Beatle bits: Site for Lewisohn bio up; Freda Kelly interview

The official website and Twitter feed for author Mark Lewisohn's long-awaited (understatement?) mega-biography of Beatles are up-and-running. Not much to see, yet, but at least we know where to look.

The bio, "The Beatles: All These Years." is being published in three big installments, with the first one, "Tune In," due out in October.

This first 800-page volume brings us just up to the pre-fame years. Seems like overkill, but Beatles fans will likely want to read it all based on Lewisohn's excellent chronologies of the band's live and studio work and other activties.

There will reportedy be even longer versions of each installment, which Lewisohn has dubbed  "directors cut" editions. We'll keep you updated on the specifics.


The Independent has an interview with Freda Kelly, who ran the Beatles' official fan club throughout the group's existence. She even got mentioned on one of their fan club Christmas records.
Now a grandmother in her late sixties, Ms Kelly beams as she remembers having "crushes" on each of the Fab Four. But did things go any further than that? Speaking in a new documentary, Good Ol' Freda, named after a dedication by The Beatles on one of their records, she laughs: "No!" Then she quickly adds: "Pass. There are stories but I don't want anybody's hair falling out or turning curly. That's personal!"

Video find: Cliff Edwards, Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians (1937) - Pacific Paradise

BBC teases debut of Doctor Who's new season

From the press release:
 Doctor Who is to return to BBC One on 30 March in a modern day urban thriller announced today as 'The Bells of St John', as the first official image is revealed giving fans a sneak peak at what to expect from the epic new series.
Written by Steven Moffat, 'The Bells of St John' will mark the official introduction of the Doctor's newest companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman.  Having already made two appearances last year, the opening episode will be the first time fans get to see the Clara that will accompany the Doctor across the series' eight adventures.

Set in London against the backdrop of new and old iconic landmarks, The Shard and Westminster Bridge, 'The Bells of St John' will also establish a new nemesis, the Spoonheads, who will battle the Doctor as he discovers something sinister is lurking in the Wi-Fi.
Steven Moffat, executive producer and lead writer, said:

"It's the 50th year of Doctor Who and look what's going on! We're up in the sky and under the sea! We're running round the rings of an alien world and then a haunted house. There's new Cybermen, new Ice Warriors and a never before attempted journey to the centre of the TARDIS. And in the finale, the Doctor's greatest secret will at last be revealed!  If this wasn't already our most exciting year it would be anyway!"

Featuring a movie a week from a ghost story to an underwater siege to a period drama, the new series will also introduce new monsters, as well as bringing back fan favourites the Ice Warriors and Cybermen.

Meanwhile the series' stellar list of guest stars include: Celia Imrie; Richard E Grant; Warwick Davis, Jessica Raine; Dougray Scott and Tamzin Outhwaite, as well as for the first time on screen together, mother and daughter Dame Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling.

Pop culture roundup

The 1954 publication of Frederic Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent" wasn't the first public attack on comics, comics historian Barry Pearl notes. Check out his post about  a 1948 magazine article by Wertham accusing comics of ruining the minds of America's youth -- plus a 1911(!) letter to the New York Times accusing the Sunday comics pages of doing the same. Is this why the Times doesn't publish funnies?


An artist is turning his obsession with the Beatles' "White Album" into a project.
Pursuing an interest in exhaustive cataloguing, Chang has collected over 650 first-pressings of the Beatles’ White Album. He considers the serialized first-press, an edition running in excess of 3 million, to be the ultimate collector’s item, and aims to amass as many copies as possible. Over the course of his Session, Chang will create an archive, listening library, and anti-store to house and grow his collection of the Beatles’ iconic record.

Chang will create a record store that stocks only White Albums. But rather than selling the albums, he will buy more from anyone willing to part with an original pressing in any condition.

Hong Kong's Disneyland is adding an area dedicated to Marvel Superheroes.

The addition of Marvel in Hong Kong will be the first of its kind of any Disney resort, and could be a big draw for mainland Chinese tourists after the success of several Hollywood smash-hits that featured Marvel characters. Marvel superheroes could also attract older and more affluent visitors, as opposed to the younger audiences that the traditional Disney characters target.

David Crosby is auctioning off some of his stuff, including that groovy cap he wore while a member of the Byrds.


DC Comics is backtracking on its idiotic "WTF Month" promotional scheme.
Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told attendees at last week’s ComicsPRO annual meeting the “WTF Certified” logo won’t appear on any of the comics released in April, “because we don’t need it.” According to an unnamed retailer, DiDio said there’s already awareness of the event among store owners and readers.
One wonders what might happen if grownups instead of frat boys were put in charge of the Big Two comics companies.

Video finds: The Cliff Ewards Story

A short documentary about the entertainer who voiced Jiminy Cricket in Disney's Pinocchio and had a raft of 20s and 30s musical hits as Ukulele Ike.