Daughter woke, shaken: dreams of a gunman at school, chasing everyone through the halls. And then the school had a gift shop somehow and Mom was there and she was shopping but no they had to hide but she kept shopping.
I said that sounded scary. Mine had been better: just before I awoke, I was driving to a football game with the Giant Swede in his new silver jet-powered car, and there was a ramp just for jet-powered cars that let you do, like, Hot Wheels loops, Test-Track stuff from Epcot, okay, and then we ended up in a garage where he had to buy this part for the car. It was a long silver bar that sang a note when you hit it with a wrench.
“Your dream was better,” she said.
That it was. I hope the Giant Swede has dreams along those lines; he’s been posted to London to work at an airport, and from the sound of the work schedule, might as well be Des Moines with toad-in-the-hole in the Country Suites breakfast bar. No time for London at all. But I can’t imagine it doesn’t feel different. Smell different. Taste different. I’d give anything to spend two weeks working in London.
Today I did cuss-all.
Not exactly. Did the Strib blog, which - if it was put in the paper - would be about 35” of copy, and I do that daily. I really enjoy it. The anti-Bleat, in a way; I suppose it leaches off some topics I’d discuss here, but who cares? It’s all content, and if it’s smeared across four platforms, that is the world in which we live.
- As for Pream, discussed yesterday at great length, a reader passed along the Japanese analog.
- The voice of the ad was indeed Mason Adams; don’t know what I was thinking. There was a time when Mason Adams and William Schallert seemed to intersection, tonally; then Mason really started to gargle the gravel. He had that sound early in his career as well. Old radio appearances are startling, because you’re listening to a show from the 40s, and there’s the old newspaper editor from “Lou Grant.” I used to love that show, by the way, back when I conflated Lou Grant with Ed Asner. Gruff-but-lovable and all that. I believe it’s the only television character that started out in a comedy and was spun off into a drama; am I right? It says something about the character - and Asner’s portrayal - that it worked in both contexts. I loved the character so much I put him in my first novel.
All the other characters, though, those were mine! Totally! Except perhaps the addled butler, who was patterned, however vaguely, on Zippy the Pinhead, albeit a kindly and more connected version. I credit Zippy with introducing me to Googie architecture and 50s kitschaphilia, although it’s a bit difficult to realize that Bill Griffith was having fun with those styles in the early-mid 70s, when they were barely two decades past. It’s like kids today discovering the 90s and imagining a long-lost world of wonder so different from their own.
Which they don’t. Which they can’t. The 90s are still around, somehow. The Most Important Thing Ever, the internet, existed, and hence there’s a filament of connective tissue that binds a tween today to the culture of 1996. It’s not as if things look that different. (They do, but it’ll take another decade to see the difference, how the bright & clean aesthetic, coupled with a widespread and exquisitely tasteful rediscovery of the language of typeface, gave the online world a style that seemed to creep up on us, but seem completely right in retrospect.)
As for the 90s, I couldn’t care less. I have personal nostalgia but no cultural nostalgia. X-Files and Star Trek, and that’s about it. The vacation from history was nice while it lasted. No, I’m more interested in spinning fantasies about eras I did not experience. Which brings us to something began at the start of the year: the 20s project. Not only am I wrapping up most of what I have this month, I’ve finished most of the music section and most of the 30s music section, which had languished undone . .
. . . because when you call up the page you get errors, because the old 8tracks.com embeds were shockwave, and they changed the size of the player . . .
. . . and then you discover that the art displays incorrectly, so you redo the art for them all and reupload, then discover it looks bad in a narrow horizontal player . . .
. . . so you redo that, so it displays nicely in 500X500 and 500X150, because it’s just embarrassing if it looks crappy.
It tell you, the fit-and-finish of this whole site drives me insane sometimes. I spent half the lunch hour on those code, and then, just because it seemed like something that ought to be done, stripped the ad copy from old Marlboro ads and ran them through some filters until they start to approximate Portraits of Disturbing American Manhood. The first one is up at Tumblr; more to come.
Then it was mail call! A sheaf of crap from the brother of a somewhat famed local politician, which I have learned is best disposed unopened. Blind angry blistering codswaddle, the upshot of which is my general unsuitability to be an American, me being all unpatriotic and such. It is remarkable the amount of ire you collect nowadays, like lint, simply by being insufficiently worshipful of the State and its gentle intentions.
It’s been a while since I saw a QUESTION AUTHORITY bumpersticker.
It's also been a while since I bored you with a noir. Don't worry; no plot recaps or tedious analysis. I'm looking for inadvertant documentary.
One of those 40s murder mysteries that revolved around Haunting Melody. Of course, a dame is involved:
She's listening to the brilliant, fickle, deboinair, devil-may-care famous composer play one of his effortlessly dashed-off Haunting Melodies. As for her attitude:
Tells you he's going to end up dead, and he does. What follows is a couple of hours of misdirection and rote complications. Worth the viewing, if you like the genre. What I loved were the shots of old LA:
If you know LA, this is probably an easy one. I don’t. But there’s two clues: “Holly * Vine” above, and that great facade for “The Radio Room.” It was a famous club, and a little googling turns up the address:
This book says “In the 40s, the Radio Room had ‘soundies,’ a jukebox that played music videos (filmed in Hollywood) for a quarter.”
(While doing some last-minute research on a guy who pops up in the last WNAX segment, I find that this block was where the guy had his restaurant.)
The guy looking in the window of the store next to the radio room is an enforcer of sorts, and he’s followed by the Hero:
George Raft, who always acts like a block of stone slightly surprised that he’s come to life. Raft watches the guy cross the street . . . . . . and through the magic of teleportation appears at the Brown Derby! Which is two blocks up Vine.
Then there’s this place . . .
Much tougher. There’s lore about the Gotham Deli, but it looks different, and it’s referred to as Gotham Deli #2. So I don’t know.
And I really, come to think of it, don’t care.
WNAX finishes up with ten boffo pages! I know it's been a meh site, but it's one of those things I have to annotate, since A) I have it, and B) it hasn't been done. It's all up on Google in book-scan form, but that's soulless. This entry is the payoff - at the end of the book, there are pictures of the radio figures of the day, and some of the faces and names and subsequent gigs WILL, I guarantee, surprise you.
Because you're about to meet the voice of the most famous robot of the 20th century.
No, it's not Data.
He was an android.