Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, January 31st, 1976

10:00 PM

The day went real fast. I got a lot of new and old comics on my Yellow Kid trip including one whole long run IRON MAN series and I really finally finished my DOCTOR STRANGE collection! Spent most of the rest of the day propped in in bed reading IRON MAN listening to REVOLVER which I also picked up while I was out!

I had an argument with dad about staying up late tonight or Wednesday.

NOTES: I very much remember picking up that long IRON MAN run. Although the character has never been a great favorite of mine, over the next few days I greatly enjoyed about three-four years' worth of adventures I'd previously skipped and then stuck with the title into the early eighties.

REVOLVER, was, of course, the Beatles album. Eventually it would be the one I name as my favorite Beatles album, in fact. This was the first day I heard the whole thing.

My first Beatles album was THE BEATLES AGAIN, the posthumously released album highlighting HEY JUDE and a bunch of earlier non-album or otherwise obscure tracks. My first Beatles single was THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD, their final release before the break-up. After that, I spent the rest of the seventies slowly but surely picking up Beatles albums--even bootlegs when I could find them--to the point where I'd be shocked today if there was a tape of Ringo coughing in 1964 that I haven't at least heard.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

****EXTRA: Journal Doodles # 3****

Friday, January 30th, 1976

6:00 PM
There's just something magic about a Friday! I breezed through the day at school. Not all good but all a breeze. Made it home leaving almost all of my cares behind me at school. The whole day seemed to be in anticipation of tomorrow's new comics at Yellow Kid. I hope there's more than Terry said.
NOTES: Nothing to say here. Obviously I was starting to get over my cold and feeling a bit better all around.
The number one song this last week in January was LOVE ROLLERCOASTER by the Ohio Players. You think I dressed funny in '76? Check out these guys!
Disco had hit big the year before in the US...except in Cincinnati. Oh, we heard it on the radio and saw it on TV but the heyday of disco in Cincinnati /Northern Kentucky was actually the early eighties. There was still a pretty good mix of music on most radio stations here in 1976. Even WEBN, Cincinnati's legendary anti-establishment hard rock station, was a lot more pop-oriented at the time. The main difference between AM and FM stations was that AM stations played the hits while FM stations played album cuts (and the deejays talked in more soothing voices).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 29th, 1976


This is really a bad week as a whole! All day long I felt mad and pressured even though not too many bad things happened. I looked up Melody Rush in the annual and that's her all right...but she's only in the 8th grade!!!! Too young for me!

I got a 90 on the Spanish test. Missed the first bus back but the one I caught Cheri was on, too. I think she has a part-time job somewhere down here. Maybe the IRS I think.

Terry called tonight to brag about the new comics he picked up at the Yellow Kid. I was jealous that I didn't get to go this time.

The SS overstayed their welcome tonight, not leaving until after 7:30. We ended up staying home 'til after 8:30 before we went over just to make sure they were gone.

One more day and I can hope for the best come the weekend and then February. This has been a transitional month I guess--the year, my age, the weather. Next month maybe the whole screwed up mess will straighten out enough for me to see where I'm going and what to do on the way.

NOTES: I didn't ride a traditional yellow school bus to and from school. We rode the regular local buses from TANK--the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky. At the time (and for many years afterward) each one was named after a Kentucky Derby winner and given a number corresponding to that horses' winning year. Although clearly from a few years later (based on the year/bus number) this was what they looked like.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 28th, 1976

6:00 PM

Not an especially good day but a breezy one at least. Still sick. Fast and quiet.

We had an assembly at school this morning. I found out that girl on the bus's name...I think. "Melody Rush."

Over the river after school I ran into Jack Fogarty! I started my Iron Man collection with the new issue out today and I also got another new Beatles book!

NOTES: Another sparse day but there are some much longer entries coming up in a few days.

Melody Rush wasn't really the name I found out. As I said previously, I don't even recall this girl. I looked her up in the yearbook just now though. Cute but rings no bells. Doesn't even look "my type."

Jack Fogarty was an old-time radio newsman who had been on TV my entire life. By this point in the seventies, he was given a spotliight report that always opened with his signature line, "I may be wrong but it seems to me..." He was one of the first local celebs I had ever seen downtown.

I was a latecomer to Beatles fandom but I just kept buying books about them. I currently have a whole bookcase of Beatles books.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 27th, 1976

5:00 PM

Seems like another Monday. The same one as a matter of fact. I awoke feeling bad and ready to destroy the world. That subsided, however, and I fell into a period where, even though some things went well, there were too many bad things to mention. Pretty much whatever could go wrong today did so!

One of the good things was a momentary twinge of that strange Spring feeling that brought me so many good things in the past. I love Spring. This time maybe it was what helped me realize today that I didn't really feel that much for Angie after all. It's just that I had been rejected by Cheri last year when she said she had a boyfriend. I've come to realize that so many people are involved in things you never see like dope or sex or other things that just aren't things I could do. I picked out one of the few girls I was pretty sure wasn't even slightly involved in any of that either and practically convinced myself I had a crush on her when I really didn't. Guess it's just back to being a loner for me.

I determined today that I was going to get Overstreet this year.

NOTES: Some pretty deep realizations to pick up from a warm breeze! Even if I didn't know what it was called and I hadn't actually had a relationship of any kind at all with Cheri (the girl I was rejected by in 10th Grade Math class), I suddenly grasped the concepts of "rebounding."

I also seemed to have a rather sudden understanding that people are much more than the face they put on in public...even in school.

Interesting to note my affinity for Spring back then. For years now, my favorite season has been Fall. Kind of metaphorical I guess. Spring and Fall--young and old.

Couldn't get comics completely off my mind, though. "Overstreet" refers to Bob Overstreet's COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE, a thick annual volume detailing the collector values of comics. It had been coming out since 1970 but I had never actually purchased one. This year I had determined to pick up a copy and get serious about my collecting. Above is a picture of Overstreet with his first edition. In 1990 I would finally meet Bob Overstreet at a Convention under rather hilarious circumstances. Ask me that story sometime.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 26th, 1976

4:00 PM

Hot last night! I awoke with a worse cold but went to school anyway. We took the first part of a test for that Spanish Contest that Jeff won last year. In Mystery Class, we read THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM by Edgar Allan Poe. It was better than the movie.

Didn't talk with Angie at all. Also, I passed up a big meeting about Junior Class Rings because I had no intention of paying fifty bucks or more for something I would never use anyway. But now everyone seems to think I made a very bad decision there. I don't, but they're making me feel guilty anyway.


Found out that I could actually go see EMMANUELLE, the X-rated French film. The ads in the paper say "Absolutely no one under 17 admitted" and now I'm 17! I don't know, though. I'm afraid it would have bad dubbing or--worse!--subtitles! I don't like foreign films like that. Besides, I don't feel up to that walk.

Terry's kind of mad at me I think. Once again I'm feeling a stranger to myself. I know that my mind and what's in my head aren't really the same as my personality but that never shows on the outside. The real me is invisible! That's why no one ever likes me. I'll bet if you asked everyone, they'd say they were either hating me or totally indifferent because they can't LIKE a person they obviously don't even see! The haters are too thick-headed to even realize that!

NOTES: I loved all of those AIP Edgar Allan Poe movies but I had never really read any Poe outside of THE RAVEN until this Mystery Class. Going forward, he would be added to my favorite authors list.

Since I talk later that day about no one paying any attention to me at school, at this point, I have no idea who the "everyone" was that made me feel guilty about not getting a class ring. I stand by the fact that class rings are something mainly for the popular kids or those who really enjoyed high school somehow. For the rest of us it was just another way to get money out of the students.

It would be another decade before I saw EMMANUELLE, the quintessential soft focus, softcore sex drama and to my mind one of the worst movies of all time. More interesting here is my obvious dislike of foreign film, particularly subtitled ones. Over the years since, some of my favorite films have been Italian, Chinese, German or French and I have come to much prefer subbed to dubbed! Even then I had long been a fan of Japanese monster movies but apparently I wasn't counting those.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 25th, 1976

11:00 PM

Got up early and read more comics today. Then I watched a movie on TV.

Later in the day, Terry came over but we didn't end up doing any more than just reading through more comics. He stayed late. We watched the Golden Globes but I couldn't really get into them because Terry just didn't seem to care so I'm not sure who ended up winning anything.

Just not really a good day. It rained all day long and I developed a really sore throat as the day went on. I did manage to get in a bit of Sherlock, though.

Lately I find myself really wanting a normal adult life with marriage, kids, etc but I just can't see myself that way no matter how hard I imagine it. Maybe someday...

NOTES: Not much to add on this one. As you might imagine, at this late stage, I have no earthly idea what comics I read that day nor what film I watched. It was very unlike me to be so generic in my journal entries.

The number one song in America this week was Diana Ross's THEME FROM MAHOGANY (DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO?). Eventually this would become our class song...our SECOND class song. The first was Jefferson Starship's MIRACLES. After it had already been announced as the class song, somebody somewhere apparently became aware of the longer FM version of MIRACLES with the dirty lyrics and suddenly (surprise!) it was changed. I never did know if the original choice was someone's attempt to slip one past the establishment or just an innocent mistake.

In case anyone's interested, here are the Golden Globe Award winners from this date in 1976:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saturday, January 24th, 1976

10:00 PM

Re-read the entire Yellow Claw series in S.H.I.E.L.D this morning. Great stuff!

After much debate, I saw the FRITZ double feature with no problem this afternoon at the International '70 but hunger forced me to leave early so I didn't get to see HEAVY TRAFFIC. Oh, well. It didn't look as good anyway.

While I was out I picked up the new TMT. Saw a hydrant opened on the hill!

Tonight watched the return of ALMOST ANYTHING GOES. A fun show.

NOTES: The Yellow Claw was a fifties Fu Manchu rip-off villain who had been revived to great acclaim in Jim Steranko's NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. series in Marvel's STRANGE TALES in 1966. Steranko's innovative art and storytelling were still the talk of the industry by this time a decade later. In 1977, I would meet him at a comic book convention in Columbus.

WE already mentioned Bakshi's FRITZ THE CAT. Here, it was shown with its non-Bakshi sequel, THE NINE LIVES OF FRITZ THE CAT and then Bakshi's HEAVY TRAFFIC. I hadn't eaten anything all day and the triple feature was too much for me so I slipped out after the first two and went to Wendy's around the corner from Cincinnati's INTERNATIONAL '70 theater. That was one of my favorite theaters. The following year it would close and reopen later as THE PALACE (its original name) where I would see live acts including Bob Newhart, Liza Minnelli, THE PASSSION OF DRACULA and THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW before it closed again and was torn down.

Apparently I was convinced I hadn't missed much by skipping out on HEAVY TRAFFIC. In the early eighties I finally saw HEAVY TRAFFIC on home video (Beta) and it immediately became not only my favorite Bakshi film but one of my favorite films of the early seventies! Last I looked it's on YouTube if you haven't seen it.

TMT was a monster-centric tabloid newspaper called THE MONSTER TIMES that covered horror comics and movies. ALMOST ANYTHING GOES was an early reality show/game show with people participating in various athletic games akin to those one might find at a summer picnic. One of the host/commentators was Regis Philbin who just this week in 2011 announced his impending retirement.

Not only do I have no clue as to why I found an open hydrant so exciting in 1976, I'm not even sure what hill it would have been on as there were no hills around where I lived at that time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 23rd, 1976

11:00 PM

A normal school day again. I think I may have bothered Angie with my rotten jokes, though. Might go see FRITZ THE CAT tomorrow. Discussed it with Jay at school today. He had never heard of it.

Watched the premiere episode of DONNY AND MARIE tonight. Wow! Also watched WHAT'S UP DOC? again on the ABC FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES.

NOTES: FRITZ THE CAT is the 1972 Ralph Bakshi film version of R. Crumb's underground comic strip. Billed on its initial release as the first adult animated cartoon (like most things that claim to be firsts, it really wasn't) it had been rated X--over 18 only--so I couldn't see it. In 1976, it was re-issued as part of a triple feature and was now R-rated.

The Jay with whom I discussed Fritz went on to be a reporter and then prominent in local government.

DONNY & MARIE premiered this evening with their kitschy Krofft Brothers variety series after a special that had served as a pilot the previous November. It became a favorite and I would actually buy their first couple of albums together. I thought Marie was hot.

WHAT'S UP DOC? was another feature from 1972. I had seen it in the theater and enjoyed it immensely. Although largely forgotten today, it's an old-fashioned screwball comedy with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. It's also the only Peter Bogdanovich film I think that works on every possible level. Always found him to be interesting more than good.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 22nd, 1976

11:00 PM

School was basically normal. We read an Agatha Christie in Mystery Class. Got all A's again on report card except for one C. My first C ever on a report card. UGH! Physics, of course. We were also given info on next year's courses.

Got the new TBG in the mail and picked up a Laurel and Hardy History in Cincy. Got some Wendy's, too.

Everybody left the Social Security Office early tonight so we got to go over and clean early. Got done in only an hour for a change.

Watched Mary Tyler Moore's special tonight. That was weird.

NOTES: I really tried in Physics but I just never seemed to catch on. Doc tried a couple of times at my request to go over stuff with me after class to try to help but nothing worked. Having been a straight A student all through school this really bothered me. As previously stated, I don't feel he was the best teacher ever but I'm not placing all the blame on him. I just seemed incapable of completely grasping the concepts for some reason.

The Mary Tyler Moore special was this truly weird musical hour about angels and devils and philosophy and time and...It was called MARY'S INCREDIBLE DREAM. It featured Ben Vereen, the Manhattan Transfer, superfast fiddler Doug Kershaw and Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler (as God more or less). Although she still had her Saturday night sitcom, this was an ambitious step for Mary but in retrospect it was also a pretentious, over-inflated mess that is now almost completely forgotten.

Seen above is the Laurel and Hardy book I purchased o this date in 1976. It isn't the best of the books on the boys but at that time pickings were slim. To scan it just now, I pulled it down from a shelf where it resides with a dozen or so better Laurel and Hardy books picked up over the years.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday, January 21st, 1976

11:00 PM

A really weird day! The snow was coming down in pre-formed glaciers this morning and yet they still made us go to school! To make a long and strange story as short as possible, I trudged down to the bus stop at 5 'til 8 as usual but didn't get to school 'til 5 'til 9. We watched cartoons and game shows in first period and then went to second period where we didn't do anything at all due to a lack of students. It was Mystery and I got stuck with the same three freaks that I had in Sci-Fi. Luckily they can't be in my Creative Writing class that starts in ten weeks.

Anyway, third period was Study Hall so still pointless to have come in. From there they had us go to lunch...then let us out! They sent everyone home. They never even gave out report cards like they were supposed to. Rather than fight the bus crowds, I decided to walk home but I will never walk home in the snow ever again!

This morning I had promised myself that if we were off I would go and get my Social Security Card so I went straight there. Because of the weather, they weren't crowded at all so it wasn't too bad. Felt odd seeing all the people working there when usually I see the office empty.

At home I had RBCC in the mail and I learned about Omnicon coming in July, a biggie in Louisville sponsored by Don Rosa, admission $7.50. Mom says maybe we can go! DeForrest Kelly will be there!

Speaking of him, I saw "Mirror, Mirror," on STAR TREK. Another great one!

We never did get the paper today. Will we get a paper tomorrow? Will school be closed tomorrow? And what about Sherlock Holmes? For the answers to these and other questions, be sure to tune in tomorrow--same bat-time, same bat-channel!

NOTES: Apologies to the "three freaks" in my Mystery class for calling them that if they happen to know who they are. I have no idea at this point myself. When we get to Creative Writing, we had to start a journal for class. I still have it, too, and will use segments from it to supplement this blog as it comes up.

AS previously stated, we lived right next door to the Social Security Office and since I was working there already overnight it was odd that I didn't have a Social Security Card. On this date, I got mine.

RBCC was the venerable comics fanzine called THE ROCKET'S BLAST/ COMICCOLLECTOR. Don Rosa was the author of their INFORMATION CENTER column, a very knowledgable and funny comics fan, writer and artist who lived in Louisville about 100 miles West of us. A decade later he would become THE definitive modern Disney Duck artist and--no exaggeration-- a bit of a living legend in parts of the world while still remaining a humble and little recognized resident here in Kentucky. In 1976, however, he was sponsoring Omnicon, a large STAR TREK and comics convention which immediately became THE event I was really looking forward to that summer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

***EXTRA--Holmes High School***

2011--I write a lot here about my High School in 1976. Here it is. Well...a portion of it. Along with the three buildings seen here there was another large building across the road seen in this old postcard picture. In fact, today, there are several more buildings on the other side of that road (including a nursery). There were and are are two full sized sports fields attached also. Holmes High School was even then more like a good sized community college campus than a high school. At the time I went there--between Fall of 1974 and summer of 1977--it was said to be a big drug school. Only once, though, did I ever see any evidence of that and that was when one student bought a tiny bag of pot from another across my desk in math class! I think the one selling it went on to be a rather prominent...well...better not say.

My son currently attends this school.

Tuesday, January 20th, 1976

11:00 AM

Awoke today to discover school called off again due to the deep snow that began falling last evening. At least I hope school was off 'cause I am. Mom stayed home today, too. The snow really isn't that bad. I went out and shoveled some off the walk earlier.


I finished most of the initial reading of my con-ware and went ahead and filed it all. I picked up a little ILLUMINATUS and readied some Sherlock.

I've been seriously thinking about philosophy and the thoughts brought on by my talk with Terry. I've learned many things. For instance I realize now I was never really suicidal but over the past few years all the thinking about it and wondering what it would be like for everyone else if I were gone kind of convinced me that I really was suicidal. But I never was! Might have been if I continued thinking along those lines, though. Scary to imagine!

I've decided I'm going to work it out with Angie slowly until things either happen just exactly like I'd like them to happen or until I just lose interest. I do not want to be turned down again!

10:00 PM

Mom told me tonight about a bad fall I took when I was just barely learning to walk. She says that that might have caused my eye problems. I tend to agree with here.

UPDATE: First of all, about this suicide thing, I was never--as I state here--actually suicidal. I did, however, like a surprisingly large number of teens, go through a period where I became obsessed with it as a possible escape from bullying and loneliness. I would imagine how guilty people would feel when I was gone and how they'd wish they'd treated me better. reality, I had it pretty good. I hadn't really been bullied much since Junior High. In High School, I was mostly just ignored. I had great parents and wonderful escapes into movies and comics. So eventually that dark spell passed.

Some kids don't have it so lucky. The bullying hurts on more than just a physical level. The loneliness can sometimes hurt even worse. If kids have no interests they can throw themselves into like I did until the storm blows over, they get trapped in it and THAT'S when they act out against themselves or others. "No child left behind" was such a good sentiment. We as a society should do everything we can to make it a reality on every level possible.

'Scuse me whilst I step off my soapbox.

I had gotten my first glasses when I was five years old. I purposely "lost" them the very next day (ironically in a big hole next to the apartment where my future wife would live many years later). My original eye problem was one lazy eye, a common enough issue. I don't think a fall while learning to walk would have caused that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 19th, 1976

11:00 PM

Got up early to start reading all my new stuff! I read or at least skimmed most of the books I bought yesterday by day's end. I saw a short article about the Con in the paper. I forwent the movie I was planning on seeing due to sleet and ensuing icy conditions.

Not much good on TV tonight due to Ford so I had more time and a better chance to read.

I just got off the phone with Terry. He called late and we talked for about an hour and a half mainly about comics and the search for being. Gave me some new insights.

Only thing that really marred the day was I did IT again out of schedule! I got so mad at myself I went ahead and ripped up that magazine and threw it away! Guess I can't really stick to a schedule after all but just have to try to avoid IT as much as possible.

NOTES: Not much to say here. President Gerald Ford dominated all 3 networks and PBS that evening with the annual State of the Union Address. Still just a year and a half after Nixon, we pretty much gave Ford a pass on everything else. As long as he wasn't Nixon, we'd wear his silly WIN buttons and say the state of the union was good!

President Ford, our only non-elected President, was a pleasant but non-descript man who I think in retrospect was what the country needed to immediately follow Nixon. Later that year, I would miss seeing him in person on Cincinnati's Fountain Square by mere minutes. Instead, what I saw were the thousands and thousands of VOTE FOR ME flyers littered for blocks by his quickly scattering supporters after the President left the area.

"IT" remained a continuing issue to me. I have no idea now what insights I got from Terry that day nor what movie I had planned on seeing. Shouldn't this have been a school day in that pre-MLK Day era? Did nothing happen at all in school?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

****EXTRA-The Complete Sherlock Holmes****

2011-Seeing as how I reference it quite a lot in these early 1976 posts I thought I'd dig out my 1975 Christmas present from my parents, THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES. I had become a Holmes fan through the constant showing of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies on Cincinnati's WXIX in the early seventies so the next logical step was to read the actual stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As now, when I develop a new obsession, I wanted it all immediately. Thus I put in a holiday request for this volume, spotted at Kidd's Bookstore in downtown Cincinnati. And there it was under the tree! I read it religiously at first, then got a bit burnt out on Sherlock. Still. I would return to him throughout the years and many, many times since.

Sunday, January 18th, 1976

11:00 PM

The day I waited for all this year! The Second Annual Cincinnati Comic Book Art Convention! I got up early and even though Terry and I got a late start at 11, we ended up staying until about 5. I had the best time I've had in a long time!

Terry bought almost all he'd missed since he quit collecting a couple months ago. As for me, I almost finished my CAPTAIN AMERICA, Spidey and FF collections. All I lack now is 1, about 4 and 3 issues respectively. I also got the Howard the Duck poster but minus the autograph. We never did even see Brunner and he was the Guest of Honor!

We did see the other guests, though. In fact, we spent more than two hours listening to Steve Gerber, Mary Skrenes, Marty Pasko and Bruce Carlin talk, mostly about the politics in the industry that we fans never see and the possibilities of creating a new comics union. It was all too marvelous to write down here but I learned more than I ever dreamed from them today! I also saw Steve Conner again and he said he's opening a new store! The whole day was all just too great, even the free decal! I can't wait 'til next year! Wow!

Another event I had been looking forward to was far overshadowed by the Con and that was Bobby Sherman's first TV appearance in over a year on tonight's ELLERY QUEEN. He didn't get much to do.

NOTES: I was disappointed in not getting to see artist Frank Brunner but at least I got the poster (which I still have). That poster is legally kind of interesting. It was actually entitled SCARFACE DUCK and has a copyright only to Brunner and the poster company. While it is clearly Marvel's HOWARD THE DUCK, it was, at the same time, technically NOT. This would be the beginning of years and tears of copyright issues over that character with creator Gerber eventually being granted SOME rights back in court.

Steve Gerber had been a fan and frequent letter writer to comics and had just turned pro a couple of years before. His style--often including prose sections--was unique and led to some of the best written comics of the time including, believe it or not, the notoriously titled GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING. Gerber died in early 2008.

Mary Skrenes was a writer friend of Gerber's who flitted around the industry off and on for years and had, at this time, just begun a collaboration with Steve on Marvel's OMEGA THE UNKNOWN. She and I now have seven mutual friends on Facebook.

Martin "Pesky" Pasko had been a popular letter writer to DC comics who had, himself, turned pro not long before and was then writing some Superman Family stories. He had not been announced as a guest but came along anyway. I'm going to guess that Bruce Carlin was also a friend of Gerber's who tagged along. I don't recall him at all and his slight comics credits show only some humor work for Marvel.

Steve Conner had started the first Northern Kentucky comics store--actually a small section of his father's rural gardening store that he called COMIC CORNER--a year or so earlier but it hadn't lasted. I was only ever aware of one comics store in the whole area before Conner's and that was in the Losantiville area of Cincinnati--an outlying area that I was never able to get to at age 15, even by bus.

For the record, I eventually did finish my FANTASTIC FOUR and CAPTAIN AMERICA collections but was never able to finish SPIDER-MAN. Never got the first 4 issues or his first appearance in the now out-priced AMAZING FANTASY 15. In recent years, I've had to sell most of my classic comics due to a consistent lack of finances. Sigh.

This convention, by the way, apparently took such a financial toll on the organizers that even the Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe soon closed so there was NO third annual convention.

Monday, January 17, 2011

****EXTRA****Me At My Desk 1976

2011- Found this shot of me in my "office" from early 1976. Longish hair was just starting to be a regular sight in the Northern Kentucky area and this was about as long as mine ever got until a few years later.

On the desk you see my typewriter, my pencil sharpener, a clock, a silicon paperweight I made in art class, an avon bottle vintage car, my SOMA game, my first AM/FM radio and what looks like a Campbell's soup can. It's actually a pencil holder wrapped in a fake Campbell's Chicken SOAP label clipped from an issue of CRACKED Magazine.

The lamp, with PEANUTS stickers on its shade, was made by me in 8th grade shop class. In the corner behind me you can partially see a TV and just the edge of a smaller desk that had been mine since I was about eight years old. At this point, I stored my comics in the upper part as well as in the cabinet underneath.

In the background is a metal bookshelf we had had in the living room for years with a Funk and Wagnells Encyclopedia set on it. One day, I moved that set to the mantle and stole the bookcase for my room. (It currently resides in Davids room upstairs.) You can see my growing mass market paperback collection there. The notebooks on top all featured comic books where I had ripped off the cover, poked holes in them and stuck them in these 3 Ring Binders. There's thousands of dollars worth of comics in those binders still...or would be if I HADN'T done that to them. Sigh.

My Godzilla model rests atop the case and leftover cub scout memorabilia is seen on the little wall doohickey. The posters are from Jack Kirby's two experimental DC magazines from a few years earlier, SPIRIT WORLD and IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB. At first I kept them stapled in the mags but I finally decided to take them out and put them up...again thus destroying the value of these now highly collectible issues! Ugh!

Being in Kentucky, that's a horse racing bedspread there on the left. Oddly enough, last year I dug the headboard of that bed out of the basement and my friend Brittany Rose (see my other blog) and I carted it to her apartment where it is once again being put to use.

In a similar vein, the desk that I'm sitting at there in the exact same desk where I'm sitting now as I write these words in 2011.

Saturday, January 17th, 1976

6:00 PM

Had an elaborate plan to meet Terry to see HARD TIMES but he missed the bus. Don't know what happened there. I went ahead and saw it anyway. Pretty good. Very different for Bronson lately. Good acting, too.

I also read in the new TBG about those ILLUMINATUS books I keep seeing so while I was out I bought them all, three for $4.00.

9:00 PM

So this afternoon after I got home from running around, I re-read all my Howard the Duck and Dr Strange stories to prepare for the Con tomorrow. Big article about the Vorises in the paper today with "Conan" misspelled as "Konan." Hahaha! Well, tomorrow is the big day. I hope to finish several collections. This time I'll be taking 75 dollars. Too bad it's supposed to be cold though 'cause I'd like to wear my small coat. I remember how hot it got inside last year.

Almost forgot! Saw Chris Lee on SPACE 1999 tonight.

NOTES: HARD TIMES was Walter Hill's gritty film about Depression-era street fighting from the year before. It starred Charles Bronson and James Coburn. It had finally come to an accessible theater. I had been a big Bronson fan since watching him on TV in THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MCPHEETERS when I was a kid and for a period in the early seventies, he had become THE biggest box office attraction in the world. Many of his films were violent action pictures but the occasional one like this proved what a great actor he still was.

I asked Terry the other day in 2011 if he had any clue why he ended up missing the bus that day in '76. He didn't even remember HARD TIMES.

The ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY, as it became known, remains the absolute weirdest thing I have ever read (and trust me, I have read some craaaazy stuff over the years!). Now considered a cult classic by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, there's no way to briefly summarize it but I'll try: It's about a reporter for a ROLLING STONE like newspaper who finds out that every insane conspiracy theory you have ever heard is true and teams up with a renegade sailor in a Yellow Submarine (and his dolphin sidekick) to get the truth out there.

The Vorises were, as previously stated, the sponsors of the next day's comic convention. Cy Voris and I were among a tiny handful of folks who had seen the North American premiere of SPACE 1999 at a comic book convention in Cleveland the previous Fall. Designed to fill the void for STAR TREK fans, SPACE 1999 starred Martin Landau and his then-wife Barbara Bain and was produced by UK puppet series producers, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It wasn't very good but it was practically the only sci-fi on the air at that pre-STAR WARS time.

Speaking of STAR WARS, it's hard to believe in the wake of the legendarily bad movie version of HOWARD THE DUCK foisted on us by George Lucas many years later but at this early stage HOWARD THE DUCK was the hottest comic book out there! The writer and artist were going to be guests at the Con on Sunday and I wanted to be ready!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 16th, 1976

5:00 PM

"All on a Dark and Shadowy Day" was the poem I wrote the other day. Today it came true! It was dark, shadowy, windy and I even saw three weird lights in the sky! Psychic, I guess. My mind somehow caused me to predict my own future.

I really couldn't figure today's Algebra out at all but I did pass that quiz. I got an 87 average, too. In Physics, I got an 86 on the test and am now sitting in the row I like so much again (although nowhere near Angie). Sometimes I wonder if she feels the same way about me that I do about her but is just afraid to admit it. Sometimes I dream of walking through that park way up on Vine Street with in THE STERILE CUCKOO. That was a good movie. Wish they'd rerun that one.

10:00 PM

Broke my rule and did IT again!! I figure I cheated myself anyway going ten days in the beginning when I had set a goal of five so now it should be ten, next time being on the 31st or after. I hope I can remember all that.

I'm preparing a lot for the con on Sunday. Sci-Fi class ended today. Up next is Mystery where all of my recent Sherlock reading should come in handy.

That beautiful girl rode the bus again. She got on just after me at the same stop. HER I'd really like to get to know. I don't even know what grade she's in, let alone her name.

I heard Linda Scott's second annual birthday show today.

NOTES: See previous post for the poem mentioned.

Here I take to referring to the hormonal urges as simply "IT." I was not even willing to call it by name when I was writing privately in a secret journal labelled "Keep Out!" That should give you a clue how embarrassing it was to me...and again, as far as I knew, I was the ONLY person in the entire world who had this problem.

THE STERILE CUCKOO is a sad/funny 1969 movie with an absolutely brilliant performance by Liza Minnelli as a misfit girl in an ill-fated romance with Wendell Burton. The great soundtrack consists of endless variations of the great song, COME SATURDAY MORNING. Still a favorite, in 2008 I was able to contact star Wendell Burton through the Internet and let him know how much that film means to me. Long retired into the ministry, he was pleased to hear it.

I have no recollection of Linda Scott whatsoever. Since I wrote "heard," I'm wondering if perhaps she was the wife of legendary Cincinnati radio personality Jim Scott and perhaps they were making a fuss about her birthday on his morning show.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thursday, January 15th 1976

6:00 PM

Not a good day. I wore my mood ring and it was blue almost all day. Fair until 5th period when I drew a blank on an Algebra quiz. At best I got 2 right but I doubt even that! We had 20 minutes for a Physics test but I took 30 and I doubt I got any of that right either! Took my new calculator but forgot to use it. Then I fell as I was leaving. Scraped up my hand but just ruined my clothes! Missed my regular bus. I did manage to catch an Eastern home instead of having to walk back 25 blocks! Then, as I said yesterday, the bad things led to a very good feeling when I finally got off the bus.


Mrs. K upstairs gave us Burger Chef gift certificates. Neat!

Tonight I saw Duke's American special and a rerun of ELVIS ON TOUR. I saw a commercial for UNDERCOVERS HERO. Starts tomorrow. That may be what I end up seeing on Saturday.

Mom told me she saw in the paper where Debbie's mother is being sued over an accident. That reminds me. I think I had a dream about Angie last night. Seems like it was a good one. Not a sex one, just love.

NOTES: Mood rings were all the rage in the seventies. Essentially they were cheap rings with a big glass that had a layer of liquid crystal element that was affected by the wearer's body heat and supposedly reflected moods and changing emotions. I still have mine but I haven't worn it in years.

We lived between 3rd Street and 4th Street. The school was at 26th Street. If I missed my regular bus home, it was either wait a half hour or walk a half hour. On this occasion, I started walking but took a route where I lucked into catching a different bus, the Eastern.

Mr's K was a 90 year old woman who lived upstairs. She was the landlord's mother-in-law. She was very nice, very short and very feisty. Probably would have lived forever if she hadn't been hit by a truck crossing the street some time later.

Duke was, of course, John Wayne. The special referred to was called SWING OUT, SWEET LAND and was actually a rerun from 1971. It was Wayne's only starring TV special and featured a huge all-star cast, many of whom only appeared long enough to be recognized. With its patriotic theme, it was reshown in '76 to tie in with the Bicentennial.

I'll tell you now, not only does this thing with Angie not go anywhere but I really don't recall having this much of a crush on her!

During this week the number one song in America was Barry Manilow's I WRITE THE SONGS. I kind of liked Barry's songs but wasn't a huge fan. I would become a bigger one over time. The best concert I ever saw was an early nineties Manilow concert my wife and I went to in Cincinnati. The man is a major showman.

Friday, January 14, 2011

***EXTRA*** Poetry--All On a Dark and Shadowy Day

NOTES: 2011--I started writing what we would now call rather "emo" poetry circa 1970. By this point, it was a bit of a regular thing. Don't judge me! A lot of YOU did it, too, you know! It's a fairly standard teenage thing, actually. My poetry, however, was genius...or so I thought at the time anyway. I began collecting it for posterity in a blank book that was thrown away at the office next door. Looking back now there really ARE some good five maybe...out of a couple of hundred! Don't worry. I won't make you read them all but this one, written today in 1976, is referenced in a couple of days in the Journal.

by Steven Thompson January, 1976

All on a dark and shadowy day,
Three lights upon the sky.
There the wind and rocks at play,
Angel, devil and I.

If a dream would die 'neath velvet clouds,
A calm we've never known,
Would live the life of desert sands,
To the wind forever blown.

All on a bright and beautiful day,
No sights upon the sky.
There, where the silence of ages lay,
I lay me down to die.

Trust me, almost all of 'em are like that.

I continued writing poetry for another five years or so and there are even a few stray poems in the volume from the eighties, nineties and one as late as 2002! Sadly, with the occasional exception, I never got much better than this one.

Wednesday, January 14th, 1976


Seemed like Thursday all day.

I had a lot of work at school today and I may not have gotten it all right but at least I finished it. All that was topped off by a Physics test that I actually came through fairly well on.

When I think of Angie at school, I know how I could feel about her if I'd let myself but I'm too afraid of rejection.

After school I took the bus straight over the river again. I picked up one great comic, one great magazine and two not bad well as finally giving in and buying HUSTLER. Tried to avoid that last one but guess I didn't try hard enough. I did manage to avoid actually opening it or even flipping through it, though. Stuffed it right under the chair pillow unread. Maybe the more I learn about myself, the more I realize I don't really need that kind of thing. I can do without it. Maybe I can hold out past my limit this time without any trouble. I hope so.

While I was over there, I ordered my very first triple from Wendy's but when I got home I found dad had got my usual six coneys. So...I ate all of it!

Just now I finally got to see Jamie's Return on her own show! Finally! Was it worth waiting for!
I like the show a lot but even if I didn't I have a real crush on Lindsay Wagner. She's sexy but she's also very smart! Sometimes bad things happen that turn out good in the end after all. That kind of thing has happened a lot lately.

NOTES: The whole rejection thing was big with me. I had asked out a girl from my 10th grade Math class after watching her for weeks and never seeing her with a guy. My heart felt like it was going to burst through my chest when I stopped her on the stairs and asked her to a movie only to have her laugh and say, "You're a nice guy but I have a boyfriend. What was your name again?" UUUGGHH!! I wasn't going to go through THAT again!

My mother had gotten a new easy chair for the living room a year earlier. I talked her out of throwing out the old one and instead moved it into a corner of my room. I immediately loaded it up with comics, toys and assorted junk so no one could sit in it...but I could easily lift the seat cushion as needed to access my secret stash of adult mags.

After appearances on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, Lindsay Wagner (seen above on a later TV GUIDE cover) premiered in her own show on this day and immediately became a favorite celebrity crush for me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 13th, 1976

8 :00 PM

Awoke to freezing rain this morning. Turned out not to be as bad as it looked though. I saw Dwight on the bus up. He dropped out of school and got a job right across the street from Holmes. Saw Doug on the way back again but he still didn't see me. Funny how we were so close for a couple of years and now we never talk even though we're still in the same school. I guess some things you have to leave behind you as you move into the uncertain future. The past is gone. You have to live for today and tomorrow.

Bad thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Really bad, heavy winds, too.

I might see my first movie of the year this weekend. It would have to be Saturday, of course.

I found out today that both parts of "Jamie's Return" will be shown on her show starting tomorrow night. Oh, and I see in the TV GUIDE where Bobby Sherman guests on ELLERY QUEEN on Sunday. Can't wait to see that.

NOTES: I believe Dwight had been a friend of my old friend Terry. Seems like he had major issues. Doug, whom I mentioned earlier, was a close friend in fifth and sixth grade. Whenever we had played Batman and Robin back in 1969-70, he was the Caped Crusader and I was the sidekick.

"Jamie's Return" refers to THE BIONIC WOMAN, the Lindsay Wagner spin-off of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN which, in my opinion, was a much better show. Bobby Sherman was the flavor of the month pop star of 1970, already a trivia question by mid-decade but still a favorite of mine. He eventually retired from acting and singing and became an EMT and, I believe, later a police officer. More recently he's made a comeback in oldies shows. As a loyal fan of him and his music at the time it was big, I still watched him whenever he did turn up on anything. I still have all his 45's but I haven't played one in at least thirty years.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 12th, 1976

11:00 PM

We all had to return to homeroom this afternoon in order to get some kind of form we had to take home. I'm not sure what kind of form it was because I then went and forgot it anyway. I only missed two of the five questions on yesterday's Physics exam.

Today I finished 1984 in which Winston, the main character with whom I (and the readers) identified was forced to stop his rebelliousness and conform...and then was killed. Jeez! Talk about a bitter ending! I just hope we never end up in that type of world in real life in the future.

I stood pretty close to a girl on the way home who I had never seen before. I couldn't stop looking at her, though. I constantly watched that real pretty girl! Light hair, braces, tinted glasses, expensive looking coat. Maybe a grade younger than me.

After I got home, I spent most of the late afternoon really enjoying Shang-Chi! I got Bob Gerstenhaber's new ad in the mail today but I'll wait to order anything in case maybe I can get it at the Con this weekend.

I was late to work tonight because I got caught up in watching a STAR TREK rerun.

NOTES: Not going to get too political here but one could easily argue that aspects of 1984 have come true in recent years in the US and elsewhere.

Shang-Chi was the hero of a Marvel comic book entitled MASTER OF KUNG-FU. In 1981, I was asked on a radio show what I thought was the best comic book in recent years and I went on record as saying I thought MASTER OF KUNG-FU--which had long since risen above it's tie-in roots to the martial arts movie phenomenon of the early seventies--had been THE best written and drawn comic of the entire decade. I stand by that.

Robert Gerstenhaber was a fanzine publisher and, apparently, a comic dealer of some sort. I hate to say it but I don't recall his name at all. I just Googled him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

***EXTRA***Journal Doodles # 2

Here are some more doodles doodled throughout the Bicentennial year, this time from the back cover of the journal. There are a few characters I created myself for various (mostly unfinished) short stories, These include Lucifer (an alien, top left), Radical (overlapping him) and Starblazer (just below them). You'll also see Vaughn Bode's Cheech Wizard, Groucho, Captain America and a couple of sleazy looking clowns that pre-date both Alan Kupperberg's Frenchy and Larry Hama's Obnoxio, let alone the Simpsons' Krusty!

Sunday, January 11th, 1976


Woke up even before my alarm went off but that's okay. Meant I was wide awake by the time Laurel and Hardy came on so I watched it and then stayed up to watch the Fu Manchu flick, also!

10:00 PM

Later in the day, I'm sorry to say I gave in to the hormones. UGH! Oh, well. I went two weeks. Will try harder to be strong this next time. Goal is at least fifteen days this time!

I spent most of the early part of the day sorting through old photos while tiring of my favorite 45 after playing it over and over and over. Most of the later day was spent attempting my Physics homework and reading more of 1984.

Looking at the pics got me in one of those moods where anything could trigger a memory of the past. I remembered things I hadn't thought of in years and actually seemed to recall things that happened before I was born. I guess because I'd seen these pictures throughout my life, remembering half-forgotten people and their fates. There was a picture of my cousin Toni in 1951, younger than I am now , and then another shot of her two weeks ago--married and mother to an almost ten year old daughter. A shot of my cousin Joan showed her high school graduation day in the late fifties. Now twice married and Rachel's mother. It just all got me bothered that I couldn't see my own future. It's one thing to think about sex and marriage and kids but if I can't actually imagine that all happening to me, how can I make it real? Can I? Ever?

TALES OF TERROR was on Channel 19's new EDGAR ALLEN POE THEATER along with the Cool Ghoul. Channel 12 preempted Jamie's 2nd return on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN.


I had become a Laurel and Hardy fan at an early age when my mom bought me a children's record that tied in with the Larry Harmon L&H TV cartoons (which never even aired in our market). Over the years, I went out of my way to catch any and all TV appearances of "the Boys," which, at that time, usually meant the later feature films. Although they aren't as classic as the early stuff, I fell for them hard. The film I got up at 4 AM to watch was probably THE BULLFIGHTERS or A HAUNTING WE WILL GO. I remain a big fan of Laurel and Hardy and was happy to become acquainted with the late Kip King before he fell ill in 2009. Kip had known Stan Laurel personally in the early sixties and loved to talk about him! Oh, and TCM is running Laurel and Hardy films today and tomorrow in 2011!

The Fu Manchu pic I remember as being one of the sixties Christopher Lee renditions of the character. They were plodding and cheap-looking but he was Christopher Lee, a favorite of mine since I had seen DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS in theaters a decade earlier...improbably on a double bill with Adam West's BATMAN.

My parents were older when they had me. They never discussed sex with me. It probably never even occurred to them to do so. I'm convinced they never even HAD least not after I was conceived. Most everything I learned I looked up in an unabridged dictionary. Thus, since no one ever discussed masturbation publicly--ever--I was one of millions of teenagers who thought it must be wrong and a bad thing. It wasn't on religious or moral grounds or anything. Just that if this feels good and yet nobody ever mentions it, there has GOT to be a catch! I tried to avoid it. I felt a personal shame when I could not. I doubt that it ever occurred to me that more than likely every person, male and female, that I saw daily at school was going through some variation of my issues with that.

I really have no recollection of this EDGAR ALLEN POE THEATER but assume it ran the various Poe adaptations from AIP. Couldn't have lasted very long, though. The Cool Ghoul had been our local horror host in the late sixties/early seventies. Although he had been pretty much retired by that point, he was still trotted out for special occasions, a practice that would continue right up to the death of his creator, newscaster Dick Von Hoene, in the early 21st Century.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saturday, January 10th, 1976

7 PM

Got up late but still in time to catch Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes on Channel 19. Then I headed over the river and, in spite of numerous delays, made my way to the Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe and picked up some more comics both old and new! Spent most of the rest of the day reading them along with STAR*REACH # 3 which finally came in the mail (the mail which, itself, was also very late today!). The new HUSTLER was out but I'm still managing to avoid all of that this year. So far anyway. I picked us up some Wendy's hamburgers for lunch but they made mine wrong! Ugh! I set my alarm to get me up at 4 AM to see if the Laurel and Hardy flick is on yet. Now I'm going to bed early just in case.

NOTES: I love Wendy's hamburgers. I really do. Always have. It has been a not so funny running gag that they never seem to get my order right! As seen above it was happening in 1976. It happened last month when I went there, also. Had to drive all the way back to get things fixed. They gave me a free drink. I applied at Wendy's a few years back and they made me take a timed, detailed test. I apparently flunked it as I received a rejection letter the next day. It boggles my mind to think that the people who never get my order right must have passed it.

Getting to the Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe was a bit complicated as it involved taking a bus into Cincinnati from Kentucky, walking 6 blocks, then catching a second bus to another part of town. I made the trip often, though, sometimes with my friend Terry. They were the sponsors of the first two major Cincinnati comics cons. The store was run by Andy Voris and his young son Cy. Cy Voris went on to be a successful TV producer and also is credited with the screenplay for the comic book based movie BULLETPROOF MONK as well as getting a story credit on KUNG-FU PANDA!

STAR*REACH was Mike Friedrich's pioneering "ground-level" comic, so-called because it was neither mainstream nor underground. In retrospect, it was perhaps the earliest of the independent comics that would cause the market to explode (and eventually implode) in the eighties. It featured my earliest exposure to creators such as Craig Russell and Dave Sim.

I mentioned earlier that my prematurely graying hair allowed me unlimited access to adult magazines of the day, thus the above reference to HUSTLER, a magazine later banned in Cincinnati but which, at that time, I had been getting regularly for quite a while. For...ahem...educational purposes, of course!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Friday, January 9th, 1976

11 PM

This is it! Seventeen years ago today, also a Friday, at 4:29 PM, I was born! I'm told it was snowing that day, also!

Lucky day, too! We really were off school yesterday so I wasn't playing hooky! Below zero temps this morning but I felt snug in my new THICK coat and new boots. Very slippery outside. Did pretty well in school today, too. Barely saw Angie, though.

Tonight we watched HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, CHARLIE BROWN. Then we watched THE SUPER COPS, the movie based on the book about Greenberg and Hantz that I enjoyed so much a few years ago! The picture stars DARK SHADOWS' Quentin--David Selby. It isn't very good, though.

Dad got me coneys and I played myself the Beatles tune, BIRTHDAY. I was watching the clock for my exact birth moment but I still ended up playing it a minute early. I have long said that seventeen will be the best year after eleven. Eleven lived up to its promise so now,'s your turn. From the very moment I started thinking about it all today I felt really good. Realistically I know that there will be bad stuff, too, but I'm convinced the good will outnumber it...starting with next weekend's comic book convention!

NOTES: I had spent several years building up seventeen as such a pivotal year in my mind that it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. There were quite a few good things to come, however. And yes, I celebrated my birthday alone then and since. The only actual birthday party I ever had was when I turned eleven. I said in 1976 that eleven had been a great year. Let's just say the greatness all came AFTER that party.

The term "coneys," for those of you not enlightened regarding such culinary delights, refers regionally to a hot dog, served on a bun with Cincinnati's signature Greek chili--a thin, watery sauce that includes cinnamon, chocolate and cumin--and topped off with a ton of thickly chopped onions and a huge pile of cheddar cheese. The coney is and long has been my favorite food. I tend to eat them six at a time...although in recent years, I'm just as likely to get six and save three or four 'til later. Never having been a fan of cheese (except on pizzas), I skip the Cheddar, though.

As far as SUPER COPS, it had been a best-selling book based on the exploits of two maverick New York Police officers fighting corruption a la SERPICO. They became known as "Batman and Robin." The inevitable film version came in 1974 but disappeared quickly until it turned up on network TV here. As stated then, it really wasn't very good. David Selby, a very mannered actor, starred with then stage actor Ron Liebman (married to actress Linda Lavin at that time), a very loud, scene chewing actor.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

****EXTRA**** Journal Doodles # 1

Throughout my 1976 Journal I have pages of doodles. Here we have the inside front cover. My parents weren't the curious kind and I was an only child but I still didn't want anyone to read it so I added the warnings here just in case. The Snoopy For President sticker came from a package of BUTTERNUT BREAD. They were always doing PEANUTS promotions during the seventies.

Not too many doodles here compared to some later pages--just a crude self-portrait and err...a couple of my favorite subjects at the time.

The symbol on the one girl's shirt is a symbol I designed a few year's earlier out of my initials. It also became my art signature seen at bottom right. I put it on everything for years...including comics that would now be worth thousands of dollars...if they didn't have my initials at the bottom of the splash page in pen. AAARRGGHH!

Thursday, January 8th, 1976

10:00 PM

As the weather got worse last night, there was some doubt as to whether we would have school today. We listened to the radio starting at 6 AM and finally heard them say Covington Public Schools were closed. The problem is, they're supposed to say Covington Independent Schools when talking about mine. Sheesh! I was a nervous wreck trying to decide whether or not to go in! Mom decided she was going to stay home from work so I did also. All day I kept listening for some proof one way or another but found none. I hope we really were off for a change!

While I was home, I watched that new show MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN for the first time. Wasn't bad I guess but way too serious to be called a comedy. It was just...absurd for the sake of being absurd.

I took two pictures of the snow from the third floor window. My last pen pal letter was returned for insufficient postage! Ugh! I put Doug Wildey's AMBLER strip in as a back-story in my PEANUTS book I made.

Things are just like they've been for the past couple of years but tomorrow at least five things will be different. In Louisville, I could even see an X-rated movie at 17! I've managed to avoid thoughts of that sort so far this year but I can't avoid them forever cold turkey! After I give in though, I'll try harder to avoid them just a day longer next time! I did get ONE today for the first time this year but I easily willed it to go away. I am in charge!

11:00 PM

The snow persists tonight making tomorrow morning a likely predicament also! At 10 o'clock, temperatures hit zero degrees. Brrr! Probably be even lower before midnight. Falling behind in my Sherlock reading. I'll probably still be reading this thing come July. Just watched Bill Bixby as a Punisher-type vigilante on STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO.

NOTES: When I was a kid, Covington schools never closed. Period. It didn't matter that I lived two blocks away, though, there were times I still couldn't get there if the city was covered in ice! By this point, however, they closed sometimes...which made it even harder to know what to expect. Nowadays, they robo-call to tell you when they're 5 AM.

I would never be a fan of MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN although I dearly loved the later FERNWOOD and AMERICA 2NIGHT spinoffs (which sometimes featured Kip King whom I would later get to know). The AMBLER story I mention was coincidentally about a giant snowstorm and was printed a while back on my blog.

Like many teenage boys, I was in a constant struggle to main control over my hormones. Sometimes, as here apparently, I would be positively chaste in my thoughts and actions but other times I would totally give in. The fact that I had grey hair by age 13 meant that I was never once carded when I bought dirty magazines! Be aware that this subject DOES come up again throughout the year.

As far as the 5 things that would be different the next day, I have no idea what the hell I was talking about. Wish I could remember that STREETS episode, too, but drawing a total blank.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wednesday, January 7th, 1976I


I wasn't counted absent after all! I caught on pretty well to the algebra I couldn't figure out at all yesterday. Guess sometimes you really do need to just step back from everything a bit. I saw Doug on the bus home from school. Hadn't seen him in a while now and we used to see each other all the time. Couldn't talk to him anyway as nobody could ever hear a thing on that bus!

It rained all day but it all turned to snow by late afternoon. It snowed hard and is still snowing now! We threw some salt out at the SS office after I got home. Earlier, though, I hit Cincinnati after school where I grabbed Marvel's version of SHERLOCK HOLMES, a new Rona Barrett mag with new pics of Linda Blair and the long-awaited SUPERMAN VS SPIDER-MAN! Kind of disappointing. I've seen better artwork and better stories but in this case the event itself overshadows everything! Wish they could have gotten Neal Adams to draw it!

I got another TBG today! Turns out yesterday's was last week's issue running late.

I talked with Angie a lot today. At one point I even caught myself saying something from my heart instead of my brain for a change. Made me actually feel human. Didn't much care for that feeling though. Way too vulnerable. Guess I prefer loneliness to human disappointment or even the potential for it. I did not follow up on anything and instead went back into my protective shell.

Doc let me out a few moments early today to return a film to the AD Office but I got lost. I took Mr. Hammer my 1905 Robert E Lee book to read.

Finally tonight, I just finished watching one of last year's favorite Made-For-TV movies again--THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO starring Richard Chamberlain and Tony Curtis!

Notes: Doug had been a close friend from 5th through 7th grade. We were even grade school rivals over Debbie at one time. In high school, we rarely ran into each other, though.

The SS Office? No, we were not anachronistic fifth columnists. My parents took a job cleaning the office building next door to us every night. It was owned by the landlord who owned our apartment building. At the time it was the Social Security Office. It would later become the Cincinnati Enquirer office and by that time I had taken over the job from my parents.

The funny thing about the SUPERMAN VS SPIDER-MAN book is that it has come out in recent years that, in fact, Neal Adams DID redraw a lot of the art! The book was inked by Adams' then studio-mate Dick Giordano and Neal was apparently enlisted to help with the inking in spots but, realizing the importance of the comic, "touched up" some of credited artist Ross Andru's pencils, also, a fact that remained a secret until after Andru passed.

Doc was one of the most popular teachers at school. he was friendly, handsome, had a great FM-radio style voice and he was genuinely funny! He seemed to know Physics, also. I just never found him to be all that good at getting the rest of us to know it as well. Ultimately, Physics would be one of the few final exams ever that I would fail.

I still have that Robert E Lee bio from 1905 by the way. Tried to sell it on eBay last year but no takers.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

***EXTRA--1976 Pictures--EXTRA***

At left is my then 11 year old cousin Rachel as referenced in the post of Jan. 4th. By my recollection, this was one of only two times she visited our apartment while I was growing up, this time for a belated exchange of Christmas presents.

The previous time that I recall was on my mother's birthday in August of 1971 where I snapped a picture of her and my cousin Andi playing with my


On that night in 1971, my mother was given a beautifully intricate crystal vase and all of us kids were warned to be careful or we would break it! For the record, we didn't. It currently resides on the mantle behind me as I type this nearly forty years later.

The second photo shows the view out one of our side windows in the living room during that winter of 1976. It may have seemed to us like a big winter but it was over the following two seasons that we would have temps at 25 below zero and snow that went nearly up to my waist in the alley behind our house!

The wall you see there is the edge of the Social Security office building next door where, in 1975, I began helping my parents as the new janitors of the building (also owned by our landlord) in what would eventually become my first job when their health precluded continuing a few years later.

Speaking of our house, this was it in the bottom photo. Our apartment was the one barely seen at lower right here on the first floor. Two bedrooms, one living room, one kitchen and one bath...all HUGE and with ridiculously high ceilings. There were sliding oak doors between the living room and the main bedroom and another sliding door into my bedroom (which tended to fall off its rollers). Not much closet space, though. My dad talked the owner into letting us move in in 1966 even though he had a "no kids" policy. I outlasted both parents and two owners and was living with my future wife when I finally moved out in 1991 after 25 years. Our original rent had been 80 dollars a month. When it hit 800 dollars a month we reluctantly moved. It looks pretty much the same today after nearly 150 years. I have many photos of me taken on that porch growing up and in recent years have also taken photos of Rene, David and Brittany Rose on that same porch.

Tuesday, January 6th, 1976

5:00 PM

Still feeling pretty good although a bit more nervous at school today for some reason. Didn't do so well on a Spanish test. I may have actually been counted absent in Physics by today's substitute teacher. Ugh! Felt good to get home again.

11:00 PM

I'm falling behind in my Sherlock Holmes reading! I plan on finishing that ridiculously thick COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES one story at a time! Watched MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS for the first time this year tonight. Those guys are SO funny but I keep reading that Americans don't GET their humor. Also saw PLANET OF THE APES star James Naughton on TV for the first time since we saw him up in Dayton last summer in BUS STOP. Singing yet! Who knew he could sing?

Got the new TBG in the mail today. As always, lots of interesting reading, particularly about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and the TOMORROW comics episode.

Oh! Almost forgot to mention we started the novel 1984 in Sci-Fi Class yesterday. So far it isn't bad!

NOTES: I never did finish the Sherlock Holmes book but I did read quite a few of the stories along the way. I still have that exact volume.

I have remained a big Python fan and expanded out into all kinds of British humor from THE GOON SHOW and THE TWO RONNIES to the CARRY ON films, George Formby, Norman Wisdom, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, etc.

My parents and I had previously taken a bus to Dayton, Ohio to catch actresses Karen Valentine and Rose Marie in summer stock doing BUS STOP. Naughton, one of the astronauts in the 1974 PLANET OF THE APES TV series, had appeared in the cowboy role. Years later, he would be known as a successful, award-winning Broadway musical star. According to Wikipedia, he is currently the voice of Audi in the US.

TBG was THE BUYERS GUIDE FOR COMICS FANDOM, Alan Light's tabloid newspaper that united fandom and morphed over the years into Maggie Thompson's COMICS BUYERS GUIDE magazine of today. I had been a subscriber since issue 17.

And yes, we really did have a Science Fiction Class in my Junior year! 1984 went from "isn't bad" to becoming and remaining one of my favorite books.

Oh, and the TV mag cover there is from the time of Python's local TV debut on PBS the previous Fall. Note that it's "Monte" Python. The tasty art is by Daerick Gross, then a cartoonist for the CINCINNATI POST, now a long-time internet friend and creator of, among other great comics, MURCIELAGA!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 5th, 1976

6:00 PM

I feel much better this year, even after the disillusioning events at school today and some of the things I heard. When I got home, though, I felt relaxed again. Played my new records for the first time this afternoon.

10:00 PM

It wasn't too hard readjusting to the routines of school. Today was another cold day with a low of two degrees. I had a hard time sleeping last night though. I see in the TV GUIDE that there's a great double feature coming up on Saturday night/Sunday morning. If I stay up to see that I bet I sleep better that night.

I helped Angie on some school work today and she exclaimed, "I love you!" which made me feel good but seemed to tick off her friend Jessica. She just looked shocked. I like Jessica but she has never seemed to like me much at all and i don't know why. I like Angie, too. Sometimes I wish I could get to know here a little better but I can't see it happening.

I really need to cut down on the Cokes. My chest feels tight.

NOTES: Angie (not her real name) was the smartest person in my class. This immediately made her attractive to the geek in me but nothing ever came of it. A few years after graduation, we would see each other on the bus occasionally and talk but that was the closest thing we ever had to a real friendship.

Sitting here with 4 coke cans on my desk and several missing teeth, it's safe to say I STILL need to cut down on soft drinks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sunday, January 4th, 1976

9 AM

Oh, wow. I've hardly noticed and it's already 4 days into the year! The days really do go get shorter as you get older. I dreamed about Debbie last night. Can't remember what it was about but I woke up feeling pretty good. I don't know why she still keeps popping into my mind at all. It's been almost 6 years since she moved away and 3 since I've spoken with her. It's not like I haven't tried to forget her. Maybe she's meant to play some role in my future still. We'll see.


I spent much of the afternoon preparing for tomorrow's return to school. This evening, some of my dad's relatives came over for a late Christmas present exchange. My Aunt Velma, my older cousins Betty and Ray and my younger cousin Rachel. It was weird to have them here because usually we've aways gone over to Aunt Velma's house instead. I felt really awkward at first but soon was doing (and ruining) magic tricks from the kit I got for Christmas. I showed my cousin Rachel my pictures. I'm getting to be better at photography. The presents they brought included shirts, sweaters, comics and two record albums.

I got to thinking though. I don't really see my relatives often enough to really know them or love them. I like them and I hope they like me but I feel like I'm missing out. I guess if I'm going to get to know myself better this year I have to admit that I need other people and I need to feel love. There. I said it. I'm sure I'll say more on it later.

The highlight of the day, though, was catching one of my very favorite actors, Roddy McDowall, guest-starring on ELLERY QUEEN! Such a great show! I'll bet it runs forever!

NOTES: Debbie had been my first girlfriend from third grade to sixth grade. I spent much time at her house dancing to ARCHIES music in her room or watching DARK SHADOWS or THE BRADY BUNCH on TV. She was Batgirl when my friends and I played Batman (I was Robin). She moved a million miles away when I was 11...or so it seemed. It turned out to be like a 10 minute drive but who knew? We had spoken on the phone for a couple of years afterwards and her mom had picked me up to go visit at age 13 but, with one minor exception which DOES come up later in 1976, I never saw her again.

My cousin Rachel is 5 years younger than me but became the subject of my earliest attempts at good photography around this time. They actually lived within walking distance of Debbie but, again, who knew?

My dad's sister Velma lived to age 104.

Roddy had become a favorite actor after the PLANET OF THE APES films and he was omnipresent on TV for a few years in the seventies. The great Jim Hutton ELLERY QUEEN series barely lasted a single season.