Saturday, May 31, 2008

78s fRom HeLL: Allen Miller and his Modern Men of Music - Gossip (circa 1942)

There's a puzzling lack of information out there about band leader Allen Miller - - a situation that won't be changed by this blog post, unfortunately.

Nevertheless, here's a jaunty little instrumental, reminiscent of Raymond Scott or John Kirby.

Enjoy! (Record skips and all)

Listen to:
Allen Miller and his Modern Men of Music - Gossip
(Hit Records 78, circa 1942)
(click for audio)

Friday, May 30, 2008

San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915: 'Official Program' Guidebook, plus documentary video

San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, a great World's Fair ostensibly meant to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, though San Francisco's agenda was to show the world that it had truly recovered from the devastating effects of its 1906 earthquake and fire.

Much of the real estate that the fair occupied was on landfill created just for the event, and is now in the City's Marina District, with the lovely landmark
Palace of Fine Arts being the only structure still left (after much restoration) from the 1915 fair.

(click on images to
ENLARGE in a new window)

Included here are scans of an 'Official Program' guidebook printed for the day's events of
June 22nd, 1915.
(Thanks to My Friend Topic for sharing this treasure!)

(⬇⬇ click on links below to view pages in a new window)

inside front cover
page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
pages 12, 13 - gatefold map (shown above ▲)
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
inside back cover
back cover

Bonus: Below, ⬇ scans of a
four-page program to an organ recital given at the fair on
June 26th, 1915.
(click on links below to view pages in a new window ⬇)

Recital program, page 1 (shown)
Recital program, page 2
Recital program, page 3
Recital program, page 4

Below, ⬇ links to a 27-minute video documentary about the PPIE, in three parts.

Follow links to:
1915 Panama Pacific Exposition doc, part 2 of 3
1915 Panama Pacific Exposition doc, part 3 of 3

- For still more, follow link to The PPIE website, a lovingly presented trove of 1915 Exposition info and images.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 05/30/08

Greetings from Enterprise, Oregon!
My travels continue. I spent a few wonderful days in Spokane, Washington, where I discovered that it's grown up and increased it's coolness considerably since I last visited back in '92. Who knew?

I stayed at a friend's place in the Browne's Addition neighborhood and enjoyed morning walks around the eclectic and historic homes and the proximity to Spokane's downtown and Riverfront Park.

A roundabout route headed back to Boise has taken me into Wallowa County, in the northeast corner of Oregon.
Amazing scenery in a quiet and idyllic location off the beaten path.
This is where my Dad grew up, and I'm happy to say I can see what he saw in it.

Travels continue next week, when I'll be heading off to Seattle and that neck of the woods.


1. Several showbiz folk have passed away recently, and it affords some brief opportunities to remember their work.

An interesting assortment of passengers aboard the trams headed for Judgement City; In addition to Harvey Korman and director Sydney Pollack, we've also just lost contemporary folksman / activist
U. Utah Phillips, jazz organist supreme
Jimmy McGriff, and composer Earle Hagen.

(I still maintain that there's a way to combine Hagen's famous 'Harlem Nocturne' and his theme to 'The Andy Griffith Show' into one
whistle-accented southern-noir tune.)

One departure I just heard about was that of film actor
John Phillip Law.

He died a couple of weeks back, at age 70.

- Follow link to John Phillip Law's obituary at The Independent

Law is best remembered for the small splash he made in some memorable 1960's and early '70's films that have attained cult status, including 'Barbarella', 'Skidoo', 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' and in the title role of 'Diabolik'.

For me though, he'll always be Kolchin, the young Russian sailor of 'The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming' in 1966.

As a kid, as much as I'd laugh at my older sister and her friends for swooning over how 'dreamy' he was, it wasn't hard to see what they meant.

John Phillip Law sort of disappeared after that period, though mostly it was from American screens as he found more regular work in European film.

It was a huge treat to see him show up in Roman Coppola's 'CQ' back in 2001, as that film was such an homage to exactly the sort of fare that had made Law famous.

2. Speaking of late celebrities, please take a trip over to Bedazzled! for a look at Merv Griffin's headstone and an embedded mp3 of his cautionary drug anthem 'Have a Nice Trip'.

3. Some very welcome impending release news came through recently from, stating a September arrival for a DVD set collecting the first two seasons of the diabolically funny 'Duckman' animated series, going back to the mid-nineties.

Hurray! Can't wait!

4. Skipper Bartlett, everyone's pal, and like, the mayor of Like...Dreamsville has broadened his blog scope.

Skipper has extended an invitation to join him now in
The Rumpus Room.
A first peek at it's early stages reveals plenty of eye-candy. Currently on view is plenty of retro space-age stuff.

Follow the link and check it out! Blast off!

Harvey Korman, 1927 - 2008. So Long, Friend.

Comic actor Harvey Korman has left us, at age 81.

A great straight man and second banana, a flamboyant voice artist from animated cartoons.

Immortal and perfect as Hedley Lamarr in 'Blazing Saddles', and supremely enjoyable to watch during many 'unprofessional' moments of lost composure on TV's
Carol Burnett Show.

Follow links to:
- YouTube 'search results' for Harvey Korman moments on
The Carol Burnett Show
and with Tim Conway.

- Harvey Korman at IMDb

- Harvey Korman obituary from SF Gate

There was a time when Korman popped up in a variety of places on TV, in starring, co-starring or smaller supporting roles, and was game for comedy that was subtle or way over the top.

One curious career credit was Korman's TV appearance on 1978's Star Wars Holiday Special.

He played a few roles in that baffling trainwreck of essential viewing, but what sticks with me is his surprisingly earnest, pathos-filled turn as 'Krelman' the alien in the cantina sequence, playing opposite Bea Arthur. (See below)

It's a strange moment (granted, among many), and a bizarre place to find Korman showing a side not often seen...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jackie Wilson - Do Your Thing (1968)

Soul singer Jackie Wilson's career had faltered just a bit in the 1960's; His voice and performance style were still amazing, but he'd had some trouble weathering changing trends in pop music.

This 1968 LP came the year following a resurgence with his hit single 'Higher and Higher', which was essentially his last career highpoint.

With a great sound crafted by influential producer Carl Davis and Eugene Record (of The Chi-Lites), it's a sweet album overall, though perhaps a bit typically 'schizophonic' with respect to song choices - - mixing semi-current Rock hits with splashy 'big room' showpieces.

From the 'Do Your Thing' LP (Brunswick Records, 1968),
Listen to Jackie Wilson:

To Change My Love
This Guy's In Love With You
Why Don't You Do Your Thing
This Bitter Earth
Light My Fire
That Lucky Old Sun
With These Hands
Hold On, I'm Comin'
Eleanor Rigby

- - OR download all 10 tracks in one 27.7 Mb zipfile.

See also:
Jackie Wilson at All Music.Com

Mr. Excitement - The Official Jackie Wilson website

Monday, May 26, 2008

Clyde Crashcup Comics by John Stanley (1964 - 64)

Some recent nostalgia for sixties-era Chipmunks and 'The Alvin Show' cartoon got me jonesing for the misadventures of inventor Clyde Crashcup and his intrepid assistant, Leonardo.

Before long, I'd dug out some of my old, tattered issues of the funnybooks printed by Dell Comics way back when.

The comic book version of Crashcup was created by John Stanley, much-beloved artist and writer of
Little Lulu and so many other characters.

Below are a few tidbits to enjoy...

(clicking on links or images will ENLARGE pages in a new window)

(click on links to open pages in a new window ⬇⬇)

⬅ 'Clyde Crashcup invents The Broom',
from issue #3 (1963)

(The Broom, page 1)
(The Broom, page 2)
(The Broom, page 3)
(The Broom, page 4)
(The Broom, page 5)
(The Broom, page 6)

(click on links to open pages in a new window ⬇⬇)

⬅ 'Clyde Crashcup invents Sports',
from issue #4 (1964)

(Sports, page 1)
(Sports, page 2)
(Sports, page 3)
(Sports, page 4)
(Sports, page 5)

(click on links to open pages in a new window ⬇⬇)

⬅ 'Clyde Crashcup invents Hi-Fi',
from issue #5 (1964)

(Hi-Fi, page 1)
(Hi-Fi, page 2)
(Hi-Fi, page 3)
(Hi-Fi, page 4)
(Hi-Fi, page 5)
(Hi-Fi, page 6)
(Hi-Fi, page 7)
(Hi-Fi, page 8)

See also - -
- A couple of animated Clyde Crashcup episodes available at YouTube:
'Crashcup Invents The Bathtub'
'Crashcup Invents The Ship'

- - and more John Stanley at:
- 'Beatsploitation in Kookie #2', a previous post on this blog

- The Stanley Stories blog!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Zorro Five - Reggae Shhh! b/w Reggae Meadowlands (1970)

There's not much data at hand about this group.

However, via some online searches, the consensus about this UK 45 indicates that though reggae purists disparage the simplistic and mercenary 'bandwagon-jumping' executed by this purportedly
all-white British group, that same funky simplicity has filled dance floors and made this single a fairly sought after hunk of plastic.

I like it.
It's got a good beat and I can dance to it.

Listen to:
Zorro Five - Reggae Shhh!
(UK Decca 45, 1970)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
Zorro Five - Reggae Meadowlands
(UK Decca 45, 1970)
(click for audio)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 05/23/08

Greetings from Klamath Falls, Oregon!

I'm holed up in my hotel as I write this, happy to be off the road and out of a buffeting wind.
My seasonal hayfever has been acting up, too, so at the moment I'm all for road-tripping at a leisurely pace.

It's my time for travelling just lately, with many loopy journeys ahead. It gets confusing in description...

Having left Idaho a few weeks ago to return to my native SF bay area for some reconnaissance, the path now takes me off to Spokane, Washington, to celebrate a special friend's special milestone birthday. I should arrive there Friday or Saturday.

From Spokane, an interlude back in Boise will then take me off again to Seattle for a niece's graduation from the University of Washington, with hopefully some sidetrips to Portland, Oregon and
Vancouver, B.C. while I'm roosted in the neighborhood...

Thursday morning I hit the road from Redding, California, after checking out their truly impressive Sundial Bridge located at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park on the Sacramento River.

Completed in 2005, the footbridge is a successfully elegant blend of art and architecture, affording many interesting views of it's many swooping angles. - - And it's a functioning sundial, too, even if it only comes close to being accurate a few days a year...

As I made my way north on a truly gorgeous (if windy) day,
Mt. Shasta continued to loom into view at various points, its peak often obscured by clouds.

(click on image to ENLARGE) ▶

What else has been appearing along my path this week?
Let's see, now, as I recall...

1. 'Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address'.

The perfect tiny feelgood human interest story, and apparently it's even true.

2. Slated for release on DVD in September is
'Ken Russell at the BBC',
a 3-disc set showcasing some of the flamboyant British director's early television work, prior to his 1969 breakout with 'Women In Love'.

It sounds intriguing; 6 historical biopics presented in a unconventional style intended to shake up the staid normality of the genre as traditionally seen on the BBC up to that point.
Oliver Reed stars in two of of the films.

For details, follow the link above or click over to
Britmovie - the British Film Forum.

3. I received a friendly note with greetings from Mats in Norway, who has kindly shared some obscure music he's found - -

"On a flea market I stumbled upon a black, Dymo-labelled tape that said "Swedish women's songs", presumably from the '70s - - the golden age of hardcore feminism.

"I knew that listening to something like this nowadays could be pretty amusing.

"Being a Norwegian
(which is similar to Swedish)
I understand the lyrics, and they turned out to be very tragic, often with raw, explicit language.

"In example, one song's lyrics is simply:

'You can get knocked up, my mother said
but I only f*** when I 'm in love
you're in love once a week, my mother said'
(song # 1 on the mixtape)

"While another one goes like this:

'There once was a guy that would
have children right away
but he didn't have time to stay
so now I'm a single mother'
(song # 5 on the mixtape)

"And all of this is accompanied with sad, upbeat or just beautiful, flute-heavy melodies.
"So, even if you don't understand Swedish, the songs will be worth a listen :)"

- Follow link to the anonymous 'Swedish women's songs' mixtape.

My favorite track so far is #8, 'Karar og karar för hela slanten'...

Many thanks, Mats! An interesting mix, even if I don't understand the lyrics. (Or perhaps because)

An intriguing balance of plaintive & melancholy with raucous and raw.

It reminds me a bit of what the DELAY 68 label has tried to accomplish on their
'Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word' CD compilation and other projects.

Can anyone out there share any info on the details and origins of this collection of songs?
Drop a line, thanks!

4. The amazing one-man-band rockabilly madman Hasil Adkins rocketed out of this life back in 2005.

During his early days of home recording back in the 1950's - - before he'd decided that if you want a strange job done well you do it yourself - - he submitted many of his songs to some of the top country artists of the era.

Click over to WFMU's Beware of The Blog and view
The Hasil Adkins Rejection Letters.
Included are images of notes received from Johnny Cash,
Ernest Tubb, and Hank Snow.
Their loss was our gain.

(Via Bedazzled!)

For more Hasil around the web, see also:

- The official website, Hasil Adkins.Com

- Hasil Adkins bio page at All Music.Com

- Several of The Haze's tunes can be heard at the
Hasil Adkins MySpace page, including my all-time fave,
'No More Hot Dogs'.

At YouTube, an Adkins documentary:
'The Wild World of Hasil "Haze" Adkins', Part 1 of 3
'The Wild World of Hasil "Haze" Adkins', Part 2 of 3
'The Wild World of Hasil "Haze" Adkins', Part 3 of 3

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A history of annoyance: You too can sell car alarms! (1930 print ad)

An item so necessary, it practically sells itself!

If you thought car alarms were an ineffectual disturbance now, imagine what they must have been like in Depression-era America...

(click on image to ENLARGE in a new window)

See also: Some more info on the history of car alarms and the text of vintage newspaper articles at the Silent Majority; Citizens Against Car Alarms website.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Terry Jacks - Put The Bone In (1974)

'Put The Bone In' may be the best example of what constitutes 'the perfect B-side'.

On its Bell Records 45 release in 1974, the song was paired with Canadian singer / songwriter Terry Jacks' hugely popular one-hit wonder, 'Seasons In The Sun'.

In the 1960's, Jacks had some minor success performing and recording with The Chessmen, a rock band based in Vancouver, B.C.

By the end of the decade he'd paired with singer Susan Pesklevits (soon to be Susan Jacks) as part of the sunshiny-pop group, The Poppy Family.

That group released a couple of albums and had charting hit records in Canada and the U.S., but the band (and the marriage) dissolved in 1973, just prior to Jacks' solo success.

The Terry Jacks release of 'Seasons In The Sun' altered many lyrics in its translation of a song originally written and recorded by Jacques Brel in 1961.

Part of the success and notoriety of the record was likely due to its combination of overt over-sentimentality and an air of mystery surrounding possible interpretations of the story it tells.

This blend speaks to the way in which a huge Top-40 radio hit does not necessarily need to be a masterful composition of beauty or subtlety.

On the perfectly 'throwaway' B-side to the single, Jacks amplified all those qualities of the 'hit' side, but added crypticism and an air of innuendo that leaves one wondering how firmly his tongue may (or may not) have been planted in his cheek all along.

Listen to:
Terry Jacks - Put The Bone In
(Bell Records 45, 1974)
(click for audio)

- For more on Terry Jacks and 'Seasons In The Sun', follow links to Super Seventies RockSite and allmusic.Com.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Sunday afternoon pilgrimage to Kimono My House

Located in Emeryville, California, for over 20 years, Kimono My House is a very special store specializing in Anime & Sci-Fi Toys.

Though I am someone intrigued by the vast world of Japanese animation and fantasy culture, I remain largely ignorant of many of the details of that world.

- - And so for me, a trip to Kimono My House is like going to an odd museum full of fascinating and cryptic curiosities.

It had been a good long while since I last visited.
Mid-'90's, maybe?

The intrigue begins as you climb a couple of flights of stairs until you emerge outside onto the roof of the nondescript warehouse building where you'll find the store perched.

The sensory overload begins as you enter the door.

Speaking personally, my lack of knowledge regarding most of the items within only serves to enhance the experience.

If I understood all of what I was seeing would it hold the same wonder?

An Ultraman soap dish and Ultraman bathroom air freshener, a glimpse of McDonald's employee dolls and the mysterious 'Boyfriend Tom', a truly spooky and incongruous
George Burns, a shelf load of Gameras, and SO much more.

What does it all mean?

And finally, after much searching and wonderment, a few small choice bits of swag that needed to come home with me.

Essential items, all. ▼

Freshly-stirred links