Friday, April 30, 2010

Buster Keaton Meets Speedy Alka-Seltzer

Dick Beals as the voice of Speedy joins the great Buster Keaton in these 1950's commercials and print ads! Well...technically, I guess Dick probably stayed home for the print ads.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Laurel and Hardy-The Dancing Masters-1943

Here, in its entirety from HULU, is the 1943 Laurel and Hardy feature, THE DANCING MASTERS. I remember watching this late night on TV in the mid-seventies and thinking it better than many of their later features. Watching it again this morning, I was struck by the interesting co-stars, also.

First and most obvious perhaps is a young Robert Mitchum--before he was really Robert Mitchum--in a short but substantial part as a thug.

Then there's Margaret Dumont, Groucho's traditional foil in so many Marx Brothers classics, here performing her traditional oblivious dowager role.

The hero of the film is one Robert Bailey, a leading man with a rubbery, character actor face. His voice was familiar but I couldn't quite place him until I looked him up. As BOB Bailey, he was the longest running actor to play the title role in radio's YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR!

Finally the "other man" in the picture is played by Allan Lane and while he's all dressed up with slicked back hair and a mustache, it really is Allan "Rocky" Lane, B movie cowboy and known to a whole generation of Baby Boomers as the voice of MISTER ED! "Willllllbuuuuuur!"

So, in essence, you have Stanley and Ollie working to protect Mrs. Rittenhouse from Mister Ed with the assistance of Johnny Dollar!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Record Ad-1948

The war was over. Swing music and jive were on the way out and rock 'n' roll was still a few years away. So what was hot in 1948, you ask? Why, Western and Home Folks music! You know! Like Ernest Tubb, Cowboy Copas, Gene Autry and Burl Ives! Don't ask me how Spike Jones and Bugs Bunny got in this ad! And I don't EVEN want to know what Arthur Godfrey's "Slap 'er Down Again, Pa!" was all about! Apparently records had been scarce during the war and now here, thanks to this ad, you could get these "hard to get" records delivered right to your door! Why, it was almost like an early version of ITunes!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sergeant Deadhead-1965

Until yesterday, I hadn't seen SERGEANT DEADHEAD since catching it on the Saturday Night Movie circa 1969. It is most definitely an odd bird, as the saying goes--or rather more precisely neither fish nor fowl.

After several years of the fun and successful BEACH PARTY films, it looks as though American International Pictures realized they couldn't last forever and made a concerted effort to morph them into a kind of naughty but Disneyfied Rock Hudson/Doris Day sex farce set on an Air Force base.

Held over from the beach are Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley, Donna Loren (whom we interviewed here last summer!) and Buster Keaton. In cameo roles, we even get Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Bobbi Shaw and Dwayne Hickman.

New in this installment is a bigger contingent of familiar veterans--in this case a big bunch of scene stealing character actors including Fred Clark, Cesar Romero, the underused Reginald Gardiner, and, in an OUR MISS BROOKS reunion of sorts, Eve Arden and the great Gale Gordon! Oddly enough, co-star Deborah Walley would soon go on to appear as Arden's daughter on the TV series, THE MOTHERS-IN-LAW.

As with the PILLOW TALK genre, SERGEANT DEADHEAD is more comedy than musical but there are a few standout numbers including a tour-de-force set piece for Eve Arden with the WAF girls and a lovely torch song showcase for Donna Loren (who actually has more to do in this film than just sing for a change!).

The plot? Not the point but okay. The always personable Frankie is a klutzy airman who accidentally gets shot into space and returns a more aggressive individual after somehow getting his brains mixed with those of his chimp co-astronaut. There. Did you really need to know that? There's also his meek double, a mixed-up wedding with virginal Walley, some explosions, lots of scene-chewing from the vets and a funny turn by--of all people--Pat Buttram as LBJ!

If anything, Frankie and Deborah may have even more chemistry than Frankie and Annette--certainly very different chemistry. They're a lot of fun to watch when they're together and she particularly plays well off him. Keaton has a few funny moments early on but then seems to disappear. The hilarious Lembeck is wasted here completely.

Strangely, SERGEANT DEADHEAD was directed by Oscar-winning director Norman Taurog who had long been associated with Martin and Lewis and was, at this time, doing many of Elvis Presley's films.

It's not a good film. The story is a mess and you never really care about any of the characters or even really get to know them. The ending is just there. That said, it is a FUN film for genre fans as well as fans of the old-timers. AIP was right in attempting the change...they just don't seem to have realized that the moment for the Day/Hudson style farces had also passed!

Catch the whole thing online for yourself at HULU:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Klassic Krazy Cool Kids Komics-Review

Let's be honest, you either like this kind of stuff or you don't. There was certainly a ton of it published back in the Golden Age of Comics so somebody liked it!

THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF KLASSIC KRAZY KIDS KOMICS is the latest book from the prolific comics historian and anthologist, Craig Yoe. By way of disclaimer, while my name is found in the credits in connection with the ITCH Blog, I had absolutely nothing to do with this collection.

And what a collection it is! Similar in format to last year's kids comics collection edited by Art Spiegelman, this one offers more of the same funny animal and humor comics fun but with the emphasis here on well-known creators you might not suspect of having done this type of work.

You have, of course, Golden Age work by Barks, Kelly and Stanley and others such as Dave Berg and Howie Post who specialized in humor comics. But would you believe not one but TWO 1950's Jack Kirby stories? Jules Feiffer? Harvey Kurtzman? Frazetta!!!???

Not everything is that old even! Steve Ditko's version of the giveaway BIG BOY restaurant comic (as hired by Craig himself) comes from the 1990's and Wally Wood's GOODY BUMPKIN has been a favorite of mine from the gi-NORM-ous WHAM-O GIANT COMICS of 1967 for four decades! It's amazingly hilarious to me even say nothing of being some of Woody's best ever non-MAD humor art.

Children's book illustrators appear also including DANNY THE DINOSAUR's Syd Hoff and the legendary Dr. Seuss himself. The latter is represented with an early, oft-reprinted newspaper comic strip run that was never finished. In a fun bit of conceit, Yoe Studios has actually written and drawn a possible conclusion to the storyline after all of these years! And it's good!

As always with YoeBooks, the design of this thick volume itself is most impressive and will make it a nice addition to any collector's bookshelf physically as well as for its content. Whether you're a comics aficionado, an artist buff or just like funny stuff, THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF KLASSIC KRAZY KIDS KOMICS is a well-chosen anthology and well worth the price!

That said, thanks to Craig for arranging an advance copy for me. The book is due out this week!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jeff Jones Interview-1970

Here's a short but nice 1970 interview with my friend Catherine--then Jeff--Jones, of whom there is an upcoming documentary in the works so keep your eyes peeled. This brief Q&A was conducted for NIGHTMARE Magazine by eminent hack (in the true and best sense of the word) Jeff Rovin who would go on to edit the seventies ATLAS line of comics, compile jokebooks, movie and TV tie-ins and write everything from romances and westerns to Tom Clancy novels under a dozen different names.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jerry Beck With Joan Rivers-1994

CARTOON BREW's Jerry Beck is a longtime friend of this blog and is seen here with Joan Rivers on CAN WE SHOP? back in 1994. The clip overall is a plug for horribly overpriced LOONEY TUNES merchandise but use your control to skip ahead and watch Jerry clue his annoying hostess in at least a little bit about the history of Bugs and company!

Harland Williams

The ever-helpful Lisa M turned me on to Harland Williams, and actor and comedian with whom I was previously completely unfamiliar. Been watching a lot of his amusing and pithy observations and commentaries ever since!

The History of Invulnerability

Here a few scene excerpts from THE HISTORY OF INVULNERABILITY, a well-reviewed play about Superman creator Jerry Siegel currently playing at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park. Due to the ridiculous ticket prices (I could get nearly a week's groceries!) I have NOT seen it but it looks quite interesting. The artwork seen in and around the sets is by Joe Staton. Why the clips here blur the Man of Steel's "S" symbol I'm not sure.

Excerpt From Brandon Lee's Final Interview-1993

So amazingly charismatic, this clip of Bruce Lee's ill-fated son, Brandon Lee, never fails to touch me as he quotes THE SHELTERING SKY without a clue as to how much the quote was about to affect his own life. Gone too soon...

Rhapsody of Fire With Christopher Lee-2005

Actor Christopher Lee, once considered a tall but otherwise unimpressive performer--and thus stuck in thankless, often silent roles--, has lived long enough to gain respect on many levels and is now a beloved, knighted elder statesman of British film. And he can sing! There are a number of examples of his operatic voice on YouTube. This one is a 2005 music video with the Italian rock group Rhapsody of Fire. If you like their epic fantasy-oriented music, looks like they have a new album due out next week!

King Ad from the Seventies

Friday, April 23, 2010

RIP--Michael Pataki

When a favorite actor passes away, it’s usually big news and always sad. When a favorite character actor dies, it’s equally sad only you don’t always hear about it at all. Such is the case with actor Michael Pataki who died more than a week back with the news only now trickling out.

Michael Pataki was “that guy!” You know, one of those actors whose name generally remains unknown to the public but who we see on darn near everything for decades. Thus, “that guy”…as in, “Hey look! It’s that guy!”

In my case, I think perhaps the first time I actually noticed him was in my favorite episode of one of my favorite series of the seventies—McCLOUD. He played Officer Rizzo in two of that series’ best episodes, THIS MUST BE THE ALAMO and THE DAY NEW YORK TURNED BLUE.

After that, I seemed to see him everywhere in new shows and in reruns. Going backwards, I would see him in reruns of BATMAN, THE FLYING NUN, BONANZA and—perhaps most significantly—in STAR TREK. In the latter, Pataki played the first Klingon in the TREK universe to speak that alien language in the classic episode, THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES.

Going forward, Pataki had memorable turns in HAPPY DAYS, ALL IN THE FAMILY, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and in WKRP IN CINCINNATI as the Russian defector who likes Elton John’s song TINY DANCER!

On the big screen, his output was more eclectic. IMDB credits his debut as a then-uncredited role in the classic war film, THE YOUNG LIONS, starring Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, Montgomery Clift and my own late friend, Parley Baer. By the seventies, though, it was mostly cult films—LITTLE CIGARS. SWEET JESUS PREACHERMAN, JAILBAIT BABYSITTER and THE LAST PORNO FLICK. His most memorable big-screen appearance was undoubtedly GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE in which he had the tile role.

In the eighties, like many character actors, he turned

largely to voice-acting, appearing on Ralph Bakshi’s MIGHTY MOUSE THE NEW ADVENTURES and later Paul Dini’s BATMAN, DEXTER’S LABORATORY and EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS. Eventually, Pataki became closely associated with John K when he did the voice of the disgusting character George Liquor in REN & STIMPY. He would later revive that role in various forms and formats including here on the Net.

Seen here is Michael Pataki in what was arguably his best known live-action role from STAR TREK and a scene from the seventies SPIDER-MAN showing him as a police detective alongside my friend Bob Hastings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Star Trek-TOS and Me

Unlike most things in my life, I have not the slightest recollection of when I first saw or heard of STAR TREK. It just wasn't that impressive to me. Today comes news that Leonard Nimoy is retiring--from Spock, from acting and even from personal appearances. He lived long, prospered, and now just wants to take it easy. Made me start thinking about STAR TREK.

There was something opposite it that first season that my family preferred but every once on awhile when whatever it was was in reruns, we ended up on the Enterprise. I know we saw all or parts of some episodes in the first two seasons but sadly, most of the ones I recall seeing first-run are from the less popular third season and include SPECTRE OF THE GUN and the dreaded SPOCK'S BRAIN!

I remember being sad when it went off in 1969 but by then I was used to the fact that nothing lasted forever (except--seemingly--GUNSMOKE and BONANZA). I moved on to the sixth grade and GODZILLA movies.

The first time I recall seeing syndicated reruns was around 1971 on a local UHF channel. This time I was hooked. I not only watched as many as I could but soon after I bought David Gerrold's two books--THE WORLD OF STAR TREK and THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES. I even picked up a reissue of Gene Roddenberry's THE MAKING OF STAR TREK. Meanwhile, sci-fi author James Blish kept chugging along with his STAR TREK book series which essentially "novelized" episodes as short stories.

By 1975, when the reruns showed up again, this time on late-night TV, the cult was on. My first STAR TREK Con was Don Rosa's OMNICON in Louisville which was a Trek/Comics show featuring DeForest Kelly.

In the years since i actually attended more STAR TREK CONVENTIONS than I did comic book shows. I saw George Takei in Louisville, met Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols in Cincinnati and James Doohan in Northern Kentucky. Leonard Nimoy was announced as a guest at the next big Cincinnati Con at one point but that show never came off. I missed meeting William Shatner by mere minutes at the Cincinnati airport two years ago but by all accounts I should be glad I did.

George was great and very funny. Walter was just getting over his health issues but was quite pleasant. Nichelle had braved a blizzard to show up and was lovely and very gracious. Mr. Doohan allowed my wife to sit with him whilst he met with fans as she was temporarily in a wheelchair due to surgery. My wife was absolutely tongue-tied to meet Majel as Nurse Chapel had been her role model as a child so I did all the talking there.

If anything, my lovely bride was and is a bigger Trekkie/Trekker than I. She had all the same books I did as well as many of the novels when we married. We nearly missed our own wedding reception when we found out there was a TV marathon with STAR TREK cast members choosing their favorite episodes! And yes, she owns a full STAR TREK uniform. Doubt it would fit either of us anymore but it still hangs proudly in the closet. She even writes ST fanfic on the Net!

So as Leonard settles into what I hope will be a long and enjoyable retirement, I raise my hands in the Vulcan salute! Thank you, sir. Thank all of you! STAR TREK LIVES!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sex and OTR in the Seventies

It's an advertising truism that sex sells and in the seventies it was at least tried with everything! Here, for instance, is a print ad for old-time radio and nostalgia record albums of the early seventies being promoted by women who give the distinct impression of being barely--if at all--dressed!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Trivia Weekend

This is the big Trivia Weekend in Steven's Point, Wisconsin. Tonight through midnight Sunday...non-stop! It's like a holiday there. Restaurants offer trivia specials, there's a parade through downtown and people come from all over the country as well as sit in from all over the world via Internet! There are more than 400 registered teams this year and you can register until 6 PM this evening. The team I'm associated with came in 86th last year out of again more than 400. This year, in keeping with this year's theme, our team name is 4BKS: OUTSIDERS OF THE DARK SIDE. So if you want to follow along or even play or just here some amazingly fun and cool classic rock all weekend long between questions, go here:

Needless to say, posts on this or any of my blogs will likely be postponed after today until Monday. Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Waiting for the exterminators to come check things out but looks like we had a full swarm of termites in the front of the house today. Since much of our savings went toward paying the state taxes this morning, any PayPal contributions you may have been considering to support the upkeep of Booksteve's Library would be greatly appreciated at this time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Early Let it Be Review-1970

Here, from a 1970 issue of CIRCUS magazine, we have a fascinating review of the Beatles last released album, LET IT BE. It's fascinating for a number of reasons. First of all, it was published at a point just prior to the group breaking up. Second, it is clearly (by virtue of track order and the inclusion of TEDDY BOY) based on one of the early Glyn Johns mixes of the album that was leaked as a bootleg by unknown sources within Apple. Perhaps most interesting--to me at least--is how the reviewer concentrates on the songs that HE clearly feels will be the big ones off the album--the throwaway DIG IT (longer on this earlier mix but still rather pointless), DIG A PONY and I'VE GOT A FEELING. The real classics off the album--LET IT BE, THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD and GET BACK are tossed away in the review practically as filler.

By the time he gets to the bottom of the page, he closes with " matter which way the Beatles go they can only go forward." Never occurred to him that they could...and soon did...simply STOP.

Craig Was Robbed!

I went to the Eisner Awards once in 1988. It was all very predictable. Will Eisner himself, alongside Jack Kirby, was handing out the awards. I actually was sitting just two rows in front of Frank Miller and Bill Sienkewicz and they kept getting called up to accept.

This year, one of the few nominations I was sure of was that of Craig Yoe's SECRET IDENTITY: THE FETISH ART OF SUPERMAN'S CO-CREATOR JOE SHUSTER for "Best Comics-Related Book."

Not to slight any of this year’s Eisner nominees but in my opinion…Craig Yoe was robbed. Over the past year, the eccentric and existential Craig and I have become pals. As many of you know, I have even worked behind the scenes on some of his recent publications. I did not, however, have the slightest thing to do with Craig’s book SECRET IDENTITY which came out just as we became acquainted.

That said, did you read SECRET IDENTITY? I’m betting most of you did not and I’m not certain why that is. It offered for the first time new and somewhat scandalous information on Joe Shuster, the co-creator of SUPERMAN and a man without whom the comics industry may not have existed to this day. It was quite favorably reviewed and, in fact, reviewed IN more places than just about any other comics history related book to date.

In case you missed it, SECRET IDENTITY tells the story of Craig’s discovery that Shuster, after being ousted along with Jerry Siegel from National Comics over a dispute regarding Superman’s copyrights (and failing to make lightning strike again with FUNNYMAN), ended up drawing some little under-the-counter fetish magazines and—in spite of failing eyesight—turning out some of his best art in years.

The scandalous part lies not so much in the unexpected discovery that Shuster did these but in the fact that the magazines were cited in a 1950’s teenage murder case as an influencing factor.

Author Yoe presents all-new information and a behind the scenes look at the artist, the magazines and the murderers in a fascinating and oddly fun, fact-filled story but then, best of all, also reprints large size reproductions of much of Shuster’s newly uncovered artwork! Subject matter aside, most of it is little more than PG-13 in today’s society.

In that it uncovers a treasure trove of previously unknown, immediately controversial work by one of the backbones of the comics industry, SECRET IDENTITY is an important work in comics history and yet many comics shops chose not to carry it, many regular bookstores didn’t know where to merchandise it and many fans somehow missed it.

Maybe that’s why it was passed over for the Eisners? Not a good reason, mind you. I’m sorry. Again, with no disrespect to all of the deserving and deservedly nominated books and their creators, when it comes to SECRET IDENTITY and the Eisners…looks to me like Craig Yoe was robbed!

Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone

Another one of the books I picked up recently used was LENNON AND McCARTNEY: TOGETHER ALONE, subtitled "a critical discography of the solo work. The book's author is John Blaney, a man who knows his Beatles and has published several other books on them to prove that. The first thing that impacts one about this particular volume is its cover, a nicely photomanipulated image of Paul's face combined with John's. Sadly, that may be the best thing about the book.

Oh, now don't get me wrong. There's a ton of factual and critical information on every individual single and album ever put out by John or Paul including re-issues, re-packagings and remixes. Much of it is interesting and there are the occasional interview bits with this, that or the other of the musicians associated with the pair. No, the problem comes with the book (which features no illustrations to speak of by the way) and its overall concept.

You see, John Lennon is dead and has been for thirty years this year. That, by necessity, means that a book paralleling his solo career with that of his ex-songwriting partner becomes rather lopsided after 1980. Sir Paul regularly has released new material since then, expanding his musical horizons into realms such as classical compositions and experimental dance music.

Meanwhile, as you might surmise, Lennon's post 1980 output has been limited to unfinished takes, collections, soundtracks, etc....all featuring now thirty year old or more material. It can't be helped. Watching how Lennon's music evolved alongside McCartney's is fascinating...until it stops. Then you just have a book about McCartney...which I don't mind in and of itself except that that's NOT supposed to be THIS book.

In the end, I'd have to say what's here is fine for fans but don't expect any major insights.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 68

From an early seventies issue of ADVENTURE featuring Supergirl, I assure you this Mike Sekowsky-drawn panel is perfectly dignified in context but what fun would that be.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Few Days With a Tape Recorder--October 1975

Here's an interesting snapshot of my interests of nearly 35 years ago. Perhaps surprisingly they weren't that different from my current ones. I took a cassette tape recorder and taped some items from radio, then a bunch of TV themes. It's been dubbed and redubbed over the years to preserve it but it makes it a little rough to actually listen to. I did though and here are the details of what I recorded on the tape:

1-The first item is a radio commercial for THE BEATLES--A WAY WITH WORDS, a raely recalled multimedia stage presentation similar to the alre
ady popular BEATLEMANIA. I was reading a book on the Beatles earlier today.

2-JUNIOR'S FARM by Wings. WSAI in Cincinnati had announced all day they were going to debut a new McCartney record at a certain time so I was all set with my tape running. I caught the now-forgotten DJ intro-ing the song and saying it would be form a forthcoming new album (it wasn't) and that it was JUST credited to Paul McCartney--not Wings. "Wings, it looks like..., " he said, " a foregone, past conclusion!" Ummm...not for another five years.

3-ALL I KNOW-Art Garfunkel. Long a favorite with Paul Simon, I particular
ly enjoyed Artie's first few solo singles. Haven't heard much about him since his pot bust a few years back.

4-Dr. Demento--I taped two songs here from an episode of DR DEMENTO--Benny Bell's SHAVING CREAM and Napoleon XIV's THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY (HA, HA), complete with introductions by the Doctor who just a couple weeks back I
had the great pleasure, after all these years, of interacting with on Stu Shostak's Internet radio show!

5-THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.--In 1972, the first autograph I ever got was from Stefanie Powers who was then appearing in summer stock in Dayton. I had loved her as April Dancer and in a million TV movies so when GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E. reruns tur
ned up on Saturday nights at 1 AM (after STAR TREK), of course I stayed up, Rarely got though an episode, mind you...

6-MAKE A WISH--Tom Chapin's wonderful Saturday morning (actually I think it was on at Noon) TV series theme, previously
posted from YouTube elsewhere on my blog.

7-FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON--Irwin Allen's fun 1962 Jules Verne flick with Peter Lorre and Barbara Eden had a great theme song and I knew that as I'd seen it before so I tuned in to tape it.

8-M*A*S*H*--It doesn't hold up at all for me anymore. I find it very hard to watch. Too much seventies slipped into the fifties settings. At the time it was my favorite series, though, and it's great instrumental version of the movie's SUICIDE IS PAINLESS is still one of THE best TV themes ever!

9-THE NBC MYSTERY MOVIE--I loved many of the Mystery Movie segments--McCLOUD, COLUMBO, MCMILLAN AND WIFE, HEC RAMSEY, BANACEK....heck, even McCOY AND AMY PRENTISS were pretty good! In fact, I've re-watched the whole runs of three of them just in the past year!

10-MANNIX--Mike Conners long-running solo detective series may not be rerun as often as many other shows
but it, too, had a memorable theme song, in this case by Lalo Schifrin who wrote the great themes fro MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and ENTER THE DRAGON amongst many others.

11-JUDD FOR THE DEFENSE--I heard Paul Peterson speak very highly of this forgotten show's star Carl Betz (his former TV father on THE DONNA REED SHOW) the other day, also on STU'S SHOW.
( It had powerful theme music and and won an Emmy for its star AFTER its cancellation.

12-POPEYE--You hadn't seen POPEYE around here for ages at that point so I taped the familiar theme on one of the first times I had heard it since I was a kid.

13-I DREAM OF JEANNIE--the slower, first season theme
14-NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR--An updated TV version of MARY POPPINS with Juliet Mills, this was never a major hit but a favorite of mine both as a series and as a theme song.

15-DIRTY SALLY--A lighthearted western spun off from GUNSMOKE, it starred Dack Rambo who went on to be an early AIDS victim and, in the title role, the beautiful and brilliant (and clearly ego-free) Jeannette Nolan---whom I found out later was one of THE great radio actresses--as the toothless, white haired hag of the title. Haven't seen an episode of it since 1975!

16-THE WALTONS--Earl Hamner, Jr's family drama got picked on at the time and still does (in current Geicko ads) but was often the best-written and acted program on television in its day...and with yet another great instrumental theme.

17-CADE'S COUNTY--A little-remembered but briefly popular modern western that starred Glenn Ford. I can't understand why this isn't on the Western Channel today.

18-THE MAGICIAN--Peppy doesn't begin to describe the theme from Bill Bixby's brief but fun slight of hand detective series. Was watching some episodes just recently from eighties reruns on cable.

19-HERE'S LUCY--I loved Lucy (who didn't) but I bought the box set of this series a few years back and it is WAY too stagey! Other than some cool guest stars, I'd have to say it was the worst of her various Lucy shows but, at the time, it was the most popular thing on Monday nights!

20-THE ODD COUPLE--Another set-bound sitcom that looked better at the time than it does now but no one can question that classic theme music!

21-Finally, the more folksy first season GILLIGAN'S ISLAND theme song by the Wellingtons. I once said that GILLIGAN'S ISLAND was on on some channel at any given time. Up until ten years ago, it was but I haven't seen an episode in ages. They did do a XXX parody version recently and an all-new feature film has been announced.

So that's what I was into in the Fall of 1975. Not that much different really.

(Special thanx to Lisa M for help with the Beatles scan)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Separated at Birth??

Stan Laurel and Justice Stevens--bow tie and all.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Medal of Honor by Norman Maurer-1972

If he's remembered at all these days, Norman Maurer is most likely to be recalled in Three Stooges fandom as the man who married Moe's daughter and spearheaded their career revival from the late 1950's through the abortive KOOK'S TOUR of 1970. Although certainly impressive, what tends to get lost in all of that is that Norman Maurer was an excellent cartoonist and one-time business partner of elder statesman artist Joe Kubert. Beginning in the 1940's his work was featured in various comics but most notably in the LITTLE WISE GUYS series which appeared in--and later took over--the original DAREDEVIL comic book from Lev Gleason Publishers. In the fifties, Maurer and Kubert landed at St. John where they are credited with the very first 3-D comics. While there, Maurer came out with a delightful series of almost MAD-style THREE STOOGES comics, also. After he became the team's producer, though, the handsome artist left comics. Even those who DO know Maurer's Golden Age work may not realize that in the early 1970's, after Larry's stroke effectively disabled the Stooges as a working unit, Norman Maurer returned to comics doing anonymous work for Gold Key but also some excellent, well-written and drawn war stories for DC. Here's one now, signed "Maurer, 71" and published in an early 1972 issue of GI COMBAT.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

RIP-Malcolm McLaren

Love him or hate him (as i'm told many did) UK fashion and music entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren was extremely influential on music as we know it today. Perhaps most importantly, he was the man who gave us the Sex Pistols and they, for all their anti-establishment aura, made punk rock mainstream in music and society. He was also highly instrumental in the development of AntMusic which was briefly phenomenal in England as personified by Adam and the Ants. In fact, he took the original Ants away from Adam and rather controversially gave them a 14 year old girl to play with--Annabella Lwin. This, of course created the famous 1980's one hit wonder group, Bow Wow Wow, who happen to be the best of his groups in my opinion. Here's the somewhat forgotten second hit from Bow Wow Wow, DO YOU WANNA HOLD ME. Look for McLaren himself passing across the screen at 1:05.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

RIP--Eddie Carroll

A little less than a year ago, it was my privilege to not only meet but perform onstage with Eddie Carroll who died today. He wasn't the biggest name in show business and his longtime schtick of professionally impersonating Jack Benny would seem to appeal to a niche market. What he was, though, was amazing! At last year's Cincinnati OTR Con, I was out in the parking lot picking up something I'd left in the car when I watched Bob Hastings and another gentleman get out of their car returning from lunch. I spoke with Bob--by now an old friend--as we walked into the hotel and never once did it occur to me that the other man was that year's guest of honor, Eddie Carroll. When Eddie Carroll put on those glasses and a suit, he also stood differently, moved differently, spoke differently and acted differently. It was like he put on Jack Benny!

Here's a shot I took of him myself, just before a rehearsal. The glasses are on but not the suit so he is NOT here in full Benny mode but still you can see it.

For more on Eddie Carroll, go to:

Monday, April 05, 2010


Every comics fan has a period where he creates his own superheroes. My friend Terry and I used to run around the alleys of our neighborhood having mock energy battles as Power Man and Atomic man or later on Delta Man and the Leopard. Then we'd go to our respective homes and draw mock comic book covers of our earth-shattering battles! I'd give mine to Terry the next day and he'd give his to me. That is, of course, why I have none of mine to share here at the Library. As for his, I apparently trashed them or gave them back to him (and I haven't seen him in about fifteen years now).

By the mid-seventies, though, I was more into writing. I did horror stories, STAR TREK stories, a really sappy romance and more than twenty short detective stories about an amnesiac PI. I also wrote a well-received (by my English teacher) short sci-fi story called SITUATION SIX in which Abraham Lincoln turned out to be an evil dictator from the future and Booth the Time Agent sent to stop him from taking over 19th Century earth.

Amongst many unrealized concepts was RADICAL. I found the accompanying images seen here recently. As I recall, RADICAL was to be a sci-fi tale about a guy with a similar problem to THE DOOM PATROL's Negative Man only in this case he was the only person who could save the world---if his very existence didn't cause the end of it first!

Clearly I went through several attempts at getting RADICAL off the ground in 1975 and 1976 (during none of which did I ever learn how to draw hands as you can see) before finally deciding to incorporate the character into SITUATION SEVEN, my ambitious sci-fi sequel!

Attempts to get THAT one off the ground floundered well into my senior year and while I have three completely different false starts here in the Library's archives, nothing ever really came of it.

For the record, SITUATION SEVEN would have dealt with a renegade Time Agent named STARBLAZER (well before the similarly named cartoon) who gathers the proverbial ragtag band of misfits to defeat a group of the most evil villains of all time lead by a universe-conquering alien masquerading as the embodiment of the human Devil! Radical would have been shoehorned in there somehow.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Collecting Comics-A Serious Business-1974

Here's one of those "Gee, I can't believe comics cost so much" articles by an anonymous writer from a March, 1974 issue of the school based magazine, Scholastic Scope. You have to wonder waht the author would think of more recent auction prices! Our pal Tony Isabella is name-checked in the piece and there's a nice pic of the late Phil Seuling, legendary superfan/dealer and credited with founding the direct market for comics.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

So You Want To Be A Cartoonist-Joe Kubert

Comics legend Joe Kubert has always been as much a teacher as an artist. Way back in the St. John days, Kubert and partner Norman Maurer were offering a mail-order cartooning course and for many years now, of course, his name has been synonymous with learning the craft. In between, though, Kubert was still teaching--here in a page from his DC TARZAN in the 1970's.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Berni Wrightson's Frankenstein

Here's a macabre little interview/promo film for Marvel's original release of Berni Wrightson's wonderful illustrated version of FRANKENSTEIN.

Red Vs. Blue, Episode 1

Muse Brittany Rose and friend Chris turned me on to RED VS BLUE recently and I find it hilarious for the most part. Basically, someone has taken the game HALO 3 and utilizing the character movement without necessarily playing the game, have overdubbed dialogue and a storyline for the always helmeted characters! The language can be a bit graphic but if you like this, there's LOTS more episodes!

Michael Crawford-Music of the Night-C. 1990

This has long been my favorite video presentation of this song by Crawford. It's from a Bob Hope TV Special circa 1990 in which the versatile Crawford returned to his comedy roots for many of the sketches (as a rapping TV newsman for instance) but was allowed this beautifully staged, serious moment to show off just how much his career had changed since HELLO DOLLY and Disney's CONDORMAN.

Melanie-Lay Down/Candles in the Rain-1970

People can joke all they want about FACEBOOK and what it's doing to real world friendships. All I know is that I have actually become friends--with real interaction, not just in name only--with some of the coolest folks there from Fred Hembeck and Bill Mumy to Daerick Gross and a whole bunch of people I'd never even heard of before. And the other day, Melanie became my friend! This was her big break-through song and one of the earliest songs I remember from when I started taking my AM transistor radio to bed with me to listen to WSAI in 1970!

Beyond the Fringe on What's My Line-1962

This is from the episode where the painfully thin Dorothy Kilgallen seemed almost to have a mini-stroke on-air during the opening which may well explain why the audience seems pretty sedate and why Arlene guesses the quartet of mystery guests without actually letting any of the other panelists to play the game. She actually praises Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore as being the funniest men she's ever seen! Coming from her that meant a lot!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Columbus of Space-1946

Often cited erroneously as the first appearance of the DC character, Tommy Tomorrow, this story, THE COLUMBUS OF SPACE is not that at all. Yes, there's a character in it with that name but he's a far cry from the later TOMMY TOMORROW of the Planeteers. This is, in fact, a speculative tale of the far future of 1960 as seen from 1946. This Tommy is actually a generic "man of the future" who is the first to explore space. THE COLUMBUS OF SPACE first appeared in National's REAL FACT COMICS and the REAL attraction--beyond the now obviously inaccurate predictions therein--is the art credited by GCD to DC regular Howard Sherman as inked by the now legendary pulp artist, Virgil Finlay!

EC Blackstone Ad-1947

Magician heroes had always been popular in comics. From Mandrake and Zatara to Ibis and Sargon and the Wizard to all of the scores of wannabes, they had been a staple since the medium began. So someone got the bright idea to do a comic book based on real-life magician, Blackstone! It bounced through several publishers for several years starting in the mid-forties but was probably past its chance for any real success by then. Here's an ad for the first issue of EC's pre-Trend version--BLACKSTONE THE MAGICIAN DETECTIVE FIGHTS CRIME.