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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Revising is more important than devising.

For those of you not up on early '80's cult television shows in America, The Greatest American Hero was program revolving around the adventures of Ralph Hinckley, a high school special ed teacher who was granted superpowers by benevolent aliens... and then promptly lost the instruction book. It starred William Katt, Robert Culp, and Connie Sellecca, and it was considerably better than it sounds from that description, mostly due to a steadfast refusal to take any of it particularly seriously.

In one particularly infamous episode, the aliens, serving in their time honored role of Deus Ex Machina, alert Ralph to the incipient End of the World by taking control of his car radio and dedicating the Barry McGuire tune "Eve of Destruction" to him. Repeatedly.

There's a high amusement value, as I watch these old shows on DVD, in noticing that apparently they couldn't get licensing for "Eve of Destruction," so they replaced it with another song. But in the dialogue, of course, Ralph is still talking about the radio playing the Barry McGuire tune at him.

That's pretty funny.

But not as funny as the eighties clothes.

I've gotten past 200 pages in the rewrite of By the Mountain Bound, and in the course of that it's shrunk from a little over 400 pages to (currently) 378, and I expect I'll get a bit more out of it in the process of going through that second half. It's kind of interesting, going back over this from a distance of five years. Because it's reminding me of how much I've learned in those years, specifically about the fine art of revising, which includes seeing what's on the page rather than what's in my head.

That's not an easy trick, by the way. But it is proving to me the truth of the old adage, that the rewriting is more important that the writing.

It's also reminding me that I learned how to handle plot and character long before I learned to write passable prose.


more review roundup:





I miss The Greatest American Hero, though I remember even when I was a kid (I was 9 in '81) thinking the show could have been more than it wound up being. They've got that on DVD now? I might have to Netflix it....
It actually might have been "Eve of Destruction" when the show was originally aired, but they had to dub in a new song for the DVD.

That's been a problem with some older TV shows that used copywrited music -- the rights to the songs, in some cases, have changed hands. Or the original contracts didn't cover later use (there was no such thing as DVD when a lot of these shows were first created, after all) and the producers of the DVDs either can't get permission or don't want to pay additional money to get the rights all over again.

I don't know know about Greatest American Hero specifically, but I know that's why some feature films haven't made it to DVD yet, and it's been an issue with some TV shows.
Um. That's what I just said. *g*
Of course, now that I re-read what you originally wrote, that may have been what you actually meant -- thay they didn;t get licensing for the DVD.


Need more caffeine now.

*sends over the coffee truck*
We LOVED that show!
You have good taste!
In one particularly infamous episode, the aliens, serving in their time honored role of Deus Ex Machina, alert Ralph to the incipient End of the World by taking control of his car radio and dedicating the Barry McGuire tune "Eve of Destruction" to him. Repeatedly.

There's something about that that makes my brain tingle with happiness.

I mean, it's kind of like the Best. Songfic. Ever. How cool.
I LOVED Greatest America Hero. And how can you not mention the most singable/stuck in your head theme song ever? In the history of the world. "Believe it or not Iiiii'm walking on air, I never thought I could be so free-ee-eeeeee"

I was, like, 5 when that was on and I very clearly remember it being the best thing ever.

Yeah, great tune. Even had a pep band arrangement of it we used to play.



was on air I don't think I even had a tv in 1981. I was just turning 30 and other things were going on in my life. TV was a low priority item back then. Still is today.

But occasionally we get TGAH on "Deju View" tv. I liked the episodes. Robert Culp made the show.

BTW, what's wrong with 80's clothing?

You want funny? Take a look at what some people wear today. For me, it's always been genes and T-shirt, 70's, 80's etc.

*sigh* I loved that show. I can't remember a single storyline (though the radio bit does sound familiar) I just remember that I loved it.

Plus, they filmed in Santa Clarita, CA, where I later lived for some time. (And some of that time was during the filming of Simon & Simon, too. Speaking of 80's TV.)

I still have "Believe It Or Not" on 45.

And yes, I occasionally play it.

I think that show was the first time I ever heard the word "Damn" on network TV--ie. Whenever Ralph crashed in his red suit, "Oh, Damn."
Actually, the name change was after the presidential assassination. And yeah, just as you say. *g* The hair is killer....

*attempted* presidential assassination.

And I'm just 35. :-P
A lot of my memories of TGAH are kinda vague now, but there are some episodes I remember. I figure a good bit of the show was kind of light and fluffy, but there was one episode I thought was downright creepy... some sort of haunted house episode... I also remember a sea monster episode (which also had voodoo), and one where Ralph fought an alien creature with tentacles that electrocuted whatever they touched... An episode where Ralph saves the life of a Japanese man who repays him by making topiary animals out of the shrubs in his garden...

But I also remember an episode where Ralph lost the suit (or it was stolen)... and the aliens who gave him the suit come back and beam him onto their ship. We see an alien in its true form (a little like Cornelius from Planet of the Apes, only hairless and green, and its native language sounds like the chittering of the giant ants in Them!), and Ralph is shown the aliens' home planet... a barren, desolate world. It wasn't always like that. Like an extraterrestrial Iron Eyes Cody, a single tear trickles down the alien's cheek. Now we know why the aliens gave the suit to Ralph... anyway, they give him another copy of the instruction book, beam him back to Earth, he gets the suit back... but he loses the book again...

Was THAT the episode where "Eve of Destruction" played over and over... I think I would have remembered something like that... but I was a kid, then...
Nah, it wasn't. The EoD one is the "War Games" ripoff.

The haunted house one is kind of creepy, though. Very Sapphire and Steel.
Ah. What a blast from the past! I loved that show... :-)

It's funny, though, how Hollywood responds to important events. Like changing Ralph Hinkley's last name after the botched Reagan assassination, or the World Trade Center being edited out of the first Spider-Man movie. After all, Hollywood doesn't want to stir up any *painful memories*, now does it?

*thinks about the two attempts at 9/11 movies Hollywood came out with this year*

Or maybe not.. :-P
*deeeeep breath* Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelieve it or not, I'm walkin' on air, I never thought I could feel so free-eee-ee, flyin' away...

Uh, yeah, right, you've just been watching it, don't need to recite themesong lyrics for you.

Do the 80s clothes involve really big lapels?
That was, after Buffy and B5 (which I got s gifts), the first DVD set I bought. I only have the first 2 seasons, so far, but it was a fun show. And I never saw it first-run, as I was overseas then.

But I've enjoyed listening to the commentary tracks on the show. Culp has gained considerable respect from me for his comments - the man is a serious craftsman!
Barry McGuire is not played on the DVD version?!!? Dammit, that was one of my favorite bits in the entire series. What did they replace it with?

On a similar note, a recent episode of Eureka featured a Cold war doomsday weapon on countdown to destroy the [former] Soviet Union and an interesting cover of Eve of Destruction was playing.

Some emo boy song I never heard before. The horror!


What's Eureka?


Eureka is a surprisingly decent, albeit light and non-deep, show on Sci Fi. On the surface, it appears to be a small quiet town in Oregon or somewhere. In actuality, its like the witness protection program for super[mad] scientists. The lead is the new Sherrif, who has recently been assigned and is way too normal to be in Eureka. Decent, fun, non-painful sci fi TV.

The Emo band thing is terrible. Another bit of my childhood trashed. Sigh

Re: Eureka

Sounds like a fun show....