Monday, March 31, 2008

Submitted to you: Mark and Linda

So, has anyone else noticed how much Mark Wahlberg has begun
to look like Linda Hunt?


It seems like people should be talking about this by now.

Have I been missing out on this discussion?

Okay, so maybe you're not noticing it in these photos.

- - But watch even just a preview for 'We Own The Night' and tell me you don't see it.

I'm not saying they're interchangeable.

They're two fine performers, but 'Rock Star' would have been a much different film had it starred Linda Hunt.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

'Davey Crackpot' (Spike Jones) with George Rock & Billy Barty - Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White b/w No Boom-Boom in Yucca Flats (1955)

Here's a curious little novelty record; It's Spike Jones and his band performing under a pseudonym.

The theory is that the 'Davey Crackpot' name (employed at the height of the mania for Disney's 'Davy Crockett' TV shows) was used for this release on the Starlite record label because Jones was still under contract to RCA records at the time.

The instrumental A-side of this 1955 single pokes fun at
Pérez Prado's cha-cha tune that was #1 on the U.S. pop charts that year.

(On a brief tangent, I'm compelled to confess that I smile whenever I hear Prado's name pronounced 'Per-ez Per-ado'. It's a little thing, but it always gets me.)

Band member George Rock would on occasion be called upon to sing in a distinctive high-pitched toddler's voice for numbers like 'All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth', but it was his skills with a trumpet that made him an invaluable asset.

Rock played trumpet with the Spike Jones band from 1944 - 1960. He was a virtuoso player who could hit the wrong notes just right and milk his horn for sounds that many others could never achieve.

One of his long-standing showcases in the Jones stage revues was on the tune 'Minka'. If you've never heard the 1949 recording of it, well - - you simply must.

George Rock (left) on stage with
Spike Jones in 1946 ▶

Listen to:
Davey Crackpot & The Mexican
Jumping Beans
George Rock -
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White

Starlite Records 45, 1955
(click for audio)

Billy Barty was a recent inductee to Spike's gang when the B-side of this 45 was recorded.

As the Vaudevillesque Jones stage revue began to make the transition to television (and later back to stage), Barty was brought in to add to the comedic proceedings.

(click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)▶

In what would be eight years performing with Spike, Barty immediately became best known for his impression of a diminutive Liberace.

His latin-accented vocals on this track refer to
above-ground nuclear tests that were conducted during that era at the
Nevada Proving Ground.

The sight of the mushroom clouds had become a tourist attraction in Las Vegas, roughly 65 miles to the southwest.

Listen to:
Davey Crackpot & The Mexican Jumping Beans
Billy Barty -
No Boom-Boom in Yucca Flats

Starlite Records 45, 1955
(click for audio)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

(link:) The Modern-Day Mixtape Refuses To Die!

UPDATE - - Mixwit is no more. Too bad...

What a funny old world, in which some folk have concluded that the old cassette mixtape esthetic is worth preserving.

- - Or is it just 'retro'? Jeez, I'll bet it must be to some.

Anyhoo - - This morning I found the link to the Mixwit site.

(Thanks to Made in England by Gentlemen)

They let you create audio mixes from your own sources or ones they'll point you towards, then you get to design the look of your cassette tape - - either using one of several old-school 'skins' or by providing your own images. Then it's up to you how you'll share it, where you'll post it...

I love the visual touches of the turning 'gear' wheels and the 'tape' advancing to the end of the side in the window as it plays through.

The mixes I've posted here are all full of material that already exists somewhere in the ILTS archives, but who knows? I may examine these things again in the future...

I tried embedding a 'tape' in the footer at the bottom of my blog page, but it seemed just a tad awkward to leave it there. (and perhaps just a little buggy? Hmmm.)

There also seem to be some other tics to work out in how the labeling works and such - -

- - But still, I've played with it a few times today. It's fun, it's free, and play is a good thing! Have at it!

Thumbing through a friend's vintage paperbacks is good clean fun!

(click on cover images to ENLARGE in a new window)

◀ 'Ill Wind' by James Hilton (1932/1951)

'No Private Heaven' by Faith Baldwin (1949) ▶
Click here to read the back cover blurb

My friend Topic and I share several interests and manias, a bit of history, and often it seems,
a single brain. Spooky, sometimes.

Recently she was gracious enough to allow me to pull some classic paperback books off of her shelves, at least long enough to make a few quick cover scans.

The publication dates listed occasionally show the original copyright date along with the year the specific paperback copy was printed.

Thanks for sharing, Topic! I'd tell you that you rule, but you already know that...

◀ 'Something's Got To Give' by Marion Hargrove (1948)
Click here to read the back cover blurb

'Yesterday's Love' by James T. Farrell (1948) ▶

◀ 'Quartet In 'H'' by Evan Hunter (1956)
Click here to read the back cover blurb

'Ladies In Hades' by Frederic Arnold Kummer (Originally published 1928) ▶
Click here to see the Dell 'map-back'

◀ 'Nine And Death Makes Ten' by Carter Dickson (1940/1945)

'Jet Pilot' by Tedd Thomey (1955) ▶
Click here to read the back cover blurb

◀ 'The Bedside Corpse' by Stuart Friedman (1955/1957)
Click here to read the back cover blurb

'The Ant Men' by Eric North (1955/1967) ▶

◀ '6 From Worlds Beyond' edited by T.E. Dikty (1958)

'More Adventures in Time and Space' edited by Healey and McComas (1946/1955) ▶

◀ 'Valley of The Flame' by Henry Kuttner (1947/1964)

'Barrow Sinister' by Elsie Lee (1969) ▶

◀ 'Yoo Hoo Gaylord' by G.P. Toward (1967)
Click here to read the back cover blurb

'Women In The Shadows' by Ann Bannon (1959/1983) ▶

◀ 'Devil Girls' by Ed Wood, Jr. (1967)
Click here to see the back cover art

'Flesh Or Fantasy' by Ken Hall (1967) ▶
Click here to read the back cover blurb

◀ 'Sing, Boy, Sing' film novelization by Richard Vincent (1957)
Click here to read the back cover blurb

'Zsa Zsa Tells...' by Zsa Zsa Gabor (1971) ▶
Click here to read the back cover blurb

(click on cover images to ENLARGE in a new window)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 03/28/08

I returned several days ago from a truly wonderful trip back to the bay area, but I still feel as though I'm playing 'catch-up'. Maybe that's just my normal state these days?

Still, a few things caught my attention amidst the blur...

1. 'Be Seated?' - - A gathering of unusual chairs, like Livio De Marchi's
Sedia da sera,
cartoonist Gerald Scarfe's
'Chairman Mao' and a few others.

- Found at, via the appropriately-named Slideshows for your Website & Blog.

2. From the New York Times this past week: 'Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison'
- - Read this article!

It's a fascinating bit of audio archaeology, in which new technologies are used to make audible a visually represented sound recording from 1860.

Though never intended for audio playback, French inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's murky 10-second recording of a human voice singing the folk song 'Au Clair de la Lune' created on his 'phonautograph' predates Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph by 17 years, and Edison's earliest successful sound recordings by 28.

Adding to the fun of the tale of this artifact's discovery is that of the efforts of scientists at Lawrence Labs in Berkeley, California.

They used "...optical imaging and a 'virtual stylus' on high-resolution scans..." of the original 'phonautogram' - - the graphic sound-wave image captured by Léon Scott's device.

The odyssey and unlocking of this relic is made all the more profound merely by the action of having the brief 19th-century song snippet made available as an archived soundfile embedded in the text of the web article.

(Thanks to Joe Sixpack for sending along the link!)

3. Speaking of arcane noises, I can't say enough good things about a CD compilation I stumbled onto while I was on vacation:

'Intoxica! Strange and Sleazy Instrumental Sounds From the SoCal Suburbs' - - It made for great driving music!
Britain's Ace Records released this assortment of 1960's tracks from the Downey label back in '06.
The collection includes 'Comanche' by The Revels (which you might recall from the
'Pulp Fiction' soundtrack), along with 25 other 'boss' tracks by different lesser-known bands.

Ranging from gutty, raw & rocking, to quirky, outré, or just plain silly, the disc provides a good time!

- Read a CD review at E Man Grooving.

- You can read more notes and sample a couple of tracks at the Ace Records website.

4. As previously mentioned, here's a reminder that coming to one of the few remaining independent record stores that's hopefully still near you here in the U.S.;

It's RECORD STORE DAY - - April 19, 2008 !!

"On Saturday, April 19, 2008, hundreds of independently owned music stores across the country will celebrate 'Record Store Day.'

"On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.

"Plans are underway to set up special events at all of the stores on this day, as well as provide customers with a goodie bag that promotes new formats, new releases, and exciting information on music, theatrical, and gaming releases."

Click over to www.RecordStoreDay.Com for all the info you need!

5. As stated by Coudal Partners
(where I found this link), it's "...a huge gallery of VHS Cover Art from completely forgettable movies".

They neglected to mention (perhaps intentionally) that the gallery page is Swedish, and the cover art is often to the Swedish-released edition of an American film.

They didn't say '- - and it rocks', either. (Which it does.)

Golan-Globus, anyone? Vestron?

(click on rad images to ENLARGE in a new window)

6. A small update I should mention: The tail end of my previous blog post on 'The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.' (The 1953 live-action Dr. Seuss musical epic cult film) now includes a review of the latest version of the film to come to Region-1 DVD here in the US.

It shows up on the recently-released 'Stanley Kramer Film Collection' DVD box set, and includes some wonderful interviews and behind-the-scene photographs not previously available.

Those curious should follow the links...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

'I Almost Lost My Mind' b/w 'Stranded In The Jungle': Jayne Mansfield cover poses for Bell Records, 1956

This odd little 7-inch, 78-rpm record was the 2nd to be issued by the Bell label.

It was part of their series of 'budget' cover versions of songs from the current pop music charts, similar to releases around that time by the Tops record label, or by 'sound-alike' bands in the 1960's and '70's.

With a 49¢ price tag and some vaguely incongruous stock cheesecake photos on a slightly vertically-oriented outer sleeve, they likely were sold in variety stores and department stores rather than record shops.

According to a Bell Records page at a 'Good Girl Art' in Vintage Paperbacks website, Arthur Shimkin "...had started Golden Records in 1948 to complement the new Little Golden Books line from Simon & Schuster. In 1954 Arthur Shimkin also started the Bell Records label which, according to the jackets, was (at that time) 'Distributed by Pocket Books, Inc.'"

(Also follow the link to that 'Good Girl Art' page for more examples of early Bell sleeve art)

Listen to:
Dottie Evans
with Jimmy Carroll Orch. and chorus -
I Almost Lost My Mind

(Bell Records 7", 1956)

(click for audio)

- A beautiful song and perhaps one difficult to mess up, Ivory Joe Hunter had first recorded his immortal composition back in 1950.

- Follow link to All Music.Com for more info about orchestra leader Jimmy Carroll, and the busy schedule he kept in the 1950's and beyond.

Listen to:
Jimmy Leyden
with Jimmy Carroll Orch. and chorus -
Stranded In The Jungle

(Bell Records 7", 1956)

(Sorry, the file for 'Stranded In The Jungle' has been deleted.)

Speaking personally, I'm very fond of this decidedly 'whitened' version of The Cadets big '56 hit, 'Stranded In The Jungle'.

What it loses in 'down 'n' dirtiness' it makes up for in the way it retains the song's genre-mocking sense of humor.

(See also: The New York Dolls' 1970's revival)

- - And so is it just me, or did Bell Records intend for this to be a 'double B-sided' single?
Curiously, both on the label and the sleeve, each side of this record is labeled '2'.
Hmm, it's an interesting strategy...

Ownership of Bell Records would change hands in 1961, as it became a thriving label for soul, rock and pop music throughout that decade and into the early 1970's, picking up it's subsidiary labels, Amy and Mala, in the process.

In 1974, Bell Records, along with the Colpix and Colgems labels would be absorbed into the then-newly-founded Arista label.

- - And lastly but hardly leastly; Speaking of Jayne Mansfield in 1956, follow this link to a print ad featuring Jayne from the spring of that year, looking like it might be from the same photo session.

"So, How Old Is That In Blog Years??"*

Today I'm proud to announce that it was one year ago on this date that I posted my first blog entry on 'I'm Learning To Share!'.

That was when I grabbed a nearby jpeg to upload, wrote a few quick lines and posted it all as an initial attempt to figure out how this particular flavor of
e-soterica functioned.

The next few days and weeks were all about attacking the learning curve, as I picked up new skills on the fly and began dragging in bits and pieces out of my various collections to see if anyone out there could be interested in what I had to offer.

One year later, and I'm still happily learning new gimmicks and finding more fun crap to share with you all. It's a blast! - - and a labor of love.

Yes, it's just another silly blog; perhaps the last thing the world really needs, but this blog has become chief among my many obsessions, and the response it gets continues to amaze me and warm my soul.

It's the getting from the giving, and the happy results stemming from the unexpected twists and turns it takes.

On this first of hopefully several anniversaries to come, please allow me to extend my sincere thanks to you all for your visits, thanks for your insightful comments and kind words, and thank you for sharing!

Cheers. Here's to what's ahead.

Okay - - back to it. So much essential ephemera and necessary nonsense to share, so little time...

* (thanks to my friend Topic for the title)

Freshly-stirred links