Tuesday, November 30, 2010

William Campbell: The Squire of Gothos

No! It ain't Liberace! It's worse!
Credit: Paramount Pictures
William Campbell: The Squire of Gothos

    Jay Agan

"The Squire of Gothos". A Star Trek (tos) episode some don't like, but for some strange reason, I do. It has some elements I would usually dislike in other shows. A quirky, plummy character, acting more like comic relief than serious. (General Trelane,ret.) A fantasy setting with a fairy tale feel, it borders on a Lost In Space episode. (A show I detest.)

Yet, everyone else plays it straight, taking the situation seriously in regard to Gen. Trelane being the real threat he is.

I guess that's why I like this one. In spite of the general coming accross as such a goofy ham, what with his silly grin, exagerated mannerisms, and over the top theatrics, at the same time........you KNOW this guy is dangerous. Yes, it turns out in the end he's really just a kid with a lot of growing up to do. But what a deadly, calculating one.

William Campbell did a great job portraying this character. It would have been cool to have seen Trelane in other episodes. (Instead, Campbell was wasted as another character in that one very execrable episode.) Were they thinking of Trelaine when they came up with Q in Next Generation?

Kind of makes me wonder how Vincent Price would have handled this role. Now THERE is someone I would like to have seen in Trek!

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen & Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet (MGM 1956)
Photo credit: MGM Studios

                                                               IN MEMORIUM

                                                             LESLIE NIELSEN


                                                He made me laugh more than once.

                          Ongoing thread at the Classic Horror Film Board here: CHFB.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Bad Movie Experiences

Some Bad Movie Experiences
Jay Agan

Military school, late 60s, rec hall, Wednesday night. Don't let nuns pick your movies! This one was particularly cruel & unusual. Carusel turned me off to musicals forever. We had a choice either watching this ultra-turkey or study hall. Should have taken study hall. (Sing & dance! Dance & sing! la la la la laaaah! Diddley dee! diddley doe! La la la la laaaah! Aaaaargh!) All that krap and hardly a story to be found.

Another military school vignette. This time the Vatican I types scored right but I only came to appreciate this flick later in life. AIPs' Pit & the Pendulum. It moved kinda slow for me until "Uncle Vince" and the gang disinterr the corpse. Hit me like a ton of plutonium bricks! Later that night & early morning, I'm surrounded by a hundred other snoozing cadets & I can't sleep! I KNEW Elizabeth was waiting out in the dark to get me!

High School Social(ist) Studies assignment: Watch West Side Story tonight. For some reason our educators & zampolits had the idea this would raise our conciousness about inner city "culture". From the moment of the first pirouette in the first "fairy fight", I knew something was terribly wrong with this movie. I was actually grateful for the commercial interruptions as I could take frequent bathroom breaks. This garbage had me going at both ends. (Leonard Bernstien, I absolutely loathe you. Tonight! Tonight! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Tonight! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Waah! Waah! Waah! Waaaah! Tonite!Toooooniiiiite! TOOOONIIIIITE! Geeze! Holy stinkin' krud!)

Bad movie experience: Seeing a scary movie with a certain girlfriend. Fun movie experience: The same scary movie with that same certain girlfriend. 1979. Had been going with this young lady a few weeks. It didn't even cross my mind how she would react to a horror flick.

Phantasm. Right arm around her ladyship. Everything smooth sailing. Until the floating, bladed, steel ball smacks into the hapless extras' face & starts drilling, blood shooting out the back.

Pain. Deep, dull/sharp, shooting, excriuciating agony in my right shoulder. Through my watering eyes I could see she had rammed her forehead into my shoulder in an effort to look away from the screen. Kid had a head like a rock! Strong too. Try as I might, I couldn't pry her noggin off. If it weren't for the sensation of needing some bones set, I would've enjoyed this. Shoulder hurt for over a week. I think this is why I have arthritis in that shoulder today.

On later outings, she knew not to react so violently. She'd strain the movies through her hands over her face. Said she hated these films but always insisted on seeing them.

I remember an epic arguement we had over a flick that wasn't so much a horror film as it was a horror. I had seen Cruising with a friend the week before. She to had already seen it & insisted on seeing it again. No way. There are some things I won't do for love.

I really miss her.

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Darn Tribbles, Darn Troubles

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Darn Tribbles, Darn Troubles


Jay Agan

School days. Ah memories. I'll treasure them always. Not! Only the overachievers, jocks, and social butterflies will ever be fond of the high school pressure cooker. Any good memories of that time was from not being there.

One set of good times involved Star Trek (tos). I'd become aquainted with it during its initial network run in the late 60s. In military school, the nuns would (grudgingly) let us watch it ("Cadets don't whistle, chew gum, read comic books, watch cool stuff on tv, have fun, etc.").

I recall the "ruckus" that came up when it got cancelled. Not having been a full bore Trek weenie, I didn't experience the crippling depression afflicting believers. Some disappointment, yes, as it was (then) novel and different. There was so little intelligent sci-fi on tv, (still that way), and if the nuns didn't like it, it had to be good.

Thanks to the zeal and enthusiasm of the fans, stations across the country aired it a lot through syndication in the 70s. WLWC (now WCMH) ch. 4 was the central Ohio Trek pioneer. The time slot was (I think.) 5-6 PM. It didn't matter if it was a school night, (We weren't allowed to watch tv mon-thur.), I'd sneak down the celler and tune in on our older set. I'll always be grateful to the staff of 4 for including Trek in their programming (well into the 80s). A good daily dose of Trek helped in recovery from the indoctrination of several hours before. Usually but not always.

There was, however, an annoying glitch in 4s' Trek scheduling. A glaring defect, sharply curtailing my enjoyment of the show. A nuisance, so vexing, it drove me to obsessive distraction: The Trouble With Tribbles.

On first seeing it in the late 60s, I sorta' liked it. Cutsey, funny, not all that great though. Little was I to know TWT would later become the very fuel powering the ch. 4 Star Trek machine. I understand the station showing the more popular eps more often. Ad revenue and all. But ..... The Trouble with Tribbles? Every other day? Yeah, I exaggerate. It only seemed that way. It could have been once a week, or at least twice a month. Aw what the heck! It was on too dang often!

There I'd be on the bus home. Mixed feelings at conflict in my brain."Star Trek! Oh boy! Oh boy! Yeah! Trek! Please no TWT! Oh golly! Oh yeah! No TWT! Please! Please! PLEASE!"

And seemingly, more often than not. After a particularly depressing day of scholastic brainwashing, there it was, in all its fuzzy non-glory, The Trouble With Tribbles. (Aghh! That's it! I'm doing my homework!)

Why? Why this one? "All the time?" They played the other "top 20" to death too, but not seemingly every time I turned around. Arena, The Changeling, The Doomsday Machine, etc. These I could understand. They were great. But TWT? What a nauseatingly, sickeningly saccharine, piece of crud! It got to the point where I'd be ecstatic to see Miri, Turnabout Intruder, The Empath, or any of the other of the least popular ones.

I've no proof but I suspect there was a group of 5 or 6 Trek weenies in Columbus, constantly calling the station & urging them on (Ooo! Ooo! Can we see TWT again?! Huh? Please?! TWT! Ooo! Ooo!"). I recall a particularly annoying one (who shall remain nameless) showing up at wargame gatherings bugging the crap out of everyone over Trek. (Claimed he was a rear admiral in Starfleet in charge of research.) He had to have been the ringleader.

At a place I worked at in the 90s, we had a tv. 4 had a Trek marathon one Sunday, 8AM-8PM. The top 12 of all time. Naturally, we enjoyed ourselves as we went about our tasks. An older fellow I worked with (left the scene due to cancer) was a sci-fi fan as well. I was pretty much down on Trek weenies and he would kid me a lot about me being a "trekkie" as I knew more about the show than I cared to. (I like the show a lot. It's not my reason for being, however.) I found his word for word co-recital of Celia Lovskys' lines from the duel in the Amok Time episode to be quite amusing.

Things got a little tense as the marathon wore on. We knew TWT was in there somewhere. (He hated it too.) We KNEW an hour long bout of hypoglycemic, pseudo-cuteness was approaching .There were a few tense moments during the "A Piece of the Action" ep. (He didn't like that one either. I always did. Criminals as politicians? Never happen!)

As it turned out, TWT was the last one, thus the best "voted". As we were prepping to close that hour, we didn't care. Still don't.

I'll always have a place in my heart for Star Trek (tos), but not for "The Trouble With Tribbles". Those in love with TWT are TWiTs!

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kennedy Kurses!

                                                              Kennedy Kurses!
                                                                               Jay Agan

     November of '88. Had been back a few months in Ohio after a 4 year stint in Jersey. Was back to start what I thought was going to be a new life & career (Can't complain. Took my chances, made my chioces.)
     It was the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination & I'm stuck as a telemarketer for a cheap-jack insulation company that shall remain nameless. I'm into my mid-30s & the kids there were 20-somethings. One gets the idea I'm a piece of living history & would I be so kind as to relate my experience of one of the 20th centurys' defining moments? Sure.
     I was in Miss McIlvoys' third grade class at St. Vincents in Mt. Vernon. Principle gets on the pa & announces the pres got shot & to pray for the repose of his soul. Then some creepy choir music was piped in. One kid (who also shall remain nameless) got to laughing over it. Other kids got quiet. I didn't feel affected at all. On the bus home, the high & jr. high kids speculated over what few details they got on the news. Again, no big deal as far as I was concerned. I get home, turn on the set. News. At this hour?
     "Jay! The presidents' been shot!" Mom calmly explained to me. And?
     Later, it dawned on me. What?! No cartoons?! It was that serious enough to keep me from watching my weekly U.S.D.A. required dose of brain rot? I didn't think so.
     Needless to say, the kiddies at work weren't too thrilled over this first hand account of MY ENCOUNTER WITH HISTORY(!) (Insert light show here.). One he-bitch whined indignantly over my cheating him out of some hoped for profound insight.
     Strange as it seems, coming from a film fan, but I never was into hype & the cult of celebrity. Especially when it comes to politicians of whatever stripe.
    What did these fools expect from me? Something sage sounding & momentous? An unforgetable anecdote from one who was "in the moment"? Oh, come on! I was a kid. 9 years old. As a child, I thought & lived as one. I had a childs' priorities. And it was through the eyes of one I remember it.
    I'm not trying to be mean or callous about this. It was a terrible thing that happened. BUT:

   Anyone who was a little kid at that time telling you about "a profound sense of loss", etc. is full of it. He/she was just as ticked off as I was about no cartoons that dreary Thanksgiving weekend in November '63. Nuff said.

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Azumanga Daioh: Too.....Much.....Cute

Azumanga Daioh "group shot". L-R Koyomi "Yomi" Mizuhara, Ayumu
"Osaka" Kasuga, Chiyo-chan Mihama, Sakaki, Kagura, & Tomo Takino.
Credit: Kiyohiko Azuma, Dengeki Daioh, J. C. Staff & ADV
                                  Azumanga Daioh: Too.....Much.....Cute

                                                                   Jay Agan

  One of the shows I've put off bothering with (Not my kind of anime.) is Azumanga Daioh. On glancing at articles & seeing illustrations in passing, I concluded it was another of those insufferably cute shows for girls. Having just aquired hi-speed internet & nothing better to do, I decided to take this one in. Glad I did.

  The show is about several young women going through grades 10-12 & the situations (surreal & otherwise.) they encounter. Summer/winter semesters with their attendant classes, sports/culture fests, holidays/vacations & general "slice of life" high school experience. This story arc is repeated for each grade. While one might think this to be boring, there is more than enough variation keeping this series interesting throughout. The characters themselves keep things moving, lively &, at times, have you busting a gut laughing.

  The "cast" members are stories unto themselves:

  Excrutiatingly cute child prodigy, Chiyo Mihama: Top scholar in class but still with the mind of a child. Doing her best socializing with classmates five years older. Her "cooking is so fun" segment from episode one almost had me calling the EMS over what I feared was a sugar OD. This seemed to innoculate me for the rest of the series so I was able to continue.

  Remote, alienated Sakaki: Taller than most of the boys at school & quite self concious of it. Everyone misreads her detatchment as "being cool". Oh yes. She wants a kitty.....so.....bad (Can't have one. Parent allergies.). Cats don't seem to like her much. One in particular almost always puts the bite on her when she tries to pet it. You'd think it would occure to her the critter might be rabid.

  Sadistic, hyperactive, ritalin deprived, Tomo Takino: I'm against drugging children to make them compliant in school, but in this case, maybe they should put this one to sleep! LOUD (!) with a capitol loud & always roughhousing or ranking on someone (Usually Yomi.). Also likes messing with Chiyos' mind. ("Okinawa! OH KIN AH WAA!" "Oh! Shut up!")

  Studious, sensible, weight concious, Kayomi "Yomi" Mizuhara: A stabilising force in the group. Good for giving an occasional sock to the jaw of the hyperactive one. In spite of her exasperation with Tomo, they're actually good friends.

  Athletic go-getter Kagura: In a one sided sports/coolness competition with Sakaki. Not above participating in some of Tomos' stunts.

  Spacey, other worldly, Ayumu "Osaka" Kasuga: Originally from (Where else?) Osaka. Her mind, from somewhere beyond there.

  Whacked language teacher, Yukari Tanizaki: You'd think she was related to Tomo, the way she acts. Likes playing head games with everyone. Her teaching "style" is unique to say the least. Also drives like a freakin' maniac!

  Caring, attentive, phys-ed teacher Minamo Kurosawa: Another stabilising force & guardian of the kids, standing between them an a certain "strange" litt. teacher.

  Obsessive, lesbian wannabe, Kaorin: Has a crush on Sakaki (Who is either oblivious or just very good at ignoring it.). Constantly "beating herself over the head" about it. (Geez kid. Get a boyfriend or three. Find out what it's like on the "other bank of the river".)

  Unsuccessful pedophile, litt. teacher Kimura: This guy needs to be locked up! As the kids know what he is from the start & avoid him like the plague, the character is played for laughs. I had to keep reminding myself that Japanese humor is a little.....uh.....different.

  The latter two characters would pretty much keep this show off saturday mornings here & on Adult Swim. I admit, I laughed my butt off over some of the situations they were in. Howsomever, the scenes of Kimura focusing his attention on Kaorin are creepy to say the least. (Is it any wonder the kid is such an emotional basket case at times?)

  While not rushing out to buy the show (Again, not my kind of anime.), I must say I enjoyed watching it & even got a little sad when it concluded. It is, with some reservations, I recommend it to an older crowd.

  So. Do Kaorins' dreams come true? (Oh for cryin' out loud!) Does Kimura Score? (Good Lord! No!) Do the kids graduate let alone pass their college entrance exams? And, most importantly, does Sakaki finally reconcile with the little, gray, piranha kitty? (This is what had me follow this series to the end.) See the series & find out!

                                       Article copyright © 11-18-10 Jay Agan

Addendum: Some months after I wrote this article, I "broke down" & bought this series. Why? It's cute, funny, simple yet sophisticated & doesn't try to insult ones' intelligence. The only bad thing about this series is the ending. You DON'T want it to end (The graduation scene is a minor tear jerker!). The only recourse is to start the show over. Rats!

Azumanga Daioh article: Where Are They Now? here.

Azumanga Daioh, The Abridged Series: An Episodic Review here.

Azumanga Daioh: Well THAT Was Dumb here.

Azumanga Daioh X Peanuts: Some Ruminations here.

Beyond Wrong & Wonderful: An Evangelion/Azumanga Daioh Crossover Fan Fiction here.

Not So Oblivious: An Azumanga Daioh Sakakai/Kaorin Fan Fiction here.

Wikipedia review here.

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Twilight Zone Moment

Photo credit: Cayuga Prod., CBS Television

A Twilight Zone Moment
Jay Agan

Twilight Zone. Man, who can forget that classic tv show. Rod Serling scared the bejabbers out of millions of kids & warped their little minds forever. Bent mine for sure ... And someone elses'.

"It'll scare you & you'll have nightmares." Mom was rather adamant about stuff like this. We weren't allowed to watch TZ, Outer Limits, or any other cool stuff. According to her, Lassie was the stuff of darkness. I think she was being overly protective.

"Don't play with that beach ball. You'll put your eye out!" You get the idea.

Maybe it was a lapse in judgement. Maybe at Dad's urging, Halloween coming up, or some kind of cosmic disconnect. But one Friday in October of 63, we got to see The Twilight Zone. Gilligans' Island (Good grief!) ended & Zone started up. Cool!

"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", starring some obscure scene chewer who was to become a lot more familiar a few years later. (We all love ya, Bill!)

"Twas a dark & stormy night, etc." Twin engine Convair plowing through the gloom. Dramatic buildup as the poor slob becomes cognizant of the fuzzy gremlin tampering with the port engine, no one believing him. We kids, glued to the tube, not once taking our eyes off the screen. Watching.....watching.

I think we held up pretty good. That is, until.....

Tension at its peak. Window curtains closed. Shatners' character, fresh out of the loony bin, trying in vain to convince himself that what he's seeing couldn't possibly be real. There's no plushy critter out on the wing messing with the engine. No demon bringing passengers & crew to their doom. An illusion, an hallucination. That's what the docs back at the booby hatch would say.

Finally, he can't take it any longer. Hands slowly reach for the curtains & he whips them open.

And peering ... right back in at him ... it's ... "Mr. Weird"!

A very high pitched keening sound came from behind, then a thump! splat!, vibrations ran through the floor & up my back.

I turned to the left, finding Mom trying to peel youngest brother off the wall. She almost needed a spatula! He wasn't going to let some formidable barrier get in the way of getting away! If this was a 'toon, he would have left a kid shaped hole.

Fast forward. Christmas of 95. We draw names out of a hat to economize on gifts. I drew youngest brothers' & get him a couple of vhs tapes. Zone episodes. One of which was his "favorite".

He looks at them. Then at me with that toothy smile of his:

"Gee ... thanks ... PRICK!"

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dubs n' Subs

                                                                 Dubs n' Subs
                                                                             Jay Agan

    I grew up on dubs. When I started being cognizant of movies in the late 50s, I noticed lip movement in some wasn't consistant with the heard dialogue. It was explained some flicks weren't made in the U.S. & came from where English wasn't spoken much if at all. The actors' voice was substituted with that of someone who could speak English. As a kid, I was somewhat fascinated by that. If a foriegn flick I might like was on tv, I would ignore the lip/voice inconsistancy & enjoy the show. Getting older, I likened it to the "universal translation device" on Star Trek (tos).

    Then as now, there were good dubs & bad ones. I'm not as stringent as some. If the length of dialogue matches that of mouth movement, I'm ok with it. I've seen really bad ones (long spaces of heard dialogue/no lip movement or lots of lip movement/no sound.) Some were even funny.

     I accept the fact sound is in English & lip movement is in Japanese, Italian, etc. The main thing for me is to enjoy the show. If the dialogue stays within original intent & meaning, things are fine by me (A Film like, Woody Allens' What's Up Tiger Lilly, being a hilarious exception!).

     At times I've found subtitles necessary. A foriegn film with no English track, obviously. There have been times a film has a mush mouthed actor who shouldn't be in movies. Subs have helped there as well.

     As can be seen, I pretty much prefer dubs over subs in general. Other reasons:

     1. I've spoken English all my life thus most comfortable with it. (I've studied Spanish & Japanese in the past. Those are stories for another day.)

     2. Continuity concerns. I find shifting eyes from viewing to reading & back to be somewhat discombobulating. I prefer to do one thing at a time. At times I miss something & have to back up the film to re-view/reread.

     3. Some say if you want to get full meaning & nuance, subs are the way to go. Doesn't seem that way to me. At times they come across as rather "flat". There's a difference between "transliterated to English" & spoken English.

    4. Some anime "should" be in English from the get-go. Black Lagoon, Lady Georgie, & Steamboy come to mind.

    5. There are animes "crude" enough the mouth movement doesn't match Japanese. Why complain if it doesn't match English?

    6. Most anime characters look so "European", they might as well be speaking English. Or Icelandic for that matter.

                                                        Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spooky Little non-Encounter

                                                    Spooky Little non-Encounter
                                                                            Jay Agan

    To many cartoon fans, the voice, if not the name, of Paul Frees is familiar. A veteran of quite a few shows, he's best known  as Boris Badenov (Jay Wards' Rocky & Bullwinkle) and the Burgermeister Meister Burger (Rankin/Bass' Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town).

    Not only a voice over in toons, he also did many bit parts in a number of films, (War of the Worlds, The Thing From Another World, Jet Pilot, Suddenly, etc.) and dubbed foriegn films, sometimes as more than one character. In some English language movies, he was called on when an actors voice was unintelligable or didn't come over well. (Flight From Aishiya, Taras Bulba.) Commercials (Raid!) were also a staple of his.

    I was living in New Jersey at the time of his death (66) in 1986. It was with some sadness as I read the news of his passing in the Bergen Record.Two Weeks later, I was pulling out the factory gate after a long night as computer operator, and more than ready to turn in. Radio was tuned to WABC when a new Diamond Walnuts ad came on. Concluding with a familiar voice emoting that companys' slogan:


    The guy was dead two weeks and still working! Hats off to ya sir. You're still missed.

                                                    Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Part 2

                                         Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Part 2
                                                                         Jay Agan

  1. The Kaiju of Haruhi Suzumiya (American release title: Haruhi vs Godzilla)- A humungous closed space forms just north of Tokyo, & something other than "blue meanies" is stomping around inside. This, as a result of Haruhi retiring after an extended bout with some bad movies & a peanut butter & anchovy pizza. Itsuke & company have more than their hands full.

  2. In a universe.....threatened by the ultimate evil.....comes the ultimate heroine.

                                           FAN SERVICE IN SPACE!
                                          Well. She is ultimate after all.

  3. Nagakohime- He.....was a future world leader.
      The Fujiwara sisters..... were part of his entourage.
      She.....was the brash tomboy wanting to tag along.
      He.....was at first, turned off, then amused.
      They.....tried to disuade her.
      She.....would not be denied!
      Just another dumb romance/harem anime, right?
      For those who get the joke, no explanation is needed. For those who don't, crack open a history book.

  4. Easy Rider Kino- After Kino meets up with Wyatt, Billy, & George, she finds one doesn't necessarily need a motorad to take a trip. She also spends more than 3 days/2 nights in the Big Easy.

  5. Curley, Larry, & Moe'- Moe is out of town & his niece stops by for a visit. Can two stooges cope with a sickenly cute little girl whose disposition is nastier than her uncles'? Soitenly! (NOT!) Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

  6. Paprika Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme- Mrs. Tokita? I believe you're trying to seduce me.

  7. Shuffle! Cut! Deal!- Who dealt me this mess?

  8. Heck Girl- "You will never know the joys of Heaven. You will wander through a world of aggravation & whiney annoyance. There to remain for eternity."

  9. Full Metal Panic Attack, Fumufu- Due to budget cuts at Mithril, any damage to the school will be paid for out of Sagaras' own pocket. He will owe way beyond death.
  10. Attack of the Killer Cicadas- If you watch anime, you know they're out there. Mostly heard, rarely seen. Watching. Waiting. Massing to strike. Sequel to The Cicada That Ate Kyoto.
                                                   Article copyright © Jay Agan             

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Pt. 1

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Pt. 3


Monday, November 8, 2010

Sonny Gave It Strait

                                                         Sonny Gave It Strait


                                                                           Jay Agan

     Sometime in Autumn, 2003. I'm out on the lot bringing in shopping carts at a place that shall remain nameless. Unlike most of my fellow employees, I actually liked getting karts all day. I'm outside, getting some exercise, & best of all, am away from the public (God bless 'em. Grrrrr!). Wheeling another load in, I noticed a Hummer pulling in. The earlier, discontinued, large model, glossy black, with Dragonball Z characters painted on. Huh? Some otaku with more money than brains? Had to check this out.

     Though I recognized the images (Goku, Krillin, etc.) on the vehicle, I'm no fan of that particular anime. I'd seen bits & pieces of that loud, garish, repetitive show while channel surfing. I actually had seen a few whole episodes of the original Dragonball & found them quite funny. But DBZ? Ugh! I recollect one fellow commenting there were 350+ episodes & taking out the flashbacks/repeats you'd have about 75. Simple intros/faceoffs would take more than one ep before a fight would start. Shoot! Even Pokemon's more involved plotwise.

     As two guys pile out, I notice some kids gathering round. Turns out to be a promotional for the shows' trading card game & one of the guys is Sonny Strait, voice of Krillin & other characters in the English dubs. Feeling snarky, I try to needle him.

     "Hate the show, it hurts my eyes."

     He patiently explains the effect the creators wanted was the basic five color scheme used in comics and funny papers.

     "What's the show about? All I see are a bunch of costumed goons beating each other up."

     "That's exactly what the show is about!" Pointing in the air with a flourish, smile on his face, not rattled at all.

     Not getting the reaction I wanted, (No snobbery or pretentiousness. Dang!), I turned back to retrieving karts. "Well, it could be worse. It could be Sailor Moon."

     Only a chuckle in reply. Years down the road, someone commented he probably got a lot of crap from "fans" and knew how to handle it. I guess so!

     A half hour later, I spot Mr. Strait in the stores' cafeteria. Feeling more civilized, I question him on the voice acting field & he graciously answered my inquiries. The guy has class.

     This was one of several instances that led me to pursue a career in the field myself, (A story{s} for maybe later.) & I won't forget it.

                                                   Article copyright © Jay Agan


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dr. Strangelove: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Annihilation


              Dr. Strangelove: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Annihilation


                                                                    Jay Agan

       Somewhere in the 90s.

      The Ohio Theatre was going to have a showing of  Stanley Kubricks'Dr. Strangelove that Sunday night. Alright! DS on the big screen. Had to see it. So I get off work, grab a parking space under the Statehouse & go in. Waiting for the flick to start, I look around & notice something familiar about the other patrons.

      This takes a little telling. I had seen Strangelove back in '88 at the Columbus Museum of  "Art" on a much smaller screen. The other attendees were of the "smart" set. You know. "Hipsters", parlor pinks, cocktail commies, etc. Needless to say, I was laughing along with them though for different reasons.

      It was pretty much the same at the Ohio Theater except for one notable exception. Col. Jack D. Rippers' (Sterling Hayden) rant at Capt. Mandrake (Peter Sellers) about flouridation. I remember the '88 audience getting quite a giggle over that one. The threat of flouridation was stock in trade of the whacky right wing back then. So I was pretty much prepared for the "morally annointed" to break up  over it this time around.

      "Great. Here it comes," I thought.

      Weird. Only a muted chuckle here & there, more of a reflex action being suppressed. The vast majority of the attendees were quiet. Even attentive. What the......?

       It was the only "bad" part of an enjoyable viewing experience. I pondered it for days.

      A couple regular customers at work clued me in after telling them about it: Between then & "now", government health studies found flouride to be a carcinogen. Guess Col. Ripper wasn't as much a whack job as originally thought. From commie plot to health hazzard. Who'd a thunk it?

                                                   Article copyright © Jay Agan


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Pt. 1

                                          Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really. Pt. 1
                                                                         Jay Agan

  1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Hirohito- She didn't mean to set the world on fire but that's the way it turned out. As usual, Hideki Kyon gets the blame.

  2. Surreal Experiments Lain- Just gets weirder & weirder.

  3. Cowboy Boogie- Young Jack Spiegle is on the run from organized crime & hasn't a clue as to why  they want him dead. Hiding on Earth at his his great uncle Doohans' salvage yard, he gets in contact with a husband & wife private investigation team on Mars. The two former bounty hunters (Personal friends of a deceased uncle Jack never met.), throw in & help with his problem.
     Along the way, Jack falls head over heels (Sometimes literally!) for a singular, loopy, red haired, data tech genius/entrepreneur. And what's up with that strange little dog of hers?

  4. Outlaw Superstar- Melfina has disappeared under more than mysterious circumstances. Gene, Jim, & Gilliam set out to find her. A certain beast babe, & an even more certain asassin for hire, join in with their own agendas for locating her.

     Fred breaks down & marries Reiko, finding out how "the other half" lives.

  5. FLCLSMFT- Alien babe on a Vespa, looking for a lost "boyfriend", whacking folks over the head with a bass guitar. And she's a heavy smoker.

  6. The Place Promised In Our Early Days But the Politicians/Economy Blew That to Heck & Gone- Title pretty much says it all.

  7. The Angel Beats of Haruhi Suzumiya- The fate of not just the planet, but of the entire universe lies in the hands of the mentally bonked leader of the SOS Brigade. Yuri Nakamura, leader of a rival school "club", & still having it in for God, takes matters into her own hands. Chaos ensues..... more so than usual.

  8. Paranoia Insurance Agent- Pay him but he will hit you anyway.

  9. 5 Centimeters Per Hour- The real long version. You know. The "directors' cut".

  10. Needless- Yes, I know. It's already an anime. An apt title for just about 90% of anime, don't you think?
                                                 Article copyright © Jay Agan

Upcoming Animes. Well Not Really. Pt. 2

Upcoming Animes. Well Not Really. Pt. 3

                                                 Article copyright © Jay Agan

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Reviewing" Movies Not Seen

                                                       "Reviewing" Movies Not Seen


                                                                                  Jay Agan

      It's easy. Especially from a negative stand point. After all, you know what you don't like better than what you do. If a film is about something(s) you don't care for, then you know right off the bat the flick stinks.
      For instance. To me, all musicals are crud. How do I know this, especially in light of the fact I've never seen the vast majority of them? Easy. Nothing ticks me off more than when a story comes to a slamming stop & the "actors" go into a 10+ minute song & dance. So what if the music, coreography, etc. are great? The story's been put abruptly on hold & I have to wait for the grand mal to pass. Get on with the movie for cryin out loud! I swear. If they subtracted the howling & hoofing, most musicals   would be less than half an hour. I exaggerate, but it sure feels that way. I avoid musicals like AIDS & ebola.
      Any film, of a subject matter &/or "message" I don't care for, is one I probably won't like & will not bother to look at. This way, I know a flick is garbage from the start & won't waste my time. I guess that makes me closed minded & lazy. Life is too short for "broadening my horizons".  Too many "good" films are out there to see without drek getting in the way.
     Take Avatar, for instance. I've not seen it, have no intention doing so. I know it's one I won't care for. How so?

     1. Reading the reviews (pro & con, mostly pro) gave warning as to what a pretentious pile of PC it is.

     2. It's been done before. I've seen Return of the Jedi. Dances With Wolves is in my collection, the Ewoks win again (yawn). "Revisionist westerns" aren't my thing.

     3. The previews make it out to be another cgi lightshow (cue the oohs & aahs).

     4. I'm really getting tired of that blue goon smugly leering at me from the dvd shelves at the stores.
     One does not have to see a film in order to make an informed descision. Getting enough info from the warning signs, one does not have to drive into the river to know the bridge is out.

                                                   Article copyright © Jay Agan