Radio show for May 28, 2021
Birthdays May 28
Ian Fleming was a British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer best known for his James Bond spy novels.
Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in the wealthy London district of Mayfair. His father was a Member of Parliament and Ian’s grandfather was a Scottish financier who co-founded an Investment Company and a merchant bank.
After attending a few preparatory schools, Munich University and University of Geneva he went into banking and also worked as a stockbroker and was unsuccessful at both.
In 1939 he was recruited by the Royal Navy. Later Fleming became the foreign manager of a British newspaper in 1945. His role was to oversee the papers’ worldwide network of correspondents. Fleming continued to work for the paper full time and took three months holiday every winter (which was in his contract) and he took them in Jamaica. Ian always wanted to write a spy novel which he did in two months, that was “Casino Royale” in 1952 and was published the following year.
The main character (James Bond) was named after an American ornithologist and expert on Caribbean birds, Fleming was himself an avid birdwatcher. He said that he wanted Bond to be an uninteresting man to whom things happened to, wanting Bond to be a blunt instrument. He said he thought the name was the dullest name he had ever heard. Fleming based his creation on individuals he met during the war, as well as a spy he had met while skiing in Austria… and he wanted Bond to resemble the composer and singer Hoagy Carmichael.
Twelve Bond novels and two short story collections were published between 1953 and 1966 including the children’s book “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and were all written at his Jamaican home in Goldeneye.
Almost 30 James Bond films have been released and seven actors have played James Bond; Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
Short List of James Bond films
Dr. No…1962…first Bond film, starred Sean Connery
From Russia With Love..1963
Goldfinger…1964..won AA award Best Sound Effects
Thunderball…1965..won AA award Best Special Visual Effects
You Only Live Twice…1967
Casino Royale….1967, starred David Niven, Peter Sellers
Diamonds Are Forever…1971…nominated AA award for Best Sound
Live and Let Die..1973
The Man with the Golden Gun..1974
Moonraker…1979..nominated for AA award for Best Visual Effects
Octupussy…1983…starred Roger Moore
Skyfall….2013…won 2 AA awards Best Original Song, Best Sound Editing
Danny Elfman …May 29, 1953
Daniel Robert Elfman is an American composer, singer and songwriter.
Elfman was born in Los Angeles, was raised in Baldwin Hills and spent much of his time at the local movie theatre with classic sci-fi and horror films and that is where he first noticed the music of composers such as Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman.
At first he showed no interest in music, just science, in fact he was even rejected from his elementary school orchestra for having no musical skills, but that all changed when he switched high schools in the late 60’s where he ran with a musical crowd who introduced him to early jazz and Stravinsky.
He finished high school early, traveled the world beginning following his brother to France. He performed the violin with “Le Grand Magic Circus,” an avant-garde musical theatre and embarked on tour through Africa collecting a range of West African percussion instruments until a series of illnesses forced him to return home.
Once he returned to Los Angeles in the 70’s he was asked by his brother Richard to serve as musical director of his street theatre performance art troupe called “The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.” Danny arranged big band music by Calloway and Ellington for the ensemble as well as composing original pieces. The Mystic Knights performed on the streets and in nightclubs through Los Angeles until Richard left to work on music for films. By that time Danny had taken over the group and became lead singer and songwriter and changed the name to Oingo Boingo. Success came with “Dead Man’s Party” and “Weird Science”. Due to permanent hearing damage from performing he retired the band in 1995.
Being a fan of Oingo Boingo, director Tim Burton invited him to write the score for “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” Burton’s first feature film. For Danny following opportunities came his way “Beetlejuice,” “Scrooged” and “Midnight Run”, “Batman”, “Darkman” and “Nightbreed”. He later expanded his craft to a range of thrillers, straight horror and other comic book inspired action films. He has scored over 100 films. He has been nominated for four AA awards. Danny has won 1 Grammy award and 2 Emmy Awards.
Short list of Danny Elfman scored films
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventures…1985, directed by Tim Burton
Beetlejuice…1988…directed by Tim Burton, won AA award for Best Makeup
Batman…1989…directed by Tim Burton, won AA award for Best Art Direction
Darkman…1990…directed by Sam Raimi
Edward Scissorhands…1990..directed by Tim Burton…nominated for AA award for Best Makeup
Army of Darkness…1992…directed by Sam Raimi…won 5 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards
Nightmare Before Christmas.1993.directed by Tim Burton…nominated for AA award Best Effects
The Frightners…1996..directed by Peter Jackson, starred Michael J. Fox
A Simple Plan.1998..directed by Sam Raimi nominated for 2 AA awards
Men in Black..2002..directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Hellboy II..2008..directed by Guillermo del Toro
Frankenweenie….2012..directed by Tim Burton
Erich Wolfgang Korngold..May 29, 1897-1957
Erich was an Austrian-American composer and conductor, an influential composer in Hollywood history and considered one of the founders of film music.
Korngold was a child prodigy living in Vienna. He could play four hand piano arrangements alongside his father at age 5. By 7 he was writing original music. Gustav Mahler called him a musical genius and said that there was no benefit to enroll him in a music conservatory since his abilities were already years ahead. By 12 years old he already composed a ballet and a piano trio. He wrote his first orchestral score at 14. He was active in theatre in his 20’s and conducted in many opera houses.
He was one of four composers who worked on the British biographical film “Waltzes from Vienna” directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1933.
Korngold’s first symphonic film score was Captain Blood in 1935. It was an immediate hit and launched the career of Errol Flynn and had an Oscar nomination for the film’s score.
The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938 was also released with Erich’s score. Music historians have said that the film was a success because of the cast, it’s Technicolor photography, direction of Michael Curtiz but most of all there is Korngold’s glorious music.
Korngold won one AA award for Best Score for The Adventures of Robin Hood, and nominated for two. He lived on Toluca Lake Avenue in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, just a few blocks from Warner Brother’s Studio where he worked.
Short List of Korngold’s compositions in film
Anthony Adverse…1936..won four AA academy awards
The Adventures of Robin Hood..1938..won 3 AA awards, including for Best Original Score
The Sea Hawk…1940..nominated for 4 AA awards including Best Original Score
The Sea Wolf…1941..nominated for AA award Best Effects
Gregg Toland…May 29, 1904-1948
Gregg Wesley Toland was an American cinematographer known for his techniques in his work on several films including Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane”.
Gregg first demonstrated his side-lit style on a short film in 1928 when one of the two 400W bulbs they had available burned out leaving only one single bulb.
He was the youngest cameraman in Hollywood in the 40’s but one of the its most sought after cinematographers. He was nominated five times for the AA award for Best Cinematography including an award for “Wuthering Heights”.
Some film historians believe “Citizen Kane’s” brilliance was due primarily to the contributions of Toland. His techniques were revolutionary in the art of cinematography as an example during low-key lighting sequences he allowed lenses to distort faces in close up, interiors and exterior sets were lite mostly from the floor instead of from the rafters high above. The final ending title card of the film had the placement of Toland’s name on the same as Orson Welles, (the director) because Welles felt he deserved it….considered an honor for Gregg.
Tolan worked on over 60 films. He had 7 AA award nominations and won two…for “Wuthering Heights” and for documentary “December 7th, The Movie).
Short List of Toland films
Bulldog Drummond….1929..starred Ronald Coleman
Les Miserables…1935..starred Charles Laughton and Frederic March
Mad Love…1935…directed by Karl Freund, starred Peter Lorre
Dead End…1937..directed by William Wyler, starred Humphery Bogart
Wuthering Heights…1939…directed by William Wyler, starred Laurence Olivier and David Niven…won AA award for Best Cinematography, nominated for 7 AA awards
The Grapes of Wrath…1940..directed by John Ford, starred Henry Fonda
Citizen Kane…1941…directed by Orson Welles…won AA award for Best Original Screenplay, nominated for 3 AA awards
Song of the South…1946…Disney, live action, animated musical..won AA award for Best Original Song..”Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. Splash Mountain at Disneyland was originally based on the film’s animated sequences
Special Holidays May 28
National Hamburger Day…to honor America’s favorite sandwich and this day ushers in the summer grilling season. It is said that Oscar Weber Bilby was the first person to serve a real hamburger in 1891, when ground beef was served on homemade buns at a fourth of July party on near Tulsa, Oklahoma which has given Tulsa the claim..”The real birth place of the Hamburger”.
National Brisket Day…If you are a meat eater chances are you enjoy a great yummy brisket. It’s a day to prepare that delicious brisket which is popular not only in Texas culture but popular in Britain, Germany, Jewish cooking, Korean cuisine, Hong Kong, New Zealand and in the Pakistani menu….ways of cooking and seasoning differs but always delicious if cooked right.
On This Day….May 28
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco opened to automobiles May 28, 1937
After five years of construction the Golden Gate Bridge had Pedestrian Day on May 27th when over 200,000 bridge walkers walked the 4,200 foot long bridge that connects San Francisco and Marin County. Many competed to be the first to run, push a baby stroller and even roller skate across. It is said that the first person to cross the bridge was on stilts. The next day May 28th it opened to tens of thousands of cars.
The bridge’s color was only supposed to be the primer. Originally the Navy wanted it painted in blue with yellow stripes to increase its visibility but when the steel arrived in the burnt red hue the architect decided was more pleasing to the eye and turned out to be better for the Bay’s foggy weather.
San Francisco celebrated the 50thanniversary of the bridge in 1987. 300,000 people packed on it like sardines at the same time when the middle of the bridge sagged 7 feet causing the arch to flatten. It was quickly closed for repairs.