Posts Tagged ‘70’s’

The Challenge of….the Superfriends! Episode 1 – Wanted: The Superfriends.

Mon ,26/02/2018

So in achieving a somewhat dubious milestone yesterday – turning 51 – I received a special DVD set, one that contains significant wisdom and lessons for our future – the first season of Challenge of the Superfriends, circa 1978.

A classic in renowned, highly regarded animated cinematography, this series not only challenges our intrepid heroes of series seen earlier in the 70s (DC Comics heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.), but challenges many aspects of the viewer’s sense of reason and world view, to boot.

For you see, not only are our heroes confronted with the biggest assortment (well, as of 1978, anyway) of ‘super’ villains in one place, at one time (the Legion of Doom), but commensurate with this threat, both our heroes (and the viewer) now is threatened by a set plots and one-liners both ridiculous and entertaining at the same time.

Together, dear reader, we will now examine these episodes under a closer lens, providing scrutiny, skepticism, and comic relief where needed, as needed.

We begin with Episode 1 – Wanted: The Superfriends.

As always with these shows, it opens with the usual shot of the Hall of Doom rising out of a remote swamp somewhere. As this is the first episode, Lex Luthor sets the stage by introducing all the villains in the room, some of which who show off by blasting out a lamp (Captain Cold); creating a huge, levitating snake (Sinestro); smashing a huge hole in the table (Solomon Grundy); and scratching huge gouges in the same table (Cheetah). So already they’re causing societal damage! And of course Luthor introduces himself in the third person as the most intelligent and dangerous of them all, natch.

He then proceeds to show off a hovering, dronelike ‘dream gun’ that he uses one by one to infect the Superfriends’ dreams so they will commit crimes and get blamed for it (of course).

So Superman, caught sleeping at his desk at the Daily Planet, flies off to steal all the gold at Fort Knox (after binding up the guards in the wrought-iron fence and tying a tank into a pretzel and throwing it into the street (with unintentionally funny background sound effects);

Batman and Robin (I was previously unaware they lived together) are commanded to drive/fly the Batmobile and Batcopter to the US Mint (in apparently only about 5 min – Batman must live in Alexandria or somewhere nearby – convenient!) where they ignore the bell-bottomed guards yelling at them and steal pallets of freshly printed dollars, lifting them through the roof into the Batcopter and then taking off – what’s impressive here is that Robin uses what seems like a lightsaber to cut into one of the vaults – but I guess they did in fact have that technology, given Star Wars was in 1977, over a year before this came out :);

They then show Flash ripping off Big Ben and the British Crown Jewels (apparently just running by the cases at super speed is enough to get them); Black Vulcan takes all the sarcophagi and treasures from The Great Pyramid in Egypt, and Wonder Woman lassos (really?) all the paintings out of the Louvre, among other crime sprees.

Cut back to the Hall of Doom, and the Legion of Doom with a couple scenes of gloating, then to the Hall of Justice, with the Superfriends discussing (in fairly nondescript, objective ways despite now being ‘super criminals’?) their crime sprees of the night before with Hawkman pointing out the gold and other crap in a storage locker. Hmmmm..

But it gets better. The ‘police’ now ask them to turn themselves in – but it’s not really the police – it’s Cheetah and Bizarro, who (after the requisite gloating – I think we’re seeing a pattern here) – press a button on what looks like an oversized 70’s TV remote, and a mind-control ray kicks in to immobilize them (save their ability to complain) and then the jail cell (literally) blasts off, headed into orbit, straight for the sun (yes, you heard both of those right).

Cut back to the Hall of Doom, for the obvious cliffhanger, begun by yet another round of Luthor gloating, then Black Manta leading off to take the Hall of Justice (and rename it the ‘Hall of Injustice’ – apparently the Hall of Doom isn’t good enough) so they can then use the Justice League computers to REALLY amp up the crime spree themselves! Cue the announcer ‘can the Superfriends escape…?’ etc.

Resume with the second act – while the Superfriends continue their space-based whining as they plunge towards the sun (while I’m still wondering what air they are breathing and how the Legion of Doom managed to get a rocket-powered jail cell capable of travel all the way into orbit and the sun built into a local Washington DC jail in advance of capturing them, but these are minor details) Luthor (after yet *another* round of insults at the SF’s expense – ‘Superfools’ seems to be a crowd favorite) hooks up some ridiculous mind control device to the computer, which then hooks in the Justice League Satellite to beam rays all over the Earth and turn everyone (?!) into Cheetah and Bizarro clones, who then proceed to rob literally ‘everything’ (I’m not kidding) and turn it in to the Legion of Doom, now camped out in the Hall of Justice.

But our heroes aren’t beaten yet. Superman spots a meteor nearby, and Wonder Woman saves their asses by mind-controlling her magic lasso to adjust the rocket to make the jail cell collide with the meteor, knocking off the Doom control device. Then Superman jumps out into the vacuum (which I realize doesn’t affect him but what about the rest?) and steers the jail cell back to Earth.

Superman, Batman and Robin (Batman looking fairly fat as he runs along with them, apparently his time in jail wasn’t calorie-challenged), seeing a bunch of Bizarros standing on the lawn, objectively evaluate the situation in a matter of seconds (smart) and then Superman takes on the Bizarro-driving some big street sweeper truck who is attacking them (Bizarros apparently forget that Superman could actually fly OVER such a truck). But Superman cuts them a break and uses his arm (with requisite Skil-saw sound) to disable the sweeper brushes – then verbally admonishes the Bizarro, and flies him over to a phone booth and eye-laser seals him in.

In typical illogical fashion, the Superfriends now spend their time flyins all over the place trying to prevent more crime (instead of of just going to the Hall of Justice to stop Luthor directly) – this despite Superman already having **said out loud** what the likely cause was in the previous scene (a Luthor mind control device)? No prize for brains in these cinematic masterpieces, to be sure.

We now see Batman and Robin in the Batcave, running endless calculations on the Batcomputer to “figure out what’s going on” (again, see previous comment) – Robin notes they are low on power, and his a button to ask Alfred for a ‘nuclear power pack’ (yipes) – but excellent plot twist! Alfred is a Bizarro now, and mid-series of one liners, attacks them with a double-electric lasso, then explains (after throwing them in the Batmobile) how he’s set it to drive them off a cliff (cue maniacal laugh). It blasts out of the cave, Robin starts the inevitable whining, but despite them flying off the cliff, Batman hits the rocket button somehow in his belt and the car blasts upward into the air.

Cut back to the Hall of Justice for yet another round of gloating by Luthor, Captain Cold and The Riddler. Then, Batman and Robin (now safe and driving around in the country somewhere) complete the ‘calculations’ on the Batmobile mini computer – a dot-matrix computer printout tells Robin how to fix the problem (on Bat-paper?), and radios Superman, who, using a huge walkie-talkie, answers and then heads into orbit to fix the satellite.

After he jiggles the satellite around a bit, Superman calls Batman back on the same Radio Shack walkie-talkie – which apparently works well even in space – to tell him to now go after the Legion of Doom (phase 2).

The Superfriends sneak back into the Hall of Justice disguised as Bizarros and Cheetahs (carrying more money), then the inevitable final battle (which is mostly comprised of one-liners yelled at one another) begins.

Grod throws a large computer at Green Lantern, which he ‘catches’ using a big catcher’s mitt (and then employs a stupid baseball comeback), then Wonder Woman lassos Cheetah with a similar lame verbal rejoinder;

Bizarro (literally) wraps up Batman and Robin with a steel girder he rips down from the ceiling, but Batman makes a snide comment and casually lobs out his Batarang, which loops back and saws through the girder, then shoots some sort of ‘plastic bag’ at Bizarro, who gets caught AND has to endure more taunting from Batman to boot!

Ah, but the inveitable conclusion, something of an anticlimax – Luthor, yelling more threats, tries to use the mind-control drone on them again, but Superman grabs him and then aims it at the Legion of Doom, who supposedly go to jail. But then when the Superfriends are sitting around later, patting themselves on the back, Luthor appears on the big screen and brags yet again how they have escaped, and how they are already back at the Hall of Doom, planning more crimes! Superman of course gets in the last word, warning them they won’t succeed. Whew!

Until next time…..candybowl

pretty wack..

Tue ,06/02/2018

yet, cool.

Willy Wonka dialogue as a sax and drum jazz duet

candybowl

Stormtrooper!

Wed ,17/01/2018

Saw (finally) The Last Jedi last night. Spoiler-laden review coming next, but in the meantime… 🙂

candybowl

RIP, Mr. Young.

Mon ,08/01/2018

a true American hero – RIP.

From the Seattle TimesNASA: Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

“….NASA called Young one of its pioneers – the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.”

“…His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut’s, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe — and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency’s status quo.

Chastened by the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire that killed three astronauts, Young spoke up after the 1986 shuttle Challenger launch accident. His hard scrutiny continued well past shuttle Columbia’s disintegration during re-entry in 2003.

“Whenever and wherever I found a potential safety issue, I always did my utmost to make some noise about it, by memo or whatever means might best bring attention to it,” Young wrote in his 2012 memoir, “Forever Young.”

He said he wrote a “mountain of memos” between the two shuttle accidents to “hit people over the head.” Such practice bordered on heresy at NASA.”

candybowl

Being Evel.

Wed ,03/01/2018

Saw this documentary yesterday – pretty interesting, actually. It’s a look back at the life of Evel Knievel, hosted in part by Johnny Knoxville, several of Evel’s contemporaries, and sports broadcasters like Frank Gifford (RIP), Jim McKay and other ABC Wide World of Sports luminaries. Weirdly, Geraldo is in there too.

As a kid in the 70’s, we all knew about Evel – hard to not know about him. And i’m halfway sure I had one of those Ideal Stunt Cycle toys they show (or had friends who had one – I definitely remember the commercials). I also remembered that EK had spent a bit of time in jail, but didn’t know the details until seeing this movie (pretty scary, actually).

I was also very vague on the whole Snake River rocket jump attempt in ’74, but they sure go into a lot of detail here – sounds like a scary event for a lot of reasons, most of them not positive (for attendees as well as EK). As the story progresses from around that point and beyond, his decline and excesses get hard to watch, and in a couple of key areas, hard to forgive.

While I’m not ready to lionize him quite the way that Johnny Knoxville, Tony Hawk and others seen here do – you can’t argue with his influence on their (and similar) careers, and the industries they spawned (extreme sports, X-Games, etc.).

And I definitely *will* say, that he’s a true American Icon, for better or worse (to the filmmakers’ credit, they cover both) – and yet another example of being true to your dreams.

candybowl

Sneaker Wars?!

Sat ,02/12/2017

Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas & Puma & the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sports

This is quite frankly, one of the craziest (nonfiction) books I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Adi Dassler and his rival, Rudi – as they created and fought for business over the decades since just before WWII with Adidas and Puma, respectively.

But arguably the most crazy (and interesting) part of the story is Adi’s son Horst, who literally built the Adidas brand and worldwide presence we know today, through athlete product endorsements, additional clothing lines and relentless promotion across nearly every sport imaginable. From the way the book portrays him, he’s all but a head of state in many ways, especially given the relationships he creates and cultivates until he passes away at a fairly young age in his early 50s.

Puma is kind of an also-ran in the later years as depicted in this book (Rudi also had a rival son to Horst, but seems to continually come up short on nearly all fronts, save for a few cases) – but it’s also interesting to see along the way how Phil Knight learned the lessons of Horst well and built his own, even bigger shoe and clothing empire starting with one Michael Jordan….the research that went into this book is top-notch and obviously took years to accumulate and review, especially given these are private companies, not governments or public entities.

defnitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

candybowl

Andrew Wyeth at SAM

Tue ,28/11/2017

Kerewin and I went to see the Andrew Wyeth Retrospective at SAM this past sunday afternoon. Very interesting …. here was an artist I may have heard of in passing but knew nothing about, nor any of his art. Not unlike the Yoyoy Kusama exhibit of a few months ago, a neat surprise (completely different type of art from hers – Wyeth is predominantly tempura and watercolor painting).

What’s also interesting about Wyeth is that he only lived in two places his entire life, and was painting right up until he passed away. And (some might say of course) he seems to have had a hidden obsession with one of his female models for a long period in his later years.

The exhibit has a number of great paintings but I think what I liked best were the watercolors, because they were still very detailed for that type of painting (I don’t think that’s typical) – apparently he used the same types of detail methods to paint despite using a different medium.

Definitely worth seeing, it’s there until Jan 15.

candybowl

Five simple words…

Sat ,18/11/2017

“the world needs Iron Maiden” – and yes, we DO.

candybowl

Insane…

Wed ,18/10/2017

Anyone who knows me knows – I don’t like heights, and never have. Watching this from the comfort of terra firma is STILL wild to consider. This is the story of the first two guys to have climbed Everest without oxygen, way back in 1978. I recently read the Outside article on it, and found the short movie made at the time (Everest Unmasked), linked below.

It’s about 51 minutes, spends about 12 min giving some of the history and the middle portion details the danger, including two major Sherpa accidents that happened. The last half of the movie is the best part, especially in detailing the two climbers’ final success.

here are two more NOVA links on the topic too, including one from a person involved in the first Everest summit by Sir Edmund Hillary back in the 60’s.


Everest Unmasked – Everest without oxygen (1978) by optimari

candybowl

It was worth it…

Wed ,11/10/2017

we had (literally) nosebleed seats that summer when the reunion tour hit Key Arena (as the YT notes show, 7 years *after* this VH1 show), but it was definitely worth it to see one of my all-time fave bands…

candybowl