“M*A*S*H” turned 50 years old this past Saturday, folks. It debuted on September 17, 1972, and ran for 11 seasons. (The “M*A*S*H” feature film preceded it by two years — the movie was itself an adaptation of Richard Hooker’s 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.)
So the show is as old as I am. And that’s pretty old.
This show was an institution when I was growing up. It was just one of those shows that seemed like it had always been there — like the original “Star Trek” (1966-1969). It was beloved of my dad and older siblings, even if I was too young to fully appreciate it at the time. Dear lord, did it make people laugh.
Frazetta painted the artwork in 1963, if I am not mistaken. This particular reprint of the Burroughs classic was published by Ace Books in 1969.
“Kingdom of the Spiders” (1977) was yet another 70’s bug-apocalypse flick that aired from time to time on 1980’s television. As I recall, this one was kinda good … or at least it was scary enough to impress me as a grade-school kid. The movie wisely made use of a truly frightening adversary (and used live tarantulas for filming). And it had the kind of jarring, open-ended final scene that I hadn’t seen before for a sci-fi/horror film.
The only thing that detracted from its creep-factor was the presence of William Shatner as the lead. It wasn’t that Shatner did a poor job with the role — it was just that he was indelibly linked in my young mind to his iconic role in the original “Star Trek” (1966-1969). I simply couldn’t get past the idea that Captain Kirk was an ordinary veterinarian; it took me out of the movie. I’m willing to bet that Shatner was helming the cop drama “T.J. Hooker” (1982-1986) at around the time that I saw “Kingdom of the Spiders,” but that was a show I didn’t watch.
Anyway, if you want to catch the flick in its entirety, you can find the whole thing over at Youtube right here.
This is just a smattering of the early “Godzilla” movies that thrilled me as a kid. They played on television in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s. Hot damn, was I happy when these came on. It was the next best thing to a holiday.
The first trailer that you see (and the photo below) is for the original “Godzilla” in 1954. That scene where he tears through the high-tension powerlines made a big impression on me as a little boy. I never forgot it. I should point out that I (like most of the world) saw the Americanized version of the movie, which was heavily re-edited and released in 1956. (That is indeed Raymond Burr that you see in the trailer.)
“Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1976) is another that I remember well — probably because I saw it as an older child.
Am I crazy, or does the “Son of Godzilla” trailer from 1969 mention “Frankenstein” for some reason? Something got lost in translation.
I am still a little surprised at the harsher criticism I’m hearing of this year’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” (It was indeed brainless, as its detractors point out, but it was still fun enough for me to give it pretty forgiving review.)
Hey … if you think the new movie was goofy, you should see the Godzilla movies that I grew up with. No, I wasn’t alive in 1969, but these movies ran periodically on television in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I was utterly awed by them when I watched them with my older brother.
But they are cringeworthy to any sane adult. Take a look at the trailer below (sorry I couldn’t find one in English), and the two clips that follow it.
Okay … this wasn’t technically a “Godzilla” movie because the radioactive (?) lizard is absent. (It might have actually been set in a different fictional universe.) This film’s putative good-guy is the eponymous “Gamera,” who is a giant, space-faring turtle with … rockets that can deploy from the rear of his shell … from the leg holes. And he employs gymnastics to fight his enemies. (See the second video below.)
There was one part of this movie that scared the heck out of me as a little kid. You see the two little boys? They’re abducted by some sexy lady aliens whose nefarious plan is to eat their brains, thus absorbing strategic knowledge of the Earth they wished to conquer. Seriously, they give the kids drugged donuts and plan to open their skulls, and that scared the $^%# out of me.
Still think the new movie was a mess?
Warren Publishing Company.