Thursday, July 20, 2017

R.I.P. Martin Landau.



We mourn the passing of the great actor Martin Landau on July 15, 2017, at the age of 89.  

Landau was simply EVERYWHERE, and pretty much did EVERYTHING... and did it so well!  

There's no way I could cover such a career in a mere Blog post, so I'll focus on (only a portion of) the things that meant the most to me!  

Mission Impossible (1966-1973). 


Space 1999 (1975-1977). 


And, I'll reserve the remainder of this post for some lesser-known personal favorites...

The Outer Limits: "The Man Who Was Never Born" (Aired: October 28, 1963).  

Landau and The Outer Limits presage the entire "Terminator" franchise, with this tale of hideously-mutated future Earth-man "Andro", who seizes the opportunity to travel back to then-contemporary 1960s Earth, to prevent the birth of scientist "Bertram Cabot, Jr." who will inadvertently unleash a virulent plague to decimate civilization.  

As Andro, Landau must maintain a hypnotically-induced "normal" appearance to mask his true form, resulting in Martin Landau appearing alternately as "himself" and as the monstrous mutant. 

This is one of the true classic episodes of The Outer Limits!  

Later that season for The Outer Limits, Landau also appeared in "The Bellero Shield" (February 10, 1964), a 1960s sci-fi based version of "Macbeth" (if you can believe that)!

Though Martin Landau and co-stars Neil Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon on the 1966 BATMAN TV series), and Chita Rivera turn in very solid and enjoyable performances, this episode is completely stolen by Sally Kellerman as the "Lady Macbeth character"... and has a rather disturbing ending. 

Both are must-see for Landau and sci-fi fans!  

Martin Landau also appeared in a whole-lotta westerns, but what follows may have been the most unusual.  

Wanted Dead or Alive: "The Monster" (Aired: January 16, 1960).

Once one excludes THE WILD WILD WEST (where almost ANYTHING was possible) from consideration, I just couldn't imagine, let alone resist, a TV western with a title of "The Monster"... much less one starring Steve McQueen and Martin Landau, so this was a natural for me!  ...And it did not disappoint!  
Landau AND Steve McQueen were both members of The Actors Studio!
Steve McQueen's bounty hunter "Josh Randall" encounters "Count Khorba" (Landau) -- a criminal circus elephant trainer who, with his great beast, terrorizes and kills miners for their gold.  
Look!  It's Landau on the poster! 

Um, would it REALLY be a spoiler to reveal that, in the end, Landau gets trampled by his own elephant, scared by gunfire?  If so, my apologies

Ya gotta admit, you don't see this sorta thing too often in westerns!  
OUCH! 

Martin Landau was also under consideration for the role of Mr. Spock in STAR TREK, the role made historically-famous by Leonard Nimoy.   I must admit, Landau would have made an interesting choice for a Vulcan.  

Oddly, when Landau left MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, it was Leonard Nimoy (as "Paris") who became the series' "master of disguise", replacing Landau's "Rollin Hand" in that capacity! 


Before leaving, check out THIS POST on GET SMART for just one more amazing cameo by Martin Landau! 

Mr. Landau's full set of IMDB credits can be accessed HERE! 

Rest in Peace, Martin Landau, and thank you for so many great moments, great characters, and great performances!  


Friday, July 14, 2017

On Sale July 12, 2017: UNCLE SCROOGE # 28 from IDW.



Don’t let the days pile up like Scrooge’s piggy banks, before you get to your local comic book shop to pick up a copy of UNCLE SCROOGE # 28 (Legacy Numbering # 432) from IDW! 


In it, you'll find Part Two (of Two) of "The Bodacious Butterfly Trail", a 1962 Italian odyssey - with the emphasis remaining on "odd" (…If anything, the “Odd Ante is Upped” from last issue!) - written and drawn by the great Romano Scarpa, with translation and dialogue by the also great Thad Komorowski, neither of whom had an “Odd Auntie” to my knowledge! 

Indeed, Part Two of "The Bodacious Butterfly Trail" fills the entire issue, cover to cover!  That’s Bodacious! …Don’t worry, I’m not gonna continue my overuse of the word "Bodaciousin this post… just maybe a little?


We open with Huey, Dewey, and Louie apparently auditioning for a road show version of the classic stage play “It’s the Bodacious Butterfly, Charlie Brown!”, with the little bald kid’s trademark exclamation of exasperation performed in triplicate! 

Good as they are, our troika of “Penut-ian Protagonists” still fall somewhat shy of the master and originator of this time-honored thespian technique, Sir Charles Brown.  

No one does it with quite the exquisite panache as Sir Charles!

Even Darlene Decibel, coming off last year’s stellar performance in the Mickey Mouse adventure neo-classic “Night of the Living Text”, failed to make the Bodacious Butterfly grade, being beat-out by our boys. 


Disappointed, she returned home to Mouseton to continue her existence as a perky cheerleader, all the while waiting for new horror-oriented roles to which she might apply her… er, unique talents!     

Back to our story, and about darned time, wouldn’t you say?  It’s still Mardi Gras time, where playing practical jokes on one another seems to have supplanted drunken revelry as the Number One activity. 

Getting into the spirit of things, the boys momentarily forget that they’re in an issue of UNCLE SCROOGE, where they’re supposed to be calm, cool, and resourceful... 

...And revert to their shared vengeful jokester persona of the Donald Duck short cartoons and most covers of WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES. 

See?


Nice reference to "The Goofy Gophers" by Thad!  ...Brilliant! Brilliant! 
UPDATE July 16, 2017: In our Comments, Section, Thad correctly points out that the "Riot! Riot!" quote actually belongs to "Hubie and Bertie", and not "The Goofy Gophers".

The illustration of the Gophers, however, will remain as a testament to my bodacious blunder - and a reminder to research my references more thoroughly!  After all, "thorough research" is a Blogger's first responsibility, so that EVERYTHING you read on the Internet is 100% accurate!  ...Just ask all the rest o' them Blogger's out there!  ...On second thought, don't! 
"Ahhhh, sheddup awready!" 

Back to Huey, Dewey, and Louie, the little stinkers are even “double agents” (…and with three of them, might they be considered “triple double agents”?) playing a Mardi Gras joke on SCROOGE, as well as Donald…

…But making Donald believe they are on HIS side! 

The little devils!

 Unfortunately, there REALLY isn’t very much more I can tell you about the concluding chapter of "The Bodacious Butterfly Trail" without venturing into Serious Spoiler Territory, so we’ll just consider two more random items before bodaciously (…sorry) bowing-out.  

The Beagle Boys get involved...

...And are introduced in this very lively and (for a comic book) uncharacteristically "animated" sequence!

Don't you LOVE how they try to "pull-back", but CAN'T?!

A superb job by Romano Scarpa...

...That is reminiscent of a Warner Bros., or an early Hanna-Barbera cartoon!   


From Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey "Witch is Which" (1964). 

And, as much as I love these cartoons, even I must admit that Scarpa packs a much greater punch... especially for a still image!  


Finally, I'm no historian... save maybe my special niches within comics, animation, TV, and movies (...you know, the kind o' things we discuss here) - but that "world history stuff"?  Nuthin' doin'!  

So, I asked Thad "Did Mardi Gras really exist in the time of Columbus?", or was Scarpa just a joshin' us historically-challenged readers with faded memories of th' ol' school-daze? 

And he replied "It did exist, under a different name. But this is a comic book, son... and as Bullwinkle says, 'Well, if you can't believe what you read in a comic book, what can you believe?'"


...And, I can't think of a better thing to go out on!  Thanks, Thad! 

Just remember, I do not speak for IDW, or anyone in its employ.  I speak strictly for myself as both a long-time fan and as a dialogue creator – and those opinions are strictly my own.

Then, let's collect our piggy banks...

...Our butterflies...

...And ourselves - not to mention our copious history notes...


...And build up as much momentum as a bunch of Beagles running full-tilt to oblivion... 

...To get the discussion going in our Comments Section!  See you there!
It'll be... Bodacious!  What else?