Attaboy Clarence Logo When you eventually find some time to sit down and read the following interview, I'm sure you will notice that their is some confusion surrounding the filmic-phrase, 'Attaboy Clarence'. Now I want you to totally disregard this confusion, as it has absolutely nothing to do with ghosts, monsters, chicken,  or my mate Adam, who hosts one hell of a great podcast about classic cinema. Say no more. 

Forbidden planet

Once Upon A Time In The Midlands 1) What are your own origins, Adam? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I grew up in the Midlands, UK, and moved around a lot. Wherever we moved to, though, movies were always a big part of my life. I used to stay up late and watch the Universal horror movies on my little black and white TV, so they hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve been building up a large collection since I was a kid. At one point the video tapes and DVDs were taking over my house, so my wife insisted I downsize. It happened just in time really, as digital was just coming in, so all my media is now stored digitally. Oh! And the fact that we were just having kids at the same time too. Ha!

2) How did ‘Attaboy Clarence’ come about? And in your own words how would you describe it?   I came up with 'Attaboy Clarence' for one very specific reason. The movies I’m drawn to tend to be the B-movies of the 30’s and 40’s. I’m a huge fan of pulp, especially early horror, mystery and detective movies, and they’re simply not as well served on the net as the “big” movies of that period. In my first podcast (which is shocking to listen to now - the sound quality is appalling!) I set out my stall by saying that I wouldn't be reviewing movies like 'Casablanca' and 'Gone With The Wind', and I meant it.

The world doesn't need another review of those films, yet there are so many hidden treasures made in that period that do need some attention. Just because a film was made at Monogram Pictures, or at Poverty Row, or didn’t make very much money for Columbia or MGM, doesn't mean that it’s a bad film. It may just have failed to capture the public’s imagination at that point in time.

The point of 'Attaboy Clarence' is to give a leg up to movies that you may have missed, but are worthy of your time.

It’s A Wonderful Life
3) Now if I remember correctly, the phrase ‘Attaboy Clarence’ was first coined in the 1966 Don Knox film, ‘The Ghost and Mister Chicken’. But why did you bestow your site with this name? How do you think it’s relevant?   For me the phrase comes from the Frank Capra movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, and is the last line spoken, when the bell on the Christmas tree rings, and George realizes that Clarence the angel has just won his wings. It’s my favorite movie, although I’ve seen it so many times now that I reserve it for Christmas Eve only.

We have a projector at home, and a large screen, so we’ve taken to inviting close friends over at Christmas for a glass of wine and a private screening every year. I’ve even made a pre-movie roll which includes movie trailers from Christmas of 1946 (the year it was released) along with the original news-roll for that year, and original cartoons, so it’s really like being at the movies in 1946 when we watch it.

I've not seen ‘The Ghost and Mister Chicken’, so I couldn't say if the line is in that movie too. I’ll search it out and take a look. I like ghosts, and I like chickens. Especially chickens with names.

4) What song would you say best represents your site and why?   Wow! I guess the song that plays over the majority of the podcast would be the one I’d choose. It’s called ‘Thou Swell’, and pops up at regular intervals. It has nothing directly to do with movies, but I like the way it skips along, the way it instantly transports you to a certain era, and the fact that whenever I hear it now, I think of Attaboy Clarence.

James Cagney
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I’d have to say James Cagney. You know how over the years you have a favorite something -- like actor, actress, movie etc. As time goes by, your filters become more attuned, and certain names fall by the wayside, and finally you realize what your favorite something is.

I love a lot of actors and actresses, but for me Cagney is the greatest. He’s absolutely magnetic, ridiculously talented, and yet completely down to earth. I could watch any Cagney performance in any film at any time. That said, I don’t honestly know what sort of advertisement would work with him involved:

“Get the podcast, you mugs”??

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   I’ve learned that I don’t like to take short cuts. If I think a podcast episode needs a certain clip, or piece of music to make it work, I’ll spend hours trying to find it. I don’t like to rush things, and I’ve found that I really enjoy designing the sound of the episodes, and the beat of the reviews. I think that overall I’ve learned that when it comes to creating something and releasing it into the wild, that I make things that I would enjoy, and that I’d be happy to give my time to.

Sherlock Holmes
When you produce a podcast, you’re asking quite a lot of your audience. Some of my episodes last for over an hour. That’s quite a chunk of someone’s time to ask for, so make sure that the sound quality is good, that you’re saying something nearing interesting, and that the experience is an enjoyable one.

When I first decided to produce a podcast I had no experience whatsoever, which is why the first episode really sucks, but I got better. I’ve really enjoyed learning how to make it better, and now it’s turned into a podcast that I’d be happy to listen to. I think that’s the secret.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   I’ve been very fortunate in that my friends and family have been generous with their compliments. I’ve also had some fantastic feedback on Twitter and Facebook, and via email. I’ve even run into people in the wild who’ve shaken my hand and enthusiastically told me that they enjoy what I’m doing.

When you know that you have an audience, and that they’re happy with what you’re producing, it makes the experience a whole lot easier. I really enjoy all aspects of what I do. I like writing for the site (although, I struggle to find the hours at the moment), I adore producing the podcast, and there’s no greater feeling than when someone tells you that they've watched the movie you recommended, and that they loved it.

I even grin when I see that someone has liked the Facebook page, or has started following me on Twitter. People are awesome.

8) If ‘Attaboy’ had a motto, what would it be?   I guess the obvious motto would be “Attaboy, Clarence!”, but I think the phrase “Put it there” best represents everything. Welcome, good to meet you, put it there, make yourself comfortable. Now let me tell you about this…

Ka-Pow! Now wasn't that a great way to end an interview, folks! Yeah. You agree. Good. So now you know what you have to do next. Please feel free to visit Adam by clicking on over to his website, Attaboy Clarence. Trust me. You'll be jolly well glad that you did. 

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