Watch Terry Gilliam’s Animated Short, The Christmas Card (1968)

In 1968, Ter­ry Gilliam was a young Amer­i­can car­toon­ist liv­ing in Lon­don. He was hav­ing trou­ble mak­ing a liv­ing from mag­a­zine work, so his friend John Cleese sug­gest­ed he get in touch with Humphrey Bar­clay, who was pro­duc­ing a slight­ly sub­ver­sive tele­vi­sion show for chil­dren called Do Not Adjust Your Set.

Sub­ti­tled “The Fair­ly Point­less Show,” it fea­tured a group of pre­vi­ous­ly unknown actors includ­ing Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Ter­ry Jones, and attract­ed a cult fol­low­ing among adults. Bar­clay looked at Gilliam’s port­fo­lio and decid­ed he would fit right in.

For one ear­ly assign­ment, Gilliam was asked to pre­pare some­thing for a spe­cial show to be broad­cast on Christ­mas day, 1968, called Do Not Adjust Your Stock­ing. Look­ing for inspi­ra­tion, he decid­ed to vis­it the Tate Gallery. In The Pythons Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of the Pythons, Gilliam remem­bered the project and how it fig­ured into his emerg­ing artis­tic style:

I went down to the Tate and they’ve got a huge col­lec­tion of Vic­to­ri­an Christ­mas cards so I went through the col­lec­tion and pho­to­copied things and start­ed mov­ing them around. So the style just devel­oped out of that rather than any plan­ning being involved. I nev­er analysed the stuff, I just did it the quick­est, eas­i­est way. And I could use images I real­ly loved.

The result (above) is a hilar­i­ous free-asso­ci­a­tion­al send-up of tra­di­tion­al Christ­mas card motifs. In addi­tion to being aired on the show, The Christ­mas Card was incor­po­rat­ed into Gilliam’s short debut film from 1968, Sto­ry­time, which is part of our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

For an update of Gilliam’s twist­ed take on Christmas–a dark­er rework­ing of his Malev­o­lent San­ta theme in The Christ­mas Card–look below for a draw­ing Gilliam post­ed a few days ago on his Face­book page. And as the man says, you bet­ter watch out!

via Bleed­ing Cool

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ter­ry Gilliam: The Dif­fer­ence Between Kubrick (Great Film­mak­er) and Spiel­berg (Less So)

Ter­ry Gilliam (Mon­ty Python) Shows You How to Make Your Own Cutout Ani­ma­tion

“Werner Herzog” Reads ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Anoth­er chest­nut — fake Wern­er Her­zog read­ing from ‘Twas The Night Before Christ­mas. This isn’t the sto­ry as you know it. No, this ver­sion is dark, packed with bleak social com­men­tary and some wit­ty lit­er­ary crit­i­cism, and shat­ters all illu­sions.

Ide­al­ly this clip should be watched with faux Wern­er Her­zog read­ing oth­er chil­dren’s clas­sics: Curi­ous George, Made­line, and Where’s Wal­do. And then this: the real Wern­er Her­zog read­ing Go the F**k to Sleep, the 15 minute hit, at The New York Pub­lic Library this past June.


40 Great Filmmakers Go Old School, Shoot Short Films with 100 Year Old Camera

In 1995, 40 inter­na­tion­al­ly-rec­og­nized direc­tors took part in a col­lab­o­ra­tive film, Lumiere & Com­pa­ny, that cel­e­brat­ed the first hun­dred years of cin­e­ma. In mak­ing the film, each direc­tor had to agree to four rules. They had to shoot a short film 1.) using the orig­i­nal Ciné­matographe invent­ed by the Lumière Broth­ers a cen­tu­ry before — the same cam­era that shot Work­ers Leav­ing The Lumière Fac­to­ry in Lyon (1895), one of the ear­li­est motion pic­tures ever made. Their films 2.) had to be one con­tin­u­ous shot and could­n’t be longer than 52 sec­onds; 3.) they could­n’t use syn­chro­nized sound or arti­fi­cial lights; and 4.) they were only allowed three takes, no more. As for the results? They ran the gamut. Above Chi­nese film­mak­er Zhang Yimou play­ful­ly shows a cou­ple dressed in tra­di­tion­al garb turn­ing into punk rock­ers, danc­ing to the sounds of Nir­vana atop the Great Wall of Chi­na. And below, we have:

Wim Wen­ders revis­it­ing Berlin and the angels from Wings of Desire, his land­mark 1987 film.

David Lynch giv­ing us the essen­tials of a mur­der sto­ry in one minute. He called the short Pre­mo­ni­tions Fol­low­ing an Evil Deed.

Liv Ull­mann cap­tur­ing the leg­endary cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er Sven Nykvist, famous for his work with Ing­mar Bergman. Here, Nykvist films Ull­man­n’s cam­era as it films him.

Acclaimed Iran­ian direc­tor Abbas Kiarosta­mi using extreme min­i­mal­ism to tell the tale of unre­quit­ed love.

And Spike Lee giv­ing us a retro home movie.

All shorts will be added to our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

Source: Roger

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Chet Baker’s Soulful Version of ‘Time After Time’

The jazz trum­peter and singer Chet Bak­er was born on this day in 1929. Ear­li­er we fea­tured Let’s Get Lost, Bruce Weber’s doc­u­men­tary of the musi­cian’s trou­bled life. Today we take you back to 1964, when Bak­er was 34, as he per­forms a melan­choly inter­pre­ta­tion of the Sam­my Cahn and Jule Styne stan­dard, “Time After Time.”

The scene is from a Bel­gian tele­vi­sion pro­gram. Bak­er is joined by French pianist Rene Urtreger, Bel­gian flautist Jacques Pelz­er, and an Ital­ian rhythm sec­tion of Lui­gi Trussar­di on bass and Fran­co Manzec­chi on drums. Bak­er sings and plays the flugel­horn. The Bel­gian TV show, along with a per­for­mance 15 years lat­er in Nor­way, are pre­served in the Jazz Icons DVD Chet Bak­er Live in ’64 and ’79. In the lin­er notes, Rob Bow­man writes:

Beau­ty comes in many forms. In music, it can be the result of a per­fect­ly con­struct­ed melod­ic line, a har­mon­ic voic­ing that sends shiv­ers down your spine, a groove that some­how cap­tures the joy of being alive, or a tim­bre so sen­su­ous­ly rich that it makes your body quiver from head to toe. In the case of Chet Bak­er, a jazzman capa­ble of spin­ning out some of the most aching­ly beau­ti­ful music human beings have ever known, beau­ty was a result of find­ing the poignan­cy in sor­row, in deploy­ing pitch inflec­tion, melod­ic arc and a vibra­to­less tim­bre to con­jure up some­thing of rar­efied val­ue in a life of addic­tion and end­less dis­ap­point­ment. There are many vir­tu­osic tech­ni­cians in the his­to­ry of jazz. Few of them could cap­ture the pathos of the human con­di­tion in the way that Bak­er did.

The Large Hadron Collider Rap, Yo

Last week, the reports about Hig­gs Boson, oth­er­wise called the God par­ti­cle, put CERN and the Large Hadron Col­lid­er back into the news, lead­ing some to ask: What exact­ly are Hig­gs and the Col­lid­er all about? We’re glad you asked. And what bet­ter way to answer that ques­tion than with a fly, lit­tle rap by Kate McAlpine (aka Alpinekat) and Will Bar­ras. You can find the full lyrics below the jump, and the parts about Hig­gs Boson right below…

The Hig­gs Boson – that’s the one that every­body talks about.
And it’s the one sure thing that this machine will sort out
If the Hig­gs exists, they ought to see it right away
And if it doesn’t, then the sci­en­tists will final­ly say
“There is no Hig­gs! We need new physics to account for why
Things have mass. Some­thing in our Stan­dard Mod­el went awry.”

But the Hig­gs – I still haven’t said just what it does
They sup­pose that par­ti­cles have mass because
There is this Hig­gs field that extends through all space
And some par­ti­cles slow down while oth­er par­ti­cles race
Straight through like the pho­ton – it has no mass
But some­thing heavy like the top quark, it’s drag­gin’ its ***
And the Hig­gs is a boson that car­ries a force
And makes par­ti­cles take orders from the field that is its source.
They’ll detect it…


Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read

tyson intelligent books

A user posed the ques­tion to Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Which books should be read by every sin­gle intel­li­gent per­son on the plan­et?”

Below, you will find the book list offered up by the astro­physi­cist, direc­tor of the Hay­den Plan­e­tar­i­um, and pop­u­lar­iz­er of sci­ence. Where pos­si­ble, we have includ­ed links to free ver­sions of the books, all tak­en from our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks col­lec­tions. Or you can always down­load a pro­fes­sion­al­ly-nar­rat­ed book for free from Details here.

If you’re look­ing for a more exten­sive list of essen­tial works, don’t miss The Har­vard Clas­sics, a 51 vol­ume series that you can now down­load online.

1.) The Bible (eBook) — “to learn that it’s eas­i­er to be told by oth­ers what to think and believe than it is to think for your­self.”

2.) The Sys­tem of the World by Isaac New­ton (eBook) — “to learn that the uni­verse is a know­able place.”

3.) On the Ori­gin of Species by Charles Dar­win (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn of our kin­ship with all oth­er life on Earth.”

4.) Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els by Jonathan Swift (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn, among oth­er satir­i­cal lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

5.) The Age of Rea­son by Thomas Paine (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn how the pow­er of ratio­nal thought is the pri­ma­ry source of free­dom in the world.”

6.) The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn that cap­i­tal­ism is an econ­o­my of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

7.) The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn that the act of killing fel­low humans can be raised to an art.”

8.) The Prince by Machi­avel­li (eBookAudio Book) — “to learn that peo­ple not in pow­er will do all they can to acquire it, and peo­ple in pow­er will do all they can to keep it.”

Tyson con­cludes by say­ing: “If you read all of the above works you will glean pro­found insight into most of what has dri­ven the his­to­ry of the west­ern world.”

He has also added  some more thoughts in the com­ments sec­tion below, say­ing:

Thanks for this ongo­ing inter­est in my book sug­ges­tions. From some of your reflec­tions, it looks like the intent of the list was not as clear as I thought. The one-line com­ment after each book is not a review but a state­ment about how the book’s con­tent influ­enced the behav­ior of peo­ple who shaped the west­ern world. So, for exam­ple, it does no good to say what the Bible “real­ly” meant, if its actu­al influ­ence on human behav­ior is some­thing else. Again, thanks for your col­lec­tive inter­est. ‑NDTyson

Look­ing for free, pro­fes­­sion­al­­ly-read audio books from Here’s a great, no-strings-attached deal. If you start a 30 day free tri­al with, you can down­load two free audio books of your choice. Get more details on the offer here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Teach­es Sci­en­tif­ic Think­ing and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion in a New Online Course

Stephen Col­bert Talks Sci­ence with Astro­physi­cist Neil deGrasse Tyson

50 Famous Aca­d­e­mics & Sci­en­tists Talk About God

Neil deGrasse Tyson Stars in New Sym­pho­ny of Sci­ence

The Har­vard Clas­sics: A Free Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tion

1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Winter Dreams: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life Remembered in Fine Film

F. Scott Fitzger­ald died on this day in 1940. It was a Sat­ur­day after­noon in Hol­ly­wood. Fitzger­ald was eat­ing a choco­late bar and read­ing the Prince­ton Alum­ni Week­ly, which had just arrived in the mail, when sud­den­ly he rose from his arm­chair, reached out for a mar­ble man­tel­piece, and col­lapsed onto the floor in a mas­sive heart attack. He was 44 years old.

A lat­er exam­i­na­tion of the choco­late-smudged pages of the mag­a­zine revealed that Fitzger­ald (find sev­er­al of his works in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks col­lec­tions) had been inter­est­ed in an arti­cle about the 1940 Prince­ton foot­ball team, jot­ting down a ros­ter of for­mer play­ers in the mar­gin and draw­ing a line around this mun­dane pas­sage: “Faced with such men as Rea­gan [a Penn play­er], Ari­co of Dart­mouth, Willough­by of Yale, or Mazur of Army, a play­er has his work cut out for him. The first pre­req­ui­site of a good tack­ler is his desire to tack­le. You must want to tack­le. After that it is a mat­ter of train­ing and the abil­i­ty to think quick­ly and act quick­ly.” Beside the cir­cled pas­sage, Fitzger­ald had writ­ten in pen­cil: “good prose.”

Fitzger­ald, of course, was one of the most cel­e­brat­ed prose styl­ists of the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry, and to mark the date of his pass­ing we present a fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary, F. Scott Fitzger­ald: Win­ter Dreams, from the PBS Amer­i­can Mas­ters series. Pro­duced, writ­ten and direct­ed by DeWitt Sage, the film won a Peabody award in 2002 “for chron­i­cling the life of Fitzger­ald, one of Amer­i­ca’s great­est nov­el­ists, in images and ideas as lyri­cal and inven­tive as his prose.”

The film has no nar­ra­tor. Instead, the sto­ry of Fitzger­ald’s life is pieced togeth­er through read­ings of his sto­ries, let­ters, and notes, and through inter­views with schol­ars, writ­ers (includ­ing E.L. Doc­torow) and a few peo­ple who actu­al­ly knew the writer. F. Scott Fitzger­ald: Win­ter Dreams is 84 min­utes long, and will be added to our grow­ing archive of Free Movies Online. For more about the film, includ­ing an inter­view with the direc­tor and an inter­ac­tive time­line of Fitzger­ald’s life, go to the Amer­i­can Mas­ters web­site. To read Fitzger­ald’s famous short sto­ry called “Win­ter Dreams,” click here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

F. Scott Fitzger­ald Recites “Ode to a Nightin­gale”

F. Scott Fitzger­ald Reads Shake­speare

The Best Lines of Walter Lewin, MIT Physics Prof & Web Star

As The New York Times not­ed in a 2007 pro­file, Wal­ter Lewin long had a cult fol­low­ing at MIT. But when his free cours­es went viral on the web (find them in the Physics sec­tion of our big col­lec­tion of Free Online Cours­es), the physics prof became an “inter­na­tion­al Inter­net guru,” the first star of the open course move­ment. It’s a sign of his star­dom that some­one made a mashup of Lewin’s “best lines” (drawn, not spo­ken) from his Clas­si­cal Mechan­ics course. For more great physics videos, don’t miss these items:

Richard Feyn­man’s 1964 Cor­nell Physics Course Goes Online

Physics from Hell: How Dante’s Infer­no Inspired Galileo’s Physics

Lawrence Krauss Explains How You Get ‘A Uni­verse From Noth­ing’

h/t goes to

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