Which Way Batman

Which Way Batman

Several years ago, my best pal Stephanie and I were perusing our favorite used bookstore. One of our favorite activities is finding things that are awesomely bad, delightfully ridiculous, and/or completely over the top, then laughing ourselves silly at them, reveling in the cheesy glory. On this eventful evening, we stumbled upon something that would bring us delight for years to come–Which Way Batman. You remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books, right? It’s just like that, but with Batman.

Technically the title is Batman: The Doomsday Prophecy, published in 1986. In fact, there’s an entire series of Super Powers Which Way books featuring DC Superheroes. These books aren’t just any Choose Your Own Adventure book though. They are basically a Choose Your Own Adventure book on steroids. According to this helpful article, the Which Way Batman alone has 51 different endings. Not only that, the preamble to the book really sets the bar quite high for any young aspiring detectives.

“Of course, Batman would always make the correct choices, but here, you control the Caped Crusader.” Whoa! Talk about pressure! I must admit, I have sealed The Dark Knight’s fate reading through this volume and have never quite aided him to success. I’ll not be trying out for Robin any time soon, that’s for sure. Even so, Stephanie and I had a great time reading aloud from this book. From the first page, we were hooked in. With choices like this, how could we go wrong?

We were especially fond of the line, “For more information on the Bat-Signal, turn to page 119.” How thoughtful of author Richard Wenk to write up a brief synopsis of characters, Bat-Gear, and villains found in the Batman universe. Even with all these great options, it’s difficult to know which is the one that will actually lead Batman to safety. To this day, when Stephanie and I are out together and we’ve not decided our next move, I’ll ask, “Which way, Batman?” and we both have a good chuckle.

There are are 4 volumes in the Super Powers Which Way series, but I’ve only found the Supergirl volume in my searches. There are Superman and Justice League volumes available too. Did you own any of these books growing up? Did you ever help The Caped Crusader beat The Doomsday Prophecy? Share with us here!

The Nerdy Blogger

What The Retroist Means To Me By The Nerdy Blogger

“Friendship…is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” – C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Three years ago, I stumbled across the Retroist site via the facebook page. I’d not found another site filled with such glorious retro content. As a self-diagnosed retro junkie with few other friends that also enjoy geeking out over slightly old things, I’d found my people.

Retro video games, classic D&D, TV and films I only vaguely remember, as well as new-to-me films/shows to watch…it’s like being a kid in a candy store. I’ve discovered so many things that I love through The Retroist site–things I would have missed otherwise.

I’m also a podcast addict. The Retroist Podcast quickly shot through the roof to become my favorite podcast. Upon discovery, I binged the podcast catalog over the course of 2 months. The addiction is real, friends.

Aside from the podcast, I am constantly impressed with the amount and quality of content put forth by the Retroist team. I learn something new every time I stop by the site. However, I think the part I enjoy the most are the fun anecdotes recorded by the Retroist contributors. I often find myself reading along and saying, “Whoa, me too!” It’s nice to find other people who get you.

For this reason, I chose the opening quote from C. S. Lewis. In my adult life, I’ve met a few souls to which I could say, “What! You too?”. I’m happy to report that many of those people are here at The Retroist. There aren’t too many people I’ve met online that I would confidently say that I’d love to meet in person. I’d grab an Ecto Cooler with any of the fine folks I’ve encountered through the Retroist site.

[Via] RPGs For Raccoons

This New Year’s Eve, I raise my glass to everyone here at The Retroist site. You all are my people. Here’s to many more years of retro fun, quality writing, and a celebration of all things nostalgia.
The Nerdy Blogger - Glass Toast

Remembering The Mouse on the Mayflower

I am a creature of habit.

Every year when November 1st rolls around, I open the Holiday Special Cabinet in my entertainment center. (Yes, I have a Holiday Special Cabinet. Don’t you)? I put away my Halloween specials and bring my Thanksgiving specials to the forefront. The Mouse on the Mayflower

My favorite is 1968’s The Mouse on the Mayflower. The Mouse on the Mayflower was a staple of my Thanksgiving viewing during my elementary school days. I can hardly remember a Thanksgiving where we didn’t watch that particular Rankin-Bass special during class. It’s stuck with me all these years. Rankin-Bass owns a good portion of the holiday special landscape in my head, but The Mouse on the Mayflower is special to me. I am most taken by the narration and songs performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

There’s something comforting to me about the special. It hearkens back to a time when things were simpler. Thanksgiving meant good food, cartoon specials, a few days off from school, and playing with my cousins after the feast.

Unfortunately, I think The Mouse on the Mayflower has gone by the wayside in recent memory.  I’ve not seen it on the air since the 90s and it has never seen a DVD release. According to Wikipedia, the last VHS release of the film was by Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment in 1998. I have a copy of the VHS, which I found by pure accident in a free bin outside one of my favorite used book/movie stores. Fortunately for us, we have YouTube.

[Via] Kevin Burns

Do you remember The Mouse on the Mayflower? What is your favorite part? Do you have another Thanksgiving special that’s been forgotten? However you celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving is full of nostalgia and good food.

(I have to chime in here and admit that the very first time I watched this special was at school as well. On actual film in fact! -Vic)

Linguistics in The Land of the Lost

The past 3 years of my life have been spent pursuing my M. A. degree part-time at Signum University. I’m getting a degree in Literature and Language with an emphasis in Imaginative Literature (Science Fiction and Fantasy). Part of my degree includes a requirement of two language classes. This past spring I had the opportunity to take my first language course, and boy did I pick a doozie–Language Invention through Tolkien. This is by far the most challenging class and one of the most fascinating classes I’ve taken thus far in my grad school career.

While I was fully expecting to get a crash course in philology and Elvish from my professor and Tolkien Scholar, Dr. Andy Higgins. What I was not expecting was to learn a particularly fascinating tidbit about some classic retro children’s television–Land of the Lost. While Sid and Marty Krofft were out breaking ground in innovative children’s programming with their life-size, colorful puppetry and mystical fantasy worlds, they also set a new standard for science fiction and fantasy television and film. Land of the Lost has the distinction of being the first television series to invent a language specifically for a TV show. The language of Paku, spoken by the Pakumi people, was invented by UCLA professor of linguistics, Dr. Victoria Fromkin. Not only is this the first art language invented for television, it is the first instance of a television show hiring a professional linguist to develop a language for television.

All of this was fascinating to me for many reasons.

1). Who does that for a kid’s show, especially in the 1970s?
2). I also had to ask–“Wait a minute, didn’t Klingon come first?”

Before I could fact check my professor, he stopped me in my tracks. (Really kids, 99% of the time, you shouldn’t have to fact check your professors; I just have a big ego). Land of the Lost aired from 1974-1976. The first instance of spoken Klingon occurred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), where Mark Lenard introduced a few key phrases; however, the Klingon language did not reach its final form until Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) when linguist Marc Okrand was brought in to fully develop the tongue of our favorite warrior race.

There you have it, Retroids, the first invented language for television wasn’t Klingon, it was Paku. You can now pull this fascinating bit of trivia out of your pocket at parties to impress your friends, or you can take a look at these helpful links to teach yourself Paku!

The Paku Dictionary

The next time you watch a science fiction/fantasy show with an invented language, raise your glass to Professor Victoria Fromkin, and of course, Sid and Marty Krofft. Without them, some of our favorite shows and films would be a little less fun. Until next time,

“Qapla’!”

“Yub nub!”

and

“Kasa!”

Where Can I Stream Godzilla?

Godzilla_king_kong

If you’re like me, a certifiable lifelong nerd, it might be a little shameful to admit that your only experience with Godzilla is the 1998 Matthew Broderick film. I had a copy of the soundtrack when I was in middle school as well. It was one of my “cool kid” CDs, because it had curse words, so I had to hide it from my mom—much more hassle than it was worth! Despite my lack of Godzilla knowledge, I’m really intrigued by the forthcoming new movie. If you’d like to get yourself up to speed on Godzilla before Friday, check out your favorite streaming services. I’ve rounded up the films that are available for instant streaming.

Here’s my list. If I’ve missed any, please add them in the comments so everyone can share some Godzilla love.

Godzilla Streaming Netflix
– Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster
– Terror of Mechagodzilla
– Godzilla’s Revenge
– Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
– Godzilla vs. Mothra
– Godzilla Raids Again
– Godzilla: King of the Monsters
– Godzilla (1998 cartoon)

Godzilla Streaming Hulu
– Godzilla on Monster Island: Godzilla vs. Gigan
– Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster: Godzilla vs. Hedorah
– Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster: Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

Godzilla Streaming Hulu+
– Godzilla Raids Again
– Godzilla’s Revenge
– Godzilla vs. The Thing
– Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
– Godzilla: King of the Monsters
– Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster
– Godzilla: Terror of Mechagodzilla

Godzilla Streaming Amazon Prime
– Godzilla: King of the Monsters
– Gojira (English Subtitled)
– Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
– Godzilla Raids Again
– Godzilla: The Original Animated Series (Season 1)
– Godzilla’s Revenge
– Terror of Mechagodzilla
– Gidorah: The Three Headed Monster
– Mothra vs. Godzilla

What’s your favorite Godzilla flick? Where should I start on my quest to round out my nerd knowledge? Is there one worth tracking down that’s not available here? I look forward to hearing all your expert thoughts, retro fans.