TALES FROM THE MOLEMAN !
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Another of the retro ramblings from a mysterious character that e-mails me and calls himself M. Oleman. I think I have actually caught a glimpse of this guy, but only in my peripheral vision, at night. -Ron
E-mailed from M. Oleman:
I woke up flat on my back. Which was a nice change from the way I usually woke up which was face down. Earth was rotating lazily underneath me like the Ferris Wheel at Kennywood. Or a fat guy circling the buffet at Eat N Park. I really had nothing to do today except wait for the impending burnout of the sun and the obliteration of all life on earth, so I was in no hurry to go anywhere. As I lay there looking at the ceiling the cat came and crawled up beside me and snuggled in comfortably. That was nice but it got me thinking that I didn't own a cat and possibly I had fallen asleep in someone else's kitchen again. I tried to think but I didn't know where I was and the cat wasn't forthcoming with any information. I just hoped it wasn't Prague. I hated waking up in Prague.
I stood up and looked around then poured the kitty a saucer of milk as I surveyed my surroundings. The dearth of 50's kitchen decor told me that it was definitely not my house. Not a boomerang pattern countertop in sight. But when you stay up all night engorging yourself on Funions washed down with Sapporo Gabunimi Melon Cream Soda whilst playing game after game of Stratego with a hobo you met at the comic book store this is the kind of thing that can happen.
I let myself out and started looking for my car, but I couldn't remember which one I'd started out in last night. My brain was as fuzzy as the math they used at Goldman-Sachs.
After a while I found a Buick Roadmaster half parked on the sidewalk with a copy of "Magnus, Robot Fighter" on the front seat and a bumper sticker that said "YoYoDyne Propulsion Systems, The Future Begins Tomorrow. Or Possibly the Day After". This could only be my car. The registration card read "Adelhard Krause" which was the name that I used when I worked as a pastry chef at a little cafe near Checkpoint Charlie in West Berlin back in the 80s. That and the .50 caliber ammo can full of Kong-tastic banana flavored Twinkies on the passenger side floor settled it. I really needed a personal assistant or a sidekick or a robot buddy or something to help me stay more organized.
I roared down the road more or less taking the lights as they came. Sunlight glinted off the chrome side strips and beamed down through the Vista-View roof. My thoughts drifted to the Monster Bash. It was getting awfully close and there was so much left to do. Fortunately I had plenty of time on my hands since I didn't have a job and lived mostly off of the royalties of the book I wrote back in 1999, "Ron Adams: Why Won't He Take My Calls?" Though to tell the truth sales have been sluggish as of late and I was considering writing a sequel already tentatively titled "Ron Adams: Why Won't He Let Me Live In His Basement?"
I slowed down at the intersection where I used to get a ham and cheese on rye at the old Woolworth's lunch counter to check messages on my EMP Proof Etch-A-Sketch. Nothing. I was having my doubts about whether this had been a wise purchase or not. Never buy something like this off of a guy in an alley late at night who claimed to have connections to the "Saucer People."
As I sat there with the car idling I took a long pull from a canteen of grape Kool-Aid that I kept in the glove box and thought about things. I briefly considered pulling over to find a pay phone so I could call a buddy of mine who knew the guy that trained the monkey who played "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp" but then it occured to me that he probably didn't want to be bothered. The chimp, not my buddy.
My watch had stopped and I didn't know what time it was but it really didn't matter since for me it was always seven seconds to doomsday. Which, I thought would have been a good name for a movie starring John Agar, Barbera Billingsley, and June Lockhart. Agar would have said something like "This doesn't make sense. It can't be happening. But it is. It is." Then he would give Babs Billingsley a look. It made me a little depressed thinking that that movie had never been made but then I considered that maybe it had been filmed in an alternate dimension and been a big hit and I felt better.
Someone behind me, impatient at my contemplations, blew their horn and I responded back by leaning hard on mine which played the theme song from "Charles In Charge". I waved them around and they gave me a funny look. I got a lot of those. I guess it's the faux wood paneling on the doors.
I was getting restless and a little hungry so I stopped at a restaurant I frequented that let me pay in Swedish Kronor. I had no idea why they let me do that but it gave me a chance to unload all the notes I found in the Grundbacken after the big Riksbank heist of 95.
I seated myself in a back booth once reportedly favored by Al Molinaro when he was on break from filming "Joanie Loves Chachi.". Al evidently liked to keep his back to the wall so he could watch out for any enemies entering the establishment. I heard through my CIA contacts that he had a long running feud with the Garden Gnome Appreciation Society of Nanty Glo. Better to be safe than sorry.
When I ordered my coffee I told the waitress I wanted it "Mummy'" style; tepid Nescafe served in a cracked, clay mug with Camel's milk instead of cream. And I wanted my Reuben just the way Lon Chaney Jr had his: hold the sauer kraut and Corned Beef with Munster cheese substituted for Swiss. She seemed a little confused and exasperated at my order but I just assumed she was at the end of a long shift and probably a little tired.
Then since it was close to Monster Bash I thought I'd do Ron a favor by creating a buzz so I stood up on a chair and did my best Criswell speech about everyone being interested in the future because that's where we all spend the rest of our lives, ending with "Monster Bash in 45 days." When I was done a few people stared and a few turned their backs. Someone at the bar laughed nervously and a little kid in a high chair stuck his tongue out.
I sat down and drank my coffee. I had my doubts it contained real camel's milk.
I Like CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE....Is That Wrong?
I woke up bleary after a bad night's sleep. I dreamt I had reenacted the last Monster Bash using Tinker Toys and wooden blocks to make the Days Inn, and assorted action figures to represent the people. Don Reese was a Stretch Armstrong and Ursula was Jane West. I think Ron Adams was a headless Gumby. I don't know why.
I rolled over and found that the uncomfortable thing I was laying on that I thought was my Woof Woof doll was instead a Dragon Anti-Tank Missile. I really had no recollection of putting it there.
Downstairs I made myself a breakfast of Post Toasties and coffee. I looked in the Icebox but there was no cream so I crumbled a little chalk in the coffee to whiten it up. I sat down and thought about why I still occasionally used the terms "Icebox" and "Fruit cellar." Or, why you couldn't buy a Big Wink anymore or get a Zagnut at the checkout at Zayres.
I flicked on the little black and white TV looking for cartoons but I couldn't find Beanie and Cecil or the Groovy Ghoulies so I turned the set off and went outside.
I decided to take a drive, but thoughts lay heavily on my mind.
I went a few blocks then parked the car under the shade of a tree and sat there thinking. I held my head in my hands. Last nights viewing of "Curse Of The Swamp Creature" was stuck in my mind. Watching it made me re-examine everything I had done in my life up until this time and question every decision I had ever made. I was coming to a horrible, dark realization:
I enjoyed watching "Curse Of The Swamp Creature."
I said it out loud to myself just to hear how it sounded and it made me cringe. It was a crazy man talking, not me.
Trembling and pale, I staggered into the grocery store where they knew me pretty well and moved towards one of the back aisles. The kid behind the counter looked at me in shocked surprise. Not because I was staggering but because I passed the beer cooler without stopping. I picked up a copy of Monster Bash from the magazine rack and thumbed through it quickly. There was no mention of where Ron Adams was currently located or where exactly he intended to spend his summer vacation or the name of his podiatrist or what flavor of Pop Tarts he favored. All vital, personal information had been carefully scrubbed, but I desperately needed to talk to a professional.
I walked down the block to the comic book store. As soon as I entered "Big Sid" knew there was a problem.
"Tell me about it" he said as he slurped on a 52 Ounce Mountain Dew.
"I, I hardly know where to begin. I don't know when it started. I guess at one point I fell in with a bad crowd. But the truth is...is..."
"Go on" he said as he began to scribble notes on the back of an old "Little Lotta" comic book that had Lotta lifting an elephant on the cover.
"I watched "Curse Of The Swamp Creature" last night. And I didn't hate it."
"Hmmm" Sid said as he continued to take notes and drained his cup making a loud gurgling sound.
I watched his eyes carefully before I continued, looking for signs that he was judging me or possibly going to call a mental health professional.
"I like "Curse Of The Swamp Creature". And "Night Fright". And "The Brain From Planet Arous."
"I see" he said as he took a large bite from a jelly donut.
As he accepted this, I became more bold and began to yell."And "Hand Of Death!" and "Invisible Invaders!" and "Women Of The Prehistoric Planet!"
No! I don't just like them all! I love them! I love these movies! I love them and I don't care who knows!"
Sid shoved the remainder of the donut in his mouth then reached under the counter for a foot long hoagie. I looked at him expectantly. I was shaking now and drenched in sweat.
I felt that this could be a defining moment in my life.
"Just answer one question. And you must be completely honest with me" he said as he took a huge bite of his sandwich leaving little globs of mayonnaise at the corners of his mouth: "How do you feel about "The Creeping Terror?"
"It's Horrible" I replied. "A dreckfest. The worst movie ever made. If I could I would round up every copy in existence and arrange to have them air dropped over North Korea. I'd even parachute in with them if necessary just to make sure they were distributed far and wide. I would rather be chained to a chair and forced to watch all ten "Devil Ant" movies with David "The Rock" Nelson beside me giving running commentary than ever watch "The Creeping Terror" again."
Sid chewed slowly and thoughtfully then popped the top on a can of Diet Dr Pepper. "My son" he said, "All is not lost. There is still hope for you. Take one "Ghost Of Frankenstein" and two Mummy movies and call me in the morning." Then he wrote me a prescription for Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
I thanked him and walked to the door pathetically grateful for this reprieve on my sanity.
As I was about to leave I turned and looked at him one last time. His generous stomach, straining the fabric of his ketchup stained Green Lantern t-shirt, half rested on the counter. Bits of crumbs and yellow and green jimmies cascaded magnificently down the front of his shirt and on to the counter top forming a mosaic, and the fan behind him blew wisps of hair from his pony tail around like autumn leaves.
He picked up an old issue of "Marvel Team Up" and started to read, his lips moving slightly, the electrical tape on his glasses dangling like a 4th of July streamer.
I began to well up a little. He was one of the great ones.
Once outside I found my car and slid behind the wheel. I glanced over my shoulder furtively then reached into the glove box and pulled out an old cassette tape. I looked around again, inserted it, then pressed play. The soothing voice of John Agar melodiously trickled from the speakers. It was an audio tape I made to listen to on long trips of "Zontar: The Thing From Venus" that I had recorded off of an old VHS tape.
Recovery was going to be a long, hard process.
-M. Oleman, Bowels of the Earth
Well it seems that the mysterious entity know as M. Oleman has treated us once more to some very strange ramblings about Monster Bash. I have to admit that I'm laughing out loud at each one of these he sends. If you've ever been to the Monster Bash Conference, you'll get a lot of these rferences. The man is a word-weaver of no equal. -Ron
I woke up drenched in sweat and tangled up in my Roy Rogers bedsheets.
Last night I had a terrible dream. In my nightmare I awoke to the sound of my Limited Edition Bob Pellegrino alarm clock screaming "Monsta Bash! Where's my drum set? Monsta Bash! Where's my drum set?" over and over which I thought was odd because it usually just says "Hey, man. Time to get up and face another day of dull, monotonous drudgery working for the man. Come on, you can do it." I liked waking up that way even though I didn't have a real job and mostly earned my money by selling photo-shopped pictures of me and Ron Adams kayaking or rock climbing or storming Tripoli.
I shut the clock off by slamming my hand down hard on Bob's head then tried to sit up.
I felt strange. As if there was a heavy weight on my chest. Like a load of cinder blocks or Don Reese.
I stumbled across the room and walked out into the hallway and found myself standing in the lobby of the Days Inn clad only in my "Zontar, The Thing From Venus" pajamas. The crowd was unusually sparse, and an inordinate number of guests resembled John Agar. In fact most of the people walking around looked like him. Even the women.
And, to my surprise, instead of Ursula and Barb Heiss manning the registration table there sat Dwight Frye. He had on a bib and was happily munching away on a plate of flies and spiders using a knife and fork while behind him on the floor was a bound and gagged Dan Weber who seemed to be slathered in steak sauce. I shivered and backed away silently finding myself standing outside the restaurant from where a cacophony of terrible thumping and banging seemed to be coming. A large poster on the wall read "Bash Boys-Canceled Due to Premature Burial. Appearing instead "The Fabulous Pellegrinos!"
I forced myself against all good measure to peer around the corner and there to my horror were five Bob Pellegrinos playing the drums. They were furiously pounding away using soup ladles and tree branches and other assorted odds and ends. Then they all took a break and started bumming cigarettes from each other. I must have gasped a little because they all stopped at once and stared at me. Then they huddled up and started talking amongst themselves with one of them occasionally looking back in my direction.
I retreated slowly backwards then turned and ran down the hallway towards the dealer room jumping over Monster Bash staffers Leonard Hayhurst and Ted Lewczyk who were on the floor playing the Milton the Monster board game. I guess Ted was losing because as I passed him he overturned the board and started screaming "No fair! No fair!
Around the corner near the dealer room I stopped to catch my breath trying to sort things out wondering when Rod Serling would show up when Ron Adams appeared. He was driving a tiny, yellow AMC Pacer pedal car towing a tiny trailer with a cake on it. The writing on the cake said "Congratulations David "the Rock" Nelson on Devil Ant 15! Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture!" I must have passed out at this point because the next thing I remembered was opening my eyes and staring up at the ceiling. I pulled myself to my feet, trembling and shaking and entered the dealer room.
I walked around the room slowly and noticed table after table contained nothing but DVDs of "Punky Brewster" and "Joanie Loves Chachi." I walked faster and faster and soon was running around circling the room but not able to avert my face from the horrible spectacle of the collection of bad TV shows. I ran and ran but couldn't find the exit. At one point a life size cardboard stand-up of Scott Baio laughed at me and mocked me. I pleaded with it to stop but it only pulled out a comb and started to style it's hair. Unable to take any more I steeled myself and crashed through a wall ending up in the movie room.
It was empty and eerily quiet inside. There was no movie playing, but on the stage there appeared to be a mound of carpet moving around. I crept slowly forward, afraid to draw attention to myself. When I got close to the stage I read the billboard that was posted:
"The Creeping Terror, A One Man Play Starring Mark Statler." I was frozen in place by fear. What kind of demented mind would do this? And why? Why? I wanted to run but my legs felt like two pillars of concrete. Finally as I mustered up the courage to move taking a single step backwards, Mark Statler popped his head up through the carpet monster costume.
"Where are you going?" he said. "Have a seat. The show isn't over yet. In fact, it goes on...FOREVER!"
Then he started to cackle hysterically.
I don't remember much that happened after that. Just running through the woods behind the Days Inn being chased by Mr Lobo, Gunga Jim, Chilly Billy, Professor Emcee Square and hundreds of other horror hosts who all were demanding my autograph.
Finally I woke up and and walked wearily to the kitchen where I calmed myself down with a couple of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pudding Pies and a glass of Suntory Bikkle.
Monster Bash in 10 Days. I may just have to stay awake till then.
-M. Oleman, Bowels of the Earth
Another in the continuing monster-filled ramblings Sent to us by the mysterious M. Oleman. He recounts lurking at MONSTER BASH 2012 --
I left my house with the intent of getting to the Monster Bash early mainly because I wanted to procure a good parking spot for the outdoor movie on Saturday night, but also because my basement was being sprayed for an infestation. The Green Slime under the workbench was bad enough but the werewolves nesting in the sub-basement were really starting to get out of hand.
My car was packed to the roof line for the trip, and as the brochure in the glove box noted: "The Buick Roadmaster Offers Without Exception the Most Pleasurable Driving Experience Ever Known To Mankind! " And as I drove the car down the highway I had to admit that this was not in the least exaggeration or hyperbole. On the ride up route 8 I felt as if I were floating on a cloud or piloting one of those Saucers from "Plan 9." Stopped at a traffic light my mood lightened and I yelled out the window "People of Earth! Your attention Please!" but no one payed much attention except a kid who playing in a sandbox who smiled and waved.
Since I was a week early I camped out in the treeline behind the hotel in an area that looked as if it had recently been nested in by a Sasquatch. I hoped he wasn't coming back because I had no intention of leaving no matter what warnings Paranormal Investigator Stan Gordon had given me. "If he comes back I'll try to reason with him" I told Stan, "Maybe engage him in a game of Parcheesi, a challenge that they cannot resist as I understand."
Although I would have to watch him closely because it's well known that they will cheat if given the chance".
I passed the time patiently, playing with my Etch-A-Sketch and attempting to fashion a good likeness of "Zontar, Thing From Venus" on my Lite-Brite while also making the occasional dash across Route 8 for supplies. The other reason I did the Bash Dash was to keep myself in shape in case it became necessary to rescue someone who looked like they weren't going to make it across in time on their own. Don Reese wasn't getting any more nimble.
Finally the vanguard of the Bash arrived. They were followed by others and soon the Days Inn was a beehive of activity as boxes were unloaded and banners were unfurled. There was an awful lot of unfurling. I mingled amongst them wearing an old janitor's uniform with a name tag that said "Carl. How May I Help You?" Vendors soon arrived with truckloads of goods. Carts and handtrucks whirled about, tables were set up, moved around, broken down, and set up again. There was much chattering, hubbub, racket and ballyhoo. Not to mention hustle and bustle. And possibly a little kerfuffle, as our friends in Britain say.
Soon all was set to go and only lacked the arrival of the teaming throngs of yearning Bashers.
That night I went to bed dreaming of dinosaurs and Zagnut Bars and dinosaur-sized Zagnut Bars and woke early on Friday awash with anticipation. My excitement hadn't reached a level such as this since that time a balloon load of North Korean propaganda landed near me on the DMZ. Of course I was pretty bored there, and anything that broke the monotony was welcome.
After a quick breakfast of Mallo Cups and Pepsi Ice Cucumber (It's an acquired taste.
I know a guy in Yamagata Prefecture who gets me all I want) I entered the lobby of the Days Inn and immediately ran into Mark Statler and his brother Theron. These are two of the good ones. If an evil, criminal Brain from another planet ever came to earth wanting to take over I really feel I would be able to depend on the Statlers to not only believe my fantastic story but also to aid me in defeating the Brain, Mark would taunt the Brain distracting it while Theron would throw me the ax handle. Then I would destroy the otherworldly monster by smashing it repeatedly in the Fissure of Rolando. That's how I imagine it in my mind anyways. Hopefully they would then help me explain to the authorities that it was not me that caused all the chaos but instead was an alien brain that had taken over my body.
If my story wasn't believed and I was sent to prison I think they would probably visit me at least one Sunday a month.
I spent most of Friday making the rounds, peering under tables, and groping about checking the walls for secret passages and the asking vendors for copies of "Godzilla Versus Conrad Brooks" which nobody would admit to having a copy. But I'm sure some of them did. Hidden away for certain, valued customers. I was also on the lookout for the "Monster Bash Staff Room" a legendary, mythical place stuffed with delicious food and drink where songs of past glories are sung and there is a Master Control Board like the one used in the movie "Santa Claus", personally manned by Ron Adams. Or in case of his absence his robot double. So it's rumored as told to me by staffer Brian Keegan, Bash Technical Expert and AV go-to guy who I convinced I was a member of the FBI Unauthorized Robot Double Relocation Unit, URDRU.
Later on at one point when I was walking through the hotel as the clock edged near the witching hour on Friday night, minding my own business, a large, rubber ant was tossed out into the hallway. Surely this was the fabled Devil Ant I thought, and briefly wondered whether I should stomp on it, scoop it up and toss it in the dumpster, or scurry away as fast as I could pretending I didn't see a thing. I didn't have to think long because soon David "the Rock" Nelson poked his head out of his room and before I knew what was happening I was inside talking to him. I don't know if I was in there for 5 minutes or 5 hours because soon time began to have no meaning. My vision blurred and my knees buckled as has he talked and talked randomly jumping from subject to subject and smiling the whole time as he fished around in his old Marine Corps duffel bag. The only thing I recall clearly is at one point I handed him "twenty stinkin' dollars" and he handed me back one of his movies. Then I heard a voice in my head say "leave now while you can." It's a little disturbing to hear voices in your head like that but I suspect I wasn't the only one in the room experiencing that particular phenomena.
Saturday. M.Oleman time:
All of the guests were great as usual. Count Gore, the Ghoul A Go-Go gang, and Penny Dreadful had time for everyone. Chilly Billy and George "I'm the Sheriff" Kosana were gentlemanly as usual and Mr Lobo's showing of "Reptilicus" on Saturday night was surely the highlight of someone's weekend.
I haven't talked to that person yet but I'm sure he's out there.
Such a great pleasure seeing Julie Adams, Ricou Browning, Martine Beswick, Richard Keil, and all the other guests who all seemed to be enjoying themselves meeting their fans.
And Arch Hall playing with the Bash Boys was not to be missed. Maybe they should think about going on tour. I, for one, would follow them anywhere. My bags are packed. It's not as if I have anything else to do.
Of course, Ron Adams was everywhere at the same time doing everything from brushing crumbs off staffer Leonard Hayhurst's chin to introducing guests on stage to running off errant cavemen who hadn't payed the proper registration fee in the main lobby. But frankly, if you have a Prehistoric Bash you should expect a few primitive gate-crashers.
The Monster Bash Staff was omnipresent and always cheerful and helpful. A sea of orange, with smilling faces lead by mom and pop Adams. Can anyone guard a door as well as Ted "Milton the Monster" Lewcyk? Man the front desk as well as Barb, Alice, and Ursula? Carry heavy stuff as good as Dan Weber? (he plays the guitar a little too I think) Can anyone, anyone, play the Skins, sing the "Song of the New Wine" AND look good in a Santa Claus suit in June like Bob Pellegrino? And yes Bob, we're sure we want to hear the song.
The rest of the weekend went by so quickly that to see and do everything you would have needed a clone of yourself, (such as Ron Adams has), and it is entirely impossible for anyone in attendance to not have enjoyed themselves immensely.
We will all, surely, do it again next year.
I now end these humble scribblings paraphrasing the words of Leslie Charteris:
And so, my friends, dear monster movie lovers, most noble fellow drinkers, frustrated Bigfoot hunters, strange Horror Hosts, affronted film makers, upright citizens with regular jobs and secret movie making dreams, that seems to be very nearly all for now. It has been nice spending time with you, and I hope you will all come back again, not once, but many, many times.
-M. Oleman, Cave on the outskirts of town....
Just read Moleman...the guy is amazingly talented! I don't know how he does it!!
M. Oleman is a correspondent at Creepy Classics/Monster Bash whose accounts come to us through the Internet in the wee hours of the morning. He seems to live in a world of his own and, apparently, goes to many of the same conventions that we do. A faceless letters writer that makes it hard to distinguish what is factual or just delusional. At any rate, I find them entertaining in a twisted retro vision kind of way. Here's the latest to filter in... -Ron
A Trip To the Steel City Convention, July 2012
I don't like to pay for things if I don't have to. I believe I come by this character trait honestly as I think it was passed on down from my Uncle "Coalcar" Oleman who rode the rails for decades without ever buying a ticket. Then there was my Great Aunt Alma who fought with the Water Company for years because, as she often yelled out the window "water falls from the sky. You have no right charging me for it!"
So when the Steel City Convention rolled around again I contemplated long and hard on how I would get in. The loading dock was no good. They would have a special detail known as "the M.ole Patrol" on the lookout for me, and mailing myself there in a box marked "Live Bees. Do Not Open" probably wouldn't work again either. Then I came upon the idea of employment. Something I personally don't believe in but I do believe in using all tools available to get the job done. So the next day I applied for a janitor's job at the Monroeville Convention Center. At the interview I gave my name as "Gustav". No last name. Like Cher, or Geronimo, I said. Eyebrows were raised when I listed my Social Security Number as 123-45-GKXQ, but I told them it was an experimental number only used for a few years and issued to people who were born on submarines. After this the address I provided (1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, IL) hardly raised an eyebrow. The interview seemed to go well and they left me with a "don't call us, we'll call you", and puzzlingly they never did.
Finally I had one last desperate idea which was to go through the front door like everyone else and take my chances that none of my old enemies like the "Purple Puppy" or "Mr Stationary"and his sidekick "the Tablet" would see me. I had a little trouble when they didn't want to accept my Traveler's Checks drawn on the Landesbank Baden-Wurttemburg but they finally relented when the line behind me started to get really long.
Inside the Convention Center there were as usual loads of old toys and collectibles and much to see. I checked out a few things, made the "I'll call you" sign to Burt Ward, TVs Robin of Batman & Robin, then headed over in the direction of the Creepy Classics setup to look for Ron Adams. I had a few questions to ask him regarding the plot of "The Creeping Terror" and I wanted to share my theories with him on how we won the Battle of Cowpens in 1774.
Unfortunately Ron was nowhere to be seen although his booth was manned by old Bash stalwarts Dan "Easy Bake" Weber, and Bob "Sticks" Pellegrino. I nosed around a little and inquired if they had a copy of "London After Midnight." They claimed not to but I had a feeling they were hiding a copy somewhere keeping it in reserve for special, valued customers. Having no luck here I walked around some more until I noticed someone in an Imperial Stormtroopers outfit who was walking with the lithe, catlike gait of Ron Adams. I followed him around awhile and noticed he stopped and looked at all the things that Ron Adams liked: dinosaurs, monster comics, Holly Hobby dolls.
I was convinced this was him so when the opportunity arose I approached him from behind and tapped him on the shoulder saying "Hey, how about that Mummy's Ghost?"
He turned around and in a voice muffled by the helmet said "I beg your pardon?"
"You know. The Mummy's Ghost. Yousef Bey. Ananka. Nameless! Deathless! Fleshless!"
I said raising my voice at the end and assuming a mummy pose with my right arm held high and my left held close to my chest with my hand formed into a claw.
"Uh, Ok." he said then started to walk away.
I followed him firing multiple questions at him.
"Ron, what are the chances of a Creeping Terror reunion?"
"Is it true that Monster Bash comedian Don Reese is on the Olympic Body Surfing team?"
"Do you know a barber who will give me a haircut like Criswells?"
"Ron" I persisted as I followed him closely "Is there any truth you're going to have a Buddy Ebsen reenaactor at the next Bash?"
"Look I don't know who..." he said as he stopped suddenly and half turned which caused me to bump into him pushing him into a vendor's table. He stumbled and started to lose his balance grabbing hard at a plasitc container of Lego blocks which sent the entire contents into the air.
As if in slow motion the hundreds of Legos flew into the air and then began to cascade down in a wonderful multicolored shower. "Isn't it beautiful" I thought to myself as they began to fall and pelt me and several bystanders as Ron and I lost our footing in the rubble and thudded to the floor in a heap.
Then Ron, who was now completely prone on his back struggled his Stormtrooper helmet off and I could see that without any doubt it was not Ron Adams at all. As the crowd buzzed around and the vendor whose Legos were all over the floor fussed, I sat up and there, standing a few feet away was the real Ron Adams. He was eating a Chili Dog that also appeared to be slathered with Cole Slaw and onions. As he took a large bite that sent a drizzle of chili down his chin and on to the Stormtrooper's helmet he looked at me and recognition slowly came into his eyes. He then just shook his head slowly and walked away, gingerly stepping over the assorted Legos.
Next Steel City Con in December. I hear Howling Mad Murdock will be there and I have quite a few theories I'd like to share with him. I hope they let me back in.
-M. Oleman, from the unfinished Pittsburgh Subway tunnels
It was with much trepidation that I peeked my head out from beneath the covers this morning. Everything looked OK. My Dwight Frye alarm clock with the numbers all represented by flies was ticking away quietly, and my life size bust of Ron Adams being devoured by The Creeping Terror was undisturbed. Still, something didn't seem right. There was a disturbance in the air. A shift of some kind. I got out of bed quietly slipping on my Theater Of Blood dressing gown and Hugh Beaumont slippers and headed downstairs.
In the living room I was excited to see that "The Brain From Planet Arous" was playing but then I remember that I had been watching it late last night and left in on to replay itself over and over. I lingered for a moment. Just long enough to see John Agar smash the evil brain with an ax handle, then went into the kitchen. I chugged a bottle of Sapporo Gabunimi Melon Cream Soda to try and calm myself but I found it didn't help much and only left me craving some Okonomayaki. And I was all out.
I plopped into a chair and picked up the newspaper. As my eyes were drawn to the date my hands began to tremble. It was Labor Day weekend. The beast of all holiday weekends. Memories came bubbling to the surface like GI Joe in his frogman suit after my sister had tossed him in the lake that time. I shuddered and remembered:
Back when I was a dumb kid, sometime in August when the Cicada bugs began their shrill cry, I would realize that school would be starting again soon. My best friend Steve would reinforce this thought by telling me the Cicadas were chanting "School! School! School!"
My mother, who by this time was sick of us kids being home slamming the screen door all day and yelling and generally causing kid type ruckus' around the house would start saying "I can't wait till school starts again!"
The days would start getting shorter, and coming home when the street lights came on as was the standing order in my house, meant you were home and in the tub by 8:30 or so, a full hour earlier than we had gotten used to. A trip to the store meant trying on new school clothes, something I hated more than the steaming plates of onion laden Sukiyaki my mother would sometimes make, And no amount of whining and laying down on the cold tile of the department store as if all the calcium had drained from your body would get you out of it either. It would just make it take longer and you would get yelled at more as store clerks scowled at you and other unfortunate kids stared.
And then shoe shopping. Trying on pair after pair of the hard dress shoes we were forced to wear for no other reason than I could think of at the time than as punishment for sins past and future. I often wondered what I did to deserve such a fate. What crime had I committed to be given such cruel and unusual punishment? Was I Attila the Hun in a past life? Was is because I had laughed once when I saw a fat man slip and fall in the snow?
Then Labor Day weekend would come and and we would try to squeeze every last bit of fun out of every minute as if it were the end of the world. Which would have preferable to me over going back to school. The last cookout. The last games of Wiffle Ball and Hide and Seek in the woods. The final battles of the green and blue army men on the front porch. The last chance to watch Chiller Theater for the summer. Oh, we could do those things next week, but only AFTER school. And all fun for the foreseeable future would be followed up later by daylight internment in the big, brick building where I would be forced to pay attention and could only covertly draw monster on the back of my notebook.
Then Tuesday morning would come, gray and dreary, and my mother would wake me up with a sickeningly cheery greeting. "It's all right for you" I'd think, "you get to stay here and go back to bed." I think I said it out loud once. Only once.
Then out the front door I'd go with my green lunchbox and my empty but soon to be full book bag. My mother would always say the the same thing as she sent me out to be devoured by the cold, cruel world: "Have a good day at the office!" and I'd force a little smile as I left.
Stoop shouldered, bleary eyed and slack jawed I would trudge down our front steps and on to the brick street where I would meet Steve who was as miserable as I was and fresh from being yelled at by his mom.
We'd walk slowly and not say much, like two prisoners of war off to be locked up. Finally in an attempt to cheer things up one of us would say something like "Halloween's only a few weeks away" or "They got in some new monster models up at the drugstore" and the load would be lightened a little. Gradually, painfully, we would get used to school again and the promise of Halloween and then Christmas would see us through.
As I sat there deep in thought my reverie was suddenly broken by the phone ringing. Before I picked it up, I knew who it was.
"I have the shakes and I'm queasy. I can't eat" the familiar voice said. "I saw a shoe commercial a little while ago and I nearly passed out. The kids in the commercial were happy! They were singing and smiling too! They were shoe shopping and they were happy! That can't be! That's not the way it was! It can't be..." the voice said as it trailed off.
"Steve" I said slowly "Calm down. Just listen to me: Chiller Theater. Stratego. The Ghost Of Frankenstein. Anzio Beach Playset. Creepy Crawlers. Boaterifics. Rat Patrol. Zeroids. Pirate And Traveler..."
I spoke slowly and softly and on the other end I could hear him breathing easier."It's OK" he said "I think I'm OK now. It's just last night I dreamed my mother bought me a Barbie lunchbox and forced me to take it to school. This weekend always gets to me."
"I'm going to tell you one last thing" I said " then I want you to go up into your attic and make a nest of your old comic books and stay there til Tuesday. Are you listening?"
"Go on" he said, his voice slightly quivering.
"Halloween is only a few weeks away, and I think they have some new monster models up at the drug store".
He thanked me and hung up. I think he'll be alright.
And if anyone needs me this weekend I'll be up in my attic in a nest of my old comic books.
-M. Oleman, beneath rock in a Pittsburgh hillside
It was many years ago in late September, but I remember it like it was yesterday. The days were getting shorter and the nights cooler. Me and my best friend Steve had gotten used to being locked up in school all day. We were now looking forward to Fall and all Halloween related activities which would culminate in us engorging ourselves on Halloween candy without repercussion. It was truly a free for all and something we looked forward to all year. We were also thinking about what we would be for Halloween and what movies would be upcoming on Chiller Theater.
On this particular day as we were paging through our comic books and monster mags after school we were paying particular attention to the ad for the Johnson Smith Company. Sea Monkeys! Real police handcuffs! The Secret Pocket Pen Radio! Rubber Monster Masks and Kung Fu fighting techniques! The Automatic Hypnotizer would really come in handy as would the X-Ray Glasses. So many great things to choose from. We both agreed that when we grew up we would get a job at this most wonderful of places. To think of getting paid to be there was staggering to our little minds. And so, as we looked over the ad and made plans for our future employment one of us, I'm not sure which, noticed the ad for the U-Control 7 Foot Life size Ghost. It soared 40 feet in the air and had a secret control.
The Secret Control part was tantalizing. What could it be? It didn't quite say it in the ad but we envisioned a frightening radio controlled wireless monster ghost that would be operated from a panel of buttons and lights like something from the Jupiter 2. And the control would be secret. The ad was very specific about that. What great Halloween mayhem we could create with this! We would scare our brothers and sisters and the old guy down the street who would never let us retrieve our balls from his yard.
It momentarily befuddled us that it could be sold for the low price of 95 cents but when we discussed it, we came to the conclusion that if they sold a lot of them it would help keep the price down or maybe they sold this item cheap and jacked up the prices of everything else to compensate. Even at the age of 10 we understood the concepts of volume sales and loss leader items.
Steve's brother Mark, who was a couple of years older than we were, tried to warn us that the U-Control Ghost probably wasn't what we were expecting, but we just ignored him. He didn't understand the retail trade like we did.
In the following weeks as we impatiently waited, we plotted and planned what we would do with the remote controlled ghost when it arrived. Steve had the idea of hiding the secret control in his book bag and controlling the ghost from his desk so he could make it sneak up behind the teacher while I planned on bringing it with us when we went Trick-Or-Treating. I would be a Mad Scientist and it would be my creation obeying my every command. We would be the envy of the entire neighborhood.
Finally about a week before Halloween when we had gotten to the point where we couldn't wait any longer and were starting to think about writing a letter to Mr. Johnson or Mr. Smith, our package arrived in the mail. The box seemed a little small but I brushed my concerns aside as I excitedly ran up to Steve's house. Thankfully it had arrived on a Friday so we had all weekend to assemble it. Maybe my mother would let me stay home from school on Monday to finish it if we weren't able to get it all done. I wondered if we would need a soldering iron or set of socket wrenches or a reel of wire. We sat down on Steve's back porch and opened the box barely able to contain our excitement.
Now I have had a lot of disappointments in my life but viewing the contents of this box sticks out in my mind as being at the top of the list. Enclosed was a white balloon with a smiling face on it, a piece of white plastic, a little bit of string and a small slip of paper with instructions on it that advised the operator to wrap the plastic around the balloon, tie the string to the plastic, then drape the ghost over the door and pull the string.
Our mouths hung open as we stared silently down. How could this be? Where were the circuit boards and connectors? Where was the control rod and battery compartment? I was crestfallen and dejected, but Steve was just angry. It was unfortunately at this point that Steve's brother Mark showed up. He started laughing at us and pointed out that "he told us so." Because he tended to stutter a little when he was excited, he called us "a couple of s-s-s-s-suckers." The more he laughed the madder Steve got and the madder he got, the funnier Mark thought it was. Finally Steve blew his top and started chasing Mark around the yard, which Mark thought was great fun as he batted Steve's arms away. Eventually Steve caught up with him and they ended up wrestling and rolling around in the leaves until their mom came out yelling and trying to break up the fight. Whenever she started referring to Steve as "Steven" I knew it was time to go home.
Steve wasn't allowed out the next day, but after church on Sunday we got together in my back yard and commiserated in our disappointment. We were 95 cents poorer, but a little wiser. As we sat there talking and looking through the latest issue of "Where Monsters Dwell" I noticed the Johnson Smith ad. "Crime Detection Lab. Similar Sets used by FBI and Police. Only $2.95." Steve looked at me and I looked at him. We had the same thought. If we started saving our money now....
-M. Oleman, Swampland north of Pittsburgh (address unavailable in GPS systems)
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TALES FROM THE MOLEMAN!