Since it's New Year's Eve, an episode about "ringing out the old/ringing in the new" seems apropos...
When a local wax museum updates it's displays to include The Green Hornet and Kato, the wax figure of the previous "star" exhibit, The Scarf, apparently comes to life and resumes his murderous ways!
One of the weirder shows in the series, heavy on mood, no fight scenes, and no appearance of The Black Beauty!
Legendary horror film star John Carradine as museum researcher (with an ominous secret) James Rancourt was the only famous guest-star on the series. Unlike Batman, where famous performers from Tallulah Bankhead to Liberace were given villain roles written especially for them, Green Hornet used dependable, but little-known, character actors as villains. Side Notes:
John Carradine had been considered for the role of The Joker on Batman, but his poor health precluded his doing the role.
SPOILER (sorta): The Scarf's statue really should have shown a younger version of Carradine. Since it looks just like the elderly James Rancourt (albeit with a Van Dyke beard) played by Carradine, it's obvious who The Scarfreally is from the very beginning!
The music score written specifically for this episode was never reused! (Most of the music on the series was reedited and reused in at several other episodes besides the ones they were originally written for.)
Background info on a number of the unnamed city's villains from the early 1900s up to the late 1940s, when The Scarf disappeared, is presented during a tour of the museum, but there's no mention of an earlier Green Hornet. So, the mention of gangster Glen Connors framing Britt Reid's father in "Frog is a Deadly Weapon"doesn't refer to Reid Sr being the 1940s Hornet. What the elder Reid had been blamed for is never explained.
Here's the 23rd filmed and aired episode..."Alias the Scarf".
We've updated this post with corrected video links HERE!
Continuing our weekly feature "Video Fridays"...
It's Christmastime, so let's go with the most-demanded Green Hornet vids of all...
When Titans Clash :
BatmanvsThe Green Hornet!
A decade before Superman vs Spider-Man, this was the first inter-company superhero crossover. The Hornet and Kato had already cameoed on Batman, in the episode "The Spell of Tut", where they appeared in a window during a Bat-Climb.
Celebrities ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Edward G. Robinson popped up for brief appearances during these sequences. Even characters from other ABC series like Lurch (Ted Cassidy) from the Addams Family and Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer) from Hogan's Heroes showed up!
Curiously, the visiting duo are regarded as heroes, not villains, and Britt introduces Kato by name.
(Metafiction aficionados have been driven nuts by these interludes, trying to fit them into their respective universes...)
And, as we've pointed out before, both Batman and The Green Hornet featured their characters watching each others' show on tv!
All that was basically ignored when it was decided that, to boost Green Hornet's decent (but not Batman-level) ratings, GH and K would appear as "Visiting Heroes" on Batman.
For whatever reason, none of the established Batman villains were used. (And The Green Hornet had no costumed or even ongoing opponents.)
Instead, a new baddie, Colonel Gumm, played by Roger C. Carmel*, was introduced, along with a plotline involving counterfeit stamps which drew The Hornet and Kato to Gotham.
The motif of GH and K being perceived as villains was utilized, resulting in the Dynamic Duo being as eager to capture them as to jail the corny counterfeiter!
In addition, it's shown that the two heroes' millionaire alter-egos, Bruce Wayne and Britt Reid, have known each other since childhood, and constantly competed over almost everything, including women!
So, it was inevitable the two costumed frat-boys would square-off in the climax...
On-set photo of Van Williams and Adam West during the climactic fight scene
Unfortunately, the gambit didn't pay off. The Green Hornet's ratings didn't improve, and the show was cancelled.
(Note: the show's ratings were good enough to make them eligible for renewal, but, since the producers didn't want to implement network-demanded budget cuts, the network axed the series anyway. Batman, OTOH, continued, with a reduced budget and cut from being twice-weekly to weekly, for another year, before being cancelled.)
Without further adieu, here is the legendary two-parter; "A Piece of the Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction"...
*Roger C. Carmel played numerous flamboyant villains on everything from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Hawaii Five-0 to Transformers to Star Trek, where he portrayed Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd on both the classic and animated series!
He's also the answer to the trivia question; "Who's the only actor to play a villain opposite Batman, Captain Kirk, and The Green Hornet?"
At this time of year, Christmas carols are in continuous rotation on the stereo in the Atomic Kommie Comics™ office.
One of our favorites is Christmas at Ground Zero by "Weird" Al Yankovic. (You were expecting maybe Adeste Fidelis?)
Which brings us to, perhaps, the most unusual theme for potential Christmas presents (and, you gotta admit, we've had some real weirdies!)...atomic Armageddon!
Within our sci-fi-oriented The Future WAS Fantastic!™ section is the Atomic War line of kool collectibles with classic comic book covers from the fear-filled '50s, featuring the nuclear destruction of New York City (see above), Washington DC, and Moscow on black hoodies, sweats, and tees, as well as mugs and other tchochkies!
So for all you survivalists out there, while you duck n' cover under the Christmas tree, prepare for the irradiated end stylishly with our radiation-proof (well...not really!) garb and goodies!
One of our favorite types of pop culture collectible here at the Atomic Kommie Comics™ offices are calendars, in particular the multi-page 12-month kind, with a different illustration for each month.
I have over a decade's worth of James Bond 007 movie poster calendars.
Each year the new one adorns the wall over my computer.
When the year is over, I cut it up and use the art the next year as mini-posters to decorate whatever vacation place I rent during the summer.
Besides 007, over the years, I've picked up, or been given, variousStar Trek, Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and other licensed property calendars.
I've always enjoyed using them, and often thought of the person who gave them to me!
But, there are pop culture categories and subjects we've wanted in calendar form as presents for others (or for ourselves), but were never produced!
So, we decided to create them ourselves, using the wildest, rarest, kitchiest comic book, pulp magazine covers and movie posters we could find, each image digitally-restored and remastered from hi-rez scans of the original items, NO reprints or low-rez files! (Would we do that to you?)
Originally, comic anthology covers would feature one hero in action, with other characters' heads in little inserts along the side or bottom of the cover. Each hero would rotate as the main cover character every few issues.
At some point, an editor, trying to keep track of which character went on which issue, probably said "Hell, this month put them ALL on it!" and the first multi-hero cover burst onto the newsstands of America! Sales skyrocketed, and covers featuring hordes of heroes became the standard!
Even though these multi-hero covers featured the characters interacting, inside the comic, the heroes only worked together in text stories, if at all!
In fact, sometimes the covers were just symbolic designs (like the patriotic one above) to showcase which characters' strips were inside!
The comic stories inside the book were individual strips of those cover-featured heroes.
( It wasn't until All-Star Comics #3, featuring a framing sequence about a meeting of heroes linking the various characters' strips together, that the first true super-hero group, The Justice Society of America, was born.)
We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have always been suckers for covers showing heroes (and heroines) working together to defeat a common foe, rescuing innocents, or just hanging out!
So, we've assembled some of the best multi-hero covers in our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ section! America's Best Comics, Big 3 Comics, and 4 Favorites featured the top characters of their respective lines, much as World's Finest featured Superman, Batman and Robin, and All-Winners displayed Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and The Human Torch for DC and Marvel, respectively. (And most of America's Best Comics, Big 3 Comics, and 4 Favorites have NEVER been reprinted! Talk about your buried treasures!)
We've digitally-restored and remastered them directly from the original books onto a plethora of potential pop culture presents including mousepads, blank sketchbooks, t-shirts, and other collectibles.
We even have a Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics Team-Ups 2011 12-Month Calendar featuring those covers, plus several others!
Think what your graphic-novel-reading loved one will say when he (or she) finds these kool retro-style tchochkies under the Christmas Tree or in their stocking!
Plus: think of the value! A half-dozen heroes for the price of one!
It was a bargain 70 years ago; and still is, today!
There's more to keeping peace and providing justice for all on the wild frontier than just shooting an owlhoot who's trying to kill innocents!
Sometimes, it's filling in for Santa Claus and providing a much needed Christmas tree and a few presents to some lonely souls on the prairie on a moonlit Christmas Eve...
Why not join the Lone Ranger, Green Lama, Edison Bell: Boy Inventor, SuperSnipe and others at our Christmas in the Comics™ virtual storefront, where good cheer and cool, vintage graphics adorn greeting cards, ornaments, mugs, hoodies, and other seasonal stuff?
But order now! The Lone Ranger can't deliver to everybody, you know!
When you think of Ebenezer Scrooge, "lovable" is probably the last word you'd associate with him.
Yet, one woman gave her heart to him...was engaged to him...and had her heart broken by him!
Her name was Belle!
She appears twice inA Christmas Carol, during Scrooge's journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
First, we see how the young Scrooge choose between his love of money and love of her.
Second, we see how, after the breakup, she married a good man and together they raised a loving family, giving Scrooge a look at what "might have been" had he chosen to remain with her!
Almost every dramatic adaptation shows the first incident, but omits the second scene (usually due to time constraints), thus many people have never known how Belle's life turned out after Scrooge left her!
(You'd be surprised how many people never actually read the tale, just seen tv or film versions!)
Most illustrators of the many editions that have been printed over the decades have also bypassed the conclusion of Belle's plotline.
But not Arthur Rackham!
The legendary illustrator did not one, buttwocolor illustrations just for the short conclusion to Belle's story in Stave Two!
And we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ just had to include both of them in our A Christmas Carol collection!
One, Belle & Children shows Scrooge's once-love playing with her kids.
The other, Belle's Family portrays the children crowding around their father as he comes home, laden with presents!
They're absolutely beautiful pieces, some of the best work Rackham ever produced!
One of the problems pretending to be a criminal, as The Green Hornet does, is that you're as likely to be wounded or killed by police as by criminals!
That's exactly what happens here!
Investigating the possibility that crooked police are looting crime scenes before their honest comrades show up, the Hornet is caught escaping from a break-in location, and shot by legitimately-responding cops. ("459-Silent" is police code in this city for a silent burglar alarm.)
He escapes, wounded, but can't go to a hospital since there's an all-points-bulletin out for a wounded Green Hornet, and even the Sentinel's respected publisher would be hard-pressed to explain how he had a gunshot wound in exactly the same spot on his body where the legendary verdant villain was shot! (Plus, the bullet could be forensically-matched to the gun of the policeman who shot the Hornet!)
How will Britt and Kato...
1) Get medical treatment for the wounded hero while avoiding connecting Reid and the Hornet, and having CSIs expose the incriminating evidence (the bullet)?
2) Solve the problem of the criminally-inclined cops, and save Mike Axford, who thinks the Hornet is responsible for the robberies, and plans to trap the wounded criminal, not knowing that crooked cops, who won't hesitate to kill, are behind the break-ins?
The answer to #1 is rather ingenious, and solving #2 is made more difficult since Britt is almost-incapacitated and barely functioning! (Thank God for Kato!)
Tune in below for the exciting answers... Side Notes:
More day-for-night photography, which on this particular print is a little too light.
Since the episode involves break-ins at warehouses, a couple of 20th Century-Fox soundstage exteriors are used for the outside of the two different warehouses, but only one soundstage interior (redressed) is used for both interiors. (The Batman tv series used the same exteriors for their "warehouse" and "alley" shots.)
Here's the 21st filmed and aired episode..."Bad Bet on a 459-Silent".
They just don't make comics like this anymore!
Masked cowboy hero vs gunslinger riding a pterodactyl...and a bright magenta pterodactyl at that!
It's the sort of concept a nine-year old would come up with while playing with his (or her) brand new action figures under the Christmas tree, mixing the dinosaurs with superheroes and cowboys!
That's what makes it so KOOL!
It's so darn silly you just have to look at it and think "what the--?"
That's exactly the sense of wonder we at Atomic Kommie Comics™still feel!
We want to live in a world where anything can, and does, happen!
In pop culture, we call this "cross-genre", where a story draws elements from disparate categories of fiction.
Sometimes there's a certain logic to it.
One of my favorite books involves fiction's greatest detective dealing with the first alien invasion!
Since he lived in London at the time the invasion took place, it seems only (dare I say it) elementary, that Sherlock Holmes would witness and analyze the Martian invasion of 1898!
That's the basis of Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds by Manly Wade Wellman & Wade Wellman!
That, to us, defines KOOL!
(The fact the story also includes another of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters; Professor Challenger from The Lost World and other sci-fi novels, is a cross-genre bonus!)
Track down a copy. If you're a Holmes, Challenger, and/or War of the Worlds fan (I'm all three), it's well worth the effort!
Keep the Sense of Wonder alive!
Give a gift that keeps inspiring the imaginations of both the young and the young-at-heart!
Stick a present from Atomic Kommie Comics™ into a stocking or under the tree!
The tradition of Old West-themed Christmas presents dates back to the late 1800s, and was immortalized in the modern Xmas film A Christmas Story written (and narrated) by the late, great, Jean Shepherd.
Ralphie's quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun was mirrored by countless little boys (and probably more than a few girls) of the 1930s-1950s!
We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ believe the tradition should be upheld...but with a twist!
As part of our ongoing Christmas List of Pop Culture Stuff, we suggest...Women Outlaws, one of the coolest lines in our Western Comics Adventures™ section! These AIN'T no ladies! Think Barbara Stanwyck or Jane Russell in comic book form!
We're talkin' Horses! Leather! High-heeled boots! ShootOuts! Dominant females who don't take no sh!t! And...CatFights! Wah-HOO!
(And it's all rated PG-13 or PG!)
Besides the usual t-shirts, mugs, and other collectibles, these kool retro images also adorn women's duds! Jersey Tees, Spaghetti tanks! Thongs!
If women who can ride and shoot as well as any man ain't yer cup of prairie coffee, we also have Real-Life Westerners, Broncho Bill, The Cisco Kid & Pancho, Kid Cowboy, Masked Heroes, Native Americans, A Wealth of Westerners, and even Western Love!
Think of how they'll look under the Christmas Tree, especially with one of the books or dvds shown below! (And they're safer than a Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! You won't shoot your eye out!)
You've come here because you want something different (but reasonably-priced) for your kitch-loving Special Someone this Christmas!
What would we suggest?
Within our The Future WAS Fantastic!™ section are some of the niftiest sci-fi collectibles for the pop-culture fan, including Space Cadet!
In the 1950s, the Tom Corbett Space Cadet tv series was to kids what Power Rangers are now; an incredibly-popular saga of teenagers banded together, using advanced technology to protect humanity from evil!
The 24th Century-set series followed heroic stalwart Tom Corbett, logical Venusian exchange student Astro, and cranky Roger Manning, during their tenure at Space Academy, before graduating to join the Solar Guard. (Is it just me, or does that sound a helluva lot like the recent Star Trek reboot flick detailing the StarFleet Academy days of Kirk, Spock & McCoy?)
Despite the fact they were students, the trio (and assorted hangers-on) constantly found themselves in the thick of danger, usually due to the classic "we're the only ship in the area" plot device. (Geez this DOES sound like Star Trek!)
The show was done live as 15-minute episodes, three days a week.
Storylines ran from a week (3 episodes) to a month (18-21 episodes).
Kids flocked home after school to watch Space Cadet, wore Space Cadet pajamas and costumes, and played with Space Cadet toys! (Now that sounds like Power Rangers, doesn't it?)
Some of the concepts are similar to the 1948 Space Cadet novel by Robert Heinlein, but the Joseph Lawrence-created series concept predates the book by several years, with an unsold radio show pilot and newspaper strip entitled "Tom Ranger and the Space Cadets" circulated for sale to licensors in the mid-1940s. Though Heinlein never officially contributed to the tv series, a number of concepts from his novel found their way to the final aired version in 1950. (Think of the way Star Wars-like elements [like cute robots and space fightercraft] were added to Buck Rogers when it was revived for tv in 1979!)
The show ran on all four tv networks during it's original run! In order: CBS (1950), ABC (51-52), NBC (52-53), DuMont (the home of Captain Video, 53-54) and back to NBC (54-55)!
The show's science advisor was Willy Ley, noted rocket scientist and author of the non-fiction book Conquest of Space (basis of a classic George Pal movie) Space Cadet produced a dramatic radio spin-off, using the tv show actors, and adapting existing tv show scripts. (Usually, it was the other way around, with a radio show producing a tv show spin-off.)
There were also novels, comic books, a newspaper comic strip, and a couple of lp record albums featuring the show's cast in new audio stories!
And, they were one of the first live-action tv shows to have their own View-Master 3-D reel sets!
We've brought back the teen hero and his buddies in our own Space Cadet line of mugs, messenger bags, shirts and other goodies, all of which would make kool stocking stuffers or presents under the tree, especially combined with one or more of the books, dvds, or radio-show cds shown below! Plus: we've also done some toddler-level Space Cadet stuff like bibs, onesies/creepers, infant t-shirts, and diaper bags in our G-Rated Tykes, Toddlers & Tiny Tots (and Their Mommies)!™ section! Why should adults have all the fun?
This Christmas, let your loved ones enjoy a gift of the best of the future, produced in the past, and available now! (Wha???)
In our ongoing quest to suggest cool Christmas gifts for our faithful fans, we of Atomic Kommie Comics™ would like to direct you to, perhaps, the most unlikely of departments--Pop Art Martial Arts™
But, when you think about it, considering how Western-based, cops-and-robbers-oriented, and military-themed toys and gifts have been part of the Yuletide for generations (I'll never forget finding my first 11.5" GI Joe under the tree one Christmas morning!) it's only natural that martial arts-oriented gifts should also be part of the holiday season!
Beyond the fact that you can't shoot your eye out with a gi, (Note: Do NOT give ninja throwing stars to kids as a present!) all these themes are based on the concept of good triumphing over evil, protecting the helpless, and having fun doing it!
And, martial arts promote physical fitness! ;-)