They Don’t Write ’em Like That Anymore

Packed like sardines in Mason’s convertible, our pals hurtle through the inky blackness, snarking on the cornball dialogue in the Starbuck Jones serial. Pete can afford to laugh because he, being a newly minted hotshot Hollywood screenwriter, will craft a script that’s going to bring the franchise up to date and bring new depth and complexity to our hero. That is, if Pete ever stops dicking around back in his Ohio hometown…and as long as they don’t pressure him with any deadlines…and only if nobody dares to suggest any changes…

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “They Don’t Write ’em Like That Anymore

  1. I wonder if those lines appeared in “The Phantom Empire.” Roy Rogers was kind of well known for being kid-friendly (not in a DSH John way, I should add).

    Didn’t “The Phantom Empire” figure in MST3K? I seem to recall something…or it could just be Lyz’s review here–

    http://www.aycyas.com/phantomempirepart1.htm

  2. Epicus Doomus

    So wait a minute. Is he saying that this old SJ movie features witty rejoinders and catch-phrases that aren’t featured in the comic book? I suppose it’s possible but it’s still strange. Why are they driving around Ohio in mid-March in a convertible with the top down? Why are they even in Ohio at all? What’s up with the inky blackness?

    It’s funny, but Monday is my favorite day of the week now, as it’s typically before the Batom Comics daydream sequences begin. Or will Batiuk stun the world by following up on that Cliff Anger thing? BanTom following up on a plot thread immediately instead of dropping it to focus on the most inane stuff imaginable for six or seven straight weeks is like a full solar eclipse. It happens, just very infrequently.

    Maybe it’ll be revealed that Cliff Anger worked for Batom Comics back in the day. Then Pete will (sigh) wonder what that was like and, well, you know. Hopefully this “back in the day” trend continues long enough to see BanTom re-visiting FW back in the day when it still occasionally featured jokes.

  3. Charles

    The Phantom Empire was by the same director and production house and roughly filmed at the same time as Undersea Kingdom, which was on MST3k. What that and Commando Cody on MST3k showed is that serials were never intended to be viewed in one sitting. Instead, it’s broken up into about 12-15 parts and you see one part before the Saturday matinee you were going to. Come back the following week to see what happens next! So the whole thing in total is about 3-4 hours and it relies on endless repetitions of the premise to acquaint or reacquaint its audience, spinning its wheels with its plot and action (seriously, count the fistfights in those two serials), and frequent cliffhangers that go absolutely nowhere…

    I think I understand how it inspired Batiuk’s life’s work.

    Anyway, color me not surprised that Mason’s worked on this project for nearly two years now, Pete’s been there almost a year and Darin’s been there for months and yet none of them had already seen this serial, seemingly becoming aware of it this past week. It’s only their job, after all.

  4. Charles

    BTW, TFH, almost three years ago you came up with that great April Fool’s prank about how Batiuk was going to do another spinoff strip, this time with Starbuck Jones.

    I bet you never had any idea how prescient you were.

    We’ve got the whole Holly/Cory saga, this stupid Hollywood plot, and the Dick Tracy crossover was probably about Starbuck Jones comics, although I can’t remember off-hand if it was specifically mentioned. Starbuck Jones has rapidly become the main focus, now that it appears that Lisa’s Story derivatives are dead.

  5. SpacemanSpiff85

    This is how you can tell Mason is still an up-and-coming movie star: he’s got the flashy convertible to drive his hot blonde around in, but he couldn’t afford the model that had seatbelts in the back seat, too.

  6. Beside a synopsis of the plot at the beginning, each episode ended with the hero facing some kind of dire peril (the “cliffhanger”) that kept the viewers in suspense until the following week. Which brings up a question – Does The Author want the actor’s name pronounced like “hanger” (without the “h”) or like the emotion.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Charles: Mason came all the way out to Ohio just to read Holly’s complete SJ collection but until now he’d never seen a SJ movie. So he’s obsessive and detail-driven, but only to a point. He’ll put SOME diligent effort into preparing for the role, but that’s it. Another remarkably contrary Batiukian character.

    Pete too. He’s obsessed by the circumstances under which the character he hates writing for was created. He knows who edited sixty year old SJ comic books but had no idea these movies existed.

  8. These are the last people who should be joking about lame, badly-scripted dialogue.

  9. billytheskink

    Huh, I thought the show was called The Great Space Coaster, not The Aryan Space Car

  10. I don’t think that they DISapprove of the stupid dialogue at all. Given that Batiuk thinks that Phantom Empire is the apex of human arts and culture, I think they wish all movies were on its high level.

  11. Saturnino

    “BanTom following up on a plot thread immediately instead of dropping it to focus on the most inane stuff imaginable for six or seven straight weeks is like a full solar eclipse. It happens, just very infrequently.”

    This should continue this week as the evil twins are back in their parallel universe for their parts in THE ATTACK OF THE OVERDUE BOOKS AND SUNDRY ITEMS.

  12. HeyItsDave

    +1 internets to beckoningchasm, who seems to have found the movie still that T-Bat’s traced for his Sunday masturbatory excercise.

  13. So I guess this week’s sepia-toned flashback will feature Pete and Durwood riding in the rumble seat of a Hudson convertible with Cliff Anger and Vera Nash riding in the front.

  14. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    Whoah!! Slow the fuck down, Mason! You’re toupee nearly came off there in Panel 1.

  15. I just want to remind you all that these aren’t teenagers from Riverdale or Milford or the Luanniverse driving home after a night at the movies — These are all grown-assed adults, one of which is old enough to be a teenager’s grandmother…Or maybe I’m reading this wrong and Mason+Cindy are taking their kids out for ice cream (assuming they behave themselves)

    Once again, for even a B-list actor, Mason Jarr leads and incredibly dull and unfulfilling life if this is his idea of a “good time”… And Cindy is even worse — Isn’t a worldly, cultured woman in her mid-50s supposed to be a bit more refined in her tastes than “I wanna do whatever Mason wants to do, even if it means flying back home on a charter jet with the Douchenozzle brothers and driving a car directly from the airport to some crumbling hipster novelty theater in the middle of nowhere to see a sci-fi movie even the MST3K crowd wouldn’t touch, even though we could have seen it at any time before now! Isn’t it romantic???”

    And what about Darrin’s wifey? “Gee hon, I’m so very happy that after finding a sitter at the last minute, my first couple of free hours away from the baby in months was spent with people I hardly know, watching low-grade sci-fi schlock from the 1950s! I could have at least gotten some much-needed sleep in the theater if you all didn’t continually talk through the movie like a bunch of assholes!”

  16. The Dreamer

    How does Mason’s vintage convertible happen to be in Cleveland, when he’s been seen/depicted driving it in LA, and they *flew* to Cleveland?!