Sunday, September 28, 2014

Captain's Library GET SMART "Infiltration Caper"

Would you believe the spies you're supposed to infiltrate want you to infiltrate the spies who employ you?
Only Maxwell Smart could end up in that situation...
Illustrated by Henry Scarpelli, this tale from Dell's Get Smart #7 (1967) captures more of the vaudville-humor flavor of the show itself than most of the comic stories.
Unfortunately, it was also the last new issue of the comic.
Scarpelli illustrated a number of Dell's tv adaptations, including The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes and McHale’s Navy.
He eventually ended up at Archie Comics, where he did both comic book stories, but illustrated the both the Archie daily and Sunday newspaper strip for 15 years!
BTW, the writer is unknown, but may have been Scarpelli himself.
Unfortunately, there's no way to verify it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Spies Who Love ME-Week 4

Here's some facts and trivia about the eps in Sunday's...
...group of shows...
"The Shark Affair" features one of leads of another 60s spy series as the...well, not so much villain as anti-hero!
Robert Culp, who would play secret agent/tennis pro Kelly Robinson on I Spy a year later, delivers an astounding turn as Captain Shark, a Captain Nemo-esque survivalist who plans to ride out nuclear armageddon with the best and brightest mankind has to offer, whether they want to join him or not.
Also in the cast are two familar faces from Star Trek; James Doohan (Scotty), and Meg Wilie (The Keeper, the head Talosian from "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" as well as The Last Starfighter.
"Boomerang" is one of the "IMF vs Organized Crime" episodes that dominated the final season.
Midnight (ET) Get Smart
"Strike While the Agent is Hot" features Max taking over as the union rep for CONTROL's agents, trying to solve a puzzle and prevent a crime while discovering KAOS has better working conditions for their agents!
"The Only Way to Die" has Max declared dead so he can go undercover.
Look for a very young Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati) in his first appearance as Hobson, The Chief's assistant before Larabee.
1am (ET) The Saint
"Simon and Delilah" features future James Bond Roger Moore with his Miss Moneypenny, Lois Maxwell when both are involved in the kidnapping of a starlet from a big-budget biblical movie set!
And, no, there are no romantic scenes between them!
But there are a number of moviemaking in-jokes, especially about Italian movies!
Be here tomorrow for a classic comic story based on one of these series!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Captain's Library THE SAINT "Death in the Sky"

Though the tv show ran for several years in America...
...there was no comic book based on it.
Rumor was that The Saint's creator Leslie Charteris was unhappy with 1940s-50s comics based on his novels and refused to allow one based on the tv show.
However, in England, there was a comic strip as part of the TV Tornado comic anthology weekly...
These weeklies had color covers and centerfolds, but the rest of the interiors were b/w.
TV Tornado later merged with other weeklies, first with Solo (from which this story was taken), then with TV Century 21.
The Saint strip survived both mergers, but ended in 1969 when The Saint tv series was cancelled.
Regrettably, both the artist and writer of the strip are unknown.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Spies Who Love ME--Week 3

Here's some facts and trivia about the eps in Sunday's...
...group of shows...
"The Quadripartite Affair" finally gives Illa Kuryakin equal on-screen time and features David McCallum's then-wife, Jill Ireland as the innocent character caught up in the intrigue...who is irresistably-drawn to Illya.
The initial plan was to make her a recurring character, but when Illya proved to be incredibly-popular with women, it was decided to leave him romantically-unattached.
Jill would appear the next year on Star Trek as Mr Spock's first love in "This Side of Paradise".
The ep features a veritable whos-who of '50s-'60s genre performers including...
Roger C Carmel, who would play loveable rogue Harry Mudd in both classic and animated Star Trek, as well as the only villain to battle both Batman and The Green Hornet, in a rare heroic role.
He would also reappear on UNCLE as other, evil, characters.
Anne Francis would play the first recurring UNCLE villainess before becoming karate-chopping private eye Honey West in her own short-lived series.
John Van Dreelen seemed born to play arrogant villains, and did so in everything from Mission: Impossible to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, to Wonder Woman and even Get Smart!
Richard Anderson was going through a period in the 60s-70s playing bad guys on The Green Hornet, Mission: Impossible, and other shows before being cast as good-guy Oscar Goldman on Six Million Dollar Man.
Trivia note: both Anne Francis and Richard Anderson appeared in the 1950s classic Forbidden Planet, but had no scenes together!
"Underground" is from the final season of the show, when the IMF battled organized crime more than Communists and terrorists.
Guest villain Peter Mark Richman was equally at home playing heroes and villains for several decades on shows from the original Twilight Zone and Outer Limits to Star Trek: the Next Generation.
Midnight (ET) Get Smart
"Last One In is a Rotten Spy" was the final episode of the first season.
Alice Ghostly, who appeared in literally every comedy series in the 50s-60s-70s, steals the episode.
She would make one more appearance as a different character two seasons later, but the producers were so pleased with her work that they cast her as the second lead on their 1967 super-hero spoof, Captain Nice, playing the hero's annoying mother!
"Anatomy of a Lover" opened the second season with the return of Dick Gautier as Hymie the Robot.
Laurel Goodwin, who played the Chief's niece was Yeoman Colt in the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage".
1am (ET) The Saint
"Counterfeit Countess" features two actresses with numerous genre credits.
Villainess Kate O'Mara menaced Doctor Who, The Persuaders, Department S, and Adam Adamant, among others.
She also appeared in a rare good-girl role as Miss Moneypenny's assistant in the documentary Welcome to Japan, Mr Bond, about the making of You Only Live Twice.
Alexandra Bastedo was best-known as the telepathic heroine of the super-spy team The Champions. She also had roles in The Starlost, Department S and its' spinoff, Jason King (as different characters), the original Casino Royale,.
Her final on-screen appearance was in Batman Begins.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Captain's Library GET SMART One-Page Tales

Would you believe...
 ...Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, Dr Strange, The Creeper, and The Question penciled this page from Dell's Get Smart #2 (1966)?
BTW, It's the inside front cover, so there's no color.
 Then Ditko penciled the inside back cover, as well.
BTW, Both pages were inked by Sal Trapani.
 Ditko and Trapani returned in Get Smart #3 to do another inside cover one-pager.
(D&T also did the longer stories that appeared in those issues.
We'll present those in the near-future.)
But the last one-pager, from Get Smart #4 was by the new regular artist, Tony Tallarico.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Spies Who Love ME--Week 2

Here's some facts and trivia about the eps in Sunday's...
...group of shows...
"The Iowa-Scuba Affair" is the first regular episode of the series.
Several months passed after the pilot was shot, so there are a number of changes, including a new character as the boss...Leo G Carroll as Alexander Waverly, a pre-title sequence explaining directly to the tv audience who they are, and very little Illya (one of the reasons he's featured in the "explanation scene").
The re-shoots involving Mr Waverly used in "The Vulcan Affair" to replace scenes with original boss Will Kuluva as Mr Allison were done during the fiming of this episode.
Director Richard Donner has numerous genre credits including the original Omen (1976) and Superman the Movie (1978).
Scriptwriter Harold Jack Bloom also co-wrote the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, making him the only writer to work on both Man from UNCLE  and James Bond live-action projects.
"The Merchant" is a couple of seasons later than the episode that aired last week.
Martin Landau as Rollin Hand and Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter had been replaced by Leonard Nimoy as Paris and Lesley Ann Warren as Dana Lambert.
It's also the final episode for both characters.
(BTW, if I have to tell you who Leonard Nimoy is, you're reading the wrong blog.)
The villain is George Saunders, who played both heroes (The Saint and The Falcon in film series) and villains (Mr Freeze on Batman, and twice as THRUSH agent G Emory Partridge, one of the few returning baddies on Man from UNCLE)
Midnight (ET) Get Smart
"Humbert's Unfinished Symphony" features Richard Webb, who played TV's Captain Midnight, as a police officer.
The concert hall owner is Bert Freed, who usually played someone loathsome and/or sleazy in films like Invaders from Mars and on TV shows like The Green Hornet and The Rifleman.
The episode originally-aired before last week's "Ship of Spies" two-parter, and also featured Victor French as Agent 44.
The villain in the other episode, "Shipment to Beriut", is Lee Bergere, whom Star Trek fans will recognize as the pseudo-Abraham Lincoln from the episode "Savage Curtain"
1am (ET) The Saint
"To Kill a Saint" features two actors best-known on TV for their voices, rather than their faces.
Casino owner Paul Verrier is Peter Dyneley, who was the voice of Jeff Tracy, father and leader of the Tracy family who operated International Rescue in the 1960s Thunderbirds TV series and two feature films, Thunderbirds are GO! and Thunderbird 6.
He also appeared in two earlier Saint episodes (as different characters).
Francis Matthews, who plays Verrier's aide Andre, used his amazing vocal similarity to Cary Grant to voice the lead character of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (whose appearance was based on Grant).
Matthews had also appeared previously on The Saint as another character.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Captain's Library MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "Pixelated Puzzle Affair" Conclusion

Receiving a cryptic message in the form of a puzzle from missing UNCLE agent Peter Wheelwright, Solo & Kuryakin are lured into a trap by THRUSH commander Baron PD Quick, who uses unique methods to train THRUSH cadets...
Written by Dick Wood and illustrated by penciler Mike Sekowsky and inker Mike Peppe, this story from Gold Key's Man from U.N.C.L.E. #7 (1966) followed the show's new emphasis on "camp" in it's 1966-67 season after the debut of Batman in January on ABC had most existing adventure shows adding more outlandish plots and colorful villains in an attempt to match the Caped Crusader's record-breaking ratings.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Captain's Library MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. "Pixelated Puzzle Affair" Part 1

After you enjoy the Spies Who Love ME on MeTV...
...have a look at this comic book tie-in from 1966.
Be here tomorrow for the thrilling climax!
Written by Dick Wood and illustrated by penciler Mike Sekowsky and inker Mike Peppe, this story from Gold Key's Man from U.N.C.L.E. #7 (1966) follows the show's new emphasis on "camp" in it's third season after the debut of Batman several months earlier on ABC had most existing adventure shows adding more outlandish plots and colorful villains in an attempt to match the Caped Crusader's ratings.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Spies Who Love ME--Week 1

Here's some facts and trivia about the eps in Sunday's first...
...group of shows...
10pm (ET) Man from U.N.C.L.E.
"The Vulcan Affair" is both the first episode of the series and a b/w re-edit of the never-aired color pilot for Solo (the original title for the show.)
The color footage for Solo was reused (along with some new footage featuring Luciana Paluzzi as a WASP agent trying to seduce and kill Napoleon Solo) as the color movie To Trap a Spy, released theatrically after the end of the 1964-65 tv season.
You'll note I said Palluzi was a WASP agent.
In To Trap a Spy, the enemy was not THRUSH...but WASP!
But, in both the Solo and U.N.C.L.E. versions of "The Vulcan Affair" the evil organization is THRUSH.
In a major difference in both Solo and To Trap a Spy, Napoleon's boss at U.N.C.L.E. was not Mr Waverly, but Mr Allison, played by Will Kuluva.
Will Kuluva, David McCallum, and Robert Vaughn
When NBC execs saw the Solo pilot, they said "Get rid of the guy whose name begins with 'K' ".
They meant Kuryakin, David McCallum's Russian character!
But the producers replaced Kuluva, whom they weren't happy with, saying they did as the network asked.
The scenes with Kuluva were reshot with his successor, Leo G Carroll as Alexander Waverly for the aired version of "The Vulcan Affair".
BTW, both Solo & To Trap a Spy are available on DVD!
As to the guest stars:
Fritz Weaver has a long history in genre media including the original Twilight Zone, Martian Chronicles, and playing Sherlock Holmes on Broadway!
William Marshall was Dr Richard Daystrom, the Bill Gates of the Star Trek universe in "The Ultimate Computer", played the King of Cartoons on Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and portrayed Blacula in two successful feature films!
11pm (ET) Mission: Impossible
"The Cardinal" is a typical third-season episode featuring noted Broadway actor Theodore Bikel (Fiddler on the Roof) as the villain with Barbara Babcock (Star Trek, Green Hornet, Hill Street Blues) as his henchwoman.
Midnight (ET) Get Smart
"A Ship of Spies" Parts 1 & 2 is one of the last episodes of the first season, and won the 1967 Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy.
It also features the final appearance of Victor French as supporting character Agent 44 (The CONTROL agent who's always hidden in lockers, mailboxes, and other odd places.
When the character reappears several seasons later, he's played by Al Molinaro.
1am (ET) The Saint
"The Art Collectors" is one of the few episodes to be made into a novella (rather than a novella or novel becoming the basis of an episode).
It was published in the anthology The Saint Abroad by Fleming Lee ghost-writing for Leslie Charteris.
The scriptwriter, Michael Pertwee was the older brother of Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor on the long-running Doctor Who) and uncle of Sean Pertwee (Alfred in the new tv series Gotham)!
A genre veteran leads the guest cast:
Peter Bowles, who's now known for his comedic skills, played numerous villains during the 60s-70s on Space: 1999, Sherlock Holmes, and, (in four different roles in four episodes) The Avengers!