Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fantastic F-O-U-R: Let Me SPELL It Out For You

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the Fantastic Four, and their timeless connection to a single man. No, I'm not talking about Stan Lee. No, not Jack Kirby either. No, not even John Byrne. I'm talking about this man:

Aaron Spelling: Fan-Tastic [Midnite Media]

That's right, it's Aaron Spelling. Strange as it may seem, there are numerous karmic threads tying the cosmic comic foursome to the late, great producer. Read on, my kittlings.

It's no secret that Brian Austin Green, who portrayed David Silver in the original 90210 series, also donated his voice to the Human Torch for the 1990's animated Fantastic Four series. But did you know that Chuck McCann, who lent his voice to the Thing, also appeared as Larry Horvath in 2 episodes of the Aaron Spelling produced Starsky and Hutch? And let's not forget about Simon Templeman, who played Dr. Doom in 3 episodes, and also appeared in 3 episodes of Spelling's Charmed as the Angel of Death, and as Kurt in an episode of Melrose Place entitled "For Love of Money"; or Alan Oppenheimer, who played Uatu the Watcher, and also appeared on one episode of Spelling's Hart to Hart.

The 1960's cartoon supplies a few surprises as well. Gerald Mohr, who played Mr. Fantastic, also appeared on one episode of Johnny Ringo, the first show ever produced by Aaron Spelling, and Jo Ann Pflug, who played the Invisible Woman, appeared on a number of Spelling shows, including Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Charlie's Angels!

Remember the aborted Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four movie? These karmic connections extend from there as well. Michael Bailey Smith, who played Ben Grimm, portrayed Belthazor in 14 episodes of Charmed, and Carl Ciafralio, who played the Thing, appeared as 'Huntsman' in Charmed's 2002 episode "Happily Ever After" and as a security guard in Melrose Place's 1997 episode "Screams from a Marriage".

And how can we forget the big budget success stories that were Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? Jessica Alba, who played the Invisible Woman, appeared as Layla in one episode of Love Boat: the Next Wave, and in 2 episodes of the original 90210 as Leanne.

And Julian McMahon, who played Dr. Doom, appeared in a whopping 47 episodes of Charmed as Cole Turner!

You might assume that the connections must end there. But you would assume wrong. Just take a look at the following panels, snipped (snikt?) from back issues of the short-lived Fantastic Four Unplugged.

Fantastic Four/Aaron Spelling [Midnite Media]Fantastic Four/Aaron Spelling [Midnite Media]Fantastic Four/Aaron Spelling [Midnite Media]

So what does it all mean? Was Aaron Spelling the real mastermind behind Marvel Comics? Could be...now that I think about it, I've never seen Stan Lee and Aaron Spelling in the same room together.

...curiouser and curiouser...


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