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.38 Special Wild Eyed Southern Boys

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Wild Eyed Southern Boys was released in January 1981. The band was fronted by the brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zandt, and the southern rock roots show through a little on the album. Mostly though, it sounds like typical 80's radio rock. It's mostly unspectacular except for a few gems that continue to heard daily on classic rock radio. Hold On Loosely is the best song the band ever recorded. It kicks off with a great guitar riff, has the catchiest chorus, and has the biggest impact. There's a reason this is the one that ended up on all the compilation albums. First Time Around is dull by comparison and suffers by following directly after it on the record. The title track is okay, a little corny but not bad. It's catchy. Back Alley Sally is forgettable and doesn't impress much either way. Fantasy Girl is another classic rock radio staple. It's a good song, though not as good as a lot of songs that have been forgotten by radio programmers over the ye

Muppet Mondo

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If you are a fan of the Muppets chances are good you are a fan of the song Mah Na Mah Na. If you didn't watch The Muppet Show and have never heard the song you should look it up on Youtube. It's a fun nonsense song that Henson had the character who he named after it sing in several appearances. The song did not originate with the Muppets though. It actually has a much seedier origin. Mondo movies were popular in the 60's and 70's. They were made mostly in Italy and were basically exploitation documentaries, covering topics meant to shock and titillate in order to compel people to see them. They would show graphic sex acts and murders and even surgical procedures.  Sweden: Heaven and Hell was released in 1968, and documented lesbian clubs, porno movies, and the swingers scene in that country. It also featured the debut of the future Muppet hit.

Dark Shadows #1

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Dark Shadows was a popular tv show that ran in the late 60's and early 70's. It was a gothic soap opera that had lots of horror elements, including vampires, ghosts, and even some Lovecraftian themes. This post is not about the show, though. It is about the comic book series that spun off from the show. It was from Gold Key. The book assumes you are familiar with the setting and characters of the show. They don't do much to introduce characters or explain the different relationships. If you haven't seen the show you can probably pick up the gist of what's happening, but it will be a little more confusing than it would be for a fan of the show. The story of the first issue is two boys who come to Collinsport to research the fate of an ancestor of one of them. The man had disappeared while travelling in his capacity as a witch hunter. What they don't know is that Barnabas, a vampire who tends to be the main character of the show after his introduction in episode 2

Good Times Season One Episode Three

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Good Times came from t.v. producer Norman Lear, who had already brought the public hits shows like All In The Family and Maude, and would later bring The Jeffersons. Good Times was nominally a spin-off from Maude, although the only thing that was kept was the name of Esther Rolle's character Florida. I am doing this episode out of order because while it was filmed first and so is technically the pilot, it was broadcast third and so is the third episode of the season. The production values seem cheap and cheesy by today's standards, but aren't bad compared to other t.v. shows of the period that didn't have big budgets. The jokes are good, the performances are really good (mostly) and it's easy to see why this show caught on. That being said, this is a show that would cause a big chunk of the country in this day and age to go into meltdowns. Michael, the youngest son, is a militant who makes derogatory comments about cops and opines about the disparities between white

Frankenstein (1931)

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In 1931 two movies were made by Universal Pictures that created the genre of horror movie. The first was  Dracula . That one made a boat load of money, so of course the studio wanted to make more movies like it. As a result, they made Frankenstein. The original intent was to have the movie star Bela Lugosi, since he was now bankable as a movie monster. Lugosi didn't like the character, which in the original version of the script had been imagined as a savage killing machine and not the sympathetic creature that we ended up getting. He passed, and the original director was taken off because the studio had promised James Whale any property he wanted, and he wanted Frankenstein. Whale reworked the script, and also found Boris Karloff. Thus while Bela Lugosi lost his chance to be the king of the monster movies, the world was gifted with the talent of Mr. Karloff. He went above and beyond for Frankenstein, enduring physical torment to play the creature. Whale also insisted on Colin Cliv

Swamp Thing #1

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If you are familiar with Swamp Thing you likely know this story. Dr Alec Holland and his wife Linda are taken to a secret lab in the woods by Matt Cable. Cable obviously works for the government in some capacity, though it's not made clear what that capacity is. He just as obviously gives not a single shit about either Dr. Holland. He is only interested in them finishing their formula that makes plants grow, and that formula not making it into anyone else's hands. This fact makes some of what happens next odd. Three thugs (led by a man who looks like a sinister Mario) find the doctors at their hidden swamp lab and try to make them an offer they can't refuse. They do refuse and the thugs leave with a warning. Cable is distraught that Dr. Holland didn't somehow alert him of their presence, telepathically I suppose. Now, one would think that since their security has obviously been compromised the smart thing to do would be to move them to a new hidden location. But no, Cab

The Ghost Busters Season 1 Episode 1

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Ghostbusters is one of those franchises that inspires fan frenzy from 80's and 90's kids. Whether it's the live action antics of Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd and company, or the animated adventures of Slimer and the boys, every iteration of Ghostbusters has a devoted following. The Ghost Busters however is another story. The Ghost Busters was a Filmation show from 1975. It featured a trio of detectives named Spenser, Tracy and Kong. One of them is a gorilla, but not the one you'd think from the names.  The premier episode of the show opens on a couple of gangsters in their castle hideout discussing bringing back the ghost of a dead gangster to help them acquire an item. Johnny Brown plays the fat man, doing his best Sydney Greenstreet impression, and Billy Barty is hi sidekick doing something approximating a Peter Lorre impression. The gangster Big Al is played by Forrest Tucker, who is also the Ghost Buster Spenser. Forrest Tucker is all over the place, doing Brando, Cag