Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday, March 17th, 1974

IT again. It's not the same these days, though. Maybe I'm growing out if it. I hope.

Been reading the U.N.C.L.E. book and it's surprisingly good!

Watched Alan Alda and Carol Burnett (with old WONDER WOMAN comics!) in 6 RMS RIV VUE.

NOTES: 6 RMS RIV VUE (Pronounced Six Rooms, River View) was a 1972 Broadway play. This TV adaptation was directed by and starred M*A*S*H star Alan Alda alongside TV comedy queen carol Burnett. I don't recall the details but at one point, as seen above, she's reading WONDER WOMAN comics that must have set them back a pretty penny even then!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saturday, March 16th, 1974

HURRAH! Not much books today (although I did get a new king-fu paperback and a vintage Steffie GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E. paperback) but I managed to see the first real movie I've seen all year! BLACK BELT JONES at the Albee. And boy, was it good! I gave it a  "9." Hopefully there'll be more movies to be seen now that the slump has broken.

Otherwise I saw Roddy on TV tonight and got to ride in Dad's new car for the first time!

NOTES: I use the word "new" but I should point out that we never once had an actual NEW car. This one was, I believe, a 1972 model.

Funny how tastes change. Looking at BLACK BELT JONES now I think I'd give it a 5. As a blacksploitation film, it's better than some but still badly directed and with some really badly choreographed stunt scenes where you can tell the stuntmen's hands and feet never make contact with Kelly or vice versa. 

Seen above is the U.N.C.L.E. book I got that day. I didn't realize it yet but it introduced me to the concept of the hack writer--in the best sense of the word--one who writes a dozen or more books a year on whatever subject required, often series titles or novelizations.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friday, March 15th, 1974

Well, Dad got a new car today with the insurance money--a Rebel! The insides look great! I found three cents in the back seat. I'm gonna worry that this one will get stolen, now, too, though.

Saw Marlo Thomas on Merv's show tonight.

NOTES: The Rebel was probably about the most non-descript car in the world. It had no personalty the way some cars do. I sometimes thought my Dad purposely got that car--ours was appropriately gray, btw--just on the belief that it wasn't likely to be stolen. It wouldn't be. He had no idea of knowing today, however, that this Rebel would be the last car he would ever drive. In 1978, he was hit by a car while walking at a crosswalk. It took a year of physical therapy for him to recover, during which time the car sat silently in front of the apartment house gathering trash underneath it. Eventually, someone complained to the police and they insisted he move the car. He drove it around the block once and parked it in a different spot. Although he lived another 12 years beyond that, he never drove a car again. The day after that last drive, he sold the Rebel. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thursday, March 14th, 1974

Mr. J was absent today but I did pretty well in Volleyball.

Mom says she may be able to sell some of my Hot Wheels stuff for me to somebody she works with.

Janos Prohaska died today in a plane crash.

I see where PINNOCHIO is matineeing this weekend at the madison. Another film I once saw with Debbie!

Speaking of films, we saw a rather graphic LSD film today in Health Class, complete with LSD Comics!

Terry had me look up all the info I could find on Wonder Woman for him. Ever since the film, he's been crazy about her.

NOTES: This was around the time I ended up being surprisingly good as a server in Volleyball. Suddenly everyone wanted me on their team. In retrospect, maybe it was because of my mutant ability to be able to easily find the center of gravity. I can balance a pole on my fingertips for as long as I want, for example, even moving it from fingertip to fingertip. I'd be a hit at parties...if I had ever gotten invited to any parties.

I hadn't really played with my Hot Wheels cars for a couple of years by that point but I still wish I had kept at least the cars. I had a huge carrying case full of them!

Janos Prohaska was a little Hungarian stuntman who specialized in playing apes and gorillas in movies and TV shows. He often appeared on Bob Barker's audience participation series, TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, surprising contestants before Bob revealed him to be a man. Bob always introduced him by name so I got to know him from there. He had also appeared as various monsters on both LOST IN SPACE and STAR TREK. The name "Janos Prohaska" was later used for some reason as the real name of the comic book hero, Blackhawk! 

Okay, here's where my spooky memory fails me. I have said for years that I had my 1st date when I was 9, my 2nd when I was 10 and my 3rd when I was 23. None of those, however, were PINNOCHIO! Apparently I have completely forgotten my 3rd date! (What does THAT tell you?)

Wish I could remember what the deal was with the LSD Comics. Was it an underground in the film or an anti-drug comic they passed around? 

LOL. After writing about that WONDER WOMAN film the other day, I spent yesterday in 2012 re-reading Les Daniels' history book of WONDER WOMAN!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wednesday, March 13th, 1974

Terry says a new CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN is out over the river. If it is, I'll have to get tot and also pick up the second Kung-Fu/Mace paperback.

I got TV GUIDE and there are SO many good shows on next week. Even one with Roddy in his APES costume.

Good news! A guy at school claimed he saw THE EXORCIST yesterday and if he could see it then they can't keep me out either! For the moment, though, I'll be content with BLACK BELT JONES.

NOTES: CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN was a hipper version of FAMOUS MONSTERS, edited during this period by my future Facebook friend Bhob Stewart. It suffered from erratic distribution, however, so you had to grab it when you saw it. 

The reference to Kung Fu/Mace threw me until I looked it up. It was the book seen above, 2nd in a  series of hacked out martial arts novels starring a violent ersatz Bruce Lee type character. Looks like it ran at least 6 volumes. Looking at the covers, I think I dropped it after # 3. I had literally forgotten about these until tonight. Wonder what ever happened to my copies.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tuesday, March 12th, 1974

Got home early as expected and made good use of the extra time reading.

Tonight I saw the WONDER WOMAN TV movie. Next week there's a TV martial arts movie!

There's a slight chance that I MAY get to see BLACK BELT JONES this weekend. It's back at the Albee.

NOTES: Off early from school and all I wanted to do was read. There's a reason I became "booksteve!"

This WONDER WOMAN TV movie was not the gloriously perfect Lynda Carter of a couple years later but the horribly miscast Cathy Lee Crosby! Blonde, wearing a star-spangled leisure suit outfit. Had these people ever even looked at a comic book?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Monday, March 11th, 1974

Obviously I didn't get to the show yesterday. Why? Because it was replaced for the matinees shows by a Mother Goose flick which I once saw with Debbie!

Dad's car theft was settled today finally today. He got $400.00 from the insurance company.

I watched several specials on TV tonight including part one of a six part BBC drama on Jack the Ripper.

School lets out at 2:30 tomorrow.

Oh, and I mailed the pen-pal letter I wrote yesterday

NOTES: $400.00. How times change. That wouldn't get a car radio nowadays. The 1965 Ford Falcon cost $3500.00 new. We bought ours around 1971 so it had probably depreciated to $1000.00 or less. So here, in '74, $400.00 makes more sense than it initially looks. 

I had a minor fascination with Jack the Ripper for a while. This may be where it started. Not sure.

THE MAGIC LAND OF MOTHER GOOSE was almost sorta kinda the film I took my girlfriend to see on our second date. debbie had been my sort of girlfriend since 3rd grade and, in 6th grade, we went to see CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. I counted that as our first date as we had no adult chaperones. A month or so later, though, when I proposed a second movie date, her parents insisted we take along her younger sister and brother and that, as such, we should see the kiddie matinee that was playing that weekend. 

That film was THE MAGIC LAND OF MOTHER GOOSE, a less than no budget movie quite literally shot on a high school stage but directed, I would discover years later, by none other than sixties gore movie king, Herschell Gordon Lewis, the man who had previously brought the world BLOOD FEAST, THE WIZARD OF GORE, 2000 MANIACS and THE GORE-GORE GIRLS! Believe it or not, every one of those exploitation films was better-made than this kiddie matinee staple and yet here it was five years later still playing the circuit!