Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lobster Johnson Vs. The Red Skull

Lobster Johnson statue from the Imperial War Museum, London; Photo of the Red Skull statue in Berlin (destroyed at the end of the war) from the National Archives, London.

Panel from the classic story,"Red Skull's Deadly Revenge", Lobster Johnson #16 (No. 1940).

“The Time: Now. The Battlefield: Europe. The Prize: The Fate of the World.

The two greatest enemies of WWII collide in a fight to the death! Nazi-smasher supreme, Lobster Johnson, faces down the Third Reich’s most fiendish mastermind, The Red Skull, in a battle that will decide the outcome of the war and the very existence of the Earth! Can even The Lobster’s ‘Claw of Justice’ stop the planet-shattering, evil power of The Skull’s ‘Cosmic Cube’?!”
Above: the opening crawl for the rarely seen 1945 Republic serial, “(Lobster Johnson and) The Cosmic Cube of Doom,” starring the then unknown ‘Ken’ (Kenneth) Toby as Lobster Johnson, and Leslie Banks as the Red Skull. The serial was due to be released just as Germany surrendered in 1945. It was pulled from distribution and slated for later release after being reedited but the negative was destroyed in a lab fire. An edited working print consisting of chapters 1, 2-5, and 7-9 is reputed to have been shown in limited release in the mid-west in the early 1950’s but this claim has never been substantiated.

Banks stated that he had made the film as a favour to his friend, director Ernest Schoedsack, who was looking to raise money to make a movie based on the early film-making adventures of himself and his partner Merian C. Cooper, with whom he had co-directed the blockbuster 1933 film, King Kong. Banks is only seen unmasked in one scene, and only with his back to the camera. He claimed that for the rest of the film The Red Skull was actually played by frequent Republic stuntman, David Sharpe, and that he was only on the set for one day!

The Red Skull (© Marvel Comics) Statue from Bowen Designs. Lobster Johnson (© Mike Mignola) statue from Electric Tiki.

Daffy Duck Avoids The Draft: