It’s Got Character, Charm, and a Slab in the Middle–Celebrating Our 300th Post!

Brought to our attention by the ever-vigilant Wiltshire citizen and elegant shutterbug, Mr. Pete Glastonbury, this bit of video is part of The Complete and Utter History of Britain, a project done by Terry Jones and Michael Palin in their pre-Monty Python days.

In it, a realtor is showing Stonehenge to a young couple as a potential home (despite its being a bit drafty). The monument in question appears to be a circle of six trilithons, as seen at second 15 of the video. A Stonehenge replica from 1969–excellent!

Score: 6 druids. Wish we could give them more, but Palin (that’s Michael, not Sarah) had yet to perfect his tourism schtick. Our thanks to all of our readers–even those who stumbled on the blog while searching “nudity mandatory“! Keep sending us those links and pictures and keep building those linteled stone circles. The future needs them, for some reason we have yet to divine.

Until next time, happy henging!

European Vacation: Toppling Stonehenge, American Style!

photos are stills from this Youtube video of the Stonehenge scene in European Vacation

We know we’ve mentioned it before, but this one seems like it should have its own post, possibly the last in our film series for a while. The movie’s title is European Vacation, but everyone knows it as National Lampoon’s European Vacation, one of a series of movies in which the Griswold/Griswald family, led by parents Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) go on disastrous holidays.

Of course they hit the big European tourist spots, and Stonehenge is not left out. As they leave, Clark Griswald makes a speech about it having stood the test of time, “a thing of glory for a million generations to see.” He then gets into the car, backs into one of the stones, and knocks the entire circle (set up almost like a spiral) down. (See video of the Stonehenge scene here.)

Okay, haha, no denying it’s funny in a broad slapstick way. But our job is to look at the replica or replicas involved. It is a peculiar one, a circle of tall thin trilithons, no attempt at making it a linteled circle like the real one, with a circle rather than a horseshoe of taller trilithons inside.

No bluestones, understandably. They would just complicate the scene and most people don’t know they’re there (or else think the sarsens are bluestones). No ditch and bank visible, but the landscape in the background looks enough like Salisbury Plain to pass.

All in all, although its peculiar proportions put us in mind of the mini-Stonehenge in the gardens at Cockington Green in Australia near Canberra, it’s not a bad replica when compared to many others. We do not know for certain whether only one replica was used to make the movie or if a miniature model was used for some shots of the monument falling down.

Score: 7½ druids for this movie replica, made to fall. A note to British and European Stonehenge fans: next time you object to the barriers that keep tourists from walking among and touching the stones at Stonehenge, remember the Griswalds and think whether it may not be better that English Heritage is keeping the Americans out! Who knows how many shocking offenses have been averted.

Of course there are even British people who take it as a challenge to somehow topple the monument, and those who claim Stonehenge as it stands was an invention of the English tourist industry of the early 1900′s and not worth knocking down. This is the internet age. People will say and do anything. There’s even a blog about Stonehenge replicas. We kid you not!

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Building Stonehenge at Stonehenge, A Trilithon Model

photos are stills from Pete Glastonbury’s Youtube clip, used with permission

Here is one for the record books. Only once before, during the first month Clonehenge existed, did we post a replica that was actually at Stonehenge (Straw echo henge–wow,our posts were short back then!) Here is another one, this time, in keeping with our film and movie theme of late, from a CBS TV special made in 1964 called (like so many other things) The Mystery of Stonehenge.

It happens that a contributor to that TV special, Gerald Hawkins, author of the well-known book Stonehenge Decoded (one of those books that has been on our shelves for so long that we couldn’t say when we bought it!), was an acquaintance of our friend and frequent contributor Mr. Pete Glastonbury. Mr. Glastonbury uncovered a copy of the film in Mr. Hawkins’ archives and sent us the link to this delightful bit at Stonehenge in which Professor Richard Atkinson explains to a CBS reporter how he thinks the monument was built, putting a trilithon replica together in the process. (In the smaller photo here you can see a real sarsen upright in the background.)

What can we say? For the Stonehenge replica nerd, this is about as good as it gets–a renowned Stonehenge scholar putting together a Stonehenge replica at Stonehenge–on film. Score: 7½ druids! It’s great, true, but that’s as high as we can go for what is only a miniature trilithon.

This probably won’t be the last of these old-ish films. We’ve read that Hawkins was filmed explaining his theories using a plastic Stonehenge model and some lighting to simulate the sun shining into the monument at different times of year. If we can find it, we’ll post that, too.

Meanwhile, if all this academia is making you homesick for good old Spinal Tap, here is our post on that. We don’t want to stay too serious about Stonehenge replicas, dudes and dudettes. They are inherently silly things.

Happy henging!

Note added later: Oddly, completely by coincidence, Stonehenge Collectables’ latest addition to their site is a press release and TV Guide listing about a rerun of this CBS special in 1973. You can see it here.

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Stonehenge Apocalypse: And We’re Back to Hollywood

photo totally nicked from Misha Collins’ Twitpics, which we’re pretty sure are meant as promotional pics

The movies–the good, the bad, the indifferent, and in this case, the never-yet-aired. This movie is Stonehenge Apocalypse. The plot on IMDB reads like this: “When a group of archaeologists dig up a human skeleton near the historical monument of STONEHENGE, an ancient piece of machinery hidden beneath the bedrock is discovered. Not knowing what it could be the workers accidentally trigger the mechanism and start a chain of events that may very well end the world as we know it.

The world as we know it? Man, it is long gone at this point. Who says that anymore? But we’re not the ad copy police. (They won’t let us carry handcuffs!) So let’s look at this Stonehenge replica. We think it’s a pretty good trilithon. You can see other shots of it here and here. Score: 7½ druids. Good lichens, but it is just a trilithon.

So you may ask, why does Doctor Who get to film at the real Stonehenge while this film didn’t? Well, people, that’s why they call him The Doctor, innit? It helps to be a beloved national institution!

Meanwhile, here’s a synopsis of Stonehenge Apocalypse from the New York Times: “Stonehenge mystically begins rearranging itself causing massive unexplained natural destruction around the world.” No one seems to know just when it will air, but when it does we doubt it will reach Doctor Who audience levels. But we would love it if it surprised us. Any movie with a Stonehenge replica is one we’d watch!

Happy henging!

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