Tuesday, December 10, 2019

JUST ABOUT EVERYONE'S IMAGINARY TARZAN by Dave Goode











It always amused me while watching the television western series CHEYENNE starring Clint Walker how the writers would find ways to get the star's shirt off. I'm sure those scenes got female viewers to tune in every week.








Standing 6 ' 6 " tall and weighing 245 lbs. with a 48 " chest he was built like a basketball power forward. But like the pulp magazine hero Doc Savage he was so perfectly proportioned that you didn't realize how big he was unless he stood next to something of size to give him scale. That's why I've included pictures of him with Mr. Universe Steve Reeves and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown.




I've said jokingly for years that Walker, physically at least, would have been an impressive Superman. But you could never disguise his traps and shoulders with a pair of glasses. I could also see him playing the biblical hero Samson. But the character most people imagine Walker playing on screen was Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan Of The Apes.

At 6' 6" he was quite a bit taller than Burroughs described the "Ape Man". But otherwise he'd be a perfect fit. And he was cast more or less as Tarzan in his very first screen role. Under the name Jett Norman he appeared in a leopard-skin in a scene in the Bowery Boys comedy JUNGLE GENTS (1954).

Fans weren't the only people that imagined Walker as Tarzan. I've no way of confirming it. But I'd say that noted comic book/strip artist Gray Morrow channeled Walker when he illustrated the Tarzan comic strip from 1983 to 2001.



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

JIMMY OLSEN, JUDO EXPERT by Dave Goode

JIMMY OLSEN, JUDO EXPERT by Dave Goode
Thanks largely through Jack Larson's performance as Jimmy Olsen on The Adventures of Superman television series the powers to be at DC Comics decided the character was popular enough to receive his own comic book title. So Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen No. 1 would premiere in 1954 cover dated September/October. The title was originally a bimonthly. But would become a monthly feature. And would run for 163 issues until March 1974.


One of the best remembered episodes from the Superman television series was from the second series and titled Semi-Private Eye. A spoof of hard boiled detective fiction it featured the immortal Elisha Cook Jr. as private detective Homer Garrity. After Garrity and Lois Lane (Noel Neill) are kidnapped by gangsters Jimmy dons a fedora and trench coat to do a hilarious Bogart ala' Chandler impersonation as he bumbles his way through the episode. The climax has Garrity and Olsen using judo to overcome the two kidnappers while Superman carries Miss Lane to safety.


During the Silver Age of Comics Jimmy Olsen was depicted as being a judo
expert. He used the martial arts from time to time in both his own comic book and World's Finest. One of my favorite examples of Judo Jimmy in action was in a story titled The Dragon Delinquent in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen No. 91 cover dated March 1966. The story written by Leo Dorfman and drawn by Pete Costanza  freely "borrows" from the cult film High School Confidential (1958). The story also, aside from Superman, features DC's resident judo experts Batman & Robin.







Of course by the Bronze Age Jimmy had added karate and other martial arts styles to his bag of tricks. The thing I've wondered about for years was what rank Jimmy held in judo. Was it ever mentioned. The reason that I wonder about it is that in the Silver Age Bat-Girl was introduced as a "brown belt" in judo. And Batman himself says in issue of the Justice League as being able to qualify as a "black belt". Not that he was a black belt. Only that he could qualify as one. At the start of the Bronze Age Robin , the Boy Wonder was described as being a "brown belt in karate ". Wouldn't it have been amusing if Superman's pal was ranked higher than any of them.









Tuesday, November 26, 2019

ANOTHER EAST SIDE KIDS DOUBLE FEATURE by Dave Goode







One of the great entertainment pleasures of my youth was watching East Side Kids movies on the local television stations. Growing up I didn't know anyone who didn't like these flicks. Though there were those who preferred the Bowery Boys to the East Siders.














For years I've dreamed of an East Side Kids comic book from the Golden Age of Comic Books by Simon & Kirby who created the Newsboy Legion and Boy Commandos for DC. Two of the movies from the East Side series that I could see being adapted to the comic book page were BOWERY BLITZKRIEG (1941) and LET'S GET TOUGH (1942).








BOWERY BLITZKRIEG was a fun little boxing movie with Leo Gorcey as Muggs McGinnis representing the N.Y. Police Department in an amateur boxing tournament. There have been more movies made about boxing than any other sport. And this one features about all the usual cliches. Including an improbable come from behind victory in the squared circle. This is also introduces Huntz Hall into the series.





LET'S GET TOUGH is my personal favorite of the series.The story has the Kids tackling an Axis spy ring. Something that wouldn't have been out of place in a Golden Age comic book. Fun stuff. And pretty exciting exciting too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

BETTIE, THE JUNGLE PRINCESS by Dave Goode





Do you remember certain DC Comics of the Silver Age where the editors, writers, and artists would come up with a cover image and then create a story built around it? The adage you cant judge a book by it's cover was often true when applied to these comics. I got the distinct impression this was also the case for the 10 page lead story found in Bettie Page Comics No.1 from Dark Horse in 1996. You start with the cover illustration by the late, great Dave Stevens that itself looks like a homage to Frank Frazetta's cover to Thun'Da No.1 from the 1950s.










With a script by Jeff Gelb and Dave Steven the story is penciled by Bret Blevins with inks by Blevins, Mike Manley, and Dave Stevens. The story itself is a hilarious tribute to B-Movie jungle adventures. And features thinly disguised cyphers for Ed Wood Jr. and Johnny Weissmuller.

The whole thing was most likely inspired by a photo shoot with pin-up model turned pin - up photographer Bunny Yeager and model Bettie Page done at the Africa U.S.A theme park in Boca Raton, Florida in 1954. The sexy "jungle girl" outfit Bettie is wearing was in fact made by Miss Page herself.

I like to believe there is an alternate universe where a B-Movie producer like a Sam Katzman decided to make a jungle adventure flick starring Bettie Page. Maybe even co-starring Johnny Weissmuller. As Johnny Weissmuller and not Jungle Jim. And Steve Calvert as Bettie's faithful gorilla companion. Something that was missing from the photo shoot with Miss Yeager.


And don't forget the comic!



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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

ELVIS WITH MUSCLES!!! by Dave Goode

ELVIS WITH MUSCLES!!!  by Dave Goode
Kirk Morris has been one of my favorite sinew & sandal stars from the time I discovered the genre as a preteen back in the 60s. Years later it hit me that he bore a slight resemblance to Elvis Presley. I can imagine a movie producer seeing his screen test and saying " He looks like Elvis with muscles. The girls will love him. "  Not an American import from Muscle Beach like a lot of the other stars from these flicks. He was a home grown talent. Born Adriano Bellini he was the winner of the Mr. Italia competition in 1961. And was discovered while working as a gondolier. Standing 6' 1" Morris was one of those peplum movie heroes who might have made a good Tarzan. Physique wise at least. Muscular. But not overly bulky.

His first movie TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961) a.k.a TRIUMPH OF THE SON OF HERCULES was one of my favorites. It's the old hero saves kingdom and girl friend from evil queen story. What makes it stand out are two feats of strength scenes. In one Morris arm wrestles 5 men at once. And wins. In the other he does the "Hercules Hold" resisting the pull of two horse drawn chariots. This was one of the better versions of this particular feat of strength.


Another favorite from 1961 was HERCULES VS. MACISTE IN THE VALE OF WOE. Morris once again plays Maciste. And Frank Gordon portrays Hercules. The story has two time traveling 2oth century wrestling promoters in ancient Greece trying to set up a match between the two strength heroes.

Morris portrays Maciste again in THE WITCH'S CURSE (1962). This was more or less a remake of MACISTE IN HELL (1925) that starred the original screen Maciste , Bartolomeo Pagano. This flick has the seemingly immortal strongman saving a 17th century Scottish village from a witch's curse by entering through the gates of Hell and battling the forces of evil.




One of Morris' best known movies is HERCULES, SAMSON, & ULYSSES (1963). In this one, which is a favorite of fans of the genre, Morris portrays Hercules. It's famous for the fight between Hercules and Samson. The biblical strongman is played here by Richard Lloyd.













After the peplum movie cycle came to an end Morris would star in a number of other adventure flicks. But he would be better known as the star of a series fumettis.

This week's blog features a new Golden Adonis comic by Dave Goode & Vance Capley inspired by the gladiator movies of the 1960s.




Dave and Vance make comics and you can get these comics here:


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Million Dollar Mermaid. No! Not Esther Williams! by Dave Goode




Diane Webber became a cult figure as one of the top pin - up models of the 1950s and early 1960s. She modeled for art study magazines , nudist mags (she was a nudist activist) and all the top men's magazines of the period. She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month twice. In May of 1955. And in February of 1956. The second photo shoot was by the legendary Russ Meyers. I first knew her from an episode of the television series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
(season 3 episode 19) in 1967 in which she played a mermaid. A role she also played in 1962 in the flick MERMAIDS OF TIBURON.










Born Marguerite Diane Theresa Emprey on July 29, 1932, she was the daughter of pulp and screenwriter Arthur Guy Emprey and the former Marguerite Andrus (a former Miss Long Beach beauty contest winner and actress). As a girl she would study ballet under Maria Bekefi. After graduating from Hollywood High, she took a job as a chorus girl in San Francisco. It was there that she began modeling for such noted photographers as Bunny Yeager. The camera loved her and her 39c-23-37 figure.





Diane would also appear on the covers of paperbacks and album covers. Among others she was the model on Nelson Riddle's SEA OF DREAMS and Les Baxter's JEWELS OF THE SEA. She was also featured on a number of popular television shows. A professional belly dancer Diane was also featured in such cult flicks as THE WITCHMAKER (1969) and THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK (1974) as respectively a belly dancing witch and a belly dance instructor. But I'll always remember her as the beautiful mermaid with the Creature from the Black Lagoon-like mate that I first saw as a ten year old on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.