Sunday, February 28, 2010

Porky's Hollywood Sketch Book-1941

From the final 1941 issue of LOONEY TUNES/MERRIE MELODIES, here's a 2 page look at real-life popular Hollywood stars of the day. Whatever happened to these stars? Let's find out:

RODDY MCDOWALL-Roddy remained a popular child star, stepped away from films for awhile to learn his craft, co-starred in Broadway's CAMELOT opposite Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, found his career-defining role in the PLANET OF THE APES films and continued playing youthful guest roles on television well into his forties. In later years he did a lot of voice work including multiple turns as Batman villain, the Mad Hatter and a brief but memorable role in A BUG'S LIFE, his final film. He became all Hollywood's "best friend" and took some of the biggest secrets of the biggest stars with him to his grave when he died in 1998.

VIRGINIA WIEDLER--A welcome face in lots of thirties films, Virginia had already passed her arguably peak appearance in 1940's PHILADELPHIA STORY when this was published. She soon afterwards fell victim to the awkward teenage years and retired from show business to marry and have children. She put her past behind her completely but died at a still-young age in 1968 from a longtime heart ailment.

DEANNA DURBIN--I have two friends named "Deanna" and they owe their name to Edna Mae Durbin's mispronunciation of "Diana" when she was choosing a new name as an MGM starlet in the mid-1930's. As Deanna, she became wildly successful in films with her operatic voice but made perhaps an even bigger splash on radio with Eddie Cantor. She was never comfortable with show business, however, and walked away from it entirely in 1947. She married in 1950 and has not been in the public eye since. IMDB has her living in France at this point, hopefully happily ever after.

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO--Bud and Lou were just getting started in films when this piece appeared but their series of blockbuster comedy films of the war years would be Universal Studios' saving grace of the forties. Their collaboration lasted through a successful series of films, a long-running radio series and a couple of popular TV runs before the group broke up in 1957. Costello's solo career looked promising but he died suddenly after only one more film. Abbott, revered as the greatest straight man of them all, lived until the early 1970's but spent most of that time in retirement dealing with massive tax problems from his more successful era.

SONJA HENIE--One of the great skating stars of all time (with multiple Olympic championships), she only made a handful of movies but at her peak was one of the highest paid women in Hollywood. She became a bit controversial during WWII for her passive support of Hitler due to her family being still in occupied Norway but by the fifties she had survived that and revived her skating career with international success. Reportedly a vain, temperamental woman, she died at age 57 in 1969 on a flight to her native Norway.

EDDIE ANDERSON--"Rochester"s thoroughbred, referenced here, was named (most politically incorrectly) Burnt Cork and would go on to run in the Kentucky Derby of 1943. Anderson, himself, would continue his long and successful association with Jack Benny through the remaining 15 years of Jack's long-running radio series and into the subsequent TV series that would survive the passing of radio and last until the mid sixties. Along the way, Eddie would occasionally appear solo as in his memorable role as a taxi driver in IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD and ended his career as the cartoon voice of Harlem Globetrotter Bobby Jo Mason for Hanna Barbera in the seventies. In 2001 he was posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

ROY ROGERS--Within a year of this piece, Leonard Slye would legally change his name to Roy Rogers. He had smartly retained merchandising rights to his image at a time when few people cared about such things and soon he made a fortune on just licensing fees. When his wife died in childbirth in the mid-forties, he met and married Dale Evans when she co-starred in one of his many films. The couple would both become quite religious and would live a long and happy life together. Roy's popularity grew with the advent of television. He abandoned films for the new medium and his merchandising deal netted him more success than ever well into the sixties. Roy famously had his wonder horse Trigger stuffed and mounted and put on display after he passed. Roy Rogers continued to appear both in secular and religious programs throughout his life and his squeaky clean image (as opposed to that of rival singing cowboy Gene Autry) make him still a hero to many boomers today!

FANNY BRICE--Ms. Brice had already had a legendary stage and recording career when Baby Snooks rocketed her to mass stardom on radio. For the rest of her life she played the annoying little girl to the delight of all. She died in 1951 but her legend was revived in the following decade when FUNNY GIRL, a musical based on the ups and downs of her life and career, wowed Broadway and led to the mega-success of Barbra Streisand. The subsequent film and its later sequel FUNNY LADY kept Brice's name before the public for more than two decades after her death, eventually elevating her to a true legend.

PATTY HALE--"Patty" was actually Diana Hale and at the time of this publication was just starting her brief film career. Its high points would be the two Flicka films in which she worked with Roddy McDowall (who gave her a ring she continued to wear for decades). She married and drifted away from performing, returning in commercials in the seventies and then working in advertising. Eventually, she started turning up in some of the autograph shows of the past decade.

SNIFFLES--The annoying to many cartoon mouse creation of Chuck Jones lasted longer in the comic books with his much-lauded MARY JANE AND SNIFFLES series. He was later revived and revised in a way on TINY TOONS as "Li'l Sneezer." The original Sniffles has cameoed more recently in various WB cartoon series and the latterday DC comics featuring the classic Warner brothers characters.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Update


Well, as you can see, we're back. It's been a week now with the IMac and I'm still feeling my way around. Special thanks to Bruce and Valerie for their support and tips.

As far as the ol' Batcomputer (as Ms. Lisa Mynx dubbed it), this next Thursday will see the fourth visit from the G##k Sq@&d. The last guy was good--real good--but hampered by the fact that the damn company sent the wrong type of motherboard entirely after sending a broken one the previous week!

The suggestion was made that they could write off my PC as being not cost effective to repair and simply get me a new, comparable one. I was, however, informed that the old hard drive could NOT be placed in the new machine (Don't ask me why).

At this point, having been informed in no uncertain terms that it was the motherboard that was the issue and not the hard drive, I simply refuse to give up hope that all of my files are still there just waiting to be accessed. If someone could ever actually hook up the thing correctly and tell me once and for all that they're dead, Jim, THEN I will accept that and move on but right now there's hope and I am NOT giving up that hope just because it makes it easier for the people who are supposed to fix it anyway!

Besides, the whole "not cost effective" part is because they keep sending defective or mismatched parts!!! This time every effort has been made to order the correct part. I'll believe it when I see it but...

Happy Birthday to Brittany Rose of BRITTANY ROSE AND ME. If you haven't been lately, check out last week's video of her graceful hat trick...well, at least the third time was graceful.

Art seen here is a piece I actually purchased last week from an artist you've never heard of named Leslie Hunter. She's self-taught, anime-influenced and proficient in pencil or digital media. She is also open to commissions. If anyone would like to see more of her art or purchase some, contact me at booksteve@aol.com.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 65


I finally figured out how to crop things in IPhoto so we're back after nearly a month with new random panels! This one features the Golden Age Superman and one of his--believe it or not--arch-enemies, W. C. Fields....Err...I mean, J. Wilbur Wolfingham! Wolfingham was an old-school Fieldsian con man...a long way from Mongul and Doomsday or even Terra-Man! Blub!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Comics Interview and Me










It was December of 1991 and all was not well. I was driving my wife's car when the brakes and steering both locked up on a hill, on a curve, in heavy traffic. Within days of that my father died after sixteen months in a nursing home. The next evening, I got a phone call asking for me by name and I said, "What did I do, now?"

Well, the answer was that I had gotten the highest score on the COMICS INTERVIEW 100 Trivia Quiz and they were sending me one hundred dollars and were going to interview me for an upcoming issue! Here is that interview from what seems like so long ago now. I've always been kinda proud that my interview--at least when you include the illustrations--got nearly twice as many pages as Peter David's in the very same issue!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Starlost-1973 Promotional Film



THE STARLOST, co-created but written off by Harlan Ellison, was heavily touted at the time but since it was a syndicated program in the US, it was never picked up by any of my local stations. Thus I never saw a single episode until this past year when I saw the pilot (which featured a fun performance by Sterling Hayden that contrasted greatly with the wooden performances of the leads including 2001 star Keir Dullea). What we have here appears to be a promo film sent around to local stations to help sell it. I can see why no one bought it now.

Return of the Incredible Hulk-1977 Promo

Joe Kubert-2007



The great comics writer/artist/editor and teacher Joe Kubert talks about his life in Paris in 2007.

The Mighty Heroes



Ralph Bakshi got his start working on this late TerryToons TV series in the sixties. Similar to DC's INFERIOR FIVE, the heroes were all rather inept but their hearts were in the right place and Diaper Man, Cuckoo Man, Rope Man, Strong Man and Tornado Man eventually got the job done!

Defecting Grey-The Pretty Things-1967





My favorite psychedelic number from the Pretty Things, this is actually a quite different mix I discovered on YouTube. Still wonderful but lots of surprises for those familiar with the better-known version.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ITCH Officially Debuts!


Here is a copy of today's official press release detailing the spruced up and prettified opening of I.T.C.H. where for some time now you can find my more-or-less daily column of comics-oriented links (as praised by no less than Dave Gibbons!). I say "more-or-less daily" because it always seems that for one reason or another I miss it on days like today when there's an official press release or something! Timing. I am cursed to appreciate good timing and yet have none. Look for me back there first thing tomorrow, though. I've got the ITCH. Have you?


For Immediate Release:


They’ve Got the ITCH!--Comics History Group Blog Debuts.

The International Team of Comics Historians (I.T.C.H.) announces a new fascinating group blog: THE ITCH BLOG http://theITCHblog.com

This week is the grand opening of the blog! Built on the backs of the late, popular Arf Lovers Blog, and with a soft opening over the last few weeks, The ITCH Blog is now in full force! Bloggers include Tom Heintjes, publisher of “Hogan’s Alley.” His first post this week features the sexy girly cartoons of Paul Murry, the famed Mickey Mouse comic book artist.

Every Tuesday, D.J. David B specializes in presenting audio recordings of rare rock songs about comic characters. This week ITCH’s resident DJ spins something unusual, an audio recording featuring “The New Yorker” cartoonist James Thurber’s “The Unicorn in the Garden.”

On an amazing daily basis, “Book Steve” Thompson turns readers on to the latest, greatest links to interesting comics history-oriented items on the Web.
Net Thursday, Beth Davies will be interviewing Trina Robbins about her recent book on cartoonist Nell Brinkley.

The world’s expert on Victorian Age comics, Doug Wheeler chimes in with a delightful cartoon related to the Olympics by cartoonist/fine artist Walt Kuhn.

Every hump day will be the bizarre Wacky Wonder Woman Wednesday, showcasing weird photos of beautiful women to ugly men who persist in dressing like the Amazon princess.

The ITCH Blog team is soon to be joined by animation expert J.J. Sedelmaier and political cartoon historian David Donihue. Other comics historians from around the world from Denmark to Italy and beyond are itching to get involved and are gearing up to participate in the exciting endeavor!

The ITCH Blog and the I.T.C.H. organization are founded by Craig Yoe, who “Vice” magazine calls, “The Indiana Jones of Comics Historians.” The blog is sponsored by Yoe Books!, an imprint of IDW, that recently published “The Art of Ditko” and is about to release “The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story.” Yoe says, “We’ve just scratched the surface on The ITCH Blog and I’m thrilled that such luminaries are gathering together to share arcane knowledge and treasured rarities from the comics.”

Visit the blog at http://theITCHblog.com and please help spread the word. Thanks!

email: yoecomix@hotmail.com

The One Million Dollar Man


I suppose this was inevitable but I can't help wondering how ironic it is in light of Siegel and Shuster's well-known money troubles over the character. Superman's ACTION COMICS # 1 debut just sold to some idiot for One Million Dollars! I love comics more than just about anything but if I had a million dollars there are a hell of a lot more interesting and socially acceptable things I could do with it than pay that much for a comic book---especially one that even if I did dare to actually open it, I'd find the Man of Steel's short first appearance and a bunch of amazingly forgettable and not very well-done back-up stories. Historically important, yes. Good? No. I'm sure this copy is slabbed, however, and the guy will never even see the interior. Sigh. What has this hobby come to?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jimmy Olsen IS the Doctor?



Separated at birth?

George Harrison on Abbey Road-1969



One of the benefits of my new Mac is that my ROLLING STONE Magazine CD’s purchased a couple years back—which never seemed to work on my PC for some reason and only partly on my wife’s laptop—work GREAT! Thus I have access to nearly 40 years of rock and social history as it happened so expect to see and read some bits here as we go along.

This morning, for instance, I came across an October, 1969 issue with George Harrison ‘s thoughts on the then-upcoming new Beatles album, ABBEY ROAD. They had recorded for the last time as a group but ABBEY ROAD and the earlier LET IT BE were still unreleased and the Fab Four had not yet officially split.

What did George have to say about it? I’m glad you asked.

The so-called “quiet Beatle” describes the now classic COME TOGETHER as “…an upbeat, rock-a-beat boogie, with very Lennon lyrics” and “…one of the nicest things we’ve done musically.”

His humble description of his masterpiece, SOMETHING? “When I recorded it, I imagined someone like Ray Charles doing it, that was the feel I thought it should have. But because I’m not Ray Charles—I’m much more limited in what I can do—we just did what we could. It’s nice, though. Probably the nicest melody I’ve ever written.”

He called it right on MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER. “We

spent a hell of a lot of time recording this one. It’s one of those instant, whistle-along tunes which some people will hate and others will love.” He added that it’s “…a fun sort of thing, but probably sick as well…”

While noting the fifties feel of McCartney’s OH, DARLING, George says that “…mainly it’s Paul shouting.”

Perhaps he read too much into Ringo’s pleasant throwaway, OCTOPUS’S GARDEN, saying, “On the surface, it’s a daft kids song but I find the lyrics very meaningful. I find very deep meaning in the lyrics which Ringo probably doesn’t even know ab

out.”

J

John's I WANT YOU (SHE'S SO HEAVY) is described by Harrison as “very heavy,” which, of course, it is. He then dances around about the chords and beats and John’s natural instinct, suspiciously avoiding actually saying anything about the Yoko-inspired piece.

George’s other show-stealer on the album, HERE COMES THE SUN has him recounting that, “We’d been through hell with business and it was all very heavy.” He headed out to Clapton’s garden to get away from it all. “Being in Eric’s garden felt like playing hooky from school. I found some sort of release and the song just came.”

Mr. H misses the bet on BECAUSE, the beautiful but lesser-known harmony-based piece that comes up next. “ I think this is the tune that will impress most people,” he says. Hip people will dig it and the straight people and serious music critics will, too. It’s really good.”

“Then begins the medley of Paul and John songs all

shoved together.” He doesn’t really say much about them mind you, simply recounting the titles and who was responsible for what. He does point out, in retrospect somewhat precognitively, that “THE END is just that, a little sequence that ends it all.”

Abbey Road studios have been in the news recently here in the 21st Century as EMI is apparently selling them. There is a movement under way to get them declared a historic place or salvage them in some other way.

Charlton Ad-1965


They weren't that good. They really weren't and yet there's most definitely something about Charlton Comics that can bring out nostalgia in even the strongest person. The 1965 issue of BLUE BEETLE seen in this ad, for instance, was probably one of the worst comic books of its period if not of all time. Dull writing and art, colorless (in spite of the title), almost generic Marvel rip-off characters... and yet...it was also my first exposure to BB and I've enjoyed him in most of his prior and later incarnations ever since.

Shadow Ad-1941


Hey, are you as tired of hearing about my computer troubles as I am? What say we get back to some pop culturey sweetness like this early 1941 ad for Street & Smith's SHADOW COMICS?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Allison Iraheta-Friday, I'll Be Over You

Another new video recommended by muse Brittany Rose, this is a catchy tune that reminds me of early eighties Joan Jett!

Mac and Me


For those interested in such things, thanks to our government's tax changes, I was able to do my part to stimulate the economy by purchasing a new IMac in the wake of my recent catastrophic PC issues. It wasn't really my intention, though. No, when our tax refund showed up last week, I simply wanted to buy my wife something she had long wanted for Valentine's Day. While we were at Best Buy, however, my wife and I bonded with a young man named Chris whose understanding, humor and intelligence went a long way toward redeeming the company in my mind after the dreadful (and still unresolved. More on that some time later.) performance of the company's associated "G@@K Sq&&D."

After expressing genuine sympathy for my PC issues, he showed me a Mac with a 21 inch screen. My PC had a 24 inch screen already, though, and I didn't want to go backwards. Then he showed me a 27 inch one and I immediately felt infatuation. After we wandered around awhile, I tracked him down with a few questions and next thing you know...

It was such a popular device that none were available anywhere in town until this week's shipment. Maybe I shouldn't, I thought. But then my ever-understanding wife said two words--"why" and "not"...in that order and with a question mark after them.

I picked it up yesterday just two hours before a dental appointment to finally take care of my long-standing tooth issue. It took ten minutes to get out of the box and about one minute to hook up! There's only one cord! I've got at least a dozen cords to and from my dormant PC, some of which don't even go anywhere! Within five minutes I was set up to go online and had even installed Word for Mac!

After the dentist appointment, the rest of the evening was spent with Vicodin-fueled explorations and learning how to do things and how NOT to do things on the Mac. It's impressive and gorgeous but it's going to take me some time to get up to speed with the changes. Some things are so much easier and others seem much more complicated. The Mac versions of some of my favorite applications are dull by comparison and a few had to be replaced by colorless knock-offs. This particular machine is a dual boot machine and can also run Windows. On the one hand, that seems to defeat the purpose of getting a Mac but after awhile I may actually add Windows7 for those things I miss most.

Keeping in mind that at some point I should have the PC fixed also, I have set up a dual desk office with side by side computers. This could be fun once I get used to it all! Stay tuned!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm Back and I'm Mac!

It'll take me a few days to get up to speed and refind and reconnect all my resources...especially since my new super IMac arrived on a day when I had a long overdue tooth extraction! Going to take some Vicodin and dive into my also just-received ALLEY OOP volume 3 from the early 1990's. With any luck, there's still a chance that the PC will be fixed by next weekend and maybe even have all my STUFF! Stay tuned. The best is yet to come!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RIP-Jim Harmon

When I wrote yesterday's Richard Diamond post, I neglected to mention that the editor I worked with on both my published story and that unfinished one was Jim Harmon. I also did not realize that he had died just the night before. Jim Harmon was a sci-fi author whose name I first came across circa 1972 as part of the great group of fans who contributed essays on comic books (originally published in the fanzine XERO) to the seminal comics history title, ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME. Soon enough I also found that he was the author of THE GREAT RADIO HEROES and THE GREAT RADIO COMEDIANS, again pioneering efforts in their field.

As I got more and more into OTR, I began buying cassettes by mail from none other than Jim Harmon himself, including a bunch of "new" OTR episodes he produced, usually with Curly Bradley who had played Tom Mix on radio.

By that point in the mid-seventies he was, along with Ron Haydock, Don Glut and other West Coast pop culture buffs, producing a number of nifty nostalgia magazines including MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES for Marvel.

I can't really say I got to know him but we exchanged a number of letters and emails while he was my editor on IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN vol 3 just a few years back. By the time we were dealing with vol. 4, I could sense something had changed but wasn't sure what. My last email from Mr. Harmon was about six months ago--an apology for the confusion that led to my NOT finishing yesterday's detective story.

Rest in Peace, sir...and thanks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Richard Diamond Script

A couple of years back, the good folks at Bear Manor Media announced a volume four for their old-time radio short story anthology, IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN. Having appeared in volume three with my Johnny Dollar at Duffy's Tavern short story, I was asked to contribute a RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE short story. I set to work right away BUT...for various reasons we won't get into, the story was never completed and I do not appear at all in volume four. Not only that, what little there was of the untitled story was lost in my computer crash (maybe you heard about that!). That is...until now.

Last night as I was waiting on fish to bake for dinner, I did a little (rare) cleaning in the Library and found a page and a half of the story that I had, for reasons now forgotten, printed out at some point! I'm pretty sure I had gotten a bit beyond this but I was impressed with what there was an thought I'd share it with you here while the clock ticks toward my return to full speed.

So here it is---all of it. And that isn't much but tell me what you think. Maybe I could change the names and make a whole new detective out of this guy! As it is, though, here's Richard Diamond, Dick Powell's hardboiled, wisecracking, singing PI!

"Bang! Bang!"

"Look out!"

"You won't get me, ya lousy..."

"Bang! Bang!"

"Riiiiiiiiing! Riiiiiiiiiiiing!"

"Diamond Detective Agency where we come on ("Bang! Bang! Bang!") like Gangbusters. Diamond speaking."

"Rick," said a very familiar female voice, "What in heaven's name...? What's going on there?"

"Oh, come now, Helen. Surely you've heard of radio. It's a big thing now. In all the papers. Hang on a second. ("Bang! Ba...CLICK) There. I turned it off."

"If you aren't careful, you're going to turn something else off too, mister. Now what on earth was that all about?"

"Well my most recent client sold radios, sweetie. Wholesale. As a bonus for recovering his --shall we say 'indiscreet' photos, he threw in a nice spanling new Philco for me. One of the new tabletop models. Not much bigger than a breadbox. It's incredible what this post-war technology can do."

"I see. So now you can spend your evenings with My Friend Irma and John's Other Wife instead of me?"

"Oh now baby, it's not like that and you know it. I only listen to detective stories! Helps me in my business, you see."

"If you say so. Say, am I going to see you later tonight?"

"You just warm up the piano keys about nine, sweetheart and I'll bring the sheet music."

"Ha, ha! Okay, Rick. You be careful today."

"Aren't I always?"

I hung up the phone and leaned back in my creaky office chair, stretching my hands up over my head. Helen was a good egg--always understanding and just lighthearted enough to sometimes make me forget just what a dangerous business I'm in.

Me? I was a professional tough guy. A dick. A shamus. The kind of guy Dick Powell could play in his sleep in the movies and Bob Mitchum usually did. On any given day I had no idea where my next paycheck was coming from. More often than not, when I was working on a job my next breath was in question, too.

I sighed and reached over to turn the radio back on when suddenly I detected a shadow moving across the other side of my office door. Instinctively my hand went to rest on the 38 in my shoulder holster. The door opened though and I immediately relaxed as a big, dumb doofus came lumbering in.

"Well, well," I said. "I just heard on the radio about a gorilla escaping from the Park Zoo but I didn't expect to see him here in my office."

"Awww, cut it out, Diamond. Da Lieutenant wants ta see youse right away."

"Oh, my! It's a TALKING gorilla! I'll make a fortune!"

"Diamond, it's me! Sergeant Otis!"

"Hmmm...So it is. Like I said, a talking gorilla. Well all right then, what's Walt got brewing in his pot today, King Kong?"

"He didn't tell me. Just that I should get ya to the office within the hour and by your wall clock that leaves us only about fifteen minutes so let's get goin'"

"Why, Otis, I didn't know you could tell time."

Otis had no way of knowing that I kept my office clock ten minutes fast so I could always be early for appointments. Still, by the real top of the hour, we were walking into the office of Lieutenant Walt Levenson, probably my oldest friend and a perpetual thorn in my side ever since I left the force to go private. For some reason, we still kept seeing each other almost...

Aaaaand that's all I have left of it. Comments?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hope For Bookstores!

Son bookdave accompanied me this afternoon to the modestly named "Great Opening" of a new Half-Price Books nearby. Our approach was delayed by heavy traffic which, unbeknown to us, was headed to Half-Price Books also! When we finally got into the strip mall parking lot, finding a space meant circling up and down the aisles until someone pulled out.

Inside, it was packed like Christmas. Every section had at least a handful of browsers, some being so packed we couldn't even squeeze in no matter how many "Excuse me's" we offered. All four cash registers were ringing constantly and there were two lines that stretched from them to the very back of the store. When we finally went to pay, our wait time on line was fifteen minutes even with a fast-moving line!

This was, of course, a new store whose opening was accompanied by major local TV ad campaign and targeted emails. (Don't ask me how they hired staff as I never saw a single listing for them as I searched the job sites recently.) The question will be what the place looks like a month from now. They're about a mile from a B&N, a mile or so from one of those little trading romances used bookstores and about half a mile from the best comic book store in the Greater Cincinnati area. We'll see...

Oh, and what did we get? We spent about thirty bucks and got $170.00 worth of cool stuff! Dave got Don Bluth's DRAGON'S LAIR for PC and a stray Discworld novel. Myself, I got buddy Jerry Beck's great DK PINK PANTHER book from a couple years ago, Jim Vadeboncoeur's book on the great portrait painter and former comics artist Everett Raymond Kinstler, vol 3 of DRAWN & QUARTERLY's fantastic WALT & SKEEZIX series and all 39 episodes of the 1970's Japanese TV series, SUPER ROBOT RED BARON! Didn't really see too much else of interest, actually. The usual mix of bargain books, imports and leftovers. Like I said, I'll check back next month and let you all know but the signs at least look hopeful that bookstores are still wanted!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Trailer-After the Fox

One of my favorite Peter Sellers comedies, this 1966 trailer wisely builds itself around the film's infectious theme song sung by Sellers with--of all people--the Hollies with Graham Nash!

FOTR Panel Excerpts-2009

Here are a couple of clips from Newark's 2009 Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, Seen here are excerpts from the historians panel featuring Ace Researcher Derek Tague moderating several other long-time friends including Professors Gary Yoggy and Mike Biehl and the intro for the authors panel showcasing Martin Grams.

Happy Birthday Jack Benny

Jack Benny's birthday, often parodied on his radio and TV series, was, in actuality, February 14th. Were he still alive, I have no doubt that he would be celebrating hs 39th tomorrow. Here's a fun clip from 1969 with Jack guest-starring with legendary, flamboyant pianist Liberace.

Doug Wildey Tribute

Here's a nice little video tribute to one of my favorite comic book artists, Doug Wildey, also known as the creator of TV's JONNY QUEST. Apparently this is tied to a 2 hour documentary of the artist but I haven't seen it. Lots of great illustration art seen here though.

The Shadow of Your Smile-Tony Bennett

Saw Tony Bennett on a clip from the new "We Are the World" video and was reminded of a book I have from 1968 that talks about all the groovy pop groups of the day. Right there between chapters on the Turtles and Sonny and Cher and the Who there's a chapter on Tony Bennett, of whom it's said that no matter what may be the hip musical flavors of the month, Tony is always in style. Here's my all-time favorite Tony Bennett song.

Friday, February 12, 2010

3000th Post!! Announcing: Shades of Gray


Computer problems will be lingering for another few days to a week (after which I will have a surprise announcement) so we are nowhere near back up to speed as yet. That said, for our 3000th post here at the Library, I wanted to go ahead and introduce everyone to the newest Booksteve blog--SHADES OF GRAY! Begun secretly a couple of weeks back, SHADES OF GRAY is a celebration of the art of one of comics' unsung illustrators, the late Gray Morrow. There aren't a whole lot of bells and whistles there yet as I was derailed by my PC issues but there IS some content so if you're a Gray fan, check it out! If you aren't, maybe this will introduce you. Let us know what you think!

http://graymorrow.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Crash Bang Boom

Trying to come to grips with the fact that I may have lost a ton of stuff forever in the nasty PC crash I had earlier this evening. Typing this on my son's laptop. I felt obliged to let you all know I may not be posting for awhile if I can't get it to do something tomorrow. As of now, I've spent more than three hours with it. It tells me there's a security disruption and it must run chkdsk. After locking up on chkdsk three times it finally ran, takes forever and ends up by saying it can't continue due to a security disruption. Sigh. Third base. Attempts at other types of recovery go through the motions only to say they can't conclude until I run chkdsk...which now locks up the PC again!! AARRGGHH! From time to time it opens normally only to lock up the minute I try to do anything. It will NOT open in safe mode nor will it open the boot sector so I can reboot from my boot disc.

Will try again tomorrow. If no luck then I will have to wait until my tax refund comes in a couple weeks to get it looked at. Excuse me now while I go smash my head against the wall to see if i can get some sleep. Shit.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Joe Louis by Irwin Hasen


Just in time for African-American History Month, here's a page on Joe Louis from a 1939 MLJ comic as drawn by Irwin Hasen who would go on to do Golden Age superheroes including GREEN LANTERN. Later, in the 1950's, he was the artist on DONDI (now being reprinted) and more recently has been a teacher and a popular convention guest.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 64


Still going through those HUMAN TORCH fiche scans and I spot the panel shown here. Yes, yes,,,I see what Toro's reading. That's not the most interesting part, though. Look at the picture on the wall. Namor! It's a portrait of the Sub-Mariner giving a thumbs up sign! Oh and if there's any doubt it's Subby, the portrait appears yet again later in the story!