Friday 17 April 2015

1960, Science and Technology: TIROS I

TIROS I (“Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite”) is launched on April 1, 1960 at Cape Canaveral, Florida by the NASA. For the first time it became possible to observe weather conditions on a regular basis.

The satellite received cloud pictures via television cameras that took snapshots of the scene below, a snapshot was taken every ten seconds. TIROS I was equipped with two cameras, one with a wide angle lense providing views approximately 1207 km on a side, and a narrow angle camera with a view that was about 129 km on a side.

Two CDA (“Command and Data Acquisition”) stations were used, the Army Signal Corps laboratory in Belmar, New Jersey and the U.S. Air Force facility a Kaena Point, Hawaii. A third, back-up station, was located at Hightstown, New Jersey.
Tiros I assembly
The data from the satellite was recorded on 35-mm film for making prints and large projections. Afterwards this was transmitted to the U.S. Weather Bureau National Meteorological Center (NMC) near Washington, D.C. By 1962 (TIROS IV, TIROS V) some satellite pictures were sent to other large Weather Bureau offices. In June 1960 TIROS I ceased operating due to an electrical failure. TIROS II was launched on November 23, 1960.
Tiros I section

Monday 13 April 2015

1977, Belgian Comics: “Robbedoes en Kwabbernoot” (original title: “Spirou et Fantasio”)

In 1977 a new "Robbedoes en Kwabbernoot" (Eng.: "Spirou and Fantasio"; original: "Spirou et Fantasio") album "De doodsman" (original: "L'Ankou") is published by Dupuis. It is the twenty-seventh album in the series.

The comic was pre-published in the magazine "Spirou"/"Robbedoes" (1976). The story was drawn and written by the French cartoonist Jean-Claude Fournier. The main characters are Robbedoes (Spirou), Kwabbernoot (Fantasio), squirrel Spip, De doodsman (L'Ankou), Ororéa, Itoh Kata, Rethros Athana, Al Kazar, Capuccino, and, bad guys Freddy and Boy.

The series "Robbedoes en Kwabbernoot" ("Spirou and Fantasio") has been running since 1938. It has been written and drawn by a succession of artists.
No 27 "De doodsman" (original: "L'Ankou")
The comic strip was originally created by French cartoonist Rob-Vel (François Robert Velter) for the launch of Le Journal de Spirou ("Spirou”/Robbedoes") on April 21, 1938, published by Éditions Dupuis. The first succession came in 1943 when Belgian cartoonist Jijé (Joseph Gillain) was given charge of the character. In 1944 he introduced Fantasio, who would become Spirou's best friend. In 1946 Jijé handed the series to his helper, the young Belgian comics artist André Franquin. Franquin developed the strip from single gags and short serials into long adventures with complex plots, and is usually considered as the definitive author of the strip. In 1969 Franquin grew tired of Spirou and he passed the series to the French cartoonist Fournier (Jean-Claude Fournier).
Robbedoes (Spirou), Kwabbernoot (Fantasio) and Spip
Rethros Athana and Ororéa
De doodsman (L'Ankou)
At the end of the 1970s Nic Broca (drawings) and Raoul Cauvin (writing) took on Fournier's lead without adding much to the characters, they made three albums. It was the team of the Belgians Tome (Philippe Vandevelde) (writing) and Janry (Jean-Richard Geurts) (drawings) which was to find lasting success with Robbedoes (Spirou).
Al Kazar and Kwabbernoot (Fantasio)
Capuccino, Rethros Athana, Kwabbernoot (Fantasio), Al Kazar and Itoh Kata
Bad guys Freddy and Boy
In 2004, after a 6 years break, the series came back with French comics writer Jean-David Morvan (writing) and Spanish artist José-Luis Munuera (drawings). They made four albums. In 2009 Morvan and Munuera were succeeded by the French comics writer Fabien Vehlmann and Yoann (Yoann Chivard) (drawings).

Ororéa invites Robbedoes (Spirou) and Kwabbernoot (Fantasio) to join her at a congress of magicians in Brittany. When they arrive, they meet strange Doodsman (L'Ankou), who objects to the presence of a nuclear power station...

  • Renault 5
  • Peugeot 304
  • Renault 15
  • Mercedes-Benz W114 coupé
  • Opel Manta A
  • Mercedes-Benz R(C)107
  • Renault Estafette
Renault 5
Renault 5 and Peugeot 304
Renault 15 and Renault 5
Mercedes-Benz W114 coupé
Opel Manta A
Mercedes-Benz R(C)107
Renault Estafette

Friday 10 April 2015

1976, Film: L'Alpagueur

The French action thriller "L'Alpagueur" (English title: “Hunter Will Get You”) is released 7 March 1976 in France. The film was directed by Philippe Labro based on an original scenario by himself. Main stars are Jean-Paul Belmondo as L'Alpagueur (The Hunter) and Bruno Cremer as L'Epervier (The Sparrowhawk). The musical score, a piano mix with modern rhythms and brass instruments, was composed by Michel Colombier. The film was the first which Belmondo was the sole producer.

"L'Alpagueur" code name for Roger Pilard, is a bounty hunter who works for the French security services. After closing down notorious drugs ring in the Netherlands, Pilard is assigned to eliminate a ruthless gangster known only as "L'Epervier" (The Sparrowhawk), who enlists youngsters to help him in bank robberies and afterwards killing them...
Jean-Paul Belmondo as Roger Pilard aka l'Alpagueur
Bruno Cremer as L'Epervier
Jean-Paul Belmondo as Roger Pilard aka l'Alpagueur and
Jean Négroni as Spitzer
Victor Garrivier as Doumecq and Jean-Paul Belmondo as Roger Pilard aka l'Alpagueur
Main cast
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo as Roger Pilard aka l'Alpagueur (The Hunter)
  • Bruno Cremer as L'Epervier (The Sparrowhawk)
  • Jean Négroni as Spitzer
  • Patrick Fierry as Costa Valdez
  • Jean-Pierre Jorris as Salicetti
  • Victor Garrivier as Doumecq
  • Claude Brosset as Granier
  • Marcel Imhoff as Director
  • Maurice Auzel as Heavy trucker
  • Muriel Belmondo (Jean-Paul Belmondo's younger sister) as First Air Hostess
  • Roger Benamou as Spanish mafioso
  • Jean-Luc Boutté as Second gunman
  • Patrice Chapelain-Midy as bank employee
  • Michèle Delacroix as Second Air Hostess
  • Jacques Destoop as Sicilian mafioso

Fan Made Trailer

Thursday 9 April 2015

1975, Deaths: Scottish actress Mary Ure dies at 42

Scottish actress Mary Ure, aged 42, died on 3 April 1975, shortly after the opening night of her new play "The Exorcism". That night she appeared on the London stage with Honor Blackman and Brian Blessed in the Don Taylor play. Mary Ure died from an accidental overdose from a combination of alcohol and barbiturates. She was found by her husband Robert Shaw in their Curzon Street, London, home.

Mary Ure was born in Glasgow as Eileen Mary Ure on 18 February 1933. She was the daughter of civil engineer Colin McGregor Ure and history teacher Edith Swinburne. Mary was educated at the city’s Laurel Bank School and the independent Mount School in York.
Mary Ure as Mary Burroughs in "Storm Over the Nile" (1955)
Mary Ure and writer Arthur Miller rehearsing for "View From a Bridge" (theatre, 1956)
Mary Ure as Lee Windom in "Windom's Way" (1957)
During the Festival of Britain in 1951 there was a nationwide search for an actress to appear as Mary in the York Mystery Plays. Mary’s headmistress urged her to try her luck and she was chosen for the part at the age of sixteen. E.M. Browne, the producer, was so impressed by her talent that he advised her to study in London at the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she enrolled for a teaching course. Shortly afterwards Ure began performing on the London stage and quickly developed a reputation for her abilities as a dramatic actress.
John Osborne and Mary Ure circa 1957
Her first 
stage appearance was in "Simon and Laura" in 1954 at the Opera House,
Manchester, and she made her London debut as Amanda in the Jean Anouilh play "Time Remembered" (1954) at the Lyric Theatre. While playing Alison Porter in John Osborne's 1956 play "Look Back in Anger", Mary began a relationship with the married playwright, and after he obtained a divorce they married in 1957. The following year she earned a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway production of "Look Back in Anger". In 1959 she starred with Richard Burton and Claire Bloom in the film version, and according to Burton they had an affair. That same year she also had a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon Avon, starring as Desdemona in Othello with Paul Robeson, Albert Finney, Diana Rigg and Vanessa Redgrave.
Richard Burton and Mary Ure in 'Look Back in Anger" (1959)
In 1959 her marriage to Osborne was falling apart and she began an affair with actor Robert Shaw while they co-starred in "The Changeling" at London's Royal Court Theatre. She became pregnant, and gave birth to a son, naming him Colin Murray Osborne despite his physical resemblance to Shaw. After her divorce with Osborne, she married Robert Shaw on April 13 1963 and he legally adopted Colin, who then became Colin Murray Shaw. Later, the couple had three more children.
Vivien Leigh and Mary Ure in "Dual of Angels" (theatre, 1960)
In 1960 she played Clara Dawes in the film "Sons and Lovers" as Clara Dawes, and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Mary Ure with Dean Stockwell in "Sons and Lovers" (1960)
In 1963, after an absence of three years, she returned to the big screen in the science fiction drama "The Mind Benders" with Dirk Bogarde. In 1968, she made her only blockbuster, "Where Eagles Dare", with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Her last film was "A Reflection of Fear" (1973) co-starring her husband.
Mary Ure as Mary Ellison in "Where Eagles Dare"
Mary Ure with husband Robert Shaw in "A Reflection of Fear" (1972)
Mary Ure was buried at London Road Cemetery in Coventry.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

1974, Television: “Magister Maesius”

The Flemish youth series "Magister Maesius" premieres on January 2, 1974. The BRT (now VRT) series was an unusual combination of science fiction and medieval adventure series. The story takes place around 1524 in "Zarren", a town in Flanders. The series was directed by Jef Ceulemans and written by Lo Vermeulen and Karel Jeuninckx. The leading roles were played by Willy van Heesvelde, Jef Demedts, Ann Petersen, Nora Tilley and Ivo Pauwels. 13 episodes were filmed.

In 1524, Irena (Nora Tilley) from the planet Balmodor is sent by the 'crystal creatures' to investigate the Earth. She has to figure out why Earthlings are so unpredictable. Irena meets Magister Maesius a physician and alchemist from Zarren...
Willy Van Heesvelde as Magister Maesius and Ann Petersen as Katrijn

Nora Tilley as Irena
Ivo Pauwels as Geeraert
Jef Demedts as Graaf Renier Van Nevele
Jan Verbist as Ridder Hugo Van Craenendonck
Main cast
  • Willy Van Heesvelde as Magister Maesius
  • Nora Tilley as Irena (her first role)
  • Jan Verbist as Ridder Hugo Van Craenendonck
  • Jef Demedts as Graaf Renier Van Nevele
  • Ann Petersen as Katrijn
  • Ivo Pauwels as Geeraert
  • Marieke Van Leeuwen as Elza
Jef Demedts as Graaf Renier Van Nevele, Marieke Van Leeuwen as Elza and
Alex Cassiers as Kapitein Capuyt
Stijn Peeters as Jonker Jan and Willy Van Heesvelde as Magister Maesius
Jan Verbist as Ridder Hugo Van Craenendonck and
Willy Van Heesvelde as Magister Maesius
Jan Reussens as Haneveer and Paul-Emile Van Royen as Sergeant
Marc Bober as Lange and Paul-Emile Van Royen as Sergeant
Magister Maesius opening credits

Sunday 5 April 2015

1973, Belgian Comics: “Robert En Bertrand”

In 1973 Belgian comics artist Willy Vandersteen creates a new comic "Robert En Bertrand". Two albums were published in 1973 by the "Standaard Uitgeverij": "Mysterie op Rozendael" (translation: "Mystery Rozendael") and "Het opgejaagde weeskind" (translation: "The hunted orphan").

"Robert En Bertrand" is set during the 19th century, in Belgium, The Netherlands and France. Vandersteen was inspired by the main characters in a 19th-century play written by Benjamin Antier and Fréderick Lemaitre and the novel by Koen Ravestein (Raf Verhulst) from 1890.

The main characters, Robert and Bertrand, are two tramps chased by a policeman/detective "Number 17" (probably based on Marty Feldman). Other characters are Moldavian Prince Joeki and protégé of Robert and Bertrand, and Magistrate Mangin.

No 1 "Mysterie op Rozendael"
- full-colour
- never published in English
- story and drawings by Willy Vandersteen
No 1 "Mysterie op Rozendael" ("Mystery Rozendael")
The story was pre-published in the newspapers "De Standaard" and "Het Nieuwsblad". The main characters are Robert, Bertrand, Number 17, Magistrate Mangin, Mrs. Magnin, Liza, Baroness Cammo Milje, Joekof and Prince Joeki.
Bertrand and Robert
Bertrand, Robert and Liza
Baroness Cammo Milje
Head of the Office Mangin ask Robert and Bertrand to protect Baroness Cammo Milje at the Castle Rozendael. In secret the Baroness hides Prince Joeki after he was driven out of his country by rebels...
Magistrate Mangin
Robert and Mrs. Magnin
Number 17
Prince Joeki
- Berliet no 2 (1897)
- 2 unidentified cars
Berliet no 2 (1897)
Robert, Bertrand and Joeki in an unidentified car
Joekov in an unidentified car

No 2 "Het opgejaagde weeskind"
- full-colour
- never published in English
- story and drawings by Willy Vandersteen
No 2 "Het opgejaagde weeskind" ("The hunted orphan")
The story was pre-published in the newspapers "De Standaard" and "Het Nieuwsblad". The main characters are Robert, Bertrand, Number 17, Prince Joeki. Baron Van den Keske de Jevoe, Clara Frikrijk, Miss Lepelaer, Notary Frikrijk and Pieter the painter.
Baron Van den Keske de Jevoe and Bertrand
Clara Frikrijk, Joeki and Miss Lepelaer
Number 17
Robert and Bertrand send Joeki to a boarding school. The school is run by Ms. Lepelaer, a cousin of the original principal. Joeki is mistreated by Miss Lepelaer and tries to escape…
Clara and her father Notary Frikrijk
Pieter the painter and Clara Frikrijk
Prince Joeki, Robert and Bertrand
Prince Joeki and Clara Frikrijk
- 1 unidentified car
Bertrand, Prince Joeki and Robert in an unidentified car