My first thought was, Oh My God, this can't be true...
I mean come on this is almost as bad as casting Tom Cruise as a tall, muscular ex - military policeman who gets into all kinds of scrapes, but you never know it could turn out OK.
Not you though Tom, you'll never be OK and you've really Reachered too far. I'd rather watch paint dry. Shit, I'd even sit through a Bon Jovi concert before watching you mutilate Lee Childs.
Jones now and the original
I'm talking about the fact that there is to be a big screen movie version of the iconic British sit-com, Dad's Army - and now the movie's received a boost with the news that it will be distributed by Universal. The film starts shooting this month and there is excitement at the seemingly superb casting. Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier were flawless as Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson and the actors chosen to reprise the iconic roles are enticing - Toby Jones as Mainwaring and Bill Nighy as Wilson. Both are excellent actors and have both the look and mannerisms of the originals. Tom Courtney as Corporal Jones also seems like perfect casting. All in all this film is looking more and more like it may something worth watching.
Perfect casting aside the new film has a lot to live up to.
Dad's Army ran on the BBC from 1968 to 1977 is widely considered to a classic of British TV. For many people, myself included, it is the NO 1 all time sit-com. For me it even beats Falty Towers in the LPM stakes - that's laughs per minute.Telling the story of a team of home guard volunteers, the show ran for
nine seasons and also produced a spin off big screen movie, as well as a
radio series and several stage plays.
So popular was the series that in June 2010, a statue (pictured) of
Captain George Mainwaring was erected in the Norfolk town of Thetford
where most of the TV series was filmed. The statue features
Captain Mainwaring sitting to attention on a simple bench in Home Guard
uniform, with his swagger stick across his knees. The statue is mounted
at the end of winding brick pathway with a Union Flag
patterned arrow head to reflect the opening credits of the TV series,
and the sculpture has been designed so that members of the public can
sit alongside Captain Mainwaring for the purpose of having their photo
Originally intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad’s Army
was based partly on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry’s real-life
experiences in the Home Guard. Perry had been 17 years old when he
joined the 10th Hertfordshire
Battalion and with a mother who did not like him being out at night and
fearing he might catch cold. Thus, he bore more than a passing resemblance to
Whisky Galore!, and the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter!
featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him
Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike.
the character of Frank Pike. An elderly lance corporal in the outfit
often referred to fighting under Kitchener against the "Fuzzy Wuzzies"
and proved to be a perfect model for Jones as played by the wonderful
Clive Dunn. Other influences were the film Whisky Galore!, and the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter!
featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him
Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike.
The new film comes from a script by Hamish McColl and will be directed by Oliver Parker who recently scored hits with the new St. Trinian's movies.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one, and I'm starting to feel that this one could be a hit. After all as a franchise Dad's Army is perfectly suited to the big screen. Back in the day a lot of Brit Sit-coms had spin off movies made and the Dad's Army movie was one of the better big screen outings for small screen sitcoms.
Ahh well, only time will tell.
Below, courtesy of You Tube, are some of Dad's Army's best moments
I've gone and found myself a new favourite podcast that I think readers of the Archive would be interested in - Voices of the West - Voices of the
West is a long-running radio program that examines the Old West and its
many characters–both good and bad. The show is hosted by Emil Franzi, recipient of the 2014 Western Writers of America
He draws on
his stable of guests like authors Johnny Boggs and Cotton Smith to talk
about the cowboys. Author Jerry Egan chimes in frequently to talk about
hiking Apacheria. And, Green Valley News writer Scott Dyke joins Emil on
a regular basis to talk about anything and everything concerning the
Old West. And past guests have included Peter Ford, the son of the late Glenn Ford and Pam Marvin, the widow of
Lee Marvin. Voices of the West has also talked with Old Tucson’s Bob
Shelton to remember the great movies made at the famous movie set.
Darn tooting it's good.
Voices of the West is a radio program originating in Tucson, AZ over AM
1030 KVOI on Saturday at 4pm MST. Host Emil Franzi talks with folks who
believe America was better off when our TV shows were about Cowboys
instead of Lawyers!, and now that the show is available in podcast format from iTunes and all other podcast delivery systems, as well as on the show's own website HERE. The show can be downloaded for use on your computer or mobile device. Or if you prefer you can simply stream the show from the website.
There's a large archive of old shows on the website - I recently listened to a show that looked at the westerns of James Garner, the actor having recently died when the show was recorded, and it was excellent and a fitting tribute to the great man. The way the host and guests discuss the relative merits of each movie make for entertaining listening for any western fan. The show also plays themes from western movies but given copyright restrictions the podcast and archived shows only contain few seconds of each song - this is something the BBC also does with the Desert Island Discs. Mind you because most of the show is speech based the listener isn't really missing out on any of the entertainment.
has not bestowed upon them the notoriety of The James Gang, nor are
they as well known as The Daltons but in their day The Cook Gang were
every bit as feared as any of the Old West's outlaws.
"They are a
stench to the nostril of lawful men." Said one Indian Territory (now
Oklahoma) newspaper in 1890. and during the height of their crimes they
were pursued by a team of U. S. marshalls, the Army and even The Texas
Their leader was William Tuttle Cook but their ranks
changed so often that it is impossible to pin down all the names of the
The first recorded incident of Bill (William)
Cook falling foul of the law was in 1892 when the half Cherokee, was
charged with selling whisky in Indian Territory. Later Bill worked as a
posseman for U.S. Marshall Will Smith. But when his kid brother Jim was
charged with larceny and jumped bail in 1894 he moved over to the other
side of the law and joined his brother on the lam. It was not too long
before the two brothers met and joined up with Crawford Goldsby, an outlaw, better known to history as Cherokee Bill.
with other men, drifters mostly, including Jim French, Skeeter Baldwin
and The Verdigris Kid (Sam Mcwilliams then only 17 years old), they
started stealing horses whilst keeping one step ahead of the law.
the Spring of 1894 the U.S. Government passed the law that became to be
known as, 'Strip Money'. This was $7 million of compensation to be paid
to the Cherokee Nation at Tahlequah. Now Cherokee Bill and the two Cook
boys were entitled to payment under the scheme but being on the scout,
as they called it, they didn't see how they could claim it. They
eventually gave written persmission to one Effie Crittendon to collect
their shares on their behalf.
When the law learned of this they
sent a Cherokee posse out to Effie's home at Fourteen Mile Creek to
capture the outlaws. The posse included Effie's husband, Dick
Critterdon. There was a shoot out and Sequoyah Houston, a respected
member of the Cherokee police, was killed. The two Cook brothers and
Cherokee Bill managed to escape. Though Jim Cook was wounded by
the incident the newspapers were calling the men 'The Cook Gang' and so
began a trail of theft, murder and unspeakable violence that would turn
The Cook Gang into household names across America.
Yet they are
not remembered today in the way other Old West Badmen are -there was
nothing romantic about the Cook gang, nothing to really mythologise
though some did try - legend says that as Cherokee Bill was finally led
to the hangman his last words were - "I came here to die and not make a
speech. It is a good day to die." Though in fact documents record that
he had no last words.
Bill Cook, leader of the gang, died in
prison in 1901. His brother Jim had died the year earlier when he came
second place in a gunfight over an argument about a steer.
this brief article has prompted anyone to want to learn more about The
Cook gang then I suggest getting hold of Black, Red and Deadly by Art
Burton, or then again you can check out this video which was made by Samantha Ponce and tells the story using her children's toys. Or click HERE
or soiled doves, were an important part of the Old West.
Because of the shortage of women, respectable or otherwise, on the
early frontier prostitution was a lucrative business.
There were many
euphemisms for the saloon and dance hall whores -night workers, frail
sisters, the horizontally employed - and although whores back East were
employed in luxurious brothels, the whores in the cowtowns had a much
more frugal existence and often lived in small back rooms of the saloon
or dance hall that employed them. This enabled the saloon and dance hall
owners to exploit the girls even further, for not only would they get a
slice of their earnings but they also took a little more for room and
came from all over the Union and travelled West to become horizontally
employed in the shanty towns that were springing up all over. It was a
dangerous time and the girls often found themselves fighting the men who
visited and even, on times, one another. The idea was for the girls to
make as much money as quickly as they could and then move on to safer
employment where they could bury their past and try to find a gentleman
to marry, or failing that a lonely miner who had struck rich.
Prospects for a long and healthy life as a whore were poor.
of the whores in the Old West became local celebrities with their
exploits . It is a fact that
prostitutes were often the first female settlers in newly created towns.
They helped to develop the areas in which they worked their trade and
would risk disease, injury and in many cases death for their effort.
Prices for the services of these women varied from town to town but an
average cost was 25c for a Mexican woman to $1 for an American lady.
Higher prices were charged if a woman was of unusual youth and often a
woman with red hair would fetch the highest price of all. It was a
popular belief around the mining camps that women with auburn hair were
the most amorous women in the world.
Why though would women become involved in this profession?
The answer to that question was no different in the Old West than it is
today. Many of them had been abandoned by their families or left alone
when a husband died or ran off, others were mentally illiterate and
others still were immigrants with no other way to make a living. And
although their profession was frowned upon they were often a vital part
of early cowtown life.
A good thing about the eBook revolution is that it allows for a market that had long since vanished in the print medium to thrive. There was a time when western fiction magazines were plentiful, but those days have long gone...Those day are back - The Big Adios Western Digest is a digital magazine, the first issue is out now and available from Amazon and other eBook retailers.
Available on Kindle for a low low price - 70p UK/69c US
The short story, A Man
called Masters was first published online in Beat To A Pulp and in
print in First Edition Magazine. The story has been well received by
western fans the world over. And is now available for the Kindle and
will soon be out in other formats.
Buy the story - not only will
you be getting a sort sharp intake of western entertainment, but you'll
also be helping to support the Archive. It does take considerable time
and effort to produce this blog, you know.
Readers may be
interested to learn that Jake Masters is the brother of Cole Masters,
protagonist of The Tarnished Star . I am currently planning a novel featuring both
Masters boys which I hope will be a future Black Horse Westerns title.
It's news that will have Sherlock Holmes fans roaming the moors and salivating like deranged hounds - A nearly 100-year-old silent film version of “Sherlock Holmes” starring famed Holmes thespian and American actor William Gillette has been discovered at the Cinémathèque Française, the French film archive announced Wednesday.
The rediscovered film is the only one Gillette ever appeared in, and is
the actor’s only surviving appearance as the Baker Street detective, a
role for which he was world-renowned in stage portrayals. It was
Gillette who first donned the deerstalker hat that has remained popular
through generations of Holmes performers, including the current favorite Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Gillette's portrayal of Holmes is legendary and was even praised by Holmes creator, Conan Doyle himself but until now there has been no way to see Gillette's version of the detective.
“It’s an amazing privilege to work with these reels that have been lost
for generations. William Gillette’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ has ranked among
the holy grails of lost film and my first glimpse of the footage
confirms Gillette’s magnetism. Audiences are going to be blown away when
they see the real Sherlock Holmes on screen for the first time.” Robert Byrne, Film restorer and SFSFF Board President
The nitrate dupe negative of the film, directed by Arthur Berthelet
for Essanay Studios in 1916, was discovered in the vaults of the archive
a few weeks ago, and is undergoing digital restoration by a partnership
of the Cinémathèque Française and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
The restored film will premiere at Toute la Mémoire du Monde, the film
restoration festival of the Cinémathèque Française, in January 2015, and
will see its U.S. debut at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in