Category Archives: Pulp Heroes

NICK CARTER IN PRAGUE (1978): MOVIE REVIEW

Nick Carter in PragueNICK CARTER IN PRAGUE (1978) – This film seems to like to hide from the millions of Nick Carter fans in the world by also going under titles like Adele Has Not Had Her Dinner or Dinner With Adele. I originally planned to review this movie last year but the passing of actor Robert Conrad prompted me to review his telefilm The Adventures of Nick Carter instead.

Created in 1886, Nick Carter was technically a private detective in New York City but really he was less of a sleuth and more of a forerunner of crime-fighting paragons like Doc Savage and Batman. Nick lasted through the end of the Dime Novel era and well into the age of Pulp Magazines, yet by the 1970s he was a much more popular character in Europe than in his homeland. Even before Nick Carter in Prague was released there had been a French-Italian animated series about Nick’s adventures.

This Czech film was directed by Oldrich Lipsky and starred Michal Docolomansky as Nick Carter. If you want a glib “pitch-meeting” style description of this movie think of it as a tongue-in-cheek effort like Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy but directed by Tim Burton and with a surreal, European arthouse feel.

Michal as Nick CarterThe approach is wry and knowing but without stooping to the overdone camp of 1975’s Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, starring Ron Ely. Nick Carter in Prague is often labeled a comedy but don’t go into it expecting laughs, just lots of smiles like during Dick Tracy or Tim Burton’s Batman. It’s more “comedy” as in whimsical fantasy touches, not hard belly laughs.

The film is set around 1905 judging by the automobiles, and the opening minutes provide a nice introduction to Nick Carter. He’s a world-famous detective/ crime fighter whose exploits earn him plenty of headlines. Police departments and Secret Services around the world bombard him with requests for help and he survives multiple attempts on his life by a variety of enemies as part of his daily routine at his office.

Nick has so many pleas for his services that he selects who he’ll help next at random. The “winner” is Countess Thun (Kveta Fiolova) of Prague, so our hero is off to then-Czechoslovakia. The countess has a lot of pull with her government and Carter is given a hero’s welcome. The tubby Commissar Ledvina (Rudolf Hrusinsky) is assigned to help Nick in every way. Continue reading

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FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST – LOST FLASHMAN PAPERS

For Flashman Down Under, Flashman in the Opium War & Flashman and the Kings click HERE   For Flashman of Arabia click HERE Balladeer’s Blog now moves on to another Harry Flashman adventure referred to but never completed before George MacDonald Fraser’s death. FOR MY COUNTDOWN OF THE TOP FIVE FLASHMAN NOVELS CLICK HERE.

elmina castleProjected Title: FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST

Time Period: Third Ashanti War (1873-1874)

The Setup: Queen Victoria’s Empire – specifically the British Gold Coast – bought the Dutch Gold Coast from Holland in 1871. The nearby Ashanti People of Africa had been at peace with the Dutch for over 200 years but were wary of their “new neighbors” and were protective of their enormous wealth in gold. They invaded the British Gold Coast in May, 1873.  

flashman shieldIn June the advance of the Ashanti was halted at Elmina and back in England Her Majesty’s Government made plans to send additional troops to the Gold Coast to deal with the situation. By August 13th General Garnet Wolseley was chosen to lead the army.

The Story: Wolseley, personally familiar with Flashman from the Crimean War and the Great Mutiny, would draft the reluctant Colonel-on-Half-Pay into his campaign. Sir Harry’s knack for picking up languages and his years of experience as a colonial officer would convince Wolseley of our hero’s fitness for this type of warfare, no matter what excuses Flashman would try to use.  Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES THIRTY-FOUR THROUGH THIRTY-SIX

Curse of the Sky WolvesBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.

Curse of the Sky Wolves34. CURSE OF THE SKY WOLVES (July 1936) – As we all know if there’s one thing more dangerous than wolf-men it’s wolf-men involved in aerial combat. This exciting adventure introduces a new villain – Amed Ghezi, an Ottoman Muslim Turk who wields the secret of turning men into deadly, relentless werewolves.

Since G-8 and his Battle Aces have proven to be the most dangerous opponents of the Central Powers Amed Ghezi and his lycanthropic shock troops are called to the Western Front to eliminate our heroes once and for all. G-8, Bull Martin and Nippy Weston have survived mummies, walking skeletons, headless zombies and intelligent gorillas but will these supernatural foes be their downfall? Find out amid dogfights, gunfights, fist-fights and desperate battles with savage wolf-men on land and in the skies over No Man’s Land!   Continue reading

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FLASHMAN DOWN UNDER: LOST FLASHMAN PAPERS

Alan Bates -better Flashman than MalcolmBalladeer’s Blog’s reviews of my picks for The Top Five Harry Flashman Novels are still getting more than their share of attention. (Click HERE )

That being the case, here’s another of my speculations on what we readers missed out on with those Harry Flashman adventures referred to but not completed before author George MacDonald Fraser passed away in 2008.

(For Flashman in the Opium War & Flashman and the Kings click HERE   For Flashman on the Gold Coast click HERE  For Flashman of Arabia click HERE For Flashman’s Guiana click HERE   and for The Battle Cry of Flashman click HERE)

Australian gold fieldsProjected Title: FLASHMAN DOWN UNDER

Time Period: The early period of the Australian Gold Rush (1851-1852)

The Set-Up: The “Forty-Niner” section of Flashman and the Redskins ended in the Spring of 1850 with Harry and Kit Carson riding off into the sunset. Our antihero planned on at last completing his journey toward the California gold fields after all his misadventures along the way.

The Potential Story: Some members of the Australian outlaw gangs who would achieve large-scale fame during the Aussie Gold Rush got their start as failed prospectors turned criminals during the California Gold Rush. Once word got around about the Victoria finds many of the Australians abandoned California and sailed home hoping to strike it rich there.

After the thrilling Jornada del Muerto Desert finale to Flashman and the Redskins Harry was already in New Mexico so presumably he would have made it to California with at least half of 1850 still to go. Our protagonist’s usual boozing, gambling and whoring could easily have gotten him entangled in some way with a few of the shadier Aussies in the Golden State at the time.

Australian gold fields 2Once word reached California about Australia’s very own Gold Rush, Harry could have boarded a ship for Down Under either along with some of the Cali Aussies OR trying to slip away from them for his usual reasons – having slept with some of their women, conning them out of money, etc.    

Arriving in Australia, it’s safe to assume Flashman would still disdain the thought of actually working to strike it rich and would have settled in at first trying to con money from successful prospectors or winning it from them at the card-table. (In Flash for Freedom Harry mentioned playing cards in Australia with bags of gold dust as the stakes.)  Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES THIRTY-ONE THROUGH THIRTY-THREE

Wings of SatanBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8.

This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

Scourge of t he Sky Beast31. SCOURGE OF THE SKY BEAST (April 1936) – Doktor Krueger returns yet again! This time the little fiend is reworking a super-scientific menace that he used against the Allied Powers in the very first G-8 adventure, The Bat Staffel. The plane-sized giant bats are back in action but this time are improved to the point where they may be impossible for Allied pilots to overcome. Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES TWENTY-EIGHT THROUGH THIRTY

G-8 Skeletons of the black crossBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.

Blood Bat Staffel28. THE BLOOD-BAT STAFFEL (January 1936) – Doktor Krueger strikes again! This time our hero’s archenemy has created menaces that seem more in line with something the Austrian villain Dr Mollfuss would come up with.

Scores of monstrous man-bats are flying through the skies over No Man’s Land, terrifying and killing Allied pilots in this latest super-scientific offensive by the Central Powers. G-8 recognizes the hand of his nemesis Doktor Krueger behind this deadly and horrific threat (though as I mentioned above I’d have laid my money on Dr Mollfuss given his love of animal-men). The man-bats are also able to shoot bolts of electricity from their fingertips for no apparent reason!  Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES TWENTY-FIVE THROUGH TWENTY-SEVEN

WHAT WAS ROBERT J HOGAN ON WHEN HE WROTE THE G-8 PULPS?

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.

Claws of the Sky Monster25. CLAWS OF THE SKY MONSTER (October 1935) – Doktor Krueger is back! G-8’s nemesis, like all mad scientists in fiction, is a master of all disciplines and this time he’s engineered an aerial fleet of gigantic vultures. The vultures – Geieren in German – are so huge that Central Powers pilots can ride them and control them like men on horseback.

These immense vultures are mounted with machine guns and can carry bombs in their claws – bombs that can be dropped at the discretion of the “pilots” flying on the gigantic birds. As added motivation Doktor Krueger has offered a reward of one hundred thousand German marks for any Geier pilot who can kill his hated foe G-8. Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES TWENTY-TWO THROUGH TWENTY-FOUR

WITH THE ZOMBIEMANIA OF RECENT YEARS THE HEADLESS ZOMBIES IN THIS STORY SHOULD BE A HIT

WITH THE ZOMBIEMANIA OF RECENT YEARS THE HEADLESS ZOMBIES IN THIS STORY SHOULD BE A HIT

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.

Wings of the Juggernaut22. WINGS OF THE JUGGERNAUT (July 1935) – This adventure introduced an all-new foe for G-8 and his Battle Aces, a foe seeking to use the World War as a vehicle for their own personal ambitions.

A Hindu priest named Mukja sets out to crush the Allied forces. Like G-8’s earlier foe Lakurji, Mukja wants the hated British Empire out of India and has concocted a flying version of Hindu lore’s Juggernaut as his people’s secret weapon. He’s also conjured up an army of snakes.  Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES NINETEEN THROUGH TWENTY-ONE

Caveman Patrol*** SOME READERS HAVE ASKED ME THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PULP MAGAZINES AND COMIC BOOKS. Pulp magazines were WRITTEN material with a few accompanying illustrations. Comic Books were picture stories told via sequential art. ***

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s, was never revealed.

Caveman Patrol19. THE CAVEMAN PATROL (April 1935) – Previously in G-8’s adventures the Central Powers formed an alliance with Martians to try to win the war. This time around those same powers form an alliance with a subterranean race of pointy- eared cavemen still living the same way they did in the distant past. Well, except for the fact that they’ve evolved enough to use crossbows.

This squadron of cavemen are victorious on the ground and even in the air as the ancient troglodytes calmly adapt to flying in airplanes … although they still just shoot their crossbows at their foes. G-8, Nippy and Bull try to rally their comrades-in- arms against this bizarre menace before the Central Powers gain the upper hand once and for all. Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES – STORIES SIXTEEN THROUGH EIGHTEEN

Death MonstersBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed. 

X-Ray Eye16. THE X-RAY EYE (January 1935) – Add another mad scientist to the pile of G-8’s Rogue’s Gallery of villains! This story features our hero and his faithful sidekicks going up against Dr Gurnig, another Teutonic terror of the technical sciences. Dr Gurnig has created a HUGE remote- controlled flying head-like object with a single eye that shoots highly concentrated X-Rays.

Those X-Rays pass through a specially designed prism that amps up their power like lasers do with light, so maybe the concentrated X-Rays could be jokingly called “xasers”. Continue reading

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