Friday, August 5, 2022

The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention 2022

If you are looking for a destination convention this year, I recommend you check out the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. The three-day film festival has been bringing fans together for seventeen years, who flock in from all over the country. Hollywood celebrities sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. Over 200 vendor tables provide a wealth of treasures. The event even provides a platform for museum curators, authors and film preservationists to give us slide show presentations on varied subjects. 

This year's event is scheduled September 15 to 17, 2022. Among this year's celebrity guests are Bob Eubanks, Melissa Gilbert, Nancy Kovack, Susan George, Jamie Farr, and many others!

The following photos were taken by Martha Guptill, Bill Guptill, Al Stone, Mark Gross and myself from previous years and a fond look back at some of the event's memorable moments. If you have never been to the event, I hope these photos entice you to attend. 

In the background is Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris from West Side Story.
In the front is Karolyn Grimes, known as little Zuzu in the Christmas
classic, It's a Wonderful Life.

A sample of what can be found on the 200+ vendor tables.

Autograph lines stretch outside the hotel for the most
popular celebrities.

Kristy McNichol posing with a fan at the show.

Kent McCord from television's Adam-12 signing autographs
for fans throughout the weekend.

Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner spend the weekend signing
autographs and posing for photos with fans all weekend. 

The WKRP in Cincinnati cast reunion with Jan Smithers
and Howard Hesseman.

The autograph lines can be long. Sometimes the event has what is
referred to as "time passes." This gives attendees the advantage to
enjoy the show throughout the weekend and not stand in line all day.

Groucho Marx, The Lone Ranger and the Snow Miser.
Fans like to dress in cosplay during the weekend.

Gene Carpenter is one of the many vendors selling vintage
collectibles. His specialty is first issues of old comic books.

The third of only three times the entire cast of The Bionic Woman 
and The Six Million Dollar Man together to meet fans. Most of
the celebrities go up on stage during the weekend and for an hour
they answer questions from the audience. (Left to right) 
Richard Anderson, Lindsay Wagner and Lee Majors.

A cinematic movie monster in person. Ricou Browning, who was
The Creature from the Black Lagoon, signing autographs for fans.

Visit the convention website at 

Mary Foster, the Editor’s Daughter

It only happens once or twice a year… an opportunity where we can contribute to the cause. Radio Spirits released this set of unreleased recordings for a radio soap opera that collectors have sampled over the decades from four to seventy installments — and not always consecutive. But Radio Spirits released this CD set containing consecutive episodes from April and May of 1947, a godsend for those who enjoy radio soap operas. On a personal note, these get addictive.

Radio Spirits purchased a collection from a private collector who transcribed from transcription disc and if we want to see all 1,200 plus episodes known to exist to be made available, it will depend on the sales of this set. Through one report, sales are lackluster and there is the risk that the majority of those 1,200 recordings may remain on the shelves. The costs involved with production of such sets means a minimum number of sales are required to financially justify the release of additional volumes. Your purchase today will send the message. Otherwise, this is a one and done release. As of right now it is discounted and on sale, so click the link right now and support the cause.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Little Rascals: The Restoration Project

Hal Roach's Our Gang series is one of the longest running and most prolific in the field of short subjects with 220 one and two-reel comedies released between 1922 and 1944. The secret to the longevity of the series, as well as its appeal to generations long after its conclusion, is mainly due to Roach’s choice to cast kids who came across as “natural” on the screen—scruffy underdogs that moviegoers could identify with or wish they could be—not glossy “showbiz professionals.” 

After producing 88 silent Our Gang shorts, Roach transitioned to sound releasing 80 additional “talkies” in the series starting with “Small Talk” in 1929. It took time to fine-tune the adjustment from silent to sound, but soon the studio began firing on all cylinders producing classics like “Shivering Shakespeare” and “The First Seven Years” (both 1930). 


Thanks to David at Classic Flix, and passionate film buffs who spent untold hours laboring over each short, newly scanned and restored from original Hal Roach 35mm film elements. These new prints are clear, very crisp, with as much detail as possible, and (for purists) the title cards completely accurate with Leo The Lion shown at the beginning of each episode. By far these are the best versions of these releases… ever. Up until today we all had to suffer from the Blackhawk prints and other renditions on VHS and DVD. The six Bluray volumes are the definitive releases.


Volume one features the talents of Jackie Cooper, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby “Wheezer" Hutchins, Joe Cobb, Harry Spear and Norman “Chubby" Chaney, and contain some of the best of the series. 


But throughout volume three and four, with the introduction of George "Spanky" McFarland to the troupe in 1932, the Our Gang comedies soon embarked on one of the series’ most prolific periods of mirth making. Two years later, Hal Roach was inspired to team Spanky with a loyal sidekick: precocious child actor Scotty Beckett, whose delightful comic support of “Spank” premiered in one of Our Gang’s funniest and most beloved two-reelers, “Hi-Neighbor!” (1934). 


Spanky and Scotty often functioned as a Greek chorus to the “bigger” kids in classic outings like “The First Roundup,” “Honky-Donkey” and “For Pete’s Sake” (all 1934). They also displayed their broad comic range and chemistry by imitating the antics of Roach’s biggest stars, Laurel & Hardy, as in “Mike Fright” (1934) which is a personal favorite of mine. 

Volume six comes out this month (you can pre-order now) but the first five are available now. I would like to add that while I am not aware of any archival restorations of the silent shorts, there is an even greater need for restoration and the sale of the six Blurays will send the message – without support the restoration for these gems will stop with just the 80 sound shorts.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Honoring a Pioneer’s Memory: The Max Fleischer Cartoons Restoration Project

There has been an ongoing restoration project for Max Fleischer's cartoons, as word through the grapevine (and on a number of Facebook Groups) has been building momentum. Fans of vintage animation, who have a special place in their heart for such projects, are devoting long hours, frame by frame, to make the cartoons look brand new again. Fletcher's granddaughter, Jane Fleischer, and Rockin Pins CEO Mauricio Alvarado, are in San Diego this weekend to reveal what efforts have been made to track down archival prints and restore them to pristine quality. 

Victoria Davis recently posted a fascinating blog entry worthy of reading about this effort, the link provided below.