SUICIDE THEATRE (1950): FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

“I wish I was dead, Jim!”

SUICIDE THEATRE, aka THE LITTLE THEATRE – When you spend your life happily wallowing in oddities like I do, you often get the mistaken impression that everybody must be as aware of the out of the way nuggets of joyous weirdness as you are. I was assuming that the presence of future Star Trek star Deforest Kelley in the surviving footage of this incredible television rarity made Suicide Theatre as well-known as Mr Spock’s ears. Today I had a conversation with two very special ladies (and you know who you are – I’m kidding) who are usually pretty deeply immersed in the weirdass wonders of life but they had never heard of this show.

In a way it’s serendipity that a recognizable face like Kelley portrays the unfortunate man contemplating suicide in this playlet followed by psychological commentary on depression and suicide PLUS critical evaluation of the performers in the playlet. If it was an unknown figure starring as the down-on-his- luck character in this one and only example of Suicide Theatre plenty of people (myself included) would probably be convinced the surviving footage must be a hoax with modern-day people dressed up in 1950′s clothing and surrounded by 1950′s-era furniture. 

I first Continue reading

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FIVE WILD WEST-THEMED COLLEGE SPORTS TEAMS

 The Frontierado holiday is fast approaching! Friday, August 1st is the big day so Balladeer’s Blog is right here with another seasonal post.

This one will honor the Top 5 western-themed college sports teams from the divisions covered here. The award is named after the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Drovers, the official college sports team of Frontierado every year.

You can soak in the grandeur of the USAO logo at left, then revel in this year’s standings for “The Drovey Award”.

5. YAVAPAI COLLEGE ROUGHRIDERS – Not just Teddy Roosevelt’s unit from the Spanish-American War but various outfits of Wild West outlaws and bounty hunters also went Continue reading

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HOTTIE LOLA LOVES BALLADEER’S BLOG

Lovely Lola with a kind shoutout to Balladeer's Blog.

Lovely Lola with a kind shoutout to Balladeer’s Blog.

“Whatever Lola wants … Lola gets!” Had to be said. Meet a lovely young lady who has impeccable taste in blogs! Lola entrances men wherever she goes and it was very nice of her to send this shoutout to Balladeer’s Blog!  FOR ADDITIONAL SEXY LADIES CLICK HERE:  Continue reading

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AGENTS OF I.S.L.A.M. – EPISODE THREE

Sajjad Ahmed and his wife Muafia were slain by intolerant Muslims

Sajjad Ahmed and his wife Muafia were slain by intolerant Muslims

The hot cable series Agents of I.S.L.A.M. (Intolerant Savages Loathing All Modernity) continues to reign supreme in the ratings! There is word now of a potential movie deal AND merchandise from the show is selling like crazy! Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead have real competition from this series about violent religious fanatics who practice a faith that is never specified on the show. Episcopalians, maybe?

The Agents of I.S.L.A.M. are forever blowing up and beheading everyone who disagrees with their homophobic, misogynistic and otherwise intolerant beliefs. In the very first episode they even mutilated the genitals of an entire village of unwilling young women, an act that was strangely applauded by the cowardly hypocrites at Brandeis University. Last night’s episode saw the blood-soaked fanatics of the title commit a series of “honor killings”. Continue reading

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GUNFIGHTERS: TWO MORE MALE AND FEMALE GUNSLINGERS FOR FRONTIERADO

Balladeer’s Blog presents another look at the legendary tales of two more underappreciated Wild West gunslingers since the Frontierado holiday is fast approaching! Friday August 1st will mark the event, the yearly celebration of the myth of the old west, not the grinding reality. And tonight the American Heroes Channel debuts their series Gunslingers to tie in with the Frontierado holiday!  

Eleanore Dumont1. MADAME DUMONT – Decades before Poker Alice and Lottie Deno Eleanore “Madame” Dumont made a name for herself as a blackjack-dealing gambler and gunslinger. Much of the Madame’s early life is unknown but she supposedly was born in France around 1830. In 1854, when the record of her activities becomes more concrete, she arrived in Nevada City, CA as the Gold Rush was still at its peak.

The charming and aristocratic Madame Dumont had already acquired a small fortune in gambling winnings after playing cards and slinging lead in mining camps throughout northern California. Eleanore’s cash and her nascent reputation for being able to maintain order with her own guns if necessary made it easy for her to immediately open her casino named Vingt- et-Un (“21″) right on legendary Broad Street itself. Continue reading

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JAMES GARNER: R.I.P.

James Garner 2The one and only James Garner (1928-2014) passed away yesterday. Best remembered for his portrayal of slick-talking gambler Brett Maverick and Westlake-esque private detective Jim Rockford, Garner inspired the term “marshmallow macho”. That description perfectly captured Garner’s special place in the history of male role models (as much as I usually hate the expression “role models”) in the larger culture.

James GarnerFor so many American males James Garner and the characters he brought to life represented a happy medium between psychotically macho Clint Eastwood types and the hopelessly femmey Alan Alda types. Garner’s film roles are often overlooked but Balladeer’s Blog will make a point of examining them in the months ahead. In addition Garner served in the Korean War and won two Purple Hearts.

This man was a true original and with his passing he may finally receive all of the acclaim that he always deserved.  

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES – STORIES SIXTEEN THROUGH EIGHTEEN

Death MonstersBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8′s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8′s was never revealed. G-8′s war-time pulp adventures were a clear influence on the Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) character Captain America.

X-Ray Eye16. THE X-RAY EYE (January 1935) – Add another mad scientist to the pile of G-8′s Rogue’s Gallery of villains! This story features our hero and his faithful sidekicks going up against Dr Gurnig, another Teutonic terror of the technical sciences. Dr Gurnig has created a HUGE remote- controlled flying head-like object with a single eye that shoots highly concentrated X-Rays. Those X-Rays pass through a specially designed prism that amps up their power like lasers do with light, so maybe the concentrated X-Rays could be jokingly called “xasers”. Continue reading

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