Monday, 6 September 2010

Heroes and transmogrification


I've been giving a bit of thought to modern day heroes, the people both real and fictional that my little boy Jack is going to growing up with. Of course doing this I can't help comparing them to the heroes of my long past youth, and to be quite honest, the heroes I had as a child were a bit on the crap side. A case in point would be The Man From Atlantis.

The series stared Patrick Duffy (of Dallas fame) as an amnesiac called Mark Harris, believed to be the only surviving citizen of the lost civilization of Atlantis. He possessed exceptional abilities, including the ability to breathe underwater and withstand extreme depth pressures, with superhuman strength. With his webbed hands and feet he would solve crimes on a weekly basis. The problem was that unless the crime happened to be water related, he was screwed.

It seemed my childhood was littered with crap heroes of that sort of ilk. Chopper Squad, The Gemini Man, and of course that bastard Quincy M.E. But at the time things were so very different. An invisible man with a digital watch or a medical examiner solving suspicious deaths, the result was the same, they were the kiddies. But only as reserves, the second place nearly made it folk. Although now a bunch of tossers, the seventies did have a few real heroes.

Steve Austin was a man barely alive, but they could rebuild him, and rebuild him the did. Apparently it cost six million dollars but Christ could he run. I was a big fan at the time and I suspect I still am deep down. This was the sort of chap who would kick the shit out of  Quincy M.E. then race home to shag his wife Farrah Fawcett of Charlies Angles fame.

One of my most treasured toys as a child happened to be my six million dollar man action figure (it's not a doll). He had a big button in the middle of his back and an engine he would lift if it was franticly pushed. He also had roll up skin and a hole in the back of his head that made everything look much further away. It was a great toy, but not my favourite.

Without a shadow of a doubt the greatest toy of my childhood, and in my opinion one of the greatest toys ever made was the Evel Knievel stunt cycle. This thing was indestructible, no matter what you fired it off, and I tried as only a ten year old can.
So as Jack grows up in the age of play-stations and super power transmogrification, I hark back to the golden age of my youth when you could build a supper hero for six million dollars and fire Evel Knievel into a sold brick wall from two foot knowing it would survive.