In 1937, RKO Radio Pictures assumed the distribution rights for Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies animated shorts from United Artists. To help promote the acquisition, RKO ran this beautiful advertisement in its 1937-38 exhibitor book, which also features ads for movies like Stage Door (starring Katharine Hepburn). The first RKO Mickey Mouse short, Hawaiian Holiday, debuted in September 1937. The first RKO Silly Symphony cartoon, The Old Mill, came out in November of the same year and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subjects (Cartoons). RKO distributed just eight Silly Symphony installments through 1939, when Walt Disney Productions stopped making them to focus more on feature films. The Mickey Mouse shorts continued through 1953 on RKO, although they wer
It's hard to believe now, but in the early '70s the National Football League wasn't nearly as stifled and humorless as it is now. As proof of that, I present these pieces of original, commissioned artwork drawn by the legendary Jack Kirby for the NFL in 1973. These fantastic illustrations were included as part of the October 21, 1973 issue of Pro!, the official magazine of the National Football League that was sold at every game, in a piece entitled "Out of Mind's Reach." They depict, among other things, futuristic versions of NFL players in action. I think my favorite one is for the Packers, who have somehow adopted an aquatic theme. Perhaps Wisconsin has warmed enough in the future to make that a practical move.
I think I like the idea of reading Golden Age superhero comics more than actually doing it. Compared to today's comic books, the stories and artwork often don't measure up. But man, I could look at the covers all day. So in the spirit of the season, here's a few Golden Age comic book covers with a Halloween theme. The Superman one is technically Silver Age, but I think it has the same lighthearted spirit as the other three so I included it. If straight-ahead horror comics from the Golden Age are more your thing, I've got a gallery of them too. I couldn't resist including this last one from Batman, even though it is firmly entrenched in the Silver Age and is of a much more serious tone. But how can you go wrong with a vintage Neal Adams cover?
When Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released in October 1982, fans of the horror series were no doubt surprised at the total lack of Michael Myers. That and anything resembling a good story. But all you needed to do was look at any of these lobby cards for the film to know that this would be very much unlike the first two Halloween flicks. Turns out that masks, old men, and dudes in business suits aren't the crucial ingredients for a classic horror movie. Who knew? Still, that Silver Shamrock tune is so very catchy.
Here's a very odd piece of political ephemera. It's a Halloween-themed jack-o-lantern door hanger used during the 1968 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew presidential campaign. In big, block letters it announced "Even the Great Pumpkin Is Voting Nixon-Agnew." This bit of ephemera is a clear nod to the classic Peanuts TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The CBS animated special debuted in October 1966 and was no doubt fresh in the minds of American voters. Whether or not this door hanger was enough to tip the scales in favor of the GOP ticket is debatable, but Nixon and Agnew cruised to a sizable Electoral College victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey and running mate Edmund Muskie.
The last few years have been conflicting ones for football fans. While NFL devotees wrestle with their collective conscience regarding the impact of football on it's participants' long-term health, the sport has arguably never been more popular (or certainly more financially successful). While not ignoring the troubling revelations coming out almost daily on the medical front, the rich history of football in the United States is still worthy of celebration. It is in the spirit of this celebration that we now have the fantastic visually striking Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America's Game (Abrams Books 2013). The book was written by Library of Congress author Susan Reyburn, and it is this association that is Football Nation's greatest strength. So let's talk about that. ...
I stumbled across this beautiful set of six NFL team pennants recently, and had to share. The listing states that these are from the 1940s and '50s, but I suspect they all probably date from either 1950 or 1951. I say this because of the pennant for the New York Yanks, a now-defunct franchise that played as the New York Yanks, New York Bulldogs, and Dallas Texans (not the same as the AFL Texans of the '60s). The Yanks only existed under that moniker for the 1950 and '51 seasons, so no way the pennant was made before then. Likewise, the San Francisco 49ers didn't join the NFL until 1950. And while it's possible the pennants for the Rams, Steelers, Packers, and Lions pre-date 1950 I don't think they do. Click on the image for the full-size version, and enjoy some vintage mid-centur...
The National Hockey League gets a bad rep for allowing so many teams to qualify for the playoffs, but the thing is this -- it's still really, really hard to make it through the playoffs and all the way to a Stanley Cup title. That's especially true for these ten franchises, each of which has not taken home Lord Stanley's trophy in a long, long time (some of them never). The season drought totals below are correct as of the start of the NHL's 2014-15 Stanley Cup playoffs. (See also: The 10 longest title droughts in NBA history.) #10. San Jose Sharks (22 seasons) The Sharks joined the NHL one season before the Senators, and have yet to even make it to the Cup Finals. The closest they've come was in 2003-04, when they lost the Western Conference Finals in six games to the Calgary
Ian Fleming's 007 spy novels aren't just some of the most fun stories in the entire genre, they also sport some outstanding book covers. So for reference and for your eyes only (yuk yuk), here is a gallery of every original Ian Fleming James Bond novel book cover, 14 in all. They were all published in Britain by Jonathan Cape between April 1953 and June 1966. The last two books were published after Fleming's death in August 1964.