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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As you may recall, I had planned to go out on Halloween as the 1958 version of The Fly, a goal I had intended to realize some two years ago and even going to length of drawing up a quickie concept sketch for when I finally assembled the bloody thing. I would have required a gold rubber bouncy ball to be cut in half for the eyes, a huge block of black foam be crafted into the basic head, a smaller piece of foam to turn into the mutated left arm/claw, a white lab coat, a pair of those ultra-square 1950's dress slacks, a jar of liquid latex to form a textured over-skin, some paint and patches of hair to make the effect complete and maybe a small plastic fly onto which I would model a clay to-miniature-scale likeness of my head and arm. To properly execute this outfit and make it work I would have required about two weeks before the big day to allow time in my schedule to craft it and allow the paint and latex sufficient time to dry and cure, and the budget would have run to about $100 or so to do it justice, but as often happens in the life of Yer Bunche I once more neglected the barbarian beauty Tara's advice to her lover ( and later total idiot of a husband), Travis Morgan (aka The Warlord), that one should "always expect the unexpected."

Tara the barbarian imparts one of comics' greatest nuggets of wisdom. (from 1st ISSUE SPECIAL #8, November 1975)

You see, a couple of weeks ago as I left my building for work, the frames for my glasses quite literally fell apart and took a dive off of my face. I'd recycled those frames for years because, as anyone who wears glasses can tell you, the motherfuckers ain't cheap, and these particular graduated lenses required a frame of a certain size and shape to accommodate them so new frames were a must. Luckily I was only two doors away from my building, so I ran upstairs and threw on my old emergency pair of specs and decided to get another set of frames for the more current frames when I could afford them. That plan worked well enough since my emergency pair were more or less the same prescription as the ones that disintegrated, but as the weeks went by it became more and more apparent that I needed the ophthamological nuances of the more recent lenses, so this past Friday I shelled out $250 for a new pair of frames. That expenditure left me enough on which to be comfortable until the next payday, which happens to be Halloween itself, but wouldn't allow me enough to do the Fly after paying this month's inevitable batch of bills (phone, gas, electricity, etc.).

But all is not a total loss. While at my mom's house in Connecticut for the memorial service the weekend before last, I was cleaning out the closet in my long-vacant bedroom and stumbled across a huge shopping bag containing the helmet and hairy gorilla bodysuit for my Ro-Man costume, an item having last been worn for an infamous and rather disastrous Halloween party some thirteen years ago.

For those not in the know, Ro-Man is the ludicrously-designed star of the 1953 classic of bad cinema ROBOT MONSTER, and goofy as hell or not, his image has joined the pantheon of iconic b&w sci-fi critters.

The timelessly ludicrous majesty that is Ro-Man.

If what I've read of this silly-looking mamma-jamma's origins are true, the filmmakers couldn't scrape up the cash for an actual robot getup, but director Tucker had his pal George Burrows solve that problem by playing the title character in a gorilla suit he had lying around and the finishing touch of adding a tatty space helmet was provided by Tucker.

Ro-Man on the wheels of steel.

The image of an already bogus gorilla suit crowned with an equally shoddy antennaed space helmet is admittedly idiotic, but there's also the germ of a great visual in there somewhere and people have responded to Ro-Man's bargain basement charm since the moment he slouched across the screen over fifty years ago, and in 3-D no less. I mean, what's not to love about some fat load in a costume that wouldn't even pass muster on a public access cable television show? Decidedly ridiculous and completely un-scary in every way, the ROBOT MONSTER costume delights fans of bad movies and elicits peals of "what the fuck?" laughter from damned near everybody else, so I can't wait to once more don the skin and gallivant around the West Village.

My first shot at doing this outfit over ten years ago was the result of having to hastily throw something together at the last minute, so it amounted to nothing more than a gorilla suit (minus the plastic ape titties but with hands included), a plain white plastic space helmet with the face plate removed, a plastic raygun and a pair of black hightop Chuck Taylors.

Yer Bunche, rockin' the Ro-Man look, Halloween 1996.

It worked as such and people recognized what it was supposed to be, but this time around I actually bothered to paint the helmet silver and punch a pair of TV set rabbit ears through the top, finally providing it with the extra-cheesy antennae it so desperately needed. So get ready, kiddies. Ro-Man rides again, and he's on the hunt for some foxy Earth-wimmerns!

Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind: Ro-Man caught red-handed in the act of perpetrating a time-honored tradition among alien invaders, specifically abducting some fine Earth-pussy.

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