Hulu has a page of all 20 episodes in the series, although the actual videos are hosted on partner site Drama Fever.
To celebrate not having to arrange for my DVDs of the series to be dug out of storage and mailed to me if I ever have this particular pop-culture itch to scratch, I just wrote a senryu about the series:
"Roll My Eyes Skyward
To Keep The Tears From Falling;
Hyong Chul, Notice Me."
It's really only the difficulty for Westerners to say his name without giggling that's preventing Jang Dong-gun from becoming a star over here. That guy kicks ass on screen in ways that only middle-aged Britishers can do right now [go buy/rent/torrent/search YouTube for TAEGUKGI: THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR] and, unlike your Chow Yun Fats and Jet Lis, Jang can portray more than one character. He just needs to change his name to something that even a fan can't resist singing to Kiss' "Love Gun" and annoying the cats he's sitting this week: DONG GUUUUUUUUUUN DOooOONG GUUUUUUUUU-UNNNNNNN JANG-JANG-JANGJANG JANG-JANG-JANGJANG JANG-JANG-JANGJANG-JANG-JANG-JANGJANG-JANG-JANG-JANGJANG-JANG-JANG-JANGJANG
"Some Interesting Facts About Peter Cook"
"Heroes of Comedy: Peter Cook"
While I'm at it, let's tap out the rest of my Cook media bookmarks. Here's the BEYOND THE FRINGE cast on WHAT'S MY LINE; I think Arlene Francis is in love with all four men, who are endearingly camera-shy:
On the other side of Cook's life, this eulogy/eulogy-corrective from a young Stephen Fry really could and should be the last word on Peter Cook's life and career:
Anne Ryan has an extraordinary start to her filmography; she made her debut as "Angie" in LUCAS, the Corey Haim/Kerri Green/Charlie Sheen coming-of-age vehicle [with Winona Ryder and Jeremy Piven in support roles], in 1986. Ryan then played "Shermerite" ["I heard that if Ferris dies, he's giving his eyes to Stevie Wonder. He's such a sweetie!"] in the iconic comedy FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, released later the same year. In 1987, she returned to the cinema to co-star in the hyperkinetic-but-realistically-awkward high-school-bully cult classic THREE O'CLOCK HIGH. And then, nothing. One assumes that, like Green, Ryan wasn't pressured, immature and/or broken enough to stay in the business at an age when most people go to college and/or learn about the world.
Anyway, you can imagine my surprise to see that Ryan worked on three staples of Generation X's formative media back-to-back-to-back, and then walked away. Where is she now? She's the Artistic Director at the Corn Exchange Theatre Company in Dublin, Ireland, having racked up quite the resume on the stage. That's real "winning," as far as I'm concerned.
[Although going by "Annie" is the ladies' equivalent of the comb-over. Open letter to all Annes of mature age: Hello ladies. You're not fooling anyone with the "ie" -- we all know you hated how much "Annie" made you sound like a little kid when you were a little kid, it's not making you come off younger now.]
Lumet followed up the aesthetic disaster of his film FAIL-SAFE -- no one could have outdone Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern's 1963 triumph by making an earnest, turgidly straight adaptation of the Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler's Cold War potboiler that DR. STRANGELOVE turned into glorious black comedy -- with this small, gritty drama about a WWII British Army prison in Libya. Real-life Army-prison-camp vet Ray Rigby wrote the original play and co-adapted it for the screen with R.S. Allen, one of Allen's rare excursions from television sitcoms to theatrical drama; it's a combination that works surprisingly well, although it takes a while to get used to some of the accents and grunts.
Like most Lumets, it boasts a great ensemble -- Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Ossie Davis, Ian Hendry, Alfred Lynch, Roy Kinnear and Michael Redgrave -- and intense drama. The somewhat unsung Oswald Morris shot the film with a wonderful mix of desert grittiness and a unique clarity that B&W only developed once color film became the industry standard. I sometimes wonder why this film's opening shot doesn't get mentioned as often or with the same awe reserved for TOUCH OF EVIL; I suppose it's because the shot is largely technically impressive -- establishing little more than the size of the prison, with none of the drama of seeing the convertible with the ticking bomb in its trunk rolling by Heston & Leigh until they catch up and finally pass it.
Unlike most prison movies, this one has quite a nice kink in its tail [tale]; instead of the standard plot engine of seeing rebellious new inmates clash and sometimes reconcile with the institution and/or its inept/corrupt warders, this one throws in a few conflicts between the warders themselves. Enjoy:
One recurring theme in many of their comps was ending the album with the most kickass though obscure track in the subject's oeuvre. In Del's case, it was "Sister Isabelle," a psychedelic love letter to a young nun; let's see a Springsteen or a Dylan write that song. In a better world, women named Isabelle would have to humor people who insist on greeting them by bellowing their names as often as women named Bernadette have to endure now, because this song is great [ignore the demo track that starts around 2:45]:
I had no idea that Frank Black's first project after the Pixies broke up was to record a session for BBC icon John Peel with Teenage Fanclub as his backing band. One of the tracks they recorded was a surprisingly faithful and almost sedate but still rocking cover of "Sister Isabelle:"
Back to Del Shannon; I think it was Spurge who pointed out that Grant Morrison is clearly seen fruging during the Clavioline solo [1:17] of this "live" performance of Del's hit "Runaway:"
Do they even air teen dance programs on television anymore? If they do, I hope being able to dance in time to music is still not a requirement.
Don't remember what comic I clipped this out of on September 22, 2010, but it still makes me laugh and feel a bit queasy.
Mr. Cook was the funniest Englishman of our times. I don't have to pull out any data charts or graphs to prove this.
Via Boot Sound Sales, here are some selected tracks from a Greatest Hits comp of his hugely influential work with Dudley Moore and BEYOND THE FRINGE -- I'm still amazed that even Cook could write a sketch as perfect as "A Leg Too Few" when he was just 17 -- and some of his satirical/muckraking PRIVATE EYE's flexidisc recordings.
Via Dinosaur Gardens, here's the OP vinyl version of Dudley Moore's soundtrack to his and Cook's classic film BEDAZZLED. The "Bedazzled/Love" Me seven-inch would easily make my Desert Island Discs shortlist -- considering most of production on the film must have been wrapped up prior to 1967's "Summer of Love," Moore and Cook did a remarkable job of predicting where pop music was about to go.
But the motherload of Cook audio goodness is "The Establishment" Peter Cook Appreciation Society, where you can enjoy several woefully out-of-print Cook/Cook & Moore/BTF LPs and rare recordings as well as the subversive call-in fantasies of his Sven radio pranks, and all sorts of other delights.
Andy Beckett's "Death of a Slacker" -- published in THE INDEPENDENT six months after Cook's 1995 death -- isn't entirely pleasant, nor is it entirely fair, but it does offer a compelling take on the post-Moore decade-and-a-half of Cook's life. It speaks to the man's greatness that somehow being less than superhuman -- standing as a key figure in the dawning of the '60s that we now think of as The '60s, directly influencing an entire generation of comedians and satirists who then directly influenced generations of later comedians and satirists, having a smash-hit Broadway revue, a hugely successful newspaper and the hippest performance club in London at the age of 27, before going on to change television, film, politics and society itself later in his life -- is considered something of a failure. It's like the entire world continues to play Ike making up to Cook's Tina; "Baby, I'm sorry I yelled at you -- but it's because you're so amazing that I get so mad when you don't do the great things I know you can do!" Anyway, Beckett write good, you go read now.
[ps. No need to point out how many of my heroes were polymaths who were nonetheless essentially wrung-dry professionally/creatively by the the time they were my age, playing themselves on talk shows at most -- Cook, Orson Welles, Paul Rhymer, Rod Serling. I already have had that pointed out to me twice.]
Holy fucking shit, this stuff is amazing yet it tastes exactly like how I remember it. Well, maybe a little sweeter, but I let the banana I used go a little browner a little longer than I used to do. Definitely need to brush my teeth before bed tonight. Huzzah!
We all have our moments and the urge to talk shit about our peers is always tempting -- not to mention that this film was made by two of Duffy's jilted ex-partners -- but this guy blasts his bridges to their component atoms instead of merely burning them, all with the power of his very big mouth. Enjoy:
No one knows the loneliness of being a 20-year-old TELEPHONE BOOK fan surrounded by FORBIDDEN ZONE and ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW enthusiasts.
Here's a scene from the film -- I can't say that it's indicative of the rest of the movie, as no scene in it corresponds to much of anything else in it. Still, "dick-a-lick" is fun to say with a mouthful of peanut butter. Enjoy:
Dear Criterion: Hey, it's me. Please get on finding a decent print of this movie and releasing it before I break down and buy a cruddy pan & scan boot. It would be nice to give just you twenty of my bucks instead of sending a 20 to some jagoff who may or may not rip me off first. Thanks in advance.
Two-and-a-half to three cups of vanilla ice cream, depending on how thick you want your shake
One cup of room-temperature coffee; stale is fine, just swill it around in the pot a bit before pouring into the blender
One cup of milk
One or two tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sugary your ice cream is
Two or three tablespoons of chocolate syrup -- I've never tried it, but I trust that a tablespoon of powdered chocolate could work in a pinch here
Throw the milk, coffee and sugar -- in that order -- in your blender and blast it for 10 seconds on medium or until the sugar's dissolved.
Add the chocolate syrup. Blend another 10 seconds on medium.
Add the first two cups of ice cream. Blend on high for 10 seconds at a time until you like what you see, adding the rest of the ice cream to thicken as needed.
Eat. Enjoy. Never go to Arby's again.
How to make your own Shamrock Shake with stuff you probably already have in your kitchen, rather than drive around town like an asshole hoping that the next McDonald's won't be out of stock too:
* Two cups of any type of vanilla ice cream
* One to one-and-a-quarter cups of any type of milk [the fattier the better, of course], depending on how thick you like your milkshake
* A quarter to a half-teaspoon of mint extract, depending on how hardcore you want to be [peppermint will also work, probably better the more I think about it]
* Four-to-eight drops of food-coloring green, depending on your aesthetic/memory of swilling this shit as a child.
* Put everything in a blender. Blend until smooth. Eat/Drink/Enjoy.
[* If actually Irish, add two cups of hard liquor. Insert beer to taste. Call your sister a stupid whore. Take a swing at the nearest cop. Begorra, Happy Thursday To Us All.]
There is a benefit to living in a community of fellow aspiring artists, but the odds of hitting the critical-mass-flashpoint lottery to come of age in a pre-war writer's Paris, a post-war painter's New York or a filmmaker's Vietnam-era Bay Area aren't so hot, even at the nothing-but-comics schools. They just don't make artistic/cultural hothouses like they used to, kids.
Kubert, Savannah, CCS and all the other comics schools are loaded with swell people who have made many comics we all have loved to pieces, but their students would probably be better off sinking that tuition money into a liberal-arts education, an 11x17 scanner, a long-arm stapler and a nest egg to move to a cartoonist haven like NYC or Portland once they graduate.
Someone once asked me to rank the best and worst handfuls of movies Orson Welles made as a director. I normally resist or at least try to resist indulging any director-worshipper* and the more I dig into Welles' often far superior radio, writing and television work the more I realize that him devoting the bulk of his adult life to the cinema was less his manifest destiny than a codependent relationship he wasn't strong enough to walk away from once the honeymoon was clearly over and the bad times rarely stopped rolling.
All that said, I was weak and played along with this parlor game anyway. Actually, it is fun, I just don't like playing it with only directors [or only movies]:
1. THE TRIAL
2. F FOR FAKE
3. TOUCH OF EVIL
4. CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
4. MR. ARKADIN
3. THE STRANGER
2. DON QUIXOTE
1. SWINGING LONDON
THE TRIAL is the apex of Welles' post-Hollywood collage-as-mise-en-scène style; unlike OTHELLO, it rarely draws attention to itself, and unlike ARKADIN, it rarely looks like a cheap budget fix. THE TRIAL seems much more personally felt than any of his other movies, except for maybe CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, and it's the only one of his European movies that had a crew that came close to the technical chops of an American film crew at the time, so Welles had a far better shot at realizing what he imagined.
Because everyone asks: CITIZEN KANE is certainly one of the greats, but it's more of a brilliant, comprehensive textbook of filmmaking [hence, it ranks so high on critic lists and such] than a brilliant film. It's a greater calisthenic achievement than a meaningfully artistic one. It behaves a lot like Will Eisner's post-CONTRACT WITH GOD work; a mega-ton showcase of nearly peerless skill and craft, but in the service of a story that really doesn't deserve so much brilliance.
* The director-as-auteur theory would never have taken root if the director wasn't the member of the producer/writer/director/editor quadrangle who works with movie stars the most. You know it, I know it, dogs know it.