Consider for your disapproval... Upon my 54th birthday, I received a parcel from my Brother. I eagerly opened the package to find the iconic Lost in Space 'B-9' robot, from the classic sci-fi space series. Standing at 11" tall, once a button on its side is pressed, its lights flash and it utters several familiar phrases- "Warning!..warning!!" "Danger!!" "That does not Compute", and a few others. I decided to leave it boxed and placed it with the rest of my collectibles of my boyhood memories...
...and then it started...
...about a year later, the lights started to randomly flash anywheres from 5 to 10 minutes automatically, with no button push assistance... occurring quite often! Thinking maybe it was an ominous signal that my brother was in trouble, I had contacted him to see if all was okay with him, in which we shared a laugh over my haunted B-9. So now I think that maybe the spirit of Bob May, the robot's operator, who passed a few years ago is reacting with the toy..I only know one thing for sure... if it begins to talk on its own as well, I'll CRAP MY PANTS!!!...
*Disclaimer: No button was pushed, crack pipes smoked or magic mushrooms consumed in the making of this video.
To this very day I STILL haven't gotten an answer about this strange mystery - with the possible exception of when Dan said earlier this month "I had nuthin' to do with that - that was all my mom!" ...But I felt compelled to at least convey this haunting to Dan, and perhaps put it all to rest when I wrote him the following...
Dan... I remember your mom had a really creepy basket of dolls that was just
sort of.... THERE.... in your living room....
There was NEVER any explanation for
it - just a large wicker basket with a heap of doll bodies piled up on top
of each other... mostly CLOWNS I believe. There was nothing to suggest
these dolls were on display as cherished collectibles or anything like that - as it was
just a ragged heap of doll bodies - some faced down, some peering out from
underneath others - some dolls were completely out of view altogether!
At closer inspection
(if you bothered to get close enough to look) you'd notice these dolls were less than perfect... they had cracks in their
faces, splits across their noses, tears and stains in their fabric - like
they were obtained from the bottom of Buffalo Bill's basement pit from that Silence Of The Lambs movie...
was worse is they were RIGHT THERE near the entrance way to "GREET YOU" when you came in - and GLARE at you when you left! Mind you, considering some of the other eye-catching oddities your mom had in her living room - like the paint-by-numbers and puzzle art she had hanging on the wall - this pile of dolls wasn't COMPLETELY out of place - but it did manage to jar your senses when you would stumble upon it - it was unsettling... this battered pile of doll bodies... it was as if one had stumbled upon a horrifying mass grave!!
Even your mother's bird that was in a cage just a few feet away knew something was wrong - the poor thing would hardly ever make a SOUND!! One can only imagine what that bird has seen - but dare not speak of... On one occasion I remember feeling particularly fearless as we were doing one of our music videos in your living room. I remember picking up one of them and wiggling it at the video camera. Remember that, Dan? If you need a visual to jog your memory, well, here it is...
Funny at the time? Well, maybe. But it was no laughing matter, Dan... It did, and still does give me the chills - and Joey won't even SPEAK of it. Lloyd claims to have not noticed, although I feel he is just burying it in his subliminal conscious - and Mark, well I haven't asked Mark yet, but I'm sure if I did it would make him ball up in a fetal position.
can tell me now, Dan... I mean, it's been YEARS - what's the story with that creepy
basket of dolls? WHY DAN? WHY WERE THEY THERE? FOR GOD'S SAKE DAN!!
We've mentioned Adventurer's Inn on this website many times... we've shared our memories, told stories of both wonders and horrors, but this video may be our most ambitious endeavor yet - highlighting the singular most addictive video game within the arcade which drew us in like zombies to an all-the-brains-you-can-eat buffet... the Popeye game!!
I took the song I had dug up a couple of years back - out of the archives, and finally got around to doing with it what I had wanted to do for a while now - and that was to add video and lyrics and share it with our legions of hungry fans... who are mostly just a handful of relatives and friends, and the occasional internet straggler who wandered into here by accident...
But anyway - here it is!! If you've ever been lucky enough to have known this almost magical, quite surreal place we remember as the Adventurer's Inn Video Arcade - you will get a particular kick out of this and perhaps even sympathize with our crippling Popeye addiction!! ENJOY!!!
Wow, has it really been that long since I added some doodles to this site? According to this blog last doodle entry was March 2015 - okay, okay - so we are long overdue... to make up for it I dug deep into the archives. Mind you there's a lot of cobwebs in there and more creepy crawlies that I care to mention - so I hope you all appreciate this, folks...
Okay - picked at random, with no rhyme or reason... ENJOY!!
....and I think that'll hold you folks over for a while... until the next batch!! G'nite!!
The World's Fairest FALL Gathering took place [October 9th] and we were treated to something very special! We entered
and explored a place that the general public has not seen in
decades....the old New York World's Fair Post Office 64/65!! This had
been in the works for some time and Diane and i couldn't believe it
actually happened. First, we want to thank EVERYONE who came out on a
wonderfully blustery and rainy day. Your determination amazes me!
made many new friends, and of course, our group has the most sweetest
and loving people around! Thanks to Meira Berkower of the Parks Dept
for assisting us and arranging the whole thing in such a fantastic
manner! The guys inside the Post Office were just delighted that we
were there, probably wondering why we would all stare intensely at a
cinder block wall for 20 mins....they let us take our time and answered
questions about the current use of the building, which is now the Queens
We saw remnants of the 2nd roller rink which operated here
in the mid-70s when the activities at NYS Pavilion ended. The elusive
"murals" were right above our heads when we walked in, even though we
were told they were long since gone...Charlie Aybar had painted these
when he worked here at the rink....pale yellow and beige paint still
could be seen on the floor, remnants Charlie told me of the laminate
used to coat the surface. This place was amazing!
The 9 foot high ramp
for Fairgoers that suspended them to observe mail operations during
64/65 was long gone however, but the catwalks are still there, now
loaded with boxes of paint, Park clothes and signage. During the early
70s, poisonous barrels of DDT were moved here from the NYS Pavilion, and
remained for 2 years until they were buried elsewhere. The ceiling
revealed red, white and blue rafters which might be Post Office colors,
no one seems to know and the cinder block walls are painted
"festive"....more of Charlie's work. It was one of the greatest days the
group ever had!! I wish more of you could have seen this. Perhaps one
day, we'll return.
We could not check out the Singer Bowl happenings because of the rain, but we'll be back for that. Thanks Alan Sherman
for assisting us too in contacting "the right people"!! The day ended
at Airline Diner with a great meal, great friends and thank you Dino for
putting the World's Fairest Bronto Burger on the menu!! Ask for it by
Hope to see you all at Haunted Barn's Surprise All Hallows Eve
Show October 22 and we'll see all of you once again at our spring
gathering. You guys are simply the best!!!
I know she's just a puppet but va-va-va-voom!! This wooden creation is that of the late great Bil Baird - American puppeteer of the mid to late 20th century. Not exactly a household name to most - but some may recall the famous marionette scene in the 1965 movie "The Sound Of Music" - with all that yodeling and the dancing goats - yes, those were Bil Baird puppets.
Anyway - just had a bit of a flashback today remembering how my sister-in-law Joan had brought me as a kid to an actual Bil Baird puppet show. It's a hazy memory - might of been a production of Pinocchio, I'm not sure - and it might've been held at the Bil Baird puppet theater that used to be at 59 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village - - and no, Bubbles (pictured above) wasn't there - but I do recall seeing many of Baird's marionettes after the show, up close and personal, upstairs above the stage - where I also got my first ever glimpse at many friends of Mr Baird's who were also puppeteers... most notably muppeteers from the Jim Henson group!
With some further digging I found out that Bil Baird (along with his wife Cora) lived in that very same six-story building I was in. It housed a theater which held 193 seats - offered children afternoon programs as well as evening revues for adults (probably featuring Bubbles!) and attracted international puppeteering talents - many of whom eventually ended up working with Jim Henson, who was also a huge Bil Baird fan and student! Later, Henson credited the inspiration for his Muppet Show program to Bil and Cora's 1950 TV show "Life With Snarky Parker".
Bil Baird's career spanned over 60 years, he put on puppet shows from New York to The Soviet Union and India. His Marionettes starred in the Ziegfeld Follies, broke box-office records on Broadway, was part of the 1964/65 World's Fair, and danced on early television shows including Ed Sullivan, Jack Paar and Sid Caesar. Scour through YouTube and you'll see he did hundreds of commercials and public service announcements - some of which feature one of his most popular puppet creations, Charlemagne The Lion.
After Bill passed away in 1987 at the age of 82 (his wife Cora had passed away in '67) over 600 of his handcrafted puppets were auctioned off just a few blocks away from where he lived at the Greenwich Auction Room on 13th Street. Some of Baird's more famous puppets were given to the Charles H MacNider Art Museum in Mason City, Iowa where Bill grew up.
An excerpt from Baird's obituary read: "He grew in recent years to look a bit like an elf himself, fey and
silver-haired, with twinkling eyes and a little beard, as he labored
away in his Barrow Street workshop. A visitor there in the early 1980’s
said he alternately resembled a medieval wizard and one of Santa’s
helpers in the midst of walls and ceilings dripping with puppets and
Funny - it's the little details that sometimes stick out in your head... as I can recall those same walls and ceilings "dripping with puppets and marionettes"... in particular I can recall a donkey marionette - hanging within my reach, and yet I knew I'd better get permission before reaching out to touch it - which I was granted and I did. Very carefully I just sort of took my forefinger and pushed upward from underneath one of it's hoofs - and just as I expected it to, the leg bent amazingly lifelike - the donkey's hide had a surface of smooth, crushed velvet - it's eyes were saucer-like, with big goofy protruding teeth. I may have even let out an involuntary giggle. I had just finished watching a show where many of these creations were dancing, jumping, and creeping about - and now I was studying it's mechanics - I was fascinated.
Before I left the theater I took one last look around. High above my head was a line of can can dancers - the types you'd see at a burlesque show in France. Ingeniously Bil Baird had constructed them so that they would always kick up their legs in perfect unison - they were attached at the hips! The operator would pull one string and all their left legs would kick - they'd pull another and all the right would do the same. Little did I know then that I was looking at something that I'd probably never see the likes of again - a dwindling art form that I'd be looking back at with a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia forty-three years later...
As it turns out, it WAS a production of Pinocchio I saw - seeing this pic (below) reminds me of the very moment I first saw this scene - I was already fixated at that very mysterious chair opening behind Pinocchio's head, and rightfully so... as Pinocchio lied his nose grew more and more (obviously a pole being pushed through the back of his head) until it practically reached the first row in the audience! I must've been one smarmy 12 year old kid to have seen through that magical moment!
Lately Dan's been adding echo to a lot of our songs and putting them up on Bandcamp... he calls these new versions "radio mixes" - for whatever that means - and personally I think he's gone off the deep end...
...however with THIS track, Glowing Pearl, it kind of works! Dan thought it added a Bowie-esque flavor to it, and it does kind of remind me a little bit of his "Space Oddity" - sort of, a little bit... maybe...
Anyhoo - here it is! Sit back, hit play and enjoy... wanna hear more of Dan's remixes just follow his links!
Just recently one of the greatest cartoonist/illustrators of all time and inspiration to aspiring cartoonists everywhere, MAD Magazine's Jack Davis, had passed away - he was 91. Jack Davis, to anyone who's met him, was the quintessential laid back Southern gentleman known in the field to be one of the fastest and most prolific illustrators of our time. Anyone who's ever picked up a MAD Magazine would recognize his works immediately - his signature style, often described as "controlled chaos" - multiple characters, each having their own distinctive look, spilling out onto the page - running, swinging, crashing - his drawings often conveyed action.
Just a quick Google Image search will show you how prolific the man was throughout his lifetime - and it's nothing short of amazing - but if you want to get a quick run-through of some of his best works at a glance you need not scour the web too deeply, just drop in at the blog website of another illustrator who I admire - the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt, the undisputed King of liver spots, Drew Friedman - who honored Mr Davis at an event which took place December 2011. Drew conducted a great interview with Davis as well as having compiled an accompanying slide show which spanned a long and prosperous career - surprising Davis with many pieces he had forgotten he did - which was perfectly understandable, as the man had just done so much... magazine illustrations, comic art, album covers, movie posters, animated commercials - he did art for EC Comics "Tales From The Crypt", TIME Magazine, and of course, the aforementioned MAD Magazine.
An early notebook drawing
from a monster-obsessed young man.
But it was the monsters that really got my attention...
I had known for a long time that Jack Davis had designed all of those amazing creatures featured in the Rankin/Bass made-for-TV stop motion movie "Mad Monster Party" - and as a bright-eyed impressionable 6 year old those creatures took up permanent residence in my brain. Later as a young teen attending Junior High School it was not unusual for me to fill up my used composition notebooks with similar creatures everywhere there was a blank space. Among that days lessons I would add my own interpretation of the classic Universal monsters I would see played on TV - they weren't always direct interpretations of Davis' Mad Monster Party character designs, but the influences were certainly there I think.
Without even realizing it I got an even stronger dose of Davis influence when I picked up my first MAD Magazine - although it wasn't just Davis alone, I was similarly bit by the bug via others from the "usual gang of idiots" like Don Martin, Sergio Aragones and Mort Drucker - to name a few. But those monster designs he did - I'm always drawn back to those amazing monsters!
A bit later on, around 2003/04 - the influence continues...
Thanks Jack, for the MADness!!
Here's to you, Jack - here's my little testament to you and your influence! For this blog's readers I can't stress enough - especially if you're an artist yourself - go out and seek out all you can find on Jack Davis' illustrations! Study them - look at the expressions - the details - the craftsmanship! So much today is drawn digitally with tablets, but Davis was what you'd call "old school" - markers, pens, watercolor, pencils - and at the risk of sounding like some old crank lamenting about the past, I'll just say it anyway... they don't make 'em like this anymore...
Check out the quick handful of Jack Davis monster drawings I quickly grabbed from the net... it was drawings like these that got me hooked, and I hope they "bite" you too - enjoy!!
Oh - and I should add - although totally unrelated to his monster work... while looking through Friedman's tribute I came across something I did not know about Davis - and that was that he had also designed The Rankin/Bass Jackson 5ive Saturday morning cartoon! Yep - you know the one... Check out the groovy character drawings!!
...and here they are as they were featured in TV Guide... all the likenesses are spot-on - there's not "one bad apple" in the bunch! Heh heh heh!!