Title Strip For Catalog Reviews

Reviews By Alan Sheckter

CUMBERLAND GENERAL STORE (Route 3, Crossville, TN 38555. 800-334-4640, $3.00, 290 pages) Loosely described as old-time general merchandise, just paging through this catalog will thrill you. There are a lot of items you'd find in TV's Petticoat Junction at Sam Drucker's store, from small kitchen utensils to large farm equipment. A small tip of the iceberg includes pine tar toilet soap, oil lamps, sarsaparilla and real ginger ale extracts, to poultry feeders, grist mills, beer making supplies, orchard supplies, old fashioned home remedies and even porch swings. You'll find lots of special interest, music and how-to books as well. High quality and unbelievably broad selection.

DRS. FOSTER & SMITH, INC. (2253 Air Park Road, P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, WI 54501-0100. 800-826-7206, free, 64 pages) A company owned and operated by practicing veterinarians, Foster & Smith have a myriad of the best and most imaginative stuff for your cats and dogs. There are the basic cages, dog beds, cat furniture and collars as well as stain removers, flea and tick controls and nutrition supplements. They have the latest in the always evolving world of kitty litter box ideas, refrigerated, multi-day cat and dog feeders and all sorts of electronic devices, mats and bells to help train your pet. Great selection for owners who want to pamper their pets.

GALL'S, INC. (2680 Palumbo Drive, P.O. Box 54308, Lexington, KY 40555-4308. 800-477-7766, free, 316 pages) This monster of a catalog is from "America's largest supplier of public safety equipment." It's filled with communications, rescue, security and medical safety supplies. Though certainly a justifiable catalog for legitimate public safety folks, Gall's is a goldmine for possible crooks. One can find The Bionic Ear (where you can hear conversations up to 110 yards away), all sorts of sirens and police lights, books - like Secrets of Lock Picking, custom badges, etc. Cool for gray and un-gray folks alike.

KITCHEN SINK CATALOG (320 Riverside Drive, Northampton, MA 01060, free, 70 pages) Kitchen Sink Press distributes the best and widest variety of bizarre adult and all-ages comics, graphic novels, novelties, collectibles and other unusual artistic offerings from the fringe. There are T-shirts, posters, beach towels, etc., of your favorite underground comic heroes. And from where else could you order a 5"-high Robert Crumb-designed Mr. Natural porcelain statue?

LEFT BANK DISTRIBUTION BOOK CATALOG (4142 Brooklyn Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105, free, 72 pages) A 22 year-old, not-for-profit co-op company, these fine folks are a large archive center for intellectually hungry folks that gravitate left-of-center. Humongous small press selection in which to order includes anarchy, art, history, politics and philosophy. Super center of provocative reading.

LIGHT IMPRESSIONS (439 Monroe Avenue, P.O. Box 940, Rochester, NY 14603-0940. 800-828-6216, free, 88 pages) These folks help museums and institutions fulfill their missions of preserving the past. Who uses them? Oh, fly-by-night places like The Smithsonian, National Archives, JFK Presidential Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc. Excellent for those who collect historical and present day documents and/or photographs, you can order the highest quality protective archival albums, mounting supplies and multi-drawered storage units for such items as CD-ROMS and model trains. Pricey, but when you want to preserve your most cherished art and collectibles, use what the museums use, Light Impressions.

MANDALA PERCUSSION (1390 South Potomac Street, Suite 136, Aurora, CO 80012. 800-858-2822, $2.00, 16 pages) Drummers and world music players and fans, Mandala did all the work for you. They searched the globe to bring you the best sounding and most exquisite instruments available. These are some of the wildest yet beautifully intriguing instruments I've ever seen. To add something really different to your band's sound, or to be used as a coffee table conversation piece, you can't go wrong. There are Indian talking drums, frame drums, UDU drums, Earth gourd bongos, temple blocks, chime trees, clave and cowbells, and even hand and arm fitness supplies for drummers. You know all of the exotic things that world famous drummer Mickey hart uses during the extended percussion segment of a Grateful Dead show? I swear - they're all here.

MANNY'S BASEBALL LAND (3000 S.W. 42nd Ave., Palm City, FL 34990. 800-PRO-TEAM, $2.00, 72 pages) Baseball, football, hockey and basketball jerseys, caps and jackets are worn by millions. Sure you can get some stuff at the mall, but with Manny's (toll-free number, satisfaction guarantee, reasonable next-day rates), you have access to the biggest selection. These are professional quality products that the pros wear on the field. I found the most interesting items to be "NFL Throwback Caps" ('61 Packers, '54 Browns, '68 Jets) as well as dazzling Hawaiian (Honolulu Sharks) and Arizona (Sun City Solar Sox) caps. Only the best.

SHOMER-TEC (Box 28070, Bellingham, WA 98228. 206-733-6214, free, 92 pages) A law enforcement and military catalog, this one is definitely of interest for subversives and the place to go for tactical survivor/warfare gear. Kind of frightening, really. First, I saw ads for Punch, a "less-than-lethal" oleoresin capsicum formula that when used in spray, grenade or hose form, dilates the eyes (causing temporary blindness), induces choking, nausea, and briefly, only a slight ability to breathe. Lovely, huh? Want handcuffs, a surveillance telephone, ammunition, survival knives? This is the place. And the books - Sniper Training and Employment, Explosive Entry Techniques, Counterfeit I.D. Made Easy and Secret Hiding Places are likely of interest to many Gray Areas readers.

WARNER BROTHERS STUDIO STORE (P.O. Box 60048, Tampa, FL 33660-0048. 800-223-6524, free, 56 pages) With a collection of cartoon characters as big as Disney, it's not surprising that Warner Brothers merchandising demand has grown to the point where retail stores are popping up. This catalog illustrates their wares. Like their competitors at Disney, Warner Brothers offers top quality collectibles and clothing including shirts, sweats, mugs, umbrellas, figurines and cels. Great stuff!