Tag Archive: Shirley Bassey


The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational event is heading your way.

It’s been 40 years since The Muppet Show wrapped its now classic five season run back in 1976-1981, with its last episode guest-starring Singing in the Rain star Gene Kelly.  One of the greatest half-hour series of all time and the greatest variety show format series ever is coming to the streaming platform Disney+ later this month.  Everyone who was anyone in the 1970s was a guest on the show, from Vincent Price to Don Knotts, from Cloris Leachman, George Burns, John Cleese and Paul Simon, to Linda Ronstadt and Steve Martin, to Elton John, Julie Andrews, Gilda Radner, Shirley Bassey, Peter Sellers, Debbie Harry, Rita Moreno, and Madeline Kahn, to Roy Rogers, Dudley Moore, James Coburn, Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, Lynda Carter, Milton Berle, Christopher Reeve, Bernadette Peters, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Johnny Cash, Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett, Dizzy Gillespie, Alice Cooper, and even the cast of Star Wars–more than 100 guest stars in all, and from every single corner of music, TV, and film.  The show won four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Grammy (one of our favorite subjects–check out more about The Muppets here).  Behind the scenes (and under the table and behind the curtain) it was Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Louise Gold, Kathryn Mullen, and Steve Whitemire working the real magic.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Goldfinger.  It’s surprising that a novel, a word, a song, and a character James Bond is so well known for didn’t arrive until Ian Fleming’s seventh novel in the series.  Goldfinger is a novel to revisit, one of the better of Fleming’s efforts, defining so much about what we know as James Bond today.  That prolonged car chase.  The requisite run-through of the spy agency’s cutting-edge techno-gadgets.  The over-the-top situations.  Already locked in 60 years ago when Goldfinger arrived on paperback racks in 1959 were the franchise’s womanizing, the liquor and dinner delicacies, Fleming’s ability to offend select groups with each subsequent novel (this time his target is Koreans and lesbians), and that same, cold-hearted, hardened spy.  Its film adaptation five years later would become one of the most popular, the third film to feature the British spy, the one that would cement a theme for Bond thanks to a song by John Barry (with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, memorably performed by Shirley Bassey), and a story most faithfully adapted in the popular comic strip of the 1960s (see our review of that version of the story here).

Although all the Bond novels can be read in any order, Goldfinger is a direct sequel to his first, Casino Royale, spinning a character out of the key baccarat game and a chance encounter at an American airport.  The first half of this novel parallels Casino Royale so much readers may think Fleming literally superimposed sections of this over his first.  In Goldfinger we view Bond in a lengthy, and fascinatingly compelling golf game, matching the import and stakes of his famous baccarat game in Casino Royale.  Who knew the anger and strategy that could go through the mind of Bond over a game of golf? And both novels begin with a similar cold, detached kill by Bond.  Chance and coincidence are focal themes.  One of Fleming’s clever strengths here, being aware of including so many coincidences that the story hinges on, is highlighting that fact unapologetically, even acknowledging it through the dialogue of Bond and his foe.

 

For those who viewed the movie version first, they should be pleasantly surprised as the stories track better than most Bond titles.  We meet this incredible villain, Auric Goldfinger, fascinated with and addicted to gold, bent on being the richest man in the world, a master architect of destruction and planning, yet also dumb enough to leave a brand on his own gold bars, and idly wasting his time duping a hotel guest on a game of canasta, which proves to be his downfall.  We also meet his henchman, Oddjob, the short, rotund Korean man with a rather sharp-brimmed bowler hat.

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