Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hoping Your New Year is a Lulu!

Monday, December 30, 2013

R.I. P. Keith Harrell---2010

As we reflect on those who have left us in the soon to depart year, I was surprised to find that my all-time favorite motivational writer and speaker, Keith Harrell, passed in October of 2010--three years ago. 

At some point in the early 2000's, Waldenbooks/Borders hired him to speak at one of their regional meetings. Not mine. He was, however, SO well-received that even though they couldn't afford him for all the meetings, they recorded him and showed the video to all of their OTHER regional meetings. 

To say I was impressed was putting it mildly. He was funny, effortlessly charming, and ultimately, uplifting in a way I had never felt before no matter how many Anthony Robbins tapes I used to listen to in the eighties.

Along with several others, I requested a cassette of this talk and I was given one by the powers that be. I've probably listened to it 50 times in the years since in my car.

But not recently.

Having been gone from the daily commute for 5 full years this week, I no longer had cause to play long cassettes. In fact, the cassette player in my car no longer works and I have only two left inside. 

So I hadn't listened lately.

I didn't know.

Rest in peace.

And thanks.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

UK Superman Ad

Here's a little-known UK ad with SUPERMAN from the 80s.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Green Cross Man

I met David Prowse at a show back in the 90s. He was nice and talked about training Christopher Reeve as Superman. He also talked about the two times he played the Frankenstein monster for Hammer Films. He signed his picture, though, as "Dave Prowse IS Darth Vader." In England, though, and without makeup, he might still be best known by many as the Green Cross Man, a role he played in PSAs for some time. Here's a print version of one with the character drawn too look like David.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Linda Blair and Rick James

Linda Blair remains one of the most searched for people in my 8 and a half years of blogging. Here are some photos of her in her still hard to believe relationship with Superfreak Rick James.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mama's Boys-The Adventures of Davy and Bruce-Part 2

This was based on a Facebook joke I made over a year ago and the actual story was written for an anthology that may or may not ever come out at this point so I thought I'd share it here. Not saying it's great but I think it's kinda fun. Since it's a tad long for a blog post, I'm only sharing part one. If you want to see where it goes from here, let me know and I'll post the rest in two more parts. Enjoy!

By Steven Thompson
© 2013

Like I said, we’ll set you up in an apartment. You’ll be seen around town together over the next week so the two of you spotted at the Stakes next weekend hopefully won’t raise any red flags.” Once again, she grabbed a napkin and wrote on it. “Here’s your new address. Just tell your families that you’ll be rehearsing for a new show.”

“And who’s paying for the cab there?” Davy inquired.

“Oh, didn’t I mention? You guys have got wheels. C’mon.” With that she rose, placed some large bills on the restaurant table and exited with Bruce and Davy. Outside, they were stunned to see what she meant.

Parked in front of the restaurant was a familiar, sleek red car. “It’s the flippin’ Monkeemobile!  What th...?!”

Bruce ran his hands over the sleekness of its body. “The Brucemobile you mean! This is awesome. My buddy McQueen would kill for this!”

“’Ey! I should know the Monkeemobile when I see it! Even if the logo HAS been painted over! How’d it get here anyway? It wasn’t parked here when we went in.”

“Secrets. They become second nature in this job, boys. Anyway, it’s not the original Monkeemobile but a tricked up copy. We want you two to be noticed and figured this would do it. But it’s got some surprises, too.”

“You mean it’s got an ejector seat so I can get rid of Judomaster, here?”

“Judo?? You ignorant Englishman! If you keep that up, I’ll show you ‘”judo’.”

“Wow. Listen to your Mama and stop fighting! You have to be a team on this. Got it?” The two stared at each other intently. “I said, ‘GOT IT?’” Davy and Bruce nodded.

Bruce held out his hand but Davy just looked at it. “Sorry, gov. Let’s build that trust thing slowly, right?”

Over the next week, Davy and Bruce made a point of being seen everywhere together—restaurants, premieres and various Hollywood functions and ceremonies. Every night they were out driving in the familiar car whose name they argued over constantly! Mama made sure that word got out to all the right gossip columnists that the pair were huddling together closely to work on ideas for a top secret film project. In a town like Hollywood, far stranger things have happened in the name of art. No one would be the least bit suspicious of seeing the two unlikely pals together around town.

Behind the scenes, however, they were being given daily briefings on their real mission. Davy was sitting awkwardly across a comfy chair in front of the television watching a rerun of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND when Bruce called out from the next room, “Have you heard anything from our contact yet?”

“I called the number half an hour ago and left a message with someone. They said he was on his way.”

“Ding DONG!”

“That must be him, now. You wanna get that?”

“Me? I’m working out in here,” called Bruce back from the next room, “trying to keep myself limber. You get it this time!” Davy scowled in Bruce’s direction and jumped up from his comfortable sprawl.

“Ding-DONG” went the apartment’s doorbell again. Davy padded across the plush lavender carpet and peeked out through the peephole in the door.

“Oh my gosh!” he said as he opened the door to see actor Bob Denver.

“You rang?”

“I was just watchin’ you on telly!”

Bob looked across the room and saw himself splashing into a lagoon in fading color before it cut to a commercial. “Oh, groovy! I’ll probably get a buck or two in residuals. That thing runs so often I hardly see any money from it anymore.”

At that moment, Bruce came in toweling himself off. “You? You are our contact today?”

“Yup. Lovable ol’ me. Cass can be very persuasive and hey, it’s good money when the parts aren’t coming. Also she scored me tickets to see CSN last month!”

Davy waved the lanky Denver into the room and toward a table.  “SKIPPERRR!” echoed his voice from the past.

“Can we turn that off, please?”

“Oh, sorry.” Bruce walked over to the television in the corner to click it off.

“Cass said this would be the last briefing—the big one,” Davy noted.

“Yup.” As he sat at the marble-topped table, Bob pulled several large manila envelopes out of his bag and out of each, some large black and white photographs. “Today’s Saturday. Prince Achmendat is arriving at the airport today at Noon on a private chartered flight from Kazbistan. His prize stallion will be taken immediately to the track to be put on exhibition before Sunday’s race.”

Davy looked deeply at the racehorse in one of the pictures. Bob noticed this and looked at Davy. “A fine piece of horse flesh, huh?”

“’E’s gorgeous!” Davy responded. “What’s his name?”

“Here’s his stats,” Bob replied, handing Davy another page. “His name, as you can see there, is Daydream Believer.”

At that moment, Davy could have been knocked over with a feather. “You mean the Prince is a Monkees fan?”

“Actually, our intelligence think it’s pure coincidence. But it sure gives a great opening for you to be able to connect with the Prince.”

“And just how,” asked Bruce, “are two ex-TV stars going to get within a hundred feet of this Prince anyway?”

“Oh, that’s all arranged, buddy. He’s having a celebrity open house this afternoon at 3 at the Hilton. While the horse goes off to the track, the Prince wants to meet Hollywood royalty. Everybody’s gonna be there—Raquel Welch, Goldie Hawn, Jill St. John, Natalie Wood, Stefanie Powers—all the big name stars.”

“’Ey, wait a minute. Those are all women. Aren’t there any men going to be there?”

“Yeah,” chimed in Bruce, “and they aren’t exactly the biggest names in Hollywood either!”

“There’ll be men there—you two. Oh, and maybe Cary Grant if his schedule permits. Remember, the Prince will be schmoozing trying to make international deals as well as good will. The fix is IN at the track to allow his horse to win if only to avoid embarrassment that could lead to an international incident.”

“But what about the assassins? That’s what you guys needed US for isn’t it?”

“That’s just it. You two will stick close to the Prince all afternoon to make sure nothing happens. He doesn’t know you’re working for us. He doesn’t know there’s been a credible threat. He doesn’t know...”

“Blimey, he probably doesn’t know who WE are even!”

“Here are your passes to get in. Flash these to security and you’re cleared all the way to His Royal Highness’s penthouse.”

“I was hoping we’d get to see the horse.”

“Don’t worry about the horse. He’s just something you and the Prince have in common so you can keep him talking as needed. And Bruce, you just keep an eye out for suspicious activities otherwise.”

“Who are these assassins anyway?”

“We’re not sure but we have it on good authority they’re sponsored by the Red Chinese.”

“One? Two? Fifty?”

“No idea. I can’t imagine they could sneak a big group in but you never know, you know? Everything else you need to know is in these packets. Any questions?”

“Other than, ‘How did we get into this mess?’... no,” muttered Bruce.

“Alrighty then. I’m off. Got an audition at 1 for a new syndicated sitcom with Forrest Tucker. Wish me luck! You guys should be at the hotel before 3.” With that, Bob Denver rose and scurried out the door leaving Davy and Bruce staring at each other.

Davy broke the silence with, “I’ve gotta shave.”

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lee Van Cleef, Cartoon Cowboy

I had heard about this before but I don't think I had ever seen it. Here's Lee Van Cleef in his SABATA characterization cleverly caricatured in LUCKY LUKE. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Booksteve Reviews: The Beatles Are Here! Edited by Penelope Rowlands

THE BEATLES ARE HERE! has the unfortunate timing of coming out around the same time as Mark Lewisohn’s latest volume on the Fabs, volume 1 of  3 thousand pagers and arguably the single most anticipated book in the history of Beatles books.

THE BEATLES ARE HERE! is a collection of brief essays on the impact of the group as we near the 50th anniversary of the beginnings of Beatlemania in America. Anytime one has a book like this, the results naturally vary from section to section depending both on the (often non-professional) writer’s skills as well as their individual memories. As expected, then, the book is a mixed bag.

The best parts to me are the fan memories, actually. Editor Penelope Rowlands has made it particularly personal by utilizing exactly ONE photo both on the cover and inside. And that photo is one featuring her (the girl in the middle) that originally appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES accompanying an article by Gay Talese. That vintage article appears here as well, along with Talese’s more recent reminiscences of the day it was written (oddly placed much further along in the book). Perhaps even MORE interesting is the fact that one of the other girls in the photo recognized herself, apparently when Ms. Rowlands had posted it online, and contacted her with HER memories as well! She’s the one with the camera.

Celebrity fans include, among others, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Janis Ian, Will Lee, Tom Rush and Lisa See. NON-fan Fran Leibowitz contributes perhaps the most interesting piece in the whole book. Legendary rock journalist Greil Marcus is here as is Cousin Brucie, one of the DJs generally credited with popularizing the Beatles in the US in ’64.

Again, like all mosaic books of this kind, the bigger picture becomes more legible only after you look at all the individual sections of it. Mark Lewisohn’s book is a study of the Beatles themselves and their roots. THE BEATLES ARE HERE! is, to paraphrase Rowlands,  a scrapbook of the madness they would spawn.

THE BEATLES ARE HERE! is due out in early February for the ED SULLIVAN SHOW appearance 50th anniversary. If you’re a Beatles fan, there’s always room for another good Beatles book and this is definitely one!

Booksteve recommends!

Thanks to those who arranged my advance look at THE BEATLES ARE HERE!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vintage Christmas Ads

Alcohol, soft drinks, tobacco and cars

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This was based on a Facebook joke I made over a year ago and the actual story was written for an anthology that may or may not ever come out at this point so I thought I'd share it here. Not saying it's great but I think it's kinda fun. Since it's a tad long for a blog post, I'm only sharing part one. If you want to see where it goes from here, let me know and I'll post the rest in two more parts. Enjoy!

By Steven Thompson
© 2013

What follows is a parody. It is an amusing tale of what might have been and features characters based not just on Davy Jones but also on other real people. As this is a parody, it in no way reflects what these people were or are like in real life. In point of fact, the actions, statements and beliefs of any and all characters herein are not intended to reflect reality in any way whatsoever. This is a protected parody...and it all began on a Monday afternoon in 1972 in a place where many things begin in Hollywood—a casting director’s office.  

“I’m sorry, Mr. Jones but we won’t be able to use you in this new show,” he said with a failed attempt not to laugh. “There are no...monkeys... in our script.” He had emphasized the word “monkeys,” a word Davy had quickly begun to hate as much as he had once loved it.   

“Right, then,” was Davy’s reaction through gritted teeth. “S’very funny, mate. Hilarious, innit?” With that he turned and stepped back out into the waiting room without looking back except when he slammed the door. It was at that point that he accidentally bumped into a neatly dressed Asian man wearing dark glasses who was NOT amused.  

“Watch it, man!” he barked gruffly.

Davy took a deep breath and released it. “Sorry, mate. Cheers.”

The man he had run into put his hand firmly on Davy’s shoulder and said, “Hold on, hold on. I recognize you. You’re Davy Jones of the Monkees. What’s got you so hopped up?”

“That’s just it. I’m Davy Jones! ‘Of the Monkees’ is not part of my name! Never HAS been! And besides, I’m NOT even a Monkee anymore! The show is over. The band is over! Yet everyone still pigeonholes me as ‘Davy Jones of the Monkees!’”

Chuckling, the Asian man removed his shades. “I know what you mean. My show’s been off the air now for several years and at every casting office in town, I’m still ‘Kato from The Green Hornet.’”

Recognition dawns. “Wait a minute! You’re Bruce Lee. I’ve ‘eard about you. What are you doing ‘ere?”

“Apparently auditioning for the same show that just turned you down, my friend. A man’s gotta eat. I developed a Western with Warner Brothers as a vehicle for myself and then they went and cast a Caucasian in it!”

 “A western? You’re serious?” Bruce nodded. “Oh, that would be great! I’ve always been good with horses, you know! But, yeah, with your looks and my accent, who’s ever gonna cast us in a western?” He turned toward the glass door he had just slammed and said, “And trust me, you don’t want to go in there! It’s only Monday and I’m already ready to...”

The casual banter from the two disenfranchised actors was suddenly interrupted with music as a woman who had been sitting in one of the waiting room chairs all along, hidden behind an open newspaper, began to warble, “Monday, Monday. Can’t trust that day...” She lowered the paper and was instantly recognized by the duo.

 “Holy...Mama Cass? What are YOU doing here?” said Davy.

She was a large woman, about 300 pounds, attired in a bright pink pantsuit adorned with red flowers at the neck.  She spoke as she rose from the chair. “See. That’s exactly what you guys were just talking about. Now, I haven’t been with the Mamas and the Papas for a few years and yet you still see me as ‘Mama’ Cass. I guess I’ll always be a Mama and YOU will always be a Monkee.”

“Well, I know one thing,” said Lee. “ I will NOT always be Kato. I’m going to Hong Kong soon to star in some martial arts movies that will make me a STAR!”

“Uh-uh, honey. Not in the US. Americans just aren’t ready for an Oriental movie star.”

Bruce looked as though he were about to argue the point but Davy interrupted. “Say, you still haven’t told us. What ARE you doing here?”

 “Me?” she chuckled with a bright smile. “Why, waiting for you two, of course.”

 “No, seriously.”

“ Trust me, boys. I’m being serious when I say, ‘Uncle Sam wants you!’”

“What?” Davy spouted. “They’re gonna try and draft me again? I’ve already been through all that mess! I’m not even American!”

“We can work on that. Hey, let’s go somewhere where we can talk privately and I’ll explain, okay? Come on. I’m buyin’.”

 “But what about my audition?”

“Oh, skip it, Bruce. Davy’s right. This show’ll never get off the ground. Another thing Middle America will never accept is two girls and a guy living together on television!”

A short trip down the street to a quiet restaurant found the trio sitting in a back booth, shielded from prying eyes.

“Here’s how it is, fellas. The United States government has been recruiting agents from within the ranks of show business for years. People who are currently ‘at leisure,’ if you will.  I work for a specially created top-secret government organization SO secret it doesn’t even have a name.

 Davy looked puzzled. “But I don’t get it? I thought you were a hippie chick? Free love and getting high. Anti-establishment and all that!”

“Yeah, that hippie thing’s been over a while, too,” she answered as she shook her head. “You TV people really do lead a sheltered life. The most recent thing I’ve done was a guest spot on the SCOOBY DOO cartoon series.”

“‘Ey! I was on that as well!”

Bruce frowned and looked down at the table. “Not me. They didn’t even ASK me. Darn it. And I love cartoons!”

“Okay, okay. Well, here’s the deal. We need you guys for a particular assignment. We’ll put you two up in an apartment. Nobody will think twice about two out of work actors hanging out together but in reality you’ll be working for us.”

Once again, Bruce looked annoyed. “Nothin’ doing. I have a wife and kids you know! Why would I leave them to move in with THIS guy? That kind of thing can hurt a guy’s reputation!”

“And I’m not single either! This is ridiculous. Forget it. Not interested.”

“Fellas, fellas...! It’ll just be for two weeks. Here’s what it pays. Cass wrote a number on one of the napkins and slid it across the table to where they could see it.

“Linda can get along for a few weeks without me. I’m in.”

 “Me, too. Who do you want killed?”

“Ha. Ha. Hopefully it won’t come to that,” she said. “Not like last time.”

Davy scrunched his face together and said, almost comically, “Last time??”

 “Sorry. I misspoke. Just forget it. Nothing to do with this case. Still top secret. But messy...very messy.”

“Right, then, “ said Davy as he got up from the table. “I’ve changed me mind.”

“Oh, sit down. I’ll protect you,” said Bruce calmly.

“You?? You don’t really think all that karate jazz you did on TV would do any good in real life, do you? You’re knockered!”

Bruce rose and his temper was clearly rising with him. “It. Was. Not. Karate! I do Jeet Kune Do!” With that, Bruce jumped up, emitted an ear-piercing screech and loudly shattered the ornate light fixture over the table with a lightning fast kick. Davy’s mouth hung open.

Mama Cass yelled across the floor, “Put it on my bill, Yossarian! Here. Bruce..., Davy. Sit back down and let me tell you WHY we need YOU two and nobody else for this assignment. There you go. Oh, take that look off your face, Bruce, or I’ll sit on you.

For just a fraction of a second, a smile crossed Bruce Lee’s lips. “Sorry.”

Davy was still nervous but sat back down. “Look, I mean, violence is not my bag, you know? It’s a bad trip.”

Cass used her large hands and arms to casually brush all the remaining bits of the now crackling light fixture from the tablecloth onto the floor. “Have either of you ever heard of Kazbistan?” Blank stares greeted her query. “I’ll take that as a ‘no.’ I’m not surprised. Kazbistan is one of those new mini-oil regimes that seem to pop up all the time lately. Most of them sign various treaties and get swallowed up by the larger oil-producing nations and in a year or two they’re forgotten. In this case, it was land given to a Prince by his father. Being in the desert, they looked and, what do you know? They found oil on it! So for right now, at least, Kazbistan is one of the most important nations in the world...even though it’s not much bigger than Rhode Island.”

“So you’re sending us to the Middle East?” asked Bruce.

“Oh, no. The Middle East is coming here! Prince Achmendat is arriving in the US next week to race his prize Arabian stallion in the Million Dollar Hollywood Stakes.”

“I’ve got tickets to that. I’ve got a thing about horses, you know!” 

“That’s why we need you, Davy.”

“And what about me?”

“Bruce, we need you because we have intelligence that a group of deadly Chinese assassins will try to get to the Prince while he’s on US soil and create an international incident. Until Kazbistan gets swallowed up whole by a larger country—and history shows that it will—Uncle Sam needs to be on their good side.”

“So,” pondered Davy, “What exactly do you want from us?”

Watch For Part Two!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Booksteve Goes to the Movies

I'm a bit dismayed to see that my movie blog continues to receive very little traffic. In fact, for 3 out of the last 5 days, it got zero visits! I really think it would be one of my favorites out of all my blogs if I had to choose. Basically, we look lightly at films and actors who have for various reasons meant something to me personally throughout my life. Seen here are some we've covered with in the past month or so. Check it out yourself at: 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

R.I.P. Peter O'Toole

Early on he looked like a traditional handsome leading man type but over the years he developed into one of the quirkiest stars ever, turning in amazing performances in absolute trash and blockbusters alike. R.I.P.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Goodies that Got Away

I was always intrigued by THE GOODIES, a UK series in the Python mold that never aired in the Cincinnati market. At one point, I recall reading that a man in England literally died from laughing so hard at an episode of THE GOODIES!

Back around 1990, I spotted the above British book in a local used bookstore here in Northern Kentucky with a $20 price tag. I offered the store owner $10 for it, explaining the unlikelihood of him finding anyone else around who would ever even know who The Goodies were!

Often in independent used bookstores, one could dicker over prices like that. I had been doing it since I was a teenager. But in this case, the store's owner would hear none of it. He laughed at me. I attempted to explain that the book would most likely just sit there for years untouched. He explained that he had paid $10 for it so he would only settle for $20. I explained that getting his money back would be better than having it sit there rotting for ten years.

Oddly enough, the store closed soon after that. But the books stayed there. I'm told that, at least for awhile, they would open by appointment only on weekends. I never bothered. But sometimes I'd look through the window...and THE GOODIES ANNUAL just sat there...and sat there...and sat there...for more than TEN YEARS!!

Then one day, all the books were gone. No idea where they went. The storefront sat empty for a while and then it turned into offices. They never even bothered to take down the word "Books" on the side of the building. 

I found some episodes of THE GOODIES on VHS not long afterwards and in more recent years on YouTube. Sometimes I still look back though at The Goodies that got away.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sport Short Ad by George Roussos-1941

Here's a nice looking shoe ad by the oft-maligned George "Inky" Roussos.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Help For Bob Kahan

If you're in the mood --and in a  position--to help folks during the holiday season, how about a few dollars for sometime DC editor Bob Kahan who, after being affected by the downturn in the economy, is about to be put out of his apartment of 20 years.  See here for details:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Batman Archives

Martin Grams pointed me toward this nifty new website for the true hardcore fan of the 1966 BATMAN TV series. All kinds of behind the scenes material you have never seen anywhere else--and not just on BATMAN but also on THE GREEN HORNET and the infamous attempt at a 1967 WONDER WOMAN pilot!
My personal favorite is an internal Standards and Practices memo (the censors) that seems to indicate that Pussycat, played on one 2 part Catwoman episode by singer Lesley Gore, was actually meant to be Poison Ivy! As a longtime proponent of the fact that the latter character--who made her own 2 part comics debut early in the Batmania era and appeared prominently in the newspaper strip--was made to be a TV villain but never was, this seems to prove me right!

Check out the site yourself but I warn you--hours and hours of geeky details!