Archive for May, 2011

Bordertown Lives! (again)

Robert Lynn Asprin is partly to blame. Bob Asprin, who as Yang the Nauseating founded the Great Dark Horde as an institution in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Bob Asprin. who founded the Klingon Diplomatic Corps to provide security (and a means for people to dress up as Klingons) at the early Star Trek conventions. Bob Asprin, who was an early member of the Dorsai Irregulars.

Bob Asprin, who helped create what is now referred as the “shared worlds” concept.

He and then-wife Lynn Abbey managed to convince several other prominent authors, including Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, John Brunner, C. J. Cherryh and Andrew J. Offutt, into contributing to a series of short story collections under the common title of “Thieve’s World”, whose success begat a number of other “shared worlds” collaborations. The most famous is probably the “Wild Cards” series, in which an alien retro-virus released by accident on Earth grants the fortunate few infected with it super abilities while the vast majority died in varied and horrifying ways.

There were a few others, but the one I am referring to in the title, is “Borderlands”. “Borderlands” is set in a world where the Mundane and Faerie have crossed paths, resulting the natural extension of the term “urban fantasy”. Vast areas in the middle of the greatest cities are now on the border between the two worlds, where the good and the bad of both worlds mix and plot and scheme, where both magic and science work unpredictably, where rock&roll battles with Fae melodies and Faerie steeds race motorcycles, where aristocratic and unpredictable Faerie go slumming and bewildered and bewitched mortals come to make their living. Created by editor Terri Windling (and how can I not appreciate something by someone who shares my first name), the “Borderlands” shared world produced two story collections in 1986 and another in 1991, then another in 1998. Now, in 2011, another “Borderlands” collection is to be published, and I am looking forward to it.

Stories that might contain fae enchantments and glamouries on unsuspecting mortals? You bet I’m looking forward to it.

For more information, see the Bordertown Blog.

Pat Collins — “The Hip Hypnotist”

There have been many famous male stage hypnotists in the 20th Century, including Walford Bodie, Franz Polgar, Ormond McGill and Gil Boyne, but there has only been one female stage hypnotist with an equal amount of fame then.

That hypnotist was Pat Collins — “The Hyp Hypnotist”.

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Looking for Something’ by Frank Herbert

Aliens that only one person can see, as the rest of humanity is under a hypnotic illusion of normalcy. Aliens with hypnotic powers. Aliens who see humanity as only a food source.

Its a common enough story line. ”Looking for Something’ by Frank Herbert is a short story of stage hypnotist who discovers that he shares an unusual vision with one of his subjects and investigates it.

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Attack Angels’ — “Charlie’s Angels”


Charlie’s Angels investigates a hostile takeover of a company that involves the suspicious deaths of several company board members. Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) and Kris (Cheryl Ladd) are sent undercover to the company to investigate while Julie Rogers (Tanya Roberts) attempts to infiltrate Reardon Associates, which had supplied many of the company’s staff. What they find is a conspiracy combining hypnosis and murder

⇒ Continue reading “Attack Angels’ — “Charlie’s Angels””

Nix on Hypnotricks’ — Popeye the Sailor


Description: Sinister hypnotist Professor I. Stare (Hypnotist “10¢ a Trance”) is practicing his hypnotism on a goldfish but the goldfish isn’t cooperating. Instead, he fumes, he wants a human subject. Going to the phone book, he picks a name at random and dials Olive Oyl, whom he entrances with a gesture (and lighting bolts coming out of his fingers through the telephone toward Olive) and gives her a simple command: “Come to me!” Entranced, Olive marches out, arms outstretched like a sleepwalker, and narrowly avoids any number of dangers on the way and has to be continuously rescued by Popeye. Finally frustrated with all of the obstacles he faced, Popeye pulls out his can of spinach and transforms into Super-Popeye (complete with “S” from the spinach can on his chest) and puts an end to the sinister hypnotist’s plot, but at the expense of Olive’s anger: once she is awakened from her trance, she has no memory of what happened, knowing only that Popeye slapped her. The beating he takes from an indignant Olive is worse than anything he ever takes from his old enemy Bluto, especially because he refuses to defend himself.

History: ‘Nix on Hypnotricks’ was the 101st Popeye cartoon released by Fleischer Studios. It came at a time of growing dissent between the Fleischer brothers and the Fleischer Studios was bought by Paramount Studios. All of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons have been released through Warner Home Video’s Popeye the Sailor DVD box set series: this episode can be found on Popeye the Sailor: 1941–1943, Volume 3.

Commentary: This cartoon was one of my very first examples of hypnosis in the media that I can remember. The image of Olive, entranced and sleepwalking, stayed with me for decades and I only recently discovered a copy on YouTube. It is a very stereotypical view of hypnosis, not surprising given that it was released in 1941. You have the stereotypical swami (turban, mustache and pointy beard) using hypnotic gestures and lightning bolts from his hands that hypnotize, the blank stare of his hypnotized victim who proceeds to walk in the hypnotized / sleepwalker pose with her arms firmly outstretched before her: all it needs is a few “Yes, master“s thrown in to have the complete set.


  • This was the second Popeye cartoon involving hypnosis: the first was the 1935 cartoon ‘The Hyp-Nut-Tist’ with Bluto as a smarmy swami stage hypnotist. This B&W episode would be remade in color as ‘The Balmy Swami’.
  • The Superman motif is because the Fleischer Studios were also producing the excellent “Superman” cartoons at the same time.

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