There had to be a connection, I figured. So I researched it. It’s one of those things I’ve often thought about through the years, then each time almost immediately forgotten. Hans Zarkov, the character from FLASH GORDON. Samuel Z. Arkoff, the great B-movie producer, known for such films as BLACULA and SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM; IT CONQUERED THE WORLD; THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES and DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN (with the great Vincent Price); THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (the original); and BLACK SABBATH; and that’s just to name a few; the guy has tons of genre credits under his belt.
Samuel Z. Arkoff. Z-Arkoff. Zarkov. Yeah, no way there wasn’t a connetion. Obviously the character Zarkov was named after Mr. Arkoff.
Except that Hans Zarkov appeared in the comic strip in 1934. Samuel Z. Arkoff was born in 1918, but he didn’t begin his career until the mid-50s, and even then he was far from a household word. Did I have it backward, then? Was Samuel Z. Arkoff actually named after Hans Zarkov? Considering Mr. Arkoff was born sixteen years before the first appearance of the comic character, no. As trippy as it would seem, the similarity between the names is just a weird coincidence.
Samuel Z. Arkoff was the guy’s real name, by the way. The Z stood for “Zachary.”
Arkoff gave us the “Arkoff Formula” that every successful genre movie had to have in order to succeed. Action, Revolution (some new idea or innovation), Killing (violence), Oratory (the dialogue has gotta be good), Fantasy, and Fornication (sex). This reminds me of Joe Bob Brigg’s and his “Three Bs”: boobs, beasts, and blood. Those recipes work, peeps. They always work.