Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 31st, 1976

Got up early to watch mark Wilson on ABC.

STAR TREK has been taken off the air starting today. No more reruns until Omnicon I guess.

We decided not to go to King's Island because of threatening rains which materialized early this evening.

I prepared my studies for my last real class of the 11th grade this afternoon and then watched Max Fleischer's 1939 GULLIVER film. Later I watched Groucho on with Merv and worked up my disguise again.

I just bathed and shaved and found a book to take to read after the exam tomorrow. Off to bed now.

NOTES: I used to love Cincinnati's Coney Island as a child but as I came to realize how bad my motion sickness was, I quit riding rides. By the time its replacement, King's Island, opened in the early seventies, I just wasn't that impressed. It was pretty--VERY pretty...but I couldn't ride anything stronger than the Hanna-Barbera kiddie ride. It was also a loooong bus-ride away (keeping in mind that my dad just hated to drive long distances for some reason. It's actually only about 25-35 minutes by car even now!). By this point in mid-decade, there were actually times when my sixty-something parents would go without me.

Mark Wilson was a marvelous magician who starred in one of my favorite TV shows when I was a toddler--THE MAGIC LAND OF ALAKAZAM! Although he was still working regularly, he hadn't done much TV in years so when he did, I always tried to catch him. He was the "technical expert" on Bill Bixby's series, THE MAGICIAN in the 1973-74 season.

One of the first books I bought for what would become Booksteve's Library was THE MARX BROTHERS SCRAPBOOK. The Marx Brothers--especially Groucho--became pop culture gods to me. It was sad to see Groucho in later years but at the same time cool that he was still hanging in there!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 30th, 1976

Memorial Day. We all got up early today and went out to the cemetery as usual. I took along some stuff to read but I couldn't concentrate on it.

This afternoon Mom and Dad went to a doubleheader Reds baseball game where they ended up staying until way late. Meanwhile, Terry and I were driven by his mom to Showcase. We ended up walking all the way back down the hill and up to the highway to take the bus back. While we were there, though we saw a ...pretty good I guess...flick. Bill Cosby was his usual great self at least. And Raquel Welch, so... Also saw previews for a new movie called THE OMEN and one called EMBRYO that both looked pretty good. In the lobby they had a poster for LOGAN'S RUN. That's one I can't wait to see!

On TV tonight there was an episode of Good' Ol Six Million written by D.C. Fontana.

NOTES: Dorothy "D.C." Fontana was an author and scriptwriter generally associated even today with STAR TREK, having written episodes of the original series, the early seventies cartoon and other Gene Roddenberry projects. I was apparently surprised to see that she could actually write anything ELSE! ;)

Even when I liked baseball--that brief period in the early seventies--I hated doubleheaders! Do they still have those? With two games for the price of one, you got your money's worth but...I went to one where the first game was fine--about two and a half hours for nine innings. Then they cleared the field and gave everyone a long "break" between games, Then the second game started. By the end of the ninth inning, the score was tied. The game went into extra innings. Tenth, eleventh, twelfth...tie score! Ultimately, 14 innings if I recall correctly! Was after midnight time we got home after about 23 total innings and around 7 hours of baseball! Yikes! Needless to say, I begged off on this date.

Growing up, we always would go to the cemetery early to put wreaths on my dad's parents' graves but also avoid the holiday parade traffic. The cemetery was gorgeous, on a rolling hill with ornate headstones going back to the late 1700's. Last year, I took my muse, model Brittany Rose, out there for a photo-shoot. Other than adding additional space from what was once farmland, the place looks just the same.

Other than that visit, I hadn't been in a decade or so. We don't go to the other cemetery where my own parents are now buried either. My father hated that cemetery where no headstones are allowed, just little inlaid plaques. I look at it as just a ceremonial excuse to remember my parents...and I remember them every day anyway. I don't need the reminder that their remains were left in a place he didn't like because a door-to-door salesman talked them into buying plots long before the place even opened.

Don't even get me started on MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED. In spite of my obvious attempts to find something good about it above, I found parts of it reprehensible even then. An attempt at giving it another chance on cable a few years back didn't change my opinion. Cosby come off best, Raquel is just exploited (even in the title) and it was the first and worst thing I've ever seen Keitel in!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 29th, 1976

Forgot to mention before but in Thursday, we got both confirmations from Louisville and then today, I got the one from Seattle on Brunner.

Lots of new stuff out today but nothing terrific. Ran into Terry. I picked up one movie mag, one monster newspaper, one Marvel mag, lots of comics, two McCartney article mags, one paper and RED ROSE SPEEDWAY! Not to mention Wendy's.

Skipped Erlanger. Spent most of the day lying around listening to Wings and reading comics.

IT and it was quite a relief! Now I know what Burt Lancaster meant.

NOTES: The confirmations were from OMNICON, the next big thing on my list that summer...well...after the upcoming end of the school year.

Somewhere I had seen a quote said to be from actor Burt Lancaster (supposedly from or from around the time of THE SWIMMER) extolling the virtues of masturbation for stress relief. Having never perceived a positive rationale for it myself, I was quick to take this quote to heart and for once I did NOT feel guilty about it!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 28th, 1976

The day after. Ears are still ringing. Nothing in this morning's paper but the POST tonight had a glowing review. Had Wings music playing in my head all day long. Almost went and bought RED ROSE SPEEDWAY after school.

Both papers panned "JUGS," though.

Finished my history exam in about 1/4 time. Hope it's good. Algebra took much longer and I don't expect it to be as good. Louise got me to sign her Annual.

Notes: Louise was just a girl in my class. I remember being surprised she asked me, though.

I should have listened to the papers as far as MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEDD. But, no...Had to find out for myself a few days later.

As much as I loved Wings, albums could be expensive. Sometimes three dollars and up! Thus I still hadn't purchased some of the group's earlier albums including 1973's RED ROSE SPEEDWAY, a not bad record in which the fledgling group wasn't quite yet up to par. I didn't end up getting it that day but I soon would.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 27th, 1976

The whole day kind of slid by without incident. At least not that I can remember now for I have seen...a superstar! Things will never be the same.

Spectacular is the only applicable word. I saw the gigantic crowd on TV at 6 on the news so I left soon afterwards. I got lost in that crowd for about a half an hour after I got there before they opened up the doors. It was a mad dash to get in since there were no specific assigned seats. They didn't even bother to take the tickets! Based on the fact that all the seats looked full and yet there were people standing in all the aisles, I'm betting there were about a thousand or more gate-crashers!

The place was full of dope smoke and fights and I heard someone say there had been one death outside! People were pushing and shoving and I got knocked down right at the door. I crawled to the first seat I could get to which turned out to be pretty much on the exact opposite end of the Coliseum from McCartney but I could see him and hear him. So loud! And the whole place was just littered with trash!

There were bubbles and smoke during VENUS AND MARS, a Marvel poster during MAGNETO & TITANIUM MAN and, my favorite, lasers and real onstage explosions during LIVE & LET DIE! Plus there was a tricky film shown during BAND ON THE RUN with Christopher lee and James Coburn.

No matter how rowdy, the crowd was quite worshipful of the ex-Beatle. Wings was marvelous! Stupendous! As I left the arena at about 10:30, Paul was still getting a standing ovation about ten minutes after the group left the stage! Wow.

Outside, my ears were literally sore and just kept ringing as I trudged through the trash that was just everywhere on my way back to the bus terminal.

The program book is full of amazing photos and another Marvel Comics tribute. All in all, tonight is certain to rank as one of the high points of my entire life! I saw coverage on all three TV news shows when I got home. Something tells me I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight. Just...marvelous!

NOTES: This was it. The big day. Anything else whatsoever that happened that day in my life has been lost to history. Having seen Tony Orlando and Dawn in concert weeks earlier, this wasn't my first concert. It was definitely, however, my first ROCK concert. You'll note that, as such, I had no earthly idea of the traditions of the encore. The last number ended, the audience rose to their feet and, for some reason, started waving lighter and matches around. I stood and applauded for a few...then left. Only a handful of others left with me and I couldn't figure out why. It wouldn't be until I ordered a bootleg of the concert a few months later that I came to realize the band returned to the stage and did two more numbers!

I also didn't think too much about it at the time but the Festival Seating conditions here were the same type of thing that would lead to the deaths of eleven people at a Who concert at the exact same location in 1979, just three years later. As I wrote, we had heard there was a death that night even. Since I never heard about it again, I'm going to presume not. Not for a second did I realize that when I got knocked down I could conceivably been a victim myself!

The seat I got was horrid but as I say, it was quite loud. For years, I thought a slight hearing loss I had was due to rock concerts I attended starting with this one but my doctor assured me it was, instead, a minor form of Meniere's Disease that causes me to hear high tones at the expense of low tones.

Ultimately I would see Sir Paul two more times in concert before they became outpriced extravaganzas. You'll note that this one cost me a total of only eight dollars and fifty cents in 1976.

I think I probably actually ended up sleeping well that night as, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was having my very first contact high.

Wednesday, May 26th, 1976

Strange day. Really, really bothered by those freaks in Algebra! I actually resorted to foul language and almost lost my temper!

Dumb ol' Mr. (illegible) gave us a test half-based on chapters we'd skipped!

Got the Annual and as usual got no one to sign it. At first I didn't think anyone was even going to ask me to sign theirs but by the end of the day I'd signed four. One of the freaks actually asked me to sign his but I refused.

Physics was okay for a change. Brought my Physics book home for good.

I jokingly said something to Kenny after school about a ride home and got one down as far as Fifth and Greenup with him and Janet! Seemed weird riding with someone my own age. He had a van parked in back of the school. I'd never been in back of the school before! First time I've ever ridden in a van, too.

I feel like I'm in a period where my brain is just so overworked I can't concentrate on anything. I'll get some time off in just 3 or 4 days and I really need it. I feel like I'm starting to grow up.

Oh, terry called late tonight, too. He will be able to make "JUGS" on Sunday after all.
NOTES: I apologize to whichever teacher I called "dumb" but I legitimately couldn't make out the name in the journal.

Kenny was someone I was very close with in seventh grade but we had grown apart quickly. Four years earlier, he was a geek like me. By this point, he was driving and had a girlfriend. I may have written here that I felt like I was growing up but I remember being jealous of him that day. You'll note that I was particularly impressed with my first visit to the back of the school. This was essentially just the parking lot. Since I didn't drive, I had never had any reason to be back there. Oddly enough, I've been back there a number of times now as I park there to attend my son's various school functions.

I never had anyone sign my Yearbook. I'm not sure if I was just being contrary and in my own small way rebellious or if my oft-stated belief that writing in it marred a perfectly good book was what I really felt.

"JUGS" was MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED, a new movie opening that week with Raquel Welch, Bill Cosby and some new guy named Harvey Kietel!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 25th, 1976

Two of my things are in HORIZONS! I got the second sold copy. My Linda Blair tribute poem caused quite a stir in Algebra today. I'm glad I only have to put up with that crew three (four?) more times.

Got another A+ on my school journal at least and Mr. S wants me to recopy the poem I wrote about Constance for next year's HORIZONS.

Didn't finish another Spanish test...and it was open book, yet! Boy! I hope my grades don't fall off this time. that was the last test this grade period, too.

Two silly fools made fun of the way I walk today! I gave 'em the old duck squeal! And they laughed at me! Stupid bitches!

Closer and closer to Wings. Two days off and I'm not half as nervous as I was two week ago.

Terry called and backed out of our Sunday plans for an excursion to the Showcase Cinemas.

Saw coverage of the premiere of WON TON TON, THE DOG WHO SAVED HOLLYWOOD on Merv tonight. Looks good. Can't wait to see it.

NOTES: Whoa! Pardon my language. If you've noticed, I didn't curse much, even here in the privacy of my own journal. The odd "damn" and "hell" for effect and that was it. Thus, seeing "bitches" here surprised me! Shocked me, even!

The controversy over my poem about Linda Blair was that some joker started the rumor that it was, instead, a tribute to porn star Linda Lovelace.

WON TON TON was one of those films that was expected to be big and instead became something less than even a trivia question. It starred a dog, Art Carney, Bruce Dern and Madeline Kahn along with a cast of scores of old-time stars in tiny, pointless cameos. A supposed comedy, it was directed by the man who had previously directed the ultra-violent Charles Bronson picture, DEATH WISH.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

****EXTRA****My 1976 Children's Book--HARLEN AND MURD

Okay, so I needed a little work with names. HARLEN AND MURD was the result of our assignment to write a children's book in Creative Writing in 1976. The illustrations were rather obviously comic book-inspired and looking at them now makes me wish I had tried just a little harder. I see talent but I never really did anything with it. As for the writing, my Junior English teacher, Mr. Spurlock, wrote, "Very imaginative and it teaches a good lesson, too. I like your illustrations."

Monday, May 24th, 1976

Another false alarm at school.

Dumb old baseball cuts off the comic strip TV special tomorrow. Yuck!

Finished HARLAN AND MURD. Not good. Not really.

HORIZONS still hasn't come out yet!

Finished my exam and was virtually ignored by Kenny and Louise in Physics...or should I say what used to be Physics?

I sat behind Constance on the bus home and even allowed her to get on ahead of me. We spoke a few words at that point. I don't think I can say more than that to her...and I only have aweek to get up my confidence. I don't see it happening.

Two more exams Friday and then one next week.

Saw JOHN DAVIDSON with George Burns and a rather disgusting Charo on TV.

NOTES: I was really into baseball just a few years earlier with the Big Red Machine. Went to the games, collected and traded baseball cards...the whole bit. By this point, though, I had grown almost completely away from any interest in the game. A year or so earlier, I had met Pete Rose. I was walking into one of the stores in downtown Cincinnati where I bought comics. Pete was walking out. He opened the door quickly and knocked me down. He looked at me and said, "Watch it, kid." I looked up at him and said, "You...YOU'RE PETE ROSE!" Pete can do no wrong in Cincinnati.

I saw HARLAN AND MURD, my children's book project, around here recently. If I can find it, I'll scan and post it. It isn't as bad as I thought at the time.

Singer John Davidson,a favorite of mine since his sixties Disney films such as THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE, had a daytime talk/variety series around this time. Almost exactly a year later, he would be the headliner at the Beverly Hills Supper Club when it burned to the ground. Amongst those killed were the parents of a girl in my graduating class. Years later, I learned that my future mother-in-law had been there and left earlier that evening.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 23rd, 1976

Worked most of the day on a children's book for my third term project. I don't think it's very good but turning it in will get me some extra points.

I have no intention of staying home tomorrow. I can look forward to dreading my entire Senior Year starting with my senior pictures.I certainly have no intention of being there on "Kiddie Day" next year. I really hope the next seven days just slide by easily. Just seven more schooldays and a three day weekend.

Meanwhile, less than four days until Wings Over America.

I've been thinking a lot lately about reality. About Constance. If only I knew what she was like. She seems quiet and smart. Clinging to those she knows, out of place in a crowd. Lonely? Is she as much like me as she seems? I saw a girl on KOJAK tonight who looked a little like her.

I also saw a fair but not good Bogie film and re-read Steve Gerber's "The Kid's Night Out." Then I started in on my Duck collection.
NOTES: Do other schools do this? "Kiddie Day" was another tradition in which Seniors came to school in diapers, short pants, with pacifiers, on tricycles, with lollipops, etc. All silliness I wanted nothing to do with in any way.

Seriously, I remember this crush on Constance but I recall it being pretty fleeting. Seems to me now like it probably lasted a full year beyond this.

"The Kid's Night Out" was a more-angsty-than-normal Steve Gerber story in the unfortunately titled GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING comic book. It was about an obese high school kid who gets bullied and dies, leaving behind his diary. Then the title character gets revenge for his death. I was NOT obese at this point except in my head. I had been a tad overweight in fifth grade and was ridiculed all year as the fat kid. Ever after, throughout school, I saw myself as the fat kid. Looking back now, even by sixth grade (above right), I was back to normal. By this point, having grown in height, I was almost skinny! But to my mind....I was still the class fat kid. That was why I didn't even try in Sports or with girls. Sigh...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 22nd, 1976

Over the river this morning all I got was breakfast--Wendy's--and lottery tickets for Dad.

This afternoon I went to see Segal and Hawn at Newport. When I got back, I helped out with yard work a bit.

I ordered the signed Frank Brunner book and finally the tickets and reservations for Omnicon!

The Beatles were on a very special MIDNIGHT SPECIAL tonight but it was disappointing.

NOTES: I don't recall ever having a signed Frank Brunner book. Perhaps it was sold out and I never received it. We'll see.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL was a great music show hosted at various times by Wolfman Jack and Helen Reddy. Oddly, it wasn't on at midnight at all but at 1 AM.

Back in April I noted that Goldie Hawn and George Segal were opening that week at Newport in THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRTWATER FOX. The film wasn't a big hit (although I quite like the poster as seen here) so it seems unlikely it would still be playing there at this late point. Its opening may have been delayed.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 21st, 1976

Doc was out today so I didn't even get a chance to finish the exam. I'm praying I don't fail!

I sat all alone in Spanish while everyone else played cards.

I blew a perfectly good chance to actually talk with Constance today. She really does seem to be my type. The knowledge seems to be slipping away and the year-end exams are still to come!

IT. Reminds me, I saw Larry Flynt on TV. He seemed to make sense. I think I'll keep the mags I have now even if I don't get any more.

I seem to be staring to feel more grown-up lately but I can't really seem to describe how.

They distributed the Senior paper today. Missed signing Mary's Annual. We get ours on Wednesday. One year from today and I'm out!

The Beatles have a new single out! It's an old song but had never been released on 45.

NOTES: The Senior Paper was an odd tradition--do they still do this?--where everyone in the graduating class "wills" stuff to the incoming Seniors. I thought it was stupid then and my thinking hasn't changed. I don't recall anyone even asking me to be involved with mine the following year but even if they did, I would have done whatever I could to stay out of it.

By "Annual" I seem to have meant "Yearbook." Not sure why I referred to it thusly. Also not sure why some would have gotten theirs that day and "we" were expecting ours the following week. Not sure who "Mary" was either nor why my NOT signing hers was important enough to note here.

Throughout the seventies (and since), the Beatles would have their catalog exploited endlessly and relentlessly. I believe the single in question here was BACK IN THE USSR from the early compilation album seen here but I cant say for sure.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 20th, 1976

Well, Constance was back today but I was too out of it all day for it to make a difference.

I didn't finish the Physics exam even though I stayed 'til 3:40! I may get to work more on it tomorrow.

I did get the thing for pictures but they're sure expensive! Two weeks from tomorrow.

I missed three buses and finally arrived at Cincy at 4:25! All I ended up buying was a $1.50 THOR and (illegible).

Finally caught up on my assignments tonight since there was nothing on TV. One more tomorrow.

One week until McCartney!

NOTES: Here's the THOR I bought that day, one of Marvel's oversized Treasury Editions reprinting earlier stories. In this case, it featured a brand new cover by the character's creator, Jack Kirby, who had then recently returned to Marvel after a long stint at DC.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 19th, 1976

I'm two days behind in my school journal.

Constance was absent. I hope she's back tomorrow.

Out of 100 multiple choice questions on the Physics exam I studied for all day and got 45 out of the first 75 in about as many minutes. Tomorrow I have to do the other 25 and then go back plus get 16 problems, too.

Terry tells me he took the G.E.D.

I'm thinking about future employment.

Some good movies coming up--at least one this weekend.

Absolutely have to send to Omnicon this week!

HUSTLER may be off my list. At least I hope so. If the news today is any indication, turns out Larry Flynt is a big crook!
NOTES: Omnicon was obviously important to me and yet I'd put off final arrangements for months. Unfortunately this is an early example of my tendency toward procrastination. I've ended up missing a lot of things over the years just by postponing them.

This was apparently around the time when Larry Flynt started having troubles with the law. At the time, I had always been taught that the law was the good guys. Eventually, Flynt's situation would demonstrate to myself and many others that appearances can be deceiving. In this case it turned out that the ill-educated country boy with the dirty pictures really was the one supporting freedoms that the establishment was attempting to suppress...especially here in the "Censor-natti" area. Along with Nixon and the counter-cultural movement of a few years earlier, this established in me a healthy respect for questioning authority. Flynt's story would later be dramatized in the film, THE PEOPLE VS LARRY FLYNT.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 18th, 1976

Back to school. Worked like heck to catch up on Physics.

I kept running into the girl I had gotten squeezed up against on that recent bus trip home. I think I may be getting a crush.

I saw life, love, lunch or whatever. Details later.

A hell of a day!

NOTES: What a lousy journal entry. Even I have no idea what I was talking about with some of that...nor do I see a lot of details coming up. Ah, well...

Again, the girl I was developing the crush on actually had only a couple of years to live. It would be decades later before I knew that but she would pass from breast cancer at a very early age.

Wings' "Silly Love Songs" finally had hit # 1 on the charts this week, just as I had predicted. McCartney's tour was just starting and soon enough he would make it to Cincinnati. I wasn't mentioning it on a daily basis but I was getting very excited about seeing my all-time favorite singer in concert.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 17th, 1976

Rain all day long and SO hot!

IT for the second day in a row. I stayed home from school again (not because if IT). My stomach was really hurting but I think maybe it was a psychological reaction to my work problem.

Even though I was home, i finished my story and then worked on my history.

I saw WONDER WOMAN and the Reds on MIKE DOUGLAS. Also the Emmys and Rona on DONAHUE. Also saw Buzz Aldrin, of all people, on TATTLETALES.

NOTES: I have no idea from the way I worded the above if I saw Lynda Carter and members of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team on THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW or if I watched an episode of WONDER WOMAN and then saw the baseball players with Mike.

Buzz Aldrin, of course, was the second man on the moon. Unlike the first, Neil Armstrong, Buzz always seemed to revel in the limelight and was often seen in TV cameos as well as on talk shows and game shows...such as Bert Convy's TATTLETALES which was sort of THE NEWLYWED GAME with celebs. More recently, Buzz was seen on DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 16th, 1976

Robbie Lee guest-starred on good ol Six Million's show this evening. Last time I saw her she was wearing a lot less clothes in BIG BAD MAMA.

I spent even more time this week working on school work than I did last week but I still feel like I didn't get much done. Tuesday, another term project is due. Physics exam on Wednesday.

I guess the reason I'm not as depressed these days is 'cause there's only a few more weeks left. Ta da! Then I get to play the Alice Cooper record again.


"Good ol' Six Million" was, of course, THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. Actress Robbie Lee was, according to IMDB, the goddaughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans...who probably weren't happy about her nakedness in the now-classic Roger Corman drive-in film, BIG BAD MAMA with Angie Dickinson and William Shatner. She was a talented actress who went on to be a prolific cartoon voice artist a decade later.

The Alice Cooper record I referred to was, of course, SCHOOL'S OUT, a hit single from an earlier year that every kid who was less than enchanted with school had adopted as a theme. At the end of the record, the school is blown up. It seemed almost parodic overkill at the time but less funny now in the wake of all of the school violence in recent years.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 15th, 1976

A more or less pre-planned day. I enjoyed the movie HUSTLE and then enjoyed the new HUSTLER.

Went out to the NKBS. They finally got everything completely arranged but I ended up not buying anything but 3 more issues of MAN-THING.

I saw HARPER on the tube.

In other news, it rained a bit, the paper came way late again, there was a tornado watch and Mr. Gerstenhaber came through finally with my package. We had to finally use the fans tonight.

NOTES: We never had air-conditioning growing up but we always had lots of fans. On those particularly sticky, humid Ohio Valley nights, I would have a full-size electric fan sitting on a kitchen chair pointed directly at me in bed. It helped...a little.

HARPER was Paul Newman's movie based on Ross McDonald's detective character, Archer. Supposedly Newman felt that his biggest hits like HUD and HOMBRE all started with "H" so he had enough clout to have them change his character's name.

Perhaps surprisingly, Paul Newman was NOT in HUSTLE. HUSTLE was one of those rare films where someone gave number one box office star of the mid to late seventies, Burt Reynolds, a real chance to act. It is not a great film but Reynolds gives a solid performance most unlike his normal good ol' boy persona.

In spite of the double-entendre title, Steve Gerber's Marvel title MAN-THING was one of the best written and most mature comic books being published in the seventies. It had also been the birthplace of HOWARD THE DUCK.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, May 14th, 1976

Finally, we got a little rain.

Twelve school days left! Just another week left for Seniors. My lock worked fine today.

Today I finally won at Mil Kilometros! Then I got to finish the test while the rest of the class joined in on another card game. Something really dumb.

Algebra was really good for a change. Vernon took over and the place became a funhouse. He loves being in the limelight and can be a very funny comedian when something restrains him a little---like an ever-present teacher. I really cracked up! Ha, ha, ha!

That stupid TANK bus passed us right up after school so I didn't get home until after 4 again!

Tonight I saw "the Paradise Syndrome" on STAR TREK again.

NOTES: Is it just me or does it seem as though I'm starting to enjoy school more and more as the days dwindle down to a precious few?

Apparently this "Mil Kilometros" was the "Spanish Game" i had referred to before on here. Must have been something regular but I have absolutely no memory of it.

As far as STAR TREK goes, "The Paradise Syndrome" remains one of my favorite episodes. Even today I will rarely pass up a chance to watch any one of the original series episodes. They look surprisingly innocent, cheap and more than a little silly in the wake of all of the franchise's own high tech sequels and reboots but the originals still pack a punch that none of the others have. When my wife and I got married (20 years ago next month!) we nearly missed our own reception when we realized there was a STAR TREK marathon on hosted by William Shatner. Videos of the early part of the reception show our family members looking at their watches as she and I sat through a couple of episodes before heading over! ;)

Thursday, May 13th, 1976

A half and half day. Lots of good and neutral stuff. Humberton was out sick! Yay! Made my day. Maybe he'll stay sick 'til school's out. I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one that would make happy.

We started the play in class today. In 6th period, I got "stuck" in Marie's experiment group.

The worst part of the day was after school. My locker got bent! No idea what happened but I had to find someone who could loan my pliers. Then I still had a tough time unbending it and an even tougher time finding someone to return the pliers to! I missed both buses because of all that.

On the slightly better side, I see where Jim Kelly's new Warner Brothers movie is out--double featured with ENTER THE DRAGON, in fact. Not playing anywhere I can easily get to it though.

We got an invitation to Jeff's graduation.

NOTES: Rich Humberton (not his real name) was somewhat of a thorn in my side all through high school--not a good student (and one of the very few I ever saw with marijuana), he was popular and successful in other areas so some teachers seemed to look the other way at his egotistical bullying and class disruptions. That's all I'm going to say except that he went on to be very successful in life from what I understand while I have no idea as I write this how I'm going to pay my electric bill. Life isn't fair.

Jim Kelly was a Kentucky native who had co-starred with the late Bruce Lee in 1973's ENTER THE DRAGON. A solo follow-up, BLACK BELT JONES wasn't very successful (or very good) but showed that Kelly had the charisma to make it as a star. Here we were three years later, though, and his new picture, HOT POTATO, was barely being shown in spite of the fact that it was produced and directed by the same folks who had done ENTER THE DRAGON. In the end, with the blaxplotation era pretty much ending by mid-decade and the martial arts craze adrift without its biggest star, Kelly was cursed to remain just a cult star.

Wednesday, May 12th, 1976

Pretty bad day at school, particularly this afternoon. Got pretty good grade on my recent English work and got free orange juice (??) in Physics.

After school, I picked up four new books but saved a lot of money.

Tonight on TV, I watched Leonard Nimoy's THE UNEXPLAINED and the first of the resurrected FAY shows.

NOTES: Don't look at me. It was a really bad day in school BUT...here's some good stuff. I "picked up"new books but "saved a lot of money?" Sounds like I shoplifted but I never did that. I swear!

FAY had been an acclaimed but short-lived sitcom the year starring highly respected actress Lee Grant, never a favorite of mine. I guess the network decided to burn off the remaining completed episodes around this time as the revived version lasted only a few more weeks. FAY had been created by the team who would, in 1977, bring us the delightfully weird SOAP whose large ensemble cast included actress Dinah Manoff, daughter of Lee Grant.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 11th, 1976

Back to school. I saw a lot of Marie today. more or less handled or made plans to get a handle on all of my make-up work. Got another "A" on my journal. Read two one act plays in preparation for writing one of my own. Had a really hard time catching on to the new Algebra I missed yesterday.

In the grand scheme of things, I'd have to say that at present it is "worse" which it must be before it gets better but I think now is the lull before the storm which precedes the "better" part. Weird.

NOTES: "Weird" was my own personal "cussword." At some point in the early seventies I began utilizing it to mean whatever I needed to to mean, much in the vein of what has long since happened to the dreaded "F-word." In surprise, I would shout, "Weird!" If I banged my thumb on something, I'd most likely say, "That's weird!" If something was cool, I'd nod approvingly and say, "Weird!" What can I say? I was weird.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 10th, 1976

Weird day! Awaking with a stomachache, I chose to stay home from school. Even though the pain persisted, it didn't get any better or worse based on whether or not I ate anything. Weird.

Anyway, I got out my FF's and Spideys and spent most of the day working on my team project. It's pretty amateurish but at the same time I think it's pretty well done. It's always darkest before the dawn. Just another little ways to go and then freedom from the eleventh grade!

Speaking of "darkest," the whole block was without power for a while tonight. Never did hear why.

NOTES: Forgot to mention that last week's number one song in 1976 was John Sebastian's comeback tune, WELCOME BACK. Used as the theme song for--and I assume written for--the TV series, WELCOME BACK KOTTER, I still think it was one of the best songs of the seventies and is of a style that remains undated even today. Years later, I would become 'Net friends with Mark Evanier, one of the later writers on WELCOME BACK KOTTER and one of the first people to pay me for my work as a professional writer when I assisted with cartoon voice actress June Foray's autobiography.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 9th, 1976

Mother's Day. Mom got a flower at church. Janet Plummer was in the choir at church. Didn't even know she went there.

Saw a Cagney film on TV after we got home but spent the rest of the day writing and rewriting homework that I never was able to finish. It got me very depressed by that point.

Finally I felt some better and watched the Super Games of ALMOST ANYTHING GOES. Also watched the great Michael Dunn on WILD, WILD WEST and the great Patrick McGoohan on a rerun of COLUMBO.

I didn't have to take out the trash because I went ahead and brought it up yesterday.

Wings' SILLY LOVE SONGS is up to number five on the Top Ten this week. I still say it'll make number one!

NOTES: Michael Dunn, seen here, may well have been the best "little person" actor of them all. Throughout his career, he appeared on stage and on television in many challenging, non-sterotypical roles, notably on GET SMART, STAR TREK and in a recurring villain role on Robert Conrad's western spy series,. THE WILD, WILD WEST. He had passed in 1973 and this was perhaps the first time I had seen him since that point.

Patrick McGoohan remains one of my favorite actors and certainly my favorite COLUMBO villain (in at least three episodes!). His series, THE PRISONER has been a favorite for 40 years. His series, RAFFERTY, about an eclectic, grouchy doctor, was a prototype of HOUSE. He was also Disney's SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH and Agent John Drake, TV's DANGER MAN (known in the US as SECRET AGENT) which I received a DVD box set of just this year on my birthday.

Since I don't mention anything, apparently I didn't get my mother anything for Mother's Day except the card I spoke of yesterday. What a jerk I was! Sorry, Mom.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 8th, 1976

Another bad day started with IT again. Tensions ran high all day, in fact, and will probably be worse to tomorrow but I hope not.

When I went over the river later on, all I got was a Mother's day card. Meanwhile, Mom was out shopping and finally saw the Donny and Marie album so she bought it for me.

Saw the Laurel and Hardy pie fight sequence again...always fun. Then I watched the BRENDA STARR movie.

NOTES: The BRENDA STARR movie was a pilot based on Dale Messick's classic comic strip about a red-haired reporter always getting in and out of trouble. It was done tongue in cheek and was almost a continuation of the "camp" shows of the sixties. The best part of the film was that the titular heroine (pun intended I suppose) was played by my favorite "Bond Girl," Jill St. John. It still wasn't very good, however. Ms. St. John went on to marry actor Robert Wagner after a number of high profile beaus that included Dr. Henry Kissinger. Brenda Starr was given another pilot in the nineties, this time starring a miscast Brooke Shields. It was even worse. The newspaper strip itself ceased to exist as of the beginning of 2011.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday, May 7th, 1976

Basically another drab day. We got out early but, as usual, I still had to wait on the bus so I didn't get home 'til 3:15 and I had to stand all the way.

Terry Bragg accidentally killed himself.

At school, we had to turn our Journals in again. Today was the Prom. Well, tonight rather. Nothing to do with me, of course.

To complete my bad day, IT also happened yet again.

McCartney replaces Linda Blair on my wall at least for now. Makes a good change. In fact, the only good news today was I learned more about the Wings concert coming up. I couldn't keep the article but it said they were doing 26 songs in two hours and fifteen minutes...and 5 of the songs are Beatles tunes!! I just hope I can get through it as easily as I have such other crises as the Dayton thing which turned out wonderful. Boy, it should be great!

NOTES: The reason I considered this a bad day was really Terry Bragg.

Terry Bragg was a teenager a year or two younger than me. He lived at the side edge of the alley right behind the Social Security office where we worked doing after hours cleaning. He had three brothers, two a bit older and one my age who had long been what is now referred to as a "frenemy." Sometimes we would hang out together, other times he would beat me up for my lunch money. I didn't really know Terry all that well but his death kind of hit me hard...in spite of the simple mention of it here. It was the first time someone I actually knew had died of a drug-related death. His body had been found along the Licking River bank just past where it intersects with the Ohio. He was said to have turned blue from huffing PAM. I had never even heard of that and certainly couldn't even imagine anyone I knew doing such a thing. To this day, when I see the stuff in stores, I remember Terry...a boy I barely knew... and then buy the generic brand.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 6th, 1976

I almost decided to stay home today but I went. Talked myself into going. Not a bad day in the long run. More of an average day.

Mr. Spurlock said that three of his students made it into HORIZONS. I sure hope I'm one!

At school we watched a documentary on Dr. Sam Sheppard.

I wrote today's journal entry on Sherlock Holmes.

Saw an add for a new sci-fi mag paying for short stories--a penny per every two words. I certainly plan on submitting some of mine.

Hopefully I can get Mom to call Greyhound and make the arrangements to get to Louisville tomorrow.

Saw Vincent Price on TV tonight in "A Portable Feast(sic)."

NOTES: I am at a total loss as to what I watched with Vinnie that evening. I find several things entitled A PORTABLE FEAST but none with Mr. Price. I find nothing with Vincent Price that was listed as airing on a national level that evening. Not a clue. Enjoyed it enough to note it here, I guess.

Dr. Sam Sheppard was an Ohio man convicted of killing his wife in 1954. The conviction was overturned a decade later and he was controversially exonerated in a new trial after years in prison. What we actually watched that day was NOT a documentary but, in fact, a docudrama TV movie that had originally aired a year before starring future A-TEAM star George Peppard as Dr. Sam.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 5th, 1976

Got a few things over the river after school including one comic I somehow missed at the Con.

Tonight I wrote an entirely new short story for English!

After the Physics Exam, seniors just slide out of the year.

Saw Linda on several EXORCIST commercials tonight. Funny how I had six months of anticipation and trouble to see it a couple years ago and now I have the opportunity and I don't need to!

NOTES: I'm not sure what that line about the seniors meant. Perhaps their school year ended earlier so they could spend time with graduation preparation?

I had become obsessed with seeing THE EXORCIST after seeing a write-up in TIME at school just before the film was released. This was not so much that I was a horror film buff (although I was) but I had immediately crushed on Linda Blair from the first pic I saw of her real self. The problem was that the film had not opened widely in Cincinnati and was nowhere to be seen either downtown, in Northern Kentucky or at any of the suburban venues on my bus routes. At one point, I had convinced my dad to go with me and figured out an elaborate double bus route...but one of the buses never arrived and it was cold so we slipped into a nearby theater to watch a DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER reissue instead. Finally, six months later, THE EXORCIST opened in Covington and my mom (of all people!) went with me to see it. By that point, it couldn't possibly have lived up to all I'd heard about it. It didn't. I did, however, remain at least a tad fixated on Linda for decades afterwards!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 4th, 1976

Finished the Superman book! I sure hope they show some of the episodes at Omnicon...which we are going to if I can ever get them to write and make the reservations! Soon!

Mom got home early again and had dinner ready by the time I got in.

I went back to Sherlock for half a story today. I'll get it finished eventually. Never seen a thicker book!

MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS was back tonight after two weeks off and it was now in a later time slot. I see where it's going to be late again next week.

NOTES: I'm pretty sure I never did completely finish that Sherlock Holmes book!

My mother worked in an old-fashioned bag company, running dangerous industrial sewing machines to make sacks out of burlap and other coarse materials. I never did know exactly what they were used for. The company also was a barrel works but she had nothing to do with that side of it. They were based right on the Ohio River. She took the bus out every morning at 7 and had to walk down a steep road from the bus stop. Worked there before I was born, took a few years off, went back when I was four. She was a tiny woman but a tireless worker and they loved her there. A few years after this, when she had been off sick with cancer for six months, a planned return to work was felled by the disease's return. The company retroactively retired her (she was 67) and the big boss came by to present her a much bigger than it should have been retirement fund check!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monday, May 3rd, 1976

They showed us part of an animated version of ANIMAL FARM in school today to go along with the book we've been reading. Had some slight trouble with a Physics test last period. Only 21 more days of school left.

Mom home early again today. I read some more of the SUPERMAN book after I got home.

For lack of better TV fare, I ended up watching and enjoying TRUE GRIT for the third time this evening.

NOTES: ANIMAL FARM is, of course, George Orwell's satirical look at communism as told through the eyes of anthropomorphic farm animals. In 1954, it was also the subject of the very first feature-length animated movie ever made in the UK. It flopped as it looked like a kids film but most definitely wasn't. The movie was made by John Halas and Joy Batchelor who were partners both in life and animation.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunday, May 2nd, 1976

On a slightly rainy day, I had a most enjoyable time rediscovering George Reeves' SUPERMAN from spending the whole day reading the new book I got yesterday. I have a feeling he'll stay a hero of mine for a long time to come. I just wish they'd rerun those shows. I haven't seen them in years.

NOTES: As I wrote yesterday, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN had been an early TV favorite. This book revived my interest in it even though it hadn't been seen in local reruns for at least five or six years...which is a long time to a teenager.

In 1988, I attended my one and only San Diego ComicCon. It was the year of Superman's 50th anniversary. As part of a celebration (in spite of the fact that Jerry Siegel, the character's creator, had to cancel due to illness), a relatively small number of us fans gathered in an out of the way room to watch some of the first season, black and white episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN on VHS. After a couple of episodes, the lights came up and Lois lane and Inspector Henderson--Phyllis Coates and Robert Shayne-- had snuck into the room bringing a giant "S" symbol shaped birthday cake for the Man of Steel! Everyone got some cake and we all settled in to watch a couple more episodes...this time with live commentary from actors who were there!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

****EXTRA****1976 May Calendar

This is the image I saw as I flipped over the calendar on my bedroom wall on this date in 1976. Ironic, of course, in that THOR the movie opens this next week so here, once again in 2011, May is the month for THOR!

Saturday, May 1st, 1976

Got a great new SUPERMAN book that's mainly about the TV series! Also saw the DC Origins book but didn't have enough money. I also picked up a new Wings poster in Cincy and then took the bus over to Newport to catch Hitch's FAMILY PLOT!

While I was out, Mom picked me up the third of those classical music albums.

NOTES: SUPERMAN--SERIAL TO CEREAL by Gary Grossman is still one of the best books on a TV series. This was part of a series edited by Leonard Maltin, some of which were mass markets and some of which, like this one, were trade paperbacks. All of them were written with the true fan/buff in mind.

The George Reeves ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN TV series was an early favorite and I was devastated when I learned that Reeves had, in fact, died not long after I was born. This book was the first place I learned of the controversial circumstances surrounding that death.

Author Gary Grossman has gone on to a have an interesting life, himself. See here: