Archive for the ‘vintage science fiction’ Tag

Sci-Fi’s Biggest Stars   Leave a comment

King Kong

You hit on something big, you keep it going forever. That seems to be a cardinal rule when it comes to films, at least. So how many times is King Kong going to rampage over the world? As seen above, he was rightly pissed because he’d been forced off of his home, imprisoned within the bowels of a ship, thrown on stage in front of hundreds of gawking theatergoers, chased down by planes and for what? Only to die.

Yeah, sure, it was claimed that beauty killed the beast. He climbed up to the top of the Empire State Building to protect Ann Darrow. But wait a minute – wasn’t she offered as some kind of sacrifice to him on Skull Island? So that begs the question: why bother to rescue her now, if her only function was to use her as bait?

And here we are, back on Skull Island, in 2017, slinging it out with King Kong, his island mates and the interlopers. This time, it’s tough broad Mason Weaver, a pen-carrying, pistol-slinging journalist getting the scoop on the giants that rule this turf. About the only thing missing from this particular picture is…


…Godzilla, another creature who refuses to give up. He’s actually a great example of endurance, capable of destroying anything in his path, and just when you think he’s gone to the big lizard heaven in the sky, he shows up once more, wreaking havoc on society. There’s always a retinue of scientists battling it out with the military, each trying to figure out what’s best for the creature. Generally, it ends in someone’s demise, and quite often and a bit unfairly, it’s Godzilla.

That’s not to say he’s not resurrectable for even more mayhem and destruction. These two icons of animal magnetism slung it out in 1962.


“King Kong v. Gojira (Godzilla)” engaged in some ridiculous, improbable plot line (aren’t they all?) to wreak havoc, all for the sake of a pharmaceutical company’s gimmick.

But hold onto your hats…and if you can wait until 2020, there’s going to be a revisited rematch of these behemoths. Get ready, folks, for a match unknown, unseen and untested since 1962, this’ll be one for the books. Meanwhile, I invite you to watch this dubbed clip of the final fight from the 1962 edition.





Mom, Up With The Stars   7 comments

Glamor Mom

So there I was, a little kid, really, laying on my stomach on the living room floor.   That’s how the small set viewed television, at least back then, when TV sets weren’t flat screens but part of the furniture.  This show, Star Trek, was on and Mom was glued to it.  Only a few years later, she’d do the same with Tom Baker’s version of Dr. Who.

Every Saturday afternoon, she’d turn on Channel 17 in the kitchen and watch whatever horror movies they happened to play.  I’d turn on the set in the living room and watch from the couch.  Mom peeked up from the ironing board, giant pot of dinner or pile of something she happened to be tending to at the time, and me, well, I’d be there, glued in stupefied fascination over the ridiculous plots.  I mean, come on.  A giant moth taking over a city?  I never could get used to lips not moving in sync to the voices that never quite seemed to match up to the person speaking them.

Still, countless Saturday afternoons with Mom went by, watching an enormous man tangle with electric wires as his former girlfriend implored him to stop, or yet another man shrunk down shorter than the grass he hid in contemplating the stars.  Why were the victims generally men?  Sure, occasionally you had the disfigured, angry woman out to kill whomever did this to her, but on the whole, it was some luckless fellow falling down a hole, getting sprayed with a mysterious liquid, blasted by X/gamma/nuclear/unknown rays and having his soul wrenched from him as his body contorted/transformed/vaporized into an unrecognizable mass that wreaked havoc in the nearest city…and always a city.

Mom’s fascination with this stuff naturally influenced mine, except I developed a liking to those story lines that involved spaceships, aliens, misguided off-world adventures, and the like.  I still think one of the best vintage sci-fi films is The Day The Earth Stood Still (the one that stars Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie), and so did Mom.  Klaatu had it going on, and I thought he should have taken Patricia Neal with him, maybe the kid, too.  That would have been a good story.  Neither Mom nor I didn’t think much of the remake with Neo, but it did have its merits.

What Mom didn’t find to satisfy her thirst for science fiction adventure, she found up in the evening skies, when she was so inclined to peek at them.  By the time I was in the sixth grade, I spent many an hour glancing up at them and I always told her what I saw, even showing Comet Kohoutek to her (a MAJOR disappointment).  Occasionally a planet might wander by or an eclipse might occur.  Come to think of it, my first total eclipse of the sun was shared with Mom, back in the 1970s.  How amazing that in the afternoon all the lights went on in the street, the birds stopped singing and a few bright stars appeared as the sun played coy with the moon.  We stood outside, afraid to look at it but in the end taking a quick peek during totality, gasping at that miracle of nature.

As years went by, my mother never lost her love for stuff not readily explainable, either via television or the movies.  Once, she and my father even saw what they believed to be several UFOs flying over the coast, where they lived.  That confirmed their belief by hundreds of reports the next day, covered both in the paper and on the morning news.  We watched as the real Enterprise went piggyback on a plane, then as all the space shuttles, SkyLabs, ISS and anything else that left this planet went up and aided the Earth’s population, scientific and otherwise, to explore whatever lie out there and beyond.

On May 24, 2014, my mother went up there in the heavens to become one with the stars.  I’d like to think she currently resides there, since she took so much interest in them.  She had a very peaceful journey, laying down to take a nap from which she never awoke.  There was nothing truly wrong with her, said the doctor, apart from it was her time.  Mom had 85 action-packed years and I’d like to think they were all incredibly interesting ones.  She leaves behind her family, terribly sorry to see her go and missing her every day.

I couldn’t write a single word of this blog until now.  Nothing came to mind.  Then, just like magic, the memories of how I’d laugh and joke with Mom over those vintage Saturday afternoon sci-fi groaners we used to watch together popped into my mind.

I’d like to think Mom put that there.

Bye, Mom!  I’ll see you in the stars…

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