Israeli Radio Legend Shosh Atari Dies

Shosh Atari - 1950-2008Shosh Atari, an Israeli radio legend, had succumbed to life’s difficulties yesterday. During the 1980s an entire generation of my peers tuned in daily to the show ‘Hadash, Hadish, uMehudash‘ on Israeli radio channel Reshet Gimmel, to listen to Shosh Atari as she played the newest records from England and the US. The show, edited by Tony Fine, was the only source at that time for teenagers to find out what’s cool. It was common practice to listen in using headphones while recording the show to a cassette tape, praying that Shosh would not talk too much over the new Modern Talking or Samantha Fox hit. With no Internet or MTV at that time, and only two radio stations that played music that teenagers liked, the allure of that show is something that cannot be grasped by today’s audiences.

Enjoy some nostalgic snippets from over the years:

1982, opening theme:

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1983, random chatter:

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1984, in front of a live audience in Tel-Aviv:

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April 1, 2008, last minute of the last show:

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Dolly Parton Drives Me Crazy

[singlepic id=13 w=250 h=240 float=right]Dolly Parton, the original Dumb Blond and the herald of this all-American cultural phenomena (preceding Paris Hilton by 40 years), will release her new Backwoods Barbie album this coming February 26th.
Not a big Dolly fan myself, I am however the biggest sucker for cover versions, and Dolly’s new album includes the craziest country rendition to Fine Young Cannibals’ 1989 hit She Drive Me Crazy.

Have a listen and take special notice to the funky fiddle riff:

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Buy this MP3 track or buy the entire album.
Continue reading Dolly Parton Drives Me Crazy

Why I Saw So Many Bad Movies in the Eighties

Engbrew Translation 101: Film NamesAs a teenager during the 1980’s we went to the movies a lot. Before a movie came out there was no hype, no buzz, no trailers on YouTube, and no behind-the-scenes shown on TV, so picking what movie to see often boiled down to the single-colored text-only poster that each cinema in my hometown published on the public billboards.
I guess the Israeli film distributors were aware of these facts, and decided that if all they have to work with is the name of the film, then by golly they would make it work.

You see, I believe a movie is a work of art from beginning to end, including its title, and when distributing it in another country one should try to translate it with great respect and fervor. I guess the local distributors here do not share my ideas, as they pretty much translate the titles whichever way they see fit, or whichever way they think would make more money.

Sometimes these translations are far-fetched like ‘White Palace‘ (1990, Susan Sarandon, James Spader) that was translated to Hebrew as ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, preceding the movie ‘When a Man Loves a Woman‘ (1994, Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan) that then had to be translated to Hebrew as ‘The Love of a Man for a Woman’.

Other times it seems the distributor was on vacation, as the movies were just phonetically translated and so Big (1988, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins), Heat (1995, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro) and Elephant (2003, by Gus Van Sant) remained the same words spelled phonetically in Hebrew: ביג, היט, אלפנט

But during the eighties the biggest film distributors’ shtick was riding the coattails of a successful film and naming an unrelated film in a way that would mislead a teenager to think this movie is a sequel to a movie he already saw.
The number one example for that is ‘Police Academy‘ (1984, Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall), originally translated to Hebrew as ‘A Drill for Novice Policemen‘. After the movie became successful there were six sequels made, but in Israel all of a sudden many unrelated films became ‘A Drill for Novice Something-or-the-other’.

Here is a partial list:
Gotcha! (1985) – A Drill for A Novice Spy
Doin’ Time (1985) – A School for Novice Convicts
Bad Medicine (1985) – A School for Novice Doctors
Buy & Cell (1987) – A Drill for Gambling Convicts
UHF (1989) – A Station for Novice Anchormen
Beach Movie (1998) – A Drill for Novice Surfers
Miss Cast Away (2004) – A Drill for Novice Models
Gladiatress (2004) – A Drill for Novice Gladiatresses

The really sad part is that I actually fell for it and went to see most of these movies.

If you ever need to decypher the original name of a movie, you can check out Targumon, a website dedicated just for that purpose.