Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Although still credited to Siegel and Shuster, the art here is clearly by Wayne Boring who's actually credited on some of the daily strips. Writing MIGHT be Jerry.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Okay, it worked for Robin but newsflash, guys--ROBIN WAS TWELVE!! Grow up! To paraphrase the film MYSTERY MEN, put some pants on if you wish to continue fighting crime! Jeez!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here’s an atypical scene from a most unusual 1950 CAPTAIN MARVEL adventure. Seems Cap convinces station WHIZ to co-sponser a Mid-Century Fair but that evil ol’ Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana makes a supreme effort to stop the massive event. He, of course, fails and in the end we see this unusual gathering of "the greatest living Americans of today from all walks of life." And what a bunch they are, too!
Harry S Truman-then President of the US (even on Earth-Fawcett)
Ernest Hemingway-overrated author
Grandma Moses-primitive artist
Joe Louis-legendary African-American prize fighter (a long way from Billy’s valet "Steamboat!")
Herbert Hoover-former US President
David Sarnoff-founder of NBC
Arturo Toscaninni- conductor
William Green-labor leader who led the AFL
Walter Winchell-gossip columnist (Hmm. Famous but what’s so great about him?)
Irving Berlin-one of the great songwriters of the century
William Boyd-Hoppy!!! Gives you an idea just exactly how big Hopalong Cassidy was at that time!
Bing Crosby-notoriously bad race horse trainer
Louis B Mayer-With what we know now about how he ran MGM he might have been arrested!
Jackie Robinson-the baseball player who symbolically eliminated the color line.
Clark Gable-on the downside of his career by this point but at one time the "King" of Hollywood
Chas E Wilson-businessman and soon to be Secretary of Defense
Marian Anderson-legendary opera singer
Henry Ford II-son of Henry Ford I, his legacy eventually led to the piece of junk I call a car.
Bernard Baruch-financier and advisor to Presidents
Frank Lloyd Wright-Architect made famous in a song by Paul Simon (amongst other things)
Albert Einstein-Famous physicist and reputed idol of Marilyn Monroe
Gen Eisenhower-the future president who won the war and doesn’t even merit his first name?
Eleanor Roosevelt-beloved former First Lady and unofficial (?) world ambassador
John L Lewis-labor leader who co-founded the CIO (Note he was NOT seated near AFL’s Green)
Robert Taft- US Senator from Ohio and multiple year loser for the Republican Presidential nomination
Oh, and with no reason whatsoever to believe so, I think the shadow guy over the letters n-i-t in the word "united" in the second panel is comedian/humanitarian Eddie Cantor and the two gentlemen together to his right are Stan and Ollie!
Great Americans all! Hope the next half century went well on Earth-Fawcett. Hmmm…wonder if they got the flying cars and jetpacks we were expecting.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
You know you’ve been blogging for awhile when you can’t recall whether or not you’ve already blogged about something and you’re too lazy to check. This book, GREAT HORROR MOVIES (1974) is another one of those Scholastic Book Club titles that were sold in schools. It’s author, Favius Friedman, was a bestselling writer of these, compiling volumes on mythology, history, music, movies and more. This particular one is actually quite a good overview of the horror genre to that point, just as it was about to change forever with films like THE EXORCIST, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The new horror films from that point brought both a heightened sense of reality and a heightened level of violence—not always in the same picture. Old style horror films became more and more the objects of ridicule and parody. This book, however, celebrates them and rightly so. Not just the classics, either. From THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI through the Universal monster movies and the fifties sci-fi thrillers, Friedman looks almost dispassionately at his subject. His coverage of 1960’s THE LOST WORLD (unlikely to be "great" in most people’s books) mentions that real lizards were used as the dinosaurs because stop-motion animation would have made the film too expensive to shoot. Hmmm…okay, first of all everybody laughs at those ludicrous lizards rear-projected! We did as kids! They simply are NOT dinosaurs! Second of all, did anyone CALL Ray Harryhausen for gosh sakes? I mean, this was a remake of his mentor Willis O’Brien’s original silent version. You can’t tell me he wouldn’t have found some way to make it work, y’know?
Bottom line—if you see this or any other books by the author at a used bookstore or a garage sale, don’t expect much but get ‘em anyway. They’re just good, basic books to have in any library.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Not long after Bruce Lee’s death, ENTER THE DRAGON’S Producer Fred Weintraub reunited with director Robert Clouse and composer Lalo Schifrin (as well as co-star Jim Kelly) to bring the world 1974's GOLDEN NEEDLES starring…wait for it…Joe Don Baker?! When I say "bring the world" let me add that MY little part of the world never got it at all until it finally turned up on television a few years later which is when this ad appeared.
While everything coalesced so perfectly in their previous effort, here it all seems rushed and uninteresting. The outlandish plot deals with a missing statue acupunctured by long needles in such a way that, if done to a male, acts as a kind of Super Viagra (or as the ad says, "bestows extraordinary powers."). If done the least bit wrong however, it acts more like fast-acting cyanide. Joe Don as a big, stumbling American in Hong Kong, is hired to find the statue and an uneasy mix of martial arts, THE MALTESE FALCON and John Wayne-style heroics ensues.
The bizarre cast included one of my least favorite actresses, Elizabeth Ashley, along with old veterans Burgess Meredith (just pre-ROCKY) and Ann Sothern (still a few years away from THE WHALES OF AUGUST).
Not only haven’t I seen this flick since, I’m not even certain that I remained awake through it all on television that night!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Last night on TCM, I watched FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK, an Errol Flynn comedy that I had long wanted to see. A lighthearted mystery, the picture surrounded the handsome actor with a veteran cast of scene stealers including Alan Hale, Bill Frawley, Allen Jenkins and Roscoe Karns. Leading lady was Brenda Marshall whom host Robert Osborne took great pains to say was NOT "romanced" by Flynn (Oh, SHE was the one!).
One of the great early books that founded our Library here was Citadel’s THE FILMS OF ERROL FLYNN. This 1969 book, featuring an introduction by the actor’s former co-star Greer Garson, came just ten years after his death and offered a good overview of his career and a non-sensationalized look at the ups and downs of his hedonistic life.
I discovered Flynn one Sunday afternoon in the mid-seventies via an unexpected airing of CAPTAIN BLOOD, his seminal swashbuckler. I remember thinking that this guy was great! Good-looking, funny and tough when he needed to be. Soon afterwards, I discovered him as Robin Hood and I was hooked for life. Flynn excelled in heroic roles whether it be as a pirate, a swordsman, a cowboy (with an unlikely accent), a soldier or a detective. He was, however, also a joy to watch in comedic roles with his expressive face and wry delivery.
He aged quickly, however, due to a life of excess that included messy marriages, lots of substance abuse and accusations of rape that negatively affected his image and his career. By all accounts not above such behavior, the prevailing thought is that he was NOT guilty in the situations for which he was tried and the jury agreed. Nonetheless the expression, "In like Flynn" fell into the public consciousness as an underground "Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink." kind of thing.
His last years were spent struggling for acceptance outside the bottle which he achieved via an acclaimed performance in a character part in THE SUN ALSO RISES. Unfortunately, he died soon after making one of the most self-indulgent pieces of celluloid drek ever, 1959’s CUBAN REBEL GIRLS. In that vanity project (done, according to the book, as a tax write-off), the former swashbuckling hero awkwardly portrays himself as a reporter covering Castro’s revolution in Cuba. His teenage mistress Beverly Aadland (formerly a contestant on YOU BET YOUR LIFE) co-stars and the short waste of film was produced by Flynn’s sometime filmmaking partner (and later pornographer) Barry Mahon.
He died just after I was born. He looked at least a decade older than he was. His posthumous autobiography MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS (no doubt ghostwritten through an alcoholic haze) played on his scandals and subsequent, questionable bios made him out to be a Nazi sympathizer! A sad story, it’s true, but at his heights (and there were many!), nobody then or since played a movie hero as well as Errol Flynn. He turns up on cable quite a bit these days, mostly in his best vehicles. You’d do well to check him out if you aren’t already a fan!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Here’s an interesting find. In this SUB-MARINER story from a 1950’s issue of THE HUMAN TORCH, Prince Namor is humanized a bit more than normal. In fact, artist Bob Powell makes him into a kind of "Tarzan of the Sea," having him carry a knife to fight predators. The biggest changes though come in the fact that his classic pointed ears are rounded off, his triangular face drawn more normally and no wings on his feet! Yes, I know they’re pretty stupid but they ARE supposed to BE there! I wonder if Powell just took it on himself to do this or if this was a directive from above possibly tying in to the rumored SUB-MARINER TV series that was supposedly about to materialize in the fifties (starring actor Richard Egan if I recall).
Friday, October 12, 2007
Apparently the publishers of INSIDE COMICS would have had to have paid more for just a little blue and thus Junior's costume on the original was the same red as the others. I've taken the liberty of attempting a quick color correction on my scan.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Wow! 1000 Posts! And they said it wouldn’t last! With 1 out of 5 newbies per day finding my blog by looking up "Linda Blair Nude," "Linda Blair Naked" or "Linda Blair OUI," there was only one logical subject for my milestone post and that was, of course, Linda Blair.
The thing is, and I’ve written this here before, Linda Blair took off her clothes for a few pictures twenty-five years ago and while they’re still fun to look at, she has grown into an savvy, admirable woman who uses her fame (infamy?) to help animals.
My wife and I have a dog that was rescued seven years ago. We had a friend staying with us that summer who was—like Linda Blair—a horse enthusiast and an animal rescuer. One day I got a call at work telling me they’d found this dog running down the street dragging an eight foot length of chain with a chewed-through tether on the end. The poor thing had clearly been abused. His fur was brittle, he had scars all over him and he had what appeared to be frostbite in his ears… in August. I worked until 5:30 that day but I spent much of the afternoon on the phone with one or the other of the two women in my life updating me on this dog. Early on, I began telling them that no, we could NOT keep him! After all, we already had an aging cat (who’s STILL with us btw) as well as the other girl’s 150 lb purebred Pyrenean Mountain Dog!
The girls had informed the police because of the dog’s condition and they had said to post "Found Dog" posters but to note on them that the police had been informed of the animal’s condition. They did just that. By the time I drove home the posters had all been taken down off the telephone poles and were lying in the gutters.
The wounded animal wouldn’t come out of our basement. They had taken to using terms of endearment telling him in baby talk that he was "precious!" The other girl indignantly refused to give him up even if the owners were found and my wife agreed. I know when to give in. We decided to keep him until we found him a home. Now, here, more than seven years later, we have this big, clumsy, macho dog…named "Precious!"
Linda Blair played in THE EXORCIST for a few months more than thirty years ago. She was photographed naked for OUI magazine for a few hours more than twenty-five years ago. Her scandals with sex and drugs are all in the past. In the years since then, she has found her real calling and made a real difference in the lives of thousands of animals and the people who love them! Through her WorldHeart Foundation (Home) she continues to save lives and influence others to do the same. Thank you, Linda, for so much more than the performances and the photographs.
Visit Linda Blair’s MY SPACE page, too, at MySpace.com - Linda Blair - 48 - Female - California - www.myspace.com/lindablair
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
MAKE A WISH was an early 1970's childrens series that ran on Sunday mornings and can only be described as trippy. Host Tom Chapin looked like James Taylor and sang the show's memorable opening theme in a smooth as silk voice completely unlike that of his perhaps more famous brother, the late Harry Chapin. Here's a mid-series article on Tom from the Cincinnati Post along with my first ever attempt at adding a YouTube video--this one of the aforementioned series opening (and the closing, too!).
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Imagine my surprise when reading this late 1940's issue of TERRY AND THE PIRATES and running across what appears to be Stan the Man himself! Not looking the way he looked at the time, however, but more the way he looks now! Guess ol' Doc Doom's time machine really does work!
Behind what has to be the stupidest cover I have EVER seen, the always entertaining Kevin Smith shares a considerable number of his tmi diary entries (previously shared on the Net) and, in the process, gives a fascinatingly intimate portrait of a creative, successful man stuck in the same boat with the rest of us. I ignored Kevin Smith at first, initially finding his humor a tad too vulgar for my tastes. Then one day, simply because of the title (now, THAT’s a long story we aren’t getting into at the moment), I watched CHASING AMY and I loved it! I was particularly enamored of the Jay and Silent Bob characters. Apparently everyone else—including Smith—was enamored also as the duo went on to appear in nearly every one of the filmmaker’s projects, eventually dominating in their own JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. A few years back friend Kim kindly loaned me her stash of Smith DVDs and I became a true fan. DOGMA, in fact, became a favorite of both my wife and myself!
In this book, we see the everyday moments and behind the scenes issues that plagued Kevin’s success. Not the least of these was when his closer than a brother friend Jason Mewes became a seemingly hopeless addict. The chronicle of Smith’s endless attempts to literally save his friend and the learning process he himself goes through make for engaging, often heartrending reading in the middle of what otherwise is an open-faced id sandwich of hilariously vulgar humor. Throw in a number of rants on this and that and you have a fully satisfying read. With this book, Kevin Smith creates his most interesting, fully-rounded, warts and all character. It’s probably pure coincidence that it just happens to be himself.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Every decade or so I give it another try. Thus, for what was probably the fourth time ever last night, I started watching 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY—one of the most disappointing films I’ve ever seen. You have to remember that this thing came out in 1968, the year Apollo 8 finally took man to the moon (although they wouldn’t land until Apollo 11 the following year). STAR TREK was still on the air! Kids my age were into all things space and science was, at least for awhile, as hip to us as meditation, be-ins and free love were to our older siblings. I sat in the front row of the Madison Theater in downtown Covington with my friend Terry for nearly an hour before the first weekend matinee showing of 2001…and I have never been so disappointed.
The film became an international sensation and later a cult film to the turned on generation but I just didn’t grok it, y’know? I had no problem with hardcore sci-fi in books and magazines but the appeal of this one just missed me. I mean, seriously, after the admittedly classic (and endlessly parodied) opening bit, what have you got. A slow hour where literally nothing is really explained to us as an audience and where the lead character is pretty much abandoned in favor of an equally slow second half featuring two astronauts 18 months later. There’s a lot of pretty but incongruous classical music and some striking but static visual shots that you just want to run in fast motion. Were there ever two actors blander than Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea? Yes, some of the interplay with HAL9000 is interesting and well-played but it’s still drawn out and confusing. And that ending? To say it’s left open to interpretation is putting it mildly.
I tried reading the book. I tried reading the book on the making of the film. I bought every issue of the Jack Kirby comic! Nothing helped. I tried other Kubrick films and found even the best of them slow. How one can make Nicole Kidman being naked in EYES WIDE SHUT boring is beyond me. And why would one do that? I sometimes feel like 2001 is “the emperor’s new clothes” and that no one really wants to admit that there’s nothing really there but a pretty package. But then I remember that I said the same thing about 3-D and last year THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS proved me wrong after 45 years so I keep trying with 2001. So I tried and failed again last night. Today, my generally quite perceptive friend Cassandra said it was one of her favorite films. Guess I’ll give it another try in about ten years.