wikipedia

TV Tuesday: Just For Fun 1947

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Richard Hearne Mancunian Films Image One
Image Credit: Mancunian Films & britmovie.co.uk Forum

Seventy-five years, ago, today, the black & white TV Movie Just For Fun aired on the BBC. Created/devised and written by Richard Hearne, he stars as Mr. Pastry:

…an old man with a walrus moustache [sic], dressed in a black suit or raincoat and with a trademark bowler hat. [T]he the bumbling old man would have adventures, partly slapstick, partly comic dance, with two young friends. Jon Pertwee also starred in the show in a variety of roles. The Mr. Pastry character had originated in the 1936 stage show Big Boy in which Hearne had appeared with Fred Emney.

Wikipedia Career Summary Snipet

Directed and produced by Walton Anderson, it also starred John Blore Borelli (and his orchestra), Buddy Bradley, Joan Heal, Yvonne Hearne, Jean Kent & Henry Oscar.

Hearne first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in March 1954, with many subsequent visits. Buster Keaton was a fan. He was interviewed by producer Barry Letts for the role of Doctor Who when Pertwee departed but, wished to play The Doctor as Mr. Pastry. Letts, in turn, offered the role to Tom Baker.

I couldn’t find any clips for this movie but, I did find Hearne/Mr. Pastry on Ed Sullivan. ~Vic

Additional:
Just For Fun (BFI)
Just For Fun (British Comedy Guide)

Story Sunday: Can Opener Bridge

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Can Opener Bridge Image One
Photo Credit: Amusing Planet
Photo Author: Mark Clifton
Click for a larger view.

At 11 foot 8 inches [sic], the Norfolk Southern-Gregson Street Overpass, located in Durham, [NC] […], is a bit too short. The federal government recommends that bridges on public roads should have a clearance of at least 14 feet [but], when this railroad trestle was built in the 1940s, there were no standards for minimum clearance. As a result, trucks would frequently hit the bridge and get its roof scrapped [sic] off.

Durhan resident Jürgen Henn has been witnessing these crashes for years from across the street where he worked. Wishing to share these hilarious mishaps with the rest of the world, Henn set up a video camera in April 2008 and began recording them for his ever popular website 11foot8.com. By the end of 2015, more than one hundred trucks had their tops violently ripped off. These scalping videos, which are also available on his YouTube Channel, have racked up millions of views bringing this particular bridge, nicknamed “the can opener”, a fair amount of international fame.

As Jürgen Henn explains in his website [sic], the bridge cannot be raised because doing so would require the tracks to be raised for several miles to adjust the incline. North Carolina Railroad doesn’t want to pay for the enormous expense it would entail. The bridge cannot be lowered either because there is a major sewer line running only four feet under the street.

Can Opener Bridge Image Two
Photo Credit: Amusing Planet
Photo Author: Mark Clifton
Click for a larger view.

Instead, the city authorities installed an alert system that detects when an over-height truck tries to pass under and flashes yellow warning lights several feet ahead of the bridge. [However], many drivers either do not pay attention or fail to heed the warning and crash into the bridge. The railroad department, who owns the bridge, installed a heavy steel crash beam in front of the bridge that takes most of the impact, protecting the actual structure of the train trestle. This crash beam is hit so often that it had to be replaced at least once.

As far as both parties are concerned, the city of Durham and North Carolina Railroad, adequate steps have been taken to solve the problem. The railroad authorities’ concern is with the bridge and the rails above, not the trucks, [hence], the beam. The city, on the other hand, has posted prominent “low clearance” signs from [three] blocks away, leading up to the trestle, over and above the automatic warning system that is triggered by vehicles that are too tall. Apparently, these measures are not enough to prevent accidents. On average there is one crash every month.

When Henn interviewed a few drivers as they deflated their tires to lower their vehicles enough to free them, some told him that they didn’t know their trucks’ heights, while others insisted they didn’t see the signs. Durham officials are now trying out a new tactic. A few months ago, they installed a traffic signal at the intersection before the bridge and hooked up the height sensor to it. When an over-height truck approaches the intersection, the light turns red and stays red for a long time. The light eventually turns green but, the city hopes that the long delay will give the drivers enough time to realize their truck will not fit under the bridge. Unfortunately for the drivers, and to the delight of the rest, the bridge continues to shave the tops of over-height vehicles.

The Infamous Can Opener Bridge
Amusing Planet
Kaushik Patowary
December 17, 2016

I can attest to this bridge, personally. I lived in Durham for two years in the middle 90s. Why those folks don’t turn off onto Peabody Street or Pettigrew Street, coming from the other side, I don’t know. They just plow right under it. It is right behind Brightleaf Square. ~Vic

Jürgen Henn’s Website
Henn’s YouTube Channel

Additional:
11 Feet, 8 Inches… (99% Invisible/Kurt Kohlstedt/08-29-2016)
Durham’s Bridge of Death Will Decapitate Any Tall Truck (Bloomberg/John Metcalfe/10-25-2012)
Trucks Have Hit This Low Bridge More Than 100 Times… (Vox/Timothy B. Lee/01-06-2016)
A Little Off The Top… (Indy Week/Danny Hooley/01-06-2016)
Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass (Wikipedia)

Compilation of Crashes

Flashback Friday: Alcoholics Anonymous 1935

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Alcoholics Anonymous Wikipedia Image
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Author: John Leffman

Eighty-seven years ago, today, Robert Smith drank his last drink, the date marked by AA for its anniversaries.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship dedicated to abstinence based recovery from alcoholism through its spiritually inclined Twelve Step program. Following its Twelve Traditions, AA and autonomous AA groups are self-supporting through the strictly voluntary contributions from members only. The Traditions also establish AA as non-professional, non-denominational and apolitical, with an avowed desire to stop drinking as its sole requirement for membership. Though AA has not endorsed the disease model of alcoholism, to which its program is nonetheless sympathetic, its wider acceptance is partly due to many members independently promulgating it. A recent scientific review shows that by many measures AA does as well or better than other clinical interventions or no treatment. In particular, AA produces better abstinence rates with lower medical costs. As of 2020, having spread to diverse cultures, including geopolitical areas normally resistant to grassroots movements, AA has estimated its worldwide membership to be over two million with 75% of those in the U.S. and Canada.

AA marks 1935 for its founding when Wall Street analyst and newly recovering alcoholic Bill Wilson, then reeling from a failed proxy fight, sought to stay sober by commiserating with detoxing surgeon Bob Smith. After leaving the Oxford Group to form a fellowship of alcoholics only, Wilson and Smith, along with other early members, wrote Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism, from which AA acquired its name. Published in 1939 and commonly called “the Big Book”, it contains AA’s Twelve Step recovery program. Later editions included the Twelve Traditions, first adopted in 1946 to formalize and unify the fellowship as a “benign anarchy”.

Wiki Summary

Wayback Wednesday: Attilla Attacks Italy 452

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Attila The Hun Wikipedia Image
Attila The Hun
Author: Willhelm Dilich
Source: Ungarische Chronica
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Attila was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Ostrogoths, Alans and Bulgars, among others, in Central and Eastern Europe. He is also considered one of the most powerful rulers in world history.

Attila [invaded] and [ravaged] Italy on June 8, 452, one-thousand, five hundred and seventy years, ago, today. Communities became established in what would later become Venice as a result of these attacks when the residents fled to small islands in the Venetian Lagoon. His army sacked numerous cities and razed Aquileia so completely that it was afterwards hard to recognize its original site. Aëtius lacked the strength to offer battle, but managed to harass and slow Attila’s advance with only a shadow force. Attila finally halted at the River Po. By this point, disease and starvation may have taken hold in Attila’s camp, thus hindering his war efforts and potentially contributing to the cessation of invasion.

Wiki Summary

Attila, by-name Flagellum Dei (Latin: “Scourge of God”) [ruled] jointly with his elder brother Bleda until 445. In legend, he appears under the name Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and under the name Atli in Icelandic sagas. The empire that Attila and his elder brother Bleda inherited seems to have stretched from the Alps and the Baltic in the west to somewhere near the Caspian Sea in the east.

In 452, the Huns invaded Italy and sacked several cities, including Aquileia, Patavium (Padua), Verona, Brixia (Brescia), Bergomum (Bergamo), and Mediolanum (Milan). Aetius could do nothing to halt them but, the famine and pestilence raging in Italy in that year compelled the Huns to leave without crossing the Apennines.

Attila, King of the Huns
Britannica Summary

Attila invaded northern Italy in 452 but, spared the city of Rome due to the diplomacy of Pope Leo I and the rough shape of his own troops. Legend has it that St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to Attila, threatening to strike him dead if he did not settle with Pope Leo I. Attila died the following year, in 453, before he could try once again to take Italy.

Attlia the Hun
Biography

Throwback Thursday: Rome Sacked 455

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Rome Sacked Wikipedia Image
Artist: Karl Bryullov
Collection: Tretyakov Gallery
Image Credit: Wikipedia

One thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven years ago, today…

The Sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome. [It] was conducted by the Vandals, who were then at war with the usurping Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus.

In the 440s, the Vandal king Genseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III had betrothed their children, Huneric and Eudocia, to strengthen their alliance, reached in 442 with a peace treaty (the marriage was delayed as Eudocia was too young). In 455 Valentinian was killed and Petronius Maximus rose to the throne. Petronius married Valentinian’s widow, Licinia Eudoxia and had his son Palladius marry Eudocia. [In] this way, Petronius was to strengthen his bond with the Theodosian Dynasty. Unhappy, however, with her husband’s murder and the usurpation of Maximus, Eudoxia turned to aid from the Vandals to remove Maximus from his undeserved throne. The overture was favorably met because Maximus’ revolution was damaging to Genseric’s ambitions. The king of the Vandals claimed that the broken betrothal between Huneric and Eudocia invalidated his peace treaty with Valentinian and set sail to attack Rome, landing at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.

Wiki Summary

On this day in 455, the Vandals sacked Rome. It wasn’t too awful, as sackings go, because the Vandal king Genseric agreed to refrain from slaughtering all the inhabitants and burning down the entire city if the Romans didn’t put up any military resistance…which, they didn’t. They just threw the gates right open. So, for the next two weeks, the Vandals merely drank all the wine, stole all the treasure, enslaved an unlucky few thousand locals and generally vandalized the place. A few hundred of the impromptu wine-tastings, as it were, got out of hand and some buildings, or some people, ended up on fire but, hey…relatively speaking, the Romans got off pretty easy.

Modern Drunkard Magazine
Today’s Reason To Drink
Frank Kelly Rich

Hans-Max 2022 TV Draft: Round Five-Pick One-Sisters (1991-1996)

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Sisters Pinterest Image One
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Hanspostcard/Max has a TV draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

I didn’t catch the first season of this show during its original run but, started watching during season two (it was a while before I got to see season one). I was immediately hooked by the quirky interaction between the sisters and their day to day lives in Winnetka, IL and, I was already a Patricia Kalember fan due to the short-lived Kay O’Brien TV show. ~Vic

Created by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, the series begins one year after the death of the family’s father, Dr. Thomas Reed, a workaholic, played in flashbacks by three different actors but, mostly by Peter White. The matriarch of the family is Beatrice (Elizabeth Hoffman), a long-suffering, neglected wife, who turns to alcohol to deal with the doctor’s multiple affairs. She has four daughters:

Alexandra…”Alex” (Swoosie Kurtz), the eldest. She married a plastic surgeon that had affairs on her and she divorced him, retaining some wealth. After battling breast cancer, she became a talk show host. She frequently butts heads her daughter, Reed Halsey (played by three different actresses, most notably Ashley Judd). She eventually remarries.

Sisters TMDb Image Two
New grouping with Charley, on the left.
Image Credit: TMDb

Theodora…”Teddy” (Sela Ward), the second daughter. At the beginning of the series, she is returning from California and is shocked to discover that her ex-husband, Mitch, is engaged to her youngest sister, Frankie. She, drunk, temporarily, stops the wedding with a shotgun (she inherited Beatrice’s drinking habits). An artist in school, she becomes a fashion designer, helming three different companies. She goes on to marry twice more…to Det. James Falconer (George Clooney), the cop that investigated her daughter Cat’s rape (he was killed in an explosion) and Dr. Gabriel Sorenson (Stephen Collins), the doctor that saved her life when she was shot in the head.

Georgiana…”Georgie” (Patricia Kalember), the third daughter. She is the stay-at-home mom with the most level head of all the sisters. A part-time real estate agent, she is the one the other sisters come to for guidance. She and her husband, John, have two sons, the youngest surviving leukemia. She carries and gives birth to Thomas George, Frankie & Mitch’s son. After trouble with her first son, she has an affair with her therapist, separates from John, has a second affair with a much younger classmate in college and, eventually returns to John.

Francesca…”Frankie” (Julianne Phillips…Springsteen’s first wife), the fourth daughter. She is a highly paid executive, a workaholic like her father and discovered that she was infertile. Georgie becomes her surrogate for her baby. Her work habits break apart her marriage to Mitch. Afterwards, she quits her job and buys a local diner. She eventually moves to Japan for another job.

Charlotte…”Charley” (a doctor, originally played by Jo Anderson, then Sheila Kelley) as the unknown, fifth, illegitimate daughter that shows up in the fourth season, looking for a bone marrow donation (a shift in the story-line as Julianne Phillips prepared to leave the show). The nicknames are a product of their father wanting boys and never getting one. The four older sisters tagged Charlotte with her own nickname.

Supporting Characters:
John Witsig (Garrett M. Brown), Georgie’s husband.
Mitch Margolis (Ed Marinaro), Teddy’s high school sweetheart, ex-husband & Frankie’s ex-husband.
Catherine “Cat” Margolis (Heather McAdam), Teddy & Mitch’s daughter that goes on to be a cop.

Much of the show is full of flashbacks, particularly the interactions of the sisters growing up.

Trivia Bits:
♦ Patricia Kalember’s husband in real life, Daniel Gerroll, had a recurring role in season five. He played psychiatrist Dr. David Caspian, who was counseling her character Georgie.
Julianne Phillips and Patricia Kalember also co-starred in Fletch Lives.
♦ Elizabeth Hoffman was a minor, recurring character on Stargate SG-1 and played Eleanor Roosevelt in two mini-series: The Winds of War (1983) and War & Remembrance (1988-1989).

Scene & Opening Theme

Hans-Max 2022 TV Draft: Round Four-Pick Two-The X-Files (1993-2018)

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Scully & Mulder IMDb Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard/Max has a TV draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.

I’ve stated, before, that I was born and raised in law enforcement. I’ve also worked in law enforcement (non-sworn) at two different agencies, one state and one county (think of me as the blond chick on Criminal Minds, sitting in front of a computer screen…though I am not blond). It can be an interesting job if you’re lucky enough to be employed with an agency that doesn’t take its political self too seriously (virtually impossible these days). I’ve met and worked with a couple of FBI agents. They were nice, everyday guys, back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I’ve seen and heard a lot of things.

The Sci-Fi geek that I am, I’m not presenting this show in that light. This show is, first and foremost, law enforcement. These are the folks, alongside first responders, to arrive at the scene of the accident, the scene of the disaster or the crime scene. In the case of these FBI agents, they investigate the weird shit. That being said, I do have a very full binder of X-Files non-sport cards and chase (special) cards, plus, all of the original series-run DVDs. ~Vic

The X-Files IMDb Amazon Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Created and written by Chris Carter, there were many other writers, including David Duchovny (Agent Fox Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully) and Stephen King but, this was Carter’s baby. It starred Duchovny and Anderson as the dynamic duo, investigating all manner of odd, macabre, out-of-this-world or just plain gross happenings. In later years, Duchovny reduced his presence on the show and eventually left. In 2000, Robert Patrick (Agent John Doggett) was brought in as a new partner for Gillian Anderson. In 2001 Annabeth Gish (Agent Monica Reyes) showed up and, with the upcoming departure of Anderson, became Patrick’s partner. There was some chatter that the show would live on with Patrick and Gish but, it never materialized. Gish returned in the series revival but, Patrick did not. Neither of them were in the X-Files feature films.

Other regular cast members were Mitch Pileggi (Asst. Dir. Walter Skinner), William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man), Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek), Chris Owens (Jeffrey Spender, son of the Cigarette Smoking Man) and James Pickens, Jr. (Asst. Dir./Dep. Dir. Alvin Kersh). Secondary, popular characters were Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund & Bruce Harwood (The Lone Gunmen), Don. S. Davis (Captain William Scully, Agent Scully’s father), Sheila Larken (Margaret Scully, Agent Scully’s mother), Melinda McGraw (Melissa Scully, Agent Scully’s older sister), Pat Skipper (Bill Scully, Jr., Agent Scully’s older brother), Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat), Steven Williams (Mr. X), Rebecca Toolan (Teena Mulder, Agent Mulder’s mother), Peter Donat (William Mulder, Agent Mulder’s father) and five separate actresses portrayed Samantha Mulder, the agent’s abducted, younger sister. Agent Scully also has a younger brother, Charles but, except for flashbacks, the character is uncredited.

Agent Reyes & Agent Doggett IMDb Amazon Image Three
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Addendum: Honestly, I was hoping the show would continue on with Agents Doggett & Reyes. They had a lot of really good on-screen chemistry and I liked both actors. After nine years, I had grown weary of Duchovny’s primadonna attitude. When the series was revived, the magic was gone and I wasn’t impressed. Naturally, they turned Agent Reyes into a bad character and killed her off.

Addendum #2: I also have to mention that the theme song changed, just slightly, at some point. The first theme has a solid, continuous echo sound. The second theme is a double-repeating echo sound. Why it changed, I don’t know (it drove me crazy). It is never mentioned but, it did happen. Listen, below.

Trivia Bits:
♦ As stated in my last draft, Mark Snow created the X-Files theme, the Starsky & Hutch theme for Season Three and many others.
♦ Gillian Anderson was nearly replaced when she got pregnant during the first season.
♦ Props from Mulder’s office are preserved at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in LA. The I Want To Believe poster kept disappearing from the set.
♦ The agents badges read “Federal Bureau of Justice, United States Department of Investigation” as making a fake FBI badge is illegal.
♦ Gillian Anderson has stated that she based her approach to the role of Dana Scully on Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
♦ Dana Scully was named after the famous sports journalist Vin Scully. Mulder is the maiden name of Chris Carter’s mother.
♦ Chris Carter lists All the President’s Men (1976) as one of his inspirations for the series. There are numerous references to the film, including the shadowy informer Deep Throat, meetings in underground parking garages and hints at conspiracies which stretch all the way to the F.B.I.

X-Files Original Opening

X-Files Second Opening…Can you hear the difference?

Hans-Max 2022 TV Draft: Round Three-Pick Three-Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979)

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Starsky & Hutch IMDb Amazon Image One
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard/Max has a TV draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.

I was raised in law enforcement. My dad was a Probation/Parole Officer, his younger brother, a city cop in our hometown and my first cousin became a deputy. Some years later, when my dad re-married, my stepmom was Parking Enforcement for the same city police department. I grew up watching every manner of cop TV show you could find, from re-runs of Dragnet to Hawaii Five-O to Kojak to The Rookies to Baretta to Adam-12 to The Rockford Files to Police Story…and everything in-between. My personal favorite was Starsky & Hutch. I had a “thing” for Paul Michael Glaser. His picture was one of four photos I kept as a kid and young teen. The others were Lindsay Wagner, Olivia Newton-John and John Schneider. I later regretted my attachment to him. I didn’t remember most of the episodes but, I was reintroduced to the show in the 90s with re-runs. ~Vic

Created and written by William Blinn (Brian’s Song, The Rookies, Eight Is Enough & Pensacola: Wings of Gold), it starred David Soul (Det. Sgt. Kenneth Richard “Hutch” Hutchinson), Paul Michael Glaser (Det. Sgt. David Michael Starsky), Antonio Fargas (Informant Huggy Bear) and Bernie Hamilton (Captain Harold C. Dobey). In the Pilot TV Movie, Captain Dobey was played by Richard Ward. Sgt. Hutchinson was from Duluth, MN, was divorced and was a reserved, intellectual type. Sgt. Starsky was from Brooklyn, NY, was an Army veteran, had street-smarts and, could be intense & moody. Informant Huggy Bear was a flashy, ethically ambiguous bar owner that provided the two Sergeants with whatever street action knowledge he could gather. Captain Dobey was their barking & gruff but, fair boss. He had his hands full with those two. One of the main characters of the show was Starsky’s red, 1975 Ford Gran Torino (four of them, actually), nicknamed the “Striped Tomato.” In the show, Hutch calls the car that name in the episode Snowstorm (10-01-1975) but, that crack actually came from Paul Michael Glaser when Aaron Spelling showed him the car (First Season DVD Collection). Hutch’s vehicle was a beat-up, tan, 1973 Ford Galaxie 500, whose horn would blow when the door was opened.

Hutch Gran Torino Colt Python IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Hutch & His Colt Python
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Favorite Episodes:
The Fix (10-08-1975)
Running (with Jan Smithers/02-25-1976)
The Las Vegas Strangler Part I & Part II (with Lynda Carter/09-25-1976)
Nightmare (11-28-1976)
Starsky’s Lady (with Season Hubley 02-12-1977)
Long Walk Down A Short Dirt Road (with Lynn Anderson/03-12-1977)
Fatal Charm (with Karen Valentine & Roz Kelly/09-24-1977)
I Love You, Rosey Malone (10-01-1977)
Blindfold (with Kim Cattrall/09-26-1978)

Trivia Bits:
☆ Originally, Starsky was supposed to drive a green and white Chevy Camaro but, the producers had a contract with Ford.
☆ On numerous occasions, Paul Michael Glaser has talked about how much he hated the car, as well as playing Starsky and, that he had campaigned to be released from his contract.
Zebra Three was the radio call sign for Starsky, Hutch…and the car.
☆ Starsky and Hutch were based on Lou Telano and John Sepe.
☆ The Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver used by Hutch is the same pistol carried by David Soul in his role as Officer John Davis in Magnum Force.
☆ The show had four different opening theme songs with seasons two and four crafted by Tom Scott and sounding similar. Season one was crafted by Lalo Schifrin and season three crafted by Mark Snow, known for the X-Files theme.

Different Themes

Music Monday: St. Matthew Passion 1727

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Bach BWV 244 Image One
Author: Johann Sebastian Bach
1736
Title page of St. Matthew Passion
Image Credit: Wikipedia/Wikimedia

The St. Matthew Passion (Matthäus-Passion in German ~ BWV 244) is a Passion, a sacred oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander. It sets the 26th and 27th chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, in the Luther Bible, to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of Baroque sacred music.

The St. Matthew Passion is the second of two Passion settings by Bach that have survived in their entirety, the first being the St. John Passion, first performed in 1724. Little is known with certainty about the creation process of the St. Matthew Passion. The available information derives from extant early manuscripts, contemporary publications of the libretto, and circumstantial data, for instance in documents archived by the Town Council of Leipzig.

The St. Matthew Passion was probably first performed on April 11, 1727 (Good Friday), two hundred, ninety-five years, ago, today, in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

Wikipedia Summaries

In the early 1820s, the director of the Berlin Singakademie, Carl Zelter, got hold of a copy of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and rehearsed some of the choral movements in private. By great good fortune, two of his singers were Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn. In April 1829, despite strong opposition from some quarters, the twenty-year-old Mendelssohn, with the help of Zelter and his friend the actor Eduard Devrient, mounted the work’s first modern performance, albeit in an abbreviated form, given to mark what was then thought to be the centenary of its first performance. This Easter-time Berlin presentation was a stunning success and was followed by others. These led directly to a complete reassessment and revival of interest in all of Bach’s music for, baffling as it seems nowadays, Johann Sebastian Bach had fallen into near obscurity since his death nearly 80 years earlier.

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion: A Guide To The Sacred Masterpiece
UDiscoverMusic
Jeremy Nicholas
April 8, 2020

Beautiful music with beautiful voices. One tenor sounds just like a woman. ~Vic

Additional:
A Guide To Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
(Classical Music/BBC Music Magazine/05-26-2021)
Music History Monday: St. Matthew Passion (Robert Greenberg Music/04-11-2022)
Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 (Bach Cantatas Website/2000-2022)

Netherlands Bach Society
04-02-2019
Two Hours, 44 Minutes & 31 Seconds

Song Saturday: Oblivion Theme

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Oblivion TMDb Image
Image Credit: TMDb

“But our love was a song, sung by a dying swan…”

This Saturday evening’s Samsung playlist submission comes from the movie Oblivion. I never saw the movie at the theater but, caught it on HBO at my uncle’s house (I was dog-sitting). It is a fascinating movie and very sad. It is visually stunning with a unique cast and Tom Cruise loves to play the action hero. At the end of the movie, as the credits roll, this song kicks in. It immediately gave me chills and made me cry.

Director Joseph Kosinski chose French electronic band M83 to compose the soundtrack for the movie and brought in Joseph Trapanese to co-write the score. He’d used Daft Punk for Tron: Legacy but, wanted a different sound for Oblivion.

Written by Anthony Gonzalez and Susanne Sundfør, Sundfør handled lead vocals. She has a stunning voice. Released as a single on March 26, 2013, the only chart that the song shows up in is the French SNEP singles chart. It debuted at 114 the week of April 20 but, only lasted for three weeks. Sundfør made her US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 17.

“Don’t forget to stick around for the credits that are set to M83’s brilliant title song, Oblivion featuring Susanne Sundfør.”

Movie Review: Space Survivors Battle Oblivion
The Express Tribune
Ameer Hamza Ahmad
May 6, 2013

Oblivion HD Wallpapers Image Two
Image Credit: HD Wallpapers

“Also, the film’s closing credits track, also called “Oblivion” and featuring vocals by Susanne Sundfor, might be the best theme song since “Skyfall.”

Oblivion Review: 10 Things You Should Know
Moviefone
Drew Taylor
April 18, 2013

“…and now we get to hear “Oblivion,” a slow, stately and gorgeous six-minute collaboration with the Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør.”

M86 – “Oblivion” (Feat. Susanne Sundfør)
Stereogum
Tom Breihan
March 26, 2013

Additional Reading:
M83 Enter ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise
(Rolling Stone/Steve Baltin/February 13, 2013)

US Debut

Main Theme Music

Throwback Thursday: King James & The Virgin Queen 1603

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King James VI & I Wikipedia Image One
Artist: John de Cruz
1605
Collection: Museo del Prado
Photographer Source: Galaria Online

Four hundred, nineteen years ago, today, James Charles Stuart was crowned James I, King of England and Ireland, after the death of Elizabeth I. Though England and Scotland were sovereign, individual states, he ruled them in personal union.

He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and the great-great grandson of Henry VII. He was thirteen months old when his mother abdicated and he succeeded to the Scottish throne, though he had regents governing due to his minority status. He took full control of the government in 1583 and succeeded Elizabeth I, whom was childless, the last monarch from the House of Tudor, in 1603.

He ruled over all three kingdoms for 22 years during the Jacobean Era until his death in 1625 (also in March, on the 27th). During his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and the Colonisation of the Americas began.

He was the longest reigning Scottish monarch, ruling nearly 58 years, surpassed only by crazy King George III (59 years), Queen Victoria (nearly 64 years) and current Queen Elizabeth II at 70 years. He was on the throne during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (see my post on Guy Fawkes) and, during the Elizabethan literature Golden Age, with writers such as William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Bacon. He sponsored the English translation of the Bible, the most widely read version and was a poet, himself. He preferred peace to war, steering clear of the Thirty Years’ War that involved most of Europe. There are indications that he was bi-sexual.

He died young at the age of 58 and was succeeded by his second son, King Charles I, a poor ruler that was executed in 1649.

Who Was King James VI & I

King James I

POTD: Musk Thistle

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In the Asteraceae family, this is a Carduus Nutans. Other names are nodding thistle and nodding plumeless thistle. It has been deemed a noxious weed and is very invasive. This was in my yard and I wouldn’t advise stepping on one. ~Vic

Musk Thistle Image
04-10-2019

Picture of the Day

Hans-Quinn 2022 TV Draft: Round Two-Pick Six-Firefly (2002-2003)

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Firefly Cast Screen Rant Image One
Photo Credit: Screen Rant
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Hanspostcard/Quinn Maddux has a TV draft challenge. This is my Round Two pick.

“You can’t take the sky from me.”

Ok. I will say it. I am a hopeless Sci-Fi geek. I could easily do this TV Draft with nothing but Sci-Fi. I led with Doctor Who because it, by far, has the longest tapestry in my life. I would venture to say that Firefly was the shortest…and, yes, I am a Browncoat. I had an extensive list of Sci-Fi choices but, chose these two, only, because I also wanted to touch on other genres including law enforcement, drama, comedy and a couple of cartoons. ~Vic

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Image Credit: Neato Shop

When this came out, it struck me as being very close to the original description given to the first Star Trek series…a western in space. Fox had already scored big with the X-Files, running from September 1993 to May 2002. Firefly debuted September 2002 and, I was front and center. I didn’t find out until later that the first episode that aired was not the first episode of the series. You can thank Fox executives for that mess-up. It went downhill from there.

Created by Joss Whedon (Executive Producer, Writer, Theme Composter & Director of three episodes), it starred:
Nathon Fillion as Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, the owner & Captain of Serenity, a Firefly-class, small transport spaceship. He is a former sergeant from the Battle of Serenity Valley, an Independent soldier in the war against the Alliance (a fusion of the last two superpowers, the US & China) in the year 2517.
Gina Torres as Zoë Alleyne Washburne, second-in-command aboard Serenity and Mal’s loyal corporal during the war. She is Wash’s wife.
Alan Tudyk as Hoban “Wash” Washburne, Serenity’s pilot and a bit jealous over his wife’s attachment to Mal. He is known for cracking jokes, even during horrible situations.
Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra, a Companion that is a blending of a courtesan, a geisha & a mistress. She has a very high social status and rents one of Serenity’s small shuttles. She & Mal are attracted to each other, dislike each other’s “jobs” and want to remain professional towards each other.
Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, a 6’4″ mercenary that acts dumber than he really is. He sends much of his income back to his mother. He is excellent in a fight, has an intense fear of Reavers and has an extreme dislike of Simon and his sister, River, as she attacked him with a knife.

Firefly Deviant Art Image Three
Image Credit: Aerettberg
Deviant Art
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Jewel Staite as Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye, the ship’s adorable mechanic. With no formal training, she intuitively knows mechanical equipment. She routinely talks to Serenity and has a crush on Simon Tam.
Sean Maher as Simon Tam, a trauma surgeon (top 3% of his class) that became a fugitive after he snatched his sister, River, out of a government research facility. He struggles with his desire for Kaylee as his life revolves around his sister.
Summer Glau as River Tam, an intuitive child prodigy that the Alliance experimented on, leading to psychic abilities and combat training. She suffers from PTSD and has flashbacks from the experiments. She can be delusional, paranoid and violent without warning.
Ron Glass as Derrial Book, commonly referred to as Shepherd Book (a 24th century version of a pastor). A devout Christian, his background is unknown but, he has much knowledge that the average pastor would not have. He has a fairly high status with the Alliance and, though he objects to violence, he is skilled in combat. Quote: “…while the Bible is quite specific about killing, it is somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.” Book is the voice of reason, spirituality and conscience for the crew.

Serenity TMDb Image Four
Image Credit: The Movie Database

Fourteen episodes, with a two-hour pilot, were produced but, only 11 of them aired before being unceremoniously cancelled. The Browncoat Brigade started a postcard writing campaign to Fox, and UPN but, it ultimately failed. They continued to push for the DVD release and, in 2005, the feature film Serenity was released on September 30.

Trivia Bits:
♦ The real reason it was cancelled was that the FOX executives thought it was too dark (It was very dark).
♦ Whedon proposed a Firefly plotline in which Inara injected herself with a prophylactic solution, not a birth control but, a serum that would poison anyone who raped her. Whedon’s idea was that Inara would, then, be kidnapped and gang-raped but, that the rapes would take place offscreen and, the only sign of them would be a pile of her rapists later found dead. This plotline was nixed by the network and no version of it ever appeared on the show.
♦ Serenity’s engine room includes the center console from a Boeing 737.
♦ When Whedon created the show, he intended for it to run seven years.
♦ Between shots, the cast preferred to wait in the ship’s lounge, instead of their trailers/dressing rooms.
♦ The Alliance officer and soldier uniforms are leftovers from Starship Troopers (1997).
♦ The pistol-sized lever action gun Zoe wears on her hip is called a Mare’s Leg. It is a cut down Model 1892 Winchester, the same gun used by Steve McQueen in the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958).
♦ Astronaut Steven Swanson is a Browncoat and brought his Firefly & Serenity DVDs with him on the Space Shuttle Atlantis for the STS-117 mission in June 2007.
♦ The Shuttle crew of the Endeavour is awoken at 4:14pm ET to The Ballad of Serenity, played for astronaut Robert Behnken.
♦ The DVDs are in the media collection on the ISS.
♦ There are actual Browncoat Balls, held all over the US. The first one was in 2004.

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POTD: Star Of Bethlehem

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Pl@ntNet had a little trouble with this one. It didn’t show up in World Flora or USA Flora but, finally showed up in Western Europe Flora. In the Asparagaceae family (which includes asparagus…yum), its genus & species is Ornithogalum Nutans. In this case, it is a Drooping Star of Bethlehem. ~Vic

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03-13-2020

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