Thursday, April 30, 2009

Batman's Garage Sale

It's a fact - Adam West has been brilliant in everything he's ever done.

He manages to be funny in this new video, despite the fact that he is surrounded by an annoyingly unfunny supporting cast.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

9 Dumbest Effects of Red Kryptonite

Most people know about kryptonite, and its detrimental effects on Superman. Of course, that's only green kryptonite - there are many other colors and varieties, all with different effects; some good - mostly bad. If you need a refresher course on kryptonite, check this out.

Today we examine red kryptonite.

Red-K (as it is known) was invented sometime early in the "Silver Age" of comics (late '50s/early '60s) as an excuse to introduce more outrageous plots in Superman comics. Red-K causes "unpredictable" results - so the writers could literally use any plot device imaginable - Superman has two heads, turns into a half-man/half-ape... you name it.

Our friends at Topless Robot (???) have compiled the nine "dumbest" effects of red kryptonite. And who am I not to link to it?

Ode to Emmy Jo

We've talked about '70s show New Zoo Revue and its lovely star Emmy Jo before.

Now, the great blog Retrospace examines the very same topic. (The blog is filled with interesting content, so you might want to browse around while you're there).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Amazing World of DC Comics

In the sensational '70s - DC published their own fan magazine called The Amazing World of DC Comics. It contained a wealth of information including interviews and pictures of the great creators of the era.

The original issues (they only published seventeen issues, and one special) are incredibly difficult to find these days, but some blogger was nice enough to scan and post the first dozen or so issues here.

Andy Kaufman - Fridays Fight

Here is the infamous fight on Fridays between Andy Kaufman and Jack Burns. For some reason, I incorrectly remembered Michael Richards involved in the melee, but although he was a co-conspirator of this hoax, he merely participates. (Supposedly, Melanie Chartoff and Maryedith Burrell - and most of the cast and crew - were not in on the gag).

Interesting thing about Fridays - it aired at 11:30 PM on ABC. But in Philadelphia, it was pre-empted by a movie - and usually didn't start until 1:30 or 2:00 AM. That means it was around 3:00 AM in the morning when I originally saw this broadcast - very surreal at the time.

Also - notice how early '80s audiences reacted to drug references. There was a time when it was very hip and cool to joke about marijuana on television. That would all quickly change during the Reagan years.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Captain Janks in Jail

Howard Stern show prank-caller "Captain Janks" (Thomas Cipriano) is in jail for allegedly skipping out on personal appearance commitments (presumably after taking and keeping the offered money).

From the Capain's web site:
Captain Janks' tour has been cancelled (sic) for '09 due to personal issues. He has been in rehab, and is also dealing with medical and personal issues. He has lost everything, ie home, car, money, etc. He apologizes to all the fans, and clubs he has been booked at to do shows, and will be in touch with those places in the near future to reschedule, or refund deposits.

Again, he apologizes, and is officially retired from the business. Thank you to all for the support.

Andy Kaufman - Thought/Counterthought

Another interesting facet of Andy Kaufman's act, was that he was not afraid to go on national television and completely BOMB if he thought it might be amusing to do do.

In this sketch from Fridays - the infamous episode that ended in a fistfight - Andy tanks a parody of Point/Counterpoint just to further establish the undercurrent that he is an unprofessional screw-up. (This of course culminates in the "fight" at the end of the show).

That's Melanie Chartoff reading the news. She had a good run for years as America's foremost Nancy Reagan impersonator.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Andy Kaufman - Born Again

Andy Kaufman's appearances on Fridays (ABC's short-lived, but fondly-remembered attempt at their own SNL) were unforgettable - usually because he staged some elaborate mischief whenever he was booked.

Today's clip is from Andy's first appearance on Fridays after his staged fight with Michael Richards and announcer Jack Burns. He's born-again now, and happily engaged to Lawrence Welk show gospel singer Kathie Sullivan. (I sure hope she was in on the joke).

And here's Andy later in the show, preventing The Pretenders from performing. If you watch carefully, you'll see a young Larry David doing his "This way, Mister Doody" bit.

Andy Kaufman - Lost Lincoln Footage

There is a goldmine of Andy Kaufman footage on YouTube right now, and I'd like to link to a couple of my favorites in the next few days.

First up, a really weird clip - supposedly 16mm film footage of the actual assassination of President Lincoln. In his early days as a performance artist, Andy would play this for stunned audiences - who would often be moved to tears at its content.

Of course, it's a hoax. But Andy would often lead the audience in silent prayer afterward anyway just to screw with them.

Update: The footage is actually from D.W. Griffith's film Birth of a Nation (1915).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Johnny Dark

Johnny Dark is a very funny stand-up comic who first appeared on TV in the '70s - about the same time as David Letterman, on whose CBS talk show he currently appears in a very funny recurring sketch.

On most Fridays, Johnny appears as Stanley Cronkite - a miserable employee at the CBS store on the corner of the building where Letterman tapes his show. They do the segments live from the real store which really does exist on the corner. If you've ever been there, you know they sell mostly crap - CSI keychains, Price is Right sweatshirts and the like.

And when Letterman says, "Craze, how 'bout a song?" - that's a parody of Jackie Gleason's "Joe the Bartender" sketch - which can be viewed here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

David Lee Roth prank call

Here's one of the rare funny bits from Howard Stern's Sirius show - a prank call from comedian Billy Mira - imitating David Lee Roth - trying to book himself into a club in St. Louis.

At the time this aired, the real David Lee Roth was in the midst of his brief run as Stern's replacement on many stations across the U.S. His radio show was decidedly less entertaining than this prank call.

Celebrity Racist Rants

"I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility...:
- John Wayne, 1971.

These and other celebrity racist rants (including "Wear the turban!, Wear the turban!") can be found here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rate of Slaughter of Animals

Here is an interesting animation regarding the rate of slaughter of animals in the United States.

It just goes to prove what I've been saying for years now : people LOVE chicken!

"Pat Burrell" on Twitter

Hey - I just found another worthwhile Twitter page!

He Gives Speeches (SMiLE)

In 2004, I purchased the Brian Wilson presents SMiLE CD with absolutely no knowledge of the aborted original (above), but with a respect for Wilson, and familiarity with two of its most famous tracks - "Heroes and Villains" and "Good Vibrations".

Upon first listen, I thought it was crazy nonsense - a kind of off-off Broadway attempt at doing a serious "concept" album. A bit pretentious.

I kept listening for some reason. The songs bore their way into my head. I found myself humming "Surf's Up", "Wonderful", and "Wind Chimes" at all hours of the day. About 1000 plays later, I recognize it as a work of true genius.

I found myself seeking out the original SMiLE recordings. Even though the project was shelved, and some of the tracks were released as bastardized versions on subsequent Beach Boys albums (see Smiley Smile for examples) - most of SMiLE was recorded and ready to go.

One song, possibly intended for SMiLE (it was recorded during the original 1966 sessions, but not included on the 2004 Brian Wilson version) is "He Gives Speeches". Like "Vega-tables", it represents Brian in insanity mode.

Give it a listen, and see if it doesn't stick in your brain.

And for the truly daring, here is a reconstruction of the entire original album.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's About Time

This show is one of my earliest memories. Since it only ran from 1966-67, and I'm assuming it was never repeated, that means I was 1 or 2 when it was on!

Chia Obama

Chia Obama comes in two styles - "Determined" and "Happy".

I personally think "Happy" (above) looks more like Chico Marx, but that's just my opinion.

A nice animated GIF of "Determined" can be viewed here.

Seth Rogen (at 13)

Here's 13 year-old Seth Rogen doing stand-up comedy at a Vancouver comedy club.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Top 10 Worst National-Anthem Renditions

I once watched a kid botch playing the national anthem on a trumpet before a minor league baseball game in Lancaster, Pa. The crowd applauded politely anyway, and one of the coaches gave him a pat on the back. At least I think that's what happened, I was too busy laughing like hell to notice.

That was Lancaster. They're not as forgiving everywhere else...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mulligan's Stew

Mulligan's Stew is a PBS kid's show so old - that even the Golem doesn't remember when it was on. Here's a hint, though - it has two Washington Senators in it.

It has all the trappings of very early '70s educational television: bad animation, puppets, clumsy attempts at ethic diversity, an adult hanging around kids with no questions asked... and a mostly-white children's rock band singing a song about breakfast to a cranky black couple.

The whole thing is sponsored by that ultra groovy organization - the 4H Club!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Casey Wilson on Fallon

The other night I witnessed a "sketch" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that was the single unfunniest thing I've ever seen on television (and I've seen the director's cut of Holocaust).

Casey Wilson - who is not funny on Saturday Night Live - brings her act to Fallon's show (which is also never funny) and hilarity does not ensue. I totally "get" what they're trying to do - but it just flops badly. Conan O'Brien can get away with this kind of absurdist nonsense, but Fallon just lets it die a painful death.

By the way, that's Wilson's boyfriend (fellow UCB-er Paul Rust) as the "pie sniffer". I bet they give birth to some really unfunny kids one day.

Harry Remembered 2

I am reminded of this hideous bean bag "tribute" to Harry that the Phillies unleashed on the world earlier in the decade.

Harry Remembered

The Phillies have planned numerous tributes to recently-deceased announcer Harry Kalas including (but not limited to) altering the field, outfield wall, team uniforms, playing a pre-recorded version of "Outta Here" after every homerun, and the like.

I am reminded of a sketch on Saturday Night Live where Phil Hartman portrayed Baseball's then-commissioner Fay Vincent - suggesting that, in order to honor recently deceased commissioner Bart Giammati, homeruns should be renamed "barts" and RBIs should be renamed "giamatts".

I'm just sayin'.

Joey Ramone

It was eight years ago today that Joey Ramone died.

Today's clip features the Ramones performing "Baby I Love You" on Top of the Pops in 1980. It is taken from the album End of the Century produced by Phil Spector.

Most hardcore fans and critics despise End of the Century because it contains a more polished "over-produced" sound then their previous records. I prefer it, however - perhaps because it has such a unique sound for a Ramones record.

Spector, not surprisingly, insisted on numerous takes - working the band for 14-15 hour days for almost two weeks straight - reportedly without recording anything. He then pulled a gun on the band when Dee-Dee Ramones tried to leave the sessions.

It was the band's best selling album in the U.S. and the U.K. (where "Baby I Love You" charted as a single).


Tomorrow (4/16) is the 45th anniversary of the first Wawa store in Folsom, Pa. (It's still there; one of several I visit regularly each week).

Let's take a little trip down memory lane along Wawa's incredibly action-packed timeline. The company actually started in the early 1800's, you know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's Jesus on Twitter

Here's the only good Twitter page I've seen to date.

The entry on Easter Sunday was "Okay, okay - I'm up!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest faints on Glenn Beck

I'm always willing to link to a good fainting video.

Marilyn Chambers

And since death comes in threes - I'd be remiss in not mentioning the demise of Marilyn Chambers: a porn star from the era before there were porn stars (or home video).

She deserves honorable mention because she once attempted to have sex with Larry King - yes, that Larry King - on his nationally syndicated radio show. I say "attempted" because Larry couldn't get it up.

What? You were expecting a dignified tribute to Marilyn Chambers?

Harry Kalas

Very sad to hear that longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas (above, second from right) died today.

It's very strange - I was just thinking about how I couldn't ever remember a time when Kalas wasn't the voice of the Phillies (he debuted in 1971, when I was six); one of the few remaining things in my life that had always been there.

Kalas was especially great when partnered with the late Richie Ashburn (above left). The duo had a laid-back style that is sorely lacking in broadcast teams today - especially on national broadcasts.

So happy that he was there to call the World Championship last year - the games just won't be the same without him.

Mark Fidrych

Mark Fidrych was a big-league pitcher who had one good year (19-9, 2.34 ERA, Rookie of the Year) for the Detroit Tigers in 1976.

He was famous for his goofy appearance (he looked a bit like Andy Samberg wearing a Harpo wig) and eccentric on-field antics - most notably talking to the ball. He was called "The Bird" due to his striking resemblance to a certain Sesame Street character.

He was also famous for his incredible bad luck. A cartilage tear in his knee attributed to "fooling around in the outfield" (according to Wikipedia) killed his career in 1977.

The bad luck continues - today he was found dead under a dump truck at his home in Massachusetts.

In honor of Fidrych, I give you two additional links - his all-too brief career stats according to, and a 1985 interview with "The Bird" on something called Once A Star.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Let's not forget the true meaning of Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 10, 2009

33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee

I told you yesterday that 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee was one of the worst things ever broadcast on network television, and you didn't believe me did you dear reader?

Well here it is - see for yourself.

I believe the background story was this - the Monkees were tired of clowning around on their sitcom, and wanted to do a series of variety specials instead. 33 1/3 was the first of three commissioned by NBC, but it was so bad they canceled the other two. (It didn't help that it aired opposite the Academy Awards in parts of the country). Also, I believe it was originally broadcast out of sequence - not that it would matter to the coherence of the "plot".

Now, "bad" is a subjective term - but 33 1/3 was really aggressively "out there" - even for 1969.

If you stick around - and I bet you don't - you'll see the Monkees do a really nice version of "Listen to the Band" at the end (it was Peter Tork's last performance as a Monkee until the '80s reunion), and believe it or not - Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Little Richard are in this.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brian Auger & Trinity (with Julie Driscoll)

Here's an interesting band that I first saw on a DVD of the TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee: Julie Driscoll is the singer, and the band is called Brian Auger & Trinity.

Their big hit was a Dylan cover ("This Wheel's on Fire"), and this clip is a Donovan cover. Driscoll had a great look and voice, and Auger's instrumentals were terrific. I'm not sure why they weren't bigger over here. (Perhaps because psychedelic music was on the outs by the time they hit it big?)

I would say their appearance on the terrible Monkees special (honestly, it was one of the worst things that ever aired on national television) might have killed them, but hardly anyone watched it. (It was on opposite the Academy Awards for chrissakes).

Paul McCartney ...Comedian!

Paulie works blue to get a laugh.

Billy Bob Thornton

Here is Billy Bob Thornton acting like a dick on a Canadian radio show.

The host makes the colossal mistake of mentioning that Billy Bob sometimes works as an actor.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disney Templates

Disney often re-used animation from its classic films in their subsequent films.
The amazing clips are here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Make Me Laugh

Make Me Laugh was a syndicated comedy game show which aired weeknights circa 1979-80.

Contestants played for the incredible sum of $180 - one dollar for every second they could keep a straight face against a comedy barrage from three guest comics (Gary Shandling, Howie Mandel, Bob Saget and Gallagher were all frequent guests).

The show was a source of controversy among my cadre of friends at school during eighth grade. It was always a favorite, but some of us abandoned it in favor of a new import from England called The Benny Hill Show. (We agreed to disagree, but I believe history has proven who made the right call).

Today's clip is from when Frank Zappa appeared as a celebrity guest. (I think I would have started laughing right after the joke at the 3:33 mark).

Whatever Happened To...™

...Lenny Dykstra?

MLB At-Bat 2009

Last year I purchased a nice little iPhone app called MLB At-Bat. (I don't have an iPhone, but I do own an iPod Touch - where it runs just fine).

At-Bat features live box scores for every game in Major League Baseball, "Gameday" (the live pitch-by-pitch presentation you see on, and - best of all - video highlights from each and every game.

It was a nice deal for $3-4 bucks - but there was a catch: the app was only good for the 2008 season. Sometime over the winter, it magically turned into "At-Bat Lite" with just the live scores, and no videos.

Now, MLB charges $9.99 for a new app - MLB At-Bat 2009 - with all the features of the old app. They've sweetened the deal by adding live audio for every game. It's quite a bargain; you can listen to every single game (and choose the broadcast from either team's local radio station).

It will only be good for the '09 season, and the iPod version only works if you're near a WiFi signal - but it's a remarkable app nonetheless. Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Amazing Phillies Lookalikes

In the past, we've explored some amazing celebrity lookalikes on the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Now, here comes another one - even more amazing than the rest. Second-baseman Chase Utley is a dead-ringer for the guy who played Pryzbylewski on The Wire.

I'd identify which photo is Pryzbylewski above, but to be honest - since Utley isn't wearing a Phillies cap, I can't tell who's who!

Psychadelic Stones

Here we have the Rolling Stones - in psychedelic mode - performing "Lady Jane" on some show in the '60s.

I am a big fan of the Stones' psychedelic phase - in fact, Flowers (along with the Beatles' Revolver) was the first CD I ever bought back in 1986. A lot of fans preferred it when they got back to making rock 'n' roll records - but I loved "Ruby Tuesday", "She's a Rainbow", "Child of the Moon" and such. I even liked Her Satanic Majesties Request - the record that kind of killed the genre. (It's an acquired taste).

By the way, that's a dulcimer that Brian Jones is playing - an instrument of American origin, interestingly enough.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

APBA's Unlikely Games

APBA Bowling - (above) "Bowl with Real-Life Pros" says the box. Quick, name a real-life pro. I'll wait.

No, seriously - isn't it every child's dream to "attain the characteristic averages" of Earl Anthony and Johnny Petraglia?

Archie meets Don Kirshner

Don Kirshner was music supervisor for the Monkees during their "Last Train to Clarksville" heyday. A dispute with the band over whether they should play their own instruments (he didn't think they should), and with Colgems Records over who should select the B-side to their latest single (he thought it should be him, not them) - left him without a job.

Kirshner bounced back by working with a band that couldn't possibly fight back - because they didn't exist in our plane of reality. The Archies were a cartoon, after all.

Despite not existing, the Archies managed to release a #1 record ("Sugar Sugar"), and Kirshner somehow managed to travel through the cartoon universe to pay them a visit.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jay Leno

Boston NBC affiliate WHDH will air local news at 10:00 instead of Jay Leno in September. NBC is not amused. Threat to pull affiliate status ensues.

Did I mention Boston is Jay's hometown?

Game Show Utopia

I spent a hour or so last night looking at Game Show Utopia - a site devoted to all things game show (specifically the shows of Bill Cullen, Tom Kennedy, Geoff Edwards, and Gene Rayburn).

There is a memorable section devoted to the all-important "home" versions, and a nice article about the funniest game show of all-time (above).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Suzanne Muldowney

Hey - what's Suzanne "Underdog" Muldowney up to these days?

Josh Freese

To me, Josh Freese (second from left) was always the "Joe Besser" of Devo. Like the reviled third Stooge, Freese is too closely associated with the band's less-than Wonder Years (specifically, their brief post-Warners run on the Enigma label) as the replacement drummer for Alan Myers.

He may be more famous as a member of Nine Inch Nails.

Freese is still active in the music industry - and has released a new album called Since 1972. To promote the record, he is also offereing a menu of outrageous package deals that can be viewed here.

For $75,000, Josh will write a 5-song EP about you and your life story. If that's too expensive, why not hang out with Josh and a member of Devo (subject to availability) at the Hollywood Wax Museum, followed by lunch at a strip club? (That's only $2,500).

The "package deals" are very funny, so check them out.