A Guide to the Baron's Favorite Fictional Characters (SPOILERS)

(Hamlet of Earth-1948)

Real name: Hamlet, son of Hamlet

Aliases/Other Names: None,.

First Appearance: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Occupations: Prince of Denmark, student, avenger

Bases of Operations: Elsinore Castle, the University of Wittenberg

Place of Birth: Elsinore Castle, Denmark

Group Affiliation: Royal House of Denmark

Friends/Allies: Horatio, Marcellus, Barnardo

Enemies: Claudius, Polonius, Laertes

Height: Varies*

Weight: Varies*

Eye Color: Varies*

Hair Color: Varies*

Strength: Above average human

Speed: Above average human

Intelligence: Genius level human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Excellent swordsman, skilled forger, gifted actor

Special Weapons/Equipment: None.


History: Hearing of his father's death, Prince Hamlet of Denmark returns home from Wittenberg, only to find that his uncle Claudius has assumed the throne and married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. Already suspicious, Hamlet is visited by a spirit purporting to be that of his father, which asserts that the elder Hamlet was murdered by Claudius. Feigning madness, Prince Hamlet, with his friend Horatio's help, schemes to trap Claudius into a public admission of guilt, which would allow Hamlet to avenge his father and assume the throne of Denmark. Claudius, aware of the threat that Hamlet poses to him, plots to find a way to eliminate Hamlet. Thus begins a game of trap and counter-trap, resulting in the deaths of almost everyone involved, leaving only Horatio behind to watch as young Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, assumes the throne of Denmark.

Why He's a Favorite: Hamlet is the protagonist of my favorite Shakespeare play. I own eight different versions of the play of on DVD, and I enjoy watching them all.  there's just something that I find enthralling about the play, and it's always interesting to see how various actors interpret the part, and how different directors choose to film the story. I enjoy the cat and mouse between Hamlet and Claudius, and Hamlet's interaction with the not-as-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is Polonius. I find it interesting that the only character who seems to be able to match Hamlet's at wordplay is the First Gravedigger. Anyway, you can find way more of what I think about Hamlet here.



*Depending upon who's playing him

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...I watched a post of the " You Need Us " (a small correction , Cmdr.) on YT ~ (I have never seen the whole episode , though I am familiar with the song ~ I was never really a GILLIGAN'S ISLAND fan) I will point out that , though you're , no doubt , right about the GI actors' personal chemistry I assume the script told the younger three to loo happy ~ By contrast , the script/direction aclls for Backus to look a little embarrassed by being called out by his rock'n'rolling sixtysomething 60s wife !

  Did the original unedited network prime time showings of GI have on-screen titles for the episodes ?

  Nowadays , titles for individual TV episodes , even with on-screen episode titles long since gone the way of " A  (network's name) presentation - In color " announcements at the very very very beginning of the episode,  have their official episode titles generally known through the Web , I guess (and so , FRIENDS ep. titles , all " The One With..." at the beginning , get printed in local daily newspapers' TV listings)...Was it fan diggings that found what " official " titles GI eps had ?

  Oh , at speaking of the Sherwood Schwartz-verse-:-)-Anybody else noticed that commercial for Snickers that revolves around a " Marsha,  Marsha , Marsha ! " gag ? (I haven't even seen the whole com'l , if it in fact showcases more direct Brady Bunch references I'd come off silly here , so...)


 
Commander Benson said:

The Baron said:

Whatever else you can say about the show . . .  it was very well cast.

Ab-so-lutely!

That's what makes Gilligan's Island so beloved.  No-one is ever going to insist that it's television's equivalent to Citizen Kane.  Or even great comedy.  (Although, to be fair, a witty, or even laugh-out-loud, line would often take you by surprise.*)

You watched it because of the people.  The actors hired for Gilligan's Island represent one of the best feats of casting in television history.  Producer Sherwood Schwartz commented that it was nearly impossible to cast the Skipper.  He required an actor who was authoritative enough to be believable as a leader, yet comedic enough to be funny without diluting his authority, and at the same time with all of that, be warm and likeable enough to not seem cruel when he browbeat Gilligan.  He went through dozens of potential Skippers before he found Alan Hale.

And no doubt Schwartz put the same kind of care into the other rôles.  But most important---and a producer cannot create or build this; it just happens---all of the actors had perfect chemistry together. (O.K., maybe Tina Louise not so much.) Moreover, they liked each other.  (O.K., again, maybe Tina Louise not so much.)  Their affection and respect for each other came through when they portrayed their characters.  Because they liked each other, we, the viewers, liked them. We cared what happened to them.  We probably cared more about the castaways getting off the island than we did about Doctor Kimble finding the one-armed man.

We all know the episode "Don't Bug the Mosquitos", first aired on 09 December 1965, and we remember it primarily because of the début of Mary Ann and Ginger and Mrs. Howell as the Honeybees.  Their rendition of You Need Me is the most memorable sequence in the episode.  But going to the subject, there's something else in that sequence that I noticed a while back, and it's stuck with me ever since.

During the Honeybees performance, there is the occasional jump cut to the male castaways or to the Mosquitos, watching the girls sing.  But at one juncture, right as Mrs. Howell is concluding her solo, there is a quick cut to the male castaways. Here's a screencap of that cut:

Even in the screencap, one can see that these are people who truly enjoy working together.  And it's even more evident in the actual scene.  There, it just shines through.  

And there are quite a few moments like that in Gilligan's Island.

_______________________________________________________________________________

*  Lord Admiral Gilligan's "Ho! . . . Ho! . . . Ho! . . . oh," still makes me laugh 'til it hurts.

Ack!  You're quite right:  the title of the song was, indeed, "You Need Us".   I apologise for the error.

With regard to that quick cut of the four male castaways, the Good Mrs. Benson opined the same thing:  that the director simply told the actors to smile and, for Backus, to make that bit of business in reaction to his wife.

And, no doubt, the director did just that.  But that doesn't change what one takes away from that scene.  The camera is a remarkable device; it's very difficult to lie to.  You can take four actors who hate each other and tell them to smile and act like buddies, and they will do so capably.  However, the fact that they are, at least, uneasy with each other will still come through.

The converse is also true; when the actors truly enjoy being with each other and are having a good time performing, that comes through the camera lens, as well.  One particularly striking example of this is the violin duet of "Getting to Know You", performed by Jack Benny and Gisele MacKenzie on a 1955 episode of The Jack Benny Program.  Yes, certainly, the director told them to smile, and the number has the usual bits of business with Benny and his violin.  But if you look at Benny and Miss MacKenzie, you can tell that they are having the time of their lives doing that routine.

The same sort of thing can be perceived in the performances by the actors portraying the castaways, particularly when they perform in "unguarded" moments, like that quick cut during the "You Need Us" number.  Another example occurs at the end of the 1967 episode of Gilligan's Island titled "The Hunter".  In the epilogue, the castaways learn from the radio that famed hunter and sportsman Jonathan Kincaid has suffered a mysterious nervous breakdown, muttering the word "Gilligan" repeatedly.  (Kincaid had come to the island and hunted Gilligan, but was unable to score a kill.)

There is a general reaction by the castaways to learning that Gilligan was cause of Kincaid's mental instability, and that reaction's genuine warmth and pleasure goes beyond simple stage direction.  And, again, I insist that it stems from the actors' genuine affect and respect for each other.

Thinking on the subject of actors liking one another or not, I have often heard that Vivian Vance and William Frawley despised one another, but I never picked up on that when I watched I Love Lucy.  That's another program that I haven't seen in over thirty years, I wonder if I would pick up on it if I watched it now.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

Nowadays , titles for individual TV episodes , even with on-screen episode titles long since gone the way of " A (network's name) presentation - In color " announcements ....

Episode titles do occasionally appear on screen for some current TV shows. Offhand I can't tell you which ones. Most do have titles which are attached to them when my DVR records them. and, as you say, in listings. Some use a random line of dialogue from the episode as the title, which is fun. It is the rare show that just calls an episode "season 3, episode 4" or "episode 304."

The Baron said:

Thinking on the subject of actors liking one another or not, I have often heard that Vivian Vance and William Frawley despised one another, but I never picked up on that when I watched I Love Lucy. That's another program that I haven't seen in over thirty years, I wonder if I would pick up on it if I watched it now.

I understand that Vance and Frawley both came up in vaudeville. They probably had to work with a lot of people they didn't like and were good at hiding it.

The Baron said:

Thinking on the subject of actors liking one another or not, I have often heard that Vivian Vance and William Frawley despised one another, but I never picked up on that when I watched I Love Lucy. That's another program that I haven't seen in over thirty years, I wonder if I would pick up on it if I watched it now.


Richard Willis said:

I understand that Vance and Frawley both came up in vaudeville. They probably had to work with a lot of people they didn't like and were good at hiding it.

That's why they call it acting.

Real Name: Velma Dinkley

Aliases/Other Names: None

First Appearance: Scooby-Doo, Where are You!

Occupation: Amateur detective (See "Note)

Base of Operations: The Mystery Machine

Place of Birth: Unknown, presumably the U.S.

Group Affiliation: None (See "Note")

Friends/Allies: Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Scooby-Doo

Enemies: Numerous*

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Green

Hair Color: Auburn

Strength: Average human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Above average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Keen, inquisitive mind. Very observant.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

Note: I'm really only familiar with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies. (I have the original series and a selection of the Movies on disk, and have watched them within the last few years.)  They're basically my "canon" for the program.  The information I post here is almost entirely based on what I gleaned from them. I'm aware that there were other Scooby-Doo shows and movies, but I am not going to draw on them here, especially since - from what I've heard of them - their continuities contradict one another. About the only hing I've included from later programs is the surname "Dinkley", which I'm reasonably certain was never mentioned in the original series. I mention all this in you're wondering why I left out certain things you may remember.  

I agonized a bit whether or not to list Velma's occupation as "student". I'd always assumed the main characters were high schoolers, but I don't recall ever actually seeing them in school at all. I suppose they might have been just out of school. Their exact age was never given that I recall.

You may also note that I do not list "Mysteries, Inc." as their group name. To the best of my recollection, I don't recall them using that name in the episodes that I am familiar with.

History: Very little is known about Velma's background, except that at some point - presumably at school - she became friends with  Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, and they began solving mysteries together.

Why She's a Favorite: Scooby-Doo was another favorite of mine when I was a little kid, and one that I can still watch as an adult without wanting to punch either myself or the animators in the head, which is something that is not true of everything that I watched back then, not by a long shot.  Yes, the show was formulaic, but it was reasonably imaginative, and not written with the presumption that the viewers were morons. The characters, though broadly drawn, still had more depth than most cartoon characters, and the show was reasonably well-animated. Also, it tried, in its way, to teach kids to think through problems, rather than to react fearfully.  Velma I liked because she was smart, and I could identify with her on account of being extremely near-sighted myself. Fred and Daphne were too pretty for me to identify with, and Shaggy too goofy.   Velma was the character that I found the most likable.  I liked her style.

*It occurs to me that there might well have been an interesting story drawn from the premise of all the people they got locked up over the years comparing notes and coming after them.  Sort of the converse of the castaways from Gilligan's Island tracking down all of the people who left them on the island over the years, once they got back to civilization.

The Baron said:

Real Name: Velma Dinkley

Note: I'm really only familiar with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies. (I have the original series and a selection of the Movies on disk, and have watched them within the last few years.)  They're basically my "canon" for the program.  The information I post here is almost entirely based on what I gleaned from them. I'm aware that there were other Scooby-Doo shows and movies, but I am not going to draw on them here, especially since - from what I've heard of them - their continuities contradict one another.

Really? You're going to let that stop you? You, the man who established The Earth-44 Timeline?



ClarkKent_DC said:

Really? You're going to let that stop you? You, the man who established The Earth-44 Timeline?

Sometimes the Baron is lazy.

Real Name: Wesley Dodds

Aliases/Other Names: The Sandman

First Appearance: New York World's Fair Comics #1 (April 1939)

Occupations: Inventor, investor, super-hero

Base of Operations: New York City

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliations: The Justice Society of America, the All-Star Squadron

Friends/Allies:  Dian Belmont, Sandy Hawkins, the JSA

Enemies: The Scorpion, Doctor Death, the Butcher, the Shatterer

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 172 lbs.

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Brown

Strength: Above average human

Speed: Above average human

Intelligence: Above Average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability:None

Special Abilities: Gifted, inventive mind. Capable combatant.

Special Equipment/Weapons: Gas gun, wirepoon gun

History: The son of a wealthy investor, Wesley Dodds became a gifted inventor.  Haunted by dreams about crime, he became the Sandman.  A founding member of the Justice Society of America, he fought crime until the early 1960's, when an experiment went wrong, transforming his ward, Sandy Hawkins, into a silicoid monster. Dodds later came out of retirement, but repeated cardiac events effectively ended his crimefighting career. Dodds eventually died while concealing information from the Dark Lord, Mordru.

Why He's a Favorite: The Sandman initially appealed to me as a character because of his costume. One thing that always bugged me was how characters without magic powers created such neat costumes. Spider-Man was the most egregious example to me. How did a high school kid create such a well-designed, intricate outfit? Where did he get the fabric?  On the other, the Sandman's costume was just a suit, hat, cape and gas mask.  The clothes were easily obtainable, and I'd seen gas masks on sale on military antiques stores, so I figured it would be possible to get one. All that just made the costume, and thus the character, more believable to me. I was always bummed out that they never did much with the character in the Silver and Bronze Ages. That's why I was particularly happy when Sandman Mystery Theater came along. Those were some good stories, and they revived my interest in the character. He was a good, midcard, "Mystery man" type.

What made me laugh at this scene as a boy was Stan's dialogue saying Ben's ears hear the menacing sound, and then he drops his coat ... and we see he has no ears. The Li'l Capn found that hilarious.

The Baron said:



Doctor Hmmm? said:

Overall, I just find Ben to be a fun, well-rounded character.

A well-rounded Thing?

Ho-ho-ho!

The Sandman was perhaps the DC Golden Age hero with the most reprints when I was growing up (besides Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, of course). The early version was shown until Jack Kirby arrived, then the S&K stories were featured in Forever People when it went to 52 pages.

Still, it was the gas-masked version that was revived in the Silver Age through 1985. The yellow and purple garb was mostly prominent in All Star Squadron/Young All Stars.

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