PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Hot on the heels of last Friday’s look at Johnny West (scroll down, I’m not going to link the previous post), we’re going to shine our Sunday Evening Video spotlight on several other cool products from The Marx Toy Company. Above, you see The Great Garloo, one of the coolest, most f***ed up toys ever created. On the other side of the jump you’ll see a guy showing off his vintage Great Garloo, along with commercials for several other wild Marx Toys from days gone by.

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“The Best Of The West” Back In The Saddle

The PopCulteer
May 15, 2009

The Ballad Of Johnny West

There were four big action figures that all the kids wanted back in the 1960s (I know, I’m dating myself).

GI Joe was the original action figure. Originally nearly a foot tall, he’s gone through a lot of changes over the years, but he’s still with us. Captain Action was the first super-hero action figure. The Captain has been revived in comic book form and as a limited edition figure, and I’ve written about his extensively here in PopCult. Even Major Matt Mason is coming back. The bendy-style astronaut figure will make his way to the big screen soon, portrayed by his biggest fan, Tom Hanks.

Then there was Johnny West. King of the cowboy action figures. Johnny hasn’t been so lucky. For years the ownership of his name has been in trademark limbo. His only appearance in the mainstream media was being mistaken for a vibrator in “American Pie 2.” An attempted revival fizzled out earlier in this decade, when a poorly-packaged reproduction was released by a company that was eventually sold to a firm that merged with a rap concert promoter. In the resulting mess, the reissues became less accurate and eventually the line was abandoned and we didn’t know if we’d ever see our cowboy buddy again.

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Go Van Gogh: The Sad Truth…RFC 69 Notes

Radio Free Charleston’s very special sixty-ninth episode is online now! This is a departure episode for us, as we present an edited version of Timothy Rock’s 1992 documentary, “Go Van Gogh: The Sad Truth.” This film depicts the aura, the bubble of success that surrounded this almost-mythic band. It stars Go Van Gogh, themselves, Johnny Rock, Tim Rock, Stephen Beckner and Mark Beckner. It’s the kick-off of “Mark Beckner Month” here on Radio Free Charleston, as we celebrate the pending return to the Charleston area of Mark’s Nashville-based band, Hitchcock Circus. Hitchcock Circus will be playing at LiveMix Studio on May 30–their first gig in town since 1995. Every episode of RFC in May will feature Mark in some manner or another.

“Go Van Gogh: The Sad Truth” (which I believe inspired Al Gore to make “An Inconvenient Truth,” the copycat) uses interviews with the band to show just exactly how great they thought they were. It’s safe to say that no other band in the history of Charleston ever achieved the level of greatness that Go Van Gogh thought they had. Two complete songs are heard in this edited version of the documentary: “I Can’t Sleep At Night,” written by Tim and Johnny Rock and Jason Ashworth, and “Born 2 Late,” written by Mark Beckner. Aside from the music and interviews with the band, the film also presents interviews with “friends” of the band, to show the perspective of folks who weren’t necessarily drinking the Go Van Gogh Kool Aid. Needless to say, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Okay, so it’s really a mockumentary, completely tongue-in-cheek. It’s still a blast, even if the guys were in on the joke. Hey, we can’t all be Jesco.

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Sometimes life gets in the way of artistic endeavor. This is one of those times.

Today’s art is an alternate version of a piece I ran back in March, 2006. That piece was lost to the ages in the great Gazz WordPress revolution of 2007, so I can bring you this version without feeling like I cheated my readers……much.  It’s called “The Trax,” a title I have used more than a few times.  After the jump, you can see yet another alternate version.  I can’t seem to find the original work at this time.  Click ’em to enlarge.

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Sunday Evening Videos: Viva le Vaudeville


Our videos this week are two promo clips that I’ve put together for Jenna Brooke Smith’s “Viva le Vaudeville” show at the La Belle Theater on May 30.  First up is a general promo for the show.  After the jump, we have a recruiting clip.  If you have an unusual act that you’d like to show off to the public, this is your chance! Contact Jenna for details on how you can be part of the show.

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IWA News And A Correction

The PopCulteer
May 8, 2009

South Charleston/IWA Update 

First things first, a few weeks ago I wrote about how the City of South Charleston booted IWA East Coastout of their Community Center. In that piece, I wrote that the blame fell squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Frank Mullins and City Manager Carlton Lee. It turns out I was wrong.  Mullins and Lee were diplomatically accepting blame that should not have fallen on them. It does seem that the complaints about language and violence were indeed not the real reason IWA was asked to leave. However, Mullins and Lee were basically falling on their swords to cover for the real culprits.

There is some sort of governing committee that oversees the South Charleston Community Center, and they were the people who decided that they didn’t like the crowds (or the money) that IWA East Coast brought into their facility. They apparently feel that, in order to best serve the community, they should restrict the use of their facility solely to dues paying members.  Evidently they DO want to run the taxpayer-supported Community Center as a country club.

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IWA East Coast: Let’s see How This Goes

Fresh from being evicted from the city of South Charleston (they were deemed to not be wholesome enough to appear in the building shaped like giant boobs), IWA East Coast invades Skateland at421 Campbell’s Creek Wednesday Night with “Let’s See How This Goes,” an evening of high-octane wrestling featuring wrestlers who have been seen by billions of fans! Click the poster above for more info and directions to the show. There has been one big-name last-minute addition: ECW legend, Axl Rotten, will be there!


Follow the jump for even more details on the card.

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Monday Morning Art: The Dance

Mark Davis and John Nelson held a Vinyl Dance Party and Art Show at St. John’s Episcopal Church Saturday night as a fundraiser for Manna Meal. It was a great cause, and a wonderful time. The dance floor eventually was packed, but early on only a couple of dancers took to Terpsichore, and I snapped a photo of two of them out there with the cool lighting. What you see above is a digital pencil sketch over that photo.

As always, click the image to see a bigger version. And follow the link to Manna Meal, too. It’s a great cause.


Marshhouse Art’s  first curated show this year was a solo exhibit from Ms. Leia Bell of Salt Lake City, Utah. The show, titled Bears, Birds, and Buildings, took place at The Good News Mountaineer Garage Gallery in Charleston, WV. in April.  Leia is probably best known for her silk screened gig posters and cute art prints. The prints can feature anything from a group of standoffish seals to a boy “caught in the act” with his finger up his nose.

Selected works from the show are now on exhibit at The Bluegrass Kitchen, and can be purchased through Marshhouse Art.com. This 100-second Art show will turn up in a future episode of Radio Free Charleston, but I wanted to get it out here so now so you could go see Leia’s art in person.