THE DEMOULIN BROTHERS: Your Secret Society Superstore (In The 19th Century)

This piece was originally published March 12th, 2012.

Demoulin Brothers Post TemplateFraternal organizations (a.k.a. “Secret Societies” to many outsiders ) are as much a part of our modern cultural fabric as their names are familiar to us via parades, advertising, or perhaps a relative’s membership: Shriners, Freemasons, B’nai Brith. Elks, Kiwanis, Lion’s Club, Rotary International, Knight’s Of Columbus and The Loyal Order of Moose are but a few of the names you may have encountered driving past a “Temple” or seeing a sign mentioning a charity benefit “meat raffle.”

 

The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine a.k.a. Shriners

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The Independent Order Of Odd Fellows

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MAIL-ORDER MYSTERIES!

This piece was originally published January 3rd, 2012.

Count Dante Post TemplateIf you were a kid that grew up in the late ’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s or even well into the ’80s, and you’re reading this, I would say that there is a pretty good chance that you also sat for many hours in front of the television set watching cartoons, sitcoms and action/adventure series, listened to music, and spent considerable hours reading comic books (and MAD Magazine! ). 

All this pop culture most assuredly helped to formulate a generation or two that really saw their creative imaginations run wild, and their youthful desires and wishes expand beyond even that of their older siblings who were brought up in the first crazy period of teenage rebellion known as the earlier Rock and Roll generation.


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WHY I MISS A GOOD LAUGH TRACK…

This piece was originally published April 25th, 2011.

Woman Laughing Post IconThe use of laugh tracks for television comedy has been the subject of derision since the early 1950’s.

So believe me folks, if you are not a fan when you run across a sitcom or animated series that has a laugh track, it’s not an original feeling you have there.

I however, not only appreciate a good laugh track and miss its proliferation these days (I’ll explain this later). I also am aware of the origin of it and how its fascinating history of this now considered unhip attribute of television, actually connects to The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” psychedelic music, The Moody Blues and King Crimson—in other words, here’s a history lesson for you young hipsters. Continue reading, please click here…

HALLOWEEN: Mystery Box Style…

This piece was originally published October 25th, 2010.

Spook Show Post IconHalloween is one of the stranger quasi-holidays that many of us celebrate. Personally I enjoy a round-the-year love of most things that many people only go for on Halloween such as creepy films, scary stories, kitschy bad novelties, and disturbing yet cool music.

Life is in so many ways, one big Halloween costume party, so when October 31st rolls around I usually see it more as a good time to bulk up on certain things that are more readily available this time of the year, until they are put back into the retail coffin storage warehouses or usually sold off at as cheap bargains (I always seek them out) to make way for the bad Thanksgiving decorations and props of November.

We all have our well loved movies, music, books and other activities to keep us happy around All Hallow’s Eve. Of course nothing would be right without the prerequisite Bruce Campbell/Sam Raimi Shempfest that are the Evil Dead films, the original Romero classics Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead, Hitchcock’s Psycho, numerous Vincent Price flicks (many are the wonderfully disturbed period films directed by Roger Corman of course), Dario Argento’s Suspiria, and loads of the Universal Horror masterpieces.

In tribute to this year’s Halloween extravaganza, I thought I would share a few lesser known delights that are my personal hand-picked classics, yet may be a brand new discovery for you, dear reader. Perhaps you will find one golden piece of candy corn among these Mystery Box faves!



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RED DEAD REDEMPTION: Worth Your Fistful of Dollars

This piece was originally published July 12th, 2010.

John Marsden Post IconThe Western genre, though seemingly archaic and at times overlooked, never really disappears from the mainstream for too long.

Yes, every few years or so it rides off into the sunset and then snakes its way around the desert in some quiet solitude.

Thought to be long gone, but actually, craftily uses the time. It replenishes itself, panning for golden ideas or foraging for new plot device sustenance before riding back into town, reinvigorated and fresh, capturing a new generation of fans and allowing a sigh of relief from older compadres.

So how about a great Western in the world of video games?

The answer up to now has been little to none—or should I say, nothing that would make you want to run out and saddle up your best horse…

Until now.

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THE THREE STOOGES CHRONOLOGICAL COLLECTION…COMPLETE!

This piece was originally published June 7th, 2010.

Curly Post IconThere was a time in the mid nineties when I was attempting to collect every short made by The Three Stooges. 

I sat patiently every evening with my snappy VHS recorder while tuned to WSBK Channel 36, the local independent UHF station out of Boston, which not only ran a nightly serving ofStooge laughs, but also held their annual Three Stooges New Years Eve “Countdown” all night marathon, and most of the time a healthy dose of afternoon Stooges shorts as well.


For as long as I could recall, from my childhood, on into my teens and beyond, The Three Stooges were a part of my family’s television viewing.

I grew up knowing that this was the creme de la creme of timeless laughs who easily beat out any other comedy team that came up against them. Gratefully, there must have been some heavily devoted knuckleheadaficionados at Channel 38 as well, since they had always been a part of the station’s programming for as long as I could remember, all the while helping to feed my Stooges obsession.
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MY TOP 10 ALBUM COVER CRUSHES

This piece was originally published May, 2010

Heart Shaped Vinyl LP Post IconAs a very young music aficionado, I spent countless hours holding and analyzing vinyl LP cover art and I am far from alone in this pastime.

The format was always so perfect for viewing in fact, that to this day there has been a resurgence for collecting vinyl LP’s. Record collector’s and music fans worldwide are enjoying both older records and newly pressed reissues. there is a non-stop flow of newly pressed vinyl product constantly being released. Partly due to the overall sound quality inherent in the physical medium, partly the fact that many of today’s fans were not around to experience first-hand the time when vinyl was king of the castle but are still loving the bands of the era, but primarily for most fans, it just makes sense to hold and look at a treasured work of art in your hands that has a larger scale than a CD, a cassette, or hell, even an 8 track tape ever had.

My move through vinyl started with small 45 R.P.M. records with their accompanying storybooks for kid fare such as The Little Match Girl, The Tin Soldier (incredibly dismal when I think of them now) and a variety of Marvel and D.C. comic superhero tales. Then it was on to fantastic singles by The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, Chuck Berry and The Electric Light Orchestra.

Meanwhile my LP format started with such wondrous family hand me downs as classics from Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, and a variety of other great lounge, psychedelic and British Invasion gems. Adding to the pile were bad ass James Bond soundtracks and some good old Redd Foxx “Blue Humor” comedy oddities that provided plenty of kid-time guffaws and snickers for me and my pals. We listened endlessly (and with my friend’s parents approval in fact) to Redd’s You Gotta Wash Your Ass!—still in print after all these years!

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DUCKPIN BOWLING: ALL THAT IT’S QUACKED UP TO BE

This piece was originally published May 3rd, 2010. Duckpin Bowling Balli Post Icon   Babe Ruth said Duckpin Bowling was his second favorite sport. We all know what his first fave sport was (and carousing with the ladies, eating steaks, smoking cigars and drinking liquor do not qualify as sports, at least in this context).

“The Babe” not swinging a bat

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The game of Duckpin Bowling has a popular origin that is well known and also subject to much speculation. Continue reading, please click here…

IT’S…MONTY PYTHON’S INCIDENTAL MUSIC!

This piece was originally published April 19th, 2010.

Ever since I began watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS television in 1974 I was hooked and my obsession with Messrs Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones and Palin began…

1974 was the last year/fourth season for the Pythons, as well as the year that PBS began broadcasting the series (a bit of a happy accident when a PBS programmer in Texas decided to air a few sitting on his studio shelves, resulting in a snowball of laughs and in turn, PBS affiliates around the country running the show that year).

 
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MY TOP 10 FAVORITE TIME MACHINES

This piece was originally published March 29th, 2010.

Morlock Post IconTime travel is something that has fascinated, charmed and bewildered humans for centuries.

Who among us has not pondered the thought of traveling back and forth via “the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past”?

To celebrate the latest film offering which features a uniquely entertaining method of time travel, I decided to list my Top 10 fave Time Machines.

I have decided to only list those films and television shows where an actual device that you must either get into, sit on, or otherwise operate as a big machine, is used for the time travel. So no funky wristwatches, drug induced methods, or mind manipulation will be mentioned this time around…

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