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Reaperbryan

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In the sixties and seventies, when a TV show or movie was science fiction, or wanted to show how cutting edge they were? You'd have some guy in a rocket belt (aka jet pack) fly around and survey the scenery before returning to the other characters to report.

s-l300.jpg.c323a46b3eb00bbe88e9e277d7613106.jpgScreen-Shot-2015-03-21-at-5_50.33-PM-500x366.png.e0b5b4f58a24db3738e144ace542363d.pngjet_pack_3.jpg.dc7ffc70ccf58ca9a0d38c85adb40261.jpg Here we have scenes from Lost In Space, Ark II, and the James Bond vehicle, Thunderball. And they were far from the ONLY ones to have their characters cruise around through the air in a fully functional jet pack, live from the FUTURE!

You'll notice that our character in the middle picture is wearing a mask that hides his face. That's because the actor didn't fly the thing; the man flying the pack was Bill Suitor, a former Army pilot who worked for Bell laboratories, and was the only guy qualified to fly the thing (it apparently took a fair amount of skill to fly the thing; in addition to that, it was prone to running out of fuel and plummeting like a rock if you didn't know your limits; Suitor did.) Apparently, Suitor did rather well for himself, flying jetpacks around in various TV shows and movies and country fairs and airshows and suchlike.

And that's where this story gets weird.

I'm not going to relate the whole thing, but apparently, there were several other guys who were driven completely nutso by the potential power and glory of rocket flight, and when I read the story, I thought, "This is the craziest thing I've seen all month, and I work in public education." Weird enough that a BOOK was written about the murders, beatings, and general craziness committed by these would be rocketeers.

Here's the link to Cracked.com for the whole sordid story. I'm tempted to buy the book, now...

 

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There is a phenomenon that happens and resembles the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) but in fact is NOT such...  And it only happens while the Northern Lights are visible in other areas, which has further confused scientists.

 

What highly technical name did scientists give it?  Proton Arc, Sub-Aural Arc?  Nope.  STEVE.  Seriously.  Sudden Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement

 

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/steve-night-sky-phenomenon-not-an-aurora-after-all-mystery-deepens-for-weird-purple-green-arcs/109981

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Actually, they named it Steve a long time before they came up with the acronym. Photographers have been seeing it for decades, but scientists have only recently acknowledged it.

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tvgreenhornet03.jpg.d35299500ac01799808992a8b76a7812.jpgThe Green Hornet was a particularly long running radio show, first airing in 1936 before finally running out of steam in 1952... and then reviving as a TV series for a year in 1966, on the coattails of Batman.

 

What most people remember about it now is that it was a bombed Seth Rogen vehicle, and that it was Bruce Lee's first appearance before American audiences. This is what brought the show back for American reruns, since a one season show doesn't last long when you show it five days a week, but after Bruce Lee's death, the show developed some legs.

Publicity materials used in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia made it look like Bruce Lee was the star and Van Williams the sidekick, as opposed to the other way round.

The Green Hornet was created by the same creative team that created the Lone Ranger, and at one point wrote it into the radio show that the Lone Ranger was in fact the Hornet's granduncle (and the source of Britt Reid's wealth, as the Ranger owned a silver mine, which is where he made his famous silver bullets).

In the original radio show, Kato was Japanese. He suddenly became Korean during WWII, and after the war shifted back and forth from Korean to Chinese and back again. He was said to be a good man with his fists, and knew something of jiu jitsu, but was not really a "martial arts expert." This changed when the TV series had Bruce Lee at their disposal, as Kato was then as Chinese as you can get, and demonstrated his expert martial arts skills on the show with great regularity. Since then, in media revivals, Kato is usually Chinese and is death on two feet as far as martial arts go.

In addition to changes in Kato, the Green Hornet's car, the Black Beauty, became WAY more than just transportation, becoming a fusion between the Batmobile's advanced capabilities and James Bond's entire Q branch, incorporating a wide variety of gadgets to serve as deus ex machinas, so to speak, when needed. The Black Beauty featured "infra green" headlights that permitted Kato to see and drive without giving away the car's position with headlights, machine guns, rockets, mortars, a sleep gas launcher, and an aerial surveillance drone that could be controlled from inside the car... as opposed to the radio show's version, which simply featured a very powerful engine.

It is said that Van Williams began pushing the producers for more for Bruce Lee to do; Williams had noticed the fans' interest in Lee, and thought it might make the show more popular if he had more martial arts acting time. The producers said no, and the show was cancelled before a second season could be produced... and then milked throughout the seventies in reruns after Bruce Lee hit it big in Hong Kong action movies.

Sigh. It could have been so much more...

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Did Green Hornet have a really slick tricked out garage?  

 

Remebering the big black car being quickly swapped for a Caddy or a Thunderbird?  Spin/Rotating floor? Wheelclamps? More like a hanger deck. Whichever car was hidden was hanging upside down...

 

...or am I thinking of some other show?

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9 hours ago, TGP said:

Did Green Hornet have a really slick tricked out garage?  

 

Remebering the big black car being quickly swapped for a Caddy or a Thunderbird?  Spin/Rotating floor? Wheelclamps? More like a hanger deck. Whichever car was hidden was hanging upside down...

 

...or am I thinking of some other show?

 

Nope.

 

Again, the RADIO show just had a hidden garage.

 

...the TV show, coming in the era of James Bond, had a tricked out secret garage, in which clamps would appear, grab the wheels, and the floor would rotate, revealing the Black Beauty! And our heroes would leap in, release the clamps, and drive out the secret garage exit into action!

 

... leaving Britt Reid's sedan hanging upside down by the wheels under the floor. That couldn't have been good for it.

 

In a later incarnation... comics, I think... Kato even asks why all the gimmicks, since he and Britt are the only ones who ever go in the garage...

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1 hour ago, Glitterwolf said:

image.png.c6f0bc28e7dedec2fa0980bf3242d024.png

 

"Jaya Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali!" 

 

or more recently: "Ayo Joanna Lumley!"

Edited by paintybeard
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What’s the largest living organism? ( @malefactuswill love this)

The elephant? The blue whale? The T-Rex?

No. The largest ever living organism is a mushroom. And not even a particularly rare one.

The Armillaria ostoyae or ‘Honey fungus’ is very common, and is probably in your garden as we speak.

However, lets hope it doesn’t grow as large as the largest ever recorded specimen, in Malheur National forest, in Oregon. It covers 2,200 acres (890 hectares)!!

And is between 2,000 and 8,000 years old!!

The majority of the organism is under ground, in the form of a massive mat of tentacle-like mycelia (the mushroom’s equivalent of roots).

The giant honey fungus was originally thought to grow in different clusters around the forest, but researches have confirmed it is in fact one very, very large single organism!

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Last year, upon the arrival of my Bones Kickstarter package, I began work on Space Mouselings.

On a lark, I thought it'd be fun to make a terrain piece with a fallen statue of a Mouse Hero; I did something similar once with Ral Partha's barbarian bunnies, using an Easter toy. So I began looking for a Mickey Mouse toy between two and three inches tall.

That's when I found out how hard it is to find a Mickey Mouse toy. I raided Wally World, Target, Toys R Us... no Mickey toys. I finally got one by buying a set of cake toppers from a bakery. Had loads of fun making a fallen Mickey, and learned how to do a lovely verdigris effect!

But that was then. This is now. And it's ninety years since the release of Mickey's first appearance in Steamboat Willie, and the little rodent is EVERYWHERE... and my dear one is a BIG Mickey fan, and is collecting...

Sigh.

 

IMG_20180830_064911454.jpg

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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1 hour ago, redambrosia said:

She seems to like mouses in general. How does she feel about mouse guard, @Dr.Bedlam?

 

Have yet to try her on it, now that you mention...

 

In the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes? Calvin's parents were never given names.

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Masters_of_the_Universe_Logo.jpg.c2827a7d30cd32301fd554b3f18ee149.jpg

 

Awright, friends and neighbors, today's lesson is on the Masters Of The Universe. Mostly the eighties cartoon, although the toys certainly come into it.

The show apparently premiered in 1983, and has become one of the cultural touchstones of childhood in that time frame. If you were a kiddette in the eighties, you at LEAST knew who they WERE, and you may have had a few of the action figures. Perhaps even the Castle Greyskull playset.

I was not a kid in the eighties, although there are some who might argue that.

 

I became aware of the series on TV due to the existence of a certain bar. The Back Alley, to be precise, a drinking establishment of great quality and little pretentiousness. And in '83, I learned to schedule my college classes in such a way that I could be at The Back Alley at three o'clock in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because that was Nickel Keg Day. On those days at that time, a keg of beer would be tapped, and all single beers sold would cost a nickel (no pitchers!) And due to the fact that this was no secret, a great many gentlemen, scholars, artists, blackguards, poltroons, and mendicants would gather at the bar and wait for the magic hour of three. And due to the presence of all the gentlemen, scholars, artists, blackguards, poltroons, and mendicants, I would usually manage to drink no more than ten to twelve beers before the keg floated. You had to move fast!

And then I would walk briskly to my domicile, grab a seat, kick on the TV, and try not to move too much for a half hour or so until my system stabilized.

And the TV show I most often left the channel on was Masters Of The Universe. And over time, I kinda soaked it up. Sometimes I even watched it when I was sober. And thus, the cultural touchstone became embedded in my memory. So, now, the facts:

1. The toys came first. Originally, Mattel Toys was toying with the idea of Flash Gordon toys, but that fell apart when the Dino di Laurentis movie came out, and Kenner snatched up the toy rights. So Mattel simply began work on a generic line of fantasy figures that would wield swords and battleaxes, but also use ray guns and jet planes and armored battle tigers and whatever else they threw in there. Eventually, it took on a life of its own, instead of being something that could be adapted to fit a licensed show, cartoon, or comic book.

1.5. Rumor and urban legend has it that "He-Man" was the working name of the hero in preproduction... and by the time the toys themselves started getting back from China, ready to package and sell, they still hadn't thought of a better name for him. So He-Man it was. After some research, I have concluded that this rumor is true. At least, no one's contradicted it.

2. The toys sold well in first release, but Mattel felt like pushin' the envelope, and called Filmation Enterprises to talk about a tie-in cartoon show.

This confused me. I'd been a BIG fan of the old Hot Wheels cartoon show back in '69, and was told the reason it never went into reruns was because it was "nothing but a toy commercial, and that's against the law." Fourteen years later, I would say, "Well, if this ain't a damn toy commercial, what the hell IS it?" I would later find that the specific laws regulating children's programming had been quietly repealed at the beginning of the Reagan administration... but I digress.

 

logo.jpg.0cab70b86d5a5c227564e0911f59858c.jpg Filmation Studios specialized in animation for television, and had a solid reputation; they'd made the Star Trek animated series, several iterations of The Archies, Fat Albert, Blackstar, The Lone Ranger, Tarzan, The New Adventures Of Batman and Robin (the one with Bat-Mite), and MANY other cartoon and live action kid shows. And they entered into a deal with Mattel to whip up a TV cartoon about a line of action figures who were all in wrestler poses and carried swords and zapulator guns.

 

3. Early in the development cycle of the toys, writer Don Glut had written a sort of bible dictating who all these characters were and their relationships to each other. He-Man, for example, was a barbarian tribesman who had been chosen by the Sorceress to wield the power of Castle Greyskull, which he got by wearing his chest harness; take it off, and he was no stronger than any other... um... musclebound barbarian. This lasted long enough for a couple of tie in comics printed by DC Comics, in which Superman teamed up with He-Man to foil Skeletor's evil schemes.
fa8bd750124857882685a624642fa03b.jpg.7807249c072c18fc6a399b07a71bee4b.jpg
But when the TV series was greenlighted, they threw out nearly all of Don Glut's story bible in order to substitute their own. A few details remained (the name of the planet was Eternia, the Sorceress has little actual power unless she's in Castle Greyskull), but everything else went out the window.

4. Filmation Studios was perhaps the go-to studio for hired animation... because they were cheap. I mean, CHEAP. These guys made Hanna-Barbera look like Pixar. They did this by a variety of methods, but a few in particular stand out:

a) Do ONE animation sequence TOTALLY BEAUTIFULLY, full 24 fps animation, rotoscope it if necessary.... and then shoehorn that ONE SEQUENCE into EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. This is why in Batman and Robin, all exposition was delivered in the  Batmobile, which would be seen zooming through Gotham City (and actually, it was a stationary side shot of the Batmobile, wheels animated, as they cranked the background past at speed, and Batman is passing the same delicatessen a dozen times while he and Robin figure something out). It was literally easier and cheaper than animated the characters' MOUTHS, and could be reused in every single episode.

With Tarzan, it was Tarzan swinging through the trees yodeling, then dropping to the ground catlike, before rising and walking towards the camera. EVERY SINGLE EPISODE!

b) WORK that stock footage. Many later episodes of SEVERAL Filmation cartoons were written specifically so they could cut up segments of previous episodes and build a new episode out of them by way of simply reediting the stock footage. They'd reuse old animation cels, sometimes simply FLIPPING them, so a character is facing the other way and it looks like new footage! This is why, occasionally, the "R" on Robin's uniform would appear in reverse. This drove producer Lou Scheimer CRAZY.... but you'll notice he never bothered to get it fixed. Although it's why the Orko character in MOTU was named "Orko" instead of his original name, "Gorpo." A O looks the same reversed as it did before; a G does not!

cb822bea1b8743e52c64f7739f9538db.png.c7c36f41c14992936b440c6d6c5551aa.png ... and so, Filmation cranked out a season's worth of MOTU episodes, and then set about selling them to the networks. Who weren't interested. At all.

Lou Scheimer talks about how CBS, NBC, and ABC all passed on the show, preferring other things that they'd already commissioned for Saturday morning. Scheimer was desperate to move this series (Mattel had only paid for part of it; if Filmation didn't get a network to pick it up, they stood to lose a lot of money)... and so, he simply began pushing it to the many little indy networks and channels that were popping up like flowers in the expanded cable environment of the early eighties.

This was unheard of at the time... a first run cartoon NOT on Saturday morning, NOT on a major network? And it worked. The new networks, desperate for fresh content, began showing MOTU. The show was a smash hit with the kids, and the toys began flying off the shelves. And Lou Scheimer recalls that for quite a while after that, several of his connections at the major networks were so mad at him, they wouldn't talk to him. Despite the fact that they'd been offered the show... and turned it down.

 

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