Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Captain Fearless Ad

This patriotic superhero was sort of a super Davy Crockett!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemare

By special reader request, here from 1970's CREEPY 34 is THE FORGOTTEN PRISONER OF CASTLEMARE, the supposed story behind the FAMOUS MONSTERS tie-in Aurora model from more than five years earlier. Methinks that the folks at Warren just got tired of the questions as to what movie that was from (it wasn't) and decided to finally come up with a backstory to at least vaguely match the model.  Art here is by the much-maligned team of Bill Fraccio and Tony Tallarico (under their joint pseudonym of Tony Williamsune). I never cared for their art back in the day but it's grown on me a lot in recent years looking back through the old comics online and elsewhere. The story is credited to Robert Rosen who may or may not be the reasonably well-known author as he was still in college three years after this came out originally. 

Cyber Monday Recommendations--Books and Things I Worked On

In lieu of a regular job this past year, I have been keeping busy by doing work behind the scenes on various books, most of which would make wonderful holiday gifts for the discerning comics or pop culture fan! Let's go over the list!

I've written here before that most of my work was for Yoe Books so let's go there first, shall we?  Just remember...that man with the white beard isn't Santa. He's a former muppet.

My favorite would have to be ARCHIE: A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE TEENAGERS. This 70th anniversary history/tribute of is the one I worked on most, doing interviews, providing art, proofreading, transcription and even ghostwriting first drafts of many chapters in the book. Visually, Craig has designed an absolutely stunning look back at the company's output covering not just the comics but radio, cartoons, music, television and merchandising! The book has been criticized by some as whitewashing the history part but look at the title. This was meant to be a "celebration!" And a joyous one it is! If you've ever enjoyed Archie in any decade, you'll love meeting your old friends all over again in this lovely volume!

THE BEST OF ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE was the nifty follow-up to the above, reprinting scores of silly and fun pieces from Archie Comics' own in-house version of MAD that ran through the 1960's. I wrote a second draft of the introduction to this one as well as did research, proofreading and fact-checking. In the process, I got to do a second interview with writer George Gladir, a dear man who was long associated with the title and who co-created SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH with artist Dan DeCarlo! Sabrina's early stories appeared in ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE and her debut is reprinted here along with a rare Wally Wood story--his only one for the company.

AMAZING 3-D COMICS, as I mentioned in my review, was fun for me in spite of the fact that I can't see 3-D! Never could! that right there should say something. As always from Yoe, it's a beautifully designed volume with a multi-layered lenticular cover by Joe Kubert done exclusively for this book! The history of 3-D is presented in--pardon the pun--great depth and then a wide selection of reprints from the various publishers who jumped on that bandwagon during the fifties boom fills out the book...in 3-D...with glasses! For this book, I provided some illustrations, proofread, transcribed interviews and was greatly pleased at being able to speak at some length with Joan Howard Maurer whose husband Norman was one of the co-craetors of comic book 3-D. Ms. Maurer herself is the delightful daughter of Stooge Moe Howard, a  lifelong favorite of mine.

BOB POWELL'S TERROR is the newest book from Yoe Books. I did research, fact-checking and proofreading for this one. I'm working on a bigger piece on it but for now let's just say if you're a fan of pre-Code horror comics, this collection offers some of the best outside of EC. Mostly unsung artist Bob Powell worked on all genres from the forties to the sixties and was always creative but horror was probably his best. Craig has chosen many grisly but stylish examples, some from the original art!

THE CARL BARKS BIG BOOK OF BARNEY BEAR surprised me as the stories, while not on par with the artist's Disney Duck stories, were much more fun than the MGM cartoon source material would lead one to expect! On this one I did proofreading only but my wife came up with the final version of the title after several early ones were rejected.

POPEYE: THE GREAT COMIC BOOK TALES BY BUD SAGENDORF offers just that--a whole big bunch of fun tales of the legendary one-eyed sailor man by the artist most associated with him other than creator Elzie Segar. As usual, there's a wonderfully detailed background history up front. I proofread this one, too.

Not out but due before Christmas from Cider Mill Press is Craig's OFFICIAL BARF BOOK, the follow-up to his shockingly successful OFFICIAL FART BOOK from last year! I did quite a bit of writing (yuck!) for this one and my wife and I both did extensive (and somewhat disgusting!) research for it.

And for the younger folks on your holiday lists, don't forget Craig's GREAT TREASURY OF CHRISTMAS COMIC BOOK STORIES from last year! I didn't work on it one bit but it's a wonderful nostalgic treat for adults that should be shared with children of all ages!

One more from Craig, this one published by Abrams, is KRAZY KAT AND THE ART OF GEORGE HERRIMAN. While I did some research for this one early on, it ended up not being used so technically I didn't work on it. Honestly, I've never even been a fan of KRAZY KAT. That said, this may well be Craig Yoe's best book to date and my favorite of his works! It's a big, beautiful, passionate love letter to one of his personal favorites. I'm overdue on a full review so watch for it!

Okay, moving on from Yoe. I was pleased to do proofreading and fact-checking on Greg Theakston's somewhat eccentric and controversial two-volume biography of Jack Kirby, JACK MAGIC. Greg even lists me as co-editor on Volume 2. The author has spent much of his career as a publisher chronicling the King's life and works and these volumes, based in part on his own many interactions with and observations of the man over several decades, gave me a whole new perspective on Kirby's place in comics history...and Stan Lee's also! Volume One seems to be already hard to find but you can order Volume Two here.

Author Martin Grams is the prolific purveyor of pop culture histories of radio and television shows whose books this past year included SCIENCE-FICTION THEATRE and THE SHADOW, both of which I proofread. The former tells the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of a now obscure but pioneering sci-fi TV series that's more interesting than many of the low-budget episodes themselves. The latter is one of the absolute best books of its type, giving a minutely detailed history of the long-running and legendary SHADOW radio show and contrasting it with the related but very, very different pulp series of the same name. If you go here to order copies, BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY gets a small cut to help keep us on the Net!

Speaking of Martin, BOOKSTEVE RARITIES is the site we run together in which Martin's extensive collections of rare and otherwise unavailable movies and TV shows are offered at low, low prices on DVD and again the BOOKSTEVE blogs earn a percentage of all orders. If you're a B Western fan in particular, THIS should be your one-stop! Updated monthly with new and amazing obscurities, we strive to offer the best deals, the best quality product and the best service!

When it comes to BOOKSTEVE'S BOOKSTORE PLUS!, the products form there come directly from BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY and are all one of a kind, unique collectibles for the right person on your list. Take a look around here for the ever-changing, updated daily bargain pop culture treats!

The Mummy's Hand-Russ Jones/Joe Orlando-1965

Most fans are aware of the classic Wally Wood/Russ Jones adaptation of the Universal horror film, THE MUMMY that ran in the first issue of the FM clone MONSTER WORLD (and was later reprinted in FM proper as well as posted on a number of blogs). Less known is this adaptation of THE MUMMY'S HAND that appeared in the following issue by Jones with former Wood associate Joe Orlando. Issue three continued this collaboration with a version of CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN but the artists seemed to be very much phoning it in by that point as most of the panels seem to be barely lightboxed film stills. Warren's CREEPY, initially edited by Jones, premiered around the same time so the comics relocated there from the monster mags.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 41

I've never been a fan of these splash pages that are actually just panels from the story. I mean let's face it. Comics almost by definition are bigger than life and a full page splash that symbolizes the story in one way or another is simply the perfect way to introduce your story.

Roy Thomas is gone from the seris at this point and Gerry Conway, although a talented writer, does not have Roy's knack for introducing characters and plot unobtrusively just in case the reader missed the previous issues.

Art here is okay. Nothing special. George Tuska and Sam Grainger aren't a bad combination and the talented Tuska pretty much worked well on everything. But again...splashes were not his strong point. Overall...one of my least favorite splashes to date. There would be a real tendency to suggest that the series had jumped the shark by this point if I didn't know what was coming soon. Hang in there. It gets better.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Was the First "Graphic Novel?"

Like anything else, there are a number of possibilities when it comes right down to it--as well as a number of folks that claim that title for their work and most likely think they're correct in so doing. There always seems to be something earlier if you look, though.

Today, at our sale blog, I posted my copy of STARFAWN for sale. It probably wasn't the first either but it fits all the criteria, actually refers to itself as a "graphic novel" and predates such other contenders as Wood's KING OF THE WORLD, Eisner's A CONTRACT WITH GOD and even Steranko's CHANDLER: RED TIDE.

What's your opinion? What was the first graphic novel in the modern sense?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Julie Newmar-1953

Saw this cover and immediately recognized the young Julie Newmar...only to look inside and see that this was, in fact, one Charlane Jesmer, daughter of Helen Jesmer and Donald Neumeyer.  But wait..."Neumeyer?" Sure enough, a quick check of the Net reveals the future Catwoman's real name to be Julia Chalane Newmeyer. Close enough. 

Oh...the other woman? Another future star--Anita Ekberg.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Linda Blair in Victory at Entebbe

 Recently--in my 1976 blog--I commented on Linda Blair's casting as Elizabeth Taylor's daughter in the then-upcoming TV film, VICTORY AT ENTEBBE. Today, I dug out my copy and grabbed a few screen shots of 17 year old Linda (playing either 15 or 16. In one scene she's said to be one age, then later the other). While she shared not a single scene with Liz (or Kirk Douglas, who played her father), she did, as seen here, appear opposite the First Lady of the American Theater, Miss Helen Hayes. This was, in retrospect, not such a good idea as Linda's shortcomings as an actress are fully on display whilst Miss Hayes acts rings around her with a simple gesture or eye movement. Still, Linda was awfully cute here and in 1977 that was enough for me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Gift DVD Suggestions From Booksteve Rarities Part 2

As we said yesterday: With the holidays upon us, may we make some gift  suggestions for the pop culture connoisseur from our shared DVD site? We have stuff I can guarantee you won't find, at least in quality as good, anywhere else! All this week, we'll be sharing some highlights here for your consideration. Today, more rare television! Remember, unless otherwise marked, all single DVD's are only $7.00 each, with $6.00 postage no matter how many you order! http://oldtimeradiotapes.homestead.com/StevenSiteHome.html

YANCY DERRINGER: The Complete TV Series
Stars Jock Mahoney as Yancy in this short-lived but well-appreciated television series that western fanatics rave about. Can’t get enough? Try watching all 34 episodes in chronological order and you’ll still be begging for more. Complete series now available on this six-disc box set.  $40.00
George Pal is probably best remembered for producing the War of the Worlds movie that won an Academy Award for best special effects in 1952.  What many people do not know was that in 1968, Pal put together a short film as a pilot for a proposed TV series based on the same novel his 1952 movie was adapted from.  It never aired on TV.  This DVD includes the promo footage explaining the crew of the star shiop Pegusus, their special abilities, and the opening shots of the first day's filming.  Also included on this DVD is 30 minuites of raw footage of the technicians attempting various shots of special effects featured in Pal's science-fiction movies, a movie trailer, and a movie!

That's right! All 25 episodes of the television western starring Audie Murphy is now available on DVD! Considered for years as the holy grail of television westerns, up until now only one episode was ever available on DVD. But we now have the entire series and direct from original masters!  $25.00

This collection of rare footage originates from the original masters! The untimely death of George Reeves caused the producers to create pilots for spin-off series that sadly, never went any further than the footage contained in this DVD.
SUPERBOY (1961) "The Rajah's Ransom" a teenage rendition of the classic Superman TV show.
SUPERBOY SCREEN TESTS (1960-1961) Women compete for the Lana Lang role!
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERPUP (1958) midgets in dog costumes play the roles!
SUPERMAN COMMERCIALS (1954-1957) Not one or two, but 12 Kellogg's commercials with George Reeves as Clark Kent selling cereal!
STAMP DAY FOR SUPERMAN (1952) rare promo film with the TV cast selling Government Savings and Stamps.
Plus a 1942 Superman animated cartoon spoof of Superman!

All 26 episodes of the classic short-run series, starring Michael Parks as the newspaperman who becomes disillusioned after the suicide of his best friend. He gets a motorcycle and then wanders the country helping out others who need psychological and physical help. A critical success and one episode even won a writers' guild award. The made-for-TV pilot is also included in this multi-disc box set, which includes guest appearances by Jack Klugman, Kurt Russell, James Whitmore, Elsa Lanchester, Diane Ladd, Robert Loggia, Dabney Coleman, Beverly Garland, Iron Eyes Cody, Veronica Cartwright and many more!  $45.00 

Telecast on British Television on July 7, 1952, with horror host Boris Karloff, this short-run and extremely rare television series features an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s short story, “The Little Lost Robot.” Supposedly only two episodes of this radio series is known to exist, but to date, only one is circulating. As an added bonus, this DVD features two other rare television episodes of other shows with Boris Karloff as guest.

Here's a DVD worth viewing. The original surviving color footage of the original unaired TV pilot, followed by the black and white unaired TV pilot with a slightly different cast and makeup, followed by the actual pilot that did sell the series! That's right, three pilots! As a bonus you also get movie trailers for MUNSTERS movies, Cheerio commercial with the MUNSTER cast, and even THE MUNSTERS AT MARINE LAND footage!

McHALE’S NAVY: The Pilot
Before the comedy TV series, there was this hour-long pilot broadcast on April 3, 1962, ALOCA PREMIERE, hosted by Fred Astaire. Played straight-forward as a serious drama, with Ernest Borgnine in the lead, this served as the pilot that sold the network on a weekly half-hour series in a comedy format.

All-star special broadcast in the fall of 1973 with such luminaries as Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Griffith, John Davidson, Mickey Rooney and Connie Stevens. Vaudeville and variety entertainment on this rarely-seen TV special!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Gift DVD Suggestions From Booksteve Rarities # 1

With the holidays upon us, may we make some gift  suggestions for the pop culture connoisseur
from our shared DVD site? We have stuff I can guarantee you won't find, at least in quality as good, anywhere else! All this week, we'll be sharing some highlights here for your consideration. Today, we start with some rare television! Remember, unless otherwise marked, all single DVD's are only $7.00 each, with $6.00 postage no matter how many you order! http://oldtimeradiotapes.homestead.com/StevenSiteHome.html

In a January 1961 interview, Groucho was asked why he was shooting a pilot for a new show, with the classic YOU BET YOUR LIFE now off the air. Groucho answered, "I thought about not working, but the show gives me the only fun I have." With the series off the air and being rerun across America, Groucho Marx participated in three television shows that were actually pilots for proposed game shows that never made it to the air. "What Do You Want?" was filmed in January 1961. "Tell It To Groucho" was filmed in mid-1961. But the most unique television pilot is "The Plot Thickens" from 1963, with Groucho as a guest panelist - directed by William Castle and a script written by Robert Bloch! 

A comic genius who had America laughing since the early 1950s. Over 40 of Sid Caesar's legendary sketches have been unearthed from vaults and now seen for the first time. Watch as supporting comedians Nanette Fabray, Carl Reiner, Imogene Coca and Howie Morris join in the fun. This is a seven-disc set.  $35.00

The entire series, all 44 episodes, uncut and unedited on this ten-disc DVD set. A gunfighter turned lawyer tours the southwest after the Civil War. Stars Peter Breck, Anna Lisa and Russell Johnson. $50.00

Two hour-long Christmas specials starring Bob Hope. December 24, 1950 with Eleanor Roosevelt and Lily Pons. December 28, 1956 broadcast from military base in Alaska, with guests Ginger Rogers, Peggy King and baseball legend Mickey Mantle.

Stars Rod Taylor as Hank Brackett and Dennis Cole as Johnny Reach. Includes all 13 episodes plus the pilot on this four disc box set. $20.00

Comedy sitcom with Betty White and Bill Williams in the starring leads. Some of these episodes have their original Plymouth commercials!  This six-disc set contains twenty classic episodes! $20.00

FANTASTIC JOURNEY : The Complete Series
A scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean becomes lost in the Bermuda Triangle and washes up on an uncharted island. They meet with travelers from other times, planets and dimensions who have also become trapped, and together they “slide: through portals from one dimension to the next hoping to find the one that leads home. Stars Roddy McDowall. This short-run television series only lasted a mere 10 episodes. This five-disc box set contains the complete series.  $30.00

Will Hutchins plays Woody, a landlord of a New York boarding house he inherited from his uncle, and then spent episode by episode solving other people's problems.  This rare 1966-67 situation comedy is now available on DVD including the following episodes. 
#14  "By the Sea . . . or at Least Rent It"  (December 18, 1966)
#16  "Go Directly to Jail"  (January 1, 1967)
#29  "Chech Your Wife, Sir?"  (April 9, 1967)
#20  "Stranger in the Night, Than in the Morning"  (January 29, 1967)

This three-disc box set contains a moving tribute to the mundane, the engaging and the traditional interviews Jack Parr conducted over the years. Celebrity interviews include Richard Nixon, Bettie Davis, Bill Cosby, Richard Burrton, Judy Garland, Cassius Clay, Robert Kennedy, Hugh Downs, Dick Cavett, John F. Kennedy, Jonathan Winters, Woody Allen, Fidel Castro, and others. $20.00

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Silver Age Sub-Mariner Splash Page Sundays # 40

It's the summer of 1971 and changes are happening almost daily at Marvel Comics although they continued to try to show themselves to fans as one big happy bullpen.

As far as we're concerned, the biggest change was a whole new creative team for Prince Namor.

Hot young writer Gerry Conway takes over as writer and veteran Subby artist Gene (Adam Austin) Colan takes over on pencils. The pair comes directly from DAREDEVIL where Sub-Mariner and Spider-Man guest-starred in the most recent issue so that story continues here.

Unfortunately, inker Tom Palmer, by far the best inker for the highly stylized Colan, wasn't included in that deal. Instead we get Sam Grainger, an artist whose work I really like but whose solid, Trimpe or early Barry Smith style is horribly out of place here.

I like the title and the placement thereof but I don't care at all for the layout of this splash or really the art itself. Next!

Friday, November 18, 2011

R.I.P. Precious Puppy Thompson 1998-2011

Rescued by us in that most eventful summer of 2000, this big ol', sad-eyed, wrinkle-faced doofus of a dog really was precious to us in so many ways.

The original goal was not to give the poor abused dog a name but instead to leave that to the folks who would give him a good home eventually. Thus we simply loved on him and told him he was precious. In time we realized we WERE the good home he would have and he simply WAS Precious.

He always met us at the door barking "Oh, you're home, you're home! Huzzah!" One time however, a year or two after we got him, we came in from somewhere and there was no jumping at the door. No barking. I turned the key and we stepped inside to see Precious lying on the couch. He had pulled one of the back pillows from the couch down and was sprawled on top of it rather non-chalantly. The look on his face that one time was more, "Oh. Hehe,...Hi. You're early." Underneath the pillow he was on we could see his twenty pound bag of dog food. Then we saw the rather incriminating trail of same that led directly back to the corner in the kitchen where it had been stored. Apparently, he had chewed through the bottom of the bag in there, decided that was too much trouble and so dragged the whole leaking bag into the living room for munchies. It was way too funny to scold him! If only we'd had a cell phone then.

It was determined that he was part Basenji (he would bound through the back yard in deer leaps!), part Shar-pei and part German Shepherd. The Vet also estimated he was about two when we got him. WE would find out that his original. abusive owners, had called him Tigger because of his bounding leaps. We nursed him back to health and he stayed healthy until cancer and then other problems hit him just in the past couple of years. 

The picture below was taken this afternoon in the car. Precious never had enough car rides in his life. Sometimes he dreaded them. He whined and moaned and shed al over the car seat. Other times, he loved them, dutifully climbing up into the vehicle with a "C'mon, let's go!" attitude! Sadly he didn't feel up to really enjoying this one last car ride. 

Goodbye, old friend. We'll always love you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Early Jeff Jones ERB Art

Here's a whole bunch of early Edgar Rice Burroughs-related art from the late Jeff Jones, the artist later known as Jeffrey Catherine Jones. Most of these were from THE BURROUGHS BULLETIN.