Thursday, June 19, 2008

Richard Kiel as The Incredible Hulk

When I was a kid there was nothing I liked more than The Incredible Hulk. The show debuted on TV when I was probably too young to watch it, but it lasted 5 seasons and by the time the 1980s rolled around I was a big fan.

I remember lying on the floor staring up at the TV watching Bill Bixby sail through some sappy melodrama as I waited for 2 things.

First, I wanted to see how David Banner would change his last name this week.
See, David Banner was on the run from Mr. Magee and probably some over-zealous funeral directors wanting more information for his tombstone than just his name.

Because as the opening sequence would remind you, David is believed to be buried under a stone that simply reads "David Bruce Banner" no dates, no pithy quote... nothing.

Because his name was on the stone, David had to change his name every week.

One week he would be David Bammer, the next David Branner, then David Beckham and so on and so on.

I was fascinated about this.

As a kid, I also used to like Mr. Magee. Probably because his name was so similar to Mr. Magoo. Plus he never seemed to catch David. Even Magoo would have caught him by the end of the fourth season.

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned there were TWO things I looked forward to every week? The other was THE HULK!

The Hulk would come out twice an episode. Once about 15 minutes in and once about ten minutes before the episode ended.

I remember that my Dad let me stay up to watch the show, but only through the Hulk's second "Hulk out."

After that I was remanded to bed pleading "but what if he Hulks up a third time?"

My Dad always said, "Son, he never Hulks up a third time."

He was always right.

Anyway, as a kid I became deftly attuned to what would cause him to Hulk up... David Banner was a klutz.

Some bad guy would pull a knife on him, and he WOULDN'T Hulk up. Some bad guy would pull a knife on a lady, and he WOULDN'T Hulk up. Some bad guy would lock him in a closet, and he WOULDN'T Hulk up.

But then as David struggled to get out of the closet he would stub his pinky toe AND HE WOULD HULK UP.

Once he became the Hulk he would neutralize the situation and then go do something silly for the kids in the audience.

One time the Hulk used an ATM:
Image Hosted by
He showed up and there was an old lady using the machine. She freaked out and ran away leaving the Hulk to do his transaction.

Image Hosted by
Hulk would try to get a balance inquiry...

Image Hosted by
Oh no! He forgot his pin number!

Image Hosted by

Then a quick Hulk shove would result in the machine spitting out fives like a person that thought they were eating a salad, but then realized they were eating a bowl of five dollar bills.
Image Hosted by

Interestingly, lots of things about the Hulk TV show were different from the comic book. In the comic Banner gets hit with the rays of a gamma bomb, in the show it was some scientific equipment that was improperly set. In the comic he was Bruce Banner and the TV show changed his name to David.

They also wanted to change some other things. They wanted to make the Hulk red, and they wanted him to be played by Richard Kiel. Kiel is either best known for his awesome screen stealing performance as Jaws in two James Bond movies... or for a stupid cameo he has in Happy Gilmore as a big tall guy.

And tall he is. Kiel is over 7 feet tall, but didn't have the muscles that Ferrigno later brought to the character.

Looking back, the idea of a red Richard Kiel as the Hulk seems beyond absurd, but I accepted his name as David and I like his TV show back story much more than the comic book version.

So, I bet I would have been a fan of a skinnier red Hulk, too.

Anyway, the idea of making the Hulk red was nixed, but Kiel was hired to play the Hulk. In fact, they even started shooting the TV movie pilot with him... and one shot of Kiel remained in the final cut.

So, with no further ado... here is Richard Kiel as The Incredible Hulk:
Image Hosted by

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hot Cross Buns

While doing a little research on Good Friday I read that English blokes (that's British for "British people") eat HOT CROSS BUNS on Good Friday.


I never thought hot cross buns existed.

But they do:
Image Hosted by
They are hot buns with a cross on them. I would make a joke about a crucifix tattoo on Jessica Alba's backside, but it hardly seems appropriate in a post about Good Friday.

Here is some information I cut and pasted from Wikipedia (you can tell because there are lots of little numbers in brackets.)

In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion. They are believed by some to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is not until 1733[2]; it is claimed (no source found) that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honor of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon)[3]; 'Eostre' is probably the origin of the name 'Easter'[4]. Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier[5]. Cakes were certainly baked in honour of deities since very ancient times[6], although it is not known if they were marked.

According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

Who knew that religion could be so yummy. And who knew that hot foods had been invented back in 1733! And who knew that the moon had FOUR QUARTERS! That's enough to play that motorcycle game at the arcade. It looks cool, but I think any game more than 2 quarters is a rip off. Especially 3 quarter games. I once played Silent Scope at the Galleria, then I was stuck with 1 extra quarter. Then I realized none of the games played on one quarter.

So, I could either cash out another two dollars and play three games of Silent Scope or take the quarter to the third floor, lean over the railing and try to drop it into the cleavage of a woman walking on the ground floor. Then I could take the two dollars and spend it on hobo wine. Then become a hobo.

So I played three games of Silent Scope. I shot the quarterback during the football staduim scene. That was funny.

Anyway, obvi (that's how I shorten 'obviously' it saves me lots of time) most folks have heard of 'hot cross buns' because of the song:

Hot cross buns,
One a penny buns,
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns.
Fresh, sweet buns,
Come and buy my buns,
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Fresh, sweet buns.
Nice, light buns,
Buy my currant buns,
Come and try them,
Then you'll buy them,
Nice, light buns.
Hot, sweet buns,
Good for everyone,
All your daughters,
All your sons,
All love buns.
Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
Everybody loves hot cross buns.

Obvi (again, and for those of you who don't pay attention... that's how I shorten 'obviously' it saves me lots of time) I had heard the song as a kid, at least the first verse.

But now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know... the rest of the story.