Monday, June 4, 2012

"Nothing less. The number 10 raised almost literally to the power of infinity."

If I hadn't seen the film Forbidden Planet in 1956 at the age of 7, possibly EIGHT, I doubt Space Pirate Radio would have ever come to exist.  Aside from the Existential discussion of the change of time, placement, divergence, effect and outcome, the simple fact was...this film BLEW THE CHILDLIKE MIND!  Hallucinogens in the chocolate milk and frosted flake(s).  It changed my world, like that Mad Magazine cover did 2 years later.

My mother took me to see it in a Southern California theatre after we had moved from Michigan.  She HATED it.  Space movies and science fiction scared her.  My dad LOVED sci-fi, so we buddied up for all of the later interstellar fare.  In my childhood, HE drove me to the first Count Dracula Society meetings.  WE went to Forrest J Ackerman's house to see his sci-fi collection.  I can still remember my father talking to Forry about the classic science fiction film, Things to Come.  Cool.

But back to Forbidden Planet.  This otherworldly interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest was a ground breaking sci-fi film.  I'll try to avoid an in-depth thesis.  The film had many levels to excite a young boy's mind, especially Anne Francis and her Sin-emascope legs and her pre-mini (or post-mini, since this is the future) mini-skirt/dress.  Hoo-Hah!

It was the sound of the thing.  The first all electronic soundtrack major motion picture.  Completely alien.  Not a recognizable human instrument in the whole mix.  We had the theremin in Day the Earth Stood Still. An alien amidst the human orchestra.  Very cool.  But this was complete.  Like when I first heard Tangerine Dream's Atem.  Pure space.  The film's composers were Louis and Bebe Barron.

So it would appear that film soundtrack music shaped my imagination.  Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake from Dracula, Max Steiner's complete score from 1933's King Kong, Bernard Herrmann's music from Journey to the Center of the Earth and especially Jason and the Argonauts and Mysterious Island.  Jazz from my Mother...Henry Mancini with Mr. Lucky, the crazy early sounds of Lenny Dee, Errol Garner.  My Sister with classical, ballet and the soundtrack to Spartacus.  I owned Percy Faith's theme from A Summer Place and Spike Jones' stuff as well as classical.  Plug that in with surf guitar, Lou Christie, Burt Bacharach, the British Invasion and lots of keyboards.  Mix with Monster Movie Marathons, Mad Magazine, lounge music and Eurotrash films and fashion.  The nucleus of Space Pirate Radio muzak is in the lab.

These things take time.  For some, a little slower than others.  38 plus years ago, I introduced Tangerine Dream on commercial radio, 8 floors above the Granada Theatre.  A month from now, what is now Tangerine Dream, will make its "Santa Barbara Debut" in the very same theatre below.

Oh, the irony.

It takes time for some of these fads to catch on.

(Will Gaston or the Phantom himself be in the balcony?)

Herbert Lom Chaney? More or less, B.S. Morbius, or less. :)