Retroist Scoreboard: Tangerine Dreams and Space Spinach

Retroist Scoreboard fans, we’ve hit one of those lulls in releases that happens during the summer, but fear not, there’s some classic movie music on CD to get you through the end of summer vacation.

Intrada has reached into its back catalog to reissue a title that sold out quickly upon its original release in 2009 – Jerry Goldsmith‘s score from Ten Little Indians (1973).  The contents are the same as the 2009 release, so this is just an instance of a label giving collectors who missed out on the first limited release a second chance.

If you’re looking for something a bit further afield, there are also swingin’ sixties  superspy sounds aplenty on the live concert recording The Jazz From U.N.CL.E., performed by the Summit Six Sextet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Man From U.N.CL.E.  Music from the classic series is rearranged for a six-piece jazz group.  This title is also available from Intrada.

Dragon’s Domain has put Tangerine Dream‘s score from 1989’s Miracle Mile back in print for the first time in nearly 30 years, now as a 2-CD set: the first CD presents the complete score for the first time ever, as well as some isolated “music effects”, while the second CD duplicates (and remasters) the original 1989 album.

BSX Records is releasing, on CD, an album that was previously a digital-only release, Music From The Star Trek Saga.  The album consists of new re-recordings of music spanning the entire history of the franchise, from classic TV Trek through the ’80s and ’90s spinoffs, and up to the first of the new movies.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for a late-September deluxe expanded release of the music from the cult classic 1980 live-action Popeye movie starring Robin Williams.  Though scored (and featuring songs) by Harry Nilsson, Popeye was originally set to be scored by composer Thomas Pierson, and his never-before-heard rejected score will be heard on this release for the first time, along with two Nilsson-composed songs written for, but not used in, the film.

Is that all?  No, that is not all – both Intrada and La-La Land Records are having end-of-summer blowout sales, with Intrada knocking 25% off the price of such titles as 48 Hrs., Cocoon, Edward Scissorhands, Red Dawn, Silent Running, SpaceCamp, and Jason And The Argonauts.  La-La Land is offering discounts on the soundtracks from the first three seasons of the 21st century Battlestar Galactica series (which are about to be out-of-print), as well as markdowns on such titles as The Shawshank Redemption, Krull, and Creepshow.  With many of these titles officially in low quantities, these sales are excellent chances for you to get those classic soundtracks you’ve been holding out on.

Happy listening, soundtrack fans – the Retroist Scoreboard will be back in a couple of weeks with a whole new batch of releases.

Invisible Man

Visible Appreciation For The Invisible Man

Hollywood has taken many a swipe at retelling H.G. Wells’ tale of The Invisible Man. It’s just possible that none of them were as intentionally shagadelic as the 1975 NBC TV series of the same name.
Invisible Man

The Invisible Man starred David McCallum, who had just finished a two-season stint on the BBC World War II series Colditz, but was still best known to viewers the world over as The Man From UNCLE’s Ilya Kuryakin. McCallum was instantly recognizable, and still hot property on both sides of the Atlantic, and in this series he played scientist David Westin, who uses himself as a guinea pig in experiments to achieve invisibility. Westin’s wife, Kate, is refreshingly shown to be his partner in both lab and love, and his intellectual equal as a scientist; she’s played by Melinda Fee, who later became a household name on the soap opera scene. Craig Stevens, still best known for playing Peter Gunn, is their beleaguered boss, Walter Carlson.

But the effect is supposed to be temporary, and instead Westin is permanently invisible. And since the Cold War is still on, as soon as word leaks out from the Klae Corporation, the Westins’ employer, that invisibility has been achieved, it isn’t long before government agents want Westin and his secrets, and show few qualms about hurting anyone who stands in their way. The Invisible Man is emblematic of entertainment in the lingering shadows of both Watergate and the Cold War: even our guys can’t be trusted, never mind the Commies. To prevent the process from being repeated for the benefit of spies and assassins, Westin destroys the equipment that rendered him invisible, thereby cutting off any hope that he can just step back into the machine and become visible again.

In order to pay back for the equipment and to stay in a position where he can try to figure out how to become visible again, Dan Westin becomes “the Klae Resource”, a top secret asset for which the Klae Corporation commands top-dollar prices. From takedowns of drug rings to corrupt small-town judges, nothing is more than the Invisible Man can handle. Dan always has a handy stockpile of gloves and masks that just happen to look flawlessly like the hands and head of David McCallum.

To show Dan donning or ditching his “visible man” disguise involved a problematic process of shooting on video against a blue screen, with McCallum in at least a partial blue bodysuit that would “vanish”. In an attempt to avoid the jarring switch between film and video, that video footage would be played back on a monitor whose refresh rate matched the shutter speed of a film camera positioned directly in front of it. This effect was used sparingly, both because of the time involved and because, frankly, it didn’t look that great.

So what did The Invisible Man have going for it? The sheer chemistry going on between McCallum and Fee accounts for much of the appeal. In true 1970s style, the show plays up the one thing we’ve always suspected about the Invisible Man, in whatever setting the story is told: while Westin is invisible, he’s running around naked. Little secret is made of the fact that the Westins take every opportunity to…enjoy…Dan’s invisibility. They’re a great on-screen team – The Invisible Man has a lot of comedy moments and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The invisibility gag is put to use in situations other than earth-shaking secret agent scenarios, which also keeps things lively.

If you’re new to The Invisible Man, you’ll be happy to know that the pilot movie and all twelve episodes are available on DVD and, since the show was shot on film, Blu-Ray. Be warned that the Blu-Rays, while sharp, reframe the show in widescreen, cutting off the top and bottom of film footage that was always intended to be in a 4:3 aspect ratio. I wish the Blu-Ray producers of the world would get the hint that this is as much of a butchering of the original material as pan-and-scan VHS tapes were. (The DVD gives you the original 4:3 picture.)

So why did The Invisible Man last only 12 episodes? Invisibility gags, whether they’re of the time-consuming, video-to-film type or pulling stuff along on fishing line, aren’t cheap to do, and each episode has several of them. The show’s creators, Harve Bennett and Steven Bochco, were rising stars who had more than one iron in their respective fires – Bennett was already overseeing The Six Million Dollar Man, while Bochco was in the early stages of a career that would see him go on to be the showrunner and creator of the likes of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and Cop Rock. After The Invisible Man’s cancellation, Bennett retooled the concept and relaunched it just a few months later as the even-shorter-lived Gemini Man, trading McCallum’s British class in for Ben Murphy’s all-American aw-shucks, which only stayed on the prime time schedule for four weeks following a pilot movie. (Gemini Man may well be remembered best for giving us the MST3K episode “Riding With Death”.)

In the meantime, rewind to 1975 and enjoy once more the days when The Invisible Man – complete with a mention of H.G. Wells in the end credits – was keeping the prime time schedule groovy.

[Via] Visual Ent

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Thrush Ray-Gun Affair Game (1966)

I’ve shared my love of the 1960’s NBC TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. once or twice before on the site. While I wasn’t around when it first aired back in the day thanks to the reruns I was able to catch growing up on numerous lazy Saturday afternoons I can honestly say it’s in my top 20 TV series of all time.

With it’s pseudo James Bond approach to the Cold War it lasted four seasons and even helped spinoff the popular though short lived The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Of course it’s hard to go wrong when your cast is made up of the likes of Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll, Stefanie Powers and featuring music by the late great Jerry Goldsmith!

[Via] The Rap Sheet

RetroArt, not only a great friend to myself as well as the site knows how much I like the show and was kind enough to share something he picked up the other day, a game that he knew would blow me away. That it did. Produced by Ideal and released in 1966, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – The Thrush Ray-Gun Affair board game looks to be absolutely amazing.

Man from UNCLE - Side art

Man from UNCLE - Thrush Ray Gun Board Game

The Man from UNCLE - Board Game

The Man from UNCLE - Headquarters

Thanks to these photos we can see how the game board was set up. RetroArt also kindly shared the instructions. It sounds like an awesome game, I love the idea of the mine field mechanic!

The Man from UNCLE - Thrush Ray-Gun board game

RetroArt did let me know that sadly not all of the pieces of the game were present in his copy…perhaps when he completes it he might be able to share a video of the game in action? Until then we can always enjoy listening to actor David McCallum who portrayed Illya Kuryakin on the original series discuss not only that series but the 2015 theatrical film to boot.

[Via] FOX411