Friday, August 30, 2013

Tales From The Crypt Television Series

Tales from the Crypt TV series
Beginning in 1989, HBO telecast a gruesome horror anthology titled Tales from the Crypt, based on the popular 1950s EC Comics of the same name. The series was extremely popular and lasted seven seasons and a total of 93 half-hour episodes. The grisly little horror stories featured ghouls, vampires, werewolves, voodoo, psychopathic killers, zombies and anything you could conceive that pushed the limits. Because it was aired on HBO, a premium cable television channel, it was one of the few anthology series to be allowed to have full freedom from censorship by network Standards and Practices as a result, HBO allowed the series to contain graphic violence as well as other content that had not appeared in most television series up to that time, such as vulgarity, gore and sex. Because of this, the series is not for everyone's tastes but if you love brief horror stories with a bend toward nostalgia, this program is lots of fun.

Tales from the Crypt comic book
EC Comics was originally Educational Comics (if you can believe that) and was founded by Max Gaines, former editor of the comic-book company All-American Publications. Most of the stories featured on the television series were adaptations from one of five comic series -- the four other EC Comics of the time were Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenStories and Shock SuspenStories. With hundreds of stories written, common themes surfaced and this sometimes generated threats of lawsuits: a woman discovering a monkey's paw grants wishes was obviously "lifted" from the 1902 short story, The Monkey's Paw, by W.W. Jacobs. Gruesome versions of Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel were depicted. Adaptations of Ray Bradbury science-fiction stories, which appeared in two dozen EC comics starting in 1952. It began inauspiciously, with an incident in which Feldstein and Gaines plagiarized two of Bradbury's stories and combined them into a single tale. Learning of the story, Bradbury sent a note praising them, while remarking that he had "inadvertently" not yet received his payment for their use. EC sent a check and negotiated a productive series of Bradbury adaptations.

A fourth season classic -- who's the dummy now?
The executive producers of the television series were Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, featured on screen in the beginning of every episode. With a fondness for the 1950s, many of the episodes took place during that decade -- vintage automobiles, costumes and art deco aptly placed within the confines of the screen. In "The Secret," a young boy not only has plenty of fifties toys to contend with, but sports a Davy Crockett cap throughout most of the episode. (The same episode also featured a poster of a Buck Jones movie hanging on the wall in his bedroom.)

The ghoulish, twist-filled horror stories tinged on black humor, attracting an A-list of directors and celebrities contributing their talents. Arnold Schwarzenegger not only directed an episode from the sophomore season, but made a cameo in the same. Both Michael J. Fox and Tom Hanks did the same for their episodes as well. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood signed on to play a part of the fright fest, including Demi Moore, Kelly Preston, Dan Akroyd, Joe Pesci, Adam West, Patricia Arquette, Teri Hatcher, Daniel Craig, Ewan McGregor, Bobcat Goldthwait, Elizabeth McGovern, Brad Pitt, Brooke Shields, Donald O'Connor, Margot Kidder, Isabella Rossellini, Isaac Hayes, John Lithgow, Roger Daltrey and Steve Buscemi.

The Crypt Keeper with a Tales comic book.
Jon Lovitz portrayed a struggling actor who would do anything for a part in "Top Billing," Whoopi Goldberg donned the robes of an occult priestess to practice voodoo in "Dead Wait," Mimi Rogers played the role of an aspiring actress who would literally kill for a part, Christopher Reeve and Bess Armstrong were restauranteurs who cooked up a killer recipe made of human flesh, Timothy Dalton was a werewolf hunter on a mission, Larry Drake plays a psychopath who recently escaped an asylum and, dressed like Santa Claus, terrorizes a greedy housewife, and Billy Zane and Martin Sheen played rival magicians who had it in for each other.

Your host for the evening, The Crypt Keeper.
Each episode began and closed with a horror host -- The Crypt Keeper -- an animated corpse, as opposed to the original comics in which he was a living human being. The wisecracking Crypt Keeper, who was voiced by John Kassir, introduced each episode with intentionally hackneyed puns in a similar manner to Raymond Edward Johnson, the host of radio's Inner Sanctum Mystery. In fact, having grown up with the television series when I was a child, I have always envisioned Raymond as an animated corpse when listening to the old-time radio programs. Did I mention that each episode opened with a creaking gate and a creaking door? Hmmmmmm......

Alfred Hitchcock and Forest Gump (The Crypt Keeper)
My wife and I, having spent the past eight months enjoying the series, watching a couple episodes a week, discovered a few gems among the bunch. Humphrey Bogart made a posthumous performance in the episode The episode "You, Murderer," using computer effects to digitally insert the actor into an episode. The technology was relatively new at the time, used to superimpose John Wayne into a soda commercial. The episode was directed by series producer Robert Zemeckis, who had recently directed Forrest Gump which utilized those same effects. Just for fun, Alfred Hitchcock appeared in a cameo at the beginning of the same episode, and yes, Humphrey Bogart played the starring role for a classic murder mystery. The episode also featured Isabella Rossellini parodying her lookalike mother, Ingrid Bergman, for the first (and only) time. Yes, a Casablanca reference was made.

Borrowing a plot from Tales from the Crypt (issue #31), "Korman's Kalamity" featured an employee (Harry Anderson) of a comic book company producing the Tales from the Crypt comic being investigated by an attractive policewoman, who believes his monster drawings are coming to life. (And yes, they were.) The cartoonist had to deal with the biggest monster of all, his shrewish wife. One has to question whether the plot was borrowed from a 1940s radio broadcast of Molle Mystery Theater, later reused on Suspense.

Don Rickles as a ventriloquist with a dark secret.
My three favorite episodes turned out to be "The Ventriloquist's Dummy," directed by Richard Donner, dramatizing the story of a young ventriloquist (Bobcat Goldthwait) who wants to improve his craft and seeks out help from an old hero (Don Rickles), a retired ventriloquist, but discovers his act is terrible. "You have to play the audience," Rickles explains. Ultimately, Bobcat is desperate to discover Rickles' secret and it was here, after a large build-up, I was asking myself just what kind of a twist was in store for me. After all, ventriloquist dummy stories have been done so many times on The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and of course, Inner Sanctum Mystery. Could they come up with a twist that hasn't been done before? Oh yeah.... to tell you would ruin the fun. Let's just say if you are going to watch only a few episodes of this series (DVDs are available for rental on Netflix), grab this one!

"Dig That Cat, He's Real Gone" is a great first-season episode involving a scientist who implants a cat's nine lives into a hobo, then uses each of those lives to charge tickets and see a man die -- a gruesome, chilling story that has an ending you won't see coming -- my second favorite episode.

Kirk Douglas and Eric Douglas in the episode, "Yellow."
The other pleasant surprise was the final episode of the third season, "Yellow," starring Kirk Douglas. Set in the final year of World War I, a general's son (played by Eric Douglas) is branded yellow for causing the death of a platoon under his command and sentenced to death by firing squad. The plot might not sound intriguing but trust me when I say that the treat of watching Kirk Douglas reprising another Colonel Dax from Paths of Glory (1957) is only half the fun. The surprise ending made this my second favorite. Just watching these three episodes will make you an addict for more Tales from the Crypt.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lost THREE STOOGES Film Short... Found!

Hello Pop (1933) movie poster
Ron Hutchinson of The Vitaphone Project recently reported in his latest newsletter the discovery of a "lost" Three Stooges short! Back in November, Warner Archive released a DVD titled, The Vitaphone Comedy Collection Vol 1, which featured Vitaphone two-reelers with Shemp Howard as a supporting player. As a bonus, there included the four solo Vitaphone shorts starring Fatty Arbuckle.  Presumably, Volume 2 will collect all of Shemp's starring Vitaphone shorts, the remainder of his early pre-Columbia comedies. Fans are wondering what else will be included in the second volume, pondering the option of the four Three Stooges films shorts they did with Ted Healy... but what might make it better is the inclusion of all the shorts since Hello Pop (1933) was recently discovered.

Beginning in 1933, Ted Healy and the Three Stooges starred in a series of five film shorts, two-reelers, providing us deeper insight to the boys' vaudeville skits which rarely recycled themselves onto the Columbia Three Stooges film shorts series. Four of these shorts have been commercially released as bonus extras on DVDs released under the Warner Bros. label, and I purposely set out to buy all of them so I can watch those rare early gems.... except Hello Pop, which was never released because it was considered "lost." In fact, it has been considered the only "lost" film of The Three Stooges, with or without Ted Healy. The only known 35mm Technicolor print was burned in an MGM vault fire in 1967, supposedly taking with it a number of other films such as the Holy Grail of lost cinema, London After Midnight (1927), The Rogue Song (Laurel and Hardy), the Technicolor scenes from Chasing Rainbows (1930) and The Broadway Melody (1929)... oh yeah, and some Our Gang comedies.

Screen capture from Hello Pop.
In December 2012, The Vitaphone Project, which has provided a huge effort to seek out lost prints of Vitaphone and the soundtracks to those early talkies, received a short email from Australian Harry Furner, on behalf of a film collector friend. His question was: "Was Hello Pop a lost film?" The staff at the Project confirmed this as a fact and was promptly told that it was lost no longer. Furner's friend had a Technicolor 35mm nitrate print. This triggered a series of communications to verify the condition of the print, confirm that the collector was willing to share it for the sake of preservation, and then to make arrangements for it to be shipped to the U.S. Normally a film collector would have to be cautious about lending the only existing print of a "lost" film, especially since a number of individuals in the hobby have proven that greed outweighs the necessity of preservation. Thankfully, The Vitaphone Project has a long-standing reputation for restoring old films and Hello Pop was handed to them with pride.

Eric Ajayla and Ned Price at YCM Labs.
As all of this was developing, Ron Hutchinson notified Ned Price, Chief Preservation Officer at Warner Brothers. Ned is the same man responsible for pulling together UCLA, The Vitaphone Project, The Library of Congress and others on the many Vitaphone shorts restorations. Shipment, however, was not as easy as you might think. Nitrate film is considered, by international regulations, to be a "flammable solid." Unstable nitrate film can ignite or explode. Therefore, normal methods of shipment could not be used. Fortunately, The Vitaphone Project had an Australian "office" in the person of Paul Brennan. Paul was the man who found and promoted the synchronization of the only surviving print of Mamba (1930), which was the first Technicolor feature in sound that was not a musical. Since Paul had to ship the nitrate Mamba reels to UCLA in 2012, he knew all the steps to get it packaged, labeled and transported within the applicable regulations. 

That was completed in early January 2013, with the print of Hello Pop transported by FedEx's Pacific route to China, the Philippines, Texas, and ultimately Los Angeles and the YCM Laboratories. Works has now been completed on the film's preservation. The print appears to be complete, with no decomposition (thank God) and the color is supposedly very good. A proviso from The Vitaphone project was that a 35mm projectable print of the restored Hello Pop be produced so that it can again be projected at film festivals for new audiences.

Opening Title Sequence Verifies the Proper Spelling.
The first public screening of the long-lost Three Stooges short will be at New York's Film Forum on Sunday, September 30. The short will be a part of a program that will include other rarities including rare Technicolor fragments from George Eastman House, a newly struck print of Robert Benchley's 1933 Universal short, Your Technology and Mine, a new 35mm print off the Vitaphone comedy, Gobs of Fun with a previously unknown appearance by Shemp Howard, some Library of Congress gems, and more. You can visit the site at

At the moment, don't expect this short to be illegally posted on You Tube. And don't expect it on DVD commercially in the near future, but hoping it would be included in the Vitaphone Comedies Volume 2 DVD release makes happy thoughts on our pillows... with Three Stooges pillow cases, that is. But your support for the Warner Brothers volume one disc (click here) and a visit to that film festival will help offset the expenses getting the film short digitally restored and preserved.

Part of the above was reprinted from the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Vitaphone News (Vol. 12, No. 2). For subscription information, or to make a donation to The Vitaphone Project, visit their website.

Friday, August 16, 2013

DICK TRACY: A Review of 1936

When we last left off, Dick Tracy and G-Man Jim Trailer tracked the whereabouts of “Cut” Moran and his boys, the sole survivors of a police raid at “Maw” Moran’s residence where an exchange of gunfire mimicked the Ma Barker and her boys newspaper headlines. Moran and his men fled town and took refuge in an abandoned silo on a farm. Jim held the gangster’ attention by firing at the silo from the road while Dick Tracy circled around back of the buildings near the silo. After releasing the brake on a truck, the four-wheel vehicle dashed down the hillside and into the silo, sending Moran and his men scurrying like rats.

Using dynamite, Moran and his men trap the law officers in a room clogged with bricks at the entranceway. The men dig their way out of the debris of the silo, follow the trail in the snow, and Tracy masquerades as Boyle, one of Moran’s men, using makeup and a life mask of the criminal, in order to infiltrate their new hideout. (Tracy even takes a shot of drugs in the arm to prove he’s on the up-and-up.) A police ambush of an attempted payroll robbery causes Tracy to get wounded and the gang discovers who Boyle really is underneath all the makeup. Along a country road, the G-Men hide in an empty oil truck and hold tommy guns on Moran and his men. Everyone but Moran is shot and killed. Moran is taken into custody and the G-Men find the wounded body of Dick Tracy, bleeding to death.

Moran attempts to flee and the police open fire, gunning down the criminal who “deserved the same medicine.” To save Tracy from death, Pat Patton donates his blood for a transfusion. Toby, meanwhile, who was blinded a few months back, regains her sight, courtesy of eye treatments. Tracy wakes in the hospital, weak but alive. To ensure he has a full recovery, Tess Trueheart works with Chief Brandon to ensure Tracy goes on a month’s vacation to Florida. The vacation is short lived when a murder in town intrigues Tracy and the detective is back in action.

The trail involves the arrest of “Lips” Manlis in the revolving door of the hotel. Junior, disguised as a bellhop, discovers how murders are committed in the hotel but no bullets are found. The bullets are made of ice! The murderer is revealed to be Athnel Jones. “Lips” Manlis is released from police custody, after proving he did not commit the murders. To prove he is going straight, Lips is hired as a night watchman at a warehouse. When the old gang, led my the notorious Mimi, wants Lips to help them heist the merchandise in the warehouse and enforce a protection racket, he will not participate. After the warehouse is set fire, Lips is accused of the crime but Tracy insists a criminal like Lips can be and is innocent. When the gang attempts another heist of another warehouse, Lips, who pretended to be a member, helps the police nab the culprits.

(During the story arc described above, one criminal shows others how a coating of liquid cellophane on the fingers can prevent fingerprints.)

Mimi flees the waterfront dock and swims to a yacht owned by Toyee, who will not agree to hide her from the approaching police. After pushing Mimi overboard, Toyee welcomes Dick Tracy and Pat Patton, who arrive only to be knocked unconscious from behind, tied and bound. The detectives are thrown overboard as a storm approaches and Tracy does his best to keep an unconscious Pat Patton alive while waves continue to crash on them. The police arrive and save the detectives just in time. Lips, learning what happened, offers to help Dick Tracy find Toyee and Mimi, in a waterfront hideout, and Mimi tries to shoot the approaching law men.

Toyee attempts to hide inside a huge sturgeon, only to plunge to his death when Tracy and Patton take shots at the fish, hanging overboard the cargo vessel. Tracy dives under water to fetch the body of Toyee, and verifies the Chinaman is truly dead. Back at the waterfront dive, Mimi makes a daring play and stabs Pat Patton. Tracy rushes his comrade to the hospital. Back in town, Mimi and her gang catches Lips Manlis and kidnaps him, hoping to seek revenge against his betrayal. Under Mimi’s spell, Lips is married to the femme fatale and chooses a life of crime. Visiting Mimi in her flat, Dick Tracy and Kitty, an informant, confront the criminals and are tricked into a secret room underneath a trap door.

Lips, however, only pretended to play criminal, knowing the secret room beneath the floor will protect the detective while he apprehends the criminals. Mimi, distraught for the betrayal, takes a vial of poison.

 When Junior becomes a victim of a hit and run, Dick Tracy follows the trail to John L. Fling, a respectable young man of society. During the arrest, Tracy and Pat discover an unusual purple cross tattooed on Fling’s tongue. This begins the next adventure, the mystery of the Purple Cross Gang. When a second member of the gang is arrested in the nearby town of Nederville, Tracy visits the police station to question the man behind bars, only to discover the masked gang is daring enough to march right into the police station, armed with guns, to free any member of their gang that made the mistake of being caught.

 Pat Patton agrees to allow Dick Tracy to masquerade as John L. Fling, using clever makeup and purple cellophane to simulate a purple cross on his tongue. The ruse doesn’t work, Pat Patton is knocked from behind too hard, and a masked member of the gang attempts to kill Pat while he’s recovering in the hospital. Meanwhile, the mastermind behind the gang establishes a multi-city bank robbery spree that will rival anything any gangster has ever committed in the anals of crime. One of the members of the gang, “Baldy” Stark, has a weak spot which Dick Tracy discovers. Apparently the criminal has a young daughter and supplies all the clothing, food and other necessities a young child of four is unable to get during the depression. Tracy decides to follow the trail…

Will the little girl lead him to the master criminal? Will he be able to apprehend the Purple Cross Gang? We’ll find out in 1937!

Friday, August 9, 2013


"Requiem for a Heavyweight" began as a teleplay for a new CBS television anthology, Playhouse 90. Little did Rod Serling know at the time of completion that, sitting back in his desk, he won an Emmy. The teleplay would ultimately become a stage play, a novel and a motion-picture. But the original teleplay is still the best version (and worth seeking out on DVD). 

The story was bitter, mordant and yet moving at the same time. A washed up heavyweight prize fighter is put to pasture after 111 bone-bruising bouts and finds it jarringly difficult to adjust to society. He is a tough, disfigured blob of flesh who "could take a cannonball in the face." A gentle man, he is painfully aware of his ugliness. His condition does not allow him easy access to a new job, especially since all he knows is fighting -- he never took time to learn a trade. He is bounced around by some seedy managers until a pretty employment agent helps him find work. Deeply in debt, he is subjected to the final degradation of booking him as a clown wrestler with coonskip cap and buckskin suit. The fighter, however, was disgusted by the fakery of it all and took a walk. Thanks to the sympathetic woman at the employment bureau, he boards a train and returns to his home in Tennessee.

Here are a few archival letters and correspondence related to that historic telecast, which caused William S. Paley himself to call down to the director's booth and congratulate the cast and crew. (FYI: Letters that appear unsigned were typed by Rod Serling.) Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Recent Auction Sales

In late February 2013, Heritage Auctions featured their annual Vintage Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City. Among the highlights was original Charles Schultz panels for the PEANUTS newspaper strip, which all sold at amazing prices (the lowest was $12,000 sans taxes, fees and premiums). Among the highlights was this original art work used for the cover of issue #121 of The Amazing Spider-Man, considered by many as one of the most important issues in the Spider-Man legacy... the death of Gwen Stacy... Peter Parker's girlfriend.

John Romita's art work was considered the most desirable piece of 1970s comic art. "Not a trick! Not an imaginary tale -- but the most startling unexpected turning point in this web-slinger's entire life. How can Spider-Man go on after being faced with this almost unbelievable death?"

It's a story that fans still talk about, and the most sense-shattering deathblow in comics. Letters from outraged fans flooded the Marvel offices, and led to another mini-controversy... did Stan Lee O.K. this storyline or not? The loss of Gwen marked nothing less than an end to the carefree fun and offbeat innocence of the Silver Age era. If you don't know the story, I recommend you brush up on your Spider-Man lore... while the masked man was battling The Green Goblin, it was Spider-Man himself who unintentionally killed Gwen Stacy. Peter Parker swore he would kill The Green Goblin.

With the new Spider-Man movie franchise and Emma Stone plays the role of Gwen Stacy. Rumor has it that in the third movie, they are going to kill her off... which means you can expect the Green Goblin to come into play with the third movie. Those familiar with the Spider-Man comics already predict how each movie will introduce one or two more villains and none of them will meet a demise like Venom, Doc Ock and Norman Osborn did in the prior films. One of the landmark story arcs was "The Sinister Six" with six of Spider-Man's deadliest foes joining forces to wreck havoc and with the recent success of The Avengers, we can only assume that the fourth or fifth movie in the new franchise will feature their own version of "The Sinister Six." So expect Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. The Lizard, to make a come back.

The Lone Ranger Auction
 On June 22, 2013, an auction of Lone Ranger merchandise, formerly owned by The Lone Ranger himself, Clayton Moore, brought in more than $62,000. The auction was conducted by Denver's Old West Show & Auction and included one of The Lone Ranger's white Stetson hats (which went for $7,000); a powder blue suit made exclusively for Moore by Western designer Nudie, boots and kerchief ($33,275); an Edward Bohlin Buscadero gun rig belt ($27,500); and a single silver bullet struck for the classic 1950s show ($500).

Clayton Moore's TV costume for sale.
The merchandise came directly from Moore's collection and were made available by his daughter, Dawn Moore. Clayton Moore, as anyone who met him at festivals during the 1980s can recall, had great respect for his fans. "His wishes were always for me to keep whatever was particularly meaningful to me and then offer the rest to be enjoyed by fans and collectors," Dawn remarked in a press release.

"It's been an honor to have been the steward of these treasures," the late actor's daughter, Dawn Moore, said in a public statement. "Now, in the hands of their new caretakers, new adventures can be added to my own sweet personal memories and the aura of Dad's spirit."

Moore died in 1999 after a heart attack in his Calabasas home and is best known for playing The Lone Ranger for four of the five television seasons. He continued making personal appearances as the character in the decades after the show ended.

The 24th Annual Live Old West Auction was open to the public. Honestly, I am surprised that the prices went for so low. But the next auction might surprise you... especially for the prices they went for.

Captain Kangaroo Auction
Captain Kangaroo premiered on television in 1955 and remained a staple for children for nearly thirty years. Bob Keeshan, a former Clarabelle the clown (from Howdy Doody), created the series and played the lead. After he passed away in 2004, his estate donated a few of his beloved hand puppets to the Smithsonian... including Mr. Moose who I fondly recall would, every week, trick the Captain into reading a poem or sign or something that would include the words "ping pong balls"... at which point a ton of ping pong balls would drop from the ceiling and fall on his head. Moose laughed his butt off... and as a kid, so did I.

Just a few months ago, the Nate D. Sanders auction house was commissioned to auction off all of Bob Keeshan's memorabilia -- including awards, bound volumes of scripts, costumes, props and more. That means fans of Captain Kangaroo had a good chance of owning a piece of television history. But be prepared for deep pockets.

The prices ranged from minimum bids of $300 to $207,019 (the most popular item turned out to be Keeshan’s “Dancing Bear” costume).

One person theorized that the reason for the high price was because Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose had already been donated to the Smithsonian and they, along with Dancing Bear, were the three most popular.

Captain Kangaroo's keys to his ''Treasure House'' from the opening of every episode in the first ten years of the show was purchased by the same Tennessee resident who bought the Dancing Bear costume. Millions of children eagerly anticipated the program's cherished daily ritual -- Captain Kangaroo unlocking the door to his house with these very keys and then hanging them up in their place on the wall. Iconic keyring features six different keys. The base featured a plaque that read, "October 3, 1955 / Original Keys to the Treasure House / They Opened a World of Enchantment / to Millions of America's Children / Presented by the Captain Kangaroo Staff to Bob Keeshan / October 3, 1980." Encased in a lucite block on a wooden base to an overall size of 8" x 11.5" x 2.25." There was heavy tarnishing and rubbing to the keys and keyring from 30 years of daily use. The lucite block detached from the base but rested securely upon it. There was a small chip to the rear right corner of the base. It was the most prized and constant symbol of the show and went for $27,971.

Three bound volumes of scripts containing the first 65 episodes of Captain Kangaroo went for $2,758. Three-volume set begins with the outline for the 3 October 1955 episode, the very first ever. Hand notations are scattered throughout the volumes. Volume 1 contains episodes 1 through 21; Volume 2 contains 22 through 43 and Volume 3 comprises episodes 44 through 65. Bound in black cloth boards with gilt letting, measuring 9'' x 11.25''. Near fine.

If you had loose cash on hand, for $300 you could have bought his contact sheets from 1955, six award certificates including one from Howdy Doody, four binders from 1956 to 1971 containing summaries of each and every broadcast, ten awards spanning 1957 to 1997, 33 publicity photos, and a bound set of scripts for the complete 1961 Emmy-Nominated season... all of which went for $300 each! His screen-worn Fire Captain Hat went for almost $5,000 (including buyer's premium) and the Navy Blue suit worn from 1955 to 1971, with the kangaroo pocket jacket, sold for $15,786.

Which makes me wonder if one person bought the majority of the memorabilia and if so... hopefully a Captain Kangaroo museum is in the works? We can only cross our fingers and hope.

The Ten Commandments...  for sale!
The Oswald Museum
Speaking of museums, the city of Irving, Texas, is restoring the home that Lee Harvey Oswald slept in the night before he assassinated President John F. Kennedy. The plan is to turn the house into a museum after a $100,000 effort is completed, a plan to return the structure to its 1963 look, both inside and out. Oswald usually stayed in a rented room in Dallas during the week and visited his estranged wife and children on the weekend in Irving.

The Ten Commandments For Sale
The fake stone tablets from the 1956 motion-picture, The Ten Commandments, sold for $60,000 at an auction held in Calabasas Hills, California. Drama, Action and Romance: The Hollywood Auction highlighted the fake tablets, perhaps one of the most famous props in the movie. For anyone curious, they are 23 inches tall by 12 inches wide and constructed of richly hewn fiberglass on wood backing. They were made to look irregular and chipped, as if carved by God himself.

1927 Metropolis three-sheet poster
A three-sheet German movie poster advertising Fritz Lang's 1927 science-fiction classic, Metropolis, went up for auction on December 13 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It sold for $1.2 million. The sale was for the bankruptcy of collector Kenneth Schacter of Valencia, California, who bought the poster seven years ago for $690,000. The buyer was New Jersey collector Ralph De Luca. I've met Mr. De Luca at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention and he struck me as a really nice guy. If you have any rare posters (and I do mean really, really, really rare posters, drop him a line via e-mail.

Metropolis, by the way, is one of the ten best science-fiction movies ever made. Way ahead of its time, the film has been licensed through Kino-Lorber (formerly Kino on Video) and has been released multiple times on DVD in various formats. The film was originally incomplete -- edited versions have circulated for years. And every time new footage was found from the original theatrical release, the film was reissued on DVD... the expanded with each release. The lastest release is finally complete -- but only from a poor and scratchy print interlaced with prior restored footage. People can argue over which version is the best but if you have not seen the movie and want a good two-hour escapism without any distractions, catch the 2004 release on by CLICKING HERE. It's my favorite version and I suspect it will be yours, too.