Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Courtship Of Eddie's Father S1 Ep2: Teacher's Pet

Signs of mutual respect were always abound in the Corbett house whether it was Tom's respectful call to Mrs. Livingston or Mrs. Livingston's always endearing and respectful reference to Tom Corbett as "Mr. Eddie's Father." She was ever so sweet.

As I stand back and reflect a little over my life so far, I find it oddly fascinating, this, my longstanding love affair with Japanese pop culture. Whether through the kaiju films of Toho, the wonderful worlds of anime in film and television, or the appearance of some of the most beautiful Japanese actors and actresses in pop culture, I've always been drawn to that world, lost in translation as it were. The influence of the beautiful Myoshi Umeki on me as a child was and is no exception. Umeki could conceivably be the earliest influence of Japan's pop exports on my mind's inclination for all things Japanese.

As noted in the series premiere of The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, each entry opened with an affectionate and thoughtful exchange of parent and child. The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, Season One, Episode 2, Teacher's Pet, brings us the latest as Eddie, as always, innocently inquires about that most taboo of childhood subjects - SEX! "I don't understand sex Dad. What's it all about?"

In fact, The Courtship Of Eddie's Father openings had a special quality to them, a real originality as openings went with a special attention toward editing that raw footage to be married to the dialogue. Space:1999 comes to mind. That show had truly impressive openers for each episode because of the use of footage unique to each episode. The Courtship Of Eddie's Father always had an opening that built upon character and the relationship between father and son that was central to the show's themes. This delightfully seguewayed into that impressive Nilsson track, Best Friend, played over the raw footage, as noted above, that was often, but not always, original to the episode in question.

Please know, that while I may be covering The Courtship Of Eddie's Father here on the normally genre-specific Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic, and while it is not of the genre, rest assured there are plenty of sci-fi connections forthcoming not least of which is star Bill Bixby [My Favorite Martian, The Incredible Hulk].

Eddie's father determines that Eddie is playing "doctor" in class and must visit his teacher as a result of his son's actions. Tom meets Eddie's teacher. It was astonishing to me just how flirtatious the two adults were with one another given today's more restrained political climate. There was a good deal of innuendo with the sugestion of intellectual "stimulation" meaning something so much more. It's fascinating to see the juxtaposition of what morays were acceptable in the 1960s versus what kinds of behavior is considered politically correct or acceptable in today's climate between men and women. The idea of Mars versus Venus is really something to behold while viewing with your own children. On the one hand some things have changed dramatically in forty years, but on the other, some thing remain quite the same. Right and wrong is still right and wrong most of the time and the social conflicts that existed forty years ago are still generally the same on the schoolyard playground, in the office and at home. But one thing that is different is how we hold people accountable. The barometer needle has certainly moved to the left on that one. Taking repsonsibility and being held accountable today is incredibly different. It would appear excuses are the rule of today's parents and society generally speaking. Still, there is a mighty percentage out there fighting the good fight.

Tom asks Kerry to dinner smitten with the fact she doesn't look "80 years old" like the teachers from his hey day.

Eddie begins informing his friends that his father is dating Miss Ellen, which leads to him being bullied, teased and beat up as the "teacher's pet."

Tom visits Kerry to determine what course of action would be best for their respective son and student. While the relationship remains sort of open-ended in the final outcome, I don't believe Tom Corbett ever dates the teacher again. So would end the courtship after all. The final moments capture Eddie and his father on rocks by the sea as Eddie asks if his mother knows they are having a good time together. His father assures him that she knows as the show alludes to the mother for a second time. The final note on The Courtship Of Eddie's Father is a reflection of the simple, undeniable fact that children blossom under the umbrella of assurance and security.

Teacher's Pet: B-. Writer: Carl Kleinschmitt. Director: James Komack.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Godzilla Facepalm

Was there anything more beautiful than the Showa era [1954-1975] Godzilla films? I think not.

The films across two decades did undeniably change in tone from Ishiro Honda's pure, single-minded, original Gojira [1954].

Still, to watch the Godzilla transformation is epic fascination in its own right.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Creature Double Feature

It was roughly thirty-two years ago and right about now I would be watching. Man, we're getting old. As a kid I was raised and reared on a syndicated horror show broadcast out of Boston known famously in the region as Creature Double Feature [1972-1983]. Thanks to the advent of DVD I'm watching all over again.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Creature Double Feature served up a Saturday afternoon double bill and enlightened the young and the young at heart to the classic world of Japanese kaiju and American monster movies. It was perhaps, for a time, one of the greatest shows on the planet - at least on Saturdays!

Every Saturday was a treat that often delivered wide-eyed children heaping amounts of Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan, Mothra and strange delicacies like Attack Of The Mushroom People, Attack Of The Puppet People and Yog: Monster From Space not to mention the incredible Daimajin.

The list goes on and the show could easily shift between the best of Toho or Japanese classics back to American fare like X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes and The Amazing Colossal Man to The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Right? I know. You wouldn't want to miss Creature Double Feature either. It was through this massive series of cool that I was exposed to the very best of kaiju and early science fiction. It was my bread and butter as a kid. When the world was throwing everything it could at me and making every effort to knock me down this series gave me my chance to curl up and escape into other worlds and other fears. I was not alone.

The series aired immediately after the traditional 6:00 AM-Noon run of Saturday morning cartoons that featured everything from Barbapapa, Super Friends, Thundarr The Barbarian to Land Of The Lost, Herculoids and everything in between. As you might well imagine I was often cooking up a marathon day on the homefront.

I enjoyed those Saturdays immensely especially after a week at school that tried my nerves and patience. When those Saturdays arrived I rarely wanted to leave the pajamas behind. I was all-in on the pajamas and, like the Cylons, I had a plan from sun up to sun down on those days. I never wanted to leave the comfort of my home those days, but who did? Saturday was special.

On one occasion I recall my mother forcing me out the door to swimming lessons at our local beach. I was so devastated I was about to miss the monster movies of the week I had to make a stand. Like any typical kid ruled by a life of ME, I declared defiantly and passionately to her, "Mom, I hope I'm so sick next week I can't even move!" This battle cry, while normally ill-advised by normal, clear thinking people, seemed like a good idea at the time if it meant an afternoon with Creature Double Feature. Off my prayers went to the heavens. This was of course intended to ensure me a seat in front of the television for the next round of kaiju clashes and other survival classics, because as kids we understood survival. We did it every day back and forth from school. Why not live vicariously through Godzilla. He won most of the time! So my wish for ill-health was indeed child-like and to say the unfortunate act of a kid that should not wish such things on anyone or one's self, but it was merely the temporary thinking of a child who simply yearned to be that much closer to Gamera and others. I mean kids loved Gamera even the boy scouts.

Well, by God, as luck would have it, my prayers were answered, the next week I was thankfully sick as a dog with the very temporary stomach bug [thank God nothings serious] and this little boy was home free and sitting pretty with ginger ale and a giant heap of Toho between visits to the porcelain throne, but heck, I was home with Creature Double Feature as my nurse friend. Ice pops and other goodies accompanied the roughly three hour tour, a three hour tour.

In honor of the spirit of that fine Saturday and those formative years, I intend to bring you our first official Creature Double Feature flashback for Saturdays [time permitting] in the near future. It'll be a fun way to look back visually at images that instantly recall those unforgettable classics and revisit those simple, but effective, plot lines of the best in Japanese and American science fiction and monster movies. And boy, in Japan, those aliens from outer space were always stirring up trouble.

Friday, February 24, 2012

FAB FRIDAY Photo 3: Tracy Reed [One More Time]

What can I say? It's FAB FRIDAY!

It's been one week since writing about UFO, Episode 7, The Dalotek Affair and falling in love all over again with Tracy Reed. So like the song goes by Daft Punk, One More Time, we pay tribute to the lovely guest of the aforementioned UFO episode with another shot of the stunning 60s and 70s sex kitten Tracy Reed from the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb [1964].

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eva-01 Watercolor

Evangelion Unit-01, the gorgeous purple devil itself.

I suppose this entry is especially for the hardcore Evangelion fans and to record an entry of my endeavor for posterity. But anyone who enjoys the collectability of all things Evangelion this is at least one of a kind, like it or not. This is the final in a planned trilogy of paintings.

This is my third effort and venture into the world of watercolor painting. It is finally completed. I began the effort around Christmas 2011 and finished at the very end of January/ early February. Two weeks for framing and here we are. My apologies for the lack of images to capture the process. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of doing that and before I knew it I had finished painting and forgotten to use the camera.

I had planned a sort of Neon Genesis Evangelion watercolor trilogy for the living room, but The One To Be Pitied forbids me to put them on the wall. I'm waiting things out a bit. I'm hoping in time an opportunity will present itself. Though, it's not looking too good. Perhaps a yard sale is in their future? That would be unfortunate. Scrapped robots, how fitting. Any buyers out there?

As you know, my first effort was Evangelion Unit-02 or Eva-02. My second effort was Evangelion Unit-00 or Eva-00. As a fan of the series, I was reasonably satisfied as a novice. They were both sketched and painted on 12 x 18 watercolor paper and brought to their respective completions.

For the third and final outing I chose to make Eva-01 in the hopes it would be the center piece on the wall between the other two paintings. So I decided to go bigger on this one. I sketched and painted on 18 x 24 watercolor paper. So, like the Eva-01 itself, this was intended to be the monster with a fairly massive depiction in size.

I do think I'm learning and growing in the process even if just a little. Obviously I have no official training. I am essentially going into the dark night on this one. My kids love the pop art. In fact, the Boy Wonder was all about painting it orange and blue for a completely original representation. Mostly, I'm relatively pleased with the end result of this particular painting complete with the colors, borders and framing chosen. The fellow at Michael's, a guitar man, was digging it. He seemed sincere.

The One To Be Pitied, who has had some painting experience and training, essentially looked at me gobsmacked, speechless and refused to pay the painting deference of any kind. She's brutal. Ultimately she's the one that needs to give it a stamp of approval to make it on that wall and thus far that's not happening. I may have to go with a picturesque cabin in the woods in snow for the next one. My Eva-01 might as well be a naked leg lamp with fishnet, but even Darren McGavin got to put it on display for all the world to see. Of course, that "major award" never went over well. And The One To Be Pitied pretty much has a go at it like McGavin's wife in A Christmas Story. But, I do it for me, much like writing, and enjoy the process of creating a painting. The One To Pitied might ask: "Is that what you call it?" But, damn, I am still seeking a place that welcomes biomechanoid art in full color.

As far as the painting goes, I utilized an image from Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Series. Can you guess which episode? As you can see from the image included in the post, I took artistic license with some of the details, which don't show up on the selected animated cel I used for a guide. I chose to add the red highlights around the eyes often associated with this particular Evangelion. I also chose to detail the hands with the requisite bolts you can sometimes see in the series for the close-ups. The eyes were also lit up to give it the added sense of menace and terror often associated with the beast.

All in all, I'm generally pleased with the outcome and thought I would share the latest effort here with y'all. The complexity and depth of color and shade is always fascinating to me. Sometimes what you aim to achieve comes out on the paper like a happy accident. Though you can certainly achieve your desired vision by manipulating the paint until you get where you want to be. I suppose how I'm approaching the painting isn't necessarily best suited for watercolor. Regardless, painting always looks deeper and far more textured than an animated cel and I always appreciate that aspect of the art form. Look, if it doesn't make that wall and no one sees it at all, it's like it never got painted, so I share it with you. According to The One To Be Pitied, his paints are in the basement, all's right with the world [again]. That's alright, my AT Field is still intact friends. Now where is that still image of the boat in the harbor with the seagulls.

Paint Monster

This just struck me as entirely funny. As everyone knows I enjoy painting from time to time and the Microsoft Paint program is certainly a personal favorite for horsing around.

I've used it here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic many times. Click here and here for a Lost In Space treat. Anyway, it was an amusing picture that gave me a laugh. I hope it does for you too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 25 Comic Book Films (Featuring Capes, Tights, Masks And Mutations)

So many comic book-based films today, so little time. It's a whole lot easier generating a Top 50 list than it was when Wizard compiled its own Top 50 Comic Book Movies in 2003. 2011 felt very much like the summer of the superhero. This is the follow-up to that aforementioned list. This is the official Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 25 Comic Book Films (Featuring Capes, Tights, Masks And Mutations). The list would also be more aptly titled BIG 25 Superhero Films.

So, up, up and away. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's The Sci-Fi Fanatic BIG 25 Comic Book Films (Featuring Capes, Tights, Masks And Mutations).

25. Swamp Thing [1982].

24. Daredevil [2003].

23. Conan The Destroyer [1984].

22. Superman Returns [2006].

21. The Incredible Hulk [2008].

20. Blade [1998].

19. Hellboy [2004].

18. Conan The Barbarian [1982].

17. Hellboy II: The Golden Army [2008].

16. The Rocketeer [1991].

15. X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009].

14. X-Men [2000].

13. X2: X-Men United [2003].

12. Watchmen [2009].

11. Darkman [1990]

10. The Punisher [2004].

9. Blade II [2002].

8. Spider-Man 2 [2004].

7. Superman II [1980].

6. Superman [1978].

5. The Incredible Hulk [1977].

4. Spider-Man [2002].

3. Captain America: The First Avenger [2011].

2. The Dark Knight [2008].

1. Batman Begins [2005].

Films I considered, but intentionally left off the list because they just weren't good enough include: the silly Howard The Duck [1986], the bloated mis-cast Green Lantern [2011], the gratuitously violent nonsense of Punisher: War Zone [2008], the Brett Ratner-directed X-Men: The Last Stand [2006], Spawn [1997], Spider-Man 3 [2007], Hulk [2003], Superman III [1983], Superman IV: The Quest For Peace [1987], Supergirl [1984], Iron Man [2008], Iron Man 2 [2010], Fantastic Four [2005], Fantastic Four 2: Rise Of The Silver Surfer [2007], Blade: Trinity [2004], Ghost Rider [2007], Elektra [2005], Dick Tracy [1990], The Return Of The Swamp Thing [1989], Jonah Hex [2010] and all of the pre-Christopher Nolan Batman films. Sorry Tim Burton fans and yes I thought the Iron Man films were overrated.

The only films I could not move either way on because I haven't seen them are the new Conan The Barbarian [2011], Thor [2011], The Punisher [1989], and X-Men: First Class [2011] though I suspect only the latter would make my list.

I'm not entirely convinced The Amazing Spider-Man [2012] would make my list or The Avengers [2012] despite Joss Wheedon's involvement, but Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises [2012] will be there.

So there it is! The BIG 25 Comic Book Films (Featuring Capes, Tights, Masks and Mutations). Where do you stand? I will now use my mutant power of teleportation a la Nightcrawler and leave now. BAMF!