Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Good News: The Beatles Boxed Set!

What a wonderful Christmas present from my wife and kids!

I'm halfway through the White Album and have heard several things that *maybe* I hadn't heard before -- or maybe hadn't been paying attention! But it all sounds "pretty darn good."


The bad news: somebody at Apple can't spell! The song is called "For You Blue." I don't think Harrison was playing golf when he wrote it.

More in a few days ...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our Star Trek Will Go for ... about 77 Minutes

Well, here is the latest in obsessively anthologizing music.
Definitely no soundtracks here -- except for James Horner's "The Search for Spock" which was originally featured as Side Three of the ST III soundtrack LP (with a blank Side 4).
TREKonometry has 24 tracks. Some versions of Trek themes are OK and even -- um, fascinating, like the Phil Woods Quintet's long jazz riff on the TV theme.
There's plenty of disco represented here, from The Galactic Force Band to Gene Page. There're odd arrangements, like the fuzz guitar by Chris Holland or the cheesy roller-skate-rink organics of the Schnauzer Radio Orchestra.
And just for fun, the last couple of tracks are kinda silly.
Let me know what you think!
Here's the link:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breathless with Excitement and Horror!

I just finished this jewel of a book. It's a 1970 paperback original full of brief (one-to-two pages) accounts of scary critters that are hairy and smelly.
I don't know what's more fun -- the absolutely smashing (that's a pun) cover art, or the blurb on the back cover.
I think I know at least a FEW of the World's Weirdest Sub-Humans ....
Another music download at the end of the week, with a Sci-Fi slant this time..."Fascinating."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

David McCallum Conducted

Yes, it was sort of a vanity project. But instead of hollering for a Tambourine Man, U.N.C.L.E. agent David McCallum put his fame to use by commandeering a recording studio, an arranger, and an orchestra, so that he might conduct some of the pop hits of the day.

So here we have instrumental versions of songs like "Michelle," "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," and many more, along with a few originals.

Yes, for many of you, this stuff is the musical equivalent of the creme filling in a Twinkie, but the selections are also inoffensive and make fine background music for reading or conversation.

Here's the link, including the music, CD disc art, and CD inserts:

Let me know if you like it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Model Monster Memories: The Forgotten Prisoner of Castelmare!

I had this model and never noticed until now that evidently this poor lug was forgotten in a FRENCH jail.

Notice the accent over the last "e" in "Castel-Mare"?

I just always said "Castlemare" like "Hassle Jar."

If you'll notice the tagline below the name, this character was copyrighted 1966 by Famous Monsters of Filmland. Actually, he never was a character! He was just invented to sell cool models of skeletons chained to walls.
That's also why, instead of the little "legend" or story about the critter the model was based on (like Creature from the Black lagoon or King King), there's just another snapshot of an assembled model.
Overall, somehow this guy struck me as pretty cool with his whole situation. I always wondered what the story was about the single forearm bolted to the wall at the Prisoner's feet, though!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Adventures of Superman TV Music

If you’re a good Super-fan, you know about the release on CD, a few years ago, of some of the background music from the George Reeves Adventures of Superman TV series.

This music came from a company called MUTEL ( from Music for TELevision), which adapted several scores from obscure B movies and other sources, and re-packaged them as background music for the then-new technology of television.

Well, the commercial CD was only SOME of the music. I have more for you!

Maybe twenty years ago or more, Starlog magazine ran a feature about this music, including an address in NYC. I wrote to that address and bought two cassettes of music that had been featured on Adventures of Superman.

When the commercial CD came out, I bought it, and then I dug out my cassettes from long ago. After some comparative listening, I came up with just over an hour of music that I had, that was NOT on the commercial CD. (I can’t guarantee NO duplications, but I’m pretty sure.)


So, being the “psycho completist” that I am, I just had to assemble a CD of these “missing” cues. And here it is, for you to share!


Also included are front and back CD covers and CD disc art.
Let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thoughts

Seeing Song
(song lyric)

I sit beside the window and like many before me
I watch the people passing by.
And I wonder how I let this old world bore me
When there’s so much I haven’t seen.

Around each corner there stands a new door
And a different moon for every night,
Each bird is one I’ve never seen before,
And every sun rise brings another new light.

And each time I feel the world hang heavy on my shoulders
I merely gaze at the wonders all about me.
And I’m thankful that in me the embre of life still smoulders
For it would all still be here without me.

And around each new corner there waits a new door,
And each day new clouds to see;
Every second has its treasure in store,
And for me a new discovery.
If you can name some things you can be thankful for, you will be happier.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Super Duel!


When we last left our hero, he was struggling through a sandstorm on this desolate red-sun planet, while his arch-enemy Lex Luthor was holed up snug as a creep in a rug.

How doe we get from that scene to the splash panel above? Read on, dear reader!

The sandstorm has passed, and Kal-El of Krypton stumbles upon a deserted city. Weak and dehydrated, he finds a way to get water, and sacks out in the ruins of an empty building.

Meanwhile, Luthor has set off in a different direction, and finds … people! Amidst the ruins of their once-great civilization, they appear to have reverted to near-savagery. Amongst abandoned irrigation machines, they water their meager crops by hand and are unable to chase away marauding birds.

Until Luthor quickly analyzes the mechanism of one of the machines and uses a burst of water to drive the pests away.


Lionized by the grateful populace, Luthor is led to an old museum and there finds a way to communicate with the people. He promises to try and help their plight, all the while convincing himself that in this way their gratitude will drive them to seek out Superman for him.

Or is there a bit of altruism there? These desperate near-barbarians need a technological savior, and that’s just the role Lex Luthor craves.

Still, inside Luthor is gnawed by the knowledge that this has become truly a desert world. No amount of digging will find enough water to save these people in the long run. They have hailed him as their great savior, but it rings hollow in Luthor’s ears.

Suddenly, Superman appears, having tracked down Luthor. The people quickly move to destroy the enemy of their great hero, but Luthor squelches that, agreeing to honor the original single-combat pact made with Superman.

However, they will now meet in an arena, surrounded by the populace of this great wreck of a city, and will each have an arsenal of super-weapons rescued by Luthor from the museum of science.

Soon whirlwinds and miniature suns collide, but – as we all knew it would – it all boils down to man against man. Remember that robot hound seen on the splash page of chapter one of this tale? Out it comes, sicced onto Superman.

But, don’t forget, Superman is a scientist and the son of a scientist. while wrestling with the robot beast, he manages to dislodge some control wires and disable it.


That’s when Luthor decides to get his hands dirty again, and he dives onto Superman. Around they roll, and Superman thinks Luthor might prevail, until suddenly the Earthman weakens. He folds. He agrees to return to prison.

Once again in outer space, Luthor explains the plight of the natives of the planet they have just left. Only Superman’s great powers, now returned, can bring water, and new life, to the desert world.


And so it comes to pass. The Man of Steel hurls great masses of ice towards the planet, and the giant digging machines reactivated by Luthor begin to dig a series of Mars-like canals to carry the water throughout the lands.

And as the waters rise and bring new life to this once-dying planet, the people give thanks for their savior, Lex Luthor, who has brought this to pass.

Wait a minute, you say. Superman saved the people. I ask you, did he do it alone? If Luthor hadn’t suddenly given up the battle and surrendered, would there be water on this dry world? If Luthor hadn’t explained the people’s plight to Superman and intervened to have the hero send that water, would life be blooming there?

Luthor! you old softie!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman!


This is from Superman 164, dated October 1963. I was seven years old when it came out.

This cover tells it all, to anybody familiar with the Superman family. In the left background is a space-travel bubble. In the right background sets a red sun. Across the rails of a makeshift prize ring hang a white prison shirt and a red cape. Inside, shirtless, two titans rage. A fighting-trim Lex Luthor seems to be knocking the stuffings out of Superman, who already sports a shiner across his left eye.

The dialog confirms what we’ve guessed, what was suggested by both the red sun and the glowing boots Luthor is wearing: This is a giant planet, orbiting a red sun. Superman’s powers are annulled, and in this “fair fight” he seems to be on the losing end!


And the splash page for Part I makes things look even worse. Now Luthor not only has some kind of robot dog after superman, there’s an arena of spectators waiting for the thing to rip Superman’s throat out!

Our story begins, as do many in the 1960s, with Lex Luthor, criminal mastermind, in prison. But not for long! As many crimes as there are to lock him up for, Luthor seems to have as many escape schemes.


Once free and in one of his many lead-lined hideouts, Luthor announces to the world his challenge:

Let Superman meet him man-to-man, without the advantage of superpowers, and let the best man win!

The Man of Steel, being the honorable hero he is, decided to take on this challenge fair and square. He arranges a parole meeting with his foe and they lay out the grounds: They will travel to an oversized planet orbiting a red sun, thereby negating superpowers. Ever the scientist (like his father), Superman has crafted a pair of gravity-defying boots for Luthor to wear, to counteract his heaviness on this new world.


The stage is set, the “prize ring” is assembled, and the punches start flying, bringing about the scene depicted on the cover. Superman, who for decades has trained himself to restrain his strength less he kill an opponent, is driven back, back, back by Luthor’s pile-driving fists.
Until, thank Rao, a little thing called self-preservation kicks in, and in desperation our hero kayos his opponent with a lucky undercut.

Superman staggers away to the space bubble for a drink of water; and when he returns, Luthor is gone. The criminal woke up and recovered enough to stagger away, so our hero sets out after him.


Little does Superman know how ignoble Luthor’s challenge to “a fair fight” really was! Smuggles into his clothes, Luthor has brought all sorts of miniaturized inventions, which he uses to bedevil Superman several times, while staying ahead in the chase.


Before long a sandstorm blows in, and Superman is reduced to crawling along slowly, trying to breathe through his cape. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is cozily holed up in a cave, waiting for the storm to break, so he can finish off Superman once and for all.

Soon, Part Two of this epic tale!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aurora Monster Models: Creature from the Black Lagoon


Unfortunately, this instruction sheet is all that's left of my model of the Gill Man.


The Creature model was, I believe, from the second wave of Aurora monsters, that retailed for $1.49 instead of the original 98 cents.

Note the film synopsis on the first page.


On the back page there's a listing of "a few of Aurora's scale model kits." Somehow I get the idea that, although the monster models made money, Aurora really wasn;t proud of the horror line. "Look," they seem to be saying with this list. "We offer serious reproductions for the serious hobbyist! We're not just about that sensationalist scary stuff!"

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Themes from U.N.C.L.E.

Here's a compilation, assembled by yours truly, of 39 tracks of U.N.C.L.E. music. We have the original TV title scores, lots of "cover" versions, music from the U.N.C.L.E. films, a few "covers" of other musical themes from the series, and a couple of bonus tracks. Also images of album covers and comments on the music, on a legal-sized insert.


If you, too, were a kid from U.N.C.L.E. as I was, enjoy!

And let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Meet a New Friend!

This is to introduce you to a "single-service provider" called Superman Costumes.com!

Or, as the actual link says,

They've got accessories like Clark Kent glasses (I have my own prescription pair), bendable "steel" bars, and other nifty things.

Halloween may be over, but Super never goes out of season!

"Save the World as a Family!" I love it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cracked Super #13!


This four-page satire dates from summer 1997, and Cracked magazine’s Cracked Super #13. The issue is just chock-full of dumb things making fun of super-heroes, including this little tale of a certain super-hero returning from the dead six months after a slugfest with a certain bone-encrusted alien critter.



Note the Don King cameo on page three!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Link to Howl-oween

This is my compilation of fun and spooky sounds and music for 2009. Here's a link to it in Megaupload.


In a few days I'll share a few more, such as Man & Girl from UNCLE and other fannish fun.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Memories of Childhood

A couple of months ago I was awake in the middle of the night and a melody came to me. When i woke up I decided that memories of childhood would ge well with the melody.

So I dredged up some fun and fond reminiscences of growing up on Cornell Drive in Bartlesville. But "Cornell Drive" had the wrong number of syllables to match the repetetition at the end of each line, so instead my golden land of memories is named Pennington Hill.

The name of our housing addition is Pennington Hills.

Anyway, I sent my mom a copy, describing it to her as a love letter to the wonderful childhood she and Dad had provided me.

I didn't know she was going to send it in to the newspaper!

Anyway, please feel free to remember, if you can, a time when everybody knew everybody and you could roam the neighborhood freely, even after dark. Because all Mom had to do was throw the window up and shout your name down the hill.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Superman Under the Green Sun!


Well, we can tell from the splash panel of this great two-part novel that Superman is in a bit of a pickle. The dictator of this crummy little planet has taken away all his super-powers!?! How?
Well, while on our summer vacation, Superman was just flying around in space when he came across a planet full of beautiful people. However, for some reason the folks he noticed didn’t seem to be aware of the great saurian beast bearing down on them. After he has dispatched the beast, he lands and introduces himself, learning to his shock that everybody is blind!


They’re not a naturally sightless race. No, the evil dictator Drago, who has seized power over them, has set off a “blindness bomb” to handicap all who would oppose him. Kall, one of the scientists who opposes Drago, introduces Superman to Aton, twin brother of Drago, who tells how his sibling and his henchman wore goggles to protect themselves while setting off a blinding flash-bomb.

Well sir, that gets Superman’s attention, and he zips off to set ol’ Drago to rights. But the evil creep is ready for him – everybody knows about Superman! – and flips a switch, activating a satellite that interposes a blue lens before their sun. So the sunlight turns GREEN, and Superman is suddenly powerless!


His fall from the sky mercifully broken by shrubbery, the Man of Steel resolves to investigate further, to help the rebels any way he can. Like Moses, he soon intercedes to rescue a slave laborer, and leads a few slaves in an escape. The man from Krypton commandeers one of the strange robot insects used as personal mounts by Drago’s men. Using it to shepherd the other captives, he follows their directions to the hidden cavern refuge of the revolutionaries. Although safe from Drago, they are short on supplies. Only Superman’s bravery and quick wits enable the fugitives to find food and water.


However, Drago now knows that Superman is still alive, and launches a wide dragnet. Superman is captured and, in a scene of tortuous exuberance, Drago strikes Superman blind like all the other rebels.


Soon, like the biblical Samson, the sightless Superman is a slave to an oppressor. What can he do now? Not just his powers, even his eyes are useless. Whipped and driven like the other captured rebels, he’s ready to give up.


But a conversation with a fellow prisoner, who urges him to take heart because a stranger named Superman is on their side, gives the Man of Tomorrow hope and new resolve. He must carry on – he realizes that he’s a symbol of hope for these defeated few. He – has got to – keep trying! (as Captain Kirk might say)


He manages to escape by falling into a river and makes his way back to the rebels’ cave. Putting his wits to use, he manages to cross-wire the captured slave-driver’s helmet with the video circuits of the robo-insect. Wearing the helmet, he … can … see!

Well, then. What to do? Why, take down the dictator, of course! Sightless or not, super-powered or not, he’s Superman, and he’s got to try!


Using his seeing-eye bug, he makes his way into Drago’s citadel and to a certain control switch. He deactivates the blue-lens satellite, and hey presto! Super-powers and eyesight return!

Now for Drago! But the dictator, having seen that the jig is up, decides self-immolation is a better course, and blows up his tower. Superman flies away to his friends, Kall and Aton and the others, along with a relic of Drago’s plans.

You see, he’d intended to force his slaves to rework the contours of the entire planet into his own likeness! When you take a look at the sculpture of Drago’s plan, you can really see how much, by a strange coincidence, Drago also seems to resemble a certain German dictator of Earth’s World War II.


But then, in a final twist, we see that Superman is not only a super-scientist, but a super-detective, too! A little matter of a missing watch crystal exposes Drago as alive (briefly) after all!
But justice is served after all, and the people are free of domination, and soon their blindness will too disappear, thanks to Superman!


And after several months, the Man of Steel swoops past the planet, only to find that the terraforming project took place after all – but with a different image than Drago’s!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Is Howl-oween Time!

The last few weeks I've been collecting and editing a few dozen sounds and songs. Here is the result.
Here is a link to the archive file which contains the CD, front & back cover, disc art (for printable CDs), and a lyrics sheet.
Here are the tracks:

Alice Cooper:
Welcome to My Nightmare
Sid Frank & James Dukas:
Holidays Halloween
Marilyn Manson:
This Is Halloween
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
Rock 1
Dick Dale:
Riders in the Sky
Donald Duck 1937:
Trick or Treat
Jonny Quest:
Underscore 1
Sheb Wooley:
The Purple People Eater
Music for Monsters:
Ghouls Glide
The Who:
Boris the Spider
Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra:
The Raven
CD Creepies:
Frenzy #1
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
Rock 2
Hap Palmer:
Have a Good Time on Halloween Night
Trick or Treat
Jonny Quest:
Underscore 2
Stephen Lynch:
Spooky Music for Spooky Occasions:
Part One
Henry Hall:
Here Comes the Boogeyman
James Horner:
Something Wicked This Way Comes Main Title
George McKelvey:
My Radiation Baby (My Teenage Fallout Queen)
Jonny Quest:
Underscore 3
Squirrel Nut Zippers:
Five Little Pumpkins
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
Rock 3
Jack Marshall:
The Munsters Theme
Spooky Music for Spooky Occasions:
Part Two
Zombina and the Skeletones:
Nobody Likes You When You're Dead
Grateful Dead & Merl Saunders:
The Twilight Zone '85 Main Title
Mickey Mouse 1929:
The Haunted House
Manhattan Transfer:
Twilight Zone
Music for Monsters:
Skeleton Dance
Space Ghost:
Main Title
Join me in getting ready for Halloween, kiddies!
And let me know what YOU think!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do You Know the Legend of Superman?

If you don't know it, then you are a johnny-come-lately who needs a little serious reading time!

Stay tuned for next weekend, when I'll unveil Howl-oween, my own CD compilation of seasonal fun and (sort-of) scariness.

Have a Super week until then!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Brief Note

In celebration of Superman's 50th Biorthday in 1988, DC comics and the Smithsonian put together a traveling exhibit called "Superman: Many Lives, Many Worlds."
One of the stops was at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, where my dad was kind enough to help me travel. We saw all of the various artifacts to be viewd on the reverse (text) side of the poster, and many more!
The thing I remember most clearly for some reason was a huge transcription disc of a Superman radio program. This was a record (like an LP), but much bigger -- about 18 or more inches across! It was huge. It contained a complete radio show, so the recorded discs could be shipped to stations and played "live" at any time that fit the station's programming.

I'd have another instalment of Super Vacationto share with you tonight, but the abrupt departures of four fulltime employees over the last two weeks has made my free time shorter. Tough to be the boss, eh?
As Heckle and Jekyll used to say, though, "See you next week with a brand new show!"
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Halloween Music: Poe for Moderns

In 1960, Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra, a jazz ensemble, decided to bring some classic American literature to life.

It's certainly swingin', and except for the recitation of some of the poems over themusic, yo might not guess that these charts were "inspired" by E A Poe.

You can check out the whole thing yourself, complete with CD case front & back, and a 4-fold insert that contains the back of the LP.

I LOVE "THE RAVEN" and you will too!

Here's the link: http://www.filefactory.com/file//n/Poe_for_Moderns_rar

See you Friday with another vacation stop!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bizarro Meets Frankenstein!


Those wacky Bizarros! They sure messed with Superman’s head on our vacation stop in Hollywood.


It’s all right there in Superman 143, cover-dated February 1961.

Of course, you know those goofy Bizarros, right? They were created by a “duplicating ray” that was only good enough to produce IMPERFECT duplicates. A new, improved duplicator ray made it possible for them to simply aim the ray at a TV image and instantly come up with a bizarre – err, Bizarro version of their target.

In this way they populated a whole planet with themselves. And all the Bizarro Superman have Superman’s powers, too, along with their grade-school intellect and predilection for wanting to do the opposite of earthly things.

So when Bizarro #1, chief of ’em all, and his family, see a TV ad for the latest in scary movies, he decides he just has to be scarier than those chumps. So he decides to head to Earth and Hollywood to make sure and get his fair share of screams.


Anyway, Bizarro #1 arrives on Earth and decides to eliminate the competition by scaring up some fun. His first gig is in the Himalayas, where he goes up against the Yeti and wins the ugly stick.


Next stop, Hollywood! So he dashes into the dressing room of the actor who’s made up to play the Frankenstein monster, and tosses him out the window.

You don’t have to worry, this story wasn’t written by Alan Moore. Nobody dies in it, unlike “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” Superman, swooping by, catches the (unnamed) actor and realizes he’ll need to keep an eye on his duplicate until he figures out what’s up.

Next, Bizarro decides to terrorize some beauteous actresses. But the gals have seen him fly in, and figure that he’s the real Man of Steel in disguise, and smother him in smooches. Hmm, that didn’t work, Bizarro!

OK, how about those cowpokes over there? Maybe Bizarro can put them on the run!


Err, not so much … They decide to pull their six-shooters and make the “tenderfoot” dance! After the baffled Bizarro retreats, Superman swoops to the rescue, discovering the westerners have accidentally chewed loco weed instead of mint leaves. No wonder they weren’t cowed!

But now Superman knows why Bizarro is on Earth. And he figures he’d better make sure the super-thing gets that scare soon, before somebody really gets hurt!


Next, Bizarro crashes a movie set where a freak show is setting up, and he sets his sights on creeping out a couple of youngsters there. But, since it’s a friggin’ FREAK SHOW, the kids figure this nice man fits right in.

Whoops, no scares here, either.

So when Bizarro arrives on the Frankenstein movie set and starts tearing it up, the extras and crew figure it’s just crazy ol’ Superman cutting up, until …

Bizarro pauses in mid-smash at the sudden glorious sound of people screaming, and the marvelous sight of the hair standing up on the heads of the film crew. Success at last!

Finally placated, his scary creds reestablished, Bizarro #1 heads home after snagging something to REALLY scare his kids.

Meanwhile, Superman lets us in on how he made the film crew seem petrified. Then he lets them and those luscious actresses in on the joke – it wasn’t good-natured Superman they encountered at all … it was grisly ol’ Bizarro!


Next week … Well, check back and see!
All original content
© by Mark Alfred