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Author: John Searle

Conjure Puberty: The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982)

Conjure Puberty: The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982)

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The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982)
Dir. Albert Pyun
Starring: Lee Horsely, Kathleen Beller, Simon McCorkindale, et al.

In case it needs to be said — spoilers.

Okay. Let’s go…

The Sword and the Sorcerer is the cinematic equivalent of the first homebrew table-top gaming campaign run by a 13 year old.

I know this because I turned 13 in 1982. I also know this because I likely ran my first homebrew table-top game that year. The step from 12 to 13 seems like nothing to an adult; we forget the power these thresholds hold for children. At 12 you are a child. At 13 you are a teenager. There is, I believe, a biblical injunction that calls for us to put away childish things as we leave childhood — but that never really worked for me.

When he was interviewed before his tragic death, the late, great herpetologist/artist/song stylist/adventurer and man of mystery Dean Ripa was asked to explain happiness. I’m paraphrasing, but his answer was something like “Everything I loved doing at 10 years old, I just kept doing.”

I can get behind that thought. What I loved as child I have kept. What you love is an act of self-creation. What you love reveals part of who you are — at least I believe that. Among the things that I loved enough to bring forward were books. Specifically, fantasy books — and more specifically — sword and sorcery books. Another thing I brought forward was a love of table-top gaming. Both of these things were so central to my childhood that I have carried them with me for the four decades since in one way or another. So as you might imagine, in 1982 I was completely stoked for the release of one movie over all others.

That movie was not The Sword and the Sorcerer.

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Chasing The Immortal

Chasing The Immortal

The Immortal 1

The Immortal (1970)
ABC Television
TV Movie and 15 episodes, based on The Immortals by James Gunn.

John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison. I know this because my father told me. Along with a hundred other small stories he told me while we watched television together. Whatever was on the screen would almost always prompt him to tell me something about the cast or the production or even, rarely and more precious because of it, what the particular story meant to him.

He often ended the little tale with a question as to what my five or seven or ten year old self thought about it. We did not interact like that anywhere else in our lives; two solitudes meeting in the one place we shared. So whatever was on the screen at the time filled the silences between my questions and his tales.

I believe I was prompted to track down The Immortal, at the risk of being maudlin, by moving my father who is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s from our family home to a care facility permanently. In times like these mortal thoughts rise from your subconscious like Grendel from his cave. Sometimes you do things and you don’t really know why at the time. Nostalgia can find you paying for things on a whim, and in this Amazon is a ready enabler.

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