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Welcome to Comet Atomic, where past meets future. We are home of Tiki Tuesdays, Soviet Film Wednesdays, Discovering Route 66, and more gems from days bygone.

Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire

Today is the birthday of Disney artist and designer Mary Blair, born on this day October 21, 1911 in McAlester, Oklahoma. Blair was an integral part of Disney, designing incredibly beautiful, unique concept art for a variety of Disney attractions and animated films, including her most well known work on the “It’s a Small World” …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Viy

In this 1967 film, a young seminarian stays the night in an old woman’s barn during his travels. During the night, the old woman casts a spell on him and flies on his back through the night. When they touch ground again, she suddenly turns into a young girl. Frightened, he runs away. Soon after, …

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Meet Palm Springs Architect Albert Frey

Albert Frey was born in Zurich, Switzerland on October 18, 1903, and was known for being one of the most influential architects in the Palm Springs area.  He studied architecture at the Institute of Technology in Winterthur, Switzerland, and later worked with Le Corbusier, who became a friend and influence of Frey. One of his most …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Ivashka and Baba-Yaga

Last week we had an introduction to the Brumberg Sisters, and this week we have another great film by the duo, featuring one of the scariest characters of folklore, Baba-Yaga. While this fairy tale, and others, portray her as a child-hunting witch, there are some different renditions of Baba-Yaga. In Slavic folklore, Baba-Yaga is typically …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Little Red Riding Hood

Let me introduce you to The Brumberg Sisters, Valentina and Zinaida Brumberg, who worked together as animators, screenwriters, and directors, creating around 50 films in total. This is their spooky animation of Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, made in 1937. Perrault’s version was a cautionary message to children about stranger danger. Click …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Seasons

Seasons, made in 1969, is one of the most beloved Russian animations, directed by Yuri Norstein and Ivan Ivanov-Vano, with the music of Tchaikovsky. You can find this and four other animations by Norstein: The Battle of Kerzhenets, Fox and Rabbit, The Heron and the Crane, and Hedgehog in the Fog, all on DVD in Masters of …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Birthnight

In Birthnight, Night visits young Tima, a boy who sleeps with the light on because he is afraid of the dark, and she invites him to her nighttime birthday party in the woods. If the story doesn’t sound intriguing enough, the eccentric synth music of Eduard Artemyev is sure to transport you to another world, …

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Is the Tiki Kitsch Craze Innocent Fun or Exploitation of Culture?

When Trader Vic invented his now famous Tiki cocktails in fun whimsical Tiki head souvenir glasses with curly straws and tons of rum, there was not any thought as to sensitivity to the Hawaiian culture that might exist if it were today. Think of it like this. What if a bar were started with a …

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Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense

When I was young, I was led into a homemade haunted house on every Halloween. It was comprised of sheets tunneling through the halls and bedrooms, colored lights, and scary surprises around every corner. I’ll never forget how it was all so delightfully set to a record of Alfred Hitchcock Presents playing. My older sisters …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: War and Peace

In 1966-1967, writer and director Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (Война и мир) was released in four parts; a seven-hour-plus long adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic novel depicting the lives of several aristocratic families during the time of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The stunningly beautiful film skillfully portrays personal stories amidst a political backdrop, and won …

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