Saturday, February 15, 2014

Geek TV: Isis (AKA The Secrets of Isis)

IsisConcept: High school teacher finds mystic amulet that gives the wearer the powers of the Egyptian goddess Isis, and these powers are used to help rescue high school students and perform other beneficial functions.

Total Episodes: 22

Original Air Dates: September 6, 1975-September 3, 1977

Original Network: CBS


Andrea Thomas (JoAnna Thomas): High school science teacher who possesses the amulet of Hatshepsut, which gives her the power of Isis when she pulls it out of her shirt and chants, “Oh Mighty Isis.” As Isis, she has the power over nature, and chants incantations to perform her mighty feats, most often “Oh zephyr winds which blow on high, lift me now so I can fly.” Andrea has a pet crow named Tut, which she keeps in her classroom.

Rick Mason (Brian Cutler): Another high school teacher and close friend of Andrea's, although like everyone else, he has no knowledge that she is Isis.

Cindy Lee (Joanna Pang, Season 1) and Rennie Carol (Ronalda Douglas, Season 2): Students of Andrea's who find themselves involved with Isis' adventures.

Dr. Joshua Barnes (Albert Reed): Head of the high school Andrea teaches at.

Geek Guest-Stars:

John Davey guest-starred as Captain Marvel in three episodes, a role he'd been playing in Shazam! He'd previously appeared in an episode of Night Gallery and later guested on Remington Steele, the 1985 Twilight Zone, and an episode of Max Headroom.

Mike Lookinland guest-starred in one episode. Of course, he's best known for playing Bobby on The Brady Bunch. Debralee Scott also guested, and had appeared in American Graffiti, but may best be known for her role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman or her first season role on Welcome Back, Kotter.

Leigh McCloskey also guested on the show, later guested on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Fall Guy, Blacke's Magic, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Johnny Doran later guest-starred on an episode of Ark II. Laurette Spang is probably best known as playing the “socialator” Cassiopea on Battlestar Galactica, but has also guested on The Six Million Dollar Man. Tommy Norden was previously best known for playing Bud Ricks, the younger brother of Sandy Ricks, on Flipper.

Geek Pedigree:

Of course, as with all Filmation projects, you've got the usual Filmation creative people, such as Lou Scheimer, Norm Prescott, and Arthur H. Nadel, and just starting to list the geek works they've been a part of would make this way too long!

Hollingsworth Morse directed 11 episodes of the show, he'd previously directed episodes of Sky King,The Lone Ranger, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Zorro, Tarzan, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H.R. Pufnstuf, and Shazam! He later went on to direct episodes of Ark II, the “Mystery Island” segments of The Skatebirds, Lucan, and The Fall Guy.

While JoAnna Cameron didn't have any geek roles before Isis, she did return the guest-starring “favor” to Shazam! By guesting on three episodes of that, and later played Gale Hoffman in two episodes of The Amazing Spider-Man.

DVD Release: Full series release, as I should well know, having done transcriptions for the special features!

Website: None that I could find.

Note: Isis later reappeared in animated form, although not voiced by JoAnna Cameron. I recall reading somewhere, possibly in TV Guide, that this show was very popular with dads, no doubt due to JoAnna having fantastic legs and wearing a fairly short skirt as Isis!

Book and Record Set: Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Rider Without a Head!

Another week, another video from a book and record set in my collection! Unlike many of the book and record sets I own, this one features what certainly sounds like the original casts' voices!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fandom Library: Magilla Gorilla Kite Fun Book!


Geek Memories #2: Mego's World's Greatest Super-Heroes!

My favorite action figure line of all time has to be Mego's World's Greatest Super-Heroes line. Sure, other lines had better articulation, or just plain looked better, but these will always have a special place in my heart.

I probably first saw them on display at Kmart, which was a regular shopping destination for my mom when it came to getting clothes and household items. This was where I bought my first cassette tape recorder (purchased on layaway – remember that?). Kmart was, back in those days, was a treasure trove of toys for the young geek... GI Joes galore; AHI carded toys like Batmobiles, parachutists, friction powered stunt cyclists, and more; and of course, Megos!

I know I was familiar with their Action Jackson line, especially the TV commercials with the animated opening and catchy theme...

Once you hear it, you can't forget it, eh? Obviously, Action Jackson was Mego's answer to G.I. Joe, but in a less expensive 8” scale. Famously, Mego would reuse many Action Jackson accessories for later lines, and even the Astronaut from the Planet of the Apes line would basically reuse Action Jackson and the pilot's jumpsuit. Of course, this meant that they already had molds for 8” male figures, and doing anything different would just mean a few new molds, like for heads and the occasional hand. They would do some different bodies, but that's for later discussion.

The first figures in the World's Greatest Super-Heroes line were Superman, Batman, Robin, and Aquaman. Batman and Robin were originally released with removable cowl and mask, and these are some of the highest-valued Megos. This was the 1972 line, and in 1973, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Tarzan were added, while in 1974, they added Supergirl, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Mr. Myxzptlx, The Riddler, the Joker, the Penguin, and Captain Marvel (although he was called “Shazam” on the packaging).

Now, you would think, wouldn't you, that as much as I was into comics at a fairly young age, and that also the fact that my brothers also liked super-heroes a lot (we'd all watch Batman and would pretty much faithfully watch Super Friends; we were also great fans of The Fantastic Four and Spiderman animated series) that we would've got those Megos when they were first released in 1972, right?

Oh, my friend, you would be wrong. We didn't get them until Christmas of 1974. But it was worth the wait, because we got Superman, Batman, Robin, Tarzan and Spiderman, all at once! We would get the male Bat-Villains later, but that's another tale.

So it was Christmas, 1973. I was 11 years old, and the family was getting ready for Christmas Eve services at the church we went to at the time (coincidentally, the same church that had a rummage sale where I bought my first-ever Beatles album, but that's another story for another time). Dad had gotten my brothers and sisters out to the station wagon, but my mom wasn't quite ready... and she asked me to stay behind for a few minutes.

Our stockings were dutifully hung on the wall (we didn't have a fireplace at this house), patiently waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus. And once my mom and I were the only ones in the house, she came out with a bag from Kmart, out of which she started pulling those Megos, all taken out of the packages, and told me to help her put them in the stockings.

I was shocked, to be honest... I mean, I don't think I really still believed in Santa Claus at that age, but I think I still wanted to believe, just like I wished that there were really superheroes out there who would save the day when trouble reared its ugly head. I'd certainly never said anything to my parents about not believing in Santa any more, so I'm not sure why mom chose that year to let me in on things. At least on some level, I had to have figured that if I at least acted like I still believed, I'd still get Santa loot.

So my mind was awhirl as I dutifully put the figures in the stockings. I have no idea what went into my sisters' stockings, mind you... that is long lost from my memory. So the joy of knowing we got the superheroes was tempered with the irrevocable loss of part of my childhood innocence.

Mind you, I did not let this get in the way of enjoying the action figures. I'd had GI Joes for some time, and the biggest disappointment was that they were of different scales, so they were incompatible for play, of course!

As I implied above,we did get the Bat-Villains, male contingent, later, but those were the last of the 8” figures we'd get (when I was in junior high, however, I did buy a set of the original figures in Mego's later Star Trek line, as well as the bridge set).

A few years later, my brother Jeff got the magnetic Batman and Robin 12” figures, and still later, I bought the Hulk Comic Action Hero, but that was it for off-the-shelf Mego purchases. All the other superhero toys we got as kids were those afore-mentioned AHI toys, and I specifically remember having a friction-powered Batcycle with Batman figure, as well as a Batman parachutist. Another AHI figure I recall getting was the Star Trek phaser flashlight.

We did get other 8” figures... the Famous Monsters figures of the Abominable Snowman and the Fly. But those were the only other ones.

Oh, I knew of the other figures... one couldn't help but notice them on the racks, as well as the commercials as well as the ads in the comics themselves, but I didn't get them. The best I was able to do was to make costumes for my 12” GI Joe figures (I used to be into puppetry, where I learned how to sew by hand, a handy skill when our Riddler figure's seams came loose on his costume).

But in the late 1980s... ah, that was another matter. I'd started getting interested in recapturing not ony my childhood, but also for what I'd wanted in my childhood. After dabbling a bit in Super Powers figures, I made the leap to collecting Megos and Mego-like figures. I went to toy shows, initially as a buyer, and then later as a seller (although I did my share of buying as well). I managed to get nearly all of the Mego superheroes and villains, although some were missing accessories (yes, including all the Teen Titans), some of the 12” figures, the Planet of the Apes figures, some of the monsters, and then the Remco monster figures after that... among many other things. I had only a few of the accessories.

Well, come the 1990s, when I was out of work and needed to raise funds to pay rent (and later, to afford a move to Wisconsin to be with my first wife, Barbara), I had to start selling all my toys. Gone were the Megos, Secret Wars, Super Powers and other figures, never to be replaced.

And now, as I look on eBay for pictures of cool stuff to share here, I occasionally see the prices being asked for Megos and wince... if I'd only been able to hold on to them, until eBay came along, I could have realized at least four to five times the price I sold them all for... even better, if I didn't have to sell them at all, I would have need for a lot more shelf space in my office. But that's the way these things seem to go in my life. I accumulate cool stuff for a few years, then things go bad, and I have to sell stuff off... collect and sell, collect and sell. And I bet I'm not the only one who's had that happen, eh?

But the Megos... those were the items I wish I had, of all the collectibles I've bought and sold, most of all.

14 Days of Romance Comics: Popular Teenagers #15

And it's the final post for the 14 days of romance comics! I hope you've enjoyed this year's offerings, and that you'll continue to read Random Acts of Geekery each day, if you're new to the blog!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Fleischer Popeyes #13: Shiver Me Timbers!

This Popeye cartoon opens at the site of a shipwreck, a sign on the ship saying, "Ghost ship, beware!" As the camera pulls to the left, we see Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Wimpy, just arriving in a dinghy. The ghost ship's planks play the Skeleton Dance, which of course makes Olive scared, but Popeye doesn't believe in ghosts. The three board the ghost ship (one porthole becomes an eye that winks at Wimpy), and once on board, the ghost ship takes to sea. Popeye stalks the deck, and the deck of the ship again plays the Skeleton Dance, with one board hitting Popeye in the back!

Wimpy opens a door as he and Olive look for Popeye, and inside the door a number of ghostly faces appear, making Wimpy close the door and telling Olive, "There's nothing in there!" He opens the next door, and sees a plate full of steaming hot hamburgers! But when Wimpy tries to eat them, they vanish in his hand before he can take a bite! On deck, Olive continues to look for Popeye, and is knocked down into the hold, where she lands in a barrel of flour. Of course, this causes her to look like a ghost herself, as is always the case in cartoons. It gets worse when she tries to get out and pulls a few buckets of water onto herself, causing the flour to become batter-like.

popeye13-2On deck, Popeye and Wimpy find each other, and Wimpy spots Olive, identifying her as a ghost. Popeye picks up two belaying pins, handing one to Wimpy, and goes to the attack! Olive, for her part, is doing a lot of "Woo-woo"-ing, instead of actually speaking English, so this helps add to the confusion, and when she sees Popeye running towards her, she runs away. Popeye chases her around the deck, and at one point, Olive stops in front of Wimpy trying to convince her of who she is. Popeye catches up, and for a moment, he and Wimpy hit each other, as Olive ducks their blows. but then Popeye grabs her and swings her around. This causes the dough to come off of Olive, also stunning her, and Popeye says to Wimpy, "I told you there ain't no ghosts!"  Of course, this causes a bunch of ghosts to appear, saying, "Oh, yeah?"

popeye13-3A fight begins that we can't see much of, and then we see Popeye's been attached to a rope, and he's swung back and forth, hitting the masts of the ship. On deck, Wimpy's chained to a broken mast, and in front of him is a table with a piping hot chicken (or is it a turkey?), but when Wimpy tries to get at it, the table walks away from him. Olive is tied to the deck, her shoes and socks off, with milk dripping on her feet, and a pair of kittens lick the milk off her feet, causing her to laugh uncontrollably. Above, the rope Popeye's on is cut, sending him plummeting to the deck! Ghosts appear around Popeye and start hitting him, and Popeye goes into the icebox, the ghosts following him. Popeye ducks out and slams the door, and the ghosts quickly freeze!

popeye13-4Then, Popeye's beset upon by a group of ghostly skeletons, which start dancing. One of them pulls a large hot ball of fire out of the boiler room, and bowls it at Popeye, who dodges. Meanwhile, the sea is getting choppy, as a storm is brewing, and lightning hits the ship, manifesting itself as a hand with an axe, cutting down the masts. The entire ship is starting to fall apart, and Popeye finally decides enough is enough, and eats his spinach. We don't get his fanfare, but we do get the "Hooray for the red, white and blue" refrain from Stars and Stripes Forever as he goes to the attack!

He first fights off the skeletons, sending them flying in every direction, his Transformation Punch turning them into first a pair of dice, then a set of pool balls. As the sea itself attacks, Popeye punches it back, making the seas calm again. Popeye takes the wheel, and sings his theme song, the ghosts now banished, and Wimpy finally has his hands on some food!

This was quite a change of pace from previous episodes, as it completely breaks the formula... Popeye doesn't sing his song at the beginning, there's no Bluto at all, no demonstration of his strength until after he eats his spinach... I find myself wondering if this cartoon was planned for theatrical release around Halloween (making this a post that could've been better planned, as it would've fit in October's "Countdown to Halloween" posts). It's not nearly as funny as some of the other installments, either... there's no wisecracking from Popeye under his breath, for example. An "Oh my garshk!" when Popeye realizes that Olive wasn't actually a ghost after he's beat the dough off of her would've been nice, as well!

Comics They Never Made!

Time for another gallery of my self-made mockups of comics that could've been published based on popular TV shows of the day, but never were!

This would've been a difficult one to pull off, but it would've been interesting to see them try!


There's no way a Soap comic could've been published by Gold Key or anyone else, but a Benson book? That could've worked!


14 Days of Romance Comics: New Romances #6


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Latest Pitch: DC Nation – The Channel!

Even though we've been without cable for about a year and a half, I still have fond memories of watching the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network... and lately, I got to thinking... why not spin that off into an entire network?

Think about it: Get all the various TV shows, cartoons, serials and movies based on DC comics characters on one channel. Sure, it might have to be supplemented by some of the Hanna-Barbera superheroes like Space Ghost, Bird Man, Shazzan, etc., but still... consider just how much product there is that could be shown! Make one night a week for a movie feature, and then run the Superman movies, the Batman movies, Watchmen, Swamp Thing... and when they run out of those, run serials in their place! Show The Adventures of Captain Marvel one episode after another, or the two Superman serials, or the two Batman serials, or Blackhawk, or Congo Bill, or Vigilante, or anyone else I'm not thinking of. Include all the direct-to-video animated films, such as Mask of the Phantasm, Sub-Zero, and the like. Yes, there will be a pretty fast rotation, but maybe that'll give some impetus to doing new DC movies.

Along with all the previous stuff that's been done, also have new programming... a DC Nation daily program, that could feature news about upcoming comics, interviews with creators past and present, coverage of other stuff (like toy releases, conventions, etc.). Half hour shows Monday through Friday, and then a weekend edition that's an hour long, that could include the highlights of the previous week plus different stuff just for the weekend.

Heck, just make it 12 hours of programming a day that repeats starting at noon... so if you can't watch Super Friends at 4 in the morning, you can watch it at 4 in the evening!

And the channel would need to get major clearance... Warner should have some pull (after all, they do own one of the major cable companies) to get it as a standard channel offering. It should also be available to watch “live” on a DC Nation website, too.

Marvel could get in on this, too... how does “Planet Marvel” grab you for their own channel?

It Was Nine Years Ago Today...

...that the very first post of this blog was made! So, as we head into the tenth year of Random Acts of Geekery, let's take a brief look at the history of this blog, as well as looking into the future!

Those of you who've been with me for the last nine years will recall that when I started this blog, it was originally called Waffyjon's Random Thoughts, and it wasn't quite the wide-ranging old-school pop culture celebration it's become since then. The impetus for the blog was begun in 2005's Emerald City Comicon, where I hosted a trivia contest, and got a chance to talk to one of the guests of that contest, who had his own blog. At the same time, I had been waiting for a response from a website concerning a weekly column I proposed called "Cover Stories," which would feature comics covers with a similar theme. I had been an active member of a few mailing lists, such as Silver Age Reviews and one other whose name I now forget, which had members posting comics covers and the like, plus I had worked on a few different comics websites, none of which maintained my interest enough to keep them going (such as "Comic Book Covers and Ads of the 1970s"). Another inspiration was Tony Isabella, whose online column I'd been a regular reader of for some time.

Along with all this, my own life was in the process of changing. I'd met my now-wife, Jessi, the previous July, and I had already been working on getting Krypto from a breeder across the country. I was working then at The Olympian here in Olympia, just finishing up my first year on the job there designing advertising.

If you go back to the earliest posts, you'll see that I didn't really have a clear direction in mind, but I tried to maintain a daily posting schedule. This was made much easier once Blogger added the functionality to create posts to be published on a scheduled basis, which allowed me to work on blog posts whenever I had the time, as well as to get ahead of schedule. Eventually, some of the regular features started appearing, such as Cool Stuff (originally titled "Found on eBay"), and I also joined in the annual Countdown to Halloween. Of course, like all good blogs should, this one continued to evolve... and eventually, there were even spin-off blogs that focused on specific characters or themes, such as the Superman, Batman, Godzilla, Frankenstein, Dracula, and more blogs, none of which were able to continue for very long. These spin-offs were originally started because I found myself with extra time, and also to see how I could boost my advertising revenues. I still get comments from those blogs to this day, even though none of them have had new posts for years!

My own life would continue to change as well, with Krypto's arrival, then moving in with Jessi, getting married (and having to have emergency gall bladder surgery the next day), moving to a new house, becoming foster and eventually adoptive parents of our children, Tristan and Desi, dealing with the death of my father, being laid off of my job at the newspaper and going back to school to get a degree in Medical Assisting (a waste of time so far as getting a job was concerned -- there's very few openings for male MA's, it turns out -- but education in and of itself is never a waste), having my father-in-law move in with us, trying truck driving for a year and hating it, and then getting a job at Walmart (and since I'm writing this in October of 2014, I'll likely have posted updates on that by now)... and many, many other developments that I haven't even mentioned yet! But as has been noted in episodes of Star Trek and elsewhere, change is a necessity of life!

I'll have to admit, when I first started doing this blog, I had no idea I'd still be doing it nine years later, but at this point, I don't see when I'll be giving it up! Oh, sure, some of the features may end up going away, but they will be replaced by other features as well. I have a lot of things planned that haven't showed up here yet, and some planned features that I just haven't had the ability or time to work on as of yet. Fortunately, I don't foresee the need to ever get away from the current seven day a week, two posts per day publishing schedule that I was glad to get back to. I hope that you will all continue to stay with me, and hey, tell your fellow geek friends to check it out, won't you?

14 Days of Romance Comics: Love Secrets #32


Monday, February 10, 2014

Fandom Library: Rocky and Bullwinkle Comic Strip!

Here's a rarity I wasn't even aware existed before... a Rocky and Bullwinkle newspaper strip! I don't know if this is a complete collection of them, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway!

Character Collectible Spotlight: Tarzan!

Ok, let me preface this installment by saying that, admittedly, I don't go out of my way to find photos of Tarzan collectibles on eBay to add to my archives, so this installment will be far from complete in the number of different collectibles featuring Lord Greystoke... but I hope you'll get a kick out of what I have to show you anyway!

First up is the 1973 Slurpee cups featuring Tarzan and Jane, from the DC superheroes cups of that year!

14 Days of Romance Comics - Love Diary #102


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Old-Time Radio Spotlight: The Abbott and Costello Show!

You've probably seen the Abbott and Costello Meet... films, especially Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and may even have seen some of their TV shows or other films... but how familiar are you with their radio show?

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello first worked together in 1935 at the Eltinge Burlesque Theater in New York City. They hadn't been partners at the time; Costello's regular partner was ill that night. The performance was so successful that members of the cast (including Abbott's wife Betty) encouraged them to make the partnership permanent. They quickly established Abbott as the straight man, and Costello as the stooge. They first appeared on radio in February 1938, on The Kate Smith Hour. Believe it or not, their voices were so similar that it was hard to tell them apart due to the speed of their act. This was solved by Costello affecting a higher pitched voice. The classic “Who's On First?” was first performed on radio the following month, and stayed on the program as regulars for two years.

In 1940, the duo had the summer replacement spot for Fred Allen (back in those days, there were no reruns, so during the summer, a replacement show would come on until the fall). They had their own NBC show two years later, but before that, Universal signed the duo to a long-term contract, and their first film in that contract, Buck Privates, was so successful that it saved Universal from bankruptcy!

Back to their radio career... in 1941, Bud and Lou joined Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on The Chase and Sandborn Hour, and two of their films were adapted for Lux Radio Theater. On October 8, 1942, their own weekly show was launched, sponsored by Camel Cigarettes.

As with most comedy shows of the time, Bud and Lou's program had musical interludes between the comedy (the best known was probably Connie Haines, but others included Ashley Eustis, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Skinnay Ennis, and the Les Baxter Singers). Connie and Skinnay also appeared in the comedy segments of the show itself. The best-known character on the show outside of Bud and Lou was probably Mr. Kitzel, played by Artie Auerbach, but if you listen carefully, you'll catch Mel Blanc in multiple roles! Ken Niles was the announcer on the program, and also took place in the comedy bits. A regular role on the show was the character of Ken's wife, whom Costello routinely insulted. The show attracted quite a number of high-profile guest stars, including Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters (who made multiple appearances; they were friends with Bud and Lou), and Lucille Ball.

The show moved to ABC in 1947, and they also added a 30-minute children's radio program, The Abbott and Costello Children's Show.

As you might expect if you're familiar with “Who's On First?”, pretty much every episode, a bit between Bud and Lou would include very similar wordplay, with Lou misinterpreting words that Bud was using to explain something topical to the episode. For example, one episode had Bud teaching Lou about horses, and how both male and female horses could be mudders, with some of the best mudders being male horses. Naturally, Lou interpreted this as being “mothers” spoken with a Brookyln accent. You can imagine what Lou thought when Bud talked about horses eating their fodder!

The final line of “Who's On First?,” Lou's “I'm a baaaaaad boy!” was often incorporated in the scripts as well. In several episodes, Lou would also play his own nephew, pitching his voice even higher than usual. It was rare that Lou and his “nephew” would appear in a scene together, and when they did, Lou's inability to keep track of which voice to use caused quite a bit of laughter!

Another regular bit on the show was the Sam Shovel mysteries, a parody of the Sam Spade mysteries, with Lou playing Sam Shovel. Aside from these, a common situation had Lou getting in trouble with the law (usually for something very minor, but Abbott would end up making matters worse). Bud's wife was often mentioned in the scripts, although to the best of my knowledge, she never appeared on the radio show. Lou's wife and children weren't a part of his character, at least not originally. Except when the show was running short on time (usually due to extra ad-libbing), Lou would end the show by saying hello to the folks in Paterson, NJ, which was his home town.

There could well be more Abbott and Costello radio shows available to download on the internet than any other show, with the possible exception of Jack Benny. You can find some of these at

Puzzle Time!

Puzzles here, solutions after the jump!
Unfortunately, the scan I have of this issue is missing the solution to this maze, so you'll have to figure that one out without any help!

14 Days of Romance Comics: Love Romances #92