Monthly Archives: December 2012

Cartoon Crack

I blame Andy Burns, he’s the one who did this. I am addicted to The Simpsons Tapped Out.

Andy is a great guy, a terrific friend, and the editor-in-chief of the coolest pop culture website around, Biff Bam Pop!. Yes, I’m biased, I’m affiliated with the site, and it’s a shameless plug, but facts are facts, I only work with the best.

Anyway, Andy and I talk quite a bit across the internet. Friends, family, news, pop culture, anything that’s on our minds are the topics of conversation. We don’t always agree but I think we know what we each like. Andy has given me some great music recommendations and I’ve hipped him to some comics I’ve thought were cool.

Then he suggested I should be playing The Simpsons Tapped Out.

The game is one of a kind I dislike quite a bit. Like those annoying Mafia Wars and FarmVille games that I hate so much on The Facebook, it is a social media engine, not unlike a pyramid scheme, that requires the player to induct others into the game to rise in level.

I didn’t want it, but somehow I got sucked in. And I’m loving it. I’m having a lot of fun. The premise that Homer has destroyed Springfield, and now you have to rebuild it piece by piece. Building of course requires money, or donuts. If you don’t have enough donuts you may end up using real cash to buy more. That’s how this iPhone app makes money, you gotta buy the donuts.

You can’t wait until you have enough to build various landmarks and characters from the TV show, and that’s part of the charm. I mean, who doesn’t love “The Simpsons”? Especially after a quarter century on the air, it would be un-American not to love it.

Now I can’t wait to get my Android’s Dungeon built, and I need a Bart… Join the addiction. I’m glenn415, please friend me. Andy, this is all your fault.

“One of us… One of us… One of us…”

The Magic of Gerry Anderson

Yesterday while I was writing about the deaths and lives of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning, we lost someone who was definitely lesser known, but also much closer to my heart – producer Gerry Anderson. They say these things happen in threes. Let’s hope this is the cycle and we don’t lose anyone else.

Many of you probably don’t recognize the name Gerry Anderson and there are some of you who are mourning the loss of this great talent in genre television. He was a writer, director, producer, publisher, futurist, a television pioneer, the developer of Supermarionation, and a master of storytelling. However, all that said, you might just know him better by three specific words – “Thunderbirds are go!”

I first encountered Gerry Anderson, and his then wife and partner Sylvia, as a child of the 1970s. I have a very distinct memory of hearing about a new show coming on weekday afternoons on UHF channel 17, the TV announcer had said it was ‘cooler than “Ultra Man,”‘ so you know darned well I was glued in front of the folks’ black and white television when “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” premiered.

“Captain Scarlet” was a program created completely using marionettes and models, and it wasn’t stop motion or animation, it was film, and the puppets and machines were actually moving. To add to the fascination was the stunningly adult, startling violent story that went along with it. It was a spy drama with the earth defending itself against an evil alien race, the Mysterons, who had infiltrated mankind, and the hero who would save the day, Captain Scarlet, who had become indestructible.

It was awesome, and I was hooked. The only things that “Captain Scarlet” had going against it were my low tech TV (all the characters were color codenamed) and my own as yet non-mastery of spelling (I kept waiting for Mogera from the Toho film The Mysterians to show up). This was also around the time “Space: 1999” was hitting it big on prime time television, also, although unknown to me at the time, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, but in live action.

Anderson’s most famous creations are perhaps only peripherally known here in the United States, but in his native UK, everyone knows “The Thunderbirds.” Among his other work, both in live-action and in Supermarionation, include “Stingray,” “Supercar,” “UFO,” “Terrahawks,” “Space Precinct,” “Fireball XL5,” and “The Protectors,” among others. He and his wife also produced two “Thunderbirds” movies at the height of their popularity.

In recent years, Anderson produced a fully computer animated version of “Captain Scarlet” and consulted on the big budget live-action motion picture version of The Thunderbirds. The former did quite well in the UK, but the latter was pretty much a flop here. The beloved producer’s reputation was still untarnished.

Gerry Anderson passed away yesterday after a long battle with dementia brought on by Alzheimer’s disease. We have lost a creative star in the field of television, he will be missed.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #78

Fontella Bass 1940-2012

Charles Durning 1923-2012

On the same day we lost Jack Klugman, Christmas Eve, we also lost Charles Durning, the king of the character actors. The multiple award-winning actor, featured in over a hundred films, was 89.

I first encountered Charles Durning as Detective Moretti in Dog Day Afternoon. He was the likable but straight arrow cop who negotiated with Al Pacino’s bank robber Sonny Wortzik. I love the film, a time capsule of the 1970s, that earned Durning a Best Supporting Actor nom from the Golden Globes. But it’s not his only film, before or since.

Durning’s resume also includes terrific roles in The Sting, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Muppet Movie, and Tootsie, among so many others. He was also a veteran of the Second World War, won a Tony for playing Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and had regular parts on the TV shows “Evening Shade,” “Family Guy,” “Everyone Loves Raymond,” and “Rescue Me.”

Throughout his long career as an actor he was rarely not working, and was always playing memorable characters. We’ve lost another of the greats. He will be missed.

Special Boxing Day Edition of The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ed (Freaky Friday Fan) Evans, Allison (Superhero Girlfriend Expert) Eckel, and Glenn (The Gray Hulk) Walker, as they discuss the new comics out this week! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in this week’s Special Spoiler Alert Skip Week episode includes: Happy Boxing Day, Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15, Before Watchmen Nite-Owl #4, Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, The Shadow Special #1, Crossed Badlands #20, Star Wars Omnibus Clone Wars Volume 3, Star Wars The Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games, open *danger* spoiler alert *danger* discussion of the above comics, especially Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the upcoming Superior Spider-Man, superhero girlfriend training, the Throne of Atlantis/Flashpoint connection, and deconstructing and compressing Justice League storytelling.

Be sure to check out the rockin’ All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ. Don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

French Fry Diary 451: The Hanukkah Dog at Home

RIP Jack Klugman

Award winning star of stage, screen, and television, Jack Klugman, passed away Christmas Eve in his home, surrounded by his family, apparently of natural causes. Born in Philadelphia, he was 90.

Jack Klugman was probably most well known in the role of Oscar Madison, the sloppy sports writer from TV’s “The Odd Couple,” in which he played opposite Tony Randall as the fussy photographer, Felix Unger. The sitcom ran for five years on ABC from 1970 to 1975, based on the movie, and the Broadway play by Neil Simon. While never having spectacular ratings, it found fame in summer reruns and syndication. As a kid growing up in the 1970s, “The Odd Couple” was a fixture in my Friday night TV programming.

Later in the decade, Klugman moved to NBC with the serious police/doctor procedural, “Quincy M.E.” With a coroner as the protagonist, Klugman had said once, it was the best of both dramatic prime time worlds. In the sixties, he also appeared in four episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” including “A Game of Pool” and “A Passage for Trumpet,” two considered classics.

Before, and after his television days, Klugman was in more than a few films, most notably he was Juror #5 in 12 Angry Men. He also performed on stage throughout his career, even more than a few times in The Odd Couple. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974, and in 1989 lost one of his vocal cords to it, yet he continued to act, albeit in a much quieter huskier voice.

Jack Klugman was a terrific actor, and he will be missed.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #77

French Fry Diary 450: Allen’s Clam Bar