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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

H is for Help!

Being an avid Beatles Fan I have many favourite songs, albums too - Help being one of my top choices.

Robert Freeman designed many of The Beatles album covers including "Help."
The photo was taken in the Twickenham Film Studio near London, where the Beatles were finishing the last scenes from their second movie Help!. Freeman had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters HELP, with every Beatle another letter. He got the inspiration from a scene he witnessed shooting in the Austrian Alps, with the Beatles, all dressed in black, fooling around in the snow. They were waving their arms in the air, while the music played. Freeman took publicity pictures while these scenes were shot in mid march 1965 in Obertauern.

Publicity pictures like this inspired the Help! album cover

In the studio a specially constructed platform was erected, with a white painted background. The four young men wore the black hats, coats and capes from the film wardrobe. "But when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn't look good," remembers Freeman, "So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning of the arms."

Ringo poses for the album cover while Victor Spinetti looks at him.

Within half an hour the pictures were taken.
Afterward, Freeman reversed some of the images, to get a more satisfying composition. For proof of this: look at John, George and Ringo’s jackets: they have the buttons on the wrong side.

John, George and Ringo reversed back again

Different poses for John and Ringo - session outtakes
The Beatles actually spell out "NUJV"
This is how "HELP" would have looked like with real semaphore.
In Holland, another version of the Help! sleeve was manufactured, with a giant Shell logo in the background. Most of the vinyl and all of the sleeves that make up this legendary item were manufactured in Holland but a few copies of the vinyl were also pressed in Sweden. This LP with its alternate picture sleeve was only ever issued to Shell employees and was never available to purchase in the shops.

The famous Dutch / Swedish Shell Help! LP cover, 1979.

During the years, there has been some discussion whether or not the Beatles' hand positions spell anything. It didn’t help that, in the US, the photos on the front cover were rearranged, from George-John-Paul-Ringo to George-Ringo-John-Paul (so that Paul appeared to be pointing to the Capitol logo?). And the image of George is reversed again. By all accounts, the semaphore remains gibberish: the various semaphore messages and their interpretations which have been ascribed to the HELP! cover, over the years are unfounded. The intention behind the arm positions was good "graphic positioning", not good semaphore.

USA Help! album

To accommodate lettering advertising the songs, the pictures of the Beatles were shrunk on the cover of the Capitol version of Help!.

There are no sleeve notes , but like on the back cover of A Hard Day’s Night, there are again four head shots taken by Freeman.

Help! back cover - Robert Freeman
What is your favourite Beatles song?


Monday, 24 August 2015

G is for Joyce Grenfell.

Stately as a Galleon. By Joyce Grenfell.

 Famed for her hilarious monologues which she would perform on the radio, stage and television.


Joyce  performing Stately as a Galleon on her T.V. show,  I loved her, she was such a clever, eloquent and witty lady.

 She wrote The Belles of St. Trinians, which starred herself and Alastair Simm.

 The list of her works is endless so I am just including Stately as a Galleon for your glee!

(this is a monologue which can be set to music, it is a humorous description of ladies indulging in Old Thyme Dancing..If you Google Joyce Grenfell, there is a host of information about her and also clips of her live performances on You Tube, Well worth looking at, if it grabs your attention.) 

Stately as a Galleon.

My neighbour Mrs Fanshaw, is portly , plump and gay, 

 she must be over sixty-seven if she is a day.

 You might have thought her life was dull.

 It's one long whirl instead,

 I asked her all about it, and this is what she said:

I've joined an Old Thyme Dance Club, the trouble is that there,

 Are too many ladies over, and no gentlemen to spare,

 But still it has to be,

 Some ladies have to dance together,

 one of them is me.

Stately as a Galleon, I sail across the floor,

 Doing the Military Two-step, as in the day of yore.

 I dance with Mrs Tiverton; she's light on her feet, in spite of turning the scale at fourteen stone,

 and being of medium height.

 So gay the band,

 So giddy the sight,

 Full evening dress is a must,

 But the zest goes out of The Waltz

 When you dance it bust to bust.

So stately as two Galleons as we sail across the floor,

 Doing the Valse Valetta, as in the days of yore.

 The gent is Mrs Tiverton and I am her lady fair,

 She bows to me ever so nicely and I curtsey  to her with care.

 So gay the band,

 So giddy the sight,

 But it's not the same in the end, for a lady is never a gentleman,

 though she may be your bosom Friend!

So stately as a Galleon, I sail across the floor,

 Doing the dear old Lancers, in the days of yore.

 I'm led by Mrs Tiverton, she swings me round and round

 And though she manoeuvers me wonderfully well

 I never get off the ground .

 So gay the band,

 So giddy the sight, I try not to get depressed.

And it's done me a power of good to explode,

 And get it off my chest!

My sincere thanks to the GORGEOUS Denise for devising ABCW and also the GENIAL Roger for his GREAT efforts in overseeing the smooth running of ABCW,
Thanks also go out to the GLADSOME team of helpers who support the running of ABCW,

Best wishes to you all.
ABCW team,



Monday, 17 August 2015


As we head into the dog days of summer, my mind started to focus on the summers when I picked berries at the farm across the street from us.  Those were the days of the mini transistor radios and there was always one playing CFUN's top tunes.  One of my favourites was "Johnny Angel," that I had watched Shelley Fabares sing on the "Donna Reed Show.  I was probably around 10 years old and she was my idol!! How many of you remember her?
After the "Donna Reed Show," she seemed to vanish from television, but apparently, she did do a lot of work in TV and movies.  She even starred with Elvis Presley in some of his lesser-known movies. Do you remember the movie "Brian's Song"?  Oh my goodness, I cried my heart out at the end of that movie where she played the wife of Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), a football player who died of cancer.   In 1989, she won the role of Christine Armstrong on the ABC sitcom "Coach," starring Craig T. Nelson.  In 1993 and 1994, she won Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress for this comedy series.  Check her out on Wikipedia to see the entire list of her works and awards.
She was a lifelong friend of Annette Funicello, whom she met in catechism class in the seventh grade and was at Annette's bedside with her family when she died of multiple sclerosis on April 8, 2013.  Shelley was married twice, her second husband being Mike Farrell, best known for his role in MASH.

Unfortunately, Shelley Fabares had some serious health issues and in October 2000, she had a life-saving liver transplant due to autoimmune hepatitis.  She is doing well, but I must admit that I was a bit shocked at the most recent photos I could find of her.  She seems very thin and her hair...well, do you like it?  I hope she just had it done for the 2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards show. 
Shelley Fabares started her career as a pretty and talented teenager and morphed into a beautiful and still talented woman.  She remains a favourite memory of my youth as I sweated during those hot summer days listening to "Johnny Angel" on a mini transistor radio, dreaming of my own future "Johnny Angel".  And now for your viewing and listening pleasure, may I present Shelley Fabares singing "Johnny Angel" exactly as shown on the "Donna Reed Show."


Monday, 10 August 2015

E for Expressing

Hello and good day, dear participants at ABC-Wednesday in round 17 for the letter E

Today I've chosen the word "expressing"

Each week we try to express how we feel about the letter which turn it is, and every week I am pleasantly surprised by the number of entries.

So first of all I want to thank every participant for his/her effort in searching an applicable photograph, making a blogpost and linking it here at this weekly, wonderful and challenging photomeme.

"Expressing" is what everyone of us does, 24/7 in word, behaviour and gestures. Its what defines us, its what people tells something about us and its also one of the first things which influences what people think about us which on its turn determines of one person likes another or not.

Everyone "expresses" him/her-self on his/her blog, in many different ways, one of which is our photomeme ABC-Wednesday. It always a surprise what i get to see after opening the link of a participant. Sometimes i get intriged, sometimes mystified, sometimes something else, but the surprise has never been disappointing.

I enjoy very much to 'get to know' my photomeme-loving fellow bloggers a little better, little by little. Of course, not only the person behind the blog but I love also the 'journeys' I get to undertake, all over the world, in the total comfort of my own home, sitting on my couch, here in a relatively small town, in the northern parts of The Nederlands, the 2nd province from above on the right side of the map.

I want to wish you all a very nice day with lots of love and happiness. Also, lots of fun in ABC-Wednesday in this entry and I hope, many more to come.

P.S... if above...the spelling is not entirely correct, please forgive me. The English language is not my native one.

♫ Mel☺dy ♫