Friday, December 25, 2009


She’s been the topper on the family Christmas tree for the past thirty-one Christmases and this year she will miss her first Christmas with our family. After last year, this little Styrofoam Christmas angel retired from our Christmas tree as her fragile condition had been getting worse through the years. She is now another nostalgic artifact from my youth, albeit a special one.

She started simply as a second grade Christmas craft project and was constructed using part of an egg carton, one Styrofoam ball, some yellow “angel” hair, a pipe cleaner and a generous amount of gold glitter. Each kid in class created their very own Christmas angel and after I made this one, I was anxious to get home and plant my Styrofoam angel on our Christmas tree. It was truly a miracle from God that she survived the rest of the school day and a rowdy bus ride home.

I probably had a grin the size of the Grand Canyon once she was placed on top of the Christmas tree.

For the next thirty-one years she watched our family celebrate Christmas. Her first Christmas as a tree topper, she saw me open one of my favorite toys, the ever loveable Stretch Monster. Year after year, she watched each Christmas from up high. She viewed my brother and I open countless gifts of Star Wars toys, Atari cartridges, sweater vests and VHS movies. She laughed at our crazy conversations and heated discussions around the Christmas tree. She enjoyed the company of Bluebell, our family dog who liked sleeping under the tree. She joyfully welcomed new family members and sadly said goodbye to others. She even didn't mind sharing the same room with a famous movie prop.

For me and my family she represents wonderful memories from Christmas past and even though she’s now sitting on a shelf instead on top of a Christmas tree, she will continue to remind me of family fun and family togetherness, which is one of the many and most important parts of Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone! Luke 2:8-14

Friday, December 04, 2009



This was a nice find! The box is probably from the 1940's and you can see that it was made by Producers Rice Mill in Stuttgart, Arkansas. A perfect match since the town is the Rice and Duck Capital of the World!

Monday, November 23, 2009


A special tribute is happening all this week for one of the best remembered and fondly loved actors from the golden age of Hollywood. More than one hundred blogs are celebrating the life and films of Boris Karloff during the Boris Karloff Blogathon, created by Pierre Fournier, the curator of the Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog.

The celebration starts today on Karloff’s 122 birthday and ends this Sunday, November 29. When you visit Frankensteinia or simply click on the Blogathon banner in the sidebar, you’ll find the long list of Boris bloggers.

I just added my bolts into the Blogathon and you can catch my simplistic Karloff posts over at Weird Hollow.

Also, be sure to visit the Official Boris Karloff website by clicking here.

The photos came from Heritage Auctions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Could this original cabinet card photograph of a man standing next to a roasted pig be Samuel L. Clemens?

This is the question that’s been rattling around in my head ever since I purchased this mid to late 1800's photo. Years ago, I discovered it at the antique store that I used to work at. It was buried in a stack of photographs that were mostly of babies and regular looking people.

When I first looked at the photo, I joked to a co-worker that it looked like Mark Twain. The price was affordable, so I decided to buy it and add it to my “found” photograph collection.

The odds are slim that this photo is really of the famous author. More than likely it’s a coincidence, but the man does have a striking resemblance to a younger Mark Twain.

Sorry for the watermarks, but I probably should protect the image just in case. Now let’s take a look at some of the similarities.

- Mustache, check.
- Hooked nose, check.
- Curly hair, check.
- Solid jaw line, check.
- Twinkle in his eye. (Ok, maybe not a twinkle, but it sounds good!)

Take a look at the collage of Mark Twain faces that I put together. The man’s face from my photo is stuck in the middle. Click the image for a closer look.

Now here’s a comparison of old man Twain and my photo guy.

Kind of uncanny if you ask me!

I’m not sure if this is a clue, but it is interesting that the man is photographed with a roasted pig. There must have been something significant about the roasted pig. If there wasn’t - why would he be photographed with it? Was it presented to him in his honor or was he just the cook?

If you go back to the top and look at the bottom of the card you'll notice the photographer's mark. The photographer was S. Goldman from Jefferson City, Missouri. Jefferson City is only about a hundred or so miles from Hannibal and is the capital of Missouri. (Looks like I need to do some research on S. Goldman.)

Ok, here’s a few knocks against my photo and the biggest one is that this card has scalloped edges. Supposedly, scalloped edges didn’t show up on cabinet cards until the 1890's. Maybe S. Goldman was ahead of his time!

This man looks to be in his late 20's or early 30's and Twain was in his 50's during the 1890's. (Is it possible that a negative made many years before was reprinted and mounted on this style of card?)

Twain left Hannibal in the 1850's, but he did return a few times after. I haven’t found any evidence of Twain visiting Jefferson City, Missouri.

Unfortunately, the back of the card is completely blank, void of any writings or marks.

I’m far from a Mark Twain scholar and I haven’t done the proper research, but I’ll always wonder who this 19th century mystery man is/was.

Twain would probably be laughing if he knew someone in the far future is fretting over an old photograph wondering if the image is of him. Ah, the life of a collector is an odd one and Mark Twain summed it up best about people who collect -

No one puts bric-a-brac to any very practical purpose. There’s some human instinct which makes a man treasure what he is not to make any use of, because everybody does not possess it. From an interview, “Mark Twain in London,” London Chronicle, 3 June 1899, p.3. (Found this over at

Monday, November 16, 2009


Leave it to me to throw a wrench into historical fact versus historical fiction. Most all the regular Neato Readers know that I collect old “found” photographs and that I enjoy posting them here on the blog.

Back in 2007 I posted a vintage snapshot of two young teenagers sitting in the grass.

The boy sort of looks like a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Even though the photo is probably from the 1920's it made me think of Leo’s character Jack Dawson from 1997's Titanic. For some silly fun, I titled the post TITANIC’S JACK DAWSON WAS REAL. Just like I do with most of my “found” photos I try to add a goofy title or comment.

Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t realize that people really believe (or want to believe) that Jack Dawson was real and that he sailed on the Titanic. Out of more than one thousand posts on this blog - a snapshot of two unidentified teenagers sitting in the grass gets the most action. It’s rapidly approaching 10,000 views all because I put “Jack Dawson was real” in my title.

Actually, I get a big kick out of the comments that come in from time to time for this post. Take a moment to read thru ‘em, ‘cause they’re a hoot! To make matters even worse, I added the photo to my flickr photostream just like I do with most of my blog photos. Thanks to Yahoo! and their image search my flickr photo was number one for awhile. Now Google has found the image and it ranks high in their image search. Really, this makes me kind of embarrassed, but that’s the wonders of the internet for you.

Also check out this video (click here) made from my photograph by soccergoalkeeper1. The video has more than 45,000 hits and more than 175 comments. My photo went viral and I didn’t even know about it!

The photo was mentioned in a yahoo answers post here.

Now for a little history about this “found” photograph.

I really can’t remember how I ran across it. I think it came out of a large group of photos that I purchased at an auction or estate sale. It's probably from the 1920's and it has no identification on the back. Who knows who these kooky kids were? Some have said in their comments that the photo looks photoshopped. (I wish I was that good!) No, the photo has not been photoshopped. And to answer another comment - it is not Leo’s ancestor.

I wonder why people didn’t go ape over my Indiana Jones look-a-like snapshot? Oh, because everyone knows that Indy is a fictional character just like our pal Jack from Titanic! Ah the great controversies & conspiracies of the internet. You got your UFOs, JFK, Moon Landing, 9/11, Bigfoot, 2012 and now Jack Dawson. Hey kids, Jack was not a real person, but a fictional character from the mind of James Cameron.

From now on, I better be careful with making sarcastic, smart aleck or silly post titles for the blog! Yeah, right!

(This post has inspired me to dig out another photo from my collection. It’s a photo of a man who looks very much like a famous (real) author of the 19th Century. Actually, I’ve always wondered that it might be. Check back on Thursday to see the photo.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Wow! It’s hard to believe that Sesame Street turns forty years old today. As part of the original target audience in the early 70's, I never missed watching Sesame Street. The show really clicked with my preschool era brain and jump started my learning and creativity.

I loved all the characters, but Cookie Monster was my favorite. I just snapped this photo today of one my favorite and earliest toys.

It’s Cookie Monster from the Sesame Street Muppet Puppet toy line as seen in the 1974 Sears Wishbook.

Everywhere I went, I carried Cookie Monster and I was always making him eat everything and anything. I’m surprised that he doesn’t have play-doh stains in his mouth. The orange chair that CM is sitting on was my chair of choice for all my TV watching as a kid. I would sit in that chair with my Cookie Monster Muppet Puppet and act along with the latest Sesame Street episode.

To help celebrate the 40th anniversary, the Sesame Street website is showcasing some of the best clips from each decade. You can vote for your favorite clip from the 70's! It was hard to pick just one, but my favorite is the Pinball Animation clip. Groovy fun!

A big thank you to all the folks that have worked and played on Sesame Street these past forty years. If it wasn’t for you guys and gals, I might not be able to count to ten!

This post was brought to you by the numbers 4 and 0.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Wishing all you boils and ghouls out there a Happy Halloween!

This month zipped by in a flash and the 2009 Halloween Countdown is almost over. I hope that you’ve been clicking on the countdown banner in the sidebar and visiting some of the other Halloween bloggers. There’s been some excellent posting going on this year!

A Big haunted thanks to everyone who has stopped by this month. I’ve really appreciated all your comments and emails!

Congrats to Kodama, the big winner of the Monster Head Races!

Thanks to Major Pepperidge for supplying his fab photos for the Halloween Flashback Fifty-Nine post!

More thanks goes to the Williams brothers, Larry and Tim. Without you ghouls KRYP-TV would be kind of bore! Go watch Vlad's Halloween greeting!

Tomorrow, Neato Ghoulville will slither back under a rock until next year and the blog will be restored back to Neato Coolville. Posts will be on the slim side for most of November, cause the mayor needs a bit of a break. Hey, I gotta scrounge some stuff up for 12 Days of Christmas!

Everyone be safe, have fun and be neato cool to everyone this Halloween!


Now that’s a line up of trick or treaters! Zorro, Skeleton Ghost, Supergirl, Mighty Mouse, Teddy Bear, Donald Duck, Squaw and a Moon Monster from Halloween 1958.

That Moon Monster looks like he’s up to something. Oh wait, look! He’s going to push that detonator button.

The Jack O’Lantern on Mighty Mouse’s trick or treat bag notices the detonator, but the other kids are too busy smiling for the camera.

Let's hope Supergirl and Mighty Mouse stopped the Moons Monster's dastardly plot to blow-up Halloween.

Oops, I guess I was jumping to conclusions again. That's just the button to turn on his Moon Monster lights on his mask. Of course, I should have known 'cause this little guy showed up in this slide two years later. And you know without his mask he looks like a good Moon Monster.

This is one of my favorite Halloween images in my found snapshot/slide collection.


There's no photo proof, but I was Darth Vader for Halloween in 1978. I've always wished for a photo from that night, but at least I can see a bunch of other kids dressed as their favorite Star Wars character over at the flickr group, Growing Up Star Wars. As co-creator of GUSW with my pal Glen Mullaly, I can say we always get a kick out of seeing new Star Wars Halloween images added to the group.

Halloween 1982

Go check 'em out for yourself and relive some Halloween memories Star Wars style. If you have any photos of yourself related to Star Wars from 1977 - 1985, we invite you to add 'em to the group. You can visit Growing Up Star Wars by clicking here.


David over at Quasi-Interesting Paraphernalia Inc. has created some amazing animatations based after unused Haunted Mansion concept artwork. These "labor of love" toons really take you inside a What If... Haunted Mansion. They're one of the best things I've seen all month!

Go check 'em out by clicking here!

Just for fun and since today is Halloween go watch a couple more of David's animation wizardry here and here.



"The ones that stay on" - is the tag line on this 1979 package of stage warts. Two of the warts didn't stay on as advertised as they've fallen to the bottom of the package. I guess we can give Woochie Industries a pass, because it has been 30 years.


Illustrated by John Huehnergarth and taken from 1967 The Riddle Book.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Last year I featured some of my nephew's artwork. Now his little brother has created some little masterpieces too. Here's some artwork that he made in his Kindergarten class -

And one more from the older nephew.


Visit Weird Hollow to see Vlad sing his heart out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Have you seen the new Halloween kid’s book Over in the Hollow? If you haven’t you need to pick one up. Like now! Drop whatever you’re doing and click on your favorite online book store and treat yourself or any kiddies in your life, this book.

Over in the Hollow by Rebecca Dickinson and illustrated by S. Britt is chocked full of spooky happy fun! The story was inspired by Olive A. Wadsworth’s classic counting rhyme, Over in the Meadow.

Thanks to flickr I discovered S.britt’s work a couple of years ago and have been a fan ever since. Over in the Hollow is his first illustrated book and he really hit the ball over the cemetery fence with this one. It might only take a few minutes to read the lovely story by Rebecca, but you’ll spend a few minutes on each page enjoying S.britt’s artwork.

I think my favorite page is either the Frankenstein page or the skeleton page. It’s hard to pick just one and I especially like all the little details he’s thrown in.
Now I know what book we’ll be putting on the coffee table every Halloween, Over in the Hollow!

Also, be sure to check out S. Britt’s new website. It’s just as fun as playing a board game!


Take from this 1970 Woman's Circle Magazine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We get it already about the plastic bottle! Sheesh, kind of a rip-off if you ask me. C'mon, for $2.98 I want a plastic bottle!

Monday, October 26, 2009


In the 1970's it was hillbillies, fishermen and water skiers that was associated with the Missouri vacation spot known as the Lake of the Ozarks. Seeing Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster on this Lake souvenir greeting card makes me smile from ear to ear! The only thing to make this card better would be a hillbilly Dr. Frankenstein and a hillbilly Monster. That would be better than Ozark fool’s gold!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Remember how much fun it was after you got home from trick or treating and you started going thru your candy loot? This 1961 slide photo captures that very moment and many generations can look at this and find a common piece of nostalgia.

This photo is a great example that Halloween is truly a holiday for children. Sure, as adults we might dress up and attend a few parties, but when it comes down to it the best times were those few nights when we masqueraded running door to door in search of candy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I always get excited when I find a working arcade game from the pre-video days. Earlier this year I enjoyed playing a few games of Midway's 1972 Haunted House. Here are some photos that I snapped of this classic game.

You can watch a 9 min. video all about this game by clicking here.