Tag Archives: blogging

BRUM (1991-2002) – FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

brumBRUM (1991-2002) – This live-action British children’s series is one of those kiddie programs that is fairly enjoyable for adults, too. Brum, the title character, is a living, sentient 1920s Austin 7 vintage automobile with a childlike mind.

Brum is forever curious and adventurous, sneaking out of the garage housing his owner’s vintage auto collection at the start of each episode. The plucky little car explores Big Town (really Birmingham) and has family-friendly escapades, often involving slapstick “baddies” whose evil activities are thwarted by Brum and his latest acquaintances.    Continue reading

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES FROM JANUARY 22nd

THIS IS AN ALL-CENTURY CLUB EDITION, MEANING GAMES IN WHICH AT LEAST ONE OF THE TEAMS SCORED 100 POINTS WITHIN REGULATION. NO OVERTIME GAMES.

ius_logoGAME ONE – The INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTHEAST GRENADIERS played host to the MIAMI UNIVERSITY AT MIDDLETOWN THUNDERHAWKS.

By Halftime the Grenadiers had pulled out to a 53-37 advantage, then outdid themselves after the break. In the end IUS clobbered the Thunderhawks 107-78. Ahmad Price led the Grenadiers with 25 points, while his teammate Glenn Hill, Jr notched a Double Double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Continue reading

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MEAT LOAF: HOT PATOOTIE, BLESS MY SOUL

The singer Meat Loaf has passed away at age 74. While most sites are going with the expected musical salutes, Balladeer’s Blog is instead selecting the rock star’s iconic moment as “Eddie” in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON: 1970s CLASSICS 4 – THE SERPENT SQUAD AND NIGHTSHADE

For Part One of this series click HERE.

ca f 163CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON Vol 1 #163 (July 1973)

Title: Beware of Serpents

Villains: The Serpent Squad

Synopsis: We pick up long after the end of our previous installment. Peggy Carter’s psychological recovery has been proceeding apace as Captain America alternates between the Carter Family’s Connecticut home and New York City where he and the Avengers have had a few recent missions. Cap’s secret identity – Steve Rogers – has officially resigned from the New York City Police Department.

NOTE: The writers apparently felt they had milked as much as they could out of Cap/ Steve’s double life as a cop and decided to put that chapter of his tales behind them. 

Nightshade

Nightshade

At the Paranormal Criminal Detention Wing of Sing Sing Prison, Thor’s old foe the Cobra has paid off corrupt prison guards to sneak their costumes and weaponry into the cells of the imprisoned Eel and his brother the Viper. Donning their gear, Eel and Viper, old foes of Cap and Falc, break out, killing at least four guards as they do. Cobra picks them up in a waiting vehicle and christens their new gang of three the Serpent Squad as they drive off to Cobra’s hideout.   

A few days later, Captain America, the Falcon, Sharon Carter, her much older sister Peggy Carter and their parents arrive at the mansion estate of the Carter Family in northern Virginia. Peggy’s new psychiatrists have declared her to have made sufficient progress that she can move to that home and try reestablishing her life.

Peggy is still fairly vulnerable, however, so Cap and Sharon have still not told her about their romance, which started during the years she was gone. Not helping the situation is the way that news reporters have smoked out enough of the facts of Cap and Peggy’s reunion to make a big story about the “miracle reunion of two lovers separated for decades” angle. Continue reading

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JIREL OF JOIRY: NEGLECTED PULP HEROINE

Jirel of JoiryJIREL OF JOIRY – From 1934 to 1939, the female author C.L. Moore wrote six stories featuring Jirel of Joiry, a sword-wielding woman warrior from late Medieval France. Moore’s thirteen tales of Northwest Smith, the 1930s version of Han Solo, were reviewed in 2014 here at Balladeer’s Blog, including the 1937 crossover story with Jirel in which they faced a time-traveling sorceror from her era.

With this blog post I’m at last beginning my promised examination of the Jirel of Joiry pulp stories from the iconic publication Weird Tales. She was the forerunner of so many recent heroines from Xena to Cara Dune. 

black god's kissBLACK GOD’S KISS (1934) – This debut story opens with Castle Joiry having for once suffered the fate that Jirel had forced upon so many other strongholds: its armies defeated and their commander, Jirel herself, taken prisoner.

Still fully armored, she has been brought before Guillaume the Conqueror, the first man to have ever beaten Jirel militarily. The cocky Guillaume, having taken the castle, is seated upon Jirel’s throne as he inspects the freshly seized enemy commander being held by two of his men who can scarcely keep the warrior restrained.

Soon he has another of his soldiers remove the helmet from the commander and is shocked to see that inside the armor it is a beautiful woman who nearly defeated him that day.

jirel coverNOTE: Since so many people are still so into the Game of Thrones universe picture a fully armored Jason Momoa as Guillaume and for Jirel picture a fiery combination of Arya, Daenerys and Brienne with Sansa’s long red hair.

Back to the story, Guillaume infuriates Jirel by talking to her as the prisoner she is and she breaks free of the two men holding her and nearly escapes before Guillaume himself catches up with her and recaptures her. He forces a kiss upon Jirel, who, the minute their mouths are disengaged, bites into his exposed neck, just missing his jugular vein.

Things escalate and Guillaume smacks our heroine unconscious. She awakens that night in the dungeons far below Castle Joiry. She easily escapes from her cell and overcomes the guard Guillaume assigned to keep watch over her. Continue reading

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FORCE OF LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TWO LADIES WITH HOT TAKES

michelle and natalieMeet Michelle and Natalie, the two pop culture reviewers whose YT Channel is called Force of Light Entertainment. The ladies offer reviews and commentary on current day big movies and television shows, in contrast with Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of productions from the (often distant) past.

force of light entertainmentMichelle and Natalie try to stay positive when they can, and avoid the more sarcastic approach that I employ. When they do have to jump into cultural commentary depending on the item being reviewed, they push back against SJW idiocy and censorship. Below is a sample of the two sisters’ approach as they express their displeasure with an episode of The Book of Boba Fett.

To subscribe to the ladies’ channel (where their brother Michael sometimes drops by) click HERE.

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MR NO LEGS (1978)

mr no legsMR NO LEGS (1978) – Ted Vollrath, a Korean War veteran who lost his legs due to injuries he suffered during the conflict, became a multiple black belt in martial arts disciplines and established Martial Arts for the Handicapable Incorporated in 1971. In addition to appearing in a documentary titled Let Me Live In Your World he starred as a scene-stealing badass in Mr No Legs, which was also released under titles like Killers Die Hard, Pushers Die Hard, Dope Runners Die Hard and the much less descriptive Gun Fighter.   

Mr No Legs is nowhere near as outrageous as the Hong Kong kung fu movies Crippled Masters, Crippled Heroes and Crippled Avengers, nor is it as exploitative as those flicks. Vollrath plays Lou, the title character, whose wheelchair is equipped with built-in shotguns in the arm rests and Ninja stars connected to the wheels.

mr no legs titleLou himself is deadly in or out of his chair, as he is highly skilled with knives and handguns, but his most dangerous trait is the way he can use his muscular, toned body to kick the butts of all comers in unarmed combat. Lou’s status as the enforcer and hit man for a Tampa drug lord has earned him big money and a buxom blonde lady who sees to his various needs.

A real-life multiple amputee with a James Bond-gimmicked wheelchair and mastery of karate would be enough to ensure Mr No Legs a spot in Psychotronic movie Valhalla, but the film offers so much more.

Consider the following: Continue reading

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THE ARCTIC DEATH (1927) AND ON A FAR WORLD (1928)

frozen bodiesTHE ARCTIC DEATH (1927) – Written by Wilford Allen, On A Far World, covered below, was a prequel to this same tale. The Arctic Death is set in the 1930s, which was “the near future” when the story was first published.

A mysterious epidemic called the Arctic Death is spreading southward from the North Pole, leaving countless frozen bodies in its wake. Professor Charles Breinbar, the greatest scientific mind of the decade, uses high-tech “Q-Rays” to determine that the victims did not just die of cold but were snuffed out by malign disembodied entities of some sort.

Breinbar devises special insulation which allows him and his assistant to enter the region currently being affected by the spreading wave of fatalities. Investigating the area our heroes witness people dropping dead in the streets after being affected by energy emanating from floating balls of light.    Continue reading

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CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON: 1970s CLASSICS 3 – SOLARR AND DOCTOR FAUSTUS

For Part One of this series click HERE.

ca f 160CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON Vol 1 #160 (April 1973)

Title: Enter: Solarr (The internal titles often differed from Marvel Comics’ titles on the cover.)

Villain: Solarr

Synopsis: We pick up an unknown number of nights after our previous installment. Captain America and the Falcon are still mopping up the scattered leftover criminals from the Cowled Commander’s organization called Crime Wave.

This is the final group of several masked men armed with machine guns and bazookas who were trying to pull off a robbery. The crooks remark out loud about how much stronger Cap is now, giving him and the Falcon the opportunity to explain to them (and to readers who missed the past few issues) how he now has Spider-Man level strength. It’s thanks to the way the Viper’s custom venom interacted with the super-soldier serum in his metabolism.

NOTE: This much higher level of super strength for Cap will last until Captain America & The Falcon #218 (February 1978).

After Cap and Falc defeat all but two of the masked men, that final duo try to escape by driving off in their gang’s armored vehicle. Our hero’s new strength makes him able to stop the vehicle, tear off the thick steel door and then easily knock out the final two Crime Wave operatives. Continue reading

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HUNTERWALI (1935, 1988) AND A REQUEST FOR HELP

Hunterwali in action

hunterwaliFor several years here at Balladeer’s Blog I have been trying to track down, watch and review all of the film versions of Hunterwali (Whip-wielding Woman), Bollywood Cinema’s butt-kicking masked female heroine. Often glibly dismissed as a female Zorro, there is much more cultural context to the Hunterwali figure – contextual significance that goes beyond the particular time period of each film version.

hunterwali picThus far I have been able to watch the 1935 original, which starred the actress billed as “Fearless Nadia” in India, and the 1988 Hunterwali. I have had no luck tracking down the 1959, 1972, 1977 and 2017 movie versions. Nor have I been able to buy the 1943 film, Hunterwali Ki Beti (Hunterwali’s Daughter), the very first sequel movie in Indian entertainment history.

Hunterwali upper handThe basics of the Hunterwali story involve Princess Madhuri adopting a masked, whip-wielding and stunt-riding identity to combat the many injustices inflicted on the kingdom by her father’s evil Vazier Ranamal. That villain even imprisons the king and lusts after Madhuri, little realizing she is really the swashbuckling “protector of the poor and punisher of evildoers” called Hunterwali. Continue reading

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