One Neat Thing a Day

Or two or three or four or…

  • Subscribe

  • Who is us?

    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

  • Flickr Photos

    Maiso-beach in Autumn

    forest deep

    Quiraing

    Thirsty wolf



    Zoji La

    Lark - Coastal Christmas

    Fruiteria de la Rambla

    stone & wheel

    And Know the Devil is the Work of God

    More Photos

Archive for February, 2010

2-27-10 The Secret, Sordid Life of Daniel Cady Eaton

Posted by Sean on February 27, 2010

We interrupt your bat-turned-Batman-turned-goth theme for that blog staple, the work rant.

I work at a company that sells historic documents. Of course, their definition of “historic documents” may differ from yours. Your idea of historic documents may include the Magna Charta and the Constitution of the United States. For my employer, it’s nudie photos signed by Playmates of the Month and baseball cards of players whose entire major league career was three games with the Boston Browns Braves.

Anyway, part of my job is transcribing old letters onto our Web site; that way, customers can read them and decide if they want to buy them or not. On Wednesday, I was transcribing some letters from the 19th century botanist Daniel Cady Eaton, when I came across a paragraph that floored me. It’s so wondrous, I’m not even sure if it’s real. I reproduce it below for your edification and elucidation:

Last evening I brought her three little red lady-apples, and she was perfectly delighted with them. This morning, while with the nurse she ate half of one of them, and bit into another before the nurse knew it. At noon when Carrie & were with her I gave her the bitten apple to play with. At first she offered to bite into it, and I told her ‘No! No! Baby may play with the apple, but not eat it.’ And the dear child played with it half an hour, and never offered to bite it again. (emphasis mine)

History records that Eaton later bought his daughter a puppy and then butchered it right in front of her, and that his daughter grew up to be Ann Coulter.

You have to wonder what else was going on in Eaton’s life, what else you might discover if just took the time to read between the lines.

And since I had a lot of letters of his to transcribe…

Take this other letter from Eaton:

Today Carrie (his wife) & I have been to see a Poultry show- & were much interested- I saw some Light Brahma’s rather larger than mine, but no hens handsomer than one or two of those you brought us- the cocks were rather ahead of mine-

To which I wanted to add: “That’s our life. Poultry shows. Non-stop action and adventure and poultry shows. I was much interested, but I don’t think Carrie was. She spent the whole show out behind the tent taking long pulls from the flask that she’s been carrying in her purse lately, muttering about stretch marks and twenty years of marriage down the tubes and crying. Her loss. Those Light Brahmas were AWESOME. Carrie did seem much interested in the cocks, though, or at least she kept reminding me of how their cocks were rather ahead of mine. I wonder why.”

My dear Father, I am very glad you are well and happy, and regret that Mother has had a series of headaches –

“Carrie has had a series of headaches, too – every single damned night since that poultry show. I wouldn’t complain except that it was over two years ago. In other news, we’ve hired a pool service. Things have gotten a little weird around the house since then. Carrie insists on greeting the pool boy in a black lace teddy and garter belts, then tells me we’re low on milk and shoves me out the door. Also, we don’t have a pool. But it does give me more time to go to poultry shows.”

(T)he all-white cock lost his head this morning in an endeavor to dull the edge of a hatchet

“The heft of the axe… The power of life and death over a helpless animal… The pleading look in the chicken’s dark eye… Then the flat sound of the axe hitting wood! The feel of the blade slicing through vertebrae! The red, the glorious red of the blood! The death throes of the chicken fading, fading, fading… gone… Oh Gooooooood…”

Bessy (his daughter) found a little compass today, & I had to tell her all about it, & she understood enough to tell the servants that it was to find ones way with on the ocean ,& that it pointed to the North Star ‘that stays, while the other stars all go round & round & round & round’.

“I also told Bessy that demons made the needle point at the North Star and that if she wasn’t a good girl they’d come out late one night and rip her liver out of her chest and eat it and then swing her sorry little carcass round & round & round & round before dragging her screaming down to Hell. God, I love doing that. That was even better than the shit I pulled with the apples. The fees for little Bessy’s electroshock therapy and the bribes to keep the servants from reporting me to Family Services are killing us but, still, good times.

Nelly has declined Carrie’s invitation to visit her, saying that she is too sad to see any one- I really feel very anxious about Nelly; she seems to make no effort to control her feelings, &may find herself at last unable to do so.

“Just because she saw her entire family killed in a freak combine accident yesterday doesn’t mean she can mope around like a sad sack and feel sorry for herself. Little ingrate. In other news, Carrie is divorcing me and marrying a test pilot. He benches 350 pounds, speaks seven languages without an accent and wrestles tigers for fun. But I’ll bet his hens aren’t handsomer than mine.”

Many thanks for getting one the postal currency; it is almost impossible to get any but the raggedest and dirtyest [sic] sort here-

“The money that I have… The things that I’ve done for that money, the terrible, horrible, unholy things that I’ve done for that money. I hesitate even to look at it, that greasy, slimy, FILTHY money. My hands are dirty so dirty and I make the water as hot as I can and I use that lye soap that raises blisters on my skin and I scrub and scrub and scrub and scrub but it doesn’t come off! IT NEVER COMES OFF! I can SEE the GERMS crawling on them! The air is thick with their noxious exhalations, like a fetid fog rolling in off a diseased swamp during a dead man’s moon! CONTAMINATED! I am contaminated! I! CAN! FEEL! THE GERMS! INSIDE ME! Crawling through my blood vessels! Dirtying my pristine bowels with their SATANIC filth! Wrapping their grasping, greedy, HUNGRY tentacles around my brain! My hot, sweaty, sticky BRAIN! How can Jesus allow a foul reeking putrid mucus-dripping slime-encrusted vomit-emitting soul as I in His holy sight! Surely he will cut me with his cruel cruel knife and then LAUGH at me! I CAN FEEL HIS RIGHTEOUS WRATH BURGEONING, SURGING, CRESTING INTO A SOUL-BLASTING, WORLD-ATOMIZING STORM OF CLEANSING FIRE! HIDE ME, FATHER! HIDE ME, MOTHER! HIDE ME, SWEET EARTH, FROM THE INESCAPABLE FURY, THE BURNING HATRED AND BLAZING RAGE OF THE LORD! Anyway, if you can get that money to me, that’d be great.”

In January I have 248 eggs – or 8 every day on an average- or from each laying hen ,(14 of them) 248/14 or 18 eggs in the month on an average

“I’ve been doing the same kinds of calculations with my toenail clippings ever since Carrie left me. And did you know that you can eat six live chickens before you have to throw up? Found that out last night. Boy, they won’t be letting me back into that poultry show any time soon.”

Posted in bulldada, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Sean, Funny | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Looking Glass

Posted by shanoah on February 26, 2010

Oh, George W definitely has a comic book mentality. Which in no way rules out him being like Adam West, of course.

The word freakadelic happened to remind me that I had a freaky music video from the Birthday Massacre sitting around. And I can’t have that, so here’s the music video for the song ‘Looking Glass’. Not sure I can really explain it, but it has conformity, people wearing masks, teachers putting nails in students minds, and poisonous oozing apples.

Perfect fodder for the blog, in other words…

Posted in Batty, bulldada, fnord, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Shanoah, Gooey Gummi Goodness, I Tunes Not U Tunes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

2-26-10 Thee Oh Sees – Enemy Destruct

Posted by Sean on February 26, 2010

Well, I did it again.

I made an ass out of myself on this blog, not to mention completely missed the point of Shanoah’s post [1] (but that’s nothing new).

Don’t get me wrong. My comments on Frank Miller and Holy Terror, Batman! were honest, from-the-heart and I think well-crafted making-an-ass-out-of-myselfness. The fact remains, though, that I made an ass out of myself.

So I think I’m going to muzzle my political id for a bit and instead play some freakadelic surf punk from Thee Oh Sees. It’s a bit of a wrench from traditional romantic ballads, but then musical whiplash is nothing new here.

 You can kill as many hypothetical terrorists as you want, Mr. Miller. This is my kind of enemy destruct.

And if Thee Oh Sees sound familiar, and you think you’ve heard them before on this bat-channel… well, perhaps you have.

Slightly out of sync video courtesy of Parade of Flesh (site here). Recorded live in Dallas at Lounge on Elm St for Sxsflesh in March of 2009.

Here’s a faster version recorded live in glorious Black-and-White-o-Vision at Seattle’s Funhouse, and less than a week ago, no less! Who says One Neat Thing A Day is irrelevant and out of touch! We do, that’s who!

Courtesy of sebaker24.

[1] Are you saying that Dubya has a comic book mentality, Shanoah? Or are you equating President George W. Bush to Mayor Adam West? Either works, really.

Posted in FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Sean, I Tunes Not U Tunes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Annachie Gordon

Posted by shanoah on February 25, 2010

Actually, my main thought was that maybe George W was influenced in his speechmaking by having watched too much Batman. Ah well.

Anyways, Batman has Commissioner Gordon. And Scotland has a lovely song titled Annachie Gordon (or Auchanachie. Presumably Annachie is a simplified version of the name). Which otherwise has nothing to do with Batman. (Unless Commissioner Gordon’s first name is Auchanachie, but it seems doubtful. [1])

Like many ballads (a child ballad, in fact, I believe), it tells a story. There’s an interesting commentary here, but I’ll sort of sum up what is going on.

Jeannie is in love with Annachie Gordon, who is away at sea. Her father, as always in these things, is playing the villain, and is making her marry some rich git, Lord Saltoun. Even after being married to him, she refuses to sleep with her.

Her father then goes to the bedchamber with her, and tells her maid to remove Jeannie’s gown, intent on making her sleep with Lord Saltoun. (He obviously has issues. Especially since he previously called her a whore.) At that point, she dies of ‘a broken heart’.

Conveniently, Annachie gets back that day, finds out of Jeannie’s death, goes to her bedside, kisses her, then dies himself.

Beautiful song, though, and I’ve got a video here of the amazing Mary Black singing it. This song is very traditional; a few well known people have sung it. This is probably one of the best renditions, though. Only worksafe if no one notices the word ‘whore’ in the song. Which is quite possible; her voice is so amazing you can easily forget everything else…

[1] Though it would be hell of cool. Damn, why hasn’t anyone ever redone Batman with it taking place in Scotland?

Posted in A Thought from a Sticky Mood, Blogs, From Shanoah, Gooey Gummi Goodness, I Tunes Not U Tunes | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

2-25-10 Frank Miller. The Dark Knight. “Holy Terror, Batman!” ‘Nuff Said.

Posted by Sean on February 24, 2010

UPDATE (3-9-10): I just realized something: I forgot to mention that the bolded text in Frank Miller’s NPR editorial were my emphasis, not his. Sorry about that.

Oh no you didn’t, Shanoah.

You didn’t just write a post linking the Dark Knight and the most misunderestimated Warrior on Terror™ of our times.

You did.

Sigh.

* * * WARNING WARNING WARNING * * *

* BLOG RANT ALERT * BLOG RANT ALERT *
ELEVATED LEVELS OF INCOHERENT AND IMPOTENT VITRIOL DETECTED

My neat thing today is neat only in the way that watching a drunken bum fight is neat: Batman is joining the War on Terror™! Or he will be! Maybe!

Frank Miller announced way way way back in 2006, at San Francisco’s WonderCon, that Batman will be fighting Al Qaeda in a book titled, or possibly titled, Holy Terror, Batman!

He went on to tell the Daily Telegraph: “It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a piece of propaganda – Batman kicks al-Qa’eda’s ass.” [1]

To which I responded with: Oh.

Fucking.

Goody.

This is old news to you comic otaku, of course, but it’s the first thing that popped into my head when I heard Dubya and Batman mentioned in the same breath; we here at One Neat Thing a Day don’t worry ourselves over pesky things like being current or even relevant. I’m not even sure if I believe this story, if it’s a viable project, or if it’s just like Orson Welles directing The Bat-Manjust another hoax. It’s just too wonderful to be real.

Now, you might think that Batman is going to hunt down and destroy Goldstein I mean Al Qaeda for, say, collapsing the Twin Towers and killing thousands of Americans. Hauling supposedly unstoppable and uncatchable criminals before a magistrate (or a criminal psychologist) is Batman’s thing. Done right, with equal parts John le Carré and Operation: Wrath of God and with Batman’s mad ninja skeelz, his aversion to taking life and his… issues, it might actually be a cool read.

If you thought that, then you are a dumbass.

See, Batman’s a superhero, and superheroes are apparently all about creepy, ultimate good/blackest evil, never-the-twain-shall-meet dualisms. You know! Like a comic book! Or G. I. Joe! So Batman kicking Al Qaeda’s collective ass isn’t just about justice or even about justice at all! It’s about Fighting the Good Fight and Ensuring A Better Tomorrow For Our Children™ and Freedom™ and Democracy™ and making sure Sauron doesn’t get the One Ring!

Actually, no, it’s about kicking ass.

Mr. Miller laid out the philosophical underpinnings for Holy Terror, Batman!, not to mention a healthy dose of self-hatred, in a NPR editorial entitled That Old Piece of Cloth that aired, you guessed it, on Sept. 11, 2006:

I was just a boy in the 1960s. My adolescence wasn’t infused with the civil rights struggle or the sexual revolution or the Vietnam War, but with their aftermath.

My high school teachers were ex-hippies and Vietnam vets. People who protested the war and people who served as soldiers. I was taught more about John Lennon than I was about Thomas Jefferson.

Both of my parents were World War II veterans. FDR-era patriots. And I was exactly the age to rebel against them.

It all fit together rather neatly. I could never stomach the flower-child twaddle of the ’60s crowd and I was ready to believe that our flag was just an old piece of cloth and that patriotism was just some quaint relic, best left behind us.

It was all about the ideas. I schooled myself in the writings of Madison and Franklin and Adams and Jefferson. I came to love those noble, indestructible ideas. They were ideas, to my young mind, of rebellion and independence, not of idolatry.

But not that piece of old cloth. To me, that stood for unthinking patriotism. It meant about as much to me as that insipid peace sign that was everywhere I looked: just another symbol of a generation’s sentimentality, of its narcissistic worship of its own past glories.

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated — reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old conceit. It’s self-preservation.
I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don’t all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you’ve got to do what you can to help your country survive. That’s if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

So I’ve gotten rather fond of that old piece of cloth. Now, when I look at it, I see something precious. I see something perishable. (emphasis mine)

We all went crazy on Sept. 11, 2001, I think. We acted like wounded animals. It didn’t matter who got hurt, so long as someone did. That’s natural and expected.

The problem is that a lot of people didn’t snap out of it. Mr. Miller appears to have been one of them.

So what’s he going to do to Help Our Country, Warts And All, Survive?

He’s going to write a comic book where a grown man in a bat costume beats the living shit out of some Third World guys with beards.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. After all, Mr. Miller is the man who brought us the spectacle of 300, which pitted the slave-owning and despotic free and democratic Spartans against the swarthy invading hordes of Iran Persia.

But he’s got something better than 300 tanned, oiled, ripped and barechested Greeks chopping apart Arabs Persians in slow motion this time! As he told the Daily Telegraph: “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for.”

No, Mr. Miller.

Superheroes are about justice, helping the helpless, defending the defenseless and making this gravity well a better place to live in, not kicking ass. There is a difference, even if many people have forgotten that.

More importanly, though, Mr. Miller, Al Qaeda is not Hitler or Tojo.

Nazi Germany and her ally Japan were threats because they had some of the biggest armies and navies in the world, not to mention plenty of land, resources and subjects from several years of unrestricted empire building. Nazi Germany also had the most advanced weapons and military hardware in the world, at least at the start of World War II. Nazi Germany conquered most of Europe, and Japan most of the Pacific and much of Asia. Nazi Germany also gassed people and then stuffed them in ovens, and Japan raped Nanking and then raped women and called them “comfort women”. Both did involuntary medical experiments, used work-em-till-they-drop slave labor and killed millions.

Al Qaeda, on the other hand, has no expeditionary capability whatsoever. It has no navy. It has no air force. It has no way to land an army on our shores or parachute them behind our defenses. It doesn’t even have an army, unless you count a bunch of guys with AKs, mortars and improvised bombs (emphasis on the “improvised”).

The only reason we even care about Al Qaeda, besides the aforementioned dragging them before a magistrate,  is because they might get their hands on a nuke or launch a terrorist attack inside the U. S. – and quite frankly, stopping those are jobs for our spies and our police, not our soldiers.

‘Course, this is a moot point because we’re not even fighting Al Qaeda. We’re fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and a bunch of extremely pissed-off Iraqis in Iraq. (Yes! We’re still in Iraq! And still fighting in Iraq!) We don’t even know where Al Qaeda is. They might be in Afghanistan. They might be in Pakistan. They might living above your Aunt Tessie’s garage. We don’t know, thanks to George W. Bush invading Iraq and then giving his dad the finger. All we know is they’re out there, we can’t find them and we can’t touch them.

But there are other scary motherfuckers with beards out there! Oh goody! Let’s bomb them!

This, of course, reaches to the heart of why Batman fighting Al Qaeda creeps me out. I look at the U. S. Armed Forces – the most advanced, most ass-kickingest combined military force in the world – and then I look at the people they’re fighting. I don’t see Nazi hordes. I see a couple brown-skinned guys with AK-47s, the Weapon of Choice for the fighter on a budget.

Yes, they’re religious fanatics and drug dealers.

They’re also dirt poor and fighting us with whatever piecemeal weapons they can scrounge – and fighting us in their backyards and their homes, I might add.

This is your “existential threat” to America and Freedom™ and Democracy™, Mr. Miller? And why do I suddenly feel like I’m in Star Wars and our soldiers are wearing white plastic armor and saying things like “rebel scum”?

Why do I feel like I’m on the side of the Empire and not the rebels? Why do I feel like one of the bad guys?

Can you answer me that, Mr. Miller? Can you answer me why I would support a idle multi-billionare ninja with more Wonderful Toys than James Bond and his own personal War on Terror™?

Almost everything about the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the War on Terror™ and post-2001 McPatriotism in general makes me feel greasy and icky and corrupted. But happy Mr. Miller doesn’t appear to have a problem with any of that, which is why he’s treating us to yet another spectacle: a rich playboy with father issues [2] beating up  poverty-wracked brown-skinned people.

There’s also something cheap and exploitative about this project. As Mr. Miller told Rotten Tomatoes in 2007: “It’s bound to offend just about everybody.” Even the title (or one of its titles) is cheap, like the campy 1960s TV series that it takes inspriation from: Holy Terror, Batman!

This is what’s happened to our heroes. Once, they stood for something. Now they’re direct-to-DVD from Troma.

Actually, I shouldn’t drag Troma into this. When they offend people, they do it right. They make pointless, gratuitous, drop-dead funny sex and violence. They don’t make propaganda for The Man.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think that he should publish Holy, Terror, Batman! [3] As he told the Daily Telegraph, “It’s an explosion from my gut reaction of what’s happening now, a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we’re up against.” Writing can be therapeutic, and if Mr. Miller was as traumatized as he seems by Sept. 11, 2001, then more power to him. If nothing else, it’s honest.

Still, if he wants therapy, maybe he should follow the advice of fellow Batman author Grant Morrison [4]:

Batman vs. Al Qaeda! It might as well be Bin Laden vs. King Kong! Or how about the sinister Al Qaeda mastermind up against a hungry Hannibal Lecter! For all the good it’s likely to do. Cheering on a fictional character as he beats up fictionalized terrorists seems like a decadent indulgence when real terrorists are killing real people in the real world. I’d be so much more impressed if Frank Miller gave up all this graphic novel nonsense, joined the Army and, with a howl of undying hate, rushed headlong onto the front lines with the young soldiers who are actually risking life and limb ‘vs’ Al Qaeda. (emphasis mine)

For that matter, I wish all the “real men” and “patriots” who support the War on Terror™ and the Eternal Struggle Against Elemental Evil would follow Morrison’s advice. Maybe they’d get an idea of what war is really like. Maybe they wouldn’t support it so thoughtlessly and relentlessly next time.

Maybe there wouldn’t be another 9/11.

That’s what would make the world a better place.

[1] The Daily Telegraph adds: “In this compendium of all his statements, bin Laden does not name Batman personally, but attacks America as ‘the Great Satan’ for exporting a culture of pornography and violence.” Nobody does sarcasm like the Brits. Nobody.

[2] George W. Bush?

[3] I also think that Troma should adapt Holy Terror, Batman! into a movie. Seeing a terrorist doing a Troma Meltdown after being punched in the face by Toxic Avenger Batman would make my life complete.

[4] I also love Morrison’s take on Batman: “…I want to see a Batman that combines the cynic, the scholar, the daredevil, the businessman, the superhero, the wit, the lateral thinker, the aristocrat. He terrifies the guilty but he has great compassion for the weak and the downtrodden and will lay his life on the line for anybody who’s in trouble. He’s a master of yoga and meditation who has as much control over his body and his feelings as any human. He has a wider range of experiences than most people will dream of in ten lifetimes. This is not a one-note character! So, while I won’t pretend we all live on Sunnybrook Farm, I don’t think its appropriate – particularly in trying times – to present our fictional heroes as unsmiling vengeance machines. I’d rather Batman embodied the best that secular humanism has to offer – a sour-faced, sexually-repressed, humorless, uptight, angry, and all-round grim ‘n’ gritty Batman would be more likely to join the Taliban surely?” (again, emphasis mine) [6]

[5] Yes, I like footnotes. [6]

[6] You already knew that? [7]

[7] Oh, good.

Posted in bulldada, fnord, FREAKIN' IMPORTANT MAN, From Sean, Islamocommunifeminihomofascists, Politics and Other Things In Which I'm Not Qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bush or Batman?

Posted by shanoah on February 24, 2010

Well, as long as we’re on the topic on Batman, you might be interested in this ‘Secret Pants Sketch Comedy’ video.

They had someone go around with a series of 30 quotes asking people to identify which were from George W. Bush, and which were from Batman in the 1960’s tv series. It’s not as easy as it sounds…

Posted in Batty, Blogs, bulldada, From Shanoah, Funny, Happy Media, I'm probably going to hell for this | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

2-24-10 Orson Welles and Citizen Bat-Man

Posted by Sean on February 24, 2010

Speaking of superheroes with serious father issues and bat fetishes

You may have heard that Orson Welles was planning to make a movie based on Batman. Mark Millar broke the story here at Comic Book Resources in 2003 when his friend, movie critic Lionel Hutton, was given “unprecedented access” to Welles’ estate. Hutton discovered that, after completion of 1946’s The Stranger, Welles had begun serious planning on an adult psycho-drama, but combined with what he described as the ‘heart-racing excitement of the Saturday morning serials, given a respectable twist and a whole new style of kinetic direction unlike anything ever attempted in American cinema.'”

Welles had supposedly gotten as far as drawing production sketches, writing a treatment and draft script and even getting stars to commit to the project: “George Raft signing up for Two-Face (after Bogart turned it down), James Cagney as The Riddler, Basil Rathbone as The Joker and Welles’ former lover Marlene Dietrich as a very exotic Catwoman with the same salubrious past Miller gave the character forty years later in Batman: Year One.” It blew up because of his ego (surprise surprise). He wanted to be Batman and Bruce Wayne, but “the studio” – which remained unidentified in Millar’s story – wanted Gregory Peck.

The tragedy for movie buffs is that, like Welles’ proposed adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the world wouldn’t get to see a Batman feature until the campy 1966 movie with Adam West. The tragedy for comic-book aficionados is that our big shot at respectability, when the genre was so young that people hadn’t made up their minds about us yet, was blown because of an argument over something as small and petty as casting. The movie could have been a disaster, it’s impossible to say, but the production notes, the treatment and the first draft I’ve been reading over the last couple of weeks makes me think this could have redefined cinema. This could have been his masterpiece and, who knows, might have launched the superhero renaissance we’re undergoing at the moment with quality cast and directors two or three generations earlier. John Ford following up “The Bat-Man” with a “Captain America” movie? Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn as Clark Kent and Lois Lane? In some weird, parallel reality these things are DVDs collecting dust on our video-shelves and Clint Eastwood is wishing some studio would give his funny, old Unforgiven cowboy flick half a chance at the next pitch meeting.

Yes, you wonder what could have been if Welles’ had been able to put a veneer of respectability on the comic book genre, which has suffered from low public and self esteem since birth. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Well, guess what?

Comic Books Resources later revealed here that the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated by Millar, complete with a Batman costume sketch by his friend Bryan Hitch. Welles, the perpetrator of one of the 20th century’s greatest hoaxes, would have been proud.

I know I swallowed it. I mean, I saw the production sketches! Well, a sketch! It had to be true!

However, beyond my gullibility, it did make sense. Welles was a young Turk in those days, a Hollywood outsider who wasn’t tied down to what was “respectable”. The guy was the Shadow, fer cryin’ out loud! As Millar pointed out:

It’s no secret that Orson Welles had a love of the pulps, having voiced The Shadow on radio and conceiving the illustrious War Of The Worlds scam, but what’s lesser known is his love of comic-books right up to his death in 1985. What’s especially startling is that his appreciation for the medium was no real secret and he even wrote an article for The Village Voice in 1973 raving about the Denny O’Neil/ Neal Adams “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” book (The Real Counter-Culture Lives Here) and even attending, with no real fanfare, one of the earliest New York comic conventions organised by Phil Seuling.

So it was just smoke and mirrors. Still, you have to wonder… what would have an Orson Welles-directed Batman movie been like? Sirrus79 wondered that, too, and decided to stitch together a two-part “extended trailer” of 1947’s smash hit The Bat-Man, with Orson Welles as Bruce Wayne and The Bat-Man, Edward G. Robinson as the Penguin, Marlene Dietrich as Cat-Woman and Mercury Theatre veteran Joseph Cotten as Commissioner Gordon.

Part 1

Part 2

Posted in bulldada, From Sean, Happy Media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Silent Shadow of the Bat-Man

Posted by shanoah on February 22, 2010

I’m not sure how bats were involved in that song either, Sean.

I did stumble on this, though. Someone pieced together bits of several classic movies to make a retro silent film telling the story of Batman. Most of the films used were actually influences on Batman being created.

The sources listed as being used were:

THE BAT (1926)
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928)
THE CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI (1920)
Edison’s FRANKENSTEIN (1910)
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (1910)
BATMAN (1943 for Ghul and Wayne in Lab)

The Man Who Laughs for the Joker was perfect. The original was in two youtube videos, which I’ll show here, but it looked like he’s done followups.

Part 1

Part 2

Posted in Batty, Blogs, bulldada, From Shanoah | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

2-20-10 Emalkay – Bats in the Belfry

Posted by Sean on February 20, 2010

Mmmm, bats. Yeah, we haven’t had nearly enough of them on the blog, have we, Shanoah?

This is Emalkay’s Bats in the Belfry. Not sure what it has to do with bats but, eh, whatever.

Courtesy of itsaim1.

Posted in Batty, From Sean, I Tunes Not U Tunes | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Vampire Bat

Posted by shanoah on February 20, 2010

Yep, freedom of speech is important. (Which is probably why nothing in this post is work safe) Mind, I couldn’t get much into Immortal Techniques song because he kept rapping over the same few seconds of Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry.

As I really like that song, I found it really distracting. I kept expecting Hey, Mr. Churchill comes over here to say we’re doing splendidly to kick in at some point.

Of course, freedom of speech is very important in music (and in other places). I know Frank Zappa would agree with me (1 2). And we’d never get artists like Wesley Willis singing what the voices in his head dictate, whether it is about how he murdered your family, the way he kicked Spidermans ass, or even about Vampire Bats,otherwise:

Of course, the big stuff about censoring music when Frank Zappa was around largely was talking about songs like Prince’s ‘Darling Nikki’, because it talked about masturbation. And we can’t have that, right?

Posted in A Thought from a Sticky Mood, Batty, Blogs, bulldada, fnord, From Shanoah, Happy Media, I Tunes Not U Tunes, I'm probably going to hell for this, Not Work Safe, Wenches For Your Toolbox | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.