Jack Cole's "Mantoka"

by Derrick Bostrom


I've loved Jack Cole's work ever since I first saw it -- probably in an old DC Specialor Super Spectacular from back in the seventies. Or perhaps it was in the books by Jules Feiffer or Les Daniels. I've been happily binging on Plastic Man, thanks to 8 volumes devoted to the stretchy supersleuth in the hardbound DC Archive Editions series. But the endless variation on the same theme -- elastic though it is -- tends to get monotonous after a while. Which is why it's been great to see so much space devoted lately to Cole's horror and crime work over at these fine comic book blogs:

Pappy's Golden Age Comics

The Horrors Of It All

Those Fabuleous Fifties

Now that we're in the Golden Age of Golden Age Comics Reprints, Cole's work isn't nearly as hard to see. But in the old days, we had to rely on poor quality reproductions in black and white reprint 'zines, like Ron Goulart's "Comics: The Golden Age," which is where this story come from. I scanned it back in the early days of my introduction to the internet. I had just gotten a scanner -- an HP unit the size of a small truck that cost me a thousand dollars -- and I was enamored of Usenet. My "Mantoka" scans are a part of my fledgling efforts to joint that community.

My original scans look laughable nowadays, optimized as they were for the old low-baud dial-up days of the early 90s, and the low-rez monitors of the day. The latticework of compression artifacts looks like the spidery skin of a dry corpse. Happily, seeing as I apparently throw out nothing, I can still actually put my hands of the box containing the magazine this story appeared in. It's okay -- I should be able to walk upright in a couple of weeks once the muscles in my back have a chance to heal. Meanwhile, enjoy these fresh new scans of this great example of Jack Cole's formative work, originally published in "Funny Pages" #34 (Jan. 1940).

Update: Now you can ignore my black and whites altogether, and enjoy this story in color over at Cole's Comics!


Things I Should Throw Out: Clippings From The Eighties

by Derrick Bostrom


Thanks to the share-isphere, the best time for your fans to catch up with you is once you've died. It's not like everything you've ever released isn't already available for free several times over, but once you die, everything gets consolidated and much easier to find. Last year it was James Brown; the year before, it was Buck Owens. Right now, it's George Carlin's turn.

Thinking about George Carlin for the past week or so has kind of pissed me off. I can still remember how delighted I was to discover him back in 1972 (which, by the way, was inversely proportional to how disgusted my step-father was to discover him). But that seems like only yesterday, and now, just like George I'm getting damn old. And I'm also just about as charmed by the current state of affairs as he was. So, as liberating as his long-haired counter-culture material was to a twelve-year-old boy 35 years ago, the enlightened bitterness of the take-no-prisoners routines from the end of his life end up resonating with me even more.

I continue to think about George as I prepare yet another post of goofy newspaper clippings that managed to survive in my collection over the years. It used to be fun to collect and laugh at this stuff, but now it all feels somehow depressing -- now that what had been presumed cultural anomalies at the time now stand reveled to look more like harbingers. Maybe it's just because this particular batch is too new, and not enough time has passed to allow me the luxury of ironic distance. Or maybe the wounds haven't had enough time to heal.

Or maybe these articles can actually offer hope, that if I live long enough, I might be able to find humor even in the events of today. I'm quite sure there's plenty to laugh at in the links below; I'm sure I found them funny twenty years ago. But today, they feel just too uncomfortably prescient.

The War on Drugs

Drug Abuse Coupons

Councilman Asks Feds to Execute Drug Users

Nancy Reagan Visits The Ghetto

Glittering Presidential Balls

The President Prays for War

Political Discourse

Prison Sentences for Presidential Insults

Improved Oppressor Relations

Pastoral Missile-scape

A Game of Grab the Corn Dog Goes Awry

The A.L.F. Visits the U. of A.

Sewage from Baltimore Still in Louisiana

McHusband

Couple Accuses Proctor & Gamble of Being in League with Satan

LaRouche Supporter Defends His Sanity

Wishful Thinking

UFO Swag

The Man on the Street Demands to be Heard

Love Slaves of Nitro

A Special Message from the Smithereens

'Zert

Supply Your Own Caption


Vacation Special: Robert and Bobby Kennedy

by Derrick Bostrom


Happy fucking fortieth anniversary, America.

I can still remember clearly the 6th of June, 1968. That's the day I learned that "Bob" was short for "Robert." To my mind, there were two Kennedy brothers running for president that year. I knew the Kennedys were a big family, and they all seemed to be in politics. So, to my seven-year-old mind, it followed. It was incredible to me, then, that not one but both of them managed to get shot in the aftermath of the June 5th California primary. And the next morning, when it was announced that Robert F. Kennedy had died in the early hours of June 6th, I remarked, "Boy. I wonder how Bobby's doing."

It wasn't until years later that I also discovered "Jack" was a nickname for "John." Politics was confusing to me back then. But ultimately it didn't matter so much in 1968, since our family was actually Clean For Gene that year. All the same, these two pieces of Kennedy kitsch adorn my walls to this day, as a remembrance of days gone by and in celebration of a time when we enshrined our beloved martyred leaders in terry cloth.

Kennedys
Kennedys

The Golden Age of Driving - European Edition

by Derrick Bostrom


Gasoline is up to four dollars a gallon! It'll be up to FIVE dollars by Christmas! In five years, we'll be looking back on these times as a golden age as we pay up to TWELVE DOLLARS A GALLON for the noxious liquid! We've all heard the wailing. Well, it can't bother me too much, because not only are my wife and I still filling up and driving all the way to the next town for a freaking vegan cheeseburger (shades of Presley), but we still squander stupid amounts of treasure on useless crap that we find in second-hand stores. Was it the exhaust fumes or the post-lunchtime torpor that caused me to decide to spend ten dollars recently on a plastic bag filled with European postcards?

"Food for the beast," I justified -- yes, this blog's gotta eat too. And as I sorted through the piles of dusty, faded paper, I wracked my brain for an appropriate criterion for which to separate out a handful large enough to be representative and yet small enough to fit into my limited blogging window. Old shit? Well, it's all old shit. Buildings? Castles? You've seen 'em. Pictures of humans dressed up funny? Maybe next week. Stuff that no longer exists? I can barely translate the inscriptions on the back; think I want to research them all?

But as I went through the stack, what began to jump out at me was not the huge lumps of wood and rock at the center of the frame, nor the quaint folk ephemera, but rather the tiny specks of vintage steel clustering in the lower thirds.  Yes, it was the beautiful old cars evoking the ache this time. Back in mid-sixties Europe, they already had a feel for scarcity, and sized their vehicles accordingly. And why not? Hell, in some parts of the continent, thanks to sensible and far-sighted tax policy, gas is already pushing up towards the ten bucks a gallon ceiling. Which means the beauties in these pictures are already more of a historical oddity than our trucks and SUVs are on their way to becoming.

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition

The Golden Age Of Driving - Europe Edition


Postcard Collection: Las Vegas

by Derrick Bostrom


I'll be the first to admit it: I don't "get" the Las Vegas concept. It promotes several debilitating vices, it's overflowing with one of my least favorite creatures on earth (human beings) and it's a model for knocking down cool old shit to make way for ugly new shit. About the only thing I want to do there is fly in, grab a rental car and drive the hell out of town, preferably to some any of the beautiful wilderness one state over. Oh, and that's another thing: its very hideous presence means there's necessarily that much less beautiful wilderness on the planet. But you could say the same about any city, so I can't really deduct points on that count.

I do like visitors, however, and if it's one thing people can't get enough of, it's classic Las Vegas. The number of sites dedicated to preserving the memory of the magnificent edifice that was once Sin City is truly overwhelming. You'd be surprised at how many folks stop by Bostworld just to look at the pictures of old Las Vegas menus that I inherited from my grandfather.  As it turns out, my other grandfather liked to visit Vegas too. Though he wasn't as drawn to the promise of disgusting "fine dining," he did enjoy collecting postcards.

I suppose it would be stating the obvious to say that most of the landmarks depicted on these cards are long gone. If I spent more time in Las Vegas, I might be able to tell you if any of them are still standing. Fortunately, the tonnage of Vegas ephemera in the net includes historical maps. You can also find a serious slewful of postcards like mine on Flickr, including many that are, for all practical purposes, identical to mine. But since excess appears to be the hallmark of The Strip, I say the more the merrier.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, Nevada


Wurzburg 1945-1955

by Derrick Bostrom


I had the recent pleasure of spending a cross-country plane ride with "The New Kings of Nonfiction," a collection edited by "This American Life" host, Ira Glass. As usual, despite the book's focus on "the new," it was the old I was most drawn to -- specifically, an article on World War II by Lee Sandlin.  Though this article was new to me, "Losing The War" is already being hailed as a classic. You can read the whole thing on Lee's web site.

My favorite passage deals with Hitler and chief architect Albert Speer's fascination with "ruin value." Inspired by the breathtaking ruins of Rome, Hitler and Speer wondered how the world would view their colossal urban plans a thousand years after the demise of the "Thousand Year Reich." They hit upon the idea of adding extra structural reinforcements, strategically placed among the arches and pillars, ensuring that "some picturesque element" of the architecture would survive over the years. Thusly, the Nazis would continue to "inspire awe" long after the end of their reign:

Speer's memoirs reproduce some of the sketches he did to illustrate the idea of ruin value. They show the immense public works projects he'd been designing [...] in a state of picturesque decay, half-crumbled and overrun by weeds. Hitler adored them. The members of his inner circle loathed them. They were uncomfortable with the idea that the Reich would ever fall, then or in a thousand years, and they darkly wondered if Speer was some kind of subversive troublemaker, playing to the Fuhrer's mysterious and disturbing fondness for images of twilight, decay, and tragedy.

Of course, the Romans never had to contend with the modern innovation of aerial carpet bombing. Neither did the fine folks of Wurzburg; that is, not until  March 16th, 1945. That evening, they got their own visit from Britain's Royal Air Force. Was the attack of strategic importance to the Allied war aims, or just part of their ongoing campaign of retaliation and "workforce dehousing?"  Whatever the reason, in just over 15 minutes, 85% of Wurzburg was gone, including most of the town's true primary asset: its architectural treasures, many dating back more than thirteen centuries.

Undaunted by the destruction (and the five thousand dead), the town picked itself up and spent the next two decades salvaging what they could and replacing the rest. Sixty years later, a certain Yours Truly learned of Wurzburg during an idle browse of a Tucson antique shop, where I discovered a beautiful book on the subject. Though the text is entirely in German -- more than a challenge for my one semester of that language (studied, coincidentally enough, at Tucson's University Of Arizona), the gorgeous black and white photographs speak for themselves. The Allies may have delivered a hell on earth for the citizens of Wurzburg, but they also created a photographer's paradise.

Dramatic subject matter abounds as we see folks going about the business of their lives amid the rubble of their ruined city. Construction crews, teams of engineers and small clusters of "Trümmerfrauen," ("Rubblewomen" or "women of ruins," depending on the rigors of your translatorship) work to put the pieces back together. The immediate concern was to quickly throw up places for people to live, seeing as how one hundred percent of the housing was destroyed in the raid. Naturally, given the constrictions of the situation, most of the new structures consisted of cement blocks with minimal ornamentation. Sure, it had a certain modernist charm, and it was no small accomplishment, but still: not exactly what folks had been accustomed to.

The excerpts of "Wurzburg 1945-1955" presented here tell the story of a town's forced entry into "the modern world." Facing their future, with nowhere near the luxury of some of their contemporaries, the citizens of Wurzburg still managed to devote resources to preserving what they could of their past. 

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955

Wurzburg 1945-1955


Presidential Tchotchkas

by Derrick Bostrom


Here's an article I wrote last year for a proposed column over at LuxuriaMusic. The column never materialized, and they never used it, so I decided to offer it up here as part of this week's national President's Day hoopla. As for Lux, they are poised to unveil a long anticipated, Drupal based site redesign. Once in place, their new account management and RSS feed aggregating features will hopefully give them all the fancy new content their heart may desire!

Whenever I'm in the vicinity of Austin, Texas, I always try to make time to visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. It's terrific facility; it's even got a presidential automaton. But instead of spouting pithy patriotic sentiment like Disneyland's Lincoln robot, the LBJ automaton tells jokes. My favorite gag has the punch line, “I know doctor, but I like what I drinks a lot better than what I hears” (you can fill in the rest of the joke yourself).

I've had my eye on the presidential dessert plates in the gift shop for some time. But they are rather pricey, and besides, it would take a stronger man than I to choose between the lush but stern extravagance of the First Lady Francis Folsom Cleveland pansies design and the breathtaking austerity of the Ida Saxton McKinley carnation. I settled instead on a collection of LBJ's phone calls from 1963 through 1965. My favorite track is the one in which Johnson bawls out Congressman Adam Clayton Powell for dragging his heels on an education bill: "You looked me straight in the eye and said 'I'll report this bill and I'll get it on the floor,' and you DID NOT DO IT!"

My wife recently visited the gift shop at Washington DC's Dulles Airport, and was surprised at how many anti-Bush collectibles she found there. You know the kind I mean: countdown calendars for for keeping track of how many days are left in the administration, “Don’t blame me -- I voted for Kerry" bumper stickers, “Drink up! The apocalypse is coming!” shot glasses, the usual. But she passed on all this contentious treasure, choosing instead a book of presidential trivia, a beautiful presidential kitchen towel, and a very nice book of presidential cookie recipes. Some of the must-try morsels include Herbert Hoover's lace wafers, Franklin Pierce's sesame seed cookies and Richard Nixon's USS Sequoia brownies (named in honor of the presidential yacht).

Anyway, in honor of this festive week of celebration, I am announcing The First Annual Bostworld Presidential Contest. Here’s the deal: the first person who can answer the following question will get a copy of President Zachary Taylor’s legendary recipe for black pepper cookies, hand-typed by Yours Truly: At the time of his inauguration, our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was related to eleven former Presidents. Can you name them?

----------

Thanks to everyone who ventured their guesses! Like I said, I wrote this article last year. Not only can I no longer remember who the presidential relatives are, I can't even remember which book to look in for the answer! But I remember the recipe:

Black Pepper Cookies

2 EGGS, SEPARATED

1 CUP LIGHT BROWN SUGAR, PACKED

1 CUP FLOUR

1/4 TSP. SALT

1 TSP. CINNAMON

1/2 TSP. GROUND CLOVES

1/4 TSP. BLACK PEPPER

1/4 TSP. BAKING SODA

1/4 TSP. BAKING POWDER

1/2 CUP RAISINS

1/2 CUP CHOPPED NUTS

Preheat oven to 375

In a small bowl, beat 2 egg whites.

In another small bowl, beat 2 egg yolks.

Combine egg whites and yolks and mix.

Add brown sugar and mix again.

In another bowl, sift flour with salt, cinnamon, cloves, black

pepper, baking soda, and baking powder.

Add the sifted ingredients to the eggs.

Stir in mixed raisins and nuts.

If dough is not stiff, add more flour. Blend well.

Drop by a tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes.

Cool on a rack.

YIELD: 5 DOZEN COOKIES.


1975: And The Changes To Come

by Derrick Bostrom


Nowadays, it's pretty much over. We're all slowly coming awake to the realization that we've squandered vast tracts of our future for an illusory past, our intellectual capital for a culture that's lost its memory, our once-noble ambitions for a population hooked on cheap thrills, our emotional strength for a brittle autophobia. Boxed in by increasingly limited options and driven to near madness by denial and distraction, the population casts about uselessly, desperate to ignore the darkness at the periphery. Eruptions occur with increasing frequency, stressing the structure at all strata, applying constant pressure on the facade, laying more and more bare the true face of what's in store for us. The smart ones are just trying to keep still while they wait for the other shoe to drop -- best to not stir up the dust any more than necessary.

But that's all changing in the world that's coming. Fifteen years hence, the far-flung world of 1975 offers challenges and opportunities undreamed of by past generations. From the classroom to the dining room, from the work place to, yes, even outer space, quixotic, compellingly-designed products will enhance every aspect of our lives. And soon we'll wonder how we ever got along without spherical audio systems and food preparing devices, bacon you pop into the toaster just like bread, and learning devices that make education no more cumbersome than punching a time card.

Oh, it's not all good news. Increased drilling opportunities and advances in fuel economy may increase the attractiveness of the automobile so much that engineers may be forced to start building roads on top of buildings! And the shortage of medical professionals may lead to decentralized drive-in high-rise hospitals (in the round, of course) manned by limited-skill equipment operators who merely facilitate the transmission of diagnosis from remote specialists. And shortages in recreation area may force home designers to come up with living spaces so compelling that citizens will chose to spend their vacation in the comparative spacious isolation of their own property.

And that's not all: enjoy these scans from "1975: And the Changes To Come" by Arnold B. Barach, which I picked up in a thrift store somewhere. In no time, this quick trip to the near future will leave you howling, "where's my irradiated canned meat??"

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come

1975: And the Changes To Come


Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

by Derrick Bostrom


In this installment of of presidential children's book illustrations, comic book legend Jack Davis presents the life of America's 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. Despite their ample brown and orange hued delights, these drawings offer nothing close to the lovingly rendered detail of the ones he did depicting the life of Abraham Lincoln. While some of the full-page drawings feature the careful cross-hatching and stylized realism found in the best of Davis' commercial work, many of them appear to have been handed over to an assistant for hasty finishing.

It is unknown if this is the result of tight deadlines, an overbooked client card, or just lack of interest on Davis' part. Perhaps turn of the century America didn't resonate as deeply with him as did the civil war era. Or perhaps he was simply drawn less to Roosevelt than Lincoln. Certainly, he is not alone. Despite his central place in the presidential pantheon, Roosevelt remains a controversial figure. One of the architects of the modern presidency -- larger than life, media-friendly, and the central figure in his own bona fide cult of personality -- Roosevelt is both lionized as a "trust busting" conservationist and pilloried as a jingoistic war monger.

In his article for the Ludwig von Mises Institute site, "No More 'Great Presidents,'" Robert Higgs goes so far as to call Roosevelt a "proto-fascist." Bemoaning the swollen place of the presidency in the current political scene, Higgs outlines the role of the executive branch in an administration which "governs best by governing least." Which hurts a country more, he asks: a term dogged by political scandal (as in the case of Grant or Harding) or one perusing a murderous agenda (i.e. Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt)?

Happily, in our present day and age, we aren't forced to choose between either of these over-simplified polarities. Nowadays, corruption and imperialism are two great tastes that seem to go great together. Fortunately for Davis' young audience, his illustrations indict Roosevelt for political sins no greater than ambition and big game hunting.

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt

Jack Davis Meets Theodore Roosevelt


Postcard Collection: Greetings From Arizona, Part Two

by Derrick Bostrom


Several years ago, I submitted a travel article about northern Arizona to an auto club magazine where a friend of mine worked as an editor. But before I could complete the second draft, I realized I didn't actually WANT people traveling into my state! After some soul-searching, I graciously withdrew my submission. It's a pretty bad piece of travel writing (no family bargains are revealed), but it serves as a decent enough accompaniment for the beautiful postcards you'll find below.

At five million visitors a year, Arizona’s Grand Canyon ranks as one of the most popular – and populous – attractions in the country. Its spectacular views and awesome scale make it an ideal destination for both casual tourists and serious outdoor enthusiasts. Let’s face it: if you’re visiting the state, you gotta see the Canyon.

But the Grand Canyon is not the only thing worth seeing in the area. Ask any native Arizonan: the northern part of the state is full of exciting, beautiful and interesting destinations. If you’ve got another couple days, it’s worth it to budget the time to experience Arizona via the back roads that wind their way up from Phoenix to the Canyon.

The trip north really starts at Wickenburg, an innocuous little town on Route 60, the Carefree Highway. A painless 40 miles northwest of Phoenix, Wickenberg also commences State Route 89. This relic from before the days of modern superhighways winds its way north following the old stagecoach trails, which in their time followed even older Indian trails. What you lose from interminable switching back up and down the mountains, you gain in historic resonance and off-the-beaten-path scenery.

At the top of your first set of switchbacks along Table Top Mountain is Yarnell, sitting at an elevation of 4700 feet with a population of 1300. An abandoned mining town, Yarnell is the home of the Shrine of Saint Joseph of the Mountains. Commissioned by the Catholic Action League of Arizona, the shrine depicts in white washed concrete statues the Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper and the Stations of the Cross. A perfect leg stretch after an hour of driving, the shrine offers a short hike through the Weaver Mountains and an exceptional view across the valley of the bucolic, homespun neighborhoods nestled among the boulders that make up the natural terrain.

The trip from Yarnell to Jerome takes you through Prescott National Forest and into the town of Prescott. Happily, our trip takes then takes us north, and over the Mingus Mountains, thus avoiding the grim reminder that Prescott Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in northern Arizona. East of town, the natural landscape has been rolled back to make way for more highways, strip malls and housing developments that serve the population’s urge to escape the rat race in Phoenix by building another rat race an hour north.

At the summit of the Mingus Mountains, you get a gorgeous view of the Verde Valley basin with San Francisco Peak looming behind it. And just when you think you’re going to be sick from traveling back and forth over steep, hairy switchbacks, right around the next corner you suddenly find yourself in the town of Jerome.

Nowadays, Jerome is an arts community entirely dependent on tourism, but a hundred years ago, it was one of Arizona’s boomingest mining towns. It’s hard to imagine the area in its opulent heyday, out in the middle of nowhere, mud streets jammed with early automobiles.  But, perched precariously on the side of a mountain wormy with mining tunnels, Jerome is without a doubt the richest historical landmark in the state.

For most of the last half of the Twentieth Century, Jerome was a ghost town. When we were teenagers, we loved to wade through the rubble of the dangerous abandoned buildings isolated amidst the crumbling foundations perched cliffside on the outskirts of town. The Jerome of today has received somewhat of a makeover, but its funky picturesque beauty remains. Today you can spend the night in any number of the town’s accommodating bed and breakfast facilities, all of which will transport you back a hundred years as you awaken to a spectacular Verde Valley sunrise.

Recently, the town’s famous Jerome Grand Hotel was renovated and reopened after a fifty-year dormancy. Originally built as a sanitarium for miners suffering from to black lung disease, it was on the cutting edge of engineering back in its day. Designed to withstand both fire and nearby dynamite blasts, the hotel stands at 5240 feet above sea level. The Jerome Grand also maintains the country’s oldest self-service elevator still in operation. This elevator was one of the very first of its kind, and remains as it was when it was installed eighty years ago.

Our abrupt return to the present is just minutes away, along a newly completed highway connecting the burgeoning towns of Cotttonwood and Sedona. Once a mere fork in the road where one could gas up and get a cup of coffee and not much else, Sedona is now a veritable tourism Mecca, as well as haven for the new age movement and wealthy expatriates from Phoenix. The town itself sprawls throughout some of the most beautiful red rock formations in the state, rivaling the Grand Canyon itself.

The road from Sedona proceeds north through still more breathtaking natural splendor along yet another old stagecoach trail, as State Route 89a winds upward through Oak Creek Canyon. The road levels off at Oak Creek Canyon Vista, where travelers can soak up the awesome view before continuing on to Flagstaff. From there, it’s just an hour’s drive to the Grand Canyon itself. Let’s face it: you gotta see the Canyon. But for my money, it’s what you'll find along the way that makes it worth the trip.

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona


Jack Davis Meets Abraham Lincoln

by Derrick Bostrom


Cartoonist and illustrator Jack Davis first came to prominence in the pages of classic EC comics like "Tales From The Crypt" and "Two-Fisted Tales." He is probably best known to early readers of "Mad" magazine and its comic book predecessor. But once he graduated from the world of funny books into mainstream publishing, his career exploded. In the sixties and seventies, his work was literally everywhere: on movie posters, magazine covers, record jackets and just about every other type of mass merchandising detritus you might name.

Georgia native Davis' interest in the Civil War era crops up throughout his career. In addition to his EC war comic output (where his occasional stories about the Civil War included one about Abraham Lincoln), he also took a later stab at a humorous war daily about a Confederate soldier named Beauregard. His work for the 1965 "Step Up" book, "Meet Abraham Lincoln" reflects his passion for the period as well as his extensive research. His attention to detail is found everywhere, from the intricate backgrounds to the exquisitely rendered interiors. The detailed pen and wash drawings are much more ambitious than the flamboyant brush work more commonly found in his canon, but they none the less display a playfulness of caricature indicative of a book aimed at young readers.

Lovers of Lincoln lore will enjoy these illustrations just as much as comics fans. They trace the myth of America's greatest president: his humble origins and his nascent talent for public speaking, his early ambitious pursuits and the courtship of his wife, his elevation to the highest office in the land, the war precipitated by his election, the historic tracts which cemented his place in history and, ultimately, his demise. Davis lovingly illustrates the story with the energy and sense of drama that betrays the hand of a true believer. His stirring battle panoramas are marred only by my rather clumsy attempts to edit out the binding gutters.

"Meet Abraham Lincoln" is still in print. However, the Jack Davis illustrations no longer accompany Barbara Cary's text. They have been replaced by new drawings, which, needless to say, in no way match the vision of one of this country's greatest and most prolific illustrators. But take heart, Davis fans! All you have to do is scroll down and get to clickin'.

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium

Bavaria


Postcard Collection: Greetings From Arizona, Part One

by Derrick Bostrom


It's finally starting to cool off around these parts. Soon enough, I'll able to once again take actual road trips to parts of the state I haven't seen yet. But the internet still continues to offer an adequate substitute for real experience. I've recently found a few great sites that are new to me at least.

Aaron Walton's Western Mining History site is probably my favorite, if only for the sheer perversity of its presentation. Clustered around its prominently displayed Google ads, the site's photo galleries offer exquisite views of dilapidated small towns throughout the western United States. Its brief tour of Miami, Arizona is a real treat. The town's hovels, back alleys and shuttered buildings are lovingly exhibited without commentary or any trace of irony, as barren as the streets of Miami themselves. Meanwhile, Globe and Bisbee look positively opulent by comparison.

I had varying degrees of success finding photos of the others towns in my personal pantheon of destinations. I enjoyed Jeff Knapp's photos of Superior, even if they were all in black and white. The Library of Congress American Memory page has a lot of great pictures of Tombstone from the mid-20th century, before the place was tarted up for the tourist trade. But you've got to use their cumbersome search engine to find them. All I could find about Yarnell were pages about the Shrine Of St. Joseph, of which this one is my favorite.

None of the above, however, can match Prescott's Sharlot Hall Museum site for sheer volume. Stretching from the mid 1800s to the present day, exhaustively documented and annotated in most cases by by accompanying articles, the collection has no rival that I've found. The also voluminous Arizona Memory Project, to which the Sharlot Hall Museum is a major contributor, comes awfully close though.

Readers as equally bitter as I am about the modern state of things might enjoy whiling away a few hours lost amidst these fantastic photo collections from Arizona's past. The rest of you can get a quick fix from my latest batch of postwar postcards from the fine folks at Curt Teich:

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!


Breakfast Without Meat Part Three - Stupid Comics

by Derrick Bostrom


Back in the days before media saturation, folks relied on their own resources in order to amuse themselves. You could find people clustered under awnings, along roadsides and behind bus stations -- notebooks in their laps, ball-point pens at the ready -- all chuckling to themselves over their latest doodle or humorous cartoon. I miss those days; I still have all my old notebooks. Somehow, when I was younger, I had nothing better to do with my time than fill page after page with crude drawings. As I grow older and their memory grows more and more distant, these drawings make less and less sense to me. But I guess they must have made sense to the editors of Breakfast Without Meat magazine, because they used to publish 'em.

In those days, I had a whole arsenal of characters. Kee-Lah was a blithe, childlike everyman, protected from the effects of his awesome self absorption by the sheer fact that he was fictitious. Painman was one of many deconstructionalist superheroes. He seems to derive his power from the jaded assumption that his use of physical force will achieve the desired outcome. The narrative treats his victory as a foregone conclusion, concerning itself merely with the inevitable restoration of normalcy. Prez is another meta-character whose only purpose is to follow the conceit of his conception to its logical extreme.

As for the Burger Family, perhaps the less said about them the better. They do lead me to suspect however, that spending most of your day sitting in front of a notebook might be a practice greatly aided by a certain deliberately induced state of mind.

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Love Workshop - The Wonderful Russ Interview

by Derrick Bostrom


In this exclusive interview, Phoenix broadcasting legend and real estate celebrity "Wonderful" Russ Shaw reminisces about "Love Workshop," the comedy show he co-created in 1976 with Tod Carroll for the progressive rock station KDKB-FM. He also shares stories about the early days of free-form radio in Phoenix and the various local luminaries he met along the way. he also talks about pirate radio, doing stand-up and selling houses.

Non-Phoenicians who maintain enough interest to keep reading this rather long interview to the end might gain context from this article about KDKB radio, as well as the KCAC Lives! blog, where surviving staff and fans share their memories of KDKB's predecessor, the short-lived KCAC-AM. Honorable mention must also be made of the online station Radio Free Phoenix, Andy Olson's tribute to the classic progressive radio format of the seventies, and KDIL-FM 666, the home of Phoenix's infamous pirate station. Meanwhile, you can dig Russ firsthand on the Bloodhound Blog, which is predominantly - but not solely -- about his adventures in the real estate trade.

And don't forget Bostworld's own "Love Workshop" page, which collects all of our content about this historic and awesome program, including rare scans and many hours of audio.


D: You’re from Phoenix?

R: Born here. Lived here all my life.

D: You were born in 1946; is that correct?

R: that’s correct.

D: How did you get started in broadcasting?

R: It was sort of a fluke at the time…I belonged to a record club, I don’t remember which one it was…Columbia House or one of those…and I was getting albums sent to me, and I forgot to send the card back, and wound up getting a record – it was a Lee Michaels album – that I didn’t really want. I hadn’t opened it; it was still in the shrink-wrap. At the time I had been listening – and I just started, believe it or not – to [Bill] Compton and Hank [Cookenboo] over on KCAC…

D: Uh huh…

R: And I wound up calling, and got Hank, and basically started chatting with him, and had several extensive conversations with Hank when he was either on the air and so forth…normally when he was on the air he didn’t mind having an extended conversation ‘cause he was sort of into doing fifteen or twenty things at once…

D: You mean on the air conversations?

R: No this wasn’t where I was on the air, this was while he was doing his show. And one of the questions I asked him was could he trade me the album. Like, could I give him my Lee Michaels album still in the shrink-wrap for something I might like better. And he said he’s see what he could do. And because he was so slow in taking care of this, it took…oh, if I tell you…maybe four conversations, maybe five, before I could ever actually set up a time to get together with him. And it was gonna be one day when he was getting off the air, if I would bring the Lee Michaels album down, that would be great…So I wound up, uh, going down to KCAC. At the time I was in the life insurance business…

D: Sure.

R: …and he wanted me to pull a gag on Bill Compton. And I’d talked to Bill, I think, once on the phone. So Bill would have known me at that time over the phone as Wonderful Russ.

D: Okay…

R: So I go in. I’d made my record deal with Hank and that’s out of the way now. So when Bill walks in to go on the air – I can’t remember what time of day it was. I wanna say…I think he went on the air at three…but it’s ten minutes to air when he walks in, maybe eleven.

D: Okay.

R: He walks in the station, opens the front door, the room was filled with hippies all sitting around, most of ‘em completely stoned. Anyway, he comes in, and I said, “William Edward Compton? Bill Bragston, FBI. I need to see you.”

D: [chuckles] Okay…

R: So he buys it. He’s startled, but he buys it. ‘Cause I’ve caught him off guard. He doesn’t miss a beat. He has the presence of mind to say, “it’s gonna have to be quick; I’m on the air in ten minutes.” So I say, “Fine. Right now, then.” As though I’m bossing him around in front of everyone. Just hilarious to me at the time. So anyway, we go to his desk, which was this small little wooden fucking thing that mighta had two drawers on the side, it was just stacked with crap…

D: Was this when it was out of a house?

R: It was over on 24th Street. It was probably originally a house when the building was first built. That building’s still there. I think now it’s an architectural firm. It was where KCAC was when it closed. And this would have been 1971.

D: Right.

R: So in any event, I go to his desk -- and again, I’m still impersonating an FBI agent – and I say, “Before we get started, clean this crap up,” pointing to the stack of different tapes and papers on his desk. Now at this point, he’s startled, like he can’t believe that anyone would talk to him like that. And so he looks up, uh, he stopped cleaning and he’s no longer nervous; he’s actually now kind of perturbed. And he goes…uh…oh! And he points at me: “You’re Wonderful Russ!”

D: [chuckles]

R: He’s got me! So he thinks this is so funny that as soon as he starts on the air, he puts me on the air. He has a conversation with me where I’m sitting there and he’s sorta interviewing me on his show. And that was the first time he did that, the first time I met him. And then Bill and Hank would simply interview me any time I would come down to the station. They would put me on the air. Not where I was running the controls, just sitting there where they would talk to me.

D: What would you talk about?

R: Just stuff that they apparently thought was funny. And I thought it was funny, whatever it was. They weren’t really trying to get information from me. It was more like entertaining.

D: That kinds goes to my next question, which is how you fit in with that crew, which I assume was a typical early seventies progressive radio crew of, like you said, hippies.

R: They were hippies. I didn’t come off as a hippie, but I think because I was so into the music, and so over the top in so many other ways, they couldn’t quite believe it and because I was blessed by Bill, everyone had to accept me whether they liked it or not.

D: Well, he gave you the thumbs up of approval, so they didn’t think you were a narc.

R: Correct. So, once that started like that, when KDKB got there, I just became part of the deal there. The first commercial I ever did was for The Beans, which is the band that preceded The Tubes.

D: Sure.

R: It was removed from the air for being filthy. But that was my first commercial. And then later, Marty [Manning] asked me if I would like to do the Leppla Moving and Storage, and that was my real start, so to speak.

D: So that was the first official thing you did besides just coming in and chatting?

R: Yes.

D: You never actually did any deejay work or anything?

R: I couple of times they let me do a show, but I was never a disc jockey there.

D: Had you had a lot of exposure to progressive rock music or the underground scene or whatever?

R: No, I just picked it up from them. I’d never heard music like that before…

D: So, what kind of bands did you like at the time?

R: Well, I think pretty much the stuff they were playing. I don’t know that I had any unique…uh

D: You liked their play list, basically.

R: Oh my god, yes.

D: You were a KCAC fan.

R: Actually, I was a fan of the music, but it was really Bill Compton…

D: Yeah…

R: Because, I just never heard anything like that on the air before, and really, I was drawn to him, and then it became, maybe secondarily, into the music. And once I got into the music, I was just flipped out. I’d never heard music like that before, and it was incredible. Pretty much, if they were playing it, I was interested in hearing it.

D: So, was there a big difference between KCAC and KDKB? Had KDKB existed before KCAC ended?

R: Well, no. It’s not a long story, but it’s a little bit more complex. KCAC had lost so much money for so long, they shut down. The people who owned the station – it was on AM, daytime only.

D: Oh it was. Okay.

R: Sunrise to sunset station. And it was over. Nothing would have save it. It couldn’t be saved.

D: So it went out in seventy-one or two?

R: Summer of seventy-one. Uh, Dwight [Tindle] and Eric…Dwight’s passed away now; just a few months ago…

D: Yes.

R: Dwight and Eric Hauenstein met at Woodstock…

D: Right, I remember that!

R: As strange as it might seem. Dwight became a millionaire when he was twenty-one. He inherited about 1.1, 1.2 million.

D: God, I remember all of that…

R: And that was a lot of money back then.

D: Yeah.

R: Dwight and Eric -- Eric was a time salesman from a station in Cincinnati – they decided to do a radio station. Of course, Eric was deciding to do it with Dwight’s money, since he didn’t have any…scouring the country for stations that they could buy and possibly get FCC approval…

D: Okay.

R: So they bought this station here in town. They were already coming here anyway. And because there was a progressive rock station here, Dwight gravitated to it.

D: KCAC.

R: Right. He was infatuated with Bill, and was probably going to hire Bill and Hank. After KCAC shut down completely, to Eric’s dismay – Eric was the general manager at KDKB – Bill went up to Dwight’s house, got him high, and got Dwight to agree to hire all of the staff of KCAC.

D: Nice!

R: That was Bill. That was just a normal thing for Bill to do something like that. Because of that, it seemed to the public like the station changed from KCAC to KDKB, because all the old crew from KCAC wound up on KDKB. But it had nothing to do with anything, other than Bill Compton’s magnanimousness.

D: So it pretty much started right up as the old station dropped?

R: It was a few months later. I think it was October when KDKB went on the air. Bill’s last show on KCAC was August 14th, 1971. I was there at the station when he did that. And then Bill just simply got all the old people jobs there at KDKB. Which was a source of constant friction between the air staff and management. Because Eric tried to make rules, and people would go to Bill and say, “what do you think?” Because they didn’t have to listen to Eric, he wasn’t really their boss. That’s how that happened.

D: Were you into comedy when you were younger? Was there anything that inspired you to create your on-air persona?

R: I don’t even…if I said, uh, working in my uncle’s furniture store. He would go out and refer to himself as “John Gobens The Great.” So when I was a kid, I used to say, “Russ Shaw The Great” and stuff like this, just mimicking my uncle. And then I think that, uh…when I worked at Chic Meyer’s House of Television, and I was there about five years – went to work there when I was seventeen, and lied and told them I was twenty three, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired me. And I think it was just sampling there, and trying out different things on customers. Found that if I said “Wonderful Russ,” it got a better response than any other adjective I could use. If you asked why, I’d say I have no idea, but that’s where that started. I was working at Chic Meyer’s House of Television, and I would tell the customers I was “Wonderful Russ.”

D: So basically, you’re main influence as a humorist was salesmanship.

R: You could almost say surveys. I didn’t think of it that way at the time, but I was doing sort of a survey to see what would make someone respond the best. It would be like testing different jokes to focus groups almost. And so if there was a thing that I did, it would have been that.

D: You sold yourself to Hank.

R: Yeah, we sort of were two peas in a pod. We wound up becoming very, very close friends.

D: Tod Carroll used to have a show on KCAC called “Bunkhouse Capers” with another fella?

R: With Barry Friedman.

D: I have never heard that program, only heard of it. Was the format similar?

R: Almost the same type thing; almost exactly. It was called “Buck and Barry’s Bunkhouse Capers.” And Barry Friedman at the time had been a writer for the New Times. It’s sort of funny now, ‘cause Barry’s almost unknown. But at the time, if I tell you that Tod was the one no one knew who he was, and everyone at the time would have known Barry Friedman. That sounds almost funny now. It seems almost unbelievable.

D: Did he move to the coast to make his fortune?

R: The last I knew, Barry owned a furniture store in Prescott.

D: I read that the show busted up when Barry moved out of town.

R: I had nothing to do with it. It was a finished thing. They had finished whatever they were doing. Tod got the idea of doing a show with me. He went to Bill Compton, got Bill’s agreement, and said he’d like to do another show with Wonderful Russ, got Bill to say okay. By the time Tod came to me – I hardly knew Tod; I’m not sure I knew him at all, actually –

D: Okay…

R: I mean, I just knew him from that show. By the time Tod came to me, it was a done deal. He had gotten the advertisers, he had the sponsors lined up, he had the taping dates set up, he had the script …Tod called me up, said, “I wanna do a show; I’ve already cleared it with Bill; when can I come by and talk to you.” I said yes, he comes by, he literally announces, “here’s the deal, we’re gonna make this much a month off of it,” and he split the deal with me fifty-fifty. He did all of the work. He arranged the show, he was the producer, the writer, he did all the post-production editing…I mean he did everything…

D: He was a radio guy?

R: No! He had some kinda engineering job, like an artistic engineering job, uh…at Motorola when I first knew him.

D: Was he not connected to KCAC or KDKB before “Love Workshop?”

R: He had the “Bunkhouse Capers” show.

D: But between those two shows, he wasn’t in radio.

R: No. Not at all. His skill was really as a writer, but he was very versatile. I mean, Tod was a very talented guy. So he just wrote the whole thing and all I ever did on that show – which was sort of fantastic, but it’s the very thing I wound up not liking – is I just showed up. All I had to do was show up, and he’d hand me a script.

D: Well, he definitely based a lot of the concept of the show around, at least, his conception of your personae, which you’d developed.

R: Correct.

D: So, was the recording easy? Did you have to do a lot of rehearsal?

R: No rehearsal ever.

D: So you were able to do just cold reads of this stuff?

R: Yep. We recorded on Sunday nights at KDKB. I would show up and be handed the script, and we usually started recording around seven or eight-o-clock on Sunday nights. And all I ever did was show up, and he split the money with me fifty-fifty. In that sense, there was nothing to complain about. What is ironic, is I had actually decided to stop doing the show, ‘cause he was…no one knew who he was. And everything that was being said, was as if I had thought it up to say it.

D: Yup.

R: And some of the stuff, I honestly thought was…it wasn’t that it…(sigh)…it just was mean-spirited. For me, some of it crossed a line, yet there I was saying it, and he had an invisible quality.

D: Right. He didn’t have to live down what he wrote.

R: Yeah!

D: But you did!

R: There you go! And so, I had literally said to him, “You’ve gotta tone this shit down.” And the next time I come in, it’s more of that just vicious, you know fucking women whose husband’s in prison and Vietnam war camps and stuff like that. So I said, “Let me try to explain this in terms you’ll understand: put one more thing of this nature – and you know what I’m talkin’ about, so I’m not gonna try to explain it – put one more, just one, in a script. I will hand it back to you; I will leave; that will be the end of it. I don’t wanna do that kinda shit, I’m not interested, so please don’t put me in that position.” So from that point forward, until the show was cancelled…but it wasn’t him canceling the show…

D: Uh huh…

R: It was already winding down. When Bill Compton got fired, the very first thing Hank did was cancel “Love Workshop.”

D: Was there a reason the show was cancelled, that you’re aware of? I remember when the station was bought; this was before that, wasn’t it?

R: No, it was bought after that. There’d been a falling out between Hank and Bill and me and Hank so much earlier that it was just old, old water…

D: Obviously, there were things on the show that would have rubbed certain people the wrong way.

R: And the manager of the station, the advertisers didn’t like it; the sales staff constantly bitched. The only reason the show was allowed to stay on the air, was because of Bill! Because no one had the right to take it off the air if Bill said it stays.

D: And Bill died in a car accident after he was fired.

R: Right. And the first thing as soon as they fired Bill, Hank was made program director, and either he’d already decided or at Eric’s behest, “get that god damned shit off the air.” But it was already winding down anyway.

D: So you and Tod Carroll didn’t hang out together, you weren’t friends…

R: No. We never hung out. We just didn’t have any of that kind of stuff in common. Like, the only time we ever saw each other was in connection with the show.

D: ‘Cause there’s a good rapport that’s built up on the show.

R: Yeah. Honestly, I would say my delivery on the stuff was good, but anything that would be…any credit on, uh, “look how nice this is, or how great that’s done,” I’d give him all the credit.

D: So, you didn’t work on any of the dialogue? None of it was extemporaneous?

R: Oh, I don’t know that I would go quite that far.

D: I mean, you’d almost have to be riffing during some of these purely conversational ones.

R: Yeah, and if it was stuff that I wanted to modify…I mean, he wasn’t some asshole to work with in the studio; in fact, far from it. If there was some deal where I thought I could make a line better, I just made it better. But it wasn’t me enforcing it, or him trying to stop me. As a working relationship in terms of actually recording together, I would have to describe Tod as a joy to work with. I mean, he was incredibly talented. There was nothing there that I had any disagreement with. It was just some of that mean-spirited stuff. You know, if you look at Steve Martin’s material, or Ellen DeGeneres, they’re not actually degrading anyone.

D: There’s nothing quite as mean-spirited as some of these routines.

R: Yeah. And that was my only disagreement. Not with his level of talent. He went on and wrote several screenplays, and as far as I know, he retired wealthy.

D: But you thought the shows were good though?

R: I thought the shows were fantastic. It’s just that…the stuff that honestly really got to me was that stuff on, like the Vietnam veteran held in captivity…

D: You mean when you seduce the guy’s wife?

R: Yeah yeah, that stuff. It just grated me. And I did it! And that’s probably the part that I felt the shittiest about. That wasn’t funny to me. It was outrageous, but it wasn’t funny to me. I didn’t really give a fuck about, what if someone got mad at me.

D: Sure.

R: It wasn’t that kind of thing. Because I have willingness to tell just about anyone to go fuck themselves. That’s really not the point to me, that well, someone might not like it. Let ‘em not like it. But it didn’t feel right to me.

D: And yet, some of the episodes in which you’re talking about insurance or discussing the value of Pepsi are just as good if not better. My favorite show is when you talk about insurance.

R: Well, I can’t remember the show but I’m glad you like it! [laughs]

D: It’s called “Focus on Rapping” and you’re talking about when you buy insurance you’re buying a piece of the company…

R: Oh yeah yeah yeah!

D: …and you can go up to the building and demand to be let in.

R: Yes yes! See but that’s more my style. That’s the kind of stuff where ya go…see, I like that. I really liked that kinda stuff. Because it’s just…it’s inane!

D: Well there’s an awful lot of targeting of what we now call “protected groups” on the show. Like the “Coon Line” routine…

R: I actually like that one.

D: Sure! But still you can imagine it upsetting people.

R: Oh yes! [laughs] I played that on KSLX when I was doing a show with Bob [Bell], oh, I’m gonna say ’90 or ’91, and Jeanne Sedello kept trying to tell ‘em to take it off the air; it was offensive and disgusting. And she left the room!

D: Times change. In the seventies there was climate of that kind of humor, with the “National Lampoon” and whatever, and the whole idea of pushing boundaries of taste…

R: Yes.

D: But that continuity’s been lost. The average person today may not understand the context.

R: Yup. I agree.

D: You remember “Animal House” of course.

R: I’ve probably seen it less than twenty-five times.

D: Right! It was kind of similar to your show. And of course it had a very specific kind of point to it, it spawned things like “Porky’s” and what not, which wasn’t anywhere near as satirically sharp, that just ended up kind of, uh, celebrating the very sort of thing that “Animal House” was satirizing.

R: Yes.

D: I just wondered if, for instance, if you thought people were “getting” Love Workshop.

R: I don’t think that I my level, honestly at the time, and I’ve never really thought about it since to be honest, I don’t know that I ever thought about it at those levels. It was more, “was it funny.” And that was the standard. I don’t mind – didn’t mind – being shocking. It’s easy after the fact to go “oh, here we were trying to make this statement.” I think that’s a certain amount – at least for me, and I think what Tod and I were doing at that time – would be sort of intellectual bullshit. Because really, we were just looking, like “was thing funny?” We thought it was funny if it was outrageous, if it was just completely over the top. I think we were just looking, was this something that would make someone want to tune in the following week to see where we were going next? It was more at that level.

D: So, do you recall when Tod was approached by the “National Lampoon?”

R: Oh, I not only recall it, he got the meeting, indirectly, because of me, because I had gotten Tod involved.

D: I remember Tony Hendra came to town.

R: But Tony didn’t come to see Tod. That’s how it looked after the fact. I didn’t like Tony Hendra; I thought he was a dickhead. Tod and Tony couldn’t have bonded faster or better. Tod was at that meeting because I actually invited him. And it’s kinda funny. I said, “You might want to come to this.” And he shows up. I had gotten Tod interested in “Razz Revue,” which was Bob Bell and Dan Harshberger’s magazine.

D: Sure.

R: And so Tod did a couple of articles begrudgingly for “Razz Revue.” So Bob gets Tod over to that Tony Hendra meeting. That’s how that happened. It was because of Bob Bell.

D: So, Hendra came to town to talk to the “Razz Revue” fellas?

R: Correct! He came to town to meet with Bob Bell. Bob had already done two articles for National Lampoon.

D: I remember those.

R: Bob has been one of my dearest friends since we met. Bob and I are very close. So it was the relationship that Bob had -- this is not to take anything away from Tod – but it was the relationship that Bob had with Tony Hendra…

D: This is what I recall as well.

R: And then, at the meeting …I don’t think Hendra liked me at all. But what was funny is that he didn’t seem to give a fuck about talking to Bob or to Daniel either. But Tod and Tony Hendra were sorta like soul mates.

D: So when Tod came into the room it was love at first sight then.

R: Yes! Quite literally! They were two peas in a pod, and what they both had in common was that unbelievably high-volume passive aggressive quality. Which is not true with Dan and Bob and myself.

D: Right.

R: And that’s why Tony Hendra didn’t like me, and why he didn’t really give a shit about Bob any more, because if you were to sit and talk to Bob Bell, the first thing you’d spot is that he’s really a nice guy. Period. Tony Hendra had that mean-spirited quality to him. And so did Tod. And that’s what they had in common.

D: Your analysis jibes with how it seems to me as well. So basically, it sounds like Tod wanted to come out of that meeting with a job offer, and he made damn sure he got it.

R: Yeah, but it wasn’t like anyone felt used.

D: No, not at all! It was an opportunity.

R: It was an opportunity, and I don’t think it…It wasn’t that my relationship with Tod disintegrated, like it was some beautiful thing. He was always the same way. So it was just a match made in heaven for them.

D: Sounds like it was just the right time.

R: Yeah yeah. But I didn’t go, “Oh shit, he took advantage,” or “he got the good deal.” It was Tony Hendra, who just simply, genuinely liked him.

D: Did he move out of town?

R: He did after he got the Lampoon deal.

D: At the time, I wasn’t clear whether the show ended because he got that opportunity, or if it was cancelled.

R: It was over. It was off the air. It had nothing to do with that Lampoon meeting. In fact that happened well after the fact.

D: You didn’t really keep in too close contact with him after that?

R: Nope. But it’s not like we were having some kind of a fight or anything.

D: Yeah. But he’s nowhere to be found these days.

R: No, he’s under the radar, but that’s on purpose. He’s wealthy; the last time I talked to him was at a KDKB reunion. At that time, he owned a house in the south of France. He owned a house up on the coast in Vermont or something like that. And he had married a woman that I think he was very much involved with. And he just sorta rode off into the sunset. But I never had a contentious relationship of any kind with him. My only disagreement was with that stuff on the show.

D: Did you ever get any indication from him that he had any regrets about the program?

R: No.

D: Was he completely proud of it?

R: I don’t, uh,…I think he was….There’s parts of it I’m proud of.

D: I still think it’s a tremendous program.

R: I mean it was some funny stuff. That’s what we were trying to do at the time, and I think we did it. If I had it to do over again, in spite of anything that happened that I don’t like, in spite of anything I didn’t want at the time, if I had it to do over again, I’d do it again.

D: Well, any time you’re trying to fill a weekly show, you’re going to be trying different things, and you’re going to feel that some of it worked better than others.

R: Yeah.

D: Has there been any interest in Love Workshop over the last 30 years?

R: Oh god, I’ve been approached so many times…

D: What, just from fans?

R: You know, people, “can I get a copy of this, a copy of that…” I tried first giving the things to Andy Olsen, and Andy’s a nice guy. He’s a really nice guy. But I just thought, he’s got a certain slow molasses quality, and I just wanted it to be…Obviously, I had cleared this with Tod years back. If people wanted the show or wanted to get copies of it, did he want any kinda rights or money from any of it, and his position was, “hell no.” Didn’t give a crap. He had plenty of money, and whatever little morsels that could have been gotten from selling copies of that crap, he didn’t care.

D: This is why the Internet is so fun. You can let people hear it for nothin’.

R: Yeah! I wasn’t lookin’ like, “Hey, this is a quick way to make an extra five dollars” or something. So, for me, it was, anyone who wants them. So for years, what I’ve been doing – and it was just a pain in the ass – was personally, manually, making a copy and sending it to people.

D: Yeah, I’ve had to do the same thing. I like just offering it on the web a lot better.

R: Me too!

D: The greatest thing about doing this site is the way people have been coming out of the woodwork.

R: It makes me happy, not for the notoriety, just so that anyone who wants them can have ‘em.

D: Tell me about your work with KDIL.

R: That was nothing but fun for me. The guy’s name was Scott…Nelson, I think.

D: They have a web site as well.

R: He has a web site??

D: Yeah. Kdil.com.

R: I have to go to that right now…”FM-666!”

D: That’s it. I don’t know if they broadcast, but it’s a lot of the old fanzines they did...

R: Yeah! I was, uh…the title I gave myself was Executive Director for Mass Distribution for the Western Hemisphere of the KDIL Blues Licks. We used to Xerox them and I would go to the Dennys on 7th Street and Camelback, and walk around yelling out, “The KDIL Blues Licks is hot off the press!”

D: I never heard it. I’ve just seen the fanzine. Was it broadcast out of a truck or something?

R: Well, we would broadcast wherever Scott was living at the time. What we would do when they were going on the air – because it was a true underground station – to get an audience, Scott would start calling people. We would all call our friends and tell them we were going on and here’s the frequency we’re gonna go on at.

D: God…

R: Then, we would call various supermarkets and tell them we were gonna be having a contest, and if they would play it over their loudspeaker in the grocery store, they could win a crisp one hundred dollar bill. And this was one of my jobs was to come in with these liners --- this would get played at least every ten minutes: “A crisp one hundred dollar bill!” But it didn’t go to anything! It didn’t say what you had to do to win; it didn’t say when the contest was. All we would do was say over and over, “A crisp one hundred dollar bill!”

D: [laughs]

R: And, we would never use profanity on the air. I mean never. We were never saying anything that would cause someone to complain to the FCC, or anybody else. What was the genius of the station were the commercials. And there were lots of them. Again, this was a station that didn’t have any real advertisers. They would take – and it was mostly Scott – real commercials off the air and redo ‘em. The stuff that was my favorite was like a Lou Grubb commercial, back when Lou Grubb was a relatively young man, and he would talk for like three or four minutes on a commercial…

D: Oh, I remember!

R: Back when you could just have a commercial that was almost a free-form chat from Lou, right on teevee. So what Scott would do is he would tape those right off the teevee and then he would remix them with these lunatic jungle rhythms, but not do anything other than occasionally turn the African rhythm up so high it would drown out Lou’s voice. And that was it!

D: I’ve heard some of those.

R: Just insane!

D: So, you got out of KDKB after “Love Workshop” was cancelled. I assume there were no more ads?

R: I still did ads, like Discount Tire would call me and so forth, but I didn’t do anything at KDKB after that.

D: You worked with the companies directly by that time.

R: Yes.

D: You were an insurance salesman; when did you start doing that?

R: I was in the insurance business from 1969 to 1975

D: So, you stopped selling insurance and started working in real estate?

R: Actually, I phased out of insurance kind of gradually. I left in about 1975. About 1974, I went to work full time for the Church of Scientology. I was already a Scientologist, but I became a staff member, and I still had some income – which allowed me to do it – from the insurance business coming in, and I still had some income from the radio commercials I was doing, and even from “Love Workshop.” I was there on staff the whole time I was doing the “Love Workshop” show. So I worked full time from 1974-75 until about late ‘77 early ‘78.

D: What did you do?

R: I ran the public division. I ran, like basically introductory type lectures. That kinda thing.

D: Okay.

R: Then I just ran completely out of money, and didn’t have any income. And I knew I didn’t want to go back to insurance. That’s when I started in the real estate business. I went to real estate school in 1977 and started in ’78.

D: You also did standup in the 80s and 90s?

R: Yep. I had been doing stuff on Bob Bell’s show, and I saw an ad in the paper for some kind of a comedy competition. And I thought it was all amateurs! What I didn’t know was that professional comedians from all over the country came in and competed. And I had no act. Some of the people there who were actually the winners were saying, “God, you’re so good! You made it seem like you didn’t have an act!” And I said, “yeah I’m real good at making it look that way!” So I wound up, mostly because of people I knew, and again because I knew Bob Bell, and because every comedian that came to town would come on Bob’s morning show to plug the Impov, I got to work at the Improv several times, just because of my connection with Bob Bell and KSLX. But it wasn’t my favorite club to play. It was prestigious, but the problem was, the Improv had a set of rules, like a double standard. If you’re a name comedian – say anything you want. If you’re not a name comedian, don’t ever say “fuck” from our stage. Don’t ever make a drug joke from our stage. Period. Do it once: you won’t come again. So I had to do it anyway so I wouldn’t come again.

D: But you were a name comedian!

R: Well, not to them I wasn’t. A name comedian to them meant that the mere fact that you’re there fills seats.

D: Sure.

R: Oddly enough, there was a little shithole comedy club called the Uptown Comedy Club at 7th Ave and Camelback. And because I could fill seats there, I could do any fucking thing I wanted. So that was actually my favorite club to play.

D: But nowadays, you’re strictly real estate and you pretty much just write for your blog?

R: Yeah. I’m one of the top agents in the country. It’s the kind of thing where…the things that I’ve learned on how to do a lot of business…I’m able to…I mean, I spend most of my time literally helping other agents.

D: So, you’re actually a much much bigger real estate celebrity than you ever were a radio celebrity.

R: Correct. By far.

D: You’re nationally known.

R: Yes. I’m not trying to brag, but if you went and talked to realtors in New York or New Mexico or California, they’ll know who I am. So I get companies like Keller Williams – and I’m not a Keller Williams agent – having me fly in to their headquarters to interview me; to take the things I have to say and teach it to their agents.

D: I see you have a large staff of your own, and I assume you’re pretty much the mentor.

R: Well, I think I’m gonna give my wife the bulk of the credit there. Where I’m comin’ in would be in the vision, here’s how big we can make it; here’s where we can go next.

D: So, you’re not pursuing any entertainment venues at all any more.

R: That would be correct, but it’s not because I didn’t like it. It’s just…I’m an ex-smoker…can’t stand smoke…

D: Tell me about it. I played clubs for fifteen years.

R: I wouldn’t trade a minute of what I did, but it’s not something I wanna do…

D: So what was the high point of your entire career as a local celebrity?

R: I would say, the stuff at KDKB, that would have to be in the category, because it had more of an amazing thing. I mean, when I was doing standup, I just had a lot of fun. I guess there’s not one wonderful time that was the good time. I kinda have fun every day. So I guess I look at it and go, “my best years are still ahead of me.”


Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

by Derrick Bostrom


My "Love Workshop" collection finally reached critical mass last moth, thanks to fellow Phoenician and Verne & Craig enthusiast Wayne Butane. Wayne sent me a full five disks of shows, all lovingly digitized from his crumbling original cassettes. I managed to clean most of the hiss out of them, but they are far from master quality. Some even sound as thought they were captured by holding a microphone up to the radio speaker. But the riches contained therein are fully audible, two hours of which are new to my collection. Then, as if that weren't enough, Wayne sent me the accompanying picture of "Love Workshop" creator Todd Carroll, hard at work presumedly preparing one of his "National Lampoon" contributions.

In addition to being a generous "Love Workshop" archiver, audio collagist and founding member of the legendary Phoenix cassette rockers The D Cups, Wayne Butane also gains my admiration for being an unashamed Rupert Holmes fan and and enthusiastic lover of cats, both of which are vital qualities in my book. Wayne hosts a weekly Love Workshop posting of his own, over on his MySpace page. This is just the thing for those of you disgusted with my habit of clustering these shows into 100 meg zip files. Those of you with little tolerance for MySpace can visit the KCAC Lives! blog. There you'll find a playlist of all the tracks from my previous "Love Workshop" post, which you can listen to without having to download a damn thing!

Anyway, to make things a little easier, I've split up the Wayne files so that all tracks not previously offered here are together. Those can be found below in parts one and two. The next two feature material offered before, but in some cases the sound is better, or the routines are more complete or in the correct order. No jury in the work would convict you if you wanted to download all four parts. I've also included track information for those who are interested.

Meanwhile, to facilitate access to info about the show from a more central location, I've combined all the "Love Workshop" content on this site onto one page, which can be accessed from the menu bar above.

And coming soon: an exclusive interview with one-half of the "Love Workshop" team, Wonderful Russ Shaw. Watch for it!


    Download Part One (EXPIRED)

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Download Part Two (EXPIRED)

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Download Part Three (EXPIRED)

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Download Part Four (EXPIRED)

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Love Workshop

by Derrick Bostrom


“Love Workshop” was a fifteen-minute comedy program that ran on KDKB-FM radio in Phoenix, Arizona for most of 1976. The show was always somewhat of a mystery to me. During its brief life, "Love Workshop’s" hosts, Vern & Craig (Todd Carroll and "Wonderful" Russ Shaw) were my heroes, They just seemed to appear out of nowhere all of a sudden, offering the kind of savage humor I idolized in the "National Lampoon," only they were right in my own backyard. And then it disappeared just as quickly. Though Verne went on to write for a national audience, and Craig continued to appear in Arizona’s short-lived humor magazine, the Razz Revue, they might as well have dropped off the face of the earth.

I used to have a pretty good collection of episodes, but I foolishly loaned out the tapes and never got them back. For the past thirty years, I’ve had to make due with three shows on one measly side of an aging cassette. Now, thanks to "Bostworld" readers, however, the search is over. If nothing else, it proves that I’m not crazy. I didn’t just imagine the whole thing. “Love Workshop” really did exist, and I’m not the only one who remembers it. For this alone, the contributors to this collection have my eternal gratitude and admiration.

It's Time For Love Workshop!

Love Workshop Redux

Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

The Bostworld Wonderful Russ Interview

Love Workshop Interview (New Times, 1976)

Full Page Ad (Razz Revue, 1976)

Wonderful Russ Article (Arizona Republic, 1974)

NEW: Now you can download individual, unzipped shows from the WFMU Blog!


    Bostrom Collection

  1. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  2. Rocky Point
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. Project: Suffering /A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  5. Drunk Rerun Intro/Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg


    Blixco Collection

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Verne & Craig Song/Abortion Misfortune/Song From Verne/Rerun Intro/Richard W. Kramer
  3. Letter from Sharon/Apartheid In Phoenix (incomplete)/
  4. Decorating For The Poor
  5. A Message From Bill Compton
  6. Love Workshop Song/Focus On Rapping
  7. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  8. Where's Craig
  9. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  10. Mexican Space Probe/Rerun Intro/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record (incomplete)


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part One

  1. Opening Theme
  2. The Science Of Comedy
  3. Amana Radar Range
  4. Reaching Out To Touch And Share 76
  5. Bobby Basket
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station
  7. Joan Embry 01
  8. Sun Devil Football
  9. Brand New Material
  10. American Woman's Credit And Trust
  11. Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record
  12. Unemployment Fashions
  13. Letter
  14. Editorial
  15. Rocky Point
  16. Vatican
  17. Rape Victim
  18. Joan Embry 02
  19. Pima Gymnastics


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part Two

  1. Open Theme
  2. John Adamson
  3. Craig's Patio
  4. Coon Line
  5. Project Suffering
  6. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor
  7. Letter
  8. Abortion Misfortune
  9. Moving Ballad
  10. Convenience Market
  11. Homosexual Corner
  12. The Bensons
  13. Kent State/Handbag/Mexican Top 40 Record
  14. Letter From Robert MacNamara
  15. Robert Kimbell/Letter
  16. American Woman's Credit And Trust 01
  17. Alcoholism In America
  18. American Woman's Credit And Trust 02
  19. Hobby Handbook
  20. American 4th National Bank 01
  21. American 4th National Bank 02
  22. American 4th National Bank 03
  23. Nibbler & Yakler 01
  24. Nibbler & Yakler 02
  25. Nibbler & Yakler 03


    Wayne Butane Collection Part One

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Two

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Three

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Four

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Postcard Collection: Greetings From Phoenix

by Derrick Bostrom


I first discovered Michael Monti's "100 South Mill Avenue" blog after he dropped some praise on my scans of an old menu from his family's La Casa Vieja restaurant. "As a restaurateur and history buff," He wrote, "I can assure you that these will be appreciated as a goldmine of nostalgia and useful information about trends in dining and pricing." Sentiments after my own heart. Michael writes from the vantage point of both a restaurant entrepreneur and a steward of Phoenix's cultural history. His family happens to do business in one of the area's most cherished landmarks.

Built in 1871 near the banks of the Salt River, the Monti's La Casa Vieja was part of a compound that included a ferry service as well as a flour mill. According to its web site, the restaurant is the oldest continually occupied structure in the Phoenix area. Monti is uniquely positioned to report on ongoing efforts to protect Phoenix architectural history in the face of both encroaching developmental opportunism and an increasingly challenging economic landscape. For his part, Michael Monti's love of local history is tempered by a sensitivity to the prerogatives of the business community to which he belongs.

His dual perspective is on display in his recent article about the Hayden Flour Mill, which still stands, right across the street from his restaurant. Despite his appreciation for the boarded up "eyesore," he none the less defends the current plan underway to annex the older structure to a hideous modern box of glass and steel, which he insists is the best way to preserve the structure without blighting the surrounding area. Still smarting from the fight to save his own structure, Monti doesn't have the luxury of bloggers and print journalists, who view any such developmental activity as an abomination.

We've written on this subject before, and must be included among the ranks of hand-wringers. As a life-long Phoenix resident, I still remember when orange groves and dairy farms occupied spaces now filled with tract houses and strip malls. I never venture into town any more without my camera on hand to document an old friend before it gets a visit from the wrecking ball.

The cards this collection are souvenirs of a Phoenix from almost 60 years ago. You can just barely make out Hayden Mill in the postcard below depicting downtown postwar Tempe. It's the white smudge clear at the end of the right side of the street. Followers of more recent history will find the view of the Central Avenue post office more interesting. It was at this location that longtime Phoenix celebrity Cris Kirkwood beat up a security guard, gaining in the process a prison sentence and bullet in his back.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona


Breakfast Without Meat Part Two - Puzzle Page!

by Derrick Bostrom


Thirty years ago, life ended for The King of Rock and Roll. A decade later, an obsessive fan published a couple of obscure puzzles in a little-known Bay Area fanzine. Now, that same fan shares these ancient artifacts with you, the Bostworld visitor. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course, my encyclopedic knowledge of trivial Presley minutia and fun facts was nothing back then compared to what it is today. For instance, I now know that Elvis didn't merely see himself in the clouds with Joseph Stalin, and didn't merely receive spiritual instruction from his hairdresser. During this period, Elvis actually used to force his entire entourage to drive in a mobile home back and forth between Memphis and Los Angeles. What should have been a short trip by plane took the group several days, depending on how slowly Elvis chose to drive. He would hold forth on his self-aggrandizing religious theories for the entire trip. Much to the resentment of "the guys," the hairdresser often rode shotgun. The trip would be even more unbearable if Elvis became distracted and, say, decided to stop along the roadside and stare up at the clouds for hours.

To me, this added information makes for a much more interesting story. (And you can be sure, once The Colonel's spies let him know what was going on, he quickly cut off the hairdresser's access to The King.)

The other article is an obvious mashup of the Elvis film canon (with "On Tour" inexplicably, I left off) and some random fundamentalist jetsam I probably received in the mail. The last two pieces makes up for their lack of Presley content by their sheer inanity.

Next week: An even greater tribute to The King on the occasion of his 30th deathday.

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Things I Should Throw Out: The TV King On A Soapbox

by Derrick Bostrom


Tucson merchant Jack "The Color TV King" Fitzgerald carved out a name for himself back in the mid-70s with a series of distinctive late-night television commercials. Standing among a pile of teevee sets and packing crates, he would harangue the viewer with a pitch that always began with a simple, effective, "Hi folks..." You could easily pick up Tucson stations in Phoenix back then, so even my friends and I knew his spiel.

In the fall of 1976, my pal Jack Knetzger sent me this article from Tucson, where he was attending the University Of Arizona. It's clear from Jack's enthusiastic circling that what mattered most to him was Fitzgerald's square family values, his kitschy old school "American Dream" work ethic, and above all, the trappings of his Catholic upbringing (something both Jacks had in common). No doubt the life sized dead Jesus in the living room was the real deal clincher.

You can be sure the article's description of Fitzgerald's beef with the Tucson City Council, his marshaling of the business community to force a recall of city council members who had voted for water rate increases, was completely lost on a couple of stoned teenagers. But as it turns out, the problems associated with Tucson's municipal water policy continues to haunt the town's local politics even to this day.

Apparently, the trouble started when the city council approved a 30 percent raise in water rates, this despite encouragement by consultants to raise rates by 240 percent. It seems Tucson is supplied by groundwater beneath the city. Higher rates would have had the dual effect of raising money for crucial improvements and also regulating the scarce commodity. But folks like Jack Fitzgerald saw this move as "anti-business," and resolved to nip these "anti-growthers" in the bud. Yeah, they succeeded, but guess what? The new officials raised rates anyway. What choice did they have?

Today, it seems only Fitzgerald remains pleased with the effects of the recall, if only because it put the city on notice that the business community could not be contained, politically at least. However, Tucson never became an economic dynamo. Without a plentiful water source, the city had trouble attracting major industry. And without large scale employers, Tucson cannot muster the funds required for major infrastructure projects.

Tucson's last attempt to deal with the shrinking water table problem was a disaster. A plan to pump Colorado River water from the state's Central Arizona Project into the homes of residents failed when the water was far below the quality consumers had grown accustomed to. Furthermore, the difference in CAP water's chemical composition resulted in burst pipes all over town. Voters overwhelmingly demanded a return to groundwater.

A drive through the streets of Tucson is like a drive into the past. Small independent businesses still dominate the scene. Buildings shuttered for as long as I can remember remain standing, boarded up and waiting for an economic climate that would make it worthwhile to tear them down. For fans of historic architecture, the town is full of treasures, slowly crumbling, but  retaining their evocative charm. If you look hard enough, you might even find one of these still hanging around.

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