Retro Fan #6 Fall 2019 (magazine review).

The opening features of the latest edition of ‘Retro Fan’ is pure Americana as I can’t recall them ever being shown over here. The first is an interview by Dan Johnson with TV horror host Svengoolie although I think he should have been called Son Of Svengoolie as he’s the second of that name. Amusingly, it does show that TV channel producers might put anything in to fill a timeslot but then can’t comprehend why it would become successful happens in any country.

Editor Mike Eury explains his problems with Rubik’s Cube. I never had much patience with it neither although from what I’ve read, the trick is to keep the centre row static although not in which way.

Filmation did the original live TV series ‘The Ghost Busters’ starring Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and a gorilla called Shane as discussed by Andy Mangels. His ‘trainer’, the gorilla not Mangels, Bob Burns is interviewed. Of particular interest the mask was created by Rick Baker and the body by Don Post Snr. and American folk thought it was the real thing at the time.

You do have to wonder what went through manufacturers’ heads when they turned an unused artificial leather fabric into ugly Naugas dolls back in 1966. Scott Shaw! gives the lowdown and I guess we should be lucky that they never hit these shores.

By far the biggest article in this book focues on that 007 fella, Bond, James Bond. A name who defies its creator Ian Fleming as being chosen because it was a boring name. A lot of the information in this article should be familiar if you know the film series and who doesn’t? Even so, Bond does need to be covered and long time fan Ernest Farino does an interesting job.

We both agree when young at pronouncing ‘Sean’ as ‘Seen’ before accepting how it is really pronounced. About the only thing I think out of place was comparison to the other spy film and TV material of the time and him missing out on the Harry Palmer films. I think I would have preferred to see a bit more of the 007 merchandise he’s got, especially the 007 briefcase. When I was young, such things were way outside my budget but it would be interesting to have someone compare this one to, say, the UNCLE briefcase and even Joe 90’s briefcase. It wasn’t as though you could buy the contents separately making them singularly unique.

Something I didn’t touch on until my early 20s, was writing to people for their autographs. Scott Saavedra was urged to do it by his father and he shows them and the stories behind it as he got replies from Neil Armstrong, Norman Rockwell and Jack Kirby, the latter who lived close by to him.

Dan Johnson interviews actor Butch Patrick, Eddie Munster from the 1960s ‘The Munsters’ TV series and it was interesting to note that he wasn’t typecast with many roles after. Mind you, considering he looked nothing like the wolf-boy probably helped.

The article by Rob Smentek on the Kenner Alien toy from 1979 gave me a lot more information about the 18 inch figure. Over here, I only ever spotted a box of one once tucked behind the counter and told it had already been sold. There is mention of a couple other novelty toy items as well. Bear in mind that ‘Alien’ could only be seen in the cinema at the time by an adult audience made it an odd choice for a children’s toy, especially as it had a moving mouth and American parents were up in arms over it. The article does make a serious mistake in calling John Hurt’s character ‘Ash’ instead of ‘Kane’. There is also nary a word about the MPC model kit of the ‘Alien’.

Will Murray has a look at ‘The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis’ (1959-1963) and I don’t think was ever shown in the UK. We didn’t get our boon of US sit-coms until the mid-60s. This series also introduces actor Bob Denver and we only really got to see him in ‘Gilligan’s Isle’ over here so it’s nice to get a bit more knowledge of his history.

Finally, Richard J. Fowlks looks at Tim Arnold’s Pinball Hall Of Fame which makes money for various charities by opening them up for play every whips while. In many respects, it did make me think that the mechanical pinball machines are likely to become dinosaurs to the young of today so seeing them being kept going in the States until it becomes impossible to replace parts should be encouraged.

‘Retro Fan’ is a reminder of the past in America. Some of it is certainly bizarre but should certainly stir some memories to many of our generation and especially, as with Butch Patrick, what happened next. Read and learn and, occasionally, puzzle how some things were seen as acceptable.

GF Willmetts

October 2019

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 80 page magazine. Price: $ 8.95. (US). ISSN: 2576-7224. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))

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