Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Arabian (K)Nights by Dave Goode

As a kid I loved swashbuckling adventure movies that were freely adapted from the 1001 Arabian Nights. Maybe they weren't quite as cool as masked wrestler movies or biker flicks. But they were still a lot of fun. Oddly enough my first Steve Reeves movie was the 1960 THIEF OF BAGHDAD.





A favorite series from the genre would have to be the one from Universal that starred Maria Montez and Jon Hall. My favorite of these was ALI BABA AND THE 40 THIEVES. Pure magic.









 



Another great series were the Sinbad movies with visual effects provided by the great Ray Harryhausen. These films were THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958) , THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973) and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977).












  
One of the attractions of the Arabian Nights movie genre beyond the swashbuckling adventure was the amount of feminine pulchritude on display. Harem girls , princesses and dancers. The 1955 flick THE SON OF SINBAD had this all covered. This was released by RKO when Howard Hughes was the studio chief. I always believed this flick was Hughes way of keeping his promise to a number of starlets he told he would give them a part in a movie. The movie stars Dale Robertson as Sinbad and Vincent Price as Omar Khayyam. Along for the ride are Sally Forrest , Marie Windsor and exotic dancers Lili St. Cyr and Nejla Ates. Not a great film by any means. But a good little time killer.



In the world of Goode Guy Comics, Dr. Judo doesn't carry a magic lamp, but he will turn out your lights. Dig this retro-tastic cover by designed by Dave Goode and illustrated by Vance Capley:

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Truly Herculean by Dave Goode

  
 

 When you think of Hercules on film you immediately think of Steve Reeves. And for good reason. It was Reeves' portrayal of the demi-god in HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED that ignited the explosion of musclemen movies that filled movie theaters in the 1960s. Oddly enough Reeves technically didn't have the most herculean physique of the actors to play the man-god. Reeves physique was as Edgar Rice Burroughs described that of his literary creation Tarzan of the Apes. "More Apollo than Hercules". The sinew & sandal star that epitomized the look of raw physical power was Reg Park.

  
Park had placed second to Reeves in the 1950 Mr.Universe competition. But he would win the title in 1951 , 1961 and again in 1965. It was only natural that he would find his way into the cinema of sinew and sandals. He would star as Hercules in HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN , HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD and HERCULES THE AVENGER. In HERCULES PRISONER OF EVIL he actually portrays Ursus. And of course in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES he plays the strength hero Maciste.

   

HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD is probably the best known of Park's peplum pictures.Directed by Mario Bava and co-starring Christopher Lee it has over the years become a cult classic. But my favorite Park flick is MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES. There are a couple of Tarzan stories written by Burroughs like Tarzan and the City of Gold and Tarzan and the Lost Empire that read like Maciste adventures. But this movie has the feel of a Tarzan adventure. Maybe it's the Africa setting. In any case if you haven't seen this one before give it a peek. Not only is Park great performing feats of strength you have Wandisa Guida , one of those incredibly sexy women who were always turning up in these flicks, playing a sadistic she who must be obeyed-type. 




At JUDO COMICS we have our own strong man, the Golden Adonis:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Judo" George Reeves by Dave Goode







Like all fan-boys I like to imagine certain actors playing certain comic book characters. For instance when I imagine a big-budget 1940s Batman movie it stars Robert Taylor as Bruce Wayne/Batman.Paulette Goddard is Catwoman. Conrad Veidt is the Joker. And Burgess Meredith is the Penguin. No getting around it. Meredith is the Penguin no matter what era. So when I was imagining what actor would play my comic book creation there was a very short list. Richard Egan and George Reeves.













Egan had been a judo instructor during World War Two. And George (no relation to Steve) Reeves was a student of two-time National A.A.U Judo Champion Gene LeBell. LeBell a pro wrestler of note had even done personal appearances with Reeves as the black-clad villain "Mr.Kryptonite".



   

George Reeves had boxed and wrestled in college and would have been great as Dr.Judo, a high school gym teacher and wrestling coach turned pro wrestler and part-time superhero.
 


















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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The French Have A Word For It....Judo by Dave Goode


If you wanted to see martial arts action in western cinema during the 60s,the place you wanted to go was the secret agent movie. You wouldn't find too many spinning wheel-kicks in these flicks. Just stalwart,square-jawed secret agents trading shuto blows and judo throws with hired assassins and enemy agents. The same basic hand to hand combat techniques that these steely-eyed cold warriors would have learned while in the military before embarking on a life in counter-intelligence and espionage. To be sure Bruce Lee student and future Academy Award winner James Coburn had some well choreographed martial arts scenes in OUR MAN FLINT and it's sequel IN LIKE FLINT in which he portrayed super agent, Derek Flint. American karate champions Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, and Chuck Norris flashed a little bit of their tournament wining style as hitman in the Matt Helm movie, THE WRECKING CREW starring Dean Martin. But for the most part the heroes and villians in these movies adhered to the K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid.) system. The major exception to this rule were the Le Judoka movies. Author and judo practitioner, Ernie Clerk wrote a series of just under a dozen books about a secret agent known as Le Judoka. These books were incredibly popular in France. No surprise in that when you realize how popular the sport of judo is in France. So it was in 1967 during the height of
of the secret agent craze that Marc St.Clair...Le Judoka was brought to life on the silver screen.

LE JUDOKA, SECRET AGENT was adapted from author Clerk's book THE JUDOKA DANS LA VILLE by screenwriters Jacques Guymont and Pierre Zimmer. The film was directed by Zimmer and starred Jean-Claude Bercq as Le Judoka. Also featured is Henri Garcin as the hero's comic relief sidekick and beautiful Marilu Tolo as a femme fatale named Vanessa. The movie really isn't much different from any other Eurospy movie from the period, except for the hero's martial arts skills that went beyond the typical shuto blow to the neck. And this movie was successful to warrant a sequel.






I'm sure that if LE JUDOKA DANS L'ENFER (THE JUDOKA IN HELL) (film title
had had an American release it would be enjoying cult status today. This
1968 sequel directed by Maurice Labro from a screenplay by Labro and Jean Meckert found, George Lazenby lookalike, Marc Briand replacing Jean-Claude Bercq in the role of Marc St.Clair. Marilu Tolo is back,but this time she plays a character named Jennifer. Like Bercq before him Briand is ruggedly handsome and even more athletic. When he goes into action you can believe you are watching a rokudan at work. Of special note this film features a young man named Jean Ferre in the role of a cyclopean martial arts master. Ferre may be better known to you under the name he took as a professional wrestler...Andre the Giant. Wearing make-up to make him look Asian and sporting a black gi, Ferre gives a tameshiwari demo breaking both bricks and boards before tossing some normal sized judokas like rag dolls. The young Ferre hadn't yet attained the full height and bulk that would
make him world famous, but he's still an imposing sight. He appears about to be 6'9" and 300 pounds.
The one on one battle between Briand and Ferre is the highlight of this Eurospy thriller. The plot has a pilot kidnapped by the Black Dragon Society
and brainwashed to drop a bomb on Manhattan. Le Judoka is sent to rescue him. Pretty simple. The fight choreography is anything but, and you end up
believing Le Judoka can more than hold his own against his titanic adversary. A really fun movie if not an exceptional one from the Eurospy genre.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

THE 40'S PRINCE NAMOR by Dave Goode





If you're a fan-boy then you've probably heard of the talk from the early 50s about a proposed Sub-Mariner television show. It was supposed to have starred actor Richard Egan. And though the former army judo instructor and World War Two combat vet would have been good for the part , the person I always imagine as the Sub-Mariner is Johnny Weissmuller.














I picture a Sub-Mariner movie starring Weissmuller being made sometime between the MGM and RKO Tarzan film series. Namor's undersea kingdom (it wasn't referred to as Atlantis until the Silver Age) would probably have been a lot different than it was in the comics. Most likely a city under a dome of some sort. And there would be a lot of "shot through a fishbowl " photography. Brenda Joyce who played Jane to Weissmuller's Tarzan in the RKO series would have been ideal as NY policewoman Betty Dean. And Frances Gifford or Linda Christian could have been Lady Dorma. Weissmuller with his angular (if not triangular) features , whiplash eyebrows and lean swimmer's physique was a spot-on match for Bill Everett's comic book creation.




Truth is I cant help but think the Sub-Mariner's creator didn't have Weissmuller in mind when he brought the prince of the undersea kingdom to life. After all Weissmuller was the greatest swimmer of the era , setting records in distances from 50 meters to the half mile. The star of the 1924 and 1928 Olympics he was undefeated in official competition and was an accomplished water polo player as well.Who would have been a better model for the Sub-Mariner? Buster Crabbe? No. He's Aquaman.


Retro art by Vance Capley

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