Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Sheer Genius, or Lamest Activity Page Ever?

I'm not really sure which one it is, "Genius" or "Lamest Ever" ... But leave it to Charlton to have been the publisher that created it! 

Click to Enlarge!

Yes, it is exactly what it appears to be... "Fill in the Names of Your Choice on the Apartment Doorbells"... Courtesy of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO # 19 (Charlton Comics, Cover Date: February, 1971) - based on the 1967 Hanna-Barbera cartoon! 

It's one of our neighbors, Abbott... I just don't know who!
Did you ever want to live in the same building as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello? 

Just PUT YOUR NAME in one of the blanks, and Lou might be knocking on YOUR door at 3 in the morning, asking to borrow a cup of sugar! 

Though I think I'd vastly prefer Bud and Lou to FRANKENSTEIN and KING KONG... if, for no other reason, Kong would definitely have a LARGER APARTMENT than me - and ALL New Yorkers tend to envy that sort of thing! 

But that's not all, folks!  By filling-in YOUR NAME and, on other bells, ANY OTHER PERSON'S NAME OF YOUR CHOICE, you could live in the same building as Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, Jonas Salk, James Cagney, Derek Jeter, Irwin Allen, Gene Roddenberry, Frank Sinatra, Carl Barks, Angus Young, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, LeBron James, Paul McCartney, George Washington, John Wayne, Casty, Walter Cronkite, Former President Barack Obama, Former President Dick Cheney, Raquel Welch - or "that gal or guy you had no chance at all of ever dating in high school"!  

...And, if "that gal" happened to be Raquel Welch (or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for that matter), you could save yourself one blank to fill!  

Me?  I'd add Marta Kristen, Yvonne Craig, and Grace Lee Whitney - and put 'em all on the same floor as me, so I could watch 'em come and go!  But, I'd put Esther right next door - or better yet, on the SAME BELL with me!  ...Fantasy only goes so far, you know!  

Finally, how many of you would put FAY WRAY in that last box?  

...C'mon, I know ya would!  

Hi-ya, neighbor! 


Marc Whinston said...

When I first saw the poster, before reading the headline, I thought it was an array of nipples. Shows where my mind is.

Joe Torcivia said...

I can't honestly say I didn't think the same thing, Marc!

Shame on both of us... and to the artist at Charlton, who I believe also thought the same thing!

Like Lou Costello, "He was a BAAAAD Boy"

Achille Talon said...

I can almost believe Frankenstein having an appartment in the same building as Abbott & Costello, even if, assuming this is following the pattern of Abbot & Costello meet Frankenstein rather than the novel and Universal films, this is referring not to the scientist (Henry/Victor Frankenstein, depending on which canon you're discussing) but rather to the monster.



How on Earth do you even squeeze King Kong into a human-sized apartment?

Achille Talon said...

Also, I don't know much about A&C, but I notice that each has his own doorbell in what seems to be the same apartment building — were their film personas neighbors? (Or at least the comic renditions thereof; I understand that continuity was not particularly strong from one A&C film to another, and they sometimes didn't even go by Bud and Lou?)

I would kind of have expected them to live in the same house, as comic duos were wont to be portrayed as, in those days when general censorship made it improbable for anyone to even begin to wonder if that meant anything for-the-time-unorthodox about the two's relationship.

(Oh, and as for the 'laziness' of the whole endeavor, it actually reminds me of the parodies-of-activity-pages that were sometimes published in Pilote, some of which the work of Michael Greg or RenĂ© Goscinny, in the 1960's to 1970's — a noble tradition which still has heirs in the modern Spirou and in the monthly French Scrooge book, too. They included the world's most unplayable Goose Game (starring Walter Melon), and, in the "lazy" category, the 'educational connect-the-dots game' which professed that it would teach kids geometry. In the usual bombastic we're-so-clever way of activity-page instructions, it told its reader that they would only know what strange and advanced geometrical shape was hidden in the page if they connected the dots.

It consisted of a blank page with four points clearly in the shame of a square.

Joe Torcivia said...


Triple-plus shame on me for not referencing the great film “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” in this post!

Excuse me, while I go off into a corner to beat myself up over it…

In the meantime, amuse yourself by looking at this array of Whitman UNCLE SCROOGE covers! Yes, really! I wouldn’t want you to be bored while waiting!

…Okay, I’m back! That hurt, but deservedly so!

“How on Earth do you even squeeze King Kong into a human-sized apartment?”

I dunno… Um, anywhere he wants to?, Joe says mixing gorilla joke references to an astonishing degree – no doubt the result of his deserved self-inflicted beating!

But, if anyone COULD have thusly compacted Kong, it would have been the artists at Charlton – for whom (gorilla and *all other types* of) distortion was often a fine art!

Yes, Abbott and Costello WOULD have been living together… but, it’s Charlton, so anything goes! In fact, in their great 1950s TV SHOW (the one with Joe Besser and Sidney Fields), they did exactly that – share an apartment more than a decade before Oscar Madison and Felix Unger! And, unlike the movies, in the TV show, they were known as “Bud and Lou”!

Oddly, on the level I described it in the post, I actually LIKED this “lazy” activity page! When you think about it, you could actually have more fun with this as an adult, than as a kid!

Oh, and that “Connect-the-Dots-to-Form-a-Square” page is priceless! Again, more from an adult perspective as a JOKE, than as a child might view it!

Debbie Anne said...

Why do I think that Abbot and Costello would likely live in the same apartment building as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, Groucho Marx and his brothers (whose names escape me at the moment), Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and other movie comedians?

Joe Torcivia said...

I think that’s a great way to go, Deb!

Would there be room for the all-but-forgotten-but-still-great Wheeler and Woolsey? Check ‘em out someday!

And how about “The Other Three Stooges”, like Shemp, Joe Besser, and Curly-Joe, having another apartment of their own?

And, let’s not forget “Jubal Pomp’s Mentor”, W.C. Fields… at least that’s how *I* see Pomp!

TC said...

In 1967, my choices would have been Diana Rigg, Julie Newmar, Stefanie Powers, Carol Lynley, and Yvette Mimieux.

Bud & Lou seemed to be roommates in the Charlton comic (IIRC), and maybe also in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

And, yes, it's true that their movies did not have continuity. Their characters were sometimes named Bud and Lou, but with different surnames, and sometimes had different names altogether. In A&C Meet Frankenstein, they were "Chick" and "Wilbur." The same is true of Hope & Crosby, Martin & Lewis, and the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, & Chico), who had different character names in each movie.

That is, their feature films were not exactly a "series." Not in the same sense as Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O' Sullivan as Tarzan & Jane, Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson, or William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick & Nora Charles.

Joe Torcivia said...

I can’t argue with your choices, TC!

Yes, A&C were “roomies”, “down on their luck”, “will try anything” types in both the Charlton comic and the H-B cartoon upon which it was based - not unlike the ‘50s TV series… and basically their series of films… which, strictly (as you point out), was not truly a “series”, but a brilliant string of “stand-alones” with healthy doses of slapstick, absurdity, “meta”, and the kind of wordplay I love!

And, if any of my old English teachers happened to read that last run-on sentence, they would say *I* was “a BAAAAD Boy”

Achille Talon said...

Not in the same sense as Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O' Sullivan as Tarzan & Jane, Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson, or William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick & Nora Charles.

Heck, the Holmes pictures didn't have such strong continuity either. Some take place in the Victorian era while others randomly have Watson and Holmes active in the then-modern day. Plus, several different Moriartys who die at the end of their film.

Joe Torcivia said...


Ah, but since the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes series was my first exposure to both character and concept, it can do “little or no wrong” even to this day!

Besides, we got not one but TWO magnificent character actors to play Moriarty… George Zucco AND Lionel Atwill! Zucco for the Victorian Age and Atwill for the WW II Era!

You can make a parallel case for the wonders of having both Cesar Romero AND Jack Nicholson play The Joker! And, if The Joker could “die” more than once and later return, why couldn’t the genius Moriarty find a way to do the same? A Doctor Who, fan such as yourself, should have scant issue with “regeneration”, eh?

Movies, in the days of Abbott and Costello and Rathbone’s Holmes, didn’t have tight continuity… because, unlike today where anyone can endlessly review and study these things, most people didn’t see EVERY movie. So, liberties could be taken as needed. In a way, I liked that better – precisely because you don’t need to see “everything” to appreciate “something”!

Achille Talon said...

Yeah, but Romero and Nicholson (and Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill and Jeff Bennett and K.M. Richardson and Troy Baker and so on) were playing the character in unrelated adaptations of the Batman comics. It's much more surreal when such an actor-switch happens within what is otherwise meant to be a series — kinda like when Ernst Stavro Blofeld randomly turned from an Easter-European bald guy into… Charles Gray, in his last official Bond appearance (Diamonds Are Forever), with no explanation.

Though of course, it was delightful to have Rathbone's Holmes spar against those two different, excellent - though hardly book-accurate - Moriartys. (I also have a soft spot for John Huston's version in Sherlock Holmes in New York, a sorely underrated little gem.) As it was delightful to have all these different takes on the Joker (yes, I said was; I opine, like much of the Internet, that Jared Leto's version can go drown himself in a vat of acid 'far as I'm concerned), and on Frankenstein (both monster and creature), and on Scrooge McDuck (McCrimmon, Ryan, Young, Kashir, Tennant… and I can't not mention Philippe Dumat and Roger Carel's turns as him in the French dubs).

A ‘Doctor Who’ fan such as yourself, should have scant issue with “regeneration”, eh?

Fair enough, but I'd argue all the genius of Who regeneration is that instead of sneakily switching actors in-between movies or episodes, they actually make the character's changed appearance and behavior into a fully-integrated story element.

Oh, and speaking of Who and Holmes, if you want to get a taste of 2010's Doctor Who, I recommend you watch this brief and hilarious scene where Matt Smith's Doctor (#11, not counting the innumerable odds-and-ends) impersonates Sherlock during a trip to Victorian England, opposite Moriarty-esque mad-scientist Doctor Simeon (Richard E. Grant).

(Though it may be obvious, I will respect the time-honored TIAH tradition of warning you that this 2-minute video CONTAINS SOUND.)

TC said...

One of my pet peeves is that so many movies and TV series these days have too much tight continuity. It seems no one does a done-in-one movie, or a TV episode that is a complete story in itself. Everything is an episode of a serial, and every ending is a cliffhanger.

It's kind of to be expected with superheroes, where (in movies as well as comics) Ant-Man #2 has to tie in with Thor #3 and Avengers #4. But it's also turning up in other genres (Mile 22, Den of Thieves, Sicario). Even the 2018 Robin Hood movie ended with a set-up for a sequel (which, since it bombed at the box office, will probably never be made).

Re: the Holmes series, 20th Century Fox made two films with Rathbone and Bruce in 1939. Both were sere set in the Victorian era. I would assume that the studio had at least tentative plans to do a series, but, for whatever reason, they did not make any more.

Universal made twelve Holmes movies starring Rathbone and Bruce, starting in 1942. These were updated to the then-present time, so that Holmes could fight Nazi spies and saboteurs. They did not have the tight continuity of Star Wars or the Avengers, but Rathbone and Bruce were detective Holmes and sidekick Dr. Watson in each. As opposed to A&C playing bumbling detectives named Bud and Lou in one movie, and playing moving men named Chick and Wilbur in another. Or Groucho as Dr. Hackenbush in one movie, and Wolf J. Flywheel in the next.

And don't even let me get started on "B" Western series, where the Durango Kid had a different secret identity in each movie, or the same characters (Roy and Gabby, or Rocky Lane and Nugget Clark) seemed to be meeting for the first time in more than one movie, and the Three Mesquiteers movies were sometimes contemporary (1930s and, later, WWII), and sometimes historical (Mexican War, Civil War and Reconstruction, Indian Wars).

And it never bothered me if Moriarty appeared to get killed in one movie and later returned in another. As you say, it was the same kind of thing we had always seen in comic books, where the Joker (Catwoman, Doctor Doom, Magneto, the Mandarin, etc., etc.) would apparently get blown up, or fall into the ocean, but would return a few issues later. Even when I was nine, I understood that if the body was not recovered (or if it was found but burned beyond recognition), then the character could come back.

Joe Torcivia said...


“Yeah, but Romero and Nicholson (and Heath Ledger and Mark Hamill and Jeff Bennett and K.M. Richardson and Troy Baker and so on) were playing the character in unrelated adaptations of the Batman comics.”

Okay, then… I’ll counter with the three Catwomen (Newmar, Meriweather, and the aptly named Kitt), the three Misters Freeze (Sanders, Preminger, and Wallach), the two Riddlers (Gorshin and Astin) – who all played against Adam West… and I’ll raise you the two Darrins from BETWICHED (York and Sargent) who both played opposite Elizabeth Montgomery!

Oh, and since I’ve already gone there, I might as well disclose MY favorites for each role – Newmar, Sanders, Gorshin, and York! …And, I’ll STILL give The Joker to Romero!

Though you left out future MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW star Ted Knight, in the 1968 Filmation BATMAN animated series, the second voice The Joker ever had, immediately after Romero!

The genius of DOCTOR WHO was the concept of “regeneration”! It allowed the original series to carry on for decades and is, no doubt, doing the same today! And, while I’m naming favorites, Jon Pertwee was my favorite Doctor – but Matt Smith really impressed me!

That WHO clip of Smith was GREAT! And, for just a moment at the very beginning when we first see Doctor Simeon, I thought I was looking at “Mr. Data” form STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION – a character who has ALSO been associated with Holmes! Everyone, go check it out HERE!

…And, yes… Thank you for the “Sound Alert”! I would want any of my readers to get in trouble at work!

Joe Torcivia said...


Ah, yes… “serialized vs. episodic TV”, a topic we’ve been discussing here since at least 2010!

In the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the first seasons of both STAR TREK DISCOVERY and Netfilx LOST IN SPACE… the former on studio-released Blu-ray (Thank you, CBS Paramount Home Entertainment!), and the latter on bootleg DVD (Thanks fer nuthin’ Netflix!) and, contrary to anything I might have said in that older post, I have found both to be very enjoyable re-imaginings of their respective franchises! …I hope to do a post on that someday!

But, true to today’s television model, there is no such thing as a “stand-alone” episode!

Now, the serialized cliffhanger, tight-continuity approach has its definite advantages, in that it makes for very compelling viewing. No sooner does an episode end, than I am “hot ‘n’ ready” for the next one. The very definition of “binge-watching”! This is also true for other recently-produced series that I have only watched (or am in some stage OF watching) on DVD or Blu-ray, such as DEADWOOD and BATES MOTEL!

…And, oddly, the original LOST IN SPACE series (1965) actually started out as a true serialized cliffhanger, before settling into its eventual episodic pattern.

But, when you look back across “the whole of one of those series”, the disadvantage (at least to me) is that “no single episode stands out”! For better or for worse, it’s ALL part of the greater whole. There are NO “great episodes” and “bad episodes”, as were the hallmark of both the original STAR TREK and LOST IN SPACE! …And I kinda liked cheering at the “good ones” and wincing at the “bad ones”!

What that also means is that I am very unlikely to revisit any of these series after completion (unless I’m “refreshing my memory” in anticipation of an upcoming new season), because there is little value in viewing “just one small segment” of a story.

Beyond that, it means that virtually no such modern series can have any “casual viewers”! It’s fans and die-hards, or nothing – and I feel we’ve lost something important in the process.

This sort of storytelling having infiltrated – and now completely overtaken and consumed – mainstream entertainment, is the true legacy of Stan Lee! …And I cannot imagine that, back in the 1960s when he tried to distinguish his work from DC’s, he ever saw this coming!

Achille Talon said...

Glad you like Matt Smith! All modern Doctors have been wonderful, really, and I'm this close to calling Smith the best of the lot… but there's also Peter Capaldi, whom you might like also, as his is something of a cross between the Pertwee and Smith Doctors, if you also made the result Scottish and cantankerous. He's great.

(His episodes sometimes less so, unfortunately. But he also had good ones, as well as the bad ones! …You know, the more I think about it, the more modern Doctor Who seems to me like the most blatant heir to what was once a bustling genre in the 60's. You wouldn't ever mistake it for being from the 60's, of course; and it has to an extent adopted arc structures; but it still has that basic, good old our-esemble-cast-deals-with-the-monster-of-the-week structure.)

And, for just a moment at the very beginning when we first see Doctor Simeon, I thought I was looking at “Mr. Data” form STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION – a character who has ALSO been associated with Holmes! Everyone, go check it out HERE!

In fact, Richard E. Grant actually played Sherlock once, in a rather strange TV movie entitled The Other Side — or so the online Arthur Conan Doyle Encylopedia informs me.

Not to forget that Grant also (briefly) portrayed the Doctor himself in a failed 2003 attempt to restart the series in animated form, and his version of the character, in both appearance and behavior, was unabashedly Sherlock-esque. See a screenshot here: Grant as the Sherlock Doctor was the best thing about the entire endeavor, which was, in most other ways, kind of terrible. (The second-best thing was Sir Derek Jacobi himself as the Doctor's very own evil twin the Master.)

You may be surprised to see a previous Doctor actor recast as a major villain for a different Doctor, but due to its underwhelming… everything, the animated series has since been decanonized (give or take a few nods here and there in later episodes). Which is a big deal, as Doctor Who is otherwise much more of the old school of continuity, that is to say that they have it whenever they feel like it, but have by now made a running gag of the fact that such villains as Davros or the Master do not, ever, ever, die for good, even if you leave them burning to ashes on an exploding ship full of evil robots and headed for a black hole, after being stabbed by an alternate version of themselves who has also died. Twice.

I am not making up that example.

Anyway, and completely unrelatedly, I have tracked down that sketch I mentioned with a spiritual precursor to your "above" wordplay — needless to say it also contains SOUND.

Joe Torcivia said...


“ …You know, the more I think about it, the more modern Doctor Who seems to me like the most blatant heir to what was once a bustling genre in the 60's. You wouldn't ever mistake it for being from the 60's, of course; and it has to an extent adopted arc structures; but it still has that basic, good old our-ensemble-cast-deals-with-the-monster-of-the-week structure.)”

Awww… Now why did ya have to go invoke “60’s-Monster-of-the-Week”? …You KNOW that’s one of my great weaknesses! :-)

That and, based on that clip, I really like Smith!

HERE is the “Animated Sherlock Doctor”!

HERE is the sketch!

And, to tie all of this together, one might start with William Hartnell, and put each Doctor on those doorbells! …Of course, I’m likely to put “Matt Smith” next to “Doctor Zachary Smith”!