Saturday, November 19, 2011

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #12

As noted last time, Mickey's role in his own cartoons was going to be changing, and soon. The earlier Mickey cartoons had him being a bit raucous and rough, but his popularity made it imperative that he be softened up a bit. Losing some of the early spirit of Mickey's character demanded that other characters be brought in to pep things up!

Here's "The Delivery Boy," which not only features Minnie Mouse, but also Pluto.

Yes, Mickey's a bit rowdy here, but nowhere near as much as his earlier cartoons, where he'd turn farm animals into musical instruments! Here's another Mickey cartoon from the same period, "Barnyard Broadcast":

In this one, Mickey's really acting as straight man for the supporting cast of Minnie, Pluto, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, as well as the cat and kittens.

Disney was also responsible for bringing Technicolor to cartoons, and in 1932, he released the first Technicolor cartoon, "Flowers and Trees."

Disney, after the success of this cartoon, decided to use his "Silly Symphonies" as a kind of proving ground for fresh ideas and new talent, and would soon hit the jackpot again with what is probably the most popular and well-known of that series!

Geek TV #9.1: Batman (1966), Part 1!

batman01This one will require two installments, due to the length of the article! Here's part 1:
Concept: Holy high camp, Batman! It's the caped crusader and boy wonder battling their vilest foes from the comic books, plus a few ringer villains thrown in, all in the heart of Gotham City!

Total Episodes: 120

Original Air Dates: 1966-1968

Original Network: ABC

Geek Factor: 10

Neil Hamilton
Adam West
Burt Ward
Bruce Wayne/Batman (Adam West): Millionaire and philanthropist whose parents were murdered when he was a child. Extremely serious and straight-laced, when evil strikes Gotham City, he becomes Batman, the Caped Crusdader!

Dick Grayson/Robin (Burt Ward): Ward to Bruce Wayne, and secretly Robin, the Boy Wonder, with a penchant for saying “Holy _____!” all the time, with the blank being filled in with something important.

Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton): Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department, only he and Chief O'Hara are allowed to use the Hotline in the Commissioner's office to summon Batman. Perhaps a bit over-reliant on the Caped Crusaders. Father of Barbara Gordon (not that we found out about that until the final season).
Stafford Repp

William Dozier
Madge Blake

Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp): Chief of police and devoted sidekick to the Commissioner.
Narrator (William Dozier): As much a character as anyone else, a vocal version of the comic book captions.

Alan Napier
Yvonne Craig
Cesar Romero
Alfred (Alan Napier): Devoted butler to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, and the only other person to know not only the identities of the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder, but also (later) the Dominoed Daredoll, Batgirl!
Aunt Harriet Cooper (Madge Blake): Dick Grayson's aunt who lives in Wayne Manor, completely clueless about her nephew and his guardian's extra-curricular activities.
Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (Yvonne Craig): Daughter of Commissioner Gordon, this mild-mannered librarian becomes the sexy Batgirl when needed to battle crime!
The Joker (Cesar Romero): The clown prince of crime who laughs almost as often as the Riddler giggles! His crimes tend to have a theme to them based on humor or comedy, although not always.

Burgess Meredith
Julie Newmar
Eartha Kitt
The Penguin (Burgess Meredith): A fowl villain indeed, his crimes involve birds or umbrellas!

Catwoman (Julie Newmar/Eartha Kitt): The felonious feline female's crimes always involve cats.

Byron Keith
Frank Gorshin
John Astin

Mayor Linseed (Byron Keith): Mayor of Gotham City.

The Riddler (Frank Gorshin/John Astin): With a pathological need to provide riddles to clue in Batman to his crimes and a tendency to end just about every sentence with giggles!
Victor Buono
Anne Baxer and Vincent Price
King Tut/Professor William McElroy (Victor Buono): An original villain created for TV, when Profesor William McElroy gets struck on the head, he assumes the identity of the villainous King Tut, whose crimes have an Egyptian theme.
Egghead (Vincent Price) and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks  (Anne Baxter): Neither appears without the other, it seems. Egghead pulls various egg-related crimes in order to appease and woo Olga.

Geek Guest-Stars:
Marsha, Queen of Diamonds
Carolyn Jones (who played Marsha, Queen of Diamonds) starred as Morticia in The Addams Family, co-starring there with replacement Riddler John Astin.
Cliff Robertson, who played the villain Shame, previously starred as Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers in the series of that name, appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone, and appeared in an episode of The Outer Limits before Batman, and then pretty much stayed away from genre TV and movies until a 1999 episode of the revived Outer Limits, and then playing Ben Parker in Spider-Man and the sequels.
Don “Red” Barry played Tarantula in the two Black Widow episodes and The Grand Vizier in two of the King Tut episodes, prior to that, he played Red Ryder in the serial Adventures of Red Ryder, appeared in Frankenstein 1970, The Munsters, The Wild Wild West, Land of the Giants, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Bionic Woman, and Doctor Dracula.
Prior to guest-starring on Batman (in four episodes, playing four different parts!), James Brolin guested on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, appeared in Fantastic Voyage, City Beneath the Sea, and Capricorn One, and has more recently guested on Monk and Psych.
Louie, the Lilac
Milton Berle was Louie the Lilac in four episodes, but he also appeared on an episode of I Dream of Jeannie and was in Mark Evanier's favorite movie, It's a Mad Mad Mad World.
Chuck Hicks appeared in four Batman's (usually King Tut episodes), and has also guested on The Man From UNCLE, Honey West, The Green Hornet, The Time Tunnel, The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Powers of Matthew Star, Voyagers! Manimal, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Flash, plus he played the Brow in Dick Tracy.
Jock Mahoney appeared in three epsiodes of Batman, including a two-parter playing a Catwoman henchman named Leo, and he also played Tarzan in Tarzan Goes to India and Tarzan's Three Challenges, plus he guest-starred on the Tarzan TV show (although not playing Tarzan, obviously!).
Terry Moore played Venus in three episodes of Batman, but she's probably best known for playing Jill Young in the movie Mighty Joe Young; she also guested on Knight Rider and had a cameo in the remake of Mighty Joe Young.
Leslie Parrish played two parts on Batman (one in a single episode, the other in two), plus she guested on Steve Canyon, Wild Wild West, Tarzan, Star Trek (playing Carolyn Palamas in “Who Mourns for Adonais?”), The Man From Uncle, The Magician, and Logan's Run, and was in the movie Li'l Abner as Daisy Mae, and also in Missile to the Moon, and The Giant Spider Invasion.
John Mitchum, who was in three episodes, also appeared in Science Fiction Theatre, Twilight Zone, Mr. Terrific, The Munsters, Bewitched, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
The Green Hornet and Kato
Van Williams, of course, is best known for The Green Hornet, playing the same part when he guest-starred on Batman (he also did the voice of the President in the 1966 Batman movie), but he also guested on Nanny and the Professor, Mission: Impossible, and Tales of the Unexpected.
Likewise, Bruce Lee guested playing Kato from The Green Hornet, but he also guest-starred in an episode of the 1960 Blondie!
Gary Owens not only guested as a voice on Batman, but he's had a long career as a narrator and voice actor in cartoons as well as playing on-screen, playing the lead in Roger Ramjet and Space Ghost, and also appearing in The Munsters, Mr. Terrific, The Green Hornet, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Superman (1975 TV movie – adapting the Broadway musical), Dr. Phibes Rises Again, playing the Blue Falcon on The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour, Dynomut Dog Wonder, and Scooby's Laff-A-Lympics, plus Return From Witch Mountain, Yogi's Space Race, Legends of the Superheroes, Galactica 1980, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Space Stars (Where he reprised his role as Space Ghost), The Mighty Orbots, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, and many, many other programs, although he's probably best known as the announcer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
Chief Screaming Chicken
Maurice Evans played the Puzzler in a pair of Batman episodes, and is probably best known for playing Dr. Zaius in the original Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but he's also appeared in The Man From UNCLE, I Spy, Tarzan, Bewitched (playing Samantha's father, Maurice), Terror in the Wax Museum, The Six Million Dollar Man: Solid Gold Kidnapping (TV movie), and Rosemary's Baby.
Edward Everett Horton, who played Chief Screaming Chicken in two Batman episodes with Egghead, is probably best known to us as the narrator of the Fractured Fairy Tales segment of Rocky and His Friends/The Bullwinkle Show, but he also guested in an episode of Nanny and the Professor, as did Van Johnson, who played the Minstrel in two Batman episodes.
The Sandman
Nancy Kovak played Queenie in two episodes, but has also appeared in Jason and the Argonauts (playing Medea), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, I Dream of Jeannie, The Man From UNCLE (two episodes, different parts), Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, The Invaders, Star Trek (She was Nona in “A Private Little War”), Get Smart, Bewitched (originally appearing as Sheila Summers – Darrin's girlfriend before Sam – in three episodes, then returning as a different character in two others), and The Invisible Man (TV series).
Michael Rennie, who played the villainous Sandman, is probably best known for playing Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and also appeared in The Lost World (1960), Cyborg 2087, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, I Spy, The Man From UNCLE, The Invaders, and Assignment Terror.
Anna Gram
Deanna Lund, who played Anna Gram (a Riddler sidekick) in two episodes, is probably best known for playing Valerie Scott on Land of the Giants, and was also in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, and guest-starred in an episode of The Incredible Hulk.
Grace Lee Whitney played Neila in two episodes with King Tut, and I'm sure you all recognize her as Yeoman Janice Rand in Star Trek, but she also appeared in The Outer Limits, Bewitched, The Next Step Beyond, and reprised her role of Janice Rand in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Star Trek VI, and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, as well as appearing in the fan productions Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
Francis X. Bushman appeared as Mr. Van Jones in two Riddler episodes, and also guested in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
Allan Jaffe, who played Harry in two Riddler episodes, also guest-starred on The Man From UNCLE, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Girl From UNCLE, Get Smart, The Wild Wild West, The Outer Limits, My Favorite Martian, and Mission: Impossible.
 The rest of the Geek Guest-Stars and More Next Week!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Toy of the Week #12: AHI Batplanes!

So far, I've covered AHI's Batboats, Batcopters, Batcycles, and Batmobiles, so it must be time for Batplanes!


So far in my researches, I've only found three different style of Batplanes that AHI made, and sadly, they only bear a slight resemblance to the Batplanes of the comic books. Above,there's the battery-powered Batplane, and it's the best-looking of the trio. Like one of the other ones, the wings could be folded up on the sides, but this one moves and has flashing lights.

This second Batplane looks much sillier than the first one, and is their friction powered, smaller model. It's kind of surprising to see both of these just in boxes, and none of them carded somehow, as most of the other Batman toys had at least one version of!

In some ways, this last Batplane is the best and the worst... the best in terms of it being an actual flying toy, of course... the worst in that it's just a standard glider with some Batman logos stuck on it and no other special details to make it truly unique!

This link will take you to all the current Batplane auctions on eBay... although at the time I'm writing this, most of them are Polar Lights reissues of the Aurora Batplane model kit.

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1974 Kenner Josie & the Pussycats and Speed Buggy!

Oddly enough, this is listed as "Speed Bugg" on the slide itself!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Indexible Hulk #12

Fantastic Four 026Issue: Fantastic Four #26

Title: “The Avengers Take Over!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Illustrated by Jack Kirby, Inked by George Bell (Roussos), Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: Rick Jones

Villain: The Incredible Hulk!

Hulk Intelligence: Brute of Average Intelligence

Guest-Stars: The Avengers

Plot: Continuing from the previous issue, Mr. Fantastic is still sick from the viruses and microbes he was working with to cure the Thing, the Torch is hospitalized after tackling the Hulk alone, the Invisible Girl's force field doesn't seem powerful enough to deal with the Hulk, and so the Thing is the only one left! Believing that the Thing was down and out, the Hulk turned his back, but then the Thing attacked again. The fight continues with the army and local TV looking on. At the Baxter Building, a team of specialists arrives to treat Reed Richards. At the hospital, the Torch wakes up and flames on, but has to first take off his asbestos pajamas before flying out of his room (yet he still seems to have his uniform on, although it wasn't shown before he flamed on). The Torch barely makes it to the scene of the battle, and starts to attack the Hulk despite Ben's warning him away, and the Hulk pulls a fire hydrant out of the sidewalk and tears the top off to douse the Torch. The Torch avoids the water, but the Hulk's next trick is to create a concussive blast by slamming two large chunks of what was either street or building together, which sends the Torch and Thing flying. The army steps in, firing a cannon shell at the Hulk, which the Hulk catches and spins around to toss back at them. Not far away, the Torch is stunned, and the Thing gets up to resume the fight. Meanwhile, the Hulk has gone underground, where he gets a subway train to stop and evacuate so he can ride it to Avengers Mansion. He enters the mansion to find the Avengers inside. The Hulk launches himself at his former teammates to get Rick, and he takes Rick with him and leaves before he can be stopped. Meanwhile, in a private room at a hospital, an antidote that was administered to Reed has worked, and before long, Reed's out of bed and back in uniform. He meets up with his teammates where the Army is gathering, and gets word that the Avengers are pursuing the Hulk (who'd been followed by the Wasp). The FF get into the Fantasti-Car and join the search. The spot the Hulk, who's being badgered by the Wasp (who flew into the Hulk's ear to buzz him). Suddenly, Captain America shows up and attacks with his shield while easily evading the Hulk's blows. The Torch flies between them to give Cap a breather, but Cap insists that he and the Avengers can handle the Hulk. There follows a veritable comedy of errors where the FF get into the Avengers' way and vice-versa, during which the Hulk manages to escape with Rick. The two teams, embarrassed, try to regroup, but simply argue with each other until Thor suggests they work together, which the Thing agrees to. Learning the Hulk has been spotted at a construction site, the teams converge there and or or less try to use teamwork to attack, although not very successfully at first. Eventually, they get their act together, and the Hulk seems to be on the verge of defeat! Suddenly, Rick Jones tosses an emergency gamma-ray treated capsule into the Hulk's mouth, causing the Hulk to start to change back to Bruce Banner. Before he can change completely, though, he escapes to the Hudson Bay. The Avengers and Fantastic Four vow to help each other in the future when needed.

Invention Exchange: Aside from some Iron Man gadgets, Bruce Banner's gamma ray-treated capsule is about it – but when did he create this and give it to Rick? It's one of the many inventions that Bruce supposedly invented, but we never saw him working on them in any way.

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: One of the greatest battles in the early days of Marvel Comics by far! Characters from multiple titles all crammed into two issues of a regular book – this would never be able to happen today, it would've probably ended up as a mini-series with crossover one-shots or issues of the regular titles of everyone involved that would've cost you $50-60 to get all of!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Monster Times #7!


Comic Book Advertisements!

From Thirteen "Going on Eighteen" #8 comes this week's first ad, for 104 King's Knights! Now, I'm pretty sure that these are the same kind of scale as the army men, Civil War soldiers, Roman centurions, etc. that we've all seen advertised in the comics, which turn out to be extremely tiny figures with hardly any detail... but I just have to applaud the variety that this set indicates!

The Monster Times #17


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CBT: 1963 Huckleberry Hound Coloring Book, Part 2!

And now, "Huck and the Martian Miss!"

Kirby Kovers #11

This week's Kirby Kovers starts with a look at Justice, Inc. #3! This book, for those of you unfamiliar with it, was an adaptation of the pulp character "The Avenger." Despite the blurb at the top, however, that character was not the creation of "Kenneth Robeson," as there was no real person by that name, it was merely a house name used by the writers of Doc Savage (Lester Dent most often), and I'm not even sure any of the Doc Savage writers had a hand in the original Avenger pulps! But I digress... This is a cover I kind of wish I'd used in last week's post, between the Thor and Eternals covers, as a demonstration of how Kirby's artwork continued to evolve, never really staying completely fixed in style. This cover, for example, shows Kirby's work with wrinkles on clothing. Sure, there were some wrinkles in the FF's uniforms while Kirby was drawing them, but nothing like the wrinkles on The Avenger here! Also note the various drawing techniques used on the monsters attacking the car -- each has distinct elements in how they're drawn to mimic scales, fur, or other textures. As noted last time around, the only real issue with this cover is that the car is not to scale with the figures! Richard Benson's driver (I forget the character name) looks like his elbow is way over on Benson's half of the vehicle in his attempt to steer! But as also noted, it's something that you don't tend to immediately notice, because the overall image "reads" so well! The figures and the car kind of form a capital "T" where the top of the "T" is curved... almost looks like an arrowhead with a blunt point!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dog of the Geek: Frank the Pug!

frank-the-pug1Breed: Alien disguised as a Pug

Original Appearances: Men in Black, Men in Black II

Other Appearances: Men in Black: The Animated Series

Biography: Frank the Pug is actually a Remoolian, an extraterrestrial, living on Earth disguised as a normal pug dog (which he vaguely resembles, although in his natural form, he has dark green color, antennas, and a 3-pointed tail... at least, according to the animated series). He is usually found at a kiosk operated by a man selling keys. When Men in Black new recruit Agent J is brought there by Agent K for the first time, J takes one look at the man selling the keys and says, “That's the worst disguise ever.” Frank responds, “If you don't like it, you can kiss my furry little butt!” In the animated series, a different person is running the kiosk, revealed to be a robot that Frank presses a button to make it talk – this may be the case in the first movie as well. In Men in Black II, Frank is now an MIB agent, referred to as Agent F, complete with uniform, and is partnered with Agent J.

Powers: None, unless you count having a better sense of scale than J and K have (I know, that makes no sense unless you've seen the first movie).

Group Affiliation: The Men in Black

Miscellaneous: In the movies, Frank was portrayed by a trained pug named Mushu with Tim Blaney providing his voice.

Monster Monday!

This week's Monster Monday begins with this lobby card for Frankenstein Conquers the World!