Live on Amongst the Stars – Nichelle Nichols (1932-2022)

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With great regularity, I will share the fact that I’ve been a Trekkie since the age of 3. I’m now closing in on 55 and nothing has changed as I still love Star Trek. In fact, I watched it on MeTV less than 24 hours ago. Just this morning, my memory on Facebook was of pictures of autographs I took 3 years ago, one of which was a Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country cast photo. Little did I know that just a few hours later, I would read the news that Nichelle Nichols, the lovely Lt. Nyota Uhura, had passed away at the age of 89.

I had the honor of meeting Nichelle on two occasions. The first time was in 1993 at a Creation Entertainment convention in Wichita, Kansas. It was my first experience meeting someone from the show that was such a huge part of my life. She was as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before, beautiful and full of grace. She truly loved and appreciated all of the fans. It was a fabulous experience and it set the standard high for future star struck moments that would follow in the decades to come. She was the first to sign that cast photo that is now filled with everyone else’s autograph except for DeForest Kelley, who sadly passed away before I had the chance to meet him.

I missed her when she appeared at Trek Expo in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2002 as that was one of the few years I didn’t attend that memorable convention. However, I would get the chance to see her two more times here in Kansas City and both events were just as amazing as the first. There are many articles flooding the internet about all of her amazing accomplishments. I won’t repeat them here but instead, I’ll guide to an amazing documentary that really is a must see. Go to Paramount + and watch Woman in Motion, a 2021 film that focuses on a previously undetailed story about her involvement with NASA and her role in recruiting scientists, engineers and astronauts to the space program. Follow that up with a classic episode or two of Star Trek before ending your night by listening to her amazing voice as she sings “Beyond Antares”.

Nichelle’s passing has left me a little gutted as she was truly a huge part of my childhood and adulthood. As I grow older, I’m sadly losing more and more pieces of those years gone by. There was a time my Dad would have called me with the news but as he’s been gone for more than six years now, it’s amplifying that feeling of loss. It just hits close to home. However, Nichelle is now at peace after suffering for far too long.  The stars will shine a little brighter tonight as she’s experiencing the galaxy in a way we can’t understand yet. Live Long and Prosper Ms. Nichols.

Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938): Chapters 13-15

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Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura
Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood
C. Montague Shaw as Clay King
Richard Alexander as Prince Barin

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Ray Trampe, Norman S. Hall,
Wyndham Gittens & Herbert Dalmas
Directed by Ford Beebe

Chapter 13 The Miracle of Magic
Chapter 14: A Beast at Bay
Chapter 15: An Eye for an Eye

Plot: As our story heads into the climax, Flash frees the Clay people from their curse and Queen Azura’s sacrifices her life to save Flash and his friends. Now, it’s time for the final confrontation with Ming as his plans for Mars near their end. Will the Martian forces turn on Ming to save their home and avenge their fallen queen?

Richard’s Review: I see now why this is only my second viewing of Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars. It’s not nearly as good as the original. I have fond memories of the third serial and with a different set of writers, I’m hopeful the next story is better. There were some good elements, such as the Clay people. Unfortunately, they were never fully realized and there is not nearly enough for 15 chapters and way too much repetition.  

Karla’s Thoughts: Most of these last three chapters featured some of the same storylines but at least things picked up towards the conclusion. Unfortunately, they raced through it in the last 10 minutes. The writers needed to pace themselves better in these final chapters. I found it funny that Queen Azura was being hailed as a hero in the end but just how good was she? I know Ming will return but I hope the story is better in the next serial. I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as the first.

Trivia:

  • This marked the final appearances of Jean Rogers and Richard Alexander as Dale and Prince Barin. While both characters return in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), both roles are recast.

Availability: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or you can watch it for free on YouTube!

Next week…Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe!

Classic Horrors Club – The Godzilla with Two Heads

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In what is perhaps one of the oddest double-features Jeff and I have ever encountered, we face Hedorah (the Smog Monster) and the temporarily decapitated head of Ray Milland as we head back to the drive-in in episode 70 of the Classic Horrors Podcast! During the respective running times of their films, both monsters evolve in ways possible only in the early 1970s.

Spoiler alert! Pollution and racism are bad! Yes, these movies have messages! Occasionally heavy-handed, but always fun, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster aka Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) and The Thing with Two Heads (1972) are worth watching if you haven’t seen them. Still not sure? Then listen to what we and our special guest Jonathan Angarola have to say!

Don’t forget to check out the video companion on our YouTube channel. Put images to the voices… if you dare!

Call us at (616) 649-2582 (CLUB), email at classichorrors.club@gmail.com or join us in our clubhouse at https://www.facebook.com/groups/classichorrors.club/!

We’d also appreciate if you’d give us an honest rating on Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud. Thank you!

You can find Jeff at:

And a very special thank you to our guest Jonathan Angarola. He is most definitely a kaiju expert and we have a blast anytime he joins us on the show.

Coming up next month, we’re firing up the time machine once again for another double feature at the drive-in! We’re going to step into end of the 70s and the start of the 80s with The Fog (1980) and Phantasm (1979)!

OTR – The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon – Episode 9 (1935)

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This week on old time radio, it’s episode 9 of The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon from June 22, 1935. Gale Gordon plays the lead role of Flash Gordon with Maurice Franklin as Dr. Zarkov and Bruno Wick as Ming the Merciless.

Tune into episode 9, Wounded in the Heat of Battle! You can find it on the Flash Gordon playlist on my YouTube channel.

Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938): Chapters 10-12

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Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura
Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood
C. Montague Shaw as Clay King
Richard Alexander as Prince Barin

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Ray Trampe, Norman S. Hall,
Wyndham Gittens & Herbert Dalmas
Directed by Ford Beebe

Chapter 10: Symbol of Forgetfulness
Chapter 11: Human Bait
Chapter 12: Ming the Merciless

Plot: Dale becomes captured by the Tree people and is forced to inhale an incense that wipes away her memory and seeks to kill Flash. She’s eventually captured by Queen Azura. Can Flash save Dale and convince the queen of Ming’s true intentions to conquer Mars?

Richard’s Review: I’ve grown a little weary at this point as well. I wish the writers from the original had returned as this story has little to offer that even comes close to the excitement of the first.  

Karla’s Thoughts: Not much to say with these three chapters as it’s a lot of the same we’ve already seen. There is lots of running around with captures and escapes that don’t really advance the story. I know chapter serials can sometimes be repetitive but this story is a lot less interesting that the original.

Trivia:

  • The title of this serial was originally Flash Gordon and the Witch Queen of Mongo. The decision to shoot many scenes in the back lot and a desire to not build costly new sets resulted in the change of locale from Mongo to Mars.
  • Ming was bald in the original chapter serial but is seen with a black skull cap here. Dale also changed from a blonde to a brunette as actress Jean Rogers was reportedly playing other film role that required her brunette hair color.

Availability: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or you can watch it for free on YouTube!

Next week…chapters 12-15 and the exciting conclusion!

Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938): Chapters 7-9

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Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura
Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood
C. Montague Shaw as Clay King
Richard Alexander as Prince Barin

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Ray Trampe, Norman S. Hall,
Wyndham Gittens & Herbert Dalmas
Directed by Ford Beebe

Chapter 7: The Prisoner of Mongo
Chapter 8: The Black Sapphire of Kalu
Chapter 9: Symbol of Death

Plot: As Flash continues his quest to stop Ming and find a cure for the Clay people, they encounter an old friend, Prince Barin, and battle new foes, the Tree-men!

Richard’s Review: We get to see the return of Prince Barin, which was a nice connection to the original. Unfortunately, the story does seem to be dragging again it’s stuck in a pattern with far too many capture and escape sequences. I’m a little disappointed so far but I still enjoy seeing Buster Crabbe as Flash. With six more chapters to go, hopefully the story begins to move forward.

Karla’s Thoughts: I expected the tree people to be friends, so their turn as foes came as a bit of a surprise. They look more like cavemen than tree people though. There was some different music during some fight sequences, which was a nice change of pace. It actually sounded a little like it belonged in a Sinbad movie. Dale and happy really haven’t done much so far. And yes, more capture/escape/repeat. I wish the writing would have been better in this story.

Trivia:

  • Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars debuted in March 1938, some seven months before Orson Welles pulled his War of the Worlds stunt on radio. However, Universal decided to quickly capitalize and released a condensed feature film into theaters in November entitled Mars Attacks the World.
  • When this serial was released to television in 1951, it was eventually retitled Space Soldiers’ Trip to Mars to avoid confusion with the Steve Holland series in syndication.
  • Some of the original prints of the serial were reportedly dyed green with some lobby cards sporting the same color.

Availability: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or you can watch it for free on YouTube!

Next week…chapters 10-12!

OTR – The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon – Episode 7 (1935)

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This week on old time radio, it’s episode 7 of The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon from June 8, 1935. Gale Gordon plays the lead role of Flash Gordon with Maurice Franklin as Dr. Zarkov and Bruno Wick as Ming the Merciless.

Tune into episode 7, Promoted to Commander-in-Chief! You can find it on the Flash Gordon playlist on my YouTube channel.

Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938): Chapters 4-6

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Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938)

Cast:
Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon
Jean Rogers as Dale Arden
Charles Middleton as Ming the Merciless
Frank Shannon as Doctor Alexis Zarkov
Beatrice Roberts as Queen Azura
Donald Kerr as Happy Hapgood
C. Montague Shaw as Clay King

Based on the comic strip by Alex Raymond
Screenplay by Ray Trampe, Norman S. Hall,
Wyndham Gittens & Herbert Dalmas
Directed by Ford Beebe

Chapter 4: Ancient Enemies
Chapter 5: The Boomerang
Chapter 6: Tree-men of Mars

Plot: As Flash and friends try to stop Ming’s plan of destroying the Earth, they discover more of the inhabitants of Mars, including the Tree-men. But are they friend or foe?

Richard’s Review: Unfortunately, the story is already beginning to drag a little, which is far too early for a 15-chapter adventure. I’ve enjoyed the Clay people and can see them turning at some point, much like the Hawkmen did in the original. I’m not really enjoying the Tree-men as they seem to be a lesser version of the Lion-men from the first story. However, their characters are at least fleshed out a little more. As much as I love the Universal Frankenstein music, it’s being overused and already becoming repetitious. Hopefully things pick up in the next three chapters.

Karla’s Thoughts: I find the story dragging along as we’re in a cycle of capture/escape/repeat. The flashback seemed like an easy way to stretch out the story. And the music is getting annoying very fast. I wish we could see and learn more about the Clay people.

Trivia:

  • Beatrice Roberts appeared as an uncredited party guest in the Bela Lugosi chapter serial The Return of Chandu (1934). Universal horror fans with an eagle eye may recognize her as Varja the barmaid in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) or as a nurse in Phantom of the Opera (1943). She retired from acting in 1949 and died in 1970 at age 55 of pneumonia.
  • Donald Kerr was a character actor with 518 acting credits to his name, often playing photographers, delivery men or taxi drivers. Horror fans might recognize him from The Devil Bat (1940) with Bela Lugosi. He died in 1977 at age 85.
  • C. Montague Shaw was another busy character actor with 146 credits, including other chapter serials Undersea Kingdom (1936) and Zorro’s Fighting Legion (1939). He died in 1968 at age 85.

Availability: Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars is available through a variety of sources, including the Image Entertainment DVD or you can watch it for free on YouTube!

Next week…chapters 7-9!

OTR – The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon – Episode 6 (1935)

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This week on old time radio, it’s episode 6 of The Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon from June 1, 1935. Gale Gordon plays the lead role of Flash Gordon with Maurice Franklin as Dr. Zarkov and Bruno Wick as Ming the Merciless.

Tune into episode 6, Zarkov to the Rescue! You can find it on the Flash Gordon playlist on my YouTube channel.