The day the clown died: The Hammond Circus Train Wreck:

Back in the early 19th century the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was the second largest circus in American. The circus was based in Peru, Indiana and was started by Carl Hageneck (June 1844-April 1913). He was a seller of wild animals from Germany.

He sold many exotic animals to zoos in Europe and also sold animals to P.T. Barnum. He was known for creating the blueprint of how zoos are laid out in terms of creating a more natural setting for that particular animal. A lot of his ideas around the way animals are trained or kept in zoos are in used in present day. His career revolved around animals and money so having a circus of his own was a natural step for him.

Around 1907 a business man named Benjamin Wallace bought the circus from Carl Hagenbeck. He already had a circus that he had formed with a previous business partner name James Anderson in 1885 called “The Great Wallace Shows.”

Source: Library of Congress

Wallace first instinct was to bring together the two circuses and called it the “Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus.”

However Carl Hagenbeck did not want his name used once he sold his circus and eventually sued Benjamin Wallace for use of his name. However Hagenbeck ended up losing the suit and the circus continued to used the name.

Carl Hagenbeck died on April 14, 1913 in Hamburg, Germany due to a deadly snake bite.

By 1918 the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus was rivaling another well known circus P.T. Barnum. The circus had over two hundred performers and had grossed over one million dollars in both cost but made over well that amount in revenue. The traveling circus main mode of transportation was the trail and railroad. The circus was so huge that it took two full trains that had over 25 wooden cars each just to accommodate everyone connected to it.


On the early morning hours of June 22, 1918 while the circus was traveling from their last show in Michigan City, Indiana to Hammond. Which was only a short travel distance one of the train engineers fell asleep missing any signals to slow down, to change tracks or completely stop, and smashed his train into theirs.

There were reports that the impact of the trains colliding were so huge the it wake up people who lived near the tracks. The accident was so loud that it brought people nearby jolt up and run towards the accident to see what happen. Because all of the cars in those trains were wooden and the only kind of light that was used by that time was kerosene lamps a huge fire was predictable. So not only did people who were on the train felt the impact of the horrible accident they also had to deal with fire.

About 90 people did not survive the accident and their were over a hundred injuries reported. It took those who were helping find anyone on that train hours to pull out the dead bodies. Although those numbers are not exact because of the badly the accident was.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Less than a week later more than half of the people who died in the accident was buried in a cemetery called Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. More than a thousand people showed up for the funerals and more than 3 clergymen of faith presided the funerals.


The Showmen’s League of America brought a section of the cemetery earlier in the year and named it “Showmen Rest’. That section has a very distinctive feature. It has five elephants surrounding that area. The elephant’s trunk is down and is in a position of some kind of performance act.

Unfortunately the wreckage from the accident was so tremendous that not all of the victims from the wreck were identified. There bodies were so badly burnt from the fire that they hardly had any identifiable markings on them. Most of the victims tombstones have “Unknown Male”, “Unknown Females on them. Most of the other tombstones were marked by the way the deceased was found like “Baldy” or “Smiley.


The lucky ones that survive the accident wasn’t sure who was at fault and decided that the show still should go on. Other circus lent their equipment to the circus and they only missed two performance that year. The Hagenbeck-Wallace circus continued until 1938 after trying to stay afloat with mergers but when the Great Depression hit between 1929 the late 1930’s the circus could not financially stand on it’s own.

Until next time!

Source: Wikipedia,

Artist’s Spotlight: @charlesclary !

This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @charlesclary !

  1.  Tell me a little about yourself.

“My name is Charles Clary and I am a paper artist currently living and working in SC. Im currently the Foundations Coordinator at Coastal Carolina University where I teach a wide range of class including 2D Design, 3D Design,  Drawing I, Drawing II, and Concepts in the Artistic Process. I grew up in Tennessee and received my BFA in painting with a minor in illustration at Middle Tennessee State University and then went on to get my MFA in painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design.”

2. What made you interested in paper cutting as an art form? 

” I got into paper cutting by pure happenstance. i was awarded a residency in NYC when i was going to Grad school and got to live and work in the city for 4 months. I was still exploring painting at the time but found that my work was moving in a more 3 dimensional avenue. I started doing these large scale wall drawings that incorporated cut out illustrations of characters I was creating at the time but found that they were just the tip of iceberg of what was to come. Since the studio I was working in didnt have a woodshop I had to find creative avenues to explore this new venture. On a trip back home from my internship at Pierogi Gallery I happened upon a paper store just outside the fashion district and decided to stop in. Martha Stewart at the time was making beautifully colored scrapbook paper that measured 15″ x 15″ and I was taken. I grabbed as much as I could and went back to the studio to play around. I was hooked from that moment on. The work started out small due to the restraints of the paper I was using but eventually evolved into the large scale installation work I do today. There is a sense of delicacy and fragility with the work but also stability and an overwhelming quality as well.”

3.  What are some of your current inspirations in creating your art?

” I find inspiration in the strangest of places. As a child I really wanted to become a microbiologist but after being subjected to movies like Andromeda Strain and Outbreak I moved on. That imagery stuck with me though. The complexity of viral and bacterial colonies, mold, mildew, necrotic flesh eating diseases, anything of the sort really resonated with me. I also find inspiration in fungi, computer generated sound waves, and topographical land formations. I also find a lot of inspiration in the practical effects of horror films. i guess you can say I love macabre imagery. Any kind of mourning jewelry or mementos are also inspiration and have a direct correlation to my frame installation work. Music, any genre metal, symphonic, rockabilly, 90s alternative,  is a big inspiration as well and informs a lot of the shapes i use in the work.”

4.  Can you talk about the first art piece you created.

“So I think the first major piece I created that put me on the path I am on today is “Triple Radimacue Infestation”. This was a piece I created immediately when I got back from my residency in NYC. It was my first exploration into large scale installation. It was 6′ x 45′ and was comprised of over 100 paper towers, 6 large panels, and 3 smaller panels. It was my break out piece and was exhausting to create. Since the paper was 15″ x 15″ to 12″ x 12″ it needed support structures to live on so I derived a system of cutting out panels, made of wood, in very organic shapes mimicking that of bacteria or fungal growths. I ebbed and flowed off the wall creating rythmic undulations that made the work come to life. It was an exhilarating experience that I never looked back from. “

5.  Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“It has been a whirlwind summer especially dealing with COVID ant the necessary shutdown, but shows still went on. I work in multiple different bodies of work at a time so different iterations of the work was shown this summer. In June I had the privilege of having a solo exhibition at my gallery Paradigm in Philadelphia where I showed “Be Kind Rewind” an exhibition that dealt with the nostalgia and escapism of film by creating paper sculptures from 1000 found vhs boxes. the show will have come down by the time this comes out but the work will still be available at  I also have solo show that is up now at The Jones Carter Gallery in Lake City SC. this exhibition is titled “Memento Morididdle” and consists of 355+ frame works that explores the notion of trauma, loss, and healing.

This will be up until November of this year. I’ve also been included in several group shows at my other gallery RO2 in Dallas Texas exploring. Up now is a group exhibition that explores current conditions and contemplations of a world in the midst of a pandemic. Along with exhibitions Im also very active with conferences and will be speaking at The Death and Culture Conference with my paper “Transforming Memento Mori: A Contemporary Lens” and the annual SECAC conference with my paper “Memento Mori: A Struggle With the Past. “

If you like to know more about Charles Clary and his work. This is his contact information:

Instagram: @charlesclary


Hidden Destinations: La Isla de las Munecas

Located somewhere in Mexico City where the Laguna de Teshuilo is. There is a place called “La Isla de las Munecas” (The Island of the Dolls).

Why is there a place that has thousand of dolls just randomly hung everywhere? Well it all stemmed from an urban legend. A local resident named Don Julian Santana Barrera was living a normal life during the 1950’s. He had a wife and family but one day decided to leave them for unknown reasons and moved into an island close that was on Teshuilo Lake and purely isolating himself from not only his family but from everyone. He claimed the island as his own and decided to not only lived there but to take care of it.

Don Julian Santana Barrera

Between the time frame of himself living in total isolation on the island and leaving his family he came across a disturbing find near his island and the Teshuilo Lake. He found the body of a young lady that had seem to have drown in the lake. While he found the body he also noticed a doll near it. Then it clicked in his mind that the two correlated with each other and started an obsessed behavior pattern for almost fifty years. He took the doll and hung it from a nearby tree because he believe it would make the spirit of the young girl he found in the lake happy.

From there he decided that in order to live on that island and not to anger the spirit of the young girl he found any doll he found he would hang it up on his island. Over the span of decades he every surface of the island was cover with some kind of doll or doll parts:

He said he kept adding the dolls to the island because he would hear whispers or footsteps near his hut and was terrified that if he didn’t obey the young girl’s spirit then there would be deadly consequences. This destination became so well known that people would come to visit the island bring dolls as a peace offering to appease the young girl’s spirit wishes. Some would even brings dolls in hopes that the young girl’s spirit would blessed them or offer a miracle on their behalf.

Unfortunately Don Julian drowned in 2001. Some say that his body was found in the same spot that he found the young girl almost 50 years ago. There are some people that believed that Don Julian was mentally not all together there and think that the experienced of him finding the young girl did not happen at all. Even his family that he left behind did not believe his story.

I have never visited this location but I would imagine just getting there would be an experience. Walking through an entire island with decades worth of dolls hanging from every surface would be unsettling during any time frame of the day.

Would you want to take a trip to Doll Island? Comment yes or no below!

Until Next time!

Source: and Wikipedia

Frances Glessner Lee: A lady’s quest to make true crime dioramas

At first glance you see this picture and you probably think that this lady is working on furniture for her grandchildren or children’s dollhouse. In actuality this is Frances Glessner Lee and she led an incredible life. She is making recreations of true crimes scenes for educational purposes.

Frances Glessner Lee was born on March 25, 1878 in Chicago and was born into a rich family. Her father was a wealthy Industrialist. Her and her brother had the best of everything that a family during that era could want. They were both home school but only her brother continued his education at Harvard while Frances married a lawyer. However it was a divorce from the lawyer and an inheritance when Frances really started to stand on her own two feet.

The true crime doll size scenes were influenced by George Burgess Magrath. He was a Harvard classmate of her brother and had an insatiable interest in medicine and death investigation. George Burgess Magrath was Boston’s chief medical examiner until his death in 1938. Him and Frances were so passionate about true crime, the process in handling the dead, and true crime investigations that they both rally for drastic changes be made in all fields. Such as getting people in the medical field replacing coroners and she gave money to Harvard to create the Harvard Department of Legal Medicine. She also gave the school an enormous amount of money to the school to further fund the Political Science classes and changed the system of how these classes were taught. The school made such leaps and bounds in this field that other schools they were teaching the same subject adapted their programs to Harvard’s.

The whole true crime doll scenes came about stemmed from Frances Glessner Lee want of students who were studying this field to get as much of an experience than just hearing lectures. And of course taking students to an actual crime scene was a no no because of the high possibility of disturbing the crime scene. So this was Frances next amazing effort and you can see her true talent start to pour out. Through the decade of 1940-1950 Frances had held a bunch of week long meetings and would take her scenes with her. She had created with the upmost detail 20 true crime scenes and called them: “Nutshell of Unexplained Death.” She would also extend the invitation of theses week long meetings to other people in the police, political science field, and medical field to see if they were able to solved the scenes from the true crimes scenes she made.

She would place a scene down and anyone who was part of her meetings would have about an hour- 90 minutes to figure out what happened. Frances would also spare no expense when it came to making these scenes because the estimated cost of each one was about $3,000 up to $4,000 during the 1940’s. They were so well done that Harvard still uses some of the scenes that Frances made to the present day.

The police force in New Hampshire was so impressed by the advances she created in the police and science field that she was made an honorary captain.

Frances Glessner Lee spent her whole life dedicated in advance the fields of science and police and died on January 27, 1962.

A couple of years ago my friend Sarah and I went to an exhibit called “Murder is her Hobby.” At the Renwick Gallery which is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum In Washington D.C.. The exhibition contain at least 18 of Frances true crime recreations and looking at them close up was so amazing!

Sarah and I spent hours in the exhibit trying to figure out each crime scene. I also noticed the thought and consideration that Frances poured in to each scene. Even the most tiny mundane object was so well crafted by her. I really respect Frances Glessner Lee for turning a small hobby of hers into an advancement for others. She had made such an incredible impact and all it took was a pair of crafty hands.

If you like to learn more about her true crime scenes she created. There is a book that I own that I highly recommend:

Until next time!

Source: Wikipedia and the Smithisonian website

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @no_thriller !

This week’s Welcome to the Insta-hood is on IG account @no_thriller

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself:

“I was born, raised and still reside in Canada, practically right on the Canada/USA border, allowing for my childhood to be heavily influenced by both Canadian AND American pop culture.

As anyone can see from my Instagram account, I’m a nostalgia enthusiast/self appointed 80s and 90s pop culture curator – preserving and archiving bits and pieces (primarily toys, movies and cartoons) from the era of my childhood and teen years.

Honestly, I think I am the biggest fan of my Instagram feed – which makes total sense to me; I’ve had no other motivation on Instagram than to post things I really like because I like them.  The No_Thriller account is purely about sharing what makes me smile with anyone and everyone. Our world (current state of affairs notwithstanding) could use more smiles.”

2. Can you explain the process of how you came up with your IG name : @no_thriller and the theme of it?

“I have been using the “No_Thriller” handle for over 20 years now.  I believe it was influenced by a song that was playing on the radio (can’t remember which, pretty sure I misheard the lyrics anyway haha.) while I was trying to come up with a cool password for an Instant Messenger account.  After a while, it evolved from just a password to my regular handle and just sort of took over becoming my primary pseudonym for all things online.”

3. What are your three favorite themes you have posted on IG and why?

“Originally my IG account was a place to photograph and preserve my collection of action figures and toys from the 80s.  Over time it morphed into an all out 1980s pop-culture fan page.  Eventually themes did start to emerge beyond just toys. I started digging deeper than my own personal collection and found I really enjoyed deep-diving through the internets and posting photos and clips from movies, cartoons, TV toy commercials, magazine/comic book ads and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on from the 70s, 80s and 90s. 

Typically if you watch my feed for a couple of weeks you’d see that I often stick to posting something relevant to the specific day of the week, and then other randomness in between.  

Probably my favorite theme is the Saturday morning cartoon posts I try to do each week.  I spend the week looking for different cartoons that I fondly remember, or in some cases only recently discovered, and upload an IGTV video of that cartoon’s opening intro.  It’s pretty great to see the follower response each week from individuals who had completely forgot about some of these shows and comment that they were transported back to their 5 year old selves!  Like I mentioned earlier, that pretty much sums up the purpose of the No_Thriller account: make people smile.”

4. If you had to make a top five movies to watch list based on the theme of your Instagram. What movies would be on the list and why?

“I’ve always been a bit of a sci-fi nerd, so that genre would strongly influence any top 5 list relating to my Instagram account. 

That being said, the fantasy, super hero and horror genres also play serious roles in what I post.

As well, if anything even resembles a “crossover” (for example: the Fraggles and Sesame Street gang showing up in A Muppet Family Christmas) I’m all over it!

For all the aforementioned criteria, I’d have to give the top spots to these 5 films (in no particular order):

Back to the Future

The Last Starfighter

Better Off Dead

Terminator II


War Games

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

The Karate Kid II

A Muppet Family Christmas

Transformers (1986 – Animated)

Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The Goonies


Batman Returns



Raiders of the Lost Ark




Blade Runner


A Nightmare On Elm Street III – Dream Warriors”

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“In the past I’ve worked on promoting podcasts, collaborating on sticker/pin/web designs, writing the occasional retrospective article etc.

I’m always open to collaborating on different projects with other groups/individuals, but currently I don’t have anything on the horizon. 

Although, I have been considering doing another wave of stickers and or pins for the upcoming holiday seasons… AND I’m often playing around with new seasonal updates to my IG avatar (but that’s probably more for my own entertainment, haha).”

If you would like to know more about @no_thriller here is the following contact information:

Instagram: @no_thriller

Twitter: @Nthriller

Scooby Doo Monsters!

Hello everyone! One of my favorite cartoon characters has to be Scooby Doo:

Scooby Doo has encountered many many monsters and villains throughout his career. So I decided to highlight a couple. Here are five of them in no particular order:

The Puppet Master:

This villain was later to be Pietro in “The Backstage Rage” episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You? He was making a mess at the Strand Theatre so he can continue his operations of fake goods. He is mostly know by his daring hat and overpowering cape.

This villain was inspired by the Phantom of The Opera:

Ghost Clown:

As you may or may not be aware one of my favorite subjects are clowns. So when I first saw this villain I knew he was going to be one of favorites.

He is a villain that has been part of the Scooby Doo world numerous times. He has put Scooby Doo and the gang in very dangerous and deadly situations numerous times. He uses a coin to hypnotize his victims easily so he can get them to do whatever bidding he wants.

The reason why he dislikes Scooby and the gang is because during the first episode he was on “Bedlam in the Big Top.” He was mad that the circus he was working for caught him stealing from them and he was sent to prison for it. So when he acted out his revenge to the circus by making sure the circus’s equipment was breaking down the gang was close behind his tracks! They caught him and he went back to jail! So every since he made it his passion to get back at them.

Spooky Space Kook:

This villain has one of the honors of being in the first season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (Season 1, Episode 15). His real name is Henry Bascomb. His main intention in dressing up as this persona was to frighten people off an Air Force base so the land will be dirt cheap and he can buy it. I remember this villain would be glowing red when he laughs. He would also used his laughter to scare off people who were getting too close to the land he wanted to buy.

Demon Shark:

This villain was stealing pearls from M. Dreyfus who was working at Aqualand. It was later known that it was an employee who was working for M. Dreyfus name Mr. Wells who was the man in the costume. He wanted to take his boss’s job so he can take over the pearl game there.

Neon Phantom:

This villain had the power to remove the electricity in buildings and cause the people inside those buildings to be in the dark. He appeared in “The Neon Phantom of the Roller Disco.”

It was later found out that behind the mask of this villain was irate neighbor name Bill Walker. He was living next door to Sparkles Roller Disco and didn’t want to move out of his home so he literally did everything he could to stay. Even if that meant destroying the roller disco!

I will definitely have a part two to this blog post. Which ones do you want to see on future blog posts? Comment below!

Source: Scoobypedia

Until next time!!

Artist’s Spotlight: @somecult

This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @somecult

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“Do you want the real answer or the fun answer? The fun answer is that we are a hybrid rock band/performance art troupe comprised of ten monsters, witches, robots and subhumans. We come from underground Altar City, the weirdest town in the west, and perform in cabaret-style settings mixing music, improvisational jams, comedy and multi-media magic.

            The real answer is that we are a rogue band of anonymous artists, musicians, technicians, vandals and thieves. Five members make up the musical core, while the other five work in concert to bring a Some Cult show to life. We are female-fronted, multi-cultural and fiercely independent.”

2. How did you come up with your band/troupe name?

“It’s actually a play on Charlotte’s Web – “some pig!” Our director came up with the name almost ten years ago when he was doing Warped Tour with another band. A cult is a group of individuals who share a strange belief and often blindly follow a strange leader. In this case, our strange leader is Mister Rabbit – and he is blind in one eye! It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of referring to our sinister but lovable gaggle of creatures who all share one vision. Since the members all function anonymously, it made sense to call it “some” cult, a nod to the unknown.

            In the children’s book, Wilbur the pig is a runt who is about to be slaughtered when Charlotte spins her infamous web, making him seem fantastic and larger than life. In many ways, that’s exactly what Some Cult is – the idea of taking broken things and making them something spectacular. It applies to both the band and the audience – taking something that could be an otherwise ordinary experience and turning it into something extraordinary.”

3. Can you talk about each costume and what each one represents?

“The costumes and characters all have roots in the Some Cult mythos, which began with our first book, A Jazz Funeral. It’s a story that begins in New Orleans and winds up in Echo Park, California. It’s far too much to explain in an interview, but we can give you some Cliff’s Notes on each member!

            DJ Pan X – introduced in A Jazz Funeral as Pandora, DJ Pan X is the daughter of a mystic medicine man and the granddaughter of the enchanted spirit living inside of Mister Rabbit. Over time she has become the band’s human force, wielding her guitar and primal scream like a weapon.

            Kaboombox – an enchanted ghetto blaster, Kaboombox is the henchman of DJ Pan X. Made up of multiple personalities, Kaboombox is also the band’s transmitter and walking light show, a virtual hype machine and the group’s silver tongue.

            Mister Rabbit – the Saint of Echo Park. A one-eyed toy rabbit otherwise known as Wilbur Corduroy, Mister Rabbit is a pure, unbridled spirit who revels in mischief and knows only love. A tattered performer of clumsy magic and vaudeville, his wind-up key controls most of the band – even as his soul inspires the rest.

            Glory, Birdman of Alvarado – the unreliable emcee (and self-declared manager) of Some Cult, Glory is an undead drag queen with an owl skull for a head and turntables for eyes. Often drug-addled and neurotic, Glory is an art thief and street prophet who foretold of Mister Rabbit long before he appeared.

            Banshee (The Big Dirty) – A faceless shadow-creature born of pure darkness, Banshee is the percussive thunder driving the band. When he’s not devouring souls or destroying the drums, Banshee enjoys cat-sitting and long walks on the beach.

            Bon Ridley Scott – also known as the Escape Goat, Bon Ridley Scott is Some Cult’s unstable genius. A voodoo doll with button eyes, Bon often wears a straitjacket – when he’s not playing bass like the monster he is.

            Buckingham Suede – the gentleman hive, Buckingham Suede is the group’s thinker and romantic. Dressed to the nines with a hornet’s nest for a head, Suede provides additional vocals and the tasty guitar licks that underpin the sound of Some Cult.

            Black Nymph – the Queen Mother of Some Cult, Black Nymph is part human, part insect. A piano bar performer (and half-sister to the Medium), the Nymph is Some Cult’s dark siren, luring unsuspecting visitors into the artistic underground. She is also the group’s lead vocalist and costume designer, crafting each creature by hand.

            The Medium – Some Cult’s fairy godmother, the Medium is an astrological wonder – albeit with an attitude. While she doesn’t care much for people, she loves monsters – especially Mister Rabbit. A dancer and seasoned stage performer, the Medium orbits Some Cult – interjecting in the show, interacting with the audience, and generally avoiding the Birdman.

            The Collection – a dark witch and time jumper, the Collection is an outside observer of Some Cult known to inject chaos and confusion at her fancy – a terrifying trait, since she is also the band’s stage manager. Her love for Mister Rabbit generally keeps the show going smoothly, though she has been known to throw show-stopping rage-fits of sorcery.

            The really amazing thing is that these characters were written in the book – just sort of tossed out into the universe – and then the perfect artists and musicians appeared to fill the roles. It took time – a few years of auditioning and hard work – but the performers have honed the characters and inhabited the costumes in a manner that far exceeds the initial story. If you want to know more you’ll have to listen, read and come play with us!”

4. What have been your top 3 performances or events that you would like to share?

“Some Cult has been in production for six years. Four of those years were spent in pre-production – writing the mythos, designing the costumes, and investing a lot of time and money into a crazy idea! The last two years have been spent putting the actual band together – auditioning members, writing the songs, recording the album, getting the characters on their feet and going out in public. We were scheduled for our debut performance and several industry showcases right when Covid-19 hit the States. Talk about timing!

            Some Cult is such an involved, nuanced project that we have really taken our time crafting it. We wanted to come out of the gate fully-formed and self-contained, and we have been patient in getting there. All of our members are professional performers, touring and recording with various talented artists – though we can’t tell you who (wink, wink)! While quarantine certainly stalled some momentum, we have used the time wisely and look forward to blowing minds as soon as safely possible! In the meantime you can check out music and videos on our website. We are designed to be a car crash between a rock concert and an off-Broadway performance, and we can’t wait to share that with the world.”

5.Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“Some Cult is a community-oriented group, and service is a big part of our mission. When Covid-19 hit, it felt selfish to brazenly promote ourselves when so many people were struggling. The social and political unrest following the murder of George Floyd further fueled that belief. Since March we have been focusing on our community, promoting bands and local businesses and volunteering to help in any way that we can. We started an interview series called “Save Local,” in which we interview artists and establishments in our area to see how they are coping with the madness and hopefully bring them some additional attention. We helped facilitate a community event called “Save Melrose,” bringing together over a dozen amazing street artists to create works benefiting four independent Melrose shops that were completely destroyed by fire. Obviously we get some exposure from things like that, but that was never the point. The point is that we are all in this together, doing the best we can with our individual talents and gifts to create something special – the very essence of Some Cult.

            We have our first e.p. coming out on September 14, 2020. It’s called “The Arrow,” and we are super stoked on it. Some Cult is not a “singles” band – the songs tie together to create an overall experience. We will be releasing it on CD, cassette and download, along with a new book called Dungeons & Drag Queens: The Altar City Companion. It’s a full color, 150-page guide to the strange city we call home. It basically re-imagines Los Angeles as Altar City, a parallel universe of monsters and madness which is based on L.A.’s actual history.

            We will be releasing music videos and have a live show happening soon – obviously we have to ride the coronavirus wave and be responsible to ourselves and our audience, so we will not announce the performance until it is advertised. But keep an eye out – strange and magical things are afoot in Altar City!

            Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this interview – we are big fans of @lady.cult and love all the kitsch! We look forward to more of your work and sincerely appreciate your time.”

If you like to know more information on Some Cult. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @somecult

Thank you so much for the interview!

Until next time!

Boris Karloff….. as Captain Hook???

A lot of people may remember actor William Henry Pratt (better known as his stage name Boris Karloff) as this character on the silver screen:

Or as this character:

But did you know that Boris Karloff also played the role of Captain Hook on stage?:

That’s right! Boris Karloff was in a musical version of Peter Pan in 1950:

This version of Peter Pan had lyrics composed by Leonard Bernstein ( he also did scores for the movies “On the Waterfront” and “West Side Story.”) This production was supposed to be a full blown musical with a majority of the play would be in song and dance. However I am not really sure why but it only have five songs out of the many songs that Bernstein composed for it.

The Five songs that made it into it were:

“Who am I”

“Pirate Song”

“Plank Round”

“Peter Pan”

“Build My House”

This version of Peter Pan starred Jean Arthur as Peter Pan

And Boris Karloff playing two roles in this version. He played George Darling

And of course he played Captain Hook:

This stage version opened on April 24, 1950 on Broadway and had quite a successful run because it played for over 300 shows and finally closed on January 27, 1951.

I personally would of love to have seen this version of Peter Pan on stage. Boris Karloff seems like he would of been an amazing Captain Hook! The costumes and his makeup alone seems like he would of scared a lot of kids in the audience:

What stage shows do you wish you can see if you have the chance to see it? Comment below!

Until next time!!

Source: Wikipedia

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @tomatitojose!

This week’s Welcome to the Insta-hood is on fellow instagram profile:

@tomatitojose !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“I’m Tommy José Stathes, a lifelong resident of Flushing, Queens, New York City. A somewhat quiet and reserved kind of guy, I would say I have a variety of cerebral and intellectual interests related to the arts and psychology—which I mostly enjoy in a personal and introverted way. Observing and listening are what I do much more so than speaking, when I’m not writing a bit more expressively. This all strikes me as a bit amusing and ironic, since a large part of what I do creatively and professionally involves interacting with public audiences and classrooms full of students, through my roles as a film exhibitor and college teacher.  You see, as a young child, I became very interested in the media, especially film and animation history. From an early age, I sort of definitively knew that I wanted to use those interests as a basis for some kind of work or career as a teenager and eventually an adult. After various trials and tribulations, and following a somewhat self-forged and unorthodox path, I’ve more or less made good on that childhood aspiration, and I’ll discuss some aspects of that here!”

2.  What is cartoon carnival?

“My monthly 16mm Cartoon Carnival is an ongoing film screening series through which I showcase a selection of films from my 16mm film archive, which I began building as a movie and vintage-collecting preteen. I began this series in June of 2009, when I was 20, and had built up a large enough collection at that point where I could regularly compile programs of different material to show on a regular basis. I’d become bored of watching films by myself at home, and was collecting a lot of material that didn’t circulate in other ways. So, I figured others in the New York City area would enjoy seeing this material, and regardless, watching films with an audience is a completely different (and much more fun!) experience than viewing alone at home. 
Back in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, local movie theaters would often compile packages of classic cartoons for Saturday or Sunday matinees, advertising them to children in the audience throughout the week or month, and these screenings were often dubbed Cartoon Carnivals. So, I felt it would be fitting to adopt that same moniker for my series as a way of paying homage to the history of dedicated animation screenings in mainstream settings. However, my Cartoon Carnival series is somewhat more esoteric.
In this series, we cycle between topical themes, holiday themes, and “just for fun” type themes which may center on certain ideas, objects, scenarios, news items, or anything else fun or timely that I can think of. It’s a somewhat esoteric series at this point for a few different reasons. First, I’m using archival 16mm prints that are anywhere from 5 to 95 years old, and screening them with a real 16mm film projector in the same room as the audience, rather than giving a digital presentation. ‘Reel’ film projection has become largely extinct in this century, and it’s always a delight to show the films this way, and have people be curious or admiring of the 16mm projector in the back of the room. It’s a very warm and organic way of watching films, in my opinion. Second, what I’m doing is mixing up a combination of some classic Golden Age favorites and audience pleasers of the 1930s and 1940s, featuring some well known characters, but also including some incredibly rare items from the silent era, the 1910s and 1920s, and some obscurities from later, which normally wouldn’t be included in screenings designed for general audiences. There are many films in my collection of which only 2 or 3 other copies are known to exist in other private or institutional archives, and many dozens or hundreds of others that simply do not circulate in open channels. I enjoy inserting these rarities into these programs occasionally and having that as part of the appeal or draw of the events. 

When pandemic quarantining began, I naturally lost the opportunity to put these events on in brick and mortar venues with physical crowds in attendance. I scrambled to readapt to an online format and after a crash course in learning some things about live streaming and investing in a couple pieces of equipment, I’m glad to say I pulled it off with the help of a few colleagues (as well as loyal and new fans!). This month, we’re up to the 94th Cartoon Carnival program. It’s been quite an eventful and fun decade plus with this particular project—and while it’s certainly an effort to keep it going on a monthly basis now, especially in a new format for a global audience, I also feel like we’re still just getting started. There are so many more themes, combinations, and revivals we can do with a series like this, especially when the sourcing can be done from an archive of something like 2,000 prints.”

3. What made you want to pursue in learning and talking about older cartoons?

“As a child, I grew up mostly around adults as opposed to other children.

The majority of my close family members and their friends and our neighbors were all born roughly between the period of 1920-1960, which necessarily meant that I spent a lot of time in the midst of aesthetics and discussions shared by people of those generations. I loved cartoons, like most young children do, but I also had an intense interest in history, and an inexplicable interest in collecting things from a very early age. While I was seeing a lot of classic ‘Golden Age’ cartoons as a toddler and beyond—think things like Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Popeye, Woody Woodpecker, Little Lulu, and so forth—and discussing them with all of these adults who grew up watching the same films themselves, I’d been able to see a few slightly earlier cartoons, such as some Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse entries. These were older, black and white films, and those monochromatic images really struck me as being extra surreal and stunning to me. I also recall seeing some film footage of Charlie Chaplin here and there, and being mesmerized by the silent pantomime in monochrome. I really wanted to see and learn more about all this, and with the help of some of these relatives, I began finding and obtaining more examples on VHS video, and eventually acquiring some film and animation history books by the time I was 5 or 6 years old. 
This interest was so intense that I felt compelled to tell other people around me about what I was wondering about, admiring, or trying to learn about or find and obtain. I recall some adults listening to me quote facts from animation history books and showing them cartoons I had on VHS tape, and some of them exclaiming that I was professorial, even at such a young age! I wasn’t looking for praise or admiration over this; I simply really thought this stuff was so fun and interesting and wanted to share it. To this day, I really get a kick out of seeing others watch these films and enjoy them. It’s more meaningful to me than watching the films by myself, for my own enjoyment. In a possibly ironic twist, I rarely do that anymore, either, on my own, unless it’s preparation for some work related effort. 
In a more global sense, I’ve always felt historical films are an especially intriguing time capsule of sorts. It’s quite special to be able to see moving pictures and ideas in motion from the past, in a way that was not possible at all to capture or replicate just prior to the late 1890s. While the act of animating still drawings or illustrations predates motion picture filmings of live action subjects or events, it somehow didn’t ‘click’ (pun not intended) to the earliest filmmakers, of the 1890-1905 period, that there could be filmed drawings set in motion, even though stop motion photography of physical objects had been practiced. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that animating still artwork is a much more tedious and careful act than a lot of raw live action filmmaking can be, and so it’s extra special to have animated films from a still early period, from 1906 and onward, to study and enjoy today.
Long story short, all of this also factors into my work as a college level animation history teacher. For the past few years, I’ve been teaching multiple classes relating to all this at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn, where I take great pleasure in sharing films and information with new and upcoming students from a variety of creative disciplines. Seeing and hearing their reactions to these historic films is a pleasure to me and is also insightful, as I learn a lot from them when their varied perspectives are shared. One other personal opinion I’ll share is that I believe historical animated films age a bit better than many forms of live action films do, and continue to be appealing on the surface as leisurely viewing material to a wider variety of contemporary viewers…which probably makes my teaching and exhibiting work a bit easier than, say, that of historians or exhibitors who specialize in other forms of historic films.”

4.  Who are your top 3 cartoon characters and why? 

“I’m going to say that my top 3 favorite animated cartoon characters were all incredibly important during the silent film era. Going in chronological order according to when the characters first debuted, they would be Bobby Bumps (1915), Farmer Alfalfa (1915), and Felix the Cat (1919). 

The Bobby Bumps cartoons, animated by Earl Hurd (1880-1940), were the first series to use what we call cell animation, which was developed by Hurd. In short, Hurd patented the process whereby clear sheets of transparent celluloid could be used in the process of animating a film. It’s similar to the concept of ‘layers’ in modern programs like Photoshop, where different moving or morphing elements can be sandwiched together and photographed without changing all of the artwork on one single level. Prior to this, the process of animating for motion pictures was far more limiting both aesthetically and technically, and the cell process allowed much more to be done in terms of design and also in speeding up production. As for the character itself, Bobby is a mischievous little boy with a small dog, Fido, who are always getting into trouble together. I find the humor to be subtle but very creative and amusing. Hurd apparently found inspiration in his own young son, and the character dates back to the earlier 1910s when it first appeared in a few different newspaper comic strip iterations with different names. Given the age of the artist, Hurd’s particular drawing style, and the early point at which this series appeared in production, I also view this series as a rare and unique form of a more Victorian era form of cartooning set into motion, which is fascinating to be able to watch more than a century later. The series has a decidedly more antiquated look than others that were in production at the same time, and looks nothing like what was made by other animators in the 1920s and 1930s. It truly is from another time. 
Hurd enjoyed some success with this series and with the financial returns on having his cel animation patent be part of a trust company that was formed with his 1916-1919 producer, J.R. Bray, which capitalized on the process and forced some rival studios to pay a royalty for employing the process in their films. If you look at some of the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons, for example, the Bray-Hurd Process is credited at the bottom of the title cards, until their patents expired in 1932 or so. Hurd later worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) for Disney. I’ve always taken a particular interest in the Bumps cartoons, working hard to collect as many of the previously neglected and lost films as possible, and am proud to have produced a Blu-ray/DVD collection of fifteen of the original shorts, featuring brand new restorations. These films are now available in a volume called Cartoon Roots: Bobby Bumps and Fido. 

The second character, Farmer Alfalfa, was created by another newspaper cartoonist and early animator, Paul Terry (1887-1971). Farmer Al first appeared in a short cartoon called Down on Phoney Farm (1915), which I was delighted to help rediscover some years back in an untitled, unidentified print in the Library of Congress’ collections. Not long after, Terry was brought in to produce this character in a recurring series for the Bray Studios in 1916 (where Bobby Bumps was well underway!) and, after a few more independent stints, Terry finally organized his own studio and began releasing a quantity of films on a regular basis in 1921. 
Terry didn’t really develop any groundbreaking technical innovations for animation in the same way Hurd did, but, he was one of the first to release animated cartoons at breakneck speed, and was practically the largest producer of cartoons in the silent era and 1920s. His studio produced something like 450+ “Aesop’s Fables” cartoons from 1921 through 1929, many of which featured Farmer Alfalfa. I enjoy the character a lot because he’s a cranky old man who’s always getting into trouble in his farmhouse, on his property, or anywhere else he’s adventuring through…and the entirety of the animal kingdom (including most other humans) mostly hate the guy! It’s pretty funny to see how much he fails in getting along with others. Perhaps it gives comic relief to all the disagreements we come across in real life. Terry continued using this character heavily in the sound era, in many cartoon entries of the 1930s and 1940s, and many baby boomers remember seeing these older cartoons on early television in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s fun when they recall these early childhood memories and I tell them that I’m still showing them in my programs. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Felix the Cat. Felix first appeared in 1919 as part of the Paramount Magazine series of film releases. However, he wasn’t Felix at first! He was first known as Master Tom and lived in ‘Pussyville.’ No joke. Soon after, though, the character was aptly named Felix. The classic original Felix the Cat cartoons were produced in 1919 through 1930, animated by Otto Messmer and a team of assistants, and produced by early animator and studio owner Pat Sullivan.

I won’t go into too much further detail about Felix for a few reasons: there is much controversy, misunderstanding, and disagreement out there about Felix’s initial creation; and, more than anything, it’s a character that’s still rather well known and identifiable on sight to a wide variety of people. 
In any case, Felix was the first animated cartoon character to achieve worldwide super stardom, which many historians and critics would credit to his cute and appealing design, creative ways of problem solving, his knack for expressing a full range of thought and emotion, and having a sort of reliability where earlier or contemporaneous cartoon characters were sort of flat or lacking in such dimensionality. The classic original Felix films are very endearing and fun to watch as a result. And, Felix was also the first animated cartoon character to be merchandised heavily for toys and other sorts of sponsored products…which was groundbreaking for animation, and paved the way for Mickey Mouse to achieve (and surpass) those critical acclaim and profitability benchmarks not long afterward. I’ve also been working on producing some restorations of these silent Felix films, and hope to have more news on that project soon. “

5. What upcoming events or news do you have coming up that you would to share?

“Great question, as this is a somewhat special month in animation history! This coming Saturday, August 15th at 3pm eastern, is when I’ll be holding the 94th installment of my Cartoon Carnival series as a live stream. We’re paying homage to Betty Boop, as this August marks the 90th anniversary of Betty’s debut (in a more poodle-like form) in the Max Fleischer cartoon Dizzy Dishes (1930). Betty rocked the world of animation and film for so many reasons, and it’s difficult to believe she’s finally become a nonagenarian. This special Cartoon Carnival is going to be an extra long program with 15 cartoon shorts, a variety of archival behind-the-scenes clips to give some historical background info, our usual Q&A session, and possibly two brief intermissions instead of one. Whew! It should be a lot of fun, though, and while it will focus on one cartoon series instead of being a potpourri of characters and studios, I think it makes a great introduction to the Carnival series for anyone who doesn’t already know about the shows. A link to my site which gives further information and ticket & viewing link can be found here:

Here is the trailer for the upcoming event:

If you would like to learn more about Tommy here is the following contact info:


Instagram: @tomatitojose

Thank you so much for the interview!

Creem Magazine: The Documentary !

Hello everyone! I have partner with Creem Magazine to help spread the word about there amazing documentary. Last year they celebrated their 50th anniversary and a documentary was release about the history of the magazine.

The trailer about it is below:

Link to purchase a online ticket to watch is below:

Until next time!

Photo credit and trailer: Creem Magazine

Partnership with Creem Magazine