PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

GI Joe’s Biological Father Passes Away

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The PopCult Toybox

stan-westonStan Weston, a toy industry legend and licensing pioneer, passed away last week. Reports started surfacing on the internet over the last couple of days.

Weston was the inventor of GI Joe, but he sold his interest in the first action figure to Hasbro early on. Just last year he settled with Hasbro over other ownership considerations for an undisclosed sum. Weston approached Hasbro’s Don Levine in 1963 with the concept of a posable 12″ figure that would have a cloth uniform and plastic accessories as a way to create a toy based on a military TV show that he was representing. The TV show didn’t last long, but Hasbro was still interested in the concept and moved forward with GI Joe, which went on to become one of the highest-grossing toys of all time.

In addition to GI Joe, Weston also came up with Captain Action (seen above, with Mr. Weston. Click the photo to read an interview with Weston) and arranged for MEGO to acquire the licenses for DC Comics and Marvel for their best-selling World’s Greatest Superhero line.

In 1970 he co-founded Leisure Concepts Incorporated, which changed the face of the toy industry by initiating many pervasive licensing deals. His company even developed the idea for the Thundercats action figure line and cartoon series in the 1980s. If you bought any licensed toy or knick-knack from 1970 to 1990, Stan Weston likely had a hand in its production.

Weston was quite a character, and I’m sorry that I never got the chance to meet him in person. A couple of years ago he was very helpful aiding me in busting a pop culture fraud, but we only had contact through a mutual friend.

Weston was 84 years old, and is survived by his brother, his three children and five grandchildren. PopCult extends its condolences to his friends and family.It’s always sad to see one of the creators of our favorite toys leave us.

bblog-5-10It’s a killer line-up of music and talk Wednesday on The AIR as we offer up brand-new episodes of Curtain Call and Beatles Blast.  We also celbrate our new URL, www.theairwv.com! You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just click the dial right here on this embedded radio player…

The morning kicks off with a replay of this week’s The Swing Shift at 7 AM, followed by a two-hour version of The NEW MUSIC SHOW at 9 AM and a replay of last week’s Curtain Call at noon. All times, EDT, by the way.

At 1 PM, deadline issues related to your PopCulteer’s impending eye surgery have us bringing you encores of On The Road with Mel and at 1:30 PM, Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle Marcum. Then at 2 PM The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe sees Mark talking with Charly Hamilton.

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a brand-new episode of Curtain Call, bringing you the best of musical theater. This week Mel brings you tunes from Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, School of Rock, Groundhog Day, Freaky Friday and more. You’ll find the playlist at the bottom of this post.

At 5 PM, yours truly hosts a special episode of Beatles Blast, focussing on alternative mixes of songs by the Fab Four. Listeners will hear rare mono mixes of tracks from Revolver and The White Album, plus oddball international releases and even an alternate edit of part of the medley from side two of Abbey Road. This is an education for fans who haven’t explored the slight-to-great differences that make these familiar Beatles songs seem new and exciting.

6 PM sees The NEW MUSIC SHOW, followed at 6:30 PM by The now-daily Crazy Show. At 7 PM we have a replay of Life Speaks, followed at 7:30 PM by Word Association with Lee & Rudy.

We maintain our prime-time Wednesday line-up of this week’s Prognosis at 8 PM. Herman Linte, plays both Jethro Tull’s 1972 concept album, Thick As A Brick, along with Ian Anderson’s 2012 sequel, Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?. That’s followed by The Comedy Vault at 10 PM. Then at midnight listeners can settle in for an all-night marathon of Curtain Call.

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Swing and Ska Tuesday Afternoon on The AIR!

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ss-5-9-17It’s Tuesday and that means new episodes of The Swing Shift and Ska Madness on The AIR! Tune in at the website, or on this handy embedded radio player…

Today at 3 PM, The Swing Shift brings you yet another collection of the best Swing music from the last century. Our first hour (the second hour is a repeat of last week’s show) offers up some of the greats of the heyday of Big Band Swing, like Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw and Jimmie Lunceford, mixed with Swing revivalists like The New Morty Show and The Pasedena Roof Orchestra and some more contemporary jazz artists like Diana Krall. Just look at this playlist:

The Swing Shift 023

The Pasedena Roof Orchestra  “Sing Sing Sing”
Oscar Peterson  “Lover, Come Back To Me”
Randy Sandke and The New York All-Stars  “Moten Swing”
Diana Krall  “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Duke Ellington  “Cirribirribin”
The New Morty Show  “In The Groove”
Jimmie Lunceford  “Mood Indigo”
Mitch Woods and The Rocket 88s  “Jive Mr. Boogie”
Carmen Miranda  “I Yi Yi Yi”
The Camaros  “All I Want”
Cab Calloway  “The Scat Song”
Lily Wilde and the Jumpin’ Jubilee Orchestra  “Stormy Weather”
Artie Shaw  “Frenesi”
City Rhythm Orchestra  “Just Swing”
The Flying Neutrinos  “Cry”
Spike Jones  “Der Furhers Face”

ska-madness-5-9-17Meanwhile, at 5 PM Dexter Checkers takes Ska Madness into unexplored territory as he presents nearly the entire recorded output of the legendary Third Wave Ska band, Operation Ivy. This OpIvy special is bracketed by tracks from Skankin’ Pickle and The Toasters, and marks the first episode of Ska Madness made up entirely of Third Wave Ska. Here’s the playlist:

Ska Madness 008

Skankin’ Pickle  “Gates Of Steel”

Operation Ivy
“Sound System”
“Take Warning”
“The Crowd”
“One of These Days”
“Gonna Find You”
“Bad Town”
“Freeze Up”
“Artificial Life”
“Room Without a Window”
“Big City”
“Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry”
“Here We Go Again”
“Yellin’ in My Ear”
“Sleep Long”
“Healthy Body”
“I Got No”

The Toasters  “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”

The Swing Shift can be heard Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM, Thursday at 7 PM, and Saturday at 9 AM. Plus Sunday at Midnight and Friday at 1 AM you can tune in for all-night marathons of The Swing Shift. Ska Madness can be heard Tuesday at 5 PM, with replays Friday at 10 AM and Saturday afternoon as part of The AIR Music Show Block.

rfc-1-23Radio Free Charleston is BRAND-NEW Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM with more local music than you’ll find from any other source!

You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

This week we unleash a ton of new music, including the audio from PopCult’s Sunday Evening Videos of Membrane Cell and Bad Blood, recorded just last Saturday night at The Blue Parrot on Capitol Street in Charleston.

We also present cuts from new releases by The Wolves of Calla, The Company Stores, Deni Bonet, Wren Allen Band, and Bon AIR, plus we bring you some gems from the archives. Radio Free Charleston can be heard exclusively on The AIR Tuesdays at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 5 PM, Saturday at 10 AM and Midnight and Sunday at 9 PM, plus other select times throughout the week.

Check out this week’s playlist:


The Wolves of Calla  “The Pact”
The Company Stores  “Optimistic”
Hurl Brickbat  “World Of Fire”
Radarhill and Nick Weckman  “Have A Chaya”
Bud Carroll  “We’ll Be Together Again”
Membrane Cell  “Walking Dead”
Membrane Cell  “Insignificant Other”
Bad Blood  “Back In The USSR”
Bad Blood  “Helter Skelter”
Wren Allen Band  “Mystery”
Bon Air  “The Blue Line”
Happy Minor  “Gypsy Queen”

RFC is just part of the exciting Tuesday line-up on The AIR. Read the other posts in PopCult for details on Tuesday’s episodes of The Swing Shift and Ska Madness.

thick-002Our internet radio station, The AIR, makes news this week with more fresh shows on our fluid and dynamic schedule.  You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just hit the virtual button right here on this embedded radio player…

After a morning and afternoon of new music and encore presentations, thigs get wild at 3 PM with a brand-new episode of Prognosis. This week Herman Linte brings us both Jethro Tull’s 1972 album, Thick As A Brick, and Ian Anderson’s 2012 follow-up, Thick As A Brick 2: Whatever Happened To Gerald Bostock?  Listeners will also get to hear a 1999 interview with Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Martin Barre And Jeffrey Hammond about the original album.

At 5 PM we bring you a classic episode of Harrah’s Hard & Heavy. In a few weeks we’ll have new shows from this series, but until then, you can rock out with your encore out.

At 6 PM it’s another installment the New Music Show. This is exactly what the title says. It’s new music, a mix of local and non-local, presented in a rotation so that you can see the artist and song title displayed. You’ll get to hear some of the best tracks that we play on our specialty shows here every weekday at 6 PM.

At 6:30 PM it’s The (censored) Crazy Show. Now daily, by popular demand.

7 PM sees a classic episode of That Conversation with Patrick Felton, while 9 PM brings us another much-requested episode of The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. At 10 PM The AIR revives a lost episode of Six Degrees of Separation.

At midnight, settle in for a special mix of live music and diverse programming.



For the duration of the month of May, Monday Morning Art will present two pieces of art by your PopCulteer based on his recent trip to Chicago.

This week we’re bringing you two pieces based on photographs taken at The Art Institute of Chicago. Above you see a digital Impasto take on one of the Lions outside the awesome art collection.  My first visit to the Art Institute was quite inspiring, even with my impaired vision. I can’t wait to go back post-cataract surgery. I saw the iconic lions, and knew that I had to interpret one of them in my digital manner.

Below you see a watercolor take on the Chicago skyline, as seen through a heavily-screen window on the third floor of the Art Institute, just one room away from the Dali and Magritte paintings. I thought it looked really cool at the time, and once I got the photo in the computer, I went a little crazy on it with my digital watercolors.



bg-01-5-7Here’s something we haven’t done for a while. Last night your PopCulteer made a rare trek out to hear some great live, local music. For ten years this was not such a rare occurance at all, but over the last year, while I’ve been dealing with the affects of Myasthenia Gravis, I think I’ve only caught three local bands.

But last night at The Blue Parrot, two bands that I really wanted to hear and hadn’t had the chance yet were playing together, so I made it a point to be there. Membrane Cell is David Synn, with whom I have collaborated in the past on the “Stark Charleston” film, and Kenny Booth, virtuoso guitarist for HARRAH and Trielement. Bad Blood is top-notch cover band that features my good friend Lee Harrah on lead vocals.

Mrs. PopCulteer had to do the driving. I’m four days away from the first of two cataract surgeries, and night driving is not exactly a highly-recommended activity. I did, however, smuggle one of my trusty Kodak Zi8 cameras out with me, and took the opportunity to shoot video of a couple of songs by each band. I did not bring any extra recording equipment, so this is just camera audio with minor tweaking. I also don’t promise that anything is in focus, because I’m not really capable of judging that sort of thing at the moment.

With minimal editing, we bring you two PopCult Instant Videos, above you see Membrane Cell, with two of their original tunes that blend electronica with metal to create a new and exciting sound. Below Bad Blood does your PopCulteer proud with amped-up renditions of a couple of Beatles numbers. There’s a little NSFW language involved, so don’t crank this up loud at work.

If this gives any of you hope that the return of Radio Free Charleston on video is imminent…well, perhaps that hope is justified.

Ten Years of RFC Flashback: Episode 48

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rfc48randy01Radio Free Charleston 48 was our tribute to the Randy Lee Walden, the lead singer and bass player for Quick And Dirty, who appeared on RFC 44 in June, 2008.  This was a pretty somber show, the first time that RFC had to deal with death. Sadly it was not the last.

Randy was found dead in Quick And Dirty’s rehearsal space before a scheduled show by the band on June 30.  It was an apparent cardiac arrest.  Randy was only 30. This tribute show originally ran in July, 2008. The original production notes are HERE.

All American New Wave Music On The AIR!

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The AIR Friday Schedule

usa-sydneyFriday on The AIR once again makes the world safe for cool people as we hit listeners with the double shot of Sydney Fileen with her Big Electric Cat and DJ Betty Rock with Radio Coolsville.   You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just settle down right here on this embedded radio player…

Friday at 3 PM we present a brand-new episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat with a special theme: All the New Wave Music in this special program originates in the good-old USA. It’s an All-American edition of the show, as your presenter, Sydney Fileen, crafts an All-American playlist that includes The Cars, The GoGos, DEVO, Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, Wall of VooDoo and more.

You’ll find the playlist at the bottom of this post (below the jump) and it’s bound to make your heart swell with patriotic pride, which as you may have noticed, is in pretty short supply these days.

Joining Sydney on Friday afternoons is DJ Betty Rock and Radio Coolsville. DJ Betty’s show, which originates out of WMUL in Huntington, is chugging along in its new one-hour format, still chock-full of the coolest Alternative-inflected music you’ll find. Radio Coolsville will debut a new episode every Friday at 5 PM, with replays throughout the week.

At 6 PM tonight, it’s another half-hour of The New Music Show, and at 6:30 PM we bring you The Crazy Show. At 7 PM, this week, we’re bringing you a special replay Radio Free Charleston, and at 8 PM we continue The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy with hour four.

9 PM sees a full hour of The Third Shift with Jay and Jared. Check this show our for the wildest conversations about beer, babes, gadgetry and the latest news from the world of the key demographic. At 10 PM we offer up a replay of this week’s Radio Free Charleston International. Midnight brings you an all-night dose of a very special brand of Crazy.

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Upsetting The Masses

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img_9732aThe PopCulteer
May 5, 2017

It’s time for another rambling multi-topic PopCulteer, so let’s jump in and get this over with.

You may have noticed of late that, while your PopCulteer is still cranking out at least one post each day, many days it’s only one post. There is a good reason for that. I’m less than a week away from my first cataract surgery, and it can’t come quick enough.

My eyesight, exacerbated by the prednisone I’m taking as treatment for Myasthenia Gravis, has rapidly deteriorated. It’s at a point that I do not feel comfortable driving at night, and I’m not crazy about taking the interstate in the daylight now. This is a problem that will be resolved very soon, but it doesn’t just affect my driving. It also affects my reading and typing.

So the reason you haven’t had many entries in the PopCult Bookshelf lately is that I haven’t read many good books. I’ve acquired some fantastic books that I really want to tell you about, but I’m gonna need eyes for that. That’s also the same reason that there haven’t been many videos and photo essays recently (well, the photo essays are also delayed because of lingering technical issues from the last blog “upgrade” here at the Gazette-Mail, but my eyesight has a lot to do with that too).

Writing is also a bit tricky, and I need to thank Mrs. PopCulteer for doing some much-needed proofreading for the last couple of months.

indexSo, that’s my excuse for slacking off. Well, that and my support for the Church of the SubGenius, but I don’t wish to proselytize here.

Anyway, I was in Chicago last week, and had a great time despite my fuzzy vision. I did bring back a few observations that gave me a new perspective on life here in Charleston.

There seems to be a level of malaise and misery in Charleston that I don’t see in other cities. Now, this may well be because I only visit the best parts of other cities when I go there. It’s like here in Charleston when you pick up someone at the airport, take them to Bluegrass Kitchen, The Clay Center and to see Mountain Stage, then rush them back onto the next plane home before they notice anything else.

Our first day in Chicago we went to Lincoln Square. While Mel shopped in stores that sell things that aggravate my allergies, I sat in a lovely little park they have there and just people watched. I saw happy people. Not just that…I saw happy families, pushing strollers while going to their favorite shops and taking time out for their kids to run around and play and let off steam in the park. It was a nice, peaceful, happy scene…and one that I don’t see in Charleston.

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