Thursday, August 9, 2018

Let's Eat Outdoors

I know it's not officially over until September 22nd and we still have Labor Day in there, but school starts here next week so let's just call it: Summer is all but over.  But before it ends, let's get out one last time and eat amongst nature...with a big pot of beans and a can of Spam.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Spidey Super Stories #33

I grew up steeped in comic books. My older brothers were there at the beginning of "The Marvel Age of Comics" and witnessed the birth of the characters that now dominate the movie theaters.  I missed that time by about a decade, but I had access to a number of their comics (sadly, most were sold to fund their automobile needs as teenagers) including "The Amazing Spider-man".   I was also a ardent fan of the 1967 Spider-man cartoon, long in syndication by the time I was watching it. So overall, I was fairly heavily invested in the Spider-man mythos. So much so, that it even bugged me (no pun intended, okay maybe a little) that in the cartoon, Spider-man's eye openings moved as if he were blinking.

In 1974, The Electric Company premiered "Spidey Super Stories" featuring a live-action rendition of the Web-slinger solving riddles rather than crimes, while teaching reading skills. Spider-man never spoke in the episodes, but instead utilized word balloons narrated by no less than Morgan Freeman.  Spider-man was licensed free of charge to the Children's Television Workshop by Marvel Comics, although I'm sure they realized the free publicity and potential sales boost that it might bring.

A companion piece to the television show was a comic published by Marvel Comics likewise called "Spidey Super Stories".  It featured simplistic and typically humorous stories involving Spider-man, but unlike the show, actually utilized other Marvel characters and actual villains from the comics.

I never collected these comics because I thought it minimized (or even mocked) Spider-man. I told you, I was an ardent fan.  But taking a second look at these many decades later, they aren't that bad and have an innocence that's been lost in today's comics.

I found a few of these at a recent estate sale.  Today we'll be looking at #33, "The Hulk Cracks Up".

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sketchy Art

I'm admittedly out of my element when appraising art, but I've seen enough Antique Roadshows to know that if you find original art for under $10, you're typically not going to lose money. This piece caught my eye at a garage sale this morning and was marked $3.  (Warning, I struggled getting decent photos with the flash on or off).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Magic Snakes, Glo Worms and Memories

Happy 4th of July to my American (United Statesian?) friends. And Happy Wednesday to everyone else.

Growing up (here he goes again), we never had much money for fireworks, but every once in a while I'd get my hands on leftovers that didn't go off or someone just didn't light.  I remember combing the streets of my sister's subdivision on July 5th looking for remnants at the ends of driveways.  I also remember trying to secretly light them out of sight from my parents.  Note: If you are going to secretly light fireworks, don't do it on Sunday morning under an aluminum awning. Makes a very loud noise at a very quiet time.

Maybe that's why I liked snakes.  Not, the real kind, I was scared to death of those. I'm talking about the "Magic Snakes" that started as black pellets.  Once lit, they would ooze their way across the patio leaving black stains and toxic stench everywhere. But they made no noise.

I found these vintage boxes of "Magic Snakes" and "Glo Worms" this past year.  Vintage fireworks aren't particularly collectible, or at least not terribly valuable, with the exception of a few with desirable packaging, but I find the various artwork interesting. These probably date from the 1970's.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Uncanny Finds -- Peanuts Edition

No, not a can of peanuts, but a can that launched a thousand (well, 2) Peanuts strips.

When I saw this old can of Neatsfoot oil, my mind jumped back to reading a paperback collection of Peanuts comic strips when I was a kid.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Magnetic Fun Board

Kids on long road trips this summer will have no appreciation for the hours of boredom children of my generation experienced.  With their phones or tablets, they'll be able watch shows, listen to music, play games, and communicate with friends. The hours on the road will fly by.

This what we called a tablet in the 1970's, and if you were lucky enough to have one, you at least had some distraction until you eventually grew bored. I didn't even have this. I stared at billboards.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Of Slurpees and Video Games

When I look back on the '80's, I sometimes feel I was more of an observer than having experienced them first hand. I don't mean that I wasn't the right age, I was.  I turned 13 in 1980, prime time coming-of-age age. But due to lack of funds, proximity of my home, and an overprotective mother, I saw little of the things most of my generation did. One of those things was video arcades. I didn't have any near me and we certainly didn't have quarters to "throw away". Another was 7-11 Slurpees. We had a 7-11 in town, but my parents never bought gas there, and we certainly wouldn't have gone inside to buy a frozen drink if we did. Like I said, I was aware of all of these things; I watched a lot of TV after all.  But as far as tasting or playing them, Slurpees and arcade video games were out of my reach (full disclosure, I did have an Atari 2600 after 1983).

Perhaps the best representation of my pop culture gap is summarized in these cups I found this morning at a garage sale.  They date from 1982 and apparently there was at least one more series in 1983.  Coincidentally enough, they cost a quarter. I didn't mind "throwing it away".

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