November 29, 2009

What's A Krumwurstner?

According to this handy German language guide made by Dr. Seuss sometime around 1929, a "krumwurstner" is "one who drinks beer through a straw." This cartoon is one of a series of "Life's Little Educational Charts" cartoons drawn by Seuss long before Horton hatched that egg.

An Hour With Hitch

I just enjoyed a fascinating interview with suspense master Alfred Hitchcock conducted by Fletcher Markle for the CBC series Telescope in 1964. Film score buffs will be interested in the few minutes spent with Bernard Herrmann, who reveals that Hitch originally wanted no music during the murder scenes in Psycho. Watch it on Hulu.

November 28, 2009

November 20, 2009

Lifting Safely

Since I had to miss work tonight due to a back injury, I'd like to take a minute to remind you to always lift boxes safely. As a collector of pop culture stuff and one-time route salesman, I am an old pro at lifting things safely. This time, however, the bottom of the fairly heavy box I was trying to lift collapsed and my knee-jerk reaction was to twist my body in a very uncool way in a vain attempt to keep the contents from said box from spilling all over the bedroom floor. It's not a major injury, and I'll soon recover, but with the holidays approaching I thought I'd shoot a word to the wise. Now if I could only get that creepy "Mr. Bucket" jingle out of my, evil and forgotten 80's toy, I will not "put my balls" in your mouth!

50,000 Hits (And One Big Miss)

I was very pleased to see that Easily Mused passed 50,000 hits this morning. For almost a year now, visitors from literally all over the globe have been stopping by to share in my love for pop culture and it has been a richly satisfying experience. Believe it or not, 30,000 of those hits were related to a single entry, the apparently nerve-hitting exhibit Why Chicks Cry. The comments on this little piece have been almost universally positive, and one person in the publishing industry even suggested that it might have potential as a book, which seems a little surreal to me, but I guess stranger things have happened, so who knows?

It's fair to say that among the blogs I enjoy, Mark Evanier's News From Me
is a perennial favorite. Yesterday, Mark honored my little blog with his presence, to correct the artist credit for the Rocky & Bullwinkle comic book story I had posted. Al Kilgore was definitely not the artist of this piece, and if I knew anyhing of Al Kilgore's work, I would have spotted that immediately, since his style is as unique as it is engaging. Unfortunately, I relied on information obtained from The Grand Comic Book Database. I realize the GCBD is a massive undertaking, and mistakes will crop up from time to time, but I think the rule for posting credits there should be "Never guess at credits ever ever ever." And my new rule is "Never take GCBD as The Last Word ever ever ever."

I feel I have done an injustice to the late Mr. Kilgore, so I am presenting here a few links of interest concerning a very talented man who left us far too soon.

His Wikipedia entry is here and his entry is here.

Kilgore's beautiful giant drawing depicting stars of "Comic Strips & The Cinema" can be viewed here at Mike Lynch Cartoons and the key to all the caricatures in that drawing is here.

In 1966, Al took a turn as an actor in an independently produced serial parody called "Captain Celluloid & The Film Pirates." You can download the torrent file here. I previewed this a short while ago, and it looks like a lot of fun.

Harry McCracken shares an appreciation of Mr. Kilgore and a fine example of his work on the short-lived Rocky & Bullwinkle newspaper comic strip

Al Kilgore assisted in the creation of Sons of the Desert, The International Laurel & Hardy Society and you can visit them and see the lovely escutcheon Al designed for the organization here.

If you have any more links concerning the life and work of Al Kilgore, please post them in the comments section. As soon as I have time, I intend to post an actual Al Kilgore comic, so stay tuned for that.

And thanks again for 50,000 hits!

(Programming note: I will be out of town Sunday through Tuesday.)

And Now A Few Words From Our Sponsors...

November 19, 2009

Happy 50th, Rocky And Bullwinkle!

Has it really been 50 years since ABC broadcast the first earth shattering installment of Rocky and His Friends? This certainly is a cause for great celebration! If it only could be stated that just one of the modern cartoons that children watch today had one-tenth of the spark of imagination that Jay Ward's moose and squirrel show had, America would be a much better place. Much praise to Jay Ward and his friends for tickling our funny bones without insulting our intelligence, for teaching us how to pun, and for schooling us in the ways of unbridled silliness. Silliness, one may remember, is an art form that was popular in the 20th Century, before things got so (ecch) serious. It has largely been replaced in cartoons today by obnoxiousness, which is so non-silly it's ridiculous.

And now, watch me pull a comic out of my hat...

Four Color #1208 (Nov. 1961)
Story/Art: Unknown

November 17, 2009

Sausage Pilot!

"Sausage Pilot!" is a good example of the importance of never writing stories on an empty stomach. Scripter Hank Chapman barely lets a panel go by without having his characters mention the "S" word, and he also throws eggs, hot dogs, and baloney into the mix, not to mention liverwurst, a food I refuse to try because it reminds me of both "liver" and "worst." This appetite-whetting battle tale features Kubert-esque art by Irv Novick and appeared in DC's G.I. Combat #123 (April-May 1967). Come to think of it, since Chapman's last ever comic credit appeared in June 1967, maybe "Sausage Pilot!" was a tongue-in-cheek parting commentary on the low wages comic book writers sometimes receive. Was malnutrition to blame for his exit from the industry?