May 31, 1975: —‘ll Fix It debuts on BBC1

Jim'll_Fix_It-1975—‘ll Fix It was a long-running British television show, broadcast by the BBC between May 1975 and June 1994. It encouraged children to write in to have their wishes granted.

Among the well known fix-its:

In 1976 Muhammad Ali was on a world tour to promote his book, The Greatest. Landing in London, catching the BBC by surprise, and with no time to bring the thousands of hopeful letter writers to a meeting with the legend, the TV company nipped next door “borrowing” three schoolboy boxers from the school (Christopher Wren). Vince, Andly and Nigel were whisked off to meet Ali.

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A group of Cub Scouts from the 2nd Sutton St Mary’s troop, wrote to the programme asking to have a meal in an unusual place. The show opted to send them, complete with packed lunch, to ride the Revolution rollercoaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach — the result, thanks to the force of gravity and momentum, being lots of little faces full of food and drink.

The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, appeared in the second episode, where he tore off and handed away the frayed ends of his scarf to girls visiting the studio. Ten years later, a young Doctor Who fan, Gareth Jenkins, was able to take part in a short adventure titled A Fix with Sontarans with Colin Baker and Janet Fielding.

Veteran actor Peter Cushing wrote to the show in 1986 to ask if a variety of rose could be named after his late wife; the ‘Helen Cushing Rose’ was the result.

In the 1980s a young girl wrote to ask if she could “accidentally” drop and smash a seemingly valuable vase on an edition of Antiques Roadshow. This was broadcast as part of a regular edition of Antiques Roadshow (as well as in the —‘ll Fix It episode), with many of the crowd at the Roadshow looking on, horrified, until the antiques expert explained the ruse.

In the 1980s a young boy called Dom Lawson, who now works for Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines, got his wish to be Iron Maiden‘s tech for the day and meet the band. The incident was described in Iron Maiden’s A Matter of Life and Death tour book, where Dom Lawson speaks about Iron Maiden and his history on the band.

May 31, 1980: Whitesnake are Ready an’ Willing

Ready_An'_Willing_albumReady an’ Willing is the third studio album by English hard rock band Whitesnake. It peaked at No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, it was also the band’s first to chart outside of the UK reaching No. 32 in Norway and No. 90 in the US.

The album featured two of the band’s UK single-hits from that year: “Fool for Your Loving” had reached No. 13 in the charts in April 1980, and the title-track, “Ready an’ Willing (Sweet Satisfaction)” made No. 43 in July of the same year. “Fool for Your Loving” would later be re-recorded for the Slip of the Tongue album. The track “Blindman”, initially from David Coverdale’s first solo album, was re-recorded for this album.

On the album were (l-r)Whitesnake-1980-2

David Coverdale – lead and backing vocals; Bernie Marsden – guitars, backing vocals; Neil Murray – bass; Ian Paice – drums; Jon Lord – keyboards; Micky Moody – guitars, backing vocals

Listen to Ready an’ Willing on Spotify.

 

May 31, 1991 – In UK cinemas: The Silence Of The Lambs

“Dr Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer.”

The_Silence_Of_The_Lambs-1991The Silence of the Lambs is an American horror-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn. Adapted by Ted Tally from the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, his second to feature the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter; a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, the film was the second adaptation of a Harris novel featuring Lecter, preceded by the Michael Mann-directed Manhunter in 1986. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young U.S. FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Lecter to apprehend another serial killer, known only as “Buffalo Bill”.

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The Silence of the Lambs grossed $272.7 million worldwide against its $19 million budget. It was only the third film, the other two being It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay. It is also the first (and so far only) Best Picture winner widely considered to be a horror film, and only the third such film to be nominated in the category, after The Exorcist in 1973 and Jaws in 1975. The film is considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant by the U.S. Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2011. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the MovieClips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

May 31, 1979 – In UK cinemas: The Muppet Movie

“More entertaining than humanly possible.”

Digital StillCameraThe Muppet Movie is a British-American musical road comedy film and the first theatrical film featuring the Muppets. Directed by James Frawley and produced by Jim Henson, the film’s screenplay was written by The Muppet Show writers Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns. An American and British venture produced by Henson Associates and ITC Entertainment between the first half and the second half of the third season of The Muppet Show, the film depicts Kermit the Frog as he embarks on a cross-country trip to Hollywood, California. Along the way, he encounters several of the Muppets—who all share the same ambition of finding success in professional show business—while being pursued by Doc Hopper, an evil restaurateur with intentions of employing Kermit as a spokesperson for his frog legs business.

Notable for its surreal humour, meta-references and prolific use of cameos, The Muppet Movie was released in the United Kingdom on May 31, 1979 and in the United States on June 22, 1979, and received critical praise; including two Academy Award nominations for Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher’s musical score and their song, “The Rainbow Connection”. In 2009, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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Cameos include Dom DeLuise, James Coburn, Madeline Kahn, Telly Savalas, Elliott Gould, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and Orson Welles. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the DisneyMoviesInternational YouTube Channel.

May 31, 1964 – In UK cinemas: The Evil Of Frankenstein

“SHOCK…SHOCK…SHOCK!!!”

The_Evil_Of_Frankenstein-1964The Evil of Frankenstein is a British Hammer Film Productions film directed by Freddie Francis. It stars Peter Cushing and New Zealand wrestler Kiwi Kingston. The film’s version of the Monster is noted for resembling the one in Universal Pictures‘ original Frankenstein series of the 1930s and 1940s, including the distinctive laboratory sets as well as the flat-headed look of Jack Pierce’s monster make-up which had been designed for Boris Karloff. Earlier Frankenstein films by Hammer had studiously avoided such similarities for copyright reasons. However, a new film distribution deal had been made between Hammer and Universal. As a result, Hammer had free rein to duplicate make-up and set elements. [Wikipedia]

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Penniless, Baron Frankenstein, accompanied by his eager assistant Hans, arrives at his family castle near the town of Karlstaad, vowing to continue his experiments in the creation of life. Fortuitously finding the creature he was previously working on, he brings it back to a semblance of life but requires the services of a mesmerist, Zoltan, to successfully animate it. The greedy and vengeful Zoltan secretly sends the monster into town to steal gold and ‘punish’ the burgomaster and the chief of police, which acts lead to a violent confrontation between the baron and the townspeople. [IMDB]

Watch the trailer on the Hammer YouTube Channel.

May 31, 1977 – In UK cinemas: The Sentinel

“THERE MUST FOREVER BE A GUARDIAN AT THE GATES OF HELL…”

The_Sentinel-1977The Sentinel is an American horror film based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Jeffrey Konvitz, who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Michael Winner. The film stars Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, and Eli Wallach. It also features Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, John Carradine, Jerry Orbach, Tom Berenger, and Beverly D’Angelo in supporting roles. Look out too for Nana Visitor (billed as Nana Tucker; Star Trek Deep Space Nine) as “Girl at End”.

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The plot focuses on a young model who moves into a historic Brooklyn brownstone that has been sectioned into apartments, only to find that its proprietors are excommunicated Catholic priests, and the building is a gateway to hell. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on Gerard Albert’ YouTube Channel.

May 30, 1980: Queen “Play The Game”

PlaythegamePlay the Game” is a song by British rock band Queen, written by Freddie Mercury. It is the first track on the first side of their 1980 album The Game. It also appears on their Greatest Hits album. The song commences with a series of overlapping rushing noises on an Oberheim OB-X synthesiser, heralding the band’s acceptance of electronic instruments into their once explicitly “no synths” sonic repertoire. They played it in their live shows from 1980-82. The single reach No 14 in the UK Singles Chart. [Wikipedia]

Watch the video on the Queen Official YouTube Channel.

May 26: UK No 1s this day in music history

TOTP

UK Singles Chart [links to YouTube (quality cannot be guaranteed) or Spotify]

60 years ago: Andy Williams – “Butterfly“

Elvis_-_Good_Luck_Charm55 years ago: Elvis Presley – “Good Luck Charm

50 years ago: The Tremeloes – Silence Is Golden

45 years ago: T Rex – Metal Guru

40 years ago: Rod Stewart – “I Don’t Want To Talk About It/First Cut Is The Deepest

Madness_-_House_of_Fun35 years ago: Madness – “House Of Fun

30 years ago: Starship – “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

25 years ago: KWS – Please Don’t Go/Game Boy“

Eternal_I_Wanna_Be_The_Only_One20 years ago: Eternal feat Bebe Winans – “I Wanna Be The Only One

UK Albums Chart [links to Spotify]

55 years ago: Elvis Presley – “G.I. Blues (OST)

50 years ago: Rolling Stones – “Aftermath

45 years ago: Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

40 years ago: Abba – “Greatest Hits

35 years ago: Star Sound – “Stars On 45

So_(album)30 years ago: Peter Gabriel – “So

Seal_-_Seal_(1991_first_album)_CD_album_cover25 years ago: Seal – “Seal

20 years ago: George Michael – “Older

May 26, 1992: Queen releases Live At Wembley ’86

Queen_Live_At_Wembley_'86Live at Wembley ’86 is a double live album by English rock band Queen. It was recorded live on Saturday 12 July 1986 during the Magic Tour at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

During the introduction to “Who Wants to Live Forever“, Mercury addressed the rumours at the time of a Queen breakup by pointing to his bottom and saying, “They’re talking from here!”. He went on to say “So forget those rumours, we’re gonna stay together until we fucking well die, I’m sure of it.” [Wikipedia]

The album went to No 2 in the UK and was certified Platinum.

Listen to the album on Spotify.