Monthly Archives: February 2010

T-Shirt War!


Check out this excellent stop-motion animation from online comics Rhett and Link:

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Filed under Animation, Music, Stuff

Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe


I mentioned it a few weeks ago in this post, so what better time to pay tribute to the theme from classic 1960s drama serial The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe.

The series was made in France in 1964 and first aired in Germany in four 90-minute episodes. The dubbed English-language version was split into 13 half-hour episodes and first aired in the UK in late 1965.

It remained a regular fixture on British kids’ TV, on Saturday mornings and during the school holidays, throughout the 1970s and early 80s, before the BBC’s broadcast rights finally ran out in 1982.

It starred Austrian actor Robert Hoffman as Crusoe, though in the English version, his voice was supplied by actor Lee Payant.

The English language version did not only replace the dialogue on the soundtrack – it also ditched the mediocre music from the French/German versions with a wonderful new theme and score written by Robert Mellin and Gian Pier Reverberi (the latter of whom would later found Rondò Veneziano).

It’s this theme that the series is probably best remembered for and which is etched into the memory of generations of British kids. It is another genuine contender for the title of greatest TV theme tune of all time.

Here is that theme tune from the English-language version as it originally aired on TV (plus the opening six minutes or so of the first episode):

And here is the wonderful suite of music that makes up the full version of the theme tune:

 

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Filed under Classic TV, Kids' TV, Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day, TV Themes

Rock Sugar – Where Spinal Tap Meets Glee


It’s an age-old tale.

Boys in heavy metal band on the verge of rocking the planet meet 13-year-old girl. Girl hates boys. Boys  batter a smurf. The private yacht they are all on sinks. Boys are marooned on a desert island with only a pink Hello Kitty ghetto blaster, a case of batteries, the 13-year-old’s 1980s pop music CD collection and 158 cases of schnapps for company.

Ah… how often have we seen that sad story play out?

Such is the legend of Rock Sugar (full legend here). However, for the band, and fans of great music, there is a happy ending.

Twenty years later, the band were rescued by tuna fishermen and now they are back and ready to rock on from where they left off. With a twist.

Two decades of listening to 80s teenybopper music has left a mark – Popholm syndrome, as the band amusingly describe it – and now Rock Sugar is a musical nexus where the heaviest of metal collides with the lightest, catchiest and, um, cheesiest of bubblegum pop.

Okay, so, in other words, stripping away the wonderfully silly back story, we’re essentially in mash-up territory here. Or should that be mosh-up..?

I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the mash-up – they never improve on the original component parts and if they involves a song I like, it just annoys me to hear it ruined by some idiot playing about with mixing software on his computer.

But Rock Sugar bring something new to the mix. For a start, they are performing the songs, rather than just cutting and pasting other people’s recordings together.

But more importantly, they bring a sense of fun that transforms the mash-up from the dry, soulless technical exercise it essentially is into something… wonderful.

The 13 tracks on Rock Sugar‘s debut album, Reimaginator, are an astonishing fusion of no fewer than 34 songs by rock heavyweights such as Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue and Judas Priest with catchy pop-rock anthems from the likes of Journey, Eurythmics, Rick Springfield, Bon Jovi, Madonna and Queen.

The album opener, which is generating massive internet buzz at the moment, is Don’t Stop The Sandman, which blends Journey‘s Don’t Stop Believing and Metallica‘s Enter Sandman to simply stunning effect.

I know, I know… the Journey song has been hugely over-exposed in the last year or so, from its memorable use in the final scene of The Sopranos, through being massacred in last year’s The X Factor (in the UK) and, most recently, the surprisingly decent version performed by the cast of TV smash hit (and, the Choob must admit, one of my guilty TV pleasures) Glee.

But Rock Sugar’s version will make you look at the song in a whole new light. In a good way.

The official video has only been up on YouTube for about six weeks and already, through only word of mouth, has just smashed through the 200,000 views mark. Here it is, see what you think:

Great though it is, Don’t Stop The Sandman is really just the curtain-raiser to the album. You can stream all the tracks on the band’s official site, and most are also up on YouTube too, so I won’t go through them all.

However, here are a few that I think are particularly awesome (I’ll leave you to work out what’s been mashed together).

First up we have Prayin’ For A Sweet Weekend:

Next, Shook Me Like A Prayer:

And finally, Dreaming Of A Whole Lotta Breakfast:

There are countless ways this could have all gone horribly wrong and been an embarrassing mess – but it’s hard to imagine how it could possibly have turned out better.

And that is surely a testament to the fact that the band have genuine musical talent to back up their high-concept idea. Yes, there is a gimmick inherent in their music – but there’s nothing gimmicky about their inspired choices of songs to combine, the technical genius of their arrangements or the quality of their recorded performance.

If the live experience matches the studio effort – and early live reviews suggest that they are even better live than on disc, then this band may just be THE next big thing.

In the title of this post I jokingly compared Rock Sugar to the ever-entertaining Spinal Tap. But that’s perhaps unfair, because Tap are all about spoofing the self-important pomposity and excess of heavy metal. Rock Sugar is no spoof.

If Rock Sugar share any characteristics with Spinal Tap, it’s that their tongue is firmly in cheek and they are making rock music fun again.

The album is currently only available from the band’s website for $17. Adding international shipping of $8 makes it a slightly pricy proposition for those outwith the US – $25 or £16 – but well worth it, for my money, to get in at the ground floor because they deserve to be huge.

Rock Sugar might just be my new favourite band. Because pop rocks!

Incidentally, lead singer Jess Harnell has apparently had a colourful career. In addition to being in a few bands, including Loud & Clear, he’s a somewhat prolific voice-over artist. He has lent his voice to many animated TV shows and videogames.

Most notably, he starred as Wakko Warner in the fondly remembered 1990s Animaniacs cartoon series and also voiced two of the Transformers in the two recent live action movies. Oh, and he’s been the announcer for America’s Funniest Home Videos for over a decade.

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Filed under Music, Stuff, Video Killed The Radio Star

Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Hawaii Five-O


Hawaii Five-O is perhaps the most iconic of the 60s/70s US cop shows.

It began in 1968, the same year the Choob was born, and ran for 12 seasons (278 episodes) before Detective Steve McGarrett (played by Jack Lord) stopped pounding the island beat for good in 1980.

Surprisingly, since it aired throughout my childhood, I don’t actually recall ever seeing a single episode of Hawaii Five-O. I remember watching most of the other US cop/detective shows that made it onto UK TV in the 70s, such as Harry O, Cannon, Ironside, Kojak, The Streets Of San Francisco, The Rockfod Files and many others.  But not Hawaii Five-O.

However, everyone knows the show’s wonderful theme tune, which was written by Morton Stevens. It’s undeniably one of TV’s best.

Here are two slightly different versions of the opening titles – the first is a bit longer and I think may be from the pilot episode:

There were two distinct versions of the closing credits. These are the ones that aired in season one:

And these are more familiar, canoe-footage ones that were used for the rest of the show’s run:

Here is the full-lengthversion of the theme tune:

The Hawaii Five-O theme also features in my favourite scene of the rather sweet 2000 Aussie movie The Dish:

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Filed under Classic TV, Movies, The Monday Movie, Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day, TV Themes

Lost Your Appetite?


Have you bought your Dharma Initiative maternity T-shirt yet?

Well, since you are eating for two, how do you fancy noshing down on some Dharma Initiative supplies, just like the ones our heroes eat on Lost?

Well, you can’t. The Hanso Foundation hasn’t managed to expand that far into parallel universes just yet.

However, you can transform the contents of your kitchen cupboards into a Dharma Initiative larder, thanks to these excellent printable pdf Dharma food labels from maxpictures.com.

Click on the above link for the full range but here are a few examples to whet your appetite:

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Filed under Current and recent TV shows, Stuff

And Then There Were Fifty Thousand!


As you may have noticed, from the little hit counter over there on the right, The Cathode Ray Choob celebrated its 50,000th hit the other day.

Many thanks for all who have chooned in over the past 13 months, especially those of you who like it here enough to keep coming back regularly.

Having kept up a daily posting schedule for most of last year, you’ll maybe have noticed that some of the weekly features are currently taking a rest and that we’re down to about three or four posts a week at the moment.

Don’t worry, The Choob’s not going anywhere. I’m just rethinking the content of the blog and, and as a result, some of last year’s regular features will be on indefinite hiatus and some will become semi-regular.

This should free up a little time to do some more original stuff than has so far been realistic given time constraints.

Anyway, I hope you’ll keep watching this space and, as a thank you for your continued visits, here’s a cool little flip-book animation of, well… pretty much everything! It’s by Jamie Bell.

Excellent, eh? Although, I think I still prefer this different take on the same idea, which I first mentioned in this post last April:

And now, some facts and figures:

I’ve posted 423 articles since starting the blog on December 22, 2008.

Currently, the site is getting an average of around 270 hits per day. The busiest day so far was January 2, 2009, with 759 hits.

And finally, here are the all-time top 10 Choob posts so far:

  1. Gabrielle Anwar’s Freaky Naked Torso
  2. Doctor Who: A New Tardis And Latest Pics From The Set
  3. Doctor Who – First Photos From The Season Five Set And The New TARDIS
  4. Top Of The Pops Thursday: Nena – 99 Red Balloons / 99 Luftballons
  5. Blake’s 7 Teleports Back Onto BBC1
  6. It’s Classic Clip Friday: WKRP In Cincinnati – Turkey Drop
  7. Top Of The Pops Thursday: Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
  8. Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Buck Rogers In The 25th Century
  9. TV Newsround – Penny Spent? Kate Going? The Next Gen Boldly Returning? And More…
  10. BBC Winter Olympics Trailer Deserves A Medal

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Filed under Stuff, TV Themes

LOST Your Virginity And Awaiting The Arrival Of An Other?


Do you love Lost? Are you up the duff? Getting ready to ‘hatch’?

This is for you:

Yes, it’s the Dharma Initiative maternity T-shirt. Get it here.

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Filed under Current and recent TV shows, Stuff