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My Review of The Whispering Gorilla, by Wilcox and Reed

8 Dec

December 8, 2018

The Whispering Gorilla by Don Wilcox & Return of the Whispering Gorilla by David Reed.

Wow, where to begin?

First, if you have not checked them out, look at the other titles published by Armchair Fiction. They publish a huge number of stories from the pulp era.

As for this book, it may be the best story of a gorilla with the transplanted brain of a man fighting Nazis that I have ever read. On the other hand it is also the worst. (I’ve only read one, of course.)

And that really does sum up this book. The first story is short, about 79 pages, but it is a fast read and deceptive. It reaches 79 pages only because it is printed in a larger font than the longer second story. However, it is the better of the two. It is written in a simple and straightforward style but it is surprisingly realistic. Although the Whispering Gorilla talks like a man and dresses and acts like a man, he is still in the body of a gorilla. A sillier story (and yes, I know how silly this already sounds) would have him simply accepted as a talking gorilla. But that never happens in this book. Everyone suspects he is a very eccentric man in a gorilla suit to hide his identity. Not for a second does anyone think he is a real gorilla. As for the plot, the gorilla continues his previous human life as a crusading journalist (whom everyone thinks is a man in a gorilla suit, for some reason) and brings down a ring of war profiteers, before apparently dying at the hands of the police. Ridiculous as it sounds, it is a fun tale.

The second, longer story, is written by another, arguably better, author. I say “arguably” because while the writing is more complex and sophisticated than in the first, the plot is ridiculously laughable. The Whispering Gorilla did not die at the end of the first book but was secretly transported back to Africa to recover at the home of the scientist who created him. The problem is that he is slowly losing his humanity, while also becoming leader of all the jungle apes. Well, if it stopped there, this could be a somewhat interesting variation on Tarzan. Problem is the author didn’t stop there. The Whispering Gorilla is not the main character in this story. Neither is the scientist, who had a large part in the first book. Here, the scientist is bed-ridden and does little at all. The main plot is about a group of Nazis who plan to train gorillas to command submarines to sink allied destroyers. In the jungle!

I’ll let that sink in. A group of Nazis who plan to train the gorillas to command submarines to sink allied destroyers.

To that end, they build silly gorilla-sized ships and submarines on wheels and ride them around the jungle like oversized tricycles to teach the gorillas maneuvers that will destroy the enemy ships. This takes only a couple of days, believe it or not,  and the head Nazi is ready to put his plan into action. To say it doesn’t work is really not necessary, is it? The rest of the plot is about resistance fighters and a beautiful girl, with whom the gorilla -of course- falls in love.

This was certainly one of the stranger books I’ve read. I really enjoyed the first story. It was a great example of 40’s pulp fiction. The second story had delusions of grandeur and never lived up to the fun of the first. I’m glad I read it and I’ll probably reread the first story again, but not the second.


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Halloween 2018: Random Notes

28 Oct

October 28, 2018

Halloween is usually this blog’s favorite time of year. But this season things are a little light on the Mr. Blog spooks and scares. But don’t worry, there’s a perfectly good reason for that. A perfectly good spooooky and scary reason! (Read that in your best Count Floyd voice.) Nevertheless, I’ve got a few things to say about Halloween 2018.

The Monster Mash

Now matter how old I get, I will still love this song. It takes me back, way back (way way back it seems on some days) to when I was a kid. Not that Mr. Blog is old. In fact, I feel as good as a man almost twice my age. (No, that’s not a typo. That’s exactly what I mean. Oy vey.)

I honestly feel that it is not Halloween until I hear Monster Mash on the radio. Really, I feel unfulfilled and without the Halloween spirit if I don’t hear it. That’s true. But it’s getting harder and harder to hear it on the radio since it’s hard to find stations that play songs like that. Last year I did not hear it until Halloween day and I was getting tense, believe you me. And I have a strict rule. I have to hear it on the radio, at random, whenever the station decides to play it. I cannot listen to the CD, I can’t find it on Pandora or search for it on YouTube. I have to independently stumble across it. Think it’s hard being me? You should ask my wife what it’s like being married to me.

This year I first heard it last week. BINGO! And then every single day since then, sometimes two or three times a day. And frankly I’m running the risk of getting burnt out on it. But I have a confession to make. Although I have to stumble on Monster Mash at random, I stacked the deck by playing the Halloween station on iHeart Radio. So on the one hand yes, I  heard it at whatever random time they played it, but no, I knew they would eventually play it. Did I cheat? I don’t know. It isn’t like when I reshuffle the cards in the middle of solitaire and yes, I do that too.

There were so many good images for the Monster Mash that I made this Monster Mash Mash-Up

The Addams Family

When it comes to the great Addams Family vs. The Munsters feud, I am firmly in the Addams Family camp. (I also side with Kirk vs. Picard and Cocoa Pebbles over Count Chokula.)

The Munsters is fun, no doubt about it. I like it. But The Addams Family cracks me up. I watched an episode this morning and I literally laughed out loud like a loon. Luckily no one was home. It was the episode where lurch was learning to dance for the big Butler’s Ball and he threw his back out. Gomez wanted to help him align his back but Lurch was nervous. Here’s the dialogue that cracked me up.

GOMEZ: Don’t worry Lurch. These hands have healed more people than Albert Schweitzer!
MORTICIA: It’s true. The medical community was agog over his cure for Granmama’s bad back.
GOMEZ: Agog? Aghast!

It may not be lol here, but if you saw John Astin deliver that last line you would have stained your shorts too. (Not that I did that. It’s just an expression.) And that is what makes The Addams Family better. While they both have similar broad humor, the writing is simply better and funnier than The Munsters. But it takes a good actor to deliver a good line and John Astin is amazing. Just look at him. Look at the expression on his face and especially the look in his eyes. When you see Gomez, you think “John Astin is insane.” There’s a subtle yet manic lunacy in his performance. It is very similar to what he did with the role of Buddy, Harry Anderson’s father on Night Court, except he was less manic and more laid back. But the lunacy was in his eyes. He really is a great actor and if you go back to his small scene as Glad Hand in West Side Story he shines in that too, even if he is only on screen for mere seconds.

And yeah, I side with Carolyn Jones over Yvonne DeCarlo too,

 

The eyes have it!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM THE EDITORS AND STAFF OF MR. BLOG’S TEPID RIDE!

 

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