Tag Archives: Roger Corman

Almanac – April 05

1906 – Lord Buckley born. American stage performer, recording artist, monologist, and hip poet/comic. Buckley’s unique stage persona never found more than a cult audience during his life, but anticipated aspects of the Beat Generation sensibility, and influenced figures as various as Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, George Harrison, Tom Waits, Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Buffett.

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 1926 – Roger Corman born. American film producer, director and actor. Working mainly  on low-budget B movies, some of Corman’s work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe,and in 2009 he won an Honorary Academy Award for his body of work.

In 1966, Corman made the first biker movie with The Wild Angels, starring Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra, and in  1967, The Trip, written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda, began the psychedelic film craze of the late 1960s.

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1929 – Joe Meek born. Pioneering English record producer and songwriter. Despite not being able to play a musical instrument or write notation, Meek displayed a remarkable facility for writing and producing successful commercial recordings.

In writing songs he was reliant on musicians such as Dave Adams, Geoff Goddard or Charles Blackwell to transcribe melodies from his vocal “demos”. He worked on 245 singles, of which 45 were major hits (top fifty).

He pioneered studio tools such as multiple over-dubbing on one- and two-track machines, close miking, direct input of bass guitars, the compressor, and effects like echo and reverb, as well as sampling.

Unlike other producers, his search was for the ‘right‘ sound rather than for a catchy musical tune, and throughout his brief career he single-mindedly followed his quest to create a unique “sonic signature” for every record he produced.

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1997 – Allen Ginsberg died.  American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s.

He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression, and is best known for his epic poem “Howl“, in which he celebrated his fellow “angel-headed hipsters” and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix…

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Almanac – March 14

1471 – Sir Thomas Malory died.  English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d’Arthur.

Since the late nineteenth century he has generally been identified as Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in Warwickshire, a knight, land-owner and Member of Parliament.

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1869 – Algernon Blackwood born.  English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. He was also a journalist and a broadcasting narrator.

S. T. Joshi has stated that “his work is more consistently meritorious than any weird writer’s except Dunsany’s” and that his short story collection Incredible Adventures (1914) “may be the premier weird collection of this or any other century”.

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1922 – Les Baxter born. American musician and composer. He composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman‘s Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs.

Baxter, alongside Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, is celebrated as one of the progenitors of exotica music.

In his 1996 appreciation for Wired magazine, writer David Toop wrote that Baxter “offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs.”

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Almanac – January 15

1919 – Boston Molasses Disaster: Also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts .

A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and some residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses.

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1923 – Ivor Cutler born. Scottish poet, songwriter and humorist. He became known for his regular performances on BBC radio, and in particular his numerous sessions recorded for John Peel’s influential radio programme.

The hallmarks of Cutler’s work are surreal, bizarre juxtapositions and close attention to small details of existence, all described in seemingly naive language. In performance his delivery was frail, halting and minimally inflected. His writing sometimes edged into whimsy or the macabre. Many of his poems and songs are in the form of conversations delivered as a monologue.

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1941 – Captain Beefheart born. American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet . His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums.

Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, he also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition.

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1996 – Les Baxter died. American musician and composer, he worked on movie soundtracks for B-movie studio American International Pictures where he composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman‘s Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs.

Howard W. Koch recalled that Baxter composed, orchestrated and recorded the entire score of The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) in a total of three hours for $5,000.

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Almanac – August 15

1057 – Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích ) killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (the future King Malcolm III.)  According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres  south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded – although The Prophecy of Berchán ( a verse history which purports to be a prophecy) has it that he was wounded and died at Scone, sixty miles to the south, some days later.

1928 – Nicolas Roeg born. English film director and cinematographer.  He started his film career by contributing to the visual look of Lawrence of Arabia and Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death, and co-directing Performance in 1970. He would later direct such landmark films as Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

1941 – Corporal Josef Jakobs executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12 am, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason. He  was a German spy who was captured shortly after parachuting into the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Convicted of espionage under the Treachery Act 1940, he was shot by a military firing squad.

1963 – Execution of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland

1965 – The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded by some as the birth of stadium rock.

1967 – René Magritte died. Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism.

1969 – Woodstock opened,  more properly the  Woodstock Music & Art Fair   –  “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”.  And rain. And mud

1977 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, received a radio signal, the so-called Wow ! signal,  from deep space – a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment “Wow!” on its side, and so it became known.

2008 – Jerry Wexler died.  A music journalist turned music producer, he was regarded as one of the major record industry players  from the 1950s through the 1980s. He coined the term “rhythm and blues” in  1948 as a musical marketing term replacing the term “race music”, and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.

Mr. Frankenstein

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