Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Ennui

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream? - Poe

Sorry to have disappeared there for awhile gang, but it looks like for a few days there, I was suffering from a late Summer case of the existential blues.

Having spent the entire Summer stuck at home first waiting for and then later recovering from surgery, I have had a lot of time on my hands to more or less just sit there, and for the last few days, just sit there I did.

Good news is on the horizon though, so it looks like I'm going back to work late next week

Still, just because I'm depressed is no reason why you should suffer.

Here watch this, it's cheery....

Vincent Price: The Cask of Amontillado pt 1.

                                                 Vincent Price: The Cask of Amontillado pt

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jerry Leiber

Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller

One of the 20th centuries greatest lyricists, Jerry Leiber died yesterday at age 78.

Along with his partner, Mike Stoller, the team spent more then 60 years crafting some of the greatest songs of the Rock n Roll era.

I'm not going to say too much that about his life, because that will be covered by people who know far more about it then me, I just want to play some of his music.

George Benson - On Broadway

I love the they way Leiber captures the desperation and hope of struggle, it's a great song and not to diss the Coasters, Benson tears it up, really making it his own.

Elvis - Jailhouse Rock

Who doesn't love Jailhouse Rock?

Stoller's music is pitch perfect Rock n  Roll, and Leiber's lyrics are funny and sharp, making for what is one of the few, absolute, quintessential, Rock n Roll songs.

I could go on.

Hound Dog, Smoky Joe's Cafe, Love Potion no.9, Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem and so many others.

Rest in peace Jerry and thank you, so very much for your songs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blaxploitation 1975 - The Black Gestapo

Year before playing the amenable, yet caustic, Mac Robinson on the classic situation comedy, Night Court, actor Charles Robinson starred in director Lee Frost's highly enjoyable 1975 schlockfest, The Black Gestapo.

Seig Heil, Sucka!!

Robinson plays Colonel Kojah, one of the leaders of "The People's Army" a vigilante group dedicated to forcing the mob out of Watts, who after succeeding beyond their wildest dreams, turns the Army into a fascist organization dedicated to taking control of the entire Ghetto population.

Aggressive nudity, gore filled violence, castration, and lot's of black guys dressed like Himmler and you've got  Blaxploitation gold.

Viking 1 and Voyager 2

Viking 1 Launches Towards Mars, August 20, 1975

On August 20, 1975 NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, beginning it's historic, 10 month flight to Mars.

Viking 1 Lander (Replica)

On July 20, 1976 the Viking 1 Lander would become the first vessel from Earth to land and explore the red Martian terrain.

Mars, July 20 1976

Viking 1's Lander would continue to explore the surface of Mars, providing NASA with a huge amount of raw data on the planet and its composition, for more than 6 years before it finally stopped functioning on August 17, 1980.

With plans for laying the groundwork for the manned mission to Mars that was set for the late 1980's, but never materialized, Viking 1 showed us that the voyage could be done.

Two year after the launch of Viking 1, August 20, 1977, NASA launched Voyager 2, the first part of their ambitious project to send a pair of unmanned probes on a tour of the solar system and then into the deep reaches of space beyond.

Voyager II Launch, Aug 20, 1977

Voyager 2's exact replica, Voyager 1, would launch on September 5, 1977

Voyager II 

For the last 34 years, the Voyager craft have flown through our solar system heading out into deep space, taking the occasional side trip to take amazing pictures of the other celestial bodies in our system.

Triton, Neptune's Largest Moon, Imaged from Voyager 2

Saturn, Imaged from Voyager 2

Currently the Voyagers are passing through the Heliosphere, and are still sending signals back to Earth, adding to our information of our universe.

I wonder how long it will be before the US rediscovers the exploration of the stars?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Superman Day - July 4, 1940, New York World's Fair

Update to the Update: I've got to agree with the anonymous commentator below, the more I research it the more circumstantial evidence I find that it was Ray Middleton in the Superman suit. I'm leaving the updates though, controversy is fun.

UPDATE: Fellow Superman fan Nostalgia King has let me know that despite being credited to Ray Middleton, the actual guy in the Superman suit's name is unknown. Middleton was actually one of the judges of the Superboy and Supergirl contest.

Thanks for the info Nostalgia King.

I ran into some great photo's of actor Ray Middleton the first man to ever play the role of Superman in public, during "Superman Day" at the New York World's Fair on Independence day 1940.

Note the altered logo

Man of Steel meets World's Fair Police

Ray Middleton as Superman

I don't have much information on Superman Day, other then the photo's but they are cool, and I bet a bunch of young fans went nuts when they saw Superman himself in person.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At the Beach with Bettie Page

Sitting on my mountain, watching it rain all day, all I could think was how nice it would be to be at the beach.

Maybe Mission Beach in California or the white sandy dunes of Neptune Beach in Florida, even Ft Walton Beach, along the gulf, it doesn't really matter.

Just a nice day at the beach.

Ah well, here's Bettie Page enjoying the Summer

Bettie Page at the Beach

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wacky World of Jonah Hex

From the pages of the Amazing World of DC Comics # 13, John Albano and Tony DeZuniga poke a little fun at their classic western "anti"-hero, Jonah Hex....

I'm a RC Cola man myself

Hex always knew how to make friends

Band Aids will heal all wounds

As you can tell, the 4 page story involves Jonah saving a town from Indians on the warpath, but being Jonah Hex, even a parody, there's going to be a twist.

It's a great little satire that sadly has never been reprinted by DC, so you'll need to find a copy of the original to see the rest.

The Justice League On Waterskis

Top - Wonder Woman
Middle - Batgirl, Supergirl, Black Canary, Mera
Bottom - Robin, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash

Evel Knievel Said What?????

Evel Knievel makes me sad......

Evel Knievel Telling Us to Pull Down Our Ramps

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Beatles (1965)

The Beatles, as we were first introduced

When the Beatles first played the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 I wasn't even two years old, so of course I was to young to remember that first appearance, although my Mom says that I was in the room watching with her.

The Beatles
I'm 48 and for the people right about my age, our first major introduction to the Beatles was probably, the 1965 animated series starring the "Fab 4" with voices provided by veteran voice actor Paul Frees and Lance Percival.

The show lasted for three seasons with all of the episodes following the format of the boys getting into some kind of zany Marx Brothers like situation, get chased around a little and then sing one of their songs with everyone living happily ever after.

One of my favorite episodes is Paperback Writer, where the boys are hired to each write a piece on how they met the others.

In turn Ringo remembers being a huge star approached by three starving would be musicians who owe all their success to him.

Then we get Paul's version where he was a scientist using the other three as fodder for medical experimentation.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Throw in George Harrison, Secret Agent and John Lennon as a World War I flying ace, and you've got the origin of the Beatles like you've never seen it before.

Sammy Davis Jr, - Rhythm of Life

Sammy Davis Jr.

Alright you cool cats and kittens, here's the late great Sammy Davis, in Bob Fosse's film, Sweet Charity, singing a song where we find out just what a bad man, Sammy actually is.

I doubt most of us are going to be all that surprised to learn that most people don't actually hear the lyrics to this song and come away thinking how pretty and life affirming it is.

People are bad that way.

Really Bad Movies - The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)

The Lone Ranger and Tonto by Leroy Neiman

Johnny Depp - Tonto?
Earlier this evening I read that the Disney corporation halted production of their new Tonto oriented version of the classic western hero saga, the Lone Ranger, and set to feature superstar Johnny Depp because the films projected budget was set at $250,000,000.

Now to be honest as much as I love the ol' Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion, I couldn't for the life of me figure out just what the hell they needed 250 million dollars to tell a Lone Ranger story.

I mean come on this is the Lone Ranger, and just what exactly is it that he does?

He goes around stopping cattle rustlers, crooked railroad men, bank robbers and outlaws, and really that's about it.

Sure he fights crime with a certain amount of style, but the Lone Ranger doesn't battle monsters, aliens or pretty much anything else that would take a budget of 250 million big ones.

Honestly, I have to say that as sad as it will be not to see the Ranger back up on the screen, Disney is probably doing us all a favor and saving us from a special effects extravaganza that had really nothing at all to do with either the Lone Ranger or Tonto.

And one thing that kept bugging me in all the lead up interviews about this film was this whole attempt to paint the classic version of the Lone Ranger as being racist and anti-American Indian, which to those of us who grew up watching the series know is complete nonsense.

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels
Jay Silverheels might have spoken with a faux "Indian" accent, but Tonto was brave, intelligent, tough and was clearly Clayton Moore's Lone Ranger's best friend and equal companion.

It's been more than 50 years since the Lone Ranger was at its height of popularity, but back in the 1950's, the Lone Ranger and Tonto were probably second only to Davy Crockett in popularity among the boys and girls glued to their shiny new television sets every week.

The Lone Ranger was huge on television, and in the world of comics they were so popular that not only was there a Lone Ranger comic, and a Tonto comic, but they were so popular that even the Lone Rangers horse Silver had his own comicbooks with back-up stories starring Tonto's horse Scout.

So really going in with that crazy of a budget, mixed with what was obviously people who really did not understand the characters they were dealing with Disney probably saved us all from another disaster along the lines of Jonah Hex, the Wild, Wild West or even (GASP!) 1981's, The Legend of the Lone Ranger.

As for the Legend of the Lone Ranger, what can I tell you about this horrible movie that so many others haven't written before me?

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)
Ineptly directed by cinematographer James Fraker, featuring male model Klinton Spilsbury in what as far as I can tell was his only film role starring, with actor James Keach dubbing in all of his dialogue as John Reid, the sole survivor of a group of massacred Texas Rangers, who is found and nursed back to health by his new friend Tonto, played by Twin Peaks, Michael Horse.

It takes a good hour of deathly boring film just to get to where Reid and Tonto decide to team-up to fight the badguys and another deathly boring fifteen minutes after that before he finally puts on the mask, climbs onto the damm horse and starts riding with the William Tell Overture playing in the background.

And then after all that build-up, well, nothing much happens.

The fantastic character actor Christopher Lloyd is wasted in this mess as the villainous Butch Cavendish. Lloyd tries his best to make something of what little he's been given to work with, but still he's all mustache twirling villain, with about as much depth and character as Snidley Whiplash, only without the funny dialogue.

Throw in the great Jason Robards looking truly embarrassed to be so obviously whoring himself in his role as Ulysses S Grant and a plot that involves the kidnapping of the Wild Wests greatest outlaws and heroes and you end up with what can only be called a truly terrible picture.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger a dull, dreary waste of two hours with almost none of that time being spent actually watching anything much to do with, you know, "The Lone Ranger". It's all origin and almost no action with what little there is is totally forgetful and amateurishly filmed.

So really while I am sure the Johnny Depp film would have been large, loud and maybe even fun, I just got the feeling that it wouldn't be the Lone Ranger, but it still would not be able to help but be better then this train wreck of a motion picture.

Not Tonto, not the Lone Ranger

They did make a nice looking lunchbox out of it though.

Ah for the days of metal lunchboxes

Here, enjoy this the classic origin of the Lone Ranger.

It'll take that bad taste away...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Magazineland 1977 - Complete

I surprisingly received several emails about the last post on the Magazineland ad supplement with several people asking me to send them copies or post the whole book.

After looking through it and finding no copyright information at all, I've decided that it is probably okay to post the book under public domain.

If you own the copyright though, let me know and I'll take it down.

In the meantime, here is Magazineland in its entirety....