Friday, May 29, 2020

CoronaVirus Comics Special: The DOC SAVAGE Movie that NEVER WAS!

Since we've just re-presented the comic adaptation of the novel...
...that the 1975 movie, which featured a mysterious disease as a central plot point, was based on...

...we thought it appropriate to show you what happened to the earlier movie, based on the second Bantam Doc Savage novel, "Thousand-Headed Man" that was planned, but never reached production!
Comic cover cropped from the paperback art by James Bama
In 1966, with both Bond and Bat-manias at their peak, producers Mark Goodson & Bill Toddman intended to begin a film franchise based on the hot-selling Doc Savage pulp novels being reprinted by Bantam, starting with "The Thousand-Headed Man".
1966 Newsweek article about Doc Savage and the movie. Click to enlarge.
They contracted Chuck Connors, who had recently finished a successful run on the RifleMan tv series to play Doc, and began pre-production.
Then, things stopped dead in their tracks.
It seemed that Conde Nast, who now owned the Street and Smith pulp library, including Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger, didn't own the ancillary media rights to Doc!
Those rights had been retained by co-creator Lester Dent, who had written most of the novels (including "Thousand-Headed Man") under the "Kenneth Robeson" house name.
(Dent, had previously licensed a short-lived radio version of the character, but had been unable to develop a movie or tv version.
When he passed away, his widow retained the multi-media rights.)
Mrs. Dent was more than willing to negotiate, but time was not on the producers' side.
They had already scheduled the production, and had to start shooting something or lose their investment and the cast, most of whom had commitments scheduled after the Thousand-Headed Man shoot!
To recoup, the producers switched to an already-existing Western script called Night of the Tiger, and shot it as Ride Beyond Vengeance.
(Westerns at that point were still an "easy sell" to theatres and tv.)
Looking at the Ride Beyond Vengeance cast, it's fairly easy to guess who would've played whom...
Claude Akins as Monk
William Bryant as Renny
Jamie Farr as Johnny
Bill Bixby as Long Tom
Gary Merrill or Paul Fix as Calvin Copeland
Kathryn Hays as Lucille Copeland
Not sure who would've played Sen Gat
The cast also included Frank Gorshin and James MacArthur.
In the early 1970s, the character's rights were sold to legendary movie producer George Pal, who produced Doc Savage: the Man of Bronze, starring Ron Ely, in 1974.
The Thousand-Headed Man was eventually a radio mini-series for NPR, who had scored great ratings with radio versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Bronze Bonuses
Here's the original pulp cover...
 ...the rarely-seen British paperback, published at the same time as the 1975 Ron Ely feature film, and, oddly enough, based on the James Bama art for #14, The Fantastic Island...
...and the official cd release of the radio show adaptation!
...adapting the unused radio show serial scripts by Lester Dent!
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Doc Savage
The Man of Bronze

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Captain's Library / CoronaVirus Comics NYOKA THE JUNGLE GIRL "Jungle Fever Fury! Chapter Two: Appearance of the Ghost!"

...when Nyoka tries to put an end to the awful death toll claimed by the most horrendous enemy of the Jungle People, swamp fever...her life hangs in the balance as she battles twin terrors...disease and ignorance!
(BTW, you haven't missed a chapter!
The first part of this post appeared on our "sister" RetroBlog Heroines!)
You'll see the conclusion to this tale...
Next Week
Like the two serials featuring Nyoka; Jungle Girl and Perils of Nyoka, this never-reprinted story from Fawcett's Nyoka the Jungle Girl #56 (1951) was broken up into chapters ending in cliffhangers!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

CoronaVirus Captain's Library STAR WARS "Touch of the Goddess" Conclusion

...well, we haven't seen this...yet!
Luke, Lando, Han, and Chewbacca seek to return two stolen statues of "The Dancing Goddess" and "The Minstrel" to give the terminally-ill population of Godo comfort in their last days.
Han deduces the missing statues are part of a gigantic part-organic machine disguised as a temple which, when functioning, suppressed the epidemic!
While Han and Luke head to recover The Minstrel, Lando and Chewbacca seek out The Dancing Lady, currently in the possession of Drebble, a rival...scoundrel...

If only Covid-19 could be dealt with so easily...
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(which reprints this story)

Monday, May 4, 2020

CoronaVirus Captain's Library STAR WARS "Touch of the Goddess" Part 1

Thought we couldn't find a Star Wars story involving disease or sickness...
... to include in our #coronavirus comics series and celebrate #maythefourthbewithyou ?
Then you must not know us as well as you think!
While this is part of a post-Return of the Jedi story arc, the previous events are of little consequence to understanding this particular tale.
All you need to know is provided by some convenient expositional dialogue...
Will out intrepid Star Warriors succeed?
Perhaps the cover will clue you in!
Written by Jo Duffy, penciled by Ron Frenz and inked by Sam DeLaRosa, Marvel's Star Wars #99 (1985) was part of a longer story arc.
As of this date, the entire original Marvel run is considered non-canon...or an alternate universe where elements of major events occurred...but many relatively-minor events didn't!
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(which reprints this story)