Friends, I dearly hope that you all are enjoying a very safe and Happy Holiday as well as the wish that you all experienced a very Merry Christmas. For myself – thanks to my friends and fellow co-workers at the arcade I had the day off to attempt to catch up on my sleep and enjoy a dinner with my Wife and Father. While due to a rather… energetic cat… I am afraid that we were not able to put up a tree this year – but other traditions were observed such as reading the entire run of Warren Ellis and James Cassaday’s Planetary as well as feasting on homemade chili. In addition I was able to see out the day by watching one of my favorite adaptations of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol – the 1984 made-for-television version starring the likes of George C. Scott, David Warner, Edward Woodward, Angela Pleasence, and Roger Rees. Also thanks to one of my best friends I received a wonderful retro related gift – one that has shockingly survived in nearly pristine condition for 40 years. I was given a Whitman puzzle for 1979’s The Black Hole – one that happens to feature the imposing Maximilian threatening some of the crew of the Palomino.
And that iconic robot menace does that and much more – poor Dr. Alex Durant (Anthony Perkins) – in the 1979 Walt Disney film. Having seen the film when it was originally released on December 21st of ’79 I can tell you that while I enjoyed the movie quite a bit – it was not only Maximilian but those heroic robots V.I.N.CENT and Old B.O.B. that I was most impressed with. And while it is true that Mego did produce action figures – kind of similar to what Hasbro would do with their 1982 G.I. Joe figures – I only managed to get V.I.N.CENT – and promptly snapped off one of his legs.
I really do like The Black Hole and I believe it is better than most people think – while it certainly wasn’t perfect it still was quite entertaining. I find it quite fitting that four days after the film celebrated it’s 40th anniversary that I would receive The Black Hole puzzle. The illustration for this puzzle was provided by Paul Edward Wenzel – a well known name for Walt Disney enthusiasts as for over 42 years he worked for the studio, providing artwork for collectibles and even films. It has been said that his artwork was featured on over 100 movie posters like Mary Poppins, The Parent Trap, Moon Pilot, Dragonslayer, and The Black Cauldron to name a few. I think it is interesting that for the puzzle – a similar illustration by Wenzel was used for the coloring book – that Maximilian is much, much bigger than in the film. I suppose though however that it does get the point across on how deadly and menacing the creation of Dr. Hans Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell) truly is.