The end of September, and I have a huge mosquito bite on my wrist. It is perhaps the itchiest such flesh wound of the year. I know it was a mosquito, because I saw it before I sent it to its reward.

No, I don’t think that phrase applies for mosquitos. I think they’re not rewarded for their toils on earth, because if they were, then their afterlife would consist of supping blood for all eternity, and that would require a separate hereafter from everyone else. Unless it’s hell for others, as the old joke goes.

Since there were skeeters, that means it was warm, and since was warm I walked around downtown taking shots for a project:

Hyperlapse streetviews. I shot lots of skyways, intending on doing the entire system eventually, but it turns out they're grainier than I like. I need to walk very slow, or live with the low-res.

These are not times in which we can live with low-res when we know high-res is possible.

While looking through an old Life magazine, I spotted an illustration on a letter to the editor. It's 1938, or '39.

 


The drawing is very good . Was this guy a pro? Googling . . . why yes. Doane Powell was an editorial cartoonist, as you might have guessed. But he had another sideline:

Masks.

People made masks in the 40s for reasons I can’t imagine. When you read that the nightmarish Busby Berkeley “Broadway Serenade” sequence used “Benda masks,” you think: there were enough famous mask-makers that you could specify a name and people would know? They’re lifelike but unnerving, and nothing sums up everything wrong with masks like the work of this fellow. I mean . . . no.

Reading the fine print in the 1937 Chicago Tribune article, it says he made some masks based on famous people. It doesn’t say whether these are those. If they are: who are those people up above? I don't know - George Burns and Gracie Allen?

And again:

GAAAAH. No no no. Strangle her not, Mr. Monkey. And more:

Bogie! You got old and covered with wax and ended up in a Twilight Zone episode where everyone melted! And:

These are the people who flee into the shadows the moment you wake from the dream, your sternum hammered thin by the exertions of your mad frantic heart.

 

   

Oh. This looks exciting. The insufficiently credentialed physician episode.

It’s actually rather refreshing to see a cliffhanger that doesn’t have the last-minute narrow escape that was edited out of the previous installment. I mean, if they show the fire about three inches from Batman’s feet, and he’s unconscious, and there’s an explosion a second later, you can’t believe that he woke up and did a Bat-Roll out of danger in this case. So how did he escape?


Like the plane crash, he didn’t escape. He just survived.

Meanwhile, back at the room where Ol' Colton the radium miner is being kept, we see that the radiation is starting to affect his brain:

There’s no context for this. He’s just being an ass.

So Bruce tells the miner not to let anyone into his room looking for the details of his radium mine, and that makes the miner arm up and give his nurse a demonstration in gun safety.

 

That’s one smooth move, Colton. Doesn’t look at all like you’re going for a gun.

Naturally, when someone knocks on the door, Mr. Radium Miner lets him in, despite what Bruce Wayne said, because he’s just a rich nancy-lad who has no idea how important it is for a feller to shoot a varmint now and then.

Not to worry; it’s a doctor, sent by his friend Linda, who is Bruce Wayne’s sort-of girlfriend and occasional plot-device enabler. . Ah, well, if its Linda, then never mind about the gun, doc. Sorry! The doc’s on his way out, but says “mind if I examine you anyway?” Why sure, t’ain’t nothing suspicious about you, ‘cause Linda sent you!

He’s chloroformed and abducted. Bruce is heading to see him, and his car goes through some strange urban landscape that’s either meant to be a hellish no-place devoid of charm or character, or just a backlot in between set dressing:

This is better, though:

Bruce picks up the handkerchief left by the chloroform fake doc, which was conveniently used as evidence, and using the new “Black Light Process” finds the mark of a laundry.

Japanese laundry? That makes no sense, based on my deep understanding of Asian cultures and the immigrant experience.

Old rangy miner Colton ain’t gonna help the fer'nurs, no sirree, but then he’s introduced to one of the zombies, which he used to know. Of course he used to know him. Remember: in serials there are usually no more than 12 people in the world.

The crooks go to the laundry mentioned in the Black Light scene, and one of them asks “why are we at this dump?” Because that’s where the boss has the supplies they’ll need when they go to Colton’s mine. Also because that’s where the script had Bruce Wayne headed after he read the laundry mark.

This plot, it’s like an intricate clock mechanism, ticking along with exquisite precision. But how do we get a cliff-hanger out of an abandoned laundry?

Batman and Robin jump down from a skylight, having determined that the odds are against them, and it’s fistfight time! Ah, the old Instant Rigor-Mortis Punch:

But the episode is coming to an end, so something horrible has to happen. It’s about time in the sequence of cliffhangers for a Pit Peril, isn’t it? And so:

Next Week:

Lured By Radium of Batman?

Lured BY RADIUM OF BATMAN?

 

Hey, there's a new book. Please buy it! Thank you. Also, Restaurant Postcard returns - only two per week, just to string it out for the rest of the eyear. Enjoy, and I'll see you around.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
blog comments powered by Disqus