Tag Archives: heroes

Heroes of Yesteryear… Part 1

Guy Williams as Zorro

He was the “Fox” that no authorities could ever catch or unmask. In Spanish, Zorro, the fox.

He was the intrepid pirate/adventurer Captain Sinbad, in the 1963 movie of that title.

He was Professor John Robinson in the 60’s TV series, Lost in Space.

And he was briefly Cartwright nephew Will on Bonanza.

All of those were shows I adored as a boy in the 60’s (Though I really only saw Zorro as an after-school syndicated show in the early 70’s.)

Guy Williams was, in many ways, the character I myself truly wanted to be.

Guy Williams as Captain Sinbad

He was the swashbuckling hero, never afraid to take the leap into danger, to face any monster, or take any risk to save his town, his family, his people, or his crew.

His character led from the front and took a bullet or a sword wound now and then to protect the weak. And he got the chance, as Disney’s Zorro, to romance Annette Funicello in a few episodes.

And I particularly wanted to be the kind of explorer he was as the head of the Space Family Robinson in the Lost in Space TV series. Those were still the days of my astronaut-and-rocket-ship daydreams.

Guy Williams as John Robinson

But my hero worship was never about the actor, Armand Catalano, whose screen name was Guy Williams. He was a TV and film actor who started out as a fashion model. He made himself famous with good looks and acting ability. He was, I suppose, a decent hardworking fellow with dreams of being a movie star, a goal he came close to, but never quite reached. It was not him I wanted to be. I wanted to be the real-life embodiment of the characters themselves that he played.

I could probably end this essay by saying something sappy, that by becoming a public school teacher, I became the swashbuckling hero I always wanted to be. Sure, teachers do have to be swashbucklers to do the job right. But that claim is an argument for another day… another post. My point for this essay is that this is what constitutes a hero in my book; a brave person who can smile in the middle of a sword fight, even if he is losing, a man or woman willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of others, and a hero for whom the chance to be a hero is the real reward. And I learned that romantic, idyllic crap from TV in the 60’s and 70’s, when I was but a boy.

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Filed under autobiography, Disney, heroes, humor, inspiration, review of television, TV as literature

Mark Twain

Mark TwainMark Twain, real name Samuel Clemens, is my hero. He lived a long and difficult life, but he lived it with grace and humor… most of the time…well, some of the time. I would very much like to be just like him… ‘cept I ain’t dead yet and have no plans on that score… but I would like to also be like him in having something important to say that can be said to somebody who isn’t even born yet, a hundred years or more from now, the way that Mark Twain spoke to me.

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June 27, 2014 · 3:35 pm

Action and Adventure

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I tend to be a Young Adult Fiction writer.  There are lots of reasons.  Not the least of which are all the many wonderful and horrible things that have happened to me as a result of being a public school teacher.  I also have since early childhood dearly loved and emulated comic books.  Marvel and DC, Charleton and Gold Key, and nowadays Black Horse and Image Comics… They have all incited me to crazy wild stories of science fiction action and adventure.  My first novel (first published, not written) called Aeroquest was a science fiction story of  young space ninjas with psionic super powers who are the classroom students of an action hero named Ged Aero who is teacher, explorer, hunter, and psionic shape-changer himself.

So is it just because I like to read action adventure in books and comic books?  Not at all.  I believe you can’t live life without partaking in action adventure.   There are lots of ways that teachers become action adventure heroes and never get credit for doing it.  I once faced off against a boy armed with sharp metal ninja throwing stars who was intent on killing another boy who was in my class at the time.  Together with the history teacher and an assistant principal who got thrown to the ground we stood up to the apparently psychotic boy, and made him give up on the attack.  He ran off into the nearby woods and was later apprehended there by the deputies from the Sheriff’s office.  This is a kid that I personally knew and taught.  If I hadn’t been able to talk to the kid before that day and connect with him at least a little bit, we might have suffered a lot more damage from him than we ended up with that fateful day.  And that isn’t the only life-threatening situation I have been in.   I can’t count how many fights I broke up, bomb threats and threats of violence I’ve dealt with, and situations I was able to tip off the administration about because I actually talk to kids, win their trust, and listen to what they say.  Teaching is an action adventure sort of job, and violence can be successfully defended against with reason, wit, and preparation.  Understand me, though, I am not the only action adventure hero among the members of the teaching profession.  I have stood next to women of small stature that could handle linebacker-sized bullies and leave the bullies quaking in fear.  One teacher I knew was robbed in San Antonio when she was carrying money earned in a fund raiser by her class.  She chased the thief down a public street screaming for help and tackled the guy herself.  People around her were stunned at first, but then helped her subdue the guy.  She got the money back, made the newspapers for her outstanding courage, and helped put the thief in prison for a very long time.  Good teachers are action adventure heroes.  It’s in the job description.  You could look it up.

So that leads to today’s Paffooney.  These three kids tackling the raging lion-man from the Aslani Star Mines Corporation are Aeroquest mutant ninja space babies from my novel.  Rocket Rogers (on the left) and Phoenix (looking at us for assistance on the right) are both psionic pyros who control fire with their minds.  Taffy King (the half-reptilian, half-human girl in the middle) has the power of telekinesis.  But the ultimate lesson behind action and adventure is that no matter how tense the situation gets and no matter how drastically dangerous things are, there are peaceful and non-violent solutions to everything.  By surrounding the lion man with fire and burning up the air he needs to breathe, the two pyros render him unconscious, while Taffy has prevented him from getting his hands on Phoenix by using a wall of flying knives to dissuade him.  I intend to write a lot more action and adventure before I’m through and decide like a Sioux warrior that a good day to die has finally arrived.

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