item 1 >>> Editor’s note: This first section of items is no longer called “Half Stolf,” in fact it will have no name at all. “Half Stolf” was in honor of an old high school buddy of mine, a newspaper editor who has a blog called “Full Nelson.” I had hoped he might help publicize this blog a teeny bit, but after several emails brought no response, I’m rescinding the honor. Guess I’m getting old…too grouchy…can’t stand the aggravation…I’ve frisked a thousand young punks…oops, sorry…
item 2 >>> The Addams Family single panel cartoon began appearing in New York magazine in 1938. They never had names, and when the TV series was produced, creator Charles Addams was asked to come up with some. All of his choices were used except Pubert, who was re-named Puglsey. Of course, Pubert did appear eventually in the movie “Addams Family Values.” Also, he had 2 suggestions for the father: Gomez and Repelli. Wednesday was so-named since “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.”
item 3 >>> One of these days I’m going to do some intense research and get to the bottom of Candy Corn. For now I can tell you this: The Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly) began making them in 1898…altho it’s claimed a Philadelphia concern called Wonderle Candy invented them in the 1880’s. Apparently the 3-color candy kernels took the mostly agrarian population by storm, so much so that competing companies tried other vegetable shapes, including turnips! Brach’s was calling them Candy Chicken Corn in the early 1940’s. Indian Corn, with the brown cocoa bottom layer, arrived around 1960. Today Brach’s (which merged with Brock in 1994) is made by Farley & Sathers, who owns many other old brands, including Heide, famous forJujubes and Jujyfruits.
item 4 >>> Yes, there really were 2 different candy companies, Brach’s and Brock. Adding to the confusion, in one 1965 ad I found, Brach’s suggests you just ask for “Brox.” Today we have “designer” Candy Corn in may flavors and colors, tho I think that trend has peaked. And of course, versions for Christmas, Easter, Valentines, even 4th of July. Not for nothing, but for Hallowe’en 1986, Jolly Rancher came out with what they called Tiger Tails…black and orange striped candy canes!
item 5 >>> Not that expanding the Candy Corn choices is a recent idea…according to my notes, in 1978 Kitchen Delight had “Harvest Corn,” colored like Indian Corn but with a yellow tip instead of white. And in 1987, Brach’s tried “Witches’ Teeth,” similar, but with a green tip. And the first cross-holiday example I have is pastel Candy Corn for Easter by Brach’s in 1979.
Item 6 >>> And while we’re on the subject, Jujubes and Jujyfruits were introduced in 1920. They originally used Ju-ju gum which came from the fruit of the jujube tree a.k.a. Chinese date, cultivated from Korea to Lebanon. Today they’re made from corn syrup, natch. According to Farley & Sathers, the Jujyfruit shapes are: Pineapple, Tomato, Raspberry, Grape Bundle, Asparagus Bundle, Banana and Pea Pod. But the flavors correspond to the color not the shape: red=raspberry, black=licorice, green=lime, yellow=lemon, and good old orange orange.
item 7 >>> Trio answers: (1) Athos, Porthos, Amamis = The 3 Musketeers…(2) Ham, Shem, Japheth = Noah’s sons…(3) Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar = The Magi, or 3 Wise Men…(4) Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego = put in the fiery furnace by Nebudchadnezzar.
item 8 >>> Born on Hallowe’en…John Candy, Val Kilmer, Dale Evans, Kinky Friedman, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather, Vanilla Ice, Barbara Bel Geddes, Ethel Waters, Jane Pauley, Deidre Hall, Tom Paxton, Lee Grant, Peter Jackson, Doc Rivers, Annabella Lwin (Bow Wow Wow), Fred McGriff, moon astronaut Michael Collins, and poet John Keats.
Item 9 >>> Among the many cheesy ripoffs of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” is “The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues” from 1955. Trouble is, a league is 3 miles, so that’s 30,000 miles. At its deepest point, the ocean is about 7 miles, and the diameter of the Earth is about 8000 miles. So if you started at sea-level, and went down 30,000 miles, you’d come out the other side of the globe, well on your way to the Moon. Ooops.
item 10 >>> The otherwise great “Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” is closer, but no cigar. A fathom is 6 feet, and 120,000 feet is about 23 miles, again, you can’t get down that far in the water. The whole problem stems from Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” But here’s the solution: he didn’t mean that measure to be depth, but rather total distance traveled. So now it makes sense…
Now this is what I’m talking about…Topps called this series of 1959 cards “Funny Monsters,” but they are known to collectors as “You’ll Die Laughing”…that’s the heading of the dopey jokes on the backs. These were drawn by Mad magazine cartoonist Jack Davis, and were the first of many monster sets, including my favorite set, the Outer Limits. Topps issued them under the sub-brand “Bubbles Inc.”…and at the time called them “hobby cards.”
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi