Friday, April 30, 2010

Metro Silicon Valley_1017

Metro Silicon Valley_1017At long last, for those of you wanting to read the page that I'm featured on in this week's "Metro", please click on the link above.

"Josie and the Pussycats" Article

My "Josie and the Pussycats" article featuring comments by the late Dan DeCarlo and a complete history of the characters and its various incarnations appears in the latest issue of "Back Issue" magazine #40, on sale now at most better comic book stores or through TwoMorrows Publications.

This is my sixth article (I believe) for the publication after Astro Boy, Crazy, Ron Dante, Irona and Sad Sack. My Korg article is still to come, and there are probably other articles coming soon.

Look for it when you pick up your free comics on Free Comic Book Day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm in the "Metro"!

I am featured on page 52 of the April 28-May 4, 2010, issue of the "Metro". The "Metro" is one of those freebie alternative newspapers that comes out weekly in Silicon Valley. Please pick it up if you're local.

The article by Richard Von Busack, mainly discusses my Harvey book "The Best of The Harveyville Fun Times!" as well as Free Comic Book Day. For those not in the vicinity of Silicon Valley, you can read it online by clicking here to and pressing the "View PDF" button after scrolling down the page a bit. Make sure it is the April 28-May 4, 2010, issue. For some reason, there has been a delay getting the correct issue up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Final Harvey Art Show on May 8, 2010

Yes it's true. After two years and four locations (San Francisco, New York City, Pittsburgh, Sherman Oaks), the Harvey Art Show will be retiring after one last showing at Van Eaton Galleries. If you haven't seen this traveling show, please make the effort as it will be the final time all of these original art pieces from the pages of Harvey Comics will be in one showing.

Please come out and attend this wonderful evening on May 8, 2010, from 7-10pm for the Opening Reception at Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. There will be guest speakers, art to view, cartoons to watch and books for sale. In addition, some of the original artwork will be for sale.

Please call (818)788-2357 to RSVP. Please check out the web URL at:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Music Videos are (Finally) Making a Comeback

I've been really intrigued with music videos as of late. Partially because there is a new channel on my digital TV box called "Channel 1" and they have an all video station called "Cool Music", just like MTV used to be.

They show a mixture of old and new videos. Sometimes, VERY old like Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart", and all those in between.

Anyway, after the initial success of MTV occured in the early 80s, artists became lazy and didn't put the care into their videos like say a Michael Jackson with "Thriller". Most videos just showed the band miming to their record in black and white no less!

Coupled with that, MTV started showing other shows that weren't even music related like "Remote Control" and "The Real World". They started VH1 to house the old videos, but even they stopped showing video after a while.

So along comes "Cool Music" and I finally get to see some new videos and was entranced by artists like Raphael Saadiq and Kerli who have great looking videos that are like those made back in the early 80s heyday.

Back in the day, a lousy song could become a hit just because of a great video. The Cars' "You Might Think" comes to mind. The Cars had much better songs, but "You Might Think" made the Top 5 on the "Billboard" charts just because of a great and memorable video.

Besides, "Cool Music", nowadays you can check out a lot of this stuff on YouTube and that's great, too, because if you want to see one of your favorite videos or want to see if there is a video for your favorite song, it's right there!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Book About a Lousy TV Show

Although this book actually was released last September, I just now picked up a copy at a local Borders. Susan Olsen who portrayed Cindy Brady in virtually every incarnation of "The Brady Bunch" is co-writer and actually gives us too much detail about one of the worst shows ever broadcast in TV history.

This is coming from someone who likes "The Brady Bunch", likes variety shows, and even liked "Donny & Marie" which was produced by a lot of the same people.

A couple of the shows have been released to home video, but I would like to see them all again, just like the notorious "Pink Lady and Jeff" which has been released to video in a complete form.

Anyway, back to the book. The most interesting aspect about it is the attention to detail of how a show (at least back in the 70s) made it to air. Methinks it's not that much different today, and it is a fascinating account. Even if you have no intentions of watching this show, you should pick up and read this book.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Three Stooges Collection, Volume 8

I am so excited to find out that volume 8 of "The Three Stooges Collection" is coming out on June 1. Now to most people, even those who are Stooge fans, this is probably not exciting news at all, because the years being cover are 1955-1959, not the most admired years by fans as it consists of Shemp repeats, post-death Shemp with a stand-in, and Joe Besser.

Besser, especially has become the bane of many a Stooge fans existence. He's been called "the only gay Stooge" from a friend of mine who is gay.

In any case, I will be buying this set, not because of Besser, per se, but because the general desire to have a complete set of Stooges at my reference.

Now, if Columbia can release a DVD of "Have Rocket, Will Travel" (which has been released on VHS before), featuring Joe De Rita as the third Stooge, then I'd be a happy guy as "Rocket" is the only major Stooge film not on DVD at this point.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Free Comic Book Day in One Week

Just a reminder that "Free Comic Book Day" is in a week. So, on Saturday, May 1, get up early and travel around to the various comic book stores in your area to get the best titles. I will be handing them out at Lee's Comics in Mountain View, so stop by and say hi!

Note: Images above don't necessarily depict the exact free comics to be given out and are shown as an example.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"The Harveyville Fun Times!" to Continue

"The Harveyville Fun Times!" will continue with #76. However, Mark Arnold will
be stepping down as Editor and Publisher with issue #75.

The new Editor and Publisher effective with issue #76 is...Ben Samuels!

Samuels comes with a publishing background as he has published his own comic
books before and also has worked with Heritage Auctions. Arnold will still write
for "THFT!" and also help Samuels when needed with the publishing process.

Samuels is not planning any drastic changes for "THFT!", except maybe ones for
the better. He will give the publication renewed enthusiasm and vigor that
Arnold, after 20 years, no longer have the time and energy because of other
projects and commitments. He also may publish more frequently. Samuel's focus
may be more on the superhero, war, romance and horror comics of Harvey, which I
feel is fine as the "Harvey World" characters have basically been "beaten to

As for Arnold, he will still write for "THFT!" and plans to do more books.
Arnold is very excited about this announcement and hopes that "THFT!" will
continue on for many years to come...

You can contact Ben at

Background information:

"The Harveyville Fun Times!" was created by Mark Arnold in 1990 as a fanzine
covering the history of Harvey Comics. He has been Editor and Publisher for the
past 20 years and 75 issues and a book called "The Best of The Harveyville Fun
Times!", that was issued in 2006.

The fandom created spawned several Harvey book compilations written by Leslie
Cabarga and Jerry Beck and published by Dark Horse, as well as an original art
show that Arnold produced that appeared in San Francisco, New York and
Pittsburgh during 2008 and 2009 and soon to debut in May 2010 at Van Eaton
Galleries in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Arnold is also the writer for "Created and Produced by Total TeleVision
productions: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and the Rest" (2009) and
"If You're Cracked, You're Happy: The Cracked Mazagine Story" (2010) and is
currently at work on a book about The Beatles called "Mark Arnold Picks On The

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Craig Yoe's "Jetta"

Craig Yoe does it again, and I'm going broke in the process. He seems to come out with a new book every week that I deem a "must have". This time it's "Dan DeCarlo's Jetta".

DeCarlo is best-known for his lengthy career on the Archie Comic "Betty & Veronica". Somewhere along the line in his career, he worked for Standard Publications and drew three issues of "Jetta". Not only are these very well drawn, they are also very funny.

Craig adds to the book by giving a biography about DeCarlo and explains why "Jetta" started with issue #5. It even has the cover artwork for unpublished issue #8! Even though these issues were reprinted a couple years ago, this is the first time since original publication that the comics have appeared in color.

Rounding out this excellent hardcover tome is original artwork by many artists who are good at "good girl" art.

Like I said, a MUST BUY! From Yoe Books, distributed by IDW.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Korg: 70,000 B.C." Article Coming Soon

Here is the cover to the upcoming issue of "Back Issue" #43 that is going to carry my article on the long forgotten live-action caveman adventure series produced by Hanna-Barbera called "Korg: 70,000 B.C." The show aired for one season back in 1974-75 and was quietly canceled despite their being some merchandise and even a comic book that ran for about a year after the show's cancellation.

Be on the lookout for this at your local comic book shop in the next couple of months...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Allen Swift R.I.P.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Allen Swift for my book "Created and Produced by Total TeleVision productions: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and the Rest" in January 2008. At the time he was not well, but he answered the few questions I had to the best of his ability. He died on April 18 at age 86.

Sadly, at the time, Wikipedia was reporting that Swift was already dead. I had to correct their information and had to do so a couple of times before it took effect. I wished that I got a better interview with Swift, but I can't be too picky, as I totally missed the opportunity to interview people like Don Adams and Norma MacMillan who had passed away a few years earlier.

Fortunately, the rest of the TTV people I interviewed were very good interviews including the ones with the four owners, voice artist Bradley Bolke and two TTV animators.

Anyway, I will miss Swift as he was a central voice to many TTV productions as well as other famous cartoons.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Japanese Foods

I went to the local Japanese grocery store and bought my dad some birthday gifts. I love the stuff that they make because it is so quirky, especially for candy. One of the items I purchased was called "Every Burger" (which is a bizarre name) that has little "Barbie" doll-sized burgers that is a chocolate burger slice housed between two cookie buns.

Very amusing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Between the Lions", the show NOBODY knows about

There's a little show airing on PBS that no one seems to know about, that I'd like to plug here. It's only been airing since April 3, 2000.

It apparently is a creation of former Children's Television Workshop refugees who were disappointed in the direction that "Sesame Street" had taken as a result of too much Elmo.

There are a lot of really funny recurring segments on "Lions" including "Chicken Jane", "Cliff Hanger", "Sam Spud", "Gawain's Word", "Vowel Boot Camp" and "Little Wendy Tales" among others.

It was actually my dad who got me turned on to this show. I originally watched when the show debuted and couldn't get past the awful "Lion King" inspired theme song. They really need something snappier.

Anyway, a couple of years later my dad was flipping channels and happened upon a "Chicken Jane" segment and was hooked. He and I have watched numerous episodes since and it holds up to repeats. Good thing as there are only about 40 half-hour shows produced.

Please check it out!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jack Black

What has happened with Jack Black? I guess it happens to all comedians, but it seems like it happened way to quickly with him. No, I'm not talking about od'ing, I'm talking about career fizzle.

Black has some great movies under his belt, but as of late has made some lousy choices. Movies like "Saving Silverman", "School of Rock", "Shallow Hal" and "High Fidelity" are among some of his great films.

Some are ok like "King Kong", "Orange County" and "Envy".

But then his career to the proverbial nosedive when he started making crap like "Nacho Libre", "Be Kind Rewind" and "Tropic Thunder" (liked the beginning, hated the ending).

Now, it seems like he's gotten lazy and is content to doing voiceovers for "Kung Fu Panda" and its sequels.

Even his upcoming projects as listed on IMDB don't sound promising:

1. Untitled Cryptozoology Project
2. Heavy Metal
3. In College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation
4. The Lost Adventures of Stone Perlmutter Jr.
5. Untitled Jack Black Project

C'mon Jack, I know you can do great things again. I mean, you can't be washed up at 40, can you?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's Right and What's Wrong with "Sesame Street"

The picture above represents what's right with "Sesame Street". The powers-that-be finally have seen fit to reissue some older "Sesame Street" records (including the very first one) in their original configurations. This is great news as previously with a few exceptions, the original formats were done away for completely brand new compilations.

Some of these older albums actually have a theme, and also no Elmo. So, with this set, they've finally released to CD "The Sesame Street Record" (aka "The Sesame Street Book and Record" and "Sesame Street 1"), "Big Bird Sings" and "Bert & Ernie Sing-Along". Granted, the latter two were compilations themselves, but they were made during "Sesame Street's" original heyday which was the 70s.

Previously, "Sesame Street" issued two excellent DVD compilations: one covering 1969-1974 and the other covering 1975-1979. I wish there were more, but this first volume of record reissues to CD is a welcome addition.

Now, the bad news: "Sesame Street" today really SUCKS! I don't know how any kid gets educated with "Sesame Street" as it is now. Back in the old days, not only did the show have more "bite", it also taught you things like letters and numbers and such.

Nowadays, even though the show still lasts an hour, the program is divided into three 20-minute segments. One of the classic "Sesame Street", one with Elmo called "Elmo's World" and a computer generated one called "Abby's Flying Fairy School". These second two segments really suck and don't teach kids anything. 'Tis a shame. And the "classic" segment is so watered down, there's no "bite" to it at all.

I'm watching "Between the Lions" instead...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bob Hope Movies (Yay!)

Another day, another old movie at the Stanford. Tonight, I'm going to see "Ghost Breakers" (no, not "Ghostbusters") and "The Road to Morocco", two great old Bob Hope movies.

One of the reasons to see old Bob Hope movies is so that you can discover how funny he actually was at one time. Most of us have only been exposed to his awful TV specials of the 70s and 80s and even I, used to scratch my head wondering what the appeal of this guy was, and when I found out he used to be funny, scratched my head again wondering why he didn't continue to be funny straight up until his death at age 100 in 2003.

As far as Hope's movies go, you really can't go wrong with most of the movies he made before 1960. I don't know why that is. Either, Hope was getting too old and complacent or he lost his writers or both. The movies he made from 1960-72 are watchable ("The Road to Hong Kong") to downright painful ("Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!")

Someone (I think Leonard Maltin) speculated it was because Hope never changed his onscreen persona of a kind of a lecherous coward, which worked fine when Hope was in his 40s and 50s, but didn't seem to work as well when Hope got into his 60s, 70s and 80s.

Anyway, if you get a chance to see these movies (both on DVD), you would be in for a real treat.

BTW, I looooooooove Dorothy Lamour. Oh, and Bing Crosby is in this, too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"It's a Gift" Review

Usually I review films after I see them. This time I will review a film before I see it, at least in the theater. "It's a Gift" is definitely my favorite W.C. Fields film. If you've never seen a W.C. Fields film, this is one of the ones to see.

See it to see the blind man "looking" around in Fields' shop.

See it to hear the plight of the kumquats.

See it to hear about Carl LaFong.

See it at the Stanford Theater on April 24-27, 2010. Of course it's on DVD, but that's no fun. See it the way it was originally presented, on the big screen!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can Anyone Drive Me to San Diego???

Anyone interested in driving me to Comic Con International this year from San Jose to San Diego? The show runs from roughly July 21-26, 2010, and I need a ride and a place to crash. I have an extra 4-day pass for anyone willing to help me and I can help pay for gas. If you want to, please let me know...

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Do people read magazines and newspapers or comic books anymore? People ask me all the time if I think books are on the way out due to the Internet since I write books, and I don't think so. I do think periodicals are on the way out because people don't want to buy something on a regular basis with a shelf-life anymore.

Part of the reason is the cost of a magazine or newspaper today. In the old days, if you were interested in buying a magazine, you could find one for a buck or two and it was no big deal, and there was a lot to read. "Time" magazine, for example used to be about 150 pages every week and was two or three bucks. Now it's about 50 pages and is about six bucks an issue, unless you subscribe, but it's not worth subscribing to.

Of course, most of the pages were filled with advertising, but it was still a more robust reading experience, nonetheless. I think that in today's society which expects to get everything in entertainment for free, that magazines and newspapers should come down to that level and sell their magazines for a buck a copy.

Comic books still survive, but even the best comic book only sells about 100,000 copies, which is nothing when you know how many people live in the United States. These should sell about 100,000 in every state, not in the country. I think the main thing is the price, so there is no impulse buy to purchase a publication at the checkout stand. Comic book readers nowadays wait for the almighty graphic novel which collects a series of comic books into one volume.

As a result of lower sales, advertising sales are down and it's just a downward spiral.

It's too bad as I love magazines and newspapers and used to work in the industry doing ad sales for years, until I couldn't financially continue doing it. My solution is to cut the cover price and entice more sales and beef up the sales team so that you have more ads and the ads support the publications, but no one will listen to me...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Odd Couple

Rewatching old episodes from Season 4 of "The Odd Couple". I really enjoyed this show as a kid and amazingly my dad never really saw many of them during their original airing from 1970-75, so that they are all new to him.

One of my favorites from this season is the Bobby Riggs one ("The Pig Who Came to Dinner") where Riggs and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman) bet on everything they do and Riggs continually wins, going so far as to send Oscar's roommate Felix Unger (Tony Randall) to be Riggs' slave!

I showed it to my dad and he had never seen it, but thought it was very funny. I am so glad this show has held up for almost 40 years...

The photo above is advertising the climactic ping-pong battle which includes a cameo from Billie Jean King.

Friday, April 09, 2010

"Outsourced" Review

Even though this film is four years old, it deserves to be reviewed here. "Outsourced" is an excellent comedy in which a call center from Seattle is literally outsourced to India. The main character, Todd (played by Josh Hamilton), is shipped to India in order to make the call center work. In the process, he must learn the ways of Indian culture including which hand to eat snacks with and the custom of covering each other with colored pigments.

Meanwhile, he educates the Indian call center on how to speak "American" and other cultural quirks. He also falls in love, but his Indian love interest (Ayesha Dharker) has an arranged marriage all set up, so any further commitment may be null, or is it?

All in all, a great movie and very funny. I saw it at Cinequest in 2007 and 2010 and found it in the Los Gatos Library and showed it to my dad and his girlfriend, who loved it, too.

You will too...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Clash of the Titans" Review

LOOK AT THIS REVIEW! I saw the new "Clash of the Titans" last night in 3-D (oooh!). It wasn't in IMAX as I was led to believe (rats!). Anyway, I liked it, but I've come to this conclusion based on the reviews by the people I was with. If you liked the old one, you might not like the new one. If you liked the new one, you might not like the old one.

I tend to like both versions for various reasons. I think the taming of Pegasus was done better in the earlier film. I felt the Medusa sequence was done better in the newer film. Incidentally, the Medusa shown here is from the earlier 1981 film.

The best thing in the new movie is when they were going on their quest, one of the characters pulled out a mechanical owl (from the first film) to bring and someone else said, "We won't be needing that."

Overall, both versions of the film are fun. I like the old one because I love Ray Harryhausen stuff. I like the new one because the updated effects are good.

For those who don't have a taste for this type of fantasy film at all, stay away...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Michael Buble's a Hit

I was invited to see Michael Buble in concert last night and was actually quite impressed. My previous knowledge and opinion of Buble was that he was only mildly good and was one of those singers that appears on PBS during their pledge breaks.

Turns out that Buble is quite versatile. Yes, he does sing the old chestnuts like "Come Fly With Me" and "I've Got the World on a String" and "All of Me", but he also did a big band version of The Eagles' "Heartache Tonight" and did a spot-on impression/tribute of Michael Jackson singing "Billie Jean", complete with dance moves and falsetto voice.

Buble does a lot of between song patter, so much so that one wag in the audience kept shouting, "Sing!" But Buble is charming even with his commentary, and even quite funny. At one point, he said that he is now engaged to be married and without missing a beat said, "Yeah, yeah, I know, you thought I was gay." Then he added, "My fiance is from Argentina. If Tiger Woods had an Argentinian wife, he wouldn't be in the trouble he is in now. She's tough!"

It also made me realize that apart from say, Tony Bennett, all of the big band type people are gone, and that is a shame. You wouldn't know it from the audience, who screamed like it was a Beatles or Elvis concert. In fact, Buble made comments at one point comparing his show to a Jonas Brothers show or Hannah Montana.

Buble also sang in the audience, walking up and down the rows, eliciting yet more screams. It was exciting, and well deserved for a dynamite performs. I'm a convert...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" Review

You know, usually the way things go is that critics like films that I tend to dislike. In the case of "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium", this is a film that most critics hated, but I really liked.

This is the film that "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" should have been. It's actually closer to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" than most kids films that I've seen. It has subtle messages that don't hit you over the head and there's a little bit of danger.

I think most people didn't like it because (SPOILER WARNING) the lead character dies about 2/3 of the way in, but it is meant to be and the purpose of what is trying to be conveyed. (END OF SPOILER WARNING)

Please give it a try. Be patient as it is a slower-paced film than you might be accustomed to, and Dustin Hoffman isn't lisping by mistake, he's channeling Ed Wynn.

Monday, April 05, 2010

WonderCon Day 3

As I said yesterday, I decided to not attend WonderCon for its third and final day. Partially because it was Easter, but mainly because I felt I made an appearance and spoke with everyone I really needed to speak with (if I missed you, I apologize).

That being said, I had great fun and will be following up with everyone in the next few days.

One final note. The above photo is of me holding up an original copy of Milt Gross' "Banana Oil" from Robert Beerbaum's booth. Anyone got $350?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

WonderCon Day 2

Day 2 and my final day at WonderCon, even though it is going on today. I drove back up with friends and missed the Mark and Sergio Show by minutes and they wouldn't let me in. Oh well.

I did a few more meet and greets and re-encountered Stan Freberg and got him to sign his book. I bought a few humor magazines I didn't have for cheap and called it a day.

All in all, very productive, very relaxing, and very fun.

Above is the one photo I took of the day, left to right Lee Hester IV, Walter Fields, Lee Hester III, Mark Arnold, Bill Morrison.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

WonderCon Day 1

I am writing this quickly as I have to get back to day 2. I had a great time just meeting and greeting yesterday, saying "hi" to old friends and asking others for advice on setting up my own booth in the future in order to sell my books.

The highlight of the day has to be attending the panel with Stan and Hunter Freberg. Stan is a little weak, physically, but still can produce great vocalizations from his various careers at Warner Bros. cartoons, Capitol records and his advertising work.

"I lllooovee that man!"

Anyway, more tomorrow.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Laurel and Hardy and "Cracked"

Did you ever read Vic Martin's "Hudd and Dini" in "Cracked" magazine and wonder where he got the inspiration? Well, wonder no more as it is from "The Second Hundred Years", a 1927 silent Laurel & Hardy comedy.

This is one of the many discoveries I made while working on my recent "Cracked" book, to be issued by BearManor Media later this year.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Paul and Linda McCartney with Dave Gilmore

A friend of mine sent me this pic to identify the chap who's with with Paul and Linda McCartney. Of course, it's Dave Gilmore of Pink Floyd. They all seem to be happily smoking away on something and I bet it's a bit stronger than tobacco.

It's funny how a little weed can help them create silly little albums like "Band on the Run" and "Dark Side of the Moon" about the time of this photo which is circa 1973.

Later on, Gilmore played and sang with Paul on his "Run Devil Run" album and concerts in 1999, soon after Linda's death.