William Shatner Performs Bohemian Rhapsody

20-Oct-11 7:55 PM by
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As my friend Andy put it: that which is seen cannot be unseen.

William Shatner, who launched his musical career in 1968, has not let his lack of talent deter him from staying the couse. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is part of a twenty-track album that Shatner released last week:

Captain Kirk lives! With an eclectic set of songs about space, William Shatner continues his hilarious, touching, inspired, and insane approach to music. Since he isn’t really a singer, he surrounds himself with folks like Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, and Lyle Lovett to help with the heavy lifting.

Seeking Major Tom is currently available for $11.99 from Apple iTunes, $7.99 from Amazon, or $13.99 as a physical CD. Though before making an investment, you may want to consider how far Shatner's musical abilities haven't come:

(Hat tip to Roddenberry.com)

MST3K on iTunes

10-Jan-09 11:40 PM by
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A boon previously alluded to by Joel Hodgson, creator of cult comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000, has come to pass: episodes of MST3K are now available for online purchase and viewing from iTunes. The selection consists of the same four episodes recently released in the 20th anniversary box set (link opens in iTunes). They're listed as movies, not TV shows, and are priced accordingly: $9.99 each, no rental option, with a running time of about 90 minutes and filesize of roughly one gigabyte. A single trailer promotes all four films and is an edited version of the promotion for the original tin:

MST3K: The Movie, which was re-released to DVD in 2008, is not (yet?) available via iTunes.

(Hat tip to Satellite News)

The Broadcast Goes On

11-Nov-07 5:49 PM by
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[Editor's note: After seeing Jack Benny in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, I did an online search and found The Jack Benny Show Podcast (link opens in iTunes). I asked a Showbits reader and historian what he thought of this rebroadcast of the 1932 radio show; his response follows.]

I am also a fan of Jack Benny and am still slowly listening through the entire run of shows that are available. I'm up to the fall of 1950, and the last show on radio was the May 22, 1955 show, before he went entirely to television. Most of them are fun to listen to, and I've certainly become a fan of the show.

The first shows are very different from the formula that he settled upon by the early 1940s, and which he continued until the end of the radio series. Also, the quality of the early shows leaves a LOT to be desired. I didn't try downloading the first podcast to see if this guy cleaned the episodes up at all, but some of them are almost unlistenable they are so bad. Not surprising, however, when you consider that what episodes we have prior to 1939 or 1940 were all recorded on home aluminum disk recorders, rather than on something better quality. Broadcasting companies didn't even feel that recording programs was of any value until the mid-1940s, and it wasn't until the late 1940s that any programs said that they were "transcribed" (recorded); almost everything on the radio was live, and any recordings that existed were done from a radio receiver.

Jack's early shows are reminiscent of the talk show format, where he did some topical humor, almost a monologue like Carson or Leno or Letterman might do today, with some skit thrown in later, and a musical number or two from the ever-present house band. With time he added cast members: Mary Livingston, his wife, was one of the first, then Don Wilson the announcer, then the band leader Phil Harris (later Bob Crosby, Bing's brother), and a tenor to sing a number during the show (first Kenny Baker and then Dennis Day). Rochester, whose real name (Eddie Anderson) was never used on the program as far as I know, came on playing bit parts in the late 1930s, and was so popular that he was added as a regular cast member and even got billing at the start of the show by the early 1940s.

As for the copyright: Apparently, due to changes in the copyright law in the mid 1970s, unless specific actions were taken to copyright a radio program, almost none of them fall under any protection today. Consequently, even shows as late as the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which aired during the 1970s, are considered today to be in the public domain. As a result, there are thousands of radio programs out there that can be downloaded either for free or for a nominal fee, depending on the host from which they can be downloaded. There are some serious collectors and preservationists out there who offer programs that have been digitized from very good early generation recordings and have also been cleaned up; these are, of course, more expensive (as usual, you get what you pay for).

Some of the best programs I have listened to in the old time radio (OTR) realm are the dramas Escape and Suspense, which did mystery or adventure dramatizations of written short stories of the day. Also some early radio sci-fi like Dimension X and X Minus One have done radio versions of stories by Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov.


04-Jan-07 5:44 PM by
Filed under Star Trek; 8 comments.

A brief update via TrekToday and courtesy the iPod Observer: the first season of Star Trek: TOS is now available for download from the iTunes Music Store (link launches iTunes). That's $1.99/episode, or $56.99 for the entire season (which is more expensive than the less-portable DVD edition).

(If you don't get the meaning of this post's title beyond the obvious iPod connotation, see Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki. And shame on you for calling yourself a Trekkie.)

Also check out this Star Trek-styled home theater. I wonder if it comes with a red alert klaxon for bathroom breaks — er, battle stations?

Call for Podcasts

16-Dec-06 1:50 PM by
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This morning, I accepted the role of Tom, Dick, or Harry (I don't know which) in a production of Kiss Me, Kate, being performed this March by the Weston Friendly Society. Since Weston is about 48 minutes east-northeast of my current whereabouts, and rehearsals are three times a week for almost three months, I'm going to be on the road quite a bit.

Having been connived into purchasing an iPod last year, I've not taken full advantage of its podcasting capabilities. I've tried several subscriptions on a variety of subjects, but have limited myself to a few about the Apple II or video games. Are there any good ones out there that cover the film industry with news and reviews (but not so much gossip)? I realize there's a whole category for them in the iTunes Music Store — but where to begin? With your recommendations, of course. Please share!

Coming Soon to a Quadrant Near You

16-Dec-06 11:07 AM by
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StarTrek.com posts a reminder of all the places you can find all the Treks:

  • Star Trek starting 17-Nov-06 on TV Land. Also on G4 in uncut versions and in the unique Trek 2.0 format. The all-new Remastered versions are also in syndication around the country.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation is currently on both G4 and Spike TV. (Look for TNG 2.0 on G4 starting 15-Jan-07.)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is currently on Spike TV.
  • Star Trek: Voyager is moving to Spike TV starting 18-Dec-06 but can also be seen on a handful of stations that still air it in syndication.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise is on HDNet (where it started back on 18-Sep-06). Also coming to the SciFi Channel on 08-Jan-07.

Not having any TV service, it is not a decision of channels that has me torn. Besides the Time Travel Collective, I don't have any of the series on DVD. Do I spend $20 to get seven great Picard episodes (The Big Goodbye, Sarek, Family, The Drumhead, Darmok, The Inner Light, and Tapestry) – or do I wait and get the 176-episode complete box set for $300?

Decisions, decisions… Recommendations?