Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fun Finds: 1978 Superhero Bread Cards/Stickers

Though we don't delve into it a lot around here, especially lately, we were a huge comic book fan in our childhood and youth. From the early '70s through about 1985 I was about as devoted to DC and Marvel comics and their heroes as a person could be! (See here.) That entire arena has changed considerably (and, at present, a HUGE resurgence of superhero projects is in our midst, the bulk of which leaves me completely "meh.") 1978 was a far simpler time with fewer heroes to remember, but most of the ones who were in place are still popular now, so they were choice! These cards (a series of 30 in all) were printed (sometimes a little wonkily) and packaged with a variety of bread products from Sunbeam to Taystee, with printed descriptions of the characters on the back. We love tangible evidence of the people and things we love. Always have. The style of illustration on these is very representative of the time (and I love it!) Stories and artwork weren't terribly elaborate, but I for one never felt cheated by that. I guess it's because it was all I knew at the time. If you were a fan of The Super Friends, this will probably bring back memories, too.
This is an example of the backs of some of the cards.
1978 was the year that Superman: The Movie (1978) was released, which lead to a certain heightened interest in the character. Christopher Reeve was downright perfect as The Man of Steel.
Despite the significant performance of (recently departed) Margot Kidder as Lois Lane in the movie, the comics didn't really make any substantial changes to the way the comic version looked (perhaps a bit more leg at times.)
Baby Kal-El's ship looks like either a rather phallic vibrator or, the top portion at least, a blue boob with a red nipple on it!
Superman moonlighting for Hertz Rent-A-Car? Fast, free delivery...
Brunette Marc McClure's performance in the film likewise had no effect on the way Jimmy Olsen was depicted in the comics, with his carrot red hair and freckles.
A traditional looking portrait of Superman's birth parents, before they sent him careening to Earth as Krypton was about to explode.
Childless Jonathan and Martha Kent were only too happy to receive the gift of a son from out of the sky.
Perhaps we can see a little bit of Margot Kidder influence here, but it's still not blatant or direct.
I loved Supergirl, especially around this time. Her existence was explained by one Kryptonian city - Argo City - somehow surviving the explosion of the planet and continuing to survive under a dome!
To those of us of a certain age, this is the classic Wonder Woman depiction. (And to many of us in that age, Lynda Carter is the only Wonder Woman, though I confess to quite liking Gal Gadot in her smash hit film of 2017.)
Another of DC comics' most enduring heroes, Batman, with his sidekick Robin. The hit TV series Batman ran from 1966-1968, appearing twice-weekly for it's first two seasons.
There's a Batgirl movie in the script-writing stage, but it's been stalled and restarted at least once. When (and if) it comes, she won't look like this... Yvonne Craig won over hordes of fans in her one season on Batman.
Actors such as Frank Gorshin, John Astin and Jim Carrey have portrayed The Riddler on screen.
While Cesar Romero brought The Joker to life (followed later by Jack Nicholson.)
The movies have always eschewed the grey and dark blue color scheme of the character from the comics in favor of black or very dark grey.
Of all people to portray Lex Luthor, Gene Hackman seemed a bizarre choice and, though he practically refused to appear bald for anything more than a few moments, he made an impression.
Burgess Meredith was a memorable TV Penguin while Danny DeVito became a more grotesque version on the big screen.
The feature film offered a fun scene of young Clark Kent outrunning a train while inside was youthful Lois with her parents (played by one-time Superman and Lois portrayers Kirk Alyn and Noel Niell.)
Blustery Perry White was played in the movie by Jackie Cooper who bore no real resemblance to the comic version.
Krypto was mostly before (or after) my time. Is it me or is his face weird in this portrait?!
I loved Aquaman (and his wife Mera, too!) Then again, Poseidon is always about the water, right?
This sort of rendition of Lex Luthor never made the movies. He was portrayed as more of an intellectual mastermind than an action type.
The Flash is currently on TV again. Oldsters like myself recall the short-lived series with John Wesley Shipp as the scarlet speedster.
Another hero who's been given his own series, Arrow. I always loved Green Arrow. I had a particular fondness for his girlfriend and fellow crime-fighter Black Canary, who isn't shown in this set of cards.
Hawkman has popped up on TV, but a big screen rendition has been in turnaround for close to a decade now.
About a year after this, Plastic Man got his own Saturday morning cartoon series called The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. It ran for two years.
Somehow in all the confusion of who owned what character, Elongated Man became part of the DC universe even though they'd previously absorbed Plastic Man in a merger. 
I never realized it before this very moment, but DC villains have a LOT of purple in their costuming! Even the unseen Catwoman wore a purple dress with a long slit during this time!
The series ends with Green Lantern. Seems like it might have been more appropriate to end with the group shot two cards above.
I'm funny about things (you're just now realizing this?!), so I wanted to put the cards printed sideways down here in the right perspective even though you may have already craned your neck to excess...!
And I STILL say Krypto doesn't look right!  LOL  I'll be back ASAP with more fun. By the way... I'm no artist and am completely out of practice, but I do like to occasionally pick up a pen and paper. Just for the purposes of this post, I did the piece below in 15 minutes using a pencil and some highlighters/sharpies at my desk. Even for what it is, I think I do better with ladies than gents... Till next time!
Update! Ha ha!  Still not satisfied with the "sketch" above, I tried another one again this morning. This time spending a whopping 20 minutes on it. Maybe I need to take an hour!
Last one, I swear!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Let's Dive Into Memorial Day Weekend!

Ah, Memorial Day, the official start of swimming pool season! We wait for it each year after a typically long, dull, harsh winter. And our favorite way to commemorate the occasion is to feature a raft of celebrity men folk sporting their swimwear, whenever possible a Speedo. Today's cover boy is a bit of a surprise to me and may be to you, too?  Recognize him? He's a movie actor who was once a competitive diver.
Even this close-up shot from the time may not be enough to do it as he has changed a bit since then... It's action star Jason Statham during his time on the 1990 British Commonwealth Games diving team.
Wading back in time a bit, we find Buster Crabbe, who we just can never seem to get enough of during this period of his life and career.
It might startle you to realize that this fresh and handsome young man is one Gilbert Roland, who later worked as a lean, rather grizzled-looking character actor.
Hopping out of the pool and in search of his robe... one Fernando Lamas.
The movie these pictures are from is called The Girl Who Had Everything (1953), starring Elizabeth Taylor, but from the looks of it, he's the one who had everything!
What plant wouldn't want to be sprinkled by the divinely beautiful Van Williams, of The Green Hornet fame?
Now entering the John Gavin exhibit of today's post. I've never hated a ball more before in my life!
Okay, that's better. What a hunk.
I wish this photo shoot had been in color.
He shoots. He scores.
How much fun would it have been to frolic in the water with Mr. Gavin?! That Constance Towers was one lucky wife.
It's a little bit difficult at first to determine who this is, but it's Roger Moore, presumably catching some rays during down time on Gold of the Seven Saints (1961.)
Lex Barker, who as Tarzan was used to wearing little in the first place, enjoys the sunshine with a female companion.
Here we find 1960s singer and actor Jordan Christopher, preparing to take a dive (in or around the time of Angel, Angel, Down We Go, 1969,?)
One of my loyal readers sent me these next two pics, of Cary Grant during the making of That Touch of Mink (1962) with Doris Day. Ol' Cary is giving us a touch of butt crack here!
And here we have some of the same sequence in color.
There's never a picture of Hugh O'Brian in Love Has Many Faces (1965) that we don't wish to savor and share. He was just the living end in that movie!
Here he is again in one of his teensy swimsuits from the sun-baked movie. (This pic was featured once before, but this is a clearer version. Important for reasons that ought to be obvious!)
Here we find Hugh with Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt as they get their shuffleboard game going. Love Bridges' suit!
This is Tony Curtis emerging from the ocean (in, I think, Don't Make Waves, 1967, ?)
I think I posted shots of this scene once before from The Quiller Memorandum (1966), but since I recently got ahold of a better quality print, I'm heading here once more.
At one point in the spy thriller, George Segal visits a men's swimming pool and bears witness to these German hunks coming out of the water in their skimpy briefs.
I was just simply born too late... even George seems to be interested!
When they talk about washboard stomachs, this isn't what they mean...! But since singing sensation Engelbert Humperdinck is hunkered over while sailing, we'll cut him some slack. I like his button-front trunks with the white detailing.
On the mystery series Petrocelli, murder suspect David Shenar is being questioned by the show's star Barry Newman as he gives his dog a bath.
It soon becomes evident that Shenar is wearing a wildly patterned Speedo.
Shenar, who has an unusual birthmark that's shaped a bit like the state of Pennsylvania (!), dives into the motel pool to rinse off, followed by his dog, to the manager's dismay.
Last year, I got to show off young Gil Gerard during his time on The Doctors wearing a red Speedo. This time I'm checking back with Dale Robinette (applying sunscreen to the actress who was actually Gerard's unfaithful wife on the show.)
Check out the suit our lothario is sporting during this lakeside picnic!
This was around 1973, for those who are curious. Robinette was later tagged to costar with Antonio Fargas in a Starsky and Hutch spin-off to be called "Huggy Bear and the Turkey," but the back-door pilot was so poorly received by viewers it didn't proceed.
At this point, virtually every man on The Doctors who was depicted in a swimsuit was handed a Speedo by the costumer.
Another case in point was Palmer Deane, playing a doctor on his honeymoon. That meant swimming and a lime green Speedo.
This being the time before such beefcake on The Young and the Restless made such a thing commonplace, the actors, even if they were in great shape as Deane was, were rather self-conscious.
There's no place to hide in a Speedo.
Several months ago, the local channel that was carrying this show took it off the air, so if I want to watch it, I have to periodically check youtube. But the swimsuit days seem to be few and far between lately.
Of course the other big place to find Speedos in the 1970s was Battle of the Network Stars. Whenever we think we've finally seen all the pics, unseen ones surface. Here Gabe Kaplan poses with ABC teammate Robin Williams.
And here Williams prepares for a swimming relay (with beautiful Richard Hatch in the water already.)
Eight is Enough's Willie Ames was a popular participant. Not sure who his pal with the kayak oar is.
Bruce Boxleitner draws some attention.
This isn't Battle, but some other event, likely for daytime TV as Levar Burton was the host of Reading Rainbow.
And I really don't think he wanted his picture taken just then, either...! RUN!
Those were the days... Lorenzo Lamas (whose father appeared earlier in this post), Jack Scalia and Steve Kanaly confer.
The aforementioned Richard Hatch is about to take the plunge, in a sadly roomy set of trunks...
Here we find Chris Sarandon, one-time husband of Susan, in the 1979 film Cuba.
After doffing his robe, we see he has on a trim, skimpy l'il suit on.
A closer look.
And from behind.
Even ol' Jack Nicholson was in on the Speedo gambit, this time in Cannes for the annual film festival.
The Blue Lagoon's (1980) Christopher Atkins is attempting to catch some dinner.
Few who've sat through Can't Stop the Music (1980) have forgotten the Busby Berkley-inspired swimmers in the "Y.M.C.A." number.
As the years went by, the Speedo began to take on a rather campy aura, as sported by romance novel cover boy Fabio at poolside.
Shots like this one with David Hasselhoff made it seem ever more cheesetastic...
I rest my case.
Still, one might come across an actor on a prime-time soap, such as Michael Nader as Dex Dexter on Dynasty...
Who still made the Speedo his swimsuit of choice as late as 1988.
If anyone felt that Nader's suit was in any way less than masculine, they certainly weren't going to point it out to the rugged, gravel-voiced actor in person!
More often than not, slinky, skimpy suits are meant for comic effect nowadays. The 2017 comedy Rough Night has a sequence with a frat boy dressed up as Borat playing beer pong.
Later in the same movie, Ty Burrell shows up (with a languid Demi Moore as his wife) in a Speedo.
The couple turns out to be lascivious and rather sexually fluid.
Then on a more serious note, there was Darren Criss in the 1990's Miami set American Crime Story, in which he briefly donned a Speedo.
Here we see him in his dressing trailer prior to putting the scanty item on!
Still there's hope for a legitimate renewal if people like Welshman Luke Evans (of Dracula Untold, 2014, and Beauty and the Beast, 2017, among other films) will dare to bare...!
Butt But for now, Van Williams and I must give you:  The End!