Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, November 24, 1966. Intended for Apa L, 110th Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1528, November 24, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 36321.
|New York in 1967!||Los Angeles - Tokyo in 1968!||Salamander Press #220.|
If you haven't contributed anything to the fanzine for Forry yet, but still intend to, you'd better get it to me by Monday at the latest -- either see me over the weekend, or mail it to me. Otherwise, I won't have time to fit it into the fanzine. I already have more than enough typing and publishing to do to keep me fully occupied, and I don't expect to have enough time to fit very many last-minute contributions in.
And if you're planning to attend the dinner for Forry next Friday evening, but haven't yet gotten your reservation in to Walt Daugherty, tomorrow is the deadline for these, so contact Walt right away. Incidentally, it seems that the dinner is no longer a surprise for Forry; someone has already told him about it. However, as far as I know, our special fanzine is still a secret, and I hope we can keep it that way.
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The latest shipment of books is in from England; if you have anything on order, check with me to see if it's in yet. (Particularly if you're Bill Glass or Jim Schumacher.) I have two unclaimed books, in addition, ordered on speculation: Dead Duck, by Patrick Macnee; and The 13 Clocks and The Wonderful O, by James Thurber, at 65¢ each. I keep ordering enough copies of the Thurber book on request that I figured it wouldn't hurt to have one on hand for the next person who wants it; and there are enough self-professed fans of "The Avengers" TV series in the club that I should have little trouble disposing of this "Avengers" paperback by Patrick Macnee himself (with the "help" of Peter Leslie, who is apparently a British paperback hack novelist; see The Radioactive Camel Affair in the U.N.C.L.E. paperback series.) First taker gets them. And does anybody else want to order anything? The "Tintin" books that Barry ordered seem to be rather popular; would anyone like a set of those?
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The Russian cartoon program at USC last night was well worth the price of admission. To my mind, the short subject was much better than the main feature, though. This was a beautifully-done version of the old folk tale of "The Fisherman and his Wife"; the animation was well-handled, the art was beautiful -- and strongly reminiscent of the work of Maud & Mishka Petersham, who illustrated so many children's books in this country (including William Bowen's The Enchanted Forest) a couple of decades ago -- and the color had the muted glowing effect of much of Hannes Bok's early color work. Unfortunately, the English-dubbed sound track was very poor, dipping into unintelligibility at times; it would almost have been better if they'd left in the original Russian dialog, which at least had the advantage of having excellent background music behind it. The story of "The Fisherman and his Wife" is well-enough known that you don't have to understand the dialog to know what they're saying, anyway. There was only one manner in which the film deviated from the European folk-tale as I've always heard it: in the standard version told here, the fisherman's wife asks to be made a lady of noble quality, then a queen (or empress -- in some versions, this counts as two separate wishes), then Pope of all Christendom, and finally she wants to become God Almighty -- and is transported back into her mud hut. In this Russian version, they dropped the reference to the Pope and the Deity, understandably enough; her downfall came when, after becoming Czarina, she demanded that the magic fish itself acknowledge her sovereignty and become her servant. I wonder if this change came directly through a Soviet film board, or whether the tale is standardized in a slightly different version in Russia? I can understand a Russian fairy-tale dropping a reference to the Pope, who never has been very influential in Russian religious affairs. At any rate, the film was very enjoyable; and I only wish I'd been able to catch more of the mood music over the English superimposed narration. The second film was also enjoyable, but looked as though it might've been a good 15 years older (both had only 1952 copyright notices for the English additions, and no original credits). "The Magic Horse" (or, in its standard fairy-tale title, "The Little Humpbacked Horse") is a purely Russian folk-tale and was translated quite faithfully and competently to the screen. However, the artwork was very crude -- about comparable to 1935 standards in this country -- and the monocolor was done by some strange process that varied in shades of red, from a dark sienna to a crimson-orange. Technically, it was in no way comparable to "The Fisherman and his Wife", except that the English narration was much more competently dubbed in. I wish I knew which of the two -- if either -- is more representative of Russian cartoon animation today.
Only 31 pages again? And we aren't likely to boost it by much of a Thanksgiving night...
Bruce Pelz -- I wonder if you could combine your pub-crawling with business, and make up a list of recommended bars for WesterCon use. Would the pros be appreciative of a list of the best bars in the neighborhood, or are they likely to get no farther than the hotel bar in any case? On second thought, they usually spend too much time in the hotel bar as it is; we'd certainly better not encourage them to leave the hotel itself. Scratch one bad idea. ## Felice says that since Jerry Jacks has been helping to run off the latest issue of NIEKAS, he should share credit for the reprints. But I've decided that giving one person credit for a serialized reprint of another person's writing like this is more than enough. I'm hoping that this is just temporary, and that Felice & Jerry will start contributing original material again once they've gotten NIEKAS out. If not, ...well, we'll see. ## the collation handout records have been dropped because, with the current attendance record of under 25 people, there's no problem about having to check off enough copies for contributors before handing them out freely to everyone; we've more than enough for all. I really see no need in having a "permanent record" of who got which copies of a given Dist'n. find some more readable twaddle to pad out NYET VREMIA.
Sally Crayne -- I never got around to commenting on the Animal Quiz last week. I suppose I should be happy to be a duck-billed platypus; that's a stfnal animal if ever there was one. Personally, I identify with the salamander, though, as you may have noticed; though Bĵo may've taken to calling me Freddie-the-Pooh. In fact, on dietary matters -- the above reference is due to the fact that I, as Winnie, agree that it's always time for another meal -- I think your real duck-billed platypus is Len Bailes, who will rapidly starve if he doesn't get his special diet. Hmm, in that respect he also resembles a koala or a kiwi -- and I'm surprised that you didn't connect Helen Smith with a kiwi/apteryx. ## I know what you mean about "Alice" being even more of a torture because of its good sets, color, etc. If it'd just been an all-around bad production, we could dismiss it without too much trouble; but they kept showing such tremendous potential for putting on a good show, and then throwing it away, which is what kept us wincing throughout the show. This is what's wrong with much of Disney; he clearly has such potential for doing a beautiful job on any cartoon he makes, and then he waters down the plot so much and throws out most of the best scenes... It occurs to me that in this respect, the two Russian cartoons I saw last night were very faithful to the original stories, as compared to any American cinematic treatment of fairy-tales. For this reason, I'm looking forward very much to seeing Jiří Trnka's adaptation of The Hobbit. Artistically, he may visualize the book other than as I do, but I'm willing to look at it again from a new viewpoint, as long as it isn't obviously debased and corrupted -- and that's what's wrong with the American TV and movie treatments. It's noticeable that the term "Art Film" has come to mean something European rather than American; something idealistic-impractical-beatnik rather than good old designed-to-get-the-dollar commercial. American films are invariably made without any consideration to the artistic merit of the original work; they're watered down to appeal to the largest audience possible. (I guess that is too strong a statement to be made about all American films, but it certainly applies to Disney and whoever was responsible for that "Alice", plus many more.) European producers are often more concerned with the artistic values of their work, and don't automatically consider art as something completely removed from commercialism. Have you ever seen Trnka's adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? If not, I urge you to see it at the USC film program on Wed., Dec. 7 (anyone for a LASFS Film Party?).
Bill Glass just dropped by to pick up his books, and he bought my extra copy of Dead Duck, so scratch that off the list.
Jack Harness -- I already live in a slan shack -- sort of. There may only be two fans (not counting house guests) living in it at any one time, but there've been a total of six fans living here as official tenants since the address was "opened up", and that, I should think, is enough to qualify the address as a slan shack.
John Trimble -- I have no fear for the two-party system as such. You can find, after practically any election, articles and editorials along the lines of, "Is the [losing] Party Dead?" Major parties have died, but not within the last 100 years; the Democrats survived the Civil War and 20 years of Republicanism, not to mention the "Normalcy" era of the '20's and Stevenson's two large defeats in the '50's; the Republicans survived the Bull Moose split, FDR (including Landon's 1936 defeat), and Goldwater. It is true that the last six years have seen an unusual amount of movement in the liberal/conservative lineup of each party, and it wouldn't surprise me overly much to see a gradual metamorphosis of a genuine Conservative and Liberal Party arising out of this, whether they evolve out of the present Republican and Democratic Parties (keeping the same names or not), or emerge as two new p arties, supplanting the current two. But I think the two-party system itself will remain safe. ## I'd also enjoy the sight of Rafferty and Yorty fighting it out for the Senatorship; unfortunately, I also think that whoever won, we'd come out of it with one of the worst choices possible. I'd even rather see John Wayne or Chuck Conners get it than either Rafferty or Yorty (especially Rafferty). I do hope that Kuchel's career isn't ruined by whatever happens, though.
Ruth Berman -- Bruce isn't entirely mistaken about my speech as to why he won the F-F award being crap; I was trying to make it as public-relations as possible, and not particularly objective. Also, I was aiming at an audience of non-fannish guests, since this was supposed to be read at the Anniversary Meeting. Bruce can make his own speech as sardonic as he can when he gives the Award next year, and we'll see how it compares. ## My copies of Nicholas Stuart Gray's books, that I ordered after looking through yours as they passed through my hands, are beginning to arrive, and I'm reading them with great pleasure. Gray isn't quite a Tolkien or a Garner; possibly a touch of C. S. Lewis with a lot of Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm Brothers... Have you read the collections of Barbara Leonie Pickard? They're very much like Gray's work.