Dreams: January 1998 News Bulletin

Edited by Phil Stubbs. Release 8

Terry Gilliam talks to Dreams
In early December, Terry Gilliam granted Dreams an interview - he spoke of progress on Fear and Loathing, problems with The Defective Detective, meeting Fellini while making Munchausen and much else... here's the interview!!!

Fear and Loathing attracts fascinating cast
The following additions to the cast have been announced: Cameron Diaz, Harry Dean Stanton, Lyle Lovett, Ellen Barkin and the wonderful Katherine Helmond.

Helmond, who has given excellent performances before in Time Bandits and Brazil, has a brief role in Fear and Loathing... she plays a hotel receptionist who turns into a moray eel...

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ready for Cannes?
Gilliam is preparing Fear and Loathing for a May release in the States and a premiere at Cannes, possibly going in competition there. For more Fear and Loathing info, consult the Fear and Loathing page

The Defective Detective Latest...
The Defective Detective has still not been given the green light - Gilliam reveals more about the movie in the new Dreams interview, but progress remains frustratingly slow. Gilliam revealed that The Defective Detective will be his Fanny and Alexander - it will be a compendium of all Gilliam's themes squeezed into one movie.

Gilliam lithographs for sale
Here's a small preview of a Gilliam lithograph - they are on sale from a Canadian company called 137 Inc.

The lithographs are entitled Babes In Cloudland. There is a limited edition of 200 for sale at $195 each, and a further 50 are signed with an exclusive Gilliam sketch at $295 each. For more details, visit the shopping link within PythOnline.

Further Python reunion at Aspen in 1998
Following on from the Python reunion earlier this year in Buckingham, the five alive Pythons are meeting in Aspen in March 1998. Development of a script for a possible new Python movie did not go ahead as planned in Autumn 1997.

Farewell, Frank Muir
I'm sorry to report that the well-loved broadcaster, writer and punster Frank Muir died on 2 January aged 77. He presented Terry Gilliam's early British TV break, We Have Ways of Making You Laugh. In Muir's recent autobiography A Kentish Lad [Dreams recommends!], he recalls the making of the first show for London Weekend Television...

"In an LWT programme conference it was decided that LWT’s first programme, to go on early Friday evenings, would be a series reflecting the change from weekday programming to a more carefree weekend schedule. The perfect title would have been The Weekend Starts Here, but Rediffusion had already used that. It was decided that the series would not be another pop-music show but would go for humour, and its provisional title was We Have Ways Of Making You Laugh.

"To produce the series, I had one of the best producers who came to us from Associated Rediffusion, Humphrey Barclay, who was young, extremely bright and inventive. We decided that we did not want to start the weekend with an anarchic romp, but with a cheerful, unpredictable, bitty sort of show which viewers could join at any point and then leave at any point to put the potatoes on.

"We had the producer and the title, we now wanted the presenter. To my horror and delight (emotions which frequently coincide in television), Humphrey Burton argued strongly that I should present the show. I accepted. It was not all that much of an interruption to my work as unit head once Humphrey Barclay had got things organised.

"We put together a team of writers and performers, and writer/performers. Ken Cope, the writer, actor (Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)) and restaurateur, wrote and performed a weekly five-minute piece to camera as the manager of a none-too-successful restaurant (foreshadowing Harry Enfield’s Stavros?); Dick Vosburgh, superb writer of topical one-liners and well-known beard, sat at the back with a clipboard and the most bulging briefcase in television, writing his odd funny comments and passing them forward; the then almost unknown Eric Idle did some excellent bits and pieces; Terry Gilliam, an American artist and cartoonist, now director of extraordinarily imaginative Hollywood movies, sat in the studio happily drawing what was going on and the camera zoomed in on his work from time to time; and Barry Cryer, Benny Green and others popped in with pieces.

"One Friday evening, 2 August 1968, We Have Ways Of Making You Laugh made an almost illegible blur on television history as the first programme of the new station LWT. The show went marvellously, the full audience laughing and clapping their appreciation. The series never went so well over its subsequent fourteen weeks’ run, but that was not surprising as the first show’s audience consisted almost entirely of friends and investors.

"Glowing with sweat and pleasure at the end, I was leaning against a camera feeling happily tired when Humphrey Barclay came up and said, ‘I have the most rotten news. The show didn’t go out… The unions pulled the plug just before we went on air.’"

Farewell, Steely Dawn
Dawn Steel died of cancer on December 20 aged 51. She was president of Columbia in 1989, taking over the reins from David Puttnam. According to Andrew Yule in his book Losing the Light, Steel was accused of strangling Munchausen in the States by failing to publicise it well upon its release. Yet Steel claimed that she didn't have the power, that the failure to support Munchausen wasn't up to her.

She left Columbia in 1991 to help set up Atlas Pictures with her second husband Charles Roven. In one of those twists that often haunt Gilliam's career, Atlas and Roven produced 12 Monkeys.

What's new in this eighth release?
In this release, you will find the following new features:

  • New Dreams interview with Terry!
  • Expanded information on Soundtracks, Laserdiscs and CD-ROMs!
  • More news!
  • Lists of TV appearances...

Contributions are welcome! If you wish to send letters, analysis, news or any information regarding Terry Gilliam and his work, then email me!

Hey readers! Thanks to everyone who has emailed me - keep in touch. To those who haven't, tell me what you think of Dreams. And let me know you've visited. Send your emails to me at phil@dreams.u-net.com

Dreams is stored by the witty, attractive and stylish people at Franklyn Press Multimedia, whose corporate HQ is situated in the glorious town of Macclesfield, Cheshire. These people know a thing or two about design, print and multimedia, so in the unlikely event that you have plenty of money to spend on design (regardless of media), give them a call.

Phil Stubbs - Manchester, England. January 1998.

Spike Milligan talking about his father: "A particularly important thing my father did tell me, after waking up one night, was 'I've never really shot a tiger.' I said, 'It's three o'clock in the morning, why are you telling me this?' He said, 'I had to tell someone.' I asked, 'All this time you've been telling children you shot tigers, why did you go on doing it?' He replied, 'Which would you rather have - a boring truth or an exciting lie?' I wonder if he meant it. A classic remark from the Sixties was when he heard Kennedy had been shot in the head. He said 'It couldn't have happened to a nicer man.'"
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