Cabinessence is the official soundtrack of Easily Mused, Spotify playlists chock full of infectious and stimulating tunes from many places and times. It's outsider music, hidden gems, buried treasures, and hits you remember! And it's absolutely free, a labor of love from a lifelong music lover. Simply go to the Cabinessence page on Facebook, click "like" and you're all set! Stay attuned...

May 28, 2009

Al Taliaferro's Donald Duck

These Sunday newspaper strips (mostly from the mid-50's) were reprinted in Gold Key's Donald Duck series and were drawn by Al Taliaferro, co-creator (with Ted Osborne) of Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The strips were scripted by Bob Karp, who wrote the newspaper feature for 36 years.

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May 23, 2009

"Ice Cream Soldier"

Robert Kanigher (script) and Joe Kubert (pencils/inks) produced this poignant war story for Our Army At War #85 (August 1959). Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.

May 22, 2009

A Brilliant Essay On Mort Sahl

Mark Rothman, a veteran TV writer (Happy Days, The Odd Couple, Laverne & Shirley) has just published a fascinating and personal essay on comedian Mort Sahl. Highly recommended ****

May 21, 2009

"Travels With Myron" By Vince Davis (1944-2009)

Cartoonist Vince Davis passed away on May 6. There are lovely tributes to him here and here. This 4-pager was originally presented in Myron Moose Comics #2 (1973).

May 20, 2009

Shmock Shmock

I'm making my way through Gerald Nachman's book Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians Of The 1950s And 1960s as fast as my short attention span will let me. The book is really bolstering my shaky knowledge of some of comedy's pioneers. For example, I've long been familiar with the name Steve Allen, but my knowledge of him was based more on his 70's and 80's television appearances than anything else. I always got the impression that Mr. Allen was more egotistical than entertaining, but now I think I misjudged him a tad. Turns out this guy was a real trailblazer, not only the original host of The Tonight Show, but the originator of many of the bits that are most associated with his later late-night successor Johnny Carson (and every other late night host, at that!). Here is a short excerpt:

Allen claimed that Carson had stolen his "stump the band" routine, not to mention the even more ruthless pilfering of Allen's late-show movie with resident pitchman, which Carson renamed "The Tea -Time Movie with Art Fern" ("fern" itself being a favorite Allen nonsense word). Carson's "The Great Carnac," in which Carson wrapped himself in a swami's turban, duplicated Allen's Question Man routine ("A precise copy," noted Allen, although Ernie Kovacs had a similar bit), in which his know-it-all wizard provides the questions to answers from Tom Poston. For example: A. "Butterfield 8-5000"...Q. "How many hamburgers did Butterfield eat?"...The routine in which a camera zooms in on someone's face in the audience, followed by a funny caption line, began with Allen ad-libbing silly descriptions; it became a regular fixture under Carson's, and now Leno's, reign.

Here is a couple of video's from The Steve Allen Show featuring The Unidentified Flying Objects, a parody of hipster combos. Along with Allen, you'll see Don Knotts, Louie Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr., and Tom Poston. Take it away, boys!

Focusing more on Allen's ad-libbing abilities, this clip from his incarnation of The Tonight Show shows him getting some comedy mileage out of a walking talking baby doll, before singing a song called "Love Thy Neighbor".

The Golden Age Hawkman Meets The Human Dynamo

Today's comic scan is a Hawkman tale from Flash Comics #49 (January 1944), scripted by Gardner Fox and drawn by the inimitable Sheldon Moldoff, whose work is somewhat cartoony but nevertheless full of arresting details. Moldoff would later become one of Bob Kane's primary ghost artists on Batman, from 1953 to 1967 . In an interview published in Alter Ego #59 (June 2006), Sheldon recalled, "DC didn't know that I was involved; that was the handshake agreement I had with Bob: 'You do the work and don't say anything, Shelly, and you've got steady work'. No, he didn't pay great, but it was steady work, it was security. I knew that we had to do a minimum of 350 to 360 pages a year. Also, I was doing other work at the same time for [editors] Jack Schiff and Murray Boltinoff at DC. They didn't know I was working on Batman for Bob. ... So I was busy. Between the two, I never had a dull year, which is the compensation I got for being Bob's ghost, for keeping myself anonymous".

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May 19, 2009

King's Gamble

One of the things I like about veteran interviewer Larry King is that he has faced many trials and tribulations and still managed to come out on top, a brilliant feat any way you look at it. Follow this link to hear how Lady Luck smiled on him just as he was about to hit rock bottom, 38 years ago this month.

May 18, 2009

Comic Strip Anatomy

Comic strip characters come in all shapes and sizes, and who better to explain why than The Usual Gang Of Idiots? Written by Frank Jacobs (based on an idea from Sergio Aragones) and illustrated by Jack Rickard, this article first appeared in Mad #236 (January 1983).