Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ohhh, MAN!!! ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post... on a Thursday!

For once and for all, people... It's Spider-Man. Not Spiderman. Spider-Man! If I see one more "authoritative" article about comic books that does this...!!!

Although admittedly, even Stan Lee didn't get it right all the time at first, as shown in the following examples from Amazing Fantasy #15.

And this one, from The Amazing Spider-Man #3, was even worse!

And, on a related note, you'd never write Bat-Man instead of Batman, would you? Well, DC Comics did, in Batman's very first story!

It makes it so much more difficult to correct someone when they can point to these previous screw-ups and claim that they were correct, dunnit?

Thanks for your time

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tim Conway, 1933-2019, Doris Day, 1922-2019, R.I.P.

I was incredibly saddened to hear of the May 14th death of comedian Tim Conway, at the age of eighty-five. (Although you'd never know it by the fact that it took me more than a week to get this post written and... errr... posted.)

My very first exposure to Mr. Conway was when he played Ensign Charles Parker on the World War II sitcom, McHale's Navy (1962-1966).

I then began following his TV career faithfully, although at times, it seemed like I was one of the only television viewers to do so.

 After McHale's Navy, the shows Conway starred in throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s all died fairly quickly.

From McHale's Navy, Conway went to Rango (1967), and then The Tim Conway Show (1970).

Rango (1967)

With Joe Flynn, who had played Captain Binghamton on McHale's Navy.
Both were regulars on The Tim Conway Show (1970).

Next, also in 1970, came The Tim Conway Comedy Hour. Maybe they felt that the word "comedy" would help sell the show as a... well... as a comedy? It did not. Personally, I enjoyed it. (Of course, I wasn't quite fourteen...) It had comedian Art Metrano as "The Tim Conway Orchestra" and a pre-All in the Family Sally Struthers as "The Tim Conway Dancer." Yes, dancer, not dancers. Folks, ya hadda be there!

The Tim Conway Comedy Hour

Conway joined the cast of Carol Burnett's show, which was imaginatively titled The Carol Burnett Show, during its 1975-1976 season, and he certainly seemed to have found his niche. He became well-known for making his fellow cast members -- primarily Harvey Korman -- crack up during filming, but Conway's comedic talents far surpassed that simple bit of business.

Conway's many regular characters on The Carol Burnett Show included Mr. Tudball (Carol played his incompetent secretary, Mrs. Wiggins)...

Mickey Hart in "The Family" sketches...

...and "The Oldest Man," who took forever to do anything or get anywhere. He even took a full minute or two to fall down a flight of stairs! Tim played the Oldest Man in countless scenarios.

One of my favorite Conway sketch roles was in an updated version of "Cinderella," where Tim played pop star "Elfin John!"

During the 1970s and into the 1980s, Conway did several films, many for Disney, and some (both Disney and non-Disney) co-starring Don Knotts.

After The Carol Burnett Show ended in 1978, Tim went on to do other TV shows, and began appearing as a diminutive character named Dorf.

I'll confess that I sort of lost track of Conway's career after The Carol Burnett Show, mainly due to the fact that my TV watching was rather limited during the late seventies and throughout most of the eighties. Having said that, the enjoyment he gave me throughout my youth cannot be measured.

* * * * *

Unfortunately, this is one of those "kiss of death" things which I often half-heartedly joke about on this blog.

A little over a week ago, on a Friday night, I was going through my hall closet, a closet which contains mostly hardcover and paperback books, and numerous magazines. I removed several items which I plan to have signed by various comic book personalities and TV/movie celebrities at this summer's TerrifiCon in Connecticut. I also "pulled" a few that I decided to part with by (hopefully) selling them at the flea market where I set up every Sunday.

One of several books I brought to the flea market was a biography of singer, actress, and animal rights activist Doris Day. I placed the book out for sale on Sunday, May 12th. She died the very next day, aged ninety-seven.

I wasn't very familiar with Doris Day's singing career until I was an adult. I did know her as a movie and television actress.

My favorite film of hers was 1961's Lover Come Back, where her co-star was Rock Hudson, and their supporting cast included Tony Randall, Edie Adams, Ann B. Davis, and Donna Douglas, and Tim Conway's old foil, Joe Flynn!

Her TV series, The Doris Day Show (Where do they get these titles?!?), was notorious for being plagued by constant cast and format changes throughout its five-year run.

Although I always enjoyed her work, I was never a huge fan of Doris Day's, hence the brevity of this so-called tribute, but thought her worthy of inclusion here, especially to make yet one more reference to that whole "kiss of death" syndrome which keeps occurring on this blog.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Speed Freaks? (Reprinted from "David'Z RantZ," 4/15/08)

No, no, no, fellow babies, this is not a "Comical Wednesday" post. Just ignore
the illustration above. Well... Don't ignore it, exactly, but... Oh, never mind.

Somewhere between those geological eras known as the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic -- or, more specifically, before the widespread use of the "call waiting" function -- one of the most irritating things we humans had to deal with was the following scenario: 

You want or -- even worse -- need to contact a friend, relative, business associate... whatever. So you walk to the nearest phone, and...

(Excuse me? No, no, I said "you walk," not "you reach into your pocket!" Cell phones as we know them hadn't been invented yet! The only "mobile phones" to speak of were a special kind of electronic appliance that was installed in your car, and was large enough to comfortably seat your three smallest children. The kind of telephone I'm talking about using here was on a cord that was actually attached to a wall, like a cable TV line. And although so-called "telephone jacks" did exist, most telephones stayed in whatever room they had originally been installed in, and...

Can I please get back to my story?)

So, anyway... You call your friend, and get a busy signal. Remember, this example pre-dates "call waiting," so you get an annoying buzzing sound in your ear that tells you that the person you're attempting to call is already talking to someone who can't possibly be as important as you are. So you hang up.

Ten minutes later, you call back. Still busy. ("Geez, how long does this guy talk, anyway?") 

You wait another ten minutes, and call again. Still busy! ("Okay, he has to be off soon!") 

So you call again, five minutes later. Still busy?!? ("Oh, for... !")

This goes on for another fifteen or twenty minutes. Your calls are now spaced about one minute apart. Plus, to add to the aggravation, at this time in mankind's history there is no such handy feature as an automatic "re-dial" button on your phone, either.

On your penultimate try, you dial, hear the grating busy signal once again, slam the phone down, lift it up again and immediately dial your insensitive friend's number once more, even 'though you know in your heart of hearts that if he was on the phone four seconds earlier, he'll still be on it now.


The phone rings. It rings! He's finally off the phone, and can receive your all-important call!


There's no answer. There's no answer!

Why? Well, because your friend isn't home, of course.

So, you ask yourself, "How the hell could he hang up the telephone, and then vanish immediately?"

You're understandably furious. You promise yourself that the next time you see him, you're going to grab him by the front of his shirt (let's hope your friend is a "him" if you plan that approach, by the way), lift him a foot or two off the ground, and scream, "What the f**k do you do after an hour-long phone call?!? Hang up and immediately jump out the nearest window?!?"

But you don't... You do what we all do, or did. (I'll now drop my pretentious use of the present tense, describing a scene ostensibly taking place in the past!) You calmed down, and forgot.

So we never learned just how these people "did it."

You know, until now, I never appreciated "call waiting" very much. (Probably because I'm usually the one who's put "on hold" while the person I'm speaking with takes a call from someone else who, as in my example above, can't possibly be as important as I like to believe that I am. I resent it enough when a corporation puts me on hold, but I really hate it when a friend does it!) But after reading what I just wrote, I suppose I should admit that "call waiting" really does have some advantages.

But I digress.

The passage of time, coupled with minor technological innovations like "call waiting" and the "re-dial" button, have all but done away with instances like the above. Ah, but technology can be a double-edged sword! The oh-so-wonderful internet has given us something equally annoying in the place of my telephone horror story!

Here's the new variation: While you are working at your computer -- specifically, checking your e-mail -- an e-mail arrives from a friend (or relative, or... hell, you know the drill). You don't even take the time to sign on to Yahoo Messenger, or MSN Messenger, or AIM, or ICQ, etc. Nope! You just dash off a quick e-mail in response, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And this waiting is made even more irritating if you employ services such as MSGTAG, as I used to (a little thingamabob that e-mails you as soon as your message is actually read), because the absence of a notification such as theirs proves that your e-mail has not been read. And I don't mean "read, but not yet replied to." I mean, not even seen!

So, you ask yourself, "How the hell could he send an e-mail, and then vanish immediately?"

And you're frustrated (but at least you're not furious!), frustrated to the point that you promise yourself that the next time you see him, you're going to grab him by the front of his shirt (and let's still hope your friend is a "him" if you plan that approach), lift him a foot or two off the ground, and scream, "What the f**k do you do after you send an e-mail?!? Unplug your computer and immediately jump out the nearest window?!?"

But you don't... You do what we all do. You calm down, and forget.

So we'll never learn just how these people "do it."

I'm pretty sure this is what they were referring to in "The Lion King" when they sang "Circle of Life."

But... hey! Y'know somethin'? As John Astin (as "Buddy" on Night Court) used to say... "I'm feeling much better now." This "RantZ" page beats the hell out of tranquilizers, any day!

Thanks for your time.
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