An Authentic Han Solo Costume: The miracle of Amazon.com amid changing industries–and people

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Everyone knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan—which I view differently from the geeky other types of entertainment exhibitions of public support.  When I see the name Star Wars and participate in its products in whatever form, it evokes in me an optimism that is very specific to it that I am very fond of.  That’s why my favorite character within Star Wars is Han Solo, because he is the most optimistic character perhaps ever created for film.  Nothing is impossible for Han Solo—he’ll try anything under any circumstances because his personality is such that he figures his confidence and sheer will can get him through anything.  He is the Donald Trump of science fiction and I’ve felt that way about that character for more than forty years now.  On more than a few occasions I’ve dressed up as Han Solo for Halloween events, or other science fiction endeavors, conventions, watch parties, literary events at book stores—just various festive gatherings that celebrate costuming and character reverence—but I’ve never had any kind of official Han Solo clothing. I would just piece together whatever I could find that sort of looked like the popular smuggler from the Star Wars series and go from there. But my five-year old grandson is about to have a big birthday party marking that invisible line of being a toddler to a genuine little boy fully aware of the world around him with the memories that now matter—and my daughters are fashioning it to Star Wars.  As I’ve reported before also, these parties my kids do for their kids are not just little events—they go all out in creating a very mythic experience that is almost a theme park occurrence and due to their passion for Star Wars they are going all out.  That meant that of course I had to dress up as Han Solo—but this time I wanted to do it for real—as real as possible because of the effort my kids were putting into this party and the eventual impact it would have on the youth in my family attending this thing.  So I turned to Amazon.com to see what was out there and was stunned by a world I discovered.

My mom made me a little vest like Han Solo’s when I was in the fifth grade and I sort of kept it all these years even though it was way too small for me.  But even a few years ago if you wanted something that looked like a Star Wars character and bought a costume from a place like Party City it always came out looking far from authentic.  If you wanted something that looked like the clothing in the movie you had to make it.  Back when my kids were little we went to a Star Wars Celebration in Indianapolis and my wife made Jedi robes for my girls and their friends so they could dress up at that convention which occurred right before the movie Revenge of the SIth.  The internet at that time had some support—you could get directions from people who built their own costumes but there weren’t suppliers carrying things like that on the shelf.  Even though Star Wars was popular there just wasn’t any money in it for costumers to make costumes of all those characters in the movies  for a public of all shapes and sizes.  The scope of that work was unrealistic. For Han Solo specifically his outfit looks pretty simple yet is really quite complex.  For instance, his vest from A New Hope has a series of very complicated pockets positioned just right—and there is nothing like that off the rack at Wal-Mart or Kholes.  Han Solo’s pants don’t have pockets and have a very specific pin stripe down the side of them which disappears into knee-high boots that are meant to put the swash in the buckle for the very dashing character. The shirt under the vest isn’t just a white button-up but has a very unique collar and v-nick style that has to fit just right through the shoulders to give the correct effect.  Then there is the gun belt which is a thing all its own.  So I went looking for these things and I started with the Star Wars Costume exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center—which has been running all summer and will end around the beginning of October before moving on to the next city.  It’s a good exhibit, most of which I’ve seen before at the Smithsonian, but for my quest it served its purpose.  I was able to get right up to the Han Solo costume and look at things up close so that I could duplicate it authentically.  If I couldn’t find the items online, my wife was willing to build them from scratch so we went and took lots of pictures.

To my shook as I started looking now, in 2017 for these very specific Han Solo costume pieces for this epic party my kids were having I discovered that I was able to buy everything at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively.  For instance the great Han Solo vest that I figured was the most important part of the costume was just under forty dollars from an outfit in China.  I skeptically ordered it expecting it to arrive in a very flawed condition.  I expected something that looked like a typical Party City costume that smelled like plastic and rubber.  But what came to my front door was an exact replica of the Han Solo vest from A New Hope made out of material that was like that of tactical gear for a SWAT team.   It was a very good garment that was legitimate and it fit well the moment I put it on.  I was stunned by the quality of it.  I then proceeded to order the official shirt, the pants, the boots and the gun belt which as of this writing hasn’t yet arrived, but everything else has and again I was stunned by the authenticity of each item.

At different points in my life I had looked for these things and nobody carried them—as I said, everything had to be made by hand.  What’s unique about now from then—and by then I mean like six months ago—is that due to all the COSPLAY that goes on at these Comic Con conventions and now that Disney World is building these amusement parks with Star Wars lands within them there is this big COSPLAY movement that has emerged—where people dress up as characters from their favorite movies to delve into the mythology of these various sci-fi events—and out of nowhere there are all these suppliers who are making these costumes to meet the growing demand.  It’s a whole industry of itself that has virtually arrived out of nowhere.  I am aware of some of it because I find Comic Cons interesting as well as Gen Cons and other conventions.  I also noticed that the plans for the new Star Wars resort coming to Disney World is seeking to tap into this emerging market with a Fantasy Island style of Star Wars experience where they encourage people to show up dressed for the part.   Obviously Disney knew all about this culture and were building their business plans around it.  I only discovered it because of my grandson’s birthday party—but this was big business!

As I had ordered everything from my home computer and each item arrived one by one to my doorstep without having to go anywhere to search for it I became more and more impressed.  Even more shocking was that everything fit nicely, I didn’t have to send anything back.  Just by reading some of the reviews I was able to size myself accordingly with no trouble at all.  I figured that the risk was low because if the stuff showed up and was junky I figured my five-year old grandson would forgive me.  He’d appreciate the effort and wouldn’t get hung up on the details—even though he is a very smart little kid.  He surprises me what he notices.  He’s already playing the video game Battlefront very well which is about two years before I thought he would.  He plays online against other people who are very good—and he’s effective.  He knows all the different types of weapons that can be used, how to outfit each character and how to manage the Star Cards which give unique abilities to tactical engagements.  So if something wasn’t right, he’d notice. But after getting the parts of my Han Solo costume together it was obvious that I had nothing to worry about.  As far as this party was concerned, except for my hairline, the outfit looks just like it would if it was on the actual movie set.  That’s pretty stunning for something that was so easily ordered on Amazon.com.

This is all just another example of how imagination is fueling an entirely new industry and due to the excessive and efficient reach of Amazon.com they were able to connect me to suppliers around the world where I could get a very specific items from a forty-year old movie to my doorstep within two weeks.  And the quality wasn’t junky but meant to impress even under the scrutiny of the most ardent film geek.   In some cases my outfit is better than the movie original on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  Those costumes were meant for just a few months of filming, these for purchase were meant to last much longer and under the judgment of live audiences.  Needless to say, which I have before, we are seeing something new and hopeful from these modern movie enthusiasts which starts with a mythology in the movie theater and extends into real life—what Disney is doing down at their theme parks is tapping into the public need to play out their fantasies and is an expansion of imagination that is very specific to our species as human beings.  The need to personify a fantasy experience has deep psychological roots that go far beyond primal necessity.   I think the end result is a very positive one that is headed toward an unknown climax.  I know I love to see the imaginations of so many people at work to make something like all this possible—but it surprised even me at the extent of it all. And the entity most responsible for the success of this new industry was Amazon.com.  They were the middle ground players that connected need with supply and allowed both to get what they wanted at the best price and quality.  If they can do that with a simple costume from Star Wars, just think what they can do with real necessities.  We are living in a whole new world.

Rich Hoffman

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Hollywood Down 8% in 2017: Trading politics for profit to destroy an industry

This is far more important than most people think—the movie box office for July of 2017 was down 8% from the same period a year ago.  Additionally Disney has lost around 4 million subscribers to its Disney Channels over the past three years as kids turn to other forms of entertainment.  More and more homes are cutting their cable service as it’s just too expensive for what people get,  and theater owners are struggling to survive with Hollywood giving them very little to work with to justify the big investment that a movie ticket costs these days.  That same home theater market is keeping people home more rather than go to the theater to see movies that could otherwise just be seen on Netflix.  If you couple all that with the Donald Trump versus the media battle—which will hurt traditional media extensively, the entertainment industry is in big trouble—which I have been saying for a long time.  All the stocks are down for the theater owners—which I feel sorry for.  The distributors have let them down by pushing a product that was just too liberal for mainstream American audiences and now they’ve all been hung out to dry.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-hollywoods-franchise-crisis-worsens-july-fourth-1018493

http://www.tubefilter.com/2017/07/05/disney-channel-freeform-ratings-falling/

For about 20 years I bounced around with tentative meetings within Hollywood.  For me it was more than a treasure hunt, I really wanted to make movies and to contribute to the library of wonderful movies that I had grown up with.  The business end was something I didn’t have much patience for since most of the people running the industry were radically more liberal than I was.  So I’d get a project floating around out there but it would go cold.  The money guys were also liberal so the project proposals I suggested were either heavily scrutinized with extensive re-writes to soften them up, or they just weren’t getting off the ground.  In a few cases I was offered positions in the industry, but my wife didn’t want to move to California—and without living in such a way that you could network in that town, it was pretty much impossible to get any project off the ground.  I went to several film festivals, won a few screenwriting awards and ended up doing a few bull whip stunts for legitimate studios but the last time I flew back from Hollywood in 2008 I knew that the industry was in trouble from a business perspective.   They weren’t going to make it which made me sad, because I liked traditional Hollywood—I always liked Howard Hughes, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Albert Hitchcock, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  These new filmmakers in Hollywood were too political and I was from a flyover state so things just weren’t going to work out.  After that last trip I put my focus into other business opportunities and waited for the inevitable which is now upon us.

Movies cost too much to make, the labor unions which represent all the industry people has forced them all to think too collectively to stay in touch with the American people.  Reading with great interest how the Han Solo movie fell apart at Lucasfilm it’s obvious that the new generation is just too soft and manipulated by their director’s guilds—into liberal politics which the movie going audiences can’t stand.   Even though I warned of all this years ago, and have written extensively about it since, it still hurts to see an entire industry collapsing on itself.  The Hollywood product is now on life support with only a few big Disney releases carrying most of the industry.  Warner Bros. has done well with Wonder Woman, and Marvel had their usual hits with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.   Small films like Baby Driver did respectable business, but big films like Pirates of the Caribbean 5 were down a quarter from the previous installment worldwide and that isn’t good news.   Critics have been hard on these new movies as they have an extreme political slant to most reviews and once the Rotten Tomatoes scores hit online people are so turned off they just don’t go see these films and that cycle is worsening.

Hollywood is about more than just the movies themselves—it’s about an entire industry from print media like Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, to the television shows Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight.   Critics for the big newspapers have national audiences in some cases and they have abused their relationships and let that stardom go to their heads giving themselves the power to sink or swim a picture—so essentially they have cut off their own noses to spite their faces.  I remember a very specific day in Glendale, California where several day time television programs were set up on the same street to shoot exteriors and I was having lunch with some people who worked the trade publications who were full of themselves way too dangerously.  I tried to make them aware of the fragile eco system that was on full display and they had the kind of attitude that the gravy train was going to go on forever.  Well, within two years every one of those people was out of a job and their publications had folded.   They should have listened, but of course they didn’t.  Most of those big name trade publications won’t be around much longer because nobody really cares what they have to say. The media stars they talk about are today far more political than they used to be and they have aligned themselves against Trump who is set to be a very popular and successful president, and now there just aren’t enough fans of their material to carry them into the next decade.

There are going to be a lot of bankruptcies—and even the Disney Company will feel the squeeze.  While I continue to be very impressed with what Disney is doing at their parks and with the Star Wars movies as one giant mythology spanning many platforms—computer games, etc—they still rely too much on theater owners to distribute their core products and those theater owners need more than just Disney to stay afloat.   They need every weekend to have people wanting to go to the theaters to buy over-priced popcorn and soda to watch a movie they don’t want to wait for release on the home market where likely the televisions they have at home is far better than what is offered at the theater.  I will have to add that when my wife and I went to see The Book of Henry that the Regal Cinemas we went to had adjusted their prices down for popcorn and pop to a very reasonable level.  The theater owners out there are doing their jobs and adjusting to the marketplace, but Hollywood hasn’t.  They keep making the same crap and trying to repackage it instead of turning loose people with great ideas to constantly keep material fresh.  I know I wasn’t the only one trying to get new ideas to production companies—it was mainly a cultural problem.   Studio execs were too interested in getting laid at the multiple parties around town by telling chicks that they were for this liberal cause or that—so they were making decisions at the executive level in producing products that American audiences did not want to see.   Once they got their blow job they had already committed their studio to ten films for production the next year which nobody would want to see because of their overly liberalized political overtones.   Sure the chick who was giving blow jobs at the party liked the Matt Damon movie about fracking—but nobody in America wanted to see it and the budget was blown.

So the industry is toast—it won’t recover in its present form.  Of course there will be investment opportunities in new styles of media, but the Hollywood game is over.  The industry just hasn’t come to terms with it yet.  There are a few $1 billion dollar earners yet to be released in 2017 but it won’t be enough.  By the end of the year the gains will be so far down that they won’t even be worth discussing.   And life outside of Hollywood will go on.   All I can say to those people who were so haughty 10 years ago is that I sincerely tried to tell you this would happen, but you didn’t listen.  I wish you had.  So now it’s time to pay—and it will be painful.  But you people did it to yourselves.   America will be great again and Hollywood has removed itself from being a part of it—and that’s a damn shame.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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The Call to Adventure: A 52 Week Project which photographs authenticiy

It was strange recently getting yet another notification from the Ohio courts of Butler County that I’ve been selected for jury duty because my name ends up in the hat so often due to my voting patterns.  I noticed while filling out the form which included my wife and kids that none of them have what you might call—“traditional” jobs.  My wife is a happy housewife, my oldest daughter a professional photographer who is very highly sought after and my youngest is an illustrator.  As I write this she, (my youngest) is doing a commission piece on the Batman villain The Joker shown below.  But none of the ladies in my family have a “traditional” job where they go to work, punch in and sell away their day for cash.  I know that’s the typical way that we measure economic success, but I’ve always been a big supporter of that type of freedom—especially for women because they tend to invest more into children, households and the emotional nurturing of a family as a whole.  When people are free of that primary concern of having to sell away their time for money, it allows them to invest in less tangible aspects of family building, so it makes me proud to see that among the women closest to me, they are all on that type of path.  They don’t have a “boss” out there they must yield to, and that is something I think is very important to family development, because it makes them the authority figures of their own lives which is why that question is asked on a jury selection form.  Attorneys obviously want to know that the people in their pool are “normal” people miserable like everyone else—so the way I answered that question likely will knock me out of the selection process.

My photographer daughter has really impressed me; she is taking her business to a new level as seen in these included videos.  She’s doing something called the 52 Weeks Project where each week she is picking a subject to photograph then she shows how she comes up with the shots and how the editing process goes on arriving at the final product.  She’s a full-time mom, but on both of these efforts she was up at dawn before her little boy woke up wanting breakfast and conducted these pictures for her project squeezing in a lot of creativity into an already packed day.  She’s been busy with booked appearances for several weeks now and coming up shortly after this publication she has a photo shoot in Chicago.  So what you see here is a very developed photographer who is expecting herself to be one of the great ones.  What she does is out of pure passion which I liken back to having the ability to be free of having a “boss” in her life who governs her away from home while on a time clock. That freedom has allowed her to expand her personal life in ways that I think are quite extraordinary—and necessary to achieve the level of art that she is shooting for.

Even her subjects are unique in the scheme of the photographic community.  Her first entry into the 52 weeks project was “A Call to Adventure” which I thought she managed to squeeze a lot out of while working in a very limited area within Cincinnati.   For those who don’t understand why a “Call to Adventure” is important it’s a classic motif most appropriately defined by Joseph Campbell in the telling of mythologies.  Usually after the first act of a movie or the introductory phase of a novel the main character is faced with a jumping off point from the static patterns of their normal life and into the promise of adventure provoked by some dynamic force. For some people the “Call to Adventure” might be as simple as a stranger approaching you from the back of a cab at a stop light while you’re walking to work in New York and asks you to help them get to the airport.  You must then decide to help or not because if you do, the static patterns of your day will be disrupted and that could have unpleasant consequences.  Then for others it might be an opportunity to fly to Cambodia to do sex traffic rescue work in some steamy jungle nightmare, but while there you make a new archaeological discovery that changes the world perspective on our knowledge of history.  The “Call to Adventure” is often how you can dramatically enrich your life for the better with vast experience, but to do so you must step away from your static patterns and allow dynamic forces into your life.

For instance, a friend of mine who worked on the Trump campaign in 2016 called me on a very busy day last week and asked me if I could appear on CNN the next day.  I had scheduled a lot of events and I really didn’t have the time.  After all I had an oversea meeting planned at the very same moment I was supposed to be on with Anderson Cooper.  So did I answer the call and go on CNN which was likely just going to do a hit piece.  As it turned out the CNN people were very gracious and were not the kind of gotcha people who Rush Limbaugh surmised when he talked about the event on his show.  I did the CNN segment along with some other peers and it got people talking and was fun to do.  I still managed to get all my work done—although it was different from my usual day and I could point to many times in my life where answering the “Call to Adventure” directly led to some very unusual experiences which ultimately enhanced my life.

I have learned over time to never get too rigid about things.  The “Call of Adventure” is something I consider so important that I often go out of my way to find it with a very laissez-faire approach to living and personal management.  I may start the day with all kinds of planned activities but by the end of it, I end up doing things I never thought I would at the start and that comes from saying yes to the “Call of Adventure.”  So it made me particularly proud to see my photographer daughter out there capturing not only dramatic photos but articulating that difficult concept artistically.  She, standing at the entrance of a forest goes back to some of the great Arthurian legends of the Middle Ages where the knights would all enter the forest of their various adventures at different points basically to establish that no two paths of adventure were the same for other people.  People must pick their own paths in life to be living truly authentic lives so here was my kid showing this rather difficult concept to explain with a simple photograph.  But as you can see from the editing process, it’s not so simple.IMG_4644

This brings me back to the importance of my girls not being encumbered with a traditional job—especially while raising their children.  If they put their children in daycare, there would be many fewer opportunities for the kids to experience the wonder of a life lived authentically, because the static schedules of daily living prohibit it—and true intellectual learning is often crippled in children as a result.  But for a mother who is there ready to answer that “Call to Adventure” at the slightest provocation a simple trip to the grocery store on a sunny summer in July might lead to a lifetime of discoveries that stay with young people forever because if the schedule of acquiring food is relaxed there may be opportunities for adventure that come up along the way—someone might need help changing a flat tire or a snake may be caught under a car in the grocery store parking lot and need help getting over to the cool grass before somebody runs it over.  You just never know—but there is tremendous value in following the “Call to Adventure” and it makes me feel very good to see that my daughter has matured to a point where she can understand it well enough to photograph.  That takes talent!

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  http://www.secondcalldefense.org/?affiliate=20707  Use my name to get added benefits.

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‘Zorro’s Fighting Legion’: Celebrating Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger’ with a tribute to Yakima Canutt

Many industry professionals have cautioned me that due to my Tea Party like beliefs, I will have limited opportunities to work in film, either in front of the camera as a whip consultant, as I have done a time or two, or behind the camera as a writer.  My specific attitude toward collective oriented labor unions is the nail in the coffin as today’s Hollywood for the most part has become an arm of the federal government, and the policies of statism advocated there.  But there are rare exceptions, and of late Warner Brothers with Legendary Pictures have produced fantastic films like Man of Steel and Dark Knight Rises, while Disney Studios is putting out pictures like Iron Man, the Avengers and now the upcoming The Lone Ranger.  It is the Lone Ranger that has me extremely excited because that character as I have mentioned before goes deep into my past.  I love the old versions of the Lone Ranger, the old Saturday morning serials that were recaptured by George Lucas when he made Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  I love the old serials so much that I have seen many of them, even though they are way before my time.  While they lack the polish and sophistication of modern films, they are filled with heart and soul.  Many of the film techniques used today in all the popular blockbusters were developed during the period of the popular Republic serials.  And of those serials there was none I love more than the 1939 series called Zorro’s Fighting Legion.

For readers of my novel The Symposium of Justice, I pay tribute to that 12 chapter serial in three different ways.  The first is that the character conflict of Fletcher Finnegan is much like the fight that Don Diego had with Don Del Oro in Zorro’s Fighting Legion.  I even went to the trouble of naming the antics of my protagonist in the novel Cliffhanger’s Fighting Legion.  The third is that the restaurant that Fletcher Finnegan worked at as a grill cook so that he could learn the movements of the towns politics behind the scenes was named Republics, after of course the company that produced Zorro’s Fighting Legion.  It was Zorro’s Fighting Legion that inspired me to take up the bullwhip to the extent that I have, and make it part of my life, almost as important to me as an arm or a leg on my body.  There is a lot of whip work in Zorro’s Fighting Legion and I wanted to learn every single trick, which I did.  I came to learn about Zorro’s Fighting Legion because I learned at age 12 while watching a documentary about the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark that the great stunt performed by Terry Lenard during the famous “Desert Chase” scene was first done by the great stuntman Yakima Canutt who I feel virtually built Hollywood on his back.  Without the great work of stuntmen like Yakima Canutt and Republic Pictures there would never have been a modern-day Star Wars, an Indiana Jones, or even movie versions of Man of Steel, Iron Man, or Dark Knight Rises.

Hollywood was not always liberal.  Communism slowly seeped into the Hollywood movie machines in the late 1930s during The Red Decade, but studios resisted.  Hollywood Black Friday is the name given, in the history of organized labor in the United States, to October 5, 1945. On that date, a six-month strike by the set decorators represented by the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) boiled over into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers‘ studios in Burbank, California. The strikes helped the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 and led to the eventual break up of the CSU and reorganization of the then rival International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) leadership. The Conference of Studio Unions was, at the time, an International union belonging to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and represented the Carpenters, Painters, Cartoonists and several other crafts working for the Studios in Hollywood.

Seventy-seven set decorators broke away from IATSE to form the Society of Motion Picture Interior Decorators (SMPID) and negotiated an independent contract with the producers in 1937. The SMPID joined the CSU in 1943 and the CSU represented the SMPID in their contract negotiations. After the producers stalled the negotiations for nine months, IATSE questioned CSU jurisdiction over the Set Decorators which led to a further five-month delay as the CSU and IATSE fought over jurisdiction. When the Producers refused to acknowledge an independent arbitrator appointed by the War Labor Board‘s assessment that the CSU had jurisdiction over the Set Decorators in February 1945, it set the stage for the strike

By October, money and patience were running low as some 300 strikers gathered at Warner Brothers’ main gate on October 5, 1945. Temperatures were abnormally warm for the already hot LA autumn. When non-strikers attempted to report for work at 6:00 in the morning, the barricades went up and tensions flared. As replacement workers attempted to drive through the crowd, their cars were stopped and overturned.  Hollywood would never again be the same as a gradual erosion of value began to leave Hollywood projects as the labor unions were backed by communist sympathizers with eyes favoring the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Reinforcements arrived on both sides as the picket increased to some 1,000 people and Glendale and Los Angeles Police came to aid the Burbank Police and Warner Security attempting to maintain the peace. When more replacement workers attempted to break through to the gate, a general melee ensued as strikers mobbed them and strikebreakers responded by attacking the strikers with chains, hammers, pipes, tear gas, and night sticks. Warner security rained more tear gas down from the roofs of the buildings adjoining the entrance. Warner firefighters sprayed the strikers with fire hoses. By the end of the day, some 300 police and deputy sheriffs had been called to the scene and over 40 injuries were reported.

The picketers returned the following Monday with an injunction barring the police from interfering with the strike while Warner retaliated with its own injunction limiting the number of pickets at the gate. Although the violence would continue through the week, national exposure forced the parties back to the bargaining table and resulted in an end to the strike one month later but the CSU victory was a Pyrrhic one, where contentions over wording dictated by an AFL arbitration team would lead to further questioning as to CSU and IATSE jurisdiction on the set.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Black_Friday

 

Zorro’s Fighting Legion was created during this turbulent period but was still free of unionized influence.  That makes it much more special to me for the sheer fact that the foundations of American story telling were built upon these Republic serials.  It was film projects like this one that helped slow the erosion of communism in America with the western that so proudly articulated American values of justice, and Zorro’s Fighting Legion is certainly that type of film collection.  I see the Republic serials as Hollywood’s response to the growing tension forming ahead of the Cold War between the communism of the Soviet Union and the capitalism of America.  The struggle of this philosophical debate is all over the story of Zorro’s Fighting Legion, and has resonated with me for decades.  One of the greatest days in my life was when the emergence of DVD technology allowed me to purchase the entire series to own for myself to watch over and over again, which has only been possible in recent years.  But even better than that, Zorro’s Fighting Legion is now available on YouTube, so to share this unique treasure with my readers here, and to share my vision of what Hollywood is all about in celebration of the upcoming Lone Ranger by Disney, please do enjoy all twelve episodes shown below.  They are kind of slow and boring compared to today’s entertainment, but try to watch them the way I do, for their purity of purpose, simplicity in design, and sheer bold stunt work by the great Yakima Canutt.  Mixed through the rest of the article between the episodes is information that is needed to compliment the films.

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Zorro’s Fighting Legion is a 1939 Republic Pictures film serial consisting of twelve chapters. It features Reed Hadley as Zorro. The plot revolves around his alter-ego Don Diego’s fight against the evil Don Del Oro.

A trademark of this serial is the sudden demise of at least one native informant in each episode. The direction was identical for each informant’s death, creating a source of unintentional humor: each informant, upon uttering the phrase, “Don Del Oro is…”, is shot by a golden arrow and dies before being able to name the villain’s alter ego. The serial is also unusual in featuring a real historical personage, Mexican President Benito Juárez, as a minor character.

The mysterious Don Del Oro (“Lord of Gold”), an idol of the Yaqui Indians, has emerged and attacks the gold trade of the Republic of Mexico, planning to take over the land and become Emperor. A man named Francisco is put in charge of a fighting legion to combat the Yaqui tribe and protect the gold, but he is attacked by men working for Don Del Oro. Zorro comes to his rescue, but it is too late for him. Francisco’s partner recognizes Zorro as the hidalgo Don Diego Vega. Francisco asks Diego, as Zorro, to take over the fighting legion and defeat Don Del Oro.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorro’s_Fighting_Legion

Republic Pictures was an American independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1935 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action.

The studio was also responsible for financing and distributing one Shakespeare film, Orson Welles‘ Macbeth (1948), and several of the films of John Ford during the 1940s and early 1950s. It was also notable for developing the careers of John WayneGene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Yakima Canutt (November 29, 1895 – May 24, 1986), also known as Yak Canutt, was an American rodeo rideractorstuntman and action director.

Born Enos Edward Canutt in the Snake River Hills, near Colfax, Washington; he was one of five children of John Lemuel Canutt, a rancher, and Nettie Ellen Stevens. He grew up in eastern Washington on a ranch near Penawawa Creek, founded by his grandfather and operated by his father, who also served a term in the state legislature. His formal education was limited to elementary school in Green Lake, Washington, then a suburb of Seattle. He gained the education for his life’s work on the family ranch, where he learned to hunt, trap, shoot, and ride.[1]

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He broke a wild bronco when 11. As a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) sixteen-year-old he started bronc riding at the Whitman County Fair in Colfax in 1912 and at 17 he won the title of World’s Best Bronco Buster. Canutt started rodeo riding professionally and gained a reputation as a bronc rider, bulldogger and all-around cowboy. It was at the 1914 Pendleton Round-UpPendleton, Oregon he got his nickname “Yakima” when a newspaper caption misidentified him.[2] “Yakima Canutt may be the most famous person NOT from Yakima, Washington” says Elizabeth Gibson, author of Yakima, Washington.[3] Winning second place at the 1915 Pendleton Round-Up brought attention from show promoters, who invited him to compete around the country.[2]

“I started in major rodeos in 1914, and went through to 1923. There was quite a crop of us traveling together, and we would have special railroad cars and cars for the horses. We’d play anywhere from three, six, eight ten-day shows. Bronc riding and bulldogging were my specialties, but I did some roping,” said Canutt.[4]

During the 1916 season, he became interested in divorcee Kitty Wilks, who had won the Lady’s Bronc-Riding Championship a couple of times. They married on July 20, 1917 while at a show in Kalispell, Montana; he was 21 and she 23. The couple divorced about 1922.[2] While bulldogging in Idaho, Canutt’s mouth and upper lip were torn by a bull’s horn; but after stitches, Canutt returned to the competition. It wasn’t until a year later that a plastic surgeon could correct the injury.[2]

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World’s champion

Canutt won his first world championship at the Olympics of the West in 1917 and won more championships in the next few years. In between rodeos he broke horses for the French government in World War I.[5] In 1918, he went to Spokane to enlist in the Navy and was stationed in Bremerton. In the fall he was given a 30-day furlough to defend his rodeo title. Having enlisted for the war, he was discharged in spring 1919. At the 1919 Calgary Stampede he competed in the bucking event and met Pete Knight.[2]

He traveled to Los Angeles for a rodeo, and decided to winter in Hollywood, where he met screen personalities.[4] It was here that Tom Mix, who had also started in rodeos, invited him to be in two of his pictures.[2] Mix added to his flashy wardrobe by borrowing two of Canutt’s two-tone shirts and having his tailor make 40 copies.[4] Canutt got his first taste of stunting with a fight scene on a serial called Lightning Bryce [6]; he didn’t stay, and left Hollywood to play the 1920 rodeo circuit.

The Fort Worth rodeo was nicknamed “Yak’s show” after he won the saddle-bronc competition three years in 1921, 1922 and 1923. He had won the saddle-bronc competition in Pendleton in 1917, 1919, and 1923 and came second in 1915, and 1929. Canutt won the steer bulldogging in 1920, and 1921 and won the All-Around Police Gazette belt in 1917, 1919, 1920 and 1923.[2] While in Hollywood in 1923 for an awards ceremony, he was offered eight western action pictures for producer Ben Wilson at Burwillow Studios; the first was to be Riding Mad.

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Actor

Canutt had been perfecting tricks such as the Crupper Mount, a leap-frog over the horse’s rump into the saddle. Douglas Fairbanks used some in his film The Gaucho. Fairbanks and Canutt became friends and competed regularly at Fairbanks’ gym. Canutt took small parts in pictures of others to get experience.[2] It was in Branded a Bandit (1924) that his nose was broken in a 12-foot fall from a cliff. The picture was delayed several weeks, and when it resumed Canutt’s close shots were from the side. A plastic surgeon reset the nose, which healed, inspiring Canutt to remark that he thought it looked better.[2]

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Stuntman

When his contract with Wilson expired in 1927, Canutt was making appearances at rodeos across the country. By 1928 the talkies were coming out and though he had been in 48 silent pictures, Canutt knew his career was in trouble.[5] His voice had been damaged from flu in the Navy. He started taking on bit parts and stunts, and realized more could be done with action in pictures.[2]

In 1930 between pictures and rodeoing, Canutt met Minnie Audrea Yeager Rice at a party at her parents’ home. She was 12 years his junior. They kept company during the next year while he picked up work on the serials for Mascot Pictures Corporation. They married on November 12, 1931.[2]

When rodeo riders invaded Hollywood, they brought a battery of rodeo techniques that Canutt would expand and improve, including horse falls and wagon wrecks, along with the harnesses and cable rigs to make the stunts foolproof and safe.[4] Among the new safety devices was the ‘L’ stirrup, which allowed a man to fall off a horse without getting hung in the stirrup. Canutt also developed cabling and equipment to cause spectacular wagon crashes, while releasing the team, all on the same spot every time.[4] Safety methods such as these saved film-makers time and money and prevented accidents and injury to performers. One of Yakima’s inventions was the ‘Running W’ stunt, bringing down a horse at the gallop by attaching a wire, anchored to the ground, to its fetlocks and launching the rider forwards spectacularly. This either killed the horse, or rendered it badly shaken and unusable for the rest of the day.[4] The ‘Running W’ is now banned and has been replaced with the falling-horse technique. It is believed that the last time it was used was on the 1983 Iraqi film al-Mas’ Ala Al-Kubra when the British actor and friend of Yak Marc Sinden and stuntman Ken Buckle (who had been trained by Yak) performed the stunt three times during a cavalry charge sequence.[7][8]

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It was while working on Mascot serials that Canutt practiced and perfected his most famous stunts, including the drop from a stagecoach that he would employ in John Ford‘s 1939Stagecoach. He first did it in Riders of the Dawn in 1937 while doubling for Jack Randall.[2] In his 1981 film Raiders of the Lost ArkSteven Speilberg paid homage to Canutt, recreating the stunt when a stuntman, Terry Leonard, (doubling for Harrison Ford) ‘dropped’ from the front of a German Army transport truck, was dragged underneath (along a prepared trench) and then climbed up the back and round to the front again.[9]

John Wayne

While at Mascot, Canutt met John Wayne while doubling for him in a motorcycle stunt for The Shadow of the Eagle in 1932. Wayne admired Canutt’s agility and fearlessness, and Canutt respected Wayne’s willingness to learn and attempt his own stunts.[10] Canutt taught Wayne how to fall off a horse.[11]

“The two worked together to create a technique that made on-screen fight scenes more realistic. Wayne and Canutt found if they stood at a certain angle in front of the camera, they could throw a punch at an actor’s face and make it look as if actual contact had been made.”[10]

Canutt and Wayne pioneered stunt and screen fighting techniques still in use. Much of Wayne’s on-screen persona was from Canutt. The characterizations associated with Wayne – the drawling, hesitant speech and the hip-rolling walk – were pure Canutt.[12] Said Wayne, “I spent weeks studying the way Yakima Canutt walked and talked. He was a real cowhand.”[13]

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In 1932, Canutt’s first son Edward Clay was born and nicknamed ‘Tap’, short for Tapadero, a Spanish word for a stirrup covering. It was in 1932 that Canutt broke his shoulder in four places while trying to transfer from horse to wagon team.[2] Though work was scarce, he got by combining stunting and rodeo work.

In 1934, Herbert J. Yates of Consolidated Film Industries combined MonogramMascot, Liberty, Majestic, Chesterfield, and Invincible Pictures to form Republic Pictures, and Canutt became Republic’s top stuntman. He handled all the action on many pictures, including Gene Autry films; and several series and serials, such as The Lone Ranger andZorro. For Zorro Rides Again, Canutt did almost all the scenes in which Zorro wore a mask, and he was on the screen as much as the star John Carroll.[14] When the action was indicated in a Republic script, it said “see Yakima Canutt for action sequences.”[4]

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William Witney, one of Republic’s film directors, said:

“There will probably never be another stuntman who can compare to Yakima Canutt. He had been a world champion cowboy several times and where horses were concerned he could do it all. He invented all the gadgets that made stunt work easier. One of his clever devices was a step that attached to the saddle so that he had leverage to transfer to another moving object, like a wagon or a train. Another was the “shotgun,” a spring-loaded device used to separate the tongue of a running wagon from the horses, thus cutting the horses loose. It also included a shock cord attached to the wagon bed, which caused wheels to cramp and turn the wagon over on the precise spot that was most advantageous for the camera.”[15]

In the 1936 film San Francisco Canutt replaced Clark Gable in a scene in which a wall was to fall on the star. Canutt said: “We had a heavy table situated so that I could dive under it at the last moment. Just as the wall started down, a girl in the scene became hysterical and panicked. I grabbed her, leaped for the table, but didn’t quite make it.” The girl was unhurt but he broke six ribs.[5]

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Ramrod

Canutt tried to get into directing; he was growing older and knew his stunting days were numbered. Harry Joe, Canutt’s second son, was born in January 1937. Joe and Tap would become important stuntmen, working with their father.

In 1938, Republic Pictures started expanding into bigger pictures and budgets. Canutt’s mentor and action director for the 1925 Ben-HurBreezy Eason was hired as second unit director, and Canutt to coordinate and ramrod the stunts. For Canutt this meant hiring stuntmen and doing some stunts himself, but laying out the action for the director and writing additional stunts.[4]

“In the five years between 1925 and 1930, fifty-five people were killed making movies, and more than ten thousand injured. By the late 1930s, the maverick stuntman willing to do anything for a buck was disappearing. Now under scrutiny, experienced stunt men began to separate themselves from amateurs by building special equipment, rehearsing stunts, and developing new techniques.” – fromFalling: How Our Greatest Fear Became Our Greatest Thrill by Garrett Soden.[16]

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John Ford hired Canutt on John Wayne‘s recommendation for Stagecoach, where Canutt supervised the river-crossing scene as well as the Indian chase scene, did the stagecoach drop, and doubled for Wayne in the coach stunts. For safety during the stagecoach drop stunt, Canutt devised modified yokes and tongues, to give extra handholds and extra room between the teams.[4] Ford told him that whenever Ford made an action picture and Canutt wasn’t working elsewhere, he was on Ford’s payroll.[2] Also in 1939, Canutt doubled Clark Gable in the burning of Atlanta in Gone With the Wind; he also appeared as a renegade accosting Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) as she crosses a bridge in a carriage driving through a shantytown.

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Second Unit Director

In 1940, Canutt sustained serious internal injuries when a horse fell on him while doubling for Clark Gable in Boom Town (1940). Though in discomfort for months after an operation to repair his bifurcated intestines, he continued to work.[2] Republic’s Sol Siegel offered him the chance to direct the action sequences of Dark Command, starring Wayne and directed by Raoul Walsh. On Dark Command, Canutt fashioned an elaborate cable system to yank back the plummeting coach before it fell on the stuntman and horses; he also created a breakaway harness from which they were released before hitting the water.[17]

It was in 1943 while doing a low-budget Roy Rogers called Idaho that Canutt broke both his legs at the ankles in a fall off a wagon.[2] He recovered to write the stunts and supervise the action for another Wayne film In Old Oklahoma. In the next decade Canutt became one of the best second unit and action directors. MGM brought Canutt to England in 1952 to direct the action and jousting sequences in Ivanhoe with Robert Taylor. This would set a precedent by filming action abroad instead of on the studio lot, and Canutt introduced many British stuntmen to Hollywood-style stunt training.[2] Ivanhoe was followed by Knights of the Round Table, again with director Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor. Canutt was again brought in for lavish action scenes in King Richard and the Crusaders.[18]

Canutt directed the close-action scenes for Stanley Kubrick‘s Spartacus, spending five days directing retakes that included the slave army rolling its flaming logs into the Romans, and other fight scenes featuring Kirk DouglasTony Curtis and John Ireland.[19]

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Ben Hur

For Ben-Hur, Canutt staged the chariot race with nine teams of four horses. He trained Charlton Heston, (Judah Ben-Hur) and Stephen Boyd, (Messala) to do their own charioteering. He and his crew spent five months on the race sequence.[20] In contrast to the 1925 film, not one horse was hurt, and no humans were seriously injured; though Joe Canutt, while doubling for Charlton Heston, did cut his chin because he did not follow his father’s advice to hook himself to the chariot when Judah Ben-Hur’s chariot bounced over the wreck of another chariot.[21]

Walt Disney brought Canutt in to do Second Unit for Westward Ho, the Wagons! in 1956; the first live action Western Disney feature film followed by Old Yeller the next year, and culminating in 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson which involved transporting many exotic animals to a remote island in the West Indies.

Anthony Mann specifically requested Canutt for Second Unit for his 1961 El Cid, where Canutt directed sons Joe and Tap doubling forCharlton Heston and Christopher Rhodes in a stunning tournament joust. “Canutt was surely the most active stager of tournaments since the Middle Ages” – from Swordsmen of the Screen.[18] He was determined to make the combat scenes in El Cid the best that had ever been filmed.[21] Mann again requested him for 1964’s The Fall of the Roman Empire. Over the next ten years, Canutt would continue to work, bringing his talents to Cat BallouKhartoumWhere Eagles Dare and 1970’s A Man Called Horse.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Yakima Canutt has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street. In 1967, he was given an Honorary Academy Award for achievements as a stunt man and for developing safety devices to protect stunt men everywhere. He was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Hall of Fame).

1985 – Yakima appeared as himself in “Yak’s Best Ride” directed by John Crawford. Produced by Clyde Lucas and Ed Penny

Yakima Canutt died of natural causes at the age of 90 in North Hollywood, California.[22]

He is buried at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakima_Canutt

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Now you might understand why dear reader that I feel the way I do.  The kind of Hollywood, and adversely the kind of America I want is the one that made movies like Zorro’s Fighting Legion which were populated by men like Yakima Canutt.  My admiration for George Lucas is that he kept this type of America alive for the world by paying direct tribute to the old Republic serials, particularly Zorro’s Fighting Legion with his creation of Indiana Jones.  Like Republic Studios, George Lucas’ Lucasfilm made movies with the same level of independence which fashioned the Republic serials to be so important in American storytelling.  Raiders of the Lost Ark, not to take anything away from the visionary story of placing a globetrotting archeologist in a high adventure setting which has advanced science in so many wonderful ways, borrowed heavily from the old Republic serials and because it did, made me aware of their existence across time and space.   And now you too dear reader have seen one, the best one in my opinion.  One of the big fears that many current day Star Wars fans has is that Disney will ruin the Saturday morning serial feel to the films that mean more to people than even modern religions can duplicate.  The reason is that the stories have values that are not provided in modern society, and movie fans are hungry for films with value.  But Disney, even though it is a large company has not forgotten where it came from.  It knows what Uncle Walt told them from beyond the grave and Star Wars is in good hands.  The evidence is in The Lone Ranger which Disney is producing to re-invent the western the way they re-invented the pirate stories.  But it cannot be forgotten that what came first, was the great Republic serials like Zorro’s Fighting Legion where truth, justice, and the American way were plot points of value not avoided by a growing consensus toward world-wide communist domination.

The Don Del Oro of our time is all those statist lovers who would destroy all who attempt to stand for goodness.  They reside among us in reality with masks hiding their true intentions from behind the desks of union leadership, political office, even movie studio heads.  But not everyone is playing by the rules, and like Don Diego from Zorro’s Fighting Legion there are film producers like George Lucas who kept the old serials alive for a new generation, and Jerry Bruckheimer who is making the modern version of The Lone Ranger possible.  But more importantly, it is the work of men like Yakima Canutt, and Terry Lenard who gave wings to the ideas of freedom, which motion pictures have traditionally stood for, and still do in isolated cases like Disney’s The Lone Ranger, and Warner Brother’s Man of Steel.

It is worth taking a day or two to watch all these clips.  So make up some snacks in the kitchen and take some time to enjoy the foundations of American film and the heroic ideals that accompany them.

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes with the Crack of a Whip!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

The Lone Ranger Bullwhip: By Joseph Strain

I mentioned in a recent article that Joe Strain would soon announce he was going to provide to the public an official Lone Ranger bullwhip.  CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW.  Well here it is!

The Lone Ranger Bullwhip

 

Joseph Strain supplied 3 whips for the 2013 production of The Lone Ranger, one black 10 foot, one black 12 foot and one brandy 12 foot.

 

The whip pictured below is the black 10 foot prototype. The whips were all made from kangaroo, had 10 inch handles, were a finely cut 12 plait with 2 plaited kangaroo bellies. The 32″ falls were alum tanned burgundy latigo and the poppers were black nylon. The whips also had a narrower 4 plait wrist loop measuring 7 inches long. Lone%20Rnager%2010'%20Bullwhip%202

 

 

For a limited time, you can order one of these whips exactly as made for the movie by Joseph Strain. Production will take from 4 to 6 weeks from the time of order.

 

If you love the Lone Ranger, this is a must have item.  You can order one at the link below!  

 

http://www.northernwhipco.com/Lone_Ranger_Bullwhip.htm

Rich Hoffman

“Justice Comes With The Crack of a Whip’!”Bullwhip, Red and Black 24 Plait 2-tone

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

‘Man of Steel’ Success: Get ready for The ‘Justice League’!

It looks like there will be a Man of Steel part two film after all with a Justice League film coming shortly thereafter.  As reported by Forbes at the link below, Man of Steel has made over $125 million during its opening weekend, which was the required amount to get the ball rolling for the DC Comics series of films that have been much talked about.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2013/06/16/weekend-box-office-man-of-steel-soars-to-125-million-debut/

That is very good news……………….


To read my review of Man of Steel, click here.

Of a particular interest is the speculation that the Forbes article makes about the next Superman villain, Lex Luther:

The big question is of course which side of the critical divide audiences end up on, since the film doesn’t just need to make money but establish excitement for Man Of Steel 2 coming summer 2015 (starring… uh… Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lex Luthor?) and the eventual Justice League film coming summer… 2018?  But for the moment, Man Of Steel has reaffirmed DC Comics as a viable brand for big-scale tent poles just as Marvel did with Iron Man five years ago.  So far, so good…

Chiwetel Ejiofor would be a good pick.  For those who saw Man of Steel, did you notice the LexCorp vans being destroyed during the big climax?

Plus, I was looking at the Superman comic #703 yesterday………the one that takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio………………and took note that the story line between Batman and Superman was a compelling one.  I would expect to see a film between those two characters just ahead of Justice League.

Rich Hoffman

“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Star Wars Celebration Europe: Get ready to feel the Force!

The Emperor is coming to the biggest Star Wars party in Europe, July 26-28, 2013 in Essen, Germany.

 

Ian McDiarmid, the actor who unforgettably played the evil galactic mastermind and the ultimate villain of the Star Wars Saga, will make a rare convention appearance at Star Wars Celebration Europe, appearing on-stage and signing autographs.

This summer’s event will mark the first Celebration in Europe at which the highly sought-after actor will appear to sign autographs and chat on the Celebration Stage, offering attendees a rare opportunity to hear about the making of Star Wars from his perspective.

In 1983, McDiarmid embodied the full depth of the dark side as the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, his face hidden under intensive makeup and his eyes concealed behind yellow contact lenses. When his true face was revealed as the apparently kind and helpful Senator Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999), he projected a different kind of evil – a subtle manipulator of galactic events, a villain hidden in plain sight. As the prequels progressed, so too did Palpatine’s plans until finally, in Revenge of the Sith (2005), McDiarmid got to play evil at its fullest, and revealed the true power of Darth Sidious.

Star Wars Celebrations bring fans of all ages together, from all points of the globe, to celebrate the pop-culture phenomenon that is Star Wars. From its young fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars to die-hards fueled by the nostalgia for the original Star Wars trilogy; curious, casual followers; gamers, readers, costumers or collectors — there’s something for everyone at Celebration.

Tickets available now at http://www.starwarscelebration.eu/

Rich Hoffman

“If they attack first………..blast em’!”

www.tailofthedragonbook.com

Meet Harmon Kaslow: Producer of ‘Atlas Shrugged Part II’–a preview of the review.

Harmon Kaslow is one of the most passionate movie producers I have ever worked around. That was the only conclusion I could make after we parted ways in front of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati where he finally went back to his room after a very long day. Kaslow was at the Duke Energy Center promoting Atlas Shrugged Part II speaking with Glenn Beck, Matt Kibbe and a long list of freedom fighters who spoke during FreePac to a very large crowd that packed the floor with thousands upon thousands of people hungry to see what they could do to make The United States a better country to live in. In the video below Kaslow personally greeted hundreds of attendees after his dramatic presentation on stage, as I along with a team of helpers worked the Atlas Shrugged booth passing out over 5000 t-shirts announcing the release date of Atlas Shrugged Part II.

I was there to help promote the next movie edition of Atlas Shrugged in a similar fashion that I did with Part I only there were not huge forums like FreePac two years ago when that first real film translation of Ayn Rand’s epic novel was released to theaters. CLICK HERE FOR A REVIEW. Things were harder then; John Aglialoro had the rights to the famous Ayn Rand masterpiece that happened to be the most influential novel in America and he wanted to make a film version of the massive book dividing it into three parts, just as they were presented by Ayn Rand. The material is extraordinarily difficult to put into a film version because much of the content is cerebral, so the difficulty in translating such heady material into a visual format proved elusive for the mainstream Hollywood community. The closest thing I have seen to Atlas Shrugged in a feature film is the recent Batman films by Christopher Nolan. But unlike Bruce Wayne from the Nolan trilogy, Atlas Shrugged does not have the benefit a superhuman powers, or cleaver gadgets to fight crime in the city of Gotham. The heroes of Atlas Shrugged are human beings who acknowledge their ability to be unique producers who support the entire world with their creative minds. The primary protagonist that was listed on the t-shirts we were handing out is John Galt, a man of such extraordinary brilliance that he is able to earn the respect of the worlds primary movers to go on strike against the looters of government who pretend to be at the center of everything—but are clearly lacking.

Atlas Shrugged does not have any literary problems. It is a standard unto itself. It may very well be the perfect novel. It is every bit as grand as any novel by Victor Hugo and is as stunning from a literary character development stand point as any novel ever written by any writer. But the deep social divide that comes out when the book or film is mentioned is that the villains of Atlas Shrugged are a bit too real. Members of modern governments and the general media recognize quickly that they cannot relate with John Galt, or Dagney Taggart, Henry Rearden, Hugh Akston, Francisco d’ Anconia, or my favorite character out of all of them Ragnar Danneskjöld—the pirate! Ragnar was a philosopher who became a privateer in the book. Alone he defied the might of the United States Navy and of all the People’s Navies of the world to be, as he famously said, “the friend of the friendless.” Atlas Shrugged does not dress it’s villains up in costumes like Darth Vader in Star Wars, or the Joker in Batman to allow the reader or movie viewer the courtesy of psychological distance. The villains are a too real for many guilty of similar real life acts to fathom, so they of course reject the material of Ayn Rand. Much of the negative criticism that comes from critics, beltway politicians and social looters emerges in defense of their own tendencies to be parasites upon society. These elements make Atlas Shrugged a divisive story that does not spare punches. Written over 50 years ago it features a president that is just like the modern version of Barack Obama. Atlas Shrugged came well before Barack Obama was even born, so the film can never be said to be taking shots at his presidency, or the kind of government he supports. But never-the-less, the policies of the Obama White House are remarkably similar to the policies of the villains in Atlas Shrugged, and the media who supports the President for all the wrong reasons.

All day long at FreePac as I personally handed out thousands of t-shirts people stood slack-jawed at the concept that we were giving them away for free. Many people wanted to give me money for them seeking to trade value for value in their minds with actual currency. If I wanted to I could have pocketed several thousand dollars because people wanted to give me twenty-dollar bills per shirt but I told each of them—“keep your money today, but spend it on an extra ticket for the movie, because the media who is currently functioning does not want you to see this movie. Barack Obama does not want you to see this movie. Mayor Bloomburg in New York does not want you to see this movie. No Democrat, many Republicans, and no head of any network want you to see this movie because they know they are the villains in it, and they don’t want that reality for themselves and they don’t want you to see them in the context presented in Atlas Shrugged, which is terribly realistic. They wish to continue to believe they are saving the world, when it is actually they who are destroying it. So take your twenty dollars and spend it at the box office on Atlas Shrugged Part II because it will need your support, because it won’t get it from the press.” I can think of seven times during my work in the Atlas Shrugged booth where tears streamed down the faces of people who gathered the impact of what I told them and they could only respond through broken gasps—“thank you.”

I warned everyone who took a t-shirt that the reviews for Atlas Shrugged Part II would not be favorable even though nobody has yet seen the movie. The reason for this trend was also covered by Ayn Rand not in Atlas Shrugged but by the juggernaut of novel which happens to be my favorite called The Fountainhead published in 1943. In that book it explains how members of the media align themselves with the politics of the day to help “shape” culture. I recently wrote an article about how this was attempted against the newest Batman film once the media realized that the Nolan brothers had written a story about anti-collectivism and not a troubling thriller featured around Heath Ledger’s Joker character. Dark Knight Rises in spite of the tragedy in Colorado upon its opening had gone on to do over $1 billion dollars in world-wide business so it has the support of the public in spite of how the press turned on it in midstream. The New Yorker led the way coming out against the film in an attempt to steer business away from the anti-collectivist message of Dark Knight Rises in the exact same way that characters from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead attempted to do the same in that fictional tale. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. The same thing will without question happen to Atlas Shrugged Part II. I told the people I handed shirts to that we needed them to wear the shirts around to their grocery stores, to their shopping complexes, to work whenever possible, to act as a walking billboard because the media machine will not do the film justice. By taking a t-shirt and wearing it proudly they could help make Atlas Shrugged Part II a success without the help of any media, any politician, or mainstream acceptance. I know very well the material of Atlas Shrugged and can report that it is much more powerful than Dark Knight Rises on a cerebral level, which is not intended to take anything away from that fantastic movie. But if Atlas Shrugged II could afford the media backing that Dark Knight Rises had where Warner Brothers put the film on over 3000 screens domestically and on additional screens all over the world, Atlas Shrugged Part II would do similar business. The problem is there is not a major studio behind Atlas Shrugged. It’s John Aglialoro, a few other financial backers, and Harmon Kaslow. To make Atlas Shrugged Part II it required a great deal of personal passion on the scale of the heroes in the novel Atlas Shrugged knowing every part of the process would be an uphill battle. For people like John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow making this film is equivalent to the scene that takes place in the actual movie of Part II when Henry Reardon is taken to court by the government for being “too good.” Those types of things do happen in real life and they happen often. So it is a miracle that this film actually got made.

Once Harmon finished his speech talking about Atlas Shrugged II and Glenn Beck finished up his speech, Kaslow came back out to the booth and helped us pass out the rest of the shirts as seen in the video above. After a long hard day he was still full of energy and boundless enthusiasm for his movie. He and I talked about the questions people had been asking me all day, primarily why the cast from the original film was not in this update. Many people discovered Ayn Rand for the first time though Part One which is available right now on Netflix, so naturally they are in love with the characters they came to know in that first installment. As Harmon explained, they had the opportunity to beef up their production value so they had to take the leap. He explained that the decision was hard but that Spiderman, Batman and many other superhero films had relied on the strength of the material instead of the character of the actors playing the part, so as a production they made the decision to take steps forward as they learned what worked best from their first film and expand on it. In essence Atlas Shrugged is a superhero story, and is every bit as fun and powerful as The Avengers, not on a physical level, but cerebrally. That is why the Atlas Shrugged booth all day long resembled more of an active booth at Comic Con than a political convention. The geeks in this case are not the kind of fans of The Incredible Hulk arguing over the Edward Norton version from past films or the new Mark Ruffalo version in The Avengers. These Atlas Shrugged geeks are fans of capitalism and the minds that drive it. They do tend to be smarter because they work to make themselves that way, and to see the emotion on their faces just to shake the hand of someone associated with the Atlas Shrugged production was wonderfully encouraging. Most of the day at FreePac I represented the face of the Atlas Production, and it was refreshing to see so much joy at getting a t-shirt advertising the movie and answering questions about the book and Ayn Rand in particular. I enjoyed watching people line up to have their picture taken next to Kaslow—just to be near a man who helped make Atlas Shrugged into a movie.

You know a man is authentic when the crowds are gone and the cameras are turned off, and they still espouse the same principles. As Harmon and I crossed Elm Street in Cincinnati he and I continued to talk without any pretense of selling the movie to a hungry public. We were just a couple of guys talking and I told him I admired him for taking such a shot with his movie. His efforts were tireless as he is about to go on a media rampage speaking on virtually every radio interview possible, TV spots also, and will shake tens of thousands of hands over the next two weeks. But like the characters from Atlas Shrugged I could see why John Aglialoro put so much of his own money on the production of the next Atlas film. It was the energy–the springy enthusiasm that Harmon Kaslow brought to the production that was making Atlas Shrugged possible. In a large part the thousands of new readers of Ayn Rand’s work were getting exposure to her novels because these movies Part One and now Part Two–because of the guy walking next to me along 5th Street about to leap into the Hyatt to rest from a hard day of marketing.

Two days prior to FreePac my wife and I spent 4 hours buying our stock of books for the week at Books-A-Million and Half Priced Books. I was happy to find a copy of Frazer’s The Golden Bough which I purchased along with a host of other choices and my wife had a stack up to her chin, as usual. But during our time in those two book stores I watched the staff set up a new display promoting all of Ayn Rand’s books in a special stand prominently featuring them with proud reverence—and people were buying them by the bucket. I personally watched that stand lose 50% of its stock in just a two-hour period and I knew it was because of the anticipation of Atlas Shrugged II about to hit more than 500 movie theaters. To find out if one is near you, or how to get one, CLICK HERE. The movie is a celebration of Ayn Rand’s work. If people want the full effect, they MUST read the book. But the movie will bring millions of new fans to the great and highly intelligent work of Atlas Shrugged. And to a large extent it is the tireless energy of Harmon Kaslow, the man shaking my hand for the 100th time in 2000 feet of walking that is the force able to take the movie from financing, to casting, to production, to wrap, and now to delivery standing up in front of thousands upon thousands of people to promote Atlas Shrugged. Like the character of John Galt, Dagney Taggart and Hank Reardon from Atlas Shrugged  I thought of all three of them as Harmon gave me one last wave before the sliding glass door to the Hyatt opened as if to move hastily out of his way so not to be crushed by his boundless energy.  Before he entered the doors to his hotel he proclaimed to me in a loud voice not caring who around us was listening, “I’m the luckiest guy in America, to be able to work on a picture like this!”  Seeing him standing in the doorway of the Hyatt with his arms stretched out fearlessly reminded me of the ending of Shawshank Redemption.  No question about it, completing Part II for him was redemption of a different nature, and most likely just as difficult.   I continued to walk through the streets of Cincinnati thinking about that wave as minds half asleep with social evasion gathered in front of a closed Macy’s looking for something to do. It takes people like Harmon Kaslow to move the mountains of the world so that the sleepy minds of the ordinary can even have the opportunity to touch greatness for brief moments in their lives. And when Atlas Shrugged Part II opens, it is because of real life people like Kaslow and Aglialoro who haven’t quite given up on the world and retreated to their own versions of Atlantis that make it happen. They are still out fighting in the city streets of Cincinnati and residing in the Hyatt with a cell phone to their ear and an iPod in their hands answering email, setting up interviews, and plotting the next day’s activities in an effort to save the world by getting the people in it………to think.

CLICK HERE to see what Ayn Rand, Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan attempted to do to save Hollywood from the real life villains of Atlas Shrugged in the 1950’s. This is the real document as written by Ayn Rand to all the major studios in a fight that Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro are respectfully continuing to this very day with Atlas Shrugged Part II.

Rich Hoffman

If you like my work at this site then check out my new book Tail of the Dragon along with quotes, interviews, reviews, and ways to find one at:

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The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit: ‘Avengers’ save the day in Wilmington

Some of the hidden improvements in the Ohio economy are from sectors most often statistically ignored, but are actually quite important. Many wondered why Glenn Beck came to Wilmington, Ohio during Christmas of 2010 when the town was on the decline after the DHL facility left taking most of the town’s jobs with it. CLICK HERE FOR A REVIEW. When Glenn Beck put Wilmington on prime time television with his popular television show he knew what many didn’t, that was inadvertently people who were movers and shakers in the world would learn of the resources available in such a small town and would be tempted to make investments in the community. A few years ago, quietly Republican Senator Tom Patton and Mike Dovilla introduced the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit to the legislature hoping to lure more motion picture development to Ohio, and sure enough film scouts for The Avengers gave the DHL facility in Wilmington a look finding the location ideal for filming the upcoming blockbuster in August of 2011.

Now in hind sight The Avengers is one of the most successful movies of all time. It has generated over one and a half billion dollars in worldwide sales with a production budget of well over $200 million and an additional quarter million dollars in advertising. In total The Avengers as a film production cost a half a billion dollars to create, but it made more than double that in profits which is a wonderful business venture. It would seem unlikely that such a large production would come to little old Wilmington, Ohio, but when film scouts learned that the DHL facility had it’s own airport, a fenced in area great for security, huge buildings that could be converted over into film sets easily all set in a community where hotel rates were not through the roof, plenty of restaurants for the cast and crew to eat at, and the locals were polite and easy to work with, Wilmington, Ohio was suddenly a very attractive option. But even more attractive were the tax rates in Ohio which caused the production company of The Avengers to pull from their previous locations in Michigan and to replace them with sites in downtown Cleveland, the NASA facility in Sandusky, and of course Wilmington. The deal closer was tax rates, and because Ohio has one of the most attractive tax packages in the whole country currently thanks to the two Republican senators, Ohio is winning film development projects. The Avengers production alone poured over $2 million dollars into the local economy during their three-month lease of the largest DHL building and their stay in Wilmington.

Now, progressive leaning people will utter that The Avengers has made over a billion dollars in ticket sales and it hasn’t even been released to home video yet. The Disney Company who owns Marvel Comic Motion Picture division and the distributors in Paramount Pictures will make well over $2 billion dollars on just this one movie, so why was the production company of The Avengers worried about a few percentage points of tax shelter? Well, because you never know what will happen and when investors are required to spend over $200 million up front to produce a movie, it is important to keep the budget tight in case the film goes bust and nobody shows up to see the film. Not all movies make as much money as The Avengers which has decades of built up fan base to tap into in order to recover their investment.

When local Cincinnati native George Clooney brought his film Eyes of March to Ohio and filmed around Cincinnati and Miami University he did so not just because it was in his home town, but because he wanted to take advantage of the Ohio Tax Credit. Clooney politically is a progressive stuck to President Obama’s hip, but when it comes time to produce a film, he knows how to think like a businessman, so he brought his film to Ohio to keep the production costs down because films like that do not make billions of dollars. Most of the time production companies are happy if they break even on the initial investment. Just because a movie is made does not guarantee that it will be profitable.

The gigantic epic John Carter made by the Disney Company just a few months before the release of The Avengers cost well over $250 million to make but American audiences completely rejected it. The film only made $73 million domestically. Many people lost their jobs over that production, you can bet on that. Disney was not happy, and they had every right to be. Lucky for them foreign audiences liked the film giving it an additional world-wide take of $200 million, which just barely put Disney over the top on their front end investment. Disney needed desperately for The Avengers to do well, to make up for their profit forecasts in 2012 and John Carter did not get them anywhere close. Just because a film makes nearly half a billion dollars, that does not mean much. When you watch a movie, look at the credits that usually go on for over six minutes and contain tens of thousands of names. All those people were employed by the film and they all get paid from the money generated at the box office. When a studio like Disney makes a profit, it allows them to take chances on movies that are risky on their investment, and that really helps producers create films that benefit the unique tapestry of American culture that we broadcast to the rest of the world.

When The Avengers came to Ohio they spent $25 million dollars and employed 3,800 residents on the economy. If during the filming of the movie a stunt man died, or a law suit came up over intellectual rights, the production would be put on hold and the investment money spent would end up in limbo. In many cases the money for a film is financed two years before a film ever ends up on the big screen, so the invested money is tied up for a long time leaving investors on pins and needles until the box office receipts begin to roll in. So tax rates are a big deal in film production.

California has priced themselves right out of the film business. Production companies used to love to leave their homes in the morning work all day then go home at night. But due to the tax rates around Hollywood, it’s cheaper to leave town to make a film in a place like Ohio than to make it at the traditional sound stages in California. Dark Knight Rises is another 1 billion dollar world-wide moneymaker and was filmed in Pittsburg. In fact, Heinz Field was the football stadium that was blown up in that movie. The Midwest is learning that by lowering their tax rates, they are able to lure Hollywood to the Midwest which is great for the economy of the fly over states. Not good for California that has one of the largest economies in the world, due in part to the movie business.

But it is taxes that drive the economy, or rather the lack of them. As much as advocates on the political left beat on their chest for tax increases, businessmen who run the movie business are not willing to toss money into a black hole that will cost thousands of people their jobs. So they take the path of least resistance just like every businessman with any sense. The higher the taxes the lower the business activity, it’s a very simple formula.

The formula has worked so well in Ohio that legislators have now DOUBLED their tax incentive in the wake of the overwhelming success of The Avengers. Click the article below to read more.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/ohio-doubles-film-tax-credit-program-wake-hype-over-%E2%80%9Cavengers%E2%80%9D

Because of this movie The Avengers filmed in Ohio, there will be more high-profile films that will come and spend hundreds of millions of dollars they won’t be spending in high tax states and cities. That is a wonderful thing for places like the DHL facility in Wilmington who is likely to see a major increase in activity at their small, sleepy town. The DHL facility could easily become the new Elstree Studios in England where the remote location, tax rates and facility usage are heads and shoulders above other locations. Not many film studios have their own airport, and the DHL facility does, which is unprecedented. Wilmington, Ohio could easily become the new Hollywood because of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, which would be far more valuable than the type of business that left the DHL facility in the first place and would restore to that town a greatness it has never known.

It was for reasons like that which drew Glenn Beck to Wilmington over two years ago, hoping that people who move money would take notice of the great attributes the small town in Ohio offered. What the production company making The Avengers was able to do within a week of filming at the DHL facility word will get out and many more films will follow. And that is the name of the game, where competition drives down the costs while productivity increases. Ohio is the example of how it’s done right, and the task for the rest of the world is to follow to the benefit of everyone else. And it all started with two Republican Senators who thought forward enough to offer the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit to an industry in Hollywood that is desperate to reform its costs for a changing marketplace.

____________________________________________

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.

Best Selling Co-author Larry Schweikart, A Patriot’s History of the United States  (CLICK ON THE LINK TO VISIT US ON FACEBOOK)

Visit the NEW Tail of the Dragon WEBSITE!  CLICK HERE and help spread the word! TELL SEVEN PEOPLE TO TELL SEVEN PEOPLE!

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

The Meaning of Maturity: Comic books and the nudity of ‘Equus’ “HULK SMASH!”

Maturity is a word that was invented to keep the adult population dormant from the dreams of their youth. Maturity is designed to be a concession to mediocrity. When someone says that a person is mature, they mean it as an insult. They intend it to mean that one knows their place, takes orders well and won’t rock the boat. In essence, maturity is the bolts that hold machine politics together. When young people put away the things of childhood to embrace the realism of adulthood, we call them “mature,” or say that they have “grown up.”

Well, more than once, I have been referred to as “immature” by my peers because as a man in my 40’s I still love video games and comic books, just as I did when I was younger. I also still hold to an idealistic state of justice that only exists in the world of comic books. Contemporaries insist that my youthful views have no place in the political arena, and it is for that reason that I write books instead of hold any public office. The characters in my novels are often reflections of events I’ve personally witnessed in actual confrontations with members of the established political arena, and my reluctance to play ball the way they learned to play the game makes them very, very angry. That’s typically when the word “immature” is used.

I grew up with comic books, and I have never left them. Comic book stores were some of the first places I took my children and they learned to read by getting comic books and looking at the pictures and trying to figure out what the words meant. I see comic books as works of art that emit modern mythology that is very much needed. The definitions of right and wrong are very apparent in the comic book universe of youth, which the adult likes to call unrealistic. To the “mature” adult compromises must be made, and the world is shades of gray. That is in essence an incorrect view of life that opens the world to evil.

I can say such things about comic books because I have the context of advanced literature behind me. I have read and enjoyed many of the most complicated literary classics there are, particularly Shakespeare, and can report that the comic book wins over the characters of advanced literature in most every case. For instance, Bruce Wayne as a character is superior to Titus Andronicus because he does not collapse into madness finding himself a victim to a corrupt regime of Roman superiority as Titus did. Wayne took the fight to the corrupt instead of letting the corrupt bring the fight to him, leaving the only measure of redemption available in making a pie out of the dead bodies of the Empresses’ two sons who raped and maimed Titus’s daughter. Batman is better, by far than not only Titus, but Henry the Fifth, Hamlet, and Othello. That’s not to take anything away from Shakespeare but if he were alive today, he would probably write comic books.

I have been to live stage plays of Equus where the characters act with fully nudity on the stage and had sex in front of thousands of people, and I can say that the message of Captain America has more meaning, Superman is more profound, Iron Man is more realistic, and The Hulk much more sophisticated. In fact I thought of The Hulk while watching the nude woman on stage in Equus attempting to seduce the naked Alan Strang. Alan in his confused obsession with horses had nothing on Bruce Banner in fighting off the rage that dwells within him. The Hulk is far better theater than Equus, yet it is Equus that gets all the praise in our “mature” society. In fact when Daniel Radcliffe made famous by the Harry Potter films decided to play the part of Alan Strang in a London, and a Broadway rendition of Equus he received a lot of positive media attention because the hero of the Harry Potter films appeared nude, and vulnerable on stage, which was highly commended in the high brow society of maturity. Such performances say to the world that Radcliffe does not plan to be a superhuman hero in all his future acting roles, but is mature enough to play a “vulnerable” parasite who murders horses because he loves them. Natilie Portman received the same kind of praise for her role in The Black Swan for much the same reason.  Anne Hathaway was very naked in Love and Other Drugs, which was designed to show she could be a sophisticated actress and not just a fairy princess.  See Anne Hathaway very nude at the link below for context.

 

However the chances are, more people in society could name off their favorite comic book characters in their favorite Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, or DC Comics than even know that their icon of fantasy in Harry Potter took off his cloths for a Broadway play at 17 years old. That is because it is more important to strive for perfection in the human heart than to yield to human weakness as Alan Strang did in Equus when he cut out the eyes of the horses that witnessed him having sex with a woman seeking to blind them so they couldn’t see his sins.

This comic book morality of mine is frowned down upon by those who give Equus favorable reviews. To me, Equus is just an excuse to get people naked on stage and call it art, when it’s simple pornography. The theme is one of human weakness and I instead find comic books much more honest emotionally. Over the years comic books have kept my moral compass pointed in the right direction. I have had many offers from machine politics in the realm of the “mature” to take bags of looted gold placed at my feet which I rejected many times over in favor of honesty which is the theme of many comic books. If I had taken the gold I may never have had to worry about money, I probably wouldn’t have had the fire to write novels and participate in political reforms. Instead I might be on a golf course patting myself on the back talking about the hot chick that was naked on stage in the Equus stage play and discouraging my children from buying comic books as symbols of childhood.

When I practice with whips in the yard and work to keep myself in shape I am working to give to the youth in my own family something to look up to, because young people need that. It is a sad situation when all they have to idolize are drawn characters on a printed page and stories told out of deep human desire not rooted in sexual tension, but in a sense of justice. The whips shown in the pictures here are the new whips that David Crain is making for me. At the heart of a lot of people who want lessons on how to crack a whip is a person enchanted by Zorro, Indiana Jones, or even the Jedi Knights of Star Wars. In fact David specializes in making very special whips that mimic the light sabers from Star Wars which allows handlers of those weapons to get the feel of using a weapon that is very similar to the sophisticated management of an art form of the Jedi against the Sith in a fight for philosophic control over an entire galaxy.

Comic books and the heroes that come from them are about big ideas, and for that they are called immature by the adult population that has already given up. Most people when gold is laid at their feet take it without question, even if the intention was to purchase their silence and cooperation. They yield to the hero that dwells within them nurtured by the fantasies of youth and justify their weakness by sophisticated stage plays like Equus, which confirms in their weakened state that they are not as corrupt as the poor, deranged Alan Strang. Those poor souls pulled into the depths of maturity would have seen the folly of their actions if they had only read more comic books and seen the intentions behind the bags of money contextually written by artists who still look forward to the greatness of man.

As for my favorite comic book character of all time, it is The Incredible Hulk. I have always identified most with The Hulk since my temper is legendary and has always been something I have had to work on to keep under control. Every now and then it is fun to let my inner Hulk go, but it always seems to get me into a lot of trouble.  When they can’t beat you mentally, or physically, they simply call you “immature.”    The cry for maturity comes from those who are too lazy to match the lofty minds that reach for the stars and have the muscle to get there.  Rather, they hope to keep their enemies at stage plays kneeling before their nudity, their delusion, and their apathy. 


Puny gods of theater and guardians of maturity. HULK SMASH!!!!!!

 ____________________________________________

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.

Best Selling Co-author Larry Schweikart, A Patriot’s History of the United States  (CLICK ON THE LINK TO VISIT US ON FACEBOOK)

Visit the NEW Tail of the Dragon WEBSITE!  CLICK HERE and help spread the word! TELL SEVEN PEOPLE TO TELL SEVEN PEOPLE!

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com