Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Movie Moment: Remember, remember

November 5, 2012

“Remember, remember.” It’s that day again. Tomorrow in my country is an election day. Since my country is very bossy, this will affect many other nations as well.

I have no idea which way the election will go. I gave up a decade ago on thinking I could understand people. I have no predictions for the outcome of this election, but I have my hopes. A motif in this film is the immutability of ideas: ideas are bulletproof, indestructible.

Are they, though?

I think they are entirely personal and held inside: no one and nothing is knowable. There is no way to trust that what someone says is what they’re really thinking, nor that anyone will do what they say they are going to. I know what I want to see happen in my country and in my life, but my doubts about those things are ebbing the spontaneity and passion from me, and I hate that, and it confuses me, and I don’t want it to be so. I once had a zeal for politics unmatched by almost anyone I know, and I still follow closely what goes on, but I feel like I’ve been burned over and over, like it’s scar tissue on scar tissue, and there are all these layers of dead hard flesh between the outside and my core.

I haven’t stopped caring. I haven’t stopped wanting to change the world and my own self, but I’ve stopped believing I can be touched or healed by what someone says, promises, proclaims to think or plans to do. I’m afraid that this is reflective of not just my political opinions and doings, but my approach to more interpersonal functions. And I don’t want that. I need to get back that optimism. It’s like I’m so sure of being broken that I throw myself off the shelf so at least it’s my own idea when I’m shattered on the floor. How is that consolation? I’m still in pieces. I don’t want to be bulletproof: I just don’t want to be glass.

This too. Man, if Pirate Bay goes down, my life is over. How fucking shallow am I? Such the molotov-lobbing anarchist, me. “I just want to download Walking Dead.” Waah, waah, waah — I don’t know how to love properly and I like illegally freeloading free loads of downloads. Spoiled and purposeless little shit.

Movie Millisecond: Even if there was oxygen in your balls

November 2, 2012

Mink Stole is not going to blow you. Ever.

Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974).

Flashback Friday — Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958

November 2, 2012

The bulk of this post originally appeared on February 5, 2010 at 9:04 am.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

First up is the lovely and talented Cheryl Kubert. In going through my files to prep this entry, I realized I’d already saved several pictures from this shoot here and there for the last year, so I’m pretty pumped to share.

It’s not a cute or even particularly “themed” shoot at all, but Ms. Kubert has an almost accusing serenity that makes what would be standard shots if it were any other model seem more arresting and beyond ordinary than their composition would dictate.

It’s the eye contact, I reckon. She has deep eyes. The downward cast of her chin, the unparted lip, the steady gaze; she seems so solemn. It makes the shoot feel heavy, but in a beautiful, ruminating, kind of sad way. She has this kind of practical but somewhat unhappy sincerity to her expression and posture, an unvarnished and troubled vulnerability. It’s moody.

The written copy that accompanied this pictorial is absolute drivel. I mean, just pure shit. Its more pun-ridden and meaningless even than the b.s. that they printed up for Marlene Callahan, and that is saying something, believe me.

The strangest part about the article is that, besides being empty apple fritters and pretty nonsense, the endless stream of non sequitirs about Scandinavian idioms seemingly have almost nothing to do with the pictures.

The write-up, titled “Playmate on Skis,” describes skiing in great detail and alludes to its history in Scandinavia, which is well and good, but in the pictures Ms. Kubert is mainly not around snow whatsoever; furthermore, the article lays no claim to her being of Scandinavian descent. Just a poor job all around. Banana boats and baloney sauce, Playboy, I’m sorry. Thankfully the pictures are unique, sensitive, and artistic.

Okay, I just spent fifteen minutes hard-searching and I found the above missing link. ONE SHOT of her with skis in addition to the centerfold (which is generally shot separate from the rest of the pictorial spread). Pfft. And if that is not a fake scene outside the window, I’ll eat my hat. Total cheezits (I’m trying to swear less this year and I’ve found that food items make handy and amusing euphemisms).


(The nude Jayne Mansfield spread will come up again in several days, actually. Really interesting story, but we’re focused on Ms. Kubert right now. Keep your shirt on.)

I can only conjecture that Cheryl Kubert was a stage name, because there is pretty much nothing known about her prior to her centerfold appearance or what she did following, other than that she had appeared in a bit part in the film Pal Joey in 1957.

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Kubert died April 25, 1989 of apparent suicide. Because Playboy did not keep data sheets prior to September of 1959, it is not known how old she was at the time of her appearance in the magazine or her death. It makes those deep eyes seem much sadder to know that. R.I.P.





edit: I was sitting here trying to think where I had just seen the name “Kubert” recently, and finally remembered that yesterday’s Daily Batman of Catwoman and Batman throwing plates at each other in the Super Dictionary (Warner, 1978) featured art work by the cartoonist Joe Kubert. Found his official website and have fired off a quick email using his “contact” form, inquiring if he is related to Cheryl Kubert or has heard anything about her before. It’s a longshot, but I’ll let you know what comes of it.

edit 11/2/12: In the original post, the following comment was left

John Hawksley Says:

Hello, I was Cheryl’s husband and we were married at the time of her death(may 28,1988) Cheryl Kubert was her real name. Born in Los Angeles, went to Fairfax High School. We had one child(Rachel). She was 50 at time of her death. She was a glamour lovlie in Ken Murry’s Blackouts and she did extensive modeling, traveled with U. S. O troupe and was a member of SAG and SEG. She had the heart and the looks of an angel. She could sing, play the piano and dance. If you need anymore information you can text me. John

Thank you for the further info, Mr. Hawksley.

edit 11/2/12, 2.0: The late Joe Kubert, comic legend, also corresponded with me briefly in regard to this post. He passed on in August, and I am not sharing because I believe death negates privacy, but merely because I never shared originally. As with Mr. Hawksley’s comment, I meant to go back and edit again, but the time gets away from you.

Dear E,

Thank you for your email and your interest. To my knowledge I am not related to a Cheri [sic] Kubert. She looks like someone I would not have minded knowing! Please continue to read, write, and care about comics. You may also share a link with your readers to The Kubert School.

Regards,
Joe

The Kubert School, based in Dover, NJ offers students a high quality and challenging education in Cartooning and Graphic Art.” They also have correspondence courses.

This has been your Flashback Friday.

Fight Club Friday: It happens

November 2, 2012

Friday night’s all right for all kinds of fighting.


via.

Look, when you are being banged like a screen door in a hurricane, things just kind of get said.

Movie Millisecond: Apocalypse yesterday, or, It’s the end of the [ ] as we [ ]

November 1, 2012

The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963).

It’s not. It never is.

Wednesday Wednesday: Happy Halloween

October 31, 2012

Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993).

What?!

October 30, 2012

Five million views and up? You guys are killing me! Thank you so much. I think I may have to come out of retirement for this.

My last eight months in pictures [of A]. I learned this technique from the teenagers on tumblr.

First I was like school-school-school. Then I was like work-work-work …

I loved work and school and goofing with kiddos all day …

And then five million hits …

And now I am just kind of like …


.

…all the time!

Things are all aces and green lights lately in E-land. I will have some more free time soon, and, dang it, I will start making time, too. Look for plenty more malarkey from me.


Blatant false advertising: I cannot wink for shit.

I’m going to the moon! Thank you so much, always, for traveling with me!

I want to hear how you are. Comment comment comment. Where are you from? What’s your deal? Who’s your favorite Playmate? Who’s your favorite Batman? Apple or cherry pie? Tell me all.

Mailbag, response, and question

December 1, 2011

A few days ago, I got the following comment to a post from alert reader R-K-A:

I am leaving this comment here, because I can’t find any other way to contact you.

[Nice stuff that came next in the comment is omitted because in addition to the virtues of beauty and wit, I am super modest, possibly the most extraordinarily modest person that you’ll ever find. When I die, they’ll probably give me a holiday for it. “In loving and eternally awed honor of E, the government presents Modesty Day: A day for being super modest.” I get teary thinking about it. Because of how great I am. Back to the mailbag.]


I was looking for information on Playmate Angela Dorian who was sentenced in September 2011 to nine years in prison for the attempted murder of her husband. Specifically, I was looking for her booking photo or photos from her sentencing, yet I can find nothing anywhere on the web.

And I was surprised as newsworthy as that was, that there was no mention of that here. It is as if Hef has exerted control over the entire interwebs to keep this story on the on the down low. Even The Smoking Gun didn’t have her recent photos. You seem to be able to unearth the most interesting stuff…anything on Angela??

Totally fair questions and observations, especially about how I write interesting things. Very astute.

Truth is, I got burned a while back by Miss November 1988 (she and I’ve agreed that I am not to mention her name any longer) when she found an entry alluding to past court troubles, and owing to the headache and anxiety of that experience I have avoided reporting on Playmate crimes — accused or convicted — as a result. While I do keep up with PB news, I don’t generally report it if it seems salacious or … how shall I put this? Lawsuit-threat-inducing.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Victoria Rathgeb/Victoria Vetri/Angela Dorian’s arrest was a strong blip on my radar when it happened in October of 2010, especially because we are both Italian-American and she’s done fun sci-fi and cult stuff, but I lost track of the story.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

I’m disappointed to hear now of such a hefty penal outcome for someone of her age and moderate notoriety (which can be a genuinely dangerous liability for a woman in jail), especially considering that, though she has a history of a bad temper, she’s never attempted murder before. Nine years seems excessive to me, but I do not have access to all the facts, and, like I said, I’m Italian-American: am I not taking this seriously enough? My first thought was, “Jeez, it’s not like he’s dead. He probably needed scaring. What’d he do?”


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

But, lord, that’s a terrible thing to do, shooting someone with intent to kill, even in the heat of the moment. However, in this case, nine years? She’s 66. She’ll be 75 when she gets out. That’s … I don’t know. Seems disproportionately tough to me.


As Isis in “Assignment: Earth.” Star Trek, TOS (1968).

Detailed intel on Mrs. Rathgeb’s arrest and trial has been sparse, maybe through lack of interest on the press’s part given that, though she seriously winged her husband Bruce — the bullet remains lodged in his chest and his use of his left hand is minimal … and it probably didn’t help that she tried to stuff a plastic baggie down his throat while he was down — she didn’t actually kill him.


As Sanna in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).

Or the lack of coverage is more likely due to editors’ determination that even stories about Playmates focus on modern celebutards — Hef’s recently former fiancee auctioning the ring, Lindsay Lohan completing her nude shoot before sentencing, etc. All the articles on Mrs. Rathgeb’s sentencing state pretty much the same bare facts, in limited terms, and seem to prefer to use her PMOY cover as the accompanying pic, which I agree is frustrating.


As Florence of Arabia, partner to King Tut, in “I’ll be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Batman (1967).

Luckily, I’m a good detective. First, here are pictures of her mostly-recovered husband Bruce’s injuries. Click to enlarge. (Raise your hand if you think he looks like a douche.)

And here are pictures from her trial. Click to enlarge. I’m uncertain whether this is her sentencing or her original trial, but looks like she’s a lefty. Who knew?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Victoria/Angela, given that she was not just a PMOY but also appeared on Batman, Star Trek, AND the B movies When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Invasion of the Bee Girls. Perhaps a lawyer will appeal her sentence, or perhaps the sentence is just. It’s difficult to say. That’s all I have for right now, having quickly dug for twenty minutes or so. I may return to this question in the future, but for now I need to close this post so I can learn more about “chunking” on the ukulele for a lesson plan on antonyms. Also, full disclosure: I have to go to the bathroom.


As Charisma Highcloud in “The Indian Affairs Affair.” The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1966).

Before I dash away, a quick poll: would you like a Winter Wonderland post on Ms. Dorian, aka, Mrs. Rathgeb? She is a Miss September, technically, but it would be topical. However, it would not go in to details of her trial and sentencing. What do you say?

Finally, in other news, I also got a comment from “Anonymous” on a recent repost of William S. Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer,” which said simply

stupid post – 1 minute of my life i will never get back.

To you, Anonymous, I say in equally succinct reply, “Suck my modest dick.”

Movie Millisecond: Happy Thanksgiving Thursday from Wednesday

November 24, 2011

Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993).


Wednesday: You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now, my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides; you will play golf, and enjoy hot hors d’oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, “Do not trust the Pilgrims … especially Sarah Miller.”

Amanda: Gary, she’s changing the words!

Wednesday: … And for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.

edit 11/24/11: Several months ago I screencapped the hell out of a gorgeous, HD version of AFV with subtitles. Then my desktop hard drive crashed. I’ve been limping along on the strength of my laptop as I attempt to reconstruct the desktop with the help of others, but I hadn’t realized the breadth of my little tragedy until I went to put together my hotly anticipated Wednesday Thanksgiving post and brokenheartely remembered that batch of files hadn’t been transferred on to my external hard drive (which I frequently updated as a backup to both systems in the face of just such an eventuality as this). Sad. I’m sad about this.

R.I.P. retread — Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Happy Holidays from Cynthia Myers, Miss December 1968

November 5, 2011

Been buried in academic work, but I needed to throw out a quick, sad retread of Ms. Myers’ “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” post. Beautiful, adventurous Cynthia passed away yesterday of undisclosed causes, per Hef.

R.I.P., Ms. Myers (9/12/50-11/4/11).


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

“Wholly Toledo!” is the name of the article that accompanies the pictorial for the lovely and talented Cynthia Myers, Playboy’s Miss December 1968. Her wildly popular centerfold shot her to stardom among the troops in Vietnam, and a pinup of her is featured in the film Hamburger Hill. She has been a teen model, a television personality, played a lesbian songstress in one of the most famous camp films out there, and become an unwitting space cowgirl in her 60 years on this planet. Buckle up, because here we go!



Cynthia wrote to Playboy a few years ago, informing us that she’d like to be considered as a centerfold beauty. Assistant Picture Editor Marilyn Grabowski answered with a reminder that our Playmates must be of legal age but that Cynthia should keep in touch. She did just that.

Well, kind of.

The shoot was in June of ’68, and Ms. Meyers was born in September of ’50, but Playboy waited until Cynthia was comfortably 18 to publish her pictorial. It had become common practice for the magazine after the scandal with Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

In fact, the most recently featured “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playmate, the fantastic Susan Bernard, was also 17 at her photoshoot and saw her spread published after she turned 18.

Posing underage for Playboy is not the only common ground between Ms. Bernard and Ms. Myers. While Ms. Bernard was featured in Russ Meyers’ cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, today’s special gal starred in his 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

I promise to have a full-out Movie Moment for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls one of these days. For my friend’s recent 31st birthday, I sent him a picture of the cast of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with him tagged as Dolly Read and me as Cynthia Myers. I explained that I originally had me as Dolly and him as Cynthia, but I switched it because it was his birthday.

You know Roger Ebert wrote it? I don’t think he ever gets to criticize a movie again.

Cynthia is pictured reading a five-year-old palmistry pamphlet about what the following year once held for her because she placed a large credulity in psychic phenomenon.

“I’ve known since I was 15 that I’d be a Playmate. It’s almost as if this had been fated to happen.” Cynthia’s penchant for precognition can be traced to her early teens.

(Ibid.)



“A junior high school friend of mine in Toledo,” she says, “was a nut on palmistry, astrology and even reading tea leaves and crystal balls. Like most people, I thought is was just a bunch of baloney. But when I began reading about prophets like Edgar Cayce, I began to realize that there are strange spiritual forces in the world undreamed of even in The Playboy Philosophy.”

(Ibid.)

Ms. Myers, I think you’d be surprised by what the Playboy philosophy can dream of.

In 1994, it was revealed that a picture from Ms. Myers’ centerfold pictorial was among several that crafty NASA jokesters have launched in to space over the years. Ms. Myers, together with Leslie Bianchini, Angela Dorian, and Reagan Wilson, was snuck in to the checklist for the Apollo 12 mission that was placed in astronauts’ suit cuff on their trip to the moon in November of 1969. Ms. Myers specifically took her space journey with astronaut Al Bean.

Don’t forget: Describe the protruberances.

Boobs : Geeks :: Horse : Carriage. I think it’s kind of funny and sweet.

And the gals didn’t just go up in the lunar landing module: they straight moon walked. The astronauts found their pictures while fulfilling their extravehicular (read: outside the module on the lunar surface) mission duties on the moon itself.


Pete Conrad got Miss September 1967, Angela Dorian, (“Seen any interesting hills and valleys?”) and Miss October 1967, Reagan Wilson (“Preferred tether partner”). Al Bean got Miss December 1968, Cynthia Myers (“Don’t forget — Describe the protuberances”), and Miss January 1969, Leslie Bianchini (“Survey — her activity”).

(“Playboy Playmates pranked into Apollo 12 mission checklists.” January 13, 2007. BoingBoing.net.)


Conrad told us in 1994: “I had no idea they were with us. It wasn’t until we actually got out on the lunar surface and were well into our first moon walk that I found them.” Bean recalled: “It was about two and a half hours into the extravehicular activity. I flipped the page over and there she was. I hopped over to where Pete was and showed him mine, and he showed me his.”

(Ibid.)

A large, color version of the shot of Cynthia that was smuggled up to the moon in the Apollo 12.

Lest we forget, the lovely and talented DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967 and, like Cynthia, one of the most popular Playmates in the magazine’s history, also rode shotgun on the Apollo 12 mission. She was in the control console, her picture labelled, “Map of a heavenly body.”

I always feel compelled when talking about the Playmate pictures and NASA to bring up the fact that my sorority’s badge is on the moon. Neil Armstrong put it there for his wife. It’s my sorority’s badge and it is on the moon. The moon that is in space. Sorry, but I get pretty cocky and excited by that. Tell a friend.

This much more recent picture of Ms. Myers just might get her kicked out of the Red Hat Society.

Can our prescient Playmate predict anything about her future? “I’m going to be an actress,” she says simply. “Notice I didn’t say ‘I’d like to be,’ but ‘I’m going to be.’ I don’t know how good I’ll be as an actress, but I’ll be one.”

(“Wholly Toledo!” Playboy. December 1968.)


Judging from her track record as a prophetess — and from her already abundant attributes — we’d like to venture a prediction of our own: Playmatehood should be just the beginning for the remarkable Miss Myers.
(Ibid.)

Movie Millisecond: Lost Boys, wardrobe suggestions edition

October 31, 2011

Lost Boys (Joel Schumacher, 1987).

I say again. I am in this movie.

Movie Millisecond: Always

October 30, 2011

Scream (Wes Craven, 1996).

Movie Millisecond: Let he who is without dorky clothes cast the first stone

October 29, 2011

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994).

Monday, while my students were lined up to go out to recess, one of them said, “Miss L, did you know that tomorrow is Fifties Day?”

“Oh, no,” I replied drily. “What ever will I wear?”

Everyone laughed. They all got the joke. All of them. 100% of children age 8-9 years old recognize that E parties like it’s 1959. Tell A Friend.

Movie Millisecond: Arsenic and Old Lace

October 21, 2011

Appropriate film choice for the approaching holiday.

Daily Batman: All the news that’s fit to meh!

October 20, 2011

So the big news of the world from the NY Comic-Con is this whole Avengers movie dealie. (Because, you know, The Dark Knight Rises is so passe).


photograph by brainybrimstone on the flickr.

Aw, geez, man. Here’s the thing: I don’t like the Avengers. I haven’t seen a single one of their setup movies. Not even the Iron Man flicks, and that’s in direct violation of a personal blood oath I made to Robert Downey, Jr. in the 1990s. (Chances Are, Heart and Souls, Only You? — totally irrestible.) I can’t help it: I just don’t care about the danged Avengers. On the plus side, I can finally see the viewpoint of all those good but non-dorky friends whose sphincters clench when I start in on Batman.

Talk nerdy to me — it’s Wednesday: Mad Math edition

October 19, 2011

It’s important to get hands-on with arithmetic lessons.

So besides going back to school for some masochistic post-grad-work (I couldn’t stay away forever), I’ve also been teaching mathematics to below-level fourth and fifth graders. I really like it. But it’s kept me busy. These are students who dislike math and need new ways to connect with their material: I’m trying to use a lot of concrete examples.

Anyone had a disconnect with math in their youth and recall lessons which resonated more strongly than the ol’ drill and kill? I’ve got ideas of my own but, with these scamps, I can’t have enough.

Movie Millisecond: Sucker punch him

October 4, 2011

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, 2004).

Just Another Auden October: Faith in humanity

October 4, 2011


Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). Previously discussed here during E.E. Cummings month.

May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that “faith” is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?

(W.H. Auden, “God”. A Certain World, 1970.)

Daily Batman: A story in stills, “The Electrical Brain” edition

October 3, 2011

Yesterday at the grocery, I spotted a collection of the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial adaptations. I obviously had no choice but to pick it up — my hands were clearly tied — and I’ve found the content … illuminating?

The Dynamic Duo are first seen rounding up some miscreants and leaving them cuffed to a lightpole with a note pinned to one’s jacket for the police. The original script called for the Caped Crusaders to be their usual vigilante selves, but the censors deemed that a little too risky?

And, I guess with all the purportedly people-based government shifts going on in the world, they didn’t want the popcorn-scarfing masses to get ideas? — so Steve Jobs converted Batman and Robin in to federal agents. (May or may not be accurate.)

Isn’t it bromantic? Lewis Wilson as a jaunty, kohl-browed Batman, with Douglas Croft as the Boy Wonder, congratulate themselves on a good night of taking the law in to their own hands without right or invitation after hopping in a Batmobile chauffered by good old Alfred Pennyworth, whose previous comic presence had been a facial hairless, rotund figure — colloquial wisdom credits this adaptation’s portrayal of Alfred as thin, stately, and mustachioed with influencing his subsequent appearance in the comics.

Accordingly, so far as I’ve watched, this opening scene introducing their crime-fighting prowess is the only bit of vigilantism Batman and Robin display in the serial. Everything else is under the aegis of fighting Communist and Axis spy infiltration.


This comes from the “Japanese Cave of Horrors” scene and is CLEARLY a wax figure of Cary Grant as a fake POW.

The note pinned to the man up there on our right’s jacket is somewhat reminscent of the “deliver to Lt. Gordon” note from The Dark Knight. It also indicates that the key to the cuffs may be found in the apprehended man’s pocket. Ostensibly, the cuffs will be taken off and replaced with official ones, but as they do not know the secret identity of Batman and Robin, are the originals now a gift to the Gotham City PD? I assume so. Not to worry: Batman and Robin have lots more pairs of handcuffs. You know, for … crime-fighting.


Did it come from Gunga Din, do you reckon? The uniform, I mean? Where did props even get this figure? I feel like it’s just out of reach in my mind. Little help?

This first segment in the serial is titled “The Electrical Brain” and is a total yawn fest, since all that it features is electric zombies, atom-smashing handheld ray guns, a sinister villain, and more astounding racism than you can shake a KKK hood at. Oh, wait — it couldn’t be less boring. If you’re a fan of camp and jaw-dropping behavioral archaisms, like your happy hostess here, run, don’t walk out and find this collection.

Get all of your latently guilty chagrin primed, though. I’m not made out of moron: I understand the film is a product of its time — it’s part of why I find vintage, obscure cinema from this era interesting. But, sweet mother of Edward Said, the orientalism and propaganda are strong with this one.

The villain of the piece, Dr. Tito Daka, is a self-proclaimed servant of Hirohito. Daka is a Japanese enemy of capitalism who I’m amazed to say constitutes only a fraction of the deeply-woven Asian-targeted xenophobic mise-en-scene of the picture.

U.S. readers, if you’ve nursed some fantasy that the internment of our Japanese fellow citizens during the second World War was not widely known by most Americans and did not make a big dent in pop culture, this little slice of 1940’s life will prove you all kinds of unfortunately wrong.


Narrator: This was part of a foreign land transplanted bodily to America and known as Little Tokyo. Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs, it has become a ghost street where only one buusiness survives, eking out a precarious existence on the dimes of curiosity-seekers.

Wise government. Rounded up. Shifty-eyed. I honestly triple-took. “Did that just happen??”

It seems boldly racist to me, even for the time. So like I said, this serial has so far shown me that I don’t know crap about what was “okay” on the day-to-day in my country during this time.

Daka introduces himself to a new recruit to his organization, the partner of a recently sprung white collar criminal of sorts (his niece is dating Bruce Wayne, which is how the plotlines tie together), with the following charming monologue.


I am Dr. Daka, humble servant of His Majesty Hirohito, Heavenly Ruler and Prince of the Rising Sun. By divine destiny, my country shall destroy the democratic forces of evil in the United States to make way for the New Order, an Order that will bring about the liberation of the enslaved people of America.

Daka is portrayed by totally-not-Asian actor J. Carrol Naish, a future Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Irish by descent, Naish actually portrayed nearly nothing but non-traditional races in his performances, from Japanese to Puerto Rican to Middle Eastern.

Congruent to his alleged continent of origin in this serial and his heavy “oriental” makeup, Naish would later bring a whole new ball of uniquely challenging race-based character traits to the role of famous detective Charlie Chan on the small screen, in television’s The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957).


The teaser for the next installment. There was no Bat Cave in the comics until after the release of this serial. But so far the Bat Cave in the serial is a stone wall behind a regular desk, with flickering shadows of bats waving around in front of lights off-camera… so I’d have to say the comics Bat Cave, even if inspired by the serial, most certainly carries the edge.

Movie Millisecond: Laura

October 3, 2011

Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944).