Saturday, 27 May 2017

Turn off the Dark – The Curse of the Spider-Man Musical

Turn off the Dark – The Curse of the Spider-Man Musical


Now, many of you who know me, know, I am a huge Spider-Man fan, have been my entire life, I have quite the collection of Spider-Man merch, which grows weekly, but I, like many other Spider-man fans, was truly surprised when I learnt that my favourite web-slinging superhero was going to be the basis of a Broadway musical!

 “Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark” is a lofty achievement indeed, a Broadway play like no other, it has been described by musical contributor and Co-Writer, U2's “The Edge” as “elements of rock and roll, it's elements of circus, it's elements of opera, [and] of musical theatre. “
In fact, this play has very strong musical performances, with song writers including Bono and The Edge from U2, but it's real ability to impress theatre goers is the live action sets of Spider-Man swinging through the sky scrapers of New York, there is no less than 27 scenes of either Spider-Man, or The Green Goblin doing acrobatic flying scenes in this play!

 The play has been fairly successful so far and has earned some terrific critical reviews, and fan accolades, but there is a darker side to this play, “Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark” appears to have been cursed, with numerous accidents and deaths associated with its cast and its producers, a larger than average budget, the longest “preview” period in Broadway history ( a staggering 182 preview showings) and a lot of rewrites!

 “Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark” has been plagued with problems right from its conception back in 2002. Tony Adams was employed by Marvel to produce the big budget spectacular musical. He approached Bono and Edge about writing music for the project, and they in turn approached Tony award winner, Julie Taymor to direct.

 In 2005, just as contracts were about to be signed, Tony Adams suffered a stroke, which led to his death two days later. Although a huge blow early on, the creative team behind the musical decided to follow their instinct and carry on with Tony Adams partner, David Garfinkle, as the lead producer.
 The Musical was then delayed numerous times in 2007, it is speculated, and indeed stated anonymously (1), that this was due to “still unresolved creative decisions by the team head producer, Julie Taymor”.

 By 2009 the budget had run into considerable debt, a staggering $25 million in the red, in March the same year, the show, which had never seen an audience had publicly announced a $52 million budget, a record for Broadway.
 Disney, in 2009, began its takeover of the Marvel company, but, even though Disney had considerable success with its own musical stage shows, offered no interest in purchasing, or investing in the Spider-Man musical, leaving the production somewhat in financial limbo.

 Bono then asked Michael Cohl (A Canadian Concert Promoter) to come on board as producer, who then raised the money needed to move forward. This fund-raising venture then, in turn caused the production opening day to be postponed whilst funds were raised, from February 18th, 2010, pushed back until December 21st 2010.
 By this stage, it was being reported that the budget of the show was a staggering $65 million and that costs were as high was 1 Million dollars a week.

 Again, the show was postponed, this time until January 2011, then again until February 2011, due to “A tremendous amount of creative commotion behind the scenes”, which equated to rewrites, rehearsals, dialogue issues and some tweaking of the final number.
The production finally debut on June 14th 2011, with an estimated costing of $75 million, the biggest budget ever recorded for a Broadway play, and like stated early, the longest running “preview” showing of any Broadway Musical in History!

 Finances and rewrites were not the only issues plaguing this production, death (as we have seen earlier with Tony Adams) and injuries also plagued the cast and production. In November of 2010, cast member, Kevin Aubin broke both his wrists in a rehearsal presentation for ticket agents. He was sent flying through the air during the performance and crashed out of control in a “sling-shot” styled manoeuvre, the same flying performance would later injure another actor (who remains anonymous (2) ) breaking both his feet!
This led to further problems for the production with the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration fining the show for breaches of the work place safety act.

 Another cast member, Natalie Mendoza, was struck in the head by a piece of equipment in the very first preview performance of the production, causing concussion, Mendoza chose not to report the incident to the producers right away, but instead tried to perform the acrobatic flying sequences the following night, going against her doctor’s orders, only to find herself in trouble as her condition worsened.
 She was replaced for the next two weeks by her understudy whilst she recovered and returned to the musical, only to quit after an injury to another cast member, at the end of December.

 That incident was one of the more horrifying ones for the cast, actor Christopher Tierney was standing on a piece of scenery about 6 meters (20 feet) in the air, when he fell, his safety harness cord had not been attached, nor secured, leaving Tierney to plunge into the orchestra pit below, fracturing his skull and breaking four ribs, as well as damaging his back. Tierney was taken to a local medical centre and released for rehabilitation for his extensive back injuries on December 28th, 2011.

 Another injury happened to T.V. Carpio, the actress portraying the villainess, Arachne. Carpio's injuries eventually led to her departure of the musical, whilst the exact injuries have never been disclosed, it is thought Carpio suffered a neck injury, possibly whiplash, or something similar from flying around the set during the production.

 In July 2012, a technician working on the musical, Jason Lindhal, 27, committed suicide in the Hudson River, his fully clothed body was discovered floating near the George Washington Bridge.

In 2013, Daniel Curry, an actor on the stage show, suffered serious leg trauma after a piece of set equipment pinned him to the ground in an apparent stunt gone wrong accident.

 Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, despite all of its bad luck, has gone on to be a critically acclaimed and much loved Broadway Musical showcase (although there are just many critics against the show as there is those for it), even spawning a CD and related merchandise, and becoming somewhat of a “pop-culture” reference in television shows, including nods in the recent “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon and in comic “Simpsons Super Spectacular 14” - where the show is lampooned and also in video game “Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom”, where if one plays as Deadpool against Spider-Man, Deadpool, if he wins states ”Maybe it would have helped if you turned of the dark”....

This is a Broadway “curse” to keep an eye on, for at the time of writing this, I don’t believe the “curse” story to be fully told....

researched and written by Allen Tiller in 2013
Previously unpublished,
Revised 2017 - © 2017, Allen Tiller, Eidolon Paranormal

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

History's Mysteries: Antikythera Mechanism

Antikythera Mechanism

Discovered in a Greek shipwreck in 1901 and recovered by diver, Elias Stadiatos, comes the Antikythera Mechanism, a mysterious little device that confused researchers and historians for over 100 years about what it was used for.
The mechanism is the oldest known scientific device to date, speculated to have been built in Greece in around 100 BC, and lost for over 2000 years.
The mechanisms use was only recently discovered, it is an astronomical clock that determines where the stars and other celestial bodies are positioned with the most extraordinary accuracy.

If you would like to learn more about this incredible device, please follow the links below

©2013 Allen Tiller

first published 15 Jan 2013

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

History's Mysteries: The Bloop

The Bloop

In 1997 a mysterious noise was recorded under the pacific ocean, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were recording whale sounds when they picked up a very strong, very low frequency sound, they nicknamed “The Bloop”. It was said to be a similar sound, when sped up by 16 times, to that of someone throwing a rock in still pond of water “bloop”.
The sound was recorded several times, until it mysteriously stopped.

There is no known animal in the oceans of the world that is big enough to make a sound so deep and of the frequency recorded.
Bombs, submarines, man made disturbances, volcanoes and earthquakes were ruled out as being the source of the sound.
This left a lot of room for speculation by scientist, paranormal enthusiasts and cryptozoologists, with Cthulhu, The Cloverfield Monster and Poseidon all being put forward as explanations, another put forward is that this “bloop” could be some large sea monster we have not yet discovered.

In 2012 a different theory was presented, that the sound was that of an “ice-quake”, an event that happens in Antarctica often, where glacial ridges melt and slide into the ocean, creating a long slow underwater booming sound. Some people believe this is not the actual answer, and that the “bloop” is indeed something else, something alive....
to hear the sound, visit here:
for more information

©2012 Allen Tiller
first published 8 Jan 2013

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

History's Mysteries: The Baghdad Battery

The Baghdad Battery

Found just outside Baghdad, Iraq in Khujut Rabu in 1938, were a group of fist sized earthenware jars, thought to be around 2000 years old.
The Jars, consisting of an earthenware shell, a stopper composed of asphalt, an iron rod, that runs from its lid through to its base, and a cylinder of copper which surrounds the iron rod, were these the worlds first batteries?

The discovery was made by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig in 1938, who in 1940 published a paper on the subject.

Our history books tell us that Count Alassandro Volt first made the discovery of current being produced when he placed a probe of two dissimilar metals against a frog, a very weak current was generated, he then set about placing his probes in different chemical solutions instead of the living tissue, and replicated his electricity generation, and thus the “voltic pile” or electric battery was born in 1800!
So did Volt invent the battery or did he rework something the ancient Iraqis had already invented?

For more information, please follow the links below

© 2013 Allen Tiller
first published 8 Jan 2013

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

History's Mysteries: The Baigong Pipes

The Baigong Pipes

Mt Baigong in Qinghai Province, China was the home to an unusual discovery in 2002 when U.S. Scientists, on the trail of dinosaur fossils, investigated three caves at the bottom of the mountain and stumbled across a set of mysterious pipes.
The pipes, known to locals for thousands of years are about 40cm in diameter, and span the length of the caves, out into a nearby lake, and incredibly up to the top of the mountain.
Locals say the pipes are extraterrestrial in origin, and were part of an ancient alien base, other explanations include fossilised tree roots, whatever the case it is an interesting and mysterious find.

Read more about the pipes below.

©2013 Allen Tiller
first published 7 Jan 2013