The Popular Culture Excavation Site

Celebrating 10 years on the World Wide Web, May 18, 2007

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New visitors should click About VDD before proceeding.  Returnees may appreciate What's New.  The webmaster's periodic rambling remarks will be found at News & Views.  The Privacy Policy may offer comfort and the eBay icon leads to a list of items that your host is currently offering for auction.

The following selection of curious and forgotten byways is for those with a compelling appetite for insignificata.

The Katzenjammer Kids   

The Katzenjammer Kids is the longest running comic strip in history, having celebrated its 100th birthday in 1997.  Once the most popular strip around, the Katzies spawned "The Captain and the Kids" and numerous imitations.

There's also a special page for Harold Knerr, who drew the little hellions for 35 years.

Images of the Katzenjammer Kids are used by permission of King Features Syndicate, Inc.

The KOOL Penguin    

Forget about "Joe Camel."  As a cartoon huckster for cigarettes, "Willie" the KOOL penguin preceded him by 50 years.  Learn all about Willie (and Millie) and view a vast assemblage of related memorabilia.

If you prefer, you may proceed directly to the KOOL penguin collectibles page.


Star of the Moulin Rouge, Casino de Paris, and Folies Bergere.  The "Queen of the Paris Music Hall" was fabulously popular during the years 1918-1942.  She of the "million dollar legs" deserves to be rediscovered.

Her humble fan presents an illustrated survey of her career and recordings for your edification.

Carl Barks              

Carl Barks drew the adventures of Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and other "Duck family" members in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  He was unknown at the time, since such comic books were represented as being by "Walt Disney."  But fans recognized his work and sought him out.  In retirement, Barks was involved with duck-related projects until his death at age 99.  A true American Original, his fans are legion.

Svend Asmussen      Updated April 16

The "best" jazz violinist living or dead (He's living, at age 92), yet chances are you never heard of him.  Why?  He seldom ventures from his home base in Denmark.

You don't think of the violin as a jazz instrument?  Well, think again.  Another truly exceptional performer who should be better known.

Tim Moore

One of, if not the, most talented African-American comedy performers and character actors in the history of the business, Tim Moore, is remembered primarily as the "Kingfish" on the popular "Amos 'n' Andy" television program.  He should be far better known and far more highly regarded than this most controversial of his performances has permitted.

Western Swing      

Swing bands like those of Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey were not the only ones heating up the 1930s.  These urban bands had their country counterparts--the so-called "Western Swing" bands.  Never widely known, these bands were exceptionally entertaining.  If you don't know about Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys or Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies, perhaps you should.

The Western Swing page also has links to special pages for the wonderful Adolph Hofner and the eccentric Bob Skyles and His Skyrockets.

Hazel Court            Updated April 16

This is the Internet meeting place for fans of the British actress, Hazel Court, best known as a companion to leading men in a number of  "Hammer" and "American International" productions.

Also, featured in the cult classic "Devil Girl From Mars," although not as the title villain, Miss Court brought a certain regal bearing to every role she played.

Miss Court passed away April 15, 2008, at the age of 82.

Rhythm & Blues Revues  

Once upon a time, not really so many years ago, something called "rock and roll" was just peeking out from under the covers.  In an age before electronic enhancement and special effects one could attend a performance, featuring a lineup of the biggest stars of the day, that was really something special.  Separate pages for Ruth Brown and Bo Diddley, among others, also await you.

European Jazz and Close Harmony Vocal Groups      

American fans of jazz and pop vocal groups of the '30s and '40s are familiar with the Mills Brothers, the Andrews Sisters, and the Ink Spots, all worthy of study and respect.  However, there is little recognition of their European counterparts.  This page, dedicated to the "Comedian Harmonists" and other wonderful groups, seeks to address this vacuum.

The "Pie Girl" Dinner      Retired April 2003

The famous Pie Girl Dinner was held in New York City on the night of May 20, 1895.

You probably missed it then and, I regret to say, you have also missed the account that once resided at this site.  The dining room is vacant and the guests have all departed.

Sally Rand

Best known as the fabulous fan dancer, Miss Rand roared into the public consciousness at the "Century of Progress" World's Fair in 1933.  Seeing a pretty girl's naked body in a public place was something quite new in those days.  Yet, like so many other pop culture icons, there was more to this young lady than met the eye.  Figuratively more, that is.

WLAC Radio       

Return with me now to those golden years of the mid-1950s when a young white boy was first finding out about Jimmie Reed, Howling Wolf, and Lightnin' Hopkins.

One of the ways he did so was to close the door to his room and, with a clandestine tuning of the radio dial to 1510, enter the wonderful late-night world of WLAC from Nashville, Tennessee.

The Blue Flames

The Who?  Well, they certainly weren't "The Who."  Indeed, this 1957 combo is one of the most obscure groups of all time.  This item sort of runs counter to my declared purpose of highlighting those who deserve greater recognition.

Still, I'm thinking there might be someone out there that knows who these guys were.  Are you that person?

Here ends the menu to the primary byways of the Popular Culture Excavation Site.  For capsule treatments of an additional group of subjects, each also worthy of broader exposure, you may proceed to the selected short subjects page.   As for this page, please keep scrolling, there are still a few odds and ends to come.

Click here for your favorite eBay items

Most of the subjects featured herein also exist in the form of rare collectibles.  Where can one find an autographed picture of Sally Rand, a Katzenjammer Kids comic book, or a KOOL penguin salt shaker?  The answer is -- the eBay auctions!  Click the eBay icon and become a registered member today.  Yes, it's free, but please don't bid against "Otto."  Hey guys, that's me!

If you've come this far, we may be kindred spirits. Why not proceed to a list of favorite movies, recordings and books.

RETRO Online Magazine

If the various sections of this site are of interest, you may also enjoy my contributions to RETRO, the online "Magazine of Classic 20th Century Popular Culture."  RETRO spotlights "Anything that was ever cool."  Now in it's 7th year, this remarkable zine has been widely recognized as one of the most thoughtful and well designed sites on the Web.

Still with me?  Perhaps you are one of those magical souls who would like to make a modest donation to support my efforts.  If so, simply click on the Pay Pal image and fill in the pertinent information that will appear on the next screen.  Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.

If you would prefer to save some time and money and also support my efforts in the process, please consider shopping for your books, CDs, and videos from one of the trusty Internet vendors set forth below.  Bookmark the site when you get there or make it one of your favorite places.  Yes, there is a small kickback to yours truly that will help defray the expense of my upgrade to the "large" buttered popcorn.

Many of the books, videos, and recordings mentioned throughout this site can be purchased from the Internet's leading retailer --  I invite you to click on the image and shop with them directly from this page. buy/sell used books, music, movies,games

Prefer not to pay full price?  I've got you covered there too.  It's time to discover ""  Click the icon and become a registered member today.  Yes, it's free and, believe me, they've got books, CDs, and bargains galore.

I've bought and sold quite a few items in the eBay auctions, where I'm known as Otto.  Check out the "must have" items I'm trying to unload this week and take advantage of me during a weak moment.

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!   If you are a regular buyer or seller in Internet auctions and haven't signed up with Pay Pal, you really should do so.  It greatly facilitates sending or receiving payment and it's free to register and use.  They sometimes offer a bonus just for signing up.

"Vot Der Dumboozle?" springs from the private sea and is maintained by your friendly webmaster, laboring away somewhere in the backwoods of north Florida.

Leaving?  Take a moment to contemplate the best advice you will ever get.

Recognized as One of the World's Home Pages

"Vot Der Dumboozle?" was selected as a "Pick of the Week" by the folks at Yahoo  for September 1, 1997.  The print magazine "Yahoo Internet Life" also called attention to VDD in its April 1998 issue.

This site answered the question "What's Cool?" according to the Netscape Guide to Cool Web Sites for the week of October 20, 1997.  So why hasn't AOL offered a few million to buy me?

This site was designated as "Cool Page of the Day" at GeoCities  on August 26, 1997.

One of only three sites to receive the "Lunar Award" for November 1997, indicative of being among the "cream of the crop" at GeoCities.

Further stroking of your humble scribe's ego may be found on the Vot Der Dumboozle?   Recognition Page.

What kind of a day is it?  A day like all days, filled with the events that alter and illuminate our times.  And you ... are here.

During the first five years of its existence, more than 100,000 gentle souls visited the Popular Culture Excavation Site.  On May 18, 2002, the 5th anniversary of its creation, hosting of the site was transferred from Yahoo/GeoCities to an independent server.  You are the most recent of the cognoscenti who have ventured to this page since that date.

This page created and maintained by Jim Lowe
First appearance:  May 18, 1997
Last updated:  April 16, 2008

© 1997 to 2008 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page not successfully claimed by others.  Images of the Katzenjammer Kids are used by permission of King Features Syndicate, Inc.  "Katzenjammer Kids" is a registered trademark of The Hearst Corporation and is used by permission.  Subpoenas should be directed to the law firm of Hudson, Futz and Mudsen.