN's book JAMES BOND In The CINEMA back in the '70s.  Dedicated movie buffs will know that he appeared in PSYCHO and SPARTACUS, so he wasn't a complete unknown, but his name doesn't seem to be particularly well-remembered these days.   Anyway, here's a photo of him, taken from another book, The JAMES BOND FILMS by STEVEN JAY RUBIN, which was first published in 1981.

What do you think, Criv-ites?  Does he look the part, or are you glad that things turned out the way they did with the Edinburgh-born laddie once more picking up his WALTHER PPK ?  (And yes, you're right - that is MARY TYLER MOORE in the above photo.)  What's that?  You're not sure - one pic isn't enough to go on?  Okay, here's another, from his short-lived 1964 TV series DESTRY.  Had he got to play Bond, he'd have been the tallest actor in the role, standing as he did at 6' 4".

Monday, 25 June 2018

BUY ANOTHER BOOK. (SOUNDS ALMOST LIKE A BOND MOVIE)...



Back at the end of 1976 or the beginning of '77, I bought the above book in a shop called GRANT'S in Glasgow.  I'd first discovered it in my local library a year or two before, and took it out on loan to read, which I did in a 'sunken' garden in my local town centre.  Or, to be more precise, I started the book there, and the sunken garden was (and still is) located around midway between the centre and the 'Old Village' quarter of the town.  (Details are important, don't you think?)

Anyway, a little while after acquiring my own copy, I damaged the dustjacket and felt compelled to dispose of it as its imperfection offended my aesthetic sensibilities.  I should perhaps explain that when I was younger, if a comic, record, or book cover fell victim to the slightest bend or crease, I immediately dispensed with it and bought a new one.  For example, while playing my The MAN With The GOLDEN GUN soundtrack LP one day, a visiting aunt clumsily picked up the cover to look at before I could stop her, inflicting a crease that spread out like a spiderweb.  I said nothing, but despaired inwardly.  I bought another of the same LP the next day and passed the compromised copy onto a friend.

I was ruthless, but in regard to the book cover, I regretted my hasty action and, on January 16th 1977, contacted the publisher (TANTIVY PRESS) to enquire about the possibility of buying a new copy.  (I still had my original book, but I wanted a pristine one, intact with dustjacket.)  They replied in the affirmative (see letter #1) on the 21st, but it was a whole seven years before I decided to take advantage of the opportunity, and when I enquired again (on January 3rd 1984) to see if the book was still available, I was surprised to find mention in the publisher's response (see letter #2) of a revised and expanded edition which wasn't released in Britain.  Curiously, they seemed to think I'd sent for that edition, but I hadn't known about it until they informed me of its existence in their letter.  I sent off the required amount for the replacement 1st edition and asked for further details about the 2nd, but when the padded bag containing my book arrived, it didn't contain a reply to my query.



Eventually, I photocopied the dustjacket and made a new one for my coverless book, which it wore for many years until I recently obtained a spare original dustjacket from yet another copy of the same book someone gave me.  I'd had the cover I made for so long that I was loath to part with it, so I made yet another cover, put it on the third book, and gave it to a pal.

And now I have a confession to make:  I didn't really need to impart all that tedious detail to you, but conciseness has never been my strong point and I always feel compelled to tell the complete story, not just the relevant highlights.  It refreshes my own memory of events and allows me to relive them to some degree, though I appreciate it must be rather boring for the rest of you.  However, you'll now be glad to know (if you haven't already jumped over to someone else's blog) that we're now coming to the point.

Recently, on ebay, an American seller was offering the revised and expanded 2nd edition of the book for a little more than I wanted to pay.  The 1st edition of the book from 1972 (not 1971, despite what letter #2 says) covered Dr. NO to DIAMONDS Are FOREVER, whereas the 2nd edition from 1981 included LIVE & LET DIE up to MOONRAKER - just four extra chapters.  I sat on it for several weeks to see if it would sell, and if not, whether it might be reduced in price.  In the end, I made the seller an offer, and he made a counter offer which I accepted, so the book will be winging its way to me very shortly.  "Well, goody for you," you're probably thinking, "but why bother us with the news?"


Here's why.  I simply find it astounding that, 34 years after first learning of the 2nd edition, I'm now, finally, going to be the proud owner of it.  Of course, that 34 years feels like no more than four or five to me, but that's a conversation we've had before on this blog (and will doubtless have again, but not right now).  So rejoice with and for me, as a long-wished-for item finally joins me at Castel Robsono to take its place beside its predecessor.  It's just a shame that the author, JOHN BROSNAN, is no longer with us, as I'd have loved to see a 3rd edition covering all the BOND movies right up to DIE ANOTHER DAY, before the series was needlessly rebooted and internal continuity was thrown to the dogs.

If anybody's interested, there's another copy (typical - you wait 34 years, and then two come along at once) of the 2nd edition on ebay at the moment.  The asking price?  £75.

Don't all rush at once now, d'you hear?

******

Footnote:  Many years later, although I never met nor spoke with John, I lettered a comic strip series he wrote for 2000 A.D.  I meant to ask then-editor ALAN McKENZIE to let John know that I'd enjoyed his book, but can no longer recall if I ever actually got around to it or not.  (I like to think that I did.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

UP OR DOWN?



I heard a woman on some TV show a few days ago complaining about men always leaving the toilet seat up.  I've heard a lot of women over the years wittering on about this - it seems to be one of their most 'popular' complaints about men.  I can't remember ever hearing a man having a moan about women leaving the toilet seat down though, can you?  Which leads me to wonder just what it is about women that makes them think their lavatorial requirements take priority over men when it comes to the time-worn custom of bladder-emptying.  And just what is it about lowering a toilet seat that they find so egregious, so massively inconvenient (npi), that they need to bang on about it all the time?  Do women ever raise the toilet seat after them so that a man, in for a quick pee, doesn't have to?  Doubt it.

"Ah, but" you say, "women need to sit down for both functions when they go to the toilet, whereas men don't have to."  So what?  Are you suggesting that because women 'sit down' more often than men, then that should determine the permanent 'in-waiting' position of the toilet seat?  Why?  And most men as they get older suffer from an enlarged prostate, which means that they may well have to visit the toilet several times a night, but just because a man may require the seat being up more often than a woman requires it being down, we don't expect special treatment in the matter.  Hell, we don't even think about it.  If the seat is up when it needs to be down, we put it down;  if it's down when it needs to be up, then we put it up.  (Except for lazy, slobbish men obviously [there are some], who just point 'percy' at the porcelain and end up dribbling urine all over the seat.  Another reason for leaving it up I'd have thought.)

"Ah, but it's considerate to leave the seat down for them," you say.  Bollocks!  But even if that were true, why do women expect a level of consideration that they themselves don't display towards men?  And isn't it rather patronising in this day and age to treat women as if they're fragile, delicate creatures who are likely to break a nail in the herculean task of lowering a toilet seat?  We've even put hinges on the bloody things to make it easy for them - that's surely all the 'consideration' any reasonable person needs.  Another thing that occurs to me is that if a household has more males than females, you still wouldn't hear any of the males complaining about the toilet seat being down all the time, so in a reverse situation where there are more females in the house, it shouldn't be (but is) any different.

Some women clearly want the 'best' of both worlds.  They want to be allowed to drink to excess, fart, belch, itch, scratch, and tell dirty jokes in public the same as some men do, yet at the same time be given a seat on the train or bus, have doors held open for them, be accorded special consideration, and generally be treated like royalty whenever it suits them - simply because they're women.  Talk about double-standards?  However, there's no point expecting women to behave logically about anything 'cos they can't even spell the word.  If your wife buys you two ties for Christmas and you put one of them on to go out somewhere, the first thing she'll say - regardless of whichever of the two you're wearing - is "What's wrong with the other one I bought you?"  Men just can't win.

Any thoughts on the matter, Criv-ites?  Then you know where the comments section is should you feel the need to express yourselves.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

RAMPAGING REPOST: DON'T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB - EAGLE'S 'LOST' DEATH WISH STRIP - PART TWO...



You begged, you pleaded, you demanded - but here it is anyway, despite your wishes.  The second part of my proposed DEATH WISH script for the adventure strip appearing in EAGLE comic back around 1986 or so.  One of the reasons I decided to try turning out a tale or two at the time was the fact that I had just recently bought myself a portable typewriter - mainly for the purpose of producing personal correspondence - but it was lying neglected so I thought I'd put it to use.

This script was the result, and having gathered dust in a drawer for decades, I thought the time had finally come to show just what comics readers were spared all those many years ago.  Okay, so it was hardly original, but I believe the humorous elements I injected into the tale gave it something different to the stories it was derived from.

Anyway, you be the judge.  Could I have been the next STAN LEE (which would've been apt, as I was nicking his plot), or was any ability clearly overshadowed by my vaulting ambition?  Say what you think in the comments section - but be kind, eh?

Monday, 11 June 2018

REMINISCING REPOST: DON'T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB - EAGLE'S 'LOST' DEATH WISH STRIP - PART ONE...



Below is the script for a proposed DEATH WISH adventure for EAGLE comic back around the mid-'80s.  I was lettering the strip at the time and decided to try my hand at writing a tale and submitting it to editor DAVE HUNT.  I can't recall now if I ever did, although I have a vague notion that I might've done and received a knock-back.

The plot is clearly ripped off from inspired by the FF's very first encounter with The SKRULLS and THOR's experience with aliens known as XARTANS, both species being able to change their appearance to anything they want.  I thought it'd make a nice change of pace for BLAKE EDMONDS to go down the MARVEL route for at least a couple of episodes, and this was the result.

Just as well I wasn't short of lettering work at the time, eh?  Give it a read and, like it or loathe it, I'll inflict part two on you next time.  (Okay, who's the wiseguy who said it shoulda stayed lost?)

ONE TOGETHER IS TWO...



Ah, the sweet smell of success - or a hint of it at least.  Sometime back in the '60s, the above single was part of my family's record collection.  I guess my brother acquired it from somewhere - a friend perhaps, or a jumble sale - or even a gift from a young aunt.  It was an orange plastic disc, and I remember playing it to one of my pals and the two of us then singing it non-stop as we paraded around the neighbourhood, doubtless inflicting untold aural agonies on the ears of anyone unfortunate enough to hear us.

I've been trying to track this one down for a while, but still haven't managed to locate a physical copy.  However, I have managed to find it on YouTube, as well as images of it on the Internet, which is the next best thing until I finally find an actual replacement for it.  I no longer recall what happened to the original we had, or at what point it vanished, like so many of our childhood possessions, into the ether, but at least I can return again in memory to those halcyon days, reinforced by being able to again see the cover and listen once more to this zany tune from my early years.

(The cover at the top of this post is the US version, but I've included the UK version after the YouTube clip.  Interestingly, the American record was 45rpm, whereas the British one was 78rpm.  Why?  Dunno.) 

Incidentally, don't be fooled - it isn't 'Dance of the Cuckoos' (LAUREL & HARDY's theme tune) you can hear on this single, but rather a very similar theme entitled 'One Together is Two', which was pressed into service for the LARRY HARMON TV cartoon show as a stand-in.  Harmon had acquired the rights to use the duo's names and likenesses from their widows, but he didn't own the copyright on the original tune used in the HAL ROACH movies and shorts, hence the need for a 'ringer'.  And I bet that most of you wouldn't have spotted the difference if I hadn't just told you.  Side A is an instrumental, and Side B contains the vocals - give them a listen.




Friday, 8 June 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - PRINCESS DIANA...



You were expecting someone else?  This
is Princess DIANA of Themyscira - also
known as 'WONDER WOMAN' (played by the
stunning LYNDA CARTER), seen here monkeying
around with a tall bloke in a bad gorilla suit.  You're
all responsible for your own dirty thoughts about
what might be going on in this picture so don't
blame me, understand?  Good.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

REFRIGERATED REPOST: TIGER TIM'S WEEKLY CHRISTMAS NUMBER...



Christmas?  In June?  No, I haven't lost the plot, I just though that on a scorching day like this, you might like an ice cream.  Thing is, I can't literally give you all an ice cream, so the next best thing is to suggest ice and snow (the better to cool you down), and the ideal way to do that is to show the Christmas issue of of a comic weekly.  Look at that cover - bet you're feeling cooler already.

******

TIGER TIM made his first appearance in a one-off comic strip in The DAILY MIRROR on April 16th 1904, before getting his own spot in The MONTHLY PLAYBOX, a children's supplement to The WORLD And His WIFE MAG-AZINE, in November of that year.  He was also featured in The PLAYBOX ANNUAL, the first of which appeared in 1909.  Then, when The RAINBOW was launched in 1914 (dated February 14th), Tim had the front cover spot, along with his chums The BRUIN BOYS.  So far, JULIUS STAFFORD BAKER had been the artist, but before long, S. J. CASH and then HERBERT FOXWELL took over the artistic reins.

Under Foxwell, Tiger and his pals became virtual superstars, with Tiger getting his own comic, TIGER TIM'S TALES, the first issue of which was dated June 1st, 1919.  Around eight months later, the comic was relaunched as TIGER TIM'S WEEKLY (issue dated January 31st).  Tiger may well be the longest-lasting regular comic character ever, as, even after the demise of his own starring titles, his last appearance was in 1985 in JACK And JILL WEEKLY

Anyway, all that aside, I thought you may appreciate seeing a Festive number of ol' Tiger's title from 1923 - just to give you a taste of Christmas past.  Apologies to any Glaswegians who thought this post was going to be about the former RADIO CLYDE DJ, also named Tiger Tim. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

BABE OF THE DAY - RAQUEL WELCH...



Hey, look - it's RAQUEL WELCH in her
bearskin. (If only she was in her bare skin.)
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