PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Halloween Kaiju

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Today is Halloween, and I feel that monsters have gotten the short shrift with the holiday of late. I mean, Zombies, which are technically monsters, dominated many recent years, and this year it seems that Halloween is dominated by Hot Topicofied Super Heroes. But it’s the classic monsters…they are the reason for the season, and the classic monsters just don’t get the respect that they used to. Originally I was going to draw my take on Frankenstein’s Monster, but I wasn’t happy with the pencil drawing. It was too little Karloff, and too much Sarrazin, if you know what I mean.

So I moved on and did a pen-and-ink drawing of a generic Kaiju attacking a city. As a drawing, there are a million things wrong with it, but as the first pen-and-ink drawing I’ve finished in almost eight years, I’m pretty proud of it. For Monday Morning Art, I painted over it digitally, so I could give it more depth and cover up some of the sloppiness from what was essentially a glorified doodle. I hope it makes you feel all Halloweeny and stuff. Click to enlarge.

Be sure to tune in to The AIR all day today for special Halloween programming. You can listen to it right here on this embedded player, next to the pen-and-ink sketch of the above painting.

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Sunday Evening Radio

This year for Halloween PopCult is bringing you a bonus, Sunday Evening Radio!

First up, we have a special streaming rebroadcast of The Quicksilver Radio Theater production of Frankenstein: Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley. This is a terrific dramatic recreation of the horror classic, and you can listen to it at 8 PM (EDT) at WBAI’s website, or over the air, if you’re in the New York City area.

TheMonst
On top of that, we have some extra radio fun for your holiday listening pleasure. We are making some of our speical Halloween Programming on The AIR available for download and listening for a limited time.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater International, with Count Rudolf and Igor on this little embedded player or link HERE (Sometimes the PopCult machine doesn’t work properly. If you don’t see an embedded player, just right-click on the link and download it). Notes on what you’ll find in this show can be found HERE.

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat delivered three hours of New Wave Halloween Music this week in two parts. Listen to part one HERE and part two HERE, and check out this post for the full playlist.

On Curtain Call last week Mel Larch brought us an hour of scary spooky numbers from musical theater. We heard songs from Carrie The Musical, Sweeny Todd, The Addams Family, Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Show and more. You can listen to that show HERE. (Again, right-click and save, or open in a new tab if the player doesn’t show up)

Tune in and enjoy the Halloweenerness, and have a spooky holiday!

H ween 002Tomorrow is the big day. The drunken weekend parties are behind us and we get a Monday to appreciate the real meaning of Halloween…giving out candy to kids dressed in cheesy costumes.

Over the years this holiday has mutated from being a fun thing for children into a way to sell alcohol to arrested adolescents, but when the actual holiday falls on a Monday, it somehow becomes pure again, at least for one day. Kids will Trick or Treat on the actual night of Halloween, and adults won’t go on a bender because they have to work the next day, so today PopCult will look at a few of our videos that celebrate the true meaning of Halloween.

First up, it’s a look at Ben Cooper Halloween costumes.

Next it’s a cool Halloween-themed game that we saw at Toy Fair.

Lastly, we have a short, stupid, Halloween cartoon.

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 20


RFC 20: “Carmen Shirt” from RFC Archives on Myspace.

whistlepunk01This week we go back to May, 2007, for an episode of Radio Free Charleston that has not appeared in this blog for more than eight years. “Carmen Shirt” featured music by Whistlepunk 2.0 and Josh Buskirk, as well as animation and other cool stuff.

The highlight of this show was the performance of “Satellite” by Whistlepunk 2.0, a band that included Spencer Elliott, Karen Allen from Crazy Jane, as well as current members of Superfetch and Speedsuit. Host segments were shot by your host using a tripod in his “White Room.”

This is one of the episodes of RFC that has not yet been restored or remastered, so don’t be shocked if the video is a little wonky, comiing from the Myspace servers, as it do. At some point, the Pentagram Flowerbox cartoon that ran in this show will be restored, but for now it includes a clip of “The Mascot” instead. Original production notes can be found HERE.

Random Thoughts To End October

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October 28
, 2016

We are nearly at the end of October in a year that has not only flown by, but has also seemingly run over a record number of celebrities in the process. This morning comes word that beloved horror movie host, Zacherly (John Zacherle) has passed away at the age of  98. Losing Zacherly and Jack Chick in the same week is a bit sad for folks who were scared witless by them both growing up.

We have a few random notes for the weekend. You will not find any coverage of HallowEast among them. There are plenty of other outlets covering Charleston’s annual Halloween outing, and they can cover it far more enthusiastically than I can. That does not mean that your PopCulteer is not in the Halloween Spirit, though.

Halloween Events on The AIR

We have Halloween programming all weekend long on The AIR, which you can hear at the website, or on this scary little treat of an embedded player…
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Friday we have an all-new Laugh Appalachia at 9 AM and 9 PM, a three-hour Halloween-themed edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 3 PM and the debut of a new show, The Third Shift, covering Sports, Beer, Babes and Gadgets, starring Jarod and Jay at 9:30 PM. At Midnight you can hear part five of The Stand, by Stephen KIng.

Big Electric Cat, hosted by legendary London Deejay, Sydney Fileen, was bursting with so much New Wave Halloween goodness that Ms. Fileen surprised us with a bonus hour. The playlist will be posted at the end of this PopCulteer.

Saturday sees our Halloween programming replayed all day so you get a second chance to catch up with the Halloween episodes of Radio Free Charleston International, Curtain Call, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and Word Association with Lee & Rudy. Part six of The Stand will run Saturday at Midnight.

Continue reading…

CR 001You can listen to all the fine programming on The AIR at the website, or on this convenient and snazzy little embedded radio player…

A funny thing happened while I was starting to put together this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston International. I sat down in front of my computer like I normally do, and began to assemble the music line-up and then…

I sort of blacked out.

I don’t know how long I was out, but when I came to, there, on my computer, was a finished program. It was not RFC International, though. This was Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater International, hosted by the mysterious Count Rudolf and his assistant, Igor.

I was a bit stunned. Count Rudolf had previously shown up only on the occasional Halloween episode of the video version of Radio Free Charleston. This was a bit unprecendented. Still, I listened to the show, and it was pretty good. With my deadline fast approaching, I decided to go ahead and run this bizarre Halloween mutation of the internet radio show where I get to play whatever I want. You can hear it Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 7 AM and 10 PM, Saturday at 11 AM, and it’ll probably turn up as part of our special Halloween programming on Monday.

I must say that Count Rudolf put together a pretty good playlist. Check it out…

CR 002MX 80 Sound  “Theme From Halloween”
The Renfields  “Machete A Go Go”
The Big Bad  “The Omen”
Snakefinger  “The Man In The Dark Sedan”
Blue Oyster Cult  “Joan Crawford”
Crack The Sky  “Invaders from Mars”
Christopher Walken  “The Raven”
Kate Bush  “Get Out of My House”
Stephen Merritt  “Scream”
The Nanker Phelge  “Scream”
The Jasons  “Camp Arawhak”
Shaekspear’s Sister  “Bad Blood”
The Dickies  “Attack Of The Mole Men”
The Aquabats  “Fashion Zombie”
Mike Oldfield  “Tubular Bells”
Oingo Boingo  “Dead Or Alive”
Harrah  “Sawney Bean”
Nine Inch Nails  “Come Back Haunted”
The Misfits  “Horror Business”
The Stranglers  “Ghost Train”
The Who  “Boris The Spider”

Also on The AIR today, at 6 PM you can hear another hour of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and at Midnight, part three of book one of Stephen King’s The Stand.

The AIR is Alive with The Halloween Spirit Wednesday

hALLOW wEINERThe Lean to Halloween continues today on The AIR. All-new episodes of Life Speaks with Michele Zirkle Marcum, Curtain Call and Word Association with Lee and Rudy highlight a day that also sees macabre episodes of On The Road with Mel, Prognosis, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Gibby Hunters, The Comedy Vault, The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe, and The Goon Show.

Wednesday is loaded with great spooky talk, comedy and music. Listen at the website or on this sweet little radio widget…

Kick off your day with a replay of yesterday’s episode of The Swing Shift at 7 AM. That’s followed at 9 AM by a replay of Radio Coolsville, and then a special bonus replay of the first episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at 11 AM. At Noon a replay of last week’s Curtain Call leads in to a special encore edition of On The Road with Mel about ShockaCon at 1 PM.

At 1:30 PM Michele Zirkle Marcum hosts a new Life Speaks that features an interview with Jimmy O’Dell Carroll and Willy Rose, the Rocket Boys from the big screen. 2PM sees The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe as we dig back into the archives for his interview with RJ Haddy, a master FX make up artist.

At 3 PM Curtain Call kicks off with an hour of Halloween-appropriate showtunes from Little Shop of Horrors, Sweeny Todd, Phantom of the Opera, Carrie the Musical and a new show Monsters of the Villa Duodati by Washington DC-based creators Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith, with Mel Larch acting as your mistress of mayhem. This is followed at 4 PM by two bonus hours of Curtain Call. At 6 PM it’s an hour of The Goon Show.

Life Speaks replays at 7 PM, followed at 7:3o by Word Association with Lee and Rudy, which has moved to its new day and time with an episode that was supposed to be about Halloween, and starts out with the two talking about fond childhood memories, but just past the half-way point it degenerates into gripes and complaints and general cranky old man-type behavior.

Prime Time kicks off at 8 PM with a nighttime replay of Prognosis, hosted by Herman Linte. This week Herman brings you Jeff Wayne’s Musical version of The War of The Worlds. We close the night with The Gibby Hunters at 10 PM and The Comedy Vault at 11 PM.

Midnight ushers in a full night of mysterious programming that will thrill, delight and mystify you, starting with the second part of book one of Stephen King’s The Stand.

Jack T. Chick, This Was Your Life

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Jack T. Chick, the legendary evangelical cartoonist, passed away Sunday night at the age of 92. I have written about Mr. Chick in the past in PopCult, and wanted to note the end of an era. Chick was a private man, often described as a recluse, but his work is known all over the globe.

He was arguably the most successful self-published cartoonist in the world, with over 750 Million of his tracts in print in over 100 languages. These are the little comic books that you find scattered about that try to get you to accept a very judgemental versioh of Jesus as your only way of getting into heaven. The man was skilled at conveying his simple messages in cartoon form and doesn’t get enough credit for being a talented, if idiosyncratic, stylist.Even his targets find his work so charming that they find them entertaining, in an Ed Wood sort of way.

9fa4c28c60c781c166d50ac6fb4fed37615452baPart of the reason Chick never got credit as a cartoonist was the content of his work. He was a master propagandist, using all the tools of comics and cartooning to deliver messages that, more often than not, veered well into the territory of hate speech. Jack Chick was intent on delivering his most important message, which was “Live the way he thinks the Bible tells you to, or you’re going to go to hell.”

Among the people that Jack Chick was confident were going to go to hell: Catholics, Muslims, Hindi, disobediant children, rock musicians, Satan worshippers, pop musicians, country musicians, people who watch The Walking Dead, people who like Star Wars, people who like superheroes, people who play Dungeons and Dragons, people who read any translation of the Bible besides the King James Version, Jehovah’s Witnesses, vegetarians, vegans, people who are gluten-intolerant, Democrats, evolutionists, fans of Harry Potter, Wiccans, fans of Family Guy, fans of The Simpsons, environmentalists, homosexuals, homosexuals again because he was so hung up on that one, Pagans, feminists, Heavy Metal Musicians, The Beatles, Contemporary Christian musicians…actually, pretty much everyone but him and his family and whomever else could be persuaded to subscribe to his end-timer with a particularly angry God philosophy.  For someone who proclaimed himself to be a man of God, Jack T. Chick sure seemed to hold a lot of hate in his heart.

popenThe man’s views were controversial, to say the least. “Abhorrent”is another good descriptor. Yet, his narrow and didactic worldview and manner is part of what made him such an effective cartoonist. The man’s sincerity was never in doubt. He really did believe that there was only one, true, narrow path to salvation, and it didn’t matter if it didn’t really make sense to anyone else. You can’t fake that kind of dedication, no matter how wrong-headed it seems. His work was so over-the-top that much of it is simply hilarious. The best self-parody is that which is unintentional, and Chick fits that description to a “T.”

chickflickcoverChick was aware that the vast majority of his “fans” actually mocked the ideas that he was trying to put forth. He didn’t mind. In his view, if a hundred people thought he was crazy for every one person who was “saved,” it was worth it. Though he was not interviewed on screen, he did cooperate with my friend Kurt Kurstainer on his documentary, “God’s Cartoonist,” which viewed the Chick Publishing empire through the lens of The Church of the SubGenius. (you can order it HERE, along with a great companion book). Chick did not mind being the butt of jokes if there was a chance he could reach more people.

That’s an admirable quality, even if he was a person who probably did as much to promote hate and divisiveness as anyone else in the last 60 years. His work shaped much of the anti-intellectual evangelical movement of today, with its rampant xenophobia, homophobia and sexism. Yet he has a huge folowing among liberals, atheists, gays, anarchists, and a lot of the people that he swears are going straight to hell.

Sure, it’s hate speech, but it’s got such a goofy, naive charm to it.

jack-chick-01Now we can imagine Jack Chick, lined up at the gates of heaven, looking in the giant book of names, seated in front of the giant faceless God on the giant throne, being judged for what he did in his life. Then we can hear the booming voice of “The Great I Am” bellowing forth, “You know, this is all crap, but it’s so damned funny that we’re gonna let you in anyway.”

Then, because God has a twisted sense of humor, he puts Chick in the section of heaven with all the Catholics.

Chick Publications is still a going concern, despite the death of Jack Chick. You can order assortments of his tracts as well as his other works HERE. There is an official Facebook Page devoted to his work HERE. An unofficial Facebook Page, which is much, much more fun, can be found HERE.

Tuesday on The AIR

AIR color 0036Tuesday is laying low on The AIR, but we still have a killer line-up of programs. Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift are both in reruns this week, but we bring you the best reruns on the face of the planet. Heck, we’re going t give you FOUR FULL HOURS of  The Swing Shift, starting at 3 PM. You can see the whole schedule below, but remember to stay awake for part two of The Stand at Midnight!

You can hear The AIR at the website, or on this swell and somewhat nifty embedded player…

Tuesday’s Schedule:

7 AM       Prognosis (War of the Worlds)
9 AM       Curtain Call 010
10 AM     Radio Free Charleston 028
11 AM      Radio Free Charleston 027
Noon       Mystery Hour (No Doubt)
1 PM        Radio Coolsville 008
3 PM        The Swing Shift 009
4 PM        The Swing Shift 002
5 PM        The Swing Shift 010
6 PM        The Swing Shift 011
7 PM         The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy 01
8 PM         Sydney’s Big Electric Cat 013
10 PM       Radio Free Charleston 028
11 PM        Radio Free Charleston 027
Midnight   Stephen King’s The Stand
2 AM         All Night New Wave Marathon

Monday Morning Art: Autumn in Woodbury

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We kick off this week with a digital painting of Main Street in Senoia, Georgia, a cool town that is better known as the shooting location for much of the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead. TWD began its seventh season last night, but if you were watching back in season three when the Governor was running around creating all sorts of depth-perception-challenged trouble, you might recognize this main drag and the watertower looming overhead.

I chose this image for this week’s art as a way to salute The Walking Dead and kick off Halloween week here in PopCult. Click the image to enlarge.

CovOne cool part of Halloween week is that we will have special programming on The AIR, our blog’s obscure internet radio station. You can hear it at the website, or on this cool little embedded player…

Today at 3 PM, Prognosis, hosted by Herman Linte, presents Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds. Tonight at midnight you can listen to part one of a reading of Book One of Stephen King’s The Stand. That will run all week long at midnight, with a marathon on Halloween Day.