There are some new things in WordPress that I’m learning to work with, but on the whole, things are moving along. And I might start writing more than just a small handful of articles (the pictures issue just was soooo disheartening). Maybe even videos! I have a camera or three that I have been fooling with.
There is just so many ideas and thoughts that just sit in my head, and real life has had a way of wearing me down to the point that I lacked the motivation and energy, but it’s going in an upswing now 🙂
Ah, the year 1986. A big year that became very influential in my life. I hope to write an entry for each one (I already wrote about how I got introduced to Sherlock Holmes), but here’s a summary (in no real order):
Disney’s Dreamers and Doers
The Disney company here in Florida (for a few years) picked someone from each county in the state from elementary, junior high, and high school as someone showing the “4 Cs” – curiosity, confidence, constancy, and courage. And somehow I was picked for the junior high level for Volusia county! It was one of the most exciting days of my life! And I still have my medal, hangs in my living room. May 2 is the anniversary 🙂
Thanks to reading the classic Hound of the Baskervilles story in my 8th grade English class, I got hooked on the adventures of Sir Author Conan Doyle’s famous detective. Not because of the mystery genre, but in the characters of Holmes and Watson and how the stories were written. I found, and still find, that endlessly fascinating! And for the last few years I have basked in the glow of it being a big thing with the help of the Robert Downey Jr movies, and BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary tv shows.
The Smothers Brothers
Fate has a wicked sense of humor, and so it introduced me to these guys, by accident. And, boy, I had no idea what I landed myself into. My poor family somehow put up with me either listening to or watching this harmless looking comedic brother duo – a lot. I also got really interested in classic comedy due to these guys (Thanks Tom and Dick!), along with history (particularly the 1960s), folk music, and being politically involved.
A guy that traveled in time and space in a spaceship disguised as a British Police Box. And he’s not always able to control where or when his ship ends up.
That’s how the show was described to me by a couple classmates in school. And I was curious. And the first episode I watched was the very first episode from 1963, An Unearthly Child. And I have stayed curious for the last 30 years. And I still haven’t used to the idea that Doctor Who is a big thing now. I love it, it’s just weird.
Highway to Heaven
The Summer of ’86 introduced me to this show. I have had a long interest in the nature of God and religions in general, it did not really take off until I happened upon this show by accident. Starred the late Michael Landon as an angel, and Victor French as a former Oakland cop (hence the Oakland A’s baseball cap), driving around the country on assignments from “The Boss”. Had a lot of heart and some laughs.
Okay, maybe not, but it’s my first vlog. I did something a little different than most. I just shot some of my books (yes, it’s just a part of my book collection), along with some of my DVD/Blu ray box sets, and a Smothers Brothers record album.
What’s shown ranges from childhood (Snoopy!) to recent loves (Warehouse 13! The Fault in Our Stars!), and some are childhood loves that I recently acquired (Dick Van Dyke Show! Mork and Mindy! Doctor Who!)
I also used this video to experiment with a few things. Some of my goals that I met are:
muting the sound of the video
having music not start at the beginning, but a few seconds in
just basic editing of the video clips and putting them together in the right order
just making the thing and uploading it and not letting fear from keeping me from doing so
Those may seem like small things, but it’s all a learning curve. And a good healthy dose of confidence.
What I liked about it:
the accidental recording that I ended up using at the beginning. When I loaded all the bits into the editor, I saw that and thought “I could use that!”
that I did the thing! YAY!
It’s not the greatest thing ever, but I’m glad I did it, and looking forward to all the things I will learn from it :).
So what have I got for the future? Taking on the Doctor Who Tag started by YouTuber Luke Spillane. That was one of the things that got me going on finally making a vlog. And I also plan on talking about Sherlock Holmes, having been born with a cleft lip and palate and all that it entails, and whatever else I come up with.
Oh, and I have another channel as well. A gaming channel where I have begun to play Assassin’s Creed (the first one). I love the series and thought why not start off with the first one?
Silent Scream, parts 1 & 2 Written by Tony Lee Illustrated by Al Davidson
A few days ago, Humble Bundle was having a major sale of dozens of digital Doctor Who comic books.with part of the sales going to charity (Sorry, so sorry, it’s over now 🙁 ). The max payment tier was just $15 for over 80 digital issues. I have been interested in getting the digital comic books, particularly interested in the Silver Scream issue since it first came out in 2009 (I have enjoyed the few paper DW comics that I have) but never (though close) got around to buying it. And in the spirit of Chaplin’s 125th birthday, 100th anniversary of his films, and the excellent price, I snagged it!
At the end of series 4 episode, “Journey’s End” of Doctor Who, Donna makes a request to meet Chaplin, just as she is having a mental breakdown due to her mind melding with the Doctor’s. (And I’m just re-watching on Netflix. Oh, the feels!). And in this issue, the Doctor “helps to finish her last wish”.
Summary (no spoilers!)
The Doctor arrives in 1926 at a Hollywood party hosted by Archie. Two things brought him here: last request by his now departed companion, Donna, and a mysterious static point in space and time. A bunch of bad things are happening. So the Doctor can’t help but investigate it.
So why isn’t it actually Chaplin?
So, as you can see by the cover art, it’s not exactly Chaplin. It turned out that near the end of working on the issue, IDW (comic book publisher) was not able to work our an agreement with the Chaplin estate. So they had to make some changes to the name, Archibald Maplin, and his mustache, hat, and cane.
While the artwork was pretty good in the beginning, it had some room for improvement towards the end. But there were a number of things that impressed me about the story. When I first heard about this, I was just expecting the Doctor to pop-up and share some sort of adventure. I was not expecting Mr Lee to be familiar (or well researched?) with Chaplin’s life, specifically 1926.
So how many names changed?
So due to there being no agreement between the Chaplin estate and IDW (Boo on the CE…. ((don’t hurt me!)) but they missed a great opportunity of properly introducing him to Whovians and comic book fans), a number of things had to be renamed. Here’s all the ones I noticed, in order of appearance
Future Times – Modern Times (1936). Chaplin’s comedic social commentary on the growing machine age.
United Actors – United Artists. The film company co-founded by
Mary Pickford, D. W. Griffith, Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (all pictured left) in 1919 to give them the freedom to make movies they way they wanted. “The inmates have taken over the asylum”
United Actors Studio – There was no actual “United Artists Studios” during this period, but there was Pickford and Fairbanks’ Studio, nicknamed The Lot (part of it was torn down just a couple years ago 🙁 ), and there was Charlie Chaplin’s Studios (still standing! Mostly :D)
The Fun Fair – The Circus (1928). As the Doctor tells Archie this film “will be one of your best films ever.” It certainly is.
In real life, Chaplin was making The Circus in 1926. Just as Archie tells the Doctor, the set burned down twice, and there was a really nasty public divorce battle between him and his second wife. It was so stressful for him, that his hair went white.
The photo to the right is one of my all-time favorite photos of Chaplin. It’s of him with his (first? second?) burned down set. His face says it all.
And after reading the comic, now we know the *real* reason why he was having all those problems! As with the Great Fire of Rome (64 AD) and London (1666), the baddies were trying to take over and the Doctor had to stop them. And fires broke out.
“They named a pub after you in the Elephant and Castle though. No, wait, That was for the other guy. The one in the bowler hat” – The only time Chaplin himself is referred to. And yes, there is a pub in Elephant & Castle named after him. I’ve been there quite some time ago (but that’s another story). Even Chaplin had visited it.
Mentioned were the Keystone Kops, Rudolph Valentino, Harold Lloyd (as well recreating Lloyd’s famous stunt as the Doctor and baddie hanging off a giant clock), and Douglas Fairbanks who was a big silent film star and Chaplin’s best friend.
Cameos For these pictures, I found photos that were very close to how the real counterparts looked like around the time of the story.
Toraichi Kono (renamed Kato, you can see him on that sample page) who was Chaplin’s chauffeur/secretary/ bodyguard/confidant. Kono immigrated from Japan to the US and after being in the US for a few years, applied to be a driver unknowing for Chaplin in 1916. He became in the close circle of Chaplin’s associates. It got to the point where if you wanted to communicate with Chaplin, you went through Kono. Image to the right is of Kono and Chaplin, circa 1932. Interesting info about a documentary of him here.
Buster Keaton (using his real name!), one Chaplin’s major comedic (friendly) rivals and, to many fans, his equal.. Just as he and his cameraman witness the Doctor yank Archie into the cutout window of a falling front of a house which inspires Keaton this famous bit from Steamboat Bill Jr (and,no, it’s not a stuntman, that really is Buster):
Laurel and Hardy (maybe?). In the footage that
Keaton shoots (cleverly drawn in black and white, with subtitles), we see the Doctor and Archie chasing the baddie on a motorcycle, and they encounter two gentlemen who closely resemble Stan and Ollie, with goatees, carrying a ladder. They would later appear in an actual episode of Doctor Who, series 6, “The Impossible Astronaut”. The three of them dance 🙂
My brief review Pros – The Doctor and a Chaplinesque character! Good story (I always liked it when the Doctor arrives in Earth history), great nods to not only Chaplin but silent comedy in general. Fun cameos (KEATON!)
Cons – IT’S NOT CHAPLIN! I mean, seriously?!? (but they did give it a honest go at it). Could have done away with the stereotypical person tied to the train tracks. Ahh well. Drawing was a bit off in the second issue. IT’S NOT CHAPLIN! (did I mention that already? I did?)
Orverall — Despite the major flaw, I really liked it. I might just get it in it’s physical form!
Where to get it? Amazon currently has issue one for the Kindle and Kindle app, as well as the full volume of Fugitive (includes the 2 parter Silver Scream as well as following 4 issues) The Fugitive is the first in 3 volumes (I am in the middle of the second volume, Tesseract),a big story arc involveing Emily Winter and Matthew . If you check out the Fugitive on Amazon’s site, you can get a sneak peak at several of pages.
And of course, I put links for The Circus DVD and also Streaming on Amazon or Hulu Plus. The music, BTW, is composed and opening song sung by him :).
Extra Links Just a few places (of many) to go for more info
Silent movies/comedy Silent Era – One of the longest running sites dedicated to the silent film era Movies, Silently – awesome blog containing review and information, and provides great info for those just getting interested in silent movies. Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more) – similar to Chaplin Then and Now, shows present day locations of Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd films. The Silent Clown Film Series – If you are in the New York City area, this group play silent comedies at various time of the year. Admission is free! Nitrateville – Forums discussing both silent and talkies. Silent Comedy Mafia – active forum focusing on silent comedy Golden Silents – info on famous stars of that era, and a messageboard
William Hartnell (most famous for playing the first Doctor), became inspired to become an actor after watching Chaplin.
The original cover artwork for the issue, before things had to change around
Time to change gears to another one of my interests, though somewhat related: Doctor Who. I have loved Doctor Who for as long as Holmes and Watson (about 25 years now). And as with Holmes, I have enjoyed watching what fans did with the Doctor, both the original and newer series.
First off, if you haven’t already seen it, check out the Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover video, “A Study in Time” that I posted earlier. Totally brilliant!
Doctor Who – Tenth Doctor Tribute – Fireflies
There are a bunch of videos using Owl City’s Fireflies song to clips of the Doctor. This one and the nest one are my favorites. This one is a shortened version of the song, but still fun to watch. Stars the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his various companions.
Doctor Who – Fireflies
Most of the fanvids that used Fireflies used the Tenth and (since it aired) Eleventh Doctors. A few brave souls man one using almost all the Docs, such as this one:
CSI: Gallifrey (DW/CSI Miami Parody)
I don’t care for any of the CSI shows, but have seen enough to ROFL whenever I watch this video.
I wasn’t sure on what to expect from the movie. I’ve been a Sherlockian for over 20 years. I was excited. It was the first Holmes movie in more than 20 years. I had my doubts about Downey. Not in his acting however or that he was not British. One of the big complaints from some Holmes fans about Downey was the fact that he was not British. Having seen him numerous times in Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin was British) where he had to learn 2-3 different accents to cover different eras of Chaplin’s life, I knew he could handle that.
Jude Law looked excellent as Watson, and from the trailers he seemed good, but I was going to hold off final opinion until I saw them in action.
I also had never seen a Guy Ritchie movie before. Other than having violence in his work, I really didn’t know what form he would take Holmes.
I went to the theater the day after Christmas. It was a busy Saturday afternoon and a lot of people were outside. I stood in one of the two lines. And as I stood there, I listened to what people were getting tickets to see. Most were for Holmes shich made me smile and also made me nervous. What it gets sold out before it was my turn?
“Sorry, it was just sold out. The last ticket was to the person right in front of you”
But I held my breath and waited.
“Three for Sherlock Holmes. Five for Sherlock Holmes. Two for Sherlock Holmes…”
After serveral people on both sides getting Holmes tickets, it was my turn.
“One for Sherlock Holmes”
After the poor guy had to type in my number because the card was worn, which also added a little tension thinking that it would sell out, he gave me the little ticket to sign, then handed me the movie ticket and receipt ticket. I smiled and headed in.
I gave it to the guy inside who was talking to a couple of the other patrons about how he was having trouble saying awake while working.
I walked in the room where it was playing. Packed! I looked around for a place to sit. Down…Down…Down the aisle I went. Finally I settled in the middle of the third row. They were playing one of those commercials for Coca-Cola and Walmart with the young guy going through a party, singing. I looked around. There were young teens, older couples, and people my age or thereabouts.
Good size crowd. Very good size.
Trailers started. First one showed Robert Downey Jr sitting in a crowded courtroom. It was a trailer for Iron Man 2. After a few other trailers, the cobble streets of London filled the screen…
I was afraid I wouldn’t like Downey as Holmes, mainly due the physical differences. It doesn’t seem right that Holmes is shorter than Watson. And the hair didn’t seem right either. While I watched the trailers and see Downey, I mainly saw Downey play Holmes… I didn’t see Holmes. And I was afraid that would be too distracting. So I decided I would go in based on the other factors, his acting (wasn’t too worried about that) and how he sounded.While it was a little distracting in looks, I quickly was able to put that aside and enjoy the film. His accent was very good. He sounded like I expected Holmes to sound. I liked how he talked his way on how to attack an opponent and the result of hitting/ kicking would do to the poor soul he was fighting. His meeting with Watson’s fiance Mary (one of the actual characters from the original stories, first in Sign of Four). She insists that Holmes give deductions about her, all the while Watson is trying to talk her out of it. Holmes goes through a rapid fire list of things about her, resulting in her throwing her drink in his face (I don’t think Holmes saw that coming 😉 ).
Other deductions were also great such as when Holmes has a bag placed over his head so he couldn’t see where some men were taking him. When the bag is removed after arriving in a chair in a secret location, the host doesn’t expect Holmes to know where they are at or who the host is. Holmes then goes through a list of smells, sounds, turns of the carriage that he observed while riding in the carriage and gives the location of where they are and who the gentleman is.
Also I liked how the film showed Holmes’ lack of socializing and “absurd” (to society anyway) way of living. which Watson hits Holmes with while being held in a pen.
Also interesting brief look into why Holmes does not socialize much during the scene with him in the resturant and the sounds and appearances of people get to him for a brief moment as he tries to block it out.
Big arguments about the fighting scene with people saying that Holmes didn’t fight. While he did not fight a lot, he certainly knew how to and was familiar with martial arts and how to wield a cane. The picture on the left is from “Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”, published in 1904.
Ultimate was at the end where Holmes explains how everything happened (though I’ll let you find out what Holmes discovered.)
Things like that gave me a thumbs up for Downey (though Jeremy Brett is still my favorite Holmes).
And now Jude Law as John Watson. The guy was good. So, so good! The look, the way he talked. One hundred percent believable. Unlike Downey, when I looked at Watson, I saw Watson, I didn’t see Law playing Watson. I put him right up there with David Burke and Edward Hardwicke as great. Just like the Watson in the stories, he is faithful to his unusual friend but also brutally honest when there’s something that he does not agree with him about.
Rachael McAdams was good as Irene Adler, though I must say I am sick and tired of people putting a romantic spin between her and Holmes. Though credit goes to the film for showing Holmes not totally interested in her romantically. And yes, Adler is American (I’ve read some grumblings about that). She is another character from the original canon, A Scandal in Bohemia (one of my favorite Holmes stories) which was the first Holmes short story. And yes, she outsmarts Holmes in that. But there was no hanky-panky with them in there.
Mark Strong was good, though a bit of the stereotypical bad guy. In parts he kind of reminded me of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.
And hooray for them putting Inspector Lestrade in it, played by Eddie Marsan. I was wondering if he was going to be in it, and also how his name would be pronounced. Marsan didn’t look rat faced enough so I still will mark down Colin Jeavons as best Lestrade (from the Brett/Burke/Hardwicke series). And the name is pronounced the same in this film as it was in the Rathbone films, with a short “a”. When I originally read the stories, I read it with a long “a”, like in” trade”.
The minute I found out that Hans Zimmer wrote the soundtrack, I knew I would like it. Turns out that not only the main theme is great, but the whole thing is good! Love the sound of a broken piano, it added a new fresh sound to Holmes. While listening to it at home, I looked through a bunch of pictures of Rathbone/Bruce and Brett/Burke/Hardwicke, the music still fit. Thumbs up for Zimmer (again)! I am listening to it repeatedly as I am writing this review. Click hear to have a listen from the movie official site. Just let it play and you can listen to the whole thing. If press the triangles, it’ll just play samples. Here’s a great article from the London Times about how Zimmer created the unique sounds: “Hans Zimmer: ‘The sound of Sherlock Holmes? It’s a broken piano'”
I had the theme song stuck in my head a couple hours after the movie, my mind a whirl wind of positive things things to say about the film. I was smiling throughout the whole thing, totally taking up in what was going on, and trying to figure out the little mysteries as they came up. And with all the positive things I’ve see in tweets and reviews, looks like there will be more interest in the great detective, which, for a long time fan, is always a good thing 🙂
(Holmes pointing his violin bow at Watson) Watson: Get that thing out of my face Holmes: It’s not in your face, it’s in my hand. Watson: Get that thing that’s in your hand out of my face.
Scenes with the Big Guy that Holmes fights twice, and they talk French to each other. Ha! Very good! A Indiana Jones moment at the shipyard when Holmes throws a small hammer at him and it just bounces off. Reminds me of when Indy fought that big Nazi by the fighter plane in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
———————– Holmes: Save your bullets Watson.
(a few seconds later they both fire their guns, Holmes doing most of the shooting) Watson: What was that about saving bullets?
Holmes trying to unlock a door. Watson comes up and kicks the door in.
Not a deerstalker/curved shape pipe/”Elementary my dear Watson” in sight! Yay!
There were a few of classic Holmes sayings. Two that I remember:
“Data, data, data. I can not make bricks without clay”
“”It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”