The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Retro Radio Memories: Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn

Morning, friends! I have on occasion when writing for the site, mentioned my love of Ray Bradbury. In particular his tales concerning the Autumn People and the spirit of the month of October. However I have always found in many of Bradbury’s works, a sense of melancholy. Now there are times when that is wrapped within something truly horrific, like in The Playground. Other stories though like 1951’s The Fog Horn present that melancholy as doomed and deeply moving. Between a prehistoric creature from the depths of the ocean and… well, the fog horn at a light house.

It was in 1951 that Bradbury’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was first published in the Saturday Evening Post. Yes, the original title for the short story was indeed the basis for the 1953 film. In fact it appears that little bit of trivia depends on who you asked. I have seen some accounts stating that Ray Bradbury was visiting his friend, the legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. On the set of a film that was intended to be entitled Monster from the Sea. Harryhausen supposedly asked his friend to look over the script, see if he could punch up the screenplay. Bradbury of course was surprised to find a scene in the screenplay that resembled events in The Fog Horn.
The Fog Horn - Ray Harryhausen

Another story behind how Ray Bradbury’s name became attached to the 1953 film, comes from the Author himself. In the book Ray Harryhausen – Master of the Majicks Vol. 2. Bradbury was quoted as saying about a meeting with Hal Chester, the co-founder of Mutual Films who were bankrolling the movie:
“Hal Chester called me in and asked me to read the preliminary script [at this point only a rough draft treatment]. I pointed out the resemblance between it and my short story The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which had appeared in The Saturday Evening Post during 1951. Chester’s face paled and his jaw dropped when I told him his monster was my monster.”

Bradbury states that by the next day he had received a telegram, an offer to purchase the rights to the story. For a rather staggering two thousand dollars. A deal that Bradbury obviously accepted, with the film being able to add the Author’s name to the credits!

[Via] YouTube Movies

Ray Bradbury would alter the title of his popular short story to The Fog Horn in his 1953 short story collection, The Golden Apples of the Sun. I have to admit I certainly like the new title he gave the story even better than the original. Furthermore I can’t help but feel perhaps the name change, was a bit of good-natured nose tweaking.
The Fog Horn - Ray Bradbury

The short story concerns two men, stationed in a remote light house, named Johnny and McDunn. Johnny is a younger man and acts as the narrator for the events of the tale. When one evening as the mournful wailing sound of the fog horn summons something from the depths.
The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms - Light House

Are you ready to learn of The Fog Horn and the beast from the depths that answers it’s call?


If you are still in a mood for more Ray Bradbury after that. Might I humbly remind you that we’ve covered the likes of Usher II on the Saturday Frights Podcast?
saturday-frights-usher-2

Have You Heard of Cal Worthington (and his Dog Spot)?

Thanks to the internet, you probably have seen Cal Worthington…and Spot!

From TV Host to Car Dealer

Oklahoma native Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington moved to Huntington Beach, California in 1949, after finding modest success as a car salesman in Corpus Christi, Texas. Once there, he established a Hudson Motor Car dealership. After that, he purchased time for a three-hour live country music television show every weekend on Los Angeles’s KTLA, later named Cal’s Corral.  When sponsorship of entire programs became unfeasible, Cal switched to owning a Ford dealership, becoming known for his offbeat (and memorable) advertisements.

Cal Worthington’s Dog Spot

One of Cal Worthington’s rivals in early 1960s Southern California car dealerships was Chick Lambert of Brand Motors Ford City. Lambert always pitched for his the Ford Dealerships he worked for (he was employed by multiple area dealers over many years) with his dog, Storm. Worthington upped the ante of advertising wars by introducing his dog Spot.

Except…Spot was not a dog.

That’s right, Cal Worthington’s pet sidekick was…a gorilla that roared!

(Not the gorilla).

In fact, I’ll give you the truth…Spot was never a dog. However, Spot was many different animals – an elephant, a tiger, a skunk, bear, killer whale from Sea World, a goose, a bull, snakes (EWWW!), a roller-skating chimpanzee, a carabao (Water Buffalo), and a hippopotamus. But never a dog.I’d buy a car from the guy who runs with a leashed tiger and lives!

Now he’s just trying too hard!

Cal Worthington (and his Dog Spot!) commercials were a hit and a staple of Southern California into the 1990s. And that jingle? The stuff of “stuck in your head” earworms!

The jingle (to some extent) still exists in current advertising for Worthington Ford, with his grandson, Nick, as the new “Cal Worthington.”

Upload via Nick Worthington

He tries, but he’s no Cal Worthington…and his dog Spot.

Come on, he didn’t even have a dog Spot in the ad!

Cal Worthington’s Legacy

Worthington’s “His Dog Spot” commercials were legendary on the West Coast, saturating the Los Angeles-area airwaves. In the 1970s, his ads aired on four of the seven Los Angeles stations. Famously enough, they aired mostly in the overnight hours during late movies. The Television Bureau of Advertising said that Worthington is the best known car dealer pitchman in television history.

We didn’t have a Cal Worthington-esque car dealer in the Northeast/New York City market (that I’m aware of), though we did have appliance store Crazy Eddie and his memorable ads, if you like comparisons!

He was INSANE!

Not bad for a man who never owned a car, hated selling them, and only wanted to be a pilot.

Worthington passed away in 2013 (he lived to the ripe old age of 92!), but his legacy of drawing potential buyers in with his catchy advertising lives on in the archives of YouTube.

Wouldn’t you love to see those ads?

Go See Cal, Go See Cal, Go See Cal!

Uploads via lugnutsoldcrap

Upload via Chuck D’s All-New Classic TV Clubhouse

And how about this one from 2007-2008? Yes, that is Cal Worthington!

Upload via CalWorthingtonFord

Upload via Richard Carson, who noted that these ads all aired within a half hour of each other on KTTV during their late movie in 1988.

There’s also a few in this Oddity Archive episode on local advertising (Beginning at 22:58)

Uploaded via OddityArchive

He put a smile on your face, didn’t he?

Storyteller Soundtrack - Rachel Portman - Varese Sarabande

Varese Sarabande Is Releasing Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Soundtrack!

Beginning as I do at the beginning and starting as I must at the start. Let me show you fate through the announcement that Varese Sarabande is releasing Jim Henson’s The Storyteller soundtrack at the end of this month. An epic release I will certainly add, friends. As on the 27th of April, the legendary record label will release a deluxe box set featuring not just Rachel Portman’s score for the 1987 series. In addition they have also included 1990’s The Storyteller soundtrack for The Greek Myths!

[Via] Richard Maysundo

At the beginning of this post I had a bit of fun changing a quote from the 1987 episode entitled Sapsorrow. All my silliness aside, I am indeed so very excited for this wonderful box set. Not just because I am a fan of all things Jim Henson of course. The truth is The Storyteller has certainly meant a great deal to me. I can vividly recall in fact, sitting on the living room floor, my homework spread out in front of me, when I caught my first episode. Which was Hans My Hedgehog.

[Via] Jim Henson Company

I was truly taken aback when this series of folklore stories didn’t take off. The beauty of what the Henson Company, the late and great screenwriter Anthony Minghella, as well as Rachel Portman created. Well, simply put… it was indeed astounding.

Naturally these adapted folk tales could have come across rather stale. But thanks to the writing. In addition to the astounding acting. Featuring everyone from Sir John Hurt, the titular Storyteller himself, to Jonathan Pryce (Brazil), Miranda Richardson (The Crying Game), and Jane Horrocks (The Witches) to name a few.
Storyteller Soundtrack - Derek Jacobi

We of course had Rachel Portman’s exceptional scores for improving an already memorable piece of entertainment. Who it so happens had this to say about her work in the Varese Sarabande press release:

“I felt I had real freedom to go as dark as I wanted, musically,” explained Portman. “I didn’t shy away from being really sad, or really dark, or really happy. I think that really matched the way the whole series was done, and the scripts. It always kind of ends in minor. I don’t know why. They all come back to a sad chord at the end.”

For myself, I can only say that while Rachel knowingly says she would finish off the music with a sad chord. I would offer however that it doesn’t make me think of something sorrowful. But a fitting musical chord, signifying the end of the tale itself. Although having said that, perhaps in The Soldier and Death there is indeed a bit of melancholy to the score. Although in this clip from the actual episode, you will hear some of that dark score of Portman’s.

[Via] Jim Henson Company

Friends, in a perfect world, the television series would have not only become a success. It would in addition have been picked up for many, many seasons. While of course it does have a loyal fan base, the news that Varese Sarabande was releasing The Storyteller soundtrack is an incredible thing. Fate as it were has obviously been kind to us fans of Henson and stellar soundtracks, right?
Storyteller Soundtrack - Sir John Hurt

So this is what is going to be included in that 3-CD deluxe box set:
Disc I Features:

  • Main Title (Extended Version) (0:41)
  • Hans My Hedgehog (Suite A) (4:19)
  • Hans My Hedgehog (Suite B) (6:22)
  • A Story Short (Suite A) (6:50)
  • A Story Short (Suite B) (5:19)
  • Fearnot (Suite A) (5:27)
  • Fearnot (Suite B) (6:37)
  • The Luck Child (Suite A) (6:17)
  • The Luck Child (Suite B) (5:09)
  • The Heartless Giant (Suite A) (6:50)
  • The Heartless Giant (Suite B) (6:53)
  • End Title (0:34)

Disc II Includes:

  • Main Title with Narration (featuring John Hurt) (0:41)
  • The Soldier and Death (Suite A) (5:04)
  • The Soldier and Death (Suite B) (7:59)
  • The True Bride (Suite A) (5:41)
  • The True Bride (Suite B) (6:18)
  • The Three Ravens (Suite A) (7:34)
  • The Three Ravens (Suite B) (7:59)
  • Sapsorrow (Suite A) (5:18)
  • Sapsorrow (Suite B) (6:03)
  • Main Title (Short Version) (0:37)
  • Unused Bumper A (0:12)
  • Unused Bumper B (0:10)

Disc III Contains:

  • The Storyteller: Greek Myths Main Titles (UK Version) (0:39)
  • Theseus & The Minotaur (Suite A) (7:23)
  • Theseus & The Minotaur (Suite B) (9:13)
  • Perseus & The Gorgon (Suite A) (7:00)
  • Perseus & The Gorgon (Suite B) (7:21)
  • Daedalus & Icarus (Suite A) (6:42)
  • Daedalus & Icarus (Suite B) (7:18)
  • Orpheus & Eurydice (Suite A) (8:47)
  • Orpheus & Eurydice (Suite B) (6:57)
  • Main Titles (US Version) (0:33)

Disc III Bonus Tracks:

  • Theseus (Suite) (1:34)
  • Orpheus (Suite) (1:29)

As well as a 32-page booklet featuring interviews with not just Portman. Also featured are Brian and Lisa Henson, Producer Duncan Kenworthy, Dominic Minghella (Anthony’s Brother), and Director Steve Barron. Incredible behind the scenes recollections and stories, put together thanks to NPR’s Tim Greiving.

Here however is what you need to do. Hop on over to Varese Sarabande, right this very second and pre-order your copy today. It is naturally a limited run so do not wait too long, okay?

Now then, how about a chance to listen to Rachel Portman yourself? She does not mention her work on The Storyteller soundtrack. But the Academy Award winning composer shares delightful insights on her work nonetheless!

[Via] CMusic TV

Gremlins Arcade Game - Atarigames.Com

Check Out 1985’s Unreleased Gremlins Arcade Game!

For those of you that listened to the Crystal Castles episode of the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast in March. You will recall I was going to share with you, actual proof that Atari was working on a Gremlins arcade game! I said of course that I was going to include a link to the video but in all honesty, I forgot. So naturally I felt it was time to make a post about it. Because it certainly looks like the Gremlins arcade game would have been a blast to play!

There isn’t actually a whole lot of information to go on. However, here is what we do know. The game was being developed by Atari in 1985. With Franz Lanzinger of Crystal Castles, Millipede, and Toobin’ (NES port) fame in charge of development.

[Via] NES Guide

Only a prototype exists for the Gremlins arcade game. Other classic arcade sites have mentioned it isn’t even known if the video represents an actual physical prototype. Quite possibly of course, the gameplay we see is merely from the ROM file. Thanks to Atarigames.com – which seems to be down at the moment, we do have some neat artwork. Artwork I might add from what could have been the marquee for the game itself. Back in 1985 that would totally have drawn me to the cabinet like a siren’s song!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Arcade Cabinet - Atarigames.Com

Naturally we do not know why Atari decided to pull the plug. As you will see in the video below, it looks like the game was pretty much complete. Obviously in 1985, the legendary company was suffering from the Video Game Crash of ’83. So even though a year previously, Gremlins was tearing up the box office… perhaps the company felt it better to just pull the plug?

In the Gremlins arcade game, there are three separate levels. With the first level representing Lynn Peltzer’s valiant attempt at defending her kitchen. By way of what appears to be an endless supply of kitchen knives to hurl at her attackers!
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 1

In the next screen, you are playing Billy Peltzer, attempting to traverse the streets of Kingston Falls. Obviously being assaulted by the toothy little Gremlins, using a flashlight to ‘melt’ them. I would assume the arcade game was designed with twin joysticks or perhaps you would become stationary when holding down the flashlight button?
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 2

Last but not least, the third level would have let you play Gizmo. Driving in your Barbie Car through the aisles of Montgomery Ward, avoiding obstacles and a tank in hot pursuit. I am willing to bet that in the game it is supposed to be Stripe chasing you in that toy tank.
Gremlins Arcade Game - Stage 3

One more thing to pay attention to while watching the video. How incredible the music is that Franz Lanzinger used in the game. It is quite frankly portions of the actual Gremlins soundtrack from the 1984 film by Jerry Goldsmith.

Now then, you know a little about the Gremlins arcade game. So why not watch it in action?

[via] Frank Cifaldi

You probably have Gremlins on your mind now, right? I think this would certainly be the time to revisit the Retroist Podcast on the 1984 film!
Retroist Gremlins Podcast