Wednesday, August 21, 2013

HTK

Real life has attacked our little household with a funnel cloud of man-eating fish this week, and the improbable CGI weather event shows no sign of relenting, so I'm afraid I won't have a new post up until tomorrow.  But you know what? I say when Life gives you a Sharknado, you make Sharknade -- so let's have a caption contest!  I'll get things started...
Looking back on his trip to the 1939 World's Fair, Bob was pleased by the theme of optimistic futurism, and thrilled by the advanced technology on display, but felt they might have taken it all a bit too far when it came to the design of the public toilets.

25 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

In space, no one can hear your sharts.
~

grouchomarxist said...

The new Whirl-o-Jector ride at Tomorrowland wasn't quite the resounding success Walt expected it to be ...

Li'l Innocent said...

"My agent told me I'd regret taking this bit part in 'Gog', but would I listen?"

(This is more of a film-scholarly comment than a laff line, but hey.)

D. Sidhe said...

I just want to know what HTK means.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

Hats That Kill?

Hit The Knoll? (grassy, of course...)

Hold Teh Kraps?

On one hand, it looks like a fairway attempt at replicating G-force testers from NASA as an "amusement." On the other, it looks like a "Speed Racer" escapee willing to do ANYTHING to "break into films"...

I would say that I'm torn, but I think that we can agree that his "flight suit" is waaaayyyy the fuck more shredded.

Doc Logan said...

Recurring MST3K Riff #39 (collect them all!):

"Stay together, cheeks, stay together, cheeks..."

D. Sidhe said...

Man, I just watched Ghost Shark and aside from Syfy rifftracking the whole thing with tweets on the screen, I am deeply disappointed that no one said "We're gonna need a bigger mop."

I miss my partner almost more than I miss drinking. It's been one of those days.

grouchomarxist said...

Hat Tip, Kafka?

Hold That Kommissar?

Hop To Kentucky?

Oddly, those are my mother-in-law's initials. (You'll hear no mother-in-law jokes from me, though: I was lucky enough to get one of the good ones.)

Li'l Innocent: I got a grin from it. FSM help me, but I know exactly the scene you're talking about.

Scott said...

You guys' guesses about what those initials mean are so entertaining I'm reluctant to tell the boring truth, but since we value the old journalistic verities around here, I'll stick to the unvarnished facts...HTK is an abbreviation for "Hed To Kome," which is copy editor-speak for "Head to Come" (deliberately misspelled so someone scanning the proofs wouldn't mistake it for part of the article), and which means, "We'll fill in the headline presently."

Scott said...

And now I'm faced with the task of trying to fall asleep while "Hold That Kommissar" repeats endlessly in my mind, sung to a trombone-heavy arrangement of "Hold That Tiger."

Carl said...

In the future...

Gay orgies will include Erector set dildoes.

Weird Dave said...

Faster laddie!

Dr.BDH said...

Worst State Fair ride ever. The centrifugal force will push him out of the chair, hence the need for the safety helmet which, being glass or Plexiglas, won't do him much good on impact.

Li'l Innocent said...

grouchomarxist, I saw Gog at age maybe 10, at a Sat matinee with a bunch of 5th grade pals. Kids going in groups to The Movies free of adult supervision was common in the 50s, at least where we lived in NY-metro area Jersey.

We were a tough audience, with keen eyes for cheesiness and bad continuity (sort of proto MST2K bots). But Gog scared the crap out of us. I've been reluctant to look at it as an adult - either because it might disappoint me, or because it might scare the crap out of me again.

grouchomarxist said...

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

(With apologies for going completely ot) Li'l Innocent:

For a 10-yr-old, seeing it for the first time, and in a theater, I can see how "Gog" would be pretty scary. I can't say I had quite that intense a reaction when I first saw it back in the early 60s on our little Philco b & w tv -- though of course I thought the robots were extremely cool.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd disagree with me, but viewing it as an adult, I think it's worn pretty well, for a medium-budget 1950s Cold War-themed sf thriller. Nice color cinematography, interesting sets, fairly credible actors, dialog and plot. Plus I love that 50s tech.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that I'm a classic sf/fantasy cinema geek from way, way back, the type of incredible bore who if allowed could go on at length about things like this movie's being the third installment in Ivan Tor's OSI trilogy. YMMV.

ckc (not kc) said...

...I hate it when I get #2!

Scott said...

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that I'm a classic sf/fantasy cinema geek from way, way back, the type of incredible bore who if allowed could go on at length about things like this movie's being the third installment in Ivan Tor's OSI trilogy.

Speaking for myself, feel free!

grouchomarxist said...

Ok, but if I start going on about getting five bees to the quarter and tying an onion to my belt (which was the style at the time) remember: you've only yourself to blame.

Netflix streaming has a mint copy of Gog, btw.

The two preceding films in the O.S.I. -- Office of Scientific Investigation -- trilogy are The Magnetic Monster (1953) and Riders to the Stars (1954).

The Magnetic Monster is the best of the trilogy, an early X-Files-type tale in which the "monster" is a rogue radioactive isotope with bizarre, terrifying properties that threaten to destroy the Earth. Besides having an usually intelligent concept, the climax of the film utilizes some spectacular stock footage from the 1934 UFA film Gold.

On the other hand, Riders to the Stars -- besides evoking an immediate Doors riff -- is pretty dull stuff. The stock footage of V-2s and a Redstone being launched out at White Sands tickles my nostalgia nerve, but for normal people I doubt if it would make up for the slow pacing and tragically inadequate effects budget.

Gog is a more conventional spy thriller about mysterious murders taking place at a top-secret goverment research station. There's some pretty ludicrous science and it has its share of cringe-worthy moments, courtesy of the 1950s Male Reality. (At least some of the scientists are women.) Still, the subterranean research complex makes a nicely claustrophobic setting, slightly reminiscent of The Andromeda Strain, as well as being a window into some psychic quirks of the Cold War era.

Plus there's footage of a McCulloch MC4 tandem-rotor helicopter. So what more could you want?

Scott said...

Thanks for the expert commentary, gm! I'd heard of Gog, but never seen it, and had no idea it was an Ivan Tors picture, or part of a shared universe. I'll check it out on Netflix (I saw from the clip that it stars Herbert Marshall and that German Guy from 12 TO THE MOON, so, you know...Sold!).

stevie d said...

Ted was dubious, thinking the blue pill was a much simpler solution. However, all his wife's girlfriends had her convinced the Whirl-Erect was worth the effort.

grouchomarxist said...

Scott:

Last hijacking of thread, I promise, but anyone who's got Netflix should also check out F. W. Murnau's Faust.

Scott said...

No problem, movie recommendations (or warnings) are always on topic around here.

Li'l Innocent said...

I just want to say re: Gog, harkening back to the effect it had when it first came out (thus, no nostalgia) at least on movie-going youth:

- the thing that was frightening was that people keep being killed by technology in (then) new and nasty ways, in a closed-off secret installation -- and no one knows who's causing it, or why. Characterizing them as "murders" kind of implies a comprehensible motive, but in my memory at least, no such motive is revealed. An orbiting, apparently alien spacecraft is blown up at the end, the killings stop, but there's still no explanation.
BTW, Wikipedia says that Gog was unusual for being a mid-50s SF film shot in widescreen and color. (Also 3-D, but not at our theater.)

- Interesting that the same producer/writer made "The Magnetic Monster"! The blind, motiveless quality of the threat was very similar to "Gog".

(And now somebody - my eye is upon you, gm - who's seen Gog as a grownup will probably reveal that my kid-memories are spongy at best!)

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

Perhaps it's the NyQuil, but I am ASTONISHED, seriously concerned about you ALL that **NOBODY**, not even CARL or PREZNIT or even Vosburg had the cajones to stoop down & scoop-up the WAAAAAYYYYYYY TOO FUCKING *EASY* {and fuck no, that's NOT my CB handle *OR* my Halloween costume, at least not THIS year!} "HEAD TO COME / HED TO KOME" puns!!!!!!

Oh, fer fuck's sake... don't anybody try to tell me that we're "too mature" for random goofiness, that'd just be the last nail in my filthy, gnarled-charcoal-burnin' "heart's" coffin.

grouchomarxist said...

A.S. Coulter:

[face palm] Too mature? Hardly! In my case, it's "too oblivious". I never in my life intentionally passed up an opportunity for a cheap larf. Especially the smutty variety.

Li'l Innocent:

So much for promises.

Anyway, yes and no on the memory thing. You're dead-on about why the murders are so frightening, because it seems as if there might be a "ghost in the machine" rather than a human killer. That opening sequence in which first a scientist and then his assistant get flash-frozen (and literally go to pieces) is superbly creepy.

But the motive for the mayhem is revealed, about mid-way into the film: The project's goal is to build a space station, but the reason for their extreme urgency is that they plan on arming it with nukes. Naturally, the Other Side wants to do the same -- though of course in their case it's for World Conquest instead of Peace and Motherhood. So it seems pretty obvious who wants the project to go down the tubes, even if they never come right out and say "It's the Commies!"

(The idea of nukes on the moon or on a space station ushering in the Pax Americana shows up fairly often in "hard" sf of the late 40s and throughout the 1950s. It originated with some barely-ex-Nazi rocket scientists we imported at the end of the war in Europe -- but that's another story.)

The filmmakers in fact go out of their way to make clear in the epilog that there's a human agency behind the murders.

But all that Cold War intrigue stuff went right over my head, when I saw the movie at approximately the same age as you. I thought it was aliens then, too. Which probably says less about spongy memories than our inability at that age to grasp all the intricacies of adult paranoia.