Sunday, July 31, 2022

Masters of Venus ( 1962 )

Before America became stricken with space fever in the mid-1960s, Britain was already coming down with symptoms of this consuming affliction. Evidence in proof of this can be seen in television and film series of the era, especially those aimed at youngsters. 

One such program was Masters of Venus, an 8-part science-fiction serial that was released between September 1962 and November 1962 throughout the UK. It was an engrossing serial that was shown in theaters on Saturday mornings, usually before a matinee feature, in 16-minute parts.  

Masters of Venus was a production of the CCF ( Children's Film Foundation ), which produced a number of serials like this in the late 1950s and 1960s. The story is about a team of scientists who are preparing to launch a rocket - Astarte - to Venus. One day two saboteurs break into the rocket center in an attempt to destroy the Astarte, but they were thwarted in their plans by Jim and Pat, the two intelligent children of the rocket's inventor, Dr. Ballantyne ( Norman Wooland ). The pilots are knocked unconscious and, unbeknownst to the children, the rocket is prematurely sent into outer space - with them in the capsule! 

Like most Saturday morning serials, every episode ends with a cliffhanger, and Masters of Venus has some jim-dandy ones. The pilots ( Patrick Kavanagh, Robin Hunter ) revive in time to set Astarte's course to Venus, but once they land on the planet they discover it to be inhabited by rather hostile Venusians, who are actually a band of super-advanced survivors of the ancient kingdom of Atlantis. 

The plot may seem far-fetched and the sets and "scientific procedure" rather simple, but the series is very entertaining to watch, especially for children. The principal actors all do a wonderful job of making the story seem real. Robin Stewart, who portrays young Jim, went on to become a popular actor in the UK on television ( Bless This House ) and in films ( The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires ). Mandy Harper, who plays Pat, was a child actress who had a number of uncredited roles in films of the 1950s. The same year she filmed Masters of Venus she starred in Swallows and Amazons based on Arthur Ransome's famous novel. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Film Albums: Doctor Dolittle ( 1967 ) - The Mike Sammes Singers

When Doctor Dolittle was released in 1967, 20th Century Fox studios thought it would have received a much better box-office reception than it did. In fact, they were not the only ones who thought so. The music was so beautiful that The Lawrence Welk Show featured an episode that included many of the upcoming songs and Sammy Davis Jr. and Bobby Darin both released albums on the music from Doctor Dolittle, hoping to capitalize on the success of the film. Another group that did a fantastic recording of songs from the film were The Mike Sammes Singers. This fabulous British group did some work for Walt Disney Studios in the 1960s and they ended up recording a number of albums for the studio's Disneyland Records label, all of which were led by the great Camarata, more familiarly known by Disney fans as "Tutti" Camarata. 

This album ( ST-3979 ) featured beautiful recordings of all of the main tunes from the film plus a "magnificent full-color illustrated book" that children could enjoy while they were listening to the songs. Instead of listing the tracks like we usually do, we have pasted a picture of the back of the album. 

If you enjoy Leslie Bricusse music, then this album should not be passed over. Where are the words to describe the beautiful things about it to enjoy? 

Top Music Picks:  At the Crossroads, When I Look in Your Eyes, Talk to the Animals, Beautiful Things

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Check it Out! - Giant Movie/TV Posters on Sale

If you have an afternoon free then here is something that will take up a good hour of your internet time - AllPosters is running a sale for new customers - 55% off all items plus free shipping. We're not affiliated with AllPosters and actually never bought from them before but this just seemed like too good a deal not to share. They have a great selection of 8x10" photos but more impressive is their line of photo posters. 24x32" and 30x40" posters are only $12.15 each after the markdown. Gadzooks! Once you start jotting down your favorite films and television shows to search, you'll likely end up spending more than one hour shopping.  

Check out some of the images they have down below: 

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


Look at all these fancy-dressed people...and they seem to be happy about something, too. I'll give you three guesses who they are cheering. Actually, we'll give you more than three guesses to try and name the film this screenshot came from. Just drop your guesses in the comment box below and you might win a prize.

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!


Congratulations to Dambso for guessing this scene from "The Yellow Rolls Royce" ( 1964 )! Rex Harrison and Jeanne Moreau just left the car park of the racetrack in their yellow Rolls Royce after winning the gold cup and the onlookers cheer them on. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Check it Out! - Maureen O'Hara singing "Heather on the Hill"

During the 1960s, Maureen O'Hara guest-starred a number of times on The Andy Williams Show where she got a chance to entertain the audience with her beautiful singing voice. Maureen made a lot of dramatic films but, surprisingly, no musicals....even though she sang like a lark since she was a lass in Ireland. 

In this particular episode, she gives a lovely rendition of "The Heather on the Hill" from Lerner and Lowe's Brigadoon. Check it out! And if you enjoy this clip, be sure to look at Ms. O'Hara's performance of "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" on the short-lived The Jimmy Dean Show here

Friday, July 8, 2022

From the Archives: On Moonlight Bay ( 1951 )

Gordon MacRae serenades Doris Day in a wooden "canoe" while a man who looks a lot like Gower Champion paddles in this publicity photo from Warner Brother's musical On Moonlight Bay ( 1951 ). 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :