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Archive for the ‘Out on a Limb’ Category

The Bakshi Interview: Uncloaking a Legacy

Bakshi On March 28, 2015 livestreamed an interview with animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi to discuss the first-ever “The Lord of the Rings” film (1978), and to parse the differences between homage and rip-off (and the not-so-nebulous chains of inspiration from one artist to another).

Bakshi revealed to us that his Studio’s “LOTR” character designs and artwork were sent down to Three Foot Six in New Zealand; elevating the conversation of his impact on the live-action epic.

The subversive director has lived through numerous controversies, yet remains undervalued by Ringer fans and feels personally slighted by Jackson. He carries on vigorously at 77 years old with a new crowdfunded animated work, “The Last Days of Coney Island” and his intent to direct a “Wizards 2” follow-up to his 1977 cult hit. (more…)

Posted in Film Screenings, Headlines, John Howe, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, MGM, Miscellaneous, Out on a Limb, Peter Jackson, Ralph Bakshi, Tolkien, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

Quickbeam’s HOBBIT THEN & NOW Lecture at Valencia Library


hobbit_bbc_radio_4The third time’s the charm as our very own Senior Staff writer Clifford ‘Quickbeam’ Broadway is set to deliver an entertaining scholarly presentation on Dec. 10th on the various adaptations of THE HOBBIT that have been crafted over 76 years. In tandem with the excitement of the West Coast Premiere of “The Battle of the Five Armies” local residents of Southern California are welcome to attend this FREE event at the Valencia Library in Santa Clarita, just a little ways north of Hollywood.


Posted in Contests, Events, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lectures & Education, Miscellaneous, Out on a Limb, The Hobbit, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

Aragorn’s kingly proof…

aragorn on horseback Here’s the third of our four semi-final contestants in our 2014 Middle-earth March Madness contest — Aragorn, descendent of the line of Isildur and Elendil, heir to the throne of Gondor and Arnor. In this piece, our own Quickbeam examines just what makes this character tick, and the traits that truly make him … king.

Kingly proof…

by Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway

Strider, Aragorn, Longshanks, Telcontar, Elessar, and several other names come to mind for this particular character. But the first impression a non-Tolkien outsider would get from a man who has a dozen aliases is that he was probably a criminal. Maybe they’d think he was constantly moving from place to place, switching names because he was the equivalent of a modern-day “identity thief” who was on the lam! Funny how things in our modern world don’t always reflect clearly on mythology.


Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Out on a Limb, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien

Quickbeam’s Desolation of Smaug Film Review: Splendid Smaug Splits Fandom?

hobbit_the_desolation_of_smaug_ver16_xlg[Editor’s Note: Fear not, dear readers, TORn staffer Quickbeam presents our first official review of DOS *spoiler-free* until loudly noted in the later section (with plenty of buffer space) where inquisitive minds may read further with spoiler-iffic abandon.]

The Great Schism: Splendid Smaug Splits Fandom?
Hobbit Version 2.0: Jackson Does it Differently

I know it’s been a long year to wait. Ringer fans are going into ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ with high hopes for another thrilling chapter in the ongoing saga adapted by our fellow fan, Peter Jackson. Indeed it is thrilling. And indeed it bears all the hallmarks of a P.J. film, replete with energetic action set pieces and gorgeously realized creatures and places that only cinema can properly provide to our senses.

Be forewarned Book Fans, because of the extent DOS deviates from J.R.R. Tolkien’s original, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a very vocal fan reaction, if not an outright scream of frustration from one or two up in the balcony. The filmmakers have certainly delivered the goods; it is a very enjoyable movie that pretty much blows the audience away with well-crafted storytelling. It is by turns breathlessly paced and frightening and funny and gorgeous (Smaug especially has much of his “muchness”). But by the end credits, it no longer resembles the book you read as a kid, not by a long shot.
Which is something I must mention up front because of the laborious efforts towards fidelity in ‘An Unexpected Journey.’ In fact, much of the LOTR Trilogy was a concentrated effort to (mostly) honor the source material. True, there were odd bits that didn’t ring true to Tolkien; like Faramir dragging the hobbits to Osgiliath and Frodo sending Sam home (piffle) but what happens in DOS is just completely off the rails, especially in the third act.


Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Media Reviews, Miscellaneous, Out on a Limb, Premieres, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Announcements, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

San Diego Comic-Con & More on TORn TUESDAY Weekly Webcast!

TORN-Tuesday-300-250Today join us again for our weekly webcast TORn TUESDAY, as we our big presence at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con as we present all the juicy dish on THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG!

Let’s have a closer look at what brings such huge interest and different fandoms together at this amazing show — and prep you for what we will reveal during our presentation! Bring your questions and comments to the chat!

We launch TORn TUESDAY every week at 5:00PM Pacific: brought to you by host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway and producer Justin “I Make Excellent T-shirts” Sewell — Our innovative live show includes worldwide fans who join us on the Live Event page with a built-in IRC chat (affectionately known as Barliman’s Chat room). Be part of the fun and mischief every week as we broadcast *live* from Meltdown Comics in the heart of Hollywood, U.S.A.!

WE APOLOGIZE that there is no available archive of this particular installment on our YouTube channel —- it was a “sneak preview” after all!



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Posted in Barlimans, ComicCon, ComicCon Rumos, Conventions, Director news, Director Rumors, DragonCon, Events, Fans, Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie Rumors, MrCere in New Zealand, Out on a Limb, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Announcements, Community, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

Kingly Proof: A Closer Look at Aragorn

aragorn3Strider, Aragorn, Longshanks, Telcontar, Elessar, and several other names come to mind for this particular character. But the first impression a non-Tolkien outsider would get from a man who has a dozen aliases is that he was probably a criminal. Maybe they’d think he was constantly moving from place to place, switching names because he was the equivalent of a modern-day “identity thief” who was on the lam! Funny how things in our modern world don’t always reflect clearly on mythology.

Aragorn is the kind of character that demands a closer look. You must remember the speech that Shrek gives to Donkey about ogres being a lot like onions: “We have layers!” I would also like to use the onion metaphor for Strider. But wait — that’s just one layer. Peel away a bit and you’ll find the outcast orphan-lad who was taken in by the Elves; his mother desperate for some protection. Peel away more layers to find within a skillful fighter, a passionate lover, a delicate negotiator with a voice of great wisdom, a healer and master of herb-lore, and yes… in the very center of his heart, underneath it all, is a King.


Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Headlines, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Original TORn, Out on a Limb, Return of the King, The Two Towers, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, Viggo Mortensen

All About Sam – Why the Main Character of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is Really Samwise Gamgee

samwise gamgeeMost people think Frodo is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings. To put it another way: It is accepted by nearly all readers that the novel is about Frodo. It’s his quest, his burden, he’s the focus. The little blurbs in magazines that are designed for the non-initiate read like this: “The story of a hobbit, Frodo Baggins, who is sent to destroy an evil Ring of power…” Sound like a good pitch? Not quite.

The main character is really Samwise Gamgee, though you may not know it. I’m telling you now, it’s all about Sam.

You can safely argue Frodo Baggins should be the centerpoint of the tale. In The Hobbit Bilbo had the limelight for an entire book, and no one came close to grandstanding him (except maybe Smaug). Seems like Tolkien intended to chronicle the history of the Baggins family; first through Bilbo’s adventures–then with Frodo inheriting more adventures than he bargained for.


Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Out on a Limb, Sean Astin, Tolkien

Tolkien’s Greatest Hits – The Most Impressive Wordplay from our Favorite Author

Frodo_havensIt is one of the first things you learn in the craft of writing. Mediocre dialogue is instantly forgotten–but brilliant dialogue lives forever in the mouth of your audience.

You know those finely crafted little moments you always remember from a movie or play? Even if you don’t see the performers again the brightest or funniest quips will linger on. The best movie dialogue has a way of becoming oft-heard bon mots relished among water cooler conversation.

The same goes for literature but often in broader measure. The most impressive wordplay remains within your psyche long after you put the book down. When the rubber meets the road, it’s how a great writer is elevated above the ordinary herds.

Indeed one of the first things you learn about J.R.R. Tolkien is that his work is ripe with just such powerful language. His wonderful ability to play with tone, color, and emotion made it easy for me to select the following from The Lord of the Rings. These are my favorite one-liners (or two-liners), that stand out as having a striking impact. Consider this collection a literary sampler akin to “Tolkien’s Greatest Hits.”

Lord knows that the Professor himself would frown upon the idea, yet I present them playfully and respectfully. Whenever I read and encounter these moments I am forever impressed with intensity, humor, or remembrance.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Frodo_havensMost bittersweet line:

“I have quite finished, Sam,” said Frodo. “The last pages are for you.”

Best exclamation of joy:

“Ass! Fool! Thrice worthy and beloved Barliman!”

Most perfect description of beauty:

Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark hair were touched by no frost; her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things that the years bring.

Most poetic description of the weather:

The weather was grey and overcast, with wind from the East, but as evening drew into night the sky away westward cleared, and pools of faint light, yellow and pale green, opened under the grey shores of cloud. There the white rind of the new Moon could be seen glimmering in the remote lakes.

gandalf_fallingMost shocking moment:

But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss.

Most gruesome encounter:

Then Pippin stabbed upwards, and the written blade of Westernesse pierced through the hide and went deep into the vitals of the troll, and his black blood came gushing out.

Most colorful analogy:

“Troubles follow you like crows, and ever the oftener the worse.”

Best example of friendly competition:

“Forty-two, Master Legolas!” he cried.

Most powerful moment of rage:

Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts, where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth, alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above its fallen mate.

bombadilBest invitation to dinner:

“You shall come home with me! The table is all laden with yellow cream, honeycomb, and white bread and butter.”

Wittiest rejoinder:

Saruman- “For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colors!”
Gandalf- “I liked white better.”

Spookiest moment:

Farmer Cotton found Frodo lying on his bed; he was clutching a white gem that hung on a chain about his neck and he seemed half in a dream. “It is gone forever,” he said, “and now all is dark and empty.”

Most gothic description of evil:

Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing.

DenethorMost shrewd political advice:

“He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling.”

Single best piece of advice:

“Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

Single funniest line:

“…What’s taters, precious, eh, what’s taters?”

Funniest exchange between two characters:

Éomer- “…For there are certain rash words concerning the Lady in the Golden Wood that lie still between us. And now I have seen her with my eyes.”
Gimli- “Well, lord, and what say you now?”
Éomer- “Alas! I will not say that she is the fairest lady that lives.”
Gimli- “Then I must go for my axe.”

2238536-pippin_sad_2Most beautiful dream sequence:

As he fell slowly into sleep, Pippin had a strange feeling: he and Gandalf were still as stone, seated upon the statue of a running horse, while the world rolled away beneath his feet with a great noise of wind.

Most enigmatic historical allusion:

“Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder. Goldberry shall wear it now, and we will not forget her!”

Strongest statement of gender equality:

“In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen.”

Most romantic kiss:

And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.

Most exciting call of alarm:


mordor2Most intimidating description of geography:

Ever and anon the furnaces far below its ashen cone would grow hot and with a great surging and throbbing pour forth rivers of molten rock from chasms in its sides. Some would flow blazing towards Barad-dûr down great channels; some would wind their way into the stony plain, until they cooled and lay like twisted dragon-shapes vomited from the tormented earth.

Most beautiful sunset:

But in front a thin veil of water was hung, so near that Frodo could have put an outstretched arm into it. It faced westward. The level shafts of the setting sun behind beat upon it, and the red light was broken into many flickering beams of ever-changing colour. It was as if they stood at the window of some elven-tower, curtained with threaded jewels of silver and gold, and ruby, sapphire and amethyst, all kindled with an unconsuming fire.

Most insidious falsehood:

“Our friendship would profit us both alike. Much we could still accomplish together, to heal the disorders of the world.”

Most spectacular moment of destruction:

Towers fell and mountains slid; walls crumbled and melted, crashing down; vast spires of smoke and spouting steams went billowing up, up, until they toppled like an overwhelming wave, and its wild crest curled and came foaming down upon the land.

eowynMost moving speech on the battlefield:

“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him.”

Most Shakespearean dialogue:

“Stir not the bitterness in the cup that I mixed for myself,” said Denethor. “Have I not tasted it now many nights upon my tongue, foreboding that worse lay yet in the dregs?”

Most wonderful hobbit irony:

Then there was Lobelia. …and there was such clapping and cheering when she appeared, leaning on Frodo’s arm but still clutching her umbrella, that she was quite touched, and drove away in tears. She had never in her life been popular before.

quickbeamTwo moments that surely inspired the 60’s hippie counter-culture:

1. “Cast off these cold rags! Run naked on the grass, while Tom goes a-hunting!” … The hobbits ran about for a while on the grass, as he told them.


2. All that day they walked about in the woods with him, singing, and laughing; for Quickbeam often laughed. … Whenever he saw a rowan-tree he halted a while with his arms stretched out, and sang, and swayed as he sang.

Passage of utmost triumphant rapture:

And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

Line that always, always makes me weep uncontrollably:

There still he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Many of you certainly have your own take on what qualifies as the “most humorous,” “most shocking,” etc., and that’s fine too. This pursuit is a matter of taste, perhaps, but you cannot deny the foundation: Professor Tolkien showed his passion on every page, with every turn of phrase. Of his labors he wrote in a 1950 letter to Milton Waldman:

… It was begun in 1936, and every part has been written many times. Hardly a word in its 600,000 or more has been unconsidered. And the placing, size, style, and contribution to the whole of all the features, incidents, and chapters has been laboriously pondered.

No better insight can be given towards understanding the perfection of his tastes in authorship. Here is the major facet that most assuredly elevates him and his body of work. We, his eager readership, are indeed blessed with his remarkable and thoroughly romantic word craft.

Much too hasty,



Follow Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway on Twitter: @quickbeam2000


This article was first published on August 8th 2000 in Green Books. In an effort to introduce new Tolkien fans to our nearly 14 years of archived content, we will be publishing articles like this on a regular basis. We hope you enjoy it!

Posted in Green Books, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Out on a Limb, The Hobbit, Tolkien

*Live* on TORn TUESDAY Today: Quickbeam’s Grand Tour of NZ and Hobbit Set!

THERE AND BACK: today on our *Live* webcast TORn TUESDAY, our intrepid host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway has just returned from New Zealand where many magical things were witnessed ON THE ACTUAL SET OF THE HOBBIT, but secrecy abounds! Be tantalized and teased with a unique 1st person account of travels to the real Middle-earth! We also pay tribute to our fallen friend and Memorial Day remembrance for our brave heroes abroad. Come join the show via Stickam (account “theoneringnet”) using your own Skype login or via our Live Event Page with our unique Barliman’s chat embedded in the show!

Tune into our show at 5:00pm PDT (that’s L.A. time folks — click here to see when it is in your city!), and just click to our Live Event page.

Posted in Adam Brown, Barlimans, Billy Connolly, Crew News, Director news, Fans, Green Books, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, John Callen, Locations Sets, Mark Hadlow, Miscellaneous, MrCere in New Zealand, Out on a Limb, Peter Jackson, Production, Richard Armitage, Announcements, Community, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, WETA Cave, WETA Workshop

Out On A Limb with Quickbeam: “Where Exactly Art Thou, Radagast?”

Greetings all, Quickbeam here.

Rumors are flying as far as the Great Eagle’s sight that our newest wizard, Radagast the Brown, will have a more prominent role in the first installment of THE HOBBIT: ‘An Unexpected Journey.’ I am very excited by what Sylvester McCoy may bring to the role. The rumors are strongly suggesting Radagast’s rustic home on the eaves of Mirkwood Forest — Rhosgobel — will be more heavily featured than first suspected.

Color me intrigued! This kind of “newly added” material in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation is not canonical, strictly speaking, within the pages of “The Hobbit.” Yet it is canon from another Tolkien book! This stuff comes from the Appendices in the hinter-lands of “The Return of the King,” and therefore the most intriguing as to how it’ll play out in the new films. Among purists it might be cause for alarm.

Let’s investigate what we know from Tolkien — keeping in mind what the Professor seemed to be confused about himself may leave us with a minor mystery. Let’s also speculate on how P.J. is going to make Rhosgobel fit into the narrative of his first HOBBIT installment.


Posted in Benedict Cumberbatch, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Out on a Limb, Rumors Spy News, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit

TORn TUESDAY Reveals Details & Secrets of PJ’s Video Diary!

Join us LIVE at 5pm PDT tonight as TORn TUESDAY host Clifford Broadway, aka Quickbeam, and producer Justin Sewell join forces to explore in-depth the (mostly) revealing video production diaries that have been posted by Peter Jackson as THE HOBBIT continues apace! There’s more than meets the eye as we inspect freeze frames and see the nitty-gritty of what PJ is up to! Today’s live webcast launches at 5:00pm PDT — There’s a built-in Barliman’s chat room or come in via Skype in’s Stickam page. Check out the broadcast in our LIVE Event section right here every week! [LIVE Event Area] (See All Times)

Posted in Barlimans, ComicCon, Conventions, Crew News, Director news, Events, Fans, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Locations Sets, Oscar Parties, Out on a Limb, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit, Announcements, TORn TUESDAYS Live!

A Look Back: Has Comic-Con Really Jumped The Shark?

(The following is an opinion piece from long-time staffer Quickbeam aka Clifford Broadway)

This year at San Diego Comic-Con 2011 we brought tons of Hobbity goodness to all the fans who joined us to celebrate our shared love of Tolkien. It was a huge success by all accounts. Our Hobbit panel launched the weekend with wonderful buzz. We got a nice interview with Bard (Luke Evans) before he even stepped foot in New Zealand for his first day of filming! I got a brief, single question in to the legendary Francis Ford Coppola. I was delighted to feature WETA’s own Daniel Falconer and Greg Broadmore in our live feed. Here’s the big kick in the pants: overall viewership of our innovative live streaming video beat G4’s audience; proving that Ringer fans know how to bring it better than anyone! Way to go TORn!

But I look back with a bittersweet reflection on how SDCC has evolved over time. Because “much that once was… is now lost.”

At first blush any newcomer attending the mega-event titled San Diego Comic-Con International (mind you, I’m talking about the truly virginal), would expect to walk into the main hall and they would ostensibly find: comic books. (more…)

Posted in ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Out on a Limb, Announcements, Community, Tolkien