Christmas 1978, Halloween 1980
Well I usually don’t post stuff like this, but my audio server is tragically out of bandwidth for the month (I’d allotted myself a bit more than $200 for Oct & was crossing my fingers that it would hold out, but I got over 7,000 uniques yesterday alone with lotsa repeat traffic so it looks like I’ll really have to up the ante next year). Anyway given the situation it seems like it might be a good time for me to dip into some personal nostalgia in visual form, and to that end here’s a quick trip down some of my own spooky memory lane:
The first pic you see is me & my brother Craig on Christmas of 1978. As you can tell I’m proudly modeling my (Sears Wishbook bought!) Famous Monsters sweatshirt here (and while you can’t see it, he’s actually sporting a Dawn of The Dead shirt himself). I later rebelliously wore this sweatshirt for my 3rd grade yearbook picture; partially because it was my favorite, but mostly because my teacher forbade it & claimed she’d yank me out of line if I dared to come dressed for such an important day with the visage of a decomposing ghoul on my person. She didn’t do a thing, and in the finished shot you can clearly see the corpse reaching up out of the bottom of the image. I thought that was pretty cool.
Next up it’s me flexing my “artistic talent” in public for the first time. In Lawrence KS where I grew up, the downtown merchants allow kids from local grade schools to paint tempra recreations of pictures (that they cook up themselves) on the windows of their businesses for Halloween. It’s a really cool program and makes shopping downtown during the Fall extra creepy & special. Somewhat amazingly, this still goes on there today, and you can even see a short video clip about it here.
So back in 1980 I entered a drawing into the competition for the first (& only) time, and here you can see me proudly standing next to my finished piece “Rotting Corpse (with one “Tales from the Crypt” inspired eyeball) Hanging from a Noose in a Graveyard Above a Bloody Axe While a Bat Flies Toward the Full Moon”. Extra cool was that as I was painting it, a newspaper photographer came by & took some snaps of me at work (though these aren’t those), and I ended up getting a big picture in the paper for my efforts (I think he picked me partially because he thought my painting was good, and partially because he thought it was funny that it was painted over half of an Air Force recruiting office window. Well and maybe because I looked like such a hippy). Oh, and you probably can’t tell, but I’m wearing an iron-on t-shirt design that I ordered from the Johnson Smith Novelty Company showing an undertaker excavating a corpse above the words “I Want Your Body”. This was by far my favorite shirt in 1980; I guess I had a thing about the rotting (sentient) dead.
Here’s a detail of just my painting:
…and to cap it all off here’s the (Yeah! That’s right!) FIRST PLACE PRICE that I won for my efforts. Naturally, to inspire my current visual output, to this day I have this rather prestigious award proudly displayed on the walls of my home office:
You know, it seems that sometimes my lifelong desire to hold on to weird junk from my past (either physically or as memories) can pay off in unexpectedly cool ways, and the reaction I’ve gotten from far & wide to this blog is easily the most amazing example of that I’ve encountered in my life to date. Thanks so much to everyone for making this stuff more fun for me than ever before, and a heartfelt wish to you all for a really, really Happy Halloween (oh and don’t worry, I should still be here throughout the rest of the year sharing some of my other audio obsessions.)
Thanks again everyone! Happy Haunting!