Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Who Rides For Justice? by Dave Goode


I've long maintained that the most imitated heroes in comics aside from Superman himself were Tarzan and the Lone Ranger. Many of the Ranger imitations differed from the "daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains" in that they had secret identities. While the Lone Ranger much like el Santo lived the mask.

 The Lone Ranger also had his imitators in the movies as well.
My favorite of these was the Durango Kid, portrayed in dozens of B-Westerns by Charles Starrett.
So popular were these flicks that there was a Durango Kid comic book.


But the masked western hero I always wanted to see, but never did, was the Copperhead. In the classic movie serial THE MYSTERIOUS DR. SATAN the hero is the Copperhead, a masked mystery man who would not have been out of place in a comic book or pulp magazine. In the first chapter of the serial we learn that this Copperhead is the son of the original Copperhead, a masked nightrider of the old west in a chainmail copper mask.
I wish that Republic had made a prequel to THE MYSTERIOUS DR.SATAN that featured the adventures of the old west Copperhead starring one of there many western stars like " Wild " Bill Elliott or Alan " Rocky " Lane.
 Who was your favorite masked cowboy? Let us know in the comments below. Also, don't forget to click the "Link" to see our books and comics.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Oh What Could Have Been by Dave Goode

K. Gordon Murray presents...
Being a fan of masked wrestler movies I sometimes imagine the genre taking off here in America during the 1960s. I imagine some Hollywood producer seeing the success K. Gordon Murray had at American matinées with his re-dubbed Santo flicks and decided to make a series of homegrown movies. The results would probably resembled the Superargo series from Europe that starred Giovanni Cianfriglia under the Americanized name Ken Woods.

Samson Burke in action
 The logical choices to star in these movies would have been the expatriate North American bodybuilders who went to Europe to star in sinew & sandal epics. Some of the more athletic stars like Dan Vadis, Brad Harris, and Gordon Mitchell could have nailed it. Samson Burke had been a pro wrestler under his real name Sammy Berg. Frankly I'll never understand how he didn't take the name "Samson Burke" when he began his career as a wrestler. It was a natural.
Gordon "Tarzan" Scott
Gordon Scott who starred as Tarzan and appeared in a number of peplum pictures would have been a good choice too. A former member of the U.S. Military Police and an expert in hand-to hand combat Scott would have been great playing a pro wrestler. The problem with Scott or Steve Reeves or Mark Forest playing a masked wrestler would be that they would spend 60% of the movie mask-less. And one of the things that makes the masked wrestler genre is that the heroes wear masks. But they had no secret identities. Something that the writers of the Superargo series understood.
Sundown Cinema has a great video about Superargo. Click HERE to see it. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Olympian and The Burlesque Queen by Dave Goode

I'm a huge fan of low-budget jungle adventure movies.The kind with potted plant jungle sets and tons of decades old stock footage.I think I developed this particular flick fetish in my pre-teen years watching the syndicated Ramar of the Jungle and Jungle Jim television shows.

I also loved PRC jungle programmers. The ones starring Buster Crabbe were special favorites.As I've said before Crabbe in safari togs and a pith helmet was a dead ringer for Doc Savage. My favorite of these was Nabonga.Where you not only have Crabbe fighting a crocodile and delivering the line "Those crocodiles can sure give you a work-out." But you also get the ape-suited Ray Corrigan. Plus a teenage Julie London. 

But another Crabbe jungle flick I've come to enjoy is Jungle Siren. Directed by Sam Newfield and written by George Wallace Sayre and Milton Ralson this flick stars legendary burlesque queen Ann Coriro in the title role playing Kuhlaya a Sheena-type who helps Crabbe fight Nazis in the wilds of Africa. Buster plays Captain Gary Hart and Paul Bryar is his comic relief sidekick Sgt. Mike Jenkins.
Bryar has the flick's funniest line. He wakes up one morning and starts flexing his muscles while commenting "Another 10 days of this and I'll have a physique like Buster Crabbe."
And I suppose this was the purpose of casting the former Olympic swimming champion opposite Coriro the ecdysiast.The PRC producers probably thought putting two such perfect physical specimens in the the same movie as romantic leads would be good box office.

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
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.

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.

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.
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.


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

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017


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.