Wednesday, August 31, 2016
It is time once again for the preview of TCM programming from The Hollywood Revue. Gene Hackman is the Star of the Month, and there will be a salute to the late Gene Wilder. TCM will also be doing a spotlight on slapstick comedy every Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
Off Interstate 15 in San Bernadino County, California, is a 4.5 mile long rural road known as Zzyzx Road. I have never seen it, heard of it, or to my knowledge, ever been near it. This item on Boing Boing, however, provided such an interesting story, and one with its origins in the Swing Era, that it merited posting.
At the end of Zzyzx Road lies Zzyzx, founded by 1940's radio evangelist, snake-oil salesman and all-around con man, Curtis Howe Springer. From Road Trippers:
Curtis Howe Springer was one of those old-timey radio evangelists, way back in the day. However, he wasn't actually a minister of any kind. He was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama, and spent much of his early life convincing people he was a doctor. . . .
Throughout his life Curtis also claimed to be a boxing teacher in the U.S. Army, the "Dean of Greer College" (a defunct/bankrupt school in Chicago), he was a rabble-rouser during Prohibition (he was in favor of it, and railed against "Demon Rum"). He also loved making up universities. Like "National Academy, The Springer School of Humanism, the American College of Doctors and Surgeons, the Westlake West Virginia College, and two non-existent osteopathy schools in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. . . ."
Curtis founded several health spas during the 1930s and 1940s. . . . However, Curtis really hated paying taxes, so most of his "spas" were seized by the Feds. Then in 1944, Curtis hooked up with a new lady and she filed a claim to 12,800 acres of Mojave Desert in California. Springer named the land Zzyzx Mineral Springs resort. The purpose was so that it would be known as "the last word in health," and to build his resort he hired a bunch of homeless men from L.A.'s infamous Skid Row.
Springer even faked the hot spring! Seriously! He used a boiler to heat pools around the resort, which ultimately included a 60-room hotel, spa, mineral baths, a radio studio, and a church, of course. So, even though he wasn't a minister or a doctor, over 200 radio stations carried his program. Listeners would send in donations for his "cures", which he claimed could relieve constipation, hemorrhoids, hair loss and, oh yeah, cancer. However, what people were getting was, well, actually a bit better than snake oil. It was mostly celery, carrot and parsley juices.
Friday, August 26, 2016
I was surprised to discover that I have not posted this cartoon before now. This 1934 Fleischer Bros. animated short was the only time Betty Boop appeared in color, which may be why the Fleischers chose to make her hair red just for this occasion. From the Internet Archive, here is Poor Cinderella.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
As Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine points out, the plot of this 1941 The Ghost episode has more elements than the periodic table. The Ghost is a wizard with a cape, who gets sent to Mars, through a time machine, to find red Martian rocks that are essential to America's defense, and discovers little Martian men with ray guns, ruled by a tall blond.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
I saw this circa 1930's-40's radio station postcard while browsing around American Radio History. The call letters for radio station WMPS stood for "Memphis Press Scimitar," which was once one of the daily newspapers that served the city. Although the newspaper is gone, the station is still around, and up until about five years ago, it had an "adult standards" format (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc.).
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The title of this post on the National World War II Museum site may be slightly misleading, in that it led me to think that Silly Putty was both invented during WW2, and served some purpose during the war effort. Stranger things have happened. Only the latter is accurate. Like many other great inventions, Silly Putty was an accident: a failed attempt to create artificial rubber (certainly useful to the war effort) that bounced when accidentally dropped, so meriting a patent. The rest is history.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Friday, August 12, 2016
This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" by the Mills Brothers. Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I can always find a new hero in classic comics. This time it is Phantasmo, who is essentially omnipotent. He mentally projects a caped version of himself out of his body, and that version can - as far as I can tell - do anything. In this story, posted on Four Color Shadows, the projected Phantasmo flies off the Empire State Building to save a suicidal army officer, then flies to Panama, and lifts a burning cargo ship to the top of a mountain. His only apparent weakness is, when he projects himself, his physical body just locks up and goes stiff, resulting in medics carting him off to the morgue.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Monday, August 8, 2016
Friday, August 5, 2016
This encore from 2012 is a "Screen Song" story of wedding attended by a menagerie of animals, with a bouncing ball sing-a-long of "Me And My Gal" in the middle. There is a surprise reveal of the bride at the end. From the Internet Archive, here is the 1949 short Marriage Wows.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Monday, August 1, 2016
Time again for The Hollywood Revue's preview of programming on Turner Classic Movies. August is Summer Under The Stars month, and there are a lot of options for fans of "pre-code" films from the early to mid-1930s. Stars featured include Jean Harlow, Fay Wray, Jean Arthur and others.