Tuesday, February 18, 2020

"Oh, Bergen Spare That Tree!"-1949


Charlie McCarthy may have had his own comics from Dell but that didn't stop other companies such as Street and Smith, Harvey and, here, National (DC) from including the popular character  (and Edgar Bergen) in their books as a public figure.






Sunday, February 16, 2020

TV vs. Real Life-Western Heroes by John Severin-1960



John Severin is one of those artists who started good and just kept getting better  for a long time. He worked in and around comics for more than six decades before his death not that long ago. Personally, I think these CRACKED pages are some of his best work ever! Only lightly humorous but accurate to the extreme!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

King Kong Meets the 4 (3) Marx Bros-1971

In the news this week is the re-release of the original KING KONG to be seen on the big screen for the first time in 62 years! That would make it 1958. Apparently somebody can't count. in 1971--only 49 years ago--I had my own personal exposure to the original KING KONG on the big screen in Covington, KY at the Madison Theater. The RKO film was re-released with ROOM SERVICE, the sole RKO picture made starring the Marx Brothers. RKO had, by then, long since ceased to exist but the ad shows copyright to "dinerman and co, inc" so presumably this was a legit re-release. It played all over the Cincinnati area as seen in this ad I lifted from the online archives.

Most interesting, though is the Marx Brothers portion. Some of my very earliest memories are of Groucho on YOU BET YOUR LIFE and by 1971 I had seen him on talk shows and variety shows and even I DREAM OF JEANNIE. I knew Groucho. I did NOT know he had any brothers. ROOM SERVICE (probably their worst picture as they were shoehorned into a pre-existing play) was perhaps not the best place to meet them.

Especially when the ad promised me FOUR Marxes but ROOM SERVICE features only three as Zeppo was already gone! I was so confused. Looking at the ad now, they even have Zeppo!

Over the next few years, as the aging Groucho rose to become a countercultural cult figure, and inspired by the highly publicized re-release of ANIMAL CRACKERS, I was able to literally catch ALL of the classic Marx Brothers films in big screen re-releases, generally with very appreciative packed audiences.

KING KONG returned to the big screen just five years away, too, in the multi-million dollar reboot mislabeled as "The single most original motion picture event of our time." I didn't catch THAT one 'til TV and I was NOT impressed. I've now seen the original at least half a dozen times. A true classic!

Monday, February 03, 2020

Early Fibber McGee and Molly Publicity 1935-1937


FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY has been one of my favorite old time radio series since a local station started playing it in the early 1980s. It's still being played here today, in fact, in the same Thursday morning time slot! Seen above are Fibber and Molly as I think of them but seen below are their pretty much unrecognizable "Earth II" versions. 

Although they started in 1935 when my father was 25 years old and unmarried, they continued on radio 8 months after my birth in 1959! 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Harvey Kurtzman's BLOWOUT Starring Michael J. Pollard


Recently deceased actor Michael J. Pollard starred in a color, R-rated HELP-style fumetti in PLAYBOY in 1968 written by recently deceased MAD writer Larry Siegel and directed by long deceased HELP and MAD founder Harvey Kurtzman. The whole thing is a MAD-style spoof of the then-recent movie BLOW-UP.




Friday, January 24, 2020

Monsieur Le Coq-1967


I'm always intrigued by what might have been when it comes to movies that were left uncompleted and completely abandoned. This one, based on a 19th century novel, looks as though it may have been intended to trade on the success of the PINK PANTHER films. Movies were rarely kind to the larger than life Zero Mostel and there's no reason to think this vehicle, co-starring Julie Newmar and Akim Tamiroff, would have done any better by him. Stills from Julie's bathtub scenes with the two men appeared in PLAYBOY. Looks like they at least had fun.
















Friday, January 17, 2020

Fibber and Molly's 20th-1952



Well, actually it was Jim and Marian Jordan's anniversary, but still!