Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Murder mysteries were quite a staple in the early days of sound film, and hundreds were made both by the B-programmer divisions of the established studios and by independent production companies that distributed through the states rights market. They tended to be largely talk (or if set in old dark houses, they’d also have atmospheric creepy production design), and because of that, could be shot on a handful of small sets, with different combinations of the cast shot from different angles, and audiences would be paying attention to the dialogue and the performers, not the furniture.

A fine example of an indie murder mystery from the early 30's period is TAKE THE STAND, which moves quickly, has a colorful cast, has a raw urban feel to it (though shot entirely on small sets and with no outside or location shots at all, except for about 15 seconds of stock footage of a hockey game), and keeps one guessing until the end. The great movie tough-guy Jack LaRue plays a muckraking journalist and radio broadcaster, who through his columns and radio broadcasts casts aspersions on all kinds of business people, pillars of society, bankers, gangsters, couples in the society pages, etc. Not by name, but by innuendo. He even threatens to out someone he describes as a “soprano crooner” (yes, this is a pre-code film). In the first ten minutes of the film, we see a number of his columns on screen, along with the reactions of the people hurt by the claims. Then for the next twenty-five minutes, we see the various victims of the gossip trying to find and threaten LaRue, all of them of course saying or doing something that could later be considered a threat to kill him. This gives master character actor LaRue the chance to strut around, putting the others in their place, and it’s a joy to see a pro like him at work.

At about the 35 minute point (the film runs just short of 70 minutes), LaRue is killed while broadcasting (or so it seems)….in a room locked from the inside….and we hear a shot on his broadcast, and his begging “don’t shoot,” but it seems as though he’s been stabbed….and there is no knife in the locked room. Pretty much every suspect is out in the hall at the time of the murder, listening to the broadcast from a room with a speaker, after having been at his office trying to stop him from doing that night’s broadcast.

Each person is grilled by the police, and of course everyone was right near the scene of the murder and everyone hated the victim. People who watch murder mysteries regularly might catch a few tossed-off details earlier in the film, which would perhaps provide a special motive unlike the others for one character, and the opportunity for another character. Still, though, how the murder is committed is quite novel….although it was more novel in 1934 before it’s been used fifty times in later films.

The great lady of early 30’s film, Thelma Todd, loved for her Laurel and Hardy work and for her comedy shorts with Zasu Pitts and later with Patsy Kelly, plays LaRue’s assistant, who runs his office, and she does a fine job of seeming alternately sympathetic and suspicious. Also, as the over-eager sidekick of the gangster character is BTC fave Vince Barnett (see B&W pic of him brow-beating Thelma Todd), the bald, usually mustachioed, jittery scene-stealer who had his own comedy shorts at one time and appeared in hundreds of films as a supporting player. He’s constantly asking his employer, “ya want me to rub him out, boss? Ha, do ya?” and the like.

TAKE THE STAND does what it needs to do quickly and efficiently. Director Phil Rosen had a long and productive career, often in crime films and mysteries (including some Monogram Charlie Chans), and never keeps any scene running too long. After a long day at work in a sweaty print-shop or driving a cab or bagging groceries or whatever the typical BTC reader would have been doing to pay the rent in 1934, TAKE THE STAND is the perfect escapist murder-mystery entertainment, much easier to enjoy than reading a mystery novel, and with unforgettable character actors like Jack LaRue (see pic), Thelma Todd, and Vince Barnett. And thanks to Mr. Public Domain, it’s ready for YOU to watch online the next time you’ve got a spare 70 minutes.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


This edition of FANZINE FANABLA is dedicated to Brad Kohler, a clump of nonviable cells who actually enjoys these reminiscences or whatever ya'd call 'em re. the printed word kultur that had infested many a fandom for years on end. Hope you get more out of this 'un than I put into it, which as you will see was practically nil!

Unless yer talkin' somethin' 'round the lines of HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE, WHITE STUFF, BACK OF A CARTEENAGE NEWS or WHAT GOES ON, I find most of these single artist-oriented fanzines to be too fannish and light in the hardcore information department for my tastes. And that probably would include this particular Frank Zappa-oriented effort entitled MOTHER PEOPLE, but since I still do carry a bit of an affectation as Leo Gorcey might say for those earlier Mothers of Invention records I thought this particular issue featuring a Zappa/MOI bootleg rundown would be just the thing to cure the boredom around here at least for one evening!

The thirteenth issue is a boffo bootleg gather-up that deals with the THREE generations of rock bootlegs and how Zappa et. al. was handled in each of 'em. Cover reproductions as well as fairly detailed information as to what transpires between those grooves certainly sends me back to one of those outta-the-way record shops usually stuck smack dab in the middle of some ruinous shopping plaza where not only bootlegs but imports and hotcha cutouts could be had for a mere song, or perhaps a good portion of last week's lawn mowing earnings. Hey, who needs a new catcher's mitt when something like ZAPPA/BEEFHEART CONFIDENTIAL was within your reach for only $4.99!

Of course these bootleg features have been updated and upgraded to the point of insanity, but at least an earlier one like this will remind you of just how much these outta-the-way illegal spinners spiced up  your record collection, at least until people like Zappa got even more and more ridiculous to the point of how could anyone care about these Bigger Than Thou snoots anymore!
Awlright, I like a lotta those Marc Bolan fanzines that I have happened to come across o'er the past few decades or so! But here's one that's a li'l bit rarer'n the rest and just for that plain fact TYRANNOSAURUS REX oughta get the royal carpet treatment as well! Andy and Tam were (are?) big Bolanites and their effort to shed a li'l more life on the early days of this sainted act really is something that ya gotta congratulate the two for given that they weren't doin' this for the glory but for the passion (sorta like me!).

The early singles as well as the whole friggin' bootleg scene are covered in the same fun and fannish sorta way most of these digest-sized single-artist fanzines from Merrie Olde back inna eighties and nineties were, and like those efforts you once again get that warm and toasty feeling reading what these writers are talking to you as a fellow pilgrim rather'n 'em blithering from their lofty perch as was (is?) the case with most of those "Rock Critics" (yeeeesh!) that I've had the misfortune of reading o'er these past fortysome years.

It'll probably be hard to find along with the few thou other fanzines devoted to various sixties/seventies legends and charlatans that were made in England way back when, but if you see it well...ya know what'cha gotta do...
Gotta admit that there are probably THOUSANDS of these rock 'n roll fanzines produced from the early-seventies until the early-eighties that I could really sink my soul into. The only problem for me is finding 'em all, not to mention UNDERSTANDING the things if they happen to be written in a language that is not basic Ameriganized English. Of course when it comes to a really boffo fanzine that appeals to me especially on a visual level, the language barrier ain't anything that's gonna stop me from enjoying myself and hey, even with a French to English dictionary I can make out some of the things that are written about in such rags as I WANNA BE YOUR DOG,  ROCK NEWS or this li'l (or I should say BIG being the dimensions of one of those old LIFE magazines that clutter up your attic) effort entitled ANNIE AIME LES SUCETTES! The title kinda/sorta translates into something like Annie Likes Lollipops which seems like a strange enough name for a rock fanzine but since that was an old French pop hit I guess the meaning is not lost on the Gallic guys who picked this mag up way back inna late-seventies.

It's a pretty interesting mag too made by and for people in France who liked high energy rock music, electronic German rock (see Kraftwerk cover story/interview) and Amerigan kultur no matter how goofy and ginchy it may be. These guys must've been big on Stinky Toys which would figure given their kult stature and the Flamin' Groovies got a mention as well, and even if a lotta this comes off more like a tissue thin VILLAGE VOICE without any communists or sexual deviants to be found I prefer ANNIE's reflection of late-seventies under-the-counterculture snazz than I do those New York sickos. And they were big on Amerigan kultur given their reviews of not only Hollywood film (or in this case "cinema") but the reprint of an old ETTA KETT Sunday page on the back cover! Might be worth a look see the next time you find yourself at some Parisian flea market.
Yeah, them French really did make good fanzines and here are two more that really fall into the category of  totally boffo reading. From the looks of it FEELING was right up there with the aforementioned rags what with its slick look which woulda fit in just splended alongside the legitimate rock mags that were up and about at the time. However don't expect a load of typical late-seventies snootism in FEELING for it was a rally smart, well-laid out and devoted to the kind of rock 'n roll we cherish kinda mag that settles well with me even if their musical tastes sometimes got a li'l wobbly., an' I don't mean I.W.W.!

Only bad point here's the presence of J. D. Martignon doin' the New York report (sheesh if only he was a nice guy given his musical pedigree and the fact he was the vocalist with Dagon should have earned him some under-the-counterculture points!), but otherwise it's sure grand to know that even overseas acts like Pere Ubu were considered hot tamales and that more'n just a few fanablas out there were followin' THE BIG BEAT while everyone else was followin' the Anastasia Pantsios route to post-hippie doldrums into total AOR mindmush. There are a whole lot more European fanzines of the seventies to be had, and when they come my way by gum yer gonna read about 'em HERE and read about 'em HARD!
The trend towards fancy French rock 'n roll fanzines didn't quite end in the seventies either, and I remember NINETEEN gettin' a whole lotta praise and huzzahs in the under-the-underground fanzine press back in the eighties. No wonder, for this rag, like LOSERS (see last Fanzine Fanabla), is printed up on nice glitzy glossy paper with a full color cover and slick photos that make alla those crank out cheapos look rather crudzine in comparison. Naturally the coverage is focused on what I would call the last remains of the vibrant seventies era of underground rock encroaching on the mainstream somewhat/somehow, so if you were one who was a big fan of the Fleshtones of the various Paisley Underground acts this would be just the mag for you. Of course you gotta be able to read French (which I was told is nothing but sloppy English, so maybe you can make this out even if you got thrown outta French class in school for asking what that line in "Lady Marmalade" meant) and if not the snaps are fine to look at. Once more proof that the French were the ones who really knew the true nature of rock 'n roll while the rest of the rock press was kinda stumbling along following trend after trend...usually with hilarious if not just downright DISASTROUS results.
Not only did the French have classy, slick fanzines but the Swedes did as well as least if LARM is anything to go by! Sure some of the acts covered in this late-seventies mag ain't exactly up my own expansive alley (Moon Martin, Darryl Hall & Warren Oates!) but otherwise LARM pretty much ranks up there with the likes of SNEAKERS, I WANNA BE YOUR DOG and all the rest of the French breed of rock as in ROCK & ROLL camp.. With a hefty look backwards (a piece on Jimmy Page's "Session Man" work) and the Left Banke mingling with the expected uppa date and hep fodder LARM makes for one of those mags you can't read if you don't know the lingo, but you try making sense outta the Swede-ese because you get the drift that THERE'S SOME MIGHTY GOOD WRITING LINGERIN' IN THEM PARTS. And once you make your way through the thing, you know you were right all along.
ANOTHER furrin' one! BACKSTAGE PASS came outta Holland back '77 was and it's all inna native tongue so readin' it is like readin' a German 'zine only it's like funnier lookin'. But there is nothing "funny" (as in "funny funny not funny strange" as Gilligan once put it) about BACKSTAGE PASS because, despite the rather plain cover, this has the same sorta oof! and bam! that all of our favorite fanzines had for many-a-year. This particular issue's got some rather groove-oid things innit like ne'er before seen Rolling Stones live shots and a feature on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band as well as a thingie on Family (who I never thought much about but I don't mind readin' about 'em!). Like a good portion of these European fanzines the layout is professional enough for my tastes and the cover high gloss, and if I could only understand what they're sayin' I'd say that the writing was fine as well. But as with LARM I know there is some pretty high energy schpiel to be found within because given their tastes how could they not be anything but total eruption!  Dunno if there were any other issues of SUPPORTING ACT put out but just by the existence of this one issue the people behind the thing deserve a nice li'l berth in the Fanzine Hall of Fame which I hope ain't as retardo as the rock one and I hope they never create one because you know that the first "fanzine" that will be nominated would be...ROLLING STONE???!?!?!?!?!??!
Now back to something printed in the English language! And as far as fanzines from England go you know that the main template for a good portion of the home-made mags was undoubtedly the original ZIGZAG! And no doubt about it the folk at WAY AHEAD must have purchased, read and pretty much EATEN every issue of the original 'ZAG extant for it shows in their pages. The spirit (although not exactly the excitement) of the pre-punk rock era ZIGZAG can be found in these pages, and if you were a reader of that tried and true mag who hadda fight your way through the Tangerine Dream and Canterbury Sound articles to get to something on Dr. Feelgood you woulda hadda've gone through the same experience with these reads too!

But still, I like WAY AHEAD not only for the old-styled layout job, the rather appealing artwork (even if that artwork seems more inspired by Roger Dean than it does Andy Warhol) and the general quality that went into it even if that quality was being poured all over those West Coast Amerigan Back-To-Nature bands these English fanzines seemed to drool over. But as far as putting out the kinda fanzine that looked good and read good enough even if you couldn't care one whit about the acts mentioned, WAY AHEAD did a snatter job at it than many would dare to admit. It's hard not to like it even if the thing coulda used a bigger dose of the NME/SOUNDS-styled gonzo energy that make kids in Ameriga swipe money outta their mom's purses just so's they could get hold of an ultra-expensive overseas subscription.

Over the years there have been quite a few good fanzines put out by members of the female gender, or as I like to call them the dangerous sex. Off the top of my head I can think of STAR SPECIAL, THE ELECTRIC WARRIOR FREE PRESS and SLADE PARADER In some ways these gal 'zines were unique in their own way since they seemed to retain this teenage gal spinnin' records in her bedroom with her chubboid galpals talkin' about the beneath contempt boys in class while swooning over their fave musical idols. Only their music tended to encroach on the gnarlier side of sound and do you really think that a guy coulda pulled off an Iggy and the Stooges newsletter as well as Natalie Stoogeling did? But they did retain a feminine sorta outlook that wasn't all he man and gutzy like my own writing, but an interesting change of pace from the usual same old.

These first two issues of KIMONO, an early-eighties English fanzine, bear my point out. Nice layout and art and printjob and everything you can want in a fanzine pops up here, though editress Kathy Easton does retain that aforementioned teenage gal playing records on the portable in her bedroom attitude that many of the other gal 'zines seemed to revel in. And (again) like I said there's nada wrong with that...I mean I'd rather read some femme's impressions of anyone from Sky Saxon to the Stones taken from a suburban bedroom ranch house 1969 mentality than I would a feminist zine featuring the results of a symposium on the taste of menstrual blood. So if you want a fannish yet smart take on the early-eighties doings of everyone from Queen and Blondie to Adam and the Ants as filtered through the brain of a young English lass who I'm sure is not only privileged but proper this mag is the one to get!
I have a list of late-fifties/sixties-era satire fanzines that I copped off some website, a pretty inclusive one even if I did hadda add a couple of titles that were missing like FANFORE and SPOOF. I would assume that most of these, such as FOO and WILD, were definitely inspired by MAD given how their creators and contributors ultimately spawned the underground comix scene of the late-sixties, but this li'l effort from the list seems to be quite different 'n the expected hoo-hahs.

BEDLAM is whatcha'd call a satire mag, though it's not exactly in the same category as the aforementioned wonders since there ain't any comic book-like efforts to be found nor the expected ad and tee-vee spoofs that seemed to be all the rage. Well, there is a take off on the old Maidenform Bra ads but it's more like one of those spot comics you saw in just about every other fanzine satire, Sci-Fi or otherwise. But that's no reason to ignore this effort...edited by a Mike Deckinger, SPOOF dared to tackle controversial subjects just like every other fanzine of the era which either puts it at the forefront of modern, uncensored, totally uninhibited tell-it-like-I-WANT-it-to-be free expression or the predecessor to today's metastasized politically pious one-way discussions where you'd better shut up, march in lockstep or we're gonna make your life miserable credo that seems to be all the rage no matter where you look!

Now, I gotta admit that Issac Asimov's definitely non-funny andSci-Fi fanzine serious "A Woman's Heart" just doesn't jib my jab, although the "Interview With a Heterosexual" is amusing enough in its good ol' corny reverse cliche way, kinda like Orson Bean's "Two Chinese Men Go To an American Restaurant" piece in MAD. The strange thing about that one is, given just how mish moshed the whole concept of sexuality has become o'er the years this bit of satire just might have become FACT, one of those true-to-life dramas in a world that FEEDS on dystopia!

The cartoons ain't bad at all in that old fanzine sorta tradition while I think the two pages of personal ads reprinted are the only real laff-riot to be found between the covers. And overall BEDLAM was yet another good effort in sixties fanzine publication which naturally makes me wanna seek out more of these outta-the-way self-produced mags even if they might not have that stoopidly beautiful teenbo satiric outlook from a late-fifties suburban slob setting that I'd sure like to see!
More comin' your way, hopefully more later than sooner!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! CAPTAIN GALLANT OF THE FOREIGN LEGION (U.S. Pictorial Inc., 1955, re-published by Golden Age Reprints)

Unlike Bill Shute, I do not have memories of watching either CAPTAIN GALLANT nor its syndicated version FOREIGN LEGIONNAIRE while growing up in front of the boob tube. Not that the show wasn't being aired during my days of consciousness (NBC was re-running it on late Saturday afternoons back when I was three) but I suppose there was always something else that was being aired that got the precedence here at the old abode. I only caught the thang back when a variety of Golden Age tee-vee packages hit the local PBS station in the eighties and kinda felt like kicking myself for missing out on a series like that which really woulda enriched my sense of suburban slob blubberfarmisms back when I really needed it!

It's easy to see why such a series woulda been one of those perennial hits with the young boy crowd. All those shows with John Hart in 'em  like HAWKEYE and RAMAR along with THE LONE RANGER and THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (and I'm leavin' out a whole slew of Saturday afternoon syndicated wonders) really appealed to the go-get-'em that used to bubble over in boys long before the liberals shamed 'em into being a buncha faggots, and if Johnny Weissmuller was too old to get into his Tarzan skins and hadda play Jungle Jim why couldn't fellow Tarzan Buster Crabbe do the same and slap on a Foreign Legion uniform! Not only that but he actually got none other'n Fuzzy Knight to play the comical sidekick and his own son Cuffy showed up as the youth interest which only goes to show you what a swell pop Buster was! I mean, can you imagine your dad letting you co-star with him on a tee-vee series? It would be a great idea unless your dad was Percy Helton.

In typical cash-in fashion a comic book woulda been in order, and this strangitie (published by a U.S. Pictorial Inc. of which nothing else I know about) mighta been the impulse grabber onna racks for many a kid back in those better 'n now days. It's what you would expect from a book in the Comics Code Authority era (albeit that stamp don't show up on here!) combining simple enough stories with a lotta history behind the French Foreign Legion that I'm sure made most of the boys reading this ready to stowaway on some transatlantic steamer so's they too could join up and forget whatshername just like Oliver Hardy tried to do in that all-time film classic FLYING DEUCES.

Much to the dismay of the comic book SNOBS out there the stories aren't as fleshed out as they would become once people like Roy Thomas decided comics were just as important to the literary canon as Ernest and F. Scott, and in fact some of 'em are downright STOOPIFYING! But that's nothing to up your snout at because at least you're getting some good funtime entertainment outta this and while you have a good half hour to watch an episode one story should take you a good five minutes to read. Like the one where the men at the outpost bet their hard-earned on a camel race pitting Knight's beloved Josephine (I kinda wonder about those two!) against an Arab's and is sabotaged when some sultry villainette slips sleeping tablets into the hapless goof's canteen! True this would have made a great saga if built up somewhat but as it stands it's a whole lot more digestible than some Alan Moore epic and maybe less discomforting as well.

The artwork ain't that much to crow about but that is expected. Most of it was done by Don Heck, who as you strident comic book fans will remember was the one Marvel artist of the sixties and seventies who really offended the more aesthetically-inclined out there in readerland. I never thought he was bad mind you and in fact his seventies work was brilliant in that he was retaining that old style in the face of some of those new trends in cartooning that didn't quite settle well with my teenbo stomach. But here Heck's work really leaves a lot to be desired making those early-sixties Marvel monster and Iron Man stories many dislike him for look like King Kirby in comparison. Heck was definitely going for the Milton Caniff look but comes off more like George Wunder after suffering from a few sledgehammer blows to the head...this stuff looks like something even """""I""""" woulda passed up on had I stumbled across it in a flea market stack back 1972 way, and I wasn't even that kind of a fussy gussy sorta comics snob back then!

Eh, why should I quibble since I got some good stories, some edjamacational history and a good half hour's fun outta this thing. In that span of time I coulda been saving a life or rescuing a dog or even helping out the fambly in some beneficial way.  But I spent it reading a comic book and somehow I still believe that I served humanity in a better way than had I done all that scout boy-ish good deedy stuff, dontcha think?


I gotta admit that all these furrin' action flicks from the sixties that Bill Shute has sent me o'er the years have really embedded themselves into my natural action cravings (for something that ain't as castrated as today's "entertainment", that is). This 'un starring Ray Danton's no exception.

THE LAST MERCENARY stars the longtime film/tee-vee tough guy as a soldier of fortune who, after wiping out a Congolese revolution within the span of a few minutes, ends up in Brazil to help out a small-time mine owner with a sexoid wife (of course you know what's gonna happen!) who's being pressured into selling out to the Big Time mining cartel. Loads of things happen along the line what with the naughty boys not always playing according to hoyle (some pretty good hard-edged beatings both ways are at hand) and at first the wife acts extremely suspicious of Danton, plus there's this little girl who dresses like an old crone who pops in and out of the action and somehow figures into the deep psychological bent of what the true essence of everything that is going on really means but in no way could I figure any of it out. Sheesh, don't you have it when these action and adventure moom pitchers alla sudden get all arty on ya?

Can't really complain tho since THE LAST MERCENARY does keep up on the action what with all the surprise twists and turns to the point where sometimes you don't know who the good-good guys are compared with the good-bad ones while a few bad-good ones might sneak in with the bad-bads. Of course getting there is half the fun, and I gotta admit that this 'un's good enough to keep you in control of your bladder just so's you don't have to take a trip to the pot even if you do have a pause button to hold the action while you take the pause that refreshes. Once again, a film that is mind over bladder.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Hmmmm, not as bountiful as I would have liked it this week. You can blame it on Mame, the Bossa Nova, Cain or the current socio/political situation if you like but as usual the blame falls on ME! After all, I do have a life outside of this manic social whirlpool we call the internet, and if those yards don't get mowed and those leaves remain un-raked my standing in the REAL LIFE community is bound to fall. So settle back and be satisfied with the relative pittance you're getting not only in reviews but in my deft insight into various important matters from tee-vee, politics, societal mores and other items that I know will upset the dish it out but can't take it types out there. You know, those "readers" who regularly tune into this unique form of expression that thankfully goes against the tide of what's considered hip and proper and other brownie points that will make you even more popular than all those good looking gals in school who got abortions. Nowadays they're all undoubtedly part of the sag set and here I am...about as fit as a fiddle upstairs as any true music maven on the face of this earth would dare to be!

Chris Spedding-GOOD TO BE ALIVE five-CD-r set (Marshall Records)

When I first heard Spedding via the BACKWOODS PROGRESSION album back '76 way I thought he was some bland kinda singer/songwriter who was trying to get his Dylan nasal down a little more pat'n that guy in Stealer's Wheel let alone Dylan himself. Li'l did I know that this Spedding guy was some sorta bigshot session player who had performed with the likes of John Cale and was latching onto that p-rock thing that alla the high school students talked about in hushed tones. These five platters present Spedding during his new-unto-gnu wave days with two Max's Kansas City shows featuring special guests John Cale, Robert Gordon and Henry Gross, Spedding on his lonesome as well as a Robert Gordon radio broadcast during the days when the motorbikin' one was in the rockabilly boogier's band shortly after he took over Link Wray's chair in the group.

The sound on 'em (if ya really care) is soundboard clear, though as far as performances go I didn't care for Spedding's early-eighties solo live excursions which came off so FM rock in their interpretation of what alla this gnu musik was "supposed" to sound like 'stead of what it shoulda. The Max's shows were snat what with John Cale and Spedding making up after the chicken incident and Gordon's rockabilly howl not as offensive as some made it out. Even Henry Gross rocked out here making me wonder why the former Sha Na Na guitarist hadda go and make that sappy single custom made for that fat thigh'd stuck up gal in Algebra. The all-Gordon broadcast ain't bad either especially if you get outta your mind that story about the Zantees wanting to open a show for him and he said OK only if they supplied him with some heavy duty booty that coulda gotten a whole load of people into trouble! But that's just a mean rumor so forget I even said it inna first place!

Like just about everything else that pops up on this blog this ain't for everybody, but a few people who have followed Spedding throughout the years and even had those Harvest albums in their stacks might want to snatch this up. Ebay seems to have one of these every so often so like, keep them peepers peeled and I don't mean UN CHIEN ANDALOU!
Fadensonnen-CHANDRA CD (Fadensonnen Records)

Talk about throwin' one for a loop! Here Fadensonnen alternates between light vibraphone/percussion pieces that remind me of something Gunter Hampel used to do with hard-out searing guitar play somewhere in between Sonny Sharrock and WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Fadensonnen must be one of the busier people out on the do-it-your-way musical scene considering that Razorlegs cassette he sent me just last week. For all out total eruptive music here at the dusk of another decade that did nada for us you can't beat Fadensonnen! So get this one however you can (try the same link to the Razorlegs review that I posted and ye probably shall find).

Dunno how I missed out on these early Bob Forward cassettes. Maybe I didn't. Anyway this tape purports to be the "best" of the various tapeage that came out with Forward's OWN THE WHOLE WORLD fanzine and the sounds here are as all over the place which ain't nothing special mind you. Weird free splat goes up against straightforward rock 'n roll then you get an electronic thing that reminds me of the theme to a seventies-era PBS program before some tape mangipulation that seemed to be so the rage in the eighties shows up. This has some items from Akron, Cleveland and even beyond. Not for everyone's tastes but there's something for everyone within these...er..."grooves".
The Fireballs-GUNSHOT CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

If you liked the String-A-Longs who also recorded at the Norman Petty Clovis New Mexico studio from whence Buddy Holly once a-sprang you might very well like the Fireballs, who I dunno are the same Fireballs as in "Jimmy Gilmer and" but they're Fireballs just the same. These guys had the same sorta creaky and patented safe sound like the group of "Wheels" fame and you kinda get the impression that this music was also meant for the enjoyment of the elderly set as well as the teenbos who pocketed lunch money if only to buy records like these. But so what if I can get a good li'l rise outta their instrumental goodies just like I can most of the other instrumental acts of that sainted era. One vocal does pop up but that seemed to be the rule back then. Now this might not be as all out slam bang as the stuff Paul Revere and the Raiders were crankin' out at the same time but next to what would hit the AM dial once the late-sixties got into gear this might as well be the Stooges!
Scott H. Biram-THIS IS KINGSBURY? CD-r burn (originally on Knuckle Sandwich Records)

Although I probably will NEVER listen to this platter again I gotta admit that this slice of Appalachian folky blooze holler is purty down-home good! Although this kinda music ain't always my cup of tea unless Peter Laughner's doing it, Birum's take on downhome olde tyme folk music sure rings a whole lot truer'n the hippies onna front porch doings many of us have been inundated with for years whether we liked it or not. At times this sounds as authentic as those scratchy 78s that Bill keeps sending me, and the fact that this one's relatively "recent" (well "2000") is testament to the fact that there are still some people who remember what Americana down home goodness is still all about! You might even kick your feet up on the Franklin Stove while listening to this while smokin' a corn cob pipe...who knows?
Various Artists-HOKEY POKEY ROCK CD-r burn (originally on White Label Records, Holland)

The lack of liner notes has me wondrin' more and more about who these ozobs actually were, but from what I can these tracks were taken from various late-fifties/early-sixties flopsters that SHOULDA gone somewhere other'n the local Goodwill. In order not to be so boringly redundant about these things let me just say that you pretty know what to expect from these locally produced rockabilly tracks and it sure ain't the moderne day approach which seems to have lost more'n a little in the process. Next to this, the early-eighties "revival" might have well have been Patti Page!

Another rather "varied" selection here. This 'un's got some roughhouse soul from the likes of Little Gigi and the Lafayette Afro Rock Band (who actually sound kinda/sorta authentic as opposed to the more giddy disco-y stuff that came out inna seventies) not to mention different trax from familiar faces voices like Fats Domino and the Toys of "A Lover's Concerto" fame. The Hispanic rock 'n rollers were fine (I especially liked Alex y los Finders' "Me Siento Feliz" which is an accurate version of the Beatles' "I Feel Fine" without the feedback opening) while Sagram's "The Universal Form", a long sitar stretchout, would have been better put to use had it ended up on an episode of DRAGNET. In all (even the avant gardities from Tim Berne and Dominic Lash/Nate Wooley) a fine effort, though if Jim Fullen really is of the male gender I get the impressions that his testicles have yet to drop.
Just a brief note to say that BLACK TO COMM back issues are still available and I do kinda get the idea that more'n a few of you reg'lar tuner inners are in the market for these by-now LEGENDARY, CRUCIAL, NECESSARY and other keen words fanzines! Yes, while other fanzines of the day are nowadays about as relevant as Jane Fonda, these BTC's  really stand out inna sea of eighties/nineties home-produced efforts which really don't stand the test of time given how all of the under-the-underground musical trends and political chic moves of them days seem about as archaic as Benjamin Franklin Stoves. That is, That is, unless you still have quite a hankerin' for the "art" of Karen Finley and proudly parade your pock-marked body with a "Silence = Death" placard and if so may I ask you an all-important question which is...why are you still alive?

Thursday, October 10, 2019


1975????? Sheesh, I remember the whole youth kultur hippoid generation having pretty much been buried by this time, thankfully replaced by more wholesome outlets of youthful expression such as glam and a general sick 'n jaded attitude being directed towards just about anything and everything that the "relevant" kidz bolstered their own self worth with. After all, this was the era of NATIONAL LAMPOON and the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and if anything typified the general grumble of the era it was things like those 'n many more (remember punk rock?). Moom pitchers of this quality were pretty much laffed outta the theatres they were showed at 'n nobody liked 'em unless they were one of those sensitive iron-haired gals who used to impress the teacher because they were reading Dick Gregory books while the rest of us were still pouring through The Rover Boys. But sheesh, I guess that if a moom like THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK could pack 'em in long after the whole hippie/Viet thingie died down then why not this particular pelicula which has enough up-to-date and socially conscious material to have given Rod McKuen an erection on his death bed?

Micky Dolenz is the big name draw even though he's there mainly for comedy relief, a long-haired Pat Brady trying to grow a pot plant and get nookie 'stead of getting into highlarous confrontations with Nellybelle. But he ain't the meaty potatoes of this comedy-drama about a buncha freeloading hippies who are given (by the local merchants whose business is being hampered by the smelly set) their own town to vegetate in. The bulk of this flicker is "based upon" the myriad assortment of other characters both straight and loopy who are involved with this cinematic turdburger which is about as self-serious, and (once you get down to it) about as establishment preachy as any Dave Berg "Lighter Side" comic you may come upon. In fact, I really do get the idea that director Shelley Berman (who was a whole lot better walking around amid people wearing masks with his likeness on THE TWILIGHT ZONE) is straight from the Dave Berg mode...sure he mighta been the best neighbor one could have hoped for but that Fifties liberal stuck inna seventies schtick sure wears thin.

The dead serious parts of KEEP OFF MY GRASS! are stultifying, once again making those hippies that we're all supposed to love because they're so downhome goody goody 'n all look even more shootable than Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper did to those pickup truck denizens in EASY RIDER. The grownups are just as 2-D as a bra cup especially when they make peace signs at the hippies trekking off to their new town or commune or whatever it is they're moving to. Even a pro like Louis Quinn (former 77 SUNSET STRIP co-star who was spending the decade appearing in not only big league flicks like ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN but those Crown International tittyfests that had more'n a few boys hiding out in the woods behind the drive-in Friday nights) comes off more irritating than sympathetic as a local businessman who conceives the idea of shipping the hippies out to their own nirvanaland. And that ain't even counting the rest of the cast from the terminally hip Free Clinic doctor, the patently goyish-looking eighties tee-vee star Gerald McRainey as Quinn's Jewish son who wants to drop out of college and find himself, the other residents of Hippie Homeland with their immediately punchable faces and even that guy who played the retarded doof in ON THE ROCKS and other late-seventies forgettables.

KEEP OFF MY GRASS! has a weird kinda ebb and flow and lotsa loose ends including the film's very climatic ending where the revenge seeing daughter of the local pharmacist douses the ice cream for the hippie wedding reception with LSD leading to one of those freak out scenes that popped up in just about every "Now" film since 1969. Not that I particularly care that the bitch got away with her dastardly deed which resulted in the self-inflicted death of one of the scuzzies, but I kinda thought that at least that slim detail'd come to some concrete conclusion whether positive or negative (and you can guess what I hope "positive" and "negative" means or else you haven't been reading this blog long enough!).

What else would you expect from one of these low budget older generation tries to cope with the younger one and of course sets the pace with their loose adaptations of traditional mores kinda excursions such as this? Gotta say that this film does serve a couple of important purposes. For one it'll show alla those eighties/nineties punque rock types who think hippies were some sorta brave pioneers of total freedom just what a dull hoax the entire movement was and shall remain for that matter, as well as to remind us higher forms of life as to why things like Iggy and CREEM magazine were so important in the face of such cloying forms of entertainment as this.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019


Nothing satisfies like a hard-boiled Cold War-era espionage/crime film, and when it’s directed by Alfred Werker of HE WALKS BY NIGHT fame and it’s based on a magazine article by J. Edgar Hoover himself AND it’s shot on location in Boston, you know you are in for a quality time, a grim, atmospheric film chock full of document drops, code names, communist “sleepers” blackmailed into continued service, random-looking meetings on park benches during crowded periods, local shops used as fronts for the Party, relatives held hostage by the East Germans, lip-reading from clandestinely-shot 16mm films, etc. etc.—and all of this happening on the fascinating early 50’s black and white streets of Boston, full of small shops and local particulars now long gone, but thankfully documented in the crisp monochrome photography that Columbia Pictures did so well in its B-crime films. You want local Boston atmosphere? In one scene near the waterfront in Cambridge, FBI agents keeping an eye on a suspicious Polish freighter have a cover as ice-cream men in a Howard Johnson’s ice-cream truck. When they apprehend the suspect (actually, someone wearing the clothes of and looking vaguely like the person they were after, used as a decoy in a red switcheroo) a minute later, they take him down while still wearing their white ice-cream man uniforms! There was even a Fawcett comic book adaptation done of the film, which I hope to read in the near future.

The film is an extensive how-to catalogue of 1952 cold war espionage—who would have known that microfilm could be put under a sticker promoting the beauty of flowers affixed to the front of envelopes coming and going from a florist shop, or that the names of fictitious people paged at an airport could be a code for what locker the hot package is located in, or what kind of flower or plant was shipped out on which particular day of the week would provide coded information, hiding in plain sight.

The cast here does what they need to do without calling attention to themselves, since the agents and the spies both need to be discreet and anonymous. Former 30’s song and dance man George Murphy (in his last feature film), later Senator from California, is the lead FBI operative and has the worn-down professionalism and gravitas such a role needs; Scottish actor Finlay Currie is the European-American scientist working on a secret government project who is approached by the Reds to trade secrets in return for the release of his son from an East German jail (he of course reports the offer to the FBI, while pretending to play along with the party operatives) and gives an emotional, Orson Welles-style bravura performance, his Scottish burr only slipping in a few times when he’s at his most agitated and emotional; Czech actor Karel Stepanek, who spent much of his career working in the UK, is convincing as the conscience-less party enforcer. There is more than one femme fatale here, one of whom (the glamourous one) is played by Virginia Gilmore, who’d previously worked with such great directors as Jean Renoir and Fritz Lang and who was at the time married to Yul Brynner!

In one of the film’s climactic scenes, a party operative who manages to avoid getting picked up along with his colleagues runs to a pay phone to make a call containing a coded message about a condolence card for his nephew, and the phone booth is lit in such a way and shot from such an angle that it looks downright sinister, something from a 20’s Fritz Lang Dr. Mabuse film. Director Alfred Werker, despite the Germanic-sounding name, was born in Deadwood, South Dakota and came up through the ranks of genre films, his first film as full director (after working as an assistant director) being a 1925 Fred Thomson silent western. However, anyone who has seen THEY WALK BY NIGHT knows that the man can make the commonplace urban streets look like something full of dread and danger, and even manages that here in a more restrained form, while conforming to the flat, matter-of-fact house style at Columbia Pictures for their B-crime films, a style responsible for these films holding up so well today.

Producer Louis De Rochemont, who receives auteur billing at the film’s beginning and end, was a Bostonian himself, coming from Chelsea, and was not only responsible for the long-running MARCH OF TIME documentary newsreel shorts, but also such 40’s noir-crime classics as 13 RUE MADELEINE and THE HOUSE ON 92ND STREET. He brings the clipped, staccato rhythm of the former and the brooding atmosphere of the latter to this project.

WALK EAST ON BEACON is available on one of Columbia-Sony’s Film Noir boxsets, but it’s also available on You Tube (at least it was, as of this writing) for your viewing pleasure in a fine quality print. It’s even more entertaining than reading the de-classified files from Soviet and East German intelligence agencies, identifying what Americans were compromised, how they were “worked,” and what methods were used to pass information, because here those dry facts come off the page and into hard-boiled, three-dimensional life on the screen in front of you. Another gem from the golden age of Cold War crime/spy programmers.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Eh---another week for me and you, but another week with plenty to do! Like watch old tee-vee shows, listen to high energy soundspurts, read up on that life-reaffirming, soul-searching scripture that bolsters the soul and make us one with all that is good and righteous (this week it's R. Meltzer's GULCHER) and other things that might not even require locking the bathroom door. Gotta say that I'm really in gear for more and more of this High Life not only with the stacks of fanzines and whatnot that have cluttered up my room but the overall SPIRIT OF THE TIMES which somehow has made alla those sunsets and musical modes come off all the more gnarlier. I know none of you out there think the same way I do, but man is it good to be alive as long as I'm watching some old tee-vee program, reading NANCY or spinning a current playlist fave like Dredd Foole and the Din...not to mention seeing the hoi polloi rend their garments in throes of agony over every little perceived infraction upon their sainted dignity.
"We must secure the existence of our
people and a future for buck-toothed
bowl haircut dorks worldwide."
In a move that I'm sure surprised nobody out there in realityland, the Anti Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith have designated a number of images and such, some that were believed to be rather innocuous and innocent only a few weeks ago, as downright unacceptable hate speech that only the crudest of non-cocktail party gatherers would dare utter! Included amid the "Happy Merchant" drawing created by A. Wyatt Mann are such other sundries such as the old McDonalds "Moon Man" character and the "OK" sign which all these years actually stood for "White Power" only the throngs of people who made a circle with their thumb and index finger while letting the remaining three digits stick way up didn't realize it. (Just goes to show ya just how serious some more-righteous-than-thou types will take a 4chan hoax to heart!) Also slapped onto the no-no list is the bowl haircut, which has been popularized by centuries of young boys getting their heads trimmed at home who, once again, didn't know they were propagating such a hateful symbol that drives many a soul into deep throes of sheer agony!  Sheesh, one guy with a bowl cut shoots up a church and now ALL with the once-popular hairdo are to be corralled in with the sap! Talk about collective guilt, or is that collective bad coiffures! Who knew that for all these years Dwayne Dibbley was a white supremacist (and where doe that leave Moe Howard?)!
So what else is up 'n about? Not much other'n that I am sad to see the summer months turn autumn even tho the upcoming winter months mean less yardwork and more of an excuse to stay inside and goof off, or work on the blog for that matter (same thing).It's the preparation for them cold days that I'm worried about tho. After all, it is a long long while from May to December, and the weeks grow short when you're outside raking up leavers 'stead of in your room doing what your suburban slob heart most desires. Anyhoo, here are this week's splatters up for dissection, and as usual the likes of P.D.Fadensonnen, Bill Shute, Feeding Tube Records and Paul McWhazizname are to be commended for their contributions to DA REVOLUCION!

Razorlegs-SKIP SKOOL cassette (Razorlegs.bandcamp,com)

I kinda wonder if side "a"'s "Transistor Lover" is a tribute to none other'n the sainted no wave band of yore Red Transistor. I kinda think so given the all out heavy tone thug approach to it. This has a rock 'n roll approach not seen since WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and its various adherents, buffered by a whole lotta electronics that even the likes of Chrome or Throbbing Gristle never woulda dreamed of. And if they did... My fave of the new batch of toys just has to be the Transmitter Interference Electric Choir which kinda sounds like a radio being clicked on and off repeatedly while the New Christy Minstrels were being played...and it just might be that although I tend to think it's some sorta newfangled electronic device that was perhaps created by group member P.D. Fandensonnen! The best controlled chaos (I think) release this week. Total eruption, 'n that ain't no rockcrit hyperbole the kind that you get just about everywhere else.
Iggy Pop-FREE CD-r burn (originally on Caroline International Records)

Ya can't blame him. He's 72 and his best years are far far behind him. At least the Stooges reunions were pulled off with class. This is to the present what Bing Crosby's SEASONS was to the late-seventies, only Pop hasn't croaked on a golf course yet. The voice is down a few octaves from those early days and the spoken prose really doesn't do much for you at all. At least when Arthur Godfrey was speaking about some little boy you kinda got a whiff of that Dennis the Menace's kiddoid charm. Here is all sounds like a bleak despair. Who knows what's next...maybe orange juice ads?
Arrington de Dionyso-SHOUTING OVER DEEP WATER BLUES LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Just when I thought that the "new"/"free"/"avant garde" jazz thingie had forever been wooshed away due to its better practitioners being a buncha guys holed up in their own small enclaves playing their own personal takes on past accomplishments! Outta seemingly nowhere comes this album to the rescue, a record made by a guy who is just about as cloistered as the rest of the free play survivors but THERE THE DIFFERENCE ENDS!

de Dionyso makes his music with the Bromiophone (see illustration at upper left) which might turn out to be an ever bigger marvel of the age than Supercar! For although it is mostly made up of old PVC tubes the sounds which emanate are perfect for the kind of new thing jazz we can sure use a lot more of all these years later.

Coming off a bit like Anthony Braxton on those old contrabass clarinet solo excursions, the Bromiophone sounds a lot like that famed who knew it existed before Braxton played the thing instrument with a vibrato and resonance that recalls the old Stritchaphone (or was it the Manzello...always got 'em mixed up) if that was done up as a bass instrument. However, the range and limits of the Bromiophone are wider what with some of the sounds de Dionyso comes up with on this, at one point where it sounds as if the man himself is moaning and all of a sudden that cry seems to have transformed itself into the instrument itself making your ears do a double take like nothing since that YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND album when you actually thought that her voice had suddenly transformed itself into John's angular guitar playing. Too bad this guy wasn't around during the Fluxus days or else Ms. L mighta invited him to perform on FLY...who knows?

These outta-nowhere surprises always catch me off guard. Mucho kudos to FT for releasing this in the first place, and for de Dionyso for existing in the firster than first place for that matter.
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE CD-r burn (originally on A Recordings)

A lotta these guys' earlier efforts really didn't zap my o-mind the way I sorta hoped they would, but this effort really seems to capture a lotta the things I think the Brian Jonestown Massacre needed to capture all these years but didn't or couldn't. Some of this doesn't quite get off the ground and into the high energy ozone true, but a lot of it sure seems to owe some sorta allegiance to alla them past endeavors that I really have cherished lo these many years. A tad bit of the same area that La Femme have traipsed upon seems to show up as well...not that bad if you're really hungry for a true rock 'n roll effort that's straight ahead and lacks the typical shortcuts often found in most of the subpar sputum around.
The Corporation-GET ON OUR SWING plus HASSELS IN MY MIND CD-r burn (originally on Ace/Big Beat Records, England)

Milwaukee late-sixties psych group's second and third spinners on the Cuca Records subsidiary "Age of Aquarius" records. Don't let that scare ya off because these guys were rather good in the West Coast jazz/rock vein with all of the right moves and twists one would expect from a good portion of '69 wares from the Doors to Alice Cooper and beyond. Only trouble is that the sameness kinda gets boring about halfway through and you're startin' to look at your player's display pad wondering just how much more of this you have to endure. For seriously mindblown types only.

Bobby Bradford and the Mo'tet-LIVE AT THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM CD-r burn (originally on Waterboy Records)

Hmmmmm.... Mighty fine neo-bop jazz here that doesn't come off all bowtie and tails DOWN BEAT fodder. Leonard Feather would undoubtedly approve, and so do I given how Bradford and Mo'tet really knew how to beef up the fifties jazz stream without gumming up the works. Best number is the closer "She", a ten-minute mood poem that reminds me of Byard Lancaster's "John's Children". It ain't free jazz, but you will probably love it as well as you do all of those sixties sound-wreckers.

Hah! Between the gloppoid opening theme song and incidental music that reminds me of the stuff I would hear at the mall while forced into buying a new suit lies some actually DIGESTIBLE rock. Maybe it is too horn-bent in spots but considerin' that the guys who went to see this moom pitcher weren't exactly interested in the music as much as the suckems on display ya gotta say that a whole lot more was put into every aspect of the production than would have been expected. Well, look at it this way---if the moom pitcher came out ten years later could you IMAGINE what this rekkid would sound like? Feh! Ya gotcha some solid rock 'n roll to go with the even numbered sets that Russ Meyer made his moolah with here, kid!
Various Artists-TAKIN' OUT THE TRASH -- A TRIBUTE TO THE TRASHMEN CD-r burn (originally on Double Crown Records)

I gotta break my personal animus towards tribute platters with this Trash Bash containing covers of that famed Minnesota surf group. Thankfully the songs remain faithful to the originals (well, mosta the time!) without comin' out cheapo carbon copy or slushy gush the way TINY BUBBLES, A TRIBUTE TO DON HO did. The creme de la six-oh revivalists of the latter portion of the previous decade do their best to bring back alla that funtime record spinnin' to the point where you may think you're back in your cyster's bedroom crankin' out "Surfin' Bird" itself before she comes in and wails ya! Heck, maybe you ARE still spinnin' "Surfin' Bird" in her room much to her dismay! Well, at least now you can beat her up...can't ya?
Various Artists-SURFSIDE PARADISE DONUT PUSH CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill goes GNU wave on this set of early-eighties era self-produced single sides I don't think anyone outside of their mothers knew about. But as far as this kinda music goes Bill sure picked a creamier than usual crop. I kinda liked Pete Bite's neo-El Lay Sparks cum Roxy cum all over your face deca chic sounds while Shrinking Men were kinda doin' the whiteguy take on reggae and succeeding at it for once. Even the Beevers handle a mid-sixties folk rock taken to exciting variations  a whole lot better'n most of the phony mods of the day. Gee, even when Bill tries to FAIL (the early-eighties new pop wave scene wasn't exactly anything I or he for that matter remembers fondly) he succeeds! Maybe I shoulda tried that particular method while preparing for my science tests!
When you were a little kid I know y'all wanted to have EVERY FANZINE IN THE SHOP! Well, since I am offering these BLACK TO COMM back issues fer sale I'm sure you all have those by-now ancient thrills just rushing back to ya! Hey, it ain't too late to fulfill childhood hopes of the past...c'mon, satiate those old craving before it's too late (boy am I runnin' thin on these post-blog entry come ons for my long-deceased crudzine---c'mon and buy some willya????)!

Thursday, October 03, 2019


It's too bad that Erroll's son Sean didn't catch on inna moom pitcher biz because the guy was really stellar here (none of that "stiff" acting that wonks make fun of him for) in this furrin' neo-spy flick that takes the exotic and the then-hot secret agent sorta thingie and crushes 'em together into some sorta definitely not "cinematic excursion" you can really sink into in between the high-energy action and the hountiful scenery unveiling before your eyes.

It seems as if there have been a whole slew of Marines goin' on shore leave in that famed Thai town who have vanished into thin air, and it's Flynn's job to clear up the mystery that has been depleting the corps of some of their best. He does it with volunteers who begin their quest ripping up the place and causing havoc in a whorehouse while trying to get to the bottom of what exactly has happened to their fellow jarheads. One thing leads to another and more mysteries and murders take place until everything comes a boilin' to a head in between you tryin' to exactly understand who is doing what and exactly what did happen. Not that I'm that much of a film illiterate, but the English dubbing leaves a whole lot to be desired since I couldn't make out half of what was being said onna thing!

In other words, I kinda felt like some five-year-old who mighta stumbled across this on tee-vee and watched the thing because either the folks were or well, why not? I see the action, like it, marvel at those cool furrin' cars and alla the mysterioso intrigue, yet it's all high-falutin' as to what these characters are sayin' and why do their mouths move differently when they talk anyway. But still it captures your imagination and hey, you didn't even understand all those gags they threw into THE BULLWINKLE SHOW so why let the lack of big kid schoolin' throw you for a loop anyway?

Too bad Flynn never did return from that Cambodian jaunt because I think his career coulda swirled into something big, like maybe more low budget flicks for some z-grade outfit featuring the latest cash-ins on the hot trends of the seventies .Sheesh, if he were still alive and kickin' ya know that Fred Olen Rey woulda put him to good use! It's just one of those strange what couldas that we'll never know about, but I do have the feeling that if Flynn had survived the war he woulda gone on to relatively cheap-o yet moom pitcher satisfying things, at least for us BLOG TO COMM types.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Ever since I was but a mere turdler I've been told that breakfast was the MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY, a claim which always puzzled me because when I was young that early morning feastie might have consisted of lumpy Maypo, a piece of dry toast and a glass of orange juice which made my mouth feel all sour because I had already brushed my teeth for school! But most of the time I would get a bowl of my favorite cold and pre-sweetened cereal to gulp down and if it weren't for the likes of CAP'N CRUNCH or CORN POPS I woulda been headin' out to the school with grumbles emitted outta my stomach akin to that classic old Hal Roach/LITTLE RASCALS sound effect which let off a loud guttural moooooooowah whenever surprise or an overheated over would be jumping around.

Cereals were great not only because your favorite comic characters endorsed 'em but they used to come with FREE TOY SURPRISES in 'em. I remember when my parents along with cyster tried to explain to me that these toys were not free (something about how General Mills, Ralston-Purina, Kelloggs and Post tacked a higher price to their product in order to push their wares) but I couldn't comprehend any of that in my then-eight-year-old mind because if it says "free" on the package it just HADDA be free! After all, it is a sin to lie. And even my current eight-year-old mind has a problem deciphering how a package coulda said "free surprise" if it wasn't so....sheesh, things like this could just ruin a kid's faith in older people because for YEARS I believed that the manufacturers of not only cereals but toys, books, games etc. were doing so outta the kindness of their hearts and the fun aspect of it all and that picking up some scratch in the process was but a mere triviality! Boy, it just goes to show you just how altruistic woefully stoopid  I was back during them single-digit days!

O'er the years my tastes in breakfast cereal have ebbed and flowed. I remember back inna eighties when the whole high fiber craze got into full swing and I was eating loads of those twig-like things (maybe FIBER ONE???) as well as another which had chewy bits of dried dates in it and my intestines would get clogged with this bran and I felt like I was defecating pine cones because it was so sharp and painful! The things I will do to prevent the onslaught of some serious medical conditions...at least the oat bran craze of the early-nineties was less discomforting if not more tasty. It wasn't until recently that I decided to re-live one of the happier portions of my youth and get back into some of the old time goodies that I had been ignoring like FRUIT LOOPS and CORN POPS, in their generic store brand varieties natch, not to mention some of the newer big name brands that I might be able to get cheaper if on sale or available in a "Family Size" gigundo box with the expected price cut you get buying in bulk.

Here are but a few of the early morning (and any time of the day actually) cereals I've been gulping down when the spirit (and the hungries) hit:

PILLSBURY CINNAMON ROLL FILLOWS (General Mills)-A new concept in breakfast cereals, a pillow coated with cinnamon sugar goodness stuffed with "creme" sorta like a pierogy only much smaller and no mashed potatoes in sight. And don't kid yourself, that "creme" ain't like the goodness you will find in in a Twinkie or Cupcake but the same "stuf" that's used to glue Oreos together making for a really over-the-top sweet treat that'll really get you in gear for a day at the dildo factory. The crunch might be too hard on your teeth if you have a lotta bridgework or they've been traumatized by too many immediate bites into Tootsie Pops, but just let the stuff soak for awhile and you'll get the hang of it even if you do have a pair of storeboughts. If these tidbits were filled up with a light whippy cream styled filling FILLOWS would get an obvious A+ as far as cereal tasties go, but otherwise I'll give it a mere "OK" not only for early morning munching but afternoon/evening tee-vee snackisms. (There's also a HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE FILLOWS out there which I believe I will pass on since I never was a fan of the whole chocolate cereal trend from COCOA PUFFS and CHOCOLATE PEBBLES on down...too overbearing for my tiny tastebuds in the wee hours of the morning or something like that...)

In what has to be one of the grandest debuts of the year, Post has uplifted the tired old cookies translated into breakfast cereal trope with this absolutely delicious newie. If you like I have loved NILLA wafers ever since your turdler days and delight in the way they were used with sliced bananas and pudding to make an absolutely delicious dessert ya just hadda eat up then and there because this stuff just did not last long you'll like what Post has done with this legendary dessert. Imagine mini cookies that taste like bananas mixed with loads of tiny marshmallows and the kind that are kinda soft so's you don't get that chalky feeling like you do with FRANKENBERRY. Brother you've got yet another breakfast treat that you'll be eating just about every hour of the day like I have with CAP'N CRUNCH lo my born days! Or at least since that day when I had my first taste of it a short while before the Beatles made their live Amerigan tee-vee debut on Sullygum that fateful evening. And all these years later I'd call the debut of the Cap'n a greater impression on my well being than those four mop tops I'll tell ya!

I never did get to taste the short-lived BANANA WACKIES but I get the idea that NILLA might come close if not surpassing what that LUCKY CHARMS knockoff came off like. A cereal that makes it all the while to hit the local grocer right before they close at ten just so's you'll have milk if not more of this delicious cereal for tomorrow morn.

When I was a kid Special K was that grown up cereal that came off like little Rice Crispies that were flattened out a bit. In fact, during one of my greater cravings for confections times during my teenbo years I actually made some makeshift Rice Crispies Treats using Special K. But nowadays Special K comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes with varying taste sensation flavors, at least one of which should be reviewed as this post progresses.

With BLUEBERRY WITH LEMON CLUSTERS you get this sweet and crispy flake that's a bit thick so it's got a crunch that stands up to milk, surrounded by these little things that look like yogurt bits and clusters of oats and other crunchy things. Put 'em all together and you get a nice fresh fruity taste that kinda reminds me of Pop Tarts. And the stuff does work wonders on your intestinal system scraping out all the bad stuff on the road to rooty-toot-toot! Buy some for the family---your mother will thank you, your father will thank you and your colon will thank you in the best way it knows how.

Speaking of Pop Tarts, I had big hopes regarding this variation on an old breakfast treat (I can remember my first taste of these as a yoof and just how much I thought they tasted better raw than they did toasted!), but this cereal just doesn't make it as far as eye opening morning jamz go. Not enough gooey filler, the "frosting" leaves way too much to be desired considering all it is is finely granulated sugar, and the actual taste of the thing is indiscernible from a thousand other morning crunchers we've had throughout the ages. While many other non-cereals have made the transition to the breakfast table somewhat smoothly a lot is left to be desired with POP TARTS CEREAL, a project which should have been worked out a li'l longer before it had the audacity to make its way to my gullet.

Not as flashy as the blueberry one nor does it have any of those other surprise goodies like chewy dried fruit and mini yogurt candy bars to give it that added oomph, at least this sure beats the stuffing outta Cheerios plunked into orange juice. The sweet and crispy flakes are still there along with some sliced almonds and a vanilla flavor, and they do make for a good snack if ya wanna eat 'em plain while watching tee-vee inna afternoon. Not bat at all although I thought there would be some sorta surprise ingredient like clusters of somethingorother stuck together to give it that special "squeak" when you bite down hard.

And now for the BONAFEED WINNER of the batch, this vanilla-flavored cereal that'll really put a tingle on your tongue and gladness in your gullet! Never has an "O"-shaped breakfast cereal come off like this and you'll be awaiting those early morning moments (or general snack time) when you get a box of this into your hallowed kitchen that's fer sure!

Not just any runna-da-mill cereal, GOLDEN OREO O'S are based on the delicious Oreo cookie of the same name with all of the sweetness and imitation vanilla (better'n real!) taste that reminds me of those old "B B Bats" suckers from Argentina that used to show up at penny candy counters worldwide. Really rich and explodes in your mouth good, not only will the sugar content wow you but the flavor'll get you up 'n goin' for a hard and long day at work or goofing off, and next to what sometimes passes for confections these days you just might be eatin' this up whether in front of the kitchen table or television for that matter. Sneak a bowl in the tee-vee room just like you did as a kid in your stocking feet and now that you're old enough no one will scold you for spilling milk all over the place! I sure wish they had this stuff (complete with the obligatory free prize) when I was but a budding suburban slob trying to cope with the treacheries of real life (school, other kids, my elders...).

This is Aldi's cheap imitation of CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH which always ends up in the kitchen cabinet because well...it pays to be cheap! And in this case it's a good deal being cheap because I can't tell the difference between this and the real deal cereal that begat this knockoff. Tastes like little cinnamon toasts covered in sugar (tho not enough...could be sweeter) but still good enough to give you that "aaaaah" feeling as the chewed up bits slide down your gullet. For some reason I seem to detect a bit of a grease to the little bits of cereal but that only helps it all slide down a bit smoother'n usual. Next time you're at Aldi's you might wanna pick up a few boxes along with your usual staples of Clancy brand snacks and of course some limited edition delicacy they just might have on special. Remember to bring a quarter for the shopping cart and while you're at it get some old boxes from home to stash your groceries in because they don't bag your purchases and besides you have to pay if you want a bag which is one way they try to keep the costs down...or something like that I think.
There're lots more breakfast goodies out there that I didn't get to, from those various SPECIAL K's hinted at above to stuff like puffed wheat that I never did like since my cyster used to call 'em "bees" and that scared me, so maybe a post like this will be the first of an on-going series where I lay down the real deal as far as what you're in store for next time you get out of your bed and fill your bowl with whatever goodies you can scrape up inna cabinet. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not only that but it's a meal you can save a lotta money on. Not only by wisely purchasing store brands that are good enough knockoffs but if you wife is lactating you can have her squirt some of her milk onto your flakes and save loads of money on your dairy bills. And really, it will be "THE BREAST TO YOU EACH MORNING!"