Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Total Recall #1: Bad Dreams

Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is having bad dreams about the planet Mars. But, he doesn't know why. . . .

Total Recall 20th Anniversary

June 1st marked the twentieth anniversary of the release of Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, this hyper-violent, sci-fi thriller tells the story of one man's struggle to assert his own identity despite the efforts of others. In doing so, he not only liberates himself, but millions of people as well. The film also stars Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside, and Ronny Cox. This is one of my favorite movies from the 1990s and it really is a decade-defining film, both in stature & message. I've never attempted to do a frame-by-frame adaption of a motion picture before (I've tried twice with a comic book, but more on that next year). So, keep your fingers crossed and, as the tag-line for the film stated, "get ready for the ride of your life.". . . .

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Worried Baby: Part Deux

. . . Influence from Dick Tracy! This ghoulish goon, one of many from Tracy's famous Rogues' Gallery, had not only learned the art of hypnotism, he had mastered it. Premiering in the November 15, 1946 installment of Chester Gould's long running strip, Influence used his mesmeric power to not only rob his victims, but also kill them as well.

The Worried Baby

While at work one day, I was speaking to a young mother who had her thirteen month old son with her. As we were talking I glanced down at her child and was startled to see the kid was frowning. Not slightly, not briefly: he had what appeared to be a permanent worried scowl on his face. He looked really upset about something; like somebody was after him. His expression never changed. He constantly had this concerned look. Then things got really weird: his eyes started moving from side to side. He looked like an actor in a sixties spy flick. A co-worker and I tried to make him laugh but failed. We attempted this for two reasons; one: to get the kid to smile and stop looking so worried and two: because the way he looked made us uncomfortable. Just like some people act like their Uncle Harry or other folks look like the mailman, I think that's the way this little guy was. Nothing bad had happened to him, he just frowned a hell of a lot.
But, as we all looked at him, he started to remind me of various fictional characters who have fixed facial expressions (like The Joker). I couldn't put my finger on it, but he reminded me of one character in particular. Then it dawned on me. The kid looked just like . . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Worst Toupee I've Ever Seen

Well, here it is: the worst toupee I've ever seen. I saw this decrepit dude during the summer of 1993 while caddying at a Long Island country club. The drawing here is an exaggeration. A slight exaggeration! The guy wearing this thing appeared to have been born sometime in the 15th century. He was this crinkled old man; his skin was leathery and every spot on his face was laden with wrinkles. He looked liked something that would have been unearthed near a pyramid. I ain't jokin'! The style of his toupee was reminiscent of the Beatles' first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show except his "hair" was a grey-brown with blonde highlights. He was tiny but not quite dwarf-like. His knees buckled and he would slowly move around as he cracked jokes with the other club members. The thing that really creeped me out was that since it was a humid summer day, he was sweating like crazy. But, his hair didn't get wet!! It was obviously made of a space-age material manufactured somewhere deep within the cosmos.
Now, I have nothing against old people; everyone gets old eventually. Its just how you pull it off that matters. This dude was way too old & his hair looked way too young! What is it with the geriatric set and Beatle wigs?! This guy was born well before 1964. I don't get it!!! . . . yeah, yeah, yeah!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Beatle Wig: Part Two

Everybody wants to get into the act and so they did in the above photo. Taken from Nicholas Schaffner's 1977 book, The Beatles Forever, this UPI pic indicated that hostility towards the Fab Four was beginning to soften . . at least for profit's sake. As I stated earlier, many folks from a certain age bracket despised the Beatles. Here's a quote from the February 24, 1964 issue of Newsweek taken from Mr. Schaffner's book:
"Visually they are a nightmare: tight, dandified Edwardian beatnik suits and great pudding-bowls of hair. Musically they are a near disaster: guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of yeah, yeah, yeah!) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of valentine-card romantic sentiments."
That was the first paragraph for the cover story of that issue. But, we all know how the story turned out. The Beatles changed the entire world through their music. As a child, I can remember both my grandmother and great-grandmother singing along to "Michelle" when it would play on the radio.

The Beatle Wig

Here's the real thing: one of a least two versions of an "authentic" Beatles wig (there were probably others as well). Throughout the Beatles' career, a long list of items were produced. A large portion were unlicensed. Critics and haters of the band attacked them for their haircuts (how unkempt they looked) & initially said the quartet wore wigs. So, some smart guy began to manufacture Beatle wigs as a novelty item.
This photo is from Jeff Augsburger, Marty Eck, & Rick Rann's excellent book, The Beatles Memorabilia Price Guide. With at least two volumes published, this late '80s tome is a forerunner to the various nostalgia books that would proliferate in the 1990s. (Photo is copyright 1988/2010 Jeff Augsburger, Marty Eck, and Rick Rann).

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Second Worst Toupee I've Ever Seen . . .

I was shopping at a local supermarket last week when I saw something that frightened & saddened me. While getting ready to pay for my food I turned to my right & saw the second worst toupee I'd ever seen. The old man wearing it was obviously self-conscious about having lost his hair (anyone would be). But, his solution to that dilemma was to fortify his noggin with what literally appeared to be a cranial dome made of artificial hair. My first thought was, "Wow, that guy looks really foolish". My second thought was, "So that's what a Beatle would look like if he lived to be a thousand".
It was a pretty bad sight and most people were looking at him. It was then that my mischievous nature took over and gained control of my imagination. That bizarre hair-thing on his head was so weird, especially when compared to his withered face, that I wanted to rip it off & fling it across the room! I could just picture it whirling through the air. All the way from checkout aisle 12 down to the tiled floor in front of checkout aisle 1. Wow, what a sight it would have been! That old dude would have thanked me for freeing him from his toupee prison! I would have been a hero: a hair emancipator! But, then I would have looked down upon the now head-free toupee & seen it for what it really was. A twisted thing of evil!! It would have just stood there, mocking me like a hirsute demon. It most likely had the ability to withstand several rounds of machine gun fire.
So, I left the old man & his toupee alone. I was hungry anyway. You really want to see something scary, just get between me & my food.

Remember Brandon Lee . . . .

Killed 25 years ago when he was struck by a bullet loaded into a prop gun, Brandon Lee never lived to see the success he would achieve af...