Thursday, December 9, 2010


While Nucky Thompson was getting ready for a Halloween party in the season finale of 'Boardwalk Empire', his former lover (Margaret Schroeder) came to see him.

Appraising his white tie and tails and the eye mask that he wore, she told Nucky that he looked like "a dapper villain in a Sunday serial."

I think she was referring to one of the greatest villains in all of French fiction - Fantômas.

From Wikipedia:

Fantômas is a fictional character created by French writers Marcel Allain (1885–1969) and Pierre Souvestre (1874–1914).One of the most popular characters in the history of French crime fiction, Fantômas was created in 1911 and appeared in a total of 32 volumes written by the two collaborators, then a subsequent 11 volumes written by Allain alone after Souvestre's death. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. In the history of crime fiction, he represents a transition from Gothic novel villains of the 19th century to modern-day serial killers.

And because Margaret was referring to Sunday serials, and the first season of the series took place in 1920, I think she had a specific version of Fantômas in mind.

Again, from Wikipedia:
There was a 1920 20-episode American "Fantômas" serial directed by Edward Sedgwick starring Edward Roseman as Fantômas, which bore little resemblance to the French series. In it, Fantômas' nemesis is detective Fred Dixon played by John Willard. It was partially released in France (12 episodes only) under the title "Les Exploits de Diabolos" ("The Exploits of Diabolos").

We don't see every minute of a TV character's life during a show, so it's quite possible that Margaret entertained herself on a Sunday afternoon by going to the movies and seeing these chapters of "Fantômas".

Looking at the poster of what Fantômas looked like, it's easy to see why she made the comparison between the French villain and Nucky in his "costume".

Had this been the end of it, there would have been no Zonk involved as Fantômas would have been a character in books and the movies, two different universes unconnected to the TV Universe for the most part. It might have been something the Wold Newton scholars might have wanted to reconcile if they wanted 'Boardwalk Empire' absorbed into the WNU.

But Toobworld Central will have to do that as well, since eventually there was a televersion of the infamous murderer.....

One last entry from Wikipedia:
A 'Fantômas' series of four 90-minute episodes was produced in 1980 starring Helmut Berger as Fantômas, Jacques Dufilho as Juve and Gayle Hunnicutt as Lady Beltham. Episodes 1 and 4 were directed by Claude Chabrol; episodes 2 and 3 by Luis Buñuel's son, Juan Luis Buñuel. So we have to disable that Zonk since Fantômas and Margaret should share the same world, separated by decades and location.

This is easy to do, because of something mentioned earlier in the Wikipedia article - the "Fantômas" serial made in America in 1920 was said to have little similarity to the original stories and movies, which could be said to be about the real Fantômas. So the serial was a fictionalized version of the real villain's life. Therefore, no Zonk! BCnU!

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