Friends, we have a brand new episode of the Saturday Frights podcast for you this morning, the subject of the show is a listener request. The Projectionist and I talk about the 1985 Amazing Stories episode entitled “Mummy Daddy”, one of the more comedic offerings from that particular TV anthology series. Although on this episode we might not have been unable to uncover quite as much information on “Mummy Daddy” as we did with The Birds, the Projectionist and I found out some surprising information on how long Universal was attempting to reboot 1932’s The Mummy. Including a rather surprising list of talented writers and directors that were approached before Stephen Sommers was tapped to bring 1999’s The Mummy to the big screen.
Although we have tackled Amazing Stories in past podcasts, both “Remote Control Man” and “Mirror, Mirror” as a matter of fact, we do provide a brief history on the television show itself – including its link to the long-running magazine of the same name.
In addition it might surprise you to learn that Amazing Stories wasn’t a huge hit when it was originally aired on NBC. Not even the legion of talented people in front of and behind the camera, attracted to the series thanks to Executive Producers Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall, were able to capture the necessary audience for Universal Television and NBC to support it beyond two seasons. Although having said that, and as we touch upon in the show itself, Amazing Stories did manage to earn quite a few Emmy nominations.
If you happen to be a huge fan of “Mummy Daddy” by the way, I think you will be interested to know that the teleplay written by Earl Pomerantz happens to be available to purchase on eBay at this very moment. Assuming of course that you have the spare change to afford such a unique collectible.
Without further ado, please join the Projectionist and myself at the Haunted Drive-In as we discuss 1985’s “Mummy Daddy” on the Saturday Frights podcast. As always we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show, and hope that you are enjoying season three of the podcast.
If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode – or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Twitter and on Facebook. In addition I certainly hope you will take the time to visit the Saturday Frights Facebook Page. There you can find posts from Rockford Jay, Preston Griffith and myself on a daily basis.
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Friends, come this October there are a few things that all of us ‘Autumn People’ should be looking forward to. From the changing of the leaves and the merry glow of jack o’lanterns, to decorating our homes after paying a couple of visits to the Spirit Halloween stores. And if we are lucky we should also be sitting comfortably in theaters watching the likes of the Guillermo del Toro produced Antlers as well as Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho… oh… there is also the MUCH anticipated Halloween Kills too!
But as was revealed last week, there is yet another reason to get excited about October, because it will be around that time that General Mills releases their brand new Monster Mash cereal. A flavorful mashing of marshmallows from Count Chocula, Frute Brute, Fruity Yummy Mummy, Frankenberry, and of course the greatest General Mills Monster Cereal ever produced – Boo Berry!
Just in time too, as this year happens to mark the 50th anniversary of the General Mills Monster Cereals. It was back in March of 1971 that Franken Berry and Count Chocula hit store shelves, with the esteemed Boo Berry making his debut the following year. Fruite Brute as the cereal was originally called made its arrival in 1974 and managed to be produced until 1982. Fruity Yummy Mummy though was actually the newest Monster Cereal from General Mills, hitting store shelves in 1988 and being shoved back into his sarcophagus by 1990.
The fandom for the General Mills Monster Cereals is pretty large and quite loyal, waiting patiently every year for when Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Count Chocula are released – a chance to enjoy that delicious treat once again. And while we do not know when the Monster Mash cereal will be released this year, at the very least from the Walmart site we have this information:
“CEREAL: Berry-flavored frosted cereal with frightfully-fun marshmallows. MASH-UP OF ALL MONSTERS CEREALS: For the first time ever, pieces from all Monster Cereals are together in one bowl. RETRO DESIGN: Classic character designs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monster Cereals (including the return of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute). MONSTER MASH EDITION: Special edition box that takes you to the Monster Cereals remake of the Monster Mash song. MONSTER CEREAL HISTORY: Learn when all the Monsters stepped onto the scene and rocked the world.”
In closing out this article, a big thank you to Cerealously on Twitter for sharing the box art for the General Mills Monster Mash cereal!
Friends, Warp Warp is an arcade title that I literally didn’t know existed until it was rolled into the arcade about six years ago. And while it was released to arcades in North America by Rock-Ola, it was in actually developed by the legendary Namco. In fact I singled out Warp Warp as one of the early episodes of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast, a show that at the moment holds the record for being the shortest I’ve ever produced for that series. As at the time of recording the episode I was unable to find out really any information on those responsible for creating the arcade game.
When I first started playing Warp Warp I was quite amazed by its seemingly simple gameplay, although like many of the golden age arcade titles there is a beguiling amount of strategy needed to play it well. What I was not aware of when I was first introduced to the game was that my fellow PCR author, the esteemed Earl Green was also quite the fan of Warp Warp. Back in those early days of the Arkadia Retrocade, Earl managed to pop in for a visit with his two charming children, so that the two of us could participate in a Warp Warp challenge. It should come as no surprise at all though that when the dust had cleared, Earl had severely trounced me on the game.
Warp Warp besides being the subject of one of the Diary podcasts was also tackled by Earl Green on his Phosphor Dot Fossils series of videos on YouTube, all the way back in 2019 as a matter of fact. In the nearly 13 minute presentation, Earl gives a rundown on the basics of the game, as always allowing you to check out the game in action while he is playing. Best of all though is that he includes his personal memories of where and when he first encountered Warp Warp in his youth.
Friends, on this Retro Records offering we are going to be revisiting those two mascots used by the much missed Burger Chef restaurants, I am of course referring to Burger Chef and his teenage sidekick Jeff. In a previous Retro Records article I touched upon why I have such fond memories of the restaurant itself, it had a little to do with the fact they were offering 4 Star Wars posters back in ’78, to say nothing of their patented Fun Meal. I should add while the fast food restaurant closed its last location in 1996, it did beat McDonald’s Happy Meal to the punch by about seven years. With the Burger Chef Fun Meal you would receive some kind of small toy or collectible, in addition to your burger and even a dessert. I think those of us of a certain age will begrudgingly admit that McDonald’s really did one better with their Happy Meal, although having said that, I cannot ever recall them offering Flexi-disc records like Burger Chef did.
It wasn’t just because of Star Wars that I was so fond of Burger Chef, as I’ve mentioned before it had more than a little to do with the fact they had a cast of characters made up of monsters. There was Burgerilla the Ape, Count Fangburger, Wolfburger the Werewolf, Crankenburger, and of course Cackleburger the Witch. And while it is quite true that my Father could rarely afford to take us out to eat at Burger Chef, I think it ended up making those times we did visit all the more special.
The Flexi-discs that were offered by Burger Chef were 33 1/3 records, with a running time of under five minutes long, but they did allowe for Burger Chef and Jeff to interact with those monster inspired characters. You might be interested to know that Burger Chef was voiced by the late and great Paul Winchell. Whose voice I think you might recognize from the incredible amount of Saturday morning and children’s programming that he lent his voice to over the years. Just a few of his notable roles include voicing the likes of Gargamel in the Smurfs, Fleegle Beagle in The Banana Splits, as well as Dick Dastardly for many of the Hanna-Barbera produced animated series.
Friends, I hope you weren’t alarmed by that signal in the sky today, I can assure you that all is well and that it just means we have a brand new Super-Blog Team-Up. That time when the finest collection of bloggers and podcasters unite to discuss a subject that is too large for just one site. In this case it happens to concern comic book, comic strip, movies, television series, and even music that relate to doctors. While some of my esteemed Super-Blog Team-Up members will be sharing articles relating to the likes of such characters as Marvel’s Doctor Voodoo and the tortured Dr. Bruce Banner – I have decided to discuss an interesting character from DC Comics. Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker, a man who decided to take it upon himself to prove to those in the DC Universe that the supernatural doesn’t exist, that there is always a rational explanation. That is a big order to fill when you consider the likes of The Spectre as well as the Phantom Stranger are wandering around.
The creation of Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker, who is also known as Dr. Terrence (Terrance) Thirteen is interesting to say the least, a mystery worthy of the character’s “…razor sharp powers of observation and his keen analytical mind.” The character made his first appearance in the pages of the November 1951 issues of Star Spangled Comics in a story entitled “I Talked with the Dead”. And while it is known that the character was co-created and illustrated by Leonard Starr (Little Orphan Annie) and that the editor-in-chief at the time was Whitney Ellsworth (Congo Bill) – it is not known who actually wrote that debut story for Dr. Thirteen.
The origin for Dr. Thirteen presented in “I Talked with the Dead” sheds some backstory on how Terrence Thirteen took an oath handed down by his Father before his untimely death, to embrace reason above all and rebuke the supernatural and expose them as being fraudulent. It turns out that the Thirteen family has something of a tragic history, as their ancestors were accused of witchcraft and sorcery for embracing of science, having said that though it appears as if members of the family are often murdered or die prematurely.
As part of that sacred oath though, Terrence agreed to return to his family home of Doomsbury Hall at midnight on New Year’s Eve to see if he could make contact with his late Father. Bringing his fiance Marie with him to visit Doomsbury Hall, calling out and asking questions that were supplied by his Father – the duo are shocked to hear the elder Thirteen’s voice answering them. Dr. Thirteen however is true to his word, and after a quick investigation discovers a tape recorder hidden in a grandfather clock. It turns out that this was a test, one helped along by Marie, who swore to the elder Thirteen that she would challenge his Son’s oath. Having passed the test, the two leave Doomsbury Hall and prepare to get to the bottom of the so called “Curse of Thirteen”.
Dr. Thirteen ended up marrying Marie and thanks to their investigations into supposed supernatural happenings, Terrence decided to set up operations in an office in the city as a professional “Ghost Breaker”. It would appear that the two had a successful career, one that once found Dr. Thirteen investigating Wayne Manor, a case that eventually revealed a connection to the Man-Bat. Another time he found himself trying to debunk the vengeful and extremely powerful Spectre, which seems like a really stupid thing to do. Things would change though when Terrence crossed paths with the likes of the Phantom Stranger, as he was unable to explain away the supernatural abilities of the paranormal hero – especially when the entity stepped in to save Terrence and Marie on a few occasions.
In the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths era, Dr. Thirteen would retire and begin a new career as a popular writer, detailing his adventures in debunking the supernatural. In addition, Marie and Terrence in the post-Crisis stories have a daughter named Traci… who happens to be a sorceress. It probably goes without saying that Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker is less than thrilled about this situation, right?
Check in on the other Super-Blog Team-Up participants and their “THE DOCTOR IS IN” offerings:
Friends, in this day and age when the internet makes nearly everything known, it is indeed a joy to be able to stumble upon little nuggets of pop culture goodness you haven’t seen before. Case in point is this public service announcement, which originally aired in May of 1967 in the United Kingdom and focuses on the subject of road safety. It happens to feature none other than Adam West as the Caped Crusader , yes, we can now thrill to Batman demonstrating the Kerb Drill aka the Green Cross Code with the help of some willing British children.
At the time of the Kerb Drill’s release, the extremely popular Batman television series had probably just wrapped up its second season on ABC. Adam West’s appearance as Batman in this public service announcement probably has something to do with the fact that Batman: The Movie had been released in the UK in December of ’66. Although with the popularity of the television show, which was shown on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the UK, is it any wonder that they recruited Adam West to speak to the kids about road safety?
Within the brief minute long PSA, Batman kindly explains that he has taken a quick holiday from Gotham City, to take in the sights of London and enjoy a breather from crime fighting as well. Although the Caped Crusader wants children to know that there is one danger they can never take a break from, the daily threat of vehicular traffic, and the need for them to obey traffic laws. Obviously it is up to Batman to explain the importance of the Kerb Drill, demonstrating it to a group of nearby children.
Not only is the Kerb Drill PSA rather charming and delightful, it was also considered for quite a while to be lost. It was in fact uncovered by the Birmingham based Kaleidoscope organization, a group dedicated to tracking down lost UK television rarities such as this public service announcement. Which as I understand it, when first shared in 2018 it marked the first time in 50 years that the Kerb Drill PSA was seen by the public at large.
Friends, we are shining the spotlight today on Adam Strange, the fourth entry in the fondly remembered Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe encyclopedic series. Not to belittle the other entries featured in our series of Who’s Who articles so far, but my initial feelings when I realized we would be tackling this science fiction hero is to state that we finally have our first entry in that 1985 compendium that isn’t a B-list character. Having said that though, while I truly love the character of Adam Strange, I will have to admit that he was probably seen as a second-stringer in the DC Universe by both fans as well as his creators. But that was what made the Who’s Who series so great – for 26 issues – Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Robert Greenberger made sure that many such characters were honored with an entry. As a way to celebrate those artists and writers who had helped forge the legacy of DC Comics fifty years earlier at the time Who’s Who was published. And as would be proven in Adam Strange’s first appearance, he certainly lived up to his moniker of ‘The Man of Two Worlds’.
Adam Strange was created by Julius ‘Julie’ Schwartz and Murphy Anderson, first appearing in Showcase #17 in a story entitled “Secret of the Eternal City” from back in 1958. Schwartz was a legendary editor – with some notable personal issues I am sad to say – who helped to usher in the Silver Age version of the Flash and Green Lantern. In addition he helped both Dennis “Denny” O’Neil and Neal Adams make their mark with none other than Batman. Anderson had a long history with DC Comics and was a very well regarded inker, it turns out he had first crack at the cover of Showcase #17, but Schwartz rejected it, instead getting the equally legendary Gil Kane to step in and provide the artwork that graced the comic itself. However Schwartz did like the costume design that Anderson came up with and it’s more or less stayed the same since 1958.
Interestingly enough the creation of Adam Strange came about due to a mandate by editorial director Irwin Donenfield, as he felt that DC Comics needed some new heroes, science-fiction ones at that. So he presented a choice to both Schwartz and fellow editor Jack Schiff, one of the men would help create a sci-fi hero set in present day and the other would tackle a character that hailed from the far future. Schiff had first choice and chose to go with the future hero, co-creating Rick Starr aka Space Ranger, along with writers Edward Hamilton, Gardner Fox, and artist Bob Brown.
Schwartz, after giving the task of writing the Adam Strange stories to Fox for Showcase #17 through #19, then gave the penciling job to Mike Sekowsky. It was perhaps a surprise to all involved when Adam Strange wound up capturing the interest of the readers, so much so that he began a long run in the series entitled Mystery in Space (47 issues straight). The art chores for that comic book series went to none other than Carmine Infantino, with inking handled by Murphy Anderson. As a matter of fact the two also provided the illustration used for Strange’s entry in the Who’s Who.
As stated in the entry for the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe:
Alter Ego: Adam Strange Occupation: Archaeologist Marital Status: Married Known Relatives: Alanna (Wife), Sardath (father-in-law) Group Affiliation: None Base of Operations: Ranagar, City on Rann, third planet of Alpha Centauri First Appearance:SHOWCASE #17 Height: 6′ Weight: 175lbs. Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond
We are introduced to Adam Strange in “Secret of the Eternal City” moments after the archaeologist has discovered the lost Inca city of Caramanga – deep in the jungles of Peru. Exploring the ancient city, Adam manages to find the buried treasure of the last Emperor of the Incas – Atahualpa. Seconds later though his joy at discovering such a find is soured when some understandably angry Incas decide to halt any attempt at his sharing the news… by hurling spears and firing arrows at him. Adam begins running and dodging the projectiles, stopping momentarily at the edge of a cliff before deciding to take his chances by leaping across the chasm. Which is fortuitous as at the height of his frantic jump for safety from the Incas he is struck by what we will later learn is a Zeta-Beam.
Strange finds himself whisked from the jungles of Peru to the jungles of Rann, with his life still in peril as a dinosaur-like beast chases him. Suddenly a futuristic flying vehicle appears and manages to capture the beast with a giant net in the nick of time. It is then that Adam comes face to face with his first citizen from the city of Ranagar, Alanna, the daughter of the brilliant scientist known as Sardath. Strange senses that Alanna means him no harm even though he can’t actually understand her language, and finds himself being flown back to the city, where thanks to a device called the Menticizer he instantly learns their language. After spending a little time answering questions from Sardath – Adam learns that the Zeta-Beam was originally intended as a means of communication between Rann and the Earth.
After explaining to Strange the reason for his arrival on Rann, Alanna is more than happy to give Adam a tour of some the cities and features of the planet. While in an open market the duo are shocked to see the arrival of three space craft, it turns out that Rann has no spaceships of its own, and quickly the vessels begin to launch an attack. They turn out to be an alien invading race known as the Eternals, because they gained eternal life from a metal called Vitatron, collected from a meteor that crashed on their home planet in the past. Unfortunately overuse throughout the centuries has depleted the precious ore, they have arrived on Rann because their sensors are picking up a deposit of the metal somewhere on the planet. Alanna informs Strange that she has a theory that the desired metal is located in the city of Samakand, a mysterious place that appears for a brief period of time every 25 years.
The young Woman is quite correct and the scientists of Samakand reveal they do have a block of Vitatron in their possession. They too have used it to prolong their own life but in the hopes that one day upon their return to Rann they will find conflict and war completely eliminated. With the threat of the Eternals as they arrive at Samakand to claim the Vitatron, the scientist decide to aid Alanna and Strange by lending them an experimental vessel that can travel into the fourth dimension. Strange leads the Eternals on a chase into the fourth dimension, both Adam and Alanna abandon the vessel, landing safely thanks to personal jet packs. Leaving the aggressive alien race trapped in the fourth dimension courtesy of the tech of the scientists of Samakand.
Perhaps Adam Strange would be celebrated as a hero of Rann upon his return with Alanna, but it’s then that the Zeta-Beam wears off and he is transported back to the jungles of Peru. As “Secret of the Eternal City” comes to an end, we can take some small comfort in the knowledge that Strange was at least given the location of the next Zeta-Beam strike. Knowing that soon Adam will be able to see Alanna and Sardath once again and experience a new intergalactic adventure on the planet Rann!
Friends, back in 1997 when director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop) released Starship Troopers to theaters, he and screenwriter Edward Neumeier were doing more than delivering an adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic if controversial science fiction novel of the same name. In fact it seemed to me while sitting in the auditorium on opening night that the filmmakers had actually delivered a subversively black comedy, which was managing to tweak the nose of the source material itself a little. Having said that however it certainly felt like I was in the minority when reading the reviews for the film, it seemed like a few critics were missing the point of how Neumeier and Verhoeven were showing the rather alarming fascist nature of the Terran Federation – from the symbols and uniforms of the military to those memorable “Would You Like To Know More” ads.
Besides some incredible CGI and practical effects, Starship Troopers also happened to feature a pretty talented cast of actors from Clancy Brown (The Mortuary Collection), Michael Ironside (Scanners), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Jake Busey (The Frighteners), Dina Meyer (DragonHeart), and Casper Van Dien (Sleepy Hollow) to name a few.
However, as this short film entitled Far Alamo proves, with the use of digital effects we can see the likes of Clint Eastwood as well as other iconic and legendary western film stars attempt to defend a future Alamo from an invasion of Arachnids!
Far Alamo is courtesy of Fabrice Mathieu who took elements and characters from such films as both the 1960 The Alamo and the criminally overlooked 2004 version. In addition to A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, My Name is Nobody, and The Magnificent Seven among others.
Besides using obvious captures from Starship Troopers, Mathieu also incorporated elements from the direct-to-DVD Starship Troopers: Marauder and the CGI animated Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. To say nothing of editing themes from movies composed by James Horner, Ennio Morricone, and Dimitri Tiomkin. Although it was rather surprising that Mathieu didn’t take the opportunity to share some of exceptional score from Starship Troopers by the late and great Basil Poledouris.
Perhaps it is a case that Mathieu figured that the score from the film didn’t exactly fit the western motif of his short film?
Friends, this week in particular has been extremely busy for me due to my work schedule, a reason that this week’s Saturday Frights podcast is unfortunately running late. I bring this up as it is my excuse for not being aware that a teaser trailer for Stranger Things season 4 had been released on YouTube. It was thanks to Rockford Jay, my fellow Pop Culture Retrorama colleague and contributor, who was kind enough to throw me a link to the trailer. Although there is probably very little chance that we will be lucky enough to catch the fourth season of Stranger Things on Netflix this year – you should probably consider the teaser videos below as definite SPOILER territory.
It certainly seems like some of the storyline for Stranger Things Season 4 is going to delve into the backstory of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) at the former Hawkins National Laboratory. And while we were introduced to Eight (Linnea Berthelsen) in the second season of the incredibly popular Netflix series, that teaser hinted at there being quite a few ‘special’ children in Dr. Martin Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) ‘care’. In fact although it might prove to be nothing more than a red herring, it seems like the shot below hints at something important – as the slots that are filled include the numbers four, seven, and eight.
In addition to the Magic 8-Ball featured in the teaser trailer, it appears that the camera lingers on the child stacking the red blocks, actually there is a lot of red, right? As a matter of fact that fortune-telling toy and other items the children were playing with can briefly be seen in this short Hawkins National Laboratory video that was uploaded on Wednesday – as well as some disturbing imagery from the “Rainbow Room”.
Although I am not exactly sure that the Duffer Brothers and Netflix are trying to give us a clue to the new season – I should point out that in the description of the video it simply states:
Which could very well just mean this is the second Stranger Things Season 4 trailer, or perhaps it is a mistake and it hints that we are getting two more glimpses at the upcoming series? Whatever the reason for the mystery, I am grateful to have the chance to get excited about a new season of Stranger Things.
Friends, the other evening as I was closing things down for the night here at the Vault, Rockford Jay happened to share a YouTube video for 1959’s “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. The Grammy Award winning tune that tells the story of a gunslinger who slays another cowboy over the affections of Feleena, a dancer at Rosa’s Cantina, and in turn is gunned down himself later by a posse when he attempts to return to her. The song was written by Robbins and was included on his October 1959 album entitled Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, released as a single the following month with “The Running Gun” featured on the B-Side.
I am sure that there are a lot of you Fallout: New Vegas fans out that remember hearing Robbins’ song “Big Iron” on your Pip-Boy 3000 courtesy of Radio New Vegas, Mojave Music Radio, and the Black Mountain Radio stations. I bring that up as that was one of the twelve songs featured on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, along with “Cool Water”, which you might be familiar with if you’ve seen 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Although that stunning soundtrack features a cover by the esteemed Tim Blake Nelson, who portrays the titular character of the film.
You might find it interesting that it has been said that Robbins named the character of Feleena after a friend of his in school, although I highly doubt that the future songwriter and singer had to ever slap leather in his youth. As a matter of fact Marty Robbins would go on to write two more songs focusing on the events of “El Paso”. Starting with 1966’s “Feleena (From El Paso)”, the songwriter tells the early life and tragic fate of the dancer at Rosa’s Cantina – spoiler – but she picks up the gun of her lover and kills herself. Although it would seem that the two are reunited of sorts, they can be said to wander the town forevermore as spirits – heard by the townsfolk but never seen.
With 1976’s “El Paso City”, the songwriter basically recaps the events of the first song as he is flying over the city, mentioning that he remembers hearing the tune long ago. As the song continues though it is revealed that he seems to be the reincarnated gunslinger, as he’s never been to the city but he knows the old paths that the cowboy traveled on. In addition to frequently hearing a voice calling him to El Paso City – with another voice warning him that he might find his death there.
While “El Paso” continues to be a popular song, it was back in 1980 for an NBC special entitled Comedy Is Not Pretty! that Steve Martin proved that the tune could be improved on by adding chimpanzees, an elephant, Shetland ponies, and an Orangutan.