I will be henceforth sequencing entries from most recent to least recent, thereby guaranteeing visitors to this Weblog that the first ruminations, sharings of information, or defences of Season Two of Space: 1999 (yes, the saga goes on, and on and on and on) that they see from me will be my latest ones. With thanks to Jonathan Wood for contacting me with a suggestion to this effect.
I just cannot seem able to stop from my updating of my autobiography. I have added a paragraph on The Adventures of Black Beauty and images of an equestrian event on CBC Television, The Adventures of Black Beauty, Upstairs, Downstairs, and Adventures in Rainbow Country, to my Era 2 memoirs, and five more Marvel Superheroes episode title cards to my Era 4 memoirs.
The Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set's bonuses have been announced, and I must note the existence in the box set of several of the new Looney Tunes cartoon shorts made for HBO Max. Not something that particularly pleases me, this. I would much rather have excerpts from The Bugs Bunny Show. These new cartoons are, in my estimation, a completely illegal attempt to forsake the refinements to the character and look of Bugs that came in the late 1940s, and to go back to Bob Clampett.
But this for another time. I have no wish today to tackle the prevailing attitude of the cartoon fans of the past twenty years. I am on my vacation, such as it is in this COVID-19 world that was made by inept and crass national politicians in those critical weeks of January, February, and early March.
July 27, 2020.
July 24, 2020. Supplemental.
Here is the list of Bugs Bunny cartoons on the third Blu-Ray disc in the upcoming Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set.
"Bugsy and Mugsy" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Show Biz Bugs" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"Hare-Less Wolf" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Now, Hare This" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Knighty Knight Bugs" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 3)
"Hare-Abian Nights" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Backwoods Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Wild and Woolly Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Bonanza Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray)
"People Are Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Person to Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Rabbit's Feat" (new to Blu-Ray)
"From Hare to Heir" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Compressed Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Prince Violent" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Shishkabugs" (new to Blu-Ray)
"The Million Hare" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"The Unmentionables" (new to Blu-Ray)
"False Hare" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Blooper Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray)
Impressive! I must say that I like it. All of these titles bring a smile to my face. Well, except for "Blooper Bunny". Why is it forestalling a vintage cartoon from a coveted spot amongst the sixty cartoons offered? A spot that could have gone to "Lighter Than Hare" (which will remain available only in an incorrect aspect ratio). Or "Hare-Breadth Hurry". Or "Dumb Patrol".
With this release also including "Hare-Abian Nights", it is bye-bye to THE PARODIES COLLECTION. And do not think that it has been a slice of heaven, oh, PARODIES COLLECTION. Because it has not. I can also now dispense with STARS OF SPACEJAM: BUGS BUNNY and The Bugs Bunny Easter Special.
I was right about "Show Biz Bugs" and "Knighty Knight Bugs". Fancy that!
Here is the Bugs Bunny Eightieth Anniversary Blu-Ray box set in its finalised appearance. And, yes, that is a Funko Bugs Bunny toy figure in the package. I am not against toy figures, per se. As a matter of fact, I paid a hefty sum of money in 2018 for a Bugs Bunny and Mr. Hyde set of toy figures. And a few Weblog entries ago, I was marvelling at some imagined action figures for the characters of Spiderman. But I do not believe that a Blu-Ray box set is the place for them. I would much rather have had two or three more Blu-Ray discs in the box set. And then bought a Funko figure of Bugs Bunny separately if I felt so-inclined.
July 24, 2020.
I have done yet more updates to my Era 2 memoirs. Some further images of Pink Panther and Inspector cartoons and a paragraph about comic books and a mention of reruns of Adventures in Rainbow Country.
I had some difficulty saving the latest updated file for Era 2. It was not being saved fully. It could be that my Website's data is now of such high volume that problems will be with me from now on with the saving of updates.
I propose to finally stop adding to Era 2, in any case, and to concentrate my attention on other parts of my Website.
The information flow has now slowed with regard to the Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set. A full, final listing of the cartoons on it, is still pending. "False Hare" has been confirmed by Jerry Beck as being in the box set. This is about all of the new information that I have. Plus the fact that a Comic-Con video has been made available of the announcement of the Blu-Ray box set with participants in the video including Jerry Beck, George Feltenstein, and Leonard Maltin, and a few people associated with recent productions of cartoons. Naturally, it was a Bob Clampett "love-in", with references to the Chuck Jones classics being a matter of course. The only cartoon seen at length in the video was "What's Cookin', Doc?". Freleng merited scant mention at all. Even though a large (perhaps the largest) number of the new-to-Blu-Ray cartoons are his. It does give to me cause to roll my eyes and moan.
I would say again that the list that I posted here yesterday is not final, but it does appear that, once again, "Beanstalk Bunny" is nowhere to be found. It, like "Hyde and Go Tweet", seems to have some enduring disfavour with someone rather "high up the chain" in the planning of home video releases of the cartoons. And it looks like "A-Lad-in His Lamp" is now in the taboo category for home video. I could quibble with some of the choices for "cartoon repeats" in this list. Why "8 Ball Bunny"? It is already on Blu-Ray and is not an especially outstanding cartoon. I would like to see "Hyde and Hare" swapped with it. Why "Baseball Bugs" again? Why not "Rhapsody Rabbit"? And why "Elmer's Candid Camera"? It is not even Bugs Bunny in it. Bugs Bunny is not established as a character until "A Wild Hare".
As to the remaining twenty cartoons. I hope to see "Hare-Less Wolf", "Bugsy and Mugsy", "Backwoods Bunny", "Wild and Woolly Hare", "Bonanza Bunny", "Rabbit's Feat", "Compressed Hare", and maybe even "Hare-Breadth Hurry". With regard to "cartoon repeats", no doubt there will be an appearance of "Knighty Knight Bugs", for its historical significance. It would not surprise me to see "Show Biz Bugs" (one of the few Freleng cartoons of the 1950s that Jerry Beck likes very much), "Baton Bunny", and maybe "The Abominable Snow Rabbit" and "Transylvania 6-5000". I have a hunch that when the cartoons selected enter the 1960s, there will be fewer new-to-DVD-or-Blu-Ray titles listed. I do not expect to see "Wet Hare", "Devil's Feud Cake" or "Dumb Patrol". But I might be surprised.
It should not be much longer before the final list is made available.
So far, the bonus features announced have been underwheming. Most of them tired GOLDEN COLLECTION and PLATINUM COLLECTION oldies.
All for today, so far.
July 23, 2020.
A listing of forty of the sixty cartoons in the Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set has come to light. Word is that it is still not accurate for itemising a portion of the final assemblage of sixty cartoons for the box set. But here is what the list comprises.
"Elmer's Candid Camera" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"A Wild Hare" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"Hold the Lion, Please" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"Super-Rabbit" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk" (new to Blu-Ray)
"What's Cookin', Doc?" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Hare Ribbin'" (new to Blu-Ray)
"The Old Grey Hare" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"Baseball Bugs" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"Hair-Raising Hare" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 3)
"Racketeer Rabbit" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Bugs Bunny Rides Again" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Haredevil Hare" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 1)
"Hot Cross Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Hare Splitter" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Knights Must Fall" (new to Blu-Ray)
"What's Up, Doc?" (new to Blu-Ray)
"8 Ball Bunny" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 1)
"Rabbit of Seville" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 1)
"Rabbit Every Monday" (new to Blu-Ray)
"The Fair-Haired Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Rabbit Fire" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 2)
"His Hare-Raising Tale" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Hare Lift" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Upswept Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Robot Rabbit" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Captain Hareblower" (new to Blu-Ray)
"No Parking Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Yankee Doodle Bugs" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Lumber Jack-Rabbit" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Baby Buggy Bunny" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Hare Brush" (new to Blu-Ray)
"This is a Life?" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Rabbitson Crusoe" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Napoleon Bunny-Part" (new to Blu-Ray; should be original, uncropped aspect ratio)
"Half-Fare Hare" (new to Blu-Ray)
"Piker's Peak" (new to Blu-Ray)
"What's Opera, Doc?" (PLATINUM COLLECTION 1)
I owe Jerry Beck an apology. It appears that he is making the most of this Blu-Ray release to finally give to the vast majority of Bugs cartoons previously unreleased to digital media, their due showcase on home video. There are still twenty cartoons not mentioned (probably most previously-not-on-DVD-or-Blu-Ray Bugs cartoons post-"What's Opera, Doc?" going to "False Hare"). I could lament about "Hyde and Hare" not being in High Definition, and I will do so for years to come. But this Blu-Ray release is, on the whole, an impressive product, and I will endorse it and buy it. I am happy to see that "Rabbitson Crusoe" is in this box set. If "Hare-Abian Nights" is in it, also, then I can dispense with that awful PARODIES COLLECTION DVD. It pleases me further to see HARE EXTRAORDINAIRE cartoons finally being released on shiny digital videodisc in their correct aspect ratio. I pray that none of the new-to-Blu-Ray cartoons are dropped for the final list.
"Blooper Bunny" is said to be included in the box set. Hopefully not in one of the sixty slots for the vintage cartoons.
All for now. I will comment further when the final list is revealed.
July 22, 2020.
More news about the Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set continues to "trickle in" during discussions about said box set at various Websites. I am afraid that I have to report that hopes and expectations for ths box set, including the guarded hopes of mine, have been revealed to have been exaggerated. Naturally. This has been par for the course for Warner Brothers ever since the first GOLDEN COLLECTION. It being Bugs Bunny's eightieth birthday has done nothing, it seems, to divert Warner Brothers from going the same, tired old route in the compiling of vintage Warner Brothers cartoons for releases to digital videodisc.
I may as well end the preamble and just say it. There will be only 60 cartoons in this box set. That is it. The bunny whose cartoon career spanned decades and whose filmography is in excess of 160 cartoons, is only being graced with 60 cartoons. Yes, Warner Brothers, always ready to underwhelm the cartoon aficionado, is "sticking" to its 60-cartoons-per-release formula of the GOLDEN COLLECTIONs. And in case someone is positing that this may be first of two or three volumes of Bugs' cartoons on Blu-Ray, I must emphasise that nowhere on the box for this set does it say, VOLUME 1.
I have lost hope that "Hyde and Hare" will be in this box set. Probably very few, if any, of the cartoons on HARE EXTRAORDINAIRE needing a release in their proper aspect ratio will appear in the set. There may not be a complete complement of the newly restored cartoons, either. It would not surprise me if some of them were "left out". The sixty cartoons will no doubt consist of the same ones that always see release. Most of them pre-1948, of course. And also the more celebrated Chuck Jones ones of the 1950s. Them, too, of course, to "round out" the set. I need not list them. Everyone who reads this Weblog will know which ones they are. Many of them already having been on Blu-Ray in THE PLATINUM COLLECTION. And the bulk of them on DVD before that. "Triple-dips"? "Quadruple-dips"? "Quintruple-dips"? I have lost count.
There is no itemised list yet of what will be in the box set. But I am no longer expecting much from it besides the newly restored cartoons, and maybe not even all of those. I am not going to finger-point at individuals who may be responsible for the disappointing number of cartoons. I cannot be bothered doing so anymore. It is a committee decision of executives who have scant faith in the bunny's marketing potential. Why make a deluxe Blu-Ray set that may not sell enough units to recoup the expense of manufacturing six or seven "loaded" Blu-Ray discs? Just "slap" 60 cartoons on the set, have a few of them be new to DVD and Blu-Ray, and enough units will presumably sell to recoup the investment in a couple of Blu-Ray disc masters. The Flintstones can receive a complete release on Blu-Ray but not Bugs Bunny. Not even half complete. This is where the world is at right now. High Definition masters exist for way more than sixty of Bugs' cartoons, but the physical media consumer cannot have more than sixty.
It was nice to entertain the hopes while it lasted. All of a few days. Now, my focus is solely on adding as many Bugs cartoons to my DVD and Blu-Ray collection as possible, and on seeing never-before-on-home-video cartoons in High Definition. I pray that Warner Brothers will not disappoint me in this respect.
I look at my shelves and see complete collections of Pink Panther, Inspector, Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads, and Misterjaw cartoons on Blu-Ray. And a full set of vintage Peanuts television specials of the 1960s and 1970s on DVD. In a nice concise grouping of media. And I look at my collection of Warner Brothers cartoons and the incomplete jumble that it is. DVD-Rs. GOLDEN COLLECTIONs. PLATINUM COLLECTIONs. LOONEY TUNES SUPERSTARS DVDs. SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS DVDs. MOUSE CHRONICLES Blu-Ray. Japanese Tweety DVDs. Daffy Duck's Quackbusters. Bugs Bunny's Easter Special. STARS OF SPACEJAM DVDs. THE PARODIES COLLECTION DVD. PORKY PIG 101. It is a hodge podge of most unusual proportions. And it is a testimonial to the slipshod treatment of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang in the twenty-first century.
Anyway. The box set will be what it will be. It will be a "one-off". And the cartoons never released on DVD or Blu-Ray will not have another chance for High Definition glory.
July 20, 2020. Supplemental.
The Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray box set has now passed from the possible or the theoretical to the certain with the availability today of an image of said Blu-Ray box set. It looks impressive in size and should "pack a wallop" of vintage cartoon goodness- provided that its contents are solely Blu-Ray discs and not mostly a bunch of supplemental trinkets. Here is the image.
I will, of course, have more to say on the subject of this Blu-Ray release as particulars and more visuals of it become available.
I am going to begin today's Weblog entry with a Hyperlink to something that I have discovered. An imagined alternate reality in which Spiderman was so popular that it spawned a line of action figures. And very handsome renderings of the packaging that such action figures would sport. It does rather cause one to drool with the intense wish to possess these exceedingly impressive items. And I would opine that the Infinata action figure would put Kenner's Darth Vader to shame. And all of the Creature Cantina action figures, too.
What more can I say? The characters of Spiderman were the perfect subjects for stylish and desirable action figures, and it is such a pity that such a product line never came to be in this universe.
For this world in which one is forced to live, the one marred with pandemic, nuclear reactor disaster fallout, and growing strife in societies collapsing under a media-imposed culture of Godlessness, licentiousness, vulgarity, subversion, division, horrible national and international leadership, and entropy, one is so very grateful for whatever good news may be upcoming. Good news with regard to twentieth century entertainment of an imaginative nature. I refer to the possible (I will still say, possible, for the time being) Blu-Ray box set of Bugs Bunny cartoons. There has been no confirmation of truth in the rumours, and no denial either. I am being cautiously optimistic and am entertaining some hopes. Tentative hopes. It has been so long since I last was hopeful where Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies on home video is concerned. And it does feel somewhat pleasant to have hopes.
What I am hoping for in this possible box set, in addition to the fifteen cartoons newly restored, is, of course, "Hyde and Hare" in High Definition, looking even more colourful than it did on DVD, without any untoward tinkering of its colour palette and contrast ratios, and with minimal DNR. And the correct 4X3 aspect ratios for every cartoon released on DVD in widescreen only in the LOONEY TUNES SUPER STARS DVD range. "Lumber Jack-Rabbit", "This is a Life?", "Napoleon Bunny-Part", "Lighter Than Hare", "The Million Hare", etc.. And all other Bugs cartoons that were on DVD. On the premise that the Blu-Ray box set will be a reality, I may not see my wish fulfilled on some or all of these counts. Discussion now on forums has moved from the possibility of this Blu-Ray release happening to what it will include. And it is not expected to be fully comprehensive. The latest discourse is that Warner Brothers probably will withhold several released-on-DVD cartoons because the sensibilities of 2020 would make releasing those cartoons, even with a disclaimer, very inadvisable. Of course, I would not expect to see "All This and Rabbit Stew", "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips", or "Fresh Hare". Those did not reach DVD, and rightly so. But there are several other cartoons that, due to their entire story or just a particular scene, probably will be absent from this upcoming Blu-Ray set. I would not expect for "Horse Hare" to see light of day again, and, because of one scene, "Wild and Woolly Hare" probably will join it in perpetual cartoon limbo ("Wild and Woolly Hare" is not among the fifteen cartoons in the newly remastered category). "Hare Brush", for its gags about mental illness, may never again see release to home video. In addition to these cartoons, I would put in the unlikely-to-be-in-this-release column, "Mississippi Hare", "Frigid Hare", "Bushy Hare", "Southern Fried Rabbit", "8 Ball Bunny", "Wideo Wabbit", "Bewitched Bunny" (for Bugs' line of dialogue before its end), and maybe even "People Are Bunny". "Yankee Doodle Bugs" did not receive a restoration and will probably not appear in the box set, due to a scene in it. So, the DVDs that have some of these cartoons on them will have to be retained by the collector.
What I do not want to see in this set is any of the latter-day, i.e. post-1990, cartoons. Especially the Larry Doyle cartoons of the 2000s. I am so tired of having those cluttering my digital media platters. And how many of my DVDs have "Little Go Beep" on them? I have lost count. I know that it is a Road Runner cartoon and highly unlikely to be in a Bugs Bunny set. I am just mentoning it in passing. I do not want to see "Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas" in this set. Period. I would be okay with the cartoons from Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales and maybe also those from Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over. Those were directed by Freleng and Jones and had the voice of Mel Blanc, though the latter of these made-for-television productions I have always judged to be rather ugly and quite un-funny. None of the cut-and-paste television specials, please. Please put How Bugs Bunny Won the West back on the vault shelf. And Chuck Jones, rest his soul, really was way, way past his prime in the 1990s. So, please. None of those cartoons. Keep almost entirely to the vintage era. To the cartoons produced until 1964. With the only later cartoons being the cartoon shorts of Freleng and Jones made for television when Mel Blanc was alive. There will be several dozen pre-1948 cartoons in this set, and I am amenable to that. As long as the post-1948s have their opportunity to shine in the High Definition limelight in all of their magnificent colour and stylish visualisation.
And it would be pleasing to see some Bugs Bunny Show material as bonus features. With Jerry Beck supposedly involved in the project, this would be a likely prospect. If the box set is as mammoth as the price of the possible French version of it would suggest, there probably would be some bonus features. Maybe Bugs Bunny: Superstar. Maybe the celebratory television specials of 1986 and 1990. Perhaps The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie. I would think that at the very least the excerpts from The Bugs Bunny Show already on DVD would be "ported over".
In six more days, the world will know for sure about this Blu-Ray box set. Its existence and maybe also all of its contents.
More autobiography updates have been done, with my latest attention in this regard given to Era 2 and Era 4, including a new assemblage of Pink Panther and Inspector images, a further set of Spiderman episode title cards, and a row of title cards for episodes of The Marvel Superheroes. I am resolved that I have finished updating Era 2, until such time as some nostalgia-stimulating photographs of the Miramichi region do surface on the Internet. It is becoming increasingly unhopeful that I will ever see any more of those.
All for today, Monday, July 20, 2020.
Not content to bring my autobiography updating to an end, I have added still more text and images to my Era 2 memoirs. They include a lengthy paragraph addressing what it was about The Pink Panther Show that impressed me, followed by a paragraph about the Inspector cartoon, "Sicque! Sicque! Sicque!", and two more paragraphs explaining why The Flintstones had an "edge" over The Pink Panther Show for me in 1976. And twelve images of Inspector and Pink Panther cartoon titling and an image of "Sicque! Sicque! Sicque!".
It appears that time is starting to tell with regard to the Bugs Bunny cartoons newly restored. This has surfaced.
Speculation on some discussion forums is that this is the Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray release that has been rumoured for some time now, in its manifestation for the European Blu-Ray market, with a North American release coming simultaneous to it, or earlier or later than it. The price would suggest something rather definitive. But it is not a given that it is a release of any new-to-digital-videodisc cartoons. It could be a repackaging of LOONEY TUNES: THE PLATINUM COLLECTION. It is a hopeful sign, though. I will gladly accept it as such, for now. Until reports from Comic-Con are available on July 26.
Thursday, July 16, 2020.
My Website's latest updates include those to my Era 5 memoirs, with an expanding upon my memories of YTV's run of Space: 1999 in 1990-2, together with a new assemblage of images, and some added text to Era 4, remembering CHSJ-TV's broadcasts of Spiderman in October of 1985 and making an observation about the Spiderman episodes airing on Halloween week that year. And more Spiderman episode title cards are to be found in Eras 3, 4, and 5.
I promised to address Flash Gordon in this Weblog entry and will do so. I really do not have very much to say on that subject, but I thought that I should explain why I excluded Flash Gordon from my list of "camp" productions a few Weblog entries ago.
First, though, I want to expand upon some of what I said in my last Weblog entry. I said that I am not concerned with "plot holes", that I do not "frigging" care if an imaginative production has some ostensibly or plainly questionable technicalities in its story. Oh, I know how contrary people can be and how quick that they are to stretch something that one says to extremes. I did not then and do not now mean to say that a production can just "have at it" with unlimited "plot holes", to the extent that it becomes utterly incoherent to the rational, intuitive viewer. The Empire Strikes Back's challengeable items do not appear to harm it in the eyes and minds of the public. Nor do those of Star Trek II- The Wrath of Khan. So, evidently there can be some. Within reason. There can be a few, maybe three or four, per movie or per episode, I would say. Mind, I think that Star Trek II- The Wrath of Khan has rather more than three or four dubious particulars to its storytelling tapestry. But three or four is a number that I think would be permissible to a sensible viewer with good will for the production. I do not think that any Season Two Space: 1999 episode has more than that. But of course, good will for it is to be found in very few places. Good will. Open-mindedness. Fairness.
I will not lump unexplained phenomena extraneous to essential story development into the definition of "plot hole". What the Overseers in "The Metamorph" are, where they came from, is a detail extraneous to the progression of the episode through its mounting action and tension to its climax and denouement. It is a detail that need not be elaborated in the story. The imagination of the viewer can furnish explanations of its own. Further, for dramatic necessity, for an imaginative concept or a synthesis of two or more imaginative concepts to be rendered as an exciting story, sometimes there has to be a story detail that needs to just be accepted. Accepted as being part of "writer's licence". The Alphans do not notice the reversal in their Commander's hair because the episode, "Seed of Destruction", would not unfold in its story as it does with its tense situations, and with all of its aesthetics, all of its intriguing nuances, if the impostor was discovered immediately, or if the mirror image idea was not utilised at all. I am prepared to accept the non-discovery of the hair parting difference as a function of the human mind when a leader has proved to be right time and time again. The eye can be biased by that. There is no reason to suspect that an usurping mirror-image has returned to Alpha in Koenig's stead, and everyone is conditioned from past experiences to believe everything about Koenig to be genuine. Yes, even the Alphans closest to him. Most Alphans, I would emphasise, are only seeing Koenig on a video monitor screen without the best resolution. And they all are concerned first and foremost with what their seeming Commander is saying about the threat posed to Alpha by the asteroid and what he is saying about what is to be done. Also, when one is accustomed to receiving a leader's orders, one looks at the mouth, and the eyes, and not the hair. That is true. Unless a supervisor is a woman who had a complete restyle of her hair. That is an ostentatious change. I can "buy" that the Alphans are so concerned with a survival situation that their eyes do not focus upon the hair on Koenig's head. And Helena is so concerned about the behaviour of what she thinks is John that she is not looking at the hair on its head. I can "buy" this. As I say, the episode as it is would not have been made if the mirror image idea was not utilised. And I love that it was utilised, and that anti-matter, the "image in the mirror", would be the nature of the alien quantity in the next chronologically consecutive episode, "A Matter of Balance".
The Alphans not asking visiting aliens for a ride back to Earth does not impair the development of episodes like "The Mark of Archanon" and "Dorzak". It is reasonable to suppose that they did so in an un-shown conversation, and the answer was negative. But whether they did or not, the episode proceeded to its conclusion and was not muddled in its building action by such an omission. I have in the years of my Weblog's history refuted a number of "plot hole" claims by the fans of Space: 1999 as being misconstrued facts or jaundiced observations or failures to intuit likely explanations using the provided information. And unwillingness to accept a premise like intelligent rocks and plants on an alien planet or an anti-matter universe in its own dimension, is not necessarily representative of "plot hole".
And "Economy of detail" is a principle that can and should be invoked to counter most of the carping of fans about items having insufficient explanation. And this should also apply to Season One, of course.
One may ask, what do I consider to be bad writing for science fiction/fantasy. I imagine that this is a question that would arise in people's minds while reading my defences of the supposedly undefendable work of Fred Freiberger and the other writers of Season Two Space: 1999. Oh such damnable work, is it not? Johnny Byrne (All Creatures Great and Small, Doctor Who, Tales of the Unexpected), Donald James (The Avengers, The Saint, Mission: Impossible, UFO, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun), Tony Barwick (UFO, The Persuaders!), Terence Feely (The Avengers, The Prisoner, UFO), Jack Ronder (Survivors), John Goldsmith (The New Avengers, Return of the Saint, The Professionals), and Terrance Dicks (Doctor Who) all had to have been horrible writers, yes? Or all at once, these esteemed writers' talents failed them. As did the talents, also, of directors, production designer, special effects staff, etc.. All at once or in rapid succession. Or everyone decided to be unprofessional and to deliberately not do their best work. So the haters of Season Two Space: 1999 must necessarily maintain in their 44-year-old vendetta. Nonsense! They were highly imaginative and stalwartly competent writers, consummate professionals, and definite assets to the genres for which they wrote.
From where I stand, the poorest science fiction/fantasy is unimaginative. It limits itself to human and human interactions on a spaceship, with no otherworldly quantity. Or it coopts events of present time and puts them into a future setting just to make some preachy statement, and with no really fantastic elements to the story. Or it coopts a trope from another genre and reuses it wholesale. It does not synthesise one reused trope with another for the first time ever (that is imaginative); it just reuses one. Buck Rogers shamelessly plucked a Gunsmoke story out of television history and just set it on an alien planet boringly depicted on the Universal back lot. This would be an example of unimaginative writing. And then there are the likes of Galactica 1980, with fish-out-of-water scenarios on present-day Earth. No other planets. No alien encounters for the heroes.
A story is unsatisfying in my opinion if it tries at length to "set up" some conflict or some menace and then completely abandons it before it can be resolved and moves to some other matter of contention, some other dispute, orchestrated affront, etc., and failing to refer back to the first matter and to cogently "tie it in" with what transpires later. Or there is a failure to advance the story in a satisfying way, i.e. a failure to follow the rules of dramatic story development (rising action, climax, denouement). Or there are sudden jumps in "narrative" time that disorient the viewer or reader (Casino Royale (2006), this one is for you!). Or the story begins with a situation for a hero that is at once not totally clear as to its import and continues to be unclear for some time (Casino Royale (2006), again). I am far less forgiving of questionable technicalities if they are detectable by a reasonable viewer in a story lacking in imagination. Aesthetically interesting depiction might compensate somewhat for an imagination deficit. But such has, for me, been so rare as to be without any memorable example.
Another wretched alley of scriptwriting from my perspective is a "flipping" of a character from villain to hero with no justice, administrative or poetic, meted out to him or her for the evil acts, and no valid cause for redemption, if indeed redemption is credibly possible. A character does something heinous. And the writer chooses to have that character suddenly be "the good person" without sufficient basis for his or her character to reform, or for a reforming to be believable and acceptable. Soap operas are guilty of this. I am unable to provide an example for this from the science fiction/fantasy genre.
All right. Have I clarified my position on the matter of fan obsession with story structure? If not, I can make another attempt to do so later. Right now, I am tired, very, very tired, of the subject and propose to "move on".
Before I leave aside the subject of Space: 1999, however, I would like to provide some enhancement, or clarification, of something that I said in last Weblog entry. This was what I said.
"But to make sweeping denunciations about the other season being comparable to excrement because it has some questionable aspects, and to try to declare persons who happen to like the other season as being less than sane, is contrary to standards of fairness and decency. In fact, it is loathsome. Despicable."
I imagine that, in response to this, people are citing my statements in the past about half-maturity and a possible pathology on the part of members of the Season One "camp", to argue that I am being hypocritical to call them loathsome for their aspersions cast upon the mental fitness of people who happen to like Season Two. I must be clearly understood. I have no issue with people who happen to like and also prefer Season One. I myself like it, and I did prefer it many years ago. All of my issues with the Season One pundits are with their everlasting closed-mindedness and constant rancour. I do not question their mental well-being on the basis of their simply happening to like "Year One". It is their forty-four-year-old hostility toward Season Two, and their unending compulsion to attack everything about it every single day, and them often using the most offencive wording possible in doing so, that informs my "hard line" on them and my ruminations about their lack of maturity and potential pathology. I find loathsome the delight that they have in reading other people's attacks upon it and therefore, by logical extension, upon people who like it. And the fact that, based on their ignorance of the beauty of Season Two and their all-too-evident superiority in numbers, they cockily affirm mental deficiency in people who like it, and "make fun" of it, its producer, and, either directly or indirectly, its adherents. It is galling to me that they are touted as being right in their behaviour because they hold the majority viewpoint. And I judge this to be despicable. Am I now clear?
Now, then. Flash Gordon. "Flash! Ah-Aa-a-ah!!!"
First, I have to admit that in my commentary on "camp" some Weblog entries ago and in my listing of productions that I regard as "camp", I did not mention Flash Gordon solely because of oversight. I forgot about it. But there may be a justifiable reason for my memory lapse, for I regard Flash Gordon to be a blending of the "camp" with the serious. It is not "camp" through and through. And the serious aspects of the movie make the "camp" in it more digestible, for people like me who are not aficionados of science fiction/fantasy satire. Doubtless, the "camp" in the movie is the handiwork of scriptwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., who famously wrote for Batman. I suspect that the director, Mike Hodges, was the antithesis to Mr. Semple in rendering the movie in a serious vein in numerous capacities. The threat of annihilation facing the Earth at the hands of Ming, "comes across" to the viewer very seriously. Ming is portrayed as an exceedingly dangerous psychopathic despot. There is a palpable feeling of menace when he appears on screen. He does not laugh in an exaggeratedly effervescent way or twirl a moustache. He cold-bloodedly kills a man in full view of an audience of his subjects, and Flash and his companions' reaction to this is very realistically enacted. Yes, Flash using his football strategies to confound Ming's troops, is quite absurd and easily classified as "camp", and the music and some of the actors' performances do signal it as such. But then, the execution scene is done solemnly, and Sam J. Jones' acting in that scene is perhaps his best work in the movie. Brian Blessed goes wildly "over-the-top" as Prince Vultan, clearly delighting in the romp of an ostentatious, effusive "bird-man" portrayal that he is permitted to proffer, and several of his lines of dialogue have entered the annals of exaggerated wording and elocution in works of the cinema. Conversely, Timothy Dalton gives a restrained, dignified, almost Shakespearian performance as Prince Barin. Definitely compensating for Blessed's extravagance. The visualisation of the rocket launch from Dr. Zarkov's headquarters is difficult to fault. For a 1980 movie, it is quite dazzling, albeit not matching N.A.S.A. standards for rocket design and propulsion. Indeed, production values and production design of the movie are of an admirable calibre, even when the script is verging on the absurd. I love the special effect of the rocket going through the "worm hole" vortex, and the accompanying music does much to convey the sense of wonder and impending danger in the scene. The scene wherein Zarkov is forced to go backward in memories all of the way to birth, is quite poignant in places, and Topol is magnificent therein. And overall, there is clearly a concerted effort to render Mongo and its many moons as a believable, if surrealistic, alien society. Surrealistic and beautiful. The "camp" elements are acceptable for me because of the serious aspects of the movie, along with its lavish, gorgeous production design.
I do have to admit that when I first saw Flash Gordon, at the Nashwaaksis Cinema 2 on a matinee on an overcast early-winter Saturday in 1980 with my friend, Tony, and his brother, Steven, I did not thoroughly warm to it like I did to other productions of the time. I felt somewhat detached from it but could not explain precisely why. At the time, when I was fourteen, I did not recognise "camp" as a concept or in its practice. Now, of course, I can and do. And I acknowledge that it was the "camp" of the movie that I was having difficulty appreciating. It clashed with the sensibilities that I had become accustomed-to with, say, Star Wars. I still liked Flash Gordon, though. I bought the novelisation of it and the vinyl record of its music. I could not help but like it. There were imaginative worlds in it. It was gorgeous to behold. And it had Brian Blessed in it. And Peter Duncan. Both of them were Space 1999 actors, and if Space: 1999 actors were in something, the attraction factor for me was much enhanced. As my appreciation for the ultramodern culture and futuristic power play motifs in Space: 1999 became more and more lucid, my regard for Flash Gordon prospered. Today, it is in my collection and does receive a viewing once a year or so. I judge it to be an amalgam of the "camp" and the serious, the latter making the former easier to digest than, say, the "camp" in Batman or Lost in Space.
I detest Lost in Space for its deliberately lampooning attitude toward its subject matter. As regards Batman, I have always been ambivalent. There have been times when I have been favourable to it and times when I have rejected it. I guess that I do have to be in the right mindset for digesting its wilful absurdity. I like the look of some of it. The Batmobile. The Batcave. The red telephones. The vibrant colours of the costumes of heroes and villains. There is plenty of purple in Batman, a colour that I like very much and that is all too sparingly used on television. And it is a part of my personal history. I watched it in my pre-school years and later on Sunday morning on CBC Switchback in the 1980s. It was a good fit for the earnest yet droll, cheerful manner of Switchback and its magnificent host, Stan "The Man" Johnson. The Switchback produced at CBC Halifax and airing throughout Atlantic Canada, was the best Switchback in the country. By far. I have seen video of the others, and they just did not "measure up" to the vim, the wit, and the lovably "dry" geniality that the charismatic Stan Johnson instilled in his Switchback.
I cannot say that the CBC of today has any of those qualities.
One more thing before I close my Weblog entry for today, Sunday, July 12, 2020. Word is that there will be some announcements at Comic-Con this year by Warner Brothers about Blu-Ray releases, and there is some expectation on the part of some people that the rumoured Blu-Ray release of recently restored Bugs Bunny cartoons will be announced there. Comic-Con is going to be an on-the-Internet event this year. No in-person attendance. It is on July 26. I will have something to say on this subject on July 27.
Sunday, July 5, 2020.
Not feeling like quitting in my Era 2 memoirs updates, I have added another paragraph and some more images to those memoirs. I have also updated my Era 1 memoirs with some additional text. The new paragraph to the Era 2 memoirs is in the spring of 1977 remembrances and tells of my experiences that spring with The Muppet Show and Welcome Back, Kotter with them airing on CHSJ-TV after Space: 1999 on Saturdays. I also address the subject of the ITC Entertainment logo at the start of both Space: 1999 and The Muppet Show. The new text for Era 1 is spread amongst the paragraphs of its sections for my Rivers, Manitoba experiences, and those in Newcastle, New Brunswick.
I have so many memories of that final year in Douglastown in Era 2. Not only does that year still feel like yesterday, I, in a very real sense, never really left that time of my life, though I am assuredly more mature than I was then (I cannot help but be). It forms so much of my personality, that year with more friends than I have ever had at any time since, everyone liking what I liked, and so many definitive experiences with television shows and my friends of that time. Anyway, I am sure that people are tired of my longings for a time to which I cannot possibly return.
My vacation is planned for the final two weeks of July and the first week of August. Already, I am moving to eliminate from my life as many of the sources of stress, aggravation, and grief as possible. I fully intend to "switch off" the "noise" of Space: 1999 fandom and that of politics and the manipulative, inflammatory news cycles of this increasingly crazy world. And as far as the Space: 1999 fans go, I have wanted them out of my life since 2000. I wish that they were never in my life. Yet, I keep encountering them in the avenues of the Internet on which I tread. Yes, even ones not directly connected to Space: 1999. And by force of habit, I keep clicking my computer mouse to the Hyperlinks to the main Space: 1999 Facebook group. It is right there near the top of my browser history. In fact, my primary shortcut to Facebook, selected by my computer, is the Space: 1999 one. Even though I do look at my Facebook Timeline and the main Facebook News Feed much more often, my computer keeps emphasising the Hyperlink to that hornet's nest. I wish that I could purge it from my computer. Ah, but inside me is this foolish, strangely resolute, now quite faint hope that someone would finally step forward and tell these boors obsessed with "bashing" "Year Two" to find something more constructive to do, appreciate Season One and stop trying to sully and invalidate people's fondness for or appreciation of Season Two, and throw their subsequent invective back at them decisively. It is patently ridiculous for this still to be going on in 2020, and such should be noted by that person. And with a hearty round of approval for that person among rank-and-file members of the group. But of course it does not happen, and the haters are ever more emboldened to increase their smugness as an ever-so-right force-of-numbers collective and to express more and more vitriol- along with their obsession with faultfinding of story structure in a forty-four-year-old television series whose episodes were produced at something of a lightning speed.
I do not "frigging" care about story structure being perfectly rendered, every element of "plotting" perfectly consistent with all others and with those of other stories in the same universe, every technicality, even the most minute ones, explained most elaborately. I am so God-damned sick and tired of fans' obsession with story faultfinding. Find me a perfect story, a story with not even the remotest possibility of quibble, in the science fiction/fantasy genre, especially the film and television division of that genre. It would be a rare thing. And I dare say that it would be a bore. A colossal bore. Laden throughout it with tedious exposition and encumbered with heaps and heaps of technobabble. Probably staid very much in imagination, "playing it safe". And doubtless too clever by half. Very conspicuously and recognisably so. I am not looking for that in an entertainment to capture my imagination. Period.
To try to bring some balance to the matter, I have done some faultfinding of my own with some of the most acclaimed works of the genre, i.e. UFO- "A Question of Priorities", Star Trek- "City On the Edge of Forever", Star Trek II- The Wrath of Khan, and The Empire Strikes Back, plus numerous first season Space: 1999 episodes, to show that fixations on "air-tight" storytelling evidently do not exist with regard to those works among the selectively critical, self-styled "experts", and only seem to matter where Season Two Space: 1999 is concerned. To fuel a "ramping up" of damning indictments against that latter half of that "singled-out" 1970s television programme, by fans of said television programme and the people at large who parrot "general" fan opinion as being gospel.
My interest, my keen interest, has always been in the beauty of ideas, concepts, depictions, artistic correspondences between episodes, fascinating patterning in "storyline", and the potential meaning in all of such. And in an opus that is viscerally thrilling, pacey, and expressive without heaps and heaps of expositional dialogue. One with likeable characters, impressive hardware, and admirable production values. I do not care if every t is crossed and every i is dotted in the story. As Dean once said to me, "We're not on Moonbase Alpha. We're not privy to every detail." Yes, that is right. There should be some amount of dramatic licence allowed to a writer. And "economy of detail". As long as a story can be followed from start to finish in one viewing by a somewhat intuitive viewer having an open mind and good will for the production, that should be sufficent. And if years, decades, of concentrated attention by persons of hostile bearing do "ferret out" strands of the story elements that may be challenged as being somehow inadequate, then dramatic (and maybe also artistic) writer's licence and "economy of detail" should be sufficient to counter the grousing. Furthermore, science fiction/fantasy should not be required to be consistent with reality on present-day Earth. Especially a television series in which it is said that, "... we're a long way from home, and we're going to have to start thinking differently if we're going to come to terms with space." And, "Just because we haven't experienced something doesn't mean it doesn't exist." And, "If we think we know everything that goes on out there, we're making a terrible mistake." These, by the way, are all quotations from first season Space: 1999.
Most of the sniping being done these days consists of "cheap shots" by people smugly convinced, through the validation of numbers of like-minded persons, of their superiority over the ever so wretched adherent to Season Two. And the sorties are Pavlovian in their relentless predictability. Any mention of a second season episode, any picture posted, any upcoming broadcast announced, and out comes the pack of wolves, howling with derision at the episode for its concept, or elements of its story, or just nothing but avowed hatred for the most superficial appearances or sounds of the episode, together with the cliched Freiberger-phobia and the usual rancid drivel over him being an inveterate "show-killer".
Everyone knows how I deplore this, and I am so God-damned sick and tired of writing about it. But these people will never, ever be sick and tired of driving the dagger into the heart of Season Two and persons who happen to think that Season Two is beautiful and has merit in all of its episodes. It is how they "get their jollies". They live each day for it. They hate Season Two, and expressing that hatred to resounding approval gives to them their daily validation, while "dishing out" daily invalidation to people having a different point of view about second season. What can I say? It makes me inclined to write a reaction. For my own self-respect, at least. There is one member of the group, of first name begining with P, who is obsessed with slurring Season Two at every opportunity and with liking other people doing so. This is all that he does. Attack Season Two and express keen approval of others' attacks. New people join the group and promptly "dash off" a sortie against some Season Two episode, being oh, so apologetic about doing so (sure!), even musing about it being an unpopular opinion (sure sure, sure!), and giving birth to a long "thread" in which person after person smears the episode, often also invoking the usual disdain for the entire season and its producer, maybe also weaponising Martin Landau or Barry Morse. And not a single contrary word is to be seen. On and on and on it goes, as broadcasters for some reason that I cannot fathom continue to air the episodes. Yes, even twenty-one years after 1999, they are still being telecast. If Season Two is as incontrovertibly "bad" as it is said every single day by numerous people to be, why is it still being shown on television? It confounds the cognition. It "does not compute". At this stage in my long life, I would be happy if Space: 1999 were gone from television. It would at least reduce the "noise" on "social media". Somewhat.
I would add that all of this "snark" that mercilessly bombards the Internet and my long-suffering eyes is coming from people who went to college in the mid-1980s. Yes. They are Generation Xers. Despicable people who assert their importance and perch their purported sophistication by "dissing" the work of older generations, of people who were better human beings than are they, in every way. People who fought in a war for freedom. People who lived through the Great Depression. People who were part of the pioneering years of television. And anyone who would "make fun of" or slur a dead man, a dead war veteran, knowing full well that his family might read the derogatory remarks, is devoid of class, of couth, of decency. Period.
I am loathe to spend my time defending the same episodes over and over again. And I have defended them all, I think, at some point in time in the past five years. But I will say this. In Season One's episode, "Force of Life", intelligence and purpose exists in a ball of blue light. There is no anatomical brain in that light. Nothing that by Earth standards would be a vessel for intelligence. And yet, there is intelligence. An intelligence that wants something from Alpha and that outright chooses which Alphan that it wishes to use as its catalyst. It gains possession of that Alphan's body to do its bidding. It has the power to draw something into itself. It can even animate a corpse. And it suspends the movement and speech of some 300 people, stops them in mid-motion and in the middle of spoken sentences while it "zeroes in" on the Alphan that it has chosen to utilise. How in blazes is it able to do that? The viewer does not know. Yet, fandom loves "Force of Life" (so do I, but then, I love Season Two, also) but scathingly lambastes "All That Glisters" for its premise, that of an alien planet's rock not having an anatomical brain but possessing intelligence and purpose, selecting an Alphan to do its bidding and animating that Alphan's body thought to be dead from cardiac arrest, siphoning something into itself, and being able, somehow, to paralyse people. As far as I am concerned, and as far as most people should be concerned, if a person can accept "Force of Life", and also the "living rock" concept in "End of Eternity", then "All That Glisters" should not be much more of a "stretch" for the imagination, or for one's suspension of disbelief. The vitriol that is heaped by these fans onto "All That Glisters" for its premise, is patently unfair. And irrational. And, by the way, I no longer give a damn what Martin Landau thought of the episode. That fact cannot be used by someone to upset me anymore. The man was not infallible. He misjudged his performance as General Adlon in Meteor for instance and went completely "over-the-top" as the narrow-minded martinet. He made mistakes sometimes, and he was mistaken about "All That Glisters".
Indeed, many things in Season One being accepted, from a mist being able to turn Alphans into troglodytes and to do who-knows-what with their electronic gadgetry ("The Full Circle"), to a celestial body the size of the Moon being able to hold an atmosphere of density and pressure identical to Earth's ("The Last Sunset"), to Koenig's party all forgetting to fasten seat belts and assume crash positions prior to their Eagle crash-landing on the Lunar surface ("Missing Link"), to a black sun having different gravitational effects on two Eagles ("Black Sun"), to Koenig leaving Helena alone in Medical Centre with the possessed-by-lethal-alien-force Anton Zoref, and with but one Security man posted outside ("Force of Life"), and almost nothing in Season Two being accepted, is confounding to any person of reasoned sensibilities. If one is willing to "cut slack" for one season and not the other, he or she can do that if he or she wishes. If that is his or her preference. But to make sweeping denunciations about the other season being comparable to excrement because it has some questionable aspects, and to try to declare persons who happen to like the other season as being less than sane, is contrary to standards of fairness and decency. In fact, it is loathsome. Despicable.
I desperately need a vacation from these people, and from people in politics too. And I mean to have one. This summer. I of course need a vacation also from my own compulsion to concede to a faint and unrealistic hope that there are good people who will "stand up" against vitriolic bullies and defend a beautiful television show that, although not perfect, captured imaginations and is of aesthetic interest in addition to being of nostalgic value. There will not ever be a cavalry charge in defence of Season Two. I need to totally purge any hope of that. The fans of Space: 1999, all of them, it seems, are committed to maintaining this injustice permanently. It is an unfair world, and Season Two and people like me, are victims of a particular unfairness.
God knows, I am used to being in unfair circumstances. I went through Grade 6 at school in Fredericton having to endure full class detentions, and the constant threat of them, because of the misbehaviour a few. That is one example.
Anyway. I will have my vacation. Even if I am not able to travel anywhere, or even go anywhere in Fredericton where I might contract the virus. My vacation will be mainly a vacation in time through the mental revisiting of memories, as it usually is. This year, the travel component of vacation may be missing. This has to be accepted, albeit grudgingly. Make no mistake. I hold national politicians responsible for the Coronavirus crisis. But I am not "going into that" again.
There is still no news about those restored Bugs Bunny cartoons being released on Blu-Ray. If a release to Blu-Ray for those cartoons were imminent later this year, would it not have been announced by now? I suppose that it is possible that Coronavirus is delaying this Blu-Ray release, as it is delaying certain further Doctor Who Blu-Ray releases. But the restoration is done, from what I understand. And a person working from his or her home could author the Blu-Ray disc's files and send them through the Internet to the Blu-Ray manufacturing facility, where the glass master is made. "Social distancing" could be maintained, along with mask-wearing.
But as I keep saying with regard to this supposed Blu-Ray release, time will tell.
All for today. In my next Weblog entry, I will be writing about Flash Gordon. I was going to do so today, but I am rather tired.
Saturday, June 27, 2020.
It was a busy week at work. And a tortuous one, having to wear a mask for nearly five hours three days in a row. But I have managed to keep the Legislature broadcast going just by myself, with no relief, no "bathroom breaks", and me running all of the equipment in a masterwork of multitasking. I think that I have earned my vacation this year, or "stay-cation" as the case will mostly be.
My work in my job is what it is. I do not normally derive much satisfaction, or self-esteem, from it. But I do it to the best of my ability, and I seldom ever receive complaints. Not much in the way of compliment either, it is true. But anyway.
I have put some additional labour into my Era 2 memoirs. There are a couple of further Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour image montages within my remembrances of the autumn of 1974, and a new paragraph with some additional memories of that particular autumn. I have also done some revision to The Spiderman Page.
My Gunsmoke complete television series DVD set arrived at my door this past Monday. Outwardly, it is a most impressive piece of art. Inwardly, it is a problematical construction. Having experienced the Star Trek fiftieth anniversary Blu-Ray set, I was expecting cases identical to what was in that, and most of them are so. Not ideal but manageable. But the powers-that-be really ought to have given to Seasons Sixteen to Twenty two "brick" cases instead of squeezing them into one. Said squeezing has been done by stacking DVD discs in threes, with an inflexible and downright despicable hub that requires flexing and bending and jostling of the discs to pry them loose. And the inner circle of each disc is dragged along the ring of the hub, risking chipping or cracking the disc as it is both released and put back into the case. Inevitably, I am going to need to buy individual cases for all 143 DVDs in this set. That is going to cost me a small fortune, as and when it will be doable in this pandemic situation. I am not comfortable going to any store, and the postage costs for a mail order of so many DVD cases would be exorbitant. But I am rambling unnecessarily. I feel certain that most of my readers are not interested in the technicalities of my collecting of digital videodisc of a television programme that is not of the most imaginative genres. I agree. It is not. But it is quality television, nevertheless. And just about every Hollywood actor and actress of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s was in it at least once. Martin Landau. William Shatner. Leonard Nimoy. Ricardo Montalban. Robert Culp. Ed Asner. Darren McGavin. Kim Hunter. Tom Skerritt. Bette Davis. Lois Nettleton. Michael Ansara. John Saxon. James Daly. Robert Lansing. Even Alan Hale. I think that Morgan Woodward probably receives the trophy for most Gunsmoke guest star appearances. Star Trek aficionados know him as Dr. Simon Van Gelder and Captain Ron Tracey.
Even if I watched an episode each day, to go through this DVD box set would be a two-year undertaking. And much as I do like Gunsmoke, I am not going to watch it every day. Time will tell when, or if, I completely watch the contents of GUNSMOKE- THE COMPLETE SERIES. I could go to my grave with dozens of episodes not watched.
The situation is static as regards those restored Bugs Bunny cartoons. Warner Brothers has announced a DVD set of Looney Tunes television specials. Oh, joy! "Thrillsville." It is known that the fifteen cartoons have already had the work done to them, but still no official announcement of a Blu-Ray release of those cartoons, either by themselves or in a larger, more comprehensive celebration of the cartoons of Bugs Bunny. People continue to say that it is coming, and this year would the ideal year for it, from a marketing perspective. As I so often say, time will tell. There are excerpts from some of the restored cartoons at, of all places, the YouTube channel of the Self-Appointed Looney Tunes Critic. I am loathe to advertise for him. Not any more than I have to. I have mentioned some of the restored cartoons being viewable in part there at said YouTube channel. That is enough. I will provide no URL. But the video can be found on YouTube with some searching. The colours in the cartoons look "flat", un-vibrant, and there is a minimising of contrast. They do look rather less than eye-poppingly fantastic. Of course, there is a possibility of a "re-grading" of the colour and an adjusting of contrast. The cartoons do look sharp and pristine, even with the video compression of YouTube. They do still have a potential for a most resplendent video display. Ah, but for that to come about, people do have to care. And, alas, I fear that most people do not. Still, it would be something to which to look forward in a "plague year", and a year when all of North America has embraced collectivism and the centralised and all-intrusive control of big government, that comes with the enforcing of a mandatory, insufficiently tested vaccine, to say nothing of the enforcement of policies to "stamp out" individual rights and private property. I am very, very pessimistic about the future.
The last thing that I want to do today is to address the animus toward Season Two of Space: 1999. I still do it occasionally (as I did last Saturday) just to reassure myself that I can still write an appreciable (at least to me) effort to contest the attacks. But I really do not want to spend my time sitting at my keyboard typewriting defences against massed attacks while a summer "passes me by". Enough of that. Yes, it is there on Facebook every day in all groups, this animus. Does anyone in the groups "push back" against it? Hell, no. Just more and more of the same one-sided "group-think" posturing, ever more acrimoniously and vulgarly expressed. There is not a split. There is not a debate. All that there is, is a steamroller. There is no discernible balance of opinions. And the incessant sorties are, I say again, not constructive criticism. They are propaganda to make fancying of Season Two an unthinkable thing, to "stamp out" its appeal in past, present, and future. It is not merely a "venting" over a feeling of loss, warranted or no in the laying of blame. That would have been acceptable, I suppose, thirty to forty years ago. It has gone way, way beyond that. That it is still "going on" in 2020 even worse than ever, is just obscene. Indeed, when I look at it this way, I can scarcely believe it. It has been twenty years since my final tussle on the Internet with the fans in all of their "'Year One'-great-and-'Year Two'-crap" refrain. Twenty years! That is a generation. People have been born and grown to adulthood in the twenty years since 2000, and still nothing has improved in the annals of Space: 1999 appreciation, or lack thereof. Rather, it is worse than ever. Unreal. Just unreal.
This is all that I have to say for today. For whatever that it may be worth. Not much, probably.
Saturday, June 20, 2020.
Today's galling (as usual) sorties begin with this. An assault upon the Season Two Space: 1999 episode, "The Lambda Factor".
"a caterpillar in a jam jar surely doesn't suffocate in only about 10 minutes? so another goof re the maya transformations."
Is there something wrong with the shift key on this person's keyboard, or is he averse to expending the finger energy required to press the shift key to capitalise letters?
Okay, genius. In how much time exactly does a caterpillar suffocate under such conditions? I do not know. Scriptwriter Terrance Dicks probably did not know, either. Nor Fred Freiberger. Do we know that it is ten minutes in the episode? Where is it said that it is ten minutes? It could be twenty, or thirty. All that we do know is that it is less than an hour because that is how long that Maya can hold the form of the caterpillar. And Maya has not suffocated. She is gasping for air but still alive after Koenig defeats "super-psychic" Carolyn Powell and the container (it is not a jam jar; any rational person with eyes can see that) covering Maya in her caterpillar form is blown off of her by the wind. Air was becoming scarce under the container, but it had not completely gone. And the precise time factor for all of this is unknown.
Someone also says that Maya could change back to herself at any time during Carolyn's besieging of Command Centre, and the container would fall away from her in the transformation. No, this is not the case. It is quite evident that Carolyn is in full control of Maya's mind and that she forced Maya's transformations into the monkey and the caterpillar. And she will not permit Maya to retransform while Maya is under the container. I intuited this when I first saw the episode at the age of eleven.
As usual, no one corrects these people. So, the attack is considered successful, another episode of Season Two is "thrown under the bus", and the herd smugly proclaims Season Two to be excrement once again.
Not a single person will come to the defence of Season Two in that group of more than 15,000 people. Not even when the attacks are easily refuted. They are all too far gone, evidently. But I cannot abide the accursed fact that their attitude is considered to be just as canonical as "the show" and that because of them and the dissemenation of their antipathy, nobody will ever come to Season Two with the same un-clouded perspective that I had.
"Who are these people who like 'A Matter of Balance'? Or do they exist largely in theory?"
Oh, funny. Not! There are people who like "A Matter of Balance". They have been purged, or compelled to depart by choice, from the fan movement. But they exist. I am one of the people who like the episode. Dean is another. But continue the smug proclamations that no such people exist, and if enough people say so, then it must be true, right? We are garbage. Human trash that deserve to be miserable in having to read in perpetuity the invalidations of our favourite works.
On and on and on it goes.
With reference to "Brian the Brain", here is a series of postings.
"You'll hate Brian. I hate Brian. All should hate Brian."
"Yeah, that episode made me hate anyone named Brian. Haha!"
"Jim, you are wight, I hate Bwian. (I"m Bwian, no I'm Bwian). I wish nobody was."
How old are these people? Their banter is that of boys on a school playground. Is this not indicative of a lack of sophistication? Is it not contrary to the high-mindedness that they tout themselves as having? Again, no one "takes them to task". The quislings in that oh, so vaunted group of 15,000 are all sitting on their hands.
First of all. Brian the robot is not meant to be a likable character. He is the antagonist. He went mad and murdered his creator and the Star Mission crew. Dave Reilly in "All That Glisters" is also meant to be an antagonist and unlikable. This is the nature of drama. One is supposed to "root for" the hero and to not favour the antagonist. The unlikability of an antagonist character should not equate with damnation of the particular work in which that character exists. But, apparently, these people "have it in" for "Brian the Brain" because they do not like the voice or the design of the robot. Regard for the design, whether positive or negative, is subjective. I think that it works in the modular future aesthetic that is Space: 1999. And as for the voice, it is indicative of creator Captain Michael's eccentricity and is an ironic, comical affectation for a mass-murdering robot. It functions in the story to entice Koenig and Russell onto the Swift on the mistaken belief that Brian is harmless.
And as for the slurs on the name of Brian. I declare them an offence, whatever their intent. There are thousands of Brians in the world. It is a beautiful name. It is the name of one of my best friends, and I also have a cousin named Brian. These people, the bullies that they are, are trying to stigmatise that name in their smug ridicule of what should be at least an okay episode of the best work of science fiction/fantasy to come out of 1970s television. And I deplore them for this.
Such disgraceful behaviour is the boorish manifestation of an overweening confidence of these people that they represent the only legitimate point of view on Space: 1999 and that no people of any number other than one at a time (if even that) will pose a challenge to them. And through their force of numbers, their vaunted "consensus" ("consensus" is code for conformity, from where I am standing), ad hominem attacks, and spin-doctoring, they will invalidate the challenger, ultimately with dismissals of him being a "crank", of being mentally incompetent and human garbage. All that Season Two needs, all that it has ever really needed, for a "fair shake" in this fan movement is a group of people, four or five at least, who will defend it in unison, all of them "having the back" of each of them. A handful of defenders, articulate and incisive in their counter-criticism, always ready to refute or put into fair-minded perspective any and all animus directed at the second season, would most certainly give to the louts pause for thought before launching into another anti-Season Two tirade. I "took those people on" by myself, and I was trounced. I was provoked, deliberately misconstrued, outright demonised in my reactions, and ridiculed. If four or five others had immediately entered the fray and said, "Kevin is right," or, "Kevin has a point," and then cogently provided their defenses of Season Two with rational argument, I would have fared so much better. Of course, I would have. It would not have been quite as easy to dismiss me outright and then "carry on" with their sorties as though I had not even been "on the scene". With me defending Season Two, other people who like Season Two had an opportunity to "chime in" and to buttress my position. They did not.
It is not an implausible argument to make. Rationally. Intelligently. It is patently irrational to declare Season Two Space: 1999 thoroughly awful and worthless and deserving of forty-four years of venom as the worst science fiction/fantasy television ever made. On production values and imagination alone, it had other 1970s science fiction/fantasy television vanquished. I love Planet of the Apes, but it was set on Earth and limited in where it went, and there was not much in the way of visual effects or futuristic sets. Planet of the Apes was The Fugitive, essentially. As was Logan's Run, which, too, was set on Earth, did not go very far, and did not have much in the way of production design. Outside of the movie whose sets and scenes it cannibalised. Battlestar Galactica had potential but became awash in Western "storylines" and war movie tropes, and most of its impressive sets and visual effects were carried-over or recycled from its three-hour pilot episode. Buck Rogers went to far-flung places and was fun, but its production values were very limited and its visual effects rather perfunctory. Space: 1999 in both of its seasons visited alien worlds, encountered space phenomena, and profferred bizarre life-forms, and had production values in excess of those of all of its television contemporaries. It did not choose to vastly limit itself in its imaginative range. It was not simply about life in a Moonbase. It did not restrict itself to border disputes with aliens. Or space skirmishes with the same enemy, episode after episode. Or James Bond in space. This is a fact. Not an opinion.
All for today.
Friday, June 19, 2020.
First item of news is the death of actor Ian Holm, CBE. Best known to fans of the science fiction/horror genre as Ash in Alien. He tended to play the fastidious, brooding type of character with a long fuse and a "slow burn", with a lurking, potentially dangerous volatility should that fuse "run out". He was especially effective in this particular mode of characterisation as the weaselly aristocrat or the priggish minor official. This seemed to be his forte. I saw him in several productions of the 1970s, including Nicholas and Alexandra, Juggernaut, Jesus of Nazareth, All Quiet On the Western Front, S.O.S. Titanic, and, of course, Alien. And he played Napoleon in 1982's Time Bandits. I am less familiar with his work of later years. I saw him in the unmemorable The Fifth Element and a disappointing Johnny Depp vehicle about Jack the Ripper, From Hell. He was the first choice for the part of the villainous Morgus in Doctor Who- "The Caves of Androzani" but declined the role. He was primarily a movie actor, in both theatrical films and movies made for television.
His portrayal as Science Officer Ash as unruffled by even the most horrific of goings-on, led my then (in 1979) friend Tony and me, especially me, to use the expression, "Ian Holm down", instead of "calm down". Neither of us had seen Alien in the movie theatre, of course, it having a Restricted rating. We knew the events and characters of Alien from a photonovel thereof.
Holm was a natural for the part of J. Bruce Ismay in S.O.S. Titanic, and that of Corporal Himmelstoss in All Quiet On the Western Front. He was also very effective as the put-upon passenger ship owner Nicholas Porter in Juggernaut, one of the first non-Disney movies that I ever saw. Acting with him in Juggernaut were Julian Glover and Freddie Jones of Space: 1999. And in Jesus of Nazareth, he, as the devious Zerah, had most of his screen time with Ian McShane (Judas). Ian McShane was in Space: 1999.
His son, Barnaby, appeared with him in Juggernaut and would later play Peter Reynolds in The Final Conflict.
Rest in peace, Sir Ian Holm.
The newly remastered Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Hare Splitter", has surfaced on a Blu-Ray of the movie, Romance On the High Seas, as a bonus feature. The news is bad, I am afraid. Very bad. It is in Standard Definition with interlaced, not progressive, video, and sporting a look that is soft and bland in its colour. This does not bode very positively for a mooted release in a Bugs Bunny Blu-Ray set of it and fourteen other restored Bugs Bunny cartoons. It boggles my mind no end how Warner Brothers continues to "drop the ball" when it comes to treatment of the cartoons of Bugs Bunny and the other characters of vintage Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. It is almost as if it is wilful "sabotag-ieeee" (to use a Bugs Bunny expression). I have not seen the "refurbished" "Hare Splitter" myself. I am just referencing the screen captures that I have seen and the reports of a person who did see it. Suffice it to say, I am not impressed.
Someone at the Space: 1999 Facebook group dedicated, supposedly, to celebratng and venerating Season Two, is saying that not only is "The Rules of Luton" the worst episode of Space: 1999, but the worst episode ever made of any television series. Not a single person objected, of course. Useless quislings that they all are. Yes, yes, yes, yes, "The Rules of Luton" could use some more polish. It was among the first two Space: 1999 episodes to be filmed simultaneously. Yes, it could have been more elaborate in "setting up" its premise of an alien world dominated by sentient plants. And yes, it does borrow tropes from other works of the science fiction/fantasy genre, or "draws" from the same "pool" of ideas used by those other works. But it is far from being unenjoyable or "un-moving". Koenig and Maya's scene wherein they remember their pasts is outstanding value as a "filling in" of character background. Oh, I know that that very scene has "come in" for flak recently for Maya not acknowledging the evil committed by her father and remembering only the "good times", but it is at a time when John and Maya are trying to find some respite in a desperate situation. And the only past that Maya has prior to her joining Alpha, was that of her life on Psychon with her father and her mother. She has chosen to separate Mentor's obsession and his "turn" to "mad scientist" from her earlier memories of him as a highly respected genius, devoted husband, and loving father. Koenig has allowed her that. It is the least that he could do after his actions, however righteous in their motivation, put Mentor in a life-or-death situation from which Mentor opted not to extricate himself. And I respect his humanity in such. Koenig did say that he did not mean to remind Maya of her sadness in losing her father and Psychon. And she chooses to remember the happy times, with a melancholic "feel" for all that she lost and a sense of longing for a brother of an untold fate. It is a tender and "moving" scene, leading to Koenig remembering the pain in his past, with Maya being kind and empathetic as she listens, and I think that it is carping way too much to be lambasting it for it not being a dissertation of the evil deeds of the obsessive Mentor. There is every reason to believe that all of the acknowledgement of Mentor's derangement of his final years had already been done between Maya and the Alphans in the weeks and months after "The Metamorph".
But I digress, again.
The person lambasting "The Rules of Luton" so absolutely does not qualify his objections to the episode. I have to surmise that it is mainly based on the sentient or intelligent plants concept, as though such a thing is impossible anywhere in the universe, and the "economy of detail" used in the episode with regard to how Luton and its consciousness-endowed and communicative flora came to be and how they operate. And why Maya was trapped in the cage. Does this make "The Rules of Luton" so damnably bad that it should he held in such low esteem that it is worse than "Spock's Brain" and other "low-lights" of Star Trek , every episode of Lost in Space (including "The Great Vegetable Rebellion"), the most farcical episodes of Tom Baker Doctor Who, Colin Baker Doctor Who, the cheapest-looking episodes of The Tomorrow People, all episodes of The Starlost, and the dullest, least imaginative episodes of Battlestar Galactica, to say nothing of Galactica 1980? Ridiculous! And there are countless episodes of non-science fiction/fantasy television shows that did some questionable things with their premises or characters. Not only do I not think "The Rules of Luton" to be the worst television series episode ever made, but I do not think it to be Space: 1999's least accomplished episode. And I certainly declare poppycock on the person's assertion of "The Rules of Luton" being a "crime against humanity". Yes, that is what he calls it. No hyperbole is off-bounds to these blights to intelligent discourse that are these impossibly "twisted" people who call themselves Space: 1999 fans.
This is all for today. A sad death, bad news for Bugs Bunny, and a most extreme case of ill-tempered umbrage. And oh, yes. My summer vacation is also in doubt.
Saturday, June 13, 2020.
First of all, I have so far managed to avoid the Coronavirus (I refuse to use the nomenclature of the charlatan World Health Organisation), even though I have had to go back to work and do my usual springtime errands including income and property tax payments and vehicle tire change, registration, and inspection. Of course, I have had to wear a mask in all of my outings, including my entire workdays. And there is no end in sight to this. My mask supply is soon going to be depleted. I shall need to find more somewhere. Needless to say, I blame the Canadian federal government for the presence of this pandemic virus in Canada. And the fact that the case numbers and deaths are as high as they are. Canada's numbers should be on par with those of Australia and New Zealand, or even lower, considering how spread-out that this country is. The fact that they are not, is all "down" to the "anointed one" who "leads" our country, the people behind him, the media always "running cover" for him and for politicians of his ilk and constantly criticising only conservatives (if there were a Conservative Prime Minister in office with these Coronavirus case and death numbers, the media would be unrelenting in condemnations of him or her), and every parliamentarian of any political stripe who is enabling the "boy wonder" to stay in power. Plus every gullible Canadian citizen infatuated with the privileged Laurentian "hairdo" with the ever so blessed dynastic surname. Every gullible Canadian citizen who unquestioningly swallows everything fed to him or her by the media. It pains me to say that the vast majority of my Facebook friends and most of my co-workers are in the "cult of Trudeau". I have to read or listen to praises of him, and it makes me urge to gag.
I have updated my Era 2 memoirs yet again, with a paragraph about the Spiderman episode, "Blotto", and some accompanying images. I have also done some digital clean-up on photographs in the Era 2 memoirs. I think that I can safely say that my latest round of work on the memoirs is completed. Until some more photographs of the Miramichi region in the 1970s surface in the Miramichi history groups on Facebook. If that ever does happen again.
There is no further news about the Bugs Bunny cartoon restorations or a possible Blu-Ray release of them. And the way that this year is going, nothing can be considred "a given". Doctor Who Blu-Ray releases continue to be "on hold". And I would not "count chickens before hatching" on any home video release, whether it be mooted or confirmed. In addition to a pandemic virus that is in all probability going to "hit" North America in "waves", the U.S. appears to be on the brink of a civil war. More and more people are going stark raving mad. I hate to say it, but Marxist-Leninist Communism appears inevitable in North America within the next ten years. All of the indicators are pointing there, by my reckoning. And that scares me as much as, if not more than, the virus does. And the Fukushima isotopes.
Anyway, for the time being, whilst I am still allowed to possess my own property, I need the respite of some pleasurable gains. I see that Gunsmoke has been released onto DVD in its entirety in a mammoth box set. All twenty seasons. I have decided to buy one such box set. I have only seen a small fraction of Gunsmoke's episodes, and it is top quality television. It has impressed me with every episode of it that I have seen. I became interested in Gunsmoke for it being the television show preceding Space: 1999 on CBHT, CBIT, CBCT between 1983 and 1985. If I had been able to see one of these three CBC Television stations every Sunday back then, I would have been watching Gunsmoke in advance of Space: 1999, as I did on Sunday, September 16, 1984 when my parents and I were in a hotel room in Truro, Nova Scotia, and I watched and videotape-recorded Space: 1999- "The Last Enemy" after an airing of Gunsmoke- "The Scavengers" (which had Yaphet Kotto as guest star). I remember that morning fondly. "The Last Enemy", I already had on videotape, but I would glean a better copy of it through that September 16, 1984 telecast of it.
There is no telling yet when the Gunsmoke box set will arrive at my door. Amazon.ca is out of stock of it for the time being.
It looks like my favourite people at the Facebook Space: 1999 community, are "at it again". Another round of Fred Freiberger-"bashing". Someone made the observation that he was producer for part of the first season of The Wild Wild West, and the attitude on such was an acknowledging of its verity, followed by "put-down" of The Wild Wild West as being "camp". No one offered a contrary opinion on the subject (oh, naturally not; even if the "camp" description of The Wild Wild West is demonstrably wrong, these people are dead-set against any possible defence of any work of the man that the group regards as its Satan).
I cannot say that I am much of an authority on The Wild Wild West. I have not seen most of its episodes. I bought one of its seasons on DVD back in 2007. The second season, I believe. And I watched every episode on the DVDs. It was a handsome-looking television series. Colourful, with impressive production values. Likable characters. Interesting guest stars, and some not so interesting ones. It had a unique and audacious premise, it being a science fiction/fantasy, action-adventure opus set in the Wild West era when villains with grandiose schemes were in nefarious operation. And its two main characters being government agents in cowboy garb and possessing technologically advanced gadgetry. But try as I did, I could not generate much enthusiasm for it. Even with my emergent interest in the television Western by way of Gunsmoke, it did not "float my boat". I opted not to purchase more seasons and to sell the season that I had. To Blockbuster Video, I think. But I do respect it. I can respect a production while not personally enjoying it. Blade Runner would be another example of this. I have respect for it, but it is not "my cup of tea". I have only ever sat through it once, and that was for a science fiction film course in which I was enrolled at university in the 1990s. I have the highest respect for Mission: Impossible, and I do like some of the episodes of it, but it does not "fire" my imagination, instill aesthetic interest, or thrill me enough for me to want to "seek it out" and watch it.
But I digress.
Of the episodes of The Wild Wild West that I did see, my impression was that it had a serious approach to portraying its situations and conveying its subject matter, albeit with some humour tastefully sprinkled here and there. Some of the villains may have been "arch", or verged on being so, but they were not being played by the actors in an deliberate effort to "send up" the proceedings. At least not that I could tell. They were not doing what Batman did with its villains. The "overripe" laughter of Caesar Romero's Joker, for example. There was no character like the overwought and somewhat effeminately essayed Dr. Smith of Lost in Space (a prime example of a "camp" character), despite the attempts of the Space: 1999 fans in the discussion that I am citing, to liken The Wild Wild West to the often "over-the-top" satire of Lost in Space. The heroes of The Wild Wild West were both quite masculine. The situations did not give rise to attempts to "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" the audience into believing everything to be silly and to "go along" with the absurdity of everything. God, I hate the word, silly, as applied to the products of people's imaginations. But I use it here in the context of outlining other people's thought processes, much as I am opposed to them. The Wild Wild West seemed to "take seriously" what it was profferring, and, on top of that, it was making a concerted effort to present to a reverent audience a credible fictional universe. At least this was my impression of the episodes that I was watching thirteen years ago.
The only productions that I have seen that I would classify as "camp" would be Batman, Lost in Space, some of Gilligan's Island, and The Brady Bunch Movie. And maybe Get Smart. My knowledge of it is limited. Some of the Tom Baker Doctor Who serials were verging on being parodies. These are the only productions that come to mind. Star Trek was not "camp". Not even in its comedic episodes. Nor was Space: 1999 in either of its seasons. Mind, "The Full Circle" in its caveman scenes comes rather close to the "camp" category. Close, but not quite.
I cannot refute these people's assertions with absolute certainty or authority, but their attitude toward Fred Freiberger skews their judgement on so many subjects, and they are probably "off-base" here. Their smug, oh, so matter-of-fact declarations always rile me, in any case.
I do not relish in any way being anti-anyone-who-is-anti-"Year Two", but this has to be the case. I tried working with these people. I tried to "get along" with them. Never again. Their incessant, daily barrages, the vulgarity, in all of its crassness, of their satisfied-as-a-group "put-downs", and the demoralising effects that this has upon me in my isolation as the "village idiot" who sees nuance and meaning in Season Two, makes no other reaction possible. I deplore these people, and will go on doing so for what is left of my life.
It galls me so very much that we cannot just all enjoy Space: 1999, appreciate what we see in either season, respect what each of us sees, and "get along". No, they have to be right absolutely about Season One and Season Two, and I have to be wrong. And I have to have my wrongness thrown in my face every single day, and I am supposed to just meekly "take it" like a Caspar Milquetoast character. Or rail against it and be branded a contemptible crybaby. Or capitulate and reject Season Two on whatever pejorative or whatever angle of attack is de rigueur. Or just "go off and be alone", forever. None of these options is at all pleasing for me, and I resent being in this position. I resent those people and their unflinching, increasingly rancourous forty-four-years-old attitude. They have poisoned everything. The Shout! Factory Blu-Rays. The Big Finish audios. New printed publications. Facebook. Everything. And in spite of this, in spite of all of this, I do still love Season One. Of course, I do. I used to prefer it, many years ago. I am so grateful for it for enabling me to "get through" my first school year in Fredericton, that of 1977-8. There is not a single episode of Space: 1999 that I dislike. But the attitude of the fans has tainted the enjoyment of "the show" that I used to experience every time that I watched an episode. Especially one newly acquired on home video media.
I was thinking some weeks ago on one of my walks about parallels in my experience with the Warner Brothers cartoons and the two seasons of Space: 1999. In both cases, I mostly saw the latter "half" of the oeuvre first, and the fan opinion favours the earlier "half" of the work. And I "fell out" with the fans of the cartoons in much the same way as I did with Space: 1999 fandom. Ah, but there is a difference. I have affection for both seasons of Space: 1999. I love them both. But where the Warner Brothers cartoons are concerned, I only really love the post-1948s. I do like some of the pre-1948s. Yes, some of them, I like. Some of them, I dislike. The vast majority of them, I am indifferent-to. And my liking for the cartoons pre-1948 is not effusive. And I would much prefer to be watching a post-1948. Are there some post-1948s that I am not much fond-of? Sure. "Shishkabugs". "Apes of Wrath". Those two come to mind. And "The Iceman Ducketh". And most of the "cheater" cartoons. But I would still prefer to watch those over "sitting through" a Clampett cartoon. Even the occasional Clampett cartoon that I actually like. There are a few. Not many. A few. "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", for one.
I think that I have rambled enough this morning.
Saturday, June 6, 2020.
It is an overcast and intermittently rainy Saturday in New Brunswick, and the weather is expected to stay this way through the weekend.
Since branching my Weblog into this latest incarnation of it, my readership for my Weblog has been almost nil. I would guess that people have not found this Weblog incarnation yet, even though the Hyperlink to it is at the top of the previous Weblog incarnation. This makes me wonder how most of my readers access the Weblog. Do they come to it via a "search engine"? If that is the case, this Weblog will be visited very much until it increases its text and potential "search engine" "keywords", or until I start adding images to it.
I am happy to report a resurgence in Website visitors in the past few weeks. Especially for my Web pages pertaining to the Warner Brothers cartoons and The Littlest Hobo. It could be that news of the restorations of cartoons is fuelling a renewed interest in them on the part of the public. And there is some news of import about The Littlest Hobo. I am not at liberty yet to say what it is, but television industry people might be having a look at my Web page for The Littlest Hobo as they are ruminating about certain recent developments.
Several of the newly restored Bugs Bunny cartoons have been seen in High Definition by way of a broadcaster, HBO, and there are complaints about the look of the cartoons, specifically that film grain reduction techniques are causing a loss of the classic animated cartoon cel look of the cartoon shorts and causing picture to be soft in its quality, and with sudden "bursts" of grain during some scene transitions. There are also quibbles about the colours not being entirely faithful to how they have traditionally been. It is possible that some of this is due to how the broadcaster is compressing the video, and that when, or if, these cartoons are released on Blu-Ray, they will not be manifesting any of these issues. As I often say, time will tell.
I have added still more text and images to my Era 2 memoirs. An image of the Flintstones episode, "The Gravelberry Pie King", and images of the Spiderman episodes, "The Revenge of Dr. Magneto"/"The Sinister Prime Minister", "The Evil Sorcerer", and "Pardo Presents", can be found in the autobiography, as I remember seeing those television series episodes, and some others. There are a few more reminiscences that I am planning to add to Era 2 in the coming days.
My nostalgia for Era 2, for my life in Douglastown, continues to surge. I am dreaming often about being in the old house and in my old yard. I do not see my parents very much in my dreams about Douglastown. Nor do I see my friends. But I am usually going out into the neighbourhood in search of my friends. I am having flashbacks to my early days in Douglastown, as my first impressions of our house and its immediate environs were imprinting on my six-year-old psyche. Overall, I have a warm feeling of comfort in thoughts of Douglastown. I guess maybe this is to be expected in this awful time, when my home in Fredericton is where I am living during all of the anxieties and alarms of a pandemic, highly contagious deadly illness, possible food supply problems, economic collapse and loss of value in my bank accounts, and potential political "power-grabs" by persons without the best interests of Western civilisation and individual rights and freedoms at heart. Douglastown is still in my mind a place of innocence, untrammelled youthful fancy, company, overall happiness, and largely worry-free existence under the protective care of loving parents, caring teachers, and benevolent neighbours and community leaders.
This is all for today.
It is June 2, 2020. And my Weblog continues into another incarnation.
About what shall I ruminate to launch this Weblog incarnation?
I want to avoid politics for awhile. I made known my thoughts yesterday about the political element in Canada's experience with the pandemic, and I will leave that subject in abeyance. After all, I cannot possibly hope to change anything, and all that I am doing in my writings about politics is "venting".
And much of my other commentary is "venting", also. I am quite certain that my readers, few in number as they are, are tired of me angrily lamenting the attitudes of the detractors of all that I like. But I so rarely have news to report these days. Time will tell what all of the talk of Bugs Bunny cartoon restoration will ultimately pertain-to, per the chosen option of the decision-makers at Warner Brothers. New cartoons are being made with the characters of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and I have my opinion on those. A largely unfavourable opinion. I do not want to see them "mixed in" with the vintage cartoons in any Blu-Ray or DVD release.
The new cartoons are eschewing the evolved, pleasingly structured look of the characters that became the norm in their appearances in all media through the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and going for the crude, basic compass-circle-shaped looks, with excessively large eyes, of the early-to-mid-1940s most associated with the Clampett unit. The unit that all of the ever-so-"avant-garde", Friz-Freleng-scorning cartoon aficionados, including my nemeses of the Termite Terrace Trading Post, of the post-2000 era so imperiously and condescendingly prefer, in their increasingly prolific numbers. In their ascendancy that has continued since I quit cartoon fandom in 2009, they have managed to upend conventions in how the characters are drawn, conventions dating back to the late 1940s. But I am going to reserve my umbrage on this subject. Good things are happening now for Bugs, if rumours are correct, and I do not wish to sour that. It is giving to me something pleasant to think about in this trying time of pandemic.
There are a few more things that I wish to add to my Era 2 memoirs. I will be working on that in the days to come.
I was thinking yesterday as I was having a late-afternoon walk, smelling the lilacs and violets and looking at all of the green grasses and leaves, that I should address my situation with Dean. I mention Dean many a time in my Era 5 memoirs and this Weblog. My awareness of nuances in Space: 1999 was turbo-charged in my correspondence and meetings with Dean starting in 1988. Oh, that seems so long ago now. 1988.
I am of two minds, and have been for some time, about Dean's emergence into my life and its effects. It brought so much insight to me, either conveyed to me by him, or developing in me under his influence. But it also led to an augmented consciousness of the disagreeable tendencies of fans, and put me in the firing line as I sought, in vain, kindred spirits and a new and burgeoning movement favouring the second season in view of new insights provided by Dean and to a lesser extent by myself. I could be overzealous at times, and I overstepped myself badly, resulting in a "falling-out" with Dean in 1990. A "falling-out" that had me in debilitating self-doubt and panic attacks for years thereafter. He was very condemning in his assessment of me, and the more that the fans proved him right in his expectations of them and their behaviour, the more that he appeared to be correct about me. But somehow he had become rather impressed by something about me. And so, he extended an olive branch and tried to re-establish rapport with me in 1994. We found a harmony for awhile before more disagreements and a further "falling-out". And then another. There is a matter of money that has loomed over us additionally since 2005. The details of that are best left unsaid.
Dean and I never really were friends. Allies in a cause that without Dean's consistent involvement does seem hopeless. But not friends. He occasionally still reaches out to me, and I do not engage. In friendship, we are just not a good combination. I do not need toxicity in my life. Who does? He has a tendency to be dominating (our conversations are ninety percent him and ten percent me, if that) and cuttingly critical on a personal level. He is extremely intelligent and learned, and his assessments of people usually very considered and thorough. Which makes his judgements upon me, whether warranted or not, all the more difficult to sit through in telephone conversation or in-person meeting. So, I avoid him. All that I really want from him, all that I have really wanted from him for quite some time, is the publication of his project, his book, on "regionalism" in the "storyline" of the second season of Space: 1999 and all associated patterns, allusions, and symbolisms that came, somehow, to be so intricately interwoven into the subject matter. It would be a most sophisticated tome written by a most sophisticated man. I will give Dean that. Willingly. Whole-heartedly. Whatever my reaction may be to him as a person, it does not jaundice my opinion of his work, and the beauty of his observations, his insights, all of which should be universally recognisable. This is being intellectually honest. It would be intellectually dishonest to reject everything he presented to me with regard to "the show", and everything that I recognised, just because I do not "get along" with him and did not find a workable friendship. I want to see his book published, and I want to see it start to "turn" people's opinions, or at least "get the ball rolling" in that direction, ultimately to vindicate my long and painful dedication to Space: 1999. Yes, I believe what he has found to be this profoundly changing in the public's regard for Space: 1999 and its second season. But I have been waiting for such for 30 years, and it seems that I will go to my grave still waiting. For some reason, he cannot seem to push the project to its conclusion and publish it as a tome. Today, he will occasionally surface in fandom, say some cleverly nuanced words that most obtuse fans would not recognize as having significance as a defence of Season Two, and then vanish again. It is frustrating for me, to be sure. I have to "hold my tongue" on so very, very much that he discovered and some things that I intuited during my discussions with him, seemingly in perpetuity, while the daily assaults upon Season Two continue with increasing smugness and intensity.
This is the way that things are for me on the subject of Space: 1999. And always will be, apparently. I paid the price in the fan movement for my fidelity to Dean's work. There are times when I wish that I had never been approached by him. And I would not have been if I had not joined the fan movement. I wish also that I had never done that. I wish that I had not moved to Fredericton. Maybe my fandom for Space: 1999 would not have grown to the extent that it did, if I had stayed in Douglastown. I might have "moved on" to the "next thing". Star Wars, I guess. And been all the happier for it.
I guess that this is all that I have to say today.
Weblog entries pre-June 2, 2020.