Saturday, February 01, 2014

Geek TV: The Invisible Man (1975)

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Concept: As with the 1957 series, a scientist invents a process for turning objects invisible, tries it on himself, becomes permanently invisible, and then becomes a secret agent.

Total Episodes: 13

Original Air Dates: September 8, 1975-January 26, 1976

Original Network: NBC

Characters:

Dr. Daniel Westin (David McCallum): The star of the series, he was working for a company called the Klae Corporation, and was attempting to achieve molecular disintegration, accidentally coming upon the invisibility process. At first, the process is only temporary, but when he tries it on himself a second time, he becomes permanently invisible. Fortunately, Dr. Nick Maggio, a plastic surgeon, is a friend of his, and creates a face mask and gloves with a material called Dermaplex that simulates human skin so he can appear in public. Unfortunately, the mask itches!

Kate Westin (Melinda O. Fee): Dr. Westin's wife. When Daniel becomes a secret agent, his wife does, too.

Walter Carlson (Jackie Cooper in the pilot, Craig Stevens in the series): Dr. Westin's boss at the Klae Corporation. Think of him as the show's counterpart to Oscar Goldman.

Geek Guest-Stars:

William Prince played Dr. Kenneth Maynard in two episodes, he'd played parts in five episodes of Suspense, an episode of Tales of Tomorrow, and later guest-starred on an episode of The Greatest American Hero.

Paul Kent had two appearances on the show, and has appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, The Man From UNCLE, The Six Million Dollar Man, was Beach in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, appeared in six episodes of T.J. Hooker, and played Dr. Carver in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Due to incomplete credits for this series on the Internet Movie Database, I don't know of any other geek guest stars.

Geek Pedigree:

Harve Benett was the executive producer, co-writer, and co-creator of the show. Previously, he'd developed The Mod Squad, and while he didn't have any geek credits before this, how could I not mention that he went on to co-create Gemini Man, provided stories for The Bionic Woman, as well as the stories for Star Trek II-V, including writing the third one, creating Time Trax and writing episodes of that, too... executive produced the forementioned Gemni Man and Bionic Woman (well, 37 episodes of that show), as well as The Six Million Dollar Man, Salvage One, The Powers of Matthew Star, Star Trek II and III, produced Star Trek IV and V as well as Time Trax, and even appeared briefly in Star Trek III (well, he was the voice of the flight recorder), Star Trek V (as the Starfleet Chief of Staff), and as President McCallister on Invasion America.

Speaking of co-creators, the other one was Steven Bochco, and he produced one episode of the show, as well as executive producing the tv movie Vampire, but his earliest geek credit was writing Silent Running in 1972. He was also the co-creator of Gemini Man, and wrote an episode of the 1986 Twilight Zone.

David McCallum may be forever enshrined in the hearts of genre fans for his role as Illya Kuryakin in the Man From UNCLE, but he also appeared in an episode of Night Gallery, played Alexi Kaslov in The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, Dr. Henri Clerval in Frankenstein: The True Story, Luke in The Screaming Skull, was Steel in Sapphire and Steel, appeared in an episode of SeaQuest 2032, Babylon 5, and was Dr. Joseph Bloom in VR.5. Oh, and how can I forget that he was in two episodes of the original Outer Limits, including the classic episode “The Sixth Finger”? He also appeared in an episode of the 1997 incarnation of that show. In the short-lived Team Knight Rider, he was Mobius, and voiced Merlin in the “Day of the Dark Knight” episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as voicing Paradox in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, but these days, he's best known for playing Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS.

Melinda O. Fee guest-starred on an episode of My Favorite Martian, as well as single episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, Lost in Space, and Blondie, and went on to play Tami Cross in two episodes of The Bionic Woman, Gwendolyn O'Brien in The Aliens are Coming, a guest appearance on Knight Rider, and Mrs. Webber in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Craig Stevens guested in a 1950 episode of The Lone Ranger, played Bruce Adams in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, guested on a Science Fiction Theatre, played Col. Joe Parkman in The Deadly Mantis, guested on an episode of Alias Smith & Jones, played Rudolf van Bohlen in the TV movie Killer Bees, and later appeared in episodes of Project UFO, and The Incredible Hulk.

While Alan J. Levi didn't direct any geek-related shows before doing his six episodes of The Invisible Man, he did go on to direct episodes of Gemini Man, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Voyagers!, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Misfits of Science, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, RoboCop, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and directed the TV movies Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman and Knight Rider 2000.

Just prior to writing four episodes of this show, James D. Parriott write an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. He would go on to direct episodes of The Incredible Hulk, Misfits of Science and Voyagers!, write episodes of Gemini Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Bionic Woman, Voyagers!, Misfits of Science, Forever Knight, and Covert Affairs. He produced, supervisor produced, or executive produced episodes of The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Voyagers!, Misfits of Science, Forever Knight, Dark Skies, and Covert Affairs.

Leslie Stevens wrote three episodes of the show, and he came in with more geek cred than anyone! With Joseph Stefano, he co-created The Outer Limits, writing four episodes and executive producing 49. His other writing credits include four episodes of It Takes a Thief, the TV movie The Aquarians, six episodes of Gemini Man, 25 episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as well as the story for the 1984 Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. He also produced seven episodes of The Invisible Man, was the supervising producer on the TV movies for Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as well as an episode each of those shows. He was the consulting producer on the 1995-1998 version of The Outer Limits.

Johnny Borgese, special effects man for the show, had previously done effects work on Journey to the Center of the Earth, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Batman, The Time Tunnel, Fantastic Voyage, Doctor Dolittle, Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, and The Six Million Dollar Man. He went on to do effects work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Bionic Woman, Jaws and Jaws 2, The incredible Hulk, The Munsters' Revenge, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Airwolf, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and Sirens.

DVD Release: Full series.

Website: None that I could find.

Note: This was but one of the many geeky shows that started in the 1970s that my family and I watched devotedly that lasted but one season... and no doubt I'll be visiting many of the other shows in that group in later installments!

Book and Record Set: The Hobbit!

Time for another video based on a book and record set, and again, here's one I created from my own collection, based on the Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit!

14 Days of Romance Comics: Hollywood Romances #50

It's time for what's become an annual tradition around here at the Random Acts of Geekery, where for the first half of February, to help prepare you, my readers for the holiday that is known as Valentines Day, I offer up a new romance comic every day! As we all know, these romance comics are the perfect instruction guide for avoiding romance pitfalls, because they so accurately depict adult relationships, how people fall in love, and how a couple gets married, overcoming all obstacles. Why they don't use these comics in schools for educational purposes, I'll never know.*
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*Yes, of course I'm joking about how realistic and educational these books are!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Retro-Review: Gold Key Spotlight #8!

40514Time for another retro-review, where I grab a comic at random from my collection and read it, blogging away all the while!

This time around, I'm looking at Gold Key Spotlight #8, which featured "The Occult Tales of Dr. Spektor." This issue featured a gorgeous painted color by Jesse Santos, featuring Dr. Spektor being menaced by Simbar, a were-lion, while Spektor's current romantic interest Lu-Sai looks on. Inside, we have "A Lion In The Streets," written by Spektor's creator, Don Glut, with art by Santos, plus a full-page text feature on Simbar, Lord of the Lions, and Spektor's previous encounter with him.

The story opens with a group of three hunters driving a Jeep in Africa, pursuing a woman with the head, paws and tail of a lioness, with strange pale skin, wearing a fur bikini not too dissimilar to what Raquel Welch wore in One Million B.C.. One of the hunters, Gaston, is standing by with a net to capture this lion-woman, while Morgan is the driver. Gaston throws the net, capturing her, and then Gaston hits her on the head with the butt of his rifle to knock her out.

Just minutes later, Simbar, sort of a jungle lord type, is following the lion-woman's tracks. We learn her name is Joan, and she is his mate. But he's too late to stop the hunters from putting her on the plane. As it's rolling on a field ready to take off, Simbar, stressed by the capture of his made, turns into a lion-man, and chases the plane! He's able to leap onto the wing, but can't hold on, and as the plane takes to the air, he falls back to ground.

Fandom Library: The World's Greatest Super-Heroes Comic Strip!

All I have is this first adventure for you, but enjoy!
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 11!

beatles11-02And we're up to episode #11 in the Beatles' animated adventures! This episode opens with "I'll Follow the Sun," which you may recall was one of the sing-alongs in the last episode. As it opens, the Beatles are driving when their car break down. Nearby, a highwayman, who masks himself and his horse, Millie, go to the attack of another vehicle with disastrous results, breaking his sword in the process.

beatles11-03Meanwhile, John and Paul are under the car, and George and Ringo think they're trying to fix it, but in reality, they're writing another song! The highwayman sees them, and rides to the attack! George and Ringo are about to try fixing the car, and when they spot the highwayman riding, they hide under the car with their bandmates. The highwayman is dismayed by this, he wants to capture them. When they emerge, he recognizes them! Holding them at swordpoint, he marches them off. When George complains they're tired, he stops, tries to tie them (but the rope falls down, loose), and George helpfully reties them together.

beatles11-04The highwayman goes off to ask a ransom for the captured Beatles. They break free from the ropes, and John says the highway is west, towards the sun, but clouds start covering the sun as the song begins. Between shots of the Beatles walking and George getting involved in a foxhunt, we see shots of the sun and clouds from last episode's sing-along. The fox and George help each other evade the pursuing hounds. The instrumental is edited out of the song, along with most of the last verse and chorus.

beatles11-05The Beatles wind up back at their car, which is being repaired by the highwayman, who's gone straight, and is now fixing cars. When the Beatles get the bill, they respond, "That's highway robbery!"

Next, it's sing-along time! This time, Paul introduces it as Ringo arranges to have a "Singalong Time" sign put in place. Paul lectures Ringo on his diction, especially dropping the "g" at the end of a word. When Ringo says it never hurt anyone, the G from the sign falls and hits him on the head.

beatles11-06As the singalong starts, we see shots of John wearing a clown hat and in the midst of his antics, he keeps hurting himself, and crying (just in time for the chorus line). During the last verse, in the line "I'm gonna' break their hearts all around the world," the word "Their" is dropped.

Next, Paul is starting to compliment the kids for their singing, but Ringo interrupts him with his diction exercises. When Paul asks Ringo, "Don't you know the King's English?" Ringo replies, "I know the Queen is!" Paul offers to help after the singalong, and after a ridiculous series of promises (like "cross your heart and hope to die," and getting more extreme with each one), Ringo leaves, saying he won't take any help from someone who'd be cruel to animals. As he walks past a brown cow (a person in disguise), he says, "How now, brown cow?" causing the person to take the mask off and saying, "Can't complain."

beatles11-07The singalong begins with "Honey Don't," appropriately enough featuring pictures of George trying to get a jar of honey, then being beset upon by a bunch of presumably teenage girl bears. It's impossible to determine how accurate the on-screen lyrics are, as the copy of the cartoon I have is washed out during this segment. The guitar solos are cut, and an extra first verse is added in, plus the guitar riff at the end is duplicated.

beatles11-09Finally, we have "When I Get Home," which opens at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Hunchback, and we're told that while he was frightening in the past, the Parisians got used to him, and these days he's still trying to scare people, without success. Instead, he hears girls screaming not for him, but for the Beatles! The Fab Four duck into the Cathedral to hide. They talk about how terrible it is that they can't even take a walk without girls screaming, but that it would be worse if they stopped screaming.

beatles11-10The Beatles decide to take a look around, spied upon by Quasimodo. When Quasimodo hears John doubt that he existed, he decides to show them! He tries to open a trap door underneath their feet, but it won't open... until he jumps up and down on it (apparently he bought it from the Acme Corporation). Paul says Paris is fun, but he can hardly wait to get home!
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And if that sounds like a song cue, well, it is! As the song starts, Quasimodo tries to get the Beatles  without any success (no wonder the Parisians aren't scared of him anymore). He tries to cut the rope of a bell to send it down on them, but instead a different bell hits him! He tries cutting another bell, but Ringo pulls the rope for it, and he's clobbered by an automated bell-ringer. The song gets a lot of bells added over the soundtrack. When he does cut through that rope, since he's hanging on the bell at the time, he falls with it. That's when the Beatles finally notice him.

The Beatles confer between each other, and take Quasimodo out of the Cathedral and to a nearby theater, where he becomes a famous musical act, ringing bells. He's so successful George is concerned about the competition!

Comics They Never Made!

Time for some all-new, world-premiere Comics They Never Made! With one exception (that I'll be getting to in a couple of these posts), from this point on, all Comics They Never Made installments will feature never-before-seen (except for those people who check out my Flickr account, anyway) mocked-up comics covers, as part of a new series. For those who haven't been with Random Acts of Geekery from the beginning, about the same time I started this blog, I was also doing a weekly column called "Cover Stories," which featured thematically similar covers each week, along with a monthly installment of Comics They Never Made, from which I've been drawing the covers for this feature. But since those have run out, I needed to start working up a new batch!

I was somewhat handicapped for this new set of covers, as all the previous covers were done with PhotoShop, which I currently (at least as of the time I'm writing this) don't have access to. Fortunately, I was able to find a different graphics program (for free! Gotta love freeware) that has nearly all the functionality of PhotoShop, and as I've been learning the ins and outs of that program, each successive cover has taken less time to prepare.

So, click on the jump, and let's see what I have for you this time!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Comic Reading Library: Masked Raider #2

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Essays on Comic Book Characters #1: Superman


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Yes, it's yet another brand-new feature here on the Random Acts of Geekery! This one will be comprised of a series of monthly or so essays on various comic book characters, how I discovered them, and how I feel they should be portrayed. And what better one to start with than the first costumed super-hero of them all, as well as my favorite, Superman?

The Man of Steel. The Metropolis Marvel. The Man of Tomorrow. Last Son of Krypton. All of these appellations and more have been applied to Superman through the years. First appearing in Action Comics #1, and not too long after getting his own book with Superman #1 and beyond, Superman has been the goose that laid the golden egg for DC Comics (or National Periodical Publications, or whatever other titles they've had over the years).

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Indexible Hulk #56

Tales to Astonish 099Issue: Tales to Astonish #99
Title: When the Monster Wakes!

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, penciled by Marie Severin, inked by John Tartaglione, lettered by Sam Rosen.

Supporting Cast: Betty Ross, General Ross, Major Talbot.

Villain: Lord of the Living Lightning

Guest-Stars: None.

Plot: The Legions of the Living Lightning have taken over the missile base, thanks to the help of the misguided Hulk! The soldiers managed to gas the Hulk before, but now Betty is in the cell with the Hulk! The Hulk awakens, wondering why Betty is in there with him, but Betty isn't scared, certain the Hulk would never hurt her. Outside the cell, The Lord of the Living Lightning demands Ross obey him, but then it's noticed the Hulk is awake!

The LLL enters the cell, and tells the Hulk Betty is his enemy, but Betty denies it! The Hulk decides to believe Betty, and throws the LLL aside. The Lord of the Living Lightning orders his men to attack the Hulk, and their blasts had an effect... Changing the Hulk back to Bruce Banner! 

Outside the cell, Talbot takes advantage of the distraction to tackle the guard, and heads to the radio to contact the Pentagon. Then he disguises itself as one of the Living Lightning and looks to save Betty. Meanwhile, The Lord of the Living Lightning tells his men to shoot Bruce, but before they do, word arrives of Talbot's escape! With Ross and Betty as their hostages, they aren't worried yet.

But they should be, as Talbot arrives with one of the lightning blisters, and shoots the guards. Outside, reinforcements have arrived, and the remaining Living Lightning troops and the LLL retreat to their jet. Talbot blames Bruce for all this, but Bruce recalls that the LL had missiles ready for launching. Talbot suggests Bruce designed those missiles. Bruce says the Hulk could wipe out the Legions of the Living Lightning, and Ross agrees they have no choice but to trust him.

Ross takes Bruce to where Bruce's old gamma ray device has been rebuilt and Bruce uses it to change into the Hulk (wait, Bruce couldn't get angry enough to change?). The Hulk is still mad about being lied to by The Lord of the Living Lightning, and starts leaping towards their base.

At the LL base, the LLL orders the base abandoned, but first plans to launch their missiles at Ross' base. The Hulk arrives, smashing through their doors. The portable lightning guns are useless against him.  Before the missiles can be launched, the Hulk throws a large crane into the atomic pile, causing the destruction of the base... But what of the Hulk?

Invention Exchange: The rebuilt gamma ray device, which of course looks different than the last one.

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #53, Essential Hulk #2, Incredible Hulk (Pocket Books)

Notes: I wonder if when the story was plotted that it was intended that Bruce couldn't change because of being weakened by the device, but by the time Stan saw Marie's pencils he'd forgotten about it?

Fandom Library: The Amazing World of DC Comics #15!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Random Acts of Trivia: Batman (1966) and Star Trek!

Here's a random assortment of trivia, where the topic is similarities between the Adam West Batman and the original Star Trek!

  1. Both programs lasted three seasons, both starting in 1966, although Star Trek finished its original run in 1969, while Batman lasted to 1968 (Batman was a mid-season replacement program)
  2. Both shows' lead actors reprised their roles for a later Filmation animated series.
  3. Regular Bat-Villains Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin (Catwoman and Riddler, respectively) guest-starred in single episodes of Star Trek.
  4. Both shows had an episode called "A Piece of the Action"; the Star Trek episode, of course, dealt with a planet whose civilization was based on the gangster era of Chicago, while Batman's episode was the first of the two-parter guest-starring the Green Hornet and Kato.
  5. Speaking of that Batman two-parter, the villain was played by Roger C. Carmel, who also appeared in two Star Trek episodes as Harry Mudd.
  6. Grace Lee Whitley (Janice Rand on Star Trek) guest-starred as Neela, one of King Tut's ladies, in the two-part 1966 Batman episode "King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo."
  7. Both shows gained even more popularity in syndication than they had in their original run.
  8. Both shows had merchandise based on them produced by AHI Toys (in the case of Batman, it was mostly Batmobiles, while Star Trek was represented by phasers, flying Enterprise toys, and even a Mr. Spock parachutist).
  9. Both shows were also used in merchandising by Mego. Of course, you know that Mego had the Star Trek action figure line, as well as toy communicators (walkie talkies), phasers (like an early version of Laser Tag), and tricorders (tape recorders). Batman was represented by the theme song being used to advertise the World's Greatest Superheroes action figures, as well as producing Batmobiles for both their 8" and Comic Action Heroes lines based on the 1966 Batmobile.
  10. And lastly, both shows had movies based on them, although while Batman had its theatrical film out between seasons of the show, Star Trek's theatrical film was the revival of the series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Puzzle Time!

As always, solutions after the jump!
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