Monday, July 23, 2012

Return to Oz on Blu-Ray?

Will Return to Oz be released on Blu-Ray soon?  No word yet, but here's hoping!  With Oz the Great and powerful coming out and the  30th anniversary coming up.. The stars seem to be aligning.  Until then, here is a Blu-Ray cover I made for fun  :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Return to Oz Coloring Pages

Here is something exciting.... We have updated out Interactive page and added some fun Coloring Pages!  You can get to these via the Interactive Tab.  These are just the first few in many to come  :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Three Fetishes: Transformation and Ethical Engagement in Walter Murch’s Return to Oz (1985)

Here is an article written recently by Jesse Miksic about our beloved movie;

The Three Fetishes: Transformation and Ethical Engagement in Walter Murch’s Return to Oz (1985)

There is a vast mythology out there, deeper and wider than Middle Earth or Hogwarts, and yet more intimate, more rooted in the flights of fancy and weirdness that writhe in the dirt of our collective childhood. This is the mythology of Oz, created by Frank L. Baum and articulated in his fourteen novels about Dorothy and her various companions. For over 100 years, it’s been dormant, waiting patiently to be mined for spectacles and narratives; unfortunately, most of us only know it by a single film, the celebrated 1939 adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The whole thing is tragic case of untapped potential.

There was one other notable film drawn from this mythology, however, and it vibrates with richness and rabid weirdness. This is director Walter Murch’s 1985 Return to Oz, a film sentenced by the cruel hand of circumstance to obscurity and cult status. Murch was a first-time director, and the film was generally considered too harsh and frightening for the children that would presumably make up its primary audience. It’s a sad outcome, because locked within this Labyrinthian orgy of a pseudo-children’s horror moviemare some mind-bending subtexts, glimpses of some interesting ideas about transformation, childhood, and ethical agency.

In this essay, I’ll be breaking some of those ideas down. Using three potent symbols – the ECT machine, the Magic Powder, and the egg – as guideposts, I’ll unpack some of the paradoxes and explorations of identity and transformation that underlie the film’s pixie-dust grotesqueries. I’ll show how these subtexts connect with ideas of ethics and responsibility, allowing humble little Dorothy to be the savior of a whole imaginary universe. Don’t expect too much… the film resolutely refuses to make sense, or behave in any linear or predictable way… but as with any genuinely eccentric film, this shouldn’t stop us from looking for the deeper ideas locked away within all the weirdness.

And so, without further ado – the first of the three fetishes of Oz:

I. The Electrotherapy Machine

“Now this fellow here has a face. Do you see it? There are his eyes, and this must be his nose, and this must be his mouth. What’s this? Why, it’s his… tongue!”

Dr. Worley thinks his ECT machine is alive… so much so that he is destined to die trying to save it from his burning hospital. Of course, he also thinks the human brain is just an electrical machine, functioning entirely by way of switches and currents. And though he is an ephemeral figure, only appearing for a few minutes, his confusion seems to preside over this whole story, the dramatic and mind-bending return of Dorothy Gale to the land of Oz.

Dorothy follows a path of waking dreams and resonant artifacts to get back to the land of Oz, her hallucinogenic ancestral home. Months after her first journey to Oz, Dorothy became an obsessed insomniac, seeing visions of a place nobody else believed in. She was taken to Dr. Worley so that he could use his psychiatric devices to cleanse her of her melancholy. The implied objective: to make Dorothy forget about Oz, so that it no longer keeps her awake at night. If the ECT machine is truly alive, then it’s a monster that eats memories.

Making a machine of the mind entails a paradox, and Dr. Worley falls squarely into it. In trying to give Dorothy back the gift of an everyday life, he is denying her the desires and interiors that make her who she is. It is a fundamentally dehumanizing process, turning her into a sort of a tool and an ornament for her parents, who just want her to be useful around the farm, and “normal” in her behavioral patterns.

This meddling in Dorothy’s brain certainly doesn’t purge Oz from her thoughts. In fact, at the moment she is supposed to undergo treatment, she actually goes back, returning to her dreamscape by way of a confused and desperate escape attempt. Whether the ECT machine itself induces the journey, or whether it’s simply a significant landmark on the way, is irrelevant. The implication is that, through the misguided treatment of a patronizing, dehumanizing old doctor, Dorothy makes her inevitable Return to Oz.

Oz is a world where everything in Dorothy’s life is reflected in a great mirror of non sequitur. The translations are often revealing: people with pernicious influence in Dorothy’s waking world are reframed as melodramatic villains, and people (and animals) endeared to Dorothy become her supporters and companions. Dr. Worley, however gentle and well-meaning he seems to be in the real world, is transformed into a despotic tyrant, a sentient mountain with the manner of a self-important bully. He is the Nome King, through whose malicious influence the Emerald City and the Yellow Brick Road have been destroyed, and the heroes and citizens of Oz have been imprisoned in stone.

As Dr. Worley’s counterpart, the Nome King also has an agenda of control, and this agenda also uses amnesia as a weapon. When Dorothy goes off to browse his ornaments, he says something telling: “Soon there’ll be no one left who remembers Oz… and I will be completely human.” This enigmatic mechanism is never mentioned anywhere else in the dialog, but to the Nome King, it’s been the key pillar of his strategem– turn everyone who knows about Oz into stone or ornaments, thus eliminating the memory of Oz from the world.

The room where the Nome King’s guessing game takes place is a sterile gallery of ornaments, presumably representing his hundreds of victims. Dorothy enters through a morphing cave wall of rock, and the contrast between the stone chamber and the soft white gallery is striking, bringing to mind an earlier, more highbrow interior scene: the ascendance of Dave Bowman in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Nome King’s gallery has the same stylized flatness, the same shrill sense of dead space, as David’s cosmic bedroom. Both settings are liminal spaces for mind and identity, sites where the boundaries of consciousness are crossed; and both stories struggle with the man/machine dichotomy. The most important difference is that in the Nome King’s gallery, humanity is being stolen, rather than transcended.

Dehumanizing and aestheticizing, sealing people inside objects, in order to become human himself… a sinister, fascistic agenda, the exaggerated projection of Dr. Worley’s desire to treat the mind as an electrical machine, thus downgrading it from the animate to the inanimate.

There is another player in the ecosystem of Oz who insists on downgrading the organic into the inanimate. Her name is Queen Mombi, and even as she saps the life out of her henchmen and herself, she also holds her own antithesis – the Magic Powder – in her hands.

II. The Magic Powder

Queen Mombi is a hellish character, both sadistic and tortured, so powerless in the face of the Nome King that she turns her aggressive instinct back upon herself. Aside from the Nome King, she is the only actor in the ruined Oz who makes an active attempt to backtrack along the ladder of consciousness, turning herself from an autonomous individual into an empty terminal for the interchange of identities.

Mombi’s thing is that she has stolen the heads from dozens of citizens of Oz, and she keeps them in a living trophy hall, gazing back at her whenever she passes through to take stock of them. These heads apparently have their own personalities, as they can talk, even when detached from Mombi’s body. Her original head is kept locked away in a protective encasement at the end of the corridor, along with the Magic Powder, one of the powerful artifacts that the lazy, self-absorbed queen has apparently been assigned to guard.

Mombi’s sins closely resemble the Nome King’s: she aestheticizes the organic, treating identities as accessories and imprisoning personalities in decapitated heads which she puts on display. Not so different from capturing humans and keeping them as ornaments… the biggest difference is the ambition. Mombi has no real interest in taking over Oz, nor in becoming human (conquering the plateau of the ladder of consciousness). She is outright lazy, lingering and sleeping, sedated by her opulent surroundings and army of servants. Her menagerie of human heads gives her more than enough variety without having to conquer some foreign territory.

Mombi’s henchmen, the Wheelers, are her complimentary inferiors. They are human/mechanical hybrids, humans merged with automobiles: wheels for hands and feet, communicating in car noises. They are also deranged and irrational and cowardly, easily dominated by Mombi.

Both Mombi and the Wheelers are deconstructed human types, but it’s worth noting the difference in their strategies. The Wheelers are mechanical constructs, almost steampunk in their primitive morphology. Mombi, on the other hand, is cybernetic. She is a highly adaptive system with interchangeable identities, wearing faces and demeanors like it’s a matter of fashion. She is more dynamic than the Wheelers, but also more fragmented, with seams and couplings that penetrate right into her soul.
In what seems like somebody’s terrible delegation decision, Mombi has been placed in charge of guarding some very important things. One of them is a substance called Magic Powder, fairy dust gathered into a vial, that gives life to anything it’s applied to. She keeps this powder locked up with her original head; why she has it, why she values it, and what she might ever do with it are all mysteries that won’t be answered by this narrative. In no time at all, Dorothy will steal it and use it to animate a new companion (the Gump). Though it doesn’t have much more of a role to play, the powder is a symbolic cornerstone within the text. Honestly, Oz might as well be made of the stuff.
Like the ECT machine, the Magic Powder is an artifact of boundary-crossing, able to turn the inanimate into the animate, and giving the resulting creature a full personality and range of cognitive tools. This concept – the permeability of boundaries between object, animal, and man – is built into this story at an atomic level, spread so pervasively that it becomes sort of invisible. It may seem strange for a moment that Bellina suddenly learns to talk, but when we meet the Wheelers, and the Royal Army, and see the headless statues of the citizens of Emerald City, it becomes clear that this narrative is a sandbox of identity and ontological status.
This is what you might call a panthropomorphic world, fertilized at the intersection of surrealism and vitalism. Vitalism is the theory, regarded as highly scientific until around the 17th century, that all creatures possess some sort of principle, above and beyond the mere matter of which they are made, that allows them to move, and as a by-product, to form goals, make decisions, have desires, and generally perform actions within the world. It’s largely associated with theorists like Galen and Aristotle, and with the theory of the Four Humors. The Magic Powder, more than anything else in the story, embodies the animating principle behind living things – the vital force. Its power to place a spark within dead or inert objects, to make them capable of motion and thought, makes it seem almost redundant in this exotic land of Oz, where that sort of transgression is a prerogative, rather than an aberration.
In her return to Oz, Dorothy encounters three totems of vitalism. The first two are the ECT Machine and the Magic Powder. The third – both a reproductive symbol and a deadly weapon against the inert – is the Egg.

III. The Egg
Dorothy doesn’t realize that she has the most powerful weapon in Oz, right from the moment she arrives. This weapon is the egg that Billina the chicken is able to lay, apparently when she’s terrified of being eaten. The Egg is a potent symbol of matter becoming life, an object that can become a living creature, and its vital power is too much for the Nome King to bear. Why? It’s hard to say, either on a biological or a symbolic level; there’s lots of space for speculation, but how exactly the egg works its deadly magic is never answered by this narrative.
More interesting is the host itself, the adventurers that unwittingly bear the egg to the mountain palace. This host is composed entirely of boundary-crossing rogues, gathered around Dorothy herself, who began the journey by crossing the boundary from the real world into the magical land of Oz. This appears to be the only threshold the rest of them can’t cross, as Dorothy is destined to eventually return to Earth alone.
The first of Dorothy’s new wards is Tik-Tok, the Royal Army of Oz, a proud machine with all the capacities of a human, but who refuses to acknowledge that he is alive. Returning to 2001, he seems to be the steampunk second coming of HAL, happy to be free of the shortcomings of living creatures. Though he is not alive (a fact that he resolutely emphasizes), he has all the outward projections of life – thought, speech, and motion – which Jewish mysticism calls the “garments of the soul.” Once he is “empowered” by Dorothy, he is a relentless warrior, an easy match for the hordes of Wheelers, and a cunning strategist within the Nome King’s gallery.

Aside from Billina the chicken and Tik-Tok the wind-up soldier, Dorothy has two other companions, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump. Despite their absurdist nature, they are two of the saddest cases in Oz, both hand-made assemblages of objects given life by the Magic Powder. Both of them appear to be tragically incomplete… Jack yearns endlessly for his mother, and casts Dorothy as a surrogate, developing a rather unhealthy attachment to her. The Gump is constantly falling apart, losing limbs and large fragments. His personality seems to be resident within his head, a taxidermied trophy from some long-forgotten hunt. At any particular time, he’s lucky to have enough working parts to move around on his own power.
Despite the jankiness of her patchwork companions, Dorothy develops a fast and firm loyalty to them, and this is what ultimately sets her apart from Mombi and the Nome King. Her loyalty to her friends, and her concern for the Emerald City, indicate a strong ethical engagement on Dorothy’s part. This is a key to her character, and it’s also a key to unlocking the theme of transformation that floods this narrative.
In her book The Enchantment of Modern Life, philosopher Jane Bennett argues that despite all of Western culture’s claims of rationalist disillusionment, there still is – and must be – a sense of mystery and enchantment at work in our everyday lives. Further, she claims, this sense of enchantment is necessary for ethical engagement with the world. If we were truly disillusioned materialists, as some modern philosophers claim, we would fall into the ethical traps of nihilism and disinterest, because we feel no guiding hand or spiritual investment to shape our ethical lives.
A large portion of Bennett’s book focuses on boundary-crossers, like Deep Blue the thinking computer, Alex the reasoning parrot, and Rotpeter, Kafka’s ape that transforms himself into an ape-man to escape captivity. She has great affection for these cases of fluid ontology, and she ends their chapter with the following passage:
Inter- and intraspecies crossings might function as one of the sites of enchantment within a high-tech world where God’s presence, while available to many, is vague to others and absent for some. … Crossings can show the world to be capable of inspiring wonder, with room for play and for high spirits. And crossings just might help to induce the kind of magnanimous mood that seems to be crucial to the ethical demands of a society that is increasingly multicultural, multispecied, and multitechnical.

This kind of transformative magic is cranked up to eleven with Oz, the land where all identities and ontological states are fluid; and Dorothy, the visitor who has been adopted as a savior by the kingdom, is a test case for the power of enchantment to engage the moral sensibility.
Dorothy’s ethical engagement is tested by the Nome King in a very direct way. As she is going to play his lethal guessing game, he stops her:
“Dorothy. You don’t have to go down there. I could use the ruby slippers to send you back home. And when you get back, you will never think of Oz again."
“What about my friends?”
“Forget about them. You can’t help them now. … There’s no place like home.”

Dorothy goes on without even responding to this cynical manipulation. It’s a subtle, but viciously contemptuous response, more effective than any clever quip would have been. She may as well have rolled her eyes and spat in his drink. This is her strength of character – you know that if the Nome King himself were to be faced with such a challenge, he would balk, because he would never risk his own safety for anyone else. Mombi, the cybernetic queen, is equally disengaged; when you first see her lounging in her palace, she is apparently asleep, and until Dorothy steals from her, she seems to be in a stupor, like a well-supplied opium addict.

But Dorothy experiences her world as a wondrous, enchanting place, and she has a great sense of responsibility. She wants to free her old friend the Scarecrow; she risks becoming an ornament to save even her most recent acquaintances; she laments the destruction of the Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City, and never dreams (even within this fever-dream) of accepting the status quo.

And at the end of her pilgrimage, it is the Egg that takes down the dictator, its real, physical, organic power of generation blowing open his cynical self-regard. The opposite of forgetting is not remembering, but creating, the spark of life within a talking chicken’s egg. Dorothy had the antidote with her all along, and the challenge isn’t in learning how to use it… it’s simply in resisting, asserting one’s presence as a moral force, so that eventually, that weapon can deploy itself.

And while those thresholds and boundary-crossings are a ubiquitous theme, and Dorothy’s ethical presence is a path to resolution, neither of these closes the narrative. Indeed, its lack of closure, its thematic illegibility, is one of the most wondrous things about this rendition of L. Frank Baum’s mythology. Like a true world of the imagination, it a language with a surplus of symbols, a place of play, possessed by fluid categories, spontaneous and pragmatic in its moral concerns. It is a moral and metaphysical dream, a lateral journey across the landscape of boundaries and differences, and a point of origin for an endless cycle of interpretation and inscription.
In her Return to Oz, Dorothy has rediscovered a place where animals talk, objects resonate with the vital force, and every entity is free to determine itself, as long as it’s willing to accept the responsibilities of ethical engagement that wonder and enchantment entail.

To see the original article follow  the link HERE

Sunday, July 1, 2012

News Article

Here is a small News article I thought I would share.. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jean Marsh (Mombi) Honored by the Queen!

Here is a copy of the article:

"Born-and-bred Londoner Jean Marsh - the star of Upstairs, Downstairs - said she was "thrilled" to be made an OBE but admitted she initially ignored the official letter because she thought it might be a parking ticket.

The 77-year-old actress, who co-created the show with her friend Dame Eileen Atkins, said she was "overwhelmed" by the honour.

She said: "I thought it looked like a parking ticket but I knew I hadn't driven for a year.

"It feels extraordinary. I've had awards, like Emmys and all that sort of thing, but to have an official thing like this, I was thrilled."

Marsh, who played maid Rose Buck in the hit period drama, married actor Jon Pertwee when she was 19 and before he became a star as Doctor Who.

Upstairs, Downstairs, which was in part inspired by her mother's work in service, followed the lives of the well-heeled Bellamys of Belgravia and their servants below stairs.

Marsh said her parents would have been thrilled by the honour.

Soul singer and songwriter Omar, who has a home in south London, was so surprised by his MBE he had to read the letter to his parents to confirm he really had been given the honour.

The 43-year-old, perhaps best-known for debut single There's Nothing Like This, was awarded the gong for services to music under his full name Omar Lye Fook, has just recorded his seventh studio album and still tours internationally.

Omar has collaborated with musicians including Stevie Wonder and Angie Stone, and hit number 14 in the UK singles chart with There's Nothing Like This in 1991."

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tik-Tok Action figure

Sorry it has been a while since I posted.  Today I am sharing a video of a Tik-Tok action figure.  No this is not the action figure from Japan...  It is a Customized figure made recently.  Check it out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jean Marsh Article

Jean Marsh — best known as Rose Buck, the parlour maid turned housekeeper in Upstairs Downstairs — was giving a talk to a group of fans about her life and acting career when she found herself the centre of some unexpected attention.
‘Suddenly, I realised people weren’t so much listening to me as watching me,’ she says. ‘I thought, “Why are they looking at me in such a strange way?”
And when an ambulance arrived, it was a great shock to be told that it was me they had come for. It was an extraordinary thing because I was ill — I’d had a stroke and a heart attack — but I didn’t realise it.’

No stopping her: Jean Marsh has vowed to carry on, despite suffering from a stroke AND a heart attack in the last year
She was taken from the event at a hotel in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, to the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. ‘Even as they were wheeling me away, I was asking, “Where am I going? What’s the matter?” In the hospital I asked if I could go home to my flat in Chelsea.
The doctor said,“No, I don’t think you will be doing that for a while.” I said I was fine but they told me, “No you’re looking a bit odd.” My hand did look a bit funny and they said, “You’ve had a stroke.”

‘A stroke? I had no idea. I didn’t think there was anything the matter with me physically because I was still moving. Even the next morning, when I woke up in my hospital bed, I was still convinced they’d got it wrong.
I looked around the ward at the other patients and saw a lot of elderly women. I thought they looked awfully poorly, so I got up and started helping them do things!’

Friends arrived to see her and said, ‘You know you really are quite ill’, but all Jean wanted was to get home. ‘Finally I thought, well maybe something is wrong,’ she says. ‘Then for about six days I gradually found out things were happening.’
Meanwhile, with only two weeks to go before filming was scheduled to begin at the BBC’s Cardiff studios for a new series of the revived Upstairs Downstairs — and with 77-year-old Jean due to appear in all six episodes — scriptwriter Heidi Thomas drew up three alternative plans of action.
Plan A was to leave the series as originally written on the assumption that Jean would make a quick recovery and be allowed back to work.

Marsh first revived her role as Rose Buck in Upstairs Downstairs in 2010, and the show is to return to our screens this Sunday
Plan B was to reduce her role drastically, and give her a small presence in just two episodes provided her doctors agreed.
And Plan C was the worst possible scenario —that Jean would have to be written out of the series altogether.

‘I didn’t know any of this at the time,’ says Jean now. ‘I just wanted to leave hospital and get back to work. After two weeks, I persuaded them to move me from hospital in Gloucester to one near my London home, the Chelsea and Westminster. Then the doctor said I hadn’t just had a stroke, as I’d been told, but a little heart attack as well.

‘I didn’t believe that, either. I told them I’ve always had a heart murmur, a rapid heart beat, but over the years I’d just got on with it. They were worried because I’d lost a stone in weight, but that was because I didn’t like the food.

Marsh (far right) with Gordon Jackson, David Langton, Angela Baddely, and Simon Williams from an episode in 1973

‘All that arguing with them must have worked in my favour, because eventually, after a week, they told me I could go home. I explained that I was well able to cook for myself, and I have a lady who comes in and will do things for me. I wouldn’t go hungry, or be lonely.
‘But I still had to go back to hospital for therapy three days a week. And the doctors said I could go back to work too, but do no more than four hours a day. But I was so worried about letting everyone down’.

So Plan B was adopted. It was agreed Jean would appear only in episodes three and six. Her absence from housekeeping duties at No. 165 Eaton Place, Sir Hallam and Lady Holland’s Belgravia home, would be explained by the staff as an enforced stay in a sanatorium due to a bout of TB.

When we meet, with filming over and Upstairs Downstairs beginning on TV this weekend, Jean is still frail, but clearly full of fighting spirit.‘I knew I was going to be all right, because you can’t have a stroke and be an actress.
You’ve got to get better. So I was doing everything to achieve that. I was reading sonnets and Shakespeare. People stopped me in the street to ask me if I was still ill, and I’d say, “Oh no, not very.”

The revival of Upstairs Downstairs has been a big hit for the BBC, and it has been portrayed as a rival to Downton Abbey
The most important thing is that you tick over and every day you get a bit better.’
After she left hospital, she was naturally anxious to rejoin the cast of Upstairs Downstairs.
Writer Heidi Thomas invited her to a ‘welcome back’ dinner in Cardiff.
‘I wanted to show them that I could do it. And I said, “I’m all right, don’t even think about me not rejoining you.” Returning was very sentimental for me because everybody loved me. They said, “Oh you’re much nicer than you normally are!”
‘Everybody was there, all the cast, all the crew and I knew they were looking at me and thinking, “Oh what a relief!” And when we started filming my episodes, they all forgot about it. I think they felt, “Oh well, she’s all right now, we’re back to normal.” ’

Marsh has been on British TV screens for a number of decades, and has also been a scriptwriter for television as well
Upstairs Downstairs was first created by Jean and her close friend actress Dame Eileen Atkins almost 40 years ago and became a resounding success when first shown on ITV.
It was broadcast from 1971 to 1975, running for 68 episodes, watched by 30  million people and sold to 80 countries. Jean, who won an Emmy for her role as Rose in 1975, is the only original member to return to the series.
When the drama was first revived at Christmas 2010, a new character was created, the imperious Maud, Lady Holland, the mother of Sir Hallam, for Dame Eileen to play (she had not taken part in the original series).
But shortly before the latest series was to start filming — before Jean was taken ill — Dame Eileen decided she didn’t want to keep her role. In the new episodes viewers will discover Maud has died and her ashes are resting on the mantelpiece at Eaton Place.
It has been speculated that Dame Eileen was unhappy with the way the story — and her character — was developing. ‘I never talked to her about her reasons’, Jean insists. ‘It was her choice, although I think everybody felt it was sad.

The show was created by Jean Marsh and her good friend Dame Eileen Atkins, and it has been revealed her character has been killed off in the new series
‘I know she likes to vary the parts she is playing, and it would have been a big commitment to take on a six-part series. It would have meant her turning down other parts. I didn’t try to persuade her to stay, because it was nothing to do with me. I’ve never ever talked to her about anything to do with her career. I don’t want it to ruin our friendship.’
Both from working class backgrounds, Jean and Eileen became firm friends in their early 30s. ‘We decided to write about our own background, something we were familiar with.
‘Both our parents were servants. Eileen’s father had been a chauffeur and under-butler in a very grand household and my mother had been a housemaid in a big pub hotel.
So we had lots of personal experience to draw on. It was actually the downstairs that came first. The upstairs element evolved later, because the servants had to have a family to serve.

The original cast, reunited in 2007. Back row (L-R): Christopher Beeney, Simon Williams, John Alderton, Meg Wynn Owen, Lesley Anne Down. Front row (L-R): Jacqueline Tong, Pauline Collins, Jean Marsh and Jenny Tomasin

‘About that time — 1967 — The Forsyte Saga was on and we kept asking, “Well, who does the laundry in their household? And who does the cooking and the washing up?” So instead of only being about downstairs, it became Upstairs Downstairs.’
Although the show made Jean a household name, she insists she’s comfortable, but not rich.
‘It didn’t make me into Elizabeth Taylor, but I was pushed three rungs up the acting ladder. So when it came to reviving the concept 35 years later,
I didn’t want to destroy the memory of the people and their characters who made it such a success.’

Jean speaks about her character Rose fondly. ‘She can be outspoken when she feels like it, appears more gritty than one might imagine, and beneath the smile and glint in her pale blue eyes, has a steely determination.

‘She is also very political. I wasn’t like her at all, but I loved her. I felt a closeness to the part. And that’s the nicest thing about being Rose — people like her, and so they like me.’

Jean Marsh with Dr Who actor Jon Pertwee on their wedding day in 1955, the couple divorced in 1960
When she was 19, Jean married actor Jon Pertwee before he became a star as Doctor Who and Worzel Gummidge.

‘He was 14 years older than me, and I was still growing up, so I changed. Our marriage really only lasted 18 months or so, and we were divorced after five years, so it was a small part of my life. He was a lot of fun, though, because he was a very amusing man.’
Then she had a short affair with actor Albert Finney. ‘He was adorable — very sweet.’ Afterwards, she lived with Kenneth Haigh for ten years, and says: ‘He was a brilliant actor and a fascinating man. Sadly, he has been ill and in hospital for a very long time.’
There was also a relationship with film director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, but she has never had children.

It amuses her that there is talk of rivalry between Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. ‘It’s flattering that people think they are similar programmes. We keep being asked if we are having a fight over it, but really the competition is good for us.’
She says she has no intention of retiring so long as her health is stable. ‘Why would an actress retire? We don’t have to because, when we are older, we can play older parts. Even if you are in a wheelchair you can go on working.’

Monday, January 30, 2012

Custom Nome King

Here are some great shots of a custom Nome King sculpture. He is based on the final stage of the Nome King. He measures about 14 inches tall.

Stay tuned for more....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anther Nicol Article....

Below article written by Tim Walker.

Barely three months after Inadmissible Evidence, the John Osborne play that made his name, was revived in London, Nicol Williamson has died, aged 73, in Holland.

The colourful Scot – who was described by Osborne as the greatest actor since Marlon Brando, and, by Samuel Beckett, as “touched by genius” – had not made a film since 1997’s superhero picture Spawn. He had, in recent years, been concentrating on music.

His son, Luke, by his former wife Jill Townsend, tells Mandrake that he died just before Christmas after a two-year fight with oesophageal cancer and was eager that no fuss should be made about his passing. To modern filmgoers, he is probably best known for The Exorcist III and for playing Merlin in Excalibur.

John Boorman, the director, cast him in the latter film opposite his former lover Helen Mirren, to the dismay of both actors. The pair had previously appeared together, disastrously, in Macbeth.

Williamson’s rise and fall had been startling. His performance in Inadmissible Evidence in 1964 won him superb reviews in London, and, later, a Tony award on Broadway. Playing the title role in Hamlet for Tony Richardson, he won an unlikely fan in Harold Wilson. Richard Nixon, as president, invited him to the White House on Wilson’s recommendation.

His son says he preferred the company of musicians in his later years after he moved to Amsterdam to escape media attention in the late Seventies. He says he was hoping to put up his father's new album - which may be called "Nine Slices" or "Kismet Once Again", but was undecided - on the website they had set up together. He adds that a cause that was particularly close to his father's heart was the Regional Youth Shakespeare Company of which he was the patron.

Another cherished project in his later years was narrating an audio version of J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Ultimately, acting didn’t seem to mean all that much to Williamson, who died in relative poverty. As he once observed: “Actors act too much.”

Long goodbye

Just as football managers become anxious when their boards pass resolutions of confidence, so a BBC director-general can be forgiven for sweating when he learns that his chairman has headhunters working on a “succession plan”.

Mark Thompson, the current D-G, normally responds to my questions in person. When I ask him what he thinks about what Lord Patten has done, he does not reply, but, chillingly, a BBC press officer responds on his behalf: “As has been made clear, this is sensible succession planning, which Mark fully supports. It does not mean there is a vacancy.”

Nicol Williamson dies at 75...

Its sad news to find out about someone's passing. Nicol Williamson was a brilliant actor and will always be remembered for his role as Merlin in Excalibur. But to me I will always remember Nicol as the brilliant Dr. Worley and Nome King. Above I have made a desktop background in his memory.

He will me missed and remembered. I have the pipe he used in Return to Oz, as the Nome King, I will cherish it always.

Rest in peace my freind....

Below is an article publised today by Brent Lang

Stage and film star Nicol Williamson has died after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was 75.

The unpredictable English actor earned raves for the intensity he brought to his roles, but his erratic behavior scared off many film and theater producers.

He is best known for his wild-eyed portrayal of Merlin in John Boorman's 1981 film "Excalibur."
Other roles of note include a Tony-winning role in John Osborne's "Inadmissible Evidence" and a highly acclaimed title role performance in "Hamlet" for director Tony Richardson.
Williamson also played Sherlock Holmes in Herbert Ross' "The Seven-Percent-Solution" (1976) and Little John in Richard Lester's "Robin and Marian" (1976).

Williamson came of age in the 1960s, when a group of mostly working class group of English actors like Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney ushered in a new and more rough-hewn style of acting. This style was at odds with the more florid performances of actors such as Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud.

Indeed Osborne, author of the signature kitchen-sink drama "Look Back in Anger," hailed Williamson as the best of that crop, calling him "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando."
Yet he never achieved the international stardom of Finney, O'Toole, Alan Bates and others. Part of the reason was that his boozing and off-stage carousing often spilled over into his work, leading to on-stage tantrums and blow-ups.

Among Williamson's more colorful antics: He hit producer David Merrick during a performance of "Inadmissible Evidence"; stormed off the stage and announced his retirement during a performance of "Hamlet"; and he hit his "I Hate Hamlet" co-star Evan Handler with a sword, creating a tabloid frenzy.

The latter was hilariously documented by Paul Rudnick in a 2007 piece for the New Yorker entitled "I Hit Hamlet." Rudnick said that Williamson was brilliant when sober, but as soon as he began drinking, he threw the entire production into chaos.

"After the final performance, I had no intention of talking to Nicol," Rudnick writes. "I was still too angry. As I was heading upstairs, to bid farewell to the more lucid actors, the door to Nicol’s dressing room swung open. He stood there, a soused, lunatic, fifty-two-year-old Hamlet. We stared at each other. Nicol finally spoke, and his tone was both kind and accusing. He said, 'You knew this was going to happen.' And then he smiled and shut the door."

Custom Tik-Tok doll

Here are some great photos of a custom sculpted Tik-Tok we have in the museum. He measures about 12 inches tall.