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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Journey Into Space

Following up the little piece I did on Charles Chilton yesterday. Howard Corn was visiting today and I received a copy of the latest (Autumn 2006) issue of Eagle Times. One of the articles was from Yours magazine (July 2006) about the discovery of a cache of papers and records found by a chap in a recycling centre. Looking through them he discovered he was looking at signed photographs of the cast of Journey Into Space, correspondence from author Charles Chilton and the original recordings of music for the show -- not just the original Journey Into Space (1953) recordings but also the music cues for The Red Planet (1954) and The World in Peril (1955).

The rescued material had belonged to composer Van Phillips who had worked on the show. The whole lot had been thrown into a skip and it was a million to one chance that they were rescued, discovered by a record fan who picked up the box of vinyl and only later realised what he had found.

It would be great to have all this rediscovered material made available but a second mention of Journey Into Space in the same issue makes it seem unlikely that it will ever happen. It seems that the BBC, who have released Operation Luna (the 1958 remake of the first series) and The Red Planet as boxed-set CDs aren't going to produce the last box-set, which was due out a couple of weeks ago (4 October), containing The World In Peril and Return to Mars. Sales of the first two sets have been disappointing, apparently... not surprising when you consider the price: Operation Luna (7 discs) had a RRP of £60 and The Red Planet (10 discs) had a RRP of £80. This third set was also to be priced at £80. play.com, who are offering Red Planet at a massive discount, are still charging £55. Far too much for the core audience who would want to listen again to a childhood favourite, especially when the whole series has been rebroadcast for free on BBC7.

Mentioning Eagle Times... after nearly 20 years, the magazine still comes up with new features every issue. There's a certain amount of repetition, of course: 75 issues about the same comic and you're bound to cover some of the same ground, albeit from different angles. But there's enough new material to make up for that minor niggle and, after many years printed in black & white, half the pages are now printed in colour. High costs and a low sale -- a problem for any fanzine -- mean that the rates are likely to increase to £22 for four issues in 2007, although Howard mentioned that he was runningi an offer -- £20 for anyone subscribing before the end of the year. Well worth the price.

If you're not a subscriber, you should send for details: Keith Howard, 25A Station Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 2UA. Or just send a cheque. The Eagle Society also hosts various events during the year, including an annual dinner. I'm told they're coming to Colchester next April. I might make it for once.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's amazing someone found all the records and other Journey into Space paraphernalia.

As you can see, I'm a 'Chilton' but in no way related to Charles. I was however a teenager in the late 80s/early 90's when the BCC replayed JiS and I became hooked and have remembered it with fond memories ever since.

I would love to get hold of the CD release too though I think you're right that they are a little expensive.

Steve said...

I became a fan after a friend of mine loaned me tapes of the show. Up till then I was mostly aware of Charles Chilton through his 'Riders of the Range' strip in Eagle.

The final CD would have also included the fourth Journey Into Space show, The Return From Mars, which was originally broadcast in 1981.

It's a shame BBC7 is broadcast at such a lousy data rate -- definitely not CD quality digital as was often promised by Auntie Beeb. But at least they've broadcast all the shows and the Space Fleet shows.

Hopefully you've spotted the fourth paperback cover which went up yesterday.

Thanks for commenting.