PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Corridors of Powder


Another in this month’s series of semi-abstract works, Corridors of Power is a severely digitally-assaulted photograph that bears little resemblance to its source photo. Basically I just turned it on its side and painted all over it. I like the way it looks, even if that look is not particularly like anything. You can make up your own story about what it is.  As always, click the image to see a larger version.

Monday on our sister internet radio station, The AIR, the Monday Marathon presents 24 hours of Curtain Call, hosted by Mel Larch.  You can tune in for a massive barrage of show tunes representing the best of Broadway and beyond, beginning at 7 AM and running through Tuesday morning. Tune in at the website, or listen on this handy embedded player…

Sunday Evening Video: Marx Toy Convention 2018

Tonight PopCult presents a quick music video, looking back at the 2018 Marx Toy Convention, which was held June 14 and 15 at The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling West Virginia. In just under four minutes you’ll see some of the cool toys on sale and the people buying them, and then the video culminates with the gathering of attendees for the annual group photo.

I hadn’t intended to make a full-blown video of the Marx Toy Convention this year, but I always have my camera on me, and everybody there wanted something to mark twenty years since the first Marx Toy Convention back in 1998, so I improvised. I hope you enjoy this quick video with bouncy music and some fun images.

In fact, there will be a second Marx Toys video coming later this week. Francis Turner graciously re-opened the Marx Toy Museum in nearby Moundsville, just while the convention was happening, and we will bring you and update on Big Loo. This will be a longer clip, so we’re taking our time to edit it right.

The reason I was hesitant to commit to making a video this year was because I knew my schedule was going to be crazy, and I wouldn’t have time to edit any videos until long after the event was over.

It’s been nearly a full month since the Marx Toy Convention took place, and I’m just now getting this online. Hopefully this week will allow me time to get back in the swing of things and post more about our trip to celebrate Marx Toys (look for a photo essay early in the week), and also tell you about our trip down South that ended up at the final Official GI Joe Collectors Convention in Chattanooga.

I’ve also got some amazing Johnny West figures to review, and other cool stuff to tell you about. Barring any unforeseen developments, PopCult should be hoppin’ this week.

I do feel the need to be a bit apologetic about taking so long to get this coverage posted here in PopCult. Between having two major toy trips in two weeks, and then dealing with paying work (ahem) and breaking news on Toys R Us closing and MEGO and Captain Action preparing to make comebacks, it’s been tricky budgeting my time so I can catch up. Bear with me, because I plan to be caught up with all this cool stuff in the next few days so I can cover all the new cool stuff coming out of San Diego next weekend.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 143

This week we head back to August, 2011 for the one-hundred forty-third installment of Radio Free Charleston, “Naked Gumby Shirt.”  This episode departs from our usual formula by featuring three songs by the same band, Frenchy and the Punk.  We also have animation by Frank Panucci, and a short film by K.D. Lett.

At the time of this recording, Frenchy and The Punk had just recently changed their name from “The Gypsy Nomads,” which was the name they went by when they first appeared on the show. The band is still a going concern, recently successfuly Kickstarting their next album, “Hooray Beret,” and touring on a regular basis. In fact,t they’ll be in Pittsburgh next week.

I really enjoyed these folks, and even put them up at my house after a gig once. You can find the full production notes HERE for an explanation of the episode’s title, and a tirade about cloddish dancers getting in our way when we were recording bands.

Updates and Coming Attractions

The PopCulteer
July 13, 2018

It’s one of those weeks where The PopCulteer snuck up on me, and caught me without a topic.

So today, we’re going to revisit some of our recent posts.

More MEGO News

Just a couple of days ago, I told you more about the revival of The MEGO Toy Corporation.  Since then a few more details about what they’ll be offering have leaked out, and some things that might not have been accurate have also leaked out.

SyFyWire reported three more licenses that MEGO is supposedly doing, and they seemed plausible and commercial, however, Paul Clarke-AKA “Dr. MEGO–and second-in-command at the reborn company disputed the report, so it’s either inaccurate or premature. Either way we won’t repeat it here.

We will repeat that Joe Namath will be in attendance at The San Diego International Comic Con next week at the MEGO booth, signing the limited edition show-exclusive 14″ figure of himself. Namath was the first licensed figure that MEGO took on, back in the day, so his presence brings everything full circle.

Other tidbits that have come out are that the I Dream of Jeannie figures will be a two-pack of Jeannie and Major Nelson, that will retail for $29.99, and that the package for the Lt. Sulu figure shows that other figures in the Star Trek line will include The Gorn and The Romulan Commander. Also, the first wave of 20 figures will go on sale at Target stores on July 29, with a second wave coming in October. Each figure will be numbered and limited to 10,000 pieces. Until the middle of 2019, MEGO figures will be sold exclusively at Target stores and Target.com.

It’s expected that figures from Cheers will be out in the second wave this fall.

We’ll have more info on MEGO, as well as other cool news coming out of San Diego next week.

How Do You Make A Boondoggle Worse? Add Fireworks.

Last year I complained to high heaven about the colossal waste of taxpayer money that is the new Shawnee Sports Complex. I have not yet seen anything to change my mind about this reckless project, but they had their opening ceremony this week, and they found a way to make it even worse.

They had fireworks.

Just last week I was doing my version of “Old man bitching about fireworks,” but that was about the idiots who set them off individually. As part of the opening ceremony of the Shawnee Sports Complex they had a professional fireworks display, complete with loud rockets and booming explosions. It seemed like it went on for more than half an hour.

I’m a bit more than a mile away, and it shook my house.

I sure as hell hope that they never intend to set off fireworks there again. Charleston’s East End is already held hostage by the weekly barrage of fireworks at Power Park (why the hell is this even allowed?). I don’t want to see this careless disregard of other people’s peace and quiet spread across the county. These fireworks went off directly over a residential area, where people have young children, elderly relatives and pets, all of whom are adversely affected by loud fireworks, especially right in the middle of the work week.

I can only surmise, that fireworks are part of a plan to drive out the predmoninantly black and elderly citizens of Institute and West Dunbar who live right across the street from the Sports Complex, so that they can buy up the land cheap and sell it to developers. It was shaking my house more than a mile away. I can only imagine how miserable it must have been for the poor people living virtually next door. Let’s hope they don’t get the chance to completely destroy a neighborhood before the Sports Complex in Hurricane, half an hour away, takes away all the potential tournaments that Shawnee is supposed to attract.

US Floyd

On a more positive note, I can’t stop raving about how great US Floyd was at the Clay Center last Saturday. Ten amazing musicians meticulously re-created the music of Pink Floyd for a large and appreciative crowd at Charleston’s classiest venue, and it was simply spectacular. I could go on and on about them, or I could just link back to my review from last Sunday.

It’s great to see the band back on track after a health-induced hiatus, and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

Marx Videos Are Coming

I have two videos in the pipeline from last month’s Marx Toy Convention in Wheeling. Things have been rather hectic around Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor for the last several weeks, and I’m way behind on sorting through images and video from my recent trips.

If all goes well this weekend, I will have two Marx videos ready Sunday evening, and then I will write about the rest of my recent travels next week. I promise this time…really! I also have some great new Marx-style limited editions to tell you about, so keep PopCult in your hearts, minds and bookmarks.

And with that, we wrap up this week’s PopCulteer so that we can get to work on this stuff. Thanks for your continued support of PopCult, and check back every day for fresh content. And don’t forget to listen to all the fine programs on our internet radio station, The AIR.

Finish Your Week With New Stuff On The AIR

Thursday and Friday brings you new episodes of four of our most popular shows on The AIR. For brand-new editions of Prognosis, Radio Free Charleston International, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat and The Third Shift, you can tune in at the website, or on this nifty little player…

Thursday at 3 PM yours truly hosts two hours of a fantastic mix of new and classic progressive rock on Prognosis. Prognosis can be heard every Thursday at 3 PM, with replays Friday at 7 AM, Saturday at 8 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM and Wednesday at 10 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

Friday at 1 PM it’s two hours of self-indulgence as your PopCulteer plays whatever he wants on Radio Free Charleston International. This week’s show runs the gamut from Paul McCartney teamed up with Elvis Costello, to DEVO covering Sondheim, Oingo Boingo with strings, and vintage Ultravox and Slade. RFC International can now be heard Friday at 1 PM and 10 PM, with replays Saturday at 1 PM and Midnight (this week only), Sunday at 3 PM and Tueesday at 10 PM.

Friday at 3 PM legendary Pirate DeeJay Sydney Fileen brings us Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, directly from Haversham Recording Institute in London. This week Sydney treats us to New Wave classics from Depeche Mode, The Clash, Nina Hagen, The Cars, The B 52s, Joe Jackson, Hazel O’Connor and many more. Sydney’s Big Electric Cat can be heard Fridays at 3 PM, with replays Saturday at 4 PM, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon.

Friday at 9 PM it’s time for a new episode of The Third Shift. Jay and Jarod team up to bring you the latest manly news on beer, babes and brew, along with their hilarious take on local and national happenings from the world of sports and other testosterone-laden endeavors. The Third Shift can be heard Friday at 9 PM with a replay Saturday at 8:30 PM.

You may inspect the entire schedule for The AIR in this neat little widget…

And follow the jump for the latest playlists for the music shows listed above…

Continue reading…


The PopCult Toybox

MEGO, the classic toy company from the 1970s announced its return last month, already delaying the full details once, and now we know more about what they’re releasing, where and when.

Target will be the exclusive retailer for the first year, and among the figures they’re releasing will be Star Trek, Action Jackson, Joe Namath, all of which were released back in the day by MEGO. New additions to the line include “The Brady Bunch,” “Cheers,” “I Dream of Jeannie”(seen right) and “Married with Children.” The line will feature 8-inch figures, 14-inch figures, and 8-inch figure 2-pack dioramas. Collectors can also look for the first 14-inch figure unveiled so far, which is Harley Quinn, from Batman The Animated Series.

It looks like Target is going after the nostalgia market, with MEGO maybe replacing Funko Pops, as those stylized figures seem to be rapidly falling out of favor with casual collectors. It will cool to find out what the additional figures in the line are. The suggested retail price is fantastic news for collectors, and this revitalized line has a lot of potential.

Target’s exclusive line of Mego collectibles will be available in stores and online July 29 at prices ranging from $14.99 to $29.99. More details will be available next week at San Diego Comic Con International, where the figures will initially go on sale. We’ll bring you the news as soon as possible, and it’s likely that MegoMuseum will scoop us. They broke this news just before us.

Another Wednesday has arrived, and with it, more cool programming on The AIR! Tune in to the website, or on the embedded player below for the lastest editions of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle, and Curtain Call plus some other surprises on our new schedule…

We have a new normal for our midweek. Our new morning line-up on Wednesday’s begins with The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by Prognosis at 9 AM, Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM and an encore of a previous week’s Curtain Call at Noon.  We are re-presenting classic episodes of On The Road with Mel at 1 PM.

At 1;30 PM, Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle presents her interview last week fromThe Mr. Phil Show. Mr. Phil hosts a long-running public access program from Port Jervis, New York, and last week Michele appeared on the show to discuss her book, Rain No Evil, her experiences with the paranormal and her work with Reiki Healing and life-coaching.

Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle can be heard Wednesday at 1:30 PM and 7 PM, with replays on The AIR Friday at 9:30 AM and Sunday at 7 PM.

At 2 PM Beatles Blast presents an hour of the longest songs that the Beatles recorded, together and solo. Beatles Blast can be heard Wednesday at 2 PM, Thursday at 11 AM and 9 PM, Friday at 5 PM, and Tuesday at 9 AM.

At 3 PM Wednesday on Curtain Call Mel Larch presents a show that combines the musicals 1776 and American Idiot into a surprising new combination.

Curtain Call debuts Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 7 AM and 8 PM and Saturday at 6 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

At 7:30 PM, we have gone into the AIR Archives and unearthed the missing seven episodes of Word Association with Lee and Rudy. These shows were misplaced on a stray hard drive and have not been heard in more than two years. We’ll bring them to you over the next seven weeks, and hopefully follow these with some new shows. This week you can hear Lee Harrah and Rudy Panucci in the first-part of a two-part discussion of Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Word Association with Lee and Rudy replays Friday mornings at 9 AM.

Stay tuned all day, every day, for incredible music, thought-provoking talk and gut-busting comedy exclusively on The AIR. And check out the full schedule below, including our revamped evening programming…

Tuesday always brings you local music and other goodies like Swing and Psychedelica on The AIR. This week, something came up that prevented us from recording a new episode of Radio Free Charleston, but I think we more than made up for it. You can tune in at The AIR website, or listen in on this sweet little embedded radio player…

Today at 10 AM we are bringing you four episodes of Radio Free Charleston from January, 2017. These have been offline for over a year, and we’ll post a combined playlist for all four at the bottom of this post, after the jump. At 10 PM we’ll replay the first three of these, and bump RFC International from it’s normal replay spot for a week. These four shows include such incredible local musical acts as Deni Bonet, The Company Stores, Ann Magnuson, Karma To Burn, Lady D, Chuck Biel, Mother Nang, QiET, Stark Raven and many, many others.

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 8 PM and Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, exclusively on The AIR.

At 2 PM it’s time for Nigel Pye and his psychedelic mixtape program, Psychedelic Shack.

3 PM sees a new hour of The Swing Shift, and you’ll find the playlist for that show below the RFC playlist at the bottom of this post. We open this week’s show with a cut from Jack’s Cats Swing sextet because Jack Malmstrom, the proprietor of said cats, left us a nice comment on last week’s show notes. Plus, they are a swingin’ bunch of folks. If you’re on the Left Coast, you can catch them in August and September at various gigs in Los Angeles and Pasedena. Visit their website for more information.

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 9 AM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else.

Continue reading…

Monday Morning Art: Fluid Sky


Another in this month’s series of semi-abstract works, Fluid Sky is a sort of skyscape with a lawnish thing in the foreground. It started out as just a splash of colors, and perhaps should best be considered as that. As always, click the image to see it bigger.

Monday on or sister internet radio station, The AIR, our Monday Marathon presents 24 hours of Beatles music and documentaries with Beatles Blast, beginning at 7 AM and running through Tuesday morning. You can tune in at the website, or listen on this handy embedded player…

Sunday Evening Video: Steve Ditko

Instead of our usual Sunday Evening Video this week, I am linking back to a post from April, where I posted two videos, one dedicated to the late Jack Kirby, and one dedicated to Steve Ditko, whose death was made public last Friday.

You can find that original post right HERE.

In that post, I mentioned that I feel that Stan Lee is given too much credit as the co-creator of Spider-man, Dr. Strange, and the rest of the Marvel Universe. Lee deserves all the credit in the world for hiring some remarkable talents and largely turning them loose to create. What bothers me is that Lee claimed credit as the “writer,” when most of what he did could best be considered editing.

Lee would provide a brief spark or idea, but at the creative peak of Marvel, in the mid-1960s, it’s questionable that he was even doing that much. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were essentially turning in completed stories, which would then be edited by Lee, who would finalize the dialogue, sometimes for the better, oftentimes departing from the artist’s intentions.

Ditko walked away from Marvel, most likely due to his frustration over Lee taking so much credit for his work.

We can’t say for sure, because Ditko never expressly confirmed this idea (though it’s fairly obvious if you read all his essays on the matter), and Lee swears he didn’t see Ditko’s exit coming and has no idea why he abandoned his creations.

With Ditko’s passing, it’s important to make sure that the man receives proper credit for his work. He ranks among the most influential artists and writers in the history of comics, and deserves to be recognized as such.

Below I’m posting a video that presents a pretty decent recap of Ditko’s work, and how it spoke for the man, since he chose not to speak for himself. Rather than post a photo of the man, because to be honest, there aren’t many, I’ve included some of my favorite examples of his work. You can order his more recent work HERE.