Friday, 30 June 2017

The Mummy in Comics Part IV

WEB OF MYSTERY 23 (1954)
published by Ace Magazines 

NIGHTMARE #11  (1954)
published by St. John 

BEWARE #14 (1955)
published by Trojan Magazines 

published by American Comics Group/ACG

published by Marvel Comics

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Mummy in Comics Part III

HAUNT OF FEAR  #4 (1950)
published by EC Comics

published by Harvey Comics

American Comics Group /ACG 

published by Prize Comics

EERIE #16 (1954)
published Avon Periodicals

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Mummy in Comics Part II

BLACKHAWK #53 (1952)
published by Quality Comics

published by DC Comics

Blue Beetle #1 (1964)
published by Charlton

SUPERBOY #123 (1965)
published by DC Comics

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Mummy in Comics Part I

SILVER STREAK #15 (1941)
published by Lev Gleason/ Comics House

As promised in Hypnogoria 60 - Pharaohs in the 50s, here's the first in a series of galleries showing mummies in comics in the 40s, 50s, and 60s! In this selection we find assorted superheroes tangling with mummies! 

published by Ace Magazines

was the fourteenth of seventeen animated Superman cartoons

WONDER WOMAN #37 (1949)
published by DC Comics 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

HYPNOGORIA 61 - Mysteries of the Mummy Part X - Pharaohs in the 50s

At long last, Mr Jim returns to explore once more the mysteries of the mummy! In this episode, we discover what the Mummy was doing in the years between the end of the Universal series and the dawn of the Hammer cycle. We track down appearances in popular culture, talk about the mummies found lurking in the infamous 50s horror comics, and discuss two mummy movies from that era - both of which you can view for free and legally online - 

Curse of the Faceless Man (1958) 

The Pharaoh's Curse (1957)

DIRECT DOWNLOAD -  Mysteries of the Mummy Part X - Pharaohs in the 50s

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

FOLKLORE ON FRIDAY - Midsummer Magic

Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen's Beach by P.S. Krøyer

Well once again Midsummer is upon us, and at long last I've got round to penning another little delve into the world of folklore. Now the summer solstice has had a special significance for many cultures over the centuries - being the longest day of the year it is obviously is an important, but easy to observe. marker in the calendar of the year. And I sure I need not go into realms of detail about the numerous monuments of the ancient world that were constructed to cast shadows or catch beams of sun on the summer solstice. However as an accurate reckoning of the time of the year is very important for the agricultural calendar, it is perhaps not surprising that marking Midsummer's Day was often an important social event as well as a spiritual one. In the British Isles there seems to have been a long tradition of making merry and lighting bonfires on this date. For example, John Stow in his book The Survey of London (1598) tells us - 
In the months of June and July, on the vigils of festival days, and on the same festival days in the evenings after the sun setting, there were usually made bonfires in the streets, every man bestowing wood or labour towards them; the wealthier sort also, before their doors near to the said bonfires, would set out tables on the vigils, furnished with sweet bread and good drink, and on the festival days with meats and drinks plentifully, whereunto they would invite their neighbours and passengers also to sit and be merry with them in great familiarity, praising God for his benefits bestowed on them. These were called bonfires as well of good amity amongst neighbours that being before at controversy, were there, by the labour of others, reconciled, and made of bitter enemies loving friends; and also for the virtue that a great fire hath to purge the infection of the air.
This national tradition of lighting bonfires began to die out in the 17th century, however it continued in continued in rural England until the 19th century, with local versions often involving processions of assorted officials, and parades with effigies. And of course a handful of such rustic celebrations still survive today. But while some many well be Victorian recreations of older folk traditions, it should noted that there is now a new tradition of Midsummer celebrations. in the shape of the Glastonbury Festival (and similar events), which is always held on the nearest weekend to the summer solstice. 

The Christian Church also marked Midsummer too. The Catholic Church assigned the date of 24th of June as the birthday of St John the Baptist, and consequently celebrating the nativity of this saint and midsummer celebrations began fused together in many places, with the longest day being erroneously celebrated a few days late on June 24th. However it probaby due to St. John, that Midsummer gained a long standing tradition as being a night of divination. For example, there is a very old English folk belief that concerning fern seeds. Now ferns actually reproduce by releasing spores, however our ancestors were somewhat baffled by the fact that this common, and often rapidly spreading, plant appeared not to produce seeds in the usual fashion.

Midsummer Eve by Edward Robert Hughes

Hence it was thought that the seeds therefore must be invisible. Furthermore a tradition emerged that stated that fern seeds could only be seen at Midsummer Eve, and that ferns only released their seeds upon this magical night, with some version of the old belief holding that the fern would put of a blue flower at sunset that would bloom and release the seeds at midnight. And the reason why fern seeds were only produced on this one night of the year was linked to the birth of St John - 
The Angell did foretell John Baptist should be borne at that very instant, in which the Fernseede, at other times invisible, did fall; intimating... that this Saint of God had some extraordinary vertue from the circumstances of his birth
from The Originall of Unbelief (1625) by Thomas Jackson

This fern folklore furthermore evolved to state that if one possessed a fern seed, it would grant its owner various magical powers, such the ability to find lost things (including treasure), to be able to see faeries, and to become invisible. This latter claim was even recorded by Shakespeare - 
We have the receipt of the Fernseede, we walk invisible
from Henry the Fourth Part I 

Hence traditions of assorted rituals and vigils to catch a fern seed on Midsummer Eve emerged. For example in Middlesex, it was said that the seed should be caught by placing  a plate near the plant and the would-be invisible man should hope a seed would land in it. However the seed must plant of its own accord on the plate, for any attempt to interfere would ruin the magical properties of the seed. 

However there were other rites and charms for Midsummer, and again there are links back to St. John. As John the Baptist was seen as the man who foretold the coming of Christ, therefore the date of his nativity was considered a good night for attempting to see the future yourself - a time when what is normally invisible can be seen if you will. And the link to this particular saint can be detected in another widespread bit of folk magic practiced on Midsummer Eve. In 18th century weekly London newspaper The Connoisseur we have one of the oldest recorded versions of the charm of the Midsummer Rose - 
If I go backwards without speaking a word into the garden upon a Midsummer Eve, and gather a Rose, and keep it in a clean sheet of paper, without looking at it, till Christmas Day, it will be as fresh as in June, and if I then stick it in my bosom, he that is my husband will come and take it out
from The Connoisseur, Volume 2 (1755) by "Mr Town"

Now there are many similar charms that allegedly will reveal your one true love, and somewhat surprisingly many of them are to be carried out on Hallowe'en night (see here for more details)! But this particular love rite is very closely linked to midsummer and John the Baptist. For Christian lore held that good St. John was born exactly six months before Jesus, and hence the church set his birthday at Midsummer. And so we have that exact, same half year as part of the magic in this love charm.

Of course if you are of a certain age, not doubt you too find each passing year seems to go faster. And hence hence this old folk charms seems to underline the fact that while once winter seemed far away from the heat of the longest day, for us older folks, midsummer is a reminder that Christmas will be here before we know it...

Midsummer Roses by Leonard Charles Nightingale 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

THE 'ORRIBLE 'OUSE OF TERRIBLE OLD TAT #18 - It Came From Beyond the Chiller Cabinet... Or Possibly Skaro (Slight Return)

Welcome once again dear fiends to the 'Orrible 'Ouse of Terrible Old Tat! Now then, on your past few visits, we been hanging around a vintage freezer and exploring the weird and wonderful world of ice lollies of yesteryear. Last time we saw how the long-running Sky Ray lolly had a hugely successful tie-in with Doctor Who, and this week we are looking at a time when the lolly world once again caught a dose of Dalekmania... 

As we have previously documented, well at least in the slack arsed mixture of trivia and flippant remarks that passes for historical research around here, the 1960s were the beginning of the Great Lolly Wars, a groovy time when many corner shops gained a chiller cabinet, which in turn played host to a new wave of frozen confectionary and icy snacks. Now it didn't take long for the highly competitive new market to realise the power of the tie-in, and as well as the previously discussed Doctor Who promos, there were other tie-in campaigns with properties popular with the pocket money crowd. For example, the Orbit lolly had a tie-in with Captain Scarlet, the Sky Ray rival Zoom allied itself with another Gerry Anderson Show Joe 90, while the Fab lolly rather cleverly featured Lady Penelope and Parker from Thunderbirds on its wrappers for a time.

However in the 1970s, the lolly makers would change tack. Throughout the '60s numerous new species of lollies had been concocted, but few ever lasted more than a few years. So then instead of trying to breathe new life into an existing lolly, one that was already looking a little long in the tooth, with some tie-in promotion, they hit upon the idea of cutting out the middle-man and launching lollies directly branded to the tie-in property. And one of the earlier and finest examples of this approach hit the shelves, well the chiller cabinets in 1975. 

Now in the closing overs of 1974, a new Doctor had taken over the TARDIS, with Tom Baker beginning his long-running tenure of the role. And this newly minted Fourth Doctor would meet some old enemies in his first season, most notably with a six part adventure now regarded as one of the great classics of the original series - Genesis of the Daleks which aired in March and April 1975. This tale not only introduced the iconic villain Davros, the twisted genius who created the Skaroine terrors, but also kicked off a fresh wave of Dalekmania.
As we heard last time, lolly giant Walls had made a pretty penny in the first great wave of Dalekmania back in the mid '60s with their Sky Ray tie-in. However while Sky Rays were still rocketing out of chiller cabinets throughout the '70s (and indeed into the '80s too), rather than dust off the old market strategy, instead the boffins at Walls' secret labs created a brand new lolly just for the Daleks! Sporting a tasty combination of mint and chocolate ice cream, in 1975 the Dalek's Death Ray hit the shops! 

Now many of these kinds of novelty brand lollies never lasted long, however the Dalek's Death Ray terrorised the nation's freezers for three glorious years. However apart from having a great flavour - which is more than can be said for other tie-in lollies I could mention), Walls cunningly made the wrappers of these lollies collectible in themselves. The first wave of Death Rays in 1975 - retailing at 5p! -  came with three variants - 
  • Plain (no feature) 
  • Make A Dalek 
  • Win a Real Life-Size Dalek 

However the following year, in 1976, Walls started branding the lollies with the tag-line "From the World of the Daleks", and launched a series of wrappers to collect, that featured art and text all about the Daleks. Here a listing of the full series -
  • Transmol
  • The Grenium Invisibility System
  • Dalek Officer
  • The Cyclops Z-Ray
  • Daleks and the Ancient Britons
  • When the Daleks Flooded the Earth!
  • The Swamp Creatures of Terroth
  • A Dalek Deep Space Battle Cruiser

And in 1977, Walls repeated the same trick, with Dalek's Death Rays now featuring a series of wrappers detailing "The Incredible Daleks" -
  • A Dalek Raid against the primitive Megapods
  • How Daleks bend time
  • A Dalek ‘Buggy’
  • The great Dalek workshops on the planet Styros
  • Venusians attack a small Dalek base
  •  A fleet of Dalek Starships in a meteor storm
  • The Great Laser ‘Destructor’ used to conquer the planet Ur

Now on the face of it, it might seem that these collectible wrappers were something of a step down from the '60s Sky Ray tie-ins, which boasted individual, full colour cards to collect, plus send-offs for books and badges. However while it was undoubtedly a cheaper promotion, it did have some advantages. Firstly the smaller number of wrappers - 8 in the From the World of the Daleks range, and 7 in The Incredible Daleks - meant that it was far easier for kids to collect and complete their sets - by way of contrast the '60s Sky Ray lolly promo featured a whopping 36 cards. Secondly they were also easier to collect - the earlier cards that you had to buy sight unseen, whereas with these, you could just sort through the lollies in the shop and select the wrapper you didn't have.

And I have no doubt that if the Daleks had appeared again on TV in the late '70s, this rather tasty lolly would have lasted longer too. But as it was, the Doctor was not fated to meet his oldest foes again until 1979 in Destiny of the Daleks, and hence with no new appearances to stoke the fires of Dalekmania, sadly the Dalek's Death Ray never returned for the summer of 1978. Of course, by then there was a  new kid on the scifi block and naturally that summer the chiller cabinet was visited by a lolly from a galaxy far far  away... But that's another story! 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

HYPNOGORIA 60 - The Natural History of the Batman Special - Holy Bat-Commentary

To mark the passing of the late great Adam West, Mr Jim Moon pays tribute with a special chapter of Bat-history - a complete commentary for Batman the Movie (1966)

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - The Natural History of the Batman Special - Bat-Commentary

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

THE 'ORRIBLE 'OUSE OF TERRIBLE OLD TAT #17 - It Came From Beyond the Chiller Cabinet... Or Possibly Skaro

Welcome once again to the 'Orrible 'Ouse of the Terrible Old Tat! That's it, come in! Be careful not to trip over all the dropped 'H's mind... Anyhow, what can I get you? Cup of tea? Pack of hedgehog flavoured crisps perhaps? No? Well, at risk of sounding like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, can I offer you a lolly?

Now then, last time we were taking a look at some of the cunning promotions employed to hawk one of Britain's longest-lasting species of ice lolly, the space age Sky Ray from Walls. Now in the mid-60s, this rocket-shaped delight had offered assorted merchandise under the name of Moon Fleet, a kind of pretend NASA for the nation's kids. However later in the decade, in 1967, Walls changed tack and netted a very lucrative tie-in deal indeed. For there was a new figure in the world of SF, an eccentric fellow who travelled in a blue box...

The timing of this Sky Ray tie-in is very interesting, for it comes at the beginning of the Second Doctor era, just as Patrick Troughton was taking over the reins from William Hartnell. Now aside from the excitement this first regeneration brought, the show itself was changing direction too. Hartnell's Doctor had met many strange creatures and interplanetary folk, but he had also journeyed into the past, encountering famous figures, and providing some educational history in a dramatic guise. However in the Troughton era, this sort of story - dubbed  "historicals" by fans - was to disappear. And in its place came more monsters and alien invaders, and the show pioneered what we now refer to as "the base under siege" story line. Of course, the most famous of the show's monsters were the Daleks, and it's no coincidence that the first season of the Second Doctor's adventures featured not one but two Dalek stories, Power of the Daleks  at the beginning, and Evil of the Daleks at the end.

We should also note that in licensing terms the Daleks were very much their own brand. Their copyright belonged to their creator, Terry Nation, who had quickly spotted the market for merchandise. Hence by the time the Sky  Ray promotion came around there were already Dalek branded toys, badges and books, produced separate from any Doctor Who paraphernalia. Hence this Sky Ray promotion was effectively a double tie-in! 

But what of the promotion itself? Well as you can see from the full page, full colour advert reproduced above that appeared in comics such as in the legendary Eagle, this was a two part deal. Firstly each lolly came with a full colour painted card, and secondly by collecting wrappers you could send off for Doctor Who's Space Adventure Book. And in this tome, there were puzzles, Dalek facts, a board game, and of course, pages where you could stick in all the cards and read the story behind the pictures! All of which added up to a double bonus for Dalek fans and lots of repeat sales for Walls as kids collected the cards and wrappers. And thanks to the magic of the interwebs, you can see the full set of cards mounted in a book here

As you can see, the actual Sky Ray lollies themselves turned up in the tale as the vehicles of the Special Duty Space Commandos! A very nice touch! Yes, the Daleks apparently did once have to fight a bunch of interstellar ice lollies! And you thought the Movellans were rubbish enemies!

However it has to be said, the Doctor doesn't exactly closely resemble Patrick Troughton. Some have wondered whether the art was originally done when Hartnell was still the Doctor and hastily (and not very convincingly) altered at the last minute. Of course also by this time, there had been two big screen Dalek movies, starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor, so possibly the somewhat odd looking Doctor is a three-way hedged bet - sort of like a Fly style transporter pod accident involving Hartnell, Troughton and the Cush! 

The campaign was also promoted heavily on the TV, and you can see the original ad here -

And yes, that's not dear old Pat Troughton either! The chap doing his best to hide from the camera is a fellow called Gerry Grant apparently - who surely must take the prize for the most obscure and briefest performance as the Doctor ever!

However this wasn't to be the only time that the Daleks invaded the nation's chiller cabinets... Next time, we'll voyage into the 1970s, to a time when a trip to the corner shop could bring you face to face with a Dalek death ray!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

HYPNOGORIA 59 - Are Mummies Zombies?

In this episode, Mr Jim Moon tackles one of the most troubling questions of our times, a question that has perplexed the minds of man for... ohh.. ages now! Yes, in this episode we attempt to settle once and for all the age-old question of are mummies zombies? 

DIRECT DOWNLOAD -  HYPNOGORIA 59 - Are Mummies Zombies? 

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Sunday, 4 June 2017

HYPNOGORIA 58 - Live & Let Die

In a special episode, Mr Jim Moon pays tribute to the late great Sir Roger Moore with a commentary track for his debut outing as James Bond 007, the voodoo flavoured Live and Let Die (1973)


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