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Sunday, 19 September 2021

2000 AD - August 1983.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

There's a well-known claim that every actor in Britain has, at some point, appeared in The Bill, to the degree that the show was virtually a form of national service for thespians.

August 1983 was the month in which that became possible because it was when the long-lived cop drama was first launched.

But, whisper it quietly, it wasn't called The Bill.

In a shocking revelation of the kind that only Wikipedia can furnish, it turns out the very first episode was broadcast under the title of Woodentop.

For those of us over a certain age, the word "Woodentop" conjures up images of a 1950s children's show, of almost that same name, which featured a family of marionettes and their dog called Spotty.

Clearly, such a thing could not be allowed to stand and, happily, after that first episode, Woodentop became The Bill and we could all sleep easily in our beds.

Except for the characters in the show whose police station seemed to get blown up by rogue cops every other week.

That was small screen melodrama but what of the big screen?

That month saw the release of many movies which quickly vanished into obscurity but amongst the ones that lingered slightly longer in the memory were Hercules, The Curse of the Pink Panther and Cujo.

Hercules, of course, starred former Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno and features the legendary scene in which the Greek grappler throws a bear into outer space.

The Curse of the Pink Panther was the one that starred Ted Wass of Soap fame as a replacement for Inspector Clouseau. How good a job he did of it, I couldn't say, as I can't recall it ever appearing on my television.

Then again, the fact it never seems to show up on TV may not be a good sign.

Over on the UK singles chart, the month was dominated by KC and the Sunshine Band's Give It Up which held the top spot for most of that spell until UB40's cover of Red Red Wine deposed it at the month's very climax. 

The British album chart, meanwhile, was dominated by The Very Best of The Beach Boys and Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5's 18 Greatest Hits, with the two albums alternating in their ownership of the top spot.

Top of the comics was, of course, 2000 AD and, in that month, it was still giving us Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, Tharg's Future-Shocks, Robo-Hunter and, for the most part, Skizz.

However, that last strip soon had to make way because, with Prog 330, a new star appeared within the 2000 AD galaxy, in the shape of Sláine who I remember being a cross between Conan the Barbarian and the Hulk - a Celtic warrior who could increase in size, strength, tattoos and brutality when the need arose.

I can't say I ever particularly enjoyed his strip but I do, at least, remember it. So, it must have been doing something right.

2000 AD prog 328, Judge Dredd

2000 AD prog 329

2000 AD prog 330, Slaine

2000 AD prog 331, Rogue Trooper


Anonymous said...

Danu's tits - its Slaine, everyone's favourite Celtic berserker! And the return of Pat Mills to the progs! Awesome.

Sorry Steve, but I have to say your normally sharp critical judgement has failed you this time imo, as Slaine was brilliant back in the day, especially when it was drawn by artists like the mighty Mike McMahon, Glenn Fabry, and Simon Bisley (unfortunately, as with a few of the better known 2000AD series its gone on a bit past its sell by date since then).

Sure, Slaine's a barbarian, but its not at all like reading Conan. For starters, Pat Mills writes with a sense of humour, unlike Robert E Howard (or Roy Thomas).
And Cu Chulainn would be a more helpful - and appropriate - comparison than the Hulk. I believe it was the poet Thomas Kinsella's translation of the Tain Bo Cuailnge that first called the riastrad a "warp spasm"...


Anonymous said...

Steve, you mentioned KC and the Sunshine Band.
It grieves me to admit it, but that music is a guilty pleasure of mine. Along with a lot of other questionable music acts from the '70's.
I wish I could come on this blog and write intelligently about Brahms or Mozart (or even jazz, God help me), but I can't.
Because I grew up in the '70's. It was a brave new world...of marketing.
Excuse me for now, I have an urge to watch the Trammps do "Disco Inferno" on You Tube.

I believe Disco may have destroyed some of the best minds of my generation. I'm amazed Travolta survived it. The Bee Gees didn't.
Thank God for Cheap Trick and ACDC.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, maybe you are referring just to Boy Roy's Conan writing but in FF #115, when Reed goes berserk under the influence of the Overmind, he has Reed tickling The Thing (kind of under his arm pit) so the Thing laughs so hard he can't grab Reed.

I think that is Roy being funny? Although I frankly found it weird.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP - Given you brought up Travolta - you heard he was hospitalized today, Sunday?

They said it wasn't Covid though, but Saturday Night Fever.

Anonymous said...

You had me there For a second, Charlie! I thought, "Jesus, is Travolta dead now too?"

I hope you're at least somewhat remorseful for that awful joke.
(Although I admit I did laugh. Ruefully. It was more like a snort than a laugh.)


Anonymous said...

A Cu Chulainn figure? Interesting stuff, Sean! A Celtic setting for Conan (in Marvel)might have avoided some of the anachronisms - e.g. late medieval castles, Iranistan, etc. Bran Mak Morn ('Worms of the Earth') may have been a Pict, but Howard nicked 'Mak Morn' from an Irish hero (you probably know this already), so maybe he wasn't completely ignorant of Irish mythology. Didn't Howard also do a Viking Irish character (albeit one whose stories I haven't read)?

M.P. - In my local area, a derelict nightclub suffered an arson attack a few days ago. Local social media had all the usual quips - including "Disco Inferno"! We can thank the Tamms for providing material for gags about burning nightclubs, all across the world! Strangely, nobody used "Burning Down the House/Fight fire with fire" by Tom Jones & that woman from the Cardigans!


Colin Jones said...

Robert E. Howard's Irish Viking character was called Turlough Dubh O' Brien - I know this because I remembered him in a story called "The Gods Of Bal-Sagoth" which I just googled and so found his name (which I'd forgotten). But R.E.H. had three or four Irish characters and a Scottish one who were all Conan clones.

Anonymous said...

Colin - I've got 'The Gods of Bal-Sagoth' on my bookshelf! Yet, despite having read it - years ago - have completely forgotten the main character! Memory problems, post middle-age, are terrible!


Anonymous said...

I don't think its any great secret that Cu Chulainn was one of Pat Mills' sources for Slaine, Phillip.
One of the strong points of the series is the well researched setting, Tir na nOg the land of the young, which was much more effective than the usual sort of made-up fantasy milieu (sure, the Hyborian Age is supposed to anticipate later historical parallels - eg Stygia = proto-Egypt - but that all seemed pretty superficial to me).


Anonymous said...

Steve, I see in todays paper that there will soon be a vacancy for mayor of South Yorkshire...
Have you considered throwing your hat in the ring as an independent? In these changing, unpredictable times I think a man of the people such yourself could do well.

You could make South Yorkshire great again!


Dave S said...

"Are they robots? Are they machines?"

Aren't all robots machines?

Steve W. said...

Sean, I'm boycotting the job, as they won't let me also be Supreme King of Chesterfield.

MP, personally, I refuse to feel guilty for liking any terrible music. We should all flaunt our love of those bands the world has chosen to declare unfashionable.

Killdumpster said...

Hey, Steve, oh my brother, was the HERCULES film you referenced the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Lou Ferringino?

The movie with Lou co-starred Sybil Danning. I was a minor fan of her grade B action//horror/exploitation films, and went to a horror convention that she was appearing in.

I had a couple copies of her appearance in PLAYBOY magazine (she was on the cover), and though it would be good to get one signed. Asked my buddy if he wanted one, but he said "No".

Went to her table, after a gent was rambling on with her, and greeted her. As soon as I said, "Hello, ma'am", she busted into a sales pitch for all the products & photos she had there. I told her that I just wanted a PLAYBOY signed, and then she quizzed me where I got it.

With her hard sell, even after she signed it, it makes me uncomfortable talking to celebrities at shows.

Anonymous said...

Phil, I saw that video with Tom Jones and Nina Perrson, the Swedish singer from the Cardigans.
I've watched it a few times, and it certainly wasn't because I wanted to look at Tom Jones.
In fact, was he even in that video? I forget.
I remember Nina, though.


Anonymous said...

M.P. - Yes! In my youth, the final single I ever bought was "Erase & Rewind", by the Cardigans. And - considering how stingy & tightfisted I am - it took a lot for me to part with my money! In contrast, I've never bought any of Tom's music. However, the name "Tom Jones" is much easier to spell (hence, "that woman from the Cardigans"). As an old English textbook from my teenage years said, "If you can't spell it, don't write it!"


Steve W. said...

KD, it was the one with Lou Ferrigno.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Scandinavian names and words are hard to spell.
Dutch names and words are worse. I think my ancestors used way too many vowels.
How many times do you gotta put the letter "O" in a word? Once is enough!
No wonder they were always at war. Nobody could figure out what the hell they were saying.