I have two vacations this summer. This is one of them. So . . . I don’t know what I’m doing here, exactly, except to say that I’m on vacation.

Sorry – a staycation! See, I’m still working at the paper, but Gnat’s off to camp, and the diminished domestic obligations frees up time for other things, like the novel, and a big project I have to do for the paper. Also I want to enjoy my nights. But there will be updates of a substantial nature every day, so please come back.

One thing: last night I was watching Twilight Zone, working my way through the first season. Some scientists escape an imminent holocaust by hijacking an experimental ship and heading to another habitable world:

There’s a twist ending! Which I won’t reveal. But I was amused by the interior of the ship:

So that stuff was just sitting around the warehouse, eh. Okay, folks: name the origins of the set.

Updates: two comics pages, HERE, and five motels. Yes, motels – a site that’s 11 years old, and I’m pleased to note it’s the first result when you search Google for Motel Postcards. The site will be updated through the end of the summer, this being Motel Season, right? I can smell the soap, remember the excitement of going into the room for the first time, playing with the radio built into the wall, which seemed so wonderfully modern. Everything about motels was cool. Then came the motels of high school, on speech & debate trips; then the motels of the south, when I was a seed salesman for Northrup King, a different motel every night.

Most of these are gone, lost to widened roads, competition, demographics. The stories of everyone who stayed in these rooms can’t be said to be lost, because it never existed in the first place. Before the internet and the need to auto-memorialize every detail, there wasn’t any premium placed on setting down your personal narrative. We have no idea who was here, or why, or with whom, or whether they had a bad drive the next day because the rattling air conditioner kept them up, or whether it was the last time the family would be together before the only kid went to college or the first time the family took a trip together to see the sights. Every night a quiet play with no plot, just vignettes, the cast assembled at dusk, at random, dispersed by noon, never assembled the same away again. No motel has probably had the same cast of characters two nights in a row.

And if everyone dreamed of the same thing that night, we’d never know that, either. Go HERE.

More stuff tomorrow; see you then.


70 Responses to American Motels return

  1. GardenStater says:

    @John Robinson: “Hugh Marlowe looks extraordinarily pleased with himself in the above picture.”

    I was actually thinking how modern he looks. He could fit into any movie today without a problem.

  2. browniejr says:

    Re:It! The Terror from Beyond Space- don’t know what is weirder about the following clip- the wimmin as waitresses or the Eastern European overdub that sounds like “Comrades- this is how we will beat the Western Imperialist dogs to the Red Planet!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBHADwnM84Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Another sure sign of a cad(besides a pencil ‘stashe): calling a woman that you just met “baby.”

  3. WoodyL says:

    Love the motels. What excited me, as a kid, wasn’t exactly traveling and seeing the sights. It was the miracle of three new television channels.

    On my earliest vacations in the Arkansas Ozarks, I distinctly remember sitting, entranced, in front of the tube, as my usual Memphis area channels– 3, 5, and 13 (not counting the PBS affiliate, of course) were replaced by the Little Rock stations 4, 7,and 11.

    Much to the chagrin of my folks. I had to be pried away from the screen while watching an episode of “Batman”, in syndication in Little Rock but not in Memphis.

    Kids today just don’t understand.

  4. hpoulter says:

    Hmm. Once again, no new Bleat but a transmogrified banner pic. Today’s caption: “We’ve got company!”.

  5. AnnaN says:


    Well, he IS on vacation. Perhaps he decided to leave the castle and go for a relaxation wallow in the country.

  6. FreeState says:

    Captain Ken says Wildwood NJ is still the same.

    Good to hear. We are taking the kids there in August. They have never been downa shore, so that should be a good experience for them.

  7. swschrad says:

    “hey, hon, you see that thing over us? that must be the new 1957 Cadillac!”

  8. ig says:

    Yikes watch out for bedbugs.

  9. Chas C-Q says:

    “Are you sure? I can’t see any chrome or tailfins from this angle.”

  10. Chas C-Q says:

    “It’s big enough, that’s for sure.”

  11. swschrad says:

    “and I bet it takes Ethyl?”

  12. ” But no Luuu-uuu-ceee …”

  13. wiredog says:

    OGH is probably hiding in the basement:

    Minneapolis Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas reports the Twin Cities recorded a maximum heat index of 119 Tuesday, tying its all-time record. Minneapolis also set a new (unofficial) record for dew point temperature (a measure of humidity), which reached at least 82 degrees.

  14. hpoulter says:

    It took Betty and Barney.

  15. HelloBall says:

    The Hill you say!

  16. shesnailie says:

    It’s looking for Richard Dreyfuss…

  17. Mrnutty says:

    I see the power meters in the Krell lab from the movie Forbidden Planet. The bubble dealie in the middle was probably in the earth ship visiting the planet.

  18. swschrad says:

    “Scotty, Scotty… I need power nowwww….”

    “Captain, I hae no got no morre power! that THING back therre is draggin’ down the crrrystals!”

  19. StephenB says:

    Mrnutty, I was thinking Bellerophon, but it was actually “United Planets Cruiser C57-D” a much more memorable name.

  20. Fred says:

    There are older versions of Dr. Who available on Netflix. Sadly they are not consistent nor grouped. So you have to select them one at a time and hope you get them somewhat chronological. Or at least you do if you’re mildly OCD about that sort of thing.

    Mmm, is it possible to be mildly OCD?

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