Friday, December 31, 2010

GAY CAVELCADE "Tareyton Interstitial"

It seems like forever ago that we got our first glimpse at stills from the 1953 live-action puppet show GAY CAVELCADE.

Promotional shot of series host Orval Allan with Hoverboyand Chief, apparently
ready to duke it out over something.
Now thanks to Ross Gurch, Hoverboy fan [and certified hoarder] in Utah we can finally get a look at actual clips from the show.  We'll be discussing Gay Cavelcade in more detail as we present full segments in the coming weeks and months, but I'm sure you'll agree these are a fascinating time capsules of the golden age of children's television.  This first brief clip shows an sponsor segment, hopefully selling to housewives who may have been watching than children themselves.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


by Rick Green

When most of us here the term, “The Curse” we think of our girlfriend being really mean once a month.  But for Hoverboy fans, The Curse is something quite different.  And not just because we don’t have girlfriends.

It’s because “The Curse” is one of the biggest reasons that Hoverboy is  considered the 137th greatest comic book character rather than, as he rightfully deserves, the 73rd.  Some of the top comic creators refused to get involved in Hoverboy comics because they feared for their lives. Which is ridiculous.  I think they used the Curse as an excuse, and the real issue was that Hoverboy was considered by some, as being a nasty, Fascist and/or lame character. Which I think is ridiculous too.

Hoverboy Co_Creator Charles Nutt's father, Peter.  Who's
explosion during the Battle of Cantigny is often cited as the
first occurrence of the Hoverboy "Curse".

“The Hoverboy Curse” of course refers to the untimely deaths of so many people who worked on Hoverboy comics, films and even radio shows.  To be honest, I think the Curse is kind of overblown. 

Here is my thinking. 

In the Golden Age of Radio, everyone smoked. So no wonder a lot of the writers, actors and sound effects people died young. The fact that many of these people died young from strange medical disorders like being hit by a car, crushed by a runaway boat, or Testicular Elephantitis may not have a lot to do with smoking… at first glace.  But if you think about it, maybe it does.  Somehow...

As for movies, the fact is, because none of the top comic creators worked on Hoverboy, and it was produced by a third tier publisher like Vengeance, means that the budgets for Hoverboy movie serials were always low. That meant the worst stuntmen were hired. The worst directors. The skin-flint-iest producers.  So deaths from falls, car crashes, plane crashes, and gun accidents are naturally going to follow.  Critics point out that these deaths usually happened away from the studio, when the people were at home, but I still think there’s a pattern.

Death of stuntman Bill "Limpy" Roberts, which was used as the cliffanger
for Hoverboy Serial "Hoverboy Versus the Warlords of Neptune, Chapter 4:
Giant Rocks of Death!"
As for the comic creators dying young, and dying in horrible ways, well, yes. Okay, I’ll give you that one. It’s one thing for a person to die from a burst appendix, but when Hoverboy writer Gig Newman died from the burst appendix of the fat lady sitting beside him on the bus, okay, yeah, that’s just weird. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation. I’m not big on superstition, and I never will be. Knock on wood!

Ouch… Damn, another splinter… 

Monday, December 27, 2010


To catch up on all past chapters of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We're still migrating material over to the new site, so to catch up on all past chapters of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST, click HERE.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Once again we return to the days of bad hygiene, overt poverty, and radio drama!

In this thrilling episode of classic Hoverboy old time radio; Hoverboy and Hoverdog must use their combined wits to thwart a ticking time-bomb... literally!

For more, be sure to visit and subscribe to the HOVERBOY ARCHIVES Channel on Youtube.  There's a couple more great surprises coming your way for the holidays.

And be back here tomorrow for the next exciting chapter of the NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST newspaper strip.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Yes Friends, it's that time again.  Time to settle back and let the power of old time radio take you back to days gone by, or what it might be like to be blind.  This week we present the thrilling conclusion to last weeks equally thrilling radio programme entitled, "The Electronic Man".  

Be sure to subscribe to the HOVERBOY ARCHIVES Channel on YouTube, to make sure you don't miss a single one of the exciting updates that are coming your way.  And tell your friends to follow us on Facebook.

And of course, be back here monday for the next exciting chapter of the newspaper strip NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


One of the more intriguing roles Hoverboy played over the course of the 20th century was that of voice of the establishment. In previous articles, we’ve discussed Hoverboy’s role in the 1950’s as the public face of the HUAC for millions of children, encouraging them to rat out potential commie neighbors and family members.

But several years earlier, Hoverboy played a key role in and even more important 20th Century event than the Red Scarening of the Nation. Hoverboy destroyed Christmas! And created… Christmas!

Hoverboy Destroys Christmas!! Theatrical Poster

The Second World War was a boon for the American industrial complex, lifting it out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s which had seen mass unemployment, rampant dirtiness, and the rise of hoboing. After the war, America wallowed in excess; booze was cheap and the post-war ratio of women to men left the prostitution industry in disarray! What would American’s do with all their money? Money burning parties were a short-lived fad that never caught on, due to the high incidence of house fires and Federal prosecution for the destruction of legal tender.

Then, in 1947, a conglomerate of several of the nations most wealthy and soulless businesses came together with the idea to commercialize Christmas. In a multi-pronged media campaign that was originally conceived at the end of the war by former U.S. General George S. Patton, the companies intent was push aside the image of Jolly St. Nick that had burned bright in children’s minds for decades, and make it clear that the it was their parents who were the source of all gifts. With this cover blown, parents could be scorned and terrorized all year long by children who didn’t get what they wanted. Profits would soar!

Hoverboy Destroys Christmas!! is cited at the best animated version of Hoverboy ever, with it’s Fleischeresque fluid movement and moody detail. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that the film is lost. Only the above trailer survives this 1947 short film. Ironically, it was supposed to play programmed before Miracle on 34th Street, but it never made it to the cinemas. Hoverboy co-creator Bob Stark, who had spearheaded the film for the conglomerate of businesses behind it, tried to walk away with the money to pay off old cock-fighting debts. When MPG Studios found out, they burned the film negative, along with the two careless junior animators who had been tasked to actually set it ablaze.

Recently though, it has come to light that a 2nd version of the film was made 10 years later in 1957. This version was made exclusively for television, and though broadcast in black and white, it was supposedly made in color. Unlike the 1947 version, the animation was not lavish, and most animation historians classify it as “crappy”. Nevertheless, this version was finished and made it to air. Network records show it was only broadcast once to mediocre ratings, and no copies of the film have been see since the tapes were returned to the Stark Estate.

So, Hoverboy Destroys Christmas has the sad distinction of being not just one, but TWO lost films. Though nothing remains of the 1947 version, we can hope that one day the later version might materialize, and take it’s rightful place in overplayed holiday programming.

Sunday, December 5, 2010




On Monday, we learned about the exciting history behind Hoverboy decoder rings. On Wednesday we announced our NEW CONTEST to give replica rings away to lucky Facebook fans.

Today, we launch the new
HOVERBOY ARCHIVES Channel on YouTube! And what better and more coincidental way to celebrate that launch but with the first in our new series of old time HOVERBOY RADIO SHOWS! Sit back and listen, as we take you back to a simpler time, when American was a lot less not-White!

Be back here tomorrow for the next exciting chapter of the "Nazi Robots of Future's Past" comic strip, Wednesday for a special mystery article, and join us here next Friday for the next exciting chapter of the Hoverboy Radio Show "The Electronic Man"!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Decoder rings were all the rage during the golden age of radio. DICK TRACY, CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, and even LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE’S Decoder Brooch lent an air of participation and physicality to radio’s theatre of the mind.

So when HOVERBOY: AGENT OF DANGER! hit the airwaves in 1937, competition was stiff, and ratings were routinely low. Despite great villains such as BOLSHEVIK BEAR, PROFESSOR OPIUM and THE MASKED MACEDONIAN. The show’s sponsor, a lighting fixture manufacturer of the popular "Dinky's Winkies", threatened to pull out. For the 1938 season, Hoverboy creatrors Bob Stark and C. L. Nutt, came up with a marketing plan. Stark and Nuut, who didn’t yet hate each other’s guts, had a brainstorm. “Let’s do what everyone else does!”  Thus the Hoverboy decoder ring was born. But they took it further. While most radio shows offered some sort of mail-in premium, the producers of Hoverboy went one step further, promising lucky listeners some fabulous prizes if they could decode the message at the end of each show! Schwinn bikes, Top Flite baseball gloves, and ‘Killer Kiddie BB guns’ were all up for grabs.

Eager kids enthusiastically sent in $1.00 for a ring and started listening to the Hoverboy radio show! Or at least they enthusiastically started using the rings to decode the messages at the end of the show to win free stuff.  Evidence suggests few kids actually listened to the radio show itself.

Like on other radio series, the announcer intoned a series of numbers, kids wrote them down and used the ring to decode them into a coherent message. They would mail the secret message to the producers, with 50¢ to cover ‘postage’.

Unlike other radio shows, decoding was not simple.

German Enigma machine        ©Hitler 1936

On the 1937 ring, which I've only read about, there were five concentric sliding circles of numbers, symbols and letters.  The ring was based on an early variation of the Enigma Machine, developed in the 1930’s and used by the Nazi Military up until the end of the WW-2.

Small town boys with a decoder ring didn’t stand a chance.

The infamous 1940 Hoverboy Decoder Ring

My ring, from 1940, is noted for having absolutely no moving parts.  Around the ring are two concentric circles containing a standard number-letter cipher. Except that there are only 25 numbers for the 26 letters of the alphabet, so exactly what number corresponds to what letter gets a little fuzzy from V to Y. The engraving is also very small and light, making reading the corresponding numbers and letter very difficult without a magnifying glass. Unsubstantiated reports claim children suffered permanent damage due to eye strain.  One reason these rings are so valuable is that so many kids threw them away in frustration, or parents confiscated them to stop their children from crying.

No one can say for sure if there were any prizes handed out, but in this excerpt from RADIO'S GOLDEN YEARS fanzine in the 1970's, radio actress Donna Spritz confessed,

"Mr. Stark and Mr. Nutt were okay at first. But the radio producers were pretty horrible. Always late with checks and very lurid around me. I did what I had to do to keep my job. People don't know this, but besides being the female lead, I did the children's voices on the show as well. It's a common practice in radio, even today. Well, at the end of every Hoverboy show a child came on who has won a prize the week before for decoding the secret message on their pin or ring or whatever. Well, there was never any kids in the studio. Bobby, Larry, Timmy, Linda... they were all me.”

So besides the non-existent prizes, kids were also out 50¢ every time they wanted to enter. Since postage cost less than 10¢ a letter, someone made a tidy profit.

I have only seen 1 of the other 5 rings known to exist. I'm hoping to get the owner to send me a picture soon.