SLEDGE Presents…

What began as just another pipe-dream kickstarter project had the second of its glamorous big screen premiere’s in LA this month.  After months of shooting and editing, LIFE AFTER FLASH finally blazed across the screen in a private showing at the Prince Charles Cinema in London.

GORDON’S ALIVE! Was invited and has been along for the entire ride, following the progress of debut Director Lisa Downs and her Producer/Partner Ashley Pugh as their idea evolved from a modest fan-funded endeavour to an expansive long-awaited retrospective of the 1980 movie.  This past year, hours of footage featuring interviews with said fans, cast, crew and celebrity aficionados have been whittled down to a punchy two hours of almost nonstop fun and revelation about the cult classic.  Those seeking insider gossip straight from the set and anecdotes about the making of the film will come away satisfied but more than that, the documentary elegantly manages to tell the tale of the legacy and lasting effects through the eyes of the leading man.  Sam J. Jones story takes many unexpected twists and turns that are tragic as they are uplifting.  What follows is a review of both the movie and the night straight from the red carpet as one of the attendees…

Artist Franchesco’s poster with new upgrades by Bob Lindenmeyer…

The Savior of the Universe with a captive audience…

 

Life After Flash (2017) Directed by Lisa Downs

Review by M. Lakin, GORDONISALIVE.com

So what exactly does one do having once been the saviour of the Universe? How do you top that in terms of career or indeed in life? This is the basis of a new documentary destined to be as cult a phenomenon as the 1981 movie which spawned it, but ultimately offers so much more.   Indeed, this no-holds-barred account of Flash Gordon’s (actor Sam J. Jones) meteoric rise and just as spectacular fall from grace is surprisingly as tragic as it is uplifting.  He saved every one of us, but who, or what, would save him?

The original film (Directed by Mike Hodges), despite being considered a flop in the US, nonetheless endures to this day and has maintained an almost-feverish fanbase across the world.  Satisfying then, that after decades void of accompanying material, much of the footage is devoted to life during Flash as much as beyond, with rare glimpses into the making of the movie accompanied by sharp, contemporary recollections of cast, crew and fans, providing the kind of DVD extra every release has lacked to date.   There are, in fact, many fun revelations shared here that will impress even the most hardcore of fans courtesy of contributors like Brian May, Roberto Rodriguez and Alex Ross.

One is quick to point out that this shouldn’t be classed as mere supplementary material, however, as Downs cuts  back and forth between the archive footage and talking heads with considerable attention to pace, never allowing them to become too self-indulgent (except for the darling Peter Wyngarde, who’s sly indulgence almost steals the picture).  Indeed, it is as if the final cut was liberally sprinkled with uproarious quotes from man-mountain Brian Blessed at the most opportune moments, his anecdotes serving as both invaluable tales of the production and much-needed comic-relief.

Quite why a film about what is regarded as a camp classic would require comic relief is arguably the most compelling reason to watch this picture- as despite being disguised as a celebration of all things Flash, there is a wonderfully involving narrative thread about what Life After Flash holds for the stars of the film, but most appropriately, (and poignantly) Flash himself.

For it may be late in coming, but here Sam J. Jones finally proves himself to be a legitimate star, even if not on the screen as once anticipated.  Uniquely bombastic and All-American, Jones now divides his time between convention appearances and his Security company.  The journey is in turn bizarre and heartbreaking but at its end it’s understood how and why he’s still just a man, with a super-man’s courage…

 

Promo video from the private screening and afterparty…

My first Premiere..!

The Prince Charles has cultivated a reputation for showing the best alternative and cult films over the decades, so it was more than appropriate that Life After Flash should carry on the tradition. Even the uncomfortable velvet-covered seats could not dampen the enthusiasm of the audience as the much-anticipated result of their work played out publicly for the first time.  From the outset, the stirring music and amazing new series of neon-style graphics echoing the original film hit the right note with the fans and the atmosphere was electric throughout.

Once the picture was over we were invited to the afterparty held at swanky venue 101 Wardour St. where, in typical Lisa Downs style (see BFI 35th Anniversary Gala) no expense was spared to celebrate the debut of what will hopefully become an equally glittering career.  The stars were in attendance (with Sam Jones himself leading the procession through central London like the Pied Piper) and guests were treated to free champagne, a photo booth, raffle with spectacular prizes and an intimate Q&A with stars & Directors.

On a personal note, it was a pleasure for me to have time to sit and talk with fellow contributors and fans again, having met and made many friends during the 35th celebration.  By my side as usual was my old mate Chris King and we were delighted to see that Bob Lindenmayer had once again made the trip overseas for the occasion.  It was a blast talking to Ed Emmerson, recalling the ’80’s with David Dumbell and his lovely wife Maxine and fantastic to finally cross paths with David Oliver, prop collector and archivist extraordinaire.  Most of this took place, it should be noted, as Sam Jones himself casually tucked into his dinner literally feet away, still managing to mingle with fans, and keeping with tradition, last to leave.

At the time of writing Life After Flash is seeking a distributor.  One can’t help but think that parties like NETFLIX could, and should, rip this clean out of Lisa’s hands and get it onto the screens of fans across the world where it richly deserves to be.  Until then, GORDON’S ALIVE! will endeavour to bring you the latest on the project…

 

15 Reasons…

SFX Flash1SFX Flash2SFX Flash3SFX Flash4SFX Flash5SFX Flash6SFX Flash7  Gordon’s Alive! Welcomes you with open arms to 2017!!

This year is already shaping up to be a milestone for the Flashfan as the long-awaited documentary Life After Flash moves ever closer to release (after hitting its post-production target thanks to generous contribution from fans!) and Sam Jones himself maintains a busy schedule of personal appearances all over the world.

Meanwhile Chronicle Collectables are set to release a series of high-end collectables this year starting with the pre-order of the beautiful prop replica of War Rocket Ajax with the General Klytus Mask to follow along with an announcement of another iconic (and shiny!) prop also to see release sometime in 2017.

Here at Gordon’s Alive! the brief hiatus has been spent amassing more rare material to showcase while continually updating the features and galleries in the sidebar (new imagery is added constantly so keep checking back!).  We also finally take delivery of the definitive Rocket Cycle scale model with custom figure and will be adding a gallery to the Flying Blind feature to show it off.

So lets gets things started with this fun piece by George Khoury from the pages of UK Sc-Fi Magazine SFX from 2008 with striking images and great interviews (including a snippet from original director Nic Roeg..!) revealing, amongst other interesting insights that the famous ‘YEAH!’ jump into camera towards the end was improvised by none other than the leading man…

Faux Gold…

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Flash Gordon’s (Sam J. Jones) Mongo Military Jacket, FLASH GORDON (1980)

Flash Gordon (played by Sam J. Jones) is the eponymous hero of Mike Hodges’ science fiction adventure. The film is remembered for its style, which includes the spectacular costumes. This particular item is the very distinctive red jacket that Flash wore when he was attempting to escape from the planet Mongo with Princess Aura. The jacket is a custom made piece in red leather with epaulettes and a wealth of beaded embellishments and gold braiding.

Auction Estimates: £5,000 – £7,000

Going under the gavel on September 27th as part of their latest Entertainment Memorabilia Auction taking place at the ODEON BFI IMAX in London’s Waterloo, this superb lot offered by Propstore is as stunning as it is unique.

Described as Flash Gordon’s ‘Mongo Military Jacket’ this splendid, intricate piece of design by Danilo Donati has somehow survived the test of time in pristine state and is easily the most significant item of costume offered from the film in some years.

Though Ming’s army is shown en masse wearing similar tunics brandishing similar bead applique’s, none are leather like the jacket liberated by Princess Aura to disguise Flash to aid his escape from Mongo.  Its appearance in the film may have been limited to a few scenes but it was used extensively for promo shots such as this –

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Interestingly, the inscription in the collar reads ‘double’ so it is this was a backup jacket for Sam rather than a stuntman as scenes featuring this costume were light on action.  Regardless, between its iconic status and Propstore’s stellar reputation there will no doubt be plenty of interest in this lot so it will likely go beyond estimate…

UPDATE – ITEM SOLD FOR £8,500!

Now The Tributes…From SDCC…

Of course, representation doesn’t get much better than having the leading man show up for the event (take a bow, Mr. Jones) but at this years typically frenzied San Diego Comic-Con, our hero was supported by an impressive range of upcoming collectables –Screenshot_20160724-155809Screenshot_20160724-155755First and foremost Sam was the guest of honour at artist extraordinaire Alex Ross booth, where the newly unveiled very limited-edition print above should already be familiar to anyone lucky enough to attend the 35th anniversary celebrations.  Though handsomely presented in a frame, those who already own the much larger poster signed by many of the cast besides Ross himself should be feeling especially pleased with themselves.  Meanwhile, over at the ever expanding Chronicle Collectables stand – Sam BobScreenshot_20160724-160606KlytusAn ever-in-demand Sam Jones once again teams up with ultra-Flashfan and friend of Gordon’s Alive Bob Lindenmeyer to shake hands on a job extremely well-done as the gleaming finished prototype War Rocket Ajax shines its way to an upcoming pre-order accompanied by the flawless replica of the Klytus mask/hood.  In the interview above Sam makes more than one mention of action figures –  however none so far have been unveiled at the show and the last series from Bif Bang Pow is a couple of years old now –

Which leads us to believe, alongside Chronicles talk on Facebook of Flash Gordon ‘Signature Editions’ that an all-new 1/6 line is a possibility?  Was it fresh on Sam’s mind as he’d just cut the deal?  Time will tell.

Speaking of figures, nobody saw this SDCC exclusive coming – FG DorbzBut Funko have done it again with this charming double-pack of vinyl ‘Dorbz’ available only at their booth – chances are they’ve gone already and while we’re on the subject of rarities they don’t get much better than these – Flash JacketHawkman HelmWith Propstore’s astonishing acquisitions of original costume pieces on display at their booth in advance of upcoming auctions.  The breathtaking Flash Gordon Mongo Officer Jacket in red leather with gold beading has not been seen since its sale at online auction some years ago so its appearance here alone is a rare sight and with a guide price of £5 – 7K its sure to be snapped up and disappear into obscurity again.

The Hawkman helmet is another splendidly preserved artefact as most surviving examples are missing the fragile ‘barrel’ moulding on the top.  Another modest estimate is sure to make this the centre of another Flashfan’s collection.

So all in all, not a bad show for the Flash enthusiast with the potential of more to come…!!

“Unadulterated Entertainment…”

image-0059image-0060image-0061Gordon’s Alive is pleased to present the penultimate pair of features exhumed from the pages of vintage Starlog magazine.  Issue #44 contained both articles reproduced above and below, starting with a very rare conversation with Director Mike Hodges.

Speaking candidly about the sheer scale of the production and difficulties with special effects, etc. the renowned British director compliments cast and crew and casually reveals he was original director Nic Roeg’s personal choice to helm the sequel rather than assuming control of the picture once Roeg departed.

Describing the $30 Million movie as ‘Unadulterated Entertainment’ and a literal translation of Alex Raymond’s ‘cartoon’, he admits the fallout between star and Producer could ultimately have an effect on the film, ironically eliminating the possibility of the sequel Hodges was touted for…image-0048image-0049image-0050image-0051This fascinating and detailed interview with SFX Supremo’s Martin J. Bower and Bill Pearson is a great overview for anyone captivated by the highly-stylised designs and effects work showcased in Flash Gordon.

Though much of the talented British FX team’s work sadly never made it to the screen (the Fireball XL5 tribute Rocket and space graveyard the most tragic of omissions), their stories of superglue and rivets are arguably eclipsed by the revelation that the infamous Arborian tree stump beast is actually called The Emproygen…

Als Comic..!

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Faithfully adapted by Bruce Jones and supported by amazing art by award-winning Al Williamson, the Flash Gordon comic of the movie would appear in various guises all over the world.  Arguably most common Stateside was the softcover album by Western Publishing on newsstands as the film hit theatres – Hardcovers were to follow as the release travelled across the pond to the UK and beyond.  The adaptation would last be seen across three issues of the Whitman comic book.

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While most of these publications would feature a cluttered cover of movie stills combined with splash panels, the German release (above) utilised the poster artwork by Renato Casaro to much greater effect.  Beneath it lay a black & white filmreel of stills to introduce the characters before launching into the standard reprint.  The quality of these could never be described as great (with many pages misprinted to the point of illegibility) but the artwork still shines.  Williamson would later say about drawing Flash  “I was paying homage to Alex [Raymond], you know. I tried to treat his creation with respect and dignity and tried to do it to the best of my ability. I find that other artists who have done Flash Gordon just don’t seem to get the feeling of the strip, you know. Flash is a noble guy and it’s kind of nice to have that kind of a hero…”

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Bob the Curator…

photo“YEAH!!!”

Gordon’s Alive! returns with another spectacular exclusive interview, this time with no less than arguably the world’s No.1 Flash Gordon fan.  It was my pleasure to finally meet Bob ‘The Curator’ Lindenmeyer in the flesh at the 35th anniversary last year – you can read part 2 of this conversation at the all-new celebration page right here but in the meantime, enjoy this one on one before seeing two of two..!

Bob – Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to Gordon’s Alive

Your name has been synonymous with Flash Gordon for some years now but to the uninitiated, how would you describe yourself, your background and your association with the film?

I guess I would try to describe myself as trying as hard as I can to hold on to that little boy who was 11 years old and has his mind blown by Flash Gordon. I have always been an artist and creative type, even back then, I spent my time building models or drawing spaceships. Luckily for me that is now what I do for living.

As for my association with the film, it has come in part, because of my tenacity and not fearing to ask. If I hear about anything go on Flash related I just start calling around and ask if I can be involved somehow. That has worked really well for me, that and the fact of being a super-fan means I will usually do this stuff for free.

What are your earliest memories of the movie and when/where was the first time you saw it?  Was the impact instant and what was it specifically that prompted you to start collecting?  What was your first item?

Back in 1980 I was 11 and my friend and I rode our bikes to the theatre on a Saturday afternoon. I was, as all kids were back then a huge Star Wars fan and desperately consumed anything that had a spaceship in it. Battle Beyond the Stars, Star Crash? I was there!

I was already watching The Flash Gordon cartoon and was a huge fan, so the film was a must see for me from the get go.  So there I was, me and Marc Beagle, parked in the second to the front row of an almost empty matinee. And then… FLASH! Ahh! blisteringly loud, I mean volume 11 loud. The way the film should always be played.

The thing that really struck me about the film, like others have said, was the color.  Space wasn’t black, skies weren’t blue, ships weren’t white. It was unlike anything I had seen up to that point.

Collecting props was a revelation for me, this was before big budget auctions, and when Ebay was still friendly. I was making good money at a videogame company and every week, me and my fellow nerdy co-workers would go to the local toy store and by an action figure or two. There are documentaries on how adult collectors are trying to re-capture the thrill of finding that particular Jawa figure they got as a kid. I am no different.

Buried in a pile of cool action figures, one day I realized…If I didn’t by action figures from the movies I love for two months, I could afford to get something that was actually in the film. I then sold all of my action figures (not my Jawa) and started saving and searching for props.

My first Flash prop and maybe my first non-replica prop, was the sword. I bought it on Ebay from a guy in Scotland. Something that took some getting used to about collecting props is how trashed or simply made most of them are. My sword looks more like something Boba Fett would have than Flash…but soon you get to appreciate the roughness, these items have been used and there a charm and character about that.

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Let’s talk about Chronicle Collectables.  You previewed a prototype of a scale model of War Rocket Ajax at the Flash 35thAnniversary last November.  What is your involvement with this and what has been used as the source of the replica?

I work for Chronicle, I do most of their marketing and packaging materials. It’s a great place to work, so many cool projects and opportunities. I asked if I could work there when I heard they had the FG license. Again…always ask!

The Ajax, obviously if you’re going to make FG replicas, you have to make the Ajax. I am lucky enough to own the only known Ajax in the world. It is not from the film (Ajax was destroyed during filming) but a replica build by the original modeller who built her for the film-the next best thing, in my mind.

I have tons of archival photos from the production, with these- and my Ajax as reference an all new Ajax model was created. Chronicle are big Flash fans too, so with our combined efforts pouring over the details, I think we have made the most screen accurate Jax possible. I am personally doing final assembly and paint master for the production run…literally right now. I’m so excited about it.

And what of future plans with Chronicle?  Besides Ajax and the fantastic replica of General Klytus mask are there more Flash prop replicas or costumes on the horizon?  What would be your dream recreation?

We hope to do a bunch of Flash stuff, some items are already in development. I’m not trying to be cheeky when I say I cant talk about them, that’s not my department. Maybe you can interview Chronicle? They would love that, I think.

I can say since it was teased at the 35th…Klytus’s mask, and the signature sword are coming.

Finally, you have alluded to working on a Flash Gordon book – can you confirm this and is there a publishing deal in place?  If so can you reveal some of the content and will you be applying your considerable design skills to it in similar fashion to the Flash 35thcampaign?

My Flash book-geez I really want to finish it! There has been some unofficial chats with folks about getting this published. I honestly am not sure it can be published. Finding all the rights to the hundreds of photographs and info I have in my collection is the challenge. Any licensed book should have the proper “okays” to use the content. A book will be made. It may end up being a limited run for family and friends. I have “top men” working on it.

The book will be designed entirely by me and hopefully be even cooler than the 30 page program I did for the 35th. The collectors program was a good test run from start to finish for a full blown book.

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Bob – Thanks so much..!

Ah Haaa!

GORDON’S ALIVE! Welcomes you to 2016!

This year is certain to be huge for Flashfans due to the aftershocks of the 35th anniversary and growing readership of this site, with all-new content and vintage treasures from across the globe (starting below)

Look out for contributions from and interviews with fellow Flash collectors, all dedicated to making this the ultimate resource for the saviour of the universe!

FG_German_Flyer1Pictures20FG_German_Flyer2FG_German_Flyer3Roughly translated as ‘The superstar in the realm of the stars’ this rare fold-out promo flyer would adorn many a German cinema lobby in the run up to release.

Beyond the odd rare photo and primitive cut and paste (note Kala’s decapitated head) the credits as shown may be the only instance of Jones and Muti headlining, with Von Sydow’s Ming dropping down to fourth place…

Coming Soon!

DSC_3557DSC_3520DSC_3526DSC_3577DSC_3530DSC_3576DSC_3594Gordon’s Alive! is proud to present this special photographic preview of an upcoming special feature on the 35th Anniversary Celebration held last month at BAFTA in London.  The page will be a permanent addition to the site (under the Go Flash Go banner on the right) and the coverage so thorough it will be like you were actually there.

For those fortunate enough to attend the page will hopefully serve as an online souvenir of an unforgettable experience, an evening of sheer class with a gathering of friendly, like-minded people from across all cultures all with one thing in common – an unashamed admiration for this timeless sci-fi classic.

With thanks in advance to organiser Lisa Downs, associate and graphic designer Bob Lindenmeyer, host Jason Lenzi and of course the attending cast & crew, the 35th page will hopefully be a fitting testimony to your efforts…

Dispatch!

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Fast establishing itself as a company where ‘Shut up and take my money’ should follow its name, Chronicle Collectables is well on the way to producing arguably the most significant replica from Flash Gordon ever offered to collectors.

War Rocket Ajax (as originally built by Martin Bower) is easily the most iconic spaceship from the film and has been lovingly recreated by John Eaves, Richard Long and good friend of Gordon’s Alive! Bob Lindenmayer.  Up for pre-order soon, this 24″ long display will feature clear windows and detailed interior and is sure to be a huge hit with fans.  Look for the tab on the right hand side of the page when it becomes available..!