Monday, November 8, 2010

Conan the Adventurer, Episode 1

From Hyborean Apocrypha

Conan: The Adventurer - (1997)

"After the oceans swallowed Atlantis but before the age of recorded history. Kingdom's spread across the ancient world.. This was the age of Conan. Enslaved as a Boy, Conan grew into a Warrior. He Escaped to encounter Mystery, magic and Myth, while forever encountering the ultimate master of sorcery. Lover, Friend, Hero. His Destiny, was to free the oppressed, And become a King by his own hand, Conan"

This is the third Conan Television series, following 1992's Conan the Adventurer and 1994's Conan and the Young Warriors. However it is the only live action series. It ran for 22 episodes. This show dosen't follow 1982's Conan the Barbarian, 1985's Conan the Destroyer or 1987's Red Sonja.

Conan: The Adventurer - Episode 1, The Heart of the Elephant part 1 (1997)

"Thousands of years ago, long after the oceans drank the gleaming city of Atlantis, There was an age undreamed of, when mythical kingdoms spread across the uncharted world like mantles beneath the stars. The Hyborian age, a time of superstition and myth. When sorcerers cast evil spells and fantastic creatures stalked the earth. A time when many were ruled by few. In this world lived an adventurer destined to be its king. A man in whose veins flowed the ancient blood of Atlantis, He is a Cimmerian, born on the Battlefield, strengthened by time and trial, He.. Is Conan"

So the Narrator informs us at the beginning of this episode, just before a man who is obviously a King wakes up. We are informed via his interrogation of a dodgy special effects skull beast thing that this is a recurring dream of his impending death at the hands of Conan. The man with this recurring dream is the so called King of Cimmeria, Hissar Zhul. He is especially concerned to acquire the Sword which Conan carries. His skull like adviser, recommends sending an army to capture Conan and the sword before he can fulfill his destiny of overthrowing Hissar Zhul. Zhul dispatches his Adviser Yara, his mistreated sidekick Otli and the great General Goroth to capture Conan.

Unbeknown to Conan (Ralph Moeller), who has just finished a hunt, Conan is accosted by a girl, Tamira, who begs off half his kill for her starving Village. While she is distracting him, some other villagers steal the rest of the kill. She then offers to prepare Conan a meal. A guest at his own meal he says. Dinner over, Gobe (Mickey Rooney) the village elder and Conan converse, Hissar Zhul we learn, rules all the lands from Shem to Cimmeria, and was responsible for raiding Conan's Village and kidnapping him as a child.

The army that Hissar Zhul sent, attacks the village but is repulsed by Conan but vow to return. Two day's later they do return and raze the village entirely to the ground. Capturing the girl and Conan, Yara lies to Goroth that the Barbarian they captured is not Conan and proceeds to sell him to a gladiatorial arena. This would make the second time in Conan's life which he is a Gladiator.

While awaiting his first day as a gladiator he comes to know, Zzeben the Mute and Vulkar, two other gladiators, imploring them to rise up against their captors and be free men. The Following day Conan faces Vulkar in the ring and they stage their escape along with Zzeben. In the woods, the three escaped gladiators plan to rescue Tamira, but not knowing where she is aren't sure how to go about it. They are then approached by Otli, who promises to guide Conan to her in exchange for Conan's help in him becoming a free man. Otli and Conan set off alone, but Zzeben silently implores Vulkar to follow them anyway.

Otli and Conan set off, and Conan quickly feels the urge to climb a hill. Otli says there's no reason to, but Conan goes anyway, where he finds a crypt and retrieves the Sword which Hissar Zhul saw in his dreams. The creature which formerly owned the sword objects to Conan's grave robbing and attacks. Conan defeats the creature, Otli says this is exactly why he didn't want to go in the cave.. why he hates caves in fact.. but Conan says he had to, was drawn to the cave by some force, The sword begins to glow, and we encounter Crom (Richard Burton*) who is unlike any other version of Crom.. in that he seems to be a caring and all around nice sort of chap for a disembodied floating head. He explains his grand purpose for Conan, that the sword is a magic sword from Atlantis which its conan's destiny to use to right wrongs in the world.

Next: Episode 2 The Heart of the Elephant part 2

*The image of Crom's face is reused stock footage of Burton, who died nearly 14 years before this program was made, I don't know who provided the voice.

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