Friday, May 29, 2009

Must See TV

Warner Home Video recently released Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960's Volume 1 and 1970's Volume 1. I think this is a great idea: A sampling of what the world looked like at the time. I have long said to friends that I would love to see an "NBC Thursday Night '80s Lineup" DVD. Just like the two-disc Saturday Morning Cartoon volumes, they could take a similar approach here. Maybe a 1984 edition, capturing first season Cosby Show antics lifted straight from Cosby's stand-up routine, Family Ties and Cheers hitting their stride a couple years into their runs, pre-Markie Post Night Court getting off the ground with the genius of Selma Diamond originating the acerbic bailiff role, and the veteran Hill Street Blues to round out the package. They could do four volumes, one for each year the five shows were broadcast together (1984-1987). Legal entanglements, I'm sure, preclude this dream from becoming a reality, and I could do my own mix DVD of these shows if I wanted to since there are season sets available, but I'd be all over something like this!

Next up: Some ABC '80s Saturday Night with The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sign of the Times

I like to flip through my Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe every now and again. This Marvel Essential is a black and white trade paperback collecting the 15-issue encyclopedic limited series from 1983 and ‘84. Although not printed in color, it’s still fun to revisit the characters of my youth in the incarnations I first met them. Recently, I was perusing the book and stopped on the entry for Dazzler. Dazzler, Alison Blaire, is an aspiring singer with the mutant ability to transform sound into light. While the development of the character is fascinating (originally conceived as a cross-promotional and multi-media tie-in between Marvel Comics and Casablanca Records intended to have a real-life counterpart), I was struck by her weapons description in this volume of the Handbook:
Weapons: The Dazzler carries a customized radio/cassette tape-player powered by two 9-volt batteries, with auto-reverse, the Dolby B noise-reduction system, and an over-sized 4-inch speaker with an exceptionally heavy voice-coil. The tapes she carries are edited to provide continuous music. The Dazzler also occasionally wears a woman’s size eight pair of roller skates which magnetically adhere to her boots.
Villains beware!