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Saturday Afternoon Monsters

My dad loved the old cheesy horror and sc-fi movies. We’d watch them on a San Francisco based show called "Creature Features." The host, Bob Wilkins, wore those creepy oversized 70’s glasses while smoking a cigar. Bob would intro the show, then it was off to loony land.

Oh, good Lord, those shows were bad. There was no ILM back in those days, and George Lucas was still figuring out that girls did not in fact have cooties. Cheap pyrotechnics, poorly constructed models suspended by all to visible filament lines. And of course, the costumes. I’m not sure why Ultra Man had a zipper that ran up his back. Maybe, in the future, robot men needed to change metal skins quickly. The best were the Japanese made shows dubbed into English. "Monstahhh!" They could somehow speak without moving their lips. Truly magical for an eight year old.

Yes, we enjoyed those shows. Even at the time, we knew they were crud. It isn’t like we had a lot of choices back then.

Today, choices abound. To an almost insane degree. And with the Internet, any moron (or sambecile) can post any piece of worthless trash they want.

I am suffering from a lack of cultural understanding based on temporal and spacial displacement. In my day, if "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" was on, and you thought it was crap, you switched to channel five and watched Haystack Calhoon pin some sucker to the mat. Or, you got on your eighty pound "BMX bike" (no alloys back then) and you enjoyed a ride. Grabbing a mob with RPG-7s and killing diplomats never occurred to me or my dad. He’d just shake his head, grab a cold Oly in a can and return to Lazy-Boy. Nap time until that Lee Marvin movie came on at four.

No, I get the whole ‘cultural sensitivity’ thing. I mean, if we had a popular culture that constantly denigrated our prophet and his followers… oh, nevermind.

The thing I’m stuck with are the monsters. "Back In The Day", the monsters were easy to identify and they always lost. As a Simplistic Generalizer, I’m left with a feeling of confusion and sadness. The monsters are no longer bad actors in rubber suits.

The monsters are now behind the cameras.


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