The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Children’s Card Games (234)

September 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“Famous Paintings,” published by the Cincinnati Game Company in 1897, offered a variation on the popular “Authors”: the players accumulated four paintings instead of authors. The paintings are reproduced in rather muddy brown, with a dark purple border, and show the artistic taste of the late 19th century. Here, for example, is a painting by Rosa Bonheur, who specialized in animals, and whose reputation has fluctuated over the years. Her painting “The Horse Fair” still attracts admirers at the Met.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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The Doug Skinner Songbook

August 31st, 2017 · No Comments

The Doug Skinner Songbook is now available! This elegant oversized paperback contains 46 of my songs, including such favorites as “Buenas Noches, Little Roaches,” “Love Me Unconditionally,” “My Pal Satan,” and “Bloated Plutocrats on Parade”! They’re “chillingly zany” (New York Times); they’re “scathingly witty… lullabies etched in acid” (Metro Magazine), and now you can add them to your music rack! It’s 116 pages, and it’s published by the intrepid Black Scat Books. And it’s available on Amazon. Pick up a copy, and rev up those vocal cords!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Memorable Magazines (10): Underground Press Digest

August 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Underground Press Digest was an obvious, although peculiar, idea. It featured “condensed” articles from the then active underground press: a sort of countercultural Reader’s Digest for the busy young radical.

It was published by Robert W. Farrell, who had published comic books in the ’50s (including Captain Flight, Strange Fantasy, and Wonder Boy). By the time he put out Underground Press Digest, he was working for Eerie Publications, which put out black and white horror comics, much like the more upscale Warren.

The first issue is dated January 1971, and contains 66 pages. In addition to the articles listed on the cover, there are also comics by R. Crumb, Joel Beck, and Marcia Resnick. And “Adams,” who apparently drew for the Rat, and is otherwise a mystery to me.

There was another issue published in March, but I think it quietly folded after that. (You can click on the image to see it bigger.)

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Memorable Magazines (9): True Weird

August 14th, 2017 · No Comments

True Weird was an exuberantly trashy magazine that offered articles on historical oddities and mysteries. It lasted three issues: November 1955, February 1956, and May 1956. Among the topics were the Count of Saint-Germain, zombies, werewolves, Nostradamus, Rasputin, haunted houses, the Bell Witch, and Patience Worth. Most of the material had been rehashed many times in similar books and magazines, and the True Weird treatment firmly favored sensationalism over accuracy.

It was published by that impeccably colorful publisher, Joseph Weider, who started out as a bodybuilder, and specialized in magazines for men. Among his efforts were Muscle and Fitness, Mr. America, Men’s Fitness, Fury, Senior Golf, Jem, and Monsieur. He was occasionally in legal trouble for publishing smut, and for making exaggerated claims for his dietary supplements. The editors of True Weird are listed as Ward Semple and Charles A. Smith. I can’t find much about either of them online, except that they worked on Weider’s other magazines. Maybe that kept them busy.

After three issues, True Weird changed into True Strange. No explanation was given. Is strange better than weird?

Both True Weird and True Strange are remembered for their wildly pulpy covers. Here they are, as well as the back cover of the first issue. The first two covers are by Clarence Doore, the third by John Martin. All can be enlarged by clicking.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (233)

July 17th, 2017 · 2 Comments

We have another “Jeu de 7 Familles.” Again, there’s no date or publisher, but it has the same box and back as the last example. This deck is devoted to “Cinema”; you see here the grandmother of the camera operator family. Nice jazzy ’60s art, with simplified figures and bold off-register colors.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (232)

July 10th, 2017 · 2 Comments

The “Picture-Word Game” was created by Edward W. Dolch, and published by The Garrard Press in 1941. Each card contained a word and its picture on one side, and just the word on the other. The instruction sheet explains that the cards teach “the 95 nouns which careful study has found to be of widest use in well-known readers.” Two games are suggested: “The Go-Together Game,” in which children classify things that go together; and “The What Is It Game,” in which they compete to read the word sides correctly.

Edward W. Dolch devised many “Learning Games” and educational books. I simply like the blunt simplicity of the drawings.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Illustrated Songbooks (3)

July 3rd, 2017 · 2 Comments

Chansons de France was published in 1928 by Librairie Plon. J. B. Weckerlin arranged the traditional songs, and M. B. de Monvel provided illustrations. The music is set within the pictures, standing out from the delicate colors.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (231)

June 28th, 2017 · 2 Comments

“Le jeu de 7 familles” (the game of seven families) is a popular French children’s card game. It never caught on in the US, for some reason. The deck contains seven families, each comprising parents, grandparents, son, and daughter. The objective, naturally, is to collect all six of one family. The decks often have a theme; this one, which I guess is from the ’60s (no date is given) is devoted to aviation: balloon, helicopter, dirigible, rocket, airplane, glider, and parachute. Each family, when reunited, can be fitted together into a sort of frieze. My scanner is too small for all six, but here are the father and mother of the dirigible family.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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That Regrettable Weekend

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

That Regrettable Weekend contains 20 of my songs, plus the eponymous instrumental. You can find it on Bandcamp.

I play soprano, banjo, and baritone ukuleles; keyboards; Tremoloa; Ukelin; bulbul; xylophone; melodica; bells; psaltery; ocarina; grunt call; trombone; and assorted percussion. And sing, of course. Carol Benner plays viola on three songs.

The tracks are:

Little Flower
Bandwagon
Love Me Unconditionally
Little Two-Headed Kitten
Make a Wish
Buenas Noches, Little Roaches
Notary Publics
Careers
Sentimental Doofus
The Hypnotist’s Birthday
Worthless Little Moments
The Renaissance Faire
Whine
Flake Food
My Face Is in the Sand
If Something Goes Wrong
Film Crew
Agnosticize
I Just Don’t Understand
My Pal Satan
That Regrettable Weekend

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Illustrated Songbooks (2)

May 29th, 2017 · No Comments

The Baby’s Opera, an 1877 offering from Walter Crane, includes both decorated sheet music and full-page illustrations, all at 7 and a half inches square. This is what songbooks should look like!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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