Monday, January 30, 2012

Death Riders

If you found this post because you were searching for a rock band named Death Riders (there's at least two bands I found online using variations of the name), you're probably in for disappointment because this post is about the original Death Riders.

The Death Riders were a "motorcycle thrill show" who performed death-defying stunts at fairs around the country in the 1970's and early 1980's.

Here's the Death Riders poster I got when I saw them perform at a fair in my town.   I think this is basically the only place you can see this poster on the entire Internets (at least in this quality).

If you looked closely you may have noticed that the poster was even signed by two Death Riders - George Sisson and Larry Mann.

When I was looking for more info on the Death Riders I was surprised to discover they were the subject of documentary appropriately titled  Death Riders (1976)

As you can see in the frame-grab below both George and Larry conveniently got credited next to each other. Larry even narrates most of the film too.

Larry kinda reminds me of a 70's version of Max Hodges from TMZ.  Well, maybe they basically only have their hairstyle in common.  Although I doubt Max ever spends his Saturday nights alone, and within the first few minutes of Death Riders Larry says, "If the show goes smooth and looks good -  you don't have to hunt for girls, they hunt for you."  So I guess they both have "ladies man" thing in common too.

A highlight of sorts is gig at a nudist colony.  Larry, known for his "people jumps," jumps over line of nudists.  It's not a pretty sight.

Since I was in single digits when I saw the Death Riders perform there are only two stunts that I can remember.  One was the tunnel of fire...

Yeah it's hot.  I can remember feeling the heat from the flames, and we were sitting in an air conditioned glass enclosed grandstand.  If I'm remembering correctly the Death Rider wiped out near the end of the tunnel.  He wasn't severely hurt, but his leathers got kinda toasted.

The second was the human bomb.  Since we were sitting by large glass windows they had us move back about 20 feet in case the shock wave from the blast shattered the glass.   The stunt went down exactly as it does the documentary film.

Now you see the man in the box...

...and now you don't.

Oh hey look, they're selling the poster at the end of the show...

Heck, here's another shot of the poster.  This it's time hung in a store window.

Spoiler Alert: The final highlight of the documentary is Larry breaking the World Record for his "people jump."

To read a more detailed review of  Death Riders please click here, or thanks to YouTube,  you can watch the entire documentary below...

If you'd like to know more about the Death Riders "motorcycle thrill show,"  the closest thing to an official Death Riders site is,  but the place to find the most pictures and information is at The Thrill Champions.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Punchy's Peculiar Advertisements

This is Punchy and the Black Crow (No.11) published by Charlton Comics in December 1985.  

This is also Punchy's second to the last issue because Charlton Comics went out of business in 1985. As you might have guessed by the cover,  Punchy and the Black Crow is one of those "funny animal" comics full of quaint innocent humor for young comic readers.  Actually, this comic is filled with reprints from 1953-1954 to be exact so its humor is authentically quaint and innocent.  

I don't know what other titles Charlton Comics were publishing in 1985, but I'd guess when they sold ad space that ad was printed across their entire line of comics.  This is only explanation I have for the bizarre selection of ads in this children's comic.  It also looks like times were exceptionally tough for Charlton because the credibility of some of the advertisers is rather "questionable."

Above is the first ad on the inside cover, and it's from the Dan Lurie Barbell, Co.  I think it's interesting to note that when you mailed in your coupon to the Dan Lurie Barbell, Co. you're getting a "Instant-Action" POSITRAIN Course (and some other stuff too) - not barbells.  I'm happy to report that it looks like Dan is still around and has a web site right here.

Next is an ad for Marcy brand exercise equipment.  The "EM-1" shown above has a 200 lbs. weight stack which is about 4x the body weight of the intended reader for this comic.

The ad on top is more bodybuilding stuff, this time get big with Mike Marvel and his "SCIENTIFIC ISOMETRICS" program named Dynaflex.  On the bottom our first non-exercise related ad with U.S. Government Surplus Directory.  Hey kids, get your very own real army Jeep for less then $30!

Here's five ads on a single page: Pen-Sized Spyscope, Authentic Badges, Live Bait Belt, Handcuffs, and Double-Lucky Hand-Carved Jade Elephant - all this can be yours from DeerCreek Products of Pompano Beach FL.  I think DeerCreek Products might have gone out of business in 2004 because that is the latest dates of the complaint reports listed on the Ripoff Report.

 "Gain up to 5, 10, 15 Pounds" proclaims this full page ad from Gain Products. There is no mention of exercise in this entire ad so unfortunately none of the weight you gain will be muscle.  I don't think 15 pounds of fat around your gut isn't going to impress any ladies at the beach no matter what that B&W photo may imply.  

Oh good, on the very next page is the Speed Shaper which promises to, "Turn Belly Fat into a Rock-Hard Lean Stomach."  This is convenient now that I need to loose 15 pounds caused by the previous ad. Send your money to Improvement Products Corp which just happens to have the same address as Gain Products.  So I guess there's intentional product synergy going on here and not accidental.

Wow I wish I could make others secretly do my bidding.  Although I'm much too lazy to even read all that text in the above ad.   If only there was an easier way to learn the secrets of "Automatic Mind Command." Google doesn't turn anything up for "Research Industries, LTD" so mind control was probably only a passing fad.

Here's the first "toy" ad, or is a game?  It's the Helen of Toy Co. (love that name) and their Task Force and Tank Trap war games (or toy).  Franky, I find the ad layout confusing, but it must have worked since these same ads ran for years. Want to know what you got if you sent in your money?  Check out this page for a few photos of the Tank Trap game. Spoiler alert: it's not very impressive. 

At the back are a bunch of small ads, and some PSA's.  One ad is for the famous Charles Atlas and his "Dynamic Tension" program.  I wonder if you publish a comic book if it's mandatory that you include a Charles Atlas ad.  Charles must be doing something right because he's still in business.

Here's the inside back cover, and it's the  Dan Lurie Barbell, Co. again. There's lots of exercise stuff, but still no actual barbells (although he does sell them - or did at least).   That "Power Krusher" looks impressive, and looks like it could double as a swell TV antennae too.

Finally we've reached the back cover, and it's an ad for one of the all-time great comic book advertisers - Johnson Smith Company.  There novelty items here that would certainly appeal to children, but then again there's a number of pocket knives which aren't very little kid friendly either.

So that's all the ads.  No ads for 1980's kid stuff like He-Man action figures, Nerf products, Reese's pieces or Hostess snacks as one might expect.  Just to see who was advertizing in comic books back then, I looked though some Marvel and DC comics from 1985.  I found many brand name advertisers in those big name comics, but they certainly avoided the Charlton Comics Company.

Just for fun here's an ad for Bonkers candy that brought back memories (I think Mort Drucker might have done the illustration)...

Bonkers Candy Ad 1985

...and the unforgettable commercial too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Obscure Newspaper Comic Strips from 1973

Whoa it's 2012, and it's time for my first post of the year so I better make it an extra good one...

Umm, to be honest, this post is just OK, but I swear there will be some good ones this year sometime - I just don't know when.

So anyways I was looking through an old newspaper the other day, looking for something that might make for an interesting post.  It wasn't a "major" newspaper, but the Redford Township edition of The Suburban News for the week of May 30, 1973...

Redford is a suburb of Detroit, and like many hometown papers the contents seems to focuses on things like school fairs and civic activities.  But as I leafed through the want ads  I was rewarded with a number of obscure and mysterious comics sprinkled here and there.  Like this one called Half-Past Teen...

I have no idea who the creator is, and Google was no help at all.  Heck, I'm doubting this comic has anything to do with teens.

Near the back of the want ad section was over half a page of comic strips.  I like to think I know a little something about comics, but at fist glance I didn't recognize a single one.

Do you recognize anything?

This first one is a Mutt and Jeff by Al SmithMutt and Jeff is a name I recognize. The only problem is whoever laid out this page left off the title and artist name.  This now concludes the only comic that I was even remotely familiar with.


This next strip is Grubby by Warren SattlerGrubby is not a strip about a bear, but an old west prospector.  I like the layout on this one.

Deems by Tom Oka looks like a strip that would have been a favorite of mine as a little kid, you know, before I could read.   I think Deems is a character like Henry who never speaks. Also Google doesn't really turn anything up on who Tom Oka is.

Sonny South by Courtney Alderson.  Can't find any info on  Courtney Alderson or this strip, but someone has been auctioning off the original art.


This Grandpa's Boy by Brad Anderson.  Brad Anderson is best know for Marmaduke, and well, that's what I know him for too.


Those Were The Days by Art Beeman.  Art has a nice classic old-timey style that fits this strip well.

Above was another unidentified comic, but I think it is Citizen George by George Wolfe.

Of all the comic strips on this page I think this drawing of the deep sea diver reading a newspaper might be the most fun thing.

Lastly, this is the most bewildering thing I found in the want ads.  It looks like a classic Ripley's Believe It or Not! comic, but why is it named Nothin, But The Truth by Arnold?  When searching for info on Deems I found this comic page from the July 6, 1956 issue of The Deming Headlight (Deming, New Mexico) the with another "Nothin, But The Truth by Russ Arnold."  What's going on here? These are obviously "Ripley's" what's the deal with the name change?


Related Posts with Thumbnails