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.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
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!"
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
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!
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.
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...
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!
Friday, April 23, 2010
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.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Craig Yoe's collection of Dan DeCarlo's JETTA!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
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
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
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!
Monday, April 05, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
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
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
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.