Day 135: Disney’s The Black Sole

The most peculiar thing happened when Sole Of Sci-Fi went out for a jog this morning…

May 15 Main

The best thing about Disney’s The Black Hole is that it has an overture. Well, that and the glorious spaceship The Cygnus, which looks like a floating Crystal Palace in space…

U_S_S__Cygnus_Promo_05

It’s hard to imagine these days, when we’re subjected to that endurance test of cinema adverts, trailers and warnings to turn off our mobiles, that there was an era when cinemas would actually have a gap in their schedules to indulge movie that wanted overtures.

Notably, although it’s a practice rarely used since (Wikipedia lists a mere seven films with overtures since 1980, including Back To The Future and The Nightmare Before Christmas) the other big sci-fi blockbuster of 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, also has an overture. Coincidence? Well, probably. Star Trek: The Slow Motion movie  seemed convinced it was the new 2001: A Space Odyssey, so the producers were presumably aping Kubrick’s movie (which also had an overture) rather than playing tit-for-tat with Disney’s rival.

Geoff Love sci-fi themes LP coverI can vouch for the fact that some cinemas in the UK did play The Black Hole’s overture, because I heard it. Okay, I know I’m showing my age, but I saw The Black Hole in 1980 with my dad at Slough’s fleapit (the old one that’s no longer there) and I remember the screening distinctly. Mainly because there was some annoying geeky kid in the seat in front of me. Before the film began, the cinema was playing a bunch of sci-fi movie themes, and this kid was loudly informing his dad what each one was. I knew them as well, because I used to buy those Geoff Love LPs full of bad movie theme cover versions (though they were symphonic masterpieces to me at the time). The cinema may even have been playing one of those very LPs.

But this kid came to a grinding halt when some music started playing that he didn’t recognise. But I did. Because I’d bought The Black Hole official soundtrack a week earlier and played John Barry’s  Bond-esque theme until the needle on the record player went blunt. The overture I wasn’t so keen on, but I’d heard it enough times to know it.

“That’s John Barry’s overture to The Black Hole,” I announced to my dad loud enough to make sure annoying kid heard.

Somewhere, at this very moment, he’s probably writing a blog about that know-it-all tit who sat behind him in a cinema in 1979.

I often wonder whether Barry was forced at gunpoint to write the overture late in the day when the producer’s heard his grinding, swirling, apocalyptic theme tune and said, “Can’t you do something a little more Star Wars?” Now, genius that Barry was, he wasn’t renowned for jaunty, fist-pumping, military anthems. He gave it a go with The Black Hole overture, but it sounds a bit half-hearted. The overture music is also used later one during one of then robot battle sequences, when it gate crashes the soundtrack with all the subtlety of a Carry On boob gag.

But his theme tune: that’s a masterpiece.

Thank you for indulging me in some happy memories. It beats talking about work at the moment, with Future Publishing being about as much fun to be part of at the moment as licking sandpaper. Can’t go into any details, but boy am I glad I handed in my resignation when I did. I wish everyone I’m leaving behind the best of luck, and I hope the company pulls through, but boy, there’s a slog ahead. I’m under no illusion there that there won’t be a slog ahead for me too, but at least I’ll be my own boss and my successes and failures will be of my own making.

Finally, here’s a better look at today’s trainers, on loan from SFX’s Russell Lewin.

May 15 nikes

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Cheers Dave G

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One thought on “Day 135: Disney’s The Black Sole

  1. Zippy Zip says:

    Dude: Nice piece. However, there was a more practical reason for movie overtures: The creators of particularly “majestic” films used them as a kind of buffer before the actual movie began, so that slightly late arrivals wouldn’t interfere with the audience’s experience. (Stanley Kubrick acknowledged this about “2001’s” overture.)

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