Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looking at Phyllis Diller: 'The Unlikeliest Star' (1962 magazine article), plus 'Wet Toe In a Hot Socket' (1st LP, circa 1959)

Comedy legend Phyllis Diller has been in showbiz a long time, but her act and persona were just slightly different in her early days of stand-up.

Scroll towards the end of this post to hear tracks from her first LP, one of the few recordings to document some of those subtle differences.

In the magazine article below, Diller spoke about how her material changed, and how she came to performing comedy relatively late in the game.

'The Unlikeliest Star' first appeared in the March 31st, 1962 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

It was written by Alex Haley
(14 years prior to the success of his book, 'Roots:
The Saga of an American Family'), and included photographs by Jack Fields .


San Francisco's busy cellar night spot, the hungry i, the dressing-room buzzer signaled stage time for the nation's top nightclub comedienne, Phyllis Diller. Thin, freckled and forty-four, Phyllis answered the buzzer with a vibrant Bronx cheer and gave her hair, peroxided a glaring white, a few last licks with a brush. She pushed a pastel pink cigarette into a long, fake-jeweled holder and then flipped a ratty fur piece over her forearm.
Briefly she held still, grimacing and cawing as if she were being garroted, while her husband Sherwood clasped a glittering, bib-sized rhinestone choker around her neck. In the dressing-table mirror, above the photograph of her five children, she looked like someone's raffish grandmother caricaturing Cinderella.

Phyllis reached the stage with a rubbery lurch, and the packed audience burst into laughter. "A woman hits forty," she drawled, "going ninety miles an hour. It's very embarrassing - - you and your mother approaching the same age from opposite directions." She staggered slightly and curled an arm over her head. "You're looking at a Slenderella reject!" she announced. "Honey, I went from baby fat to middle-age spread so fast I didn't have a good five minutes. If I had, I would have given a party."
For the next twenty-five minutes Phyllis had the women in the audience shrieking, The zany comedienne was their gal, satirizing in herself their own familiar frustrations and harassments as women and housewives.
"Everything I tell you about me has happened, honey," she declared, dangling high her tacky fur piece. "My stole! Isn't that pitiful? How unsuccessful can a girl look? People think I'm wearing anchovies! The worst of it is, I trapped these under my own sink!"
The women howIed as Phyllis lit into the loutish, make-believe husband she calIs 'Old Fangface.'
"This creature - - everything that goes wrong is his fault! Last night he put the car in the garage backwards! That shot the hell out of my map. This morning I drove out of the wrong end, going the wrong way on a one-way street. When I finally got home, you should have seen Fangface! He wanted to know how I had driven into the kitchen. I'd made a left turn from the dining room, of course!"
With her audience warmed up, Phyllis proceeded to murder the notion that women are made of sugar and spice. Smacking her overflow midriff, she cracked : "Middle-age fallout, kid! It's a human blouse."
A beauty-shop receptionist had told her: "Lady, we do repairs, not reclamations!"
"That ugly, insulting broad!" snarled Phyllis.
"She's had so many face-liftings there's nothing left in her shoes."

Eleven years ago Phyllis Diller was a housewife, penniless and demoralized. Today audiences pack nightclubs to hear her, and millions have seen her on television - - on the Jack Paar Show alone over thirty times. Her strongest appeal is to women, but men appreciate her too. Her cult of admirers is swelling steadily. They throng her shows, buy thousands of her LP record album, Phyllis Diller Laughs, and send her fan mail. She now earns as much as $5,000 weekly.
Phyllis plunged into show business in 1955, a thirty-seven-year-old Alameda, California mother of five with no professional experience. She swept to success as a comedienne because early in her career she had the perception to satirize her own domestic experiences as a woman facing middle age, and struck a theme which many modern American women respond to in an extraordinary way. "When I open my mouth, they know I'm one of them," Phyllis says, "and from that second we both can feel that two-way radar going belween us. We girls are compatriots with ten thousand things in common. I'm just the one onstage talking for us."

Phyllis's yen to entertain began as a girl in Lima, Ohio, where she grew up the only child of an insurance sales manager and his wife. As an adolescent coloratura, she won praise for school and church concerts, balancing any frustrations she had because she was not, as she puts it, "the type that boys had to lash themselves to masts to stay away from." After high school Phyllis attended both Northwestern University and an advanced school of music in Chicago. Secretly she practiced a popular repertoire, hoping to sing for nightclubs. But impresarios never let the plainlooking co-ed even finish asking to audition. Disgusted with singing, Phyllis returned home, intending to go to a business school; but her parents insisted that she get a music-teaching degree at Bluffton College in Bluffton, Ohio.
Late in Phyllis's senior year, a fellow student who lived in Bluffton introduced her to his brother, Sherwood Diller. "I took just one look at Sherry and started planning a large family," Phyllis says frankly. In November, 1939, they eloped, then settled in Bluffton. Phyllis returned to her studies for two more months in order to get her degree.
A son Peter was born three months before Pearl Harbor. The Dillers moved to Alameda, California, and Sherwood became an inspector at the Alameda Naval Air Station. In their small apartment in a jerry-built housing project, Phyllis embarked upon a decade of "working as hard as I think it is possible for a woman to work. I scrubbed, washed, ironed, mended, cooked and had babies. There was never enough money."

When Phyllis's father died, her mother came to Alameda and invested her modest inheritance in a big, old house. The first floor was turned over to the Dillers, the second floor to four retired boarders, and two third-floor rooms to Phyllis's mother. The Dillers' financial pressures were eased, but Phyllis's burdens were quadrupled by the added task of playing cleaning woman and nursemaid to the aged, crochety tenants. "They wanted the kids kept quiet. I'd be scrubbing their halls and toilets and have to dash downstairs to answer our phone for their calls."
When, in March, 1949, Phyllis's mother died, Phyllis inherited the big house and the family's place back in Ohio. A local real-estate woman suggested selling both properties to buy a small house plus a second for rental income. Phyllis and Sherwood trustingly let the agent trick them into signing away everything they owned. In the' ensuing mess, the woman was imprisoned and the Dillers moved into a house with a small down payment and a heavy mortgage.
"It was a nightmare," Phyllis recalls. "Sherwood took a second job as a night watchman and a third job, driving a taxi on weekends." Soon, though, exhaustion caught up with Sherwood. He was found asleep on his night watchman's job and lost it. The mortgage company dunned them for late payments, the grocer finally refused credit, and the utilities companies threatened. "I just hurt worrying about getting enough food and clothes for our five kids," says Phyllis. "But there was something worse. Sherry and I fought constantly. We were giving the kids a negative start in life. I even thought of divorce."

Incongruously, during this bleak time Phyllis created the style of comedy that makes her so successful today. "To hide our awful mess from the neighborhood, I acted as if I didn't have a care. I think I began being funny almost unconsciously." In the corner Laundromat Phyllis began cracking jokes and satirizing the housewife's life for the women waiting for their clothes to wash. They found Phyllis so hilarious that, encouraged, she would burst into the Laundromat with roses taped to her ears, yards of frothy tulle around her neck and battered cooking utensils as props for spontaneous takeoffs on her sad lot.
The tension inside Phyllis exploded early one Sunday evening. Neither she nor Sherwood can remember what trivial incident made her scream at him, slam out of the house and walk, she thinks, for miles. Passing a strange church, she turned back. "Something forced me," she says. As she slid down in the last pew she heard the minister reading: "Whatsoever things are true... whatsoever things are pure... think on these things."
"The words seemed to be addressed directly to me, as if God Himself were giving me a message," Phyllis says. To the dismay of her Laundromat audiences, she did not entertain for the next several weeks.
"I stayed home," she says, "having skull-and-soul sessions with myself and reading self-help books. Before, I had always scoffed at claims that anyone could change his life for the better by positive thinking. But considering the shape we were in, I was willing to try anything.
"I didn't change my life overnight, but at least I glimpsed what I had to do. I had to stop wallowing in negative thoughts about what a hard time we were having. I knew I had to think and work in positive ways with the good things I had my healthy, obedient children and my hardworking husband. As a start, since we so desperately needed money, I had to go out and get a job." Phyllis hired a friendly Negro woman who loved children. "Mabel Bess took right over while I got dressed to see the editor of the San Leandro News-Observer." Phyllis convinced him that the paper needed a shopping column and that she could write it. Soon Phyllis won a better-paying job writing advertising for a department store. Later she became a continuity writer for Oakland radio station KROW, then went on to station KSFO in San Francisco as head of merchandising and press relations.

During the workday Phyllis entertained her coworkers with the old Laundromat routines and new ones she had developed, "It was fun for me now that I wasn't hiding something, I was really just being myself."
Phyllis clowned often for her family as well. "When I quit nagging at life, our home burst with real living." Time and again, after a spontaneous performance, Sherwood would say, "You ought to turn pro, Phyllis."
Phyllis insisted that a chasm lay between her homemade acts and professional comedy. "But Sherwood was kindling my old dreams far more than he ever suspected. I kept thinking how positive thinking had helped me succeed in jobs I'd never have dared try previously, and I began asking myself why it couldn't work in show business." One lunch hour, while window-shopping, she astonished herself by making a down payment on a silver-sequined sheath. "It just struck me as the kind of dress I'd wear in show business."
Phyllis argued with herself for weeks before making up her mind. Then one evening she said, "Sherry, I've been thinking - - we've got to talk." After sixteen years of marriage, he knew her pattern.
"You're ready," Sherwood said.

A drama coach helped Phyllis develop skits. He concentrated on her own natural delivery and style. Each night she locked herself in her room with a full-length mirror and a tape recorder. After nearly a year Phyllis gave KSFO her notice. She requested an audition at The Purple Onion, a small, popular
San Francisco basement club noted for hearing new talent. Luckily her audition came just before the club's comedian went to New York for a TV show. She was hired as a substitute.

The evening of March 7, 1955, fighting fright with prayers for strength, Phyllis walked out under her first nightclub spotlight. Slithering around a piano, she spoofed Eartha Kitt's song 'Monotonous' with her own version, called 'Ridiculous'. She lampooned soprano
Yma Sumac, clowned with a zither and cracked topical jokes based on newspaper items. The Purple Onion audiences applauded politely, but offstage, in the sour glances of bartenders and waiters, Phyllis saw the real verdict, which she knew she deserved. "I'm just not good enough, Sherry," she said. "I've got a thousand things to learn."
But she had only two weeks in which to learn them - - until the regular comedian returned. Each night she tested new bits of patter, new gestures and preposterous rubbery expressions, to see which made audiences laugh most. When the regular comedian came back, the Purple Onion's manager, Barry Drew, said, "Phyllis, you've got something. We're going to recall you soon."
Appreciative audiences soon moved Phyllis to top billing. The Purple Onion loved her, and newspapers, calling her "San Francisco's own Phyllis Diller," began to quote her cracks. "You know what keeps me humble? Mirrors! I considered changing my name when I entered show business-but with a face like this, who cares?"

During this time, I dropped by the Onion and met Phyllis between shows. It was astonishing to hear the outlandish funny woman credit "positive thinking" and her family's cooperation for making her a comedienne. I asked what she predicted for herself, and she looked at me levelly. "In five years, I'll headline for the i."
The hungry i was named for the original "hungry intellectual" clientele from which colorful
Enrico Banducci built his famous cellar club. Only a block from the Purple Onion, it was miles away in terms of its comic headliners, such as Mort Sahl, Bob Newhart and Jonathan Winters.
But Phyllis erred in her prediction. She played the i less than three years later.
After a record eighty-nine weeks at the Purple Onion, Phyllis signed with a booking agent who seasoned her in small bistros across the United States. She rapidly grew more poised and polished. Dropping the songs and impersonations from her act - - "they sagged the pace" - - she replaced them with new, slicker versions of her onetime Laundromat humor.
Beaming toothy greetings, for example, she would open an imaginary door. "Honey, talk about an upset Fuller Brush man! He didn't even come back for his car!"

Phyllis's fervent housewife following had swelled her drawing power; in late 1958 her agent brought her to the Bon Soir in New York. With eye-rolling shrugs, scowls, staggers and a roostercrow laugh, Phyllis worked full time, poking fun at the trials she and her compatriots encountered: "Nowadays, if your kids dynamite the house, they're insecure! It's all muzzie's and dadsie's fault. Honey, let me tell you about a childhood shakeup. When I was three, my folks sent me out for bubble gum, and while I was out, they moved!"
Nightclubs across the nation were offering Phyllis top fees when in the summer of 1961 she received her bid from the hungry i.

I visited her just after she returned to the West Coast for her hungry i debut, We sat by the pool of the house she had rented near San Francisco, and she looked on happily as her youngsters swam and played. Though every day she had called them long-distance from wherever she was, she had not actually seen them for months.
"They're fantastic 'kids," she once said to me suddenly. "God's been good. You know, on the road different women will say to me, 'What a pity you can't spend more time with your children.' You know what I tell them? I say that with my kids it hasn't been how much time, it's how much love! People who see me clowning never would believe I breast-fed all five of my babies, You can't find a more old-fashioned modern mother than I am! We worried when I had to have Sherry with me as manager, and the kids went to live with his sister in St. Louis. Those kids helped make my career, and it's proved just great for them too,"

Phyllis continues to write all her own material, jotting down whatever she sees, hears or thinks her audiences might find "pleasantly hysterical." In a limousine, whizzing past a roadside sign, NO LITTERING - $50 FINE, she scribbled the words on a card, adding "How much can a poor, pregnant cat make?"
On stage Phyllis ad-libs easily. Once when a loose underarm shield slid down inside her sleeve, she blithely extracted it and tossed it on the piano, crowing, "I'm stripping from the inside!"
Women in the audience, fully aware how undependable underwear can be, were convulsed.

Phyllis has had her share of failures. "Honey, I've been smashed!" After one night, the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami fired her. She flubbed a Hollywood screen test and once, after three rehearsals, the Steve Allen Show dropped her. But Phyllis never once considered giving up, "I've had fear thoughts - - I'm only human. But every fear thought and I battled it out eyeball to eyeball, and I won." In Phyllis's next try at Hollywood, she got the bit part of Texas Guinan in Elia Kazan's 'Splendor in the Grass'.

To laugh at Phyllis is really to admire the courage of all "we girls" who cope every day with the problems of being a woman and raising a family.
During her triumphant San Francisco homecoming, the Purple Onion astonishingly displayed large signs, PHYLLIS DILLER ACROSS STREET AT HUNGRY I.
The Purple Onion's manager, Barry Drew, shrugged when asked to explain.
"It's just the Onion's attitude about Phyllis. If you know her, she's therapeutic."



- A couple of notes: Phyllis and Sherwood Diller divorced in 1965, and, as seen in the Diller Family swimming pool photograph, 15-year-old Suzy Diller (contrary to popular myth) did not grow up to be actress Susan Lucci.

- Regarding this article and Alex Haley's visits with Diller at SF's Purple Onion and The hungry i comes an entry in the book 'Frommer's Memorable Walks in San Francisco':

"...(Diller) was still struggling when she played a 2-week engagement (at the Purple Onion) in the late
"Alex Haley tried to intervlew her during that engagement and she told him 'No, not yet, baby. I'm not big enough for you to be able to sell it and you're not big enough to get it sold in the right place.'
"Six years later, while working as a reporter for the Saturday Evening Post, Haley saw that Diller was playing at the hungry i, so he went in and knocked on her dressing room door.
"She jumped out of her chair and hugged him saying 'Baby we've made it!' (She also was one of the first people to contact Haley after his success with 'Roots'.)"

- And of all things, from 1979, view a copy of a hand-written note to Diller from Haley.

As promised, here's some audio for you from that first
Phyllis Diller album, featuring much more of a 'classy' (?) cabaret feel to it...

From the Phyllis Diller LP
'Wet Toe In a Hot Socket'
(recorded live at The Bon Soir, with The Three Flames and an introduction by Jimmy Daniels)
(Mirrosonic Records, circa 1959),
Listen to:

Cesspool of Culture / I'd Rather Cha Cha Than Eat
Cornflakes On The Rocks / Guess Who I Saw Today
I Hate Cheap Beauty Parlors! / Today Will Be Yesterday Tomorrow
Thrift Flight / To Keep My Love Alive
Wet Toe In a Hot Socket / Just Like A Man

- - OR download all 5 tracks in one 31.1 Mb zipfile.

See also:
- You can preview the chapter on Phyllis Diller from Gerald Nachman's
'Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s' at Google Books.
(Looks like the Post article may have been among Nachman's reference material)

- For a smattering of info and images regarding the Bon Soir in NYC's Greenwich Village, emcee
Jimmy Daniels and musical trio The Three Flames, follow links to the Barbra Streisand Archives, Philosopedia.org, and some 'Stateside Gossip' reminiscences by Warren Allen Smith of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Traveler by Hitachi: 'It'll turn you ON!' (1967 print ad)

Attached extension speakers that swing-out from this 1967 portable AM/FM stereo's 'single compact unit' evoke the promise of the Boomboxes that Hitachi and everyone else would begin marketing in the '70s.

- - Don't you think so?

(click on image to ENLARGE in a new window)

See also:
The Vintage Boombox and Ghetto Blaster Museum at Pocket Calculator Show.Com

Hi-Fi Boombox: 1954 at Shorpy,
The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog

(link:) 1922 children's book illustrations by Dorothy Lathrop at Golden Age Comic Book Stories

(Reposted from 'Brief Window')

Follow link to Golden Age Comic Book Stories for lots of gorgeous artwork by American illustrator Dorothy Lathrop (1891 - 1981),
from 'Down-adown-derry: A Book of Fairy Poems'
by Walter De La Mare, published in 1922.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

(link:) Tons of 'Ren & Stimpy' Production Music at Secret Fun Blog!

(Reposted from 'Brief Window')

Oh, Joy!

Perhaps this is old news to some, but it was exciting and new for me when I stumbled onto it recently.

It's a huge, fun trove of old production library music - - specifically, stuff that had been put to such great use back in the '90's as incidental cues and background in different episodes of the old 'Ren & Stimpy' TV show.

Praise be to Kirk at Secret Fun Blog (a subsidiary of his thrill-tastic Secret Fun Spot) for making almost 7½ hours of a wide variety of instrumental tracks available for download in two great 'unofficial' collections.

Assorted themes are grouped by mood.
The majority of this familiar material has been used time and again going back at least to the 1950's in TV commercials and in radio, movies, and other cartoons.

Predictably, not included are the pieces of music by Raymond Scott that were used in 'Ren & Stimpy', which have a more discernible 'life of their own'.

For many, myself included, what's here is almost like the subconscious soundtrack to our lives.
Beyond any Ren & Stimpy nostalgia, this pile of music represents 'a million household uses'.

Go! Check it out now!

Follow links to:
- Ren & Stimpy Production Music. Vol. 1

- Ren & Stimpy Production Music. Vol. 2

Nicolas Bentley illustrations web round-up

Nicolas Bentley (1907 - 1978) was a British cartoonist, illustrator and author who worked primarily from the 1930's through to the '60's.

His earliest commercial art was produced while working for Shell Oil in the late 1920's.

Disliking the world of advertising, he moved into book illustration, establishing himself early on by providing artwork for (family friend)
Hilaire Belloc's 'New Cautionary Tales', published in 1930.

Bentley's notable illustration credits also include the 1940 edition of T. S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.

Bentley was also much loved in Britain for cartoons that appeared there in magazines and newspapers, but his work is largely unknown here in the U.S.

I love Bentley's style!

I hadn't heard of Nicolas Bentley until recently, when it was suggested that he might have been the uncredited illustrator for some images I'd posted from an old Berlitz language instruction textbook.

I can certainly see the resemblance, though I remain unconvinced.

I can also see the similarity in styles cited when his work has also been compared to Al Hirschfeld and to Gluyas Williams, but I think Bentley has some strongly unique qualities, too.

I wish there were more examples of Bentley's work available online. Hopefully we'll be seeing more in the future.

- For what can be seen, a great place to start are the Illustrations from the 1948 book,
'How to Scrape Skies'
, posted at GoofButton.com

- Following that there is a wonderful 'small collection of his work' to be found at the extensive
Alphabet of Illustrators. Included there are some beautiful examples of Bentley's color work and endpapers.

Also worth mentioning are:
- A few drawings from an exhibition at Chris Beetles Gallery

- An assortment of Nicolas Bentley book jacket illustrations on view at flickr.

There are a few other random individual illustrations that can be found around the web, but those seem to be the more significant ones.

If you spot any others, be sure to let us all know!

See also:
- A previous post about British commercial illustrator / surrealist painter
Victor Reinganum, a compatriot of Bentley's.
Together they formed the Pandemonium Group in 1926; a loosely knit group of "bright young things" that held regular exhibitions at the
Beaux Arts Gallery.

ADDENDUM, 11.23.08: I've just posted scans of Bentley illustrations from an old copy of
Lawrence Durrell's book, 'Stiff Upper Lip'
that I found recently.
(follow link)

- Here's one more Bentley illustration for the stack here, from a 1940 issue of Britain's Lilliput magazine, found at Yesterday's Papers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Samuel L. Jackson: Pop Culture Icon and Muse

(Reposted from 'Brief Window')

Samuel L. Jackson has the distinction of being an actor who's fun to watch, even if a few of the movies he's appeared in are virtually unwatchable.

He can transcend dreck with talent and likability.

I'd like to call your attention to the video-clip roster I found recently at Blog of Hilarity:
'The 11 best film moments of Samuel L. Jackson yelling'
(via IMDb)

In putting together this post I was having trouble finding a photo of Sam in the act of raising his voice.

That was surprising enough, but more surprising were the amount of caricatures, portraits and other creative visions of Mr. Jackson's features that can be found on the net.

You can click on these upper five ▲ to be taken to info about the artists or the image's origins...

... while these bottom few ▼ are results from a 2006 '6 Degrees of Samuel L. Jackson' photoshop contest that ran at Worth1000.com.
Follow the link to marvel at dozens of other results!

Saying goodbye to Summer: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

This past Monday was the first day of Autumn.

You wouldn't necessarily know it around here these past few days, but there have been some indications recently of Summer beginning its retreat.

I'm only getting around to sharing it now, but on Monday My Friend Topic was kind enough to send along a poem to mark Summer's passing.

I hope the poem resonates with you as it has with me...

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

- - from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Four Gay Kitchens (1956)

This one-page photo-article appeared originally in the March, 1956 issue of Family Circle magazine.

(Click on image to ENLARGE in a new window)

The kitchens shown remind me of my mother.

Not just because I think she probably would have found them a bit ghastly, but because she loved the word 'gay'.

My mom was born in 1925 in San Francisco, and lived in the bay area all of her life.

I never knew her to be homophobic, but I do recall how she would occasionally voice her slight resentment at how popular usage changed the the common meaning of 'gay'.

So she continued to use it, convention be damned!

She enjoyed many things that were brightly colored, showy, festive, cheerful in nature, or pleasant in disposition (though again, she may have felt differently about these kitchens), so I can see where she'd have missed losing such a perfectly succint word.

I guess she felt it still had good mileage left on it...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Print Ads for NYC fine dining, 1962

It's 1962, you're in NYC, and the question is;
Where to eat before attending that big Broadway show?

- - Or perhaps where to grab a drink after...?

These ads appeared in the same issue of Theatre Arts magazine as last week's Zero Mostel photo spread...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clay Tyson - Man On The Moon

Clay Tyson was a second-string stand-up comedian in the 1960's, known primarily for having toured with the James Brown Revue.

(Click on image ▶
to enlarge in a
new window)

Specializing in 'Chitlin' Circuit'-styled humor, he released a couple of live stand-up LPs; 'Up Tight' on the Chess label in 1965, and 'Straight From the Horse's Mouth' on Atco in '67.

- Follow link to Get On Down With The Stepfather Of Soul for more about Tyson and his King label singles.

Listen to:
Clay Tyson -
Man On The Moon

(King Records 45, 1968)
(click for audio)

- For a more militant but logical late-sixties 'follow-up' to Clay Tyson's bit of social commentary, see also 'Whitey On The Moon', Gil Scott-Heron's 1970 cover of
The Last Poets' 1969 proto-rap response to the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bill O'Malley cartoons from Extension Magazine (1946 - '47)

I found these cartoons in a few old copies of Extension Magazine, 'the Catholic Saturday Evening Post', that I came across recently.

(Click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

Bill O'Malley was a prolific cartoonist, producing a lot of work for many American magazines from the 1940's through the 1960's.

I've seen several of the old paperbacks collecting
Bill O'Malley's 'Two Little Nuns' series of cartoons, but personally I don't recall seeing his more 'secular' work - - or even panels that didn't feature the nuns.

You can learn more and see a few more examples of O'Malley's artwork at Christopher Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery,
and another small example at Mike Gray, Pencil For Hire.

(For the puzzled, I'll venture this 1946 cartoon ▲ refers to leaving behind military service, post WWII)

- Again, for any who might be puzzled by the reference;
'Open the Door, Richard' was a popular R&B song (derived from an old vaudeville routine) first recorded by
Jack McVea in 1947.

Cover versions of the song were subsequently recorded by several other artists that same year, and the title became a popular catch-phrase.

- You can listen to a version of 'Open the Door, Richard' by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five at Rhapsody.Com.
(follow link)
- - And as you might guess from the cartoon, in 1947, Rev. Richard R. St. John was an Associate Editor of
Extension Magazine.

▼ ADDENDA, 4.18.09: Another 'secular' WWII-era O'malley panel found, not in the pages of Extension, but from the Sept. 29, 1945 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

Freshly-stirred links