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Old 19th Jan 2019, 11:00 pm   #1
dave walsh
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Default Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

"The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse" A BBC4 Documentary which features his unique archive of Film, VRC recordings and Emphera and how it was almost lost is repeated again at 10-30pm tonight. A "must see" in my opinion and a salutary warning as to how things can go wrong even with foresight!

What you collect needs expertise to keep it safe. The Lenny Henry story is amazing. The performing rights prosecution is shameful [like the Golden Shot debacle]. They go after a man with an entirely private collection and who used clips from it in his BBC Radio 2 programs without any problems
It very much could have finished off an otherwise quite damaged and fragile individual [despite his comedic presentation]. Listen to him bearing his soul on Desert Island Discs if you doubt this. Who set him up and why?

I've often wondered if there was a connection with the theft of his highly prized hand-written joke books built up over decades, [which were returned in the end!].

"They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian......

Well they're NOT laughing NOW!" BM

Yes I would have liked more on the Archive but it's still pretty good [or bad in terms of what happened to him]. Stick with it!

Dave W

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Old 19th Jan 2019, 11:10 pm   #2
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

I hear repeatedly record companies, Hollywood and performing rights organisations banging on about 'It's all for the artists' benefit....'

Well, without archives, those artists are going to be gone and forgotten about well before the lengthened copyright periods expire.

It's all about the money and control, isn't it? And most of that doesn't go to the artists.

Very sad

David
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Old 19th Jan 2019, 11:14 pm   #3
dave walsh
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

You're right David and we've left a lot to private individuals in this country! In a way, I hope it was business or a personal grudge and not something murkier!

Dave
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Old 20th Jan 2019, 1:30 am   #4
dave walsh
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That must be at least the 10th or 12th time I've watched the Monkhouse Documentary. There is so much content in there related to archiving that it should be a "Sticky". I said recently that sticky's should be preserved "and why not" as Frank Carson, a now forgotten Irish comedian said- I think!

It's important to know whether the voltage or negative bias is correct etc and to preserve originality, plus the beauty of some designs but Bob's, very early, SW forays into American Radio demonstrate that look of the set is irrelevant to the information transfer. In the 1960's I had advance access to the American Top Ten due to a New York City broadcast I was able to pick up via SW on Saturday mornings.

Despite me saying [on the Magnetic Turntable thread] that I'm not obsessed with the "underdog" this thread is another one-and why not? I've spent all day sorting and storing recordings/newspapers etc and constantly rush out to record things myself like Monkhouse. It's either Anxiety, Psychos, or a desire to keep ourselves alive [probably that one] but Androids don't share these concerns [yet]. A Robot with a hobby? Now that would be new! They would just download.

Collecting is not the same as Hoarding!
Bootlegging is not the same as Pirating!
Discuss.

Oh yes Erratum, it was in the Psychiatrists Chair I meant not DID-a very affecting edition and the program was extremely popular at the time. For the sake of balance, I will say that Anthony Claire was persuaded to be interviewed himself and [to my recollection] revealed very little.

Dave W

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Old 20th Jan 2019, 10:57 am   #5
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

I seem to recall that Monkhouse's "Mad Movies" informative show for children, introduced the forgotten silent movie stars (like Buster Keaton etc) to a new audience.These old silent films were considered worthless and copyright in the US had lapsed..However the new interest sparked by the likes of Monkhouse's shows was a double edged sword as these films left US 'public domain' and became under control and valuable again making it very difficult for Monkhouse to use them again without bother and a considerable ransom.Hence "Mad Movies" could probably not be shown again without entering a copyright minefield.
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Old 20th Jan 2019, 2:48 pm   #6
dave walsh
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

Yes I think that's probaly a major part of it Charlie but it didn't seem that he was at aware of this! It was all clearly a complete shock and "overkill" when the Flying Squad turned up. After two years waiting, the judgement suggests that he was nowhere near anything dubious, let alone criminal activity but he clearly felt obliged to keep his head down. This may explain why he was deprived of the opportunity to bequeath the collection properly. The fact that this was compensated for later [to some extent] doesn't excuse what might have very easily been a massive complete loss of archive material [resulting from a spurious prosecution] that the Media organisations couldn't be bothered with in the first place.

It is true that some people saw his public persona as perhaps a bit shifty and over-eager and he was described as a "marmite" individual on the program. That sort of anxious, eager to please presentation is also common in young people who have had a bad experience in childhood and his mother clearly had her own difficulties. I began to take him seriously when [counter-intuitively perhaps] he had a 30 minute program about vintage cinema on Radio 2, using extracts from the collection-although I thought they originated from other sources at first. This was in the 80's. I've not been able to find much about it so far but that may not be significant.

I read an article about his collecting and it was mentioned that some Video was being recorded on a semi-pro Beta machine [a C9?] and that impressed me. I always intended to record those programs but sadly, I never did I would have liked to have met him!

Dave

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Old 20th Jan 2019, 11:41 pm   #7
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

I well remember the Mad Movies programmes, and it's a shame they haven't been repeated. My understanding is that the US copyright amendment law of 1998 only provides for an extension of 20 years, and only affects works that were still in copyright in 1998. However, copyright law is fiendishly complex and it is possible for something to be out of copyright in the US but to still be in copyright in Europe, and vice versa.

I know from my days operating the 16mm projector at the students' union when I was at college in the 1960's that there were strict laws about charging for viewing films, even for films that you had paid to hire. Because we were less that 3 miles from the nearest cinema, we were not allowed to take money on the door per performance. Instead we had to be organised as a film club for which members bought a pad of tickets each term, to be handed in at each screening.
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Old 21st Jan 2019, 1:20 am   #8
dave walsh
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

I'm more interested in the Radio program that I recall on Saturday mornings where Bob played soundtrack excerpts eg Laurel and Hardy [very current with the new Steve Coogan film] singing "On the trail of the lonesome Pine" and talked about the history of silent films as well. There was an oblique reference to 1985 in one entry that links with my recollection but little else! I did find an Obit in the Independent "Icon of British Entertainment Television and an Elder Statesman of Comedy" [30/12/03] which confirms my impression of his mother.

Dave
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Old 21st Jan 2019, 10:02 pm   #9
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave walsh View Post

"They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian......

Well they're NOT laughing NOW!" BM

Dave W
Classic I used to watch the Golden Shot as a kid and enjoyed Bob's humour and personality. He was a great entertainer. ISTR the great Benny Hill did a parody of the GS. I miss the old comedians.

Regards
Symon.
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Old 22nd Jan 2019, 12:34 am   #10
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

EVERYBODY did a parody of the Golden Shot

I wonder if he chose his "They laughed..." as an epitaph?

Spike Milligan chose "I told you I was ill!"

David
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Old 22nd Jan 2019, 4:43 pm   #11
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

Thanks for the link - I think I must have missed this the first few time around.
Geek mode on: in the drama clip, I believe I spotted an R109, an R1475 and a 363 tape deck. And just as the announcer said the initials "VHS" a hand is seen pressing N1700 buttons.
Graham
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Old 22nd Jan 2019, 7:33 pm   #12
dave walsh
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Default Re: Monkhouse Film and Video Archive

It's actually been repeated up to [maybe] half a dozen times overall. That's why I've watched and recorded it so frequently-as a part of the Beeb's "economy drive" . Yes the scene in the play shows a large amount of vintage kit, rather like viewing Hancock's room in the Radio Ham, which gave rise to some jealousy at the time. What a great hobby Tony says [unconvincingly]. "Yes....friends all over the World, all over the World ......none in this Country though" [Early Facebook I think].

Dave W
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