Archive - December 2008
Fred's MySpace Page Contents Page
Who Fred?
It's HERE!!!!
Read about my book!!!!!

December 31st, 2008
Back in the waning hours of 2002, scant minutes from the onset of 2003, this website was launched. That means that we've been doing this for six years now, which doesn't seem like all that long a time--until you consider it's a full one third of daughter Julie's life! So, we pause for a moment of self-indulgent reflection to mark this quasi-notable occasion, and thank those of you who stop by regularly for your continued interest.

Truth is, MY continued interest wobbled a few times this past year, but thanks to discovering my own belated enthusiasm for linking to YouTube videos, I'd have to say I'm feeling about as fresh sitting in front of the keyboard as I have in many a year!! Ironic, too, since I seem to dimly recall a mini-rant I went on several Decembers back, flailing against the then new rage of embedding videos on blogs!! Well, we're still not embedding 'em--too technical for our particular personal set-up--but FINALLY, I get the appeal. I was wrong, and if any fellow bloggers out there found themselves offended by my anti-YouTube bluster, my sincerest apologies. Just call me "Freddy-come-lately"...

But in the year ahead, it won't be ALL video links--I've got plenty of commissioned pieces that I've been keeping under wraps simply because I've just been too plain lazy to post 'em. But as you'll all surely need breathers between assorted Jerry Lewis and Beatles clips, I promise to share more of my art with you, if only for a change of pace. And who knows? I may even post additional anecdotes taken directly from my own remarkably uneventful life!!

(Um, though clearly, I'd pray for that Paul McCartney singing his John Lennon tribute instead if I were you...)
December 30th, 2008
Jerry Lewis is one of our more--um, how should I say?--touchy celebrities.

Sometimes you really can't blame him though. Like, for instance, the night he was performing in Brooklyn, and a young fellow in the audience asks to do his own Lewis imitation for him. Jerry seems wary, but intrigued enough to invite the kid up on stage.

Big mistake.

True, he sure SOUNDS like Jerry, but....

Well, see for yourself--I'm sure you can spare the minute and twenty-one seconds.

No, this didn't happen on TV, but luckily, someone in the crowd brought along a camcorder and caught the whole thing on tape for posterity (AND for YouTube...)(oh, and don't be distracted by the shaky images up front--things soon settle down).

I ask you, is it any wonder that I continue to be fascinated by the raw nerve in a tux that is Jerry Lewis?...
December 29th, 2008
Don Adams as Maxwell Smart.

Al Lewis as Grandpa Monster.

Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett.

Ken Osmond as Eddie Haskell.

Barbara Billingsley as June Cleaver.

And Bob Denver as Gilligan...

TV icons, one and all, stars of programs that spanned the late fifties on into the early seventies. But would you believe, nearly twenty years ago, they all appeared together, in character, in costume, even riding in Jed's old jalopy, in a big budget, wide-screen spectacular?

Would you believe an episode of "The Love Boat"?...

How about a series of McDonald's commercials?...

Even vegetarian baby-boomers will get a chuckle or two from these fairly amusing ads (note though, that the last two clips are virtually the same as a pair of earlier ads in this half dozen or so clip compilation) (2:44).

I for one never saw these before, despite all the tube-gazing I do.

Apparently, back in '89, I missed them by THIS much...
December 28th, 2008
Regular readers of Hembeck. com know that, around these parts, the Christmas season is just a warm-up for that REALLY big day--Stan Lee's birthday!!

Well, friends, that time is here once again, and this time around, besides wishing our fearless leader the happiest of cake and candle celebrations, I thought we'd combine the occasion with my latest obsession--YouTube--and jump into that ever popular video way-back machine for a brief survey of Stan Lee down through the ages!!

We'll start with these
silent Fifties era home movies of the entire Lee family (3:02). LOVE that hat Stan's wearing in the opening shot! And is it just me, or does the lovely Mrs. Lee seem to be a dead ringer for a brunette Norma Jeane Baker in this clip? Plus, where ELSE are you gonna see the godfather of Googum, son of Goom, JUMPING ROPE???

Then there's
the 1965 Merry Marvel Marching Society Record, as wonderfully animated by Matthew Hawes (5:47). This clip made the rounds on plenty of comics blogs a few years back, but there's no way I could pass up posting it here as well!! Were it audio alone, it'd be a classic. With the visuals edited in so terrifically, though, it's a flat out masterpiece! Excelsior, Mr. Hawes!!

Stan is at the very top of his form in this 1977 CBC interview (3:04). Most of the host's questions (is that Lee Leonard?...) appear to be edited out--which is likely all for the best, based on the few that remain--allowing the viewer to enjoy pure, undiluted Stan at his most engaging!! True, if you were to closely examine some of the comments made here regarding satire, well, they might not stand up very well--but good golly gosh, everything just SOUNDS so right, so who really cares?...

Stan talks about officiating the 1987 Wedding Of Spider-Man and Mary Jane at NYC's Shea Stadium on "Good Morning America" with the happy couple and Spencer Christian, followed by a short clip from "Entertainment Tonight" of the actual ceremony (4:59). I hear tell the folks at Marvel recently negated the whole thing, said it didn't happen, but--aha!!--here's video proof that it DID!! (There's no mention of the actual game played by the Mets that evening, by the way, which was notable for three things: it was the first, belated start of the season for ace pitcher Dwight Gooden, who had just finished serving what was the be, unfortunately, the first of several suspensions for drugs; outfielders Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra ran together in a memorably horrendous crash that, somehow miraculously, caused neither any lasting injury; and future comics neo-legend, Ron Marz, was in the Shea Stadium press box that very night, the guest of writer friends at The Kingston Freeman, the local newspaper he was employed by at the time. Whew--I'd sure like to see Stan try and put all THAT in a footnote at the bottom of a panel sometime!!...)

Just about every Marvel movie has featured a cameo bit by Stan, and for my money, the best one of all appeared in this summer's Robert Downey, Jr. blockbuster--but did you know there was more to it than what ultimately turned up on the screen?Here's the lost "Iron Man" cameo, 2007 (1:58). Is it funnier with Stan and "Stark"s excised lines reinstated, where it's obvious "Tony' made a mistake--or does keeping Stan mum, thus giving the comics geeks in the audience a knowing wink (hey, WE know that's not Hef!) all the more hilarious? Hard to say, but all I know is that I sure laughed out loud at the scene, along with a few other True Believers scattered throughout the theater...

And lastly, who better to bring to a close our video overview of Stan Lee than a recent chat with the still very lovely
Joan Lee, aka Mrs. Stan? (7:38) Among the secrets behind the comics she reveals is that Stan sings incessantly around the house!! When I passed this choice nugget of info along to MY missus, Lynn just rolled her eyes--I do that too, y'see. Not Irish folk songs, maybe--I'm partial to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", Beatles' tunes, and the "Candid Camera" theme, among others--but it might help explain a bit more why I consider Stan such a kindred spirit! Truly, a delightful interview, well worth checking out!!

That's it for our links, but there's plenty more of Stan on YouTube should you feel like rooting around their archives.

But let's not forget that Stan made his name in print, not video, and he's still out there, gracing the literary world with his many effortless turns of phrase. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the pantheon of literature in the year 2008 came in the form of his dynamic (yet tender) foreword to a little thing called The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus (copies still available!!)!

(And yes, I'm betting that the notion of using the occasion of his birthday to shamelessly plug a book of my own would bring a wide ol' grin to the face of Smilin' Stan, don'tcha think??...)

So, in long-winded conclusion, the very, very best to you, sir!!

Facing front always, I remain, now and forever, a True Believer.


December 27th, 2008
l love talk shows.

And right up at top of the list of my favorite talk show guests is comedian Norm McDonald.

Part of the reason is because, well, I think he's funny. But more than that, unlike a vast majority of the folks who sit down next to the various hosts for a quick five or six minutes of carefully choreographed faux spontaneous chat, Norm always seemed more than willing to say whatever popped into his head, no matter how outrageous. And his wide friendly grin combined with the innocent, nice-but-naughty-little-boy tone of his voice made whatever scandalous remarks he cheerfully delivered somehow even more hilarious.

Amazingly enough, perhaps his funniest moment came not as the featured guest back in May of 1997, but after he'd already moved down the couch to ostensibly give way for Conan O'Brien's second guest of the evening, Courtney Thorne Smith.

Ms. Smith was finishing up a five year run on the popular nighttime soap. "Melrose Place" at the time. Though that program would ultimately continue for two more years, she'd elected to leave, with the upcoming season finale to be her swan song. What sort of projects did she ditch a highly successful small screen franchise for?

Romantic lead in a big screen comedy.

Opposite Carrot Top.

That's right--she left "Melrose Place" to play love prop to Carrot Top!!

Well, the interview--already liberally sprinkled with Norm's constant input--goes into comedic overdrive when THIS little fact comes out!! And it doesn't reach its zenith until Norm, challenged by the host, adds one last zinger to the proceedings at interview's end!! Conan's reaction is priceless--and I'd have to bet, truly spontaneous!!

Here's the whole seven and a half minute Norm/Courtney/Conan mash-up!

(And don't feel TOO bad for Ms. Smith--she recovered nicely, slipping almost immediately into another long run appearing on "Ally McBeal", followed by playing opposite Jim Belushi on the still in production "According To Jim"" (gee, maybe we SHOULD feel sorry for her....). And while Carrot Top never made it as a matinee idol, he's done alright for himself as well out in Vegas. Truth is, I usually find HIM a great talk show guest as well...)

Bonus Norm McDonald clip for Pokemon fans only: the opening sequence (2:46) from an episode of his late, lamented--and generally hilarious--sitcom, "Norm".

This bit isn't all funny, but as someone who lived through daughter Julie's intensive Pokemon phase, it IS remarkably accurate, and not the sort of thing that was receiving much attention, parody-wise, elsewhere on network TV. And, if memory serves, it stands alone from the rest of the episode, so you shouldn't feel as if you're missing anything without having access to the remainder of the show.

We don't see much of Norm on the tube these days, and I for one miss him dearly. After all, no one else can make the phrase "crack whore" sound quite as endearing...
December 26th, 2008
Back in the early sixties, she may've looked like the teenager next door, she may've shed a few tears when she caught her boyfriend kissing another girl on her birthday, she may've reveled in her revenge when it came time for that selfsame same girl to cry, but make no mistake--Lesley Gore had spunk!

And if you don't believe me, just watch this stunning one minute and forty-eight second live performance (that's right--NO lip-syncing here!!) of "You Don't Own Me"! Great stuff!! I ask you, is this woman in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--and if not, WHY not?...

Speaking of which, I generally don't like to watch old clips of singers lip-syncing, but The Shangri-Las miming their biggest hit, "Leader of the Pack" on a 1964 episode of "The Steve Allen Show" (3:10) is a definite exception.


Well, you might recall that the sounds of a motorcycle repeatedly revving up plays a key role in the recording. Makes you wonder exactly who plays THAT integral part in this little dramatization, huh?

Let's just say a leather jacket's sure a long way from Camelot!....
December 25th, 2008
December 24th, 2008
I realize that, in most of the world, Santa hops aboard his sleigh on Christmas Eve and begins his long journey around the globe, but hereabouts we have us ANOTHER local tradition--about two weeks before the big day, the Jolly Fat Man in the Red Suit circulates throughout our neighborhood perched atop a firetruck, it's siren joyfully blaring the whole time!! As the welcome squeals approach, kids of all ages (and yes, goofy adults like myself, armed with their digital cameras--I took the above pic myself, for a changenot confiscating an image from off the 'net) run out onto their lawns to wave at ol' whitebeard!! Merry Christmas, Santa--and hey, is that your hose, or are you just happy to see me??...

We have a holiday tradition of our own here at, and if you're new to the site, you may want to take a look.

It's called The Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, Many, MANY Faces Of Santa Claus! I haven't updated it recently, but there's still plenty Nick noggins to keep you mesmerized while the old gent slips down your chimney and deposits a little coal in your stocking! Ho ho ho, as they say!!

Now, a correction. Yesterday, we erroneously informed you that Betty White appeared on the 1958 Donna Reed Christmas episode, saying the phrase "dear" in her best Happy Homemaker tone of voice!! Well, regular correspondent Ted Watson points out she said no such thing, and he's certain that that's not the future Sue Ann Nivens either!! Well, he's one hundred percent right on the first count--I really shouldn't write these things from memory--but as to his latter declaration, well, I dunno. He's PROBABLY right, but just listen to the vocal inflection on her last two lines of dialog--sure sounds like the condescending tone Mary Richards became all to familiar with a decade plus later!! Can you blame me for making such a logical mistake? Well, yeah, I suppose you can, but be nice--it's the holidays after all! (Thanks, Ted--there's enough bogus info on the 'net--we don't wanna turn this into Hembecpedia after all!!)

Also related to yesterday's posting is a neat little story passed along courtesy of Richard Bensam--it's a faux McCartney and Wings song recorded for the recent comedy flick, "Role Models", which, as the composer, Charles Gansa, explains in the article that accompanies the tune (yes, you can both listen to AND read about it!!)

“Before I started writing, I was given this title, ‘Love Take Me Down (to the Streets),’ and I thought about how a Wings song would approach that idea. I wanted to make a silly love song about going to get a prostitute. I wanted to have that love-song approach that Paul McCartney brings to almost anything. I wanted to bring this light, cheery view to, you know, being a john.”

Not John Lennon, I'm assuming.

(Oh, yeah--here's the link! Almost forgot!)

Thanks, Richard. And thanks to all of you for stopping by--we wish each and everyone of you the happiest of holidays!!
December 23rd, 2008
A couple more Christmas-oriented video links for you all to enjoy before the big day finally arrives...

Some may consider "The Night of the Meek", a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone penned by creator Rod Serling, sentimental holiday clap-trap.

Maybe, but it's well-written, effectively acted sentimental holiday clap-trap!

Art Carney--aided by a top-notch supporting cast that includes John Fielder and Burt Mustin--stars as a department store Santa who viewers first encounter sitting on a stool at the local bar, drowning his (and by extension, our) sorrows. Preachy? You bet, but pretty much on target throughout. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'd totally forgotten about this episode over the years, but it all came back to me as I watched it again last night for the first time in decades. As much for its star as its script, this has just GOT to be considered one of the very best Christmas themed episodes ever to grace the small screen.

Here's The Twilight Zone Santa show part 1, part 2, and part 3.

The 1958 Christmas episode of The Donna Reed Show could also be considered sentimental holiday clap-trap--only of the insipid variety.

Why then do I make note of it? Well, three reasons, which I'll share with you in ascending order after I give you a quick recap of the plot: Donna assists in throwing a Christmas party for the kids stuck in the children's ward of the hospital where her doctor hubby works, enlisting Charly the Janitor to play Santa, thereby helping all discover the true meaning of the season. The end.

1. We get a quick glance at the cover of a comic book one of the bedridden kids is reading, and it appears to be an issue of Captain Marvel. Fawcett had pulled the plug on The Big Red Cheese several years earlier, so clearly, that kid's got himself a true collector's item!! Or maybe just a really beat-up old copy, left laying around for years...

2. Though her name isn't listed on the end credits--nor does this episode turn up on her imdb resume--I'd bet my bottom dollar that that's Betty White as the nurse who informs Donna she's about to go off duty in a short scene midway through. The way she calls Ms. Reed "dear", well THAT was the giveaway--the famous Sue Ann Nivens hairstyle is nowhere in sight, but there's no mistaking that "Happy Homemaker" vocal inflection!!

3. Charly is played by silent screen immortal Buster Keaton!! So, if you've ever longed to see Buster in a Santa suit, well, here's your chance. Otherwise, I'm sad to report, he doesn't bring anything special to the performance--it could've easily been done by any number of the familiar comedic character actors of the day (and better, probably)--but it's still something you don't see everyday, so I figured it was worth noting. Charlie Chaplin never guested on Mr. Ed, after all...

Donna Reed meets Buster Keaton part 1, part 2, and part 3.
When it comes to Beatles music--solo or as a group--save for the earliest days, I've always gravitated more towards Paul than John. However, there's no denying that, in the Holiday tune composing sweepstakes, John (and Yoko's) movingly anthemic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" easily outstrips Paul (and Linda's) repetitious ditty, "Wonderful Christmas Time", both in cover versions recorded as well as critical respect earned. Still, after a rocky start, Paul's slight little number has hung in there, making itself nearly as much of a holiday perennial as his former bandmate's earlier recording. But outside of a version included on the Barenaked Ladies holiday collection--an instrumental performed on what sounds like a child's toy in less than two minutes, that by all appearances is done as a goof--I hadn't encountered any cover versions of the song.

Then I went to YouTube.

While there are several versions to be found that simply duplicate the original arrangement, with the singer subbing in their own note-for-note vocal for Paul's, there were a pair that take a radically different approach, shedding new light on the tune (and frankly, making me appreciate it a whole lot more).

Sung by the Boys Air Choir--led by a vocalist who clearly hasn't yet hit puberty--the song is given an unlikely ethereal quality, miraculously almost transformed into an actual hymn!! There's a beauty to the melody that McCartney's own sing-songy delivery managed to obscure. It still ain't "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", but it's getting there.

Going entirely in the opposite direction, a young lady by the name of Demi Lovato gooses up the tempo enough to deliver a version that clocks in well under three minutes and sounds like it was played by Joan Jett and sung by Lesley Gore!! And again, it sounds like a pretty darn good song--whoda thot?...

I should point out that the above two "videos" have little more than still pictures to look at, being posted primarily to get their audio some much needed publicity. But if you have a little over eight minutes--and you've been drinking enough eggnog to shame Santa Art Carney, you may want to take a gander at this simple single camera-shot performance video posted by a feisty lounge band called The Kustard Kings.

They do a medley that includes the Macca tune, as well as the Beatles "Christmas Time Is Here Again", finishing up with an exuberant "I Want To Hold Your Hand". I'm currently reading the memoirs of Geoff Emerick, the Fab Four's long-time recording engineer, and he's of the opinion that it was their exhilarating performance of this very song--their fifth single--that really put them over the top with the public. And watching this motley group of baby-boomers (with Santa on vocals) gleefully belt out their version--handclaps joyfully included--I'd have to say I agree with him. Say what you will about "Wonderful Christmas Time", anybody who co-wrote a song like "I Want To Hold You Hand" deserves a whole heaping helping of our respect!!

Even if, especially at Christmas, the Beatles AREN'T bigger than Jesus...
December 22nd, 2008
Friday, we had our first snowfall of the season, and it was no piddling amount--it dumped somewhere between 6 and 10 inches on most of upstate New York. Coincidentally, Julie had her last final of the semester that day, but luckily wasn't scheduled to head for home until Saturday, which promised to be precipitation free.

Originally, the mom of another HWS student who lives nearby was going to make the round-trip to pick them up on Saturday, but she came down with a nasty flu a few days before. Having made the drive herself just after Thanksgiving, Lynn couldn't bear to do it again so soon, so the girls took a bus down to Monticello--about three quarters of the trip--where Lynn and I were waiting to take the them the rest of the way. Why? Well, the bus only made a single stop between Geneva and Monticello, but between there and here, there were enough stops scheduled that the distance that took us an hour and a quarter to negotiate would take the bus three times that! So it seemed like a good idea to meet them part way, and it was--plus, everyone saved a few bucks on the fare!!...)

Our daughter's last visit was pretty much over before we knew it, but this one's gonna last nearly a month! Not that Julie's easing into things--she had me sledding at nine o'clock last night, an activity we repeated again this evening. Tomorrow its sleepover fun with the girls, so maybe I'll get a break. I won't count on it, though...

Hey kids--what about comics?

Yeah, we still mention those things here on the blog from time to time--or more specifically, send you off on a link that does. Y'see, over at Tom Spurgeon's The Comics Reporter, he asked the question, "Name Five Memorable Comics-Related Things About 2008 (A Book You Read, An Experience You Had, An Event That Made You Take Notice -- Anything That Would Help You In The Future Recall This Year."

You'll find my answer (amongst many others) by going here.

Lastly, did you know Elvis has a new Christmas album out? Elvis Presley?...
Actually, it's Elvis's OLD Christmas album, only each track now has a vocal provided by a current female country star festooned onto it. And no, I DIDN'T buy a copy--I'm a moderate Elvis fan, but hey, a guy's gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE!!...

However, there is this video you just HAVE to see!! (Hah--and you thought there was no YouTube link today? Wrongo, friends!...) It's Big E duetting with Martina McBride on "Blue Christmas", and lemme tell ya, this thing is absolutely astounding!

Now, usually, when you see one of these duets with the deceased, there's some of visual indication--sometimes subtle, sometimes not--that a portion of the tune is coming at you directly from the great beyond, but not here! Taken from the segment of Elvis's legendary late sixties comeback special where he's sitting on a small stage with a couple of his musician buddies, surrounded on all four sides by the audience as he casually belts out one classic after another, watching this clip would give the uninformed no indication whatsoever that Elvis is no longer in the building!!

The King starts it off all by his lonesome, but midway through, Ms. McBride approaches the stage, singing her part as she does, with shots of excited audience members and even a quick smile from Elvis himself to greet her!! Really!! Later, when Elvis takes back the vocal reigns, we see Martina sitting right alongside him, looking at him adoringly--and then there's the overhead shot of ALL the musicians, including the late-arriving country songstress! It's faultless! It's amazing! It's creepy!! But it's well worth a look, whether you're an Elvis fan or not.

Elvis duets with from beyond the grave with Martina here on "Green Screen Christmas".

What's next--Adam Sandler and Lou Costello in "Don't Mess With The Buck Privates"?
December 21st, 2008
You've probably all heard--Christmas is coming up on us fast. And nothing says Christmas to me like sitting around and watching all my sitcom friends celebrate the holidays (hey, what can I tell you--I was an only child without any aunts or uncles to speak of. Had to find family wherever I could, y'know?...)

With me being on a big YouTube kick currently, you're probably expecting me to hoist a whole roster of Christmas themed small screen classics at you, and the truth is, that WAS the original plan. But thanks to the intervention of two of my very favorite bloggers--Steven Thompson of BookSteve's Library and Pop Culture Safari's John Firehammer--I've been appraised of the fact that's there's already a site out there that rounds up all these swell shows in one convenient place, and so I'm thinking it'd be much easier to just send you over there for your video eggnog.

The site is Classic Television Showbiz.

(Thanks for writing me directly, Steve. I had seen this site linked to via Pop Culture Safari recently, but when I went over there, I couldn't get sound out of any of the clips, and eventually left in frustration, figuring the page just plain didn't work. I'm glad you got me to go back--I think I, um, accidentally had the sound off on my laptop during my last visit. Oops. And you folks wonder why I don't embed my YouTube faves!...)

You'll find access to holiday episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Jeffersons, Love That Bob, Car 54, Where Are You?, The Doris Day Show, Hazel, WKRP In Cincinnati, Taxi, I Love Lucy, Dennis The Menace, The Donna Reed Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Patty Duke Show, Happy Days, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, Sanford and Son, The Andy Griffith Show, The Ruggles, All In The Family, The Jack Benny Program, and various specials featuring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Mark Hamill, among many, many others!! Whew--that's a whole lotta holiday cheer!!

My hat's off to the gent who organized this whole magilla!! Obviously, this is a site to keep an eye on all year round.

Me? Well, I've already seen a lot of these programs, and the ones I haven't--or haven't in decades, anyway--I'm gonna try to catch over the next few days. Last night, I watched The Patty Duke Show--did you know that Patty and Cathy's dads were identical twins? Guess that explains a lot (but be careful--the episode ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, one which is apparently resolved in the next episode. Gonna have to troll YouTube for that one...)

And I HIGHLY recommend the Jack Benny Christmas episode. It's all about Jack shopping for gifts for his friends and associates, and builds slowly but surely to a truly hilarious climax! Without giving too much away, let's just say that the paces ther frugal Benny puts poor store clerk Mel Blanc through are more than enough to drive anyone off the deep end!! Pure comedy gold--and if you're at all adverse to goopy holiday sentiment, fear not--there ain't any in sight!!

So what are you still here for? Don'tcha know the internet ain't for reading--it's for WATCHING TV?? Go!!

A "Ho Ho Ho!!" to all, and to all a good night (sitting bleary eyed before your YouTube)!!
December 20th, 2008
Elvis made a whole bunch of movies, while The Beatles only made a few. The big-screen antics of The King and The Fab Four have been widely celebrated for decades, but little has been made of their respective stabs at small-screen dramatics.

Did you know The Beatles once performed Shakespeare on British television at the height of their fame? It's true. Now, if you WERE aware like me--having long ago seen several photos showing the group decked out in Tudor garb--you'd likely still never actually witnessed their thespianism attempts. Well, thanks to (what else?) YouTube, you can now check out the group performing Act V scene 1 of "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" on their April, 28th, 1964 TV special "Around The Beatles" (wherein John plays Thisbe, Paul plays Pyramus, George plays Moonshine, and Ringo plays the Lion). Take note how the studio audience--particularly the male portion-- boisterously hoot at them, almost like hecklers. The lads take it all in stride, smiling widely throughout. To my eyes, Paul seems to come off best here, which is somewhat surprising, as he was hardly the group's best actor in their other filmed forays.

Here's your link to The Beatles do Shakespeare--prithee, I bid thee go. (7:06)

Elvis doing Shakespeare? Now, THAT certainly would be something! But no, what we have here is a Steve Allen led cowboy skit, with the comic backed up by not only young Mr. Presley, but Andy Griffith and Imogene Coca as well. One of the commentators under the video points out that, as this appearance predates "Love Me Tender", Elvis's first flick, THIS silly little bit marks his actual acting debut! Dunno if that's true, but since I read it on the internet, it pretty much has to be, right?...

By the way, in all fairness, I should point out this segment is only mildly funny, but based on curiosity value alone, Steve&Elvis&Andy&Imogene may well be worth nearly 7 minutes of your time!!

Now if I could just find a clip of The Rolling Stones performing "Death Of A Salesman" I'd have me video gold!!...
December 19th, 2008
Okay, I'll admit it--regarding YouTube, I'm way, WAAAAY behind the curve. But only because I knew what would happen if I allowed myself to do more than peak into the occasional video embedded over on another blog.

I knew I'd become obsessed.

And after hurriedly--and repeatedly--running into the other room to tell Lynn about my latest video discovery, I'm finally doing what she told me to do, her eyes rolling all the while:

"Go blog about it, Fred. PLEASE..."

Well friends, it all started, as most things on the web do, with Mark Evanier. When he logged this entry about a new website devoted to a lost sitcom gem entitled "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster", complete with the full pilot episode, I was very much intrigued. Being around the same age as Mark, I too watched that unfairly neglected program on it's first go-round, but not at all since. However, I'll admit I didn't immediately jump to cue it up, instead making a mental note to get to it later.

A few days pass, and I'm talking on the phone to my buddy, Terry Austin.

"Did you watch "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" yet Fred? It was pretty funny."

"No, but thanks for reminding me, Terry. I'll make a point of checking it out tonight. and y'know, there's lotsa other stuff on the YouTube--maybe I'll take a quick look around while I'm there..."

Famous last words.

After viewing the pilot of the Marty Ingels/John Astin sitcom--which WAS quite good; I'D gladly purchase a DVD of this single-season gem--I began to surf through the YouTube archives, figuring I'd be done in, oh, 15, 20 minutes.

Three hours later, I finally shut down the computer and went to bed, visions of long lost sitcoms--and musical performances, talk show segments, and who knows what else--dancing in my head.

And as you can plainly gather from my previous two blog entries, what I want to do now is share my discoveries with YOU!! Oh, you lucky people!...

(While no disrespect is meant to those of you who choose to embed their YouTube selections right on site, here at we instead prefer to--as Tom Spurgeon might put it--blog like it was 1999! Besides, the links we provide should get you directly where you need to go, so everything works out swell in the end, right?)

So anyway, the first thing I watched following "Dickens/Fenster" (which, incidentally, you can get easily to through the Evanier link above) was the debut episode of another one-season wonder from back in 1966/1967, "Occasional Wife".
The premise of this one had Michael Callan (the romantic lead opposite Jane Fonda in one of my all-time favorite flicks, "Cat Ballou") as a young bachelor executive at a firm whose boss valued the family above all else (and why not? They sold baby food!!!). So, in order to advance up the company's ladder--AND keep his swinging lifestyle at the same time--he enlists Patricia Harty to be his platonic pretend spouse. Wacky--and mildly smarmy--mix-ups inevitably ensue. What REALLY set this show apart was the role played by the narrator, the great LA Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. He not only provided the set-up at the outset of the show, but frequently commented on the action, stopped in mid-stream via freeze frame images to allow for his comedic observations. Based on this single episode, it's no classic, but it was well worth seeing again after 42 years!! (From a quick single shot flashed of a corner logo towards the end of the program, this was apparently taped off the Ha! network a couple decades back, which if memory serves, was one of two competing cable comedy channels that eventually combined forces to become Comedy Central. But I could be wrong about that...

Anyway, here's your YouTube ticket to Occasional Wife part 1, part 2, and part 3. And please, whatever you do, be careful on that fire escape!
The next long-vanished sitcom on my personal docket was the premiers of a show I'd dutifully watched way back in 1966, the Phyllis Diller vehicle, "The Pruitts of Southhampton". Starring as the matriarch of an immensely rich family, she's shocked to be informed by the IRS that the Pruitts had suddenly lots all of their money--and what they do have left they owe to the government!!

Sounds like it was torn from today's headlines, huh? And just about as funny, as well...

Can't really recommend you watch this one--it's pretty lame, and the print is totally washed out, transforming a color show into various shades of pale pink--so unless you're a big fan of Ms. Diller, one-time WC Fields foil Grady Sutton (as the one servant who managed to keep his job) or sixties character actors like the great Richard "Fred Rutherford" Deacon (as the humorless IRS agent) or John McGiver, you might want to give this a pass. (Imdb posits that later episodes of this, yes, one season wonder featured the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee, Billy DeWolfe, and the aforementioned John Astin and Marty Ingels--maybe the Pruitts needed some carpentry work?--but they're nowhere to be seen in the pilot.)

But if you just can't get enough of that famous cackle, here's 'The Pruitts of Southhampton" part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Best of all was the debut episode of "The Good Guys", which ran for two--yes TWO!--seasons beginning in 1968. Bob Denver starred as cab driver Rufus Butterworth, and Herb Edelman as his life-long friend, Bert Gramus. With wife Claudia (Joyce Van Patten, younger sister of Dick), he runs Bert's Diner--and with pal Rufus, gets into one mix after another! I LOVED this show when it originally ran, and I was happy to find it just as funny now as it was back then (guest star William Daniel's patented crankiness only adds to the proceedings). I'd been a big fan of Denver's since I regularly watched him as Maynard G. Krebs on "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis" several years earlier, and although I followed him on that ill-fated three hour tour, "Gilligan's Island" is one show that, despite any nostalgia quotient, I've found over the years, I just can't abide watching due to its blatant--and non-stop--stupidity, so it was nice to see him rebound with the comparatively sophisticated comedy of "The Good Guys" (Edelman is terrific, too). So if watch but one of these four sitcoms of seasons past, this would be the one I'd point to. The only thing I don't understand is how this commercial free posting divides into three portions of slightly over ten minutes apiece! I thought super-sizing sitcoms was a gimmick NBC dreamt up a decade back to occasionally ease out the weak link of their otherwise stellar Thursday night comedy lineup, not something CBS was doing forty years back?...

Anyway, here's "The Good Guys" part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Well, that's it for today, but come back soon, cuz I already know which clips I want to show you tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after THAT!...

(And NOW you can see why I've avoided YouTube for so long! Hey, just call me Pandora of the idiot box!!)
December 18th, 2008
Jay Leno has been in the news of late, and thanks primarily to Sarah Palin, it wasn't all that long ago that Katie Couric was making headlines as well. But back in May of 2003, the pair had to pull off a calculated stunt to garner themselves some much needed publicity...

Y'see, for one day only, the host of the "Today" and "Tonight" shows were going to swap hosting duties (Katie was still with NBC back then). Not being much of a morning person, I simply slept through Jay's portion of the deal, but even though I had long ago stopped watching "The Tonight Show' on any sort of regular basis, pure unadulterated curiosity prompted me to tune in. Besides, I'm pretty sure that, to this very day, Couric is the only other person to ever host the show since Leno took over from Johnny Carson, which was more than enough to peak my interest.

What transpired from the monolog on through the initial two guest spots was decidedly unremarkable. Closing out her hosting duties, though, Katie then introduced her musical guest for the evening, an extremely popular British singer (who had as yet to catch on in the States), Robbie Williams.
I'd come across his name on several occasions while reading U.K. music mags like MOJO and Q, but I was totally unfamiliar with his music. So I settled back and decided to see what he had to offer.

What I saw was one of the most astounding live performances I've ever witnessed on a television show!!

With a strong voice, he began to sing his latest single, "Feel', but a few short bars into the tune, he'd left the stage and was serenading several delirious audience members, close up!! At this point, as he wasn't missing a single beat, I was absolutely convinced he was lip-syncing--until he started bantering with those selfsame fans between beats!! My good golly gosh--the man really WAS singing!! And soon enough, Williams was up on the main "Tonight" set, crooning directly into a clearly delighted Couric's ear!! Next was a close encounter with guest number two, Simon Cowell (while guest number one, Mike Myers, quickly ran for cover--and if you saw what he was doing to the "American Idol" honcho, you really couldn't blame him!...), all without--I cannot emphasize this more--EVER missing a beat!! Absolutely stunning. Clearly, Robbie Williams had a wonderful voice, but he had something more--he was an entertainer in the classic sense of the word!

And if you doubt me, check out this clip from that very episode of "The Tonight Show" where he sings "Feel", all the while roaming the studio freely! (4:30)

Not long after, I saw his new CD--the one that was getting a big push in the American market, "Escapology"-- for the special please-try-me price of $5.95. Well, that was an offer I couldn't possibly pass up, so I quickly grabbed myself a copy. It was a great album, one I played over and over. "Feel" was on it, naturally, and while it's a darn good song, the number that REALLY impressed me--enough so that I'm willing to designate it as probably my single favorite track of the last ten years or so--was a demented little number called "Me and My Monkey".

A lengthy story song in which Williams takes on multiple personas--the narrator, a bellboy, a madam, a murderous Mexican, and of course, that damn monkey--all set to some wonderfully ersatz Mexican brass--the drama only intensifies, stanza by stanza, leading, well, I'm not exactly sure where, but the fact that I have no real idea what the song is actually supposed to be about doesn't diminish my love for it a single iota!! Fact is, I prefer to take the lyrics cold-stone literally, as the images they conjure up make me laugh every time I cue it up!

Here's a live performance of "Me and My Monkey" (7:46), while here's a Claymation interpretation using the marvelously produced recorded version {8:02}.

I came across these YouTube videos recently when I began searching out some seasonal material. That's when I stumbled across the singer appearing on a holiday show hosted by a pair of gents named Ant and Dec, undoubtedly a British duo.

In this clip, Williams displays some expert comedy timing to accompany his top-notch vocalizing. His task, y'see, is to sing the iconic tune, "White Christmas", as a large group of ostensibly helpful back-up singers gleefully proceed to overwhelm his attempts to make it all the way though a verse at every turn! George Burns would've been proud--mainly cuz he was the last one I saw attempt this bit and pull it off so beautifully! (6:22)

Follow that up with a straight rendering of John and Yoko's classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and you're sure to find yourself in a blissfully holiday state of mind .(2:52 )

Robbie Williams remains a big favorite of mine to this very day, even though, inexplicably, he never did catch on in the US (I don't think his last two CDs were even released on this side of the Atlantic, arriving here as imports only). It's a true shame, because there a quite a few folks with far less talent topping the charts stateside. Y'know, if it weren't for Jay and Katie with their goofy little switcheroo, I'd've remained sadly unaware of one of the most arresting all-around performers I've ever seen, so thanks guys!!

And if like plenty of other folks, YOU'RE totally unfamiliar with Robbie Williams too, hey, go take a look! You can just consider it my Christmas present to you all (money's a little tight these days, you understand...).

(And yes, suddenly I've clearly become obsessed with YouTube--more on THAT revoltin' development soon!!..)
December 16th, 2008
January 22nd 1968.

Within the space of sixty short minutes, I said goodbye to this man...
And hello to this one...
I watched very few one hour dramatic shows as a kid--it was almost all sitcoms for me, with a little music variety thrown in for flavoring--but the one big exception to that rule was "The Man From UNCLE". I hopped aboard the bandwagon of television's answer to James Bond midway through their first season in 1964, and became quite the rabid fan, even taking to wearing the black turtlenecks favored by agent Illya Kuryakin!!

But somewhere along the way, I lost interest, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't sitting in front of the tube on the evening of January 15th when NBC broadcast the final episode of the no longer popular show. However, one week later, on the very same network, slated during the very same time-slot, was a curious sounding new program called "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In". Seemed like something right up my alley, so I made a point of tuning in.

And in the show's opening minutes, I witnessed one of the cleverest hand-offs in the history of television, as Leo G. Carroll--in his role as Alexander Waverly, head honcho of UNCLE--makes a quick but hilarious cameo as an undercover agent during a skit, right alongside the comedy duo who'd sent his agency into deep, deep cover!!

But hey, if you've got 35 seconds, see for yourself!! (Oh, the wonders of YouTube!!)

So there I am, already thinking that this "Laugh-In" show was turning out be something pretty darn amazing, unlike anything else ever seen before on TV! But it turned out they were just getting warmed up...

Later, Dan Rowan came out and gave a sincere little speech about how he and partner Dick Martin would like to devote a few minutes of their program to showcase new talent, and I totally expected something of a fairly traditional nature.

THIS is what I got...

I will never forget that moment. NEVER. The instant I first glimpsed Tiny Tim, I was startled. And THEN, as soon as he opened his mouth and sang, I was convulsed with laughter, the likes of which I've experienced only a handful of times my entire life!! The sheer unexpected shock of his appearance AND his sound, well, that was enough to set me off on a major case of the guffaws!! And I likely wasn't the only one who had a similar reaction, as, almost overnight, Tiny Tim became the unlikeliest celebrity in the country! (And hey, it sure didn't hurt that "Laugh-In" zoomed right to the top of the ratings pile either).

Goodbye UNCLE, hello tulips.

I was roaming around YouTube the other night, and I found plenty of other Tiny Tim related clips, and here's a few particularly interesting ones that I strongly suggest you take a look at (pardon me for not embedding them, but some technology is beyond even a computer whiz like moi, y'know?..).

Tiny Tim, later in 1968, somehow shoehorned into the pilot of Raymond Burr's long-running "Ironside" series (2:28).

Here's a variety show I missed: banter and singing from the wildly unlikely trio of Bing Crosby, Bobbie Gentry, and Mr. Tim(1:43).

And don't miss this early eighties music video of the no-longer-quite-so-Tiny Tim performing his own inimitable version of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (Well, no, I'm afraid I don't...) (3:53)

Lastly (but there's oh so more for those who care to seek), here's something that borders on the unbelievable--a video utilizing stills to accompany a 1985 tune written and recorded by Tiny Tim called (prepare yourself...) "Santa Has Got The Aids" (3:15)!! Bad taste? Oh yeah, you bet--but inasmuch as this is coming from someone like Tiny Tim--who had a impeccable reputation for his gentlemanly behavior and not some shock comic like, say, Andrew Dice Clay--this whole notion mystifies. Totally. WHAT was he thinking? Listen if you dare.

Well, nothing left to say, except, "God bless us, every one. Waverly out."
December 13th, 2008
Last week, I was a guest at a convention in New Jersey, the third time within the previous six weeks I'd come to find myself in such a position. Well, the day started out swell enough to be sure--talking with several friendly folks, doing sketches, selling a few books--but then, a few hours into my day sitting behind the table, things eventually got slow--REAL slow. Maybe the tri-state area was suffering from Hembeck overload, who knows? But after a few minutes sitting there blankly staring off into space (as well as watching my always busy buddy, Joe Staton, dutifully drawing away at the adjacent table), an idea suddenly came to me--why don't I use the time to do up some convention sketches?

And then--ta da!--sell 'em on eBay?
So that's what I did!

While Lynn and Joe's wife, Hilarie, were off shopping for healthy foods at Trader Joe's, and most of the convention attendees were milling about in the other room, garnering autographs (for, ahem, a modest fee) of the likes of Joyce DeWitt, William Katt, and Gil Gerard--not to mention a bevy of ever popular wrestlers and curvaceous spokes-models and aging Playboy centerfolds--I was left to my own devices, stopping occasionally to chat with an interested fan, and cranked out nine of these illos (three of which you see on display here today, each of which can be viewed at a larger size simply by clicking on the image).

Please understand--due to the tools I had on hand, the quality is NOT the same caliber as the pieces I generally hoist up for sale on the 'net. These drawings are done on thinner 55 lb Canson Morilla acid free 9x12 white sketch paper, and drawn entirely with Sharpie markers as opposed to the 2 ply plate Bristol paper and rapidographs I otherwise use while doing my thing.

However, these ARE exactly what'd you'd get if you asked me to do a drawing at a convention appearance, and thus, in that spirit, I'm pricing them accordingly, even starting them several dollars cheaper than if you'd enlisted me to doodle 'em up in person (and carrying that bargain approach over to the P&H, I'm slashing the standard fee in half this time out, which I feel I can justify by sending the art out via First Class Mail instead of Priority Mail, eschewing insurance, and--due to their smaller size--using less packing material (though I assure you, things will still arrive in tip-top shape, fear not!)).
Oh, and bear in mind that this is likely a one-time offer--I don't have any future plans to put up any other cheap pieces like this for auction. At least, not until I find myself counting the tiles on the hotel ceiling at another show...

(But y'know, I DID enjoy myself, and appreciated the invite, Super Mega Show!! Honest!)

So anyway, here are the links to see larger versions of the rest of the drawings:

Dr. Strange
Wonder Woman
Superman and Batman

And to get to the eBay auctions, I bid thee, head in this direction.

In other, totally unrelated news, last night Lynn and I attended the fall semester performance given by the students at Julie's now-alma mater, the Poughkeepsie Day School. Breaking with tradition, this time around they DIDN'T perform a Shakespeare play, but instead something I could actually understand (well, just barely...): Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" (i almost leaned over to Lynn mid-way through and asked her why all the women were named "Goody", before figuring out that was just what they called the ladies back in the days of the Salem Witch Trials, which was where and when the story was set). As always, the students did an exemplary job with the difficult material, and we both enjoyed the production immensely.

And funny thing---(SPOILER ALERT!!) even with nearly the entire cast heading for the gallows at play's end, it STILL somehow seemed more heartwarming than "The Dark Knight"!!...
December 11th, 2008
The veteran funnyman--and object of one of my longtime obsessions--will be given an honorary Oscar at next February's Academy Awards ceremonies!

Now, THERE'S one acceptance speech I sure don't wanna miss!!...
December 10th, 2008
Lynn and I finally went to see "The Dark Knight" the other day.

The last time I saw The Caped Crusader swing across the big screen, Val Kilmer was wearing the cowl. I've been in no real rush to revisit the cinematic Gotham since. I skipped "Batman Begins", though knowing a trip to our local second-run cheap theatre to see the sequel was imminent (we caught it in the third week of its run), when I saw the two-disc version selling at Best Buy for a reasonable $6.99 a few weeks back, I grabbed a copy. Logically, we should've watched it before taking in Monday's matinee showing, but I wasn't sure that somehow that might be TOO much Batman for the pair of us, and that it might dampen our (already tempered as it was) enthusiasm for this new release, so we shelved plans to view "Batman Begins" for now. I figured we could always go back and discover how he began later (like, after all these years of reading comics, I DON'T know...).

So, what'd I think?

Well, for one thing, like more than a few people, when I first saw stills of Heath Ledger as The Joker, I thought the makeup looked ridiculous. After seeing the movie--and witnessing what is likely the best performance ever given in a movie built around a comic book super-hero--I'd have to say that now any OTHER Joker make-up (hi, Jack!) looks ridiculous by comparison. The hype's true--Ledger's take on The Joker IS Oscar worthy!

The movie itself is well-made, no denying it--certainly WAAAY better than that Kilmer starrer--and storywise, makes the effort to build a deeply philosophical underpinning beneath the relentless action sequences. And Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent is very good.


The film seemed to exist mostly to bring to cinematic life one deeply disturbing Joker-led sadistic scenario after another, always either going for bloodless killings, or simply pulling the camera away just in time, letting the imagination fill in the blatantly implied sordid details, somehow garnering this nasty collection of cruel vignettes a PG-13 rating, not a more reasonable R (but, I noticed, not a single swear word in the entire movie, so I guess it really IS okay for the kiddies!...). This is not a happy film. I knew that going in, but it''s not a very hopeful one either. Somehow, after about 145 minutes of non-stop evil, good triumphs in the last 5 minutes--and even THAT comes with a catch. Fact is, the ONLY time in the whole thing where I felt like I was watching the hero whose adventures I'd read for so many years growing up (but whose comics, it should be pointed out, I haven't followed in nearly two decades now) was, ironically, when, in his Bruce Wayne guise, he exchanged knowing looks with the man whose life he'd just saved, saved despite of the fact that only minutes earlier that same man was going to spill the beans about the Batman's double identity on live TV. Otherwise, I found the character--and the actor and even the Bat-suit--to be nondescript, a bit of a cipher, one of the least interesting characters up on the screen (and yeah, that whole thing with the voice IS silly...). While I certainly wasn't surprised that The Joker upstaged him at every turn, I certainly didn't expect to find Gordon more fascinating!! Maybe in "Batman Begins" there's more meat to be found on the bones of the scenario's main man, but truth is, currently, I'm in no real rush to find out...

Am I glad I saw it? I guess so, if only for Ledger's performance. But given a choice between this and the year's other big super-hero flick, "Iron Man", there's no contest as to my preference. I suppose that, in a lot of ways, "The Dark Knight" is better crafted, but something's gotta be said for the sorta mood you're in when you come out of the theater, and I was in a WAAAY better mood after seeing "Iron Man" than I was after seeing "The Dark Knight"!!

Heck, I was in a peppier mood after seeing "There Will Be Blood"..
December 7th, 2008
The moodily evocative Russ Jones painted cover pictured above of Bela Lugosi--aka Count Dracula--served as my introduction to the wonderfully wacky world of celluloid creature feature worship back in 1964. I was 11 years old, and suddenly, besides Marvel Comics, MAD magazine, and (yeah yeah yeah!) the Beatles, I had yet another obsession to add to my ever burgeoning list--monsters!!

True, Forrest J Ackerman didn't spark my interest in Frankenstein, the Mummy, Drac, and the rest, but once I picked up the 30th issue of his publishing brainchild, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, he most certainly fanned the flames!! And while after only 11 more issues, 3 FM Yearbooks, (pardon me--Fearbooks), a trio of paperback collections, and 9 of the concurrently published 10 MONSTER WORLD issues (I never did find the second one...), I bailed on Forry forevermore, seeking out the more sophisticated CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and later, CINEFANTASTIQUE, for my fill of fright film feature articles. Ultimately, I've come to realize that I'm not really much of a horror flick fan at all--save for the various classic Universal monster series and the grade Z sci-fi programmers of the fifties, which to this day I still retain a sentimental affection for.

Likewise, I've long felt the same way about the Ackermonster himself, so even though I never picked again up an issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS after 1967, I was saddened to hear of his recent passing. All reports would indicate that he was certainly one of a kind, a true original. I simply have to page through my decades old copy of FM #30 to be reminded of just how much his undeniable passion for a genre rarely shown much (if any ) respect would, in a roundabout manner, inspire me to express my own heartfelt (and similarly offbeat ) passions.

If Forrest J Ackerman wasn't the most Famous Monster in Filmland--the Count and Frankenstein's monster are gonna have to continue to duke it out for THAT title--clearly, he was the most Famous Fan in Filmland!

Thanks for everything, FJA.
December 3rd, 2008
I should mention that this Saturday, December 6th, I'm gonna be a guest at the Super Mega-Show and Comic Fest in East Hanover, NJ (check the link for all the pertinent details)--hope to see you there if you happen be in the nearby area!! I'll be chatting, sketching. signing, and hawking books--stop by and say 'hi" (and if you can afford it, spend some money even!...).

On to a few other matters...

The other day, I mentioned the mystifying practice of RickRolling, and even I didn't fully understand it at that point, but after reading the Wikipedia entry, I have a slightly better grasp on things (and you can find links to a Youtube clip of the aforementioned Macy's Day Parade RickRoll there, as well as a cleverly constructed amalgam of Barack Obama speeches that follow the tune's lyrics word for word--and even a further one where THAT clip is broadcast over John McCain;s shoulder as he gives his speech at the Republican Convention!! Yes, it's quite insane, but in a good way--mostly...). In the entire history of show biz, has anyone's career ever been revived in as uniquely peculiar manner as that of Rick Astley's? I sure don't think so...

When it comes to obscure but entertaining ephemera, it's hard to beat BookSteve's Library, and Steve came up with a doozy recently: the cover and splash page of a very special mid-sixties issue of MODELING WITH MILLIE!! Up until seeing it on his blog, i was totally unaware of this epochal issue!! The cover by John Romita, y'see, features our star model frugging away as a near Gwen Stacy lookalike, while the splash (by Herbie's own Ogden Whitney!) has her holding a copy of FANTASTIC FOUR (with an actual Kirby cover statted in!!), pining away to be a super-hero like Sue Storm! (And in a separate entry, Steve shares a panel of Millie in crimefighting togs--amazing stuff!!). I used to think I knew my sixties era Marvel history, but this juicy little bit Bullpen madness escaped my notice for nigh unto four decades, until good ol' BookSteve brought it out into the light! Thank you sir!! (And there's lotsa other good stuff to found at his site, including fascinating personal recollections such as the one about how a non-meeting with Lana Turner changed his life irrevocably.)

And how about a big round of thanks to Tom (The Comics Reporter) Spurgeon for including The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus on his recent list of holiday shopping suggestions! Gracias, senor! (And hey, it's not a bad gift suggestion--especially if you're an optometrist. Buy copies to give out to your patients, and I guarantee, several months down the line you'll be paid back in spades with a nice little spike in eyewear sales!!...)

We've sold several pieces over on our recently posted Across The Page Gallery Sales Page, but hey, there's still a few for the taking! Just so you know...

Pardon the sparsity of blog entries of late. Besides all the holiday hub-bub, I'm in the midst of pencilling and inking a short story for Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau's PERHAPANAUTS (written by Todd)--in fact, as soon as I hoist this up on the internet, I'm heading straight back to the drawing board (honest, Todd!!...)--more about this later!

See you Saturday, Jerseyites!!

HOME | FredSez
January 2003 | February 2003 | March 2003 | April 2003 | May 2003 | June 2003
July 2003 | August 2003 |
September 2003 | October 2003 | November 2003 | December 2003
January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004
| June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004
September 2004 | October 2004 |
November 2004
December 2004
| January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005
April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005
| August 2005 | September 2005
October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006
February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006
June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006
October 2006| November 2006 |
December 2006
January 2007 |
February 2007 |March 2007
| April 2007 | May 2007
|June 2007 | July 2007
August 2007 September 2007October 2007| November 2007 | December 2007
January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 |June 2008
| July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008| October 2008 | November 2008 |