Saturday, March 27, 2021

Dolemite Book Coming!

Did you catch Eddie Murphy's brilliant comeback recently playing pioneering black filmmaker and comic Rudy Ray Moore? If you're like me, it made you want to learn more about the real Rudy, who died little remembered in 2008. I had to settle largely for Wikipedia. Want to read the authorized Rudy Ray Moore biography? Well, you can't. Not yet anyway. As of this post, it's only halfway to its Kickstarter goal. 

I first saw the name of Rudy Ray Moore when digging through comedy album record bins in the 1970s. I never heard anything by him then, but I sure got an eyeful!

Then I saw his name in the newspapers, in the movie ads, as "Dolemite." I didn't know what a Dolemite was and even though I, a teenage lower-middle-class white kid, was catching some blaxploitation flicks downtown myself, I never caught one of his.

After the Murphy bio-movie, I sought out and watched MOST of Rudy's low-budget home-made epics. Terrible, for the most part, they were majorly entertaining in the way of Ed Wood flicks.

But I still wanted to know more. That's the way I am. So I'm being selfish here. Please consider supporting Mark Murray's Kickstarter campaign now so I can be reading "Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself" later this summer!


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Fred Astaire IS Alister Mundy (and NOT Alistair Munday)

In the late 1960s, Fred Astaire was highly touted as joining the cast of the hit TV series IT TAKES A THIEF in its third season, playing the legendary con artist father of Robert Wagner's main character, Alexander Mundy. This was the first time in my life I had ever heard of Fred Astaire. In spite of the publicity, the greatest dancer in the history of the movies (although I didn't know that yet) only appeared in a handful of episodes.

These days, when his appearance on the series--a trivia question in terms of his overall career--is cited at all, his character's name is inevitably misspelled as "Alistair." Even on IMDB. I'm putting this here as proof that it was, in fact, "Alister," so that I'll know where it is the next time this comes up...which in my world has been surprisingly often.  


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Booksteve Reviews: Double Cross XX


Back in the 1960s, there were quite a number of amateur comic books being published and sold through the mail. Some of them were surprisingly good and had artwork by folks who went on to be professionals. In the past decade or so, there has been a resurgence of small press comic books, but these days they are much more sophisticated and professionally done. Mimeographed covers and black and white insides have been replaced with computer-colored slick paper pages and the derivative fanboy tales have given way to some highly original premises and stories.


I’ve reviewed a number of these comics on FORCES OF GEEK and yet they remain largely under the radar.


Last time I checked, few if any of these new comic books are listed in Overstreet or online price guides and that’s a shame because they tend to be more original than anything from Marvel or DC has been in years. 


Today’s case in point is Double Cross. Double Crosscomes from Warden Comics and is written by Ludie Sexton with art by Ken Krekeler. It’s the first issue of a planned alternative history epic that postulates what might have happened had aliens made first contact in Nazi Germany at the Berlin Olympics of 1936.


Krekeler’s artwork is stark and violent and reminds me at times of the best work of Frank Miller or Tim Sale. His layouts are impressive and the inspired use of abstract color in splatters and splashes here—one of my favorite talking points in many recent reviews—works to create many stylish effects including the rain in the opening scene. 



Sexton’s plot has the alien Prometheus—so named by Adolf Hitler—giving powers to the winners of the various Olympic events. Thus American Jesse Owens (unnamed but clearly him) becomes a super speedster. But Hitler makes sure his athletes win overall, with the idea of making them super soldiers for his impending war. 


This, we find, is actually all being relayed to a therapist in modern day by our hero, an ex-German spy who was present that day and intercepted the powers meant for the final winner, after which he could not be killed. That hasn’t prevented other super-powered characters from attempting to do so over the years, though. He takes the name of Aesir.



The dialogue in Double Crossis well-written and reasonably realistic and both the writer and artist mesh nicely to create that elusive cinematic effect that comics artists always seem to strive for. The highly visual scenes such as the alien ship’s arrival, Prometheus revealing his true self, Hitler murdering the hero’s wife, and Aesir standing proudly at the end, are all straight off a movie screen.   


Like many first issues, Double Cross# 1 is all set up, but if the goal of such first issues is to make one want to come back for more, Sexton and Krekeler have succeeded admirably. 


As I said, there are a LOT of these new comic books that fly under the radar. They look almost professional these days because they really ARE professional. See if you can find them. This one found me and I’m glad it did.


Booksteve recommends.  


You can grab a copy here:


My First Computer Game--Leather Goddesses of Phobos


Video games I knew. I had gotten my first Atari console way back in 1981! But outside of a few illicit rounds of playing WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT on our receiving computer at Waldenbooks (which ceased when we were informed all of our game playing was also going on the daily back up tape we had to send in) and a four year old girl Rene and I were babysitting trying to teach us LEISURE SUIT LARRY (a game she knew FAR too much about!), I had never played a computer game.

1995 found us living briefly with my mother-in-law, in my wife's old room, which had her old computer--a Commodore 64! One night, when I couldn't sleep, I got up and figured out how to turn it on. There were several game boxes nearby and I opted to try the intriguingly titled: LEATHER GODDESSES OF PHOBOS.

This was, of course, a 1980s game and most games at that time were text-based, with Dungeonmaster-style "choose your own adventure" instructions. Maybe it was my lack of sleep, but I never did figure this one out or get anywhere particularly interesting. Here, though, from the Internet, I present what the game was SUPPOSEDLY about! 

Rene kept after me to buy a more updated computer of our own but I could never figure out what we could even DO with one other than play games and by that point we had a Sega as well as my aging Atari. Later that year, though, I caved, and we bought what would be MY first ever home computer. A Digital Starion PC. It cost a small fortune and sat for some months in a disused room, just as I had expected.  

Then one day we came into possession of one of those briefly ubiquitous AOL disks.
And here we are today, with me on an IMac with a total of 12 TB plug-in storage.

Sometimes the '90s seem like they were just a couple years back. Other times they seem like ancient history. 

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Earle Doud Presents Henry the First starring Kenneth Mars

Earle Doud was always a funny guy, one of those behind the hilarious FIRST FAMILY record albums of the early 1960s that starred Vaughn Meader and spoofed the quirks of JFK and his family and Administration. A side effect of the Kennedy assassination was that Meader's career was pretty much killed, too. 

For his part, Doud spent years attempting to find gold again with another political humor LP. This resulted in some good and funny efforts, but none anywhere near the mega-success of the FIRST FAMILY LPs. 

This one, with its lovely Hirschfeld covers, I had not heard of, though. The Internet Archive offers "excerpts" but they aren't even whole lines in many cases, let alone whole album cuts. As of this writing, though, one can hear the entire album on YouTube here:


 A spoof of the omnipresent Dr. Henry Kissinger, check out the names involved in this, starting with a rare lead role for the great Kenneth Mars. Mel Blanc, Joan Gerber, Leigh French, Frank Welker, Chuck McCann, Kim McGeorge, Rich Little, Jesse White, and even Peter Fonda!



Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Bob Montana's Honeymoon 1946


Just a fun little piece from EDITOR & PUBLISHER on Archie's Bob Montana from 1946.