Saturday, November 12, 2011

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #11

The success of "Steamboat Willie" told Disney that the future of cartoons involved sound, and so Disney launched the "Silly Symphonies," the first of which was "Skeleton Dance."

The idea for this one was by musical director Carl Stalling, who would go on to have a long career directing the music for cartoons!

Of course, Mickey Mouse was still Disney's big star, as can be seen in two of his early cartoons, "Mickey's Follies" and "The Jazz Fool," which you can watch below:

But Mickey's role on screen was due for a change!

Geek TV #8: The Addams Family!

addams01Concept: They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky, the Addams Family, adapted for television based on characters appearing in Charles Addams' cartoon panels.

Total Episodes: 64

Original Air Dates: 1964-1966

Original Network: ABC

Geek Factor: 9

Gomez Adams
Morticia Addams
Gomez Addams (John Astin): Incredibly wealthy and eccentric, and madly, passionately in love with his wife Morticia, whom he refers to as “Cara Mia.” His ardor is heightened whenever Morticia speaks even a word of French. Gomez doesn't work, but prefers to spend his time with his family. He is Spanish, and occasionally throws in Spanish words and phrases in his speech. He is able to perform complex calculations in his head, and is remarkably acrobatic. He is Grandmama's son. His personal portrait shows him standing on his head. Gomez is well-versed in several forms of combat, and enjoys fencing with Morticia. He enjoys smoking cigars and playing with his model trains, causing them to crash.
Morticia Addams (nee Frump) (Carolyn Jones): A beautiful woman who dabbles in art, raises flesh-eating plants (her favorite is named Cleopatra), and trims her roses by cutting off the bud. She is able to light candles with her fingers and emit smoke. She remains calm when all else is chaos. Some sources suggest Morticia is a vampire of some kind. Her mother was Hester Frump, and she has an older sister named Ophelia.

Uncle Fester
Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan): Morticia's uncle, exuberant and kind. He can make lightbulbs light up by placing them in his mouth. When angered by outsiders, he'll gab a blunderbuss and threaten to shoot them in the back. If shot by a cannonball, he's only mildly dazed. When he suffers from migraines, he puts his head into a screw press and tightens it (he also does this for fun).

Lurch (Ted Cassidy): The household butler, summoned by means of a bell pull that rings the massive bell of the mansion's bell tower. Lurch rarely speaks more than short sentences; most of his dialogue is “You rang?” when summoned, or his deep annoyed grunt. He is protective of the Addamses, in one episode patting down a plainclothes policeman and finding a gun, which he didn't return until the policeman showed his badge. He has super-strength and plays the harpsichord.
Grandmama Addams (Marie Blake, billed as Blossom Rock): Gomez' mother, a witch who creates potions, spells and hexes. She also does fortune telling, although not successfully. She serves as the maid to the Addams household.
Wednesday Addams
Pugsley Addams
Wednesday Friday Addams (Lisa Loring): Gomez and Morticia's daughter, six years old. Although sweet-natured, she raises spiders, beheads dolls, and practices ballet in a black tutu. Her pets are a black widow spider named Homer and a lizard named Lucifer.

Pugsley Addams (Ken Weatherwax): Wednesday's older brother, kind-hearted and smart. He enjoys engineering machines (sometimes with his father), playing with blasting caps, and has a pet octopus named Aristotle.

Thing T. Thing (Ted Cassidy or Jack Voglin): A disembodied hand that appears out of boxes and other containers. Thing apparently has the ability to teleport between containers. Thing is responsible for common everyday tasks, such as retrieving the mail, writing letters, or giving a pat on the shoulder. When he's done these tasks, the family member he's done this for always says, “Thank you, Thing.” Thing is not unique, there was a female Thing called Lady Fingers, and another one called Esmerelda, introduced in different episodes.

Cousin Itt
Cousin Itt (Felix Silva, Roger Arroyo): Gomez' cousin, a short creature completely hidden by head-to-floor long hair, who speaks in unintelligible gibberish that only the Addamses can understand. He wears sunglasses and occasionally a hat.

Morticia's Sister, Ophelia
Ophelia Frump (Carolyn Jones): Morticia's older sister, Gomez was originally engaged to her in an arranged marriage until Gomez met Morticia. Ophelia has flowers growing in her hair and enjoys judo, which she can do remarkably well.

Morticia's mother
Geek Guest-Stars: Margaret Hamilton, who played Morticia's mother, was of course the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and also appeared on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Journey Back to Oz (as the voice of Aunt Em), and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.
John Astin on "Wild Wild West"
Carolyn Jones on "Wonder Woman"
Geek Pedigree: John Astin has done voices for animated series, including Recess, Johnny Bravo, Pinky and the Brain, Duckman, and many others, including reprising his role as Gomez for the Addams Family animated series, played Grandpappa Addams in The New Addams Family, was Professor Albert Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., appeared on several episodes of Eerie, Indiana and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, played Buddy Ryan on Night Court, appeared in three episodes of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, played the Riddler in two episodes of Batman, and was on one episode of The Wild Wild West.
Carolyn Jones played Queen Hippolyta in three episodes of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, reprised her role as Morticia for the Addams Family animated series, appeared in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, played Marsha, Queen of Diamonds in five episodes of Batman, and had appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and House of Wax.
Ted Cassidy on "Star Trek"
Ted Cassidy's stature and voice made him much in demand, doing a voice in Angry Red Planet, voicing Metallus and Tarko the Terrible on Space Ghost, voicing Frankenstein Jr., appearing in The Girl from UNCLE, Lost in Space, Batman (cameoing as Lurch), Star Trek (playing Ruk in “What are Little Girls Made Of,” Balok's puppet voice in “The Corbomite Manuever,” and providing the Gorn's voice in “Arena”), The Man From UNCLE, the voice of Galactus in The Fantastic Four, the voice of Igoo on The Herculoids, the voice of Meteor Man in the Galaxy Trio segments of Birdman, I Dream of Jeannie, Tarzan, voicing Injun Joe and his counterparts in The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, reprising his role as Lurch for the animated Addams Family, playing Bigfoot on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, playing Isiah in the TV movie Planet Earth, The Man From Atlantis, voicing the demon Balzaroth in the Dr. Strange TV movie, voicing the Thing in the 1978 Fantastic Four, providing voices for Black Manta, Brainiac and others in Challenge of the Super Friends, and voicing Godzilla in the animated series of the same name.
Jackie Coogan
Felix Silla on "Buck Rogers"
Jackie Coogan also appeared in episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and The Wild Wild West and reprised his role of Fester for the Addams Family animated series.

Felix Silla also played an Emperor Penguin in Batman Returns, played Dink in Spaceballs, Twiki in Buck Rugers in the 25th Century, an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, Colonel Poom in Lidsville, a Troll and a Goblin in separate episodes of Bewitched, Polka Dotted Horse and various characters on H. R. Pufnstuf, a child gorilla in Planet of the Apes, Willy the Midget in The Monkees, and played a Talosian on Star Trek.

DVD Release: Complete series box set.

Website: covers all the incarnations of the Addams Family!

Notes: Oddly enough, The Addams Family debuted in the same television season as The Munsters did! And I'm sure most, if not all, of you know that when the series was being developed, Charles Addams had to come up with names for just about all of the characters, since they didn't have names in the single-panel comics. Gomez almost ended up being called “Repelli”! When Jackie Coogan first auditioned for Fester, he had a full head of hair, and was turned down for the part. Undaunted, he went out, shaved his head, and reaudtioned, and was hired!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toy of the Week #11: AHI Batmobiles!

AHI must've been the king of producing 1966 TV Batmobile toys, given the variety of them, and you're going to see a lot of them here -- maybe even all of them, I'm not quite sure!

This first Batmobile the seller said was friction-powered!

This was a battery powered Batmobile!

A 1971 "Mystery Action" Batmobile, probably the biggest one they made!

1977 Radio Controlled Batmobile!

Super-Fast Accelerator Batmobile!

This Batmobile and Batboat set looks like it has the same Batmobile as the one at the beginning of this post!

The seller of this one said it was a "pull and go" version!

You can see the picture on the left shows this is one of the "pull strip" Batmobiles!

Remote Controlled Batmobile!

And finally, here's the Spin-Out Batmobile!

Want to find one of these, or at least see how much people are trying to get for them? Click here or here! The latter link will show all vintage Batmobiles, by the way.

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1974 Kenner Fat Albert and Scooby-Doo!


As promised, we're back to a Kenner Give-A-Show set, this one released in 1974!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cool Stuff: Yes, More Batman Stuff!

First up this week, we've got this t-shirt -- which may have been a custom project -- that features what looks like either the Filmation late 1960s model of Robin, or perhaps pre-Super Friends (i.e. Scooby-Doo Movies) Robin!

The Indexible Hulk #11

Fantastic Four 025Issue: Fantastic Four #25

Title: “The Hulk Vs. The Thing”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Illustrated by Jack Kirby, Inking by George Bell (a pseudonym for George Roussos), Lettering by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: Alicia Masters

Villain: The Hulk

Hulk Intelligence: Thug... not really cunning, just a thug.

Guest-Stars: The Avengers, Rick Jones

Plot: The tale begins as Reed's trying yet another cure out on the Thing, but Ben doesn't want to take it, thinking that his girlfriend Alicia prefers him as the Thing, and Ben won't take any formula unless it lets him change back and forth between his human and Thing forms. Alicia shows up about that time, carrying a newspaper that tells how the Avengers are returning to the US to seek the Hulk. Meanwhile, the Hulk has dropped a massive boulder on a highway, forcing two truckers to stop, and demanding they let him ride in the back of their truck, which the Hulk empties out in seconds. As the truck leaves, the Hulk starts to rest in the back, and changes back to Banner. When the truckers are stopped at a road block, Banner flees the truck, and the police aren't concerned about him. Banner makes his way to the hidden cave lab, but en route, he changes back into the Hulk again, and it's in that form that he arrives at the lab. Meanwhile, the Avengers are investigating where the Hulk had emptied out the truck (the team currently stands as Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man, the Wasp, and Captain America, with Rick Jones along for the ride). Rick opines that the Hulk must be heading for his secret lab, and when pressed further, he shuts up. At the lab, the Hulk trashes the equipment there, and empties out his pockets to rid himself of any traces of Banner. The Hulk finds a newspaper clipping telling that Captain America has joined the Avengers, and realizes that Rick is with them. This enrages the Hulk (who figures Rick deserted him), and he decides to head to New York to destroy the Avengers! 24 hours later, the Hulk arrives at the city! Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building, Reed Richards has collapsed in his lab, and the FF take Reed to a doctor in the Fantasti-Car. On the way, they spot the Hulk rampaging through part o the city, and the Human Torch decides to go after the Hulk. The Torch seems to have the upper hand, but the Hulk shocks him with some high voltage wires, stunning the Torch. Word of the Torch's defeat reaches the Thing, who's at FF HQ with Sue and the bedridden Reed. The Thing isn't sure what to do – he doesn't want to leave Reed – but Reed awakens for a few moments and orders Sue and the Thing to attack the Hulk. As Sue and Ben head to the scene in a police car, the Torch has recovered, and the Hulk picks Johnny up to throw him. Before he can succeed, however, Sue throws an invisible force field around her brother, which the Hulk can't easily break through. The Hulk grabs the force field around Johnny and leaps into the air, making the strain on Sue too hard, causing her to pass out. When the Hulk lands, the Thing engages him in battle! As the two titans clash, buildings are destroyed, along with buses and other items. At the Baxter Building, Reed hears about the battle on the TV, and tries to make his way there, but he's too weak. At the battle, the assistance of the Yancy Street Gang buys the Thing a minute of breathing space as they send a truck down the street that hits the battling titans, knocking them into the bed as the truck rolls down the street, to the end of a dock, and into the water! Ben tries to get away from the Hulk by climbing aboard a speedboat and heading back to shore, but the Hulk catches up and destroys the boat. The battle then continues as the two climb up a bridge (causing all sorts of structural damage there, by the way). Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building, Sue's brought the doctor, who gives Reed a sedative, which is all he can do, since Reed was working with unknown, dangerous, strange microbes and untested formulae. At the battle, the Thing is heavily stunned, and the Hulk leaves him to search for the Avengers (who are in the southwest looking for the Hulk). Ben gets up, beaten but still not defeated, and he chases off after the Hulk vowing that the only way the Hulk will stop him is by killing him!

Invention Exchange: Nothing of note here, unless you count Reed's latest attempt to cure the Thing.

Reprinted In: Fantastic Four Annual #4, Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles, Marvel Treasury Special – Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag (1974), Marvel Masterworks #13, Hulk Vs. Thing, Essential Fantastic Four #2, Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four #3, Fantastic Four Omnibus #1.

Notes: Throughout this issue, Stan referred to Banner as being “Bob” Banner, which led to the later “Robert Bruce Banner” naming.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

CBT: 1963 Huckleberry Hound Coloring Book, Part 1!

This Huck coloring book is kind of an odd one... There are definitely some different stories within this!

Kirby Kovers #10

This week's Kirby Kovers starts off with Fantastic Four #2! Now, this may not be a very popular opinion, but some of the early FF covers (especially the first three) are not quite up to what we'd typically expect from Jack Kirby. I'm not sure if it was Jack, or the inking. Let's look at this cover, for example: Johnny just looks odd... the flames around him without the usual sketchy lines over a red figure just looks weird, the Thing is completely misshapen (I know, the Thing evolved over time until he achieved his set look), the background is nearly nonexistent (aside from the floorboards, the window Reed's reaching through, and a few pictures on the walls), it's completely odd when you think about it that Reed is hanging so far back while Sue's coming forward (although invisible) brandishing a fire extinguisher... The best thing I can say about is that from a composition view, it's well laid out, with the Skrull being lifted up flowing to Ben hitting a Skrull flowing to Johnny to the other Skrull, and then following there through Reed's arm, making the number "6" on the cover. I wonder if there were any alternate cover ideas that were discarded?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monster Monday!

October is over, but Monster Mondays continue with this Revell Models reissue of Aurora's "Monsters of the Movies" Dracula!

Dog of the Geek: Devil!

devilBreed: Mountain Wolf

Original Appearances: The Phantom Comic Strip (King Features Syndicate, 1936-Present)

Other Appearances: Phantom comic books from all over the world, Phantom 1943 Movie Serial.

Biography: Devil the Wolf is one of The Phantom's animal allies, the others being the horse Hero and the falcon Fraka. Devil lives with the Phantom (Kit Walker) and his family, wife Diana, and children Kit and Heloise. The Phantom first met Devil when Devil was a cub. Devil's sire was named Satan. Devil's mother was killed by hunters who stole two cubs to train as killers. Devil was hidden by his mother's body when she fell, and was hidden. The Phantom found Devil and admired his feisty spirit, and took the pup to train him. When given a chance to return to the pack, Devil decided to stay with the Phantom. Devil often travels with the Phantom around the world, with the Phantom actually purchasing seats on commercial flights for Devil (when told that there's a policy against dogs flying in the passenger cabin, the Phantom replied that since Devil is a wolf, not a dog, the rule does not apply). Satan's wolf pack was actually descended from a group of four pups brought to Bangalia in the 19th century by the Phantom of that era.

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: The Phantom

Miscellaneous: Devil has a close and unusual partnership with Hero, and together they have performed some amazing deeds.