Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wolverine's "Special" Toy

Cartoon Brew posted this as one of the worst toys ever. Maybe, but it IS one of the FUNNIEST toys ever, so I had to repost it here...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

People Still Love "The Far Side"

Holy guacamole! I have a counter on this blog telling me what people search for and in recent times the count has gone WAY UP. The reason? Gary Larson's "The Far Side".

I posted an innocent blog entry with images of some of my favorite "Far Side" cartoons a few months ago, and it seems that everyone is searching for this. I think Larson is missing the boat here somewhere...

Here are a couple more "Far Sides" that I love. Still haven't found the "Cat Showers" cartoon on the Internet, which is my favorite "Far Side" of all time. I will probably have to scan and upload it myself.

Anyway, here's more for you...and I'll see if my blog readership rises again!!!

I Love Hammer Films

Thanks to Dick Klemensen and his excellent fanzine produced since 1972 called "Little Shoppe of Horrors", I became a Hammer Films fan. What's funny is that except for things like "Horror of Dracula", "Curse of Frankenstein" and a few others, there was a goodly amount of Hammer Films I had never seen. My initial exposure to a lot of these films also were in the pages of "Famous Monsters of Filmland", because many of them didn't make it to TV due to nudity or other reasons.

I did see a lot of them thanks to KTVU's legendary "Creature Feature" shows, but now thanks to DVD, I am getting to see most if not all of these classic horror films. My most recent purchase which came out about two years ago has four more of these, and is pictured above.

The hard part about collecting Hammer Films is that they are such a cult item, that many of them don't remain in print for too long. Thus is the case with the Quatermass films, which have been long out of print on DVD and now command high prices, sometimes over $100 each.

The other hard part is that in the US, no one film studio distributed the films so some are put out by Warner Bros., others by Columbia or 20th Century Fox, and they have vastly different ways of issuing them. A couple like "Crescendo" and "She" are only available through the Warner Archive series and are not in stores.

Hammer also produced a number of non-horror films prior to the late 50s and a lot of those have been released to DVD as "Hammer Noir". I haven't seen a lot of those, but give me time.

Anyway, if you are a novice to Hammer Films, I'd recommend starting as I did, with the classic Universal Studios based characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman, and then branching off from there, paying particular attention to films featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

After a while, you can chance strange Hammer Films like "Moon Zero Two" or "Spaceways", but the Frankenstein and Dracula films are an absolute must. You can also branch off into the Hammer clone, Amicus, and view those films as well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Airplane Cel Help Re-Post

Jerry Beck posted on Cartoon Brew that he helped out the "History Detectives" solve a mystery of identifying some animation cels, an episode which will be airing sometime on the week of August 30 on PBS. (Check your local listings.)

Anyway, it reminded me of my age old inquiry about an animation cel that I purchased about 25 years ago that I have no idea what cartoon it is from. This, from my blog entry from July 17, 2008:

This is a scan of an animation cel I purchased about 20 years ago, dating from the 1940s. I've asked a great many animation experts including Jerry Beck what film this animated airplane is from and I have literally stumped the panel.

I can tell you that it is NOT from Tex Avery's "Little Johnny Jet", nor is it from Disney's "Pedro" from "Saludos Amigos".

I have been told that it is probably from a Walter Lantz cartoon, but I have no idea if this is correct or if correct, what title?

I own quite a few cartoon collections and have yet to find a scene with this airplane. Please help!!!

My "Cracked" Book Delay

Boo-hoo-hoo. My "Cracked" book has been delayed until February. The reason is good news. The book is so large (800 pages) that it's taking longer than expected to edit and format. So, for people anxiously awaiting this tome (as am I), please be patient...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Found a Bunny Button!!

Unfortunately, it is not mine, but at least I know now that it does exist. In recent times, I have decided to seek out premiums from old comic books. Typically, this consists of fan club buttons and cards.

I have found and purchased a "Sick Inner Circle Club" button, a "Tippy Teen P.A.L. Club" button, an "Underdog Fan Club" card, and three versions of the "Archie Fan Club" button.

The "Bunny" button and card have been quite illusive to me. I STILL haven't seen the card, but this is photographic proof that the button exists. If you see one for sale, please please please let me know.

"Bunny" was an "Archie" clone comic book published by Harvey Comics from 1966-1971 and an additional issue in 1976. It was never that popular, but it does have its fans. I even started a Facebook page devoted to "Bunny".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Confessions of a Prairie Bitch"

Alison Arngrim who's best known for playing Nellie on "Little House on the Prairie" has written her autobiography. Now I liked "Little House" as a kid, but as an adult, I'm much more fascinated by her voiceover mother, Norma MacMillan, who voiced Casper, Sweet Polly Purebred and Davey Hansen among other famous cartoon characters.

In her book, Arngrim does talk about her mother a bit, but the photo as seen above is the real prize.

Anyway, the book itself is a quick read and talks much more about a lot of other stuff, but it holds my interest for the reasons stated above.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I was craving donuts all day and finally bought some...mmmmmmm donuts!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rocky and Bullwinkle Season 4 DVD

Ok, since we last spoke I DID get the latest "Bugs Bunny" DVD and yes, I am upset that they made some of the cartoons on this and the aforementioned "Daffy Duck" DVD in fake widescreen. I don't know why Warners bothered to do that. The mind boggles.

Now, the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" DVDs haven't been much better, BUT at least they're trying and they give you a lot for your money. Funny I say this when "Season 4" is only two disc sides while 1, 2 and 3 has more than twice as much, but that's the way it was originally produced.

What's great about this set is that now all of the non-"Rocky and Bullwinkle" segments are now on DVD, meaning "Fractured Fairy Tales", "Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties", "Aesop and Son", "Peabody's Improbable History" and the "Bullwinkle's Corner"/"Mr. Know it All" shorts.

Of course, the down side is that all of the "Season 5" "Rocky and Bullwinkle" episodes are not on DVD and it doesn't seem like a "Season 5" is in the cards. Grrr. So, no Bumbling Bros. Circus, Fingers Scarnose or Mucho Loma (among others). A few "Season 5" stories like "Wossamotta U" and "Pottsylvania Creeper" ARE on "Best of" DVDs, but not together in one spot...

The MAJOR complaint of ALL the Jay Ward "Rocky and Bullwinkle" sets is the lack of complete music tracks. They have some, but there were alternate themes to "Peabody's Improbable History" and "Fractured Fairy Tales" and even the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" segments that never appeared ANYWHERE on these sets.

Also, officially "Season 3" and "Season 4" (as well as unreleased "Season 5") really SHOULD be "The Bullwinkle Show" with the moose in top hat and tails high-kicking it on stage on the opening credits. This was the opening that was seen FOREVER after 1961 until these sets. The "Rocky and his Friends" opening should only have been used on "Season 1" and "Season 2".

Now, did this deter me from buying this...no, but it is disappointing. Same with the fake widescreen on the "Bugs Bunny" and "Daffy Duck" sets. I suppose I could NOT buy them as protest, but hey, these *%^$ers might just throw in the towel and not issue it at all, and for those who say, "Well, if it isn't issued correctly, I'm not going to buy it!", then DON'T. I still will.

Sometimes they have a recall which Warners did with their "Tom and Jerry" and "Popeye" sets and BELIEVE ME, if they EVER have an exchange program correcting any of this stuff again, I'll be first in line to exchange.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Mad" is Back and Bimonthly!!!

Actually, "Mad" never went anywhere, but for the common person, they usually ask when I say something about "Mad": "Do they still publish that? I remember reading it as a kid."

Things like "MadTV", though it had its moments, did nothing to change that assessment, so as a promotional vehicle for the magazine, it was a flop. Of course, they never promoted the magazine on the TV shows and after the first year or so, the magazine never promoted the TV show, so so much for synergy, eh?

Anyway, in recent times "Mad" switched from being monthly to quarterly, and they canceled all of the other "Mad" related titles, specials and annuals. Most who did know about "Mad" thought that "Mad" would be canceled shortly.

Recently, an amazing thing happened. First, "Mad" is back up to six times a year, but more amazingly, it's become funnier (still not as funny as it was at its peak, but funnier than it has been in a long time), and most importantly, an animated series is set to debut this fall on Cartoon Network (although I have seen a preview on Cartoon Brew and was not impressed).

Got the Daffy Duck Set...

Where's the Bugs Bunny one? I hate having to buy stuff online because the stores don't bother to get enough copies, or none at all...

Oh well. Amazon here I come.

Anyway, I HOPE HOPE HOPE that they keep these collections coming at least WITH NO REPEATS! Fortunately this and the Bugs Bunny set do not have any repeats from the six previous "Looney Tunes Golden Collections".

Warner Bros. should just bite the bullet and put out the rest of the "Looney Tunes" on DVD, perhaps through their online only Warner Archive series, just to get them out (I know, I know again I have to order on line)...

UPDATE: I realized after I posted this that some of the cartoons were matted to look widescreen. This sucks because none of them were. Oh well. What to do...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Variety Shows

I love old variety shows. I may have said it here before. For some reason, TV producers have got it into their heads that variety shows no longer work and that the format died with "The Carol Burnett Show".

What they fail to realize is that the reason "The Carol Burnett Show" worked is the writing and the repertory company. Recent attempts include "The Wayne Brady Show". I like Brady as a comedian. Problem was, his variety show came hot on the heels of "Who's Line is it Anyway?" where Brady and crew ad-libbed their way through the show.

This ad-libbing did not carry over very well to his variety show and as a result, ratings suffered.

One of the old ones I picked up on DVD recently for $5, was the old "Tony Orlando and Dawn" show. I found it just as fun as when I originally watched it from 1974-1976. Orlando, Hopkins and Vincent are good at singing and also the light comedy they provided.

It is this kind of show that TV is lacking today.

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson did an homage to old variety shows (particularly "Sonny and Cher") in 2004 and they pulled it off. They (or someone similar) could do it again...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Norma MacMillan

Here's the late Norma MacMillan (1921-2001) standing next to one of the famous creations she voice, Casper the Friendly Ghost. MacMillan is also known for voicing Sweet Polly Purebred on "Underdog" and Davey on "Davey and Goliath".

MacMillan's daughter, Alison Arngrim (Nellie on "Little House on the Prairie"), just released a book called "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch", which features information about her mother and also a different photo than shown above of MacMillan and Arngrim with Casper.

Check it out...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recent Acquisitions

I went to the Time Tunnel Super Toy, Doll & Collectible Show on Saturday and wanted to mention a few of my recent acquisitions. I bought the first two "Peanuts" calendars from 1962 and 1963.

I bought a Harvey-Toons flannel set, that was sort of a precursor to Colorforms. I bought an oversized Casper Coloring Book (pictured above) and a Ray Bradbury paperback that contained old EC reprints, plus a couple of old Harvey Comics I didn't have yet.

All in all, it was a fun day and I didn't overspend since I sold some of my late mom's old Avon stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Casper Sheets

I was walking around Redwood City on Friday doing my "other" job of selling ads in the "Daily Post" and came across a closed business that had Casper sheets in the windows! I was so tempted to break in and take them! (kidding)

Anyway, these feature the Casper from the 1990s animated cartoon series and are less desirable for me. It's just funny to find an old friend in such an odd place.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Retro Crunch

I was taking a break at work the other day and decided to wonder into the grocery store because it was hot. I also decided to take a nostalgic look down the cereal aisle and lo and behold were "retro" packages of "Cap'n Crunch" cereal!

Quickly, I bought a box.

For those who don't know "Cap'n Crunch" was created by Jay Ward through Quaker Oats. Ward is famous for Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle, but turned to TV advertising when the rules for animated TV shows changed so dramatically during the 1960s. Of course, there was a lot more money in the Cap'n.

Cap started in 1963 and Ward Productions wrote, voiced and animated them all until 1984 when Ward retired. Quaker Oats in their infinite wisdom decided either for copyright reasons or stupidity to give the good Cap'n a facelift and even had TV commercials alerting consumers to this fact. Cap'n even disappeared for a time off his own box!

When he returned, it was a similar, but largely unappealing design that continues to this day. Strangely, although Ward also designed Quisp and his accompanying cereal, no such facelift ever took place. The problem with Quisp is that you rarely find it on store shelves, although now you can order it off the internet at least.

Anyway, three cheers for Quaker Oats!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Time Tunnel Super Toy, Doll & Collectible Show

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
344 Tully Road, San Jose, CA 95111

Early Bird 9 AM - 10:59 AM
General admission 11 AM - 4 PM

General Admission: $5.00
Kids Under 12: $2.50
Early Bird: $15.00
The Fairgrounds charges $8 for parking.

This is where I be today. Come see me!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Smothers Brothers "New" Release

I love the Smothers Brothers and I love their old albums on Mercury Records. Unfortunately, Mercury Records doesn't think too much about their archives, so it's up to Laugh.com to resurrect these old classic albums and finally issue them onto CD.

Unfortunately, they take their sweet time and you have to order through Laugh or pay a premium if you order through Amazon and they are (usually) not available in stores, which is also sometimes a drag.

Anyway, "The Two Sides of The Smothers Brothers" is now available on CD, without any fanfare. It is called the "Two Sides" because one side is comedy songs and the other side is straight folk songs. The comedy side is what's great and this is the album that has the classic "Chocolate". If you don't laugh at this, you don't understand comedy. "Chocolate" is what made me become a Smothers Brothers fan when I first heard it on "Dr. Demento" back in the 80s.

I searched for the long out-of-print vinyl record (which is surprisingly easy to find) and soon amassed all of the 12 original Smothers Brothers albums, of which about a half are now available on CD through Laugh.

Here's hoping they speed up the process and get the rest of them out including the great "Tour De Farce: American History" and "Mom Always Liked You Best" albums.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Thanks for the Memory" Sheet Music

I recently purchased sheet music for the song "Thanks for the Memory". I purchased it because of the song significance and the fact that there are cartoon caricatures of Bob Hope and W.C. Fields as well as Ben Blue and Martha Raye.

The reason for this song was "The Big Broadcast of 1938" which starred all of the above-mentioned people as well as Dorothy Lamour and Shirley Ross.

It turned out to be Bob Hope's first feature film and the song ended up becoming his signature tune. It also turned out to be the last film Fields did for Paramount as he moved over to Universal after this.

Sorry for the cut image, but the original sheet music is slightly larger than 11"x17".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ringo's "Live at the Greek Theatre 2008"

Yet another live album by Ringo. This one gets high marks because of the first live appearance of "Oh My My", plus good live versions of "Pick Up the Pieces" and "Dream Weaver", both also making their debuts on an All-Starr album. This album also features more Ringo (11 tracks!) than any other All-Starr album.

The full concert is also available on DVD, with more tracks than this CD.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hogan's Alley

"Hogan's Alley" is a publication that doesn't get as much recognition as it deserves. Now, I'm not writing this because I write for "Hogan's Alley", because even if I didn't, it would be a great magazine.

Actually, I'm not even in the latest issue #17 which features articles about Spongebob Squarepants and "The Bullwinkle Show's" Bill Scott. I have had articles in the past about John Sutherland, Thurl Ravenscroft and Underdog.

"Hogan's Alley" comes out roughly one time a year. It resembles a paperback book and is always worth the wait for the information it carries about comic books, comic strips and animation.

You can read more about it here!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Celebrity Comic Books

While there are a few one-shot celebrity comic books (like I've seen one on Obama, and another one on his dog!), there are no longer any comic book series on celebrities or comedians anymore.

DC had long running series of "The Adventures of Bob Hope" and "The Adventures of Jerry Lewis" (originally called "The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis".

The most recent example that I can think of was "Camp Candy", based on a TV cartoon show starring John Candy.

I think it would be funny if someone (could be DC) did "The Adventures of Will Ferrell" or "The Adventures of Jim Carrey" or something. Maybe the licensing fees are too high, but I really think that comic book publishers don't think this way anymore. Or, it might be because today's comedians are typically too vulgar to headline a comic book series arguably aimed at children. 'Tis a shame.

I would love to see a series like this. What do you think?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"South Park" Update

Since I haven't had cable since 1997 (yes, it's true!), I have gotten behind in my "South Park" watching. A friend of mine is lending my different seasons and lent me season 10 and more recently season 11.

The funny thing was on season 10, I had actually seen three of the 14 episodes, so I eventually see these things by osmosis as I know other friends have shown me these things.

I actually had also grown tired of "South Park". It seemed basically the same over and over and over. These later episodes are much better as they have a theme that usually is something taken from the day's headlines, thus making it a more enjoyable viewing experience.

The humor is still quite sophomoric, but that's the way it is. The most recent one I've watched is the first one from season 11, where Stan's dad mistakenly says the "N" word on "Wheel of Fortune" and all hell breaks loose. Funny stuff.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

DePatie-Freleng Book?

I want to do a DePatie-Freleng book. Trouble is, I cannot seem to interest a publisher in it, which is strange since I did the Total TeleVision book. Jerry Beck DID do a DePatie-Freleng book of sorts, but it focused mainly on the Pink Panther and the theatrical DFE cartoons.

DFE did a number of TV cartoons, including "Super President", "Baggy Pants and the Nitwits" and "What's New, Mr. Magoo". They even did a couple of animated specials for Flip Wilson and many for Dr. Seuss.

So, anyone reading this...would you be interested in a DFE book? Perhaps I should just interview Dave DePatie anyway on the off chance that I can interest a publisher down the line...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Harvey Comics R.I.P.

With the recent death of Mitch Miller, I wanted to give tribute to the people who worked for Harvey or with Harvey that have passed away the past couple of years. I recently updated my Harvey Comics Who's Who and realized that I missed a couple of people.

Miller recorded versions of "Casper the Friendly Ghost" and "Little Audrey Says" with The Sandpipers for Golden Records back in the 1950s. He was 99. Of course, he's much better known for his "Sing Along with Mitch" albums and TV show.

Here's some more:

Cartier, Edd (1914-2008) – Artist, Harvey horror titles. Also worked for Street & Smith. Active during the 1940s and 1950s.

Frazetta, Frank (1928-2010) – Artist, “Li’l Abner” at the time Harvey was publishing it. Went on to become pre-eminent fantasy illustrator. Illustrated many movie posters. Also worked for EC, DC, Better and Warren. Active since the 1940s.

Kamen, Jack (1920-2008) – Artist, Harvey romance titles. Also worked for EC, Fawcett, Fiction House and Marvel and painted the movie poster for “Creepshow”. Active since the 1940s.

Post, Howard (1926-2010) – Artist, Hot Stuff, Spooky, Wendy. Head of Famous Studios during the 1960s. Also worked for Marvel and DC. Drew “The Dropouts” comic strip. Created Anthro for DC. Active from the 1940s to 1990s.

Rosen, Joe (1920-2009) – Letterer, Harvey Comics. Also worked for Marvel and DC. Brothers Sam and Ted Rosen sometimes helped with his lettering projects. Active from the 1950s to 1990s.

Tuska, George (1916-2009) – Artist, Harvey superhero, romance and Harvey Thriller titles. Also worked for Marvel, DC, St. John, Quality, Tower, Lev Gleason, Fox, Fiction House, Fawcett, Active from the 1930s to 1980s.

Williamson, Al (1931-2010) – Artist, Harvey science-fiction and Harvey Thriller titles. Also worked for EC, Marvel, DC, Warren and Gold Key. Also had long tenures on “Tarzan”, “Flash Gordon” and “Star Wars” comic strips. Active since the 1950s.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

"Michael Palin Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years"

I got a cheap hardback copy of this book ($5) and am fascinated by it. I was thinking about diaries in general. Granted, I seriously try to write this blog every day, but I don't really go on at length about my personal life. That being said, I don't think Michael Palin (of "Monty Python" fame) really ever intended other eyes to see his work.

Amazingly, the diary covering Python's first 10 years is surprisingly coherent considering this fact. And although I consider myself a pretty hardcore fan, I still discovered some new facts about Python.

For instance, when they shot the fourth series in 1974 without John Cleese, they considered doing seven more episodes to bring it to 13 like the other series. I knew Eric Idle decided to throw in the towel at this point, but here we find that he actually waffled for a bit before deciding for good to do no more TV Python.

There's other stuff like this. My only quibble is that the diary ends in 1979, when there were still a good four more years of original Python left, so no commentary about "The Contractual Obligation Album" (1980), "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl" (1982) or "The Meaning of Life (1983).

UPDATE: In searching for the requisite photo for this blog, I have discovered that Palin has released a sequel covering the 1980s.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"Judgment at Nuremberg"

If you haven't seen this film...go see it! It is one of the best films ever made!

Yes, better than "Avatar" and "Inception" and "Lord of the Rings" combined!

This is great drama made better because it is real!

Nuff Said!

"Inception" Not So Original

Boy, I got a LOT of flack for saying that I thought "Inception" was just "ok" and that the idea wasn't original. My dad actually sent me this link that proves that even "Uncle Scrooge" has used this idea before.

Please click on this link to read Uncle Scrooge in "The Dream of a Lifetime".

The article about this appears here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Universal Gets Into the Act!

I've heaped praise on Warner Bros. for months here because of their Warner Archive series and now Universal is jumping on the bandwagon with their Universal Vault series. There are a number of good Universal Pictures that are unavailable on DVD, until now.

"The Last Remake of Beau Geste" starring Marty Feldman (pictured above) is one of these. Universal has made an arrangement with Amazon to produce these on DVD-R. Some quibble about DVD-R vs. regular DVD, but I'd rather have DVD-R than nothing at all.

"Last Remake" is a very funny film in the vein of Mel Brooks at his best. Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

"Light in the Piazza" Harvey Comics Appearance

I watched a movie at the Stanford Theater as I typically do, every so often. The two movies I watched were "Come September" (1961), a good Rock Hudson-Gina Lollobrigida romantic comedy. Also on the bill was "Light in the Piazza", another romantic comedy starring Yvette Mimieux and George Hamilton, along with Olivia de Havilland. Both were good movies. I preferred "September", but "Piazza" was good for another reason: Harvey Comics!

Mimieux's character was supposed to be emotionally disturbed and also she hadn't really grown up. To show this, they showed her reading comic books. Highly visible was an issue of "Little Max", that Mimieux actually read. I believe it was issue #51, but couldn't completely tell. It was a yellow cover. I also think a copy of "Little Dot" was visible, but I really couldn't see the cover at all.

"September" is on DVD, but unfortunately "Piazza" has never been released to home video in any form, else I would post a screen capture here.