Saturday, June 03, 2006

Southgate House in Newport, Ky. Home of the Inventor of the Tommygun

My wife and I were in Newport today. Now for those of you who are not from my area or are not up on Mafia history, Newport for years was known to have Mafia ties. It was in the 1960's that they started to try to break those ties. It was hard in getting rid of the gambling places that were around but over time they were successful in most areas. In recent years it seemed as if Newport would finally be successful. With a new shopping district and an aquarium on the Ohio river alot of businesses and tourists are comming to the city. Then just across the street from that district I saw this sign. It marks the historical site of the inventor of the Tommygun. You know the machine gun that most of the gangsters of the 30's and 40's were known to have used. If you scan below you can see a picture of what the house looks like. It is now a restaurant called the Southgate House. While the sign does say that he regrets that it was known as a gangster weapon, I still thought it was odd that a city that wanted to cut its ties with that era of history would put of a sign showing that was the reason for the building being a historical site. Posted by Picasa

Former Home of the Inventor of the Tommygun

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Novelty Records

I have always liked novelty records. It didn't matter if it was the Chipmunks, the Three Stooges, Superman or Wonder Woman. Chances are at sometime I would buy it. I don't have a Wonder Woman one right now but I did at one time. I have not been able to find it since. Side one was a song with a catchy tune. The other was a story. I don't remember the story but the words to the tune are as follows.
Wonder Woman
You're a woman
How I talk about the wonders, the wonders, the wonders you do.
Just one look and you put a spell on me
And took control of my destiny without tryin'
Wonder Woman
Got me sighing
And fallen madly in love.

That was the first part of the song. Not great lyrics but they worked. If anyone knows where I can get the 45 of that song at an affordable price I would like to hear about it. It came with a picture sleeve of Wonder Woman of course. Posted by Picasa

Happy Anniversary Luke Cage

This weekend marks the 34th anniversary of Luke Cage Hero for Hire #1. As someo of you may know Luke was in jail for a crime he didn't commit. He volunteered for an experiment that gave him his powers and he became Power Man. While Mr. Cage's own book has been published sporadically, he has been around since then. Slow sales on his own book and that of Iron Fist forced Marvel to combine them into one book. Since Power Man's book was selling better they continued with his numbering and he got top billing in the book Power Man and Iron Fist. Sales did go up but eventually it did get canceled. Power Man did continue to turn up as a member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Later he got his chance at another series but was canceled again. I am sure that he will turn up again soon. So Happy Anniversary to a hero who won't quit. We need more heros like him. You can get the book shown above at this auction site. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Long Sandy Hair Of Neftoon Zamora By Michael Nesmith

I doubt that there is any Monkees fan that is not aware that Michael Nesmith wrote a novel called The Long Sandy Hair Of Neftoon Zamora. I got this book as a Christmas gift in 1998 the year that it came out. Like most of my reading at that time I read a chapter or two each day on the bus going to and from work. People on the bus would see the name of the author and ask me questions about it. The most one that was asked was if I liked it. While I was reading it I had a hard time making up my mind if I did like it or not. The tone of the novel changed from chapter to chapter sometimes. Some chapters seem geared toward the mystical and trying to get you to think about life. Others came as pure out action/adventure. The book starts with the central character Nez finding a recording of a song. Nez is a musician and is amazed at the voice of the singer. He finds out is the voice of Neftoon Zamora. He finds out that according to legend Neftoon is suppose to be part Zuni, part Martian and part Delta Blues musician. But there are many unanswered questions. Where on Earth is Neftoon Zamora from? Is Neftoon even from Earth? Some say he is from Mars. Does Neftoon even exist? Nez’s search for these answers takes him to an enchanted canyon village, a self-help guru and the guarded home of a millionaire control freak. Along the way he is helped by a woman called Neffie. She agrees to help him in his search and he falls in love with her. But is she really Neftoon Zamora?
In the end I really did like the book. I wish Papa Nez had been clearer on the type of novel he had written. Still I will get his next book The American Gene when it arrives in book stores. Don’t be surprised if one of the other three Monkees puts out a novel for adults. Posted by Picasa

An Innovation Publication

The late 1980's and early 1990's saw an increase in smaller comic book publishing companies. One of those companies was Innovation. The biggest seller that Innovation had was Lost in Space. It is so far the only official comic book version of Lost in Space the TV show. Unless you count Space Family Robinson which was a comic book by Gold Key in the 1960's. Yes the family was named Robinson and they were in space but it was not Lost in Space.
In 1991 David Campiti, editor and publisher for Innovation met Viacom's Howard Berk to discuss getting the rights to publishing some of their shows. Mr. Campiti was shown a list of shows and was surprised to find that Viacom owned the publishing rights to Lost In Space. For years it was assumed that Irwin Allen and his estate owned the rights. They only owned the the film and television rights. Publishing was owned by Viacom. Mr. Campiti said that Lost In Space was the only one he had interest in. Mr. Berk asked him what he would do with it. He told him it would be taken in a more serious direction and not campy like the TV show. Mr. Berk said he didn't have a problem with that. During negotiation's Innovation asked Bill Mumy, who had played Will Robinson on the TV show, to be one of the writers for the book. Mr. Mumy had been approached by Marvel and DC for the same thing before. He figured if the two big ones can't do it then Innovation can't either so he passed on the assignment. When Innovation got the rights they asked Mr. Mumy again. This time he said yes. Mark Goddard who played Major Don West also wrote an issue. The other cast members, espically June Lockhart and Johathan Harris, offered input to Mr. Mumy. However, the comic was only with us for 18 issues. Issue 18 was the 6th part of a 12 part storyline. The rest of the story has never been published to this date. Mr. Mumy was very upset at this turn of events. The book was outselling all other titles that Innovation published. It had brought in non-comic book fans into the comic book stores. They were not comic fans but they loved the TV show and were glad to see it being taken seriously. However there were problems with other books and that led to financial problems. The first sign of the problems was when David Campiti left the company that he had founded. The cause of the financial problems was that one of the companies backers called in his loan. Unable to payback the money all at once the comapny had to fold.
I have not been a big fan of comic books based on TV shows but Innovation published the best. Lost In Space and Quantum Leap. They were the ones that I read. Now I have always loved science fiction especially when the stars of the series meets his double. I always wanted to know how Lost In Space would have been if Dr. Smith was the good guy and Major West and the Robinson family had been the bad guys. During the first 12 issues I submitted that story to Innovation. I came up with a story that had the original cast going through a worm hole and when they emerge they check the star charts and see they are not far from Earth. When they land they discover they are really in another universe that is like ours but the Jupiter 2 has not taken off yet. The evil Mjr. West and the evil Robinsons plan to take off into space but are going to meet with aliens they have been in contact with and return to help them take over the Earth. Then they would rule the planet. The good Dr. Smith finds out about this. He can't stop them or make anyone believe him so, just as the bad Dr. Smith did on TV, he gets on board and destroies the guidance system but did not get off in time. Now he is trapped on board with 6 villians. The good Robinsons find out and try to catch up with them but are sucked into the worm hole again and arrive back in their own universe. This could have had people wonered what happened to the good Dr. Smith and setup future meetings between the two Jupiter 2 crews. The above is a very nice form letter from the submissions editor Mark Bernardo. My original story was also sent back with a note from Mr. Campiti he said that "Lost In Space and Star Trek have both done "doubles" stories already. This is nothing like the direction I'm taking the comics series. Sorry. David." While that was a nice rejection I still think they could have done the story. From the Prince and the Pauper to Star Trek to today people love doubles stories. They would not be published or produced for so long if it were not true. Posted by Picasa

Three Crosses

Several years ago I had an idea for a story. It had a biblical theme to it with a Twilight Zone type of ending. But I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in it. Then I read the Left Behind series of books. I typed up an outline for a script. At the time I wanted to be a movie producer and scriptwriter. I printed it out and planned to flesh it out even more. Well time passed and like always life had other plans. Eventually I got married and moved in to a new house. Till a few days ago I thought the out line was lost forever. While cleaning out a box that I have not touched since I moved into our home I found the outline/over view of the storyline. If you click on it you can read it. If you go to the post below you will be able to read the ending. I am sorry but I was not able to include the two pages on one scan. When I flesh out the story even more I will post it here. Most likely it will be in the short story style. Posted by Picasa

Three Crosses continued

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Andy Capp

For those of you not familiar with Andy Capp he is the main character of a cartoon strip. He was created by Reginald Smythe in 1957 in England. He was an unemployed working class man. His wife is Flo Capp and their best friends are Chalkie and Rubie White. Both couples are always on the verge of poverty. Flo and Andy are always arguing about something. Usually it is about Andy staying out too late getting drunk with Chalkie. Now I know alot of people find humor in arguing. From the Bickersons to All In The Family America has laughed at married couples who fight. I have not been immune to that type of comedy. However, Andy and Flo would often get physical with their arguements. One cartoon strip actually showed them rolling out the door with their fists flying. They stop at the feet of a Bobby (policeman). They continue their fistfight but roll back inside the house. That is the way the Andy Capp cartoon strip usually was written when I was reading it. I have no idea why I bought this book but I am glad I did. Yes the fights and drinking are still in it but some of the strips show a lighter side. One of the strips has Flo and Andy walking home one night. Flo says "A fine way to treat your wife. After I've given you the best years of my life." Andy says "And who made them the best? Tell me that!" Flo puts her arm around Andy and says "You did, pet!" They continue their walk home as Andy says "Well, then." I prefer my married couples, real and fictional, to act that way. If you want to see more of Andy Capp you can go to Andy Andy Capp was so popular in America that books like the one pictured above were popular sellers. A line of snack foods is still available today with his name on it. At one time there were even minature golf courses with his name. In 1974 it was the humor comic stirp of the year. In 1960 there was an un official spin off called Buster. He was suppose to be Andy's son and his name was Buster Capp. However, Andy was never seen or mentioned and when his Mom was around she didn't look like Flo. Maybe Andy was married twice. Who knows? Anyway this is what I have had on my mind. Posted by Picasa

The Day I Nearly Invented Peel & Stick/Double Sided Tape

Anyone who collected baseball cards in the late 60’s to the mid 70’s should remember that for about a year or two a packet of baseball cards came with a round little metal disc. It had a picture of a baseball player with his statistics on the back. Now I don’t know why but I am sure that it was to increase sales.
Now for a time I was putting my baseball cards in a scrapbook. I thought it would be cool if I could put my discs on the cover of the book. How could I do this? There was no way to stick the backs of them to the cover of the book. I did something that no one in my family had seen done. I took some Scotch tape and doubled it over on the ends of the tape. This way it was sticky on both sides and I was able to stick the disc to the cover of the scrapbook. Dad thought that was a clever idea. He said I should copyright it. After Mom and Dad explained to me what a copyright was I told them “Aw! It’s too easy to do. No one will pay me for my idea. They can just do what I did at home.” Cut to a few years into the future. I forget what the item was but I had to stick something to my wall and I peeled off the back and stuck it to the wall. Suddenly I remembered my scrapbook and my parent's advice. I could kick myself. Not long after that I was in a hardware store and saw double sided tape. I could kick my self again. So I was on the road to inventing them both but didn’t see how to carry it farther on. Live and learn. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Beatles Story A Marvel Super Special!

This is perhaps the best pictorial magazine ever to be published on the history of the Beatles. Now there have been others that told it better and more in depth. But just take a look at the art of the magazine. The art of Tom Palmer, George Perez and Klaus Janson is simply stunning. The cover above is designed by George Perez and drawn by Tom Palmer. The Beatles broke up in 1970 and this book was published by Marvel comics in 1978. So the history was fairly recent and it covered up to April 9th 1970 when Paul announced that he had quit the Beatles. The color graphics on this production is amazing. For the above mentioned artist and the writer/editor David Anthony Kraft it was a labor of love. The music of the Beatles influenced these men and anyone who listened to their music. The Beatles, love them or hate them, have always provoked strong emotions in everyone.
It really is not surprising that the world’s greatest Rock band or any rock band would have a comic book made up about them. Comic books and rock and roll music sort of grew up together. Newspaper strips started out around the same time as the jazz era was in full swing. Later comic books were put out and got more popular in the R & B era. Rock and Roll became popular in the 1950’s just as the silver age of comics started. Thanks to the Beatles and other groups in the 1960’s rock and roll started getting more mature. In the 60’s Stan Lee and the Marvel Bullpen produced comic books for more adult readers.
I found this book while cleaning out a box in my basement today. The cover was ripped off but I was happy to see that I still had it. I thought I had lost it. I will probably always keep this book. However, if I ever find a copy of it with the cover still on and the price is affordable I will buy that one. Just to have a copy in a little bit better condition. Posted by Picasa


I doubt I can say anything that hasn't been said before about this wonderful show. It was produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It was the final series that they produced together. The Anderson's were married but split during the shows production. They had a string of hits from Fireball XL5 to, well Space:1999. Sylvia seems to have left the business but Gerry kept producing until 2005. While they were seen as making the new Star Trek it was really inspired by 2001: A Space Oddessy. The person in charge of special effects had worked on that film. Another place of inspiration came from one of the Anderson's own shows. UFO was produced for one season. A second season was planned but never came about. So the ideas for UFO were used on Space:1999. The cast on the first season came mostly from North America. Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, like the Andersons, were married to each other at the time and played Commander Koenig and Dr. Russell. They had played together before on Mission Impossible. Actor Barry Morse was from Canada and gained fame in the USA on the 19609's series of The Fugitive. After the first season Mr. Morse, who played Professor Bergman, left the series and his character was replaced by Maya played by Catherine Schell. She was a Spock type of character. The show started filming in 1973 but didn't air till 1975.
I didn't see the first season till I started getting VHS tapes like the one shown above. It was shown on Saturday nights in my area and I didn't find it till they were on the second season. I played Basketball at the YMCA. My Mom and Dad one night had to go grocery shopping after the game and my friends Dad took us all home. Mom had my dinner ready so I just warmed it up and watched TV while I waited for them. The first thing that appeared as the TV warmed up was Space:1999. I had just seen Star Trek in syndication and it had just stopped airing here. So this was an unexpected thrill to me. It wasn't aired every week. For some reason it was aired sporadically.
The basis of the show was that a nuclear explosion happened on the other side of the moon on which Moonbase Alpha was stationed. It blew the moon out of orbit and the moon became the spaceship. They traveled the universe trying to find their way back home. The show only made one mistake. Telling what year it was in the title. It dates the show. Posted by Picasa


The above ad was mentioned in this post. I thought it was the one discussed on Dial B for Blog but I wasn't certain. Booksteve says that they are two different albums. Just thought you would want to know. Posted by Picasa

Alex Toth

A few days ago artist Alex Toth passed away. I was not very familier with his comic book work. So I didn't say anything. In the past few days I have seen representations of his work and it rivals Kirby's work. I did however watch the Superfriends when I was younger and he was one of the artist on the show. He wrote roughly 6 pages on how cartoons are made for television. I have scaned a portion of the first page for you to see here. If you click on it the page should enlarge and you will be able to read part of it. Sorry that I couldn't scan the whole page. The article was from the back portion of the large $1 comic that DC put out about the Superfriends. Posted by Picasa

Biggest Rock Event of the Decade?

Not too long ago Dial B For Blog ran some post on an album that Marvel comics put out. I believe this is the ad for that album. It is called Rock Reflections of a Rock Super-Hero. You can get the CD version of it if you click here. It will cost you more them $6.98 but for collectors it will be worth it. Hope you enjoy seeing the ad. It came as a plesant surprise to me as I was reading an old comic book. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 29, 2006

Invaders # 5

I have always had an affection for things from the 1940's and the WWII generation. Perhaps it is from listening to the stories that Mom and Dad told what it was like to grow up then. I feel like an old soul who was born about 20 years too late. I have always loved the comic books from then with the heros fighting Hitler. So when I saw the Invaders with new tales of WWII I had to buy it. The first issue I saw was #5. The book stars with the Invaders minus Bucky attacking an America defense plant. The President hears about it and remembers what started it all. Hitler's #1 henchman the Red Skull turns up at a war bond rally. He kidnaps all of them but Bucky. He tells him the others have special powers that he needs but Bucky has nothing. Bucky has a plan and ask the President to give it his ok. The Prez says he can't without hearing it first. Bucky doesn't want to take a chance that it will leak back to the Skull so he is turned down. His plan is to do what Cap mentioned earlier. To get heros like The Patriot, The Whizzer, Miss America etc. to form a homebound team to stop Nazi spies in America. The story is continued in Marvel Premiere #29 with Bucky getting those heros to form the Liberty Legion and rescuing the Invaders. This book has a special place in my comic book colleting heart and I wanted to share it with you on this Memorial Day. Posted by Picasa

Sad Sack

In the 1960’s and into the early 70’s comic books were still fighting World War II. Serious or humorous each comic book company had someone in the military. Marvel had Sgt. Fury. DC, called National Periodicals at the time, had nearly cornered the market on military personnel with Sgt. Rock, Captain Storm and Haunted Tank. By the way take a look at Dial B for Blog today as the have many covers from that era on their site. My favorite is the Captain Storm cover. Charlton had Beetle Bailey. Harvey Comics had Sad Sack. At the time Sad Sack had the most popularity between him and Beetle Bailey. Sad Sack stared in the 1940’s. He was created by Sgt. George Baker as a World War II comic strip. Sad Sack was Army slang from a joke that meant inept rookie. It was done wordless in pantomime style. It made it in to Yank magazine and Life Magazine. After the war it was a newspaper comic strip till the 1950’s. Then Harvey comics got the comic book rights. As the cover says Sad Sack was loved by millions. It was an instant hit with comic book audiences. The art style changed and now Sad Sack had to talk. While other artist eventually took over, mostly Fred Rhoads, George Baker still did the covers in the original style till his death in 1975. I am not certain if it was intentional but it seemed like there were some similarities between Sad Sack and Beetle Bailey. But they were both about Privates in the Army who had to deal with other crazy military characters. The main difference is that Beetle was always trying to get out of work but Sack, while he didn’t like to work, would do what he was told. Like Beetle he didn’t always do the best job but at least he did work. The Sad Sack series was so popular that even supporting cast members, like the General, Sarge, and Slob Slobinski got their own series. There was even a kid’s version called Little Sad Sack. Sad Sack even had his own radio program with Mel Blanc as Sack. Paramount even released a movie called The Sad Sack starring Jerry Lewis.
The issue pictured above is issue 191 from 1967. In it are some short stories where Sack stops military spies, a death threat on the Generals life, various stories about Army life and some corny jokes. My favorite story is when Sack and his buddy Hi-Fi are getting tired walking back to the base. They see the Sarge but he drives past them in his jeep. Hi-Fi and Sack are upset that passed them up but Hi-Fi said remember someday Sarge will have everything come back to him. They see a car dealer and they get a free trial spin in one of the cars. An expensive looking red convertible. Meanwhile Sarge is broke down and they pass him on the road. Sack and Hi-Fi stop at a restaurant to get lunch. Sarge sees their car and they left the keys in so he drives it back to the base. He decides to get back at them by making changes to the new car that he thinks they bought. When he returns it to them it is no longer red but green and the fenders are gone. Sack and Hi-Fi tell him they reported the car stolen and it still belongs to the dealer. Sarge drives it back to the dealership. He has a brief chase with the police. Very brief as it is only two panels. Then he has to pay the dealer $2,000 for the car. Hey it was used and cars were cheaper in 1967.
Here is a link to a Sad Sack site and here is a link to another one. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's His Name?

I just came in on the end of an old war movie on AMC. I am not sure what it was but Jack Palance was in it. As the credits rolled I noticed his name read as Walter (Jack) Planace. His real name is Walter!! All these years I thought it was Jack or maybe John but not Walter. Recently we watched the movie Cops and Robbersons starring him and Chevy Chase. I had seen it before but there was something in it that gave me a thought that didn't occur to me the first time around. A little boy kept acting like he was a vampire through half of the film and and kept attacking Mr. Palance till he took some plastic toys and ketchup and acted like he had killed the vampire. At that moment I thought this must be the films way of acknowledging that he once played Dracula. In playing with the boy he was VanHelsing to the boys Dracula. Nice touch I thought. The above photo is from this auction site. I don't think this is the same film that I saw as Mr. Palance was not the lead in the film but it is a war film. Hope you have a plesant Memorial Day. Posted by Picasa


In the 1980's video games were starting to leave the video arcades and come into the homes via game machines and computers. Cinemaware led the way. They took many old movie themes and made them into computer games. The ones that I was familier with were the 3 Stooges, King of Chicago (mob movies), and It Came From the Desert (Sci-Fi Monster movies)
My favorite was It Came From the Desert. My friend Chuck had a copy of it and every time I was at his home we played it. Chuck really loved his computer games. I got him into comic books and he got me into computer games. In the game there is a radiation accident that makes the ants of a small desert town 20 feet tall. The ants march into the town and take it and the people over. The game actually makes you feel like you are watching a 1950's horrer film. Land scams, love triangles and desert cults abound as you play.
Cinemaware was one of the more successful computer game makers of the 1980's. In an effort to make it more fun for the user they tried to add more features to the games. However, this took more time and started to cause the company to miss shipping dates. Add in that the older titles were starting to slow down in sales and you had the makings for failure. In 1991 Cinemaware filed bankruptcy. They were not heard from for along time. Then in 2003 they started to come back as Cinemaware Marquee. They started with a Robin Hood game and have been puting out updated versions of their old games and bring foreign titles to America. Their website is here. Posted by Picasa

Your Heart's Desire

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
Psalm 73:25 NLT
Heart's desire
In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when the Beavers inform the children that Aslan is on the move, the children feel a strange stirring in their hearts. Peter in particular says he's "longing" to meet this Aslan.…he doesn't say he's curious; he says he's longing, and that carries a very different meaning….
To long for something means you've had it in your mind for a while, the way you fix your heart on getting that iPod for Christmas…. Longing carries with it the concept of desire.
Yearning Desire. It's a theme that weaves throughout the life and works of C. S. Lewis. In Surprised by Joy, he introduces the concept of longing as the signature quest of his childhood and young adulthood.
It wasn't until Lewis converted to Christianity that he eventually realized what he'd been longing for: God. Not the Norse gods of the pagan world, not even the gods or spirits of fantasy worlds, but the God of the Bible—a real, living Being in whom we can have life forever.
With our own friends, part of our role is to help them understand that their longing comes from an inborn desire to know the King of the universe. And, like the Beavers with Peter, we are to tell our friends about the King—that his return is imminent, that he is on the move even now.
We're all longing to meet the true King. Will you recognize his name when you hear it? Will you help others do the same? Posted by Picasa

Ordinary Guy

At the chruch I grew up in and when VHS came into the homes in the late 1970's I saw a few Christian movies. One of them was Ordinary Guy. It runs a little over an hour. It is around 70 minutes. The main character of the movie is named Guy. Guy has great job opportunity and a beautiful fiancee. Guy is already a Christian but still feels that his life is missing something. He realizes he has not been living his faith every day. So he decides to change all of that. Alot of pressure comes his way from this decision. His fiancee breaks up with him when an old boyfriend of hers comes back and the job opportunity goes away. Still he feels better about his life. He helps out more at his church and starts an inner city ministry for kids. Later he meets another girl. She is not a Christian but Guy leads her to Christ. Just like life is for real Christians the movie has a bittersweet ending. Guy looses his life when he does the right thing in a difficult situation. However, we do see him again when he is in Heaven. It all turned out that Guy wasn't ordinary anymore. His total commitment to Christ got extraordinary results. Like many Christian films, espically those from back then, it was shot on a shoestring budget. The writing and directing were pretty good. The acting was ok and the message of course was wonderful. If you like to see these kind of films you can click here & buy the movie. Posted by Picasa