Back in the 1960s that blandest of bland American cultural icons, Archie was brought to TV as an animation. From that show came a more fantasy-centered spinoff, based on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and spun off from that came a weird show called the Groovie Goolies. It has two things in common with Archie spinoffs: it's A) not very funny but B) waaaaaay funnier than Archie.

Look, it was the 1970s. It was a different time. Everyone was SO high.

The Groovy Goolies are basically cute cartoon versions of a bunch of different monsters – ghosts, mummies, witches, gouls and what have you. They live in a castle called Horrible Hall, and play in a bubblegum rock band headed by Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster. However, these horror elements are all purely decorative. The characters and situations are all perfectly kid friendly, no scares to be seen – in fact, the monstrous main characters were frequently depicted as terrified by perfectly mundane situations. ...continue reading "The Groovie Goolies – 1970-71"

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Explosion rocks Megacenter

By Harmony Sunshine, owner/manager EarthLife Health Store

Greetings! Unfortunately, Karl Wintergreen who usually makes the newsletter is still in hospital. I hope we are all sending our best thoughts and prayers to him to help aid in his recovery. Hopefully, now that he is away from the hateful meat fumes from the kebab shop, he will be able to gather the necessary positivity he needs to actualise his own inner health, projecting it on his broken body. Until he gets back, I'm sharing newsletter duties with Barry from the other health supplement store, the one with all of the big jars of whey powder. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 49: Newsletter 3"

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If you don't remember the 1970s, perhaps this will jog your memory.... I'll see myself out.

We open on footage of people jogging. How to achieve immortality 1970s style! Love it! Nimoy gives speech about the inevitability of death. "Most of us will live for a billion heartbeats," he says, which is an interesting way of looking at it. He goes on to say that death is less inevitable than it used to be which… look, things are inevitable or they aren't. It's not a sliding scale. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E15 Immortality."

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Standing by the shower-head display, Sadie McGregor watched Fiona from a distance. The young woman was talking to a customer, an elegant woman in her middle thirties who seemed confused about the differences between sink plungers. Sadie's assistant Donna had been talking to Fiona, talking to her about important things. Matters of guilt and honesty. Crime and punishment.

Light and dark.

"Timing, Sadie."

The voice belonged to her sister, the severely misnamed Angela.

"What about timing?" ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 48 – Timing"

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Now comes the point where I owe In Search Of… an apology.

insearchof2-14

In the earlier episodes in the series, the show was very hasty to proclaim some new discovery imminent. Atlantis was just about to be found, aliens were just about to be proved, ESP was on the verge of acceptance by the scientific community, and yet here we are forty years later with all of those things still considered eccentric fringe ideas.

And I said that if ever the show predicted something correctly, I'd admit it. Obviously, I didn't expect I'd ever have to, and this episode marks the point where I eat crow. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E14 The Secrets of Life"

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What did you say about my hair?

In medieval Prague, the learned Rabbi Löw (Albert Steinrück) predicts that the Jewish Ghetto will be threatened by the Emperor, who wants to drive out or kill the Jews. Sure enough, the Emperor (Otto Gebühr) gives just such a decree to his douchiest knight, Florian (Lothar Müthel). Florian takes the message to the Ghetto, falling in (requited) love with the Rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova).

Rabbi Löw builds a man out of clay. With the help of his assistant Famulus (Ernst Deutsch), he summons the dark spirit Astaroth, and force it to give them the magic word to animate the clay man. This word is placed in an amulet which is put around the neck of the clay man and it comes to life as the Golem (Paul Wegener). The Golem is clearly not happy at being ordered around and knocks Famulus over, but Löw discovers that he can deactivate the monster by removing its amulet. ...continue reading "The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920)"

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Fanaka was beginning feel an attraction to Nalda. This bothered him. He wasn't a stupid man, after all. He was a physicist with advanced training in transtempero-dimensional topography, which is about as far from being stupid as you can get. He knew perfectly well that Nalda was an emotionless, murderous cyborg. He knew that she wanted every human being dead. It was only her perspective as a time traveller that prevented a murderous rampage. From her point of view all humans were dead, she was just waiting for the world to catch up with her memories.

Even if he hadn't known that about her, sleeping on the sofa in her spare room had shown him quite a lot of warning signs. The impossibly neat piles of Soldier of Fortune magazine. The fact that no DVD in her collection didn't have a gun prominently displayed on the cover. The way her kitchen contained two dozen razor sharp knives but no food. None of these suggested a person with a lovable nature.

Still, when the light struck her face in a certain way, it made her thin lips and square chin… ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 47 — Hearts and Skulls"

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This is going to be fun! A nice piece of inconsequential weirdness to ring in the new year.

In 1918, the Russian royal family were massacred by the Bolsheviks. Theories that the Czar Nicholas II's youngest daughter—the Grand Duchess Anastasia—somehow survived the executioners' bullets have been around for decades. But spoiler alert: in 2007 DNA evidence was used to prove that she died in 1918 after all.insearchof2-13

Now, while it is a little unfair to blame a show from 1978 for not knowing that, it does mean that for once I'm going into an episode with absolute certainty. It's not a case of 'yeah, but…' It's not a case of 'that doesn't seem likely'. It's not a case of 'what, the Minoans?' or 'but last week, you said...' or even 'I don't think that's how archaeology works.' This time, when they ask the question 'did Anastasia survive?' I don't even have to wonder. Nope! Just nope! ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E13 Anastasia"

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Taking a week off, coming back after New Year. But I leave you with this short story. Enjoy!

***

Light stabs my eyes as the hood come off. My hands are bound, so I cannot shield my face. A figure is silhouetted in the bright light. No, not silhouetted. Some of the light seems to come through the figure, as if it isn't all there. I am already bound, helpless and terrified, yet the sight of this translucent form makes my guts feel like ice.

They have me. Them.

"Name?" the figure says.

"Please," I say. "What have I done?"

"The sooner you answer, the sooner you will be processed. Name?"

"I am Oswick Bozzbaddle."

It raises a clipboard, opaque against the light, and makes a tick. The sound of the pen on paper is hard; precise.  "Do you like Christmas, Bozzbaddle?" ...continue reading "Yuletide 101"

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The skirmishing was over and war had come at last to the Handy Pavilion. Employees that had used to arrive by bus or on foot were now in mandatory car pools. Safety in numbers. Every effort had been made to conceal from the public all of the preparations for battle. Still, an observant customer might have noticed how the theft-prevention people on the door had their attention focused outside rather than in; how the skylights all suddenly sported heavy iron grilles; how the woodwork demonstrations now seemed to produce nothing but baseball bats.

Axel Platzoff sat alone in the breakroom, building a matchstick model of the Riechstag and wondering about the role he would play in the coming conflict. He'd been involved in wars before. He was a veteran of wars of secrets, wars of infinities, invasions, civil wars and a seeming endless array of world crises. They were always hard. Hard on survivors, harder on the dead. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 46 — Farewell"

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