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Rifling - The Rifleman

Retroist Scoreboard: Rifling through the classics

There’s been no shortage of soundtracks from classic westerns lately, but this week I have a real treat to bring to your attention, a vintage surprise from a label normally associated with audiophile classical releases rather than soundtracks. Laurel Records is releasing a 2-CD set of Herschel Burke Gilbert’s original music from the classic late ‘50s/early ‘60s TV series The Rifleman, remastered from the original session tapes. The 2-CD set includes a 24-page booklet detailing the series’ music and the career of its composer, who also happened to be the founder of the label. The track list includes such gems as a vocal version of the theme tune, which many listeners may not have realized had lyrics all along! TV soundtracks from this era, let alone soundtracks representing the golden age of TV westerns, are rare specimens indeed.

Rifling

The Esteemed Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Varese Sarabande is bringing back a classic soundtrack they first issued on vinyl in the 1980s, this time on CD for the first time: Bob Colbert’s score to the mammoth 1983 miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. Colbert, a veteran of such TV fare as Dark Shadows, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Supertrain, gave the epic tale of family drama amid the turmoil of World War II a fittingly grandiose orchestral treatment that has been available on LP only for the past 30-odd years. As part of the Varese 500 series, this release is limited to a very, very short print run of 500 copies worldwide.

Even ThinkGeek is getting in on the soundtrack action this week, with an exclusive milk-white vinyl release of highlights from Ramin Djawadi’s music from season one of HBO’s Westworld. It contains only a fraction of the music available on the full-length digital download, but if you like your music for unnervingly emotional robots to have the warmth of vinyl, this is the only game in town. This title is reportedly selling fast, so muster your best robot-like reflexes on the ordering button.

Last but not least, Intrada has put a heap of back catalog titles on sale through April 26th, offering a 30% discount with the coupon code SALE30. Titles you can pick up at unhealable deep-cut discounts include 48 Hrs., The Blue Lagoon, In Like Flint, SpaceCamp, Cat’s Eye, Judge Dredd, Red Dawn, The Shadow, and vinyl releases such as Rocky IV and Clash Of The Titans. Pick up some real classics for your collection, possibly without weeping for your wallet. Hey, you needed to spend that tax refund somewhere, didn’t you?

Before we shut down this week’s Retroist Scoreboard, here are a couple of sneak previews. La-La Land Records has been delighting X-Files fans for several years with elaborate box sets containing highlights of Mark Snow’s scores from many a popular episode of the original show’s run, and now the label is bringing X-Files fans’ soundtrack collections up to date with a collection of music from the recent revival of the series, available for order next week.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for the May CD release of the score from Barbarella, the first-ever official CD pressing of this score. (There have been CDs transferred from the original LP before, but all of those prior releases have been bootlegs.) Also, the price is definitely right on this one – the music has that unmistakable flavor of the ‘60s, and it has a price tag from the ‘90s.

And finally, the official soundtrack of the human race as of 1977 is about to be made available! Last fall, Ozma Records launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a remastered edition of the Voyager Golden Record, the gold-plated LPs that were affixed to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft before their launch toward interstellar space in 1977. Devised by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan and Jon Lomberg, the Golden Record is a primer of the sights and sounds of Earth, including natural sounds from many environments, music from many cultures (including the late, great Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong), and pictorial and pictographic representations of Earth, its location, and its dominant life forms who felt like flinging some very informative vinyl into the depths of the Milky Way galaxy. While the 3-LP vinyl box set ran nearly $100 and is still in production, those of us who, like myself, backed the project at a more budget-conscious level can expect to receive our digital downloads in the very near future. There’s no word as yet on any general, non-Kickstarter-backer release plans for the remastered Voyager Golden Record.

Now, if the Voyager Golden Record had been made about a year later, what are the odds that Earth’s Greatest Hits would’ve wound up including some John Williams tunes suitable for a galaxy far, far away?

Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener Intro

The internet is always spitting out gems. Things that in the past you would have had to stumble upon or dig up are served up to you at the click of a button. Today, I was lucky enough to see this remarkable intro to the Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener from 1990. This themed segment discusses the advantages of picking up the VHS version of the film to have at rental stores.

It is cheesy and well-themed. Featuring a guy in a shirt and tie, who has all the answers as to why Nightmare On Elm Street 5 is a great investment. His biggest issue is that he somehow has crossed paths with Freddy. While other people are easy to convince about marketing items and pay-per-view blackouts, Freddy is not. The Freddy in this video looks pretty good and does some zany Freddy-style gag, but the voice is pretty off. The best of his gags? Freddy wearing a Halloween Freddy mask at the 3 minute and 40 second mark.

Freddy Krueger Halloween Mask

Sure you think you are cool, but are you Freddy Krueger putting on a Freddy Krueger Halloween mask cool?

Having worked in a video store during this time period, I loved when we got videos like this. Not for the production values, but for the promise of posters and cardboard cutouts that we would possibly be getting. These things were valuable currency for a video store clerk. Sadly I was usually on the bottom of the list for such things, but I would occasionally get a gem that I could trade to a friend for something I might want.

I had not thought about these screeners in years, but watching this Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener makes me think it might be time to start a new collection. These screeners have to be out there somewhere, time to start hitting those flea markets.

Nightmare On Elm Street 5 VHS Screener Intro

PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook

PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook

I was at the Living Computer Museum again last weekend. No surprise for people who read this blog. It is one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle. Every time I go there, I find something new that captures my imagination or educates me. Today I would like to talk about another way of experiencing this wonderful facility, as a learning library. It all started when I stumbled across this PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook that someone had left near one of the PDP machines.

I had perused the books before while visiting this museum, but to see it so close to the machine it was meant for was a different experience. Picturing myself as a brand new PDP operator in the seventies, I opened up the book and attempted to start learning. It was a challenging bit of reading at first, but I found myself quickly starting to understand some of the basics of what I would need to know.

Suddenly I was looking for other books near machines. I had seen them before, but has never attacked them with gusto. Before I knew it I found myself watching videos on YouTube and skimming the books trying to learn. Pushing myself just a little to see how each of the machines work. Computer architecture has become so homogenized for the most part, that very rarely am I challenged like I was in the past. It was refreshing and perplexing.

It also peeled back another layer on this fine museum. Will I be running out to buy a PDP because of it? No, but I can find the PDP 11/70 Processor Handbook easily on Amazon. And if I ever want to tinker, the LCM will probably have a machine for me to monkey around with. Surely with the right book and enough time I could master any machine.

pdp

Okay, maybe a whole lot of time.

ET Special Olympics PSA

ET Special Olympics PSA

When E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial hit theaters, it was a big deal. E.T. was everywhere after that. He did commercial for lots of products, including a very memorable Atari commercial. One that I always remembered was this ET Special Olympics PSA.

In it, E.T. is simply watching a child work hard on mastering the high jump. Even though the kid fails time and again, E.T. patiently watches. E.T. even pays the kid a visit to let the kid know that he believes in him. Eventually through hard work and perseverance, the kid manages to make the jump. When he does it, his parents are their to praise him, but this kid knows who really cares about him, E.T.

When I first saw this ad back in the 1980s, I was naturally attracted to it because of E.T. At some point something occurred to me that made it extra fun in my book. E.T. can make things fly. He did it with the bikes. Why didn’t he do it with this kid? Yes, I know why. He wants the kid to win by his own means. Still, this PSA would have been much more memorable if this kid suddenly started glowing and leapt twenty feet into the air. Sure, not as lesson oriented, but a hundred times more memorable.

Watch the ET Special Olympics PSA

Super Steins

Super Steins!

Ghoul Mourning Maniacs!!

Did you ever wonder where the art for a product came from? It can be created specifically for the product or be art that gets repurposed. I submit to you my personal sleuthing to solve a question I had, regarding the 1974 Thermo-Serve Batman Super Stein.

The Super Steins were released by Thermo-Serve in 1974 and the available characters were Wonder Woman, Batman, Shazam and Superman. At some point, my sister and I received a Wonder Woman and Batman Stein. You can figure out who got what. A great selection of art. An iconic full figure illustration by of Batman racing across a field with a full moon overhead. The other side sports Batman punching out a noodnik! “WHOK!” Ok, where did the art come from?
Super Steins

Aha! Time to dig into my comic book library. ( But first, I must flip up the head on my Shakespeare statue and hit the button! Oh, I wish! ) The full figure Batman art was somewhat easy to identify. It’s by Neal Adams and is the cover art to a large format Treasury Edition comic. But, that’s not the complete origin,as that image is a variation of Neal’s Caped Crusader, in Batman 251. In that comic, Bats is missing his utility belt and the background is different. Still, an iconic Bat piece!

Now, to figure out the smaller artwork, which looked like long time Bat artist, Jim Aparo’s work. Aparo worked on many Bat books, so I had some perusing to do. Using 1974 or earlier, I had my bracket of books to look from. I couldn’t place the image, but was determined to figure it out. Mainly, because I’m a dork!

“WHOK!”

I found it in an issue of “Brave & the Bold.” Number 115, to be exact. Batman teams up with the Atom in “The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die!” A great story in which Batman is grazed by a bullet and rendered brain dead. The Atom shrinks and operates Batman’s body from inside, racing from synapse to synapse and animating him. Well, looking at the panel and comparing it to the Stein, they changed the dialogue in the word ballon and kept the “WHOK!”

I have yet to determine the origins of the other Super Stein artwork. I might in the future. I recently asked my sister if she knew about her Wonder Woman Stein and she punched me for being a dork! Ok, I deserved that, I guess. Sheesh! If you know the other art origins, please comment and we’ll super sleuth the heck out of this!!

While it has nothing to do with Super Steins, why not listen to Denny O’Neil discuss both Batman and Neal Adams?

[Via] The Comic Archive