Tag Archives: Hoverboy

Hoverboy and Hitler Cigarettes!

Today I’m skull-explodingly excited to talk to you about a lost piece of Hoverboy TV that hasn’t been seen in nearly sixty years.   Episodes of Hoverboy’s “Gay Cavalcade” puppet show from the fifties ( often misspelled as “Gay Cavelcade”) have been found by a former puppeteer for the series, named Ross Gurch.   Gurch was recently featured on an episode of the A&E show “Hoarders”, and kinescopes of  Gay Cavalcade episodes were found buried in Gurch’s house amongst jars of his urine.

Ross Gurch at the height of his career, holding his famous alter ego.

Marcus Moore, curator of the Hoverboy Museum online, is paying out-of-pocket to get the episodes digitized and put online.   This Hover-fan is giddy.

Of the the three Hoverboy puppet shows,  Gay Cavalcade was certainly in the top two.  It featured host “Uncle Orval”, a Hoverboy puppet, and a fairly racist portrait of a Native American puppet named “Chief”.  These three would get into crazy misadventures that usually taught Hoverboy a lesson about being a good citizen or whether or not it’s okay to play-wrestle with your cousin if she’s wearing a sweater.  The shows were broadcast primarily in the American Southwest with stations carrying the show in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Hawaii.  Mildly popular for a while, the Cavalcade even put out a Christmas Album in 1954 – which I actually own a copy of:

“REPENT SINNERS, LEST YE BE DAMNED” is a surprisingly catchy Christmas ditty.

The BEST (and shortest) clip in the kinescopes that Gurch found in his house is an ad for Tareyton Cigarettes done by the Cavalcade cast during a broadcast.

Back in the Fifties, you were allowed to advertise cigarettes to children.

People might remember Tareyton Cigarettes as the brand that went bankrupt due to an urban legend back in the 60’s.  A  rumor convinced people that the Tareyton company was a front for Adolph Hitler, who was living in Argentina and running a tobacco empire to finance an army to re-take Europe.   The only evidence for this was the unfortunate design of  their company mascot, “Wagner” seen on the cigarette packs themselves, but it was enough to destroy sales when the gossip got around.

Admittedly, the design choices are unfortunate.

Before the company coughed up its last lung in 1962, it was one of the main sponsors of Hoverboy’s Gay Cavalcade, and the cast dutifully did commercials for the product, just as other shows did at the same time.

This was a KID'S SHOW! Seriously!

The Flintstones did itEverybody did it.  It was a different era.

Go here to see this bizarre moment of children’s advertising from the fifties:  Hoverboy shilling cigarettes to kids.  Stunning, just stunning.

 

Of just press the image above to launch the video at youtube...I can't embed video on this blog, yet.

And we all thought Joe Camel was evil.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Hoverboy Cigarettes Comic Book Moment:

The smoking zombie in the lower right of this cover caused a Senate sub-committee to label Hoverboy #3 as "subversive" and "leading to juvenile delinquency" in 1953, but the TV version of Hoverboy was ADVERTISING cigarette products without complaint at the same time. It's a crazy world, huh?

 

We hit the moon. Metaphorically, of course.

Let's fall in love. Why shouldn't we?

It’s about a quarter of a million miles to the moon (it’s exactly 221,463 miles if you’re being a dick about it).  I remember that number from when I was a kid and people were driving and golfing on our heavenly neighbor all the time, so it was in the news.

Well, over the weekend, we had our quarter-millionth blog hit and we’re blushingly amused by it that.  The number made me think of the moon, so there’s your metaphor – if miles = blog hits.

Couldn't have done it without space cows and Hoverboy!

I’m not foolish enough to think it means we’ve had a quarter million readers.  I’m aware it’s a few thousand who’ve come back a couple of times, and a few thousand more who had enough after one visit…and it took months and months of that sort of traffic to build the number- but it’s still a fun milestone to pass, especially when one considers I’ve fruitlessly wasted that many man-hours of other people’s potential productivity with my frothy bon-mots.   I’m just doing my part to slow the economy and contribute to the complete breakdown of our system.

 

Above: The Ty-bunny of Anarchy in one of my many other guises. TRY to be a productive member of society after you've fallen into its distractingly seductive gaze...

Milestones matter.   It’s like suddenly realizing you’ve had your tenth child, or spent your twenty-fifth year behind bars.  I’ll never forget those days either.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your  Comic Book Moon Moment:

This masterpiece was one of the first comics I ever saw. Take that, people whose first comic book had Dazzler in it.

MORE Hoverboy Radio Excitement!

So I’ve been offline for more than a week, half because I’ve been swamped with work, and half because my computer had a minor problem with the inner workings and had to be repaired.  BAD electronics!  Bad!

I think it's fixed now, but no sudden moves...

While I was away, the magnificent Marcus Moore and the gang at HOVERBOY ARCHIVES has put up the next THRILLING installment of Hoverboy’s olde tyme radio show.

Of course, these old shows are very close to my heart as they were written and produced by my grandfather, and the grandparents of many of my friends.  This episode features the grandfather of my pal, 70s rock star BOB SEGARINI, as well as the grandfather of my son TAYLOR, who performed in the commercial segment as the deeply confused boy, “BILLY”.  It’s a seminal role in my son’s grandfather’s career, as he was only 13 at the time it was recorded.  And of course, the episodes continue to feature the grandparents of Steve (Ed the Sock) Kerzner and Liana KRick Green (from History Bites, Red Green Show, The Frantics) and Rob Pincombe (from Kid vs. Kat)

We’ve also found more of those exciting HOVERBOY vs. ROBOT HITLER daily strips, and scanned ‘em for your enjoyment up at the Hoverboy Museum!

Because Robot Hitler is still pretty cool, right?

Even with all this FLOOD of new Hoverboy material that we’re bringing you today,  I’m at work on a cool, secret Batman-related project that’s going to own me for the next few weeks or so and will be out next year.

But now that my computer is back, I’ll be hanging around here a little more regular-like.

Oh, and the next issue of Mad Magazine has some work in it that I did.  Go buy that when it’s out on December 22, 2010….like you just bought the Northern Guard and Strange Tales issues that came out yesterday….RIGHT?  You can see a preview page I did from the MAD DUMBEST 20 MOMENTS from 2010 issue HERE.

But first…go listen to the latest installment of the Hoverboy radio show.  It’s funny, I promise.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your comic book/radio moment of Zen.

 

Seriously? This is a real comic?

World Wide Hoverboy Friday

 

Because the calendar never lies

 

We’ve been getting some emails from Hoverboy fans around the world, asking if we can identify various overseas versions of the character…why this toy was released, or who drew that issue, etc.    But every now and then, even we get stumped, so we’re turning to you guys for help.  Here are some examples of Hoverboy mania from around the world, we can’t really identify.  Any and all foreign fans who’ve know their stuff, fill US in as to the history of these things, and we’ll pass it along to the original posters.

Well, this first one, we DO know a little about.  It was produced by the American Hoverboy team at Vigilance Comics, to be sold exclusively in Mexico.  It sold quite poorly as every page was filled with racist Mexican stereotypes that the creators believed were complimentary, such as a talking chihuahua as mayor, and everyone eating tacos during conversation and action scenes.   The question we can’t answer, however, is how many issues were produced of this series, and are there any other cover scans available?  We’ve only seen the first two issues (and issue one cannot be reproduced on a family website, trust me).  Any other Mexican Hoverboy fans with scans of issue #3?

This was sent in by a Belgian fan who speaks only Dutch and wonders if we could translate the cover for him.  I’m afraid my French is so bad, it’s one of the reasons Quebec wants to separate from Canada, so I’m not the one to give it a try.  Anyone recognize this comic?  And who the hell are the ducks?  They look vaguely Nazi…?

This was sent in by someone who claims they found it on a cruise ship in the garbage, so it could have come from ANYWHERE on Earth.  My guess is that it’s from Australia, or New Zealand, since they seem to be worried about Japanese robots attacking, and they’re speaking English.  Perhaps it’s from Malaysia, or the Phillipines?  Any guesses?  The art is gorgeous, and the price tag suggests it’s fairly recent.

This was sent to us by a Hover-Fan who lives in Rome, Italy.  He claims it’s painted on the side of a building about a block from his house, a building that faces a rubble strewn courtyard, long abandoned.  Our fan wants to know if this was intended as an advertisement, and when is it from?  Damned if I know, is my answer.

This is likely from France, or Belgium.  The French writing gives it away.  Also, the photo was sent to us by snail mail from an American living in Paris, who says he stole this bottle from a quaint bed and breakfast in the Alsace region of Eastern France, and wonders what year it’s from, and whether there was a shampoo that went with it.   He says he ransacked the whole house and couldn’t find the shampoo, and it has driven him crazy ever since.

Well, I hope we can find some answers, I know there are at least four or five fans waiting breathlessly to know.  Any help would be helpful.  And we’ll believe anything you tell us, we’re gullible that way.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your Hoverboy Moment of Zen

 

Vigilance Novelties Hoverboy Button Artwork, circa 1966

 

Hoverboy vs. Microwaves. Movies vs. Comics

Friday, my old nemesis, you've beaten me again.

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had one of these Floatin’ Fighter of Crime entries.  As I may have mentioned, one of the trio of Hoverboy Museum curators (Marcus Moore) recently had his first son, Rowan, and it’s caused a bit of a slowdown at Hoverboy central.  But now that the toes and fingers have been counted (10) and life is settling back down, we should be regular like a middle-aged bran salesman again.

A few weeks ago, we were sent this ULTRA RARE Hoverboy to grade and give a value for…and considering how rare it is, we felt it’s best not to send it back through something as unreliable as the mail, so it’s staying with us for a while.

HOVERBOY #10
“Killing You Slowly- VERY SLOWLY!”
April, 1960

Monsieur Microwave was one of many 60’s characters created by Hoverboy co-creator, Charles Nutt, which expressed his irrational fear of technology and his fairly rational hatred for the French. (See also: Hoverboy #6 – “The Computerized Gaul”, and Hoverboy #11’s infamous “The Putrid Parisian’s Perverted Pig”. )

Microwave ovens were once a mysterious and misunderstood  household appliance, much like the “Slap Chop” or the “Sham Wow” is today.  According to personal correspondence from the time, Nutt was convinced that invisible microwaves would leave American appliance users impotent –-all part of a French plan to make themselves look sexier in the eyes of the world’s women.

In Monsieur Microwave’s first appearance in Hoverboy #2 (1958), restaurant Maitre D’ Jacque Penier turns evil, “…as all Frenchman eventually do…” and straps on the restaurant’s microwave to blast dozens of the clientele into pools of goo, before Hoverboy can stop him.  The character proved fairly unpopular, with letters running eleven to one against his ever appearing again, which made this follow up issue a strange gamble, alienating the audience as Nutt  did.

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And it proved disastrous for Nutt’s finances.  Not only was this the worst selling Hoverboy comic of that decade, but Nutt found himself again in court, when microwave manufacture TAPPAN STOVES sued Hoverboy for falsely representing their product. So here in HOVERBOY #10, we see the lethality of Monsieur Microwave reduced to long term effects that could not be legally disproven; such as drowsiness, hair loss, and swelling of the “man-fruit”.

An amusing co-incidence:  The artist for this run of Hoverboy, Dave Owen, was killed shortly after this issue was published.  Dave was on his way to a local hardware store to BUY a microwave oven, when he was attacked and eaten by a mountain lion.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE KILL SHAKESPEARE GUYS!!

A pair of young writers approached me a year or so ago, about getting a graphic novel, Kill Shakespeare, produced, in the hopes of someday turning it into a film.  I suggested that there was no guarantee of a film deal, but I thought their idea was good enough to help them find an artist, letterer, colourist, etc. for the project, and get them started.  Their enthusiasm was contagious.

Well, we’re a little over a year later, and not only did they produce a pretty good comic, but they may, in fact, be producing a film after all.    Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery (the creators) have just won the 11th annual PITCH THIS competition at the Toronto International Film Festival.  The prize is a whopping 10,000 bucks, and a chance to pitch real producers and get it made.

Go Shakespeare - Go Shakespeare -

Congratulations guys.  Your enthusiasm is as contagious today as it was last year.   Just remember me when you both have gated houses, right?  You’ll leave my name at the guard kiosk, so I can use the pool?

Read all about it here.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Comic Book Moment of Zen

HOVERBOY FRIDAY

Two Hoverboy Fridays in a row?

Wow!  The first ever colour image I’ve ever seen of one of the HOVERBOY Pulp issues! Specifically issue #8!

This is the most rare Hoverboy item I've posted all day.

I knew about the Vigilance Hoverboy Pulp series, but have never seen a colour photo of any issue, and only terrible black and white Xeroxes for #1 and #2, which I long ago lost.  So this fairly intact copy of number #8 (sent in by Hoverboy fan Darrin Egan) is a breathtaking find.

Though it is hotly debated, I long ago reasoned that “The Hover-Boy” officially started life as a pulp hero, first appearing in the Vigilance Press series of the 1930s “Fictional Science Adventure”, since that’s the first place the name was ever used.

Charles Nutt wrote the four novellas featuring “The Hover Boy”  before being fired by editor John Staff, and being forever banished from the Magnus Publishing Building in Fort Lee New Jersey, over what became known as the “fruit basket incident”.

Possibly, but not proven to be the object for which the incident is named.

Weeks later, when Nutt met up with Robert Stark (an illustrator with an admitted lack of skill for drawing faces), a natural partnership was formed  and the more familiar comic book version of Hoverboy was created by the pair of them, for Somewhat Fun Comics in 1937.

Try to ignore the racist message implied on this cover, and enjoy it for it’s historical significance and craftsmanship.

But Hoverboy is technically a pulp character…and because of changing public support for certain political ideas, few fans ever knew that Hoverboy had his OWN monthly, eponymous pulp series for Vigilance Publishing starting in 1940.  At least eight  issues were published (so far as I know).  This cover  from the March 1941 issue, shows off the anti-Communist, but unfortunately pro-Nazi stance that was a feature for this little talked about corner of the Hoverboy world.

Try to ignore the pro-Nazi message explicit on this cover, and enjoy it for it’s historical significance and craftsmanship.

According to the PULP timeline/history published in Pulp Star-Con APA #32 (1978), these eight novelettes were written by a cousin of Charles Nutt’s named Johann Glossenshwein, writing under the name “Joseph Star”.

Glossenshwein, from his FBI file photo.

Johann was a fervent anti-communist and member of the Amerikadeutscher Bund (German-American citizens  deeply committed to keeping America out of the war).  Glossenshwein used the pulp series for his political and personal beliefs, focusing on the sneakiness of Russians, and the possibility of the Nazis becoming allies in America’s fight against the “sneaky Russians”.

These are the titles, and brief plot descriptions of the eight novels, according to the above mentioned pulp-APA from 1978.

#1″HOVERBOY vs. SNEAKY IVAN”, Hoverboy’s best girl, Linda, is stolen by Russian agents who turn her into an opium addict.

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#2,  “LOOK OUT!  SNEAKY RUSSIANS IN THE YARD!”
Our hero fights Russians who travel through Iowa poisoning family farm wells.

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#3″THOSE SNEAKY RUSSIANS AGAIN”
No known copies exist.  No synopsis.

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#4 “HOVERBOY WOULD SURE TAKE A NAZI OVER A SNEAKY RUSSIAN ANY TIME”
American Bhundist forces work hand in hand with Hoverboy, as well as state and municipal governments, to root out Russians all across the American Southwest…German-Americans feature prominently as heroes and at the end, the States of Delaware and Kentucky have  signed non-aggression treaties with Hitler.

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#5 “HEY, WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT A NAZI IF THEY’RE CURRENTLY SQUABBLING WITH THE SNEAKY RUSSIANS IN EUROPE?” regularly considered the longest title of the run, this issues is not so much a novel as a series of essays  discussing Hitler and the national socialists in a positive light.  Hoverboy only shows up on the contents page and as a sort of “host” for the essays.

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#6 HOVERBOY and the Nazis BUILD A BETTER EUROPE
Impossible to find issue.  No synopsis exists.

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#7 “IN THE SHADOW OF EUROPE”
Hoverboy fights Russians all over Europe, kicking them out of the Balkans and helping the Germans fortify their army for Operation Barbarossa.  It’s interesting to note that many important, strategic secrets about the Nazi build up to Barbarossa are revealed in this novel months in advance.  But no one took it seriously.

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#8 IN THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY
Continuing the story from #7 (and possibly #6) Hoverboy and the now pro-bundist government of America) fight a villain named The SNEAKY ONE-ARMED MONSTER of KIEV, who again kidnaps Hoverboy’s girl, Linda, and beheads her in front of a reconstructed Statue of Liberty.

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That’s all the information I have on this series.  I didn’t even have a colour image to show you until a fan sent in this copy.  I’ve tried to look up Mr. Glossenshwein online, and other than the photograph I found of him on an FBI database of wartime spies, there’s little information about him.

That’s it for today.  See you tomorrow for the second part of my HARVEY PEKAR tribute, this time with drawings!

IF YOU MISSED IT:

The first part of the Pekar tribute.

Last week’s HOVERBOY FRIDAY, where we discuss the Hoverboy cartoon series PUNCH FORCE FIVE.

And here’s the online HOVERBOY MUSEUM, where much of this nonsense is compiled.

Ty the Guy OUT!

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ANOTHER ASTOUNDING PIECE OF HOVERBOY HISTORY FOUND!!

I actually matched the day and the hero! Where's my cookie?

EXCITING BULLETIN:

Set your Bucket Dials to ADVENTURE! This is an actual still from the legendary PUNCH FORCE 5!

We’ve been given a lead on another lost treasure!  An episode of the legendary series, “PUNCH FORCE 5!” from 1976,  Charles Nutt’s last big Hoverboy project before his spectacular murder/suicide in 1979.  Episodes of the show are extremely rare, as the cartoon was taken off the air in a criminal negligence case that earned the episodes a rating of,  “NC-100, Illegal to display in public“.  We’re hoping the statute of limitations has expired, or the people who came up with the rating are dead.  (The only other  TV episodes to earn this rating were seasons 2-4 of NBC’s HEROES.)

Punch Force 5! co-star, Danny Bannon: The Pantsless Detective, and one of his trademark "strategically placed bits of rock".

PUNCH FORCE 5! was Hoverboy’s version of the Super-Friends, mimicking the style and premise shamelessly.  The series teamed Hoverboy with other Vigilance heroes, including, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE (a not-so private eye), THE LITTLEST SARGE (a tough NCO with the kind of blind patriotism only a 10 year old could embrace), and METALGUY, (a refrigerator-clad appliance repairman turned vigilante).

I don't have a screengrab with the Littlest Sarge, but here's his image from the cover of HOVERBOY #83

From their secret Allegheny mountain base, PUNCH FORCE 5! defended America from a seemingly endless parade of giant things.   In the ten episodes aired, the villains were a giant robot, a giant alien, giant insects, a giant Russian woman with a mop, a giant oil monster, a giant snow monster, a giant rock monster, a pair of giant rabbits, a giant Russian alien insect monster, and a giant robot shaped like a rabbit. One can only wonder what exciting variations season two might have brought.

Vigilance Comics ill-fated, and clearly not-well-thought-out hero, METALGUY

Unfortunately, the character of Metalguy inspired a group of Idaho children to sneak into a junk yard and climb into abandoned freezers in an effort to fight crime.  Unlike an episode of PUNCH FORCE 5!, this was a misadventure, with no happy ending, except, I suppose some free publicity for the junk yard owner.  The resulting civil lawsuit bankrupted what was left of Vigilance Pictures as a viable studio, and the criminal negligence case destroyed much of Nutt’s savings while he worked desperately to stay out of prison.

Not only was PUNCH FORCE 5! taken off the air, but it also took down the live-action HOVERBOY/METALGUY ACTION HOUR from a few seasons earlier. making episodes of both shows impossible to find at conventions, on youtube or even the most violent porn sites. There are rumours that PUNCH FORCE 5! episodes are used to train members of Delta Force.  It’s also claimed they go into combat yelling the familiar catchphrase,  “Littlest Sarge, Small But Large!”  If someone knows a Delta Force guy, please find out if this is true.

A black and white image of Littlest Sarge #1, taken from an ad on the back of Hoverboy #91.

The  screengrabs throughout this article were sent in by Richard Fader, a Hoverboy fan from Ft. Lee, New Jersey.  We have asked for some better scans, or a copy of the show, but were met with a request for a ridiculous amount of money.  At least that means the show exists!  And that means we’ve got a LEAD!  So stay tuned, Hover-fans…we might be able to upload the WHOLE show soon!

Your Hoverboy Museum Curators,

Ty the Guy, Rick Green, and Marcus Moore.

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For more Hoverboy Fun, visit the HOVERBOY ONLINE MUSEUM, and tell ‘em Ty sent you; you’ll get extra moist towelettes.
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