We pick up in the third part of our examination of unproduced Don Glut with another disparate trio of projects. These run the gamut from television pilots to comic book adaptations. And, naturally, there are some dinosaurs in there. Make sure to check out part one and part two for the full experience!
#83 - CAPTAIN JUSTICE (late 1960s)
Glut’s predilection for comic books made the subject matter a natural choice, but a TV phenomenon also helped play a role in his choice. “BATMAN was real big on TV at the time and superheroes were real big,” he reveals. “So I wrote a script called CAPTAIN JUSTICE and it was a comedy. It was really a take off on the old Republic ROCKET MEN serials than anything else. It was very funny. Chris took it and thought it was great. He said we came – he would always show me his fingers together like he was showing me an itsy bitsy inch – ‘that close’ to selling it. It almost became a pilot for a television series, but it just never happened.”
#84 - DAGAR THE INVINCIBLE (mid-1970s)
For any Dagar fans curious about the unmade film’s plot, they need not go far as Glut was hoping to adapt the first four issues of the comic which told the character’s origin and initial quest for revenge. While a script was never written, Glut did do a synopsis based on that opening comic quadrilogy. “The whole quest was against the villain who was responsible for wiping out his whole family and his entire village,” Glut explains. “It was this villain called Scorpio. Dagar sets out after he becomes an adult. He has a mentor like the guy in the KUNG FU (1972) television series. He’s trained in the use of the sword and all of these weapons, so by the time he is an adult he is the best warrior around. He sets off and becomes a mercenary warrior, really on a quest to find Scorpio and kill him. Through the four issues, he gets little clues at the end of each adventure. He finds out the guy he killed might have worked for Scorpio, so he is back on the quest again. By that last issue, he has the one-on-one confrontation with Scorpio.”
Danforth eventually dropped out of the project as he was hoping to begin his own writing-directing career. But not before he did this preproduction painting, which echoes the cover of issue #3 of the comic series and still hangs in Glut’s house.
Following Danforth’s departure, Glut pressed on with the project and met with Western execs about purchasing the film rights to Dagar and other Gold Key characters. “I finally did meet with the people from the New York office from Western Publishing,” Glut remembers. “I wanted to get the rights to do a script and try to sell it for DAGAR THE INVINCIBLE, THE OCCULT FILES OF DR. SPEKTOR and TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS. Those three comics I had created and was writing at the time. And also TUROK, SON OF STONE, which I had no involvement in creatively. We met and they were all gung ho; they were all ‘what a great idea, movies based on all these characters.’”
Regardless of interest on both ends, Glut was never able to secure the rights and the project ended before it really began. Interestingly, if fans want to see what Dagar might have looked like, they need look no further than one of the genre’s all-time classics in CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). “[CONAN director] John Milius was a good friend of mine,” Glut explains. “I don’t think he read my comics, it was a total coincidence. But the two stories are very, very similar.”
#85 - JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN LOST ISLAND…THAT TIME FORGOT (1980s/90s)
“He wanted to do a take off on the movie UNKNOWN ISLAND (1948) and he thought I would be perfect to write the script. We teamed up with Dave Stipes, who had a special effects house right near where both Tom and I live. The three of us were going to produce this. AIRPLANE (1980) was very popular at the time so I said, ‘Why don’t we do this like AIRPLANE?’”
JOURNEY... script page & storyboards
Even with producer Robert Swanson again attached, the project was unable to find backing. “That would have cost a little bit more to do,” Glut says of the project. It is something that was continually updated and pursued for a period of time though. “The last draft was written right around when JURASSIC PARK (1993) came out as I had some JURASSIC PARK references in it,” Glut reveals. Sadly, project originator Scherman passed away in 1995 due to lymphoma at the age of 54 and progress lulled after that. However, with cinematic dinosaurs always in vogue and a fourth JURASSIC PARK threatening to rear its head in 2014, perhaps the project will receive a new lease on life. In the right hands, it could be pretty darn funny I imagine.