For those Bucket faithful looking for the Regular Updates, HOVERBOY.COM is currently undergoing an expansion/migration. A while ago we decided that we wanted to move the site to a format better suited to expanding how we interact with fans. In the short-term, we've moved daily updates to:
Though the design is still in flux, new and exciting updates are happening every week, including radio shows, new animation, comic covers, articles, and interviews. In the next little while, we'll be migrating all the content from the current site over to the new format. Better organized and including material that has gotten lost in the many updates to the site since we started in 2001.
And you'll be able to show your love for Hoverboy by buying cool stuff from the new store!
1972 • It was this week in 1972 that the 'Christian' children's show, 'God Fearing Puppet Town' began putting the fear of God into impressionable young minds across the south-eastern United States. While each episode opened with a simple story line, that seemed to lack any religious overtones or undertones, by the second commercial break the 'good folks' of Puppet Town were involved in a war against demons, sin, satan, foreigners, non-believers, atheists and Catholics. Though the puppet work was poorly done, with the characters sinking lower and lower in the frame as the obviously amateur puppeteers grew tired, the plots were well constructed, so that children were sucked into, with a growing sense of dread and horror, as cheerful, happy Hoverboy and his friends were forced to do battle, in a positively Old Testament way. All of the credits at the end of the show were fake names. It's not clear who was behind this series. If you know any details about what this was about, let us know. We're fascinated. In a horrible, creepy kind of way.
We might have managed to locate some segment from the show on BETAMAX. Watch for these segments and lots more great media culled from the Hoverboy Archives to start showing up on the site soon!
And be back here Wednesday for this weeks exciting continuation of NAZI ROBOT OF FUTURE'S PAST!
"Killing You Slowly- VERY SLOWLY!"
Monsieur Microwave was one of many 1960's characters created by C.L. Nutt that expressed by his irrational fear of technology and his hatred for the French. (See also: Hoverboy #9's "Francois Fluoride", Hoverboy #8's "Rene Radio-wave", Hoverboy #6's "The Computerized Gaul", and Hoverboy #11's infamous "Putrid Parisian Pervert-Pig". What inspired this deep animosity to the French is not clear, but clearly he despised this nationality more than most of us do. We do know Nutt's first girlfriend was named Monique.
Microwave ovens were once a mysterious and vilified household appliance, not unlike yogurt makers are today. Charles Nutt was convinced that the invisible microwaves would leave one sweaty and impotent-- and eventually dead. In Monsieur Microwave's first appearance in Hoverboy #2, restaurant Maitre Dee Jacque Penier turns evil, "As all Frenchman eventually do" and straps on the restaurant's microwave oven and blasts dozens of the clientele into pools of goo, before Hoverboy can stop him.
Once again, Stark found himself in court, when microwave manufactures sued him for falsely representing their product. So here in HOVERBOY #10, we see the lethality of Monsieur Microwave reduced to long term effects that could not be legally disproven; such as drowsiness, hair loss, colin cancer, and swelling of the "man-fruit". (This last term was one that Nutt first used many years earlier in a love letter to Monqiue.)
The Procrastinator technically remains undefeated by Hoverboy because he's been rescheduling their final showdown for 14 years and counting. he gained his powers when a dying time-traveler gave him his damaged chrono-ring, allowing him to put off until tomorrow any event he'd rather not do today.
Here's the cover from Hoverboy #96, which features the Procrastinator's first "appearance"- though he does not actually appear on panel for another three years.
Be sure to check out the rest of the comics in the COVER GALLERY, and be back next week for MORE Hoverboy history, the next chapter of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST, and another brand new entry for the cover gallery too!!
We’ve been given a lead on another possible lost treasure! An episode of the legendary series, "PUNCH FORCE 5!" from 1976, Charles Nutt's last big Hoverboy project before his spectacular murder/suicide in 1979. Episodes of the show are extremely rare, as the cartoon was taken off the air in a criminal negligence case that earned the episodes a rating of, "Illegal to display in public". We’re hoping the statute of limitations has expired, or the people who came up with the rating are dead. (The only other movie/TV project to earn this rating was 'Can't Stop The Music' starring the Village People.)
PUNCH FORCE 5 was Hoverboy’s version of the Super-Friends, mimicking the style and premise shamelessly. The series teamed Hoverboy with a trio of Vigilance heroes, including, THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE (a not-so private eye), THE LITTLEST SARGE (a tough NCO with the kind of blind patriotism only a 10 year old could embrace), and METALGUY, (a refrigerator-clad appliance repairman turned vigilante).
From their secret Allegheny mountain base, PUNCH FORCE 5 defended America from a parade of giant things. In all ten episodes aired, the villains included a giant robot, a giant alien, giant insects, a giant Russian woman with a mop, a giant oil monster, a giant snow monster, a giant rock monster, a pair of giant rabbits, a giant Russian alien insect monster, and a giant robot shaped like a rabbit. One can only wonder what exciting variations season two might have brought.
Ill-conceived crime-fighting appliance Metalguy.
Unfortunately, the character of Metalguy inspired a group of Idaho children to sneak into a junk yard and climb into abandoned freezers in an effort to fight crime. Unlike an episode of PUNCH FORCE 5 this was a misadventure, with no happy ending, except, I suppose some free publicity for the junk yard owner. The resulting civil lawsuit bankrupted what was left of Vigilance Pictures as a viable studio, and the criminal negligence case destroyed much of Nutt’s savings while he worked desperately to stay out of prison.
Not only was PUNCH FORCE 5 taken off the air, but it also took down the live-action HOVERBOY/METALGUY ACTION HOUR from a few seasons earlier. Today episodes of BOTH shows are impossible to find at conventions, on youtube or even the most violent porn sites. And we have checked! There are rumours they are used to train Delta Force Commandos, and it's claimed they go into combat yelling, "Littlest Sarge, Small But Large!" If someone knows a Delta Force guy, please find out if this is true.
The following screen-caps were sent in by Richard Fader, a Hoverboy fan from Ft. Lee, New Jersey. We have asked for some better scans, or a copy of the show, but were met with a request for a ridiculous amount of money. At least that means the show exists! And that means we’ve got a LEAD!
Your Hoverboy Curator
Hoverboy and Danny Bannon, Pantsless Detective from PUNCH FORCE 5 courtesy Richard Fader
1953 • Local community access show GAY CAVELCADE is cancelled. WRVA Arizona began broadcasting the show starring Orval Allan. Allan was joined by two puppets: Hoverboy and a generic native american stereotype named Chief, who spoke in pidgin-English, "Me thinkum this heap big trouble," which sometimes drifted into a slightly upper-class Prussian accent.
The show had debuted on March 23 of that same year, and actually stopped broadcasting in Mid-May. At almost two months, the Gay Cavelcade was one of the longer running Hoverboy TV projects. Most others were cancelled with three to five episodes.
Gay Cavelcade actually continued until June 14th, thanks to encouragement from the local sheriffs department, with a live audience... of one... the son of a local law enforcement official, Sherif Bert Gimrack.
In an interview with MONKEY HANDLER Magazine in 1964, former Gay Cavelcade puppeteer Jim Bauer talked about these "lost episodes" of the show.
Jim Bauer's hand as Hoverboy.
"The show's biggest fan was the sheriff's Gimrack's son. He wrote to us every day. Or scribbled on a piece of paper. Or sent in used toilet paper. He had challenges. He wasn't slow, but he had a lot of anger... When you met the dad you understood why. So when we were cancelled the kid apparently went nuts. Sheriff Gimrack 'suggested' we keep the show off the air. When the program manager refused his car was impounded, his 8 year old daughter was arrested for selling reefer, and the family dog was found dead. The Sheriff claimed the dog was quite old, and it's death was purely a coincidence. Be that as it may, he never accounted for how the dog's advanced age had anything to do with the fact that it had been nailed to the Program Manager's front door."
Bauer continues, "A week later the Sheriff started bringing his son to the station. Every day, like clockwork. Or a ticking bomb. We'd perform the show as usual. The kid sat there and yelled, 'Yeah! Hit him Hoverboy! Kill that Red Man!' Twice the Sheriff got caught up in the excitement and fired his gun off. Lord knows how long it would have gone on like that. Luckily, three weeks later, when the kid was at Church, he flew into a fit of anger and punched himself in the face. He got his fist stuck in his mouth and suffocated. When I say luckily, I mean, luckily for us. Cause the dad was getting suspicious, wondering why there were no cameras or microphones."
We often brag that Hoverboy was the most imitated and copied and ripped-off character in popular culture. Here's more proof, from one of our friends across the Pond. No, not in Newfoundland, but Jolly Olde England. And it's something from the days of Olde when England was actually Jolly. It's sent to us by Malcolm Overbite of Hampstead Upon The Heath outside Kew which is outside London. Malcolm's father, Rupert gave it to him. It originally belonged to Rupert's father, Reg, who worked at Snopperton Film Studios in Dowdy-On-The-Trent. This shows a preliminary costume idea for an upcoming film, "Hover-Chap Joins The Navy" (Variously retitled "Professor Boffin and the Submarine Scandal", "Air Commander Whittle Saves The Queen", and "Carry On Hovering.")
The studio didn't know much about Hoverboy, and had stolen the idea after one of their top executives brought back a slew of comic books from a trip to the United States. Malcolm tell us that Snopperton Studios were notorious for stealing other characters. In fact, they were forced into bankruptcy when they released Super-Chap vs Bat-Chap, and were sued by DC comics.
Another lawsuit over their ripoff of The Lone Ranger, set in a bank, and retitled The Loan Arranger, was settled out of court.
Despite several production people signing off on this design, the Hoverboy movie never got off the drawing board. Which is where this picture was pinned when Malcolm's grandfather Reg 'pinched it.' Apparently the company culture of larceny was picked up by everyone who worked there. Thanks Malcolm!
1950 • Herbert Tilly, the last living actor to play Hoverboy in the Vigilance Pictures serials, dies at the age of 27. Eighteen actors played the role over the course of the 8 known 13-chapter serials produced between 1939 and 1947.
After returning from a tour of duty as a seaman in the South Pacific aboard the USS INDIANAPOLIS, Herbert started at Vigilance Pictures as a props man on HOVERBOY AND THE GHOST TOWN SPY RING. "I was pretty handy at putting stuff places..." Herbert wrote in his unfinished and unpublished memoir, "STUFF ABOUT ME THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW UNLESS I TOLD YOU ABOUT IT". Herbert continued, "...there's a real art to props work. When you fill a room up with stuff, it has to look like the stuff is supposed to be there. Some people might put a lobster on the table of what's supposed to be a swanky hotel room, when it would just never be there. People might think it was a lobster shack, which it almost never was. But you might think it was, if there was a lobster there! That's a mistake you only make once! It's complicated!".
Two years later on the set of the last Vigilance Hoverboy serial; the lacklustre HOVERBOY INVESTIGATES MAIL FRAUD!, fate shone on Herbert three days into shooting. At the same time, fate shone in a less positive way for Rubert Ludlow. Ludlow was injured on set in an accidental disembowelling involving a malfunctioning printing press. His injury was later reclassified as "death" by doctors. With a tight four-day shooting schedule, infamous Vigilance director Lars Gurbon turned to his props man to fill out the Hoverboy costume- once it was cleaned of Rupert Ludlow's internal organs.
Herbert was well aware of the fate that had befallen previous actors who played Hoverboy, but he was encouraged to make the leap in front of the camera by Gurbon who, "waved a gun at me, fired a couple of shots in the air, and urinated on his assistant for reasons not entirely clear to me even now." According to Herbert's memoir, the remaining shoot went off without incident. "There wasn't much left to shoot. Mostly walking into and out of the post office and licking stamps, which isn't easy to do with a bucket on! Two stuntmen were killed, but that was pretty typical...".
Herbert never pursued any further acting, but continued working at a props man on various low budget films until his death in 1950. he died peacefully in his sleep, in hospital, the day after being run over by a poultry truck.
1977 • Production start on HOVERBOY/METALGUY ACTION HOUR. The live-action series has Hoverboy thrown back in time, where he witnesses, and plays part in, crucial moments in American history. The show was criticized by historians for it's skewed Right-Wing slant, and praised by Republicans for it's anti-history slant.
I have recently gotten in to Hoverboy Toys and Action Figures. I can't believe how many items there are. Whoever said Hoverboy is the most commercialized and exploited character in pop culture character isn't kidding. Or if they were kidding, they are wrong, cause it's true and they shouldn't kid about it. What makes them so collectable is that even though there are thousands of different Hoverboy dolls and toys and games, none of them were good enough to catch on big time, so they are only done in small runs. Which makes them incredibly valuable.
My question is this: I found a Hoverboy Mojo Action figure of ROBOX, THE WOODEN ROBOT at a yard sale, and his legs are broken off. At least I think they are broken. Or is this part of the ROBOX character? Did this toy become a double amputee in the comic books when he battled Hoverboy? If the legs are broken off, will it lessen the resale/collector value if I glue them back on? If so, what kind of glue should I use?
Also, does anyone know how many issues of Hoverboy included ROBOX. The only comic I have with ROBOX says, "He's Back! With Bigger Splinters." But it doesn't say what he is back from.
By the way, ROBOX is a great character. A robot who doesn't set off metal detectors or radar screens, and can fold up to look like an innocent chest of drawers. Very cool!
Thank you in advance for all your help.
WEEK OF MAY 17, 2010
1918 • Hoverboy co-creator Charles Nutt's father, Peter Nutt, is horribly wounded during the Battle Of Cantigny, the first major US offensive the First World War. The elder Nutt tried to stay out of the war; claiming heart attacks, blindness, medical cowardice, "secret negroism" and leprosy, none of which earned him the deferment he so clearly desired.
Peter spent the fall of 1917, training with the American 1st Army Division, and staining a record one hundred and eleven pairs of government issued trousers with what officials described as "terror". In battle, Private 1st Class Nutt frequently could be found with a bucket on his head, over his helmet and gas mask, according to his diaries because "ya can't be too careful, right?". And on the fateful day of May 16th, that's how Private Nutt went over the top, charging towards the Hun blindly, and "screaming like a tiny Chinese woman" (also according to his diary). When he was hit simultaneously by two artillery shells it blew off both legs, both arms and almost all his internal organs, leaving only his head, heart, lungs and genitalia unharmed.
The moment of Nutt's debilitating injury was captured in the famous image by
photographer Dan Williams, entitled "Our Honoured Exploded".
This event was the source of the famous expression "a real bucket case" used in army hospitals to this day. For years after the war, Nutt toured the Midwest Freak Circuit as "the Amazing Head", where he met a young Cynthia Goerring, and fell in love. That marriage produced three children, including Charles and his twin sisters, Emily and Emily.
Peter Nutt on display as "The Amazing Head"
In 1929, the family opened the Nutt Hardware Store in North Ben Missouri, where a young Bob Stark was sent to purchase "something to hold water" and the rest is history.
1964 • First (and last) issue of HOVERBOY'S FOOD FUN MAGAZINE hits newsstands. For collectors who own this hard to find item, the answer to page seven's "Vegetable Tumble" is RUTABAGA.
1990 • Hoverboy Anime show "Lucky Hovering Float Boy American" airs in Japan. Though partly financed by the Nutt estate, the show is never brought to US airwaves because the staccato animation style used during fight scenes caused seizures in forty-seven thousand Japanese children. Though none of the children died, over nine thousand parents were killed trying to restrain them.
HOVERBOY IN FORGOTTEN SESAME STREET SPIN-OFF
NOVEMBER 11, 2009
Hoverboy Puppet from failed Sesame Street spin-off.
In 1971, three years after the premier of Sesame Street, a controversy was brewing. Some educators and Baptists felt that Sesame Street was confusing to children living outside of urban areas. The lack of picket fences, trees, and cows was cited. Other concerns arose over the title, the complexity of the preschool curriculum, and very few references to Jesus. A leader of one group, Reverend Jimmy Bob commented about, "The cast being so full of 'coloured folk.'" When later confronted over his remarks he claimed he meant the puppets were Yellow, Blue, Red and Green.
Bending to pressure, a PBS affiliate in Arkansas produced a pilot entitled GOD FEARING DECENT AMERICAN STREET which was promptly rejected by the genial Henson.
Eventually DECENT AMERICAN STREET was re-named and released on tape in the late 70's as GOD-FEARING PUPPET TOWN. Hoverboy plays a small part in the show, essentially replacing the Sesame Street Super-Grover segments. Even if the show had gone ahead, Hoverboy would have been dropped. Henson hated Hoverboy after seeing a few episodes of GAY CAVALCADE, and the Muppet creative team argued having a hand puppet hover was impossible. There was talk of replacing Hoverboy with a marionette, but the hovering issue was never resolved, despite two fist fights at the PBS station.
Two screen captures from God-Fearing Puppet Town, sent in by Tom Franks.
A "Fastaction" Story.
Whitemore Books. 1947
4" by 4". 88 pages.
The first of the "Fastaction" series, Hoverboy vs. the Immigrants was a prose novel [loosely based on Vigilance's cliffhanger serial of the same name], published just after the war, when nationalism was still the dominant political philosophy for most American citizens, and a fear of foreign invasion was a popular anxiety.
Though the opening chapter involves little more than Hoverboy on Ellis Island, punching people as they get off the boats, the main story concerns a family of Greek refugees who arouse suspicions in Hoverboy when he can’t place the family’s accent after talking to the mother in a Manhattan supermarket line.
The next chapters involve the Battlin’ Bucket spying on the family, and making notes about their home life and behavior, until Hoverboy finally confronts the father physically on Good Friday, when our hero realizes the family "…doesn’t use the same calendar that decent Americans use…" to determine when Easter is.
Though police eventually do intervene, and save the Greek family from Hoverboy’s anger (though not their home, nor a beloved children’s pet duck named "Demitrios") but there’s a not too subtle message to readers that the cops can’t be trusted in matters of illegal immigration, and that it’s best left up to private citizens to run people with accents out of the country. The final eight pages are a direct appeal to every Johnny and Janey America to do their part to "clean up your town".
Stunning stuff, even for 1947. But the dime novel series lived up its name for "Fast Action" as there are nineteen fist fights and five dead people by the end of chapter one.
See you back here on next week for the next chapter of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURES PAST, Hoverboy on Seasame Street?!, a new comic cover, and the first in our new series of HOVERBOY RADIO SHOWS!!
NOVEMBER 4, 2009
HOVERBOY CEREAL MINI FIGURES Iroquois Cereal (1957)
Of the many curses, scandals and lawsuits that fill the Battling Bucket’s history, the Iroquois Cereal Toy Epidemic of 1957 was voted the fifth most tragic by members of the Hoverboy fan club.
By the late Fifties, perennial bottom dweller, "Iroquois Foods" of Liver Creek Tennessee was keen to break into the breakfast big leagues and take on Quaker, Kelloggs and Post. Their idea: to include a collectable Hoverboy toy in every box of their leading products: Nougat Puffs, Frosty Shapes, and Sugared Wheat Globs .
Fearing that the little cellophane bags that the toys came in might be a choking hazard, Iroquois Inc. simply put the tiny Hoverboy figurines directly into the cereal. The toys were easy enough to spot in Sugared Wheat Globs and Frosty Shapes, but Nougat Puffs came in bright colored "puffs" of red, purple and blue and, tragically, the little super-heroes(including the first ever marketed versions of Hovergirl), blended right into the breakfast food.
The final factor that lead to the choking of so many innocent children was when the head of Iroquois Cereal, Colonel Reginald J. Stonewall, refused to "waste money on changing the cereal box artwork" so that no cereal boxes would be marked, "Free Toy Inside."
"The kids never had a chance", Eddie Bascombe, Mayor of Liver Creek said to reporters at the time. "Everywhere you looked, it was kids bent over, spitting up something all over town. Me and the deputies went over to the cereal company with a couple of baseball bats, and straightened everything out, right quick. No trouble after that."
An urban legend claims that over a thousand children were hospitalized in Tennessee within one week of the boxes being. distributed. Astoundingly, no actual deaths were ever directly attributed to this event, primarily because families who bought such a cheap cereal couldn't afford lawyers. Or, as is common in Appalachia, parents just figured, "We're bound to lose a few."
Pictured below are just some of the many figurines available to collectors today. Every one of them was rescued from the esophagus of a ten year old child, and most have been washed off.
A few of the figures retrieved from the esophaguses of Iroquois Cerial Choking victims.
COMING SOON: The Iroquois Cereal 'Hoverboy Villain' Toys
HOVERBOY SERIAL SCRIPT COVERPAGE
Hey Hoverfans!! Today we have an extremely rare history item sent in by a reader, the script cover to the lost Hoverboy serial HOVERBOY VERSUS THE IMMIGRANTS.
The script was co-written by Nutt and infamous Vigilance Pictures director Lars Gurbon. We'll have much more in the coming months on Hoverboy's serial adventures, and the career of the the man dubbed, "The Director of Death!".
See you back here on Monday for the next chapter of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURES PAST, and lots more to come next week!