Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The continuing frights of Johnny Toothbrush

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm sure nightmares and sleeplessness were common to all of the readers of the first part of "Cleanliness" starring Johnny Toothbrush. I can only hope that the conclusion of the story will soothe your troubled soul. Our story of unspeakable terrors left off at the sudden development of an 'awful worry' that Johnny Toothbrush and his hygienically-challenged friend, Bobby, were about to discover. An 'awful worry' that would clearly lead to a lesson learned the hard way: never follow a toothbrush deep into the forest, no matter how dirty your teeth are. We are about to meet first-hand one of the most demonic characters ever conjured from the depths of the human mind, a doctor (if that is his true profession) by the name of Stork. Let's continue..

Dr. Stork shows the trembling duo (Bobby, not pictured) just what he does to those who don't brush. A spine-chilling plot to control the minds of little children everywhere.

Even more horrifyingly, he prescribes 'excercise'! What kind of avian-devil is he?

Yes, Doc Stork means it when he says to 'excercise'. It is said that Doc knows whose toothbrushes have been properly 'excercised' and whose have not. He comes for those scamps by shadow of night, and they are never heard from again. This Halloween night, if you see the flutter of white wings against the ebony sky, you'll know Dr. Stork has come to claim another soul.

Well, have a great day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The terrifying World of Johnny Toothbrush

Halloween, the best time of the year, is upon us, and I wanted to join everyone else getting in the spirit of things by posting a favorite bone-chilling tale of the macabre from my personal collection. "Cleanliness" starring Johnny Toothbrush is not your average book of Pointers For Little Persons. Nope, it's a gruesome jaunt down the path towards 'the creeps' brought to us by Virginia Parkinson and early claymation images from the Sass-Dorne Studio. Originally published in 1943, this book is every bit as spine-tingling and suspenseful as it was back then.

I can't protect you any longer from...

Two comments: The front cover shows permanent signs of the mental breakdown the original owner experienced after reading this book. Some believe that she was trying to write 'halitosis'... Also, you might notice that Johnny Toothbrush bears a striking resemblance to Ed Wynn. This cannot be a coincidence.

A scene of lavatorial consternation

It all goes downhill from here..

The sign, though very small, says 'Enter At Your Own Peril'. Though all signs indicate that they should turn back while they still can, they enter the lair of Dr. Stork.

Who is this diabolical Dr. Stork? Why would Johnny Toothbrush lead Bobby into his clutches? How (or will) they get out alive? You'll have to check back on Halloween for the conclusion of "Cleanliness" starring Johnny Toothbrush. Sleep tight... if you dare!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

National Day of Fondue

I'll bet you have a fondue set hidden away somewhere in your kitchen. It's worth it to rummage through some of those cabinets rarely opened, filled with unknown horrors of culinary trends past. Did you find one? If so, it's time to dust it off because today is the first great holiday of the year, National Fondue Day*! If you don't happen to have one of these miracle pots, you could buy a new one online, but beware that it's not authentic if it doesn't boast some of the beautiful shades of the 1970s.

Here are two cookbooks to get you in the holiday* spirit: Fondue Cookery (Alison Burt) and Better Homes and Gardens' Fondue and Tabletop Cooking, both originally published in 1970.

Fondue photography, a burgeoning subgenre of photography, is rife with some of the most social and active images of food known to man. Photos of sweatered diners, blazing fires (fireplace or candle), and multiple fondue forks hanging over bowls of creamy cheese are common sights in a fondue cookbook. Not so with Fondue Cookery, however. The pictures, though just as lovely as the Better Homes and Gardens', are lonely and lethargic with a lack of anticipation and many photos containing no action or fondue fork at all.

It's a Swiss thing - Fondue Cookery cover

Neuchâtel Fondue

The sickly-looking Mushroom Fondue with Curried Bread Crumbs

The first of the Flambés - Krambambuli

Bourguignonne Fondue

Peaches Flambé - Unfortunately, there's no photo of the Herbed Veal Kidneys Flambés!

If there's a lesson to be learned from Fondue Cookery, it's that everyone has their own fondue. The book includes personalized concoctions from His Fondue and Landlord's Fondue to Peter's Fondue. Sadly, they forgot Plumber's Fondue, Gandhi's Fondue, and Gertrude's Fondue.

Unlike Fondue Cookery, Fondue and Tabletop Cooking is action-packed. The anticipation is palpable as images of boiling oil, flickering warming candles, and, of course, fondue forks dunking into pots of molten cheese, lifting out dripping chunks of french bread, fill every page.

Front cover of Better Homes and Gardens' Fondue and Tabletop Cooking - Poised to plunge into the second-degree-burn-inducing hot oil. Note the nice candles!

Lemon-chiffon-colored Classic Cheese Fondue

Welcome to the ski chalet, where every day is Fondue Day!

Chocolate Fondue - This photo is a Curly Wurly first! This marks the first time that I've posted a picture of something that actually looks palatable (not including luncheon meats and gelatin salads because I actually do eat those daily)!

Connect-the-dots to see the cover image of next month's Better Homes and Gardens (September 1970 only)!

If your Creamy Ham Rolls have similar looking abnormal pustules, please get it to the doctor quickly. This picture illustrates the most romantic table decor: the tacky pillar candle.

A rare look at the stylish tabletop appliances of the 1970s. Behold the boxy, chrome-accented essentials of a simpler, dare I say, better time! They're obsolete and unidentifiable. Compare the filled-in picture with What's What?!: a Primer.

* Actually, according to the wise internet (where every day is a holiday, no matter how insignificant, ludicrous), there are two fondue-based holidays. National Cheese Fondue Day is April 11th, and National Chocolate Fondue Day is February 5th. This post was nothing but a melty, cheesy lie!