Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Random Time Again

78coverThe PopCulteer
April 30, 2010

It’s In The Trees!

We’re in the middle of a very busy time here at PopCult. Episode 99 of Radio Free Charleston will go live early next week, and we’re working overtime to make our one-hundredth episode something really special. We’ve been recording bands, introducing new hardware and personnel to the production team and we’ve got all sorts of really cool special treats and events in the works for this summer.

And if you think that means that I’m just going to slack off and crank out another “15 Random Items” PopCulteer, maybe focusing on toys, comics, animation and stuff around town……then you’re absolutely right!

So…on with the randomness!

1) Non Existant Toys

1978pages1978 Reimagined” is a production of MEGO Museum, a website dedicated to the top action figure company of the 1970s.  MEGO was the company that made those cool 8-inch figures of Super Heroes and popular TV and movie characters like Planet Of The Apes and CHiPS.

This is a realization of what might have been in 1978 if the MEGO Toy Company had secured some key licenses to make toys they never made. In other words—it’s a fake toy catalog, filled with really cool customized action figures.

And those figures are incredible litte works of art.  People pour hours of effort in sculpting, sewing and painting to create idealized versions of what would have been the coolest toys in the world. Much of the work on display here is by one of the modern masters of action-figure customizing, David McCormick, but there are also contributions from over a dozen of the top customizers in the hobby.

The first couple of pages are devoted to Star Wars. MEGO never actually made Star Wars toys–their failure to nab the license for that property is largely considered to be the main reason that MEGO went from being the top action figure company in the world to being out of business just a few years later.

Among the contributors to this nifty project is none other than Lee Harrah, the lead singer for both WATT 4 and HARRAH. Lee is represented by his “TV Hulk” two-figure set, with a Lou Ferrigno Hulk and Bill Bixby David Banner. What’s really cool is that I got to hold those figures in my hands just days before I recieved this catalog, when Mel and I visited Lee at his home-based Hulk Shrine. You can see Lee below, singing “Proud Mary” with WATT 4. And you can order “1978 Reimagined” right here.

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2) Gypsy


The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents “Gypsy” the Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim classic about Gypsy Rose Lee and her stage mother beginning next Friday at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater. The full details are in the graphic above.  Of note to regular PopCult readers is the role of Gypsy’s sister, June, which is being played by Micah Atkinson, who was just seen on Radio Free Charleston episode 96 as Juliet, in “Romeo and Juliet: A Rock Opera.”

3) A Nice Gesture

Twenty years ago, when The Gazette ran a profile piece on me and the radio version of Radio Free Charleston, I was pleasantly surprised when noted Charleston Eye Doctor, Dr. Richard Rashid, took the time to cut out the article and send it to me with a nice little note. I was really impressed that this very busy man, who had seen me as a patient once in 1978, would bother to do such a nice thing.

When I got a bulging envelope in the mail last week, containing my recent “Innerview” by Sandy Wells, I was shocked that twenty years on, Dr. Rashid did it again. My hat’s off to him, as I am humbly gratified. I hope I have that much grace and class someday.

4) Eva Elution

They’re one of the top new bands in town. We’ve had them on RFC 95 and they will be back as part of our epic 100th episode. You can catch them in person Sunday night at The Empty Glass, opening for New York’s Sad Red. The show starts at 9:30, with a three-dollar cover.

5) Adventure Gear

Img_9755Sometimes I get swamped under so much work and fun that I forget to acknowledge something really cool and deserving. A few months ago, my friend Tom Calhoun sent me some really cool Adventure Team GI Joe outfits from his company, Adventure Gear. I was really happy when the package arrived, but then the bank of computers at Stately Radio Free Charleston Manor started to suffer glitch after glitch, and I didn’t get a chance to thank Tom.

So I’m going to do that publicly now.

Above right,  you can see just one of the cool Adventure Gear winter sets that Tom sent me. These are of an astoundingly high quality, with expert tailoring, great sewing and lots of nice little details like working drawstrings and metal snaps. In the photo you see one of the outfits, modeled by one of the GI Joe Club membership figures. You can check out Tom’s vast GIJoe Adventure Team archives and get the occasional chance to snap up some of his very cool custom outfits at The Adventure Gear Facebook Page.

6) Hellblinki

The Hellblinki Sextet was in town last week. We recorded them for RFC, and our new cameraman, Steve Adams, got to take them home with him. You can read about that here, and check out three more photos of Andrew, Val and JonPaul below.




7) Blues Benefit at Tomahawks

There will be a huge benefit for the families of the victims of the Montcoal Mining massacre Saturday at Tomahawks. For full details, check out this link.

8 ) The New Adventures Of Mighty Mouse

Img_9757The 1987-88 Saturday morning cartoon that saw Ralph Bakshi return to his Terrytoon roots with a revival of Mighty Mouse is now available on DVD. This series was ground zero for the animation resurgence that we saw in the 1990s.

Among the talents who worked on this show were John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy), Andrew Stanton (Pixar), Brue Timm (Batman and the DC Comics animation shows), Jim Reardon (The Simpsons), Rich Moore (Futurama) and many others.

Now you can buy the complete series and get bonus commentaries from most of the above animators. You’ll also get a neat documentary about the production of the show. How can you pass it up?

9) Ellie Schaul at The Art Store

Ellie Schaul has an exhibit opening at The Art Store, and The Daily Mail did a nice preview/profile here.


Not to be outdone, the Gazette has a better rundown of this weekend’s West Virginia International Film Festival than you can find at the WVIFF’s own website. Check it out here.

11) Free Comic Book Day

Bill Lynch has a nice write-up of the local observance of Free Comic Book Day (Saturday) here.

12) Toxic Soup

This very important documentary will be shown for the first time at West Virginia State University on Saturday. You can find the full details here.

13) New DEVO

Let DEVO know what you think of this new song.

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14) Radio Free Charleston Update

RFC 99, with Highway Jones, OVADA and Harrah will go live next week. You’ll get a double dose of Murfmeef this time, with a short film and the music video for OVADA on display. You’ll also get to see the RFC debut of our new camera, the Kodak Zi8, which I’ve been putting to very good use since I picked it up a week and a half ago.

Work is also apace on RFC 100, which will include music from The Hellblinki Sextet, Jeff Ellis, Eva Elution, The Nanker Phelge and David Synn. We’re working on a special location for the host segments, and there may be a Vegas showgirl involved.

15) Stark Charleston Preview

The music by David Synn for RFC 100 will be the soundtrack for “Stark Charleston,” my animated surrealistic tour of the city. I’ll leave you this week with three more preview images from this project.




See you next week!

1 Comment

  1. Steve Beckner

    I was all over the Mighty Mouse set when it came out. I’ve been carting around old VHS tapes for years with a couple of episodes. The Bat Bat episode is comedy genius! “Quick, bug wonder! To the Manmobile!”

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