Friday, March 22, 2019

Wild Is the Wind

Began a windy morning with breakfast and the last two episodes of Man from Atlantis. The "Siren" is a mermaid who has been captured by modern pirates. They use her hypnotic song to lure ships and raid them. Mark and his new co-worker Jenny get involved when one of the ships they raid belongs to a millionaire, whom the pirates capture. Mark has to rescue him, without getting caught in the siren's song.

The final episode is "Deadly Carnival." Two members of a traveling carnival (one is Billy Barty) want to break into a museum, but they need someone who can swim underwater for a long time. C.W convinces Mark to join them. He becomes a sideshow attraction, and is just starting to fall for the female barker for his act when the others realize he's onto them...and they're going to make sure he does what he's told.

And that's it. It was...ok. Not bad, but not great. For one thing, the special effects were pretty obvious and not very good, especially the "monstrous" creatures in "Man 'O War" and "Scavenger Hunt." I know it's TV, but they couldn't have tried to make that giant jellyfish look less like an inflatable toy? And why did the writers feel the need to time travel?" "Giant" and "Shoot-Out at Land's End" are mildly passable - the former introduced the crafty Muldoon, while the latter deals with Mark trying to find his past - but "The Naked Montague" had nothing whatsoever to do with Mark or the rest of the show. I really wish they'd stuck to the ocean instead of trying to toss Shakespeare and Gunsmoke in. At least "C.W Hyde" was adapted from a horror novel that somewhat fit the tone of the show.

Bland characters don't help. Neither Elizabeth nor Jenny in her one appearance really add all that much. C.W is slightly more engaging, especially in the later episodes where he has more to do. Schubert does make for an amusing villain, and Muldoon's funny in his two outings. When the show actually does focus on the "Star Trek Under the Ocean" idea - like with "Man 'O War," "Melt Down," "Imp," and "Siren" - it can actually be pretty interesting.

While I enjoyed it enough that I didn't mind the rental, I'm definitely not going to pay the high price at the Warner Archives for the full show set. If you're more of a sci-fi fan than me or have fond memories of seeing this show in the late 70's, you may find this a lot more to your taste than I did.

Headed out as soon as "Deadly Carnival" ended. It was cloudy, cold, and windy when I made my way to the Oaklyn Library to return the DVDs. There were two men working on the lights in the children's area. I only lingered long enough to give the DVDs a look-over and take out a double-feature set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Starman and The Flash: Season One, which I never finished when I had it out that one time a few years ago.

Dodged lunch traffic on Nicholson Road as I headed for the Acme to do some grocery shopping. The sales weren't nearly as good this week, but there were still things I needed. Grabbed ground turkey on clearance and the Belvita sandwich cookies on a good sale with an online coupon; also had an online coupon for the Acme's organic blue corn chips. Cooking spray and organic tea were buy one, get one. Restocked oranges, pears, bananas, yogurt, butter, sandwich bags, tissues, skim milk, cereal (the generic Acme brand was the cheapest - got bran flakes), cheese, muffin papers, mandarin orange cups, and chocolate chips.

I'm not entirely happy with my schedule this week. In good news, slightly more hours. In frustrating news, I don't have another day off until next Friday, although I do get Friday and Saturday off. Why couldn't they have separated my days off? At least none of my hours are terribly long, and I work later on Sunday.

Spent the rest of the day at home. As soon as I got in, I put everything away, then made an orange-banana smoothie for lunch. Watched a couple of episodes of Danger Mouse from Series 9 while I organized and ate. DM has to deal with not one, but two versions of his hamster buddy in "Penfold Transformed." Dr. Crumhorn has captured Penfold and made a robotic version that can turn into a killing machine (in what's likely a parody of Transformers). Not to be outdone, Greenbach tosses his lackey Stiletto into a Penfold suit. DM's just wondering why his partner is a lot more competent than usual.

"I Spy With My Little Eye" two confused spies who find themselves in the Arctic when Greenbach sends all the Inuit sun lamps to melt the ice caps and flood the world. DM has to keep him from pulling this off...and remind him that most Inuit don't exactly have electricity.

They have "A Dune With a View" when they're stranded in the Sahara Desert after their car runs out of fuel. They find themselves lost and wandering in circles, hoping to find fuel, water, or just a way to avoid the sudden sand storms and the narrator acting barmier than usual.

Worked on writing for a while after that. I once again re-wrote Luke's entrance. He's reading a comic book in his uncle's van when two guys jump in. They tell him they're being chased by bad guys and need to get to a certain comics shop on Kirby Street. Luke tells them he'll take them, but he has to stop at his uncle's first. His uncle is less than thrilled about Luke's reading habits and refuses to let him got to the shop. Besides his disapproval of comics, it's not in the best neighborhood.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. The clouds that had gathered all afternoon had just burst when I started making baked turkey burgers and red potato fries in the oven, but the shower ended as soon as it began, and the gales returned. Tried to shred cabbage, celery, and carrot in the food processor for cole slaw, but it made it too fine. Oh, well. It still tasted pretty good, especially when mixed with scallions and my own home-made mayo dressing.

Finished the night before and after my shower with the 1941 serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel. No, not the female character currently in theaters. This is based after the next superhero we'll be seeing in theaters, the one now known as Shazam. Instead of meeting the wizard on a train (as in the trailers for Shazam), a teenage Billy Batson (Frank Coghlan, Jr.) encounters him on an archaeological dig with six scientists and his good friends Betty (Louise Currie) and Whitey (Bill Benedict). Billy was granted powers because he didn't accompany everyone else into the room with the Golden Scorpion, a device featuring six quartz lenses that could destroy the world in the wrong hands. Each scientist takes one of the lenses to assure that it can only be used by the entire group...but a hooded mastermind called the Scorpion is picking them off one by one. Billy, Louise, and Whitey have to figure out how to keep the lenses out of the Scorpion's hands...and Captain Marvel has to get all of them out of some pretty tight situations!

Evidently, in the 40's, Captain Marvel was bigger than Superman, which accounts for how he became the first superhero to make it to the big screen. If the movie that's supposed to come out next month is half as much fun as the serial, we're in for a real treat. Tim Tyler was born to be the granite-jawed Captain, who can throw mooks around without breaking a sweat. The Scorpion's fairly menacing as well, and the mystery with who wants to off the scientists is actually pretty interesting.

This is one of the very, very few classic serials currently on Blu-Ray, which attests to just how well-regarded it is. If you love the character and want to get a general idea of him before the movie comes out next month, you may want to look around for this one.

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