Mr. Coleman's recent death changes nothing in my little fantasy, except make the resulting tableau a little grosser as the years pass from here on.
As the ranking and location of the best wheat toast in Portland is fast becoming one of this blog's most searched-for topics: Albert's toast was not as awesome as Sully's.
In watching a bunch of Carsonia, I happened across this, which fired all of my guitar-nerd synapses at once:
I wish there was more "Lonesome" George Gobel easily available, especially his formative years as a singer/guitarist/comedian on the Chicago radio show NATIONAL BARN DANCE in the mid-'30s. After mustering out of the Army Air Corps. after WWII [he was such a local star that he was sworn into service on the radio], Gobel began a four-decade streak as a professional guest star on variety/talk/music shows briefly interrupted by his own popular NBC sitcom in the early '50s. Like Benny, you can see Gobel's influence on a young Carson.
But that's not at all what I can think about watching the above clip -- I can't take my eyes of his guitar. It's a Gibson L-5 model customized to Gobel's own specifications -- a thinline body, shorter-scale 24-3/4" neck, cutaway and cherry-red finish [a first for the company]. Formally designated an L-5CT and informally considered a stealth-signature "George Gobel" model, only 44 of them were made from 1958-1962. To invert one of Gobel's most famous ad-libs, it's a tuxedo in a world full of brown shoes -- although I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the L-5CT feels as comfortable as a pair of old brown shoes.
holy fucking shit dude, it's just the monkee's paw -- let's cheese it before it moves or someone makes a wish on the thing
I just found a text file of notes about hidden features I found in Microsoft Paint over the years I used it to make the old monkee strip. I'm never using the program again, but I thought it would be good to pass these tips along:
Stamp tool -- select part of the image and hold CTRL while dragging it.
To draw straight or diagonal lines with the pencil, hold SHIFT and move the mouse in whatever direction you want.
Image-selection rescaling -- select part of the image using the Select tool, then press CTRL and either + or - to scale up or down. Doing the same thing using the drawing tools changes your brush size. Don't go too crazy enlarging it, tho -- it's Windows so it crashes easy.
After I got my cheap, light furniture, we went a journey to get a griddle and blender at Macy's. It's not the instruments pedigree, it's what you do with them once you escape from the mall. Taken on the 13th.
A swell archive of "classes" in the Famous Artists Cartoon Course.
John Kricfalusi's lessons from Preston Blair
Rad Sechrist's HOW TO
Rob Richards' ANIMATION BACKGROUNDS, which are fascinating and oddly funny to see without the actors in front of them.
Some J.P. Miller books at GOLDEN GEMS
A cache of personal Christmas cards from mid-Twentieth Century artists, including Ernie Bushmiller, Rube Goldberg, Otto Soglow, William Steig and Edward Hopper as well as my recent new-favorite, Frank Hanley.
An info site devoted to the irreverent prewar girly movie magazine FILM FUN and its Enoch Bolles-painted covers.
Scott C.'s GREAT SHOWDOWNS -- art plus words, people
Will Finn's righteously savages a deeply misguided piece of FLINTSTONES art
Anne Bush's digital background tutorial
Via Dylan Horrocks and/or Sam Zabel, I recently rediscovered Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema at the Art Renewal Center. Sir Lawrence painted sun-warmed marble like nobody's business.
Here's an archive of the radio portion of the series -- the television version only lasted a mere 15 years, but what it lost in visuals ["the radio had better pictures"] it made up for with seeing a master's sense of timing at work, but the radio program is the prime material.
[Noteworthy for Orson Welles nuthuggers like me: Welles replaced an ill Benny as host/foil/victim for bulk of the March 1943 shows.]
Oboler also made the fine anthology series Arch Oboler's Plays for NBC and later the Mutual Network.
The WFMU blog had a great vinyl rip of the long out-of-print but ideal Oboler/LIGHTS OUT sampler, titled DROP DEAD, but the post seems to have been deleted. Here's a download for a ZIP file of the album, which must be public-domain like everything else in Oboler's creator-owned oeuvre has become. It's a short LP, and the brevity of the pieces shades them more comedic than macabre, but it still gives a taste.
Now, the actual movie: Like Welles, Oboler went on to make movies for RKO, but unlike Welles, he never quite translated the genius of his radio work to the screen. Occasionally, as in the following movie, you can literally see flickers of what made him so great with the lights out. FIVE is the first and -- I might argue, with a few caveats -- the best of the post-WWII movies to ponder the idea of Atomic annihilation. It could be considered a godfather of independent filmmaking -- Oboler wrote, directed and produced it largely on his own dime and filmed it in his house -- granted, that house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but still.
I can't decide what's more sublime: the idea of a ventriloquist becoming a smash hit as a radio performer, or that so many of his coworkers on his show recalled that, while he made plenty of flubs in reading the script, his main dummy never screwed up a line. I'm talking, of course, about Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. There's a gentleness in Bergen that I always loved -- it's rare to find a straight man who genuinely radiated affection for his partner the way Bergen loved McCarthy -- and yes, I know I'm talking about the puppet like it was real. Bergen clearly believed in his own internal magic so fervently that he could only see it as external to him, which gives his performances a dimension and unique quality that more than made up for the fact that, as his movie appearances reveal, he really wasn't that good as a ventriloquist. I guess, when it comes to pretending than some carved wood and fabric is a real living creature, it's better to have faith than skill.
Of particular note is the October 30, 1938 show: Bergen's show, THE CHASE AND SANBORN HOUR, aired on NBC opposite THE MERCURY THEATRE ON THE AIR, and practically annihilated it [and anything else CBS had put up against against it in that Sunday at 8PM timeslot] in the ratings. I don't have the numbers handy, but I remember the Orson Welles program got roughly a tenth of the audience that Bergen & McCarthy got.
This Halloween evening, however, after listeners enjoyed the first 12 or so minutes of Edgar and Charlie's banter before the team threw the mic over to a singer to warble a song, a lot of the audience flipped over to another station to listen to something better until the funny resumed. Listeners how jumped over to their CBS heard ... an invasion of New Jersey by Martians. Then, some people went apeshit, a lot of butthurt newspapers [radio was eating print's lunch for audience and advertising] trumped the stories up to try making radio look really bad, and for a few days it looked like the United States' lunatic fringe wasn't a fringe at all. The MERCURY program, which was a sustaining, sponsor-less show in some danger of cancellation, got a sponsor and was saved -- oh, and Welles was offered the greatest deal ever offered any writer/director/producer/actor in the history of Hollywood. Bergen & McCarthy continued to be the 800-pound gorillas on Sundays at 8PM for another decade. No moral. The End.
Edgar Bergen Show - 1937 - 1941
Edgar Bergen Show - 1942 - 1943
Edgar Bergen Show - 1944 - 1945
Edgar Bergen Show - 1946 - 1947
Edgar Bergen Show - 1948 - 1955
[See also: CHASE & SANBORN star Spike Jones.]
[Another comicsy one, if you must: Rick Obadiah of First Comics/Classics Illustrated.]
Other Don Swaim interviews of note in the archive:
Ed McBain (Evan Hunter)
Walter Tevis and Jamie Tevis
Barbara Branden, Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff on Ayn Rand
Christopher Buckley and William F. Buckley
Bret Easton Ellis
Bruce Jay Friedman
Charles Fecher on H. L. Mencken
Don George on Duke Ellington
Brendan Gill on Frank Lloyd Wright
Sir Alec Guinness [this was probably the "something else" I was originally looking for]
Ring Lardner, Jr.
Mr. Fred Rogers
Michael Schnayerson on Irwin Shaw
Norman Sherry on Graham Greene
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
And Henny Youngman
Eerieness abounds: an audio record from 1860, the song of Jupiter, an incantation from Aleister Crowley and the sounds of dying Cosmonauts, among other things.
From archive.org, the bottomless pit of intellectual property, comes a cache of John F. Kennedy audio, from the Nixon election debate to the inaugural address to "Ich bin ein Berliner" to hours of inner White House conversations. Fascinating stuff. JFK never got his due as a great speaker; most people can't get past the accent to hear how perfectly Kennedy played his instrument.