PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The Marx Toy Show 2019

The PopCult Toybox

Above you see PopCult’s video coverage of the 2019 Marx Toy Show, which happened June 14 and 15 at The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling. The idea was to give you a sample of the experience, compressed to just under eight minutes.

The Marx Show is always loads of fun, and you can get a taste of that in the video. You’ll see the toys, trains and most of all the people. Loads of enthusiastic collectors turned out to see what they could find to complete their collections.

PopCult was only there for the first day of the show, since we split our weekend between Wheeling and Columbus, where MEGO Meet took place. Even so, it was great fun to see our Marx Toy collecting buddies, and pick up some goodies for our own ever-growing toy archives.

Below is a small sampling of photos from the show. We’ll be posting more photos in the future, and we’ll also have photos to go with our side trip to The Marx Toy Museum, once we get the video for that evening edited and posted (probably next week). Tomorrow, if things go according to plan, we’ll bring you a video of our time at MEGO Meet.

We’re going to kick it off with images of some of the cool stuff I got at the show…

Above you see two images of the ultra-cool “Kneeling Johnny,” created by Terry Ryder.  Terry took some broken Johnnys and reassembled them into a fixed pose, then painted them to get a bronzed look. There are only ten of these, and I was was privileged to score one for my collection. It will have a place of honor.

This is a large part of my entire Marx haul. I’m trying not to accumulate quite so much until we get our storage and display issues sorted here at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor. This was a small toy show pick up for me.

Legendary Defectors and Clownhole guitarist, John “Sham Voodoo” Estep, and his son, Grayson, with their cool space playset that they managed to snag. It’s always cool to see an old friend, and even cooler to see them find some great toys.

More toy porn. Control yourselves, people.


One of the many incredible playsets on display at the show.


Dave Roth caught in the act of making a Marx collector very happy.


The amazing Terry Ryder, with the amazing work of Lee and Grayson Bowling, a beautiful oversized wooden recreation of the plastic Johnny West travel case, complete with bas relief sculpting and gold lettering.

Always good to see cool stuff in the train room.


Even though my heart is in The JohnnyCon room.


The friendly staff at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum checking in another happy collector.

We will have more Marx photos next week, including photos from The Marx Toy Museum, where your PopCulteer actually remembered to get his photo with some of his friends this time. Tomorrow, however, we turn our attention toward MEGO Meet.


Adventures In Toyland

The PopCult Toybox

Last weekend your PopCulteer attended two cool toy shows in two days, and is in the midst of working on videos and photos of those cool things to bring to his readers here in PopCult.

However, this is taking a bit longer than was expected because a mild-case of dual-city con crud needed tending to, and there were some other deadlinery things to deal with upon my return home.

Today we’re going to have a mini-photo essay of the trip, with five images from The Marx Toy Show in Wheeling, and five images from MEGO Meet in Columbus. If all goes according to plan, tomorrow I’ll have a short video and way more photos from The Marx Toy Show, and then Friday we’ll do the same for MEGO Meet. Both shows were incredible, and it was exhausting making the trip between them. I’m hoping that next year they have them on different weekends so I can take in the full experience of both shows.

The Marx Show will happen June 19-20 next year, so the MEGO folks, who did a great job with everything except scheduling this year, have a full year to pick a different weekend.

I’ll have more details on both shows in the next couple of days. The images below are sort of randomly-picked because I’m posting this right after moving the images into the PC for the first time. We’ll have way more pictures and links and stuff in the coming days.

The Marx Toy Show


Collectors in the train room, as the train layouts were being constructed just out of camera range. The dinosaur display caught my eye.


Not Marx, but it’s always cool to find a display case of Captain Action stuff on Tom Heaton’s Vintage Toy Room table.


The Bowlings, who wowed everyone with their custom creations, talking to Scott Stewart of Stewart’s Toy Attic in the Johnny West Dealers Room


Cheap plastic. Can’t beat that.


Another shot of the Johnny West Dealers Room, looking at Professor Jim Fuller’s table of cool stuff. I bought a couple of those custom figures.



Your PopCulteer with none other than Marty Abrams himself, the founder of MEGO Corp, and a very gregarious and nice guy.


These slightly modified customs of Captain Kirk dealing with Tribbles cracked your PopCulteer up, big time.


A portion of the MEGO customs entered into the Custom Auction.


Art Baltazar’s freaking incredible display. Always cool to see Art buzzing about the show.


We wrap up this look at MEGO Meet with a stop at the Small Chaos Studios custom display. Very cool stuff.

Thursday expect a big post on The Marx Toy Show, and Friday we’ll return to MEGO Meet in The PopCulteer.


The Spirit Is Willing, But The Flesh Is Weak

Well, not so much the flesh, but the voice is shot. After an incredibly fun, but hectic weekend running from The Marx Toy Show in Wheeling to MEGO Meet in Columbus, and talking to dozens of people all weekend long, your PopCulteer found himself without a voice when it came time to record this week’s programs for The AIR. So that means that it’s rerun time again Tuesday on The AIR as we deliver Brand-Old episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. This is your chance to play catch-up and tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 10 AM and 10 PM you can hear a great episode of Radio Free Charleston from March. You can read about it HERE.  After the morning run, you can hear three more episodes of the show from March and April, featuring new music from loads of great local bands.

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM and Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM The Swing Shift shifts back to January for a birthday tribute to Brian Setzer, with a full hour of his great Swing Music. You can find the playlist HERE (scroll down). That is followed by another January episode which you can read about HERE.

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

As it looks now, the remainder of this week’s shows will also likely be encores, as your PopCulteer dives headfirst into editing videos and photos from the two toy shows he attended last weekend. We still have a killer internet radio station. You should check it out. Our reruns are better than everybody else’s new shows!

Monday Morning Art: Big Softy


This week we continue our New York-inspired art with a digital watercolor of a street scene that might just look really tempting about now. This is based on a series of images taken from the TopView tour bus while we were tooling around Lower Manhattan. I composited the photos, then worked ’em over with my digital paint brushes. You can click the image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, Monday on The AIR, this week we bring you a Monday Marathon of Radio Coolsville, with DJ Betty Rock. It’s an eight hour dose of alternative rock pleasantry. That starts at 7 AM. At 3 PM we bring you eight hours of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, filling The AIR with crunchy New Wave goodness. Then at 11 PM we kick it over to Prognosis, with eight hours of great progressive rock.

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

I love unusual cover songs, and I love hard-driving punk music. Combine the two and you get Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Our video tonight is this band in concert from 2012, before they got into any trouble for saying stupid stuff.

In this concert, which runs a little over an hour, you will hear the band perform the following songs: Stairway to Heaven; Leaving On A Jet Plane; Don’t Cry for me Argentina; Danny’s Song ; All My Loving; Heart Of Glass; Have You Ever Been Mellow ; On The Road Again; Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard; Uke Hunt: Fascination; I believe I Can Fly; Tomorrow; Country Roads; Seasons In The Sun; Ghost Riders In The Sky; Hero;  Science Fiction Double Feature; Summertime; Jolene;  Come Sail Away; Nobody Does It Better; Rocket Man.

This is your chance to catch a cool band while I crank out a quick post because I’m on the road, returning from two toy shows. Enjoy, and play it loud!

Oh, it might not exactly be safe for work.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 189

Now it can be told! It was with this episode of Radio Free Charleston, back in 2013, that I began to panic. I was rapidly approaching episode 200. I planned to do something really special,. but I wanted some time to prepare for it, and also to recover to a major life change as my uncle, for whom I’d been toiling as a caregiver for the previous eight years, had just croaked, and I was enjoying life as a non-caregiver for the first time since the mid-1990s. I started doing longer shows, beginning with this one, but did them less frequently.

In between those shows I came up with the idea of producing The RFC MINI SHOW, which would focus on one musical artist with just a couple of songs. The plan was to record three songs by a band or singer, and save two for The RFC MINI SHOW, while using the other for the main RFC program.

Yes, my idea to reduce my workload involved creating a second program that ran almost weekly. I never claimed to be immune to having illogical ideas.

Radio Free Charleston 189, “NASA Shirt,” took the show in this slightly new direction. This week we had music from three bands making their RFC debuts, plus we had a new tune from a returning favorite and some cool promo clips and weird stuff. Our musical guests were Motion Theatre, Zeroking (show in the photo) and Snakebox, plus The Diablo Blues Band.  You can read the original production notes for this show HERE.

When we get to the point where The RFC MINI SHOW begins, I will run those in this space, in chronological order, alternating with Radio Free Charleston in the same order as they were posted. Just so’s you know. In fact that starts next week. Oddly enough, we are catching up to the point in RFC’s history where I started this very feature, nearly six years ago.

MEGO Meet In Columbus This Weekend

The PopCulteer
June 14, 2019

The MEGO Toy Corporation is in the midst of a major renaissance, and this weekend an annual convention devoted to their toys happens in Columbus. Mego Meet is the annual toy convention for Mego Collectors and fans. Put on every year by the members of the Mego Museum, Mego Meet is meant to not only be a toy show but a community gathering., or so they say.  This will be the first MEGO Meet that I’ve been able to attend since they stopped having them at The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling. After three years in Skokie, Illinois, they moved to Columbus last year, but the show was held on a weekend when your PopCulteer was in New York City. This year MEGO Meet overlaps with The Marx Toy Show in Wheeling, so we’ll be splitting our time between the two cities.

June 14 and 15 at the Courtyard Columbus in West Hilliard collectors of a certain age will converge to celebrate the cheesy, delightful and cool eight-inch action figures that dominated the toy world in the 1970s.

Last year at MEGO MEET, MEGO’s president, Marty Abrams, announced that his much-loved company, which ruled the action figure roost in the late 1970s, was returning. Abrams was accompanied by Paul Clarke (AKA Dr. MEGO), who I know has been twisting Marty’s arm for years to get him to jump back into the game. With the help of some well-heeled investors, his dream has finally come true. The first fifty-plus figures were exclusive to Target, and were a pretty significant hit. The Target exclusivity ended on January 1 of this year, but the line continues to grow with dozens of new figures released so far in 2019, and more to come.

Last week at the Licensing Expo in New York, MEGO announced that they will be producing figures of Rocky Balboa and The Mummy. I would expect that several more upcoming figures will be announced by Marty and Paul this weekend.

The MEGO Museum is a major source for info about this beloved toy company, and you should bookmark them to keep up with all the latest details as they come to light. Brian Heiler, who runs the MEGO Museum is also the man behind this convention, and we are extremely grateful for his efforts (but we hope that next year he can book the show on a different weekend than the Marx Toy convention). The MEGO Museum is also where we swiped the photo at left of Marty and Paul. Thanks again, Brian!

As this post goes live your PopCulteer is waking up in Wheeling, preparing to check out of the hotel, spend the day at the Marx Toy Show, stop by The Marx Toy Museum late in the afternoon, and then make the trek to Columbus for MEGO Meet. It’s a busy and hectic day, but my mission to bring my readers news about cool stuff knows no bounds.

You can read about The Marx Toy Show HERE, and learn about MEGO Meet right here in this post that you’re currently reading. Isn’t that convenient?


We made a video at the last MEGO MEET we were able to attend five years ago. Here it is…

The PopCult MEGO Index

Over the years we’ve covered tons of MEGO stories in PopCult, and we’re going to give you a handy guide to it right here. Keep in mind that many of these links have outdated information, and in the oldest post, from 2006, all the graphics were eaten by the internet. We’ve covered MEGO Meet in the past, and we’ve also posted reviews of MEGO and ReMEGO toys, and recommended stuff in our annual gift guide. Presented here is a huge list of links to PopCult posts, in no real coherent order. Go read yourself silly about MEGO:

MEGO MEET Coverage

The Return of MEGO!

The PopCult Toybox: MEGO Meet X

The PopCult Toybox: MEGO Meet Photos

MEGO Meet 2012 In Photos

Modern Millie and Magnificent MEGO



Previews of MEGO MEETS past:

Sunday Evening Video: Vintage MEGO Commercials

The PopCult Toybox: MEGO MEET This Weekend in Wheeling!

The PopCult Toybox: We Go MEGO

The PopCult Toybox: Ghosts Of MEGO Meets Past

The PopCult ToyBox: MEGO Meet Preview

Sunday Evening Videos: Star Trek: The MEGO Picture

Reviews of MEGO and MEGO-like action figures:

More On The MEGO Revival and a quick look at Action Jackson

Venture Brothers ReMegos Reviewed

The Sea Ghost Enters The Realm of MEGO

MEGO History and news of ReMegos and the rebirth:

MEGO Storms Into 2019 With New Action Figures

MEGO Figures at Target

More MEGO Details Revealed at SDCC


The Return of MEGO!

ToyLanta 2017: Earth Station One and MEGO Mania

Sunday Evening Videos: MEGO Action Figures

Toy Fair 2019: Retro Toys and Links

Random Items Fill Up Weekly Column! Read All About It!

The PopCult Toybox News Round Up

Short Notes From The World of PopCult

Updates and Coming Attractions

GI Joe’s Biological Father Passes Away

The History of Star Trek Toys at ShockaCon

PopCult at Toy Fair: Bif Bang Pow!/Entertainment Earth

The History of Science Fiction Toys

Diamond Select Toys at Toy Fair

The PopCult Toybox: ShockaCon presents the History of Monster Toys

The PopCult Toybox: Figure Reviews

The PopCult Toybox: A Brief Update

The PopCult Toybox: Cast-a-Way Toys Kickstarter

The PopCult Toybox

Random Time Again

Cool Toy Of The Week: Classic TV Toys

PopCult Gift Guide Entries:

Gift Guide: KISS Demon Action Figure With Blood-spitting Action

Gift Guide: Santa Claus 8 Inch Retro Action Figure

Gift Guide: Mego 8 Inch Super-Heroes: World’s Greatest Toys!

Now that you’ve read all of that…well if you did, MEGO Meet is probably already over by now. Still, you should try to make it to Columbus if MEGO is the toy what tickles your fancy.

And that is this week’s PopCulteer. Remember to listen to the RFC marathon on The AIR, and check PopCult for all our regular features.

3 Day RFC Marathon On The AIR

2019 marks 30 years since the debut of Radio Free Charleston on Broadcast radio. For the next three days on The AIR we present all-day marathons of Radio Free Charleston. To hear hours and hours of great local music all you have to do is tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 AM to Midnight you can hear a few dozen of our best episodes of RFC, featuring an assortment of great local musicians at their best. The Radio Free Charleston Archives go back more than fifty years, and you’ll hear a wide range of music from Rock to Jazz to Pop to Country, Punk, Metal, Ska, Classical, Ambient and more.

This is your chance to get up to speed on Charleston’s best-kept secret. No other radio station has displayed this level of committment to our homegrown talent, and it’s a blast to be able to share it with thousands of listeners around the world on The AIR.

Thursday at Midnight The AIR will switch over for one of our weekly overnight marathons of The Swing Shift. If we pre-empted it, our loyal listeners in Europe and South America would be very angry. Friday at Midnight you can get a preview of our new Friday overnight schedule of talk, comedy and music programming that will kick off in earnest in July. Saturday, however, Radio Free Charleston will keep going, with this week’s new episode kicking off the regular weekend midnight marathon.

RFC began life as an overnight program on broadcast radio. Years after office politics ended that version of the show it was reborn as a video program, first on The Gazz.com and then later on YouTube. More recently we returned to our radio roots on PopCult’s own internet radio statin, The AIR, but the video version of the show is still a thing. You never know when a new episode will pop up.

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 1 PM, exclusively on The AIR. Tune in and hear what you’ve been missing.

Check out our historical logo from the original run of the show below.

Wednesday afternoon on The AIR, you can tune in to new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call.  You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 2 PM on Beatles Blast, yours truly hosts the third of a ten-part look at rare and unreleased music by The Beatles. For most of the summer, Beatles Blast will follow this format and bring you The Lost Beatles Project. This will be a treat for the die-hard fans as we mine the best of the recently-released archive projects by the band, and mix in rare releases and wild remixes from their band and solo years. We won’t be posting playlists for these shows because the whole point is that each of these programs will be a revelatory surprise.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 9 PM, Friday at 11 AM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call. This week Mel brings you highlights of this year’s winner of the Tony Award for best musical, Hadestown. Hadestown is a musical retrellling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in a more modern setting than it’s usual mythical Greek location. For the full hour you will here many tracks from the yet-to-be-released Broadway cast album, along with four songs from a live recording of the Off-Broadway run of the play from 2016.

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 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..

Once again, we have an all-new-programming Tuesday on The AIR as we deliver new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. Why don’t you become one and tune in at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston. This week’ show is devoted to instrumental music and opens with a brand-new track from Fayetteville’s Black Garlic. We dig back in the archives a bit, and mix up the old and new.

Check out the playlist:


Black Garlic “Blound Brears”
Fletcher’s Grove “Log Jam”
Socio Turmoil and The Dynamic Brain “Her Name Is Elana”
Karma To Burn “Nineteen”
John Inghram “The Gospel”
A Flying Fortress “Umami”
Neostra “Passage to the Eternal”
Todd Tamenend Clark “Dark Matter/Dark Energy”
Scrap Iron Pickers “Swamp Thing”
Rudy Panucci “Spring Piano Sketch”
Mel Larch “Fishtune”

I want to mention that it would have made perfect sense to include new music from Spencer Elliott in this show, but I put this show together last week, before his new CD was released, so we’ll have to play catch-up and bring you new music from Spencer over the coming weeks.

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

At 2 PM on Psychedelic Shack Nigel Pye checks in from Haversham Recording Institute with a 60-minute mixtape of groovy Psychedelic Rock. Our friend, the Hippie Gnome, Nigel Pye, has once again neglected to provide us with a playlist for this new episode, but he tells me that it opens with Blues Magoo, and that the rest of the show is filled with “really heavy, trippy stuff, man.”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM and Saturday at 7 AM as well as the following Tuesday at 9 AM.

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 take that mission to heart and devote the entire show to the music of Glenn Miller, 115 years after his birth, and 75 years after his unfortunate passing.

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

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else. Check PopCult regularly for details on our new episodes.