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Re: [Strange Paradise] Re: 1st impressions on 1st epsiode

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  • Ron Janick
    I remember watching Strange Paradise when it first aired. I knew it wasn t Dark Shadows, but it was good. The opening music was a hit with me, as was the
    Message 1 of 7 , May 17, 2006
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      I remember watching Strange Paradise when it first aired. I knew it wasn't Dark Shadows, but it was good. The opening music was a hit with me, as was the opening credits, when they borrowed from DS the opening voice-over. I got the 1st 12 vols of the show on VHS, but would love to complete what I missed. In my area, they stopped showing Strange Paradise shortly after the action moved to Desmond Hall. I know its a dream, but I'd love to see the show released on DVD. Maybe MPI could undertake that project? Also would enjoy seeing the show resurrected like Dark Shadows was in 1991, or even a movie or 2.

      brucenepa <BrewSeaBB@...> wrote: --- In strangeparadise2@yahoogroups.com, "marktpassmore"
      <marktpassmore@...> wrote:
      >
      > As a long time Dark Shadows fan and a fan of Strange Paradise for
      > years from the novels, I finally have a chance to see the series
      for
      > myself. Thanks Curt!
      > I watched the 1st episode last night.
      > First impression? Very slick for 1969.
      > Obviously inspired by Dark Shadows, then at it's height of
      > popularity, they want to emulate the success and learn from their
      > mistakes. An example, short scenes that were quicker and to the
      > point. Great for attracting new viewers for the first time.
      > A lot of story was put in to that episode and it quickly grabbed
      me.
      > What impressed me was the amount of editing thoughout. The time
      > travel, the cuts between the singer and Desmond in the crypt...
      all
      > time consuming technical processes, but well worth it to build the
      > atmosphere at the climax. Raxyl's scream and Desmond in Jean-
      Paul's
      > outfit for a moment made the ending as memorable as Katherine Lee
      > Scott's scream when she walked into the room and found Quentin in
      > the room back in the '60s on Dark Shadows--- a moment that was
      > burned into me as a kid when it first aired.
      > Also impressive was the use of video on the location shots. These
      > made everything look far classier than the 16mm silent film used
      for
      > location shots on Dark Shadows in their early days.
      > While there seemed to be a bit of overacting on Desmond's part, I
      > still was caught up in his obsession over his wife. His sister-in-
      > law and business manager were well established and liable enough.
      > But it was Raxly who stole the show. Mysterious yet powerfull,
      loyal
      > yet in one episode, one knows you don't wanty her as an enemy.
      very
      > cool!
      > All in all, setting aside all pre-knowledge, was was hooked enough
      > by the first episode to want to keep following it for awhile. As a
      > fan WITH pre-knowledge... what a thrill to finally see it AND have
      > it exceed expectations!
      >

      I agree a lot with what you wrote. I first saw SP episodes when
      Centaur was selling the videos years ago. All I knew about the show
      was that it was a "Dark Shadows ripoff" and a description of it in a
      TV directory that it was "kookiness gone amok". So, I didn't have a
      good impression of it.

      After seeing the first show, I was blown away by the technical skill
      rather far beyond where DS was at the time. One of the first things
      I noticed was that the studio camera was on a crane, which allowed a
      better view of the action on the landing and stairs. DS never had
      that.
      I loved the intercuts between the "modern" world and the Island,
      especially when the cafe singer was belting out "That Old Black
      Magic" while Jean Paul was releasing Jacque. That was so ingenious
      at the time, and it was a wink to the audience in a way. DS never
      broke that barrier. They always played it straight.

      Of course, you had those little bloopers still, like the banister
      shaking and nearly falling over when Jean Paul was running to the
      crypts, but still for the time, it was a very well produced show.

      I also loved the scene music, although I wished they included more
      spooky Carribean vibes into it. It was a little too generic for the
      exotic location of the storyline.

      Glad you enjoyed the show, Mark. I read the first book and was
      really impressed by the story. I still think SP would be viable
      today as a weekly series or motion picture.

      I get so into these shows, I had to go to Casa Loma a few years ago
      just because it was Maljardin. Imagine my surprise to find it
      completely surrounded by Toronto on a very tight lot. I must have
      been expecting Quito's boat launch or something! ;)

      I agree, Raxl is the best...even better in the novels. She a
      powerful woman. Best to stay on her good side, Mark!





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    • RH
      The first time I saw SP , I actually thought it was Dark Shadows (which I got into watching the recent reruns in Arizona). I think SP definitely stands on
      Message 2 of 7 , May 17, 2006
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        The first time I saw 'SP', I actually thought it was 'Dark Shadows'
        (which I got into watching the recent reruns in Arizona).

        I think 'SP' definitely stands on its own, and I've been hooked since!

        Roland
      • Mark Passmore
        Very good point about the crane shot. I have always been frustrated on at not getting to see close-up shots of the balcony on Dark Shadows. Really wasted that
        Message 3 of 7 , May 17, 2006
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          Very good point about the crane shot. I have always been frustrated on at not getting to see close-up shots of the balcony on Dark Shadows. Really wasted that beautiful part of the set.

          I just finished the 2nd episode and was hooked again. I loved the touch with Jacque never appearing in the portrait whenever he is in possession of Jean-Paul. I was also further impressed with the detail of the set and the lighting. Ah, that old '60s lighting in TV series... From "Man From UNCLE & Star Trek to Dark Shadows & Strange Paradise--- I miss the variety of colors they used to use to accentuate the moods and set atmosphere. Of course, a lot of it was "HEY WE ARE IN THIS NEW NOVELTY CALLED COLOR TV!!!!!", but it was pretty and could be very effective if not realistic.

          Nice to see the start of a regular "soap" storyline with Tim the artist. It will be interesting to see how the "non-supernatural" story-lines develop as well. I deliberately have not read any episode guides since I new I was going to get a chance to finally see the series so I can be as fresh as possible, bar the odd parts I recall from reading them in the past.

          Glad to see Jean-Paul / Jacque toned down a bit with the overacting. But once again, Raxl stole the episode. I loved her character in the books which I have read a half-dozen times since I discovered them in the mid '70s and I am glad to see her as captivating in the series. She is just as I imagined her... Magda with a little less "drama" in her speech and more serious, but just as valuable of an ally and formidable of a foe. Really cool!

          I am disappointed to here that they don't play up on the "voodoo music" outside of the theme. Don't I recall reading somewhere that most of the music is library stock and was not specially composed like Robert Colbert's on Dark Shadows. I know some of the music in the crypt during this 2nd episode sound very familiar, but I couldn't place it. I keep wanting to say it was "library stock" used in a low-budget horror/sci-fi movie from the '50s/'60s that was probably used on Mystery Science Theater 3000 or an old serial of Doctor Who.

          Well, I will keep writing my impressions of each episode of the first week from the series as I get to them. After that, I will comment just from a weekly point of view. Again, for this all-important first week, I would still be tuning in if I were watching it on TV.

          -Mark

          brucenepa <BrewSeaBB@...> wrote:
          --- In strangeparadise2@yahoogroups.com, "marktpassmore"
          <marktpassmore@...> wrote:
          >
          > As a long time Dark Shadows fan and a fan of Strange Paradise for
          > years from the novels, I finally have a chance to see the series
          for
          > myself. Thanks Curt!
          > I watched the 1st episode last night.
          > First impression? Very slick for 1969.
          > Obviously inspired by Dark Shadows, then at it's height of
          > popularity, they want to emulate the success and learn from their
          > mistakes. An example, short scenes that were quicker and to the
          > point. Great for attracting new viewers for the first time.
          > A lot of story was put in to that episode and it quickly grabbed
          me.
          > What impressed me was the amount of editing thoughout. The time
          > travel, the cuts between the singer and Desmond in the crypt...
          all
          > time consuming technical processes, but well worth it to build the
          > atmosphere at the climax. Raxyl's scream and Desmond in Jean-
          Paul's
          > outfit for a moment made the ending as memorable as Katherine Lee
          > Scott's scream when she walked into the room and found Quentin in
          > the room back in the '60s on Dark Shadows--- a moment that was
          > burned into me as a kid when it first aired.
          > Also impressive was the use of video on the location shots. These
          > made everything look far classier than the 16mm silent film used
          for
          > location shots on Dark Shadows in their early days.
          > While there seemed to be a bit of overacting on Desmond's part, I
          > still was caught up in his obsession over his wife. His sister-in-
          > law and business manager were well established and liable enough.
          > But it was Raxly who stole the show. Mysterious yet powerfull,
          loyal
          > yet in one episode, one knows you don't wanty her as an enemy.
          very
          > cool!
          > All in all, setting aside all pre-knowledge, was was hooked enough
          > by the first episode to want to keep following it for awhile. As a
          > fan WITH pre-knowledge... what a thrill to finally see it AND have
          > it exceed expectations!
          >

          I agree a lot with what you wrote. I first saw SP episodes when
          Centaur was selling the videos years ago. All I knew about the show
          was that it was a "Dark Shadows ripoff" and a description of it in a
          TV directory that it was "kookiness gone amok". So, I didn't have a
          good impression of it.

          After seeing the first show, I was blown away by the technical skill
          rather far beyond where DS was at the time. One of the first things
          I noticed was that the studio camera was on a crane, which allowed a
          better view of the action on the landing and stairs. DS never had
          that.
          I loved the intercuts between the "modern" world and the Island,
          especially when the cafe singer was belting out "That Old Black
          Magic" while Jean Paul was releasing Jacque. That was so ingenious
          at the time, and it was a wink to the audience in a way. DS never
          broke that barrier. They always played it straight.

          Of course, you had those little bloopers still, like the banister
          shaking and nearly falling over when Jean Paul was running to the
          crypts, but still for the time, it was a very well produced show.

          I also loved the scene music, although I wished they included more
          spooky Carribean vibes into it. It was a little too generic for the
          exotic location of the storyline.

          Glad you enjoyed the show, Mark. I read the first book and was
          really impressed by the story. I still think SP would be viable
          today as a weekly series or motion picture.

          I get so into these shows, I had to go to Casa Loma a few years ago
          just because it was Maljardin. Imagine my surprise to find it
          completely surrounded by Toronto on a very tight lot. I must have
          been expecting Quito's boat launch or something! ;)

          I agree, Raxl is the best...even better in the novels. She a
          powerful woman. Best to stay on her good side, Mark!





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          To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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        • brucenepa
          ... first week from the series as I get to them. After that, I will comment just from a weekly point of view. Again, for this all- important first week, I
          Message 4 of 7 , May 20, 2006
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            --- In strangeparadise2@yahoogroups.com, Mark Passmore
            <marktpassmore@...> wrote:

            > Well, I will keep writing my impressions of each episode of the
            first week from the series as I get to them. After that, I will
            comment just from a weekly point of view. Again, for this all-
            important first week, I would still be tuning in if I were watching
            it on TV.
            >
            > -Mark

            Great idea, Mark. I look forward to reading about your impressions
            of the series. Since I haven't watched the tapes in a long time, it
            will be a cool way to experience the show again and share the
            experience with you.

            Hope it lives up to your expectations.

            And, without spoiling any of the future storylines for you, all I
            will say is watch out for Holly's mother. Her hair could be
            classified as a weapon of mass destruction!

            Bruce
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