By Beau Smith
Okay, as I mentioned last week I had to do my annual duty for our country and drive out to Area 51 to do some Deacon Jones head slappin’ on some bulb-headed aliens. All done to keep this great country of ours from slipping into the slime-coated hands of Grays, Reptilians, Big Killer Robots and other assorted alien invaders.
I won. They lost. The Earth is safe for another year.
While I trucked out west, my good friend, Chuck Dixon, stepped in and delivered a great and manly review on the movie Grindhouse. It was met with loads of emails and postings where folks talked about, agreed and disagreed with Chuck’s thoughts on the film and the history of grindhouse movies. The most important part is that it got people talking and even educated some younger readers of a piece of pop culture that was once part of the rough puzzle. That’s always a good thing.
Thank you, Chuck for manning up and grabbing the wheel while I was gone. I also wanna thank all you knuckleheads for making Chuck feel at home here at the ranch.
By the way, just for those of you keeping box scores on my Area 51 battle, I took a page out of real man actor, Kenneth Tobey from Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World and used a fire ax with extreme prejudice. It worked really well.
Since I’m back in the saddle let’s put the spurs to this ride. Read on!
Manly Recommendation #1
The start of the 70’s was a breakthrough time in pop culture. The late 60’s had changed a lot of stuff really fast. Technology was advancing all the time and the face of action/adventure was taking a new turn.
In 1972 a new TV show with familiar faces was thrown out for all of us that were around to see. The name of the show was Search. It came on NBC Wednesday nights at 10 pm. It was geared to adults that were into the James Bond and spy stuff that was huge then. Search was an hour long series that gave us the wild and manly adventures of the Probe division agents that went out and “found” things that mysterious individuals, companies, and countries were looking to find or recover.
Probe’s agents were equipped with tiny television scanners, which transmitted picture, sound, medical telemetry and anything else the script writers could think of back to Probe Control, where computer specialists continuously monitored the agent’s progress, and analyzed the information the scanner was transmitting. The scanners were small and round and had a magnetic back so they could attach to a ring, tie-tack, locket, or anything with a metal surface. That way the scanner appeared to be an exotic piece of jewelry. The agents also had a small audio receiver implanted behind the left ear, so they could hear sound transmitted from Probe Control. The Control personnel would link up to any data base, government or private, to retrieve information that would help the agent work the case. The agents also had a dental implant they could use to send their conversation back to Probe HQ.
This was pretty ground breaking in the fact that these were real people and not androids or robots. It was James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. taken up a notch. The show had all the action and violence of The Rat Patrol and the smooth moves of the best spy films of the time.
Search had three rotating stars. Hugh O’Brian played agent Hugh Lockwood, whose designation was Probe One. He handled all types of cases that were not specifically crime/mob related. Tony Franciosa played agent Nick Bianco…designation Omega Probe. The Omega division specialized in criminal/organized crime cases. Doug McClure played agent C.R. Grover…designated Stand By Probe. He was called in if a last minute case or emergency required an agent to step in at a moment’s notice. The C.R. stood for “Christopher Robin”. Back at Control supervising the missions was V.C.R Cameron, played by Burgess Meredith. Cameron supervised the room full of computer/telemetry specialists, making sure the agents had whatever they needed to solve the case, keep them from getting injured, and keep them from breaking too many of Probe Division’s regulations (all of Probe’s activities were recorded for the case record.) Quite a few people came and went as the technicians. Angel Tompkins (Famous Playboy Playmate and centerfold) played medical expert Gloria Harding, who had a quick-witted attitude, as well as a personal relationship with Lockwood, and she would take delight in giving him grief, especially when he dealt with the women he would encounter on the cases.
Albert Popwell played Griffin, who previously worked for the U.N, and could translate any language for the agents, break any code, or direct the agents in breaking any lock. Ginny Golden played data specialist Keach, Bryon Chung was Kuroda, A Martinez and Ron Castro played Carlos, Amy Farrel was medical specialist Murdock, Deanna Lund was medical specialist Linda Harte, Mary Frann was medical specialist Burnside, Cheryl Stopplemore played Miss Love (she went on to other things as Cheryl Ladd), Tom Hallick played Harris and Pamela Jones played Miss James.
As you can see the series had all sorts of great character actors and guest stars. There was a 2 hour pilot called Probe and was followed by 23 one hour episodes. I doubt if many of you under the age of 40 even know about this show, that’s understandable . A lot of folks over 40 even missed it. One of the reasons that they show has never been seen in reruns is because there were only rerun rights for overseas and not here in the U.S. Why? I don’t know, but it is puzzling.
You can find a lot of answered pieces to the puzzle at one of the best fan sites on the web?best part is that it’s dedicated to all that is Search. You can check it out at www.probecontrol.com. My long time amigo, Jim Alexander and all the guys there have been super helpful in me getting the word out on one of my personal all time favorite shows and letting you know what’s out there. The site is great and has all sorts of wonderful info and special stuff from the series.
Make sure you take a couple of minutes to scope it out. I think you’ll soon be looking on Ebay and other sources to find copies of this great manly show. Plus it has Angel Tompkins…come on!
Manly Recommendation #2
All EC And No BS.
The good folks at Gemstone Publishing have recently come out with The EC Archives. These are over-sized, hardcover books that not only reprint the first six issues of such highly sought after comics like Tales From The Crypt, Weird Science, Shock Suspense Stories and Two-Fisted Tales, but they have also enhanced them with new color as well as well as other technical improvements.
These were some of the most manly and some times most horrific comics ever made. These were The Outer Limits and Twilight Zone long before the TV shows. The books were always done by iconic masters of comic art such as Wally Wood, John Severin and Harvey Kurtzman just to name a few. These are amazing books with stories that hold up today. These comics were inspiration to such noted creative folks as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Carpenter and Stephen King.
These books run $50.00 a pop and like the DC Comics Archives, well worth ever cent. Not only are the beautiful to look at, but the stories are in most cases better than anything being done today.
Check out everything you wanna know at http://www.gemstonepub.com. Make sure you tell them that you’re an amigo of mine.
Manly Recommendation #3
Meet The Beetle
The folks at TwoMorrows Publishing seem unable to put out anything that’s bad or at the worst, uninteresting. Their latest Companion book on Blue Beetle by Christopher Irving is another manly example how they always beat the odds and come out entertaining.
The Blue Beetle Companion is filled with over 120 pages of information, art, photos, words from the top creators and a super history on a super character. This book takes you from 1939 to today with the Blue Beetle. Everybody had a part in this book, names like Will Eisner, Chuck Dixon, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Kevin McGuire, Cully Hamner and many more. Loads of never before seen stuff and a history so deep even a Dung Beetle would have trouble rolling it all into a ball.
One of my favorite parts in this book are the vintage photos of the comic book creators that had a hand in Blue Beetle. Like I said, entertaining for all. The book has a cover price of $16.95 and is on sale now. Make sure you check it out at the TwoMorrows website at www.twomorrows.com
As always, make sure you tell em’ I steered ya there.
Manly Recommendation #4
Sharp As A Razor-Razor Sharp.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than having something good pop up out of the blue. Life throws enough of the bad things our way when we’re not looking so it’s extra nice when a good thing gets lobbed your way.
Something good got lobbed my way recently by the lovely and talented writer, Sarah Beach. At the Wizard World L.A. Convention she met Marcus Perry. Marcus is a screenwriter/director that had just finished a short film called Razor Sharp.
The short won the Wizard Magazine film festival and has been screened at a few conventions. Word is getting out. I’m about to make it louder. Because of contact through Sarah, Marcus was kind enough to send me a copy of Razor Sharp on DVD?.I Loved it.
I don’t say that in a casual manner much like I’m known to do around semi-pretty women. I really mean it. I loved it.
The dialogue is quick and fun. The action is jaw breaking and it’s enhanced with the camera shots without being smothered. The characters have been cast with nothing short of perfection. It’s rare in a short film running on a shoe-string budget to get a good cast to play the characters, in the case of Razor Sharp the actors ARE the characters. After watching the film a few times I cannot think of anybody better to play these roles than the actors that were chosen.
The lead role of corporate thief, Veronica Sharp, is played by actress Cassidy Freeman. She’s witty, athletic and has an instant likeability that you fall for within her first minute on the screen. She’s that wonderful combination of “beauty-girl-next-door-tomboy-sweetheart” that every guy falls for and every girl wants to be friends with. She’s able to add important, tiny personal touches to Veronica Sharp that separate her from cookie-cutter performances that other actors would have try to pass off to you. Freeman not only makes you want to know more about the character, but also makes you sorry that the film is a short. You want more.
Skye McCole Bartusiak (24, The Patriot, Boogeyman) is Isis/Ice 6 “The Package” that Veronica is supposed to “recover” for her employer Dex (Played by Michael T. Weiss of The Pretender). It’s enjoyable to see Weiss play a shady, off kilter character. Like Freeman, he adds small quirks that really make the character.
Razor Sharp reminds me of the wonderful days in comics when writers and artists were assigned 8 page stories that had to have a start, middle and end all covered in the 8 pages. Marcus Perry gets a manly standing ovation from Busted Knuckles as he seamlessly writes and directs Razor Sharp into a fast-fun-fist-of-fury film that is a pleasure to watch over and over. As most of you know, I truly admire those with the passion that make short films and low budget movies. These are the people that wring the most out of what they have and when it’s done right the payoff is sweeter than multi-million dollar opening?well, almost.
I’d love to see Razor Sharp as a full-length feature film. I’d also love to see it as a comic book. The DVD is filled with loads of extra features and in it you get to see the storyboard art of Jeff Henderson. He is an amazing artist that I would love to see doing a Razor Sharp comic book. Hell, I’d love to see him do any kind of comic book. I believe that he and Marcus would make a very exciting comic book team. They’d get my money.
You need to go to the Razor Sharp website and check this stuff out. It’s a great site and a blast to move around in. You’ll not only thank me, you’ll buy my next beer. The site is www.razorsharpmovie.com.
Please check this out and tell your friends. They’ll thank you and that’ll just mean that more people owe me more beer.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week
As they say?.”Eyes you could get lost in.” One look into the peepers of Monica Allgeier and you won’t care if you ever get found.
Most of you might know Monica from her roles in film and TV like Charmed, Redline, Entourage, Scrubs and the upcoming Steppin’-The Movie. Monica is one of the most incredible looking women that this stump jumper has ever seen. If you don’t agree with me then you must be blind, dead or unconscious?possibly all three.
Don’t forget, you heard about her first here at Busted Knuckles.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week
Air Fighters Vol. 2 #9
Okay?in these modern times have you ever seen a more politically incorrect cover than this? I doubt it. Before you try and put me through the Don Imus meat grinder, remember the mood of 1944 and what was going on at the time. Things were more clear cut back then. Folks didn’t have the internet and 8 million channels of TV media. They were too busy fighting a war. In case you didn’t know, more than 60 years ago the Japanese and the Germans were trying to kill us. I think you might be able to find out more about it in a book in something they call a library or a school.
I hope this week’s Busted Knuckles more than made up for me being gone last week. Not that Chuck wasn’t a great guest host, but I know you guys missed my soothing twang and urbane sense of continental humor. I also appreciate all the emails that came in asking about how my fight to the death with the aliens went. Good to know you had my back.
Some bad news. Fox axed the new TV show Drive. I really enjoyed that show?all three episodes. I thought it had a great cast and the car stuff was a load of fun. It was a perfect lead in for 24. I guess someone found out I was watching it and pulled the fun plug. That always happens to me. The man is always trying to keep me down. No worries, they’ll never break me.
Okay, be here next week and we’ll have fun all over again. Make sure you keep writing in and letting me know what’s on your mind.
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