Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mickey Rooney's Advice to Young People-1947

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Mickey didn't write this himself but who knows? I can hear him say it. Or rather, I can hear Andy Hardy say it and Mick, as we now know, was far from Andy Hardy.

Monday, June 27, 2016

R.I.P. Bud Spencer

Bud Spencer has died. It's been brought to my attention that not everyone here has had the privilege of seeing Bud Spencer's movies or TV series. Carlo Pedersoli represented Italy in the 1952 Olympics as a swimmer. In the later '50s, he turned to acting and took the name Bud Spencer, combining the names of his favorite beer with the first name of his favorite actor, Spencer Tracy.

Throughout the 1960s, Bud became more and more popular in international productions such as FIVE MAN ARMY with Peter Graves and James Daly. He also appeared with a young actor named Terence Hill in several serious spaghetti westerns and then in a surprisingly comical one, THEY CALL ME TRINITY. TRINITY became a huge success throughout the world and begat one official sequel with the pair. 

Throughout the '70s and '80s, Bud became a major international superstar in nearly every country except the US. Many of his films were released here but few were big successes. In time he made at least 20 pictures with Hill, all light hearted features that found the pair not just as cowboys but as soldiers of fortune, pilots, policemen, and even priests!

Using his real, heavily accented, voice, he appeared in a couple of police drama TV series. In one, his partner was MIAMI VICE star Phillip Michael Thomas, later replaced by POLICE ACADEMY's Michael Winslow.

In retirement, Bud wrote several books, maintained a website, and even ran for political office (he lost).

He had a great sense of comic timing and even though his movies often contained fight scenes, he was on record as being against explicit violence and so the scenes were almost always comical and included his trademark "knock 'em on the head" move.

So if you haven't yet had the pleasure, the man may be gone but his legacy on film lives on. Find his clips and movies on YouTube and elsewhere from time to time online and enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Fathers Day!

TV buffs always debate about who the best TV dad is/was. Was it Mr. Brady? Ward Cleaver? Robert Young on FATHER KNOWS BEST? Dick Van Patten on EIGHT IS ENOUGH? Nah, my vote has always been for Gordon Robinson on SESAME STREET! Gordon was played by several actors in the early years but actor Roscoe Orman (WILLIE DYNAMITE) made the character his own beginning in 1974 and lasting for 40 years on the air, in live appearances, on records, etc., etc. A warm, loving, caring, sensitive, funny, and smart father not just to son Miles on the show (and in real life) but also to all the kids in the neighborhood as well as literally millions of children worldwide! He has likely been an always positive male role model to more people living on Earth at this time than any other human being!

I actually got to meet him back in the early '90s.  Well, sort of. He was doing 5 shows a day in the center court of my Mall singing long familiar songs like "One of These Things is Not Like the Other." We got tired of hearing them but he never seemed to tire of performing them. Between shows, I ran into him thoughtfully sneaking a cigarette out back by the trash compactor so the kids wouldn't see him smoking. I didn't say anything because he was chatting with a couple of the mall maintenance crew and I didn't want to interrupt.

So a tip of the Thompson Topper today to our Best Ever TV Father, 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fantastic Splash # 5

Arguably THE seminal issue of the early Marvel Age of Comics, FF # 5 introduced the one and only--often imitated but never duplicated--Dr. Doom! Well, he wasn't quite the Dr. Doom we would come to know and hate but it was a start. Over the years, the sorcery connection evident in the above splash would be all but lost as his intellect was said to rival that of Reed Richards.

Right from the beginning here, though, he had his time machine, and, in fact, used it to send our heroes off on a rollicking pirate adventure in which Ben actually becomes the historical Blackbeard!

This issue was a one-off collaboration between Kirby and inker Joe Sinnott. Ina  couple of years, Sinnott would become the regular inker on the title and inspire Jack to some of his best ever work!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Influences, Parts 1, 2 & 3

The other day, artist Terry Beatty revisited a couple of "influence maps" he had made a while back showing who and what influenced him over the years. Others followed suit and last might I decided to work on a couple while watching the Tony Awards. I did it in 2 sections (below) and the joined it together (above) and I could easily do at least two more.

Here are some of the most profound and recognizable influences on my own life then--on my beliefs, my tastes, my sense of humor, my attitude, and whatever talents I may possess. Thanks to all of you for making me who I am today. 

Update--I did a Part 3 when I realized several major influences I left out! 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mort Todd's Monsters Attack!

They've already made their Kickstarter goal but there are still cool extras that can be yours such as this lovely Gray Morrow print below. The published book itself--as you can see above--will feature little-seen work by some of the best in the business including John Severin, Steve Ditko, and yes, Morrow!

My late, lamented SHADES OF GRAY (MORROW) lives on as an active Facebook group so if you're a fan, please check us out here: 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Booksteve Reviews: Paul McCartney: the Life

There are a LOT of biographies of Paul McCartney. I picked up my first one through the Scholastic Book Club circa 1973. I picked up my next FOUR in the year or so after that leading up to the Wings Over America tour in 1976. And that's not counting separate books on the Beatles. I long ago stopped trying to buy every book that came along about Paul, especially as each new one claimed to be definitive and "the closest thing to an autobiography we'll ever see."
I made an exception for PAUL McCARTNEY: THE LIFE.

One of my favorite Beatles books has long been 1981's SHOUT by Philip Norman. Many years later, Norman produced a thick, well-received biography of John Lennon entitled JOHN LENNON: A LIFE. 

And now Paul.

I'm torn on this book. On the one hand, it's immensely readable and is said to have been completed with the approval--if not participation--of Macca himself. It's also more than a little gossipy, even as it does, in fact, offer up information with which I was not previously familiar throughout.

That said, Norman has a bizarre habit of misquoting famous Beatle quotes. And I'm talking quotes that exist on audio and/or video. If I myself know the correct quote, why wouldn't a recognized Beatle scholar like Philip Norman?

And even worse are the distracting typos throughout. I don't believe I've ever read a book from a major publisher (Little Brown in this case) this riddled with typos. Am I just noticing it more now that I work as a proofreader myself?

And finally, there's the odd--to me anyway--affectation of doing inverse quotation marks throughout. Is this a thing I've somehow never run across or noticed with more than a thousand books here at Booksteve's Library? Every quote is within SINGLE quotation marks and a quote within a quote is in DOUBLE quotation marks! The opposite of what I've known my entire life. And worse! I spotted on instance where there is NO opening quote mark at all! Just an ending one (and no, it was not continuing from the previous paragraph).

As you can see, it's all more than a bit distracting. That said, as I noted, I really did learn new things about a man whose public life I have more than a passing familiarity with and whose private life has at times been fairly open as well. Norman offers up a pretty well-rounded portrait of an amazingly talented, multi-faceted man from his childhood to the present day. 

Not definitive but on balance, even with the distractions, I'd have to say Booksteve Recommends!  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Tarzan Reunion-1975

Tarzan was a major player in the nostalgia boom that lasted from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. The original  books were reissued twice in that period (with Neal Adams covers the second time) the classic movies were revived, new movies and a new TV series were made. There were even fake Tarzan movies made! The book TARZAN OF THE MOVIES was popular, ERB fandom was at its height and Burne Hogarth's new color Tarzan volumes were actually on the Bestseller lists! Here we see a reunion of 6 surviving Tarzans on THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW (with co-host Totie Fields). Reportedly, Crabbe wanted nothing to do with Weissmuller but  they both showed up! Once a Tarzan, always a Tarzan.