"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Monsterpalooza Presentation Promo

The Events page over at the official Monsterpalooza website now includes this promo for my presentation at the show in April (click the image to see it full size):



The images are of the Wako Department Store in the Ginza section of Tokyo. The image on the left is from Godzilla (1954) and the one on the right was taken during my trip to Japan last December. The building was formerly known as the K. Hattori Building.

This and other locations are covered in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Kudos to Eliot Brodsky for an excellent job!

To see the full Events page, go here.

10 TV Series With The Biggest Cult Followings


This item came across my desk last night. This is about 10 TV Series With The Biggest Cult Followings.

The premise starts this way:

Let's be clear up front: there are cult-like TV shows, and then there are genuine cult series. It's easy to confuse the two, because anything that feels vaguely cult-inspiring -- usually a series about or involving aliens, mysteries, or surreal comedy -- is usually labeled as such by media and viewers. But real cult series never attract a broad audience, and they're almost always doomed to swift cancellation and low ratings.


That are the ten television shows with the biggest cult followings?

Go here and find out!

Do you agree? Disagree? Comments?

The last show on the list is one that I followed regularly back in the late-1960s.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Congratulations, Rick Baker!



Congratulations to monster make-up maestro Rick Baker for winning the Academy Award for Best Make-up for The Wolfman!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Superman Week": Almost A Decade Ago

Above, the front page of the Daily News on the day of the ceremony. Imagine my surprise seeing myself staring out of newspaper racks all around Los Angeles!

In a little over four months from now, ten years have passed since the 50th anniversary of the Adventures of Superman television show was celebrated at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles.

Plans for the July 10, 2001 event began in the late spring of 2001 when the editor and publisher of the fan magazine, The Adventures Continue Jim Nolt and I began discussing about doing something to commemorate the anniversary.

Above, Jack Larson and Noel Neill are interviewed before the ceremony. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the ad in The Hollywood Reporter in December 2001.

I was able to reach Nolt when he began to solicit contributions for a full-page ad in Variety through The Adventures Continue website. (Due to costs, the ad ultimately was placed in The Hollywood Reporter.) I told him that a year before, we had organized "Godzilla Week" through the offices of L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. I felt we can likely get his support and sponsorship for a resolution commemorating the Adventures of Superman 50th anniversary since Supervisor Antonovich and I have known each other since the 1970s.


Sure enough, I contacted Supervisor Antonovich's office and they enthusiastically agreed to sponsor a ceremony. Coincidentally, the date chosen was the exact date that filming began on the "pilot" movie, Superman and the Mole Men in 1951.

From there, we began contacting the surviving stars of the show and Vice-President Paul Levitz of DC Comics inviting them to the ceremony. Later, Lou Koza was contacted by Laura Siegel Larson, the daughter of Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel asking if she and her mom Joanne may attend. Our response was an enthusiastic "Yes!"

Once the guests were all invited, we checked around for a suitable restaurant for an after-ceremony luncheon. Cafe Pinot, which sits next to the L.A. Central Library, was chosen for the luncheon.




The weeks dwindled into days before the event, and Superman historian Chuck Harter supplied some photographs from the show to use for publicity (one, of George Reeves and Noel Neill, was used on the front page of The Daily News). The Los Angeles Daily News published a big, above-the-fold front-page article on the day of the ceremony. I knew the article was coming out, since a few days before, a reporter for the Daily News came to my home to interview me and take photographs. I just didn't expect to get front-page treatment!






While the Daily News did a great article on the event, the Los Angeles Times only saw fit to publish a little blurb that focused on a misspelled word in a press release from Supervisor Antonovich's office. The Daily News published a photo article the following day on the ceremony. The Times was silent. Go figure!




The special guests and fans gathered at the Hall of Administration for the ceremony. The special guests included Jack Larson, Noel Neill, Robert Rockwell, Jeff Corey, Mrs. Joanne (Jerry) Siegel, Laura Siegel Larson, Mrs. Bettie (Robert) Shayne, DC Comics V.P. & Publisher Paul Levitz and Warner Bros. V.P. Michael Walbrecht.

In the ensuing years since the ceremony, we lost several of our special guests: Robert Rockwell (Jor-El in "Superman On Earth"), Jeff Corey (Luke Benson in "Superman and the Mole Men"), Bette Shayne (widow of Robert "Inspector Henderson" Shayne) and Joanne Siegel (widow of Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel). We are grateful we were able to give them this token of our gratitude.




The ceremony came off without a hitch. To those attending, it almost had a dream-like quality and an experience they've treasured ever since!

Newt Gingrich: Obama Decision May Lead To Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment


The Obama Administration's decision to not enforce the Defense of Marriage law could lead to a constitutional crisis and impeachment, according to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich made his comments during an interview with Newsmax.TV.

According to Newsmax.com:

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV Friday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama’s decision not to fully enforce the Defense of Marriage law eventually could lead to a constitutional crisis, as he has directly violated his constitutional duties by arbitrarily suspending a law.

Gingrich even suggested that, if a “President Sarah Palin” had taken a similar action, there would have been immediate calls for her impeachment.


Gingrich said:

"His job is to enforce the rule of law and for us to start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent."

Read more on Newsmax.com: Gingrich: If Palin Took Obama Actions, There Would Be Calls for Impeachment

Friday, February 25, 2011

T.G.I.F.!

The latest storm has hit L.A. today. I've been inside all day (I was sleeping part of the time as I patrolled Burbank Hills last night) except for getting the mail.



Speaking of mail, my check from Kinokuniya Bookstores arrived today, right on schedule! This was for the Little Tokyo store's re-order of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Domo arigato gozaimasu!



I am looking forward to April's Monsterpalooza in Burbank. Some friends are planning to attend my kaiju location presentation. The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan will be available before and after the presentation. I will be sharing a table with Peter H. Brothers after his presentation on Godzilla director Ishiro Honda and before mine. He and I had an email exchange on it today. His book, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda will also be available at the show. I am debating whether or not to have my presentation on Powerpoint or on another format.

Above, Peter H. Brothers. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


Monsterpalooza has a fantastic guest list, to see it, go to this link:

http://www.rubberroom101.com/monsterpalooza2011/guest/index.html

T.G.I.F.!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monsterpalooza Guest Page


The official Monsterpalooza website now has yours truly amongst all the announced guests for the show.

At left, is the image used. (Nice job of photo-shopping as I am actually a few feet away from the Godzilla statue in the original photo.)

To see the full guest page, go here.

What A Day (In A Good Way)!


Yesterday was quite a busy day for me.

First, I received a claim assignment to do in the morning in East Los Angeles. I had to take it over from The Boss as she was ill. I had to take an in-person recorded statement on a traffic accident. This was accomplished.

Right, Miki Hayashi with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." The Guide will be available at Monsterpalooza before and after my presentation on kaiju movie locations. Photo by Armand Vaquer.



After this, I stopped and visited some friends for a couple of hours. Following the visit, I headed home with the intent to finish off the claim assignment (writing up the statement summary, uploading photographs, etc.).

Well, when I reached home, I found a message asking me to do a presentation on kaiju movie locations at Monsterpalooza in April. I accepted and worked out the details with the head of the Monsterpalooza show. When all this was completed, I passed the word.

Above, with actor David Hedison at the 2010 Monsterpalooza.

My presentation on kaiju movie locations is scheduled for 8:00 PM April 8. The show will take place at the Burbank Marriott Hotel and Convention Center April 8 - 10. It is a great show with stars to meet and plenty of things to see. I've attended the last two shows and they were very enjoyable.

Above, Frankenstein's Monster and Count Dracula at Monsterpalooza in 2009.

This year's Monsterpalooza will be putting more focus on Japanese science-fiction movies. The original Godzilla suit-actor, Haruo Nakajima, will be attending and Peter H. Brothers will be giving a presentation on Godzilla (1954) director Ishiro Honda. My presentation will be following his.

Above, Armand with Haruo Nakajima in July 2000.

I finally got to wrapping up the claim assignment and got everything sent off to The Boss. When this was done, I looked at the clock at it was 7:00 PM. I didn't feel like cooking dinner, so I headed off to Crazy Tokyo Sushi. Glad I did!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kaiju Movie Location Presentation At Monsterpalooza

Above, Armand Vaquer at the Godzilla statue at Toho Studios.

My presentation at Monsterpalooza will be Friday, April 8 at 8:00 PM, following Peter H. Brothers. If there are any changes, they will be posted at this blog.

My presentation will consist of:

Ever wanted to travel to Japan to see the landmarks Godzilla and friends demolished? Armand Vaquer, author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan," will give a one-hour presentation on giant monster (kaiju) locations fans can visit in Japan. He will discuss what movie(s) the locations appeared in and what attractions are nearby. A slide show of the locations will be shown during his presentation. Attendees of the presentation will be given the opportunity to ask questions.


The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan will be available for sale before and after the presentation.




For more information on Monsterpalooza, go to www.rubberroom101.com.

Bound For Monsterpalooza

An invitation to do a presentation at this year's Monsterpalooza in Burbank has been received today from the show's head honcho, Eliot Brodsky.

Details on the presentation (date, time, etc.) will be posted here as soon as they're finalized.

Here's some additional news on Monsterpalooza (click on image to view larger):



And, here's an ad for the show itself (click on image to view larger):



For more information on Monsterpalooza, go to www.rubberroom101.com.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rondo Awards Voting To March 27



Speaking of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, voting continues up to March 27. So if you haven't cast your vote on the Rondos, please take the time to do so.



From the Rondo Awards website:




The Rondos, now in their ninth year, are fandom's only classic horror award, decided by fans, for fans, and dedicated to preserving the undying spirit of monsters past.

Every Rondo nominee below is being recognized for a significant achievement in the genre during the year of 2010. So please take a look at the ballot and let the nominees know how much we appreciate their work by voting.


Be sure to read the directions on how to vote (it's really simple, just copy and paste the ballot onto an email, mark your votes with an 'x' and address it to taraco@aol.com). Be sure you include your name so your ballot is counted!

Above, the masthead for Monster Island News.

Above, Miki Hayashi with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When voting, please vote for Monster Island News* for Best Blog and The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan for Best Book of the Year.


*I am a contributor to Monster Island News.

Women and The Rondo Awards



An interesting post had been posted over at the Classic Horror Film Board by its moderator and head honcho of the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, David Colton:

It's always struck me how far and wide the Rondo 'electorate' is, and one thing that is consistent from year to year is the amazing number of women who vote.

I just did a rough estimate of the first week's votes, and a good 20% -- and it seems to build as the voting goes on -- are women, and they are knowledgeable and full of genre energy. (And no, despite that, TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE still only has a handful of votes. Another myth busted.)

I find it fascinating, and heartening, and it does seem to impact the results in interesting ways. But anyone who thinks the horror world is fanboys only need simply count up Rondo ballots -- or attend any convention!


That is interesting! Some people consider it a "given" that women, in general, aren't interested in horror or, especially, science-fiction. I know quite a few women who love horror and science-fiction. My mom was the one who got me interested in both genres. The last movie my mom and I went to together was Cloverfield. She enjoyed it as much as I did.

I agree with David, it is heartening!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ultraman In Monster Japan Travel Guide

Above, Miki Hayashi. Photo by Armand Vaquer

Fans of Japanese giant monster movies (daikaiju eiga) aren't the only beneficiaries of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. There's also places of interest for fans of Ultraman contained in the travel guide.

Ultraman, produced by special effects pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya's Tsuburaya Productions, is a popular character (in various incarnations) in Japan. Featured in several television shows and movies, Ultraman battled giant monsters to the delight of audiences over the past five decades.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has information on:



Fukushima Airport, where a statue of Ultraman stands in the terminal building.

Ultraman Shopping District in the Setagaya section of Tokyo where characters of the Ultraman Universe adorn storefronts and streetlamp posts.

Kumamoto's Ultramanland, a small amusement park on the island of Kyushu.



So if you are also an Ultraman fan, The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has a little something for you too!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dollar vs. Yen: Light At The End of the Tunnel?


It has been a while since I took a look at the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen.

We may be seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel" of the weak U.S. dollar vs. the Japanese yen according to Bloomberg:

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s wish for a weaker yen is coming true as the strengthening global economy encourages the nation’s investors to send more of their money overseas in search of higher yields.

The yen has depreciated 8.3 percent from its August peak against a basket of nine developed-nation peers, Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes show. The lower exchange rate marks a turnaround from early 2010 when global investors demanding a refuge from Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis propelled it to a 15-year high versus the dollar.

The yen may weaken to 86 per dollar by the end of the second quarter and 90 by the end of the year, according a Bloomberg News survey of 40 forecasters. The currency gained 0.3 percent to 83.18 in the week ended Feb. 18.


It would be nice if the dollar got back into the 90s against the yen. Japan travelers would benefit. But it is still far short of the 116 yen/dollar rate I received when I went to Japan in 2007. I am planning on a return trip to Japan by the end of the year and a 90+ exchange rate would be a big help.

According to the Universal Currency Converter, today's dollar/yen rate is:

1.00 USD = 83.1135 JPY


To read the full Bloomberg article, go here.

Happy Birthday Robert Scott Field!

Above, Rina and Megumi Odaka with Robert Scott Field at Los Angeles International Airport, July 2000. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's Robert Scott Field's birthday (although it is now February 21 in Japan, where Scott lives).

Above, Scott translating for Haruo Nakajima at G-Fest in 2008 during the awarding of Nakajima's "Mangled Skyscraper Award." Photo by Armand Vaquer.

He is best known amongst G-fans as android M-11 in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. He also has served ably as a celebrity guest as well as translator for G-Fest's Japanese guests over the years.

Happy Birthday Scott!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Joanne Siegel: The First Lois Lane

Above, Joanne Siegel and her daughter Laura Siegel Larson (far right) look on as L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich reads a tribute to the "Adventures of Superman" television show on its 50th anniversary in 2001. Photo courtesy of Jim Nolt.

Not too many people knew that Joanne Siegel, the widow of Superman co-creator Jerome (Jerry) Siegel, was "the first Lois Lane." Until this week.

Joanne Siegel didn't play Lois Lane on radio, television or in the movies, but she was the model that Jerome Siegel's partner Joe Shuster used when creating Lois.

Over at The Adventures Continue website, Lou Koza posted a special tribute page that provides a pretty comprehensive biography of Joanne Siegel. (Included is a story that Mrs. Siegel told Koza at the 2001 "Superman Week" ceremony on how she first met television's first Superman, George Reeves.)

At the "Superman Week" ceremony, Joanne Siegel met the screen's first Lois Lane, Noel Neill, for the first time.

Above, DC Comics Vice-President Paul Levitz and Joanne Siegel at a luncheon following the "Superman Week" ceremony at Cafe Pinot. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read the tribute page to Joanne Siegel, go here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Democrat Senators Flee Wisc. Capital; Police Searching

The Looney Left Report


Wisconsin Democrat state senators went into hiding instead of showing up to a legislative session at the state capitol.

Yahoo News reports:

MADISON, Wis. – Police officers were dispatched Thursday to find Wisconsin state lawmakers who had apparently boycotted a vote on a sweeping bill that would strip most government workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The lawmakers, all Democrats in the state Senate, did not show up when they were ordered to attend a midday vote on the legislation.

The proposal has been the focus of intense protests at the Statehouse for three days. As Republicans tried to begin Senate business Thursday, observers in the gallery screamed "Freedom! Democracy! Unions!"

Republicans hold a 19-14 majority, but they need at least one Democrat to be present before taking a vote on the bill.


It has been reported that the Democrats got into a bus and fled the state.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Madison — Law enforcement officers are searching for Democratic senators boycotting a Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair plan Thursday in an attempt to bring the lawmakers to the floor to allow Republicans to act on the bill.

As Republicans denounced the move, one Democratic senator said that he believed most of the members of his caucus are in another state. However, an aide said that at least one, Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), was still in his Capitol office listening to constituents.


Back in the 1990s, Democrat legislators in Texas pulled the same stunt and they haven't been in power since. Maybe the Wisconsin Democrats should take heed?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

200,000 Views And Climbing!



NOW HEAR THIS!


When AOL decided to do away with their "free" web pages for AOL members (mine was Armand's Corner of the Net), I had to find a different venue.

The answer came through Ken Hulsey, who invited me to be a contributor to Monster Island News. So I accepted and signed up with Blogspot. While doing so, I decided that Blogspot would be a good vehicle to replace the old AOL web page. I then launched Armand's Rancho Del Cielo (the name's in honor of Ronald Reagan's ranch) and used a photo of a mountain in Zion National Park in Utah for the masthead (Can you spot Darth Vader's helmet on the wall of the mountain?).

A few months later, on July 17, 2008, I added a "hit meter" to measure the number of views the new blog received.

The hit meter showed that the blog attracted an ever-increasing amount of viewers during the past three years. And, from the world map gizmo I also added, I found that the blog attracted viewers from all around the world.

Today, the hit meter clocked over 200,000 hits since it was added in July 2008. The last time I looked (earlier today), it was a hair below 200,000. Now, at this writing, it is over 300 hits beyond 200,000.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who check in regularly, and, also, those who pop in on occasion!

By the way, the photo that accompanies this blog post is of a store's barker in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan. I took the photo while there last December.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1,054 IRS Auditors and Staffers To Implement Obamacare


Let's see. Last month, Obamacare was ruled "unconstitutional" by a federal judge. Yet the Obama administration is pressing on with this atrocity.

U.S. News is reporting:

The Internal Revenue Service says it will need an battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama's healthcare reforms. Among the new corps will be 81 workers assigned to make sure tanning salons pay a new 10 percent excise tax. Their cost: $11.5 million.


That's our money, folks!

This is just the tip of the iceberg! To read the rest of the article, go here.

Looks like the lawless Obama Administration isn't letting a little federal judge's ruling get in the way of their agenda.


Contact your member of congress and U.S. senator and raise holy hell!

Lugosi's "Dracula" Hits 80!


Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Okay, so what?

Well, it was 80 years ago yesterday that Universal Pictures' Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan, opened in theaters around the country.

Although it may be "slow and creaky" (according to some, but aren't we all?) in its staging, the movie still holds up thanks to the acting, particularly by Lugosi and Frye. For better or worse, Dracula made Bela Lugosi a star.

I still enjoy watching it.

Monster Island News Nominated As "Best Blog"


While casting my ballot in the 9th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards last night, I noticed that Monster Island News blog had been nominated in the "Best Blog" category. Somehow, I missed seeing it listed earlier.

I am a contributor to Monster Island News along with tennart (Todd Tennant), Norman England, Elske McCain, Rachel Grubb and Steven Sloss. It is headed up by Ken Hulsey.

Monster Island News' primary focus started with Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies, but has since branched out into other genres.

Feel free to pay a visit to Monster Island News by going here. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Your vote for Monster Island News for "Best Blog" is appreciated!

I've voted!


I've voted! Now I'm going to bed.

Did you vote yet?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Joanne Siegel, Widow of Superman Co-Creator, Dies At 93

by Armand Vaquer

Above, a group photo from the Superman Week ceremony with Joanne Siegel and her daughter Laura at far right. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Sad news today in the world of Superman.

Joanne Siegel, the widow of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and the model for Lois Lane (drawn by Joe Shuster) died today in California at the age of 93.

Daughter Laura Siegel Larson is currently making funeral arrangements.

It was my honor and privilege to meet Mrs. Siegel in July 2001 at the Superman Week ceremony at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. At that ceremony, Mrs. Siegel met actress Noel Neill for the first time. Neill played Lois Lane in to Sam Katzman Columbia serials and replaced Phyllis Coates in the role on the Adventures of Superman television show in 1953.

Mrs. Siegel later joined us for a luncheon at Cafe Pinot following the ceremony.

My condolences to the Siegel family.

Interview Blurbed On Magazine Cover



Receiving the copies of the issue of Metropolis magazine on Saturday from Japan was exciting. When looking at it, I concentrated my attention to the article on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan, the travel ads and the other articles inside. I really didn't pay that much attention to the cover, except for the figure on it.

Also, I was busy with two jobs over the past three days and the Rondo Award nomination The Guide received last evening.

Today, I finally had a few moments to look over the cover and I was surprised to see that it included a blub on my interview article:

Q & A

Take A Tour Of Local Monster-Movie Landmarks


While it is a thrill to be featured in a magazine, to see a blurb on the cover is icing on the cake!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Congratulations To Lady Antebellum



Congratulations to Lady Antebellum for being the big winner at the Grammys tonight with five awards, including record and song of the year for "Need You Now."

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Receives Rondo Nomination

Above, Miki Hayashi with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Ninth Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards ballot is now up and ready for your votes!

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has been nominated in the Best Book of The Year category. (Note: It was on last year's ballot, but since it didn't get published (or "go live") until January 2010, I requested that it be removed from the ballot so that people can fairly judge it a year later.) It is an honor just to have it nominated!

What is the Rondo Award? According to the official Rondo Awards website:

The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were created by David Colton and Kerry Gammill at the Classic Horror Film Boards in 2002. The awards are fan-based, and have no connection to any commercial sponsor. Anyone in fandom can vote or propose nominees.





The 'Rondo' award itself, shown at right, features a bust sculpted by illustrator Kerry Gammill, and cast by modeler Tim Lindsey.

The statuette is a miniature version of the bust of Hatton seen in the Universal film, HOUSE OF HORRORS (1946). The Rondos have been praised by recipients for their quiet beauty and evocation of classic horror.

Nominees for the Rondo are selected from suggestions by horror fans, pros and enthusiasts offered all year at the CHFB. Each year's nominees are finalized by classic horror fan David Colton (taraco@aol.com), with the help of more than 20 classic horror fans from around the world, and with expertise in all parts of fandom.


Your vote for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is very much appreciated.

Just go here and copy and paste the ballot onto an email to taraco@aol.com with your votes.

After you've voted, then you can say...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Metropolis Magazine Arrives In Mail

Copies of Metropolis magazine (#876, January 7, 2011) in which the interview article on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is included arrived in today's mail.

Here's the cover:



Thanks goes to Steve Trautlien, Editor-In-Chief, of Metropolis magazine for the article and, also, the copies.

I wonder if he yells "Great Caesar's Ghost!" and/or "Don't call me Chief!" around the office?

Metropolis is Japan's number one English magazine. It is published in Tokyo.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Who's Next" 40th Anniversary



Remembrances by Armand Vaquer, Don Holmes and Carl Glass

It is said that music is "the soundtrack of our lives." This is an apt description of "Who's Next."

This summer marks the 40th Anniversary of the release of "Who's Next" by The Who. It is incredible that forty years have passed since the album's release. 1971 was a "vintage year" in rock music (you'll see why further down).

The Who was comprised of Pete Townshend (lead guitar, vocals), Roger Daltrey (vocals), John Entwistle (bass guitar) and Keith Moon (drums). Sadly, Entwistle and Moon have since passed away.

"Who's Next" takes me back to the summertime 40 years ago of just before I was about to enter my senior year at Hawthorne High School (the high school of the Beach Boys, I might add) in Hawthorne, California. I spent much of the summer going to the beach, movies or cruising around in Hollywood or Topanga Canyon with friends. The Viet Nam War was still going on and Richard Nixon was president of the United States and Ronald Reagan was governor of California. Gasoline was under forty cents per gallon and LP records and audio tapes (reel-to-reel, 4-track, 8-track and cassette) were our modes of listening to recorded music, besides radio. There were no CDs or iPods in those days. Records and tapes were generally around five dollars (double albums were a few dollars more).

During that summer, one of rock and roll's greatest albums was released on August 14, 1971 by Decca Records. It was The Who's "Who's Next" album. It was the group's fifth studio album.

During our jaunts into Hollywood, we always made a stop at Tower Records on the Sunset Strip to pick up the latest music releases by our favorite bands. This time, in late August, one of my purchases was "Who's Next."

Some of the tracks on the album were already being played on FM's progressive rock stations such as KMET, KLOS and KPPC (which later became KROQ) in Los Angeles. They were some of the greatest tracks I've ever heard.

"Baba O'Riley," "Won't Get Fooled Again," "The Song Is Over," "Behind Blue Eyes," "Bargain," "Love Ain't For Keeping," "My Wife," "Getting In Tune" and "Going Mobile" were the tracks on the album. Each song, on their own, were masterpieces.

I've since worn out that first copy and bought one or two later (due to wearing out each previous copy). It's one of those albums that has to be in one's record collection for it to be complete. Essential is the word.

Fellow Adventures of Superman fan and music aficionado Don Holmes remembers it (and a few others) this way:



In March of 1971, I turned 21 & what a year it was for Music!!! 40 years ago now............. (WHEW!!)

Below, I have a list of just some of the many influential Albums from 1971; but right now, we’re talking about “WHO’S NEXT” by The Monkees...... uh..... The Who!!!

“Who’s Next” began a love of the Synthesizer for The Who; as evidenced by the opening number, “BABA O’RILEY” (aka": ‘Teenage Wasteland’) & the closing behemoth, “WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN”. Who (pun intended) on this Planet has not heard of these 2 songs alone???? The remaining Tracks are all good, typical “Who” songs; w/ perhaps “THE SONG IS OVER” warrantying a closer ear!! Pete Townshend’s lyrics; as well as his & Roger Daltreys’ Vocals on this song totally compliment each other........ probably the stand-out Track (after ‘Baba.....’ & ‘Won’t.....’).

I know Armand has asked for a critiquing of “WHO’S NEXT”; but there were SOOOOOOO many f*cking great LP’s (yes, VINYL ALBUMS!!!!!) released in 1971 that' it’s hard to JUST talk about this (wonderful) WHO album!! Being an “Old School” guy, Music just did not get much better than in 1971.......... 40 years ago now..........................!!!!

Just check-out this list of other VERY significant LP’s from 1971 & you’ll see why an entire Book could be written about that year:

“RAM” by Paul & Linda McCartney

“STICKY FINGERS” by the Rolling Stones

“AQUALUNG” by Jethro Tull

“PEARL” by Janis Joplin

“FIRST ALBUM” by ZZ Top

“SALISBURY” by Uriah Heep

“THE YES ALBUM” by Yes (duh!!)

“ONE WAY..... OR ANOTHER” by Cactus

“LOVE IT TO DEATH” by Alice Cooper

“THE CRY OF LOVE” by Jimi Hendrix

“ROCK ON” by Humble Pie

“TAPESTRY” by Carol King

“4 WAY STREET” by CSNY

“L.A. WOMAN” by The Doors

“WHAT’S GOING ON” by Marvin Gaye

“RORY GALLAGHER” (his 1st Solo LP)

“EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY” by Rod Stewart

“LIVE” by Johnny Winter And

“BROKEN BARRICADES” by Procol Harum

“LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST” by the Allman Brothers

“FIREBALL” by Deep Purple

“MAGGOT BRAIN” by Funkadelic

“SHAFT” by Isaac Hayes

“SURF’S UP” by the Beach Boys

“IMAGINE” by John Lennon

“ELECTRIC WARRIOR” by T. Rex

“200 MOTELS” by Frank Zappa

“ROUGH AND READY” by the Jeff Beck Group

“MEATY BEATY BIG AND BOUNCY” by The Who

“AMERICAN PIE” by Don McLean

“ROCKIN’ THE FILLMORE” by Humble Pie

“RAINBOW BRIDGE” by Jimi Hendrix

“TEASER AND THE FIRECAT” by Cat Stevens

“TUPELO HONEY” by Van Morrison

“MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER” by Elton John

“UNTITLED” (4th Album) by Led Zeppelin

“LIVE-EVIL” by Miles Davis

“FRAGILE” by Yes

“STRAIGHT UP” by Badfinger

“THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH” by George Harrison & Friends


Another Adventures of Superman fan and music aficionado (there seems to be a common thread here) Carl Glass adds:



Never in my wildest dreams could I ever believe that Rock & Rolls first rock opera, Tommy, by The Who in 1969, would ever be capitulated. I thought they had reached Mt. Everest, and the group would never be able to achieve that kind of genius and magnitude again. It lived up to the hype; actually prevailing it, and became a motion picture. However, the 1971 release of Who’s Next is the classic, standard and measure by which the group will always be remembered. It exceeded Mt. Everest and went into the stratosphere. The album is considered the groups magnum opus; rich, expressive, commanding, vibrant and illuminating The Who at their peak performance and power. Each member without a doubt gave their best effort in this musical triumph that continues to resonate in the ears and hearts of rock lovers from generation to generation. Roger Daltrey broke through vocally and with stalwart command and authority, soaring to new heights with Baba O’Riley, Bargain, Love Ain’t For Keeping, Getting in Tune, Behind Blue Eyes, and one of rocks great anthems, Won’t Get Fooled Again.

We instantly loved and appreciated this brilliant use of engineering sound that the synthesizer brought to our ears in a fresh, creative and invigorating way from Pete Townshend, along with his wind mill guitar licks that emanate excellence in musical precision, power and dynamism. Bassist, John Entwistle not only established new heights and distinction on his four strings, but also treated us with his horn and brass talents with, My Wife, a song about an enraged wife over her husbands rocker lifestyle. Words to describe drummer Keith Moon’s performance on this LP is riveting, thunderous, explosive, grandiloquent, and just damn beyond excellent. It’s an album that transcends the ages. Television viewers of NCIS get treated to The Who everyday! I rest my case.


Happy 40th Anniversary and thanks to Roger, Pete, John and Keith!

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