Thursday, June 27, 2024

A look at Retro Fan #33

Yes, it's time again to discuss the latest installment of my favorite magazine, RetroFan from TwoMorrows. Not all the articles in this one do it for me, but the variety of topics is cool, and there is one excellent piece that I think will be of particular interest to BOTNS fans. The overall package is always worth it to me.

The cover story is a feature on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman by noted vintage TV author Herbie J. Pilato. TwoMorrows has talked about the origins of the former (the novel Cyborg) before, but this is a nice dual show-ography adapted from one of Pilato's books.

My favorite article this time out is Will Murray's look at the TV Western craze of the 1950s. The story goes beyond the basic facts in many places, like pointing out that the quiz show scandals that took so many programs off the air helped pave the way for the Western glut on broadcast TV in 1958. There is one odd passage (an editing mistake) that makes it seem like Bonanza debuted in 1964, but otherwise it's a great overview. I like that Murray does not focus only on shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke but mentions lesser-known oaters and features quotes from the likes of Dale Robertson (Tales of Wells Fargo). As is standard for the mag, it features great illustrations like old comic book covers and trading cards.

Mark Voger remains a favorite contributor, and this month he examines the movie icons of the 1940s taking on the Axis powers during the war. He includes Sherlock Holmes, The Three Stooges, Donald Duck, and more!

There are features on Hot Wheels and Hostess snack cakes, and I learned a lot from the history of the Modesty Blaise comic strip. Scott Shaw! has mined a lot of gold out of San Diego-centric topics, and this issue has his story on the origins of the San Diego Chicken (One of the stars, natch, of The Baseball Bunch).

Andy Mangels delivers yet again with his Saturday morning column. Issue 33 has his overview of The Fantastic Four in TV cartoons, and, yes, he explores Herbie and Fred and Barney Meet the Thing.

It's another winning issue from RetroFan and is highly recommended.

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