(1) ICG LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Congratulations to John and Christine O’Halloran, who were presented with this year’s International Costumers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award at Costume-Con 39 on April 22.
(2) AUDIOPYROMATRONICS. Maleficent Dragon caught fire during last night’s performance of Fantasmic! at Disneyland.
(3) FUNNY BUSINESS DATABASE. “Fictional Brands Archive” is just what it says it is.
Fictional Brands Archive is a collection of many fictional brands found in films, series and video games. It is structured according to the principles of brand identity design and aims to provide a comprehensive view of each fictional brand, framing them in their own fictional context and documenting their use and execution in the source work.
This website was developed as part of a Master’s thesis in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano, supervised by Professor Francesco E. Guida, titled Fictional Brand Design.
The Research section contains the theoretical foundations upon which the project is based: it is a summary of several chapters of the thesis and is intended to serve as an informative compendium for anyone interested in learning more about fictional branding.
Featured in: Looney Toons
Medium: Series, Animated
The Acme corporation spans across several TV series, cartoons and films. The company is perhaps best-known for its appearance in the Looney Tunes universe. Its name is derived from the Greek word “acm”, which means peak or prime, but also refers to a common practice, in the era of the yellow pages that were written alphabetically, of naming companies with the initial “A” to make it appear at the top of lists. Acme seems to be a conglomerate which makes incredibly dangerous products that are known to fail at the worst of times.
Acme doesn’t have a consistent branding system, it’s logo appears in a multitude of serif, sans serif and stencil typefaces.
(4) ADVENTURES IN BOOKSELLING. In addition to everything else, Don Blyly has to combat the elements to keep Uncle Hugo’s & Uncle Edgar’s Bookstores open as he explained in his latest “How’s Business?” newsletter.
…People have been asking about the flood I wrote about last time. When this building was built in the 1920s, Minneapolis had a single sewer system for both sanitary sewage and storm sewage, and the roof of the building was slanted so that all the rain water flowed to the center of the roof and then down through a large pipe to the sewer pipe in the basement. With the single sewer system, every major summer rain storm effectively “flushed” the entire sewer system, resulting in untreated sewage flowing into the Mississippi and into some basements. About 40-45 years ago Minneapolis created a second sewer system to handle only storm sewage (primarily dumping the rain water into the city lakes instead of taking it to the sanitary sewage treatment plant), and all buildings were forced to divert the rain water from their roofs away from
the sanitary sewage system. For this building, all the water still collected in the center of the roof, but then went through a cast iron pipe around 6 inches in diameter across the ceiling of the first floor, through the side of the building, and dumped into the alley to make it to the storm sewer system on the street. The part of the pipe outside the building is wrapped with electrical thermal tape, and then wrapped in fiber glass insulation, which is then wrapped with an aluminum-foil like coating. This system had kept the outside pipe from freezing through all of the below zero days all winter long, but the insulation blanket had slipped down a couple of inches over the winter, so that the water no longer dripped directly onto the alley–it instead sprayed onto the bottom of the fiber glass, froze over night in the fiber glass, and then the ice started creeping up the pipe. At the time the flood took place, there was a column of ice reaching down to the alley and reaching up the pipe for an unknown distance. I knock away the column of ice, and nothing happened. I then got a hammer and chisel and started breaking off pieces of ice within the pipe. Eventually, water started dripping from the bottom of the pipe. After more chiseling, all the ice came out of the pipe and water started gushing into the alley and stopped coming through the ceiling. I removed the fiber glass that had slipped down over the end of the pipe, and we’ve had no water problems since. Of course, there have been insurance problems. When I reported the flood, I was promised that I would be contacted by an adjuster within 2 days. Two weeks later I called again, talked to somebody who tried to claim that the water pouring through the ceiling had to have been caused by a sewer backup in the basement. An on-site adjuster came out a few days later, did a good examination of the situation, took lots of photos of the floor, the section where part of the ceiling fell, and the water-damaged books, and agreed with me that the sewer in the basement had nothing to do with the ice dam in the alley. A few weeks later I received a check for part of the estimated cost of repairing the floor, but nothing for repairing the ceiling. The insurance company also wants a title-by-title inventory of every book that got wet, and I haven’t had time to do that yet….
(5) KEEP ON TREKKIN’. The Star Trek: Strange New Worlds second season teaser trailer is online.
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly returns for new adventures full of new life and new civilizations, and, of course, exploring strange new worlds.
(6) TODAY’S THOUGHT EXPERIMENT. CBR.com asks “What if Treebeard Found Sauron’s Ring in Lord of the Rings?”
… After Sauron lost his Ring, it came into contact with a number of powerful figures. Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel could have claimed the One Ring as their own, and each of those hypothetical situations would have ended badly. Their natural power — combined with the power of the One Ring — may not have been enough to conquer Sauron, but it would have doomed Middle-earth. But what would happen if Treebeard had happened upon the One Ring? Would it have corrupted him too, or would he have been oblivious to its effects like the powerful Tom Bombadil?…
(7) CELEBRITY BRUSH. “Students dressed as Gandalf on pub crawl meet Burnley’s Ian McKellen”. The video can be viewed at the Lancashire Telegraph link.
A hilarious video has emerged of the moment students on a Lord of the Rings pub crawl bumped into an East Lancashire actor who starred in the real movies.
22-year-old student, Ben Coyles, was dressed as Lord of the Rings character Gandalf for his birthday pub crawl in Bristol, on April 13.
Little did he know that he would end up bumping into the Burnley-born actor who played Gandalf in the movies, Sir Ian McKellen.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 3.5million times on video sharing platform TikTok, Ben can be seen posing for a picture and chatting with the legendary actor.
Scarlet Learmonth, who posted the video and was on the pub crawl, said: “It was such a shock but also a beautiful and magical moment….
(8) COSTUMERS MEMORIAL VIDEO. The Costuming Community Memorial 2023 video was shown this weekend at Costume-Con 39.
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1976 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
This is the Beginning of Bob Tucker’s “The Survey” that he wrote for Science Fiction Five-Yearly in their sixth issue which was in 1976.
Wilson “Bob” Tucker was a member of First Fandom, coined the term space opera, and lent his name to the practice of tuckerization.
He won the Heicon ’70 Best Fan Writer Hugo and the 1954 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo, and was nominated for the 1951 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo and the 1946 Best Fan Writer Retro Hugo.
And now for your considerable amusement is the Beginning of “The Survey”…
I have a weakness for fan history, and somebody made a joke about rubber chicken. It may have been Robert Bloch because he has this weakness for chickens. Preferably chicks in showers.
I wondered if it were true that all fan convention banquets served rubber chicken? For many years the allegations were rife, the references many, the jokes extensile. Were fan banquets all rubber chicken banquets? The question itself was enough to light a mental fire, enough to cause me to spring from my rocking chair and dash quickly to the bookcase to consult Harry Warner. (The elapsed time from rocking-chair-spring to bookshelf arrival was thirty-five minutes, but then this is a wide room and I did become entangled between feet and beard on the first upward spring.
I was astonished and disappointed at what I did not find in Warner’s All Our Yesterdays. I realized at once the omissions were the fault of Ed Wood and George Price, who labored many hours extracting the index which appears at the back of the book, but nevertheless Warner must share in the guilt, if only by association. The index does not have an entry “Rubber Chicken.” Nor does it have a “Chicken, rubber.” There isn’t so much as a “Banquet” entry. I know very well the fans who attended conventions in the 1940s ate something, because I was among them and I remember eating — but here, in supposedly living history, was no mention of that fact.
Still unbelieving, I turned to the text itself and discovered that Harry had mentioned worldcon banquets but did not often reproduce the menus. Of Chicago, 1940, he said: “They got free meeting rooms (in the hotel) in return for staging a banquet at which they needed to guarantee only fifty dinners at one dollar each.” And later: “The banquet that night had food in quantities approximating the cost of the meal.” Nothing about chicken, rubber.
I was at that banquet but creeping senility has long since robbed me of the memory of what was served. (However, I doubt that it was hamburgers or hotdogs.)
Of the 1941 Denver worldcon, Warner reported that bread was the banquet entree: “There were forty fans on hand for the banquet. After the breaking of bread, there were many informal talks.” It should be noted that again, Wood and Price failed to include an entry for “bread” in the index, and I’m not aware of any stale jokes about rubber bread in fandom — not even from Bloch.
But now, at last, a partial success! The Pacificon, 1946, served chicken. Yes, they did. Read Warner on page 262: “More than ninety fans and pros ate thin soup and halves of chicken, and mulled a lot of statistics that Don Day gave …” Note that. The first admission of chicken appears in history, together with a convention menu: thin soup, halved chicken, mulled statistics. No doubt a satisfactory meal for the $2.50 fee charged in that year. (Also please note the alarming rate of inflation: the official banquet had rocketed from only one dollar per person in 1940, to two and one-half in 1946. Remember this when someone blames Nixon for inflationary pressures.) I shouldn’t have to state at this point that Wood and Price are again remiss. The index carries no mention of soup, chicken, statistics….
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 23, 1879 — Talbot Mundy. English-born, but based for most of his life in the United States, he also wrote under the pseudonym of Walter Galt. Best known as the author of King of the Khyber Rifles which is not really genre and the Jimgrim series which is genre, much of his work was published in pulp magazines. (Died 1940.)
- Born April 23, 1923 — Avram Davidson. Equally at home writing mystery, fantasy or science fiction, he wrote two splendid Ellery Queen mysteries, And on the Eighth Day and The Fourth Side of the Triangle. I’m fond of his Vergil Magus series if only for the names of the novels, like The Phoenix and the Mirror or, The Enigmatic Speculum. There was a 2020 audiobook edition of The Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection edited by Robert Silverberg and Grania Davis, first published in 1998, with afterwords by Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, and intros by many other sff writers. (Died 1993.)
- Born April 23, 1935 — Tom Doherty, 88. Once publisher of Ace Books who left that in 1980 to found Tor Books. Tor became a subsidiary of St. Martin’s Press in 1987; it became part of the Holtzbrinck group, now part of Macmillan in the U.S. Doherty was awarded a World Fantasy Award in the Lifetime Achievement category at the 2005 World Fantasy Convention for his contributions to the fantasy field.
- Born April 23, 1946 — Blair Brown, 77. Emily Jessup In Altered States (based on the Paddy Chayefsky novel) was her first genre role. Later roles include Nina Sharp, the executive director of Massive Dynamic, on Fringe, an amazing role indeed, and Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in the 2004 television remake of Dark Shadows. Her last genre role I think was Kate Durning on Elementary.
- Born April 23, 1955 — Paul J. McAuley, 68. Four Hundred Billion Stars, his first novel, won the Philip K. Dick Award, Fairyland which I adore won an Arthur C. Clarke Award and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel. His short story, “The Choice”, won a Sturgeon Award, and “Pasquale’s Angel” won a Sideways Award. He was Toastmaster along Kim Newman at Interaction.
- Born April 23, 1962 — John Hannah, 61. Here for being Jonathan Carnahan in The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and there was apparently a third film as well though let’s not talk about it please, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. In a more meaty role, he was the title characters in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and of late he’s been Holden Radcliffe on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Though not even remotely genre adjacent, he was Rebus in the BBC adaptation of the Ian Rankin series.
- Born April 23, 1973 — Naomi Kritzer, 50. I saw that her 2015 short story “Cat Pictures Please” had been a Hugo Award winner at MidAmeriCon II, so I went and purchased Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories off Apple Books so I could read it. It’s since been expanded continued in two more novels, Catfishing on CatNet, which won the Lodestar Award, and the Chaos on Catnet. DisCon III saw her nominated for two Hugos, one for her “Monster” novelette and one for her most excellent “Little Free Library” short story. She also picked up a nomination at Dublin 2019 for her “The Thing About Ghost Stories” novelette.
- Born April 23, 1985 — Angel Locsin, 38. She starred as the superhero in the epic 170-episode Darna series on her country’s television. Her character looks suspiciously like Wonder Woman.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Close to Home shows The Wizard of Oz gang examining one character’s Ancestry.com results.
(12) A CRITIC’S CHOICE. Abigail Nussbaum shared “The 2023 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot” at Asking the Wrong Questions. Makes a good reading list.
The deadline for nominating work for the 2023 Hugo awards is a week away. If you’re eligible to nominate, you should have received an email from the Chengdu Worldcon (if not, you can query them here). This year’s nominations are likely to be unusual due to the high number of Chinese Worldcon members—it’s entirely possible, and even likely, that the ballot will include Chinese-language work that hasn’t received an English translation, which will render the voting phase somewhat tricky. Still, it’s not as if I’m used to seeing my taste reflected perfectly by this award even in years when there is no language barrier, so I see no reason not to continue as I’ve always done, nominating the things I thought were excellent last year, and calling attention to them in the hopes that others, too, find them worthy.
In compiling my nominations this year, I made great use of two tremendous resources, the Locus Recommended Reading List and the Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom. I also appreciated all the authors and critics who have posted their own award recommendations on their blogs and on twitter. The conversation about awards eligibility posts was settled long ago on the “pro” side, and I have no problem with people who try to promote their own work. But I always pay more attention to (and get more utility out of) the people who recommend the things they loved and would like to see nominated as well as the things they’ve published….
(13) VIDEO’S FOREVER HOME. Polygon shows that “Anime Blu-rays and DvDs are more popular than ever”. “Blu-rays are great collectibles — and you never have to worry about your favorites disappearing from streaming”
… Calculating anime home video sales is complicated. The market for it in Japan has been declining almost yearly for the past decade — coinciding with the worldwide move to digital platforms — but specific releases, like the first Demon Slayer film, can inspire greater interest. That movie has both the highest box office in Japanese history, and sold over a million copies on Blu-ray and DVD within the first three days of its release. To put that kind of success in perspective, only three American blockbuster films in 2022 sold more than a million copies throughout the entire year.
But the hunger for anime has only grown in the U.S., to the extent that in August 2022, Sony acquired Right Stuf Anime, a distributor established in 1987 that expanded into selling anime, live-action releases, toys, manga, and all manner of collectibles. (Sony also owns Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service.) In an era where anime home video was far from ubiquitous — one might find an ad in the back of a magazine here, a vendor with a massive collection at a convention there, and a smattering of opportunities among message boards — Right Stuf’s mission was to give the anime consumer “everything in one place” and a trusted system of delivering it to them. It was a fruitful operation. At this point, Right Stuf says it’s the largest online seller of anime in North America….
(14) HEADED FOR TOUCHDOWN. “A daring company is about to try landing on the moon. You can watch it.” Mashable tells how.
Other space ventures and spacefaring nations have tried and failed before.
Undeterred by previous flops, a Japanese company will attempt to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon. If it succeeds, ispace could claim the first commercial lunar landing in history.
The company will broadcast the event live at 11:40 a.m. ET April 25, 2023, giving viewers a peek behind the curtains at mission control in Tokyo as engineers oversee the challenging feat. Lunar landings are rare in and of themselves, let alone opportunities for the public to watch them unfold in real time.
The mission, known as HAKUTO-R(opens in a new tab), is one of several commercial lunar missions happening soon. Others in the pipeline are an outgrowth of NASA‘s Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program, established in 2018 to recruit the private sector(opens in a new tab) to help deliver cargo to the moon. ispace(opens in a new tab), a startup specializing in landing vehicles, couldn’t directly participate in the NASA program because it isn’t an American company, but it is collaborating on a contract led by Draper Technologies based in Massachusetts to land on the moon in 2025….
(15) CLEANING UP AFTER. Here is more about the local impact of the other day’s Starship explosion. “SpaceX’s Starship went down in a blaze of glory—and left a mess for locals who warned about the impact” at Yahoo!
…It resulted in an explosion that caused residents near the launch site in South Texas to notice ashy particulates falling from the sky and vibrations in their classrooms and homes.
The city of Port Isabel said there is no immediate concern for people’s health and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk declared the fireworks show a victory, saying SpaceX “learned a lot for the next test launch in a few months.”
But for the community near the site, it will take time to clean up from this one—a nearby road was covered in debris and temporarily closed and teams dedicated to protecting the bays and estuaries of the Texas coastal bend are busy surveying the damage. It’s an area where shorebirds have had their habitat disrupted from prototypes that exploded after previous test launches, and at least two species have stopped or reduced nesting in recent years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s these concerns that drew residents to release a statement before the launch, blasting SpaceX and elected officials for declining to meet about Starship and often cutting off their access to the beach.
“Whenever Elon Musk and his accomplices, the Cameron County Commissioners and Texas General Land Office, close Boca Chica beach for his pet project SpaceX, they destroy our native life ways.” wrote Juan B. Mancias, Carrizo Comecrudo Tribal Chairman.
The local community’s clash with SpaceX to protect and access their beach and wildlife represents a striking contrast to the company’s grand vision for the future. SpaceX wants to make humans a multi-planetary society, and Musk has shared his thoughts that getting humans to Mars and the “greater Solar System” could protect us if large-scale devastation happened like an asteroid hitting Earth….
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. New and improved! Someone has figured out “How Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania Should Have Ended”.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stuart Hall.]
(6) Ah, but Bombadil was never involved with creating Rings, which Galadriel, among others, was. And whether an Ent could use the Ring is questionable.
(9) As I recall, the traditional choice was between rubber chicken and cardboard veal.
(12) And I still cannot connect to the website at all, nor have they responded to my emails.
(15) I have read that several senior people of SpaceX warned Musk, and wanted to take more time, and he fired them.
(1) Grats J and C!
(2) Missed it by two days! I was there Wednesday getting caught up on the new ToonTown and stuff. Now I’m nursing my aching feet.
(5) we didn’t need Kirk showing up. (And when did he become a brunet?)
3) No Zik Zak, Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, or Ling-Standard Products? For shame.
@Patrick Morris Miller
The compendium does provide a way to submit info on additional fictional brands.
@mark in #1: are you saying you can’t load Asking the Wrong Questions? Can you give me some more information (platform/OS/browser)?
“A Pixel lives forever, but not so Files and Scrolls”
Abigail Nussbaum: I think he means the Chengdu Hugo site
(3) The Fictional Brand Archive has Acme starting 10 years too early; the first Looney Tunes cartoons weren’t made until 1930.
(12) Seconding Nussbaum’s recommendation for Samit Basu’s novel The City Inside, which is terrific.
(8) The video takes 2:27 to provide 37 seconds of memorial
Joshua K., your assumption is that the Acme brand started with the cartoons which it did not. The Acme name actually began in the silent era with such films as the 1920 Neighbors with Buster Keaton and the 1922 Grandma’s Boy with Harold Lloyd.
Do tell. On the other hand, I was wondering if Acme showed up in the first Looney Tunes cartoon, or sometime later.
Acme brand grocery retailers showed up in 1891 and are still in business today with 191 supermarkets.
@rochrist, Yes I remember Acme stores in the area where I grew up.
Where I live now I’m about 10 miles from Acme, Michigan, which got its name in 1869.
I belatedly found a response to my Tolkien comments of 4/19 some days later, and wrote a counter-response, but decided it was too aged-off to post. Since Tolkien’s world has come up again I’m hauling it out. Still a day late for this one, but that’s what living on Eastern time does to Pixel Scroll:
In a comment on 4/19/23, robinareid referred me to Tolkien’s bibliography in Wikipedia for objective evidence against the contention that Tolkien had slacked off somewhat on academic projects late in his career in favor of creative writing. Okay, let’s look: per the bibliography Tolkien had published AT LEAST one academic title every three years (sometimes much more) between 1919 and 1944, with the exceptions of a 4 year gap between a very fruitful 1925 and 1929 and an understandable 5-year gap during WWII, ended late in the war by a 1944 publication. Between 1944 and 1953, we have NOTHING except a 1947 expansion of the 1939 original version of “On Fairy Stories.” After 9 years since 1944, 1953 does show two publications. Thereafter, up to Tolkien’s retirement in 1959 we have exactly one academic publication, and that an “editorial preparatory note,” in 1958. Following retirement, when he had no duty to be working on anything academic unless he so chose, unambiguously scholarly work indeed appeared, one title each in 1962 and 1963. Possibly Tolkien had worked on those before retirement so that they should be added to the average. The still later work in his retirement and his posthumous publications are not here part of the question. So an argument based on the Wikipedia certainly seems to be to show that Tolkien slacked off on academic work, relative to his earlier pace, after 1944, and arguably even after 1939, though it is not clear that the war years should count. LOTR appeared in 1954 and 1955, and was mostly written after The Hobbit, 1937. It is well known that Tolkien put much work into fiction after LOTR’s publication and before his retirement, even though he published nothing more listed in the Wikipedia bibliography. It is not much of a leap to posit that time not spent on philology in the narrow sense was going into creative writing. Granted, an argument can certainly be maintained that this creative work was (a) part of philology more broadly viewed, and (b) of more social worth than Tolkien’s more conventional academic work.
“Academic work,” of course, does not consist exclusively of producing publications, even at elite institutions. Those pesky students, doncha know.
@Russell: How did you know my professors called me that?!?
One of mine described an essay I wrote as “posting the 95 theses”. It wasn’t nearly that dramatic. (Another student had a similar reaction on that assignment.)
Mike Glyer says Do tell. On the other hand, I was wondering if Acme showed up in the first Looney Tunes cartoon, or sometime later.
Oh I love telling. I really do.
The first appearance was a product placement in the bavkground of Buddy’s Bug Hunt, a 1935 Looney Tunes short directed by Jack King.
@Cat Eldridge: Admittedly, I have a particular interest in Looney Tunes. However, it wasn’t just my assumption that Acme started in Looney Tunes. The Fictional Brands Archive specifically states, “No one will ever know who founded the corporation or when, but it made its first appearance in Looney Tunes’s Buddy cartoon.” (Emphasis added.)
6) Two additional cents on Treebeard and the Ring: Obviously the Ring would have corrupted Treebeard. The only question is whether it would have dominated him and broken his will to that of its true master. A Maia such as Gandalf could have used the Ring to take Sauron’s place. But the Maiar were a higher order of being than the races of Arda, including Ents. What about the most powerful individuals of the other races? I accept, as I think most of us do, that Galadriel, had she taken the Ring, would have become the Dark Queen as she envisioned herself. Was Treebeard’s will as strong as Galadriel’s? Despite his immense age, I think not.
His fate, and Middle-Earth’s, would have been terrible. Let’s assume he found the Ring before Sauron became active (i.e. before Dol Guldur). The Ring would have encouraged Treebeard to expand his domain, growing Fangorn quickly and unnaturally. It would have led him to regard all Men and Dwarves as threats equal to the Orcs, eventually seeing even Elves as those would manipulate the forest to their own desires. Greenwood the Great would still have become Mirkwood, and been even larger, covering both banks of Anduin. Its ruler would have become a mobile version of Old Man Willow, hating everything on two legs. Somehow, I think, the being once called Treebeard would have become a kind of Ringwraith. His final transformation would be in a contest of will between him and the Ring’s true master, and the Ring would betray him. At best he would become like the Witch-King, ruling in Sauron’s name over a forest covered by shadows. At worst, he would be anchored to one spot and his speech taken from him, consumed by hatred and longing for the Ring, serving only as a trap and punishment for others as Shelob was.