Downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the mid 1940’s was a bustling metropolis for a boy of 7 just away from the farm and ranch community where he was born. My father, a cook and cowboy by trade, had just started as one of the first cooks for the Casa Manana restaurant in 1947. He moved us to an apartment on Ohio Street, right across from the Gem Theater, between 7th and 8th Streets. It’s here that we would stay for the next three years. The Gem Theater became a magic palace for a young mind. But it had to share that distinction with the rest of the magic that was Wichita Falls. I attended San Jacinto and Carrigan elementary schools, as well as Reagan Junior High, and belonged to the Boys Club on 6th Street. Please join, and share your stories and pictures through a Guest Blog, of early Wichita Falls - or your home town. Contact me at or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John Carter - A Princess of Mars

John Carter – A Princess of Mars

In 2012 Disney released the movie, John Carter to a movie crowd totally unfamiliar with the character. Some western fans thought it was supposed to be a western, and walked out when they discovered it was science fiction. The reason was poor publicity. Sadly, the movie was marked down as a flop, even though fans thought it was very well done.
Disney’s John Carter

The western fans might be surprised to learn that science fiction is really only a western on another world. Replace six-shooters with ray guns, and horses with rocket ships, and Indians with red or green, four-armed alien warriors. The basic plot is still the same.
Asylum’s Princess of Mars

In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs created two iconic heroes that would last through one century and into the next. His first novel was A PRINCESS OF MARS, featuring John Carter as the iconic hero. Following that, he created TARZAN OF THE APES, one of the most beloved fictional characters ever to be published in pulp magazines.
DELL Funnies Issue

A PRINCESS OF MARS was responsible for creating several long-lasting genres; mighty swordsmen and otherworld romances – or science fiction, as the genre would eventually be called. Although Burroughs marketed Tarzan, he actually did very little with John Carter. Tarzan was everywhere: radio, comic books, comic strips, movie, chapter plays (serials), and eventually television. There were 24 original Tarzan novels by Burroughs, but only 12 novels featuring John Carter.
DELL John Carter Issue

John Carter has had several comic book appearances, but nothing compared to Tarzan’s comic book life.  Carter appeared in a few issues of Funnies from DELL from 1939 to ‘41, then appeared in three issues under his own title, also from DELL in 1952 to ’53. The series is currently being published by DYNAMITE Comics.
Dynamite’s Warlord of Mars

So it isn’t surprising that moviegoers were not familiar with the character in 2012. Actually, in 2009 Asylum released a movie titled PRINCESS OF MARS, which was a low budget, poorly acted, direct to video, film that few moviegoers were aware of. When Disney released JOHN CARTER in 2012, it didn’t meet expectations at Disney Studios. Neither movies followed Burroughs original novel 100 percent, though fans gave Disney’s JOHN CARTER high marks for a good movie version of their iconic hero.

No comments:

Post a Comment