Saturday, February 4, 2012

Monday, February 4th, 1974

Today I had a big disaapointment. I came across a magazine in English that had some beautiful pics of Linda Blair and some shots from THE EXORCIST but I totally failed in my after-school attempts to obtain a copy!

NOTES: When I say the magazine was in English, I meant it was in English CLASS, not English, the language. In fact, assuming this is the mag I think it is, it was actually an issue of the French-Language mag. PARIS MATCH. There was a store in Cincy that I knew sold foreign mags so I rushed there after school only to find the Linda B issue was not the current issue! Tomorrow, I simply asked my teacher if I could have the mag and it was given to me!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sunday, February 3rd, 1974

Today I had a rather engrossing day as all I did between TV and phone calls was to become deeply involved in reading every chapter of Marvel's ever-popular TOMB OF DRACULA!

NOTES: TOMB OF DRACULA was a long-running comic book series that arose in early 1972 when the Comics Code was revised to allow the use of vampires again for the first time for more than 15 years.  Originally intended as just an attempt at cashing in on the popularity of monsters, it turned out to be a  surprisingly literate series written by the appropriately named Marv Wolfman with longtime artists Gene Colan and Tom Palmer. This, in fact, became the defining book in Gene's legacy. It ran until the end of the decade and an animated version was made in Japan (of all places) in the eighties.

I had seen my first Dracula movie when I was 7--Chris Lee in DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS. By the mid-seventies, I had read extensively about them and seen a lot of the movies on TV and a few in theaters. I even went on to write my own vampire stories some thirty years before that became such a popular thing to do. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Saturday, February 2nd, 1974

I got TBG, some new magazines, old comics and and an old (1945) newspaper today. Watched TV and talked on the phone with Terry the rest of the day.

NOTES: I still have that newspaper, still wrapped in the same plastic it was wrapped in at The Ohio Bookstore on this date. It's a Detroit newspaper from 1945 reporting extensively on the funeral of President Roosevelt. Historically important and fascinating but there was also an extensive comics section including BATMAN and JOHNNY HAZARD. As you can see from the examples seen here, though, I uh...clipped out the strips. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Friday, February 1st, 1974

Well, the first month's over.

I had a lot of tests today at school and as usual I passed them all.

I did a good deed today helping a man get his car started.

Unfortunately I did IT again, too, darn it! DEFINITELY the last time!

Terry got his new TBG so I'm probably going to get mine tomorrow.

Probably going to try the movie again, tomorrow, too.

NOTES: As I said, I did not see the movie. As I also said earlier, I just was in no position to accept the concept that masturbation was normal. Those of you who followed me through 1976 last year already know I don't make much progress over the next two years...nor was today "definitely" the last time. 

TBG was THE BUYER'S GUIDE TO COMIC FANDOM, a weekly newspaper for comics fans and, in those pre-Net days, the ONLY place for relatively up-to-date comics news. It was published by a man named Alan Light who, in retrospect, really wasn't much older than I was at the time. I subscribed regularly from issue 17 in 1972 until sometime in the 1990's and have picked up a number of issues of the now-magazine version, retitled CBG--THE COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE--since. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thursday, January 31st, 1974

Today was  a very confusing day. I went over to Cincinnati to see the PG-rated THUNDERFIST only to be sent away from the theater! We straightened it out but by that point I didn't want to see the least not today.

Comic book prices have gone up again!

Tonight I watched an absolutely fascinating documentary called IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT MYSTERIES.

NOTES: The latter film was a follow-up to Erich Von Daniken's IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS, an exploitative pseudo-documetary based on his surprise bestselling book.  When that book and film proved popular, there were suddenly a dozen more in both genres, all pretty cheesy although some were narrated by Rod Serling. Eventually, a popular TV series narrated by Leonard Nimoy, IN SEARCH OF, assumed the same format. Today there are whole cable networks made up of that kind of thing!

I think this was comics went from 20 cents to a quarter. They had stayed 10 cents for most of three decades but only by gradually lessening the page count and adding more ads. By the early sixties, there was no more cutting to be done if any story was to be left. So twelve cents for about 8 years, then fifteen, then twenty-five, then back to twenty (long story) and from there up and up and up!

I don't know what the deal was with THUNDERFIST. The lady at the box office at Cincinnati's Grand Theatre refused to let me in without an accompanying adult. I attempted to explain to her (endlessly and loudly) that it wasn't rated R, only PG! She didn't care. Eventually a manager or somebody in charge showed up and said I could go in but by that point I really didn't think I could possibly enjoy it and didn't want them to have my dollar! I never have seen it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wednesday, January 30th, 1974

Today was a good day at school and everywhere else. Miss Williams was back, the weather was nicer, I read AMBLER in the GAZETTE and when I got home I destroyed the few pics I had kept yesterday so there's just no way I will be tempted now! If I haven't solved the problem now then I never can!

NOTES: Miss Williams was my home room teacher in the 9th Grade. She had been my music teacher in the 7th Grade under her married name but had since gotten a divorce. My friend from grade school, Artie, was in my class for the first time in a couple of years and we had become sort of her unofficial aides and sidekicks this school year. Since our homeroom was the Music Room, it was huge compared to all the other, normal sized and cluttered classrooms. WE even had a piano we could noodle around on before the bell! When I think of my Junior High School experiences, there were few positive highlights but having Miss Williams for homeroom that year was definitely one.

AMBLER was a short-lived newspaper comic strip by an artist named Doug Wildey. It had never been in out local newspapers so it was new to me in THE MENOMONEE FALLS GAZETTE. It was about a sensitive rock star trying to find himself in "today's" world. The art was the highlight. Wildey, credited with creating TV's JONNY QUEST, had a wonderful realistic style that clearly used lots of real-life photo-reference but better than most who did so. He would later be known for his painted western graphic novels.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

***EXTRA*** Movies I Saw in 1974-Part Two

11--SNOWBALL EXPRESS--I love a movie with a good snow scene and this movie IS a good snow scene! Many dislike the live-action Disney comedies but I loved them. This one, like so many, features Dean Jones (who would call me on the phone once in the nineties), Kathleen Cody (whom I crushed on on DARK SHADOWS and have recently exchanged emails with online) and the underrated Michael McGreevey, now a Facebook friend!

12--THE WORLD'S GREATEST ATHLETE--This one wasn't as good. Jan-Michael Vincent as a jungle boy brought to the big city.The fun trivia here is that his true love is played by Dayle Haddon who went on to a career of softcore European sex films before settling into a lucrative position as a make-up spokesperson.

13--DR. NO--I convinced my Dad to go with me to THE EXORCIST but we got tired of waiting on the bus so we decided to walk half a block to a theater showing Sean Connery's first and (then) last Bond films.

14--DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER--This was the first Bond film I had ever seen and remains a favorite in spite of its vague nods to camp and Connery's bad wig. It was the 2nd feature that day.

15--THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD--Terry and I took the bus out to the Tri-County Mall. The ad in the paper said the new theater we were going to was "Near Tri-County Mall." Note--"NEAR" is a relative term. It would have been 5 minutes away if we had had a car but we were 15. For us it was a 90 minute hike on a hot, hot day! And then another one back later! The movie, with Harryhausen special effects and Caroline Munro, was great but still makes me sweat thinking about it.

16--SPYS--I saw stars Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland on a rather anarchic episode of Phil Donahue's talk show and decided then and there to see this movie...which was nowhere near as fun as SUTherland and Gould on DONAHUE.

17--MY NAME IS NOBODY--My favorite spaghetti western, atypical as it may be! My dad and I saw it twice at the Skywalk. Terrence "Trinity" Hill in an iconic role with Henry Fonda in a surprisingly nuanced performance and a great ending.

18--THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT--As I've said, I was a big Eastwood fan by this point. But I hated this. Clint and Jeff Bridges as violent ant-heroes in Michael Cimino's excesses that just left me feeling yuck. Many love it, I know. I'm not one.

19--THE EXORCIST--Finally! By the time I saw the picture it was at that stage where it couldn't possibly live up to its hype. I liked it. I had already read the Making of book though so I knew what to expect and how it was all done. My main reason for seeing it was to see Linda Blair's award-winning performance...which was kind of messed up for me by the make-up and vomiting. My Mom ended up going with me!
20--HERBIE RIDES AGAIN--One of my least favorite Disney films and I had to take two buses to get to it! Stefanie Powers was in it so I felt I had to go but beyond that I was disappointed all around.

Tuesday, January 29th, 1974

I made it to school today after all and almost everything went fine.

IT again! I went ahead and destroyed everything associated with it except for a few photos I tore out and a couple of comics. And to think, I wasn't going to do it at ALL this year. Sheesh!

NOTES: Yeah, I was willing to destroy the comparatively expensive mags but the comics--most likely undergrounds in this case--were safe. I had been buying undergrounds since I was 13 as the guys at what passed for the local "head shop" in downtown Cincinnati had decided I seemed more mature than some of their older customers! I appreciated comix for their freedoms, their politics, their unique art styles, their original thoughts and, of course, their dirty pictures! I wasn't really into Robert Crumb's, though, which is odd as Crumb was a major influence on my own style of art when I drew cityscapes and such in art class.  I loved Corben, though (seen here), along with Bode, Rand Holmes, Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson (now a Facebook friend) and later Gilbert Shelton, Fred Schrier, Larry Welz and Dave Sheridan.