Thursday, January 23, 2020

Remembering Wiener King

In 1977, a guy named Don Schooler opened a franchise of the fast-food Wiener King, in Bartlesville.  I was one of the first crewmembers.  I found out about the job because Don's parents shared a back fence with us.
Their tagline was "King of Hot dogs, USA."

They had paper crowns for the kids, just like the crowns at Burger King.  Here, print your own!
My work name tag.
The building is still there, now being used as Jaron Leach's Shelter Insurance office.
I found this photo of a Wiener King in Mansfield, OH, which is a good match to what the place looked like when it opened.

For me, the most disgusting thing on the menu was a dog with cole slaw, onions, pickle relish, and CHILI also!  Yuck!  But I remember seeing Mr Schooler eat one.

And that's the summer job I had the year before we got married.

See you on Monday!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Kaleidocope Video in OKC

I'm not the only one who fondly remembers Kaleidoscope Video Stores.

The Lost Ogle from 2019.

A 2001 newspaper mention.

Don Pierce, who founded the OKC chain, only died a month or so ago.  I wish I had known, I would have gone to the funeral.

The Kaleidoscope in south OKC was originally at SW 44th and Penn, and then moved to SW 59th & Agnew.  It had two locations in the strip mall before succumbing to the internet era.  If I recall correctly, the south store's manager was Mike Reed.

One of the things I loved about the south store was its selection of offerings from Something Weird Video.
And here's my own customer card (with personal info whited out, of course!).

Ah, what sunny memories!

See you back on Thursday for who-knows-what?!? 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

What a Clever Pun, Saturday Evening Post!

Here's one reaction to the "underground cult" status of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings book.

This survey appeared in the Saturday Evening Post for July 2, 1966.

See you on Monday!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Superboy TV, Part 1

Thanks to the wonderful friend Mark Barragar, I've got the promo packet for Season Two (1989-1990) of Viacom's syndicated TV series Superboy.  In time to come I'll share its contents.

This big folder is like 12x20 inches, and contains several discrete folders.

Folder 1 ensueth:

And that's just a taste.  Now that you're hooked, you'll keep comin' back for more!  But who knows when more of this little trove will appear?  Don't miss a single installment of the Super Blog!

See you Thursday …

Thursday, January 09, 2020

1968 Reviews of the White Album

 Time mag had the above to say about The Beatles, aka "the White Album," on December 6, 1968.  It's "a sprawling, motley assemblage," among other things.
"Caveat emptor," Newsweek said on December 9, 1968.  Shouldn't they have said, "caveat lector" -- "let the listener beware"?  It's all a blank … or is it bubblegum?

Time has proven both of the reviews a little petulant.  yes, the White Album is overblown.  It's underproduced and overproduced, by turn.  But it's still a wonderful capture of not only the fractured times of 1968, but the fractured creative and personal lives of the Beatles, who belonged to themselves and not to our expectations.

Goodnight, everybody, everywhere.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Foreman Scotty Gets Scratchy

           Steve Powell created the character of Foreman Scotty for Channel 4, then WKY-TV, 1957-1971.  His show was called The Circle 4 Ranch.
            Here he is with similar OKC legends Ho-Ho the Clown and Miss Fran.

Official Foreman Scotty Facebook page:

            Though all of this was before my time in OKC—that commenced in Fall of 1974—I still somehow absorbed the name osmotically.  So in later years when I came across a teeny little scratch pad, I nabbed it.
            The real thing is about three inches square.

            See you on Thursday!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Watchpanels, Part the Sixth

One compulsive reader’s observations ...
after gazing into Watchmen for the umpteenth time


All right, I’ve got photons in my teeth and my wrist brace on ...

      6:2 – The chapter title is in quotation marks in the comic, and extends just a smidgen pas the panel borders . . .

      . . . while in the reprints the chapter title is just as wide, without quotation marks.

      At least in 1951, JDs were smoking regular cigarettes, not ball-pipes.  Probably because regular cigs were simpler and cheaper.

      What the heck is that hanging-balls mobile dangling at top of the panels?  It’s also seen in 13:6.

      It doesn’t make sense that Kitty Genovese, a bar manager with some clerical skills, had the money for a special-order dress.

From the chalk outline and the images of neighbors and balconies, it looks like this world’s Kitty Genovese died outside – Kovacs says, “outside her own apartment building.”  On our Earth, the attack commenced outside, but the actual rape-murder took place inside her building, in the rear hallway.

      It’s a necessary story point, but to me it has always seemed unbelievable that, in Sing-Sing prison, home to murderers and all types of lowlife, prisoners are within reach of “hot cooking fat.”

      In the comic, the epigraph bar has quotation marks around Nietzsche’s words – the quotation marks don’t appear in bound editions.

      In Kovacs’s “My Parents” story, he applauds the A-bomb’s use using the same rationale that Ozzy uses: “saved millions of lives” and “more people would of been killed.”  Perhaps the difference to Rorschach, morally, is that Truman’s use of the A-bomb was part of a long, declared conflict, with strongly defined sides.  On the other hand (or tentacle), the Space Squid was deployed at the whim of one man, unelected, who used it as part of a maniacal scheme to make money and secure his own power.

      I noticed that “My Dream” is dated 5/27/63, but it must be a typo – Kovacs was in the Charlton Home in 1953 – in 1963 he was 23 years old.  The drawing is labeled “13 years old.”  Since this has never been changed in bound editions, I suppose that either I’m the first person to notice (ha!) or this was an intentional “typo” intended by the writer.

      Thanks for obsessing with me.  Six chapters remain.


Monday, December 23, 2019

Walter's Book Is Coming!

Beaming Up and Getting Off:
Life Before and Beyond Star Trek
It's coming!  We're looking for a May release date for the expanded memoirs of Walter Koenig, star of stage and screenplay, director and producer … and famous as the mean ol' Bester on Babylon 5 and the valiant semi-young Chekov in Star Trek.

Here are a couple of screengrabs from the book.
Walter's book Warped Factors came out in 1997.  Here is the entire text of that book, updated and revised, along with ninety-some new pages from Walter's (by turns wry and heartfelt) pen.  He discusses cons, stage work with Mark Lenard, many short films or episodes he's written, produced, or appeared in, and all with a most wonderful point of view.
I sure would like to see The Actor!

Walter writes with a super-engaging voice.  He's seen so much wacky behavior, and produced some himself, mixed with things that cause disappointment, anger, or simply jaw-dropping incomprehension.  The great news is that his adventures have driven him to compassion for us nudnicks -- not despair over the human race (like Ambrose Bierce for example).

Yes, mixed in with Walter's Hollywood adventures are oh-so-human frights and heart-stopping achievements.  And it's so fun to read about them because Walter's style is so compassionate yet sarcastic.

Yes, you'll also read about his comic-book work, and the fan films, and … buy the book and find out!
The book goes to press after the turning of the New Year.  If you like insider showbiz memories, or pop culture, or just plain human beings, you will love reading this book.  Judging only by my five minutes or so of phone chats with him, this is a guy whose time on the Earth has molded a fun person.

BTW, I was thrilled to both edit and design this book.

The Jacobs/Brown webpage for the book is here ...

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Shoppin' Silly, the Amazon Way! #3

We all know that websites, especially sellers, use algorithms to analyze our transactions.  They then tailor “suggestions” targeted to our presumed buying practices.

But sometimes those algorithms produce silly results!
A fine item, this universal remote.  What has it to do with vacuum-cleaner bags?  Why, to turn up the volume because the vacuum cleaner is on!
 I suppose having bought a carpet cleaner, I might wish something to dirty the carpet with?
Similarly, the relation between Keurig-style single-serve coffee pods and carpet deodorizer might be conjectured as reverse cause and effect?  You tell me, effendi!

Anyway, see you on Monday for something perhaps more substantial.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Tomorrow’s Tech … Today!

Tomorrow’s Tech … Today!

Many futuristic inventions have come to pass, while some may never be realized.
            In Star Trek’s “The Devil in the Dark,” Dr McCoy jokes that he’s beginning to think he can cure a rainy day. Weather control is often a feature of pie-in-the-sky techno-futures.  Superman’s Silver Age bottle city, Kandor, even had a mini-sun on a sort of roller-coaster track. 

Of course, some may call it cheating if you’ve got a closed environment, such as Ray Bradbury’s domed cities on Venus, or those featured in Logan’s Run.

            You could call terraforming a type of large-scale Weather Control, as discussed in Dune or as delivered with a bang by Star Trek’s Genesis Project.

            In the 1900s, a German chocolatier, Theodor Hildebrand & Son, produced a series of views of the Year 2000, including a Weather Control Machine:

The classic low-tech example is cloud seeding, originating in the 1940s.  Besides instigating rainfall in dry areas, it’s also been used preemptively, for hail and fog suppression near airports.  Did you know that rockets were used for Cloud Seeding before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in an attempt to prevent rain over the Opening Ceremonies?

            Many conspiratorial types see attempts at Weather Control around us today.  Some warned that the HAARP project in Alaska was also a secret government program to zap the US’s enemies with bad weather vibes.  Similarly, the contrails of high-flying jets are sometimes seen as weather or other climate-control attempts.

            Here’s hoping that in real life, a little humility and awareness of the doctrine of unforeseen consequences will prevent an artificially generated weather apocalypse.  We’re still a long way from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ “Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator.”  Anyway, what if a colony of vegetarians lives downstream?


            Becoming see-through on demand was a property of the Cap of Invisibility, used in various Greek tales of Hermes, Athena, and Perseus.  The concept is also featured in the Dragon Quest RPG and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, after being earlier popularized as the Tarnhelm, in Wagner’s nineteenth-century operas about the morals of power, Der Ring des Nibelungen.

          Other invisi-gadgets abound.  Harry Potter’s got a cloak that blots you out completely, while Elven-cloaks in LOTR are great camouflage if you hide under one.  As of 2012, the technology was under construction.

          And while the One Ring may hide you from mortals, it unveils you to supernatural nasties that are far worse.  Tolkien probably drew this aspect of Sauron’s Ring from such artifacts of myth as Plato’s Ring of Gyges, which was used as the basis for an argument over how an otherwise  moral person might act if they knew nobody could catch them being naughty.

          In HG Wells’s 1897 The Invisible Man, and the TV or movies based on it, the usual emphasis is likewise on the concept of this secretive power leading to moral corruption. 

          However, there are plenty of other invisible folks who get along just fine being able to sneak into locker rooms — such as Sue (Storm) Richards, Violet Parr of The Incredibles, or Danny Phantom.

           The “cloaking devices” of Star Trek and other fiction usually mean non-detectability to sensors and the like, not outright vanishing.  Modern-day research into the idea has resulted in various assemblies of lenses to bend vision around a stationary object.  We are probably far from the day when you can spill “invisible ink” over something and make it fade away! 

See you on Thursday with some more silly Amazon suggestions!

All original content
© by Mark Alfred