MORE WILD, WILD WEST (1980)

The three-day Frontierado Holiday weekend starts this Friday, August 7th. (Well, technically the good times start Thursday night, August 6th.)

more wild wild westMORE WILD, WILD WEST (1980) – Awhile back, Balladeer’s Blog reviewed the 1979 telefilm The Wild, Wild West Revisited, the previous reunion movie for the 1965-1969 Robert Conrad series in which he starred as wild west Secret Service Agent Jim West. Regular readers may remember that I tore that tv movie to pieces, on the grounds that it was more like a failed comedy than a sequel to the fun action series of the 60s.

This second attempt at a Wild, Wild West reunion special was – against all odds – EVEN WORSE. It repeated all the horrible decisions of the first one while introducing new creative disasters of its own.

more wild wild west 2Robert Conrad was back as Jim West with Ross Martin once again appearing as his sidekick Artemus Gordon. But that’s about all that went right.

From the very start More Wild, Wild West was bizarrely unoriginal. EXACTLY LIKE its predecessor it opened up with the retired Jim West, still a ladies man, getting interrupted mid-erection and Artemus Gordon, still a ham actor, getting called away from a stage career for “one last mission.” The characters frequently refer to the previous movie, so it’s not like you can say they were trying to erase the memory of the first one and start over. Continue reading

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JOE BIDEN’S TOP THIRTY BLOOPERS (SO FAR)

Joe Biden senileThank you to the BERNIE BROS who made me aware of this video compilation of the Top Thirty Bloopers so far by the senile, demented and corrupt Joe Biden. Watch this and you’ll realize part of the reason that President Trump’s approval rating just reached another high in Rasmussen Polls and is, in fact, higher than Obama’s approval rating was at this same time in 2012! 

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LATITUDE ZERO (1969)

Latitude ZeroLATITUDE ZERO (1969) – Just as absence makes the heart grow fonder, the unavailability of certain movies over extended periods lends them a certain mystique that they can’t possibly live up to when they are finally released once again to the public. Recently Balladeer’s Blog dealt with this while reviewing the long locked-away movie Toomorrow, starring a young Olivia Newton John. Now it’s Latitude Zero‘s turn.

This Toho Studios movie is noted for being the final collaboration among Director Ishiro Honda, Special Effects Artist Eiji Tsubaraya and Musical Conductor Akira Ifukube. A few decades back Latitude Zero was locked away in the Toho vaults and was unavailable on home video, leaving all of us fans of cult movies panting for the day when it would be re-released.

Latitude Zero picUnfortunately, it’s neither the “science fiction classic” nor the “so bad it’s good masterpiece” that it was hyped as during its period in video exile. A bathysphere containing two scientists and a newsman is rescued from destruction by a futuristic submarine and taken to an underwater utopia. Japan misleadingly marketed the movie as if it was a sequel to Atragon, oddly enough. 

The usual Raymond Burr Syndrome applies as we get American actors sprinkled in with the Japanese performers. Continue reading

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LAS VEGAS, NM AND THE DODGE CITY GANG

The Frontierado Holiday is coming up this Friday, August 7th! Balladeer’s Blog will be squeezing in some more seasonal posts until that grand event kicks off on the upcoming three-day weekend. Frontierado focuses on the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality.

Las Vegas NMWHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STARTED IN DODGE CITY – The Las Vegas in this article is Las Vegas, NEW MEXICO, not the more famous Las Vegas in Nevada. This lesser known Las Vegas held a degree of renown from the 1846-1848 war with Mexico onward. Its earliest history dated back to the 1600s.

On the 4th of July in 1879 the first train reached Las Vegas from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. At least half a dozen times a day trains would stop in the city and with all this new activity Las Vegas increased exponentially in size and population almost immediately. Many shady types from Dodge City settled in Vegas.

With business of all kinds soaring, so too did crime. The summer of ’79 saw plenty of infamous gunslingers, gamblers and outlaws from Dodge City and other locales arrive in town on the railroad. Doc Holliday and Kate Elder, Mysterious Dave Mather, Dutch Henry, the Durango Kid, Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, California Jim and many others made Las Vegas their temporary home. Continue reading

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TO DEMOCRATS, FUNERALS ARE NUREMBERG RALLIES

Democrat rat logo

DEMOCRAT PARTY

Even the most casual observers of the American scene have noticed over the years that Democrats are so dead inside they use high-profile funerals as nothing more than political theater. They contemptuously hide behind the corpse they pretend to be mourning, figuratively holding it up as a shield against criticism and against responses to the deceptive claims they make and the outright lies they tell under the guise of noting someone’s passing.

We all saw that ugly, divisive, hatemongering phenomenon again this past week. As I’ve often pointed out, Democrats have no identity outside of their political opinions and they think of themselves as “special” just for HAVING those opinions. When you are that empty inside you inject your partisan savagery into EVERYTHING, even fundamentally transforming funerals into campaign speeches using the dead person’s corpse as a podium. 

MARTIN LUTHER KING’S NIECE IN PARTICULAR BLASTED THE DEMOCRATS’ ABUSE OF A FUNERAL FOR POLITICAL STUNTS – Click HERE  Continue reading

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LEV GLEASON SUPERHERO PANTHEON

Readers just cannot get enough superhero blog posts, so since it has been two weeks since I last did one of these, here is a look at the Lev Gleason pantheon of superheroes.

Blackout Lev GleasonBLACKOUT

Secret Identity: Basil Brusilof, MD

First Appearance: Captain Battle #1 (June 1941)

Origin: Once, when Dr Brusilof was in the experimental lab of the Belgrave, Yugoslavia hospital where he worked, a Nazi bombing run blew up that lab. Basil gained superpowers from the accident and fought crime and the Axis Nations under the name Blackout.

Powers: Blackout’s body became coal-black from the explosion which gave him his powers. The mysterious black gases/ energies that his body generated gave him massive super-strength, invulnerability and the ability to fly by shooting the gases/ energies from his feet like thrust from rocket engines. Similarly, from his hands he could shoot concussive blasts of those same gases/ energies.

In addition, this hero could see in the dark and his blackened body provided perfect camouflage for night-time attacks on the Nazis.

Comment: This hero should not be confused with the Holyoke superhero called Blackout.

London 2LONDON

Secret Identity: Mark (Marc) Holmes, radio newscaster

First Appearance: Daredevil Comics #2 (August 1941)

Origin: While covering the Blitz, suave newscaster Mark Holmes decided that his fellow Brits needed extra inspiration to maintain their spirit of defiance against the Nazis. He adopted the costumed identity of London and battled Axis Agents plus criminals.

London 3Powers: London was in the peak of human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He also possessed the agility of an Olympic gymnast. In addition, this hero was a crack shot with the handgun he carried.

LondonComment: This superhero may SOUND run of the mill, but there’s just something about the name “London” plus the great font for the letter “L” on his forehead that makes him more appealing to me than other “regular guys in a costume” heroes.

On top of that, there’s the wartime morale appeal, especially with his Blitz-referencing catch-phrase “London can take it!”   Continue reading

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CARMEN BEST, A MARTIN LUTHER KING PERSON OF COURAGE, TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEMOCRAT RIOTS IN SEATTLE

Carmen BestCarmen Best, Seattle Police Chief and Martin Luther King Person of Courage, recently spoke out about the way Democrat politicians in Seattle have been furthering their war on the police (see links below) and yesterday added to her earlier comments by pointing out the terrorist warfare gear that was seized as it was being handed out to Democrat RIOTERS (not protestors – RIOTERS).

That equipment included EXPLOSIVES, SPIKED STRIPS, BEAR SPRAY and THE KIND OF LASERS BEING USED BY DEMOCRAT RIOTERS IN PORTLAND AND ELSEWHERE TO INFLICT SEVERE EYE DAMAGE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL. Some of the eye damage MAY BE PERMANENT. 

Democrat violenceThe lasers have already been used frequently in Portland, OR, against Federals who had to be sent in TO PROTECT FEDERAL BUILDINGS IN THE CITY. Most adults recognize that the Federal Government HAS ALWAYS been able to protect Federal Buildings in cities across the nation, but in recent weeks it has been especially necessary because Democrat mayors and/ or governors attack federal LEO’s because of Democrats’ obsessive hatred of President Trump.

Meanwhile Democrats continue to egg on the riots and the hatred of police by pretending these are “peaceful protests.”

As Matt Vespa noted (see links below), this latest Democrat meltdown/ war strategy “is over the deployment of federal agents into these crime-ridden hell holes run by Democrats. In Portland, they’re trying to set the federal courthouse on fire, rioters are throwing IEDs at law enforcement, and they’ve blinded federal officers with lasers, some of whom may not regain their vision.”

#WalkAwayI will say once again that my biggest regret in life is that I used to belong to the fascist organization called the Democrat Party. Join so many of us and #WALKAWAY from that repulsive organization that is waging war on the rest of us because they lost an election four years ago.   

Getting back to Chief Best’s comments she addressed “two recent events (Sunday, July 19th and Wednesday, July 22nd) have included wide-scale property destruction and attacks on officers, injuring more than a dozen, some significantly,” she wrote.

“This weekend we know that several events are planned across the city that will foreseeably involve many of the same violent actors from recent days,” she elaborated. “There is no reason not to assume we will continue to experience property destruction, arson, looting, and attempts to injure additional officers throughout the weekend and beyond.” Continue reading

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KID RUSSELL AND SALLY SKULL: TWO MORE NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS

Painting by Charles Marion Russell aka Kid Russell

Painting by Charles Marion Russell aka Kid Russell

Frontierado is just over a week away! The joyous day is coming when we can enjoy our meals of buffalo meat, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Southwest Fried Rice, corn on the cob, Cactus Salad, mashed potatoes and Western Spaghetti ! Later we can wash down some Deuces Wilds (Red or Black) and Cactus Jacks while playing Frontierado Poker or watching Silverado.

My most popular Frontierado articles over the years have been the ones about neglected gunslingers of the American West. Here are another man and woman whose lives were at least as interesting as those of the bigger names.

Self-portrait by Kid Russell

Self-portrait by Kid Russell

KID RUSSELL – How cool is it that an authentic, acclaimed international artist spent some of his younger years wandering the Wild West, even earning the nickname Kid Russell? Charles Marion “Kid” Russell was born in 1864 in St Louis, Missouri. As with Klondike Kate Rockwell, most of this figure’s life story is outside the purview of this article.

Since Frontierado is about the myth of the Old West I’ll focus on the legends about Kid Russell’s wild, wandering younger years full of guns, ranches, saloons, cattle drives, bordellos and sketches drawn on any nearby flat surface, sketches that showed the nascent talent that would one day make Russell world-famous.  

Charles Marion RussellWhen he was age 16 Charles’ well-to-do parents gave up trying to force him to continue his schooling at an eastern military academy and let him move to Montana, where, clad in a brand-new buckskin outfit, he worked on a friend’s sheep ranch north of Helena. It took skill with a gun and a true survival instinct to live through encounters with rustlers, hostile cattlemen and their hired gunmen but Charles, already being called Kid Russell, thrived and felt more at home in this rough and tumble lifestyle than among his family’s hoity-toity friends in St Louis high society.     Continue reading

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B.I.D.E.N. – BIGGEST IDIOT DEMOCRATS EVER NOMINATED

Nina TurnerNina Turner, the black woman who served as the co-chair for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign – which was once again sabotaged by the corrupt Democrats – recently compared voting for the senile and possibly demented Joe Biden to eating “a bowl of shit.”  (Link below)

Her scathing remarks about the scandal-plagued, groping Biden continued: “It’s like saying to somebody ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.” (No word yet on how many Antifa (KLANtifa) bacteria were aroused by her imagery.)

Nina Turner with Bernie SandersTurner also pointed out “WHILE BERNIE SANDERS HAS ALWAYS STOOD UP FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, JOE BIDEN HAS REPEATEDLY LET US DOWN.” Joe Biden has long been behind draconian legal measures against African Americans, often in concert with Hillary “The Human Herpes Sore” Clinton, who notoriously called African American males “super-predators.” (No, Hillary, career politicians like YOU are super-predators. And career criminals, too.)   

Nina had courageously criticized Biden for exploiting his proximity to Barack Obama to try to pretend he himself was a good candidate for African Americans.  Continue reading

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GLADIATOR: AN OPERA VERSION OF PHILIP WYLIE’S NOVEL

GladiatorEven though there are signs here and there that audiences are getting fatigued with the oversaturation of superhero adaptations for the big and small screens, there still doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

What better time for an OPERA version of Philip Wylie’s science fiction novel Gladiator, from 1930? Wylie’s work is often credited with inspiring the creation of Superman and every other superhero that followed.

Long before the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore wrote The Watchmen, this very first look at a superhero presented the figure struggling with the moral issues regarding the use of his superior abilities.

Gladiator 2The central character uses his powers in World War One but afterward must cope with the limits of “super-powers” when it comes to dealing with political corruption and other problems that can’t be solved with violence. Or in which flexing his super-muscles would be counter-productive, maybe even ushering in a dictatorship.

In other words, the same type of stories which today are praised as “innovative” for “deconstructing the superhero mythos” WERE ALREADY EXPLORED IN THIS NOVEL NINETY YEARS AGO! 

As a break from movie and television superhero tales I think an Opera format would be an intriguing and unexpected way of adapting Gladiator. Let’s face it – if it was done for television or movies today it would be criticized as “derivative” (irony of ironies) and “talky.”

Gladiator 4 Man God

Marvel Comics’ 1976 adaptation

That talkyness would slide nicely into a staged opera since, as I often point out in my examinations of 1970s Marvel stories, operas – like many comic books – are filled with lengthy expository monologues, but in song form. (There are countless “senses-shattering” origin stories and villain rants that are sung in operas.) 

Think of this piece as a way of using the familiar superhero formula to encourage more people to “give opera a chance.” I love sharing my enthusiasms and I was very happy with the reception of those blog posts where I wrote about Ancient Greek Comedies to make them seem relevant. I want to try doing the same with operas.

Many people may disagree, but operas and superheroics are made for each other. Look at all the operas adapted from tales of ancient gods or other mythical supernatural figures. When you get right down to it, every larger-than life hero or heroine in any given story can be interpreted from a superhero angle. Continue reading

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