Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Spirit Turns Crook

A pulp-style 2 page text story from one of the reprint comics of the late forties. No idea who wrote this (I'm sure it wasn't Eisner) and it certainly isn't that good but does make one wonder what a full length SPIRIT pulp might have been like under Will Eisner's supervision.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Batman Fan Club

There were undoubtedly dozens of Batman fan clubs during the height of Batmania throughout 1966 and into 1967. This one may have had the coolest ad, though. What did you actually get for your hard-earned buck? Well--a cardboard membership card most likely, glossy photos--it doesn't say how many or how big. I'm betting very few and very small--an "action shot" of the batmobile (not even glossy!) and probably a foot placement chart on how to do the Batusi...even though the only memorable part of it was with the arms and hands. "Tuff stuff," indeed.

Oddly, this cool ad never appeared anywhere--to my knowledge--other than in the superhero cash-in CAPTAIN MARVEL comic from Myron Fass. "SPLIT!" That guy.

Oh, and I know it's a simple coloring error but you gotta love Robin's mis-matched gloves. Holy non-conformist!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rarities That Can Be Yours

It's so weird to me that the only things anyone ever seems to order from BOOKSTEVE RARITIES are B-Westerns. Now don't get me wrong. If that's your thing, we offer the best (and rarest) selection around in the best quality and at the best prices. But there's so much more! Here are a few of what I personally consider to be choice options that you might wish to order. Remember...a portion of each order from this shared site goes toward keeping all of the Booksteve sites afloat!

THE GREEN HORNET: Rare Film Shorts
This two-hour long DVD includes a variety of film shorts related to the television series, THE GREEN HORNET. Four original ABC fall previews, the five minute unaired test footage of different actors in the role, the original 1967 Green Hornet press conference, Van Williams and Wende Wagner caught on camera at a convention in 1989, TV station promos for both East and West Coast, the rare ABC-TV 1967 promo, the 1974 movie promo, syndication package promo, the 1983 Good Morning America featurette, A Current Affair coverage of Van Williams, the 1979 "That's Hollywood" segment, 1988 Tv marathon commercials, Van Williams before a live audience recalling his association with Bruce Lee, collectables show, and much more!

This is the February 5, 1962 version with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall in the leads, as televised on network TV. A drama critic learns on his wedding
day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family. Tony Randall plays Mortimer Brewster, and Boris Karloff plays the role of Jonathan Brewster.

Ole Olsen and Chick Johnson star in this classic musical that was a smash hit on Broadway in the 1930s. Martha Raye, Hugh Herbert and Shemp Howard play supporting roles. Of all the Olsen and Johnson films made, this is the most difficult and we have a superb, pristine, drop-dead gorgeous transfer on DVD.

This six-disc set contains all 63 comedy film shorts starring George O’Hanlon as Joe McDoakes. Satire is the change of pace and humor is top-notch. In the western episode, everyone’s name is Tex. At the conclusion of one episode, the narrator asks Joe’s wife if she ever got even with her husband and she said, “yep, three times.” At which point the sound of three crying babies are heard. If this is the kind of satire you enjoy, this six-disc set will be worth the price of admission.

This was Elmo Lincoln’s final Tarzan film. During production, five people were hospitalized, three cameras destroyed, three lions ran amok causing further damage, and the jungle fire sequence ran out of control, causing a number of buildings on the studio lot to catch fire and burn to the ground. This serial was originally released in December of 1921 in fifteen chapters. Sadl
y, not all of the chapters are known to exist. What we offer is 1928 movie version of the partially-lost serial, known as a reduction positive print. This was common in the twenties and thirties when, after the serial expired in the theaters, the studio would re-edit the serial into a movie and theatrically release it again -- thus only have to pay for music and an editor. A cost effective way of making money on the same film twice. Since all 15 chapters are not known to exist, what we offer is the 3 hour version on 2 DVDs. (And this is not the recently altered version where someone took the movie and edited down to 10 chapters and are claiming they have the restored version. We approve of restorations -- not alterations.)

George Pal is probably best remembered for producing the War of the Worlds movie that won an Academy Award for best special effects in 1952. What many people do not know was that in 1968, Pal put together a short film as a pilot for a proposed TV series based on the same novel his 1952 movie it was adapted from.
It never aired on TV. This DVD includes the promo footage explaining the crew of the star shiop Pegusus, their special abilities, and the opening shots of the first day's filming. Also included on this DVD is 30 minuites of raw footage of the technicians attempting various shots of special effects featured in Pal's science-fic
tion movies, a movie trailer, and a movie!

NERO WOLFE (1979 TV pilot)
Stars Thayer David as Nero Wolfe, and Tom Mason as Archie Goodwin. This made-for-Tv movie was filmed in 1977 but the networks felt it was so bad that they didn't air it until 1979 as a filler. Naturally, it never became a regular TV series, but if you love the Rex Stout character in film, this is a must-have.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sgt Fury Ad-1963

DC was known for it's downright amazing house ads from the forties through the seventies. While Timely had also had some creative house ads in the Golden Age, by the early sixties theirs--or rather Marvel's-- were a bit...sparse. Here's a 1963 ad for SGT FURY & HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 6

Here we see the first of many changes in the SUB-MARINER creative team as former Wally Wood collaborator Dan Adkins replaces Frank Giacoia on inks here at issue six. No Namor at all on this one but a nicely composed splash of Lady Dorma and Tiger Shark, the latter looking mean as all get out but a tad awkward due to the orange clothing making his overly muscled appendages kind of blend together visually. Roy Thomas continues Stan Lee's long-established tradition of overly-melodramatic, pseudo-literary titles--a tradition that works quite well with these stories.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

We Had Joy, We Had Fun

Book off the shelf time again. Today's more or less random grab is WE HAD JOY, WE HAD FUN a 1994 book apparently based on author Barry Scott's radio series, THE LOST 45's...which I don't think played in my part of the world at all.

The seventies were a unique time in music. Seventies hit records can inspire nostalgia like nothing else to those of us who were there but it's had to listen to them and pronounce them to be all that good today. Looking back with open eyes Scott and his interview/article subjects seem to recognize that for the most part.

It is a fun and nostalgic book without blinders and even the artists I didn't care for are interesting to read about. So which artists are we talking about here?

Terry Jacks and the Poppy Family--As SUSAN Jacks and the Poppy Family, I bought their hit 1970 record, "Which Way You Goin', Billy?" even though it kind of annoyed me at the time. On his own, though, brother Terry a few years later came out with SEASONS IN THE SUN, a deep, profound, catchy and dreadfully depressing song that all us kids thought was amazing!

Albert Hammond-the guy that did "It Never Rains in California" which still gets regular airplay on oldies channels.

Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods--This was a local group here in the Cincinnati area that made it surprisingly big covering the Paper Lace song, "Billy, Don't Be a Hero." In fact, Bo had the hot version in the US and Paper Lace had to wait for their US number one with "The Night Chicago Died." Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods became popular enough to get their own variety TV show briefly and today are still performing.

Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco Family--Family or no family, let's face it--as performers the DeFrancos were Osmond wannabes. I pretty much ignored them back then but caught my wife boppin' to 'em on YouTube recently.

Shaun Cassidy--I think David was more talented musically as well as a better actor but I've grown to admire Shaun as an intelligent TV producer over the years. Still don't like his music.

Rupert Holmes--Hardly forgotten, Holmes expanded into television, novel-writing and Broadway and is these days considered quite the valuable songwriter along the lines of Randy Newman.

Jim Stafford--His countrified novelty songs like "Wildwood Weed" and "My Girl Bill" were a hoot back then and he had a memorable stint as a TV variety host, also. Since then, he's been a mainstay of the Branson theater movement.

Leo Sayer--Always reminded me of Richard Simmons as a singer. For many years, the local public library here had three Leo Sayer CD's but no Beatles. Go figure. Not a favorite.

Gilbert O' Sullivan--Another singer with depressing songs and big bouncy hair, he lightened up a bit in time and his great Irish-tinged and echoed voice made him fun to listen to no matter what.

The Bay City Rollers--Internationally probably the best example of manufactured pop, these young Scottish guys never really hit that big in the US in spite of extensive TV appearances, their own brief series and one of the catchiest songs of all time in "Saturday Night."

Barry White--The voice. Need we say more?

Tony Orlando & Dawn--The very first group I ever saw in concert. Lots of catchy singles, the best variety series of the seventies and NOBODY could ever work a crowd as effortlessly as Tony. His mental well-being necessitated the group's sudden 1977 break-up but he's still out there. Telma Hopkins went on to a successful acting career while Joyce Vincent Wilson returned to session work.

Bobby Sherman--As big as they come at the beginning of the decade, boys wanted to be him and girls just wanted him...even if most were too young to have a clue as to why. Two TV series, a string of hit records and concert appearances and now he's a trivia question. Justin Bieber take note and invest wisely while you can.

Helen Reddy--Her feminist anthem, "I Am Woman," hit at the exact right time. Her many later hits were less assertive and her beautiful, Australian accented voice doesn't deserve to be as forgotten as it is. I actually bought her Greatest Hits album.

The Bee Gees--Ultimately, their disco-style music defined the decade but to say it defined the group itself is so unfair. They started in Australia as children and were already well-established before the Beatles, to whom their early music was compared. Their unique brotherly harmonies transcend the Disco era and it's terrible that their career suffered because of their era of greatest success.

The Captain and Tennille--She the bright-eyed, Southern and loud singer, he the cap-wearing, silent musician and straight man. No reason it should have worked other than their talent. Her voice was exquisite. Their variety TV series was fun but not really a good fit for the duo. Later she became a talk show hostess.

Sonny and Cher--In this case, their variety series defined them. They had been around for a decade since Sonny decided to play Svengali to teenage Cher. In the sixties they were both the ultimate hippie couple and yet a parody of same. TV made them amazingly hip, cool and yet mainstream. It even git their records back on the charts. Their momentum was hardly even hurt when their marriage broke up as--after separate TV series failed-- the network paid them to reunite...for the sake of the ratings! Cher went on to become an award winning actress and solo performer (as well as a gay icon) while Sonny--a closet conservative all along--ended up in Congress.

Olivia Newton-John--Australians were big in the seventies and this one was so beautiful and had such a sweet voice that the hits just kept on coming. An attempt at an acting career landed her only one major role but it was the iconic lead in GREASE.

KC & the Sunshine Band--It was loud and had a big beat. It was pop disco at its most mainstream. You either loved it or hated it. I hated it.

The Partridge Family--Monkees-style sitcom about a musical family with Monkees-style real hit records...and they were good ones! As far as I know the rest of the family never appeared on the recordings at all--just David Cassidy and his real-life stepmom, Shirley Jones...and even then Shirley only sang back-up except for a couple cuts on the Christmas album. The series was funny, the music was good. If only it all hadn't screwed up Danny Bonaduce so much.

The Osmonds--They'd been around a while as a sort of Mormon version of the Lettermen but little Donny made the girls' hearts throb and the rest of the brothers were allowed to rock...and when they were good, they were great!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stan Goldberg Goes PG-13

Here's a fun, well-drawn and little-known strip from the first issue of the 1975 NATIONAL LAMPOON wannabe mag, APPLE PIE. Drawn by Archie Comics legend Stan Goldberg (whom I had the pleasure of speaking with several times recently), it's certainly more risque and naughtier than your average Riverdale tale but...not that much really. Nowhere near the R-rated level of Dan DeCarlo's PENTHOUSE COMICS work years later. Without specifically parodying Archie and his pals 'n' gals, Stan manages to easily capture the style to the point where it's easy to imagine this tale simply taking place elsewhere in the Archie universe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trailer-The Illusionist-2010

Imagine being a fan of French filmmaker Jacques Tati and finding out that there's a new Tati film...decades after his passing. THE ILLUSIONIST not only uses an unproduced Tati script but also casts the man himself in animated form in the lead, capturing his quirks and movements nearly perfectly!

Kick Out the Jams--MC5-1972

Legendary early punkers, MC5 in an uncensored performance f their signature song from the German TV series BEAT CLUB which had all the coolest music acts!

The Elopement-Karen Valentine/Davy Jones-1970

This is one of my favorite segments of LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, the ever-so-slightly risque early seventies sitcom anthology. Karen Valentine was never cuter and a post-Monkees Davy Jones was equally delightful. In fact, both Karen and Davy are scheduled to appear at Martin Grams' Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con in September. Has anyone considered having them redo this script?

Milton Caniff-1983

STEVE CANYON and TERRY AND THE PIRATES creator Milton Caniff draws and talks with the late Shel Dorf in part one of five parts.

There It Is-Charley Bowers-1928

I'm assuming this to be real even though the whole story sounds much like the plot of Peter Jackson's mockumentary, FORGOTTEN SILVER--a completely forgotten silent screen comic is hailed as a genius after a number of his films are rediscovered in excellent quality and show early innovations in animation and color. I had never heard of Charley Bowers until yesterday but I've looked him up extensively and have yet to see anyone let on if this is a gag. THERE IT IS, from 1928, is a consistently inventive comedy with much silly fun all around. Wait until you see Scotland Yard...and little MacGregor!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Fin Splash

Doing our new regular feature, SILVER AGE SUB-MARINER SPLASH PAGE SUNDAYS, recently brought to mind this 1939-40-drawn splash page featuring yet another Bill Everett creation, the Fin! Is this a beautiful Golden Age splash or what?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frankenstein and Stepin Fetchit

In the pre-Internet days of the late 1930's and early 1930's...ahem! The WAY pre-Internet days...this was how comics reading movie fans got information about their favorite stars. Art here is by Bernard Baily who would later originate THE SPECTRE and still later appear regularly in CRACKED.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 5

Okay, we come now to issue five from 1968 and it's a good one, still from the Buscema/Giacoia team. The image has a nice perspective, Namor is nicely framed and the water really looks like water. I like the coloring and, plot-wise, we're simply referencing a guest appearance in CAPTAIN MARVEL since last issue in order to mover on with this one. Even the title logo adds to the framiing effect with the jagged "Tiger Shark." This was, in fact, the first appearance of a new major villain for the Sub-Mariner. He also got a cool cover!

One does have to wonder just exactly why all male characters in comics were curiously nipple-less. That fact probably made more than one little boy think he himself was deformed!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 86

Batman has always been pretty full of himself, hasn't he?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

R.I.P.-Michael Gough

Mad Celebs

When one thinks of celebrities in MAD, one tends to think of Mort Drucker's dead on caricatures or even those of Angelo Torres, Jack Davis or Tom Richmond. Beginning in the early sixties, however, as MAD became trendy to the point where it no doubt surprised the heck out of Gaines, Feldstein and the Usual Gang of Idiots, the celebs themselves were often photographed reading issues. Here is a selection of some of the now iconic 1960's celebs who saw at least one issue of MAD while busy making music or TV history.
The Kinks' Ray and Dave Davies

Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons

Elly Mae Clampett herself, Donna Douglas

Mick Jagger, surly as usual

Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde, aka Chad & Jeremy

Rifleman Chuck Conners

David Hedison as Captain Crane

The beautiful Phyllis Diller

An anachronistic Sgt. Schultz and Col. Hogan

Martin Landau and Barbara Bain

Malachi Throne (Falseface!) and Robert Wagner

Julia, Diahann Carroll

Ratpacker and TV talk show host Joey Bishop

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wonder Woman That Might Have Been

Most WONDER WOMAN fans are at least aware of the horribly miscast WW TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby from the mid-seventies. Well aside from the costuming and the casting, it wasn't that bad but...judging from this clip in a contemporary TV/movie magazine (provided by ace researcher Derek Tague), a resulting series could have been something entirely different!

Interestingly enough, here in 2011 there are reports that the upcoming WONDER WOMAN TV series will feature her as head of a giant corporation. Wonder if they read the original script from way back then.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gross Elvis

Just discovered in my collection a rare CINCINNATI POST cartoon from Daerick Gross (MURCIELAGA: SHE BAT) commenting on Elvis Presley's girth only slightly more than four months prior to the King's untimely demise.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 4

We're up to issue four of Subby's title. Same creative team as the past three issues thus far. One of Buscema's strengths was always pretty ladies and here, proving that point, we see at least the image of Namor's paramour, the Lady Dorma. All those little circles around our overly dramatic (which is, of course, perfectly in character for him) hero--like unfilled in Kirby Krackle--are supposed to show that tis scene takes place underwater. No matter the artist, that little trick seemed to always be a problem on this title. Roy Thomas continues to write the series and in this single issue story pits Namor against his old enemy, Attuma in a tale of deep emotions and densely peopled panels. Roy shows you don't have to have a multi-issue company-wide crossover to tell a good, solid, affecting emotional tale in the form of a comic book.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ramona Fradon's JSA

Saw this on Facebook and had to share. Pioneering female comics artist Ramona (METAMORPHO, AQUAMAN, SUPER-FRIENDS) Fradon's version of the JSA. A commission perhaps? Obviously Aquaman is present because of her association with the character. Don't know about Green Arrow. Really don't know about Blackhawk since he was, in fact, published by Quality Comics in the forties and not National-DC (or even AA). Still, an absolutely lovely and nostalgic piece.