Sunday, August 16, 2015
Goodbye, I must be returning
Well, hello there!
Anyone remember this blog?
No, me neither. But having just stumbled upon it, and after idly reading a post or two, imagine my shock when I suddenly realised it was mine. A bit like that bit in The Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis realises that he's been dead since the second series of Moonlighting.
Still, I see from the last post that it's been getting on for a year and a half since I last checked in here, so I think we can all of us be forgiven for moving on...
And so to the main business of the day: thanks to everyone who shelled out for a copy of the book, and I hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks also to those of you who got in touch with suggestions, additions and clarifications for what I optimistically like to call 'future editions'. (I would say optimism was my middle name... but actually John is.)
However there is one possible ray of hope as far as that goes: as you may know, the hunt is on again for uncut versions of Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers, for a version of The Cocoanuts that doesn't suddenly lurch into scenes that look like they've been photographed through a farmer's window, and for that alternative cut of Monkey Business where they actually kill the girl in the barn.
Universal, a studio that so far as I know doesn't have a middle name of any sort, but if they did it would be 'optimism' too, has launched a fresh search for the complete elements, just like they did last time they had a new format to hawk them on. (Actually, people take this sort of thing very, very seriously, so imagine a big smiley face here.)
The good news about all that from my selfish point of view is that if they succeed, the time-code references in my book will instantly go for a burton, and that might just be a persuasive enough reason to get the publishers to see the need for a revised second edition.
For the truth is that we already have stacks of new material to add: various things that we discovered that are either entirely new or that add essential extra detail to what's already there. You can tell by the notes section that we were finding things right up to the wire, and running out of places to put them.
There are also things that need to be slightly rephrased, and re-emphasised. There are occasions where I say too much about one thing and not enough about something else. There are some references I missed entirely, and even at the time I wondered if I should have included that entire chapter I wrote when I was drunk, about how you can always tell which part of the animal in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon is about to move because it's a slightly different colour from the rest of its body. What's that got to do with the Ritz Brothers? Nothing. I see it now.
And, yes, there are a half-dozen or so honest to God errors, one of which - as I spotted just as the blighter went to print - is in so absurdly prominent a place that every time I see it it takes on the appearance of a big, bloodied hand, reaching out of the page to throttle me.
So what I'm going to be doing a lot of here in the next few nextfews is updating on some of these things.
But I'll also, needless to add, still be posting all the usual kinds of rubbish that I used to stick on here, back in the days when I was young and sprightly, before I turned grey, long before the thought of having a bath became the highlight of my day, and way, way before I started going to bed at 9.30 with Steve Stoliar. (I should perhaps clarify that. I've been reading 'Raised Eyebrows' this week. By the way, did you know that since I last posted it's been announced that they're making the book into a horror film? It's true. I've had it on good authority that it's going to be the goriest biopic since The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, and so scary that even the cinemas will be leaving the lights on when they show it. No official word yet on who will be playing Groucho, but if it turns out to be Brad Dourif I win a tenner in the office sweepstakes, so do keep suggesting that to Steve.)
I'm also keen to publish more guest posts - so if there's something you want to say about the Marx Brothers, and nobody you know will listen, let me know.
And I'll also be responding to anything you care to raise in the comments, just like I always said I was going to do back in the old days, and usually didn't, because I was too lazy. Lazy, no more. That's my pledge.
What happens next is anyone's guess. But gee whiz, it's swell to be back.