Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heavy Metal Memories:Turning pages, 1977 - 1981 (flickr link)

- Please follow this link to my flickr set of 101 images gleaned from a stack of old Heavy Metals!

Heavy Metal first saw print in the U.S. in 1977, almost 3 years after the original French comics magazine,
Métal Hurlant ('Screaming Metal') had been created.

Flipping through the pages in my own mounds of old issues, I found that it's not just the stories that bring back memories (perhaps a bit faded, a bit dated) - -
it's the ads and other bits and pieces that make the experience.

Follow the link to a completely non-definitive glance at some of those memories, often having very little to do with the actual content of the magazine. (Whaaa??)

I drew the line (for now) at 1981.
The magazine was changing then, and I was recently out of high school, so I suppose I was too...

- - And for other HM reference, follow links to:

- The official Heavy Metal website, which includes material pertaining to the current magazine, as well as galleries and other features from the magazine's history.

- A Heavy Metal Magazine Fan Page

- A Heavy Metal Cover Gallery

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mingo 2000 - Out Of Our Way (1994)

In the unlikely event that the subject of Mingo 2000 should come up in conversation, memories of this mid-'90's band would likely elicit comparisons.

'Like a west-coast version of
Combustible Edison, with maybe a dash of
Man Or Astro-Man', for instance.

From what I remember of what I could glean at the time, I'll guess they were a bay area band, or perhaps from a bit further south...? Or am I way off?

In what I recall as a casually understated manner, Mingo 2000 emerged right smack at the very beginning of the 'lounge revival' around 1994, did some touring, put out this snappy ten-inch record, and fairly quickly evaporated as the scene heated up. They may have been blind-sided by bigger bands with more calculated 'concepts'.

I saw them play once as the opening band for Combustible Edison at Bimbo's in San Francisco, and I think there was a bit of bemusement from the headliners when Mingo 2000 played a couple of tunes they'd planned on performing - - So, two versions of Nina Rota's 'Cadillac' that evening.
No problem, just like-minded spirits doing their thing.

I also have a fuzzy memory of sitting on a couch in the East Bay and watching Mingo 2000 perform in someone's living room around Halloween - - which was enchanting, but I was unfortunately pretty 'fuzzy' at the time...

From the
'Out Of Our Way' 10" LP
(Mable Label Records, 1994),
Listen to Mingo 2000:

Frankie Machine
Hawks and Sparrows
War of the Satellites / Let's Dance The Jet
(side one lead-out lock groove)
Beat Girl
Tesla's Menses

- - OR download all 9 tracks in one 21.7 Mb zipfile.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Whitney Darrow, Jr. illustrations for Woman's Day magazine's guide to the 1964 New York World's Fair

Cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr. was part of 'the old guard' at
The New Yorker.

His stint there was among the longest; He was 24 years old when the magazine first published one of his cartoons in 1933.
1,500 + cartoons and several covers later, he retired from The New Yorker's pages in 1982.

His work appeared over the years in many other magazines, in advertisements, in children's books, and in this case, accompanying a piece on the 1964 New York World's Fair that appeared in the July, 1964 issue of Woman's Day.

(click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

- Text to the article 'Come One, Come All, Come to the New York World's Fair' continues...

Follow links to:
- page 83
- page 84
- page 85

Dedicated to
"Peace Through Understanding," and "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe", the fair was located at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens - - the same site as the 1939 New York World's Fair.

(Click on fair guide pages below to read enlarged text in a new window)

(click on map image to ENLARGE in a new window)

(Click on fair guide pages to read enlarged text in a new window)

For more info on the '64 Fair, the wikipedia entry has some great links to video footage and photos, and you may also wish to visit a previous 'vintage vinyl' post on this blog; 'The Wayfarers at the World's Fair'.

Regarding cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr.,
follow links to:
- Darrow's obituary in the New York Times, from 8/12/1999

- A gallery of Darrow New Yorker cartoons

- A gallery of Darrow's book covers and illustrations at PBase.Com, including his poster for the '64 NY World's Fair.

- a 1943 TIME magazine article about Darrow

- Circa 1955, Whitney Darrow's lesson from the Famous Artist's Cartoon Course, via Matt's Morgue

- A Leif Peng flickr set, archiving Darrow's artwork in 2 mid-1950's Chase & Sanborn magazine ads

Sunday, April 27, 2008

78s fRom HeLL: Cliffie Stone and his Barn Dance Band - Wabash Blues (with crying by Stan Freberg) b/w Peepin' Thru the Keyhole (1948)

Cliffie Stone was a larger-than-life jack-of-all trades on the Country Music scene in Southern California during the 1940's and '50's.

Singer, musician, band leader, disc jockey, radio and TV host, record producer, manager, A&R man, music publisher - - It seemed he was everywhere.

While under contract as a performer with Capitol Records, in 1946 he became one of their A&R men.

Several of the folks he was working with simultaneously on any of his several radio shows were soon under contract with Capitol, including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Hank Thompson and others.

The first side of this record includes a small bit of vocal breakdown from Stan Freberg, in one of his earliest appearances on a phonograph record.

Young Freberg was working as a comedian and vocal effects artists in Los Angeles at the time, and was a regular for several months on one of Cliffie Stone's radio programs, a morning show called
'Coffee Time at Harmony Homestead'. He was also providing some voices in Warner Brothers cartoons during this same period.

By the end of the decade and the beginning of the 1950's, Freberg's own novelty records would begin appearing on Capitol, while he and Daws Butler were also puppeteering and doing voices on TV's 'Time for Beany'.

Listen to:
Cliffie Stone and his Barn Dance Band, with crying by Stan Freberg -
Wabash Blues

(Capitol Records 78, 1948)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
Cliffie Stone and his Barn Dance Band -
Peepin' Thru the Keyhole (Watching Jolie Blon)

(Capitol Records 78, 1948)
(click for audio)

See also:
- Cliffie Stone bio at All Music.Com and at the Country Music Hall of Fame

- Official Website of Cliffie Stone

- A Stan Freberg Discography

- Previously on this blog - - Stan Freberg and the Mystery of Ronald Long

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Summer Frocks and Fashion for 1925 (magazine spread)

Below: Some ladies summer fashion pages from the July, 1925 issue of The Pictorial Review.

(click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

As is the norm, changing times bring about changing fashion.

Modes of fashion in the 1920's saw a gradual move away from conservatism as men and
newly-empowered women began to wear more casual attire.

For much of the decade though, the style of women's clothing was used to mask the contours of their bodies.

Roughly simultaneous with the fashions shown in this spread, the pendulum was just beginning to swing in the direction of clothing meant to accentuate a woman's natural curves, rather than hide them.

Ida Rosenthal was a Manhattan dressmaker among those who led the charge.

She said, "Nature made woman with a bosom, so why fight nature?".

Rosenthal is credited as being the inventor of the modern brassiere.
You can read a bit about her and the success of her company in a previous post: 'I tried dream analysis in my Maidenform bra, plus Ida Rosenthal and The American Dream'.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Skeets McDonald - Goin' Steady With The Blues (1958)

Country and Rockabilly artist Skeets McDonald (1915 - 1968) was one of the 'founding fathers' whose music helped bridge the gap from Country music to Rock & Roll.

Beginning in the mid-1930's he'd performed in and around Detroit, Michigan, and on local radio up until 1943, when he was drafted into service during WWII.

In 1951 he moved to Los Angeles and made radio and TV appearances on Cliffie Stone's 'Hometown Jamboree', which soon led to his recording contract with Capitol Records and his 1952 hit, 'Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes'.

From the
'Goin' Steady With The Blues ' LP
(Capitol Records, 1958 /
EMI-Pathé Marconi import reissue, 1981),
Listen to Skeets McDonald:

Goin' Steady With The Blues
Gone and Left Me Blues
Yard and a Half of Blues
You're There
Hawaiian Sea Breeze
Tomorrow Never Comes
Blues In My Mind
My Room Is Crowded
I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Lost Highway
I'm Sorry Now
Fort Worth Jail

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 12 tracks in one 27.4 Mb zipfile.

See also:
- Skeets McDonald bio page at Allmusic.Com and at

- Follow link to YouTube for a 1959 TV clip of Skeets performing 'What a Lonesome Life It's Been'

- Skeets McDonald's 'Heart Breakin' Mama' at Johnny One-Note's Earcandies.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 04/25/08

1. First to business, with several blog updates to report:

◀ - Rather than featuring extinct links that lead to dead ends, the old post regarding illustrator Robert McGinnis has been amended, and currently directs readers to vibrant sites showing fine examples of his work.

- 'Ask the man who drives one'... ▼
The post concerning unanswered questions about
Peter Sellers and his mechanical elephant now includes some information shared by a previous owner of just such an animal...

- New additions to the
Michael J. Pollard Shrine add several more images from various points in the actor's career. ▶
- By request, the flip side ▲ to
Polly Possum and Joe Wolverton's 'Sin in Satin' 78
has been added for your listening pleasure.

On to other important items that have surfaced recently - -

2. Two choices: Are you ready to show your support for 'The McLovin' Fund'?
- - Or are you ready to make your own Judd Apatow movie? (both via IMDb)

Speaking of which, I thoroughly loved 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', and am SO looking forward to 'Pineapple Express' - - Basically, I've been an easy mark for all of the Apatow Posse since
'Freaks & Geeks' was on the air getting great reviews and bad ratings.

- - And so it's very cheering indeed to read of Jason Segel talking about putting together a new Muppet movie.

A delightfully unlikely pairing, and I never thought I'd be happily anticipating a new Muppet anything...

3. Cartoonist Dan Piraro's own BizarroBlog now features his daily 'Bizarro' newspaper strip in full color and annotated by Mr. P hisself. (Via Drawn!)

Great news for us folk who can no longer stomach picking up a newspaper.

4. A bit of welcome news on the Herbie Popnecker front:

Due for release later this year is the Herbie Archive Volume 1 hardcover edition, to be published by Dark Horse Comics.

As originally published by ACG, it's the classic and strange 1960's 'unlikeliest super-hero' comics from writer Shane O'Shea and artist Ogden Whitney.
224 pages in full color, collecting the character's earliest appearances.

It'll mean Herbie being available to the masses again, not merely the intrepid collectors!

5. I tend to be a sucker for any story about another skirmish with the FCC's policies toward the utterance of expletives on radio.

The Radio Business Report recently ran a piece:
'President Clinton goes blue on noncom radio'.
It's an interesting little story, bringing up possible problems with rigid rulings and blanket penalties.

(Thanks to Marshall Stax)

6. Below: ▼ The li'l Japanese gal rocks the Kansas at her recital!
(YouTube link via Coudal Partners.)

I sent that video link around to some friends a few days ago.
If she's taking requests for future performances, Johnny Savage would like to hear
'Bohemian Rhapsody', Stairway - - of course, and 'Devil Went Down To Georgia'.

Joe Sixpack requests side two of the 'Abbey Road' album.

Myself, I'm thinking The Band's 'Chest Fever', and Deep Purple's 'Highway Star'.
- - Okay, and maybe Edgar Winter's 'Frankenstein'...

- - But wait! There's more.

In response to that video above, my old friend Rosie Palm (a.k.a. Lady J) has countered with another YouTube link to a different Japanese take on American Top 40 - - Do please check it out!

Follow link to: We Aren't The World. At All.

Freshly-stirred links