Tag Archives: Indiana Jones

IN SEARCH OF THE UNKNOWN (1904): LIKE A FORERUNNER OF INDIANA JONES

bruce-boxleitner-as-frank-buckIN SEARCH OF THE UNKNOWN (1904) by Robert W Chambers. Previously Balladeer’s Blog examined Chambers’ underrated horror classic The King in Yellow. The work we’re looking at this time around is a collection of short stories about Gilland the Zoologist. Gilland was a forerunner of the real-life Frank “Bring ’em Back Alive” Buck and the fictional Indiana Jones.

Our daring hero worked for the Bronx Zoological Gardens and was frequently dispatched by Professor Farrago to try to bring in dangerous crypto-zoological specimens or disprove their existence if they were hoaxes. The stories in this volume:

bruce-boxleitner-as-frank-buck-2I. THE HARBOR MASTER – Gilland is sent north to Hudson Bay where a Harbor Master has reported capturing a pair of Great Auks, flightless birds which went extinct in the mid-1800s. The two-fisted scholar finds the Great Auks are for real but the Harbor Master harbors (see what I did there) a sinister secret.

This story also features the Harbor Master’s beautiful secretary, who naturally catches Gilland’s eye, and a gilled merman (shades of Creature From The Black Lagoon), who wants to mate with the lovely lady himself. Gilland’s not having it, of course, and must do battle with the creature.  

bruce-boxleitner-as-frank-buck-3II. IN QUEST OF THE DINGUE – The Graham Glacier melts, unleashing a number of animals from species that were long thought extinct. Among the crowd of academics converging on the unexplored area are Gilland and Professor Smawl. The Professor is a sexy, strong-willed female scholar that our hero has been forced to accompany into the region.

The battle of the sexes bickering flies like shrapnel as the pair encounter Woolly Mammoths and other creatures, find a primitive bell called a dingue and run afoul of a gigantic super-powered woman who calls herself the Spirit of the North. Continue reading

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Filed under Ancient Science Fiction, Pulp Heroes

SIX TELEVISION SHOWS THAT DESERVE HUGE CULT FOLLOWINGS

With the flood of unimaginative new television programs, especially on various cable channels, I’m often surprised that some of the most entertaining shows in history don’t have their very own following of people who know waaaaay too much about them. As always here at Balladeer’s Blog I like to shine the spotlight on everything that is unjustly overlooked. Feel free to start holding conventions devoted to, and launching flame wars about, these six criminally neglected television programs.

Captain-Z--R0_500

Captain Z-Ro and Jet

6. CAPTAIN Z-RO – (1951-1960) Over a full decade before Great Britain’s ultimate cult show, Doctor Who, hit the airwaves this American show featured the  titular Captain traveling in time and space with various sidekicks, including Jet, the young man pictured with Captain Z-Ro in the photo to the left.

In addition to adventures that saw the Captain dealing with a robot run amok in San Francisco and with a potentially fatal meteor collision, his “experiments in time and space” (the show’s oft-repeated tag line) found him helping out some of the exact same historical figures that Great Britain’s Time Lord from Gallifrey would go on to encounter, like Marco Polo, William the Conqueror and the Aztecs. As an added bonus Captain Z-Ro solved the mystery of the Great Pyramid itself!

This series is good, campy fun and a fringe benefit would be the laughs viewers can get from outdated social attitudes and special effects. The show’s pricelessly campy opening alone is worth the effort to track episodes down. 

MASTERMIND5. MASTERMIND (also known as Q.E.D.) (1981) – A young, bearded Sam Waterston starred in this incredibly charming series set in 1912 England. Waterston portrayed the title genius, American Ivy League scholar Dr Quentin E Deveril, whose  initials were, of course, a cutesy play on the Latin expression “quod erat demonstrandum”  (“what was to be demonstrated”), the famous Q.E.D. from academic  exercises.

Deveril’s adventures could be best described as a cross between Indiana Jones and Continue reading

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Filed under Forgotten Television