Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Bermuda Depths

Some things from your childhood stay with you a long, long time.  For me, one of those things was a made for TV movie called "The Bermuda Depths."

Way back in January 27, 1978 there came a made for TV movie called "The Bermuda Depths".  It was only shown once on TV but it was one of those events in my childhood that I remember even to this day.  I remember watching this movie, sitting spellbound in front of the old console Zenith TV and I remember feeling really, really sad after the movie was over.

"The Bermuda Depths" was a once in a lifetime event and if you missed it as a kid, you missed it and everyone was telling you about it the next day at school.  This was back before VCRs, before DVRs, before the Internet so you couldn't go rent this movie, you couldn't get on a computer and look it up and three months after it aired you couldn't go to a store and buy a copy of it.  Once it played and once it was over it was basically gone forever ... you either saw it or you didn't.  Those who saw it remember it to this day, so my experience has told me.

Check out some of the actors ...

Carl Weathers.  

Connie Sellecca.  

Burl Ives!  

It was Connie Sellecca's first TV appearance and if you were an 8 year old like I was ... whooooo, mama!  

We all know Carl Weathers as "the brother from Rocky" and later as "Action Jackson" and he faced down The Predator in a jungle down in South America.  

"I'm on a boat."

Carl Weathers has always been a bad ass of an actor, at least in my humble opinion.  If anyone can rock the "I've got a Gilligan hat, a speedo and a scoped bazooka with a harpoon loaded in it and I'm about to kick kaiju turtle ass" look, it's my main man Carl Weathers.

Burl Ives?  

He was "Sam the Snowman" in the Rankin Bass "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" children's holiday specials that we grew up loving so much.

Rankin Bass ... The company that brought us the animated "Hobbit" cartoon?  Remember that other unforgettable childhood event?  "The Hobbit" came along late in the 1970's when Dungeons and Dragons was just starting to get cool but I digress ... 

Rankin Bass got with Tsuburaya Productions who was famous for doing the special effects for "Ultraman" (another show I used to get up at 6am every Saturday morning in the '70's and watch on Ted Turner's  SuperStation (WTCG later renamed WTBS).

"The Bermuda Depths" came on only once, as far as I know, and those of us who watched it would always remember it ... for years ... for decades ... afterwards.

Here's a synopsis from IMDB

"Traumatized, orphaned college dropout Magnus Dens returns to Bermuda to find the cause of his father's mysterious death years before. At the Bermuda Biological Station, he finds Eric and Dr. Paulis, friends and colleagues of his late father, and joins them on a quest for gigantic sea creatures. He also meets Jennie Haniver, a mysterious young woman who was once his only childhood friend. Dr. Paulis' housekeeper, an island local, warns Magnus that Jennie is dangerous. The beautiful but vain young woman had sold her soul with the Devil centuries before and lives forever young deep in the waters of the Devil's Triangle (a.k.a. Bermuda Triangle). Nobody heeds the folklore and the researchers trap the giant sea turtle, setting the stage for a deadly confrontation with both minions of the Devil."

Here's a nice amateur review of the movie from Cinema Apocalypse.

Basically "The Bermuda Depths" is a cheap horror / thriller, made for TV but like I said, those of us who, as kids, tuned in and watched it ... well, we never forgot it.  "The Bermuda Depths" isn't just a cheap horror / thriller ... it's a supernatural love story that will break your heart (it did mine when I was a child).  There are many things that I remember about this movie but what I think I remember the most is the theme music.  It had this really sad song called "Jenny" that played in the background and that song stuck in my mind for years afterwards.

Decades after I saw the movie on TV, I keep running into people who remember the movie but never remember the name.  It was like one of those childhood events where, if you weren't there you missed it and that was that.  It took me decades to track down the information on the movie (thank you, Internet) and I finally got a copy of the movie on DVD (TV quality) off Ebay about a decade ago.

What's been neat is how many people I run into that, when we discuss growing up in the 1970's that "the monster turtle movie on TV" always seems to come up in conversation.

If you get a chance to watch this give it some slack ... the FX are done by the same people who did "Ultraman" so the monster / miniature sequences are about on par with a 1970's Godzilla film ... other than that it's a pretty good romp and, like I said, if you were 8 years old when you saw this (like I was), it's something that will stay with you for a long time afterwards ... decades.

A new set of wheels

Some of you may not have heard but I was involved in a really bad car wreck back in November of 2014 (probably why I haven't blogged much).  I lost my '89 Dodge Daytona Shelby turbo which I had previously blogged about having bought.  You can read about it here.

Anyway ... I've got a new toy ... another '91 Chevy Corvette.  This one is the third C4 (fourth generation) Corvette that I've owned.  My first C4 was a 1988 Z51 coupe, red with a tan interior and the quirky but heavy duty Doug Nash 4+3 speed manual transmission.  I bought that Vette in 1992 after a failed relationship.  I sold it a year and a half later and regretted it ever since.

Fast forward to 2008.  I'm about to turn 40 years old and I decide that I want another C4 Corvette.  My dad was about to retire from work and he told me in passing that he really wished that I had another Corvette like I had back in college.  

No problem.  

I searched for a few weeks on the Internet, found a 1991 Z07 Corvette down in Miami, bought it, flew down to Miami and drove the Corvette back.

The '91 Z07 at the start of The Tail of the Dragon - Deal's Gap.
318 curves in 11 miles.  Not a problem.

The '91 Z07 at the bottom of Fontana Dam.

It also was a red coupe, tan interior, but it had a six speed manual transmission (which had replaced the 4+3 back in 1989).  I kept that '91 for almost two years then sold it and restored my 1986 black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

I spent almost a year restoring my rare '86 black and gold Pontiac Trans Am (LB9, 700R4, WS6, T-tops, factory Recaro interior) and bought a Lincoln Town Car as my daily driver. 4 years later I sold the Lincoln Town Car (because I'm not a four door car kind of guy) and bought a rare one owner '89 Dodge Daytona Shelby turbo (T-tops, 5 speed, Turbo II engine). 

I kept the Daytona about five months to the day then one morning I woke up behind the wheel of the Dodge, sitting in the median of the highway with EMT and rescue personnel cutting the roof of my Dodge off to get me out. Apparently I had been sitting at a stoplight and a kid in a pickup truck had hit me from behind. I never felt the impact, just woke up when they were pulling my body from what was left of my classic Dodge. 

How I survived I have no idea ... but I did.

While I was in the hospital I started looking for a replacement for the Dodge, could never find one and since I was a two door sports car kind of guy I decided to return to GM.  I chased a '91 Pontiac Firebird Formula with a 5 speed and T-tops (black on black) but miscommunication killed that deal.

That was about the time that I started thinking about another C4 Corvette.  When I sold my last '91 I told my wife that I was swearing off of Corvettes forever and that if I ever said I wanted another Corvette to remind me of what I'd said.

Well, I told her that I wanted another C4 Corvette and she reminded me, in no nice way, of what I'd told her to remind me of years ago.  I also reminded her that before I met her in 1992 that I'd officially sworn off of relationships and women as well ... and look where that got me.

So, I returned to Corvette ownership and bought another C4 ... thought I would go for an automatic since I'd never had a C4 L98 with an auto before.

I didn't know if I would like it ... I was worried that I wouldn't like it ... right up until the moment that an auto transporter company delivered the new '91 white 4 speed automatic Vette to my garage door.

The '91 being delivered to my house.

The '91 white Corvette in the garage ... along with my black / silver 2004 Honda CBR600RR ... and the black and gold '86 Pontiac TA.  Yes, that's a sleeping cop speed bump in front of the Vette ... the previous home owner installed it I guess to keep his wife from driving the minivan through the garage wall and into the living room.  Events like that tend to interrupt "House" marathons with a quickness.

This '91 came from the Venerable and Son dealership out of Walnut Cove, NC and has a Triad Corvette Club membership emblem on the driver's side of the windshield. It also has Loyd's mats, inside door sill protectors and a later model year combo Bose stereo cassette / CD player.  It has what I think is a Clifford alarm system (LED in the center console, some kind of horn hooked up under the hood) but no remotes and no manuals on the alarm system.  If you know this Vette, give me a shout.

So far I'm happy with the '91. It sat up in a climate controlled warehouse for several months not getting driven or cranked so it's about to get a full tune up front to back.

Mods I've found so far include Accel yellow wires under the hood and a strange cat-back system with rectangular tips and tennis ball can sized mufflers / resonators.

It's my new daily driver averaging 28 miles per gallon on the highway.  Not bad for a 25 year old Corvette that has 250 horsepower, 350 lbs-ft of torque, does zero to 60 in about 5 seconds, does mid to high 13 second quarter miles and has a top speed of 157 mph.  I didn't think I would like a white Vette or an automatic but driving it for two weeks now has changed my mind on that ... a white four speed automatic Vette is nothing short of awesome.  Once you push the loud skinny pedal to the floor things get busy real quick and the L98 still has plenty of guts left in her.

As a bit of strangeness, 9 years ago I bought the '86 TA from Greensboro, NC, about 30 miles SE of Walnut Cove so I've got two cars in my garage, both bought off the Internet, which came from within 30 miles of each other. 

Weird but then my life is funny strange like that.

The '91 Vette has its own blog as well ... find it here.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A new comic fancy - "Manifest Destiny"

So I've added yet another comic series to what I'm reading.  Like I've said before, I'm eccentric and my tastes vary.  I don't like superheroes or other nonsense and I don't think of comic books as "kids stuff" ... comics are, to me, an art form.  Growing up in the 1970's and being subjected to adult sci-fi and fantasy like "Heavy Metal" I took on an appreciation for illustrated stories.  Pepe Moreno, Richard Corben, Angus McKee ... all of these taught me that "comics" could be adult and hard hitting.  The only problem is that not until the last ten to fifteen years have comics not only matured to an adult level but they've also reached a point of not being kids stuff any more ... oh, no they're not.

I like my comic art adult and I like it strange so when I pick up a comic and read it and then decide to buy it that comic has something I'm interested in.

Let's be honest here ... I like weird shit.  There's just no other way to say it than that and my latest comic pick pretty much nails that category head on.  In spades.

"Manifest Destiny"

MD is a high aspiring historical revisionist tale of Lewis and Clark's famous expedition.  As they travel through an unknown America they battle monsters and weird shit every step of the way and I love it.  Giant plants, plant zombies, deep lurking river monsters, centaur bisons living in tribes ... some of this stuff is amazing in concept and the execution does not fail.

The first trade paperback is out and collects several of the first run comics.  I highly recommend it especially since the second trade paperback is due out soon.  Give it a looksee and chances are, if your tastes are like mine, you'll be a lot of not unhappy.