Pop links: So long Ed McMahon; Hembeck; Doctor Who novels; preview Bjork's new LP

Ed McMahon, the most famous second banana of all time, has died at age 86.

"You can't imagine hooking up with a guy like [Johnny] Carson," McMahon said an interview with the Associated Press in 1993. "There's the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star."

McMahon, who never failed to laugh at his Carson's quips, kept his supporting role in perspective.

"It's like a pitcher who has a favorite catcher," he said. "The pitcher gets a little help from the catcher, but the pitcher's got to throw the ball. Well, Johnny Carson had to throw the ball, but I could give him a little help."


Happy 30th anniversary Fred Hembeck! (Who also has some great new cartoons up for sale.


BBC Magazine pays tribute to all those great Doctor Who novels from Target Books.

In an age before video and DVD, the Target novelisations were a chance to relive the television adventures. Many of the black and white 1960s stories had been wiped by the BBC altogether, so the books were the only record. Through them you could experience stories that had disappeared into the programme's folklore.

I devoured these books. Not literally. Though I did live in the north and was always hungry. I remember going into a shop in 1975 and seeing the novelisation of the series' 10th anniversary story The Three Doctors, which had been on TV a couple of years before.

The cover illustration showed the power-crazed Omega, crackling cosmic energy over all three incarnations of the Doctor. I just had to have it. I bought it for 35p, and while my parents went shopping at a garden centre in Darlington I sat in the back seat of the Hillman Minx and read it straight through. My first Target book. I read it, I reread it. I think I knew every word.

I have fond memories of these books, too. In fact, I first met Doctor Who in the late 1970s via U.S. reprints of some the Target novels. And I loaded up on British Doctor Who novels during a couple of visits to England that I was fortunate enough to have taken in my early-to-mid-teens. Great stuff, particularly the novels penned by Terence Dicks. I haven't read any of the more recent books that have emerged along with the revived Doctor Who TV series, but it's good to know that the Doctor's adventures in print continue.


NPR is streaming Bjork's new album.

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