Saturday, February 12, 2011

the vampire king of kensington

The King of Kensington Tastes Blood

It was a serene winter Friday afternoon. Bellevue Square Park was quiet, perhaps the quietest I've ever seen. Perhaps it was due to my visit happening on a workday. Maybe regular visitors were seeking refuge from the snowy landscape in one of Kensington Market's shops and eateries.

Or maybe people were afraid of the recent change in one of the park's landmarks.

At first it was the odd bird or two found drained of all of their blood. Then larger urban animals were discovered in the same state. You might think a raccoon is a nuisance, but nobody wants to see one, or any other creature, drained of their life fluids for no apparent reason.

All of the deceased animals were found within the immediate vicinity of the Al Waxman statue on the west side of the park. Was there a secret ritual going on at night under the noses of the residents around the square?

It was after the third report of foul play that investigators noticed something odd about the statue's head. They noticed a thin stream of what appeared to be dried paint applied in a manner similar to blood dripping from the lips. A sample was sent to a lab, which discovered the shocking truth.

The stream wasn't paint.

The investigators went back to the crime scene. One swore he noticed that the statue's smile seemed more malevolent...but maybe he'd been up for too long working on the case. He returned that night determined to see what really went on after dark.

The red glow from the statue's eyes was the last thing he ever saw.

Evil Al

Top photo taken January 28, 2011. Bottom photo taken August 2, 2007. - JB

Friday, February 11, 2011

one person who'd like to be a vidal sassoon user but can't be speaks out

Vintage Ad #1,411: Praise for Vidal Sassoon Products (4)...if he had hair

The last in a series of testimonials from famous, semi-famous, and not-at-all-famous users of Vidal Sassoon products which, unlike the others, was printed all by its lone self. Guess the non-user had to be isolated to strengthen the punchline.

Not that we mean any disrespect to Mr. Holder, whose half-century artistic career has encompassed acting, choreography and painting. He may be best known for two roles: James Bond villain Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die, and the white-suited 7UP pitchman who extolled the virtues of the non-cola during the 1970s and 1980s.



Holder didn't see doing commercials for as a comedown. "I'm no snob," he noted in a 1975 interview with People magazine. "The commercial is an art form unto itself. After all, you are seducing people."

View all of the ads we've found in this series.

Source: a 1985 issue of Rolling Stone (forgot to note the date) - JB

Thursday, February 10, 2011

two users of vidal sassoon products speak out (3)

Vintage Ad #1,410: Praise for Vidal Sassoon Products (3)

Two more testimonials from famous, semi-famous, and not-at-all-famous users of Vidal Sassoon products. We wonder if the police officer was teased by his colleagues for his puffy do.

More to come...

Source: a 1985 issue of Rolling Stone (forgot to note the date) - JB

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

two users of vidal sassoon products speak out (2)

Vintage Ad #1,408: Praise for Vidal Sassoon Products (1)

More testimonials from famous, semi-famous, and not-at-all-famous users of Vidal Sassoon products. Today's testifiers: a member of Woody Allen's stock company (who appears ready for a day at the country club) and a gold-medal Olympic gymnast.

Source: a 1985 issue of Rolling Stone (forgot to note the date) - JB

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

two users of vidal sassoon products speak out (1)

Vintage Ad #1,409: Praise for Vidal Sassoon Products (2)

One in a series of testimonials from famous, semi-famous, and not-at-all-famous users of Vidal Sassoon products. One presumes Warhol was amazed by the artful way the spray kept his wigs in place.

As for Animotion, their lasting legacy is a tune that was used for years as the theme music for CITY-TV's Fashion Television.



More of this campaign to come...

Source: a 1985 issue of Rolling Stone (forgot to note the date) - JB

Friday, February 04, 2011

the more things change, the more they stay the same department

gm 57-08-22 york asks for city status

In light of the current kerfuffle over Bell's pursuit of usage based billing (UBB) for the internet, here's a story I stumbled upon while researching something else that shows protests in Toronto against Bell's practices aren't new.

Source: The Globe and Mail, August 22, 1957 - JB

Thursday, February 03, 2011

visit us, you'll really like us



When watching late-night reruns of SCTV on Windsor’s CBC outlet during our teens, Amy and I expected that most of our laughs would come from the fake ads on the Canadian comedy classic, not the real ones during commercial breaks. One exception was Woody Pontiac, located across the border in Hamtramck (a suburb of Detroit surrounded on all but one side by the city of Detroit). Their pitchman was dealer Woodrow W. Woody (1908-2002), an elderly gentleman whose on-air demeanour came from an earlier era. Mr. Woody wasn’t a hard sell salesman, nor did he use gimmicks like flying around in a cape (hi Mel Farr!). No, Mr. Woody reached out to potential customers by stressing his long involvement in the car business as a genial, slightly doddering old man whose eyes were fixed on a teleprompter might do.

We imitated his exit lines for years afterward. The cheerful reassurance we’d like his dealership. The quaintness of seeing any TV pitchman from the late 1980s/early 1990s say to viewers “so long, be seeing you.” A wave goodbye to the audience that grew increasingly rubbery. Missing from this clip is an exit line he added on during his last few years on the air—“drive carefully please.”

Woody opened his Pontiac dealership in 1940. As an article in Ward’s Dealer Business noted, it wasn’t an easy start:

He applied for the Pontiac franchise in Hamtramck in 1939. At first the automaker turned him down. The Pontiac zone manager didn't expect a person of Lebanese descent to be able to thrive in downtown Hamtramck, which at the time had the highest concentrated Polish population outside of Poland.

"I said I'm dating a Polish girl and if you give me the franchise, I'll marry her," recalls Mr. Woody, who has been married to Anna for more than 50 years. "The guy started laughing and said, 'Boy, if you want it that bad, you can have it.'"

So, in January of 1940, Woody Pontiac Sales opened and sold 200 cars in its first year, advertising vehicles for $25 above cost. The next year he sold 700 to become the second-largest Pontiac dealer in Michigan.

Woody remained in the auto business until 2000, when the 92-year-old closed the lot. Even though he wasn’t personally selling cars at that point, he continued to come into the dealership five days a week to greet customers (I wonder if anyone asked him to imitate his ads on their way out of the lot office). The dealership stood vacant until it was demolished in 2009. Woody Plaza, which includes a Michigan Department of Human Services office, opened on the site last year.

Back then, we felt we were watching a semi-senile old geezer. After rediscovering Woody's ads, I find his awkwardness and soft sell approach charming in an age of tightly crafted, merciless pitchery. - JB

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

romance comic department

In the midst of winter cleaning at the Warehouse, we've uncovered a treasure trove of romance comics from the 1960s and 1970s. Here's one of the gems we found.

Future In-Laws

After a near-death experience with a perfectly spherical boulder that charged at you on an idyllic cliffside beach, what pair of stiffly-drawn young lovers can't resist a touch of in-law humour?

John and his unnamed lover soon returned to the picnic, where everyone had a good laugh as if it was the closing minute of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. When the lovebirds wandered off to change their clothes, the in-laws had a quiet conversation...

MOTHER: I told you not to buy a boulder from the Acme catalogue!
FATHER: But it was the only one I could afford! SMERSH's boulders cost too much!
MOTHER: (sighs) I knew I should have brought the arsenic.

None of the major comic book databases have a clue as to who the uncredited writer and artist of this one-page filler were.

Source: Just Married #102, October 1974 - JB