June 19, 1964 in UK cinemas: Carry On Spying

“THEY’RE AT IT AGAIN – O.O.OH!

Carry_On_Spying-1964Carry On Spying is the ninth in the series of Carry On films to be made. It marks Barbara Windsor‘s first appearance in the series. Series regulars Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Jim Dale are present. Bernard Cribbins makes the second of his three Carry On appearances (although it would be 28 years before he returned in Carry On Columbus). Eric Barker appears for his third entry (his final appearance would be in Carry On Emmannuelle 14 years later). Dilys Laye returns after her debut in Carry On Cruising. Carry On Spying is the last Carry On film shot in black and white. [Wikipedia]

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A top secret chemical formula has been stolen by STENCH (the Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans), and so Agent Simpkins and his three trainees are hot on the trail, chasing the villains across the world. There are gadgets galore, and disguises are compulsory if the heroes are to win the day from The Fat Man, Dr Milchman and Dr Crow! [IMDB]

Watch the trailer on the CarryOnTrailers YouTube Channel.

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June 19, 1970 in UK cinemas: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

“The bizarre world you met in ‘Planet Of The Apes’ was only the beginning…WHAT LIES BENEATH MAY BE THE END!”

Beneath_The_Planet_Of_The_Apes-1970Beneath the Planet of the Apes is an American science fiction film directed by Ted Post and written by Paul Dehn. It is the second of five films in the original Planet of the Apes series produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. The film stars James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, and Linda Harrison, and features Charlton Heston in a supporting role.

In this sequel, another spacecraft crashes on the planet ruled by apes, carrying astronaut Brent who searches for Taylor and discovers an underground city inhabited by mutated humans with psychic powers. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was a success at the box office but met with mixed reviews from critics. It was followed by Escape from the Planet of the Apes. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the filmkolumne YouTube Channel.

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June 19, 1970 in UK cinemas: Two Mules For Sister Sara

“CLINT EASTWOOD…is a hard-drinking ‘gun’ with a cigar-smoking nun. The most unlikely team to ever blow a bridge, take a town or tame an army!”

Two_Mules_For_Sister_Sara-1970Two Mules for Sister Sara is an American-Mexican western film starring Shirley MacLaine (billed above Clint Eastwood in the film’s credits, but not on the poster) set during the French intervention in Mexico. The film was released in 1970 and directed by Don Siegel. It was to have been the first in a five-year exclusive association between Universal Pictures and Sanen Productions of Mexico. The film marked the second of five collaborations between Siegel and Eastwood, following Coogan’s Bluff (1968). The collaboration continued with The Beguiled and Dirty Harry (both 1971) and finally Escape from Alcatraz (1979).

The plot follows an American mercenary who gets mixed up with a nun and aids a group of Juarista rebels during the puppet reign of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. The film featured both American and Mexican actors and actresses, including being filmed in the picturesque countryside near Tlayacapan, Morelos. Ennio Morricone composed the film music. [Wikipedia]

Watch the trailer on the Movieclips Trailer Vault YouTube Channel.

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June 19, 1971 on UK TV: Parkinson

TV-UK-06-19-1971Parkinson is a British television chat show that was presented by Michael Parkinson. It was first shown on BBC1 from 19 June 1971 to 8 May 2004 then on ITV from 4 September 2004 to 22 December 2007.

Parkinson began when the host was offered a series of eight shows by the BBC’s Head of Light Entertainment, Bill Cotton. It was to be transmitted during the “summer lull” in a late-night slot on Saturdays (which continued throughout its run), plus from 1979 a second mid-week edition when the series was on air.

Initially, Bill Cotton was keen on a format more akin to the USA’s Ed Sullivan Show, featuring entertainment and chat. However, Parkinson and his producer, Richard Drewett (who had worked on Late Night Line-Up), envisioned a combination of guests whose celebrity had been achieved in different fields. Their plan was that the final section of each show would become a conversation rather than a formal interview. The pair wanted to move the style as far as possible from the American prototype, even down to the removal of the host’s desk, which Parkinson viewed as the “biggest obstacle to a proper interview”.

A typical programme included three interviews, each lasting around 15 minutes. It was customary for the first two guests to remain after their own chats to observe and occasionally participate in those that followed. There was usually a musical interlude at some point, featuring a current recording star. If a solo singer, he/she was accompanied by the show’s musicians, who also provided the walk-on music for each guest. In the 1970s, the group was led by organist Harry Stoneham, who composed the show’s distinctive theme tune. The role was undertaken by Laurie Holloway in the relaunched show.

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Parkinson was once asked if there was anyone that he regretted never having interviewed. He replied, “Sinatra was the one that got away. Otherwise, I’ve met everyone I have ever wanted to meet.” [Wikipedia]

June 19, 1988 on UK TV: A Very British Coup

TV-UK-06-19-1988A Very British Coup is a 1982 novel by British politician Chris Mullin. The novel has twice been adapted for television. The first version, also titled A Very British Coup, was adapted in 1988 by screenwriter Alan Plater and director Mick Jackson. Starring Ray McAnally, the series was first screened on Channel 4 and won Bafta and Emmy awards, and was syndicated to more than 30 countries.

Harry Perkins, an unassuming, working class, very left-wing Leader of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central, becomes Prime Minister in March 1991. The priorities of the Perkins Government include dissolving all newspaper monopolies, withdrawal from NATO, removing all American military bases on UK soil, unilateral nuclear disarmament, and true open government. Newspaper magnate Sir George Fison, with allies within British political and civil service circles, moves immediately to discredit him, with the United States the key, but covert, conspirator. The most effective of the Prime Minister’s domestic enemies is the aristocratic Sir Percy Browne, Head of MI5, whose ancestors “unto the Middle Ages” have exercised subtle power behind the scenes. However Harry finds support in Joan Cook, a loyal Member of Parliament (MP) and Home Secretary; and Thompson, Perkins’ Press Secretary; Inspector Page, his Head of Security and Sir Montague Kowalski, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser. It provides an intimate view of the machinations of a particularly British political conspiracy.

The series is set in 1991 and 1992, which was then the near future from when it was made (1988), with a King as the British monarch (the royal cypher on one of the Prime Minister’s red boxes is shown as “C III R,” suggesting that the monarch is Charles III, the current Prince of Wales), multiple cable and satellite television channels, and other similar details. The 1991 and 1992 dates can be clearly seen on several newspapers and car tax discs shown on screen. [Wikipedia]

June 19, 1957 on UK TV: The Army Game

The_Army_Game-1957The Army Game is a British sitcom that broadcast on ITV from 1957 to 1961. Made in black-and-white, it is about National Service conscription to the post-war British Army. It was created by Sid Colin. Many stars, including Charles Hawtrey, William Hartnell, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Dick Emery became household names, and appeared in the Carry On films, which began with Carry On Sergeant, virtually a spin-off. It was made for the ITV network by Granada Television.

The creator, Sid Colin, was inspired by a 1956 film, Private’s Progress, that starred Ian Carmichael, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas and William Hartnell. Many of the cast had recently undertaken military service themselves.

The show centres on a group of conscripts assigned to the Surplus Ordnance DepartmentTV-UK-06-19-1957 at Nether Hopping, Staffordshire. Billeted in Hut 29, the men are determined to work little and have fun.

The theme tune was sung by Michael Medwin, Bernard Bresslaw, Alfie Bass and Leslie Fyson. In June 1958, it reached number five in the UK singles chart. Bresslaw’s song “Mad Passionate Love”, sung in the style of Private Popplewell, also did well in the charts.

A film based on the series, I Only Arsked!, appeared in 1958. The plot concentrated on Bresslaw’s character and included Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Norman Rossington and Michael Medwin playing their characters. “I Only Arsked” became Bresslaw’s catchphrase.  Fraser and Bass’s characters turned up in a spin-off, Bootsie and Snudge, between 1960 and 1963 and in 1974. [Wikipedia]

June 19, 1989: Queen release “Breakthru”

Queen_Breakthru“Breakthru” is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor but credited to Queen, it was released from the album The Miracle. The single reached #7 in the UK, and peaked at number 6 in the Netherlands and Ireland, but failed to chart in the US. The song is remarkable for its video where the group is performing the song on an open platform of a fast-moving steam train. [Wikipedia]

Watch the video on the Queen Official YouTube Channel.

June 19, 1914: Paramount Pictures is born

Paramount_Pictures_logo_(2013)Paramount Pictures Corporation (also known as Paramount Pictures and simply Paramount) is an American film studio based in Hollywood, California, that has been a subsidiary of the American media conglomerate Viacom since 1994. Paramount is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world, the second oldest in the United States, and the sole member of the “Big Six” film studios still located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood. In 1916, film producer Adolph Zukor contracted 22 actors and actresses and honored each with a star on the logo. These fortunate few would become the first “movie stars.”

Paramount Pictures dates its existence from the 1912 founding date of the Famous Players Film Company. Hungarian-born founder, Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time (leading to the slogan “Famous Players in Famous Plays”). By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success. Its first film was Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth, which starred Sarah Bernhardt.

That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish, later known as Samuel Goldwyn. The Lasky company hired as their first employee a stage director with virtually no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable site in Hollywood, near Los Angeles, for his first feature film, The Squaw Man.

Paramount_logo_1914Starting in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, organized early that year by a Utah theatre owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms. Hodkinson and actor, director, producer Hobart Bosworth had started production of a series of Jack London movies. Paramount was the first successful nationwide distributor; until this time, films were sold on a statewide or regional basis which had proved costly to film producers. Also, Famous Players and Lasky were privately owned while Paramount was a corporation.

In 1916, Zukor maneuvered a three-way merger of his Famous Players, the Lasky Company, and Paramount. Zukor and Lasky bought Hodkinson out of Paramount, and merged the three companies into one. The new company Lasky and Zukor founded, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, grew quickly, with Lasky and his partners Goldwyn and DeMille running the production side, Hiram Abrams in charge of distribution, and Zukor making great plans. With only the exhibitor-owned First National as a rival, Famous Players-Lasky and its “Paramount Pictures” soon dominated the business.

ParamountLogo1930sBecause Zukor believed in stars, he signed and developed many of the leading early stars, including Mary Pickford, Marguerite Clark, Pauline Frederick, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, and Wallace Reid. By the 1930s, talkies brought in a range of powerful new draws: Miriam Hopkins, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, W.C. Fields, Jeanette MacDonald, Claudette Colbert, the Marx Brothers (whose first two films were shot at Paramount’s Astoria, New York, studio), Dorothy Lamour, Carole Lombard, Bing Crosby, band leader Shep Fields, famous Argentine tango singer Carlos Gardel, and Gary Cooper among them.

By the early 1960s, Paramount’s future was doubtful. The high-risk movie business was wobbly; the theater chain was long gone; investments in the DuMont Television Network and in early pay-television came to nothing; and the Golden Age of Hollywood had just ended, even the flagship Paramount building in Times Square was sold to raise cash, as was their Los Angeles TV station KTLA (sold to Gene Autry in 1964 for a then-phenomenal $12.5 million). Their only remaining successful property at that point was Dot Records, which Paramount had acquired in 1957, and even its profits started declining by the middle of the 1960s.

In 1966, a sinking Paramount was sold to Charles Bluhdorn’s industrial conglomerate, Paramount_Pictures_(Gulf+Western)_logoGulf + Western Industries Corporation. Paramount’s reputation for commercial success was restored with The Odd Couple, Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, and 3 Days of the Condor. Gulf + Western Industries also bought the neighboring Desilu television studio (once the lot of RKO Pictures) from Lucille Ball in 1967. Using some of Desilu’s established shows such as Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Mannix as a foot in the door at the networks, the newly reincorporated Paramount Television eventually became known as a specialist in half-hour situation comedies.

Paramount_Pictures_print_logo_(1968).svgIn 1970, Paramount teamed with Universal Studios to form Cinema International Corporation, a new company that would distribute films by the two studios outside the United States. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer would become a partner in the mid-1970s. Both Paramount and CIC entered the video market with Paramount Home Video (now Paramount Home Entertainment) and CIC Video, respectively. Paramount’s successful run of pictures extended into the 1980s and 1990s, generating hits like Airplane!, American Gigolo, Ordinary People, An Officer and a Gentleman, Flashdance, Terms of Endearment, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Fatal Attraction, Ghost, the Friday the 13th slasher series, as well as teaming up with Lucasfilm to create the Indiana Jones franchise. Other examples are the Star Trek film series and a string of films starring comedian Eddie Murphy like Trading Places, Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop and its sequels.

In 1993, Sumner Redstone’s entertainment conglomerate Viacom made a bid for a merger with Paramount Communications; this quickly escalated into a bidding war with Barry Diller’s QVC. But Viacom prevailed, ultimately paying $10 billion for the Paramount holdings. Viacom and Paramount had planned to merge as early as 1989.

Paramount is the last major film studio located in Hollywood proper. When Paramount moved to its present home in 1927, it was in the heart of the film community. Since then, former next-door neighbor RKO closed up shop in 1957 (Paramount ultimately absorbed their former lot); Warner Bros. (whose old Sunset Boulevard studio was sold to Paramount in 1949 as a home for KTLA) moved to Burbank in 1930; Columbia joined Warners in Burbank in 1973 then moved again to Culver City in 1989; and the Pickford-Fairbanks-Goldwyn-United Artists lot, after a lively history, has been turned into a post-production and music-scoring facility for Warners, known simply as “The Lot”. For a time the semi-industrial neighborhood around Paramount was in decline, but has now come back. The recently refurbished studio has come to symbolize Hollywood for many visitors, and its studio tour is a popular attraction. [Wikipedia]

Read more at www.paramount.com.