Tuesday, May 21, 2019

ONE MAN'S NOSTALGIA PART TWO by Dave Goode






Do you remember the television series LOVE THAT BOB/THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW (1955 to 1959). It starred Bob Cummings as Bob Collins, a suave ladies man and photographer working in Hollywood, and his interactions with his models, family and secretary. Bob Collins was the first pin-up photographer that I was introduced to. And though he was a womanizer he was still depicted as being more or less a nice guy.






Art by Dave Stevens


That wasn't always the case for glamour popular fiction where they were quite often depicted as "sharp-shooters" taking advantage of innocent young girls from "Small Town, America" who come to big cities with stars in their eyes. This was often the case in exploitation paperbacks and grind house movies.

 





















This made for interesting reading and movie viewing. But there was probably nothing further from the truth. How much business would a pin-up photographer get once they got a reputation as being a skirt-chaser? But of course that's what young boys fantasized about. Scoring with the models they saw in "girlie mags". And of course teenaged boys were under the impression that these photogs were getting this action. This was reinforced by Russ Meyers who had married two of his models and dated a number of others.


And then there was the fantasy of saving some naive young model from the clutches of an unscrupulous photographer who was in fact a (gasp) pornographer. I've used this story line in comics with both my Dr. Judo and Mr. Incognito characters. But this is seldom the case. In fact in the Mr.Incognito strip the model berates the American luchador for his rescue. And is worried that she's not going to get paid for the session that the masked man broke up. The models are adults who have made a grown up decision. And they're also quite able to take care of themselves when it comes to handling a lech as Miss Ginger Snaps does in the new comic by myself and Vance Capley.

Dave Goode copyright 2019

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

ZAN...THE FORGOTTEN TARZAN by Dave Goode

One of my favorite ersatz Tarzans was Zan, King of the Jungle (1969). The star of this European production known alternately as Tarzan En La Gruta Del Oro (TARZAN IN THE GOLDEN GROTTO) and KING OF THE JUNGLE the movie's star Steve Hawkes claimed the film company that produced the flick couldn't pay the licensing fee to the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate for the use of the Tarzan name. And so they simply cut the jungle hero's name in half. 
In any case the production was a fairly entertaining flick that was filmed in Africa, Florida, Italy  Spain, and Suriname. And it featured something that was rarely seen in a Tarzan movie since MGM's TARZAN THE APE MAN (1932). Tarzan in mortal combat with a gorilla.

The movie's star Steve Hawkes was born Stepjen "Steve" Sipek in Croatia and relocated to Canada in 1959. I've read interviews with Hawkes where he claimed to be a champion swimmer (Johnny Weissmuller was his boyhood hero) and the winner of the Mr.Canada bodybuilding title before becoming a professional wrestler. The latter was pure "kayfabe". There is no record of him winning the Mr. Canada championship. There have been any number of well - built pro wrestlers who billed themselves as Mr. America or Mr. Universe without having won those titles. Or even having competed in those contests.


There was a sequel to KING OF THE JUNGLE, TARZAN AND THE BROWN PRINCE (1972) that had a similar plot to the Jock Mahoney movie TARZAN'S THREE CHALLENGES (1963). Hawkes played the lead in this flick and his co- star from the first movie Kitty Swan returned as well. 

 
Swan had starred in a jungle movie of her own as GUNGALA, VIRGIN OF THE JUNGLE (1967). An accident on the set of TARZAN AND THE BROWN PRINCE left Hawkes and Swan both horribly burned when they were tied down for a scene and a fire got out of control. A lion on the set who was trained to free the actors from their bonds for the scene actually saved them.Hawkes would relocate to Loxahatchee, Florida where he opened an animal sanctuary. News services of course wrote him up as a real life Tarzan. But in 2012 he was arrested and his animals confiscated for "non regulatory compliance in regards to animal permits".




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

THE MAN OF MYSTERY by Dave Goode

THE MAN OF MYSTERY

by Dave Goode

When I first started collecting (saving) comics back in the early 1960s I was lucky enough to live next door for about three years to a kid who read comics. But never saved them. This gave me extra comics that I could trade. And other comics that I never had to buy. One of these comics was FLY MAN No.31 (May 1965). The Fly Man was originally a character called The Fly who was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. This comic book introduced me to several characters that were new to me. In the course of the story the Fly Man teamed up with the Shield, who I immediately pegged as a Captain America imitation. Little did I know at this time in my life the reality. And there was the Comet, a sci-fi superhero in an ugly green and orange costume. And then there was the Black Hood, a  "man of mystery" on a flying robot horse named "Nightmare". To this day I can't put my finger why, but I thought the Black Hood was neat. Maybe it's because the other heroes in this comic were super-powered. And I always liked heroes who didn't have "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man".

 
I started trading for back issues of The Fly that featured the Black Hood. I would later find out that the Black Hood character came from the Golden Age of Comics. He debuted in Top Notch Comics No. 9 (October 1940). He was the creation of Harry Shorten and Al Camy who was the original artist on the feature. Shorten was a  pretty interesting character himself. Writer, editor and publisher Shorten played halfback for the NYU football team. He earned a degree in geology there before going on to a brief career in pro football. Aside from creating the Black Hood he co-created that Shield character with Irv Novick. And I would find out that character actually pre-dated Captain America. He also created the long-running single panel comic There Oughta Be A Law with illustrator Al Fagaly. Later Shorten would become the publisher of Midwood Books. A publishing house that produced adult, but not pornographic books.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Black Hood was Police Officer Kip Burland who was framed for a crime he didn't commit by a criminal mastermind known as the Skull. Burland would be trained by a mysterious hermit known as the Hermit (you have to love the Golden Age) and fights crime as the Black Hood as he attempts to clear his name. I've never read the original origin story. But I wonder if part of his training regimen involved judo and jiu jitsu. I'm sure he must have used the seo nage technique at least once in the course of his Golden Age adventures.
 




















During the Silver Age of Comics the Black Hood would be Archie Comics No.2 martial arts hero after Bobby Bell of the Young Shields of America Club. But where Bell gave judo and jiu jitsu lessons in the pages of The Fly. The Black Hood taught karate basics in the pages of The Fly and The Jaguar.

 






















His martial arts skills would serve him well when in Mighty Comics No.42 (January 1966) he faces off against a villain known as the Karate Master in a story written by Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman, and drawn by Paul Reinman. And no Karate Master doesn't have the same ring as Judo Master.





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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

THE WORLD'S MIGHTIEST MORTAL ON SCREEN by Dave Goode



 THE WORLD'S MIGHTIEST
MORTAL ON SCREEN
by Dave Goode
GOODE STUFF BLOG

I was first introduced to the Captain Marvel not through comics. His comics ceased publication some years before I was born. It was in the pages of that wonderful one-shot magazine On The Scene Presents Super Heroes from Warren Publications in 1966 that I learned about Captain Marvel, arguably the most popular costumed crusader from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Or should I say I learned about THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL (1941) from Republic Pictures. Considered by many to be the greatest movie serial of all time.

Based on the comic book feature from Fawcett Comics,  created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, the 12 chapter serial was directed by John English and William Witney. It starred Frank Coghlan Jr. as Billy Batson and B-Western hero Tom Tyler as his alter ego Captain Marvel, the World's Mightiest Mortal. The story had young Billy Batson on an archeological expedition in Siam being given the powers and abilities of one biblical king and five characters from Greco-Roman mythology by the wizard Shazam played by actor Nigel De Brulier. This was a departure from the good Captain's origin. And I wonder if the fan-boys of the day were up in arm.s about this change. Or were they just happy to see their favorite hero live on screen. The serial finds our hero using the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury to thwart the masked villain the Scorpion.

As you may already know artist C.C. Beck had originally modeled Captain Marvel after actor Fred MacMurray. But you cant help but notice a resemblance between actor Tom Tyler and Beck's original  drawings of Captain Marvel. Born Vincent Markowski, Tyler set the amateur record for the right-handed clean & jerk with 213 pounds. And in 1928 he won the National AAU heavyweight championship with a 760 pound total. A record that would stand for 14 years. Not quite the "World's Mightiest Mortal". But certainly a claimant to the title of the "Strongest Man In The World". Tyler was even considered for the title role in MGM's TARZAN THE APE MAN (1932) that would eventually star Olympic swimming champ Johnny Weissmuller.

As for Fred MacMurray who C.C. Beck modeled Captain Marvel's facial features from. Well he portrayed a superhero himself in a dream sequence from the romantic comedy NO TIME FOR LOVE (1943).

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

MARK...THE MAGNIFICENT! by Dave Goode




No other actor other than Steve Reeves himself is probably more identified with the sinew & sandal movie genre than Mark Forest. Born Lou Degni in Brooklyn , New York in 1933 he began bodybuilding as a teenager and competed in and won a number of contests. The story goes that a Hollywood scout saw his photo on the cover of a physical culture magazine and invited him to Hollywood to audition for the role of " Tarzan ". He didn't get the role. But he got a job working in Mae West's night club act. He would also work for a time in the night club act of ecdysiast Lilli " The Cat Girl " Christine. At the peak of the peplum movie cycle Forest would pack up his muscle shirts and head to Europe and become a star. Mostly playing Maciste , the character originally played by strongman Bartolomeo Pagano. Pagano would portray the character in over a dozen movies beginning in 1914 in the silent film epic CABIRIA. He would even legally have his name changed to Maciste. Mark Forest would be the only other actor as identified with the character.The Forest peplum flicks are some of the most entertaining from the genre. But there are four that I recommend above all the others.

 
 
GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON ( 1960 ) was Forest's first muscleman movie. And a pretty cool fantasy film. What's interesting about this one is that it was originally a " Hercules " movie. In most of his movies he portrayed Maciste and they were re-dubbed and re-titled so that he was playing more familiar characters ( to American audiences ) like Hercules and Samson. Those familiar with mythology realize that the character Forest is playing here is Hercules because the plot has the character performing a several of the 12 Labors of Hercules. And the movie's villain , portrayed by Broderick Crawford , is King Eurysteseus from the Hercules legend.

 
In SON OF SAMSON ( 1960 ) Forest plays Maciste for the first time and co-stars with the sexy Chelo Alonso , the Queen of the Sinew & Sandal genre. The character is given an origin as being the " Son of Samson ". And considering what a womanizer the biblical strongman was it's not hard to imagine that Samson had a child or two. Even if the Bible never mentions any offspring. Over the years though some historians have speculated that Phillistine women had their way with Samson after he had been blinded and made a prisoner. Hoping to have his strength passed on to their children. This theory speculates that the Phillistine giant Goliath may have been Samson's grandson.

 
MOLE MEN AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES ( 1961 ) has Forest co - starring with beautiful Moira Orfei who plays the evil queen of an underground nation. Also in this film is bodybuilding champion Paul Wynter as Bangor , Maciste's sidekick.It's interesting to compare Forest's physique to that of a Mr. Universe winner. Forest also does battle with an ape -suit actor. This is a fun flick. But any flick instantly becomes better with the inclusion of an ape - suit.
 

 
 
And of course there is THE TERROR OF ROME AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES ( 1964 ). In this one Forest fights against Christian persecution. But only after he falls in love with a Christian woman. Beautiful Marilu Tolo is the patrician woman who loves the muscular hero. And who gives up her life for him even after he chooses the Christian heroine over her. There's plenty of gladiatorial combat in this one. Including Forest fighting another ape - suit actor. This gorilla suit is one of the cheesiest ever seen onscreen. It barely resembles a gorilla. Which has led some fan-boys to imagine it was actually a " mangani " from the Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books. An interesting theory.


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