Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 31st, 1976

On what was probably my last trip to Kidd's Bookstore, I got the 3 Bode' books finally.

Dad won on the tickets again--a fiver for a change.

We got a special Cincinnati Reds Pepsi bottle! Cool!

Scientists announced today that there is possible evidence of life on Mars. Also cool!

There was a picture of Mark in the paper today. A pretty bad one but still...

That place on my face finally subsided to the point where I was able to shave today.

Watched Roddy as the Bookworm on BATMAN.

NOTES: Pretty much a one-liner day it looks like.

The "Bode' books" I referred to were the first three issues of the underground comic JUNKWAFFEL, posted online here:

Mark was, as some may recall, the guy at school for whom I had sort of become an unofficial "bodyguard" on the way to the bus. I can't recall why he was in the paper that day.

To this day they're still going back and forth on the possibilities of life on Mars. I think they're pretty definite that there currently is none but every once in a while they announce that maybe there was...or maybe there will be...or maybe there could be...

I hit puberty in some ways as early as age 8. I was late getting acne. Not until I was about 15 but I had it really bad well into my twenties. Thus shaving was often dependent on how broken out my face was at any given time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 30th, 1976

Dad stayed home sick today but was gone most of the day to the doctor.

I bagged some more books today.

The rest of the day was loaded with bad luck. Tore my short, broke my scissors, tripped into the water at SS.

I decided to go see the new movie TUNNELVISION.

NOTES: Somewhere in here my dad found out he was diabetic. This was a man who drank Pepsi like water and ate a bag of chocolate drops a couple times a month. I was worried he'd have trouble changing his eating habits but no. Just like that he gave it all up. After a while he tested how much he could cheat just a little with Pepsi but that was it. I was impressed.

An issue of TBG a year or two before had contained a free plastic comic storage bag to promote a dealer named Robert Bell. It was the first one I had ever seen. I stored my ultra-collectible SHAZAM # 1 (if you know anything about seventies comics, you know I'm being facetious) in it. Now, finally I was buying bags in packs of a hundred and bagging my entire collection.

TUNNELVISION was one of those seventies sketch comedy films like THE GROOVE TUBE or CAN I DO IT 'TIL I NEED GLASSES. It would be the first I would see but it would NOT be a good experience. And oddly enough, that would have nothing to do with the movie itself!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 29th, 1976

D-DAY!!!!! A red letter day I've waited for for almost five years! I SAW DEBBIE AGAIN!!!! I went to see THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES at The Place downtown and I was running late. As I was waiting for the light by Walgreens I just looked across the street and thought I recognized Debbie's sister...and then her brother. Then I looked and I saw her mother, too, so I immediately looked for Debbie and there she was!! As the light changed I stepped out into the crosswalk and so did they. I probably looked like an idiot but I started telling, "Debbie! Debbie! Hi, Debbie!!" As we passed each other she returned, "Oh, hello." Oh my gosh, I'm not even sure she recognized me! I HOPE she recognized me! Weird!

For the rest of the day, I was shaking. Terribly at first. Oh, I was shaking! I couldn't even tell who else was with her except the ones I recognized first. Her hair was shorter. I couldn't see how she's developed in any other way because I was too busy looking at her face and trying to get her attention. I did notice her sister was much taller and heavier than when I last saw them and the mom had completely white hair! Any other time I would have stopped to talk for sure. After all, seeing her again is something I've been hoping for since 7th grade! But seeing them in the middle of a busy street with me already running late, I just kept on going toward the movie. All during the long movie, I kept two fingers crossed that I would remember everything about the moment.

I was so nervous, my stomach became messed up so I skipped Wendy's and haven't really eaten anything since I got home, either. Listened to some Simon and Garfunkel tonight and tried to pay attention to a TV documentary on Liza.

IT happened and I decided to destroy SNATCH afterwards.

NOTES: Yep--Debbie Day. The key phrase here that hadn't really hit me yet was "...I hope she recognized me." Jeez, I was hopeless! Just a refresher, Debbie and I had been close friends for not quite three years in grade school and I was devastated when she moved away early in the sixth grade. We talked on the phone pretty regularly for a while and eventually her mom drove and picked me up to come visit them one bone-chillingly cold day a year or so later. In retrospect, whatever "chemistry" we had was gone by then and I guess he could tell. I couldn't. I wrote her enough letters that her Mom called my Mom and told her to make me quit! But here I was, nearly a high school senior and still pining over her from time to time if only because no other girl had ever looked twice at me since. This was the last time I would see her. As excited as I was about it at the time, eventually the realization set in that she probably didn't even know who I was and if she did, she certainly didn't care. I doubt she gave me another thought a block later.

A few years back her father died. I found that out one one of the amazingly rare times that I actually looked at the newspaper obits column. It listed his kids,Debbie included, of course--their ages, their locations, their married names. It felt so weird to see all that. I sent a condolence card to the funeral home.

SNATCH was one of the undergrounds I had purchased at Omnicon, a digest-sized collection of ultra-dirty cartoons by Robert Crumb. Let's just say it was TOO lascivious for even me at that time. Over the years, Crumb went from subversive hippie pornographer to internationally respected artist, recently the subject of a major US art exhibit! He and I actually have a number of mutual acquaintances these days. That first issue of SNATCH, in its first printing, is now valued at quite a pretty penny! The entire short run of SNATCH was recently reprinted in trade paperback form. Guess I shouldn't have been so hasty about ripping my copy to shreds.

Oh, and I swear, somehow I remembered enough of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES for it to become my all-time favorite western. I've now seen it about ten times!

"The Place" is not a misspelling of "the Palace," by the way. This theater had opened a few years earlier and tried to be hip. They were advertised as "The Place--at Seventh and Race." To give you an idea how close I was when I saw Debbie, the Walgreens I was in front of was at Sixth and Race.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 28th, 1976

Rather a lazy day. Slept 'til after 9! Many moods but no main purpose today. I feel like something big is about to happen but I don't know what.

Big cool picture of Phobos on the front page of the paper today. Documentary on Mars on NBC tonight and they actually showed Frazetta paintings!

Still thinking about calling Phyllis.

NOTES: Check back tomorrow for the something big. It was just a small thing really but to me at the time it was huge!

Phobos had been special to me since I was a kid. When friend Terry and I pretended we were spacemen, I always said I was from Phobos! Turns out Phobos is kind of just a big space rock.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 27th, 1976

Awoke to violent storms this AM which lasted only a short time.

Yesterday I was wondering why I hadn't heard from Yoshiko lately and today I got a letter from her and also TBG.

Still in my plans to call Phyllis but I'm starting to worry she might have changed. It's been years. No idea what she even looks like. Haven't seen her since we were little kids. She was kinda cute but for all I know she could be ugly now.

I intend to see JOSEY WALES on Thursday and then Duke on Saturday. Two great cowboys!

Gave Mrs. K her birthday present and she loved it!

I saw Jack Benny in CHARLEY'S AUNT. Hilarious!

NOTES: "She could be ugly by now." Okay, yes, I was THAT shallow. Hey,. I was a teenager, okay?

Yoshiko, as you may recall, was my Japanese pen-pal. We stayed in touch for years. Wonder whatever happened to her.

Mrs. K was our upstairs neighbor, a feisty little former kindergarten teacher then in her late eighties!

Little could I suspect that THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES would become my all-time favorite western. Even less could I suspect who I would run into on my way to see it in a couple of days!

I had been a Jack Benny fan literally all my life, first from the final years of his TV series, then his annual Specials, his many guest appearances, his old movies and, eventually, his classic and splendiferous radio series! Many years later, I would actually have a piece published in a book entitled WELL! REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE AND CAREER OF JACK BENNY (available below!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 26th, 1976

Going across the river today, I actually saw the Mississippi Queen!

Sally looked great in a denim bikini on tonight's ALL IN THE FAMILY. I actually moved closer to the TV to enjoy that more fully! This led me to do some more work on my Favorite Females scrapbook where I added Cindy Williams to the mix (with my best opening photo yet).

I added more ODE TO BILLIE JOE pix to my regular scrapbook, too.

I got all SS stuff in one bag tonight but that dumb old Jack went ahead and took out my cans!

NOTES: So Jack was trying to help me by setting out the trash cans on trash night and I took offense. Seems odd, now. Probably paranoid that he would end up taking my job.

The Mississippi Queen was brand new in 1976. Cincinnati was known for its Delta Queen and we'd see it steaming down the Ohio fairly regularly. This new one dwarfed it. From Wikipedia: The Mississippi Queen was the second largest paddle wheel driven river steamboat ever built. The ship was the largest such steamboat when she was built in 1976 by the Delta Queen Steamboat Company...and was a seven-deck recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat. Earlier this year, she was reportedly being dismantled after 35 years of service.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 25th, 1976

Enjoyed an afternoon of animated features on TV followed by going out to get two footlong hot dogs and the new stereo headphones I've needed for so long. While we were out, I also bought a ridiculously busy, tight, thin, sleeveless jungle shirt.

Bad news of the day: Duke's new film is ONLY going to be at Erlanger! Why??

NOTES: That shirt was SO not me! It was one of several I got during this period in an effort to try to branch out my look but I was actually embarrassed to wear it outside the house!

"Duke's film" was what would turn out to be John Wayne's final film, THE SHOOTIST. For some reason, it only opened around here in neighborhood theaters rather than at any of the first run houses or downtown cinemas.

The headphones of the day were the old kind that fully covered the listener's ear, as opposed to the tiny earbuds of today. Oddly enough, we're about to get some for my son whose earbuds have been causing him issues that have necessitated several trips to the doctor.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday, July 24th, 1976

A hot day with some unexpected rain brought a great John Wayne classic and some nice Columbus pictures.

Doubleheader on the tube tonight which left me cooped up in my room. I began my X-MEN index and drew a fair to good rendition of Vampirella for my box. Soon I'm going to have to finish my room design once and for all and then clean off my desk. Then I have t go over my Spanish for what looks to be the worst of the dozen!

Oh, and I'm in love with Diana Canova!

NOTES: The Columbus pictures consisted of about a dozen shots. These included a tree in front of our hotel, a flower growing up through a sidewalk, the front of our hotel, the bus station...things like that. I'd post them here but a) my scanner's still down and b) they really aren't worth it.

Vampirella is, of course, the alien vampire character with the revealing costume that is still popular today. I have no idea what I was referring to here, though.

Ah, Diana Canova! After a memorable appearance as Richie's too-tall girlfriend on HAPPY DAYS, she turned up in '76 on the prime-time summer series, DINAH SHORE AND HER NEW BEST FRIENDS. Obviously I thought she was great and SO super-cute! A year later, she would become quite popular as the slutty daughter on SOAP, a role that wouldn't be a big deal today but which, at the time, was a first for television comedy! Saw an interview with recent photos of her not long ago and she is still a lovely woman!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 23rd, 1976

Never saw a sign of a mailman today! Am I ever going to get that Brunner book?

On TV today I watched Fonzie and David Bowie on DINAH, the last episode of BREAK THE BANK, my first episode of SARA and a Sally Struthers movie. Annette Funicello helmed tonight's 200 YEARS AGO TODAY.

Saw a pic of a bearded Michael Nesmith in a mag! Weird.

On a whim I took the bus out to Northern Kentucky Book Store. Steve was there and he told me he had been at Omnicon on Sunday. Was after we left so I missed him.

NOTES: From he image, you can see that Nancy Walker was also on DINAH. Bowie was rare as a television guest. His most famous TV appearance would occur the following year when he would duet with no less than Bing Crosby on Christmas songs for der Bingle's final, ultimately posthumous, holiday special.

Good thing I didn't much like SARA, a short-lived Brenda Vaccaro TV series, as it's final episode would air just a week later. It had been on since February.

Friday, July 22, 2011

***Extra*** Teenage Me As Captain America

With CAPTAIN AMERICA opening today, thought I'd share this caricature of me as my favorite comic book character done a few years later but using a 1976 photo of me for reference. This was done by the late James Alan Hanley, a fondly remembered fan artist who died far too young.

Thursday, July 22nd, 1976

Hard day at work.

Discussed calling Phyllis with Mom...sorta.

Still enjoying THE WALTONS. I'm glad ODE TO BILLIE JOE got me watching the show again because of the Southern tie-in. Might lead to me going to see that movie again this weekend!

Got the new RBCC.

Still feeling very creative but I can't seem to come up with a good story at all or even come up with a good poem! Ugh!

NOTES: Nothing worse than feeling creative and not being able to create. Right now, for example, I have to finish a short story. I was hoping to have it done by last weekend. I haven't even looked at what I have this week. Just...ugh!

I really did have a love/hate thing with THE WALTONS. The writing and acting was generally top-notch and I dearly loved THE HOMECOMING, which spawned the series. Heck, I even loved SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN with Henry Fonda, a feature film adapted from the same source material years earlier. By this late point it could be said that the 1972 CBS series was getting a little creaky but it continued on for several more years. Even afterwards, it would be revived in TV movies.

Star Richard Thomas reportedly came through my store at the airport a few years back...but I was off that day. ):

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 21st, 1976

Never thought I'd see the day! This proves that all things, now matter how unlikely, are possible! Who turned up at our door today but James Paul Hunzinger, my best friend from when we first moved here ten years ago!!! Jimmy Paul! Oh, my gosh, he's changed, though! I didn't even recognize him at first. Muscles, karate, cigarettes. He said they were just in the area and he took a chance to see if I still lived here! He seems much more mature than most people I know our age. Weird! Dad almost didn't let him in at first. We ended up talking for an hour. I took a picture of him to remember.

The past is not dead. You never know who will turn up again. I may yet call Phyllis!

I went over the river later but decided against seeing a movie. Just picked up some Wendys. Spent the rest of the day finishing up my reading . I felt inspired at the end! I need to do something creative!

NOTES: Yes, I still have that photograph but to protect his privacy, I'm not running it. When someone leaves your life, perhaps inevitably you always remember them they way they were at the moment you last saw them. This was probably the first instance where I really realized that people were constantly changing and that nothing ever remained static. It was fun catching up with Jimmy Paul but it also drove home just how far we had grown apart. He lived around the corner from us when we first moved in and stayed about a year more before moving away. We had been inseparable at age 7.

Phyllis was a girl who had lived next door to us where we had lived before. She was a year or two younger than me which means she was like three when I was five. That said, when I was about 13, she called one day and we started talking regularly on the phone. She was someone I had known and yet we had both grown considerably. I had enjoyed talking to her on the phone but eventually just quit returning her calls. I had been thinking of calling her again an Jimmy Paul's reappearance was pushing me in that direction. An even more unexpected person would turn up in just a few weeks.

As far as Wendys, it's ironic that yesterday, in 2011, I told the manager of the local Wendys that I wouldn't be going back there for the near future after the tenth incident in a year where they got my order incorrect. In this case, they added cheese to what should have been---and were correctly rung in as---my son's completely plain, no cheese hamburgers. When I took them back, the guy tossed the old ones, apologized and remade them. When I got home...THEY STILL HAD CHEESE!!!! What in the world did he think he was correcting??

The number one song on the US charts this week in 1976 was "Kiss And Say Goodbye" by the Manhattans, a New Jersey R & B group still together after 45 years.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 20th, 1976

Easily managed to avoid IT today. Read a lot more and finished off all the Tootsie Rolls we bought.

Finally heard from Terry. He went to see LOGAN'S RUN without me!

The Marxes were on but I'd seen this one a lot before.

Finally heard "Sweet Young Thing" on THE MONKEES again tonight. See where LOST IN SPACE and DARK SHADOWS may return to WXIX next!

The big news today, though, was that we made it! Seven years after Apollo 11, man has landed on Mars!! Ray Bradbury was there, naturally, talking about it on TODAY. Was so exciting watching the picture come through little bits at a time!
NOTES: I went through a phase where I munched on the big, cigar-sized Tootsie Rolls as if they were candy...which, of course, they were. This appears to have been during that period.

"Sweet Young Thing" had been an early Monkees favorite and I remembered that it had been heard often on the TV series. Then, for some reason, even episodes I was sure featured that song didn't anymore! It was years later before I found out that as the series went into Saturday morning reruns, they would replace the older songs with newer ones! This syndicated episode was apparently not one of those later prints.

And yes, we landed on Mars. A robot, anyway. I remember seeing a cartoon that showed that the first photo sent back from the Viking Lander picked up a sign that said, "Ray Bradbury Was Here."

Seen above is the real first color photo ever sent back to Earth from another planet. In later years, it was said that it really wasn't as red as that but that NASA "color-corrected" it to meet the public's expectations. I believe their version of the story was to make it more accurately reflect reality. No matter. That day it was cool to be science geek!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 19th, 1976

No more IT. I took an oath on a virgin body.

Back at SS. Work was as hard as ever but I breezed through my part with little trouble. It was good to be back. They installed a new air conditioner today up front.

Tried to get in touch with Terry twice earlier to tell him about the Con but failed.

Spent most of the day reading more of my Omnicon stuff. I particularly enjoyed Wally Wood's SALLY FORTH. Was surprised to find a new photo of Wood in today's TBG, also!

NOTES: No idea what that first sentence was about. Whose "virgin body?" Mine? We'll see how long that oath lasts. For one of the smartest students in school I could be so naive and stupid sometimes.

Wally Wood was, even then, my favorite comic book artist. In the fifties, he drew sci-fi masterpieces for EC comics, he was THE artist for MAD for its first decade, he designed the red costume for Marvel's DAREDEVIL in the early sixties, created the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS for Tower Comics, pioneered self-publishing with WITZEND and at that point in the seventies was drawing ALL-STAR COMICS for DC. He was also tentatively dipping his hand back into self-publishing by releasing an odd-format"book" collecting the risque, hilarious SALLY FORTH strips he had done for a military newspaper a few years earlier along with uncredited assistance from Alan Kupperberg, Larry Hama, Ralph Reese and, I believe, Nick Cuti and Paul Kirchner. Sally was usually topless, the scripts were usually hilarious and the result was what I still call some of the artist's best work ever.

Wood attempted to really push the self-publishing over the next few years, going so far as to create his own fan club so he could market to his devoted followers. Fate had other ideas, however His drinking issues were followed by severe health issues. Instead of his gorgeous graphic novels such as THE KING OF THE WORLD from just a few years earlier, he ended up producing badly drawn porn to survive. Eventually Wally Wood took his own life in late 1981.

In 2009, I began HOORAY FOR WALLY WOOD, the only blog on the 'Net devoted to the life, art and career of Wallace Wood. If you're interested, you can find it here:

Seen above is the original art (not mine) to the cover of the oversized SALLY FORTH book I was reading on this date in 1976. The alien gentleman is Snorky. The art is by Wood with backgrounds and touchups by A. L Sirois, by that point his young assistant. Mr. Sirois is now an accomplished writer and artist in his own right and is one of my Facebook friends. I also have an original Sally Forth sketch by Wood (with Paul Kirchner) and an original Snorky sketch from sometime Sally writer/layout artist, Alan Kupperberg.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 18th, 1976

Repercussions should last a while. I read some of my purchases today and contemplated buying one of the Bode books at Kidd's.

Saw Dick Van Dyke on WONDERAMA.

Dad cashed in three two dollar winning tickets over the river and then won two more.

Watched another ELLERY QUEEN episode I had missed and also saw THE DAY NEW YORK TURNED BLUE on McCLOUD with Bernadette! I think it may be my favorite episode!

Tonight we got back the SS keys.

NOTES: Originally aired in February, THE DAY NEW YORK TURNED BLUE, a McCLOUD episode vaguely reminiscent of an 87th Precinct thriller by Ed McBain, has turned out to be my favorite episode of McCLOUD, itself one of my favorite series of the seventies. Bernadette was, of course, Bernadette Peters, one of my many crushes of that year.

"Bode" was Vaughn Bode, an underground cartoonist known for his character Cheech Wizard and today remembered most as a massive influence on graffiti art and artists after his unfortunate "death by misadventure" in 1975.

Kidd's was the big, real bookstore in downtown Cincinnati where I had first discovered books about comics. Their basement had been given over to the son or nephew of one of the owners and he had turned it into, for all intents and purposes, a head shop. At some point he was killed in a motorcycle accident and in an apparently unrelated decision they moved to a new, more modern location a few blocks away. The new layout was nightmarish and I doubt they lasted a year there after decades in business at the original location.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 17th, 1976

Awoke early after sleeping better and got to watch a fun snowy episode of THAT GIRL at 7:30 on TV. It didn't seem like Saturday at all. We checked out of the hotel at 10 and went downstairs to wait on a cab. While we waited there, Andy and Cy Voris from the old Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe in Cincinnati arrived and I spoke with them. They still remembered me after nearly six months since they closed.

It was a better cab ride than before. We got downtown and walked around for a while just looking. A lot of hardcore shops and theaters. So weird since there's virtually nothing like that back home. We ate back at the bus station and then cut out around 2 PM.

For half the trip, I sat next to a very talkative older lady. She was interesting. Before we got in, though, she switched to the seat in front of me to talk with a girl close to my age. As we got close, the girl turned around to me and asked, "Is that the Cincinnati Reds ballpark?" I replied that it was. "It's beautiful! It's so big!" she said in a sexy voice I think I'll always remember!

I was glad when we got in. Both suitcases were loaded down with loot from the Con. They were heavy! I immediately went and got us all Wendy's for dinner.

Just before bed, we watched...or tried to...more of Laurel and Hardy on PBS.

NOTES: Trying hard not to kick myself. We were THERE. We had three day passes and there were even some folks there I knew by that point...but we still left. Sigh....

By this point in the seventies, there were virtually no XXX places in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky. Occasionally an adult bookstore would move in but they would be pressured out in a month or so. The exceptions were The Royal Theater in downtown Cincy and Cinema X in Newport, Kentucky. The Royal continued to run adult films but, as I would find out later, they were editing out all the actual adult scenes!!! CINEMA X was, probably due to their constant legal issues, a very clean, professionally run place that really did run hardcore least until the video revolution which was just around the corner from 1976.

As for the girl with the sexy voice I thought I'd always remember saying its double entendre...I didn't even recall the incident until I re-read this entry. Ah, well.

Oddly enough, I watched that exact episode of THAT GIRL on DVD late last evening!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

***EXTRA***1966, My Favorite Year

This blog is based entirely on the Journal I kept in 1976. Ten years earlier, I could barely write so I never kept a Journal at age seven. What a year, though! Now, I have a brand-new blog celebrating all the pop culture wonders from 1966, MY FAVORITE YEAR. Comic Books, Music, TV, Movies, Books, Cars, Fashions, Toys, Spies, and all things Batman! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday, July 16th, 1976

THE BIG DAY! Had a hard time getting to sleep but I awoke at just past 6:30. Watched Rona review Clint's new flick on GMA before anyone else woke up.

Then, for the first time in my life...I saw a naked woman in person!!! I'm sure it was! I was looking through the still-closed curtain across the forum and there she was, looking out from another room! At first, I couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman but then I saw her kind of jiggling up and down and then put a bra on! Just wish I could've seen it better. Boy!

I was really nervous about going over to the Con for fear of having to hunt for it but eventually I did finally go. I went in through a side door. One of the first people I saw was DeForest Kelley! I stood next to him while he was being interviewed on TV. Wow!

I bought lots of stuff right away including some undergrounds, SALLY FORTH, 2001 and more! I stumbled onto an area where they were running the STAR TREK episode, "The Tholian Web" on a pretty big screen and I snuck in and found a seat at the back. The place was packed!

After that, I headed back to the room. I went back down to the Convention a little bit later for about another hour and spent the remainder of my money on more stuff. And that was all I saw of Omnicon. I never even found any of the artists or panels or anything!

When I got back to our room (2174) there was a cute maid there!

Went with Mom and Dad back to that same restaurant for dinner and I had delicious chili. I kind of got mad at her though when she insisted I take the salad that came with it. Then she insisted I choose what type of dressing I wanted when I told her I didn't want dressing!! So...she brought it with 4 types of dressing on each of the four sides of it! I refused to touch it. I do NOT eat salad!

Tonight I watched a LOST IN SPACE episode on TV. Haven't seen that show in years! Also saw DeForest Kelley on the news on two different stations. Couldn't tell if either was the spot I saw them filming earlier. This time I stayed up to watch YOU BET YOUR LIFE. also.

NOTES: Yep. Big day. First time--at age 17--I'd ever seen a naked woman in person. Or at least I was pretty sure it was a naked woman! Not quite sure, mind you but...I DON'T wanna hear it! Jeez....

So after the whole year of anticipating OMNICON...I went for what sounds like maybe two and a half hours and then was ready to head home. The Convention lasted three days, I spent all my money in a couple hours and was too shy to ask anybody directions and too flustered to take the time to figure out the schedule seen here. I would have dearly loved meeting Don Rosa, a favorite even then and now an International comics superstar throughout much of the world! I've met him a few times since and he's even been known to read and comment on my blogs from time to time. This was basically his Con...and I never even saw him to the best of my knowledge. He told me later, if I recall correctly, that the convention lost money which is why it never became a big annual event as intended.

Also never saw Frank Brunner--This was, I believe the third con I missed him at! Decades later, I'd miss him again. I have STILL never seen Frank Brunner! Missed seeing Mike Kaluta, also, although we are at this point casual Facebook pals.

As far as the salad incident, that still galls me. I told that waitress to skip the salad. I simply don't like salads! And I like the thought of them even less with goopy stuff poured all over them so when I said no dressing, she should have listened to me! The combined smell of the mess he put on with 4 different dressings about made me sick! I told Dad not to tip her but Mom explained they didn't make much money so Dad gave her a big tip anyway. I really didn't touch the stuff! I think Mom may have nibbled on it a little bit. Yuck.

Thursday, July 15th, 1976

Yesterday was Debbie's birthday. This was the first year I had forgotten about it. Well..until now, anyway.

A lot about Jimmy Carter on TV today of course but also caught a cool rerun of NIGHT GALLERY!

We left about 11 AM for the bus station. The bus air conditioning was broke. Was hot, hot, hot and temps outside got up to 90 we heard later. On arriving in Louisville, we walked through town but couldn't find much of an actual downtown so we went back to the bus station. We caught a cab from there and it drove right into a traffic jam. Cost us 8 bucks and we had to go way outside of town!

First thing I saw when we got to the place though was an Omnicon WELCOME sign!

The minute we got there, though, a storm hit that would last several hours and keep raining well into the next day. Our room was right above the swimming pool area. We ate at a very nice restaurant here at the with a very friendly waitress. As we were walking back to our rooms, we cut through the parking lot in the rain and I saw a van with a cool painting of the Shadow on its side!

When we got back to the room, I took a shower and we watched a Sinatra film on the room TV. Groucho was on later but we were exhausted.

NOTES: Here we go! Omnicon! I remember being really shocked to find the convention was way outside of the city itself. In those days, the world hadn't yet spread out the way it has today. There were cities and there was all that area between cities that city boys like myself knew little or nothing about. Years later, during a week of training in Louisville for my Waldenbooks job, I would stay at a hotel in the same general area as to where Omnicon had been.

You'll note I had to mention that I took a a shower. This was actually a big deal as we had never lived anywhere that had a shower. My only association with showers outside of vacations was the nightmarish connotation of having to take group showers in gym class starting in seventh grade. What the HELL were they thinking. I note that, at least in this area, the schools no longer do that.

I still have the original flyer for the hotel where Omnicon was held and I had hoped to run it today but my scanner is down. Will try to do it as a special post later.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 14th, 1976

Finalized my list! Just a couple more days now.

I accidentally tuned in on actress Sarah Miles on DONAHUE and got caught up in it. She was noticeably braless which is why I stuck with it. Chad of Chad and Jeremy was with her and sang Summer Song. Mom came in the room just in time to catch Sarah talking very explicitly about masturbation! I acted non-chalant and went in to get a candy bar. Now, I'd love to see her new (nude)

performance but for what I hear is a pretty bloody ending! Will that stop me? Only time will tell!

Tomorrow, though, we leave for Omnicon which starts Friday! Mom started packing tonight. Still didn't get Brunner in the mail. Can't take it to get it signed if it doesn't ever get here!

Still not much on the tube tonight besides Democrats! We stayed up late to see Carter's nomination. That was pretty neat.

NOTES: I had yet to really get into politics or even take sides. Being still months away from being old enough to register to vote, it just didn't seem to matter yet. I liked Carter's good ol' boy style though and his PLAYBOY interview would convince me to purchase the only issue I had ever bought up until that point.

Sarah Miles is a British actress who I simply never cared for..until I saw her speaking so openly and explicitly with Phil Donahue about something that--in spite of my HUSTLER history--I wasn't even aware that women actually did. The movie in which she supposedly practices that art fairly realistically (which led to her getting a Golden Globe nomination for her performance!) was entitled THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA. To this day, I have still never seen it. To this day, I'm a little confused as to why Chad Stuart of one of my favorite sixties musical duos, Chad and Jeremy, was with her.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 13th, 1976

IT again.

Finally saw GATOR. Yuck.

Dad won four bucks on the lottery.

Watched Channel 19 most of the night because the Democratic Convention was on all the other channels.

NOTES: Again, a sparse entry. Sorry.

Yep, I finally saw GATOR, Burt Reynolds sequel to his WHITE LIGHTNING of a couple years earlier--which I had not seen (I would later). I didn't like GATOR. I haven't seen it since but as I recall it had a smarmy feel that just didn't sit well with me. I liked Burt and over the next few years I would like him more and more but I did not like him in this picture. leading lady Lauren Hutton didn't really help. Never understood the ex-model's popularity in films of the period.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 12th, 1976


Saw two new game shows and a lot of specials including Rona's talk with four favorites and part of THE DAWN OF LAUREL AND HARDY.

Also heard that Cher had a bouncing baby boy!

NOTES: Slow day, I guess.

Cher's new addition was her son with musician Gregg Allman, the wonderfully named Elijah Blue Allman. A few years later, my future wife, Rene, would be in line for something at Disneyworld when she heard a familiar voice behind her and turned to see a somewhat disguised Cher (hair tied up in a kerchief and wearing sunglasses) trying to calm her hot and tired little boy, just like any other mother. "Elijah, honey, I know you're tired. We'll get through the line soon." She didn't let on that she recognized her.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 11th, 1976

I don't think it's gonna work. "Pesky Perky" came in drunk early this morning, later telling us how he had kicked out a drunk he found sleeping up on the third floor! The he went and screwed up the SS trash cans! I'll be glad when we get back to work over there!

"Silly Love Songs" left the # 1 position but McCartney entered the Top Ten on a 2nd front now, too!

Reluctantly I went to the Zoo with Mom and Dad but I did enjoy it. The greatest thrills were an eagle soaring a short distance, the baby white tigers and a now grown Sam and Samantha!

Watched a bicentennial epilogue on TV tonight and heard that Terrence Hill might play Superman!

NOTES: What I meant by McCartney's second front was that another song from his AT THE SPEED OF SOUND album had entered the charts. It was most likely LET 'EM IN.

Although then and now a favorite actor of mine, Terrence Hill was most likely never really a viable candidate for the man of Steel simply because he couldn't speak English without an Italian accent. Originally Mario Giroti, Hill had become a major international star on the strength of some light-hearted spaghetti westerns. By the mid-seventies, he was tried out in several English language vehicles including MR. BILLION with Jackie Gleason and MARCH OR DIE with Gene Hackman. He soon returned to producing and starring in low-budget comedies and westerns and has made quite a good living from them ever since!

Sam and Samantha were unrelated gorillas both born at the Cincinnati Zoo in early 1970 to much publicity. They were intensely photographed as youngsters and gave the Zoo quite a reputation (as did the rare white tigers!). Not sure what happened to Sam but I remember they had a big celebration for Samantha's 40th birthday at the Zoo last year!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saturday, July 10th, 1976

Scrapped GATOR yet again, this time so I could go see GUS with Mom and Dad just uptown at the Madison. Karen Rooney was working there selling tickets! She was in my Kindergarten class and still goes to my school but isn't in any of my classes. She's SO pretty!

Started working on my Price guide compilation for this time next week.

Saw BATMAN reruns for the first time in years! They still hold up!

The Miss Universe Pageant was on tonight and one of the judges was Run Run Shaw!! Weird!

NOTES: GUS was a live action Disney picture which didn't look so hot but I ended up seeing it a couple of times! It's a silly comedy about a mule drafted as a kicker on a football team. Typical of the period, there was a great cast of familiar faces including Don Knotts, Ed Asner, Tim Conway, Bob Crane, Dick Van Patten, Ronnie Schell and Tom Bosley...all with little of any consequence to do.

With the Price Guide, what I was doing was taking my own Want List and looking up current values so as to know if I was being ripped off the following week at Omnicon!

The 1966 BATMAN TV series had been my favorite thing in the world at the time (as it had with so many!) and I was pleased to see it held up in spite of its by then already dated "camp" approach. A couple years back, I was able to share the entire series with my son on DVD (Shhh!) and not only do I still love it but now so does he! As we were watching them, I casually asked whatever happened to one of the actors who played a villain in an early episode and, this being the Internet age, I was able to track him down and interview him. Actor, comedian, teacher and father of former SNL star Chris Kattan, Kip King and I became phone friends after that until he became ill and died a while back. A nice man and thanks to a 40+ year old episode of BATMAN, I got to know him a bit! Not only that but it led to my also getting to interview singer Donna Loren, seen here with Kip in BATMAN.

The Miss Universe Pageant was, of course, not really a beauty contest that covered the whole universe...or even just the Milky Way for that matter. Was odd to see aged Hong Kong martial arts movie mogul, Run Run Shaw as a judge!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friday, July 9th, 1976

Went over the river with Mom fairly early after the stores opened this morning where we got my senior pictures as well as the comics I still hadn't gotten. I haven't even yet finished reading the ones I got way back on Wednesday morning! A LOT this week!

As far as the pictures, I'm not really too proud of 'em but I guess they're okay. I'll probably just stick 'em in a drawer and never use 'em for anything anyway.

Saw yet another Bogie movie--my 100th movie on TV so far this year! Later tonight, I saw the other Maude episode of ALL IN THE FAMILY.

NOTES: HAH! I'm serious! That's what I wrote back on this date in 1976: "I'll probably just stick 'em in a drawer and never use 'em for anything anyway." How in the world could I have suspected that the photo seen on this blog's logo would, some 35 years later, be seen on blogs in Germany, Denmark, Japan and the Ukraine to say nothing of being shared hundreds of times on Facebook and, possibly, seen by millions worldwide when it appeared on the front page of AOL earlier this year? My head hurts!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 8th, 1976

I awoke at 6 AM and was showered and at the TV by 7 to catch GMA where I heard Miss Rona talk about the upcoming SUPERMAN movie!

The worst part of the morning was that most of the TV shows were the same. We couldn't decide whether to stay or not. Eventually, we checked out, checked our bags at the bus station and then began a long shopping spree that culminated in a cool bookstore with the rest of this week's new comics, fanzines and the works! They even had an ad on the door for Omnicon! HAH!

We went in Lazarus, a huge department store with no real front door, two basements, tunnels and at least a few city blocks for different sections! Wow! We had dinner there.

We had planned to see a movie downtown but there were no theaters to be found anywhere! Weird! I snapped nine pix though! I hope they turn out great.

Exactly 24 hours after we left home to go to Columbus...we left Columbus to go back home. I enjoyed it at least as much as Cleveland, though.

We arrived back at our apartment by 5:30. The trip back had been pretty uneventful which is good because I had forgotten to take my pill. We had a postcard saying my senior pictures were done. Mom and I will go pick them up tomorrow. I called Terry to tell him about the trip. He had picked up some comics that I had missed but I had quite a few that he hadn't seen here yet.

While we were up there, I developed a quick crush on a TV newscaster named Carol Chaney. Too bad because I'll most likely never see her again.

Found out Gerber was fired from Marvel...apparently for real this time.

NOTES: Yep...we stayed exactly one day. That was our vacation. As I said before, we were never big on travel which no doubt led to my still being that way today. I tried to find a picture of Carol Chaney but was not able to do so. I did, however, find a shot of the Lazarus store the way I remember it! Not sure what happened to the pictures I took that day but I'm pretty sure I don't have them anymore.

The SUPERMAN movie was still more than two years away at this point but it was looking more and more like it would actually happen. Mario Puzo was writing the script and he was as big as a writer gets after THE GODFATHER! Unfortunately, he seemed to have little understanding of the character and other hands were later brought in to essentially rewrite his script away...but union rules being what they are, he still received screen credit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 7th, 1976

We tried and tried to decide where to go today and in desperation we just went to Columbus. We left here on the Greyhound at 2:30 and arrived there just around 4:30. Got a room right across the street at a Holiday Inn. On the eighth floor.

It's a really neat city. We walked around a little early this evening before it got dark. We ate at Wendy's and I even found a place with some new comics. They weren't out yet when we left Cincy!

Mom and Dad watched the Reds game on Channel 4 here.

Just after we went to bed, though, it stormed some and I had quite a time sleeping.

NOTES: As I've said before, we never, ever drove anywhere on vacation. I never did learn why. My dad was an excellent, safe driver with a near spotless record for 50 years by that point. He had no problem whatsoever driving within the city limits or not far beyond but he hated the Interstates and any kind of long travel. My mother had never learned to drive at all.

The thing I remember most about this trip to Columbus, Ohio was just how clean and shiny the city opposed to, say, Cincinnati or even Cleveland where we had been the year before. We had a habit, though, of going on these trips and spending all of our time in the hotel rooms watching different TV shows. Or sometimes just the same ones, in fact!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 6th, 1976

Saw Max Baer and Bobbie Gentry on MERV this morning and decided I was going to go see ODE again soon. Then I realized I'd seen my number one pix for the past few years at least twice before I even knew they were going to be my number ones!

Very bad rains this afternoon knocked power out for about ten minutes. I'll bet SS people were scared to death. Was pitch dark over there!

Tonight I maged to tape record the song and scene from ODE when they reran MERV. Saw Carol Wayne, too. She's neat.

Tonight should have been our first real night of not having to worry about the SS but Mom just kept worrying about how Jack and his friend he brought in to help were working out.

NOTES: Max Baer, as I said the other day, had memorably typecast himself as Jethro on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES but now had become a director. He was pretty good.

Carol Wayne was a buxom, funny and by all accounts amazingly smart comic actress with an odd sort of smushed in face. She often appeared as a comic foil for Johnny Carson and as a game show panelist. She would drown accidentally in early 1984.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday, July 5th, 1976

I watched sometime Marvel writer John Jakes on GOOD MORNING AMERICA this morning.

Mom and Dad began their vacation by shopping over the river where they got to see part of the local parade. Mom bought me anew suit--sort of--for our travels...which may well begin as soon as tomorrow.

We helped Mr.Perky with the SS trash but that's the last time we have to deal with it for two weeks.

Hundreds of cars flooded the parking lot tonight as there were more fireworks down at the river.

NOTES: Years later, when I was managing bookstores, John Jakes was one of the most asked about authors. His bestseller, THE BASTARD, had been made into an early, popular TV miniseries. After years of pulps and sci-fi/fantasy genre books, the man suddenly found himself at the top of the Bestseller lists each time he had a new book. Hs NORTH AND SOUTH became his most popular book yet and led to another successful mini-series! In 1976, though, it hadn't been that much earlier when he was adapting his Brak the Brabarian character for Marvel comics.

Monday, July 4, 2011

EXTRA****July Calendar Picture, 1976****

This patriotic image of my favorite comic book hero by artist John Romita is what greeted me on my wall every day of this month in 1976. Now, in 2011, I anxiously await the upcoming movie which may end up the only movie I end up going to for the remainder of the year, quite a change from 1976.

Sunday, July 4th, 1976

At last! Bicentennial Day! Woke up early and turned on the CBS all day celebration which I stuck with most of the day. I clipped out a bunch of the Bicentennial themed comic strips in today's paper...which surprisingly DID show up for a change!

Dad went over the river early and blew ten bucks on lottery tickets.

We narrowed down our vacation plans to Pittsburgh, Columbus or St. Louis. I'm for Pittsburgh.

Tonight we watched Bob Hope and Paul Anka specials and saw the absolute best fireworks ever at the Statue of Liberty! It's after midnight now and we just saw highlights of Paul Revere's Kings Island wedding to a local girl who wore Raquel's outfit from THREE MUSKETEERS!

What a day!

NOTES: This was, of course, the big day that year. You'll notice that my family enjoyed it all vicariously! We didn't go anywhere other than my dad feeding his addiction to scracth-off tickets! Apparently that's where I got it as I have long since dreaded going places and doing even things that I know I would enjoy! In recent years, we've pretty much become hermits as we can't afford to go anywhere or do anything anyway. Sigh. My wife and I have not been on an actual vacation since we've been married.

Never got to St. Louis and other than a brief plane change in Pittsburgh once years later I never got their either.

With the WEBN fireworks a Labor day tradition around here, there have been plenty of even more spectacular fireworks displays over the years. My mother loved fireworks and so does my wife but I tend to just ignore them and wait for them to go away. I'm no fun at all.

It was a real wedding but I doubt anyone would deny that the nuptials of musician Paul Revere--who hadn't had a hit in several years at that point--was more-or-less a publicity stunt. He was married in Colonial uniform at a Raiders concert with the colorful background of our local amusement park, Kings Island. As stated, his bride wore the dress that Raquel Welch wore in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Revere would announce his retirement from the music business later that year only to jump back in quickly. He's still touring with a version of the Raiders in 2011.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


NOTES:Well it isn't quite July 4th here in 2011 but it IS Sunday so here we have some old-school Sunday funnies! Seen here are a few of the strips I actually clipped out back then. Since July 4th, 1976--the Bicentennial!--was on a Sunday, most of that day's comic strips dealt with the theme. Some notable ones, including PEANUTS, did not. I clipped a number of the ones that did. Because of how big they were in 1976 (as opposed to how tiny today), I had to scan parts separately and case you're wondering why they look a little off. Since some didn't have that natural break in the center or toward the end, I wasn't able to get those properly at all and so chose not to run them. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 3rd, 1976

Dad got Mr. Perky, the new neighbor, to handle SS for two weeks for us. We're still trying to decide where to go on vacation before Omnicon though which is now just eleven days a way!

I bought a new two dollar Wings book. I got the Billie Joe record but the book had no pics so I skipped it. Took me four stores to even find it!

I intended to see GATOR but as I approached the theater it looked like the place might be on fire! There were fire trucks all around so I didn't go!

Saw part of a Bicentennial parade as well as the first few hours of an all-night Bicentennial party that actually included local segments from Kings Island. Almost time for the next 200 years to begin. Fireworks from down on the river tonight!

NOTES: I hadn't really written anything about the Bicentennial but I actually was quite excited about it. I had always been a history buff and coming so soon as it did after Nixon resigned in disgrace, the Bicentennial was a much needed ego booster for the country.

"Mr. Perky" would come to be known to us as "Jack" and to give you an idea of what he was like, think Festus on GUNSMOKE. He looked like him and talked like him, especially when drinking which was much of the time. Perhaps i had led a sheltered life but this was the first person in my life I had ever known to be an alcoholic (my Uncle in North Carolina was but I didn't find that out until later) and I kind of resented the somewhat forced intrusion of that disease on my reality.

Eventually I would see GATOR, the sequel to Burt Reynolds hit WHITE LIGHTNING but I wouldn't like it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 2nd, 1976

Saw McCartney again this morning, natch.

I decided to stay home today and in spite of IT, I enjoyed myself. Much of the day was introspective. I decided that tomorrow I'm going to buy the ODE TO BILLIE JOE record and maybe the book if it's got pictures.

Spent most of the day in my room working with my scrapbooks. I fixed some of my pictures and looked at a lot of other ones. Finally, after more than a year I think, I cleaned the floor in my office. Also disposed of my broken toybox. I felt in such a productive mood that I even shaved and made my bed! Quite an accomplishment for me!

One hell of a lot of trash at SS tonight--wood, metal, files, etc. Got a new trash can for my own office though when they threw out a perfectly good one just because they got a new one.

Still, all in all, another good day.
NOTES: I had had my toybox since I was a small child. It was basically like the one seen above although mine was covered in blue vinyl that had been torn around the edges for many years. BY this point, I was keeping it in front of my desk and using it to store the notebooks I had filled with beloved comic books! Comic books that would now be worth a small fortune had I not ripped off their covers, ripped out ads and letters pages, poked holes in them and stuffed them in notebooks!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thursday, July 1st, 1976

Saw Paul mistake Geraldo for Chico on GMA and it's still continued again tomorrow.

I was determined to go see a movie today but it literally took me right up to the last minute to decide which one. Even though I was almost late I chose ODE TO BILLIE JOE and I'm sure I didn't make a mistake. It was one of--if not THE best--I've seen all year! With the movie out they've been laying the song on the radio a lot. I heard it this morning and then again after the movie. Tonight I salvaged the review from yesterday at SS as it was better than Jerry Stein's.

Watched THE WALTONS tonight for the first time in over a year. Kind of continued my Southern mood.

Quite a good day. A very good day.

NOTES: Paul McCartney tends to be nervous in interviews even after all these years and it sounds as though on this day he jokingly mis-identified GOOD MORNING AMERICA's reporter Geraldo Rivera as CHICO AND THE MAN star Freddie Prinze. Geraldo would become somewhat controversial over the years and his infamous debacle of opening Al Capone's vault would lose him some of the great respect he had as a reporter at this time.

In retrospect, ODE TO BILLIE JOE, based on Bobbie Gentry's hit record and directed by Max Baer, formerly TV's Jethro Bodine of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, was NOT really a very good movie. Not a bad movie but not good either. Questions were left unanswered and a bizarre back-story about a homosexual experience was added to the song's characters for no apparent reason. At the time though, since I was an angsty teenager, I loved it. In fact, I would later choose it as the best film of the year out of all I saw that year! Yikes!

THE WALTONS was one of the great, award-winning family shows in TV history, a long-running family saga set on a Virginia mountain. I enjoyed it for several years but had gravitated away from it in time. Its instrumental opening was one of my favorite TV theme songs.