Attack of the Killer B’s…

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Back in 1992-1993, I was stationed at Ft. Carson, CO.  Assigned to a small Cavalry Squadron, attached to the 4th Infantry Division.

While it was normal for us to party on Friday nights only as soldiers can, my Saturday nights were dedicated to sitting in front of my TV with a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk and a can of Pringles Cheezum’s (the daily running and PT kept the pounds off).

There was a late-night show on PBS that came out of Pueblo… Attack of the Killer B’s.  It was along the lines of Svenghouli, Elvira, etc..  Three guys (well, two guys and a skeleton hanging by manacles on the wall)… Dr. Reek A. Mortis, Sonny, and Skelvis.

They’d offer what you’d expect – campy humor and lots of banter, but the best thing they did was sing a song that was based on the movie.  It was just so damned ridiculous and fun.

Time counts and keeps counting…. as the years passed, I’d often think of that show, but the name escaped me.  I’d try searching the web for anything about this show and could just never find any information.  I had a few VHS tapes full of the shows, but the quality was so bad (due to aluminum-tipped rabbit ears), that they were hardly watchable after a few years.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to an author friend of mine (you might know him, goes by the name of A.D. Bloom) and telling him about this silly show I used to watch.  Lo-and-behold, the next morning, he sent me a couple of links to the songs on youtube!  At which point I immediately created a playlist and added them.

I wonder what ever happened to that Mad Doctor, his singing assistant, and that desiccated corpse of a fairly famous rock star?  Maybe someone out there who reads this will let me know.

So, here are just a few of my favorites from these guys.  Grab yourself a pint of ice cream, a can of your favorite Pringles, and have a little ridiculous fun…

 

 

 

 

The Starlost… Quite possibly my favorite Science Fiction television series.

Back in 1973, Harlan Ellison was approached by studio executives to come up with a new science fiction show to be produced in Canada.  It was doomed from the beginning…

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 Through a series of unfortunate events, which included a writer’s strike, a new revolutionary special effects system that ended up being a complete turd and getting scrapped, and Mr. Ellison becoming so disenfranchised with the whole thing that he insisted his screen credit be shown as “Cordwainer Bird” (his alternate registered pen name).  Even Ben Bova was brought onboard as an advsisor and became so disgruntled in the project that he later wrote a novel entitled “The Starcrossed” about a scientist taken on as a science adviser for a terrible science fiction series.  Wow, this thing didn’t have a chance.

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In any case, sixteen episodes were made, but the show was not to be picked up for more.  An all-star cast including Keir Dullea, Barry Morse, John Colicos, and even Walter Koenig couldn’t even raise this to a decent viewership.  It was poorly received by both viewers and the science fiction community.  It’s been touted as among the worst science fiction shows of all time.  Poor special effects, horrible acting (hell, most of the little known actors did a better job than the big names).  One particular scene, Keir appears to forget his name (Devon) and there are long pauses as though the actors are “looking behind us now, into history-back”, trying to remember the next line.

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So why do I absolutely love this show?  I really can’t pin it down to one specific reason.  For one, I find the story fascinating.  According to the ship’s central information computer (which goes by the name of Mu-Lambda 165)…

In the year A.D. 2285, a catastrophe of galactic proportions threatened all Earth life with extinction (we are not able to find out what this catastrophe was as the information cylinder containing that information is missing).

News of the catastrophe caused panic, riots. So the committee of scientists and philosophers set about selecting preservable elements of Earth life to seed other planets.  In order to do this, the committee between the Earth and the moon had to build Earthship  Ark.  The most monumental construction ever taken by humans.  An organic cluster of environmental domes called “biospheres”.  Linked to each other through tubular corridors for life support, power, and communication.  Into the biospheres went representative segments of the earth’s population.  Three million souls in all.  Whole separate ecologies, sealed from each other.  Isolated to preserve their characteristics.  Thus, Earthship Ark was launched on a long journey into deep space.  It’s programmed destination – to seek out and find the solar system of a Class G star.

Earthship  Ark traveled for a hundred years before any indication of a difficulty.  Then, there was an accident.  Accident record year, A.D. 2385.  Earthship  Ark is currently locked on collision course with Class G solar star, an unidentified sun.  Present Earth year, A.D. 2790.

Most of the episodes take place in a new biosphere.  There are a couple episodes that revolve around visitors from elsewhere – whether human or alien.  Some biospheres have devolved into savagery and others are quite technologically advanced.  Each episode is a new adventure.  The main character, Devin, lives in a biosphere that is essentially a farming community.  One can almost see it as an Amish type community.  He’s an adventurous sort and this eventually leads him into being exiled along with two of his friends, Rachel and Garth – thanks pal…

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I really find the show very quaint.  I dig the old-school  special effects (the lighting must have been brutal as the characters sweat rather profusely).  Even the music seems to fit rather well.  Yes, the acting could be better, the effects better, but there is simply an unknown “something” that appeals to me on a certain level.  The real star of the show is the ship’s computer, played by Jim Barron.  His voice is just fabulous and watching him trying to act “computery” is wonderful!

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So yeah, I seriously dig this show and have it running in my portable DVD player whenever I’m tinkering in my “cave”.  It’s available on Amazon and comes down to around $10.00 every so often.  I may need to get another copy because there’s a good chance I’ll wear this one out…

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But wait, there’s more!  All sixteen episodes currently reside within youtube and you can watch them for free – as often as you like!  Try it out.  Don’t expect much, but maybe you’ll come to enjoy it as much as I do…

For an excellent online resource for the series, I’d recommend heading over to http://www.snowcrest.net/fox/star.html.

Thundarr the Barbarian – a post-apocalyptic Saturday morning…

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“The year: 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man’s civilization is cast in ruin! Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old: a world of savagery, super science and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!”

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As a young boy of 10 years old, Thundarr the Barbarian was a dream come true.  Coming out on the heels of Star Wars, it combined all of my favorite elements – science fiction, post apocalypse and a “fabulous Sun Sword”.

Flash forward some 20 years and I am browsing a used book store.  I see this book on the shelf and immediately my heart starts racing – it’s titled Thundar, but there’s an “r” missing.  The cover is very reminiscent of the cartoon, so of course it came home with me.

Written in 1971, it was published 10 years before the cartoon came to be.  Although the story is a bit different – more akin to Buck Rogers (Armageddon 2419) – in which the main character is “catapulted into a world only a madman could conceive, where monster mutants roamed and apemen confused evolution with menace“.

Even the main character’s sidekick, a Moog instead of a Mok, is there.

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Giving credit where credit is due…

I scoured the internet, looking for any information I could find.  I read through fan sites and wiki articles, finding hardly a single line of text that talked about this book.  I contacted owners of various sites and asked if they knew anything about it.  The answer was always the same… “Nope”.

I came across a short documentary on youtube that delved behind the scenes of the Saturday morning cartoon.  Imagine my frustration when I did not hear the smallest snippet of a shout-out or credit to the book.  They made it sound like they came up with the idea all by themselves.

 

It has become a crusade of sorts to get the word out that this cartoon was obviously based on this book.

Well, here it is.  A fledgling blog by a nobody will give the credit to John Bloodstone (a pseudonym for Stuart J. Byrne) for writing the book that Thundarr was based on.

By the way, Thundarr the Barbarian is finally available on Amazon

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