Saturday, December 17, 2011

Geek TV #11: Battlestar Galactica (Original Series)

battlestara2Concept: One part Star Wars, one part assorted mythological and Egyptian stuff, and one part TV budget, and you get... “Feeling from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest – a shining planet – known as “Earth.”

Total Episodes: 22

Original Air Dates: 1979-1978

Original Network: ABC

Geek Factor: 8

Commander Adama (Lorne Greene): Leader of the Battlestar Galactica, and father to Capt. Apollo and Athena. It's his idea to send the Galactica and the remaining humans in whatever spaceships they could find and flee their homeworlds in search of the legendary 13th Colony of Mankind, Earth.
Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch): Top-ranking Viper pilot, passionate, and fair-minded. Best friends with Lt. Starbuck, even if he doesn't always approve of Starbuck's interests.
Lt. Starbuck (Dirk Benedict): Possibly a better Viper pilot than Apollo, Starbuck is the cigar-smoking, wise-cracking ladies' man who can't pass up a good game of Pyramid.
Lt. Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) reserved, thoughtful and loyal Viper pilot, in many ways the opposite of Starbuck.
Baltar (John Colicos): Mankind's greatest enemy, a human who sold out his entire race to the Cylons in return for power.
Athena (Maren Jensen): Beautiful daughter of Adama and sister to Apollo, her main position is on the Galactica bridge operating a scanner. She is in love with Starbuck, and has a rivalry with Cassiopeia.
Troy “Boxey” (Noah Hathaway): Annoying to many viewers, Boxey was the son of Serina, adopted by Apollo after the two married, now being raised by Apollo as his own son after his wife's death. When his daggit (dog) was killed during the attack on Caprica, Apollo later found a “replacement” for Boxey, a robotic daggit named Muffit II after the original daggit.
Cassiopeia (Laurette Spang): Lovely socialator turned nurse, in love with Starbuck.
Flight Sgt. Jolly (Tony Swartz): Hefty, jovial, likeable fellow, and another of Galactica's excellent Viper pilots.
Colonel Tigh (Terry Carter): Executive officer of the Galactica and a close, personal friend of Commander Adama, a no-nonsense officer and former pilot.
Omega (David Greenan): Core command crewmember, more or less the operations manager of the Galactica.
Sheba (Anne Lockhart): Daughter of the legendary Commander Cain of the equally legendary Battlestar Pegasus, Sheba transferred to Galactica after the apparent loss of Pegasus. After her transfer, she begins to develop the start of a romantic relationship with Apollo.
Flight Cpl. Rigel (Sarah Rush): Core Command operative on the Galactica, coordinating Viper defense and lauch approval procedures.
Lucifer (Felix Silla/Jonathan Harris): Cylon IL-series attached to Baltar, although the two have different ways of thinking. Probably ptu in place to keep an eye on Baltar as much as aid him.
Imperious Leader (Voice of Patrick MacNee): Highest authority of the Cylon empire who struck a bargain with Baltar that allowed the Cylons to take over the Twelve Colonies.

Geek Guest-Stars:
Let's see if I can pare down from what I've typically written for this section!
Jane Seymour, who played the ill-fated Serina, had made her first geek appearance in the James Bond film Live and Let Die as Solitaire, and later played Farah in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Her most recent geek role (at the time of this writing) was Dr. Victoria Stangel in seven episodes of the 2006 season of Smallville.
Jeff McKay, who played Cpl Komma in three episodes, was first brought to geekdom's attention playing Gordon “Gordie” Masterson in the Dr. Shrinker segments of The Krofft Supershow, and after Galactica, played Hugo Kaufman on The Wild Wild West Revisited, played Corky on Tales of the Gold Monkey, guest-starred in two episodes of The Greatest American Hero, and voiced Fireflight on The Transformers.He died in 2008.
Lew Ayers portrayed Mandemus in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Vaslovik in The Questor Tapes, guest-starred in an episode of The Magician, two episodes of The Bionic Woman, and one episode each of The Fantastic Journey and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, also playing Bill Atherton in Damien: Omen II prior to playing President Adar in the first two episodes of Galactica. He later played Jason Burke in Salem's Lot (1979). He died in 1996.
The near-legendary (or should that be just legendary) Wilfried Hyde-White played “Doodles” Fletcher in Tarzan and the Lost Safari, guested on an episode of The Twilight Zone (1963), Mission: Impossible, and played Captain Reginauld K. Klaus in The Magic Christian before playing Sire Anton in the first two Galactica episodes. Later, he played Dr. Goodfellow in 11 episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He died in 1991.
Roy Thinnes is best known for playing David Vincent in The Invaders, but he also played Colonel Glenn Ross in Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, and guested on a 1977 episode of Tales of the Unexpected before playing Croft in the two-parter episode “Gun on Ice Planet Zero.” He later played Roger Collins on the 1991 revival of Dark Shadows and played Van Order in the TV Series War of the Worlds. He played David Vincent again in the 1995 TV Movie The Invaders, and played Jeremiah Smith in three episodes of The X-Files
James Olson played Dr. Mark Hall in The Andromeda Strain, Capt. William H. Kemp in Moon Zero Two, guested in an episode of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, two episodes of The Bionic Woman, and then guested as Thane in the two-parter “Gun On Ice Planet Zero.” He later guested on Project U.F.O, and played Father Adamsky in Amityville II: The Posession
The Ice Planet Zero episode had a lot of geek guest-stars! It also had Christine Belford, who had guested on an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man prior to playing Baroness Paula Von Gunther in an episode of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman and guesting in an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. After Galactica, she guested on Beyond Westworld, The Incredible Hulk (1979-1981), The Greatest American Hero, and Mann and Machine

John Fink played George Kerby in the TV Movie Topper Returns and guested on The Bionic Woman before playing Dr. Payne in two episodes of Galactica, and also had small parts in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin
Lloyd Bridges first came to geekdom attention playing Col. Floyd Graham in Rocketship X-M, but of course he'll always be remembered for playing Mike Nelson on Sea Hunt. He also guested on Mission: Impossible and Tales of the Unexpected before playing Commander Cain in the two-part “The Living Legend.” Shortly after Galactica, he played Steve McCroskey in Airplane!, which even more people these days probably remember than Sea Hunt, and also played the White Knight in the 1985 TV movie of Alice in Wonderland. He died in 1998.

Ray Milland played Dr. James Xavier in X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes, Harry Baldwin in Panic in Year Zero!, Guy Carrell in Premature Burial, guested on Night Gallery, played Harry Flexner in Terror in the Wax Museum, Maxwell Kirshner in The Thing With Two Heads, Aristotle Bolt in Escape to Witch Mountain, and a few other geek roles before playing Sire Uri in the first two Galactica episodes. He died in 1986.

Rick Springfield voiced his animated counterpart in Mission: Magic! And guest-starred on The Six Million Dollar Man prior to playing Lieutenant Zac (the younger brother of Apollo) in the first two Galactica episodes. He also guest-starred on The New Adventures of Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk (1979), then much later played Christopher Chance in the 1992 version of Human Target
While he had several guest-starring roles on geek TV shows (including The Green Hornet), Lloyd Bochner had his first major geek roles playing Harmon Temple III in City Beneath the Sea and Dr. Cory in The Dunwich Horror. He guest-starred on The Starlost, The Magician, The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man (1978) before playing Commandant Leither in two episodes of Galactica. Much later, he guest-starred in The Adventures of Superboy and voiced Mayor Hamilton Hill on Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. He died in 2005.

battlestara1Olan Soule appeared as Carmichael on two episodes, but way before that, he'd appeared in a small part on The Day the Earth Stood Still as well as in This Island Earth, he played Aristotle “Tut” Jones in the TV series Captain Midnight, appeared in three episodes of One Step Beyond, two episodes of The Twilight Zone, three episodes of Mister Ed, an episode of The Addams Family, The Munsters and Bewitched, three My Favorite Martian episodes, an episode of Batman (1966), The Girl From UNCLE and The Monkees, and then, in 1978, he voiced Alfred and Bruce Wayne Batman on The Batman/Superman Hour, in segments later released as The New Adventures of Batman. While guesting on other shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and Mission: Impossible, he voiced Batman again in four episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and then again on Super Friends, The All-New Super Friends Hour, and Challenge of the Super Friends. During Galactica, he also guest-starred om three episodes of Project UFO. He continued to voice Batman in the 1980-1983 Super Friends before being replaced by Adam West, but in SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show he voiced Professor Martin Stein, as well as the same role in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. He died in 1994.

Geek Pedigree:
Series creator Glen A. Larson had previously created Alias Smith and Jones, wrote the TV movie The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, created the Galactica follow-up Galactica 1980, developed Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, created Automan, Knight Rider, and wrote the TV movie NightMan, based on the comic book character.

David G. Phinney was an associate producer, and he served in that same role on The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Galactica 1980. He wrote an episode of Galactica and directed episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Quantum Leap.

John Dykstra was a producer on four episodes, and is generally considered to be by many people the special effects supervisor, a position he also held on Silent Running, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Alice in Wonderland (1985), My Stepmother is an Alien, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Spider-Man, Spider-Man II, and X-Men: First Class.

Supervising producer on two episodes Leslie Stevens was executive producer on the original The Outer Limits, later producing episodes of The Invisible Man (1975), Gemini Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the 1996-1998 version of The Outer Limits. He also wrote episodes for all of those shows or had a hand in developing them for TV. He died in 1998.

Musical composer Stu Phillips had previously composed background music for The Monkees, scored The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Spider-Man (1978-1979), Galactica 1980, Automan and Knight Rider
Dirk Benedict had previously played David Blake in Sssssss.

John Colicos played Kor in the original Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy,” guested on Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, The Magician, The Six Million Dollar Man, and later guested on War of the Worlds (1989), voiced Apocalypse on X-Men (1992-1995), and reprised his role as Kor on three episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He died in 2000.  

Patrick MacNee was the opening credits announcer, the voice of Imperious Leader, and Count Iblis, but for many geeks, he'll always be John Steed in The Avengers.

Anne Lockhart is the daughter of June Lockhart (Lost in Space). 

 Felix Silla was the man inside the Imperious Leader costume, and his small size also landed him the part of Cousin Itt on The Adams Family, as well as roles in Star Trek (a Talosian in “The Cage”), a child gorilla in Planet of the Apes, Polka Dotted Horse and others on H.R. Pufnstuf, Colonel Poom on Lidsville, Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and an Emperor Penguin in Batman Returns. Jonathan Harris, the voice of Lucifer, will forever be known as Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space, but had many, many other geek roles.

DVD Release: Complete series

Website: features both the original and remake series.

Notes: You'll no doubt recall that, amazingly, not all that long after Battlestar Galactica was cancelled, it was kind of brought back as Galactica 1980, which I'll eventually get to here. I have to admit, when I heard that the SciFi Channel was reviving Battlestar Galactica, I had my doubts, especially when I saw how different it was going to be from the original – but then I watched the first miniseries, and I was a convert (although in many ways, I'm still more of a fan of the original series). I was very excited when this show came out, and my family watched it faithfully, as did the families of all my friends, so we were somewhat surprised when it was cancelled! Well, not that surprised, maybe, as it didn't take long before we realized how often the exact same special effects shots were used over and over and over again, making the show look cheap... and then there was the Eastern Empire thing – you know, the Space Nazis? – and that whole thing went on for way too long. What originality and promise there was in the initial few episodes seemed to peter out quickly, and it went into more pastiche. Yes, Star Trek did their space Nazis, but that was in one episode... Galactica had several! Still, high points of the series were the first few episodes and the later Living Legend two-parter with the Pegasus.

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #16

Okay, this week we're moving away from Mickey, Donald and Goofy, and looking at some of the other Silly Symphonies that Disney was using as a training ground for doing feature films! I'll feature three of them this week, and another trio next week!

First up this time is "The Tortoise and the Hare," hailed as the first successful animation of speed!

Next, "Music Land"!

And lastly this week, "Ferdinand the Bull"!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #17: Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #1, Part 1!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Toy of the Week #16: AHI Phasers!

This week, the Toy of the Week feature looks at some of the various Phaser toys that AHI produced, beginning with the one above: The Phaser Ray-Gun. This basic toy was simply a flashlight mounted into a phaser, that used a AA battery to power it (which I believe went in the handle). Of course, like many toys of this kind, it was scaled to children's hands, and not adults. You'll note that there's a Star Trek logo on the side that kind of/sort of matches the logo on the packaging, which itself was based on the Gold Key Star Trek logo! You'll also notice the complete lack of nozzle on the front of this phaser, something I definitely noticed when my mom bought one of these for me! Still, it was a phaser that made a light, and I was more or less happy with it (my brother, who got a Space: 1999 version, was probably happier, as his wasn't missing such obvious details). Neither version made an appropriate sound - you might notice the "with CLICK ACTION NOISE" on the burst, and that was pretty lame, but what can you expect out of a rack toy, anyway? The background image on this is really quite bizarre, too... there's Spock's head floating above what looks like a jungle planet, with the Enterprise and a Klingon Battle Cruiser (the blue ship, if I'm not mistaken, just above the butt of the phaser) about to engage each other in battle. Nice coloring on the card, though!

Give-A-Show Fridays: Chad Valley 1975 Planet of the Apes, Parts 1 and 2!

Been looking forward to presenting these for a while... of all the Chad Valley sets, I think this one is the coolest of them all! It's a complete story, although I don't know that it's necessarily an adaption of one episode of the series (there's a few incidents in the overall story that were the basis of a full episode on the show). I wish I'd had these done when I was doing Planet of the Apes Month at the Random Acts of Geekery!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #16: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnies #7, Part 3!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cool Stuff: Hanna-Barbera Stuff! Oh, and More, Including Land of the Giants!

You know, when I'm scouring eBay for photos of cool things to share here, I go through phases when it comes to Hanna-Barbera merchandise. Sometimes, I'll save just about every photo of anything I can find; other times, I may only pick one or two things that are just too cool to not save. And other times, I'll end up just looking for stuff with a particular character. And then there are times where I go months without even checking! And it's during these times when I don't even look on eBay that photos I'd already saved long ago come up, like this bunch from 2008!

Atom Ant Playset!

The Indexible Hulk #16

Tales to Astonish 060Issue: Tales to Astonish #60

Title: “The Incredible Hulk Has Finally Been Awarded his Own Series!”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Illustrated by Steve Ditko, Inked by George Bell, Lettered by Sam Rosen

Supporting Cast: General Ross, Betty Ross

Villain: A mystery spy!

Hulk Intelligence: Cunning Brute

Guest-Stars: None

Plot: In Banner's hidden cave, the Hulk is changing back to Bruce Banner. Soon afterward, Banner arrives at the missile base to finish work on his robot project. A shadowy person notes that nobody's allowed to see this robot except Banner (oh, and General Ross and Betty, too, since they're already in the robot room). Bruce continues to work on the robot, worrying about changing to the Hulk again, and realizes that now the changes are coming when he's under stress and pressure, which causes a chemical reaction that turns him into the Hulk. He also realizes that the reverse happens, when the Hulk feels stressed out he turns back to Banner. With a new deadline to demonstrate the robot, Banner works through the night to finish it, but when he hears a noise outside the lab and sees the spy running away, the stress causes him to turn into the Hulk! The Hulk leaps away from the base, and the spy climbs into the robot to operate it at the test himself! At the test site, the robot arrives and moves to the test explosions, where it performs well, surviving tank shells and then destroying the drone tank that fired the shells. This alerts Ross, who orders that the robot be stopped. The spy learns that somehow, the hatch that would allow him to leave the robot has been fused shut, so he can't get out! At this time, however, the Hulk spots the robot, and a dim memory in the Hulk's brain allows him to realize Banner invented the robot... although the Hulk thinks it was built to attack him! The Hulk starts to attack the robot, but nothing he does seems able to damage it, and eventually the strain causes him to change back into Banner, and he's soon found by Ross. The robot – and the spy inside – has escaped! Banner vows to build a more powerful robot to defeat the first one, but Ross decides he'll defeat it his way! And that's where this chapter ends!

Invention Exchange: Bruce Banner's Robot, which really isn't so much an independently operating robot, but more like a bulky suit of power armor. Apparently Banner felt he needed to try to outdo Tony Stark!

Reprinted In: Marvel Super-Heroes #25, The Incredible Hulk (Simon & Shuster), Essential Hulk #1.

Notes: Once again, the trigger for the transformation of Bruce to the Hulk is different... although oddly, just last issue Bruce already knew that stress caused him to change! I have no idea how Stan decided that if the Hulk undergoes enough stress, he'll change back to Banner, but that would eventually change. Again, I have to wonder – when is Banner working on these projects? How many scientific disciplines does he cover? And why is the spy pretty much unconcerned when he realizes he's trapped in this robot? How does he plan to eat or deal with bodily waste?

Christmas Countdown 2011 #15: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnies #7, Part 2!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comic Book Advertisements!

OK, I'm going to try to give the BB gun ads a break for the rest of the month!
So this time around, it's this house ad for Disney Comics Digest that appeared on the inside back cover of Mighty Samson #15. You know what really bugs me about this ad, more than anything else? The quotation marks around "all new"! Further down into the text, it mentions the "same stories" that you'd be familiar with from comics and movies... so how do they justify calling it "all new"? I'm betting there was some editing and condensation to fit the page size!

For Monsters Only #6


Christmas Countdown 2011 #14: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnies #7, Part 1!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kirby Kovers #15

This week's first Kirby Kover is this issue of Tales of the Unexpected, and it's hard to read the number, but I think it's number 15... no, wait, it's number 13! It's a remarkably sedate cover for Kirby, especially when you consider how much more Kirby could've put into it. It's even more lacking than the Two-Gun Kid cover I showed you last week!

CBT: Yogi Bear - A Christmas Visit!

Yogi Bear - A Christmas Visit001

Christmas Countdown 2011 #13: Marvel Classics Comics #36 - A Christmas Carol, Part 2!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Monster Monday!

This week starts out with King Kong, beginning with these French posters!

Dog of the Geek: Gromit!

wallace-and-gromit-rabbitBreed: Beagle
Original Appearances: “Wallace and Gromit” animated shorts and features, beginning with A Grand Day Out (1989).
Other Appearances: Unknown
Biography: Gromit lives with his owner, Wallace. He was born on February 12, and graduated from Dogwarts University with a double first in Engineering for Dogs. He enjoys knitting, reading the newspaper, and cooking. He's handy with electronics and is an excellent airplane pilot. Sometimes, Gromit refuses to take Wallace's orders. His only love interest was Fluffles, a poodle.
Powers: None... well, he does seem to have opposable thumbs of a sort, which most dogs are missing (except for some in prior posts)
Group Affiliation: None
Miscellaneous: Originally, it was considered to give Gromit a voice, to be provided by Peter Hawkins, but that was abandoned. Critics believe Gromit's silence makes him the perfect straight man for Wallace.

Christmas Countdown 2011 #12: Marvel Classics Comics #36 - A Christmas Carol, Part 1!

You had the chance to read the Classics Illustrated version a few days ago, here's Marvel's take on it!