The rest of this week's festive orbs will be taken from downtown trees. Today it's the Capella / StarTribune building. While I was snapping away I heard an office-worker type on his phone, obviously engaged in a domestic conversation.

"Well, I'm not responsible," he said tersely. After which came a long response, which he cut short with "She should have thought about that before."

Oh, it could've been a work conversation. It just seemed very personal. Before the Great Resorting, I suppose this would've been normal. Now you rarely hear that sort of thing.

I walked outside and there was a woman standing in the smoking area in a long thick coat, pulling on a 100mm and reading from a large trade paperback book. It's a good book when you take it along when you smoke.

Neither of these things were particular important, but if you stay home you miss the randomness of the world. And I suppose for some that's just cake-icing. Who needs it?

Oh, you can get your human interaction at the grocery store, if you must, and I did - but that's going to be banked for a column. Yes, it was that ridiculous. I cost a man $1.39 and I have to apologize somehow.

Angelo Badalementi died. Best known for the Twin Peaks soundtrack and other Lynch collaborations. If you weren't there at the time, it's hard to describe how a few simple melodies changed television. That sounds like the typical overwrought Lynchbro claim, but I can't think of another show that had leitmotifs like TP. It's one thing for people to whistle a popular catchy theme song, but when people were raving about the incidental music, that's different. His contributions to The Return were almost ghostly, without the same presence, except for a few pieces. This, from the famous Episode 8 - has the same sad beauty, but on another plane. If you know what it accompanied, you remember that this had to be the most remarkable hour of television you'd ever seen. With no context, you'd probably think "well that's some nice simple noodling," but at the time, half the audience had brimming eyes.

The man is right:

A fine, quiet, decent human spirit. He heard mysteries.









As I always say when I come back from a trip, I suppose this Perry could go in Black and White world. But I’m good for 2023. I don’t know when this tradition began, but it goes back a long ways. Get up to cruising altitude, finish the New Yorker, wait until we’re about 45 minutes into the journey, then get out the sandwich and watch a completely satisfying Perry Mason. This one’s from 1960, a year that has a strange magical quality to me for no reason than it’s the first of the 60s, and surely seemed bright and full of promise, providing no one nuked anyone.

It’s the case of the Fickle Fortune. It has to do with an estate examiner who finds old money, has it stolen, watches the money turn up elsewhere. Murder, of course, enters the picture about 20 minutes in. Everyone’s good; Tragg’s in fine grinning-goblin form, and there’s a remarkable scene at the end.

The client was the first “guilty” guy on Perry Mason, and more:

Imdb: "Is one of twelve actors who played the trifecta - the victim, the defendant, and the murderer - in various episodes of Perry Mason." Perfect mid-century "old man" face. The sort of fellow who was a collegian in the 1920s, and still had a big of spo-de-oh-doh about him.

It’s a festival of familiar faces. There’s our old friend the arrogant god-like dude who makes Kirk and Uhuru kiss, as well as the arrogant guy who gives Joe Friday the Timothy-Leary rap session, man:

I’d hate for my bio to say this:

Liam appeared in another Twilight Zone episode, "The Changing of the Guard", but this time was overshadowed by Donald Pleasence, who delivered arguably the most poignant performance of his career.

To be fair, it’s a damned fine performance. On the other hand:

During the latter stages of his life, Liam combined acting with writing and, just prior to his death, was in the process of compiling a biographical history of the Eli Bridge Company who built the innovative 'Big Eli' Ferris Wheel in Jacksonville, Illinois in May 1900. Founded by his ancestor W.E.Sullivan, the business is still run by members of the Sullivan family.

The Eli Bridge company also invented the Scrambler!

So we have Parmen the Trek dude AND Mrs. Olson:

The coroner was played by Michael Fox.

Yes, that one.

Because this Michael Fox was already registered in the Screen Actors Guild, and the Guild allows only one person of any name to be registered, Michael J. Fox inserted the 'J' into his name. He used the 'J' as a tribute to actor Michael J. Pollard.

Then there’s this guy, who’s not the Chief in “Get Smart” but was cast from the same mold. Stern no-nonsense business-guy type, perfect for the 50s.

Married to Vivian Vance. He reportedly pasted her one in the eye, prompting Lucy to tell Vance to dump the guy.

I bring this ep up for two reasons. One: the plot involves the theft of some old expired - or rather, withdrawn money.

That's the real thing. I guess you can show it on TV when it's expired. And then there's this:

Somehow I like knowing that they did, in the end, get along.



It is, God help us, 1976.

I didn’t know Josef Albers did shoe ads.

Really, that’s just awful, but typical of 70s newspaper graphics. Mod

Few remember the chain. It was their answer to K-Mart.

Opened in 1962, had hundreds of locations, eventually totaling 336. Failed by 1983.

1976 in a nutshell: please call ahead to make your appointment to buy your meat

Why would they pass along the savings? Gouge ‘em, and give it to ‘em hard.

  Any more fine print and he would have stood six yards high




Such a broad menu:

“What kind of fish do you serve?”

“Lady, it’s fish”

“I know, but cod? Pike? Walleye?”

“It’s got a crunchy coating, that’s all I know. And it comes with fries.”

Trademark application:

“Three or more stars. Other fish. Costumed fish and other costumed sea creatures and those with human attributes. Anchors. Plain single line rectangles.

No info on the chain, other than it existed, and then it didn’t.

Ha ha Jugs get it


Joseph Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera cartoons fame, had an idea to make a movie about ambulance driving. Twentieth Century Fox gave him development money to deliver a script. Barbera heard that Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who'd written several James Bond movies, was interested, and hired him. Barbera set up Mankiewicz with a local ambulance company for some "real world" experience. Mankiewicz rode in an ambulance driven by Tom "Hap" Hazard, and witnessed the results of a stabbing on the Sunset Strip, as well as potential suicide and heart attack victims. After these ride-alongs, Mankiewicz know he had the makings of a terrific movie, and wrote the original script for this movie.

Sheer amiability!

Joe Camp. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Made his pile off the Benji films. Plot:

A cavalry outpost in the Wild West of nineteenth century U.S. is in need of horses. The Captain of the outpost gets word that they're about to receive a shipment of fine Arabians. What he gets, is a shipment of camels.

Hijinx ensued.


Excuse me but I am unclear on the name of the movie you are advertising

Buddy, do you think it matters?

I can’t find any information about the theater. The location is impossible; you can’t be two blocks west of the St. Paul airport and be located on West Kellogg.

I wonder if this led to great frustration, suffered in shame and silence.




Some odds and ends in the Comic Sins section to close otu the year. And yes, the typeface is different. I lost it in the crash and have not yet located the backup. (Yes, I looked there.)



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