PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Pointillism Of Light

Because Mrs. PopCulteer is a big fan of the work of Georges Seurat, and I hadn’t done this for a while, this week’s art is a star, depicted in Pointillism, with a limited pallet of mostly primary colors, done in acrylics on a cheap canvas board (Thank You, Five Below). After painting it, I scanned it and cropped the digital version heavily because, even when my hands are working well, I’m never happy with my borders.

It’s vaguely Christmas-y, which might be a them for the next few weeks.

I’ve been working on and off (mostly off) with Pointillism since third or fourth grade, when a travelling art teacher taught my class the technique.

If you want to see this image larger, just click on it.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a special encore of the first two episodes of Nigel Pye’s Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a special encore of the the very first episode of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player right here…

Our friends at Haversham are still sadly focused on reporting on recent developments with the Omicron COVID variant for their paying clients, so the fun radio stuff had to take a backseat again this week. Because of that, this week we are revisting the first episodes of all of the Haversham shows this week.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

At 8 PM, our Monday Marathon is a mix of Psychedelic Shack, Prognosis and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat,  just to let our friends from the UK know that we miss them.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sunday Evening Video: A Prima Christmas

Above you see the bright, shiny, sparkly new Christmas video by Louie Prima Jr. and The Winesses. “Hey Skinny Santa” is a jumping Swing Music novelty song about Kris Kringle and his crash diet to put on pounds.

You can grab this song as a digital download from the only performing son of the legendary Louis Prima HERE. And check out his other music while you’re there. I play him all the time on The Swing Shift on The AIR.  Instead of running and hiding to protect your ears from hearing Wham or Mariah Carey, just embrace the season and cut a rug to this Jump Swing soon-to-be holiday classic.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 213

This week we go back six year for what has been the last Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston…to date. The funny thing is, it’s not really like a traditional Christmas show. Instead of going all-out, commissioning special performances and taping special songs, instead we took the RFC cameras to The Empty Glass to record a benefit show for the Logan band, Let The Guily Hang, who had lost all their gear in a fire.

You can read all the details about the show HERE.

What we wound up with was a killer show with music from Jeff Ellis, Sheldon Vance, Aaron Fisher (solo and with another band), Speedsuit and Farnsworth. It was a great show, and it was not really the last word on the Holiday season that year as we followed it up with a special RFC MINI SHOW that you’ll see in this space next week.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sister Sledge On MIRRORBALL Friday

Friday afternoon we offer up a new episode of MIRRORBALL and encore a recent Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, plus in the evening we replay our Curtain Call Stephen Sondheim marathon. The AIR is PopCult‘s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player right here…

At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a solid hour of Sister Sledge.  The four real-life sisters, really named Sledge, came out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in 1979 took over the Disco world–with a little creative help from the band CHIC.  We present a retrospective of their Disco-era hits It’s a great show, and I’m just going to drop the playlist right here…

MIRRORBALL 038 Sister Sledge
“We Are Family”
“Mama Never Told Me”
“All American Girls”
“Dancing On The Jagged Edge”
“Thinking Of You”
“Lost In Music”
“Got To Love Somebody”
“Frankie”
“Do It To The Max”
“Music Makes Me Feel Good”
“Let’s Go On Vacation”
“He’s The Greatest Dancer”

You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  8 PM, Sunday at 11 PM, Tuesday at 1 PM and Wednesday at 7 PM, exclusively on The AIR.  This week’s new MIRRORBALL will kick off our weekly Disco Marathon, which runs Saturday night from 8 PM until Midnight.

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen graces us with an encore of an episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat devoted to Swindon’s finest, the legendary New Wave band, XTC.

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the Sunday morning and afternoon Haversham showcases, which begin at 9 AM with Psychedelic Shack, and include double shots of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Prognosis.

At 8 PM Friday, we once again bring you, courtesy of  Curtain Call, Mel Larch’s Musical Theatre showcase, by popular demand,  an encore of this week’s marathon of episodes of the show devoted to Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last Friday at the age of 91. The marathon is preceded by an emotional intro from Mel, and over the course of the six hours, you will hear songs from all of Sondheim’s most famous shows. You can read the details HERE, and this encore will also include a tribute to frequent Sondheim collaborator, Hal Prince, at the end.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The PopCulteer
December 3, 2021

This is it. The Master List of every single thing I recommended in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide.

I made changes to The Gift Guide this year. Like last year, I ended it in November, to allow folks to order gifts online and have plenty of time for shipping.  With the pandemic and some people being understandably shy about wading forth into the retail masses, it just makes sense to do this.  A new change for this year was combining every day’s recommendations into a single post. This forced me to be more concise in my descriptions, which was a good thing. Instead of writing 4,000 words every day about three gift ideas, I managed to cover five gift ideas a day in about 1,500 words.

This made my life easier, as did skipping weekends. It’s no secret that a good number of PopCult readers visit the blog while they’re at work. Dropping gift suggestions over the weekend gave the items I picked then a bit of a short shrift. This way every gift suggestion gets full exposure, and I got a couple of days each week to recharge my batteries. Plus I didn’t have to suspend PopCult‘s regular weekend features for the month.

Because of the nature of how I did the gift gude this year, the links will take you to the post that includes the items listed, but you may have to scroll down a bit to find the exact item you’re looking for. The exception is the children’s books and some of the T-shirts. If you click on those titles, the links will take you directly to a website where you can order them.

TOYS

Hess 2021 Cargo Plane and Jet

Vlad & Niki Super Hero Surprise

MEGO 14″ Frankenstein

Turbo Man

Final Faction Action Figures

Superman Action Figures by MEGO

Hornby Magical Mystery Tour Bus

Stevo’s Horses

RAW 10 Series Two

The Fresh Dolls

Itty Bitty Pretty Angel High

5 Surprise Unicorn Newborn Squad Series 4

Colorforms Retro-The Original Set

Rainbocorns Puppycorn Surprise

Jurassic World Legacy Collecton Large Apatosaurus Figure

5 Surprise Mini Brands Convenience Store

5 Surprise Mini Brands Series 3

ZURU 5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands Series 1, Wave 2

5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands Mini Toy Store

Jada Nano Hollywood Rides

World Peacekeepers Action Figures

Bachmann – Rail Express Battery-Powered Train Set

GAMES

El The Chicago Transit Adventure Board Game

The Blockbuster Game: The Movie Board Game for Adults and Teenagers

Top Trumps Match Game – DC Comics Originals

Ravensburger Horrified: Universal Monsters Strategy Board Game

Rogue Art History: The Trivia Game

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

Nexus Newspaper Strips Volume 1: The Coming of Gourmando

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

DC Through the 80s: The End of Eras

Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles

Slow Death Zero: The Comix Anthology of Ecological Horror

The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories

Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore

The Amazing World of Superman (Tabloid Edition)

The Most Important Comic Book on Earth: Stories to Save the World

Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

Amor Y Cohetes: A Love and Rockets Book

Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter: Coming of the Dragon!

ACP COMICS-Forbidden Gallery and More!

BOOKS

Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings

Paul McCartney The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present

Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture

Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic

O, Mountaineers! Volume II: Noted (or Notorious) African-American West Virginians

The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine (Beatles Album Series)

The Haunted Mansion Little Golden Book

Grandude’s Green Submarine

Change Sings

I Am Odd, I Am New

Hi Weirdo! – The New Children’s Book by Aiden and Mitch O’Connell

Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez 1980-2020

Bachelor Pad’s Little Black Book

Dinosaur! (Knowledge Encyclopedias)

Nympho Lodge by Jack Lynn

Toy Ventures Magazine Bundle

A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection

The Roof: The Beatles’ Final Concert

Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park with George”

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business by Mel Brooks

MOVIES/TV/VIDEO

Game of Thrones: The Complete Series

Tim Burton’s The NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Smallville: Complete Series – 20th Anniversary Edition

Superman: The Complete Animated Series

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Rocks! LIVE

Rankin Bass The Original Christmas Specials Collection

The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials 1976-1979

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special

The Honeymooners Specials: A Christmas Carol

Jurassic World 5-Movie Collection

Caveman (multi-format disc)

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (DVD)

The Ed Wood Collection – A Salute to Incompetence

Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years-The Beatles

The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History Box Set

The Misadventures of Biffle & Shooster

Looney Tunes Parodies Collection

MUSIC/AUDIO

The Beatles Let It Be Super Deluxe Box Set, 5 CD

George Harrison All Things Must Pass Super Deluxe Box Set

John Lennon Plastic Ono Band Box Set

Ringo Starr Change The World – EP

BILLY IDOL HAPPY HOLIDAYS

McCartney III Imagined

The Stranglers Dark Matters

The Dollyrots Down the Rabbit Hole

Yodeling the Classics

The BeachBoys “Feel Flows” The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 Box Set

The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History Box Set

Monty Python’s Total Rubbish – The Complete Collection

SHIRTS

Optometrist Prime

Kirby Galactic Black Shirt

WKRP Turkey Drop Short-Sleeve Unisex T-Shirt

THE GREAT WAVE OFF SOUND

TIKI & MOON No. 16

GI FAN

Beam Me Up Shirt

WALL DECOR

New River Gorge by Glen Brogan

BATFIGHT! by Mitch O’Connell

Gill Creep Mini Monster

Nexus “Valley of the Living Rocks” Print by Steve Rude

Pee Wee Herman’s 35th Anniversary Big Adventure Bundle

RANDOM STUFF

Christkindlmarket

John Lennon Vinyl Stamp Collecting Book

Funwares Dinosaur Serving Dishes

Wash ‘N’ Roar Shower Head

HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE WELCOME MAT

Emergency Underpants Dispenser

LIghts Of Broadway Show Cards

Rick & Morty Plumbus Deluxe Coffee Mug

And that is the end of that. Thank you for reading The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide. I hope you found it helpful and/or entertaining. That is today’s PopCulteer.  Later Friday we’ll have a post up to tell you about the a new episode of MIRRORBALL premiering on The AIR. Check PopCult for fresh content every day, including several reliable regular features…and have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever floats your boat.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Shopping Local

The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide is over, but there’s still more than three weeks until Christmas, and one thing I did not do this year, that I have done in previous years, is focus on local retailers. My reasons for this is that I still have misgivings about venturing forth into crowded retail environments. However, that’s because I have an auto-immune disorder and take an immuno-suppresant, so I have to be extra-cautious. Your milage may vary, and if you prefer to do your shopping in person, please do support our locally-owned businesses. I’m going to tell you about a few here, but if I miss any, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

100% of every dollar spent with a local retailer stays relatively local. There are all kinds of folks who have cool stuff and gift certificates.  Chances are, you’ll find some cool stuff that they don’t have at the big box stores.

I’ve compiled a partial  list of local merchants who you really ought to patronize this holiday season: In previous years I told you about Oddbird Gift Emporium now located on Hale Street Downtown. They’re still stocked to the rafters with cool gift ideas. Other cool area merchants you can support in Downton Charleston are Art Emporium, Stray Dog Antiques, The Purple Moon, Taylor Books, and Capitol Market. Most of the books I recommend in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide can be ordered through Taylor Books, simply by using the ISBN number. Don’t forget Charleston Bread, either, for the gift of tasty bread and cookies and cake and stuff.

In Kanawha City, you’ll find the legendary Budget Tapes & Records, where you can give the gift of music, plus smoking accessories, clothing and lifestyle items.  In South Hills you’ll find Eclectics, and the other Bridge Road shops.

Over on the West Side of Charleston, you might want to check out Elk City Records for your jazz vinyl needs, and around the corner, Kin Ship Goods and Base Camp Printing have pleny of unique apparel and paper gifts to offer, respectively. If you’re one of those folks who still visits The Charleston Town Center, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame has some stuff for sale that’d make great gifts for the local music lover on your shopping list.

The main thing is to get out there and shop local if you feel safe doing it. I know it’s convenient to click away, and lord knows I’ve included tons of online-only items in the Gift Guide for the last two years due to the pandemic, but the local touch means so much more, and you make your immediate world a better place.

Check back Friday for the Master List of every item I recommended in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sondheim On The AIR Wednesday

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a replay of the marathon of Stephen Sondheim tribute episodes of Curtain Call!  You can tune in at the website, or or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player right here…

At 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch’s Musical Theatre showcase will, by popular demand, present  a collection of episodes of the show devoted to Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last Friday at the age of 91. The marathon is preceded by an emotional intro from Mel, and over the course of the six hours, you will hear songs from all of Sondheim’s most famous shows.

This special marathon of Mel Larch’s Curtain Call on The AIR includes six  shows that pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim, including an early episode from 2016, a three-part special commemorating his 90th birthday, and a two-part show devoted to “West Side Story.” We wlll replay these six hours Wednesday afternoon in Curtain Call’s regular timeslot of 3 PM on The AIR, and again at Midnight.

The first hour is a tribute from 2016, with the following playlist:

Curtain Call 011

“Invocation” from The Frogs
“Free” from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
“Company” from Company
“I’m Still Here” from Follies
“God That’s Good” from Sweeny Todd
“Waiting Around For The Girls Upstairs” from Follies
“Putting It Together” from Putting It Together
“Side by Side by Side” from Company
“No One Is Alone” from Into The Woods
“America” from West Side Story
“Sooner Or Later” from Dick Tracy
“Some People” from Gypsy
“Send In The Clowns” from A Little Night Music

Hours two, three and four bring you highlights of last year’s streaming tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration.

In these shows you will hear performancs of classic Sondheim songs by such artists as Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jerry Hadley, Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, Liza Minelli, Glenn Close, Patti Lupone, Bill Irwin, Betty Buckley, Laura Benanti, Randy Rainbow, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Linda Lavin, and many more.

The event was a benefit for Artists Striving to End Poverty, or ASTEP, a program founded by Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell which connects visual and performing artists with youth from underserved communities in the US and all over the world to provide them with access to the arts–and help break the cycle of poverty. You can find out more by visiting their website at ASTEP.org

The final two hours are a pair of episodes of Curtain Call from 2017 that recreate West Side Story using performances from different productions and some wild cover versions of tunes from Sondheim and Bernstein’s legendary musical take on Romeo and Juliet. Following the finale, the remainder of the second hour is filled with offbeat WSS covers by a surprising array of artists.

This is our humble salute to the master of musical theatre, and a small way to say “thanks” for leaving us with such an amazing body of work.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide: Day Twenty-Two-Comedy

The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide leaves ’em laughing with a comedy-themed final day to end November and this year’s guide.  The new format I chose this year–one post every weekday with five items, instead of three or four posts every day–turned out to be much less stressful, although I did wind up slotting in reruns for today’s programming on The AIR because I finally had too many tasks collide to do everything at once.

The plan is for today to be the final entry in the guide. Thursday I will run a list of local retailers that folks should support. Friday will bring the Master List for The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide, and then I can start concentrating on all sorts of other projects. But for now, it’s our final day and our theme is Comedy.

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business
by Mel Brooks
Ballantine Books
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593159118
$29.99 (discounted at Amazon, and available in Paperback and Audio versions)

I always intended to kick off our final day with this book, which is just officially published today. It’s Mel Brook’s autobiography, telling his entire life story including his amazing career writing for Sid Ceasar, co-creating the TV show Get Smart, and his incredible run as a movie director of comedy classics like The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and so many more. We also get details on his side gig producing serious movies like David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, The Fly and Frances, and then find out about his Broadway Musicals that adapted his hit movies.

Let’s check out the publisher’s blurb…

For anyone who loves American comedy, the long wait is over. Here are the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances from a master storyteller, filmmaker, and creator of all things funny.

All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’s meteoric rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Whether serving in the United States Army in World War II, or during his burgeoning career as a teenage comedian in the Catskills, Mel was always mining his experiences for material, always looking for the perfect joke. His iconic career began with Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, where he was part of the greatest writers’ room in history, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. After co-creating both the mega-hit 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and the classic television series Get Smart, Brooks’s stellar film career took off. He would go on to write, direct, and star in The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs, as well as produce groundbreaking and eclectic films, including The Elephant Man, The Fly, and My Favorite Year. Brooks then went on to conquer Broadway with his record-breaking, Tony-winning musical, The Producers.

All About Me! offers fans insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his outstanding collection of boundary-breaking work, and offers details about the many close friendships and collaborations Brooks had, including those with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Alfred Hitchcock, and the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft.

Filled with tales of struggle, achievement, and camaraderie (and dozens of photographs), readers will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.

This book is obviously recommended for any fan of Brooks’ work, and should be required reading for anyone with an interest in comedy. Available from any bookseller, but discounted at Amazon.

The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History Box Set
by Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks
sold by Amazon

Since we’re on the subject of Mel Brooks, I thought I’d offer up this boxed set of all the recordings of Brooks and Carl Reiner’s 2000 Year Old Man. They did this character, with Brooks as the old man and Reiner as the interviewer, first at parties, then they developed it into a stage act.

I think the animated cartoon based on these records was the first time I was exposed to Mel Brooks (that I was aware of). I became a huge fan, and made sure to see Silent Movie when it hit theaters the following year.

Remastered for the 50th anniversary of the birth of The 2000 Year Old Man in 2009, this DVD/3 CD set contains all 5 comedy albums released by Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks including 2000 Years With Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks, The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000, and the three albums between those releases from 1961 and 1997.

Also included is a DVD with that animated TV Special that I mentioned above, plus some television appearances from the 1960s on shows with Ed Sullivan and Jack Parr.

This is a great gift for anybody with a healthy sense of humor.

The Misadventures of Biffle & Shooster
DVD
Sold by Amazon and other video retailers

This is a bit of a bittersweet entry, since one of the performers of this semi-imaginary comedy team, Will Ryan, just passed away a few weeks ago, but this is still a very intriguing and hilarious gift idea for the fan of classic comedy teams on your shopping list.

I’ll let them explain it…

Remember when the Golden Age of Hollywood was full of great comedy duos like Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Olsen & Johnson and Biffle & Shooster? Wait, what? WHO?

Okay, so they weren’t really from the 1930s, but these astoundingly authentic and hilarious shorts have actually made audiences believe that those Merry Madcaps of Mayhem worked their screwball magic back then.

Award-winning filmmaker Michael Schlesinger and his enormously talented cast and crew throw themselves into the zaniness with gleeful abandon, stars Will Ryan and Nick Santa Maria are as versatile as they are uproarious, and you’ll spot some familiar faces popping up here and there.

Packed with extras, The Misadventures of Biffle and Shooster brilliantly recreates the era when comedy was actually funny. So relax, everyone: Biffle & Shooster will Make America Laugh Again!

Special Features: Hilarious Commentary On All Five Shorts By Filmmaker Michael Schlesinger And Stars Nick Santa Maria And Will Ryan | 1928 Vitaphone Short FIRST THINGS LAST | Spanish Outtake From IMITATION OF WIFE • MAD MAD WORLD outtake | 1962 Interview With The Team | Will Rogers PSA | “Turn Off Your Phone” And Other Bumpers | Deleted Scenes | Alternate Takes and Extended Musical Numbers | Behind the Scenes Footage | Trailers | Plus Nearly One Full Hour of Bloopers and Outtakes!

Any student of comedy will love this. Thanks to Mark Evanier for writing about this so much that I checked it out myself.

Looney Tunes Parodies Collection
DVD
Sold at TCM.com

Like many people, I cut my comedy eye teeth on Looney Tunes. This collections spans the decades with entries from the 1930s to the 2000s, and it’s loaded with Looney Tunes’ favorite characters. Yu can expect to see Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam and more in action.

Of course this includes “What’s Opera Doc?” which is worth the price of the disc alone. Here’s the rundown from the back of the DVD box…

Here’s looking at you, wabbit! Dive into a compendium of parody hilarity from the vaults of WB animation with this collection of 20 side-splitting shorts and TV specials, both old and new. Includes “I Love to Singa” (1936), “Hollywood Steps Out” (1941), “Rabbit Hood” (1949), “Rabbit of Seville” (1950), “Rabbitson Crusoe” (1956), “What’s Opera, Doc?” (1957), “Hare-Abian Nights” (1959), “How Bugs Bunny Won the West” (1978), “The Duxorcist” (1987), “Chariots of Fur” (1994), “Carrotblanca” (1995), “Little Go Beep” (2000), “Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas” (2004), and more. 183 min. total.

Recommended for any kid or adult who loves animation and Looney Tunes. It’s cool to have this selection all in one place for a pretty low price.

Monty Python’s Total Rubbish – The Complete Collection
by Monty Python
Sold by Amazon

Our final entry in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide (and one of the most expensive) is this complete collection of all of the Monty Python comedy albums on CD, crammed into a beautifully-illustrated box wth a bonus 7-inch vinyl single and bonus tracks on every CD.

Originally plopped out to take advantage of their 2014 reunion shows, this career spanning box set entitled Monty Python’s Total Rubbish: The Complete Collection is pretty much everything you need to own the audio side of a complete Python archive.

It includes Monty Python’s nine UK albums: Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Another Monty Python Record, Monty Python’s Previous Record, Matching Tie and Handkerchief, Live at Drury Lane, Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album and The Meaning Of Life – all united for the first time to create the ultimate collectors’ edition purchase. Both CD and LP releases also include a limited edition 7” Single of their 1974 flexi-disc Monty Python’s Tiny Black Round Thing.

If you have a die-hard Python fan on your shopping list, then this is the perfect gift for them,since they probably already have the TV shows and movies.

And there you have it…roughly 110 gift suggestions spread out over the month of November here in PopCult. Check back for fresh content every day, and the Master List on Friday.

ZURU MINI FASHION Unboxed!

Above you see the latest PopCult unboxing video, and it’s really cool because it’s for a new collectible toy that won’t be in stores until December 11, ZURU MINI FASHION.

We are among the first to bring you the news about the newest collectible craze that will likely sweep the country in the coming weeks. In the tradition of ZURU’s 5 Surprise Mini Brands and Toy Mini Brands, comes MINI FASHION, minature fine-stitched fabric handbags, jewels and fashion accessories, which are pretty much the perfect size for the most popular Fashion Dolls.

They also have quite a bit of appeal as a collectible in their own right. Miniature collectibles are a hot item right now, and ZURU is at the forefront. MINI FASHION will appeal to kids, of course, but they also scratch that itch for adult consumers who just don’t have the room to buy everything they want.

As a 1/6 scale hobbyist, I love the idea of high quality minatures at a very affordable price, and at $9.99 per capsule (the suggested price), these are incredible. A quite note here: in the video, which was ad-libbed in a hurry, I got the price wrong repeatedly. Apologies for that. These are still quite a bargain.

The big draw is the handbags, but there are also tiny lipsticks that open, makeup accessories that open and have wonderful detail, sunglasses with working hinged legs (and they fit GI Joe, too–I checked), and even little purse dogs to ride around in the handbags.

Another cool feature of ZURU’s MINI FASHION is that the packaging is made from certified and traceable recycled plastic. The inner bags are paper and the whole package is remarkaby environmentally-friendly.

Let me quote from the press release for more details…

Fabulous mini purses and teeny accessories in Mini Fashions fit in the palm of a hand, and are the next iteration of ZURU’s top-selling and hot collectibles brand. Set to hit Walmart shelves December 11, just in time for Christmas, Series 1 will feature over two- dozen intricately detailed and fully functional handbags and clutch purses made with soft fabrics, fine-stitching and working compartments, and stylish fashion accessories like sunglasses and jewelry to collect.

“Fashion is all about mixing the hottest trends with those timeless classics, and with 5 SURPRISE being the ultimate trend in collectibles – this new series of miniature functioning handbags was an obvious next step for us,” said Aneisha Vieira, Global Brand Director of ZURU. “Each capsule includes a hand-stitched fabric bag that’s fully functional, with stunning fine details, and other fashion accessories, and with an eye towards sustainability, we are proud to introduce a new more eco-friendly capsule.”

Continuing on its 360-degree 10-year sustainability initiative, Mini Fashion capsules will be made from 100% certified and traceable used plastics. The new capsule keeps the surprise element with paper blind bags, and the two-part design will eliminate 49 tons of virginal plastic globally. All products in the 5 Surprise range will incorporate these sustainable tactics by 2023.

With each Mini Fashion capsule, fashionistas experience the thrill of unwrapping, peeling, revealing and collecting one designer handbag and four mini accessories. From metallic bags for a night on the town, to everyday purses, there are 25 real fabric fashion bags, including two rare bags, and accessories to find. Launching exclusively at Walmart in December, Mini Fashions are priced at $9.99 and designed for ages four and up.

We had a blast making this video, and I wanted to mention that we joke about the “MF” logo on the handbags meaning “Mouie Futon.” I want to make clear that it actually stands for MINI FASHION. And also, ignore the parts of the video where I mention the incorrect list price. MINI FASHION will sell for $9.99, exclusively at Walmart beginning December 11.

Also, as you can see, the really cool mini sunglasses with working legs do indeed fit GI Joe.

Many thanks to ZURU for letting us break the news about this cool new collectible! We will update this post with links and post a reminder in PopCult when these hit stores.

Special note: PopCult may disappear from this location at The Charleston Gazette-Mail soon. Don’t miss out on our new posts at our NEW HOME. Bookmark the new site, and subscribe to our RSS feed. You can also follow PopCult and Rudy Panucci on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

On this, the penultimate day of The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide, we once more venture into the random pile of great gift ideas, as we bust out the word “penultimate” because it sounds fancier than “next to last.”  Our gift suggestions range from bittersweet to overlooked, and cool toys from military action figures to battery-operated HO Scale trains, plus there’s a leftover gag gift from Turkey Day in the mix as well.

Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park with George”
by James Lapine
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0374200091
$40 (discounted at many online retailers)

I have to be honest, I almost didn’t put this book on the list. I changed my mind because a lot of Stephen Sondheim fans will want a gift like this to remember the legendary Broadway composer that we lost a few days ago.

By all accounts this is a spectacular book, a fascinating insight into the creation of one of the most memorable musicals of the 1980s. My misgivings were because of the large number of complaints about poor printing and reproduction in the first printing. Every review of the digitial edition has been overwhelmingly positive, but word is that the print edition leaves a lot to be desired.

Still, this is an important book about an important work of theatre, written by Sondheim’s collaborator, James Lapine. Let’s go to the publisher’s blurb…

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George

Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior and already a legendary Broadway composer and lyricist. Shortly thereafter, the two decided to write a musical inspired by Georges Seurat’s nineteenth-century painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Through conversations between Lapine and Sondheim, as well as most of the production team, and with a treasure trove of personal photographs, sketches, script notes, and sheet music, the two Broadway icons lift the curtain on their beloved musical. Putting It Together is a deeply personal remembrance of their collaboration and friend – ship and the highs and lows of that journey, one that resulted in the beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning classic.

This book is a no-brainer gift idea for any fan of Sondheim or musical theatre. Just be mindful of the complaints about the printing and paper quality. Available everywhere books are sold.

“Feel Flows” The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 Box Set
by The Beach Boys

This is a hefty deep dive into underexplored Beach Boys waters, and it’ll make the perfect gift for the die-hard Beach Boys fan on your shopping list, or for anybody who loves great pop-rock music with luscious harmonies and killer hooks.

The “Feel Flows” collection from the Beach Boys is based on the landmark albums, Sunflower and Surf’s Up, released in 1970 and 1971, respectively.

This is a 50th anniversary, expansive 5CD and digital box set officially titled Feel Flows – The Sunflower and Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971 that chronicles and explores in depth the metamorphic and highly influential 1969-1971 period of the band’s legendary career.

Assembled by Mark Linett and Alan Boyd, the team behind the award-winning SMiLE Sessions, this collection features newly remastered versions of Sunflower and Surf’s Up and boasts a total of 135 tracks, including 108 previously unreleased tracks, live recordings, radio promos, alternate versions, alternate mixes, isolated backing tracks and a cappella versions, culled from the album sessions.

Housed in a book style package, the set is rounded out with a 48-page book loaded with unreleased and rare photos, lyric sheets, tape box images, recording artifacts, insightful new liner notes by noted radio veteran and Beach Boys aficionado Howie Edelson, and new and archival interviews from Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and others. Feel Flows is also available in abbreviated versions including 4LP on both black vinyl and limited edition Translucent Blue and Translucent Gold color vinyl, 2LP black vinyl and 2CD editions.

Feel Flows shows how creative The Beach Boys continued to be after their commercial peak, and after the breakdown of Brian Wilson, as the other members of the band stepped up and started contributing some amazing music.

Available where music boxed sets are sold, or at Amazon.

World Peacekeepers Action Figures
sold by Cotswold Collectibles

These cool action figures used to be holiday mainstays at Big Lots, but a few years ago the discount retailer dropped them in favor of some really sucky figures with hardly any articulation. Now Cotswold Collectibles has stepped up and you can once again get cool World Peacekeepers action figures, vehicles and accessories in 1/6 and 1/18 scales.

Best of all, while Big Lots only carried a handful of regular military figures, Cotswold is offering much more variety, with 12″ figures of Astronauts, Extreme Sports, Secret Agents and Ninjas. They also have 1/6 scale Humvees, Jeeps, horses, and tons of other cool accessories and sets.

Fans of 1/18 scale figures will find cool stuff like airplanes, helicopters, tanks and a military base, complete with a Quonset Hut.

Cotswold is a reliable online retailer with a 30-plus year track record of serving the hobby, and these toys make the perfect gift for any kid or adult who’s neck-deep into action figures. Cotswold has a ton of other cool products for the hobby, too, from Superheroes to customizing supplies, and their own line of cool 1/6 action figures and sets.

Bachmann – Rail Express Battery-Powered Train Set
sold by Train Sets Only and Amazon

This is a great beginner’s train set. It’s perfectly HO scaled but it’s battery operated. The cars will run on regular HO Scale track (possibly with the addition of new couplers) and it’s around fifty bucks from most retailers (currently more than that at Amazon, but their price seems to change every hour or two).

Now little engineers aged 3 and older can enjoy all the sights and sounds of a real railroading adventure! The new battery-operated Bachmann Rail Express sound-equipped train set includes an oval of snap-together track for fast set-up. It features an F7A diesel engine with realistic horn, bell, and rail running sounds plus an operating headlight; three colorful, detailed cars and a 64 x 46″ oval of snap-together track. Just add two AA batteries (not included) and you are all set to go. No controller or power pack is needed. For extra fun, the Rail Express train can be run right on dad’s or grandpa’s traditional HO scale layout (if the power is off, that is).

This battery operated train set includes:

An F7A locomotive with operating LED headlight, realistic horn, bell, and rail running sounds (three-position switch for choice of “on with sound,” “on without sound,” or “off.”
Cars include a colorful gondola, boxcar, and off-center cupola caboose with hook and loop couplers.

64 x 46″ oval of snap-together track (16 pieces curved and 4 pieces straight) and the train also runs on most brands of HO scale track. Two AA 1.5V batteries required for operation; not included.

This is the perfect gift for the very young train enthusiast on your shopping list who may be creeped out by the fact that all the Thomas The Tank Engine trains have faces on them.

Rick & Morty Plumbus Deluxe Coffee Mug
sold at Amazon

Finally we have the Turkey Day gift that I forgot about last week in our gag gift post.

Fans of Rick & Morty will be delighted at whatever the hell this monstrosity is supposed to be. It’s a coffee mug shaped like a Plumbus. “What the freaking hell is a Plumbus?” you ask?

Let’s got to the manufacturer’s PR…

Welcome to the exciting world of Plumbus ownership! A Plumbus will aid manythings in life, making life easier. With proper maintenance , handling , storage, and urging , Plumbus will provide you with a lifetime of better living and happiness. Plumbus is a fan favorite! What better way to show your love for Rick and Morty then with this Amazing Plumbus mug / stash jar! Display him on your desk or in your kitchen, either way…..this will be the ultimate conversation starter!

Wubba lubba dub dub! Everyone has a plumbus in their home. It’s hard to imagine life without one. And we all know how a regular old plumbus is made. You can get ’em by the case at the local big box store.That’s why we carry only artisan plumbuses. Rest assured that these are not your 6 1/2 brapple black-market plumbuses. We use extra-virgin schleem, never before pressed into the dinglepop, which is organic. And we do not force the dinglepop through the grumbo; it proceeds naturally on its own.

This ceramic mug / stash jar looks just like a Plumbus and comes with a ceramic lid to keep your favorite beverage warm and ready to drink. Also great to store your favorite stash of goodies. This is a must have for all Rick and Morty fans and would make the Ultimate Christmas or Birthday gift for that special friend in your life.

So there you go, it looks like a cross between a sex toy and a toilet brush, only this is one you can drink out of.

Give this as a gift at your own risk.