Who’s Who In The DC Universe: Abra Kadabra

Friends, it has been far too long since I last tackled an entry in the ongoing look back at Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, time just managed to slip away from me it would seem. Which is most assuredly something that the third entry in the first issue of the Who’s Who series would know all about, as Abra Kadabra hails from the 64th Century. Before we dive into the history of the character though, here is a brief recap on the Who’s Who series.

Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe originally saw publication back in 1985 and the initial 26 issue run was a rather amazing deep dive into the then current history of the characters of DC Comics. The series was headed up by Len Wein (Swamp Thing), Marv Wolfman (The New Teen Titans), and Robert Greenberger (Starlog). And for those of us of a certain age the Who’s Who series was a beloved guide into the rich lore of the Golden and Silver Age characters of DC Comics – many who can still be found appearing in recent animated and live action series. Such as Abra Kadabra who showed up in the 18th episode of Season 3 of The Flash and was played by David Dastmalchian.

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Abra Kadabra first appeared in The Flash #128 in May of 1962 and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, the duo also co-created the characters of Detective Chimp, Elongated Man, and The Phantom Stranger among others. Broome would be hired by DC Comics in 1946, his first story is assumed to be “The City of Shifting Sand” in All-Flash #22. Infantino would join with DC about a year later and the first story he illustrated from a script by Robert Kanigher (Co-Creator of Sgt. Rock) was entitled “The Black Canary”, it was a Johnny Thunder feature and was the first appearance of Black Canary, who began as a villain but would show up as a member of the Justice Society of America just a few issues later!

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROCKFORD JAY COLLECTION.

The entry for Abra Kadabra in the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe lists this personal data:

Alter Ego: Unknown

Occupation: Former Stage Magician, now Professional Criminal

Marital Status: Unknown

Known Relatives: None

Group Affiliation: None

Base of Operations: 20th and 64th Century Earth

First Appearance: The Flash #128

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 195 lbs.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Black

As we learn in his first appearance, Abra Kadabra is a devoted practitioner of stage magic in the year 6363, while it is commendable that the magician is devoted to his craft, the technology of the era has rendered it all but obsolete. This is something that is obviously distressing to Abra, although upon hearing that scientists have managed to develop a working time machine, the scoundrel decides that it is time to travel back to the 20th Century with his advanced technology, where a stage magician might properly find both an audience and admiration. Upon entering the lab Abra uses the “Hypno-Ray” installed within the gem-flower he wears on the lapel of his suit, stunning the scientists just long enough to get into the time machine and whisk himself away to the Central City of the 20th Century. The trip back in time will only work once, especially since the machine is destroyed when the stage magician arrives at his destination.

Abra Kadabra wastes little time in trying to impress an audience, performing sleight of hand on a busy street corner, while they are indeed impressed they fail to applaud. The offended stage magician then turns his Hypno-Ray on those gathered before him to force their cheers and clapping. And although it is not specifically stated, it is highly suggested that he uses that piece of technology dishonestly to obtain enough enough money to pay for a theater – unfortunately his big debut is overlooked thanks to the final game of the World Series.

Realizing that he needs to come up with an exceptional way to capture the attention of the public, Abra decides to steal the Statue of Freedom during its dedication at the Central City park. Barry Allen is in attendance at the event but as he is about to change into his Flash costume, the magician once again uses that Hypno-Ray to paralyze the stunned audience before teleporting away. This daring daylight heist gets the attention of newspapers as well as the Flash, but Abra Kadabra has no plans of slowing down just yet, showing up at the Central City library to steal (teleport) the oldest book ever printed. The Flash almost reaches the villain before he is blasted by the magician’s Hypno-Ray once again, forced to stomp his feet and clap his hands while Abra gets away.

Embolden by getting away with his crimes as well as showing up the Flash, the magician realizes that the hero could be a true threat to his crime sprees. Abra Kadabra decides to lay a trap for the speedster by publicly announcing that he will host a free exhibition – in addition to performing the greatest magic trick ever seen. When the Flash shows up at the theater to arrest the magician, Abra uses his ‘magic’ to rocket Barry Allen sans costume into space, thankfully the hero’s speed aura protects him while hurtling through the solar system. Landing upon an asteroid, the speedster runs so fast that he is able to launch himself back to Earth.

In an attempt to track Abra Kadabra down, the speedster vibrates until he matches the radiation left behind by the magicians ‘magic’. Upon finding where Abra is holed up, the Flash moves faster than light, physically placing the villain smack dab in front of his own paralyzing Hypno-Ray. The Flash not only returns all of the items that Abra Kadabra stole but deposits the paralyzed trickster in jail, wondering where the magician came from and how he came by his dangerous abilities.

In closing out this article, it should come as no surprise that Abra Kadabra eventually shrugs off that paralyzation beam and has managed to become a recurring thorn in the Flash’s side since his debut 59 years ago in the pages of The Flash #128. Over the years the villain has managed to obtain actual magical abilities instead of just relying on his superior technology – courtesy of making a deal with the demon Neron in exchange for his soul during the Underworld Unleashed mini-series event.

Who’s Who: Abnegazar Rath And Ghast

The three entities known as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast who are collectively known as The Demons Three are the second entry in the well regarded Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, which was originally published back in 1985. Over 26 issues were produced and thanks to the likes of Marv Wolfman, Robert Greenberger, and Len Wein – many of us comic book fans became aficionados of the vast history of the then current DC Universe. The sometimes exhaustive Who’s Who were quick to shine the spotlight on the big names such as Batman and Superman but were also quite willing to give the likes of lesser known characters such as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast a chance in the light too. As the recent Justice League Action animated series frequently did – beginning with the very first episode when it introduced Abnegazr, Rath and Ghast as part of the demonic Brothers Djinn.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Cartoon Network.

Abenegazar, Rath and Ghast were created by none other than Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky for Justice League of America #10 – which saw publication in March of 1962. Gardner Fox in particular had a hand in the creation of not just the Justice League of America but before that in 1940 he managed to create another legendary team of super heroes, the first gathering of heroes in comic books in fact, The Justice Society of America. In addition it is believed that Fox might have worked under many different pseudonyms and had a hand in the co-creation of The Sandman, The Flash (Jay Garrick), as well as Hawkman (Carter Hall).

Mike Sekowsky might best be known for being the artist and co-creator of the Justice League of America beginning with their appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28. Mike would pencil 63 issues of the Justice League of America comic book – in addition to acting as writer, artist and even editor on Wonder Woman beginning in September of 1968. Although Fox and Sekowsky didn’t just create the Demons Three in that issue of Justice League, they also came up with the magically maniacal Felix Faust but we will talk about him more in his own entry.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROCKFORD JAY COLLECTION.

The art chores for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast’s entry in the Who’s Who is courtesy of both Craig Hamilton as well as Dick Giordano. Interestingly enough it appears that it was around this time that Hamilton got his start at DC – you might know his work better from the extremely popular and quite fantastic Fables series. Giordano was an absolute icon in the sequential arts scene, having worked as an artist and editor for DC Comics among others, and he had a hand in creating the likes of Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, Peacemaker, The Human Target, and Batman’s underworld identity of Matches Malone to name just a few.

The entry for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast in the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe list this personal data:

Alter Ego: Inapplicable

Occupation: Inapplicable (Although I would have listed troublemakers as their occupation)

Marital Status: Inapplicable

Known Relatives: None

Group Affiliation: None

Base of Operations: 20th Century Earth

First Appearance: Justice League of America #10

Height: Inconsistent

Weight: Inconsistent

Eyes: All Black

Hair: Black (Ghast), none (Abnegazar, Rath)

The Demons Three existed over a billion years ago, lording it over the pre-human species with their magical powers. An intergalactic group of wanderers known as the Timeless Ones, whose job it is to keep cosmic balance, became aware of Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast running rampant – so they imprisoned the trio. But the Demons Three while not as powerful as these Timeless Ones were at the very least more clever as they crafted three mystical talismans that anchored their physical beings to the Earth. The Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, the Green Bell of Uthool, and the Red Jar of Calythos. Even the power of the cosmic Timeless Ones were unable to destroy said artifacts or even remove them from the Earth, so they did their level best to hide them, Ghast was imprisoned beneath the waves in the South Atlantic, Abnegazar is hidden under the desert sands of Sin-Kiang in Western China, and Rath is locked under the ice of the Arctic. It is the villainous Felix Faust with aid from the trapped demons who attempts to use the Justice League to free the trio.

Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast as is pointed out in their entry for the Who’s Who are able to fly through space and even time travel if need be, conjure destructive force bolts, craft various matter, and even bring to life inanimate objects. Shortly after their entry was published it appears that Abnegazar got a little too mouthy with Dr. Fate who slew the demon for his insolence – granted over the years he has apparently managed to cheat death and rejoin his brothers once again.

Besides the Justice League Action animated series the trio showed up in the 1985 The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians in an episode entitled “The Case of the Stolen Super Powers”, which is just a retelling of their and Faust’s first appearance. The Demons Three also made an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited series in an episode called “The Balance”, where Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl take Abnegazar hostage, forcing him to reveal the location of Felix Faust!

Toon In: The Hole (1962)

Friends, it has been a couple of weeks since the last Toon In offering – you might even have thought we’ve dropped into The Hole perhaps? That just happens to be title of the classic animated short film that we are sharing today – one that I might add won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject – and after you watch it for yourself I believe you will agree it most certainly deserved it. The Hole was written by Faith and John Hubley with animation being handled by Bill Littlejohn (The 2000 Year Old Man) as well as Gary Mooney (Underdog).

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The Hole was produced and animated at Storyboard Studios, the animation studio that John Hubley formed in 1953 after being forced out of the UPA studios for refusing to participate in the House Commitee of Un-American Activities. Hubley received his start in animation working at the Walt Disney Studios as a background and layout artist – working on the likes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and the “Rites of Spring” segment of Fantasia. After the Disney animation strike in ’41 – he would end up working at UPA where he would have a hand in co-creating the character of Mr. Magoo.

The animation for The Hole is rather unique for the time – as instead of using animation cels and paint – Littlejohn and Mooney shot it on paper and used watercolors. If this looks a little familiar I believe they used the very same process while working on animated shorts for The Electric Company!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADj4bVuzr-A
Video Provided by SPGOALS TV.

The Hole features the voice work of both George Matthews (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) and iconic jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. Furthermore the dialogue was totally improvised – which I find to suit the two characters quite well. In the short film we listen to two construction workers talking about a myriad of subjects – from dirty dishes, citizenship, and even nuclear annihilation. The humor comes not from the standard hijinks of the typical animated short but the real life conversations between these two co-workers – although I would be lying if I didn’t say the ending is a chilling one.

Video and Article Image Provided by amsea.

Blake’s ’70s

Part one of a brief history of one of the BBC’s best sci-fi TV exports – a show so influential that it started the sea change that has washed over all of TV sci-fi today.

Terry Nation, like it or not, was a former comedy writer now forever pigeonholed as a science fiction writer. His first TV sci-fi script, for a 1962 episode of the ABC (as in Associated British Corporation, not American Broadcasting Corporation) anthology series Out Of The Unknown, was a half-hour adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story; a year later, after being fired from his regular joke-writing gig for TV comedian Tony Hancock, Nation turned in desperation to Doctor Who…and the result was the Daleks, a very merchandisable menace that made Nation a very rich man. Desperation, as it turns out, was a pretty good source of inspiration.

In 1975, Nation had already left his latest creation, the harrowing BBC pandemic series Survivors, over constant disputes with the producer assigned to the show, Terrance Dudley. Nation was content to keep earning royalties from having created the series, but left it behind for Dudley to run as he saw fit, tired of a full season’s worth of behind-the-scenes tug-of-war. In September, though, Nation was due back in the offices of the BBC brass, where he was expected to pitch more ideas for more shows, since he was no longer involved with Survivors on a day-to-day basis.

And once again out of desperation, Nation rattled off a story outline involving a group of criminals in a powerful spacecraft of unknown origin, taking arms against a fascist Earth government that wanted them dead. Forced together by circumstance, the characters wouldn’t necessarily get along on either the macro (ideological) or micro (this week’s plotline) scale. Pressed for further details, Nation – who was tap-dancing for his future writing career – said that the show was called Blake’s 7, and that it would be something like “The Dirty Dozen in space.”

A dirty quarter-of-a-dozen in space, from left to right: Vila (Michael Keating), Avon (Paul Darrow, standing), and Blake (Gareth Thomas)

If anyone else had made such an off-the-top-of-their-head pitch, there might have been some polite glances around the table before they were shown out. But this was Terry Nation. The Dalek guy. The Survivors guy. Give that man a series order!

But also give him the Monday night time slot that had already claimed the life of the police drama Softly, Softly Task Force, and only give him the same budget as the police drama with which to make a powerful spacecraft of unknown origin. No problem, right? This is Terry Nation. He’ll make it work.

As work progressed on the show, Nation ended up mostly-writing all thirteen of the first season’s script – or at least that’s what the on-screen credits would reflect. The truth is a bit more complicated: writer Chris Boucher, who had created the popular character of Leela in a well-regarded 1977 Doctor Who story, was hired to serve as Blake’s 7’s script editor, and often found himself “filling out” somewhat skeletal scripts that Nation started…but didn’t quite finish.

The first glimpse of the Liberator

Nation’s dark futuristic dystopia was taking shape, however: Roj Blake, a former revolutionary subjected to a mind-wipe after being captured, breaks through the blocks placed in his memory when he witnesses a massacre of Federation citizens gathering to discuss a simple campaign of civil disobedience. Upon learning that Blake is again becoming dangerous, the Federation whips up some false charges as an excuse to send him to the prison planet Cygnus Alpha for the rest of his life, where the population of common criminals will probably dispatch him more effectively – and less publicly – than a Federation firing squad would. As a prison ship is taking Blake and a number of other convicts to Cygnus Alpha, the ship encounters the remnants of a space battle, including a massive ship that isn’t the product of Earth technology. The prison ship’s captain sees an opportunity to rake in a salvage free that would make him rich enough to never have to fly a prison ship again…but the first two members of his crew sent to board the derelict die horribly. Solution? Send prisoners to board the ship, at gunpoint. Blake, convicted smuggler Jenna Stannis, and Kerr Avon, a brilliant but utterly amoral computer hacker busted in the midst of a daring attempt to defraud the Federation banking system to the point of collapse, are sent to find out what happened to the previous boarding party, only to encounter an automatic defense system that uses their own memories against them – as it did the two dead prison ship guards. But Blake, all too aware pf his recent discovery that some of his memories were implanted, sees through the mind tricks and disables the automatic defense system. After a short firefight with the prison ship’s first officer, Blake closes off the airlock, and Jenna – an ace pilot – is able to take control of the unknown ship. Naming it the Liberator, they now have a weapon with which to fight back and free their fellow prisoners.

Jenna (Sally Knyvette) and Blake (Thomas) waiting to be deported from Earth

This all unfolds across the first three episodes, which points out the major sea change in sci-fi storytelling that Blake’s 7 truly represents: this was the first live-action sci-fi series to carry storylines across an entire season, building up to something bigger. Beginning with shows such as Babylon 5 and Buffy in the ’90s, and carrying through to 21st century series such as Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and virtually everything that’s come down the pike since Battlestar Galactica or Lost, this is a perfectly normal thing to expect a science fiction show on TV to do.

They all do it now. Blake’s 7 was the first. (For the record, J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, owns up to being a Blake’s 7 fan and admits that it’s an influence on Babylon 5.)

Later first-season episodes introduce the scheming, politically ambitious Federation Supreme Commander Servalan, who dispatches the ruthless Space Commander Travis – permanently disfigured in a battle with Blake during Blake’s earlier rebellion – to bring Blake and crew in, dead or alive. The end of the first season builds up to a race between the Liberator crew and the Servalan/Travis team to acquire a rumored supercomputer supposedly capable of accessing any system in the Federation; that adventure sees the Liberator crew walk away with the prize, a temperamental machine called Orac, but then leads into the equally surprising revelation of the cyborg-like builders/owners of the Liberator. Season 2 sees a build-up to the discovery of a top-secret hidden installation from which the entire Federation computer network is controlled, affecting everything from space traffic to climate control on hundreds of planets. If only Orac could be plugged into that…

Travis (Stephen Grief) is the bad guy in black; Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce) is the even worse gal in white

Doctor Who was doing multi-part stories from its very first season, but each four-or-six-or-seven-part story within each season tended to exist in isolation, with occasional scenes to tie one story into the next added by that series’ story editor. Blake’s 7 was consciously constructed to tell a story on a larger canvas, though this happened haphazardly at times, especially once Nation once again left his creation, this time to seek his fortunes in the United States. A Nation script initiated the second season of Blake’s 7, but a script credited entirely to Chris Boucher ended that season. Blake’s 7 also introduced the Massive End-Of-Season Cliffhanger that’s practically expected of any series in the genre today.

Another innovation Blake’s 7 brought to small-screen sci-fi was its morally ambiguous characters. Avon makes little secret of the fact that he’d very much like to ditch Blake and keep the Liberator for himself; several of Blake’s comrades mention more than once that they’d prefer hiding out to taking on the Federation in direct combat. After two seasons of fighting the Federation, even Blake himself has cause to question whether he’s a freedom fighter, or just the terrorist that the wanted posters say he is (this element – our heroes being considered terrorists – is probably the one thing that has kept Blake’s 7 from being remade/rebooted in a post-9/11 world). In the second season, not in the cliffhanger but much earlier, one of Blake’s crew dies tragically, the victim not just of their Federation pursuers, but also of the fact that Blake just didn’t plan things out very well. The rest of the crew has to stop and consider if Blake is who they should be following.

Blake (Thomas), Vila (Keating), Gan (David Jackson, standing behind), and Avon (Darrow) prepare to storm “Control” – one of them will pay for the raid with their lives

The cast was impressive; Gareth Thomas, late of Star Maidens and Children Of The Stones, brought real moral heft to Blake’s obsessive quest for justice, while Paul Darrow made his career with Avon’s never-ending displays of dry wit and ruthlessness. Since Avon wasn’t the hero of the piece, he was allowed to be even more morally ambiguous than Blake, and in some ways become the more interesting character by default. Darrow’s fame relied on this; Gareth Thomas noticed it too, and, already worried about typecasting, declined to renew his contract after the second season aired in 1979. This wasn’t entirely unprecedented – after making an incredible impression as Travis in season one, Stephen Grief bowed out as Travis, who was recast in the form of Brian Croucher, an actor to whom fandom hasn’t been entirely kind in retrospect, despite being handed the unenviable task of recreating a fan favorite.

But you couldn’t have a show called Blake’s 7 without Blake, could you?

In the best Blake’s 7 tradition, I’ll just say…to be continued.

What If Burt Reynolds Had Been Cast As James Bond?

Friends, a couple of days ago I shared that 1963 interview with Ian Fleming – part of the BBC Desert Island Discs radio series. Back when I had the honor of writing for the Retroist I had talked about how I came to be a fan of the James Bond films and books rather late – with Roger Moore being the first actor I saw in the role of 007 in Moonraker, which I caught at the local Drive-In back on June 29th of 1979. It wouldn’t be until much later until I actually saw Sean Connery in the role of James Bond – my love of his work came from films like Darby O’Gill and the Little People, The Man Who Would Be King, Outland, and of course Highlander. One of my best friends, who it is safe to say was a bigger 007 fan than myself, was taken aback over dinner when he learned I had never seen a James Bond film with Connery – in fact after we had scarfed down our portions of pizza he demanded we hit the local Blockbuster to rent Dr. No. That was how certain he was that I was going to flip out over the Sean Connery version of the character – he was totally right too.

Afterwards I dove straight into the books and films of 007 – Sean Connery became my favorite actor to portray James Bond for the longest time – with George Lazenby a close second and then followed by Dalton and Moore. I will admit that list was immediately altered when I watched Casino Royale in 2006 – Daniel Craig in his first outing reminded me a lot of what I love about the character from Fleming’s novels.

It has been said that both Harry Saltzman as well as Albert R. Broccoli, the Producers for Dr. No, had considered the possibility that Cary Grant (His Girl Friday, North by Northwest) could play 007. That did not come to be as Grant would only agree to play the part in a single film – which would knock the idea of a franchise into a cocked hat – then there was the matter of his age. Other actors up for the role of 007 in Dr. No include David Niven and Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) – the latter would have absolutely killed in the role although he was very much against the casual violence of Bond.

Did you know though that Burt Reynolds was approached to play 007 in Diamonds Are Forever – it has been said he refused the part as he felt the character needed to be British and he wouldn’t be able to pull off the accent. Thanks to this Deepfake video however we can see what it would have looked like if Reynolds had been able to star in Dr. No – with Connery’s voice no less.

Video and Article Image Provided by Shamook.

Enjoy This Interview With Ian Fleming Talking About James Bond From 1963

Friends, the other evening as I was about to head home for the night, Rockford Jay popped in and shared an interview with me from a 1963 episode of Desert Island Discs. Less than ten minutes long – this interview with Ian Fleming is part of the long running BBC radio/podcast series that was originally started by Roy Plomley on the BBC Forces Programme back on January 29th of 1942. This is apparently the only surviving portion of this particular 1963 interview with Ian Fleming, the creator and successful Author of numerous James Bond novels. In fact at the time this interview took place, Dr. No hadn’t even been out a year here in the States – something that is mentioned during the interview itself – as well as what Fleming felt about the cinematic version of his creation.

As I understand it from doing a quick bit of research online – the format for Desert Island Discs would involve the guest being interviewed as well as choosing eight pieces of music or even literature, that the subject for the episode would want to bring with them to a desert island. Apparently excerpts from the music would be played or read in the case of literary work – the show by the way is still being produced as a podcast with Lauren Laverne. Recent guests include Brian Cox (The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), and Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who).

While sadly none of the music or perhaps literary favorites picked by Ian Fleming in this 1963 interview have survived – it is a refreshing if short chat with a very talented Writer. In his discussions with Roy Plomley, Fleming comes off as sincere and totally honest in his answers – I was left wanting to hear much, much more though.

Video and Article Image Provided by Kevin Kavanagh.

Check Out Ray Bradbury’s The Homecoming By Ben Wickey

Friends, my first exposure to the writings of the late and great Ray Bradbury was courtesy of my Junior High School English class – where our Teacher assigned us to read The Long Rain, Marionettes Inc., as well as A Sound of Thunder. Of the three stories I liked the latter the best although I really enjoyed The Long Rain too – especially when I caught the 1992 adaptation for The Ray Bradbury Theater series. Although having said that I must admit I was quite taken by Something Wicked This Way Comes – the 1983 Walt Disney adaptation of Bradbury’s story – starring the likes of Pam Grier, Jason Robards, Diane Ladd, and Jonathan Pryce. That was my first introduction to Bradbury’s Autumn People – the likes of Mr. Dark and company from 1962’s Something Wicked This Way Comes are described as:

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth….Such are the autumn people.”

But there is also the cast of Homecoming – the Elliott Family – they might have strange abilities and even quaff blood but they are still capable of love and affection. At the very least some of them are quite fond of Timothy, a mortal boy who was left on the Elliot’s doorstep many years ago. Homecoming which I believe was originally published in the 1947 short story collection Dark Carnival as The Homecoming was also collected in the 1955 collection entitled The October Country.

What we are sharing with you today is an animated short film by Ben Wickey from 2016 – his wonderful adaptation of Homecoming featuring stop-motion animation and what I presume is cel animation too. A moving piece about Family love and how Timothy is all the more special for being a mortal among ‘monsters’. To be fair most of the emotional support comes from Timothy’s adopted Mother as well as his Uncle Einar – who in the end just might be a little wiser than the rest of the Elliott Family. Make sure to watch through the credits for something special in regards to Ray Bradbury and what might be the genesis of The Halloween Tree.

Video and Article Image Provided by Ben Wickey.

Ben Wickey graduated the California Institute of the Arts – and is an illustrator and obviously an animator. He is currently working on an upcoming documentary entitled Gorey – which is a documentary focusing on the last days of the iconic Edward Gorey.

This Vincent Price Fine Art Training Video From 1962 Is Incredible!

Vincent Price Fine Art Training Video -1962 - Sears

Friends, early on in my youth thanks to the numerous films on the late, late show on Saturday nights, his appearance on The Muppet Show, and of course The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series on Saturday mornings – Vincent Price was an actor I was quite fond of. It might have quite a bit to do with the genteel attitude that came across in many of his roles – even if Price was able to quickly tap into the dark side at a moments notice. Or perhaps it was the fact that it seemed to me as if Price was just enjoying himself in most of his roles, especially when playing the villain like in The Abominable Dr. Phibes or Theater of Blood. In addition when watching him on television it was obvious he never took himself so seriously that he couldn’t have fun with his place in pop culture as a horror icon – whether that be singing a duet with Boris Karloff or as previously mentioned, appearing as the special guest in the first season of The Muppet Show.

Although it was a little before my time, Vincent Price was of course quite well known for both his love of gourmet cooking as well as fine art. It probably had to do with the fact that Price studied Art History while attending Yale University – although to his credit from what I’ve read online he wasn’t a snob about art, believing it should be readily available to the masses. Which is why back in 1962 he partnered with Sears-Roebuck to create the “Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art” – a series that managed to nearly 50,000 prints to the public and lasted until 1971.

Which brings us to the subject of this article – a 1962 Vincent Price Fine Art training video that was made available to employees of Sears, an aid as it were to the sales associate in helping customers who were interested in buying the artwork for their own homes. This really is an incredible video as the warmth of Price shines through – but even more so his passion and knowledge of artwork is on full display.

Video and Article Image Provided by Dr. Gangrene.