This is the last day of #blogjune. It’s been fun doing a post each day and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I thought I might keep this going at a slower pace – one a week, or thereabouts.
But, to today’s post, it’s something special from my childhood – The Trivia Encyclopedia by Fred L. Worth. I stumbled across this around 1980 or so and found it endlessly fascinating in its surgical detail of often useless facts. Want to know the name of the bear who played Gentle Ben? It’s here (Bruno). In the James Bond books and movies, what does S.P.E.C.T.R.E. stand for? (Page 253 – Special Executive for Counter-Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). What year was Alfred Hitchcock born? (Page 28, 1899). The names of all the Chan Clan (from The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan cartoon)? Why, it’s Allen, Flip, Henry, Moon, Nancy, Scooter, Stanley, Susie and Tom (Page 66). It’s all here. Thanks for asking.
Of course, we now have the internet and decades of pop cultural back-glances to know all this stuff, but then there was nothing and this was revolutionary goldmine of information. It was Google in a book, and from what I can tell, quite a hit. There was even a scandal involving Columbo and the game Trivial Pursuit using Worth’s book to source questions.
I have 2 different editions of The Trivia Encyclopedia but this el cheapo Tempo paperback is my favourite, partly because it’s the first copy I ever had, but also for the sensational slighty trippy cover design. Many thanks Mr. Worth.
If I was in a court case to argue why physical media is better than downloads I would confidently present this item, smile and wave to the stunned crowd and exit in a puff of smoke. This is Stan Ridgway and Pietra Wexstun’s Blood – a soundtrack commissioned for artist Mark Ryden’s ‘The Blood Show’, and what a treasure it is. Mr Ryden’s paintings adorn the fold-out sleeve and the music is an appropriately magical experience that will surprise anyone only familiar with Stan Ridgway from his days fronting Wall of Voodoo.
Enjoy. *Walt vanishies in giant puff of smoke*
So, this. I found this old plastic toy in a big bin of what I think were carnival prizes from, maybe the 1950s. There were also things like plastic mini-trumpets, paper streamers and other things I’ve forgotten now. But this was the star, a Rabbit and Cat school. It was in a plastic bag and I decided the best thing to with it was to display it against its original cardboard backing in a 3-D frame. Looking at it now I could have done a better job of securing the items to the card (I used those plastic cord tie things), I’ll go back and fix that at some point, but my lack of handiness notwithstanding I do think they are super. There’s even a blackboard (which says “1+1=?” and has the sum underneath). Bless.
The most expressive salt and pepper shakers I’ve ever owned. I mean, there’s no competition. These little Keane-like big eye pups are going to win every time.
I found this on Etsy a few weeks ago. Another Soviet badge, this one a rather beautiful mid-century looking lion. It came all the way from Lithuania and photo above shows the packaging it was sent in.
More creepy dolls, why not? The Twilight Zone is my favourite television show of all time and these chaps are from the episodes ‘The Masks’ (jimmy -jams skull) and ‘The Howling Man’ (handsome devil). Produced by the Biff, Bang Pow company a few years ago they are quite super little things. The episodes they emerge from are both uncharacteristically gothic in style, The Masks, set in the New Orleans Mardi Gras, is about a putrid and greedy family, and The Howling Man takes place in a remote Abbey where a prisoner is guarded by monks.
They’re spooky-ish, but I also have a much more scary Talky Tina statuette from ‘Living Doll’ – and she’s not sure if she likes you very much.
Friday night seems the appropriate time to post this. Anyone remeber Arena’s Graveyard Shift from 1990s? The sublime Tabitha would host a horror/sci-fi/trash movie every Friday night from her chaise lounge. I lived in the country as a kid and never got to see hosted horror films, so this was a dream come true for me. Arena (on Foxtel, which I should add, was a very differently styled channel back then, I previously posted about it on the blog here) did a great job of updating the genre whilst keeping the humour and fun. Tabitha was a movie fan and it showed in her her scripts and the irreverent verve with which she presented the films each week. You can watch some of her hosting on Youtube, such as this Ed Wood night one.
Anyway, what brought me here was the candle premium at the start. I worked for Foxtel at the time and got to go to a Graveyard Shift launch event where these were given away to attendees. Thankfully I could never bring myself to light it, so it remains intact (possibly the only one?).