Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I think we're long overdue for a new series featuring Albert Campion... and I suggest MATT SMITH to star

The only time Albert Campion was ever really adapted for the visual medium a handful of times. The most well-known was the one produced by the BBC from 1989-1990 starring former Doctor Who star Peter Davison.
And Davison was wonderful as the amateur sleuth whose name and past are very questionable. Albert Campion is not even the character's real name. Just one of many aliases to protect the true identity of his possibly aristocratic family.

Sadly, there has not been a series made about the character since the Davison series. Which I think is a crying shame. 

Much like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Lord Peter Wimsey, he's one of the great eccentric character who really wasn't intended to be the star when creator Margery Allingham wrote his first tale CRIME AT THE BLACK DUDLEY. She had written him to be a parody of Lord Peter Wimsey. But much like Inspector Clouseau in THE PINK PANTHER (1964) Albert Campion turned out to be the break-out character of that tale, overshadowing the character of George Abbershaw. Whom it seemed like Allingham was grooming to be the star. Or at least from the amount of time he had in the book over Campion, it did appear Allingham had a series of novels with Abbershaw in mind.

Her descriptions of Campion were less than flattering in either BLACK DUDLEY or his follow-up adventure MYSTERY MILE.

I think Albert Campion's return to television is long overdue and I think outgoing Doctor Who star Matt Smith would be ideal for the role.
At 31, he's the right age for the role. To me, his Doctor really has shades of Albert Campion. Both appear to their enemies as prattling idiots and slightly unhinged. However, all that is just a facade to hide their true brilliance.
AND his Doctor has adopted a somewhat "owly" look as of late. Much like Campion.

As for the series itself, perhaps a three episode run per series like SHERLOCK would not be a bad idea. Yes, it's frustrating to wait so long for three episodes. But somehow the shortened series has really benefitted making those three episodes per series really memorable. If they go in that direction the series should start off with a proper adaptation of CRIME AT THE BLACK DUDLEY. Followed by MYSTERY MILE and LOOK TO THE LADY for series one. Then POLICE AT THE FUNERAL, SWEET DANGER and DEATH OF A GHOST if there is a series two.

As for the rest of the cast, I'm not sure. But I think Matt Smith would be brilliant if the BBC decided to bring old Uncle Albert back to the small screen.

Holiday Art Auctions: Eighth Doctor Color Art (with original artwork)

Happy Holidays everyone!! Right now you have the opportunity to bid on not only one but two color illustrations featuring the Eighth Doctor portrayed by Paul McGann as he appeared in the mini-episode NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR. 

The first one features the Eighth Doctor on his own and the second being shadowed by the Sisterhood of Karn. First seen in the classic Fourth Doctor episode THE BRAIN OF MORBIUS.

I will be offering both color images WITH the original pen and ink artwork which was used in the creation of these images.

As in previous auctions of this nature, once a winning bid is met, a print of the images will be made on 11x14 high quality glossy cardstock which will be signed personally to the winning bidder and dated. Then the file the color image is on will be deleted to ensure both images to be ONE OF A KIND ART!!

Click on the link below to check out both auctions:

Happy Holidays and Happy Bidding!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole: 1932-2013

Peter O'Toole was probably one of my favorite actors with quite possibly the most remarkable career. What makes it all the more remarkable is the fact that he lived to be 81. Considering the fact that he battled stomach cancer in the 1976 which resulted in the removal of part of his stomach due to his heavy drinking. And then nearly died again in 1978 due to a rare blood disorder.

While most of his contemporaries such as Peter Finch, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris and Richard Burton all died at relatively young ages due to "hard living" in their youth, it just makes O'Toole's life all the more remarkable.

But above all this, Peter O' Toole was a talented actor. Although everyone points to LAWRENCE OF ARABIA as the best movie he ever made, I have to disagree. I think THE RULING CLASS is quite possibly the best work he has ever done. His performance as Jack Gurney, the 14th Earl who in the first half of the movie belives himself to be Jesus Christ and later when "cured" belives himself to be Jack the Ripper.

What makes the performance so remarkable (this word will pop up a lot in this blog post) is the way he flipped the switch from funny to frightening. The way despite a very he made such a satirical and unbelieveable character so believeable.

My second favorite is THE LION IN WINTER. The scenes and dialogue between O'Toole's Henry II and the great Katherine Hepburns Eleanor of Aquitaine were so wonderfully acted that you forget there was a 25 year age difference between the two actors.

Looking at many of the actors in my age group and younger, I'm not sure if any of them stack up to the caliber of talent Peter O'Toole possessed in his career. And I'm less sure if any of them will age with the roles they choose as well as O'Toole did later in his career.

Even after youth had long faded, O'Toole acting chops did not fade with them. Parts in movies like VENUS and the television mini-series CASANOVA saw him a very interesting role. One as an older actor and one as an older playboy. Both seemed to mirror O'Toole's life a little bit.

Although, O'Toole didn't meet his end nearly as violently as he did in the movie VENUS.

However, I'm not sure if there are many (if any) of the actors out there who are my age and younger who will age with their roles nearly as well as Peter O'Toole did.

However, we live in a time where marketability comes first and talent comes last. Famous at 15 and a has-been at 25.

I suppose for some it's difficult to say "I can't believe he's gone" at age 81. And the fact that he lived as long as he did with the life he lived, just the fact that he lived to be 81 us all the more amazing.

A great number of the actors out there choose to live the lifestyle Peter O'Toole did but have little to nothing to offer as far as their talents are concerned.

Peter O'Toole was so much more than "just another pretty face". He put his money where his mouth is and had a career most people would give their eye-teeth to have.

To quote his line from THE LION IN WINTER: "My life, when it is written, will read better than it lived".

Farewell, Peter O'Toole.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Art Auction: Sixth Doctor and the Valeyard 11x14 Color Art

In this auction not only will you be bidding on a color image of the Sixth Doctor and the Valeyard (seen above), but you will also be bidding on the pen and ink artwork used in the image.
Much like auctions of this nature, once the winning bid is met, a print will be made on 11x14 print of the image will be made on high quality glossy cardstock which will be SIGNED PERSONALLY to the winning bidder and dated.

Then the file the image was on will be deleted to ensure this to be a ONE OF A KIND IMAGE.

And a reminder. Throughout the Holidays, Bunny and the Badger will be offering FREE SHIPPING on all art auctions taking place on E-Bay right up to December 26th!!

Click on the link below to check the auction out. Happy Holidays and Happy Bidding:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Those Dear Dead Days: Stoney O'Briens

 Artist Travis Simpkins pointed out that the establishment currently known as Nick's was formerly Stoney O'Briens. Which was basically one of many countless dive bars in Worcester at that time.
I thought after Travis's revelation about Nick's former life I'd do a little web snooping and the photo above is what I found of Stoney's.
To quote local Scallywag Jon Hansen: "What a dump!"
After Stoney's closed down, Nicole and Vincent bought the building. They cleaned it up and rechristened the establishment NICK'S. And as you can see below, its a vast improvement over the previous "dump".
Not only that, but Nicole runs a classy establishment that hosts unique performances. Including my own staging of a Sherlock Holmes play last may.
Millbury Street has always been a bit on the rougher side. However, even my folks who are long time residents couldn't help commenting that the area had improved considerably since the last time they were down there.
It says a lot on how adding a touch of class like a place like Nick's can improve an area.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Christmas Carol

I decided to finally sit down and read A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens this year. I'll be honest. I've never actually read the book. I've seen a number of adaptations including the exceptional musical SCROOGE starring Albert Finney and Sir Alec Guinness (pictured above). But I have never read the book itself.

So I thought since we're into the Christmas season, no time like the present. It took a little bit of time to get used to Dickens writing style. It's a different approach to modern writing. But so far I'm enjoying the story itself.

Even though it's a tale that has been subject to countless adaptations, I've considered doing my own version of it from time to time.

The problem I've had with many versions is they really underplay the really spooky elements of what is a really good ghost story and make it too drippy and overly sentimental.

Or in the case of the animated version voiced by Jim Carrey (known for his over-acting), bastardizing the story completely.

The only movie that came at all close was 1970 version I mentioned with Finney and Guinness. There were scenes of genuine horror.

The whole idea of the story was to scare Scrooge into seeing what his life will become if he continues on the path he has chosen. I think this could be achieved with an equal balance of warmth and horor.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

American Hustle

You've probably seen the trailers for it on television starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and several other actors I either don't know or are indifferent towards. However, did you know that parts of the movie were infact filmed right here in downtown Worcester Massachusetts.

Some of those scenes were filmed in Worcester's very own Nick's Bar and Restaurant. As seen above. Nick's was renamed The Barons in the movie. Which I don't think it was Nick's original name. Actually, there WAS a bar named The Red Baron on Main Street right across the street from where the Hanover Theater resides now. But Nick's never was.

Actually, if you know the name of the Bar Nick's used to be, feel free to post it in this blog.

However, if you happen to go out and see American Hustle in theatres (I probably won't) then keep your eyes peeled for the bar pictured below.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Book Barn

I'm taking Syd down to Niantic Connecticut to check out the Book Barn today. If you have not been there, it is probably one of the most unique book buying experience you'll ever have. And it's a pity we can't have more used book stores like this in the Woo.

It has three locations. The 41 West Main Street location (as pictured above) is the main store. And it indeed does live up to its name Book BARN. On the land each genre is located in a different barn or shed. And there's a great deal of books to choose from. They also have a main building which you can come in from the cold and spend a little time checking out books in there too.

Not only that. For cat lovers like myself and my wife. Some very friendly cats wander the land. They ask if you don't pick up the cats. This is more for your own protection since cats can be notoriously moody. But if a cat happens to climb into your lap while you're relaxing, that's a different story.

If you're not able to find what you want at the main location, you have two other stores to check out. One located right in the downtown area and another in an alley just a few steps away from the downtown store.

I'm planning on looking for some more PG WODEHOUSE (especially a few more Psmith books) today as well as a copy of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Its actually a book I've never read and I felt maybe this year might be the time to read it.

Its worth the drive down to Niantic to check it out.