Friday, November 10, 2006

A Silly Earth Shoe Story

You know, it's amazing how easily some people, sometimes, will take something as believable, when it's really not. I'm not talking politics or religion, just a silly statement that -- with a little consideration -- would be laughed out of the ball park.

Example in point: About twenty years ago I had a pair of Earth Shoes (see yesterday's entry) that I wore when working the overnight shift at Coastal Mart (gas/convenience store). Once in a while, if I were in transit from stocking or sweeping to the cash register, a customer might notice my shoes and comment on them.

I'd always stop and turn my shoes sideways so that the customer could see that they were in fact, "genuine" Earth Shoes, and that the heel part really rode lower than the front of the foot.

"Y'see how the front of my foot is higher than my heel when I have these on?" I'd ask. Yup yup, the customer would reply.

"Well, you see, when I wear these Earth Shoes, if you measured my height, I'm actually shorter with them on than when I'm barefoot," I'd say. Hmmm, the customer would reply.

"See?" I'd say, turning the shoe again so they could see that the heel was (again) lower than the front. "You see how the heel is lower? That's why! The heel is lower than the front of my foot, so when I have these on I'm actually shorter than when I'm barefoot."

At this point, most customers would nod their heads and say, "Huh. Cool!"

And then I would try to keep a straight face until they left.

See you Monday, Super-Friends!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

More Paper Ephemera

As you may deduce, this is a flyer handed out to announce to the world the arrival of Earth Shoes in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I'd bet the date is around 1975.

Earth Shoe ads were also plastered all over the back pages of Rolling Stone magazine. This was back in the days when, in Firestarter, Stephen King could legitimately suggest it as a news source that hadn't "sold out to the man." Sadly, nowadays, the Stone HAS indeed sold out, to a strange mix of Far Left editorials and complete Music-Establishment hype.
Anyway, Anne Kalsǿ would always tell us that when walking on the beach, she had noticed that in barefooted footprints, a person's heel was always pressed deeper into the sand. Voila and of course. That meant that shoes were supposed to MAKE your feet positioned the same way when walking!
So, as you can see, Earth Shoes raised the front of the foot so that it was higher than the heel. Results were supposed to be back comfort, increased energy, and a smug assurance that you were walking the way Nature intended you to walk.
In reality, the main of wearing Earth Shoes were a loud, clunky walk, and a 90-degree-angled shape callous at the back of each heel.
And no, the present line of "Earth Shoes" has no relation to the original, unless perhaps they paid Kalsǿ's heirs for the name.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another Jigsaw Puzzle from 1983

As you can see, this puzzle features Superman standing off against three Phantom Zone baddies. Obviously they are NOT intended to be the three actors from Superman II.

No, these are Zod, Faora, and whats-his-name (I forgot) -- maybe Kru-El. Zod is the guy in front, wearing the lavender baseball cap . He wears that because he's bald underneath.

On the back side of the puzzle is a bright and cheerful dpiction of the Man of Steel appearing to welcome us to his ultra-secret Fortress of Solitude.

Despite earlier stories that the key to the Fortress was hollow (Batman hid inside it in "The Super-Key to Fort Superman!") or could be lifted by Earthly technology (Batman & Robin airlifted it with the Batplane once -- in the latter days of the Real Superman's tenure, before 1986, we were told that the key was made from material from a dwarf star, so heavy that only super-strength could budge it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Superman Saves the Day

This right hyar (that's Okie-talk for "here") piece of Supermanica is a 1983 frame-tray puzzle. Also known as jigsaw puzzle.

Being just a kid toy, there's no artist listed. But I can tell you with fannish certainty that this art is based on Curt Swan pencils. You know, Curt Swan -- the greatest Superman artist of all time (so far).

The tip-off is in the details. The blond kid's face is pure 1970s Swan, also the parents' faces.

Curt's pencils were best treated in the 1960s, when his overstrokes and fuzzy dileneations were boiled down to a single inked line. The inker for this piece chose enough of the "wrong" lines that this Superman face doesn't look like "Swan standard."

Still, it's Curt's art, and it's Superman, and it's a kid coming home to his happy parents. What could be better for today?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tales of Kryptonite

In the November 1964 issue of Superman, number 173, was a story that began an occasional series, "Tales of Kryptonite." Art was by not-my-favorite Al Plastino. The first instalment was of Green K. But the next chapter turned the Green Kryptonite Red, so that's why this post is about tales of ---- (insert your own color here) Kryptonite!

When you read the first issue of the new comic Superman Confidential, I hope you see the connection. Boy, was I thrilled when I understood what the first few pages were about. I thought I was the only one who remembered the good ol' "Tales of Kryptonite"!

Of course, as an eight-year-old or whatever, you didn't question the fact that, just by passing a piece of Green Kryptonite through a RED cosmic cloud, its properties would somehow be transformed and it would suddenly become RED!

That's kind of like painting a Ford a different color, and all of a sudden it's a Chrysler.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, we have to just accept the kaleidiscopic presto-changeo of Kryptonite. Just like I have to accept my wife's word that the the universe would end if I left the closet doors open. Or maybe just mine?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More Movie Monsters Are on the Loose!

From the back cover of Superman 173 (November 1964), we have an ad for Aurora's second line of monster models. The first wave is featured in the background.

For several years prior to this, the original models sold for 98 cents. Which was perfect for a kid growing up in Oklahoma. 98 cents plus all applicable state and local taxes came to One Round Dollar!

And that wasn't too hard to come by, since usually on your way to the shopping center where the TG&Y was, it was easy to find enough glass bottles to feed the fix! You got a 2-cent deposit back from the grocery store for each pop bottle you turned in, and if you put that together with a 25-cent allowance or lawn-mowing money, you were sitting m-i-g-h-t-y f-i-n-e every few weeks or so, with another strange creature coming home to take up roost in your room!
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© by Mark Alfred