Retro Fan #8 April 2020 (magazine review).

There are always some surprises with ‘Retro Fan’, especially those that don’t cross the Atlantic. I don’t think the 1960s family band ‘The Cowsills’ ever had any of their songs in the UK charts. I did have a listen to one of their songs on UTube and there are obvious harmonics that wasn’t unpleasant. Rob Labbe interviews the three last surviving members of the band and their mismanagement by their father, who clearly wasn’t a nice person.

Will Murray has a look at the TV series of ‘Honey West’ and touches on the software. Looking up the original doll based on actress Anne Francis looks like another one for vintage buys. About the only thing Murray misses out is how her authors, Skip and Gloria Fickling were ripped off by their agent who signed them out of any money they could have made from the TV series.

Scott Shaw! has a look at ‘The Flintstones’ in a graphic manner in his ‘The Bedrock Chronicles’. If you were of a particular age, you would have realised just how much of family viewing it was back in the 1960s on both sides of the pond. Interestingly, the voice of Betty Rubble, Bea Benadret, cross-referencing to the next article was also in ‘Petticoat Junction’.

The next article is an interview with actress June Lockhart over her time on ‘Lassie’ and ‘Lost In Space’ with some interesting details. We then move over to Mike Eury’s look at the Smiley face. If you only thought that it was only used in ‘Watchmen’ should realise it was created by Harvey Ball back in 1963.

I did think ‘Mars Attacks’ by Ernest Farino was going to just be about its card series and films. However, it covers the original UFOs material and other earlier films as well.

Scott Saavedra goes mad, well ‘Mad Magazine’ actually as he looks over its history and how it enticed his younger self in before realising it was looking at our reality and introduced him to the big, bad world out there. An interesting fact he points out is William M. Gaines might have been the first to have comicbook orientated publisher to have a biography written about him.

Just in case you thought this issue was only 60s based, we move to the 1970s with Andy Mangels looking at ‘ElectraWoman And DynaGirl’, something else that never came to the UK in 1976-77. Then again, as a segmented show, I’m not sure if it would have worked here, especially as ‘Wonder Woman’ had the bigger following.

The collection for this month belongs to Terry Haney and that of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘The Bionic Woman’ plus an interview with Kenneth Johnson. I think that can be forgiven for not showing the merchandise photos at a bigger scale. It’s rather interesting to see how many playsets were available, more so as again I can’t recall seeing them over here neither. Something I wish was covered was how to find replacement rubber sheaths for the bionic couple’s arms as it crumbles away. Surely someone must have thought of this by now?

Fan location is off to Chester, Illinois, the birthplace of E.C. Seger who used the local townfolk as the templates for his ‘Thimble Theatre’ characters, most famous of all is Popeye. They have a pageant there the weekend after Labour Day. Over here, the most we get is a plaque where someone famous was born.

What I love about ‘Retro Fan’ is how much information is covered and hitting on areas where I didn’t have a more complete knowledge. You’ll note that where I’m adding the odd point, it’s only because I’m paying attention and if I wasn’t reviewing the magazine, I would effectively become a letter writer to them. I do think at some point, there needs to be the look at modern collections or people would think we’re all nostalgic freaks when it still goes on today. Don’t miss out.

GF Willmetts

March 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page magazine. Price: $ 9.95. (US). ISSN: 2576-7224. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.95 (US))

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