Pop culture roundup: Jeff Hale; Star Wars; Record Store Day; John Peel

Via Cartoon Brew: Animator Jeff Hale, famous for numerous "Sesame Street" shorts from the 1960 and 70s, plus the classic Lenny Bruce-narrated "Thank You Masked Man," died at age 91 earlier this week. Here's that Bruce short:


At least 20 Star Wars-related books are set for release ahead of the series' new film, "The Force Awakens," in December.
A few titles we can confirm are Del Rey’s Star Wars: Aftermath, which sounds like it may serve as an epilogue to the original trilogy—and perhaps a prologue to the new one. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics will put out one prequel called Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens and another preview story told from C-3PO’s perspective. For vehicle enthusiasts, Studio Fun International will print Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy.

Also intriguing, although not strictly part of the “Journey To …” the next movie: Look for a series of novels retelling the events of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi from the perspective of various supporting characters. Which ones? The publishers aren’t saying just yet. (Fingers crossed for a Behind the Music-style look at what Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band thought was happening in Jabba’s throne room.)

Record Store Day is April 15 and the release of limited-edition vinyl releases is out. My picks: Blitzen Trapper's live performance of Neil Young's Harvest LP; Paul McCartney's "The Family Way" soundtrack; Lord Sitar and maybe a couple others.


Legendary record producer Joe Boyd explores the record collection of legendary deejay John Peel.