PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Ari Lehman, The First Jason, at ShockaCon 2015

ARI 01Ari Lehman, the first actor the play “Jason” in the Friday The 13th movie franchise, appears at ShockaCon 2015 and discusses his acting career, how he was cast in the classic horror movie and his career as a musician.

You can follow Ari’s careers at his website.

PopCult will present more video of ShockaCon 2015 all weekend long. You can see the Costume Parade HERE and Hurl Brickbats on the RFC MINI SHOW HERE.

A Buncha Stuff In The PopCulteer

BrianThe PopCulteer
September 25, 2015

It’s time for our weekly collection of essays, random thoughts, stray photos, and alerts to what’s happening.  This week, the PopCulteer is yet another grab bag of smaller items.

We’re going to kick it off with the podcast edition of STUFF TO DO, our new weekly audio roundup of the cool things you can do in and around Charleston.  Since this is still a work in progress, this week’s edition is an attempt to speed things up by talking really fast and running through the items as quickly as possible.  You can hear STUFF TO DO in this handy dandy little widget [HERE].  If you can’t get it to work, shout loudly at your computer for a few moments, then move onto something else.

ShockaCon wrap up

Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer, all happy at ShockaCon. Photo by Penny Maple
Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer, all happy at ShockaCon. Photo by Penny Maple

ShockaCon 2015 is in the books and it’s going to go down as a winner.  Despite (or perhaps because of) the last minute cancellation by international movie star and alledged crackpot Bai Ling, the show was a rousing success.  Mat Fraser, a last minute replacement for the ailing Rose Siggins, proved to be a charming and charismatic guest and was particularly engaging when paired with his American Horror Story co-star Drew Rin Varrick.  Ari Lehman, the original “Jason” from Friday the 13th was a pure hyper delight and The Walking Dead was well represented by Adam Minoravich and Jeryl Prescott.

Continue reading…

The Comic Book Genius of Alex Toth

The PopCult Bookshelf

514EyOra99LCreepy Presents Alex Toth
By Alex Toth and various
Dark Horse Books
ISBN-13: 978-1616556921

Alex Toth was a genius comic book artist. He famously passed away of a heart attack at his drawing board at the age of  77 in 2006, but his legacy had been cemented for decades. He’s primarily known today for his work in animation, where he designed classic Hanna Barbera cartoons like Space Ghost, The Herculoids and Super Friends. His comic book work is far more impressive, but it’s sadly overshadowed by his more famous animation work.

There are several books on the market that present detailed looks at his life and career, but Creepy Presents Alex Toth lets his work do the talking, and his work stands on his own as some of the most innovative graphic storytelling in the history of the medium.

Toth's innovative layouts actually helped the story, instead of hindering it
Toth’s innovative layouts actually helped the story, instead of hindering it

Creepy Presents Alex Toth collects all of the stories Toth drew for Creepy and Eerie Magazine during three stints working for Warren Publishing. His first work for the company was done under the editorship of Archie Goodwin, who still ranks high on most people’s list of the greatest writer/editor in comics. By this point in his career Toth had hit his stride and distilled his artwork to a deceptively simple-looking style that combined the austerity of animation design with the grand tradition of adventure comic strip art and highly innovative layouts that recal and surpass the experimental work of comics pioneer Will Eisner.

Eight of the twenty-one stories in this collection are written by Goodwin and feature Toth at his peak form. The short-story “mystery/horror” form is perfectly suited for Toth’s moody style and his work here is worth the price of the book by itself.

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The ShockaCon 2015 Costume Parade

parade pickWe started our instant (ish) video coverage of last weekend’s ShockaCon with the latest RFC MINI SHOW, starring Hurl Brickbat. Now we let another video treat trickle out. It’s our clip for this year’s ShockaCon Costume Parade, which started at the Beni Kedem Shrine Center and wound around the first floor of The Charleston Town Center Mall.

Check out the video above and gird your loins for a steady flow of panel discussions, performances and other cool stuff brought to you by the PopCult and Radio Free Charleston crew, your PopCulteer, Melanie Larch and Lee Harrah. We’ll be posting ShockaCon stuff for the next week or so.

Hess 001The PopCult Toybox

Hess Oil Trucks are a Christmas season tradition in the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Every year since 1964 the fuel company has issued a commemorative truck, usually with electronic lights and sounds and always with batteries included. Last year they marked their fiftieth anniversary with an oversized replica of the original Hess Truck, and in addition they produced a really cool truck that carried a Space Shuttle, which carried a satellite, as their 2014 entry in the line.

The first Hess Truck, in 1964, originally sold for $1.29.
The first Hess Truck, in 1964, originally sold for $1.29.
Last year's impressive Space Shuttle set, with satellite
Last year’s impressive Space Shuttle set, with satellite

Even with the Hess name being phased out following the chain being sold to Marathon last year, the Holiday Truck line will continue.

Hess Corporation just announced that the 2015 Toy Truck will be revealed in late October and sales will begin online November 1 at www.hesstoytruck.com with free standard shipping and five Energizer batteries included.This year’s truck is still a mystery, but the five batteries is a hint that it’s going to be something really elaborate and cool.

Something else really cool is that for the first time, 100 lucky fans will unwrap a surprise this holiday season – a Silver Edition 2015 Hess Toy Truck, which will be randomly awarded in place of the 2015 Hess Toy Truck. This will be a Willy Wonka-Golden Ticket-style surprise that will make collectors go mad.

In another first, customers can purchase the toy at 10 select shopping malls starting November 12. Sadly, none of them are anywhere near Charleston, WV. The closest mall selling the trucks is a five-and-a-half hour drive. However, all of our loyal PopCult readers are not local, so if you’re one of our out-of-state regulars, here are the malls involved:

New York: Queens Center, Kings Plaza, Green Acres and Broadway
New Jersey: Paramus Park, Woodbridge Center, Willowbrook and Cherry Hill
Pennsylvania: Willow Grove Park and Capital City

The 2012 Hess Truck was a rescue helicopter with an SUV that launched from the back
The 2012 Hess Truck was a rescue helicopter with an SUV that launched from the back

To stay up to date with the Hess Toy Truck and to learn more about the 100 Silver Edition collectibles, sign up for alerts at www.hesstoytruck.com and follow Hess Toy Truck on Facebook, Twitter, @HessToyTruck, and Instagram, @HessToyTruck.

If you don’t want to do all that, check back for the annual PopCult Gift Guide which will run for fourteen days starting November 1.I’m pretty sure the Hess Truck will be among my recommendations.

NAR-log-0031RFCv3 #37

Opening Track: Three Bodies  “The Trax”

We are back from a nearly month-long hiatus that we took so that we could bring you The ShockaCon Horror Show podcast. That was our special “event” podcast, hosted by Lee Harrah and designed to raise awareness of ShockaCon 4, the horror and science fiction convention that just happened last weekend. Scroll down this blog a bit and you can find all nine episodes.

Now we are back with a show bursting at the seams with music. We are not going to have a theme in our second hour, but we will bring you some themed four-song sets.

For the time being, Radio Free Charleston V3 is operating as a podcast, hosted at Voices of Appalachia.  We hope to get the streaming service back online soon.

You can listen to the show in this widget [HERE] or look if that’s not working or turning into a widget like it’s supposed to, right click on it and save it as a download, or open it in a new window to listen, or you could just click over to Voices of Appalachia. We’re trying to cover all our bases here.

joe-tributepageWe do have a somber note on which to begin the show this week. Joe Dobbs, a musician, radio host and the owner of Fret N Fiddle in Saint Albans passed away September 21 after a short illness. Joe was an amazing person, a friend, mentor, confidante and inspiration to generations of area musicians. We’re going to dive into the music this week with a track from his band, The 1937 Flood.

The 1937 Flood  “St. Louis Blues”
Sheldon Vance  “Northbound”
Whistlepunk 2.0  “Outshine”
The Amazing Delores  “Stand By Me”

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Hurl Brickbat stars on The RFC MINI SHOW

Image7One of the many highlights of ShockaCon 2015 (and our first dip into the treasure trove of video that we recorded there) was the Saturday night performance by Hurl Brickbat.  Hurl Brickbat is: Daniel Ferrell (Drums/Vocals), Chuck Keyser (Guitar), Caleb Moore (Bass) and Christopher Carter (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar). The band is working on original tunes, but in this RFC MINI SHOW we’re going to bring you a couple of Alice in Chains covers that they’ve worked up.

It was really cool to capture one of the early performances by this very young band. We expect big things from them and hope to have them on Radio Free Charleston many times in the future.

Look for more videos from ShockaCon 2015 all week long in PopCult.


Above you see a very hastily-painted digital rendering of Pepper Fandango and Luna L’Enfant based on a photo taken at last night’s session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School. This was done very fast by your PopCulteer who is about to collapse from joyful exhaustion after spending three days recording tons of video at ShockaCon. We will revisit this session again in the future, and tell you all about next month’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer-themed night as it approaches. Click the image to enlarge it.

Later today the video onslaught from ShockaCon will begin with a special RFC MINI SHOW starring Hurl Brickbat. We will be running late, so don’t look for it before Monday evening.

49 Years of The Monkees

Monkees-Annual-back-cover-the-monkees-17013787-1650-2377Last week marked the 49th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of The Monkees’ television show. The Pre-fab four was an instant hit and once the band lived on for years after their show and been cancelled and the four actor/musicians had gone their separate ways thanks to the magic of syndication.

We wanted to get the jump on next year’s golden anniversary by bringing you the pilot episode, “Here Comes The Monkees,” which actually aired as the series’ tenth episode. In this episode the early seeds of a successful formula had been sewn, but they weren’t quite hitting on all cylinders yet. This episode was written by Paul Mazursky, who went on to be a big-time Oscar-nominated writer and director of films like Down and Out In Beverly Hills, and Larry Tucker, who was also Oscar-nominated as a screenwriter and went on to a successful career as an executive producer of movies like Stir Crazy.  (PopCult Note: The Pilot Episode was pulled by YouTube, so we will instead replace it with a random episode. It’s still the Monkees, though)

Still, it was the charisma of the four Monkees themselves, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork, who carried the show and made it the pop culture touchstone that it was. So we offer up a “Hey, hey” for The Monkees.

RFC Flashback: Talk Like A Pirate Day

In honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day (which is today, in case you didn’t know) we go back a couple of years to The RFC MINI SHOW number three and a visit with The Dread Crew of Oddwood. Just for kicks, we’re also bringing you a bonus clip we made that year just for this special day.

Look for new music from The Dread Crew coming up on Radio Free Charleston in the near future.