East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Funny, exciting and weird

I’ve been told I should do a series of posts about the funny and exciting and weird everyday life of a full-time writer.
Maybe not even posts, because nobody bothers with reading a blog these days, but maybe find a cartoonist and start a daily strip about the funny and exciting and weird everyday life of a full-time writer.


And admittedly it would be fun. Continue reading


Tits & Sand: Popeye’s Arabian Nights

When I was a kid1, the Italian national TV, RAI, featured regularly the original 1930s Popeye the Sailor cartoons. For some mysterious reason, the cartoons were not dubbed, and so we kids simply enjoyed the action and the comedy, missing the word-play and jokes. But we got it all the same.
And indeed, when much later the cartoons were finally dubbed, the dubbing job was so lame, we simply decided the originals were better.


Some of the best originals are now in the public domain, so I put three of the best on a DVD and used them as Christmas-card substitutes for a few kids I know.
bca64gqc8And a friend told me she won’t show Popeye cartoons to her kids, because these cartoons are violent and racist, and also encourage smoking, and her boys would grow up as little fascist pipe-smoking punks should she submit them to such a bad influence.
I was basically treated like one peddling spinach-stuffed neo-Nazi propaganda.
Which sort of made me go “Uh?!” and started a long (and in the end, useless) discussion about historical perspective and the fact that kids, being usually smarter than parents often credit them, usually are quite good at telling make-believe, funny violence from real-world, the-hurting-kind violence.
I don’t know anybody that ever got into a fight because of the nefarious influence of Popeye the Sailor.

But the three cartoons, now… Continue reading

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The lost Flash Gordon

294080There’s a strange story behind Flash Gordon, The Greatest Adventure of All – the movie I watched last week to counter the desert of Christmas-time TV.

Originally conceived in 1977 as a live-action adaptation of the classic Flash Gordon strips1, the project was deemed too expensive, and reworked as a feature-length animated movie, produced by Filmation (the same guys who did the Star Trek animated series, and …e hm, He-Man).
While working on the movie, the gentlemen at Filmation brought in Dino De Laurentiis as a financer – and he jumped at the opportunity of striking a deal that would allow him to make the “too expensive” live action flick, which duly premiered in 1980.
As a result, the movie being on its way, Filmation decided to rework yet again the animated feature, turning it into a Saturday Morning cartoon series, airing in 1979 and paving the way for the live action movie.
Finally, in 1982, the original Flash Gordon animated movie was released – but it did not get a wide circulation.
And that’s a pity. Continue reading