We circle back to WAREHOUSE 13, spending time with Saul Rubinek and Aaron Ashmore as they share their memories of the show just a couple of weeks before the doors close for the final time. Plus one of the building blocks of The Marvel Age Of Comics passes away.
January 1929 was a very good month for comic strip readers. On the 7th they got to see the arrival of Tarzan and Buck Rogers while ten days later, fans of Thimble Theater met a brand new character named Popeye. The sailor was never intended to take over the strip but his popularity with readers encouraged E.C. Segar to keep him around until he finally shoved the Oyl family from the spotlight.
Burnishing his reputation were the brilliantly execute black and white theatrical shorts produced by Max and Dave Fleischer. After they shuttered operations, others took over the cartoon production, keeping Popeye a mainstay for generations of fans. Many of my generation were treated to the somewhat inferior Associated Artists Productions cartoons which completed their run in 1957. Not to be undone, King Features Syndicate hired Al Brodax to oversee a new round of cartoons aimed for the burgeoning television syndication market. He spread the order around to five different animation houses: Jack Kinney Productions, Rembrandt Films, Larry Harmon Productions, Halas and Batchelor, Paramount Cartoon Studios (formerly the Fleischers and Famous Studios), and Southern Star Entertainment. A whopping 220 cartoons were produced over a two year period, flooding the airwaves. Given the retention of the memorable theme song and vocal cast (Jack Mercer as Popeye, Mae Questel as Olive Oyl, and Jackson Beck as Brutus), young viewers were kept happy.
Bluto was renamed Brutus when KFS’ lawyers thought Paramount had copyright to the Bluto moniker because no one did their homework. Bluto first appeared in the strip, making him a KFS property.
Of these cartoons, with their simplified animation design and short running times, the ones from Paramount stood out as the most memorable so it’s nice to see 72 of them collected for the first time in Warner Archives’ just-released Popeye the Sailor: The 1960s Classics Volume One. Classics may be stretching the point, compared with their 1930s rivals, but the kid in me remembers many of these stories. I suspect these work because so many were taken from the comic strip, which was an imaginative serial. Sweetpea, Eugene the Jeep, the Sea Hag, King Blozo, Toar, and, Rough House, all turn up more than once.
We are treated to the standardized Popeye, the none-too-bright, kind-hearted sailor in his white uniform, the dim and fickle Olive in her red turtleneck and long black skirt. Bluto’s muscle mass became flabby fat and he ditched his sailor uniform for dark clothes.
The stories go from adventurous to silly, such as the time Popeye goes to elementary school but is ridiculed for his lack of knowledge (sorry, but a sailor has to be plenty smart to wear that uniform). Where the Fleischers added a dose of an animated verve to the action, the limited animation meant far more static storytelling. Each episode ends with a new set of lyrics to the theme music and Popeye in the same pose, a cost saving measure that only now grows tedious as one works through the six dozen toons.
Are all 220 worth collecting? Probably not, but this is a nice time capsule reminder of the simpler pleasures children’s television once offered. We were entertained, with little in the way of moralizing beyond good triumphs over evil and you need to eat your spinach.
As ARROW hits the halfway mark of the TV season, fans and critics alike say it keeps getting better. We go backstage with the creators and cast to find out how they got this far, and what lies ahead for new characters including one played by fan favorite John Barrowman. Plus How about Captain Kirk, Ron Burgundy or Spock doing your voice mail message? It can happen if you hurry.
It’s a Christmas tradition at a lot of holiday parties. You might call it “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” but now it’s getting super-sized and coming to NBC for five consecutive nights. Howie Mandel joins us to talk about what TAKE IT ALL will mean to the landscape of primetime television, plus Neil Gaiman hits radio and WALKING DEAD fans can keep the fear going with a new iOS game.
SONS OF ANARCHY will be wrapping this season on a particularly bloody note, which has been the tone for the last few months. We talked with series creator Kurt Sutter about his plans to keep the tension and betrayal coming. Plus everyone is waiting for the 2nd part of the direct-to-DVD DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Bruce Timm & Andrea Romano join us to talk about what we will and won’t be seeing in the next part set to hit stores in 2013.
The November TV Ratings Sweeps are over and for the first time in a while, NBC climbed to the top. Critics are saying that the win was due to several of the network’s new shows, including the comedy GO ON. We talk to the creators and cast about just how a show about death became so funny, plus Chevy Chase finally bolts from COMMUNITY and David Tennant back on DOCTOR WHO??
The second season of NBC’sGRIMM has turned the characters upside down, especially “Juliette” played by Bitsi Tulloch. She fills us in on how it all happened – and what’s coming up on the show when it returns in 2013. Plus CBS’PERSON OF INTEREST is a Top 5 rated show which has been a surprise to a lot of folks including stars Michael Emerson & Jim Caviezel who talk about putting the show together. Meanwhile, STAR WARS gets two more writers and WOLVERINE gets a Marvel NOW launch.
DC’s dominance of sales in comic stores melted a bit in October as Marvel retook the top sales spots, plus a certain pesky Image comic had another good mo0nth as well. We analyze the numbers including revealing the WORST selling comic of the month. Plus we continue our look at BATTLESTAR:GALACTICA – BLOOD & CHROME including a visit with the new William Adama.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME is finally here, but you don’t know the whole story on how this all came to be. Executive Producer David Eick shares some surprising facts (and a few sneaky spoilers) with us, plus October was another good month in the comic stores, but for which company and THE KILLING rises from the dead.
We’ve got more with THE WALKING DEAD‘s two latest casualties, Sarah Wayne Callis and IronE Singleton. We cover it all from Lori’s Haters, IronE’s surprise at his fate and the possibility that Sarah might have a chance to return to the show. Plus DC goes digital in an even bigger way and we move two steps closer to that ELFQUEST movie.