Sunday, 28 July 2019

Walton Earth?

Here is a Simpsons story you may be familiar with. In a speech on 27 January 1992, then-President of the United States George H.W. Bush mentions The Simpsons unflatteringly, stating American families should try to be "a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons". These remarks - or something very similar to them - are repeated during his speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention in August of that year. (Some sources claim that Bush's second use of the Waltons/Simpsons comparison was during his State of the Union address on 28 January, but that does not seem to be the case.)

The producers of The Simpsons quickly rush out a response, using redubbed animation (taken from the start of "Simpson and Delilah") and live-action footage of the speech, aired as a pre-titles sequence before a repeat of "Stark Raving Dad" on the 30th January, which you can see here. (Apologies for linking to a DVD extra someone's stuck on YouTube, but it is absolutely necessary to illustrate this article.)

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Broken Gamebooks #15: Vault of the Vampire

Bonus fact: At the request of the publisher, the illustrator "reluctantly" toned down the cleavage on the girl in the background.
Time to finish up on Keith Martin's adventure gamebooks, then. There are two things worth mentioning here, and the first is small, but interesting. Take a look at this picture of section 123, and its accompanying illustration:

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Scorpia Fish

The fifth Alex Rider book, Scorpia, was published in April 2004 in the UK (that printing is the one pictured above - if your copy looks similar but with a bigger insignia and a smaller title, then you've got a reprint from circa 2005, and it was reissued with new covers several times between 2009 and 2015 as the series' publishers struggled to find a design they liked) and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, in March 2005 in the US.

I recall reading some years ago that there was a fairly significant change to the text in the US edition. To quote from a conversation between Alex and his friend Tom on page 88 of the UK edition, during chapter 6 "Thoughts on a Train":

Alex hadn't mentioned his father. That was the one area that still troubled him. It was too private to share with anyone. "I've got to find Scorpia," he began. He paused, then continued carefully. "I think my dad may have had some sort of involvement with them. I never knew him. He died shortly after I was born."

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Let's Do The Mind Warp Again

The 1986 series of Doctor Who, a 14-part arc split up into four individual segments known collectively as The Trial of a Time Lord, is one of the shining examples of a deeply troubled production, perhaps best summed up by the writer of the final segment dying before he had completed the script, the script editor finishing it but the producer then getting cold feet about the original ending and deciding to change it, and the script editor being so incensed by this that he withdrew permission to use his version of the final episode and walked out on the production, meaning a new writing team had to be brought in to write a new conclusion without knowing anything about what was originally meant to happen with just days to spare.