Thursday, 3 January 2019

January 3rd, 1979 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Is there one place in this world that you know it's fun to stay at?

You know there is.

Is there one place where they have everything for young men to enjoy?

You know there is.

Is there one place where you can hang out with all the boys?

You know there is.

And that's why the first week of January 1979 saw the Village People storm to the Number One spot on the UK singles chart.

Few records say, "1979," to me more than Y.M.C.A. does, although I did, at the time, have a friend who refused, point blank, to believe there was any gay subtext to the song.

Over on the LP chart, it was great news for those who didn't like 1970s-style 1950s revivalism because, at last, the Grease soundtrack had been knocked off the top slot.

Admittedly, it was also terrible news for people who didn't like 1970s-style 1950s revivalism because the album that replaced it was Showaddywaddy's Greatest Hits (1976-1978). Much as I love Showaddywaddy (or, "The Wad," as I know them), a greatest hits package that only covers two years seems a little redundant to me. I mean, you could just buy their last two albums.

Over on BBC One on this very night of forty years ago, we were being treated to Let's Go Naked, a documentary about the rise in popularity of naturism. I do remember my Religious Education teacher, the next day, complaining that, when it came to the naked people it featured, "None of them were beauties." It's weird the things that stick in your memory for four decades.

With all that nude trauma out of the way, let's see just what our favourite comics were up to, with just three issues to go before the Marvel Revolution.

Star Wars Weekly #48

It's that rare thing, an issue of Star Wars Weekly whose cover I actually remember.

Admittedly, I remember nothing of the Star Wars tale it represents.

I do know, however, that, deep in the depths of space, Adam Warlock is becoming aware of the existence of the Universal Church of Truth. But who can be the evil genius behind it? Who?

Savage Sword of Conan #15

In this action-packed issue, we get a tale in which Conan goes back to Cimmeria, only to discover his childhood sweetheart's been abducted.

At the end of the tale, she's dead and her abductors are also dead. What a happy little world it is that Conan inhabits.

We also get an article about the upcoming Conan movie.

On top of that, there's an adaptation of Robert E. Howard's Black Abyss. I assume that's a Kull tale. It would appear to feature a giant, man-eating slug. How a slug can move fast enough to eat a man, I have no idea - unless he's already dead, in which case he's not going to care if he's being eaten by a giant slug.

Red Sonja, on the other hand, is up against a werewolf - something that I suspect she is going to care about.

Mighty World of marvel #327, Doc Samson and the Hulk

Moonstone's still causing nothing but trouble.

Back in Manhattan, the Baxter Building's been taken over by Klaw and the Molecule Man. Fortunately, the Impossible Man's on hand to sort them out - but not before the Molecule Man takes possession of Reed!

Elsewhere, in the slippery swamps of Florida, Daredevil's up against the Gladiator and Death-Stalker, as the treacherous twosome are involved in intrigue surrounding the disappearance of Ted Sallis and the super-soldier formula he was working on.

Super Spider-Man #308, Lightmaster

My knowledge of this issue is extremely patchy but I do believe Lightmaster's kidnapped Hector Ayala, in the belief that he's Spider-Man, not realising he's actually the White Tiger.

Rampage #7, the Hulk

I could be misremembering but I'm pretty sure that, despite appearances, the giant eyeball thingy isn't a creature of the supernatural but is, in fact, one of the many creations that inhabit Bereet's purse. Quite why they're in her purse and how they've got out, I cannot claim to recall.

I do believe that's a Jim Starlin cover, though.

Starburst #6, Blake's 7, the Liberator

Hooray! This was the first issue of Starburst I ever owned. I got it from W. H. Smiths, on my way to being inoculated against some disease or other. Happily, whatever disease that was, I didn't get it and I'm still here to boast of it.

As for Starburst, this issue's main point of excitement for me was that it contained a lengthy interview with dalek creator Terry Nation.

As I've always wanted to be a dalek, this was a very pleasing thing for me indeed. Needless to say, he also spoke about Davros and Blake's 7.


Anonymous said...

"The Hulk's gone mad!" What sort of psychiatric standard do you think Doc Samson is using there Steve?
Like, if you suddenly went around Sheffield in nothing but a pair of purple trousers and a bad mood saying things like "Steve smash!" most people would assume you'd gone a bit bonkers.
But the Hulk does that kind of thing all the time, so how can anyone tell?

Blakes 7 was rubbish.


Steve W. said...

Sean, Blake's 7 was rubbish but I do have a soft spot for its fundamental bleakness.

Timothy Field said...

I'm still not quite over the finale of Blake's 7.
And people think Breaking Bad was a bit bleak in places.

Anonymous said...

Well, I thought that for quite a while too Steve, that whatever its faults it was sort of Star Wars without the optimism (or budget).
But then I actually saw some of it (all the episodes are on Youtube). Obviously its a bit unfair to judge Blakes 7 by current standards, but it doesn't even hold up compared to, say, the better Dr Who stories of the 70s.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, I never heard of Blakes 7 but how can it be rubbish? Look what Wiki says:

"Reviewers praised the series for its dystopian themes, strong characterisation, ambiguous morality and pessimistic tone, as well as displaying an 'enormous sense of fun.'"

Such a description seems 180 degrees opposite of how we would describe the Village People, no? LOL. Nothing dystopic, ambiguous, or pessimistic about those gents!

For what it's worth, I work out at the YMCA during the winter months and was there this afternoon. It does not have a hotel. But it does have a locker room and showers to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Just Rampage monthly for me, this week. Managed to miss out on Blake's 7 as well. I was an avid Dr. Who fan and so remain puzzled why I missed this. Likely one of my Mum's shows was on the other side, at the same time. If anyone remembers 'The Brothers' from the mid 70's, I can confirm it was on the same time as Planet of the Apes. It's a shit business...


Timothy Field said...

Only 3 weeks till the Marvel Revolution, soak up the glossy-covered goodness while you can chaps.

Anonymous said...

Blake's 7 was rubbish? That's rather harsh. I've watched numerous episodes on YouTube and they hold up pretty well in my opinion. But the series should have ended with the destruction of The Liberator - continuing without Blake was bad enough, but continuing without The Liberator too?

Steve W. said...

Tim, it's hard to think of any other sci-fi show that would have ended like Blake's 7 did.

Colin, I haven't re-watched it properly since about 1999 but I did re-watch Episode One a couple of years back and it was a lot better than I remembered. Admittedly, that was before all the space adventuring started...

Charlie, Blake's 7 was one of the few TV shows where the good guys were barely distinguishable from the bad guys.

DW, we always missed the first 15 minutes of Planet of the Apes so my dad could listen to The Family Brandon on the radio. It was a living nightmare.

Killdumpster said...

Hey folks, hope everyone enjoyed a pleasant New Year's Eve.

One of my New Year's Eve resolutions was to stay on topic in responses on this blog, but apparently stating this means that one is now broken. Lol!

My money's on Red Sonja over a werewolf anyday of the week.

Back in the late 70's-early 80's I stayed at the Y the first time I moved to the city of Pittsburgh. For $200 a month you got access to the gym, swimming pool & daily room maintenance (bed made,cleaning, fresh towels & sheets).

Was running late for work one morning, and left a bag of pot on my desk. Was freaking out about it all day!!

Walked into the lobby, expecting police or being kicked out. Nothing.

Went into my room, and the maid had put the dope in the desk drawer. So Cool!
Met and partied with a few other guys that were just utilizing the place to get things together (divorcees, transplants like me, guys kicked out by parents, etc.)

Only one thing freaked out my small-town mentality was when I was in the bathroom stall.

Someone had scralled "Shower Time Fun Every Thursday at Midnight!"

I never went to the bathroom after 11pm! Lol!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD is back!

My dad would take us to the YMCA every Friday night in Gary to swim laps in their nice big swimming pool. Then one day two guys shot and killed each other on the basketball court arguing about the game. Well, that was that... LOL.

But I been going to the Ys around here for 30 years now. All good except for the weirdo who likes to swim naked.

Killdumpster said...

Hey Charlie H47-
Maybe the naked swim-guy was trying to promote more "Shower Time Fun"

Seriously, I've been accused of "trolling", but maybe we're all aware of the Warlock/Magus storyline.

Next poll: Do you perfer Adam Warlock with blonde feathered hair, or with a Brady Bunch purple afro?

Man,tho, that was a great story.

I believe Bereet's purse was a kind of inter-dimensional bottomless pit.

Killdumpster said...

Another of my New Year's resolutions was to not mention Rick Jones on this site. Uhhh... another one gone.

Sorry guys, just had to get that outta my system.

Steve W. said...

Welcome back, KD. :)

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you missed the first 15 minutes of Planet Of The Apes that means you missed the opening titles which concluded with a gorilla trooper holding his rifle aloft against the setting sun - an iconic image.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve I am confused... and it's only Jan 5!

Why would your dad watching the radio preclude you from at least watching the telly with no volume?

Assuming you had some lip reading abilities, you could figure out what was going on with Planet of the Apes? Though I must admit the apes lips don't move much, nor did the chimp lips, nor did the orangutan lips.. not sure if they had monkeys or baboons on the show?

Anonymous said...

Or, Steve, your dad could have taken the radio into another room enabling you to watch the TV.

Charlie, in the world of 'Planet Of The Apes' only chimps, gorillas and orangutans existed - no other ape species was ever seen or mentioned. But a gibbon (Gilbert the gibbon) did appear in some of Marvel's apes stories.

Killdumpster said...

I'll bet they probably made their cousins, the evolved squirrel-monkeys & spider-monkeys, live outside of the ape city because they were too annoying.

The equivalent of a POTA trailer park. Lol!

Killdumpster said...

Yeah, and I can picture slothes there too. Sitting in an ape lazy-boy recliner, with a half full warm can of ape beer on his belly. Cigarette burns on the arm rests. Lol!

Killdumpster said...

I could've wrote a better remake than that Burton atrocity.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve, CJ has a good point. Unless you had one of those 1930s art-deco chest high radios, which I adore and really want to get, your dad could have just used a transistor radio in another room>?

Steve W. said...

Colin and Charlie, I must confess that, even as I was typing that comment, I was thinking to myself, "Why didn't he just listen to it in a different room?" Sadly, I fear it is a mystery we will never get an answer to.

However, I have since seen all the Apes episodes, thanks to repeats on other channels and am now fully familiar with the opening titles.

A quick Google tells me there is no information about The Family Brandon anywhere online. I now fear that, when I die, all knowledge of the show's existence will die with me.

Killdumpster said...

My grandparents had one of those upright, stand-alone radio sets. I believe it also had a kind of ham-radio capacity also. I remember international markings on some of the dials/displays. Grandpa Tough ("Tough" was his nickname) would fiddle with the dials & get a lot of reception from Canada, Newfoundland, etc.

The regular radio sounded so rich. Nothing sounds better than a tube powered amplifier.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - My Hungarian grandmother gave me her Zenith Model 10-S-669 Radio from 1942. It was gorgeous. It had AM, LW, MW, SW, (google it) in this lush art-deco wooden cabinet.

I used to get a big thrill listening to old time radio on it on Sunday nights in the 1970s.

What was even more crazy was I would set my dad's Bell and Howell 1950s reel-to-reel tape recorder next to it, to record the old time radio shows!

I guess I was just into that 1930-1940s pop culture stuff.

Then one day my brother had to ride his skate board in the house and launched the thing into the radio and shattered the front of it. I was really, really bummed.

Anyhow, you can find them, totally restored, on ebay for around $200ish if you are patient. You DO want totally restored electronics because they are big-time fire hazards 75 years later! I was going to get one last week and then when I told my wife she gave me the evil eye... So, I don't have a 1942 art-deco radio but I can watch Planet of the Apes unimpeded. I guess I should not complain?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I may (!) have solved your mystery assuming Brandon may be Bernard Braden who was a canadian but did radio and tv in England? Google it? I did a little pasting below.

In Breakfast with Braden (for the BBC, from January 1950) he played American serviceman "Brandon Marlow" (a caricature of Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire). Other cast members acted as stooges, including Pearl Carr ("Sing, Pearl"), Benny Lee and bandleader Nat Temple ("Play, Nat!").

Other BBC radio shows followed: Bedtime with Braden (from September 1950), which included his signature sign-out song "Lullaby of Birdland"; Between Time; Bathtime; and Bedlam with Braden. Ronald Fletcher, the announcer, was drawn into the script which added to the ingenuity and enjoyment.

Braden also appeared in 1951 alongside his wife in An Evening at Home with Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Bernard Braden was indeed a well known figure in my youth.

However, I know who the Brandon of The Family Brandon was. He was a radio presenter called Tony Brandon who doubled up as a comedian. Whenever I heard him, he was basically swiping the style of a man called Tony Hancock who's regarded as one of the great British comedy actors of all time. While it's easy enough to find things about Brandon on the internet, of that particular show (The Family Brandon), I can find no internet trace.

I remember him also having a Radio 2 sitcom called Wally Who? in the early 1980s. From what I remember of it, that show really was a direct, "Homage," to Tony Hancock's old radio show.

ColinBray said...

Monday evenings offered a serious case of telly moral whiplash. First up, at 8pm was Blake's 7, prototyping the Dark Age of comics dripping with anti-heroes and amorality. This was followed at 9pm by Quincy MD, with Jack Krugman a one-man Moral Majority. I loved both shows - clearly a mixed up kid even then.

Anonymous said...

It would seem I'm in the minority when it comes to Blake's 7 round these parts. That doesn't make me wrong though (selective quotes from Wikipedia notwithstanding Charlie!)
Harsh maybe, but fair.

Ancient Art Deco contraptions are all very well, but as it was the 70s wasn't it a lot more likely your family - or dad (hey, I don't know what your personal circumstances were) - had one of those radiogram things Steve?


ColinBray said...

Hey, Steve - the BBC Genome Project shows several Radio Times Family Brandon listings via BBC Manchester:

Anonymous said...

What in God's Green Goodness are you jokers talking about.


Steve W. said...

MP, we're talking about radiograms and Tony Brandon. It's what all the comics bloggers are talking about these days.

Colin B, thanks for the link - and for the Quincy mention. I loved Quincy.

Sean, in the kitchen, we had am ancient and bulky cream-coloured plastic Alba radio. That never left the kitchen. Our other radio was properly portable and made a strange sci-fi noise when you switched it off. I don't have a clue if it was supposed to make that noise or if there was something wrong with it.

Steve W. said...

That should have read, "an ancient and bulky," not, "am ancient and bulky."

Anonymous said...

The beauty of CB's Monday night would have been the 10 minute gap between Blake's' 7 finishing on BBC and Quincy starting on ITV. Enough time to make a pot of tea and use the 'facilities' before the forensic pathology kicked off.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I confess to selectively using Wiki! I fell victim to "information bias."

Did anyone else ever mix up Jack (Quincy) Klugman for Karl (Streets of San Francisco) Mulden? Maybe it was just a Charlie thing when he was like 10 years old?

ColinBray said...

Indeed, DW. 10 minutes to read my copy of Star Wars Weekly #48 fresh from the stands.