Thursday, January 03, 2013

Cliffhanger! The Vanishing Shadow, Chapters 10-12!

With the greater space between installments, I'll be posting more than one chapter each installment! Chapter 10: Chapter 11: Chapter 12:

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Geek TV: The Herculoids!

herculoidsConcept: A family of warriors and their alien animal allies defend their home world of Amzot from threats.

Total Episodes: 18 of the original series, 11 added in 1981 (see notes).

Original Air Dates: September 9, 1967-January 6, 1968

Original Network: CBS

Geek Factor: 8


herculoids5Zandor (Voice of Mike Road): The protector of Amzot and leader of the Hercucloids, husband of Tara and father of Dorno.

Tara (Voice of Virginia Gregg): Wife of Zandor, and a warrioress in her own right.
Dorno (Voice of Ted Eccles): Son of Zandor and Tara (though he calls them by their first names in the original series, not “Mother” or “Father”). Tends to get in trouble quickly.
Zok (Voice of Mike Road): A flying space dragon that can emit laser beams from his eyes and tail, can survive in space unaided, is capable of interstellar travel, and can breathe fire.

herculoids4Igoo (Voice of Mike Road or Ted Cassidy, depending on who you believe): A rock ape, nearly invulnerable to harm. Would do anything for Tara, whom he's very fond of and devoted to.

Tundro (voiced by Mike Road): A four-horned reptillian creature, like a cross between a rhino and a triceratops. Can shoot explosive energy rocks from his cannon-horn, has armored plating, can extend his legs, and is able to drill through solid rock by spinning his head around.

herculoids2Gloop and Gleep (Voiced by Don Messick): Protoplasmic creatures who can absorb and deflect energy blasts and lasers, and can form various shapes. Gloop is the larger of the two.

Geek Guest-Stars: Not Applicable

Geek Pedigree: The character designs of the Herculoids were done by Alex Toth, a longtime comic book artist who also designed Space Ghost, the Super Friends, and many other characters for animation. Series writer Ken Spears also wrote episodes of Space Ghost, The Banana Splits, Scooby Doo Where Are You, and many others. Joe Ruby was Ken Spears' partner for many of these, and later, the two would break away from Hanna-Barbera to form Ruby-Spears Studios. David Scott also wrote episodes of Super President and Moby Dick and The Mighty Mightor.

herculoids 3Mike Road is probably best known as the voice of Roger “Race” Bannon on Jonny Quest, although he also voiced Ugh in the Dino Boy segments of Space Ghost, as well as several voices for the 1967 Fantastic Four, and much later voicing Mr. Fantastic in the 1978 Fantastic Four, among other roles. Virginia Gregg voiced Maggie Belle Klaxon on Calvin and the Colonel, guest-starred on Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, The Addams Family, The Girl From UNCLE, Bewitched, and later did voices for Yogi's Gang, and These Are the Days, and guested on Man From Atlantis and The Six Million Dollar Man, as well as Project UFO. Ted Eccles appeared in episodes of Mister Ed, The Munsters, voiced the title character in The Little Drummer Boy, was Tooly in the Three Musketeers segments of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and later played Brad Fulton on Dr. Shrinker. Don Messick, on the other hand, has had too illustrious and long a career for me to do it justice!
DVD Release: Originally offered as “Print on Demand” only, the series is available in a complete set.

Notes: When Hanna-Barbera revived Space Ghost in their Space Stars cartoon, 11 new Herculoids segments were made for it. I was a huge fan of the original series, and wish it could be revived by people who would do it right!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

CBT: Six Million Dollar Man Coloring Book!

This is kind of an odd duck of a coloring book this time around... you'll see what I mean after the jump!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Government Comics!

This time around... we're going way back in time with this Civil Defense "Eat Right to Work and Win" comic, and it features all kinds of King Features characters. Not entirely a comic, but comic strips do play a big role in it!

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 9!

09-01Yes, it's two Beatles cartoon reviews this month! So, the first segment in this episode is "Little Child," and this one opens with the Fab Four at a Texas Indian Reservation (expect some stereotypes here). Ringo, for some reason, is pulling a donkey (which has a Beatle hair cut) along on a rope, which carries their instruments. They're approached by an Indian chief, who says "How!" and that leads into a whole Abbott and Costello-type bit, with the Beatles saying things like, "How what?" "How who?" "How why?" After a few minutes of this, the chief turns to the viewer and says, "Confusing, isn't it? Of course, I could clear it up by speaking perfect English, but they're tourists and I don't want to disappoint them." He then doffs his headdress to reveal a hat with "Guide" printed on it.

09-02John approaches the Indian and says (in broken English) that they are friends who come a long way to see their people, and the guide (in the same broken English) says he'll show them where they live. He brings them to a bunch of teepees, but Paul's excited about seeing a sign advertising Indian souveniers. John cautions them, saying Indians are excellent salesmen, and don't buy anything they don't want. They all rush to the teepee, and all come out laden with goods -- and then Paul takes the tent away! The chief, with a pile of cash, turns to us and says, "That's a lot of wampum in any language!"

09-03Later, their guide brings them to where some braves are practicing their archery, where the first brave hits the bullseye, the second splits that arrow, and the third splits the second arrow! Ringo asks the guide how they lost, which causes a reaction of surprise! Later, we see two Indian children: one, a girl, is trying to learn archery, but her arrows all fly far from the target; the other, a boy, teases her about it, saying girls can't be hunters and trappers, and tells her to play with her doll. She says, "Oh yeah? We'll see about that!" Back at the Beatles, their guide is showing how they trap game -- and one brave releases a buffalo from a stockade, which charges. The Beatles hide behind their guide. The buffalo runs straight to a rope trap, where it's caught and hung up. 

09-04Back at the Indian girl, she's trying to prove she's as good a trapper as anyone, and prepares her own rope trap when Paul and Paul come along and offer to help her... unaware that she's looped the rope around their own feet! She cuts her rope, and they end up hanging in the air, where they call for help! Ringo and George (and the donkey) come running, but Ringo and George are trapped, too! The girl goes off to find someone to show her accomplishment, and that's when they start performing "Little Child." The donkey and their guide (as well as the other Indians we see) enjoy the performance, and we get a lot of shots of the Beatles upside down.

09-0509-06Finally, the girl returns with the Indian boy, who sees her accomplishment, and says, "You've captured the Beatles!" The girl, apparently unaware that they were the Beatles, faints, and then John says not to shout their name so loud, or they'll attract visitors. Sure enough, a bunch of braves on horseback come charging their way, prompting John to pull out a bugle and blow a cavalry call, which causes the braves to stop (saying, "Oh, no! Don't they ever get tired of winning?") and reverse their charge. Later, having been released, the Beatles say goodbye to their new friends as they prepare to leave on a train, and Ringo looks over at a new totem pole and asks where they found silly-looking faces like that -- of course, the faces on the totem pole are those of the Beatles themselves!

09-07Next, it's singalong time, and John introduces it this time, telling Ringo the song is a real "jump tune," so Ringo shows up dressed as a paratrooper! John suggests Ringo takes a flying leap, and then he jumps off the stage... but then he rises up, as his parachute is on upside down!

The first singalong is "Long Tall Sally," and as the lyrics play, the Beatles dance on a stage. The lyric mishaps are really pretty minor... on one chorus, the screen shows the lyric "Having some fun tonight..." when Paul clearly doesn't seen the word "Having" (or even "Havin'," which is what he's actually singing when he does sing the word - this error happens a few times), and then later, "Oh baby -- yes, now baby" where Paul sang "Yeah" instead of "Yes." And when he does sing "Yeah," they spell it "Ya," and I don't know why.

Anyway, John comes out to introduce the next song, and of course there's the usual criticism of the kids who don't sing along. Ringo's told to decorate the stage so the folks will join in, and Ringo comes out as a WWI soldier with an enlistment poster, which is a gag they already did before.

09-10The second singalong song is "Twist and Shout," and it recycles some footage from the last episode, with the Beatles playing weird artsy guitars and Ringo plays stone carved drums from a museum! There's a pretty silly lyric mishap here... the screen shows the line, "You know you twist your little girl," which is ridiculous in and of itself! John's actually singing, "You know you're (a) twister little girl," or perhaps even "You know you twist-a little girl" (I've seen it rendered both ways in sheet music). And later in that verse, it shows "And let me know you're mine," when the actual lyric is, "And let me know that you're mine." We get some additional recycled footage from that previous episode with the girl artist, too. And at the end of the song, they must've figured John was singing "Well shake it -- shake it -- shake it -- baby now" two times, but the second time he was actually singing, "Well take it -- take it -- take it -- baby now" (no, I'm not showing that one, because I've already got two screen shots for this already). 

09-11The final segment is "I'll Be Back," and this one has the Beatles still in Texas, finishing up a concert where they're performing "Ticket to Ride" on stage for an appreciative crowd. On a stage next to them, a trio of bearded bald guys figure when they play, the kids will forget about the Beatles. They start to play their guitars (playing "Ticket to Ride," too, but having the music distorted), but the crowd responds by throwing eggs and other food at them.

09-12Meanwhile, Ringo is presented with a solid gold guitar with diamonds (because Ringo is the only Beatle without a guitar), which he starts to play, but it sounds like a harp instead of a guitar! The other band see this, and figure if they had the guitar, they'd be the hottest group in Texas! Next, it's autograph time, and the girls rush the stage -- and the bald group figures they'll get autographs, too -- but in the confusion, they steal the guitar! 


Paul's the first to notice it's missing. So, the Beatles get a stagecoach (with an antenna) to search for the stolen guitar, with Ringo driving it. The antenna is supposed to pick up the sound of the guitar, and it isn't long before it does. The rival group's playing it in their hideout, and it sounds great even when they play it! All they need now is a song for it. Outside, the Beatles see this, and Paul gets an idea!

09-14Shortly, the Beatles put Ringo in a minecar at the top of the hill, aimed at the hideout. They let him go, and it rushes down and into the hideout, crashing into the rival band, and Ringo rides out with the guitar, crashing through the other side.... and then, as "I'll Be Back" starts to play, his minecar goes up a small hill, pauses, and starts down again, back the way it came! 

So, the rival band tries to flee the runaway mine car, but Ringo crashes through them... and then goes up another hill, and back down at them again! Next, Ringo's minecar trashes into a rock, sending Ringo and guitar in the air, but the Beatles catch him on their stagecoach! However, they're pursued by the rival band on their own coach, and they throw rocks at the Fab Four! John, Paul and George take their guitars out and use them as bats to hit the rocks back, and all three rocks are on-target. However, this victory is short-lived, as the wheels come off the Beatles' coach, and their horse comes loose. Ringo takes the horse's place and pulls their coach like a rickshaw (I guess the axes roll well enough).

09-16However, Ringo's able to jump (with the stagecoach) over a crevice the the other band's horse balks at, and the rival band is thrown down the crevice, where they end up hung up on a branch sticking out of the cliffside. The leader of the band remarks, "You know, this music business sure is tough!"  Ringo agrees with him!

So, another fun episode, although there were a few things that kind of bugged me -- okay, I'll let the whole Indian stereotype thing go, because honestly, it's no worse than any other show from the 1960s, and probably even the 1970s... besides, the guide in the first episode lets us know this is all an act. Still, the two gags about the Indians not winning were in really poor taste! The last segment suffered only from not naming the rival trio -- could no one come up with a name for them? Okay, I'll name them -- the Dalton Trio. 

It's interesting that, once again, the episode's beginning and ending segments have the Beatles in the same location -- even if one of the singalong songs uses footage from the previous episode. Perhaps there'll be more of the same as we go along?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dog of the Geek: Ms. Lion!

Ms._Lion_(Earth-8107)_0001Breed: Lhasa Apso

Original Appearances: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (NBC-TV, 1981-1983)

Other Appearances: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (Marvel Comics, One-shot)

Biography: Ms. Lion was the pet of Angelica Jones (aka Firestar), a college student at Empire State University. After Firestar, Iceman and Spider-Man worked together to defeat the Beetle, the trio decided to team up permanently, and moved in to May Parker's home. Ms. Lion subsequently became May's pet more than Angelica's. Ms. Lion is aware of the “Spider-Friends”' alter egos.

Powers: None

Group Affiliation: Spider-Friends (if you want to push it)

Miscellaneous: A modern version of Ms. Lion is a male Sheepdog owned by May Parker, without powers, but a founding member of the Pet Avengers... and there's yet another reason I'm glad I'm not reading any new comic books by Marvel!

Comic Reading Library: Kona, Monarch of Jungle Isle #6!