Swingin’

For those seeking old books and LP records there are better places to browse than in San Diego.

One reason is the relatively young and transient population. Farther inland and on the other coast there are generations of collected belongings sitting in basements, attics and garages. Eventually one family member or other will dispose of the Grandparent’s old furniture, books and music to the delight of treasure hunters of the region. In Southern California however, a lot of what is donated to thrift stores is late 1970s and 1980s music and tchotchkes. I’ve even discovered several decades worth of macaroni-adorned picture frames at one Salvation Army store.

The other reason San Diego is a poor resource for keen gear is the economy. Most of the used book stores have shuttered and the usual places one could find groovy LP’s, the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, have either combined all their resources into one store or done away with LP’s altogether. While reducing the number of places the records are displayed makes sense for the business it hurts the shopper seeking cool stuff because multiple destinations meant that a browser could get lucky if his timing was right. All the LP’s kept in one place means one faces constant competition has to be really lucky with the timing to score some choice items.

Recently I found a couple of Jonah Jones Quartet albums, Swingin on Broadway and Swingin’ at the Cinema notable among the internet primarily for the pretty women on the cover. Of the JJQ discography these two albums are probably the easiest to find. I found multiple copies of each when browsing and purchased the two best of the lot. Oh, yeah…I agree that those stretch pants and curves, especially on the blond on the Cinema LP, are something else. The album art is pretty typical of the 1950s. Back then nearly anyone producing lounge-type music put an attractive woman on the cover because no one would buy an album featuring John Wilson and the Howard-Johnsons Off State Route 12 Experience on the sleeve. Sex always sold, don’t get me wrong, but the producers of the lounge era LP escalated cheesecake and enticement into an art form rarely seen since. These particular albums are probably getting more attention now than before as the “Mad Men” style of fashion seems to be all the rage still. Too bad there are no model credits for the albums, at least none that I can find.
The music is good but not original other than the application of the JJQ style as they are covers of tunes already popular in the era. They are fun to hear as “lost” music and I’m really partial to their treatment of A Gal In Calico from the Cinema album. I think the Jonah Jones Quartet packed enough talent for a dozen musicians.

From the collection: Swingin’ on Broadway (1957) and Swingin’ at the Cinema (1958).

The Moon-Spinners comic book adaptation

In years past if there was a movie or television show it was probably made into a one-shot comic book by the Whitman, Gold Key or Dell Comics book companies. They were all of varying quality as quickie marketing tie-ins but some are stand-outs. Hayley Mills has received several comic book treatments of her films most notably Summer Magic which was drawn by comic book artist Russ Heath.

Today for Monday With Hayley Mills I present the comic book adaptation of the Disney film The Moon-Spinners from 1964. The art is credited to accomplished veteran Dan Spiegle. Now, Dan gets a lot of flack from fans that isn’t entirely deserved. He is lumped together, sometimes with contempt, into those work-horse artists that were relied upon to do a quick job within deadline. His style sometimes sacrifices the fine line work that most fans expected after the 1970s but as a reader who appreciates storytelling ability his work rarely disappoints.

Spiegle worked on a fondly remembered DNAgents run but for a real insight into his work check out the Gold Key issues of Mickey Mouse #107-109. Mickey Mouse, Secret Agent is a classic and truly bizarre story where funny animals interacted with realistically rendered humans and scenery. For the most part prior to that story arc anthropomorphic critters remained in a cartoon world of cartoon physics that did not cross over into other more realistic though equally fictional realms. The film version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit has its spiritual if not direct roots in that story arc. It is a bit surreal to witness human beings not even blinking when a talking mouse in a trench coat shows up at their door. Character interactions of that type are not observed very often currently as the audience is considered to cool, aware or jaded to go with the story. There is usually some qualifier thrown in to make the reader forgive the ridiculousness of a funny animal, such as the oft-stated “Y-You’re a duck!” in the Howard the Duck series.

The Moon-Spinners is Hayley Mills’ fifth of the six films she did for Disney. While not a financial success at the time it has a life among fans that crowd the Hayleydome in the HMCC for the Hayley-Con film festivals. Hayley is great as always in a film remembered for its scenery and light romantic subplot against a story of murderous jewel thieves. While not quite as dark as The Truth About Spring the film has been described as a bit more suspenseful than the novel from which it was adapted.

Click the cover for a download link to a PDF of the complete 1964 Gold Key comic book The Moon-Spinners.

The Moonspinners (1964)