Please Stand By …


Those of us of a certain age will recall seeing this test pattern when one of the 2 or 3 (possibly 4) channels we got on the old B+W went off the air. Generally for inexplicable reasons (solar flares my dad used to say) or simply late at night after sign off and ‘God Save the Queen’. Or, conversely, when we got up too early in the morning and the TV was not on the air yet. That’s right kids there was no 24 hour stations! We would sit there eating our Coco Puffs (insert favourite cereal here) and stare at this image until the ‘Farm Reports’ started at about 6am. Eventually, if we were lucky, cartoons or Captain Kangaroo would follow. I was never quite sure what the ‘Farm Reports’ actually were or who watched them? I mean, you’d have to assumed farmers were out milking the cows at that time wouldn’t you?
Anyhow, the test pattern was only second in line in order of annoyance. First place had to go to the anxiety riddled Public Service Announcements or ‘Air Raid Warnings’, as we used to call them growing up in Nanaimo. These little beauties randomly interrupted programming with a sinister sounding gentleman stating flatly  …”THIS IS ONLY A TEST” … and was accompanied by a high pitched squeal that made young children cry and dogs howl for blocks.
I asked my dad “What’s that for dad?” he responded calmly “Why that’s just in case they drop the Atom bomb son”, … I didn’t sleep for weeks.
With all this in mind … PLEASE STAND BY … for more pertinent information such as; proper use the vertical hold button and how to best apply Reynolds Wrap on your rabbit ears!
Now that ought to confuse the kids!
God save Liz


FAULTY TOWERS: A Sign of One of the Best Comedies Ever Written

People of a certain age will remember this BBC comedy written by Python’s John Cleese and, his then wife, the lovely Connie Booth. It was a side splitting slap stick comedy of errors and embarrassments as the gangly, ever pretentious Basil attempts to run his crumbling old English hotel. It is difficult to believe that there was only 12 episodes and most of us can recite scenes from each one. Any of you young folks who don’t know what we are referring to please run immediately to your device of choice and look it up on YouTube or what ever and have a look … each episode is a gem and still stands up to this day as one of the best written and funniest 30 min you will ever watch.
At the beginning of each episode  (except one) an exterior shot of the inn and its sign was shown. The letters — FAWLTY TOWERS — were changed each week (seemingly simply to annoy the uppity Basil) and you can see that they get more and more ‘out-there’  with each episode probably an attempt to make themselves laugh; this became an integral part of the show.

We’ve compiled a screen capture of each episode’s opening to track how they changed:


Just Remember … It Just Doesn’t Matter!


Bill Murray, 67, does not make it easy to get him to be in your movie. Unlike any other actor of his stature, he has no agent, no manager, no publicist. If you want to cast him, you get a friend of his to persuade him. Or you call his secret 1-800 number and leave your pitch after the tone. If he checks his voicemail, maybe he’ll call you back. After he agrees to be in your movie, you may not hear from him again until the first day of shooting, when he’ll show up in the makeup trailer, cracking jokes and giving back rubs. Sometimes his inaccessibility means that he misses out on films he would have excelled in – Little Miss Sunshine, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Monsters, Inc. – but Murray isn’t particularly concerned. It’s a worthwhile trade-off for him, considering that what he gets in return is freedom.
“Bill’s whole life is in the moment,” says Ted Melfi, who directed Murray in the movie St. Vincent. “He doesn’t care about what just happened. He doesn’t think about what’s going to happen. He doesn’t even book round-trip tickets. Bill buys one-ways and then decides when he wants to go home.”
To persuade Murray to be in his movie, Melfi left a dozen voicemail messages, sent a letter, mailed scripts to P.O. boxes all over the country – and then on a Sunday morning, he got a text asking him to meet Murray at LAX an hour later. They drove through the desert for three hours, stopping at an In-N-Out Burger for grilled-cheese sandwiches, and by the end of the ride Murray had signed on. Melfi had one request: Please tell somebody else that this happened, because nobody is ever going to believe me.