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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Five Tracks In 2016

The wonderful Christine Collister asked all the writers who contributed to Love Letters 2 Rock N Roll this year to submit a list of the five tracks we listened to the most in 2016 (regardless of what year the tracks themselves were released). I was delighted to comply.

And consider this yet another plug for Love Letters 2 Rock N Roll. The site could use another writer or two. Maybe you would like to write a love letter to rock 'n' roll...?




The frustration and heartache of this trying year cast a long shadow over the music I played. These are the five tracks which stand out in my mind as the songs I listened to the most often in 2016. One is an actual new 2016 release, three reflect a few of the many losses felt by the pop world this year, and one is just a perennial, much-needed blast of transcendent rock 'n' roll brilliance.

In no real order:



THE MONKEES: Birth Of An Accidental Hipster

One of a number of tracks I could have selected from The Monkees' superlative 2016 album Good Times! It could just as easily have been "Me & Magdalena" or "You Bring The Summer." Far and away my favorite album of the year.




DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

2016 wasn't even two weeks old when we lost Bowie, and we should've taken that as a sign to return the damned year to sender, postage due. Bowie's passing affected me a lot more than I ever would have imagined, and I started my own blog because I needed a place to vent. I have several favorite Bowie songs--"Rebel Rebel,""Suffragette City,""Panic In Detroit," and "Heroes" come to mind--but "Life On Mars?" was the one I kept coming back to, over and over, in search of...catharsis. I guess.



1.4.5.: Your Own World

1.4.5. was an offshoot of The Flashcubes, my all-time favorite power pop band. Piloted by 'Cubes guitarist Paul Armstrong, 1.4.5. has encompassed many varying lineups; this track is from the 1987 album Rhythm n' Booze, and it features the late Norm Mattice on lead vocals. Mattice's passing was the 2016 death that felt like the biggest, most vicious single punch to the gut. He was one of our own, a Central New York talent who should have been a star, and not a homeless man who died of exposure, all alone, unable to find shelter from the cold Syracuse night. He had friends and family willing--eager--to help him, but it was of no avail. Nothing was. Nothing could be.



PRINCE: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man

We'd been playing Prince's "When Doves Cry" on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl a bit throughout the first few months of 2016, and I betcha it would have made our year-end countdown even if Prince had remained one of our greatest living rock stars into 2017. His death in April sealed the case for this year's ongoing infamy. "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" was never a song I thought much about before--if I were going to play Prince, I'd be more likely to go with "When Doves Cry" or "When You Were Mine"--but a request for the song from TIRnRR listener Joel Tinnel prompted us to play it on the show the week after Prince died. And it just clicked with me, suddenly but unerringly. I've been playing it ever since.



THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

Always. Especially in a year like this one, a year which has demanded more from us than we've felt capable of giving. Turn it up. And I say we attack 2017 before it attacks us.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Last Blogkeeping of 2016






With only a couple of days left until we push 2016 off a freakin' cliff into the abyss it so richly deserves, we have time for one last bit o' blogkeeping before the year is up.

First, thanks so much to all of you have read and supported Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) all year. Special thanks to those of you have said it with cash! For as little as $2 a month, patrons of this blog on Patreon get bonus material not available to the public; if you sign up before the weekend, you can still get the December bonus post (the unpublished introduction and preamble to Gabba Gabba Hey: Conversations With The Ramones, my book on The Ramones that smart money says ain't never gonna be finished) and the January bonus post (a brand-new edition of The Greatest Record Ever Made, discussing "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks). Neither of these bonus posts will be available to the general public until at least April or May, at the earliest. But you can get 'em both next week, just by signing up to support this blog on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

We still have two more posts left in 2016.  Friday's post will be a list of the five tracks I listened to the most this year; given the parade of pop mortality the year has put us through, it should be no surprise that the list includes three tracks by dearly departed artists, but it does include one new track from 2016. The post was written in response to a query from the good folks at Love Letters 2 Rock N Roll, and the post will published there as well. And I betcha a lot of Boppin' fans would not only appreciate Love Letters 2 Rock n Roll, but might even consider writing a love letter of their own. You! You love rock 'n' roll! Write a letter awready! You don't need your own blog just to express your appreciation for your favorite performer, album, rock 'n' roll movie, or cherished concert memory--Love Letters 2 Rock N Roll is already offering you that outlet. Write! Gush! And tell 'em CC sent you!

Oh, and Saturday's post here will be "2016: The Year In Review." Yeah, let's just get that over with as soon as we can.

Sunday night at my other gig--This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl, the self-proclaimed Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin' Planet--we're doing our annual countdown show, playin' back what we played a lot over the last twelve months. I have seen the countdown, and it is good! The countdown includes a wide array of irresistible rockin' pop tunes, from the '60s through 2016, and they oughtta make for one hell of a radio show. Expect a countdown of our 44 most-played tracks, and possibly a countdown of some of our most frequently-played artists, too. It's the biggest! It's the best! It's This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's year-end countdown show, Sunday night, January 1st, from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org.

In 2017, Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) will continue to offer more chapters in our ongoing series faves, including The Everlasting First (with posts on K is for KID ETERNITY and K is for THE KINKS due next; and yes, when we get there, it's for damned sure we'll find that Q is for SUZI QUATRO), The Greatest Record Ever Made, Comic Book Retroview, and Singers, Superheroes, And Songs On The Radio, more concert memories in my Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery, and maybe another "Degrees Of Separation" exercise or two. I have a near-future post called "I've Got The Music In Me (And That's Where It's Gonna Stay)," and I'm also going to be writing soon about local hero John Tierney's blog, but don't wait for precious little me--check out John NOW!! And tell him CC sent ya; I can use all the mitzvahs I can get....

As Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) nears its first anniversary on January 18th, the mission statement remains unchanged: a post a day, every day. That's the Boppin' way.

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And here's some images to represent Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) in 2017:

 
 
 
 
 

 
 



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

THE EVERLASTING FIRST: Quick Takes For J [comics edition]



Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

THE JOKER



Oh, yeah: Cesar Romero, his mustache stubbornly showing through his pasty white makeup on TV's Batman in 1966. I'm not sure exactly which was my first episode of Batman, though I know I didn't see the pilot episodes until they were re-run later in the first season. It's possible, and maybe probable, that I was watching the show by the time The Joker made his grinning, ghastly debut in the third week's two-parter, "The Joker Is Wild"/"Batman Is Riled," on January 26th and 27th, 1966. (We used to watch Batman on a station from nearby Utica, NY, which aired the episodes on Mondays and Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I may have seen these episodes on the 24th and 25th, before the rest of my kindergarten class saw 'em on Syracuse's Channel 9.) My first exposure to The Joker in comics form was a Kelloggs' Pop Tarts mini-comic; my second may have been a reprint of "The Crazy Crime Clown!" in a Signet Books Batman paperback. Much later, I read The Joker's first appearance, from 1940's Batman # 1, when it was reprinted in the book Batman From The '30s To The '70s. The murderous Joker depicted in this '40s story was dramatically different from the clownish criminal I knew, and the original interpretation of the character would return with a vicious vengeance in "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge!" by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams in Batman # 251 (September 1973).

JUSTICE, INC.
 


My mid-'70s fascination with paperback reprints of 1930s Doc Savage pulp adventures led me to The Shadow, and to The Avenger, a lesser-known pulp hero also credited to Doc Savage's presumed creator, Kenneth Robeson. Robeson was a house name at Doc's publishing company Street & Smith, a pseudonym used by any writer working on Doc Savage's adventures, including Lester Dent, the writer recognized as Doc's main scribe. Dent, along with The Shadow's creator Walter Gibson, are said to have been involved with The Avenger's creation in an advisory capacity, but the origin and subsequent stories in The Avenger were mostly written by Paul Ernst, writing as Robeson. The Avenger's stories were exciting--even better than Doc Savage, as I recall--featuring the exploits of Richard Benson, a hero with the ability to change his appearance. In the wake of a devastating tragedy, Benson transformed from a wealthy prick into The Avenger, and formed Justice, Inc., his own little crime-fighting combo. Unique among pulp series of the day, Justice, Inc. included a black couple--Josh and Rosabel Newton--who were portrayed as intelligent, courageous, capable members of The Avengers' team, rather than as the derogatory racial stereotypes prevalent at the time. In the '70s, DC Comics licensed The Avenger for a comic book series; to avoid confusion with rival Marvel Comics' superhero book The Avengers, DC released these new Avenger adventures under the title Justice, Inc.



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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO # 853: The Many Moods Of Dana Bonn




Although This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl officially had this past weekend off, Dana wanted to come in and create some radio magic of his own. Once again, TIRnRR is proud to present The Many Moods Of Dana Bonn.

NEXT WEEK: TIRnRR returns on Sunday, January 1st for the big one: THE COUNTDOWN! 

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live on Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org

THE MANY MOODS OF DANA BONN 12/25/16

In memory of Rick Parfitt of Status Quo

THELONIOUS MONK: Hackensak (Columbia, Criss-Croos)
--
MATTHEW SWEET: Hear This (RCA, Kimi Ga Suki x Raifu)
BIG STAR: Don't Lie To Me (Norton, Nobody Can Dance)
STATUS QUO: Green Tambourine (Castle, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
THE MONKEES: Me & Magdalena [Version 2] (Rhino, Goo Times! [digital version])
BLONDIE: Union City Blue (Chrysalis, Eat To The Beat)
THE NERVES: Hangin On The Telephone (Alive, One WAy Ticket)
--
THE ROLLING STONES: I Gotta Go (Interscope, Blue & Lonesome)
STATUS QUO: Spinning Wheel Blues (Castle, Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon)
THE SMALL FACES: Tin Soldier (Immediate, The Autumn Stone)
THE WHO: Young Man Blues (Castle, Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970)
FATHERS & SONS: Baby, Please Don't Go [live] (MCA, Fathers & Sons)
ALEX CHILTON: The Happy Song (Omnivore, Free Again: The 1970 Sessions)
--
MARTI JONES: I've Got Second Sight (BMG, Any Kind Of Lie)
THE CONTINENTAL DRIFTERS: The Rain Song [early version] (Omnivore, Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond)
LEON RUSSELL: Delta Lady (Shelter, Retrospective)
STATUS QUO: Spicks And Specks (Castle, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
WISHBONE ASH: Blowin' Free (MCA, Argus)
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE: Trip To Your Heart (Epic, A Whole New Thing)
--
SQUEEZE: Farfisa Beat [alternate version] (A & M, Argybargy)
THE BANGLES: The Real World [demo] (Omnivore. Ladies And Gentlemen...The Bangles!)
BIG STAR: September Gurls (Norton, Nobody Can Dance)
THE DARLING BUDS: Sure Thing (Chaos, Erotica)
ASTROPUPPEES: On My Way (Manatee, Sugar Beat)
THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset (Essential, Something Else)
--
THE POSIES: I Am The Cosmos (Geffen, Dream All Day)
THE BEATLES: Baby You're A Rich Man (Apple, Magical Mystery Tour)
STATUS QUO: Something Going On In My Head (Castle, At Their Best)
ALEX CHILTON: Free Again [stereo remix with alternate vocal] (Omnivore, Free Again: The 1970 Sessions)
THE HUMBUGS: Calico Eyes (Oddvious, On The Up Side)
FOOLED BY APRIL: Oh Dana (LunaSea, VA: A Tribute To Big Star)
--
EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year's Gonna Be Our Year (M-Squared, Year Of The Mouse)
DEE DEE RAMONE: Bad Little Go-Go Girl (Music Blitz, VA: Beyond Cyberpunk)
FANTOMES: I Wanna Be Your Dog (Soul Jazz, Les Punks)
MUDHONEY: Inside Job (Music Blitz, VA: Beyond Cyberpunk)
STATUS QUO: Mean Girl (Castle, At THeir Best)
THE BEVIS FROND: Everyday Sunshine (Fire, It Just Is)
--
NEW ORDER: Ceremony (Rhino, Singles)
LORD FUZZ: The Freak (Purple Pyramid, Space Rock)
STATUS QUO: Pictures Of Matchstick Men (Castle, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
THE BEATLES: Rain (Apple, Past Masters)
THE SMALL FACES: My Mind's Eye (Immediate, The Autumn Stone)
THE SPECTRES: Neighbour, Neighbour (Castle, STATUS QUO: Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
BIG STAR: Hot Thing (Rykodisc, Big Star Story)
STATUS QUO: In My Chair [7"] (Castle, Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon)
BIG STAR: The Letter (Norton, Nobody Can Dance)
STATUS QUO: Gloria (Castle, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
STATUS QUO: Judy In Disguise (Castle, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
THE TRAFFIC JAM: I Don't Want You (Castle, STATUS QUO: Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo)
STATUS QUO: Shy Fly (Castle, Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon)
THELONIOUS MONK: Eronel (Columbia, Criss-Cross)



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THE EVERLASTING FIRST: Quick Takes For J [music edition]



Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

JAN & DEAN



In the mid-'60s, "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" was a song that everyone on my block knew, like it was a part of the landscape. I remember playing on my neighbor Steve's swing set one day, and my friend Willie singing (in a falsetto) I'm the little old lady from Pasadena! Close enough, Willie. I don't remember any of Jan & Dean's other hits contemporaneously--knowledge of "Surf City," "Dead Man's Curve," and even Jan & Dean Meet Batman would come much, much later--and I didn't hear them singing "From All Over The World" until I caught The T.A.M.I. Show on a cable broadcast outta Canada in the mid-to-late '70s. Jan & Dean have never been nominated for induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE



I knew "Somebody To Love," which was a big hit on the radio in 1967. I saw the Airplane lip-sync the song on American Bandstand. I may have made disparaging remarks about the length of the hair on those boys--I was an unenlightened 7-year-old--and I may have fallen in love with this vision of loveliness called Grace Slick. In the pages of Marvel's Not Brand Echh humor comic book, I giggled at the comments of a window-washer (who looked suspiciously like Ringo Starr) hailing the arrival of Stuporman by exclaiming, "Look! Up in the sky! It's a gooney bird! It's a Jefferson Airplane!" As a young teen in the '70s, I would fall hard for "White Rabbit," and borrowed my brother Rob's copy of the Surrealistic Pillow LP for further enlightenment. Never developed a taste for the Starship, though.

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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

BATMAN's Degrees Of Separation



Most folks are familiar with Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, the concept that actor Kevin Bacon can be connected to just about anyone by no more than six degrees of separation. The idea of six degrees of separation--that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person within six degrees of separation, or less--predates its specific link to the star of Footloose. But I've always thought about applying the idea to fictional characters, and trying to connect a figure from the imaginary world with other famous made-up people, and with some real-life people, as well.

My favorite fictional character is Batman. So let's play Six Degrees Of Batman!

When playing this game with a fictional figure, it's important to understand a few parameters. First and foremost, one must separate the character from actors who've played the role. There has been a long list of people who've played Batman on screen, from Lewis Wilson to Adam West to Ben Affleck, with many more Batguys in between. But these were all just actors playing a role; working on a film with Christian Bale would put you no closer to Batman than shaking Hal Holbrook's hand would put you one degree of separation from Abraham Lincoln.

On the other hand, all of a character's official appearances in comic books, movies, TV shows, radio shows, books, and what-have-you are fair game, regardless of whether or not that appearance is considered in continuity. Fanfic doesn't count, but Batman's team-up with the Scooby-Doo gang does.

The increasing prevalence of inter-company crossovers has increased our opportunities to link seemingly disparate figures. With the number of DC Comics/Marvel Comics crossovers that have been published, we won't even bother detailing links between Batman and members of the Marvel Universe; hell, JLA/Avengers by itself puts most Marvel characters within a degree or two of the Caped Crusader right there. But let's see what we can come up with, and I invite you to submit more of your own ideas, as well.





BATMAN TO JACK NICHOLSON: 3 degrees

We start with this one to illustrate that Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in the 1989 Batman film has no effect on his degrees of separation with our hero.  In fact, Nicholson achieved his proximity to Batman way back in 1968. One of Batman's oldest foes is The Penguin (one degree); actor Burgess Meredith, who played The Penguin on TV, also appeared--in character, as The Penguin--in an episode of The Monkees (two degrees); The Monkees played themselves on their TV series (meaning there is no distinction between their TV characters and the real-life Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith), and later worked on their dark 'n' brilliant feature film Head with then-unknown actor Jack Nicholson (three degrees). [As a side-note, I wanna point out that if I were to ever write a Batman '66 Meets The Monkees story, it would for damned sure investigate why The Penguin was watching The Monkees play and snickering to himself, and how it all connected with the evil hypnotist Oraculo, The Monkees' adversary in that episode. I betcha both Catwoman and Wizard Glick were involved somehow, and I further betcha Catwoman's look-alike April Conquest would play a key role.]



BATMAN TO ADAM WEST: 3 degrees

No degrees. Wait--no! While West is Batman to many, it's actually a bit more circuitous to connect the actor to the role he played. Oddly enough, you've gotta go through the actor who played Louie the Lilac on the Batman TV series: Mr. Television, Milton Berle. Batman met Jerry Lewis in The Adventures Of Jerry Lewis # 97, a licensed comic book published by DC, featuring the fictionalized exploits of the titular lovable lunkhead (one degree); the real-life Jerry also appeared on several occasions with Milton Berle (two degrees); and West worked with Berle on Batman (three degrees).




BATMAN TO THE RAMONES: 3 degrees

An easy one! Batman met Marvel's The Punisher in a DC-Marvel crossover (one degree); The Punisher also met America's typical teen Archie in a Marvel-Archie crossover (two degrees); recently, Archie met the American Beatles, the greatest American rock 'n' roll band of all time, in the epic comic book Archie Meets Ramones (three degrees). That same path through Riverdale also gets Batman to KISS and the New Directions kids on Glee. If the rumored Batman-Archie crossover appears next year, everything here will shave off one degree.




BATMAN TO THE DICKIES:

Batman's connection to these California punks predates his connection to The Ramones by nearly three decades. Batman to Superman (one degree); Superman met Don Rickles in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen # 139 and 141 (two degrees); Rickles worked with The Dickies on an episode of his late '70s sitcom CPO Sharkey.



BATMAN TO THE LONE RANGER: 2 degrees

This one got a little easier with the recent publication of a comic book mini-series teaming an aging Lone Ranger with his great grand-nephew The Green Hornet; prior to that, we would have needed one extra degree of separation (The Lone Ranger's nephew, The Green Hornet's father, Dan Reid) to complete the connection. Batman and Robin met The Green Hornet and Kato on a TV-series two-parter in 1967, and again in a more recent comic-book sequel (one degree); then, The Green Hornet to The Lone Ranger (two degrees). A longer route that's still worth noting: Batman to fellow JLA members Superman and Wonder Woman (one degree); either of those heroes to the kids from The Brady Bunch, who met both the Man of Steel and the Amazon Princess in separate episodes of the animated series The Brady Kids (two degrees); and The Brady Kids also met a time-traveling Lone Ranger (three degrees).


 

BATMAN TO BOB DYLAN: 4 degrees

There may be a way to cut this short by a degree, but for now: Batman to his pal Superman (one degree); Superman to his pal Muhammed Ali, the co-stars of a terrific one-shot comic book Superman Vs. Muhammed Ali (two degrees); Ali to The Beatles, who did a photo op with the champ in '64 (three degrees); and The Beatles certainly knew Bob Dylan, and Dylan joined George Harrison as a member of The Traveling Wilburys (four degrees).




BATMAN TO POPEYE: four degrees

The King Features characters, from Blondie to Prince Valiant, have generally been a closed circle, with few if any opportunities to connect with characters outside of King's domain. I'm only aware of one exception, but that one is all we need. We start with Batman to Superman (one degree); in Captain Action # 1, Superman met the titular Ideal Toys action-figure character (two degrees); Captain Action met King Features' The Phantom in a two-issue comics mini-series published by Moonstone, the only instance I can recall of a King character appearing with a non-King character (three degrees); and The Phantom appeared with Popeye (and virtually all of the other King characters, including Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and Little Iodine) in Popeye Meets The Man Who Hated Laughter, an animated TV movie aired in 1972 as an episode of the Saturday morning series The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie (four degrees).



BATMAN TO PRINCE: 5 degrees

The late, great Prince did the soundtrack to the 1989 Batman movie, but this one was a challenge. I thought I had a complicated but brilliant set of degrees lined up, going back from Prince to actress Zooey Deschanel (Prince guest-starred on her sitcom, The New Girl), to Parkey Posey (who also appeared on The New Girl), to Noel Neill (Lois Lane on TV's The Adventures Of Superman, but who also appeared with Posey in the film Superman Returns), to...damn, I couldn't get from Noel Neill to the actual Superman character. I also tried to get from Batman to Prince via Scooby-Doo TV guest roles for Batman and Sonny & Cher, but couldn't get from Cher to Prince, either. So, instead: repeat our previous sequence of Batman to The Punisher to Archie to KISS (three degrees); KISS bassist Gene Simmons starred with singer/actress Vanity (whom I thought was the hottest girl on the whole friggin' planet at one point in the '80s) in the film Never Too Young To Die (four degrees); and Vanity was, of course, a protege of Prince (five degrees).




BATMAN TO DICK TRACY: 2 degrees [presumed]

A proposed Batman-Dick Tracy crossover comic book was killed in development. But a recent episode of the Dick Tracy newspaper strip hinted at an upcoming appearance by the late Will Eisner's classic hero The Spirit, and Batman and The Spirit have met. So: Batman to The Spirit (one degree); The Spirit to Dick Tracy (two degrees). If the presumed Dick Tracy-Spirit meeting actually does happen, it would also create a path from Batman to Little Orphan Annie, who has been a frequent supporting character in Dick Tracy.




BATMAN TO GILLIGAN'S ISLAND: 3 degrees

Batman to Scooby-Doo (one degree); Scooby-Doo to The Harlem Globetrotters, who also made an animated guest appearance with the Scoobies (two degrees); the Globetrotters to our favorite cast o' castaways in the TV movie The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan's Island (three degrees).




BATMAN TO THE CHARACTERS ON MAD ABOUT YOU: 3 degrees

Batman rescued British singing sensations Chad & Jeremy from the clutches of Catwoman on a episode of the Batman TV series (one degree); Chad & Jeremy were cited as "close friends" by British singing sensations The Redcoats (played by Chad & Jeremy) The Redcoats appeared on The Alan Brady Show in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show (two degrees); TV legend Alan Brady was interviewed by Paul Buchman on an episode of Mad About You (three degrees).




BATMAN TO JAMES BOND: 4 degrees

Convoluted, but we'll get there. Batman to Spider-Man, via a few DC-Marvel crossovers (one degree); Spider-Man to fellow Marvel star Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu (two degrees); Shang-Chi to his associate Clive Reston (three degrees); in many Master Of Kung Fu stories, Reston often made references to older members of his family, giving the strong (but never explicit) implication that he was descended from Sherlock Holmes, and the son of James Bond (four degrees). This connection also brings John Steed and Mrs. Peel--aka The Avengers--within five degrees of separation from James Bond, via the recent comic book series Batman '66 Meets The Avengers. Finally, the TV movie The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. included a cameo by George Lazenby as 007, giving Batman six degrees of separation from Napolean Solo and Ilya Kuryakin. (And, through Shang-Chi, Batman is separated from Shangi-Chi's father--the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu--by just three degrees.)



BATMAN TO CARL CAFARELLI: 3 degrees

I'm BATMAN! Well, presuming I'm not really Batman--believe what you will--let's see how close I can get. I've met Adam West, KISS, and both Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork at meet-n-greets, I interviewed The Ramones, and I once asked Ringo Starr a question at a press conference. The two Monkees gets me the closest to Gotham City: Batman to The Penguin to The Monkees to Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) in three degrees of separation. That's probably the best I can do until someone writes Tom Kenny or The Flashcubes into a Batman story. Or if I were to write Batman '66 Meets The Monkees. It could happen! Or not....

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