Patch Of The Month…

The revised continuity of the Blue Thunder TV Series meant that the Astro Division established in the movie was eclipsed by a generic government agency named APEX (through which the Blue Thunder Unit would continue operations while still based at Police Headquarters.) and headed by Captain Braddock.

Where there’s a unit there’s a patch and both airborne and ground crew were bestowed with this simple yet iconic design featuring the helicopter at sunrise for the duration of the show;

BT_Real_PatchSince the show was cancelled there has only been one reproduction made available for fans and it leaves much to be desired in the accuracy stakes to say the very least but for decades its all we had;

bluethunderlogopatchUntil the timely arrival of popular baseball cap vendors Lucky Seven, whose contemporary updated take on the series patch design is much more detailed and betters the original to a considerable degree;

DSC_2586Not only that, but the site offers entirely customisable caps from a multitude of cult TV series and Movies with a colour & crest, making the Blue Thunder version both an obvious choice and instant hit.  From the Lucky Seven Blog;

BT_Cap1DSC_2583DSC_2588THUNDER-01-600x340As the only Blue Thunder apparel to be released in at least 20+ years, this cap is long overdue so its gratifying the final product (pics from my collection above) is of such good quality (despite the curious combination of artwork pulled from the MultiToys Blue Thunder toy box and still of Organic Die-cast model used to advertise it.).  As Lucky Seven seems to be the go-to site for celebrities this cap has already seen TV airtime atop the head of chef Jamie Oliver.  Sadly the patch is not available separately so my ambition of customising a Blue Thunder jacket remains a pipe dream for now.  Meantime, order your cap today..!!

Das Fliegende Auge…

Auge1Auge2Auge3Auge4

West Germany has the curious distinction of having Blue Thunder (or Das Fliegende Auge) released there both first and well in advance of the rest of the world. Indeed, as the vintage programme above testifies (bottom pic) it would open in February 1983 while other territories waited until at least June and at latest September.

Whatever Columbia Pictures strategy may have been, it certainly paid off.  Auge broke box-office records and would make 2,355,048 theatrically (according to IMDB) with much more to follow in rentals (where the fierce onset of the video industry first threatened to eclipse cinema) and remains a popular title there to this day.  Given the minimalist theatrical poster campaign (below) one wonders if its initial European appeal hinged instead on something as basic as the surname of its leading man..?

German_Poster

The Book Of J-Bad…

Badham_BookOne of the mission prerogatives for ‘THE SPECIAL’ Is to keep Thunderfans appraised of all relevant news and merchandise both vintage and current.

What a pleasure, then, to discover that one of Hollywood’s most prolific Auteurs has put pen to paper to share his wisdom and experiences with the rest of us.  Why should we care?  Because the author is none other than Blue Thunder director John Badham.

JBMore an anecdotal ‘How to’ rather than a straightforward autobiography, the new book ‘Badham on Directing’ may well prove to be an indispensable user guide for aspiring filmmakers.

Exerpted below are passages from a recent interview by cult website Topless Robot, where interestingly, Brit-born Badham is keen to cite Blue Thunder as the adult-oriented opening to his signature ’80’s Techno-trilogy –

LYT: I wanted to ask you a question about technology in general, since you’ve made two sort of iconic movies: Short Circuit and WarGames, that both ultimately come to the conclusion that technology that we create to destroy will ultimately become benevolent. Was that a coincidental theme that you just happened to like the stories and that was the theme there, or was that something you really think about a lot?

JB: Yeah, I would actually add into that and make a little trilogy, adding in Blue Thunder, because Blue Thunder deals with a lot of stuff that we’re looking at right now very hard – government’s intrusion into our lives and how much intrusion is okay. Blue Thunder was released before the year 1984; that was an iconic year because of George Orwell’s novel all about government intrusion, looking into the future. All three of these films deal with the dangers of technology and how it can go off-track, sometimes in a very funny way, as in Short Circuit, or in scary ways, as in the other films. We’ve always been worried about how computers can go wrong, but what we’re seeing mostly is either computers going wrong mechanically, or because of elaborate hacking designed for pretty malevolent criminal purposes.

bluedirectorLYT: When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the Blue Thunder TV series, which I think lasted an entire season.

JB: Right, right; just one season.

LYT: I don’t think any of those themes really made it into the show, did they? How did you feel about the show, in general?

JB: I was not a fan of the show. I had a lot of troubles with it. I think they just were looking to make an entertainment, and it was kind of, not a clone, but a copy of The A-Team. It became that pretty quickly. As I told them when they talked to me first about it, I said “I know you’re not going to be able to fly that helicopter very much – it’s bloody expensive! And on a TV show budget, I don’t think that’s really in the cards.” Sure enough, after 3 or 4 or 5 episodes, they put people down on the ground in a big van, running around that way, doing something more affordable, and forgetting about any themes of invasion of privacy, or anything like that. It just became another cop show.

Full interview can be found here.  Book is now available from Amazon.com and will be released towards the end of the month on Amazon.co.uk.  Review in future post…