Sunday, July 28, 2019

R.I.P. David Hedison!

This one really hurts!

David Hedison, actor of many roles with many "fan-constituencies" ("The Fly" with Vincent Price, two James Bond films as "Felix Leiter", and three soap operas: 2-afternoon, and 1-prime time) left us on July 18, 2019, at the age of 92.

He was best known for his "four-year-mission" as Captain Lee Crane of the Submarine Seaview on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (1964-1968)...

...That "four-years" actually playing out as TEN in the series unusual timeline, taking place between 1972 and 1982!

As Captain Crane, David Hedison adventured around the world both above and below the waves, and as far out as the planet Venus and the unknown reaches of "The Fourth Dimension"!

The Seaview itself never went to those last two places, but it's mighty weaponry DID almost crush the American Revolution in the service of the traitorous Benedict Arnold!

David Hedison shared star billing on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA with the incomparable Richard Basehart, as Admiral Harriman Nelson.

Together as Nelson and Crane, they were a sort of prototypical "Jean-Luc Picard and William Riker" of Star Trek TNG fame.

Simultaneously, fellow diplomats and warriors - as well as surrogate "father and son"'!  

For a show that was unquestionably more "plot driven" than "character driven", Hedison and Basehart still always "brought their all" to their roles (that most often took a back seat to special effects), making them one of sci-fi television's more popular (certainly enduring, at any rate) duos for five-and-a-half-decades... and still counting!

For some idea of what David Hedison, Captain Lee Crane, and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA meant to this humble Blogger, please see the post I put together for VOYAGE's fiftieth anniversary - HERE!

Beyond that, David Hedison, as Crane, was a constant presence throughout my life!

I watched the premiere episode of VOYAGE in 1964 as an enthusiastic young lad - and "stayed-tuned" until its end in 1968!

Then, there were syndicated reruns (of which I made audio cassette tape recordings in the '70s, so I could continue to relive the adventures), home-recorded VHS tapes in the '80s, professionally recorded bootleg VHS tapes in the '90s... culminating with the entire series being released on DVD in the 2000s!

(Click to enlarge!)

I had the great pleasure of meeting David Hedison at a New York convention in 1999.

He was warm and friendly, very willing to converse with fans, and gave everyone a fair amount of time.  Oh, and unlike some other celebrities, while he *did* sell photos from his several signature roles (at a very modest price, I might add), he did not charge for an autograph on anything else you brought to him for signing!

So, while there was this...

There was also this, which I brought along...

...And this...

...And this!

 Yes, the second issue was a reprint of the first!  It was Gold Key!  That's what they did!  

When David Hedison saw the comics he was a bit surprised...

"I never knew they made anything like this!", he said.

"So, that means you never had one?", I asked in return.  "I'll be right back!"

I went directly to a comic dealer I knew, and picked-out the best specimen I could find - in particular one with Hedison's image inset next to the title logo (they would alternate him and Richard Basehart)  - and one with a photo back cover! 

I inscribed it with a thank-you note, my name, and the date, and got back on the "David Hedison Line"!

When I reached him again with another comic, he asked me if I wanted this one autographed too. 

"No!" I said.  "This is for YOU!"

He was taken aback at the gesture! He opened it, read my inscription, leafed through it, and said (I'm paraphrasing here...)  "At all of these shows, no one has ever given me anything like this before!"

He was moved, and I was much more so - for having done a small kindness for someone who's been such a huge part of my life!. 

I can still remember him looking at the back cover and saying "Awww... There's me with my good friend Richard!" 

In response, he whipped-up and handed me another autographed photo!  It was a great day! 

Rest In Peace, Mr. David Hedison, and thank you for just being there for me to look up to as a kid, being a central figure of my days in Sci-Fi TV and Film Fandom, for a still-memorable day in 1999, and beyond!

I'm glad to have been along for some of the... VOYAGE!  

HERE are David Hedison's many credits at IMDB! 

HERE is his New York Times obit!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Don't TAKE Any "Wooden Nickels"... Just BUY THEM, Instead!

Is it my imagination... NO, IT'S NOT... or did comic book ads become very cheap and cheesy looking during the 1970s?   

In the 1950s their quality was so high that they looked like "mini-adventures" of their own!

In the 1960s, they remained very well designed!

But, by the 1970s, we sunk to stuff this looked like this!

Which brings us to our selected specimen of specious seventies sales-pitching from THE FLASH # 202 (DC Comics, Cover Date: December, 1970 - just barely into the decade, but it certainly counts!)

I'm not even sure where to begin, as merely "taking it all in" is quite an experience!

Okay, let's start with... "Opening Hook-Logo"!  It's a LONG WAY DOWN when you go from THIS "eye-catching" 1950 hook...

...To THIS "eye-scratching" 1970 hook!

Yeah, nothing says seventies like huge, brightly-colored, awkwardly-designed capital letters comin' right at'cha!  Unless it is additionally adorned by stars or fireworks, or sumpthin'!

Beyond design, its CONTENT smacks of a unique time and place where such an ad would have actually been run by a respectable publisher.  (Click to Enlarge!)

THE AMAZING PENNY-in-a-BOTTLE!  How DID that penny get in there?!  Perhaps it sailed-in on one of those equally amazing "Ships-in-a-Bottle"!

BULGARIAN BANKNOTES!  Sound like something UNCLE SCROOGE might have stored in some lesser, auxiliary Money Bin!

 Hmm... Looks like he really did buy some Bulgarian Banknotes from this ad!  

6 WOODEN NICKELS!  Lock 'em away when THIS BUNCH comes to visit!

25 FOREIGN COINS!  Get 'em all... and BOTTLE 'em, just like the Amazing Penny!

So much fun - and for so little money!  (Oh, wait... that was "1970 Money"!  Never mind!)  

But, the BEST ONE OF ALL was this...  Lincoln Novelty Pennies?! 

Yes, really... You could have "The Great Emancipator" doing all these unusual things!

"Watching the Moon Landing": Were both the Moon Landing AND the Lincoln Assassination a hoax?

"Smoking a Pipe":  I suppose if the "Man in the Stovepipe Hat" must smoke SOMETHING, it might as well be a pipe!

"Smoking a Cigar":  Again, if he MUST shorten his life by SMOKING (...Oh, no, wait!), lose the cigar!  At least a PIPE smells less foul! 

"Lincoln Looking at JFK":  Sorry!  I'm not touching THIS ONE with a "ten-and-a-half-foot split rail"!  I've already exceeded my "Bad Taste Quota" for the year with these comments alone!

It's almost as if THIS is the only one they left out! 


Just don't go a-gettin' caught in one of those "Penny Bottles", ya hear?  

FINAL THOUGHT:  I wonder if anyone who actually ordered something from this ad, had anywhere near the amount of fun I've had by merely DISCUSSING IT! 

...No, I didn't THINK so!  

 UPDATE: JULY 21, 2019! 

For your viewing pleasure, here are some additional comic book ads that are referred-to in our Comments Section!  (Click to Enlarge!) 

"Margie Gets Free Gifts for the Whole Family"

"Sea Monkeys"

"Hostess: Featuring Tweety and Sylvester"

"Hostess: Featuring Batman" 

"Seven-Foot Polaris Nuclear Sub"


From our great friend Debbie Anne Perry, comes this addition to our 1970s Comic Book Ad Gallery:

Some interesting observations...

Woody Woodpecker (from whom, we've previously established, you must hide your above-ad-mentioned "Wooden Nickels") is the only Non-Warner Bros. character offered here... and that was BEFORE they owned the MGM, Hanna-Barbera, and DC Comics characters!  

Perhaps he came cheap, because they paid him off in "Drooler's Delights"!  

The Daffy Duck Snippy, would seem to be based upon his earliest incarnation!

Finally, it's been ingrained from childhood to never "run with scissors"!  Wouldn't that make the Road Runner an odd choice for this product?

Meep-Meep!  Zip-Toing! 

 THIRD UPDATE: JULY, 27, 2019! 

To illustrate my response to Achille Talon's comment of July 27th, here is an image of WOODY WOODPECKER with KNOTHEAD and SPLINTER from the Walter Lantz theatrical short "Get Lost" (1956, and the kids' first animated appearance )!  Note the proportions of the kids to Woody vs. the more standard proportions seen in the comic books, and in later cartoons.  

These images make a nice pair of bookends, don't they?