Well, you didn't have to look too far to see this coming!
Tonight's Saturday Night Special is somewhere I don't usually go, that being the present day, but I just had to follow the further adventures of Johnny Faust and his band, and what a strange journey it has turned out to be.
If you watch this series that plays on Amazon Prime, you will no doubt notice the constant references to Hit Parader magazine, and all I could think of was...........
.........Is Hit Parader even a thing anymore? I hadn't heard of them in years!
And this is what I found out!
Hit Parader magazine was a Charlton Publication that first came out in 1942, and was designed to appeal to young people, and anyone else who enjoyed music and wanted to know what the lyrics were.
By 1984, the music scene had changed slightly, and Hit Parader became dominated by Heavy Metal music!
Not long after that, Big Hair and Heavy Metal bands started fading in popularity, and in December of 2008, the magazine stopped publication completely!
Enter Ash Avildsen, Matt Pinfield, and Josh Bernstein, who purchased the rights to Hit Parader in 2020, and brought it back as a production company with plans to focus "on original content and immersive experiences."
Gee, it's all starting to make sense now!
Besides Hit Parader magazine, over the years Charlton Publications pumped out some of the cheapest looking comics and magazines of any company, and why did they look so cheap? Because that's exactly what they were! Charlton cut corners wherever and whenever they could, and even with the talents of somebody like Steve Ditko, kids just never fell for quantity over quality. Except for their 1950's horror comics like "Thing!" their superheroes sucked, their science fiction was boring, and their monsters weren't scary!
Charlton at one time or another tried absolutely everything!
If you have twenty or thirty minutes to spare, read this amazing account of what happened at Charlton over the years, from how they did everything in house, to the storm of 1955 that dropped eleven inches of rain and left the whole 129 acre grounds of Charlton Enterprises under eighteen feet of water, and nearly destroyed the whole company.
Maybe not the best comic in the world, but at least it was still 10¢.
I think the last nail in the coffin for us as kids were the Charlton Monster Magazines like Mad Monsters, and Horror Monsters. After seeing the amazing artwork of Basil Gogas and others on the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland, how in the Hell were we ever supposed to accept something like this? At least all these years later, I can appreciate the fact that they weren't cheap as much as they were thrifty! Tabonga can tell you all about it. I don't know if he ever got paid for the work he did for them!
Most of the band is still intact with Johnny Faust as the front man! Booboo Stewart is still guitarist Vic Lakota, and Ben Bruce is still guitarist Leo Donovan, but the drummer Dylan James who was played by Sebastian Gregory is now played by James Cassells, and the bass player Lily Moonflower is now played by Bella Thorne, instead of Jesse Sullivan.
Another new character introduced is Andrea Donna (Sons OF Anarchy) de Matteo as Maya.
I like Bella Thorne as Lily Mayflower, but I've always had a problem when it comes to accepting a different person playing a character, even if they do a good job, and especially when it's one of the main characters.
Well, she got pregnant, and now Johnny has a daughter he doesn't know about!
The baby ends up with Elias instead ala "The Hangover," but that's getting into the next episodes.
In the meantime, a now totally clean Johnny wants to propose to Gretchen, but he doesn't want to tell her about the baby until she says yes!
What happened to The Devil? Which way did he go, George?
Johnny's life is going to Hell, I guess that's close enough!