Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Seattle's Sports Poster Boys
Over the summer, Manhattan gallery Salon 94 ran the exhibition For the Kids, displaying these once-ubiquitous, athlete-worshipping posters cranked out by West Seattle's Costacos brothers. John and Tock Costacos enjoyed early success selling "Purple Reign" T-shirts to Washington Husky football fans in the mid-'80s, before getting Seahawks star safety Kenny Easley to pose for their first poster as "The Enforcer." The Costacoses then convinced other star athletes to do the same, and by the time they sold their company in the mid-'90s, they had moved some 25 million posters featuring over 700 athletes. Their most popular poster was of Michael Jordan, selling 1.2 million copies. Probably the most popular poster here in the Emerald City celebrated notorious Seahawk flop Brian Bosworth (above).
The brothers initially didn't own licensing rights to display logos and game uniforms, so they instead relied on the color schemes of the subjects' respective teams, like the green and gold in this poster of Seattle SuperSonic Xavier McDaniel...
Nowadays these pre-Photoshop posters look pretty campy, with their garish colors and weird, non-ironic themes. However, for better or worse, they did help turn pro athletes into larger-than-life celebrities. Here's Giants-licensed hothead Kevin Mitchell (N.L. MVP in '89, the same year Tim Burton's Batman was released) before he joined the Mariners...
I never actually owned any of 'em -- I was more partial to Sports Illustrated's straightforward posters, like the one I had of Steve Garvey.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Happy 23rd, The Onion!
Here's the front page of the very first issue of The Onion, published 23 years ago today. Three of my all-time favorites stories...
Bush Regales Dinner Guests With Impromptu Oratory On Virgil's Minor Works
Local Anorexic Still Way Too Fat
I Can't Stand My Filthy Hippie Owner
Plus I love pretty much anything by Jim Anchower and Smoove B.
Labels: Happy Birthday
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Happy 62nd, Gene!
Monday, August 08, 2011
Cool D.B. Cooper Shit
Northwest folk antihero D.B. Cooper is back in the news. The FBI announced last week they had a "promising new suspect," prompting a woman to come forward claiming that Cooper is her late uncle. She's writing a book about it, while another D.B. Cooper book comes out tomorrow. However, like fellow Northwest legend Bigfoot, D.B. Cooper interests me far more as a pop-culture phenomenon than as an unsolved mystery. Thankfully, there's the awesome Wikipedia page D.B. Cooper in popular culture, which lists lots of the stuff below...
Like the 1981 movie The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, with Treat Williams in the title role. It's never been released on DVD, but I watched the tape a few years ago. It's pretty bad, as its opening demonstrates...
D.B.'s been referenced to a lesser degree in several other movies, as well as on TV -- David Lynch named his Twin Peaks protagonist Agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper. Elsewhere, D.B. (or characters inspired by him) have been the basis of episodes of Barnaby Jones, Quincy, Charlie's Angels, The Fall Guy, Renegade, NewsRadio, Prison Break, Numb3rs and Journeyman.
Many musical shout-outs too, by far the most popular being Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" -- among the "Gs with the 40s and the chicks with beepers" is "D.B. Cooper and the money he took." Also on the audio tip, kickass talk-radio satirist Phil Hendrie included Cooper in a couple comedy bits -- in March 2000, former commercial airline pilot Art Griego told the story of D.B. Cooper and the Three Bears, and in January 2008, Dr. Jim Sadler suggested that D.B. Cooper is presidential candidate Ron Paul.
A bunch of D.B. Cooper books have been published, both fiction and non-, speculating on Cooper's post-skyjack whereabouts. I haven't read any of 'em, but Roland Smith's 1998 teen novel Sasquatch sounds the most promising, as D.B. and 'squatch meet up to witness the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I've placed a hold on it at the library.
While D.B. inspired all this pop-culture stuff, he himself might've been inspired by pop culture. Specifically, the French comic book Dan Cooper, popular in the '60s and '70s. D.B.'s real name was Dan Cooper -- at least that's the name he gave when buying his plane ticket; "D.B." was the name the media erroneously stuck him with. Around the time of D.B.'s the skyjacking, an issue of the comic was released with a skydiving Dan on its cover. Read more about this on the FBI site... In other comics, D.B.'s been referenced in The Far Side, Dilbert, and here.
Moving on to business establishments, there's D.B. Cooper's Bar & Grill in Madison Heights, Michigan (they lifted their artwork from The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper's poster), D.B. Cooper's bar in Kansas City, and D.B. Cooper's Mansion, a Houston
The most indelible image of D.B. Cooper is his iconic police sketch, as familiar in these parts as frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film. With his wraparound shades, skinny tie and no-nonsense expression, Cooper comes across as one cool customer. The sketch inspired this black stencil, and this green one...
His mug has also appeared on T-shirts, patches, and, well, mugs.
That's it for now. D.B. previously appeared on my blog here and here, and I also wrote about him on Seattlest.com...
Oh, and the FBI needs your help!
Labels: D.B. Cooper
My Favorite Movie of the Year So Far
Monday, August 01, 2011
Happy 30th, MTV!
Music Television hits the big three-oh today.
I was twelve when MTV debuted, and though we didn't have cable in our neck of the 'burbs, the impression I got was that it was immediately cool. Instead I settled for watching NBC's Friday Night Videos, and locally, REV on Seattle's NBC affiliate. When we did get cable in our area, there was still no MTV, so I got my video fix from Radio 1990 and Night Flight on USA and Night Tracks on SuperStation WTBS. Then when we did finally get MTV in 1986, it was nonstop Licensed to Ill-era Beastie Boys. (At the time I was obsessed with Late Night with David Letterman, and I remember him joking about how we must fight for our inalienable, God-given right to party.) Plus it was all Bon Jovi and Whitesnake and U2 until I left home for college in 1987. I didn't have the opportunity to watch regularly again until 1993, when it was all grunge, Beavis and Butt-Head, and The Real World, and later in the '90s I dug Sifl & Olly. But I haven't had cable since 1998 and I don't give a shit about what's on there now.