Saturday, September 23, 2017

Separated at Birth?

 Actor Herbie Faye, 1899-1980

Actor Ned Glass, 1906-1984 

Confession time: I almost always get the above-pictured two character actors confused.

Herbie Faye got his show-biz start in vaudeville. He was a prolific movie and television actor, probably best known for appearing in both of Phil Silvers' CBS-TV series, The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959) and The New Phil Silvers Show (1963–1964).

Ned Glass was also a vaudeville veteran who made numerous TV and movie appearances during his career, and is probably best known for playing Doc in 1961's West Side Story.

They were born within a handful of years from each other, and died within a handful of years from each other! They both lived to be approximately the same age (Herbie died at eighty-one, Ned at seventy-eight).

Comedians Joey Faye (no relation to Herbie), Phil Silvers, and Herbie.

Ned, flanked by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in 1966's The Fortune Cookie.

Funny thing: Ned Glass also appeared on The Phil Silvers Show, and Herbie Faye also appeared in The Fortune Cookie! But I couldn't find a good photo of either of those appearances.

So. Separated at birth? Or were they the same guy?!?

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Superboy Meets Bonnie and Clyde! ~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post... Finally!


This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the movie Bonnie and Clyde. And, since comic books back then loved to jump on the proverbial bandwagon whenever anything was popular, it made perfect sense that DC Comics would eventually use Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as characters in at least one comic book story.

Only problem was, Bonnie and Clyde had operated in the early 1930s, roughly thirty-five years before the movie was released.

So, as it turned out, the only contemporary DC title which could have a guest-star appearance by the notorious outlaws was Superboy. Why? Well, it gets complicated...

Y'see, the original Superboy series -- not to be confused with whatever the hell they're doing with Superboy in modern comics -- featured "the adventures of Superman when he was a boy." And since Superman had debuted as a character in 1938's Action Comics #1, for years DC treated the Superboy stories as having taken place in the late 1920s or early 1930s (depending on the age of Superboy in the individual story itself).

However, somewhere along the line, the editors at DC Comics realized that sticking to this would establish a birthdate for Superman which was somewhere around 1920, or even earlier. But "comic book time" is much more complicated than "real world time," and Superman was not aging at the same rate as his readers! (That's why, when Superman -- actually the Earth-2 Superman, don't ask! -- finally married Lois Lane in 1978's Action Comics #484, real-world reporters were writing things like "It's about time! They've only been dating for forty years!" But no, not really, because in "comic book time," Lois Lane and Clark (Superman) Kent hadn't known each other for anywhere near that long!)

Somewhere in the early 1970s, DC's editors made up their ever-changing minds that the character of Superman would be twenty-nine years old "forever," meaning that every Superboy story would have to be written as if it were taking place ten to twenty years before the year it was actually published! This established a "sliding scale" of sorts, so Superboy stories published in the 1970s would have to take place in the 1950s, and Superboy stories published in the 1980s would have to have happened in the 1960s...

Told you it was complicated!

So, back to Superboy #149, cover-dated July, 1968 (which means it was actually released in May of 1968), a story written and printed before DC's editors developed that "sliding scale" approach.



Uh-oh! All of us readers know that Clark Kent is really Superboy, but he can't let anyone else know! How is he going to save that guard without exposing his all-too-important secret identity?


Well, that keeps Bonnie from killing the guard, and luckily, the guard drops his gun and gives up so Clyde doesn't have to shoot him.


As Clyde threatens the old woman, Clark's friend Lana Lang jumps into action. (Lana, by the way, is a pain in the ass whose main reason to exist seems to be trying to prove that Clark is really Superboy.)



Yeah, quick thinking, Superboy. Clark just happened to be wearing a costume under his street clothes, for that conveniently-timed costume party.

Bonnie and Clyde take both Lana and Clark as hostages, and travel to their next intended robbery, the home of recluse "Looney Looey," an old codger who has a fortune in solid gold ingots in his home.


Oh, cute. Clark's confused as to who he is, Lana's confused as to who she is, and the story's writer is confused as to who they both are...!



Of course it could cause amnesia. Funny how that happens so often, innit? Wonder if Clark (who sheds his "Clyde" duds to reveal his supposedly-phony Superboy costume again) is correct...?


Yep, Clark certainly appears to have been right! How prescient of him!


Hm. The real Bonnie didn't even know who Superboy was, remember? But the amnesiac Lana seems to.


Having the advantage of surprise, Clyde and Lana/Bonnie tie up the guards, and then...



Oh, crap. We know Superboy can't be hurt by a mere bullet, but how will "Clark Kent" get out of this one?


Oh, come on! It sure looked to me like Clyde shot Clark right between the eyes, and Clark was not holding any "soft gold ingot" in front of his face.



Nahhh, I'm not buying it. If, as we can assume, the real and the fake ingots were all mixed together, how did Clark/Superboy carry his phony ones without doing a lot of painfully-obvious shuffling of all those ingots first?

I also love how we're left to think that Bonnie and Clyde ended up in jail (because the Comics Code Authority had strict rules that criminals could never get away with their crimes).

Even at eleven years old, I thought this story was kind of lame. What do you think, fellow babies?

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Spread Your Wings" ~~ Edited and Reprinted from April 24, 2010

An Interactive Post... sort of.

Hey.

You wanna really get into the swing of things here?

1. Click the "play" button on this YouTube video.


2. Give this tune a good, hard listen, more than once if you have to, until you know it... until you really know it. Until it gets sucked right into you and affects your mood.

3. Then read the following story.

4. Or don't do all that... but read the story anyway.

* * * * *

In all of his twenty-three years, Derek had never loved anyone as much as he'd loved her.

Lindsay.

In all of his twenty-three years, Derek had never loved anyone as much as he'd loved Lindsay.

She'd recently left him for half a dozen damnably-vague reasons, most of which Derek couldn't quite remember right now. Some nonsense about her having an inability to commit to anyone... This, after three months of doing just fine, apparently? He couldn't remember the other excuses she'd made, but then again, he didn't even care, at this point.

She'd left him. He'd lost her. He'd lost her.

For a week or so, he'd held onto a hope that they might still get together. That ended last night. Well... this morning, really.

At eleven p.m. last night, Derek had been sitting in the little park across the street from Lindsay's apartment building, on a bench that faced her front door. He saw her come home with a tall, good-looking guy with long hair, worn in a ponytail. The happy couple didn't see Derek.

Even when it started raining lightly, half an hour later, Derek stayed on the park bench, his eyes glued to the front door of Lindsay's building.

Derek was thoroughly drenched long before the long-haired dude finally left, which was sometime after seven a.m.

Derek had really lost Lindsay.

There was no longer any point in living.

He got home around eight. He didn't make his usual pot of strong coffee. And he had no appetite for breakfast.

He just sat at the kitchen table, hot tears pouring down his cheeks despite his inner voices screaming at him to "man up."

At somewhere around nine-thirty, Derek finally came up with an idea, of sorts. It was remarkable in its simplicity.

He would leave his apartment, walk to the end of the hall, and take the elevator from his floor -- the eighth -- up to the tenth. Then he would take the janitor's stairway from there to the roof.

Then he'd jump off.

Remarkable in its simplicity.

Suiting the action to the unspoken word, Derek was standing on the flat, graveled roof of his apartment building in a matter of minutes.

Derek was suicidal, not homicidal, so he decided that jumping off the front of the building was too dangerous to anyone who might be walking along... anyone that he might land on, in other words. The opposite side of the roof rose eleven stories above an alley. That would be a better place to land.

He walked to the opposite side... and hesitated.

He sat down on the building's very edge, his legs dangling over it, his feet in the air.

Did he really want to do this?

Yup.

Derek stood back up, and idly brushed at something which seemed to be pressing down slightly on his right shoulder.

Almost immediately after, he noticed an equal pressure on his left shoulder.

He looked down, and blinked. Standing on his right shoulder, there appeared to be... well... an angel. Just like in the movies, and cartoons. A handsome, male, winged, halo-wearing, white-robed, harp-carrying angel, about three or four inches tall, with curly blonde hair!

Faced with this ludicrous adornment to his right shoulder, Derek immediately realized what the "pressure" was on his left shoulder. He looked to his left, and -- yup! -- standing there was a devil, about three or four inches tall as well. He was everything you'd expect from a stereotypical devil. He had a long, pointed tail, cloven hooves, and he carried a pitchfork. He was dressed from collar to ankles in a form-fitting, satiny-looking outfit. Red, of course. His hair was slicked back. He had a pronounced widow's peak, and two horns, growing out from his forehead. The hair on his head and his VanDyke beard were the blackest black. He had bright red skin which matched his tights.

Derek laughed in spite of his despondent mood.

I don't do drugs, thought Derek, so what the hell is going on here?

Then the angel spoke. "Hello, Derek. My name is Reginald."

"Reginald?" repeated Derek.

"Or... Reggie, if you prefer."

"Like it matters?" mumbled Derek. Then he turned to the devil. "And what's your name?"

"Sure you wanna be on a first name basis with a devil, sunshine?"

"Like it matters?" repeated Derek. "Should I just call you Satan, then?"

"Hell no, stupid." The devil laughed as if his "hell no" had actually been funny. "Satan's the big boss. I'm not the devil, I'm just a devil. A demon, ya might say." Derek just stared at the devil. "Well, whatta you expect? That ain't God sittin' on your other shoulder, it's just..." The demon made a sour face. "Reginald."

"How about if I just call you 'Hot Stuff?' "

"How 'bout if I just grow to six feet, four inches, and kick your sorry butt off this roof?"

Reginald shook his head disapprovingly. "You know darned well you can't do that! That would be making Derek's decision for him!"

The demon leaned slightly, bypassing his view of Derek, and looked at the angel. "I was just bein' a wiseguy, Reggie..." he admitted. He turned  slightly, to look at Derek again. "Call me... Adoth."

Derek was still staring at the demon. "What did you mean about growing to six feet tall? Can you do that? I mean, can both of you...?"

"Sure," said Adoth. Suddenly, he was gone from Derek's shoulder. Just as suddenly, he appeared beside Derek, in a much more ordinary form. He stood about 5'11", two inches taller than Derek. The demon's tail, his cloven hooves, and the pitchfork had all disappeared. His black hair was still combed back -- although no longer slicked back -- and he still sported the beard, but his satiny outfit was replaced by a simple set of red slacks and a red, button-down shirt with black buttons. His skin was no longer bright red. It was only as red as any white man's would be if he'd incurred a bad sunburn.

Instinctively, Derek turned to his right. Reginald, the angel, was now standing beside him as well, wearing a white shirt and white slacks. There was no sign of halo, harp, or wings. Reginald was roughly six feet tall.

"Okay, guys," said Derek, "What are you doing here?"

Reginald replied, "Isn't it obvious? You're here to take your own life. We're here to prevent that."

Adoth corrected Reginald. "Nuh-uh. You're here to prevent that; I'm here to convince him to go through with it." Reginald made a face at the demon.

Derek shook his head. "How 'bout if the two of you just butt out and let me do what I'm gonna do anyway?"

Adoth smiled, and stuck his tongue out at Reginald. "In which case, I win." He grinned at Derek. "Sounds great, and I can get back in time for breakfast."

"No!" shouted Reginald. "Derek, you can't do this! Just because things look bleak at this very moment, it doesn't mean that they can't or won't improve. But death insures that they won't."

Derek smirked as he replied, "Is that really the best you can come up with, Goldie?"

"You know, kid, if you just jump and get it over with, we can both be in Hell in time for breakfast," said Adoth. "Of course, you probably won't like what they serve you. It is Hell, after all..."

"He's right, Derek," said Reginald. "It's Hell. If you kill yourself, that's where you go... and you won't like it. You'll hate it. In fact, it's designed that way." Reginald stuck his tongue out at Adoth. Then, to Derek, he added, "Still want to kill yourself?"

Derek looked at Reginald strangely, then looked at Adoth. "Sorry, I wasn't listening. I was wondering if the fact that you two guys showed up here means I picked the 'right' religion."

Adoth and Reginald both exclaimed "What?!?"

Derek explained. "Well, the whole angels and devils, 'suicide's a sin,' Heaven and Hell thing... It falls right in line with Christian theology. And I'm a Christian, by choice. So... I was right?"

Reginald looked plaintively at Adoth. Adoth scoffed, "Hey, don't look at meYou field this one, blondie!"

Reginald looked at Derek, and uncomfortably answered, "Well, it's kind of involved, but it's less a matter of things being this way because you have the 'proper' beliefs than it is that... uhhh... we're here because of what you, personally, believe. Uhhh... is that clear?"

"Clear as mud," replied Derek. "You're kind of annoying, you know that, Reggie?"

"I'll say!" interjected Adoth.

"And you're even worse!" countered Derek.

"Comes with the job description, kid," mumbled Adoth.

Derek continued, "I mean, here I am, on the worst day of my life, ready to end that life because of how bad I feel, and you're getting off on the thought of my splattering myself all over that alley!"

"Like, I said, it comes with the--"

"Shut up!" yelled Derek, as he abruptly shoved Adoth, who fell backwards off the roof with a scream.

Reginald's eyes opened wide. "Oh, my G...!" He glanced upwards. "Uhhh, sorry..." He looked back at Derek. "I can't believe you did that! You just killed a man!"

"I did not," replied Derek, calmly. "He was already dead. Or not even alive. Whatever. You know what I mean. Just be glad I didn't do the same to you. I thought of it, actually, but figured it wouldn't work. The wings, and all..."

"But still...!"

"Oh, lighten up, Reggie." Derek looked down into the alley below. "He isn't even down there. The alley, I mean. In another sense, I suppose he just went back to where he came from, so he is 'down there.' Get it?"

Reginald muttered, "You don't have to draw me a gosh-darned picture, Derek."

"Good. Now. You gonna leave so I can do my little jump in peace?"

"No!"

"Oh, for...! How do I get rid of you, then?"

"Decide to liveThen I'll leave."

"And if I just hang around here... or pretend to change my mind and go back downstairs, while planning to come back up here when you're gone?"

"It won't work. Where I come from, we know what's in your heart."

"So... You know this is really what I want."

Reginald looked uneasy. "Yes."

"Then how about this. You go back to Heaven, and take me with you."

"What?!?"

"You heard me."

"I... I can't do that! You're not dead!"

"But if you take me to Heaven, wouldn't that kinda... you know... make me dead?"

"This is ridiculous." Reginald thought quickly. "Besides, uhh... It's not your time."

"Bullshit. If that was as set-in-cement as you imply, you and Adoth wouldn't have bothered showing up, because whether or not I was to die today would have been pre-ordained." Reginald sat down on the edge of the roof, shaking his head. Derek pressed his advantage. "There's no sin in simply wanting to die, I assume. And your being here at all implies that the only thing which could have kept me from going to Heaven would have been my suicide... and if you take me away with you instead of leaving me to jump, you will have effectively prevented that! So you still get your little merit badge, or whatever. I win. You win. Everybody wins, except that little scumbag I just pushed off the roof."

"I... I have to clear this with my bosses..."

Derek stepped toward the edge of the roof. "Forget it. My way or the alleyway!"

"No! Wait!" Reginald stood up. His wings had reappeared. He held his right hand out toward Derek. "Take my hand, Derek."

"Sorry, you're not my type." Reginald's brow furrowed; Derek laughed. "Just kidding," he said, clasping Reginald's hand with his own.

The two men -- for lack of a better expression, for neither was a mortal "man" in the strictest sense, now -- slowly began rising into the air, gradually fading from sight... until they were totally gone.

* * * * *


Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Len Wein, 1948-2017, R.I.P. ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post


So, once again I must postpone my article about the infamous "Superboy Meets Bonnie and Clyde" story from Superboy #149...

I was shocked last Monday, when I read that comics' legendary writer/editor Len Wein had died at the age of sixty-nine.

In a close-to-fifty-year career, Len wrote countless stories, and edited countless stories as well.

Wein started at DC Comics in the late 1960s, one of the earliest of the comic book fans to break into the ranks of the comic professionals. Over the years, he left DC for Marvel, and then returned to DC years later. He also worked for Gold Key, Skywald, Comico, Eclipse Comics, Disney Comics, Dark Horse, Defiant Comics, Penny-Farthing Press, and Bongo Comics!

(And now, just for the hell of it, I'm going to reprint images of the original art from some pages Len wrote or edited. And no, fellow babies, these scans do not come from my private collection... so no use finding out where I live, just so you can steal 'em!)

Most notably, he co-created DC's Swamp Thing with artist Bernie Wrightson.


Len co-created Wolverine with artist John Romita, Sr., who was Marvel's art director at the time. Artist Herb Trimpe, often credited as being one of Wolverine's co-creators, said that he was merely the first artist to utilize the character in Wolvie's first three stories, published in The Incredible Hulk #180-182.


In 1975, with artist Dave Cockrum, Wein re-vamped Marvel's relatively unpopular team, the X-Men, into the so-called new X-Men in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1, and began the series that made them the huge hit that they've been for roughly forty years.


Among numerous other series, he edited Camelot 3000 for DC Comics...


...the Marv Wolfman/George Perez series, The New Teen Titans...


...and DC's Watchmen as well.




And, as I implied above, that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg!

By the way, since I never met the man, I highly recommend that you click here for a terrific (and brief) anecdote by someone who did, his friend Mark Evanier.

R.I.P., Len.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Who [Reads] Short Shorts?


1. Equal Time for Mel Gibson?

Mel Gibson has been insulted by a lot of people over the last few years, myself included. And hey, has it really been over ten years since Mel's initial racist ramblings made the news? (Yep, it has been!)

I was reading an article about Liam Neeson the other day, and I learned that although the main role in Schindler's List was eventually played by Neeson, other actors who'd been interested in playing the part were Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, and... Mel Gibson.

Mel-freakin'-Gibson? This is the dude who said “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” innit?

Well, Mr. G blames his drinking problem for the words that came out of his mouth. And he did offer an apology to the Jewish people at the time, and roughly a year ago, in an interview with Variety, Mel said "Surely if I was really what they say I was, some kind of hater, there’d be evidence of actions somewhere. There never has been.”

In addition, there's this article, from earlier this year, which says that Gibson has been donating money to Holocaust survivors via  the Survivor Mitzvah Project.

So, what do you think? Has he paid his penance, as it were, or should we still consider him a bigoted s**thead whose Hollywood projects should be shunned?

*  *  *  *  *

2. Seen on a Sign Outside of a Laundromat

"If a man says he'll fix something, he will. There's no need to remind him about it every six months."

*  *  *  *  *
3. Every. Single. Time.

Remember what I said about Twitter not long ago? Well, the following is from a recent article on the Fox News site about Stephen King's little "war" with Donald Trump:

"Donald Trump blocked me on Twitter. I am hereby blocking him from seeing "It" or "Mr. Mercedes." No clowns for you, Donald. Go float yourself," King wrote.
Donald Trump blocked me on Twitter. I am hereby blocking him from seeing IT or MR. MERCEDES. No clowns for you, Donald. Go float yourself.

The film about children facing an evil clown opens in September.

See? I toldja! They repeat the tweet in its entirety, right after quoting it!

*  *  *  *  *

4. Trump's North Korea Quote?

Speaking of Trump...

Recently, newspapers in America and all over the world were reporting that President Donald Trump had released a message after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, saying "The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior." This was the statement released by the White House, which went on to say that "Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table."

Yeah, well, somebody at the White House wrote and released that message, that's for sure, but that is not the way President Trump speaks. Trump's statements are usually full of redundancies, and devoid of anything suggesting that the man has an extensive vocabulary. And whatever he is in favor of is usually "wonderful" or "terrific."


For example, not long ago, Trump said this about Kim Jong-un: “I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much.”

Trump to Ben Carson about the name "Harvey": "Sounds like such an innocent name, Ben, right? But it's not innocent. It's not innocent."


And talking about the clean-up during and after Harvey, he said “We won’t say congratulations. We don’t wanna congratulate. We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished, but you have been terrific.”

*sigh*

*  *  *  *  *

5. So, What Are They Saying?

I was in a department store a couple of weeks ago and saw a man wearing a shirt that looked a lot like this:


There's a lot of talk here in the USA lately, debating the issue of whether or not depictions of the Confederate flag or items related to the Confederacy are only supported by racists. I must admit that my sentiments are kind of torn. I absolutely despise racism in all its forms, but on the other hand, I really, really want to believe in the sincerity of those proud Southerners who claim that the rebel flag stands for "heritage, not hatred."

And yet... and yet...

I see someone walking around wearing a shirt like that, or displaying the Confederate flag, and I have to wonder if he or she is a bigot...

Especially when shirts like the one shown above are being worn by someone in my home state of Massachusetts, as the one I saw the other day was.

*  *  *  *  *

6.  A New Direction?

A few months ago I said that I was debating ending this blog. Well, I've finally been getting lots of ideas for it, so it definitely won't be discontinued anytime soon.

Having said that, I may be slightly changing my blog's focus. It seems that most -- but certainly not all -- of my current crop of readers are close to my own age (I'll turn sixty-one next November, believe it or not!), plus or minus a handful of years. So in recognition of that fact, I'll probably be gearing more posts toward people in their fifties and sixties. Different things I grew up with and the like. You'll see. It's just a minor transition, the kind of thing I've seen happen to other blogs. (For example, my friend Betsy's blog, My Five Men, used to contain quite a few acrostic poems for her weekly entries to the gone-but-not-forgotten "Theme Thursday" posts. Now it's eight or nine years later, and she showcases a lot of her own photos, reflecting the fact that she's become quite a good photographer.)

*  *  *  *  *

7. A Grammar Nazi Tid-Bit

By the way, folks, the word is "intact," not "in tact." One word, got it? Unfortunately, I know of a blog written by a successful pro sitcom writer who does that. He also refers to the '50s as the 50's. Maybe it doesn't matter as much if your audience is hearing your words and not reading them?

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks for your time!

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