Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TIAH Turns Twenty!

Since I can no longer remember the exact date, we’ll simply pick one somewhere around the midpoint of 2014 and say that, in one form or another, TIAH (or “The Issue At Hand”) has been a part of my life for twenty years! 

“The Issue At Hand” began in 1994 as an APA and Fanzine column and, in 2008, became a Blog.  It ran in four different fan-publications over the years.  Its final paper installment occurred in 2012, and (for better or for worse – you decide) blogs on to this day and beyond. 

Twenty years! 

Step back and think about how many things any of us have done consecutively and unbroken for twenty years!  …Anything that doesn’t involve “watching THE SIMPSONS”, that is. 

Just in my own life (SIMPSONS, notwithstanding) it’s difficult to find many things that have been the constant that TIAH has, over that twenty year span.  I lived somewhere else, worked somewhere else, and was even married to someone else.  …So much for “Life’s Big Three”! 

Heck, there was even a period along the way where I didn’t watch THE SIMPSONS, so TIAH may indeed be it!   Okay, there were some runs of comic books that I may have bought faithfully over a twenty year period – assuming they ran consecutively for a “straight twenty years” – but there’s no comic book title over the period of 1994 – 2014 that I can say that about. 
Note the "Number of Cents" this comic cost!
And, before the age of “TV on DVD”, I can’t even say that about a TV show – because there would be periods where a particular show simply wasn’t being run. 

TIAH has continued and solidified old friendships, and provided me with new ones.  It has influenced others to write, and later to Blog.  I’m tremendously proud of that. 

And, I’m both gratified – and, frankly, grateful – that so many of you continue to stop by and make this endeavor “The Great Fun Thing It Is”, with your input! 

In defiance of the expected cliché, I will not promise “another twenty years”, but I WILL just keep doing what I do, and hope that you all continue to visit! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Extra! Extra! …Read All A-BAT It!

Has this been the year of BATMAN ’66, or what!? 

Not so long ago, we were wondering if we’d ever see the classic Adam West and Burt Ward TV series released on DVD…

"Gosh, Bruce!  There's nothing to do but wait around!" 

"Take heart, Old Chum.  It's always darkest before the dawn!"

…And now, there’s THIS ITEM to drown yourselves in gobs of Bat-Goodness!

"It's HERE, Master Bruce!"
"To the Bat-DVD Retailer!"
Run!  Don’t walk, to get yours! 

"It's faster THIS WAY in crosstown traffic!"

 My pre-order is already in, Old Chums, so why run!   

"Actually, I’d rather STEAL one, myself!" 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

R.I.P. James Garner.

With all the talk about MAVERICK around here of late, it is particularly sad to note the passing of actor, and star of MAVERICK, James Garner, on July 19, 2014, at the age of 86. 

Beyond MAVERICK, James Garner had a long and successful run starring in THE ROCKFORD FILES and, in between, headed the short-lived western series NICHOLS – and even returned to the character of “Bret Maverick” in a 1981-1982 series titled (what else?)  BRET MAVERICK. 

I’ve never seen that later MAVERICK series, but should try to catch it someday. 

HERE is his vast list of credits from IMDB.

The New York Times might have said it best with:
Mr. Garner was a genuine star but as an actor something of a paradox: a lantern-jawed, brawny athlete whose physical appeal was both enhanced and undercut by a disarming wit.
"Who, me?"

And, it was that “disarming wit” that made MAVERICK a standout from what was then a glut of TV westerns – and set the standard for “the other Mavericks that followed”, Jack Kelly as “Bart”, Roger Moore as “Beau”, and the all-too-quickly-fleeting Robert Colbert as “Brent”.   

That extensive New York Times obit can be found HERE.   It’s very much worth reading! 

As I said in a previous comment thread:
“[MAVERICK] was smack in the thick of the huge proliferation of TV westerns of the mid-to-late-fifties thru the early-to-mid-sixties.  But, it did its thing with a healthy sense of humor.  Not exactly going so far as to call it ‘camp’, but its tone was more often ‘fun’ over grim.”

And for that, and so many other things, we have James Garner to thank!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

King Scrooge The First!

No, we’re not reviewing this comic.  We’re just making the declaration that Scrooge McDuck *IS* “King” around here! 

But don’t take my word for it; read the thoughts of “Friend of This Blog”, and frequent TIAH Blog commenter, Adel Khan, in one of his initial Blogging efforts, HERE! 

Yeah!  RING that Bell, Scrooge!

If enough of you check it out, maybe Adel can be persuaded to post more regularly. 

…Or, he can just pass the time wistfully singing the theme from DuckTales, and avoiding the ultra-annoying Melvin X. Nickelby (who is inexplicably speaking in another language, not scripted by yours truly)!   We'd never want to see it come to THAT, would we? 
Don't you wish a "hurr-i-cane" would sweep HIM away? ...MELVIN, that is, not Adel! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Meta McDuck and Meta Maverick!


Or, “I never Meta Maverick I didn’t like!” 
Be it James Garner as "Bret Maverick", Jack Kelly as "Bart Maverick", Roger Moore as "Beau Maverick", and, even Robert Colbert (of The Time Tunnel) in his very brief shot as "Brent Maverick".
"I wasn't a Maverick long enough to get my own DVD box cover!"
"I wasn't on Bonanza very long either, but I DID get into the opening credits!" 

"...Then we BOTH ended up working for Irwin Allen!"
Wow!  That was a long enough digression to be a "cutaway" on FAMILY GUY! 

But, now... back to "Meta-matters"!   
I happen to find "Meta" humor and references, forth-wall breaking, etc. to be quite funny.  (Quick, one-sentence digression - as opposed to the loooong one you've just experienced - I also find "deadpan" to be just as funny, most likely because an enthusiastic guy like me is so incapable of doing it that I regard it as "humorously alien".)
And so, when preparing my script for the Uncle Scrooge story that I called "A Game of One-Cupmanship" (I enjoy puns, too!  Can't cha tell?) I included the Meta-gag of Scrooge whiling away the time by sleepily singing the theme to Disney TV's DUCKTALES
I thought it was a nice Meta reference, in keeping with the generally fast-paced, zany nature of the story.
Imagine my surprise, while watching "Family Pride", an episode of the classic TV western MAVERICK (Original Air Date: January 08, 1961), to find Roger Moore, as Beau Maverick, WHISTLING THE MAVERICK THEME SONG to open the episode's teaser! 
Meta?!  Snack-dab in the middle of the 1960-1961 television season?! 
Gotta love that! 
Oh, since the 4 th season of MAVERICK was released on DVD by Warner Archives (as were the final three seasons of the series), and their discs don't play on computers - thus no episode-specific screen captures for "Family Pride" - I'll just scan the package cover and the disc to represent Roger Moore's completely unexpected "Maverick Meta-moment"!   
It's the FIRST EPISODE on this set!
...It's not as if you could hear him whistle in a Blog post anyway! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

R.I.P. Bob Hastings.

Actor Bob Hastings passed away on June 30, 2014, at the age of 89.

Hastings began as a radio actor, and voiced the character of Archie Andrews in that medium, but he will always be best known for his many and varied television roles.  

And, “best known” was he for the role of Lt. Elroy Carpenter, the prissy, nervous, and brownnosing aide to Joe Flynn’s Captain Binghamton for four seasons on McHALE’S NAVY (1962-1966).    

After that, Bob Hastings embarked on a long, nearly four-decade, association with characters from DC Comics, starting as the voice of Filmation’s SUPERBOY…

…thru his now-iconic portrayal as Commissioner Gordon in BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES.  Imagine that the youthful-voiced portrayer of characters like Archie and Superboy, in his later years, could so perfectly epitomize the older, hardened crime-war veteran that is James Gordon!   
There was even an unusual stopover at the BATMAN 1966 TV series, where he essentially recreated Lt. Carpenter as an Army major, doing the “prissy, nervous, and brownnosing” thing to a general played by Alan (voice of Fred Flintstone) Reed! 
Call me "SIR!"

Along the way, Hastings was “Kelsey” the bartender for several seasons of ALL IN THE FAMILY

And he even returned to the sea, as the First Officer to a cruise ship’s captain (played by the great character actor Henry Jones), in “The Werewolf”, a 1974 episode of KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER. 

"Call ME "SIR", too!" 
Don't worry, Kolchak!  Bob Hastings' Commissioner Gordon's got that Werewolf  covered in the illustration below!   
Bob Hastings’ long list of credits can be found at THIS LINK

"D-D-Don't SHOOT!  It's ME, Bob Hastings, in a PAST ROLE!"  Look it up at IMDB!

Rest in Peace, Bob Hastings… and thank you for all the great moments!