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Monthly Archives: April 2006

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Small In Japan

Hi … I’m running into a busy spot this week, so posting here will be sporadic. In the meantime, enjoy these cartoon animals interacting with household appliances. It comes from an incredible early ’60s Japanese childrens magazine that I bought last year in Bisbee. I’ve scanned the entire thing and will hopefully have it uploaded at flickr soon.

Summer Camp

After five years of DVD watching, I’m inclined to think that commentaries are at their most interesting when the commentator has nothing to do with the film he’s commenting on. Directors and/or actors handing out heaps of self-congratulatory B.S. to even the worst of films are the usual commentary fare (a trend that the A.V. Club’s Commentary Tracks of the Damned gets lots of mileage from), but I prefer the more spontaneous kind of track that comes from a knowledgeable fan’s perspective. Even better are the rare instances where fans offer insights on really, really bad films. DVD companies are just starting to realize the potential of this — witness the special editions of Mommie Dearest, Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls coming out this June.

The Mommie Dearest SE will have a commentary from John Waters. That could be a hoot and a half. You can bet that Mr. Waters will not be spending a lot of time observing Frank Perry’s subtle and artful direction of the rosebush scene. Valley of the Dolls will have a track from Advocate arts and entertainment editor Alonso Duralde, which will likely address that camp classic’s eternal appeal for gay men. Beyond the Valley will sport a commentary from none other than Roger Ebert. Unlike the other two, Mr. Ebert actually did have something to do with BtVotD (he wrote the screenplay). Personally, I will be looking forward to hearing how he came up with chestnuts like “This is my happening and it freaks me out!”

Ray Conniff’s Got It Going On

A mid-’70s album of Ray Conniff TV themes for download at XTabays World. Recommended for those with a high tolerance for cheese.

You know what I’d love to download? Those synthesized 70s/80s game show music cues by Edd Kalehoff and Score Productions. I’d especially love to hear some undiluted Price Is Right music without the announcer’s voiceovers. That stuff really kicked ass, it was so funky. Except for a few game show theme compilations, it was never released commercially.

Gruesome Twosome: Mama’s Faux Pearl Edition

Honey Cone: “Stick-Up”
LP: Soulful Tapestry, 1971 | BUY

The Newcomers: “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”
Stax Records single, 1971 | BUY

The Jackson 5 were probably the hottest act in showbiz in 1971, so it makes sense that their success would inspire many imitators. I’m presenting two of the more entertaining knockoffs today. The Honey Cone paid their dues as a talented but somewhat nondescript girl group on the Hot Wax label — until their #1 “Want Ads” transformed them into the queens of bubblegum soul. Follow-up single “Stick-Up” adheres to the same tight, funky pattern, only with lyrics (about a girl who blackmails her cheatin’ beau into marriage) told from a shockingly adult perspective. I dig Edna Wright’s sassy lead vocal and the fey cries of “Help, I’ve been robbed!” from the backup singers. Unlike Honey Cone, The Newcomers’ “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” slavishly imitates the J5 formula right down to the song’s Jermaine Jacksonlike shout-outs. Still, those nursery rhyme horn arrangements are fun. I wonder why they never made a Newcomers Saturday morning cartoon?

Dress for Tiki-ness

Too cool — Disney is selling reproductions of the original Enchanted Tiki Room shirt and dress worn by Disneyland Cast Members in the sixties! Love that custom fabric pattern (I just wish they had a better view of it). Read the fascinating two part story on how the dress came to be remade (thanks to Mr. Bali Hai for pointing this out).


Last week I added a “Buy My Crap at eBay” button to the front page sidebar. This is part of our ongoing Stuff Reduction Program to prepare me and Christopher for our someday move to Northern California.

Right now I’m liquidating several lots of Russel Wright dinnerware up at the low, low starting price of 99 cents each — including several swell ’50s melamine pieces. Yeah, I know that old plastic dishes constantly get a bad rap, but this is the really nice early stuff. Their unique shapes and spiffy pastel colors would look great in a retro-themed kitchen. And I’m selling them in groups — at 99 cents each! Great deal. Look for Home Decorators at the link.