Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Author: Rudy Panucci (Page 1 of 577)

Monday Morning Art: Stegadon


This week’s art is a small pencil sketch, created by yours truly while struggling through a nasty summer of Myasthenia Gravis, but armed with my trusty Blackwing Palamino pencil and some textured paper. It’s a drawing, done using photo reference of the Stegadon skeleton at the The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, which I told you about last week.

I’d planned to do this as a 20-minute timed drawing, but it was working out better than expected, so I kept going until my hands cramped up sometime after the one-hour mark. I cleaned up some smudges after scanning.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we re-present the first two episodes of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by the first 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.

Last Friday was the sixth anniversary of The AIR, and Herman Linte and Nigel Pye both offered to do special episodes to commemorate that, but when I realized we’d be dropping those episodes on a holiday when hardly anybody reads PopCult or listens to The AIR, I told them to just give me normal shows for next week, and we’d revisit their origins this week.  From 7 AM to 11 AM Monday we’ll bring the first episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, followed the latest episode, where Sydney Fileen revisits the artist line-up from her first show.

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. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

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 hilarious novelty tunes from the archives of Dr. Demento on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of the reamaing episodes of our series-within-a-series, as Beatles Blast brings you The Lost Beatles Project episodes of Beatles Blast.

Sunday Evening Video: Ersatz

Tonight we bring you an animated short from 1961, known in America as Ersatz.  I first saw this nearly 60 years ago on an network television special that compiled recent OSCAR-winning shorts like this film and Moonbird by John and Faith Hubley and some work by The National Film Board of Canada.

It might be reasonable to assume that seeing this cartoon at an extremely young age shaped my view of the world and my healthy sense of absurdity.  Even today I can be heard muttering “De da DEE da dah dah” while shuffling around the house.

Ersatz (known in its original language as “Surogat”) was the first film produced outside the USA to win an Oscar for animated short subject. It was producedby Zagreb Film, then in Yoguslavia, by Croatian director Dušan Vukotić.  Tonight we take you to the inflatable world of Ersatz, one of the most influential animated shorts of all time.

The RFC Flashback: Episode 110

RFC 110 "FestivAll 2010 part seven" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

This week we go back to a September, 2010 episode of our video incarnation of Radio Free Charleston that was a bit of a minor flashback itself.  The previous June, I had worked myself nearly to death cranking out six episodes of the show devoted to 2010’s FestivAll. After that I got overwhelmed by caregiver duties for my uncle, and only produced two editions of the show over the next 9 weeks. I was so tied up with other things that I wasn’t able to go out and record any fresh material.

However, I discovered that I had a wealth of leftover material from FestivAll that I wasn’t able to shoehorn into that summer’s six-episode run. In addition, I had outtakes and alternate takes of my host segments, so I was able to construct an entire episode simply by using video and audio that I already had in the archives. This is of note because I’m planning for this year’s video episode of our show to primarily feature previously-unseen performances from the vast RFC archives. So consider this a head’s up that it’s been done before.

This show brings you more music from Brian Diller and The Velvet Gypsies, plus extra music from Craig D’Andrea and Ron Sowell, and footage of the balloon sculptures at The Charleston Town Center. It’s sort of a case of re-cooking leftovers so that they taste as good or better than the original meal.

Six Years Of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat On The AIR

The PopCulteer
July 1, 2022

This week we have a momentous episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, which celebrates its sixth anniversary as part of The AIR on July 1. You’ll get a unique birthday celebration Friday afternoon on The AIR.  The AIR is PopCult’s sister radio station and also officially turns six years old today, even though its roots reach back more than a couple of years before that.  You can hear this anniversary show on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player found elsewhere on this page.

At 2 PM, we have an encore episode of Mel Larch’s DISCO showcase, MIRRORBALL! Mel will return with a new episode next week. You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at  9 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM  exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM, on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, Sydney Fileen reaches back to her very first episode, and replicates the line-up of New Wave artists from her debut program, but she replaces every song with another by the same artist.

It’s a very clever way for Sydney to revisit her first episode without just repeating it. As for repeating it, Friday night at 8 PM you can tune in for a special airing of the very first episode of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, followed immediately by an encore of Friday’s new episode, so you can compare them, back to back.

I was really impressed with the concept, and thought it was a great way to mark six years of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Check out this new playlist, based on the artists from the first episode…

Big Electric Cat 093

M “Neutron”
Bow Wow Wow “Mile High Club”
The Humans “Pipeline”
The Fixx “Stand Or Fall”
Adam Ant “Dog Eat Dog”
Kim Wilde “2-6-5-8-0”
The Buggles “I Love You Miss Robot”
The Human League “The Lebanon”
Romeo Void “A Girl In Trouble”
Split Enz “Shark Attack”
Yazoo “Situation”
Pete Shelley “Telephone Operator”
The Waitresses “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful”
Elvis Costello “Secondary Modern”
Ultravox “The Ascent”
Depeche Mode “Wrong”
XTC “Meccanic Dancing”
Martha and the Muffins “This Is The Ice Age”
Missing Persons “Hello I Love You”
Trio “Hearts Are Trump”
Wall of Voodoo “Two Minutes To Lunch”
The Go Gos “We Got The Beat”
Animotion “Let Him Go”
Gary Numan “I Nearly Married A Human”
Orchestral Manuevers In The Dark “The Punishment of Luxury”
The Beat “Rough Rider”
ABC “4 Ever 2 Gether”
Heaven 17 “Who’ll Stop The Rain”
Thompson Twins “No Peace For The Wicked”

At 8PM Friday, tune in for a rebroadcast of the first edition of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, from six years ago, and for the sake of comparison, here is the playlist for that program…

Big Electric Cat 001

M “Pop Musik”
Bow Wow Wow “I Want Candy”
The Humans “I Live In The City”
The Fixx “Red Skies”
Adam Ant “Desperate But Not Serious”
Kim Wilde “Kids In America”
The Buggles “Clean Clean”
The Human League “Don’t You Want Me”
Romeo Void “Never Say Never”
Split Enz “How Can I Resist Her”
Yazoo “Don’t Go”
Pete Shelley “Homosapien”
The Waitresses “I Know What Boys Like”
Elvis Costello “Green Shirt”
Ultravox “The Thin Wall”
Depeche Mode “Just Can’t Get Enough”
XTC “Generals and Majors”
Martha and the Muffins “Echo Beach”
Missing Persons “Destination Unknown”
Trio “Da Da Da”
Wall of Voodoo “Mexican Radio”
The Go Gos “Vacation”
Animotion “Obsession”
Gary Numan “Are Friends Electric”
Orchestral Manuevers In The Dark “Enola Gay”
The Beat “Save It For Later”
ABC “Poison Arrow”
Heaven 17 “We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing”
Thompson Twins “Doctor Doctor”

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content and loads of or regular features.

Bunking In The Caboose At Kruger Street

While we were at the Marx Toy Convention in Wheeling the weekend before last, we found out about a cool new feature at the The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum.  Lodgers can now rent the Yellow Caboose they have on the grounds for an overnight stay.

The Caboose can accomodate four adults and one child, and can be rented for $200 a night. Guests have full access to the museum, and can cross the parking lot for a additional accomodations, including a bathroom, shower and lounge.

Designed to be a unique lodging experience for a family or small group, the air-conditioned Caboose offers the experience of sleeping like the overnight train crews did back in the day. The Caboose itself has four full-sized bunks, an eating area, and two seats you can climb up to so you can look out of the windows of the cupola.

Themed bedding is available, and this could make for a special experience for a die-hard train buff.

To find out more about how you could book a night in the Caboose, message them through their Facebook page, or call them at (304) 242-8133.

We snuck in to grab a few photos while they were getting it ready for a visit.

The familiar site to visitors of the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum is now a fun place to spend a night or two.

Though small, it’s not cramped, and the inside is filled with cool railroad memorabilia.

One of the comfy bunks in the process of being made.

You can climb up in the cupola to relax and look around.

Cool vintage lanterns and photos are everywhere.

Guests have their choice of themed bedding.

A nice dining area can be converted into a child-sized extra bunk.

An antique stove completes the authentic railroad vibe.

We take one last look inside the cozy cabin on steel wheels and rails.

Fiesta Frenzy In Newell, WV

We had a bit of a plate party during our trip North the week before last. I’m not talking about a presidential tantrum or anything like that. Your PopCulteer and his lovely wife, Mel Larch, diverted from our trip to The Marx Toy Convention to head even further North to the site of the former Homer Laughlin China Company in Newell. Now renamed “The Fiesta Tableware Company,” this is were they make FiestaWare, the beloved, colorful household china that delights collectors and people with enlightened tastes worldwide.

On the grounds of the Homer Laughlin factory complex we found the legendary Fiesta Tableware Company Factory Outlet Store. This is much like the store in Flatwoods, only about five or six times the size, with a gigantic “seconds” room filled with mildly-imperfect bargain pieces.

As we discovered, there is a second “seconds” room filled with mildly imperfect Hall restaurant china, as well.

We got lots of cool stuff for the house, and I took loads of photos, as did Mel. We took so many photos that you will get a second photo essay of FiestaWare next week. I’m still dealing with some blogging issues that are limiting the amount of pictures I can include in one post, so this week, all the photos, save one, are by me. Next week most of them will be by Mel.

Tomorrow the plan is to wrap up most of our photo essays with one devoted to a unique lodging experience and another filled with random leftover shots, but remember that we still have another look at the FiestaWare Outlet Store up our sleeve.

Now, let’s go into a Fiesta frenzy…

The promised land…

The first thing that caught my eye was the new Sugar Skull plates, now with the design on their “Twilight” color.

Cool stuff along one side of the main store.

Cool stuff along the opposite wall, maybe a hundred feet away.

I regret that I didn’t get more in-focuse photos of the middle of the store.

This way to the main reason for the trip…

Thousands of plates, mugs, baking dishes and everything else they make, with mild imperfections at a fraction of the regular price.

The cool thing about buying factory seconds is that you don’t feel awful if they get a knick or scratch from everyday use. And these plates are perfect for everyday use because they’re built like tanks.

A quick look at the price board. Not everything on the board was in the room, but most of it was.

They even had overstock of some colors of their perfect pieces for sale.

And we leave you with a look at the main store, as seen leaving the seconds room. You’ll get another photo essay from here next week, with all-different images.

The Marx Toy Museum Sale 2022

The Marx Toy Convention happened the third weekend of June this year at The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum in Wheeling, West Virginia. I’ve already shown you photos and video from the convention, and yesterday I brought you images from our side trip to The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville.

Today we’re going to show you some of the Friday-night fun from Francis Turner’s Brigadoon-like Marx Toy Museum, also in Moundsville, which only opens one or two nights a year since it ceased daily operation six years ago. Francis puts out select toys from the museum for sale and collectors from all over North America get to share in the bounty of Francis’ collecting journey.

The day’s hot weather and our long day of Marx Toy festivities caught up with me, so we ducked out after about half an hour, but it was great to see Francis again and visit his incredible collection. And I did get a few good images to share. We’re still limited to a dozen or so photos a day, so we’ll bring you a few more from this Museum Thursday in PopCult.

But we have some great images today, so let’s look at ’em…

Die-hard collectors check out what was the Johnny West area of the museum.

Checking out the Knights and Vikings.

More collectors checking out the treasures.

Lot’s of cool artifacts, including a photo of Francis with The American Pickers.

If my house wasn’t full, I might’ve bought this Stony Smith Jeep.

Concept sketch and designs for The Big Wheel.

Cool toys everywhere you look.

Some of the Marx-Hanna Barbera collaborations.

Checking out more Marx action figures.

And more spectacular playsets!

One last glance at the Marx Toy Museum before we had to cut out.

Tomorrow we’re going to take a side trip to a FiestaWare paradise, and then we’ll wrap up with a couple more photo essays on  Thursday.

The Last RFC Before July Debuts Tuesday On The AIR!

Tuesday on The AIR  it’s Radio Free Charleston time, and just like too many recent weeks, it’s time for yet another one-third-new, three-hour  episode of Radio Free Charleston. You simply have to point your cursor over and tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to the cool embedded player overfound elsewhere on this page.

Yes, it’s one more hybrid edition of Radio Free Charleston at 10 AM and 10 PM Tuesday.   This week we open with a full hour of  local and independent music, and then we hit you with two hours of classic Radio Free Charleston International from early 2018.  Between MG, stormy weather, outside assignents and catching up on all the photos and videos from our recent Marx Toy Convention trip, there just wasn’t enough time to lay down three full hours of new radio this week.

It’s still a killer show as our first hour, opens with great new music from Beckley’s Bottle and Bride. You’ll also hear cool music from Chicago’s The Alright Maybes, local legend Brian Diller & The Ride and Corduroy Brown. We also have a new music from Julian Lennon, Adrian Belew,  Reginia Spektor, plus some classic tracks and a remixed and remastered Redd Kross track that sounds new, even though it was first released 35 years ago.

The second and third hours of our show re-present a mixtape edition of Radio Free Charleston International from 2018, when yours truly really wanted to see how weird he could get.

Check out the playlist below to see all the goodies we have in store (live links will take you to the artist’s pages where possible)…

RFCv5 093

hour one
Bottle and Bride “A Call To The Sea”
The Alright Maybes “Gone”
Corduroy Brown “Lookin’ Over My Shoulder”
Adrian Belew “The Saturday Morning Roar”
Jim Lange “Offering (guitar solo with improvisation)”
Hello June “Time”
Brian Diller & The Ride “No. 15”
Redd Kross “McKenzie”
The Settlement“Enter Mission”
Regina Spektor “Spacetime Fairytale”
Static Fur “Take My Ashes”
Julian Lennon “Save Me”
The BrotherSisters “Find The Cost of Freedom”

hour two
DEVO “Don’t Shoot (I’m A Man) Polysics Remix”
New Model Army “Did You Make It Safe”
No Doubt “Total Hate 95”
Wings “Spin It On”
ELP “Are You Ready Eddie”
Emmy Lou and The Rhythm boys “Bip Bop Boom”
ELO “Easy Money”
Kent Ford and the Hep Jump Stompers “Rockabilly Queen”
Madness “Drip Fed Fred”
Led Zepplin “Rock and Roll”
Kate Bush “Violin”
Roger Daltry “Free Me”
Split Enz “What’s The Matter With You”
Oingo Boingo “Who Do You Want To Be Today”
The Plasmatics “Living Dead”
Adam Ant “Charge of the Heavy Brigade”
Mike Peters “This Is War”

hour three
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes “The Harder They Come”
Pete Townsend “Squeezebox”
Regina Spektor “Oh Marcello”
Agent Orange “Say It Isn’t True”
PM “You’ve Got Me Rockin'”
The Dickies “If Stuart Could Talk (live)”
Franz Ferdinand and Sparks “Piss Off”
Hazel O’Connor “Not For You”
Goldfinger ‘I’m Down”
Marcella Detroit “Cool People”
The Warner Brothers “Hey Mama”
Hasil Adkins “She Said”
Joe Jackson “Someone Up There”
Neil Young “Wonderin'”
Mel C “Yeh, Yeh, Yeh”
Motorhead “Ace of Spades (alternate take)”
Nirvana “Turn Around”

You can hear this episode of Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM on The AIR, with replays Wednesday at 9 AM,  Thursday at 3 PM, Friday at 9 AM, Saturday at Noon and Midnight,  and  Monday at 11 AM, exclusively on The AIR. Now you can also hear a different episode of RFC every weekday at 5 PM, and we bring you a marathon all night long Saturday night/Sunday morning.

I’m also going to  embed a low-fi, mono version of this show right in this post, right here so you can listen on demand.


After RFC, stick around for encores of MIRRORBALL at 1 PM, and Ska Madness at 2 PM. At 3 PM we have two recent episodes of The Swing Shift.

The Stegadon In The Room

Part of our trip to the Marx Toy Convention about ten days ago involved going to The Mound Museum in Moundsville for a book signing. You can see some video of that HERE, and you’ll be getting a review of that book sometime in the next week or so.

Mel and I had never been inside the Mound Museum before, and I was focused on shooting video and getting set to up to record a talk by the authors and some former employees of the Marx Toy Factory (sadly that video was not usable), and I was in the big room where the book signing took place for close to half an hour before I realized that, on the way to the book signing, I had walked right past a 30-foot long, 13-foot-high cast of a skeleton of a Stegadon, a large prehistoric elephantine beast related to the Mastodon and Wooly Mammoth.

You see, it turns out that what everybody calls “The Mound Museum” is actually The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex and it’s usually unjustly overlooked, being next to the world’s largest burial mound, and across the street from the gigantic Medievel-looking former Federal Penetentiary.  We’d gne right past this place for years and I had no idea that the bones of prehistoric critters of massive propertions were on display within.

When I finally saw it, it was a “Wait, What?” moment.  I grabbed a few photos and Mel found a FiestaWare display, and we decided that we’re going to have to make another visit just to see this cool museum (which also has large displays for Marx Toys and Marble King and other stuff) and explore it further, because this is really just a small part of what they have.

Aside from the Stegadon that snuck up on me, it was a revelation to see how small the Dimetradon was by comparison. Every toy Dimetradon I had as a kid was woefully out of scale with my other toy dinosaurs. I feel disillusioned. Next thing you know they’ll tell us that Dimetradons weren’t really even dinosaurs at all.

Anyway, today’s mini-photo essay is just a taste of The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. Enjoy…

Sometimes when you’re laser-focused on shooting video, you miss the little things like this fella.

The Dimetradon is not quite as fearsome when you realize it’s about the size of a monitor lizard. My toys made it seem like they were 20 feet long.

Informative signs explain that The Stegadon is not a Wooly Mammoth. Also, it’s on loan from a couple in Fairmont, who evidently had one to spare.

Heavy Metal fans gathered around this exhibit of prehistoric skulls.

More elephantine ancestor artifacts on display, including a tusk, which may have come from Alabama.

Of course Mel wandered off and found the FiestaWare display. So I swiped this and the next two photos from her.

Man, that suff’s colorful.

Think of Mel’s photos as a harbinger of a mini-photo-essay to come.

We leave you with one more look at the Stegadon skeleton cast. Notice how the Dimetradon looks like a frightened housecat in the presence of this mighty beast. He’s lucky that he doesn’t get stomped on as the Stegadon yells, “Damn You! Your toys are all lies!”

Tuesday our next Mini-photo-essay will look at Francis Turner’s Marx Toy Museum, which opens once a year for a special sale.

Monday Morning Art: One Way


This week’s art is small painting, done with thick acrylic paint on a cheap canvas board.  This is another where I used a few plastic forks and knives, but I also used a lot of straight-edge and laid down pencils before painting. It’s a random city scene, with no real point of reference, since it’s not based on anything specific. I just wanted to see if I could toss together random elements and make it seem real.

This one had to be photographed, rather than scanned, and it was cropped a bit afterward.

To see it bigger try clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, Monday at 2 PM on The AIR, we bring you a recent episode of  Psychedelic Shack, followed at 3 PM by a recent 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.

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. Classic episodes can be heard Sunday at 9 AM as part of our Sunday Haversham Recording Institute collection.

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 hilarious and vile comedy from Derek and Clive (also known as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) on The Comedy Vault. Wednesday evening at 10 PM, we’ll have another new episode of The Comedy Vault.

Then, at 9 PM we bring you an overnight marathon of The Lost Beatles Project episodes of Beatles Blast. Next week will bring you the rest of this series-within-a-series.

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