PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

More Toy Photos From Canonsburg

photogThe PopCulteer
November 15, 2013

Last Tuesday we promised you more pictures from Where The Toys Are, in Canonsburg, Penssylvania, and today we deliver. However, we’re not quite done yet. Today we bring you photos of Western-themed Toys, Barbies and girl’s toys and some general coolness that we saw around the store, but we are going to extend this photo essay to three parts, and bring you even more next Tuesday in The PopCult Toybox.

You can see part one of this photo essay, focusing on Captain Action and Major Matt Mason, here. You will also see video of my nephew Gino with Lil, the Border Collie and mascot of Where The Toys Are. Gino also snapped the photo of KISS dolls that you see at the top of this post, and you’ll see a couple more of his photos Tuesday when we look at Trucks, Space Toys, Robots and Superheroes. But now, let’s get on with the pics…

Upon entering the store, you are greeted by The Cartrights, of "Bonanza" fame
Upon entering the store, you are greeted by The Cartwrights, of “Bonanza” fame

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The RFC MINI SHOW: Snakebox

This week’s RFC MINI SHOW takes us back to August, when we recorded Snakebox at The Empty Glass. We brought you two of those songs on episodes 189 and 190 of Radio Free Charleston, and from that same night, we’re bringing you two more in this week’s RFC MINI SHOW.

You can see Snakebox as part of Third Eye Cabaret at The Cellar on Capitol Street Thursday night, and we will update you here in PopCult when Snakebox has their next shows. These guys are extremely creative and loads of fun. As is explained in the show, their line up changes, but we caught them as a four-piece. We hope to have them back on the show with their expanded line up soon.

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The PopCult Bookshelf


This week’s PopCult Bookshelf is a bit different. I didn’t have time to read anything new this week since I took a quick vacation last week and returned to some pressing deadlines. I do want to share with you something I found while I was out of town.

IDW Publishing started releasing “Artist’s Editions” a few years ago. These are huge, lovely books that bring the reader classic comic book stories scanned in ultra-high resolution color directly from the original black-and-white art, and are printed the actual size of that art. The result is books that are as close as you can come to actually paging through the original art. You can see all the fine detail and inkwork, along with blue pencil lines, editorial notes, corrections and paste-ups.

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999784_244210792401915_80752846_nWe’re smack in the middle of the week, and there’s tons of stuff to do, including Radio Free Charleston recording at Third Eye Cabaret Thursday night. Expect a supplemental list on Friday, but for now here’s what we have…


Tonight Time and Distance (RFC 184) celebrate their leader’s birthday tonight as every gathers to blow out candles on Greg McGowan’s cake at The Empty Glass, starting at 10 PM. Five bucks gets you into the party where you can hear Time and Distance as they kick off a new mini-tour. Also on the bill tonight are frequent RFC guests The McGees and future guests, The Red Lights.

The Boulevard Tavern presents The Ford Theater Reunion with The
Trojan Whores and Rick Perdue, tonight starting at 9:30 PM. I’m guessing there’s a five-dollar cover, but don’t hold me to that.

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This week in the PopCult Toybox we’re going to look at a rare treat. Over the weekend I was in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania visiting my sister and niece and nephew. When in Canonsburg, we like to stop in a store called “Where The Toys Are.” I’ve written about this place before, back in 2007, and I brought you two photo essays two-and-a-half years ago. This is a great store. The owner, Phil McEntee, knows his stuff and has great deals on vintage toys, and Lil, the Border Collie, is a fun bonus for folks visiting the store.

Captain Action as Batman.
Captain Action as Batman.

Luck was with me on this visit. Phil had just acquired a fantastic collection of vintage Captain Action and Major Matt Mason items. I got to see things in person that I had only seen in books or on the internet before. Today I’m going to bring you photos of this new collection. These items are in great condition and are available for sale. You can call Where The Toys Are from noon to five, Thursday through Sunday, or contact them through their website.

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Monday Morning Art: Rustic Barn

Img_9524dNo, I’m not auditioning for Allied Artists or trying to get my work into Tamarack. I just wanted to try my hand at a digital oil painting based on a photograph I took on a road trip in Pennsylvania. It was a Mail Pouch Barn, which I was told years ago was a vanishing breed, but which now seem to be all over the place. This digital painting was done over a color-corrected and heavily airbrushed photo.  I think it may need a hot babe, a flying saucer or a cool car so it will fit in with my other work. Click to enlarge it, and watch for a new RFC MINI SHOW, featuring Snakebox, later this morning.

Sunday Evening Videos: Pittsburgh Ahoy!

511fDKksIHLYour PopCulteer has just returned from a quick trip to the Pittsburgh area, where we were happy to discover an extra treat during our visit: WQED was running their award-winning “Pittsburgh From The Air” specials.

These are compilations of beautifully shot aerial footage of Western Pennsylvania, set to terrific music by James Peck. Above you see a “making of” clip, and below you’ll see a couple of trailers. You can order DVDs or Blu Rays of these mesmerizing films here. It would be really cool if someone would rip off this idea and do it in West Virginia.

RFC Flashback: Episode Twelve

Wooden Rudy puppet
Wooden Rudy puppet

Today we bring you a most unusual and some might say rather pointless early episode of Radio Free Charleston. “Radio Free Charleston Shirt” is a “best of” RFC from the year 2006. Its eighteen minutes bring you highlights from every musical act and most of the animated shorts from our first year.

This was pretty easy because we had only produced eleven episodes up to this point. The production notes from December 29, 2006 explain that this was “Plan B,” and that the original idea for the show was for it to be a jam session held at LiveMix Studio, pulled together into a coherent show overnight and posted quick.

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Howard The Duck #001The PopCulteer
November 8, 2013

Comic books have not always been translated well into movies. There are so many problems with transferring works designed for one medium to another that there are bound to be changes, but in many cases those changes are arbitrary and illogical and harm the property more than help it. Hampered either by low budgets or by meddling producers, most comic-book-based movies before Marvel got its act together are at least seriously flawed. However, there are plenty of examples of big, studio-backed, movies based on comic books that managed to get it all wrong.

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Sick, Twisted and Hilarious

The PopCult Bookshelf

Ray and Joe
The Story of a Man and His Dead Friend
Ray and Joe The Story of a Man  His Dead Friend  Other Classic Comics HCAnd Other Classic Comics by
Charles Rodrigues
Fantagraphics Books
ISBN: 978-1-60699-668-3

Reverent collections of gut-bustingly funny comic strips done in extremely poor taste are few and far between, but when the planets align and such a collection presents itself, one can only “ohh” and “ah” over it and treat it as the special treasure that it is. “Ray and Joe: The Story of a Man and His Dead Friend” collects several years worth of comic strips that Charles Rodrigues produced for The National Lampoon from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. They are over-the-top with envelope-pushing bad taste and are characterized by Rodrigues’ deceptively grotesque cartooning and evil plotting.

They are, in short, brilliant. Sick, maybe, but still brilliant.

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