Mel Birnkrant's
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Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of THE OUTER SPACE MEN , THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) MEL BIRNKRANT


 
A STORY SKETCH
         If I were still a young man, lets say, 20 years ago, when I still believed that I had the time and energy and ability to do literally anything, and if, like then, the World was still a place where one could create (and hope to sell) a concept that was seemingly brand new, then this Idea would be TOP SECRET, and I wouldn’t be sharing it with you!

         
Alas, that is no longer the case.  The world has changed.  Nobody dares invest in anything new, and it’s only by a miracle that something vaguely original sneaks through the forest of recycled sequels that grow like kudzu, to choke and stifle originality, these days.  Alas, I have changed too, and if I don’t write this idea down, this morning, I will have forgotten it by noon. 

         
But, Oh, if only now was 20 years ago, and I was working with my partners Kiscom, ever bright and optimistic and contagiously enthusiastic, at this moment, they would be jumping up and down, and this Idea would become our NEXT BIG THING! 

         
As I lay in bed this morning, watching the morning sunrise paint the clouds a fluffy pink, like giant wads of cotton candy, against a sky of crystal blue, I found myself searching for a name.  A name for someone yet to be created, a new character, new from the neck up, anyway, to populate the imaginary Planet Saturn, in the slowly expanding Universe of Outer Space Men.

         
Let’s see,… being Saturn, his name might have something to do with “rings”, Hummm… “The Ring Leader”?  Not bad!  But, it sounds a little “bad”, befitting someone who might “get up to no good”!  On the other hand, how about “The Ring Master”?  Yes That is better! “Master of the Rings”!  To this I only need to add a given name, something astronomical.  Hell, “Astro-Nomical”, itself, isn’t half bad.  “Astro-Nomical the Ring Master of Saturn”.  If he were somewhat brighter, he might be Astro-Logical.  I’ll keep that name in mind!

         
In appearance he would resemble a character I always liked; one, who, like a lot of the best stuff I’ve done, over the years, never saw the light of day.  His name, at the time, was “Gutter Snipe” an Interplanetary Poacher.  And he was one of the Bad Guys in a concept called “STARSHIP A.R.C.”  That  may well be the best concept I’ve ever done, in my own opinion, anyway.

          The story was a natural:  Commander "Noah Darwin" of the “Animal Rescue Command” travels the Universe, aboard "The STARSHIP A.R.C.", rescuing the last surviving members of many an endangered species.  He and his crew of talking animals transport them to a virgin planet, called “New Eden”, where they can prosper and survive.  The possibility for wild new creatures and great adventures could have gone on forever.  And my precarious ability to draw was about as well pumped up, as it would ever be, at that moment in time, some 20 years ago.

         
I wonder if Gutter Snipe’s appearance would adapt well to Saturn?  I like him because he enables me to do something interesting with Xodiac’s existing helmet, which you will soon see.  But does he say Saturn?  Does he say Rings?  And is he “too Choo”, as in Cthulhu, who I might want to see turn up, elsewhere, most likely, at the bottom of the sea? Maybe he could have a ring around his helmet too?  No, that’s not on the menu. 

         
Thus, at the break of dawn, I found myself, going around in circles, with the words “Ring Master of Saturn”, ringing in my ears.  Meanwhile, the sun was rising. And its still golden rays were just beginning to illuminate the topmost branches of the towering willow tree, outside my bell tower window.  Two squirrels were playing on its branches, flinging their tiny bodies through the air with carefree abandon, like daring circus acrobats.  When, suddenly, a bright Idea, not part of the Outer Space Men, but something altogether different, dawned on me!

          “The Ring Master of Saturn”…sounds like a Circus Ringmaster. What if there was one?  A Circus Ringmaster who comes from Saturn?  That’s IT!  Faster than I can write this down, the whole idea became clear to me.  A brand New Concept, as good as Starship A.R.C.?  Better, maybe!  The main character?  That’s easy: a young man from Planet Earth, who’s name would be "Phineas T"., "Phineas Taylor Barnum", the great, great, great, great-grandson of the Great Original “P.T.”.  And following in the footsteps of his illustrious ancestor, young P.T. would be an Interplanetary Entrepreneur and the Proprietor of :

“P.T. BARNUM'S INTERGALACTIC TRAVELING CIRCUS”

By "Traveling", I mean "Interplanitary".  STEP RIGHT UP, Folks!  You are about to see:

“THE GREATEST SHOW IN THE UNIVERSE”.  

         
Need I say more?  This concept, is self-explanatory!  Featuring the Finest Acts ever to set foot, or tentacle, or pod, or paw, on Earth, or any other planet, gathered by P.T., himself, from the farthest reaches of our Galaxy!   Acrobats from Jupiter, who, like squirrels in a willow tree, can defy the laws of gravity.  And a Ringmaster, who really has mastered the majestic Rings of Saturn!  Will the audience die laughing at “killer” CLONES from Outer Space?  And the Animals?  A Menagerie of WILD Animals!  How WILD are they in both demeanor and mien?   Let your Imagination, But NOT the Animals, Run Free!

         
There would be a Sideshow too, with a Barker, from The Dog Star, Sirius, who really barks, and has a "bite" the likes of which, no dog on Earth has ever seen.  And a fat lady from Venus, who makes “Jabba the Hut” look skinny, and fire eating Cannibals from Mercury.  Dare we call these beings “Freaks”, a term that is definitely Not “PC”, when on their home planets they might be considered perfectly ordinary?   There are many questions to be answered, and many characters to create, and a story, with Bad Guys, maybe?  Who would they be?  Extraterrestrial Proprietors of a Rival Show?  Competing to “book” the Wildest Acts, and, at the same time, sabotage P.T.?  Well, the story may be a little weak, but the Characters could be AMAZING!

         
This Idea sure set the rusty gears of my old mind spinning.  Even while I was brushing my teeth, this morning, Phineas acquired a best friend, an interplanetary mixed breed mutt named “Bailey”.  His mother was a bitch from Earth.  She met his Papa in one of those notorious Bars on Mars.  Their half Martian puppy is so smart and funny that P.T. has made him part owner of “Barnum and Bailey’s Really Big Show", and dishes up his dinner in a flying saucer bowl. 

         
Will anything ever come of this idea?  Maybe! Wait and see!  Meanwhile I better add… “Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT, May 7th, 2011” ….. then get on with the task ahead, designing some New heads for Outer Space Men!