Mustering up the courage to watch “Doctor Strange” from 1978

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

February 9, 2015

Doctor_Strange_Vol_2_56 You might not know this, but as a kid I collected comic books. My favorite was “Doctor Strange”. It makes it kind of neat because there aren’t a whole lot of books that he stars in. Suffice it to say, I probably own the bulk of those! True Big Bang Theory nerd showing through, ehh?

Well I have become excited since discovering that this rising era of super hero movies now has a movie coming next year starring the famous Stephen Strange. Doing some googling, I was shocked and surprised that CBS crafted a movie/pilot back in 1978 (with intentions to create a TV show). Shocked that someone went out on a limb for this back in 1978. And surprised that in all my collecting years, I had never heard of it.

Discovering that the entire movie is available is available for download from YouTube, I sought it out, loaded it up on my IPad, and watched it last night.

It took QUITE a bit of courage to sit through a movie that was only 90 minutes long, and yet, the first two-thirds have little magic or action. It was quite interesting to see Jessica Walter carry the bulk of acting talent in this show. She portrayed Morgan Le’Fay, Arthur’s half sister. In the comic books, she is somehow banished to the astral plane for eternity. In the movie, she is sent to crash the party.

I found it quite awkward that the reputed Ancient One, Earth’s previous Sorcerer Supreme, was portrayed by an Englishman who doesn’t show a lot of magic. I kept checking the cast on Wikipedia, only to discover that wizard was NOT the Ancient One, but some other dude they invented! It turns out, the Ancient One makes a vocal appearance right at the end.

Speaking of the end, this movie could cut out half of the opening, and STILL be sloooooowwwww. All the real action happens in the last ten minutes apart from Stephen rescuing Clea from “the higher planes”. Hearing the voice of “Kang” from Buck Rogers (Peter Ansara) and seeing the chick from “Twiki is Missing”, it seems like the cast of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was making an appearance.

undergrounders As a big fan of Doctor Strange, this comic book has served as one of my many sources of inspiration for Darklight, I’m glad that I unearthed this vintage creation. I would say it had a bigger budget than Doctor Who ever did (they had a horse in the movie, while K9 was a hunk of cardobard), and yet, couldn’t pull off the immortal power of that BBC-powered show. Yet, to know the entire genre of Doctor Strange, I felt it my duty to watch this snoozer.

To properly cleanse myself, I will have to turn back to the OTHER Doctor Strange movie I carry on my iPad: Doctor Strange (2007). That is all.



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