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The Amazing Spider-Man Pilot

When people say that Tobey Maguire was the first live action Spider-Man, that's not entirely accurate. There was a t.v. series in the late seventies that starred Nicholas Hammond as Peter Parker. The series began with a made for t.v. movie (that was shown in theaters in some countries) and it is possibly the most 70's thing I have ever seen. It starts off with a shot of Spider-Man crawling around on a building and peeking in windows.  I think it's supposed to create awe in seeing the hero display his powers, but it just makes him look like a peeping tom. Then we cut to scenes of a doctor and a lawyer hearing an odd sound and walking off, later getting together to rob a bank. They crash into a wall at a low rate of speed (seriously, none of the cars that crash in this movie could have been moving faster than 5 mph) but this causes the car to crumple up and the driver and passenger to get put into a coma. Now we meet Peter. He's trying to sell photos to J. Jonah Jameson.

Masterpiece In Murder by Richard Powell

Masterpiece In Murder (also released as False Colors) was first printed some time in the 1950's, I've seen both 1950 and 1955 listed as the first printing. Unlike many books of the time, it doesn't feel particularly dated. The dialog isn't so slangy as to be old fashioned 3 months after the book was published. In fact you could release it today as a modern story and the only problem would be readers wondering why the characters never use their smart phones to Google anything. The story moves along at a brisk pace. At first you can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about, but you learn what is going on right along with the main character, which is fun. The twist ending (of course there's a twist ending) is one you can probably see coming for a mile, but that doesn't make it any less satisfying. Pete Meadows gets thrown together with the free spirited Nancy, who ropes him in on a scheme to help an artist friend of hers. The artist, Nick, is an ex-con who

The Recycled Theme

What do Jawas and Lex Luthor have in common? John Williams is a great composer whose scores helped make a lot of great movies even greater. There's no denying that his music made Indiana Jones and E.T. even more thrilling than they were on their own. If there is one complaint that can be made, it's that his scores sometimes may sound a bit similar. Fans may bristle at this suggestion, but there is evidence of it's truth. When he was writing the music for Star Wars Williams wrote a theme for the Jawas, the junk trading aliens who scavenge C3PO and R2D2 in the desert of Tatooine. Lucas didn't care for the theme, so a different one was written and used in the movie. But the original one wasn't scrapped. It found new life as the theme for Lex Luthor in Superman The Movie.

The Avengers #1

Even those of us who love comics can admit that sometimes the stories are a bit nuts. Especially in older issues, plotlines can be corny and/or confusing. Even taking that into account, the first issue of The Avengers is pretty crazy. It begins with Loki trying to figure out how to lure Thor to the enchanted isle where he has been exiled. he decides to trick the hulk into wrecking a train. The Hulk saves the train instead, but the people on the train think the Hulk tried to kill them. Rick Jones and his cohorts try to get the Fantastic Four involved, but Loki redirects the signal so that it goes to Thor instead. Somehow it also gets to Iron Man and Ant Man and The Wasp. Ant Man comes across as a bit of a douche in this, maybe not as bad as he will be later but he is needlessly mean to Janet. Janet is portrayed as a vapid man hungry bimbo. Thor quickly realizes that Loki is behind the Hulk's supposed rampage and heads to Asgard. He doesn't bother mentioning to the other heroes t

Warlocks and Warriors

I really like fantasy novels. I can remember the first time I read The Lord of the Rings. I have very fond memories of reading the Dragonlance books and even Gary Gygax's Dungeons and Dragons novels. Not to be that hipster guy, but I read Game of Thrones years before they talked about making a tv show. I don't want to be that cranky old man who claims everything was better in his day, so I will say instead that it's getting harder to find new fantasy that appeals to me. It's all either in a modern urban setting, or it's so simplistically written that the target audience is obviously meant to be in middle school. Luckily there's a lot of great fantasy from days of yore out there that I either haven't read yet, or read so long ago that I can revisit it and experience as almost new. Warlocks and Warriors is an anthology from the 70's. Anthologies are dicey, because the quality is always going to be a bit uneven. This book was worth the read for me just for

Happy Days Season One Episode One All The Way

Happy Days is one of those shows that has just become ingrained in our popular culture in ways that many people may not even realize. When a show has turned a corner where it has been around too long and as a result the episodes become more and more ridiculous, we say it has jumped the shark. This is a direct reference to an infamous Happy Days episode. And the show did become a mill for catchphrases and ridiculous setups. Many people don't realize that Robin Williams' character Mork from Ork was introduced in Happy Days (in an episode that turned out to have been a dream, or was it?). Given how very schlocky the show became, one might be surprised by the early episodes. The show actually began as an unsold pilot, that was recycled as a standalone episode in the anthology show Love, American Style. This episode was seen by a little known indie director by the name of George Lucas (that's not sarcasm, this was way before Star Wars) who was casting his next movie American Gra

Star Trek #1

The first issue of DC Comics' Star Trek came out in 1984, a few months before Star Trek III came out. The decided to put the book in the continuity of the movies, but obviously had no idea what the movies were going to be doing. At the beginning of the book Kirk asks to be assigned to the Enterprise and his request is granted. The odd part is he is demoted to Captain from Admiral, and this is somehow presented as being a good thing for him. All the main players of course sign up to serve under him, including Lt. Saavik from Star Trek II. There are also a couple of ensigns, whose fathers were both on a ship that was destroyed by Klingons at the beginning of the book. This is the cause of a fight between them, which is broken up by Kirk. Kirk takes his crew to investigate how the Klingons are ambushing Federation ships without being detected. The Enterprise is attacked and Kirk figures out their very rudimentary strategy and uses it against them. The Klingons are somehow baffled that