Really sorry to read about the death of comic book artist Neal Adams. When I was a kid, I was far more drawn to DC Comics than to Marvel, and Neal Adams was the reason. His drawings were not only more detailed than any other comic art, but they were filled with incredible movement, mood and action. Neal Adams was the DC artist who rediscovered the strength of Batman and remade him into the powerful image we have of him today. So, back in the 1980s, when I was running my advertising agency, Wilkerson Advertising, it was a real thrill for me to be able to hire Neal Adams for a series of ads we were doing for our client, Roland Corporation and their division, BOSS Products. We somehow came up with the idea of using comic book art in our ads, probably to deal with a good product with a goofy name – the Dr. Rhythm. It was the kind of name that the Japanese market (where it was made) really liked, but didn’t exactly “play” in the USA. We knew we had to come up with a way of making Dr. Rhythm somehow cool, otherwise we were sunk. The answer was to hire Neal Adams to do the artwork which was simultaneously outrageous fun and imparted a kind of “cool factor” to the product. The four ads that Neal Adams drew for us were really well received, and, most importantly delivered sales for our client. I know we are merely a footnote to the work of a great comic artist, but I’m glad to be part of that footnote. 04.30.22.
I’d like to thank the City of Los Angeles. Really? The city that, in the time I’ve lived here, has ignored traffic gridlock, rising crime and out of control homelessness? Well, occasionally they do something right. In this case, it’s the new expansion of the bike path on the South side of the “beautiful” Los Angeles River (aka drainage ditch). Because of this I can now ride my bike all the way from Owensmouth Avenue to Tampa Avenue three miles, uninterrupted by traffic, stoplights or, for the moment, homeless encampments. The cost? Only $6 million, and since I was the only rider on the path this morning I’ll gladly accept the city’s generous donation to my health and happiness. 04.29.22.
What to put in News vs. what to put in Blogs? I started the Blog section of this site after my Facebook account was hacked by some lowlifes and I lost contact with my Writers' Group. This group was made up of many writers from the classes I've taught at UCLA and I'd like to keep in touch with them, but, after the hack, I'm done with using Facebook.
Since this site allows my Blog posts to be sent by email it seems like the best way to post the things I used to do on the Facebook Writers' Group. The only downside is that (at the moment) it's just a one-way conversation. If you have thoughts on my Blogs, feel free to email.
So, what I'll put in the Blog section are my thoughts on Film, TV and Music -- things I've seen or heard that I think are worth talking about. What will go here in the News section are posts on the big issues of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Let's see how it goes. 04.06.22.
In doing my research for my project Dreamland I’ve spent a lot of time investigating the era of the so-called Red Scare, the era (1930s – 1940s) in which the principles of Communism were being spread by the propaganda arm of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union known as the Communist International (the Comintern). One of the sentiments you often hear about this era is that “no Communist propaganda ever really entered American films.” Well… not exactly. There were quite a few films that were blatantly pro-Soviet, one of which I had the experience of viewing recently on TCM.
The North Star tells the story of the Nazi invasion of Ukraine in 1941 and is particularly interesting in the light of the current Russian invasion. Imagine a film set in Ukraine seven years from now in which people live happily (post invasion) as Putin’s Soviet citizens working on their bountiful collective farm. Everyone is prosperous, smiling and happily call each other “comrade” as they dance and sing at their village gathering.
That’s even harder to imagine when you consider that the treatment of Ukraine by Stalin in the 1930s was considerably worse than what Putin is doing to the country now -- believe it or not. In 1934 Stalin took away (aka “collectivized”) all the food produced by the Ukrainian people, redistributing it in Russia, resulting in the death by starvation of 3 - 6 million Ukrainians in what’s known as the Holodomor. Yeah, I didn't learn about that in school either.
And yet, here in The North Star village of Ukraine are Anne Baxter and Farley Granger, (among other joyous young comrades) well fed and in love just seven years after the mass starvation of their people. This slice of CommieProp was written by Lillian Hellman, a writer who called Stalin’s purges (in which he executed former friends like Zinoviev, Bukharin, Radek and many others) “anti-Soviet propaganda.” British historian Paul Johnson said of her, “there are lies, damned lies, and Lillian Hellman.” There are a lot of lies in this film as well as other Comintern products from Hollywood like Mission to Moscow, Song of Russia, and Action in the North Atlantic.
The Red Scare was not a fantasy. Just ask Ukrainians.
For the true story of Stalin's invasion of Ukraine see my recent Blog post on the film, Mr. Jones.
Rock music lost another one of its greats yesterday with the passing of Gary Brooker, singer, pianist, composer and leader of Procol Harum. This is one of my all time favorite bands, and one that, in my opinion has never received it's due praise --- evidenced by the fact that most of the obituaries mentioned only "A Whiter Shade of Pale" omitting the massive amount of amazing music he created after that. Read my tribute HERE. I will be adding more as time allows. R.I.P. Gary. I will miss you. 02.24.22
Since my Facebook account was hacked and I lost access to my Writers’ Group, I’ve decided not to go back. For the record, Facebook was absolutely no help whatsoever in restoring my account. If you ever want to feel like a non-entity, write to Facebook support. They won’t write back. They have millions of dollars to give to political campaigns, but apparently not enough money to hire people to service their subscribers.
So I've decided to do the Writers' Group here as a BLOG. I’ll pretty much write about the same things that I did on the Facebook Writers’ Group, but since it’s public, I may not be quite as vocal about lousy films and TV shows I’ve seen. We’ll see what happens.
If you want to receive emails, just subscribe on the BLOG page.
Click HERE to go there, or use the navigation link at the top. 03.19.22
I've always loved this piece of music written by George Frederic Handel and thought it would be fun to do an EDM version.
Written by Ron Wilkerson, Recorded in 1989.
I wanted to do a video for this song but didn't have a lot of pictures of the band. In searching the web for pictures of Rudy Love I found out, sadly, that he had passed away last October. So now, this video is dedicated to his memory and his fabulous voice. 02.26.22