July 5, 2002 · 6:00 PM PDT ·
AND HOW DID YOU spend your Independence Day? My friend Carolyn and I spent much of ours doing the final proofreading for
Comic Books and Other Necessities of Life, the forthcoming paperback collection of 34 of my POV
columns about comic book collecting and creation. Only nine of the 34 are
available on this site and even they underwent some minor rewrites to take out
some of the stupid comments and, probably, add stupider ones. The book had
to go to press today (7/5) in order to be out in time for this year's Comic-Con
International in San Diego. You need this in your collection.
I'll be hawking it at the San Diego con (in-between the thirteen panels I'm moderating) and it'll be available in all the usual places,
including the website of its publisher, TwoMorrows Publishing. They don't
have it on their order page yet but they will.
A FEW WEEKS AGO, I posted this item about my pal, Chuck McCann. I mentioned we'd be
having lunch soon and that prompted a flurry of e-mails from folks who said, "I love Chuck McCann. Please tell him I'm a huge fan of
his." Several elaborated on watching him over the years and one or two, on brief meetings with the man. All wished that I convey their
affection and admiration to him and, today, we lunched and I did. Matter of fact, after turkey sandwiches, Chuck followed me back to my house
and I showed him all the e-mails. So if you sent one, know that Chuck got to read it and that he was quite pleased.
And at least three of you will be excited at this news: Chuck mentioned that he'd had dinner the previous night with Don Knotts, and
Don said he'd just finished recording an audio commentary for the DVD of The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
I MENTIONED a few days ago, my belief that most Americans would come to regard as fact, the concept that Al Gore actually won
Florida...or perhaps I should have said, "...should have won Florida." This prompted a number of folks to bombard me with "evidence" and facts,
all about various press recounts and how many overseas ballots were counted without postmarks and such. Actually, I've read all this stuff and
it led me to the conclusion that, based on the count, the final totals could go either way. A lot of the tallies involved votes for which the
rules are unestablished and arguable, and the Bush people did a better job of getting their arguments accepted by a state government that, after all,
was controlled by their candidate's brother and their candidate's campaign manager. There is a reasonable interpretation of the
balloting that makes Bush a slight victor, just as there's a reasonable interpretation that would have given the state to Gore...and anyone who
thinks their guy "definitely" got more votes is, I think, believing what they want to believe.
Actually, my belief that Bush's victory will become more and more tainted is based on following the stories about the vast numbers of
Florida voters — most of them, black and Democratic — who were denied their right to vote at all. That story is not going to go
away and, even if it is ultimately viewed as a paperwork screw-up and not an intentional act, I think it's going to become accepted that Bush would
not have come close to winning the state, but for that screw-up. And, of course, a lot of people will never accept that it was not an
For more on the matter, check out the website of Greg Palast.
He's the B.B.C. reporter who broke a lot of this story. Here's a link to an article he did for Harper's that lays it all out in some detail and,
elsewhere on his site, you'll find the text of Katherine Harris's rebuttal, which merely argues that the errors were not intentional. I'm not
arguing that they were or weren't. I believe that the fact that they were made at all will be accepted as the only reason Bush didn't
decisively lose the vote total in Florida.
I still believe that the next presidential election will turn almost wholly on how well the war on terrorism has been fought. But
I also think that Bush will lose the argument that he was fairly elected in 2000, as he and Cheney are starting to lose the argument that their past
business dealings were always Kosher. The press pounced on the assertions that Clinton had committed crimes in Whitewater and that he was
humping interns in the Oval Office. Future terrorist attacks notwithstanding, they'll pounce on the assertions that Bush and Cheney reaped
millions in shady stock deals and that black, Democratic voters in Florida got screwed.
July 4, 2002 · 4:30 PM PDT ·
SUNDAY NIGHT...well, actually, Monday morning at 1 AM...the Cartoon Network begins another season of The Popeye Show, a
fine series that does everything a cartoon program ought to do: It takes great old cartoons, strikes off new prints with their original titles and
runs them without cuts. This is always good but it's especially wonderful in the case of The Sailor Man, since of all the great animated
characters, he's probably suffered the most.
His best films — the ones made by the Fleischer Studio — have too often been unavailable, or available in well-spliced,
retitled and faded prints. Matter of fact, as various batches of Popeye cartoons were later made by other studios, the quality went steadily
down and the availability became greater. The worse a Popeye cartoon was, the better your chances of seeing a good print of it. Nice to
see Cartoon Network reversing the trend.
HOPE YOU'RE HAVING a safe-and-sane Fourth. I dunno if the shooting at LAX today qualifies as another actual terrorist
attack in the spirit of 9/11. Still, it's going to keep us nervous for a couple of weeks. If our enemies don't do a decent job of
terrorizing us, we're quite willing to terrorize ourselves.
July 3, 2002 · 4:00 PM PDT ·
TOM GALLOWAY, who is rarely wrong about anything, suggests I point out that the second part of the Mike Peters article is
another page. Here's a link to that page.
July 3, 2002 · 1:00 PM PDT ·
MY FRIEND MIKE PETERS is a Pulitzer-class political cartoonist and the creator of the highly-successful newspaper strip,
Mother Goose & Grimm. You'd think that would be enough for the guy...but no. He wants to be Superman. He's always wanted to
be Superman. He has been known to run around in a Superman costume. If you're ever with Mike and you want to hear one of the funniest
stories I've ever heard, get him to tell you about the time he dressed up as the Man of Steel. And in case you never get to meet Mike, you can
get an inadequate (but still very funny) version here.
You can also see some of Mike's wonderful work on his website, the address of which is
www.grimmy.com. All of his political cartoons are terrific and, on occasion, he nails an issue better than all the verbose commentators in
I'M GOING TO MAKE two predictions here which sound contradictory but probably aren't. One is that we are about to see a
scandal of immense proportion with regard to the past corporate and stock dealings of our current president and vice-president and several members of
the cabinet. Just how big it will get will depend on how much of Congress (if any) is controlled by Democrats after November. But even
the most madly-spinning Republican will be hard-pressed to explain why Whitewater had to be investigated down to the teensiest decimal point and this
stuff doesn't. When the dust settles, a substantial majority of Americans will be convinced that Bush, Cheney and their cohorts did exactly the
same kind of thing for which Martha Stewart and guys like Kenneth Lay are now being excoriated.
But — and here's the other prediction — it won't matter in the next presidential election. Neither will evidence that
Gore won Florida last time, which will also become widely accepted as fact. Ultimately, the next election will come down to what Jerry Springer
has been saying on talk shows. Yes, I said Jerry Springer. He says — and this is not a direct quote — "The next election will
come down to a referendum on the war on terrorism. If Bush is perceived as having protected us, stopped more attacks and caught or killed the
people responsible for 9/11, no one will be able to beat him. If America thinks he dropped the ball on this, almost anyone will be able to beat
THE HARDCOVER EDITION of The Life of Groo and The Death of Groo (both in one volume, collected back-to-back) is
now out. So is a new, 20th anniversary Groo t-shirt...both from Graphitti
I haven't posted the schedule yet of panels I'm hosting at the Comic-Con International in San Diego. This is because we're still
switching around time slots as it turns out that certain guests are not available at certain times. All should settle down by the middle of
next week...however, let me say again that we have some incredible events. I'm emceeing 13 because I couldn't turn any of them down.
You'll see why when I post the list next week.
The DVD of the movie 1776 is out and being reviewed all over the Internet. My copy is in a box of stuff I ordered from Amazon.Com that, last time I looked at the UPS
tracking page, was sitting in a warehouse in Fernley, Nevada. If it doesn't get here in a few days, I may drive up to Fernley and watch it
July 2, 2002 · 3:30 PM PDT ·
THURSDAY EVENING, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno is a rerun. The comedy bit after the first commercial involves
silly phone callers, one of whom identifies himself as a master magician named "Earl the Magnificent." That's the voice of one of my best
buddies, Earl Kress, a multi-talented fellow I met via the late, multi-talented Daws Butler. Earl is
a writer (with an Emmy for Pinky & The Brain) and he's an actor and a cartoon expert and a fellow Laurel and Hardy enthusiast, and he even
claims to know was much about the movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as I do. This last claim is, of
course, ridiculous...but we sometimes humor him and allow him to believe such a thing.
You can see some of Earl's comic book writing (he does all sorts of things) in recent issues of DC's Looney Tunes book, and you
can hear him on Jay's show from time to time, and — most impressive — he and I are having dinner, some night this week. At least, I
think it's most impressive. He's probably prouder of some of that other stuff.
PREDICTION FOR JULY 5: A lot of news reports on how everyone stayed away from public events and large buildings for fear
of a terrorist attack...and nothing happened. This will happen again for September 11, 2002.
July 1, 2002 · 9:30 PM PDT ·
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE THIS
EVERYONE WHO WATCHES TV gets the occasional crush on some performer. It can be triggered by a look, a smile, a
swimsuit...often, something utterly non-sexual. But something about someone on the screen makes a connection with you. This is especially
prevalent during adolescence, although I have one friend who's in his late sixties and still catching every appearance of Ann Miller, hoping she'll
be wearing something that shows her legs. One of my many crushes, actually managing to momentarily displace Mary Tyler Moore, involved a show
called Harry's Girls that ran on Friday nights, commencing in September of 1963.
Larry Blyden played a song-and-dance man who was touring Europe in a U.S.O. revue with three young, pretty ladies. The storylines
mostly centered around him becoming their father-figure, big-brother and all-around protector, sheltering them from horny servicemen.
I was thirteen that year...a very dangerous age, hormone-wise, and I could have fallen for any of the three women. Hell, a
thirteen-year-old boy could get aroused by the picture of Betty Crocker on the pancake flour box. My particular lusting opted for Susan
Silo. She's the brunette — third from the left — in the above photo.
How much did I enjoy watching Susan on Harry's Girls? Well, when J.F.K. was shot, a goodly portion of my grief was over
the fact that news coverage pre-empted Harry's Girls and my chance to see her that week. Did Oswald have to shoot the president on
a Friday? And then, the following January when the series was cancelled, I was truly crushed. It never re-ran anywhere, and though she
continued to turn up on other shows, I more or less forgot about lovely Susan. Laura Petrie got me again on the rebound.
More than a quarter-century later, I was at a Christmas party at the offices of Cunningham-Escott-Dipene, which is one of the top
agencies for voiceover performers. This was when I was voice-directing the Garfield cartoon shows,
employing many of their clients. One of the agents there, Paul Doherty, introduced me to a delightful older gent named Lou Krugman who, alas,
is no longer with us. I am unable to find a photo of Lou to post with this but turn on TV Land at almost any hour and you'll see him,
especially on various old sitcoms starring Lucille Ball. (He played the director in that episode where Lucy got the chance to play a showgirl
in a murder mystery. On The Dick Van Dyke Show, he played Nunzio, the fellow who sold Rob Petrie a wholesale fur coat. Here's a
link to his listing in the Internet Movie Database. As you'll see, he was in
just about everything at one time or another.)
I chatted a while with Lou and then Paul came over and said, "Mark, I'd like you to meet Susan Silo."
Yes, Susan Silo...looking just about the same as she did on TV when I was thirteen. I immediately launched into a bad vocal
rendition of the theme song from Harry's Girls. This shocked her because, as I said, the show has aired nowhere since the first week of
1964. There were then no tapes around, no place I could possibly have learned the theme, but to have remembered it all those years. (She
has only recently latched onto cassettes of a few episodes.) I immediately hired her to play a role on a Garfield that taped the
following week — a role which, at that moment, I had yet to write. She was so good, she appeared on many subsequent episodes, and many
other shows I've voice-directed.
I saw Susan at the Hollywood Collectors' Show last Saturday and it
reminded me that I oughta tell the above story. We also should start a campaign to get some cable channel to run Harry's Girls and I
should direct you to her web page at www.susansilo.com, where you'll see what a busy actress
she is, both on-camera and doing voiceovers, and you can listen to voice demos. If you should happen to fall in love, just remember: I saw her
is heading for the printer. It's not yet at the printer but any day now, the fine folks at TwoMorrows Publishing will be sending it off, complete with many wonderful columns about the world of
comic books, plus all those hilarious drawings that Sergio Aragonés did last night. Looks like we may actually have this thing out in
time for the Comic-Con International in San Diego. Yay!
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