(from “Captain Marvel and the Dog Dilemma” by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck in Captain Marvel Adventures #133, June 1952)
It’s the twilight of the Carter Era and you are a seven year old early riser. Your parents are sleeping off Saturday night’s festivities in their bedroom and your younger brother is napping soundly in his crib.
Loud play (which to a child of your age means “any play at all”) is out of the question, so you climb up onto the pantry counter and begin fixing yourself some breakfast — a giant bowl of Sugar Smacks served with a tall glass of greasy-textured chocolate soy-milk substitute.
Ignoring the inevitable mess you’ve left behind (a prerogative of consequence-blind youth), you step lightly into the living room and turn on the family TV set.
This being a Sunday morning, the broadcast viewing pickings are slim, indeed. You cycle past a selection of religious programs, “current issues” panels, and “eye-opener” news shows before settling on the only kid-oriented option available — WCVB.
There are no creaky old Merry Melodies cartoons or syndicated sitcoms here, just a long block of edu-tainment jobbers mandated by FCC regulations for public service programming and shunted off to the time-slot equivalent of Tristan da Cunha.
Even the commercials were odd, PSAs evoking lessons from the 1970s Book of Virtues shot in-house on a shoestring budget.
The memories of these shows would eventually fade as you grew older (and embraced the concept of “sleeping in”) and the televisual landscape underwent a massive paradigm shift on multiple fronts. Specific recollections receded into an associative conviction that Sunday mornings are the most depressing times of the week.
This would persist for thirty-five years, until your grandmother handed you a folder of your childhood doodles she’d unearthed while cleaning out the front room closet. Among them was an enthusiastically crude attempt at sketching a seahorse.
The sight of it evokes lucid memories of your mother (a respectable artist in her own right) laying out pencils, crayons, and paper the night before so you’d properly prepared for Bob Cottle’s weekly lesson, and that instinctual depression mellows into a wistfulness of the most painful variety.
Today’s quick hit comes from 1932, when the genetically damaging glow of scientific novelty overrode any and all concerns about the potential dangers associated with an emerging technology…
Hey, if you can’t trust the experts of Wakem & Whipple with the frivolous use of nuclear material, who can you trust?
(On a side note: I wonder how many Acremeters ended up in municipal dumps or wildcat garbage piles back in the days before the government kept a close watch on the distribution and disposal of radioactive substances.)
Recommended listening: If I Ever Lose My Faith in U-238.
So there’s a new ad for the iPad in which Apple (by way of its marketing folks) celebrates this glorious Age of User-Created Content by channeling Walt Whitman (by way of Dead Poets Society).
“What will your verse be?” That’s an interesting question, and one that I have applied my prodigious research skills (by way of the finest application to appear at the top of a Google search for “free pie chart generator”) to definitively answer.
Disagree if you must, but figures don’t lie.
Aw, shit. I forgot to mention he was a former member of the Amboy Dukes.
I’m sure legendary schlock-shoveler Jack H. Harris saw the Stateside enthusiasm for Godzilla’s posse of oversized monstrosities and figured that he could crank out a domestic iteration on the cheap. But where Japanese kaiju flicks adhered to a set conceptual guidelines as subtly formalized — if goofier — as any Noh play, Dinosaurus‘s homebrew approach had all the grace of wounded brontosaurus.
It’s a five year old child’s toyetic adventures brought to cinematic life via stop-motion animation and live-action sequences shot on a decaying soundstage formerly used by a z-grade jungle adventure serial.
Does that constitute high praise or snarky condemnation on my part? The answer to that — in true retrological fashion — is “both.”
(Fun Fact: The jungle and dinosaurs in the film were also used to equally cheesy effect in “The Odyssey of Flight 33″ episode of The Twilight Zone.)
I don’t think I’ll ever find another panel that captures the essence of this feature as perfectly as the above one does.
After noticing how popular these “historical” photo twitter accounts have become, I decided to delve into my archive of LIFE Magazine clippings and assemble an image gallery spotlighting the fondly remembered glory days of mid-20th Century America…