Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ginger or Mary Anne?

Just wanted to add my two cents that I've never sided with the populist opinion that Mary Anne is better than Ginger. The Golem is a Ginger man and always will be.

Who cares if she's a bitch? - Why settle for hamburger when you can have steak?

This clip pretty much makes a convincing argument in my favor - and it features Jim Backus doing an Ed Sullivan impression. Other than that, I have no idea what the hell is happening.

Fred Travalena

They say "death comes in threes". This week, it came in two sets of three: McMahon, Farrah, Jacko, Gale "My Little Margie" Storm, Billy Mays, and now - Fred Travalena.* It's almost like the Grim Reaper is in a hurry to fill his second quarter projections.

Travalena - for the uninitiated - was an ubiquitous presence on '70s television, when impressionists were still welcome on variety and talk shows.

Not entirely untalented, he was always the poor man's Rich Little in my book. Although his material was lacking somewhat, he never lacked for chutzpah - which certainly helps when you're trying to put over a lackluster Sylvester Stallone impression.

* Philly-area readers are also still mourning the loss of Gary Papa and Irv Homer.

The Castaways

A conservative friend of mine - a real Glenn Beck "9-12 project" type - sent me a link to this video "in honor of the Obama presidency".

The song title is the punchline (and it's a pretty good song, so enjoy!)

Michael Saxton

Old-School WWF fans may remember a wrestler named Michael Saxton - a "jobber" with a Michael Jackson gimmick. Newsday's "Steel Cage" column remembers Saxton, and even has a rare video of the man himself here. (Note: Saxton doesn't appear until about 10:00 into the video).

Jobbers like Saxton no longer exist in the WWE. In 1985 (when this clip was recorded), televised bouts were predominantly one-sided squash matches intended to put over established stars. There was a stable of wrestlers like Saxton, Steve Lombardi and Rusty Brooks whose sole purpose was to lose miserably each and every week.

Ringo Starr: "You're Sixteen"

Here's an interesting clip - Ringo Starr and Carrie Fisher in a video for Ringo's 1973 version of "You're Sixteen".

Carrie actually was 16 in 1973 - but this clip is from Ringo's 1978 TV special; she's about 21 here, and Star Wars was still playing in theaters.

Although I don't link to many Ringo performances (unless you count this one), there was a time - around '73 or '74 - when he was considered as prolific a hit-maker as the other Beatles. (Check out the albums Ringo and Goodnight Vienna for examples). However, by the time this TV special aired in '78 - he had just been dropped by Atlantic Records, and was about to be dumped by Polydor - his days as a mega-selling recording artist were already behind him.

The animation in the video looks kind of ridiculous now, but was considered quite "cutting edge" for it's time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mike Strutter's Guide to London

I only wish I had seen this video before my visit to London - I couldn't find a cab either.

By the way, it was the policeman who did it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Charlie's Angels vs. The Three Stooges

Kate Jackson/Moe : "The Boss"

Jaclyn Smith/Larry : "The One in the Middle"

Farrah Fawcett/Curly : "The Popular One"

Cheryl Ladd/Shemp : "The Successful Replacement"

Shelly Hack/Joe : "The Unsuccessful Replacement"

Tanya Roberts/Curly-Joe : "Too Little, Too Late"

Farrah Fawcett, RIP

The "New" Academy Awards

Big news this week that the next Academy Awards ceremony will feature ten Best Picture nominees, instead of the traditional five.

This has been interpreted by some as a ploy to boost rating for the awards telecast by allowing "popcorn" (i.e. "lowbrow") films like Star Trek and Up to receive nominations.

Of course, this will all backfire when something like Rob Schneider's Big Stan ends up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Post #666 - Jon Lovitz as Satan

Here's my all-time favorite personification of Satan - Jon Lovitz in a cheap devil costume on Saturday Night Live.

Lovitz played a Devil many times on SNL, but he is best remembered for this sketch - a parody of People's Court featuring guest host Rosanna Arquette. The character was so memorable, that even after he left the show, when Rob Schneider played a Devil in a sketch - he did it "as" Lovitz's devil.

By the way, if the audience laughter in this clip seems odd, I believe this is from one of the only (maybe the only) episodes of SNL that was not broadcast live. It was originally pre-empted by the 1986 World Series, and aired a few weeks after it was recorded. I always felt like the final product was heavily edited in post-production, including adding a laugh track (or "sweetening" the laughter somewhat.) See if you agree.

Lawrence Welk - Talk to the Animals

From a 1968 episode of The Lawrence Welk Show, Golem-favorite The Lennon Sisters sing "Talk to the Animals".

Why am I linking to this? The dancing lion, of course.

Whereas the dancing gorilla and bear are quite good (in fact the Gorilla is dancing his ass off), it appears they picked someone at random from the audience to wear the lion costume. Either that, or the person inside is just desperately trying to keep the head from falling off.

(The lion comes out at 1:00 -- if you wish to cut right to the funny part.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, RIP

After the announcement that Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley planned to divorce, (Norm) Macdonald joked about their irreconcilable differences on Weekend Update: "She's more of a stay-at-home type, and he's more of a homosexual pedophile."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

YouTube Download MP4

Here's something I only recently discovered - you can now download YouTube videos directly as MP4 files. The information is here. (Just drag the "Get YouTube video" link in the middle of the page to your browser's toolbar.)

Next time you see a YouTube video you might want to keep, just click the URL and it will download a copy of the underlying video file.

Prior to this, I had been using the RealPlayer Downloader - which is fine if you like RealPlayer (I don't).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon, RIP

Ed McMahon died. At 86, he had a very good run - and a remarkable TV career that spawned several hit series.

Of course, Ed was most famous for laughing at Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Don't knock it - he was a big part of Johnny's comedy rhythm. There was nothing funnier than an explosive laugh from Ed whenever Johnny made a wisecrack. (Click here for an example - in most browsers, the link should jump right to the 0:55 mark.)

The camaraderie between Johnny and Ed was always evident on-air. I love this clip, but be forewarned that the person who posted it felt the need to put one of the "seven dirty words" in its title - so if you're viewing this at work, be careful. It's a clip of Johnny and Ed clowning around on the Tonight Show set - attempting to film a personal message to a sponsor.

I've written about Ed an alarming number of times on this site. So here, in tribute, is a convenient set of links to those posts...As Ed would say, "Hi-yoooooo!"

The Seekers - "I'll Never Find Another You"

I've written about The Seekers before, but today I'm not only linking to a performance of my favorite song of theirs, but also to a dramatic recreation of the story of its recording.

The clip is from The World of the Seekers - an Australian TV documentary of the band shown in 1968. The Seekers were Australian, but that didn't stop them from turning up on several "British Invasion" CD collections released over the years. They also were a folk act (the upright bass should have been a dead giveaway), but their biggest hits are considered pop classics.

The secret weapon of The Seekers was lead singer Judith Durham; she had one of the strongest voices ever in popular music. However, Bruce Woodley (above, right) has also built a reputation as a songwriter - co-writing "Red Rubber Ball" with Paul Simon.

Monday, June 22, 2009


And now the question everyone's asking - Is Chewbacca Trapped in My Nightstand?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sammy Davis, Jr. - "Chico and the Man"

Ah, the seventies.

When a performer like Sammy Davis, Jr. could appear on television - smoking like a chimney - to belt out the theme from a then-popular (now forgotten) sitcom. Sammy even makes up a few lyrics to pad things out ("The man thinks you're trying to bust up all his dreams...?")

To emphasize that this is the type of performance you just don't see on television anymore - Sammy does some stereotypical "Mexican" humor at the end.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stevie Wonder - "I'll Be Seeing You"

Here's a forgotten gem from one of Johnny Carson's last Tonight shows.

The guest is Stevie Wonder, and he sings one of Johnny's personal favorite songs - "I'll Be Seeing You", especially touching since Johnny was soon calling it quits on a 30-year run as host. Some people swear you can see a tear in Johnny's eye at the end of the song.

More people remember Bette Midler's song on Johnny's last "real" show (his last show had no guests), but I always liked the feel of this one slightly better.

And so what if he didn't remember all the words!

The Fail Blog

Here we have The Fail Blog - a golden collection of fails, pwns, owns, and all those other annoying euphemisms illiterate Internet sheep have adopted.

Today's highlight is this clip from what appears to be some kind of Turkish beauty pageant/lottery show. Somebody in this clip makes an ass of themselves, but it might not be who you expect.

Bonus Clip: This one is even funnier.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Golem Universe Gives Back™

Two charities were brought to my attention today, and I'd like to kick off a new label devoted to "giving back" to these worthy causes by publicizing their respective causes from my massively popular bully pulpit.

Help Save Radio - The Recording Industry wants Congress to tax local radio stations that play music. This seems like a particularly dumb thing to do, since they've always relied on free publicity from radio airplay to survive. The real problem I have with this, is that it might result in 24 hours of shit like "Matt and Huggy" littering the radio airwaves. Sign this petition if you agree.

Save the Mummers - OK, I despise the Mummers Parade and always have. However, I understand that the parade is having money problems these days due to lack of support from the City of Philadelphia. They have the support of Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, Bacon's support is based on sales of a charity CD by The Bacon Brothers Band. Since nobody is ever going to buy this, I am directing your attention to this site, which let's you contribute directly without buying some crappy CD that nobody wants.

Thank You.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bob Bogle

Guitarist Bob Bogle has died.

With The Ventures, he was famous for instrumental classics such as "Walk, Don't Run", "Perfidia" and the theme from "Hawaii Five-O".

He lived to see The Ventures inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Here's "Walk, Don't Run".

Arby's Big Hat Sign ... R.I.P.

The only remaining Arby's "big hat" sign in my neighborhood is gone. The Arby's in Folsom, Pa has closed due to a combination of 1) having no drive-thru window, 2) increased competition from other fast-food restaurants, and worst of all... 3) being an Arby's.

The sign will be sorely missed.

Let's take another look at the Flickr page devoted to this topic.

George Harrison - Cheer Down

There's a new George Harrison greatest hits collection in stores today - Let It Roll: Songs of George Harrison.

It contains one of my favorites - "Cheer Down" - a song you don't hear much because it was only available on the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack, and the Best of Dark Horse greatest hits album that is out of print.

"Cheer Down" is from the period ('87-'91) when George was making great new music, on his own and with the Traveling Wilburys. There were lots of interesting collaborations between the Wilburys line-up during this time, and "Cheer Down" was co-written by George and Tom Petty, and co-produced by George and Jeff Lynne.

Here is a live version from one of George's Japanese concerts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The New Bob Hope... on Conan

Here's a bit from Friday's Tonight Show - Paris Hilton does a walk-on, the way Bob Hope used to do when Johnny Carson was host.

Of course, I think this is hilarious - but I suspect this type of humor just might alienate the few remaining Jay Leno fans still watching.

Check out Paris' reading of the Bob Hope line "How about that?"

Friday, June 12, 2009


Am told there is to be a Twitpocalypse tomorrow (time approximate) - whereby Twitter, which I use but still don't quite "get" will explode (or something) because the number of tweets will cause an Integer Overflow error (i.e., the numbers will get to big).

I'd love it if this results in a terrific disaster for Twitter, but it's probably nothing.


Speaking of Conan O'Brien (and we just were, remember?) - here's a failed pilot he wrote with Robert Smigel called Lookwell starring the great Adam West.

Lookwell (even the title is funny) aired once on NBC, and then took on a level of infamy among Hollywood insiders and tape traders. A few years ago, it re-aired on the (now defunct) Trio network - and is currently available on YouTube. (Supposedly, this is a slightly different version of the episode that aired on NBC - but much of the humor is still intact). Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Conan O' Brien

I was surprised to learn today - what with all the talk about Conan O'Brien's dwindling household ratings vs. the Letterman show - that Conan is actually beating the pants off Dave in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

Not only is Conan beating Dave (and Jay Leno's numbers) in the demo, but Jimmy Fallon's ratings are higher than Letterman's in the same category. (Well, there's no accounting for taste.)

Obviously NBC is getting what they wanted all along - a younger audience in late night.

By the way - I was also surprised to learn that I'm still in a coveted demographic. (I thought they didn't care about anyone over 34!)

By the way, I'm digging the new Tonight Show. I know it's basically just Conan's show an hour earlier - but what did you expect? (And for those of you who miss Jay Leno, starting in the Fall - you'll not only get him back five nights a week - you'll get to go to bed a whole hour earlier!)

For those of you who like video links - here's Conan doing his "Conando" sketch. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Two of Us

I stumbled across these guys today. They are called "The Two of Us", and they do acoustic-only versions of the Beatles' original albums.

Here's the problem - they don't sound anything like the Beatles (they sound more like a lukewarm bar band, and the vocals - from what I've heard from snippets - are highly suspect). They sure don't look like the Beatles (there's only two of them for one thing, and one of them looks just like Mark Evanier before his lap band surgery).

But here's what really bugs me - THIS is currently all you get when you search for "Please Please Me", "With the Beatles" and "A Hard Day's Night" on iTunes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Good news today that Futurama is coming back for a full season. Comedy Central will air 26 new episodes - possibly as soon as mid-2010.

Since there aren't many good Futurama videos on YouTube, here's a clip of the Westinghouse Moto-Man from the "Futurama" exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair.

Monday, June 8, 2009

David Carradine

Our local FOX news station covered the death of David Carradine the other day (they treated the story with the utmost respect, even interviewing "Dax" from TMZ about it), and then cut to a rather unfortunately timed commercial for this week's episode of Mental - wherein Carradine appears half-dead throughout.

Here's more-or-less what the ad looked like.

The station apparently didn't learn their lesson - they did the exact same thing tonight.

Gary Coleman

There's lots and lots of Gary Coleman on YouTube, and today we're celebrating the once-beloved TV superstar turned bitter midget.

First, here's Gary in a humiliating margarine commercial. Next up, Gary gets hit over the head with a guitar by Jeff Jarrett at a WCW pay-per-view (witness a knocked-out Gary still desperately trying to keep his sponsor's cap on his head). From there, Gary exploits his lousy credit history for Cashcall.com. (The director adds a comical "car crash" at the end for no discernable reason).

But wait, there's more...

Here's Gary being a dick over some guy taking video of him without paying (with special guest Chewbacca signing autographs in the background). Here he is hawking 99.25% APR loans (loan shark rates, for Cashcall.com again). And last (but certainly not least), here's Gary on Divorce Court.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Annette Funicello

Here's a slideshow of Annette Funicello set to one of her late '50s recordings - the Paul Anka-penned "It's Really Love".

Why am I linking to this? Well, Anka later re-worked the tune and it became one of the most famous theme songs in television history. See if you can guess the famous theme without peeking at the comments.

The 10 Longest Novels in the English Language

You can bet I haven't read any of The Ten Longest Novels in the English Language - my idea of a good book has Superman, James Bond or Conan (the Barbarian, not the talk-show host) in it.

I must confess, however, that I recently attempted Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead - an endeavor I abandoned when I discovered there was a perfectly good movie version starring Gary Cooper.

Johnny Whitaker

Here's an oddball clip - Johnny Whitaker (TV's Jody from Family Affair) singing and dancing on some kind of '70s children's special.

When this aired (1973?), Johnny was experiencing a bit of a career resurgence (Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and Mystery in Dracula's Castle were required kid-viewing on TV, and he played the title role in Tom Sawyer - a theatrical film co-starring a pre-fame Jodie Foster). Despite this, he was very near the end of his Hollywood shelf-life, and was completely off the radar by 1975.

In today's clip, Johnny sings and dances badly - then closes with perhaps the worst joke ever told in public (the audience reacts accordingly).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Patty Duke - I'm Henry the VIII, I Am

About a week ago, I hypothesized that Patty Duke might be dancing to the song "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" during the opening credits of her '60s TV sitcom.

Perhaps I was subconsciously remembering the episode where Patty Duke (masquerading as the Identical Cousin) actually sings the song - way off key, I might add.

Her backing band here - The Shindogs - were also the "house band" of Shindig, a dance/music show also on ABC at the time.

Hulu Desktop

Perhaps you've heard of Hulu - the web site that let's you watch studio cast-offs like Nanny and the Professor from the low-tech inconvenience of you're own laptop.

Now there is a thing called Hulu Desktop which adds a completely unnecessary application layer to the mix. I'm not sure what the benefit of running Hulu as a program instead of a web page gives me, but it supports Mac - hence the recommendation.

(Actually, Hulu has a lot of great shows like 24, Arrested Development, and a few other complete series I wasted perfectly good money collecting on DVD.)

It occurs to me that if Nanny and the Professor were on today, it would probably be called Tranny and the Professor - and be cancelled after two weeks on FOX.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mike Strug

I've only just received news that Mike Strug is retiring from WCAU after a 43-year run as a reporter in Philadelphia.

Believe it or not, there's a Mike Strug YouTube - and it really demonstrates the great man's professionalism. Watch in awe as the lad himself doesn't miss a beat when confronted with a dangerous lunatic on live television.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Johnny Carson

Speaking of great Tonight Show hosts, here's the greatest - Johnny Carson.

Carson's nightly monologues were a big part of America's television viewing habits for thirty years, and were dependably hilarious. But when he bombed, nobody "bombed" better than Carson.

Here he is telling a joke that gets no reaction from the studio audience. Watch how quickly he recovers, and turns it into an even bigger laugh.

Just a side note: When I attended a Letterman taping in November, the audience was more or less threatened by the Late Show staff that if we didn't deliver huge laughs, Dave just might hold back his "A" material. This, of course, is total bullshit - but it may explain why every joke on Dave's show usually KILLS. Not sure what's going on over at Jimmy Fallon's show where every joke is received with stony silence. It might have something to do with the fact that he sucks, but I digress...

While we're burning through the Carson clips, here's a rare video from the 1965(!) New Year's Eve Tonight Show featuring the "amazing" Criswell. Listen to the huge laugh Carson gets after Criswell's opening statement.

Steve Allen

In honor of the new Tonight Show host making his debut tonight, here's original Tonight host Steve Allen laughing uncontrollably during a sketch.

The part that gets me every time with this clip is when Steve attempts to stop laughing by putting on the "serious" hat.

LeVar Burton Fan Page

Here is a great LeVar Burton fan page I discovered on Digg.com.

I think you'll agree it pretty much sums up the great man's career.