Crap! You know that knotted feeling you sometimes get in your stomach when you know you are in trouble? Well, when I walked into the Professors office, that feeling hit me . . . and I didn't like it one damn bit.
Aarron and Vince were sitting on the carpet, tinkering around with the VCR. There were dozens of tools spread out and though I'm no mechanical genius, I know you don't use a hammer and a hacksaw to do anything with delecate electronic equipment.
May I add, you don't let Vince work on delecate electronic equipment.
Aarron stood up and started yelling at Hozehead. "Vince! This is never going to work again. What in the world made me think that you would be able to fix a VCR. Now we're never going to be able to watch the show. I'm going to miss Mighty jack because you thought the tracking button was inside the VCR."
Vince shot back. "What do I look like, a TV/VCR repairman?"
"Well you did complete that course you ordered from Sally Struthers?"
Hozler smiled. "I also got my specialized degree in Accounting. Those courses are fun . . . and covered by the G.I. Bill."
Even though my better judgement told me not to say a word, I had to ask the Professor something. "Aarron, you don't need to panic, Mighty Jack isn't playing today . . . it's just another repeat of Giant Gila Monster. Best Brains lost the rights to Mighty Jack and all the other Sandy Frank films. They'll never air again."
"I know that pinhead, today was going to be a special day."
I didn't want to hear any more. I turned and went to the refrigerator and grabbed a six pack of Sam Adams. Picking up the bottle opener I crashed in the chair. You know the chair I'm talking about . . . the La-Z-Boy Atomolounger. The very same chair used in hospitals not covered by Blue Cross to put patients to sleep during elective surgery . . . oh yeah.
Vince stood up and kicked the VCR. "Damn piece of crap. That's what I get for buying something from Radio Shack . . . I should have learned when I got that TRS-80." He then started pulling his hair. "This sucks! I wanted to see bank turns . . . I wanted to see Japanese chicks in vynal jumpsuits . . . I wanted to see Colonel Yabuki. Dammit!"
Vince is psychotic if you weren't aware of it. It's funny to watch him rant for a while, but then all you want to do is see him put to sleep. "Vince, there is a spare VCR in the communications cabinet for when Aarron sends us video feeds of the little nuggets of strife he gets us involved in."
"Outstanding!" Vince jumped up and skipped over to the cabinet humming that evil Smurf song.
I looked at Aarron.
"Sorry, the vet won't do it."
"So what is the surprise Aarron. Is Nagasaki coming over with that unshielded particle accelerator again. Do you know how hard it is to get Irridium isotopes out of a suede jacket. A three figure bill for martinizing has always been why I hated science in school."
"You're not going to hold that damn cockroach derby again are you?"
"No . . . not until July. The heat combined with the steroids makes the times really shoot up."
". . . uh . . . am I going to need stitches?"
"No idiot, its better than that."
Vince piped in. "Better that a Ronco Vegimatic?"
"Better than Popiels Pocket Fisherman?"
"Better than the original metal Erector Set with motors and other brother impailing parts."
"Enough! What is it Aarron."
The Professor smiled slyly. "My taping connection just hooked me up with both versions of Mighty Jack . . . and both are in real good shape."
I was surprised. "You got the KTMA version?"
"Yes and its a second generation . . . a real god copy. The guy who hooks me up has a professional AV setup. clean daddy-o."
And without any further warning, Aarron put in Experiment 314, Mighty Jack. It was god, as always. I think some of the best episodes are the ones where the boys rip on Sandy Frank Films. During the course of the flick, Vince had a calculating look on his face. Occasionally he would take notes on items that seemed to amuse him. I really didn't want to know and redirected my attention back to the idiot box to watch KTMA experiment 13. Admitedly it wasn't as good, but there were many bits of the movie itself that weren't in the Comedy Central one. Again Vince was taking notes as well as crossreferencing on 3X5 index cards. I promised myself that as soon as the end credits rolled, I was out of there."
But as always, alcohol had slowed my reflexes and I was trapped as soon as the first sentence was blurted out by Vince.
"Don't you think Mighty Jack was a direct lift of Thunderbirds?"
"Uh . . . no."
"Come on Mister Benson, you had that scene where all of the Mighty Jack team was being recalled . . . very Paul Traceyesque. And that ElectroScout sure looked a lot like Thunderbird 1."
"Vince, just stop."
Aarron interrupted. "No Benson, let Vince get it off his chest so I can rip his theory apart."
"I don't want to be involved."
"Stay here Mister Benson or your grandparents get copies of those photos from Tijuana. You do want to stay in the will don't you?"
"You were saying Vince."
"The team was established with no national restrictions. They, like the Tracey brothers and their team, were international troubleshooters. Hell, Yabuki had the same damn hair as those puppets."
Graves pointed a pencil at Vince. "Except that the Tracey's didn't go around shooting up things and kung-fuing dudes and forcing their opponents to eat poison capsules. The Thunderbird team was composed of scientists trying to rescue people from accidents like when they went to the space station in the first one. The Mighty Jack team were a bunch of military thugs rescuing people from other people. The Thunderbirds were a philinthropic group . . . Mighty jack were like Delta Force, just itching to Uzi down a bunch of people."
Vince shot back. "What about Thunderbirds 6 when they were kicking the asses of those dudes who were trying to steal their vehicles."
"But they weren't on a mission. You didn't see Thunderbird 3 dumping a neutron bomb on an island or Paul shooting some chick in the back. They wanted to make the world a better place for everyone, not just to enforce a specific nations doctrine."
"Oh come on Aarron, the Thunderbird team only rescued those who were in a jam because of technological mishaps. Remember that bridge? Do you think Uganda has high tension suspension bridges or space stations? No. Paul Tracey and his associates were nothing more than tools of large corporations to pull their perk taking asses out of the flame. Philanthropic my ass, the Peace Corps is philanthropic."
Aarron moved closer to Vince and was again pointing a pencil at him. "And Mighty Jack wasn't? Thanks to the out of control military industrial machine, billions were spent on building big toys that make things explode to enforce one nations sociopolitical views onto others, powerless to repell a volley of tactical smart missiles launched by the "wonderful" ElectroScout. The Thunderbird team was called in when normal means of resolving accidents couldn't be achieved. It had nothing to do with politics."
And we were out of beer.
"All I'm trying to say is that there are too many similarities to deny the fact that pieces of the 1966 Thunderbirds were lifted by the people who put together Mighty Jack."
"Big damn deal Vince, you could say the same about Fugitive Alien. The Bachus sure looked a lot like the ElectroScout."
"Same company, what do you expect. They recycled their props. Again proving that Mighty Jack was the real group concearned with helping the world."
"Vince, I ought to stick you!"
"Oh yeah, you think you can take me! I'm a blade man."
"Vince! Aarron! It's just a show! You two should really just relax. At least Vince didn't mention that damn Hillbillies in a Haunted House film."
"Goddamit Benson! Push the button."