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 Art of the Double Feature #7


The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus (Les yeux sans visage; Georges Franju, 1960) ~ PLUS! ~ The Manster (George P. Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane, 1959)

Marilyn In Action #60


Marilyn rides.

The Heretofore Unmentioned #134


Guy Williams

When Legends Gather #654


Lt. Columbo meets Robbie the Robot. (h/t to George Chastain)

Marilyn in Action #59
When Legends Gather #653

Marilyn sits with Sitwell.

The Friends of Flagg #11

William Jennings Bryan
"Colonel House always called me when he had some big shots at his apartment, so I could draw them. Bryan was a loveable man; kind you'd like to have as an uncle."

Elisha Cook Jr. Gets the Shaft Again #5


Livery operator Elisha Cook Jr. probably isn't going to be collecting those stable fees from Tom Horn. (William Wiard; 1980)

Levon Helm Dead at 71

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    His excellence as a drummer often overshadowed by his distinctive singing voice, Levon Helm has died after a long battle with cancer. (Read the Los Angeles Times obituary here.) Known primarily for his years recording with The Band, Levon’s best vocal work — his timbre a blend of country, rockabilly, gospel and blues rooted in an Arkansas backwater — includes the original studio versions of “The Weight”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, “Smoke Signals” and “Forbidden Fruit”; occasional forays into tenderness (“All La Glory”, “The River Hymn”); the soaring live recordings of “Don’t Do It” and “Rag Mama Rag” off of the Rock of Ages album; a guttural “Up On Cripple Creek” from Before the Flood; and balls-to-the-walls renditions of “Ophelia”, “Mystery Train” (with Paul Butterfield) and “Up On Cripple Creek” in The Last Waltz, the latter capped off by Levon’s “Yeah, yeah, you know I sure wish I could yodel like a yodel-odley-yodely-oh,” the throaty proclamation sending a smile across Robbie Robertson’s face in Martin Scorsese’s celebrated film of the concert.

    He also contributed evocative backing vocals which became instrumental in shaping the unique sound of The Band, especially the haunting duet shared with Richard Manuel on “Whispering Pines” and his alternating harmonies with Manuel and Rick Danko on “Jemima Surrender”, “Chest Fever”, “The Rumor” and “Acadian Driftwood”. After appearing in The Last Waltz, Levon branched out into a somewhat steady, relatively lucrative and entirely unexpected secondary career as a character actor: Coal Miner’s Daughter, Smooth Talk and The Right Stuff are all worth checking out. He was an inspired choice to play Wilford Brimley’s buddy in the rural comedy/drama End of the Line, while Band fans may be interested in the obscure (though not terribly good) non-musical 1989 film, Man Outside, in which he appears with Manuel, Danko and Garth Hudson. A major influence on yours truly since the 1970s (I was privileged to see him play live on four separate occasions: twice with The Band, once with Dylan and The Band, once with Ringo), Helm was a consummate musician and an eager showman who obviously loved his craft and possessed an innate ability to get people dancing.

Play this clip loud:



“Ashes of laughter, the ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear?”

They Were Collaborators #713


Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks

Dick Clark Dead at 82


So Loathsome I Could Cry #15


Terry Richardson

Art of Cinema #495

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I Want What I Want (John Dexter, 1972)

The Art of the Double Feature #6

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Richard Brooks, 1958) ~ plus! ~ Butterfield 8 (Daniel Mann, 1960)

The Frame Within the Frame #43


Frank Morgan remembers seeing something he wishes he hadn't in Hallelujah, I'm a Bum
(Lewis Milestone; 1933)

When Legends Gather #652


Laurence Olivier meets The Beatles.

The Frame Within the Frame #42


Bananas
(Woody Allen; 1971)

A Is for Arbus #58


Eugene McCarthy on election night (1968)

The Friends of Flagg #10


Rose O'Neill

"A beautiful and lovely woman, and the mother of the Kewpies. Largely known as a creator of dolls, she was also a fine artist—some of her drawings are in the Luxembourg in Paris."

The Welcoming Committee #3


from King Kong vs. Godzilla
(Ishirô Honda; 1962)

Heroes of Popular Culture #28
Jim Marshall Dies at 88


Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall Amplifiers, died today at the age of 88.  Luckily, he considered the sound of Fender Amps "too clean."  The Guardian offers this obituary.

Art of Cinema #494


The Haunted Palace (Roger Corman, 1963)

When Legends Gather #651


Pee Wee Herman, Rodney Dangerfield and David Lee Roth try to one-up each other in the outsize personality department.

Treading the Boards #49


Peter Palmer's L'il Abner meets Tina Louise's Appassionata Von Climax in the 1956 Broadway production of the Johnny Mercer/Gene de Paul musical based on Al Capp's long-running comic strip, at the St. James Theatre.

Vaudevillians #17


The McNulty Family

Seminal Image #1032

The Brother from Another Planet
The Brother From Another Planet (John Sayles, 1984).

Sex Education #167

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Valerie Kaprisky in L'année des méduses (The Year of the Jellyfish; Christopher Frank, 1984)

Seminal Image #1031

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Rita Moreno does a couple of lines in The Night of the Following Day (Hubert Cornfield, 1968)