Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 17th, 1976

6:00 PM

Had an elaborate plan to meet Terry to see HARD TIMES but he missed the bus. Don't know what happened there. I went ahead and saw it anyway. Pretty good. Very different for Bronson lately. Good acting, too.

I also read in the new TBG about those ILLUMINATUS books I keep seeing so while I was out I bought them all, three for $4.00.

9:00 PM

So this afternoon after I got home from running around, I re-read all my Howard the Duck and Dr Strange stories to prepare for the Con tomorrow. Big article about the Vorises in the paper today with "Conan" misspelled as "Konan." Hahaha! Well, tomorrow is the big day. I hope to finish several collections. This time I'll be taking 75 dollars. Too bad it's supposed to be cold though 'cause I'd like to wear my small coat. I remember how hot it got inside last year.

Almost forgot! Saw Chris Lee on SPACE 1999 tonight.

NOTES: HARD TIMES was Walter Hill's gritty film about Depression-era street fighting from the year before. It starred Charles Bronson and James Coburn. It had finally come to an accessible theater. I had been a big Bronson fan since watching him on TV in THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MCPHEETERS when I was a kid and for a period in the early seventies, he had become THE biggest box office attraction in the world. Many of his films were violent action pictures but the occasional one like this proved what a great actor he still was.

I asked Terry the other day in 2011 if he had any clue why he ended up missing the bus that day in '76. He didn't even remember HARD TIMES.

The ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY, as it became known, remains the absolute weirdest thing I have ever read (and trust me, I have read some craaaazy stuff over the years!). Now considered a cult classic by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, there's no way to briefly summarize it but I'll try: It's about a reporter for a ROLLING STONE like newspaper who finds out that every insane conspiracy theory you have ever heard is true and teams up with a renegade sailor in a Yellow Submarine (and his dolphin sidekick) to get the truth out there.

The Vorises were, as previously stated, the sponsors of the next day's comic convention. Cy Voris and I were among a tiny handful of folks who had seen the North American premiere of SPACE 1999 at a comic book convention in Cleveland the previous Fall. Designed to fill the void for STAR TREK fans, SPACE 1999 starred Martin Landau and his then-wife Barbara Bain and was produced by UK puppet series producers, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It wasn't very good but it was practically the only sci-fi on the air at that pre-STAR WARS time.

Speaking of STAR WARS, it's hard to believe in the wake of the legendarily bad movie version of HOWARD THE DUCK foisted on us by George Lucas many years later but at this early stage HOWARD THE DUCK was the hottest comic book out there! The writer and artist were going to be guests at the Con on Sunday and I wanted to be ready!


  1. I arrived here via the Cincinnati Enquirer piece about your blog tonight.

    Good LORD! A blog based on the world of 1976 that references both Space:1999 and Burger Chef. I have found my home. :)

    Class of '76, Belmont, up in Dayton...

    Well done. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Hard Times = awesome movie. Your friend missed out.

  3. Forget to mention 'Jeff'... Burger Chef's side kick...

    cool that you were into Illuminatus... I did not discover RAW until I was in my early 30's...

    ... had a crush on Barbara Bains...

    You must be trapped in a world that you never made if you ever thought HTD and Dr. Strange were hot... particularly HTD. That was a short-live run... did they get past the 30's when it came to issues..? Me and my Yalie friend were the only nerds among a school of nerds who were into those particular comics... And HTD's catchphrase 'waaauuugghh' once was a part of my personal patois (still used the 'trapped...')