Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 7

I can't help but think that this panel from an early 1940's CAPTAIN MARVEL story says something exceedingly profound about race relations in America even today. I'm not sure what exactly but...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Collage # 1: Now Showing in the Seventies

Back in the early nineties there was a period where I actually seemed to have discovered some free time! During that period I took up collages. I made several poster-sized collages, most of which had some sort of pop culture-related theme. Now relegated to "behind the couch" status here at the overcrowded Library, we present here for the first time a look at NOW SHOWING IN THE SEVENTIES, a 1993 collage compiled from movie ads from my then-disemboweled scrapbooks. These films, I felt, gave a good representation of what MY personal filmgoing experience was like during the ME Decade. You should be able to enlarge it fairly well but just in case there's any you can't recognize, the films represented are:
1: Disney’s ROBIN HOOD-Ironically, I was robbed in the theater while watching this!
2: THE NORTH AVENUE IRREGULARS-A minor Disney film but one of the few big-screen appearances of Karen Valentine, the first star to ever send me an autographed photo.
3: CAPRICORN ONE-Saw it again recently. A marvelous bit of seventies paranoia and conspiracy. And it has the best film performance from OJ!
4: WESTWORLD-A fun but scary anti-technological warning from novelist Michael Chricton
5: DEBBIE DOES DALLAS- Most successful porn film ever and one of the first I ever saw.
6: KILL, KILL, KILL/BLUEBEARD- See previous article on the former part of this Salkind double feature. I saw the latter ‘cause I heard Joey Heatherton was naked in it.
7: OLD DRACULA-Dreadful but endearing British comedy with David Niven’s Drac accidentally reviving his long-lost love with African blood, turning her into Teresa Graves!
8: THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE-Supreme scares with Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen!
9: HANNIE CAULDER-Surprisingly enjoyable British(!) Western with sexy Welch heading a wonderful cast that includes Christopher Lee!
10: THE LAST REMAKE OF BEAU GESTE-Marty Feldman MEANT to remake FOUR FEATHERS but remembered it wrong and did this vehicle instead.
11: ALLEGRO NON TROPPO- Whimsical Italian variation on FANTASIA with marvelous music and delightful animation!
12: THE DEVIL’S RAIN-John Travolta’s first theatrical film, supposedly made to launder DEEP THROAT profits.
13: THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION-Nicholas Meyer’s retcon of Sherlock Holmes.
14: ENTER THE DRAGON-Bruce Lee’s triumph, unfortunately released posthumously.
15: ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN-More paranoia and conspiracies but this time all too real!
16: SCORCHY: Cute Connie Stevens in a big-screen rip-off of TV’s POLICEWOMAN. Notable only for hearing squeaky-clean Connie talk dirty!
17: THE WICKER MAN- My all-time favorite film! Well…maybe after CASABLANCA.
18: SNOWBALL EXPRESS- Lesser live-action Disney but I love good snow scenes. A great cast, also!
19: ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES-To my mind, the best of the ubiquitous Apes films.
20: M.A.S.H.-The original (although as we noted before, check out the glove!)
21: THE SHOOTIST- the Duke’s onscreen eulogy.
22: HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER- Clint’s powerful cowboy ghost story.
23: SHAME OF THE JUNGLE- Imported and censored, this cartoon featured voiceovers by much of the SNL cast doing dialogue rewritten by SNL writers including Michael O’Donaghue.
24: THE CHEERLEADERS/REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS-These two films are responsible for why so many men have cheerleader fantasies today! Like corrupt Disney pictures!
25: ST. IVES- Superstar Charles Bronson in a rare intelligent role as a pipe-smoking detective.
26: BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS- Mindless Italian adventure with topless women. A favorite!
27: MONTY PYTHON’S JABBERWOCKY-Retitled after director Terry Gilliam pointed out to the marketing department that it was in fact NOT a Python project!
28: McQ- John Wayne IS Dirt Harry!…sorta.
29: DEEP THROAT/THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES-The two pictures that defined "porno chic."
30: BIG BAD MAMA- Angie Dickinson naked! Tommy guns! Car chases! Shatner! What’s not to like?
31: THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT-MGM’s marvelous pat-themselves-on-the-back compilation.
32: VIVA KNIEVEL: Gene Kelly(!) at his lowest as sidekick to stuntman Knievel (who doesn’t play himself nearly as well as George Hamilton did!).
33: NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS- The second DS feature, unsuccessful because it omitted favorite actors AND characters. Notable for Kate Jackson’s major early role.
34: THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG RIDES AGAIN- Disney cowboy fluff with Don Knotts and Tim Conway.
35: AMERICATHON: Well, I liked it but no one else seemed to-John Ritter, Meatloaf, Jay Leno, Elvis Costello and a cool Beach Boys theme song but…
36: A LITTLE ROMANCE: A gentle, amazing film of which we wrote earlier on this blog.
37: DRACULA AD, 1972- Last ditch Hammer horror with a large dose of already dated seventies kitsch.
38: THE LAST OF SHEILA- Intelligent all-star mystery with twists all over the place.
39: THE THREE MUSKETEERS- Lighthearted, well-cast version of part one of the classic Dumas story, continued the following year with the simultaneously filmed FOUR MUSKETEERS.
40: 1776- The film of the great stage musical of the Revolution.
41: REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER-arguably the funniest of Peter Sellers comeback appearances as Inspector Clouseau.
42: THE DOUBLE MCGUFFIN-a minor Disneyesque mystery-comedy with a good cast including a young Vincent Spano whom I once met.
43: FRITZ THE CAT/THE NINE LIVES OF FRITZ THE CAT-Neither of these adult animated features is as bad as creator Robert Crumb says they are.
44: TREASURE ISLAND/DR. SYN- A nice rerelease double feature of Disney adventure classics. In fact, this was the first time DR. SYN was seen on the big-screen in the US having previously been a poular three-parter on TV.
45: BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES/ ELVIS THAT’S THE WAY IT IS-An example of the seemingly random double-bills that often appeared.
46: MY NAME IS NOBODY-Superior spaghetti western with Terence Hill and Henry Fonda
47: 5 FINGERS OF DEATH-One of the instigators of the kung-fu craze.
48: SERPICO- A list Oscar-winning cop picture with Al Pacino in one of his defining performances.
49: DEATH WISH- The first one is actually quite good but stay away from any and all sequels whatever you do!
50: WHAT’S UP DOC? Peter Bogdanovich’s roller-coaster homage to thirtoes screwball comedy!
51: NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN- My friend Bob Hastings is in this Disney film and tells me that a tipsy David Niven would hold court telling stories long past the point where the actors should be shooting!
52: RETURN OF THE DRAGON: No relation to the dragon, actually, this posthumously released Bruce Lee picture is notable for its battle with Chuck Norris in the Roman Colesseum
53: THE MAGICIAN OF LUBLIN- An artsy drama with a great performance from Alan Arkin who seemed to be everywhere in the decade.
54: A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN-the first big-screen PEANUTS movie.
55: TUNNELVISION-One of those mindless, dirty sketch comedy movies, this one with Bill Murray.
56: SOYLENT GREEN/SKYJACKED- A Charlton Heston double feature.
57: IT"S NOT THE SIZE THAT COUNTS, here with the censored version of its newspaper ad, was actually the UK comedy, PERCY'S PROGRESS, about the world's first penis transplant. Why Vincent Price is in it, I'll never know!
Notably absent in an overall survey of my seventies theatrical interests are, of course, STAR WARS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE AND SUPERMAN. Not that the collage was intended to be any kind of definitive piece but still, I’m not sure why I would have left all of those out. Also no mention of classic revivals of which I spent may a weekend with Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Orson Welles or Laurel and Hardy.
I did a total of about six or seven collages in all with about half being pop culture-related. Look for more soon!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

1965 Nudies Ads

Here from a 1965 issue of THE CINCINNATI POST are a few "burlesque" theater ads. "Nudie-Cuties" and "roughies" are the terms used today for the type of films shown here. Talk about movies that fell through the cracks! Although many of these under the radar sex films have been compiled and collected in the last decade or so, there are literally hundreds that just disappeared! Of the ones shown here, only one was on IMDB and I'm not certain it's the same one because they have it as "HOT" NIGHTS ON THE CAMPUS and coming out a full year later (also directed by Tony Orlando!! Anyone know if that could be THE Tony Orlando?) SUNSWEPT was probably a nudist colony "documentary." You know, the type where you have the cliched naked volleyball games. THE BLOCK actually bills itself as a roughie. The others are literally just titles on the page. Must admit the girl in the CAMPUS ad looks like a young Brigitte Bardot but then, hey, maybe it is! The folks who made these were certainly not above false advertising. My favorite thing in these ads, though, and I recall this from being quickly hustled past these "bad" theaters as a child, is the fact that the big selling point for going in is the air-conditioning! "Cool-cool-cool!" There were huge hanging banners outside the theaters, too. I finally visited the Royal once in its final days and saw a bizarrely edited version of Johnny Legend's TEENAGE CRUISERS. My very first adult film ever...or at least it would have been if the legendary Cincinnati censors weren't requiring that all sex scenes--real or even simulated--be removed from adult films at that time. Thus there was plenty of build-up, a little T & A and then...cut to the next scene. The picture only lasted about a half hour. With the air conditioning left as its only real selling point by that time, the Royal closed soon afterwards. It was the last adult theater in Cincinnati.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Daredevil Meets Crimebuster

...and gets kissed by a monkey! In fact you can win your OWN monkey to get kissed by if you read the rest of the ad!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 6

How in the world did Lev Gleason's Golden-Age Daredevil predict the coming of George W. way back in the early 1940's?

Mario Bava-All the Colors of the Dark by Tim Lucas

First of all, this is NOT a review. In fact, as intriguing as it is, I may never actually get to read this book due to its steep pricetag of $250.00 US. I wanted to plug it sight unseen, though, as author Tim Lucas (VIDEO WATCHDOG's head honcho) has spent more than a decade eating, breathing and sleeping this definitive bio/filmography of Italian director Mario Bava. I had Tim ( and his lovely wife Donna) for an autographing for his uniquely unsettling vampire novel THROAT SPROCKETS back in the early nineties and we spent much of the afternoon discussing Bava even then!

Known for his stylized, violent horror films such as the classic BLACK SUNDAY, the writer/director/cinematographer also worked on his share of kids films and camp comedy/adventures (including sword and sandal epics and the looking-better-all-the-time DANGER: DIABOLIK) in a career that lasted for more than three decades until his 1980 death. The second R-rated film I ever saw (in 1972 at age 13) was Bava's TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE.

Tim Lucas has produced the wonderful digest-sized mag VIDEO WATCHDOG for many years now, offering scholarly looks at less than scholarly films and in the process unearthing amazing behind-the-scenes stories on even the "lowliest" of movies. While other similar periodicals (PSYCHOTRONIC, CULT MOVIES) have faded, I saw VW on the shelf at a Borders just yesterday! All the while, the Bava book was being obsessively worked on with hundreds of interviews and unearthing of incredible stills. It looks as though Tim's obsession has borne fruit. Check out the sample pages at Mario Bava -- All the Colors of the Dark by Tim Lucas, Published by Video Watchdog.

The book arrived at VW headquarters this past week and you can read all about it at Tim Lucas Video WatchBlog.If you're a serious film buff and/or international horror movie fan I recommend you take out a second mortgage and order MARIO BAVA-ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK as soon as you can. Good luck with the book, guys! I knew you could do it!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Language Ad-1947

It's 1947 and time to learn Spanish--"the language of romance and opportunity (sic)." Huh? And German is described as "a post-war language." Seriously, did it really change all that much after the Nazis? Polish? "Universally spoken?" Really? You mean, like, Galactus speaks Polish? Italian maybe? "Fluently used everywhere." Hmmm...obviously these folks never heard Chico Marx mangle Italian on a consistent basis. "Be ready if opportunity should take you to a Latin-American country in the future," it says. Is this a cryptic reference to all of the war criminals who fled to Argentina? Did the makers of this ad know that the US government was planning a war against South America perhaps? A war that never came about? Who knows? Note also that the books are "up-to-the-minute on pronounciations" which implies that they perhaps change on a regular basis.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Jack Weston Rule

Back in the seventies I developed what I called "the Jack Weston Rule." Essentially. this meant that if the late character actor Jack Weston was in a movie, it would be an exceptional movie…although that might have nothing to do with Jack Weston! Yesterday I caught a bit of THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR on cable and was reminded of this rule. That most stylish and stylized of all sixties American films, CROWN succeeds because of its stars (Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway), its clever script, its direction, its cinematography, its artsy trickiness and its beautiful score (including "Windmills of Your Mind" talk/sung by Rex’s son Noel Harrison, better known for playing Mark "Willie" Slate to Stefanie Powers’ April "Modesty" Dancer in THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.). Jack Weston is not a memory one takes away from this film. But he IS present!
Weston is also present in FUZZ which turned up on my cable channel a few weeks back. Badly marketed as a comedy, FUZZ was actually a darkly comedic police drama based on the 87th Precinct novels of Ed McBain! Burt Reynolds is top-billed in a marvelous ensemble cast that includes Weston, Tom Skerritt, Raquel Welch and James McEachin (with whom I briefly corresponded a few years ago over the Net!) amongst the good guys and Yul Brynner as the book series’ recurring villain, the Deaf Man. Again, Jack is not a defining factor but he IS there!
Other examples include THE INCREDIBLE MISTER LIMPET, CACTUS FLOWER (one of my wife’s all-time faves!), the marvelously suspenseful WAIT UNTIL DARK with Audrey Hepburn and a truly evil Alan Arkin, THE RITZ and HIGH ROAD TO CHINA. In all of these pictures Jack Weston gives an enjoyable supporting turn but in none of these films is he really responsible for how much I enjoy the picture itself. The Jack Weston Rule was a good rule! It worked, dammit! If only he hadn’t then made ISHTAR. Sigh. Another theory disproved.
Interesting trivial aside: Jack Weston’s brother also started out as a character actor (often as Sam Weston) and appeared in small roles in many sixties TV series including GREEN ACRES and THAT GIRL before becoming a successful porn film director in the seventies under the name Anthony Spinelli! As Spinelli, he was responsible for films such as the acclaimed EASY (with Jesie St. James) and TALK DIRTY TO ME (the original version of which featured Traci Lords’ now taboo debut!). His later credits include PULP FRICTION and something with the amazing title PRINCESS ORGASMA AND THE MAGIC BED.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ghost Rider Ad

The ORIGINAL that is!

Now this LOOKS cool and I probably would have ordered it had I been alive back in the mid fifties when it ran. betting it probably wasn't all that impressive in real life though. I mean seriously, you'd need to buy the hat, the cape and even the horse separately in order to really wow the neighbors on Halloween!

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Well, with my schedule being what it is lately, I missed my own anniversary!!! Yesterday marked two years of BOOKSTEVE’S LIBRARY! More than 86,000 hits on nearly 1000 entries. Every continent except Antarctica has visited my blog. Along the way we’ve written about silly comic books, forgotten films, conventions, music, and, of course, books. We’ve practically become the one-stop for folks searching for info on Christa Helm, Cissy Colpitts or (and I still find this strange) Linda Blair nude! And to that one guy (and I assume its just one guy) who keeps finding us by typing in "Jonathan Frid gay?," let me repeat that I have no earthly idea! All I know is he scared the bejeebers out of me on DARK SHADOWS when I was 9 and I find myself laughing at those same performances today.
Special thanks as ever to those new friends and acquaintances made through this blog. From folks whose work I was reading thirty years ago to my sometimes anonymous regular readers, you’re all wonderful and I’m proud to have you drop by on a regular basis! Thanks! Special thanks to JBX who apparently remembered my anniversary and dropped a goodly amount in the ol’ PayPal tip box!
Today starts year three then. Hopefully things will settle down enough soon here that I can return to more substantial postings but in the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying our almost daily offerings of lighter comics and movie fare. I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface here at the Library, folks so stick around. The best, as they say…well…aw, you know!

Monday, August 20, 2007

99 & 44/100 Percent Dead

This was an odd attempt at a campy gangster comedy from 1974. John Frankenheimer directed and Henry Mancini did the score but I still recall seeing this opening in lesser houses at the time. With it's Lichtensteinien poster and Dumbledore as a hitman, you'd think it would be more memorable but all I can really recall, strangely enough, is that Harris met actress Ann Turkel on the set and married her after the shoot. They were together for eight years.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Little Seen Elvis Photo

Here's a picture of Elvis Presley from March of 1976, about a year and a half prior to his passing. This is from the front page of the CINCINNATI (and KENTUCKY) ENQUIRER. Apparently, the King was less than thrilled with a cartoonist's caricature of him while in town. Unfortunately, I did not have the presence of mind to clip the cartoon itself...or the additional photos on page A-15 for that matter.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Pre-Mighty Crusaders

From the 1962 pages of THE JAGUAR # 8, here's a reader's letter suggesting a JLA-like team (as witness the mock cover) featuring all of the Archie Adventure heroes. Much as happened at DC with folks like the late Dr. Jerry Bails making suggestions that Julie Schwartz fleshed out, the powers that were at Archie developed this into THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS a couple of years down the line. A diffrent Shield appeared and a revived and revised Comet was added but otherwise... Kind of ironic that the Jaguar himself, his mag by that time cancelled, was NOT included at all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's Go For Broke Co-Star Found!

Not that she was hiding, she just didn't know how anyone could be interested in a film that for all intents and purposes never saw the light of day! I spent about an hour this afternoon listening to Manoshi Chitra Neogy reminisce about the making of the late Christa Helm's only starring feature. "Chiitra," as she was billed in the ad, turns out to be a real renaissance woman. Actress, poet, filmmaker, author, she is delightfully honest, spiritual and passionate about women in the arts. Her resume (found online at Manoshi Chitra Neogy - Resume) is impressive as is the woman herself. She's looking for a producer for her long-planned independent film SAND SHADES in case anyone out there is interested. Just wanted to say a very big "Thanks!" to her for helping with my ongoing Christa Helm Project with John O'Dowd. Keep watching this blog for more!

Beds by Groucho Marx

BEDS was a revised 1976 reissue of a 1930 piece by Groucho Marx on the subject of…well…beds. Beds, you see, can be used for sleeping or various other things that simply weren’t spoken of in polite company at the end of the Jazz Age. Groucho, being Groucho, had a way of NOT speaking of these things that made you KNOW that he was, in fact, speaking of just these very things. Thus, hilarity ensued. Well…must have seemed like a good idea at the time but BEDS is more cute than funny. What stands out in this version (which features a new introduction credited to the great anarchist himself) are the photos. Mixed in with vintage stills from Marx Brothers movies are a number of all-new shots of the octogenarian comedian with some of his modern celebrity admirers. These include mid-seventies superstars Burt Reynolds, Elliott Gould (himself sporting a Grouchoesque mustache) and the slightly creepy threesome of Groucho, Carroll O’Conner and his TV daughter Sally Struthers. Even that doesn’t compare, however, to this nightmarish shot. An ecstatic looking Phyllis Diller enjoying herself WAAAY too much in bed with Grouch! {{{{{Shiver!}}}}}

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The One, the Only...Groucho!

When I was growing up, no one in my life had a mustache. Every single day, my father boiled washcloths, sat with them wrapping his face for about ten minutes, then lathered up and scraped his face smooth. I just assumed that everyone else in the world did that, also (women, too, I guess). Everyone except Groucho Marx, that is.
Some of my earliest memories involve arguing to stay up past my bedtime just so I could watch an ugly stuffed duck come down from the rafters on YOU BET YOUR LIFE when someone said the episode’s secret word. I succeeded often enough that Groucho became an early TV favorite and just about the only man I knew who had facial hair until I started watching Walter Cronkite on the news. Of course at that stage I didn’t have a clue that this funny looking man, his cigar and his peculiar way of speech had ever done anything other than be quizmaster on a show that took its own sweet time to get to the quiz anyway!
It was the early seventies when Marx Brothers films were being rereleased and the first one I saw was the lesser ROOM SERVICE (double-featured with KING KONG simply because they were both RKO productions but I was intrigued by the young Groucho and his mismatched brothers, Harpo and Chico. For example, that mustache in the movie looked…well…painted on!! WTF??
Not long afterwards I saw a re-issue of A DAY AT THE RACES followed soon afterwards by the highly touted re-release of the long legally held back ANIMAL CRACKERS. Soon afterwards, I saw for the first time what would become one of my all-time favorite comedies-DUCK SOUP! Little by little, I was seeing in Groucho qualities (and lines!) I’d already found in another of my heroes, Bugs Bunny!
About this time, I realized that the man I had known from my earliest memories was becoming a cult figure to the anti-establishment crowd and I started seeing the older, sadder Groucho appear on talk shows and variety shows. In the bookstores, there were a half-dozen Marx Brothers biographies as well as a number of books by the one, the only Groucho himself (like Bob Hope, in conjunction with co-writers).
Perhaps the most telling of all the books is THE GROUCHO LETTERS. Being as it is just a compilation of letters to and from the man with the mustache archived from various points in his career, the reader paying close attention finds more of the real man in it than in any other bio. The triumphs, the regrets, the hopes, the dreams, the tragedies and certainly the legendary wit of the man who was SO much more than a quizmaster come through on every page.
As the mid-seventies approached, Groucho’s health worsened even as his reputation soared! He even made Richard Nixon’s fabled "Enemies List!" His handlers continued to trot him out in exploitation, a sad reminder of his former self (ask Mark Evanier about his Groucho/WELCOME BACK KOTTER story sometime). Rumors swarmed of mistreatment and tragically some were found to have been all too true.
Groucho Marx, the man, died thirty years ago this week, his passing overshadowed by the unexpected death of Elvis Presley a few days earlier. Groucho Marx, like other men, had his faults but in his long and storied lifetime he made a lot of people laugh quite a bit and at the same time—both onscreen and off--promoted a healthy disrespect for authority. Between Groucho and Bugs Bunny, that’s where I learned to always question authority! At the earliest opportunity, I also became the first man in my family to have a mustache.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 5

So much for the concept of the "all-knowing" Guardians of the Universe. Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and even Hal Jordan came after Hal Jordan!! And that's only in the last twenty years or so!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks# 27

Oh, boy! This should be a good one! Ahna Capri--hot off of her scene-stealing role as a cool blonde in Bruce Lee's ENTER THE DRAGON-- as a sexy professional killer. And it has a bunch of familiar TV faces! Including Adam West!!! And it's from Crown International, the seventies studio that popularized sex and violence in film! Can't wait!

Slow down there, Bunky. No rush. In spite of this kinda cool ad, THE SPECIALIST is, in fact, a fairly talky courtroom piece based on a book entitled COME NOW THE LAWYERS. TV's BATMAN gets top billing for what may have been one of the few times after Batmania died out and carries himself rather well but he ain't no Paul Newman, y'know? Alvy Moore (GREEN ACRES' Mr. Kimball) is there along with the distinguished character actor John Anderson. The music score by Shorty Rogers is probably the picture's most distinguishing feature. Other than Ahna, that is. She IS in the picture...she just isn't the star that the ad would make you believe.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time Bomb

Okay, now who ever thought THIS was a good idea? I mean, I loved cap guns as a kid. I had army guns and cowboy rifles and spy guns with silencers, even a JOHNNY-7 I could barely lift! But uh... Oh, and "Secret Service?" More than likely the Secret Service would be the ones putting your pop in jail back in the early sixties for permitting you to order this thing in the first place!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chocks Ad

Chocks Vitamins were big in the pre-Flintstones days. Here, from 1970, is what has to be the most crudely drawn of all professional ads ever. And what exactly is the message we're supposed to get from this ad? Chocks are good for...your beaver????

Christa Helm on MySpace

Don't know how I missed this one before but the family of the late starlet Christa Helm has put up a MySpace page as both a tribute to her and as a means of gathering information on her life and her murder. You can find it - Christa Helm. If you're registered, you can have access to a number of photos of her that had not been seen before (and some that need a little tweaking really to make them Net-friendly). Just a reminder that my Christa Helm Project with John O'Dowd is also seeking information. If you knew Sandy Clements/Christa Helm in the seventies or earlier, please contact us in care of my blog.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 4

From 1938, here's Fred Guardineer's FLASH GORDONesque spaceguy who's practically doing a little flashing of his own! Keep in mind, also, that television was largely still the stuff of science-fiction in those long gone days.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 3

Here's Roy, the Super Boy, the improbably costumed sidekick of MLJ's superbrain, the Wizard, preventing the molestation of a nice young lady by a rather crude, lower class devil.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

1977 Old Comics Ad

So they pay hundreds of dollars for comics even if they aren't old and rare? No wonder you never hear of this dealer anymore! Also, if, as the ad states, "Everything bought," how come they need a buying list that YOU have to send money to get?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rumble, Rumble, Rumble--Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

Stan Freberg turns 81 today. Happy birthday, Stan! When I was a youngster digging through the record album bins at the local Woolworths on my lunch hour from school, I would always see Stan's albums mixed in with Bobbie Gentry, the Beatles and Steam but I never heard any songs by him on the radio. Then one day, I recognized him on a MONKEES rerun. Then I saw him in an old movie from the 1950's. Then I discovered DOCTOR DEMENTO and found out that he was a comedian! Well, in a way. A satirist. Satire doesn't always have to be funny. Anyway, throughout the 1980's I collected Freberg's classic radio series (the replacement for JACK BENNY!) and finally got STAN FREBERG PRESENTS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (VOL.1 THE EARLY YEARS), one of the funniest recordings ever in my opinion. With a cast that includes such now legendary voices as Paul Frees, Jesse White, Peter Leeds, June Foray and Marvin Miller, it's intelligent, hilarious sketches and songs resonate long after the initial playing of it.
In 1996, some 35 years after the original's release, VOL. 2--THE MIDDLE YEARS appeared from Rhino on CD. It's hard to tell that any time has passed at all as Stan's many voices sound marvelously young and many of the cast of the original show up again. Corey Burton does a dead-on impersonation of the late Paul Frees as narrator and a number of celebrity guests appear in bits of stunt-casting that don't always work. (Bob Hope failed miserably with this same formula on his overproduced and not particularly amusing Bicentennial comedy album two decades earlier). Stan, to his credit, has promised we won't have to wait 35 years for VOL. 3. I have no doubt that he'll be here that long, though.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Una Merkel

Other than Broadway star Lee Roy Reams (recently seen in THE PRODUCERS), the late Una Merkel was the biggest name star ever to come out of my hometown of Covington, Kentucky. Best remembered for her knock-down-drag-out fight with Marlene Dietrich in DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, her career stretched from the silent picture days into late 1960's television. Along the way, she transformed from a waifish innocent to a sexy broad and ended up as a matronly character actress. Here's a brief article from the mid-70's about Ms. Merkel and her local legacy. The actress died in 1986.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Magic Christian

THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN by Terry Southern came out in 1960. As the author’s reputation grew thanks to the success of the movie DOCTOR STRANGELOVE and the controversy over his book CANDY, THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN came to be viewed as a brilliant satire of American life in the late 1950’s. One tumultuous decade later, Southern re-interpreted his book as a film satire of British life in the late 1960’s!
The film version of THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN has a number of things going for it—the soundtrack, the cast, the timing and what was and is one of the most outrageous film climaxes of them all! Unfortunately, it never really gelled and it’s only now, some 37 years later, that it seems to be coming into its own as a cult film.

Ostensibly a series of pretty much unrelated but increasingly outrageous sketches in which the world’s richest man sets out to see just how greedy people can be, Peter Sellers stars at one of his peaks of popularity as Guy Grand. Beatle Ringo Starr, highly touted as a new Chaplin during the Fab Four’s movie stage, puts the lie to that by walking through his role as Sellers’ character’s adopted son—a role not even in the original book! Although often in little more than cameos, the dream cast includes Sir Richard Attenborough, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Laurence Harvey, Christopher Lee (as a Dracula type!), the great Leonard Frey, Raquel Welch (as a whip wielding slave driver in fetish gear with topless female slaves!), THE GOON SHOW’s Spike Milligan, Roman Polanski, a youngish John Cleese (who co-doctored the script with Graham Chapman who also appears briefly), Jeremy Lloyd (creator of ARE YOU BEING SERVED?), Ferdinand Mayne, a number of the CARRY ON regulars and a skeleton in the closet, show-stealing turn by Yul Brynner!

The soundtrack (highly tradeworthy in my pre-teen crowd back in the day) highlights the just emerging BADFINGER with several other great tunes besides Paul McCartney’s classic COME AND GET IT but also features some other gems including Thunderclap Newman’s one-off SOMETHING IN THE AIR (featuring later Wings guitarist Jimmy McCulloch).

Expected to be a huge hit at Christmas of 1969, even the Beatles’ traditional Christmas Fan Club release finds Ringo plugging the picture. In fact, Ringo plugged the picture all over the place, certainly the most visible Beatle during the final days before the breakup.

The problem is that it wasn’t a blockbuster. Sellers career would have to wait half a decade for THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER to boost him back to superstar status. Ringo went straight to the spaghetti western, BLINDMAN, and though he remains quite wonderfully Ringo to this day, he never became a major film star. Writing partners Cleese and Chapman would go on--as part of Monty Python--to create even more outrageous comedy than that found here!

Terry Southern wrote some more books including BLUE MOVIE and saw his CANDY unofficially reinterpreted as THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY, a mid seventies porn classic starring, of all people, Thora Birch’s mom! He was a credited writer on some of the worst on some of the lesser SNL seasons and then wrote Whoopi Goldberg’s film, THE TELEPHONE with Harry Nilsson but THAT is a whole ‘nother story!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Popeye Recipe and Coupon Ad

How many times have you seen a perfect marketing opportunity missed for whatever corporate reasons? Here, however, you have an obvious bit of marketing that they actually went with! Today, thanks to a bit of a windfall, I managed to snag a copy of the much-talked about POPEYE DVD set only to find this insert touting--POPEYE SPINACH! Beautiful!

Haven't watched the DVD yet (only been home about half an hour) but by all accounts it's amazing!Check it out here and you'll get it for five bucks less than I did: Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1: DVD: Popeye the Sailor

Friday, August 03, 2007

VideoHound's Dragon

Here's the latest addition to the Library--VIDEOHOUND'S DRAGON-ASIAN ACTION AND CULT FLICKS. We don't get too many new additions these days due in part to lack of money (don't forget to hit the tip box!)but the lack of space is also a deciding factor. Still, sometimes a title appears that's mandatory for one reason or another. In this case, this massive 900 page film reference, published at $24.95 in 2003, was spotted at BORDERS for only $2.99!!! Check that sticker on the cover--that's TWO dollars and 99 cents, people!

And what do you get for that pocket change? Like other VideoHound titles, it's an alphabetical listing of, in this case, pretty much all things Asian in film. Like GODZILLA? Read about all of his films here. Chow Yun-Fat? John Woo? Akira Kurosawa? ULTRAMAN? Sammo Hung? Yep! All here, too. Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan go without saying but you'll also find coverage of the kids film THE ADVENTURES OF MILO AND OTIS as well as bizarre Asian offshoots such as Woody Allen's WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY? (Hi, Frank!)

So what are you waiting for? For some high-kicking Asian film reference, hit the bargain section at your local BORDERS today!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Christa Helm on Starsky and Hutch

Work continues apace behind the scenes here at the Library on the Christa Helm Project in collaboration with author John O'Dowd. For those of you coming in late, Christa Helm was a starlet with all the right connections who never quite made it in Hollywood and was brutally murdered in 1977, her one feature starring role (the film LET'S GO FOR BROKE) remaining unreleased to this day.

Among the projects that were seen by the public, however, was an unbilled small role as a carhop waitress in the classic STARSKY AND HUTCH episode entitled SILENCE, aired just about a year prior to her tragic death. With the aid of our new, cheap digital camera, here are a few little seen images of our heroine.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Paul Stanley

Just wanted to offer best wishes to sometime comic book character (seen on the right on this cover)Paul Stanley of KISS. Although not a huge fan of the group I went through a brief period of interest in them about---Jeez!--30 years ago now! As you may have heard, original member Stanley was sidelined by a heart issue this past weekend leaving KISS to appear for the first time ever as a trio.

I note that Stanley has offered a message assuring his good health and informing fans that this is nothing new at all but rather something with which he's always had to deal. Read it at
I had three KISS albums--DESTROYER, KISS ALIVE and KISS ALIVE II. At one point, I even had tickets to see them on my birthday in Cincinnati but they had to reschedule due to a snowstorm and I wasn't able to go on the revised date.
Paul Stanley always seemed like a pretty good guy, though (as did Gene Simmons in his own way) and, as a true pop culture icon of two centuries now, I wish him well.