Saturday, July 12, 2008

Slideshow: Hawkman Collectibles!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Movie of the Week: The Day The Earth Stood Still!

So, after covering the Frankenstein Saga and the Planet of the Apes Saga, I figured it's time for a break from series, and do some Movie of the Week features for movies that didn't have sequels!

First up, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," which I have written about before, but it has been a while! Plot summary, naturally, from Wikipedia!


A flying saucer lands in Washington, DC. Klaatu (Michael Rennie) emerges and declares he has come in peace. However, when he opens a small device with a snap, he is shot and wounded by a nervous soldier, who mistakes it for a weapon. In response, a large robot called Gort steps out of the spaceship and melts all weapons present without harming the soldiers,[1] until Klaatu orders him to cease. Klaatu explains the "weapon" was a gift to the President and could have been used to study life on other planets.

He is taken to Walter Reed Hospital and quickly recovers. While there, Klaatu meets the President's secretary, Mr. Harley, but is unable to convince him to organize a gathering of world leaders. Klaatu suggests the United Nations, but is told it does not represent all countries, and later, that world leaders cannot even agree on a meeting place for such a momentous occasion. When Klaatu suggests he live amongst ordinary people, to understand them better, Harley rebuffs him and implies that he is a prisoner. Klaatu escapes into the night.


He goes to a boarding house, as "Mr. Carpenter", the name on a laundry label of the suit he has taken. Among the residents are Helen Benson (Patricia Neal), a government employee, and her son Bobby (Billy Gray). Helen is a widow; her husband was killed in World War II. The next morning, Klaatu listens to the radio commentator and the breakfast table banter of the boarders wondering whether the spaceship is from outer space or perhaps the work of the Soviets. When Helen's boyfriend, Tom Stephens (Hugh Marlowe), plans a day-trip getaway for the two of them, Klaatu offers to take care of Bobby.


Bobby takes Klaatu a tour of the city, including a visit to the grave of his father in Arlington National Cemetery, where Klaatu learns with dismay that most of those buried there were killed in wars. The two next visit the Lincoln Memorial and the heavily-guarded spaceship where Gort stands motionlessly on guard. Klaatu, impressed by the inscription of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, is hopeful that there may be people wise enough to understand his message. When he asks Bobby to name the greatest person in the world today, Bobby mentions a leading American scientist, Professor Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe), who lives nearby.

Bobby takes Klaatu to Barnhardt's home. The professor is absent, but Klaatu goes into his study and helps solve an advanced mathematical n-body problem written on a blackboard, before leaving his address with the housekeeper. Later, government agents escort Klaatu to see Barnhardt, who has seen the correction of his work as a calling card which could not be faked.

Klaatu warns the professor that the people of the other planets are concerned for their own safety because human beings have developed atomic power. Barnhardt offers Klaatu the opportunity to speak at an upcoming meeting of world scientists he is organizing; Klaatu accepts. Barnhardt is stunned when Klaatu declares that if his message is rejected by the leaders of the nations, "Planet Earth will be eliminated." The professor pleads that Klaatu first provide a minor demonstration of his power as a warning.

Klaatu returns to his spaceship that night to implement the professor's suggestion. Bobby trails him and is amazed to see his new friend enter the ship. When Tom Stephens and Helen Benson return from their evening out, Bobby tells them that Mr. Carpenter is the spaceman. They do not believe him at first, but when Bobby goes upstairs to bed, they notice that his shoes are soaking wet. Their suspicions grow when Tom finds an expensive diamond in Carpenter's room.

The following day, Tom takes the diamond to a jeweler, who claims that he has never seen the like before. Meeting Helen at work, Klaatu insists on speaking to her. While riding in an elevator, it stops. A series of montage scenes show that Klaatu has suppressed electric power all over the world (with exceptions for critical systems, such as hospitals, planes in flight etc.). This has brought the entire world to a standstill. During the blackout, Klaatu confirms Helen's suspicions and enlists her aid. She urgently searches for Tom to stop him from telling the authorities, but he tells her that he intends to turn Klaatu in and become rich and famous. Helen rushes home to warn Klaatu. Together, they take a taxi cab to hide at Barnhardt's home until the meeting with the scientists. On the way, Klaatu tells Helen that if anything should happen to him, she must go to Gort and say, "Klaatu barada nikto." As they approach Barnhardt's, they are spotted; when Klaatu runs from the cab, he is shot dead.

Battling her fear, Helen does as Klaatu instructed, then faints in terror as the robot comes toward her. Gort gently carries her into the spaceship. It then retrieves Klaatu's corpse and brings him back to the spaceship where, using equipment on board, Klaatu is miraculously (but only temporarily) brought back to life.


Klaatu steps out of the spaceship and speaks to the assembled scientists. He tells them Earth's penchant for violence and first steps into space have drawn the attention of other spacefaring worlds. These worlds have created a race of robot enforcers like Gort, and given them absolute power to deal with any outbreak of violence. He warns that the people of Earth can either abandon warfare and peacefully join other spacefaring nations – or be destroyed. "The decision rests with you." He then enters the spaceship and departs.


Robert Wise talks about the making of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in this YouTube video

OK, me again. Long-time readers of this blog are probably all too aware of how much I enjoy this movie, despite the rather stiff acting by most of the cast. The robot Gort is so iconic that Ringo Starr used him (or rather a still from the movie featuring Gort, with Ringo's head replaing Michael Rennie's) on one of his albums (Goodnight Vienna, I think?).


Friday, July 11, 2008

Cool Stuff: Original Comic Art!

Time to check out some more original comic art recently offered for sale online!


And we start off with this Joe Staton page from All-Star Comics 67, the final page of the story. Now, maybe it's just me, but this page looks rather rushed, not up to Staton's usual quality.


Compare it to page 7 from All-Star 71, which is (in my mind) a much better page all the way around!


You'll recall that one of the few exceptions that I'll make to featuring comic art beyond 1980 is DC's Earth-Two titles written by Roy Thomas... here's Arvell Jones' cover to All-Star Squadron 66! I only wish I could come across some of the pages that had been done by Jerry Ordway and/or Rich Buckler!


Next up is this slightly cheesecake-y page from All True Romance 3. This would be page 4, and was done by the Iger shop, so identifying the specific artist could be problematic! This series isn't very well-indexed, so the GCDB isn't much help!


Here's page 9 from the same issue! It's good stuff, isn't it?


Just for something different, here's page 6 from Alvin 5, published by Dell Comics! I have no idea who the artist was - and neither did the seller!


This Ross Andru page, from Amazing Spider-Man 137, probably realized the lowest price of just about any Spidey page from the 1970s, given the lack of any costumed character! But I kind of like it... Note how Andru's positioned the direction of the cab in most panels to draw your eye through the page.


Speaking of Spidey, here's a Spidey-less page 4 from Amazing Spider-Man 36, art by (duh!) Steve Ditko!


For you Aquaman fans, here's page 13 from Aquaman 23, by Nick Cardy! Is it just me, or is it just plain bizarre that Arthur keeps referring to his son as "Aquababy" all the time?


It's always a treat for me when I come across a Jim Aparo page... and here's page 8 from Aquaman 44! Aside from Tula (aka Aquagirl), there's no main character present here...


Next is this Ross Andru cover for issue 6 of "Arrgh!", one of Marvel's 1970s attempts to do a humor book, which would eventually culiminate in Crazy Magazine! I wonder if this cover was actually used, as the GCDB only has Arrgh running 5 issues! Apparently it was never used, because even Overstreet only lists 5 issues!


Next up, it's page 10 from Astonishing Tales 13, featuring Ka-Zar by John Buscema! The babe in the final panel, in case you're not aware, is Barbara Morse, aka Bobbi Morse, who would become Mockingbird and marry Hawkeye!


Here's page 5 from the same issue... man, I would've thought I'd have remembered a Ka-Zar/Man-Thing meeting!


Here's page 11 from Astonishing Tales 35, and as you can guess, it's by Rich Buckler, and Deathlok the Demolisher has taken over the title (Ka-Zar went to his own title). Buckler really started to come into his own here, I feel.

And that seems as good a place to end this installment as any!


Give-A-Show Fridays: Monkeys in Space & Dinosaur Fight!

Note - Apparently I did something wrong, because the embedded MP3 isn't working. So I've instead created YouTube videos of both of these!

This week, we begin the multimedia Give-A-Show experience with the 1962 Adventure Time set! This set came with two 45 rpm records, which my new best friend Dave at the Children's Music & More blog graciously agreed to rip to MP3s!



Next week: The Fiercest Pirate & The Mostest Horse in the World!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cool Stuff: Super Powers!

Name any reasonably long-running action figure line using licensed characters -- especially superheroes -- and chances are, someone's made customized figures for the line, to fill in the gaps they perceived. The Mego 8" figures are popular for this, but so are Kenner's Super Powers line!


This custom Bizarro figure was obviously based on the Superman figure.


Here's a custom Gorilla Grodd... VERY custom created!


Next is this nice Metamorpho figure... I especially like the hand!


I especially like the Moebius chair for this custom Metron figure!


This is a nice custom Scarecrow, too... although I don't usually care for additions to the line that were already duplicated in later lines, such as the Batman and Superman animated series or Justice League ones!


Next up, some actual Super Powers toys! Here's a Hawkman stamp set, and I think I actually had one of these once upon a time! I'm not sure how many sets there were.


Here's a pretty cool Super Powers puzzle! You don't often see Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and no other characters in any licensed product!


This Super Powers sleeping bag is pretty neat! No Green Lantern there, but Flash joins the usual Super Friends cast!


I don't know how many "Stain-A-Stickers" were produced, either... pretty neat, but I'm not sure I would ever have had the patience!


Here's the Wonder Woman Super Powers stamp set!


And last, but not least, paper plates, part of the party line!


Heroes World Catalog #1, Page 36-37!


Pages 36 and 37 are all about the posters!


And from my photo files... well, here's some posters that, even if they aren't one of the ones advertised here, they could have been, I think!










Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Castle of Frankenstein #25, Part 2!

As promised, this time around, the article presented from Castle of Frankenstein #25 is about Andy Warhol's Dracula and Frankenstein! Click any page to see a larger view.


And the article starts with this two-page spread on pages 10 and 11!


First up is the review of Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and there are two... one by Paul Roen, who says, "Warhol's FRANKENSTEIN may be viseral entertainment, but it's not without esthetic (SIC) justification." Which is kind of like damning with faint praise, isn't it?

Leigh Hanlon also reviewed the movie, and the end of that review says, "To coin a name from a previous Warhol film, FRANKENSTEIN is trash. But, then, what else can be expected from the protégés of a man who copied Campbell's soup cans on canvas and convinced everybody it was art?"


The AW Drac coverage starts on page 14, and the review starts out with "Need we mention that Andy Warhol's DRACULA makes vampirism look even more erotic than is cusotmary?"


Paul Roen's review seems to dismiss the movie as an exercise in excess, but I could be misinterpreting. Sy Kloppse also reviewed the movie, and he seems to have enjoyed the movie.

For my part, however, I've not seen either movie, and I'd be hard-pressed to say I'd be interested in seeing either one of them!

Next time... Ed Parker, an Unknown Monster Star!


An Appeal to Fellow Bloggers using Blogger...

Some of you have, no doubt, noticed that some of the photos in the Random Acts of Geekery are, well, cut off on the right. This is something that has bugged me for some time, and I'd hoped that changing the template to the current one would fix that.

Obviously, it hasn't.

So, do any of you guys who use Blogger for your blogs have any suggestions on how I can widen the blog post area so this doesn't happen so often? I'd hate to have to post smaller photos (I typically use the "medium" size offered on Flickr).

Many thanks!


Monday, July 07, 2008

Monster Mondays!

It's time for another Monster Mondays posting of horrific cool stuff!


And we start off with this novel based on the Addams Family TV series... and why not?


Next up is this lobby card from The Alligator People, displaying "Battling" Lon Chaney Jr. in action! Too bad there's no visible Alligator People there, eh?


I've never seen Angry Red Planet, and I have a feeling that, when I finally do, the spider-rat-bat thing seen in this poster will be terribly, terribly disappointing...


What's not obvious on this poster for Atragon is that it features a Toho giant monster!


Perhaps the studio shouldn't have considered putting one of the crab monsters here on this lobby card for "Attack of the Crab Monsters," because it really does look rather goofy here. Then again, the movie itself feels like it was made up as they filmed it, so...


Ah, here's another movie I either haven't seen before, or it's been way too long... it's the Mexican Lobby Card for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman!


OK, so about a month or two back, I read something about this movie, "Bat-Men of Africa," and knowing this 8mm box art was coming up in the rotation, I thought to myself, "I'll have to remember that info when I do that Monster Mondays post."

Guess what? I don't recall anything I read about it now.


Our next Monsterrific item is this Mattel "Bats in the Belfry" game... and as neat as the game itself looks, I think the painted box art is really cool! And it appears they were trying to market this game for girls to play, too?


I think this is the first one of these I've ever posted! This French publication featured either comics or fumetti based on various movies, and I've saved scans of the covers for the issues that I found interesting. This one is for "Battle in Outer Space," which I believe features another giant monster not seen here!


Lobby card for "The Beast of Hollow Mountain," demonstrating once again that sometimes, stop-motion animated creatures just shouldn't be shown in still photos!


Hey, mister! Look out your lab window! It's a giant grasshopper from "The Beginning of The End!"

And if that's not a natural place to end this installment, I don't know what is!

Next week, we'll start with Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula! But be here anyway, won't you?