No. 128 – Prog Nineteen Eighty-Four

Prog 1984’s (2016) “The Justice Department is Watching You” Judge Dredd cover by Matt Ferguson v “Big Brother is Watching You” poster from the 1984 film of George Orwell’s (1903–1950) seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four [sometimes published as 1984] (Secker & Warburg, 1949)

Pre-eminent among dystopian science-fiction novels, Nineteen Eighty-Four not only popularised the adjective “Orwellian” but also the terms “Big Brother”, “doublethink”, “thoughtcrime”, “Newspeak”, “Room 101” and “memory hole”. The idea for the novel was largely bourne out of Orwell’s concern that post-World War II British democracy would either succumb to a fascist coup d’etat from above or a socialist revolution from below; but later admitted he’d over-thought the whole issue and assumed that war and revolution were inseparable.

Orwell’s works at Project Gutenberg Australia
Big Brother’s purported origins at Wikipedia

No. 124 – I, Caligula

I, Claudius image ©BBC

Chief Judge “Cal” Caligula[1] by Brian Bolland from the Judge Dredd epic The Day the Law Died (progs 86108 (1978-79)), written by John Wagner v Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, aka Caligula (AD 12–41), Roman emperor (AD 37–41), specifically as he is portrayed by John Hurt (1940–2017) in the 1976 BBC television drama I, Claudius.[2]

Although the validity of the accounts is debatable (only two sketchy sources of Caligula’s life remain; and also the Roman custom was to equate bad government with sexual perversity), Caligula is reported to have turned his palace into a brothel, committed incest with and prostituted his three sisters, and planned or promised to make his favourite horse, Incitatus, a consul and actually appointed it a priest.

“Caligula”, meaning “Little Boots”, was a childhood nickname that stuck, and which he hated, and indeed in later life had put to death anyone foolish enough to be overheard using it. Unhappily, he wasn’t too fond of his given name of Gaius either.

Notes:

  1. Judge Caligula Book One (Titan Books, 1983)
  2. Ref: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Cal

No. 110 – Mind the Oranges, Marlon!

Marlon form prog 365’s D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood written by Alan Moore and drawn by Alan DavisMarlon Brando (1924–2004), pictured here in a still from A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

“The oranges… the oranges…” Don Vito Corleone is shot

“Mind the oranges, Marlon!” are the words shouted in the D.R. & Quinch story by Marlon’s manager moments before the hapless actor is crushed to death on set by a mountain of 16,000 prop oranges, and the words subsequently become the title of Marlon’s last, legendary blockbuster. The reference is to the popularly held belief that oranges were the symbolic harbingers of death in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (Paramount, 1972), also starring Brando in one of his career-defining performances as Don Vito Corleone. In all likelihood, however, the oranges were simply chosen by production designer Dean Tavoularis to compliment the otherwise sombre sets*.

Other celebrity appearances in D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood (progs 363367) include [as well as a good deal of consultation and guesswork] the following:

1. Bette Davis (1908–1989), 2. Robert Redford, 3. John Hurt (1940–2017) as John Merrick (real name Joseph Merrick, 1862–1890) in The Elephant Man (EMI/Paramount Pictures, 1980), 4. John Cleese in his role as Maître D’ in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (Universal Pictures, 1983), 5. Sir Alfred Hitchcock KBE** (1899–1980), 6. Otto Preminger (1905–1986), 7. David Lean (1908–1991), 8. Britt Ekland

*The Anniversary You Can’t Refuse: 40 Things You Didn’t Know About The Godfather (Time, 14 March 2012)
**British chivalric order: Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
†British chivalric order: Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
‡AO: Order of Australia, CBE: Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, FRSL: Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

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