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Hello dummy: That time Don Rickles was drawn by Jack Kirby for DC Comics, you hockey pucks!
05.23.2017
11:23 am
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The late ‘60s/early ‘70s were a good period for Don Rickles, who passed away recently at the age of 90. After appearing in the Beach Party series of movies with Annette Funicello, a few things happened that cause Rickles’ status to change. He first appeared on The Tonight Show in 1965, and that national TV showcase, along with other talk shows and variety shows, would give him ample opportunity to inflict his caustic humor on the American people. He released a live album called Hello, Dummy! in 1968, and in 1970 he had a noncomedic role in Kelly’s Heroes, a war/heist movie with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland. (Actually, it was Sutherland who was the primary focus of mirth in that movie.)

By the time 1971 rolled around, Don Rickles was indisputably a household name, and as such, in a position to be claimed or appropriated by media entities of all descriptions. Which helps to explain an improbable episode in Rickles’ life occurred, when he was made the star of a two-issue story in Jimmy Olsen as for DC Comics authored by Jack Kirby. It really happened, and in a lot of ways the whole story had almost nothing to do with Rickles as such.
 

 
In addition to featuring Rickles in the story, Kirby invented a weird doppelgänger named Goody Rickels (that’s right, e before l), an underling in the employ of a slick media mogul named Morgan Edge. For no comprehensible reason, Goody wears a superhero costume with a cape, even though he has no super powers and is something of a weirdo lickspittle.

All of this stemmed from the spawn of an idea of DC Comics employees, whose original idea was to have Rickles appear for a couple of panels and zing Superman with one of his patented put-downs. An Kirby’s assistant Mark Evanier explained in The Collected Jack Kirby Collector Vol. 4 by John Morrow:
 

Steve [Sherman, another Kirby assistant] and I, at the time, were enormous fans of Don Rickles. Like many people at that time who were our age, we all went around doing Don Rickles, insulting each other. Rickles used to say, “I never picked on a little guy, I only pick on big guys.” Somehow, this gave us the idea that we should have Don Rickles make a cameo appearance in Jimmy Olsen to insult Superman. It was gonna be like a three-panel thing. So we wrote out a couple of pages of Don Rickles insults. One of them was, “Hey, big boy, where’re you from?” And Superman says, “I’m from the planet Krypton.” And Rickles says, “I got jokes for eight million nationalities and I’ve gotta run into a hockey puck from Krypton!”

 
As you can see, the idea of incorporating Rickles into the DC universe began as an idea for a quick gag, but they didn’t count on the kudzu-like nature of Kirby’s imagination:
 

Jack was a big fan of Rickles. And he says, “That’s great, that’s terrific.” And, of course, he used none of it. He said, “We’ve gotta get permission from Don Rickles for this.” So Steve contacted Rickles’s publicist, and they gave us permission to have Don Rickles do a cameo. Then Jack tells [DC Comics publisher] Carmine Infantino about it, and Infantino thinks this is great; this is something promotable; it’s gotta be a two-issue story arc. So instead of us writing two pages, it’s now Jack writing two issues.

 
In the story, Edge sends Goody to investigate a UFO, and he ends up beating up some “space baddies” through sheer luck. Eventually there is the inevitable encounter between Goody and Don, right before which we get a full page of Don insulting some of his many adoring fans, who basically treat him as if he’s the Beatles.

Much more after the jump…......

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.23.2017
11:23 am
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And now here’s Casey Kasem dressed as Hitler roasting Don Rickles


 
I was recently researching something when I came across a reference to “Hitler writing all of Don Rickles’ material.” As you can imagine, I instantly forgot about whatever I had been looking for—I knew I had to track this down.

Turns out that the line was a reference to a roast thrown for Don Rickles in 1974 on The Dean Martin Show. Bizarrely, the bit involved Casey Kasem dressing up as Hitler and explaining how pivotal Rickles had been in establishing him—Hitler, not the longtime radio host of America’s Top 40 Countdown—in show business. “Hitler” calls Rickles “a real pussycat” and says that he’s “the only man I know who has bombed more places than I have!”

At the end of the bit, Dean Martin gives the departed Hitler a tasteful Sieg Heil! salute.

This roast of Rickles was broadcast on February 8, 1974, and occurred in the 9th season (!) of The Dean Martin Show, which was an NBC property. Also present at the affair were Kirk Douglas, Phyllis Diller, Telly Savalas, Nipsey Russell, Bob Newhart, and Carol Channing. According to Variety, “Those NBC specials [roasts] were typically hourlong affairs but the Rickles’ roast was so smokin’ that the network let it go 90 minutes.”

I guess Hitler didn’t have any hard feelings about Rickles plundering Nazi gold in Kelly’s Heroes.......
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.06.2016
09:34 am
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CPO Punky: Don Rickles meets The Dickies, 1978
09.11.2014
09:58 am
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In March 1978, the Dickies made a guest appearance on Don Rickles’ sitcom CPO Sharkey. It was the band’s TV debut and the nation’s first glimpse of the Los Angeles punk scene; it was also an audition for A&M Records’ UK president Derek Green, who was a member of the live studio audience in beautiful downtown Burbank, California. Guitarist Stan Lee recalls how it came to pass in the oral history We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk:

Our only goal was to make a single. John Hewlett came to one of our early shows and told me he thought we were the best band he’d ever seen. I laughed, but then he told me he managed Sparks. I really liked the Kimono My House LP. I thought, “Well, what did you have in mind?” He asked if we had a manager. It didn’t hurt that he was short, British, and charming. He had an instant plan to take us in the studio to cut some tracks for a single on a label he was starting. Soon we were recording at Brothers Studio (the Beach Boys haunt in Santa Monica with Earl Mankey). When we were done he looked at me and said, “This is far bigger than I had imagined. . . I’m gonna take this tape to England and get you a major deal.” I thought, “Okay, what can it hurt?” Island Records was interested, and he had an appointment with Derek Green, president of A&M Records U.K., who’d just kicked the Sex Pistols off the label and was looking for another punk band, preferably one that wouldn’t throw up on them. After hearing the tape, he flew to L.A. with John to see if we were for real and to meet us.

[...] Meanwhile a local TV writer who saw us at the Whisky wrote us into an episode of CPO Sharkey, a nationally syndicated sitcom starring Don Rickles. The timing was perfect. The plane landed at 7 p.m. Hewlett ushered Mr. Green over to NBC by eight o’clock and into the live audience just in time for the taping of the show. Afterward we met, but the checkbook didn’t come out yet. He wanted to see the band live doing a full-length show with a real club audience. We set up a showcase at the Whisky. He showed up with Jerry Moss (the M in A&M). I put them in a booth and told them in my most puffed-up posture, “You have no business in the record business if you don’t sign this band.”

 

Sharkey and Pruitt meet the doorman at the Pits
 
In the episode, punks beat up two of Sharkey’s men (Skolnick and Kowalski) for talking to a 17-year-old girl named Quinine at a punk club called the Pits. When Chief Robinson explains punk rock to Sharkey, you get to hear how the new form was understood by people of showbiz in 1978:

ROBINSON: Well, it’s a new thing in music. It’s a bunch of kids rebelling against rules, authority and styles. You know, they’re against everything!
SHARKEY: What are they, commies?
ROBINSON: No, they wear crazy clothes and makeup. I read where some of the girls hang things like razor blades from their earrings.
SHARKEY: No kidding! Hey, a guy could whisper in a broad’s ear and wind up with a nose job! Sounds wild!

 

Punks pogo at The Pits
 
The seamen visit The Pits, where the Dickies mime an abbreviated version of “Hideous” and an instrumental “I’m OK, You’re OK” before more violence erupts. The rest of the episode concerns Quinine’s desire to pogo with Sharkey, and Sharkey’s desire to soothe her worried mother (played by Charlotte Rae of The Facts of Life).
 

The Dickies play “Hideous” on CPO Sharkey, 1978
 
Watch the full episode, “Punk Rock Sharkey,” here.

Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.11.2014
09:58 am
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Hockey puck! Jack Kirby meets… Don Rickles?
08.13.2010
09:00 pm
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Behold what is perhaps the most perplexing comic book cover of all time. In 1971, when Jack “King” Kirby left Marvel for DC Comics, he took over the Jimmy Olsen (“Superman’s Pal”) title. It’s hard to imagine a more dull comic franchise for the co-creator of Spider-man and the Fantastic Four to be assigned, but the story was that Kirby didn’t want to take anyone’s job when he arrived at DC, so Jimmy Olsen is what he got. And then he promptly turned it inside out, as should be obvious from this preposterous cover featuring, uh… Don Rickles??? That’s right HOCKEY PUCK, Don Rickles, who in this (and one more issue) is seen fighting off his alternate world doppelganger, “Goody Rickels.”

So weird. I mean, why Don Rickles and not… like Bob Newhart or Shelly Berman???

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.13.2010
09:00 pm
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Don Rickles And Nina Hagen On Merv Griffin

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RicklesHagen.  Two great tastes that taste great together.  “Individual God Identity?”  VD humor?  Oh, mid-eighties daytime television, I so miss your zany spontaneity!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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10.17.2009
02:35 am
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