Saturday, October 31, 2009

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - "I Put a Spell On You"

For Halloween - Screamin' Jay Hawkins performs "I Put a Spell On You".

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bad Halloween Costumes

Perhaps you thought Today jettisoned all credibility when they added a fourth hour solely to lend gravitas to the otherwise inconsequential View-lite currently hosted by uber-annoying Kathie-Lee Gifford (above, left) and Hoda Kotb (above, Yoda).

You would be wrong, of course. Here they are with another groan-worthy edition of "let's over do it for Halloween".

Bad Halloween Costumes

A sad new Halloween tradition of American morning-show hosts is to prove beyond of a shadow of a doubt what a safe distance from David Brinkley they truly are... by dressing up in some elaborate credibility-destroying costume.

Here's terminal bore Harry Smith, from CBS's third-place Early Show doing a half-assed Julia Child impersonation.

There are similar bad costumes in the clip, but I don't care enough about CBS's morning show to bother identifying the guilty parties involved. Would you?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beach Boys - "Smiley Smile"

Here's an interesting radio interview with Brian Wilson to promote the then-new Smiley Smile LP in 1967. This is around the time Wilson started to sink into a decades-long depression, so it's interesting to hear him relatively lucid and upbeat here.

Smiley Smile
was once famously described as "a bunt instead of a grand slam" by Carl Wilson in comparison to the fabled Smile album it replaced. Although its a perfectly fine record ("Heroes and Villains" and "Good Vibrations" are classics, and "With Me Tonight" is quite good) - if you listened to the original Smile tracks before hearing how they were re-produced on this album - you'd be terribly disappointed.

Note - the version of "Wind Chimes" played at the end of the video is the unreleased Smile version. Here's the Smiley Smile version.

Sad to think what Brian might have accomplished if he could have held things together back then. More records like Smile (and Pet Sounds) would have been greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jermaine Jackson and Devo

The year is 1982. I'm the world's biggest Devo fan, and my heroes are appearing on a lame Grade-C syndicated Halloween special, plugging their then-upcoming album.

There are a number of other "of the moment" acts booked on the show, including Toni Basil performing "Hey Mickey" - with back-up dancing cheerleaders - for the thousandth time.

And then, just as I'm getting ready to ignore Jermaine Jackson - he performs a very Devo-sounding song... with Devo. Why, if it wasn't the lamest, "eighties at its worst" sounding piece of crap ever - I would have been genuinely excited.

Here's the clip. That's the late Fred Travelena reading the introduction straight off a cue card.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Batman and Robin meet Lurch

We've examined this phenomenon before: the casual way in which Batman and Robin would encounter celebrity characters from other shows (sometimes from other networks).

Today, we watch as they meet Lurch from The Addams Family. I'm pretty sure Addams Family had been canceled before this episode aired, so this is an especially poignant moment.

For added entertainment, enjoy the video comments that speculate that the rest of the Addams Family is inside with Lurch, and how Batman should have mistaken Lurch for Solomon Grundy.

New York Post

So much for class.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lou Jacobi

Lou Jacobi (above, left - with Vivian Vance and Woody Allen) passed away this weekend at 96.

Jacobi was a respected stage (Woody Allen wrote Don't Drink The Water especially for him) and film actor (notably The Diary of Anne Frank and My Favorite Year).

I remember him mainly from television. He played character parts in many sitcoms and variety shows. I recall him being a regular on The Dean Martin Show and a guest star on Barney Miller.

But perhaps most importantly - he was the inspiration for the voice of one of my favorite cartoon characters.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mitchell & Webb - "Speedo"

By popular demand - the "Speedo" sketch (both parts) from That Mitchell and Webb Look.


It's what you're all getting for Christmas.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Lots of buzz this morning about the Golem soon breaking the all-time site record for most posts in a single month - 65, set in June, 2008.

Although most fans share in the excitement, there are a significant number of nay-sayers who feel the record should be given an asterisk - for the following reasons:
  • The new record will have been set in a 31-day month as opposed to the old record, which was set in a 30-day month.
  • If drug-testing was mandatory, I would probably test positive for performance-enhancing Rhodiola.
  • Several of my posts were from “Forgotten Beatles Week” - which was basically the same post multiplied seven times.
  • This post shouldn’t count towards the record, because it is a post about the record.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monty Python - "Gorilla Librarian"

For no reason, other than I felt like seeing it again - here is the "Gorilla Librarian" sketch from the first season (1969) of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

This features the world's least convincing gorilla costume (above) worn by Eric Idle.

Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales, who died yesterday at 83, was most famous for hosting a children's show (Lunch with Soupy Sales; 1953-1966) that was just as popular with adults. He also had a successful career as a comic actor and guest panelist on game shows like What's My Line?

I was a fan of Soupy's short-lived 1978 syndicated show (a revival of his old kids show), and even got the chance to see him perform live outside the Art Museum in Philadelphia.

Here's a clip from his old show (I think this is 1965) featuring the puppet "White Fang". As you can see for yourself, most of the White Fang bits ended the same way.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Booed off the stage

Hey - let's watch a terribly unfunny comedian get booed off the stage.

The Lost Halloween Logo

Because I really must leave the (National League Champion) Phillies logo up until beyond the end of the month, you will not get to experience the would-soon-to-be-beloved Halloween logo that I spent a good 10-15 minutes designing especially for this site.

But thanks to our "sister" blog - Golem's Template Tester - you can enjoy it from now until doomsday (or until I need to test another template).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stanley Steemer

What makes the Stanley Steemer TV commercial so great? The dog's trick, or the woman's reaction to it?

Jackie Martling

Here's a clip of Jackie Martling playing himself - unconvincingly - in the low-budget film The Wicked.

You know your movie is in trouble when Jackie "The Joke Man" is the best actor in this scene.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Monkees and Johnny Cash

The Monkees were a trio for a year or so (following the departure of Peter Tork who left voluntarily, citing "exhaustion").

They released two albums during this time - Instant Replay and The Monkees Present, but they also seemed especially interested in re-establishing themselves as a musical-comedy act with TV appearances on Laugh-In, Hollywood Squares, and this one - from a 1969 episode of The Johnny Cash Show.

Here, the boys perform "Nine Times Blue" - an excellent Mike Nesmith song that never managed to find its way onto an original album. (It's all over the CD's now - as various bonus tracks). Then, they join Johnny for an improvised novelty song called "Everybody Loves a Nut".


Monday, October 19, 2009

Venture Bros.

For those who caught the season premiere of Venture Bros. last night - above is a detail of the painting Brock Sampson did of Steve Summers and Sasquatch.

Click for a bigger version.

[courtesy of Jackson Publick's LiveJournal]

Bad Halloween Costumes

No collection of Bad Halloween Costumes would be complete without an example or two of those hideous "box" costumes from the past.

You know the kind - plastic mask held on with rubber-band and highly-flammable mylar bag as tunic. Produce one for absolutely every entertainment property that was even remotely popular with kids.

I wore these almost exclusively throughout the '70s. Sadly, I was out of the Halloween game before the Village People (above) became famous.

Forgotten Comics: Dayton Allen

A few years back, I read a book by Ben Alba called Inventing Late Night about the early life and career of Steve Allen - and the first few years of what we have long called The Tonight Show.

I was familiar with most of the regular performers Steve had on his shows back then - Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr., Steve & Eydie ... but one name was unfamiliar to me: Dayton Allen.

According to the book, Dayton Allen used to get big laughs with the catch-phrase "Why Not?". (According to Wikipedia, "Why Not?" was - in its day - as popular a catch-phrase as Mad Magazine's "What, me worry?")

Even though he lived until 2004, I don't ever recall seeing Dayton Allen in anything. He did mostly cartoon voice work (Deputy Dawg, Lancelot Link) until 1971 and then stopped working, save for two small acting credits in the mid '80s.

Here is a clip of Dayton Allen from a 1960 unaired pilot for a comedy series. Is it me, or is this unusually hilarious for 1960?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

People of Wal-Mart

Here's a site which presents weirdos (many inappropriately dressed) shopping and working at various Wal-Mart stores across the country.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Art and Diane Linkletter

"We Love You, Call Collect" was a spoken-word recording by Art Linkletter and his daughter Diane Linkletter. Time Magazine described it as a "maudlin appeal to an erring daughter".

It sat unreleased for months until Diane jumped to her death from a sixth floor window - reportedly from an LSD "trip" - in 1969. Capitol Records quickly released it, and it later won a Grammy award.

[clip courtesy of]

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck cries on the air - for the good old days when the Mean Joe Greene commercial was running... the early '80s - around the same time we had runaway inflation and 10% unemployment.

The whole "bad kids took us to a party and now we have to tell our parents" thing is more than a little bizarre.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Python on Fallon

Worst late night host Jimmy Fallon squanders the opportunity to have an interesting conversation with four of the original Monty Python team - by asking inane questions like "Where did the name Monty Python come from?" and "What are the differences between British and American comedy?"

Note that when Terry Gilliam mentions that he renounced his American citizenship in 2006, Fallon feels absolutely no need to follow-up on it.

The Beatles - "Tomorrow Never Knows"

Here's a 1967 clip from the old Beatles Saturday morning cartoon show.

The song is "Tomorrow Never Knows" from the Revolver LP - an odd choice for a kid's show since it was inspired from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The same episode has a "sing-along" version of "She Said She Said" featuring the lyrics (on-screen and in big letters ("...I know what it's like to be dead...")

Far out, kids.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bad Halloween Costumes

Because nothing screams "Child Protective Services" like dressing your kid as an "Infant-Baby" Pimp.

Oak Ridge Boys

So I'm driving home from work this afternoon, and I turn the dial to the Outlaw Country station on Sirius radio. And I am immediately faced with the mind-blowing realization that yes, I am listening to the Oak Ridge Boys covering The White Stripes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Al Martino

Bad day for the Italian-American community as Lou Albano and now Al Martino have died in the same 24-hour span. (Tony Bennett, I am told, is said to be extremely anxious that this is a wave of "death coming in Italian-American threes".

Don't got much to say about Al Martino except that he was OK as Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather. (Whenever Vic Damone dies, I'll have a lot more to talk about).

Here's Al doing what he does best.

Lou Albano

Sad to report that Lou Albano (above, left) has passed away at age 76.

Lou was a wrestling "manager" - a role that really doesn't exist anymore in professional wrestling. Managers really didn't manage much of anything - but they played the vital role of doing most of the talking during televised interviews. And nobody could talk quite like Lou.

He garnered some mainstream fame around the same time Cyndi Lauper became famous ('84 or so) - appearing in some of her early videos, and claiming on TV talk shows to have written her hit songs.

He was one of the first of the WWF "superstars" to leave the show - appearing for a time as one of the Super Mario Brothers in a Saturday morning cartoon series.

Annette Funicello and The Beach Boys

I'm a pretty big fan of The Beach Boys and yet - I had no idea they backed Annette Funicello for the title track of Disney's The Monkey's Uncle in 1965.

And yet - here they are - the classic lineup including Brian Wilson (who was probably working on Pet Sounds around the same time he agreed to do this). At this point, I believe Brian stopped performing live - and was usually replaced by Bruce Johnston. So we should all consider ourselves lucky.

"Monkey's Uncle" by the way, was later covered - capably, I might add - by Dev2.0, the all-children's Devo cover band. Would that there was a YouTube of that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Johnny Carson and Carol Wayne

Here's a clip from the days when the Tonight Show was great - Johnny Carson and Carol Wayne performing another funny "Tea Time Movie" sketch.

Bad Halloween Costumes

Here's the Statue costume - and the link for it, in case you think I'm making it up.

This guy paid $90 to look like a dick and fall down a lot. No wonder it's out of stock.

Bad Halloween Costumes

This is the Pretty Polly Adult Doll in the Box costume. Without the box, you look like a bimbo (or worse, a transvestite). With the box, you can't walk around or sit down. You just stand there and wait for ennui to set in.

Wait, it's really a great costume - let me get my box.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bad Halloween Costumes

Here's one that looks OK... until you see the bottom half.

Avengers #239

Comics Alliance details Avengers #239 - the issue that featured David Letterman.

It was published in 1984, when Dave's 12:30 NBC show was still somewhat of a cult phenomenon.

Note that Dave uses the "giant phony door knob" as a weapon in this comic. This was a great bit from his original show, and I wish somebody would post it on YouTube.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Arthur Duncan

It's not easy convincing people why you're a fan of The Lawrence Welk Show when they repeat shit like this.

Amitabh Bachchan

Today is the 67th birthday of Amitabh Bachchan (above) - one of the biggest stars in the world. Amitabh can do it all - action, comedy, pretending to sing...

Let's celebrate by watching another preposterous music video. Here, Amitabh pops out of an Easter egg and acts like a weirdo for five minutes.


Robert E. Howard (Conan)

Just stumbled upon an online resource of most of Robert E. Howard's best stories.

Howard is the creator of Conan (the Barbarian), Kull of Atlantis, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn and other characters the Golem likes to read.

Not sure if the site is entirely legal - something about that "The following works may still be under copyright..." disclaimer makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

Forgotten Beatles Week: "Rarities"

What was it?
A 1980 collection of Beatles tracks that were “rare” in America.

Rarities included songs that never appeared on Capitol Records in America, B-sides that never appeared on American albums, alternate mixes that were released internationally, and two new tracks created for this album.

Why is it forgotten?

When the Beatles catalog was released to CD in 1987, nine of this album’s fifteen tracks were part of it. (Non-album tracks were collected on Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2).

2009’s Beatles in Mono box-set collects three more tracks from Rarities (the two mono tracks from White Album, and the mono mix of Help! with a different lead vocal).

Of the three remaining tracks on Rarities not yet available on CD, two were specially manufactured for this album (Slightly different versions of “I am the Walrus”, and “Penny Lane”). A German mix of “And I Love Her” with a longer instrumental at the end is also very slightly different.

Fun Facts:
Rarities leaves out “I’m Down” - the B-Side to “Help!” which was never on a vinyl album in America. (It’s on the Past Masters CD, however).

Rarities was packaged in a gatefold-cover - the inside of which featured the rejected “Butcher” cover from Yesterday... and Today. There was speculation at the time (unconfirmed) that Capitol considered using the Butcher picture as the cover of Rarities - but chickened out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

J. Fred Muggs

Monkeys were a staple of the Golden Age of Television. Case in point - J. Fred Muggs (above) was a regular on the first few years of the Today show. No joke.

Here's Muggs making a typically frenetic appearance on a game show called Make the Connection. Whose idea was it to book a monkey on a live TV show? Well, they got what they deserved, that's for sure.

Arthur Godfrey

You may recall, some time ago, we looked at a comic strip about Arthur Godfrey (by Drew Friedman) called "Dining with Mutants". It portrayed Godfrey as a bit of a dick.

Well as you may or may not know - this image wasn't exactly far from the truth. Godfrey - a beloved presence on radio and television in the '40s and '50s pretty much killed his career in 1953 when he fired one of his "Little Godfreys" (that's what his young co-stars were called) - singer Julius LaRosa - on the air.

Now you know I wouldn't even mention the incident if I didn't have the YouTube video to back it up.

Forgotten Beatles Week: "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl"

What was it?
A 1977 live album compiled from two performances at the Hollywood Bowl - August 1964 and August 1965.

Originally intended for release by Capitol in 1964 (snippets of the '64 "Twist and Shout" performance can be heard on The Beatles Story), the sound quality of the recordings was considered too poor for release.

Demand for a live Beatles album was such, that Capitol tried to clean-up the recordings twice - in the early ‘70s (utilizing Let It Be producer Phil Spector) and later, for this release - using longtime Beatles producer George Martin.

EMI was keen to release a live album to compete with a rival company’s then-forthcoming Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 (released April, 1977).

Why is it forgotten?
Martin’s salvage job with the Hollywood Bowl tapes was admirable, but the Beatles’ performances on this record were unremarkable. (Many of their live performances suffer from the formidable task of hearing themselves play over screaming fans).

If Capitol ever resumes its series of Beatles CD reissues, it’s possible Hollywood Bowl might finally get a CD release.

Fun Facts:
One of a number of now-forgotten official Beatles releases in the ‘70s (The others being compilations Rock 'n' Roll Music and Love Songs).

It remains the only official Beatles material yet to be released on CD.

Tomorrow: Forgotten Beatles Week comes to a close with some ...rarities.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Who?...What?.... Rajah Ebert's Bollywood...?

Forgotten Beatles Week: "Hey Jude"

What was it?
A ten-track collection of songs from 1970 not previously available on Capitol albums. The idea for Hey Jude was conceived by Apple Records (not Capitol), and although it was released around the world (in the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany, France, Greece, Japan, and most of South America) - it was not initially available in the U.K.

The track listing was formidable (“Hey Jude”, “Revolution”, “Lady Madonna”, “Paperback Writer”, “Rain”, etc...), with many songs appearing in stereo for the first time.

The album was titled Hey Jude to cash-in on the still-popular song (released as a single eighteen months earlier!)

Why is it forgotten?

When the Beatles catalog was released to CD in 1987, most of the non-album tracks that comprised Hey Jude were collected instead on Past Masters, Volume Two (itself a collection of non-album tracks). Since the CDs were following the original British releases, it made more sense to simply ignore Hey Jude.

Fun Facts:
One of two non-British Beatles albums (the other being Magical Mystery Tour) so popular as an import, that it was eventually released by Parlophone in the UK. (...on May 11, 1979.)

Originally titled The Beatles Again. Labels of early U.S. pressings bore this title, as did the cassette versions.

There seemed to be enough space to fit at least two other non-album tracks (“Get Back” and “The Inner Light” would have fit nicely).

The other one of only two vinyl records I still own.

Tomorrow: Forgotten Beatles Week rolls into the weekend with an album of completely original Beatles material which has still never been released on CD!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jackson blackface tribute ...flops

Australian performers do a tribute to the Jacksons - in blackface - and surprisingly... controversy and apologies ensue.

Thank God Harry Connick, Jr. happened to be down-under to lower the boom.

Jon Gosselin on "The Insider"

What was the funniest thing on TV this week? Well it sure wasn't Jay Leno!

It was Jon Gosselin's incredibly ill-conceived appearance on The Insider.

Not only was he made to look comically foolish by rabid guest-host Nancy Grace, he was also made to answer for his parental sins by pseudo-celebs like Niecy Nash.

Just look at how well his plan to "restore family values" is received by the panel.

To make matters worse, an obviously shaken Gosselin was later asked to comment on celebrity fluff like the David Letterman scandal.

Forgotten Beatles Week: "Yesterday... and Today"

What was it?
Capitol’s tenth Beatles album, featuring left-over tracks - mostly from the UK versions of Help! and Rubber Soul - and three from the yet to be released Revolver.

Yesterday... and Today
was #1 on the Billboard album charts, and certified 2x platinum.

Why is it forgotten?
When Capitol re-issued the American Beatles catalog on CD, they released two volumes of four albums each - stopping at Rubber Soul. There are currently no plans to release a third volume - which would have presumably included "Yesterday... and Today".

All of the album’s contents are currently available on CD on the albums (Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver) from which they were originally taken. "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out" were released on the Past Masters CD.

Fun Facts:
Originally issued with the infamous "Butcher" cover photo. 750,000 copies were printed before public outcry forced a massive recall (and re-printing). As a result, Yesterday... and Today (if Wikipedia is to be believed) was the only album to lose money for Capitol.

The three tracks pulled from Revolver ("I’m Only Sleeping", "And Your Bird Can Sing", and "Doctor Robert") were all John Lennon compositions. The mixes for these are slightly different from what eventually appeared on the UK (and now official CD version of) Revolver.

Always my favorite "Capitol-original" Beatles album. The tracks on this record really click together. For an American record buyer who didn’t know anything about the UK track listings, Yesterday... and Today seemed just as good as Rubber Soul or Revolver.

One of only two vinyl records I still own.

Tomorrow: An "Apple-original" for America (and elsewhere) - and it's a classic.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mr. Movie, RIP

I would like to mark the passing of Steve "Mr. Movie" Friedman on 9/21 at age 62 from kidney failure.

Friedman was the host for my only non-prank phone call to a radio station, circa 1986 or so. I called his movie-themed radio show ostensibly to talk about Doctor Who (for some reason) - and then babbled like a nervous Asperger's patient for about 15-20 minutes about James Bond. He was very polite to me. A lesser host would have bailed (with good reason) within the first minute.

Shep Smith

Here we have FOX News cyborg Shepard Smith overreacting to a fluff piece about cheeseburgers that use donuts instead of buns.

Last we saw Shep, he was being a dick to Ralph Nader.