Halloween 1978 with Sid and Shirley

makeup debacle

I have no recollection of any Halloween costume I wore as a child. If there were pictures, I’ve not seen them for years, if at all.

Perhaps there were a couple of times I think I dressed up in college, but they’re lost on me as well. The year I turned 25, in 1978, I remember, perhaps because there was a picture.

My girlfriend Susan had a friend who was having “a Halloween costume party. I’m not sure that I had any costume ideas, but Susan did, and when she suggested, I embraced it. (Or so I remember.)

“I had a beard and a mustache at the time, so I shaved them. Then Susan and a couple of her friends made me up. We found a dress in a second-hand store, a wig and shoes from somewhere, and we went to the party, she as ‘Sid’ and me as ‘Shirley.’

“I affected a high pitched voice, but frankly, I figured that people would know it was me. After all, I was still a six-foot black person. Much to my shock and amazement, no one recognized me! Well, not until later in the evening, when my ‘five o’clock shadow’ starred to appear.

“The Halloween of 1978 inspired me to dress up for several years thereafter, though never again in drag.” I have pictures that I need to scan. My favorite was a skull mask, a wizard’s hat, and my college graduation robe. There’s a picture with me leaning on a car, reading the New York Daily News comics section.

Another involved a Frankenstein mask, beret, and a seersucker jacket. I’m sure I bought both masks from FantaCo, where I worked. Boy, were they warm.

My daughter did Halloween for a few years, often utilizing dance outfits she wore when she studied ballet. I was not inspired to dress up as I took her house to house.


Still, I relate to the sentiment of my buddy SamuraiFrog: “This is my favorite time of year, but it always brings with it the disappointment of seeing some of my fellow Halloween lovers being total hypocrites.

“Seriously, if you’re a person who starts visibly celebrating Halloween in August, don’t turn around and attempt to dampen anyone else’s spirits just because they start getting excited about Christmas in November or October. Don’t try to make people feel bad about being excited about something you’re not, you selfish prick.”

Makeup debacle

I know it wasn’t for Halloween, but Justin Trudeau’s brownface debacle seems seasonably appropriate for discussion. TIME magazine obtained a photo of Canada’s prime minister at an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed party at a private school where he was teaching in 2001.

In response to the photo surfacing, Trudeau apologized for his actions, agreed that the photo is racist, and said it “was a dumb thing to do.”

There have been many debacles, for Halloween and otherwise, about blackface. Megyn Kelly, who’s only about 14 months older than Trudeau, ended up off her NBC News show for suggesting that blackface on October 31 was no big deal where she grew up in upstate New York. But Virginia governor Ralph Northam is still in office.

On a hopefully less problematic topic, here are Halloween costumes on Pinterest. Also, 29 Best Halloween Events Near You, From Festivals to Costume Contests.

1st movie that I… (SamuraiFrog flashback)

Depends what you consider screwball, I suppose.

This is weird. I was trying to figure out what I had in draft for my blog, nearly 300 posts. I discovered this one from 2011 (!), and I can’t see that I ever published it. From SamuraiFrog, and only one answer has changed:

1st Dracula Movie: Not sure – it would have been on TV one Saturday afternoon, but I believe it was the Bela Lugosi version.

1st Disney Movie: 101 Dalmatians, which features a character named Roger.

1st movie I saw without my parents: The first movie I ever saw alone, without my parents or friends or anyone, was a double feature of a Francis the Talking Mule picture and something called The Leech Woman, a movie that absolutely terrified me, as I’ve noted.

1st movie I had to stand in a long line for: Quite possibly the original Star Wars movie. But even a longer line for Pretty Woman.

1st movie I saw with a girl: I really can’t remember. I know I saw The Great White Hope with my high school girlfriend, but her father came along. It might have been Catch-22.

1st James Bond movie: Certainly on TV, probably Goldfinger.

1st adult date movie: I’ll say Rosemary’s Baby, my freshman year in college.

1st X-Rated film: It was either Midnight Cowboy or A Clockwork Orange, depending on whether the former had been edited down to R.

1st Marx Brothers film: Duck Soup.

1st movie on videotape: Annie Hall or Being There.

1st animated feature film: Again, 101 spotty dogs.

1st favorite film star: Sophia Loren, before I ever saw her in anything.

1st film star I got an autograph from: If I ever have, I don’t recall.

1st film star I saw in person: Jack Nicholson, hanging out backstage with Mike Tyson after an Anita Baker concert at the Palace Theatre in Albany c 1989.

1st WC Fields film: I saw several in my youth, but they tended to run into each other in my memory.

1st M-rated film: The Night They Raided Minsky’s. M, BTW, became PG.

1st R-rated film: Catch-22. It traumatized me for a while.

1st movie on DVD: I had so few movies on DVD in 2011. TV shows, yes. My wife bought me West Side Story. I bought her Whale Rider and Dreamgirls. The only one I bought for me was a 2-pack of the first two Spider-Man movies, which I got from a library sale in 2010.

1st blaxpoitation film: Have I ever seen one?

1st martial arts film: I’ve seen a couple on local TV but I never knew the name of any of them.

1st screwball comedy: Depends what you consider screwball, I suppose. Is Adam’s Rib a screwball comedy? I guess I’ll say The Philadelphia Story.

1st Cary Grant film: The Philadelphia Story.

1st Clint Eastwood film: probably Every Which Way But Loose.

1st favorite actress: Barbara (Seagull) Hershey.

1st favorite movie song: “Cruella de Ville” from 101 canines.

1st favorite movie cowboy: Roy Rogers, though I knew him more from TV.

JEOPARDY!: Jackie Fuchs/Jackie Fox

Will we see Jackie Fuchs in the JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions?

When it comes to the game show JEOPARDY!, which I’ve been viewing since I was in grade school, I try to watch each episode. Thanks to the technologies, first the VCR and now the DVR, I don’t tend to see them in real time.

It was a Wednesday in mid-December when I was watching the Tuesday show. The player in one slot, an attorney and writer from Los Angeles, was asked by host Alex Trebek, “Jackie Fuchs is our champion… and was also a performer in an all-girl rock band?” She noted, “I was the bass player in the ‘70s all-female rock band the Runaways.”

What? So I immediately contacted the biggest Runaways fan I know, SamuraiFrog. As it turned out, he had happened upon the second half of the game on his own. Apparently, the producers of the show knew who she was, though I very much doubt that Trebek was aware of Cherry Bomb.

“Fuchs’ tenure in the Runaways was short — she joined the group that launched Joan Jett when she was 15 years old, under the name Jackie Fox, and left at 17. In 2015, the world found out why: According to Fuchs and several alleged witnesses, Runaways manager Kim Fowley raped her in front of a crowd, including her bandmates, while she was drugged and semi-conscious at age 16. Fowley died before Fuchs made her allegations public.”

She noted: “Once you can talk about that on camera, an audience isn’t going to faze you. It’s kind of like that’s the worst thing that can happen to you, so you know, losing a game show is not fun, but it just pales in comparison.”

Jackie Fuchs or Fox has been on variety of game shows over the years. She was on The Dating Game on the same show – though not the same segment – as Peewee Herman. “‘I was on ‘The Chase’ on the Game Show Network — it’s not on anymore… I did not acquit myself well on that show, but it made me want to get back up and do it again.

“‘So I went on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (in 2013) — and I still didn’t acquit myself that well, but it was better. I figured I would try one more time, and this time I was ready.’ In both of those earlier cases, she was identified as an ex-Runaway immediately before flaming out, “which is also part of the reason why I didn’t want to lead with that’ on JEOPARDY!'”

Will we see Jackie Fuchs in the Tournament of Champions, which brings back the best players over the past two years? There are 15 slots. Two are for the college champion and the teachers’ tournament champ. When she finished with four wins and $87,089 in winnings, she was in the 12th slot, so it was possible. However, four players since then have exceeded her score, so unless one cannot play, it’s now unlikely.

For ABC Wednesday

13 years – feeling lucky, blogger?

Roger Green, strolling the streets of Albany, talking about the weather.

After 13 years, I think blogging is easy. There are 365 days. My birthday. My two sisters’ birthdays. My parents’ birthdays, the anniversary of their marriage, and the anniversaries of their deaths. 12 posts about The Daughter, always on the 26th of the month. Music throwback – another 52.

Various holidays – a dozen more. ABC Wednesday – 52 posts. Birthday people who turn 70 – 3 score and 10. There were 21, but some became music throwbacks, so let’s say 12 additional. That’s roughly 170 posts right there. All I need is another 185. Easy-peasy.

Blogging is hard. I have no skill, and frankly little interest, in the backside of the blog, how it works. So when it doesn’t work, for reasons mysterious and frustrating, makes me wanna holler, to quote Marvin Gaye. Dustbury has been gracious and helpful and gracious in this regard.

Blogging is convenient. When I’m on Facebook and having a conversation about a movie I’ve seen or an issue I care about, it’s easier to reply with a link to a blog post I’ve already written rather than answering on the fly.

Blogging is a community. I’ve discovered a bunch of other bloggers over the years. My friend Fred Hembeck, when he was blogging, had a sidebar. That’s how I was introduced to comic book fans such as Lefty Brown, Greg Burgas, and Eddie Mitchell; maybe SamauraiFrog, as well. I was reintroduced to my old buddy, former Swamp Thing artist, Steve Bissette, who had done work for FantaCo, the comic book shop/publisher I worked for in the 1980s.

Somehow I connected with other people I didn’t know, from Jaquandor at the other end of the Erie Canal, to AmeriNZ, on the other side of the globe. Mrs. Nesbitt started ABC Wednesday, and I got involved in that early on.

Blogging begets blogging. The same month my blog started, our work blog began. Because I was blogging here, I was invited to blog on the Times Union site, something I do rarely these days, for all sorts of reasons. Alan David Doane, a young FantaCo customer in the day, had invited me to blog on a couple of his comics-related blogs.

And blogging generates connections. People from my elementary school, old friends of the late FantaCo artist Raoul Vezina, fans of donuts, and many others.

It’s even gotten me on the news: Here’s Roger Green, strolling the streets of Albany, talking about the weather. The station saw my blog post from 10 years earlier and decided to interview me.

So I guess, if I can do 13 years, I’ll keep at it for another 12 months.

A meme from SamuraiFrog: Myth Memers

I HATE it when I can taste coffee in tea water.

After SamuraiFrog experienced a lull in blogging – I missed him – he broke the dry spell with a meme. I’m in favor of that, because writing is better than not writing. Sometimes the meme will get you off the schneid.

1. Do you make your bed?

Almost never, and never willingly. When I was visiting one of my sisters back in the ’80s, she asked, “Don’t you like the feel of a newly-made bed?” And I said, “Not enough to make it.”
And if a bed is TOO tightly made, I feel like a mummy. I’ll undo almost any bed in one sleep cycle.

2. The first car that was officially yours?
Perhaps none of them.

3. Three grocery items you don’t run out of?
Eggs, milk, cottage cheese.

4. When did you start doing your own laundry?
Maybe in high school, maybe not until college; I just don’t remember.

5. If you could, would you go to High School again?
Oh, heavens, no, and I liked high school. I was President of student government, president of the Red Cross club, active in social justice actions, was on stage crew for the drama club.

6. Can you parallel park in under three moves?
No, driving in reverse confounds me.

7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know about?
Shocked? Can’t imagine. I was a janitor twice, once in Binghamton city hall, once in a department store in New Paltz.

8. Do you think aliens are real?
More than likely.

9. Can you drive a stick shift?
No, I remember the Okie screaming at me while I was burning out the clutch on her blue Volvo station wagon.

10. Guilty TV pleasure?
Old episodes of Law and Order, all three varieties, especially from the periods after I had stopped watching them. Actually, I had watched the original from season 2 until Jerry Orbach left, but the other two only sporatically.

11. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
Too cold. When I’m too hot, I’m totally drained.

12. If the world ends do you want to be one of the survivors?
Depends on what’s left. And who.

13. Sweet or Salty?

14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice bath?
I have, but I haven’t taken one in a very long time.

15. Do you consider yourself strong?
I vacillate on this. Probably stronger than I think, but not nearly as strong as I want to be.

16. Something people do, physically, that drives you crazy?
Talk on their damn devices, phones and whatnot, and almost walk into me on the sidewalk. Or worse, walk between cars and I almost hit them with my bike.

17. Something you do, physically, that you are sure drives everyone else crazy?
My daughter thinks I’m too loud, especially when I laugh.

18. Do you have any birthmarks?
Not that I’m aware of.

19. Favorite childhood game?
Pinochle or SCRABBLE.

20. Do you talk to yourself?
ALL the time. I try not to do it when others are around. Although who would know? They’d probably think I was on some miniature device. I started a short story about that…

21. Do you like doing jigsaw puzzles?
Depends. I get impatient early on, but as it begins to come together, it becomes more fun. I seldom do them alone.

22. Would you go on a reality show?
No, they hurt my brain.

23. Tea or coffee?
Tea. I never learned to like coffee. And BTW, I HATE it when I can taste coffee in tea water. Separate carafes, PLEASE.

24. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
Either a minister or a lawyer.

25. No matter how much money you have or don’t have, what are you an absolute snob about?

Like Alvy Singer, the Woody Allen character in Annie Hall, I don’t go to movies late. Not only might I be missing something important, but I can’t see when the lights are down, at all.

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