Alex Reviews The Mad Hatter!

20150824_AlexFirstDayMy son has released his second video review, this time focusing on that dastardly chapeau-obsessed fiend, the Mad Hatter.

While the review focuses on a toy based on the character from the 1966 Batman TV series, Alex takes the time to provide a brief primer on a character who is a bit more complicated than one might think. Initially created as an impish villain inspired by his namesake from Alice in Wonderland, a second Hatter was introduced a decade later with no ties to Lewis Carroll’s work but a burning need to posses all hats, especially Batman’s cowl.

Portrayed by David Wayne, then a hot commodity, the Mad Hatter appeared in two stories, one focused on getting revenge on the jury who convicted him and a follow up in which he irradiates Batman’s cowl, turning it pink. Armed with a top hat that housed a secret mesmerizing beam, the Mad Hatter was a formidable foe for the caped crusader and just weird enough to be fondly remembered. An unusual and quirky character, he has proven popular enough to still have an appeal, even to a seven year old kid.

Watch the review here!

Alex Reviews Launches!

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my better half, Alex, is every bit of an enthusiastic pundit on toys and cartoons as I am, and far more charismatic. This month, I have published the first in a series of reviews from my seven year-old protege and anticipate many additional videos to come.

12814678_10154794990203438_312857545901260308_nThe opener is a review of the Batman ’66 Mr. Freeze toy by Figures Toys Co. Included in the review is a short comic book history lesson and a quick sketch of the character’s first appearance. Please take a look and spread the word.


Go back to the Batcave with Lego!

Batman_WestToday, the Dark Knight of Gotham City is regarded as a grim vigilante striking from the shadows, but once upon a time he was presented as an absurd ‘Bright Knight’ in tights. The TV program created by William Dozier will forever be either derided or praised by fans of Batman, but no one can deny that it had a lasting impact on pop culture with its stylish intro credits, unexpected celebrity cameos and exciting vehicles. The property had been tied up with legal concerns until last year and products have been trickling in from action figures to the definitive Blu-Ray set, but it’s time to think small.

Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Batman ’66 TV series (as it is now known) comes this amazing 2,526 Lego piece set commemorating the timeless program. The set won’t hit the shelves until March, but the announcement is setting the fan community a-flutter with anticipation. 150305-batman-01a.jpg


Although images leaked last week, LEGO apparently wanted to hold off until today — the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the 1966 Batman series — to make it official: The LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes Batman: Classic TV Series – Batcave will arrive in stores in March.

Along with the announcement arrives the first official images of the elaborate 2,500-piece set, which includes not just the Batmobile, Batcycle and Batcopter, but also a whopping nine minifigures.

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Now you can see for yourself the full scale of the Batcave, with its Bat Lab, helipad, garage and Batpoles, which of course are hidden behind the grandfather clock in Bruce Wayne’s study above, in stately Wayne Manor.

As we previously mentioned, the playset boasts minifigs of Batman, Robin, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Alfred Pennyworth, Catwoman, The Riddler, The Penguin and The Joker (with Cesar Romero mustache, naturally).

International Rescue returns for a trio of new Thunderbirds adventures

5… 4… 3… 2… 1.

Thunderbirds are GO!


In the traditional supermarionation manner (rather than CGi), new adventures are being produced in the original studio in Slough. While Gerry Anderson would likely shake his head in confusion as to why anyone would willingly recreate a product similar to the programs he worked on which caused him so much frustration (puppets are almost impossible to work with).

Nevertheless, I’m pleased as punch. More as it comes.

It is 50 years since International Rescue’s first mission blasted off from Tracy Island.

Now, Thunderbirds are go again, but this time the classic show which entertained generations will be returning with all the strings attached.
To mark the anniversary this month, a new project is hoping to recapture the magic of the original episodes.

We’ll Always Remember Yvonne

She was a sexy librarian who changed into Batgirl, she was in Star Trek and Man from U.N.C.L.E. and dated Elvis Presley. How can anyone ever forget darling Yvonne Craig?
Batgirl memories

Her signature movements…

Via CNN:

(CNN)Before Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, before Joanna Cameron’s Isis, before Scarlett Johannsson’s Black Widow, Yvonne Craig was a pioneer of female superheroes on screen.

As an actress, she originated the role of Batgirl in the 1960s “Batman” television series. As a trained dancer, she did her own stunts.

27Craig died this week after a long two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 78.

The cancer metastasized to her liver, and she died Monday in her home in Pacific Palisades.

“She had been in chemo almost continuously for the past two plus years since being diagnosed and that had weakened her immune system as well as her body,” her family said in a statement late Tuesday night.

“This didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit, she intended to fight and win this battle. In the end, her mind still wanted to fight but her body had given up.”

Craig originated the role of Batgirl in the show’s third and final season in 1967, kapowing and zzonking the bad guys alongside Adam West and Burt Ward’s dynamic duo of Batman and Robin.

“I hear from women that I was their role model,” she told CNN in an interview earlier this year. “‘When I was a little girl, I realized that girls could kick butt just like guys,’ [they’d say].”

She also had a memorable role as the green-skinned Orion slave girl Marta who wanted to kill Captain Kirk in a third-season episode of “Star Trek.”

But even beyond those two well-remembered roles, Craig had a long and illustrious career that began as the youngest member of a ballet company.

(Reminder: I don’t make money off these referrals, they’re just suggestions):

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Ultraman Returns!

With the ability to grow into a silver and red giant, Ultraman battled monsters from the stars long before anyone had thought of the Power Rangers. A cult phenomenon, the character has reigned supreme as a monster wrestler and defender of our planet.

Created in 1966 by Eiji Tsuburaya, Ultra Q underwent several revisions. A sci-fi series similar in some ways to U.N.I.T. from Doctor Who whereby the Earth was protected from the regular attacks of bizarre aliens by an even weirder jump-suited force.

Set in the distant future, a well-armed planet-wide defense known as Science Special Search Party utilizes the most advanced arsenal of weapons and vehicles known to mankind. One key member of the global organization called the Space Patrol, Hayata, is abducted by aliens and granted the unlikely ability to grow into fantastic size, thus leveling the playing field against the race of skyscraper-sized monsters.

While Utlraman easily has the most diverse and amazing list of super abilities ranging from super speed to telekinesis to a kind of supreme super soaker ray, he primarily relies on his fighting fists. As Ultraman, Hyata primarily utilizes wrestler-style moves and the occasionally inexplicable blast of energy from a special positioning of his arms. Hyata has a limited but vague amount of time in which to defeat the alien threat, the limit of which is signaled by a flashing light on his chest. However, it’s not fair to really discuss Hyata and Ultraman as if they were one persona as they swap places in much the same way the Captain Marvel and Billy Batson do. While Ultraman is fighting a giant alien monster, Hyata is in some strange limbo.

Ultraman retains the Guiness record for spinoffs but while it is CG-animated, the new series looks to be a return to the character’s roots. No more rubber suits, but similar levels of devastation.

Ultraman will return in a brand new series in 2016 which appears unafraid to embrace its past.

Get ready.

Thunderbirds are GO! (again)

A world in peril. Impossible odds. Unimaginable dangers. And International Rescue was there.

The Thunderbirds was a revolutionary children’s TV series produced from 1964-66 that spawned two feature films and several spin-offs and reboots over the years. Gerry Anderson’s crew of imagineers crafted a universe of adventure unlike anything ever seen before… with marionettes. Don’t believe me? The legacy lives on today and thanks to the wonder of the internet, brand new episodes featuring storylines and voices of the past are being made with technology of the present…. emulating the era of 1964-66. Thanks to old recorded stories and carefully rebuilt models and puppets, Thunderbirds are GO one more!


It was the show that launched a generation of childhoods – a rocket-powered blend of action, adventure, and explosions. A world brought to life with sophisticated marionettes, scale models and pyrotechnic effects all realised in front of the camera.

… And we’re going to bring it all back with brand new classic style episodes based on original 60s audio recordings. EXCLUSIVELY TO KICKSTARTER!

To celebrate its 50th anniversary we want to make a new, classic style episode of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s legendary puppet series Thunderbirds using original audio-only stories recorded in the 1960s.

Technology has moved on in five decades, but our goal is to produce an unashamedly retro episode made with many of the same ‘Supermarionation’ techniques used to bring the puppets and models to life in the 1960s.

This special anniversary production, supported with the blessing of ITV, Sylvia Anderson, and the Gerry Anderson Estate, will be made by the team behind Filmed in Supermarionation – the criticially acclaimed documentary about Thunderbirds released last year.

For more info, visit the official Kickstarter campaign.

Mr. Steed, You’re Still Needed

The Avengers - John Steed by Robert Hack

The Avengers – John Steed by Robert Hack

One of my personal heroes has passed today, Patrick Macnee, star of several television program and cult films such as the Twilight Zone and the James Bond film A View to a Kill. He is of course best known for playing the bowler-hatted action man John Steed for nine years in the ITV series The Avengers. The most wildly imaginative program I have ever had the good fortune to have watched, the Avengers was beloved in my household growing up and my appreciation of it has only deepened over the years.

Modeled on his father (a diminutive dandy and race horse trainer), Macnee developed John Steed as a gentleman’s gentleman and action man. The character was initially a secondary hero to Dr. David Keel. As time wore on, Steed became the focus of the Avengers and served alongside a line of lovely ladies including Honor Blackman, Dame Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson.

Just as the character of Steed was not intended to be the lead, Macnee had not intended to be an actor as his intention was toward being an actor’s agent. His performance as John Steed in the Avengers was very formative to me as a child. The combination of courage, wit, intelligence and a playful adventurous flair remains the finest example of a leading man to me. A modern day icon, the character of Steed was just as important to me as Tom Baker’s Doctor Who or Adam West’s Batman.

I have no idea what that says about me… but Steed makes up an important part of my heroic ideal trifecta.

Gone but not forgotten, I can’t conjure an image of Patrick Macnee without imagining his winsome indefatigable grin.

From The Incredible World of Spy-Fi

Via BBC News:

Actor Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers TV series, has died in California at the age of 93.

The Briton, best known for playing John Steed in the 1960s television series, died at home with his family at his bedside, his son Rupert said.

Macnee also played roles in theatre, appearing on Broadway, and served in the Royal Navy during World War Two.

A statement on the actor’s website read: “Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories.”

The statement added: “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”

He died peacefully at his home in California’s Rancho Mirage on Thursday, Rupert said.

James Bond ally

Born in London and educated at Eton, Macnee first appeared in the West End while still in his teens.

He played a number of minor roles – including one in Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film version of Hamlet – before rising to fame in the original Avengers series between 1961 and 1969.
He returned when that series was reprised in the 1970s, appearing alongside Joanna Lumley’s Purdey and Gareth Hunt’s Mike Gambit.

He also appeared in the 1985 James Bond film A View to Kill, playing an ally of Roger Moore’s Bond character.

‘Ahead of their time’

In a 2014 interview with The Lady magazine, Macnee said he believed The Avengers was a success because it “did something different and did it better.”
He told the magazine: “It was beautifully written, the ideas were very good, way ahead of their time and they incorporated fantasies for people who dreamed of doing exciting things.”

Thunderbird 4 patrols the Thames River!


Not a hoax!

Not a dream!

Thunderbirds are go!

Marking a triumphant return to the small screen this weekend, the Thunderbirds have been spotted in the real world. The underwater vehicle of the International Rescue team was seen in action yesterday.

The new series will utilize computer graphics rather than the supermarionation technique pioneered by Gerry Anderson and his production team in the original series.

thunderbirds-are-goYour eyes are not deceiving you, this really is Thunderbird 4 whizzing up the Thames.

Ahead of the brand new series Thunderbirds Are Go starting this bank holiday weekend, Thunderbird 4 took a cruise up the Thames this morning.

The yellow submersible took its maiden voyage to mark the new series of Thunderbirds Are Go, airing 50 years after it bowed off our screens.

Departing from East London, the underwater rescue vehicle made its way up the Thames passing iconic landmarks including Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, naturally en route to Tracy Island.

Looking identical to the Thunderbird we all know and love, the model, which measures 15ft and is made from fibre-glass, took over six weeks to design, construct and paint.
Via MetroUK

About the Thunderbirds:

Thunderbirds ran from 1964-1966. With a crew of 100 technicians, the program was a staggering piece of TV drama that became a national treasure. Developed by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson with the assistance of Lew Grade (of The Prisoner fame), Thunderbirds spawned two feature length films in addition to the 32 hour-long adventures.

The Thunderbirds are piloted by members of the Tracy family, who live on a stronghold/pleasure resort concealing an arsenal of state of the art rescue machinery for use by the global network known only as International Rescue. Vehicles ranging from an undersea explorer to a high altitude rocket and even an orbiting space station make International Rescue an organization that can perform the impossible. Asking nothing more than secrecy, the IR team launches into action whenever needed.

“Sci-Fi on Strings.” A Gerry Anderson Special

The special effects by Derek Meddings should look very familiar to fans of the James Bond film series as he worked on several: The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only. I was initially shocked and confused to learn that helming a state of the art puppet adventure series was never Gerry Anderson’s intention. He had hoped to attract the attention of a major film studio by displaying what he could achieve on a miniature scale. On further thought, however… it all adds up. These programs are certainly not your typical children’s entertainment fare. I don’t mean that they contain objectionable material but the level of sophistication and quality is so high that I often feel like I’m watching a film from a parallel universe populated by marionettes.

If you are new to Thunderbirds, there is really nothing else like it.

Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to Speed. Ready to move out.

BATMAN_Robin_1966The caped crusader has been fighting crime for over 75 years. However, one of the most iconic and familiar iterations of Batman is still the 1966-68 TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic duo. The two will reunite (providing the voices for a new animated film) in 2016.

batman-adam-westAdam West and Burt Ward are suiting up as Batman and Robin one more time, according to a report over on Consequence of Sound. The former dynamic duo revealed during the Mad Monster Party horror convention in Charlotte, North Carolina that they will be involved in a new animated Batman feature film created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic “Batman ’66” TV show.

“I don’t know, our agents are here, whether we can about the new Batman movie,” said Ward during the Batman panel before being interrupted by West.

“Yes we can,” interjected West. “I tell them what to do.”

Ward continued, telling the audience that they can “look forward to a new animated Batman full-length 90-minute feature coming out on the 50th anniversary — one of possibly two, but for sure one that Adam and I are going to be doing the voices for.”

(via CBR)

More details as they come!