Friday, December 28, 2007


The first lady surprised me with a very cool Christmas gift this year with this original piece of artwork featuring Rom and Starshine by the one and only Fred Hembeck.

My sneaky wife somehow pulled the wool over my eyes as I didn’t see this gift coming. I’m glad I didn’t as I love a good surprise, especially when it’s original artwork.

It seems coincidences always swirl around me as I just discovered that Fred has done another amazing piece of artwork of everyone’s favorite toaster head cyborg for a wonderful cause. I was catching up on Fred's Blog and saw his Dec. 23rd post about a fund raiser for Bill Mantlo, one of Marvel’s best writers from the 1970's and 80's and the man who wrote every issue of Rom. Sadly, Bill was terribly injured when he was struck by a car in the early 90's and has since been in the care of an institution for folks who suffer from brain damage.

There’s a lot of great Rom artwork up for sale on ebay right now, including Fred’s Rom art! Go check it out as the auctions end tonight and if you can bid on some of the artwork you’ll know your money will help a man who gave many people a lot of joy.

Read more about the generosity of Floating World Comics, who made this all possible. They also had an art gallery show back on Dec. 6 featuring Rom related artwork.

Also check out the nice tribute book called Mantlo: A Life In Comics and the proceeds also go to help for his care.

Of course while you're buying books don't forget about Fred's new book!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007


As the Mayor of Neato Coolville I just want to wish everyone a Cool Christmas and a Neato New Year! A big thank you to everyone who has visited Neato Coolville this past year and we invite you back anytime.


I attended a small elementary school in Osage Beach, Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks. The school was and still is the classic little red brick school house. Every year all grades K-6 participated in a Christmas program.

Luckily, my mom taped the 1977 program using an audio tape recorder. Recently I found the tape but unfortunately the quality of the audio had deteriorated. I did manage to rescue one song, Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

A few years back my second grade teacher gave me a photograph of this very Christmas program from 1977.

Since we didn’t have video cameras back then I’ve tried to recreate this fun memory using the photo and the audio to make a video. (For some reason I had trouble uploading it to YouTube so the quality isn't the greatest)

Here I am with helmet hair and sweater vest at age seven.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Here is a rare Gruffman’s souvenir photo folder with Santa.

Now here’s the story behind this photo and why Frankenstein's Monster is playing Santa.

For years Neato Coolville resident Stanley Lunder played Santa Claus at Gruffman’s Department store delighting children every year during Christmas. One year, poor Stanley agreed to play the Frankenstein’s Monster during a Halloween promotion at Gruffman’s and he was a big hit and brought in big crowds for the department store.

The sad and horrific thing was that he had a terrible reaction to his monster make-up and it permanently stuck to his face and hands. Gruffman’s sent him all over the country to some of the best doctors to try and remove the make-up, but for some unknown reason he was to wear his monster make-up for the rest of his life.

When Christmas rolled around Stanley actually tried to play Santa Claus, but unfortunately this only lasted a week or two as he kept scaring the children. Gruffman’s saw a huge drop in customers and poor Stanley Lunder was soon out of work.

What was a newly man made monster supposed to do? Well this does have a happy ending as Stanley Lunder learned to live with his new face and became successful traveling around the country to sideshows, fairs, movie theaters and Halloween events. He would eventually return to his hometown of Neato Coolville and open the very successful wax museum appropriately named Dr. Frankenstein’s Wax Museum.


I can just imagine her husband sneaking up on her taking this impromptu photo as she stands on a table decorating the tree in her bare feet. This found slide is dated 1959.

Friday, December 21, 2007



As you can see, I swiped my logo off of this box for the 12 Days of Christmas. I found it sometime before Thanksgiving at a small flea market and picked it up on the cheap. Antique stores and flea markets are fun to visit around the holidays as most dealers fill their booths full of old Christmas stuff.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I've been enjoying some of the music sharing blogs this Christmas season. These kind folks really do a lot of hard work to share some rare and out-of-print music. These albums and songs will probably never be offered on a CD at your local music store. So check out these sites if you need some last minute Christmas music!

Check The Cool Wax
Ernie (Not Bert)
Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else


This image comes from a 1970's slide and it looks like Santa forgot the milk and cookies and found something a little better! That a boy, Santa!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Last week, we had a nice frost or light snow dusting early in the morning and it was the perfect backdrop for this vintage Santa made by Irwin Plastics.

I like how the frost made the grass look fuzzy kind of like a good shag carpet!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I’m bummed! You know why? Three important celebrities came to town and I missed seeing them. No autographs, no photographs and not even a lousy hand/tentacle shake because I didn’t even know that they were here. I missed them by 30 years and I’ll tell you I’m just bummed out.

According to this newspaper clipping Sigmund the Sea Monster, Big Bird and Cookie Monster made an appearance in 1977 at Santa’s Christmas House here at the Lake of the Ozarks. Since I was only seven years old and didn’t read the newspaper I had no clue these TV stars were only a few blocks away from my school. You would think they would’ve at least dropped in at our elementary.

You know it’s kind of odd that Sigmund was hanging around Cookie Monster and Big Bird. I wonder if he was trying to get on Sesame Street since his show was canceled a few years before.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Looks like the kid in this found photo had a fun Christmas. Just check out his haul of toys from 1957.

Besides being decked out in a Hopalong Cassidy outfit he has himself a new tricycle, toy top, Fisher Price Mickey Mouse pull toy, jack in the box, snowman bank, a plush animal or two and a new microwave oven. Wait a minute. . . microwave ovens hadn’t been invented yet. Oh I see, that big box is a record player.

For fun I did a quick search and found some photos of the toys that this boy has or I guess I should say had. Most of these photos came from ebay and some other auction sites. Who knows maybe one of these toys really did belong to this kid?

Saturday, December 15, 2007


It's looking more like Christmas as it’s snowing! Just a few moments ago I looked out of the back window and noticed two deer grazing.


This card was part of a boxed set of King Features Syndicate Christmas cards from 1951. Mandrake was created by the Lee Falk and Phil Davis.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Welcome to Neato Coolville’s 12 Days of Christmas!

We start with an old box of tree ornaments.

Love that artwork, but I’m a little worried that Santa might fall if he reaches out too far for that ornament. Be careful Santa!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Wow a book featuring over 900 pages of artwork and stories from Fred Hembeck, the funniest man in comics will hit book stores like a stampeding elephant this February. That’s right, just in time for you to give a copy to your sweetie for Valentine’s Day!

The internet has been buzzing with Hembeck hype about this book and it might be a good idea to purchase early just in case it sells out. Apparently, the bearded one will be selling signed copies along with copies with a character sketch inside.

So this February, be part of comics history and jump on the omnibus by purchasing The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus. I know the Neato Coolville Public Library will be ordering a copy.


Check it out. Mr. Toast has gone vinyl!

You can get your own for a very reasonable price, just go to a sampler of things for details.


I know this has been recommended on other sites, but I also need to put in a plug for this very entertaining and informative book about those vintage tourist spots of the Smokies region.

The Land of the Smokies Great Mountain Memories by Tim Hollis is a fast and fun read and it will bring back enjoyable vacation memories if you ever have toured this part of the country. If you’re like me and have yet to travel in these parts you’ll also enjoy this book as I did. It’s packed with so many fun photos, old brochures and souvenirs that you’ll trick your mind in believing that you did go with your grandparents back when you were a kid.

Tim has unearthed so much hidden tourist history from this region that it will be the ultimate vintage travel book for the Smokies! Pick up a copy at your local book store or go online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Before the blog I started with the photo sharing site called Flickr and I’ve been enjoying it since I first joined. It is such a fun community of like-minded people with artists sharing their photographs and artwork, historians trying to preserve history and collectors creating virtual museums.

Flickr has some great groups that collect photos, scans and artwork for a common theme.

This is a list of some of my favorite groups in no particular order -

Retro Kid - Has the largest collection of scanned mid-century artwork from kid's books to kid's advertising on the net.

Vintage Christmas 1945-1970 - Always a fun place to visit anytime of the year, but especially nice this month!

Vintage SuperMarkets, Grocery & Convenience Stores - I have a thing for the classic Supermarkets and this group will make you feel like you've gone back in time, just without the muszak.

Spirit of '76 - Forget the 80's, 90's and now as this group is stuck in the red, white and blue year of 1976.

Raiders of the Lost Snacks - This group wins the prize for best name as it celebrates vintage to modern snack items that feature a character.

Zooty the Newt - I started this group to hopefully reintroduce and to keep around the old environmental, conservation and safety character mascots.

Animation History Archive - You can see a wonderful collection of items from the golden age of animation.

Mold-A-Rama - Dedicated to those wonderful wax sculpures.

Roadside Dinosarus - No extinct Dinosaurs here as long at they're made out of concrete, fiberglass or plastic.

Vintage Disneyland - Old snapshots from the happiest place on earth before 1979.

Classic Disneyland Souvenirs - More Disneyland goodness!

Vintage Mini-Golf - Grab your putter for this fun group.

Vintage Motel Signs Only - Just good old motel signs and postcards.

Mid-Century Illustrated, Mid-Century Illustrated Originals & Mid-Century Packaging - This is a mid-century trifecta.

Sugar Frosted Cereal Museum - A virtual museum I started for vintage kid's cereal items.

Muffler Men - A fine tribute to the king of the roadside, the Muffler Man.

Vintage Halloween - Boo!

Vintage Vacations - Personal vacation photos from back in the day.

Restaurant Mascots - From Ronald to Pizza Hut Pete.

I could keep going and going but this list is already long enough and half the fun is discovering groups for yourself. The only bad thing is that it's easy to get overwhelmed and I have a hard time keeping up with all my favorites. These groups are easy to join and I'm sure they would love to have you, but you must first be a member of Flickr. A limited membership is free.

Friday, December 07, 2007


I'm not into collecting political buttons but I wanted to put a plug in for a friend of mine who is selling one of the rarest Truman pinbacks that's out there and it looks like there's already a lot of interest on ebay. So go have a look at the Harry Truman Inauguration Pinback Button.

Now I know if I ever see one in a dollar junk box at a flea market I'll be sure to pick it up.


Wow, you sure don't see these everyday! A friend is selling a 1982 DC Comics style guide and I've had the pleasure of flipping thru it and it's very cool. So tell all of your DC lovin' pals about it.


One of my favorite drive-in intermission films is this animated Dr. Pepper one with the witch doctor. At the end you'll see the Dr. Pepper St. Bernard and I noticed that someone listed this sign on ebay featuring the St. Bernard character. I wonder if it came from an old drive-in?

Thursday, December 06, 2007


For all of you fishermen, fisher women, fisher kids and just fisher fanatics my Dad has been making trout fishing nets for the past couple of years and he’s had a very nice response. He sells a good selection of different sized nets to choose from and all are handmade with fine woods. Also, if you are a D.I.Y. kind of guy be sure to check out all of his very popular net kits!

Besides all the fishermen buying them to land trout he’s also sold his nets to people who just want to hang them on the wall as the perfect lodge decoration.

So if you or any family members or friends are looking to purchase a quality handmade net then visit Franklin Nets and tell my Dad his son the mayor says hi! Happy fishing!!!


Ah, the first snow has arrived and big flakes are floating down, A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing on the stereo and I just plugged in the Christmas tree.

Life is good!


Mmm mmm moo! Right now as I try to type this post, I’m enjoying one of Popsicles’ new frozen treats called Mighty Moos. These vanilla and chocolate flavored ice cream bars are smooth and tasty and kind of on the healthy side. The good news is that the box boasts that you get as much calcium as a glass of milk and they’re low in fat!

Ok, I just finished my Mighty Moo and I’m tempted to have another, but first lets read the Popsicle riddle found on the stick.

Hardy har har!

Next time you’re at the supermarket pick up a box of Mighty Moos and it’s not my fault if your mouth starts mooing with delight!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Have you ever traveled on an untamed highway before? I took that trip when I read Noah Snodgrass and Shawn Dickinson’s comic book Untamed Highway and let me tell you this highway has lots of curves!

Untamed Highway finds it’s inspiration from all the cool roadside stuff from those stylin’ mid-century days told thru pictures and words underground style. The boys have covered it all with fez finks, gorilla masked meanies, vivacious vixens, secret societies, alligator boys, freaky freaks, shrunken heads a tiki or two and b-movie baddies!

So go put on your Fez, jump in your hot rod and take off on a trip you’ll never forget on the Untamed Highway!