Category: History

Remembering Burger Chef, Star Wars, Mike Kott and Me!

If you’re of a particular age, it is almost a certainty that you dined ate at a Burger Chef.  If you’re younger, then you may not have ever heard of the one-time fast food giant. 

Back in the 1970s, Burger Chef was second only to McDonalds as far as fast food franchises went.  Burger Chef was a hit and as a result their investors were earning returns where 50% wasn’t unheard of. 

Burger Chef’s popularity was because they served a comparable (some would say even better) meal than other fast food joints and Burger Chef was making innovative moves.  Burger Chef was the first with…

  • Funmeals: geared towards kids.  Each Funmeal came with a sandwhich, small fries, small drink and a toy!  Five years later McDonalds started serving Happy Meals using the same concept.
  • Works Bar:  Burger King said you could have it “your way”.  Burger Chef took things a step further with the Works Bar.  Each Works Bar contained everything you might want to doctor up your sandwhich!
  • Salad Bar:  Burger Chef offered a fully stocked salad bar and this was waay before the health craze hit.
  • Media Tie-Ins:  Burger Chef saw the importance of media tie-ins and so they made deals linking their food to kid popular franchises like Star Wars and The Brady Bunch.

I worked at a Burger Chef when I was in college.  I’ve shared this story before but if you missed it or would just like to revisit it, check out Star Wars, Burger Chef, Mike Kott and Me.

I have good memories of the folks I worked with and the food we served at Burger Chef.  It’s too bad the chain didn’t survive.  MeTV posted What ever happened to the Burger Chef chain? that explains their rise and fall.  Since you’ve read this far, you’d probably enjoy it.  

“Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father” / Z-View

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father is a paperback that collects issues 1 – 6 of an on-going series published by Image Comics. .

Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Luis NCT
Letters by: Marshall Dillon
Cover Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander & Luis NCT 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

Featuring the show-stopping talents of Spawn series artist JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER, and the writer behind such hit shows as Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Marvel’s Runaways, and Starz’s American Gods–RODNEY BARNES.

When a small town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father-the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.-he begins to unravel a mystery that leads him down a path of horrors and shakes his beliefs to their core.

The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality…
…and vampires.

But the mystery goes even further when Jimmy’s investigation leads him to uncover the source of the outbreak is long-thought dead President of the United States John Adams–a man secretly biding his time as he builds an undead army to start a new and bloodier American revolution.

There’s a reason they coin a phrase, “you can’t go home.” Welcome to Killadelphia.

Collects KILLADELPHIA #1-6

Killadelphia is a book you should be reading if you like intelligently written and beautifully drawn horror comics.

Rodney Barnes’ idea of a modern day vampire uprising in Philadelphia led by a centuries old founding father is so audacious that we’re lucky Barnes took his story past the idea stage.   Killadelphia is a very cool, very creepy tale that paints a big picture universe introduced to us through believable characters who find themselves in an unbelievable situation.

Modern day vampires?  Yeah, right.  Read Killadelphia and you’re response will become: Modern day vampires?  Yeah!  Right!

Jason Shawn Alexander provides realistic art for Killadelphia which supports the story;  you believe what you’re seeing.  The characters look like real people (some of whom are vampires).  Alexander has drawn scenes that will creep you out and perhaps inspire nightmares… which is exactly what great horror fiction should do.  I hope that Barnes and Alexander stay together as long as Killadelphia tales are told.

Luis NCT’s colors provide nuance and emphasis that enhance each scene and his contribution to the success of Killadelphia shouldn’t be overlooked.

I thought that Killadelphia would be a good comic.  I underestimated it.  Killadelphia is an exceptional comic and one all horror fans should try.


Matthew Childer’s Edgar Allan Poe Art and Trivia!

In addition to being one fine artist, Matthew Childers is also an Edgar Allan Poe fan.  As such, he recently posted a print he created of Poe (above) as well as 10 Mind-blowing Facts About Edgar Allan Poe.  Although you can see the print here,  it’s available for purchase at Matthew’s site plus you can check out the Edgar Allan Poe trivia… and other pieces of his art.

“The Most Dangerous Animal of All” – Documentary Names the Zodiac Killer!

The Most Dangerous Animal of All is going to be must-see TV!  Check out the trailer below!

Based on The New York Times best-selling book of the same name, The Most Dangerous Animal of All is a four-part documentary series on FX that explores one man’s search for the father who abandoned him, only to uncover the worst: he believes his father is the Zodiac killer, one of the most infamous serial killers in American history.

Real vs TV Western Heroes by John Severin!

It’s no secret portrayals of real people are often glamorized in movies and TV.  Well, way back in 1960, when westerns were king of television air waves, Cracked magazine had John Severin create drawings showing the differences between Real and TV western heroes. 

Above we can see the differences between the real and TV versions of Billy the Kid and a Bounty Hunter.  If you click over to BookSteve’s Library you can check out Real vs TV… Lawmen, Cochise, Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hicock and Jim Hardie.

The Real-Life Horror Hotel of H.H. Holmes, America’s First Serial Killer

Herman Mudgett took the name Henry Howard Holmes when he moved to Chicago to begin work as a pharmacist.  He took on the new identity because he was on the run from as a suspect in some unexplained murders.  Rather than start a new uneventful life, Holmes instead continued his killing spree, which earned him the title of America’s First Serial Killer.

Holmes famously built a rooming house that has been called a Horror Hotel and Murder Castle.  He hired workers and fired them after they completed sections of the building.  This was so none but Holmes would know the layout and the horrors hiding within.  There were secret passageways, spots to spy on unsuspecting guests and rooms designed for murder.

The year was 1893 and the World’s Fair was in Chicago.  Rooms were at a premium and Holmes had new potential victims arriving daily.  After he was caught Holmes confessed to 27 murders but some folks put the actual number closer to 200.

Cheish Merryweather at Listverse posted 10 Horrifying Facts About H. H. Holmes’ Hotel.  If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably want to click over.

I also recommend The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson.  It’s an award-winning novel chock full about facts about you know who and his horror hotel.

“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” A Love Letter to Making Movies – Documentary is Here!

Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and the filmmakers showcase the artistry that went into creating this story of an enduring friendship in a time of change. A special look at Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed 9th movie, #OnceUponATimeInHollywood.

Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

Who was the All-Time Most Evil Dracula?

Yesterday we looked at the best movie Dracula.  Today we’ll answer who is the most evil Dracula.  The answer is, of course, the real person Dracula was based on: Vlad III aka Vlad the Impaler, the Prince of Wallachia (now known as Romania).

Most folks know that the real-life Vlad III was infamous for killing his enemies by impaling them, but that’s just one of the many evil things he did.  Eli Nixon at Listverse details much more in 10 Fascinating Facts About The Real Dracula.  Normally, with posts like this, I list my three favorite facts, but here there were no favorites.  Vladd III was truly a horrible human being and much worse than any movie Dracula.

“Tread: Desperate Men Do Desperate Things”

Desperate men do desperate things.  What a great tag line!

On June 4th, 2004, a sixty-three-ton bulldozer, fortified with steel and concrete, systematically destroyed numerous businesses and homes in the small mountain town of Granby, Colorado. The rampage lasted over two hours and resulted in more than eight million dollars in damage. State and local police were incapable of even slowing the machine. Though it was armed with three high-powered firearms, no one but the driver was killed. His name was Marvin Heemeyer. TREAD explores the polarizing perspectives on this man, his motives, and what drove him to the breaking point.

I remember the event but didn’t realize that Heemeyer had fortified the bulldozer.

The Top 10 Unsolved Celebrity Mysteries

The photos above, of the beautiful young woman and the scary looking hag are sadly the same person.  Blanche Monnier was a wealthy aristocratic woman who was reported as dead by her family and then kept prisoner for 25 years.  The mystery isn’t why they did this, but who finally tipped off the police.

This is just one of the Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries Involving Celebrities you’ll read about if you check out Jamie Frater’s interesting post at Listverse.  Others include:

  • What happened to lost Heiress Dorothy Arnold?
  • Did very important people may have had a hand in the untimely demise of Princess Diana?
  • What caused the disappearance of  Beethoven star Joe Pichler?
  • Who killed Hogan’s Hero Star Bob Crane?
  • What happened during Agatha Christie’s Missing 11 Days?
  • Was Natalie Wood murdered?
  • Who killed Elizabeth Short?
  • What (Who) killed Brittany Murphy and her boyfriend?
  • What happened to Bambi Woods?

“The Irishman” / Z-View

The Irishman (2019)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay: Steve Zallian based on the book by Charles Brandt

Stars:  Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, and Jesse Plemons.

The Pitch: “Martin Scorsese wants to do a new gangster movie!”

Tagline: His story changed history.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

On his deathbed in 2003, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a former bodyguard and alleged mob hitman confessed to a killing that if true would resolve a mystery that has remained unsolved for decades.  Sheeran’s confessions (of that murder and more) became the basis of I Heard You Paint Houses: The Inside Story of the Mobsters, the Teamsters & the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa by Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and Charles Brandt.  That book became the inspiration for The Irishman.

The Irishman re-teams Scorsese, De Niro, and Pesci, then adds Pacino for good measure. De Niro plays Sheeran who accidentally meets and becomes friends with mobster, Russell Bufalino (Pesci). As the years pass Sheeran works his way into Bufalono’s inner circle because of his willingness to take care of business.  Sheeran’s choices take him down a road that leads inevitably to the loss of his family, friends and the betrayal of those he cares about.

The Irishman is getting almost universal praise.  It should. Scorsese is in top form and gets the best performances from De Niro and Pacino that we’ve seen in years.  Pesci gives his best performance ever.  Pesci deserves all of the awards he’ll receive for this role.  I was worried that Pacino would be too over the top for his role as Hoffa, but he reined it in and pulled it off.

Now to the two nits, many are picking: 1) The de-aging CGI and 2) the length of The Irishman.

I’ll admit that at first the CGI is distracting.  As the film went on it became less so.  Scorsese has said that a lot of attention was paid in the de-aging scenes to make sure the main actors (all 70+) moved age appropriately for their scenes.  (“Uh, Al, let’s do that again.  Remember when you’re getting out of the chair in this scene, you’re 45.”)  There were a couple of scenes where the faces look younger but the body movements don’t have the same snap as a younger man.  Minor distractions in my opinion, but some folks are complaining big time so your mileage may vary.

The second nit some are picking is the length of The Irishman which clocks in at 3 hours and 29 minutes making it the longest movie Scorsese has directed, and reportedly the longest mainstream film released in decades.  I thought the film moved at the right pace.  I was never bored.  I never checked my watch.  It didn’t feel like a three hour plus movie.  Again your mileage may vary.

I loved The Irishman.