The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The World of Jacob Riis #7


Mulberry Bend (1896)

The Art of Cinema #118


Bride of the Monster
(Edward D. Wood, jr; 1956)

Seminal Image #382


The Temptress
(Fred Niblo; 1926)

They Were Collaborators #117


The Wailers

E is for Eggleston #2


Halloween (1971)

The Art of Jazz #19


Lonelyville: "The Nervous Beat"
(The Creed Taylor Orchestra)
(ABC-Paramount; 1960)

Seminal Image #381


Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
(William Wyler; 1959)

When Legends Gather #92


Will Hays, Constance Talmadge and Sidney Franklin

The Score #2


As a film, Edmond T. Gréville's Beat Girl is interesting insofar as it was a British knock-off of American Troubled Teenager pictures with just a smidgen of late-'noir' atmospherics thrown in for flavoring (if nothing else). John Barry's score (here represented by its 1960 soundtrack LP) is a more than worthy example of the kind of brass workout that was often mistaken for Rock 'n' Roll in Britain during the pre-Beatlemania era.

The lackluster vocals are by Adam Faith and speak for themselves.

01. Beat Girl (Main Title)
02. Off Beat
03. I Did What You Told Me
04. Lindon Home Rock
05. Time Out
06. Sharks
07. Beat Girl Song
08. City 2000, A.D.
09. Stripper
10. Cave/Beat Girl/Kids Stuff
11. Made You
12. Car Chase/Night Chase
13. Chicken
14. Blues for Beatniks
15. It's Legal
16. Immediate Pleasure
17. Blondie's Strip
18. End Shot/Slaughter in Soho/Beat Girl

When Legends Gather #91


Buddy Rich and Jerry Lewis go (drum) head to head.

See for yourself.

The Women #9


Betty Compson
From The New Movie Album: An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen (1931)

"My father, Virgil K. Compson, was a graduate of Cornell and a mining engineer in Utah where I was born. I was the type of child who sang songs, recited and gave pantomimes for my mother and father. Later in high school I studied dramatics and played in short plays. My parents wanted me to be a musician so I studied the violin for seven years under George E. Skelton who is still teaching in Salt Lake City. Fortunately for me I did this, because when I was fifteen my father died and I was forced to work. After playing in an orchestra in a vaudeville theatre in Salt Lake City, I had the opportunity to substitute for a missing vaudeville act, and afterwards went on tour playing the violin in a single act. When we reached San Francisco, my act was dropped from the bill, and I took a position taking care of a child while my mother cooked. We were very poor. After many more experiences than could fit into this brief space, I landed in pictures. There, too, I have had my ups and downs and contrary to opinion my comeback in pictures was not due to talking pictures. On the strength of my performance in 'The Barker,' I was cast in two silent pictures. During 1929, I played in eleven talking pictures--more than any other player. I do not like poverty and I dislike spoiled children because I have known both."

The Ink & Paint Set #12


Gloira Swanson in Felix Goes to Hollywood
(Otto Messmer, 1923)

Seminal Image #380


Red Dust
(Victor Fleming; 1932)

Ancient Voices #11


Frank Stokes

The Art of Cinema #117


Girls on the Loose
(Paul Henried; 1958)

They Were Collaborators #116


Neil Simon and Akim Tamiroff

Seminal Image #379


The Unknown
(Tod Browning; 1927)

Artists in Action #38


Jerry Lewis blows his own horn

The Art of The Spook Racket #5

Poets are both clean and warm
And most are far above the norm
Whether here, or on the roam
Have a poet in every home! #4


Kenneth Rexroth

Artists in Action #37


Jean Genet makes a fool out of himself hanging around mildly amused Black Panthers

The Cool Hall of Fame #32


Jonas Mekas

For purely educational purposes, we happily offer our visitors All Pockets Open; a profile of Mekas by Calvin Tomkins, published in the January 6, 1973 issue of
The New Yorker.

The Art of Cinema #116


So This is Africa
(Edward Cline; 1933)

A Is For Arbus #8


Please Don't Feed Us (1968)
Campers at Camp Lakecrest for overweight girls in Duchess County, New York

Great Moments in Moxie #3


Goodbye, Columbus
(Larry Peerce, 1969)

Moxie sightings in the realm of recent pop culture are rare, and after my first sighting in MAD Magazine, the presence of this glass Moxie lamp in a family rec room in the 1969 film of Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus was one of the few I ever came across. Of course, it's simply a prop or a bit of set dressing, but there's always that inevitable frisson when its logo mysteriously appears.

The Women #8


Claudette Colbert
from The New Movie Album: An Autographed Who's Who of the Screen (1931)
"I am a woman with two countries. I was born in Paris, and of course, love my native country. As a gangling schoolgirl I arrived in New York and immediately fell under the spell of my adopted land. Having dabbled in paints and charcoals since childhood, it was decided that my future was in the realm of art. While attending art school, I met Anne Morrison who dared me to take a small part in her new play, 'The Wild Westcotts.' The result of this dare changed the entire course of my life. In stage work, I found the niche for which I had been searching. From a bit in 'The Wild Westcotts,' I luckily secured a leading role in 'The Marionette Man.' Thereafter, I played leading roles with the exception of the all-star revival of 'Leah Kleshna.' The screen always has intrigued my interest, and when I was offered a role in a silent film, 'Love of Mike,' I accepted. The next opportunity came from Paramount to play the leading feminine role in the talking picture 'The Hole in the Wall,' which gave me an excellent chance to put my stage training to work. In quick succession I completed for Paramount, 'The Lady Lies,' with Walter Huston, 'The Big Pond,' opposite Maurice Cehvalier in both the English and French productions, and then 'Young Man of Manhattan.'"

E is for Eggleston #1


Woman on Curb (1969)

The Art of Cinema #115


Forbidden
(Frank Capra; 1932)

Fun at Bohemian Grove #3


The Bohemians mount a theatrical performance (1927)

The Art of Cinema #114


Les Vacances de M. Hulot
(Mr. Hulot's Holiday)
(Jacques Tati; 1953)

They Were Collaborators #115


Nudie Cohn and Elvis Presley

The Art of Feminism #2

When Legends, um, Gather #90


Marlene Dietrich and Claudette Colbert

The Cool Hall of Fame #31


David Mamet

Wilson Pickett dies at 64


Wilson Pickett (1942-2006)

The Wicked Pickett dies of a heart attack. swac mourns by doing 1,000 dances down funky Broadway.

The Score #1


Otto Preminger's Skidoo is militantly wretched; one of the most godawful films in history. It is, in fact, surpassed by only two other works (Chaplin's A King in New York and Wilder's Buddy, Buddy) as the worst film ever made by a great filmmaker.

That being said, it boasts one truly noteworthy accomplishment: Harry Nilsson's score.

To inaugurate this feature, we at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . bring you this work as represented on the official soundtrack LP, released by RCA/Victor Records in 1968:

01 The Cast and Crew
02 I Will Take You There
03 Skidoo/Commercials
04 Goodnight, Mr. Bank
05 Angie's Suite
06 The Tree
07 Garbage Can Ballet
08 Tony's Trip
09 Escape Impossible
10 Man Wasn't Meant to Fly
11 Escape Possible
12 Skidoo/Goodnight, Mr. Bank

Seminal Image #378


Kiss Me Deadly
(Robert Aldrich; 1955)

They Were Collaborators #114


Sonny and Cher

The Art of Cinema #113


Frau im mond
(Woman in the Moon)
(Fritz Lang; 1929)

They Were Collaborators #113


Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys

The Art of Cinema #112


The Covered Wagon
(James Cruze; 1923)

When Legends Gather #89


Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson and Merle Oberon

Sex Education #51
Seminal Image #377


Claudette Colbert in
Since You Went Away
(John Cromwell; 1944)

A Is For Arbus #7


Please Don't Feed Us (1968)
Campers at Camp Lakecrest for overweight girls in Duchess County, New York

When Legends Gather #88


Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett

Fun at Bohemian Grove #2


Three Bohemians engage in Western European minstrelsey (1909)

The Art of Cinema #111
Shelley Winters Dies at 85


The Night of the Hunter
(Charles Laughton, 1955)

The New York Times obituary for Shelley Winters (1920-2006)

They Were Collaborators #112


Peter Sellers & Shelley Winters in Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1963)

R.I.P. Shelley Winters (1920-2006)

The Art of Cinema #110


Two of a Kind
(Henry Levin, 1951)

Great Moments in Moxie #2



The first time I ever heard about Moxie was a reference to it in MAD Magazine's parody of The Sting in the mid-'70s. I gathered from its inferrence in a word balloon that it was a beverage of some sort, but beyond that I really had no idea. As I continued to read copies of MAD--especially those special editions that reprinted past material--I saw the name crop up a lot more, even its actual logo. An example is shown here, from a Wallace Wood/Frank Jacobs piece If Famous Authors Wrote Comics (the best one is Tennessee Williams' version of Little Orphan Annie). Here we see a panel from If Rodgers & Hammerstein Wrote Rex Morgan M.D., with a Moxie logo stuck in the background for no apparent reason.

According to Frank N. Potter's book The Moxie Mystique, MAD editor Albert B. Feldstein said the magazine started inserting references to Moxie in 1958 as an experiment. While it refused to include advertising for years, the Moxie logo started turning up at random, as a way to see if the sight of this brand of then-obscure (and also now-obscure) soft drink would generate any response.
"We never made Moxie obvious by mentioning it in an article. We also never ran a satirical ad for it like we sometimes do for other products. We just stuck the Moxie logo in with the regular illustrations for articles and waited to see what happened.
"Ever since we started printing the word 'Moxie' inconspicuously, hundreds of letters have come in about it. Most of the letters ask for more information: 'Who is Moxie? Your tailor?' Others have it figured out, like the reader who wrote, 'Maybe the appearance of Moxie all over the place in your last issue is your idea of advertising by subliminal projection. Well--it doesn't work. I didn't even notice it.'"

The Monarch Corporation, which owns the Moxie brand, never paid for the inclusion of its logo in MAD, the magazine simply asked for permission to use it, while keeping an eye on sales of the soda, then only available in New England for the most part. The soft drink did experience a rise in popularity, to which the company responded by reintroducing Moxie into the marketplace with a new taste, which proved to be a disaster for an item with such a die-hard following. Shades of New Coke, anyone?