The Secret History Of Hollywood

I'll do my best to explain my reasoning on the next Attaboy Clarence, but in case you're wondering what all the new clutter on the website is at the moment, you're witnessing the birth of a new podcast! Or rather, a slightly reworked one at any rate...

For a long time, I've had people telling me that while they enjoy the regular episodes, they REALLY like the specials. Sometimes it's vice-versa.

To be honest when I set out to produce this podcast, I had no idea that it would turn into something like this. It has definitely evolved. It's been a year now and I find that my goals for the future of this show are very different to the ones I had at the beginning. 

When I started, I just wanted to talk about the old movies I liked. The ones that no-one else seemed to be talking about.

The Brighton Strangler, for instance. Night Has A Thousand Eyes. The Leopard Man. The Rathbone Holmes films. Trouble In Paradise. The list goes on. I had no idea how to make a podcast, and no idea how to make a podcast sound good. Listen to my first episode if you don't believe me.

All I knew was that the more I did it, the more I wanted to get better at it, so I tried to imagine the way I wanted it to sound, and taught myself to make it sound that way. Some have been kind enough to say that I have "high production values". They are being very generous. I do not use a professional studio or a professional mic.

I use a Blue Yeti, readily available at Amazon.

I learned that in order to reduce the echo effect, I had to record in a small space with dampening materials on the walls, so I padded out my under-stairs cupboard. 

And then, in a moment of madness, I decided to do a show on the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies, and what started as a little retrospective with some clips, turned into a full-fledged documentary. I had fun writing it and even more fun putting it together, so I followed it with a look at sex in cinema, entitled Sex In Monochrome.

The success of these two episodes spurred me on to look for different subjects to analyse in greater detail. If you want to know why Hollywood communism came before Universal Horror, then blame my friend Nigel. I gave him the choice, and he chose communism.

Anyway, over the past year, it's become clearer and clearer that while I still enjoy producing the regular shows, the specials are growing into something very different. They require a completely different work ethic. I have to sit and think about them for long periods of time. They require long periods of research. Sometime I will spend eight hours trying to find the answer to a yes or no question. For example, it took me three hours yesterday to find the name of the first restaurant that Alfred Hitchcock visited when he arrived in America.

As time passes, I've realised that the specials do not sit easily alongside the regular shows. People that have found the podcast because of the specials are often surprised that the regular show doesn't fit the same format, and vice-versa, and as such, they often unsubscribe, or send me messages to say that the show isn't what they were expecting.

The thing is, I agree with them. It's a little too uneven.

And this brings me on to my next reason.

I have a staggering case of OCD.

A little while ago, it became clear that my next special, 'The Adventures Of Alfred Hitchcock' would have to be a multipart special. It's going to be at least three times longer than 'A Universe Of Horrors', which means that as a podcast, it's going to be hard to manage.

I don't want to stop doing the regular shows, so that would mean that Part 1 would have to be followed by a few regular shows, then Part 2, and so on.

I'm sorry, but my sense of symmetry and order will simply not allow this to happen. Wouldn't it be better to have a place where the specials can be released in uninterrupted order?

I think so.

Nothing is going to change regarding Attaboy Clarence. The regular show will continue on its regular basis and will continue to include the specials and the normal shows in all their jarring zaniness.

However, for those that demand a little more order and who prefer only the specials, I offer you this. A new show, containing all the specials only, and its name is 'The Secret History Of Hollywood'

I'm hoping that as time goes by, this podcast will represent a rather valuable document, It already contains a history of sex in Pre-Code cinema, the facts regarding Basil Rathbones tenure as Sherlock Holmes, the account of when Communism came to Hollywood, and the story of Universal Horror films. It will soon be joined by the life and misadventures of Alfred Hitchcock, and shortly afterwards... well, you'll see...

I'd sincerely love for you to follow my new Twitter account on @moviehistories (can you believe that was available!), and if you feel the urge to re-review the specials in iTunes, the new show could do with some love. It should show up in the next week or so when you search iTunes.

Many thanks for your continued support