Why not make your Memorial Day travel a geek time trip?

Why not make your Memorial Day travel a geek time trip?

While there are certainly serious observations on Memorial Day weekend, it is also a time when people enjoy entertainment options. It’s a really big weekend in movie theatres (this year, there are Avengers, X-Men, Angry Birds, and Mowgli and friends for you to see, just to name a few), there are TV marathons, sports, family outings…and reading, of course!

It’s also a big weekend for travel…that might be by plane, it might be by car, or foot, or bicycle, or, maybe if you are in the land of Oz, flying Gump (“the thing”). 😉

Well, I want to help you out. 😉

You can visit my

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project

and stream or download public domain materials, legally for free!

When you look at the timeline, look for events with a “>” at the end…those link to somewhere you should be able to get the content at no cost. That’s going to be works that are not under copyright protection. There are “events” listed in TMCGTT which are under copyright…in that case, I’ll link you to somewhere you can still get it, if possible…just not free for everybody. For example, I’ll link to a movie at JustWatch.com, which will search streaming options for you (so you can see if you can watch it on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, or some other services). For a book, I’ll link to a WorldCat search of public libraries…if they have it in e-book at a library where you are a member, you can likely download it without leaving your couch. 😉 I also link to GoodReads, which in turn links to stores (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo…)

I don’t link directly to a place where you can just buy it…TMCGTT  isn’t about advertising (and I don’t get income directly from anything you do there.

I’ll recommend a few:

  • When I’m flying, I like having Old Time Radio shows on my tablet (Kindle Fire) as an option. I’ll read, but I like to do different things on a long flight. 2000 Plus is an anthology science fiction series with some really odd stories. You’ll find it on March 15, 1950
  • If you want to read a book, let me suggest you go to “H. Beam Piper born” on March 23, 1904. That will link you to ManyBooks, where you can download (or read online) Little Fuzzy. It’s a fun story which I think will still make a great limited TV series
  • For comics, maybe try Atomic War on November 1st, 1952…this is a weekend when we remember the military, and this comic book series posits a war
  • For a movie, The Yesterday Machine on January 1st, 1963, is low budget, tacky…and appears to me to be an inspiration for the beginning of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Want to binge watch a TV series? There isn’t much surviving of Captain Video and His Video Rangers, but they are linked on June 27th, 1949

There are a lot of other options (including pulp science fiction magazines), and I’m adding more. If we get outside public domain, that really opens up the horizons…Stingray Sam, The Guild, The Mighty Boosh…

In the near future, I’ll be opening up the “Timeblazers Program”, where I’ll be looking for other people to volunteer to contribute to TMCGTT. I’m waiting for some things to be in place technically, but I’m excited to see it grow as a resource for fun and information!

Enjoy your weekend!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

9 Responses to “Why not make your Memorial Day travel a geek time trip?”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    It’s interesting to me that you mention Captain Video. When I was 8 years old in 1953, captain video was shown every weekday night on channel 5 (of the old Dumont TV network) in the NYC area at 7PM. I was really hooked on that show. Sometime in 1953, they stopped doing scripted shows and turned it into a Saturday morning show along the lines of Howdy Doody :(ugh).

    A while back I went looking to see if Captain Video was available anywhere online. I found a few, but they were all kinescopes (video tape didn’t exist then), and the quality leaves a lot to be desired. What struck me though was how bloody awful they were — I was deeply enamored of this junk?

    Then I thought what about the other TV Sci-Fi shows from the early 50’s? I looked at Tom Corbett (hokey), Flash Gordon from the 30’s (better — loved those match head powered space ships, Ming the Merciless, and the mud men :grin). Flash Gordon TV series from 1954 — this was an American production that was shot in Marseille and West Berlin. The exteriors shot in Berlin still showed lots of rubble, and bomb damage — if you knew to look for it (I have all 39 episodes on DVD) — the 30’s serials with Buster Crabbe were better.

    But the one show that I found that was still surprisingly good was Rocky Jones Space Ranger. I especially like that rockets didn’t blast off, but were rather lifted into orbit using some kind of electromagnetic beaming towers — and the sound effects of the takeoffs were great.

    It’s really amazing to me the stuff you can find on the internet (:grin).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      The weird one that was my “soap opera” (I was older than you) was Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years (an anime). What’s disappointed me in later years was that it was cut together from two ,series…so I can’t seem to find it the way it was. There’s a lot of Captain Harlock out there but not this configuration.

      I think I’ve seen at least some parts of everything you mention. 🙂 I’ve been watching some Space Patrol (“Smokin’ rockets!”), and Captain Midnight was quite funny to me. Home viewers were part of the “Secret Squadron”, and their black armbands were abbreviated “SQ”…because, for obvious reasons, they didn’t want kids wearing black “SS” armbands. 😉

      I don’t often go back and see something and think it is much worse, but I’m sometimes surprised by the cultural insensitivity…that I didn’t notice it then. However, some shows seem maligned to me on that issue. On the Lone Ranger, Tonto was very competent, smart and heroic. The unfortunate thing is the character’s name means something insulting Spanish (Tonto, of course, wasn’t named in Spanish). I think that, and the somewhat broken English, has contributed to the perception that Tonto was an insultingly inferior stereotyped character…but we clearly see that, conversely, Tonto is the victim of prejudice.

      I hope to eventually get every show you mention into The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip! You would make a great timeblazer for it, if you were interested. If you put in links for shows like this, great, but you could even just list them and I could flesh out the entry. I’ll mention the program here again when it becomes available.

      By the way, Captain Video could have been preserved, but like a lot of other shows, they were destroyed…nobody thought there would be much value in old shows. As I recall Metromedia ended up with the Dumont archives, and they were particularly egregious in the destruction. Lost movies show up decades later, because prints had to be sent to movie theatres…lots of copies existed. For TV shows, before the 1970s, there might have been pretty much one copy of them, or at least one entity holding copies…

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Edward, I wanted to let you know that I’ve been binge watching Rocky Jones, based on your recollections. 🙂 I’ve seen about eight episodes…fortunately, Rocky was on film, so that helped it be preserved. The quality of that shows…it looks more like an old serial than an old TV show. The effects are relatively good: the rockets do use flames, but they dock in space with the space station using a magnetic coupler, and there has been something like a “tractor beam” used. The big deal technology is the “viseograph”, which is not only television, but used for videocalls (with civilians, so they clearly have the basic technology as well) and is capable of remotely following the action, even inside a building (although some walls block parts of the signal).

        I can see where Lost in Space could have been influenced by it: there is a boy genius, a character who plays the basic role of Judy (the older sister), perhaps a Penny (although she lives on another planet…er, moon…um, that’s not always clear in the show, I believe). Rocky and Winky (the cadet type) can fall into the Dr. Robinson/Major West dynamic…I wouldn’t say there is a Dr. Smith or Robot equivalent. There’s a Professor, but more a Hans Zarkov type.

        Speaking of Zarkov, the feel is sort of Flash Gordon…I keep expecting them to encounter Lion Men on one of their travels. 😉

        I’d say the most jarring thing is one a bully Rocky is! He’s not only incredibly sexist (which, in the first story arc, clearly puts the mission at risk), but he advocates force over diplomacy (he’d rather have another “pair of fists” than a translator), punches somebody after he gets the information he wants, and shocks Winky awake as a joke (by flying the rocket jet into a sound wave).

        Interestingly, the series is not particularly sexist, and that inclusiveness often happens in science fiction of the period. There are several powerful and effective female characters. Vena, who gets the brunt of Rocky’s sexism (at one point, she asks him what else she can do as a member of crew, and he says, “Knit me a sweater”), is a licensed navigator. So, women have opportunity in this universe. We don’t see much of other kinds of diversity…that was harder to do. If somebody never watched a show but was aware of it, they didn’t know how you used the female characters. If you had someone of ethnic diversity, that would be harder to hide…

        People discovering and watching something like Rocky Jones (and reading books like Little Fuzzy) are exactly what I hope TMCGTT will do. However, it’s clear to me that it isn’t obvious that you could watch it with a couple of clicks. I’m going to try revising the intro to make that clearer. I’ve passed along your experience to The History Project…thanks for looking!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Edward, I’ve added “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger debuts” to TMCGTT on February 23, 1954. If you get a chance to check it out and give me feedback on the links, I’d appreciate it!


      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I looked at it — lots of birthdays — I’m wondering if you should add some content dates.

        Like the first publication of Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit Will Travel”, or first air date (on the BBC of course :grin) of Dr Who, first air date of Star Trek etc. Opening date & location of Star Wars. Geeky birthdays: BD of Hugo Gernsback & John W Campbell. First issue date of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (later to become Analog). Date when the serialization of “Dune” started in Analog.

        If you want obscure: some references to “Blake’s 7”.

        I could go on endlessly, but I’m gonna stop now (:grin).

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        That’s great feedback!

        Your mentioning of Star Trek and Astounding point out what I have been communicating to them as an area for improvement (they consider me a power user, but I’m not otherwise connected to them): navigability. Star Trek is already listed. Astounding is not only listed: I connect to scans of early issues, and the covers show as “memories”. Star Wars is listed.

        I think they need a search box, and I’d like them to do a “list” style…I think it’s tough to find things with the timeline.

        I definitely plan to add Gernsback and Campbell, oh, and Dune was already there.

        You bet I’d like Blake’s 7! I’m not sure that I consider that super obscure…there were even tie-in novels, and you can get at least one from the USA Kindle store.

        I’d add a thousand points a day, if I could, but that’s not going to happen…part of why I’m looking forward to having “timeblazers” join me! That point of going on “endlessly” is exactly it…things are created faster than I can add them. 🙂

        Thanks again!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Oh, and why are there so many birthdays?

        A few main reasons:

        * When I list an author’s birthdate, I can link to a bunch of their works at once. That lets me add more content more quickly. It’s the same reason I tend to list a TV series rather than an individual episode. I’d like to list each Star Trek episode eventually, but by listing the series, I can link to somewhere people can see all of the episodes (in that specific case, not for free, but still…)
        * I started out bringing in events from the timeline at The Measured Circle, from the earliest first, and that was birthday heavy. After I started that, I decided I wanted useful content at each point, so I retrofitted ones which were just a listing. I think even fans can find something new on many of the events…I like usually having a Google news search for example
        * I am trying to promote it more, and when I add a living person’s birthday, I tweet them (if they have Twitter) to let them know. I’ve really enjoyed doing that with some people! George Romero now follows me (although that was from Night of the Living Dead, not a birthday), and it made my day to tweet John Astin. 🙂 Piers Anthony even acknowledged (not directly) awareness of the listing of the first Xanth book. I’ll admit to being a bit surprised that none of the surviving Star Trek bridge crew retweeted, but that’s up to them, of course…I’m not owed that

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well I don’t recognize your two soap operas. I was aware of Captain Midnight (and another: Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe), but these weren’t shown on any of the channels in the NYC area. Back then we had 6 (2-CBS, 4-NBC, 5-Dumont, 7-ABC, 9-RKO, 11-Indy — The Daily News was the owner).

    Thinking back on this I realize there are vast lacunae in my TV acculturation. I’m very up on the 50’s, but then the family moved overseas from 1960-63 & no TV was available. When I came back to go to college in LA, I did watch some TV (Batman & The Man from Uncle were particular faves). From 1968 to 1980 I didn’t watch TV at all (I owned a TV, but I never turned it on) so many shows (Happy Days, Mork&Mindy, early Saturday Night Live, etc.) I never saw — I guess you could say I’m culturally deprived (:grin).

    One thing I remember from Captain Video near the end, the big villain was Tobor, who had “I Tobor” painted on his chest — turned out the decal was put on backwards in the factory — It should have been Robot I (I never got it :grin)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      No surprise that you don’t know Captain Harlock…I was in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we had an unusual amount of shows from Japan…Speed Racer and Kimba the White Lion had broader national distribution, I think, but I believe Ultraman was brought to the USA with the involvement of a local horror movie host.

      I’ve been watching Man from U.N.C.L.E. quite a bit recently. The tone of the show changes remarkably over the seasons, but it’s interesting to me that Napoleon and Ilya are typically just regular people doing a job. It’s not that they are incompetent, arguably like Maxwell Smart (although Smart always prevails)…it’s just that they get regularly beaten up and captured and it’s just as likely that a guest star solves the problem as that they do. They are committed to the work, but they aren’t superspies like Bond…it’s almost a workplace show in some episodes.

      “Tobor” later appeared in a movie (Tobor the Great), and there was an unrelated “Tobor the 8th Man” anime. There were great robots being built for entertainment back then! Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot was later, as was Lost in Space’s “B-9”.

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