Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stan and Ollie Meet Superman


Now this is getting interesting. We know Superman has met Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Lucy Ricardo, the Quik Bunny, the Hulk, Predator, Orson Welles...and now, Laurel and Hardy?


Actually there's no way of knowing if this cover gag had anything to do with the story inside. Why? Because this issue, DC's LAUREL AND HARDY # 2 from around 1972, was never published! I'm not certain why at the moment. Not even sure if issue 1 ever came out. I know an advertised companion digest comic did NOT; a rights dispute most likely. Seems odd that DC would have sought out the rights at all having just recently cancelled the long-running Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis tie-ins. The art, as you can tell by the signature, was by humor artist, inker and future ARCHIE staple, Henry Scarpelli (whose son Glenn would appear in later episodes of the CBS seventies sitcom, ONE DAY AT A TIME).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nemesis

Okay, here's the answer to the Human Torch mystery from yesterday. One reader got it close by suggesting ACG. Since ACG really only had two silver age heroes--Magicman and Nemesis-- it was a 50-50 shot. The answer is...NEMESIS! That's right, Nemesis (NOT the warlock one!), a clear contender for the most ridiculously clad super-doer of them all! On the one hand, he was a clone of DC's SPECTRE, an avenging spirit from beyond who revisits Earth to use his mystical powers for good. On the other hand, his arch-enemies were known to have died laughing at his hoodie and cute li'l striped short-shorts!! He had an interesting run in the early to mid-sixties, though, with quirky stories from Richard Hughes and art by Pete Costanza, Chic Stone and, as seen on this sample cover, Lou (Kirt Schaffenberger) Wahl.



By the way, if posts are erratic over the next couple of days, it's because we're having Internet/PC issues and the repair guy can't get here until late Friday. This is the first successful log-on I've had since yesterday so I thought I'd clear up the Torch mystery before possibly going AWOL for a bit! Back soon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Lone Ranger and Me-1996



Here's a treat for me! OTR friend Dan Hughes posted on YouTube this abridgement of a 1996 re-creation of a LONE RANGER episode at that year's CINCINNATI OLD-TIME RADIO AND NOSTALGIA CONVENTION. This was one of the happiest of all the re-creations with which I've been involved as it was the first time I played opposite Jack Benny uber-fan, Karen Hughes. Karen, age 11 here I believe, has become an unofficial good luck charm for the Cincy Con over the years since. A very good actress, I have had the great pleasure to appear opposite her dozens of times. I have been her father, her son, her husband, a robot who replaced her husband and, even though we had no scenes together, we appeared together this past weekend yet again in RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE.

Karen's dad Dan appears at the beginning of this clip as another outlaw opposite me. (I'm the guy with the beard and a lot more hair than I have now in case you didn't know). Toward the end, you also see and hear Joel Senter who, along with his lovely wife Carolyn, got my wife and I involved in these OTR cons in the first place two decades ago. The sound effects here are done live by the late Barney Beck, a wonderful, larger than life character and one of the best sound men from the late days of OTR. At one time or another he had done the sound effects for BOB AND RAY and SUPERMAN amongst many others!

The title role of THE LONE RANGER is here played by its long-time announcer Fred Foy who had played the role in the original broadcast of this script when star Brace Beemer took ill suddenly. My wife and I were priviliged to have dinner with Mr. Foy that weekend and he spoke of all the folks he had met while also announcing the late sixties DICK CAVETT SHOW.

A couple years back, this same script was re-done at Cincinnati with both Karen and I cast in our "original roles" a decade later. Unfortunately, show business being what it is, I ended up getting bumped for Bob Hastings that time. As Bob is always a treat and I learned everything I know about radio acting from him (not that its ever likely to come up away from the annual gathering), I got past it quickly.

I had not seen any clips of this performance. I'm not bad! Thanks, Dan, for posting it and a big public thank you for bringing your family--now our extended family-- back to the convention every year since!

The Human Tor...Ummm...Wait a Minute...


We all love the Human Torch, don't we? Whether the Golden Age android Torch or the FF's Johnny Storm, it's always so cool to watch him "Flame On!!" and go into fiery action against the criminals, terrorists and super-villains of the Marvel Universe! Here's a brief sequence from the Silver Age showing exactly that...or is it? I will tell you that this is NOT the Human Torch. This hero is not even a Marvel character! In fact, this isn't even the way he normally looks! Taken out of context like this, however, it's hard to tell who this hero is, isn't it? Tell you what, let's see who the first person is who knows it or can guess it! Then I'll post the rest of this page!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chitra Now


Here's a nice photo just received from Chitra Neogy. Longtime readers will remember that Chitra played the villainous...well...Chittra in the previously lost Christa Helm feature, LET'S GO FOR BROKE! An impressive filmmaker in her own right these days, a million years distanced from seventies schlock, Chitra is still working tirelessly to raise money for what will undoubtedly be her magnum opus, SAND SHADES. All of you independent film lovers out there, here is your chance to help finance what looks to be a truly lovely indie picture. Here we see Chitra explaining the plot. Be sure to click on the related YouTube videos or visit the SAND SHADES site at http://www.sandshades.org/to find out how YOU can be involved.







Sunday, April 26, 2009

Harvey Kurtzman's Influence


This is a subject that deserves a bit more depth and perhaps I'll get around to that some day. Perhaps I'm overstating my point, also. I don't know, though. The more I think about it the more I think that Harvey Kurtzman was THE most influential person on twentieth century pop culture. You decide:

Here's my argument that Harvey Kurtzman was the most influential figure in 20th Century pop culture

In the 1950's, Harvey Kurtzman created a series of historically accurate war comics that took an unprecedented anti-war stance. these comics were marketed to impressionable children. These children a decade later would be draft age during the Vietnam War and presumably anti-war. Thus Kurtzman influenced the growth of the sixties anti-war movement.

Also in the 1950's, Kurtzman created MAD. MAD promoted many of the so-called "sick" comics of the day and later influenced the sense of humor of several generations. It also influenced the growth of the anti-establishment movement of the sixties.

In the early 1960's, Kurtzman created HELP. HELP sought out new talent and became the first mainstream publication to print Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Jay Lynch, Joel Beck and many others of the early Underground Comix movement of the late sixties.

Kurtzman's assistant editor on HELP was Gloria Steinem. After learning how to run a magazine, she would go on to become the most prominent public figure of the women's movement in the early 1970's and the founder and editor of MS. Magazine.

Ms. Steinem's replacement as Kurtzman's assistant at HELP was a young cartoonist named Terry Gilliam. At one point, a young actor visiting New York from the UK, John Cleese, was hired for a photo feature in the mag and he and Gilliam would remain in touch, eventually co-founding Monty Python. Cleese would go on to become an elder statesman of comedy while Gilliam would become known as a controversial epic film director.

In the mid-sixties, Kurtzman and Will Elder began Little Annie Fanny at PLAYBOY, offering sexy political and social satire and, in effect, influencing every young lad who ever snuck a look at his father's dirty magazines and, in theory, making adult material more acceptable for subsequent generations.

Harvey Kurtzman also taught art and comics history, more directly influencing his students over the years.

Thus Kurtzman can arguably be given at least part of the thanks/blame for the anti-war movement and the eventual downfall of President Johnson it precipitated, the mainstreaming of the women's movement and the fight for the ERA, the anarchistic and artistic aspects of the counterculture, the changing sense of humor in America and the world and its influence on movies and television over the past few decades as well as society's gradual acceptance of adult entertainment!

Herbie-How to Stay Healthy


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bookdave's Debut

When I first went to the Cincinnati Old Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention 22 years ago, I barely knew the woman I would eventually marry. A year later we went together though and appeared onstage together for the first time. A couple years further on and we appeared just before our marriage. A few years on down the line and we attended while Rene was 4 months pregnant. Then the memorable hassle of taking David (and his nanny!) for the first time. Now...all of these years later...DAVID GOT A PART!!!

Okay, it isn't MUCH of a part. One line. Two words. Hey! Charlie Chaplin didn;t have ANY lines for years and HE became a legend. This COULD be the start of something big. If you will indulge a proud father, here now, from this afternoon, is David's stage debut!
video

Friday, April 24, 2009

Radio Folks



The first full day of the Cincinnati Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention for 2009 brought reuinions with friends old and new. Got some cool DVD's and books in the larger Dealers Room at the new Hotel (which apparently changed its name two weeks ago confusing a LOT of folks!). We all tried out for parts in the re-creations this year and I got two small roles, Rene got one good-sized funny one and even bookdave ended up with his first! It's a one-liner that pops up tomorrow afternoon! Brittany Rose (of BRITTANY ROSE AND ME fame) was only able to attend today which led to her getting no role in spite of an impressive audition. She was, however, surprised to have been recognized from her website- http://brittanyrosepictures.blogspot.com/

Away from the convention proper, we hung out with Jack Benny Superfan Karen Hughes and her family. Karen was particularly enthused about this year as the guest of honor is Benny impersonator, Eddie Carroll and she herself has been cast as Mary Livingstone in tomnorrow's re-creation! You go girl!

Eddie Carroll (also the voice of Jiminy Cricket) is as nice as his reputation (and Mark Evanier) has said. When he's wearing the glasses, his every mannerism and movement bring to mind Jack but without, I barely recognized him when I first saw him. The ever-young Bob Hastings returned, also, along with Esther Geddes McVey and too young to be so prolific author Martin Grams.

Seen here in no particular order are re-creationists Dan Hughes and Steve Jansen, Bob Hastings, Karen Hughes with lookalike Brittany Rose and Jack B....err...I mean Eddie Carroll! We hit the road for home after a long day but ran into stopped traffic that I had to maneuver around to get us to Waffle House for the first meal I'd had all day. Now it's nearly eleven and after two and a half hours of sleep last night, I need a little more before we head off at 9 AM tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Radio is Cleanin' Up the Nation"


Here we have the prize radio of the Library. We were never able to date it exactly but it's an RCA Victor model probably dating from the late 1930's. It was donated to me about 20 years ago by one of my ex-employees, an older woman who appreciated my love of old-time radio and wanted it to have a good home. It takes awhile to warm up but it actually still works! The problem, of course, is that it picks up Bob & Tom and Kanye West rather than Fibber & Molly and Dick Haymes. Therefore, it works much better to put a cassette player behind it and play the old shows.



It's Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention time again so I may or may not be able to post over the next couple of days but I'll give you a full report on Monday. We aren't staying at the hotel, just driving up daily. Tomorrow at least, my whole family will be wearing special red radio microphone shirts for no apparent reason except it seemed appropriate. If you see us, I'm counting on you to say, "Hi!"

Ski Party




Here's the trailer for SKI PARTY from 1965. This was probably the first of the "Beach Party" films I had seen and thus will always hold a special nostalgia for me. We didn't have beaches where I lived but we certainly had snow so I could relate. Although not a great film, SKI PARTY (a teenage variation on the basic premise of SOME LIKE IT HOT) has a lot going for it. The combination of Frankie Avalon and the ever-droll Dwayne Hickman works well, Deborah Walley and future Batgirl Yvonne Craig are both cute and sexy, Annette appears in a fun cameo and there's even some real music. Lesley Gore literally stops the show long enough to do her then-current "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows." Then, in one of the oddest cameos of all time in my opinion, James Brown (with his then back-up group, the Famous Flames) shows up. Seems all these whiter than white kids are lolling about the ski lodge with all of this white, white, white snow outside when there's a knock at the door. "Hey everybody, it's James Brown and the Famous Flames!" Uh-huh. Brown does his signature, "I Feel Good." All in all, not exactly a winner but a pleasant diversion with some wonderful snow scenes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lee Van Cleef Beer Commercial

Linus and Lucy For Ford-1961



Here we have one of several animated openings/commercials for the early sixties series, THE FORD SHOW. The series was so named because it starred entertainer Tennessee Ernie Ford as well as being sponsered by Ford autos. This animation pre-dates A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS by several years.

Orson Welles Radio Re-Creation on Laugh-In



Here's an amusing clip of the great Orson Welles on ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN circa 1970 re-creating and sending up his earlier radio days. Also seen briefly before the sketch--John Wayne, Jack Benny and Johnny Carson

Burger Chef and Jeff



I don't know if BURGER CHEF even exists anymore. It hasn't been around these parts in thirty years. For a period in the mid-seventies, however, it was my favorite fast food joint. Of course, that might be because they opened one literally one block away from where I lived! Note the voice of Paul Winchell as Burger Chef. Contrary to the YouTube site, June Foray does NOT voice Jeff.

John Entwistle-1983



Here's a spiffy looking and Who-less John Entwistle from a 1983 episode of the UK music series Gastank. The two hosts of the series, musician Tony Ashton and legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman, join the Ox for TWIST AND SHOUT.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dracula and Frankenstein Vs. FJA



The heck with Ed Wood! At least he tried. Al Adamson is a far better candidate for worst filmmaker of all time. His patchwork messterpiece is DRACULA VS FRANKENSTEIN, an early seventies loser that got a surprising amount of coverage (including a cover!) in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. If legendary horror film lover Forry Ackerman thought it was worth it, we ALL wanted to see it! For most of us, it was a moot point untill many years later as this grade Z minus drive-in horror was barely released in theaters. What could the Ackermonster have been thinking to promote this drek so heavily? Oh...wait...I get it! That's FJA himself giving a terrible performance in one of his long list of Z movie cameos along with echo-voiced Drac ("Zandor Vorkov" Yeah. Right.)and John Bloom as Frankie! If you absolutely have to torture yourself with this mess which also proved to be the final film for veterans Lon Chaney, Jr and J. Carroll Naish, it's on YouTube in multiple parts!

Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart



Here's "I Remember the Feeling," one of the better songs from the short-lived mid-seventies teaming of the two former superstar Monkees with the two singer/songwriters who (other than Mike Nesmith) arguably wrote most of their best songs. They did an album of catchy, kitschy tunes and comedy, a tour, a TV special, a live album and then went their separate ways again.

Mutt and Jeff-A Kick For Cinderella-1924



It's easy to forget today just how popular and influential the MUTT AND JEFF newspaper panel was at one time! Their long-running DC comic book actually outlasted most of teh superheroes of the Golden Age! Here's one of many silent cartoons with the pair, this one from 1924.

Zappa on Today-1993



Suffering from prostate cancer, Frank's still recognizable here on this late TODAY appearance but he seems resigned to his eventual fate. He's still surly though, still interesting, still philosophical and...well...still Frank Zappa!

Jack Benny





Reminder: This Friday and Saturday sees the Cincinnati Old Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention with this year's featured guest, Jack Benny impersonator Eddie Carroll! Here's the real Jack and his classic crew performing on the air live at a military base in 1942.

Bill Hicks, Satan and Judas Priest



The first time I remember hearing of Bill Hicks was when he died from cancer at the age of only 32 in the early 1990's. If I had ever actually seen him or heard him on anything it simply didn't register. Thus I find it particularly odd that he has become a favorite of mine. I also find it more than a bit weird that the later, bearded Hicks with glasses looks alarmingly like I did around that same period! Here he is making some observations about rock groups and Satan.

Batgirl's Theme



Kicking off another round of videos, here's pixieish Yvonne Craig tooling around the steets of Gotham (past the palm trees!)to a combined version of Batgirl's theme songs from her season on BATMAN!

Super Paperbacks-1966


Here's a 1966 ad for 5 super hero paperbacks trying to cash in on Batmania! The first is, of course, an obvious choice. BATMAN reprinted 1950's stories of the Caped Crusader but featured an unwisely retouched Infantino Batman cover (the right leg has been essentially removed)that makes it look as though our hero is about to fall flat on his cowl. The other Bat-title, BATMAN VS. THE 3 VILLAINS OF DOOM may look like a novelization of the Bat-movie but it isn't. Ghost-written by former Fawcett editor/writer William Woolfolk, it's actually one of the strangest versions of Batman ever--a serious attempt at telling a serious story with the high camp trappings of the TV series! Speaking of high camp, HIGH CAMP SUPER HEROES pulls no punches. They are cashin' in buddy! Period! These are reprints of the shamelessly overwritten and overplayed Jerry Siegel stories of Archie's ultra-heroes like the jobless Shield and the henpecked Web. Much of the art is from veteran Paul Reinman. The Marvel titles with FF and Spidey have the coolest covers, the most pure nostalgia value and the most important reprinted stories of the bunch! These were only the tip of the paperback iceberg that led to tons more reprints, novels and novelizations of all the great (and many not-so-great) comics characters! 1966 was a great year to be seven.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sun Girl is Not a Lawyer


One thing's for sure. Third tier 1940's Timely heroine SUN GIRL is not an attorney. In fact, she doesn't even seem here to have a basic understanding of how the legal system works in the United States. Honey, the reason they call it "serving your time" is because...well...you've SERVED YOUR TIME!! How can you expect them to keep someone who has seved their time with good behavior, become eligible for and earned a parole? Because YOU are paranoid enough to think that this person--who was understandably upset when originally sentenced--made some threat about destroying the world!? WTF, woman! If superheroes went around preventing supervillians from getting paroles, there'd be no comic books! Get it! Never mind that you were right and in the very next panel the villain in question is standing on a hillside plotting the end of civilization...THAT'S NOT THE POINT! In fact, it's your job to catch him and you should be lucky you HAVE a job, sister! So there!

Flashlight(?) Ad


Here we have another of those innocuous 1950's ads that only seem lascivious to our modern, more sophisticated eyes. This rather blatantly phallic flashlight is described as "Fun for every boy and girl." I'll bet it was, too!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trivia!


Hey, through a series of events, I'm spending the weekend (virtually at least!) in Wisconsin sitting in on the 40th Annual World's Largest Trivia Contest at radio 90FM (available on the 'Net here: http://www.uwsp.edu/stuorg/wwsp/listenlive.html) with some of the best trivia players I've ever "met." I am SO out of practice at this sort of thing but I love it! It's too late to register for the 54 hour event that runs through Sunday night but tune in for some great questions and enjoy the best and most eclectic mix of oldies (swing, pop, rock, alternative) I have ever heard! They actually played Tennesse Ernie Ford and the Ramones within minutes of each other yesterday, followed by LOTS of Buddy Holly, Rosemary Clooney, Beatles and the Pipkins! Join me "in" Wisconsin for awhile today and listen to Oz, DJ Albino and a real fun event. I'll be "going back" next year! Thanks for inviting me, gang!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mike Nasser Marvels


Found in the deep recesses of the Library this morning, we have this cover from the 1976 Marvel Con program booklet with art from our friend Michael Netzer (in his previous Mike Nasser incarnation) along with Al Milgrom (who's been working on some of the new, "realistic" ARCHIE comics lately). This is a good example of how an artist as stylized as Michael can mimic others' styles when called upon to do so.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The "Let's Rebuild Len Wein's Comic Book Collection" Project


While I highly doubt that anyone visiting my humble Library will be unfamiliar with Mark Evanier's popular site, I figure it couldn't hurt to repost this anyway. As a comics fan, you may have heard that writer Len Wein (creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing amongst many others!) and his family lost their home and their dog to fire recently. While the dog is irreplacable and insurance will cover the house, Mark has started a campaign to help restore Len's collection of comics he had worked on, all of which were also destroyed in the fire. Here's where to go to see if there's anything you can contribute: The "Let's Rebuild Len Wein's Comic Book Collection" Project

The Pogo Special Birthday Special-Chuck Jones 1969





Daredevil Debut Ad-1964


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boody


I vaguely recall seeing an interview with "Boody" Rogers in the COMICS BUYERS GUIDE back in the late '70's or early '80's (possibly with Craig Yoe) and thinking, "Ah, good! Here's some pages I can skip!" I didn't know his characters. I didn't know his work. Looked like kid stuff and I was into more sophisticated comics material like semi-naked female warriors in chain mail bikinis! In the words of Don Ameche (quoting the script by Shel Silverstein), "Things change."

The new book BOODY-THE BIZARRE COMICS OF BOODY ROGERS talks only a little about the late cartoonist, preferring rightly to let his work speak for itself. The rest of the volume consists of brightly photocopied reprints of Boody's work from SPARKY WATTS and BABE and a few one-off tales to boot! It was just last year when I finally looked twice at a Boody Rogers story and that was only because a number of pd SPARKY WATTS stories were reprinted on various blogs all around the same time. My surprised pleasure with these caused me to immediately seek out and download even more SPARKY WATTS comics!

Boody Rogers is funny as hell! He is also a good storyteller and an A list cartoonist. His sense of the surreal is played up on the cover here but that's only a small portion of his...okay, I'll use the word...genius.

SPARKY WATTS is a comic about a super hero who doesn't wear a costume. He was just selling magazine subscriptions door to door one day when a seemingly mad scientist drafted him for a cosmic ray experiment that made him faster and stronger than anyone else alive! A previous, less successful experiment had given another gentleman really, really large feet. A number of Sparky's adventures appear here in this volume.

Interspersed is BABE about a backwoods beauty with amazing athletic skills! Done very much in the tradition of L'IL ABNER, BABE is a fun character, too. My favorite story, though, is the hep-talk fueled DUDLEY-THE PRINCE OF PRANCE with its MAD-style gags and wordplay.

Rogers' art is old-fashioned bigfoot cartooning (literally in that one character's case) at its best. If one is familiar with SMILIN' JACK, the long-running aviator comic strip, one can clearly see the influence of its creator Zack Mosley but there's also a dash of Al Capp, a touch of Chester Gould and more than a little Basil Wolverton! Considering that much of Boody's work predates Wolverton's, that's one influence that probably worked the other way around!

Edited and compiled by the estimable Craig Yoe whose books of comics history are more and more becoming indispensible to any pop culture library, BOODY is a fun experience that left me wanting a volume two right away! Since most of today's comics fans like blood, guts, grit and death with their comics, BOODY might be hard to find at your local comics shop. Don't be as closed-minded as I was for nearly three decades! Order it online today!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cowboy Super Villains and the Two-Gun Kid


Been on a cowboy kick lately. Been enjoying some old spaghetti westerns and figured I'd try some cowboy comics, too. The problem is that I've always found the vast majority of western comics to be virtually interchangeable. Oh, I enjoy the art on some--Joe Maneely, Jack Kirby, Jack Davis and even Al Williamson in the fifties. Doug Wildey on THE OUTLAW KID and much later, RIO. All the different versions of Dick Ayers' GHOST RIDER. The one I always gravitate to, however, is the TWO-GUN KID. I've always attributed this to my initial exposure to the character in the marvelous and funny parody of the strip in NOT BRAND ECCH!


For many years a generic cowboy, ol' Two-Gun was reinvented by Lee and Kirby in the early days of the Marvel Universe as a sagebrush super-hero. He was now a masked rider with a sidekick and a secret identity. Secretly, he was frontier lawyer Matt Hawk with a sidekick named Boom-Boom, a big cigar chomping bald guy who always wore a top hat. Since Boom-Boom was often seen with Matt as well as aiding Two-Gun, it's unclear as to how the residents of the Old West weren't able to put two and two together.


Superheroes, as we all know, inspire supervillains and Two-Gun had his share. Along with run-in's with Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Cole Younger, Geronimo and other real-life western legends, he fought a number of supervillains. Hurricane was a frontier Flash who could draw as fast as he could run. There was also the Fox, the Panther, the Rattler, Roaring Bear, the giant Indian with super strength and the Hulk-like Goliath.

For the most part, the art was handled by western veteran Dick Ayers. Ayers' Kirby-style art has always looked...well...dirty to me. Guess that's why he was the perfect artist for westerns and war comics! HERBIE's Ogden Whitney drew (and wrote!) some late period stories. Writers after Stan included brother Larry Lieber, Roy Thomas, Denny O'Neil and Steve Skeates! By the mid-sixties the book was drowning in reprints and eventually cancelled. It was revived a couple years later, X-MEN-like, as an all-reprint title.
The character of the TWO-GUN KID was officially brought into the Marvel Universe and came into the modern day to join the AVENGERS at one point. More recently he had some Captain America-like moments as a man out of his time in SHE-HULK. Beyond that, the Marvel Universe degenerated into the evil alternate reality it became and I have no idea what happened to him. Every once in awhile though, I hear someone ask, "Who was that masked man?" and I just want to answer, 'THAT, sir...was the Two-Gun Kid!"

Astrogirl!

I see now that this is all over the Internet and clips are even on YouTube but I had somehow never heard of it. AMERICAN HEROINE ASTROGIRL is a Japanese (tv?) film which, rather obviously is a SUPERGIRL rip-off. Although done on a sub-par POWER RANGERS level, it is kind of fun with a hot girl in the title role. Apparently Delcea Mihaela Gabriela is a Romanian actress working in Japan. In this, she is, per the title, supposedly American and thus her lines are all in Japanese subtitled English. The only problem is that she has a very prominent Middle Europeon accent! Between her awkward cosplay posing and leaping around, there's some genuinely enjoyable action scenes and some attempt at a plot. Overall, if you like this sort of thing, this one's better (and cleaner!) than most like it but don't mistake that to mean that its actually any good. I'll still take my CUTIE HONEY instead!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Carole Lombard and Jack Benny


A month passes so quickly and here we are again updating YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST PICTURE at http://youreonlyasgoodasyourlastpicture.blogspot.com/. This time learn the story of actress Carole Lombard whose final film was 1942's TO BE OR NOT TO BE co-starring the great Jack Benny!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mystery Spidey Artist


Here's an ad from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 1 soliciting letters. Boy, did they get 'em! My question is...who drew this slightly off-model Spidey? It's not Ditko and--look at them fingers!--it sure ain't Kirby! My best guess is Don Heck because of a touch in the inking style on the head. The rest reminds me of Dick Ayers' work for some reason though. Sol Brodsky? GCD doesn't mention the ad but surely the subject has come up somewhere on the 'Net. Anybody care to venture a guess? Anybody know for sure?

Marilyn Chambers RIP



When I posted my earlier adult-related posting, I had not yet heard of yesterday's passing of Marilyn Chambers, forever remembered as the star of BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR. Although I was never a big fan of Ms. Chambers--in fact, except for her R-rated role in RABID, I never much cared for her at all--she holds a special place in the pop culture pantheon of the 1970's. Along with Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin, Marilyn was one of the three female adult stars that unintentionally created the co-called "porno chic" movement. In spite of the late '70's backlash, they had let the pussy out of the bag (pardon the pun) and porn became more mainstream from then on. Chambers was also controversial when it was discovered that she had once been the cover model for the P&G product Ivory Snow with it's now-ironic slogan, "99 and 44/100ths percent pure!" She was only in her mid-fifties when she died yesterday of as yet unknown causes. Thanks to Ace Researcher Derek Tague for bringing this to our attention. As Derek puts it, "After Jack Wrangler's demise, it looks like it's a bad week for household name porn stars." As more info becomes available on the death of Marilyn Chambers one of the best places to watch for it would probably be: http://lukeford.com/

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 49


Speaking of Jack Wrangler's passing the other day reminded me also of this early straight film I had seen him in (albeit in what amounts to a cameo role). MISBEHAVIN' was a major 1978 Chuck Vincent XXX sex comedy release starring the once popular Leslie Bovee. As I recall it was never quite as amusing as this poster promised. (Perhaps I asked too much of my porn?) The plot--yes, they HAD plots in those days, vaguely defined as they sometimes were--is largely forgotten by me but something to do with impending nuptials and an angel figure and a devil figure each trying to influence the proceedings. Although I was only 19 and too young to be jaded, I nevertheless recall enjoying the poster more than the film. The poster with its almost MAD/Will Elder-like characters is signed "Weston." Does anyone know the artist?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Buster Keaton Vodka Ad


Buster Keaton's early success was ended as much by his drinking as any other problem. He had a severe alcohol problem even as he was playing teetotalers in early talkies like SPEAK EASILY and WHAT! NO BEER?. Thus it always surprises me somewhat to see so many of the great TV commercials he did in the 1950's advertising beer. Now here's an early 1960's print ad for VODKA! Go figure. At his worst, though, Keaton was still more creative and funnier than pretty much anyone he ever worked with!

Jobless Mouse


Continuing on a Disney theme, just a reminder that while I've been doing a lot of blog updates lately, it's because paying work is still non-existent around here. So if you like this stuff we do here and at any of the other Booksteve blogs (with yet another new one coming soon!) any tips in the ol' PayPal donation box would be appreciated. Thanx!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness # 53

Grandma Duck spanking the pig. I caaaaaaaaaan't quite put my finger on what it is but something just sounds so wrong about that. The fact that they have pictures is a bit unsettling also.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Night Owl with Adam West and Frank Gorshin

Apparently these few amusing seconds were from a pilot pitch for an animated BATMAN parody entitled NIGHTOWL (no relation to either WATCHMEN version). Since Frank's been dead a few years now and this was posted on YouTube in 2007, I'd say this isn't recent.

Lenny Henry as Trevor Nettleford

One of my favorite comedy bits from one of my favorite comedians of the past twenty years or so. This is from one of the SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL films, all of which were released as a set a couple months back. Highly recommended! I got the set for my birthday.

RIP-Jack Wrangler

I first saw Jack Wrangler in the XXX rated THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES PART TWO, the surprisngly comedic sequel to the notorious, morose original of the early seventies. A young lady I knew had a Beta copy but she and her boyfriend only had a VHS machine. They knew I had Beta so one saturday night we hooked up the two machines and dubbed her a copy. They left the original Beta copy with me. Wrangler played the Devil in the film. He's handsome, charismatic, charming and downright funny. He wasn't a great actor but compared with other porn actors of the period his performance was Oscar quality! He was gay and had been a star in gay films but then he added straight films and was discovered by a whole new audience. I next saw him, however, on an episode of DONAHUE (I believe) where he appeared as part of an unlikely pairing with 1940's singer (and former TV star) Margaret Whiting. He was gay (not bi he insisted), he was an adult film performer and she was a reknowned singer some 22 years his senior. Was there ever a more unlikely pair? It worked though as the two married and over the years since Jack moved into behind the scenes creative work in theater, often with Ms. Whiting. His autobiography came out in 1984 and was quite a good read as I recall although I apparently no longer have a copy. Jack Wrangler died of a lung ailment on Tuesday. Seen here is the trailer from a 2006 documentary about his life and career. To paraphrase a line he says in the trailer--no matter what I do in the theater or ballet, if a newspaper writes about it they always refer to me as Jack Wrangler, porn star. Jack Wrangler was survived by his wife of more than two decades, Margaret Whiting. Rest in peace, sir.

Peter Cushing on This Is Your Life

Here we have Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley and others in tribute to the wonderful Peter Cushing. Although obviously ailing, the geat actor seems to take absolute delight in everything. So heroic as Van Helsing, so evil as Frankenstein and STAR WARS' Grand Moff Tarkin, Cushing is said to have been one of the nicest men in show business in real life and he and longtime co-star and friend Lee supposedly enjoyed watching Looney Tunes together.

The Goons on This Is Your Life

Here's a brief but funny clip from the climax of Sir Harry Secombe's appearance on the UK version of THIS IS YOUR LIFE in 1958. As a big fan of BBC's GOON SHOW since discovering it on American public radio in the early seventies, it's always a treat to see any of those guys together and this bit has Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Ray Ellington all showing up for a last minute gag.

John Wayne Meets Paul McCartney

This one's for Fred Hembeck--the very public and very unlikely meeting of John Wayne and ex-Beatle Paul when the former awarded the Beatles the award for Best Original Score at the 1971 Grammy Awards (for the previous year's LET IT BE). With the Fab 4 deep in their "sue me, sue you" period, Paul --with Linda-- accepted on behalf of all and shares a brief handshake with the Duke before making an even briefer acceptance speech.

Scatman Crothers and Phil Harris

Told ya it would be hard to stop me so here's some more YouTube sweetness today. Up first is a 1978 TV reunion of ARISTOCATS voice stars Phil Harris and Scatman Crothers! Phil lived a long and by all accounts happy life and unlike many celebs is remembered for many things as opposed to just one. He was a bandleader, a singer with popular records, foil to Jack Benny, a character actor of some reknown, married to one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood--Alice Faye--with whom he shared a long-running radio series, an avid sportsman and the voice of several memorable Disney characters including O'Malley the Alley Cat. Scatman was a longtime musician with a million dollar smile who became a wonderful character actor, The first time I ever heard of him was in THE ARISTOCATS.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Vaughn Bode-1974


The problem with me and YouTube is that I constantly find such amazingly rare stuff that I want to share with you guys! One clip leads to another and another and if I'm not careful, I end up with an all-video blog! Here, however, is another clip I couldn't resist sharing. Here we see one of my favorite seventies cartoonists, Vaughn Bode. Today...this clip...is, in fact, the very FIRST time I have ever seen and heard the notoriously eccentric Bode talking! AND HE IS SURPRISINGLY SANE!!! This is the first of several YouTube clips of Da Bode from the Toronto ComiCon of 1974, roughly a year before his bizarre and pointless death by sexual misadventure!

Lyle Waggoner as Batman-1965

Portions of this screen test turned up in the docudrama (docucomedy?) BACK TO THE BATCAVE but I ran across the whole thing on YouTube today. Out of all of the actors who auditioned for BATMAN in what would become the biggest TV series of 1966 (reportedly including square-jawed future Tarzan Mike Henry), Lyle Waggoner was supposedly the favorite. He looks good here, especially in the early version of the costume. Better than his Robin, one Peter Deyell. The handsome Waggoner would coast for a few more years as he became the announcer and resident hunk on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW. He eventually got his own chance at the camp super hero genre as WONDER WOMAN's "Steve Trevor" in the late seventies. Peter Deyell became a behind the scenes utility guy working in make-up, producing and all other aspects of the film industry on projects ranging from THE PLANET OF THE APES to cult favorite MASSACRE AT CENTRAL HIGH. Thus it was instead Adam West and Burt Ward whose careers were skyrocketed and eventually shot down by the bizarre success of the TV Caped Crusader.

Stages # 3



Don't know if this ever came out on DVD but here's a wonderful VHS tape from about 20 years ago that features Broadway performances that had been re-created live on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW! Since Ed was based in New York City, it was apparently quite a simple task to get the performers on regularly. This collection features Ethel Merman from 1968, the cast of OKLAHOMA from 1955, Pat Suzuki from FLOWER DRUM SONG, Carol Channing doing "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" from '59, Julie Andrews from MY FAIR LADY as well as CAMELOT (with Richard Burton as King Arthur!), Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence (whom I would later see in SUGARBABIES) from WEST SIDE STORY (1958), Anthony Newley doing his wonderful "Who Can I Turn To?," Gwen Verdon from SWEET CHARITY, Richard Kiley from MAN OF LA MANCHA and Pearl Bailey from her 1967 interpretation of HELLO, DOLLY!. Whew! If that's not a true "best of" I don't know what is! If you're a musical fan and want to catch some of these little seen performaces from now-legendary shows, see if you can find Disney's THE BEST OF BROADWAY MUSICALS!

FailBlog


If you're an Internet Junkie, you've probably heard about FailBlog at http://failblog.org/. It's sort of a combination of NATIONAL LAMPOON's "True Facts" and Jay Leno's "Headlines," with the added bonus of YouTube clips. Well, now they're moving into comics blog territory. In the tradition of my Random Panels of Comic Book Weirdness (as well as a hundred similar features on other sites), I spotted this rather blatantly NSFW image of Spider-Man and Sandman over there today. I think it's Jim Mooney art. If you want to laugh, check out FailBlog.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Inglorious Bastards

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS is the title of the long-awaited but finally in sight new Quentin Tarentino film. It is, according to a script leaked to the Internet, supposedly about a group of Jewish commandos in World War II who go up against a ruthless SS officer. Clips recently shown on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT show Hitler and a female character with a strong role.

Supposedly, Tarentino was making this picture because he was so enamored of the 1978 neo-grindhouse picture with the same name. That said, this thing seems to have no resemblance at all to the original except for the title...and quite frankly, it's not THAT good of a title!
The 1978 INGLORIOUS BASTARDS quickly became one of my all-time favorite war movies. What it is NOT is realistic in any way. What it IS is a rip-roaring, old-fashioned good guys vs. bad guys epic with a motley crew of escaped army prisoners taking over a secret mission after they accidentally shoot the specially trained commando troops who were disguised as Nazis!
An unapologetic B movie from the word go, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS stars Bo Svenson who had turned out to be a surprisingly charismatic leading man (in the WALKING TALL sequels) after years as a great TV character actor. Fred Williamson checks his legendary ego at the door and is great as the number two guy. Additional roles are filled by, among others, Peter Hooten (who was just about to become memorable as TV's DR. STRANGE) and the son of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA's Richard Basehart. Everyone involved gives an A list performance (even though the Italian production is dubbed and some of the actors do NOT dub their own voices!).
On their way to be court-martialed for various reasons, our unlikely heroes escape when their caravan is attacked. They decide to head for neutral Switzerland. Along the way, we have to deal with the various eccentricities of each character as they learn how to get along for their common good. Then, through a most convoluted but workable scenaro, they end up inheriting an Allied mission to capture or destroy a secret weapon being carried by train.
Beautiful photography, a rousing score, a seemingly endless supply of bullets, Nazis with bad aim, naked girls with machine guns, a surprisingly good cast and alot of old-fashioned derring-do make it a winner all the way to the somewhat sudden ending.
It's surprising Hooten didn't become a bigger star as he steals many scenes here. There's a good chemistry between Williamson and Svenson, also.
INGLORIOUS BASTARDS is clearly inspired by THE DIRTY DOZEN. It is also reminiscent of WWII fantasies like Clint Eastwood's KELLY'S HEROES or Errol Flynn's DESPERATE JOURNEY where a sense of fun and excitement carry the viewer along in ways that never happened in the real world, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS is a violent but most enjoyable romp of a swashbuckling soldier film. Although little-known (I had never even heard of it until recently myself!), it comes close to being a perfect B movie and certainly didn't need to be remade. Luckily, it doesn't seem as though Tarentino's version is really a remake after all.
UPDATE: I read where Quentin is intentionally misspelling the title as "Inglourious Basterds" and that the Brad Pitt starrer will compete at Cannes. Pitt's character is described in PEOPLE as "...leader of the 'Basterds,' a group of Jewish-American soldiers who scalp and brutally kill Nazis." He is said to be "...not your Warner Brothers 1950's WW2 hero … this is a hillbilly straight from the mountains of Tennessee."