Sunday, October 19, 2008

Peter Pan, MST3K, Spiders, and Snakes

Listen to intro:

A couple afternoons ago I found a funky album at the thrift shop -- it's a Peter Pan "Power Records" album with a weird comic book cover, entitled Gemini Man. It contains four radio-show style mystery stories about a secret agent who can turn invisible, but for only a maximum of 15 minutes, otherwise he'll "fade away," forever. If you can imagine how a purely-audio story works around a story of invisibility, the answer is, "not so good." While it's no acid-trip like the Six Million Dollar Man Christmas Album, it's got about the same production value. While the latter actually had Lee Majors, the Gemini Man album doesn't appear to have any of the actual actors doing voices. It turns out that Gemini Man was a failed mid-1970s science fiction spy TV series produced by Stephen Bochko and starring beefcake actor Ben Murphy.

I know this only because I watch Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The episode Rising with Death features a badly-edited movie, strangely made up of two different storylines with only a few characters appearing in both. Riding with Death is actually two episodes of Gemini Man edited together to make a full-length movie...strangely because of one actor common between the two. Jim Stafford played a southern yokel in both halves, a truck driver in the first and a racecar mechanic in the second.

Jim Stafford, remember, was no stranger to record albums. He made a name for himself writing humorous country rock songs -- most famously, Spiders & Snakes, a story of boys being stupid with horny girls.

You know, the kind of boys that sit around listening to dramatized versions of crappy sci-fi TV shows on their record player.

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