Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don McLean

Here's why (creator of TV series Monk and radio host) Andy Breckman won't play Don McLean's hit "American Pie" on his radio show... with a rebuttal from Don McLean himself.

Top 30 Celebrity Deaths of 2009 (Part 6 of 6)

1. Harry Kalas (above)
So much a part of my youth and overall enjoyment of the game of baseball. I considered myself blessed to grow up in a city with such commentators as Kalas and Rich Ashburn.

2. Bea Arthur
Deadpan comedienne, hilarious in two classic series - Maude in the '70s and Golden Girls in the '80s.

3. Jose "Pepe" Gonzales
Influential comic artist - brought a cinematic quality to his artwork, most notably as primary artist on Vampirella in the '70s and '80s.

4. Mollie Sugden
I do believe that had she worked in America, Mollie would be a celebrated comedienne on a par with Lucille Ball.

5. Ricardo Montalban
In Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Fantasy Island... Montalban was good at everything I've seen him do.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Babe Ruth (again)

Here's Babe again - reading some stuff-shirt the riot act for teaching a bunch of kids their multiplication tables when there's baseball to be played.

You tell 'em, Babe.

Alfred E. Neuman

The story of Alfred E. Neuman - where the name and image originated - from the creator of Mad himself, the late, great Harvey Kurtzman.

By the way - the image above is the picture that Mad Magazine sent you for 25 cents (or whatever the fee was) - which was famously "suitable for framing or wrapping fish". They ran the ad in the letters page of just about every Mad issue in the late '60s and '70s usually with some misleading headline ("None Left!" ... that's right, none left the warehouse because nobody wanted any).

Babe Ruth as Santa Claus

Here's footage from 1947 of Babe Ruth playing "Santa Claus" to a group of children.

The Bambino is a bit grouchy ("These whiskers are gettin' me down!") - but we'll forgive him because he's obviously near the end of his run here. (In fact, he won't be around for the following Christmas).

Adding to the depression - the kids all have polio.

Top 30 Celebrity Deaths of 2009 (Part 5 of 6)

6. Walter Cronkite
There was a time when the news wasn't "official" until you heard it from him at dinner time. I'm old enough to remember the last of the Apollo missions - which will always be recalled via his coverage of them.

7. Dom Deluise
Dependably hilarious funny man, whose presence guaranteed laughs in TV and movies for decades.

8. Brittany Murphy
One of the most entertaining young actresses in Hollywood. She could do comedy and heartbreak as well as any (Check her out in Girl, Interrupted).

9. Ed McMahon
Johnny's (...and sometimes Jerry's) sidekick. A big part of Carson's decade-spanning run on The Tonight Show.

10. Wendy Richard (above)
Played lovable working-class characters in comedy (Are You Being Served?) and drama (Eastenders).

Tomorrow: The Top Five.
New Year's Day: ...And The Rest

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Odd Couple

Jack Klugman and Tony Randall perform the definitive comedy rendition of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain".

Could there possibly have been a good reason for making this record?

Christopher Lee

The "Hammer" Dracula - Christopher Lee - terrorizes our ears with a tone-DEAF German-language version of "Mack the Knife" from The Threepenny Opera.

Jew or Not Jew?

For anyone who's ever wondered if, say, Lisa Kudrow is jewish (she is) - there's Jew or Not Jew a site dedicated to debating, identifying and rating the jewish-ness of famous people - real (Jason Schwartzman) or imagined (Max Fischer - Schwartzman's role in Rushmore).

Of particular interest is the debatable jewish-ness of Simpsons newscaster Kent Brockman. One episode reveals Brockman's on-air name was "Kenny Brocklestein" in the late '60s, but there are others showing Brockman attending church on Sunday. Go figure.

The 20 Most Popular Posts in 2009

Barring a miracle in the next two days, these will be the twenty most viewed posts on the site in 2009.

1. Superstar Pro Wrestling Game
Became incredibly popular when somebody linked to it on a Pro Wrestling forum. For a while, my site traffic increased ten-fold. Then, almost immediately, I went back to Jay Leno-sized ratings.

2. Can't Stop Eating
So popular I had to go back and update the link - which had become obsolete.

3. Wanda Sykes Living in Delco
A real juggernaut. It must come up in Google's top five when doing a search on this. (By the way - I saw Sykes strolling around Media this past summer, so story confirmed).

4. SNL Calculator Sketch
For the longest time, people were finding this sketch on Hulu through me. Probably because I seem to be the only person in America who liked it.

5. Casey Wilson on Fallon
My reaction to Casey Wilson's horribly unfunny comedy sketch on Jimmy Fallon's Late Night. Link is long dead, so you'll have to take my word for it.

6. Bill Clinton's Nose
Last year's winner. Gets popular again whenever Clinton appears on a talk show.

7. Raymond J. Johnson, Jr.
You doesn't have to call him Johnson.

8. Sherco Grand Slam Baseball
9. Strat-O-Matic Baseball
My baseball board game phase.

10. Post 666 - Lovitz as Satan
I'd like to think this was attracting Jon Lovitz fans, and not devil worshipers.

11. Political Yearbook Photos
Is popular - I think - because I used an awkward high school picture of Michele Obama to illustrate it.

12. Beatles Box Sets
Something I actually put some effort into writing made the Top 20? Something must be wrong here...

13. Solo Cups - Red Ones
One of my dumbest posts ever continues to make the top list.

14. Starship Size Comparison Chart
Star Trek = hits.

15. Dove - the Band of Love
One of many Devo posts. This one was popular last year, too.

16. Beatles perform Shakespeare
I think this clip is why God created YouTube.

17. Marilyn Chambers
I was certain this would be #1 - what with her being a porn star and everything.

18. Michael Saxton
The fondly-remembered Michael Jackson-themed wrestler from the '80s.

19. Letterman interviews Mike Singletary
Link to a sketch - get hits.

20. Top 20 Famous Deaths of 2008 (Part 3 of 4)
Why this particular entry, I do not know.

Top 30 Famous Deaths of 2009 (Part 4 of 6)

11. Patrick McGoohan
Forty years later, The Prisoner is still ahead of its time.

12. Michael Jackson
King of Pop

13. Dan O'Bannon
Worked on Star Wars, Alien, Heavy Metal and other films that impressed me greatly. His comic "The Long Tomorrow" influenced the movie Blade Runner.

14. Farrah Fawcett
Phenomenally popular sex symbol in her day.

15. Henry Gibson (above)
Noted alum of two influential institutions in my life - Laugh-In and St. Joe's Prep (in that order).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sing Along with Mitch

Sing Along with Mitch is a show I distinctly remember seeing as a child, but the date of its run (1961-1966 on NBC) makes it likely that I am remembering a repeat (I was born in '65, but anything's possible).

Lots to see in today's clip. There's the always insincere and belligerent Milton Berle. Car 54's Joe E. Ross (dressed as a policeman?) and, of course, Mitch himself. Also, among the background singers is Bob McGrath - aka "Bob" from Sesame Street, and Leslie Uggams.

Mitch, who as a big-shot at Columbia Records passed on Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly (He disliked rock 'n roll) is still alive at age 98.

Update: Due to overwhelming demand, here's the (brief) Joe E. Ross cameo.

Most Violent Stooges Sequence Ever?

Here's a scene from They Stooge to Conga (1943) wherein Moe gets a spike in his head, eye and ear - in that order.

To desensitize viewers from the carnage, sound effects make the spike being removed from Moe's skull sound like a champagne cork popping.

I've always found Moe's retribution (it involves a blow torch) particularly harsh.

The Three Stooges

A reminder that the team of Fine, Howard and Howard (aka The Three Stooges; above) will be featured in a ridiculously long marathon on AMC all-day 12/31 and into the new year.

It's nice to see an American cable network devote a marathon to something worthwhile instead of the usual Law and Order and Monk repeats.

It looks to be all-Curly, which is a good or bad thing depending on your tolerance of Shemp. For me, it's a bad thing - but we'll always have YouTube.

Jimmy Snuka on Piper's Pit

I've been a wrestling fan for over twenty-five years now, and today's clip is what got me hooked.

Note how Vince McMahon (who looked only slightly less human in 1984) introduces the clip with all the gravitas of the Hindenburg disaster.

Top 30 Famous Deaths of 2009 (Part 3 of 6)

16. Blossom Dearie
Sublime swing singer. She was so much more than the Schoolhouse Rock songs for which she will likely be remembered.

17. Lou Albano
Quintessential heel wrestling manager.

18. Fred Travalena
Solid comic with integrity. Always good for a chuckle in the days when impressionists were still welcome on talk shows.

19. Gordon Waller (above, right)
The other half of Peter and Gordon - performers of many a British Invasion classic; a few of which weren't written by Paul McCartney.

20. Karl Malden
Accomplished actor (A Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront) and American Express pitchman.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

1000th Post

Thanks to all of you who have ever taken the time to look at my site!

16 Magazine

Here is a nice selection of 16 Magazine covers.

Even though 16 looks like nonsense, it is often credited by those in the publishing and entertainment industries as a primary influence on shaping rock journalism (or so says Wikipedia).

Top 30 Famous Deaths of 2009 (Part 2 of 6)

21. Soupy Sales
Zany comedian; noted thrower of pies. May have been the first entertainer to prove you can do a perfectly good kid's show - for adults.

22. Larry Gelbart
Driving force behind M*A*S*H when it was good.

23. Mary Travers
Folk legend and genuine product of Greenwich Village. Her powerful, clear voice defined the folk era.

24. Estelle Bennett
Original member of the Ronettes - one of the greatest rock n roll girl groups ever.

25. Lou Jacobi (above)
Character actor with impeccable comic timing and delivery. Made a few notable guest appearances on '70s sitcoms - including Barney Miller.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Julee Cruise - "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart"

Julee Cruise hit it big around the same time Twin Peaks debuted on ABC. Her 1989 album Floating Into The Night contained a handful of songs used on the show (including the theme) all with lyrics from David Lynch and music by Angelo Badalamenti.

I loved the album and listened to it regularly, long after Twin Peaks was cancelled.

Here's Julie (looking alarmingly like Lady Gaga) on a 1989 BBC-2 television program, performing "Rockin' Back Inside My Heart".

Top 30 Famous Deaths of 2009 (Part 1 of 6)

So many famous people died in 2009, I've bumped the countdown list from 20 to 30 this year. As with last year, we'll run down those who didn't happen to make my Top 30 on New Year's Day.

Ranked in order of how much I appreciated their work:

26. Gary Papa (above)
Eminently likable Philadelphia sportscaster. Watching him battle cancer over the last few years was both inspiring and sad.

27. Ellie Greenwich
Composer of many songs on the Golem's iPod - including "Be My Baby", "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "River Deep Mountain High" and others.

28. Vic Mizzy
Composer of many TV show themes - most notably for The Addams Family and Green Acres - two of the absolute best.

29. Edward Woodward
Star of one of my Dad's favorite TV shows - The Equalizer. I have fond memories of watching it with him.

30. James Whitmore
Dependable and likable actor - dubbed "King of the One-Man Show" for his stage portrayals of Harry Truman, Mark Twain and others.

Noble Rot

At the time of his death, John Belushi was writing a script (with Don Novello, aka Father Guido Sarducci, above) for a new film called Noble Rot.

After all these years, the script for Noble Rot can be viewed online here.

It might have been a classic, or it might have been another Continental Divide. You decide.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Everybody

Have a safe happy holiday.

Here's that great Christmas moment again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chris Elliott - "Late Night with David Letterman"

Here's Chris (father of Abby) Elliott portraying "Marlon Brando" on David Letterman's old NBC show.

Elliott was a writer on the show, and Dave let him do bizarre (but funny) bits like this on a regular basis. (He still appears - less frequently - on Dave's CBS show).

Note: When Chris mentions "Foster Brooks" here, he's actually referencing Dave's interview with a seemingly drunk Oliver Reed.

Foster Brooks

It's time for "The Twelve Drunken Days of Christmas" from that "Lovable Lush" - Foster Brooks.

Warning: This is exactly what you would expect it to be.

SCTV - "What's My Shoe Size?"

Here's a good example of what made SCTV so good. It's a sketch called "What's My Shoe Size?" from 1978.

This aired on the episode where SCTV was celebrating its (bogus) 30th anniversary. The cast was looking at clips of "old" shows - and this was one of them - an obvious parody of "What's My Line?".

SCTV had one of those rare comedy casts where everybody was great. Watch and laugh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drew Friedman - "The World, The Flesh, & Robot Monster"

In honor of Arnold Stang - here he is in Drew Friedman's 1984 cartoon "The World, The Flesh, & Robot Monster" (originally appeared in Heavy Metal magazine). I remember it well.

"Go away, you nut! You're nuts!"

(Click for big version)

Arnold Stang

Sad to report the passing of Arnold Stang, 91.

He was the voice of Top Cat, and co-star of Hercules in New York. He was also a popular guest star on many variety shows of the '50s and '60s - especially noteworthy for heckling Milton Berle.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pee Wee Herman

Here's evidence that Pee Wee Herman did an anti-drug PSA, presumably sometime before he became a pariah in Hollywood.

The Monkees - "Porpoise Song"

Here's one of the best pop songs from 1968, and one of the better psychedelic songs of all-time, in my opinion. It's "Porpoise Song" - and one of the reasons you don't hear it along side "Incense and Peppermint", "Green Tambourine" and such in '60s psychedelia compilations is well, the Monkees didn't exactly get the artistic respect they deserved did they?

There were actually a couple of factors working against Porpoise Song. It appeared in the film Head (where the clip is from) and its soundtrack LP. Neither of these were great commercial successes, and Head rarely plays on television.

Also, none of the Monkees' output beyond their fourth album (Head was their sixth) made it onto their TV show - and very little from this era made it into the syndicated repeats. The eternal publicity of TV Land was just not to be for overlooked "Porpoise Song".

Kevin Meaney

Watching the SNL Christmas special last week reminded me of this sketch, and the one and only episode of Saturday Night Live that featured comedian Kevin Meaney.

Kevin's a funny guy. You don't see him on TV as much these days, because stand-ups just aren't as prevalent as they once were. His official website is here.

I honestly do not remember why Kevin was on SNL, and why it was for only one episode. He was not the host (that was William Shatner). He was billed as a "special guest" - and I don't think he was there to do stand-up.

Bonus: Meaney performs "I Don't Care"

SNL - "Horatio's Christmas Treat"

Here is a classic Christmas clip from Saturday Night Live that was so catchy and likable, even Jimmy Fallon's attempts to ruin it didn't work.

Bonus: How to play the guitar part.

Jack Paar on Late Night with David Letterman

Here's a nice clip from a 1984 episode of Late Night with David Letterman.

Jack Paar is the guest. He hosted the Tonight Show before Johnny Carson (from 1957-1962) - in New York, from the same NBC studios where Dave was then doing Late Night.

At the end of the segment, Paar surprises Letterman with a hidden artifact - still preserved in the building - from his Tonight Show days. It's quite remarkable.

Late Night Saturday Morning: Rick Moranis in Gravedale High

Rick Moranis, another SCTV alum, got his shot at Saturday morning stardom with 1990's Rick Moranis in Gravedale High.

Now before you think NBC was being run by a lunatic with an SCTV obsession in the late '80s, Moranis was actually quite popular with kids at the time - having just starred in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Ghostbusters II - both released in 1989.

In Gravedale, Moranis played Max Schneider (?) the teacher - and only human - in a high school filled with monsters.

Again, I would love to give you my personal recollection - but I've never seen the show. Gravedale went the "thirteen and out" route, and was "buried" by NBC at the end of the year.

Tomorrow: Actually, that's all I've got. Did I miss anything?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bing Crosby - "Killer Queen"

Here's Bing Crosby and Brian May performing Queen's legendary "Killer Queen".

Well, it's not really Bing Crosby and Brian May - but another incredible simulation from Stevie Riks.

Run DMC - "Christmas in Hollis"

Whenever I hear this song, I am reminded of 1987 when it debuted on a charity CD called A Very Special Christmas. The notion of a rap-flavored Christmas song seemed so outrageous back then.

Of course, it's somewhat of a standard now - and even charted in 2000 (13 years after its release) .

Brittany Murphy

Sad to hear Brittany Murphy has passed away at age 32.

A likable actress, she was also the voice of Luanne for the entire run of King of the Hill.

Late Night Saturday Morning: Camp Candy

Camp Candy ran from 1989-1990 on NBC, and starred the voice talent of SCTV alum John Candy (not to mention Valri Bromfield, who was part of SCTV's final season on Cinemax).

Most interestingly, the opening theme was composed by Harry Nilsson and sung by Candy himself.

I'd like to give you a personal recollection of Camp Candy, but I only watched it once, and never again. That should tell you something, however in Saturday morning terms, Candy's two-season, nineteen episode run qualifies it as "major hit" status.

Tomorrow: Another year, another SCTV star gets a cartoon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Munsters (Pilot)

The greatest single thing about the invention of DVD, some would argue, is the ability to view extras like the unaired pilot of The Munsters - which is so damned endlessly fascinating one doesn't know where to start in discussing the differences between it and the show that eventually made it to air.

First, it's in color. We've seen the original cast in color before (the 1966 film Munster, Go Home! was in color), but Munsters was always a show that worked better in black and white.

Instead of Lily, we have Phoebe. Now Joan Marshall was DECENT with a capital-D (especially for 1964 or whenever this was shot)... but Yvonne DeCarlo as Lily was so much better suited to a show like this.

Happy Derman (?) is Eddie. The producers made the rather interesting choice of depicting Eddie as a feral lunatic. It gets old real fast - and one wonders how it would have possibly worked in a series.

Fred Gwynne - so brilliant as Herman in the series - plays the role completely differently here. Something's off with his make-up, too. (Is his neck a slightly different color than his face?)

Did I mention also that the pilot is desperately unfunny?

The first part is here, and the second part is here. If I recall correctly, there is no real story to this, and it ends abruptly after 15 minutes.

SCTV - "The Fella Who Couldn't Wait For Christmas"

Speaking of Ed Grimley - I think he made his SCTV debut in this hilarious Christmas sketch.

Paul McCartney - "Wonderful Christmastime"

'79 was an exciting time to be a Paul McCartney fan. Wings had just released an memorable album (Back to the Egg), and a great single ("Goodnight Tonight" b/w "Daytime Nighttime Suffering"). And McCartney himself finished up the year with this one-off Christmas single that went on to be a beloved standard.

I remember this fondly because my sister and her then-boyfriend were able to buy me the single the night before it was officially released. I felt like an incredible Beatles insider because I had the new McCartney single a few hours before the rest of the world.

This record marked a few turning points in McCartney history. I believe it was (at the time) his last record for Capitol in America. I forget the exact details, but he jumped ship to Columbia Records right after its release.

It also marked the end of Wings. Although the break-up was not official at this point, beginning with this record - no new McCartney material would ever be credited to Wings again.

John and Yoko - "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"

How appropriate that John and Yoko's war protest song is now routinely played alongside "Silent Night" and "The Little Drummer Boy" as a holiday standard - covered by the likes of Celine Dion and Neil Diamond.

Although it's easy to interpret (and some legitimate sources have) that John and Yoko are whispering "Happy Christmas" to themselves at the start of the song - the actual line is "Happy Christmas, Kyoko... Happy Christmas, Julian." (John and Yoko's respective kids at the time).

I have trouble believing this clip was made anywhere near 1971 - the year the song was released. It may, in fact, have been thrown together in 1980 or later. (The other version on YouTube - which is on EMI's "official" channel - is so depressing I don't even want to link to it).

Late Night Saturday Morning: The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley

Martin Short's "Ed Grimley" character ran on SCTV from 1982 to 1984, and then on Saturday Night Live for one season until 1985. It was one of the few comic characters to be wildly popular on two different sketch shows.

Well, three if you count 1988's The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley. NBC re-purposed Grimley as a children's cartoon character - and gave Short his own very-SCTV Saturday morning series (and plush doll).

Although NBC was probably trying to create its own version of Pee Wee's Playhouse (which was a hit for CBS at the time) - Grimley was a decent show in its own right. It featured several SCTV regulars as voice actors (Short, Catherine O'Hara, Joe Flaherty, and Andrea Martin) as well as the legendary Jonathan Winters.

Another plus were live-action segments featuring Flaherty as his "Count Floyd" character.

Like Pryor's Place, Grimley only lasted thirteen episodes, but stuck around for the rest of the year in repeats.

NBC isn't quite finished with cartoons descended from SCTV.

Friday, December 18, 2009

SNL - "The Christmas Kangaroo"

On last night's A Very Gilly Christmas special (which I happened to like a lot, by the way... the "Gilly" character works better in small doses), they showed the beginning of the Christmas Kangaroo sketch from a few years ago.

They only showed the beginning - I guess the rest of the sketch was too controversial for prime-time. Too bad, because it was an all-time classic.

Luckily, we can all enjoy the full version here.

Bad Saturday Morning Cartoons

One thing you'll almost never hear me talk about is how much better Saturday morning kid's shows were in "my day".

With a few exceptions (Pee Wee's Playhouse comes to mind), Saturday morning television was almost always a con, a tie-in, or a bitter disappointment. (And still is, from what I can see).

Case in point - an animated version of Happy Days called The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang added time-travel, a talking dog, and Cupcake - the girl from the future - to the mix. It had none of the charm of the prime-time original, and the voice actors (Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Donny Most) all sounded like they were reading their lines at gunpoint.

Too often, the shows were just blatantly exploiting a current fad to get attention. How else to explain Rubik, the Amazing Cube - part of (get this) The Pac Man/Rubik, The Amazing Cube Hour on ABC.

In this show, when the Rubik's cube puzzle is solved - it turns into a magical alien (or something) with a cube for a body. Menudo sang the theme song, and the show had a "Hispanic" flavor - with a cast of Latino characters. It also had Hispanic ratings, and was canceled after one dreadful season.

Late Night Saturday Morning: Pryor's Place

In 1984, CBS thought it was good idea to give a live-action Saturday morning TV series to Richard Pryor, a comedian mostly known for profanity and edgy material (and an unforgettable hosting gig during the first season of Saturday Night Live).

As it turns out, Pryor's Place was basically just Sesame Street with a laugh track. Produced by Sid and Marty Krofft (and co-written by Mark Evanier), Pryor's was just another preachy, soulless kid's show. Evanier recalls here that Pryor lost interest in the project early on, and it was a struggle to get him to show up to the tapings.

It ran for 13 episodes from September to December, 1984 - and then ran in repeats until the Summer of the next year. (Standard run for Saturday mornings).

Couldn't find any clips, but here's the opening - which featured a song from then-popular singer Ray Parker, Jr.

Tomorrow - NBC's fascination with turning the stars of SCTV into Saturday morning cartoons.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Late Night Saturday Morning: The Coneheads (1983)

For the next five days, we look at an oddball mix of Late Night television comedians and characters attempting to find success in children's programming.

The Coneheads was an animated special from Rankin/Bass which aired in 1983. It featured all three actors from the SNL sketch (Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman) reprising their original roles, and was produced by SNL luminaries Lorne Michaels and Tom Davis. Most interestingly, it also featured a laugh track, something you don't hear on cartoons much anymore.

Coneheads aired as a prime time special on NBC. It would have made one heck of a Saturday morning cartoon, considering the talent involved. The special is quite watchable, which is really saying something for TV cartoons of this era.

Tomorrow - The comedian who was too dirty for prime-time tries his hand at a Saturday morning kid's show.

Crazy City Council Speaker

I've heard an edited audio clip of this scene before, but here's the full video of the man they call "Crazy City Council Speaker" in action.

I think he makes a lot of sense, actually. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frank Zappa in "Head" (1968)

Here is Frank Zappa's cameo from the notorious Monkees movie Head.

Davy Jones had just finished singing (Harry Nilsson's) Daddy's Song - and Frank offers some surprisingly honest criticism of the performance. (Also surprising - Davy's answer!)

Gap Commercials

Speaking of GAP commercials - it's high time to look back at a series of ads that ran in the late '90s featuring a large cast of young models pretending to sing (at least I think they were pretending...)

These were very popular at the time, and played in heavy rotation during network prime-time.

Not much to say about them except... hey, isn't that Rashida Jones at 0:14? Why, yes it is!

She might be in this one, too - but who can tell?

She's more obvious in this one at 0:26. (I actually think this clip is when the whole series kind of "jumped the shark" if you ask me).

Update: Am told by Sir Rubik's Cubicle that the guy on the left in the above picture is Phantom Planet lead singer Alex Greenwald.