Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Number 1728: You want to sacrifice, leave me out of it

Captain Video was an early TV show from the now-defunct Dumont Network. YouTube videos show it was low budget. That must have extended to photos provided by the network to Fawcett Publications, who did five issues of a tie-in Captain Video comic book in 1951. The heavily doctored photos of the actors on both front and back covers of issue #3 are the same.

The best thing about comic books is there is no need for for props or locations. The artist can furnish it all, and the scriptwriter is not impeded by budgets. So it was for the Captain Video comic, which had some fairly grandiose plots. In this story, “The X Project,” drawn by George Evans and inked by Martin Thall, there is a plot of building bridges from America over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans (literal, not figurative, bridges). There is a villain with the fabulous name of Bundello Britt. There is also a moment between Captain Video and the Ranger that got my special attention. Faced with the destruction of the bridge, Captain Video asks his young pal, “Would you be willing to sacrifice your life to make the dream of the bridge a reality? Tell me quickly!”

The Ranger, bravely...stupidly...says, “I would, Captain! What is one life compared to the benefits of all mankind?”

Okay, CUT! Stop rolling film. Were I the young Ranger, I would say to Captain Video: “Are you out of your freakin' mind!? You want to crash the Whirlojet, you drop me off first, and then you can crash away!“ If I was in the Ranger’s place I would mention to Captain Video about my plan to retire someday on a government pension, have a nice, placid life with my wife, kids and grandkids. Nowhere in the plan is deliberate sacrifice.

Luckily, plot twists intervene and the sacrifice is unnecessary. Whew.

From Captain Video #3 (1951).

Here is another Captain Video story. No self-sacrifice is necessary. Just click on the thumbnail.


Unknown said...

*Did they ever explain why he was called Captain VIDEO? Did he call his aides "Ranger" because he didn't actually know their names? Did people die on the TV show? That massacre on the first bridge was brutal.
*In reality, I don't think it would take a power-mad villain to stop such a peace-loving project. The military industrial complex would block those bridges in order to keep open the possibility of war. Monetary gain trumps world peace any day of the week.
*Wait a minute: the bridge is destroyed by that tidal wave and Video says it'll take months and more funds to rebuild, yet at the end, they are cutting the ribbon just DAYS after the troubles have passed?
*Loved the look on the ranger's face when Video announced they were gonna intercept the bomb. He must've been thinking, "I thought that bit about sacrificing ourselves was just a hypothetical question!"
*After these epic comics, I could just imagine one of the characters on the cheap TV show saying, "Gee, I wish we had some more big action like that adventure with Project X! These regular little missions are kinda boring!"

Pappy said...

Ryan, the ultimate in low-budget television is when they are too cheap to give the characters names.

Thanks for your analysis. My thoughts on building an actual bridge over an ocean is that it would be prohibitively expensive, both to build and maintain. It would be impossible to defend against an attack, or the elements. It is a bad idea all the way around. That's why it's in a comic book and not on anybody's to-do list.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

I've never seen the show, but the action and the vehicles are cool. Like a Gerry Anderson series, only a decade earlier. And a James Bond villain, too. I wonder if there's something "behind" this unprincipled gunrunner Bundello Britt. A "bundle of Brit(s)" maybe?

Alicia American said...

OMG I cant beleev Capt Video gets more comments then Dale Evans yo ucchh! No rexpect 4 fashionistas yo omg. MayB I shuld start a Pappy CopityCat Blog w/like ONLY fashion comix reprints in it yo!

On 2econd thot that wuld B lots of work :(. I wish more peeps commenteded on ur badass fashion comix postesses Pappy :(

OMG we luv u Pappy Yay! xoxoxoxo

Pappy said...

J D, quoting from the Surname Database: "Britt: This interesting surname is of French origin and is an ethnic name for a Breton. The Bretons were originally Celts driven from South West England to North West France in the 6th Century by invading Anglo-Saxons. Some returned with the army of William the Conqueror in the Invasion of 1066 and many of those then settled in East Anglia where the English surname Brett is now widespread." So, your assertion that it is a pun-name might be correct. I'm not familiar with the name Bundello, but I will suggest it for my next grandchild, should there ever be one. Bundella if it is a girl.

I'm inviting my friend, Mike Britt, into the conversation. He might have something to say about his name.

Pappy said...

Alicia, I believe most Pappy readers are not as tuned into fashion as you. I have never known the sex (or lack of same, yuk-yuk) of my readers, but I presume they are primarily male, based on my experience years ago hanging around comic book stores.

Yes, blogging is a lot of work, but look at the benefits. Errr, on second thought, there aren't many benefits, except for meeting people who share a common interest. What I would suggest is if you want to show single panels or pages you could get a tumblr page.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

There was one Matteo Bandello (1485-1561), a catholic Bishop and writer of spicy novellas in the vein of Boccaccio and Chaucer. His name is often misspelled in "Bundello" by English and Americans on the web. Also, the Urban Dictionary states that a "Britt" is a gorgeus but not particularly smart girl, but maybe this wasn't used in 1951. Anyway, "Bundle o' Brit(s)" sounded kinda funny.

@Alicia, Fashion comics are cool, but I think old Sci-fi shows like this Cap Video have a LOT to do with fashion (an out-fashioned fashion, OK). Again I think about Gerry Anderson's shows and their comics versions. Watch an "U.F.O." episode and look at Gabrielle Drake...

Mike Britt said...

I have owned this issue for over fifty years and never noticed the character Bundello Britt. Guess it is pretty obvious that I only look at the pictures and not the words. I was always told that the name Britt was Irish and I figured that was the reason I desire the liquid spirits so much. As a boy back in 1953 I identified with Britt Ponsett played by James Stewart on the radio show THE SIX SHOOTER. Even as boys in the days of CAPTAIN VIDEO, my friends and I found the show laughable. SPACE PATROL had the best special effects even though the planets were often seen swaying on a string.

Pappy said...

J D, I think your "Bundle o' Brits" is pretty good, but the joke doesn't have anything to do with the story. However, "Bundello" as an American and English misnomer for a spicy tales writer is probably closer to what the author of this Captain Video tale was after, maybe as an inside joke. I think Britt is thrown in for alliteration, unless said writer knew someone named Britt and also did it as part of the inside joke.

Such speculations are useless at this late date, but what the hell...what else do I have to do beside ruminate over old comics and their semi-hidden meanings?

Pappy said...

Mike, name origins are pretty interesting, but the way people move around, even with the origin story I quoted, I would not doubt your ancestors were from Ireland.

On second thought, maybe the name "Britt" would not be the best name to have in Ireland. It could be why your ancestors picked up and moved to America.

Har. Well, I admit that sometimes I don't read the stories I post until after I am done tinkering with the scans. When you were looking at this issue of Captain Video you were probably more interested in George Evans' artwork.