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    This tale illustrated by Bill Ward, the creator of Torchy (see her HERE), is from Buccaneers #20 (the second issue) from May 1950. Thanks to JonTheScanner for uploading it to comicbookplus!


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    Lockheed 5B Vega, as flown by Amelia, in the Air and Space Museum

    Sorry, I can't identify this one. Can you?

    Lockheed Model 8 Sirius

    Tsk, tsk. Another mystery plane.

    Eastern Airlines DC3

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    The chairs and table used at the surrender at Appomattox.
    As seen in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

     Lee sat here. 

    Grant got the padded chair.

    Grant's field glasses.

    Grant's camp chair.

    John Mosby's cavalry jacket.
    Phil Sheridan's cavalry sword.

    William T. Sherman's hat and sword.

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    On this anniversary of Day One of Custer's Last Stand, we present Part One of this 1950 Avon comic, as  posted on the very cool comicbooksplus site. 








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    You saw Part One yesterday, right? Here's the next installment, courtesy of comicbookplus. Tomorrow: Custer bites the dust. 









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    Here at last is the thrilling conclusion. Time for Charly Gordon to stand up and cheer. Thanks once again to comicbookplus







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    . . . or so the Military Court ruled, and had these other four people hanged. It's pretty certain Payne and Atzerodt knew what Booth was up to. David Herold was just a fan who did his best to help Booth escape. These rope souvenirs and the rest of this stuff reside in the Ford's Theater museum. 


    This lucky duck had a ticket to the hanging.

     George Atzerodt was supposed to kill VP Andrew Johnson, but chickened out. This knife was found in his hotel room.

    Lewis Payne (or Powell) did his best to kill Secretary of State Seward with a knife, but it wasn't good enough. He used this gun to bludgeon others in the house. 

    Mary Surrat ran the boarding house where the conspirators met. She may or may not have known what they were planning.

    The key to Mary's cell.

    Shackles worn by Dr. Mudd, who treated Booth's leg when he was on the run, and probably knew nothing of the assassination. He spent a couple of years in prison before being released.

    Mudd's handcuffs. 

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    You may have noticed that Captain Blood in one of my favorite books. (If you haven't, look HERE.)  So . . . while perusing comicbookplus, I was mighty pleased to come across this fine sample from the July 1, 1921 of Adventure magazine. "The Prize" is one of nine stories originally published in Adventure that Sabatini stitched together to form the novel in 1922. This is pirate adventure history in the making.

    P.S. Two more of my favorites books are the story collections Captain Blood Returns (aka The Chronicles of Captain Blood) and The Fortunes of Captain Blood.  Check them out!











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    Yep, here are more dioramas,with closer looks at each. This first scene shows the Iron Brigade capturing the Rebs in the Railroad Cut.







    Here's General Meade's HQ on Cemetary Hill.









    This one recreates a famous photo taken in the Devil's Den.


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     1935

     1936

     1937

    1937

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    From Rip Off Press, 1976, by Gilbert Shelton & others.
    Dang! Why don't I have a copy of this?
    Here are some sample pages:









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    This cerebral tale by the great Mr. Wolverton comes to us from Mister Mystery #7 (Sept. 1952), as uploaded to comicbookplus by a rockstar called Ontology. Did Mr. W script the story, too? I don't know. 



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    The INSP Network is now a week into its month-long John Wayne celebration, THE DUKE DAYS OF SUMMER, and one of tonight's offerings (at 10pm Eastern) is The Shootist. That film is one of many subjects touched upon in this freewheeling visit with the Duke, reprinted by kind permission of co-author David Laurence Wilson. (The Shootist repeats Sunday July 15 at midnight and Saturday July 21 at 8pm, all times Eastern.)

    The County’s People

    JOHN WAYNE

    by David Wilson and James Brachman


    Orange County Chronicle 

    September 29, 1976


    John Wayne, possibly the world’s best known actor, could be living anywhere.  Wayne’s celebrity -- his travels, awards, and films -- make him a citizen of the nation, or of the world, rather than just Orange County.


    Ten years ago he moved to Newport Beach to escape the fast-paced and overcrowded life of Los Angeles.  Now he’s found that civilization -- crowded freeways and swarms of people -- have caught up with him again.


    Wayne tries, not always successfully, to spend five or six weeks of every year cruising the oceans of the world on his yacht, The Wild Goose, a converted minesweeper.  When he’s in Newport, he mostly relaxes at home.  In stores or restaurants, he’s usually recognized.  “If there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind who I am, that doubt vanishes after I open my mouth.”  Wayne’s voice is a sure giveaway.


    Three reporters caught up with Wayne on a rainy Friday during the first week of September, at his home in an exclusive, guarded community on Irvine Company land.  From the outside, the house is common looking -- a plain white, one-story building, a two-car garage, a wrought iron gate.


    Beyond the gate, the patio and swimming pool are immense.  The pool is kidney-shaped, a pair of bright green elephant statues guard its edge.  Through the windows, there’s a view of Newport Harbor, Balboa Island, and the entire Balboa Peninsula.  We’re still outside.


    An assistant lets us inside.  The house is even more tremendous.  And so is actor John Wayne, 69, cowboy of cowboys, slightly larger than life, who lumbers over and shakes hands.  He greets his visitors with a shrug, while he holds a letter in his left hand.  It’s almost a shock to see him without a cowboy hat, but there are two of the hats in his den.  A telephone rings and Wayne is summoned.  “Ah Christ.  Pardon my English,” are the first words uttered by that famous voice.  Wayne returns and sits in front of his picture window, sipping coffee, looking out at the thick, sleepy fog and dripping rain.  He grimaces at the weather.


    “People like to call me up,” he says, “and ask me to talk to their friends and relatives who’ve got cancer.  They think I can give them a boost.  Damn, I don’t know what to tell them.”  The reason is that several years ago Wayne had cancer and licked it.  He would like to forget that, but the public sin’t about to let him.  Apart from phone calls, he gets at least 50 letters a week -- fan letters, invitations to events, and the like.


    Wayne looks healthy.  He’s just a shade pale with some pink showing in his cheeks.  The blue-eyed actor wears a red sports shirt covered by a gray sweater embroidered with fish emblems, cream-colored slacks that are folded at the ankles and don’t quite measure up to him, and desert boots.


    He’s happy to talk about his recent film, The Shootist, in which he portrays an aging gunslinger dying of cancer.


    Wayne is pleased with the film and the critical reception that it’s received to date.  He’s not sure if the film has been promoted correctly, but he has nothing but praise for his co-star, Ron Howard.  He calls him the best young actor he’s ever worked with.


    “I’d like to make about one movie a year,” he says.  “I get lots of scripts that are sent to me, but it’s hard to find one that will fit.  You can’t very well have me chasing around after 18-year-old girls.  It’s got to be a mature role.”  He plans to start searching out a new script during the next few weeks.


    “’The Shootist’, as you know, was based on a book.  I’ve known Mike Frankovich (the producer) for a long time.  I decided to do it.  But why do people say it’s autobiographical?  The cancer thing I can see, but the story has nothing to do with me.  Why do they insist on reading this into the story?  I haven’t been a gunman all my life,” he chuckles.  “I can’t ever remember shooting anyone.”


    Wayne’s booming voice is harsh and loud.  He emphasizes everything as if you are seated across the room, rather than sitting across the table.  


    The Duke places his coffee cup on a napkin and removes a pen from his pocket.  He begins tracing the cup as he speaks, and he seems to be directing his comments into the cup.


    “So many movies today are nothing but bad taste.  Sometimes in a book that’s okay.  Put that same material on screen and it becomes dirty.  Your imagination is no longer in control.”


    Wayne has finished his initial tracing, and now draws lines out from the circle at right angles. The design has become a sun.  He continues his discussion with the cup.


    “This current motion picture rating system produces nothing but bad taste.  It’s for the .. liberal intelligentsia.”  He looks up as he says “liberal intelligencia”, sneering and shouting at once.


    “Christ,” he continues, “Lubisch made movies in the thirties that were more sophisticated than this bad taste junk today.  The industry has lost leadership.  When distribution and production were split up, good taste went right along with it.”


    Though a little vague on what he considers bad taste (he does not name specific films), Wayne appears to be most offended by graphic sex and extreme violence.  He dislikes special effects which deliver blood and gore by the barrel, and feels that much of it, and sex, is better left to the mind’s eye.  He believes that the rating system, by taking R and X-rated movies seriously, has also legitimized them.


    What about the lower-key violence in his Westerns?


    “Violence is a lot of ____,” he shouts in anger, “The people who started this violence thing just wanted to focus on violence instead of the godamned bad taste!”


    At the moment of Wayne’s volcanic eruption, he is called away briefly.  He vanishes into another room.


    The house is filled with homey wooden furniture, some quite old, and attractively rustic.  The floor is covered with thick green carpet.  A lovely atrium at one end of the property, with a wide variety of plants and greenery, gives a plush, bungalow effect.  The rooms are filled with Western relics, including statues of cowboys on horseback.  One shelf, which covers an entire wall, is filled with Indian dolls.  Elsewhere are awards and trophies of every shape and size, photographs of Duke and his many friends, and weapons.


    The main bathroom is luxurious, with the appearance of antique gold and white marble, the master bedroom includes a television suspended from the ceiling, a gigantic bed and, mounted on a wall, a very large silver crucifix.


    One award -- perhaps Wayne’s first -- is given special prominence.  It’s an acting award from USC, where Wayne was a football player and undergraduate for two years in the 1920’s.  A football injury caused him to drop out of USC, but he stayed on at Fox movie studios, where he had worked one summer as a prop man.  In 1929 he was given his first part in a western entitled “The Big Trail”.


    Wayne returns with more coffee, apparently in a better mood, takes his seat, and explains how he obtained the bust of director John Ford, whom he affectionately refers to as “Pappy”.


    “Haven’t had your lunch yet?  How about some hamburgers?  C’mon.  Don’t you reporters ever eat?  I swear, you guys are something else.”


    That Wayne dialect -- the drawl, the pause, the slur -- is his own, a genuine trademark.  You expect him to say, “All right, Pilgrim, climb down off that horse and get something to eat -- you’ll need it.”


    Wayne comes by his cowboy character honestly,  He was born in Winterset, Iowa, in 1907.  His family moved to Lancaster, California, and soon after, his father opened a drugstore in Glendale.  Wayne had to ride a horse to school.


    A Western luncheon of hamburgers, watermelon, and more coffee is served in the dining room, where a magnificent chandelier dangles overhead.  Between his mirrored walls, Wayne looks like a roughneck in a Louis XIV drawing room.


    Since Wayne is very much interested in politics, the subject naturally arises.  He praises Ronald Reagan (whom he refers to as “Ronnie”), he’s lukewarm toward President Ford, and he hasn’t much use for Carter.


    The Vietnam War, however, is what gets his dander up, even more than Watergate.  “I’m not a speaker,” he says.  “But when I have something to say, I don’t mind saying it.”


    The Duke begins, between mouthfuls of beef.  “We made a promise to people.  If you make a promise, you have to go through with it.”  He stops eating, puts down his fork.  “But you liberals,” he thunders, “you dear liberals and your frigging liberal press ..”   Wayne’s voice rises as he repeats his lines about the liberal press.


    The lecture continues:  “Instead of everybody sticking their nose in, why didn’t they let the military run the war?  If you’re going to war and you send kids over there to get shot at, for Christ’s sakes, you better go all the way.  We lost 50,000 boys over there.  Well, God damn it, we lose 60,000 a year at home on the highways.  Why don’t people do something about that, instead of sticking their nose in other people’s business.


    “Johnson -- he was a man of indecision.  He was interested in what everybody had to say about the war.  Always had his ear to the ground.  Johnson thought the butcher’s opinion was as important as a general’s.


    “Jane Fonda.  A fine actress.  I’ve known her since she was a little girl.  Always trying to find something wrong with the country.  I don’t understand it.  I just don’t understand it.”


    Wayne’s choices for political office haven’t fared well, in the last few years.   The actor appeared in a number of commercials lauding Congressman Alphonzo Bell, in his recent battle for the Republican Senatorial nomination, but the endorsement didn’t lead to a primary victory on June 8th.


    When Wayne complains about politicians, he seems to include practically all of them.  He claims Ronald Reagan, however, was an alternative to the professional, Eastern politicians.  Surprisingly, Wayne has also approved of Jerry Brown.  “During his first few months,” he says, “I was very impressed.  Now I’m not so sure.  I don’t think he’s really done anything with the power of the governor’s office.”


    In 1972, Wayne was a solid supporter of and campaigner for Richard Nixon.  He has seen the Nixons once, at a party, since they left the White House.  He sent a letter to Pat Nixon after her stroke.  Wayne says she was reading the Woodward and Bernstein book, “The Final Days”, when the stroke began.


    His complaints about the press are no longer reciprocal, because, for the first time in his career, pictures such as “True Grit”, “Rooster Cogburn”, and “The Shootist” are receiving genuine critical acclaim.  The actor is finally credited with mastering the subtleties of the dramatic arts.


    There is a scene in “The Shootist” tailor-made for Wayne.  An obnoxious reporter, greed in his eyes, approaches the gunman, saying he’d like to write an exploitative book about him, and that he’ll “make up what I don’t know.”  The gunman (Wayne) orders him away, using a loaded pistol placed in the journalist’s mouth for incentive, then kicks the writer in the behind.  You could almost imagine the Duke giving an annoying real-life reporter the same treatment.


    Wayne’s voice drops down a few notches.  He continues talking about politics, corrupt politicians (among whom he still does not include Richard Nixon) and taxes.


    “Hell,” he laments, “I’m in the 90 percent bracket.  Why should I have to pay all these taxes for nonsense?  If I could just get a fair break on taxes, I’d be a millionaire many times over.”


    Lunch, an elegantly served plate of hamburgers and potato chips, is completed and the table is cleared.  The intercom bell sounds, which means another visitor.


    He stands up tall and straight.  “Damn,” he says.  “That’s probably the guy from the radio station.  Now I’ll have to go over all this ___ again.”



    Also showing today on INSP, at 2pm and midnight, is The Undefeated

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    1955

    1955

    1956

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    This debut adventure of Frazetta's Dan Brand and Tipi appeared first in 1949 in The Durango Kid #1. It was reprinted in 1953 in White Indian #11, and eventually found its way onto the Golden Age blog of the legendary Mr. Door Tree. From there it was uploaded to comicbookplus by a user called jonemas, whereat I discovered it. (Yeah, I know the whole saga has been collected in a deluxe hardcover volume, but I'm cheap.) Makes me wish Mr. F had doing the Tarzan strip, too. 

    NOTE: On the first page, it says Dan Brand is an ancestor of Steve Brand. Steve Brand, in case you were wondering, is the secret identity of The Durango Kid.  



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    I’m amazed, and maybe a bit alarmed, at how much I’d forgotten about this 11th Fleming Bond novel. Sure, I remembered from the movie that Bond must become as Japanese as possible to complete his mission, but that’s about it. And that’s too bad, because there’s a whole lot to like about this book.


    After the death of his bride (of about two pages) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond has lost his edge. He sloppy and unkempt, he fails at missions and doesn’t give a damn.Instead of firing his ass, M gives him one last chance, sending him on a seemingly impossible mission to Japan. There, Bond is supposed to talk the Japanese secret service into sharing a dandy machine they use to break Russian codes.



    The guy he deals with, a modern samurai called Tiger Tanaka, is willing to comply, but only if Bond completes a mission for him—to enter a castle surrounded by a garden of death of slay the dragon within. The garden is populated by deadly plants from around the globe (landscaped with pools of piranha) and the dragon is mysterious westerner called Shatterhand, who has surrounded himself with members of the Black Dragon gang, some of the nastiest villains in the world.


    As Bond says, a westerner will be recognized five miles away, so he begins the process of becoming Japanese, inside and out. Along the way, Fleming treats us to a lot of interesting stuff. For one thing, we learn that is no such thing as a Japanese curse word. (I’m curious to know, fifty years later, if this is still true). Then there’s a detailed list of the plants in Shatterhand’s collection, a treasure trove for gardeners with unwanted neighbors and for mystery writers seeking unusual murder methods. There’s also a visit to a ninja school and museum, and “Japan’s oldest whorehouse,” now a national historic site.



    And some Japanese customs, as described by Fleming, sound pretty sensible. Suicide is legal and carries no stigma, alleviating the overpopulation problem, and they take showers before getting in the bath, rather than wallowing “in their own effluvia.”


    All this preparation takes up more than half of book, and another good chunk is closer preparation, as Bond lives on an island village near the castle, with the obligatory hot babe with a funny name—this time Kissy Suzuki. While there, we see a big tip of the hat to David Niven, who later played Bond himself (sort of).



    Then, at last, it’s on the the Black Castle of Death, a fortress that looks like “a stage setting for Dracula,” and the showdown with Dr. Shatterhand. And there I’ll leave you, partly because I having finished reading, and partly to avoid spoiling the big finish.


    Sadly, the illos above (by Daniel Schwartz) were not in the book. They accompanied the three-part serialization in Playboy, from April, May and June of 1964.  



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    Coming 102 years ago to your neighborhood theater . ..











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