Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Banned "Tiny Toon" Adventure

I always hated Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures. It felt like Spielberg and Co. tried a little too hard to capture the manic spirit of the old Looney Tunes. Everything about these cartoons - from the overbearing music, to the "wacky" animation and obvious jokes - was a pale imitation.

Today, we look at "One Beer" - an unbearably heavy-handed anti-drinking cartoon that was so bad Warner Bros. made it disappear after one TV airing. Bugs, Daffy and Porky (or the "tiny" versions thereof) get drunk from one beer, and end up crashing a stolen police car off a cliff.

Har har har de har har.

Most of the other Tiny Toons episodes were about as funny as this, so if you see this (and I doubt you'll stick around for the whole thing) - you've pretty much seen the box set.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Elvis Forgets The Words

Perhaps you've heard the tapes of Elvis butchering the lyrics to "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" - well, here's the video. (If I've linked to the video correctly, you should jump write to the good part.)

There's always been speculation that Elvis is drunk (or high) here. Perhaps. I like to think he's just goofing around during the super-serious monologue part of the song. His pre-song banter would indicate that he's either extremely nervous or disoriented; so who knows?

Neil LeVang

The Lawrence Welk Show wasn't always unhip. The older episodes (especially the B/W ones) - often contain buried treasures like this one - Neil LeVang playing "Ghost Riders in the Sky".

One Toke Over The Line

TV's "Gail and Dale" (Gail Farrell and Dick Dale) sing a notorious "pot" song - "One Toke Over The Line" on the otherwise squeaky-clean Lawrence Welk Show.

I seriously doubt anyone in this clip has a clue what the song is about. (This is the same Lawrence Welk who once fired "champagne lady" Alice Lon for showing too much knee on camera.) It has the words "Sweet Jesus..." in it, so that's probably why Welk assumed it to be a "modern spiritual".

I have a feeling somebody from the band suggested it as a prank, and it somehow made it all the way to broadcast.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Teddy Bears (Phil Spector)

Let's celebrate Phil Spector's 19-to-life prison sentence by looking back at his younger days - back when he was just threatening to kill people.

Here he is with the Teddy Bears - playing guitar on a hit song he wrote, which was later covered by The Beatles, Marc Bolan, Peter and Gordon, and others.

Interesting fact - the lead singer in this clip, Annette Kleinbard, later changed her name to Carol Connors and co-wrote the theme from Rocky ("Gonna Fly Now").

Not a big fan of Phil - the person - but I think we can all forgive him for pulling a gun on Dee Dee Ramone.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goodbye Jay Leno ... for now.

I'd like to celebrate Jay Leno's imminent departure from The Tonight Show with a really funny clip from his many years on the show - but to be honest, I couldn't find any.

I've avoided Jay's Tonight as much as possible. I always found his show to be safe, calculated, and only mildly amusing. (For a good example of what the pre-Leno Tonight used to be, click here.)

Jay wasn't always a stiff - his appearances on David Letterman's old NBC show were the stuff of legend. He was one of those recurring guests you looked forward to seeing, and he always put a lot of effort into his material. Click here for an example.

Of course, Jay isn't really going anywhere. He'll be back every night in the Fall at 10:00. I can even envision a "Doomsday Scenario" where Conan O'Brien tanks in the ratings (possible, given Conan's uneven style of humor) and NBC re-instates Jay at 11:30.

Actually that's not the worst scenario. That would be The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

The Patty Duke Show Obervations, Part 3

Just one final observation - for now.

When Patty Duke is dancing during the opening credits, I like to pretend she's listening to "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" by Herman's Hermits.

OK - I'm going to go seek professional help now.

The Patty Duke Show Observations, Part 2

The Patty Duke Show was the first to enforce the stereotype that Americans are dumber than Europeans.

Patty was the petty, scheming ignoramus (a hot dog makes her "lose control" for chrissakes), wheras the Identical Cousin is superior in just about every way.

The Patty Duke Show Observations, Part 1

Continuing this site's subtle transition into an all-Patty Duke fan blog, I offer a series of observations regarding the show (which now airs at 5:30 and 6:00 am on the This! channel.)

First off, I have often pondered the "country of origin" of the identical cousin (above). Her accent is a wildly-fluctuating generic European cross between Irish and French.

Am told (Wikipedia) she is supposed to be Scottish. This is unlikely; no one I know from Glasgow "adores a minuet" (they do adore bacon sarnies, getting pissed drunk, and staying on the dole however.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Patty Duke for Social Security

Here's Patty Duke reprising her legendary roles as identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane - now retirement age - for a series of social security PSAs.

There are a bunch of these on YouTube; this one is the least depressing.

Happy Birthday

The site is one year old today - so there will be lots of birthday celebrations taking place all over the world to commemorate this incredible achievement.

Here is a clip
from a special celebration that took place earlier today in Edison, NJ.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Real Jiminy Glick

This morning, while watching a Jiminy Glick special Martin Short did for Netflix last year, I was reminded of the person Short allegedly based the character upon.

Skip E. Lowe has hosted a cable-access TV show from Los Angeles for 35 years. His show is devoted to the subject of Hollywood, and he definitely seems to prefer interviewing the old-time stars (Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Shelly Winters, etc..).

Here's a clip from a show that aired just before the November election. Skip seems to have a problem with John McCain here. I've chosen the clip because it's bizarrely entertaining, but also Skip is at his most Jiminy-esque. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Vagrants

I have often wondered why there weren't more fat guitarists in rock'n'roll.

Here we see Leslie West during his '60s salad days with The Vagrants, and I wonder no more. In retrospect, it probably has something to do with an inability to keep the man-boob from drooping over the guitar body.

I had never heard of Leslie West until he started appearing on The Howard Stern Show way back in the '80s. Stern played him up like he was a huge talent, and Leslie pretty much agreed. It seemed to me like he was only famous for two Mountain songs - "Mississippi Queen" and "Theme for an Imaginary Western"; one of which I had never heard. In fact, I had never even heard of Mountain before either.

Well, here he is with The Vagrants - playing in a very cool Underground Garage style. I like what he's playing here a lot, so check it out.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Michael Caine: It's Over

The second-best-ever version of "It's Over" - performed here by Michael Caine from the 1998 film Little Voice.

If you haven't seen the film, Jane Horrocks refuses to sing for a top London press agent, thus ruining the hopes and dreams of sleazy promoter Caine. For reasons I currently have forgotten, Horrocks' house is burning down here as well.

You might also recognize Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn, and Ewan McGregor in the clip.

The real star here is Caine - who channels Sid Vicious for an unforgettably bitter, drunken, over-the-top performance (set to strings!) of a Roy Orbison classic.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Stevie Riks - Traveling Wilburys

Here's Stevie Riks imitating the Traveling Wilburys - yes, all five of them.

He does all the music you hear, too - talented guy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lois Lane: I am Curious (Black)!

Here we have "I am Curious (Black)!" - a preposterous story from Lois Lane issue #106 (November, 1970.)

Yes, Lois becomes "black" for 24-hours thanks to a crazy-ass machine that Superman keeps at the Fortress of Solitude for no apparent reason. She needs to do this, because nobody in "Little Africa" (Metropolis' "black" section - I'm not making this up) will cooperate with "whitey" - thus thwarting her plans to do a big story on the area for the Daily Planet.

I wonder if "Little Africa" is the correct term for the neighborhood, or just something that "whitey" says when there are no blacks within earshot?

I was looking for some way to share the comic's contents with my loyal readers, and luckily some wonderful blogger has scanned the whole thing right here.

Dig Superman's less-than-heroic excuses when "Black Lois" asks him if he would still marry her - post-makeover.

Update: Adding to the "what in God's name were they thinking?" factor of this comic - the story's title "I am Curious (Black)!" is based on a popular X-rated film of the time called "I am Curious (Yellow)".

Casey WIlson

I've written previously about the dubious comedic chops of Casey Wilson. Well, here's something hilarious from her - Casey reads comments about herself on IMDB.

As you can see from the above reaction shot, these comments are not always positive.

She's a good sport here, and exhibits a kind of likable craziness not always apparent on SNL.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don Pardo

News comes today that Don Pardo - the voice of Saturday Night Live for every season except one (back in the early '80s they foolishly tried someone else) is retiring.

I was thinking of Pardo at the end of Saturday's episode. I knew he was in his 90s (91, actually) - and would probably be stepping away from the show one way or the other soon. Turns out it was very soon - Saturday was his last show.

Pardo's voice gave the show instant credibility back when it debuted as an uneven, counter-culture comedy/music show in 1975. He's been a significant part of the show's legacy ever since, so it's a shame to hear him go.

Here's a classic clip of Don from The Price is Right - way back when it was a completely different show in (presumably) the '50s.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Artie Lange on SNL

Here's Artie Lange playing to the audience during the closing sketch on last night's Saturday Night Live. (Sorry you have to sit through the last part of a crummy sketch, but it's worth it to see the Baby Gorilla toss professionalism out the window).

You can almost hear Lorne Michaels pulling his hair out off camera.

Note: I'm sure NBC will pull this within a week, they have an exclusive deal with Hulu (and Global in Canada) to show SNL online. So click it while you can.

Fridays / 3 Stooges Sketch

Hey - here's another sketch from Fridays - that fondly-remembered comedy show from the early '80s.

This one is interesting for a lot of reasons. First of all, it's a Three Stooges parody - and that's a young Larry David imitating Larry Fine. (Bruce Mahler - the Seinfeld rabbi -as Moe, and the always excellent John Roarke as Curly.)

Since this was the early '80s - drug humor was at an all-time high (so to speak). It was just before the whole Nancy Reagan "just say no" purge that pretty much banished this type of comedy from American television.

Fridays reveled in drug humor; I can think of least two recurring characters that were solely about drugs and getting high. And the Los Angeles audiences just loved this type of comedy.

And so here we have the Three Stooges getting high. Just one problem - the estate of Moe Howard didn't find it the least bit amusing. They sued, and this sketch was never aired again. (If I recall correctly, Fridays did a non-drug Stooges sketch soon after this... I guess it wasn't as funny, because they never did another).

So enjoy this - a slice of what "drug humor" was like just before it was effectively banned from TV and movies, and a pretty decent Three Stooges impression as well.

The IT Crowd / Matt Berry

The IT Crowd is a consistently funny show (from Graham Linehan - the same person who brought us Father Ted.) It airs in the U.S. on IFC - a channel you probably don't get, or ignore. (It's usually way up the digital dial - channel 160-something.)

A good show got even better with the addition to the cast of Matt Berry (above), a former regular from Garth Mereghi's Darkplace. This clip contains his best bits from the first episode of Series 3 - it will give you some idea of the humor on the show.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pink Lady... and Roy Orbison

I'm in a Roy Orbison mood today, so here's Roy on that infamous NBC flop Pink Lady (better known as Pink Lady... and Jeff).

Pink Lady - for those who don't remember - were a famous Japanese pop duo given a weekly American variety show in 1980 despite the considerable handicap of not being able to speak English.

The show was produced by Sid and Marty Krofft - a duo responsible for a lot of "hold your audience in contempt" schlock in the '70s and '80s. They managed to build a presentable but bland show around the two stars, thanks to likable American co-host Jeff Altman, and an array of bemused celebrity guests (including Jerry Lewis and Sid Ceasar).

This appearance by Roy Orbison is just before he teamed with Emmylou Harris on the song "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" - which won a Grammy for the duo the following year. He was still years away from a major career resurgence (approx. 1986) - so he needed to appear on shows like this one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Wire (with laugh-track)

My wife and I just finished watching all five seasons of The Wire.

For those who don't know, The Wire is that show which every TV critic in the world shamelessly declared as the greatest ever.

Well, it was good - but "greatest ever"..? Not even close. For one thing, I wouldn't rank it above Homicide: Life on the Street - that other great Baltimore police show.

Like The Sopranos (which The Wire also wasn't as good as) - the stories didn't always go where you expected them to - so there weren't as many "happy endings" as you might see on say, CSI: Miami.

That's great, but some people prefer to be entertained rather than be battered by realism.

I think The Wire might have been better with a laugh track. And I think that would look something like this....

Cilla Black

I always look for any excuse to link to Beatles songs written for other artists. (Some of them were quite good and not always well known).

Here's one of my favorites: "Love of the Loved". Written by Paul McCartney, this one was probably better suited for Cilla Black (above) who performs it here on a 1963 edition of "Thank Your Lucky Stars".

The song is one of the earliest ever written by McCartney, and it was performed by the Beatles during their failed audition for Decca Records. I think the arrangement is much better on Cilla's version - although it was not a big hit for her (#35 on the UK charts).

Well, I liked it. See if you agree.

Note that the previous act (whom we don't see in the video) - is Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas performing "I'll Keep You Satisfied"... yet another song "given away" by The Beatles.

Long-Lost Celebrity Twins

I wouldn't ordinarily waste your time with something as frivolous as Long-Lost Celebrity Twins, but I must admit these are pretty good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Diddy: KFC vs. Popeye's

There has been a lot of buzz about KFC lately.

The company's new product - Kentucky Grilled Chicken - is so exciting that Oprah Winfrey temporarily suspended her "eat healthy/be kind to animals" beliefs in order to flood the market with millions of unredeemable coupons.

Now comes Diddy - personally weighing the benefits of KFC Original Recipe vs. Popeye's on YouTube. (Warning: Popeye's attempts to sway the verdict in the sequel video here).

Beatles Remasters

I somehow missed last month's announcement that the Beatles catalogue has been remastered for release this September (9/9/9 - the same day as the Beatles/Rock Band game).

This is great news - especially for anyone who has listened to the Abbey Road or Rubber Soul CDs lately; they sound terrible compared with just about any major CD release in the past fifteen years.

I'm a bit concerned that there appear to be no bonus tracks on any of the discs - despite the ready availability of plenty of unreleased material on bootlegs.

Also unfortunate - it looks like they're selling the mono versions as a separate package. (You get to pay for the same album twice!) Rhino offers the mono tracks on the same CD for The Monkees, and Capitol did the same for the Beatles' U.S. albums, and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

Anyway - I can't wait to hear these new re-masters. And, of course, I'll probably buy the whole set.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Super Pup

Here is a snippet from the little-seen (and unsold) pilot for Super Pup - an attempt by the producers of The Adventures of Superman to keep the show going following the death of George Reeves.

The new show was filmed on the same sets as the old one - with puppets and "little people" is animal costumes playing all the parts.

As bad as this looks, I can totally see it playing the Sally Starr/Captain Noah circuit in syndication.


Here's a trailer for a film called "Tip Toes" - allegedly released in 2003 - starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Beckinsale, and Gary Oldman ("in the role of a lifetime" according to the narrator) as a dwarf!

It certainly looks like a real film - but the whole idea of Oldman playing some kind of "forced perspective"-CGI dwarf is SO outrageous, that the actual movie probably never saw the light of day. And the mind boggles as to why real dwarf Peter Dinklange - an excellent actor who is in the movie - wasn't hired to play the Oldman role.

There is some conjecture in the YouTube comments for this video that the whole thing might just be an elaborate joke. That would explain how porn star Bridget the Midget was given what appears to be such a prominent role in a major motion picture.

But until proven otherwise, we'll just have to assume this sucker was a real movie, and a really really bad idea for one at that.

Maggie Simpson

In case you missed last night's Simpsons, during a parody of The Fountainhead ("the bible of right-wing losers" according to Lisa), Maggie spoke - using the voice of Jodie Foster.

The whole show was good, but here's The Fountainhead segment.

Is it just me, or has the show gotten much better since upgrading to HD?

Monty Python

Local weather forecaster Sue Serio mentions that today is the fortieth anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus. I'll have to take her word for it - they started the show in '69, so let's assume she's probably correct.

Python took comedy to a new level. When it first started airing in the U.S. (on PBS in the mid '70s), that kind of absurdist humor had never been seen here before. The original series stands alone as one of the great milestones of comedy. I enjoy watching it whenever it airs these days (which is rare) - even though I can recite most of the sketches from memory, and own all the episodes and movies on DVD.

Here's a good example of Python at its best - Graham Chapman as an abusive instructor giving "flying lessons" to Terry Jones.

Update: Today is the fortieth anniversary of the day the Python teamed was "formed" (according to Sue), not of the show - which started airing in October, 1969. Not sure what we're actually celebrating here, but enjoy the clip anyway.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Larry Mendte Update

What has Larry Mendte been up to while under house arrest?

Well he twitters a lot, and has a pretentious web site.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Danny Ozark

Danny Ozark died.

He was the manager of the first Phillies teams that were good in my lifetime (The Schmidt-Carlton-Bowa-Luzinski era).

More importantly, he now replaces Spiro Agnew on my all-time list of people who died that I would have bet my life savings had died fifteen years ago.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bruce Willis/Nathan Lane

Don't quite understand why whenever Bruce Willis goes on Letterman, he feels compelled to do prepared shtick throughout the interview. Mediocre shtick, I might add - like this lame turkey bit from Thanksgiving (and stick around for another groan-inducing bit of comedy at 9:00 - Bruce doing a "High School Musical" parody wearing a funny wig).

Whereas Nathan Lane is supposed to be funny, he too prefers prepared bits that tank on the show - and does his entire interview like it's some kind of desperate Mad TV pitch meeting: one flop joke after another to a mostly bemused audience.

Will Ferrell they ain't.

Jose "Pepe" Gonzalez

Just a quick mention that one of my favorite comic artists of all-time passed away last month - Jose Gonzalez (aka "Pepe").

I was in awe of his technique on Vampirella, and frequently tried to crib the "Spanish style" of design at which he and fellow Spanish artist Esteban Maroto so excelled.

He is also responsible for one of my all-time favorite (6-foot) posters.

This site has a great obit, and lots of even greater artwork.

Dom DeLuise

I would be remiss in not mentioning the passing of Dom DeLuise.

Dom was one of those easily likable comic actors who was funny in just about everything he did; especially in the '60s and '70s.

I remember an appearance of his on the Tony Orlando and Dawn variety show, where the host told the audience that Dom could get a laugh by saying anything. Without missing a beat, Dom said "Dollar seventy-five" and got a huge laugh. (Hey, it was the seventies).

Here's Dom and Dean Martin doing a sketch on Dean's variety show. Notice that this sketch - on paper - is dreadfully unfunny. But Dean and Dom ad-lib and clown around throughout it and it becomes comedy gold.

600th Post

And don't forget, folks - May 26, 2009 will mark the one-year anniversary of the Golem Universe.

I thought I would celebrate by changing the layout, and maybe adding a few things here and there. Of course, this will never happen by May 26 - but it's nice to dream.

Look for changes this Summer!

Your internet pal Golem.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Here's Larry Hooper from The Lawrence Welk Show singing "Oh Happy Day".

Why am I linking to this? Well, two reasons. For one thing, let's marvel at the incredibly DEEP voice of Larry Hooper. Seriously, the cat could give Tony the Tiger a run for his money. When this aired, in 1977, Hooper had just recovered from an illness - so he's not 100%... but still quite impressive.

My second reason for linking to this involves a prank played by Howie Mandel before his live comedy shows. He plays the clip of Hooper singing "Oh Happy Day" on an endless loop; it usually takes audiences about five-six minutes to realize what's going on. After ten minutes they're yelling at the screen. After twenty minutes, they're pulling their hair out.

Someone simulated a ten minute version here, now imagine sitting through a version twice as long.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Marvel Comics Movies: Worst to Best

Recently, Marvel Comics have been turning out some very good movies (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk) - but it wasn't always the case.

I once boldly predicted Howard the Duck (above) - with its George Lucas pedigree - would be one of the biggest box-office successes of all-time. Then the movie came out and it featured a midget in an unconvincing duck costume. No more sight-unseen predictions from me!

Anyway, here is a complete list of Marvel movies, ranked by their Tomato-meter rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Surprisingly, Howard isn't last, and Spider-Man 1 isn't first. (Also, Wolverine is too new to be included.)

Here, as an added bonus, is my personal Top 10 from the same list (the ones not listed were either too bad - like Spider-Man 3 - or I did not see):

  1. Spider-Man
  2. Iron Man
  3. Spider-Man 2
  4. X2: X-Men United
  5. X-Men
  6. The Incredible Hulk
  7. Fantastic Four (not as bad as Rotten Tomatoes wants you to believe)
  8. X-Men: The Last Stand
  9. Daredevil (...but should have been SO much better)
  10. Blade

Coming soon... The Sense-Shattering SIX-HUNDREDTH POST! (And a vital message about the upcoming FIRST ANNIVERSARY of the site!!)

Bobbie Gentry with Donovan

I wanted to link to Donovan's great song "There is a Mountain" ("First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is...'). Sadly, I couldn't find any performance on YouTube of the studio recording, except one of those fan-made "slideshow" videos, and frankly, you're better than that.

So here is a live performance of the song with added bonus performer Bobbie Gentry in a fuzzy clip from a U.K. show of hers. Bobbie Gentry was very big here in the sixties thanks to her hit song "Ode to Billie Joe", but she dropped out of show business entirely sometime during the '70s.

According to the information on this video clip, it was "found and edited by a psychedelic yogi". Appropriate, I think.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The 100 Million Views Club

Here they are - the most-watched online videos of all-time.

Everyone's favorite frumpy Scottish songbird (Susan Boyle, above) is #5 on the list, but looks to place a bit higher given time. She is little more than halfway to #1, which I must admit I am sufficiently out of touch enough to have never heard of.

Apparently, this list does not acknowledge pornography, otherwise I suspect we'd have an entirely different Top 18.

I must admit, I've only seen two of these videos - #5 and #11. The latter ("Evolution of Dance") I and a small group were forced to watch at the conclusion of a particularly dull training session given by a former employer. We all watched in stony-face silence while the trainer laughed her ass off.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The MAD Straight-Jacket

From the late '50s - the MAD Straight-Jacket.

"Has deep outside pockets roomy enough to carry a whole salami..."

Danny Gans

Danny Gans died today.

Unless you live near, or have visited Las Vegas - you might not know about Danny Gans. He was an impressionist, and his show was one of the hottest tickets in Vegas.

When I first visited the town in 2001, I was pretty amazed to see such a fuss (he has the record for the largest free-standing billboard in the world) being made over someone - an impressionist mind you - who I had absolutely never seen or heard about.

I'd like to end by saying I caught his show and was blown away, but I didn't. I'm sure he was great, though - everyone raved about him. (And that billboard... it was huge!)

Anyway, here he is (or was - as it were).

Rockabye Baby

I stumbled upon this last night while flipping around the Music Choice channels on cable. What I heard was one of the most beautiful versions of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 ever... only it was playing on the "music for infants" channel, and the artist was Rockabye Baby.

Check out their official web site - where they also make infant-friendly CDs of Ramones, Nirvana, AC/DC, and much more.