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LEONARD NIMOY’S BOXING MOVIE: KID MONK BARONI (1952)

kid monk baroniKID MONK BARONI (1952) – It’s not Rocky, it’s Spocky! Leonard Nimoy made his film debut in this half-assed, cliche-filled and trope-ridden mess of a movie. Nimoy plays Paul Baroni aka Kid Monk Baroni, a street-fighting tough guy whose belligerence stems from his mild deformity and the scorn that it brings him.

nimoy fake noseIn lieu of prosthetic ears, Kid Monk Baroni finds Leonard sporting a prosthetic nose for a large part of the film, thus depicting the “ugliness” which drives his hostile urges. Paul Baroni has become a leader of sorts for his pack of juvenile delinquents called the Billy Goat Gang, an inferior imitation of Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall’s Bowery Boys/ Dead End Kids/ Little Tough Guys and all the other names they used over the years. Continue reading

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CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON: 1970s CLASSICS 2 – VIPER AND CRIME WAVE

For Part One of this series click HERE.

ca f 157CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON Vol 1 #157 (January 1973)

Title: Veni, Vidi, Vici … Viper

Villain: The Viper

Synopsis: We pick up an unknown number of days after Captain America has returned to New York City from Miami with the Falcon and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter. The Police Commissioner, who is aware that uniformed cop Steve Rogers is really Cap, relayed a message to Steve to meet him in costume at the 13th Police Precinct building in Hell’s Kitchen. 

On his way there, our hero gets ambushed by a trio of armed punks who say that someone called the Cowled Commander ordered them to prevent Cap from reaching his destination. Naturally Cap defeats all three of them.

In a private room at the 13th Precinct the Commissioner informs Captain America that the Cowled Commander is leading a secret group of criminals and crooked cops in an unknown plan. The Commish wants Cap to find out which cops really have gone bad and to clear innocent ones, like Steve Rogers’ antagonistic Sgt Brian Muldoon, who has been suspended pending investigation.

No sooner have the two men worked out their plans than the Commissioner leaves and a bomb explodes, leaving the precinct building a fiery ruin with no sign of Cap. Cut to the office of social worker Sam Wilson, who is secretly the Falcon. Sam and Leila Taylor are having another of their duels of insults, as Leila tries to get a rise out of Sam by implying she finds the Falcon more attractive because he’s a fighter, unlike Sam. Continue reading

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THE AURORAPHONE (1890) – ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

auroraphoneTHE AURORAPHONE (1890) – Written by Cyrus Cole. This fun piece of vintage or “ancient” science fiction features the character Gaston Lesage, an eccentric genius who moves to the mountains of Colorado to continue his pet experiments. Lesage is obsessed with perfecting transmission and reception of radio signals, especially regarding potential contact with other planets.  

The altitude of the Rocky Mountains made Colorado the ideal location for Lesage’s experiments and, together with his assistant – a freed black man named Pete King – he perfects a device he called the Auroraphone.

mascot sword and gun pic

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One day when Gaston and Pete are entertaining a pair of men prospecting for gold the Auroraphone picks up the first of a series of transmissions from intelligent life on the planet Saturn. In the days ahead Lesage learns a great deal about Saturnian history and science courtesy of his fellow “ham radio operator” Rulph Bozar, a denizen of the ringed planet.

The Saturnians are much more advanced than Earth and already have flying machines, electric automobiles and powerful sensors which let them watch and record events on Earth and other planets. They also have been using metal robots crafted to look just like the Saturnians themselves, who resemble Terrans in general physiology. Continue reading

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DEMOCRATS MAKE PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP EVEN MORE OF A HERO TO THE WORKING CLASS AND THE POOR THAN HE ALREADY WAS

democrat republican otherHere at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog I always point out that America’s CAREER politicians are white-collar criminals who run the country like a Mafia bust-out operation, enriching themselves and their cronies while plundering the public treasury. BOTH MAJOR PARTIES are guilty of this, which is why I always hope to see the Democrats and Republicans splinter into multiple smaller parties for a time.

The power players in both parties try to maintain the exclusivity of their criminal caste, barring outsiders from their ranks. As in all things political, the Democrats are much more effective than the Republicans. In 2016, outsider Donald Trump became a populist hero in the mold of Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Eugene Debs and John F Kennedy by taking advantage of the perpetual disorganization of the Republicans to commandeer their political party for his presidential campaign.

Trump never called racist til running against DemocratsTrump became the best president for the working class and the poor of all colors in my lifetime. He was also the first president in DECADES to keep America out of any new wars, which caused our military-industrial complex to hate him as much as they hated John F Kennedy. America’s hopelessly corrupt cesspool of an establishment was at war with President Trump before he even took office. He had to fight BOTH political parties and still does. He so thoroughly frightens the corrupt filth of Washington DC that they remain obsessed with him. Over the years their lies about Russian Collusion (LMAO) and now “insurrection” (LMAO) have fallen flat and they have utterly failed to understand why Trump is still supported by the working class and the poor. 

Not for several long decades had America had a non-career politician as president – not since Eisenhower. American career politicians are career criminals who spend their time in office just one step ahead of criminal indictments. They are a very closed circle of fascist authoritarians who were happy with the corrupt way things were run before de facto Third Party President Donald Trump crashed their party and spoke truth to power.

trump rosa parks and muhammad aliIt was a once in a century gift to have someone like the Donald who is wealthy enough to not be bought by America’s cesspool called a government AND who is thick-skinned enough to endure the non-stop attacks that the Democrats and Republicans and their media outlets will unleash on anyone who tries GENUINE reform like Trump has done.

The fascists in both parties proved how terrified they are of Trump and his millions of supporters by the way they have absurdly overblown the events of January 6th, 2021. See my article HERE regarding the hilarious hypocrisy from Democrats who usually never see a protest or a riot they don’t encourage.

It is remarkable how much this man STILL strikes fear into the hearts of America’s hate-filled, divisive and totalitarian political and media establishment. I repeat, he is NOT a career politician and that’s why he has always been worth rooting for. He’s the kind of reformer that the left used to PRETEND they wanted.

trump is fdrTrump, more than anyone since Theodore Roosevelt or maybe since Democrat Franklin Roosevelt and Republican Wendell Wilkie contemplated starting a Third Party in the 1940s, could completely upend the two-party system, something that is long overdue. 

As I’ve said before, even if Trump really was all the things his deranged detractors accused him of being, he would STILL not be as bad as the existing politicians who have been running the U.S. for decades and made us such a hated country. (Democrats especially love to dwell on how hated the U.S. is by certain countries, which is why it was so funny to see them feign outrage over the possibility of an “insurrection.” Hey, only DEMOCRATS are allowed to call for uprisings and insurrections!)

trump is a lot like jfkGee, Democrats, those concerned Trump supporters “stormed” the citadel of America’s white supremacist system that you’re always talking about. They stormed the citadel of all that privilege and systemic bigotry that you decry. Since when do Democrats of all people revere the Capitol as a Holy Site? Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: BRADAMANTE MEETS RUGGIERO

These are the legends about Charlemagne and his Paladins, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

bradamante another picBRADAMANTE MEETS RUGGIERO – 

NOTE: This installment brings back Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, as well as the cunning dwarf Brunello. Those two characters are from tales that go back over a thousand years, they are NOT ripoffs of the female knight and the Dinklage guy from GOT. If anything they helped inspire Martin’s characters.

We back up in time a bit as this chapter begins during the time when Roland was on his quest to free Morgana’s prisoners in her castle on the lake. Marsilius, king of the Muslim colonialists who occupied most of Spain, led his forces in a new campaign against the Emperor Charlemagne. Rodomont, the Muslim king of what is now Algeria, launched an amphibious assault on the south of Charlemagne’s empire, and Agramant, the Muslim king of what is now Libya and Tunisia, likewise sailed with his legions to join his coreligionists.

While those invasions were still in the planning stages, the Garamantean Prophet made his final prophecy before dying. He advised his fellow Muslims that in order to prevail against Charlemagne and his Paladins this time they must recruit the legendary warrior Ruggiero. Continue reading

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FIREPOWER (1979)

firepowerFIREPOWER (1979) – Sophia Loren, James Coburn, Tony Franciosa, Billy Barty and O.J. “Alec Baldwin Times Two” Simpson star in this late 70s combination of an espionage tale and a caper flick. Throw in Eli Wallach, Jake LaMotta and Victor Mature and you’ve got what may sound like the cast of a disaster movie but actually Firepower is a very good film from Lew Grade.

Sophia Loren, looking fantastic but a bit too thin, stars as Adele Tasca, widow of Dr Ivo Tasca, who was killed by the underlings of international tycoon and fugitive Karl Stegner. In a nod to the times, Stegner is a composite of the likes of Robert Vesco with sprinklings of Aristotle Onassis, Howard Hughes and Stavros Niarchos. For a modern version of a bloated rich pig figure wanted in certain countries and reviled around the world think of George Soros. 

At any rate, Adele’s husband was bumped off because he was about to deliver evidence and testimony against the reclusive Karl Stegner tying him to untold numbers of deaths from tainted pharmaceuticals. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: ROLAND VS MORGANA

CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

Charlemagne's empireROLAND VS MORGANA – We pick up where we left off, with the Paladin Roland, nephew of Emperor Charlemagne, having captured the sorceress Falerin. She informed Roland that she was merely a subordinate to Morgana, the Lady of the Lake, and it was Morgana who really imprisoned the many warriors that Princess Angelica wanted Roland to set free.

To save her own life, Falerina had told the Paladin everything he needed to do to reach Morgana in her castle in the middle of the lake. To prevent the treacherous Falerina from having a change of heart and warning Morgana, Roland tied her to a beech tree, to be set free upon the completion of his quest.

As Charlemagne’s nephew approached the shore of the lake in question, he followed Falerina’s instructions to block up his ears with flowers to blot out the singing of the Siren that lived in the lake. He sat down on the shoreline and waited until at last the Siren rose from the water and began singing her song. Continue reading

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CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON: 1970s CLASSICS

Superhero-hungry readers have been letting me know they want more Marvel Comics blog posts. With my look at 1970s classics for the Avengers and Spider-Man completed this post starts a look at 70s classics for Captain America & the Falcon. 

ca f 153CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON Vol 1 #153 (September 1972)

Title: Captain America – Hero or Hoax?

Villains: The Captain America of the 1950s (William Burnside, one of the men whom the U.S. government had assume the role of Captain America while the real Cap was M.I.A. and presumed dead for decades.) and the Bucky of the 1950s (Jack Monroe, one of the young men the government assigned the “Bucky” identity during that same period.)

Synopsis: Captain America and the Falcon, in their secret identities of Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, are with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter at the airport. Sam is seeing off Steve and Sharon as they fly to the Bahamas for a long vacation together (By this time Sharon knows that Captain America is really Steve Rogers.)

When the two lovebirds’ plane flies off, Sam Wilson returns to his life as a social worker in Harlem while also fighting crime there in his costumed identity of the Falcon. Because this is before the Falcon got his high-tech wings (that story is coming, too) back then he got around by the way his falconing glove shot a wire like Daredevil’s billy club did, too, so Falcon could swing around the city like DD and Spider-Man. Continue reading

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BLOODHOUNDS OF BROADWAY (1989) – A HAPPY NEW YEAR MOVIE REVIEW

bloodhounds of broadwayBLOODHOUNDS OF BROADWAY (1989) – Randy Quaid and Madonna as a romantic couple? Rutger Hauer as a pastiche of crime lord Arnold Rothstein? THE William S. Burroughs as a butler? Ethan “Neelix” Phillips as a wannabe gangster?

Yes, all that and more in this all but forgotten 1989 flop which deserved to be much better than it is and with work it could have become a New Year’s Eve viewing staple.

Bh on brFour Damon Runyon stories were blended into a 93 minute movie that was released to just one theater … missing a reel. PBS Playhouse gave this romantic comedy its widest exposure before it fell down the memory hole. As of this writing it has only 8 reviews at IMDb.   

Significantly, the film is set on December 31st of 1928, which was the last big New Year’s Eve bacchanalia of the Roaring Twenties but nobody knew it at the time. Before another year went by the Stock Market Crash would help usher in the Great Depression, making that 1928 New Year’s Eve blowout a figurative Mardi Gras before the austerity of Lent. The December 31st, 1929 celebrations were considerably subdued by comparison.

If you’re a Guys & Dolls fan, Mindy’s Restaurant is one of the settings for Bloodhounds of Broadway, just like in that much better known work based on Damon Runyon stories. At any rate, the four tales combined to form this rom-com are:    Continue reading

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BEST OF OCTOBER 2021

Balladeer’s Blog wraps up its end of year retrospective with this look at October’s best. In 2022 I’m going to limit the retrospective to just January through September. 

laraine and lug nutsLARAINE NEWMAN’S CANNED FILM FESTIVAL (1986) – After Elvira’s Movie Macabre, concurrent with The Texas 27 Film Vault and a few years before MST3K came this short-lived Movie Host show that presented bad and campy movies from the 1930s to 1960s. Click HERE

HORROR FILM: THE NEST OF THE CUCKOO BIRDS (1965) – I review this neglected horror film about a nude female slasher in a mask, human taxidermy and a sinister, isolated Florida hotel which lets you check in but not check out. Click HERE.

faust coverFAUST: THE PRE-SPAWN VERSION OF SPAWN – A look at the 1987-2012 horror hero whose comic book adventures featured over the top violence and pornographic sexuality so extreme that the book was banned in various countries around the world. Click HERE.  

MUSICAL MUTINY (1970) – My review of this bizarre film. Iron Butterfly themselves appear and do performances of several songs including In A Gadda Da Vida. Featuring a ghostly pirate, a mad scientist in his 20s and the defunct amusement park called Pirates World. Click HERE

dune altDUNE AS AN OPERA CYCLE – Frank Herbert’s first few Dune novels presented as a cycle of operas.

Click HERE.

EVERYBODY BELIEVES THEY ARE ON “THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY” – Claiming to be on the right side of history is as meaningless as claiming you have God on your side. Click HERE.

graveyard shift coverGRAVEYARD SHIFT – A review of the first three volumes of the Malin/ Poulton team of monster superheroes. Meet Professor Blood, the Monster, the Bride, Ghost in the Machine, Monster Girl and Sea Urchin. For villains you have the likes of Lady Shoggoth, Killer 99 and the Crimson Guard. Click HERE.

TWO OVERLOOKED HORROR TALES FROM JULIAN HAWTHORNE (1888 and 1893) – Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son and two of his forgotten horror stories. In this case the short stories deal with Egyptian mummies on the loose and a female vampire. Click HERE. Continue reading

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