PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: The One and Only Groucho

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here_he_is_mainToday we bring you an HBO documentary from the early 90s devoted to PopCulture icon, Groucho Marx. Narrated by David Steinberg, with interviews with Dick Cavett, Jack Lemmon, Richard Lewis, Marving Hamlisch and more, this is a nifty little overview of Groucho’s career, with a little psychoanalysis thrown in for good measure.

The best part of this documentary is the balance between people talking about Groucho, and actual footage of Groucho himself. Take a little less than an hour and bask in some comedy genius.

RFC Flashback: Episode 41redux

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From April 2008, this music-packed show featured A Place Of Solace, Holden Caulfield, and from Nashville, special guests The Coal Men. We also had an announcement from The Concept, and a short burst of animation from Frank Panucci.  Hosted from Davis Park, in Downtown Charleston. We featuredthis episode in a flashback last year, but had to go back and iron out a couple of glitches. Here’s the new and improved version.

A Place of Solace does their song “30 Seconds” on the show.Nahville’s Coalmen perform “Outside Looking In” on this episode of RFC in a live video from Nashville to note their then-recent show at The Empty Glass. They’re great guys who went on to have their music used in “The Deadliest catch” and appear on Mountain Stage. We recorded legendary punk band Holden Caulfield performing “Behold! The End” at the La Belle Theater in South Charleston in the summer of 2007, and saved the performance for this show.

You can read the original production notes HERE.

Something New is in the AIR!

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PopCult lead 1 29The PopCulteer
January 29, 2016

We are very excited here at PopCult central. Next week, we jump back into the internet radio game with OnTheAiRadio… Appalachian Independent Radio. You can keep up with the latest news on AIRadio at their Facebook page.

You may remember that in late 2014 I started doing Radio Free Charleston as a weekly, two-hour audio program, to compliment the two video shows that I currently produce that focus on local music. I did this show for Voices of Appalachia, and you may also remember that last summer we started having technical issues with the stream, and I continued RFC volume Three (the official name of the radio show/podcast) as a podcast. After 39 episodes, I put the show on hold.

NAR log 002Voices of Appalachia was having major technical issues and it was decided that it would be easier to replace VOA with an all-new entity that would combine the best programming from Voices of Appalachia with some terrific and exciting new shows and free ourselves from the requirement to only focus on programming with an Appalachian origin.

Appalachian Independent Radio (AKA The AIR) will still have a healthy dose of local and regional news, views and music. We are based in Charleston, West Virginia, after all, but we will also be bringing in independent music from all around the world, and our programming will reflect the boldest, uncensored views and new music that you’ll hear locally. We plan to take our Charleston point of view and bring it to an international audience.

Continue reading…

Captain Action Turns Fifty!

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PT CA 01The PopCult Toybox

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in the PopCulteer, 2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary for many pop culture icons and notable cool things.  One of my favorite notable cool things is Captain Action, the first fully poseable superhero action figure. I’ve been writing about him since the very first month of PopCult but for those of you coming in late, the good Captain was released in 1966 during the peak of the mid-60’s superhero craze.

Captain Action was a 12″ poseable action figure created by Stan Weston, who came up with the idea for GI Joe, and his gimmick was that instead of dressing in military gear, Captain Action could assume the identities of superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Green Hornet, and others.

PT CA 04Captain Action was out of production by 1970, but the character left such a mark on the collective psyche of children of the 1960’s that he has been revived many times in many different forms. Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn, the current stewards of Captain Action, have a lot planned to mark his fiftieth birthday.

With this being his golden anniversary, you can expect all kinds of really cool Captain Action projects ranging from audiobooks and comic books to trading cards and playing cards and several sizes of action figures.

Amid all of this, there are two terrific Kickstarter projects featuring Captain Action and we’ll tell you about those right now.

PT CA 02First up, Zica Toys hopes to launch a new line of 4″ action figures under the banner “The Adventure People.”  This project grew out of Zica’s plans to re-create the original Captain Action line in a smaller scale, but it has grown beyond that and has become an impressive stew of toy collector’s nostalgia.

The Adventure People name was originally used by Fisher-Price for a fondly remembered line of neat little action figures and accessories, roughly in the same scale as this new iteration.  For this project, Zica is reviving the Remco Toys brand name too.  Remco was a major player in the toy industry in the 1960’s and 70’s before fizzling out in the 80’s.  That’s not all the nostalgia packed into this Kickstarter project.

Offered up in this line of The Adventure People will be Captain Action, a new evil counterpart to the good Captain, Captain Evil, two color variants of Captain Action, a Henchman for Captain Evil, and more.

Continue reading…

Blues Tonight At The Boulevard Tavern

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Tonight at The Boulevard Tavern you can warm yourself up from this horrid Winter storm with a hefty dose of hot Blues music. Bobby Altmann will perform with Raymond Wallace. We have not yet had the chance to feature Bobby on Radio Free Charleston, but Raymond has been part of the RFC Family since the beginning. Below you see Raymond on an RFC MINI SHOW. You can hear Raymond and Bobby tonight at 9:30 PM.

The Dread Crew of Oddwood returns to The RFC MINI SHOW

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Image19The Dread Crew of Oddwood once again sailed into Charleston last September, docking at The Empty Glass for an evening of wild, riotous madness with The Renfields. Our cameras were there and you can see a sample of some of this fine debauchery. We first featured this San Diego band way back on episode three of The RFC MINI SHOW, and if you watched all of last week’s Radio Free Charleston, you saw the band playing over the end credits.

Even though the band only makes it to Charleston every couple of years, you can expect to see more from The Dread Crew of Oddwood on RFC. We have about an hour of unseen footage, and the snow is keeping us from getting out to shoot new stuff for the time being.

snow tree 005

It’s digital oils over a photo taken looking out my front door. Because snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow.

Click to enlarge. Check back for The RFC MINI SHOW with The Dread Crew of Oddwood later Monday.

Sunday Evening Video: Scrappy in “The Flophouse”

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scrappy-title-samba-300x223Thunderbean Animation is an animation company in Michigan that specializes in digitally restoring animated cartoons from the golden age of theatrical shorts. Their work is featured regularly on Turner Classic Movies and can be purchased on DVD and Blu Ray from Amazon. Animation historian Jerry Beck is one of the driving forces behind this work.

Above you see some of Thunderbean’s work on a Scrappy Cartoon called “The Flophouse.” Scrappy is a pretty obscure character, and Beck has extensive notes about this film HERE. In his notes, he writes…

The Flop House (1932) is one of my favorites, with lots of really fun gags and some really nice character animation. Posing and timing at Columbia are taking leaps forward at this point, largely due to the brilliance of director Dick Huemer. these cartoons all have a really joyful, musical sensibility. These aspects combined with often really bizarre subject matter leads to a strange but enjoyable experience.

Check out the cartoon above and the Thunderbean website, and if you’re intrigued, go buy some of their releases at Amazon. it’s fun stuff.

RFC Flashback Episodes 35 and 36

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John Lilly
John Lilly

This week in The RFC Flashback we go back to a night in January, 2008. The LaBelle Theater in South Charleston played host to a very special benefit concert to raise money for Sojourners, the YWCA shelter for homeless women and families and victims of domestic abuse. What was remarkable about this evening was that it happened on the day of the infamous “Blue Haze,” one of the many notable chemical leaks that our legislature has done nothing about.

Synergy Collective
Synergy Collective

Despite the fear of what an unknown chemical cloud floating around the area could do, a large crowd came out to hear an amzing assortment of musicians donate their time to this worthy cause. John Lilly, Rich Allen, The Synergy Collective, Sean Richardson, Karen Allen, Jerry Fugate, Mark Davis, Deron Sodaro and the evening’s host, Ric Cochran, put on a fantastic show that ended with a ton of musicians on stage leading a singalong to “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”

This was originally a two-part episode of Radio Free Charleston, spread out over RFC 35 and 36. Included among the musical performances are interviews I conducted with Ric Cochran and with Margaret Taylor, the director of Sojourners. At the time, these two episodes of RFC were described as “uncharacteristically classy,” which amused the hell out of me.

The big finale
The big finale

Sojouners is still active and the information in this show should still be valid. If you are in need of their assistance you can check with them at this link, or call 800.681.8663 or 304.340.3549, 24 hours a day.

These are two of the infamous “lost” episodes of Radio Free Charleston. They were remastered and uploaded to YouTube January 23, 2016. Prior to that, they have been offline for almost five years. The original production notes can be found HERE and HERE.