Showing category "Pop Culture" (Show all posts)

HOLMES AND WATSON: THE NEXT GENERATION

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, October 6, 2017, In : Pop Culture 
Last night I finished reading Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study In Charlotte, the first book in a trilogy about Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson - the great-great-great-granddaughter and great-great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The story is set in the modern day at a prep school in Connecticut, where both protagonists have been sent by their respective families for different reasons and who meet quite by accident (or so we are first led to believe).

Jamie is a rugby player ...

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A CLASSIC SONG RECONSIDERED...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, September 7, 2017, In : Pop Culture 
“Eleanor Rigby” is one of the most popular of the hundreds of songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles. It is also one of the best examples of their growing maturity as lyricists at the time, a song containing poetic qualities not found in such earlier works as “She Loves You” or “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

Unlike so many of those earlier compositions, which for all their energy were merely variations of the traditional love song, “Eleanor Rigby...

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ERB MOVIES OF THE 1970s

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, June 19, 2017, In : Pop Culture 

As Phillip R. Burger pointed out in an essay included in the 2005 Bison Books reissue of Richard Lupoff’s Master Of Adventure, 1975 was a particularly good year to be a fan of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.

For one thing, it was the centennial of ERB’s birth, which meant that much attention was being paid to the author and his works. As part of the centennial celebration, Irwin Porges finally published his long-anticipated (and definitive) ERB biography, Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man...
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THE TARZAN NOVELS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, June 16, 2017, In : Pop Culture 

This project grew out of my son Joshua’s stated desire to read the entire run of the authorized Tarzan novels - the original series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and those ERB Inc.-sanctioned novels by Fritz Leiber, Philip José Farmer, Joe Lansdale, Will Murray and Michael S. Sanford - more or less in the order in which they take place. When Josh announced his intent, I decided to compile this chronology for the purpose of helping him and other fans who might be considering a similar reading pr...


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GIVE THE GIFT OF READING

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, December 1, 2016, In : Pop Culture 

I have always loved the written word – reading it, writing it, at home or at school or at the office or sitting in the back seat of one of Mom and Dad's old Volkswagens when I was a child – and it has been my great fortune to have been able to turn this love into something resembling an actual career. (Much to the surprise, I'm sure, of a certain fifth grade teacher who once made the mistake of telling me that I would never amount to anything… but that’s a discussion for another day.)...


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HAIL TO THE CHIEFS...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, October 28, 2016, In : Pop Culture 


By this time next week it will all, at long last, be over. The American people will have spoken, and - barring any last-second temper tantrums, court challenges or some other kind of monkey wrench thrown into the works - we will know who the 45th President of the United States will be and, for better or worse, we’ll be getting our first real glimpse into what the next four years may hold for our nation.


But I don’t want to talk about the election or the candidates anymore. It’s just go...


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DYLAN'S NOBEL AND "IS IT ART?"

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, October 14, 2016, In : Pop Culture 

If someone had told me while I was sitting at the breakfast table Thursday morning that I would be spending much of that day defending the decision to award Bob Dylan this year’s Nobel Prize for literature, I suspect I would have done a spit take and blew Raisin Bran all over the room…


Every year when the Nobels are announced, there is always at least one recipient who becomes the subject of some form of controversy. This year that recipient was Mr. Dylan; a lot of people agreed with the...


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NEW TARZAN IS A WINNER

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, July 4, 2016, In : Pop Culture 

It occurred to me recently that it had been a while since the last time I devoted this space to reviewing a new movie. This seems like as good a time as any to rectify this - and frankly I could not have picked a better movie with which to do so.


Full disclosure: The Legend Of Tarzan was one of those movies I was looking forward to with both great anticipation and, at the same time, a certain degree of dread. Anticipation because, as I have written about many times in the past, Tarzan is a c...


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ELEMENTARY, DEAR READER...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, May 13, 2016, In : Pop Culture 

(NOTE: The following is a longer version of one of my recent newspaper columns.)


Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to become reacquainted with an old friend. A fellow I first met when I was a young boy and who became one of my most faithful companions as I was growing up. A gentleman who taught me about the importance of being observant, and of not allowing emotions to overpower logic - a skill I readily admit I have yet to master, though I continue to strive in that direction...


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MEMOIRS OF A BAT-FAN

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, January 15, 2016, In : Pop Culture 

MEMOIRS OF A BAT-FAN



In case you happened to miss it (you’d be surprised, it seems like there is always a few who somehow manage to not receive the memo), this past Tuesday marked an important milestone in the history of American popular culture. 


Well, it was important to some of us, anyway...


January 12 marked the 50th anniversary of the night that the television series Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, premiered on the ABC television network (WLS-TV, Channel 7 in Chicago if y...


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. BURROUGHS

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, August 31, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

Tomorrow, September 1, marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of my favorite author: Edgar Rice Burroughs, father of Tarzan, chronicler of Barsoom and Pellucidar, and the man whose stories helped teach me to read and made me want to become a writer myself. 


In celebration I thought it might be appropriate to share a poem in tribute to Burroughs that I wrote roughly 20 years ago now…



IN MEMORIAM: ERB


A Poem By John Allen Small



With simple words on paper

He drew a map that led me

On a ...


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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION (A REVIEW)

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

This past weekend my wife and son Joshua and I went to see the fifth entry in the popular Mission: Impossible film series, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation


And just as was the case with the previous four movies, I came away with mixed feelings. 


On the one hand, it was a fun, entertaining, well-made film... probably the best one in the series so far, in fact, strictly in terms of overall entertainment value. Witty and reasonably intelligent, with strong performances all around and a bet...


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THE SURPRISE IN THE MAILBOX...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

Every now and then something happens that makes me just sit back, scratch my head and wonder at what point the cosmic axis shifted so violently that I ended up in a world so different from the one I grew up in.


Case in point: 


Just before noon Tuesday, while putting together this week’s issue of the newspaper where I work as News Editor, I took a break long enough to walk across the street to the post office and retrieve my daily mail. One of the items I pulled out of the mailbox happened...


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PEZ GOES TO HOLLYWOOD...?

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

I read an article the other day which reported that the Pez candy company is planning to produce a movie based on their candy dispensers, more or less along the same lines as The Lego Movie.


Hmmm....


Now I stand second to no one in my fondness for Pez. I remember my brothers and I using our Pez dispensers as pseudo-action figures when we were little kids, and often find myself wishing that I still had the Green Hornet Pez Dispenser my parents bought for me (for a mere 33 cents, if I remembe...


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HAN SOLO: A LITERARY CHRONOLOGY

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

Here's something I promised Win Eckert I would post when I got home, following a discussion on the topic that we had at his house during our recent visit... 


During the first wave of Star Wars prose fiction that began with Del Rey’s publication of Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye in 1978, L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian trilogy (which takes places prior to Han Solo’s ownership of the Millennium Falcon) represented the earliest chronological adventures in the series; t...


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The Davy Jones-Scooby Doo Counter-Revolution Polka (or, A Very Brady Crossover)

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, In : Pop Culture 

I have written a time or 10 in the past about my great childhood love of two great old TV series, Batman and The Green Hornet, both of which originally aired on ABC in the 1960s. Both shows were produced by a gentleman named William Dozier, who - in an effort to garner a larger viewership for The Green Hornet, which wasn’t quite bringing in the ratings of the other show - came up with the idea of having the Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato appear in an episode of Batman.  


Now you have t...


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LIFE WITH ARCHIE? NOT FOR LONG!

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, In : Pop Culture 

A few years back, the folks at Archie Comics put a new spin on the age-old question of which of his two girlfriends their teenage hero would ultimately wind up with: spoiled rich girl Veronica Lodge, or down-to-earth “girl next door” Betty Cooper. 


The resulting six-part mini-series, entitled “The Married Life,” had Archie Andrews imagining what his future life might be like under either scenario (with three issues apiece devoted to each would-be bride). The “what if” premise pro...


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FAREWELL, LITTLE PRINCESS

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, In : Pop Culture 

Even after my parents bought our first color television set when I was a little boy, it seemed that most of the programs I enjoyed watching were those that had been filmed in glorious black and white.


After school every afternoon it was the Three Stooges, the Little Rascals and the original Max Fleischer “Popeye” cartoons on Channel 32. Around dinner time Mom or Dad would flip the switch over to Channel 9 for the nightly reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show. Channe...


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THE KINGSTON TRIO: A WORLD OF MUSIC

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, November 7, 2013, In : Pop Culture 

(Above left: The poster at the entryway of the Kingston Trio traveling exhibit at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City through May of 2014. Above right: KT founding member Bob Shane holding copies of both the paperback and hardback editions of the anthology The Green Hornet: Still At Large, which contains my story "Bad Man's Blunder" in which The Hornet meets Bob, Nick Reynolds, John Stewart and Dean Reilly. Below: Just a few of the great KT albums released over the years.)



Longtime r...


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MY 100 FAVORITE MOVIES (FOR THE MOMENT, ANYWAY...)

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, October 21, 2013, In : Pop Culture 

One day last week on Facebook my buddy Henry Covert posted a list of his 100 favorite movies and challenged some of us to compile our own lists. This is what I came up with, bearing in mind that such lists can be fluid things and that if I were to compile the same list a week or month or year from now many of those listed here might be in a somewhat different order, or not included at all.

I have long maintained that there is a tie for my all-time favorite motion picture: "Star Wars" (the orig...


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BOOKS I READ THIS SUMMER

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, September 12, 2013, In : Pop Culture 


It was nice to see Tishomingo resident and fellow writer Tom Morrow stop here at the newspaper office the other day bearing copies of his recently released second novel, Yesterday’s Gone – The Senior Class of ‘61


Yesterday’s Gone is a follow-up to Tom’s first novel, Dust In The Wind, which followed the adventures of  17-year-old Dave White as he leaves his home in Oklahoma for a job harvesting wheat in the summer of 1960. The new book begins with Dave returning home, and follows ...


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WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN...?

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, In : Pop Culture 
Pictured: Clayton Moore, the REAL Lone Ranger; and Armie Hammer, the (unsuccessful) pretender to the throne.


Everyone else has had their say by now. I guess it's my turn.


The family and I went to see the new film version of The Lone Ranger last weekend. It was one of those movies that I had been both looking forward to and dreading ever since first hearing that it was being made. 


Looking forward to because I've been a fan of the legendary Western character pretty much all my life, ever sinc...


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SOME OF US STILL DREAM OF JEANNIE

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, In : Pop Culture 
A funny thing happened the other day while I was on the Internet checking up on the latest news. 

I ran across a couple of articles telling of how 78-year-old actress Barbara Eden wowed the crowd in attendance at last Saturday's Life Ball in Vienna, Austria, by showing up dressed in the iconic pink harem costume she wore in the 1960s television series I Dream of Jeannie.

Joined onstage by former President Bill Clinton, Eden addressed the crowd and atone point even performed the classic "Jeannie...

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REMEMBERING THE REAL "SON OF KONG"

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, In : Pop Culture 
Ray Harryhausen: 1920-2013


Every little boy has his heroes. It’s a fact of life. And it is equally true that every little boy grows up dreaming of getting the opportunity to actually meet some of those heroes, and to tell them just how much of an impact they have had upon his life. 


Back in 1925, a boy named Ray went to the theatre and saw a silent film entitled The Lost World, an adaptation of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel about Professor George Edward Challenger and his expedit...


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BOOK REVIEW: SKULL ISLAND, BY WILL MURRAY

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, April 18, 2013, In : Pop Culture 
(Cover art by Joe DeVito)


The year 1933 was an important one for American pop culture. That was the year that saw the debut of not one but two of our country’s most popular and enduring fictional icons, characters who still live in the hearts of millions of fans nearly a century later. 


One was Dr. Clark Savage Jr. - better known to his legion of admirers as Doc Savage, the intrepid adventurer, surgeon and crimefighter who was the lead character in 181 issues of his own pulp fiction magazin...


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THE FOUR-COLOR PERIL: DOC SAVAGE IN THE COMICS

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, April 11, 2013, In : Pop Culture 

(Note: This is a recently revised version of an article I originally wrote about 10 years ago. If anyone who reads this is aware of any titles I may have missed, or has additional information that should be included, please let me know so I can make any appropriate changes for a future revision.)



Doc Savage has had a rather spotty history so far as the comics have been concerned. 


In 1936, Lester Dent and pulp illustrator Paul Orban submitted a proposed “Doc Savage” comic strip to vari...


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GO WEST, YOUNG MAN

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, March 29, 2013, In : Pop Culture 

A Fond Look Back At Marx Toys' 

"Best Of The West" Collection


by John Allen Small



(NOTE: The original version of this article was written two years ago, but I've never been able to determine whether it ever actually saw print in the publication for which it was intended. My messages to the publisher were never returned and no confirmation of its publication was ever forwarded to me. So I'm posting a slightly updated version here for those who have the same fond memories of these marvelous ...


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RECENT READS WORTH SHARING...

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, January 21, 2013, In : Pop Culture 


As a lifelong bookworm I always like it when I get the opportunity to read books in order to review them in my weekly newspaper column. Over the Christmas-New Year’s holiday season I had the opportunity to peruse several such recent releases that I felt were worth passing along to our readers. 


It will come as no surprise to longtime readers of this column (or anyone who knows me well at all) that my favorite among this crop of recent material is the long-awaited biography of my all-time f...


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I'M DREAMING OF A RED PLANET

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, December 6, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

(Yes, that's really me in the lower left corner... as I looked back in January of 1982.)


 

Perhaps it should have come as no surprise that this week’s report by NASA, regarding the data collected by the Mars rover Curiosity, was do doggone anti-climactic in light of all the Internet buzz and media hoopla that ensued after scientist John Grotzinger announced that the findings were destined “for the history books.” 


It’s hard to live up to that kind of advance publicity. Just ask Kim Kar...


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NOSTALGIC CHILLS AND THRILLS

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, October 26, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
(Above is my attempt via Photoshop to recreate one of the TV  Guide ads that ran for WGN-TV's "Creature Features" movie program back in the 1970s.)


 

It was the Autumn of 1970. There is no earthly reason why I should remember it so clearly today, seeing as how I was all of 8 years old at the time and I sometimes seem to have trouble these days recalling things that happened just a few minutes ago. But for me that era burns bright in my memory like some eternal sunny summer day, a warm shelter o...


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PIC OF THE DAY - CLASSIC DOC

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, October 15, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

I always thought it would have been cool to see "Classics Illustrated" versions of some of the great pulp heroes like Doc Savage, Tarzan, et. al. So I decided to make my own version of a "CI" Doc cover just for fun; used the VHS packaging art from the 1975 Ron Ely-George Pal movie because - say what you will about the film itself (I liked it, but that's a discussion for another time) - this art is pretty cool and does has an appropriate feel about it in my opinion.
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ZEN AND THE FINE ART OF PACKRATTERY

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, October 4, 2012, In : Pop Culture 


Lancelot had his Holy Grail; Indiana Jones, his Lost Ark. And, for many years,  I had The Record.


Not just any record, you understand. The object of my quest was an album entitled Somethin’ Else, recorded by The Kingston Trio and released by Decca Records in November of 1965. 


I’ve been a fan of the Kingston Trio since I was a small boy. Between the two of us, my father and I had managed to collect every album that the Kingston Trio ever recorded… except this one. So I spent close to ...


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Happy Birthday ERB!

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, August 30, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
(Thanks to my old friend Julian Frye for sharing this photo; please note no copyright infringement is intended.)


Since this Saturday (September 1) is the 135th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Rice Burroughs, I thought I'd share this poem I wrote a number of years ago in honor of my favorite storyteller. It's not great but it came from the heart:


IN MEMORIAM: ERB


A Poem By John Allen Small



With simple words on paper

He drew a map that led me

On a pathway to adventure:

From Africa and Hell's ...


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I'D LIKE TO LIVE IN MAYBERRY, TOO...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, July 12, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

One of our current county commissioners here where I live has a favorite expression that he voices whenever the discussion turns to the differences between the way things are done now and the way they were done in days gone by:  “We’re not in Mayberry anymore.”


I understand what the gentleman means when he says this, but each time I hear it I find myself fighting back the urge to respond: “We never were living in Mayberry! Mayberry doesn't exist. It’s an entry in the Atlas of Make-...


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COSMIC LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

 

Somebody – it may have been one of my high school English teachers, but I can’t remember at the moment – once told me that a person can’t learn anything valuable from reading science fiction, or from watching it on television or at the movies.


Who says? 


If, indeed, my old college professor Dr. Bill Finger was correct in observing that there are lessons to be learned at every stop we may make along the way in this life, then it stands to reason that popular fiction in general – a...


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THANK YOU, MR. LUCAS

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, June 7, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
(The Town Cinema theatre, Kankakee, Illinois, June 1977)


As difficult as it is for me to acknowledge, it was 35 years ago this week that a trip to one of the local movie houses where I lived had an unexpectedly profound impact upon my imagination – and, indeed, upon my life.


The movie in question had actually opened in other cities a couple of weeks earlier; between that time and the day it finally arrived at the old Town Cinema theatre in Kankakee. Illinois, I had seen a number of news rep...


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YOUNG READERS DISCOVER CLASSIC AUTHOR

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, May 18, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
(Art by the legendary Frank Frazetta!)

 

For much of the past several months I have been devoting much of my free time to helping to promote what is STILL my favorite motion picture of the year thus far: the Disney Studios’ release John Carter


As I noted in this space earlier this year, this wonderfully crafted film – based on the first novel in an 11-volume series of science fiction tales penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan – was unfairly pegged as a “flop” even ...


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FROM THE ARCHIVES: "THE JOHN A. SMALL DO-IT-YOURSELF COUNTRY SONG WRITING KIT" (1998)

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, March 9, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
This is something I did for laughs way back when, then stuck away and forgot about until i came across it while going through some old files the other day. Please understand that it was not my intention to put down country music; I happen to like a lot of country music, although most of what I like was the stuff that was recorded back before anybody ever heard of most of the big "stars" of today like Blake and Miranda what's-their-names.

Anyway, here it is...

*      *      *

The John A. Small Do...
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RIP Davy Jones

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

Just heard the sad news that Davy Jones of the Monkees has passed away at the age of 66. It was odd because I was listening to one of his songs with the Monkees - "Early Morning Blues And Greens," from the Headquarters album - when I got the news. The Monkees was my favorite rock group when I was a kid; I'm one of those first generation fans who can remeber (albeit just barely) when the group was still recording and the TV series was just wrapping up its original run. The Monkees were my intr...
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GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, February 2, 2012, In : Pop Culture 

The family and I had the opportunity recently to see Red Tails, the George Lucas-produced historical film focusing on the famed Tuskegee Airmen – the fighter squadron made up entirely of African-American pilots who played an important role in America’s involvement in World War II.


It’s a film that Lucas had been fighting to bring to the big screen for over two decades – he reportedly self-financed the project with nearly $100 million of his personal fortune – and I can tell you that ...


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You Celebrate Your Way,I'll Celebrate Mine...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, January 12, 2012, In : Pop Culture 
(Now here's a Marx Brothers movie I would have liked to see...)


In spite of my best intentions – not to mention repeated vows that I most certainly will never let it happen again – every now and then I find myself inexorably drawn into online debates about topics that are of interest to me


The latest example occurred just after Christmas, when I became the target of ridicule hurled in my direction by  someone I could only assume is too young to remember a time when personal computers were...


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CELEBRITY CRUSHES...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, October 14, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

Ran across a thread on www.moviefanfare.com yesterday where guest blogger Peter Eramo, Jr shared his own personal top five celebrity crushes - stars who, to use his own words, "are simply hot, hot, hot!"


It was an interesting list to say the least. Not surprisingly it included three current celebrities - Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Christina Hendricks - two of which I have to admit have never done much for me. (I'll leave it to others to figure out which two.) I was impressed t find...


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Won't Find These In Overstreet's...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, September 8, 2011, In : Pop Culture 


A while back I wrote about a website where a fellow has been designing his own fake comic books covers and shared an example of his work. That got me to thinking that I've taken a stab at that same sort of thing every now and then for the past few years, and thought maybe I'd share some examples of my own work from time to time. This is one I did about six or seven years ago; it was inspired by a discussion I had with my son Joshua, who was about 13 or 14 at the time, regarding the fact that ...
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THIS ONE'S LIKELY TO GET ME IN TROUBLE WITH SOME FOLKS...

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, August 16, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

Flipping through the television channels some years back, I stumbled upon a television news program which had devoted its entire hour to examining what has apparently one of the most popular religions in modern America.


One segment of the program which particularly fascinated me followed four members of this faith as they travelled about their own personal version of Mecca, pausing at various shrines to pay tribute to the object of their earnest devotion: a statue bearing his likeness, the p...


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SHADOW OF THE BAT

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, July 22, 2011, In : Pop Culture 


When I was a little boy, there were two heroes that I really looked up to.


The first was my father. Well, I suppose that’s typical enough…every little boy I ever knew wanted to grow up and be just like his old man, and all the little girls wanted to be like their mommies. That is, until all those little boys and girls grew into teenagers, and suddenly Mommy and Daddy were somehow transformed (if only for a brief time) into Mother and Father. The Dreaded Enemies.


The other great hero of ...


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PIC OF THE DAY: All You Need Is The Thing!

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, July 15, 2011, In : Pop Culture 


There's a great blog - http://braveandboldlost.blogspot.com - manned by a fellow who does a killer job of creating his own team-up comic book covers. He originally did a series of imaginary "Brave And The Bold" team-ups between Batman and a myriad of guest stars you'd have to see to believe; more recently he set Batman aside to concentrate on a new series of "Marvel Two-In-One" covers featuring The Thing in similar team-up situations. I was glancing through the site today after not having had...
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SOMETIMES THE MUSIC IN YOUR HEAD SHOULD STAY THERE...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, July 8, 2011, In : Pop Culture 
Have you ever noticed how some things seem to lodge themselves in your brain to the point that you just can’t drive them away, even if you bang your head over and over against that big pecan tree in your backyard?

The worst part about it is that, more often than not, these unwelcome mental lodgers tend to be things you’re not the least bit interested in. Things you weren’t consciously thinking about, and maybe wouldn’t consicously think about even if your life depended on it. And sudde...

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MORE TREK: THE EUGENICS WARS

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, June 24, 2011, In : Pop Culture 


As long as we're on the subject of "Star Trek," let me begin by stating that there's a story behind the above illustration...


Back in 2000, as much for my own amusement as anything else, I wrote an essay entitled "The Eugenics War Declassified," in which I attempted to explain how the Eugenic Wars first mentioned in a 1966 "Star Trek" episode could have still occurred given what had actually transpired historically during the intervening years. As a fan of Philip José Farmer and his Wold Ne...


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"ALL RIGHT... WHO CALLED ME A TREKKIE?"

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, June 23, 2011, In : Pop Culture 


 (Note: The above picture is my son William standing in front of the original model of the USS Enterprise at the Smithsonian Institute's Air and Space Museum during or visit to Washington D.C. in 2009)



 

“I didn’t know you were a Trekkie, Small.”


The comment was made by my boss one day a number of years ago as he happened to overhear a conversation I was having with a co-worker. We were talking about the film “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” which I found (and still find) to...


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(From The Archives) CROSSOVER CONTEST ENTRY

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, June 10, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

(Note: The following was my entry in a contest Time magazine held in the late 1990s - I forget the exact year right off - in which the publication asked its readers to submit ideas for an episode of a television series in which characters from another series make an appearance. The winner was some dummy that had Homer SImpson turning up on an episode of "E.R." I still like MY idea better....)


*      *      *


Dear Time:


My name is John Small. I live in Ravia, Oklahoma, and the following is ...


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From The Archives: "ELEANOR RIGBY" RECONSIDERED

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, June 9, 2011, In : Pop Culture 
(Note: This is a paper I wrote for my Introduction to Poetry class in college back in 1988. The assignment, as I recall, had to do with using what we had learned about delving into the deeper meaning of poems and applying it to popular songs; the professor assigned each of us a different song and, knowing that I was a Beatles fan, he gave me "Eleanor Rigby". He made a point of saying later that he didn't really agree with my interpretation of the piece, but gave me an "A" anyway. I don't know...
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Pic Of The Day - For Kingston Trio Fans

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, In : Pop Culture 
Awhile back some of my fellow posters over at The Kingston Trio Place (http://www.kingstontrioplace.com/) were discussing what actors might have been cast in a movie about the popular folk group had such a film been made back in the 1960s. I liked a couple of the names that were tossed about and made this fake poster to advertise their dream project. Went over well enough that I thought I'd re-post it here.
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From The Archives: QUESTOR

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, June 6, 2011, In : Pop Culture 
Came across this old file that I wrote back in college (circa about 1989 or '90) as part of a "fanzine" a buddy an I put together. This is probably my first real attempt at Phil Farmer-style creative mythography (it probably shows) and as such set the stage for so much that has happened in my life since then.

So without further ado...

*      *      *

 THE QUESTOR FILES


By John Allen Small


On occasion in various regions of the planet Earth during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there we...


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THE NEW MYTHOLOGY

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, In : Pop Culture 
(Note: This essay was originally written approximately a decade ago. It has been revised slightly for inclusion here at this time; I apologize upfront for any inaccuracies stemming from the passage of time that I failed to catch during that revision process.)


“Mythology  n. The collective myths and legends of a particular people, usually describing the exploits of gods and heroes…”



Every era of Mankind’s existence has produced its own unique set of heroes, and the past century has ce...


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POP QUIZ No. 1: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ME...

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, May 23, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

I have often been accused of not being in step with the rest of the world when it comes to my preferences, beliefs and outlooks on life. Personally I’ve never much cared about such things, and typically when the accusation has been thrown my way my response is that I’m fine and it’s the rest of the world that is out of synch. 


This test was created to determine if I’m really that far off into my own little world, or if there are more of us out there than the masses would care to beli...


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(From The Archives) DREAMCASTING DOC SAVAGE

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, May 20, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

I was digging through some old files the other night and ran across something I wrote that suddenly seemed noteworthy again in light of our most recent celebrity controversy... 


It was written in response to a lengthy discussion amongst members of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society concerning an article in the July 7, 1999 edition of Variety in which it had been announced that former actor, former governor and philandering husband Arnold Schwarzenegger was planning to star as Doc Savage i...


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CULTURE IS JUST A BOWL OF YOGURT

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, May 19, 2011, In : Pop Culture 

Somebody once told me that I didn’t have any culture.


It happened way back during my college days, but I remember the incident as vividly as if it were yesterday. Some classmates and I took a trip up to Chicago one weekend (apparently it was one of those all-too-rare weekends when none of us had any term papers to write), and while we were there one of our number suggested that we pay a visit to one of the city’s famed art galleries.


I didn’t really want to go. To be honest, I don’t...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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