WOSSNAME - JULY 2007 -- PART 3 OF 7 (continued)
====Part 3 - ...AND MORE...
13) PTERRY: BELOVED BY LOCUS READERS
14) THE REAL C.M.O.T. DIBBLER
15) FROM RUSSIA WITH MAMMOTHS
16) DESPATCHES FROM KLATCH
17) ELEPHANTS AROUND YOUR NECK
18) THE GOOD WEBBE GUIDE
13) THE MOB FILMS MOB WILL LOVE THIS ONE...
From Locus magazine, issue 78, June 2007:
Waterstone's Poll - UK bookseller Waterstone's compiled a list of
100 beloved books in honor of the chain's 25th anniversary, and
polled thousands of readers to create a ranked list of their 25
favorites. Coming in at a solid fifteenth place:
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Kudos to Waterstone's customers for their impeccable taste!
14) DISCWORLD MOVIES SPECIAL: THE REAL C.M.O.T. DIBBLER
This month, in honour of the filming of The Colour of Magic/The
Light Fantastic, we'll take a look at the real Roundworld figures
whose lives and careers no doubt inspired Pterry when he was writing
the character of Holy Wood-possessed C.M.O.T. Dibbler in Moving
Pictures: the old-time filmmaking giants Sam Goldwyn and Cecil B.
DeMille, not forgetting a passing nod to Busby Berkeley.
Goldwyn was a famously hard-nosed businessman with an eye for the
main chance and was one of the original creators of the modern
Hollywood film industry, founding the companies that would
eventually become Paramount and MGM. Born Schmuel Gelbfisz in late
19th-century Poland, he emigrated first to England and then in 1899
to New York under the Anglicised name of Samuel Goldfish -- a name
that would be quite at home in Ankh-Morpork, and surely the
inspiration Pterry chose when naming Thomas Silverfish, the
Alchemist who discovered octocellulose -- where he fell in love with
the nascent film industry and co-produced a film directed by the
young novice Cecil B. DeMille. In 1916, having changed his name
legally to Goldwyn, he created Goldwyn Pictures and gave the world
the iconic Leo the Lion trademark.
Goldwyn had a reputation for excellence in filmmaking (many of his
films and their leading actors were nominated for Academy Awards)and
possessed a sharp talent for finding the best directors and actors.
His extravagant personality and habit of coming up with quotable
malapropisms, many of which live on even today were pure Holy Wood
Dibbler -- for example:
'In two words, im-possible.'
'Let's have some new cliches.'
'You've got to take the bull between your teeth.'
'Our comedies are not to be laughed at.'
...and one dear to Dibbler's heart in any of his ventures: "A verbal
contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."
Goldwyn was a master of making people do what he wanted, but Cecil
Blount DeMille was a genius at giving the public what *they* wanted.
Born to middle-class Anglo-American parents, DeMille was both a
flamboyant showman and a dedicated craftsman who assembled a stable
of high-quality actors and used them in film after film. He was
known for being a tyrant on-set and would make life very hard for
his leading actors if they dared baulk at scenes calling for risky
actions, such as wrestling with lions or working in a blazing
building -- this was in the days before professional stuntmen!
DeMille may not have been adept at directing individual performers,
but his forte was directing huge casts; he gave the world the
"thousands of extras!" concept and excelled at vast spectacles, such
as the parting of the Red Sea (The Ten Commandments), the toppling
of a pagan temple (Samson and Delilah), and train wrecks (Union
Pacific, and The Greatest Show on Earth). DeMille also was one of
the first directors in Hollywood to become a celebrity as himself,
often acting in and narrating his own films. A tireless worker, he
was still climbing the scenery in his seventies, to make sure that
every detail was perfect.
We can't think of Century of the Fruitbat Pictures without a fond
mention of Busby Berkeley. What DeMille did for spectacular ensemble
pieces, Berkeley did for musical dance sequences. William Berkeley
Enos started his career working for Samuel Goldwyn; he developed
his famous "trademark" techniques of parade-of-faces in a chorus
line, using dancers in geometric and kaleidoscopic patterns, and
choreographing routines that started on a stage and then moved out
into a cinematic fantasy-world. Berkeley was the innovator who moved
cameras about and experimented with the unusual camera perspectives
that became a major part of what made films different from stage
productions, and along the way established the film musical as a
genre of its own. Some even say he was the inventor of camp cinema.
Because he was allowed to direct his musical pieces independently of
the main film direction, they were often bizarrely unconnected to
the rest of the picture! He spent his career always seeking more and
more spectacular pieces and tried to never repeat himself.
Berkeley was also famously "Hollywood", with six marriages and a
high-profile affair with a leading female star. All in all, he was
a consummate showman whose work, for all its kitsch, will never be
...and Wikipedia, of course
15) FROM RUSSIA WITH...MAMMOTHS?
We know that Pterry was in Russia last month; now, new iconographs
have surfaced that suggest that it wasn't all book signings and boat
rides in St. Petersburg! Consider the evidence:
16) YES VIRGINIA, THERE *IS* A REAL KFL - AND THEY READ WOSSNAME!
We've received an email from Mrs Lyon, a member of the KFL:
"My young Marine progeny is a member of the 'Foreign Legion'. Lucky
for him he has not yet forgotten how to receive e-mails. He asked me
to forward this newsletter [ed. note: that's WOSSNAME]. So I have
forwarded it and the following narratives. Hopefully he will
remember how to open them when they show up. And also remember that
they are addressed to him. And that he is himself. O dear...
"Thanks bunches, folks. Our 'Klatchian Foreign Legend' laughs his
butt off when he reads these. And then he shares them with his
"The 'west' Klatchians - aka Jordanian truck drivers - call him Al
Afad, or something like that - one of many words for 'Lion' -
hopefully one of the more positive appellations!"
17) SPEAKING OF 1,000 ELEPHANTS...
Jeweller Myra Fox (see last month's MidSouthCon report) responded to
my enquiry about her Discworld-themed elephants:
I would also be glad to make a similar necklace and earring set for
the cost of the materials and postage for anyone who requests. There
is a choice between jasper and serpentine elephants which are
pendant size and have wonderfully hand carved details. Anyone is
welcome to email me for any further information. www.bead-towne.com
18) THE GOOD WEBBE GUIDE
A timely and fascinating page. Paul Kidby charts the progress of his
cover art for Making Money, with various images:
(note: check at the bottom of the page under Miscellany for some
more fascinating glimpses into the genius of Kidby at work)
Out of Cheese Error: a fan site dedicated to Ponder Stibbons!
Stitch this! Lyndisfarne, a great site offering Discworld cross-
stitch kits and patterns, featuring three pages of Paul Kidby-
A French Discworld fan site - always an eye-opener to see the way
different, i.e. non-English-speaking, languages and cultures deal
with Discworld character names, concepts and punes:
...and an amusing "which A-M City Watch character are you?" quiz:
[Editor's note: for the record, I got Vetinari. Hmm.]
End of Part 3, continued on Part 4 of 7.
If you did not get all seven parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion