inktober 2022: week 2

Week 2 of Inktober 2022 features the 1986 Oscar winner for “Best Makeup” – David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly.

Starring the always interesting, always quirky Jeff Goldblum, this version is more intense and decidedly more gory than the campy, but effective, original. Goldblum’s “Seth Brundle,” a preoccupied scientist, is believable, but the special effects and makeup is what puts this film over the top. Goldblum’s slow transformation is particularly unnerving. Goldblum’s co-star in this version was Geena Davis, whom he met while filming the horror/comedy Transylvania 6-5000 and eventually married. The couple made one more film together — Earth Girls are Easy — before divorcing.

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inktober 2022: week1

Wow! It’s already October! And you know what that means. Well, it might mean something different to you, but for a bunch of artists (and me), it means another round of Inktober. Based on a set of suggestions from the official Inktober website, artists (whom I selfishly and preposterously number myself among) create special works daily just for October, based on those suggestions. And once again, I’ll be making up my own rules of participation. I will be posting a new, black & white drawing (and a little bit of red) each week for the entire month – in addition to my participation in the regular Inktober 52 and, if I feel like it, another random drawing here and there. Every year, I choose a theme in keeping with the “spirit” of the Hallowe’en season. This year, my drawings will feature a selection of horror movies to which Hollywood gave its highest honor. In its 92-year history, only 18 horror movies have been awarded Oscars. While, in my personal opinion, the Oscars (and all awards) are meaningless, this slight to a very popular genre is ridiculous.

So let’s kick things off with Week 1’s entry. It’s Frederic March’s portrayal of the classic “good and evil” dichotomy in the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. An early entry in the “talkie” horror film category, this take came on the heels of two of Universal Studios blockbusters – Dracula and Frankenstein. The eerie transformation sequence in the film was kept a secret for years by director Rouben Mamoulian. It was also notable for its pre-Hayes Code production, heavy with overt sexual content. When it was re-released five years later, eight minutes of footage was removed.

Frederic March shared the “Best Actor” award with Wallace Beery for The Champ in a rare tie. The film was remade ten years later with Spencer Tracy. It was panned by critics.

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DCS: robert sorrells

Robert Sorrells made his acting debut in  a first season episode of the anthology series Twilight Zone. In “The Might Casey,” Robert played an emotionless robot recruited by a losing baseball team as their pitching “secret weapon.” In typical Twilight Zone fashion, Robert’s robot was, at first effective, but gained human sensitivity and felt bad about striking out his opponents. The episode featured Jack Warden as the team’s coach, filling in after the death of original star Paul Douglas. In the wake of Douglas’s passing, the entire episode was reshot with Warden at the personal expense of creator Rod Serling. Robert Sorrells earned praise for his portrayal and soon found himself in guest roles on popular TV series, including multiple stints on Gunsmoke.

In 1962, Robert was cast in a supporting part on the sitcom Ensign O’Toole with Dean Jones. A forerunner to McHale’s Navy, the show lasted just one season. Robert, however, continued to land roles in episodic TV as well as several films.

In the 70s, he was cast as Woody Guthrie’s father in the biopic Bound for Glory. Later, he played a small role in Fletch, famously asking star Chevy Chase “What in the hell is the matter with you?”

Robert was known as a quiet, reserved, gentle soul who played guitar and practiced yoga. However, in the summer of 2004, Robert was drinking in a Simi Valley, California bar alongside a few patrons he did not know. Robert became uncharacteristically loud and belligerent. A man at the bar — Arthur DeLong — physically escorted a very resistant Robert from the premises. A short time later, Robert returned to the bar with a gun. He shot Delong at point-blank range, killing him. He shot another patron, one with whom he had no previous interaction. Robert left the bar immediately, but was apprehended by law enforcement a short distance away.

Robert was charged with premeditated murder. At his 2005 trial, he pled not guilty by reason of insanity. He later resubmitted a guilty plea and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Robert died in a Vacaville, California prison in 2019. He was 88.

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DCS: mac davis

I will admit… I wasn’t the biggest Mac Davis fan that ever lived. I didn’t dislike him. I heard his songs on the radio throughout the 70s. It was difficult not to! He had a lot of hits in those years. I watched his variety show when it premiered in 1974. I was 13 and the choices for television viewing were limited at the time. I saw some of his movies, like North Dallas Forty with Nick Nolte and The Sting II, an unnecessary sequel to a wonderful, Oscar-winning film that was ill-conceived from the get-go. I just wasn’t a fan.

It wasn’t until Mac Davis passed away — just this week at 78, from complications following heart surgery — that I realized the impact that his contributions made on pop music. He started as an employee with Boots Enterprises, a company owned by Nancy Sinatra. When he wasn’t writing songs, he was playing as a session musician on Nancy’s recordings. When he was writing, he composed songs that were eventually recorded by Elvis Presley, B.J. Thomas and Nancy herself. Mac wrote “In The Ghetto,” “Don’t Cry Daddy,” “Memories” and “A Little Less Conversation” — all hits for the King. He wrote “Watching Scotty Grow,” which was a Number One hit for Bobby Goldsboro. He also wrote “I Believe in Music,” a Top 30 hit for one-hit wonders Gallery, but went on to become Mac’s “signature” song. In addition, Mac himself had a string of radio-friendly tunes, including “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” “One Hell of a Woman” and “Stop and Smell the Roses.” At the close of the 70s, Mac made the unlikely move of signing with Casablanca Records, the home of disco queen Donna Summer and camp-rockers KISS. His first released was a tongue-in-cheek novelty track called “It’s Hard to be Humble.” It became his first Top 10 Country hit, a genre he embraced for most of his career.

Later in his career, he served as the on-screen balladeer in the Dukes of Hazzard reunion movie Hazzard in Hollywood. He also lent his voice to several animated projects including two episodes of King of the Hill. Mac also starred in both the Broadway and touring company versions of The Will Rogers Follies playing the title role.

In 2000, Mac’s career achievements were acknowledged with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He passed away on the same day as his fellow ’70s pop singer Helen Reddy.

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DCS: norman “dinky” diamond

Ron and Russell Mael moved to England in 1973 with plans to conquer the United Kingdom. The brothers placed an ad in Melody Maker to fill out the new incarnation of their band Sparks. Along with bassist Martin Gordon and guitarist Adrian Fisher, they signed self-taught drummer “Dinky” Diamond. The newly-formed band recorded and released Kimono My House, spawning the Top Ten single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us.” Producer Muff Winwood commented: “Dinky was by no means a great drummer but he suited the material perfectly.”

Sparks’ popularity took off. They became the UK’s new pop darlings. They found their pictures on the covers of music magazines and were soon making multiple appearances on the BBC’s Top of the Pops. The Maels released two more albums with this line-up before announcing their plans to return to the United States. Dinky was devastated. He turned to alcohol to cope.

Dinky joined another a band, but they struggled without success and eventually disbanded. He took odd jobs out of the music industry to pay the bills. In 1998, Dinky and his girlfriend of 21 years moved into a small house in southeast England. Their neighbors were a belligerent couple who played loud music in the middle of the night and had loud, raucous arguments at all hours — in the middle of the street. Dinky regularly called the police, but they failed to handle the situation. He became increasingly frustrated by the menial jobs he was forced to take and the irritating situation with his neighbors. In September 2004, Dinky hanged himself from the loft ceiling of his home. A toxicology report showed a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit for driving. Dinky was 53 years old.

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DCS: marsha hunt

Not wanting to interrupt her modeling career, 17-year old Marsha Hunt reluctantly accepted a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures. She made 12 movies in her first three years at Paramount, before her contract was terminated early. She headed to the smaller studios, appearing in run-of-the-mill Westerns.

Growing impatient with Hollywood, Marsha headed for New York to work in summer stock productions, only to return to Tinsel Town in 1941. Marsha was cast in None Shall Escape, the first acknowledged Hollywood film dealing with the Holocaust.

In 1945, Marsh was one of a group of actors, writers and directors to take on the House Committee on Unamerican Activities. She was blacklisted, determined by the Committee to be a Communist sympathizer. Her career didn’t rebound until 1957.

Masha worked in both film and television in the 50s and 60s and well into the 70s, when she was featured in the anti-war film Johnny Got His Gun, written by fellow blacklist member Dalton Trumbo.

In addition to acting, Marsha was a prolific songwriter, penning over 50 tunes in her lifetime. She was also an outspoken advocate for the homeless, Third World countries, world hunger, poverty and pollution causes, same-sex marriage and other humanitarian issues.

Marsha passed away in September 2022 at the age of 104. She was one of the last connections to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

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DCS: norm macdonald

Norm Macdonald told this joke often…

A moth goes into a podiatrist’s office.

“What’s wrong?” asks the podiatrist.

The moth replies:

“Doc, I hate my career. My marriage is failing. My family is exhausting. My relationships with my children are terrible. Sometimes it’s all too much to bear. I don’t know where to turn.”

“You need help,” replies the podiatrist. “But you need a psychiatrist, not a podiatrist. Why did you come here?”

“Because,” the moth replies. “The light was on.”

Norm passed away in September 2021 after a decade-long battle with cancer. Although he joked about death in his act, he kept his illness a secret. Norm was 61. He was a funny guy.

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