Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Month: October 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

Monday Morning Art: The Braxton County Mobster

I first made this pun over 40 years ago, and I kept meaning to do a drawing, but it never got further than a quick doodle in a sketchbook.  Years later, Mark Wheatley did a great comic book called “Frankenstein Mobster,” which was basically the same pun, thought up independently, and executed with much better artwork and a great story.

However, Sunday I went to see Ann Magnuson’s Sururalism show at the WV Music Hall of Fame Museum, and Braxxie came up and I remembered both that, I’d made that joke years ago, and also that I didn’t have anything ready for the last “spooky” Monday Morning Art for October.

So I painted this real quick (it’s small) with the internet for visual reference (I’m never going to naturally know how to draw a gun, and fabric folds are tricky–especially with pinstripes), and you see the quick and sloppy results above. And now I can schedule the post so that I can go watch The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors. Maybe someday I’ll do a bigger version and clean up all the sloppiness in this one, and maybe give him a background or something. Maybe I’ll even put some detail on his head, which was mainly just painting through circle templates here.

If you want to see it bigger, lean in real close to your screen, or try clicking HERE.

Next week it’ll be that watercolor I promised you many weeks ago.

Meanwhile on The AIR, we bring you one final day of Halloween programming Monday. You’ll hear Halloween-themed episodes of our music specialty shows along with radio drama, concerts, specials and other spooky stuff  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player found elsewhere on this page.

We will begin the 2022 PopCult Gift Guide a week from today, and I’ll tell you all about that this coming Friday.

Sunday Evening Video: Strangling Dr. Caligari

Above, you see me basically scratching a 40-plus-year itch.

Forty or forty-one years ago, when I was a communications major at what was then West Virginia State College, I was taking a film appreciation class called “Horror and Fantasy in Film.” Because it was so long ago, I’m not certain who the professor was. My fuzzy memory says it must have been Bart Weiss, but my heart tells me it was my old friend, Danny Boyd.

The reason I think it was Bart was because I’m pretty sure that this was prior to the time Danny started teaching at State. However, the characteristics of this story sound more like something Danny would do.

One night early in the semester, we were to watch the silent horror classsic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It was being shown with a silent, 16mm print (that I have since learned was a tad butchered).  Since there was no sound, the professor asked if anybody had any appropriate music handy (this was in the days before the internet, wifi and Spotify).  I remembered that I had a recently-released album by The Stranglers on a home-made cassette in my car. A quick run to the parking lot at Wallace Hall and I retrieved the C-90 with the full album on it.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a very influential 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders. The film features a dark and twisted visual style, with sharp-pointed forms, oblique and curving lines, structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles, and shadows and streaks of light painted directly onto the sets. Some folks consider it a zombie movie, but it really isn’t. It is dripping with style and without this movie, we likely would not have had Nosferatu, Dracula, Frankenstein, Freaks, or any of the other major works of cinematic horror. You can see visual cues swiped from this film in everything from Forbidden Zone to Edward Scissorhands.

It’s an extremely influential film. Even 102 years after its release it served as the inspiration for the second half of this year’s Halloween episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, which featured “Dr. Calimari” and lots of German Expressionism.

Back to our story: With a cassette player set to go, the film was started and, in my memories and other people who were there, it synced up perfectly. Even some of the songs with lyrics fit.

The only problem was that, even in its butchered form, this print of the film ran nearly an hour, but The Strangler’s album, The Gospel According To The Men In Black, only ran about 42 minutes. At the very end of that side of the tape, with three minutes to fill, I’d dropped in a song from Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive album, which did not fit the mood of the movie at all.  A mad dash to the cassette player and a quick rewind, and we had our unexpectedly appropriate music back.

Flash forward to 1990.  Among my many friends made at the Charleston Playhouse was one John Estep (Sham Voodoo to his friends), who had been in both The Defectors and Clownhole, two legendary Charleston bands. We were hanging out one night, talking about horror movies, and Sham brought up Dr. Caligari.  He started telling me about this weird film class he was in that showed it, and that they’d set it to music by The Stranglers. It was at that point that we realized that, even though we first met in 1989, we had been in the same class together at State eight or nine years earlier.

Flash forward again, this time to last Friday. I’d just gotten home from my guest stint with Ann Magnuson on Josh Gaffin’s Afternoon Show on Status Quo, and I had some time to kill before dinner, so I grabbed a copy of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari off of, and pulled up a folder of Stranglers music, and slapped ’em together in my video editing program. This was rendered very quickly and is pretty low-res and blocky, but that sort of adds to the charm.

This is not a perfect recreation of the experience that night in 1981 or 82.  The copy of the film I downloaded was painstakingly restored to its original length, and had color tints added to it to replicate the original film experience. That night so long ago that it lined up with The Stranglers’ album,  it was with a stark black-and-white print, and big chunks of it were missing.  So I supplemented this version with cuts from other Stranglers albums and repeated a few tracks. I also eliminated one song that didn’t work too well.  I’d been planning to do this since probably 2007, when I learned to edit digital video.

While at first blush this may seem a little elaborate and obsessive, I only spent about half an hour on it, so don’t expect a freaking masterpiece. If you haven’t seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari yet, it’s probably not a good idea to make this the first version you watch.  Think of this one as a bizarre fan edit that will only be truly appreciated by one or two living people.

Happy Halloween!

The RFC Flashback: All The Halloween Shows

Above you see a compilation of (almost) every Halloween episode of Radio Free Charleston’s video show, plus a few other holiday-appropriate clips. You can see the episode we left out of this playlist compilation at the bottom of this post. I know we’ve been dribbling these out all month, but here’s the whole shootin’ match in one post.

Tomorrow, PopCult’s Sunday Evening Video will be a very, very special holiday-appropriate video that hasn’t been seen like this anywhere in over 40 years.

And don’t forget, we still have Halloween programming all day Saturday and Sunday and Monday on The AIR!

Rudy On The Radio, Halloween On The AIR and a Little More STUFF TO DO

The PopCulteer
October 28, 2022

Your PopCulteer is going to make his first-ever appearance on WTSQ-88.1 FM (Status Quo to their friends) Friday between Noon and 1 PM. As I write this, I have no idea what I’ll be talking about, but it’s going to be the first time my dulcet tones have gone out over the local radio airwaves since, I think, 2008.It’ll be cool to visit their newish digs at the People’s Building, which has been the subject of Monday Morning Art more than once.

I want to thank Josh Gaffin for the invite, and I expect to have a lot of fun. Unlike on The AIR, I will be watching my mouth and not using the fun words. You can listen in over the air if you’re in their listening area, or at their website, anywhere in the dang world.

Since I wrote that first sentence, I have heard from Josh, and we’ll be talking about Radio Free Charleston and cool stuff happening this weekend.

And that makes a great segue, because one of  the cool things happening this weekend, Saturday in Lewisburg and Sunday afternoon in Charleston, is that Ann Magnuson will be presenting Spooky Songs and Stories with Halloween Sururalism, which I told you about Wednesday, but I’m gonna run the graphic again right here…

…making that an even better segue, Ann is scheduled to be on Status Quo at 1 PM, right after yours truly, so it’s sort of like one-stop shopping, only without the shopping part. Mel and I will be at her show at the WV Music Hall of Fame in the Charleston Town Center Sunday afternoon,  so it all ties together with serendipity and stuff. Plus admission is free Sunday, at least.

Meanwhile, on The AIR

Back in the world of internet radio stations that happen to be part of this blog, PopCult‘s internet radio arm  is going to get an early start on Halloween Friday afternoon on The AIR.  You can hear a lot of Halloween music  on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

In the past I have gone overboard with Halloween video and audio content for PopCult and The AIR and I have no problem warming up those cold dishes this weekend.  With sneak previews all day Friday, and full marathons running from Midnight Friday/Saturday  through Tuesday morning, we’ll be flooding our little internet communications platform with special Halloween programming that includes Scary episodes of Prognosis, Curtain Call, MIRRORBALL, Radio Free Charleston and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat plus some classic radio drama and a three-part special of music inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. Also in the mix, you’ll have multiple chances to hear two different versions of War of The Worlds, plus Oingo Boingo’s Halloween Farewell Concert and tons of other cool spooky and novelty music and comedy.


Wednesday I told you about a whole bunch of cool events happening this weekend, but since then I’ve uncovered graphics for a few more, plus the news that Travis Vandal will be at Taylor Books this Saturday. Check out these other things happening in the Mountain State this weekend…





That is it for this week’s PopCulteer. For some reason I feel like I’m a bit written out this weekend. Still, check back for our regular features, including a special treat on Sunday, plus listen to me on Status Quo Friday afternoon and check out The AIR for spooky fun all weekend.

Mental Health Awareness

This has not been an easy post to write. I wanted to do my part for World Mental Health Awareness Day by telling my personal story. However, World Mental Health Day happened on October 10, and I wasn’t ready yet. And Mental Health Awareness Month isn’t until May, and I didn’t want to wait that long. So think of this as a pre-Halloween Mental Health Awareness bonus, okay?

I am not going to load this post up with PopCult‘s usual flashy graphics, and be warned it’s a long slog to read the whole thing. This has been brewing in my head since July.

I actually would’ve done this years ago, but my story is intertwined with someone else’s, and that person did not choose to be a public figure. I didn’t feel it was fair to tell our story when there was a chance that it might cause her some mental anguish, or worse. Out of respect for her privacy, I will only refer to her by the initial “K.”

Regular readers of PopCult may remember that, over the past summer, I wrote an obituary for my first wife. I mentioned that our marriage was brief and rocky and didn’t end well, and also said that parts of it were not at all pleasant.

This is about the unpleasant parts. I’m not telling this story to villify K. She had her own very real problems. It is my hope that sharing my story might convince someone to get help they need, when they need it. Maybe my story might spare somebody else some pain.

I have to start with my solo story. I was a wiry, rambunctious kid who loved to be the center of attention. Then I started elementary school, and that changed completely. I hated school. I hated being thrust into social situations that were not of my choosing, and I hated having teachers who seemed to single me out for higher expectations.

So I was pretty socially awkward, but I did manage to fit in and hide it pretty well. I had a very small circle of friends in high school, but none of them went to the same college as me, at least not at the same time.

Continue reading

Halloweenery-Type STUFF TO DO

We have a few suggestions for STUFF TO DO in Charleston, and points all over WV for the next few days, which inludes the big Halloween Weekend.  The day itself isn’t until next Monday, but most folks are doing their partying ahead of time.

The big deal for your PopCulteer is happening Sunday (in Charleston) at the WV Music Hall of Fame in The Charleston Town Center. And it gets plugged right here…

That’s a chance to see one of my artistic heroes, Ann Magnuson, in two different corners of the state. Who could pass that up? Looks like the admission, for Charleston at least, is free.

Live Music is back at Taylor Books. There is no cover charge, and shows start at 7:30 PM. Friday the VB4 take the stage. I’m told that this is a shrunk-down version of The Velvet Brothers. While that may mean that there will only be four of them there, there is a remote possibility that the band has been shrunken down to about 18-inches tall by a mad scientist.  Like I said, that probably isn’t the case, but it’d be really cool, just to hear how it changes their pitch.

Tune into The AIR all week to hear Halloween surprises and scary stuff.

Please remember that the pandemic is not over yet. Many people who have very good reasons are still wearing masks, and many of us, understandably, are still nervous about being in crowds, masked or not. Be kind and understanding  while you’re out.

If you’re up for going out, here are a few suggestions for the rest of this week, roughly in order.









Spooky Internet Radio

Your PopCulteer is taking another week off from producing a new episode of Radio Free Charleston. However, the reason is just to make way for part of the special programming all this week on The AIR.  In the past I have gone overboard with Halloween video and audio content for PopCult and The AIR and I have no problem warming up those cold dishes for the next five or six days.

I realize that it’s sort of like spooning out spaghetti into kid’s trick or treat bags, but it’s all I can muster.

On The AIR, Halloween kicked off with last night’s marathon, but you can still tune in at The Website, or on the spooky little embedded player elsewhere on this page. All week long we’ll present Halloween episdoes of our music specialty programs, and all weekend long we’ll toss in concerts, radio dramas, comedy programming and more.

Starting at 7 PM Friday and running until Tuesday morning, we’ll dig back into The AIR Archives for special Halloween programming that includes Scary episodes of Prognosis, Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, Curtain Call, and Radio Free Charleston, plus some classic radio drama and a three-hour special of music inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, plus all sorts of other spooky holiday treats. .

This includes a chance to hear Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds as well as the entire final Halloween concert by Oingo Boingo, from 1995. We’ll sneak in a few other new compilations of Halloween music and radio plays throughout the weekend.

Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM you’ll get to hear an episode of Radio Free Charleston V5 from two years ago.  After a new first hour, the show includes the entire Count Rudolf and Igor episode of Radio Free Charleston International that was ad-libbed under the influence of Benadryl back in 2016.

RFCV5 035

Stacee Lawson Stanley (featuring Molly Lynn Page) “December 28th”
Sierra Ferrell “Jerimiah”
IDKHOW “Nobody Likes The Opening Band”
Cory Wong “Massive”
PUP “Anaphylaxis”
The Bounty “Sleep”
Rockwell’s Ghost “Moleman (Demo)”
Pink Turtle “Baker Street”
Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands “October”
Frank Gorshin “The Riddler”
The Replacements “Alex Chilton”
They Might Be Giants “We’re The Replacements”
Jay Parade “Jay Charade”
Todd Burge “Dear John Blue Skies”
Andy Prieboy “Get Me Out Of Town”
The Empty Hearts “Well Look At You”
Battleship Battleship “Ad Hominem”

RFC Horror Theater Theater International

MX 80 Sound “Theme From Halloween”
The Renfields “Machete A Go Go”
The Big Bad “The Omen”
Snakefinger “The Man In The Dark Sedan”
Blue Oyster Cult “Joan Crawford”
Crack The Sky “Invaders from Mars”
Christopher Walken “The Raven”
Kate Bush “Get Out of My House”
Stephen Merritt “Scream”
The Nanker Phelge “Scream”
The Jasons “Camp Arawhak”
Shaekspear’s Sister “Bad Blood”
The Dickies “Attack Of The Mole Men”
The Aquabats “Fashion Zombie”
Mike Oldfield “Tubular Bells”
Oingo Boingo “Dead Or Alive”
Harrah “Sawney Bean”
Nine Inch Nails “Come Back Haunted”
The Misfits “Horror Business”
The Stranglers “Ghost Train”
The Who “Boris The Spider”

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays all week long. We’ll embed a lo-fi version for you below, so you can listen whenever you want…

Be sure to listen to The AIR all week long for tons of surprise Halloween treats.

Monday Morning Art: Horror Theater

This week’s art is a mixed media piece. I took an old photograph from the 2009 RFC Halloween speical (which I just reposted here Saturday), printed out a faint copy, then painted over it with watercolors. It was a bit of a cheat, but that was the best my fingers could do this weekend. You see Kitty Killton, Liz McCormick and Brian Young joining yours truly in his Count Rudolf guise.

Gotta stick with this month’s theme, y’know.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a classic episode of Psychedelic Shack, and then at 3 PM a Halloween edition of Herman Linte’s weekly showcase of the Progressive Rock of the past half-century, Prognosis.  You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on the embedded radio player elsewhere on this page.

On Psychedelic Shack, Nigel Pye offers up an hour-long mixtape of Psychedelic Music that, on this show,  kicks off with the appropriately spooky, 13th Floor Elevators.

Psychedelic Shack can be heard every Monday at 2 PM, with replays Tuesday at 9 AM, Wednesday at 10 PM, Friday at 1 PM,  and Saturday at 9 AM.

On a classic Prognosis, Herman Linte presents Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds, to get you ready for our week of Halloween programming, which is likely to all be classics from previous years because the Haversham folks are a bit busy at the moment, and yours truly is working on other projects. Tomorrow we’ll be playing an encore of Radio Free Charleston that includes the Count Rudolf and Igor episode of Radio Free Charleston International.

You can hear Prognosis on The AIR Monday at 3 PM, with replays Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 10 AM. You can hear two classic episodes of the show Sunday at 2 PM.

Tonight at 8 PM you can hear an hour of classic hits from Dr. Demento on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll likely have a rerun this week because we’ve done over thirty in a row this year.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of our special Halloween programming, which kicks off with Oingo Boingo’s Halloween Farewell concert from  1995. Youll also hear novelty songs, radio dramas and Halloween-themed editions of our music specialty shows.

Sunday Evening Video: The Monster Club

We first brought you this lost classic and extremely fun monster movie seven years ago in Sunday Evening Video, but that version of the video has been taken private and is no longer available. However, it has been re-uploaded to YouTube by the Creatures Features crew with additional horror host segments that make it even more fun that it was originally.

Thanks to Creature Features, we get to enjoy Vincent and Tangella as they watch Vincent Price star in “The Monster Club” from 1981, which offers up just the right mix of scary and goofy.

Actually, it’s way more goofy than scary, but The Monster Club is still loads of fun, with Price singing, plus appearances by John Carradine, Donald Pleasence and Britt Ekland, Is undeservedly obscure. It’s basically a horror anthology with a monster’s party as the framing device for three short horror tales.

A trivia note: This film was the only time that Vincent Price played a vampire in a full-length movie. Bonus obscurity is that the music in the film is provided by The Pretty Things and a pre-fame UB40 among others.

The RFC Flashback: Episodes 54, 55, 55.5 and 64

Yeah, there’s a bunch of ’em this week. Above you see Radio Free Charleston episodes 54 and 55, which were our two-part Halloween special in 2008.

Radio Free Charleston Horror Theater was an ambitious attempt at recreating the cheesy horror movie-host vibe, only with short films and music videos instead of actual movies. Host segments were shot at the late, lamented LiveMix Studio. We had lots of great folks on hand with the host segments and some terrific musical guests as well.

Part one of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON HORROR THEATER features music from Doctor Senator and The Hellblinki Sextet, plus a short film about Jack The Ripper, vintage animation from Wladislaw Starewicz, excerpts from a film by Spike Nesmith, and loads and loads of extra-creepy-coolness.

Part Two of RADIO FREE CHARLESTON HORROR THEATER continues our tribute to old-time-TV horror movie hosts. We’ve got music videos from Under The Radar and Go Van Gogh, a short ghost film by Rich Allen, scary-freaky animation from Wladislaw Starewicz, plus a studio full of Zombies. You can find combined production notes HERE.

This remastered version combines them both into one 37-minute show. The sequel episode from the following April Fool’s Day can be seen right here…

For the production notes for this episode, which originally ran on April Fool’s Day the following year, go HERE.

As a bonus, we also have episode 55,5, which was guerilla filmmaking at its finest. The entire episode was shot, edited and posted in record time. You can read about it HERE.




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