Sending up the Bat-Signal

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Courtesy CBS

Los Angeles is lighting the Bat-Signal tonight (June 15) in honor or Adam West’s passing.  Mayor Eric Garcetti will light the signal at a special ceremony at 7:30 pacific time.

The signal will be shown from City Hall. The signal will be projected on LA City Hall.

Batman has always been a part of my life it seems. In the 1980s, while lying on the beach I used to think of Batman. What happened was that a friend of mine had fantasies of buying the shuttered St. Moritz Hotel in South Beach, which is part of the Lowes Hotel at 16th and Collins Avenue. Back in the 1980s, 16th Street was open, it was a street now it’s part of the Loews property. I would park there and lay out on the beach at the water’s edge, but with the St. Moritz hotel in the distance.

As I would lay on the beach, I would imagine that my friend Franco needed me to run the front desk or something, and he would send up a Bat-signal type thing from the roof to alert me. The way he would alert me was a little more rudimentary.  There was tinfoil on the two very top windows and when he needed me, he would open and shut the windows and flash the tinfoil into the sunlight, which would send a sort of Bat-signal up and then I would know I was needed to get inside to work.

A time before cellphones. 🙂

Batman’s Adam West has passed away

batman2You know when someone you don’t know passes away but you feel like they are friends? Friends in your head? Well that happened again today. Adam West, tv’s Batman passed away from Leukemia at age 88.

He’s one of those people that I feel is family. I never met him, never saw him at any ComicCons, but just from the 1960s series, he has always been a friend to me – in my mind. The Batman tv series was a huge part of my childhood. We didn’t have a color tv at the time, so I would go to my friend’s house to watch often. It was one of the first color tv series I ever saw.

The closest I ever got to him was seeing the Batmobile in one of the New York museums last year. I was in awe. The museum guard had to keep telling me to step back away from the car, I was getting so close to it.

It was on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

Here’s more on his passing.

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Drawing All in the Family

all-in-the-familyI was talking about drawing Fred Flintstone and wondering if my mother ever saved any of my old drawings. I have to ask her.

Well, one of the things I always regret was giving away a full color comic strip of All in the Family that I created. It must have been an art class project, because I remember doing it in class. It was a Sunday strip, you know, full size. It was All in the Family, which was the number one show on tv at the time and I drew some sort of story line – three or four rows of comics, full color. Colored in with watercolor I remember. It was all the characters -Archie Bunker, Edith, Gloria, Mike; and the house as the background scenery in each panel – really a nice piece of art.

And I gave it away!

A classmate liked it and I gave it to him. Just like that!

I wonder if there is a way to put a call out for it now. You know – “Wanted, the old 1970s All in the Family comic strip I drew in art class.” Maybe I can do a lost and found thing on Craigslist or something.

I had this original TV Guide, too. I collected them all when I was a kid, I would just throw them in a box after we used them for the week. I had hundreds from the early 1970s until the 1990s. But they were all destroyed in 1992 in Hurricane Andrew. 😦

Fred Flintstone

I think the first character I ever drew was Fred Flintstone. Why? Who knows? You would think as a child I would be more into Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry, but I was always a Hanna-Barbera fan and for some reason, I would draw Fred all the time. I wish I had some of those original drawings, maybe my mother has them stashed away somewhere, you know how mothers save all that stuff.

I loved the tv show The Flintstones and also so many of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons – Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potomus, Touche Turtle and so on. I vaguely remember them being on tv early evenings, something like 7:30 pm and each night was another show – Mondays was Huckleberry, Tuesday was Quickdraw McGraw and so on.

One of my earliest memories was maybe when I was two or three years old, I remember my mother chasing me around our Brooklyn apartment, trying to get me into the bathtub and I remember Huckleberry Hound coming on tv. The theme song was playing as I was running around, trying to get away from taking a bath!

But even with that early memory, it was all about Fred Flintstone. And did I become a Hanna-Barbera fan because of my mother? I mean, I’m assuming she put those shows on tv for me, so she chose them rather than other things like Bugs Bunny. I remember our house was full of Hanna-Barbera toys – I remember life sized cut outs (at least for a three or four year old they were life sized), I remember a Dino mechanical toy. I remember that at my grandmothers’s house. I can literally see that in my mind, walking on her kitchen floor. I looked it up on Ebay and found this. This is it. It’s going for over $800! I saw one cheaper, about $44, but it isn’t in mint condition like this one.

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MTV – what’s old is new again?

The new head of Viacom, which owns MTV, wants MTV to get back to music and reality shows. He says, New Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said, “Music and live is going to be an element of our strategy.”

I remember when MTV first started, it was August 1, 1981, it was just music, all music videos, all the time. We had it on in our house all day and night, it was like having the radio on. I don’t know when it got into other types of programming or why. It’s sort of like the Travel Channel, which I love, but that channel is not much about travel.

When MTV was new, we didn’t have cable at our house yet and a friend was telling me about it. I couldn’t grasp the concept of just having music on the tv non-stop. I guess with all new things, until you see it, you can’t grasp the idea.

This Billy Squire video above, “Rock Me Tonight,” was shown what seemed like non-stop in 1984. I don’t know why, but I liked it at the time, now it seems silly, but it brings back so many memories seeing it. I also remember the first video shown right after midnight on 1984 was “Jump,” by Van Halen. I also remember calling up MTV on Friday nights for the Friday Night Video Wars, where they had two videos going up against each other and you would vote on one. I remember Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” as being number 1 for nine or 10 weeks in a row. Funny the things you remember.

The first 30 videos that showed on MTV can be seen here. Do you know the first video that was ever played on MTV without looking? That’s a common trivia question. It was the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

And remember the original VJ’s – Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and JJ Jackson? I saw Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn on tv recently, they still look good.