Saturday, 29 March 2014
Nearly every actor who has portrayed The Doctor says his personality is not to be found in the script. It is all in the performance. Even so, that first couple of men who brought him to life had nothing behind them to act as template. So they must have reached inside themselves to pluck out a character who would in time become Who. This is ever more evident to me now that I have watched and re-watched the two most recent found stories from the Troughton era( I hesitate to describe these stories as lost. They were not lost. They were deliberately wiped.) These two classic tales demonstrate an actor at the very top of his game, an artisan weaving his magic gift. There are so many moments to enjoy these two stories I had previously only absorbed on audio recordings conjuring up very different visuals in my broken brain. That said, they both display the very elements that have sustained this iconic figure across the decades for us; The Doctor's Unseen Companions who follow him always.
And as such we know our stories will one day end.
The Doctor's never will.
Saturday, 22 March 2014
Sunday, 16 March 2014
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Here is a little extract from the book which I hope is okay to repeat; NOTHING MAKES A YOUNG MAN FEEL MORE ALIVE AND ON AN ADVENTURE THAN SPEEDING DOWN A MOTORWAY AT 2 A.M.NEXT TO A MAN WEARING A BIG FAKE HEAD. I'D FURTIVELY WATCH HIM AS LIGHTS MADE HIS CARTOON FACE GLOW YELLOW AND THEN BLACK THEN YELLOW AGAIN.
Lovely writing from a lovingly crafted piece of work, honest, even optimistic. If not quite a celebration of a life well lived it is a story gladly told.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Basil Brush would be good to go as is, no costume fitting or read through necessary. Basil is already one well dressed fox. He is like some old school English gentleman caught up in some Jules Verne fantasy escapade. Basil did not use his razor sharp intelligence to combat his detractors, he defeated his enemies by being better dressed than them. GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN NOR FOX THAN TO LAY HIS BOOM BOOM DOWN FOR A FRIEND BOOM,BOOM! Basil once said. He once told esteemed chat show host Michael Parkinson about the details of his childhood. I WAS BORN AT AN EARLY AGE he began. I AM AFRAID MY PARENTS COULD NOT WAIT TO GET RID OF ME.IN FACT MY MOTHER USED TO WRAP MY SANDWICHES IN ROAD MAPS.BOOM,BOOM!One of his friends back the was a household name. HIS NAME IS FRED KITCHEN.BOOM,BOOM! Okay the whole boom boom thing could grate after a while and the level of sophistication is not quite Oscar Wilde but Basil has something which Oscar did not have; a truly magnificent tail. Oh what a marvelous appendage that tail is. The always dependable foil to Basil's anarchic ramblings. Wish I had one like it.
At the very height of his Basil's fame all the shining lights of his day were falling over themselves to share a few moments screen time with the original fantastic fox. Stars such as Cilla Black,John Inman, Henry Cooper and Alvin Stardust to name but a few. They shared the screen time but could not steal it.
After Basil finished with his very popular light entertainment show I had sort off expected him to pursue a career in acting. For him to perhaps take to the boards, some Shakespeare, some Chekov, some Ronnie Barker or Samuel Beckett. Perhaps the BBC will consider my proposal and Basil will be given the opportunty to stretch his acting muscles, to rise to the challenge with the grace of an Olympian or just a fox who can run really really fast.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
EVERYBODY SAYS I LOVE YOU,JUST WHAT THEY SAY IT
FOR I NEVER KNEW,
ITS JUST INVITING TROUBLE FOR THE POOR SUCKER
WHO SAYS I LOVE YOU.
So sang Groucho, strumming a guitar, gliding along in a canoe with a beautiful woman, on a glorious summer day way back in 1932. Groucho never looked more louche and as he finishes the song he throws the guitar in the river. Shortly thereafter the young woman joins it, splashing around and futilely calling out to the same person who just tossed her in to rescue her. It was Thelma Todd and she did deserve a soaking. Do'nt we all. All the brothers get to interpret this song in their own fashion, a comic refrain throughout the movie. Zeppo sang it as a standard crooner, displaying a fine set of pipes, er, that is to say a fine singing voice. Chico does it as a cheeky nonsense ryhme. Harpo whistles it to a horse. This has to be the only movie I have ever watched which revolves around a football game which I have really enjoyed. Football being an activity that strikes me as one of the singularly most dull events it is possible for even a partially evolved being to indulge in. Yet I thought it was great craic. Two schools, Darwin and Huxley(what great names for institutes of learning.) are competing at football, with ruthless crooks on the sideline, and in the game, determined to fix the outcome. Throw the Marx Brothers into this mix and you have Anarchy on the Pitch.
It is in this movie that dear old Harpo plays a dog catcher, an image that has off late inflammed my imagination. You may, if you are reading this, have seen my doodles of him in the dog catcher outfit elsewhere on this blog. I do doodle from time to time. I do dirty doodles from time to time also. Harpo also plays an Iceman in this movie. That is a man who delivers ice for a living and not an underworld assassin who ices people for money.
Zeppo plays Groucho's son in this movie and it works despite the face they are really brothers round about the same age. I cannot understand why no one at the movie studios or even in the Marx Brothers extended show biz fraternity saw Zeppo's potential as a leading man. He was a great comic with a fine singing voice and was also a very handsome man. I think he had a very striking profile. I would have cast him in William Shakespeare's Julius Cesar with a profile like that. I could imagine an archeologist digging up a gold coin from that era and finding that noble visage on one side. With Harpo gurning on the other.
The climatic end game aside I was very pleased with the ensemble piece that takes place in The College Widow's apartment as nearly all the principal leads get a chance to allow anarchy and merry chaos to ensue. Thelma Todd quite easily holds her own amidst all this madness despite being the target for most of it. The whole sequence feels like a live performance, a live stage farce and suggests just how great their vaudeville act must have been.
I stuck Horse Feathers on after midnight and chuckled into the early hours. Groucho sings a great song to the assembled faculty and student body WHATEVER IT IS I'M AGAINST IT! A song which John Lydon should record with his band Public Image. Well, if Lydon would ever indulge in a cover version why not a Marx Brothers song.