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  1. #1526
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    Keith Dunstan, reporter for the Melbourne Herald-Sun has died of cancer at the age of 88. Most Victorians would know Keith and read his columns religiously.





    Farewell Keith Dunstan, a man of wit and jest


    • Peter Coster
    • Herald Sun
    • September 12, 2013 12:44AM



    Keith Dunstan became synonomous with the cultural life of his beloved Melbourne. Source: Supplied








    KEITH Dunstan was gently amusing, but there was a sharp tip to the pen if someone needed a prod.

    No Brains At All, his autobiography, was the remark of a school master who didn't realise that behind that disarming smile was a very sharp brain.
    We were at opposite ends of the newsroom when he wrote A Place in the Sun for the Sun News Pictorial in morning and I wrote In Black and White for the Herald in the evening.
    Our eyes sometimes met across the distance of a huge newsroom in what we might not have realised at the time were the glory days of print journalism.
    Leave your tribute to Keith Dunstan
    Dunstan, who died of cancer at age 88, became the American West Coast correspondent in Los Angeles, and after some years I followed.
    I arrived in LA on a sunny day to be picked up by Keith at LAX.
    We drove from the airport to Beverley Hills, high-rise buildings baking in the sun and people wandering about in shorts and sunglasses.
    What did I think of it, he asked me, and I replied that it rather reminded me of Surfers Paradise.
    That was perhaps the cruellest thing anyone had ever said of the place since Woody Allen had remarked that he would never live in Beverley Hills because he "might turn into a Mercedes".

    Keith Dunstan and grandson Jack Dunstan reignite the Anti-Football League.




    Dunstan drove an unusually small and very ugly but economical Chevrolet, concerned even in the freewheeling '80s about saving the plant.
    When he picked me up from the hotel where we were staying, he got in the right-hand side.
    I said I didn't think I was ready to drive on the opposite side of the road and he gave that gentle smile and said he must have been thinking he was back in Australia.
    Keith lived out in the desert at a place called Calabasas. This didn't stop him from writing about LA and the strange people who seemed to live there.
    He preferred to live in the desert because he rode his bike across its empty roads each day with a cycling group.
    Without realising it, Keith Dunstan was perfectly suited to life in California. He managed to live life at his pace.
    Dunstan was born on February 3, 1925, and went to Geelong Grammar.
    He described himself as one of the RAAF's "least successful pilots" in WWII, serving in Morotai and North Borneo, and at war's end joined The Sun, serving in London and New York.
    Writing APITS, as A Place in the Sun was known by the more than a million people who read it, he gave the impression that daily deadlines were easily achieved.

    Dunstan, an enthusiastic cyclist, rides to work.




    He was never stressed and unfailingly polite, not always a quality found in reporters. His reportage was his alone. His style was as relaxed as his smile.
    The tip of the pen was sharpened but with a humour that never gave offence.
    When he created the Anti-Football League it mocked football-mad Melbourne, but the most hysterical of football followers read it with delight.
    His writing style gave the impression of unhurried leisure. That must have been why so many people read it.
    It relaxed them like some massage of the mind each day before they went to work. It made people feel good about themselves for reading it.
    Those column and books like The Paddock That Grew about the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the quartet of Wowsers followed by Knockers, then Sports and later Ratbags showed a very many brains indeed.
    Admirers praised Keith Dunstan's quick wit and his unique voice in Melbourne journalism and beyond.
    Former Sun editor Colin Duck said Dunstan would be sadly missed.
    "Australia has been blessed with many fine newspaper columnists but none outshone Keith Dunstan," Duck said.
    Sun cartoonist Geoff "Jeff" Hook, whose work often illustrated Dunstan's, said he was "the best, the greatest journalist and author of our generation. He was my mate, true friend and colleague, and much loved".
    Former Sun editor Rod Donnelly said: "Keith Dunstan was one of the greatest journalists Australia has produced.
    "He (also) stood up for his son's opposition to the Vietnam War … certainly he was a man of principle."
    Former HWT editor Leigh Stevens said Dunstan was "a master of phraseology and a legend at the Sun in his day".
    Dunstan's APITS successor, Graeme "Jacko" Johnstone, called him "the journalist's journalist, the king of the columnists, the ultimate purveyor of the craft".
    "He turned A Place In The Sun into the column everyone read. Everyone knew Keith and, in turn, Keith knew everyone," Johnstone said.
    "He was brave enough to challenge the massive media coverage of the great god football and incisively explored everything Australian, from the meat pie onwards.
    "He was Mr Melbourne."
    Former Herald and Herald Sun editor Bruce Baskett said Dunstan's columns resonated with Melburnians.
    "But to put it down into words and make it readable, and make it put a smile on your face in the morning - that's enormous ability. Rare, absolutely rare."
    News Limited Victorian managing director (editorial) Peter Blunden said: "Keith possessed a rare touch and an affinity with Melbourne, making him one of the most admired, respected and well-read journalists and authors of his generation."
    - with Alan Howe and Andy Burns

  2. #1527
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    Singer and TV host Joan Regan dies in London, aged 85



    Joan Regan had her own BBC television series Be My Guest which ran for several years


    British singer Joan Regan, who had chart success in the late 50s and early 60s, has died in London at the age of 85.

    She had a number of hit records, including Ricochet, May You Always and If I Give My Heart to You.

    Regan also had her own BBC television series, Be My Guest, for several years.

    The singer starred on both sides of the Atlantic with artists such as Perry Como, Max Bygraves and Cliff Richard.


    Signature tune

    Regan, who was born in 1928 in Romford in Essex, was one of the most popular British singers of her era and appeared regularly on radio and TV.

    Her career took off after theatrical impresario Bernard Delfont heard her recordings and signed her up with his agency.

    Regan soon won a recording contract with the British record label, Decca Records, although only for a trial period of three records, which by her own admission "didn't exactly set the hit parade alight".

    However, Decca released a recording she had made some months earlier of a song called Ricochet.

    The record paved the way for theatre, radio and television engagements.

    Regan was later to feature on American television with major performers including Eddie Fisher, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Perry Como.

    She appeared at the London Palladium many times, with other entertainers such as Max Bygraves, Cliff Richard, Russ Conway and Edmund Hockridge.

    In 1984, she hit her head in the shower causing a blood clot on the brain which left her paralysed and without speech.

    But after therapy she made a complete recovery, singing again in Britain on radio and in concerts.

  3. #1528
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    RIP Cal Worthington

    "If You Want A Better Car Go See Cal"

    It's been years since I've seen one of his ads but I can still it playing in my head. Back when I lived in LA it was common to mock Cal as just a dumb hick who got lucky - but in reality he was - and he didn't mind if he got mocked so as long as you bought a car from one of his dealerships.


    Cal Worthington died Sunday at the age of 92. If the name doesn't ring a bell, you (a) never lived in Southern California; (b) don't watch car dealer commercials on TV, (c) never worked in sales, or (d) all the above.
    Mr. Worthington was the Los Angeles-area car dealer whose angular features, cowboy suit and ubiquitous "Dog Spot" (an animal that was never a canine) graced thousands of commercials over a career more than 50 years. The Television Advertising Bureau described him as the "greatest car pitchman" in the history of the medium, and it's hard to disagree...


    Most advertising "pros" recoil at the Worthington model; by their standards, he did almost everything wrong. In an era that favored smooth-talking announcers, Cal looked and sounded like your uncle from Oklahoma (where he was born and grew up during the Dust Bowl). His spots weren't particularly artistic, but they certainly caught your attention. There was Cal, doing a headstand on the hood of a car, promising to "stand on my head, 'til my ears turn red" (to sell a vehicle). The background music was a jingle that was lifted from "If You're Happy and You Know It," with a home-spun chorus telling viewers to "Go see Cal/Go see Cal/Go See Cal" about every three seconds. Incidentally, the jingle had 26 stanzas, for those keeping score at home. Worthington wrote it himself.


    ...In passing, Cal Worthington will be largely remembered for those thousands of TV commercials that made him a cultural icon. But that does him something of a disservice; Worthington belonged to that same generation of Americans that included men like Ray Kroc and Sam Walton; businessmen who were salesmen at heart, that knew what their customers wanted and sold the hell out of their product line. Selling, as practiced by a Walton, Kroc or Worthington, is an art. But unfortunately, it's a dying art; today's generation seems less interested in closing the deal if it can't be done on-line."



    I never bought a vehicle from him but past his huge dealership on the San Diego Freeway all the time.

  • #1529
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    Rodney Smith, who has died aged 95, was the co-founder of Lesney Products and oversaw the company’s venture into the die-cast toy market, which would lead to the celebrated Matchbox range.





    In 1947, newly demobbed from the Navy and working for Die Cast Machine Toys (DCMT), Rodney joined forces with Leslie Smith, an old school friend, with whom he set up a business in a disused pub in Edmonton. They amalgamated their forenames to come up with the company title Lesney.


    Rodney Smith hired John “Jack” Odell, a fellow ex-serviceman and engineer from DCMT, who agreed to work as a mould maker. At first the trio took orders from every quarter, producing die-cast string cutters, iron hooks, engine parts and windscreen wipers for Ford and Vauxhall. Toys were a sideline venture to tide them over during fallow periods, beginning with Lesney’s diesel road roller, which went on sale in 1948.


    Toy fire engines, pistols and handcuffs followed – though Smith recalled a “bit of a hoo-ha” over the last of these when children had difficulty extricating themselves. Moko, one of the oldest German toy manufacturers, approached Lesney to cast the legs for Jumbo, its wind-up tin-plate elephant.


    At the time the biggest die-cast model manufacturer was Dinky, an offshoot of Meccano . But Lesney began to claim a share of the market and soon moved to bigger premises. Rodney Smith, however, was keen to try his hand at other ventures, and in 1951 he sold his share in Lesney to his two partners.


    He took a half-share in a yacht yard at Lea-on-Sea and went into pig- and poultry-farming. Meanwhile, Matchbox toys were launched in 1953 and enjoyed unprecedented success. By 1963 Lesney was exporting 70 million toy cars to 120 different countries; by 1968 it had a market capitalisation of £120 million. Over the next decade, however, economic downturn, industrial action and a major fire at one of its facilities all took their toll. The company finally went into receivership in 1981.


    Rodney Annereau Ingman Smith was born at East Molesey, Surrey, on August 26 1917, the only son of an officer in the Merchant Navy . At 16 he began an engineering apprenticeship before enlisting in the Royal Navy in April 1940, serving in destroyers and as a chief petty officer in the depot ship Tyne .

    The pig and poultry business did not suit Smith, and in 1954 he took on Lesney’s outdated equipment and returned to the die-casting business on his own account.

    His new company soon became the associated manufacturers for the die-cast distributors Morestone , which from 1956 to 1959 began to compete directly with Matchbox, producing models of the Esso petrol pump and a series of Noddy figures. In 1959 this became the Budgie toy range, comprising fifty 1:75 scale models. When the business was taken over in 1961, Smith remained as managing director until it folded in 1968. Transferring to the coast, he worked in a boating company and chandlery before retiring to Kent in 1982.

    He married, in 1941, Lily Louisa Mash, with whom he had a daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1957.


    Rodney Smith, born August 26 1917, died July 20 2013

  • #1530
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    Chin Peng

    Chin Peng, who has died aged 89, was decorated for his bravery fighting alongside British forces in the Second World War then afterwards took up arms against them in the Malayan Emergency





    His fight continued even after Malaya achieved independence in 1957, and it was only in 1989 that he signed a peace treaty with the government of what was by then Malaysia. Even so, he continued to be prevented from returning from exile to the land of his birth, where he remained a divisive figure.


    Ong Boon Hua was born on October 21 1924 in Sitiawan, a small town in the state of Perak in the Malayan peninsular that bordered southern Thailand. He was the son of a bicycle dealer who had emigrated from Fujian province in south-east China: it would be Malaya’s ethnic-Chinese population which took up arms most willingly against the Japanese during the war; feeling themselves to be a disenfranchised minority, however, it was also they who formed the spine of the postwar communist insurgency against Britain.


    Chin Peng, as he would be known on the battlefield, was a studious youth, learning English at the Methodist School in Perak. At 15 he joined the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and began work in the design department of Perak’s Humanity News.


    He was close to the CPM’s leader Lai Teck, and his political rise was swift. But war would interrupt his ascent. After the Japanese invasion in December 1941 the CPM formed the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA). From February 1942 to the end of the war the MPAJA took on Japanese forces, often with Britain providing weapons and training.


    Chin Peng was an MPAJA liaison with British officers (many from Force 136, a south-east Asian variant of the Special Operations Executive). In an interview in 2009, Chin Peng recalled cycling from his home to the coastal town of Lumut to meet British operatives who had arrived by submarine: “I used the trunk roads and then the estate roads to avoid being spotted. I cycled everywhere.”


    For his contribution to the Allied war effort, Chin Peng was decorated with the Burma Star and appointed OBE. The latter would soon be rescinded as Peng segued from wartime hero to colonial villain.

    After the Japanese surrender in August 1945 the MPAJA took control before British authority was restored that autumn. In the brief interregnum, reprisals were severe. The ethnic-Chinese MPAJA accused many ethnic-Malays of collaborating with the Japanese. Ethnic-Malays, meanwhile, would accuse the MPAJA of indiscriminate violence.

    With the return of British rule, the CPM campaigned for independence. When it became clear that this would not be forthcoming, the party went underground.

    Leader Lai Teck was accused of being a spy and fled leaving Chin Peng, aged 24, to take control.

    He immediately abandoned Lai Teck’s moderate stance, advocating instead violent struggle on top of strike action as the best means to establish a communist state in Malaya and Singapore. On June 16 1948 this new aggression was announced when CPM fighters attacked two rubber plantations in northern Malaya and murdered three British planters. Though he always denied personally ordering the killings, Chin remained unrepentant about them. “We considered the European planters as a symbol of colonial rule,” he said. “They were hated by the workers.

    “I make no apologies for seeking to replace such an odious system with a form of Marxist socialism. Colonial exploitation, irrespective of who were the masters, Japanese or British, was morally wrong. If you saw how the returning British functioned the way I did, you would know why I chose arms.”

    Days later British authorities declared an Emergency, beginning a 12-year conflict that amounted to a war in all but name. The communists could count on up to 10,000 insurgents; Britain dispatched tens of thousands of Commonwealth troops.

    Chin Peng’s tactics were clear: rely on the support of ethnic-Chinese smallholders on the fringes of the jungle, then retreat into that jungle when British troops moved in.

    To counter this, in 1950 Sir Harold Briggs organised the resettlement of half a million largely ethnic-Chinese in hundreds of “New Villages” away from the jungle redoubts of the CPM. Cut off from the sources of food and support, Chin’s forces became besieged.

    This did not prevent the assassination of the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, in October 1951, but the tide of conflict was turning. Having isolated Chin’s forces, British troops began aggressive patrols of the jungle. Slowly but surely Chin’s men were hunted down. CPM attacks fell dramatically.

    By 1955 the Malayan government offered communist insurgents an amnesty before, at the end of the year, the two sides met for talks. Chin Peng was not in emollient mood. He demanded recognition of the CPM and acceptance of its role in political life. “If you demand our surrender,” he noted, “we would prefer to fight to the last man.”

    The talks collapsed and the amnesty was withdrawn. Despite half-hearted efforts to relaunch negotiations, it quickly became apparent that Britain was preparing to grant Malaya independence, stripping the insurgency of its raison d’être. Yet Chin considered the government of the newly-independent country colonial stooges, and some of his fighters continued to launch attacks into 1958. Most fled across the border into southern Thailand, however, and by 1960 Malaya declared the Emergency over. Chin Peng left Thailand for Beijing.

    There he spent much of the next decades. Assured that south-east Asia was ripe for revolution, the CPM continued to maintain a base in southern Thailand. But revolution never materialised, and in the course of the 1970s the CPM was riven by bloody infighting. Finally, on December 2 1989, a peace agreement was signed by the Malaysian and Thai governments and the CPM.

    Chin, unrepentant for his role in a 40-year conflict which cost many thousands of lives, appealed – unsuccessfully – to be allowed to returned to Malaysia.

    He is reported to have married Lee Kwan Wa, with whom he had two sons.



    Chin Peng, born October 21 1924, died September 16 2013

  • #1531
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    ^ and ^^ and ^^^
    Hardly famous.
    Last edited by Cujo; 18-09-2013 at 10:58 AM.

  • #1532
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    ^
    Have a bit of respect you negative Cnut - just because they are not known to a birdbrain like you does not qualify you to comment on their fame.

  • #1533
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    Kenny Norton died. I always thought he was the most-robbed heavyweight ever. Don't think he beat Ali in any of their fights, and I think Norton-Holmes was a draw, Norton keeps the title. Norton was that rare fighter, not so much a boxer, who could handle the great boxers but had trouble with the heavy punchers (Foreman, Shavers). He probably could have been great at any sport. I was a huge fan. Here's to you, Kenny. You never really got your due, but some of us loved you.
    “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy Parker

  • #1534
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    Heavyweight boxing legend Ken Norton dies at 70



    Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali trade blows during their second meeting on 10 September 1973


    Former US heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 70, his son says.

    Norton, who had been in poor health following a series of strokes, died at a care facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Norton broke Ali's jaw in their first bout in San Diego, California, in 1973, which Norton won.

    In their last meeting on September 1976 at New York's Yankee Stadium, Ali won a narrow and controversial decision to retain the heavyweight title.

    "I'm sure he's in heaven now with all the great fighters," Gene Kilroy, Ali's former business manager, told the Associated Press news agency. "I'd like to hear that conversation."

    Norton began boxing during his time in the US Marines, and turned professional shortly after he left the military in 1967.

    He won a heavyweight title in 1977, but lost the following year in a classic 15-round fight with Larry Holmes.

    After his boxing career ended, Norton appeared in several movies and became a fight commentator.

    He had five children, one of whom went on to play professional football and now coaches in the National Football League for the Seattle Seahawks.



    Ken Norton last year at a gala dinner for old foe Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday

  • #1535
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    "Of all the titles that I've been privileged to have, the title of 'dad' has always been the best." Ken Norton

  • #1536
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Lick View Post
    Heavyweight boxing legend Ken Norton dies at 70



    Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali trade blows during their second meeting on 10 September 1973


    Former US heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 70, his son says.

    Norton, who had been in poor health following a series of strokes, died at a care facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Norton broke Ali's jaw in their first bout in San Diego, California, in 1973, which Norton won.

    In their last meeting on September 1976 at New York's Yankee Stadium, Ali won a narrow and controversial decision to retain the heavyweight title.

    "I'm sure he's in heaven now with all the great fighters," Gene Kilroy, Ali's former business manager, told the Associated Press news agency. "I'd like to hear that conversation."

    Norton began boxing during his time in the US Marines, and turned professional shortly after he left the military in 1967.

    He won a heavyweight title in 1977, but lost the following year in a classic 15-round fight with Larry Holmes.

    After his boxing career ended, Norton appeared in several movies and became a fight commentator.

    He had five children, one of whom went on to play professional football and now coaches in the National Football League for the Seattle Seahawks.



    Ken Norton last year at a gala dinner for old foe Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday
    Wow! Isn't it incredible that as ill as Muhammad Ali is and has been he still keeps going while his former foes are dying off, first smokin Joe and now Ken wonder how long before George has left? Incredible irony and kind of like a commentary on his life rope-a-doping and fighting right up to the end.

  • #1537
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman123 View Post
    ^
    Have a bit of respect you negative Cnut - just because they are not known to a birdbrain like you does not qualify you to comment on their fame.
    Just because they are 'known' to a handful of people doesn't make them famous.
    Who outside some Chinese communists has heard of Chin Peng, and are you saying I should have respect for a turncoat communist insurgent?

  • #1538
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    One man's turncoat communist insurgent is another man's freedom fighter.

    interesting reading, all adds to the knowledge base. Thanks for posting about some of those who may be less famous but are great stories none the less

  • #1539
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koojo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman123 View Post
    ^
    Have a bit of respect you negative Cnut - just because they are not known to a birdbrain like you does not qualify you to comment on their fame.
    Just because they are 'known' to a handful of people doesn't make them famous.
    Who outside some Chinese communists has heard of Chin Peng, and are you saying I should have respect for a turncoat communist insurgent?
    I've never heard of him either, but what on earth is wrong with educating yourself, ya whinger.


  • #1540
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Lick View Post
    Heavyweight boxing legend Ken Norton dies at 70


    That is a frikking brilliant photograph.

    And he also broke Ali's jaw in their first bout? Holy crap, talk about badass..

  • #1541
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koojo View Post
    ^ and ^^ and ^^^
    Hardly famous.
    Beg to differ on Cal Worthington.

    There isn't an individual west of the Rockies who doesn't know Cal's theme song. Anyone age 25 or better that is. Cal was an icon.

  • #1542
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    So the President of Toyota died a few days ago, and now the President of Nintendo.

    Someone at Nissan and Sony will be cacking their Y-fronts.

  • #1543
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    Nintendo visionary Hiroshi Yamauchi dies aged 85




    Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Japanese businessman credited with transforming Nintendo into a world-leading video games company, has died aged 85.

    Mr Yamauchi ran the firm for 53 years, and was its second-largest shareholder at the time of his death.

    The company confirmed the news in an emailed statement.

    A spokesman said the firm was in mourning over the "loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning."

    He died of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan, the company said, adding that a funeral will take place on Sunday.

    Mr Yamauchi ran the company from 1949 until 2002.

    In that time, he took what was a small-time collectable trading card company and built it into one of the most recognisable - and successful - video games brands today.

    "Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games," said Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop and former chairman of publisher Eidos.

    "He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. Most importantly he steered Nintendo on its own course and was unconcerned by the actions of his competitors. He was a true visionary."

    Rob Crossley, associate editor of Computer and Video Games magazine, told the BBC: "You cannot overestimate the influence the man had on the games industry."

    "He spearheaded Nintendo as they moved into the arcade business, with hits such as Donkey Kong.

    "This man was the president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube - the first two were transformative pieces of electronic entertainment."


    Household names
    Mr Yamauchi took over at Nintendo after his grandfather suffered a stroke. After several years developing the firm's existing trading card business, Mr Yamauchi turned to electronic entertainment.




    Under Mr Yamauchi's stewardship, Super Mario entered millions of homes

    He utilised the work of legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who had made Donkey Kong, as a way of breaking into the US arcade game market.

    Mr Miyamoto's later work was pivotal in the success of Nintendo's home entertainment systems - titles such as Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Starfox became commercial smashes and household names.

    Mr Yamauchi stood down as president in 2002, taking a place on the firm's board of directors. In 2005, he left the company entirely.

    Since his departure, Nintendo has gone on to produce the hugely successful Wii console, but has floundered in the past 12 months due to disappointing sales of its latest effort, the Wii U.

    Mr Yamauchi, one of Japan's richest men, also used to own the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it in 2004 to Nintendo's US-based operation.

  • #1544
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    Ferguson Smith

    Ferguson Smith, who has died aged 98, served with great distinction in the wartime RAF before becoming the Special Branch officer responsible for arresting some of Britain’s most notorious postwar traitors.





    Smith, a man with a rigorous attention to detail, quiet manner and dry sense of humour, arrested the Portland spy ring traitors in 1961; he also assisted in the arrest of George Blake, probably the most dangerous of all Russian spies, and the Admiralty spy John Vassall. He once hid in a cupboard at Brixton prison to eavesdrop on an incriminating telephone conversation by Klaus Fuchs, the atom spy.


    The Portland spy ring, a bizarre group of unlikely suburban traitors, captured the public imagination and became the subject of several feature films and documentaries. They passed on to Russia secrets stolen from the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment at Portland in Dorset, where the Royal Navy tested equipment for undersea warfare.


    When the CIA was tipped off about a possible leak from the Portland base by a Russian “mole”, the information was passed on to MI5, which involved the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch in surveillance of the staff. Suspicion fell first on Harry Houghton, a civil servant, who was a heavy drinker and seemed to spend more money than he could have earned. His mistress, Ethel Gee, was a filing clerk there who had access to secret documents.


    They were followed on visits to London, where they would meet a mysterious figure called Gordon Lonsdale, ostensibly a Canadian businessman dealing in jukeboxes and chewing gum machines, but who was eventually identified as a Russian agent called Konon Trofimovich Molody. He in turn was followed on regular visits to a bungalow in Ruislip occupied by an antiquarian bookseller, Peter Kroger, and his wife Helen.


    In January 1961 the ring was rounded up on the same day. Houghton, Gee and Lonsdale were caught meeting together in London and arrested by Superintendent George Smith (no relation). Gee’s shopping bag contained huge amounts of film and photographs of Dreadnought, Britain’s first nuclear submarine, and specifications of the secret Borg Warner torque converter.


    At the same time Ferguson Smith and two colleagues went to Ruislip to see the Krogers and ask them to accompany them to Scotland Yard for questioning.

    Before leaving, Mrs Kroger asked to be allowed to stoke the boiler. When Smith, a veteran spycatcher, checked her handbag, it was found to contain microdots, reproducing secret documents in miniature. These, it transpired, were hidden in antiquarian books provided by Kroger to Lonsdale, who sent them with letters to his wife in the Soviet Union.

    In the Kroger bungalow the police found large sums of cash and a mass of spying equipment, including fake passports, photographic material, code pads and a long-range transmitter linked to Moscow. It was the espionage coup of the decade and the crowning moment of Smith’s career in Special Branch, which he had joined in 1936 and went on to lead from 1966 to 1972.

    Ferguson George Donaldson Smith (known as Ferg or Fergie) was born in Aberdeen on October 5 1914 into a family of wholesale grocers who claimed to have introduced Robertson’s marmalade to the breakfast tables of northern Scotland. He was an outstanding sportsman at Aberdeen grammar school, where he was head of school and captain of rugby and cricket.

    With the Cairngorms just a long bike ride away, he developed a lifelong love of mountains. Apart from 18 months as a constable on the beat and his wartime service, he spent his whole working life in Special Branch. His mother disapproved of his career choice, regarding it as “a thorough waste of a good education”.

    Smith enlisted into the RAF volunteer reserve in July 1941 and trained as a navigator in Canada, where he was commissioned. On his return to Britain, and after further training, in August 1943 he joined No 101 Squadron flying Lancasters from Ludford Magna near Lincoln.


    A month later No 101 crews began to fly specially modified Lancasters fitted with top-secret radio jamming equipment. An additional “Special Operator” joined each crew to work this equipment, which located and jammed German fighter control’s broadcasts; occasionally, the German-speaking operator posed as a controller to spread disinformation.

    During the winter of 1943-44, No 101 crews fought in the Battle of Berlin, suffering a high number of casualties. In January 1944 Smith and his crew were approaching Berlin when their aircraft was attacked by a German nightfighter and badly damaged. Smith sustained severe injuries, being wounded in the back, the chest and the leg, but refrained from reporting his injuries, instead working heroically to rescue the two gunners who were trapped in their turrets. Not until it was apparent that both men were beyond assistance did Smith relax his efforts.

    Meanwhile the pilot pressed on to the target which the crew bombed successfully before making the long and hazardous return trip.

    Despite his wounds, Smith remained at his post and skillfully navigated the defenceless Lancaster back to base where the pilot made an emergency landing.

    Both men were awarded an immediate DFC, the citation for Smith concluding that “his courage, fortitude and determination were worthy of the highest praise”.

    Smith spent several months recovering before returning to No 101, where he flew on operations for another year. With its unique role of electronic jamming, and with its aircraft carrying aerials that made them uncomfortably conspicuous targets for the Luftwaffe, No 101 suffered the highest casualty rate of any RAF squadron in the war. In April 1945 Smith was awarded a Bar to his DFC.
    After a period in Transport Command, Smith was released from the service in February 1946 as a flight lieutenant.

    On discharge he returned to Scotland Yard, where his linguistic skills – he spoke fluent German, French and Russian – were of particular value to Special Branch during the Cold War. His service there brought him into contact with many famous figures as well as spies, including Oswald Mosley, the British fascist leader, the explorer Laurens van der Post, and the star of the wartime Double Cross, Eddie Chapman (better know as Agent Zigzag).

    Smith was protection officer to the Duke of Windsor on his infrequent visits to London after the Abdication, once turning down a gratuity from the former king (saying simply: “I don’t take tips.”) He kept a close eye on the British Communist Party, whose annual meeting was regularly monitored by the Branch, and went out to Ghana to supervise security for Kwame Nkrumah at the country’s independence celebrations.

    In September 1962 Smith (by then a detective superintendent) was the lead investigator into the John Vassall case. Vassall, a homosexual who had been blackmailed into becoming a spy while Naval attaché at the British embassy in Moscow during the 1950s, was then assistant to Tam Galbraith, a Civil Lord of the Admiralty. He had provided the Soviets with thousands of classified documents until 1961, when he was identified by a Soviet defector. Smith helped verify this allegation, and in October 1962 Vassall was convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

    In 1966 Smith was appointed to lead Special Branch as Deputy Assistant Commissioner. By then there were over 300 Special Branch officers at Scotland Yard and a unit in each of the 42 regional forces. Their main attention at that time was on the activities of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc countries and, increasingly from the end of the 1960s, the IRA, as well as the protection of visiting VIPs.

    On his retirement in 1972 Smith was appointed CVO and lived quietly in Surrey with his wife, reading poetry and enjoying the countryside, never moving from the house they had bought in 1952. His peace was only disturbed by two three-month security tours in the Seychelles for the Foreign Office, for which he persuaded his wife to overcome her fear of aeroplanes and accompany him on the only flights of her life.

    Ferguson Smith married, in 1944, Margaret (Rita) Murphy. She died in 2003. A son and daughter survive him.


    Ferguson Smith, born October 5 1914, died September 15 2013

  • #1545
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    RIP Cal Worthington
    A real Socal icon....and his dog Spot.

  • #1546
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    Director Richard Sarafian Dies at 83
    The "Vanishing Point" helmer was also known for his work on "The Twilight Zone" and "Gunsmoke."



    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Richard Sarafian, an influential film director whose 1971 countercultural car-chase thriller Vanishing Point brought him a decades-long cult following, has died in Southern California, his son said Saturday night.

    Richard Sarafian died at a Santa Monica hospital on Wednesday of pneumonia contracted while he was recovering from a fall, son Deran Sarafian told The Associated Press. He was 83.

    Sarafian worked primarily in television in his early career, directing episodes of 60s shows like Gunsmoke, I Spy, and 77 Sunset Strip.

    He also directed 1963's "Living Doll" episode of The Twilight Zone, a chilling tale whose demonic main character Talky Tina terrified children for decades. That included his own kids. Deran Sarafian said as a boy he thought the episode was "the most horrible thing I've ever seen" before learning his father had made it.

    But Richard Sarafian was best known by far for Vanishing Point, a dark story of a drug-fueled auto pursuit through the Nevada desert brought on by a bet between a Vietnam vet and his drug dealer.

    "It was about speed" in both the drug and automotive senses, Deran Serafian said.

    "About what it really meant."

    The film and director had a major influence on the generation of maverick moviemakers and actors, often referred to as "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls," who would come to dominate Hollywood in the 1970s.

    "He's considered one of the original Raging Bulls, that's why Warren Beatty and Sean Penn and people like that absolutely adore him," Deran Sarafian said.

    Beatty was a particularly devoted fan, casting Sarafian as an actor in two of his own 1990s films, Bugsy and Bulworth.

    And he had nearly as big an influence on later directors like Quentin Tarantino, who gave him a "special thanks" credit at the end of one of his films.

    Sarafian was close friends with MASH director Robert Altman, and twice married Altman's sister Helen Joan Altman, who died in 2011.
    He's survived by four sons and a daughter.

  • #1547
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    Christopher Koch, author of The Year of Living Dangerously, dies aged 81
    Australian novelist and winner of two Miles Franklin awards was best known for 1978 work, later made into a film

    Australian Associated Press
    theguardian.com, Monday 23 September 2013 06.56 BST
    Christopher Koch



    Christopher Koch, left, and his brother Philip in Jakarta in 2002. Photograph: Catharine Munro/AAP


    The Australian novelist Christopher Koch, best known as the author of The Year of Living Dangerously, has died in Tasmania. He was 81.

    Koch died in Hobart on Sunday night with his wife Robin by his side. He had reportedly been diagnosed with cancer about a year ago.

    Koch won the Miles Franklin award twice: in 1985 for The Doubleman, and in 1996 for Highways to a War.

    However, he is probably best known for his 1978 novel The Year of Living Dangerously, set in Indonesia during the breakdown of President Sukarno's rule.

    In 1982 it was made into a successful film, directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt. Koch co-wrote the screenplay, which was nominated for an Academy award.

    Margaret Connolly, Koch's agent for almost 20 years and a close friend, said on Monday he had been "one of Australia's great novelists" and had left "an important body of work".

    "He had a great understanding of human nature," she said. "He really understood people well."

    She described him as a "novelist of ideas and a great novelist of place". He also had "a beautiful prose style – and he knew how to tell a story".

    Koch's first novel, The Boys in the Island, was published in 1958. His final novel, Lost Voices, was published in 2012. It was shortlisted for the fiction section of the Prime Minister's Literary award.

    Koch was born in Hobart in 1932 and educated at the University of Tasmania. As a young man he lived for a time in Britain and in the early 1960s attended a Stanford University writers' workshop in the US.

    Koch lived in Sydney for many years, working at the ABC as a radio producer.

    In recent years he lived in the picturesque Tasmanian town of Richmond.

    The Year of Living Dangerously was loosely based on the experiences of Koch's younger brother Philip as a journalist in Indonesia. It won the Age Book of the Year award in 1978.

    "I've written other books since that I think might be better," Koch told the Australian in September 2012.

    "But people always come back to that one and it's because it was a film. That's how much film dominates our culture."

  • #1548
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    62-year-old Paul Karason, otherwise known as the real-life blue man or Papa Smurf, passed away at a hospital in Washington earlier this week.

    Information shared with the public says that the man had been admitted to hospital to be treated for pneumonia. While undergoing treatment for said condition, he suffered a heart attack. Doctors were unable to revive him.

    ABC News tells us that Papa Smurf owed his odd skin color to a rare medical condition known as argyria, or silver poisoning.

    Thus, about 15 years ago, the man started taking colloidal silver (i.e. silver particles suspended in liquid) in an attempt to treat his acid reflux and arthritis.

    By the looks of it, the colloidal silver proved quite effective in terms of ridding the man of said health problems.

    “The acid reflux problem I'd been having just went away completely. I had arthritis in my shoulders so bad I couldn't pull a T-shirt off. And the next thing I knew, it was just gone,” Paul Karason told the press back in 2008.

    However, in just a few months, the silver also turned his skin blue. The change took place so gradually that Paul Karason did not even realize something was off until a friend of his paid him a visit.

    “And he looks at me and he says, ‘What have you got on your face?’ ‘I don't have anything on my face!’ He says, ‘Well, it looks like you've got camouflage makeup on or something.’ And by golly, he came in and he was very fair-skinned, as I used to be. And that's when it hit me,” Papa Smurf explained in an interview in 2008.

    Despite the fact that he stopped taking the dietary supplements, the man remained blue for the rest of his life.

    Not long after Paul Karason came to suffer from argyria, the FDA banned the use of colloidal silver in oral drugs.

  • #1549
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    Director William A. Graham Dies at 87
    4:11 PM PDT 9/28/2013 by Mike Barnes



    He helmed "Change of Habit," Elvis Presley's final film, and convinced the rock 'n' roll icon to change his famous hairstyle.

    William A. Graham, who directed Elvis Presley's final film and the pilots for The Big Valley and Police Story, died Sept. 12 of complications from pneumonia, his wife told the Los Angeles Times. He was 87.

    During his career that spanned nearly a half-century, Graham also helmed the movies Honky (1971), Where the Lilies Bloom (1974) and Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991); earned an Emmy nomination for directing the telefilm Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980), with Powers Boothe as the head of the 1970s suicidal cult; and directed three episodes of The X-Files in the 1990s.

    A native of New York who served in the Navy and attended Yale, Graham in the mid-1950s began directing segments of TV anthology programs like Kraft Theatre and Omnibus. In the '60s, he hemmed multiple installments of the series Naked City, Breaking Point, 12 O'Clock High, The F.B.I. and The Fugitive and did the two action-packed False Face episodes on Batman.

    His telefilm credits also include Get Christie Love! (1974), starring Teresa Graves; The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996), with Robert Duvall as Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann; and Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993), with Rob Youngblood as Elvis Presley and Beau Bridges as Col. Tom Parker.

    Earlier, Graham directed the real Elvis in Change of Habit (1969), which has the rock 'n' roll legend, in his last film, playing a doctor opposite Mary Tyler Moore as a nun.

    In a 2005 interview, Graham noted that he talked Presley into changing his famous hairstyle for the film.

    "He had a kind of a pompadour in front and his hair was full of grease. And because this was a movie about a doctor working in the ghetto, it just didn't seem to be quite the right hairstyle," Graham recalled. "So I talked to him and I said, 'Elvis, how would you feel about changing your hair a little bit?' Well, he said he would be open to the idea, and so then we talked about who would do it.

    "And I said, 'Well, do you like the way my hair is done?' I had a Japanese lady in Beverly Hills who was cutting my hair at the time, and he said, 'Yes'. So we went to see Jan and she washed all the grease out of his hair and modified the styling and it was quite a landmark achievement. It was pretty unusual to get that done. And Elvis actually liked it very much."

    Graham's survivors include his wife Janet, an actress who also co-produced Hackers (1995), starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie.

  • #1550
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    Jack Ryan author Tom Clancy dies, aged 66
    Published Wednesday, Oct 2 2013, 15:24 BST



    Tom Clancy has died at the age of 66.

    The author's publisher Putnam confirmed to the New York Times that he passed away last night (October 1) in a hospital in Baltimore.

    "He was a thrill to work with," said president of Putnam Ivan Held.

    The author was best known for his Jack Ryan novels, many of which were adapted into films, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and The Sum of All Fears.


    (HB: Is it me, or does he look a bit like Rodney Dangerfield?!)

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