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Showing posts from March, 2021

Sometimes You Want To Go

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John Ratzenberger had a small part in The Empire Strikes Back, but in Star Wars no character is too insignificant to be merchandised. So when trading cards were made for the movie John's character Bren Derlin was given a card. On the card it says "At Mos Eisley Cantina, everybody knows his name".

The Man From U.N/C.L.E: Season 1 Episode 1 The Vulcan Affair

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 The episode begins with a secret U.N.C.L.E. base being infiltrated by a group of men intent on assassination. They are thwarted and we learn they are from a criminal organization called Thrush. U.N.C.L.E. has intercepted some intel indicating that Thrush intends to assassinate the leader of a new African nation during a tour of a plant that happens to be owned and operated by a Thrush leader. That leader, named Vulcan, doesn't have many weaknesses, but the U.N.C.L.E. agent Napoleon Solo discovers that he had a girlfriend in college. He decides to recruit her to help him infiltrate Vulcan's inner circle and stop the assassination. Enter Elaine Donaldson, the old flame. Solo uses a connection with a bishop to get her minister to vouch for him. He tells her the situation and tells her that while she cannot tell her husband anything he will insist that she go on the trip. It turns out Solo is right, as Elaine has been placed on an important committee going to Washington due to a l

Salute to Carole Lombard

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Carole Lombard was born in Fort Wayne IN in 1908. In 1914 she moved to L.A. and at 12 was put in a film after being spotted playing baseball. She got the bug and went looking for more work. She auditioned for Chaplin's The Gold Rush, and at the age of 16 got signed to Fox. She got several bit parts and even one lead, but unfortunately Fox decided to let her contract go. She got a contract with Mack Sennett, but then fate threw her a curveball. She was out on a date a was in a car accident. The windshield shattered and cut her face. She underwent corrective surgery without anesthetic, but still had a scar. She used makeup and lighting and posture to try to hide it. Sennett publicized her curves, looking to get attention from her face to her body. She enjoyed great success at Pathe, the distributor of the Sennett shorts she played in, eventually getting lead roles. She made another movie at Fox and then went to Paramount. She married William Powell (who besides being in My Man Godfre

The List of 7 by Mark Frost

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The List of 7 is a book that is so ridiculous that it's great. The hero is a pre-Sherlock Arthur Conan Doyle. He is a struggling doctor who has a decent life, but aspires to more. He gets a letter inviting him to a seance, and he decides to go. The seance soon turns into a murder scene, but not before he falls for the lady who invited him. Unfortunately, she is the victim of said murder. Before Doyle can become the next victim, he is saved by a man who bursts into the room. The duo gets chased by creatures who look like men, but seem impervious to pain.  Doyle's savior turns out to be Jack Sparks, a secret agent of the crown. He has been chasing down a criminal conspiracy with an occult flavor. Doyle soon learns that all his belongings have been gelatinized. Events start to spin out of control and he finds himself getting sucked into a spiral of ever crazier events as he becomes Sparks' comrade in arms against a Lovecraftian plot by several nobles and notables, one of whom

Wonder Woman #186

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It may seem coordinated, but it's by chance that I'm doing the Wonder Woman comic right after doing the t.v. show . But it is just by chance. Unfortunately I'm not able to start the comics at the beginning. Also unfortunately, I have to start during the run when Wonder Woman was a non-powered spy working under a Chinese CIA agent named I Ching.  This issue starts with Diana's boutique having been destroyed after she rescued a girl from some fate which I think they assume you read in the last issue since they don't really explain it. The girl brings in her friends, who have a problem they want Diana to help fix. They have a frog in a box who turns out to be the boyfriend of one of the girls. It seems he found a book of magic and they summoned the witch Morgana Le Fay. She turned Henry into a frog to keep him from sending her back to whatever dimension they brought her from. Diana agrees to help and they chase Morgana through the streets, where she has made men fight

Wonder Woman Season 1 Episode 1

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The Wonder Woman series of the 1970's is a show that has a place near and dear to my heart. I loved this show as a kid. Lynda Carter is my first love. I don't know if I had ever seen the pilot before. Most of the reruns I saw as a kid were the episodes that took place in the 70's. One thing I was struck by is the tone of the pilot. I watched the 90 minute tv movie version. It seemed like they were trying for the campy Batman '66 feel, but it didn't quite make it. There were odd moments like Cloris Leachman as Queen Hippolyta biting her knuckles while talking about barbaric masculinity. There is Howard Gibson who seemed to think he was doing a skit on Laugh-In. But Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner played their parts straight, keeping the whole thing from falling into the realm of complete farce. And while I'm ready to forgive bad special effects (honestly they are at least as good as those in  Superboy  almost 10 years later) and plot holes in a comic book sjow fro

Sax Rohmer's Fitting End

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Sax Rohmer is an author who is best known for creating the character Fu Manchu. The character was very popular and has been portrayed in film by horror greats Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee among others. The character has also come under some criticism for being a racist caricature inspired by the Yellow Peril idea that was widespread in the U.S. for a while, and unfortunately seems to have made a comeback.  Rohmer also introduced Sumuru, who has been featured in a few films herself. While she hasn't been the focus of the same amount of criticism as Fu Manchu, I think that has more to do with their respective levels of popularity and less with the respective levels of objectionability. So it seems like a bit of karma that when Rohmer passed away in 1958, it was from the Asian flu.

Weird Mysteries February 1952

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The first story in this issue of the horror anthology comic is The Devil's Bottles. Danny Fowler is one of those people who never accepts responsibility for the bad things he does, instead blaming others for making him do them and getting mad about getting caught. He gets fired for stealing from his job and his landlady tells him she's going to kick him out if he doesn't pay his rent.  He does what many of us have done when we've had an especially bad day and goes on a drunk. The devil pays him a visit and makes a deal with him. He is given 5 bottles. Four of the bottles have "genii" in them, each of which will grant one wish. But Danny can't open the fifth bottle, or his soul will be doomed.  Of course, he gets revenge on the people he believes have wronged him, becomes rich and attractive and successful. And also of course, there is a price to be paid in a twist ending that you see coming for a mile. But while it may be predictable, it's pretty well