Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Costumes of 1956

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Broken Springs Premieres

Some time ago, I wrote about an upcoming low budget independent zombie movie called BROKEN SPRINGS. I even ran the trailer. Technically, it's still upcoming. It has however, played a few film festivals (under a slightly expanded title) and tonight, it will finally premiere in the area where it was originally shot.

Quoting from the film's Facebook page: Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards will make it's East Tennessee Premiere Oct. 30th 2010 7PM at the Kingsport Renaissance Center as part of the Southern Appalachia International Film Festival or SOAPIFF. It will be shown almost two years to the day of when we held our auditions at the Renaissance Center.

From Wikipedia: Broken Springs is an independent film written, directed and edited by Virginia native Neeley Lawson. It stars Teague Quillen, Jake Lawson and Shannon Wallen. The movie centers on three high schoolers whose world is turned upside down by tainted moonshine which turns everyone who drinks it into a flesh eating zombie. It does not take long for the whole town to be overrun by hungry cannibal zombies.

The only person involved in BROKEN SPRINGS that any of you are likely to have heard of is Shannon Wallen, arguably the world's biggest fan of modern horror movies and himself a rather infamous TV horror movie host from the area where BROKEN SPRINGS was shot. Wallen plays "Billy Jack," (no relation) the moonshiner whose tainted moonshine instigates the plot. From what I understand, he also worked behind the scenes on the film, perhaps as Assistant Director. Previously, comic book fan Wallen also appeared on the cover of an unrelated zombie comic as a victim! Here's a link to my original report which shows that comic as well as features the trailer.

I won't be at the premiere tonight (although I know some who probably will), and I'm not even sure why I care about this cheap little film that I will probably never even get to see. Maybe it's the "Hey, let's put on a show" attitude. Maybe it's because I know people who know people who were involved in its making. Maybe I just appreciate the fact that someone who wants to make a movie on any scale can stick with it through thick and thin and somehow get it to the point where--good or bad--it unreels in a BROKEN SPRINGS does tonight in Tennessee.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review-The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis

First thing this morning I noticed that Mark Evanier had posted a review of Jim Korkis’ new book, THE VAULT OF WALT. Seeing as how I had just finally finished my review copy of that same book, I purposely did not read Mark’s piece but I have no doubt that it was a recommendation.

Jim Korkis has been one of my favorite writers on animation for literally decades now. He is known throughout the world for his expertise on all things Disney and Disney fans everywhere should rejoice that he is sharing these episodic and anecdotal historical stories with us!

First of all, THE VAULT OF WALT is, in spite of what its title may imply, NOT about the scandals often linked these days to Disney. No matter how hard you look here, you will not find the Satan-worshipping, Nazi-sympathizing, anti-Semitic child molesting, deep frozen Disney who lurks in the dark recesses of Disney fandom on the Net. Nor will you find the sainted artistic genius that never made a misstep and was beloved by all who knew him. No, Korkis introduces us in snippets to the puzzle pieces that end up showing the reader a very real version of “Uncle Walt.”

The Disney in this book is a talented and creative animator and producer with a very good business sense. He loved children and legitimately wanted to entertain them but had a very good understanding of how to make a profit doing so.

In the book, you’ll find out the truth about Walt’s FBI connection, his membership in the DeMolay organization and his very memorable 30th wedding anniversary. Even though I have never had the pleasure of visiting any of the Disney theme parks, the many segments offering background and behind-the-scenes stories about Disneyland and Epcot are informative and interesting. For me, though, the best parts were the looks at Disney’s personal involvement with a number of films from THE THREE LITTLE PIGS up through BLACKBEARD’S GHOST and even, unexpectedly, 1970’s THE ARISTOCATS. My favorite piece is about the notorious Atlanta premiere of SONG OF THE SOUTH in which the African-American actors, while consistently praised, were not even allowed in the theater…or much of downtown Atlanta in fact! You’ll find characters such as Ward Kimball, Salvador Dali, Chuck Jones, Zorro, a cigarette smoking chimp and the equally interesting Disney family themselves including Walt’s wife and daughters.

Much of Korkis’ book had originally been written as columns so one can easily skip around and always find something new and fascinating. The style is breezy but always informative with the author making even the most minute events feel important to the reader. For fans of today’s Disney mega-conglomerate, there’s little here to interest you. If, however, you’re one of the millions who grew up with Uncle Walt, then THE VAULT OF WALT offers some intriguing, insightful and incisive portraits of the real man, the world in which he lived…and the world he himself created.

What are you waiting for? You can order your copy of THE VAULT OF WALT by Jim Korkis below. Me? I’m going to go read what Mark said about it now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 80

Not one of those unconsciously dirty or otherwise amusing ones, this is simply a clever throwaway panel from the BATMAN newspaper strip of the 1940's in which Harvey Apollo (NOT Harvey Dent) as Two-Face is seen reading a very appropriate novel--Robert Louis Stevenson's DR. JEKYLL AND MISTER HYDE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Ad

One of my favorite television series as a tiny child was THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS. I re-discovered it in reruns in the early 1980's and have seen it thusly a number of times since then and always enjoyed it. Clever writing, winning performances particularly from star Dwayne Hickman (with his Jack Benny-inspired delivery) and veteran Frank Faylen as his long-suffering but lovable dad. The breakout character from the show, though, was Maynard G. Krebs, Dobie's "good buddy." He was Dobie's Homer Brown, his Jughead Jones, his Arthur Fonzerelli! With his Beatnik schtick and catchphrases such as "You rang?" and "WORK!!??," Bob Denver's Maynard became as important as Dobie to the series. Thus he ended up playing a major role in National/DC's fairly successful comic book spin-off, much later retouched and redressed by original artist Bob Oksner (the originals being some of his best work in my opinion) as WINDY AND WILLY.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teen Titans Cartoon-1966

Here's Filmation's version of the Teen Titans from the mid sixties. Robin was tied as a property to Batman who wasn't yet appearing in animation so he couldn't be used. Speedy, who had guested in the comic but wasn't really a member, was a natural substitute. Why they inverted the colors on Kid Flash, on the other hand, I have never understood. Ted Knight narrates. More of these limited animation--yet somehow endearing--cartoons can be found on YouTube.

Rare Dick Briefer Non-Comics Art-1942

Here's a portion of what was said about this on YouTube:

In 1942, my father, Larry Wise, and my uncle, Dick Briefer, collaborated on the invention and design of a "toy theatre," called the Playette Theatre, and this video is a kind of nostalgic homage to that formative period in my childhood, and to the two men whose wild creativity were such inspirational models to me as I grew up in the thrall of their energetic imaginations.

The theatre itself was a knock-down cardboard item packed in a colorful, flat box, with instructions for folding and inserting tabs into slots to create the theatre structure in all its Dick Briefer-illustrated glory, as shown in the first slides of the video.

Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov-1982

Here's a nice low budget interview with the stars of EATING RAOUL, the great black comedy satirizing--as said in this interview--consumerism. Two fun, talented people who worked together a lot and yet seem quite ill at ease to me in this clip.

One From the Heart-1982

Not really the trailer but the title song and the climactic scene (although it cuts out too quickly) of one of my favorite films--the movie that bankrupted Francis Ford Coppola--Frederick Forrest in 1982's ONE FROM THE HEART. Note: everything you see is a set! There was ZERO location shooting. No wonder it bankrupted him!

Mel Brooks Meets Cary Grant

The great raconteur holding court at some length on Johnny Carson's TONIGHT SHOW about how he met the great movie star, Cary Grant.

Batman by Bob Kane

This mid-seventies record ad supposedly drawn by Bob Kane himself may well be one of the few times any actual Bob Kane art had appeared in a DC comic book since at the very least the 1950's...possibly since the '40's! Certainly, only one or two pinup style pieces by Batman's creator of record were all that appeared afterwards before his death in 1998. Thanks as ever to LM for pointing it out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Spirit by Don Rosa

I have always loved this fanzine image of the movie version of Will Eisner's classic SPIRIT that might have been. Drawn for the RBCC (that's ROCKET'S BLAST-COMICOLLECTOR for you youngsters) by future modern day "Good Duck Artist," Don Rosa, this image accompanied an article/press release about EXORCIST director William Friedkin's announced intention to bring Denny Colt to the small screen in a TV movie. Rumors to that effect had abounded for several years as Friedkin readily admitted being influenced by Eisner's cinematic storytelling on his previous Oscar winner, THE FRENCH CONNECTION.

Keno Don Rosa (about whom there's a new feature length documentary coming soon!) was a BNF who had taken over Ray Miller's INFORMATION CENTER in RBCC and made it uniquely his own with his humor and his delightful pop culture illustrations (including, on occasion, Disney ducks!). Here Don shows actor James Garner as the Spirit with young hamburger salesman Rodney Allen Rippy as sidekick, Ebony.

Since the eponymous hero of the strip was known to be a handsome, quick-witted character who was as good with his lips as his fists, the dream casting the fans hoped for was James Garner as the Spirit. Garner had essentially played that role in his earlier hit TV series, MAVERICK (as well as many variations in movies and TV ever since).

Rodney Allen Rippy was only about eight years old at the time but was enjoying his fifteen minutes with regular TV appearances ranging from his star-making Jack-in-the-Box commercials to sitcoms to talk shows to award shows. He was too cute and too easygoing to be Ebony no matter how politically correct they tried to write him. Unfortunately, Gary Coleman--who could have been perfect at the right age--was only a few months older than Rodney at that time.

As stated in the piece, Friedkin would first have to shoot SORCERER. Although well received by critics, that film proved to be a major box-office disappointment and Friedkin's stock in Hollywood fell. THE SPIRIT went unmade and the property slipped into other hands. Finally, a few years later, a TV movie version did appear from other hands but Will Eisner was reportedly not thrilled. I don't know if they used the same script that Friedkin would have had or a new one but it was a campy throwback to BATMAN starring Sam Jones (later the campy big screen FLASH GORDON) and Nana Visitor (later of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and now a friend on Facebook). It's enjoyable in a way but every once in a while even now--especially after Frank Miller's big-screen travesty--I can't help but imagine THE SPIRIT starring James Garner, directed by William Friedkin.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

RIP: Mike Esposito

It's hard to discuss artist Mike Esposito without immediately mentioning or at least bringing to mind his longtime partnership with Ross Andru. As a team, the pair worked for various companies at various times and twice even tried to set up their own publishing company. I first discovered them at DC in the mid-sixties--the era of the infamous Go-Go checks--probably with this very issue of METAL MEN, my first. They had at that point been doing WONDER WOMAN for many years, also, as well as many one-off stories for DC's various war titles.

Esposito, working mostly as an inker most of the time, had also been picking up work at Marvel during that period under the assumed names, Mickey Demeo and Joe Gaudioso. In later years Mike would be a mainstay inker for Marvel under his own name and beyond that go on to be Art Director for Archie Comics.

By all accounts a nice man and a thorough professional. RIP

Gary Owens Interviews Don Rickles-1968

Here we have former SPACE GHOST star Gary Owens basically playing straight man to future JIMMY OLSEN co-star Don Rickles in this one page "interview" that originally appeared in LAUGH-IN magazine. LAUGH-IN was one of the first "adult" (as opposed to kids, not as in skin mags) magazines I ever bought. Got every issue I had at Woolworths here in town if I recall correctly. The licensing and magazine industries being what they are and, knowing what I know now, it's entirely possible that neither Gary nor Rickles had anything to do with this piece. It may well have been simply written up in their respective voices by the mag's writers. Either way, a fun read if you like Don's insult humor.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spidey and cap-Ricochet to Freedom!-1976

Another curious find from Lisa M. Does this Bicentennial-era ad makes sense to anyone on ANY level? A web over washington? Giant guns shooting our heroes? Spidey cracking wise on cap's weight? Cap agreeing!!??
This is the exact type of thing for which the now-accepted phrase, WTF? was invented.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preview--Frightful Frankenstein Friday!

Tomorrow is FRIGHTFUL FRANKENSTEIN FRIDAY in celebration of the publication of Craig Yoe's newest collection of classic Golden Age comics, DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN. If you've never read any of these stories you are in for a revelation. The series was quite literally unique in the annals of comics. The first ever comic series to star a monster, Briefer--a former Eisner associate--did some genuinely creepy first. Then he switched gears completely and remade the monster a lovable creature in the manner later adapted for Herman Munster! These Jack Cole-style stories were fun and cleverly drawn but...later on, when horror comics were all the rage, Briefer switched BACK and did a serious version of the monster again in a series of stories that were several cuts above most of the horror comics of the fifties.

Check out the blogs below on Friday for a whole day of F R A N K E N S T E I N !!!!!! Then order your own copy of DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN for the behind the scenes story as well as many, many more reprinted stories from ALL the different eras!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 79

In this story, the Archies were searching for that elusive "New Sound." This turned out NOT to be it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Howie and Hope

This is what DC was investing their marketing energies on in the mid-fifties--HERE'S HOWIE and THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE. Their house ads were certainly more memorable than those of most other companies but Howie didn't last. Hope, on the other hand, like Jerry Lewis, lasted nearly another decade and a half.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Phantom by Pablo Marcos

One of the absolute best of the second generation of horror comics artists was Pablo Marcos. Marcos went on to reinvent himself as a children's book illustrator but it's hard to forget some of his visceral images for Skywald and Marvel back in the day. Here's his NIGHTMARE rendition of the Phantom of the Opera. Small world that it is, Marcos is now a friend on Facebook!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Houdini by Netzer/Austin-1976

Here, from late 1976's all magic issue of DC SUPERSTARS, is a one-page bio piece on Harry Houdini, written anonymously (Bob Rozakis maybe?) but with a slightly creepy single image shot of the great escape artist and magician himself drawn by our pal Mike Nasser (before he regenerated into Michael Netzer) with the inimitable Terry Austin.

***UPDATE: Checked with DC's former Answer Man and Mr. Rozakis says he was not the author. He suggests Bridwell, Levitz, Harris or Anthony Tollin as the next most likely suspects.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eating Raoul Trailer-1982

I just love the late Paul Bartel! Whether as director or actor, he was always a unique presence on a film. This one, EATING RAOUL, he wrote directed AND stars in. It's a black comedy with the proverbial something to offend everybody. It also has a great cast of crazies including Bartel's frequent co-star (and no, they were NEVER married), Mary Woronov, Robert (STAR TREK: VOYAGER) Beltran, Ed Begley (how long does he have to carry "Jr"?), Hamilton Camp and even some Groundling folk like Edie McClurg (now aFacebook friend) and John Paragon. It's about sex...and cannibalism...and murder...and middle class American values. It's also hilarious!

Bobby Sherman-Little Woman

My grade school girlfriend was really, REALLY into Bobby Sherman when this sexist little song came off of his first album so I was really into Bobby, too! Even started wearing fringed leather and suede vests and love beads! Boy did I look stupid at age 10!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Early Raquel

Why are so many women of a certain age overweight in this country? Perhaps because they were led to believe by this 1965 ad that they could look like "glamorous actress" Raquel Welch (whose first real film was just then being released) if they put a little weight on...or "Wate-On."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Riders Radio Theater-February, 1998

The only actual radio show I have ever been privileged to see live (besides the trivia shows I actually appeared on and/or hosted or Convention podcasts) was RIDERS RADIO THEATER. On February 13th, 1998, friend and former employee Ginny (still a Facebook bud today) got tickets for my wife, myself and 16 month old bookdave to accompany her to a taping of two episodes of RIDERS RADIO THEATER, the syndicated modern day musical comedy adventure series starring the western retro group Riders in the Sky.

The taping was at Cincinnati's venerable Emery Theater. That was my final visit to the great old, vintage theater where I had spent many a Sunday afternoon in the seventies falling in love with the likes of Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Claudette Colbert in their classic film revival series.

The series was put on by WVXU, the now legendary college station here which was also where I made my radio debut in 1980. That debut was on the weekly Trivia episode of LIVELINE, a talk show hosted by Larry Ashcraft which is now recognized as the city's first modern day talk radio program.

Along with Jim "Doc" King, the man whose weekly Friday night radio presentations of classic OTR programs stoked my interest there in the late seventies, Larry was one of the folks behind the Riders show. In fact, early on he had offered me passes to see it but for some reason, I had never taken him up on it. By the time we did see it, the series had been running for nearly a decade.

Larry, who passed away in 2000, was an interesting character. He was a large, friendly man highly respected for many years in the field of amateur, ham radio. In the 1960's, however, he had served two stints in Vietnam and was reportedly involved in attempts to clear out the village of My Lai before the legendary massacre there. He was later an interpreter to President Johnson. He had attended Xavier University in the mid-seventies after that already eventful life and volunteered for the fledgeling radio station there. Eventually he would serve as news director, development director, program host and director of community relations and special projects...including RIDERS RADIO THEATER. (The first day we met, he offered to drive me home and during the trip became quite inappropriate--especially considering we had just met-- but that's another story entirely. After that, though, I took the bus when I was on his show).

On the night of the shows, we had good seats only a few rows back from the stage. David had grown up hearing the series in the car and around the house. It consisted of Ranger Doug ("The idol of American Youth"), Too Slim, Woody Paul, Joey the Cow Polka King and Texas Bix Bender ("the voice that sold a million baby chicks over border radio.") They sang like the Sons of the Pioneers, had serial adventures that crossed cowboy heroes like Roy and Gene with MAD magazine humor and wowed radio audiences in countries around the world throughout the nineties.

The stage was set up as if for a play only with microphones at the footlights. There were backdrops and scenery and costumes all around and yet most of the show other than the musical parts was done like the radio broadcast it was. At one point during the second taping, Ranger Doug was alone at center stage playing a soft guitar and singing when suddenly young bookdave--who had been drifting off to sleep a bit earlier--joined in. The acoustics being what they were, his surprisingly melodic harmony attracted the attention of the audience, many of whom looked our way as we tried to quiet him down. Ranger Doug glanced down his big toothy smile and nodded as if to say, "Let him sing," so we did. Sadly, when the episode aired a month or two later you couldn't hear the slightest trace of the boy in the song. Sigh.

Overall, though, a delightful and fun evening with a delightful and fun group. As I said, I knew people. I could have gone much earlier and I could have gone a lot...but I only went that once, and that made it very special!

Monday, October 11, 2010


In lieu of a real job in this current mess we call an economy, I have taken to the world of freelancing--a world I like very much in spite of its uncertainties. The problem is that you get a gig and then before you even fulfill your part of the deal you have to be off soliciting for your next one.

What exactly am I doing? I'm currently proofreading an 800 page pop culture book. In recent weeks, I've been researching and ghostwriting on an exciting upcoming project. I've done more transcriptions recently also and am in the process of learning to do pronunciation proofing for a likely paying gig in that field sooner than later. I'm even working on a writing project of my own for which I have high hopes.

At this point, though, I've been paid for all of the projects I've done or am doing. If you are an author or publisher reading this and you need any of the above-mentioned or other behind-the-scenes work done soon, please contact me. I have hourly rates but I've found that most folks prefer to pay by the project and that's okay with me. References can be provided. If you read this blog, you KNOW I know my pop culture so if your project is about movies, TV, comics, radio or need Booksteve!

In the meantime, any donations you would care to make over on the right toward the continuance of this and/or my other blogs would, as always, be greatly appreciated! Especially until I get my next paying freelance job! Thanks in advance. Tomorrow, we will return to your regular fun pop stuff!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Kip Tapes

The Kip Tapes

They were never available in stores but the Kip Tapes were an underground hit nonetheless. Kip King died in July of this year after a long series of health issues. The week that he died, I had just gotten hold of the Kip Tapes.

Kip King was the quintessential comedian’s comedian. Although never well known to the general public, he appeared in scores of television series from the mid-fifties on and in films, especially with his son, Chris Kattan, right up until he began his long hospital stay. He was a respected teacher, mentor to many over the years and friend to a host of other well-known comic performers. Comedian/actor Taylor Negron, in speaking of Kip’s passing, noted, “We all must be funnier now to make up for the loss.”

Actress Laraine Newman, the funniest of the original Not Ready For Primetime Players ladies, was not in the Groundlings at the same time as Kip but remembers him well. Laraine wrote that “…somewhat recently, I saw him and Sandy Helberg do their Mr. Bojangles routine, a bit that had me laughing so hard I almost suffocated. There were two things going on at the same time that were equally powerful. Sandy's ancient and palsied tap dancer and Kip's sweet, sincere expression as he sang the song. It was just so wrong and so devilish. There was a wink in his eye, to be sure, but that just added to the lightness of his touch when doing this particular thing. It was probably the least broad thing I'd ever seen him do.”

Laraine’s sister, musician, writer and TV producer Tracy Newman, had been Kip’s co-conspirator on the Kip Tapes. Tracy recalled for me how they came about in the first place. It was approximately 1982. Around that time, Kip worked for Jesse Jackson at Operation Push. He was on the phone in a “boiler room” early each morning, selling advertising space for black periodicals to businesses in the south. He had a script to follow, but of course he veered from it and went off on tangents. Kip was a New York Jew, but for this job, he was usually a black man named Dr. Richard Anderson. When John Paragon (later a fellow Groundling) started working there, Kip was his mentor because Kip was so successful at the job. John put a cassette tape recorder on Kip’s desk and taped many of his conversations, all of which were simply hilarious. “The black community is like the sky... it’s all around you.” After I heard these rough tapes, I invited Kip to my house every Saturday for several months to place crank phone calls which I recorded properly... I bugged my phone and circled ads in various free papers for Kip to answer. The ads were things like “Last Chance For a Mule,” or “Found Dirt Bike,” or “Get what you want when you want it.” Kip would dial the number and depending on the sound of the voice answering on the other end, he would decide who he was. Like when he called Brentwood (LA) answering an ad seeking a fourth for bridge — the woman who picked up the phone had a slight southern accent, so he became a black man from South Central LA, named Dwight Fiscuss. The minute she heard his voice, you knew she didn’t want him playing cards in her home. I recorded many of these calls, then went into a studio and edited them down to six of my favorites. We wanted to put them out on a record, but we needed the “victims” to sign releases. Neither Kip nor I had the nerve to call them and tell them that they were on the other end of a crank call. So, the tapes became kind of an underground treasure. Very funny but maybe too risky to sell. The six calls are: Last Chance For a Mule, Bridge, Get What You Want, Free Cat, Ski Suit and Dirt Bike.”

Laraine added that she heard the tapes when her sister would play them for her. She said that what she really remembers is Kip’s laugh. “There will never be a laugh like that again.”

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Ballad of John and Yoko

As is being widely covered in the news today, October 9th is birthday to both John Lennon and son Sean. John Lennon, one of THE pivotal figures of the late 20th century, would have been 70 years old had he not ascended into legend far too soon.

As has been noted here many times, we have nearly a whole bookcase of Beatles-related books here at the Library. One of my favorites of the many on John is the ROLLING STONE compilation entitled THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO.

THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO came out in 1982 and collected most (or perhaps all) of that venerable rock magazine's many articles, reviews and interviews with the former Chief Beatle. There are also a few new remembrances and a collection of color stills from Annie Leibovitz's award-winning final photo session.

My main issue with this naturally bittersweet volume is that there is little context given on the reprinted material. Since John would often change his views on everything from individual songs to political movements and certainly friends and enemies dependent on his involvement at any given time with certain substances or sycophantic advisors, it would have been nice to know where he was in his life when he was saying what he was saying in any given article.

Taken for what's there, though, as opposed to what isn't, one is left with a complex portrait of a complicated, conflicted man on a personal journey of discovery...and the very real feeling that he was coming out ahead in the end. Isn't that what we all want out of life, really?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 62

***Spoiler*** Rosebud...was the sled. That said, apparently director Otto Preminger was attempting to change our cinematic perceptions when he made a picture in 1975 entitled ROSEBUD. Needless to say, there was no relation. In this film, Rosebud is a yacht. So one Rosebud is associated with what is often called the best film ever, the other with what could conceivably be a candidate for the worst film ever.

Legendary actor Peter O'Toole toplines as a British intermediary working with the CIA to rescue 5 kidnapped daughters of important men. At various times in his career, this might have been a casting coup but not here--O'Toole's equally legendary alcohol, substance abuse and overall health problems have clearly taken their toll and to say the sickly looking actor walks though his performance is being kind as he can barely stand up at all.

Another who should have known better was Sir (but not yet) Richard Attenborough, later of JURASSIC PARK fame. Beyond that, the cast features veteran Peter Lawford, himself reportedly in a spiral of self-abuse around that time and John Lindsay, the former mayor of New York City. Much was made at the time of the acting debut of the Mayor with the movie star looks. Unfortunately, he did not have the least bit of movie star talent! American TV and stage actor Cliff Gorman and international stars Raf Vallone and Claude Dauphin round out the male cast.

For the most part, the women are the kidnap victims here. Most interesting to note are SEX AND THE CITY's Kim Cattrell in a very early appearance and DOCTOR WHO's second Romana, Lalla Ward.

Based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway's daughter and with a script by Preminger's son with ecdysiast (and later talk show hostess) Gypsy Rose Lee, ROSEBUD is long, slow, dull, badly cast, badly acted and, from the man who had then only recently brought you the so-bad-it's-become-a-belated-classic, SKIDOO, badly directed.

Otto Preminger was, of course, the man behind such classics as EXODUS, RIVER OF NO RETURN, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM and the cinematic masterpiece that is LAURA. Clearly, he knew how to direct a movie. He was also, however, one of three actors to portray Mister Freeze on BATMAN. Sadly, I think THAT was the Preminger who brought us ROSEBUD.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bruce Lee: Life and Legend

Bruce Lee would have been 70 this year. Almost immediately after his untimely death in July of 1973 he was elevated to superstar--and nearly Godlike--status throughout the world. Many years before the bio-flick DRAGON, we were all told to expect an authorized biographical picture to be entitled BRUCE LEE: LIFE AND LEGEND. Nothing ever came of it. Here, though, is a still of Bruce's widow Linda, supposedly perusing the script of that proposed film along with it's intended star, one Alex Kwon. Quite frankly, Alex looks a little too "gosh-wow" to have been Bruce but...who knows?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

George Gladir Gets the Finger-2009

I've recently had the great pleasure of speaking with veteran Archie and CRACKED writer George Gladir a number of times. Here's Mark Evanier and Paul Dini presenting George the Bill Finger Award last year.

Robert Crumb/Gilbert Shelton 2010

Far too brief and with nowhere near enough Gilbert Shelton, this recent clip from the Festa Literaria Internacional de Paraty (FLIP) offers the always controversial Robert Crumb at his best, looking good, being modest and then attacking America.

Syd Barrett-Octopus

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite tragic rock geniuses. There's a new Syd Barrett compilation coming out that combines for the first time his best sol tracks with his best Pink Floyd material.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Posters From 1979

As the seventies ended, you were nobody unless you had a poster. It all started with Farrah a few years earlier and then, as with most good things, it got run into the ground. This ad, apparently this company's 68th, was from 1979. Let's take a look, shall we?

First we have Rex Smith (later DAREDEVIL on TV) from a TV movie entitled SOONER OR LATER that really wasn't THAT popular to begin with and certainly is little remembered today.

Roseanna Rosannadanna was Gilda Radner's SNL character which had peaked in popularity a year or two earlier.

Dirk Benedict here was nearing the end of his BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA fame and sttill a few years away from THE A TEAM.

Meat Loaf's BAT OUT OF HELL poster by Richard Corben did as much to sell that album as its music did and the image is still popular today.

Chery Ladd was a lovely young woman. Cheryl followed Farrah on CHARLIE'S ANGELS so it was natural to try to market her the same way but for some reason, Cheryl Ladd without pants still looked too wholesome to be a huge seller.

Clark Brandon. Seriously. Do you know who Clark Brandon is? I do and I still barely remember him. Hard to believe anyone had his posters on their wall. He had a consistent 7 year run as a teen, mostly on TV, between 1973 and 1983.

Farrah (Blue). For some people, you could never get enough Farrah. Even though her super-popularity was settling down by this point, this huge, beautiful poster was still a big seller. I still have this one.

Brooke Shields as Wanda Nevada. WANDA NEVADA was an attempt at selling young teen Brooke as something other than a young teenage sex symbol after PRETTY BABY but it didn't work. Soon enough she was back in BLUE LAGOON and ENDLESS LOVE and it would be years before she got any respect as an actress and comedienne. If anything, if the film is remembered at all, it's because it's the only time Peter Fonda and his dad Henry appeared in the same picture.

Jaclyn Smith was and is a lovely woman who is so classy that, again, that "sexy" thing that Farrah could do effortlessly just kind of looked silly to me when she tried it. I did buy this one though.

Kiss, of course, is a marketing dream and I'm sure this was probably the biggest selling poster on this ad!

Finally, we have Stephen Shortridge! And you thought Clark Brandon was obscure! Mr. Shortridge had the unenviable task of replacing John Travolta on TV's WELCOME BACK KOTTER after the feature SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER made him the biggest star in the country overnight. To make matters worse, the producers hedged their bets by keeping Travolta's character around in cameo appearances anyway which prevented Shortridge from ever being fully accepted as a sweathog.

Monday, October 04, 2010

RIP-Sir Norman Wisdom

Sadly I only recently discovered the now-late Norman Wisdom, a cornerstone of British comedy for decades. Lots of his stuff on YouTube, though, including this late period stage schtick. Hilarious! Norman Wisdom died today at the age of 95, much beloved by his countrymen of all ages.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

DC/Aurora 1965

One of the earliest tie-ins to the 1966 BATMAN TV series was this now-iconic Batman model from Aurora. These classic DC character models were out in late 1965 and have been reissued from time to time over the years since. I had the Batman one and later the Superman one. Somewhere I have a photo of myself with the assembled but unpainted Batman model.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Felix the Cat vs Frankenstein

I know a number of folks who frequent the Library here are likely to end up at next weekend's New York Con. If so, be sure to ask about the event seen here, apparently left out of the program book! IDW is sponsoring the event in promotion of Yoebooks' recent FELIX THE CAT book and the still upcoming (but scheduled to be released this week I hope) collection of Dick Briefer's FRANKENSTEIN comics! I'd love to be there but can't so all of you guys need to go and report back on the event to me, okay? Okay! Enjoy!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Creepy and Eerie Publisher in a Flintstones Comic!

Talk about an unexpected tie-in. One of my all-time favorite comic books is 1965's THE FLINTSTONES AT THE NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR but I had forgotten or never noticed that it was published through Western (Gold Key) but by a subsidiary of Warren Publishing, the folks who brought you CREEPY, EERIE and FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND (as well as later VAMPIRELLA). Seems publisher Jim Warren picked up some of the licensing rights and thus did a couple printings of this great, fun souvenir! One of my Facebook pals pointed thisout tonight as we discussed this week's 50th anniversary of TV's first prime-time animated series.

Here, however, is something I don't see listed anywhere and certainly never would have caught without the above knowledge! The characters are all drawn very much on-model and the incidental characters, human and otherwise, are done in Hanna-Barbera's signature style, also. All except one! In the story entitled "On the Job Straining," Fred attempts a magic act. His audience is filled with typical H-B non-descript human characters
seen in the lower left hand corner of the bottom panel below, one strangely realistic gentleman with detailed hair and thick framed glasses.

Maybe I'm wrong but....above is a picture of Jim Warren when he was younger from the Official Warren Publishing Website. What do you think?