PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The Big Electric Cat Goes Down Under

The PopCulteer
December 11, 2020

Friday On The AIR

It’s time to head to sunny Australia, where they celebrate Christmas in the summer and keep ‘Roos and Wallabees as pets for a special mixtape tribute on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat Friday afternoon on The AIR. You can hear this show on The AIR website, or just click on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM, Sydney Fileen takes us down under for a two-hour blast of the finest of Australian (with just a little New Zealand added in for the heck of it) New Wave Music.

Ms. Fileen takes a moment to clear up some confusion first. While her name is indeed, “Sydney,” she tells us that she is London born and bred. Sydney proceeds to treat us to music from Divinyls, Split Enz, Flash & The Pan, Icehouse, Midnight Oil, The Church, The Saints, Jimmy Barnes, and more. In the second hour Sydney brings us the soundtrack of the 1987 music documentary “Australian Made,” which presents some of the top Aussie bands of the day recorded performing live.

Check out this outstanding playlist…

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Men At Work “Down Under”
INXS “What You Need”
Models “Barbados”
Divinyls “I Touch Myself”
Split Enz “I Got You”
Flash & The Pan “Midnight Man”
Icehouse “Hey Little Girl”
Midnight Oil “Beds Are Burning”
Pseudo Echo “Funkytown”
Sports “Black Stockings (for Chelsea)”
Helicopter “Green Gang”
Beargarden “Bright Penny”
The Church “Under The Milky Way”
Real Life “Catch Me I’m Falling”
INXS “Intro” / “Melting the Sun”
Jimmy Barnes “Ride the Night Away”
The Triffids “Wide Open Road”
I’m Talking “Lead the Way”
The Saints “Ghost Ships”
Divinyls “Only Lonely”
Divinyls “Temperamental”
Models “Let’s Kiss”
Models “Out of Mind, Out of Sight”
INXS “Burn for You”
Jimmy Barnes “Lessons in Love”
INXS “What You Need”
INXS “The Loved One”
Jimmy Barnes “Working Class Man”
INXS, Jimmy Barnes & a few friends “Good Times”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR. You can also hear select episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat as part of the overnight Haversham Recording Institute marathon that starts every Monday at 11 PM.

And that is it for this week’s PopCulteer.  Check back for fresh content every day and all our way-cool regular features.

Chicago’s CTA Holiday Train

Your PopCulteer was in Chicago two years ago and was able to shoot video of the CTA Holiday Train, which runs on the famous “L.”   Above you see the  video I shot of the 2018 AllState CTA Holiday Train, which we managed to witness arriving at one of the elevated stations in The Loop.

We’d planned to catch it at Clark and Lake, but we sort of got turned around and wound up at Washington and Wells instead. Not knowing what to expect, I’m afraid I didn’t position myself to get a good shot of Santa, but the train itself is pretty darned impressive, and puts lots of smiles on lots of people’s faces, of all ages.  One of these days we plan to return and stake out better camera positions and shoot the train at night when it’s all lit up.

The holiday train is a tradition in Chicago, and they even have holiday buses now that run all over the city, lit up and decorated to make people happy during the season. It’s a nice thing for them to do. However, this being 2020, the Holiday Train is running on a more limited schedule, and nobody is allowed to board, plus you can’t get photos with Santa.

It sort of sucks, but the train is still a wonderful sight, as you can tell in these recent short clips gathered from YouTube…

The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide Master List Again

You may have noticed that this year The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide Master List wrapped up earlier and was a bit shorter than in previous years, and that I recycled a lot of cool things that I told you about earlier in the year. Well, yesterday I added four more last-minute entries, and at least one of the items on the original list has sold out.

So, since we are in crunch time, where if you order anything online, you’d better do it NOW because of iffy shipping, here is the list again, slightly revised.

As I’ve mentioned before, I did not implore you to shop local the way I usually do. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and I try not to go out more than once a week, so I didn’t feel right suggesting that anyone else potentially put themselves in danger just to buy a Christmas gift.

Every item on the list this year is under a hundred bucks. Every item can be ordered online. Plus, I’ve recommended a few web-based stores where you can find thousands of cool things to use as potential gifts. Do not wait to order. Again, I can’t stress this enough, our impaired post office is overwhelmed, as are UPS and Fed Ex, so you do not want to put this off.

Presented here in revised form is The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide Master List, with direct links to each long-winded gift guide entry (some are listed more than once, because they qualify as more than one catagory). This too has become an annual tradition, and I hope it helps you find the perfect gift for the folks on your holiday shopping lists. Dig into the catagories…



 Murder On Stanton Road

John & Yoko: Plastic Ono Band

George Harrison on George Harrison

Ringo Starr: Another Day In The Life

John Amero: American Exxxtasy

The OX: John Entwistle


John Byner’s Autobiography

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein

Santa On A Panda

The Psychedelic Experience

Dreams Unreal: The Psychedelic Rock Poster

The Guide To Star Trek The Animated Series

The Young Bucks

Into The Woods Storybook

The Making of West Side Story The Movie

Bruce Timm: The Big Tease


Giving Up Whiteness

Steve Martin and Harry Bliss: A Wealth of Pigeons

Yoe Books!

Fantagraphics Books

Nope Bear Nightmare Corner

Ham’s Big Adventure



Batman: Tales of the Demon

DC Goes To War

The Aquaman Saga

Jack Kirby’s Dingbat Love

Shazam in the 70s

Superman Smashes The Klan

Pirate Comics

Wanted: DC’s Greatest Villains

Doom Patrol: The Silver Age

80 Years of The Spirit

Marvel Mini Comics

Second Coming

Yoe Books!

Fantagraphics Books



IDKHOW “Razzmatazz”

The Empty Hearts “Second Album”

Tears For Fears: Sowing The Seeds of Love boxset

John Lennon  “Gimme Some Truth”

Paul McCartney “McCartney III”

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Live at The Roundhouse

Rick Wakeman: Red Planet

Santa On A Panda

Vangaurd’s Lost Psychedelic Era

The Who Live In Hyde Park

The Who: WHO (singles box with Live at Kngston)

Mike Batt: The Penultimate Collection

Eddie Jobson: Live

Todd Burge: Live In Parkersburg



RAW 10 Action Figures

Epic Army Men

X-Shot Crusher

Svengoolie Action Figure Studio Set

Snap Ships

Robby The Robot

The Svengoolie At Home Box

The Iron Giant

Santa On A Panda

Robo Alive Rampaging Raptor

Fifi The Flossing Sloth

Frankie The Funky Flamingo

X-Shot Dino Attack

5 Surprise Mini Brands

5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands

5 Surprise Dino Strike

5 Surprise Unicorn Squad

Costwold Collectibles

Auto World

Figures Toy Company

Auto World

Figures Toy Company





5 Surprise Mini Brands

5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands

5 Surprise Dino Strike

5 Surprise Unicorn Squad

Five Below

Lights of Broadway Show Cards



Picard: Season One

The Goonies Giftset

Eureka: The Complete Seires

All In The Family: The Complete Series

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Live at The Roundhouse

Spongebob The Musical

Titans Seasons One and Two

Space Ghost and Dino Boy



Kin Ship Goods

American Science & Surplus

Costwold Collectibles

Oddbird Gift Emporium

Archie McPhee

Auto World

Figures Toy Company

West Virginia Music Hall Of Fame

Mountain Craft Shop Co.

Five Below

Yoe Books!

Fantagraphics Books


Part of This Complete Breakfast


There you have it, around 80 gift ideas, not counting the website suggestions or magazine ideas. That ought to get you a good start. Later today PopCult will have news on a cool streaming event that happens this evening, and our regular features are due to return Saturday. I hope all my readers have the best possible holiday season, given the circumstances.

Wednesday afternoon The AIR brings you a special brand-new episode of Curtain Call!  You can tune in at the website, or or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the convenient embedded radio player lurking right here…

At 2 PM, yours truly presents a recent Beatles Blast episode that chronicles the Fab Four’s collaboration  with friends and family. You’ll hear members of The Beatles making music with David Bowie, The Travelling Wilburys, Billy Preston, Denny Laine and more, plus we’ll hear music made by various offspring and spouses of the boys. You can find the full playlist HERE.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 10 PM, Satruday at 2 PM, and the following Tuesday at 9 AM.

At 3 PM on Curtain Call, Mel Larch  brings you music from The Prom. The show tells the story of four Broadway actors looking to bolster their public image by traveling to a conservative Midwestern town to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to her high school prom.

The Prom had its world premiere in 2016 at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and made the journey to Broadway in late 2018. Although the show ran for less than a year, its message of acceptance struck a powerful note with audiences.

It also attracted the attention of American Horror Story producer & director Ryan Murphy, who announced in April, 2019 that he would be adapting the show into a film version for Netflix. His film adaptation had a limited release on December 4th and will premiere on Netflix on December 11, 2020. In honor of this, we’re bringing you the full original cast album, plus a couple of new pieces created for the film.

Curtain Call can be heard on The AIR Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 9 PM, and Saturday at 8 PM. A six-hour marathon of classic episodes can be heard Sunday evening starting at 6 PM, and an all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight.

Gift Guide Bonus: Ham’s Big Adventure

Today we are going to bring you four more last minute bonus entries in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide, and Wednesday we will re-post an updated Master List. With the questionable state of the post office and other shipping companies, to get these in time for Christmas, you should order as soon as possible, and no later than by this Friday.

Our final bonus entry in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide is a children’s book with a very special origin story.

One of my best school friends was Chris Myers. Since we met in Junior High we were buddies and occasional locker partners. Chris moved to Florida a long time ago, but we reconnected via Facebook five or six years ago.

Chris had a son, Jamie, who fought a long battle with cancer and did so with humor, strength and dignity. Jamie lost that battle a little over four years ago. Now, one of his classmates and best friends, Sarah Jonas, has written and illustrated a storybook inspired by Jamie.

Ham’s Big Adventure
by Sara Jonas
Peppertree Press
ISBN-13 : 978-1614937357

The story is to help kids understand love and loss and inner strength. Adults may like it, too.

Join a space pirate named Ham on his epic journey to find where love lives. Ham travels to far-off worlds, meets colorful aliens, and learns that love may not be so far away. The author writes…

I made this book after the loss of a close friend, knowing that even though he is no longer with me in person, I still have the memories and the love he left. His message of love has always resonated with me and I felt it was only right to continue to pass it on in his absence.

A portion of your purchase will be donated to Tidewell Foundation for Hospice care.

This book is highly recommended for anyone learning to process grief or compehend loss, which is very important given the events of the past year.

You can order Ham’s Big Adventure from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books A Million.

And that wraps up The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide bonus picks. Check back Wednesday for the revised Master List. 

Today we are going to bring you four more last minute bonus entries in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide, and Wednesday we will re-post an updated Master List. With the questionable state of the post office and other shipping companies, to get these in time for Christmas, you should order as soon as possible, and no later than by this Friday.

Our next entry is perfect for any fan of bright and colorful plush, mystery toys, rainbows and unicorns and wild fun stuff.

Bursting with rainbows, sparkles and magical surprises, ZURU sweetens the award-winning line of Rainbocorns this Fall with two all-new adorable collectible plushies that feature the hottest trends of the year. Every Rainbocorn hatches from its bright mystery egg and has a unique heart that reveals a magical surprise when swiped.

For the first time ever, your Rainbocorn sings, talks, speaks and “eats.” Sporting iconic jelly hearts filled with goodness and delight, six new characters join ZURU Rainbocorns Sweet-Shake Surprise, each offering 15 layers of fun surprises including a sweet-scent.

With one squeeze of the paw, hear Rainbocorns sing a sweet melody, squeeze twice to hear Rainbocorns speak and repeat. Through the layers of reveals, kids will uncover ingredients to create their own slime sweet shake in the mini Sweet-Shake Cup, then decorate with food accessories and a Boo-Boosprinklecorn!

Recommended for ages 3+, Rainbocorns have a suggested retail price of $34.99. Available at Target, Walmart, and Amazon.

Not content with all that, Zuru has also created the ultimate giant surprise egg, Rainbocorns Big Hair Surprise, comes with over 30 hair-mazing surprises including Big Hair Boo-Boocorns, colorful hair extensions, a giant hair clip, Pop & Swap heart gems and more.

Three exclusive characters – Kittycorn, Toucancorn and Unicorn – each feature colorful, fun and wacky hairstyles and a sequin heart that reveals what your Rainbocorn loves.

Recommended for ages 3+, with a suggested retail price of $49.99. Available at Walmart, Target and Amazon.

These cute critters would be a great last-minute addition to your holiday gift list.

Gift Guide Bonus: Mothman!

Today we are going to bring you four more last minute bonus entries in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide, and Wednesday we will re-post an updated Master List. With the questionable state of the post office and other shipping companies, to get these in time for Christmas, you should order as soon as possible, and no later than by this Friday.

Our next pick is the perfect gift for the cryptoid-loving person on your gift list who is also filled with Mountaineer pride. Just added to their catalog a few days ago, I’ll let American Science & Surplus explain what it is…

Almost Heaven? Not Even Close.

Introducing Mothman, the mysterious and hairy winged creature purported to appear in West Virginia skies before tragic events occur. He’s described by genuine eyewitnesses as man-sized with glowing red eyes and feathery antennae. Our version is in hard black rubber with red eyes. He stands 5” tall, and would have an 11” wingspan if he could spread his wings, which he can’t. (He’s sort of in pouncing mode, ready to land on you or your unsuspecting lambswool sweater.) Be the only house on your block with a Mothman, and regale your guests with the legend.

If you know someone who would love a cool figure of Mothman, head over to American Science & Surplus and snap this up, quick! It’ll run you eleven bucks, plus shipping.

Today we are going to bring you four more last minute bonus entries in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide, and Wednesday we will re-post an updated Master List. With the questionable state of the post office and other shipping companies, to get these in time for Christmas, you should order as soon as possible, and no later than by this Friday.

Nope Bear Nightmare Corner
by Jacob Fertig
ISBN-13 : 979-8637346110

Our first bonus pick is a fun and delightful storybook by local educator/animator/artist, Jacob Fertig. It’s a great gift for any young child who likes creepy and crawly bedtime stories, but I have a feeling a few adults might get a kick out of it too. Rather that spoil too much, I’ll just drop the PR blurb here…

This book is the story of the creepy Nope Bears that live in closets and under beds preying on fears inside your head. They creep, crawl, lurk and sneak, so hide under your blanket and don’t dare peak! A story of the trust you hold in your little bears heart, when you and your trust should be farther apart. A great read for someone who want a scary little tale, and I promise the story and artwork aren’t stale. So learn about Nope Bears and learn them quick. I promise regardless this creepy story surely will stick!

You can order Nope Bear Nightmare Corner in paperback or on Kindle right now from Amazon, and get it before Christmas.

The AIR is back with all-new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift Tuesday!   If that sounds appealing to you, then you simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just listen in on this embedded radio player…

At 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday we will bring you three new hours of Radio Free Charleston. This episode is loaded with exciting new local music, exciting new music from around the world, plus a healthy dose of classic tracks from both those catagories, too!

Just check out the playlist…

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hour one
Jim Lange “I’ll Go Away”
Mediogres “Safe To Say”
Rockwell’s Ghost “Pigs (demo)”
The White Stripes “The Denial Twist”
Roy Orbison “Ooby Dooby”
Elvis Costello “Talking In The Dark”
Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands “Forest of Dreams”
Lady D “Full Moon”
Sting with Annie Lennox “We’ll Be Together”
Todd Burge “Forever Young”
Sandie Shaw “Always Something To Remind Me”
The Heavy Editors “Faces On The Clock”
Patti Smith Group “So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star”
Tomorrow “Now Your Time Has Come”
The Big Bad “Frighteners”
Dead For Decades “Odyssey”

hour two
Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”
Paul Calicoat “American Pirate”
Queen with Paul Rodgers “Cosmos Rockin'”
Crazy Jane “Silver”
Bob Marley “Get Up, Stand Up”
Marcie Bullock “Maybe Just Crazy”
Lee Ritenour “Charleston”
69 Fingers “Die Happy”
Andy Prieboy “The Same Great Guy”
IDKHOW “From The Gallows”
Howard Jones “Take Us Higher”
Fabulous Head “Flame Envy”
Holly And The Guy “Since I Met You”
Superfetch “Joy”

hour three
John Fogerty “Lean On Me”
HARRAH “CODA (Gotta Get Out”
Pantera “You’ve Got To Belong To It”
Byzantine “Ancestry of the AntiChrist”
Science of The Mind “Rat”
Love Sculpture “Sabre Dance”
Black Sabbath “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall”
Stark Raven “Here Comes The Sun”
Elvis Costello “Hey, Clockface”
Katie Melua “Leaving The Mountain”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Wednesday at 9 AM, Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 7 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

Tuesday at 1 PM we revisit last week’s new episode of Mel Larch’s MIRRORBALL. Then at 2 PM NOISE BRIGADE, hosted by Steven Allen Adams.  NOISE BRIGADE  alternates weeks with  Psychedelic Shack Tuesdays at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM and 10 PM, Thursday at 9 AM, Friday at 1 PM, Saturday at 8 AM, Sunday at 4 PM and Monday at 7 PM.

At 3 PM we have a brand-new hour of The Swing Shift, with swing tunes from Shirley Bassey, The Bills, Jack Teagarden, Royal Crown Revue and more. Just look at this amazing playlist…

The Swing Shift 106

Shirley Bassey “Almost Like Being In Love”
The Bills “Still Might Be Around”
The Monkey Swingers “I Like Pie”
Susie Arioli “He’s Funny That Way”
Sir Jay & His Orchestra “Gee I Wish”
Jack Teagarden & Jonah Jones “Beale Street Blues”
Squirrel Nut Zippers “Use What Mama Gave You”
Etta James “Good Rockin’ Daddy”
The Puppini Sisters “Hit The Road Jack”
Helen O’Connell “In The Still Of The Night”
Stan Kenton “The Peanut Vendor”
Louis Armstong “I’ve Got The World On A String”
Royal Crown Revue “Solitary Man”
Richard Geere “The Joint Is Jumpin'”
Phil Collins Big Band “That’s All”
Lady Linn and her Magnificent 7 “Cry Baby”
Joe Stilgoe “Hungry Heart”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 2 PM, Saturday at 5 PM and Sunday at 10 AM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each of our finest episodes, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Don’t forget to check PopCult later Tuesday for FOUR BONUS ENTIRES in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide. Then Wednesday I’ll post a revised Master List, because some items have sold out since we first published the guide.

Monday Morning Art: Ornament


When I was a kid (actually up until I was a pre-teen) one of the things I loved about Christmas was pressing my nose right up in the tree and zoning out while staring at the way the light played off an ornament. At least I loved it until I got yelled at for standing too close to the tree.

This week’s art is a tiny mixed media painting that attempts to recreate that feeling, only without the getting yelled at part.

If you want to see it bigger, just click on the image.

While we’re in a Christmas mood, how about you make a note to check PopCult tomorrow for FOUR BONUS ENTIRES in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide. Then Wednesday I’ll post a revised Master List, because some items have sold out since we first published the guide.

Meanwhile, Monday at 9 AM on The AIR, the Monday Marathon once again brings you six hours of Beatles Blast, which follows the regularly-scheduled repeat of last weeks Big Electric Cat at 7 AM. Today’s marathon was carefully chosen because I didn’t want to run six hours of dead air. You’ll like it. I host it and it’s all Beatle-y and crap.

At 3 PM on Prognosis, Herman Linte brings us an edition of Prognosis, that opens with Eddie Jobson, who managed to get into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame before Emerson Lake and Palmer or Jethro Tull. That’s followed by a classic Prognosis and an evening of NOISE BRIGADE and Radio Free Charleston. You can hear replays of Prognosis Tuesdays at 7 AM, Wednesdays at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 9 AM.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…