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Ceremonies Moments that Never Happened


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While we are in the down period of Olympic related activity, I got to thinking. Having re-read the fantastic book from Ric Birch last night (probably the 10th time), and also considering Baron's great publication, it occurred to me that there have been a number of botch ups or change of plans which have deprived us of some Olympic Ceremonial moments.

A few that I can think of ...

* the obvious cauldron mishaps of Sydney and Vancouver

* the giant rings above the Barcelona 92 Opening ceremony stage, which crashed just after construction

* The inflatable rings on the Olympic flag from the Sydney Opening ceremony being ripped in rehersal

* The intention of the entire top deck of the stand being a waterfall in the Sydney opening

* Bjork not rising into the sky during the Athens opening

* Time restraints meaning a few landmark set pieces of the London closing not being in place

* time cuts in the London opening cutting bike am segment

Any others that come to mind?

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Those two ceremonies were like night and day. How anyone could group them together is beyond me.

I didn't say my view was the only legitimate one. I said that it is "beyond me" how anyone could group Athens' and London's OCs in the same class. And it is. I cannot fathom it. Opine to your heart's

Well, it was eye-opening for me actually. I had never seen anything quite like it. I had no idea about the breadth of Papaioannou's background. I really liked the videos and I thought you might enjoy

Don't forget Seoul's bird barbeque that led us to being deprived of doves ever since.

Another off the top of my head (and I probably read this in Myles book) was that the SLC bald eagle fly through had originally been intended for Atlanta (or was it LA?)

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Another off the top of my head (and I probably read this in Myles book) was that the SLC bald eagle fly through had originally been intended for Atlanta (or was it LA?)

The eagle stunt was pulled from LA '84 but an eagle appearance was finally realized at the 1996 Paralympics opening and at Salt Lake 2002 in an Olympic context.

A few others: (will come back to this later...)

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In fact I remember the contex now... Fireworks appeared at Oktoberfest 72 for the first time... apparently unused and left over from Munich's watered down, sombre Closing Ceremony.

Well, that certainly makes sense.

Others (from my book):

- David Wolper wanted 300 convertibles to come out on the field, spell Welcome, and then have gorgeous men & women (obviously, the Hollywood setting) appear. Of course the closest that got to was the 30 chrome-plate pickup trucks in Atlanta.

- a 'Singing in the Rain' sequence from LA Opening. It was rehearsed & costumed but after the rehearsal didn't come off too well.

- the Paella number in Barcelona (or at least just conceived-);

- the Barcelona stage had like 5 concentric giant rings encircling the stage from overhead. A strong wind toppled the steel rings before the dress rehearsal; and they said: fuggedaboutit!

Other strong wind victims:

- a short hotair balloon race at the Calgary opening; instead they opened with the "dinosaurs"

- those pieces of tepee cloth behind the cauldron in Calgary were supposed to rise higher, but again the strong winds aborted their full rise...

- the 5 big balloons with hanging acrobats which appeared at the Salt Lake Closing were initially scheduled for the Opening but a strong wind blew them before the dress rehearsal. They got ripped; and could only be made ready for the Closing when they were eventually used.

- Beijing opening: a terra cotta warriors sequence before the Confucius priests/printing blocks sequence. Was deleted after the 1st dress rehearsal because it was deemed too 'militaristic.'

- Martin Short was supposed to have a segment along with Michael J. Fox, WIlliam Shatner & Catherine O'Hara at the Vancouver closing. But his wife got sick, and he had to bail out.

- JAS, Sr., accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. :lol:

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Barcelona had also planned to have a bull arrive on the stadium floor just before the athlete parade. A white dove was planned to land on the bull, and then fly away.

Aparantly US animal rights activists read this to be a bullfight in the opening ceremony, and the IOC guzumped , less effort to do that than to explain what was really happening.

That's also from Ric's book.

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In fact I remember the contex now... Fireworks appeared at Oktoberfest 72 for the first time... apparently unused and left over from Munich's watered down, sombre Closing Ceremony.

Oh, that I didn't know. I only knew so far that for the closing ceremony, they had dancers in traditional Bavarian costumes who were supposed to dance originally - but then only stood still around the track instead.

Another segment we never saw: Beijing originally wanted to light its cauldron via the projection of a phoenix. I believe Baron mentions that in his book as well. Obviously it wasn't feasible technically or they didn't get the flow right and so they chose the rather conservative fuse leading up to the cauldron.

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I was living in Barcelona at the time of the 1992 Olympics and I distinctly remember that the reason why the organisers abandoned the 'rings' was because they were made of wood and warped.

Although it remained largely dry during the Games, in the weeks leading up to July 25th, Barcelona had experienced above average rainfall and the 'rings' ended up as a misshapen mess, thus their abandonment.

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Inflatable rings on the Olympic Flag? How was that supposed to look like? Sounds cheesy to me.

It was supposed to have an *embossed* quality on a white background.

When in place, people would connect compressed air to it, and the rings would inflate, I can't imagine what it would look like to be honest.

I guess more of a *not entirely to plan* thing, but Im guessing the finale to Eternity in Sydney probably could have gone better, a slight pyro mistake, as half of the bridge seemed missing - unless it was meant to be like that?

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Woooo any pictures on the Beijing's Terra Cotta sequence?

There was one picture of the soldiers/actors lining up either to or from their portion. That's the only one I've seen but I am sure there are other shots in the Beijing 2008 archives or Zhang Yimou's personal files.

Also, Papaioannou (Athens 2004) originally wanted 5 water rings (in keeping with the show's nautical theme) to form (instead of the 5 rings on fire which had already been done) but they couldn't quite achieve it in a grand and impressive manner -- so he had to settle for just another "fire on water" scheme. (And then that show went just downhill from there. :lol: )

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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It was supposed to have an *embossed* quality on a white background.

When in place, people would connect compressed air to it, and the rings would inflate, I can't imagine what it would look like to be honest.

Did they want to do that with the actual Olympic Flag that is hoisted - or did they want to do that with the giant flag they pulled over the athletes' heads and on which they projected the Olympic Rings?

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Did they want to do that with the actual Olympic Flag that is hoisted - or did they want to do that with the giant flag they pulled over the athletes' heads and on which they projected the Olympic Rings?

The giant flag.

According to RB, the rings were snagged on some camera equipment as it was coming down over the stand. They managed to fix the sheet, but not the inflatable components, so they switched to projections.

I can kind of see where they were coming from, would have been interesting to see what it would have looked like . While the images of athletes looked great on the eventual flag, I thought the flags and doves looked a tad tacky.

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Another one from 2012: apparently Boyle desperately wanted David Bowie to appear in the Opening, even going so far as to make a personal visit to Bowie in New York. But Bowie turned him down. (It's the second story down.)

http://www.dailymail...o=feeds-newsxml

And then Boyle used his father's picture in the photo montage of friends, etc. :blink: That's really disturbing. So Boyle truly became a self-indulgent director and started throwing in bits of himself and family in an INTERNATIONAL production and turned it into a vanity valentine. Jeez, how gauche. And speaking of vanity productions, how about your dogs or your housekeeper's cat, why didn't you include them Danny?

See, Ric Birch, Don Mischer and even David Atkins would NEVER have done that. Never hire an AMATEUR to do your ceremonies. What a waste.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Kinda makes me wonder that had Bowie did perform, would he had serenaded Team GB with his classic "Heroes" as they marched into the Olympic Stadium live as it happened as a surprise? I know he had some health issues in the last few years that made him more reclusive and spend more time with his kids and Iman, also reported in Rolling Stone when talking largely about his Ziggy Stardust era (earlier this summer). To me, "Heroes" did work really well as an entrance song then.

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Baron, you should also mention that Boyle included his father because he was a "mad Olympics fan". So it's actually a very nice touch since his father sure would have loved to attend or even only watch the opening ceremony directed by his son.

And his father's picture was just a tiny and short-lived spot in a whole array of pictures - so I really don't understand why you make such a fuzz about it. If Boyle had put up a big statue of his father instead of one of those chimneys in the Pandemonium segment, I could understand your anger. But not regarding such a tiny, low key and actually very sweet tribute.

And I wouldn't bet my life on it that Atkins, Birch and Mischer never included a tiny personal tribute into their ceremonies. It's almost their duty as directors, just like any movie or software contains some "Easter Eggs" with a personal "signature" of the creator(s).

fuss, not fuzz

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Np, I understand it was just a tiny little thing. But I guess what made me react that way was that his choice got very personal, like undertaking a special trip to NYC (of course its cost courtesy of LOCOG) just to ask David Bowie to appear in the show?? :blink: See, I've never heard other stories of such extremes from other Ceremonies producer/directors just to try and include someone who was Danny Boyle's personal predeliction. I mean why is David Bowie so quintessentially "English/British" that it would require a special transAtlantic journey by the #1 (and you can bet, that was probably a 1st-class seat + 4-star hotel in NYC) person in that department? I mean, Bowie's absence didn't even occur to me as some sort of major gap. But it reflected Boyle's personal tastes, including the choices of costume designers, choreographers, that made the 2012 Ceremonies askew. That's what irks me the most. He is a film director, not someone with live stadium-spectacle credits. (And I know where you're going...but Beijing's Zhang Yimou even in his movies, always exhibited a flair for theatrical pageantry and spectacle which translated very well into the 2008 show.

Anyway...

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Show me any ceremonies producer who didn't weave some of his personal preferences into his ceremonies, Baron. It's the personal touch. On the other hand, the directors don't have the ceremonies completely for themselves but have to consult with other members of the production staff and have to get approval from the organising committee, the IOC and (as we saw in London's case) even the government. So Boyle sure didn't hijack the ceremony but did it all with the consent of many other people involved.

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