Monday, March 31, 2014

Stooges on Film

Warning: This is going to be a wordy post.  But I hope you'll agree it has a pretty good payoff.

Last fall on a late September morning, I set out bright and early for an estate sale with one particular item in mind.  Browsing through the listing on earlier that week, I'd spotted them sitting on a shelf.

It was 3 boxes of vintage home movies (on the middle shelf next to the projector).  Most people think I'm crazy when I tell them I collect other people's home movies, but I see them as glimpses into the past and even go as far as to call them history that hasn't been preserved anywhere else.

The sale was in St. Louis Hills and numbers were available at 8 am.  It promised to be a very good sale with a lot of good items, so I set out at 6:30 a.m. knowing crowds tended to gather early at these.  Expecting to be the first in line for the number handout, I was met with this:

Instead, I was about twentieth in line. After waiting almost an hour for the line number (23), I had another hour to wait until the sale began.

My favorite donut shop in St. Louis, Donut Drive-in, just happened to be down the block, so I wandered over there for a cup of coffee.  There's nowhere to sit there, so I walked over to the St. Louis Bread Company which is next door and found most of the crowd had also gathered there.

After finishing my coffee, I headed back to the sale where the crowd had grown even bigger.  As 9 o'clock neared, one of the workers announced they would only be letting in the first 20 people inside.  Argh!

I just knew one of those first 20 in would grab those movies as I waited impatiently.  The other problem was I had no idea where the movies were.  It was a two-story house with a basement.  And, though I might be a little paranoid, I didn't want to walk in and ask out loud, "Where are the movies", afraid I might tip someone off.  After about 5 minutes, they let a few more people inside including myself and my search began.  The house was small and there were lots of tables set up, making it a tight squeeze through a maze of people.  Based on a few of the pictures showing sloped ceilings, it appeared the films might be in an attic room, so I thought my best bet was heading upstairs.

It was even tighter (and hotter!) upstairs than downstairs and I basically had to follow a line of people winding slowly through the rooms.  I watched as items I would have grabbed (including that plastic blow-mold Jack-O-Lantern seen in the first picture above) were snatched right before me. By that point, I could see the movies.  One man lingered there for quite a while and I couldn't move into the corner. He looked over the movies and didn't seem interested and as soon as he moved aside, I pounced.  They were finally in my hands.  Priced at $15 per case, it wasn't a steal, but I decided to grab all of them.  Each of the cases contained about 10 6" reels and together weighed around 10 lbs and were extremely bulky. After dragging them around that hot attic, I was drenched in sweat and my arm was getting sore.  But I stuck it out and searched the rest of the house for about 45 minutes picking up quite a few other items.

Outside in the fresh air, a friend who had met me there and I took a quick look through the titles on the 8mm films. Most of the film reel cases were unmarked, but I saw a few with such things as "Florida Vacation", "Circus", and "Baseball" written on them.

At home, I began going through the films with my manual Baia film editor (also found at an estate sale).  The films were done very well, with title cards in the films and with clear, focused, steady shots. Picking the "Circus" labeled movie and threading into my viewer, I was excited from the opened shot.  It was the old St. Louis Arena (torn down in 1999) with a marquee boasting "Police Circus".  The St. Louis Police Circus was an annual event that began in the early 1900's and was to "provide benefits to the sick and disabled members of the police force and assist widows and orphans of deceased officers."

The film features acts you would expect in a circus such as a bear taming act, highwire acts, and acrobats.  But several minutes into the film, I saw 3 recognizable characters come out: Moe, Larry and (by this time) Curly Joe Derita.  Possibly promoting their latest movie "Snow White and the 3 Stooges" or just trying to make any buck they could, the boys stand around (silently, unfortunately, as the films have no sound) and perform a few antics.  From April of 1961, here's The Police Circus in St. Louis, Missouri (if below doesn't work, click on the YouTube logo to watch from there or follow this link.

I'm still working on my transfer technique.  I don't have anything fancy, just a simply transfer box, a dual 8 projector with adjustable shutter speed and a video camera.  If I had the money, I'd buy this.

You might be wondering what was on the other films.  All I'll say are there are a few more treasures in there.  Those will have to wait for a future post.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sweet 70's Comic Book Finds

As my wife and I were out driving Friday, I noticed a surprising proliferation of garage sale signs in the neighborhood.  The weather was expected to be in the 60's on Saturday, so I guess people were going to take advantage of it.  So, Saturday morning we headed out for our first garage sale excursion of the 2014 season.  The first couple sales were mediocre and I didn't have much hope, but the last sale we attended had some treasures.  Among those were some 1970's comics priced at 50 cents.  These aren't worth a whole lot, but they're still fun.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What was on TV March 19th through 25th, 1983

It's 1983 and we're entering TV Guide: The Fat Years.  I didn't have cable until I got married in the 90's, so all of these extra channel listings were just mocking annoyances to me growing up.  They also make for hard scanning, so please excuse the skewing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mico Tele-Vue

I found this Mico Tele-vue 35mm slide viewer at an estate sale about a month ago.  It's not like I needed yet another slide viewer, but I loved the look of this one.  It reminded me of a 1950's portable television.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What was on TV March 17th through 23rd, 1979

Welcome to this week in television, 1979 when Mash, Jiggles and Cusswords ruled the airwaves.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Maxed Out

When radio controlled cars first came out, I really wanted one, but with their price, it was unlikely I was going to see one for my birthday or  underneath the tree that Christmas.  Then while dreaming over the J. C. Penney's catalog in the months leading up to Christmas of 1977,  I saw it.  Max Machine.  With a price of $11.44, it was possible I might get it.  At least it was worth circling.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What was on TV March 3rd through 9th, 1979

For those of you who may have joined more recently, I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain what old TV Guides have to do with a Garage Sale blog.  It takes several leaps of faith, so bear with me.

Originally when I started this blog, garage sales were my main source of cheap goodies.  But even by the time I started this blog, the golden age of garage sales was coming to a close.  With the advent of eBay and the generation whose items I was looking for aging out of the garage sale demographic, I was having trouble finding interesting buys.   To remedy this, I began attending estate sales and perusing thrift stores.  I decided to not confine the blog to garage sales, but anywhere I found affordable neat stuff.  Occasionally, either through curbside finds or other sources, I would get things for free and decided those had to qualify for the blog as well.

That brings us to the TV Guides.  About 6 years ago, someone posted these on a local Freecycle group I belonged to.  I was lucky enough (or no one else was interested) to get them.  I decided to start writing a blog about them called Saturday Morning TV Zombie.  It was less than a stellar attempt and I ended up only making a few posts before realizing if I limited myself to Saturday Morning TV, I was going to run out of ideas pretty quickly.

So after I started this blog and had made all of the leaps described above, I thought why not.  Sometimes you start something with a goal in mind and by the time you get to where you going, it's become something else.

Sorry for the rambling intro, but now let's get on with March of 1979 and a Gary Coleman cover.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What was on TV March 1st through 7th, 1980

Welcome to Fantasy Island.  Or at least an Al Hirschfeld cover of it.  Hirschfeld is probably the most published caricaturist (or character-ist as he considered himself).  At one point, it seemed every newspaper and magazine columnist had an Al Hirschfeld caricature to represent their column. Hirschfeld was known for hiding his daughter's name (Nina) in a lot of his paintings.  There might be one on this cover, but I think it's obscured by the address label.  I see a suspicious sideways "N" at the bottom.  He passed away at the age of 99 in 2003.

This would have been a highly superhero oriented Saturday morning lineup for me.  Starting with the "Superfriends" at 7, followed by an hour and a half(!) of "Plastic Man", "Scooby and Scrappy Doo", "Spider-woman" and finally "The ABC Weekend Special".  I just realized, all of those shows were on ABC (Channel 2 here in St. Louis).  I didn't even have to get up from by bowl of Cap'n Crunch to change the channel!  I might mention (and probably already have) how angered I was that "Spider-woman" whom I considered a "made-up" character (as opposed to all of the *real* superheroes) got her own show and Spider-man didn't.  Of course, it didn't stop me from watching it.

I don't recall "Kidsworld", and if you missed it the first time around as I did, here is the Kiss interview.  Bonus creepy scene: Peter Criss repeatedly asking the boy interviewer if he likes to be kissed.

I recall the launch of "The Energizer" and was always under the impression it was new battery technology at the time.  As it turns out, Eveready had sold alkaline batteries since 1959 and even called it the "Alkaline Energizer" from 1968 to '74.  Between '74 and '80, it was known as the "Alkaline Power Cell" before being rebadged "The Energizer" and introducing the Bunny to the world.

The quintessential Goldblum expression.

I don't know that "Alice" ever had a shark to be jumped, but if it did, it had to be when Flo left the show.  Perhaps a more appropriate expression would be "Jumped the Grits".

I watched "That's Incredible" every week.  Not once did I make one of those faces.

I think I would believe Lucille Ball fell in love with an encyclopaedia (the Latin spelling no less!) more than I would believe America's favorite comedic redhead had been reduced to hawking them. 

I'm sorry.  I looked, but no luck finding "The Big Show" on Youtube.  Until someone uploads it, I hope you're consoled with this clip of Mummenschanz.  Man those two creeped me out.

I vaguely recall this episode of Laverne & Shirley.  Episodes like this where they tried to be more than a one-off episode of hijinks never worked for me.  And Scatman Cruthers as the porter?  Yikes!

I don't recall this series based on the movies.  The fact that it only lasted 5 episodes might explain that.

You can watch the entire movie "White Mama" starring Bette Davis on Youtube.  Of course you can.

I challenge everyone out there to make one of these recipes and report back the results.

The annual broadcast of "The Wizard of Oz" was a highly anticipated event in our house.  Although made in 1939, it still seemed high tech to my eyes and the flying monkeys were as traumatizing as any horror movie I had seen.  Sadly, it doesn't seem that have the same effect on the videogame-infused minds of my children.

"PM Magazine" was a syndicated entertainment news magazine hosted by local broadcasters (Chuck Neff and Jan Tracy in St. Louis).  It typically covered a national story that was shown in all markets followed by a couple of locally produced stories.  I recall it being a fairly good show.

And that's it for this week in television history.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Letters Never Sent

I found this Olivetti Underwood Lettera 31 typewriter at an estate sale last weekend.

Gone Fishing

Today is the first day of Trout Season here in Missouri.  Thousands of anglers line shoulder to shoulder along the banks and in the waters of Missouri streams casting lines and snagging rocks all in hopes of catching that elusive lunker.

These slides were among those of the family I previously blogged about here and here.  I'm not absolutely sure, but these may have been taken at Montauk State Park.  The slides date from 1969.  It looks like they had a good time and even caught a few.

Check out the vintage Hi Ho crackers box.

The women watch patiently

Nice Camper Truck in the background.

Even Grandma gets in on the action

A stringerful
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