Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just got done watching disques #1 and 2 of the ULTRAMAN box set and boy do the memories keep coming back! Unfortunately the memories aren't of sitting happily plopped in front of the television set watching this long-heralded television series, but memories of wishing I could be able to drag in some station from the nether-reaches of the broadcast area that would show a program such as this! Y'see, the programmers in the Youngstown Ohio market were such one-dimensional bozos that they thought kids wanted to watch the same episodes of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and MY THREE SONS over and over, that they were too stoopid to realize that it was the same shows they were seeing repeatedly and why dish out $$$ for another series whena measly few would suffice! The dolt programmers were either too cheap, too ignorant or both, to consider running the kinda shows I would have loved to have sacked out in front of the television set for which is one reason I honor programs like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET so much...these were the shows that I deserved to have been watching back when I was a roughshod run over adolescent only some azzole out there thought that VIRGINIA GRAHAM was more suitable to my well-being. Kinda like the nimnul who gave Ellen DeGenital her own series which is aired during the post-school hours when ya know every kid should be front and center watching RIFLEMAN reruns like they were fifty years ago!

But man, ULTRAMAN has it all. The best moments of late-sixties/early-eighties UHF tee-vee rolled into one half hour of action. Sci-Fi adventure, cool rocket ships, neat sixties gadgets and even boss studio wrestling moves on the part of Ultraman and whatever monster he's up against this episode. All of your cheezoid favorites wrapped up into one half-hour of entertainment that sure did me a whole load of betterment than the entire 1979-2013 tee-vee seasons combined!

The basic premise of the show reminds me of FIREBALL XL-5, only instead of being set 100 years in the future it takes place in a 1993 Japan even though all of the technology and automobiles are clearly early-sixties. The prominent characters on ULTRAMAN are part of an organization called "Science Patrol" as opposed to the "Space Patrol", or was that the name of the FIREBALL imitation that had come out around the same time (known as "Planet Patrol" in the USA)? My memory's getting even soggier here, but anyway you kinda can feel the influence chart dripping from  one show to the other and yet to another one that's so encrusted with so much  cheeze you just don't care no more.

And what cheeze it is, for each and every ULTRAMAN on this platter really socks ya with high energy power and chill thrills galore. I mean, I knew that there was a whole lotta turmoil and disasters goin' on in that Land of Monsters called Japan, but in these shows the carnage was upped on a daily basis to the point where I can't fathom how the locals could stand all of those buildings and ships being destroyed having to be rebuilt over and over...I'm surprised that the Japanese aren't having Valium pumped into 'em intravenously what with all of the upheavals they have to contend with not only in the ULTRAMAN universe, but with all of those other Toho productions that sure helped out many an unemployed wrestler who hadda don some big lizard outfit and re-create some of his best moves up against a guy dressed up as the title character!

Good casting also makes ULTRAMAN every bit the Japanese equivalent of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN that it "purports" to be. Susumu Kurobe is perfect as Shin Hayata, the cool and competent member of the Science Patrol who becomes Ultraman after flashing his "beta capsule" (which looks more like a space-age vibrator to me) in the air while making a strange arm signal which might be mistaken for some gang sign. Of course the connections between him and Clark Kent are amazing, what with him disappearing at the most crucial time with Ultraman popping up just in the nick (and of course everybody's too stoopid to make the obvious connection!). Captain Mura is the head of the Science Patrol, not quite a Perry White type but still gruff enough. And hey, who could deny that the Ito character, he being the big goof up yet brilliant inventor of the group, was more or less comic relief in the fashion of Jimmy Olsen! Sometimes I wonder why DC just didn't go and sue like they were wont to do with everything else even slightly infringing upon their copyrights!

Of course my fave of the bunch is Hiroko Sakurai as Akiko Fuji, the token femme on the force who usually sits around at the radio and makes coffee though sometimes gets to go on a mission with the guys and usually proves herself worthy despite her sex. If a Lois Lane comparison has to be made it would be to the more motherly Noel Neill rather than the hard-boiled Phyllis Coates, though hey, unlike the legendary Loises of tee-vee fame this is one female lead I really do have the carnal compulsion for! I mean, she's unlike every woman seen these days...nice, sweet, beautiful and hygenic...who in their right mind wouldn't want to be married to a gal like this who looks wonderful especially in that Science Patrol uniform with the necktie, not to mention the straight hair which looks so much better'n it all teased up and curly. I was kinda upset that the scene where she and her kid brother have to swim to safety after escaping from a viaduct didn't show her with skin-tight clothing and a little chill popping out her nipples, but hey this is supposed to be a kid show and they'd never allow anything like that in a millyun years (unlucky kids!).

For those of you who care, the quality is top notch, though perhaps you'd like to distort your screen somehow with snow just to give it that broken down rabbit ears feeling. Or better yet see if you can watch it on an old tube television and have one of the tubes blow out just like they used to when you were a kid. Really brings those good ol' memories home! Even better yet, don't do your homework, watch ULTRAMAN, then get your mother to yell at you for watching that dumbo tee-vee show when you should be studying instead...I'll tell ya, you'll be flashing back to the past so quickly you'll remember how to throw a proper temper tantrum in no time flat!

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