Sunday, August 23, 2015
A Roald Dahl dalliance? Wait! That's not till next month.
Or maybe I should start collecting Harvey Comics. Hot Stuff or Wendy, the Good Little Witch. And what about TV? I felt the momentary urge to start collecting Surfside 6. But then I watched some clips on Hugh Tube and saw how dumb the scenes were. That brought back my respect for Hawaiian Eye. Well, there's always 77 Sunset Strip. Or Bourbon Street Beat.
My obsessions (or *ahem* "interests") can often be affected by environment and mood. And food. Chinese food or Chinatown, and it's Mr. Wong or Fu Manchu. Mexican food and Old California: Zorro and Frida Kahlo; Animal Nocturno and Patricia Llaca. A can of olives and it's Antigone, Hermes, Vangelis and Maria Callas. A plate of spaghetti conjures Casanova, Fellini, Venice, Verona, Mario Bava, Sword & Sandal movies and a Borgia Pope and his Family (which can easily lead to Spain, which may mean the land of the Moors and/or Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera; Dali and flamenco).
When the wife and I stay in Downtown Los Angeles, the compass pulls in four directions. Or maybe more. Old Downtown can make you go Retro Noir (the Bradbury Building) or Future Noir (the Bradbury Building). Ethnic Exoticism can pull to Chinatown, Olvera Street or Little Tokyo. It's easy to feel this way in San Francisco and Oakland as well.
California is a state of mind when it comes to environment and mood. Good or bad, the areas can inspire a variety of obsessions. "From the desert to the sea," as newsman Jerry Dunphy used to say. Old Hollywood or Zabriskie Point. The Haight District or Palm Springs. San Quentin to San Diego. It's a Sainted State. With a City of the Angels.
It's easy to get caught up in Western nostalgia here. It doesn't help that we just got the Encore Western channel on cable. Plus I recently, accidentally acquired a collection of autographed photos from Western character actors of the '40s and '50s. When we take the train to Los Angeles, passing through the real Zorro's hunting grounds, one gets lost in the rock formations of Chatsworth and Simi Valley--the backdrop of countless Western TV series, B-movies and serials. Where are the gun sets of my youth? My Paladin belt buckle with derringer.
(As an aside here, I am aware that many of my favourite TV heroes had names connected with the crusades. Paladin, of the Court of Charlemagne, and The Saint, Simon Templar. Will kids in two hundred years follow characters named after Blackwater or Navy Seals?)
Since we are discussing heroes and villains interchangeable, how about a love of classic pirates? Doctor Syn, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh is a perfect example. Filmed at least three times, with George Arliss, Peter Cushing and Patrick McGoohan. Why not a man child return fixation on the old Skull & Bones. Just not so much with the Harvard/Oss/CIA one.
Let's see how long this will last. Robert Louis Stevenson. Rafael Sabatini. Basil Rathbone, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn and Louis Hayward. Treasure Island in all its incarnations. Kidnapped and The Black Swan. Time to find the old E.C. comics series Piracy. Or Long John Aluminum and the Moody Roger. After all, this Pirate Thing is in my blood. :)X.
"...And now back to...Hawaiian Eye."
Friday, August 14, 2015
Oh, those Summer Mood Swings. The heat and humidity plays with my antenna reception. Just like last year. The temperature brings visions of palm leaves and a hypnotism of relief. My classic satirical mood recedes back as the weather changes. So my comic obsession evolved into a Bill Griffith phase, with the reading of Lost and Found and the Zippy collection The Dingburg Diaries. But as the Trade Winds gathered, watching the 1937 pirate classic Doctor Syn or low trash like the Zombies of Mora Tau popped into the program.
And when the palm trees wave, Hawaiian Eye slips back into harbour. Is that a copy of the one and only comic book from the television series? With Troy Donahue on the cover, it can only mean it was from the fourth and final season of the show. And perhaps somewhere out of frame is the one and only Dell paperback from the program (original price 40 cents), not with Troy, but original stars Anthony Eisley, Robert Conrad, Connie Stevens, Poncie Ponce and second season addition Grant Williams (the original Incredible Shrinking Man).
I remember just prior to the original run of the series (late 1959), my older sister and her chums were following the fad of wearing little carved wooden tikis as necklaces. It was essential that I be like the cooler 'older' kids (by four years), so I got one too. Tiki necklaces appear online regularly, but I have not seen one of the dark brown wooden variety with thin leather strap from the vintage late '50s. Perhaps an at that time 'beatnik' accessory, if I found one, it would an essential to the viewing experience.
So, yes, I admit I am enjoying dubious prints of Hawaiian Eye Season One. And I tried to bring up my collection of Les Baxter's complete tropical albums of the mid to late '50s while composing this piece, but my media player only gives me one task or the other. Fearful of losing the text, the audio soundtrack is abandoned. A bit of appropriate mood is sacrificed.
Les Baxter is essential for these sessions. His Caribbean Moonlight album (1956) was a major soundtrack to my imaginative childhood, an example of my mother's sometimes offbeat, esoteric taste. SPACE PIRATE RADIO listeners will know the themes as backgrounds for the Golden Morning Movie and hosts Oscar B. Chow or Tony Anthony-Tony. One song on the LP, entitled Out Of This World, was the theme (though a different version) of the old KHJ-TV channel 9 Saturday movie showcase, Strange Tales of Science Fiction.
And of course, this Pacific Navigation leads me East to further Celestial Obsessions. I finished Santa Barbara author Yunte Huang's book on Charlie Chan and the original Hawaiian Police Detective who was his inspiration. Now I head further East and turn the pages of Yellow Peril! Will this pursuit lead to more additions in the Fu Manchu collection? We shall see.
I have two different CD collections of the Hawaiian Eye soundtrack, but not the LP. I did have it once. There was a forgotten copy in the old KTMS radio collection. Not a fan of the show at the time (1985 or so), it got packed up with discarded discs when hit radio Y-97 took over and was added to a stack heading for trade value at Moby Disc on Ventura Blvd. Along with countless versions of Moon River and The Windmills Of Your Mind, it was traded in for an import copy of Tangerine Dream's latest.
I understand there was an Hawaiian Eye board game. If anyone sees a decent copy, drop me a line. :)X.