Super Mates 60: House of Franklin-Stein Part 1

The House of Franklin-Stein has risen from the grave! Chris and Cindy revive their annual Halloween series focusing on a classic horror movie and a related comic! First up is Universal’s 1944 monster rally, House of Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, John Carradine and Glenn Strange! Then it’s monster mayhem, Jack Kirby-style in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #142-143!

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Clip credits:

House of Frankenstein directed by Erle C. Kenton; Music by Hans Salter

Opening wedding march by Marc Shaiman from Addams Family Values

“Batman, Wolfman, Frankenstein or Dracula” by The Diamonds

“At the House of Frankenstein” by Big Bob Kornegay

“We Built This City” by Starship

“Rock Until You Drop” by Michael Sembelo (from The Monster Squad)

“Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” by The Spin Doctors

Selected tracks from Superman: The Movie Soundtrack by John Williams

Superman animated theme by Shirley Walker

11 responses to “Super Mates 60: House of Franklin-Stein Part 1

    1. It’s the bane of the Universal Monster series…all that brain-swapping! And the nonsensical supposed effects it will have. Until we get to Abbott & Costello of course, and then it’s hilarious!


  1. Somebody has to say it;

    “Demon Dogs!” (in my best Robert Ridgely Thundarr voice)

    I used to be like you, Chris, in regards the Batman serials, until i actually watched the entirety of the first one. The Robert Lowery one didn’t do anything for me and is pretty cookie-cutter. however, the first one actually has some interesting stuff in it; and Lewis Wilson does a pretty good job playing Batman undercover. The stuntwork is nothing to write home about (Republic had the best stuntmen; Columbia got the big name properties); but, the acting is pretty decent.

    The Spin Doctors song takes me back to the 90s Superman comics, when the album was out. They soon had Jimmy Olsen wearing a Spin Doctors t-shirt in the series, as a thank you, to the band. The local radio has gone to 80s and 90s music (and some from the late 70s) and plays “Two Princes” to death. I wish they’d play “Jimmy Olsen Blues,” instead.

    Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen is my favorite of the 4th World stuff and his DC work. It’s just filled with pure imagination and artistry, with the collages and the amazing line visuals, like the Habitat and the Project (later, to be called the Cadmus Project). he also revisited his early Newsboy Legion and showed it could still work, in the 70s. That Supercar was awesome!. The only drawback was the monkeying with the faces and the politics of the covers. In many ways, I blame it on jealousy. I’ve never actually heard who, specifically, was down on Kirby. Infantino brought him in; but, it .

    When talking about Jimmy Olsen, you have to remember that Kirby was working in a long form; he was creating a big epic. He has contained stories; but, most are chapters of a bigger saga and those interruptions helped keep you updated.

    The Superman movies need more DNAliens and less Zack Snyder.

    Man, that end song; spectacular! remember when rock n roll turned out fun songs? I miss real music!

    1. Sorry, my train of thought hit a penny and went off the rails. I meant to say that Infantino brought him in; but, it seems he wasn’t high on the work he was producing. I sometimes wonder if professional jealousy didn’t factor into some of Infantino’s business decisions. The sales weren’t that bad; though, as Mark Evanier said, they weren’t high enough to justify Kirby’s large page rate, in Infantino’s eyes.

      1. I can’t believe I forgot to reference Thundarr! Good call Jeff.

        I loved that Spin Doctors album, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t know when we’ll cover a Jimmy Olsen comic again, so I had to sneak it in. And yes, I liked Two Princes, but it got WAY overplayed…and still is.

        Infantino was notorious for pulling the plug on books before numbers came in. Patience wasn’t his virtue, but artistic jealousy may have had something to do with the end of the Fourth World.

        I’ve played “At The House of Frankenstein” in the final episode of the previous House of Franklin-Stein runs, but I couldn’t resist doing it here, since it names our movie!


        1. Infantino was notorious for pulling the plug on books before numbers came in.

          He killed AQUAMAN even though it was selling well. Still not over it…

          Great episode! As you know I love the whole House of Franklinstein conceit and I’m glad it lasts over two months. Two episodes are not enough!

          HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN confused the hell out of me as a kid–as did most of the Universal horror movies did, in those pre-IMDb days. “So, the guy who played Frankenstein’s Monster is now this other doctor? And Dracula is Igor? What?” And the whole idea of someone being designated a “monster” simply because they are a hunchback…jeez. I know everyone complains about the PC Police nowadays, but there are some things I’m glad are remnants of the past.

          While I have never been a fan of Jimmy Olsen, I don’t exactly get all the hate for him either (struggling…not to…mention…Zack…Snyder). Like most characters, if you put top tier creators on them they can really shine. Jimmy’s Who’s Who listing by JLGL (PBHN) is dynamite,and I would have read any Jimmy title that looked so exciting and fun as that one page did.

          Great needle drops this episode! Worthy of Ryan Daly at his most inspired.

          1. Infantino was never good at the long game it seemed. He was a “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” kind of director/publisher. And if some stuff that was sticking he scraped off.

            Yeah, wait until we get to House of Dracula, where the benign, attractive hunchback nurse is roped in as a “monster” in the trailers. That had to be pushing it, even then!

            I love that JLGL Jimmy piece. I’d buy every issue of that comic too!

            We can only aspire to Ryaness…yet never achieve it.


  2. One of many reasons why I love the archetypal Universal monsters so much is that they’re so iconic, so firmly entrenched in our popular culture that they can be radically altered without chipping away at the integrity of the characters. Case in point: Jack Kirby’s take on these beloved monsters. I LOVE Kirby’s style, but it’s not for everybody and it’s certainly not for every character. Part of me understands why DC didn’t want his version of Superman’s face (although maybe make that decision before you hire him to draw a Superman book, just sayin’).

    But Kirby’s version of Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster? Oh, hell yeah, I’ll take all of that all the time. Bring it on! He should’ve been doing Universal Monster comics instead of Super Powers.

    Great episode, as always! I always get a kick out of Cindy’s Bride of Frankenstein-style hisssss during the opening.

    1. Good call on the “universiality” of the Universal Monsters. A full blown Jack Kirby Monster series would have been a hoot! Can you imagine the accompanying toyline and animated series? The mind boggles.

      Hey, I know it was wonky, but I really love that second Super Powers mini. The first one…not so much. The third one. No Kirby, replaced by…Infantino? I smell a conspiracy!

      That’s just Cindy’s normal hiss, caught on tape. 😉


  3. Really enjoyed this episode! I’ll be honest, old horror movies aren’t my bag, but hearing your coverage is a real joy. Your enthusiasm and banter make it worth it! And the comic book coverage was a hoot! Kirby’s vampires sound nuts. It sort of reminds me of the Space Vampire from the Buck Rogers TV show. Not that they are actually similar, but both took the vampire concept and tried to adapt it for their format.

    Keep up the exceptional work! I look forward to more episodes of the House of Franklinstein! … But after October 31, there better be some damn Starman on the docket. Just saying. … I’m not kidding.

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