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 The Future Unreels... 
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You've been reading something, a short story, a play, a magazine article, a novel--and you've gotten the distinct feeling that "This would make a good movie." But you may not know why you think that. Perhaps you like the images that reading the words create in your mind. Perhaps you can almost see the characters, and hear their voices as you read the dialog. Something seems cinematic about your experience, and it seems only natural that it would be a good thing to present on the screen.

Film producers have the same experience. Screenwriters do, too. But they don't always envision taking the written word and faithfully translating it to a movie. In this thread we will look at 16 written stories and the movies that were made from them. Some of the films are quite close to the original story. Others toss out almost everything except the title and go from there.

This thread was inspired by a book I bought while doing the last few Rematches in that other thread. For the Death Race and The Thing Rematches I ordered a used book called Reel Future, a 1994 publication edited by Forrest J. Ackerman & Jean Stine. Soon we'll look at a listing of the 16 stories and the films, and get some idea what this thread will be like. It will be nowhere near as exhaustive as the Remake Rematch Thread. I may link to that thread for the movies that appear in it, though.

Relax, and come along as the future unreels...

Thread completed on 7 November 2015, a week ahead of original schedule.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:58 am
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Great ıdea, YTMN! Will be reading this one for sure.

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Letterboxd


Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:20 am
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Whoa, sweet.

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Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:56 am
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Go, go, go!

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Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:14 pm
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One of the basic procedures for the Remake Rematch thread was that I would read the source material for any story in the films contained in the thread whenever a story source existed, apart from the screenplay. In order to read the source material for the Death Race and The Thing Rematches near the end of Round Three I ordered a book called Reel Future, a 1994 publication edited by Forrest J. Ackerman & Jean Stine. I grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland, an Ackerman magazine publication, so I knew Ackerman's name.

There are sixteen stories in the book. Some are short stories. Some are novellas. Some are novels. Each inspired a feature length film or a serial film that was released before 1994. And we're going to look at the interactions between the print and celluloid versions of these tales.

I have now read all 16 print stories, and I have watched all the films made from them. I need to watch some of them again before I write about them, because my only viewing might have been 22 years ago! In some cases I have watched more than one film made from a story. This is not a Rematch thread at all (even though some of the stories in the 1994 book Reel Future have been made into more than one film).

Here are the story and film titles from the book:

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1
“The Empire of the Ants” by H. G. Wells (1905) pgs 1-14 – filmed as Empire of the Ants in 1977

2
“Herbert West—Reanimator” by H. P. Lovecraft (1922) pgs 15-40 – filmed as Re-Animator in 1985

3
“Armageddon—2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928) pgs 41-96 – this spawned the long-running Buck Rogers in the 25th Century comic strip in 1928, and it was filmed for television and the movies as Buck Rogers and other titles between 1933's seminal World's Fair short film, the 1939 12-part serial and two (1950 and 1979) television series

4
“Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (1938) pgs 97-145 – filmed as The Thing From Another World in 1951 and The Thing in 1982, and it inspired a prequel to the 1982 film, released in 2011 as The Thing


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5
“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (1940) pgs 146-179 – transformed into The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951, and distorted quite a bit as The Day the Earth Stood Still in 2008

6
“This Island Earth” by Raymond F. Jones (1952) pgs 180-299 – filmed as This Island Earth in 1955, and that movie was riffed on in the 1996 Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie.

7
“The Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury (1950) pgs 300-310 – filmed as The Illustrated Man in 1969

8
“The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke (1951) pgs 311-319 – filmed as 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968


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9
“Seventh Victim” by Robert Sheckley (1953) pgs 320-332 – filmed as The Tenth Victim in 1965

10
“The Racer” by Ib Melchior (1956) pgs 333-342 – filmed as Death Race 2000 in 1975, and more or less the influence behind Death Race released in 2008, both of which kept mostly the title.

11
“The Fly” by George Langelaan (1957) pgs 343-371 – filmed as The Fly in 1956 and 1986

12
“Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Faraday Nelson (1963) pgs 372-376 – filmed as They Live in 1988


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13
“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick (1966) pgs 377-395 – filmed as Total Recall in 1990, and Total Recall in 2012

14
“Damnation Alley” by Roger Zelazny (1967) pgs 396-471 – filmed as Damnation Alley in 1977

15
“Enemy Mine” by Barry B. Longyear (1979) pgs 472-526 – filmed as Enemy Mine in 1985

16
“Air Raid” by John Varley (1977) pgs 527-538 – filmed as Millennium in 1989

Mainly, the films are discussed only in the Introduction to the book. A book that came out in 1994 naturally could not discuss the 2011 remake of The Thing, and the 2012 remake of Total Recall or the 2008 Death Race and The Day the Earth Stood Still remakes. A so-called third remake of The Fly is still in limbo (and may have simply been planned as a sequel).

This thread will compare the original stories in the volume with the films made from each one. That's all. Nothing terribly complicated. The plan is that there will be a little about the story or novel, and a few excerpts from its text. There will be some "critical" analysis of the story itself, and then there will be a few stills from the resulting film(s), along with critical analysis of that. I will use spoiler tags, since some of my readers suffer from a paranoid delusion that there is such a thing as a spoiler. (You all know about my annoyance with the whole idea of spoilers already.*) However, nothing in the first 5-10% of either the short story or the movie will be considered a spoiler. Many of the written tales begin with what would be considered a cinematic spoiler in modern times. So if you demand to go into reading or watching anything totally void of prior knowledge about it...well, good luck. That isn't possible anywhere in the Internet Age.

If there are remakes of the films I will note them. If there is a Remake analysis in my Rematch thread I'll provide a link. Reel Future has the source short stories for four of the Remake Rematches that appeared in the thread:
“Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (1938) featured in the Multimatch The Thing
“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (1940) for the Rematch The Day the Earth Stood Still
“The Racer” by Ib Melchior (1956) for the Rematch Death Race
“The Fly” by George Langelaan (1957) for the Rematch The Fly

_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:01 am
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YES.
I have been reading a ton of books that were turned into films lately. I will have to see what my library has out of these.

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Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:30 am
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Wicked

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Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:24 pm
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Good thread idea! Someone gave me this book years ago. Fun read, but I remember it primarily for including "Blow Up," since that was the beginning of a lifetime obsession with Julio Cortázar.

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:14 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Good thread idea! Someone gave me this book years ago. Fun read, but I remember it primarily for including "Blow Up," since that was the beginning of a lifetime obsession with Julio Cortázar.

Geez, with that being two cents... and with me finding Reel Future for a penny, I guess I'll just buy these two books. At least the one this thread is based on anyway. This way I can follow along better.

YTMN are you going in the listed order?

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:37 pm
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Hank, I expect that would be the easiest process for everyone. Starting with The Empire of the Ants and ending with Air Raid. Also, it would make it possible for people to anticipate the next story to be posted about. So that's what I've been thinking of doing. Now I seem to have a vote for proceeding along that line.

My target date for the Ants post(s) is this coming Saturday, with Re-animator following three weeks later on 24 January. But I'm still working out how I want to do graphics, and how to structure the open parts and spoiler-tagged parts. Whether I want to dump the coverage for each story into one post, or split it into a few posts (all posts for one story will go up on the same day, though). How to get pages from the stories scanned to avoid re-typing blocks of text. And so forth.

With three days mostly off work for New Year's Day I should be able to come up with something by the end of the day on 3 January 2015. But that isn't certain. (And, Happy New Year to everyone!)

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Also, you probably can't have your copy of the book by Saturday. But, what a bargain you're getting; my copy cost $0.20! :D

Maiden, I can't help but wonder if Ackerman and Stine were familiar with No, But I Saw the Movie.

Also, Stu, Genie, Jedi, MadMan, Hank, Maiden: can I ask for help from y'all pointing out anything "spoilery" that I leave initially un-tagged? A spoiler advisory panel might be necessary. I just have no idea what a spoiler is, because to me everything is information I can use to decide whether to watch a film or not. In fact, I have been completely uninterested in a huge number of films until I learned what would make any anti-spoiler person cringe about a certain movie, and that plot knowledge made me finally think I might enjoy watching it.
For example, I was uninterested in How to Train Your Dragon 2 until the trailer alerted me to the fact that Hiccup's mother returns in the second film. I read a lot of criticism about that information being in the trailer, but for me it was the one thing that made me decide to eventually see the film, although not in the theater.

_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:38 am
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Sure, I can keep an eye out for you (maybe it's because I've been talking with you for 8 years now and you have corrupted my thinking process)... but I tend to share your opinion about spoilers. I don't really think they are a bad thing necessarily. I will try to identify any in your text though and let you know. Maiden identified one of my Inspired By... pieces as spoilerish though, so she seems qualified to help.

Also, my copy of Reel Future is on it's way. We'll see how long it takes to get here. My Blu of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has taken significantly longer than the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride novel that I ordered (the later of which arrived the day before my birthday, the former I am still waiting on).

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Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:48 am
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YouTookMyName wrote:
Maiden, I can't help but wonder if Ackerman and Stine were familiar with No, But I Saw the Movie.
Yeah, I wonder! It's interesting that only two stories overlap. For reference, mine includes:

All About Eve (1950) - from The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr
Bad Day at Black Rock (1954) - from Bad Time at Honda by Howard Breslin
Blow Up (1966) - from Blow Up by Julio Cortazar
The Body Snatcher (1945) - from The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson
Don't Look Now (1973) - from Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
The Fly (1958) - from The Fly by George Langelaan
Freaks (1932) - from Spurs by Tod Robbins
Guys and Dolls (1955) - from The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown by Damon Runyon
The Heartbreak Kid (1972) - from A Change of Plan by Bruce Jay Friedman
High Noon (1952) - from The Tin Star by John M. Cunningham
It Happened One Night (1934) - from Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - from The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
The Jazz Singer (1927) - from The Day of Atonement by Sampson Raphaelson
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) - from Mr Blandings Builds His Castle by Eric Hodgins
Psycho (1960) - from The Real Bad Friend by Robert Bloch
Rear Window (1954) - from Rear Window by Cornell Woolrich
Stagecoach (1939) - from Stage to Lordsburg by Ernest Haycox
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - from The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke

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Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:32 am
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“The Empire of the Ants” by H. G. Wells (1905) pgs 1-14 – filmed as Empire of the Ants in 1977
PART ONE

The Original Story.
The Wells short story is not totally gripping, but it is an interesting idea. The tone of the story is distant and descriptive. There is little emotional engagement between the narrator and the reader. But the imagery builds a sense of dread quite well, I think.

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The ants seem incredibly intelligent, socially organized and they are larger than usual ("Five centimetres! Some bigger!"), but not giants, like those shown in the Bert I. Gordon movie. The ants in the story wear accouterments, have tools of their own contrivance, and move about hiding from human eyes.

You can find much more of the story behind the spoiler tag, but I'll post a link to the entire text, later.
The only Englishman in the story is Holroyd, and he is surrounded by men of many "races" as they said back in 1905. The Captain of the ship is Brazilian Creole (he confides only in Holroyd). The crew are Portuguese, they are in Brazilian territory, and even those who speak English do so in a patois that Holroyd cannot comprehend. Maybe this group of men is Wells' symbolic trappings for all of humankind in the encounter with the unconquerable ants.

By the third page of the story Gerilleau tells Holroyd more about these new ants:

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On the next page, Holroyd's sense of Victorian order is first unsettled:

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And then, the whole thing seems like an outcome that a rational mind should have predicted:

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When they come upon a derelict Portuguese cuberta lying at the edge of the river, Holroyd has his first encounter (at a distance) with the ants:

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And soon, Holroyd gets his first magnified view of these ants, as a young Lieutenant heads toward a bad end:

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Four pages later, kilometers down the river, the Captain decides to make an attempt to fight back, but he isn't sure how to do so:

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The Captain's military response to the ants is so ineffectual as to be laughable, but he asks afterward, "What was there to do?" The intention is for the answer to be terrifying. There is nothing to do. Nothing.

Of course, by 1905 Empire was already failing in many places. And there was nothing to do.

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The ending of the short story holds out no hope. There are no rescuing microbes as there are in Wells' The War of the Worlds. He leaves Holroyd, and the narrator (Wells) with the feeling that it is only a matter of time...

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In a sense, The Empire of the Ants is of the same stripe as Wells' earlier novel-length tale, The War of the Worlds. And the same parabolic story functions in both: his Martians in 1897, and 8 years later the ants are here to take over. This is what the British Empire did to subjugated people. Only in the case of the Martians, we are not to be subjugated. We are to be eliminated. We are in the way. For these newly evolved ants, we are in the way, but we can also be food. If we do not run away from them they simply invite us for a last supper. There is no way to stop the Martians. In a similar narrative tactic, there is no way offered that the ants can be stopped. The Martians are an invasion. But the ants are an infestation.


Why it wants to be in Cinema.
The story describes epic and expansive scenes of larger than normal ants transforming the landscape. As they move they either run off (or dine upon) any human or other mammalian inhabitants of their newly conquered territory. The story offers chilling images of what would happen if "Nature got out of balance" (as the Victorians would have seen it). The Victorian picture of Natural Balance was: Humans are obviously and Naturally at the tip top of Creation, and for any other species to challenge that lofty place is the equivalent of the story from the Bible that says Lucifer challenged God for supremacy. The idea that Humans could be challenged as masters of the globe by any earthly creature was nothing short of terrifying to the Victorian mind.

This short story is the stuff of cinema: Things out of order that need to be righted. Wide shots of incomprehensible terror. People fighting for survival against overwhelming foes.

When you read it there is a sense of desiring to actually see this. The imagination wants it to at least become dream-like and visible.

But the techniques to make the film as Wells imagined the story have only recently been developed. It was possible in 1977 to toss the core idea, Nature turned topsy turvy, at a movie screen. But to make it seem real in 1977...well...only one special effects company in the world at that time could have done it, and they weren't involved.

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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:07 am
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“The Empire of the Ants” by H. G. Wells (1905) pgs 1-14 – filmed as Empire of the Ants in 1977
PART TWO

Who made it into a Film?
Bert I Gordon, known for his somewhat bizarre low-budget ideas. Not that the ideas are served by the low budgets. In fact, several of his films would have been much more interesting if he had gotten 10 times the funding he did to produce them.

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Born in September 1922, he is still active in the film industry. He has made a number of c-grade cult films, including The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the Puppet People, Village of the Giants. He has also produced and directed a number of soft-core porn films. These include the 1970 film How to Succeed with Sex (rated X), Let's Do It! from 1982, and Satan's Princess (1990). None of his films make it to 6 stars of 10 at IMDb. The Boy and the Pirates (1960), Picture Mommy Dead (1966), and The Mad Bomber (1973) are the only ones that reach 5.1. Bert I. Gordon actually has a new motion picture that was originally scheduled for a 2014 roll-out that didn't happen. Secrets of a Psychopath is still awaiting release.

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IMDb claims that Gordon has the distinction of having set the record for number of movies by one director shown on MST3K! That would be 8 of his films, listed on Wikipedia: King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth Vs. The Spider, War of the Colossal Beast, The Magic Sword, Tormented, Beginning of the End and Village of the Giants. The guys in the Midwest didn't get around to this one.

How did it turn out?
The movie was produced on a shoestring, apparently one that had broken and was tied back together in several places. At IMDb it has a 3.7/10 rating with 2,636 user votes. The Ants movie was reputed to be a stinker, and I've known that for a long time. But, hey, it was from a short story featured in this book, so to be fair I had to finally give in and watch it.

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I chose the cheap way: YouTube. What I watched is posted in 6 parts, but if you pile them in order into a playlist, you can watch all the way through. I probably don't have to tell you that the Wells short story and the movie script have almost zero points of convergence, do I?

In the opening credits you read that the special visual effects were the work of Gordon himself. And I was surprised that the compositing isn't all that bad. Slickly done for a low budget in most instances. The movie suffers for its totally non-innovative story-telling. It's dull, even with the gory ant attacks. Concerning the special effects and the massive changes to the storyline: even with a large special effects budget, in 1977 it would not have been possible to create the giant swarm of 5 cm ants that Wells wrote of in The Empire of the Ants. It was apparently not technically feasible to tell the tale with 5 cm ants (especially on Gordon's smaller budget). And that's where the adaptation went a bit off the rails.

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Basically, it is presented in the format of a disaster movie, a mainstay of action pictures during the 1970s. Over a half hour is spent setting up the situation and creating the stories of the characters that you are supposed to love or hate, but about whom you ultimately feel indifferent. There are filaments of Wells' original short story in the end result, but only filaments, most of which break due to the stress of disinterest.

Whereas Wells has a gunship trawling a river in Brazil, Gordon sets his story on an island in Florida. There were a lot of shyster land cons going on in Florida in the 1960s and 1970s, so he chose that as the reason for his group of people to be on some island off the coast.

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In a prologue, Gordon sets up the pheromonal power of ants, and their organization and so forth. Then he shows us that radioactive waste which has been catapulted from the deck of a small ship during the credits hasn't all sunk to the bottom of the sea. Nope, one barrel has washed ashore on some forsaken island. Radioactivity is always problematic in a Bert I. Gordon production.

Well, after Marilyn Fryser (Joan Collins) assembles her next set of dupes and rides the hired boat out to her island paradise, worthless land that she intends to unload for high dollars, we get to see that same barrel in the background of a shot, all corroded and leaking. Right next to the place where Fryser has set up her tent to woo the clients. Oh, and there are ants that seem attracted to the shiny contents as the stuff oozes onto the sand.

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We meet the couple with a carousing husband, the elderly couple who want a quiet place to retire, the cute young fellow who is directionless, the cute young woman who is trying to make a good investment, the recently-fired secretary who also wants a quiet place to retire, the owner-captain of the boat that hauls the crowd out to the worthless island, the couple whose husband component is a total skeptic, and some others. It is these people who are going to meet Bert Gordon's giant ants.

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Who. Will. Survive?
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After a number of the party have become snacks for the ants, which are a couple meters in length, the remaining people decide to look for a way to escape. They find a boat, but after a few turns realize that the ants are herding them someplace.

Gordon uses a female human scream as a component of the ants' vocalizations, which gets annoying after a while. But I suppose it does create the desired feeling of being unsettled. These ants don't wear clothing or carry tools strapped to their bodies in the way those of the short story do. Gordon would have had no way to do that in an even remotely convincing way.

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When the most annoying characters are finally all eaten, the party goes ashore and they try to escape through the jungle. But they are still being herded, and find themselves at the swamp home of an oddly serene couple. The wife calls the Sheriff, and he takes the four survivors into town.

Where they discover in rapid succession: that the humans are feeding the ants gigantic amounts of processed sucrose; that the humans have been subjugated to the ants by virtue of forced exposure to the pheromones of the queen ant. They are placed individually in a booth where the queen's pheromone spray covers them, and after that they are subdued and enslaved.

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Suddenly there is a rebellion. Queen ant kills queen bitch. The sherrif, relieved of his servitude, blasts the Queen ant to death. Two of the men work together to blow up the sugar warehouse after luring all the ants there, and people are saved from the infestation! The humans win. Balance is restored. The four survivors motor off into the sunset.

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It is a double salvation. No one has bought any of Fryser's worthless land, either.

At that point your suspicion that you are wasting time watching this movie is confirmed. But at least it's over.
Not only did Gordon update the story to what were then modern times, but he altered the story into the format of The Towering Inferno and ran with it. The sound effect used for the ant vocalizations evoke the ant sounds from THEM! (1954). There is a hint of the flavor of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977). That film is another Wells adaptation. Borrowing isn't all bad, but it helps if after borrowing from the best you also do your best, and Gordon didn't have the budget to do any better.

Perhaps his ambition outstripped his budgetary capability. And, of course, in line with the disaster aspect of the movie being made, the ending must put everything "back to rights", and that happens to the plot of the movie. Hey, it's an American movie. You know that is going to happen when you sit down with your popcorn. Wells was far wiser to leave his story with the uncomfortable prospect that things would not have a Hollywood ending.

Was there a remake?
Not yet, and I can't find any solid evidence that one is underway. But there is this story, Korean Director Building a New Empire of the Ants from 2012. No further news can be found on teh Netz.

You Can Watch It.
See the weblinks below for sources to buy. The movie is posted on Youtube in six parts. And you can buy it on DVD. But, I'm glad I didn't pay to see it. Still, if you have some time to kill, read the short story, and then watch the movie to make your own comparison. You've often seen my words "it really isn't a terrible movie" in the Rematch thread. Well, this time I can't say that. It's pretty terrible, but it might amuse you. Might.


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Title: The Short Stories of H. G. Wells (1927). Project Gutenberg Australia. "The Empire of the Ants"

Empire of the Ants (1977). IMDb.

Empire of the Ants. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ""The Empire of the Ants" was first published in 1905 in The Strand Magazine." That's the magazine where Sherlock Holmes appeared.

Empire of the Ants (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "It is the third and last film released in A.I.P.'s H.G. Wells film cycle, which include The Food of the Gods and The Island of Dr. Moreau." Heh. The verb should be "includes".

Bert I. Gordon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "He began making home movies in 16mm after his aunt gave him a camera for his thirteenth birthday."

Bert I. Gordon: The King of the Giant Monster Movie. denofgeek.com. "If his films are at best considered “unsophisticated” and “really stupid” by critics, mocked repeatedly on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and ignored completely by film historians, images from these films, even the titles themselves, remain an indelible part of the American cultural landscape. So who gets the last laugh?"

Scream Factory Announces Tentacles / Reptilicus & Empire of the Ants / Jaws of Satan Double Feature Blu-rays. dailydead.com. "Earlier this week, Scream Factory revealed they are releasing The Food of the Gods and Frogs next summer, and now the distributor has horror hounds looking forward to a creature feature season when school lets out, as four more titles have been brought onto the Blu-ray docket, pitting humans against a prehistoric reptile, a mutated octopus, killer ants, and a devilish king cobra." I think I might buy that one with Reptilicus.

Empire of the Ants / Jaws of Satan Blu-ray. blu-ray.com. "Summer 2015"

empire of the ants dvd. Google search results.

Empire of the Ants. Part 1 of 6. Youtube. Published on Apr 18, 2013. Image quality is similar to VHS, but it looked okay on my 42" screen. "Giant ants invade an island and enslave a town."

empire of the ants blu ray. Google search results. Whoa! It might be coming out in Blu. Well, at least the image should look sharper. It won't be any better.

Korean Director Building a New Empire of the Ants from dreadcentral.com 2012

Bert I. Gordon photo. acertaincinema.com.
Bert I. Gordon photo. houseofhorrors.com.
Bert I Gordon photo. autographmagazine.com.
Bert I. Gordon photo. monsterbashnews.com.

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Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:07 am
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Okay, that's done, but I've edited two posts, and I'll have to make a new one in order to let people know there's new stuff to look at. :D

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Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:09 am
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Both parts of the first analysis are posted above. I added a link to the first post in the overview post. Will change the photo to have a check mark later.

Tired.

EDIT: Updated teh pictures. Yay.

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Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:02 am
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I guess those two posts passed teh spoiler-tag tests.

Either that or they put readers to sleep. :D

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Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:57 am
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Haven't read it yet... I did get my copy of Reel Future in the mail today though.

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Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:12 am
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great stuff, gort. will comment in more detail when i've had some sleep


Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:30 pm
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Hank wrote:
Haven't read it yet... I did get my copy of Reel Future in the mail today though.

Your problem with 5 other people in the house, four of whom are under 16 will be finding the time to read the story. Even though it is truly a short story.

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:10 am
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MrCarmady wrote:
great stuff, gort. will comment in more detail when i've had some sleep

Your problem will be finding time to sleep.

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:10 am
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For those who are planning to "keep up" with this thread: I've grabbed stills from the Netfrix DVD of H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator, this past week. I re-read the short story and watched my Blu-ray disc of the 1985 film (last night). I've also scanned the pages of the book where the story is located, and marked my paper copy for "correlations". In truth, about 80% of the posts have been completed.

I'll do my best to get the posts up next Saturday, 24 Jan 2015. But I'm in the final couple of months editing a documentary film, and it's taking a lot of my time (along with my other three regular part-time jobs).

At least this story is not very long. It's available as a web-page.

Herbert West—Reanimator By H. P. Lovecraft. hplovecraft.com. "Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham."

Doesn't the opening paragraph make you want to click that link!?

As for the movie, it's probably available on your favorite pirate site, but I don't use those. So you might help one another out with such things. If you have teh Frix you might be able to request it and see it before next weekend.

Or you might want to just skip the thing altogether. But, I hope not.

See ya's next Saturday if all goes well.


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Upcoming story Armageddon 2419 A.D. is rather longish, a novella length tale by Philip Francis Nowlan. My hope is to post about that book and film combo on 14 Feb 2015, but there have been several screen adaptations, so we'll see if I make that soft deadline!

You might want to get started reading it. There is an html version available, as well as epub and Kindle versions at Project Gutenberg.

The web-page version. Project Gutenberg's Armageddon--2419 A.D., by Philip Francis Nowlan. at gutenberg.org. "Elsewhere I have set down, for whatever interest they have in this, the 25th Century, my personal recollections of the 20th Century.
Now it occurs to me that my memoirs of the 25th Century may have an equal interest 500 years from now—particularly in view of that unique perspective from which I have seen the 25th Century, entering it as I did, in one leap across a gap of 492 years."


Find the Project Gutenberg epub and Kindle versions of Armageddon 2419 A.D. here.

EDIT:
I located the entire 1939 serial film on Youtube. For you [masochists] completists out there, here are the links.

The original 12-part serial film from 1939. Low-budget. Reused props and sets from two prior Flash Gordon serial films.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 1 & 2 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 3 & 4 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 5 & 6 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 7 & 8 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 9 & 10 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 11 & 12 / 12. Youtube.

In 1953 the serial was edited down to feature length (for the first time) and the resulting film is available. This time I'll send you to archive.org.
Planet Outlaws (1953). archive.org. This has a higher-resolution copy available, and might be a refurbished print.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:50 am
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“Herbert West — Reanimator” by H. P. Lovecraft (1922) pgs 15-40 – filmed as Re-Animator in 1985
Part One


The Original Story.
The first story in the book Reel Future, H. G. Wells' "The Empire of the Ants" from 1905, is broken into four episodes. Chapters? The second story in the book, H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West, Re-animator" is divided into six of these, each of which bears a subtitle (and ends in a cliff-hanger). Each is a self-contained story, but they all work together to present a picture of this strange Doctor West across time. In H. P. Lovecraft's tale, Dr. Herbert West and his unnamed colleague set up medical practice some time around 1898. West has an idea that human corpses should be able to live again. The assistant follows him through a 17-year career of making attempt after attempt, with less than total success. It is the assistant's voice that tells us of their exploits. And the exploits are all in the past. In the second sentence we learn that West has disappeared.

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The narrator of the short story trusts West far too much. But if he didn't, we wouldn't get to read about such an adventure! One of my sources claims that the story was written as a parody of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. The claim is purportedly that of Lovecraft himself. And the article demonstrates two paeans to Mary Shelly's novel in the form of homagic plot events or details in the background.

Apparently, the story was serialized, and that is why each part seems like a self-contained tale. Someone who read episode V might not have read the first four, so all the background must be quickly exposed in order to make the latest installment make some sense. The six parts appeared in a friend's magazine, appropriately entitled Home Brew, vols. 1-6. But it was republished as a series in Weird Tales beginning with the March 1950 issue (according to a cover photo in the Wikipedia article about the short story).

The entire story is available online at Herbert West—Reanimator By H. P. Lovecraft. hplovecraft.com. Our analysis continues behind the spoiler tag.

The first episode sets up the difficulties inherent in West's chosen vocation (that of re-animator). Among these are conflicts with the administration at Miskatonic University Medical School. Lovecraft made the difficulty of matching reagent to specimen even more difficult than the eventual movie would.

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And there is another problem. Tissues once bereft of the forces of life quickly degrade until West's reagent won't do them any good. The brain tissue seems to be the most susceptible to decay. So our two main characters are laboring to do something that many don't want done, and they face technical challenges of several types. Lovecraft has set up a good network of specifics for a short story.

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Now the clandestine nature of their future work is revealed and set up. We also learn that the narrator has not been coerced into partnership with young Herbert West, but is drawn in by personal interest.

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They wait for a suitably fresh and reasonably undamaged corpse that they can inject with the reagent.

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Ah! At last, a perfect specimen. Killed by accident, buried unembalmed...

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We learn that the assistant, though willing to help, has to play mind games in order to get through this first ordeal with a human cadaver. And Lovecraft's words draw us a mental image of what the laboratory must look like.

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Of course, there is failure. A human seems to be too complex for the West reagent to animate it once deceased. The two have prepared for just such an outcome, as if they secretly expected failure the first time.

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But while they are working in another room having decided that this specimen, or this batch of reagent did not work, they learn that they gave up too soon. Sort of.

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And at the end of the episode, we are again reminded that West has recently disappeared, but so did the young laborer. And the body was never buried in the grave prepared for it!

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From here on in this post I'll let you read the first and last paragraphs of each episode, without bridging very much in between. You can read the entire story with the link provided above this spoiler tag.

The second episode begins as if it is the beginning of a new story. And it has to recap main points from episode I, in case the reader of this serialized installment did not see the previous issue.

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During a plague that overtakes Arkham, in which they participate as both helpful physicians and would-be re-animators, their University mentor, Dr. Allan Halsey becomes a savior to the people of Arkham as they battle typhoid. But the doctor is overcome by the disease and perishes. West tries to honor his professor by resurrecting him...with unwanted results. The narrator and West have to leave town ...rather quickly. The use of the reagent on Dr. Halsey is a detail used in the film version.

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The two protagonists set up a joint medical practice in a mill town, Bolton, located near Arkham. The practice is quite successful. So is their experimentation, in a limited way. Lovecraft plays with our growing desire that West might succeed. A boxing match ends in death for one of the fighters, and, of course, the reanimation works to a certain extent. Plus, the disappearance of a 5-year old child has been mentioned in passing a page or so earlier. At first buried, and thought to be a failure, the reanimated boxer shows up at their house, and Lovecraft uses chilling words to describe the event.

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Herbert West, written of as if he were merely an innocent with an undesirable hope for a medical cure to death, in the hands of H. P. Lovecraft suddenly turns into more the thing that he would really be in life. The shock of the narrator as he discovers this at the end of episode IV is easy to understand. But first, Lovecraft has to recap more and more. He is skillful at it, but it does make reading the story in one sitting a bit mind-bending.

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It is March 1915, and West and the narrator are medical corps physicians in WWI. This is a perfect place to find specimens for their continuing experimentation. And they find many. Among them is one of Wests mentors, turned disciple, who is suddenly deprived of his life force. A character named Ronald Hill is mentioned in passing. From that name comes the name of the antagonist in the 1985 movie, Dr. Carl Hill. But West has become distracted into a side venture, that of reanimating body parts. He decapitates Major Sir Eric Moreland Clapham-Lee, but reanimation of the head and body yield a seeming connection between the two. The head speaks from its position in the discard vat in the corner of the operating tent.

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A squad of his creations appears at night, and tears him apart. The narrator escapes with his life, but possibly with a piece or two of his coherence missing. The episodic tale ends with West being rendered unable to ever reappear.

Doesn't it?


Why it wants to be in Cinema.
This story has ghouls, and the hideous playthings of the ghouls. You can see in your mind's eye the wide-lidded eyes of madman Herbert West as his assistant relates the six brief episodes. In the story, the man seems to rush about in a bumbling way. West is capable, and inspired, but is also amoral and reckless. Just the kind of character that makes for a wild ride at the movies.

West is actually not that frenetic overall. He has a successful mainline medical practice in town after town. But the narrator shows us his colleague at moments when there is a terrible rush to exploit the "freshness" of a particular corpse. The final line of Epsiode IV The Scream of the Dead points up the logical extension of this situation in such a way as to make the hairs on your neck stand up.

As noted above, the print version is actually a series of short stories all glommed together to make one generational tale, due to its publication as a serial. Thus, it is episodic; the episodes are brief and pointed. It has a certain sense of adventure, and Lovecraft's customary use of language and plot that reminds a person of the off-kilter tilted-camera shots (Dutch angles, they call them) in the Batman TV show. Off-kilter might be a word to use for Lovecraft's odd tales, too.

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Strangely, Lovecraft is extremely popular with a small segment of modern society, while a large number of people seem never to have heard of him. His stories have a streak of absurdism that runs throughout them. Many of them of them center on Miskatonic University, a Lovecraftian fictional invention in the fictional city of Arkham, Massachusettes. “Herbert West — Reanimator” bears the earliest reference to that University, by the way. Because his stories take place off somewhere else, not the real world, anything can happen. And most often, it does. He invented a monster-god, Cthulu, whose appearance and origin can only be guessed at. But Herbert West and Cthulu are not in the same stories. West is the monster in this outing.

Lovecraft's writings have yielded 139 cinematic offspring as of 2015, according to the list at IMDb. It is unlikely that his weird worlds will stop inspiring directors to try to show what in many cases only the mind can conjure as you read the printed word. Some efforts work. Some come across as dismally goofy. But the thing is, Lovecraft's paragraphs are filled with imagery. And there is imagination behind every word. Just the stuff to trigger that old "I can show this!" response that leads to eventual cinematic presentation.

Lovecraft believed “Herbert West — Reanimator” to be his worst story. It is the only story of his that I have read. All the others have been interpreted for me through motion pictures. If this is genuinely the worst he can do, then his better stuff must be fabulous.


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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
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The Future Unreels


Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:00 am
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“Herbert West — Reanimator” by H. P. Lovecraft (1922) pgs 15-40 – filmed as Re-Animator in 1985
Part Two


Who made it into a Film?
Ninety-three years ago H.P. Lovecraft's short story was serialized in a print magazine. Thirty years ago Director Stuart Gordon created the movie Re-Animator from the Lovecraft short story. At the same time, he updated its ideas to the 1980s when the film was made. The magic lantern show is just as frantically absurd as the six-episode short story that spawned it.

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Originally a theater director, co-founder of Chicago's Organic Theater Company, Gordon has made 19 films as director since 1979 when he directed Bleacher Bums for television. Re-Animator was his first theatrical release, and his second feature film. A few of his titles have achieved cult film status, among them Re-Animator, and Robot Jox (1989). He has won awards for his stage productions. In fact, he directed a stage play called Re-Animator, the Musical.

Gordon has many screen writing credits, including Body Snatchers (1993) directed by Abel Ferrara, which appears in the Remake Rematch for Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also co-wrote Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and that gave him a character-creator writing credit for Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992).

Gordon was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1947. He is still active in the film industry.

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How did it turn out?
This movie is good enough (in my opinion, that is) that I bought the Blu-ray disc. Over-the-topness fits this story pretty well. Jeffrey Combs is perfectly intense and loony as Dr. Herbert West. Even if you've seen the film once or twice, his playing of the character still seems to surprise, with his eyes going wild in the moment that an idea comes to him. But he is frenetic in a subdued way, if that makes any sense at all.

And somehow the film is also perfect in evoking that stand-by horror film response, "Oh no. No! Don't do that!" But someone in this film always does, and in typical fashion, it always goes at least a little wrong. Just as it does in the Lovecraft story.

Obviously, the film made in 1985 with Director Stuart Gordon working from a script that he wrote along with Dennis Paoli and William Norris, and featuring everything from nudity to gore, could have failed entirely to seem Lovecraft-like. But it certainly seems to succeed in capturing the almost other-worldly sense of "this can't be happening" that the short-story embodies (this hovered over my first reading of the short story, and even affected my viewing of this film for this thread, although not as intensely as it did the first time). In the film Dan Cain becomes West's roommate and co-conspirator. In the short story a nameless and willing assistant fulfills that role. But Cain resists to a certain extent in the film, although he is drawn inexorably into the adventure.

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At IMDb there is a personal quote from Gordon: "The Lovecraft purists are always very upset with me because I'm always throwing all of this nudity into these movies, and there is no nudity in Lovecraft. But my argument is that there is a tremendous sexuality about Lovecraft, and a fear of sex, taking the reproductive act and turning it into something monstrous. Although he doesn't get explicit with it, he'll refer to it constantly in his stories. And in a movie, you have to use images to show things."

The film is reputedly made from the first two episodes of the short story (and Bride of Re-Animator (1989) from the last two episodes). But there are influences and events in the movie from all through the short story. The plot events are very similar given that the story is set at the beginning of the 20th century, and the film eight tenths of the way toward the other end of the century. Gordon's little motion picture is one of those carefully-crafted absurd adventures that always seems like it's about to leave the rails and go skidding off across unplanned territory, but it always hangs together. It is always cringe-worthy on purpose, and remains enjoyable throughout, unless you are totally turned off by any mention of sexuality, or sight of nudity or gore.

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Miskatonic University Medical student Dan Cain has trouble letting terminal patients die (we learn in the first scene in Arkham). He also has a room to rent, and Herbert West replies to the bulletin board ad that Cain has pinned up. Thus, West knows what is going on between Dan and Megan Halsey, the Dean's daughter (more behind the spoiler tags). Cain owns a cat named Rufus who will stand in for the long series of animal experiments that precede human work in the short story. Rufus dies and is revived by West. Twice. The second time just to prove to Dan Cain that the reagent works. But both re-animations take place on the same night.

There is no romantic plot in the short story, but the writers made up a complex web for the movie. This drives the plot at least as much as the re-animation portion of the film story.
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Dean Alan Halsey is Megan's jealous father. Megan is sexually involved with Dan Cain, which her father doesn't know. Renowned Dr. Carl Hill is a researcher at the Miskatonic University School of Medicine, and he has the hots for young Megan. West thinks Hill is a plagiarizing ninny.

Cain helps Herbert West in the film due to blackmail, something that doesn't happen in the short story at all. The narrator goes along with West because he is intrigued by his ideas and personality. Dan Cain, on the other hand, resists, but still comes to more or less admire West's failure to give up on the idea. And when Cain tells Dean Halsey about West's amazing work, both he and West are expelled. In the short story West and his colleague graduate and go on to practice medicine.

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Cain's first expedition with West is to the Miskatonic Med School morgue. There, they revive a 20-something who inexplicably dropped dead of a heart attack. This leads to the death and re-animation of Dean Halsey, who appears to be a madman after the reagent is pumped into him. More directly, the revived heart-attack victim directly kills the Dean. West "rescues" Megan's father. In the short story, as you recall, Halsey dies during a plague in Arkham, and West re-animates him to honor him. He then spends the rest of his second life in an insane asylum.

With protective daddy out of the way, creepy Dr. Carl Hill attempts to move in romantically on Halsey's young daughter, Megan about whom he keeps a file folder of clippings.

Hill hates West, because he used to be a student of a Dr. Grüber in Zurich whose ideas Hill has pilfered. West keeps it to himself that he was thrown out of the Zurich medical facility because Dr. Grüber died, and West attempted to reanimate him. Actually he did reanimate him, but the results were less than satisfactory. Still, it leads to one of West's first lines in the movie: "I gave him life!"

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When Hill shows up at Cain's house, and threatens to take over West's research and appropriate the reagent as his own discovery, West goes ballistic and decapitates Hill. Of course he cannot resist reanimating the head and body independently. Which eventually leads to Hill's head performing cunnilingus on Megan...yeah, they actually go there!

There is an orgy of re-animation back at the Med School Morgue, led by the headless Dr. Hill. Well, headless, except that his body is carrying his head around in its hands. Yeah, how in hell could a severed head talk? Or perform cunnilingus? Well, it's a fantasy movie, right? And there are a half-dozen decaying, naked corpses roaming around the autopsy room in the final sequence.

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At the bitter end of the short story, as you read in the spoiler section in PART ONE, Herbert West is disassembled by a number of his re-animated creatures. At the bitter end of the film, Herbert West is under attack, but we don't see what happens to him. Cain leaves, taking Megan with him. She dies in a subsequent creature attack, and he insanely decides to use the reagent on her.

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Yes, what you expect is what you get! After the injection we see a black screen, but hear the audio. And with an unseen scream from her reanimated mouth, we go to credits.

This film doesn't require any apology, in my opinion. The special effects are sometimes clumsy or on the edge of clumsiness, but the cast makes up for it with a great sense of their characters, and a willingness to play gentle comedy seriously. Because the original story is considered by many, including Lovecraft, to be his worst work ever, and more appropriately because Lovecraft himself claimed that it is a parody, a comic touch is quite appropriate here.

On the Blu-ray sleeve are two quotes from print media more eager to declare the film a masterpiece than I am. "One of the greatest horror movies ever made" -- Entertainment Weekly. "Ingenious...it has as much originality as it has gore, and that's really saying something!" -- The New York Times.

One of the greatest films ever made? I doubt it. One of the very best science-fiction efforts of all time? Probably not. One of the most enjoyable sci-fi/horror adaptations ever made? With the caveats listed above, certainly so!

There are, of course, some major changes between story and film. The film plot is not nearly as rich and multi-faceted, because film. The nameless narrator of the story is replaced by another medical student, Dan Cain, who is not West's friend, but his landlord. Cain doesn't get seduced into becoming West's assistant by the intrigue of the man's work, but through what amounts to blackmail. The story does not span 17 years in the film, but only a few days, weeks or months (this is not clear). But a good many events from the original story are cleverly transposed into the film adaptation. I liked the short story, and I like the movie made from it.

Was there a remake?
No remake, but two sequels. Gordon was not involved with the two sequel films that followed Re-Animator. These are Bride of Re-Animator (1989) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003) although the producers of both got Jeffrey Combs to play Dr. Herbert West in the films.

You Can Watch It.
There are weblinks below to Google searches for the DVD, Blu-ray and streaming formats. The short story is in public domain, so you can find it online ready to read. My suggestion is to get the movie, and watch it first. Then, preferably on the same day, read the short story while the film is fresh in your mind. It took me less than four hours to watch the film and take notes, and read the story and take notes. And I was taking plenty of breaks.




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Herbert West–Reanimator. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The story is the first to mention Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University. It is also notable as one of the first depictions of zombies as scientifically reanimated corpses, with animalistic and uncontrollable temperament."

Herbert West—Reanimator By H. P. Lovecraft. hplovecraft.com. "Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror. This terror is not due altogether to the sinister manner of his recent disappearance, but was engendered by the whole nature of his life-work, and first gained its acute form more than seventeen years ago, when we were in the third year of our course at the Miskatonic University Medical School in Arkham."

HIS WRITINGS. hplovecraft.com. "These pages provide alphabetical and chronological lists of Lovecraft’s writings, links to purchase collections of them, and also electronic texts of many of those writings."

H. P. Lovecraft. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "In high school, Lovecraft was able to better connect with his peers and form friendships. He also involved neighborhood children in elaborate make-believe projects, only regretfully ceasing the activity at seventeen years old. Despite leaving school in 1908 without graduating — he found mathematics particularly difficult — Lovecraft had developed a formidable knowledge of his favored subjects, such as history, linguistics, chemistry, and astronomy."

H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). IMDb. "Born in Providence, Lovecraft was a sickly child whose parents died insane. When he was 16, he wrote the astronomy column in the Providence Tribune. Between 1908 and 1923, he wrote short stories for Weird Tales magazine, among others."

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Lovecraft's Fear of the Unknown is a documentary film that looks at the life, work and mind behind the Cthulhu Mythos. The film features interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ramsey Campbell, Stuart Gordon, S. T. Joshi, Robert M. Price and Andrew Migliore."

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008). IMDb. "A chronicle of the life, work and mind that created the Cthulhu mythos."


reanimator dvd. Google search result.

reanimator blu ray. Google search result.

reanimator streaming. Google search result.

reanimator review. Google search result.

Stuart Gordon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Most of Gordon's film work is in the horror genre, though he has also ventured into science fiction and film noir. Like his friend and fellow filmmaker Brian Yuzna, Gordon is a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and has adapted several Lovecraft stories for the screen. They include Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak (from The Outsider), and Dagon, as well as the Masters of Horror episode Dreams in the Witch-House."

Stuart Gordon. IMDb. "Personal Quote: There are always people who think that horror movies are just kind of one half-step away from porno to begin with."

lovecraft movies. Google search result.

photo of Stuart Gordon. kcet.org.


Image

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Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:01 am
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Well, part two of Re-animator is finally posted. I had to write this little post in order for a fresh entry in the thread to show up en pagina uno.

The graphics in the spoiler tag are the same size as those in the main body. I decided that it doesn't really bother me (all that much) for the right hand edge to leak past the boundary of the spoiler tagged text about 50 pixels. Not much. Not really very much. Okay, so it drives me nuts! But it was easier to build them all from the same template than to switch to the smaller template that I built for the first story and film combo.

If it bothers someone else, I'll be glad to farm out my graphics builds for the rest of the thread! :D

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I've started my prep for Buck Rogers, but I'm really unsure that I can get it all done in the next 3 weeks. Oh well, who'll care if I'm a little "late" with the next installment?

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:32 am
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So, how am I doing with this? :)

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:47 am
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I would say, but I'm biased, of course. :shifty:

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The Future Unreels will also lose all its images on the same day. But just think about how many images Jedi has on Photobucket, and the other posters here.


Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:49 am
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I'm one of those who watched Re-Animator before reading the story. In fact, my first knowledge of the story came when I bought a second-hand copy of Library of America's Lovecraft anthology and saw the title at the beginning of the story. I suppose I should have paid closer attention to the film credits. Lovecraft didn't write a large number of serials, and in the few that I've read he seemed to have had a knack for cliffhangers but had to stretch the story in ways that were convoluted even for horror to resolve those cliffhangers. Most of his other stories have famously ambiguous endings that really serve to increase the overbearing sense of dread in the vague fictional universe that he created. As for the film itself, it thrives on Jeffrey Combs' performance. He acts with hand gestures and facial tics that make him stand out in an odd way. I think he's very much like Bruce Campbell in this regard, a very physical performance where he takes a comic approach to horror and sci-fi. I also think his portrayal of Weyoun in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 is a highlight of that show. Campy in the best way, but never too much.

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:44 am
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YouTookMyName wrote:
...yeah, they actually go there!
Haha, yes.

I read the story at your link. Such florid prose! It's OK, I guess, once you get past the awkward requirements of serialization and the gross racism in the middle. The movie (which I'd seen before) is much more fun.

YouTookMyName wrote:
The graphics in the spoiler tag are the same size as those in the main body. I decided that it doesn't really bother me (all that much) for the right hand edge to leak past the boundary of the spoiler tagged text about 50 pixels. Not much. Not really very much. Okay, so it drives me nuts! But it was easier to build them all from the same template than to switch to the smaller template that I built for the first story and film combo.
I actually like the effect. :D

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:02 pm
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Quite-Gone Genie wrote:
I'm one of those who watched Re-Animator before reading the story. In fact, my first knowledge of the story came when I bought a second-hand copy of Library of America's Lovecraft anthology and saw the title at the beginning of the story. I suppose I should have paid closer attention to the film credits. Lovecraft didn't write a large number of serials, and in the few that I've read he seemed to have had a knack for cliffhangers but had to stretch the story in ways that were convoluted even for horror to resolve those cliffhangers. Most of his other stories have famously ambiguous endings that really serve to increase the overbearing sense of dread in the vague fictional universe that he created. As for the film itself, it thrives on Jeffrey Combs' performance. He acts with hand gestures and facial tics that make him stand out in an odd way. I think he's very much like Bruce Campbell in this regard, a very physical performance where he takes a comic approach to horror and sci-fi. I also think his portrayal of Weyoun in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 is a highlight of that show. Campy in the best way, but never too much.

I saw the film first, as well! Never read the short story until I got the Reel Future book, and decided that I had paid $0.20 plus shipping, so I might as well read the whole thing.

I think I borrowed the DVD from our local library a few years ago. I didn't know what to expect. I may not have seen the 1985 film first. I think I might have seen the 2003 film, then the 1985, then the 1989. Not clear on that. I believe the Gordon film is the best of the three. And I was impressed with how coherent it comes across, even though it's really a mishmash. Perhaps it's because there is so much ingenious weirdness that the "this can't be real" experience of many of the characters that I mentioned in the write-up, is the first-time viewer's likely overwhelming response. You get the story, and what happens isn't really as important as the way in which it takes place! (Just realized that the film reminds me of Stand By Me in that regard: that how stuff happens is much more important than what happens.)

So you've clearly read more Lovecraft than I have. Have you seen other films made from his stories? How did they turn out? I've seen the modern silent film Call of Cthulu. I enjoyed it, but I don't know anything about the fictional legend of Cthulu. And I saw another Lovecraft fan-produced story that had (I think) a brother and a sister running a shop that created paintings or something. And there was something green or yellow in it that was spectral. Maybe. Trouble is, I haven't the vaguest recollection of the title. When I looked through the IMDb list of films made from Lovecraft writings, nothing seemed familiar as the possible title of that one.

You're right about Combs' performances. They are quite physical. Heavy on facial expression, not that he overdoes it, but he expresses a lot non-verbally. I don't think I've seen him play anything but Herbert West. All three of the Reanimator films would be nothing without him. Especially the 2003 thing. But the 1985 original film holds up well in terms of the other performances, more so than the other two (as I recall).

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:56 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Haha, yes. I read the story at your link. Such florid prose! It's OK, I guess, once you get past the awkward requirements of serialization and the gross racism in the middle. The movie (which I'd seen before) is much more fun.

It's tough to read stories written when another way of looking at humanity prevailed. Usually I just let my eyebrows fly up as high as they can go, and plow ahead. A century from now there will be people doing the same thing about ideas we have that will go by the wayside. They'll wonder how we could have thought, said, written or done "those things."

On the other hand, it gives a historical perspective to the evolution of human thought when we read things that contain out-of-place references. Uhm, out-of-place nowadays, perfectly accepted (if not acceptable by our terms) back when.

My first reading of the story, when I didn't know that it was initially serialized, left me feeling disoriented. Was I reading a collection of short stories that featured Herbert West? I wasn't sure. I had no idea the answer was actually, "sort of."

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I actually like the effect. :D
Oh, good. As I said it's easier not to have to change file templates. Especially when I'm not sure where the spoiler tags will first hit!

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:03 pm
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YouTookMyName wrote:
Uhm, out-of-place nowadays, perfectly accepted (if not acceptable by our terms) back when.
Was this accepted at the time? But, even if it were, that doesn't mean we can't/shouldn't call it out now. That's all I meant.

I shortchanged the film in my comments above; I really do prefer it to the story. Everyone always talks about Jeffrey Combs, and I agree, he's creepily great in this. But I laugh harder at David Gale. I think it's the combination of stupid pomposity and the... relish with which he attacks his role. Comedy gold.

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Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:17 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Was this accepted at the time? But, even if it were, that doesn't mean we can't/shouldn't call it out now. That's all I meant.
Yes, unfortunately, accepted by some. Not by the targets, of course. And it shouldn't have been, by anyone.

I just think it's possible, although difficult, to try to imagine how and why those things might have been acceptable to some people. And how different the world must have been at that time. Lovecraft is known as a racist, though. I read it in one or two of those articles that I linked to at the end of the second post. Everyone is a product of their time. Not everyone back then was racist, however. Racism isn't dead, though. Sadly. Things that have gone underground are often more difficult to exterminate.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I shortchanged the film in my comments above; I really do prefer it to the story. Everyone always talks about Jeffrey Combs, and I agree, he's creepily great in this. But I laugh harder at David Gale. I think it's the combination of stupid pomposity and the... relish with which he attacks his role. Comedy gold.
That's why I picked one still of Gale with an eye half-closed. Yeah, this is true.

The entire cast has a big time, though. Even the corpses in the last scene seem to be having a great time playing their roles. Everyone has fun. 'Cludin' the audience. Some people would be put off, though. So what? There are other films they can watch.

As for Story 03, I'm watching the serial film right now, and it's really hard to think that those special miniature effects were ever "good."

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:33 am
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The novella excerpts that I might use have been copied from the Project Gutenberg html version of the Philip Nowlan text. Except...

Except! There are occasional minor discrepancies between that manuscript and the one published in Reel Future. Names have been changed, for example, and I made this note (along with others that are similar) "In my printed version 'Ned Garlin' is 'Ned Sidor'."

This is almost as distressing as finding out that Jedi has hereditary baldness.

In other cases, a couple of words might be missing from the Gutenberg version of the text when compared to the Reel Future text.

I wonder what's up with that.

Anyhow, it isn't enough of a hysteresis to throw me off the goal. That is, to have the posts ready in two weeks.

You know there was also a comic strip for this one, right? And should you want to read some of them (no more than 1,302, please) you could look here. That home page has links to the actual stories in the three years' worth of daily strips that are posted. Scroll down to the link "Buck Rogers wakes up 500 years in the future and joins the resistence movement to fight the Red Mongols." (Please ignore the original poster's typographical error.) When you click, you will begin reading with the February 4, 1929 debut comic strip as printed in the Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester Evening Gazette.

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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:12 am
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Oh, God, why do multiple customers reach the point where they want to demand large chunks of your time...at the same time?

Well, I need the money. But I also need to get the next set of Reel Future posts finished and posted here.

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For Buck Rogers there were 3 parts necessary: the story, the comic strip, and the serial film.

They are all written. But now I have to do graphics. And you know me, it won't do to have just one or two graphics and an accompanying wall of text. Nope. I have to divide that wall into smaller chunks punctuated by lots of perdy pitchers from the movie.

But I have a movie editing project that I'm working on and the producer/director has decided that she wants to take a finished copy with her to Japan when she visits home on March 19th.

I'm still going to get these started this weekend. Maybe, just maybe, all three posted.

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Up next, after Buck Rogers is John W. Campbell Jr.'s "Who Goes There?" and the movies about The Thing. The novel is fairly long.

But here is a pdf of the entire text. "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell as Don A. Stuart from goldenageofscifi.info.

If you search you can find the 1950s movie on Youtube. At once time there was a colorized version in several parts.

There may be clips from John Carpenter's film out there, and maybe the whole thing as well. There is also the library, and Netflix, and other ways to see it. If ya wanna.

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:59 am
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“Armageddon—2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928) pgs 41-96 –
filmed as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 1939, 1979
PART ONE

This entry will be an unusual one for the thread. That's because the story of the novella first passes through a comic strip, and then into the serial film inspired by it, and branches off later into two television series. It is arguably the most popular of any of these 16 ideas, and has had a longer run than any of the others in the Reel Future collection. By that I mean, Buck Rogers is still spurring production plans for newer, more modern adaptations of the comic strip inspired by Philip Nowlan's novella.

The Original Story.
“Armageddon—2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928) spawned a long-running comic strip in 1929, and it was filmed for television and the movies under various titles between 1933's seminal World's Fair short film, the 1939 12-part serial and two (1950 and 1979) television series. Before researching for this thread, I'd never seen all of any of these filmed versions. Nor had I read the novella.

I once bought my father a compendium volume of the comic strip series that ran in papers from January 7, 1929 until July 8, 1967 (but never in any newspaper I saw). The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century contains strips from the first several years of the newspaper comic written by Nowlan and drawn by Dick Calkins.

Image

Were these tropes tired by that time? Or were they new? I can't seem to learn from the all-knowing internet. Anyway, the story gets off to a leisurely start, and then when the exposition is done, the 29-year old WWI veteran falls asleep. Why?

Quote:
It all resulted from my interest in radioactive gases. During the latter part of 1927 my company, the American Radioactive Gas Corporation, had been keeping me busy investigating reports of unusual phenomena observed in certain abandoned coal mines near the Wyoming Valley, in Pennsylvania.

Anthony Rogers is put to sleep by radioactive gas, and awakens 492 years later. In deference to modesty, the gas that preserves Rogers somehow also preserves his clothing for 492 years. But the Wyoming Valley clan give him more modern duds. They might have looked futuristic to readers of the comic, but they look old-fashioned to 21st century eyes, I think.

After a few days he meets his first 25th century American
Quote:
My first glimpse of a human being of the 25th Century was obtained through a portion of woodland where the trees were thinly scattered, with a dense forest beyond.

I had been wandering along aimlessly, and hopelessly, musing over my strange fate, when I noticed a figure that cautiously backed out of the dense growth across the glade. I was about to call out joyfully, but there was something furtive about the figure that prevented me. The boy's attention (for it seemed to be a lad of fifteen or sixteen) was centered tensely on the heavy growth of trees from which he had just emerged.

He was clad in rather tight-fitting garments entirely of green, and wore a helmet-like cap of the same color. High around his waist he wore a broad, thick belt, which bulked up in the back across the shoulders, into something of the proportions of a knapsack.
I turns out to be important that this person "seemed to be a lad of fifteen or sixteen" because actually, he realizes upon closer inspection that this is a girl. Turns out she's called Wilma Deering. A member of the Wyoming Gang. A soldier! Certainly a bizarre notion for 1928 United States readers. Perhaps a notion further afield than any of the fanciful technology that Nowlan invents for his 25th century world.

He has awakened in a world ruled by the "Hans" (which is how Nowlan refers to the Mongolian rulers), a totalitarian state which is being resisted by the remaining Americans. This idea of the Han rulers was no doubt repugnant to the 1928 readers of the story.

Note that "Han" refers to a real Chinese Dynasty that ruled from 206 B.C.E. until 225 C.E. (with a short interregnum from 9 C.E. until 25 C.E.), but also sounds like "Huns" which referred to the Germans during WWI.

I will reveal lot behind the spoiler tags, but there will still be much more that you don't know in case you want to read the novella after you sample this:
.
(Quotations in this post are taken from the Project Gutenberg html ebook version of the story, which varies in places from the printed version in Reel Future.)
.
Early in the novella, Tony Rogers bemoans the fact that this new American continent has foreign overlords:
Quote:
I awoke to find the America I knew a total wreck—to find Americans a hunted race in their own land, hiding in the dense forests that covered the shattered and leveled ruins of their once magnificent cities, desperately preserving, and struggling to develop in their secret retreats, the remnants of their culture and science—and the undying flame of their sturdy independence.

World domination was in the hands of Mongolians and the center of world power lay in inland China, with Americans one of the few races of mankind unsubdued—and it must be admitted in fairness to the truth, not worth the trouble of subduing in the eyes of the Han Airlords who ruled North America as titular tributaries of the Most Magnificent.

For they needed not the forests in which the Americans lived, nor the resources of the vast territories these forests covered. With the perfection to which they had reduced the synthetic production of necessities and luxuries, their remarkable development of scientific processes and mechanical accomplishment of work, they had no economic need for the forests, and no economic desire for the enslaved labor of an unruly race.
It is odd that the idea of a "foreign race" occupying the North American continent after taking it away from the "rightful" owners (the Anglos of 1927) could be chilling to his readers: people who were the descendants of people who took it away from its original inhabitants less than a century before this story came out. Oh, well, how soon we forget. Especially when we are the aggressors! Then again, I'm not sure how I should think about this, because I had ancestors on both sides of that altercation.

Anthony Rogers is taken to the big boss of the Wyoming Gang, one of the "gangs" living in former New York and Pennsylvania territory. A gang is not what we think of as a gang. It is simply like a tribe of pre-Han Americans who live, work and fight together.

Rogers not only meets the people but gets used to the airships of the Han dynasty, and their dis-integrator ray, plus the repulsion ray that moves the airships along. He gets to know and use the various flying belts that the Americans have invented, the floater and the jumper. He gets to know American rockets (not what you or I would think of as a rocket) and learns to speak their modified English.

Quote:
"Jumpers" were in common use at the time I "awoke," though they were costly, for at that time inertron had not been produced in very great quantity. They were very useful in the forest. They were belts, strapped high under the arms, containing an amount of inertron adjusted to the wearer's weight and purposes. In effect they made a man weigh as little as he desired; two pounds if he liked.

"Floaters" are a later development of "jumpers"—rocket motors encased in inertron blocks and strapped to the back in such a way that the wearer floats, when drifting, facing slightly downward. With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, headforemost, controlling his direction by twisting his body and by movements of his outstretched arms and hands. Ballast weights locked in the front of the belt adjust weight and lift. Some men prefer a few ounces of weight in floating, using a slight motor thrust to overcome this. Others prefer a buoyance balance of a few ounces. The inadvertent dropping of weight is not a serious matter. The motor thrust always can be used to descend. But as an extra precaution, in case the motor should fail, for any reason, there are built into every belt a number of detachable sections, one or more of which can be discarded to balance off any loss in weight.


Nowlan writes fancifully, and is good with imagery, but he uses straight-forward language to weave the tale. His style is utilitarian, rather than florid. He is using English as it was used nearly a century ago, though, so to modern readers it may not seem to flow easily. Some of his inventions would become familiar under another name to viewers of a future TV show!
Quote:
So far as I could see, it had no special receiver for the ear. Wilma merely threw back a lid, as though she were opening a book, and began to talk. The voice that came back from the machine was as audible as her own.
Nowlan describes the people for us:
Quote:
Bill, like all the others, was clad in green. He was a big man. That is, he was about my own height, five feet eleven. This was considerably above the average now, for the race had lost something in stature, it seemed, through the vicissitudes of five centuries. Most of the women were a bit below five feet, and the men only a trifle above this height.
He also describes how their culture has changed in a huge way:
Quote:
All able-bodied men and women alternated in two-week periods between military and industrial service, except those who were needed for household work. Since working conditions in the plants and offices were ideal, and everybody thus had plenty of healthy outdoor activity in addition, the population was sturdy and active. Laziness was regarded as nearly the greatest of social offenses. Hard work and general merit were variously rewarded with extra privileges, advancement to positions of authority, and with various items of personal equipment for convenience and luxury.


The people are physically small, but domination by the Han doesn't seem to have robbed them of technical know-how.
Quote:
I visited the plants where ultronic vibrations were isolated from the ether and through slow processes built up into sub-electronic, electronic and atomic forms into the two great synthetic elements, ultron and inertron. I learned something, superficially at least, of the processes of combined chemical and mechanical action through which were produced the various forms of synthetic cloth.


The story is written for 1920s boys, no doubt, and it quickly dements into a standard series of battle tropes. Tony and Wilma bring down a Han ship.
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The crash with which the heavy craft hit the ground reverberated from the hills—the momentum of eighteen or twenty thousand tons, in a sheer drop of seven thousand feet. A mangled mass of metal, it buried itself in the ground, with poetic justice, in the middle of the smoking, semi-molten field of destruction it had been so deliberately ploughing.

The silence, the vacuity of the landscape, was oppressive, as the last echoes died away.

Then far down the hillside, a single figure leaped exultantly above the foliage screen. And in the distance another, and another.

In a moment the sky was punctured by signal rockets. One after another the little red puffs became drifting clouds.

"Scatter! Scatter!" Wilma exclaimed. "In half an hour there'll be an entire Han fleet here from Nu-yok, and another from Bah-flo. They'll get this instantly on their recordographs and location finders. They'll blast the whole valley and the country for miles beyond. Come, Tony. There's no time for the gang to rally. See the signals. We've got to jump. Oh, I'm so proud of you!"
And this leads to snuggling.
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Neither of us had a cloak, but we were both thoroughly tired and happy, so we curled up together for warmth. I remember Wilma making some sleepy remark about our mating, as she cuddled up, as though the matter were all settled, and my surprise at my own instant acceptance of the idea, for I had not consciously thought of her that way before. But we both fell asleep at once.

The Han don't know that the Americans have been able to listen in on their ultronic communications for years. They have no idea why their ship crashed. Could it be the people living in the woods?
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"The phones, viewplates, and all other signaling devices of five of the seven ships ceased operating suddenly at approximately the same moment, about seven-four-nine." (According to the Han system of reckoning time, seven and forty-nine one hundredths after midnight.) "After violent disturbances the location finders went out of operation. Electroactivity registers applied to the territory of the Wyoming Valley remain dead.


The couple that fights together spends nights together:
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Wilma and I had been married the day after the destruction of the ships, and spent this intervening period in a delightful honeymoon, camping high in the mountains. On our return, we had a camp of our own, of course. We were assigned to location 1017. And as might be expected, we had a great deal of banter over which one of us was Camp Boss. The title stood after my name on the Big Boss' records, and those of the Big Camboss, of course, but Wilma airily held that this meant nothing at all—and generally succeeded in making me admit it whenever she chose.
And that's not all he does:
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I found myself a full-fledged member of the Gang now, for I had elected to search no farther for a permanent alliance, much as I would have liked to familiarize myself with this 25th Century life in other sections of the country. The Wyomings had a high morale, and had prospered under the rule of Big Boss Hart for many years. But many of the gangs, I found, were badly organized, lacked strong hands in authority, and were rife with intrigue.

[In the Reel Future printed version of the story Hart is called Ciardi]


Tony grows more and more well-known, and gains in influence ... hatching a raid on the Han headquarters itself.
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Unquestionably it had never occurred to them to secrete their own records. Somewhere in Nu-yok or Bah-flo, or possibly in Lo-Tan itself, the record of this traitorous transaction would be more or less openly filed. If we could only get at it! I wondered if a raid might not be possible.
Wilma sneaks aboard the ship, and joins her husband on the raid. The campaign is a success, but the Han were ready for them in a way, so Rogers leads the quest to find the turncoat gang that is feeding information to the Han overlords. And it is found.
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The traitors were, it seemed, a degenerate gang of Americans, located a few miles north of Nu-yok on the wooded banks of the Hudson, the Sinsings. They had exchanged scraps of information to the Hans in return for several old repellor-ray machines, and the privilege of tuning in on the Han electronic power broadcast for their operation, provided their ships agreed to subject themselves to the orders of the Han traffic office, while aloft.

The rest wanted to ultrophone their news at once, since there was always danger that we might never get back to the gang with it.

I objected, however. The Sinsings would be likely to pick up our message. Even if we used the directional projector, they might have scouts out to the west and south in the big inter-gang stretches of country. They would flee to Nu-yok and escape the punishment they merited. It seemed to be vitally important that they should not, for the sake of example to other weak groups among the American gangs, as well as to prevent a crisis in which they might clear more vital information to the enemy.


His influence swells up until he is made head-honcho of the Wyoming gang.
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But it was Hart who sensed the temper of the Council more quickly than I did, and looked beyond it into the future.

He arose from the tree trunk on which he had been sitting.

"That settles it," he said, looking around the ring. "I have felt this thing coming on for some time now. I'm sure the Council agrees with me that there is among us a man more capable than I, to boss the Wyoming Gang, despite his handicap of having had all too short a time in which to familiarize himself with our modern ways and facilities. Whatever I can do to support his effective leadership, at any cost, I pledge myself to do."

As he concluded, he advanced to where I stood, and taking from his head the green-crested helmet that constituted his badge of office, to my surprise he placed it in my mechanically extended hand.

The roar of approval that went up from the Council members left me dazed. Somebody ultrophoned the news to the rest of the Gang, and even though the earflaps of my helmet were turned up, I could hear the cheers with which my invisible followers greeted me, from near and distant hillsides, camps and plants.


[In the Reel Future printed version of the story Hart is called Ciardi]


The Sinsing Gang which had colluded with the Hans are targeted by new Big Boss Anthony Rogers for extinction. The last part of the novella tells how the Wyoming and other gangs wipe out the Sinsing.
.
The rationale of the story is exactly the kind of rationale that would lead to the Allies attempting to wipe out the Nazis, or to the Nazis attempting to wipe out the Jews. The odd belief that "they" don't even have a right to exist. That's a prevailing attitude, not a quotation from the story, by the way. But several years ago as I studied the WWII era and its preceding time period I realized that the entire world was fascistic in those days, but only three cultures capitalized it and made it "Fascism." The story and its visualizations arose in a cultural framework of that kind. It's almost as if people everywhere were saying, "People should have political liberty and be free as long as they agree with my way of thinking."

Well, when the time came in real life, the Allied Forces beat the Nazis without having to exactly wipe out everyone, but I think they would have been willing to do so, if they thought it was necessary. The Americans in Nowlan's story, believe it to be necessary.
.

During the novella Anthony Rogers is never called "Buck," and he is called "Rogers" only twice. He is called "Tony" 13 times. For the rest of the story he is spoken to, and of, without any name at all.

At the end of the story, victory over the Han rulers isn't certain but seems possible. Well, Tony Rogers prophesies such a victory, although Wilma has her doubts. The thing that cinches this for Rogers is the American rocket. There are disadvantages to the Han dis(integrator) ray, but I'll leave it to you to read the story and see what he claims is so much better about rockets over rayguns.


Why it wants to be in Cinema.
The novella is an adventure story. It has a future society that is oppressed by a totalitarian state, both of which exist on the North American continent. Because it is the future, it has exotic technology, and the mind conjures images of what the craft must look like. What a jumping belt must be like. The skulking North Americans under the thumb of the Hans form a guerilla society where everyone is a soldier and a factory worker by turns, even the women. The end of the occupation of North America by the Hans, well that's the goal of nearly all the gangs of Americans.

The story is full of vistas, battles that take place over hundreds of miles of expanse, gadgets that didn't exist except in the imaginations of Nowlan and his readers. Many of them still don't exist.

But the route of "Armageddon 2419 A.D." to the cinema was complicated by a long-running newspaper comic strip, and a series of comic books that took the same basic characters and created a printed visual world before there was ever a cinema camera in the room. The comic had already imposed visualization onto Nowlan's stories of the 25th century, all but forcing the serial film to follow those designs.

Image
The Comic Strip.
You need to see some of the comics in order to really understand how the serial film came to be the way it is. If you are extremely hungry to do so, or if you are not busy at all, you can begin reading them, at least the 1,302 of those published between 1929 and 1933.

One of the problems with cinema is that it moves something imaginary into the realm of the concrete. Comic strips do the same thing. The way you might imagine the Han ships, and the jump belts, and the costumes looking is probably different from what an artist will draw or a prop designer will cobble up. But movies and comic strips are images first of all. And images must show something (just as the internalized mind's eye does, but in a more concrete way than your imagination does), especially when it has to be photographed. This is a "problem" of comics and cinema because it inevitably conflicts to a certain extent with your mental image. Only if you've read the print story, though. And most people who read the comic or see the film will not have read the printed words.

More about the comic in Part Two, of course.

For full-size images of two comics, including the first strip shown above, look behind the tag. Veeeery wide images, over 2000 pixels wide. The second image is of original Dick Calkins artwork for daily strip #1020.
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Image

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A sort of bonus. A ridiculously large bunch of excerpts from the novella, that I copied, and then selected from for the quotations behind the first spoiler tag above. This might give you the general story if you don't wish to read the entire novella. But, it's long. Yes, long. Like, over 325 lines long.
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I awoke to find the America I knew a total wreck — to find Americans a hunted race in their own land, hiding in the dense forests that covered the shattered and leveled ruins of their once magnificent cities, desperately preserving, and struggling to develop in their secret retreats, the remnants of their culture and science — and the undying flame of their sturdy independence.

World domination was in the hands of Mongolians and the center of world power lay in inland China, with Americans one of the few races of mankind unsubdued—and it must be admitted in fairness to the truth, not worth the trouble of subduing in the eyes of the Han Airlords who ruled North America as titular tributaries of the Most Magnificent.

For they needed not the forests in which the Americans lived, nor the resources of the vast territories these forests covered. With the perfection to which they had reduced the synthetic production of necessities and luxuries, their remarkable development of scientific processes and mechanical accomplishment of work, they had no economic need for the forests, and no economic desire for the enslaved labor of an unruly race.

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It all resulted from my interest in radioactive gases. During the latter part of 1927 my company, the American Radioactive Gas Corporation, had been keeping me busy investigating reports of unusual phenomena observed in certain abandoned coal mines near the Wyoming Valley, in Pennsylvania.

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My first glimpse of a human being of the 25th Century was obtained through a portion of woodland where the trees were thinly scattered, with a dense forest beyond.

I had been wandering along aimlessly, and hopelessly, musing over my strange fate, when I noticed a figure that cautiously backed out of the dense growth across the glade. I was about to call out joyfully, but there was something furtive about the figure that prevented me. The boy's attention (for it seemed to be a lad of fifteen or sixteen) was centered tensely on the heavy growth of trees from which he had just emerged.

He was clad in rather tight-fitting garments entirely of green, and wore a helmet-like cap of the same color. High around his waist he wore a broad, thick belt, which bulked up in the back across the shoulders, into something of the proportions of a knapsack.

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There was silence for a while. Then I heard a faint sound of boughs swishing. I shot three times in its direction, pressing the button as rapidly as I could. Branches crashed down where my shells had exploded, but there was no body.

Then I saw one of them. He was starting one of those amazing leaps from the bough of one tree to another, about forty feet away.

I threw up my gun impulsively and fired. By now I had gotten the feel of the weapon, and my aim was good. I hit him. The "bullet" must have penetrated his body and exploded. For one moment I saw him flying through the air. Then the explosion, and he had vanished. He never finished his leap. It was annihilation.

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I learned with amazement that exactly 492 years had passed over my head as I lay unconscious in the mine.

Wilma, for that was her name, did not profess to be a historian, and so could give me only a sketchy outline of the wars that had been fought, and the manner in which such radical changes had come about.

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"Jumpers" were in common use at the time I "awoke," though they were costly, for at that time inertron had not been produced in very great quantity. They were very useful in the forest. They were belts, strapped high under the arms, containing an amount of inertron adjusted to the wearer's weight and purposes. In effect they made a man weigh as little as he desired; two pounds if he liked.

"Floaters" are a later development of "jumpers"—rocket motors encased in inertron blocks and strapped to the back in such a way that the wearer floats, when drifting, facing slightly downward. With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, headforemost, controlling his direction by twisting his body and by movements of his outstretched arms and hands. Ballast weights locked in the front of the belt adjust weight and lift. Some men prefer a few ounces of weight in floating, using a slight motor thrust to overcome this. Others prefer a buoyance balance of a few ounces. The inadvertent dropping of weight is not a serious matter. The motor thrust always can be used to descend. But as an extra precaution, in case the motor should fail, for any reason, there are built into every belt a number of detachable sections, one or more of which can be discarded to balance off any loss in weight.

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So far as I could see, it had no special receiver for the ear. Wilma merely threw back a lid, as though she were opening a book, and began to talk. The voice that came back from the machine was as audible as her own.

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Objects, of whose purpose I knew nothing, were casually handed to me, and I was watched keenly as I handled them.

In the end I could see both amazement and belief begin to show in the faces of my inquisitors, and at last the Historical and Psycho Bosses agreed openly that they could find no flaw in my story or reactions, and that unbelievable as it seemed, my story must be accepted as genuine.

They took me at once to Big Boss Hart. He was a portly man with a "poker face." He would probably have been the successful politician even in the 20th Century.

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Let's see. You and Bill Hearn ought to get along well together. He's Camp Boss of Number 34 when he isn't acting as Raid Boss or Scout Boss. There's a vacancy in his camp. Stay with him and think things over as long as you want to. As soon as you make up your mind to anything, let me know."

We all shook hands, for that was one custom that had not died out in five hundred years, and I set out with Bill Hearn. [In my printed version of the story Bill Hearn is called Dave Berg.]

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Bill, like all the others, was clad in green. He was a big man. That is, he was about my own height, five feet eleven. This was considerably above the average now, for the race had lost something in stature, it seemed, through the vicissitudes of five centuries. Most of the women were a bit below five feet, and the men only a trifle above this height.

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All able-bodied men and women alternated in two-week periods between military and industrial service, except those who were needed for household work. Since working conditions in the plants and offices were ideal, and everybody thus had plenty of healthy outdoor activity in addition, the population was sturdy and active. Laziness was regarded as nearly the greatest of social offenses. Hard work and general merit were variously rewarded with extra privileges, advancement to positions of authority, and with various items of personal equipment for convenience and luxury.

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I visited the plants where ultronic vibrations were isolated from the ether and through slow processes built up into sub-electronic, electronic and atomic forms into the two great synthetic elements, ultron and inertron. I learned something, superficially at least, of the processes of combined chemical and mechanical action through which were produced the various forms of synthetic cloth. I watched the manufacture of the machines which were used at locations of construction to produce the various forms of building materials. But I was particularly interested in the munitions plants and the rocket-ship shops.

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Ultron is a solid of great molecular density and moderate elasticity, which has the property of being 100 percent conductive to those pulsations known as light, electricity and heat. Since it is completely permeable to light vibrations, it is therefore absolutely invisible and non-reflective. Its magnetic response is almost, but not quite, 100 percent also. It is therefore very heavy under normal conditions but extremely responsive to the repellor or anti-gravity rays, such as the Hans use as "legs" for their airships.

Inertron is the second great triumph of American research and experimentation with ultronic forces. It was developed just a few years before my awakening in the abandoned mine. It is a synthetic element, built up, through a complicated heterodyning of ultronic pulsations, from "infra-balanced" sub-ionic forms. It is completely inert to both electric and magnetic forces in all the orders above the ultronic; that is to say, the sub-electronic, the electronic, the atomic and the molecular. In consequence it has a number of amazing and valuable properties. One of these is the total lack of weight. Another is a total lack of heat. It has no molecular vibration whatever. It reflects 100 percent of the heat and light impinging upon it. It does not feel cold to the touch, of course, since it will not absorb the heat of the hand. It is a solid, very dense in molecular structure despite its lack of weight, of great strength and considerable elasticity. It is a perfect shield against the disintegrator rays.
Setting his rocket gun for a long-distance shot.

Rocket guns are very simple contrivances so far as the mechanism of launching the bullet is concerned. They are simple light tubes, closed at the rear end, with a trigger-actuated pin for piercing the thin skin at the base of the cartridge. This piercing of the skin starts the chemical and atomic reaction. The entire cartridge leaves the tube under its own power, at a very easy initial velocity, just enough to insure accuracy of aim; so the tube does not have to be of heavy construction. The bullet increases in velocity as it goes. It may be solid or explosive. It may explode on contact or on time, or a combination of these two.

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Now I could see the repellor rays that held the ship aloft, like searchlight beams faintly visible in the bright daylight (and still faintly visible to the human eye at night). Actually, I had been informed by my instructors, there were two rays; the visible one generated by the ship's apparatus, and directed toward the ground as a beam of "carrier" impulses; and the true repellor ray, the complement of the other in one sense, induced by the action of the "carrier" and reacting in a concentrating upward direction from the mass of the earth, becoming successively electronic, atomic and finally molecular, in its nature, according to various ratios of distance between earth mass and "carrier" source, until, in the last analysis, the ship itself actually is supported on an upward rushing column of air, much like a ball continuously supported on a fountain jet.

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The crash with which the heavy craft hit the ground reverberated from the hills—the momentum of eighteen or twenty thousand tons, in a sheer drop of seven thousand feet. A mangled mass of metal, it buried itself in the ground, with poetic justice, in the middle of the smoking, semi-molten field of destruction it had been so deliberately ploughing.

The silence, the vacuity of the landscape, was oppressive, as the last echoes died away.

Then far down the hillside, a single figure leaped exultantly above the foliage screen. And in the distance another, and another.

In a moment the sky was punctured by signal rockets. One after another the little red puffs became drifting clouds.

"Scatter! Scatter!" Wilma exclaimed. "In half an hour there'll be an entire Han fleet here from Nu-yok, and another from Bah-flo. They'll get this instantly on their recordographs and location finders. They'll blast the whole valley and the country for miles beyond. Come, Tony. There's no time for the gang to rally. See the signals. We've got to jump. Oh, I'm so proud of you!"

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Neither of us had a cloak, but we were both thoroughly tired and happy, so we curled up together for warmth. I remember Wilma making some sleepy remark about our mating, as she cuddled up, as though the matter were all settled, and my surprise at my own instant acceptance of the idea, for I had not consciously thought of her that way before. But we both fell asleep at once.

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Inside of fifteen minutes we were on our way. A certain amount of caution was sacrificed for the sake of speed, and the men leaped away either across the forest top, or over open spaces of ground, but concentration was forbidden. The Big Boss named the spot on the hillside as the rallying point.

"We'll have to take a chance on being seen, so long as we don't group," he declared, "at least until within five miles of the rallying spot. From then on I want every man to disappear from sight and to travel under cover. And keep your ultrophones open, and tuned on ten-four-seven-six."

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These ultrophones were quite different from the one used by Wilma's companion scout the day I saved her from the vicious attack of the bandit Gang. That one was contained entirely in a small pocket case. These, with which we were now equipped, consisted of a pair of ear discs, each a separate and self-contained receiving set. They slipped into little pockets over our ears in the fabric helmets we wore, and shut out virtually all extraneous sounds. The chest discs were likewise self-contained sending sets, strapped to the chest a few inches below the neck and actuated by the vibrations from the vocal cords through the body tissues. The total range of these sets was about eighteen miles. Reception was remarkably clear, quite free from the static that so marked the 20th Century radios, and of a strength in direct proportion to the distance of the speaker.
[It was important in Science Fiction to describe devices. After a while it became important to elucidate how they worked.]

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In the meantime Wilma and I climbed into the wreckage, but did not find much. Practically all of the instruments and machinery had been twisted out of all recognizable shape, or utterly destroyed by the ship's disintegrator rays which apparently had continued to operate in the midst of its warped remains for some moments after the crash.

It was unpleasant work searching the mangled bodies of the crew. But it had to be done. The Han clothing, I observed, was quite different from that of the Americans, and in many respects more like the garb to which I had been accustomed in the earlier part of my life. It was made of synthetic fabrics like silks, loose and comfortable trousers of knee length, and sleeveless shirts.

No protection, except that against drafts, was needed, Wilma explained to me, for the Han cities were entirely enclosed, with splendid arrangements for ventilation and heating. These arrangements of course were equally adequate in their airships. The Hans, indeed, had quite a distaste for unshaded daylight, since their lighting apparatus diffused a controlled amount of violet rays, making the unmodified sunlight unnecessary for health, and undesirable for comfort. Since the Hans did not have the secret of inertron, none of them wore anti-gravity belts.

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Rapidly and easily the largest of the Han ships settled to the earth. Three scouted sharply to the south, rising to a higher level. The others floated motionless about a thousand feet above.

Peeping through a small fissure between two plates, I saw the vast hulk of the ship come to rest full on the line of our prospective ring barrage. A door clanged open a couple of feet from the ground, and one by one the crew emerged.

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The distance between Wilma's hiding place and the door in the side of the Han ship was not more than fifteen feet. She was already crouched with her feet braced against a metal beam. Taking the lift of that wonderful inertron belt into her calculation, she dove headforemost, like a green projectile, through the door. I followed in a split second, more clumsily, but no less speedily, bruising my shoulder painfully, as I ricocheted from the edge of the opening and brought up sliding against the unconscious girl; for she evidently had hit her head against the partition within the ship into which she had crashed.

We had made some noise within the ship. Shuffling footsteps were approaching down a well lit gangway.

"Any signs we have been observed?" I asked my men on the hillsides.

"Not yet," I heard the Boss reply. "Ships overhead still standing. No beams have been broken out. Men on ground absorbed in wreck. Most of them have crawled into it out of sight."

"Good," I said quickly. "Deering hit her head. Knocked out. One or more members of the crew approaching. We're not discovered yet. I'll take care of them. Stand a bit longer, but be ready."

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"This is Public Intelligence Office, Nu-yok, broadcasting warning to navigators of private ships, and news of public interest. The squadron of seven ships, which left Nu-yok this morning to investigate the recent destruction of the GK-984 in the Wyoming Valley, has been destroyed by a series of mysterious explosions similar to those which wrecked the GK-984.

"The phones, viewplates, and all other signaling devices of five of the seven ships ceased operating suddenly at approximately the same moment, about seven-four-nine." (According to the Han system of reckoning time, seven and forty-nine one hundredths after midnight.) "After violent disturbances the location finders went out of operation. Electroactivity registers applied to the territory of the Wyoming Valley remain dead.

"The Intelligence Office has no indication of the kind of disaster which overtook the squadron except certain evidences of explosive phenomena similar to those in the case of the GK-984, which recently went dead while beaming the valley in a systematic effort to wipe out the works and camps of the tribesmen. The Office considers, as obvious, the deduction that the tribesmen have developed a new, and as yet undetermined, technique of attack on airships, and has recommended to the Heaven-Born that immediate and unlimited authority be given the Navigation Intelligence Division to make an investigation of this technique and develop a defense against it."

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"Unofficial intimations from Lo-Tan are to the effect that the Heaven-Council has the matter under consideration.

"The Navigation Intelligence Office permits the broadcast of the following condensation of its detailed observations:

"The squadron proceeded to a position above the Wyoming Valley where the wreck of the GK-984 was known to be, from the record of its location finder before it went dead recently. There the bottom projectoscope relays of all ships registered the wreck of the GK-984. Teleprojectoscope views of the wreck and the bowl of the valley showed no evidence of the presence of tribesmen.

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"The first abnormal phenomenon recorded by any of the instruments at Base was that relayed automatically from projectoscope RB-4 of the GK-18, which as the party disappeared from view in back of the wreck, recorded two green missiles of roughly cylindrical shape, projected from the wreckage into the landing compartment of the ship.

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The message ended with a repetition of the warning to other airmen to avoid the valley.

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Wilma and I had been married the day after the destruction of the ships, and spent this intervening period in a delightful honeymoon, camping high in the mountains. On our return, we had a camp of our own, of course. We were assigned to location 1017. And as might be expected, we had a great deal of banter over which one of us was Camp Boss. The title stood after my name on the Big Boss' records, and those of the Big Camboss, of course, but Wilma airily held that this meant nothing at all—and generally succeeded in making me admit it whenever she chose.

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I found myself a full-fledged member of the Gang now, for I had elected to search no farther for a permanent alliance, much as I would have liked to familiarize myself with this 25th Century life in other sections of the country. The Wyomings had a high morale, and had prospered under the rule of Big Boss Hart for many years. But many of the gangs, I found, were badly organized, lacked strong hands in authority, and were rife with intrigue.

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Our victory over the seven Han ships had set the country ablaze. The secret had been carefully communicated to the other gangs, and the country was agog from one end to the other. There was feverish activity in the ammunition plants, and the hunting of stray Han ships became an enthusiastic sport. The results were disastrous to our hereditary enemies.

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"The other thing I wanted to talk to you about is this: Amazing and impossible as it seems, there is a group, or perhaps an entire gang, somewhere among us, that is betraying us to the Hans. It may be the Bad Bloods, or it may be one of those gangs who live near one of the Han cities. You know, a hundred and fifteen or twenty years ago there were certain of these people's ancestors who actually degraded themselves by mating with the Hans, sometimes even serving them as slaves, in the days before they brought all their service machinery to perfection.

"There is such a gang, called the Nagras, up near Bah-flo, and another in Mid-Jersey that men call the Pineys. But I hardly suspect the Pineys. There is little intelligence among them. They wouldn't have the information to give the Hans, nor would they be capable of imparting it. They're absolute savages."

"Just what evidence is there that anybody has been clearing information to the Hans?" I asked.

"Well," he replied, "first of all there was that raid upon us. That first Han ship knew the location of our plants exactly.

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This conversation set me thinking. All of the Han electrophone inter-communication had been an open record to the Americans for a good many years, and the Hans were just finding it out. For centuries they had not regarded us as any sort of a menace. Unquestionably it had never occurred to them to secrete their own records. Somewhere in Nu-yok or Bah-flo, or possibly in Lo-Tan itself, the record of this traitorous transaction would be more or less openly filed. If we could only get at it! I wondered if a raid might not be possible.

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We were ready to slide off at dawn the next morning. I had kissed Wilma good-bye at our camp, and after a final conference over our plans, we boarded our craft and gently glided away over the tree tops on a course, which, after crossing three routes of the Han ships, would take us out over the Atlantic, off the Jersey coast, whence we would come up on Nu-yok from the ocean.

Twice we had to nose down and lie motionless on the ground near a route while Han ships passed. Those were tense moments. Had the green back of our ship been observed, we would have been disintegrated in a second. But it wasn't.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Then Gibbons turned from his control long enough to grin at me.

"I have a surprise for you, Tony," he said, throwing back the lid of what I had supposed was a big supply case. And with a sigh of relief, Wilma stepped out of the case.

"If you 'go into zero' (a common expression of the day for being annihilated by the disintegrator ray), you don't think I'm going to let you go alone, do you, Tony? I couldn't believe my ears last night when you spoke of going without me, until I realized that you are still five hundred years behind the times in lots of ways. Don't you know, dear heart, that you offered me the greatest insult a husband could give a wife? You didn't, of course."

The others, it seemed, had all been in on the secret, and now they would have kidded me unmercifully, except that Wilma's eyes blazed dangerously.

At nightfall, we maneuvered to a position directly above the city. This took some time and calculation on the part of Bill Barker, who explained to me that he had to determine our point by ultronic bearings. The slightest resort to an electronic instrument, he feared, might be detected by our enemies' locators. In fact, we did not dare bring our swooper any lower than five miles for fear that its capacity might be reflected in their instruments.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

We all had our belts on, of course, adjusted to a weight balance of but a few ounces. And the five-mile reel of ultron wire that was to be our guide, was of gossamer fineness, though, anyway, I believe it would have lifted the full weight of the five of us, so strong and tough was this invisible metal. As an extra precaution, since the wire was of the purest metal, and therefore totally invisible, even in daylight, we all had our belts hooked on small rings that slid down the wire.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

For a while I could see nothing below but utter darkness. Then I realized, from the feel of the air as much as from anything, that we were sinking through a cloud layer. We passed through two more cloud layers before anything was visible to us.

Then there came under my gaze, about two miles below, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen; the soft, yet brilliant, radiance of the great Han city of Nu-yok. Every foot of its structural members seemed to glow with a wonderful incandescence, tower piled up on tower, and all built on the vast base-mass of the city, which, so I had been told, sheered upward from the surface of the rivers to a height of 728 levels.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

o far we had not laid eyes on a Han. The tower seemed deserted. Blash and Gaunt, however, assured me that there would be at least one man on "duty" in the military offices, though he would probably be asleep, and two or three in the library proper and the projectoscope plant.

"We've got to put them out of commission," I said. "Did you bring the 'dope' cans, Wilma?"

"Yes," she said, "two for each. Here," and she distributed them.

We were now two levels below the roof, and at the point where we were to separate.

I did not want to let Wilma out of my sight, but it was necessary.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The soft, gliding sound ceased.

"I think it's very close to me," Wilma almost whispered. "Come closer, Tony. I have a feeling something is going to happen. I've never known my nerves to get taut like this without reason."

In some alarm, I launched myself down the corridor in a great leap toward the intersection whence I knew I could see her.

In the middle of my leap my ultrophone registered her gasp of alarm. The next instant I glided to a stop at the intersection to see Wilma backing toward the door of the military office, her sword red with blood, and an inert form on the corridor floor. Two other Hans were circling to either side of her with wicked-looking knives, while a third evidently a high officer, judging by the resplendence of his garb tugged desperately to get an electrophone instrument out of a bulky pocket. If he ever gave the alarm, there was no telling what might happen to us.

I was at least seventy feet away, but I crouched low and sprang with every bit of strength in my legs. It would be more correct to say that I dived, for I reached the fellow head on, with no attempt to draw my legs beneath me.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I brought my blade upward and over. It was a vicious slash that laid him open, bisecting him from groin to chin, and his dead body toppled down on me, as I slid to a tangled stop.

The other two startled, turned. Wilma leaped at one and struck him down with a side slash. I looked up at this instant, and the dazed fear on his face at the length of her leap registered vividly. The Hans knew nothing of our inertron belts, it seemed, and these leaps and dives of ours filled them with terror.

As I rose to my feet, a gory mess, Wilma, with a poise and speed which I found time to admire even in this crisis, again leaped. This time she dove head first as I had done and, with a beautifully executed thrust, ran the last Han through the throat.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

We all grabbed tightly with our gloved hands as he gave the word. We must have been rising a good bit faster than he figured, however, for it wrenched our arms considerably, and the maneuver set up a sickening pendulum motion.

For a while all we could do was swing there in an arc that may have been a quarter of a mile across, about three and a half miles above the city, and still more than a mile from our ship.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The traitors were, it seemed, a degenerate gang of Americans, located a few miles north of Nu-yok on the wooded banks of the Hudson, the Sinsings. They had exchanged scraps of information to the Hans in return for several old repellor-ray machines, and the privilege of tuning in on the Han electronic power broadcast for their operation, provided their ships agreed to subject themselves to the orders of the Han traffic office, while aloft.

The rest wanted to ultrophone their news at once, since there was always danger that we might never get back to the gang with it.

I objected, however. The Sinsings would be likely to pick up our message. Even if we used the directional projector, they might have scouts out to the west and south in the big inter-gang stretches of country. They would flee to Nu-yok and escape the punishment they merited. It seemed to be vitally important that they should not, for the sake of example to other weak groups among the American gangs, as well as to prevent a crisis in which they might clear more vital information to the enemy.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"How large a force have we?" I asked Hart.

"Every man and maid who can be spared," he replied. "That gives us seven hundred married and unmarried men, and three hundred girls, more than the entire Bad Blood Gang. Every one is equipped with belts, ultrophones, rocket guns and swords, and all fighting mad."

I meditated how I might put the matter to these determined men, and was vaguely conscious that they were awaiting my words.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

But it was Hart who sensed the temper of the Council more quickly than I did, and looked beyond it into the future.

He arose from the tree trunk on which he had been sitting.

"That settles it," he said, looking around the ring. "I have felt this thing coming on for some time now. I'm sure the Council agrees with me that there is among us a man more capable than I, to boss the Wyoming Gang, despite his handicap of having had all too short a time in which to familiarize himself with our modern ways and facilities. Whatever I can do to support his effective leadership, at any cost, I pledge myself to do."

As he concluded, he advanced to where I stood, and taking from his head the green-crested helmet that constituted his badge of office, to my surprise he placed it in my mechanically extended hand.

The roar of approval that went up from the Council members left me dazed. Somebody ultrophoned the news to the rest of the Gang, and even though the earflaps of my helmet were turned up, I could hear the cheers with which my invisible followers greeted me, from near and distant hillsides, camps and plants.
[In my printed version of the story Hart is called Ciardi]
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

But the extermination of the Sinsings would be another thing. In the first place, there would be no warning of our action until it was all over, I hoped. In the second place, we would have indisputable proof, in the form of their rep-ray ships and other paraphernalia, of their traffic with the Hans; and the state of American prejudice, at the time of which I write held trafficking with the Hans a far more heinous thing than even a vicious gang feud.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The entire personnel, of course, was supplied with jumpers, and if each man and girl was careful to adjust balances properly, the entire number could also be towed along through the air, grasping wires of ultron, swinging below the swoopers, or stringing out behind them.

There would be nothing tiring about this, because the strain would be no greater than that of carrying a one or two pound weight in the hand, except for air friction at high speeds. But to make doubly sure that we should lose none of our personnel, I gave strict orders that the belts and tow lines should be equipped with rings and hooks.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Leaving Control Boss Ned Garlin temporarily in charge of affairs, Wilma and I dropped a weighted line from our ship, and slid down about half way to the under lookouts, that is to say, about a thousand feet. The sensation of floating swiftly through the air like this, in the absolute security of one's confidence in the inertron belt, was one of never-ending delight to me.
[In my printed version Ned Garlin is Ned Sidor]
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I ordered my observer then to switch to the barrage itself. He got a close focus on it, but this showed little except a continuous series of blinding flashes, which, from the viewplate, lit up the entire interior of the ship. An eight-hundred-foot focus proved better. I had thought that some of our French and American artillery of the 20th Century had achieved the ultimate in mathematical precision of fire, but I had never seen anything to equal the accuracy of that line of terrific explosions as it moved steadily forward, mowing down trees as a scythe cuts grass (or used to 500 years ago), literally churning up the earth and the splintered, blasted remains of the forest giants, to a depth of from ten to twenty feet.

By now the two curtains of fire were nearing each other, lines of vibrant, shimmering, continuous, brilliant destruction, inevitably squeezing the panic-stricken Sinsings between them.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The two barrage lines were not more than five hundred feet apart when the Sinsings resorted to tactics we had not foreseen. We noticed first that they began to lighten themselves by throwing away extra equipment. A few of them in their excitement threw away too much, and shot suddenly into the air. Then a scattering few floated up gently, followed by increasing numbers, while still others, preserving a weight balance, jumped toward the closing barrages and leaped high, hoping to clear them. Some succeeded. We saw others blown about like leaves in a windstorm, to crumple and drift slowly down, or else to fall into the barrage, their belts blown from their bodies.

However, it was not part of our plan to allow a single one of them to escape and find his way to the Hans. I quickly passed the word to Bill Hearn to have the alternate men in his line raise their barrages and heard him bark out a mathematical formula to the Unit Bosses.

We backed off our ships as the explosions climbed into the air in stagger formation until they reached a height of three miles. I don't believe any of the Sinsings who tried to float away to freedom succeeded.

But we did know later, that a few who leaped the barrage got away and ultimately reached Nu-yok.
[This sets it up nicely for a sequel story.]
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Since nearly every member of the Sinsing Gang had, so far as we knew, been killed, we considered the raid a great success.

It had, however, a far greater significance than this. To all of us who took part in the expedition, the effectiveness of our barrage tactics definitely established a confidence in our ability to overcome the Hans.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"I tremble though, Tony dear, when I think of the horrors that are ahead of us. The Hans are clever. They will develop defenses against our new tactics. And they are sure to mass against us not only the full force of their power in America, but the united forces of the World Empire. They are a cowardly race in one sense, but clever as the very Devils in Hell, and inheritors of a calm, ruthless, vicious persistency."

"Nevertheless," I prophesied, "the Finger of Doom points squarely at them today, and unless you and I are killed in the struggle, we shall live to see America blast the Yellow Blight from the face of the Earth."
If you actually read all that, why didn't you just read the story?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:03 am
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“Armageddon—2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928) pgs 41-96 –
filmed as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 1939, 1979
PART TWO

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This was going to be a quick, simple post. Then I went looking for scans of Buck Rogers comic strips (because the book I bought for my father is too large to scan easily with an 8.5 x 11 inch scanner), and started seeing images of toys, costumes...the marketing phenomenon that was Buck Rogers! So I have to work that in, too. And the radio show. All these things preceded the 1939 serial film. In fact, the film was almost the last thing to come into being.

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More About the Comic
The first post introduced a little bit about how the Nowlan-Calkins comic strip varied from the original Nowlan print story. But in 1928 Calkins imagined that in another 500 years there would still be dirigibles and bi-planes. Maybe they will go back to those in the future? Who knows?

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The design of the spaceships in the 1939 serial came from both Dick Calkins' 1929-1939 comic strip renderings, and the way spaceship models were made to look for the two Flash Gordon serial films that preceded Buck Rogers. They don't look exactly like the comic strip spaceships. The costumes aren't exactly like those in the drawings, either. In fact, for the film, Nowlan created a different rationale, a different world picture from either the novella or the comic strip, introducing world-ruling thug Killer Kane to replace the Mongolian Hans of the novella.


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In other words, the comic strip was tremendously more visual than the print story. The leap to a visual motion medium was guided by the intervening drawn-visual medium. And the radio series had let people hear Buck Rogers for 7 years before there was a motion picture of him.

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It was more or less Calkins' visual inventions that found their way into the 1939 serial film. So you'd have to consider that the comic was developed on the basic ideas of Nowlan's novella, and the serial film was visually based on Calkins' comic strip drawings. By the time the serial film splashed onto American theater screens, the newspaper strip had been running for 10 years in wide distribution, and had already spawned an amateurish short film that showed at the World's Fair in 1936.


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The comic retained several features from Nowlan's story, including: the names of the main characters Anthony Rogers and Wilma Deering. But when the comic strip began, Anthony Rogers got the populist-sounding nickname "Buck" which he uses instead of Anthony or Tony. He is also nearly a decade younger in the comic than he is in the story. And Wilma is a member of the Allegheny Orgzone, not the Wyoming Gang. The idea that Rogers had been overcome by gas and had slept for 5 centuries in suspended animation was retained. The idea that he awoke in a world dominated by a totalitarian government, and that the remaining Americans (those of the United States) were battling this oppressive regime. The idea of anti-gravity belts and airships propelled by rockets. The idea of propulsive rays and weaponized rays. The idea that people were organized into "gangs" in the 2400s. And the comic adds an important character in science genius, Dr. Huer.

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But for the film they change the ruler of the world from the Mongols into a gangster named Killer Kane who goes into the serial film as the villain. And the mechanism of Buck's suspended animation is quite different. Plus, he gets a boy as a sidekick, Buddy Wade. Tallan of Jupiter shows up in "Tiger Men of Mars" in the comics (after drifting in suspended animation for 50,000 earth years!), but he's Prince Tallan from Saturn in the serial film. The film rocket ships all take off and land the way airplanes do. Oh, Dr. Huer doesn't make the leap.


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A character named Killer Kane exists in the comic, but he is Wilma's former suitor. And there is a Buddy, but he is Wilma's brother and is usually off on his own adventures, rather than being Buck's boon companion. At first, Buddy Deering appeared in the Sunday comics with his girlfriend Alura, while Buck and Wilma were in the dailies. Wilma also has a sister who is in "Tiger Men of Mars" although neither she nor Buddy Deering are in the serial.


The Buck Rogers Licensing Boom
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The comic strip ran for decades, through the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. A version of it was revived in the 1980s when the 2-season television show was on the air. During all this time there were comic books, as well, which were separate stories, not accumulations of daily strips in bound form. It is probably true that the phenomenon of Buck Rogers is not the films and TV shows, but the comics. They ran for a long time, which means that they were selling copies. They changed in style and content over the decades.


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And On the Radio!
On 7 November 1932 the first episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century aired on radio. Tie-ins! Licensing! Even though those terms weren't used back then, that's what it was. There were toys. Lunchboxes. Books. Buck Rogers was mass-merchandised. You could join a club and be a member of the Buck Rogers Solar Scouts (as long as you kept up passing grades in school!). Some lucky kids got full-blown Buck Rogers costumes to wear while they played spaceman. My mother confirms that her brothers used to listen to the radio show, and play Buck Rogers. I tried to imagine my uncles as young boys, chasing around the farm, peering out from behind walls and tree trunks as they played. I wonder who was Buck, and who had to be a Mongol bad guy.

The radio program ran, with some interruptions, from 1932 until 1947. The series rebooted in 1939, probably in conjunction with the serial film release. You can listen to some 1939 episodes at the archive.org link below. This was the radio "reboot" of the series. Episodes are re-numbered from 001. The marketing phenomenon of Popsicle Pete is introduced to America in this episode's advertisements.


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But in 1939 the decade of radio program, comic strips, and toys all led to production of 12 short films meant to draw butts into theater seats for 12 weeks in a row. Whether the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century serial film was the draw, or the feature films were the draw, possibly depended on the individual viewer. The earlier Flash Gordon serials were more successful, by all indications. After all, there were two made before Buck Rogers, and another made afterward. There is only one Buck Rogers serial. However, the Buck Rogers machine did spawn two television series, one of which was done in the days of live TV, and was not recorded for posterity. The other you could buy on DVDs, if you could come up with some justification for doing so.

More about the serial film in Part Three, of course.


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You might want to read more comics:
February 4, 1929 until March 25, 1933. rolandanderson.se. "In Worcester, Massachusetts, the Buck Rogers comic strip series was carried by the Worcester Evening Gazette, appearing six days a week - Monday to Saturday. These Buck Rogers comic strips were collected by Roland N. Anderson (1916-1982) while working as a paperboy." Scroll down to find links to individual stories on this page.

You might want to listen to some radio episodes from 1939:
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Mutual Broadcasting Network (1939-1940 and 1946-1947). archive.org. "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was far ahead of its time in the 1930s with death ray guns, gamma ray bombs, a mechanical mole, and missiles! Another futuristic idea was that Buck Roger's sidekick could be an accomplished pilot and warrior who also happened to be a female!"

You might want to read more about the Buck Rogers phenomenon:
Buck Rogers. Posted by sep resep at 2:18 AM on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at naylahot.blogspot.com. "The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture. This pop phenomenon paralleled the development of space technology in the 20th century and introduced Americans to outer space as a familiar environment for swashbuckling adventure."

Buck Rogers-Comic strip. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "On January 7, 1929, the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strip debuted. Coincidentally, this was also the date that the Tarzan comic strip began."

Buck Rogers-Radio. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "In 1932, the Buck Rogers radio program, notable as the first science fiction program on radio, hit the airwaves. It was broadcast in four separate runs with varying schedules. Initially broadcast as a 15 minute show on CBS in 1932, it was on a Monday through Thursday schedule"

You might want to know about the artists:
Philip Francis Nowlan. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Nowlan was married to Theresa Junker. They had ten children: Philip, Mary, Helen, Louise, Theresa, Mike, Larry, Pat, John, and Joe."

Dick Calkins. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "...who often signed his work Lt. Dick Calkins, is a comic strip artist who is best known for being the first artist to draw the Buck Rogers comic strip. He also wrote for the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century radio program."

Rick Yager. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Richard Sidney Yager (October 23, 1909 - July 22, 1995)[1] was an American cartoonist most famous for his work on the Buck Rogers comic strip."

The images came from all over the internet, found with Google Image searches, on sites with original artwork for sale (already sold long ago), sites with toys for sale, or mere display of various collections. Thanks to all those who posted these photos. Some images are my own scans or photographs of pages from The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, published in 1968, from the 2d printing in 1970.


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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:03 am
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“Armageddon—2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928) pgs 41-96 –
filmed as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 1939, 1979
PART THREE

The second post explored a little bit about how the Nowlan-Calkins comic strip varied from the original Nowlan print story. It mentioned the rather long-lived radio shows. The film is another variant, as we wrote above.

Who made it into a Film?

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Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind are credited as directors of the 1939 serial. Beebe began directing serial films in 1931 with The Vanishing Legion. During his career he directed many B-grade films, Bomba the Jungle Boy, Jungle Jim, Flash Gordon serials, and a large number of one-off serial films such as Tim Tyler's Luck. Goodkind has three directorial credits in 1939 for three serials: Buck Rogers, The Oregon Trail and The Phantom Creeps. Ford Beebe has 127 screen credits as a writer, and 104 as director. Saul Goodkind has six credits for directing, and 83 credits for editorial work on films. You can see Beebe's photo above. There isn't a photo of Goodkind on the internet.

How did it turn out?
The short story is a good action romp. So, it was natural to keep the swashbuckling and adventure aspects of the story alive when it was transferred to the comics. And it was equally natural for the serialized film of 1939, with Larry "Buster" Crabbe as Buck, to be fast-paced and fluffy of plot. The rocket ships are ridiculous to modern eyes, at least in terms of propulsion, but they must have seemed prophetic to kids in the 1940s. The Buck Rogers phenomenon is sometimes credited with starting the urges that led to the space race. Maybe it did. Maybe it was only one impetus. After all, the Flash Gordon comic strip which was created to capitalize on the popularity of the Buck Rogers strip made it to the silver screen in two serials before Buck Rogers was ever filmed.

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But the concreteness of cinema means that something has to be constructed in order to be photographed. People have to be chosen to play the parts. Costumes must be designed. And once these steps are taken, the visualization begins to become "cast in stone" for the viewer. In this case the road to a concrete visualization had been begun in 1928 by the Nowlan-Calkins comic strip. People already knew what space ships looked like in 2429 because Dick Calkins had shown them.

Props and sets existed for two previous Ford Beebe productions of Flash Gordon. Those serials were based on a popular comic strip that was, frankly, a rip-off of the Buck Rogers idea. The Buck Rogers project was a low-budget one, as the Flash Gordon serial films had been. It was natural to save money by re-using physical properties from those films. The special effects had all been developed for the Flash Gordon films, so the techniques were re-used as well. I'm sure if you looked at the cast members you'd find some very familiar faces in the background, just as you find the lead actor's face in both stories!

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If you watch this you will get an idea of what early television series were like, except that there were no cliff-hangers at the ends of episodes. Each TV episode was meant to be a self-contained, complete story, independent of what might come next, or what came before it story-wise. TV episodes might not be run in the same order from station to station. Story-arcs were impossible. The serial film has story arcs, of course, and cliff-hangers.

The serial starts off as mildly interesting to a modern viewer, but runs out of steam before it runs out of episodes. Nonetheless, for kids of that time it probably stimulated great daydreams about what the world would be like in the future. The distant future was evoked for the movies, but the young minds probably imagined a time frame within their own lives. And within their lives, they might have supposed, we would travel from earth to Saturn on a space craft that could also fly through the air. We would have ray guns. Cities would have towering skyscrapers and we would be able to land on terraces up in the air. There would be instant television and radio communication across the vast reaches of space.

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It seems easiest to rely on the online encyclopedia for the germ of the plot:
Wikipedia wrote:
The story begins with Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe) and Buddy Wade (Jackie Moran) in the midst of a dirigible flight over the North Pole. They are caught in a savage storm and crash - but not before they release an experimental substance called Nirvano Gas that they hope will preserve them until rescue can arrive. The Nirvano Gas works, but the dirigible is buried in an avalanche and is not found until 500 years have passed. When Buck and Buddy are found, they awaken to a world ruled by the ruthless dictator, Killer Kane (Anthony Warde), and his army of "super-racketeers". Only those who live in the "Hidden City", run by the benevolent scientist Dr. Huer (C. Montague Shaw) and his military counterpart, Air Marshal Kragg (William Gould), resist the criminal rulers of Earth.

Buck and Buddy join the resistance, and they set out for Saturn, where they hope that they can find help in their fight against Kane. Saturn is run by Aldar (Guy Usher) and the Council of the Wise and Prince Tallen. To the dismay of Buck and Buddy, they also discover that Kane has dispatched ambassadors of his own, headed by his loyal henchman, Captain Laska (Henry Brandon). The serial then becomes a back-and-forth struggle between Buck and Kane to secure the military support of Saturn for the struggles on Earth.
You know who wins, of course. But there are a few tense moments when you aren't sure how they will prevail.

This is not Science Fiction, but space-opera. It's a Western set in the future. So there are constant plot turns, the "back and forth" mentioned in the Wiki synopsis. The acting is, well, the people on screen are alive, at least.

Some of the gadgets are interesting, but they all come across as silly. Although, if you look at artwork of the time meant to represent the future, the main notion was exoticism, rather than evolution of modern forms and features.

There are also scenes that go on way too long, in order to fill time, I suppose, where Buck and Buddy might be running from a searchlight at Killer Kane's palace. There are a few interesting ideas, but it is mostly trite to a 21st century viewer. Perhaps some of these plot twists were new then, but they have become convention in our time.

Well, obviously, grown people were imagining those things, too. And rendering them on the screen. Not in a way that is gripping for us today. We have seen 2001, Star Wars, Interstellar. But none of those films are quite as likely to have existed, if Ford Beebe hadn't clumsily realized the future as shown in the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials.

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You will see a teleportation cabinet that Gene Roddenberry must have seen in the same serial, and it might have inspired him to use the transporter on Star Trek as a way to save production cost (cheaper than showing a miniature space ship landing on a planetary set). You will see a transparent public rail car, that is more or less a plexi bubble with a door and hidden wheels. It all looks both prophetic and silly. At the same time. Unless you can be generous in your approach to films of the past (especially those set in the future) then this will have to be a "so bad it's good" laugh fest for you.

As in the Flash Gordon serial films, the pilots of space ships stand up or sit on the kind of seats trucks had at the time, and fly through clouds all the way to Saturn. There is gravity the whole way, and even Saturn has what appears to be 1 G gravity. But this was for kids, whose dreams were much greater than their scientific knowledge, and it was meant to be fun. That's all. Just fun.

Was there a remake?
There was a reedited feature-length version of the serial made in 1953 specifically for the television market: Planet Outlaws. Another edit was made in 1966 for the same market. Television also gave us two original series in 1950 and 1979. A teaser appeared on Youtube in 2009 for a web series to premiere in 2010. But it never came about. Supposedly Frank Miller wants to remake Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

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I was a bit too *biddi-biddi-biddi* old for the 1979 television series when it came out, spawning a new round of Buck Rogers licensed merchandise. I'm still too old to watch Twiki. And I was a bit too not-yet-born for the 1950 television series, which no one in my generation or yours has seen, because no known kinescopes of the live TV series exist. The 1979 television program is not something I'll write about in this post. I haven't seen it. I never set eyes on a Buck Rogers comic book, nor did the daily comic run in the newspapers I read as a boy and a teenager. I heard of "Buck Rogers" all my life, but I never saw any Buck Rogers celluloid vehicle as a kid or young adult.

It's Been a Long Drive
It is difficult to describe the media situation that prevailed before the 1980s. Basically, unless you were quite wealthy and could afford to buy 16mm prints of films, or had access to kinescope films of live television, you could not see any motion picture unless: it was exhibited by a theater near you, or shown by a club or in a classroom that you were a member of, or it was shown on television, which consisted of network-affiliated local stations around the country.

For an idea of what the relative popularity of story genres was like, just trade the current level of importance that Westerns have for the relative importance of space stories in the 1950s, and you can sense what it was like when I was a tyke. In popular terms, Star Trek, 2001: a Space Odyssey, and then Star Wars rolled over the remaining Westerns with apparently irresistible mass. What actually happened is that Western stories were re-set as Space stories. Star Trek was more or less a star-cast Wagon Train, according to Gene Roddenberry, who created the franchise.

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I never saw the Flash Gordon serial films until the 1990s when they became available on VHS tapes at Blockbuster stores, and the Buck Rogers serial didn't cross my vision until just this past year. That's a 76 year gap between when the film was created and when I saw it. The phenomenon depicted in Toy Story 2 of Western fascination being supplanted by Space fascination is a real thing. The real-life transition took longer than the film makes it look like it did, but I was in the thick of it as a boy. (And you're right, I used images from TS3 for the graphic above. Good catch!)

However, I was unaware until fairly recently that 13-20 years before I was born, there had been a flourish of space tales on the silver screen in the form of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials.

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Before I did this comparison, inspired by the book Reel Future, my total exposure to Buck Rogers had been to read a sampling of the comic strips published between 1929 and 1949. As I wrote in Part One, as a Christmas present while I was in college, I bought my father a collected volume of the Buck Rogers newspaper comic strips. I read much of it when I visited their home, so I had a vague idea of the source (and the vast differences) when the 1979 television series came out. But I didn't watch Buck Rogers in the Twenty-fifth Century. I saw parts of episodes, and found them less than gripping. But I found the comic strip compelling (and largely silly). Dad read it as a boy. He was born in 1928, the year Nowlan's novella appeared, and a year before he began the comic strip with Dick Calkins.

The "Thing" About Buck
Boys and girls who flocked to the movie theaters on Saturdays as 10-year olds, for example, to catch the latest episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1939, are either 86 years old in 2015, or they are pushing up daisies. My father was buried on September 11, 2002, so he is in the second category.

To be honest, I think the thing about the Buck Rogers phenomenon is not the original print story, or the comic strip and books, or even the movies and TV shows. It's not the images that Nowlan described in words and that bloom in your mind when you read the words. It isn't the ink lines on paper that create Calkins' vision of future things in your head. It isn't the moving series of still pictures that imitate motion and make you feel as if something is happening on that flat screen in front of you.

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It isn't the specific ideas that Nowlan had, or Calkins had, or Beebe had. It's the ideas that you get when you read the words, look at the drawings or watch the movies. The thing about Buck Rogers is what happens in your mind when you expose yourself to these "objects". You learn something about yourself, even if it's only what you think is cool and what is uncool.
Philip Francis Nowlan wrote:
Objects, of whose purpose I knew nothing, were casually handed to me, and I was watched keenly as I handled them.
You find that you are watching yourself while handling these art objects. And even if they are old objects, you still learn a little more about yourself as you handle them.

My maternal grandmother had seen the Buck Rogers movies somewhere, as a middle-aged woman, and she had also read the comics. Buck Rogers was a "pre-YTMN" American fascination with outer space and exploration, fascination with the un-seeable Future, and fascination with the all too constant character of the human being.

This fact was a stunning thing to learn for a 20-something who still felt as though the real world had begun with his own birth (as I did back then). That's a common way for young people to see things, and a more or less natural one. And that's one of the reasons we need to see and read tales that were old when our parents were young.

You Can Watch It.
The serial film is available on DVD from several sources. There are posts of the serial on Youtube, the link is below. Both archive.org and Youtube have the 1953 edited-down version of the serial called Planet Outlaws. There is a link below so that you can read the novella online. There is also a link to Amazom.com where you can purchase the 1979 TV series, if you're curious enough.


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Buck Rogers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Buck Rogers is a fictional character who first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories as Anthony Rogers. A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue."

You might want to read it. There is an html version available, as well as epub and Kindle versions at Project Gutenberg:

The web-page version. Project Gutenberg's Armageddon--2419 A.D., by Philip Francis Nowlan. at gutenberg.org. "Elsewhere I have set down, for whatever interest they have in this, the 25th Century, my personal recollections of the 20th Century.
Now it occurs to me that my memoirs of the 25th Century may have an equal interest 500 years from now—particularly in view of that unique perspective from which I have seen the 25th Century, entering it as I did, in one leap across a gap of 492 years."


Find the Project Gutenberg epub and Kindle versions of Armageddon 2419 A.D. here.


You might want to explore the newspaper comic strip.
Buck Rogers. rolandanderson.se. 'It was in connection with the organization of this team effort that the name of the hero was changed from "Anthony Rogers" to the snappier, "Buck Rogers".' From this page you can link to Buck Rogers comic strips. 'These Buck Rogers comic strips were collected by Roland N. Anderson (1916-1982) while working as a paperboy. He was able to assemble an almost complete collection of the series from its start in the Evening Gazette on February 4, 1929 until March 25, 1933.'

You might think you want to watch the 1935 World's Fair film.
First Buck Rogers Film. Ron Hall at Youtube. "This Buck Rogers film short was made for the 1934 Chicago World's Fair by the owner of the comic strip. The amateurish acting and effects make for a modern "camp" classic."

World's Fair film. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "A ten-minute Buck Rogers film premiered at the 1933–1934 World's Fair in Chicago."

You might want to watch the 1939 serial film.
Buck Rogers. Amazon.com. To buy a copy.

Or simply watch the original 12-part serial film from 1939. Low-budget. Reused props and sets from two prior Flash Gordon serial films.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 1 & 2 / 12. Youtube.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 3 & 4 / 12. Youtube.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 5 & 6 / 12. Youtube.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 7 & 8 / 12. Youtube.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 9 & 10 / 12. Youtube.
Buck Rogers 1939 Chapters 11 & 12 / 12. Youtube.

Buck Rogers (serial). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Buck Rogers is a 1939 Universal serial film starring Buster Crabbe (who had previously played the title character in two Flash Gordon serials and would return for a third in 1940) as the eponymous hero, Constance Moore, Jackie Moran and Anthony Warde. It was based on the Buck Rogers character created by Philip Francis Nowlan, which had appeared in magazines and comic strips since 1928."

You might want to watch the 1953 cut-down feature film.
1953 - Planet Outlaws - Buster Crabbe as BUCK ROGERS - Ford Beebe | FULL MOVIE. Youtube

Planet Outlaws (1953). archive.org. This makes a higher-resolution copy available, and might be a refurbished print.

Planet Outlaws (1953). IMDb. "Buck Rogers (1939) re-edited from serial to feature format and re-released for theatrical distribution in 1953; an American soldier suspended in time wakes up to find himself in the futuristic world of the year 2500."

You might want to watch the 1979 television series.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series. amazon.com. To buy it.

buck rogers in the 25th century 1979 youtube. Google search results.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV series). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Inspired by the massive success of Star Wars, Universal began developing Buck Rogers for television, spearheaded by Glen A. Larson who had a production deal with the studio. Initially, Larson and Universal had planned on making a series of Buck Rogers TV movies for NBC. Production began in 1978."

You might wonder if anything is up for the future.
REMAKE WATCH: BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (2011). scifimoviepage.com. "Rumors persist that director / writer / comic book artist Frank Miller is interested in doing a big screen version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century . . ." ... "And that is exactly the problem. Considering the character’s roots as a light-hearted space opera it is rather difficult to put the words “dark” and “Buck Rogers” together;..."

BUCK ROGERS TEASER. Youtube. "Uploaded on Nov 30, 2009 Cawley Entertainment and Retro Films Teaser Trailer for New Online "Buck Rogers" series, set to debut in late 2010. Series star: Bobby Quinn Rice." Well, I'd say they didn't make their target date.

Web series. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "A Kickstarter crowd-sourced funding effort failed to reach its goal,[35] and no official word as to the status of the project from the producers has been released since the Kickstarter effort."




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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:03 am
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The second Buck Rogers post is up. I think I overproduce these things (and the Remake Rematches) but there is just so much interesting material.

You'd be surprised to know what I leave out, given that I include what is probably too much. :D I hope you enjoy reading.

Will get the post about the film up as soon as I can.

_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:10 pm
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Okay. The last Buck Rogers post for the thread has been put up. Part Three.

Now it's on to see if I can figure out how to quickly build some animations in PowerPoint over a greenscreen background, export them to HD video, and use Premiere Pro CC to chroma-key them over a background, to make some cheap animations for a no-budget doc. But cheap animations that look good. And that won't take longer than about a week to build and incorporate.

Wish me luck!

See y'all in 2 or 3 weeks. (...unless someone comments, and then I'll answer in a timely fashion.)

_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
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The Future Unreels


Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:21 am
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The documentary film I've been helping edit for the past year was handed to me to do the actual assembly and conceptualization about a month ago. Well it finally is edited, except for touch-ups. Spent yesterday leveling the audio and making last-minute last changes to two sequences.

So I should be able to get on with "Who Goes There?" and The Thing in the next week or so!

If anybody cares.

_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
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Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:48 pm
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“Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (1938) pgs 97-145 – filmed as The Thing From Another World in 1951 and The Thing in 1982, and it inspired a prequel to the 1982 film, released in 2011 as The Thing
PART ONE


The Original Story.
John W. Campbell didn't publish "Who Goes There?" under his own name. He chose the pseudonym Don A. Stuart. But in Reel Future he is credited as the author, with his own name.

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The first paragraph is abruptly interrupted on page 97 of Reel Future, before getting the entire opening idea into your head.
Quote:
The place stank. A queer, mingled stench that only the ice-buried cabins of an Antarctic camp know, compounded of reeking human sweat, and the heavy, fish-oil stench of melted seal blubber. An overtone of liniment combated the musty smell of sweat-and-snow-drenched furs. The acrid odor of burnt cooking fat, and the animal, not-unpleasant smell of dogs, diluted by time, hung in the air.
This is a place you go into only because you are being paid to be there. And you accept pay to be there only because you love the work that has to be done. In this story, it's that kind of men who suddenly find themselves confronted with a mysterious life form that they slowly realize could take over all life on earth. What a set-up for a story!

The characters are well-defined, providing inter-human conflict that persists even after there is a clear menace afoot. In this original version of the story the frozen xenomorph has existed beneath Antarctic ice for 20 million years.
Quote:
"It's been frozen there since Antarctica froze twenty million years ago. There never has been a thaw there.

"Twenty million years ago Antarctica was beginning to freeze. We've investigated, thought and
built speculations. What we believe happened was about like this.

"Something came down out of space, a ship. We saw it there in the blue ice, a thing like a
submarine without a conning tower or directive vanes. 280 feet long and 45 feet in diameter at its
thickest.

"Eh, Van Wall? Space? Yes, but I’ll explain that better later." McReady's steady voice went on.

"It came down from space, driven and lifted by forces men haven't discovered yet, and somehow
perhaps something went wrong then it tangled with Earth's magnetic field. It came south here,
out of control probably, circling the magnetic pole. That's a savage country there, but when
Antarctica was still freezing it must have been a thousand times more savage. There must have
been blizzard snow, as well as drift, new snow falling as the continent glaciated. The swirl there
must have been particularly bad, the wind hurling a solid blanket of white over the lip of that now-buried mountain.

Commander Garry is in charge. McReady is second-in-command. Because no one else will (or can) McReady takes charge of the efforts to contain and destroy (if possible) the Thing. Blair, Norris and Dr. Copper are there, along with 32 other men. The cook, Kinner, small and scar-faced, doesn't want the frozen carcass of the Thing in his refrigerator.

The spoiler tags are only for space. There aren't any spoilers in this post. But let's let Campbell's descriptive lines sum up these men for us:
Quote:
Blair, the little bald-pated biologist of the expedition, twitched nervously at the wrappings, exposing clear, dark ice beneath and then pulling the tarpaulin back into place restlessly. His little birdlike motions of suppressed eagerness danced his shadow across the fringe of dingy gray underwear hanging from the low ceiling, the equatorial fringe of stiff, graying hair around his naked skull a comical halo about the shadow's head.
Quote:
Commander Garry brushed aside the lax legs of a suit of underwear, and stepped toward the table. Slowly his eyes traced around the rings of men sardined into the Administration Building. His tall, stiff body straightened finally, and he nodded. "Thirty-seven. All here." His voice was low, yet carried the clear authority of the commander by nature, as well as by title.
Quote:
Moving from the smoke-blued background, McReady was a figure from some forgotten myth, a looming, bronze statue that held life, and walked. Six-feet-four inches he stood as he halted beside the table, and, with a characteristic glance upward to assure himself of room under the lower ceiling beam, straightened.
Quote:
Kinner, the little, scar-faced cook, winced. Five days ago he had stepped out to the surface to reach a cache of frozen beef. He had reached it, started back and the drift-wind leapt out of the south. Cold, white death that streamed across the ground blinded him in twenty seconds. He stumbled on wildly in circles. It was half an hour before rope-guided men from below found him in the impenetrable murk.

It was easy for man or thing to get lost in ten paces.
Quote:
Vance Norris moved angrily. He was comparatively short in this gathering of big men, some five-feet-eight, and his stocky, powerful build tended to make him seem shorter. His black hair was crisp and hard, like short, steel wires, and his eyes were the gray of fractured steel. If McReady was a man of bronze, Norris was all steel.
Quote:
"How the hell can these birds tell what they are voting on? They haven't seen those three red eyes, and the blue hair like crawling worms. Crawling damn, it's crawling there in the ice right now!

"Nothing Earth ever spawned had the unutterable sublimation of devastating wrath that thing let loose in its face when it looked around this frozen desolation twenty million years ago. Mad? It was mad clear through searing, blistering mad!

"Hell, I've had bad dreams ever since I looked at those three red eyes. Nightmares. Dreaming the thing thawed out and came to life that it wasn't dead, or even wholly unconscious all those twenty million years, but just slowed, waiting waiting. You'll dream, too, while that damned thing that Earth wouldn't own is dripping, dripping in the Cosmos House tonight.
Quote:
The room stiffened abruptly. It was face up there on the plain, greasy planks of the table. The broken half of the bronze ice-ax was still buried in the queer skull. Three mad, hate-filled eyes blazed up with a living fire, bright as fresh-spilled blood. from a face ringed with a writhing, loathsome nest of worms, blue, mobile worms that crawled where hair should grow.

Van Wall, six feet and 200 pounds of ice-nerved pilot, gave a queer, strangled gasp and butted, stumbled his way out to the corridor. Half the company broke for the doors. The others stumbled away from the table.
Quote:
Kinner, the stocky, scar-faced cook, saved Connant the trouble of answering. "Hey, you listen, mister. You put that thing in the box with the meat, and by all the gods there ever were, I'll put you in to keep it company. You birds have brought everything movable in this camp in onto my mess tables here already, and I had to stand for that. But you go putting things like that in my meat box or even my meat cache here, and you cook your own damn grub."
Quote:
Blair and Connant:
"Look, you know how the fish we caught down near the Ross Sea would freeze almost as soon as we got them on deck, and come to life again if we thawed them gently? Low forms of life aren't killed by quick freezing and slow thawing. We have -"

"Hey, for the love of Heaven - you mean that damned thing will come to life!" Connant yelled. "You get the damned thing - Let me at it! That's going to be in so many pieces "

"NO! No, you fool -" Blair jumped in front of Connant to protect his precious find. "No. Just low forms of life....."
Quote:
Dr. Copper pulled his pipe from between his teeth and heaved his stocky, dark body from the bunk he had been sitting in. "Blair's being technical. That's dead. As dead as the mammoths they find frozen in Siberia."
Quote:
Connant picked up the pressure lamp and returned to his chair. He sat down, staring at the pages of mathematics before him. The clucking of the counter was strangely less disturbing, the rustle of the coals in the stove no longer distracting.

The creak of the floorboards behind him didn't interrupt his thoughts as he went about his weekly report in an automatic manner, filing in columns of data and making brief, summarizing notes.

The creak of the floorboard sounded nearer.
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If that hasn't hooked you nothing will. Read all you want. Campbell is one of those writers who can give substance to his prose by choosing the poetic description over the pedestrian. It was one of the styles of the time, highly esteemed. Perhaps Campbell used it for this story (and perhaps others; this is the only story of his that I've read) in order to lift science fiction out of the realm of writing for children to which so many assigned it in those days.

Anyhow, you've had a chance to meet the original cast of characters. If you've seen the films you know something about the plot. And if you haven't seen them you probably don't want to know about the plot until you do.

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Nearly all 16 of these stories center on a conflict between humanity and something else...even future humanity. Few of them are human vs human. In this story the invader cannot be characterized as any particular kind of thing, so it is simply "the Thing." That monicker alone made it almost inevitable that any film made from "Who Goes There?" would be called The Thing.

As is the case with the four stories we've looked at up to now, the characters are all strongly and well defined. The antarctic wasteland at night makes an eerie backdrop to a "protect all humankind" genre of story. It is the job of those at the ice station to literally save humankind from being taken over by a threat that is biological, not cultural or political. The question asked by the story is one that ultimately fares well in cinema: if you are changed but still look the same, are you the same person? We've examined that question together in the Rematches about The Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Thing. These films all came out in the run-up to, or the time of the Cold War, and the perceived threat of secret invasion by Communists. So, of course, the answer given by the filmmakers was "No, you are not the same."

The print stories, that spawned these films, don't always take a stand.

It is, though, the simple conflict between this Thing that the researchers have pulled out of the ice, and all of humanity that creates the need for a movie. Saving the World is a godawful cheap trope to use in a story, but it sure seems to pack 'em into the movie theater. No lesser challenge will do. The protagonist(s) must Save the World from the threat. Well, this story has that trope in its ever-changing forms, and bam it's been made into three movies.




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Here is a pdf of the entire text. "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell as Don A. Stuart from goldenageofscifi.info.

"Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell. YouTube. "An audio drama presentation of the classic horror story that inspired the movie, 'The Thing'." (Original airdate: January 24, 2002) This is a modern BBC radio production uploaded by YouTube user The Edge of Nightfall.

(entry in Russian) Google translate: Adsky artist Wayne Barlowe. Posted Oct. 24th, 2013 at 4:43 PM. See and be seen. Dark art from flashzoom at livejournal. Quote from Google translation: "Barlow was born in a family of American artists of Natural History of the Earth. This left an imprint on the future vision of the artist. Parents have invested in him the ability to see and communicate the details of the created images, creating images of extinct animals develop imagination of the artist. Wayne has in his youth he received a classical education at The Cuper Union, and taking into account its ability to draw, already at age 21 published gained popularity Guide for aliens (Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials, 1979) This book was given a vector the future of the artist - the creator of images of extraterrestrial life." This blog is the source of the pen and ink sketch of The Thing seen above.

Science Fiction Theater: "Who Goes There?" by Campbell, Drake, and Abel. Saturday, February 19, 2011 post at Diversions of the Groovy Kind (1970's comic books) on blogspot. Writing about Starstream magazine: " The year was 1976, and sci-fi was getting hot again thanks to the network TV debut of 2001: A Space Odyssey, new flicks like Logan's Run and Star Wars, and TV shows like Space: 1999. Someone thought the time was right to pick up where Marvel had left off with Worlds Unknown and Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction and produce comicbook adaptations of classic sci-fi prose tales." "The first issue alone featured strips adapting Joan Hunter Holly, Raymond Banks, Howard Goldsmith, and the great John W. Campbell--the focus of today's post." The source of the comic book page you see above...and you can read the entire 18-page comic adaptation on the webpage.

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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
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The Future Unreels


Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:47 am
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“Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr. (1938) pgs 97-145 – filmed as The Thing From Another World in 1951 and The Thing in 1982, and it inspired a prequel to the 1982 film, released in 2011 as The Thing
PART TWO

The three movies with "The Thing" in the title were the last I reviewed and analyzed in the Remake Rematch thread Round Three. I like the 1982 film quite a lot, the 1951 film somewhat, and the 2011 film enough to not say that I hate it (even though I don't recommend it if you've seen the 1982, and certainly not if you haven't yet seen the 1982).

Who made it into a Film?
Christian Nyby directed the 1951 first adaptation of "Who Goes There?" for RKO and Winchester Pictures. But legend has it that Howard Hawks was the uncredited director of the film, as well as the credited producer.
Because I wrote about these films less than a year ago, I'm going to quote myself:
YouTookMyName wrote:
Christian Nyby is the credited director of the 1951 film. But there is a possibility, based on cast remarks, that producer Howard Hawks is the (an) uncredited director of the film. Hawks was born in 1896 and was still directing films in 1970, only seven years before his death in 1977 (at age 81). Nyby has 66 director credits at IMDb, but only a handful are feature films; the rest are episodes of television series. The Thing from Another World is his first directorial credit. He has an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing on Red River (1948), which was directed by Hawks and Arthur Rosson. In fact, Nyby edited 17 feature films between 1943 and 1952, many of them for Hawks. Nyby lived from 1913 to 1993, 80 years old when he died. He had not worked actively in television since 1975. Whether Hawks directed or co-directed the 1951 film is a question that can't be answered. Some of the cast and crew say he did, others deny it (including Nyby himself), and give Nyby sole directorial credit. With sources in conflict like that, we cannot know.

How did it turn out?
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Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World is a watchable movie, but it comes from another era. Part of the "from another era" is seen in the limited special effects, and how they affected the rewrite into a Cold War drama. There was simply no way to effectively show the shape-shifting aspect of the alien in 1951. The original story has the creature set lose in the isolated ice station, transforming from one form to another, and nearly impossible to spot. The 1951 film gives the alien a concrete form: that of a humanoid "plant" that lives on animal blood. A scary idea perhaps, but biologically unlikely. There was also a practice of keeping the stories of American films straightforward so that young and old, educated and uneducated could follow what was happening on the screen. The essence of the Campbell short story violates that principle.

You have to say that the 1951 film is a fun little movie (especially with the stock characters of the day providing so many chuckles that the Cold War writers never intended). You cannot say that it is a faithful adaptation. Here is my review from the Remake Multimatch in 2014

Was there a remake?
Yes. And it is considered by many to be far superior to the sideways adaptation from 1951. John Carpenter mounted a remake attempt that made it to screens in 1982. At the time many thought the Hawks-Nyby version of the film was the Thing, and scoffed at Carpenter's horror story type of film. The thing is, that only proves that the story "Who Goes There?" was not widely read. Carpenter's access to better special effects techniques allowed him to bring the core of the short story to the screen.

This film is a faithful adaptation of the basic ideas from Campbell's "Who Goes There?" to the extent that they can translate to an audio visual medium. There are certain psychological aspects of the short story that wouldn't translate to film without a narrator's voice filling them in. Carpenter didn't take that path. Thus, the film remains as external as the 1951 film does, but embraces the shape-shifting monster that is The Thing in the original tale. It explores the body-snatching characteristic of the alien life form. And it sets the story in its original Antarctic location.

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The print story is better at hinting what would be in store for world-wide humanity if a few cells of the alien Thing escaped from Antarctica. But the film includes that horror in a single scene. The character names are the same as those in the story, and McReady becomes the tacit leader of the group mounting a defense against the Thing. Here is my review of the Carpenter film in the Remake Multimatch.

With another few decades of special effects advancements, a Scandinavian director pulled together resources to remake Carpenter's film in 2011. But Matthijs van Heijningen was too wily to claim remake, so he set his film at the Norwegian ice station where the dog that begins the 1982 film had escaped from. It is the same story, masquerading as a prequel, because the same thing happens at the Norwegian station that "will happen later" at the US station in a film released 29 years earlier. The special effects are well-done. People were terribly confused about what was bad CGI to the extent that a lot of the "bad CGI" turns out to be practical animatronic effects. And it has the modernist twist of making a woman the hero. But unless you are a complete-ist you will miss nothing important should you skip the 2011 movie. My review of the 2011 film in the Rematch.

That's all I'm going to write about this, because everything else I want to say would have to go behind spoiler tags. And if that's the case, then what's the point!?

You Can Watch It.
There are links in the section below. Likely you'll have to buy the films, or borrow them from Netflix or the like. In the Remake Multimatch there is a tech post with some sources.


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The Thing from another World (Colorised 1951).avi. veoh.com. The original film was released in B&W. This (poorly) colorized version used to be on YouTube in several parts. Here it is at Veoh (while it lasts) as one chunk. For the original version you will need to pay. It isn't available now on Amazon Instant. Netflix has the DVD. And you can buy the DVD for about 6 bucks US.

The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982). nooffload.net Film Reviews. "The Thing (the monster) is a bit of a mystery. It has the ability to invade the body of a mammal without immediately altering the host’s external appearance. There it remains, undetectable, for a matter of hours. Once it’s had a chance to take hold it morphs into some abomination of the species it has infected. It’s not entirely clear whether this change is voluntary or not. One thing is for sure though, it won’t happen unless your back is turned. A watched pot doesn’t boil, as they say."

The Thing from Another World (1951). IMDb. "Scientists at an Arctic research station discover a spacecraft buried in the ice. Upon closer examination, they discover the frozen pilot. All hell breaks loose when they take him back to their station and he is accidentally thawed out!" Ha ha "him" ha ha.

The Thing (1982). IMDb. "An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The helicopter pursuing the dog explodes, eventually leaving no explanation for the chase. During the night, the dog mutates and attacks other dogs in the cage and members of the team that investigate. The team soon realizes that an alien life-form with the ability to take over other bodies is on the loose and they don't know who may already have been taken over."

The Thing (I) (2011). IMDb. "Paleontologist Kate Lloyd is invited by Dr. Sandor Halvorson to join his team who have found something extraordinary. Deep below the Arctic ice, they have found an alien spacecraft that has been there for perhaps 100,000 years. Not far from where the craft landed, they find the remains of the occupant. It's cut out of the ice and taken back to their camp but as the ice melts, the creature reanimates and not only begins to attack them but manages to infect them, with team members devolving into the alien creature."


Remake Multimatch of The Thing from Another World (1951), The Thing (1982), and The Thing (2011). YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread at The Corrierino.com.

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_________________
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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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The Future Unreels


Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:47 am
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Wow. It's been a month to the day since I posted the last Buck Rogers entry. Of course, February is 2 or 3 days short of a real month, so...

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
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The Future Unreels


Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:53 am
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Hello, YTMN.

I am the one you met at Starbucks yesterday.

I have started reading your thread and find it very interesting. I have found the book and intend on reading along as well as reading the posts here.

Thank you for the recommendation.


Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:02 am
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Welcome to the Corrie!

I don't recall the title of the book you were reading last night.

Are you mostly interested in watching films, or do you aspire to create them yourself?

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
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The Future Unreels


Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:26 am
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I was reading On the Technique of Acting and The Filmmaker's Handbook. As the title suggests, I am definitely interested in creating films myself. I have done some very minor acting in high school and have always enjoyed stories and film. Now I am trying to expand my knowledge and experience in the field and capture stories of my own.


Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:04 pm
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I don't know if I should bother with the modern day The Thing. The 51 version is a nice slice of Cold War paranoia. The 1982 remake is excellent.

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Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:11 am
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“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (1940)
pgs 146-179 – filmed as The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951, and distorted quite a bit as The Day the Earth Stood Still in 2008
PART ONE

The Original Story.
First, I saw the film. Then I read the story. But decades separated those two events. I had no idea that the short story was so vastly different from the film that was based on it. Based loosely on it, that is.

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For illustrations in this post I have used a few excerpts from a 1973 comic adaptation of "Farewell to the Master" by Roy Thomas which appeared in Marvel Comics Worlds Unknown #3 in June, 1973. It takes many liberties with the setting and abbreviates the plot. For one thing it divides Cliff Sutherland into Cliff and his girlfriend and reporting partner, Ann O'Hara.

The 1973 comic adaptation is set in 1976. There is a link at the bottom of the post that will take you to the blog io9.com in case you want to read that. There is also a link to a pdf of the entire text of the Harry Bates short story.

Quote:
He had been the only freelance picture reporter on the Capitol grounds when the visitors from the Unknown had arrived, and had obtained the first professional shots of the ship.

Cliff has noticed something that he wants to check out, alone that night. He plans to hide in the museum wing where the traveler and the robot Gnut are enclosed. But he hears the recording by "that chap Stillwell" that was made for visitors once again. From it we learn the back story.

Quote:
"...And then it happened. On the area just to your right, just as it is now, appeared the time-space traveler. It appeared in the blink of an eye. It did not come down from the sky; dozens of witnesses swear to that; it just appeared. One moment it was not here, the next it was. It appeared on the very spot it now rests on."

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Quote:
"And where was the ship's entrance port? Men who dared go look reported that none could be found. No slightest break or crack marred the perfect smoothness of the ship's curving ovoid surface. And a delegation of high-ranking officials who visited the ship could not, by knocking, elicit from its occupants any sign that they had been heard.


Quote:
...a ramp slid down, and out stepped a man, godlike in appearance and human in form, closely followed by a giant robot. And when they touched the ground the ramp slid back and the entrance closed as before.


Quote:
"And then occurred the thing which shall always be to the shame of the human race. From a treetop a hundred yards away came a wink of violet light and Klaatu fell. The assembled multitude stood for a moment stunned, not comprehending what had happened. Gnut, a little behind his master and to one side, slowly turned his body a little toward him, moved his head twice, and stood still, in exactly the position you now see him.

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Now we enter spoiler territory for some of you, so you can read the original story, or go behind the tags for excerpts.

Quote:
"Gnut never moved again. He remained exactly as you see him all that night and for the ensuing days.


Quote:
"Many people have feared that Gnut was only temporarily deranged, and that on return to function might be dangerous, so the scientists have completely destroyed all chance of that. The greenish metal of which he is made seemed to be the same as that of the ship and could no more be attacked, they found, nor could they find any way to penetrate to his internals; but they had other means. They sent electrical currents of tremendous voltages and amperages through him. They applied terrific heat to all parts of his metal shell. They immersed him for days in gases and acids and strongly corroding solutions, and they have bombarded him with every known kind of ray.


Quote:
A special point was made of keeping him in the position he assumed at Klaatu's death. The floor was built in under him, and the scientists who completed his derangement erected their apparatus around him, just as he stands. You need have no fears.

The crowd leaves. The guards go outside. The picture man is now inside with his infra-red camera ready to take shots that will prove his suspicion that the giant robot moves at night.

Quote:
Cliff waited several minutes, then carefully poked his way out from under the table. As he straightened up, a faint tinkling crash sounded at the floor by his feet. Carefully stooping, he found the shattered remains of a thin glass pipette. He had knocked it off the table. That caused him to realize something he had not thought of before: A Gnut who had moved might be a Gnut who could see and hear — and really be dangerous. He would have to be very careful.

He sneaks around until he can get a look at the robot from a hiding place.

Quote:
Very carefully he edged forward and peered around the bottom of the ship at Gnut.

He had a momentary shock. The robot's eyes were right on him! — or so it seemed. Was that only the effect of the set of his eyes, he wondered, or was he already discovered? The position of Gnut's head did not seem to have changed, at any rate. Probably everything was all right, but he wished he did not have to cross that end of the room with the feeling that the robot's eyes were following him.


Quote:
his knees and elbows burned and his trousers were no doubt ruined. But these were little things if what he hoped for came to pass. If Gnut so much as moved, and he could catch him with his infrared camera, he would have a story that would buy him fifty suits of clothes. And if on top of that he could learn the purpose of Gnut's moving — provided there was a purpose -- that would be a story that would set the world on its ears.

Gnut does move, and comes straight for Cliff. Although he doesn't simply march up to the man.

Quote:
Scarcely breathing, half hypnotized, Cliff looked back. His thoughts tumbled. What was the robot's intention? Why had he stopped so still? Was he being stalked? How could he move with such silence?

In the heavy darkness Gnut's eyes moved nearer. Slowly but in perfect rhythm the almost imperceptible sound of his footsteps beat on Cliff's ears. Cliff, usually resourceful enough, was this time caught flatfooted. Frozen with fear, utterly incapable of fleeing, he lay where he was while the metal monster with the fiery eyes came on.

For a moment Cliff all but fainted, and when he recovered, there was Gnut towering over him, legs almost within reach. He was bending slightly, burning his terrible eyes right into his own!

Too late to try to think of running now. Trembling like any cornered mouse, Cliff waited for the blow that would crush him. For an eternity, it seemed, Gnut scrutinized him without moving. For each second of that eternity Cliff expected annihilation, sudden, quick, complete. And then suddenly and unexpectedly it was over. Gnut's body straightened and he stepped back. He turned. And then, with the the almost jerkless rhythm which only he among robots possessed, he started back toward the place from which he came.

Cliff could hardly believe he had been spared. Gnut could have crushed him like a worm — and he had only turned around and gone back. Why? It could not be supposed that a robot was capable of human considerations.

Gnut works inside the traveler for a while, and...

Quote:
More time passed, and then, some time after two o'clock in the morning, a simple homely thing happened, but a thing so unexpected that for a moment it quite destroyed Cliff's equilibrium. Suddenly, through the dark and silent building, there was a faint whir of wings, soon followed by the piercing, sweet voice of a bird. A mockingbird. Somewhere in the gloom above his head. Clear and full–throated were its notes; a dozen little songs it sang, one after the other without pause between — short insistent calls, twirrings, coaxings, cooings — the spring love song of perhaps the finest singer in the world. Then, as suddenly as it began, the voice was silent.

Later, a gorilla comes out of the traveler, but Gnut appears and stops the animal from killing Cliff Sutherland.

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During all this Cliff has forgotten to take even one frame of the robot! The next night Cliff hides in the Smithsonian wing again. And Gnut's mysterious actions continue.

Quote:
At about nine o'clock he saw Gnut move. First his head alone; it turned so that the eyes burned stronger in the direction where Cliff lay. For a moment that was all; then the dark metal form stirred slightly and began moving forward — straight toward himself. Cliff had thought he would not be afraid — but now his heart stood still. What would happen this time?

With amazing silence, Gnut drew nearer, until he towered an ominous shadow over the spot where Cliff lay. For a long time his red eyes burned down on the prone man. Cliff trembled all over; this was worse than the first time. Without having planned it, he found himself speaking to the creature.

He pleads with the robot not to hurt him. Still without making any sound (other than those needed to open the traveler) Gnut walks away without hurting the picture man. Cliff isn't sure where the animals came from, but he is certain that Gnut had something to do with their appearance.

Quote:
Cliff knew he should sneak up to the port and peep inside, but he could not quite bring himself to do it. With his gun he could handle another gorilla, but if Gnut caught him it might be the end. Momentarily he expected something fantastic to happen — he knew not what; maybe the mockingbird's sweet song again, maybe a gorilla, maybe — anything. What did at last happen once more caught him with complete surprise.

He heard a sudden muffled sound, then words — human words — every one familiar.

"Gentlemen," was the first, and then there was a very slight pause. "The Smithsonian Institution welcomes you to its new Interplanetary Wing and to the marvelous exhibits at this moment before you."

It was the recorded voice of Stillwell! But it was not coming through the speakers overhead, but much muted, from within the ship.


Quote:
Without fear now, Cliff stole along the wall of the room. He had gotten almost as far as the shattered figures on the floor when he suddenly stopped motionless. Gnut was emerging again.

He was bearing a shape that looked like another body, a larger one. He held it in one arm and placed it carefully by the body of Stillwell. In the hand of his other arm he held something that Cliff could not make out, and this he placed at the side of the body he had just put down. Then he went to the ship and returned once more with a shape which he laid gently by the others; and when this last trip was over he
looked down at them all for a moment, then turned slowly back to the ship and stood motionless, as if in deep thought, by the ramp.

Cliff restrained his curiosity as long as he could, then shipped forward and bent over the objects Gnut had placed there. First in the row was the body of Stillwell, as he expected, and next was the great shapeless furry mass of a dead gorilla — the one of last night. By the gorilla lay the object the robot had carried in his free hand — the little body of the mockingbird. These last two had remained in the ship all night, and Gnut, for all his surprising gentleness in handling them, was only cleaning house. But there was a fourth body whose history he did not know. He moved closer and bent very low to look.

What he saw made him catch his breath. Impossible! — he thought; there was some confusion in his directions; he brought his face back, close to the first body. Then his blood ran cold. The first body was that of Stillwell, but the last in the row was Stillwell, too; there were two bodies of Stillwell, both exactly alike, both dead.

Cliff runs out of the museum in terror. But he goes back. In the meantime he talks to the authorities, arranges to have an exclusive contract to cover whatever happens, and set himself up to be the main reporter on the scene from that point.

This question of where a second Stillwell body might have come from is a pretty neat plot point, and I'll let you read the entire story (or the comic adaptation, I guess) to learn it. I will reveal the ending, because I know it won't spoil the entire story for you. I know this because I knew the ending for 20 years before I ever read the words. The part I just skipped over is the niftiest thing about the short story!

Quite a bit happens before we arrive at the very end.

Quote:
Of all the things Cliff had wanted to say to Klaatu, one remained imperatively present in his mind. Now, as the green metal robot stood framed in the great green ship, he seized his chance.

"Gnut," he said earnestly, holding carefully the limp body in his arms, "you must do one thing for me. Listen carefully. I want you to tell your master — the master yet to come — that what happened to the first Klaatu was an accident, for which all Earth is immeasurably sorry. Will you do that?"

"I have known it," the robot answered gently.

"But will you promise to tell your master — just those words — as soon as he is arrived?"

"You misunderstand," said Gnut, still gently, and quietly spoke four more words. As Cliff heard them a mist passed over his eyes and his body went numb.

As he recovered and his eyes came back to focus he saw the great ship disappear. It just suddenly was not there anymore. He fell back a step or two. In his ears, like great bells, rang Gnut's last words. Never, never was he to disclose them til the day he came to die.

"You misunderstand," the mighty robot had said. "I am the master."

Even if you know what the ending of the story is, those last few lines might still give you goosebumps. But why? Does the tale stimulate whatever neurons within the human mind would really like for some God to exist? And when characters act godlike, we find our skin tingling? Maybe. Or maybe it's just the idea that we may not be alone in the Universe. We don't know, do we? But would it be nice if we are not? Even the people in the short story worry that Gnut might destroy them. If only in retribution for the death of his master, Klaatu at the hands of a human being. So not all visitors from elsewhere would necessarily be nice. Or bad to us. Is the tingle from simply not knowing? Maybe the skin tingles because we don't know and we know that we don't know, but we don't know what we don't know!

Perhaps the skin tingles only because we've run up against The Unknown in our imaginations.

"Farewell to the Master" is the sort of story that they'd pick for your 11th grade English anthology. The kind that you would be assigned, and just might be too busy to read. (Ahem.)

Why it wants to be in Cinema.
Image

It doesn't, really. It is not a cinematic sort of tale. Sure, it has a giant ovoid-shaped craft popping into existence at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. at some unspecified time in the future. It is difficult to tell when the story is set, because people still have newspapers, but there are people coming from all over the Solar System to look at the visitors. And the protagonist's cameras seem to be like digital cameras in a way, but they need "processing" so that you can see the photos.


In 1951 the story was co-opted by Julian Blaustein because he wanted to make a movie that warned of the dangers of atomic weapons without directly featuring the weapons. He didn't like very much about the story, but what he liked "really got the wheels turning." One of the things he didn't like about it, I suspect, is that it doesn't have a point. It's just a philosophical tale asking "What if...?" without any point being made. Blaustein was by reports of his family a person who liked the movies he produced to have a social message.

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The film he produced, directed by Robert Wise, has great entertainment value, and, if you wish to find it, a strong social message as well. Edmund H. North set it in what was apparently 1951 in his screenplay. We'll analyze the film in the next post.


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The Original Story:
Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates. A pdf. digital-eel.com. "From his perch high on the ladder above the museum floor, Cliff Sutherland studied carefully each line and shadow of the great robot, then turned and looked thoughtfully down at the rush of visitors come from all over the Solar System to see Gnut and the traveler for themselves and to hear once again their amazing, tragic story."

Some background:
Behind The Big Screen : The Day The Earth Stood Still. Youtube. A behind-the scenes retrospective...but incomplete. Sorry. It establishes Blaustein's motivations for selecting the story.

Two sources for the 1973 comic adaptation:
Science Fiction Theater Presents: Farewell to the Master.
diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com. "In 1973, Roy Thomas read the original Bates short story, located the author to get permission to adapt the story into comicbook form, then teamed with penciller Ross Andru and inker Wayne Howard to create a more faithful adaptation of "Farewell to the Master" for Worlds Unknown #3 (June, 1973)." Here there are thumbnails for each of the 20 pages, which you can click to enlarge.

The Day the Earth Stood Still Remake You Never Saw. io9.com. "Never mind that Hollywood, in enlarging upon the bare plot of the story, had likewise reduced its scope by making Klaatu, and not the eight-foot robot, the Master of the title. Never mind that it was murked up a bit at the end (a la “The Incredible Shrinking Man” of a few years later) by a misbegotten “message,” 1950’s style. ... This was The Story." This is a presentation of the Diversions of the Groovy Kind images, posted so that you can scroll down through the comic pages without having to click and enlarge them.


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_________________
"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:15 am
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“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (1940)
pgs 146-179 – filmed as The Day the Earth Stood Still in 1951, and distorted quite a bit as The Day the Earth Stood Still in 2008
PART TWO

Who made it into a Film?
Julian Blaustein was the producer, and Robert Wise was the director. Blaustein hired Edmund H. North to write the script, which is very loosely based on the basic ideas of the story, plus a large number of ideas that Blaustein had.

Image

Bernard Herrmann wrote a fabulous soundtrack for the film, using elements that were new then, but were copied so often and faithfully that they later became cliché musical tropes for science fiction movies. Some say that this is the first film score in which the Theremin was used for its otherworldly sound, and the first in which backwards-recorded music was used as part of the score.

How did it turn out?
Many of you recall that this became a favorite film of mine when I saw it on Saturday Night at the Movies in 1962. It is still one of my favorite movies. It is one of the films that made me love the movies. Getting to see it in HD when I bought the Blu-ray of the 2008 film was wonderful. In fact, for several months after the purchase I watched only the 1951 movie.

Robert Wise reveals in the behind the scenes feature included on my DVD of the 1951 film, that because the story was somewhat unusual, he wanted to keep the telling as ordinary as possible. Something comfortable and recognizable for the audience. Homey locations, familiar and normal.

Here is my review of the 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still from the Remake Rematch.

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Interestingly, even though the core of the story, and its purpose is changed for the 1951 film, there are many similarities that remain between the 1940 short story and the 1951 movie. They are adjusted for placement and purpose within the movie, but when I read through the story for the 3rd or 4th time I began to see that not everything in Bates' tale was pushed aside when the anti-nuclear-bomb movie was concocted.

For example: Klaatu is shot, and killed almost immediately after stepping out of the large, oblong traveler in the short story. In the film Klaatu is shot and killed near the end while trying to make the meeting with Dr. Barnhardt at the spaceship.

Gnut is green, nude but for a loincloth. Gnut is 8-feet tall. In the movie Gort is ...well, it's black and white. We have no idea what color he is. But he doesn't have a humanoid face, and his body and limbs are pretty simple tubes. He is, however, wearing what look like trunks. And he is 8 feet tall.
Cliff establishes a very favorable financial deal in order to reveal what he knows about Gnut and his movement. In the film Tom the insurance salesman attempts to make a deal to get a lot of money for telling that Mr. Carpenter is Klaatu.

Cliff enters the space ship of his own accord, while Gnut creates a short-lived copy of Klaatu using a device that Gnut cobbled together to recreate a living creature from recordings of the creature's vocalizations. In the film, Gort carries Helen Benson into the ship, where Gort then leaves her while he goes to collect Klaatu's body. He brings it to the ship and resurrects Klaatu.

Cliff rides on Gnut's shoulders to the Tidal Basin where Gnut recovers the recordings of Klaatu's voice. Cliff can feel the movement of Gnut's muscles beneath his metal skin as the robot walks. In the film, Helen Benson can't feel Gort's muscles moving beneath his metal skin. But the costume that was designed for the film shows the "metal" flexing when the robot walks, which is pretty cool in itself.

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The story has Gnut encased in Glasstex, which he melts in order to free himself. The film has the robot sealed into a block of KL-9-3 plastic, which he also melts as soon as Klaatu is dead.

As far as we know, Gnut never kills any humans in the story. But once Gort is free of the KL-9-3 and Klaatu's influence, he promptly vaporizes his two Army soldier guards.

At the end of the story the robot is revealed to be the master, not the humanoid. The closest the film comes to that is for Klaatu to admit that the league of planets has turned over policing of aggression among them to robot police who are like Gort, and if you become aggressive, they zap you. It is irrevocable. No judge or jury but Judge Gortt.
In the 2008 film the craft in which Klaatu and the GORT arrive is spherical, which might be the ovoid shape Bates refers to in the story. Although the traveler is described as having ends. Which spheres do not. Oh, and this brings us to remakes.

Was there a remake?
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Yes. I'm not going to say it should not have been made, I'm just going to express the opinion that, since the 1951 film was not "Farewell to the Master" the 2008 remake should have stayed closer to the story devised for 1951. But it didn't, and the story that was developed is just...pointless. It also introduces magic and hocus-pocus to what Klaatu can do, and that's just...pointless. The techno-magic of the first film was meant to be, and was presented as some amazing technical way that Klaatu's people have of stopping electric current remotely, even selectively. For Klaatu to hand-wave two choppers into a mid-air collision in the 2008 film is just...pointless. My review of the 2008 film in the Remake Rematch thread is also pointless.

You Can Watch It.
Both films are available through many channels. But both are still covered by copyright. So, unless you have connections, you will have to pay to see.



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Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates. A pdf. digital-eel.com. "From his perch high on the ladder above the museum floor, Cliff Sutherland studied carefully each line and shadow of the great robot, then turned and looked thoughtfully down at the rush of visitors come from all over the Solar System to see Gnut and the traveler for themselves and to hear once again their amazing, tragic story."

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008). YouTookMyName's Remake Rematch Thread at The Corrierino.

Julian Blaustein. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "After retiring from the film industry, Blaustein became an Adjunct Professor of Communication at Stanford University, where he taught documentary writing and directing and supervised a Master's program in screenwriting."

Robert Wise. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Later cineastes, such as Martin Scorsese, insist that despite Wise's legendary workaday concentration on stylistic perfection within the confines of genre and budget, his choice of subject matter and approach still functioned to identify Wise as an artist and not merely an artisan."

Edmund H. North. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Edmund Hall North (March 12, 1911 – August 28, 1990), was an American screenwriter who shared an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with Francis Ford Coppola in 1970 for their script for Patton."

Harry Bates (author). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Harry Bates was born Hiram Gilmore Bates III on October 9, 1900 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began working for William Clayton in the 1920s as the editor of adventure pulp magazines. When Clayton proposed a period adventure magazine, Bates suggested several alternatives that he said would be easier to edit, and Astounding Science Fiction was the result."

The Day the Earth Stood Still. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Of the elements that he added to Klaatu's character, screenwriter Edmund North said, 'It was my private little joke. I never discussed this angle with Blaustein or Wise because I didn't want it expressed. I had originally hoped that the Christ comparison would be subliminal.'"

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The critical reviews were mainly negative, with 186 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes showing only 21% of them were positive; typically the film was found to be 'heavy on special effects, but without a coherent story at its base'."

The Wise Man In The Movie World. the-sound-of-music-guide.com. "As you can see from the list below, Robert Wise has directed films that are science fiction, horror and musicals, as well as westerns, adventure, war and comedies. Wise himself says that he has done every genre there is."

Blaustein, Julian Biography. movies pictures.org.

Herrmann Centennial Concert Work Series. filmscoremonthly.com. "With Herrmann's Hollywood success came a new peak in prestige at CBS and a strengthening of his relationship with the New York Philharmonic."


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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels


Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:15 am
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