Adam West (Batman)

Most famous for playing Batman in the 1960 Television show, the American actor Adam West sadly passed away 9 June 2017. Adam West (William West Anderson) was born September 19, 1928 West in Walla Walla, Washington. His father was a farmer; his mother was an opera singer and concert pianist who was forced to abandon her own Hollywood dreams to care for her family. Following her example, West stated to his father as a youth that he intended after school to go to Hollywood. He moved to Seattle when he was 15 with his mother following his parents’ divorce. West attended Walla Walla High School during his freshman and sophomore years, and later enrolled in Lakeside School in Seattle. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature and a minor in psychology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he was a member of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also participated on the speech and debate team. Drafted into the United States Army, he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. After his discharge, he worked as a milkman before moving to Hawaii to pursue television.

While in Hawaii, West was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children’s show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured a chimp. West later took over as star of the show. In 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood, where he took the stage name Adam West. He appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians with Paul Newman, and guest-starred in a number of television Westerns Including Sugarfoot, Colt .45, and Lawman, in which West played the role of Doc Holliday, the frontier dentist and gunfighter. He portrayed Wild Bill Hickok in the episode “Westbound Stage” of the 1960 Western series Overland Trail, with William Bendix and Doug McClure. He guest-starred on the crime drama Johnny Midnight, as police sergeant Steve Nelson and also starred in the crime drama, The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor. He made a few guest appearances on the sitcom, The Real McCoys. In 1961, West appeared as a young, ambitious deputy who foolishly confronts a gunfighter named Clay Jackson, portrayed by Jock Mahoney, in the episode “The Man from Kansas” in the series Laramie and made two guest appearances on Perry Mason in 1961 first as small-town journalist Dan Southern in “The Case of the Barefaced Witness” then as folk singer Pete Norland in “The Case of the Bogus Books”. West starred in the Outer Limits episode “The Invisible Enemy” and made a brief appearance in the film Soldier in the Rain starring Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen. He also starred as Major Dan McCready, the ill-fated mission commander of ‘Mars Gravity Probe 1’ in the 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars. He also appeared in the comedy Western The Outlaws Is Coming in 1965, the last feature film starring The Three Stooges. He played Christopher Rolf in the episode “Stopover” in The Rifleman,

In 1965 Producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting superhero alter ego, Batman, in the television series Batman, which ran from 1966 to 1968; and included afeature-length film version. In his Batman character, West appeared in a public service announcement where he encouraged schoolchildren to heed then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s call for them to buy U.S. Savings stamps, a children’s version of U.S. Savings bonds, to support the Vietnam War. In 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond by Cubby Broccoli for the film Diamonds Are Forever.

After Batman finished Adam West’s first post-Caped Crusader role was in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969) as a cynical tough guy named Johnny Cain. West also made personal appearances as Batman. However In 1974, when Ward and Craig reprised their Batman roles for a TV public-service announcement about equal pay for women, West was absent. Instead, Dick Gautier filled in as Batman. He also made a memorable appearance in the Memphis, Tennessee-based United States Wrestling Association to engage in a war of words with Jerry “The King” Lawler while wearing the cowl and a track suit. West subsequently appeared in the theatrical films The Marriage of a Young Stockbrocker (1971), The Curse of the Moon Child (1972), The Specialist (1975), Hooper (as himself; 1978), The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980) and One Dark Night (1983 and appeared in such television films as The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972), Poor Devil (1973), Nevada Smith (1975), For the Love of It (1980) and I Take These Men (1983). He also did guest shots on the television series Maverick, Diagnosis: Murder, Love, American Style, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, Emergency!, Alice, Police Woman, Operation Petticoat, The American Girls, Vega$, Big Shamus Little Shamus, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Zorro, The King of Queens and George Lopez. West also made several guest appearances as himself on Family Feud and In 1986, West starred in the comedy police series titled The Last Precinct.

West often reprised his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, first in the short-lived animated series, The New Adventures of Batman, and in other shows such as The Batman/ Tarzan Adventure Hour, Tarzan and the Super 7, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. In 1979, West once again donned the Batsuit for the live-action TV special Legends of the Superheroes. In 1985, DC Comics named West as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th-anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for his work on the Batman series. West was considered to play Thomas Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman. Originally, he wanted to play Batman. So far neither West nor Burt Ward (Robin, from the TV series) has appeared in any of the modern Batman films. West made an appearance in a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series portraying Simon Trent, a washed-up actor who used to play a superhero in a TV series called The Gray Ghost and who now has difficulty finding work.

West later had a recurring role as the voice of Mayor Grange in the WB animated series The Batman. And also voiced as Batman in the animated short film Batman: New Times. He co-starred with Mark Hamill, who vocally portrayed The Joker and had originally played the role on Batman: The Animated Series. West also voiced Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, in an episode of the cartoon series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He also voiced Batman’s prototype robot “Protobot”. West appeared as himself in the film Drop Dead Gorgeous and in several TV series, including NewsRadio, Murphy Brown, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, The Ben Stiller Show, and The Drew Carey Sho He also portrayed “Dr. Wayne” in the 1990 Zorro episode “The Wizard”. In 1991, he starred in the pilot episode of Lookwell, playing a has-been TV action hero who falsely believes he can solve mysteries in real life. In 1994, West played a non-comedic role as the father of Peter Weller’s character in The New Age. He played a washed-up superhero named Galloping Gazelle in the Goosebumps TV series episode “Attack of the Mutant”. In 1994, West, with Jeff Rovin, wrote his autobiography, Back to the Batcave and also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode titled “Batmantis”, where he displayed his book. That episode was essentially a parody to his Batman TV series, where Zorak dressed himself as “Batmantis”, a praying mantis version of Batman.

In 1996, Adam West appeared in video cut scenes of the “Chaos Mystery” in the gambling simulation game Golden Nugget. In 2001, he played the super-villain Breathtaker in the TV series Black Scorpion. In 2003, West and Burt Ward starred in the TV movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, alongside Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, and Lee Meriwether. In 2005, West appeared in the show The King of Queens. West appears in the 2006 video for California band STEFY’s song “Chelsea” as “Judge Adam West”, presiding over the courtroom scene. In 2007, Adam West played an attorney for Benny on the show George Lopez, and starred as “The Boss” in the movie comedy Sexina: Popstar PI. In 2009, West played himself in the episode “Apollo, Apollo” of 30 Rock. In 2010, a Golden Palm Star was dedicated to him on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars And West also received the 2,468th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Guinness Museum in Hollywood, California. He appeared in Pioneers of Television in the episode “Superheroes” and was the subject of the documentary Starring Adam West. West is among the interview subjects in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a three-hour documentary narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Adam West has also done voice-over work for many cartoons including the American cartoon series Futurama (10.9, and American Dad and voiced himself, and the 1960s version of Batman, in the video game Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. In 2016, West guest-starred as himself on the 200th episode of The Big Bang Theory. West has also voiced The Simpsons, Futurama, Rugrats, The Critic, Histeria!, Kim Possible, Johnny Bravo, and even in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series called “Beware the Gray Ghost”, and has appeared onThe Fairly OddParents numerous timeS. Since 2000, West has made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, portraying Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. He portrayed Uncle Art in the Disney Animation film Meet the Robinsons, and voicing the young Mermaid Man (along with Burt Ward, who voiced the young Barnacle Boy) in The SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Back to the Past” asThe Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy characters are sea parodies of both Batman and Robin, respectively. West also voiced General Carrington in the video game XIII, and has voiced other video games such as Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, Chicken Little: Ace in Action, Scooby Doo! Unmasked, and Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant.

Nineteen eighty Four by George Orwell

The nightmarish Dystopian science fiction novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was published 8 June 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Airstrip One (Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. The superstate and its residents are dictated to by a political regime euphemistically named English Socialism, shortened to “Ingsoc” in Newspeak, the government’s invented language. The superstate is under the control of the privileged elite of the Inner Party, a party and government that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime”, which is enforced by the “Thought Police”.

The tyranny is overseen by Big Brother, the Party leader. They “seek power entirely for its own sake and are not interested in the good of others; The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, and historical records in a way which supports the party line. These corrections are referred to euphemistically as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the Ministry also actively destroys all documents that have been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying.

The novel concerns Winston Smith a diligent and skillful worker who lives on Airstrip one, the remnants of Britain broken down by war, civil conflict, and revolution. He is A member of the middle class Outer Party and works at the Ministry of Truth, or “Minitrue”, as an editor. He is responsible for historical revisionism; he rewrites records and alters photographs to conform to the state’s ever-changing version of history itself, rendering the deleted people “unpersons”; the original documents are destroyed by fire in a “memory hole”. Meanwhile Telescreens in every building, accompanied by secret microphones and cameras, allow the Thought Police to identify anyone who might compromise the Party’s régime. Children are encouraged to inform the officials about potential thought criminals, including their parents.

Despite being good at his job, Winston discovers the real past and secretly tries to get more information about it. he begins writing a journal criticizing the Party and its enigmatic leader, Big Brother. By doing so, he commits a crime that, if discovered by the Thought Police, warrants certain death. Winston then meets Julia, a young woman who maintains the novel-writing machines at the ministry after she surreptitiously hands Winston a note confessing her love for him. Winston and Julia begin an affair after Winston realizes she shares his loathing of the Party, Winston is approached by O’Brien, an Inner Party member who is an agent of the Brotherhood—a secret underground society that intends to destroy the Party. O’Brien gives Winston an illegal copy of “The Book”, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, which explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans “War is peace”, “Freedom is slavery”, and “Ignorance is strength”, and how the Party can be overthrown.

Unfortunately the Thought Police capture Winston and Julia and send them to the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) for interrogation after being reported by his landlord Mr. Charrington, the shopkeeper and O’Brien, who are both in fact Thought Police Agents who are investigating suspected thoughtcriminals. O’Brien Tries to cure Winston of his manifest hatred for the Party and to end his “stubborn, self-willed exile” through re-education, controlled manipulation of perception and torture and tries to get Winston to say something incriminating about Julia. O’Brien then sends Winston to Room 101 for the final stage of re-education, a room which contains each prisoner’s worst nightmare in an effort to stop him thinking for himself and rebelling against Big Brother…

The novel Nineteen Eighty Four has also been adapted for film and television numerous times, with one starring John Hurt as Winston and many of the phrases such as Big Brother, Thought Crime, Room 101 and Thought Police have since entered common usage in the English language.

Ray Bradbury

The American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction writer Ray Bradbury Sadly passed away on June 5th, 2012 after a lengthy illness. He was born August 22, 1920, and is best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers. He is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories, with More than eight million copies of his works, being published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.

Throughout his youth Bradbury was an avid reader and writer and was interested in drawing, acting and writing. One of Bradbury’s earliest influences was Edgar Allan Poe. At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen. At the time, his favorites were also Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter as well as comic books. He listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, and when the show went off the air every night he would sit and write the entire script from memory. In his youth, he spent much time reading H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, He loved Burroughs’ The Warlord of Mars so much that at the age of 12 he wrote his own sequel. The young Bradbury also was a cartoonist and loved to illustrate. He wrote about Tarzan and drew his own Sunday panels. Bradbury claimed a wide variety of influences from Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, to Thomas Wolfe. He attended Los Angeles High School and was active in both the Poetry Club and the Drama club, continuing plans to become an actor but becoming serious about his writing as his high school years progressed. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School, where he took poetry classes and short story writing courses where the teachers recognized his talent and furthered his interest in writing.

When he was seventeen, Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and said he read everything by Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A.E. Van Vogt, but cited H.G. Wells and Jules Verne as his big science fiction influences. In 1936, Ray Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. Thrilled to find there were others with his interests, at the age of sixteen Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave. Soon Bradbury began submitting his short stories for publication. After a rejection notice from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, Bradbury submitted to other magazines.

During World War Two Ray Bradbury started a career in writing after being rejected by the military during World War II. Having been inspired by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Bradbury began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines, he was also invited to attend meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, which met in downtown Los Angeles. His first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the fanzine Imagination! in January, 1938. Bradbury’s first paid piece, “Pendulum,” written with Henry Hasse, was published in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories in November 1941,and he also published “The Lake”, and became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first collection of short stories, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947, Bradbury’s short stories, “Homecoming’” was also spotted and subsequently published in Madamoiselle magazine where it won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947, Bradbury also wrote his classic story of a dystopian book-burning future, The Fireman, which was later published under the name, Fahrenheit 451.

Besides his fiction work, Bradbury wrote many short essays on the arts and culture, and In the 1980s, Bradbury concentrated on detective fiction. Several comic book writers have also adapted Bradbury’s stories. Particularly noted among these were EC Comics’ line of horror and science-fiction comics, which often featured Bradbury’s name on the cover announcing that one story in that issue would be an adaptation of his work. The comics featuring Bradbury’s stories included Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime Suspenstories, Haunt of Fear and others. Bradbury remained an enthusiastic playwright throughout his life and left a rich theatrical and literary legacy, indeed his obituary stated that Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” Many of Bradbury’s works including Something Wicked this way Comes, have been also adapted into television shows, audiobooks or films.

Paul Darrow

Best known as Kerr Avon in the 1970s BBC science fiction television series Blake’s 7, the English actor Paul Darrow tragically died on 3 June 2019 following a decline in health and an aortic aneurysm. He was born Paul Valentine Birkby in Chessington in the county of Surrey on 2 May 1941. He received his formal education at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While at RADA he lived in a flat-share with fellow actors John Hurt and Ian McShane

Darrow worked extensively in theatre and television. His TV appearances include: Emergency – Ward 10, The Saint, Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Within These Walls, as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1975 BBC series The Legend of Robin Hood, as Mr. Tallboy in the 1973 TV adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise, as Thomas Doughty in the TV film Drake’s Venture, Dombey and Son, he portrayed Captain Hawkins in the serial Doctor Who and the Silurians in 1970 and Maylin Tekker in Timelash in 1985. He also appeared in Maelstrom, Making News, Pie in the Sky, Hollyoaks, Toast of London, Little Britain and provided the voiceover for Biblical quotations in Richard Dawkins’s The Root of All Evil?.

He appeared in all but the first episode of Blake’s 7, as Avon. Darrow acted as the show’s most prolific spokesman, both in the UK and during the late 80s, in the U.S. In the mid to late 90s, he purchased the rights to Blake’s 7 and attempted to produce a big-budget follow-up mini-series, Blake’s 7: A Rebellion Reborn beginning 25 years after the ending of the original series. He was also the presenter of the 2004 BBC3 reality TV series Hercule His film credits are few, but include roles as doctors in The Raging Moon (1971) and the Bond movie Die Another Day (2002), which he filmed but was deleted before the film went on release to cinemas. Darrow had a one-off appearance in the 1990 series of Cluedo but did not play the murder victim.

Darrow recorded voice-overs and straplines for UK JACKfm station in Oxfordshire. He also provided the voice of the character Grand Moff Tarkin in the computer game Star Wars: Empire at War. He also voiced the character of Zarok in the PlayStation game MediEvil. Darrow appeared in Emmerdale from 13 July 2009, playing Eddy Fox, Alan Turner’s friend; . He also played the character of Kaston Iago in the Kaldor City audio releases. Darrow also provided the voice of a main character in the PC game Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising. The actress Glynis Barber, who played Soolin on Blake’s 7, provided the voice for the main female character. The game was narrated by Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame. Darrow played the role of Sam Vimes in the 1998/99 touring production of the play based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Guards! Guards!

In 2004, Darrow was the subject of the fourth volume of MJTV’s “The Actor Speaks” audio CDs, featuring frank interviews and dramatic pieces, alongside guest Peter Miles. in 2008 Darrow narrated the audio book of Terry Nation’s classic children’s story Rebecca’s World: Journey to the Forbidden Planet. In 2011, Darrow voiced the character of Overseer Tremel in the Bioware MMORPG release Star Wars: The Old Republic. In 2012, Darrow portrayed Kerr Avon in Big Finish Productions’ Blake’s 7: The Liberator Chronicles, which takes place during Series One before the death of Olag Gan. Darrow starred in The Turing Test and The Magnificent Four. In 2015, Darrow starred as Paul Rand, the enigmatic business man in charge of the business institute Atlas in the interactive video game Contradiction: Spot the Liar! Between 1981-84 Darrow was also Patron of the University of York Astronomy Society (AstroSoc) and An extinct species of crocodile from the Miocene of Australia, Baru darrowi, is also named after Paul Darrow. In 2018, Darrow appeared on a celebrity sci-fi edition of the quiz show Pointless, along with fellow Blake’s 7 star Michael Keating.

Franz Kafka

German novellist and short story writer Franz Kafka sadly died 3 June 1924. He was born 3 July 1883 into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He trained as a lawyer and, after completing his legal education, obtained employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time. For the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to regard as his calling and regretted having to devote so much attention to his Brotberuf (“day job”, literally “bread job”). Kafka preferred to communicate by letter and wrote hundreds of letters to family and close female friends, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla. He had a complicated and troubled relationship with his father that had a major effect on his writing. He also suffered conflict over being Jewish, feeling that it had little to do with him, although critics argue that it influenced his writing.

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime: the story collections betrachtung (Contemplation and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as “Die Verwandlung”) in literary magazines. He prepared the story collection Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death. Kafka’s unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der Verschollene, The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal situations like those in his writing. Kafka sadly passed away on 3 June 1924 but his literature had a big impact on literature and film making.

Metamorphosis concerns Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, who wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect (the most common translation of the German description ungeheuer Ungeziefer, literally “monstrous vermin”). Gregor’s mother becomes concerned when Gregor fails to go to work. His sister, Grete, to whom he is very close, begs him to open the door But he discovers that he can’t get out of bed. Then his office manager, the chief clerk, has shown up to check on him. Unaware of Gregor’s predicament The clerk warns him of the consequences of missing work. Nobody understands a word Gregor says and they conclude that he is seriously ill. Finally, Gregor manages to unlock and open the door with his mouth. He apologizes to the office manager for the delay. Horrified by Gregor’s appearance, his mother faints, and the manager bolts out of the apartment. Gregor tries to catch up with him, but his father drives him back into the bedroom with a shoe and a rolled magazine. Gregor injures himself squeezing back through the doorway, then exhausted, falls asleep.

The next morning, Gregor’s sister comes in, sees that he has not touched the milk which she left and replaces it with rotting food scraps, which Gregor happily eats. This begins a routine in which his sister feeds him and cleans up while he hides under the couch, afraid that his appearance will frighten her. Gregor spends his time listening through the wall to his family members talking about the dire financial situation they find themselves in now and that Gregor can’t provide them any help. Gregor had plans of sending Grete to the conservatory to pursue violin lessons, however his incapability of providing for his family, coupled with his speechlessness proves a bit of an impediment Gregor also learns that his mother wants to visit him, but his sister and father will not let her.

Gregor grows more comfortable with his changed body. He begins climbing the walls and ceiling for amusement. Discovering Gregor’s new pastime, Grete decides to remove some of the furniture to give Gregor more space. She and her mother begin taking furniture away. However Gregor’s mother sees him hanging on the wall and passes out. Grete angrily calls out to Gregor – the first time anyone has spoken directly to him since his transformation. Gregor runs out of the room and into the kitchen. He encounters his father, who has just returned home from work. The father throws apples at Gregor, and one of them sinks into a sensitive spot in his back and Gregor is severely injured.

One evening, the cleaning lady leaves Gregor’s door open while three boarders, whom the family has taken on for additional income, lounge about the living room. Grete has been asked to play the violin for them, and Gregor creeps out of his bedroom to listen however Gregor is seen. As Gregor’s father tries to shove the boarders back into their rooms, the three men leave without paying. Grete, eventually tires of taking care of Gregor and the burden his existence puts on each one in the family, so she tells her parents they must get rid of Gregor…

Kafka is regarded by many critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. His works, such as “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.

Christopher Lee

English actor and musician Sir Christopher Lee, CBE, CStJ was born 27 May 1922. Lee became famous for his role as Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror films. Other notable roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun , Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. He has collaborated with director Tim Burton in five films, most recently with Dark Shadows. He considers his best role to be that of Lord Summerisle in the British cult classic The Wicker Man (1973). Lee is well known for his deep, strong voice and imposing height. He has performed roles in 275 films since 1946 making him the Guinness World Record holder for most film acting roles ever. He was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, and received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011. Lee has also released two epicly noisy heavy metal albums called Charlemagne: by the sword and the omens, and Charlemagne:The omens of Death.

Lee was born in Belgravia, Westminster, on 27th May 1922 and his mother took him and his sister to Switzerland. After enrolling in Miss Fisher’s Academy in Wengen, he played his first villainous role as Rumpelstiltskin. The family returned to London, where Lee attended Wagner’s private school. . Lee spent some time at Summer Fields School, a preparatory school in Oxford (notable for sending many alumni to Eton), where he applied unsuccessfully for a scholarship to Eton.In 1947. Lee made his film debut in Terence Young’s Gothic romance Corridor of Mirrors & was a student at the Rank “charm school” later that year, Lee made an uncredited appearance in Laurence Olivier’s film version of Hamlet as a spear carrier (marking his first film with frequent co-star and close friend Peter Cushing, who played Osric), and in John Huston’s Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge. Throughout the next decade, he made nearly 30 films, playing stock action characters.Lee’s first horror film was The Curse of Frankenstein, in which he played Frankenstein’s monster, with Cushing as the Baron.

A little later, Lee co-starred with Boris Karloff in the film Corridors of Blood, and Lee’s own appearance as Frankenstein’s monster led to his first appearance as the Transylvanian vampire in the 1958 film Dracula. Lee returned to the role of Dracula in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1965 and later he also starred in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave , Taste the Blood of Dracula and Scars of Dracula. Lee’s other work for Hammer included The Mummy. He portrayed Rasputin in Rasputin, the Mad Monk and Sir Henry Baskerville (to Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes) in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Lee later played Holmes himself in 1962′s Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, and returned to Holmes films with Billy Wilder’s British-made The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, in which he plays Sherlock’s smarter brother, Mycroft. Lee also played a leading role in the German film The Puzzle of the Red Orchid.He was responsible for bringing acclaimed occult author Dennis Wheatley to Hammer. The company made two films from Wheatley’s novels, both starring Lee., The Devil Rides Out and To the Devil a Daughter, Unfortunately though this was Hammer’s last horror film and marked the end of Lee’s long association with the studio. However Lee also appeared in horror films for other companies including the series of Fu Manchu films; I, Monster, The Creeping Flesh and The Wicker Man. In addition to doing films in the United Kingdom, Lee did movies in Mainland Europe including, Count Dracula, The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, Castle of the Living Dead and Horror Express.

Since the mid 1970s, Lee has eschewed horror roles almost entirely. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy novels and Lee’s step-cousin, had offered him the role of the titular antagonist in the first official Bond film Dr. No. Lee enthusiastically accepted, but was unable, until 1974, when Lee finally got to play a James Bond villain – the deadly assassin Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. In 1982, Lee appeared in The Return of Captain Invincible. In 1985, he appeared alongside Reb Brown and Sybil Danning in Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch, and a few years later Lee made his latest appearances to date as Sherlock Holmes in 1991′s Incident at Victoria Falls and 1992′s Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady. Lee and Peter Cushing also both appeared in separate instalments of the Star Wars films, Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in the original film, Lee years later as Count Dooku.Lee was at one point also considered for the role of comic book villain/hero Magneto in the screen adaptation of the popular comic book series X-Men, but he lost the role to Sir Ian McKellen. However Lee did play Saruman in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy oposite Sir Ian Mckellen (Which I reckon is a much better role). Lee has also met Tolkien once (making him the only person in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy to have done so) and makes a habit of reading the novels at least once a year. Lee’s appearance in the third film was cut from the theatrical release. However, the scene was reinstated in the extended edition. This marked the beginning of a major career revival that continued in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), in which he played Count Dooku, a name allegedly chosen to reflect his fame playing Count Dracula.

Lee is one of the favourite actors of Tim Burton and has become a regular in many of Burton’s films, having now worked for the director five times since 1999. He had a small role as the Burgomaster in the film Sleepy Hollow. In 2005, Lee then went on to voice the character of Pastor Galswells in Corpse Bride co-directed by Burton and Mike Johnson and play a small role in the Burton’s reimagining of the Roald Dahl tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Willy Wonka’s strict dentist father Dr. Wilbur Wonka. In 2007, Lee collaborated with Burton on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, playing the spirit of Sweeney Todd’s victims called The Gentleman Ghost alongside Anthony Head, with both singing “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”, in 2009, Lee starred in Stephen Poliakoff’s British period drama Glorious 39 with Julie Christie, Bill Nighy, Romola Garai and David Tennant, Academy Award-nominated director Danis Tanović’s war film Triage with Colin Farrell and Paz Vega, and Duncan Ward’s comedy Boogie Woogie alongside Amanda Seyfried, Gillian Anderson, Stellan Skarsgård and Joanna Lumley .In 2010, Lee marked his fourth collaboration with Tim Burton by voicing the Jabberwocky in Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice in Wonderland alongside Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, and reprised his role as Saruman in The Hobbit. saying he wants to show Saruman’s corruption by Sauron, portraying Saruman as a kind and noble wizard, before his subsequent fall into darkness. In 2012, Lee marked his fifth collaboration with Tim Burton by appearing in his film adaptation of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Lee also reprised his role as Saruman in the video game The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth along with the other actors of the films and has also contributed his voice as Death in the animated versions of Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters and reprised the role in the Sky1 live action adaptation The Colour of Magic, taking over the role from the late Ian Richardson.

During his long and varied career, Lee has recieved many Honours & awards. In 2001, Lee was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II and was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 by Prince Charles. Lee was named 2005′s ‘most marketable star in the world’ in a USA Today newspaper poll. In 2011, Lee was awarded the BAFTA Academy Fellowship by Tim Burton. Lee was also honoured with a tribute by University College Dublin, and described his honorary life membership of the UCD Law Society as “in some ways as special as the Oscars”. He was awarded the Bram Stoker Gold Medal by the Trinity College Philosophical Society, of which Stoker was President, and a copy of Collected Ghost Stories of MR James by Trinity College’s School of English.

Dracula/ Peter Cushing

The classic gothic horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was first published 26th May 1897. it features an Estate Agent named Jonathan Harker who is dispatched to Transylvania to finalize the move of a mysterious and enigmatic and charismatic Romanian nobleman called Count Dracula, who is intending to move to England. Unfortunately this proves to rather dangerous. Meanwhile the Count leaves Transylvania and travels to England aboard the vessel Dimeter, and all the crew mysteriously vanish and the ship runs aground at Whitby. Having arrived in England Dracula successfully purchases multiple estates under the alias ‘Count De Ville’ throughout London. Whilst in Whitby Dracula then encounters Lucy Westenra, who also lives in Whitby, and who soon begins suffering from mysterious episodes of sleepwalking and dementia which baffle every doctor. Then Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously for no apparent reason. Meanwhile Dracula communicates with Seward’s mentally unstable patient Renfield, who also worked as as an Estate Agent and was also sent to Transylvania before Harker but has never been the same since he returned.

Mystified, by his daughter’s illness Seward invites his old teacher, Abraham Van Helsing, who immediately determines the true cause of Lucy’s condition. He diagnoses inexplicable blood loss. Helsing prescribes numerous blood transfusions to which Dr. Seward, Helsing, Quincy and Arthur all contribute over time. Helsing also prescribes flowers to be placed throughout her room and weaves a necklace of withered Garlic Blossoms for her to wear as well. She however continues to waste away – appearing to lose blood every night. Then Lucy and her mother are attacked by a wolf; Mrs. Westenra, dies of fright. Van Helsing attempts to protect her with garlic. The doctors find two small puncture marks about her neck, which Dr Seward is at a loss to understand. Helsing then places a crucifix around her neck, but soon after she is discovered dead with the crucifix missing.

Following Lucy’s death, the newspapers report children being stalked in the night. Van Helsing, knowing Lucy has become a vampire, confides in Seward, Lord Godalming, and Morris. The suitors and Van Helsing track her down and confront her. Meanwhile Jonathan Harker arrives from Budapest, where Mina marries him after his escape. They team up to clobber Dracula however Dracula learns of the group’s plot against him, and attacks Mina on three occasions, and feeds Mina his own blood to control her. This curses Mina with vampirism but does not completely turn her into a vampire. Van Helsing attempts to cure Mina and hypnotized her into revealing Dracula’s whereabouts. Having discovered their actions Dracula flees back to his castle in Transylvania and They pursue him under the guidance of Mina leading to an exciting final showdown.

Bram Stoker was born 8 November 1847 in Clontarf, Dublin Ireland and was bed-ridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods.After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on “Sensationalism in Fiction and Society”.

Stoker became interested in the theatre while a student through a friend, Dr. Maunsell. He became the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 “The Crystal Cup” was published by the London Society, followed by “The Chain of Destiny” in four parts in The Shamrock. In 1876, while a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, published 1879), which remained a standard work . Furthermore, he possessed an interest in art, and was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club in 1874. On 31 December 1879, Stoker became acting manager and then business manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London, he became involved in London’s high society, and met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related)

Managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if busy man. In London Stoker also met Hall Caine who became one of his closest friends – he dedicated Dracula to him. Although Stoker travelled the world, he never visited Eastern Europe, a setting for his most famous novel. Stoker enjoyed the United States,While working as a manager, secretary and director of London’s Lyceum Theatre, he began writing novels beginning with The Snake’s Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. During this period, Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the London Daily Telegraph and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). In 1906, he managed productions at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. At the time of its publication, Dracula was considered a “straightforward horror novel” based on imaginary creations of supernatural life. “It gave form to a universal fantasy and became a part of popular culture.” Stoker’s inspirations for the story, in addition to Whitby, may have included a visit to Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, a visit to the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and the novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

 

Coincidentally The late great English Actor Peter Cushing OBE (Who starred in many film adaptations of Dracula was born on May 26th in 1913. He debuted in The Man in the Iron Mask, then returned in 1941 after roles in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared alongside Laurel and Hardy. His first major film part was as Osric in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948). During the 1950s, he also worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC’s adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and the films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). He has also played the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing many times, and the distinguished-looking but sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein amongst many other roles, often appearing opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, his most famous roles outside of “Hammer Horror” include his many appearances as Sherlock Holmes.

Peter Cushing also appeared as the villainous Imperial Officer Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars episode IV, which came out 25th May 1977 and which celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its release in 2017. His likeness was also digitally created for the film Rogue One. Cushing also starred as the mysterious Timelord The Doctor in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD in 1965 and 1966, both based on Doctor Who. Cushing is best rememberes for his association with the roles of Baron Victor Frankenstein and Van Helsing in a long string of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions, in which He was often cast opposite the actor Christopher Lee, with whom he became best friends and who also starred in Star Wars episodes II and III.