Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Man Who Never Was the Man Who Never Was-1966

Here we see a short-lived ABC television series from 1966-67 starring Robert Lansing. The plot had him as an international spy on the run from enemy agents. Miraculously, he runs into a man who is his exact double. The agents kill that man by mistake, and the real spy decides to "become" him. AS it happens, he was an abusive, alcoholic schnook so everyone from the guy's own wife (who catches the replacement immediately) on down are kind of happy he's "changed"

Lansing was perfect for this role. Never a great actor but a great TV star, he had already played authority figures in leading roles in 87TH PRECINCT, 12 O'CLOCK HIGH, and he would go on to play Gary Seven in the much loved but unsold backdoor pilot on STAR TREK, "Assignment Earth."
BUT...he wasn't the original star of THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS. That was, in the first pilot, Canadian actor Don Harron. While the handsome, robust Harron certainly looked the part, apparently someone at the network balked at toplining a Canadian actor with little US experience at that time. Thus, Lansing took over for the brief run.

Don Harron didn't do too badly for himself, though, as just a few years later, he appeared for the first time as Charlie Farquharson, a role that would make him quite famous in the United States over that country-corn series' long and successful run on network, in first run syndication, and in perpetual reruns! Of course, I doubt most Americans could pick out the REAL Don Harron in a crowd! :P


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Paul Simon and St. Cecilia

“Cecilia” was the first song I ever heard on the radio by Simon and Garfunkel. I think I had seen them on TV earlier but this was the first record I came to know of theirs. It was also the first reggae-influenced song I had ever heard as far as I know. Story seemed simple enough. Girl cheats on a guy and then goes back to him and he’s happy. 

Not having been raised Catholic, I was today old when I first heard that St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians! 

A better interpretation of the song would be: a musician is writing a new song in his bedroom. He takes a break and when he gets back to it, he’s lost his inspiration, which makes him both frustrated and sad. He now hears other musicians playing new songs when he can’t. He prays to St. Cecilia to return his inspiration. Eventually, his muse does return to him and he is excited and happy again. 


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Batman at Shea Stadium

No idea where Burt Ward was when all this happened but in spite of the huge bat-buildup, the results were less than impressive. In interviews after the fact, Adam West routinely quoted different large numbers as far as how much money he made off the appearance, giving the impression he was pulling it out of the air each time.


Monday, September 13, 2021

They're Back! Batman Seasons 1 and 2 Essays

Yep, they're back. Let's just ignore the gory details of what happened but these two anthologies of great essays (if I do say so, myself) on BATMAN seasons 1 and 2, respectively, are once again available both as books and for Kindle.

My own essays on Zelda the Great and Clock King appear alongside those of an august grouping that includes Will Murray, Peter David, Robert Greenberger, Paul Kupperberg, Peter Sanderson and many more well-known names, all edited by Jim Beard (GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES) with Rich Handley.

Available again NOW!


Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Star Trek at 55 Roundtable

 I was pleased and honored to be involved with this.

Fifty five years ago today, Star Trek premiered, changing popular culture forever.

Created by Gene Roddenberry,Trek introduced the crew of the Starship Enterprise; Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) and James Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (James Doohan). The Enterprise explored space, the final frontier for three seasons and sixty nine episodes, followed by two seasons and twenty two episodes of animated advenures, and eventually six feature films with the original cast, the mission remained the same, “explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.” In 2009, Paramount recast the crew with younger actors who teamed up for three feature films.

Today, we’re celebrating the legacy of the Original Series with several people who’s life and careers have been influenced by the series.

I’d like to personally tribute today’s discussion to Bjo Trimble, who with her husband, John, were responsible for not only leading the “Save Star Trek” campaign, but also were instrumental in helping establish science fiction fan conventions. Bjo is also the author of the Star Trek Concordance and her memoir, On the Good Ship Enterprise: My 15 Years with Star Trek. 

Bjo enthusiastically wanted to be a part of this, but is dealing with some health issues and wasn’t able to participate. Bjo, we wish you could be here; live long and prosper.

I’d like to introduce the participants and the discussion will span over several pages.

Please enjoy and share with fellow Trekkies/Trekkers/sci-fi/pop culture fans!

Meet The Players:

  • Stefan Blitz, editor-in-chief of Forces of Geek; your moderator
  • John Trimble, with wife Bjo, was instrumental in both early science fiction conventions and the original “Save Star Trek Campaign”
  • Ian Spelling: veteran journalist and entertainment writer who has written hundreds, probably thousands of Star Trek – related features for magazines, websites, and newspapers. He served as the editor of from 2010 to 2019; has moderated panels at numerous Star Trek events; and co-authored The Making of Star Trek: First Contact and co-author of Star Trek – The Original Series: A Celebration.
  • Peter Briggs, film and television screenwriter and comic book author, best known for Hellboy (2004) with Guillermo del Toro andhigh-profile unproduced films including The Hunt: Alien vs. Predator, Freddy vs. Jason, Judge Dredd, Panzer 88 (with Aaron Mason), and Silverlance (featured in Josh Hull’s new book “Underexposed: The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made)
  • Jeff Bond, journalist, author of The Art of Star Trek: The Kelvin Timeline and The Music of Star Trek;co-author of Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Art and Visual Effects.
  • Rich Handley, writer/editor for a number of genre properties through such publishers as DC Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, IDW, Titan Books, Sequart, and ATB Publishing; former reporter and columnist for Star Trek Communicator magazine; served as the editor of Eaglemoss’sStar Trek Graphic Novel Collection (which ran for 150 in total) and still writes a weekly Star Trek column for its HeroCollector website.
  • Larry Young, writer/publisher/columnist; co-publisher of indie comics company AIT/PlanetLar; writer of their flagship title: Astronauts in Trouble. Writer of the MTV Big Picture Special Edition: The Star Trek Logs with Marina Sirtis
  • Bill Cunningham, Publisher, Pulp 2.0 Press
  • John E. Price, PhD, academic and cultural critic. Life-long /Trekkie. Editor at New Directions in Folklore, award-winning researcher on fan studies and popular culture lore.
  • Carol Pinchefsky, freelance writer of geek culture, technology, science, and business. Her book on the business of geek culture will be out in Q1 2022.
  • Steven Thompson, pop culture writer/editor/researcher; author of The Best of Booksteve’s Libraryand co-author of Run, Holly, Run!: A Memoir by Holly from 1970s TV Classic “Land of the Lost”. 
  • Bob Greenberger, writer/editor for various magazines including Starlog, Comics Scene, Famous Monsters and Weekly World News. He also held editorial positions at both Marvel and DC Comics, which inclded an eight year run editing DC’s Star Trek comic. In addition he’s written/edited/contributed to over 100 books, with almost two dozen Trek related books including Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History. 
  • John Kirk, Freelance journalist, hosts celebrity panels for FanExpo and regular contributor to Pop Mythology; has written about Trek for 1701news, WhatCulture, GeekFeed and Den of Geek. Contributes to Star Wars Insider and Back Issue Magazine.