Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Saturday, 26 May 2012
Scalextric meets Luke Skywalker
calextric has unveiled the first products to be developed under its three year global licensing deal with Star Wars.
The products will be available in June and include Death Star Attack, a micro Scaleextric set featuring X-Wing and TIE Fighter craft and a glow in the dark track.
There will also be a Scalextric Start set called battle of Endor and featuring Luke Skywalker and Scout Troopers on Speeder Bikes.
Paul Chandler, marketing manager at Scalextric, says: “We have worked on the Scalextric-Star Wars project for over two years now and we are delighted with the products we have created, working in close partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd. The combination of the incredible Scalextric slot racing system together with the iconic characters and vehicles from Star Wars is truly unique.”
Scalextric parent company Hornby launched its first brand campaign last Christmas as part of its first major push targeting adult consumers.
A campaign including television and cinema advertisements showed people playing with Hornby train sets through the decades with the strap line “A passion for every generation and the next”.
Logos for the company’s entire brand portfolio, including Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Corgi and Humbrol, appeared in the end frame of the ad.
Big question is why no Pod Racing version?
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Empire Strikes Backstage: Intimate pictures of cast and crew during filming of second Star Wars movie
Empire Strikes Backstage: Intimate pictures of cast and crew during filming of second Star Wars movie
he cast and crew of The Empire Strikes Back faced a daunting task - how to follow Star Wars, the blockbuster which had reinvented science fiction on the silver screen overnight and instantly become the favourite film of millions of cinemagoers.
By the time it opened in 1980, the pressure was really on director George Lucas and his team of actors to deliver, but as these fantastic pictures illustrate they all found time to enjoy themselves in the process.
Ahead of an upcoming convention in Florida in August, which is expected to attract up to 30,000 buffs, here is a chance to see behind the scenes during the making of the second film.
All the stars, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher can be seen laughing and joking in and around the many sets and with a lot of the characters in costume.
Smile please: Despite the freezing temperatures during filming in Norway, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill manage to crack a smile
Pucker up: Darth Vader enjoying a rare tender moment with Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner
The film is actually the fifth in the full series of six films, after three prequels were made from 1999 onwards.
The photographs show a relaxed and playful side of the filming process, with smiles evident from all the lead characters - Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).
Even arch-villain Darth Vader is not left out of the fun, with the film's director Irvin Kershner puckering up for a kiss with the evil dark lord.
Great kid, don't get cocky: Harrison Ford, who played smuggler turned freedom fighter Han Solo in the films enjoying a funny break from filming
Even droids need sun protection: Anthony Daniels, who played protocol droid C-3PO, taking cover from the sun during a scene
Filming on Empire Strikes Back began in March 1979 in Norway during the worst snow storm the country had seen in 50 years. The filming of Star Wars was similarly plagued with freak weather, with Tunisia suffering its first major rainstorm in 50 years.
The snowy landscape was used to portray an icy planet in the Hoth system, and contains many of the iconic scenes in the movie, including one where Han Solo saves Luke Skywalker from freezing to death in a snowstorm by slicing open a giant Tauntaun creature and placing him inside the beast to keep warm.
The production was then moved to the slightly warmer climes of (the indoor) Elstree Studios in London. The film had double the budget of Star Wars and was one of the most expensive ever made at the time at £18 million, tiny now by modern Hollywood standards.
The images, like this one of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford can be found in a new book called 'The making of Empire Strikes Back' by J.W. Rinzler
Surrender? I can't stop giggling: Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia having a fit of the giggles surrounding by two fearsome Stormtroopers
He's only a Wookie: Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew, who played the giant wookie character Chewbacca
Unseen photographs from the making of 'Empire Strikes Back' show a more relaxed side to the actors, such as (left) Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford
Does this thing really fly? Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Carlrissian, having a joke aboard the Millennium Falcon
These behind-the-scenes pictures come from courtesy of Lucasfilm, with a a couple also taken from the upcoming book Making Of The Empire Strikes Back by J.W Rinzler, which features a foreword by director Ridley Scott. There is a last image below of Carrie Fisher from the third instalment of the franchise, Return Of The Jedi, for good measure.
Author J.W. Rinzler is a long-standing member of the Lucasfilm staff as both executive editor and writer.
The book is the result of unparalleled co-operation and support from the original moviemakers, including both producer George Lucas and director Irvin Kershner.
Meanwhile, quite a sight is in store at the Star Wars Celebration VI, August 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. It is a four-day celebration of all things Star Wars, from all six movies, The Clone Wars television series, books, comics, collectibles, toys, entertainment and more.
The event features cast and crew celebrities, fan-run events, costumes, music, live entertainment, screenings, autographs, collectibles, panels and sneak peaks into the future of Star Wars.
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia gets up-close and personal with a Gamorrean guard
Sunday, 20 May 2012
According to Blabbermouth.net, France's Rock One recently conducted an interview with guitarist John Norum of Swedish hard rockers Europe. When asked what period of the band he would go back to if he had a time machine, Norum replied: "Well, now is the best time we ever had in this band. We get along great, we have a great time making records, we're going on tour, playing shows. But if I had to choose a different time period than now, I should say [2004's] "Start From The Dark" album, when we started the reunion thing. I mean, the '80s was the worst time ever. It was horrible. I mean, the whole image thing was dreadful. We became like a teeny-bopper, bubblegum band, and I didn't want anything to do with it. I'm not a fan of '80s music at all. I can maybe [name] one or two bands I can listen to from the '80s. When the '80s was over and the '90s started, I was very happy. Poison were gone, Cinderella, Warrant. All that stuff was over with. I was, like [lets out of sigh of relief], "Oh, finally, it's over. All that junk." Productions were bad, the albums sounded bad, the songs were cheesy. But there were a few ones that were good. I mean, Guns N' Roses were good. They came out with their first album in '87, I think. That one's still a classic; that's a great album. And then Van Halen did good albums in the '80s. And AC/DC did good albums in the '80s. But they were different; they were not glam-rock bands — they were more classy, they were better musicians, better players. But anyways, to answer the question, 2004 was a great time [for Europe]. And 2005. And 2006. And 2007. Up until now, it's [been] good."
The man who designed Raleigh's iconic Chopper bicycle has died after a battle with cancer.
Alan Oakley, 85 and from Nottingham, home of the bike manufacturer, died on Friday.
His wife Karen told the BBC she had managed his illness "right up until the last few weeks".
Mrs Oakley confirmed the now-legendary story that her husband drew the design for the Chopper on an envelope as he travelled home from the USA, in 1967.
Initially inspired to replicate the design of Peter Fonda's motorbike in the classic movie Easy Rider, Mr Oakley came up with his drawing as he flew home from the trip, set up for him to "get-to-grips" with youth culture.'Showstopping design'
Moving away from the traditional, diamond-shaped frame, Mr Oakley thought a bike with huge handle bars, a bulky, padded seat with a back rest and a car-like gear lever on the main frame, would exude the "cool" he was after."Alan had been over to America looking to pick up a design for a bike," said Mrs Oakley.
"While he was flying back, he had an airmail envelope and just drew this bike on the back of it and that was that, the creation of the Chopper."
Initial attempts to sell the Chopper in America were unsuccessful.
But sales took off in the early 1970s in the UK and according to Raleigh, "changed the way a generation of British kids rode".
"Raleigh wasn't moving with the times and Alan came up with this showstopping design," said Mrs Oakley.
The Chopper was so successful, Raleigh sold 1.5 million of them in the UK alone and the strange bike is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy.
In the 1980s, production of the Chopper ceased when rival model, the BMX, hit the market.'Very proud'
But in 2004, due to popular demand, a limited edition Chopper, costing between £200 and £300 for a Mk3 model, was released.
Some changes were made to the Mk1 and Mk2's original design such as a new seat to discourage "backies", according to Mrs Oakley, and the gear lever was moved to a safer position on the handlebars.
"As a friend and former colleague of Alan's said, 'Raleigh was Alan and Alan was Raleigh', "said Mrs Oakley.
"He was there for 40 years and loved every minute of it. He made people very happy and I am very proud of him."
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Who remembers these crisps then? I remember when I had my pocket money that these crisps would always be on the cards as they were cheaper than regular crisps. 20p worth of penny sweets, a comic and a packet of these crisps. Wish they would bring them back. What crisps would you like brought back?
Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco in the '70s and '80s, died Thursday morning after a battle with cancer, TMZ is reporting. She was 63.
Summer was reportedly in Florida at the time of her death. She had been trying to keep word of her illness secret as she finished up a new album. According to Tampabay.com research, the singer owned a vacation home in Englewood, near Sarasota. The LA Times reports Summer had been living there with her husband Bruce Sudano.
Her exact cause of death is still unknown. TMZ reports Summer suffered from lung cancer, believed to be contracted by "inhaling toxic particles after the 9/11 attack in New York City." Other reports say she died in Key West from breast cancer. The singer's longtime manager Susan Muneo told the New York Times it was cancer, but wouldn't say what type.)
Her family has released a statement saying they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continue legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."
The 5-time Grammy winner (12-time nominee) scored iconic hits including Last Dance, Hot Stuff andBad Girls. In the '80s, she scored mega-hits with On The Radio, She Works Hard for the Money, This Time I Know It's For Real and The Wanderer. She was also a formally trained painter who had made at least $1 million selling her original artwork.
"As a young girl, I didn’t know what fame was," she once told an interviewer. "I just thought fame was people knowing you. It's an end unto itself, which it should not be."
Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes is one of many artists commenting online on her death today.
"I just heard the very sad news that Donna Summer has passed away," Rhodes wrote on the band's official website. "For me, there is no doubt that her song I Feel Love had a dramatic effect on modern music. It was certainly a key influence on my work with Duran Duran. Together with producer Giorgio Moroder, Donna pioneered the use of electronic sequencers in dance music. Today that sound that seems so familiar, but in 1977, it was a brave new frontier. It’s extremely rare that you hear one song that completely changes the way you perceive music. I Feel Loveachieved that."
Sheila E tweeted today: "To my friend Donna Summer, You will be missed but not 4gotten. The first Diva, WE love you. Prayers to the family & friends."
The Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle tweeted: "So sad about Donna Summer....way to young. Sending lots of love and light."
Ryan Seacrest tweeted: "I remember sitting in the front seat of my mom's toyota while she sang Donna Summer's 'She Works Hard for the Money'..."
Bobby Brown tweeted: "Rest in Paradise Ms Donna Summer... 1st lady of Boston..."
She is survived by her husband, three daughters, and four grandchildren, according to USA Today.