Retro-casting superhero films and shows

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JRoss, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The problem with the "reflect the era" argument, though, is that even then, there were people who recognized racism as wrong and refused to perpetuate racist stereotypes and tropes in their fiction -- e.g. Jack Benny, who cast Eddie Anderson as Rochester rather than having a white actor do a "black" voice, and who forbade his radio and TV writers from resorting to stereotype humor when writing Rochester. Or director Jacques Tourneur, one of the only filmmakers of his era to portray black characters in non-stereotyped ways. Even then, there were people who knew better. So the people who uncritically embraced the tropes weren't entirely innocent.
     
  2. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To give the Fleischer’s credit, the propaganda episodes were under Paramount’s Famous Studios banner, after they left. Prior to that, the Superman shorts by Fleischer Studios were primarily slanted toward sci-fi and fantasy. The first Famous Studios story was “Japoteurs.” Yikes…
     
  3. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah. Credit to Fleischers. for what they did. Yes, the animation in Jungle Drums is very good and the music is incredible. But their portray of black people just isn't acceptable. I was five when I watched all those cartoons. Imagine showing Jungle Drums to a five-year-old black kid? History or not, it's not an okay way to portray people.

    Famous did some good stuff. I loved The Underground World and The Mummy Strikes.

    But just imagine a Batman animated shorts series with the same production values. Around the time that the Superman cartoons came out the comics had Clayface, Hugo Strange, Joker, Scarecrow and Two-Face. Plus they could have come up with their own villains.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    At the time, though, it was unprecedented for superhero adaptations to use villains from the comics, or from each other. They cross-pollinated with heroic characters -- like the comics and cartoons adopting Perry and Jimmy from radio -- but no comic book villain ever showed up in an adaptation until Luthor in 1950's Atom Man vs. Superman, and he was the only one until Batman '66. Even in that show, only about a third of the villains were adapted from the comics. And after that, aside from a pair of obscure '40s Wonder Woman foes showing up in the first couple of episodes of her TV series, we didn't see any more comics villains adapted for live action until the first two Superman movies. It wasn't until the '80s that adapting comics villains to the screen started to happen more often (e.g. in the Swamp Thing movie, the Superboy TV series, and Batman '89), and it wasn't really until the '90s that it became the rule rather than the exception.

    Before 1950, the closest thing we got to a villain being adapted from one medium to another was when the Superman radio show did a storyline called "The Mechanical Man" a month after the Fleischer short The Mechanical Monsters came out. It featured a robot roughly similar to the ones from the short and clearly inspired by them, but its origin and abilities were very different.

    (Also, the Clayface of that era, Basil Karlo, was just a master of disguise, not the modern shapeshifter, so he wouldn't have been as cinematic.)
     
  5. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I know, @Christopher. I appreciate tat you are the most polite and helpful Avatar of"Well, Actually" on the internet. I'd still love to see it. Oh, andIno one can ever convince me that the title character of The Mad Scientist wasn't Lex Luthor.

    EDIT: I mean that the mad scientist from The Magnetic Telescope is Lex Luthor to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  6. Reyman

    Reyman Commander Red Shirt

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    Yul Brynner as The Watcher
     
  7. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never said they were. I was just pointing out that I myself have always been able to look past the flagrant insults to groups and view the cartoons as what they were intended to be seen as; entertainment. Some may not be able to, and I agree with their motivations and complaints, if not their responses. It's just more important to me to suspend my disbelief, than to take offense at the slightest little thing.

    One other thing. Next time you quote me about something like this, quote the entire post, and address everything I say, would you? I'm not an idiot.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Huh? I wasn't saying you were wrong. I was just saying "On the other hand." It's a complex question with points worth considering on both sides. You presented one, I presented another. It's just point-counterpoint.
     
  9. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU with guest star Brian Dennehy and I think he would have made a good 'Uncle Ben' in a Spider-Man movie.
    I can also picture Caroll O'Conner as well.
     
  10. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm still sensitive about how I get presented by others. I probably always will be. Still trying to do better.