Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Space Giants

Posted: November 28, 2018 in Entertainment, Fiction
Tags: , ,

“From the far reaches of outer space comes a threat to planet Earth. Mankind faces its most powerful enemy, the mastermind Rodak.”

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It was the 1970s, and at least for a while, a staple of the Superstation WTBS after-school television block was a Japanese import from the 1960s. It was 52 episodes of men in rubber suits playing the roles of robots and monsters while beating the snot out of each other every Monday through Friday afternoon to the delight of many a young child. The series was based on a manga called Ambassador Magma, which was also the TV show’s name in Japan. Beating Ultraman to TV screens in Japan by a handful of days, it was the first show of its kind broadcast in full color on their TV stations. The Ambassador Magma TV show also featured one of the earliest examples of the Japanese transforming robot. In America, it was known as The Space Giants.

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Flash Gordon NBC

“Blasting off on a desperate mission to save Earth from the evil plottings of the tyrannical space lord Ming the Merciless, Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden have joined me, Flash Gordon, on a fantastic journey into worlds where peril and adventure await us.”

A lot of people have recently been doing nostalgic looks back at American animation through the ages or just at the cartoons and kids shows of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Annoyingly, while hitting a lot of the better-known highlights, everyone seems to give either little or no mention to what was, for me, one of the truly great science fiction Saturday morning cartoons. The Adventures of Flash Gordon, at least the first season, should be more widely recognized as a true classic. Yet, other than a few childhood friends and my childhood-in-spirit friend Sean Scullion, I meet very few people who seem remember it. That really needs to change, as the show’s first season stands up amazingly well all these years after it first aired.

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Kevin Smith gets a lot of grief for his films lately. Here’s why I like that he’s still doing his thing his way.

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Kevin Smith has been making films “professionally” since 1994’s Clerks. A series of films following Clerks made him a huge, buzzworthy name in cinema in the 1990s. Odds were good that there was at least one huge fan of Kevin Smith in almost every group of friends, and more than a few people around you were quoting Jay’s lines from any number of Jay & Silent Bob scenes. A lot of people were getting behind Kevin Smith’s success as a filmmaker. It was a great story of the little guy making good in the profession he loved. After all, this was a guy who somehow made it big with on a film that he made on only (originally) $27,000 and was almost entirely 92 minutes of just people talking to each other.

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In Spring of 1982, Marc Singer was still about six months away from becoming an icon to genre fans by starring in The Beastmaster and about a year away from cementing that status by fighting the evil, lizard-faced alien invaders of television’s science fiction epic miniseries V. I became a fan of Marc Singer because of an entirely different (and different kind) of role. Despite my lifelong status as typically being one of the bigger geeks in whatever company I was keeping, I discovered Marc Singer around this time as an actor in a non-genre film that is still to this day my favorite of his many roles.

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Stan Lee at Dragon Con

Early in the day on November 12, 2018, the horrible news we all sadly knew was coming finally came. Stan Lee had passed away. 

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It goes by many names. It has been called Der Supercop, El Super Policia Nuclear, Super Snooper, Super Batsos, and a host of other names across the globe. But if you were living in America in the boom period of early 1980s cable television, you know it as simultaneously one of the worst and one of the best superhero films ever made, and you knew it as Super Fuzz! It is a film that must be tracked down and watched by everyone ASAP. Or, you know, just whenever you can track it down.

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James Cornell - The Monster of Loch Ness1

I’m in my late-forties. Among the various other things that this statement of age can represent, it means I’m from the generation who was born into one of the biggest monster and paranormal mania explosions into the pop culture of the last four or five decades.

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