Retro Fan #20 May 2022 (magazine review).

As usual ‘Retro Fan’ ensures interest by having a mixture of material for nostalgia with obvious emphasis of the American kind.

For starters, new to the magazine writer Mark Voger has a look at the Three Stooges. I only ever saw one of their shorts at a Saturday morning cinema back in the late 1960s and didn’t really get it, other than remembering they kept hitting each other in a very violent way which you be fearful kids might copy today. That and an appearance, but not noted here, in ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ as a team of firefighters. Moe Howard does reveal that there were some injuries over the years from filming. One thing that does come out of it is that despite the line-up changes as various stooges died, there was always a willingness to work.

John Michlig has a 1998 book out about the GI Joe military figures. His article here investigates their origin and using military apparel for the boy equivalent of the girl equivalent. In the UK, Palitoy called them ‘Action Man’, although all their uniforms were American. We didn’t get a British Navy outfit until the mid-70s when I no longer played with them. No doubt his book goes a lot further but the article should stir memories

Mike Eury’s look at hot pants will stir some odd thoughts for some people, more so as men as well as women wore shorts, making it acceptable and lasting today. I hadn’t taken into account how Thomas Magnum (actor Tom Sellick) from the TV series might have contributed to this.

A large part of this issue is devoted to cartoonist Sergio Aragonés as Scott Shaw! recounts his history and as a personal friend. I think I only ever read a couple of his Groo stories but hadn’t realised he was also capable of doing other styles as required. Much of his work was on Mad Magazine, so it probably didn’t sink in there as I wasn’t always paying attention to the credits in my youth. Mind you, from a young age, Aragonés was a non-stop cartoonist, absorbing from all manner of sources along the way and getting a lot of varied experience from diving, animation and so forth. A useful lesson for any creative person is get some experience of life because it will influence your art and writing.

I’m not sure if ‘Route 66’ ever reached the UK but I might have been a little too young to have seen it, Will Murray looks at the series which was recorded across the USA and never actually reached the actual ‘Route 66’ when it was called that and more a case of the adventures of Buz Murdock (actor George Maharis) and Tod Styles (actor Martin Milner) in the latter’s convertible Corvette looking for meaning in life and their adventures from 1960-64.

After getting infectious hepatitis from getting in water in one episode, Maharis had to be written out for a while and not fully recovered when he returned, finally left and was replaced by actor Glenn Corbett as Lincoln Case. Fully informed, Rick Goldschmidt interviews the now 93 year-old George Maharis about his career.

I’ve seen some of the American competitions that writer Scott Saavedra covers in his piece on them and now wiser about the whereabouts of the Revell full-size Gemini spacecraft that was used as a main prize but was really to be donated to a museum. It would be interesting to see more info about these competitions stateside, more so as the odds of winning were high as any lottery. He does make the distinction between a contest which needs skill and a sweepstake where its purely luck.

Andy Mangels look at the animated adventures of the Lone Ranger shows in happened long before Filmation in the 1930s. Seeing two stills from it, one of a man not quite hung wouldn’t get pass the censor today. It was also pragmatic with the later Filmation animation that the Lone Ranger was not allowed shoot to kill with his silver bullets. I had a think about that. Apart from having the most expensive ammunition, even allowing for bore marks, they must have been quite hygienic. There’s a lot to learn here and fills in a lot of gaps about the Lone Ranger and Tonto as well.

I have to confess I had to think for a bit as to who B.J. Thomas was but when reading his interview, of course, the singer of ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ from the 1969 film ‘Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid’. He also did the original version of ‘Hooked On A Feeling’. I looked up a recording of the latter on YouTube and that chorus that Blue Swede use came from his ending. I certainly can’t recall any of his other material charting in the UK but an entertaining interview. Alas BJ died shortly after this interview.

More and more, ‘Retro Fan’ is becoming a cultural experience with sufficient variety to appeal to anyone with a nostalgia kick.

GF Willmetts

May 2022

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page magazine. Price: $10.95. (US). ISSN: 2576-7224. Direct from them, you can get it for $  (US))

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