Today we’re going back to last year’s Gift Guide to re-recommend three cool books that would still make great gift ideas.
For the next two Saturdays The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide will revisit picks from previous years so that you don’t have to scroll back through eighteen years worth of Gift Guide looking for cool ideas for your holiday shopping.
The three books today are all firmly entrenched in pop culture, but aside from that, they have little to do with one another.
One book is about toys, another about The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, while the third is devoted to the making of Shudder’s Creepshow series.
All three are great books, and they make great gifts.
Tomorrow The 2024 PopCult Gift Guide will spotlight retailers, so you can find all sorts of cool gift ideas, instead of just the ones I’m including here.
Anyone interested in toy manufacturing, Northern West Virginia history or post-war industrial America should seek out Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale. It’s a great gift for folks who are curious about any of those topics.
Gary Rider and Roseanna Dakan Keller have crafted an exhaustive history of the Marx Toys Glen Dale, West Virginia plant, pre-dating Marx toys and going all the way to the days of the Marx Toy Museum. They do this by weaving deep research with a stirring oral history provided by dozens of Marx Factory employees and their families. The book is also generously illustrated with photos and images from the factory.
Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is a fascinating look at how toys were made in the days before OSHA, before outsourcing to other countries, and before Marx Toys themselves shut down operations. We learn how life was for an every day worker at the factory, including some downright frightening tales of dangerous incidents at the plant and the aftermath of chemical exposure. However, the overwhelming aura of this book is that of a fond rememberance of a factory that provided employment for hundreds, if not thousands of households in the Glen Dale/Moundsville area for decades.
The book winds up with a profile of Francis Turner and a history of The Marx Toy Museum, which is one of my favorite places in the world. It follows the opening of the museum, the closing and even the visit by American Pickers a few years ago. I think Francis deserves a book of his own someday, but this is a great start and taught me a lot of new facts about my friend.
While Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale is obviously a must-have book for any fan or collector of Marx Toys, it will also appeal to anybody who would like a well-crafted story about a small factory town and the people who lived there.
You can order Memories of Marx Toys: Glen Dale from Amazon in Hardback or Paperback editions. Be advised that the hardcover edition will take four-to-six weeks to ship, even from Amazon. You might also be able to order it from your local bookseller using the ISBN number above.
It’s All in the Mind : Inside the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Vol. 2
by Robert R Hieronimus and Laura E Cortner
Hieronimus & Co., Inc.
$32.49 Available from the author
Over twenty years ago I discovered the most comprehensive book ever about the making of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Now the author has returned with a new volume loaded with more insider stories on how favorite scenes were made, on-set hijinks, the Swinging 60s. Why the Yellow Submarine makes us feel so GOOD, interpretation of symbolism and the subconscious. Full-color, 203 illustrations.
This new book details the merry and wildly creative tribe who produced The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, the ground-breaking, one-of-a-kind visual adventure, first released in 1968. Get to know the formerly undiscovered artists and the technical wizardry behind your favorite scenes. Discover symbolic interpretations and subconscious messages of peace and love, plus in-studio hijinks by frustrated animators that were hidden in the movie.
How does Yellow Submarine inspire such wonderful feelings of peace and love? This book lifts the veil of the animation screen to see behind The Beatles and detail that one magical year, during the Summer of Love in Swinging London, when a band of young artist-fans fell into the groove and brought their heroes to animated life. Part two of the internationally acclaimed Inside the Yellow Submarine: The Making of the Beatles Animated Classic by Dr. Robert R. Hieronimus and Laura E. Cortner.
This is, of course, the perfect gift for any Beatles fan or anybody interested in Yellow Submarine. You can order the deluxe paperback from the author, or other booksellers, but be warned that the version on Amazon is a cheaper printing, with no color graphics.
Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream
by Dennis L. Prince
ISBN-13 : 978-1803363066
Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream is the official behind-the-scenes book featuring the spine-tingling stories and tantalizing talent behind the Creepshow series. This is the inside look at Greg Nicotero’s television continuation of Stephen King and George Romero’s Creepshow franchise.
Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream, produced by AMC Networks Publishing and Creepshow showrunner and executive producer Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), is a coffee-table book which brings fans behind-the-scenes of the acclaimed Creepshow series with deep dives into its riveting origins, gripping development, provocative production, sinister special effects, and much more.
The book features a foreword by legendary storyteller and Creepshow co-creator, Stephen King, and an afterword by horror aficionado Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s lead guitarist. Based on the hit anthology series from Nicotero, Cartel Entertainment, Striker Entertainment, and in partnership with Titan Books, the book is written by Dennis L. Prince, designed by John J. Hill, and co-produced by Julia Hobgood.
The series has been heralded as “an irresistibly macabre package,” (Slant Magazine) and “an undeniable love letter to all generations of horror fans,” (CBR), and over three seasons, has been one of the most watched programs on Shudder.
Shudder’s Creepshow: From Script to Scream is the perfect gift for any fan of the show, or for folks who have an interest in horror filmmaking. Available discounted from Amazon or at full price from any bookseller, using the ISBN code.