Tuesday, January 15, 2019

One That I Always Wanted To See! by Dave Goode




James Bama was to Doc Savage as was Frank Frazetta to Conan. I, like so many others, came to the Doc Savage through the paperback covers illustrated by Bama. The same way Frazetta's Conan covers drew me to Robert E. Howard's barbarian hero. Though that "skull-cap" hairstyle Bama gave Doc in his paintings had me wondering at first what kind of stories they'd be.
















I much preferred Doc's look on the original pulp covers by Walter Baumhofer.
The one thing that I always regretted not seeing by either artist was the Man of Bronze in mortal combat against a gorilla ala' Tarzan. But since no such scene occurred in the original pulp stories there was no reason to have seen such a scene illustrated.







 
And speaking of Tarzan, just about any (but not all) the actors who portrayed Edgar Rice Burroughs' Lord of the Jungle could have done double-duty portraying Doc Savage. I've long imagined Buster Crabbe playing Doc in a 1930s serial.


Graphics by Vance Capley


In the alternate universe that runs through my mind Crabbe was hired by Street & Smith to pose for publicity pics as the Man of Bronze soon after he won his Olympic gold medal in 1932.



Herman Brix, Lex Barker, and Jock Mahoney all might have been good as Doc Savage.

Heck! Ron Ely did play both pulp heroes.

 





Can you imagine a cover for Phillip Jose Farmer's novel A Feast Unknown with an artist illustrating both Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban to resemble Ron Ely.



























Knowing how much I always wanted to see the Man of Bronze battling a gorilla my buddy Vance Capley created this bosso-keeno faux Doc Savage comic book cover. Enjoy.

http://www.vancecapleyart.com/


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Mexican Psychotronica by Dave Goode

God bless K.Gordon Murray! Not only did he bring el Santo and the Aztec Mummy to America, but the "movie broker", who was known as the "King of the Kiddie Matinees", also brought a number of children's fantasy films from other countries like HANSEL & GRETEL (1954), RUMPELSTILTSKIN (1955), and SANTA CLAUS (1959). He also brought the Little Red Riding Hood series to American audiences. This trilogy consisted of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (1960), LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND HER FRIENDS (1961), and LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND THE MONSTERS (1962).

The third film in the trilogy LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND THE MONSTERS is an incredible piece of Mexican psychotronica. It has the Queen of Badness (Ofelia Guilmain) putting the Wolf (Manuel Valdes) and the Ogre (Jose Elias Moreno) on trial for not being bad enough. So it's up to Little Red Riding Hood (Maria Gracia), Tom Thumb (Cesareo Quezadas), and Stinky the Skunk (Santanon) to rescue their friends from the evil queen ,who is a dead ringer for the evil queen from Walt Disney's SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937), and her minions. Oh did I mention this fantasy/adventure is also a musical? It is.
The movie is fun. It's sort of like the Batman television series of the 1960s that if you watch it at a certain age it's an entertaining fantasy/adventure. At another age it's just high camp fun. Not as good as THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). Or as much demented fun as THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR.T. (1953). But it's well worth watching.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"THIS BOLD RENEGADE CARVES A " Z " WITH HIS BLADE." by Dave Goode

This isn't going to come as a surprise. But I'm a huge fan of masked heroes. Comic book heroes. Pulp heroes. Movie serial heroes. And of course Mexiluchaheroes. My first masked hero however was el Zorro. I was introduced to the character through the Walt Disney television series that ran from 1957 to 1959 on ABC. You know. The one with the catchy theme song. It starred Guy Williams in the dual roles of the foppish Don Diego Vega and the masked avenger el Zorro... the Fox.

TV's Zorro, Guy Williams, meets Zorro creator Johnston McCulley
The character first appeared in the swashbuckling  adventure THE CURSE OF CAPISTRANO written by Johnston McCulley , as a five - part serial in the pulp magazine All - Story Weekly in 1919. The story would be adapted to the silver screen as a vehicle for America's first great action hero star Douglas Fairbanks under the title  THE MARK OF ZORRO ( 1920 ). In 1924 when McCulley's story was novelized it would be under that title. It was Fairbank's movie Zorro that served as a partial inspiration for Batman.

 
 
 
 
 
MARK OF ZORRO 1920 with Douglas Fairbanks
 
El Zorro is probably best known for his appearances in movies. The character has appeared in a number of feature films and serials. Interestingly enough Don Alejandro Vega ( Zorro's father ) on the Disney television show was played by actor George J. Lewis who appeared in two Zorro serials. ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP ( 1944 ) starring Linda Stirling as a character called The Black Whip. And THE GHOST OF ZORRO (1949 ) starring Clayton Moore who would later go on to portray the Lone Ranger. In the former he was a hero. In the latter he was a villain. Both of these films from Republic were more western than swashbuckler.
 
 
 



To most fans the best Zorro movie was THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940) starring Tyrone Power as the foppish Diego and dashing Zorro. He's equally good in both roles. Especially memorable is the climatic sword duel between Power and the movie's villain played by Basil Rathbone. As another character says to Diego after he vanquishes the villain, " You handle a sword like a devil from Hell." Fun stuff.







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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Masks, Muscles, and Myth by Dave Goode

Just the other day I was marveling on the overall coolness of posters from the sinew & sandal and masked wrestler movie genres. Illustrations from either would make great comic book covers. Flicks from both genres can rightfully be considered superhero movies. And then I got to thinking once again why there was never a team - up between say el Santo and Maciste. After all if you can have a movie starring el Zorro and el Maciste you can have one between Maciste and Santo or one of the " Man in the Silver Mask's " ancestors. What I really wonder about is why Mexico never had many entries in the peplum film genre.

The most notable exception was THE RAPE OF THE SABINES ( 1962 ). The movie is a retelling of the story of the Sabine women and stars Wulf Ruvinskis as Romulos , the same character that Steve Reeves portrayed in the sinew & sandal flick DUEL OF THE TITANS ( 1961 ). Ruvinskis , the wrestler turned actor , is probably better known to some of you as the star of the Neutron movie series where he played the black - masked crime-fighter.

I was thinking about a mash - up movie featuring Mil Mascaras. Heck! Mascaras had the physique to star in a Mexican - made Hercules movie himself. But here he would have played himself. With say Alan Steel as the immortal Maciste. The plot would involve Maciste in the 20th century taking a job as a pro wrestler , like Arnold did in HERCULES IN NEW YORK ( 1970 ). In between bouts the two musclemen would have several comic book adventures. To give you some idea how that might look my buddy Vance Capley has provided a faux comic book cover featuring the Man of a Dozen Masks, Mr. Incognito and Brad King the Golden Adonis.

http://www.vancecapleyart.com/

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

MASTERING TIME IN THE SILVER AGE by Dave Goode

 
Just how many pre-Fantastic Four quartets did DC Comics have? Of course there were the Challengers of the Unknown. And then there were the Sea Devils. And sandwiched between these teams was Rip Master and his team of time - traveling adventurers who made their first appearance in Showcase No.20 (May 1959). Hunter and his quartet would have the same team dynamic of the later Sea Devils and Fantastic Four. The stalwart leader, his best friend, female love interest and the love interest's kid brother. Rip Hunter, Time Master would appear in Showcase 21, 25, and 26 before graduating to his own comic book series that ran for 29 issues from 1961 to 1965. The series was cool comic book psychotronica. But I sort of lost interest after the heroes started wearing costumes/uniforms with the sixteenth issue. Obviously the editorial staff at DC thought the time travelers needed costumes to boost sales in the superhero crazy 60s. But I thought it took something away from the feature. I also thought the first story, Prisoners of 100 Million B.C, would have made a good B-Movie. And that story came pre-costumes. When Rip dressed like Doc Savage.






































The characterizations of the heroes are razor-thin. They all could have come out of central casting.





I see Rip played by Troy Donahue whose blandness would not have worked against him in this case.



















Mark Goddard could have been his best friend Jeff Smith.



















Annette Funicello would have been Rip's girl friend Bonnie Baxter.

















And for Bonnie's younger brother Corky Baxter I'd cast Billy Mumy. Hmmm. That's two actors from the cat of 60s sci-fi series Lost In Space.










As far as the story itself the quartet used their "time spheres" go back to the Mesozoic Age. A perfect time setting for a comic book about time travel. Nothing was cooler to Silver Age kids than stories featuring dinosaurs Well except for stories featuring intelligent gorillas or robots.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"I've Heard The Natives Mention Him. He's Quite A Guy According To Them." by Dave Goode

 
Back when I first discovered "men's sweat mags" as I was entering puberty my favorite stories found within were the jungle adventures. Probably because they reminded me of Jungle Jim. The Johnny Weissmuller movies based on the Alex Raymond comic strip from King Features and not the comic strip itself. They were two different animals. Of course the stories in the sweat mags featured very a little bit more violent. And had a lot more sexual content. But the stories were more or less like the ones you found in the Weissmuller flicks produced by Sam Katzman.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
One of my favorite flicks from the series was THE LOST TRIBE (1949). It stars Weissmuller, Elena Verduga, Myrna Dell, Ralph Dunn, and Ray "Crash" Corrigan as Simba the Gorilla. The screenplay is by Arthur Hoerl and Don Martin.
 
It's a formula jungle adventure revolving around a lost city and it's hidden treasures. Plenty of stock footage and cheesy dialogue. It's a wonder that the  MSFT3K crew never got a hold of this. Former Olympic swimming champ Weissmuller fights a lion, a shark, an alligator, and a gang of modern day pirates. Weissmuller is at his two-fisted best in this one. He even gets tied up and worked over the bad guys. Not great art. But a lot of fun.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Funny thing is I was re-reading the Frank Frazetta - illustrated jungle romance tale "Untamed Love" when it struck me that the "great white hunter" in that story reminded me of Victor Mature in the jungle adventure SAFARI (1956). Made me think that Mature might have made a good Jungle Jim in a big budget production. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Another actor I can see playing the jungle adventurer was Rory Calhoun. Calhoun had played big game hunter Jonathon Kincaid on an episode of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND that spoofed The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell's classic short story.

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