"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, August 31, 2009

Disney Bids To Acquire Marvel Entertainment

The Walt Disney Co. has made a bid to acquire Marvel Entertainment, the owners of Spiderman, Captain Marvel, X-Men and others.

FT.com reports:

Walt Disney made the first move in what is expected to be a wave of consolidation in Hollywood on Monday with a surprise $4bn (£2.4bn) bid for Marvel Entertainment in a deal that will unite Iron Man and Spider-Man with Mickey Mouse and Hannah Montana.

The deal, which will earn more than $1.4bn for Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s chief executive and largest shareholder, raised the prospect of other transactions at a time when the entertainment industry is in flux.

To read the full article, go here.

Reagan and Kennedy

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan posted a tribute to Ted Kennedy that is interesting:

And so grace met grace, and a friendship that had already begun deepened. On Wednesday, the day after Ted Kennedy died, Nancy Reagan gave a telephone interview to Chris Matthews on "Hardball." "We were close," she said of their friendship, "and it didn't make any difference to Ronnie or to Ted that one was a Republican and one a Democrat." "I'll miss him very much," she said. "I'm sure we'll all miss him."

The Reagans and the Kennedys

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"When I returned, Mary Jo and the car were gone!"

A lot of people seem to think that the late Sen. Edward Kennedy said, "When I returned, Mary Jo and the car were gone!" in the aftermath of the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne in Kennedy's Oldsmobile in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts in July 1969.

Not so.

The line was from a David Frye Watergate comedy album entitled, Richard Nixon: A Fantasy, that came out in 1973 (I liked him more as a mimic than Rich Little) in an imitated Ted Kennedy voice by Frye.

I still have this album in my collection.

Dim Bulb Diane Watson

Back in 1986, I ran against then-State Senator Diane Watson in the the South Bay (which includes Hawthorne, where I lived) area of Los Angeles County. I had no desire to become state senator, but I was asked to run for the GOP nomination in the district so that I can make appointments to the California Republican State Central Committee (California Republican Party). It was a project by conservatives to prevent a liberal Republican from becoming state party chairman. I won the GOP primary and had to face Watson in the general election.

Needless to say, I lost the election (the district was and remains heavily Democratic) but got the appointments. We succeeded in preventing the state party chairmanship from going to a liberal.

I thought then that Diane Watson was not the brightest bulb on the marquee. She is now a member of congress and the other day she made some astounding comments about Obamacare, Cuba and those who oppose President Obama. If Watson's congressional district were at least 40% Republican, she'd be gone in an instant.

On Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution:

It was just mentioned to me by our esteemed speaker, "Did anyone say anything about the Cuban health system?" And let me tell you before you say, "Oh, it's communist," you need to down there and see what Fidel Castro put in place. And, I want you to know... Now, you can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met!

On Obama's opposition:

Now when a Senator says that this will be his Waterloo and we all know what happened at Waterloo, then we have him and he fails. Do we want a failed state called the United States? So remember, they are spreading fear and they're trying to see that the first president who looks like me, fails. And I want you to know people look at the United States as a country that has changed its way and has elected someone from Kenya and Kansas. I'll put it like that.

It is almost as if she's confirming what the "birthers" suspect, namely, that Obama was born in Kenya.

On wanting Obama to fail:

Do you know what that means? If the president, your commander-in-chief, failed, America fails.

No, we want Obama's socialist agenda to fail.

See for yourself, here's a video of Watson making her comments:

She embodies a old saying: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

It appears Watson has been taking lessons in stupidity from her chum, Rep. Maxine Waters.

Encino Drivers Suck!

Above, my poor Mustang this morning.

This week is starting out lovely.

I had to buy some pet supplies at Petco in Encino this morning and was only in the store for about ten minutes. Upon leaving the store, I immediately noticed some damage to my 89 Mustang. Some "nice person" decided to back their vehicle into mine while I was in the store.

No note was left. A classic hit & run.

Being an experienced adjuster, I took photos of the damage and notified the LAPD of the incident. I noticed that the store has a security camera aimed at the parking lot. I contacted the store and notified them of the incident. Their manager will review the security tape tomorrow. I informed my insurer, State Farm, and the LAPD of this possible security video of the accident. Hopefully, they can get a plate number and reach the responsible party. If so, hopefully they have insurance. If there's no tape of the incident, I could make a uninsured motorist property damage claim and avoid paying a $500 deductible.

Regardless, I have to wait a bit to get the repairs started as the other car, a 2000 Mustang, and driven by my daughter, was involved in an accident last Thursday night.

When it rains, it pours!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Inside The Hall of Justice

Above, the dark catacombs of the L.A. County Hall of Justice basement.

Inside The Hall of Justice

Text and photos by Armand Vaquer

Years ago, before the Los Angeles County Coroner was relocated to its present facility on north Mission Road (hence the name of the show Chuck Harter appeared in on a George Reeves segment), the Coroner's facilities were located in the basement of the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.

Due to the 1993 Northridge Earthquake, the Hall of Justice was closed down for retrofitting. It has been a slow process and it has pretty much stopped due to funding issues. Eventually, it is said, the building (built in 1925) will house the headquarters of the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Why let a good building go to waste?

As the building's interior has been gutted, and the county doesn't seem to have the money to fund the retrofit project to completion, the company I work for has been contracted to secure the location. This week, I went down to the basement of the Hall of Justice, with camera in hand, after hearing that the autopsy tables were still inside. Unfortunately, they weren't. But it is interesting to go into the basement to see where the Coroner conducted the autopsies of such celebrities as George Reeves, Marilyn Monroe, Robert F. Kennedy and others.

The way the interior looks now, it reminded me of either Castle Dracula or Carfax Abbey in the 1931 Dracula. The only thing missing was a coffin with the Dracula Crest on the lid. The only lighting in the basement was from my flashlight and the flash of my camera. It was almost pitch black in the basement. Pretty spooky! And I've heard stories of hauntings at the building.

Above, the basement of the Hall of Justice. Could this slab be where an autopsy table was mounted?

Above, another slab. Was an autopsy table here?

Above, crates of marble slabs and bricks are sitting in the basement, waiting to be installed in the Hall of Justice when the retrofit project is completed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

L.A. City Hall And Moon

Having a camera with you affords one the advantage of spotting interesting subjects to get a quick photo or two.

Last night, I saw the moon near L.A. City Hall. Here's a couple of photos:

La Canada/Flintridge Fire

Last evening, while on Interstate 10 in East Los Angeles, I saw in the distance the La Canada/Flintridge fire in the hills to the north.

While destructive, fires do have their own beauty to them (hope I don't sound like a pyromaniac).

I stopped and snapped these two photos:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

George Reeves Timeline Progress Report

Had an interesting conversation with Chuck Harter this evening.

He tells me that he's up to about 200 pages on his George Reeves timeline book manuscript and he is quite jazzed about the progress he's made and what he's found out.

He has also included some new interviews and found a box full of cassette tapes of old interviews he conducted years back in which he is gleaning a lot of material from. There's a lot of stuff he's told me about that I cannot disclose. Believe me, they're that good! And I don't get impressed easily!

He feels strongly that the the story is so compelling that it would make for an excellent movie.

Sen. Edward Kennedy

Sen. Edward Kennedy, 77, died last night in Hyannis, Massachusetts of brain cancer.

Although he was a hard left partisan Democrat, he was not afraid to strike compromises with the Republicans in the senate. He also had many friendships with GOP members.

He also had a good relationship with President Ronald Reagan. Funny thing, when Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980, Kennedy, who ran against Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination, was reportedly pleased about Reagan's victory. Kennedy spoke at the Reagan Library in April 2007.

His career was forever marred by the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, 28. Kennedy's Oldsmobile drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick and became submurged. Kennedy was able to get out the car, but Kopechne was unable to. He did not report the accident until the next day, but authorities already were alerted to it.

His only explanation was that he "panicked."

It has been reported that he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near his brothers John and Robert.

Democrats are planning to turn Obamacare into a memorial to Kennedy, but observers note that Kennedy would be willing to compromise and work with Republicans had he been fit enough to participate. This has been something the Obama Administration has been unwilling to do.

As Rush Limbaugh noted today, Kennedy now just becomes "a pawn" in the jockeying over health care reform. Not much of a tribute to the man called "The Lion of the Senate."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jackson Death Ruled "Homicide"

Above, the Los Angeles County Coroner's facilities on North Mission Road.

An official with the Los Angeles County Coroner's office told the Associated Press that the coroner's finding of the cause of Michael Jackson's death is homicide.

Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic propofol acted together with at least two sedatives to cause Jackson's death, the official said.

Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist from Las Vegas, who became Jackson's person physician only weeks before his death, may be charged with manslaughter.

I knew something was up today, as I was driving to one of my company's accounts, when I saw many television trucks parked outside of the Los Angeles County Coroner's facilities on North Mission Road in Los Angeles. Some were still there an hour ago when I passed by it again (below).

It appears that LaToya Jackson was right!

Dollar Stuck In A Rut Against Yen

A few months ago, the U.S. dollar started getting some traction in the exchange rate with the Japanese yen. But since then, the dollar seems to be stuck in a rut.

For the past several months, the dollar has been mired in the 90s range against the yen.

This is today's exchange rate between the dollar and yen:

1.00 USD = 94.5261 JPY
1 USD = 94.5261 JPY 1 JPY = 0.0105791 USD

Keep in mind that I got an exchange rate of 116 yen for every dollar back in April 2007.

The world's money people have lost a lot of faith in the U.S. dollar during the past few months. Some have even gone as far as to suggest replacing the dollar as the base currency.

Obama's $9 trillion 10-year deficits is not helping matters any and we can expect to see inflation come roaring back.

With the dollar/yen exchange rate so bad, would I go to Japan now? No, only if I had do. I'd be losing money if I were to go now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty

Right, Don Glut and Armand at G-FEST.

Monster Island News has posted a review of Don Glut's The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty, which stars Christine Nguyen:

The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty

I've already ordered a copy through Amazon.com. It should be arriving in a day or so (they originally told me it would be arriving around September 4).

Right, Christine Nguyen in "Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty." Definitely a Nguyen-Nguyen situation.

UPDATE (8/28/09): I received my copy and watched the movie through last night. Very entertaining. I noted that the E. Clem Wilson Building (on the northeast corner of Wilshire and LaBrea) was used as the office building where Christine Nguyen (as Elyse Lam) worked as a tabloid magazine reporter. Regular readers here will note that the Wilson Building was used as the "Daily Planet Building" on the Adventures of Superman during its first season (1951). The movie itself was fun (there's a reference to the old Universal Mummy movies of the 1940s) and Christine Nguyen shined. Don Glut did a good job in writing and directing. He's no Ed Wood! One word of warning: there's some frontal nudity (or, as Archie Bunker used to say, "nudal frontity").

UPDATE (10/2/09): It didn't dawn on me that the museum's lady director, Dr. Zita Furneaux (who wanted to get back her youth) was Belinda Gavin, a MySpace friend of mine. I thought she looked familiar but just couldn't place her. She was billed as Kylie Wyote. Then I read some reviews of the movie on-line and found that Kylie Wyote was actually Belinda. She was a contestant on American Gladiator last year (she put in a great effort). She played an evil, yet sympathetic, villain. Nice job, Belinda!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection

I perused through Sony's Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection which includes Mothra, The H-Man and Battle In Outer Space and came away greatly impressed with the picture quality on all three movies.

Keeping in mind that the three are in the 50-year-old range, the producers of these discs did a bang-up job in restoring/correcting/cleaning the images. The vibrant colors of Mothra was very impressive in particular. Just gorgeous!

I've a copy of Battle In Outer Space already and this edition surpasses that by a good mile. With one exception...

The only drawback to the discs is that dub-titles were used (Sony should have learned their lesson from the experience of GMK of a few years ago) on Battle In Outer Space. Battle is clearly the weakest movie of the collection with basically uninteresting characters, except for Yoshio Tsuchiya's.

The packaging of the set leaves a whole lot to be desired. Stacking all three discs on one post is asking for scratches. What was Sony thinking? Talk about going the cheap route! Also, the cover art was horrible enough and it wasn't helped any by the way it was printed. It looks like someone just printed it on a poor inkjet printer in someone's basement.

There are no "extras" to the discs except for the commentaries (we're not going to go there) and there's no insert booklet with liner notes (August Ragone would have done some excellent liner notes for free, but we won't go there either). It would have been nice if trailers or some tidbits of historical interest were included (such as posters, lobby cards, production photos, etc.).

Still, the most important thing is (or is it 'are'?) the movies, and here Sony did a great job on two of three, with the one marred by the dub-titles.

My grade A-.

Friday, August 21, 2009

1959: Death of Lou Costello

Above, Lou Costello with Elvis Presley and Jane Russell.

1959: Death of Lou Costello

Along with George Reeves, 1959 also saw the passing of comedian Lou Costello on March 3. He died at Doctor's Hospital of a heart attack. He had suffered a prior heart attack the week before and seemed to be getting better.

He was watching television at home when he was hit by the first heart attack. He had a good day on the day of his death. He was in a jovial mood and requested and enjoyed a strawberry ice cream soda that morning.

At around 3:55 PM, he asked one of his nurses to turn him on his side, saying that he'd feel more comfortable. Before she could reach him, Costello slumped back and died. He died three days short of his 53rd birthday.

Here are some of the newspaper articles of Costello's death and funeral rites from the two of the Los Angeles newspapers:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rare Disneyland Photos

The Adventures Continue website pointed to a blog devoted to Disneyland, from opening day to the years thereafter. It is called Stuff From The Park.

One interesting photo is one of Adventures of Superman star George Reeves from the 1955 Opening Day (at top). I've seen one other photo of George at Disneyland, but this is a new one to me.

To see all of the photos, go to http://matterhorn1959.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html

Great stuff!

Has Mike Antonovich Turned Squishy Liberal?

Last night, while checking on our weapons screeners posted at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall, I bought myself a Snickers candy bar from the vending machine in the screening room. It looks like those days of being able to buy a Coke or a Snickers bar there (and other County facilities) are numbered.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting

L.A. County puts vending machines on a diet

Supervisors approve bill requiring that food and drinks sold in most L.A. County facilities match the stricter nutritional standards imposed on California schools.

By Mary MacVean
August 19, 2009

If it's a soda you crave after a sweaty basketball game on an L.A. County court, or a candy bar you hunger for while waiting at a county office, you're money's going to be no good in the vending machines.

Taking a cue from standards adopted for California schools, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to require that all food and drinks in the vending machines in most L.A. County facilities -- including offices, parks and recreation centers, and medical facilities -- meet state nutrition guidelines.

People can expect to see the changes in 400 to 500 machines over the next six months or so, said Yolanda Vera, health deputy for Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who introduced the policy along with Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

"It is essentially eliminating bad choices and causing people to take advantage of good choices," Ridley-Thomas said after the vote.

Most people who frequent County facilities are adults and are mature enough to decide for themselves whether a food product is good for them or not. They don't need a "nanny government" to tell them. That's the difference between allowing such at County facilities and California schools.

Has my old friend Mike Antonovich turned into a squishy liberal member of the "food police?"

UPDATE: A couple of hours ago, I received a call from Tony Bell, who is Supervisor Antonovich's press aide. He said that he (or they) were Googling and spotted the headline of this blog post (I did send a link to the blog post to their office). So he decided to call me and read me the riot act!

Not really.

Actually, it was a nice conversation with a lot of laughs. It seems that Supervisor Antonovich is a real "health food nut" and not some "squishy liberal." That was the motivating factor for his support for this new county action, and not from a "we know better than you" attitude. It was Tony's view that maybe they ought to do away with all vending machines altogether and just let people use the drinking fountains.

Tell Waxman and Stupak To "Go to Hell!"

Above, Rep. Henry Waxman.

The overreaching Democrats are overreaching again. This time Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich), (Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations sent out letters (go here to see one of them) to the nation's health insurers demanding information on executive compensation, premium rates and a whole mountain of data by September 4.

This is nothing less than an Alinskyite tactic of intimidation and, as some has described, "a fishing expedition that smacks of McCarthyism."

Talk show host Hugh Hewitt (who is also an attorney) described it best:

This letter is a straightforward bit of bullying --an attempt by Waxman and Stupak to silence any segment of the private sector that might be inclined to fight back against the takeover of American medicine by the federal government. It is intended to make the health insurance industry fear opposing any part of the Obama-Pelosi scheme to remake American health care.

The Washington Post described the letters as follows:

They requested detailed information on the compensation packages of the companies' highest-paid employees, as well as information on the companies' boards, conferences and events they sponsored, the profitability of the individual health-care products they sell and revenues earned through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Most of the data is already available in public filings by these insurers.

The CEOs of each insurer should write back to Waxman and Stupak with one sentence, "Go to hell!"

These Democrats works for us, not the other way around. Each week since the election, the Democrats are acting more and more like dictators. Waxman and Stupak should pound sand.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jackson Doctor To Be Charged With Manslaughter, Fox News Says

FoxNews.com is reporting that Michael Jackson's personal physician is to be charged with manslaughter, according to sources.

FoxNews.com reports:

Michael Jackson’s personal physician will be charged with manslaughter within the next two weeks, a law enforcement source told FOXNews.com.

The source initially said Dr. Conrad Murray could be arrested as soon as next Wednesday — but investigators have decided to execute one more search warrant, likely at a Los Angeles pharmacy, next week in an attempt to gather more evidence against him. The arrest is now expected the following week.

To read the full article, go here.

Don Hewitt, Creator of 60 Minutes, Dies

Above, Don Hewitt (center) with Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Don Hewitt, who created 60 Minutes for CBS and produced the first Nixon-Kennedy Debate in 1960, has died of cancer at age 86.

USA Today.com reports:

60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt has died, CBS says. Network spokesman Kevin Tedesco confirmed the death of Hewitt, 86, who this year had been diagnosed with a small, contained tumor.

Hewitt created 60 Minutes in 1968, pioneering the TV newsmagazine format. He served as executive producer of the program until his retirement in 2004.

Hewitt has been honored with the second annual Lifetime Achievement Emmy presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1995, he was awarded the Founders Emmy by the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Florida Teen Faces Felony Charges Over Joker Posters

A Florida teenager could be facing felony vandalism charges over his posting of Obama "Joker" posters on public property.

FoxNews.com reports:

A Florida teenager could face felony vandalism charges for allegedly gluing posters depicting President Obama as the Joker onto public property, FOXNews.com has learned.

Clermont, Fla., Police Capt. Eric Jensen said the state attorney will review evidence to determine whether to charge the unidentified teenager with gluing "dozens" of the posters last week to the city's light poles, public and private buildings, bridge overpasses, road signs and a mailbox.

Jensen said damage to city property exceeded $800, and it cost roughly $200 to remove the adhesive that was used to affix the poster to the mailbox.

"If he hadn't glued them, we wouldn't be having this discussion," Jensen told FOXNews.com. "[The adhesive] didn't come off the road signs."

If convicted of felony vandalism, the teenager could face a maximum of five years in jail. No arrests have been made yet in the case.

Obviously, posting the posters on public property wasn't too brilliant and could land him some jail time. The glue used must've been a pretty strong concoction. In the old days, we used to post political posters (known as snipe sheets) with wheatpaste, and although wheatpaste can be strong, it can be removed with a lot of elbow grease.

To read the full article, go here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Putting A Mustache To Good Use

When the exclusive photos from Bikini Frankenstein arrived, I had to use editorial judgement to decide which photos to use (while also bearing in mind what is permitted by Blogspot) and not to use.

One photo in particular was deemed unusable as actress Jayden Cole's (as "Eve") private area was peeking below the cloth she was wearing. Another photo submitted had actor Ron Ford with a thick handlebar mustache.

Over at the Classic Horror Film Board forum (which has a thread on the movie with a link to the original article), I mentioned that I was very tempted to use the "unusable" photo with Ford's mustache cut and pasted in strategically. One member suggested that I do so anyway saying, "It's not too late."

So, just for fun, here's the photo of Jayden Cole with the strategic mustache:

Surprise! Mystery "Joker" Artist Outed!

The Los Angeles Times has found who is behind the famous (or infamous, if one is a liberal with no sense of humor) Barack Obama "Joker" poster art.

The Times reports:

When cryptic posters portraying President Obama as the Joker from "Batman" began popping up around Los Angeles and other cities, the question many asked was, Who is behind the image?

Was it an ultra-conservative grassroots group or a disgruntled street artist going against the grain?

Nope, it turns out, just a 20-year-old college student from Chicago.

Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software.

Alkhateeb had been tinkering with the program to improve the looks of photos he had taken on his clunky Kodak camera. The Joker project was his grandest undertaking yet. Using a tutorial he'd found online about how to "Jokerize" portraits, he downloaded the October 23 Time Magazine cover of Obama and began digitally painting over it.

"After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," Alkhateeb said. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him."

"I abstained from voting in November," he wrote in an e-mail. "Living in Illinois, my vote means close to nothing as there was no chance Obama would not win the state." If he had to choose a politician to support, Alkhateeb said, it would be Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Concerned about a lawsuit, Alkhateeb, an unnamed superstar whose nationally recognized artwork had stunned friends and family, was relieved that the situation had floated for months without any major news organizations discovering that he was the man behind the paint.

After we contacted him, he hesitantly agreed to an interview.

If it's any consolation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends digital rights, says Alkhateeb has a strong fair-use defense if Time or DC Comics decides to take him to court -- that is if one even does file a lawsuit.

"You really want to think twice about going after a political commenter," said Corynne McSherry, a senior staff attorney at the EFF. In Time's case, "a news organization probably doesn't want to be in the situation of pursuing political criticism."

To read the full article, go here.

I have yet to actually see one of Aklhateeb's Joker posters in Los Angeles. Maybe they've been already taken down by irate liberals or souvenir hunters.

Robert Novak Dies At 78

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that longtime conservative columnist Robert Novak died early today:

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, one of the nation's most influential journalists, who relished his "Prince of Darkness" public persona, died at home here early Tuesday morning after a battle with brain cancer.

"He was someone who loved being a journalist, love journalism and loved his country and loved his family, Novak's wife, Geraldine, told the Sun-Times on Tuesday.

On May 15, 1963, Novak teamed up with the late Rowland Evans Jr. to create the "Inside Report" political column, which became the must-read syndicated column. Evans tapped Novak, then a 31-year old correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, to help with the workload of a six-day-a-week column.

Evans and Novak were the odd couple: Evans a Philadelphia blue blood and Yale graduate; Novak from Joliet, Ill. who attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus.

Novak handled the column solo after Evans retired in 1993. The Chicago Sun-Times has been Novak's home paper since 1966.

Novak was 78.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2010 Monsterpalooza Announced!

Above, the Alien from the 2009 Monsterpalooza.

Last May, the first Monsterpalooza convention was held at the Burbank Marriot and Convention Center. It was a fun show and well worth your time to see.

Above, Julie Adams and Armand pose with a life-size Creature figure at the 2009 Monsterpalooza.

The organizers have announced the dates for the 2010 Monsterpalooza (click to view larger):

Mark your calendars now (provided you already have a 2010 calendar)!

Larry Storch Cancels NY Convention Appearance

Former F Troop actor Larry Storch announced on the Official Website of Larry Storch (MySpace) page that he has cancelled his appearance at the TV and Movie World Convention in New York.

The announcement (dated April 22) reads as follows:

It should be noted that Larry is currently listed to appear at TV and Movie world convention in Sept of 09'. We want everyone to know that this appearance has been cancelled, due to Mr. Soto's unprofessionalism. Please make note that Larry will not be at the show. We have since learned many concerning things about this show and its staff; therefore we have cancelled Larry's appearance. For some reason Mr. Soto refuses to accept the fact that Larry will not be there, and will not remove his photograph and listed name. But believe us Larry will NOT be there.

Sammy Petrillo Dies Of Cancer

Above, movie poster for "Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla."

Sammy Petrillo, a comedian who looked and acted like Jerry Lewis in the 1950s, died August 15 of cancer in a New York hospital.

Petrillo was teamed up with Duke Mitchell for a successful nightclub comedy act.

In a press statement, Petrillo's agent Rick Saphire wrote:
"Sammy was a clone of entertainer Jerry Lewis. Sammy didn't have to try to imitate Jerry Lewis. The resemblance was remarkable. They could have been twins.

Jerry Lewis was never kind to Sammy Petrillo. Although Lewis did book Petrillo for a comedy spot on the Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour, Jerry Lewis also used his influence to bar Sammy from appearing on other NBC comedy shows. Lou Costello had to inform Sammy that his appearance on the Abbott and Costello Colgate Comedy Hour was canceled, because Jerry Lewis complained to NBC that he didn't want Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo to appear on any subsequent NBC shows."

According to Wikipedia:

In 1952 Mitchell and Petrillo were hired by movie producer Jack Broder to star opposite screen legends Bela Lugosi and Cheeta in a low-budget, jungle-themed comedy. Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (also known as The Boys From Brooklyn) presents Mitchell and Petrillo in their prime, and Petrillo's mimicry of Jerry Lewis is often uncanny.

Above, from left, Bela Lugosi, Charlita, Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo in "Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bruce Dettman Suffers Stroke

Above, Bruce Dettman, second from left, at Noel Neill's 85th birthday party in Studio City, November 2005 with Gary Grossman, Jim Nolt and Armand.

One of the "big names" in the Adventures of Superman fandom circles, Bruce Dettman, reportedly suffered a stroke according to his wife Kay that was relayed through Carl Glass.

Thankfully, the stroke was a minor one and Bruce is in good and positive spirits. He'll be in the hospital for a few days.

Best wishes to Bruce for a speedy recovery!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ronald Reagan and Robert Kennedy Debate Viet Nam

Here's an interesting tidbit of history: Gov. Ronald Reagan and Sen. Robert Kennedy debate on Viet Nam in 1967:

Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine

Ronald Reagan speaks out against socialized medicine in 1961:

He's been dead for five years, but Reagan's words are just as relevant today as they were in 1961. Maybe even more so now. This was recorded while Reagan was still a Democrat.

Provisions of Obamacare are items that Reagan warned against. Eerie!

New Hollywood Godzilla? Wait And See

Predictably, when Bloody Disgusting.com posted that Legendary Pictures is in the planning stages of producing a new American Godzilla movie, all G-fandom became ecstatic. This is understandable.

The last movie was Godzilla Final Wars of five years ago. This movie left fans split on whether they like it or not. Some do, some don't. I find it entertaining. It was a fun flick.

At the time of Final Wars production, Toho Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama announced that Godzilla will be on a (at least) ten-year hiatus due to slumping box office returns.

The Sony/TriStar Godzilla in 1998 was a major disappointment. It didn't look like Godzilla and it didn't act like Godzilla. G-fan Richard Pusateri coined the term GINO for the critter (GINO = Godzilla In Name Only). Each time word leaks that there may be another Godzilla from Hollywood, fans harken back to the Sony/TriStar debacle.

Wheeling and dealing in Hollywood backrooms is a constant exercise. No doubt there have been many proposals for another American Godzilla movie. The Yoshimitsu Banno Godzilla In 3D To The Max has been languishing for years. Because of this, fans have (rightly so) become jaded.

To confirm whether or not the report over Legendary's Godzilla is true, I contacted Toho Co., Ltd., Godzilla's parent company and trademark owners. I asked if the reports circulating over the Internet are true and their comment was..."No comment!" They said they are "exploring several possibilities" and are "unable to comment at this time." The funny thing is, the "no comment" comment was given with a chuckle. They did not outright say "no," "maybe," "could be," or the like. They did not say "yes" either.

Do I think there will be a Legendary Pictures Godzilla movie? While the safe answer would be, "I don't know," my impressions and/or gut feeling is leaning to "yes." I have no proof. One thing I am sure of, something is up.

If a deal is reached/has been reached between Toho and Legendary, we realistically wouldn't expect see a completed film for at least a year or two.

In the meantime, until something is announced, all we (as fans) can do is to speculate. While it is okay to become excited over this, don't become so excited that if nothing comes of this that you become deeply disappointed. Wait and see.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

George Reeves, Noel Neill and I Hanging Around

Arriving at work today, a co-worker told me that he was down in the press room at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration and he saw a newspaper hanging there with yours truly on the front page.

He was there checking the room out (the security company I work for handles L.A. County facilities, including the Hall of Administration) when he saw the front page.

I went over there this evening to see what he was talking about and this is what I found in the press room (cell phone photo):

The page, amongst others, was taped to the windows of the office space occupied by the Los Angeles Daily News. This particular paper edition was published the day of the "Superman Week" ceremony that was held at the Hall of Administration in July 2001. The front page contains a large picture of me with a photo of Noel Neill and George Reeves.

Legendary Pictures To Produce Godzilla Flick?

Above, the original 1954 Godzilla.

Legendary Pictures To Produce Godzilla Flick?

Monster Island News* is reporting that Legendary Pictures announced that they are planning to produce a Godzilla movie.

The article states that it is unclear whether the producers are going with the Sony/TriStar version (also known as GINO) or the iconic Japanese version (or come up with something completely new). The original source for this news was from Bloody Disgusting.com.

To read the full article, go here.

This would be good news for G-fans if this is true, but we've heard similar reports before and so fans are, understandably, skeptical.

*I am a contributor to Monster Island News blog, but had no role in the article.

UPDATE: I spoke with Toho and their comment was, "No comment!" They are exploring a number of possibilities and cannot comment at this time. You can read into that what you will.

This I can tell you, I made the comment that "someone let the cat out of the bag" at Legendary Pictures and this was met with good laughter on the other end of the phone line with Toho. I also got a good chuckle out of it.

Something is definitely up.

John Quade, R.I.P.

A sad passing to report:

John Quade, a veteran character actor who specialized in playing heavies and appeared in several Clint Eastwood movies, including "Every Which Way But Loose" and its sequel "Any Which Way You Can," has died. He was 71.

Quade died in his sleep of natural causes Sunday at his home in Rosamond, near Lancaster, said his wife, Gwen Saunders. In a more than two-decade career in films and television that began in the late 1960s, Quade played character roles in numerous TV series and in films such as "Papillon," "The Sting" and Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales." He also played Sheriff Biggs in the 1977 TV miniseries "Roots."

"Everybody remembers him for 'Every Which Way But Loose' and 'Any Which Way You Can,' " Quade's wife said Wednesday. "He played Chola, the leader of the motorcycle gang. It was more of a comic relief of the movie; they were a bumbling motorcycle gang."

One of my favorite lines of Quade's was in one of the Eastwood "Clyde" movies in which he lamented in frustration over his bumbling motorcycle gang: "Lord, you made other men out of clay. You made mine out of shit!"

Quade, as John Saunders (his real name), was born on April 1, 1938 and ran for office several years ago.

Downtown L.A. At Night

It was an unusually clear and cool night tonight in downtown Los Angeles.

I had some insurance claim photo work to do earlier in the day and I had my camera with me.

Here are a couple of nighttime photos of Los Angeles City Hall, a.k.a. The Daily Planet Building in the Adventures of Superman (1953-1957 seasons):

Above, L.A. City Hall at night.

Above, City Hall zoomed in a little.

Above, one of my officers at her post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The U.S. Postal Service Blew It With Stamp Set

The U.S. Postal Service Blew It With Stamp Set

USPS photo.

by Armand Vaquer

The United States Postal Service blew it in their choices for the new commemorative postal stamp set, Early TV Memories, that were issued yesterday in a ceremony in Los Angeles.

“All of the classic television shows represented on these stamps represents the collective memory of a generation well deserving of entertainment,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor member James C. Miller III in dedicating the stamps. “It was a generation that survived the Great Depression and fought World War II. They were pioneers — creative geniuses — who brought television shows of the 1950’s into our homes, breaking new ground to provide entertainment for everyone.”

The choices include: Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; The Dinah Shore Show; Dragnet; The Ed Sullivan Show; The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show; Hopalong Cassidy; The Honeymooners; Howdy Doody; I Love Lucy; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Lassie; The Lone Ranger; Perry Mason; The Phil Silvers Show; The Red Skelton Show; Texaco Star Theater; The Tonight Show; The Twilight Zone; and, You Bet Your Life.

While most of these were good choices, some I have to disagree on. Hopalong Cassidy, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Dragnet and The Dinah Shore Show did not have much of a cultural impact or longevity. They really couldn't be even considered "hits."

There is one show that was a big hit, had the longest longevity (second only to I Love Lucy) and had a cultural impact (at least on the kids). That show was the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves. If there is any show from the Golden Age of Television that deserves to be included in the stamp set, it is this one.

Above, the one Golden Age of Television show that deserves to be included in a stamp set.

Kukla, Fran and Ollie?! Give me a break!

Camille Paglia: Obama's Healthcare Horror

Columnist Camille Paglia (no right-winger by any stretch of the imagination) wrote a piece skewering Nancy Pelosi and the Obama Administration over heath care:

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

This is one time a liberal columnist hit the nail on the head. Pelosi should step down and the Obamacare plan would be a catastrophe if enacted into law.

To see the full article, go here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

CHP Personal Safety Brochure

While conducting insurance claim business this morning at the local California Highway Patrol, I found a brochure on personal safety.

I scanned the brochure's inside pages and they are posted for your information. I also sent it to Missey Smith, Kelsey Smith's mom and who is educating people on personal safety through Kelsey's Army.

These are great safety tips for everyone:

Click on image to view larger.

The End of G-TOUR

Above, Kiyomizu Shrine in Kyoto.

G-TOUR had an early morning wake-up as we had to check out of the Gimmond Hotel and head to the airport to catch an All Nippon Airways 747 to Narita International Airport.

It was a hot, humid morning. The hotel lobby, where we had to drop off our luggage, was hotter than outside.

Above, the last room at the Hotel Gimmond in Kyoto.

We headed over to the airport for the flight to Narita. I got particularly annoyed at the check-in people as they almost damaged my new suitcase. Grrr!

We boarded an All Nippon Airways 747 for the short (about one hour) flight to Narita. I thought it odd to use a 747 for such a short flight, but the plane was full.

We got to Narita International Airport at about nine and had all day to do as we pleased as our plane to Los Angeles (LAX) departs that evening.

A group of us went into Tokyo by train and wandered about the city. We had lunch in the bar at T.G.I. Friday's in Roppongi (where we held the dinner earlier in the trip).

After more wandering around, we headed back to Narita Airport so we could go through customs and currency exchange before catching our flight home.

We made good use of the duty-free stores at the airport. Our plane left Narita at around 7 PM. Following dinner on the plane, I decided to take a nap. This lasted until just before breakfast was served, about six hours later. What a nap! I still had some jet lag the next day. (Funny thing about jet lag. I never get it going to Japan, but I do when I get home.)

We arrived at LAX and we said our goodbyes and members headed to other flights for the return trip to their various hometowns. All I needed to do was to catch the Flyaway bus to the San Fernando Valley to pick up my car there and drive home. I got home at about 3 PM, four hours before we departed Japan (we gained back a day when we crossed the International Dateline in the mid-Pacific).

It was a memorable trip for all and it went flawlessly. We can thank Sita Travel and Pete Sohi for that.

Since then, we lost two members of the tour, an elderly couple who were not even Godzilla fans. They passed away a few years after the tour. They kept in touch with some tour members before their passings.

One tour member met his wife there and he is now a dad.

Will there be another G-TOUR? J. D. says his kids are nagging him to organize another one. It is a serious undertaking to organize a tour, but since we now have experience from doing the first one, the second should be easier. Should we go to the same places? Should we do something different? (J. D. liked my "Rodan" tour of Kyushu of 2007 and mused that would be an interesting tour to undertake.) We'll see.

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