Monday, October 31, 2011

Batstuff #17

Guss who I dressed as in 1966 for Halloween? Leftover Zorro gloves and all.

1966 Halloween Costumes

By Halloween of '66, superheroes were all the rage. These were seen over at Al Bigley's blog!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

One of my very favorite memories of 1966 is going with my parents to see Don Knotts in THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN. I know Don, of course, as Barney on TV's ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. This solo vehicle perfectly captures that Barney feel while thrusting him into the reluctant hero role he would end up playing in a number of surprisingly good and funny films throughout the decade. 

A major component of THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN's success was Vic Mizzy's score, some of which can be heard on the trailer below. 

Still one of my favorite movies from the sixties.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Druid Princess

In 1966, perhaps due to the popularity of customized Hollywood cars like 007's Aston-Martin, the Munster Koach and the Batmobile, this sort of thing was all the rage both for real cars and plastic model cars!

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!


The one true classic amongst the post-CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS specials featuring the PEANUTS characters, IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN aired for the very first time 45 years ago last night... in '66.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Munsters Comic Strips

TV's THE MUNSTERS left the air in '66 only to be followed by a feature film that same year. In England, though, they continued to be popular in magazine strips like these!

Lenny Bruce

Today, one can hardly flip through cable channels without finding a stand-up comic using every curse word you've ever heard (and a number you haven't!). A few of them are actually funny...sometimes. They can do it because Robin Williams and Richard Pryor and George Carlin did it first. And THEY could do it because Lenny Bruce got in trouble for it. Lenny Bruce died in 1966...and George Carlin started growing his hair long.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The 2000 Year Old Man

The great Carl Reiner and the insane Mel Brooks have been doing their clever and generally hilarious 2000 Year Old man schtick off and on for 5 decades! Here they are in 1966 from an episode of HOLLYWOOD PALACE. (Thanks to Leslie Marley for the tip!)

World's Best Science-Fiction: 1966

This volume came out in 1966 and while the rest of the stories are more or less forgotten today except by true SF buffs, the gem is Harlan Ellison's '"Repent, Harlequin,' Said the Tick-Tock Man." Ellison was already well on his way to becoming one of the most lauded and yet controversial science-fiction writers of all-time. 

Also in this collection were Fred Saberhagen and Ron Goulart, both of whom would become favorites of mine in the seventies, and Clifford D. Simak, whose stories I would learn through their fifties old-time radio adaptations. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


By 1966, Walt Kelly's POGO had long-since become one of the great classic comic strips. Here's a Sunday example.


 Scooter wasn't like Binky and Buzzy and all of the other Archie clones. No, Scooter was different. For one thing he was British! And he had a Beatle haircut! And...and...he rode a scooter! Of course all of those things were forgotten soon enough and Scooter became fairly interchangeable with Binky and his Buddies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fantastic Voyage Trailer

It may look a little dated but FANTASTIC VOYAGE is still riveting today when one actually watches it. In 1966 it was amazing not just for its storyline but for most moviegoers' first major glimpse of former HOLLYWOOD PALACE girl Raquel Welch who would go on to become THE sex symbol of the decade. Wally Wood and Dan Adkins did the comic book adaptation and no less than Isaac Asimov novelized it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fly Man and Friends

 Last week Archie Comics announced what will be, I believe, the 8th or 9th attempt at reviving their 1940's superheroes. Once again modernized and this time digital only!
There had been a couple of stillborn attempts over the past couple of decades as well as some monor appearances in Archie stories, PSA's and single page origin features in the various Digests.

 DC licensed the characters for their Impact line and then changed them beyond all recogniton. Some of it wasn't bad but it wasn't the same...literally.

 More recently, DC tried again, this time offering up art that promised to literally incorporate the classic versions of the characters into the mainstream DCU but then once again starting from scratch and goiung for the ultra-violent, grim and gritty appoach. THAT didn't set well with most fans.
 Back in the eighties boom, there was a real ambitious reboot headed up by Rich Buckler initially with artists like Steranko and Ditko involved. Behind the scenes creative differences and alleged corporate backstabbing led to that promising effort falling apart far too soon.
 So te only revival that could be said to be a but of a success...the one that CREATED the nostalgia that still draws people to these characters...was the sixties revival.
Simon and Kirby created THE FLY in 1959 and his title ran under the radar for several years before becoming FLY MAN and headlining a full-scale revival of the 1940's MLJ heroes as first guest stars in his title, then in their own well-remembered title, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS, and then finally giving up his own title to become MIGHTY COMICS PRESENTS! Here are the issues from '66 spotlighting, along with FLY MAN, STEEL STERLING, THE WEB, THE BLACK HOOD, THE HANGMAn, THE WIZARD (these last two villains in the revival!) and THE SHIELD (or rather his son). These were by no means GOOD comics...but they were FUN comics. The multiple revivals were not. The jury, of course, is still out on this new version.

Batstuff # 16

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Tammy Grimes Show--Premiere Episode

Hard to believe now but the nearly completely forgotten series, THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW, about a young, zany heiress, was expected to be a huge success in 1966. Created by George Axelrod who had written Marilyn Monroe's THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH and, also in '66, LORD LOVE A DUCK, its executive producer was William Dozier who had his hands full with BATMAN and THE GREEN HORNET that year. Tammy was a funny lady who had, oddly enough, originally been cast a couple of seasons earlier as Samantha on BEWITCHED, only to pull out at the last minute to do a play. Her twin brother in this series is played by Dick Sargent who would eventually become known as the second Darrin on BEWITCHED! THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW shot only ten episodes and was cancelled after only four. It was never seen again.

 Above is Part One. It should offer you the other two parts on YouTube at the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Born in '66


 Adam Sandler, Justine Bateman, Mindy Cohn, Kiefer Sutherland, Halle Berry

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming

 One of the biggest movies of '66 was THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, a cold war comedy with, as seen here, some lovely Jack Davis art in its advertising.

The plot deals with a Soviet sub that runs aground off the New England coast causing the locals to think they're being invaded. It was written by Nathaniel Benchley whose father had been a brilliant humorist and whose son went on to write JAWS...which wasn't very funny.

The real draw was the cast. headed by the already legendary Carl Reiner and the just starting out in films Alan Arkin.

Others in the cast included Eva Marie Saint (who reunited with Carl at a live tribute last week), Paul Ford, Jonathan Winters, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel, Cliff Norton and even old Parker Fennelly, Fred Allen's "Titus Moody."

Norman Jewison who went on to direct THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, amongst many others, directed.