Saturday, March 03, 2007

Black Lightning Limited

Just letting you readers and Black Lightning fans know that I have started a new site. It is called Black Lightning Limited and dedicated to Black Lightning the DC Comic book hero. I searched the internet and didn't see any sites for him and some others so I decided to fill the hole that was left. There isn't much there yet as I only started it yesterday but please check it out and let me know what you think. Just as On My Mind is a G to PG rated site the same will go for BLL so it will be family friendly.

Far Out Space Nuts Opening

Who could forget this other Gilligan Island version with Bob Denver and Chuck McCann in the Skipper role?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shazam! Intro

For those of you who remember Saturday morning TV in the 1970's here is the opening of the TV show Shazam!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Many Looks of Supergirl

The recent posting of Wonder Woman in her Mod stage seems to have been a favorite with some readers. So I have decided to show that DC felt that a fashion change was needed for Supergirl in the late 60's and early 70's.
Here in Adventure Comics #397 she is shown in her first costume and looking over possible new outfits. One of them is close to what she decided on at first but none of those on the cover are the ones she accepted.

By the time this issue, Adventure Comics #399, came out you can see the costume that she chose. However, her search for a new look didn't stop.

She had this look for Adventure Comics #408.

By issue #410 she was wearing short-shorts and looking more like Mary Marvel then Supergirl.

When issue #412 of Adventure Comics came out she decided to dress more like her cousin Superman.

Then here in her own self titled book she seems to be back again to her short pants look. As if it wasn't enough to change her look they later tried to change who Supergirl was. First they killed off the original. Later an alien took over her role. Since then I lost interest but it seems that another Supergirl has taken her place. At least I still have some good memories of the first Supergirl.

Hawkman Video

Here is a really good video for Hawkman. Sheldon Moldoff should be proud.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This Day in Music History: Rhythm Heritage and the Theme from 'S.W.A.T.'

TV has proven over and over again that it can produce big hits. From Ricky Nelson to the Monkees to American Idol. So it is no surprise that on this day in music history, February 28, 1976, the Theme from ‘S.W.A.T.’ by Rhythm Heritage was the #1 song on the Billborad charts for one week. The song was Written by Barry DeVorzon and produced by Steve Barri and Michael Omartian. The TV show had been on the air for one year when the song hit the #1 position. Steve Barri’s son was a huge fan of the show and asked his Dad if there was a record of the theme. He wanted to get a copy of it for his son but found no recording of the song. He thought if there was a dance version of the theme it might be a big hit. He got Michael Omartian to do the arrangement and got Rhythm Heritage, who also recorded “Baretta’s Theme (Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow)”, to record the song. He also used some studio musicians on the song. Two of them went on to have #1 hits. Jeff Porcaro had the hit Africa with the group Toto and Ray Parker Jr. had a #1 hit with a movie theme…Ghostbusters. Having a hit with TV theme songs was not new for Steve Barri. He and his songwriting partner P.F. Sloan had a #3 hit in 1966 with the song Secret Agent Man. It was the theme for the TV show of the same name and sung by Johnny Rivers. The TV show starred Steve Forrest and two other future TV stars. They were Robert Urich ofVegas and Spencer for Hire and Mark Shera who went to co-star in Barnaby Jones. The S.W.A.T. series was the focal point of the violence in TV controversy that heated up in the 1970’s and helped lead to its early cancellation. Years later the series would be the basis for a movie starring Colin Farrell. You can click on the video link above to view the opening of the show.

Joe "Robbie" Robertson

Joe “Robbie” Robertson was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. in Amazing Spider-Man #52 in 1967. He was a reporter and editor at the Daily Bugle where Peter Parker was a photographer and was J. Jonah Jameson’s right hand man. IN the battle of wits between Peter and Jonah, Robbie was the person who helped them find the middle ground. Usually it was by showing Jonah how Spider-Man’s existence helped the city of New York and the Daily Bugle.
Robbie Robertson was also a break through in African-American supporting cast members of comic books. In the past they were either used as comic relief or, if they were not the comedian, they were just there. Nothing they said or did had any lasting effect. Even Gabe Jones, who was discussed yesterday, had very little effect on the Sgt. Furry book when he first started out. Ebony White, of the Spirit, was at times taken seriously but for the most part was really comic relief. With Joe Robertson we saw a man who took his job and his family seriously.
He was raised in Harlem and worked for the school newspaper. He wrote and article about the school bully Lonnie Lincoln. Lonnie threatened Joe and Joe dropped the article. Later when Joe Robertson moved to Philadelphia to work on a newspaper he saw someone killed by the hitman Tombstone. Tombstone was really Lonnie Lincoln. Again he threatened Joe if he told anyone what he saw. Joe never wrote about it or reported it. He moved back to New York and joined the staff of the Daily Bugle. Years later the Kingpin hired Tombstone to come to New York to kill some people. The killings started to make news. When Tombstone found out that Joe Robertson worked on a paper in the city he threatened him and his family again. This time Joe found the courage and testified against Tombstone. It helped put him in jail. However, when the Judge found out that Joe Robertson didn’t report that he witnessed one of the murders in Philadelphia he sentenced him to 3 years in prison. Somehow he wound up in the same cell block as Tombstone. Tombstone forced Joe to go along with a jail break. When Spider-Man showed up to stop it Tombstone tried to kill him but Joe saved his life. Later Tombstone tried to kill an Amish family but Joe stopped that too. Lonnie Lincoln saw that Joe “Robbie” Robertson was no longer afraid of him so he backed down. To this day Tombstone continued as a hitman to the end but was no longer a threat to Joe Robertson or his family.
Eventually Joe was made editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle when J. Jonah Jameson decided to step down from that position. Over the years Jameson’s vendetta against Spider-Man and the sometimes out of focus pictures of him that they published of him gave the newspaper a yellow journalism image. Robertson decided to change that image. He started with Peter’s photos. Peter was forced to take pictures of the villains before Spider-man showed up and then set is camera on automatic to take pictures of the battle. Now over the years there were hints that Joe Robertson may know that Peter was Spider-man. It didn’t help that the new pictures started to look out of focus or taken from a bad angle with ever Spider-Man showed up but were almost perfect when he was gone.
The character of Joe Robertson has continued to have an important role in Spider-Man the animated series. In the Spider-Man films he has been portrayed by actor Bill Nunn. They really don’t give the character much to do in the movies and don’t develop a background for him to work with. However, the movies are called Spider-Man and not Joe Robertson so I guess we should just be happy that they show him in a positive light.

This concludes the character bolgs of African-American characters in comic books for Black History Month. I hope you enjoyed them.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Four Seasons December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

I have always loved this song. It brings back many fond memories and I remember seeing them preform it on the Grammy Awards. Does anyone know who the guy is on the drums? He has a great voice.

Cracker Jack Commercial

Here is a very funny Cracker Jack commercial.

Gabe Jones Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I have concentrated so much attention on the superheroes for black history month that these next two days I will showcase two non-superheroes from the comic books. First is Gabe Jones. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as part of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. His first appearance was in 1963 in an issue of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1. While Gabe was a trained and skilled fighter with this elite commando squad he had another skill. He was a musician and with his trumpet he called the Howlers to battle. After WWII ended Nick Fury was asked to head up the spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Gabe was one of the Howlers who Fury asked to join S.H.I.E.L.D. The character has appeared in a number of Marvel books as a special government agent. He retired for awhile but returned as a trainer for young S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits. He has also appeared in the Incredible Hulk animated series. He was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to work with the Hulkbusters under General Thunderbolt Ross. The character also appeared in a live action TV movie called Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was a pilot for a possible series that never came about and starred David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wonder Woman and Everything Old is New Again

Earlier we showed that with issue #178 there was a change in the late 1960's to upgrade Diana Prince into the new Mod Wonder Woman. She lost her powers and fought crime with out her costume but in what was modern clothes of the day. With issue #191 it began to show to her readership was down as DC had to remind comic book readers that the woman in the mini-skirt was still the original Wonder Woman.

Issue #196 seems to have been hinting to the future as it gave us the origin of Wonder Woman and she fought her old arch enemy the Cheetah.

With issue #197 Diana reminds us of an event that changed her life. However, her wardrobe seems to have changed a little bit. It is still in the Mod fashion but also looks like what she would have wore on Paradise Island before she was Wonder Woman.

With Issue #198 modern day clothes are forgotten as we see Diana in warrior garb. The story takes place on Paradise Island.

After #198 we were back to the modern day Wonder Woman for a few issues. Issue # 203 was the last issue with her in regular clothes. In issue #204 she was back to the Wonder Woman we all know and love. The curious thing I noticed about issue #203 is that it is billed as a special woman's lib issue. Wasn't the whole series suppose to be about woman's lib?

The Prowler

The Prowler is really an African-American teenager from the Bronx named Hobie Brown. He was first seen in the late 1960’s in Amazing Spider-Man #78. Hobie has the skills to be an engineer but could only get a job as a window washer. However, he got fired from that job. So he thought of a plan to create a supervillain called The Prowler. He used his engineering skills to create steel claws and boots to climb walls. He would rob from the wealthy in their penthouse apartments as the Prowler but return them as Hobie Brown and get the reward. It seemed like a great plan but he met Spider-Man on his first job. He was caught and unmasked. When he saw he was just a kid like himself Spider-Man told Hobie to use his skills to help people. Hobie took the advice and turned his life around with a new job and got married. Along the way he would sometimes help other with superheroics. He was briefly a member of the Defenders and the Outlaws. The Outlaws was a group of reformed supervillains like Sandman, Puma and Rocket Racer. One of his own adventures was to help clear his wife so she would not go to jail.
In 1994 Marvel gave Prowler his own mini-series.
Others have also tried to become the Prowler. The second one was a cat burglar. He stole Hobie’s costume and accidentally killed a guard while committing a crime. Eyewitnesses only saw the silhouette of the killer. Unfortunately it looked just like Spider-Man. Spider-Man caught him and cleared his name and returned the stolen costume to Hobie Brown.
The other person who tried to become the Prowler was a medical intern named Rick Lawson. He stole the costume too. (Hobie needs a better lock on his door.) He used the costume to help him steal from his patients. He met up with the rejuvenated and younger Vulture. Vulture was killing all those who knew him as an old man. The original Prowler was one of those people. Vulture tried to kill Rick not realizing that he was not the original Prowler. Spider-Man intervened and defeated Vulture and took a badly injured Rick Lawson to the hospital. Later he once again returned the stolen costume to Hobie Brown. Hopefully Spider-Man gave him a good talking to about how to take care of you valuables. You would think a former cat burglar would know how to do that.
For a time Hobie decided to settle down and get married. When he decided he wanted to become a crime fighter again he had to chose between being a superhero or his wife. His decision broke up his marriage when he became the Prowler once again.
Recently Hobie became involved in the Civil War mini-series. In that series he was captured by SHIELD in Ms. Marvels tie in comic book.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Essential Rampaging Hulk, Vol. 1

Recently Marvel Comics has had a huge success reprinting their older stories in black and white in the Essential line of books. Marvel has tried from time to time to get a successful black and white series of books going. First in the 60's then in the 70's. They had some success with it in the 1970's with Hulk, Punisher, Dracula and Morbius but they still didn't last long. The Essential line is their biggest success to date in this area. However, what they are reprinting are books that originally were printed in color. Now they are starting to reprint the black and white series that they had minor success with in the 1970's. I don't believe these have been reprinted anywhere else before. First up is the Rampaging Hulk which was produced by talents such as Jim Starlin, Keith Pollard, Herb Trimpe, Doug Moench, etc. These tales should look even better then those in the current books since they were written and drawn with the black and white market in mind. Click Here to Buy the Essential Rampaging Hulk, Vol. 1.

First George Harrison video for Got My Mind Set on You

A few weeks ago it was the anniversary of George Harrison's #1 hit got my mind set on you. He created at least three videos for the song. Here is the most popular video for the song. If you look below you can see the others and decide which one you prefer. Hope you enjoy it.

Second George Harrison video of Got My Mind Set On You

This is my favorite of the three as it has a little bit of a romantic story to it.

Third George Harrison Video of Got My Mind Set On You

For musical purist here is the video of just George and the boys. No extra visuals to distract you.

Linda Ronstadt sings Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry

In this video from a TV show in Japan Linda Ronstadt sings Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. It is a song from the What's New album that was produced by Nelson Riddle.

This Day in Music History: Nelson Riddle and Lisbon Antigua

On this day in music history Nelson Riddle had the #1 hit on the Billboard chart with Lisbon Antigua. He heard of the song through the sister of Nat King Cole’s manager. She lived near Mexico City and a band there had a local hit with it. She thought Nelson would be interested in the song. Later he was asked to score a film that was to star Ray Milland. The film was called Lisbon. Mr. Riddle used the song as the movies theme song.
Over his entire career Nelson Riddle has worked with singers from Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra to Linda Ronstadt. He worked with Les Baxter when Mr. Baxter asked him to do some arrangements for Nat King Cole. The arrangements that he came up with were “Mona Lisa” and “Too Young.” When the songs were released the arrangements were credited to Les Baxter. That was a little bit too much for Mr. Riddle to take.
Mr. Cole found out that Nelson Riddle really did the arrangements and decided to work with him instead. The worked together for 10 years. During that time Mr. Riddle go his own artist contract with Capitol Records.
He has not only scored movie soundtracks but has worked on many television series. He did the themes for Route 66, The Untouchables and Newhart. He passed away at the age of 64 on October 6, 1985 from cardiac and kidney failure. In his passing he left behind a rich legacy of music.

John Henry Irons/Steel

Steel aka John Henry Irons was created by Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove in 1993 in Adventures of Superman #500. He was one of the heroes who rose up during the death of Superman and it was thought he was in reality possessed by Superman’s spirit. He was a brilliant engineer and inventor whose power came from a suit of armor that he created. In that way he became like DC Comics version of Iron Man.
John Henry was an engineer who invented an energy cannon and was upset when he found out it fell into evil hands and had killed innocent people. He decided to fake his own death and moved to Metropolis to live a more simple life. While living there he got a job as a steel worker on a construction site. One day he fell while trying to save a friend from falling. Superman was flying by and saved John Henry from falling to his death. When Superman died battling Doomsday John Henry was buried for days in the rubble. When he finally was able to crawl out he heard of Superman’s death and how a new version of his energy cannon was being used by street gangs. In honor of Superman he created his Steel armor to stop the use of the weapon. Steel had his own series that ran for 31 issues. He was a member of the JLA. His niece, Natasha Irons, took over the Steel name when John Henry retired. Eventually he came out of retirement. While he started his superhero career with no superpowers unless he was wearing the armor that changed for awhile. During an adventure he Lex Luthor messes with John Henry’s DNA. His whole body changes to stainless steel and gives him superhuman strength. He has since been helping during the mini-series 52. During that time his steel skin peeled off leaving only his human skin and leaving him powerless.
Steel was popular enough in the 1990’s to get a movie made on him. The star of the film was basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. Superman was left out of the origin story but the film stayed close to the comic book otherwise. However, the movie didn’t make its money back and was considered a flop. The presence of Steel has since been seen on TV where his animated version has been seen on Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited.