PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number 23

This week we go back to May, 2014, for a show where we finally got the numbering of The RFC MINI SHOW straightened out. After discovering that we had two episodes numbered “seven” and two numbered “fifteen,” we skipped a couple of numbers and arrived at this show, which was properly numbered 23.

And what a number 23 it was!

The Living Deads are Randee and Symphony and whichever guitarist that they have most recently kidnapped. They tour the country in their RV, spreading the gospel of Punkabilly where ever they go. They live full time in their RV (Irv) and tour the world, printing T-Shirts and burning CDs while on the road. They have been known to kidnap guitar players from time to time, drag them on stage in a Burlap sack and force them to perform. When we caught up with the band at The Empty Glass in April, 2014 they had Wyatt Mundy on guitar, having just abducted him from his job at an adult bookstore.

The Living Deads (Randee Mcknight and Symphony Tidwell) have featured guest artists such as Danny B Harvey, Chuck Hughes, Lance Romance. Hank Hays, James Hunnicutt, Steven R Trent, Mondo Cortez, Chad Hasty, JD Holopter, Scotty Spears, Mr. Conrad, Matt Allen, Dr. Void, Sean K. Preston, Tony Burlingame, Trevor Rogers, Craig Gory along with several more.

They describe themselves thusly, “A Rhythm section born of Hate, Hellfire and Brimstone. With a book of matches, can of gas, and a Louisville slugger we’ll have a party.”

You’ll see them again next week, when we bring you RFC 198 in this space.

The Long And Winding Return Of Captain Action

The PopCulteer
February 21, 2020

This week we are bringing you a detailed review and deep dive into the newest incarnation of one of my favorite action figures, Captain Action. That him to the right.

I’ve written of the good Captain many times here in PopCult, going back to our first month of covering pop culture way back in 2005. Over the years we have seen revivals of the original 12″ Captain Action, as well as his return in comic books, new forms of pop culture figures, other scales of action figures, and even Art Baltazar’s Captain Action Cat.

Joe and Ed at Captain Action Enterprises have more cool stuff up their sleeve for our hero, but they have to keep it close to their vests for the time being…with one exception.

This latest version of Captain Action comes to us courtesy of ZICA Toys, of Kentucky, who are known for several high-quality collectible figures of Buck Rogers and The Six Million Dollar Man, many in the popular MEGO-size and style.

There is quite a saga of how this project, which was funded through Kickstarter, took over four years to make it from the idea stage to my front porch, where it landed yesterday afternoon.

First, though, I have a genuine scoop, courtesy of Joe Ahearn, from Captain Action Enterprises, who licensed their character to ZICA for this project. Despite the ordeal that ZICA endured bringing this project to us (I’ll get to that later on, I promise), they are eager to proceed with a second series of figures that, if there is enough demand, will include Captain Action’s sidekick, Action Boy; his fellow agent, Lady Action; his arch-nemesis, Dr. Evil; and his distinctive mode of transportation, The Silver Streak.

Check out the image below, and click to see it larger.


In order for this to happen, it would help if the current run of figures sells out quickly. You can order the figures in series one directly from ZICA, or from Big Bad Toy Store. As I write this, Big Bad Toy Store is already sold out of four of the figures, and they’re still on pre-order (folks like me who kicked in on the Kickstarter campaign get theirs first).

It also wouldn’t hurt to let ZICA Toys know how much you’d like to see this line continue. You can leave comments on their Facebook page if you want to help the cause.

Of course, you’re probably wondering if the figures themselves are any good.

Yes. They are excellent. These may be the best figures I’ve seen in the 4″ scale. I counted 16 points of articulation. The sculpts are as impressive as some high-end 1/6 scale figures that I’ve seen. The joints are tight and hold a pose. The figures are balanced well, but also have tiny magnets in their feet, so you can use them with metal bases for even more action poses.

For the purpose of this review, I only cracked open one figure (so far). I chose the Stealth Captain Action, who has a gray variant of Captain Action’s original blue uniform.

I should point out here, that to get this line off the ground, the first series (of eight figures) all use the same basic body, only with different colors and chest emblems. This works better than you might think. It allowed them to focus on designing one high-quality body, with a variety of head sculpts. As you can see in the image I posted earlier, the second series will feature at least three new body designs.

I will also point out that this line went through a few changes while in the pipeline. Originally it was going to be called “Adventure People” and for this line, ZICA was going to revive the defunct REMCO name to put on the package. For reasons that don’t really affect the end product, REMCO was not used, and the name of the line was changed to “Comic Adventure Heroes.”

If you go way back to where I recommended the Kickstarter Campaign, you’ll see the different names. I’m not sure what happened to the collector-friendly packaging, but considering what ZICA had to go through to get these toys made, it’s a small sacrifice for the collector.

These are high-end 4″ figures, aimed at collectors aged 15 and up. They do have tiny pieces that would be a choking hazard to kids, so don’t mistake these for the toys you find at stores and keep them away from the mouths or other orifices of pets or small children.

Each figure comes with an alternate head (except for the Strike Force Trooper and Captain Evil’s Henchman) and several sets of alternately-posed hands.


Each figure also comes with a collection of weapons. Captain Action (In three different color schemes) comes with his lightning sword, raygun and space rifle. Captain Evil and his Henchman have the same weapons with different paint schemes, while Action Jackson, Jet Jungle and the Strike Force Trooper have the space rifle, but a more standard pistol and knife. Captain Action and Captain Evil also come with a removable Captain’s cap.



There are other nice details along the way: Action Jackson’s alternate head is clean-shaven. Jet Jungle’s alternate head has white hair instead of blond.

As with the sculpting and design, the paint jobs on these figures are fantastic.



If you collect 4″ action figures, then you will want in on these. The line combines three legendary action figures of yore (Captain Action, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle), with new enemies and…I’m not sure if the Strike Force Trooper is a good guy or bad guy, but he looks cool, and that’s all that counts.

What we have here is a series of great action figures that will scratch that itch among 4″ figure collectors. ZICA has also revived the Sectaurs line, and these figures are compatible with those. They are also compatible with the new 4″ figures in the JazWares Fortnite line, so you can create all sorts of wild scenarios with these guys.

Like I said, if you want to get in on the (Captain) action, check out ZICA or Big Bad Toy Store.



This has been a long process. It’s actually not the longest I’ve experienced for a Kickstarter project, but it has been over four years since I kicked in my money. Craig Owen, the owner of ZICA Toys, has gone way above and beyond to see this project to fruition.

The first factory he hired in China turned out to be totally incompetent, making promises and failing to deliver. He switched to a new factory, and a year after the original delivery date, decided to throw in the towel, cancel the project, refund everyone’s money and take a huge personal loss.


After being assured by the factory that they could indeed produce the figures at the quality Craig wanted, he reinstated the project and kept plugging along.

More than a year after that, he moved the project to a new factory. Lesser men would have thrown in the towel, and I really have to give Craig credit for sticking with this. He has been completely honest and transparent with his backers throughout this entire harrowing project.



The new factory had to fix a lot of the work that the previous factories had messed up, but they finally got everything going smoothly, and the figures hit the US just last week. And now the 4″ Captain Action and friends are in my hands, and I have to say, it was worth the wait. I’m really glad I ordered the entire set to add to my collection. I know some collectors of the original Captain Action are purists who despise any Captain Action figure that isn’t in their favorite scale, but they have to understand that it’s projects like this and earlier figures in other scales and formats that keep the Captain Action name alive, and make a future revival of the 1/6 scale line possible.



That’s this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for fresh content every day, and all our regular features, plus bonus coverage of Toy Fair starting this weekend.

News On GI Joe, AEW Action Figures and 1/6 Scale Horses

The PopCult Toybox

Pre-Toy Fair News

The New York Interntational Toy Fair kicks off this weekend, but people are already starting to leak images of the cool toys headed our way.

You can expect PopCult to be toy-heavy for the next week or two as we do our best to bring you as much news as possible.

We’re kicking things off today with some updates on stories we brought you a few weeks ago, plus some other cool news.

GI Joe: Classified Series

Hasbro will be releasing 6″ “Marvel Legends” scale figures based on GI Joe this summer. Images of a convention exclusive figure of Snake Eyes have turned up on social media, and we have them for you here, so you can get an idea of what to expect from “GI Joe: Classified Series.”

Thanks to Thomas Wheeler for bringing these to my attention.

As you can see, it’s a clever package design, with a star-shaped window that wraps around five sides of the box. The foam insert and extra weapons are part of a convention set, but the box you see is pretty much what will hit stores.


It’s still not clear if there will be an additional 4″ line of figures, possibly licensed to another company, or if there will be an additional line based on the Snake Eyes movie that’ due out this fall.

AEW Unrivaled Action Figures

We have the first photos and a cool video of the new All-Elite Wrestling figures, which should be in stores this summer from Wicked Cool Toys/JazWares. The first assortment will include Jericho, Cody, Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega and both of The Young Bucks.

Future assortments will follow, with Jon Moxley, Luchasaurus, Dr. Britt Baker, MJF and more. You can see the first wave being presented to the AEW wrestlers in this video…

Let’s look at the photos of the first wave, interspersed with quotes from the press release…

AEW UNRIVALED collectible action figures will boast 25 points of articulation, real 3d scanned likenesses and a variety of accessories and authentic ring wear. With multiple Waves per season, fans can collect the stars of TNT’s new, popular weekly show AEW DYNAMITE, including MJF, Darby Allin, Dr. Britt Baker, Brandi Rhodes, Hangman Page, Jurassic Express and many more.

Each Wave will include limited edition and rare variants to add chase and elation to every release.

Other authentic items for Fall 2020 will include the AEW UNRIVALED: Action Ring to play-and-display UNRIVALED figures and the AEW World Championship Title Belt, with even more formats and innovations in development for future seasons.

“AEW has very quickly become one of the most provocative, engaging and relevant wrestling brands of all time. It is a league embraced by generations of fans and collectors in a genre with a huge appetite for authentic product,” said Jeremy Padawer, EVP / Partner Jazwares. “We plan to build out the kind of program that can appeal both to the display collector and also to younger fans who want a tangible way to play and interact with their heroes,” said Michael Rinzler, EVP /
Partner Jazwares.

“When AEW launched just over a year ago, we couldn’t have imagined there would be a toy line this soon, featuring our wrestlers, making its debut at Toy Fair in New York City,” said Dana Massie, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer. “But, we’ve always known from the start that we have the greatest fans in the world, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to positively engage and connect with them in ways that matter. Our partnership with Jazwares ramps up our commitment to fan engagement, and we hope our fans will love the AEW action figures and collectibles representing the personalities who have become part of their lives each Wednesday on TNT, at our pay-per-view events and beyond.”

Steve-O’s Horses

Our last item for today is news that Steve Corn, who owns one of the original molds for the Marx Thunderbolt horse has made up a new batch, and they’re up for order on his website.

I first wrote about Steve’s horses a few years ago, and it’s one of our most-read posts here in PopCult. This new batch of horses was made in deep brown and light gray, and he has bright red tack in stock now,with more colors coming soon.

You can order the new horses made from the orginal mold that Marx used to make Johnny West’s faithful steed over fifty years ago at this link. While you’re there, check out the rest of his site for his cool, hand-crafted 1/6 scale Western gear, and the full story on how he came to own the Thunderbolt molds.

Tomorrow the PopCulteer will be devoted to a detailed review of a new iteration of one of the greatest action figures of all time, complete with photos and exclusive news on what the future holds.

Stuff To Do: February 20-23

Okay, we have our usual showcase of cool things you can do in town. As is our norm, this selection only scratches the surface, and tells you about the cool events in and around Charleston that are put on by people who are kind enough to provide graphics explaining what’s happening, where, and when.

If you want your event listed here, just make a graphic and post it on Facebook. Chances are I’ll find it.

Usually I try to post these items in the order in which they take place, but this week I want to spotlight one event, which happens on Saturday and Sunday. The Kanawha Valley Model Train & Craft Show happens this weekend at the Arena Event Center (in the former Value City Furniture building) on MacCorkle Ave in Saint Albans. This should be a lot of fun, and there will be lots to talk about (like the fact that they’ve finally started building the Menard’s in Barboursville), so any model railroading enthusiastic should try to stop by. Plus there will be crafts, too.

And with that show properly plugged, here’s a bunch of other things going on this weekend…




















Curtain Call Presents Tootsie On The AIR Wednesday

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a new episode of Curtain Call featuring the recently-closed Broadway Musical, Tootsie. You can tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Mel Larch devotes the full hour to highlights of a musical that just closed on Broadway earlier this year. However, a National Tour will begin later this year, and it’s set to open in London’s West End in the fall.  We’re talking about Tootsie, the musical based on the 1982 cross-dressing comedy classic, which starred Dustin Hoffman.

With a book that Robert Horn adapted from the screenplay by Larry Gelbart and friends, and music and lyrics by David Yazbek, Tootsie shows just how far a struggling actor will go to land a starring role. David Yazbek wrote the music and lyrics for many recent hit Broadway musicals like The Full Monty and The Band’s Visit, and he’s in top form here, telling the story of how Michael Dorsey became Dorothy Michaels.

Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight..


All-new Music Tuesday On The AIR!

Tuesday on The AIR we deliver brand-new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, NOISE BRIGADE and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. You simply have to move your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this excitable little embedded radio player…

We have yet another new three-hour Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday.  This week it’s another show jam-packed with great music from Charleston and the whole world.  This week we open with new music from Bon AIR, and that’s just the tip of the big, largely local, musical iceberg. Check out the playlist to see all the goodies we bring you this week…

RFCV5 007

hour one
Bon Air “Slide”
Farnsworth “Green Valley”
Linnfinity “Gingerbread Girl”
Kevin Scarbrough “O is for Operative”
Hellblinki “Rust”
Bad Keys Of The Mountain “Don’t Think Twice”
The Stranglers “Relentless”
Jay Parade “Three Cheers For A Goner”
Crazy Jane “Lemonade Song”
Ona “Lemon Sea”
Dubioza Kolectiv “Space Song”
Lou Reed “Dirty Boulevard”
Pepper Fandango “Scotch Whiskey”

hour two
4OHM MONO “Entertain Me”
Emmalea Deal “Everything I’m Not”
Mark Beckner “Fragile (C’est La Vie)”
Ann Manguson “What Is Pretty?”
Mika “Ice Cream”
Human Pyramids “The MIghty Atom”
The New Division “Modus”
Mother’s Nature “Stand Back”
Spurgy Hankins Band “Seagull”
Creek Don’t Rise “White Coat Man”
Van Morrison “In Search of Grace”
Nektar “The Light Beyond”
Rose Garden “Next Plane To London”

hour three
Red Audio “Moneytree”
Science of the MInd “Toxic Waste”
Mother Nang “Fade”
Mind Garage “Paint It Black”
M-Opus “Holy War”
Jeff Lynne’s ELO “From Out of Nowhere”
Barclay James Harvest “Sperratus”
Hurl Brickbat “World of Fire”
Out of Nowhere “You Know I’ve Tried”
Pale Nova “Never Get Enough”
The Who “Hero Ground Zero”
Church of the Cosmic Skull “Everybody’s Going To Die”
Godmode Broadway “Surfboards and Broadswords”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 2 PM Steven Allen Adams graces us with a new edition of NOISE BRIGADE that’s chock full o’ punk/ska crunchy goodness. Check out the playlist to see what Steve’s got up his sleeves…


MxPx/Bad Cop Bad Cop “Salt Lake City”
New Found Glory “Greatest Of All Time”
The bombpops “Double Arrows Down”
Bowling for Soup “Alexa Bliss”
Dropkick Murphys “The Bonny”
Grey Matter “Dang! (Love Yourself)”
Huntingtons “Be With You”
The Busters “Melodies”
Ben Folds Five “Army”
Clorox Girls “Flowers of Evil”
Descendants “Victim of Me”
Goldfinger “King for a Day”
Hub City Stompers “Wholottamullatto”
Madaline “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”
Stiff Little Fingers “Gotta Gettaway”
Talking Heads “Psycho Killer”
The Aquabats “Idiot Box!”

NOISE BRIGADE alternates weeks with Psychedelic Shack Tuesdays at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM and 10 PM, Thursday at 8 AM, Friday at Noon, Saturday at 10 AM, Sunday at 4 PM and Monday at 7 PM.

At 3 PM your PopCulteer returns to host a new hour of The Swing Shift as we continue to bring you the best Swing Music of the last century. This week we bring you the best Swing Music coming out of Europe from the last two years. Check out this playlist…

The Swing Shift 086

Vintage Gramola “Hotel California”
Savoy Satellites “I’m Evil”
Hot Club De Norvege “Just Friends”
Junco Shakers “Wish I Had A Woman”
Giorgio Cuscito & Friends “Perdido”
Reverent Juke “Shufflin’ and Rollin'”
Viglinone, Creni, Gattone “Douce Ambiance”
Marcus Chinkle Trio & Joscho Stephan “Reverie”
The Swingin’ Sisters “Kalskud”
Jive Me “Desert”
Joe Stilgoe “How To Fall In Love”
Fleur Seule “Taking A Chance On Love”
The Monkey Swingers “Heebie Jeebies”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 9 PM and Saturday at 5 PM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Monday Morning Art: Swirling Lines


This week our Monday art is a riff on a screen grab from the video I posted here last night. Both the animation and this piece are just examples of me playing with Moiré patterns. I hadn’t done any new geometrical art for a while, so this was a quick and easy way to wind-down after a busy week of outside assignments.

You can click the image if you want to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, instead of our usual Monday Marathon we are running a full day of Radio Free Charleston, from 7 AM to 11 PM, you can hear five of our new, bulkier three-hour episodes, plus an encore of the 100th episode of RFC V4 #100. All day long on this President’s Day, you can help erase the sting and shame of the current holder of that title by listening to some great music.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Sunday Evening Video: Moiré Amsterdam

This is a little bit of experimental animation, rather minimalistitic, that uses three geometric images and four simple backgrounds to create around two minutes of fun with Moiré patterns.

As they say at the Wikipedia, “In mathematics, physics, and art, moiré patterns are large-scale interference patterns that can be produced when an opaque ruled pattern with transparent gaps is overlaid on another similar pattern. For the moiré interference pattern to appear, the two patterns must not be completely identical, but rather e.g. displaced, rotated or have slightly different pitch.”

It’s set to two pieces of music that I composed around fifteen years ago, with the second being about thirty seconds of a bassline that I wrote which was completely remixed and expanded upon by my brother Frank.

Essentially, this is what happens after I wrap up a magazine deadline, don’t feel like writing or watching TV, am too tired to go out, and have half an hour to spare.


The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number Twenty-One

This week we go back to May, 2014, for an RFC MINI SHOW starring Mark Bates.

Mark Cline Bates hadn’t been on RFC since episode 58 ,in 2009, before we caught up with him again almost five years later and featured his music on RFC 196. From that same recording session at The Empty Glass, this episode of The RFC MINI SHOW brings you two songs from Mark, “Bigger Things” and “Closer.” Mark is still perfroming in the area, and touring nationally at times, and you can check out his website for news of his tour dates and you can also buy his music.

You may notice that this episode of The RFC MINI SHOW is number twenty-one, while our previous show was number nineteen. It was around this time that we discovered that we numbered two of our RFC MINI SHOWs as “seven.” We didn’t catch it, and nobody pointed it out to us, so we didn’t discover it until we were working on the RFC Archives. Rather than go back and re-number the previous thirteen shows, we’re just going to skip a number to get back on track. After we rendered this show as number twenty-one, we discovered that we also had two shows numbered “fifteen.” So expect next week’s flashback to The RFC MINI SHOW to be number twenty-three.

Making matters even more confusing, I had totally forgotten most of this, so when I ran flashbacks to both of the RFC MINI SHOWs that were numbered “fifteen,” a few weeks ago, I didn’t even notice.

Year of the Rabbit Debuts On IFC Next Week

The PopCulteer
February 14, 2020

Next Wednesday at 10:30 PM (EST), IFC will present the American debut of Year of the Rabbit, a co-production of IFC and Channel Four in the UK, starring Matt Berry.

Year of the Rabbit debuted last summer in the UK, and through the kindness of our friends at Haversham Recording Institute, I was able to watch the series as it was broadcast over Channel 4. Your PopCulteer and his wife are big fans of Matt Berry, following his career from The IT Crowd to Toast of London to What We Do In The Shadows…with stops along the way for his great voice work and his music.

I even posted one of his early works HERE and a mash-up of his BBC work HERE.

The six-episode first season stars Berry as the tough booze-hound Detective Inspector Rabbit. His greenhorn partner Strauss is played to perfection by Freddie Fox, and Susan Workman is hilarious as Mabel, the adopted daughter of the Chief Inspector, who wants to become the country’s first female police officer.

Rabbit is, to be blunt, an alcoholic mess. He’s had one eyebrow chewed off by his dog, and is in a constant state of dishevelment. He’s also the best detective in London. Strauss is deep in the thrall of hero worship, and is oblivious to Rabbit’s flaws. Mabel, a Black woman in Victorian London desperately wants to be a police officer, despite her rather crude behavior.

The trio fight crime in Victorian London’s East End, uncovering a secret society of feminist terrorists along the way, while dealing with Rabbit’s arch-rival, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Tanner. Their beat is the dark underbelly of London…and in many cases that literally means the sewers.

Year of the Rabbit is a perfectly concocted mix of ripping adventure and absurdist humor. The detective work is intriguing enough to pull you into the story, while the elements of the bizarre and slapstic comedy provide a series of hilarious payoffs.

There’s just enough drama to keep this from being a “zany” comedy, and the set design and costuming is as elaborate as anything you’ll see on Masterpiece Theater.

Created by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley (Black Books, Veep) with considerable input from Berry, Year of the Rabbit has aleady been renewed for a second season. The first season will debut on IFC next Wednesday at 10:30, and it’s a real gem of a television program.

More Stuff To Do

I posted a guide to Valentine’s Day events HERE, but the weekend does extend beyond tonight, and I found a graphic for an event tonight that was hidden away on Instagram, so check out these other cool things you can do in town this weekend.





And that is the PopCulteer this week. Check back for fresh content every day, and all our regular features.