Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pee Wee Herman's iPad

Pee Wee gets an iPad - while the Playhouse Gang recite the anti-IPad schtick we've all heard since the product was announced this week, including that its name sounds like a tampon. (Pee-Wee is back to working blue in his old age).

I guess Pee-Wee was keeping the puppets (Globey, Chairy, etc...) in storage all these years, hoping for a comeback?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Adult Swim (aka Cartoon Network) has brought back Garth Marenghi's Darkplace to run during its late-Friday block of British comedies (which also includes The Mighty Boosh and The Office)

In this clip, Garth (Matthew Holness) defends against charges of racism in the episode "Scotch Mist", although actor Todd Rivers (Matt Berry) offers no apologies.

Scott Meets The Family Circus

Scott Gairdner meets The Family Circus - hilarity ensues. (I wonder if litigation will ensue? Stay tuned.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Selleck. Waterfall. Sandwich.

No explanation necessary.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beginning This Weekend...

J.D. Salinger (RIP)

When The Catcher in the Rye was first released, numerous offers were made to adapt it for the screen (with Sam Goldwyn, the producer of My Foolish Heart, among them.) In a letter written in the early fifties, Salinger spoke of mounting a play in which he would play the role of Holden Caulfield opposite Margaret O'Brien, and, if he couldn’t play the part himself, to “forget about it." Almost fifty years later, the writer Joyce Maynard definitively concluded, "The only person who might ever have played Holden Caulfield would have been J. D. Salinger." Despite this, Salinger told Maynard in the seventies, "Jerry Lewis tried for years to get his hands on the part of Holden," and luminaries ranging from Jack Nicholson to Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio have since made efforts to make a film of Catcher.

Source: Wikipedia (I think)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Devo - "Girl U Want"

"Girl U Want" is one of my favorite Devo songs, and one of their best (and strangest) videos.

The decision to shoot it in a nightmarish green/purple hue, and load up the audience with Plain Jane extras - borders on genius.

Hopefully, the Devovision channel on YouTube will contain more of their classic old video clips.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nia Vardalos plays "The Larry King Game"

I promise this will be the last link to a clip from Kevin Pollak's talk show (for today, anyway).

Here, Nia Vardalos plays the "Larry King Game" (which we saw Dana Carvey play in a previous post).

Her entry is short, but sweet - and also terribly not safe for work.

Dana Carvey plays "The Larry King Game"

Guests on Kevin Pollack's internet show are invited to play "The Larry King Game" - which is doing an impression of Larry King casually making an embarrassing revelation about himself.

There are a number of these on YouTube, but I laughed out loud at Dana Carvey's.

: It's probably too late now, but I probably should warn you that the above clip is incredibly not safe for work.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kevin Pollak and Dave Coulier

From Kevin Pollak's internet talk show, Pollak and guest Dave Coulier do two impressions you just don't hear often enough - Albert Brooks and Super Dave Osborne.

"Baby Mine" (Dumbo)

One of the classic movie scenes the Golem is unable to watch without crying.

Make sure you bring a hanky.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations"

Am wondering when you see "The Beach Boys" perform live these days, who exactly shows up?

Assuming we can rule out anyone with the last name "Wilson" appearing on stage - who do you get? The "David Spade" looking guy (Al Jardine) or Mike Love? I believe I read somewhere that they were both doing rival "Beach Boys" shows. (This would indicate Mike Love has the rights to the name, but the conclusion is somewhat vague).

And where does Bruce Johnston figure into all of this? He tours with something called "The Beach Boys Band".

Anyway - here's to happier times. The band, with two Wilsons out front, and a third behind the curtains - performing one of their greatest songs on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1968.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Unlikely Guest Stars™

Today's unlikely guest stars are Richard Pryor and Lou Gossett, Jr. who made a very unlikely appearance on a popular sitcom in 1971.

Jay Leno is...

I saw this today on Facebook, and had to check it out for myself. [Click image to enlarge]

The best analogy I saw about Leno returning to The Tonight Show is that it is like putting toothpaste back into the tube. Whether you're "with Coco" or not - the prospect of Leno getting 11:30 back just seems horribly wrong to me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Golem the Psychic

Sometimes the Golem's uncanny psychic powers stagger even the Golem himself.

Kook's Tour

Kook's Tour was the very last thing the Three Stooges ever did as a team. It was a pilot for a travel-themed television series that never sold (and was never really completed) due in large part to Larry Fine's stroke in 1970. (The pilot was shot between '69 and '70).

A finished Kook's Tour was eventually released in the Cartrivision format (a pricey home video format that came and went in the early '70s), and on 8mm film. It is also available on DVD.

Kook's Tour was designed to give the Stooges something a bit more dignified to do in their golden years. As you can see (if you watch this clip) - Moe and Larry wear their "regular" hairstyles, and there is no slapping or eye-poking to be found. Since Moe was about 72 when this was shot, and Larry not much younger, it was probably a good idea.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mad 411

One of things I remember most about the weeks following 9-11 was the surprisingly touching and patriotic cover of Mad #411 (above).

Turns out this was a last-minute replacement for the original cover, which was deemed inappropriate in light of the tragedy.

According to Mad artist Tom Richmond's blog - this was not the first time the magazine had to substitute a cover to avoid controversy.

Jay Leno's New Tonight Show

Here we see a promo for the new Jay Leno Tonight Show courtesy of Jay's old friend David Letterman.

The announcer is Edd Hall - Jay's original announcer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Donovan and The Smothers Brothers - "I Love My Shirt"

Continuing the Smothers Brothers kick - here, they perform "I Love My Shirt" with the song's composer - Donovan.

According to the book Dangerously Funny, Donovan had agreed to appear as a regular on a horoscope-themed summer series that would have run between the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour's third and fourth seasons. Alas, the show was canceled by CBS before the summer series or the fourth season could be produced.

Jimmy Fallon

I was critical of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon when it debuted, however I had the chance to watch it every night last week (I stayed up to watch Conan every night, and then just stuck around) - and I must say the show is noticeably looser and funnier.

I saw two things that especially made me laugh - Head Swap (which I understand is a recurring bit), and Neil Young performing "Pants on the Ground" (above; a song made famous on American Idol last week).

Even Fallon's monologues - which are sometimes devoid of laughs - don't bother me as much anymore.

The Smothers Brothers - "My Old Man"

Well, I actually came away from reading Dangerously Funny with the opinion that the Smothers Brothers deserved to be fired by CBS.

Even though the brothers successfully won a breach of contract suit against the network, they did (or more specifically, Tommy did) deliberately withhold master tapes so CBS couldn't preview (and edit) them in time before air. CBS really didn't need that aggravation, so it was bye-bye Tom and Dick.

If they had just lasted a few seasons longer, they probably would have fit right in with the "new CBS" of the '70s - and all those deliberately controversial Norman Lear shows.

The saddest part about the whole Smothers controversy is the knowledge that the censored shows aired uncut in Canada. As Michael Palin once said, "so much for America being the land of the free"

Still, they were funny - and here's "My Old Man" to prove it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Jay Leno Special

Even in 1986, Jay Leno was a hot property at NBC. Frequent funny appearances as a guest on David Letterman's Late Night earned him a long-term development deal with the network that eventually evolved into the full-time hosting gig on the Tonight Show.

When The Jay Leno Special aired in 1986 - NBC probably hoped the show would spawn a series - possibly even replacing Saturday Night Live, which it pre-empted for one night. This was back when NBC allegedly offered the SNL slot to David Letterman - who wasn't interested.

Turns out the Leno special was disastrously unfunny (the New York Times called it a "clumpy mess"), and nothing ever became of it. For some bizarre reason, it was taped at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia - an outdoor venue. The audience was DEAD throughout, and I'm pretty sure it rained during the taping.

What I find most interesting about the special is that there is almost no evidence that it ever existed. There are no clips of it on YouTube, or mention of it on anybody's resumes at (And the show featured David Letterman and Vanna White as guest stars).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rajah's Bollywood: "Chaiyya Chaiyya" (Dil Se)

Note: The Golem is still on hiatus from the site (...although he is expected back tomorrow). In the meantime, good friend Rajah Ebert is filling in with essays about his favorite Indian films...

In 2003, BBC World Service conducted a poll to choose the ten most popular songs of all time. The song from today’s clip - "Chaiyya Chaiyya", from the 1996 film Dil Se - was voted ninth.

Shahrukh Khan dances here, atop a moving train, with model/dancer Malaika Arora (above). That’s her only scene in the film - but it’s a memorable one, and a memorable film (especially the ending).

Khan is certainly the biggest star in India, and may well be the biggest star in the world (depending on how you measure such things).

Both the film and song were big hits in the U.K., demonstrating the crossover potential of some of the better Indian musicals.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rajah's Bollywood: "Piya Tu Ab To Aaja" (Caravan)

Note: The Golem is still on hiatus from the site. In the meantime, good friend Rajah Ebert is filling in with essays about his favorite Indian films...

Helen (above) celebrates the joys of alcoholism in today’s clip - "Piya Tu Ab To Aaja" from 1967’s Caravan.

This is a beloved scene in Bollywood circles, with the “Monica - oh, my darling!” line considered a classic.

The reason the woman in the audience looks scared to death is not because she’s trapped in a bizarre cabaret that looks like the Country Squire Diner - she thinks Helen is trying to kill her.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rajah's Bollywood: "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai" (Khal Nayak)

Note: The Golem is still on hiatus from the site. In the meantime, good friend Rajah Ebert is filling in with essays about his favorite Indian films...

Another favorite of mine is "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai" from Khal Nayak. This scene caused quite a stir when the film was first released due to its opening line - "What’s behind the blouse?". The answer was a beating heart, of course - but some of the more prurient minds in the audience looked at lovely Madhuri Dixit (above) and thought otherwise.

Madhuri, by the way, is probably the most popular actress of all-time in Bollywood. She's in semi-retirement now, living in America. Maybe she should appear in an episode of 24, or on House as a sexy oncologist.

The song
is dynamite, and the melody is unforgettable (bordering on hypnotic) - as is the dancing, which is to be expected whenever Madhuri is on screen.

The guy dressed like a pirate is Sanjay Dutt.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rajah's Bollywood: "Teri Ore" (Singh is Kinngh)

When I first laid eyes on Katrina Kaif (above) performing Teri Ore in Singh is Kinngh - I thought I had discovered the total package - a world-class beauty that can sing and dance with the best of them. This was before I learned that Bollywood actors use “playback singers” to do their singing for them. (The actual singer is Shreya Ghoshal, who is also no slouch in the looks department). Also, after witnessing some really good dancers (Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai come to mind) - it becomes evident Katrina’s actually no great shakes in that department, either.

But she’s still a world-class beauty. (She was voted Asia's sexiest woman in 2008 and 2009, and was Google India's most-searched celebrity both of those years as well).

And even though this song is the best thing about an otherwise frivolous movie, it's a great song that - should you choose to actually watch it - you won't soon forget.

The guy with Katrina (as if you'd notice) is Akshay Khanna.

Rajah Ebert

Hi, I'm Rajah Ebert - film critic for the Hindustani Sun-Times.

The Golem is busy for the next few days attending to various worldwide humanitarian efforts, so I've offered to help out by pinch hitting for him. The next few posts will be written by yours truly - and if you're not down with that, you might want to just check out NewsFromMe for the next couple of days. I'm sure they've got lots and lots of links to Fred Kaplan for you to read.

El Santo

El Santo (above) was a masked wrestler, film star and Mexican folk hero. He wrestled professionally for six decades (from the '30s to the '80s).

In addition to popularizing wrestling in Mexico, a comic book series with his name ran continuously for 35 years, and he starred in 52 films.

This clip is from Santo Contra el rey del Crimen (Santo vs. The King of Crime) - which is indicative of Santo's '60s films.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Red Cross

To make a donation, click here.

Monty Python - "Lumberjack Song" (in German)

The Monty Python team did two 45-minute specials for German television in 1971 and 1972; both called Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus.

The specials consisted almost entirely of new material, some of which (a parody of the olympics, and a fairy-tale sketch come to mind) were good enough to be recycled later.

Interestingly, the first of these was done entirely in German - with the Pythons reciting their lines phonetically. The second was done in English (dubbed in German) - and as such can be enjoyed by English-speaking audiences as a pretty good "lost" episode. (The German specials were released on DVD, but rarely ever play on British or American TV).

Today's clip is from the first special. It is one of the few (only?) non-original bits - a German-language version of the "Lumberjack Song". Note how the words "bra" and "pa pa" are replaced by "B├╝stenhalter" and "Uncle Walter".

For those who are interested, the entire first German special is available on YouTube starting here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan's statement

I cheered today when I read Conan O'Brien's statement with regards to NBC moving The Tonight Show to 12:05 to make room for The Jay Leno Show.

He's a class guy, and should distance himself immediately from the network that disrespected him so publicly.

Personally, I would rather have had Jay do the honorable thing and step down from this fiasco (instead of acting like he's the "victim" being moved to 11:35).

There's still hope that this could work out Conan's way - but not much.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Who - "My Generation"

Here's the (in)famous performance of "My Generation" by The Who on the second season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. I believe the clip is from the film The Kids are Alright, and not the actual broadcast - but it's footage from the original show.

A few things you may or may not know about this performance:

The explosion (at 4:06) was considerably more powerful on the air than it had been in rehearsal due - reportedly - to drummer Keith Moon's encouragement of the pyrotechnics expert. It probably contributed to Pete Townshend's partial deafness and tinnitus, and reportedly caused Bette Davis (who was watching in the wings with fellow guest star Mickey Rooney) to faint.

The bit at the end where Townshend smashes Tommy Smothers' acoustic guitar was planned.

The Singing Midget

Perhaps you saw The Singing Midget in our "Found on Facebook" post the other day and wondered what he sounded like.

Wonder no longer. Here he is (Lowell Mason - now getting top-billing above The Crusaders) singing Our National Anthem.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Funny Manns

Proof-positive that everything will eventually find its way onto YouTube - here's a clip from The Funny Manns, one of my earliest memories of television.

All I remember about the show is the title, the premise (silent movie clips) and - for some reason - its host, Cliff Norton.

The show originally aired in syndication in 1961, but must have kicked around for quite some time. I wouldn't have seen it until at least '67 - probably later.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jay back at 11:30, Conan Out NBC?

According to TMZ, Jay Leno will get the 11:30 p.m. slot back, Conan O'Brien will either move to midnight, or get the axe.

Moving Leno to 10:00 p.m. has been a huge disaster for NBC.

Artie Lange

It was revealed today that Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange attempted suicide over the weekend.

Today, Stern struggled with speaking about it on the air. Very honest and emotional stuff.

I was a big fan and supporter of Lange's when he first started on the show as a regular (in 2001..?). His personal problems have been more of a distraction to the show lately (including a few ill-advised public appearances). I can only hope he's able to pick up the pieces and get back to doing what he does best.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Here's a pilot from 1990 - starring Peter Boyle - called Poochinski.

Boyle plays a "tough, ill-mannered cop" who is reincarnated as a dog - a robot dog from the looks of things.

Not sure what the source of this clip is, but it appears to be a special on bad TV shows.

Found on Facebook

Found on Facebook

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pete Seeger - "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"

Here's Pete Seeger performing an anti-war song "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" during a second-season episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Seeger had been largely off television and radio since the early '50s due to blacklisting. His influential folk group - The Weavers - raised the suspicion of the FBI by performing too many protest songs and publicly supporting labor unions. In 1955, Seeger refused to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings.

During his first appearance on the Smothers show, CBS refused to air this song. His performance for the studio audience never aired. On his second appearance, however, CBS had become a bit more amenable to the show (and its high ratings) - and Seeger was allowed to do "Big Muddy".

"The Big Fool" referenced in the song was interpreted by many to be then-President Lyndon Johnson, and the "Big Muddy" as Vietnam (not World War II as the lyrics indicate).

The performance was viewed by 12 million households - and not long after it aired, Lyndon Johnson withdrew his candidacy for re-election. I'm sure it wasn't a direct result of this appearance, but it sure couldn't have helped.

Hippie Ads (Part 3 - "Hippies Loved T-Shirts")

Hippies loved t-shirts - especially ones with pot and sexual references on them.

Even the freakin' company's name (Roach Studios) sounds like the punchline to a "Share a Little Tea with Goldie" sketch.

I've always felt these types of shirts look interesting when grouped together, but are slightly less effective when seen individually. ("Makin' Bacon"...? Jeez.)

The details are hard to see in this scan, but clicking the image gives you a bigger picture.

Shirley Ghostman channels "The Colonel"

Comic Marc Wootton's psychic friend "Shirley Ghostman" channels the spirit of Col. Sanders of KFC fame.

Wootton starts his own show on Showtime later this month.


Here's Boxter™ - one of Richard and Mayumi Heene's failed projects prior to the "Balloon Boy" debacle that landed them in jail.

Looks like they were aiming for a Barney / New Zoo Review vibe.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hippie Ads (Part 2 - "Sex Sells")

Here's an Audio World ad from the January, 1973 issue of National Lampoon.

The two-page ad is badly scanned (blame the PDF copy of the magazine on the DVD collection I own) - but it says "five great reproduction systems...". Numbers one through four are stereos, and number five is a naked woman.

Since National Lampoon was never shy about showing naked women in their magazine, I guess Audio World figured they'd get into the spirit of things.

This is the type of ad that would never fly today. Audio World would have the National Organization for Women on their asses, and National Lampoon would probably have to cease operation.

Sexy ads like this were positively de rigueur in 1973 - especially aimed at the free love crowd.

You can click for a bigger view. But yes, I did pixelate the naughty bit.

Pepsi Throwback

Pepsi has brought back its "Throwback" product - regular Pepsi with "real sugar" in
place of High Fructose Corn Syrup - for another limited (eight week) run.

This time around, they've also brought back the classic can design (left) and packaging.

Not sure if drinking Pepsi Throwback is actually any healthier than Pepsi - but I've convinced myself that it tastes better, and am willing to drink it with impunity and to excess.

Also being thrown back - Mountain Dew - in cans that feature the "hillbilly" motif from whence it's name originates, and something called Heritage Dr. Pepper which gives you all the agony of drinking a modern Dr. Pepper without the corn syrup.

Update: A very young Rubik's Cubicle enjoys some Throwback - at that time simply known as Pepsi.

Hippie Ads (Part One)

I've been looking through old issues of National Lampoon magazine lately - fascinated by the ads. They really capture a bygone era when rolling papers and stereo equipment seemed to be the top priorities.

The stereo ads are especially interesting. I've attached one today. (You can click the image to make it bigger).

Note how you need a masters degree in sound engineering to begin to understand how the phonograph needle works. (You did realize it was an ad for a phonograph needle, didn't you?) In fact, I think (not sure) it's a needle that can play quadraphonic (4-track) vinyl records, and we all know how popular they turned out to be.

"This phenomenal cartridge will track any record below 1 gram and trace all the way to 50,000 Hz..". Well that's good to know!

Note also the R.Crumb-inspired "Keep on Trackin'" and zany cartoon style so popular with "heads" at the time (1974).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jean Carroll

Jean Carroll - a pioneer female stand-up comic who was most popular in the '50s - passed away at age 98.

If you watch her in this clip from The Ed Sullivan Show in 1959, you can see that her delivery likely influenced Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller and others that came later (especially Wendy Leibman).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Babe Ruth ...again!

Yes, there are an alarming number of Babe Ruth movies on YouTube.

Here's one from 1932 called Fancy Curves featuring a bevy of League of Their Own style female baseball players and the Bambino as himself.

Babe was remarkably comfortable in front of a camera, and might have had a career as a character actor had the baseball thing not worked out so well.

If you ever wanted to see Babe in semi-drag... stick around for the twist ending.

Smothers Brothers - "Boil That Cabbage Down"

I just finished reading Dangerously Funny - David Bianculli's story of the Smothers Brothers and their controversial CBS variety show. One of the sad things about the Smothers show is that it's never shown on TV anymore, and even the recent DVD sets are incomplete "Best Of" packages.

Well, there's always YouTube. Here we have the boys performing "Boil That Cabbage Down" with the Boston Pops on a (presumably PBS) '80s TV special. It's the same song they recently did - in animated form - on an episode of The Simpsons.