My work habits could make a great classic soul song:

If I don’t scan you right now
I will never never ever scan you
No, ooooh ooh ooh

I was going through a bin in the storage closet, because I’ve decided to spend the winter weekend afternoons getting rid of stuff. The problem is the new boiler, which is a high-efficiency unit that gives off very little radiant heat. None, in fact. Hence the whole “high-efficiency” thing. This means the storage closet is about 50 degrees, at best, and I can only work in there for a short time, like Chernobyl. Without the skin-sloughing part.

The bin had old magazines. (Surprise.) I’ve scanned them, or at least the covers, or a page here and there. What do I do with them? Shouldn’t I let them go? I should. Release them back into the stream, where they’ll be snapped up by someone else who has a need for this, an itch for that. I could drop them off at the thrift store; they have vintage stuff. But you never know if the person doing the judgement shift at the loading dock declares them junk, and off they go to the incinerator. To think otherwise is like dropping off a dog by a farm.

Ebay! Oh please no. I have no patience or interest in setting up a page, getting a stock of envelopes, going to the post office.

What if this is the last existing issue of this mag?

It should be saved. On the other hand, it’s junk. But it’s important junk, for what it says about the era. It’s like the shellac records I got from a neighbor. He’d made a bid on a lot, because there was one he wanted. The rest, no. I took them off his hands, big charitable me, and digitized some of them. Some were pristine, unopened, impressively packaged. I figured they were worth something, and perhaps I could introduce them to the world.

They were all on YouTube. But being on YouTube means nothing, because you may be unpersoned, you may get a copyright strike. Am I obliged to record them and put them on

I found a sheaf of unscanned First Day Covers from the 60s. It’s great stuff.

Wow! We celebrate the anniversary in our house every year!

There aren’t many good sites about the matter, run by enthusiasts. It’s eBay and the odd official site that has a few examples. Why do I have to do this?


(Warms up the scanner)

LATER I take it all back. One of the sheafs I had to scan was a collection of telegrams. There’s already a telegram site here at, but I needed to beef it up and resize.


There are a few more in the batch.

On a whim, I googled Branch T. Masterson, a great by-God American name.


During the year 1908, Reba's father, Branch T.Masterson, had filed a lawsuit on the behalf of his wife inheritance, who had passed away in the 1900 Great Galveston Hurricane.

And Reba was . . . ?

Rebecca Byrd Masterson (January 19, 1882 – September 22, 1969) was an early American female petroleum geologist. Masterson was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. She was a survivor of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, losing her mother in the carnage. With the passing of her mother, Masterson took over the domestic duties in her household.

She eventually attended university receiving her Bachelor of Science, and paving her career in geology as an independent geologist. She made many contributions to the field of geology over the course of her career. Until her death on September 22, 1969, she kept the mineral rights in more than 20 Texas counties and a tungsten mine in Colorado.

About that gushing Haywood derrick Masterson and Beers and Hargraves were in on:

It's in the Spindletop field.

So yes. This is why we scan.

His full name, by the way, was Branch Tanner Masterson. Even better.

Back to our contest!

I think .  .  . it's . .  . Begorralad Blockjoint?

This must have completely stupified the people who thought they were clever for figuring out last year's batch.



Must we? We must! This is seminal stuff.

  The theme, which ends up (cough) "paying homage" to Sibelius.

Meet the guy who played Indiana Jones and Han Solo:

By which I mean he was Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.

The lads were keen to see who'd play Wilma:

She was married to her husband from the year of this serial - 1939 - until his death in 1998. Her career was on the way up, and she'd have some busy heads ahead.

Well, you need a sidekick to stand in for the audience. Although some may have identified with the unimpressed fellow on the right.

Killer Kane is the bad guy, if you're wondering.

We begin!

The origin story might not be known to you. We know he’s a 20th century guy who ended up in the 25th century, but how?

He was piloting a dirigible - the modern form of transportation! - and went down in a snow storm. Luckily, they’re carrying a special gas called Nervano. “It induces suspended animation,” we’re told. (There's actually a momentum-killing flashback about a dog getting revived.) Then, uh oh:


Latitude, dead, longitude deader

The years pass.

A noisy ship appears, and dudes in jumpsuits get out, discover the wreckage, and revive Buck and Buddy.

  Recognize the Reviving Music?
  Yep, that's it.

Bride of Frankenstein, “The Creation.”

They head to the underground base, the hidden city, the last bastion of freedom. Here’s what I mean by seminal:

It’s the transporter. What a future! Except . . .

They still use books. It’s fascinating what they could and could not predict. They have TV:

Hey, wait a minute. Is that . . . oh, of course it is. I don’t even have to look it up; has to be from this movie.

Anyway, the TV shows the interrogation of a captive pilot. Killer Kane wants to know the location of the hidden city.

Killer Kane seems to be a rather 20th century name, but it’s apt; he’s a PLANETARY GANGSTER. The whole planet is controlled by gangsters. The secret base can’t get help from other planets, because Kane has patrols everywhere. But Buck Rogers, who’s been here for about an hour and a half, has switched into native garb and volunteers to run the blockage.


Damn noisy things, these future ships:

After a battle too brief to show here, Buck gets away, and heads to Saturn. Alas, Kane has ships waiting for him. And so:

Hopes: high. But they always are.




That'll do! See you around.




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