Great Album Retro Review: Night Time By Killing Joke

Killing_Joke_night_timeLooking for intensity? An intensity that doesn’t always need to be over-the-top and shouty, except when that’s just what’s needed? Killing Joke might be what you are looking for.

Killing Joke is a deadly serious Post Punk band originating in London, England. They don’t display much of a sense of humor as they tear into the evils of society, political corruption, and corporate greed. And though this might seem off-putting to some, they do craft some pretty excellent songs. There are good melodies and some mellowness mixed in with their intensity. And lots of excellent guitar riffs. Especially on their 1985 release Night Time.

Killing Joke is led by singer and keyboardist Jaz Coleman. When watching the band play live, Coleman provides about 80% of the band’s intensity. I saw the band a couple times in the mid 80s and it was darn near impossible for me to take my eyes off of him. I’ve seen some more recent video of the band playing live and Jaz still has that intensity coming out his pours.

All nine tracks on Night Time are credited as being composed by the band: Coleman (vocals/keyboards), Geordie Walker (guitar), Paul Raven (Bass), and Paul Ferguson (drums/vocals). When playing live, Coleman is the star of the show, but on this album Walker’s guitar takes center stage.

The Tracks:

Night Time – I always love me a good opening track and this one is awfully good. It’s a hard driving song with the bass and drums locked in together and Walker’s guitar chugging along.

Darkness Before Dawn – This is one of those mostly quiet intense tunes with bursts of energy to pull the listener along. Great riffs by Walker throughout.

Love Like Blood – This was the band’s highest charting song in Europe (#16 in the UK) and it’s a dance track. Sure, it’s still intense and filled with shredding guitar riffs, but it’s got a great danceable beat grounded by a terrific bassline. Coleman’s vocals are more subtle with good range on this track.

Kings And Queens – The dance-ability started by the previous track is present in this song. It’s a little more angry than Love Like Blood. And there’s that great slashing guitar, of course.

Tabazan – The 15 seconds of hyperventilation that start the song gives away to more of that excellent Walker guitar work. Coleman’s vocals for most of this track are strained and edgy. It’s almost an though he’s on the brink of some crisis or maybe an orgasm.

Multitudes – Mellowness, or as mellow as Killing Joke can be, finds its way onto this track. Raven’s bass really drives the song.

Europe – A contemplative track with (surprise!) more great guitar by Walker. It’s a good set-up for the next track.

Eighties – Oh, man! This my favorite track on the album and my favorite song by Killing Joke. This has the most monstrous of monster guitar riffs ever to be riffed. And not just by Killing Joke Name any other monster riff. Any! This one is just as good. Probably better. It’s so good it was rumored Killing Joke sued Nirvana for ripping it off for their song Come As You Are. According to Rolling Stone magazine, no such lawsuit was ever filed. Well, whatever, the song kicks ass!

Night Time is available on Spotify.

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

My Thumb Was Always Way Up

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Dave Letterman’s stock answer whenever questioned about why there were two guest chairs on the Late Night set was always – “Siskel and Ebert.” It got a laugh every time and, for the most part, was exactly right. Rarely did Dave ever have more than one guest on the set at one time (the infamous Lawler/Kaufman appearance and Penn & Teller notwithstanding), but Siskel and Ebert always showed up as a pair.

In the decade of the 1980s, there were two television shows that I rarely missed: The aforementioned Late Night with David Letterman and At The Movies with Siskel & Ebert. I looked forward to each Saturday afternoon to find out which new movies might be worth seeing. And Siskel and Ebert were my go-to guys.

250px-Sneak-previewsMy earliest recollection of their movie review show goes back to about 1980, maybe 1981, when they were still on PBS and the show was called Sneak Previews. I believe it was my sister who introduced me to the show and there is one particular episode, or I should say review, that comes to mind.

They were reviewing the Wings (that’s Paul McCartney’s band from the days after The Beatles broke up, kids, and The Beatles were a fairly popular rock band in the 1960s) concert film: Rockshow (1980). These two old farts (Gene was 36 at the time and Roger was 38) wanted more than just a concert film. They wanted to know the inner workings of the band. How was it to mount a major concert tour, what was it like for Paul having his wife in the band, and what did the other band members think about being on the same stage as rock legend Linda… er… Paul McCartney? None of these questions was answered by the straight forward concert movie. It was all about the Rockshow.

Gene and Roger both liked the music, but were disappointed by the documentary. They both voted no. That’s right – no. This was early enough along that they hadn’t yet developed the famous “thumbs up/thumbs down” system.

My sister was appalled at their verdict. “You know, Wings fans might just want to experience the concert, you jerks!”

I gotta agree with my sister. I mean at the time I really had to agree with her, if I knew what was good for me. But she did have a point. Wings couldn’t go to every city. A concert film was the next best thing to getting to see the band live.

Despite my sister’s reaction, I kept tuning in each week. Their popularity grew and grew and soon they left the confines of Public Television for the greener (read: more money) pastures of syndicated television. And I followed right along.

primary_siskel-thumb-490x370-14981What was it about these two fellows that was so compelling to watch? Sure, there was their mutual love of movies, but I also think it was the competition between the two and the sometimes barely concealed contempt for each other. Each man absolutely felt he was the better critic and the audience could sense that. And they both strongly believed in giving the other the needle. They would often exchange sharp zingers on the other’s intelligence, artistic savvy, and worth as a human being. Well, that last one might be an exaggeration. But they could really dig into each other. There are outtakes of them getting quite snarly with each other. Insults, name-calling, and swearing were plentiful.

There was a real sense of tension to the show. And I think that brought something exciting to their reviews. Something worth tuning into week after week.

And yet, at the same time, they had a great deal of respect for each other. When they were in strong agreement on a film, they would cheer each other on.

All this was evident when watching the show.

When Gene took ill some months before his death (February 20, 1999), he would still appear on the show as often as his health would allow. He would wear a hair piece on the side of his head to hide the scarring from his surgeries. I recall one show he did from his hospital room via satellite. Such was his love of and dedication to movies.

roeperWhen he died, Roger carried on with a rotating roster of other noted film critics, before settling on Richard Roeper as Gene’s permanent replacement. Gone was Siskel and Ebert. It was now Ebert and Roeper. And it just wasn’t the same. How could it be?

Richard was a good film critic and he and Roger did develop a certain chemistry, but it just couldn’t match what had gone before. There would be disagreements between the two, sometimes heated ones, but Roeper tended to be much more deferential toward Roger, the legend of movie criticism. Gene was Roger’s equal. Richard was Roger’s student.

Then Roger had his health problems that kept him away from the show more and more, until he lost his ability to speak. Roeper soldiered on with a rotating roster of film critics and then he left the show. The show limped on with other hosts, but without the thumbs up/thumbs down. There was a format change to make the review program more like Entertainment Tonight. I was appalled. It didn’t last long after that.

06APPRAISAL-articleLargeRoger Ebert returned to PBS in January, 2011 with Ebert Presents: At The Movies. He didn’t host the show, but he would contribute a film review that either used a computerized voice or it was read by someone else. The show came to an end in December, 2011. Essentially ending movie criticism on television.

Roger died April 4, 2013.

Thanks to YouTube, we can relive many of those great shows Gene and Roger gave us. We can thrill to their excitement over a great work of art and we can chuckle nervously as they apply the needle to each other. Check ’em out.

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

 

Wait! Sal Buscema Drew This?!

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Sal Buscema had followed in his big brother John’s footsteps, rather big footsteps at that, into the world of comic book illustration in 1969. He had initially wanted to be an inker, but in order to get full time work from Marvel Comics he became a penciller. He started for Marvel by inking his brother’s pencils for the original Silver Surfer series, but he taught himself (with some help from John) how to become a dynamic penciller in the Marvel style. Stan Lee saw and liked Sal’s work and soon Sal was drawing for the world’s greatest comic book company.

Sal was good. He was a capable storyteller, but his work wasn’t as exciting as his legendary brother, at least to my eyes. However, when paired with the right inker (Klaus Janson for instance) Sal’s pages were pretty damn good. Check out Defenders #19 (January 1975) to see what I mean.

Then, after being in the business for nearly twenty years, Sal started penciling and inking The Spectacular Spider-Man series beginning with issue #134 (January 1988). He soon began to make changes to his style. I’m not sure why his work changed, but his drawings became different, surprisingly different from what he had been doing for so long. Looking at the covers he produced for the series, I can see influences of a few other younger artists: Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., and more than just a little Walt Simonson.

His work was changing, but most still retained something of the old Sal style. Then I saw this month’s great cover. I was stunned to discover in was drawn by Sal Buscema. When I saw his name right there in the lower right-hand corner my jaw dropped.

It’s issue #203 (August 1993).

I would never have guessed Sal Buscema had produced that cover. It is so different from what I had known of the younger Buscema’s work. And it’s great. A fantastic close-up of the character Carnage.

It is eye-changing, as every great cover must be. It’s simple and dynamic at the same time. I’m sure it was quick to produce, but quickness doesn’t take away from its greatness. It adds to it.

And it’s a Sal Buscema. Incredible!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

Night Of The Living Dead: The Classic That Started It All

It’s Halloween! Guest blogger Michael Noble returns to revisit George Romero’s horror classic…

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In more ways than you can imagine, Night Of The Living Dead continues to be shocking, 51 years after its initial release.

But before we get things rolling, two things need to be stated from the get-go.

First, a warning: If you’ve never seen NOTLD (and, if you haven’t, you’re either terrified of it and don’t want to watch it alone or you’ve been living under a rock all your life) let it be said that no good comes from this film. No good whatsoever.

The other thing: BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! If indeed you have not seen the film and don’t want your experience ruined, read no further than the exclamation point at the end of this sentence!

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Hokay, then … here’s the spoiler: EVERYBODY DIES! Yep, you read right … every one of the main cast in the film dies a pretty gruesome death.

Following is the actual death count (undead ghouls not included):

  • Death #1: Barbra’s brother Johnny (Russel Streiner) is killed by the first ghoul encountered in the film, a mysterious, gaunt and frightening stranger meandering about the cemetery they visit. Johnny struggles with the man who eventually tosses him to the ground, causing him to slam his head on a tombstone.
  • Deaths #2 & 3: Tom (Keith Wayne) and Judy (Judith Ridley) are killed in an explosion when Tom attempts to get a flame-engulfed truck away from a gas pump.
  • Death #4: Barbra (Judith O’Dea) is swarmed and pulled from the house she and the others are sheltered in by an attack of undead ghouls ironically led by her dead, reanimated brother Johnny.
  • Death #5: Karen, Harry and Helen’s daughter who was bitten earlier in the film by the undead we learn, ends up becoming one of the reanimated dead.
  • Death #6: While Harry (Karl Hardman) is shot by Ben during a struggle well into the film, it’s actually Harry’s daughter, Karen (Kyra Schon), who finishes him off once and for all. Shortly thereafter, Harry’s wife Helen (Marilyn Eastman) finds reanimated Karen munching away at Tom when she retreats to the basement in the midst of an undead siege.
  • Death #7: Helen gets a trowel buried in her torso by Karen for interrupting her late daddy snack.
  • Death #8, The Final Death: In the waning moments of the film, lone survivor Ben (Duane Jones) hears noises coming from above his basement sanctuary. As he ventures upstairs to see if it is the living or the dead, he is killed by a shot to the head, mistakenly believed to be one of the many reanimated ghouls.

NOTLD1-1Man… what a way to go. Chased, terrorized and eventually done in by resuscitated corpses who either indirectly cause your demise or take care of you face to face.

 

This particularly gruesome piece of celluloid was my introduction to Zombiedom. It’s a film standard and has, over the years, become a classic. I honestly cannot think of a better film to have started off my love affair with the genre. NOTLD, to me, is my A Christmas Carol as December 25th approaches. It’s lighting sparklers during the 4th of July, ringing in the New Year with champagne. It’s The Ten Commandments around Easter and it’s attending the Dodgers’ Opening Day.

In other words: It’s tradition.

It never gets old. (Yes… I used “never.”) It still brings gasps and frights. You cannot help but get caught up in the stock musical tracks which accent the panic and dread being played out on the screen. You can feel the fire flare in the face of Ben as the truck Tom drives away from the gas pump explodes with he and Judy inside. You can feel your revulsion as you watch that one particular ghoul snatch an insect off a tree, put it to its lips and crunch into it. You spew loathing at Harry and all his faux-bravado time and again when he blusters. The urgency Ben emotes as he boards up the house in an effort to ward off the undead from outside? You can actually feel it unfolding.

If you’ve never seen George Romero’s masterpiece, you haven’t experienced the kind of fear a good black and white can inject into you. I guarantee you’ll be as overwhelmed as Barbra as she witnesses the undead horde led by her brother Johnny. You’ll be transfixed at the news reports which continually crop up throughout the film, detailing the horrors taking place in nearby towns and counties. You’ll even marvel at Sheriff McClelland uttering “Yeah, they’re dead … they’re all messed up.” (One of my favorite lines from the movie.)

This film is all that a a bag of your favorite chips, let me tell you. (And, just in case you need proof, elements of NOTLD were used as the basis for AMC’s popular The Walking Dead. So there.)

Look: Do yourself a favor. View this piece of genre history once again for the thirtieth time … or for the very first. It’s available in its entirety on YouTube for Pete’s sake, so you don’t even have to venture out and rent it. After all, free of charge is good. And free of charge from the comfort of your very own computer screen or television set … all the better.

The only thing I ask in return is that you enjoy it … and don’t forget the popcorn.

52f3f7b6-c2d1-11e8-bfc4-8898d3e518ea_1280x720_133404Thanks, Michael! You can read more by Michael Noble at Hotchka.com.

And Happy Halloween, everybody!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

 

Quoth The Raven

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I must admit I ain’t much of a poetry sort of fellow. I also must admit I don’t know a lot of poems, because I just haven’t read many and I was absent the day poetry was taught at school.

However, there are one or two of the more famous poems of which I am familiar and that I like. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven is one of those. It tells the story of a man stricken with grief for his lost love Lenore, who must have died only a short time before this tale is told. He sits alone in his chamber on a dark and stormy night, when he hears someone or something tapping, gently rapping, at the door.

There is no one at the door, but the tapping is then heard coming from a window. The man opens the window and in comes a big, ol’ raven. The raven perches on a statue the man keeps above the door to his chamber. It just sits there repeating the word, “Nevermore.”

That’s so Raven.

Well, the dude has a bit of a freak out thinking the raven is giving him some sort of message about his lost love Lenore. The guy is just so obsessed with this Lenore woman. He’s so tortured. Come on, man. Get a grip! Oh, well. We each grieve in our own way.

I found that there are a number of actors who have done professional recordings of the famous poem by the master of literary macabre. I have chosen four of which you might find interesting…

(Click on the actors’ names to be linked to the readings.)

2joU6047cDc5mmFQxjuv8xk67uRFirst up, we have the poem read by Christopher Walken. Of the four, this is the most unusual. Walken does a fine job without going overboard with the Walkenisms. But there are some though, which are a little amusing. And amusing is not right for the mood for the poem.

Walken is also sometimes overplayed by the sound effects and the mood music. The mood music uses electric guitar which seems slightly out of place. Still, it’s not bad. Although, I think Walken would fit better reading Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart.

ca-times.brightspotcdn.comNext we have James Earl Jones. His sonorous tone certainly fits the mournful quality of the poem. He gives it weight, but he doesn’t alter the mood of his reading. He stays steady, if a bit rushed at times, when I think the reading requires a certain rise in urgency as the protagonist implores his dark visitor to leave.

Then there’s Sir Christopher Lee. His reading is more slowly paced with some nice orchestral music in the background, which occasionally rises as Lee takes a dramatic pause between stanzas. His British accent adds a certain Gothic touch to it as well, even though the author was American. Lee must have recorded this later in life, because, not only does he possess a similarly sonorous tone to that of Mr. Jones, you can also hear hints of his age in his voice. I think that adds to the feel of the line reading. It adds a deeper sense of grief.

Britische Schauspiel-Legende Christopher Lee wird 80 Jahre altThe only slight knock I have is he gets some of the words wrong. He says “still” once instead of “till.” He says “velvet-violet” twice when Poe had only included it once. And in the line – “On the morrow he will leave me…” – Lee reads it as “on the morrow will he leave me…” I think that changes the meaning ever so slightly. It changes a statement into a question.

But the best reading I’ve found is by Vincent Price. Who else? There is no other actor so closely associated with Edgar Allan Poe. After all, he did star in all but one of director/producer Roger Corman’s several film adaptions of Poe’s work.

The video in the link is more than a reading, it is a performance by Price. He’s in costume. He’s on a set. There’s lightning and thunder. There’s that gentle tapping. And there’s a raven.

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Vincent Price knows the poem. He’s not reading from cue cards. He hits his marks and he hits the dramatic moments just right. His pacing is terrific. The man inhabits the character of the tormented, mourning soul longing for his lost love whom the angels named Lenore. A lost love the raven reminds him he shall see never… um… never… hm… never again!

Wait. That can’t be right.

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein

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I had this vague memory going back to 1979 or 1980 or so. I was in junior high at the time and I was an early riser. I would get up earlier than I needed to for school, so I could leisurely eat breakfast and prepare for my day. I could even get in a little television viewing before heading to the bus stop.

And the memory is of a kids’ TV show with monsters. There was a vampire, a witch, and a wolf man. I remember Vincent Price being involved somehow. The most vivid part of this memory was of the wolf man character dancing to 60s pop songs. But I never saw more than a handful of episodes. And it disappeared quickly.

So, it faded into the vagaries of my memory. In fact, as the years piled up, whenever a memory of that show would pop into my head, I would question whether such a thing actually existed. Maybe I dreamed it.

Well, thanks to the wonderfulness of the internets and social media, my memory was confirmed. Someone posted the image above on Facebook and asked if anyone else had watched it. I thought to myself, “Could it be?” I found some episodes on YouTube and, I’ll be damned! There really was just such a show!

It’s called The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. It was produced for Canadian TV in 1971 and it starred Billy Van. In all, 130 episodes were produced for this daily kids’ show. Many of which are on YouTube. Click here for an episode which includes a short feature about the series.

I wouldn’t say the show was exactly hilarious. It is pretty bold to put that in the title of the program, but I suppose it was necessary for a kids’ show, so that parents wouldn’t think their little ones would be scared. Still, Frightenstein is amusing and fascinating to watch.

The barely scripted show, most everything was improvised, has a main story dealing with Count Frightenstein who has been banished from his beloved Transylvania to Frankenstone, where he lives in Castle Frightenstein. He and his servant Igor (Fishka Rais) are tasked with bringing Brucie (a Frankenstein monster prop on the set) to life. Doing so would pave the way for the Count to return home. Of course, they never get Brucie to come alive.

The rest of the program is filled with various segments featuring a cast of bizarre characters, most of whom are played by Van. And, as in the daily attempts to revive Brucie, these other segments are also mostly improvised.

Van played eight characters: Count Frightenstein, Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet, Bwana Clyde Batty, Dr. Pet Vet, The Librarian, The Wolf Man, The Oracle, and The Maharishi. I’ll give a brief description of each.

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Count Frightenstein’s segments were mostly with Igor and centered around dealing with the lifeless Brucie. However, the Count would also interact with a couple of the puppets on the show to read stories or “viewer” mail. He was also an inventor of worthless or dangerous items.

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Grizelda was a witch who would cook up some zany recipes that always flopped. She was hip and groovy and thought she was a delicious dish herself.

 

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“Ooga booga!”

Bwana Clyde Batty was a British adventurer, sounding very much like Michael Caine, who would show films or slide shows of wild animals as he gave basic information about them. He would encourage kids to visit their local zoos. However, in the video I linked to above, we see the sad state of zoo life in the early 1970s. Just animals in a cage. Very sad.

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Dr. Pet Vet would bring in more or less domesticated animals to tempt Igor with, but Igor would never get permission from the three-toed sloth in the dungeon to keep them. It’s a thing they did on the show.

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The Librarian was a grizzled old fellow who would attempt to frighten viewers with stories that weren’t scary. The makeup for the show was very good and The Librarian’s was the best.

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The Wolf Man was a super cool disc jockey spinning 60s pop songs and dancing to them in front of screen with a psychedelic light show. He would be joined in his dance by Igor. Because of music licensing issues most of the shows on YouTube do not have The Wolf Man’s full segments. The set up is still included, but the songs and the dancing are gone.

A brief aside.

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Wolfman Jack

In a television interview done in 1978, Billy Van claimed to have never heard of the world famous DJ Wolfman Jack prior to creating his Wolf Man Character. Hmmm. Let’s see, Van’s character is a DJ with a raspy voice, who howls, has a groovy attitude, and calls himself The Wolf Man. Wolfman Jack was a prominent DJ with a raspy voice, who would occasionally howl, while he displayed a groovy attitude and called himself the Wolfman. Jack had developed this persona in the early 1960s.

And Van never heard of Wolfman Jack prior to playing The Wolf Man in 1971?

Hmmm. I suppose it’s possible. It’s quite a coincidence if it’s true.

Brief aside over. Now back to the blog.

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The Oracle character was a fortune teller, who used astrology to give advice to viewers. Van used a Peter Lorre impression mixed with a little Chinese accent which would be looked on today as a bit, as the kids say, problematic. There’s some yellow face going on.

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The Maharishi showed up to make odd, nonsensical statements that were meant to sound like some kind of Hindu wisdom. He would then be deluged by a mass of flowers. This character would also be frowned on today due to its brown face nature.

There were two other regular characters I will mention. The Professor and the Narrator.

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The Professor was played by Dr. Julius Sumner Miller. He was a real-life physicist who had done a lot of children’s television. His segments were dedicated to teaching some science to the viewers. He was presented as a mad scientist, but his demonstrations were quite sound.

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And there was the Narrator (I guess that’s what he could be called) he was played by the wonderful Vincent Price. Price’s job was to open and close the show and to introduce the regular character segments. All his lines were done in rhyme. Having Price as part of the show gave it a little more of a Hollywood touch.

According to Wikipedia (where I got much of this information), Mr. Price knocked out all his parts in four days time. He was paid $13,000 for his work. That’s more than $82,000 in today’s money. Not a bad four day work week. And he didn’t phone it in. Vincent Price was a professional.

Still the show was really Billy Van’s baby. He was certainly a talented performer, if not the funniest improvisor. This was for kids, so the humor couldn’t be too sophisticated, but he drove that show. It’s work for which he has a right to feel enormous pride.

And I’m so glad my memory wasn’t giving me a bum steer.

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

I Hate The Yankees

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Photo credit: CBS Sports

In the followup to the wonderful 1994 documentary series Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns, Baseball: The Tenth Inning (2010) features Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell stating, words to the effect, “The natural state of things in baseball is to hate the New York Yankees.” I couldn’t find the exact quote, but it’s close. And I agree with Mr. Boswell.

His reasons for hating the Yankees may not be the same as mine, not all of them anyway, but hate them I do. 27 World Series Championships is enough. Let someone else win (and, to be honest, in recent years they have). They’ve lucked out by being in a massive market, so they have all the money in the world to get the best players. And their fans seem to have the attitude that once the team makes the postseason the World Series trophy should just be given to them.

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Lifelong Yankees fan.

In fact, the late, great scientist Stephen Jay Gould, who was a contributor to Burns’ first baseball documentary series, still held a grudge, 30 plus years on, toward the Pittsburgh Pirates who had beaten his beloved Yankees in the 1960 fall classic. Seriously? Uh, Steve. Of the 14 prior World Series, your Yankees had won eight! And they would go on to win then next two. Let it go!

Minnesota Twins fans have six more reasons to hate the New York Yankees:

2003 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to one.

2004 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to one.

2009 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.

2010 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.

2017 – Lost the American League Wildcard Game to the Yankees.

And just added:

2019 – Lost the American League Division Series to the Yankees three games to none.

If there is such a thing as “Pinstripe Fever” the 21st century Minnesota Twins got it!

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Well, kid, if you had done more homework you might have learned how to spell vegetables.

With the exception of the 2006 postseason appearance, in which they lost the ALDS to the Oakland A’s, since 2003 every time the Twins made it to the postseason their first opponent has been the New York Yankees. And, as you can see, every time the Hated Yankees sent the good guys packing. Those damn Yankees must think of these postseason meetings with the Twins as warmup games for the real playoffs.

(The video at this link pretty much sums it up.)

Many here in the Great Northwest believed this was going to be the year. The boys were finally going to beat the Yankees. I was not among them. My eternal pessimism had me predicting the Twins would be swept. And I was right. (Of course, you’ll just have to take my word on that.)

If the Twins had continued to play at the same level through the entire season as they had during the first half, I would have been more optimistic. In that first half the boys never lost more than two games in a row, and rarely that many. For a time, they had the best record in the majors. But, after the All Star Break, they began to falter. First, their bullpen got a bit iffy. They might still win games due to their powerful offense, they do hold the record for most home runs in a season (307!), but when I’d look at the line score I would see 3 or 4 runs given up in the late innings. It was getting to be very consistent and very troubling. And some of those games would turn into losses.

Well, the bullpen did get better, but then the starting pitching began to go wonky. Our ace Jose Berrios had a lousy August. Next Michael Pineda, who had been pitching very well, got popped for using a banned substance. Bang! He’s gone. And then the injuries to our powerful offense began to pile up.

If it weren’t for the soft schedule the last three weeks of the season (games against the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers all of whom were having a terrible year), the Twins might have lost the division to the Cleveland Indians.

So, you can understand why I wasn’t very optimistic when it came to the Twins having to play the Yankees first up in the playoffs.

PodresJohnny-NYTHistorically, though, the Minnesota Twins haven’t been the Yankees’ only patsy. There were also the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers were (and still are) in the National League, while the Yankees are in the American League, so the two teams would only meet in the World Series. From 1941 until 1956, these two teams from the Empire State would meet seven times. The Dodgers were only able to beat the Bronx Bastards once in 1955. That must have been a glorious year for the Brooklyn faithful.

We Twins fans of today can’t imagine what that must have been like.

Well, there’s always next year.

Unless you were a Brooklyn Dodger fan in 1957. In 1958, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, California, breaking Brooklyn’s heart. However, the LA Dodgers would meet the Evil Empire in the 1963 World Series. The Dodgers won.

I love L.A.!

Packing Peanuts!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.