Pill Poppin’ Truckers and Frankenstein Monsters

Ink drawing of Frankenstein

I’ve been sitting on the couch lately, doodling while watching trash on my Roku streaming box. I dumped Netflix over a year ago but hung onto Amazon’s Prime Video. It’s got a lot of popular movies, television series and compelling content produced by Amazon, but what I love is the video detritus used to pad out that library. It’s a combination of cinematic crap that they used to play all night on UHF stations and the dusty contents of every third-rate Mom-and-Pop video store from the early 1980s. It’s background noise that doesn’t require strict attention so that I can draw.

There’s a lot of sub-classics in Amazon’s library. I used to believe that if a movie was old, it was good as in “they don’t make ’em like that anymore.” At least that is what my parents would say when a grand fanfare or a roaring lion would open a picture. As I delve deeper into old films with unfamiliar titles but recognizable stars, it turns out that oldie doesn’t necessarily equal goodie. Such is the case with the crime melodrama Death in Small Doses which was BASED ON TRUE EVENTS. The screenplay was derived from a story in the Saturday Evening Post about the dangers represented by truck drivers popping pills to stay awake during long hauls.

Chuck Connors and Peter Graves in Death in Small Doses

Peter Graves plays a typical good guy role as an undercover investigator assigned to root out the amphetamine suppliers. Chuck Connors steals the show and chews up the scenery as a skirt chasing, jazz bopping, pill popping truck driver who doesn’t need sleep as long as he has his co-pilots (AKA bennies.) It’s worth it just for Chuck.

While this opus unspooled, I scribbled out the monster at the top of the page in the juvenile sketchbook I’m trying to finish off. It was drawn with an old Rotring Art Pen which I haven’t used in years. Fortunately they still make ink cartridges for it. It was fun scratching away in that sketchbook’s cheap pages.

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