Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Dell’s Four Color #374 [February-March 1952] starred Walter Lantz’s
Woody Woodpecker.  The Dan Gormley cover shows Woody choking the
chicken - Charlie Chicken - mistaking him for the boat’s outboard
motor.  I don’t know what else I can say about this image.

Inside the issue, we get a selection of Woody Woodpecker stories of
16, 8 and 8 pages in length...and one-page gag strips on the inside
front cover, inside back cover and back cover.  According to the
Grand Comics Database, Gormley penciled one of the eight-page tales
and Dick Hall penciled the rest.  Suzanne Seaborne and Irene Little
were the inkers.

If I score an inexpensive copy of this issue somewhere, I’ll write
about it again.  In the meantime, keep reading the bloggy thing for
more vintage comic-book covers from my December 1951 birth month.


Last weekend’s Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale didn’t reach
the financial goal I was shooting for, but it was great to see so
many happy customers walking away with stacks of comics, magazines
and more.  Like any good “shopkeeper” I listened to them talking to
me and each other.  Whether they realized it or not, they gave me
some great idea for my future garage sales.

Some of what I want to do is dependent on the weather.  It was grey
and gloomy in Medina over the weekend.  That surely kept some folks
from coming to the sale.  Also, because I had some work to finish
for a client, I couldn’t restock between Friday and Saturday.  My
restocking brings some Friday customers back for Saturday.  Point
well taken.

The next VAOS garage sale is Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22,
the usual 9 am to 2 pm, at 840 Damon Drive in Medina, Ohio.  Look
for updates on the sale between now and then.

Before I move on to some movie reviews, I have a quick question for
my garage sale customers.  I might have a schedule conflict for my
last planned sale which would prevent me from having the Saturday
portion of the sale.  If, for that week, I switched the garage sale
to Friday and Sunday, would that be appealing to you? Let me know
in the comments section or on Facebook or via e-mail.


When I finished my garage sales and my work, I watched a couple of
movies from my local library system.  The first was Gangster Squad
[2013].  Wikipedia says:

Gangster Squad is a 2013 American action crime film directed by
Ruben Fleischer,[5] from a screenplay written by Will Beall. It
starred an ensemble cast that included Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling,
Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Michael Peña, and Giovanni

The film is loosely based on the story of Los Angeles Police
Department officers and detectives forming a group called the
"Gangster Squad unit" who attempt to keep the city safe from Mickey
Cohen and his gang during the 1940s and '50s.

Emma Stone in a red evening gown is why I requested this movie from
the library.  She’s a stunner.  Unfortunately, her character never
comes to life beyond her gorgeousness.  As Grace Faraday, Cohen’s
“girlfriend” and etiquette teacher, her character plays a key role
in the story and climax.  But Stone is never given a chance to make
her character believable.

This is an action-packed movie with some terrific confrontations.
It’s also a movie that tested my willing suspension of disbelief on
a too frequent basis.  Sometimes it’s the cops doing stupid stuff,
sometimes it’s Cohen doing stupid stuff, sometimes it’s the large
disconnects from history.  I can sit back and enjoy this movie as
long as I don’t think about it.

As Cohen, Sean Penn takes me out of the film every time he appears.
His makeup is so ludicrous that I kept expecting Shaggy and Velma
to unmask him and reveal the Gangster Ghost is actually the kindly
professor.  Ego 1, acting 0.

I don’t know if I would call them good performances, but Nick Nolte
as the police chief who forms the Squad and Robert Patrick as the
aging cowboy of the squad are fun to watch.  Gosling gives his role
a good try, but he stumbles over his period smart guy enunciations
much of the time.

The finale is big and explosive.  It’s not remotely believable, but
it gets the movie to its “good triumphs over evil” ending.  These
days, good needs all the help it can get, whether in movies, comic
books, or, especially, real life.  

Gangster Squad isn’t something you should pay money to watch.  If
you’re jones-ing for more Emma Stone, rent the movie for a dollar
at one of the movie vending machines that seems to have sprung up
in every store and most gas stations in Medina.  I imagine you have
them in your neighborhood as well. 


I realized recently that the same man directed three of my all-time
favorite monster movies: Gorgo, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and
The Giant Behemoth. Better known as an art director, Eugène Lourié
only directed four theatrical releases.  The one I’d never seen was
The Colossus of New York (1958).  Fortunately, I was able to get a
copy through my local library system.

In Colossus, a brilliant young scientist and humanitarian is killed
in an auto accident, leaving behind his wife, his son, his nowhere
near as smart brother and his batshit crazy surgeon father.  Ross
Martin, who would play Artemis Gordon in The Wild Wild West series,
is the scientist.  Admire his youthful appearance while you can on
account of his character’s body doesn’t hang around long.

Crazy Dad, with the assistance of the “hot for my brother’s widow”
brother, places the scientist’s brain in a monstrous humanoid body.
The scientist wants to be killed, but Dad talks him into accepting
his new situation and continuing his humanitarian research.  What
could possibly go wrong with this plan?

Damn if this film isn’t downright unsettling, raising questions of
the necessity of emotion and human contact, giving me goose bumps
via its haunting Van Cleave score, and doing the rampaging monster
bit in chilling fashion.  The low budget is obvious, but the movie
works.  Lourié had chops and I think he should be recognized as one
of the great filmmakers of the horror/monster/sci-fi genre. 

That’s all for now.  Strap on your trusty six-shooter and join me
tomorrow for our usual Rawhide Kid Wednesday.   

© 2013 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I never found the Woody Woodpecker comics very funny, but felt the same about most of the Warner Bros. characters in their comicbook stories. Sort of the opposite of the Disney characters whose comicbook adventures more entertaining, for the most part, then some of the screen appearances.

    I think in other hands COLUSSUS would have been a lesser film. Some of the credit may go to the screenwriter, Thelma Schnee, who also wrote for TV and adapted a Father Brown story (for directer Roberty Hamer) into the film THE DETECTIVE with Alec Guinness. You've got to love IMDB.com.