About Baltimoreorless.com

“Bal-tee-more? Where’s that?”
— Tony Montana, SCARFACE

Baltimore archivists and researchers Tom Warner and Scott Huffines document their obsessive fascination with their beloved hometown on Baltimoreorless.com. Lifelong denizens of “The Land of Pleasant Living,” they feel obligated to preserve oddball minutiae about “Charm City” that they and few others care to remember.

Warner and Huffines are also the instigators behind the award-winning and highly unwatchable public access cable show Atomic TV, “A Media Maxi-Pad absorbing the continual flow of Pop Culture,” which in its heyday attracted tens of viewers on Baltimore City Cable.

Scott and Tom are both Simpsons wannabes:

ScottSimpsonsStyle    rsz_tomsimpsonsstyle

They are also both Parochial Educators in the Universal Life Church.

Tom-UniversalLifeChurchID

Contact Tom and Scott at info @ baltimoreorless . com.

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TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 1 > § 107 Prev | Next § 107.
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Baltimore Sun Archival Photos
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17 Responses to About Baltimoreorless.com

  1. Shortstaxx says:

    this is a fantastic website! thank you!

  2. Don Lehnhoff says:

    I like what you guys are doing here. Good perspective, frequently updated and nicely written. I’m an old Baltimorean (born and raised just over the city line in Parkville) who’s been exiled in Minnesota for the last 35 years. My website and blog are an attempt to reconnect to the City’s unique musical past in which I grew up.

    Thanks for the good work in the interest of a unique and charming city.

    —DL

  3. Wow Don, there is so much great stuff at your baltimorejam.org site that we never would have thought you left town!

  4. Very interesting angle. Particularly love the creepy gaslight-era bodies-in-trunk story!

  5. Travis Kitchens says:

    Hi,

    I noticed you posted one of my videos from 1919 a while back. I just posted several more on my channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/BEWILDNOTEVIL?feature=mhum
    if you’re interested in checking them out.

    Thanks,

    Travis

  6. joooooools says:

    oh, ugh. sorry that i posted this in a nonsensical spot elsewhere on the site. you should probably delete it there and keep it here–or move it wherever you want!

    overdue, still:

    http://soundcloud.com/jules-verdone/baltimore-or-less

  7. Kimgerly says:

    Scott,
    Took me awhile to find you. Wondered what happened to you after the Y2K-un-event. I do indeed continue to want to know about this ‘oddball minutiae’ you are perserving in [C]Harm City USA. Ja, I’m still like an electron bouncing around in a pi-orbital here in Oaksterdam, CA–but there ain’t no place like Balto. Send me a proper MD Crab Cake sometime, will you? Folks out here have NO IDEA what they’re missin’… 

  8. Thanks for finding us Kim, welcome aboard!

  9. Love this site, especially article entitled “Burlesque and the Girl on the Sign at the Gayety Theater,” which captures precisely the enduring charm and nostalgic kitsch of Baltimore’s once-stylish Block.

    I’m a writer of novels that feature nostalgic backdrops and creative but fallen characters who yearn for the limelight. “These Days,” my first novel, takes place in large part on the Block. To read an excerpt that will make you feel you’re there circa 1976, please visit my site.

  10. Kelly says:

    please ask permission before swiping other peoples photos. :(

  11. Angela says:

    First off, really cool website thanks for sharing and allowing us to share.
    What brought me here, looking for 1940′s footage from WMAR-TV. My grandma was in a National Airline TV commercial around 1947 to 1949 or maybe even 1950-51, but no later. She passed when I was 2 years old, I don’t remember her. It would be awesome to see her animated and to hear her voice.
    I would also love to surprise my mom with a DVD of the commercial.
    Thanks for any help, angela

  12. Angela says:

    You guys should link this site to FB, you would get a lot more traffic.

  13. Danny says:

    Hey hon(s),

    I moved here from Shittsburgh about a year ago and LOVE this crazy-ass town. I fit right in living in Hampden.

    Anyway, I moved here for a job at WMAR-TV (ABC2) which we love to fondly call “The Deuce.” I know we appear to be the “black sheep” in Baltimore news…but how can I get us listed in your news directory?

    Stay weird you crazy guys!

    - Danny

  14. Blue Mouse Studio-Thunderbean Animation says:

    RE: Chris Buchman (Dantini The Magnificent):

    Of especial interest to Baltimoreans, all who enjoyed The Bijou screenings on JHU campus in the 1970s or watched Chris’ CLASSICS 34 series on a midwest PBS station . . . CORNER THEATRE, THE PEABODY BOOKSHOP & BEERSTUBE  etc: 

    “A CONVERSATION WITH WALTER & GRACIE LANTZ”

    This new DVD was announced on the CARTOON RESEARCH website  by co-producer, Steve Stanchfield, which includes a link to its availability on Amazon.

    http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/new-dvd-release-a-conversation-with-walter-and-gracie-lantz/

    Additional images from the four hour programme can be viewed via this link:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00KHFSJOM/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_dav

    Incidentally, the guest appearance by Walter & Gracie Lantz is the longest they ever did for television.  The DVD was created as a gift for The Walter Lantz Archive, for reasons noted in the Prologue; and also to ‘preserve historical accuracy’ – the truth and significance behind that statement is revealed in the CLASSICS 34 essay.

    For more information, Screener for Media Reviewers, and images, please contact BLUE MOUSE STUDIO in Gobles, Michigan.

    • Blue Mouse Studio-Thunderbean Animation says:

      The DVD has also been announced on Baltimore Craigslist:
      http://baltimore.craigslist.org/emd/4534953682.html

      Meanwhile . . . Here is a recent review that appeared on Amazon:

      Loving tribute to Woody and film history by greg sinn:

      “For those familiar with Baltimore in the 60s and 70s or northern Indiana in the early 80s, the name Chris Buchman will no doubt recall his elaborate presentations of classic feature films both from the silent and early sound era, fascinating lost short subjects, golden age animation, accompanying detailed film history and related ephemera. The piece de resistance of Chris Buchman’s nostalgic moving picture presentation legacy was Classics 34. This was a Saturday night staple on PBS affiliate WNIT (for northern Indiana and southern Michigan) showcasing all of the above, invitingly and knowledgably presented by Buchman in partnership with his longtime collaborator and accomplished artist Rex Schneider. I was fortunate to be associated with this boundlessly creative team as a producer of the series while a staff member at WNIT. For many in the region, the tradition on Saturday nights was to make some popcorn, fix your favorite beverage and settle in for an entertaining and informative evening with old friends: Chris and Classics 34. The series was famous for bringing to life the era of a respective evening’s feature presentation – replete with posters, lobby cards, production stills, glossies of the stars, period equipment and tons of background on the film and the shorts/cartoons imparted engagingly by Chris. Chris’s enthusiasm for film history was infectious and the series soon became a fan favorite and major fundraiser for the station.

      “Interviews with stars or period guests further enhanced the authenticity and aura of Classics 34. A highlight of which, being a very rare interview with the creator of Woody Woodpecker (among other famous cartoon characters), Walter Lantz and his wife Gracie. It was obvious that Walter and Gracie Lantz were most impressed with Chris’ knowledge and affection for their creations and willingly gave of their time and insights – providing undoubtedly the definitive interview of their careers. If you want to revisit those fond Saturday evenings with Chris and Classics 34 or learn first-hand the history of Woody Woodpecker directly from Walter and Gracie, you will thoroughly enjoy this fond stroll down a warm and entertaining memory lane.”

  15. THE CAULDRON OF FEAR

    In an alley-alcove behind 36th Street in Baltimore stand two businesses. One is a porn and sex-toys shop called “Honey”, which does not concern us here. Next to it is an establishment named “The Cauldron”, a small witchcraft store selling, as one would suppose, crystals, candles, and cauldrons to the city’s would-be Wiccan community.

    The shop’s proprietor, Mrs. Shelly Clem, is very much the stereotypical “white witch”: middle-aged, overweight, and with a constant look of abject fear on her flabby, aging face. A decidedly boring individual indeed.

    Her daughter, on the other hand, is quite another story. Caitlyn Clem is 17, medium height, nice body, with dark green eyes and raven hair. She was adopted, which explains why she resembles neither Shelly nor the latter’s rather worthless working-class husband, Mark, in either looks or temperament. So it was an interesting surprise when Caitlyn called me one day asking to meet in order to discuss a matter which was troubling her. No, I don’t spend every bloody day going around giving my phone number to teenage girls, no matter what you’ve read in the shitty tabloids. Sod off.

    So I met with the chick one afternoon in a local café to see what my particular expertise as Dr. Daniel Rumanos, ghost-hunter and paranormal expert and all of that, could do for her. It was no great stretch to assume that none of the regular patron’s of her mother’s “occult” shop (which had previously been located in the hideously-decayed Dundalk area of Baltimore County until a local drug-dealer had forced Shelly at gunpoint to light a candle and cast a spell to help his business. A bit cheeky, that.) could be of any assistance in any issue concerning the authentically supernatural.

    I must admit Caitlyn was really cute as she looked at me over her small caramel-vanilla hot latte, but my heart belongs to someone else, a beautiful young lady known as Heaven’s Hell, so I listened to Caitlyn’s odd story with a purely professional curiosity.

    She said her mother had recently fallen under the spell of a strange woman called Meredith Moises, who had moved to Baltimore a few months previously, claiming to be a “shaman” and impressing all the rubes with her mysterious manner and Creole accent. Whether this individual was of any genuine occult power other than con-artistry Caitlyn couldn’t say, but it was obvious that the ever-gullible Shelly believed every word of Meredith’s grotesque spiel. The hideous woman had even talked Shelly into going in debt in order to buy an old church-building, the long-abandoned St. Sebastian’s Old Catholic Church in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood. This place of worship, the legends concerning with which I was familiar, had never been authorized by the Vatican, and had been shuttered after its priest had been taken away to an insane asylum in the 1920s. He had died soon after under peculiar circumstances which had been kept rather quiet. Some claim that he had been inexplicably ripped to pieces while locked up alone in his padded cell.

    Caitlyn then revealed to me that that very night the loathsomely bizarre Meredith Moises would be taking Shelly and her coven to that church for a “Witches’ Sabbath”, at which she promised them that an extraordinarily-powerful spirit would be evoked — a spirit which would provide answers to all of their problems. But what particularly concerned Caitlyn was that her mother, under the enigmatically monstrous woman’s guidance, was insisting that she accompany them, and that this evening would see her daughter’s initiation into the most sacred “feminine mysteries”!

    Talking Caitlyn out of going was not possible. She was still a minor, and her mother was so much under Meredith’s control that she was afraid not going would lead to even more dire consequences than her attendance. Fortunately, however, Caitlyn had already had the wisdom to secretly make a copy of her mother’s key to the church building, which she then gave to me with the request that I sneak into the back-entrance that night and observe the occult ritual surreptitiously. I was honored that she so fully believed in my ability to protect and save her from whatever abysmal horror might be in store for her during the coming hours of darkness. Oy vey…

    After our talk I proceeded immediately to the large public library downtown, in order to look up old newspapers and find out what I could about St. Sebastian’s Church and its scandals. It took awhile but I finally found something in some 1922 issues of The Baltimore Sun. The priest’s name was Father George LaMartina, and the story at the time was that he had secretly renamed his church as the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, and was using it to bring up some sort of monster from Hell. At least that’s what the people of the surrounding community had said at the time. Fr. LaMartina was shortly thereafter found to have become a raving madman when the police had gone to the church in order to question him concerning the corpses of several adolescent prostitutes which had been found buried in a nearby refuse dumpster. An autopsy had discovered communion wafers inserted in their vaginas.

    Then I saw a photograph which had been taken after the priest had been put away. It was of the church’s nave, and the strange defacements that had been done to it. The crucifix had been inverted, and below it had been painted, in what appeared to be blood, a horrible name in a rare medieval Latin font. Apparently, the dreadful name of the hellishly eldritch creature the insane Fr. LaMartina had been attempting to call forth from the deepest depths of Satanic perdition. I couldn’t suppress a shudder as my body filled with cold dread at the sight of it. It was the name of an infernal being I had encountered before, and had only banished due to a combination of good fortune and a mistake made by the cult that had conjured it. It was the name of the destroyer demon, evil spirit of lust, rape, and unspeakable debauchery. An immensely powerful devil whom this new coven was going to use innocent young Caitlyn to call forth into full, ravening and horrendous sexual depravity.

    The name was ASMODEUS!!

    *****

    I practically ran all the way to the former St. Sebastian’s Church, now the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, only stopping at Cross Street Market to purchase a certain item which I then concealed in an inside pocket of my long, black leather coat.

    Darkness had fallen by the time I got to the “Temple”, Its ominous neo-gothic architecture looming down out of the city night. I slipped quietly into the back entrance, listening closely to hear if the “Witches’ Sabbath” had begun. Indeed, it had! As I entered the nave area and hid myself behind a column to observe, I saw the numerous black candles that had been lit, and the small but grotesque company that had assembled. Caitlyn’s mother, Shelly, was there, along with two regular patrons of her store, one a morbidly obese woman and the other a grotesquely effeminate young man. Caitlyn was there as well, and the short, nearly-transparent bridal dress they had made her wear would have been quite charming under other circumstances. As it was, the hideousness of the situation was paramount. A nice day for a white wedding, indeed. Fucking Hell.

    But dominating the room was the repulsive figure of Meredith Moises, deathly-thin with utterly disgusting facial features as if the worst elements of every human type had been thrown together in one ugly eldritch amalgamation. Her head was shaved bald, and leprous white patches of vitiligo marked her winkled black skin. I was glad that the hideous old hag’s shapeless ritual robe kept me from seeing more of her. She turned to Caitlyn with a look of utterly revolting religious ecstasy.

    “You have been chosen for the greatest honor, my lovely!” she cackled in her bizarre accent at the poor, trembling girl, “The mighty Asmodeus himself has chosen you… and tonight you shall conceive his child!”

    With that, the other worshippers took Caitlyn and laid her on the altar before the inverted crucifix, as the close proximity of the copious narcotic incense smoke shattered the last remains of her already-weakened resistance.

    Meredith began the unholy evocation in her uncanny intonation: “We call upon the chief devil Asmodeus the Destroyer, Creature of Judgment, Enemy of All Life, Lord of Suffocation, demonic spirit of lust who seduced Eve! Appear before us now and manifest our desires…”

    As she continued, the whirlwind of infernal energy grew in the room and the horrible form of Asmodeus began to manifest, huge, three-headed, its appearance a mixture of distorted humanity and grotesque animal forms. The stench was terrible, and the cacophonous howling beyond mortal description.

    The creature hovered over Caitlyn, it’s gigantic essence engorged as it approached her. Already she was gasping and moaning as if in the throes of vigorous pain, yet unable to escape as if her very self were held down and bound by invisible iron chains.

    Seeing there was no time to lose, I stepped forward and removed the object I had hidden in my pocket. It was the liver of a fish. I threw it upon the burning coals of the incense burner and spoke the Hebrew words of exorcism as its scent filled the air, calling upon the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, and upon the Holy Shekinah. The demon screamed and the building quaked with the unholy force of its wicked, malevolent rage. It looked at me with its six dreadfully glowing crimson eyes and wailed, “Rumanos! Demon-Star! Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell Hell!” before suddenly vanishing as if it had never been.

    Then a rather curious thing occurred. The gruesome, horrific Meredith Moises, as if her only existence had been as an agent to bring forth the demonic spirit, simply exploded into shreds of flesh and blood, splattering against the walls of the Temple. By now the other worshippers were cowering in the corner, having been driven irrevocably insane by the sight of the hellish fiend they had helped to evoke.

    Caitlyn had by now mercifully fainted, and I swiftly but gently picked her up and carried her to safety away from the unsanctified Temple of the Starry Wisdom.

    Yes, that’s the story of how I, well, “blocked” the demon Asmodeus with a fish-liver. It’s a Jewish thing. You wouldn’t understand. The city of Baltimore once again shuttered the Temple building. When the police analyzed the blood-stains sprayed around the nave, they found that they were not from a human being at all, but were a previously unheard-of hybrid of canine and swine DNA. Such was the evil Meredith Moises.

    Shelly and the other two demon-worshippers were committed to Spring Grove State Psychiatric Hospital. Caitlyn recovered as well as could be expected, and now runs The Cauldron witchcraft shop herself. You may see it if you are ever in Baltimore, if for some damned reason you would want to do so. It’s sign features a “dragon” which would actually look more at home in a Chinese restaurant, and declares the establishment “A New Type of New Age Shop”, whatever the Hell that means.

    But Caitlyn’s idiot adoptive father, Mark, misunderstood the whole thing when he heard of it, and made it quite clear that I would be meeting with his assault rifle if he ever heard of me attempting to enter his store or his daughter. Well, there’s bloody gratitude for you, isn’t it?

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