Friday, 22 September 2017

The Eiger Sanction Summit June 1976 article

Continuing with our September ‘Eiger’ retrospective theme, here is a reproduction of the rare 4 page feature that appeared in the June 1976 edition of Summit magazine. Summit was America's first monthly climbing and mountaineering magazine, published from 1955 to 1989. Whilst I don’t own this particular magazine, the source scans that were originally sent to me were a little rough around the edges and some of the text was a little blurred. However, I have tried to clean the pages up to some degree which has now made most of the text readable. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The passing of actor Harry Dean Stanton

It was sad waking up this morning to learn that actor Harry Dean Stanton had died from natural causes at the age of 91. Stanton was something of an understated screen legend. I suppose some would argue with the term 'legend' but to many film fans, Harry Dean Stanton was every bit a screen legend. He was such a solid, charismatic actor, a reliable presence who always brought something special to a movie, more often in a supporting role. Stanton was given his first starring role at the age of 58 in Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders, a film which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was also widely respected as a musician, His group Harry Dean Stanton and the Repo Men, later simply known as the Harry Dean Stanton Band, often played clubs in and around Los Angeles.  Back in the late 60s, he shared a house in Hollywood with Jack Nicholson, and they partied hard with David Crosby, Mama Cass Elliot and the burgeoning Laurel Canyon rock aristocracy of the time.

Stanton, known for his roles in films like Two-lane blacktop, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Rancho Deluxe, The Godfather II, Straight Time, Escape from New York, Alien and Cool Hand Luke was born in Kentucky and had a career which spanned more than six decades, and dozens of films. He seemed to have a knack of choosing films which ultimately emerged as cult classics.  

Of course there was also a strong Eastwood connection starting as far back as Rawhide, the TV western for which Stanton made four appearances. 

Arguably, a lot of ‘casual’ film fans may not even be aware that Stanton also appeared in a rather infamous version of A Fistful of Dollars, (above) appearing in a specially filmed prologue for when the film was first aired on American TV. However, most Eastwood fans will remember Stanton as Private Willard (left), one of Kelly's 'heroes' in the classic film of the same name.

More recently, he appeared in the hit HBO show Big Love, and this year's revival of yet another cult classic Twin Peaks.

Thank you for so many great memories

RIP Sir, our thoughts go out to all those who knew him best - 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Stunning Eiger Sanction poster for the Mendi Film Festival 2014

Some time ago on The Eiger Sanction page, I featured this beautiful poster which was produced for the 2014 Mendi Film Festival in Bilbao. Subsequently, I was very fortunate to link up with founder and director of the festival, Jabier Baraiazarra – who today I’m very happy to call a friend. 

The whole concept behind the poster is an interesting one. The photo originally came to Jabier’s attention through the cover shot of Alpinist magazine issue 41 from winter 2012. The breath taking photo was taken by Hamish MacInnes OBE, a Scottish mountaineer, mountain search and rescuer, author and adviser. 

He has been involved with a number of films, as climber, climbing double and safety officer, which of course included Eastwood’s The Eiger Sanction (1975) and Roland Joffé’s The Mission (1986). The photo was an obvious choice for Jabier who managed to track down and contact MacInnes in order to obtain permission and using it as the prominent image of the 2014 festival.  

The Bilbao Mendi Film Festival has become one of the best mountain and adventure film festivals around the world. The best filmmakers of the genre offer an unprecedented insight into mythical scenarios for mountaineering and adventure from the Alps to Himalaya, to the South Pole, Patagonia, Karakoram mountains, Greenland, the jungles of Mexico, Venezuela, the Andes, Borneo, and the Grand Canyon.
Furthermore, Mendi Film Festival also offers an extensive programme of activities, including the presence of directors and athletes who provide the direct testimony of their experience. It is well worth checking out their site HERE.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank Jabier for his generosity and kindness. I was absolutely thrilled when a tube turned up at the door this week and completely bowled over when I opened it. Thank you so much my friend. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am when people occasionally contribute by sending me a few pieces - which in the past has ranged from a few magazine features from their personal files, a 58lb box of worldwide cuttings or, as on this occasion – a poster. 

Your contributions certainly make all the time and effort put into this site so worthwhile. I am constantly updating pages all over the Archive with everything that is sent to me – it may take some time to cover absolutely everything, but it’s there as a permanent resource as well as for Eastwood fans to simply enjoy.  A BIG thank you to everyone who helps make this site what it is today.        

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Clint arrives on the Venice set of his movie The 15:17 To Paris

Clint Eastwood, 87, looked passionate about his latest project as he arrived on the set of his forthcoming movie, The 15:17 To Paris, in Venice, Italy, on Wednesday.
The widely-publicized film tells the real-life tale of three American heroes who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train in Paris, France, in August 2015 by bravely tackling an AK-wielding gunman.
Child actors will play the trio in flashback scenes as the movie sets out to explore who the men are and what drove them to react they way they did on that fateful day.
Eastwood looked relaxed as he brought the crew to the canal-bound Italian city on Wednesday, wearing light grey slacks and a dark grey polo, with a straw fedora to keep the summer sun off his face.
The octogenarian arrived in style, chartering an iconic water taxi to navigate the submerged streets.
Eastwood seemed happy and relaxed as he chatted to his crew on set as they prepared for another busy day of filming. The first filming day for 'The 15:17 to Paris' took place at Santa Lucia Station in Venice
The Thalys train was en route from Amsterdam to Paris, via Brussels; it is unknown what part of the story Eastwood was filming in Venice.
The film also stars The Office's Jenna Fischer in an as-yet-unspecified role, and Judy Greer, who according to Deadline will play 'an independent and fiercely religious single mother who always has a glass half full type of mindset'.
Eastwood himself met all three men at Spike TV's Guy's Choice awards in June last year, where he presented them with the Heroes Award.
Eastwood was widely praised for his decision to cast the trio in the movie.
Variety reported at the time of casting: 'Eastwood began a wide-ranging search for the actors who would portray the three Americans.
'The studio and Eastwood made their choices but at the 11th hour decided to have Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone portray themselves.'

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The passing of country legend, Glen Campbell

Country music legend Glen Campbell passed away yesterday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

One of the giants of country music has died. Glen Campbell passed away yesterday at the age of 81 after a six year battle with Alzheimer’s. His family released this statement: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell.”

Although he’ll always be known as a country artist, that’s really selling him short. Glen could do everything. He started as a guitarist who joined the wrecking crew in 1961. They were a group of L.A. session musicians that worked nonstop.

In 1963 alone Glen played on 586 songs. The list of artists he played with through the years included Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, the Mamas and the Papas, and the Beach Boys. He even toured with the Beach Boys in 1964 when Brian Wilson went on hiatus. Singing is what made him famous. His first hit was “Gentle on my Mind” in 1967. And then the hits kept coming: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “Southern Nights”, and “Rhinestone Cowboy”.
He became a TV star in 1969 when he hosted “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour”. He did a little acting too, co-starring with John Wayne in the original “True Grit”, and he played himself in Clint Eastwood’s “Any Which Way You Can”. Campbell also sang the title track to Any Which Way You Can which appeared on the soundtrack album and was also released as a single. The song was a Top-10 hit on the country music charts.
Campbell in Any which way you can (1980)
Glen sold over 45 million records, received 11 Grammys, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. 
Even his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011 didn’t stop him. He decided to bring light to the disease by doing interviews, making appearances, and launching his Goodbye Tour. His final studio album, “Adios”, was released in June.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go out to his family.

The Clint Eastwood Archive 
Clint with Glen Campbell February 2000 at the AT&T Pro-Am golf tour Pebble Beach from Country Weekly Magazine

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly location reborn in Spain

BBC News published a story today on the Sand Hill Unearthed project which has been made into a full length documentary by our friend, filmmaker Guillermo de Oliveira.  The story was reported by Guy Hedgecoe in Burgos, Spain.

Cédric Biscay dons a poncho and places a cheroot in his mouth. Behind, the hills and rocky escarpments of Burgos, in northern Spain, shimmer in the summer heat. And all around him is a place he had only ever seen before on the movie screen: Sad Hill cemetery, site of the final showdown in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the 1966 western directed by Sergio Leone.
In that scene, the characters played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach meet in the cemetery for a three-way duel that will decide who gets to keep the gold buried in one of the graves.
"I feel like I'm in the movie!" says Mr Biscay, who is visiting from Monaco, after wandering around the cemetery and admiring its central paved circle and the hundreds of wooden crosses surrounding it. Nearby are props from the movie's final moments: a noose hanging from a solitary tree.
"This is such an important place for me," he explains. "I've watched the movie four times a year for the last 30 years, so yes, I'm a big fan."

But two years ago, Sad Hill looked nothing like this. There were no crosses to be seen and cows roamed across the site, which looked like just another overgrown, grassy meadow. The cemetery had been created solely for the purposes of the movie, much of which was filmed in this area of Spain. Then Sad Hill was forgotten for nearly five decades.
But in 2014, a group of local people decided to restore the site to its former glory. They called themselves the Sad Hill Cultural Association and after locating the exact cemetery spot, with the help of photographs from the film's final scene, in 2015 they set about the painstaking process of excavating the site.
"At the start it seemed like it was going to be impossible, but bit by bit people from other provinces of Spain, other towns, and even other countries, came to help us rebuild the cemetery and it snowballed," says David Alba, the 35-year-old president of the association. Aficionados could help finance the project by paying €15 (£13; $18) to have their name painted onto one of the wooden crosses.
Mr Alba remembers a key moment early in the excavation.
"We were digging in the ground and we saw that underneath the earth were the original stones of the central circle of the site, the place where all the actors, the director and all the technicians had walked across during the filming," he says. "It was like digging in the ground and finding treasure."
Documenting the entire process was filmmaker Guillermo de Oliveira (Right). He has recently finished filming a documentary, Sad Hill Unearthed, telling the story of the cemetery's restoration. It is due for release later this year. Several celebrity fans of the original western feature in the documentary, such as James Hetfield, the singer of heavy metal band Metallica, and Gremlins director Joe Dante. In addition, there are interviews with some of the key personalities from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly itself, including composer Ennio Morricone and Eastwood, who declared himself delighted that the cemetery had been restored.
The Sad Hill Cultural Association now stages concerts and other events at the cemetery, which is drawing increasing numbers of visitors from Spain and abroad. For many of them it is a chance to see the location of what Oliveira describes as "one of the most important scenes in the whole history of cinema". Leone, he explains, masterfully used the eerie location and Morricone's music to generate several minutes of heart-stopping suspense as Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach glared at each other before drawing their guns. Oliveira and his team also tracked down a number of locals who were extras in the western.

For them, and the younger volunteers who have rebuilt the Sad Hill site, the whole exercise has blurred the boundaries between reality and cinema, says Luisa Cowell, producer of the Sad Hill Unearthed documentary.
"Most of the volunteers had seen the film when they were children, with their families, their father or grandfather, so it has marked their lives, it's something that is very special to them," she says.
"So they all went there with the intention of unearthing a piece of something that for them is real - it's not fiction for them anymore, it becomes real," she adds. "And once they unearth it and they find the stones it becomes even more of a reality and they become part of this reality."

Thank You to David Vernall-Downes for sending me this story

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Clint’s debut on UK Video cassette

Intervision's opening video Logo
I was chatting with a few friends last night, reminiscing about the beginning of the Video revolution here in the UK. Naturally the subject got on to Clint, and we were discussing those wonderful big box Warner Home Video releases. It appears that most of us began our collections with one of those releases. I can remember vividly my own first purchase, Dirty Harry. Back then they were in a great large case and we had the pleasure of enjoying the film in a panned and scanned format (oh the joy). 

But I reminded my colleges that Clint’s arrival on VHS / Betamax (and V2000) in the UK actually came courtesy of Intervision video.  

Intervison was one of the earliest VHS labels in the UK. Managed by Mike Tenner and Richard Cooper, the company distributed major film releases (namely those from United Artists) as well as horror films through Alpha Video. The company eventually folded following the rise of major VHS distributors in the UK, but not before they released The Good, the bad and the ugly (UA A B5010) in 1980. I remember the campaign quite well, and the whole TV campaign that ran on UK television. I remember a number of clips contained in that advert alongside The Good, the bad and the ugly, such as Network, Carrie, The Exterminator, Lenny and I think I recall Rollerball.

The packaging came in the shape of a cardboard slip case and the film was of course panned and scanned, which was something of a travesty when it came to Sergio Leone's beautifully crafted vision. I could never recall if these titles could be bought at the time? The sleeve always seem to have ‘rental only’ which probably explains why there are very few of them floating around to purchase. Perhaps some were sold off as ex-rentals once they were worn down to the bone? However, it did prompt me to go and dig out the wonderful cover (front and spines) which I have in my collection. One of the spines is a little worse for wear; remember these were made of card (and it is some 37 years old now). But I did a quick digital restoration on it before presenting it here. It is near impossible to find a good image or a scan of the packaging anywhere on the internet, so I wanted to change that. I suppose it represents a little piece of history in some respects. It was Clint’s first film ever to be available on the new format and could be watched at any given time. It certainly would shape things in respect of how we would come to view movies and arguably signified something of a revolution. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Cowboy Favorites LP and early single recordings

Whilst Clint’s 1963 album is already featured elsewhere on this site, I thought it would be interesting to look at it a little deeper. There have since been numerous CD releases and the album has even come full circle with a vinyl re-release in 2016. I thought it might be a good idea to also look into Clint’s 7” singles that were also released during this early period. I will also look into the different CD issues and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of what each CD has to offer.
Clint’s music career actually predates the Cowboy Favourites LP for which he is perhaps most famously (or infamously) associated. The story begins in 1961. Clint was already an established household name, due to Rawhide which had been running on the CBS network since January 9th, 1959. It wasn’t unusual for the music industry to try and capitalise on young teen idols of the TV screen. Some young stars were already being drafted into the studios to make recordings; for example, Johnny Crawford of The Rifleman (ABC 1958 – 1963), had five Top-40 hits. There is very little known of Gothic Records, other than they were based in Hollywood,California. 
However, the idea came about largely in order to exploit Clint’s popularity on Rawhide. Clint was hardly a teen; in fact he was 31 years old at the time but still had the boyish good looks that were appealing to the girls. It is unclear how the offer or idea to record presented itself. His financial advisor at the time was Irving Leonard and it’s believed that his talent agency was Mitchell Gertz whom he had signed to in 1957. However it came about, it was presumably ‘green lighted’ by one or both of these gentleman.

Unknown Girl / For all we Know (GOX 005) was released as a 7” 45rpm by Gothic Records in August of 1961 - which suggests it was recorded during the summer break in between the filming of Rawhide. 
Unknown Girl (of my dreams) was a routine ballad written by Darlene Paul who also had a brief singing career with both Atlantic and Capital Records. For All We Know was a popular and established song published in 1934. 

The music was written by J. Fred Coots and the lyric by Sam M. Lewis. Nat "King" Cole had recorded it and used it as a B side to Nature Boy in 1952, as had Nina Simone in 1958. As a Jazz fan, it is entirely possible that Clint was influenced by one or both of these artists’ recording of the song. 

Nevertheless, Clint’s first vinyl cut failed to do very much and it has since been recorded as not reaching the chart. It did however produce a nice picture sleeve and the single cut has become something of a collector’s piece these days. It was also the only recording Clint made for Gothic Records.
Clint’s next piece of vinyl was also in the way of another 7” 45rpm, this time from GNP Crescendo Record Co. GNP was an independent record label founded in 1954 by Gene Norman and continues to operate from Hollywood, California. 
Released in February 1962, Get Yourself another Fool / For You for Me for Evermore (GNP 177X) was produced by Larry Stith, the man responsible for also producing Unknown Girl. 
Get Yourself another Fool was written by Edward W. Mitchell and previously recorded by The Charles Brown Trio in 1949. The original recording is a great bluesy, mellow Jazz number featuring Brown accompanying himself on piano with lyricist Eddie Mitchell on bass and Charles Norris on guitar. It’s a simple, uncomplicated track. Unfortunately, Clint’s version of the song is provided with an upbeat, almost ‘jaunty’ musical backing with added strings. It’s almost as if there is an obligation (on the record company’s part) to provide that old ‘cowboy trail’ rhythm and backing track, they seemingly can’t resist. 
The grey strip that obscured the Gothic Records ID
It was all about exploiting the TV show at any given opportunity. In fact, GNP Crescendo had gone one step further than Gothic Records. In an almost identical picture cover, GNP Crescendo had added the words ‘Star of Rawhide’ to both the sleeve and the record label. Curiously, I do still wonder if Gothic Records were linked with GNP Crescendo or perhaps even a subsidiary. Firstly, Larry Stith acted as producer on both singles, which suggests that both recordings came from the same sessions and secondly, there’s that sleeve? Was it already printed up as Gothic’s next release? Had Gothic Records folded in between Clint’s singles and subsequently picked up by GNP Crescendo? Strangely enough, the strongest evidence seems to appear on the reverse side of the ‘Get Yourself another Fool’ cover. As mentioned above, the reverse of both sleeves are practically identical, except for a rather mysterious dark strip which appears exactly where the words ‘Gothic Records Hollywood, California’ were printed on Clint’s first single (left). 
It seems pretty obvious that this had been designed in order to obscure that identification mark. The single’s B-side "For You, For Me, For Evermore" was a George and Ira Gershwin composition written around 1936 -1937. It was something of a strange choice which probably didn’t help do much for its sales. It has also since been recorded as failing to enter either the U.S. or Canadian charts.
Billboard News September 21st, 1963. Cameo / Parkway studios - Above, Dave Edelman who worked on Cowboy Favorites
The UK picture sleeve single on Cameo / Parkway
During 1962 Clint and GNP Crescendo had parted company. However, another label was waiting to eagerly sign him up. Cameo-Parkway Records were the parent company of Cameo Records and Parkway Records which were both major American Philadelphia-based record labels from 1956 (for Cameo) and 1958 (for Parkway) to 1967. 

In 1962-63, Cameo was running short of star acts, so the label turned to television signing up both Clint and Merv Griffin. Despite the poor history of Clint’s first two singles, Cameo-Parkway must have had a degree of faith in Clint, and there was probably good reason – Rawhide was into another season and continued to be extremely popular. 

A single was recorded (in November and December, 1962) at the Cameo Parkway Studios, Philadelphia and planned for the Christmas Holiday season.

In December 1962 Rowdy / Cowboy Wedding Song (C 240) was released on both sides of the Atlantic. Rowdy was a tailor-made little ditty, an intended theme song for Eastwood's Rawhide character. The song was written by Texan singer Jesse Lee Turner who had scored a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959 with the novelty song Little Space Girl – but failed to do little else. Cowboy Wedding Song was written by Ben Raleigh and Artie Wayne and was a rather tedious song if truth be known. What remains fascinating about this single, is that most people still believe that Rowdy was the A-side. Yet, on the U.S. version of the 45, it was in fact Cowboy Wedding Song and Rowdy was instead used as the B-side of the single.
Above: The U.S A-side, Cowboy Wedding Song and the U.K. A-side, Rowdy

So what was the confusion? This is probably attributed to the UK single. Yes, it’s a fact; Rowdy was released in the U.K. as the A-side. Moreover, the UK version of the single was also released in a rather nice picture sleeve; I have yet to discover a U.S. picture cover. The U.K. sleeve has always been the prominent image associated with this release and as such, most assume this to be the generic U.S. release. With the vivid black wording of ‘ROWDY’ scrolled across the front, the myth (and misunderstanding) is fully cemented. Regardless of how good the U.K. single looked, the one common denominator remained, neither version failed to enter the chart.
Regardless of the poor single sales, Cameo Parkway went ahead and released ‘Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood sings Cowboy Favourites’ (C-1056) in September 1963. The recording sessions took place on May 13th and 14th 1963 at Fine Recording’s Bayside, Queens Studio in New York. Twelve tracks were selected for the album.

Cowboy Favourites provided exactly what the title suggested, Clint's versions of classic cowboy-style tunes. Clint would undoubtedly be the first to admit that he was not the finest vocalist ever born on the planet, but he was hardly the worst. It was a period in time where plenty of other equally handsome young men (with a ‘limited’ vocal range) were also being pushed and promoted as popular singers. Cameo Parkway was certainly no different and keen to push their new star. Their original album liner notes stated:

The folk songs that truly represents a branch of American culture, is the western cowboy song. Ever since courageous Americans crossed the prairies, western songs have been popular. And there is no better prototype of that ‘cowboy’ than Cameo/ Parkway's recording artist, Clint Eastwood, a ‘native’ westerner and a ‘natural’ performer. ABOUT THE SONGS -- During the long watches of the dark night, as the cowboy rode around the milling herds, he sang colourful ballads and melodies. Alone with just the moon, the stars and the herd, the songs of the cowboy were often plaintiff, sad and emotionally moving. He sang of his home, his girl, his land of dreams and his hopes for tomorrow. In the Cameo recording, Clint Eastwood presents an exciting song picture of the west - as it was. He vividly describes the life of the cowboy...he sings of their dreams, their sorrows and their joys. And, he sings this unique collection of ‘Cowboy Favourites’ with an intimacy and style that marks him as a true show business ‘great.’
On this hi-fi recording, listen to his outstanding performance as he sings: "Bouquet of Roses," "Sierra Nevada," "Don't Fence Me In," and "Are You Satisfied (*co-written by Clint’s Rawhide co-star Sheb Wooley)." Other folk classics equally outstanding are: "Santa Fe Trail," "Last Roundup," "Mexicali Rose," Tumblin' Tumbleweed," and "Twilight on the Trail." Included also are "Searchin' for Somewhere," "I Love You More," and "San Antonio Rose." This album represents a collection of songs closely identified with the spirit of America. Here, then, Cameo/Parkway's talented vocalist Clint Eastwood, and America's most popular "cowboy favourites" an unsurpassed combination that spells ‘entertainment.’
German pressing of Cowboy Favorites
Over the passing decades, the album still manages to retain a certain charm, there’s a real innocence and sentimentality about it, regardless of its cheesy style. After all, it is often such flaws which make it so enjoyable. Later reviewers such as J. Allen have remarked on it as:
Eastwood's soft, somewhat laconic croon might not possess the commanding quality that was de rigueur for the era's country stars, but he never strays off-key, and his style is a kind of cross between legendary cowboy singer Roy Rogers and Dean Martin. Most of the tunes he tackles here were already well-known in hit versions by other artists -- The Sons of the Pioneers' ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds,’ Bob Wills' ‘San Antonio Rose,’ Gene Autry's ‘Mexicali Rose,’ etc. The loping rhythms, lonesome harmonica, lazy guitar licks, and male backing-vocal choruses are all in keeping with the production conventions of the day for cowboy artists.

Netherlands LP pressing PCP206 released in 1965
Whilst I wouldn’t entirely agree that Clint ‘never strays off-key’ or that his singing style should be shared in the same breath as Dean Martin, I do agree that the production values are in keeping with convention. ‘Cowboy Favourites’ is very much a product of its time and as long as the listener remains mindful of that fact, the easier the listening experience will always be. Cameo Parkway produced a lovely album cover with a nice photo of Clint taken in full Rawhide regalia. The design (from what I’ve seen) is pretty consistent with other editions, with the exception being the German pressing (above). The album didn’t do well in terms of sales, and before long Cameo Parkway reverted back to their more traditional genres including jazz and several albums by Maynard Ferguson and Clark Terry among others. The original vinyl is still a collectable piece, it took me years to eventually track one down and add it to my own collection. However, whilst Cowboy Favourites, in general slipped further into obscurity, time eventually proved to be somewhat favourable in respect of its fate... 
LaserLight Digital was a label owned by the Delta Leisure Group and formed in the 1980s. It was a label which often picked up public-domain material. Nevertheless, it was still something of a surprise when in 2002 the company released a CD titled Clint Eastwood COUNTRY Favourites (21 981). It was really something of an eye opener and certainly unexpected. Aside from a slight change in the title’s wording, it actually contained the entire Cowboy Favourites album – on a digital CD! In addition to this, the CD also contained bonus tracks in the form of  four themes from, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and The Man With the Harmonica (from Once upon a time in the West). Unfortunately, they were all rather weak cover versions performed by The Western Sound Orchestra? The cover was also a rather shabby affair, and wasn’t related at all (perhaps for copyright reasons) to the original album concept. Instead we had a tourist type photo of what looks like monument valley with a sidebar film strip featuring three shots of Clint (from Bronco Billy, High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider). Despite its visual flaws, it did however provide a breakthrough in terms of audio, and at last Eastwood collectors could now enjoy listening to it free of any pops or cracks. After the U.S. branch of Delta folded in 2007, LaserLight Digital eventually went into dormancy.
In 2010 the well-respected label Ace records released a new version of Cowboy Favourites (UK and Europe - CDCHM 1269) (in the U.S. - Cameo - C-1056, Collectors' Choice Music - CCM2110). With this release, it was established that the license now belonged to ABKCO, a music publisher and film production company that was founded in 1961 as Allen Klein & Company. Allen Klein was a controversial American business manager specialising in music clients such as Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke and later went on to manage The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.  
This new release also benefited from a complete audio restoration by The Magic Shop & ABKCO Studios in New York, and the results are superb. Unlike the previous LaserLight release, there were also a couple of genuinely relevant bonus tracks, consisting of Clint’s Cameo Parkway single Rowdy and Cowboy wedding song. Furthermore, the CD proudly displayed a beautiful reproduction of the original album artwork. Backed by some fine liner notes by James Ritz, it felt as if Cowboy Favourites had finally arrived with a degree of respectability and style.              
One could easily be forgiven in thinking that this is where the Cowboy Favourites story ends, but there was more to come. In 2010, U.S. label Real Gone Music continued the story. The vinyl LP was once considered a dead format, one which was only cherished by devotees, a niche society of collectors with a passion for hunting down and buying past treasures. 

However, recent times have seen some form of resurgence in the format. Real Gone Music certainly displayed a degree of confidence by re-releasing Cowboy Favourites (RGM-0040) for the first-ever time on 180 gram vinyl. 

The reissue was an identical mono representation of the original 1963 album and contained no extra tracks.
(Left: Back cover of Real Gone Music's vinyl album)
In 2014, Not Now Music based in London, England released another superb 2 CD collection titled, Clint Eastwood & Frankie Laine, The Singing Cowboys (NOT2CD534). At first glance, one might think that this is something of a cheap and cheerful copy, when in fact, it is anything but that. In terms of value for money, and its content, it is arguably the best choice currently available. The two CDs are split between Eastwood and Laine with Clint’s content taking up Disc One (45.09). If you think that the running time looks a little rich for the Cowboy Favourites album, you’d be perfectly correct in your assumption, but for all the right reasons. The wonderful thing about this collection (aside from great audio, excellent packaging and slip case cover), is the bonus material. With the exception of ‘Get yourself another fool’ all of Clint’s single material from this period is included over five bonus tracks. In respects of ‘Get yourself another fool’ it remains something of a mystery. Why include a B-side and omit the A-side? 
Perhaps it’s a simple case of the master recording being damaged or even lost? It’s a great shame the track is not included here as it would of encapsulated Clint’s entire recording history for this period. But of course, there is so much more. The Frankie Laine disc is also a full and enjoyable listen (64.51) especially for the western fan and there is a smooth sense of connectivity. The most important connection of course is the theme to Rawhide which kicks off the CD and will for evermore link both Eastwood and Laine. There’s lots of other great western film and TV hits including Champion the wonder horse (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Coral (1957), The 3:10 to Yuma (1957) and much more. There is also Laine’s recording of 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds', so you can compare it with that of Clint’s. Although it’s stated in the CD booklet that Eastwood and Laine did not work together, that isn’t exactly true. Laine appeared as Ralph Bartlett in an episode of Rawhide (Incident on the Road to Yesterday) in 1960.  Both men became good friends, which lead to Clint writing the foreword for Laine's 2009 biography, Mr Rhythm: A Tribute to Frankie Laine. The greatest thing about this CD is that it can be picked up for less than £5.00 with free (UK) postage on Ebay, and offers incredibly good value for money.
Finally, and to (perhaps) bring the story of Clint’s Cowboy Favourites full circle, July 1st 2016 saw another release by Real Gone Music – and again, it was back to vinyl. It’s perhaps fitting that this final entry arrives in the format in which it first began its 1963 journey. Real Gone Music’s additional vinyl release could be described as something of a novelty, while to others it’s arguably a rather nice collector’s piece. Cowboy Favourites (RGM-0435) is a very limited edition (300 pressed worldwide) mono reissue in Brown Tobacco coloured vinyl. Whilst it is one that will probably only appeal to the serious record collector or indeed the equally serious Eastwood collector, the word is, it’s already becoming very scarce. In fact, Real Gone Music’s own website already has it listed as sold out.
There is something rather charming about the renewed interest surrounding Cowboy Favourites. Someone actually once described it to me as ‘ear bleedin’ warblin’, but it never fails to make me smile. However one may choose to categorise it, there’s no denying, it continues to evoke and divide opinion. Personally, I’ve always prescribed one simple piece of advice to the prospective listener: Remove your serious face, plant tongue firmly in cheek and press play...

© Darren Allison, The Clint Eastwood Archive 2017

*To avoid any confusion and due to Microsoft’s Word software, Cowboy Favorites (as the original album is titled) is referred in the main body of text as Cowboy Favourites.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Extras needed for Clint's movie filming at Robins AFB

Clint begins filming at Robins Air Force Base August 1
The new movie directed by Clint Eastwood ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ will be filming at Robins Air Force Base next month. Tammy Smith Casting put out call for extras in the upcoming film ‘The 15:17 to Paris” based on the similarly named autobiography by Jeffery E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sandler, and Alek Skarlatos. They are looking for military men and women between the ages of 18-30.
Department of Defence cardholders are preferred and you will need to bring a copy of a signed application for off-duty employment sign by your supervisor. You MUST be on leave or in off-duty to be in the film.
July 21st, 24th and 25th - filming in Atlanta
August 1 filming at Robins AFB !
 *You must be available for at least 1 or more of the dates above to submit.
Filming starts early in the morning and lasts ALL day so your complete day(s) need to be open!
PAY RATE is $125 for 8 hrs, with OT after that, each day you work. A normal film day is approximately 12 hrs long. Meals are provided along with plenty of breaks!
Email with the subject line “MILITARY” along with the following:
First and Last Name
Phone number(s)
Email address
City and State where you live (where you will be coming from!!)
Age, Height, Weight
SIZES (Men: Jacket, Collar, Sleeve, Waist, Inseam, Shoe…Women: Dress, Pants, Bust/Bra/Cup, Waist, Shoe )
List your RANK and SPECIALTY, along with your BRANCH of the Military, how long, etc…
List WHICH OF YOUR OWN UNIFORMS YOU HAVE (they must still fit ;-)
List your Athletic skills (Sports, Martial Arts, etc…)

List IF you have experience as an extra in the past or any acting experience (not required, but good to know!)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Clint casts actual heroes in his forthcoming film The 15:17 to Paris

My thanks to friends Jayne Smart and Dave Turner who both sent me this story yesterday. It appears that both CNN Entertainment in the U.S. and the BBC in the UK ran with this story.

The BBC reported:  Clint Eastwood's new film about three Americans who stopped a terror attack on a train to Paris will star the real-life heroes of that 2015 incident. Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone will play themselves in The 15:17 to Paris, based on the book they co-wrote with Jeffrey E Stern. Actors will play younger versions of the trio in the film, which is thought to focus on the three men's friendship. The men were awarded Legion d'honneur medals for their actions. They also received a hero award from Eastwood himself at an awards ceremony last year. Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone were among a number of passengers who overpowered a heavily armed man who had opened fire on the train. Stone and Skarlatos were both off-duty servicemen, while Sadler was a student at California State University. The man they apprehended was later named as Ayoub El-Khazzani, a Moroccan believed to have had links to radical Islam.
Sandra Gonzalez of  CNN reports:  Three of the men who helped thwart a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris will star in Clint Eastwood's upcoming film about the incident, "The 15:17 to Paris," Warner Bros. Pictures has announced.  Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone will appear as themselves in the film, alongside Jenna Fischer ("The Office") and Judy Greer ("War for the Planet of the Apes").
The movie will follow the lives of the three men leading up to August 2015, when the trio successfully stopped an alleged ISIS terrorist from launching a gun attack on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. The men, who have been friends since meeting as young boys in California, were hailed as heroes after the thwarted attack, as were two other passengers.
The movie is based on a book written by the trio and author Jeffrey E. Stern, called "The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes." This is the first time Eastwood has cast the real-life person or people that inspired the story on which his film is based.
Below: Left Judy Greer, Right Jenna Fischer
Below: Honorees Anthony Sadler, Specialist Alek Skarlatos, and Airman First Class Spencer Stone accept the Hero Award from actor/director Clint Eastwood onstage during Spike TV’s 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California.