Monday, September 28, 2009



"I'm JOYFULLY INSANE...insane with...with..."






"Now for my reward! I think I've earned a little nip!"

NOTE: This is an alteredversion of what I assume is a famous poem but I don't have the name at hand.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Talking about Peter Lorre last time made me want do more about him.

This (above) is a terrific still, but films that go this far over the top may not use Lorre to best advantage.

Lorre has a unique face that seems baby-like and thoroughly adult at the same time. He's like an old baby.

Just like a baby he finds the world confusing. He innocently desires to bring pain to the world and can't understand why anybody would resent that.

He's hunted, despised...treated like an animal.

Backed up against the wall, he snaps. "If they want violence, I'll give them violence!!!"

In real life Lorre always wanted be known as "Pete" Lorre and longed to join a bowling league and be one of the guys. Well, I made up the bowling thing, but you know what I mean.

He got a few roles that were intended to be played almost normal....

...but they came out skewered. Lorre was not born to play the guy next door.

I love it (above) when Lorre smiles. It's a terrific smile but the face nearly cracks with the effort.

Poor Lorre was short.

Maybe because he was self-conscious about his height, he was always asking women to sit on his knee.

Either that, or he would sit on their knees.

One of Lorre's closest friends was Humphrey Bogart. Here (above) they are in a sauna playing cards. Unbelievable! Lorre is hairy and well-built, and Bogart is pink with an average build!

Want to hear one of Peter Lorre's radio's radio shows? Try this link to The Old Time Radio Network:

He's in all the shows shown above, and in a few more that aren't listed. For more info see Cheryl's comment in the comments section, and visit her site for a complete rundown on what Loore we can expect to see on Turner in October.

BTW: Thanks to the Peter Lorre Book site for some of the pictures used here:

Friday, September 25, 2009


There it is (above), the famous Pink Palace at 10100 Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

Jayne lived there with husband Mickey Hargitay, a body builder and contractor.

Most of the rooms were pink, with a few accents of black or purple. That's Jayne on the balcony overlooking the living room.

Here (above) the wall appears to be painted white, maybe to fit with the white piano. It actually saw a lot of use. Jayne was classically trained on both piano and violin. You can hear her play on the net. She's not bad.

Above, the famous pink bathroom, done in pink shag and terrycloth. You could dry off just by wiggling against the wall.

I like to think that after a nice bath Jayne relaxed in an angora bikini.

Or maybe she didn't. Five kids must've kept her pretty busy. Here's the nursery. It's the way I imagine Liberace must have spent his childhood.

Here (above) she reclines on her black silk bed spread surrounded by...guess what...more pink! But what the heck is that white mist on the floor? Did she have a fog machine in the bedroom? If she did, my admiration knows no bounds.

It must have been hard for Mickey to live around pink all the time.

No doubt there were times when Mickey just had to escape from all that pink....escape into his own room where everything Quilted red, too...even the ceiling!

This (above) is the way I'd like to think all of Beverly Hills used to be, but maybe only Jayne and Liberace lived up to the ideal. Did they visit each other and compare notes?

Outdoors, the famous heart-shaped pool.

I'm willing to bet the barbecue area was pink too, even though it appears blue in the photo.

I don't know why, but I'd like to think that Peter Lorre and his family lived next door. Can you imagine him at Jayne's back door, borrowing a cup of sugar?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I know, I know...the banner looks terrible [this doesn't refer to what's up there now, which is an improved version...more about that later]. I'll fix it, I'm just too sleepy to do it now. I have Photoshop but don't know how to use it yet, so I have to find a solution that gets around that. Oh, well...

Tomorrow I have to get glasses. I met Mike and John for dinner and they had strong opinions about it. John usually favors horn rims, but this time he recommended Buddy Holly glasses. He and Mike were also partial to nerd glasses, which they assured me are back in style. I said my wife hates nerd glasses and they gave me a big talk about asserting myself, letting her know who wears the pants in the family, etc.

Back at home I asked my wife if she still felt the same about nerd glasses. She said that yes, she did...and would still step on them if I got them. My daughter said she'd do the same for my own good. They asked me whether I was a man or a mouse and gave me a rousing speech about how I should think for myself and not be John and Mike's toady.

You see my problem. It's my curse to live around people who have strong opinions about burgers and eyeglasses.

Me, I like Madison Avenue adman's glasses from the 50s, but nobody makes them anymore. I'd accept 50s hipster glasses (above), the kind that Clampett wore. They're a comedown from adman but they're still suave and you still see them on the street sometimes. I don't want wire frames because they mangle too easy.

Maybe round glasses like Ward Kimball or Dominick Dunne, the guy who used to host a crime show about rich people who kill each other.

Maybe flat, boxy glasses like Michael Caine wore in "The Ipcress File."

Maybe boxy granny glasses?

Above, some glasses that Mike F. recommended. I kinda like that pair on the bottom right. They probably cost a zillion bucks.

Mike sent these (above) too. I don't know...I don't see anything that says "me."

Groan! This is so depressing.

Wait a minute....

Whooooa! Just when I was mired in depression over the glasses problem, Mark Simonson came in to save me from my banner problem with a professionally-done logo that put my previous one to shame! Mark, I don't know how to thank you I'll let Mildred do the thanking. That's Mildred above. Mildred. would you step up to the camera and convey our thanks to Mark?

Monday, September 21, 2009


This is another gruesome post. No, I'm not feeling morbid or depressed...I'm just reacting to the current view of Halloween, which for better or worse has been influenced by Stephen King and Clive Barker.

Just to cushion the blow, I'll start out with a cheery little video (above) that I lifted from a fun Halloween site called Watch how people react to simple scares. Some people (like me) jump out of their skins, most cringe then hurry on, some just have to go back and examine the scarer, I guess to give themselves time to calm down.

At a little more than a minute in, the soundtrack switches to music by Fruchik, the under-rated genius of the circus music genre. The music is either rousing or heartbreaking, depending on how you play it.

Can you imagine a whole suburb of face-shaped houses? I imagine the people who chose to live this way wouldn't mind if free-roving sheep were allowed to graze on the lawns.

Here's the gruesome part I told you about. A grinning pumpkin (above) acts like an aircraft carrier, launching tiny witches into an ether-filled dining room. It's a horrific, Tim Burtonesque idea, made funny by happy colors.

Looking at vintage Halloween cards I was surprised at how many had horrific themes. Here (above) the horror element comes in, not in the ghost's head that appears in the mirror, but in the hazy apparition of the witch who appears to be orchestrating the whole thing. Actually the ghost in the mirror probably isn't a ghost. Read Jenny's comment on the comment page.

I don't think anybody was trying to terrify little kids. When you deal humorously with a holiday that's meant to be scary you're going to have a hard time striking the right balance.

Of course some kids illustrators go out of their way to be creepy. Look at the work of Chris Van Allsburg and some of the later stuff by Maurice Sendak.

Even my own cartoon, "Tales of Worm Paranoia" was creepy, though in my case it was unintentional. I didn't know I had that side to my personality. If I'd had the chance to do more cartoons with the same character I would have made them more light-hearted.

Talking about pictures that are intentionally horrific, what do you think of this (above)? It's a nightmare scenario of a partly human train struggling pointlessly through a slimy subterranean tunnel... something out of Hieronymus Bosch.

Another picture (above) by the same artist. Here old Italian architecture depicting the rational and the beautiful is skewered to make it depict primal fears and the breakdown of reason. It's scary to think how every positive image has a potential negative side. It reminds me of Bronowsky's summation of his "Ascent of Man" series where he warns of the consequences of hubris, the danger if we ever forget that we have a tendency to self-destruction as well as good.

Me, I still think of Halloween the way I did when I was a kid...pumpkins, ghosts and witches.

Haw! Do you see the giant cigarette boxes in the background? Believe it or not, kids used to trick or treat dressed as cigarettes. That's because TV was full of ads showing dancing girls in cigarette boxes.

You don't believe that was ever on TV? Here's (above) the proof.

If you plan to go into the haunted house/dark ride business, then you better join The Haunted House Association. Boy, every trade has an association nowadays.

Here's (above) the site of Hauntworld Magazine, which I think is put out by the Haunted House Association. When I was a kid I would have loved to have had a subscription to this.

If you live in LA you can go to the Haunted Los Angeles web site and find out where the area's haunted houses are. Real alleged haunted houses, that is, not dark rides. You can also find the sites where famous horror films were shot, and where movie stars, like Alfafa from The Little Rascals, met horrible ends.