Friday, December 31, 2010

Romper Stomper

So, I watched "Romper Stomper" which was one of Russell Crowe's first films, not first major film, but first film. Boy, was it relentless! If violence with Nazi skinheads beating up Asian citizens is your cup of tea, then I highly recommend this film.

It kind of doesn't make sense in places, but hey it was a big hit in Australia upon release.

Afterwards, it left a bad taste in my mouth, so I had to follow it up with Gene Kelly in "Brigadoon".

This is my last blog of the year! Thanks for reading. There will be much more in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Know I know...

I'm supposed to write a bunch more, but my regular 9-5 job is keeping me away. Here's a goofy cartoon that I thought was funny to keep your interest in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Why don't I ever have any money? It depresses me. I can't write...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Albert Brooks

I suppose Albert Brooks is an acquired taste due to his movie persona which is kind of an asshole curmudgeon type who doesn't really listen to anyone and over reacts to situations that normally could be calmly solved. Basically, he is irrational. His on-screen character is similar to that of Larry David's on "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

I like all of Brooks-directed films, but probably like "The Muse" or "Lost in America" the best; "Modern Romance" being the worst.

Brooks is also a funny comedian who issued two fantastic comedy albums in the 1970s: "Music Minus One" and "A Star is Bought".

Brooks also made memorable appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show". Two particular favorites are on DVD. The one where Brooks has a conversation with a Speak 'n' Spell and the other where he has the celebrity imitator kit where he uses common items like pepper and hot potatoes to imitate celebrities such as Burt Lancaster and Curly from the Three Stooges.

Brooks hasn't made a film in awhile, the last being "Searching for Comedy in a Muslim World", which was a good title, but not an accurate title for what the film ended up being, and as a result was a tremendous flop. I liked it, but it's not the type of film designed to sway new fans. You have to already be a fan of the Brooks cult to like this one.

Of course, Brooks has done things that most people have probably seen, most notably onscreen appearances in "Taxi Driver" and "Broadcast News" and doing voiceovers for "The Simpsons" and "Finding Nemo".

His next film is supposed to be called "Drive", but Brooks is only acting in it. I look forward to his next writing and directing effort.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pink Floyd

Ok, let's get a bit lighter. Occasionally, I will put a political blog entry up because something is sticking in my craw about something. In actuality, most of the time I'm pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to my political leanings and since this blog is called "Fun Ideas", most political stuff isn't full of "Fun Ideas"...

So, on to Pink Floyd. I love Pink Floyd, but will have to admit, they are a hard group to like all of their stuff. There are some Syd Barrett purists who think Floyd did nothing of interest after they booted the mentally-ailing Barrett out of their act in 1968.

There are some who say that Floyd did nothing until "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973) and maybe "Meddle" (1971) prior to that.

There are some who say that Floyd did nothing after Roger Waters left (1983).

I tend to like all of their eras finding the 1968-1971 era a little bit hard to take with albums like "More", "Umma Gumma", "Obscured by Clouds" and "Atom Heart Mother". I'll have to admit I haven't fully explored these albums and compilations like "Echoes" did nothing to change those opinions.

I'm also not a big fan of "The Final Cut" (1983), Waters' final Floyd album.

Overall, I respect Floyd for their diversity and as such, there are many avenues for the casual fan to go with psychedelia, progressive rock and even disco!

Above is the Pink Floyd Back Catalog...get it??? Har-har, hardy har-har...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Afghanistan War

So I watch these shows like "Meet the Press", "Face the Nation" and "This Week" and realize that no one says the obvious when it comes to the Afghanistan War or any war.

On "Meet the Press", they said that the White House has stated that we are not going to start ending the war until July 2011 and then we will be finished ending the war in 2014.

So, they go around the round table and everyone says their two cents, but no one says this point: Any President wanting to seek re-election would not in his right mind end a war during his first term.

Hmmm, let's see, Bush, Jr. didn't, but Bush, Sr. did. Guess who got two terms. Johnson and Nixon didn't end a war, but Ford did. Guess who got two terms and who didn't (even if they didn't complete them).

Roosevelt didn't end a war and only his death kept him from serving out his fourth term!

Truman didn't end a war and got re-elected.

And so on and so forth. Keep checking throughout US history.

Now, I still like Obama. I'm not one of these people who think he is or should be a miracle worker, nor do I think he's a Socialist, destined to ruin our country and way of life. He's just a guy and he's just kinda there. Mainly, he's not Bush, Jr., our worst President ever, and ANYONE following him would have had a thankless job, even McCain.

If you really look at Obama, he isn't really doing anything. He tackles issues that aren't really important. If the war was all that important to end especially since ending it would instantly help our economy, he could do it today, but he wants to get re-elected.

If he didn't want to get re-elected, he would end the war, raise our taxes and do a lot of other aggressive stuff in order to get our economy back in shape. But he does, so we'll flounder for at least another three or four more years...

And we will anyway. I don't care who is in the office. If McCain was in there, he'd be doing the SAME THING. If Palin got in there, she'd be doing the SAME THING. If Hilary got in there, she'd be doing the SAME THING.

Their goal is re-election. Always. I think Ford was the last President who really didn't care if he was re-elected, so he pardoned Nixon and ended the Viet Nam War, and when he debated Carter, he was kind of like Chevy Chase, being kind of a bumbler, because he really didn't want to be there. He was appointed and needed to clean things up and fast.

Bush, Sr., just made a mistake and should have had his war last past his first term. Ooops!!!

Obama wants to clean things up and fast, but he cannot and will not do it until January 20, 2013 and later....

It's not his fault, he just wants to get re-elected. Is that so wrong? It probably is, but it is the nature of politics and Obama is one of the best politicians out there. That's not necessarily a compliment.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Love The Who, Too

Ok, I just wrote about Steely Dan. Now, it's time to write about one of my other favorite groups, The Who.

I always kind of liked songs by them, but what really got me hooked was this kid in high school who absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them. This was in the early 80s when The Who did a couple albums with Kenney Jones as drummer after Keith Moon passed away.

This friend didn't care too much about their current stuff but was always playing "Who's Next" and "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia".

I love those albums too, but also love "Who Are You", "The Who by Numbers" and "The Who Sell Out".

Timeless and fun stuff, and I'm glad Daltrey and Townshend still tour (see photo).

Another "Cracked" Update

If You're Cracked, You're Happy UPDATE: BearManor has told me that my book is so large (800 pages), that it is going to be split into two volumes! Volume 1 will contain the Bob Sproul years (1958-1985). Volume 2 will be everything else.

It is still scheduled to be released in February or March 2011. Time will tell. In the meantime,'s Zombie book comes out next Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Steely Dan

Has Steely Dan ever put out a bum track? They have a better track record than The Beatles. Maybe some tracks on "Countdown to Ecstacy" are a bit weak, but overall, I enjoy every Steely Dan album from "Can't Buy a Thrill" to "Everything Must Go". Even the live album and the Donald Fagan and Walter Becker solo albums are good. Kind of surprising in the latter case as Becker isn't especially known for his singing abilities, but he has taken lead vocal on occasion.

I have the box set which has everything they released from 1972-1980, minus their first single "Dallas"/"Sail the Waterway". They claim the two tracks are "stinko" but it would have been nice to give the nod to them for the box set, anyway. I had to download the two songs illegally as stock or promotional copies of the original 45 are very difficult to find. The songs, in my opinion, aren't that bad. They just don't sound like classic Steely Dan.

In any case, I welcome anything new from this duo, together or separate, but judging from the recent release pace, we may be in for a long wait, with the last group album being in 2003; Becker's last solo in 2008 (after a 14-year gap); and Fagan's last solo in 2006. However, Fagan's next album is rumored for 2011, so we'll see.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Writer's Block 4

I was going to write about beliefs, but then I thought better of it. I'd rather not spout off my beliefs to the entire world. So, here we go again with another "Writer's Block" until I think of something else I want to write about...

Monday, December 20, 2010


I have had many friends and girlfriends over the years that have had tattoos and always find them cool for the most part. Some of my friends have overdone it, but others have some classy tats that are neat to look at.

Now, while I find the prospect of having a tattoo kind of fascinating and intriguing, the actual execution and results leave a lot to be desired for me to go ahead and get one on myself.

Some may claim that I am afraid of needles or pain, but the reality is and I've said this many times before, "I can't think of anything that I'd want to have so permanent on my body."

People have said, "You should get Casper!" I suppose I should, but I feel I have more fun looking at the Casper tattoo on Casper Van Diem, because it looks better on him, too. I think it would look dorky on me. (Incidentally, this is not Van Diem's tattoo pictured above. It's just a random Casper tattoo I found on the Internet.)

And ultimately, that's how I feel about tattoos. I like them on you and not on me...

Same thing for piercings...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finally! Some New Old Disney DVD Releases

I'm really trying to get a complete set of EVERY film Disney released in his lifetime and up through 1984. There are still a few films left, but the Disney Movie Club has come through again and has finally released "The Sword and the Rose" (1953) and "Almost Angels" (1962) to DVD.

For those keeping tabs, here are the remaining U.S. theatrical Disney films not released on DVD:

1. Song of the South (1946) (Of course you can get bootlegs of this.)
2. The Littlest Outlaw (1955)
3. Westward Ho! The Wagons (1956)
4. The Light in the Forest (1958) (There is a DVD released by Disney Educational Products (see image above), but it is an edited version of the film with redone titles.)
5. The Sign of Zorro (1960) (The entire "Zorro" TV series has been released to DVD, so this release is no longer necessary.)
6. Emil and the Detectives (1964)
7. Run, Cougar, Run (1972)
8. Charley and the Angel (1973)
9. The Best of Disney's True-Life Adventures (1975) (All of the original True-Life Adventures have been released to DVD, so this release is no longer necessary.)
10. Amy (1981)
11. Trenchcoat (1983)
12. Tiger Town (1984)

I'm not counting films that actually did have a theatrical release elsewhere or shorts, but things like "The Prince and the Pauper" (1962) still haven't been released, either. What's keepin' you, Disney?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Capitol Records

Is Capitol Records the best-selling record label of all time? I'm not completely sure, but I can guess that it is based on the star roster they have and have had. Capitol has The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Stan Freberg, Bozo the Clown, Pink Floyd, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and in recent years, people like Katy Perry.

Sure they've had their flop acts as every label has, but when one thinks of say RCA, can you really think of anyone other than Elvis? Ok, so they had the Eurythmics, Jefferson Airplane and Hall & Oates, but you get the idea.

Elvis is about the only MAJOR player of the last century that Capitol didn't have.

Columbia is a good runner up, too. They've had Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Cheap Trick, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, etc., but I still contend that Capitol had more popular artists and a greater variety of popular artists than any of the other major labels.

Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic

I got a DVD recently that I somehow actually missed the first time around, and I'm glad I found it. It's called "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic". It was part of the "Walt Disney Treasures" series.

I had been getting every "Treasures" tin, but it got to the point where it seemed like Leonard Maltin was repeating himself or delving too deeply into the "Mickey Mouse Club", so I passed on tins like "Spin and Marty" and "The Hardy Boys" because I wasn't all that interested in those old serials that Maltin seems to be enthralled with.

I would rather have a second tin of "Walt Disney Rarities" featuring the cartoons they missed on the first volume, or a "Treasures" edition of "Song of the South" or more on stuff that happened after Disney died like "The Mouse Factory" or something.

In any case, I passed on "Secrets, Stories and Magic", because I was led to believe that there was nothing really new, except for a new documentary that would be all schmaltzy about Disney's 50th Anniversary. I happened to see the tin for $11 recently and decided to take a chance on it.

I was thrilled. Maltin uses this tin to finish off the Disneyland TV shows that focused on Disneyland that weren't released in the previous volumes (at least the ones that aired or were produced in Disney's lifetime).

There's even a "People and Places" documentary on Disneyland that I didn't know even existed. If you want to see Disneyland prior to the Matterhorn, Monorail and submarines, this is the show to see.

The tin is now out of print and actually commands a much higher price on Amazon, but if you can find one at all and are really interested in Disneyland, then it's worth it.

And, if you're lucky, like I was, your set will still have the Disneyland ticket book reproduction!

Frank Zappa at 70

Frank Zappa was born and died in the month of December. This year, the mighty Frank would have been or should have been 70 years old. My dad is 72 and he's fine, so I miss Frank.

I suppose he shouldn't have subsisted on a diet of coffee and cigarettes, but no matter, it was that creative genius and mind that was and is still amazing. Of course, he's most noted for his more scatological-type song and lyric, but he was well-versed in numerous forms including Classical, Avante Garde, Pop, Rock, Country, Jazz, etc.

And unlike some of Zappa's contemporaries that dabbled in other genres of music like Paul McCartney, Zappa really embraced these forms and made them his own and effortlessly. For me, McCartney sometimes seems awkward when he's doing Classical work, while Zappa was always completely at ease.

What's also kinda sad is that they make this big deal that it would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday, but apart from one magazine tribute I saw, little has been mentioned about Zappa's 70th. It probably has to do more with how these men died, than the unique talents they both possessed.

And they certainly worked together, back in 1971. The results appear on Lennon's "Some Time in New York City" and on Zappa's "Playground Psychotics".

At least son Dweezil keeps the torch lit high for his father and is continuing to tour around with his excellent "Zappa Plays Zappa" show. A definite must-see if you love Zappa's music...and even if you don't.

Frank Zappa: December 21, 1940 - December 4, 1993

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It Was My Birthday Yesterday

and I received a gift of a nice pen wrapped in a "Casper" comic book!! How dare they. Anyway, I had a nice lunch and a nice dinner with friends.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Walt Disney

Although it is my birthday today, I always am reminded that this is also the day that Walt Disney left us. He died early in the morning on December 15, 1966, and I was born in the afternoon.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, reincarnation...If that were true, why am I not running Disney?

Anyway, it is the 44th anniversary of Walt Disney's death and my 44th birthday. What's amazing to me is that Disney had so many projects in the hopper that it wasn't until the 80s when virtually all of them were finally realized.

Walt was behind things like Space Mountain, "The Aristocats", "Bedknobs and Broomsticks", even "Beauty and the Beast".

Monday, December 13, 2010

Craig Yoe Archie Book

Although I pretty much regularly plug Craig Yoe's books here on this blog, I'm particularly excited about this upcoming volume for two reasons. Finally, someone is taking the care to tell the Archie story correctly with in-depth interviews, rare drawings and a sort of "warts and all" attitude, meaning it is not your typical superficial overview like more Archie history books have been.

The second reason is that yours truly has helped out securing some of the interviews of some of the more difficult people to get into contact with including Harry Lucey's daughter and Bill Vigoda's niece. And, I also helped with the material about Archie in the media such as the hit musical group and the various TV and film productions that Archie has appeared in over the years.

It's still Yoe's book, but I was and am glad to be a part of it. The book should be released by Summer 2011.

Another Craig Yoe Book You May Not Know About

If you are a fan of the Craig Yoe Book of the Month Club, there may be one book that eluded your purchasing. It is called "The Official Fart Book" and comes complete with a working miniature whoopie cushion.

"Fart" was typically not distributed to comic book stores as this has little to do with comic books other than the fact that whoopie cushions have been offered for sale in comic book ad pages and that comic book readers fart.

It's has the typical hallmarks and charms of a good Craig Yoe read complete with the requisite humor and weirdness. So if you are tired of reading about Felix or Krazy Kat or Barney Google or Milt Gross or Frankenstein, this may be the book for you...

New "Richie Rich" Comic to Debut in May 2011

After the middling success of last year's "Casper and the Spectrals", APE Entertainment will now take a stab at doing a new version of "Richie Rich" with the premier issue being the one released on Free Comic Book Day.

I'm somewhat excited about this. Purists will holler, but I see no problem in redesigning the classic Warren Kremer and Steve Muffatti designs to make them more contemporary. God knows they redesign Archie like every week, making him look modern one week, more like Dan DeCarlo's art another, and then manga the next.

The critical element are the stories, so I am looking forward to this and see if they can pull it off.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Keep 'em Coming

I'm sorry movie studios, I like old films. I'm talking about OLD films, not ones made in the 90s. I mean stuff from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Can't the movie studios just release EVERYTHING in their vaults? What is so hard about that? I don't need all the fancy packaging or extras. I just want access to every film ever released by a major studio in a reasonably nice looking and uncut version. It doesn't mean that I will buy it, but it would be nice TO BE ABLE to buy crazy films like "Once Upon a Horse" or "The Horn Blows at Midnight" or "Where Do We Go From Here?" without SEARCHING for it or buying a bootleg or an old tape.

And for more popular things, quit piece-mealing out the old "Looney Tunes" and release all 1000 of the furshlugginer things! Geez, I'll be 90 before they'll all be released to video.

At this point, I don't even need them on DVD. I'll take digital downloads. And make these things affordable. While I like attempts like Warner Archives, Universal Vault and others, they always seem to charge $20 for a bare bones version. They should be $10 or less as there are no middlemen of getting things distributed to a store anymore, and like I said, fancy packaging is not necessary. Just a plain white sleeve is fine.

I just discovered that Universal HAS issued a six-movie set of old Bing Crosby films for about $40 retail. This means each film is about $6 each AND it's in the stores with nice packaging, so I KNOW that they can release this stuff cheaper and in bulk. I'm so glad because I can finally get a legitimate copy of "Mississippi" starring Crosby and W.C. Fields!!

So, movie studios, wake up and release yer shit!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Old Formats

I am kind of annoyed. I have some good stuff taped off the air on a number of Beta tapes that I want to transfer to DVD, but I no longer have a working Beta player. I suppose I could get the player fixed, but the maddening thing is that when new formats come out, it is never easy to transfer to new formats.

Remember how it took forever (and still takes some time) to transfer vinyl albums and audio cassettes to CD, and when CDs first came out, there was no way to transfer at all without spending like $40,000 for a CD burner.

Fortunately prices have come down, but the annoying thing is that you have to have a player for the original format, so I have a turntable, an audio cassette player, a Beta machine, a VHS machine, a Super 8 and a 16mm projector, a DVD player and more.

I don't have a Umatic 3/4" tape player, but I need one and I don't have a reel-to-reel player anymore (don't really need that).

I have a video disc player which is the most useless piece of junk (I'm not referring to the good 12" laser disc player from years back. This one actually played videos with a needle like a turntable!)

I never got into 8-track, but many of my friends did, nor have I gotten into Blu-Ray....yet....

Anyway, if anyone has a working Beta player and is somewhat local to the San Francisco Bay Area, please let me know...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Movie Remakes

I had a lengthy discussion about movie remakes and wanted to say my two cents worth here about when a movie remake should be made and when it shouldn't.

First of all, the overall rule of thumb should be on movie remakes is that it should be an improvement in all ways (not just special effects) over the original. It used to be easier, when films transitioned from silent to sound and black and white to color. These breakthroughs somewhat necessitated a remake, otherwise a film like "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) may not have been made. In this case, the previous films were quite inferior and in most cases black and white and silent.

"The Wizard of Oz" is a classic and it is not one that should be remade. Sequels may be fine, but to remake the original at this point would be a risky proposition. As far as sequels go, they should remain in the vein of what was successful. For example, while "Return to Oz" (1985) had elements of what was good, but they added this creepy backstory of Dorothy going through shock therapy.

That is one of my complaints about most remakes, film makers seem to want to tell us the origins of everything. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966) was an excellent TV special based on the 1957 book by Dr. Seuss. When they made the Jim Carrey "Grinch" movie (2000), they were stretching the half-hour show into a 90-minute feature by adding a useless backstory as to how and why the Grinch became bad. I liked it before, where this information was shrouded in mystery.

Like the three recent "Star Wars" films. I don't care why or how Darth Vader came into power or why he was evil. He just was. Now, we have to contend with three movie that show Vader (to borrow from Patton Oswalt) "as a kid".

The Coen Brothers (two of my favorite filmmakers) are currently doing a remake of "True Grit" (2010). Usually, I balk at this because the John Wayne one, although dated and a bit superficial is fine. But, I trust the Coens to make a different type of film. In this case, I welcome a remake. Now if it sucks, I'll be a bit disappointed like I was with their version of "The Ladykillers". I must admit that many people never saw the original, so if you were that way, you probably liked the film better. It's just that Tom Hanks is no Alec Guinness.

Many remakes suck because all they do is take the title of something good and then make an awful movie with no connection to the source material. "The Avengers" (1998), "The Spirit" (2008) , "The Shadow" (1994) and "The Wild Wild West" (1999) come to mind.

I like it better when movies are remakes in disguise. That way, when they blow it, it doesn't seem to be so glaring. Good examples of good remakes this way are "West Side Story" (1961) ("Romeo and Juliet") and "Clueless" (1995) ("Emma").

Recently, I was watching "A Song is Born" (1948) with Danny Kaye. As I was watching I felt I had seen this before and indeed I had. It was previously made as "Ball of Fire" (1941) with Gary Cooper. This is the way they SHOULD do remakes.

Above all else, I always say this. If you don't want to see a remake of your favorite film, just don't go see it. Hollywood will continue to make them as long as there's an audience.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan is a mixed bag. Most people know him as the host of "Fear Factor", but he actually is a stand-up comedian. Some of his comedy is pretty good, but a lot of times he just rants with the audience and isn't as funny consistently as he could be or should be.

To date, Rogan has released three albums and I tend to like the first and third ones best.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Patton Oswalt

I love getting into new comedians that I have never heard before. A friend of mine introduced me to Patton by playing one of his CDs in his car. He did a story about the "Star Wars" prequels that was quite funny.

Recently, I got another of his CDs and almost wet my pants while driving as Patton described slowing his "Chipmunks" records down on the turntable so that The Chipmunks sounded like three monotone guys and David Seville sounded like a demon from hell.

Not only did I do the same thing as a kid, but Patton's verbal recreation of how it sounded was priceless. I was dying.

Anyway, very much worth checking out. I only have two of his (I believe) three CDs, but plan to get them all.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

San Jose Super Toy Show

I was going to plug that I was going to be at the San Jose Super Toy Show yesterday, but I ran out of time. Anyway, the show went well and instead of helping Lee and plugging my books like I usually do, this time I set it up like a garage sale and sold some choice goodies out of my collection for cheap. EVERYTHING was $2.00.

By the end of the day, EVERYTHING was $1.00.

Some people quibbled that I might have priced everything too low, but I didn't want to lug it home. As it was, I STILL had to lug home about half of what I brought and cleared about $300, which I promptly used to make a payment to get my new (used) car. (Still have a few payments to go.)

Anyway, glad to see and talk to the people I did and also glad to give people a chance to get some good items for cheap.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Yay! New Black Eyed Peas!!!

Here it is! I must buy! These guys are the best band currently recording. I can't wait to get. Buy it, too! You will see...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ok, Here's the "Tweety and Sylvester" Cover

If anyone cares...

This is the DVD that has 15 PREVIOUSLY RELEASED "Looney Tunes". Such a disappointment. I would have purchased this if they were all brand new. Hear me, Warner Bros.? Hear me?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"Foghorn Leghorn"...They Dood it Right!...Almost

After the disappointing releases of the recent "Bugs Bunny" and "Daffy Duck" DVDs, mainly due to the masking to make the DVDs wide screen, Warner Bros. makes amends on their new "Foghorn Leghorn" by giving viewers a choice of full screen or wide screen. Maybe they will reissue the two previous DVDs with this choice.

The "almost" has to do with the fact that these new DVDs are supposed to not double-dip, but this one does with one cartoon. Not too bad, but there is a fourth collection featuring "Tweety and Sylvester" and ALL 15 are double-dips. Sucks.

Anyway, hopefully Warners is listening and will keep issuing not-issued-to-DVD "Looney Tunes".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Pink Floyd

Ah! Here they are, the happy-go-lucky Pink Floyd after their first hit in 1967. I wonder what happened to them?

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Topper" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"

I saw "Topper" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with friends over the weekend at the Stanford Theater. Interesting to note that both movies eventually became TV series for a time. In fact, I used to watch "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" TV show as a kid and had no knowledge that it was based on a movie. I remember liking the TV show, but can't say that I've seen an episode in about 40 years. (YouTube here I come...)

Anyway, the basic story is a widow (Gene Tierney) decides to move into a haunted seaside cottage previously owned by a crusty old sea captain (Rex Harrison). It has moments of humor, but I bet you'll cry in the end, too.

"Topper", I've seen dozens of times including its two sequels, but never on the big screen until now. Roland Young portrays "Topper", a wealthy businessman who lives a sedate life with his wife (Billie Burke), until his deceased friends (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett) help him to live it up. Much humor and great special effects highlight this film.

Both are on DVD, but it is always good to catch these on the big screen whenever possible.

Lee's Black Friday Sale

My friend Lee had a Black Friday sale last er um Friday! Here's a couple of photos from that day. You can find Lee's Comics at 1020-F North Rengstorff in Mountain View or 2222 South El Camino in San Mateo or online at

Friday, November 26, 2010

Unreleased George Carlin?

George Carlin died in 2008 and the album pictured above was released shortly after his death of a concert taped right before his death (naturally).

In the meantime, I have discovered some rare Carlin performances in bizarre places like on the "Tony Orlando and Dawn" DVD set. What's amazing to me is, not only are these rare performances, they also contain comedy that wasn't released onto Carlin's 20 or so other albums!

So, the time has come for Atlantic and other record labels and even some TV producers to search their vaults for rare and unreleased Carlin. It doesn't even matter if it was released material; it could be a rare performance. For instance, Carlin does a slightly different version of his classic "Baseball/Football" comparison routine the first ever episode of "Saturday Night Live", now on DVD. Different than both versions available on the "Wally Londo" and "Carlin on Campus" albums.

Anybody, somebody, let's make this compilation. We want more Carlin and this is the only way now to get it....

Come to Lee's Comics Sale Today!!!

I know it's kinda late to promote, because it starts at about 10am (90 minutes from this writing), but he will have some great stuff for sale.

Two locations: 1020-F N. Rengstorff Avenue, Mountain View or 2222 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo.

If you can't make it, log onto and be there in spirit!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More Ritz

So, I watched "The Gorilla". Not as bad as it could have been, but not great, either. The Ritz Brothers act a little more masculine in this, but they still really aren't funny. When they or Patsy Kelly say some joke, it's usually a lame old one that I believe was old even in 1939.

Bela Lugosi surprisingly comes off best and his acting here is one of the reasons I like him so much. He appears to convey that he's the bad guy, but he really isn't. I love that.

"The Gorilla" is available on a number of public domain compilations and has yet to see an official release from 20th Century Fox. Keep waiting....

PS I posted the poster for this the other day, so no photo today. Go back to the entry about "The Three Musketeers".

Peter and the Wolf

I am a sucker for "Peter and the Wolf". I feel that it's an amazing piece of music. What's more amazing is how many versions there are available. It seems to be a prerequisite for becoming a true celebrity. You have to record a version of Prokofiev's classic.

Among the people who have recorded a version are David Bowie, Captain Kangaroo, Dame Edna Everage, Patrick Stewart, Sean Connery, Sting, Jonathan Winters, Boris Karloff, Jack Lemmon, PDQ Bach, Melissa Joan Hart, Allan Sherman, Hermoine Gingold, Ben Kingsley, Peter Ustinov, Sir John Gielgud, David Attenborough, Dudley Moore, Sesame Street, Will Geer, and even Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton, and Mikhail Gorbachev did a version together!

A personal favorite is "Weird Al" Yancovic's version with Wendy Carlos.

The classic version is the one done by Sterling Holloway ("Winnie the Pooh") for Disney. His version is good on its own or with the cartoon. Some complain about Disney's cartoon because you no longer can imagine what these characters look like anymore. You only think of the Disney versions. I say pooey on that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where's Weird Al's New Album?

Ok, I am one of those few people that actually LIKE Weird Al Yankovic's work and get frustrated when he takes longer and longer to complete an album. Granted, it's always a treat when he finally DOES release an album, but he hasn't released a new album since 2006. Hey, I don't count those "cheater" downloadable songs or Al's umpteenth greatest hits release. C'mon boy, time for some new stuff.

Surely you have time to parody Lady Gaga and Katy Perry or Black Eyed Peas...I'm waiting...hee-hee...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ritz Brothers

Ok, so I finally saw my first Ritz Brothers movie, supposedly one of their best. It was "The Three Musketeers" also starring Don Ameche and Gloria Stuart. Hmmmmmm.... I guess they're funny. My ultimate impression of them are that they are the effeminate Three Stooges. Although, I'll admit the "Chicken Soup" song was kinda cute and they were skillful with their "cymbals" act.

I'll take another look at them, but the only other film I have of them on DVD is "The Gorilla", supposedly one of their worst films, but overall they left me kind of cold.

More About Piracy...

There was one more point I forgot to make on my last blog entry. Since there is easy access to virtually everything now, the insatiable desire to collect or search for items is virtually gone, hence the real need to OWN is gone.

Nowadays, if you want an old comic book, instead of scouring old comic book stores or mail order catalogs or making phone calls or taking long trips, you can just go on Ebay and chances are that somebody's selling it.

And on music and films since the accessibility is so easy, people now have music and film collections so large that they could not possibly listen or watch everything in their collections even once in their lifetimes anymore. The days of cherishing a long sought-after album are over. It's all there at your fingertips.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Everything is Free; We're ALL Pirates

I hesitated for a bit as to whether I would write this, then I decided to, but will leave out the names of the people in question I am talking about. If you use your deductive reasoning, you may figure out who I am writing about, but it really isn't one person in particular, though I do have at least one in mind while I am writing this.

The issue is about how with the Internet, especially with YouTube and Facebook that everything creative is now deemed "free". The unfortunate byproduct of this is that artists are no longer getting paid for their efforts, and as a result can no longer make a living on such efforts. While this is ok for someone who is already a multi-millionaire, for those creators who are just squeaking by, now they may have to take a 9-5 job or make drastic cuts to their lifestyle, or both.

While I sympathize with this to a certain point as I am a book writer and really do not want digital copies of my books circulating around for free on the Internet, it is always going to be part of the equation from this point forward for anyone trying to make a living off of creative pursuits. In other words, I know full well that there will always be some wags out there that want to read my books and never have any intentions of purchasing those books. They would rather have it sent to them digitally for free or printed and bound for free and given to them or just do without before any money is even thought of as being exchanged.

I have said this to friends before, but never on my blog, that entertainment as a profitable venture is a 20th century invention. Prior to the 20th century, I suppose a few performers made some money for their efforts, but in general, the prevailing thought about entertainers in general has been that of the court jester or the village idiot or the fool or a minstrel or a member of some traveling show.

George Carlin was the one who made me aware of this theory from his album "Occupation: Foole", wherein he describes his job as one that has its origins of a bored king stating to his court, "Throw the fool out there!" for his own entertainment pleasure.

By the 20th century, people finally figured out a way to monetize such work and as a result, people eventually got paid REAL MONEY for acting, writing, drawing, film-making, distributing, creating, producing, designing, public speaking, performing, singing, sports playing, etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes REALLY BIG MONEY was earned by people like baseball players or Oscar-winning actors or people who drew comic strips that appeared in 2000+ newspapers.

All of this came crashing down when the Internet produced high speeds and was able to digitally send and receive songs, films, drawings, photos, and all sort of copyrighted material at the speed of light to anyone who wanted to view it at anytime. And, if one source took it down, another source put it right back up making it difficult to track down and catch the "pirates".

Right now, at this very moment, one can view in 10-minute segments, "Song of the South" on YouTube, a film that Disney has stated repeatedly that it will never issue onto DVD. Meanwhile, with its easy access, there is no longer a need for the purchase of said unavailable DVD. So, if Disney DOES decide to change its mind, the market share has been lost, except for the most extreme die-hards who want the exclusive packaging and bonus features as well.

This never used to be such an epidemic because prior to this, people would check materials out of the library or listen to things on the radio or TV or trade them with their friends and maybe some would copy them or record them.

Now, it is all SO EASILY AVAILABLE that it isn't even necessary to have an official release and so everyone gets a copy of something for free and NO ONE gets paid. I know of many people under 20 who don't own a single CD or record album because they have everything on their iPod with material downloaded from Limewire or copied from borrowed CDs.

And, we're all guilty of this...including posting videos from YouTube to my Facebook page and/or blog. This basically negates the need to go out and purchase a DVD of said video because I just gave it to you. If you are more curious, you could go to YouTube too to see if there was more. If there isn't, THEN you might seek out a copy at the store or online to purchase.

Can there be something done? Probably not. What's interesting is that we have now entered the "Star Trek" age for real, where one can literally go up to their computer and get information about anything at any time for no cost whatsoever.

So, if you are an artist or some other creative type person, unless you can make personal appearances anywhere, you might as well plan for a back-up 9-5 type job in order to make ends meet, because the money is no longer in the product. Sorry to say.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jack Benny

Ok, so Mark Evanier posted something on Jack Benny, so I should post something on Jack Benny. Evanier posted a video of the classic "Si. Sy. Sue" routine that always is funny no matter how many times you view it.

What is NOT viewable is most of Jack Benny's material. It is a shame that Benny isn't more revered. I was fortunate to have become a fan of his when I was really young, so that I was actually saddened when he died late in 1974. I was only eight, but I had hoped to get the chance to meet him someday.

I have a very funny Benny movie on video tape that I taped off the air called "The Meanest Man in the World" and it is hysterically funny and also has never been released to commercial home video in any form.

The only Benny movies that have been commercially released to DVD number only TWO! The classic "To Be or Not To Be" and "Charley's Aunt". Of course, there are others with Benny cameos like "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", but I'm talking the starring pictures, here. Surely there's room for a DVD of "The Horn Blows at Midnight"?!?

Even his TV work is undervalued. Sure you can find about 20 or so episodes of varying quality on various public domain DVDs, but Benny's TV show was on for 15 years! He even did a few specials after that which have eluded official release.

Evanier posted another posting about pirating stuff, which I tend to agree with, but it's maddening when stuff that COULD be released...isn't. What's a fan to do but resort to bootlegs and YouTube and such. Even Evanier does...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monty Python Edited and NOT Complete

I'm frustrated to find out that the episodes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" issued in the US on A&E DVD are sometimes censored and have omissions.

For example, "Summarize Proust" was unedited on US broadcast, then on the A&E DVDs it was (omitting the line "and Masturbating"). Truly disappointing.

"Cartoon Religions" used to air uncensored, but later the part with Jesus being crucified on a telephone pole was cut.

Also, a sketch that I forgot about with "Political Choreographers" was completely cut. It has been added as a bonus feature on a later "Python" compilation.

All of these are on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

I even remember small details that have changed like after the "Argument Clinic", Eric Idle says, "And now one more minute of Monty Python's Flying Circus" and it literally was close to a minute before it went on to the next show. Now it just cuts off immediately.

I also remember the episode where they say "Start Again" at the very end of the show and the clown waves. I've seen it where he waves only once and I've seen it where he waves two times before the fade-to-black.

So the A&E sets are incomplete, and I am not imagining things. If you review yesterday's blog about Terry Gilliam, that piece of animation may still exist somewhere. You'd think Python themselves would want to remedy this as they were so up in arms when their shows were edited by ABC back in the 70s.

Even on the records the "Farewell to John Denver" still appears on US pressings of "Contractual Obligation Album", but not on UK pressings of the CDs and is still included in the US "Instant Record Collection" CD.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Terry Gilliam Animation

For those of you who think Terry Gilliam only did animation for "Monty Python's Flying Circus" before becoming a director of such things as "Brazil" and "Time Bandits", you would be mistaken.

Gilliam did a lot of illustration for Harvey Kurtzman's "Help!" magazine in the 1960s, and did one of their many fumettis with John Cleese.

Gilliam also did animation for "The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine" particularly the opening credits (see above).

Also, he did "The Miracle of Flight" in 1974. I originally saw "Miracle of Flight" on PBS' "International Festival of Animation" in 1977.

I also remember a cartoon that I believed was called "Nee-Nee Nah-Nee and the Two Nu-Nu's".

From what I remember, Gilliam announced off-screen, "And now Nee-Nee Nah-Nee and the Two Nu-Nu's". There are two well-dressed men on either side of this large pile of whipped cream. Then with frog-like tongues, proceed to lick away the cream, revealing an attractive woman. This is followed up with a "ta-da" like orchestral crash.

I have everything Python on DVD and cannot find this cartoon anywhere, but I do remember it. It might have been from the "Marty Feldman Comedy Machine" or on "International Festival of Animation".

Does anyone know?

Don Knotts Book

I read this book recently "Barney Fife and other Characters I have Known" and was thoroughly enthralled, but at the same time somewhat disappointed. While Don Knotts does a good job of touching every highlight of his life including "Three's Company" and "The Apple Dumpling Gang" among others, he tends to gloss over a lot of details.

The book reads like someone just printed answers to an interview that he did about his career and maybe that's what he did. The book ultimately left me wanting more.

I know there's another book out there called "The Incredible Mr. Don Knotts", but I haven't read it yet, but hopefully it delves a little deeper than Knotts' own recollections.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Underdog and Tennessee Tuxedo Comic Strips

Hy Eisman recently appeared in my fanzine "The Harveyville Fun Times!" in an article about "Bunny", a teen comic book Harvey published in the late 60s and early 70s.

Eisman discovered that I wrote a book about Total TeleVision and he said that he was commissioned to do comic strips about Underdog and Tennessee Tuxedo for possible syndication. Unfortunately, the comics did not sell and these are the only finished examples that Eisman completed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Archie Book to Get

Archie is once again acknowledging their past by this latest book published through Dark Horse called "Archie Firsts". It's about time that Archie is doing this.

Archie is also planning to do a chronological reprinting of his earliest adventures, similar to what DC is doing with Superman and Batman. Here here!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Al Jaffee Book

Finally, getting around to reading this one. It's a fascinating tale of the life of Al Jaffee that YOU don't know.

Trust me.

You don't.

It will shock and surprise you.

So there.

It's called "Al Jaffee's Mad Life".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Old Redwood City Hotel Pic

This is just for fun. I work in and around the San Francisco Peninsula selling ads for the "Daily Post" when I'm not busy writing books and articles about comic books and animation.

Anyway, yesterday I snapped a photo of this old hotel sign above the Sequoia Hotel in Redwood City, CA. The sign says "Rooms $3 and up"!

I suppose that's still accurate, but I would like to see the $3 see if I could fit into it...might be a casket....