Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
From time to time, I Google "Hyde and Hare", out of curiosity on whether or not my article on the cartoon is receiving recognition, and also on whether there might be some gorgeous new works "spun off" from the cartoon, its elements, its aesthetic, and occasionally, as this Weblog has shown, I come upon something very impressive, so much so that I choose to acknowledge it and post an image of it to this Weblog. Such is the case today. And without further adieu, here is what someone somewhere has produced. By far, the most stunning cartoon character statuettes that I have ever seen. Outstanding craftmanship!
One imagines the hours of intricate labour that was put into this project. In clear contradiction to the dismissive attitudes of legions of cartoon fans at discussion forums where "Hyde and Hare" is concerned, the Bugs Bunny cartoon about the doctor with the chemically induced split personality, cannot be said not to imprint itself on some people's psyches, to such a degree that such people are motivated to bring that imprinting into some tangible reality. My imprinting begat my article. This person's imprinting has yielded an awesome pair of carved-from-clay statuettes. I cannot laud his or her work more highly than I now do. Magnificent! I wish that I could have one to sit alongside my Funko Pop figures of Bugs Bunny and Mr. Hyde (which still are pristine inside unopened packaging, by the way).
And this superlative work of art is not all that I found in my Google search for "Hyde and Hare".
A Podcast shortly before Halloween this year contained a discussion on Friz Freleng's three cartoon shorts employing the Jekyll-and-Hyde concept. It does meander into some other topics, and one has to be patient and stay with it until the conversation returns to the aforementioned subject, but it is a discourse that brought smiles to my face at numerous times. One of the participants even quotes some of my writing, though not my article on "Hyde and Hare", rather my tribute to Friz Freleng. The discussion on cartoons focuses mostly on "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide", actually. Mention of "Hyde and Hare" and "Hyde and Go Tweet" is tangential to the attention given "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide". The participants do offer some interesting new perspectives on "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide". One of them saw that cartoon recently for the first time, and on a movie theatre screen, yet. He was struck at the core of his soul at how violent and how graphic in violence and intensely disturbing that some of the scenes are, most especially the one wherein the Sylvester monster emerges from a second transformation, i.e. the one that occurs in the private room with the table trunk, and surgically claws a petrified-with-terror Alfie into chunks, and Alfie soon falling to pieces in front of Chester.
Here is the Hyperlink to that Podcast.
Despite proclamations by my detractors at the Golden Age Cartoons discussion forum that I am totally alone and therefore of no value, eminently dismissible, in appreciation for "Hyde and Hare" and the other two Friz Freleng-directed nods to "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (such obvious efforts at "gaslighting" by people who reject the idea that anything not directed by Clampett, Avery, Jones, Tashlin could possibly garner valid, upholdable accolades), there continue to be people who prove that I am not the only person to whom "Hyde and Hare", and the other two, commanded recognition, aesthetic attention, and left some substantial impression.
Why, why, why cannot we have a Blu-Ray with all three of these cartoons? To date, "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide" is not on digital videodisc at all, "Hyde and Go Tweet" is on DVD only in a late 1990s film-to-video transfer, and almost all of its footage used in Daffy Duck's Quackbusters, is on the DVD of that movie. And "Hyde and Hare" is on DVD in Standard Definition and on Blu-Ray in an upscaled 1998 film-to-video transfer.
Sunday, November 27, 2022.
Sad news to report. Tim Beddows of Network Distributing, the man responsible for that U.K. company's restorations and releases onto home video media of vintage television programmes, has died at the disturbingly early age of 59. Just three years senior to me, he was. Mr. Beddows' name can be seen on the opening to the "These Episodes" documentary on the Space: 1999 DVD and Blu-Ray sets of Network Distributing and also of North America's Shout! Factory, as Executive Producer of that documentary. Mr. Beddows was the man who green-lit every release of Space: 1999 by Network, including the DVD Special Edition for Season 1 in 2005, the Blu-Ray release of Season 1 in 2010, the Blu-Ray and DVD release of Season 2 in 2015, the complete television series Blu-Ray sets of Space: 1999 under the Network label, and the Super Space Theatre project of last year. I do not believe it to be hyperbolic to say that without Tim Beddows, Space: 1999's only kick of the can in the digital video disc formats of home video media would have been the very deficient releases on DVD by A & E and Carlton of the very early 2000s. Space: 1999 would not have looked as magnificent as it does on my sixty-three-inch television were it not for Tim Beddows. I tip my hat eternally to him and will be forever grateful for all that he has done for my favourite television programme. I would say that Space: 1999 is the crown jewel in all that he achieved in his tenure at Network Distributing. But then, I would, would I not? I am certainly not unbiased. But the restoration of Season 2 and the Blu-Ray release of same was voted the Network effort of the year in 2015. May Mr. Tim Beddows so rest in peace.
I have to say also that I applaud Mr. Beddows' decision to not commission any of Kindred's Space: 1999 Documentary for the Season 2 release. I made the unwise decision to sit through it again last evening. The cranky whinging about Fred Freiberger and the decisions made for second season just goes on and and on and on and on. One person after another. No counter-opinion. Was any effort even made to find one? I could say the same thing for the AlphaCon documentary of 1991. Erwin Stank was there to offer some commentary for Season 2 being funny, and to say that he liked it "a lot" for the "bug-eyed monsters", before remarking that he "grew into" first season some years later, the implication being that Season 2 was nothing but un-serious "kiddie stuff". And outside of him, there was the usual nose-in-the-air derision and the tired, old (old even for then) complaints. But in the old Space: 1999 Alliance, and less so in the monumentally skewed Alpha League, there were some people who had time enough for second season to offer some artwork or fan fiction. And there were in the mid-1990s, when the documentary was produced, still some fans who were complimenting of at least some of Season 2. "Journey to Where". "The AB Chrysalis". "Seed of Destruction". "The Bringers of Wonder". There was a fan club for Catherine Schell as Maya. To be sure, John Hug was quite praising of the production in an interview that he did for Starlog. Kevin Connor has only good things to say for the episodes that he directed. Terrance Dicks was reportedly happy with how the one episode that he wrote, "The Lambda Factor", was produced. And I know that a latter-day interview with Fred Freiberger was not sought, for him to respond to the scathing criticisms, one after the other, in The Space: 1999 Documentary. He was not aware of the documentary's existence until I mentioned it to him. Johnny Byrne particularly comes across in the documentary as an exceedingly bitter old man with scarcely any professional courtesy. Someone told me that Mr. Byrne was critical of how his contributions to the documentary were handled in the editing. I do not know. I do not know if different editing choices would have diluted his clear invective for Fred Freiberger and the twenty-four episodes of Season 2. Bottom line is that there were people other than me (I do not count; I am garbage) who might have been sought for alternative viewpoints on Season 2, in the interest of fairness.
Now, of course, every fan hates everything from the opening of "The Metamorph" to the close of "The Dorcons". The bandwagon against second season became an everyone-aboard steamroller after I left Alpha League in 1995 to many a jeer at my back, the Internet Mailing List became the primary forum for hate for Season 2, and the documentary was held high in the air as the definitive "take" on everything to do with Space: 1999 and its production. That was before the Facebook years, which have to be acknowledged as the nadir of fan discourse. I am happy that most of that discourse is closed to the general public, now that the majority of the Space: 1999 Facebook groups are private.
As I say, I do applaud Mr. Beddows for avoiding use of the documentary's second half (that which lambastes Season 2 and denies the existence of any appreciative following of it) for the Season 2 Blu-Ray set. Of course, value-added content on later releases, those of Shout! and, yes, Imprint, do "pick up the slack" for repudiating of Season 2 and telling of people how awful that it is and how foolish people must be, to want to watch it. But anyway.
I have been doing some work on my Website. To "take my mind off of" the political news in Canada, which only alternately demoralises me and boils my blood. But I am not going to say anything today about that. I would just have to delete it, anyway. To self-censor. New to my autobiography are images of the cartoons, "Wet Hare", "Big House Bunny", and "Mad as a Mars Hare" (in Era 2), images of Rocket Robin Hood title cards and some additional Doctor Who memories of 1986 ( in Era 4), and a new image of Doctor Who- "The War Games" ( in Era 6). There is a High Definition video of "Wet Hare" on Dailymotion in fully restored form ("Wet Hare" was one of the Bugs cartoons left off of the Blu-Ray set of 2020), from which I was able to do a screen capture. After some tweaking to remove digital compression artifacts, I added that screen capture to an existing assembly of images of Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour episode nine.
I wish that I had a means of preserving these High Definition videos of unreleased-on-Blu-Ray cartoons and burning some Blu-Rays of my own, but I lack the software and a Blu-Ray burner. Is someone out there in the world doing this? I sure do hope so. Physical media does not appear to have much time left. Companies like Warner Brothers would love for no one to possess physical copies of anything and to have to pay for ephemeral enjoyment of them on an Internet "streaming" service. Only the more steadfast collectors such as myself want to possess their entertainment favourites as personal property, anymore. A day or two ago, I saw some executive saying that people only pay for the enjoyment of the material being watched and not the physical product itself, when they do purchase a DVD or a Blu-Ray. And that therefore it would be allowable for a person to own nothing, enjoy something provided on demand for a single viewing, and be happy with that. No, I most emphatically say. When I buy a Blu-Ray, I am buying it to possess the entertainment as a physical property on my shelf in my home. A sizable amount of my satisfaction in watching that entertainment, comes from the knowledge that I own it. That it is mine. Not unusual, this. It is the mindset of the collector. And I am damned well not going to be propagandised or indoctrinated out of it. I pray that there are enough collectors like me to "push back" against any effort to divest us of our prized possessions. Own nothing and be happy, eh? Bull's excrement! I will never, ever, ever be happy owning nothing.
While I am on the subject of owning entertainment on physical media, there is some Blu-Ray release news to report.
Imprint has announced its February, 2023 Blu-Ray releases, and among them is The Bad News Bears Bears Go to Japan. So, I was right that the last entry in the original Bears series of films would eventually be on Blu-Ray. It was a logical thing to suppose, given that the first two Bears movies were released by Imprint, in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Of course, I will buy the Blu-Ray of The Bad News Bears Bears Go to Japan and retire the DVD that I have had of same since 2002. I do not remember watching that DVD more than twice. The Bad News Bears Bears Go to Japan is, by all objective measure, a dire Bears movie, and a deficient example of cinema in general. Tony Curtis' character is an unlikable donkey's derriere from the start of the movie to the end, and the movie is a protracted rendition of the "old hat" fish-out-of-water trope. A series of unfunny clashes between cultures strung along by a dull, dull Kelly Leak romance. The pacing is leaden. There is almost no baseball played in it. Two of the Bears whose presence was vital to the appeal of the previous movies, Tanner and Lupus, are absent without mention. Which is unforgivable, as Tanner wanting to win the big game for "the Looper" so that the two of them could go to Japan was a major component to the story of the movie prior to this one. And some other bears fall by the wayside, too. Moreover, the Bears winning the game in the Astrodome in the prior movie was said to be rewarded with a game in Japan. The game in Japan ought therefore to be guaranteed. So, why are the Bears looking at start of this movie for a sponsor for them to go to Japan? Why is Lazar (Curtis) their manager in addition to being their sponsor? What baseball coaching experience does he have? The cardinal sin of the movie is that it is boring. There are some beautiful visuals of Japan sprinkled here and there, between a wrestling (yes, wrestling!) scene involving Lazar and a love scene between Kelly and his Japanese girl-friend. But is one watching this movie for a travelogue or for baseball action with a favourite Little League team? As I say, I only watched the DVD of it twice. I never had it on VHS videocassette. I did have it on open-reel audiotape to go with its two predecessors, which I also had on open-reel audiotape. All three having been captured on audiotape from broadcasts on television. I remember doing the audiotape-recording of an ATV Saturday late-night telecast of The Bad News Bears Bears Go to Japan. Unlike the two previous Bears movies, it was not included in my roster of entertainments for Cine-Audio showings. Anyone who might have come would doubtless have "bailed" on it less than a half-hour into it.
Rumour is that the Doctor Who season to be released after Season 2 next month, will be Season 9. Not my favourite of the Jon Pertwee seasons, but definitely one that can benefit from new restoration work combining NTSC video and telecine recordings, as a few other serials of the Pertwee years have. I will welcome it, but as I have said before, with the pace at which seasons are now being released, I doubt that the entirety of the library of existing episodes of Doctor Who will be on Blu-Ray, and I do not believe that Season 13 will be released before Blu-Ray manufacture is suspended. Sometime around 2025, I expect.
All for today.
Sunday, November 6, 2022.
My computer hard drive had a catastrophic failure this past Thursday, and I purchased a new computer at Best Buy yesterday. All told, the transaction cost me upwards of $1100. I pray that this computer lasts longer than its predecessor, which was not operational for even five years, and was increasingly sluggish in the final two years of its use.
Website updates of the past week were all to autobiographical Web pages, the addition to them of images of episodes of The New Avengers. The images of New Avengers episodes "Sleeper" and "Gnaws", long an inclusion in my Era 2 memoirs, are now accompanied by images of the titling of those episodes. Some new images of "Hostage" and a new set of images of "Complex" are now in Era 4, and I added a image of the titling to "Dead Men Are Dangerous" to a collage of images of that episode in Era 7.
If ever there comes a time when I feel motivated to add more Web pages to my Website, one on The New Avengers would be very near the top of the list of possibilities. I have always admired that television series' ingenious formula and its episode structure style (e.g. the use of prologue ending in freeze-frame, and the main introduction with the three heroes uniting into a coat of arms, and the episode title on top of same freeze-frame), music, and many of the story ideas and certain curiously recurring subject matter. I especially love the fantastic nature of several of its episodes (those of Season 1, mostly). It is so sad that the television show's presence on home video is so lacking in quality, even by DVD standards. Network Distributing was planning a Blu-Ray release, but for inability to come to some particular terms, that Blu-Ray release was abandoned. And the primary rights holder, StudioCanal, does not appear to be interested in itself releasing The New Avengers to Blu-Ray to go alongside the existing Blu-Rays of the original Avengers.
Another reason why I like The New Avengers is the number of Space: 1999 actors and actresses In it. Which is to be expected, one supposes, as it was made at Pinewood Studios, its first season before the cameras in the same year that saw the production of Season 2 Space: 1999. Gareth Hunt, who played third lead character Mike Gambit, was in Space: 1999. Other actors and actresses in both television programmes were Prentis Hancock, Peter Cushing, Michael Sheard, Roy Boyd, Kevin Stoney, Michael Culver, Stuart Damon, Yasuko Nagazumi, Pamela Stephenson, Peter Porteous, Ina Skriver, Gary Waldhorn, Roy Marsden, Eric Carte, and Jeremy Young.
In some of my more fanciful ruminations of late, I have been contemplating how The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" might fit into the universe and continuity of Space: 1999. In his book, Space: 1999- The Vault, Chris Bentley posits that the characters of The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" may be contemporaries of the Moonbase Alphans, venturing into space on the near-light-speed spaceship, the Altares, sometime before the Moon is blasted out of Earth orbit. He notes that the mission of the Altares would have to initiate before Space: 1999's opener, "Breakaway", as the Moon is shown being passed by the Altares after the latter's departure from Earth-orbiting Space Station Delta. Very true, this. The Moon is seen shortly after the Altares left Space Station Delta.
The Ultra Probe in 1996 needed a travel time of eight months to reach the outer Solar System. Light would reach that far from Earth within a range of five to six hours. To go from Ultra Probeship speeds to a drive capable of propelling a spaceship almost as fast as light is a leap that would seem highly improbable within a three-year window. But let one assume that a breakthrough in photon propulsion did occur in the mid-1990s. Would Cellini and his crew have been so enthusiastic about boarding one of the alien spaceships in the "graveyard" if near-light-speed technology were already a distinct possibility on Earth? Okay. Maybe the breakthrough was during the Ultra mission and Cellini and company were not told about it. But this is too short a time, I would think, to have a test craft ready to go, and to be considered safe enough for children to crew it, sometime before mid-1999. And the existence of Space Station Delta, the "jump-off point" for humanity's venture to the stars, is rather problematic. As is seen in both "Dragon's Domain" and "Breakaway", it is the Centauri Space Dock that is that "jump-off point". It and Moonbase Alpha itself. Centauri Space Dock looks quite unimpressive compared with Space Station Delta. If Space Station Delta exists at the same time as Centauri Space Dock and clearly has so much more to it, why not use it for the launching of the Meta Probe in 1999? It must have more facilities, surely, by dint of its size. Moreover, the crew of the Altares, if they were of the late 1990s, would be shuttled in an Eagle to Space Station Delta and not the spacecraft in which they are shown to be transported.
I still very much like the idea of The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" being in Space: 1999's universe. Indeed, mention in The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" of the ecosystem of Earth being in a state of advanced deterioration would fit with what was shown to have become of Earth in "Journey to Where". The technology in The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" very closely resembles that in Space: 1999, though perhaps a decade or two more advanced in some respects. The clothing styles are remarkably similar. As is that of luggage.
So, how might I envisage The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" being in the Space: 1999 universe? How could I possibly explain the Moon being shown in Earth's vicinity if it is decades after "Breakaway" when The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" commences? Simple. It is not the Moon but a projection of an image of the Moon. After losing the Moon, the peoples of Earth craved the aesthetic of Moonlight. That and the illumination of the nighttime sky that the Moon had provided. So, after Space Station Delta was built to replace Moonbase Alpha as Earth's supreme achievement, a decision was made to astral-project an image of the Moon in continuous orbit, the source of astral-projection being Space Station Delta as it circles Earth. And now that this one item has been dealt-with, it is quite possible to position The Day After Tomorrow- "Into Infinity" somewhere in the early twenty-first century. Who knows? Maybe someday, the Altares may encounter Moonbase Alpha. Now, there is an idea for story material for fan fiction writers.
It is easier still to place Journey to the Far Side of the Sun in Space: 1999's universe, for there is no sign of the Moon in Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. No mention. No visualisation. Indeed, with the discovery of the other planet, Earth's mirror image, the sight of an alternate, mirrored Moon would be a "tip-off" of the mirrored Earth notion quite awhile before Col. Glenn Ross (Roy Thinnes) comes to his realisation about the mirrored world. As there is no such "tip-off", no sighting of a mirror Moon in orbit around the mirror Earth, one can only conclude that the Moon is no longer in orbit about the Earth in Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. Logical, no?
Journey to the Far Side of the Sun may therefore be posited to occur in a post-"Breakaway" time. A time wherein the governments of Earth all point fingers for the disaster on 13 September, 1999, with the World Space Commission soon becoming everyone's scapegoat, it having been overseer of the nuclear waste disposal programme. The World Space Commission loses public favour and government funding, and is disbanded. With public interest in space exploration still high, old national or regional space agencies begin to reassert themselves. Eurosec reaches dominance outside of the United States, and it is exceedingly security-conscious, as is N.A.S.A., with a Soviet space agency being of a concern. The U.S.S.R. may no longer be an expansionist, West-threatening country, but there are factions in that country that are determined to change this if they attain power. Eurosec chooses to eschew the old W.S.C. systems of technology in favour of new such systems of its own. The Eagle is "mothballed" at all space agencies, as it is most symbolic of the discredited W.S.C.. Work commences on replacing Moonbase Alpha with Space Station Delta, but until Space Station Delta construction is in an advanced stage, it cannot be a "jump-off point" for any exploratory space flights. Therefore, launches of such space flights from Earth, have to be done. So, this is the world as it is in Journey to the Far Side of the Sun in, say, the early 2010s. Sometime thereafter, space agencies converge again, maybe after photon propulsion is discovered, and there are preliminary plans to build the Altares, with everyone determined to work together on the awesome new project. Space Station Delta reaches completion of construction, and it replaces Moonbase Alpha as the "stepping stone" for expansion of humanity into the cosmos. Shortly after completion of Space Station Delta, the astral projection of the Moon starts to be cast.
Some ideas to consider. I am not planning as yet to incorporate any of this into my Space: 1999 Chronology, but maybe if I feel so-inclined, I will do so. Someday.
It is the morning of 11 November, 2022.
Forty-five years ago to this day, my father and I embarked our car for a northbound trek, from Nashwaaksis, Fredericton to the village of Douglastown in New Brunswick's Miramichi region. From the new home that we had made for ourselves, for better or for worse, in a growing suburb of Fredericton, to the small community in which our former home had been situated. From a place in which I had as yet no friends, nor any prospective friends, to the surroundings in which I had had more than a dozen friends and where my closest friend, Michael, had invited me for a weekend stay. Michael was the only friend I have ever had, to extend an invitation to me for being a accommodated guest for a number of days (those people in Calgary and Regina in the mid-1990s are excluded from this as they were not my real friends).
All of the particulars of that weekend are chronicled in my Era 3 memoirs. But I will invoke most of them again here. November 11-13, 1977 being a weekend in which I was with a best friend after nearly three months of being without the company of any friend, and also the weekend on which I first saw the "Dragon's Domain" episode of Space: 1999, with Michael and his family watching it with me, it naturally has a very, very indelible imprint on my memory. I can still visualise everything in that weekend as clearly as if it all happened yesterday. Eyeing the central New Brunswick scenery from the windows of our car as it sped northward on a course of approximately a hundred miles under grey skies. The trees in their late-autumn appearance. The deciduous ones leafless, the evergreens in their most faded colour. Listening with amusement to a radio station's transmission of the Napoleon XIV song, "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" (the things that radio stations played back then!). Eating at the Newcastle Dairy Queen with my father. Having a hot dog there. Reuniting with Michael in front of his place as a light rain was starting to fall. My father bidding adieu to me before he left us to return to Fredericton. Michael and I playing Space: 1999 in his house, most memorably his parents' room, in the afternoon hours of that Friday. The two of us sharing Jiffy Pop popcorn as we watched an episode of Logan's Run called "Crypt" that evening. Watching Coming Up Rosie and Spiderman in between servings of Saturday morning breakfast. Later that morning watching The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. Listening to my Power Records version of "Dragon's Domain" that I had brought with me, on Michael's living room stereo. Michael and I going with Michael's mother on a sunny afternoon shopping expedition in Chatham. Kraft Dinner for supper as the 6 P.M. airtime for Space: 1999 beckoned. An overlong college football game looking like it was going to cut into the alotted hour for my favourite space television programme and me preparing myself to cope with the frustration of that. And yes, it did occur. Space: 1999 would be joined already in progress at close to 6:05 (curiously, this was the only time in Space: 1999's full CBC television network run that it was joined in progress- in my part of the country, at least). I remember exactly when in the episode that was. When Helena said, "Anything traumatic?" to Tony Cellini.
I remember every sight of the episode that did impact my eyeballs. I remember the awe that I felt at sight of the Ultra Probeship, its interior and exterior, and at sound of the music that I would eventually know was "library track" composition, Albinoni's Adagio in G-Minor. It was a magnificent series of scenes as the Ultra Probeship moved gracefully through space and reached its objective, the planet Ultra, and then "veered off" to investigate something else. I remember being too scared to watch the monster scenes. I remember where in the episode I needed to flip the sides of my "compact cassette" in my audiotape machine. During an exchange of dialogue in Commissioner Dixon's office. I remember the advertisement for CBC coverage of the next day's Toronto Santa Claus Parade, and that being before the episode began its second act, with the Ultra Probeship encountering the "spaceship graveyard". I remember every cut scene in the episode as it was shown that evening. I remember watching The Muppet Show and the "Pigs in Space" segment therein, that aired on CHSJ-TV from 7 to 7:30 that evening. Watching it as I read sections of the novelisation of "Dragon's Domain" that I had brought with me, and the synopsis of the episode in The Making of Space: 1999, which I had also had in my possession for my stay with Michael. I remember the audiotape-recorded interview that Michael did with me with regard to "Dragon's Domain" to fill my audiocassette (God, I wish I still had that!), that being done after The Muppet Show as Lou Grant was airing. I remember Michael sitting with me on the bed provided to me for my stay and trying to assure me that I would not have nightmares about the monster. It was futile, for I did indeed have nightmares, and not just on that one night. And I remember the bus ride back home on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Michael and his mother saying farewell to me as I boarded the bus. Sitting in the middle of the very back seat of the bus. The man to my left periodically wiping condensation from the bus window. Reading my books to pass the time on the more-than-two-hour return to Fredericton on that bus, it stopping at the usual places. Blackville. Doaktown. Boiestown. My parents collecting me at the Fredericton Queen Street bus depot as night was starting to fall. The images of all of these are as vivid in my memory as they ever were. I still have the books and the vinyl record that I had then. And I have the entirety of Space: 1999 on Blu-Ray, including "Dragon's Domain" (with no less than three audio commentaries and a "Making-of" featurette). But people who were part of that weekend are either dead (my parents) or far, far out of reach in the Earthly side of spiritual existence. Michael and I have not seen one another in forty-two years. I have not seen Michael's mother and sister since that weekend (I was in Douglastown again with Michael in May of 1978, but I do not remember seeing any of his family on that occasion). There are times when I find myself wondering if it all actually happened, or was a dream. Sometimes, it feels like my life these past ten, twelve years since my parents' passing, was always my reality. That I have always been alone in my house, devoid of the physical presence within and without the house's walls, of family and friends.
I do not expect anyone to understand such a feeling, as my experience would seem to be unique. It does daunt me to think that it has been forty-five years since that memorable weekend. This is a feeling, at least, to which many a person of my generation, and older generations, can relate.
These days, or rather these nights, I do not have nightmares about space monsters. No, I have nightmares about people. People are the real monsters. Canada is in a particularly dire condition now, its government led by a man who admires "basic dictatorship", regards the "common man", most particularly Canadian individuals of European descent, with contempt, as nothing more than ants underfoot. People who are replaceable and who will be replaced. Ants to be crushed if they are not compliant- and especially if they have the gall to protest the government. Compliant with directives that can have life-threatening consequences. Consequences such as myocarditis, thrombosis, Guillain-Barre, and who knows what else in the longer term.
Last night, I dreamed that I was in the television production facilities of my workplace. I stumbled into a room where the Prime Minister was speaking before a small group and addressing a person seated directly in front of me. Thinking that he was talking to me, I responded to what he was saying about retirement income, and said that I wished I could have enough money to retire. Too late, I realized that he had not been talking to me, and that how I spoke did betray a government-criticising mindset. The Prime Minister was clearly angered (he was frowning, profusely) at my intrusion and the hint of criticism in my voice. I exercised the better part of valour and backed away and closed the door. I was then looking for my cat, Nero, in the parking lot of the Fredericton Mall. Nero came to me after I used the word, treats, to which I know that he is always favourably responsive. And amazingly, he allowed me to hold him as I searched for my car. I searched and searched and did not find my car until I was in Fredericton's downtown. And on my car was a listing of criminal charges against me. Just because I intruded inadvertently upon the glorious leader's gathering. Having angered the P.M., I had been deemed a domestic variant of a word starting with a t. I was not welcome in my workplace anymore, ordered removed from there at gunpoint. I had to turn Nero over to someone (I am not sure who) and go on the run. Some of my dreams have a prescience to them. I pray that such is not the case for this one.
I have discovered an error in my titling of a Rocket Robin Hood episode, the one about Electrosaurs and latter-day Romans, and am administering correction to every Web page that had the incorrect title for that episode. The Rocket Robin Hood Page, of course. Also several of my autobiographical Web pages and some of my television listings Web pages. Other updates this week to my Website include the addition of Doctor Who titles to McCorry's Memoirs Era 4 and McCorry's Memoirs Era 6, and a paragraph about my videotape-recording of Rocket Robin Hood and The Marvel Superheroes in summer of 1986 in Era 4, and expansion of my mention, in same era, of the Boston Red Sox losing the 1986 World Series, to include a reference to the "Journey to Where" episode of Space: 1999 and its suggestion of the Red Sox defeating the Cardinals of St. Louis in 1998, in combination with the fact that the Red Sox were victorious against the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. I also added Andrew Prine to the In Memoiriam section of The Littlest Hobo Page.
On November 6, I split my Weblog onto a new Web page as the previous iteration of my Weblog had reached a maximium length.
All for today.
Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
Fredericton is receiving its first late-2022 snowfall today. And there are no warm temperatures in the forecast for melting of the snow. Almost all of Canada is now north of the jet stream, with the country beset with waves of Arctic air. With the price of home heating skyrocketing, it is the worst possible time for Canada to have a longer, colder winter than normal.
I am currently working on an assemblage of Rocket Robin Hood episode title cards, to put in my Era 4 memoirs. They are requiring some digital tweaking to remove digital compression artifacts. The third season episode title cards all have slanted text of variable size, and I lack software for correcting that. I do not remember ever seeing a third season Rocket Robin Hood episode with perfectly set text in its title card. Ralph Bakshi and team may have been working so fast on Rocket Robin Hood that precision work on titles was not "on the cards", the pun be pardoned. All film prints of the episodes may show the same flawed titling.
It has been twelve and thirteen years since the DVD release of Rocket Robin Hood. Even for DVD of 2009 and 2010, the look of Rocket Robin Hood in its imprinting on DVD platters was quite deficient, and was criticised by many a DVD collector at the time. If indeed the best possible masters of the television series were sourced for that release, it would seem that Rocket Robin Hood has not received the best archival care since its heydays on Canadian television. I watched "Who'll Kill Rocket Robin?" last evening, and on my sixty-three inch High Definition television, and it looked exceedingly tatty. Colours having a bleached look. An abysmal paucity of detail on everything other than character close-ups. A pasty mess of artifacts on the blacks that are far from being inky. And portions of the lower frame at top of screen, and of upper frame on at screen bottom. I had over-scan on my televisions of the 1970s and 1980s, to be sure, and it may have hidden the flaws to the film framing, on broadcasts of Rocket Robin on ATV, CHSJ, and MITV. But something could have been done to compensate for this issue. Blackening the bottom and top inches of the frame, maybe, to cover over the flaws.
Oh, I know any new product involving Rocket Robin Hood is a forlorn hope. The world was fortunate to have had a DVD release of it, whatever the picture quality. But on a television screen of current standard, it is light-years away from premium image.
Spiderman, on the other hand, looks magnificent upscaled to High Definition on my home theatre screen. The 2004 Spiderman DVD box set continues to be a winner.
The Golden Age Cartoons Facebook group has been inactive since mid-August. It is a record amount of time for that particular Facebook group to be devoid of activity. I am not going to hazard a guess as to why this is the case. I am just noting the lack of any postings these past three months.
More addendum to my autobiographical Web pages on the subject of Tony. Some weeks ago, I was musing about considering him to be an associate rather than a friend. My thinking since then has gone further along that particular train. I am more sanguine than ever about utilising the associate designation where Tony is concerned. But still, I balk at doing a comprehensive revision of my life's story to make alterations to incorporate my new perspective.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight of several decades now, I perceive that Tony's interest in me was not friendship, but close association, association in the appreciation of works of imaginative entertainment. I was perhaps the only person he knew who liked everything that he did, and who expressed that liking in ways that were of appeal and inspiration for him. And we collaborated in the making of audiotape-recorded renditions of our own of Star Wars and other movies, basement clubs dedicated to entertainment favourites, showings on audiotape and RCA VideoDisc and videotape of our favourite works, and we compared collections of toys, books, magazines, bubble gum cards, and RCA VideoDiscs, and conversed on these items at my place and his and while en route to and from school (in school years 1981-2 and 1983-4, and in afternoons in 1979 when he met me on my way to home from school), and we combined videocassette recorders for the copying of videotapes and partook in neighbourhood baseball games. And we did go to several movies together. We did all of this. As close associates. Essential parameters of friendship, "having my back" when I was under verbal attack, i.e. telling my attackers to "back off", being someone with whom I could confide about hurt feelings, being morally supportive at times when I felt beleaguered, inviting me to birthday celebrations when everyone else in his and his brother's social life was invited, speaking of me as friend, buddy, pal, and sometimes being demonstrably affectionate, that is in a tactile way, were all absent. Yes, he resisted the allure of Andre, my sworn enemy, when David B., Eric, and Mike J. flocked to that person of clear antipathy for me. But Andre was not Tony's kind of person. Andre did not care for science fiction/fantasy. He liked sports that were mostly not Tony's cup of tea. So, Tony's continued association with me when the others were leaving me aside, was logical, within the context of an associate. Tony was annoyed with Joey calling at my door in late summer of 1979, but his annoyance was with me putting on pause something on which Tony and I were working, to go outside with Joey for awhile. It was not a friend's jealousy. The concept of that was anathema to Tony.
I did not think any of this back in the day. I considered Tony a friend. Even after he moved to Moncton and returned to our Nashwaaksis neighbourhood a year later and my expectations from him were limited, I still applied the word, friend, to him, in my thoughts. To be sure, Tony was the only person with whom I had occasion for videocassette-recorder-combination. And through him, I had connection to his brother, Steven, and to all of Steven's friends, and thereby had successful runs of video shows and such, and participation in baseball games with four, five, six persons on each team. My association with Tony had practical value. In addition to his having interests kindred with mine.
But, yes, Tony did "let me down" that awful evening in April of 1979. He did so again and again when he was dismissive of me in presence of others. And when he had no time for me on his cousin's August of 1979 visit. And when he had me be one of the last people to sign his ankle cast. And when I was kept away from the birthday parties (do I mention that in my memoirs?). And when he did not tell my detractors on the baseball field, one of them his own brother, to desist from the verbal slings and arrows. On the basis of all of this, plus the lack of any reference to me with the word, friend, or words of the same meaning, I must decline the designation of friend for Tony. Again, I am not about to undertake a revision of several of my autobiography's eras, to incorporate this therein. Not today. But maybe tomorrow. Yes, maybe tomorrow.
I do not remember writing of the non-invitations to Tony and Steven's birthday party, in my life's story. I think that I did make mention of some baseball games turning ugly. But I think that I preferred to skirt that particular matter because my intention back in 2005 in the writing of my Era 4 memoirs, was to cast Era 4 in a mostly positive light, in a largely rosy mental picture. But now, today, I am more inclined to facing and writing about all truths of the eras of my life, including those of which my recall is one of fondness. The majority of the baseball games that I played in Era 4 were enjoyable. Less so when I lost, of course, but if I was respectfully treated in losing a game, I would accept the loss with dignity and concede to having had a good time. And in Era 4's first half, most especially in 1983, I won most of the games that I played. But if I was losing, and was losing in the midst of a slump, my armour had gaps that could be penetrated to hurtful purpose. Such was the case in the latter years of Era 4. Steven, sometimes with the collaboration of Craig and his party, and oftentimes with the participation of one or two of Steven's brigade, would lead the charge to subject me to derogatory taunting, "gaslighting", "rubbing my nose in" my imminent loss as though it were an indictment against my worth or lack thereof as a player of baseball and a person of any respectability in the neighbourhood. I was goaded into departing the game, with disparaging remarks flung at my back. Tony was always, always present during these incidents. And never did he intercede in my favour. He did not come after me after I left the game, to offer consolation. There are no criteria in this for Tony to qualify as a friend. Eventually, Steven and company banned me from participating in their games. Did Tony partake in those? I think so.
It is difficult for me to invoke these memories. They underscore how devoid of real friends that I was in even my best Fredericton years, those of Era 4. No one who was present during those baseball games gone awry and said nothing in my support, should be regarded as a friend. Craig, however, did have a few moments where he did "stand up" for me, putting him in temporary, on-again/off-again friend territory. He was most definitely off-again at those adverse times on the baseball diamond. And Steven could be rather kind to me from time to time.
Why was Steven so nasty to me during those baseball games? It probably had to do with Steven's disliking of Joey and of Joey and I being friends. Probably. Very probably. It was Steven's opinion, I feel sure, that Tony was my friend and my best friend and that Joey's presence in my life as a friend was an intrusion on my connection with Tony. And Steven would not accept Joey being my assistant-partner in a video show. Some days after Joey was such for my showing of Superman in August of 1982, Steven cornered me and expressed his disagreement and disapproval with my opting for close friendship with Joey. No doubt that Superman video show was what sparked Steven to make known to me how unpopular with him my close friendship with Joey was. My not ceding to Steven's stance on the matter of me and Joey, no doubt irked him. Striking at me through the baseball game unpleasantness followed from that, I do believe. Particularly at times I was vulnerable (i.e. when I was losing). And yet, Steven had moments of respect and kindness toward me. Even in the weeks, months, years after my close friendship with Joey had become evident. This may have had some connection with the times of friction for Joey and I, Steven approving of Joey and I being separate from each other. Yes, if my memory serves me correctly, Steven's niceness toward me did tend to coincide with the times when Joey and I were not on best of terms.
My revised perspective on Eras 3 and 4 is that Tony was a valued associate, but far short of the definition of friend. Steven, likewise. Craig by and large an associate only, and almost totally for purposes of playing baseball, with some rare instances of friendship. Joey. He was a friend. A friend who frequently had umbrage with me and my ways, and therefore not guaranteed to be always of favourable bearing toward me. But a friend, all the same. My best friend, certainly, after summer of 1982. And I would say that Tony being just an associate in Era 3, the position of my best friend was open in those years to anyone who was interested in being best friends with me. Joey did not replace Tony, as the best friend position in had been vacant, vacant in Fredericton since 1977, and vacant comprising both Douglastown and Fredericton, since Michael and I had had our "falling out" in 1980. I would say that Joey actually replaced Michael.
Joey was not present on any of the occasions when I was taunted and prodded into quitting a playing of baseball. I think that if he was, he would have been on my side and at my defence. Perhaps Steven and the others knew this and did not trouble me if Joey was present. They did not want to see Joey coming to my defence, and did not want for me to see that, for if I did, the friendship between Joey and I would be closer than it was.
I was able to have a sizable number of quality times in Era 4 under the conditions that existed. I guess that this is what matters, ultimately. If I divorce them from memory of the unpleasant experiences on the baseball diamond and in some other locations, I can, in my mind, put myself back to those quality times and still have a feeling of satisfaction. Like a certain September of 1983 baseball game in which I was team captain, pitcher of decision, and victorious. In which people wanted to be on team Kevin. In which Joey, my teammate and best buddy, "had my back" after someone on our team leapt onto it when our opponents were starting to close the run gap between theirs and ours. If Steven or perhaps even Tony himself, do not like my changing of the designation of Tony from best friend of Era 3 to associate then and in Era 4, I cannot recant that. All that I will say is that their presence in my life as associates had value and was appreciated for the quality times that their presence did foster. And I will also note that they did not disparage Space: 1999 or my affection for it. I appreciate that greatly. Though they did not ever defend it or me for liking it, when it or I were being verbally attacked.
To be sure, the years of my life's third era would have been socially much emptier for lack of the presence of Tony. I would have been totally alone in my following of Cosmos 1999 in 1979 and at most of the movies that I went to see from 1978 to 1982, including The Empire Strikes Back. And I expediently left aside some of Tony's problematical deeds, including those of 12 April, 1979, because I knew this. The bottom line is that I can be appreciative of Tony and others as associates and not friends. But of course, I should desire to have friends, too. Associates alone are insufficient for a thoroughly fulfilling social existence. Which is maybe why I am cold, in the main, toward Era 3.
All for today.