Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 29th, 1976

Today is the extra day we get this year! Mom and Dad went out to visit Aunt Rosie but I finally decided to stay home. They were kind of disappointed. I wanted to go. Would make it easier to avoid IT. But...I stayed and ended up not avoiding IT at all.

I did write to Keno about Omnicon. Mom says whether or not we can go will depend on what we hear back.

Watched one of Sidney Poitier's Virgil Tibbs movies on TV this afternoon while I got a little homework in. The biggest event of the day was when I finally finished ILLUMINATUS, part one. Hadn't expected to so soon but it was that good.

Tough decision on what to watch on TV this evening but I eventually decided to skip THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It's long and seems sickeningly sweet but that sure is a great opening number.

NOTES: Yes, 1976 was a Leap Year and 2011 isn't so there are two updates today!

I had gotten out of the habit of going to visit relatives every time my parents did. I think in a way it was simply a type of mild rebellion against authority. More often than not, I spent my afternoons alone wishing I had gone.

What we were writing for from Don Rosa (first name Keno) was the hotel rates, the Convention flyer and updates, etc., all needed to see if the whole deal would be a good fit for Mom's summer vacation.

In 2010, I became acquainted with a man who had been a publicist for THEY CALL ME MISTER TIBBS! which, I believe was the film that I saw this day.

I don't know what I had against THE SOUND OF MUSIC then. When I did finally see it, I adored it. Julie Andrews had been one of my earliest crushes from MARY POPPINS and remains a great favorite after all these years. I count two of the Von Trapp children from the film amongst my Facebook friends these days!

Saturday, February 28th, 1976

Didn't get myself a thing over the river. They've moved some of the things I'm trying to avoid getting. Maybe after today that'll make things easier. This could be the beginning of the end. My depression felt a little better today even. Temptation might be on its way out.

I had a most enjoyable afternoon watching NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN uptown here.

Tomorrow I'm going to write Don Rosa for all the information about Omnicon. That'll be the first step toward going.

I got a a suspicion today that the Yellow Kid might not be closed after all. I'll find out soon I suppose.

The Grammy Awards were on tonight. The right people never win on that show!

NOTES: First of all the Yellow Kid really was closed. I was just in denial. I was also in denial that I could beat hormonal temptation.

Don Rosa was my favorite fan writer so it was a big deal for me to be writing him. Eventually, as he became a pro, I would write him again about doing an autographing at my bookstore. He graciously and humbly turned me down. This was before he became literally an international sensation as the modern "good duck artist" for Disney. He's done probably thousands of signings since. I've run into him a few times over the years and even got an original Scrooge McDuck drawing from him.

NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN was a fun but inconsequential live-action Disney caper film starring David Niven, Don Knotts and current TV "housewife" Kim Richards. In a smaller role as Niven's chauffeur is former McHALE'S NAVY co-star Bob Hastings with whom I would later become friends through old-time radio circles. We've performed onstage together dozens of times in the past twenty years. Once I asked him what it was like working with Niven on that film. He told me that it was great and that the veteran star would love to "hold court" and tell his marvelous anecdotes and stories. He added that most of the work had to be done in the morning as Niven was often tippling a bit and as the day progressed it became harder to get him to do anything BUT tell stories!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 27th, 1976

Talk about bad news!! First I got a 63 on a test and then Terry tells me he just found out the Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe closed...over a week ago!! I'm sure I'll get over it but nothing could have added any worse to my present feelings of being down. Boy...I'll have to wait over a week now for the comics downtown to catch up to the books I've already got! Man...This has just got me so depressed!

The only real good thing that happened today is that I got the Hot Stuf' 2 in the mail that I ordered a few weeks ago.

I may go see THE SUNSHINE BOYS to cheer myself up. I know it will if I see it.

NOTES: I remember being just stunned by the closure of the comic shop just a month or so after the big newspaper article talking about how well they were doing. I went back to the storefront they had shared with a used record store many times and even sometimes peaked in the back where the comics shop was...only to see just empty boxes and stored LP's. Sigh. It was literally--to me at that time--like losing a friend.

Above you see the cover of the long coveted HOT STUF' 2 I received that day in the mail. Ironically, one of its main attractions was a story featuring artist Gray Morrow's character, Orion. Years later, I would start the first Gray Morrow tribute blog on the Web.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 26th, 1976

So little worth mentioning happened at school today that I won't mention it.

Norma stayed a real long time next door so we ended up having to go over to clean the office with her still there.

Uncle Jim just called to say his wife's father had died.

NOTES: Also on this date, the US conducted another nuclear test at the Nevada test sites. As a child, seeing the footage of what the atomic bombs did in Japan in 1945, I remember thinking that, underground or not, it can't be good to be constantly setting off nuclear explosions in a state with a well-known earthquake fault!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 25th, 1976

More or less a boring day. Besides the book report, the only thing that happened at school was the Junior Revue. It had its good and bad points but on the whole it was really surprisingly good. I'm sure the second show was probably even better because they would have fixed the bugs.

Over the river, I finally got CINEFANTASTIQUE (and not much else) with the most magnificent cover I've ever seen.

In March, I'm thinking of taking inventory on everything I buy. If it turns out well I may do it every month just for the sake of regulating my spending.

Some stupid jerk was screwing around out back in the parking lot and the alley tonight trying to run down those stupid kids next door. Not that they don't need something but that guy should be arrested!

NOTES: I'm not certain now but it seems like that was actually a rehearsal for the Junior Revue that they took us all to that day. I believe the real thing was done later that evening so parents could attend. I remember that one guy I knew did a great version of a Jim Croce song and went on to be a professional singer. Another guy with an already outdated afro did a mean Hendrix impression on guitar, too!

CINEFANTASTIQUE was a slick, glossy magazine of fantasy film criticism. It was a quarterly magazine. I'm presuming that the issue seen here is the one whose cover I loved so much as I had missed the one just prior and the one after featured Gregory Peck from THE OMEN. If this is it, however, I look at it now and I'm not as impressed. Oh, it's a good cover, highlighting the yet to be released LOGAN'S RUN...but it ain't THAT special.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 24th, 1976

Finished my book report and also got the highest grade ever on a Spanish test! 101! Algebra seems easy all of sudden. Not sure what happened there.

There was a bad accident up the street earlier tonight. Mom and Dad were real curious. I guess I'm not interested because there's no reason. There's nothing you can do except feel sorry for the victims. I kind of feel guilty that I feel that way but...oh well.

I just watched Monty Python for the first time in a couple weeks.

NOTES: First year Algebra was easy for me. Fun even. The following year, however, they made me take Geometry, then return for Algebra 2 in Junior year. I was lost. What should have been a continuation of the original class seemed to just hit the ground running with half-forgotten concepts and new ideas I couldn't keep up with at all. I did NOT like Algebra 2.

Odd that I felt so little empathy for accident victims. Wasn't even curious as to whether it might be someone I knew. That would change in a couple of years when my father was hit by a car turning the corner as he walked across at a crosswalk. The driver had the sun in her eyes and couldn't see him. He broke an arm in multiple places and dislocated a shoulder. He had a year with his arm in a brace, twice weekly physical therapy sessions, depression and legal proceedings. He had to give up driving completely. After that, I became more sympathetic to accident victims.

My dad recovered from that accident eventually, by the way, and in fact lived another 13 years beyond that. After my mother passed from Cancer in 1981, I gave up my plans of moving out and he and I were roomies for all that time. He loved to read my comics.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 23rd, 1976

I was kind of sick all day today as well as feeling sorry for myself. I got my Social Security card in the mail, though. Also TBG which really perked me up. Found at least five dollars worth of more stuff to order. I saw the rest of ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (I keep wanting to call it ON HER MAJESTY'S QUEEN SERVICE). Wasn't all that thrilled with it in spite of Mrs. Peel--or in this case, Mrs. Bond. I did NOT get my book report written though.

NOTES: Not much to say here. I liked George Lazenby in the movie, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (as the villain) as well as in some later TV appearances but quite frankly, he was a terrible James Bond.

The number one song on the charts this week was THEME FROM S.W.A.T. by Rhythm Heritage. It was a funk-filled festival but when it came right down to it, it was still a TV theme, S.W.A.T. being one of the first initial-based titles--a police drama starring Steve Forrest. Although rarely remembered today, its chart position makes it one of the most successful TV themes of all time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 22nd, 1976

I must see sex and violence for what they really are--the evils that destroy our society! Evils that drive our people to do terrible things or even to the brink of suicide. Whenever I try to let myself feel too human, I feel like I'm drawn too near that type of behavior myself! With recent events and my own behavior, I'm struggling to keep away again. This can't be the way things are supposed to be!

Did my best to avoid IT after yesterday but I didn't succeed. This time I destroyed all my magazines afterwards.

On the good side today, Mom bought me a new David Bowie single and a new adapter. I watched the end of CASABLANCA again and I finished THE VALLEY OF FEAR. Now I just need to write a book report on it by Wednesday. I also wrote my order and sent my Japanese pen pal some movie ads.

Best of all, tonight I saw one of my new favorites, Bernadette Peters, ona really, really good episode of what I'm currently calling my favorite TV series, McCLOUD. It was called "the Day New York Turned Blue."

NOTES: Don't recall whether there was some particular incident that set me off about sex and violence or if it was just my mind working overtime again.

Was my Mom cool or what? I had had her listen to Bowie's GOLDEN YEARS on the radio a month or two earlier and when she saw it while she was out shopping, she bought it for me. Recorded during one of the singer's worst drug addiction periods, nonetheless it remains a favorite song today.

McCLOUD was the long-running monthly "mystery movie" series with Dennis Weaver as a new Mexico deputy on "temporary" assignment in New York City as a fish out of water irritating Chief Peter B. Clifford (JD Cannon). Last year I re-watched the entire series and "the Day New York Turned Blue" is still the best episode in my opinion. It's a two hour episode that builds and builds. New York City is having a major snowstorm, there's an efficiency expert getting on everyone's nerves (William Daniels), a prostitute spray painting her clients blue (Bernadette Peters), a gang plotting to take over the police station and a midnight strike by the police union leaving all the officers off duty!

Bernadette Peters was (and is) a singer/Broadway star I had first seen on a Carol Burnett special a year or two earlier. She was (and is) very cute and a wonderful singer. She's coming to town here in Cincinnati next fall.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 21st, 1976.

IT happened again. $3.83. Ugh! Worst part of the day. Why can't I control myself? I am ME! I must learn to control all aspects of myself!

Afternoon was better. After years of reading about how good it is, I finally saw CASABLANCA! And it really was! The story was just good but boy, the individual moments! Everyone has his favorite but mine has to be the ending. I may even see it again tomorrow when they do the rerun--at least the ending!

It rained all day. Dad and I watched DIRTY HARRY together for the third time. Maybe that's why he was in a good enough mood to allow me to stay up to see the Marx Brothers movie!

NOTES: "It" was happening off and on in between mentions of it here, also. I didn't document every time. I presume the $3.83 was some dirty magazine I had bought for like $3.75 and tax. It was easy to blame such mags for planting the idea in my head but I kept buying the mags anyway. The heavy levels of guilt seem so odd to me now and yet even today my own son (Shhh! don't tell him I told you) has similar guilt issues over his sexuality after a much more progressive upbringing than I ever had.

My dad had taken me to see DIRTY HARRY in the theaters a couple of years earlier because he liked Clint Eastwood from TV. It was the first Eastwood movie I had ever seen and I immediately became a fan.

As a Bogart fan and a film buff, this was, of course, a red letter day for me! I finally saw CASABLANCA! When pressed to narrow my favorites down to one single movie, to this day, more often than not, I will name CASABLANCA! I have probably seen it 50 times since including three times in crowded theaters. Every moment is a gem and the overall package glows in its glorious black and white!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 20th, 1976

Dad won another twenty dollars on the Lottery!

At school I did fair on the exam (84). I don't know if I got Reds tickets or not this year but to avoid the problem of whether or not to go, I'm just not going to check.

I tired of my unshaven appearance and decided to shave today. Maybe next time I'll actually go for trying to grow a mustache.

Going to order about eight bucks worth of stuff this weekend including HOT STUF' 1 and THE TABLOID SPIRIT.
Mom told me Elvis is coming to town. I'd sure love to see him.

Saw Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd on DONNY & MARIE. Always fun to see! Also saw Desi Arnaz SENIOR for the first time in ages on a commercial for this weekend's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE show. I can't see it if I stay up to catch the Marx Brothers film though and I can't miss that!

NOTES: At this point, I was needing to shave only once every other week or so. My fourteen year old son is in that phase already--several years earlier than I was.

Interesting that I was so hyped about Elvis as I would later be offered tickets and turn them my recollection because I didn't care for Elvis at that stage.

On the other hand, it's obvious that I had a sense of pop culture history already as a highlight of my day was seeing a ventriloquist who had been around for four decades already! Then there's the apparently easy to answer conundrum as to whether to watch TV pioneer Desi Arnaz in a rarer than rare live appearance or catch a probably lesser Marx Brothers film.

Cincinnati Reds tickets were regularly given out to straight A students but my interest in baseball had peaked about 5 years earlier so I had been just tossing the passes aside and feeling guilty. About a decade later, I would win opening day blue seats at Riverfront Stadium in a contest at work. I was able to take my dad. First time he had ever been to an Opening Day game and we were right next to the dugout!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thursday, February 19th, 1976

Well, I got through the Algebra exam and also a Spanish test but I won't even guess as to how I did on them!

Went across the river today after school. Kidd's had a new Bounty book as well as the HOT STUF' I ordered more than a week back that probably still won't show up for a couple weeks. Also SCHLOMO RAVEN was finally out! Great! Very much like those old MAD paperbacks! I managed to resist the temptation to pick up any other things.

Watched the second annual PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS tonight. Some good choices the people made, too!

NOTES: THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS were founded as a response to complaints that the stuff that's really popular never seems to win anything. As I recall, in the beginning at least they worked pretty well to rectify that. Eventually they settled into just another awards show. The 1976 presentation was hosted by CHICO & THE MAN's Jack Albertson.

Bounty books were a series of trade paperbacks from the UK on various aspects of films--disaster movies, vampire films, censored films, etc. I bought most of them because they had images and info I just never found anywhere else.

SCHLOMO RAVEN was actually the first of a digest-sized series of graphic novels called FICTION ILLUSTRATED packaged by Byron Preiss. This one was illustrated in Will Elder style by Tom Sutton, better known today as a horror artist. Due to its odd format and ever-changing contents, the series was not successful. In fact, toward the end, it was converted to standard trade paperback size on better paper but it still didn't help sales.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 18th, 1976

Dad's birthday. We never could think of anything to get him.

I forsook Cincy for coneys after school due to hunger and heavy rains.

Finally picked up my pictures. The big one looks terrible--too lifelike. The smaller ones aren't as bad. Two other weird little pix were attached.

I can't stand Spanish and I can't do Algebra! Might not be so bad later in life but right now it is wreckin' my head!!

The language trick I played on Vernon earlier this year finally paid off as he told the story today and exaggerated it, sort of enhancing my reputation!

Thinking about girls a lot again today! Why can't i just forget them? Not like I can talk to them for fear of either being rejected or them being too personally screwed up for me.

Speaking of personally screwed up, all I got from school today was some hate from Jessica. I have no doubt now she hates me but I can't tell why and that bothers me. My own fault though. I keep getting involved. Have to fight that.

The Oscars should be a farce again this year but I'll watch it for the stars. Not a single good film or actor is nominated. Well...not a great one anyway.

NOTES: No idea where that particular picture is at the moment. Also, I don't have a clue what the "language trick" was that I played on Vernon (a guy who had been in my classes since 7th grade).

I loved first year Spanish in Junior High. Got straight A's. For second year Spanish at the high school we had a French teacher due to somebody quitting early on. He was a great guy and I've seen him off and on over the years (he still looks younger than I do!) but we didn't learn a lot of Spanish. Third year (which this was) we mostly were making up for second year and by the fourth year we had a teacher from Spain. He could barely speak English and we could barely speak Spanish. It was a mess. If only we'd had a book like the one above that was published in the nineties.

I cannot believe that neither my mother nor I got my dad anything! He would have been 66 that year. This year he would have been 101 years old.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tuesday, February 17th, 1976

The day ended with absolutely torrential rains!

At school I got the highest grade on last week's Mystery test and a 59 on an Algebra quiz! The makeup pix are in but I haven't picked mine up, yet.

I got TBG in the mail and Terry said he got the first issue of his new sub to it, too. There's quite a bit of stuff I plan to order this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, there's a Marx Bros movie on Sunday in the AM, too. I wish they wouldn't have all the good stuff on then 'cause Dad hates it when I stay up late with the TV on.

Looks like Omnicon may be on Mom's vacation week after all and we can go!
NOTES: The Marx Brothers was another case of me being late to the party. Groucho and his game show duck were and are one of my earliest memories but I never knew he had brothers until the publication of the book, WHY A DUCK? in 1972. After that I became rabid fans and caught as many of their films as I could on TV and in revival houses.

The pictures! So that's what I was so worried about! Now I get it. My Junior class picture had come back as a proof and my eyes had been closed!! My Mom was so upset about it. They had done retakes later and, as stated above, they were now back but I kind of dreaded seeing them I think. Seen above is the reason for the retakes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monday, February 16th, 1976

President's Day. No school. I was awful sleepy this morning but still had to get up early to help Dad with the trash from next door. Only Mom worked.

I dreamed I walked past Debbie's house and saw her again. Obviously brought on by watching SUPERDAD which got me thinking about her again.

Overall this is a great day, though. The smell, the look, the atmosphere--all just right! I had Dixie Chili coneys while watching THAT GIRL, saw THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB which I may watch more often now when I'm home. This afternoon I read and re-read a lot of SPIRIT stuff. Then I recopied some poems to turn in to HORIZONS. I also saw a good BEWITCHED episode that just added to my good feelings. Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Walter Matthau were all on THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW. Also saw Bobby S on JIGSAW JOHN tonight and then the first part of that 007 flick I hadn't seen!

NOTES: Presidents Day was still new at the time, having been established only in 1971 to basically combine Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday which were only ten days apart in February. We were always off school for it. This year, my son will NOT be off school for it. Times change.

Jeez, I just couldn't forget Debbie and move on, could I?

This was still a year away from the NEW MICKEY MOUSE CLUB so what I was referring to here must have been syndicated reruns of the fifties episodes with Annette Funicello. They were still being shown as if new when I was a kid so by this point, they were legitimate nostalgia for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday, February 15th, 1976

Sort of a lazy day. Got up at 5:15 to catch a Laurel and Hardy flick.

Finished with my TBG project.

It was hot but awful windy today. Helped dad clean up outside the SS building and we noted a basement window had been knocked out.

I saw DeForrest Kelly this morning on WONDERAMA. Still hoping to see him in person in Louisville this summer.

Talked with Terry for a couple of hours this afternoon while I straightened up my SCT's. I found out that FF # 5 really was reprinted after all and that Terry actually had it in FF Annual # 2.

I finally read a little more on ILLUMINATUS but didn't get to Sherlock today.

Also finally saw SUPERDAD on TV. The beginning was great with the characters introduced and how they met--Kurt Russell and Kathleen Cody (who I LOVED on DARK SHADOWS!)--but then it got a little more serious than most Disney flicks.

NOTES: My biggest question here is--"SCT's?" Not a clue. Bet they were pretty straight after a two hour phone call, however.

I had skipped SUPERDAD in theaters in 1973 for some reason even though I tended to really enjoy the live-action Disney comedies. This one was an attempt at installing HOGAN'S HEROES star Bob Crane in the type of roles that Dean Jones normally played. Jones had been having some personal issues at the time and Disney had left him behind. He attempted, like Tommy Kirk before him, to make low-budegt Disney-LIKE comedies such as MISTER SUPERINVISIBLE but his career faded drastically. Crane, as we all know now, was not exactly the squeaky clean family man he pretended to be but he did a decent job here. Other than a short-run TV series a couple of years later , this would be Crane's last leading role in movies or TV before his still unsolved 1978 murder.

Monday, February 14, 2011

****EXTRA--Captain America****

On February 14th, I proudly boast of completing my CAPTAIN AMERICA collection. At that point the series only went from issue 100 to issue 199. Soon afterwards, I sat down and went through every issue making a four-page list of the villain and the title of the story. In my files I found that list and here's the first page, complete with more of my artwork.

Saturday, February 14th, 1976

We didn't get a paper again today.

I called Terry with determination not to change my plans to suit his and I didn't. I went ahead and saw GOODBYE, BRUCE LEE by myself! Got the free poster and saw a Tae Kwon Do demonstration live on stage. The film itself, on the other hand, was another rip-off.

The most redeeming feature of the day was that, besides getting all the new books including HOWARD THE DUCK # 3, I also finally finished my CAPTAIN AMERICA collection by shelling out two bucks for Steranko's # 113. But seeing as how I haven't seen it anywhere at any price during all the months I've searched for it, I guess it was worth it. So CA is now the first extensive (not counting DOCTOR STRANGE) collection I've finished! Yay! FF or Spidey should be next. Also got an interesting issue of VAMPIRELLA--first I've even looked at in a year or two--in which all the individual stories tie together and revolve around "The Thing in Denny Colt's Grave!" I'm in THE SPIRIT of things again! Ah-hah!

NOTES: As previously mentioned, the movie GOODBYE BRUCE LEE was just one of many martial arts films of the seventies that ripped off what was then known of the plot of Bruce Lee's last, unfinished movie, GAME OF DEATH. All anyone knew was that Bruce's character wore a cool jumpsuit and had to fight his way to the top of a pagoda where different martial arts experts guarded each floor...including super-tall US basketball player (and one of Bruce's students) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem appears here in brief interview footage only. Turns out Bruce had shot more footage than most folks knew and many years later AMC managed to piece together what's probably a close approximation to what Bruce had wanted using the actual scenes shot. It aired as part of a documentary on Bruce Lee.

The free poster, by the way, was also a rip-off--a badly printed black and white version of the film poster picture on green paper.

I loved my CAPTAIN AMERICA collection and once took key issues in to work at Waldenbooks to display for a comics-related promotion we were doing. As with most of my other comics, I had to sell 90 percent of the collection within the past decade. Sigh. Marvel put out a DVD-rom set with hundreds of issues a few years back, however so I have tons of "virtual" copies.

You'll note there was no mention at all of it being Valentine's Day. Not a "holiday" I particularly relished. I loved it in grade school when all the kids had to get for all the other kids and you got nifty cartoon character valentines and candy and decorated bags. But when it got to the point where folks actually gave valentines to people they wanted to...I never received one.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friday, February 13th, 1976

My lucky day. Well, actually it was just another average day, neither good nor bad. We had a pep rally at school and I actually found myself applauding at certain things.

I keep trying to lose interest in girls and yet I seem to keep showing MORE publicly. IT happened again tonight. I'm gradually becoming more casual about sex. It seems to mean more to me lately even as I try not to think about it at all. Weird.

I heard yesterday that Lee J. Cobb had died and now I hear that Sal Mineo was brutally murdered! It made the POST headlines.

I ordered SWEET HOSTAGE and the Eisner book from school.

As far as my TBG clipping project, I've already gotten more than I expected to get. I'm putting them into a box.

I really can't imagine what I'll do when I get out of school but at the same time I really can't wait to get out. I hate this. I used to love school. Now I just really can't wait to get away from all these freaky people and ridiculous forced "fun" like Spirit Week and pep rallies and such. I'd estimate there's only about fifty people I like at that school and probably only about ten of them like me. If that. I got a raw deal somewhere. There was a time when I was as involved as the next guy but that was before CJH, which I hear now is going to close already! Oh, well.

Like I keep saying, I'm different. I just don't fit. Surely life must have a place for me somewhere.

NOTES: Lots more teenage angst in spite of the fact that I oddly thought of this as a "lucky" day.

Looks like I did order that Eisner book. I don't recall ever getting it however. Let's see if it shows up.

Lee J. Cobb was a brilliantly gruff actor with a long history of great performances including TWELVE ANGRY MEN, TV's THE VIRGINIAN and more recently, THE EXORCIST where he played an oddly Columbo-like detective. He died of a heart attack this week in 1976. By contrast, Sal Mineo, an actor I liked but knew mostly from television, had been stabbed to death the day before. His assailant would be caught later in the year. Later, this murder would be tied to Christa Helm's murder a year later by early investigators but that would prove to be a false lead in what remains an unsolved case.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thursday, February 12th, 1976

The day passed quickly, the most significant event being that I finished my history with Debbie in 12 pages. By the last page I came to realize that I never really knew Debbie at all. In very few ways am I today that same person I wrote about and I'm sure she isn't either. I walked past her old house after school. There was very little magic left.

Speaking of school. I couldn't believe it but Angie got five or six Valentine cookies! As anticipated, I got none.

Dad won 20 dollars on the Ohio Lottery tonight!

Uncle Jim called for a half hour this evening and talked with Mom. Naturally, they discussed me. I honestly think they'd understand if I had a real relationship with a girl but as it is, Mom told him I'm not interested in girls! I am, of course, but just completely trying to avoid the pain and disappointment of reality by remaining "unreal." I don't like it but if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit it's me. It's just who I am. Why would a girl ever like me? If I ever get up enough nerve to ask another girl out, I don't know what I'll do if I'm refused again. Guess I'll have to give it up completely.

NOTES: Okay, so I need to read ahead. Obviously I DID finish my memoir of Debbie. No clue why I don't still have it. Sounds like it did provide a type of closure, though. The problem was quite simply that since Debbie had moved away in 1970, I really hadn't had a girl friend that I felt as close to as I had with her. Yes, we were kids but her leaving left a gap in my life that just wasn't filled. We tried to stay in touch but we grew apart quickly as we became teens and the calls and letters became less frequent and then went away. I had a hard time letting go completely. I had never had a problem talking with girls as a child but as a teen it all seemed so very different so I took a passive approach, waiting for them to talk with me first...which rarely happened. Debbie would turn up one last time later this year.

My mother's brother, Uncle Jim, was a big, macho career Navy man. I had only met him a couple of times as he lived in Virginia and we were in Northern Kentucky but he always called my mother on birthdays and holidays. Looking back, I wonder what he must have thought of me. My dad and I would go to visit him one last time in 1982 when I won a trip for two to Williamsburg, VA on a game show.

My dad was an early addict for the then-new Ohio Lottery. Over the years, he would win a few dollars here and there and once actually won a thousand dollars on a scratch-off ticket! The most popular birthday present I ever got him was 100 scratch-off tickets wrapped in a tie box. Took him weeks to go through them all and he only won seventeen dollars but he loved every minute of it.

Exactly one year from this date--on February 12th, 1977, a young starlet named Christa Helm would be murdered in California. I wouldn't hear about it for nearly three decades but it would have a major effect on my life. See my other blogs for details.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 11th, 1976

Awful windy today. Fifties Day at school. I didn't dress up but those who did looked great! Well...not great but "fifties-ish" at least. Got my highest Spanish grade ever--109!

Mr. Spurlock asked me to do some stories for the school literary and arts magazine, HORIZONS. I didn't even know the school had a literary and arts magazine. I might do it if I get the time.

GOODBYE, BRUCE LEE looked really crowded so I passed it up today. Maybe later. I might order the book version of SWEET HOSTAGE cheap from school along with an Eisner book. Reminds me, the new SPIRIT was out today along with the new PLANET OF THE APES mag.

If I can't find it cheaper by summer, I might order FF # 5 with the first appearance of Dr. Doom for 20 bucks! I hope Overstreet doesn't raise its value. That'll be the most I ever paid for a comic book! I remember when mom got mad when I bought AVENGERS # 16 for a dollar a few years ago!

NOTES: Needless to say, as an outsider, I didn't participate in these school "fun" things. In fact, as often as possible, I tried to find an excuse to call in sick or otherwise avoid "Field Day," "Kiddie Day," etc. Good thing I didn't stay home today, though, or I'd have missed that Spanish grade!

School book fairs often had great books you could order that weren't available in stores. In this case, SWEET HOSTAGE was by Nathaniel Benchley (Son of humorist Robert Benchley and father of JAWS author Peter) and was the original book on which a then-recent Linda Blair TV movie I greatly enjoyed had been based. The Will Eisner book they offered was one of the Spirit creator's "Gleeful Guides" published in the seventies. I ended up not ordering that one for some reason.

FF # 5 for twenty bucks. I should have done it at the time. As it is, that ended up being the very last issue of FANTASTIC FOUR I needed to complete my collection circa 1993 and I ended up having to pay one hundred and fifty dollars in cash and trade for a Fair condition copy! By the time I had to sell it (along with the whole collection sadly) a few years later, though, I made that back double!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 10th, 1976

An average day. High temperatures for this time of year, though. Had homework but had an awful hard time trying to get to it. I finally got 2 of the 3 problems done.

A lot of good stuff on TV tonight. I watched a very bound-to-be-controversial episode of ONE DAY AT A TIME.

I'm still getting stuff out of my old TBG's. Came up with a great idea for going to the Columbus Con this weekend. Mom said I could do it if I could talk Terry into going. He won't. Maybe next year.

NOTES: This was one of the first of a number of "very special episodes" that the dramatic sitcom ONE DAY AT A TIME would have over its 9 season run. This was the one where Mackenzie Phillips's character Julie was being pressured by her boyfriend for sex and she turns to her mother (played by Bonnie Franklin) who gives unexpected advice. I had been a fan of Mackenzie since her feature film with Alan Arkin, RAFFERTY AND THE GOLD DUST TWINS. The entire episode is available for purchase at Amazon for $1.99.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 9th, 1976

Luck has arrived! The only bad thing about today was that Mom's week off was cut to today only. I did good on Spanish and History tests and the temperatures led me closer to that good feeling again. I did a hard Algebra problem on the board exactly right! In Physics, Lisa left our experiment group and we did good for a change!

Best of all I found out I've been worrying for noting about the pictures for they aren't even back yet.

On TV, I saw Roddy and Karen on H.S. and RICH LITTLE respectively. Saw Sally Struthers again, too. Next week is Part One of the only 007 flick I haven't seen and Bobby Sherman guests on JIGSAW JOHN.

Speaking of Bobby, I've decided to put down all my memories of Debbie--the true (as I recall it) story of my relationship with her. I call it THE TRUTH.

I also saw evidence at school that maybe Jessica just doesn't care for me as opposed to actively dislikes me.

NOTES: Not sure how far I got on this idea of THE TRUTH because I don't have it. Since I seem to have every other little scrap of paper from this period, I can't imagine I wouldn't keep that. Perhaps I realized as I put things down that we were just kids--playmates! I was such a hopeless romantic that I had built it up in my head that it was a "relationship" but it wasn't.

The plot thickens regarding the worrisome pictures but still no real clues as to what they are.

Rich Little is the famous impressionist whose own series had begun a week earlier and would run until summer. Looks like the whole series is available on DVD. Apparently Karen Valentine--the first celeb from whom I ever got an autographed picture--was on it this evening. I really liked Rich and in a few years would get to shake hands with him during a local live appearance. Roddy McDowall, another favorite star, was seen on HS which I presume to be HOLLYWOOD SQUARES , the game show where both he and Karen Valentine were semi-regulars.

The 007 movie was ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, the George Lazenby one. Its initial network showing was in two parts over two weeks. Although it's many Bond fans' favorite in spite of Lazenby, I was not impressed.

JIGSAW JOHN was a cop show that had also premiered the week before and would run until the beginning of the following season.It starred the always reliable character actor, Jack Warden, a favorite of my dad's.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

****EXTRA**** Seventies Sitcoms

Here are the intros to a bunch of shows I was watching in the seventies. All of these short-lived sitcoms were ones my family watched regularly except for THE ASSOCIATES of which I never saw a single episode.

Sunday, February 8th, 1976

GOODBYE BRUCE LEE was advertised in the paper today. Starts Wednesday downtown. I gave up on seeing ROOSTER COGBURN today for lack of time. I did catch FUZZ again on TV this afternoon.

We went to church together today for the first time this year. All during church I found myself vividly recalling the fun times I used to have at Debbie's house when we were kids. Can't I ever get past her? We got White Castles to take home for lunch afterwards.

I started going through my old TBG's and cutting out the article sections and the good covers.

After I washed my hair I felt good for a while despite a headache and the chest pains I've had recently.

As far as all my homework, I got exactly one Physics problem completed and my notebook remodeled. Otherwise...

SONNY AND CHER was really good tonight. Raymond Burr talked WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND on the show. Nothing special on later so we watched KOJAK.

Mom's off work all this next week.

NOTES: I had been a big Bruce Lee fan even before his big starring roles toward the end of his life in 1973. I knew that he had shot some scenes for a film called GAME OF DEATH with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and we had been hearing rumors that the film would be completed with a double. With Jabbar listed as being in the film, this looked like it was finally it! It wasn't. This turned out to be yet another Bruce Li (or was it Bruce Le?) rip-off. The real thing would finally turn up a few years later and it was even worse!

FUZZ is a great 1972 police drama based on Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books. It was wrongly marketed as a comedy and stars Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch.

By this point, I was attending church very infrequently. Although raised a Baptist, I had long since found myself questioning those beliefs and no one ever gave me an answer that made sense to me. My mother went about half the time and my dad went pretty regularly. In later years, as both fell ill, they turned to the church even more.

As for the TBG's, it became obvious that storing years and years of a weekly 100 page tabloid with ads that have long expired was pointless as well as logistically challenging. Thus, I opted to save articles and favorite covers by Terry Beatty, Fred Hembeck, Russ Maheras and others, many of whom have become friends of mine here in the Internet age!

WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND is a lovely song by Michel LeGrand from the 1968 Steve McQueen film, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR. Noel Harrison kind of talked-sang it in the original film. Raymond Burr, to be kind, was no Noel Harrison.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday, February 7th, 1976

Things seemed to go my way most of the day.

Got a money order for HOT STUF' today. I got almost all of the DEATHLOK's I missed and two Spideys I needed as well as a bunch of others. Also HUSTLER and DICK TRACY. Mom got me HELEN REDDY'S GREATEST HITS. I managed to catch all the right buses right away.

Andy confirmed the reports of Gerber and everyone else's firing! I really wish Gerber hadn't been included, particularly since I just met him at the Con!

Stayed up late to see Siegel and Shuster on WEEKEND. Also saw Neal Adams on there (what a personality!). They had scenes from the TV series, the serials and the Broadway play as well as an interview with the producer of the new SUPERMAN movie. Also learned that Siegel and Shuster weren't as short-changed as they sound. They only got thirty bucks for ownership but they were paid a lot more for a number of years before they brought suit against NPP.

Finally saw Peter Cushing on SPACE: 1999!

NOTES: In those days, unless you had a checking account--which I didn't--one had to write a money order for everything you sent for through the mail. What I was ordering here, HOT STUF' was a slick pro-zine which actually ran a number of issues (a rarity) with some great art and covers.

The DICK TRACY mentioned here may have been the one-off DC Treasury Edition that came out in 1975 although why I would just be getting it I don't know. Tracy was one of my earliest newspaper comics heroes and was also in cartoons when I was very young. It was one of my dad's favorite strips and we would later read the various Tracy reprint books and mags of the eighties together.

DEATHLOK is a human cyborg character created by Rich Buckler, now an online friend. I was obsessed with Deathlok fro a while this year and was constantly drawing his unique, modern look.

HELEN REDDY'S GREATEST HITS? I think mom was getting that as much for herself as for me. I liked some of Ms. Reddy's songs (PEACEFUL comes to mind) but hardly a big fan.

I was very naive when it came to the Siegel and Shuster case, a very complex case which, if you weren't aware, is STILL in the courts today with the Siegel Estate winning some major victories in recent years!

Siegel was a great idea man but not a very good writer in my opinion. He would write most of the Mighty Comics superheroes of the mid-sixties in a faux-Marvel style. I almost got to meet him in 1988 but he reportedly took ill and had to bow out of the Con I attended.

Having admired Neal Adams' comics art for years already and having just heard at the Cincinnati Con about his efforts to help other comics artists, his appearance here with Jerry and Joe made him look every inch the handsome, stalwart hero to me. I would later meet folks who worked with him during this period and get a slightly more realistic picture.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday, February 6th, 1976

Managed to stay out of things pretty well today. Turned in my typed up report. I have to go over another Holmes story for Monday, now. I've got quite a bit of weekend homework and I plan to see ROOSTER COGBURN, too.

It snowed off and on again and I held onto my STAR TREK record of catching at least one per week.

I watched THE GETAWAY on TV tonight. I didn't like it. But Sally Struthers as a nymphomaniac? Weird, man!

NOTES: ROOSTER COGBURN was the sequel to John Wayne's TRUE GRIT, a fun but inconsequential film marking the Duke's first on-screen pairing with the great Katherine Hepburn. It received quite a bit of pre-release publicity at the time but I was fated NOT to see it until it hit television a few years later.

THE GETAWAY was the amoral action flick from 1972 with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. Even edited for television, it left a bad taste in my mouth all around although I was obviously intrigued by the appearance of ALL IN THE FAMILY's "Gloria" in an overtly sexual role.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thursday, February 5th, 1976

Terry says the new books are out. Innumerable shakeups and firings in the comics industry. No details but sounds like there's gonna be some big changes soon.

UGH! I got involved again today! Had to stay after school 'til almost 4 to finish an experiment in Physics. That was bad but it led to the silence of a long walk home in the cooling rain. Later it rained harder.

Very little on TV tonight. Think I'll go to bed early.

IT, too today. (Et tu, Brute?)

NOTES: I was doing everything I could think of to help in Physics but nothing seemed to work. I don't recall what this experiment was exactly but it had something to do with heating some kind of solution.

In those pre-Internet days, the comics gossip was often slow in coming. The news I had here was probably from Terry via the Yellow Kid Comics Shoppe and would be fleshed out later on.

In the picture above, note my 8 track player. I hated 8 tracks and only ever had four--Chicago's greatest hits, Mike Nesmith and the First National Band, The Beatles Yesterday and Today and Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 4th, 1976

All day long felt pretty good. Not a bad day at all.

At school we scheduled for next year. It was kinda tough. I don't know what half the stuff I took was but I'll find out next year. I managed pretty well to keep out of things otherwise. With practice, maybe I can get back to being an individual again.

Over the river I picked up the new FM and just a couple of other things. All day long I expected this would be a day for "It" but I somehow managed to avoid the whole thing.

My biggest worry now is those damned pictures!

NOTES: To give you an idea of just how little today's troubles are likely to matter to you in the future, I have no idea what "those damned pictures" were. Certainly, no one had taken any "compromising" photos of me nor had I run across any of friends or family. School pictures? Magazine pictures? Not. A. Clue. It does strike me that I felt strongly enough about them to use the term, "damned," not a word I used lightly at any point. Reading ahead a few days gives no additional clues. Let's see if we ever find out....

FM was FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine, a monthly mag devoted to classic old monster films and new horror movies. It had been published since around the time I was born but I hadn't discovered it until I was about 12. Ostensibly aimed at kids, it instilled a love of monster movies but also a great respect for genre actors like Karloff, Lugosi, the Chaneys, Peter Lorre, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Carradine and others. As the industry began to change so completely in the seventies, the magazine became dated and faded away, replaced by gorier cousins such as FANGORIA. The issue of FM seen here MAY have been the one I bought on this date.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, February 3rd, 1976

Again I allowed myself to become involved and again I came away with a bad feeling. An overheard conversation between Melody Rush and her brother led me to become disillusioned about her. There's no denying it. I to myself am too good for them. Only when I become involved do I stoop to their levels and become involved in their kinds of problems. I am different and therefore I cannot be the same. I realize that there may come a day when I have to accept "the real world" but I'm going to hold out as long as I can.

One of my own more important problems right now is deciding between Sherlock Homes versus Jack the Ripper in A STUDY IN TERROR or Siegel and Shuster (maybe with Neal Adams) on WEEKEND late this Saturday. None of the kind of problems I hear about--date problems, drug problems, school problems (well...). I admit I'm better than them and those kinds of problems but then no one can be perfect. I'm alone. Is that the closest one can get to perfection in this world? Or do we all have a special destiny?

NOTES: More deep musings. I never had a lot of close friends--still don't. I remain afraid of taking on other people's issues and problems. I've done it too often. I never learned how to do "friends" correctly. I'm great in a crisis, funny and pithy from a distance but pull me close and I take it all instead I push you away. Then and now. Some things never change.

Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were pushing their claims against DC again, although this time publicly in the wake of the announcement of the impending SUPERMAN movie (which wouldn't actually turn up for a few years). Comics' biggest artist, Neal Adams, had taken up their cause also and they were to appear on TV...apparently opposite the then-rarely screened A STUDY IN TERROR. That was a 1965 Sherlock Holmes picture starring John Neville as the great detective. The poster above is obviously from 1966 as it attempts to hint the film was camp a-la BATMAN. It is not.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Monday, February 2nd, 1976

Received even more proof today that I should never get involved in anything at school.

We went over to SS when lot of people were still there tonight! Couldn't get anything done. Last time we do that.

Tonight we watched SECOND HONEYMOON.

NOTES: Obviously another slow day. Looking ahead, it would be the last one for quite a while.

With no other clues, I have no idea what occurred at school that day.

Normally the office workers at the SS office we cleaned nightly would leave by 6 PM and turn off most of the lights. Then, at our convenience, we'd go over and start work. On an average night, it took about an hour to an hour and a half when we were all three doing it. My dad would get the floors, I would get the bathrooms and empty all the trashcans and ashtrays at about fifty desks and my mother would get the conference room and the various personal offices. Later, when I started doing most of it on my own, I would go in after midnight, kick off my shoes, turn up the office's stereo system and work as long as needed. Even took a girl there once...AHEM...but THAT didn't happen in 1976 so you don't get that story. Sorry.

SECOND HONEYMOON was the first of a brief series of new specials of Jackie Gleason's HONEYMOONERS that would be seen over the next few years. Gleason had last revived his classic characters in a 1973 special so here he gives them the whole show. It proved so popular that several more followed over the next couple of TV seasons, even as Gleason transformed his image to become a first class big-screen character actor/star specializing in villains.

Gleason was my dad's all-time TV favorite so no doubt we both laughed ourselves silly at this special that night.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

****EXTRA**** My 1976 Calendar

There are a thousand calendars for pop culture fans to choose from each year nowadays--so many that we actually have none at the moment. There were a lot fewer choices in 1976, however, and mine that year was the fun Marvel Comics Bicentennial Calendar. Seen here is the image I turned to on this date in 1976.
The February image from that year featured the Hulk at Valley Forge.

Sunday, Feb 1st, 1976

Talk about nightmares! Until today I hadn't had a nightmare in years. Not one that I remembered anyway. I awoke with a nervousness that lasted for hours afterwards. I was sweating and never could get back to sleep. It started off like just one of those dumb dreams that are just collages of your recent memories. As it turned out, that's what it was but at the time it all seemed so real!

In a nutshell, I was at home here one night when I thought I saw someone over at the SS office when I knew the only person who should have been there was Cheri (which was weird enough!) working late. Then the lights flashed off. We grabbed weapons (hammers and other tools) and went over. A bunch of stupid kids had taken over the place and beaten Cheri to a bloody pulp! Oh, that was the horrible part! I stared at what was left of her for what seemed like a long time and then I awoke with a start. When I sat up in bed, I was facing that SS office window.

Just writing it down now makes me see how ridiculous it all was and yet I'm still nervous. Even for a few minutes after I woke up it was hard to convince myself she wasn't really dead. I was really upset about it and missing her. I'm not even going to speculate what this means about my feelings toward her but I see how it happened. Seeing Cheri the other day, those dumb kids on the bus, constantly having to go over to the SS's all there. It just got really jumbled up in my head somehow in a bad way! I woke up from the nightmare at 5:15 and just lay in bed 'til 6.

This morning I saw one of my favorite female performers, Marlo Thomas, on WONDERAMA talking about dreams. A lot of references to dreams today.

I spent the afternoon on homework. Read two Holmes stories for Mystery class and wrote my report but I still need to type it up. Can't say too much about the new SONNY & CHER show this soon but it certainly was played up as an event!

Started snowing this afternoon. The dream made me nervous all day every time I thought of it even though the total absurdity of it all is now plainly obvious. Tonight when we went over to clean, I checked out the spot where it had happened in the dream and I got a cold chill.

NOTES: I have totally blocked this dream. No memory of it at all. "Cheri," as previously stated, was the girl who rejected me the year before. Was this a subconscious revenge thing? Who knows?

As for my homework that day, which required reviewing two Sherlock Holmes stories, here it is. As you can see, I got an "A."

Marlo Thomas's THAT GIRL is my all-time favorite sitcom. Has been since it was originally on. I think I just related to a more-or-less geeky writer falling for a ditzy brunette. (A similar British sitcom I was watching on PBS in 1976 was NO, HONESTLY.) I once wrote Marlo Thomas in care of Phil Donahue's show (her husband) and she actually wrote back twice!

The SONNY & CHER show that premiered tonight was the revival of the once popular variety show featuring the by this time divorced singing couple! Sonny had tried a solo show that was comedy-based. It wasn't bad but was missing something. Cher tried a solo show that was music based. Although initially popular, it was also missing something. The network made the estranged pair an offer they apparently couldn't refuse to team up again for the sake of the ratings. The problem was that their once hilarious repartee fell flat under the new circumstances. Sonny would eventually end up in Congress and Cher is currently finishing up a long run in Vegas I think.