Saturday, December 24, 2011

Geek TV #11.1: Bewitched

bewitched_pic04Concept: Mortal advertising executive marries gorgeous witch; hilarity ensues!

Total Episodes: 254

Original Air Dates: Fall 1964-Summer 1972

Original Network: ABC

Geek Factor: 7

Characters:
Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Mongtomery): The gorgeous blonde witch married to that way too lucky Darrin! Although she promised not to use her witchcraft after she and Darrin married, she couldn't give it up entirely! One wonders why Darrin made such a big deal out of it... With a twitch of her nose, she could do anything (well, she snapped her fingers to teleport, but all the witches and warlocks did that).

Darrin Stephens (Dick York 1964-1969, Dick Sargent 1969-1972): Young advertising executive at McMahon and Tate, the luckiest man in the world (because he married Samantha), rather short-tempered at the most inconvenient times!

Endora (Agnes Moorehead): Samantha's mother who never approved of Sam's marriage to Derwood (one of the many names she called Darrin other than his real name).

Larry Tate (David White): Darrin's boss at McMahon and Tate, always quick to fire Darrin for the slightest reason, and just as quick to hire him back. Worst boss on 1960s TV? Probably!

Tabitha Stephens (Erin Murphy/Diane Murphy): Cute blonde-haired daughter of Sam and Darrin, with all her mother's magical abilities, except that she couldn't twitch, so she had to manually move her nose.

Louise Tate (Kasey Rogers/Irene Vernon): Larry's long-suffering wife. Believe it or not, both actresses played the part at various times, depending on who was available!

Abner Kravitz (George Tobias): Long-suffering husband to Gladys Kravitz, he pretty much just wanted to be left alone, and didn't think anything was up with his neighbors, the Stephens.

Gladys Kravitz (Sandra Gould/Alice Pearce): Abner's wife, obsessed with her neighbors – she really needed a hobby!

Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne): Samatha's well-meaning aunt whose magic tends not to work too well. She kind of suffers from a witchy dementia.

Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox): A real witch doctor; that is, a doctor for witches! Summoned by the chant, “Dr. Bombay, Dr. Bombay, emergency, come right away.” Typically, he's interrupted in the midst of some sort of unusual sporting event.

Drunk (Dick Wilson): Any time Darrin felt the pressure from dealing with Sam's family, he'd hit the bar and invariably run into this guy!

Phyllis Stephens (Mabel Albertson): Darrin's mother. Has a tendency to suffer from a series of “Sick Headaches” thanks to her accidental viewing of magic, which she always ends up being convinced she didn't see.

Frank Stephens (Roy Roberts/Robert F. Simon): Darrin's father. Only appeared in 12 episodes compared to the 18 Darrin's mother did.

Adam Stephens (“David Lawrence” – actually twins Greg and David Mandel): Sam and Darrin's son, born in the 1969 season. Apparently it was never made entirely clear in the show if Adam was a mortal or a warlock, as it could be interpreted that Maurice helped Adam out...

Esmerelda (Alice Ghostly): Samantha's cousin, somewhat like Aunt Clara in that her magic doesn't tend to work the way she usually intends it to.

Maurice (Maurice Evans): Samantha's father, and if anything, even more dismissive of Darrin than Endora is!

Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde): Samantha's practical joke-loving uncle.

Serena (Elizabeth Montgomery, billed as “Pandora Spocks”): Samantha's mod cousin, identical to Sam except that she has black hair to Samantha's blonde.

Geek Guest-Stars:

J. Edward McKinley appeared in ten episodes as various characters, but you may have also seen him as Mr. F. Flamm in two Joker episodes of Batman, or an episode of The Wild Wild West, or two episodes of The Munsters or a guest-appearance on My Favorite Martian, but it's more likely you'd recognize him as Raymond in The Time Travelers, or Professor Paul Weiner in Angry Red Planet.

Sara Seegar played different characters in ten episodes, but she'd be most recognizable as Mrs. Wilson on Dennis the Menace.

Paul Smith was another actor who had multiple roles (nine in all), but he's probably best remembered for playing Harley Trent on Mr. Terrific, guesting in two episodes of Batman as Artemus Knab, or perhaps even playing Parkman's Clerk in The Deadly Mantis.

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Bernie Kopell played a number of characters on Bewitched himself, but will probably always be most remembered by geeks for playing Siegfried on Get Smart.

Parley Baer guested on a few episodes, but is probably better remembered for playing Major Arthur J. Henson in a half-dozen episodes of The Addams Family, although he also had minor geek roles prior to that and up until 1996, guest-starring in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

Pat Priest appeared in three episodes of Bewitched, but she'll always be remembered for playing Marilyn on The Munsters.

Dave Madden appeared in two episodes of Bewitched, and in between those episodes he was on seven episodes of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Most of you will probably remember him best as Reuben Kincaid, manager of The Partridge Family. His fellow Laugh-In alum Henry Gibson was also in a few episodes of Bewitched himself!

Arlene Martel guest-starred in two episodes, but she'll be forever identified as T'Pring in the Star Trek episode “Amok Time”. She also guest-starred in two episodes of The Monkees.

Jonathan Harris, best known for playing Dr. Smith on Lost in Space, was in two episodes of Bewitched, one in 1968 and another in 1970, playing two different characters.

Janos Prohaska played the Dodo Bird in two episodes of Bewitched, but we'll always remember him for his four episodes of Star Trek, playing different creatures in each one, especially the Horta in “Devil in the Dark”! Janos also appeared in Escape from the Planet of the Apes and played gorillas and other creatures in episodes of Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, It's About Time, Lost in Space, and The Munsters.

Bill Mumy was in two episodes of Bewitched as two different characers (one of which was a young Darrin), and of course he'll be best remembered for playing Will Robinson on Lost in Space, or perhaps three episodes of The Twilight Zone, especially “It's a Good Life,” or his role as Lennier on Babylon 5.

Felix Silla appeared as a goblin in one episode, and a troll in another. He's also known for playing Cousin Itt on The Addams Family, Polka Dotted Horse and others on H.R. Pufnstuff, Colonel Poom on Lidsville, Lucifer on Battlestar Galactica, and Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Mike Road played Hawkins in two 1966 episodes of Bewitched, but he's probably better known for his voice work in cartoons, especially Race Bannon on Jonny Quest, Ugh on the Dino Boy segments of Space Ghost, Zandor and Zok on The Herculoids, Mr. Fantastic in the 1978 Fantastic Four, and many other roles.

The legendary June Foray, best known as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale on Bullwinkle, as well as way too many other characters to begin listing, provided voices for a few babys in 1966 episodes of Bewitched

The rest next week! 

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #17

This week, another trio of Silly Symphonies, beginning with "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood"!


Next, "The Ugly Duckling"!


And last but not least, "The Old Mill," featuring Disney's then-new multiplane camera!


Next week: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #24: Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #2, Part 3!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Toy of the Week: AHI Flying Starship Enterprise!

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Is it bizarre? Yes! Does it completely morph where things are on the Enterprise in order to create a flying toy? Absolutely! But you know what, it's a clever idea, if you ask me! Considering how many flying toys AHI made with its licenses that just didn't fit them, this one is toy gold! As mentioned last week, this card design appears to be from near the end of AHI's reign of the toy racks, and it's a pretty cool card design! And sure, purists would argue about moving the saucer section to the middle in order to make it a flying toy that could actually fly and not simply crash right away... but I'd kind of rather have that than no flying Enterprise at all. I'm a bit more annoyed by the words "Star Trek" printed on the sides of the main section, to be honest!

Now, there was a flying Enterprise toy that was kind of/sort of similar to this one, where the saucer wasn't moved... but you'll just have to wait for that one to come up! In the meantime, if you're salivating over this toy as much as I have done in the past, hie thee to eBay, and you'll be amazed at what these go for -- when they even show up! In fact, at the time I'm writing this, the only AHI Star Trek item I could find was the squirt gun I showed you last week!

Give-A-Show Fridays: Chad Valley 1975 Planet of the Apes, Parts 3 and 4!


Christmas Countdown 2011 #23: Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #2, Part 2!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cool Stuff!

As many of you will no doubt recall, I'm a big fan of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, a show that I feel deserves complete season releases on DVD instead of the atrocious "Best Of" sets! Anyway, to start with, here's a few issues of the Laugh-In Magazine! Look that up in your Funk & Wagnals!
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The Indexible Hulk #17

Tales to Astonish 061Issue: Tales to Astonish #61


Title: “Captured at Last!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Art by Steve Ditko, Inked by George Bell (Roussos), lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Betty Ross, Col. Glenn Talbot (first appearance)

Villain: The mystery spy

Hulk Intelligence: Brutish Thug

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: After defeating the Hulk in the previous issue, the spy in Bruce Banner's robot armor manages to stumble upon one of Banner's hidden cave labs (this is the first time it's mentioned that there's more than one... man, Banner was making huge money!), and plans to use the equipment there to build a crude missile to destroy Ross' base! Meanwhile, at the base lab, Banner works feverishly to build an electronic scanner to find the robot that was stolen (you may recall that last issue, Bruce figured he'd build a more powerful robot, I don't know why he changed his mind)! In Ross' office, Ross is meeting Col. Glenn Talbot, newly assigned to Ross' base, and also convinced that Banner is a traitor. When Betty arrives at Ross' office, Glenn is instantly smitten, and Ross hopes that Talbot will be the one to make Betty forget about Bruce! Betty shows Talbot around the base, but when they get to Bruce's lab, Bruce isn't there! Instead, he's using his newly-built scanner to find the robot, who by this time has built his missile! Bruce sees the robot, but also sees an Army helicopter (that has Talbot and Betty on board) and realizes the robot will attack the ship, and that stress causes him to turn into the Hulk and leap up to destroy a boulder the robot had hurled at the chopper, which had just landed! Then, the Hulk leaps at the robot, sending them both down a hill. The Hulk and the robot battle, neither giving way, until they reach the opening of a bottomless pit! Meanwhile, the missile (that was apparently just laying around Banner's lab, not built by the spy) has been automatically launched at the base! Desperately, the Hulk lunges over the opening of the bottomless pit, then uses his leg muscles to bounce off the opposite side and over the robot, and then delivers a two-fisted blow to the robot, sending it and the spy inside down into the pit! The Hulk then goes after the missile, destroying it with one punch. When he returns to the ground, however, the strain has been too much, and he lands unconscious, where Talbot and Betty find him – Talbot assuming that the Hulk threw the boulder! Talbot contacts the base, and Ross sends out a crane with special chains developed by Tony Stark, which are used to bind the Hulk. Patrols are sent to search for Bruce, and Talbot and Ross discuss their hopes that there's a connection between Bruce and the Hulk. Later, the Hulk awakens in his chains, surrounded by tanks! The chains are holding him, but as the Hulk strains against his bonds, the stress begins to build, which will surely change him back to Bruce Banner!

Invention Exchange: Bruce's electronic scanner – what, he didn't have a metal detector handy? Also Bruce's missile he carelessly left in one of his many cave laboratories. We can't forget Tony Stark's special chains (did Tony design and build these out of anger for Bruce building a suit of powered armor, even one that couldn't fly?).

Reprinted In: The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Schuster), Essential Hulk #1.

Notes: Oddly, this issue as well as the Hulk issues from Tales to Astonish #62-66 don't seem to have been reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes, as one might have expected! Also odd is how this mystery spy was defeated and killed off without any reveal as to who he was or who he was working for!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #22: Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #2, Part 1!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Comic Book Advertisements!

Maybe it's just the ads I'm coming across for this month's posts of Comic Book Advertisements, but I have to tell you... the ads in the Gold Key books seem to really be more sneaky and devious than one would think!
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Check out this subscription ad from Mighty Samson #17... looks like a good deal, right? Four comics every month, 48 books a year, for only $5? But I have to be suspicious about it... There are nine titles listed there (with an ellipsis after The Flintstones), and I don't know how often these books came out (I know many of Gold Key's titles were bimonthly, but I thought some were monthly). Nine does not divide evenly into 48! So what's the deal here? Does the ellipsis indicate some other titles may appear? Notice that Little Lulu is pictured in the ad, but not mentioned below! Are you going to get every issue of these titles for that year, or will they just randomly pick four to send you each month?

Famous Monsters #30

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Christmas Countdown 2011 #21: Woolworth's Christmas Book 1952!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kirby Kovers #16

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Man, as much as I tried to randomize the Kirby Kovers, it does seem like there's been at least one Thor every two or three weeks already, doesn't it? Still, these are some great covers, and here's Kirby doing his take on a classic painting pose (this same pose was also used as the basis of an issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the issue where Supergirl died). Anyway, here's issue #127, and you can definitely feel how Odin feels about the (apparent) death of his son, although I think some shading on the All-Father's face would've carried this out a bit more, perhaps...

CBT: Marvel Super Heroes Christmas Coloring Book!

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Christmas Countdown 2011 #20: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1956-57 Edition!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Monster Monday!

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Since this is the last Monster Monday before Christmas, it's appropriate to begin with a few monster toys, eh? Above are the vampire and werewolf versions of the Monster Lab toy!

Dog of the Geek: Shelby!

shelbyBreed: Red Setter

Original Appearances: Smallville, beginning in episode 14 of the fourth season, “Krypto”.
Other Appearances: None.
Biography: Shelby was first introduced as a dog with strength comparable to Clark Kent's as a result of Kryptonite experimentation. Clark first wants to name the dog “Krypto” (explaining to Lex because of its cryptic origins). Lois Lane doesn't like the name, telling Clark he can name his next dog Krypto. Eventually, Clark names him Shelby after one of Martha Kent's old dogs... a better choice for him than Lois' favorite, “Clarky.” Shelby reappears periodically in remaining episodes of the series, although without the superstrength he'd demonstrated in that first episode.
Powers: Brief superstrength, later lost.
Group Affiliation: None.
Miscellaneous: In the comic book Superman For All Seasons, Clark Kent's farm dog is named Shelby, although that's because artist Tim Sale had a dog by the same name. In Superman Returns, Clark refers to Martha's dog as Shelby.

Christmas Countdown 2011 #19: Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #1, Part 3!

Pretty much the rest of this issue loses the Christmas theme, save for a few one or two-page features, so here's the rest of this book, so we can get back to Christmas-themed comics tomorrow!
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Sunday, December 18, 2011