Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crazy People 1932

Crazy People 1932
Video sent by sirarnold

Still no word on the CBLDF Auction but as soon as I'll be the first to know!

In the meanwhile, I'm in the mood to share a Boswell Sister clip. This is the Bozzies at the peak of their act.

Connee on the left, Vet in the middle, and Martha on the right playing the piano.

Although they were trained as classical musicians, while growing up in New Orleans in the early 1920's in New Orleans, they were drawn under the influence of the Jazz sounds emerging all around them. "The call of the beat got us." said Connee.

I'll say.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zoe's Beanish

Zoe drew this for me last summer at Comic-Con and I just found it.
Thanks, Zoe!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser Time!

Our friends at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are launching
their Annual Year End Fund Raising auction this week
and I created this piece for it.
Beanworld Action Figure Frame!
It's 7 1/2" x 7 1/2" x 1"
and can be displayed on a table top with its easel stand or hung on the wall.

The matte black frame is decorated with:
2 colors of handcrafted polymer clay Beanworld Action Figures
5 colors of handcrafted colored Chow dots.

The drawing inside the frame is 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
on light tan Strathmore Series 500 paper
100% cotton fiber paper with traditional laid pattern finish
Colored pencils and marker

Also, a nice selection of Beanworld Orphan drawings will be auctioned. This is the first time that these drawings have been made available to the public without attending a comic book show.

For those of you have been longing for an opportunity to "adopt" one of these drawings--this will be your chance.

The CBLDF has had a financially challenging year in a large part due to the Gordon Lee case in Georgia. This is a heavy duty first amendment battle and CBLDF needs your help in this ongoing struggle.

I've donated some of the fruits of my time and energy and I hope you will do the same by bidding on my drawings and/or the artwork of the other creators who have generously donated art and artifacts to this very worthy cause. I'm proud to join folks like Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Brian K Vaughan, Brad Meltzer, Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Matt Wagner, Jack Davis,Terry Moore, Frank Cho, and many more in assisting the CBLDF in these challenging times.

As soon CBLDF sends me the details as to when and where-online-to-go-to-bid--I'll pass it along to you immediately!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Peanut Vendor!

Or how I stumbled across Len Lye!

The other night I was drawing while listening to my favorite online music stream Radio Dismuke. One of the songs that floated by was a snappy rumba tune that I knew I'd heard a gazillion times but was unsure of what the song actually was. It turned out to be The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) by Debroy Somers And His Band. That sent me immediately to Google to learn more about the song and the artists who performed it.

In my search however...I came across this film clip from 1933. The person who posted it tagged it as "the creepiest puppet film ever made." I'm not sure THAT is true--even though it IS a bit ragged.

The artist who created this wonderful amalgamation of music and puppetry was a fellow named Len Lye--who quite frankly I don't recall hearing anything about in the past. But he is clearly a significant personage in the history of both film art and painting. His original theories regarding art were encapsulated in his philosophy of INH: Individual Happiness Now

"The three words that make up Individual Happiness Now! represent positive, interconnected values that Len Lye believed could form the basis of a human society transcending nationalism, political ideology and religious difference. This exhibition weaves four decades of Lye's work around this theory of art, life, and happiness," wrote Tyler Cann curator of the Len Lye collection, Tyler Cann.

Sure sounds like someone worth following up on!
Any of you folks know anything more about this seemingly fine fellow?
Stumbling across something like this while looking for something else--this is definitely one of my favorite activities on the Internet!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Official--Chia Season Opens!

Yes, my friends, once again it is that curious season of the Chia Pet. Between now and the dawn of the new year, the nations airwaves will be flooded with seemingly endless commercials for America's favorite bizarre Holiday Gift--the Chia Pet and it's unique Chia cousins.

This year, Garfield and the characters from Scooby Doo will be joining the regular cast of pottery farm animals! Unfortunately, another year will have to pass without the Amazing Chia Beanworld Action Figure.

Well...there is always next year!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hey, Kids! It's Time For Tuesday's Tanatalizing Teaser!

A mystery slice...of what?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mr Whipple--Squeezin' The Charmin In The Big Grocery Aisle In The Sky.

Charles Brownstein just wrote to tell me that Dick Wilson, the actor/pitchman who portrayed Mr. Whipple for Charmin passed away.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the media will be all over this one. Mr. Whipple was one very well known advertising icon. At one time, eight out of every 10 Americans could identify who Mr. Whipple was. In fact, in 1978, Mr. Whipple was named the third best-known American—just behind former President Nixon and Billy Graham. He edged out both then-President Carter AND Ronald McDonald--that's some serious presence!

Charmin actually was a superior product. First introduced in 1928 by the Hoberg Paper Company of Green Bay WI, Charmin was marketed to women by emphasizing its softness. The familiar four roll package was launched in 1932. In the 1950's, Charmin added photography of ladies and babies onto the packaging along with the slogan "Charmin babies your skin." In 1957, Proctor & Gamble purchased the brand. Later, P&G added a scent to the product making it the first nationally distributed perfumed toilet tissue.

In 1964, P&G rolled out its first of reportedly 504 Mr. Whipple ad spots. Mr. Whipple represented Charmin for over 20 years. Every ad was essentially the same in a Krazy Kat-ish sort of way. Mr. Whipple steadfastly patrolled the aisles of his store to prevent housewives from squeezing the packages of Charmin bathroom tissue. He had the determination of Offisa Pup but the compulsive behavior of Ignatz Mouse. He could not resist the temptations of breaking the rules and succumbing to forbidden behavior. By the end of the commercial--Mr. Whipple would always be caught sheepishly squeezing a package of Charmin with the same look on his face as Krazy Kat would have right after taking a brick to the head.

But the message was clear. Charmin is soft. And it smells good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harold J. Berman And The Joy Of Reading The Newspaper.

More than a year ago, when he was still anchoring the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieiffer broadcast a segment called "A Case For Newspapers." In that opinion piece. Mr. Sheiffer quotes Jill Abramson, of The New York Times, who observed that folks tend to go to the Internet in search for specific information. "But the joy of reading a newspaper comes from finding information we weren't looking for."
I greatly enjoy reading a newspaper every day for the reasons extolled by Mr. Schieiffer and Ms. Abramson. And I had one of those occurrences today.

Until this morning, I'd never heard of Harold J. Berman. Then I saw the headline to his obituary in the New York Times: "Harold J. Berman, 89, Who Altered Beliefs About Origins of Western Law, Dies."

Altered beliefs about the origins of Western law, huh?

Well, I had to read that alright. And if you click through on the link above you will see that he indeed had an illustrious career. Clearly a great man had passed away.

Often in any business, but particularly the comic book business, we stumble over issues pertaining to the law. Sometimes we find ourselves wondering--what KIND of legal problem are we actually looking at. The following little primer that was printed in Mr. Berman's obituary is a wonderfully concise ditty that really packs a powerful punch in the simplicity of its analysis.
“A child says, ‘It’s my toy.’
That’s property law,”

“A child says, ‘You promised me.’
That’s contract law."

"A child says, ‘He hit me first.’
That’s criminal law."

"A child says, ‘Daddy said I could.’
That’s constitutional law.”
To paraphrase Bob Schieiffer, I won't quickly forget who Mr. Berman was after reading that gem of wisdom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dude...That's So Cosmic, Like, Uh, Y'know??

While I was looking for something else...I came across "No Magic At All"--a very amusing demonstration video of the most peculiar properties of a Mobius strip. Thought I'd share it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007



This is a very Chicago-centric drawing.

At the top of every broadcast of Bozo's Circus, Ringmaster Ned would proclaim:
"Give me a loud answer to this question.
Who's your favorite clown?"

And the kids would squeal "Bozoooooo!"

And Bozo would inevitably respond with:
"That's meeeeeeeeeee!"
And that meant that Bozo's Circus was on the air.

Bozo's Circus was a Chicagoland institution. It ran on WGN for something like 40 years and went through a lot of incarnations.
I was there from the get-go.
I grew up in an idylic 50's suburban environment where we all went home from school every day for lunch.
That meant we could watch Lunchtime Little Theater featuring Aunt Dody, Uncle Ned, and Uncle Bucky.
In my neighborhood there was little doubt who the star of the noontime broadcast was--we called the show "Uncle Bucky.

After Lunchtime Little Theater went off the air it was eventually replaced by Bozo's Circus. The former Uncle Ned, was now Ringmaster Ned and he was the only sane and stable character in the entire circus. Ned Locke Bozo was portrayed for over 20 years by the incredible Bob Bell. As any Google search will reveal--there were many actors who portrayed Bozo the Clown over the years, but by virtually all accounts, none of them could hold a candle to Bob Bell.

Bell commented upon his retirement,
"I was always somewhat calloused about broadcasting, but this Circus is the doggonedest phenomenon I have ever seen. There's always the satisfaction that you have done something for somebody that goes beyond the commercial aspects of the show. I love my work and enjoy making children laugh. Laughter cannot be imitated. It comes from the heart."

He was replaced with a new Bozo, the citizens of Chicgo got quite upset.
Bozo's Circus was never quite the same.

Anyway, this drawing is from the late 70's. As I recall, there had been an announcement in ADWEEK of an new product--BozoDogs. I haven't a clue if the product ever actually managed to grace grocery shelves. But I do remember drawing this almost immediately after reading the article. I particularly enjoy the drip of coffee right above the letters "UTA."

And I was most certainly was waxing nostalgic about THIS!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mickey Mouse Once Sold Super Hard Gloss-Glo Coat!

You gotta see this clip! It's the original opening sequence from the hour long Mickey Mouse Club. If your experience with the Mickey Mouse Club was from the syndicated half hour reruns and whatever they might show on the Disney Channel--this is going to be an eye-opener.
It is really long--and features a highly stylized sequence that is very much like the Disney animation of the 50s--stuff like "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom." --a very "moderne" style.
Even though I clearly remember the first broadcast of Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, at the age of four, I really don't remember this intro at all. But it does answer one of the silly little questions I've been wondering about for many a moon.
When all the characters are tossing Mickey in the air--why are there four bears hanging onto the far end of the hoop?

Even in those days Disney had a stable of hundreds of characters--the presence of four bunched up bears always sort of mystified me. Well, now I have my answer. They are part of a continuity of a parade of bears that was more or less edited out when the show was repackaged with an abridged intro.

As you will see, Mickey Mouse Club, in the business model of 1950's television was sponsored by Johnson's Wax. Think about that--a show intended for post-war baby boom children sponsored by a floor wax. Guess it's safe to say, that everyone agreed that children were not watching television with out homemakers also in the room chaperoning.

The bouncy musical commercial interlude for Super Hard Gloss-Glo Coat seems like it would bore a kid to death. It features three young mothers rhapsodizing about the time and effort saved using this miracle product. More time to dress up in hat and gloves and perambulate the little ones around the neighborhood.

The headquarters for the Johnson's Company in Racine, WI were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of the most progressive work spaces in the world at that time.
Yet, look at the product itself.
Looks like a can of turpentine!
The packaging revolution was still lurking very much in the future, wasn't it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yes! Yes! It's Tantalizing Teaser Tuesday Again!

Run! Run!
Corn Critter
on the LOOSE!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rice-A-Roni--The San Francisco Treat!

Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr., one of the co-creators of Rice-A-Roni passed away last month at the age of 92. Mr. DeDomenico was a brilliant marketer who was the driving force behind three rather significant contributions to American culture.
First and foremost, he brought Rice-A-Roni, an easy to prepare side dish to the American dinner table. Introduced regionally in 1958, Rice-A-Roni concluded its national roll-out during the Kennedy era. The dish is a simple one--a combination of rice, vermicelli, and a chicken soup stock. The marketing of Rice-A-Roni transformed a sleepy little family business, Golden Grain Macaroni Company into a prepared food powerhouse that was purchased by Quaker Oats in 1986 for $275 million dollars.

One of the brands that made Golden Grain so desirable was the second contribution Mr. DeDomenico made to the American palate was in 1964 when he purchased Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, founded in 1852 by Domingo Ghirardelli. Under Mr. DeDomenico's guidance Ghirardelli Chocolate went from being a local delicacy to a world-class brand.
His third contribution was a more modest effort. In 1987, Mr. DeDomenico purchased 21 miles of Southern Pacific Railroad track in the Napa Valley. He then restored and refurbished vintage Pullman cars. He started a business known as the Napa Valley Wine Train. It features fine dining on the way to Napa Valley wineries. Although the Wine Train was a controversial entity with the local population, the American public loved it. Cory and I have been on it and it is a lot of fun--but I'm biased, I love luxury rail travel.

So, yeah, Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr's efforts definitely made an impression on post-war America. And, I think in the end, what he will be remembered for above all else is his insistence that Rice-A-Roni be advertised by a strong jingle.
Jingles had been the foundation of American advertising since the mid-19th century. Even before music was twined to it, jingles in the form of catchy printed rhymes were all pervasive in American life. With the establishment of radio and NBC's curious policy of forbidding direct selling to the consumer--the radio jingle flourished. It was argued at the time, that product jingles were more in the category of product theme songs as opposed to hard, direct selling.
Uh huh.
With the introduction of television, jingles linked up with visual imagery. The Golden Age of TV ad jingles was the 1950's and it was at the tail end of that decade that Mr. DeDomenico's new product Rice-A-Roni was launched in American supermarkets.

Mr. DeDomenico's daughter said her father insisted that his new product be driven by a strong jingle. "He said if there is a jingle, people will say it over and over in their heads," she recalled.
And what a jingle it was.
Check out these vintage commercials:

In five simple lines, the idea is conveyed that Rice-A-Roni is some sort of regional delicacy.
(It was not.)
Rice-A-Roni has a unique new taste.
(It did.)
Rice-A-Roni promises to be far easier to prepare than either rice or macaroni.
(It was.)
And then top it off with the novelty of a ringing street car bell!

Finally, the announcer in a voice over delivers the killing blow:
"Rice-A-Roni, the delicious break from potatoes!"
Did it work?
We know the answer to that.

Whether or not you personally like the product or not--one must acknowledge how incredibly intertwined San Francisco cable cars and Rice-A-Roni are in the American popular culture.
I can think of no higher tribute to Mr. DeDomenico's marketing skills than this his video clip I found on YouTube.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From Out Of The Beanworld Archives!

This shaped drawing appears to be from from the late '70s.
I can guess its time frame from the appearance of the Beans and the floating triangles--they were not yet called Chips.
It was drawn in rapidograph, colored markers and pencils and was mounted on inexpensive red construction paper that has a nick in the upper left corner. The rocky ground is definitely suggestive of Ben Grimm. I'm pretty sure this drawing was up in my studio for a while because the red paper is quite faded.
I had totally forgotten this drawing until I found it. I can see that I was getting closer to what-Beanworld-would-someday-become.

Strummin' On A Bass Banjo!

Several posts back, I mentioned my fascination with the bass harmonica.
But a bass harmonica doesn't hold a candle to the bass banjo in this bit of vintage film.
I can't say that I'm familiar with the Duke Davis Banjo Band, but this footage knocked me right over.
It's divided up into four parts.
The first two segments feature the World's Biggest Banjo and it's pretty clear that no one in the band knows what to make of it. The banjo strummers in the background look like they're going to crack up any moment.
The third segment features two banjo players who seem to want to look a lot like Harold Lloyd. Watch the Harold on the left as he 's tryng to figure out what the one on the right is doing. They definitely get lost a few times. And then the Harold on the right starts bobbing his head and the song sort of frizzles out like they had no idea where to find the brakes on this runaway train.
The fourth, final and b far my favorite segment features some mighty fine plank dancing accompanied by a slew of fiddles and banjos.
Where in the world has this stuff been hiding all these years?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Can It Be? Is It Tantalizing Teaser Tuesday Again Already?

Sure is!
If you ever had the opportunity to read the rare 1999 ashcan
Professor Garbanzo's Joy Ride
then you know what this teaser might be about!

Some Thoughts About The Mistrial in Georgia

So, the Gordon Lee case ran off the rails almost immediately--resulting in a mistrial. The DA has announced he intends to try again. All of that means that the legal bills will continue to mount.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund will continue to focus on this case well into the next year.

As I'm sure most of you know by now, Beanworld has been active (in its modest way) helping raise funds for CBLDF with my Beanworld Orphans. I will continue to create drawing and other art objects for CBLDF to utilize to raise funds for the defense of this trail.

The recent developments in Georgia have been just jaw-droppingly astounding to me. But I learned a long time ago, you can never really anticipate anything when you enter into a judge's courtroom.

Jeff Smith has penned an eloquent open letter to the comic book community at large and I urge you to click on the link and read it--if you haven't already read it on another site or blog.

When you get towards the end of the letter you will find my name listed along with some of the biggest names in comics:

To build up support for Gordon's trial, for a limited
time, the Fund is offering premiums previously only available at

Signed graphic novels, comics and exclusive CBLDF prints
by creators such as Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Brian K Vaughan, Brad Meltzer,
Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Matt Wagner, Jack Davis,
Larry Marder, Terry Moore, Frank Cho and many more are available at various
donation levels.
If your premium donation exceeds $50, you will receive free
shipping on your order until December 15, just in time for the perfect gift for
that special comic fan in everyone's life. Visit to see all of what's

I will keep you all up-to-date regarding my participation in this program as more information becomes available.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Vintage Japanese Toy Illustrations!

The Grandmaster of BibliOdyssey, Peacay, has done it again! This amazing post features illustrations of Japanese toy designs from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the twentieth.
As someone who has spent an inordinate amount of time over the last few years contemplating the philosophy of toy making--I found these drawings to be quite informative. As Peacay observes, there seems to be a minimum amount of western influence evident in these toys. But I can certainly see how the tide of inspiration began to flow from east to west as the century progressed.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Shakin' In My New Studio!

It's been a crazy couple of days. I'm set up and working in my new studio in California. Just not sure which pages, drawings, relics, and artifacts to put up on these walls. I'm having fun deciding though. I have a lot more wall space here than I had in my studio room in Phoenix and I'm gonna use every single inch of it. As soon as I have stuff up, I'll give you a few peeks!
Meanwhle, I'm wrapping up the project I hinted at in the last post. As I'm working on it--I've been listening to a lot of Howlin' Wolf. This filmed performance of "Shake It For Me" from 1964 captures Wolf at his peak of his career.
Am I dancing around my studio today?
You bet'cha!