Raise your cocktail glasses high, friends! Whether you're tossing back a Bronx or sipping a Pink Lady, quaffing a Horse's Neck or a kissing the rim of a Fallen Angel, hoist your poison and toast the natal anniversary of worldly sophisticate and man about blog, Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.
You may know Ivan from the earliest days of Wo'C, back when the world was young, Salon Blogs was a thing, and proto-commenters crawled out of the primordial slime and ooze to make snarky remarks about Dick Cheney or Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories. Or you may know him from his copious compendium of radio, film, and TV criticism, which is distinguished by a plainspoken, down-home folksiness that is witty, but never arch, informative, but never pendantic. Or you may know him in his guise as a superhero, Defender of Goober! Scourge of Ken Berry!
I don't think I'm giving anything away here (and if I am, my apologizes to Ivan's parents for all the supervillains who just showed up on the doorstep without an appointment, and right round supper-time, too! If it's any consolation, I'll be glad to help put that extra leaf in the table), when I tell you that Ivan, from his Bat Cave-like secret headquarters, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, routinely braves and conquers some of the most horrible monstrosities ever committed to wax, celluloid, or videotape. Now I like to think I can take the worst punches the picture business can throw at me and still come out for the bell, but I freely admit I'm no match for the likes of Government Agents vs. Phantom Legion, or The Doris Day Show.
In my opinion, the only thing that's really keeping Ivan from taking off as a pop cult phenomenon and getting his own sweet, money-minting comic book movie franchise, is his lack of a good superhero alter ego. So that's what I've decided to give him this year for his birthday.
Obviously, a busy guy like Ivan doesn't have time to shimmy into periwinkle Spanx and lace on a luchadora mask every time evil rears its ugly head in the form of a bad movie serial, or any given episode of Mayberry RFD, so I think we should look to the early days of radio for our inspiration, back when pulp heroes boasted a more bespoke wardrobe, and characters like The Shadow could function efficiently with only a snapbrim hat and a Doctor Who scarf (of course, if my super power basically consisted of making me invisible to my enemies, I'd be tempted to fight crime in sweat pants and a bathrobe, while I'm pretty sure The Shadow wore pants -- maybe not a sharply creased pair of gabardine slacks, but at least a nice pair of flannel bags, or possibly some tweedy knickers with argyle socks).
First we need a name...Hm. Obviously something inspired by early 20th century entertainment...The Whistler is already taken. So's Boston Blackie. Even Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is probably copyrighted. But it's the age of the aggregator and the mash-up, so I say we just barely skirt IP infringement, and christen him Boston's Whistling Black Bottom! (I know he's actually from Georgia, but it's a secret identity, so I'm trying to throw his foes off the track.)
So there we go. I think it's a strong concept, and will quickly spawn its own 15-minute radio show, monthly pulp magazine, and vitamin-fortified breakfast cereal (or at least a deeply shitty Columbia movie serial). Now we just need a costume, but I'm only one man, so I'm passing the buck to you. Yes you, who have been Ivan's cohort in the Long March from Salon Blogs to Blogspot; and also you, who may have found this place more recently, because it's a party so everybody has to suffer (I'm an introvert, in case it wasn't obvious), Therefore, along with your birthday wishes and caviar dreams, please gift Ivan with your best crime-fighting fashion tips.
In the meantime, here's a shot of TDOY goddess Jane Greer lookin' wistful:
"Why can't I find a real man, like Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., to play for a sap and take the fall for me?"
And for this Sexy Birthday Lizard, I'm pulling out all the stops, and bringing in The Great One himself...
The Giant Gila Monster!
Happy birthday, Ivan!