CBS All Access.
CBS All Access.
Paperback edition. Signet.
I’ve always loved the artwork here, even if it adorned the lesser iteration of King’s opus. (The author’s original, “uncut” edit of the book would hit the shelves a full decade later.) Many other people love this artwork too — you can even purchase it as a print.
“Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call “society.” Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
— from Stephen King’s The Stand
Photo credit: By Stephanie Lawton – https://www.flickr.com/photos/steph_lawton/7634622516/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50296410
I was actually very surprised when I discovered this week that Carvel Ice Cream wasn’t a small, local chain that inhabited only my native Long Island. I hadn’t heard word one about Carvel since I was a kid; I always assumed that the strange, ubiquitous TV and radio ads for “Cookie Puss” and “Fudgie the Whale” were strictly a New York thing. But there were 865 stores throughout the United States in 1985; my friend in Texas even recognized the name.
I think my confusion is easy to understand, considering the weird ads that I mentioned above. The first thing that most people remember about Carvel usually isn’t the chain’s crude looking novelty ice cream cakes. The first thing they remember is founder Tom Carvel’s voice, which you can hear in the videos below. It … did not please the ear. Polite people almost always describe it as “gravelly;” the less charitable remember it with descriptors such as “phlegm-filled.”
The latter folks are not wrong. Seriously. I cringed when I heard it as a kid, no matter how much I loved the store’s wares. (And I did love it; it was an absolute treat when my parents took me there.) It sounded like a man dying of a chest cold was trying to sell me ice cream. I even remember my parents talking about it.
Carvel was a independent personality who insisted on recording the ads himself since 1955, and he recorded them unrehearsed — even going so far as to set up a production studio at his company’s headquarters, according to Wikipedia. Carvel Ice Cream was a true small-business success story, and many credit the brand’s popularity with Carvel’s extemporized, conversational voiceovers — even if they were awkward.
And that kind of makes sense. The commercials were memorable. Maybe the owner’s voice evoked images of Stephen King’s superflu in “The Stand,” but that didn’t dissuade you from visiting a store for its trademark soft-serve ice cream. (You figured he wasn’t actually working the counter, where he could cough into your dessert.)
I never claimed to be a famous photographer. (Okay, once I actually did claim to be a famous photographer, but I was twentysomething and hitting on an amazing girl in one of Long Island’s tawdrier bars “out east.” Was it … Bawdy Barn?)
If my inelegant eye doesn’t put you off too much, then enjoy these shots of West 34th Street today and the NYC skyline. (I regret not getting a shot of the Freedom Tower.)
A quick thanks to the U. S. Army for making me feel safer in Penn Station, really. Those guys look tough as nails, and just as sharp. They were visibly scanning every passerby right in the middle of the station, a task I can’t imagine is easy. But they were at the top of their game.
Hey Stephen King fans — you see that poorly taken snaphot that is second to last? That’s none other than the NYC entrance to The Lincoln Tunnel. Our good friend Larry Underwood had a particularly hard time entering and traversing that tunnel, didn’t he? (It was much easier for me, as I inhabit a different level of The Tower.)
“Baby, can you dig your man?”
I might just post a picture of Randall Flagg every time a friend tells me that they are either reading or rereading Stephen King’s “The Stand.” (This one’s for you, Tim Gatto.)
He really is the greatest villain of all time, beating out even Heath Ledger’s Joker, Hannibal Lecter, Two Face, Nina Meyers, Felix Cortez, and the Hunter Rose incarnation of Grendel. (I’m talking about Flagg, here — not Tim.)
We know that Tim is REreading the tome (he got the extended version, good on him), because he actually read the book before I did. As far back as 1989 or so, Tim and I scribbled quotes from the novel on our textbooks at Longwood High School.
Tim even quizzed me once in the cafeteria to test my reading retention. I passed with flying colors:
“What’s the dog’s name?”
“Kojak. Formerly Big Steve.”
(Do you remember that conversation in the lunchroom, Buddy?) 😀 Whatever. It was more fun than the SAT equivalent.
Anyway, I myself have been stricken with the urge over the past year or so to revisit King’s “IT.” I don’t know why. I’m not afraid of clowns — at all. Clowns are probably the only popular horror archetype whose asses I think I could actually kick (clowns and sparkly vampires, that is). Clowns aren’t scary … they’re really more … punchable. Or … y’know — NOT bulletproof. Also mimes. All human beings, save the full sociopaths, have an active moral center in their brains, and I know that we all privately harbor the truth there that mimes DESERVE to die. (You call yourselves ENTERTAINERS?! F***ing SAY something!! Hello!! Goodbye!! Shakespeare’s sonnets!! The Gettysburg Address!! For God’s sake, just STOP!!)
But I can’t get to “IT” just yet, because my pile of loaned or gift books is high. There are Toby Barlow’s “Sharp Teeth” and King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf,” lent to me by Super Smart Art Girl. Then there are a few books that Crunchy Girl gave me, about … spellcasting? Or something? (Is she technically a Wiccan? We don’t know, because she equivocates on a lot of things.)
Anyway, Tim, safe journey. And because we know the kind of guy you are, we know you’re headed to Nebraska and not Las Vegas (or CIBOLA).