Jackie Cooper: 1922 - 2011

Another sad passing to report. Jackie Cooper, a child actor in the "Our Gang" comedies back in the '30s, but who also transitioned successfully into an adult acting career, died Tuesday at the age of 88. He was probably best known to genre fans and moviegoers of the last 30 years as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the Christopher Reeve era Superman movies.

Cooper also had a varied behind-the-scenes career, serving as director on a multitude of TV series in the '70s and '80s, and even a five-year stint in an executive position for Columbia Pictures' TV division. But to me, he will forever be remembered (as will most of the cast members of the '80s Superman movies) as the definitive silver-screen incarnation of his role, the cantankerous Perry White.


May The Stores Be With You

I went out shopping last weekend, mostly for the usual kind of stuff ... and for no apparent reason, it ended up being a Star Wars kind of day. I unexpectedly found a few decent bargains, and they all happened to be of a Star Wars nature. Here's what I got:

The Star Wars Poster Book (by Stephen Sansweet and Peter Vilmur, published by Chronicle Books) -- This isn't a collection of posters that you can hang on your wall, as the title might imply. Instead, it's a lush, illustrated history of Star Wars poster art, carrying the reader through all six movies, and the plethora of promotional tie-in art in between. Quite a few of the posters we've all seen before, but there are many rare, weird, and wonderful oddities to be found as well. This one, a big, hardcover, "coffee-table" book, was in the bargain bin for an unbelievable $5.99 (publisher's price: $50.00)! At first glance it didn't have any damage other than a slightly tattered dust jacket, but after I got it home and looked more closely, I could see the reason for its rock-bottom price: some asshole Sith apprentice had gone and torn three pages out of it in various locations. I'm not complaining -- for six bucks, how can you -- but at some point I'll definitely go seek out a higher-quality specimen, 'cause I can picture myself browsing this one again and again.

Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago... Volume One (published by Dark Horse Comics) -- This is a trade paperback collecting the first 27 issues of the original Marvel Comic book series, which launched with a six-issue adaptation of the first movie back in 1977. I'd had my eye on this one for quite awhile, and when I found the one and only copy on the shelf, in excellent condition, for 20% off at the Waldenbooks store-closing sale in the local mall, I decided it was time to pick it up. I'd never bought or collected that comic series when it was being published, so I'm going to enjoy reading this.

Star Wars: Infinities - A New Hope (published by Dark Horse Comics) -- This is another one that had caught my eye when it was published several years ago. I've always liked "what if" stories, and this is one that suggests what might have happened if Luke's proton torpedo run at the first Death Star hadn't succeeded. This was probably the sweetest deal of the day ... its original price was $12.95, and I got it for just $3.99! It'll be quite fun to read this one too.

So, as you can see, The Force was definitely with me during my shopping rounds last weekend ... and now I've got plenty of reading material to tide me over for quite awhile ... if I can ever remember to read during my idle time, that is.