Der Deutsch Max

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In a rather delightful turn of events, I have discovered that what seemed to be a few loose ends of Max Headroom in German pop culture turn out to have been a significant aftershock to the US/UK Max era.

What may or may not have been a small number of producers and artists in northern Germany (in the Dusseldorf area) produced a significant body of Max-inspired and Max-related work, almost entirely in 1989. What's odd is that I don't know of any other translated or secondary works, other than a continuing amount of fan-fiction. Why the Germans latched onto Max (all the way through "Robert T-Online," more than ten years later) is hard to say, but it might have had something to do with Max's natural bond with techno music, which arose in part in the Dusseldorf nightclubs and bars in that era.

I'd love to hear from anyone who lived in Germany at that time and has a recollection of Max's intersection with German pop culture!

German Novelizations (1989)

I have just discovered that a series of Max Headroom books were published in German in 1989. I have not finished tracking them down or translating the available descriptions, but they seem to be novelizations of early episodes. There appears to be four in the series, all by German sf author and comics writer Hajo Breuen, who died just last year. The four titles I have located so far include are all subtitled Das Buch zur Fernsehserie - "The Book of the Television Series" - and "Die Neue Kultfigur - "The New Cult Figure."

  • Max Headroom. Tödliche Spots. Band 1.
    "Max Headroom: Deadly Spots. Volume 1."
This appears to be a novelization of the telefilm or ABC pilot, "deadly spots" being the closest German translation of "blipverts."
  • Max Headroom. Menschenjagd. Band 2.
    "Max Headroom: Manhunt. Volume 2."
It's hard to say which episode this might represent.
  • Max Headroom. Die Gesetzlosen. Band 3.
    "Max Headroom: The Outlaws. Volume 3."
Almost certainly "The Blanks." The term translates as "the lawless," implying both those who are outlaw/criminals and those who live without laws. Good word choice.
  • Max Headroom. Die falsche Göttin. Band 4.
    "Max Headroom: The False Goddess. Volume 4."
Has to be "Deities."

Details to come when I can lay hands on the books or a German fan comes along...

There's a really freaky little personal connection here. The author, Hajo Breuen, was born in Dusseldorf and died (somewhat young, at just under 60) in nearby Munchen-Gladbach. I've visited Germany once, flying in to Dusseldorf to spend a few days with a client in... Munchen-Gladbach.

German Audio Performances

In addition to the printed novelizations, a series of at least two "radio plays" or "audio re-preformances" of ABC series episodes with a German cast were produced on cassette.

Techno/Club Dance Cuts & Mixes

MR. M.A.X. CD (1989)

Mh-mr-max-cd-cover.jpg

This bizarre little gem turned up in a catalog search recently. It's a CD "maxi-single," also released on 12-inch vinyl in 1989 by Polydor. It's hard to tell what the title actually is, because the cover reads as shown - MR.M.A.X. / MAX HEADROOM CALLING - but the spine reads MR. M.A.X. / HIT THE BEAT MAX!, and the inside list has, sandwiched between cuts of those titles, one titled MAX TO THE RHYTHM DUB. The title cut is included here as a sample.

MR. M.A.X.: "Max Headroom Calling" (3:47)

It is definitely a commercially-produced product by Polydor (offset-printed sleeve, smooth-edged pressed CD, all details such as catalog number and bar code)... but there is no copyright information except for Polydor.

Which is sensible, as this disc has nothing to do with Max Headroom except for having borrowed the name and a famous image. The cuts are strictly run-of-the-mill techno/club mixes, and while the female vocalists repeatedly call (for/out) "Max Headroom," the "Max" lines are done by a very bad impersonator with a pronounced German accent.

A weird item - perhaps weirder in that Polydor apparently feared no repercussions with competitor Chrysalis, who completely owned the Max rights in those days.