Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Booksteve Transcriptions

Not much there yet but my latest blog is an attempt to start a writing and transcription business along the lines of the piecemeal work I've been getting over the past few years. Check it out and contact me if you need any kind of writing or behind-the-scenes work done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cincinnati Comic Expo

It was exciting earlier this year when WizardWorld bought the rights to handle a big Cincinnati Comic Book Con but if there has been any movement whatsoever beyond that, they seem to be keeping it to themselves. Seems unlikely to me that they would even have enough time to pull one off at this point.

In the meantime, however, in stepped the folks behind the Cincinnati Comic EXPO! I'll share more details as things get closer or if you're on FACEBOOK, look 'em up but for now, take delight in their just released poster!

Drawn especially for the Expo by Golden Age artist Allen Bellman who worked for Timely as well as several other companies, often on crime titles, here we have the Invaders--The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and Captain America, Timely's Big Three!--fighting Nazis in the shadow of Cincinnati's Roebling Suspension Bridge. The bridge, connecting Cincy to my own Northern Kentucky, has been there since the Civil War (the US one, not the Marvel one) and is one of the most obvious and recognizable landmarks in the city. Note, however, that although they are rather obviously Nazis, there is no sign of a swastika. With the area's reputation for closed-mindedness leading to the sadly appropriate nickname, "Censornazi," perhaps that was a good choice.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bunny and Claude


Here are the two BUNNY AND CLAUDE cartoons directed by Robert McKimson in the waning days of Warner Brothers theatrical animation. Inspired by the then-recent big screen blockbuster BONNIE & CLYDE, an odd choice at best, they resemble more Depatie-Freleng cartoons than a classic Looney Tunes or Merry Melodies which, in fact, they were not really, in spite of the opening logos (different for each) and the voice of Mel Blanc. Blanc would be replaced by Larry Storch for the remaining cartoons from Warners before they got out of the business of theatrical cartoons all together for some years.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Captain Shazam

The original Captain Marvel was quite the source of comic book nostalgia in the mid-sxties after his forced retirement a decade earlier. He didn't quite return at that time but...

Myron Fass brought out a new CAPTAIN MARVEL who could separate all his body parts by yelling his secret word, "SPLIT!" CAPTAIN LIGHTNING was a superhero parody created by the old Big Red Cheese's best-remembered team of writer Otto Binder and C.C. Beck! Even his costume resembled CM's except for the color scheme. BUT...the one that REALLY sounded intriguing was CAPTAIN SHAZAM, as seen here in an ad from the aforementioned FATMAN, issue two.

I've read somewhere that no art was actually ever done for the series and that the premise was said to be not even close to what the fans all were hoping it would be but still! If only...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Confessions of a Scream Queen

CONFESSIONS OF A SCREAM QUEEN is a new Bear Manor Media book by Matt Beckoff which is not necessarily what it seems to be at first glance. For one, Matt himself is NOT a Scream Queen. For another, the term tends to be more associated with low budget ladies such as Brinke Stevens and Linnea Quigley who rose to prominence in the horror field since the 1980's and yet they are nowhere to be found here. In fact, this is a delightful and enjoyable collection of conversations--NOT interviews--with a number of much more familiar (in some cases at least), mainstream folks.

As seen here, Matt's style is not that of a hardcore interviewer. There are no deep philosophical questions, no set-ups, no jabs and also no follow-ups when a statement might seem to call for one. No, these are, as stated in his introduction, conversations. A few breezy minutes with each of his subjects reminiscing about shared memories and giving a bit of anecdotal film history.

The Scream Queens involved here are, in more or less chronological order:
Carla Laemmle (DRACULA)
Lupita Tovar (the Spanish DRACULA)
Janet Ann Gallow (the little girl in GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN)
Colleen Gray (THE LEECH WOMAN)
Jessica Harper (SUSPIRIA)
Dee Wallace (THE HOWLING)
Adrienne Barbeau (THE FOG)

Even the less than riveting chapters are pleasant--like a meeting with an old acquaintance. There are a few revelations but mostly some old stories, in some cases trotted out for the umpteenth time and just as entertaining as ever but by now perhaps somewhat enhanced. Some funny behind-the-scenes bits as well as some personal promotion.

My favorite conversations, in no particular order, are those with Karen Black, P.J. Soles, Dee Wallace, Betsy Palmer and Marilyn Burns.

Karen Black's eccentric recollections include her working with the great Alfred Hitchcock on his final film and finding him to be still every bit the perverse legend he was said to be.

P.J. Soles I love! Always have! STRIPES, CARRIE, HALLOWEEN and the magical accident that is ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. Her tale about never having heard of the Ramones--and not even liking their music when she was given tapes!-- when cast as their number one fan is priceless.

As a lifelong buff for the panel game shows of the 1950's-1980's, I have always adored Betsy Palmer and it's interesting to read how she's come to terms with the fact that a quick little job she did as a homicidal mom decades ago has now become a pivotal part of horror film history.

I spoke with Dee Wallace briefly on the telephone many years ago and found her to be quite soft-spoken and self-effacing in real life. She still comes across that way here even as she details working with Rob Zombie!

I respect THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE as a horror film more than like it but there's no denying that the Marilyn Burns piece here in the book is easily one of the most fascinating. Her details behind the filming and about dealing with all the years of fame since for just that one picture are fun and informative.

For horror fans, there are quite simply people here you aren't going to find a lot about elsewhere. For that reason alone, you should get this book. When I finished, I literally felt as though I had spent a day at a Scream Queen Convention in some imaginary hotel and that I was privileged to be tagging along with Matt and sitting in on brief, friendly meetings with all of these absolutely delightful people. I wanted to keep looking around for more!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Karloff and Lugosi-Movie Comics

Here's a nifty single page on Movie Make-Up from MOVIE COMICS # 1 all about the now legendary horror stars, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The pair were more or less considered novelty stars at the time but still a few years away from their descent into a type of "camp," where they received little respect at all. Although Boris embraced his image to an extent, he was able to continue giving serious performances including, on occasion, one of the caliber of BLACK SABBATH. Bela, with his accompanying medical issues leading to drug dependence, would not survive in Hollywood. Karloff is said to have attributed Bela's ultimate failure in Tinseltown to the fact that he never really bothered to learn the language.

Action # 1 Ad

Was browsing through some scans of NEW ADVENTURE COMICS from 1938 today when this inside front cover ad struck me. Seems National Comics had this new comic book coming out that they say you couldn't afford to miss! Imagine if you will, some child picking up a copy of ACTION COMICS # 1 for ten cents after seeing this ad. There would have been absolutely no thought that it might ever be worth money some day. Why, it would be outdated as soon as the next issue came out! Take your time machine back and tell your great grandfather to buy everycopy he could find on the stands because some day it would be worth more than a million dollars and you would be locked away immediately! And yet there it sits in the mists of time...waiting for a child to discover Superman for one thin dime...and the world to discover comic books!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Solar Flare Circa 1969

Here's a piece of art I made at Cincinnati's Coney Island in roughly 1969 on one of their "spin art" machines. Basically, you added paint and pressed a button that would cause your canvas to spin and spread the colors in a way Jackson Pollock would have enjoyed. I did it several times but this is the only one I still have. I called it "Solar Flare." Looking at it now I might well have called it "Phoenix Rising."

They still make those types of machines! Here's a link to very similar ones.

Green Hornet--the Trailer

Well, fellow fanboys, here it is--the long awaited, long dreaded official trailer for the new GREEN HORNET film. I find Seth Rogan to be amusing and a better actor than many of the new crop. That said, he would have been pretty far down on my list when it came to a dream cast for this picture. Remembering the whole debacle with Michael Keaton who turned out to be quite good as Batman, I've tried to maintain an open mind. I'm still trying. I like the trailer but it seems more like a spoof and yet why do I get the impression that they skewed the preview toward the funny lines? Between the lines, I seem to see a straightforward and pretty cool film there...hopefully. Definitely not your cool, in charge Van Williams Green Hornet but then seriously, that would be kind of dull and probably couldn't carry a whole feature film. Bottom line--new questions, new fears but some good stuff here. There's still hope!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Phynx-Now's Your Chance

You've heard about it, you've read about it, but I'm betting most of you have NEVER seen THE PHYNX! Several years back we wrote about THE PHYNX as being possibly the worst movie ever made! For many years it had been the number one film on my list of movies I always wanted to see. Then I finally found a copy through Video Search of Miami! Surprisingly considering this major studio misfire's notoriety it never did become more widely available...and yet there it is on YouTube--for now--in multiple parts!

Go refresh your memory as to the all-star (??) wackiness that is THE PHYNX here:

Then go watch and then come back here and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day?

Hope yours goes better than Jimmy's.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kids Komics Contest!!!

To celebrate the recent publication and rave reception of Yoebooks! latest volume of comics goodness, THE GOLDEN COLLECTION OF KLASSIC KRAZY KOOL KIDS KOMICS, BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY, in conjunction with IDW and I.T.C.H., is giving away a free copy of the book itself, a $34.99 value!!

To enter, all you have to do is send an email to telling us what your personal favorite kids komic is and why! It can be something you yourself loved as a kid or it can be a story or series you've come to appreciate more now that you're a grup! Just tell us what and why. The winner will be chosen at random next Monday, June 21st, and the book will be on its way within 24 hours!

The winner will be notified by email and at that time you will be asked to provide your mailing address. We do ask that you put the phrase CONTEST ENTRY in the heading of your email! Entries can be as long or short as you like but after the contest, we reserve the right to print some or all of your entries here as well as it I.T.C.H. and possibly even on FACEBOOK so make 'em good! Good luck all!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bill Everett's Big Boy Puzzle page

I stopped in a Big Boy restaurant with a friend last week and even at my age found myself lamenting the fact that they no longer have THE ADVENTURES OF BIG BOY comic books! They were silly little things really and featured the type of puzzles one now finds on the kids' menus instead. The problem is that the menus don't have adventure comics, too!

The Big Boy restaurant comics were usually packaged by different comics at different times including, in the beginning, Timely comics and later on Craig Yoe's design studio. Stan the Man reportedly wrote the earliest issues and Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett (subject of a soon to be released book by Blake Bell) signed the first issue art including the puzzle page seen above. Over the years, many other well-known creators worked on the series including, in the 1990's, Steve Ditko!

Here's a link to the rest of that first mid-fifties issue online.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pvt. Doberman Ads-1958

In the late 1950's there were few characters on TV bigger than SGT BILKO as played by the inimitable--or should that be VERY imitable--Phil Silvers! Even I imitated Phil Silvers once in an Old Time Radio commercial re-creation! Anyway, in an early instance of the type of situation which found a show's popular star often overshadowed by a secondary player (Fonzie, Urkel, Dr. Smith, etc.) Pvt. Duane Doberman became something of a TV sensation. It also is said to have vastly inflated the ego of actor Maurice Gosfield who played the role. Anyway, National comics put out a BILKO comic during the peak of the series' popularity so it was only natural that they might put out a companion comic featuring the hapless but lovable Doberman. Here are a couple of house ads for one of the eleven issues that the series ran.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roddy McDowall Reads H P Lovecraft

The stories of HP Lovecraft are looked on today as classics and progenitors of the modern genre of horror but for many years after the author's death, his works remained relatively obscure. Slowly they developed a cult following that eventually led to the elevation of their worth in the minds of whomsoever it is that determines what is literature and what is trash. Here we have an early sixties record album featuring one of my personal all-time favorite actors, former child star Roddy McDowall, fresh off his theatrical comeback in CAMELOT, reading a couple of Lovecraft's lesser-know tales--THE OUTSIDER and THE HOUND.

Just so happens if you're curious, you can find this hard to find item available for listening here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

RIP-Al Williamson

Yesterday I was at the Public Library and I noted the bizarre irony that the once considered reprehensible, ban-worthy EC Comics stories were now available quite literally next to Shakespeare in the teen section in their recent archived editions. They had SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES and WEIRD SCIENCE. I picked up the latter and became immediately captivated--as always happens--by the work of Al Williamson.

I first became aware of Williamson during a period when he wasn't doing comic books anymore. It was through the fanzine RBCC whose issues featured a regular page/column entitled THE WILLIAMSON COLLECTOR. I may not have known his work but I knew he must be something special to be singled out thusly. Then, as I got more and more into fandom, I grew to discover his work on the King FLASH GORDON comics, the SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN newspaper strip and eventually his glorious 1950's work for EC's sci-fi comics.

In recent years, I taught son bookdave what to look for in certain artists' work; with Williamson one of the main things was the spots. Willie always had something with spots--alien mushrooms, a dinosaur, the gown of a princess. Williamson also liked to have heroes that quite frankly looked like Al Williamson...and that was not a bad thing. They often wore what I called the Williamson jacket--a light, solid-colored windbreaker, usually unzipped and looking so cool...even if worn in inappropriate climates. The other thing to watch for with Al was lovely, fragile looking ornate cityscapes in splash panels, often added by friend and fellow artist Roy Krenkel back in the old days. My son has become a big fan of Al Williamson through our home library of the Russ Cochran box sets.

In later years, as the newspaper strip market dried up, Williamson returned to comics but, with rare exception, usually as an inker. At Marvel he did a long
run on DAREDEVIL, lending an air of solid authority to the work of various pencillers. More recently he worked on a lovely SUB-MARINER piece in last year's 75th Anniversary special from Marvel.

His work has been celebrated in books beginning with THE ART OF AL WILLIAMSON back in the late seventies and going through more recent collections by Greg Theakston and others as well as AL WILLIAMSON'S FLASH GORDON, gathering together all of Al's various portrayals of what, to him, was the quintessential adven
ture character. Still to come is the soon to be released first volume of THE COMPLETE SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, who teamed up again years later on the STAR WARS comic strip. It should come as no surprise to hear that George Lucas admitted to having been himself inspired by Al Williamson. Whether we knew it or not, I think we all were.

Al Williamson died on Saturday evening. Thanks for everything, Mr. Williamson. Rest well. Say "hi" to Fritz!

UPDATE: A message from
Mrs. Al (Cori) Williamson: The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation in Al's memory be made to either:
The Joe Kubert School
37 Myrtle Avenue Dover, NJ 07801 Attn: Al Williamson Scholarship Fund
Yesteryears Day Program 2801 Wayne Street Endwell, NY 13760

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Me. Now.

Sorry I haven't written much substantial here lately. I've been desperately but still unsuccessfully looking for work as my unemployment checks appear to be about to run out. Add to that my wife's uncertainty as to whether she will have a job either this next school year, some health issues I really need to see the doctor about, insurance or no insurance, dwindling finances...and I've been a little down to put it mildly.

I managed to get in some more photoshoots recently with Brittany Rose and that always cheers me up and I've enjoyed doing some work on various projects for others recently. I started my own new blog, FOUR-COLOR SHADOWS and I'm keeping that one up pretty well. I've got plenty of great stuff for the Wood and Morrow blogs but haven't felt like writing much so it's been mostly pictures or links there. I'm way behind (again) on YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST PICTURE but I have TROG, SEXTETTE and DR. COOK'S GARDEN so hopefully soon. I even have some news I've neglected to post on my Christa Helm blog. Add to this my daily (more or less) MAKIN' LINKS column at I.T.C.H. and it's not like I've abandoned you guys out there in blogland. Still, I feel guilty. I need to do more. Donations in the old PayPal box on the upper right of this page would help. A paying job would help even more. I am, in all modesty, a good writer, editor, researcher, transcriptionist, ghostwriter, photographer and voiceover announcer/actor. Not much call for any of that around here, though. Last week I was turned down for the closest thing to a real job I've had in more than a year--working for Dollar General. After a three hour online assessment, I received an email saying I didn't meet their minimum requirements...after 25 years in retail management! That didn't help my funk any, y'know?

Okay, just whining now, I guess...and this was never meant to be that type of blog. Since the beginning of 2009, I've lost my job, my health, my closest friend, my confidence, my self-esteem and much of my savings...but I've also met many new online friends and enjoyed my family very much. I think I've built something here and I promise I'm not going to abandon it. I just wish there was some way to make money on it.

Again, if you like this blog, consider a PayPal donation to keep it going. Thank you. More good stuff soon!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Captain 3-D Ads

Here are a couple of house ads for Harvey's early 1950's 3-D comics, both featuring Jack Kirby's CAPTAIN 3-D. The one ad is, itself, in 3-D but the other seems just oddly colored to give that appearance. Either way, the real question is who the artist on these might be. Could be Kirby on the top one with the other titles but definitely not on the other. Looks so familiar, though. Bob Powell? Anybody?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 72

I seem to remember the Universal version of the Mummy shambling. This guy is rage walking!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Yabba Dabba Doo--Or Never a Star By Alan Reed and Ben Ohmart

First of all thanks to publisher Ben Ohmart for setting me up with a few review copies of relatively recent releases from Bear Manor Media.

YABBA DABBA DOO!...OR NEVER A STAR is a book that I had been wanting to read for some time and I was certainly not disappointed. This is...or would have been...the autobiography of Alan Reed who, in spite of the title, was most certainly one of my favorite stars growing up in the sixties and seventies. Reed sat down to tell his tale in the last few years of his life but work and then illness interfered and it was never finished. As co-author, Ben Ohmart has taken the finished chapters and notes, filled in the empty spaces and then even added in additional info from Reed's family as well as long lists of the actor's many radio, TV and film appearances.

Alan Reed, as I knew even from a young age, was, of course, the voice of Fred Flintstone. As such he created---in spite of the cartoon's HONEYMOONERS influence--one of the great, original TV characters of all time. I used to love picking out his voice on other cartoons or spotting him in occasional live action roles as in a Penguin episode of BATMAN. As I got into old time radio, I began to discover what a tremendous career he had had there long before he ever hit Bedrock.

Now there's a voice to that history--and what a voice. Reed begins his tale in the warm and engaging voice of a man who's been through a lot and still enjoys life. The early chapters were mostly completed prior to his death in the mid-seventies and read more than a bit like the narration of a somewhat Dickensian novel. We follow the usual career path of young lad going into theatre against his family's wishes, then ending up on radio, then moving to Hollywood.

We meet real world larger than life characters such as Col. Lemuel Q Stoopnagle and Fred Allen and follow his ever-building success, culminating perhaps in his role as Falstaff Openshaw in the Allen's Alley sketches or his own stated favorite as the co-star of J. Carroll Naish's LIFE WITH LUIGI.

When radio dries up his career does the same until finally he is brought in as a replacement for the originally cast voice of Fred on THE FLINTSTONES and comes up with one of THE great TV catchphrases in "Yabba Dabba Doo!"

Some of Reed's portions of the book consist frustratingly of only introductory bits and notes for chapters never completed, hinting at private anecdotes that Ohmart was unable to fill in. The book's posthumous co-author does an excellent job at filling in the facts however, even up to the point of Reed's final role in THE SENIORS, a low-budget T & A comedy.

The whole book is structured so one can easily tell which parts are in Reed's own voice. There's a nice selection of photos that seem to show Reed looking younger and happier as success finally catches up with him. Photos of a thinner, bearded Reed from the seventies look almost like a different man than those of the working radio actor of thirty years earlier.

In fact, the only problem with YABBA DABBA DOO! is the parts that are missing because they were never written. I was very pleased to find what a likable man Alan Reed was and would have loved to have heard him tell more of his marvelous memories and stories in his own, inimitable style. If you were ever a fan of radio or the Flintstones, buy this book and meet the real Alan Reed!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Vintage Booksteve-1972

Longtime readers may recall that my very first time in print ever was in the letter column of a 1968 issue of ADVENTURE COMICS. Just rediscovered and seen here is my SECOND appearance in print, some four years later, from LOIS LANE # 119. Interesting to note I share the page with future DC AnswerMan Bob Rozakis, now one of my friends on Facebook!

Oddly enough, my infatuation with ROSE & THE THORN didn't really last long.

Oh, and belated apologies to Matt Graham (wherever he may be) as he was, in fact, a prolific letter writer during this period who often had some good insights and interesting opinions.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cancer PSA-Whitney Darrow, Jr

I'm not certain exactly what year this is from but it's from a mid-fifties issue of ABBOTT & COSTELLO from St. John. It's an amusing little one-page PSA for Cancer research donations. The art is by Whitney Darrow, Jr, a prolific "slick" magazine cartoonist known mainly for his NEW YORKER cartoons.

Read up and Mr. Darrow here and enjoy this unusual comic book appearance by him.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mike Fenwick by Daerick Gross

I've decided that one of my all-time favorite signatures for a comic book artist is that of Daerick Gross. Gross has kicked around the industry for some years but is probably best known for his work on the Anne Rice vampire novel adaptations and subsequent graphic novel. In my opinion, he SHOULD be best known for his Latina character MURCIELAGA, THE SHE BAT, a character who has been around off and on for two decades nearly, even though I am sad to say I only recently discovered her.

As I've written before here, I first discovered Mr. Gross and his work way back in the 1970's when he worked for the CINCINNATI POST as an all-around staff artist. Here we have what I believe to be the last of the pieces of his work I saved from that period. Seen in this TV magazine cover portrait is Mike Fenwick, a popular local weatherman of the Nick Clooney regime at WKRC-TV (Tall 12!). I looked up Mister Fenwick to see whatever happened to him and was sad to see that, while he went on to be an anchorman himself, he passed from cancer just a couple of years back.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Crime Fiction Utopia

Pssst...Hey, bud. Ya wanna get in on the ground floor of a good thing? My old pal Cory has started a brand new blog...just today! There's not much there yet but promise and potential but I have no doubt that will soon change. CRIME FICTION UTOPIA is exactly that--a place for Cory to expound on noirish crime novels, films and TV shows. This is a genre he knows more than a little about. From Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer to Max Collins and Quarry, Cory may seem the timid, bookish type but in his heart he prowls the rain-soaked city streets dealing with private dicks, dizzy dames and manic mugs. Bookmark CRIME FICTION UTOPIA now and check back as it grows. With Cory's deep devotion to the genre, this should be a fun ride!

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Blue Beetle and...Sparky??

Okay, in all of my years of digging through old comics and the histories of old comics, I really don't believe that I had ever heard of Sparkington J. Northrup AKA "Sparky," the Blue Beetle's early 1940's s sidekick! In fact, although he was cover-featured on this particular issue, Sparky didn't even actually appear other than in the one page introduction/apology seen here. When he did show up next issue, it was as if he had been there all along. No origin story. Hey, DC, how about having an elderly Sparkington J. Nothrup need to turn to the current Blue Beetle for help on some problem? Or has poor Sparky been retconned permanently out of existence?

We'll try to run a Blue Beetle and Sparky story soon at our companion blog, FOUR-COLOR SHADOWS.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 71

The weirdest part of this one is that this was actually from an ARCHIE publication!

Four-Color Shadows Debuts

With all of the wonderful comics blogs sharing old public domain (and other) stories online, there would seem to be little need for yet another to join the ranks and it's certainly not as though I'm lacking in blogs already. Still, I've gathered a nice collection of interesting odds and ends that I thought others might enjoy and after all, I had to buy more storage space for my images awhile back so now I have a ton of room we have the debut of FOUR-COLOR IMAGES. We start off with a fun Alex Toth sci-fi story from 1952. With any luck, we'll be posting new stuff on a daily basis, at least until things get going well. So tell your friends, your arch-enemies and everyone else to revisit the comic book past with FOUR-COLOR MEMORIES and be sure to let us know what you think!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Major Matt Mason TV Commercial--1968

A cool rhyming commercial for "Mattel's Man in Space," MAJOR MATT MASON. This was the one toy line that I came close to having all the actual add-ons and side characters for. Sold the whole lot about twenty years back now but boy, were they cool!

The Uncanny Adventures of Okie Cartoonists

Mark Waid and DICK TRACY artist Dick Locher appear in this trailer for an upcoming interactive exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. Opens June 12 apparently.


Here's the trailer for John Landis' first film, SCHLOCK. Nearly 40 years after I first read of it on FAMOUS MONSTERS, I finally caught it online last week and found it quite well done for a low-budget first effort. Easily the best part is Landis himself as the monster, mugging wonderfully in early Rick Baker make-up. Many of the gags are genuinely funny, there's an amusing cameo from FM's FJA and the direction is most definitely a cut above that of similar efforts of the era.

Thunderball--Johnny Cash (??)

I had never heard of this before to the best of my knowledge but apparently the great Johnny Cash was at one point enlisted to write and perform the theme song for the now-classic James Bond film. THUNDERBALL. Seems like a pointedly bizarre choice to me and while the resultant song isn't terrible, it is most definitely not the sophisticated, urban ad modern sounding theme one expects from 007. Someone has dubbed the song to the original opening of the film, however, so you can see for yourself. The eventual real theme, in case you've forgotten, was performed by Tom Jones.

Hill and Spencer Interview

One of my favorite comedy teams of the seventies and eighties was the unofficial Italian teaming of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. The pair made a score or so of films together and a number of memorable low budget solo projects. Almost all of their pictures were huge in some parts of the world but the pair remain even now virtually unknown in the US. Here, there story is told in a couple of interviews with the actors themselves from 2005.