Retro Remote columns

Retro Remote #34: Forget "Man of Steel". Five perfectly dopey ways to love Superman - PopMatters, 30 July 2013.After last column's angst about an angsty Superman, it's time to talk about more important things, like rainbow fingers and laconic Australian radio Superman.

Retro Remote #33: Superman and the War Against Anachronism - PopMatters, 29 May 2013.
Ever want to see a grown man write a love letter to Superman? Here you go.

Retro Remote #32: Retro Future: Reviving Have Gun -- Will Travel and The Rifleman - PopMatters, 26 February 2013.
Keeping positive about possible upcoming remakes of two key 50s/60s TV Westerns.

Retro Remote #31: Crime Classics, "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln", 9 December 1953 - PopMatters, 13 February 2013.
Springboarding off Spielberg's Lincoln to talk about the portrayal of political compromise, a great old time radio series, and a Lincoln assassination movie where he comes out OK at the end.

Retro Remote #30: Love-Drenched Gunfighters in The Guns of Will Sonnett, "Ride the Long Trail", 8 September 1967 - PopMatters, 10 December 2012.
For a couple of gunfighters, these guys sure do talk about love a lot.

Retro Remote #29: The Three Stooges' Chaotic Neutrality in 'I Can Hardly Wait' (1943) - PopMatters, 9 August 2012. 
An early appeal for the next Stooges movie to be "The Three Stooges Meet Emile Zola".

Retro Remote #28: No Contract for Old Men: Five "Old Folks" in Pop Culture That are 5Xs Tougher Than You - PopMatters, 1 June 2012. 
An old-folks follow-up to last column's "Go Play in Traffic" kid-list, that makes me seem like an old curmudgeon. Only half of which is true.

Retro Remote #27: Go Play in Traffic: 5 Movies About Kids That Are Better Than Hugo and True Grit - PopMatters, 29 March 2012. 
Cheap shots at the universally loved 'Hugo' and the Coen Brothers remake of 'True Grit' and some rare examples of kids in movies that aren't completely obnoxious.

Retro Remote #26: Kafka Noir: Serge Marcotte's The Sickroom and Franz Kafka's 'A Country Doctor' - PopMatters, 3 Feb 2012.
Four adaptations of 'A Country Doctor', and making a claim for Kafka's new image as hard-boiled film noir tough guy.

Retro Remote #25: Tough Guys Recite: The Top Five Poetry Spittin' TV Characters - PopMatters, 26 October 2011. 
Well, four tough guys and one bank ad. Plus some subtle cross promotion for the poetry conference "The Poetry and Poetics of Popular Culture".

Retro Remote #24: Jean-Teddy Filippe's "Forbidden Files": Found Footage Lost (and Found Again) - PopMatters, 7 October 2011.
A ten-years-too-late attempt to reclaim a borrowed VHS tape lent to my high school drama teacher, disguised as a discussion of the "found footage" genre and Jean-Teddy Filippe's creepy and under-appreciated "Forbidden Files" or "Documents Interdits".

Retro Remote #23: Robot Dreams: Transformers 3 and Sex Kittens Go to College - PopMatters, 28 July 2011. 
Michael Bay's misogynist robot heroes: not quite as classy as the cigar-smoking, chimp-friending, stripper-dreaming frat-boy robot from Albert Zugsmith's 1960 'Sex Kittens Go to College'.

Retro Remote #22: Killing Osama bin Laden, and David Mamet's 'The Unit' - 'Old Home Week', 31 October 2006 - PopMatters, 20 May 2011. 
In response to any criticism of major military action, David Mamet's 'The Unit' makes sure we target two threats to global security: 1) terrorists who would disrupt the democratic world, 2) the democratic world. (Plus: Jon Hamm as Bizarro peacenik Don Draper).

Retro Remote #21: Betty Boop and Bimbo Get into a Sexual Tangle in 'Barnacle Bill', 31 August 1930 - PopMatters, 31 March 2011. 
Prurient interest, the joys of punishment, dog-eared maidens, and the pleasures of the perpetrator in pre-code Fleischer Studios animation.

Retro Remote #20: La Femme Nikita, 'End Game' 30 August 1998 - PopMatters, 22 February 2011.
Why 'La Femme Nikita' is still one of the toughest shows around, and what its oddly blunt season 2 finale has to say about unrest in the Middle East and US support of brutal dictators.

Retro Remote #19: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Ocean Software, 1985 - PopMatters, 11 January 2011. The Commodore 64's 'Frankie Goes to Hollywood' offered the prize of aponia, the Epicurean philosophical state of freedom from pain, complete with kickin' soundtrack. Beat that, Xbox 360.

Retro Remote #18: Paul Robeson in Australia: 50 years later - PopMatters, 10 November 2010.
50 years since Paul Robeson came to Australia, became the first international performer to sing at (or on) the Sydney Opera House, and swore he'd make the Australian government 'sit up and listen'.

Retro Remote #17: Medic, 'A Flash of Darkness', 14 February 1955 - PopMatters, 22 October 2010.
A Valentine's Day PSA from doctor drama 'Medic', reminding us to eat well, floss regularly, and await the inevitable doom of mutually assured nuclear destruction.

Retro Remote #16: Motion Comics, Newspaper Strikes, and Mayor LaGuardia reading the funnies - '17 Days' 1945 - PopMatters, 17 September 2010. Who needs downloadable digital motion-comics when 1945 New York Mayor LaGuardia can read the funny pages to ya over the wireless fer nuttin'?

Retro Remote #15: 'Leave It To Beaver' is probably closer to real life than plenty of people would like to admit - 'Beaver's Short Pants', 13 December 1957 - PopMatters, 10 August 2010.
God forbid a modern hipster should let loose a chuckle at one of Wally and Beaver’s brotherly mishaps and thus irrefutably acknowledge dull suburban roots or ambitions!

Retro Remote #14: Crime Classics, 'The Seven-Layered Arsenic Cake of Madame LaFarge' 14 October 1953 - PopMatters, 1 July 2010.
How a smarmy radio reminder of the futility of existence and pointlessness of human suffering seemingly didn't help Plymouth sell a bunch of shiny new cars. (Marketing students, take note.)

Retro Remote #13: Pete Seeger's 'Rainbow Quest': The Anti-TV TV - PopMatters, 26 May 2010.
Why an awkward 'Auld Lang Syne' sing-along around a fake kitchen table on low budget UHF television is still one of the best music moments ever.

Retro Remote #12: Robert Culp, from 'I Spy' to 'Hickey & Boggs' - PopMatters, 29 April 2010.
Robert Culp dies, 'Hickey & Boggs' is not on dvd, but the 2002 film version of 'I Spy' continues to exist. There is no justice.

Retro Remote #11: Beyond Barthes, Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, Wrestlemania XXV - PopMatters, 25 March 2010.
Bringing healthy doses of sensitivity and spooning to professional wrestling.

Retro Remote #9 and #10: The Simpsons, 'Radio Bart', January 9, 1992 - Part 1 and Part 2 - PopMatters, Feb 4 and 15, 2010.
Timmy O'Toole, Floyd Collins, Kathy Fiscus, KTLA, Billy Wilder, 'Ace in the Hole', Jessica McClure, Peter Singer, Beaconsfield, Balloon Boy. No, not a new verse of 'We Didn't Start the Fire', it's a Simpsons reference so big it needed two articles.

Retro Remote #8: Amos 'n' Andy, 'Mister 1943', December 31, 1943 - PopMatters, January 4, 2010. Spending New Years Eve with Edward G. Robinson and a couple of white guys pretending to be a couple of black guys.

Retro Remote #7: The Prisoner, 'Fall Out', February 1, 1968 - PopMatters, November 12, 2009.
Multiple analyses of an inaudible speech from Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner' finale, and a needless dig at Ian McKellen.

Retro Remote #6: Pete Kelly's Blues, 'Dr Jonathan Budd', September 19, 1951 - PopMatters, October 20, 2009.
Seemingly my attempt to 'strip music of any real personal or cultural power' disguised as a review of Jack Webb's great jazz radio show. Retro Remote: 1, 'Music as Transcendental Entity': 0.

Retro Remote #5: Frontier Doctor, 'Queen of the Cimarron, September 26, 1958 - PopMatters, September 23, 2009.
Actress Jean Willes' best part, tough bad-gal Miss Fancy, gets what's coming to her: a solid dose of gumdrops and church.

Retro Remote #4: All in the Family, 'Gloria Sings the Blues', March 2, 1974 - PopMatters, August 27, 2009.
How to compress a nine-hour Ingmar Bergman marriage-angst film into a halfbqcrWOKjmmbB0gS1ZVOve3psbl6YkWXtund phrases to copy-and-paste into your college essays, kids).

Retro Remote #3: Ric Flair v Kerry Von Erich, WCCW Heavyweight Title Match - December 25, 1982 - PopMatters, July 21, 2009.
This article is probably the greatest thing to happen to professional wrestling since Georg Hackenschmidt submitted to Frank Gotch's ankle lock in 1908.

Retro Remote #2: Have Gun - Will Travel, 'Return to Fort Benjamin', January 30, 1960 - PopMatters, June 18, 2009.
Uber-cool cowboy Paladin tries to shut down US military torture shack in the 1880s (complete with Guantanamo Bay style pep and Dick Cheney style nutcase). Coincidentally published on what would have been star Richard Boone's 92nd birthday.

Retro Remote #1: Gidget, 'Dear Diary -- et al.', episode 1, September 15, 1965 - PopMatters, May 8, 2009.
In which I find an academic excuse for watching 'Gidget'. It's the same old Lacanian psychoanalytic media theory, but 15% more adorable.