Saturday, May 27, 2006

Seaside Woman by Suzy and the Red Stripes

If you have never heard of this group from the late 70's it is not surprising. While the song was released between 1977 and 1978 it was not a hit and Epic pulled the record early on. At least in America. You see the group is really Paul McCartney and Wings. I had heard a that Linda had written the song and Paul wanted to record it with her singing lead. Capitol refused to record the song so Paul called the group Suzy (Linda) and the Red Stripes (Wings) and they signed with Epic under that name. The name Red Stripes is from one of Paul and Linda's favorite drinks. They must have thought the name change would be enough to avoid contract entanglements. Paul should have known better. They didn't really hide the fact it was really Paul and Linda very well. If you click on the picture of the 45 you can see that the songwriter is credited as McCartney and it is produced by Paul McCartney. Plus the MPL logo is on the record. Paul is very good at changing his voice as he has done so on many Beatles and Wings songs and even done some animation voice overs. For some reason he doesn't change it while singing background on this song and his familer voice sticks out like a sore thumb. Capitol di threaten to sue if what is really a Wings song was not pulled from the market. Since Wings was under contract to Capitol and Epic didn't think they could win a suit by saying they signed them as the Red Stripes they pulled the record from stores. While the song was not selling well at the time it was still early after the release and may have become a hit if not pulled. Now it is just a footnote in Paul McCartney's long career. The flip side to the song took a humorus tone with the title as it was called the B-Side to Seaside. Posted by Picasa

The Cross and the Switchblade

The Cross and the Switchblade is the true life story of two men. David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz. David Wilkerson (played by Pat Boone) is a Baptist preacher from the Pennsylvania countryside who goes to New York and meets an urban street gang called the Mau-Mau's. Nicky Cruz (played by Erick Estrada in his first movie before he was on CHIPS) is the leader of the gang. David is only shown suspicion and hostility from Nicky and his gang. As the Bible says David turns the other cheek and still shows them kindness and tries to teach them about Jesus. In the end Nicky accepts Christ as his Saviour and tries to get others to do the same. Mr. Cruz has since become a preacher himself.
This film was produced in 1969 and while it seems dated today it still carries a powerful message. I heard that it was about to be rated R for violence when it was first released. A cast member, I heard it was Mr. Estrada, convinced them to give it a PG rating because children should be given the message as well as adults.
Pat Boone and Erick Estrada are the perfect match of actors with their characters. You should see this film as it reminds us of how good an actor both are. Hopefully it will help you to forget all the bad shows Mr. Estrada has been stuck in since CHIPS. Posted by Picasa

Superman The Musical

I was searching the internet on this subject and found what I thought was pretty interesting. First is this site. It is dedicated to the 1975 television special. It had an all star cast. I won't tell you much about it in case you want to go there but one thing did surprise me. The person who played Perry White was Allen Ludden. Mr. Ludden at that time was famous as the MC (host) of the game show Password and for being married to Betty White. The other site, from which the above picture is from, is this one. It is an auction site for the album that was recorded from the Broadway play of Superman the Musical. Jack Cassidy got top billing for playing the villian. Mr. Cassidy, as we all know, was also famous for being father to David Cassidy and being married to Shirly Jones. The one thing that the cast have in common is that the men who played Superman were unknowns then and saddly are still unknown today. They were played by David Wilson on the TV special and Bob Holiday in the play. Mr. Holiday got the short end of the stick by being listed last in the cast even though he was the star of the play. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

Flip Sides

CD's are an amazing achievement in the music industry. Still I long for the days of the 45's. One reason is that today you no longer have what use to be called the flip side. There was the "A" side that had the most popular song on it. Then there was the "B" side, also known as the flip side since you had to flip the record over. Early on they would put two popular songs on the 45. If radio stations got enough request for both songs it proved that the records were selling due to the popularity of both sides. Therefore, you had a double sided hit. Record companies got wise and found out they could sell twice as many 45's if they put what they expected to be a hit song on the "A" side and a regular non-hit song on the "B" side. Sometimes the record company was wrong. DJ's wouldn't like the "A" side song and flip over to the "B" side. They would like that and play it. Then the "B" side song would be the hit. It is rumored that is why the song "Hound Dog" by Elvis became a hit. By the 1970's that wasn't happening too much. Record companies got choosing the A sided hit song down to a science. Most people started buying more albums instead. That way you not only had the hit but you had about 11 other songs too. Usually the flip side of the 45 was also on the album. Sometimes it was a song that was not on the album. If you were a big fan of the artist you would always check out the flip side of the 45 even if you already had the album. Sometimes you got a plesant surprise. That is how I came across these two songs. If you click on the photo you will see the songs are Sugar On The Floor by Elton John and They Gave In To The Blues by Barry Manilow. I don't recall seeing them on the albums that the hit songs were from or any other album or CD they have put out. The hit songs on the A sides are Island Girl by Elton and Ships by Barry. Huge hit songs for both men. So, while I do like CD's for the albums and singles, you can't flip them over and get that little surprise anymore. Posted by Picasa

The Persuaders

In the 1970’s Roger Moore was famous for playing Simon Templer in The Saint television series. The character was created by writer Leslie Charteris. He wrote many novels starring the wealthy sleuth. Mr. Charteris also wrote some radio episodes of Sherlock Holmes. While there was a radio seriesof THe Saint in the 1940’s and 50’s with Vincent Price in the title role I don’t know for certain that Mr. Charteris wrote for that series. It is said that Charteris was not happy that his character seemed to have long term success escape him. Then they started The Saint TV series in 1962. It ran for 5 years in England and 2 years in America. He felt vindicated that his character finally obtained the success that he deserved. Since the character has had novels, a radio and TV series and a movie made about him I think he has had a lot of long term success. Mr. Charteris loved to draw as a kid but wasn’t very good at it so he only drew stick figures. Thus the symbol of the Saint was created.
Before this gets to be just about The Saint I need to remind you that this is really about the Persuaders. The second half or the team was Tony Curtis. While Mr. Curtis has done many series like Vegas, McCoy and basically voiced himself in an episode of The Flintstones as Stoney Curtis, he was mainly known for his movies. The first series he did where he was not a guest star but one of the regular stars of the show was The Persuaders.
The show was produced in England and ran in America opposite Mission Impossible. While the show was a hit in Europe, being opposite MI doomed it in America. They must have tried to get their money’s worth in the USA because I remember watching it on Sunday afternoons in the 70’s. The series started with Roger Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair who was born to wealth. He gets in a fight with an American self- made Millionaire Danny Wilde. They trashed the place. A retired Judge tells them that unless they help him stop crime among the wealthy he will put them in jail. Not wanting to go to jail they become the Persuaders. The show was one of the most expensive produced in England as it filmed on location in France, Sweden, Italy etc. Perhaps being so expensive is what got the show cancelled. They only produced about 24 episodes. It's cancellation came as a surprise to the stars. However, the show must have given Mr. Curtis a taste to do more television and the cancellation of the series set Mr. Moore free to accept the offer to play James Bond. He had turned down the offer twice due to being committed to The Saint and The Persuaders when they offered it to him before. Here is a link to a website for The Persuaders. Posted by Picasa

Challengers of the Unknown by Ron Goulart

Having read Booksteve's article on the great comic book artist by Ron Goulart I thought I would write about the Challengers of the Unknown novel that he wrote. It was written in 1977 when DC tried to revive the series. They wanted to start a series of novels on the lesser known adventure characters that they had. The asked Mr. Goulart to do this one. From what I remember it was pretty good but I thought the characterization was a little off. For instance Professor was more of a womanizer in the novel then he was in the comic books. Otherwise it was pretty good. The Challengers face various traps set for each of them and survive. They investigate to find out the source and it leads them to a swamp monster and Nazi's in South America. If you find the book buy it and read it. You will have an enjoyable time. In my research on the net I found this Challengers of the Unknown fansite. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Comic books and religion

Thanks to the Comics Reporter I was directed to this site that has an article about Superheroes and Religion. As I mentioned in this posting the Illuminator, who is pictured above, was the first superhero who I know of who was shown to have accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Posted by Picasa

Flying Saucers Comics

Flaying Saucers comics #5 by Dell comics (before they started making computers:just kidding) is one of the first comics I remember getting. I don’t quite remember how I got it but the book was put out in 1969 and around that time my Dad had a part time job putting comic books in local Mom and Pop shops. I think he had that one and just let me keep it. Over the years I lost it but recently found this one for sale at a store for $1. It said on the front page at the bottom it was #5 but I have never seen #1-4 or even #6 and beyond for that matter. They may have just put this out to copyright the title. In the 1950’s, 1960’s and into the early 1970’s it was not uncommon to hear about people who said they saw a UFO, an alien or were abducted by aliens. From the stories I have heard these aren’t E.T. or Superman. They sound more like Lobo. The stories in this book are just as I mentioned before. The main character has a frightening encounter with aliens from another planet. Anyway the cover is by Frank Springer and he did a couple of stories on the inside. Another artist who did work on one of the stories is Sal Trapani who did the story called Strange Shoot Out. Mr. Trapani is also briefly mentioned this week at Booksteve's Library. Mr. Springer and Mr. Trapani signed their art but the others were not. If I had to guess I would say they were by Dick Giordano and Joe Kubert. If you like old comic books and Science Fiction you should get this book if you see if for sale at your local comic book shop. Posted by Picasa

Dan Poole's Spider-Man Movie The Green Goblin's Last Stand

This is my second attempt to post something about this movie. In the early 90’s filmmaker Dan Poole heard that James Cameron was going to direct the Spider-Man movie. He wanted to work on the film. So he produced, directed and starred in his own movie based on issues of Amazing Spider-Man #’s 121 and 122. The main difference in this version is that Mr. Poole still has Gwen Stacey as the damsel in distress. Where as the film that eventually was directed by Sam Raimi they had the more familiar Mary Jane Watson in the position. I can understand why. While I love Gwen, Mary Jane is better known to Spidey’s younger readers.
This movie was very entertaining and looks pretty good for being produced on a shoestring budget. It was made on video tape instead of film. I would imagine that was to keep cost down. The movie looks as good as any early Roger Corman film or any episode of the 1970’s Spider-Man TV series that starred Nicholas Hammond. Mr. Poole has treated the characters and the story with the respect and honor. It comes off as a labor of love and not something campy. Mr. Raimi did the same with his big budget film but it was nice to see that you don’t need to have millions of dollars to do the same thing. If you are a die hard Spider-Man fan then you must have this movie. It is a pleasant way to spend some time in the afternoon.
Hope you like the cover. The VHS tape I got had one but I didn’t like parts of it. I took a playing card that I had of Spider-Man and added that instead. I kept the bottom part of it as the sketch of Spidey looked pretty good and it had the title of the movie. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Batman The Musical?

I was researching information on character actor Olan Soule who was the voice of Bruce (Batman) Wayne on many of the 1960's and 1970's animated series. On one series he was even the voice of Alfred. Anyway during the research I came across that Tim Burton, David Ives and Jim Steinman are planning a play called "Batman: The Musical" to start either this year or in 2007. Don't they remember that horrible Superman musical from the 60's and was aired in 1975 on late night tv? Well with Tim Burton involved maybe it will be better then the Superman play. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another Bob Kane Creation

Bob Kane is known around the world as the creator of Batman and Robin. He created more then just them. He also created Couragous Cat and Cool McCool. Of those last two Cool McCool is his best remembered. It was in Sept. of 1966 when it debuted on Saturday morning televison on NBC. It isn't hard to see what his inspration was for the character. Cool was dashing and handsome. He communicated to headquarters through his moustache and had amazing gadgets that didn't work all the time. His favorite saying was "Danger is my business." He got his orders from a boss known as Number One. When his boss caught him in a mistake he always said "That will never happen again." A year earlier NBC premiered Get Smart. Maxwell Smart thought he was dashing and handsome. He called headquarters through his shoe phone and had other gadgets like the Cone of Silence that rarely worked well. He had many catch phrases one of his favorites when he was told he would be facing danger he would say "...and loving it." He had a boss known as Chief. When the Chief caught him in a mistake he would always say 'Sorry about that Chief." So Maxwell Smart was the inspration for Cool McCool. At least it seems that way. In an homage to Batman Cool drove the Coolmobile. Like Batman drove the Batmobile.
The voice of Cool McCool was Bob McFadden, he also did Luno the White Stallion for Terry toons and Commander Stargazer in Silverhawks. His best known voice was Frankenberry in the ceral commericals. The voice of Number One was Chuck McCann and he also did the voice of all the villians.
The show lasted for 3 years on network TV. During that time an amazing thing didn't happen. There was no merchandising of Cool McCool. No comic books, big little books, view masters, dolls etc. As you can see by the photo above they have started to put out videos and DVDS. You can get that one if you click here. Posted by Picasa

Aquaman TV series Sunk!

I just heard that the Smallville spin off of Aquaman is not going to happen this fall. There is a chance that it could be a midseason replacement. If you want to know more you can go to this Aquaman website. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jenette Kahn and Dynamite

Dynamite magazine was published from the mid 70's into the early 80's. It was by Scholastic Books. You know the company where you placedyour orders at school for the books that you wanted and they were handed out by your teacher when they arrived. I don't remember ever getting Dynamite at school. I saw them for sale on the magazine stands at the mini- marts and drug stores in my area. I was never a big sports fan so if I saw the first issue I am not surprised that I don't remember Mark Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers on the cover. I remember flipping through it and noticing that they had 2 pages of Marvel comics characters in the magazine. Usually it would give something like the origin story of the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man etc. I bought the mag till they stoped running that feature. Dynamite has an even stronger link to comic books. As anyone who has been a comic book fan since the 70's now knows. For those who don't know that link is Jenette Kahn. She was the Editor of Kids, Dynamite and Smash magazines. I don't know anything about Smash but Kids was designed so that it was really produced for kids by kids. There was very little input by adults. Kids did well enough that when she started Dynamite it followed along the same lines and had better distribution. Distribution is a big part in how well a publication does as you will see soon. Her success caught the eye of DC comics. She joined in 1976 as publisher and later President and Editor in Chief. By 1976 the DC Explosion was well underway as it started in 1975. DC expanded it's line of comics over the space of 5 years as well as increasing the cover price of the books. 75 and 76 were pretty good to the DC Explosion. However, trouble was just around the corner in the winters of 1977 and 1978. The country was frozen over. In the Northeast it was at it's worst. In my area it was so cold that the Ohio River froze over solid. It was so solid that alot of, crazy in my opinion, people walked across the frozen waters to travel between Covington, Ky. and Cincinnati, Ohio. Transportation was nearly impossible. So getting the DC comics to the newstands was impossible too. With two bad years of distribution sales were down and the only way to break even or make a profit was to cut back on the titles they published. So the DC Explosion became the DC Implosion. Miss. Kahn was not with DC in 1975 when it started but since she was there at the end she has unfairly gotten the blame for it's failure. Well no publisher could have overcome those obsticles. DC must have understood this and stuck with her. Over the years between 1978 to 2002 she transformed DC Comics and the entire comic book industry. In 2000 she was awarded the Library of Congress Living Legends Award for her contributions to American culture. In 2002 she left DC to pursue other achievements and published her book "In Your Space."
The pictures for the above collage are from two different sites. The Neal Adams drawing of Miss. Kahn is from here. The cover of Dynamite #1 is from here. Also, here is a Dynamite magazine fan site.
Posted by Picasa

Let him see God is our security

Elisha told him. "For there are more on our side than on theirs." Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see." The Lord opened his servant's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

2 Kings 6:15-17 NLT

God's strength is greater

The Aramean army was advancing. Enemy horses, troops, and chariots were everywhere, surrounding the city with the express purpose of seizing Elisha. No wonder his servant was petrified when he woke up to the sight of a massive army bearing down on them. When the servant cried out to his master, Elisha shared how he perceived in spirit the might of the Lord, which was far greater than the forces opposing them. And when Elisha prays for God to open his servant's eyes so that he, too, can see what Elisha has seen, immediately he perceives the horses and chariots of fire protecting them.

The Lord is ready to open our eyes afresh for each new situation and to show us his vast resources. His strength and might are far greater than the enemy's, but we, like the servant, see "through a glass darkly," and we need for God to open our spiritual eyes.

LORD, grant me the light this day in the unseen realm to see how your strength is greater than any foe that threatens to assail me. Open my eyes, Lord! Remind me of your awesome power and unlimited resources, and then let me take courage because you are fighting for me!

Captain Nice 1967

Monday nights from Jan. 1967 to August of 1967 was a great time to watch television if you loved superheros. Why? Because as I mentioned in this posting. It was the night that both Mr. Terrific and Captain Nice were on television. The both premiered on Jan9th and both ended their run on August 28th. However Mr. Terrific was on CBS and Captain Nice was on NBC. You would almost think that the networks timed it that way. Mr. Terrific has faded into memory but Captain Nice is still rememberd by a few people. Perhaps it is because the writing was better. It was created by Buck Henry who co-created Get Smart. William Daniels played Carter Nash who created a formula that changed whoever drank it into Captain Nice. Carter was a reluctant hero. He hated being a crime fighter and didn't like flying as he had a fear of heights. Carter lived at home and his parents were the only ones who knew he was Captain Nice. His Mom, played by the wonderful Alice Ghostly, was a little overbearing. If she saw something that Captain Nice could solve she would threaten to drink the formula herself if Carter didn't do something. The thought of his Mom wearing the suit was more then he could bear so he drank the formula and saved the day. The other co-star of the series was Ann Prentiss as Carter's love interest Sgt. Candy Kane. Yes her name was Candy Kane. Maybe the writing wasn't that good. This show didn't seem to hurt Mr. Daniels career as he has since starred in the movie 1776 as John Adams, Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, Mr. Feeney on Boy Meets World and was the voice of Kitt the car on Knight Rider. The man is all over pop culture. The same can be said for Alice Ghostly with her many guest apperances on Bewitched and becoming a series regular on Designing Women. My memory is abit faulty on Miss. Prentiss but I know I have seen her in other movies and tv shows. I just can't remember their names at this time. The photo of the comic book of Captain Nice #1 is from of this e-bay auction site. Posted by Picasa

Will The Real Billy Shears Please Stand Up!

I just saw this in my local paper and had to show it to you. Thanks Jim Borgman. For those of you too young to know or remember around the time that Mr. Hoffa disappeared there were rumors that Paul McCartney was dead. He was to also rumored to have been replaced by a look alike named Billy Shears. Mr. Shears, fictional or otherwise was reffered to a couple of times in the Beatles songs. Mostly on the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He was suppose to have looked like Paul but sang like Ringo. The song A Day In The Life was suppose to be about the day Paul died. Morbid stuff but that is what the above cartoon is having fun with. Posted by Picasa

Mr. Terrific 1967

In the 1960’s ABC had a hit with Batman in the sit-com format. So naturally the other 2 major networks wanted to cash in on the superhero comedy fad. On January 9, 1967 CBS premiered the show Mr. Terrific. Not the DC comic version but their own Mr. Terrific. I don’t know how they kept from being sued by DC but they never were that I am aware of. It starred Stephen Strimpel as Stanley Beamish. He was a young man who was part owner of a service station. His best friend and the other owner of the station was Hal Walters played by Dick Gautier. There were almost no secrets that these two kept from each other. I say almost because Stanley did have one that he never shared with Hal. With the aid of a special pill he could be come the crime fighter Mr. Terrific. When ever the Government needed his help two Government Agents, played by John McGiver and Paul Smith, would arrive at the station and give Stanley a pill. After taking his power pill there would be a flash followed by a puff of smoke and Stanley would emerge as Mr. Terrific. He would have special powers and a shiny sliver costume for one hour. Sounds like they combined Mr. Terrific and Hourman into one. DC’s lawyers must have been out of town when this went on the air. Of course there were some cliffhangers as Stanley would get so involved with his work that he would forget how much time had past. Sometimes he would take a booster pill good for 20 more minutes but other times he would revert to normal at the wrong time and get captured. Now why would the government only select a nice, soft spoken, na├»ve man like Stanley to be a super powered agent. The pill would only work on a certain body chemistry. Stanley was the only man they found who had that type of body chemistry. The pills would only work on him.
This show was fun to watch when I was 6 but even to my young eyes it was odd to see how he was able to fly. He had to flap his arms. Why couldn’t he be like Superman and just jump into the air? The show did not do mush for Mr. Strimpel’s career as I have never seen or heard him again. Mr. Gautier has been on other shows and movies since then. So had Mr. McGiver but he had done well in the movies before this show. Paul Smith did better on his next TV show. He co-starred on the Doris Day show.
The same night Mr. Terrific premiered another Superhero comedy started on NBC. I will tell you about that one in another posting either later today or tomorrow. Posted by Picasa