Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Larry Smith and His Puppets Halloween Special

Didn't see this online in October. Larry Smith had a number of children's' series on Cincinnati area television between the mid-fifties and the late nineties! He sometimes shopped in my store in the nineties as well. I finally got to meet him officially in 2007...and he had Hattie the Witch with him!!!!

Interview With Klaus Nomi-1982

I don't think I ever saw him out of character before.

1938 Chevrolet Cartoon Ad

Wishing a Quick Recovery to Peter David

Here's a brief interview with writer Peter David, whom our son is named after. Peter suffered a stroke while on vacation this weekend and we're awaiting more info. He's blogging about it himself at least but still...Send as many best wishes his way as you can muster.

Trailer-A Little Romance

From the director of THE STING! Diane Lane's first film. The humor is intelligent, the emotions genuine, the locations gorgeous and Lord Olivier chews the scenery even better than HE had ever done before! My favorite film of 1979...which was a pretty big year in film!  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Celebrity Obits Album

Ran across my stash of hundreds of celebrity obits from the seventies and early eighties today. Big names like Groucho and Bing, cult figures like Belushi and Warren Oates, less-remembered folks like Kenneth Strickfaden and Jose Iturbi, playwrights, cartoonists, directors, actors...

It's all too big for this venue but I've started an ever-growing album on Facebook that you can see, even without a Facebook account, via this link.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Second Comic Con

Snow expected this weekend reminded me of this. I remember going to this Convention, the second I ever attended. It snowed heavily that Saturday but it was close enough (about 8 blocks) that I trudged through the snow to get there and then later trudged back with an armload of goodies!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


                                                                     Separated at birth?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blatz Beer Celebrity Ads-1950's

Here are some ads from a handsome celebrity endorsement ad campaign for Blatz Beer in the 1950's. Blatz sponsored radio's DUFFY'S TAVERN logically but briefly during this period. Watch for Martin Grams' long-awaited history of DUFFY'S TAVERN coming in 2013. I'm proofreading it for him now!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Break Time

I don't do Decembers well. Both my parents died in December. This year, the money's running low again, there are sudden unexpected computer issues, I'm having major sleeping problems and scrambling to catch up on three good-sized projects. Then yesterday's shooting hit me hard. Need to take a break, at least on this blog. Probably be back in a few days, definitely before Christmas. In the meantime, be good to yourselves.

Both pieces of artwork here were created last night using a combination of Paintbrush, IPhoto and FotoFlexer.

Friday, December 14, 2012

With Great Power...

Yes, it's emotionally hurting and damaged people who often commit gun violence...but the guns, even if you think of them as just tools, definitely aid them in doing so. And yes, there are plenty of gun laws on the books already...but if you've noticed, they aren't stopping the problem. How many more children need to die? How many more once-good people need to commit unspeakable acts? How long before we say "ENOUGH!" and change the talk from who's right or wrong about guns to talk about stopping the insanity that they can foster? Serious issues call for serious discussions and not political powerplays. Maybe this time? I doubt it. Maybe next time...


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Joe Sinnott and Bing Crosby

Considered one of the single best inkers in the history of comic books, Joe Sinnott also has a long history with Bing Crosby, illustrating all sorts of Crosby-related art and even album covers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Roots of Mad

So I'm preparing a piece on Craig Yoe's latest volume, COMICS ABOUT CARTOONISTS when I run across this page. It's a 1948 HEY LOOK! one-pager by Harvey Kurtzman that spoofs the art styles of Will Eisner, Al Capp, Chester Gould and Chic Young much the way he would have Will Elder and Wally Wood do it a few years later in EC's early MAD comics.

Lots of other nifty stuff in COMICS ABOUT CARTOONISTS as well. Look for full coverage coming later this week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Craig Yoe in 2010

Craig and Valissa Yoe interviewed in 2010 at the NY Comic Con by a clueless interviewer about his DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN book.

Lady Jane 2012-The Rolling Stones

Sounding better than they have in decades, The Rolling Stones took to the stage late this year in celebration of their 50th anniversary and trotted out long ignored numbers like this psychedelic-era gem.

Shirley Booth For the 1964 Ford Falcon

Shirley Booth was a long-respected Broadway star as well as the creator of the role of "Miss Duffy" on radio's DUFFY'S TAVERN when she took on the role of Ted Key's perfect maid, Hazel, in the sixties and became forever associated with that character.

1925 Theatrical Christmas Seals Ad

Do they still have Christmas Seals? Haven't seen them in ages.

Peter Sellers With Michael Parkinson-1974

Sellers rarely did serious interviews but in 1974 after a career downslide and just before his biggest comeback, he sat down for a fun conversation with chat show legend Michael Parkinson. Here's a longish excerpt. The full interview was later released as a record album.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Jughead's Folly

One of the scarcest of all Archie comics would have to be this late fifties one-shot, Jughead's Folly.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

December Booksteve Rarities Update

A little late but here are some highlights from this month's update on BOOKSTEVE RARITIES. Thousands of ultra-rare items on DVD but here's a few new ones just in time for the holiday.

Yes, we plan to have a volume two next month. Here you get to see screen tests for Hollywood stars trying out for roles they never got and roles they did win. Candice Bergen, Mia Farrow auditions for Liesl in The Sound of Music, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Ann-Margaret, Raquel Welch and James Coburn cavort in a screen test for Our Man Flint, Sharon Tate, Albert Finney, Sean Connery’s 1957 screen test for The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Marlon Brando tests for Viva Zapata!, Dustin Hoffman, Rich Little, Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, Batman), Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, Yvonne Craig, Angela Cartwright, Christopher Plummer, Andy Williams, Pat Boone, The Sound of Music screen tests, Mitzi Gaynor and other surprises.

George Lazenby's first movie role. Spanish/Italian made European James Bond style spy thriller. When a professor's powerful invention, a molecular disintegration weapon is stolen, it's up to super cool agent 077 Mike Murphy to retrieve the dangerous tool and take care of the potential evildoers. Filled with fights, car chases, gadgetry and beautiful women, this spy adventure helped create an action/spy mini-genre craze in Europe in the mid 1960's along with the first three James Bond films.

Seven classic Westerns starring Ken Maynard! Three DVD box set includes the following:
"The Fiddlin' Buckaroo" (1933)
"In Old Santa Fe" (1934)
"Lawless Riders" (1935)
"Western Frontier" (1935)
"Fighting Thru" (1930)
"The Trail Drive" (1933)
"Heir to Trouble" (1935)  $15.00

Four rare film shorts starring Monte Banks. THE COVERED SCHOONER (1923), WEDDING BELLS (1924), PAY OR MOVE (1924) and GOLF BUG (1924). Monte Banks was a silent scree comedian who has yet to make his name, overshadowed by such genius as Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle. Here's your chance to watch four classics (92 minutes total).

Being one of numerous important comedians during the silent era whose popularity has turned into almost complete obscurity, Lloyd Hamilton has nevertheless earned a reputation as an original talent among film historians and enthusiasts. Here's your chance to watch five of his famous talkies. DON'T BE NERVOUS (1929), PRIZE PUPPIES (1930), DOUBLING IN THE QUICKIES (1932), FALSE IMPRESSIONS (1932) and POP'S PAL (1933)

All four comedy film shorts from 1946 to 1948 starring Joe DeRita, and all 10 Joe Besser solo film shorts from 1949 to 1956. If you love the Three Stooges, you'll love watching these digitally-remastered classics on DVD!

A collection of ten film shorts with a nostalgic peek into the Yuletide pleasures of the early 1900s. Included on this disc is Edison's A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1910), A CHRISTMAS ACCIDENT (1912), A WINTER STRAW RIDE (1906), A TRAP FOR SANTA (1909), A HOLIDAY PAGEANT AT HOME (1901), SANTA CLAUS vs. CUPID (1915), SANTA CLAUS (1925), THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1905), THE ADVENTURE OF THE WRONG SANTA CLAUS (1914).


Friday, December 07, 2012

The Books of Allen Singer

My friend Allen Singer writes books. Not just any books, mind you, but Arcadia Books! You know the ones--those sepia-toned regional history titles that have dotted much of the US for the past decade or so now.

In fact, Allen's first book from 2003 has at times been one of their best-selling ones in this area. The thing is, it deserves a wider audience because of it's fascinating subject. That book is THE CINCINNATI SUBWAY, the first book to take any kind of in-depth look at the near-mythical Queen City underground transit system that never was.

You see, Cincinnati was all poised to run with the bigger cities with railroad rapid transit like you'd find in New York or Boston or Chicago or even Cleveland! But then the well ran dry and through politics, Depressions and Wars the entire project was backburnered and eventually abandoned. BUT...not before leaving a number of tunnels and even stations to fire one's imagination!

There was often talk of getting back to the Subway project but as decades flew by, it became cheaper for everyone involved to simply maintain it as a bunch of holes in the ground rather than finish it or even fill them in.

As a kid, I used to see the tunnel entrances alongside roads, all overgrown and barred off. I had no clue what they were, though. I used to imagine them to be dank, dark dungeons. In fact, my first knowledge of the ghost subway came from a PM MAGAZINE news report in 1981. I was immediately spellbound! I wanted to know more but little more was forthcoming for another 20 years or so.

Then came Allen. Long interested in railroads, I remember him telling me that he was researching the abandoned Cincinnati subway system long before it seemed likely he would ever craft a book out of that info.

But he did.

In a little more than 125 heavily illustrated pages, Allen gives a basic background history on rapid transit in the Ohio Valley and then fits in the whole convoluted story of the non-existent subway. Those familiar with the Arcadia books will know that their standard format allows the plethora of highly annotated historic and rare photographs to tell the story on a wholly separate level than just the well-researched text. In the case of this particular story, that means scores of amazing photos that hadn't seen the light of day since the original construction as well as some, I believe, taken exclusively for this book! 

Not satisfied with just telling the story up until it seemingly ended, Allen goes on into each subsequent decade, covering constantly stillborn plans to revive the project as well as plans to turn what was already there into everything from a wine cellar to an underground shopping district!

Even if you've never set foot in Cincinnati, Allen Singer's book, THE CINCINNATI SUBWAY is an amazing and enjoyable read filled with stunning and eerie images.

One of Allen's other Arcadia books is a sort of companion volume, CINCINNATI ON THE GO, which covers the forms of mass transit that Ohio's Queen City ended up with before, after and instead of the subway. If you're a transportation buff or have one on your Christmas list, I recommend the one-two punch of both books for a fuller picture of the whole story.

Entertainment fans will appreciate my friend's remaining two volumes as both deal with various aspects of show business in The Ohio Valley.

STEPPING OUT IN CINCINNATI (of which I helped edit one chapter) covers Vaudeville, Burlesque, nightclubs and, most fun of all, the great movie palaces of the area, again in the standard Arcadia format so there are tons of heavily annotated photos of long gone theaters. There are also tales of speakeasies, gangsters and celebrities, with little-seen photos of local, national and international entertainers.

His most recent volume takes this area's best-known nightclub, the ill-fated BEVERLY HILLS COUNTRY CLUB, and spotlights the memories and ultra-rare insider photos of a man who actually worked there during the club's peak years as one of the major stops for anyone who was anyone in show biz. This is NOT the story of the fire that eventually and tragically burned the place to the ground and took so many lives. No, this is the story of the jumpin', jivin' swinging years when The Beverly Hills really could be termed the showplace of the nation!

If you're from Cincinnati, there's a certain nostalgia factor involved. That's what the whole success of the Arcadia book series is predicated on. But Allen Singer's four volumes all have a wider appeal. You can take a look at more about them here:

And I see they're all available now for your Kindle as well!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Diabolik We Never Saw

One of my favorite sixties films is DANGER: DIABOLIK. Tim Lucas, who accompanies star John Phillip Law in a great DVD commentary on one version released in the past decade, posted the above image today on Facebook. There have been a couple other images related to this on other blogs in recent years but no one seemed to know what it was that they had. 

Tim points out that this is, in fact, Jean Sorel and Elsa Martinelli in an aborted 1964 Seth Holt version that presumably never got beyond the promo stills phase.

Eventually, of course, we ended up with John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell in Mario Bava's colorful cult classic pop art version seen below. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Paintbrush Evolution

Yesterday, I absentmindedly made the above in Mac Paintbrush while chatting with my son. Originally, I thought they were stylized candles.  

But I'm in a superimposing phase right now so I used Fotoflexer to superimpose a slightly smaller, faded version. It started to look like a city to me.

So I used Fotoflexer's various special effects in multiple combinations until I got an effect I liked and that I thought really gave the impression of a city. I posted it on Facebook but I still wasn't satisfied with it, though.

So back to Paintbrush where I flipped the second image, recolored it and actually added to it. 

I then superimposed the original and the second on top of the third (yellow) image to create this shimmering effect. I liked it but it looked less like a city than before.

Finally I ended up in IPhoto where I darkened the last image, highlighted various aspects via trial and error and then gave it the deep, wood look you see here which, to me, looks like a smoggy city with skyscrapers and cars and smokestacks.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Me by Mark Martin

Here's a quick portrait of yours truly done a while back by cartoonist and Internet pal Mark Martin, creator of GNATRAT!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Craig Yoe's Little Penis

This is a little naughty but hilarious--a review of Craig Yoe's new novelty book, LITTLE PENIS. I told Craig if this didn't sell the book, nothing would! I thought my wife would never stop pointing and laughing!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Old Bazooka Ads

As we lament the passing of the iconic Bazooka Joe mascot, let's not forget that Bazooka was once sold without the one eyed kid and was apparently a favorite of movie cowboys!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Clara Oswin or Clara/Oswin?

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD--I think I've figured it out, fellow Whovians! The Doctor meets young Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman) in Victorian England. He does NOT see her as resembling the trapped Oswin Oswald  from the current season opener in any way since he never actually SAW Oswin and what WE saw was just in Oswin's own head, even. 

Something happens that will likely kill Clara and The Doctor doesn't want that to happen. He determines he can save her but only by melding her mind with someone else's, similar to what had been done wit Donna. Where to find 
a mind that wouldn't itself be damaged by doing that? Hmmm...Then he remembers Oswin and manages somehow to pluck her mind out of its Dalek shell just prior to her death but AFTER her adventure with The Doctor and stick it in Clara's head. The two minds heal each other giving Clara Oswin...or rather Clara/Oswin!...both a bit of Victorian naiveté and traces of being the sarcastic computer genius we all fell so quickly in love with as well! 

Just a thought.

Friday, November 30, 2012