Walt Jaschek IS Dr. D’abo IN “Sons of the Saddle” (1995) B-Western Movie Parody

Comic Movies, Videos, Walt Jaschek on Camera

It’s 1899 and Dr. Devlin D’Abo (Walt Jaschek) believes he alone can lead the United State of America into the Twentieth Century. To help him take control of the federal government, D’Abo creates a weapon that will make his arm of desperadoes invisible. Only the Sons of the Saddle (Don Secrease, Rick Burchett, Bill Lux) stand between the mad doctor and his plan to unite western hemisphere under one supreme leader… D’Abo himself!

— From the DVD jacket for “Sons of the Saddle: The Invisible Rayders: Chapter 4: Doorway to Doom”

Writer/director Don Secrease (working under pseudonyms Sean Ryan and Manny Handz) was the creative force behind this amateur film and B-Western movie parody made by enthusiastic B-movie fans. As backstory, Don wrote the below…

Abbreviated Backstory

This serial chapter of Sons of the Saddle’s “The Invisible Rayders” (chapter 4 “Doorway to Doom”) was made by a group of B-movie/serial fans for fun, to be shared by friends and family.

It was the summer of ’95, a few of us were discussing fan-made, straight-to-video movies, comparing good to bad, FX, etc., produced by Skeleton Creek Prod., W.A.V.E. Prod., B. Black’s Nightveil Media (its contemporary name.) These films were viewed, discussed, admired for their ingenuity and enthusiastic presentations.

Our ragtag team of B-movie aficionados decided to gather friends and family and create our own movie-making inadequacy.

We selected characters from our daily gag comic strip, “Sons of the Saddle,” wrote a 12-chapter serialized story, picked a random chapter, scripted it – then started rounding up the usual suspects – not to mention costuming, horses and tack.

All fell into place once we scouted our locations. Our major battles filming that summer: a Missouri heatwave, reliable video cameras and, finally, appropriate music. Since this was made for private amusement (or condemnation) and nor for sale, we picked background music from a few public-domain serials & B-westerns.

Enjoy!

Is Paul Blart based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop?™

Comic Movies, Comics, FAQS

mel-cool-freeze

Mel Cool: Mall Cop.™ Copy and layouts: Walt Jaschek. Art: Don Secrease.

Is Paul Blart based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop?

The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won.

But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade after Mel Cool: Mall Cop was published.

Q: Are you and your collaborators getting a piece of the action from the new movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop?”

Walt: No.

Q: Why is that?

Walt: Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not (as far as we know or can legally prove) based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop®, the long-running comicbook and web series created by Don Secrease and me in 1995, even though there was both a Mel Cool feature film screenplay and a cartoon series pilot script floating around Hollywood for years.

Q: What is your reaction to that?

Walt: Existential sadness mixed with raging anger.

Q: Really?

Walt: No, I’m just playin’ with you.

Q: What?

Walt: I’m cool with it. Mel Cool with it.  I’m philosophical about the whole thing.

Q: “Philosophical?”

Walt: Yes. In fact, let me put on this toga.  [Rummages through a box of costumes, looking for the toga.]

Q: [While he does so.] But you just said there was a completed screenplay…

A. [Still rummaging.] There was. Cary Anderson and I wrote the story, based on the comic; Cary wrote the screenplay. Paul Fey produced. It’s a funny script. But in Hollywood, you gotta be your own agent and work the thing on a daily basis. I was in St. Louis, Cary is in Baltimore, and Paul has World Wide Wadio to run.

Q: Quit rummaging.

Walt: [Finds toga, puts it on.] Ah, here it is! My philosophy is, “live and learn.”

Q: All that for that?

Walt: “Live and learn.” To the victor, the spoils. That is, to the first one to actually get a star and a deal and Happy Meal tie-ins, the spoils. Have we gleaned nothing from “Entourage”? Next time we bring a comedy concept to Hollywood, we dig in like a pit bulls on amphetamines.

QYou have more movie-worthy comedy concepts?

Walt: What, are you kidding me? I’d tell you, but…

Q: …you’d have to kill me?

Walt: [stares at him from an angle]  No, but what an odd thing to say.

Q: [quickly changes subject] So: you’re not bitter about Paul Blart and you’re not suing?

Walt: No. I really think it’s just great comic minds thinking alike. The movie looks really funny, actually. Kevin James. He knows from funny.

Q: Any sales of your work in the wake of publicity from the movie?

Walt: We’ve sold one comicbook, one t-shirt, and made about 46 cents in AdSense revenue.

Q: So it looks as if you’re raking in some dough from the whole Mall Cop thing, after all.

Walt: Praise the mall gods. There are mall gods, you know.

Q: We believe you. Um, are you going to leave that toga on?

Walt: Yes. I think it’s flattering to my shape.

Q: Thank you, Walt.

Walt: You’re welcome, Q.

Walt Jaschek has created and co-created other comics, such as those Dang Gnats!

Scott Pilgrim Versus the Walt: A Review

Comic Movies, Reviews

FOR THE first five minutes of Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, I  thought: “I am waaaay too old for this movie.“ (That’s “waaaay” with 4 “a”s.)

My suspicion increased when an older couple walked out of the theatre, seemingly baffled. “I feel you,” I thought.

The movie’s early minutes are aggressively Quirky with a capital Qu. Not the naturalistic, observational quirkiness of, say, Juno, but rather a highly self-conscious Quirky – a rapidly cut mash-up of anime, arcade games, sitcoms, and of course the beloved source material, Brian O’Malley’s deceptively simple, black-and-white comics.

You’d think that would be right up my alley! Me, too. After five more minutes, I started to “get it,” but it was a slog to work up attraction for the antics of these slacker 20somethings.  They seemed to be photocopies of characters, hitting beats in a script – a Quirky script! – without really touching hearts or nerves.

But, wait! There is hope for me. I did NOT follow my fellow old fogies out the door, and not just because, like the senior citizen I almost am, I didn’t want to waste $10.

Soon the unique lure of the Pilgrim-verse sucked me in, and by the end of the movie I was charmed, and sure I had seem something new in execution but classic in spirit. This is romantic comedy, after all, with its tropes and satisfactions, wrapped in the magic realism of fables and the frenetic, split-screen battles of manga.

In other words, it IS up my alley.

The turn for me was the introduction of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), blue-haired object of Scott’s affection and the bearer of gravitas from another movie altogether. Ramona has a look that’s at once doe-eyed and hard, betraying an existential sadness at unleashing her League of Seven Evil Exes on Scott. Her lingering question: Will Scott her be her 8th?

That decision falls to S.P. (Michael Cera, pitch perfect EveryGeek.)  Though I’d be happier if he’d been given funnier lines early on – why would Ramona fall for this guy, unless niceness was her only criteria for picking a BF? – I can’t fault, and in fact applaud, Cera’s winning amalgam of Juno’s Paulie Bleeker and Superbad’s Evan. (Trivia: Superbad’s Evan had no last name.)

The concept of Everygeek is (like the movie’s studio) Universal. It is Scott Pilgrim versus the world, every day. In the movie, he faces with bravado those Evil Exes, metaphor for the minefield we all navigate in relationships, brought to life by director Edgar Wright in dizzying flights of CGI fantasy.

The Exes – among them, Chris Evans (Human Torch, Captain America)  and Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore”) – are fantastic. But my favorite is Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”) pulverizing Scott with his “Vegan-diet-generated powers.” As Routh risks losing those powers by violating that diet, this vegetarian was LOLing and submerged in the Pilgrim-verse at last.

I’m waaaay old. That we know. But I ended up loving Scott Pilgrim, and remember enough of love, jealousy, and courtship choreographies to relate. I’m always enough of a fanboy to enjoy the movie’s comic-inspired look. In fact, its very comic-ness makes me suddenly want to channel Stan Lee, who might have summed up the movie’s appeal like this:

“There’s a little bit of Scott in us all, Pilgrim!”

Top: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Pic courtesy Universal Studios. 

Walt Jaschek recommends the Scott Pilgrim Blu-Ray Collectors’ Edition.