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Archive for the ‘Retro’ Category

The Open Road: London filmed in colour, 1927

Between 1924 and 1926, Claude Friese-Greene filmed “The Open Road” — a documentary of the United Kingdom from Lands End to John O’ Groats. What’s most remarkable about this footage is that it’s shot in colour using a process called Friese-Greene Natural Colour, based on the Biocolour process originally developed by his father William.

This is an eleven-minute segment of that film, restored by the BFI, shot in London.

The Lost World Of Friese-Greene (2006) DVD at (via Boing Boing)

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street

Jim Henson and Frank Oz with Bert and Ernie

It’s hard to believe but Sesame Street was born 40 years ago to this day. The show was originally conceived in 1969 to teach less advantaged children, through the means of television, so that they would arrive in school with the same preparation as middle-class children.

The show’s 40th season also starts today featuring new title and end sequences, First Lady Michelle Obama and its very first CG-animated block, Abby’s Flying Fairy School.

To celebrate, Google has shown a whole bunch of Sesame Street-inspired logos throughout the last week. They have them collected in higher resolution on their website, including all the localised ones that you may not have seen in your country, along with a “behind the scenes” look at the making of the final day’s logo, below.

Sesame Street Google Doodle

Here’s some more to feed your Sesame Street fix:
Why did Britain fall out of love with Sesame Street?
TIME Magazine: Sesame Street’s 40-Year Cavalcade of Stars gallery
Feist’s performance on Sesame Street
Ricky Gervais and Elmo
Sesame Street Classic songs playlist

Walt Disney on What’s My Line?, 1956

Here’s mystery guest Walt Disney on the North American version of the TV quiz show “What’s My Line”, first aired on CBS in November 1956. The show also features Jerry Lewis as a contestant who asks, “Walt, did you check with the government to see if they needed any money lately?”

Also fascinating are Walt’s comments on his love of the immediacy of television. I wonder what he’d have made of the internet.

Cassia Beck: Vintage inspired photography

Cassia Beck photography

If you haven’t already (as I mention the lovely lady on my personal Twitter pretty much every day!), take a look at Cassia’s wonderful vintage-inspired photographs.

She’s just made the front page of Flickr’s Explore with this colourful collection of beach huts, shares her favourite things on her blog and sells prints through her shop on Etsy and on All Things Original.

If you’re in Brighton this weekend, be sure to drop by the IO Gallery at 39 Sydney Street where a selection of her retro TTV images are for sale. They’ll only be available there until Monday 24th August, so be quick!

Home movies at Disneyland, 1956

Jeff Altman, an assistant film colourist, has been restoring a bunch of his grandfather’s old 16mm home movies — including this absolute gem of a family vacation to Disneyland in 1956, a year after the park opened.

What’s amazing is not only the image quality, but that they managed to capture Walt Disney himself (shaking hands with Jeff’s grandmother, no less). Superb! (via The Disney Blog)

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain DS

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Nintendo DS screenshots

While working this evening I downloaded and listened to the latest Retronauts podcast. I hadn’t listened to it before and was surprised to discover that it had been replaced with a podcast for another 1Up offering, The Grind — an RPG games blog. As I’m not adverse to such things (and because they mentioned Fallout at the start of the episode) I listened to it anyway.

But that’s not what this is about! When I was about seven years old I ordered a book called The Warlock of Firetop Mountain from the school book club. Probably because, to a seven-year-old, it sounded pretty cool and most likely because it shared a premise with my favourite game of all time, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons for the Intellivision.

Part-way through the podcast I thought I heard a reference to this book and — sure enough I had! It turns out that a company called Big Blue Bubble, developers of, uh, nothing really, are producing a game based on the original Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone-penned book for the Nintendo DS. It’s unlikely that the game will live up to the lofty heights my wide-eyed seven-year-old self held the book but the screenshots look promising.

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for Nintendo DS is scheduled for release at the end of 2009.

Monkey Island Special Edition for iPhone

The Secret of Monkey Island on iPhone

Following the recent rumours of a port, Lucasarts quietly slipped The Secret of Monkey Island onto the iTunes App Store this week without fanfare… So quietly that it still isn’t mentioned on the game’s official site. But yes, that’s right, you can now play the updated point and click classic on your iPhone and iPod Touch!

Weighing in at a hefty (for an iPhone app, anyway) 350Mb, it includes the new “special edition” version with the voices and enhanced soundtrack found on the Xbox and Windows versions as well as the original VGA version, just as it appeared in 1990. Simply swipe two fingers across the screen at any time while playing to switch between them. Swiping two fingers sure is easier than messing with DOS extended memory and Soundblaster drivers for hours on end! Oh how I miss 1990s PC gaming… You really had to work to play a game back then. None of this plug and play nonsense.

I digress…

Monkey Island iPhone screenshots

The new high-definition visuals work just as well on the less than high definition format of the iPhone’s three and a half inch screen. The controls, while seemingly cumbersome at first, work incredibly well once you realise that the screen is functioning in the same way as a laptop trackpad to guide the cursor around. This offers much more precision than if you were to use a greasy finger stump to directly select objects on the screen.

Just as in the original it’s possible to store multiple saved games which means you can let your friends and family have a go. It’s a simple feature that’s surprisingly lacking in many iPhone games that would benefit well from it. Yes, I’m looking at you, Rolando!

In summary, it’s a great port of a lovely revisiting of a fantastic classic. Buy it now and help ensure Lucasarts re-release Sam & Max Hit the Road, Day of the Tentacle and the rest of their point and click adventure back catalogue!

The Secret of Monkey Island £4.99/$7.99 (iTunes App Store link)

Apollo 11 Live TV Coverage

Moon landing live on TV

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, Jason Kottke has set up a virtual 1960s television set which will broadcast coverage “live” tonight at 16:00 EDT for the moon landing and 22:10 EDT for the moon walk.

The coverage will be reported by the late Walter Cronkite, who sadly passed away last Friday.

The Apollo 11’s lunar module, the LM-5 (better known as the Eagle), landed on the moon, with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong as its passengers, on July 20th 1967.

More vintage Disneyland Hotel stuff

1950s Disneyland Hotel postcard

I recently had an email from Donald W. Ballard who corrected a few details in my previous article on the Disneyland Hotel. Don’s written a book on the subject so should know his stuff!

His blog is a treasure trove of things about the hotel; early photographs both private and promotional, concept art, newspaper and magazine clippings and advertisements, brochures, passes, memos… even a mini golf scorecard! You name it, it’s probably in there.

The Disneyland Hotel: The Early Years is available direct from the author for $47.50 plus shipping.

John Hanna, Illustrator (1919 – )


Browsing through my backlog of blog feeds this morning a post by Nick Asbury caught my eye. He was looking for more information about the illustrator who created these beautiful covers for Country Fair magazine, signed “Hanna”, in the 1950s.

By the time I had found the post he had already managed to discover that it was an Australian artist by the name of John Hanna who lived in England from 1948 to 1962.

Surprisingly there’s very little the web about him, but I have managed to dig up a few additional scans of his work for Country Fair. (via Ace Jet 170)

Update 5th Sept 2009: Lots more lovely images here on the Delicious Industries blog. Frustratingly they appear to have been dug up at a boot fair very close to home! (via Drawn!)