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

Pickers #9


Earl Scruggs (1924-2012)

Norman Rockwell Saved from Drowning #33


Marriage Counsellor (1960)

Adventures in the National Pastime #16

Today's Adventure:

Original caption:

Chicago -- This photograph of Ty Cobb and Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was taken in Chicago some time ago. Shortly after, Cobb is alleged to have been a party to the now famous bet episode. At the time the photo was taken, Landis appears to have been saying something very pleasant to Cobb. (1926)

Aftermath: Japan #15


Original Caption:

Kuramoto -- The Angel Guardian Home, a Catholic home for orphans in Japan. As this private was about to leave, Sister St. Paul had the orphans dress in their finest clothes to have their picture taken (October, 1945)

They Were Collaborators #712


Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard

The Art of the Gig #28

When Legends Gather #650
They Were Collaborators #711

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John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Roman Polanski, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet on the set of Polanski’s Carnage (2011)

The Art of the Opening Credit #4


Cutter’s Way (nee Cutter and Bone; Ivan Passer, 1981) Title design by Dan Perri. Music by Jack Nitzsche.

Elisha Cook Jr. Gets the Shaft Again #4


Elisha Cook Jr. feels the pain of working for Olsen & Johnson in Hellzapoppin.
(H.C. Potter; 1942).

The Art of the Gig #27


The Hilton Sisters

The Friends of Flagg #9


Enrico Caruso

"His records, I understand, are collector's items today. But when he was extant, we had to nail the rugs down to keep his wonderful tenor from blasting us out of the studio."

When Legends Gather #649
They Were Collaborators #710


Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and assorted Disney characters at the premiere of Mary Poppins (1964).

When Legends Gather #648


Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke

L Is for Lange #13


Ditched, Stalled and Stranded; San Joaquin Valley, California (1935)

The Ink & Paint Set #44


Adolph Hitler and German president Paul von Hindenburg (and possibly Joachim Von Ribbentrop on the right)
from Cubby's World Flight
(Hugh Harman & Rudolph Ising; Van Beuren Studios; 1933)

When Legends Gather #647


Rosalind Russell and Frank Sinatra (with California Lt. Governor Goodwin Knight) in 1952.

Although we are assured that the photograph is genuine, close inspection is a reminder that doctored photographs are not children of the digital age.

When Legends Gather #646


Elton John and John Lennon at Madison Square Garden, Thanksgiving night, 1974. It would be the last time Lennon would ever appear in a live performance. Your humble correspondent was in attendance and can verify the epic pandemonium when Lennon hit the stage. Happy 65th birthday to Sir Elton.

Art of Cinema #493


The Public Enemy
(Mervyn LeRoy;1931)

An extremely rare "B" style one-sheet for the Warner Bros. gangster classic loosely based on the life and death of Chicago gangster George "Hymie" Weiss, one of several recently discovered in the now-famous Berwick, PA cache of pre-code movie art.

Initially purchased for $30,000, the collection was auctioned off for $503,000.

Artifacts #27


The head of Alfredo Garcia.

Great Moments in Moxie #29





No trip to Maine is complete without a refreshing glass of Moxie, especially at the end of the pier at the nexus of Vacationland, Old Orchard Beach, in 1904.

Another photo from the fine folks at Shorpy Photo Archive, view the high-res version here.

The Friends of Flagg #8


Charles Dana Gibson

"A bold gladiator of a man, and America's greatest social cartoonist and portrayer of beauty. Kenyon Cox, a fine artist, made an ass of himself once at the Art Student's League by telling pupil Gibson he should take up plowing ... Cox was plowed under, as the immortal Gibson Girl was born. It's a sadly funny thought that a generation or so later, Picasso is called an artist in this country. Good Gard!

Of course, we always have with us Americans whose brains are composed of peanut butter--like the Hollywood dowager who said to me seriously, 'Tell me Mr. Flagg, weren't you really the originator of the Gibson Girl?' I whispered back, 'No ma'am, don't let this get any further, but it was Howard Chandler Christy!'"

When Legends Gather #645


(L to R) Betty Bronson, Dorothy Gish and Lillian Gish, at the home of William K. Everson, November 1964.

The Heretofore Unmentioned #133


David Letterman

Voices #11

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Aisha Tyler as Lana Kane in Archer

The Art of Cinema #492
Mop Tops in Action #51

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Released sometime in the late 1960s or early ‘70s, The Beatles Around the World is a package of three short films: the 1964 Washington DC concert; the 1966 Live at Budokan (in which they look bored and clearly ready to stop touring); and Around the Beatles, a BBC variety show broadcast in 1964 with The Beatles doing a Midsummer Night’s Dream takeoff, a bunch of new songs and a great version of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout!” with all four Mop Tops taking turns on vocals. (Hat tip: Nelhydrea Paupér.)

K is for Kinski #4


Das Indische Tuch
(The Indian Scarf)
(Alfred Vohrer; 1963)

Before the Age of Multiplexes #24


With a fashion show, 1949's Under Capricorn and Easy Living, The Mayfair Movie Theatre in San Jose, California (1950) has a little something for everyone.

Sex Education #166

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If you want it, here it is, come and get it: Raquel Welch on the set of The Magic Christian (Joseph McGrath, 1969)

The Art of Cinema #491

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The Deadly Mantis (Nathan Juran, 1957)

When Legends Gather #644
Broadcasters #91


Zacherley and Chuck McCann

The Gunslinger Guide to Barbara Steele #5

Marilyn in Action #58


Marilyn stands akimbo.

(One of a number of previously unpublished photos taken by Life Magazine's Ed Clark.)

When Legends Gather #643


"Wasn't it wonderful to be together, Bela & Lillian."
(Left to right) Alex Gordon, Bela Lugosi, Lillian Lugosi, Richard Gordon and William K. Everson.

The Gunslinger Guide to Karel Zeman #3


From Ukradená vzducholoď (The Stolen Airship), 1966

Firesign Theatre's Peter Bergman dies at 72


After a battle with leukemia, Peter Bergman (far right) from "comedy's equivalent to the Beatles", Firesign Theatre, plays his final round of Beat the Reaper.

You can read one obit, with an interview with fellow Firesigner Phil Procter, here.

Here's a more personal farewell from Richard Metzger, complete with insane 1969 ads the troupe did for Jack Poet Volkswagen in Highland Park, L.A.

The Art of Cinema #490

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F.T.A. (Francine Parker, 1972)

When Legends Gather #642


Orson Welles takes a break from playing Rochester in Jane Eyre to jam with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy on the set of Jitterbugs, on the 20th Century Fox lot.

Artists and Animals #84


Audrey Hepburn awaits a train with her Yorkshire Terrier, Famous.

The Ink & Paint Set #43


Charles Lindbergh
from Cubby's World Flight
(Hugh Harman & Rudolph Ising; Van Beuren Studios; 1933)

The Friends of Flagg #7


G.K. Chesterton

"The genial manatee had a debate in a theatre on 'Divorce' with Cosmo Hamilton and 'Cossie' came out second best. G.K.C. was famous for the character 'Father Brown' in his detective stories; but I remember him as one of the men that stood up to Shaw, without ducking!"

The Art of the Double Feature #5

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War of the Gargantuas (Ishirô Honda, 1968) ~ plus! ~ Monster Zero (Ishirô Honda, 1965)

Son of a Preacherman #8


Ingmar Bergman

Son of a Preacherman #7


George Stephanopoulos

Elisha Cook Jr. Gets the Shaft Again #3


Cuckolded and driven to murder by Marie Windsor in The Killing
(Stanley Kubrick; 1956)

The Frame Within the Frame #41


The Best Years of Our Lives
(William Wyler; 1946)

They Were Collaborators #709


Terence Stamp and Federico Fellini

The Art of Cinema #489

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Promo poster for Head (Bob Rafelson, 1968). The fact that The Monkees aren’t even mentioned in the ad shows how quickly their popularity sank. The Monkees TV show premiered in September, 1966, Monkeemania running neck-and-neck with Batmania. When Head came out in November 1968, those and the other pop manias of the 60s (Beatlemania, Bondmania) began to dissolve under the weight of civil rights, student unrest, the hippie movement, drugs, Nixon vs. Humphrey, the sexual revolution, women’s lib, the generation gap, Vietnam, you name it. It was a weird time. A fan of the Monkees living on Long Island, I vividly recall the opening weekend of Head: it played in a very small handful of theaters, but only for late shows on Friday and Saturday nights. By the following Monday, it was gone. Outside of articles concerning Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson, I never saw mention of it again until it came out on VHS some twenty years later. (H/t: JonCow)

Sex Education #165

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Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot

The Art of Jazz #129


Bumpin'
(Wes Montgomery)
(Verve Records 1965)