Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Who Is She? by Dave Goode






Fans of E.R. Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes and FANS OF " gladiator movies " probably can't help but notice that there are characters that are familiar to both. Beyond Tarzan and Maciste. I'm talking about the seductive queen/high priestess of some lost city or civilization. Modeled more or less after H.Rider Haggard's Ayesha a.k.a She Who Must Be Obeyed. You can find them in all manner of pulp fiction. Mostly in tales of barbarian heroes like Robert E. Howard's
Conan. 
Another place where you found them was in Tarzan comic book knock-offs. They were all based on Burroughs' La of Opar and Nemone of Cathne.
Lillian Worth played La in the silent film THE ADVENTURES OF TARZAN opposite Elmo Lincoln. The 1921 movie was based on Burroughs' story THE RETURN OF TARZAN. In the 1929 movie TARZAN THE TIGER La was portrayed by Mademoiselle Kithnou. In the 1946 movie TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD WOMAN starring Johnny Weissmuller cult movie star Acqunetta played a character named Lea,the leader of a leopard cult. But she could just as easily have been playing La.
WANDISA GUIDA

CHELO ALONSO
During the 1960s during the peplum movie craze any number of actresses from the sinew & sandal genre were more than capable of playing La or Nemone. Wandisa Guida , Helga Line , Gianna Maria Canalle all would have been great. Chelo Alonso,the undisputed queen of sinew & sandal flicks, would have made a great La. Perhaps opposite Gordon Scott as Tarzan. And then you had Nemone of Cathne from Burroughs' TARZAN AND THE CITY OF GOLD. This was the most Maciste-like of Tarzan adventures.

And I easily imagine Steve Reeves as Tarzan in a movie adaptation with his co-star from HERCULES UNCHAINED, Sylvia Lopez playing the mad queen Nemone.

MIKE HENRY
Former NFL linebacker Mike Henry portrayed Tarzan in three movies in the mid-60s. I think he should have starred in at least one more. An adaptation of TARZAN AND THE JEWELS OF OPAR with cult movie star Martine Beswicke as La , the high priestess/queen of the lost city of Opar.
Martine Beswicke

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Valley of the Dolls...a Guilty Pleasure by Dave Goode



 
You'd think that someone who openly admits his love of all manner of B , C and D movies wouldn't have any guilty pleasures. But I do. And Valley of the Dolls is at the top of that list.

Based on Jacqueline Susann's 1966 best-selling roman à clef trash-fest the movie may have been more over the top than the novel. And deserves it's reputation as a camp classic. Directed by Mark Robson with a screenplay by Helen Deutsch the movie tells the story of three young women and their rise and fall in show business.Harlan Ellison also had a part in writing the movie. But had his name removed from the credits when the film's downbeat ending was changed.
RARE JUDY GARLAND STILL
The movie stars Patty Duke as Neely O'Hara, Barbara Parkins as Anne Welles and the beautiful and tragic Sharon Tate as Jennifer North. Half the fun in watching this movie is guessing who the characters are based on. For instance the Neely O'Hara character is based on Judy Garland. Garland originally was hired to play Helen Lawson ,the character who was based on Ethel Merman and played by Susan Hayward after Garland was fired for coming to work drunk.
SUSAN HAYWARD

JUDY GARLAND ON THE POSTER
PATTY DUKE

Patty Duke caught a lot of flack from critics for her performance as Neely when the movie was released. And when you win an Oscar for best supporting actress when you're only sixteen I guess a lot is expected of you. I actually enjoy her over the top performance in Valley of the Dolls. And the scene where she wakes up from a drunken stupor in a hot sheets hotel room with a skid row stud is great. The look of disgust on her face when she realizes what she ,the biggest star in movies ,has just done should have earned her another academy award nomination.
LINDSAY LOHAN in better days
For a time when it looked like Lindsay Lohan was still serious about getting her career back together I thought a remake of Valley of the Dolls would have been perfect for her. She could play Neely O'Hara in her sleep. After all she had been rehearsing for it all her life. Then I started to imagine an adaptation of Susann's book with Lohan playing all three of the female leads. With different hair colors of course. You could even throw Mariah Carey in as Helen Lawson. Now that would have been a camp classic.
...and bad days.
 
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS  directed by Mark Robson. Based on the novel of the same name by Jacqueline Susann. PG-13 1967 available on various formats.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Maciste and The Saint by Dave Goode


 
Back in elementary school I traded a magazine about the U.F.O phenomena for a dozen coverless issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland. In one of those issues was a pic of a dark-haired beauty in a dungeon dressed like a "bride of Dracula " (only sexier) standing imperiously over a group of strangely garbed men stretched out on stone slabs. The caption that accompanied the photo said it was from a flick titled THE SAINT VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN. Hold the phone!!! I couldn't recall ever seeing George Sanders or Roger Moore ever taking on the Undead. Though decades later I found out about Simon Templar fighting Commie zombies in Avon's THE SAINT comic book back in the 1950s.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Later I was to find the pic was from the psychotronic flick Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro (1962) , a flick I started to refer to as the " Gone With The Wind of Mexiluchahero movies ". When I first saw SANTO VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN it was in it's re-cut ,re-dubbed version distributed by legendary movie broker K.Gordon Murray. The movie was re-titled SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN. For years I thought the movie was re-titled so no one would confuse the silver-masked hero with Simon Templar. In fact the flick was re-titled to have moviegoers believe they were going to see one of those peplum movies that were so popular at the time. It sort of made sense. On a superficial level el Santo and Maciste did somewhat resemble each other. Two seemingly immortal bare-chested champions of justice.
 
 
Maciste was the strength hero introduced into the cinema in the 1914 silent film epic CABIRIA. He was portrayed by dock worker and strongman Bartolomeo Pagano who played the character in over 20 films during the silent era. He was a Hercules-like hero who used his super-human strength in the cause of justice. The character was revived in the early 1960s following the success of the Steve Reeves' Hercules movie. Many of these 60s Maciste movies were re-titled giving the hero the more familiar (to Americans at least) names like Hercules ,Atlas , Samson and Goliath. In the Mark Forest flick SON OF SAMSON it's explained that Maciste is the son of the biblical strongman which explains his enormous strength. The character seems to be immortal appearing in different time periods. In THE WITCH'S CURSE starring Kirk Morris he shows up in Scotland in 1650. In SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD starring Gordon Scott he fights injustice in 13th century China.
 
El Santo takes a page from the Phantom's book and the silver mask is passed down from father to son. But in the case of Santo it wasn't to create the illusion of immortality. So it's not to hard to imagine the immortal Maciste teaming up with one of the original Santo's descendants. I imagine a 60s movie where Maciste turns up in the 20th century and teams up with el Santo. Maybe the strongman takes up a job as a professional wrestler where the two heroes meet. This would have been a natural for Turkish cinema , that had no regard for copyright laws ,and gave us the infamous Captain America / el Santo team-up.
 
Idea by Dave Goode retro art by Vance Capley vancecapleyart.com



 Do you enjoy those fun by-gone days when the hero was the hero when he put on a luchador mask, he knew judo, and a gorilla fought crime wearing a mask? NO?! Well, my friends, you need to get your copy of Dave Goode's JUDO COMICS! >>>>>>>>CLICK HERE<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

THE ICONIC HERO by Dave Goode

Art by Vance Capley - 11x17 posters are available for $15 - Vance Capley Arts


 

"With his faithful Indian companion Tonto , the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice." I sometimes wonder if Fran Striker was creating The Lone Ranger for George W. Trendle and WXYZ Radio back in 1933 that he was creating one of America's iconic pop culture heroes.
 
The hero's origin is as much a part of Americana as real-life western legends of the Siege of the Alamo and the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Six Texas Rangers in pursuit of the Butch Cavendash gang are led into an ambush. Only one man survived. The younger brother of ranger captain Dan Reid. Found and nursed back to health by Tonto , a Native-American the surviving ranger makes a mask from his murdered brother's vest to hide his identity and the fact that one man had survived the massacre. He makes a vow to bring a hundred outlaws to justice for each one of his fallen comrades. As he begins his new life as a masked crime-fighter he adopts the silver bullet as his sign.The Lone Ranger is much like the masked wrestling heroes of Mexican cinema in that once he dons his mask he ceases to have any other identity than that of the Lone Ranger. No changing in phone booths for this character.

 Many actors have portrayed the Lone Ranger over the years. On the radio the most notable were George Seaton ,Earle Graser and Brace Beemer. Lee Powell played the character in Republic's 1938 serial THE LONE RANGER. Republic followed that up with the 1939 serial THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN starring Robert Livingston. On television from 1949 to1957 the character was portrayed by two actors. Clayton Moore began playing the role in 1949. John Hart took over the role for one season while Moore sat out the year in a contract dispute. On television Tonto, the Ranger's faithful Indian companion was portrayed by Jay Silverheels, a Mohawk Indian born in Ontario, Canada. Moore is considered by many to be the definitive Lone Ranger. And aside from his playing the character on television he portrayed him in two feature movies THE LONE RANGER (1956) and THE LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (1958). Both of these movies are pretty entertaining B-westerns. And if you haven't seen them you should search them out.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sinew & Sandal Comics by Dave Goode






I'm a huge fan of " sinew & sandal " flicks. Or if you prefer "sword and sandal " movies. It's just that in my favorites from the genre the heroes rarely use swords. Just their muscles. Or like Steve Reeves in HERCULES (1957) the very chains the villain thought to bind him with. I'm talking about the movies starring the strength heroes Hercules, Maciste, Ursus, Samson and Goliath.







It was during the muscleman movie cycle (1957-1967) that the urban myth that George Reeves and Steve Reeves were brothers sprung up. After all George played Superman and Steve played Hercules. It seemed believable to anyone incapable of searching for facts. In any case during this period Superman met both Hercules and Samson on several occasions in DC Comics. Over at Marvel Comics Hercules became a supporting character in the Thor and Avengers features.


Charlton Comics published a Hercules comic book beginning in 1967 by Joe Gill and Sam Glanzman. The comic ran for 13 issues and focused on the hero's legendary twelve labors.


Dell Comics had previously published adaptations of the Steve Reeves' movies HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED illustrated respectively by comic book legends John Buscema and Reed Crandall. For the latter they used the poster art from the movie for the comic's cover. One of the coolest things about the sinew & sandal genre was the poster art for the movies. They could have easily been used as covers for comic book adaptations of the movies.
Faux cover idea by Dave Goode art by Vance Capley

One of those things that I don't understand, and there are many, is why no American publisher looked at how popular these flicks were and thought to put out a Maciste comic book. Nope. Nothing. More's the pity.*
*Maciste has appeared in various Italian comic books for many years but sadly never in the U.S. He appeared in a Turkish comic adaptation of of the film Cabiria (1914).
A version of Maciste more accurate to the 1914 film from Albi of Audacia no. 28, 1938
 
The Bartolomeo Pagano silent Maciste films established the character as someone who could appear at any place and at any time. A series of comics in the 1940s presented a version much like these films.
   During the mid 60s, the grandson of Maciste, Kolosso who is "Kolosso nipote di Maciste più forte di Ercole" ( grandson of Maciste stronger than Hercules - most U.S. websites mistranslates it to "nephew to Maciste and nephew to Hercules"), and like the silent era films, Kolosso's stories could take place anytime and pretty much anywhere.
The Cave of Slaves with Maciste from  Albi of Audacia no. 38 1938

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

There's Only One Race Bannon by Dave Goode


Actor Jeff Chandler...the perfect Race Bannon
TV Guide ad
I was seven years old when JONNY QUEST premiered in prime time on September 18 , 1964. At the time I thought it was the coolest cartoon I had ever seen. And there has been nothing in the ensuing decades to challenge that opinion. Sure SPACE GHOST was cool. But it wasn't Jonny Quest cool. After all ,as any fan-boy will tell you ,the real star of JONNY QUEST was Race Bannon. Much in the same way Pat Ryan was the true star in the early days of Milton Caniff's classic adventure comic strip TERRY & THE PIRATES.

Race Bannon
JONNY QUEST followed the pulp-like adventures of 11 year-old Jonny who travelled the world with his scientist father Dr.Benton Quest , adopted brother Hadji and bodyguard Roger "Race" Bannon. Because of the nature of Dr. Quest's work and it's importance to world security Bannon was assigned by " Intelligence I " as a permanent bodyguard to the Quests as well as a tutor for Jonny and Hadji. By the way publicity material claimed that Hadji was adopted by the Quests. But this was never mentioned in any of the original 26 episodes.
Race Bannon's "voice" Mike Road
EAST OF SUMATRA 1953 Universal
As far as Race Bannon he was a secret agent , expert pilot , and expert with firearms. He is also a martial arts expert with a third degree black belt in judo. He was voiced on the series by actor Mike Road. And his physical design was based on Hollywood he-man actor Jeff Chandler. I can't watch a Jeff Chandler movie like EAST OF SUMATRA without imagining it's a Race Bannon adventure prior to his assignment with the Quests.
THE LADY TAKES A FLYER 1958 Universal-International
Chandler was born Ira Grossel in Brooklyn NY where he attended Eramus Hall High School. After the U.S. entered WW Two Chandler entered the army and served for four years earning the rank of lieutenant. After being discharged from the army and began a notable film career. He was even nominated for the Academy Award for portraying the Apache chief Cochise in BROKEN ARROW (1950) . When fan-boys think of casting a JONNY QUEST movie their first choice is Jeff Chandler as Race. Unfortunately Chandler would die tragically young at age 42 three years before JONNY QUEST first aired. I suppose Peter Graves might have been a good second choice. But as Race's love interest on the cartoon, Jezebal Jade, said "There's only one Race Bannon."
JONNY QUEST is available on DVD
 
Faux book cover idea by Dave Goode - graphics by Vance Capley



What was your favorite episode of Jonny Quest? Let us know in the comments below. Also, don't forget to click the "Link" to see our books and comics.

http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/dave-goode/judo-comics/paperback/product-22908356.html