Monday, November 19, 2018

RIP Mike Noble

Down the
By John Freeman
November 19, 2018

We’re sorry to report the passing of veteran artist Mike Noble, perhaps best known for his work on the British weekly comics TV Century 21 – drawing strips such as “Fireball XL5“, “Captain Scarlet” and “Star Trek” and Look-In – working on strips such as “The Famous Five“, “Follyfoot“,  “Robin of Sherwood“, “Timeslip” and many more.

Growing up, Mike’s work was amongst the comics art I most admired, and along with Ron Embleton and Frank Bellamy he did much to cement my love of comics from an early age. He will be very much missed and fondly remembered by many British comics fans for his distinctive work that captured the imagination of so many.

Born in Woodford in 1930, Mike grew up in London, and although initially evacuated had many memories of his experiences as a youngster during after World War Two. (He related in one interview in 2011 how he thought he avoided becoming the victim of a V1 bomb).

“As a boy, I used to enjoy drawing,” he explained. “My brother and I used to spend happy hours on a wet afternoon filling up the the drawing books that our parents bought for us.”

After the war he studied commercial, rather than fine art at South West Essex Technical College and School of Art, then St. Martins in London, joining an advertising studio aged 17. In 1949, aged 18, he was called up for National Service and was in the 8th Royal Tank Regiment in North Yorkshire for 18 months, after which he spent three years in the Territorial Army, where his artistic talent came into good use producing graphics of military hardware.

In 1950 he got a job at Cooper’s Studio, London and began working in comics field in 1953, starting with “Simon and Sally“, a strip for Eagle’s younger sibling comic, Robin. He also worked on illustrations for a wide variety of magazines including Titbits, Woman’s Own and John Bull, and the regional newspaper the Birmingham Weekly Post. He often noted how much he owed Leslie Caswell, who he worked with at the time.

In 1958 he started a long run of regular work in comics, with the strips such as “Lone Ranger and Tonto” for Express Weekly and “Range Rider” for TV Comic. But it was his work on TV Century 21, starting with “Fireball XL5” in colour in 1965 that would confirm him as one of the British comic greats, followed by his work on “Zero-X” and “Captain Scarlet“. He eschewed the look of Gerry Anderson’s puppet creations for a realistic more approach that energised the comic – and set his style for decades to come.

Working on “Timeslip” for Look-In and many other strips that revealed his tremendous ability to bring any TV show to the printed page with considerable skill. His work on “Follyfoot” and “The Adventures of Black Beauty” showed off his talent for dynamic figure work as well as his ability to draw realistic animals.

But he was more than happy to turn his talents toward “Worzel Gummidge“, too, capturing lead actor Jon Pertwee’s likeness (as he did many others), perfectly.

Although he retired from drawing comic strips in the 1980s, due to family health problems, he still worked on magazine covers and illustrations, returning to the world of Gerry Anderson in the 1990s, drawing covers and colour pin ups for Fleetway’s Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray comics.

In retirement, his talents were employed more locally in his home village of Balcombe, Sussex, where he  designed a lychgate and stained glass windows for St Mary’s Church.

“I’m very grateful to have had the chance to meet Mike Noble,” noted writer Helen McCarthy in a tribute for downthetubes on his 84th birthday in 2014. “And I’m very glad that there are some excellent blogs and websites where you can find out more about him and his work.

“He didn’t just draw Supermarionation – he drew everything from American TV to British pop star biographies to Japanese puppet fantasies.”

Writing on Facebook earlier today, she revealed she and partner, artist Steve Kyte, had visited him recently and had a wonderful afternoon with him.

“He was in great form, a very good host and still working on a board on his knees. He showed us some astonishing character illustrations he’d done for Under Milk Wood, just for fun – someone ought to send them to the Folio Society, they deserve their own new edition!

“I wrote to him at the end of last week to suggest a date for a pre-Christmas visit, but too late, alas”.

“To me, he was the ultimate illustrator of the TV21 and Gerry Anderson universe within the comic strip medium,” feels artist Graham Bleathman, well known himself for his work inspired by the Supermarionation shows of the 1960s.  “He captured the spirit of Century 21 perfectly whilst adding so much to it; many of his panels in TV21 had ‘over the shoulder’ shots which, even if it wasn’t deliberate, gave the impression of events unfolding before a camera lens, perfect for the ‘newspaper of the future’.

“I also loved more subtle approaches used in his non-SF work for Look-In; particularly the use of colour in strips like ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Follyfoot’ – which I gather were favourites of his – and also the graininess of his black and white ‘Wurzel Gummidge’ strips.

However, it’s his TV21 work that he is always going to be remembered for, and in that, he was the definitive comic strip illustrator of the worlds of Gerry Anderson.”

For many, many, British comic fans, Mike Noble was, simply, the best. He leaves a legacy in terns of influence and his many fans that would be hard to equal. My sympathies to his family and friends.

NOBLE, Mike (Michael Noble)
Born: 9/17/1930, South Woodford, London, England, U.K.
Died: 11/19/2018, Balcombe, Sussex, England, U.K.

Mike Noble’s westerns artist:
The Lone Ranger and Tonto – 1958-1960 [Express Weekly]
The Lone Ranger - 1960–61
The Range Rider -1961–64
The Indian Fighter – 1962 [TV Comic Annual]
The Range Rider - 1963 [TV Comic Annual]
The Range Rider - 1964 [TV Comic Annual 1964]

RIP George Gelernter

Seattle Times
November 19, 2018

George Gelernter, actor, play-wright, journeyman plumber, activist and voracious reader, particularly of history, politics, film and theater, died November 11, 2018 in Seattle. He was 85.

He was born Gershon Ulysses Gelernter October 29, 1933, in Orange, N.J., to Matthew and Ada Goldberg Gelernter. Both sets of George's grand-parents had fled anti-Jewish persecution in Europe. Ada and Matthew, seeking to make the world better, joined the Communist Party and had their children George and Judith join the Socialist Youth League. They moved to Tucson because of George's asthma but, encountering strong anti-Semitism, relocated to L.A. George, who was extremely bright and intellectual, graduated from Fairfax High, where he was a champion debater. He became a plumber because his parents expected him to join the working class.

At 19, George married Elaine (May York) Quan. They had daughter Carey before divorcing. He migrated to counterculture Venice Beach; was a Venice Free Theater founder and actor; studied acting and writing, including at the American National Theatre and Academy, Desilu Workshop, and with Lee Grant; joined the improv group "On Guard America"; and acted in many theaters, including the Players' Ring Theatre, Santa Monica Playhouse, and Ice House.

He co-starred in "Faith of Our Fathers," an AFI Film Award winner, and appeared in more than 100 other films and videos. He wrote over 30 plays/screenplays.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he moved in 2010 to Seattle to be near Carey, a longtime reporter and editor at The Seattle Times, son-in-law Jerry Large, then a Times columnist, and grandson Tao Large. He took great pride in Tao, a chemistry Ph.D. student at Stanford University.

He became fondly known at the Summit at First Hill, where he lived for seven years, and at Kline Galland, where he spent his last year. In 2017 a staged reading by Equity actors of his play "On the Fritz," directed by Vanessa Miller, had Summit audience members commenting: "It was just like a Seinfeld episode!"

In addition to Carey, Jerry and Tao, he is survived by sister Judith Reisman, extended family and dear friends.

GELERNTER, George (Gershon Ulysses Gelernter)
Born: 10/29/1933, Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 11/11/2018, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

George Gelernter’s wetern – actor:
The Unknowing - 2009

Sunday, November 18, 2018

RIP Pablo Ferro

Deadline Hollywood
By Dino-Ray Ramos
November 18, 2018

Pablo Ferro, who is known for his distinct title design and work in graphic design, died of complications from pneumonia Friday in Sedona, Arizona. The award-winning designer was 83.

Born on January 15, 1935 in Cuba, Ferro, a self-taught artist became known for eye-catching and stylized title design in film which included iconic films including Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove as well as others such as Bullitt, Men In Black, and Married to the Mob. During the mid-’50s he worked in animation before working with Disney animator Tytla who would become his mentor. He also worked with the would-be legend Stan Lee on a series of sci-fi and adventure comics.

In 1961, Ferro and fellow artists Fred Mogubgub and Lew Schwartz partnered to create their own company. Ferro then went on to create Pablo Ferro Films.

Ferro became a trailblazer when it came to montage-like title sequences, creative stylistic typefaces and quick-cut editing. If you have ever seen a movie, chances are, you saw his work. His art can be seen in over 100 films including the original The Thomas Crown Affair, Philadelphia, To Live and Die in L.A., Beetlejuice, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Addams Family, Zardoz, Harold and Maude as well as Gus Van Sant’s To Die For and Good Will Hunting.

He also worked on the first animated color version of the NBC Peacock and also produced and directed projects. He co-directed Hal Ashby’s 1983 Rolling Stones concert film Let’s Spend the Night Together. He also worked on Midnight Cowboy as a second-unit director and supervising editor of The Night They Raided Minsky’s. In 1991, he directed his own feature Me, Myself & I starring George Segal and JoBeth Williams.

Ferro’s work in title design has appeared in 12 Academy Award-winning films. He has also won numerous Clios and a DGA Excellence in Film Award.

He is survived by his former wife, Susan as well as his children Joy Ferro-Moore and Allen Ferro.

FERRO, Pablo
Born: 1/15/1935, Antilla, Orient Province, Cuba
Died: 11/15/2018, Sedona, Arizona, U.S.A.

Pablo Ferro’s westerns – actor, title designer:
Greaser’ Palace – 1972 (Indian)
F.T.W. – 1994 [title designer]

RIP John Bluthal

TV Tonight
November 16, 2018

Veteran actor John Bluthal, best known for The Vicar of Dibley & Home Sweet Home, has died aged 89.

“We’re sad to announce our wonderful client John Bluthal has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. John provided us all with years of laughter and entertainment. We will miss John hugely,” his agent Artists Partnership confirmed.

Born in Poland he emigrated to Australia at the age of 9 and studied drama at the University of Melbourne.

Over 6 decades he worked in the UK, Australia and the US frequently in character and comedic roles on both stage and screen.

1960’s Citizen James, starring Sid James, was his first major credit in multiple roles. In the long-running UK TV series Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width he played Manny Cohen, a Jewish tailor in business with an Irishman in London.

He undertook extensive radio work with Spike Milligan. His lengthy UK credits include ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Hancock, Minder, The Saint, The Avengers, Rumpole of the Bailey, One Foot in the Grave, Benny Hill, The Kenny Everett Television Show, Jonathan Creek, Lovejoy, Bergerac, Inspector Morse, Reilly and Ace of Spies.

From 1995 to 2015 on The Vicar of Dibley he played as fastidious minutes-taker Frank Pickle, alongside Dawn French.

In Australia his credits included The Mavis Bramston Show, Doctor Down Under, Bluey, Matlock Police, And Here Come Bucknuckle, Blue Heelers, Spirited, and starred as “Enzo Pacelli” in the ABC ’80s Italian-Aussie sitcom Home Sweet Home.

His many films included three Carry On films, A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Casino Royale, Doctor in Trouble, Superman III, The Fifth Element, Labyrinth, Hail Caesar! and two of the Pink Panther films.

Born: 3/28/1929, Jezierzany, Galicia, Poland
Died: 11/15/2018, New South Wales, Australia

Saturday, November 17, 2018

RIP Rolf Hoppe

King from "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel"
Rolf Hoppe is dead
The actor Rolf Hoppe died at the age of 87 years.  He was one of the most famous actors of the GDR - among other things, he was in the Christmas classic "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel" to see.
The Dresden actor Rolf Hoppe is dead. This confirmed his family to the German Press Agency and the "Dresdner Latest News".
Hoppe was also known internationally as a GDR actor and filled out more than 400 film and stage roles during his lifetime.  Just last year, Hoppe won several prizes - the Märchenfilmfestival Prize for his life's work in Annaberg-Buchholz and the Order of the Dresden SemperOper Ball.
Since 1977 he has been a member of the ensemble of the Dresdner Schauspiel.  In addition to his theatrical work, Hoppe has appeared in numerous movies and TV films, in the Christmas fairy tale "Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel" by Václav Vorlícek he played the king alongside Karin Lesch.
In 1995, Hoppe - born in Ellrich in Thuringia - bought a farm on the outskirts of Dresden and founded the Hoftheater Dresden, as it is called on the website of the theater.  At the Salzburg Festival he was the Mammon in "Everyman" several times.
 In 1982, the feature film "Mephisto" by István Szabó , in which Hoppe appeared in the role of Nazi Prime Minister Hermann Göring , received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.  His much praised Göring presentation helped Hoppe to international breakthrough.  After that, Hoppe was long considered a "villain of the service".  Also in the ARD "Tatort" he was seen several times.
Born: 12/6/1930, Ellrich, Thuringia, Germany
Died: 11/16,/2018 Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Rolf Hoppe’s westerns – actor:
The Falcon’s Trail – 1967 (Bashan)
Fatal Error – 1969 (Allison)
White Wolves – 1969 (James Bashan)
Apaches – 1973 (Captain Brown/Burton)
Kit & Co. – 1974 (Shorty)
Ulzana – 1974 (Captain Burton)
The Long Ride from School – 1983 (trapper)

RIP Joseph G. Medalis

Los Angeles Times
November 17, 2018

August 24, 1942 - November 3, 2018 Actor, writer, singer, teacher, Joseph passed away at the age of 76 after an 18-year battle with Parkinson's disease. All who knew and worked with Joseph found him to be a charming, funny, caring person and a wonderful actor. He never complained and lived life to the fullest to the very end. Joseph was born in Shenandoah, PA, to Joseph & Estelle (Kozak) Medalis. He leaves wife Lucille (aka) Luce Morgan, sister Angela (Mark) Waiksnoris, nephews Mark (Mary Alice), Jason and Timmy. Also, great-nephews Tyler and Connor. His parents and brothers, Raymond and Gerald, preceded him. Joseph attended Immaculate Heart Academy high school and received advanced degrees from Penn State and Stanford Universities in Theatre Arts. He also served as Actor-in-Residence at Stephens College in Columbia, MO, where he acted, taught acting, and directed for three years prior to coming to Los Angeles. Joseph and Lucille met in 1965 while acting in a Summer Stock production of Bertolt Brecht's The Beggars Opera and married in Philadelphia, PA, in 1966, packed up a small U-Haul and drove away to Palo Alto, CA, and Stanford University. On September 17th, 2018, they celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary in West Hollywood, CA, where they resided for many years. Feature films include: Sister Act, Endangered Species, True Confessions, Making Love, Looker, Dead and Buried, Kentucky Fried Movie. Among numerous TV appearances are: 3rd Rock from the Sun, and guest starring roles on the Ben Stiller Show, Married with Children, Taxi, LA Law, Hill Street Blues to name a few. TV movies and specials included: Billionaire Boy's Club, World War III, Friendly Fire and Roots. Joe worked extensively in theatre at the The Mark Taper Forum, Lincoln Center, the Oregon and LA Shakespeare Festivals, and Ford Theatre in Washington, DC. Joe's ashes will be spread in his beloved Shenandoah and celebrated by family and friends. We wish to thank his wonderful neurologist, Dr. Nicholas Szumski, and Dr. David M. Frisch who kept us healthy for so many years. Lucille wants to thank Cedar Sinai Hospital for their amazing doctors, nurses, social workers and, also the Palliative Care group headed by Dr. Jessica Besbris. Gifts in Joe's name may be sent to: Parkinson's Community LA (, or Motion Picture and Television Fund (

MEDALIS, Joseph G. (Joseph Gerald Medalis)
Born: 8/24/1942, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 11/3/2018, West Hollywood, California, U.S.A.

Joseph G. Medalis’ westerns – actor:
Little House on the Prairie (TV) – 1977 (train waiter)
Lone Star (TV) – 1983 (lab technician)