PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Monday Morning Art: Chicago At Night


Inspired by a view from our hotel window during last month’s trip to Chicago, this is your PopCulteer indulging in a bit of expressionism to show a vital city thouroughfare after dark. All month long I’m trotting out Chicago-inspired digital art, and I’m trying to make each one different.

As always, click the image to see a bigger version.

Meanwhile, over on The AIRThe Monday Marathon remains shrunken from 24 hours to 8. It still kicks off at 7 AM, every Monday, and it still showcases one of our popular music programs, but now it wraps up at 3 PM, to make way for two weekly marathon presentations of the best of two of our regular shows.  At 3 PM you can settle in for eight hours of great New Wave music with Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Then at 11 PM you can spend you overnights with eight hours of the best Progressive Rock of the last half-century on Prognosis. Today’s Monday Marathon features Radio Free Charleston International, hosted by your humble PopCulteer.

Every day this week we will unveil the new programming schedule for that day on The AIR, right here in PopCult, and if all goes according to plan, we should have new episodes of ALL of our music shows this week.

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


In 1974, famed daredevil, Evel Knievel was at the height of his fame, and it was decided that this folk hero stuntman should have his own television show. Of course, Knievel himself was too busy and too disinterested in acting to star in such a show. In a movie on his life a few years earlier, George Hamilton, he of the famed suntan, starred as the motorcycle legend, with Knievel himself performing the motocycle stunts.

When it was decided to try to bring Evel Knievel to the small screen, the task fell to a then-unknown, Sam Elliott (seen right), many years before he reached the full heights of his own stardom in Tombstone, Gettysburg and The Big Lebowski.  Commissioned by Viacom for CBS, the pilot was not picked up, and instead flamed out and missed the landing-ramp.

This pilot was directed by Michael O’Herlihy, a veteran of Star Trek, Gunsmoke and MASH, and it was written by Richard Admas, who’d scripted shows like Combat and Kojak. In this pilot, Evel has to face off against a female daredevil in a “Battle of the Sexes.” The cast is rounded up by recognizable TV veterans Gary Barton and Nobile Willingham, and the female daredevil is played by Karen Philipp, a former singer for Brasil 66.

It’s not hard to see why the show wasn’t picked up. It’s goofy as hell, especially in that it shows Knievel as a law-abiding citizen. Three years after the production of this pilot, he was convicted of assaulting Shelly Saltman, one of the producers of the failed Snake River Canyon jump, with a baseball bat for writing an unflattering book about the daredevil. That stunt cost Knievel all his endorsements and toy deals, and eventually lead him into bankruptcy.

Despite that dark period, the man rebounded and recovered, and by the time he passed away in 2007, was a celebrated pop culture icon. Evel Knievel remains a beloved folk hero and this unsold TV pilot is a wild reminder of just how big a star he was in the 1970s.


The RFC Flashback: Episode 167

This week we go back to September, 2012 for the middle of our trilogy of episodes devoted to The Wood Boys production of “Tribute To The Troops II.” Originating from the amphitheater at Saint Albans City Park, this benefit show included a ton of great local talent. This week you will hear music from Breedlove, The Under Social, Remains UnNamed and Johnny Compton.

Before the music starts, we brought you a short film that showed the work of one of the beneficiaries of Tribute To The Troops II, The Wounded Warrior Project. This is a great cause that helps our wounded and maimed soldiers segueway back into society after their service.

Remains Unnamed perform their original song, “Flatline.” They are followed by Under Social and Breedlove. Johnny Compton (who is now in the band, Luna Park, with Under Social’s Stacee Lawson Stanely) plays us out with an acoustic cover of “Highway Song.”

Next week, we wrap up our flashback coverage of Tribute To The Troops II with Deck of Fools, Point of Jerus, and more from In The Company of Wolves and HarraH, plus a short film about The West Virginia National Guard Foundation.


The PopCult Toybox News Round Up

The PopCulteer
January 18, 2019

This week we are playing catch-up with the world of toys, about a month before the big International Toy Fair in New York. There’s been a lot of news breaking early, as some details of toys to come have leaked at toy fairs in other countries, and there were some big business moves, so let’s take a look at what’s new in the toyland…

DC Comics Action Figures

The big news that broke before Christmas was that the license to make DC Comics action figures will be switching from Mattel to Spin Master in 2020. I’ve already written about it, and there isn’t much new to add, except that it’s become clear that Mattel did not even pursue the license, as I speculated. They wanted out, largely because the toys just haven’t been selling well based on the DC Universe movies.

There just hasn’t been a lot of news out of Mattel about their upcoming lame-duck year.

However, about a week ago the director of the upcoming Shazam movie unveiled a few of the toys based on that film, and less than a week later they were spotted (by me) locally in Walmart.


MEGO Wave Four

After a succesful relaunch at Target last year, MEGO is planning to hit the ground running in 2019. Figures for Wave 4 are being announced, and some of them are already leaking into stores several week before they’re supposed to.

What we know for sure is that the 14″ DC Comics line at Target wlll include Black Manta, the arch enemy of Aquaman, and we are likely to get the King of the Sea as well.

In the 8″ line, four legend figures have been announced, Joe Namath, Muhammed Ali, Farrah Fawcett and Marilyn Monroe. Namath, Ali and Fawcett were all immortalized in toy form by MEGO back in the 1970s. Ali and Monroe have reportedly been found at Target stores in San Diego and Texas, even though they’re not due out officially until early March.

Here’s a look at the figures, lifted from the MEGO Ambassador Facebook page

The 14″ Black Manta. Could Aquaman be on the way to stop this menace?
Broadway Joe returns to MEGO, for the first time in the 8 inch size.
In case anyone was wondering why Farrah Fawcett’s character was not among the first three Charlie’s Angels figures that MEGO released last year, it seems they were saving her for this.
Depecting the famous “Eight-inch itch” or something like that, it’s Marilyn Monroe.
A look at the back of the Marilyn card. The new packaging design is a vast improvement over last year’s look.
Ms Monroe and Muhammed Ali have reportedly already leaked into Target stores, several weeks early.

We also have word that MEGO will no longer be confined to Target stores. Their exclusivity deal was up December 31 of last year. We don’t know which other retailers besides Target will carry the figures yet, but indications are that there will be more than one additional retailer, and they may have different assortments of figures.

We’ll keep you posted as more details emerge.

New from NJ Croce

On the bendie figure front, Our friends at NJ Croce have announced their new line for 2019. Aside from that very cool “First Appearance” Batman that you see at the head of this post,We have more from NJ Croce after the jump…

Continue reading…

We have a full-blown PopCulteer coming your way Friday afternoon, but ths morning we’re going to tell you about today’s schedule on The AIR, as Friday  sees new episodes of Radio Free Charleston International and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Friday mornings now kick off with a 7 AM replay of the week’s new episode of Prognosis, followed by Word Association with Lee & Rudy at 9 AM and The BS Crazy Show at 9:30. This one-hour combo of Word Association and The BS Crazy Show will repeat at 9 PM, for those of you who don’t want to listen to these NSFW programs at work.

At 10 AM The AIR will broadcast The Best of The Real with Mark Wolfe. At 11 AM we’ll bring you two hours of The AIR Music Mix, which this week means a replay of both episodes of our crossover between Curtain Call and The Swing Shift..

Then at 1 PM we will debut the week’s new edition of Radio Free Charleston International. This week, inspired by Herman Linte’s symphonic edition of Prognosis, your host (and PopCulteer), assembled a two-hour mixtape featuring his favorite music by his favorite artists of all time. The playlist for this show will appear at the bottom of this post.

At 3 PM Sydney’s Big Electric Cat presents a special 40th anniversary salute to The Cure, with two solid hours of early music by the band, dating back to their New Wave Music roots. We don’t have the full playlist, but you can expect all their biggest hits in this two-hour special.

These are the quick notes to whet your appetite for The AIR, and before we go, here’s the playlist for the 1PM and 10 PM airings of RFC International...

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Art of Noise “Close (The The Edit)”
YES “Arriving UFO”
ELO “Mr. Blue Sky”
The Beatles “All You Need Is Love”
DEVO “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”
Elvis Costello “Green Shirt”
Kate Bush “Suspended in Gaffa”
Oingo Boingo “Nasty Habits”
Emerson Lake and Palmer “Tarkus”
Mike Batt “Love Makes You Crazy”
Lene Lovich “What Will I Do Without You”
Joe Jackson “Soul Kiss”
Hazel O’Connor “Breaking Glass”
Elvis Costello and Glenn Tilbrook “From A Whisper To A Scream”
The Stranglers “The Raven”
The Aquabats “Play Doh”
Frank Zappa “Flakes”
Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out”
The Beatles “Hey Bulldog”
Madness “Rise and Fall”
DEVO “Gates of Steel”
Kate Bush “Army Dreamers”
Gary Numan “Cars”
Royal Crown Revue “Hollywood Tale”
Oingo Boingo “Goodbye, Goodbye”

Notes On Prognosis and PopCult

We continue to bring you our new year’s new schedule on The AIR, and Thursday sees a new episode of Prognosis. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Our new Thursday morning sees Psychedelic Shack gaining an addtional replay at 9 AM, followed by a replay of the previous week’s edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat at 10 AM and Radio Free Charleston International at Noon. Then at 2 PM we replay this week’s new episode of Radio Free Charleston, before kicking into a brand-new Prognosis at 3 PM.

This week Herman Linte presents two hours of symphonic renditions of progressive rock at 3 PM on Prognosis, with this new episode featuring the music of YES, The Nice, Alan Parsons Project, Genesis Frank Zappa and more. in an orchestral setting. This is a special presentation with one hour and fifty-eight minutes of (almost) uninterrupted music. Then at 5 PM we follow that with a classic episode of Prognosis, giving you four solid hours of challenging and progressive music.

We had planned to bring you more posts in PopCult this week, but real-world intrusions, including an unexpectedly large car repair bill have set us back a bit, but we’re hoping to make up some lost time on Friday. Bear with us, and remember that we will always strive to bring you at least one fresh post per day.

We continue with our new schedule on our sister internet radio station The AIR, and Wednesday brings new episodes of Beatles Blast and Curtain Call. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

In the morning, following our regular 7 AM replay of the previous day’s episode of The Swing Shift, we will bring you up to date with Prognosis at 9 AM and Psychedelic Shack at 11 AM.  At noon tune in for Word Association iwth Lee & Rudy, followed by 90 minutes of The AIR Music Mix.  After two-and-a-half years, On The Road with Mel is going on hiatus.  Life Speaks to Michelle Zirkle will relocate to a weekend timeslot, but will return for special new episodes through the week as Michelle’s schedule allows. Beatles Blast will stay where it was, at 2 PM. You can find the playlist for this week’s new Beatles Blast (hosted by Your PopCulteer, himself) at the bottom of this post.

At 3 PM Curtain Call, Mel Larch’s weekly showcase of the best of musical theatre, will expand to three hours, with each week’s new hour followed by two classic replays.

This week Mel’s new hour of show tunes is packed with great numbers from shows like SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musicalo, Getting The Band Back Together and Hamilton and at the end of the show, Mel pays tribute to Carol Channing, the Broadway legend who passed away yesterday at the age of 97.  Check the playlist:

Curtain Call 052

“Best Day Ever” From SpongeBob Squarepants The Musical
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” Rock of Ages OBC
“Best Worst Mistake” If Then
“The Best of Times” Elizabeth Parrish and George Hearn
“Best Day of My Life” Gettin’ The Band Back Together
“The Best In The Business” Late Nite Comic
“The Baddest and The Best” Bad Girls The Musical
“All for The Best” Godspell
“Best of Wives and Best of Women” Hamilton
“My Best Love” Flower Drum Song
“The Best Night of My Life” Applause (Penny Fuller)
“Best Day of My Life (Reprise)” Gettin’ The Band Back Together
“My Big Best Shoes” Valmouth
“More Than Survive” Be More Chill
“Show Stoppin’ Number” The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals
“So Long, Dearie” Carol Channing

Curtain Call can be heard 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.

Prior to that, at 2 PM, Beatles Blast looks at how The Beatles are credited with inspiring progressive rock, and brings you an hour of great Prog Rock takes on The Fab Four.  Here’s the playlist:

Beatles Blast 034

The Beatles “A Day In The Life”
YES “Every Little Thing”
Jordan Rudess “Here, There and Everywhere”
Roy Wood “Polythene Pam”
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel “Here Comes The Sun”
David Bowie “Across The Universe”
John Wetton and Robby Krieger “All You Need Is Love”
Rick Wakeman “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
Greg Lake “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
Vanilla Fudge “Eleanor Rigby”
Peter Gabriel “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Klaatu “Sub Rosa Subway”

Beatles Blast offers up a new episode every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursdays at 9 PM, Saturday mornings, and Sunday at 5 PM, exclusively on The AIR.

We are in week two of new schedule on The AIR, and Tuesday brings new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Psychedelic Shack and The Swing Shift. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

While we have revamped our schedule, the new music on Tuesday is pretty much the same as it ever was. You can still hear the new episode of Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM. Psychedelic Shack will be new at 2 PM. The Swing Shift will be new at 3 PM.

Our Tuesday schedule tells us that Psychedelic Shack will air at 9 AM; The Swing Shift will now occupy a three-hour timeslot from 3 PM to 6 PM, with the new hour followed by two previous shows, and we will present two classic hours of Radio Coolsville, with DJ Betty Rock at 6 PM.

This week Radio Free Charleston presents a bunch of new local music from the likes of David Synn, Poor Man’s Gravy, and from deep in the RFC Archives, The Amazing Delores and Go Van Gogh.

Now is the time on PopCult were we give you more details and playlist’s for today’s new programs.

Radio Free Charleston kicks off with a preview demo from David Synn, and continues with the rest of our weekly hour of great local music.


David Synn “Bastard (Demo)”
Poor Man’s Gravy “Swagger”
The Jasons “Crazy Ralph (Shut Your Mouth)”
Todd Burge “Cavewoman”
Bad Keys of the Mountain “Draw The Line”
Axis Everything “Undersound”
Byzantine “I Am A Nightmare”
John Radcliff “Here We Go Again”
dogSoldier “Trail of Tears”
Crooked Joe “Sludge Matters”
A Story Told “Fall Back”
Deadknot “Losing All My Dreams”
Mind Garage “What’s Behind Those Eyes”
The Amazing Delores “Stop Messin’ With My Mind”
Go Van Gogh “Shut Up, I Love You”

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 Nigel Pye checks in from Haversham Recording Institute with a 60-minute mixtape of groovy Psychedelic Rock. Here’s what Nigel has in store this week:

Psychedelic Shack 013

Giles Giles & Fripp “Suite No. !”
Oingo Boingo “Change”
The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
It’s Five O’Clock “Wake Up”
Todd Rundgren “Rain”
Creedence Clearwater Revival “Graveyard Train”
Iron Butterfly “Belda Beast”
13th Floor Elevators “Slip Inside This House”
George Harrison “On The Bed”

Psychedelic Shack can be heard Tuesday’s at 2 PM, with replays Wednesday at 11 AM, Thursday at 5 PM and Saturday at 7 AM and the next Tuesday at 9 AM.

At 3 PM your PopCulteer returns to host a new hour of The Swing Shift as we continue to bring you the best Swing Music of the last century.

Here’s the playlist:

The Swing Shift 059

Megan and Her Goody Goodies “Come And Get It, Honey”
Louis Prima (Sam Butera) “O Solo Mio”
Echoes of Swing “Traveling Light”
The Speakeasies’ Swing Band “Black Swamp Village”
The Sassy Swingers “The Devil’s Gonna Get You”
Swing Ninjas “Louis Armstrong’s Telephone”
Sazerac Swingers “New Orleans Til I Die”
Squirrel Nut Zippers “Hey Shango”
Marcella Puppini “In The Mood For Trouble”
The Blind Rats “Murder He Says”
Steve Lucky and The Rhumba Bums “Jumptown”
Lillian Briggs “Don’t Stay Away Too Long”
Jack’s Cats “Sunny Side of The Street”
Benny Goodman “Bugle Call Rag”
Royal Crown Revue “Parks Place”
Jimmy Lunceford “Sophisticated Lady”

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. Check PopCult every day this week to see what our new schedule will bring.

Monday Morning Art: Pop Chicago


We are posting art inspired by Chicago all this month, and this week we bring you a Pop Art rendition of a less-familiar portion of The Chicago Skyline, seen from the South. This was all done with digital tweaking.

As always, click to enlarge.

Meanwhile, over on The AIR, we continue with our new schedule.  The Monday Marathon has shrunk from 24 hours to 8. It still kicks off at 7 AM, every Monday, and it still showcases one of our popular music programs, but now it wraps up at 3 PM, to make way for two weekly marathon presentations of the best of two of our regular shows.  At 3 PM you can settle in for eight hours of great New Wave music with Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Then at 11 PM you can spend you overnights with eight hours of the best Progressive Rock of the last half-century on Prognosis. Today’s Monday Marathon features Beatles Blast, hosted by your PopCulteer.

Every day this week we will unveil the new programming schedule for that day on The AIR, right here in PopCult, and if all goes according to plan, we should have new episodes of ALL of our music shows this week.

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

Sunday Evening Videos: Joe Jackson

This week we’re going to look at the work of Joe Jackson (the musician, not the patriarch of the Jackson 5). Jackson began his career as a New Wave sensation, then showed his versatility by braninching out into Swing Music, sophisticated pop, Jazz and Classical music, while maintaining his sense of style and top-notch songwriting skills.

The top clip above shows Jackson performing live with his band in Tokyo in 1986. It’s a killer live show, and shows how big his catalog of terrifec songs had already become over thirty years ago.

The second clip above presents his latest single, “Friend Better,” from his upcoming album, Fool, which will be released later this week. A straight forward toast to friendship, “Friend Better” builds on the assumption that whereas love is fleeting, friendship endures.

Fool, the 20th studio album celebrating the artist’s 40th anniversary, is going to be released as CD Digipak, 1LP+download, Limited 1LP+7inch Vinyl+download (incl. 2 previously unreleased songs) and Digital album on January 18th, 2019 on earMUSIC.

The album was co-produced by Jackson and producer Pat Dillett (David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, etc.) The band in question was the same group that Jackson has played live with ever since the release of “Fast Forward”: Teddy Kumpel on guitar, Doug Yowell on drums, and long-time collaborator Graham Maby on bass (Maby was on that first recording session 40 years ago as well).

Starting February 2019, Jackson and the band will embark on a new world tour, playing shows throughout the US and Europe and performing material drawn off five albums (“Look Sharp (1979)”, “Night And Day (1982)”, “Laughter And Lust (1991)”, “Rain (2008)” and “Fool (2019)”) as well as a couple of songs from other albums and some new covers. The US leg of the tour is largely sold out, but there are still seats available in Washington DC and Richmond, Virginia, on February 9 and 10.

It’s great having new music from Joe Jackson, who in recent years has been splitting time between his music career, and his acting career, which he does under the name “Tilda Swinton.”

Maybe. 🙂