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A gallery of the paintings from Rod Serling’s ‘Night Gallery’
06:21 am


Rod Serling
Twilight Zone
Night Gallery

“Something in the Woodwork”—click image for larger version
When it comes to innovators who have managed to push the medium of television to its absolute limits, the name Rod Serling has to top the list. In his groundbreaking series The Twilight Zone, he used his own original stories (as well as adaptations of works by some of the most imaginative writers in history) to teach simple moral truths by wrapping them up and disguising them in the various cloaks of fantasy, science fiction and horror. You might think you were merely watching a science fiction story, when, in fact, Rod Serling was busy teaching you how to be a more decent human being. The disguise made the truths somehow more interesting and easy to digest, but make no mistake, The Twilight Zone was teaching important lessons about topics as diverse as war, racism, xenophobia, and even standards of beauty.

Night Gallery, Rod Serling’s follow up to the highly successful Twilight Zone series, only lasted for three seasons before imploding under the pressure of internal conflicts. It seems that in a complete lapse of sanity, Jack Laird, the show’s producer, forgot a fundamental maxim of making great television: allow Rod Serling to do whatever he wants to do. Nevertheless, the show managed to squeak out a run on NBC from 1970-72.

The premise of Night Gallery centered around Serling as the curator of a Museum of the Macabre, and he would introduce the shows various segments with a piece of art that represented the basic story on canvas. These stories still mined the areas of fantasy, science fiction and horror which Serling knew so well—again utilizing his own original teleplays as well as adapting works by such writers as H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and Robert A. Heinlein for the small screen—but at an hour’s running time, the show could present multiple segments, some of the more whimsical segments clocking in at under five minutes.

Unfortunately, the show was severely butchered for syndication. It was trimmed down from an hour to a mere thirty minutes, and many of the original segments suffered as a result. Longer pieces had to be edited down to fit, and shorter pieces had to be expanded to fill time. Also, the syndication package damaged the Night Gallery franchise further by coupling the original Night Gallery segments with an inferior show starring Gary Collins called The Sixth Sense and presenting them under the Night Gallery banner. Rest assured; they are not even close to being Night Gallery episodes. The Sixth Sense, too, was originally an hour in length, but it featured a single storyline each week. Editing these awful hour-long shows down to thirty minutes proved to be an example of how presenting less of something horrible can sometimes result in something even worse. Many episodes became downright incoherent.

The three works of art used in the pilot episode of Night Gallery were painted by Jaroslav “Jerry” Gebr, who was later brought back to paint the works used to introduce the episodes of The Sixth Sense that were combined with Night Gallery in syndication. The rest of the paintings for the Night Gallery series proper were done by Tom Wright, who currently works as a TV director (The X-Files, Millennium, The Wire, NCIS).

After Night Gallery was cancelled, many of the artworks used to introduce the stories were either altered for use in other productions, or sold by Universal Studios. Most of them remain in private hands, but occasionally, one will surface at an auction house. Surprisingly, there have been known cases of forgeries of some of these paintings. In December of 2002, two forgeries were offered in an online auction from Sotheby’s through eBay. One of the forgeries was pulled before the auction began, but the fact that forgeries even exist, and that people are willing to risk purchasing one serves as proof that these iconic paintings still generate public interest.

Well, just like in an episode of The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery, your wishes have come true. Now, you can study these paintings online at your leisure. The Night Gallery website has recently published the original pieces used in the series (excluding the pieces that accompanied episodes of The Sixth Sense in syndication, of course). You can now gaze and marvel at these incredible works of art in-between watching episodes of Night Gallery online at

These paintings REALLY creeped me out as a kid. Somehow, they aren’t quite as pants-shittingly scary as an adult viewing them on a crystal clear office monitor instead of as a kid absorbing them through a staticky 26-inch cathode-ray-tube in a darkened room, but they’re still fascinating works. All of them are available for viewing on the Night Gallery site, but here’s a small day gallery of the best works.

You can click on the image to see a larger version.

“The Cemetery”

“Eyes” (Joan Crawford, obviously)
The ‘Night Gallery’ gallery continues, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Life’s been good, sure, but how HIGH, exactly, is Joe Walsh in this TV performance?
06:54 am


David Sanborn
Joe Walsh

Just how high is Joe Walsh? That is the question we’ll be addressing in this bizarre performance from a late ‘80s TV program.

There’s no doubt that life’s been good to Joe Walsh. The critically acclaimed guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter has been a member of at least five successful rock bands over the past 40+ years of his lucrative musical career. In between the bookending of his popular work that began with James Gang in the late sixties, and continuing on through his ostensibly neverending association with that monster cash machine known as The Eagles, whom he joined in 1975 and is still going strong—thanks mainly to an endless parade of “farewell” reunion tours, each of which is inexplicably followed up by yet another incredibly lucrative farewell tour (Apparently, The Eagles are a band that simply loves long goodbyes)—Walsh has also managed to find time to release a total of twelve solo albums on the side.

Joe Walsh scored a major Top 40 hit in 1978 with his solo song “Life’s Been Good.” It’s essentially a song wherein Joe recites a laundry list of how much more awesome his life is than yours. He describes the endless money, the cars, the mansions, the chicks, the debauchery, and all of the rest of the trappings of rock superstardom that most of us can merely imagine. I suppose we’re supposed to live vicariously through him, but the actual truth is that the song is one long brag fest that some might find irritating. We get it, Joe. You’re very successful, and we’re not.

Well, a complete decade after the song “Life’s Been Good” was a major hit, Joe Walsh agreed to appear on a TV show called Sunday Night in 1988. It was broadcast on NBC on (you guessed it) Sunday nights.

On this particular show, the host, (a very young) David Sanborn, introduces Walsh at the beginning of this train-wreck of a clip. It’s immediately obvious that something is wrong with the musician. He seems confused and disoriented, but luckily, he has the late, great Hiram Bullock—guitarist for the Sunday Night house band, and best known to many for his tenure as the guitarist for “The Worlds Most Dangerous Band”  on Late Night with David Letterman—doing most of the heavy lifting for Walsh during this performance that goes completely off the rails from the very beginning.

All of the guys in the house band seem to be grinning at Walsh’s inability to play or focus. They try to pull him along, but that only goes so far. Walsh begins forgetting important lyrics, and his guitar work is, uh, off. The performance deteriorates into Walsh engaging in a constant series of shrugging, mugging, winking, and generally confused facial contortions in the direction of the audience and camera. He looks like he might, at any moment, start disassembling the amplifiers onstage.

Perhaps the funniest moment (or maybe the most poignant) in this video, comes when Walsh is required to sing “I lost my license, now I don’t drive” in his obviously altered state of consciousness. These words seem legit, coming from the guy who can only shout fragments of the lyrics that he can barely remember. The beautifully ironic bottom line is that Joe Walsh is so high, he even manages to butcher that “lost license” line. It’s a testament to, and a perfect indication of, just how far gone he is. Hopefully someone took the man’s car keys.

Of course, the most hair pulling aspect of the clip below consists in the choice of the song. Here we have a rich and famous guy, a guy who’s rich and famous because we, the audience, have elevated him to that status. And yet, the man is so somewhere else that he can’t even rub it in properly about how much better his life is than ours. He disrespects us so much that he doesn’t even bother (in a very real sense) to “show up for the gig.” Instead, he writes the audience off completely and spends the 4 minutes and 50 seconds documented of this clip in a “rocky mountain way.” Of course, having said that, I have to admit that the schadenfreude factor is off the chain.

And if anyone cares to question this article’s assertion that Walsh is high out of his mind, I’d simply direct you to take a gander at Walsh’s sartorial choice for this performance. No one not high dresses like that. Not even in 1988.


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Play the Twin Peaks video game, ‘Fire Dance with Me’
07:41 am


Twin Peaks
video games

Yesterday we at the DM brain trust were saddened to hear of the passing of Catherine E. Coulson at the age of 71. Coulson was the actress who portrayed the Log Lady from Twin Peaks, surely one of the most unusual characters ever to reach a mass audience.

You can honor Coulson’s performance, David Lynch’s groundbreaking TV series, and your own innate need to boogie by playing Fire Dance With Me, a video game designed for the Duplicade video game competition that calls for head-to-head simultaneous two-player games. The rules require that the games be Windows-compatible, use the traditional WASD and arrow keys for movement, and have a short duration (30 seconds) before deciding a winner. Furthermore, and amusingly, “The game must tread dangerously into the intellectual property of an existing game or game franchise, but be cleverly altered and culturally mangled enough to not be worth the effort to sue.” The game is downloadable for Windows but you can play it in any desktop browser—I played it on a Mac. 

Fire Dance With Me pays homage to the various dancers that populate Lynch’s series. You can choose Special Agent Dale Cooper (holding a coffee mug, natch), the Little Man from Cooper’s hallucinatory dreams, Audrey Home, or the Log Lady’s log (which never moves at all). Once the two players are selected and the game begins, you have to track a scrolling promenade of arrow signs in order to win—the two player’s avatars flank the sad, desperate dance of Leland Palmer in the middle, whom you cannot select.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Killer & Friends: Keith Richards, Gary Busey & Ruth Buzzi jamming with Jerry Lee Lewis

Gary Busey, Keith Richards, Ruth Buzzi and Jerry Lee Lewis
Top L to bottom R: Gary Busey, Keith Richards, Ruth Buzzi and Jerry Lee Lewis
Hosted by Dick Clark, Salute! was a short-lived syndicated TV variety show centered around Jerry Lee Lewis that ran for a year from 1983-1984. Each week the show featured different musical guests like Marvin Gaye, Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald and Glen Campbell, all who performed with Lewis during the show. Since that sounded pretty great, I decided to see if I could dig up any video footage from Salute!.

Thankfully the all-giving Internet didn’t let me down and produced a video of Lewis performing “High School Confidential” (originally recorded by Lewis in 1958) with Keith Richards (!) and what appears to be a cocaine-powered Gary Busey. And Busey (former vocalist and drummer for his own band from the 70s called Carp), who always remembers to bring the crazy to the party, does not disappoint here.
Keith Richards, Mick Fleetwood and Jerry Lee Lewis on Salute! 1983
Keith Richards, Mick Fleetwood and Jerry Lee Lewis on Salute!,1983
There are also a few other clips from Salute! out there that pair the likes of Lewis with Mick Fleetwood and Keef (performing of cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”) and the woman who gave us the gift of purse-wielding spinster Gladys Ormphby, the great Ruth Buzzi (who looks super-hot BTW) performing and amusing version of Lewis’ song, “Breathless.” All three videos are posted after the jump. A word of caution, watching the 1983 version of Gary Busey (or any version of Gary Busey for that matter) might give you a contact high.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson was in an ‘80s punk band and their album just went up on Bandcamp

Buddy Cole. QEII. Over 100 waiters. As a member of the god-tier sketch troupe The Kids In The Hall, Scott Thompson’s contributions to comedy have been indelible, and as a rare openly gay public figure as far back as the ‘80s, Thompson blazed a courageous social trail as well. I’ve been a fan of his work forever, but the news that he’d been in a mutant punk band in the late ‘80s, contemporary to the emerging popularity of KITH, came as a surprise to me. The band was called Mouth Congress, and Thompson co-founded it with KITH writer Paul Bellini (the same Bellini as the recurring towel-clad-man character in many KITH sketches) and Jeff Goode, now a producer/host of Thompson’s Scott Free Podcast. And their stuff was rather a lot of fun. Via Chart Attack:

Over the past month, some kind soul has uploaded a trove of Mouth Congress recordings to Bandcamp. So far, the dump includes 15 albums, with names like The War On Flowers and A Fey Breeze, featuring should-be classics “Paul Jude Bellini” and “How to Strip for Your Husband” alongside live show recordings, sound collages, sketches, and a who’s who of cameos from the comic group that the pair were hanging around. It’s a time capsule of Canadian punk, comedy and queer culture, and as good an excuse as any to tune out for the rest of the day or week or whatever.

Here’s the Bandcamp playlist. You can buy the digital album here, if you like. Some material is NSFW so any nine-to-fivers reading this, you might want to use your earbuds.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Richard Pryor Show’: All four episodes of the short-lived series are online
08:12 am


Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor Show

Richard Pryor was famously ill-adapted to “popular” audiences. For example, he was originally slated to play Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles, but no studio would fund the film with him in the role, fearing his drug habits, erratic behavior and reputation would sink the film. Mel Brooks actually fought for Pryor, but admitted he understood studio hesitation when Pryor casually offered him a bump during a meeting (Brooks response? “Never before dinner, thanks.”). Regardless, Pryor’s acting and character work was always superb and inspired, as you can see from The Richard Pryor Show, which sadly flopped after just four episodes in 1977.

It’s an odd departure for Pryor of course—parodies and lighter sketches, but the show is funny, and slyly references his reputation from time to time. At the beginning of the third episode, Pryor’s “monologue” is “interrupted,” by an unseen suit who dubs him over with “network-approved” material, while Pryor gesticulates furiously on mute.There are stand-up segments of course, and interestingly, the live audience appears to be mostly black. The show was toast before it had a chance of course, running opposite ABC’s Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days during “family hour” on Tuesdays, but it remains a big part of TV history, making TV Guide’s 2013 “Cancelled Too Soon” list.

Episodes two, three and four.

Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Ike and Tina Turner cover Sly Stone, the Beatles and the Stones with steel-beam-melting intensity
07:46 am


Ike and Tina Turner
Playboy After Dark

Some eminently wise and decent person uploaded two complete episodes of Playboy After Dark to YouTube, and the back-to-back shows are full of delights for lovers of yesterday’s showbiz talents. Sammy Davis, Jr., Anthony Newley, Jerry Lewis, Louis Nye, Patty Duke and a very young Rex Reed all stop by the party. And who’s that smoking a cigar by the piano? Better watch your language and pull up your pants: it’s alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby, and it looks like he’s fixing up a batch of his signature Hello Friend cocktails!

What I suspect will interest DM’s readers most, though, is the white-hot, sheer steel-beam-melting intensity of Ike and Tina Turner’s performances, which are scattered like globs of napalm throughout the first of these broadcasts. Tina explains their incendiary music in terms of cooking with grease, both in the kitchen and onstage:

HUGH HEFNER: Now, the word “soul” has become kind of a popular term related to the music scene today, but you’ve got a word of your own: uh, “grease.”

TINA TURNER: Right. [Laughs]

HUGH: And I’m not familiar with it. What…

TINA: Well, let’s say… with meat, say, with cooking, like when you boil your vegetables—

HUGH: Well, I understand grease with cooking.

TINA: Okay, so we’re gonna use cooking first. In order to boil your vegetables, you still must have the grease, right? It starts from the cooking at home. Okay, so I have a term of saying, like, “Nothing is no good without the grease.” So that’s from there.

HUGH: I dig.

TINA: Now, another way of saying the grease is that—most black people, we say things, we say it top service, we don’t cover it, we don’t go around, we say it like exactly what it is. It’s nothing—like, say, for instance, sweat. We say “sweat.”

HUGH: Like Ike was saying earlier, you don’t perspire, you sweat.

TINA: Right. So, in other words, when you say “grease,” it means getting down to the nitty-gritty, the actual thing, not hinting, just saying exactly what.


The Ike & Tina Turner Revue’s set consists entirely of singles released in 1969. Along with their famous (“nice and rough”) version of CCR’s “Proud Mary,” the Revue sets fire to three songs that would appear on the following year’s mighty Come Together LP: Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and (with Doug Kershaw on fiddle) the Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.” Having burned these songs to the ground, the Revue dances lustily (greasily?) upon their ashes. Have mercy!

The songs:

“I Want to Take You Higher” (1:30)
interview (37:36)
“Come Together” (39:30)
“Proud Mary” (43:00)
“Honky Tonk Women” (45:55)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Jello Biafra for Mayor of San Francisco, 1979: ‘If he doesn’t win, I’ll kill myself!’

Jello Biafra, the sardonic front-man for the Dead Kennedys, both in his writing and live performances, was an expert at assuming villainous roles to reveal greater truths about society—whether it be as a serial murderer (as in the song “I Kill Children”) or as a military advisor (as in the song “Kill the Poor”) or as a stumping politician (as in his failed 1979 bid for Mayor of San Francisco).

In what might have been equal parts prank, publicity stunt, and actual desire to force social change, Biafra threw his hat into the mayoral ring in 1979, running against Dianne Feinstein, Quentin Copp, and David Scott, among others.

Writing in the 33 1/3 series book, Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Michael Stewart Foley describes the anarchic DIY nature of Biafra’s campaign:

Dirk Dirksen hosted a “Biafra for Mayor” benefit on September 3, and raised the necessary $1,125 in filing fees. Consistent with the punk ethos, the volunteers who made up the campaign staff ran it as an entirely DIY affair. Dirk Dirksen, Brad Lapin, Ginger Coyote, Mickey Creep, Joe Target Rees, Klaus Flouride and plenty of others held meetings at Target Studios on South Van Ness to plot strategy.

The actual campaign events were few, but got plenty of media attention. A “whistle-stop tour,” for example, started with a rally at City Hall, followed by stops along the BART line down Market Street. Kathy “Chi Chi” Penick, Dead Kennedys’ new manager, carried a sign that said “If He Doesn’t Win, I’ll Kill Myself.” Other inspiring placard slogans included “Apocalypse Now,” and “What if He Wins?” Biafra, led the procession, “kissing hands and shaking babies.”


Using the slogan “There’s always room for Jello,” Biafra got onto the ballot In San Francisco. Any individual could legally run for mayor if a petition was signed by 1500 people or if $1500 was paid. Biafra paid $900 and got enough signatures to become a legal candidate, meaning his statements would be put in voters’ pamphlets and he would receive equal news coverage.

Original art for Biafra campaign buttons from Flickr user “Wackystuff”
This past Monday, Joe Rees of Target Video, the de facto documentarian of the San Francisco punk scene, uploaded an edit of eleven minutes worth of TV clips from this news coverage. Being somewhat of a Jellophile myself, I had previously seen a few of these clips which had been included on old Target Video VHS compilations back in the day, but some of this stuff is brand new to me—and I suspect also unseen by many of our readers. It’s a treat that Rees is still opening up his archives to the public like this.

It’s remarkable how serious young Biafra appears in some of these snippets, while at the same time completely mocking the political process. Pay particular attention to Biafra’s campaign platform, which is utterly absurd, but probably resonated with many 1979 San Francisco voters.

Biafra finished an incredible fourth out of a field of ten, receiving 3.79% of the vote (6,591 votes).  His participation in the election caused a runoff between Dianne Feinstein and Quentin Kopp which resulted in Feinstein’s election.

Here it is. One of the great punk rock pranks of all time:


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
’Super President’: This forgotten 1967 cartoon was gloriously stupid (and racist as hell)
06:41 am


Super President

As much as I relish the inherent entertainment value of a potential Trump vs Sanders showdown/battle-for-the-soul-of-a-nation next year, I feel like America™ really needs a president like James Norcross. Silver-haired, square-jawed, dapper, and resolute, his clear-sighted judiciousness could unite this fractured nation, while his ability to alter his body’s molecular structure could protect us from a perilous world full of appalling ethnic stereotype supervillains.

That’s pretty dumb, isn’t it? But it was the actual premise of a short-lived 1967 TV cartoon called Super President. Produced by DePatie-Freleng, the animation studio best known for the Pink Panther film credit sequences and the cartoon series that spun off from them, Super President’s premise was a stretch, even for a cheaply produced children’s superhero show. The viewer was asked to suspend disbelief that the President of the United States could possibly have time to maintain a secret crimefighter double life, that his batcave-ish lair underneath the White House (to which the series always refers as the “Presidential Mansion” for some reason) could possibly go unnoticed, and that the nom de heroics “Super President” wasn’t kind of a huge screaming giveaway that he was, you know, THE PRESIDENT. Yet only the requisite sidekick/advisor/character who needs rescuing a lot Jerry Sayles knew Norcross’ secret.

There was no way this was going to last. Even if the show wasn’t howlingly dumb (stupider shows have lived long and vigorous lives), I can’t imagine the portrayal of a dashing, indomitable, gracefully-aging POTUS so soon after the Kennedy assassination didn’t sting at least a little—maybe Norcross was intended as a wishful-thinking alternative to the disappointing Lyndon Johnson? It probably wan’t that deep. Watching it almost 50 years after its creation, it’s hard to shake off the values dissonance inherent in its depictions of its antagonists. Offensive portrayals of non-Euro characters were mighty common back then (Hanna-Barbera holds up especially poorly on that count; Jonny Quest for one seems embarrassingly colonialist by today’s standards, but few of their titles were free of non-white representations that don’t seem deeply embarrassing today) but some of the portrayals here are around the bend even for the ‘60s.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
When satanic serial killer Richard Ramirez terrorized Willis from ‘Diff’rent Strokes’
06:24 am


Richard Ramirez
Diff'rent Strokes

In 1988 a crack-addicted Todd Bridges, the child-actor who played “Willis” on TV’s Diff’rent Strokes, was jailed for attempted murder in the shooting of LA drug dealer Kenneth “Tex” Clay.

In prison, Bridges was housed on murderers’ row. One of his neighbors was the infamous “Night Stalker” killer, Richard Ramirez, the satanic serial-murderer of at least thirteen people.

Bridges writes in his autobiography, Killing Willis: From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted, that Ramirez would often attempt to intimidate him:

Richard Ramirez was a strange cat. The thing that was interesting about being in jail with him was that he had killed somebody in Northridge during the time I was living there, and I remember how scared we were after the murder. We made sure all of our windows were locked at all times, and we walked people to their cars with guns. My life had actually been touched by his crimes.

I never found it hard to believe that he had done all the terrible things they accused him of- raping and torturing little old ladies and carving pentagrams into their skin. First of all, he was a devil worshipper. That’s heavy. And then he never seemed sorry about killing all those people. That was who he really was.

He used to come by my cell and shake my door really hard. He always tried to freak me out by doing things like putting the devil sign against the bars. ‘I’m going to come in and get you,’ he said.

I remember the day he found out he was going to get the gas chamber, he came back to our cellblock, and he had this real somber look on his face. He looked different, but I knew that inside he was the same monster he’d always been… “Get ready,” I said and I puffed my cheeks out real big like I was holding my breath. “How long can you hold your breath? You’re done.”

We’d like to think Ramirez’s response was a steely, soft-spoken, “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?”

Bridges, represented by famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, was eventually released and acquitted of all charges when a witness testified that he was not present at the time of the shooting. Upon release, Bridges went back to selling and using crack until eventually successfully completeing rehab.

Ramirez died of complications from B-cell lymphoma in 2013 before making it to the gas chamber.

Via Moviepilot

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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