11/28/08

On Vacation

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I certainly ate more than my share of turkey, sides and desserts. In fact, you could say I transcended the "Comfortably Satisfied" stage and entered into the "Gluttonous Alabama Swamp Sow" stage.

Anyway, I will be on a much needed vacation for the next full week. As much as I will miss posting on retrospace, a pastime that I find immensely rewarding for reasons yet to be determined, the vacation will be a glorious retreat from my Monday-Friday 8-5 life in cubicle hell.

By next Sunday I should be back in this seat posting on such important topics as Sigmund the Sea Monster, funk music album covers, and the guy who played Bigfoot on The Six Million Dollar Man. It's a hard job that carries with it a lot of responsibility... but I'm up to the challenge. Talk to you in a week!

- Gilligan

11/27/08

The Boob Tube #1: The New Zoo Revue

If you remember Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo, chances are you remember the New Zoo Revue. It generally came on in the morning for the early riser pre-school crowd. The main characters were "Freddie the Frog", "Henrietta Hippo" (whose voice was like nails on a chalkboard), and "Charlie the Owl" (a pompous ass who treated Freddie like crap).

The mastermind behind the show, Doug Momary, wrote over 600 songs for 195 episodes. What an output! And really, the music was not that bad.

Somehow, the goofy looking Doug (easily the nerdiest guy ever) ended up marrying the smoking hot Emily Peden who played "Emmy Jo" who pranced around in a micro mini-skirt and go go boots in every episode. I mean, Doug made Jamie Farr look handsome.... how did he pull this off? My guess is some sort of hypnosis was involved.


In any case, Doug and Emily are still married and run a successful business called Laguna Productions, a producer of commercials, PSAs, and industrials. Emily is the vice president of finance!

Remember the toothless idiot "Mr. Dingle"? He's in the picture above, no doubt drooling with lust in his heart over the young Emmy Jo. Mr. Dingle was played by none other than my main man, Chuck Woolery!

In the 1980's a disturbing outtake from the show surfaced. Clowning around on the set, Freddie the Frog and Charlie the Owl are filmed dropping the F bomb and displaying acts of disturbing crudity while the off screen cast and crew laugh it up. Before clicking on the YouTube clip, be forewarned that frog and owl use some pretty offensive language.
Not only are the actors in the costumes having a bit of X rated fun, but the voice actors are also involved. The sailor mouthed owl was voiced by Bob Holt who also provided the voice for Grape Ape!

I'm guessing Woolery had some hand in this business as well. I can't prove it. It's just a hunch.

Before you go, here's a clip of the intensely nerdy Doug and an annoying curmudgeon (actor Jesse White) singing about fornication to a bunch of animals. "The miracle of birth, the breath of life..." - it's actually quite good. Good job, Doug.



Related post: Ode to Emmy Jo

11/26/08

A Few Things Before Thanksgiving...

Don't really have a lot of time to post, but had these images lying around and thought I'd share them before the Thanksgiving frenzy begins tomorrow. I'm always enamoured with vintage ads, comics and so forth that display carefree offensiveness. The Gay comic above is disturbing on several levels. And there's nothing like a good ol' sexist ad like the one below (via Found in Mom's Basement)

On an entirely unrelated note, I just reread the incredible graphic novel Maus, and was just told that the author, Art Spiegelman, was the mastermind behind the incredibly popular stickers in the 1970's called Wacky Packages. Are you kidding me?!

This came as quite a shock. Wacky Packages were omnipresent in the '70s - everyone had some. To think - these were by the same guy behind Maus. Wow. This information took a while for me to process. It was like being told Schoolhouse Rock was created by Stephen Hawking.

So, let me make myself clear: The same guy who did a Pulitzer Prize winning novel did this:

You can check out every Wacky Packages ever made here. At least the Internet is good for something.

11/25/08

Fads #5: A Bad Time for Those Not Color Blind


Avocado Green and Harvest Gold - the defining home décor colors of the decade. Anyone who lived in the '70s will remember these colors well. In fact, there was a very defined set of colors during this period (rust, brick, sand, brown, gold and orange) that colorized almost everything in our world: cars, fashion, décor, appliances, you name it - they all had that distinctive color palette of the '70s. Look at the picture below. It's instantly identifiable as being from the '70s - not by the hair styles or clothes - but by the color palette. Well, the guy smoking on an airplane is kind of a giveaway... but you get my point. The '70s definitely had its trademark colors.


The San Diego Padres sported a brown and mustard color combination. I guess it was better than the infamous Astros orange rainbow jersey... then again, maybe not.

What is truly perplexing (and I have long wondered this, and will be indebted to someone who can answer it) is why movies and TV programs were also filmed in earth tones. Not only that, but they were also grainy and had the film quality of a Polaroid. How is it that older movies like The Wizard of Oz all the way up to 1969 are in vibrant Technicolor, and then as soon as the '70s start, everything becomes about as colorful as dishwater? How did film colorizing technology take a giant step backward from brilliant to washed out brown? It's almost a cliche to say something like "it has that grainy seventies feel", yet I'd like to know why everything went grainy in the '70s.

Watch a colorful episode of "I Dream of Jeannie" then watch a 1974 "After School Special" and you'll think you've developed an eye disease which renders everything in the world a muddy shade of brown. I mean, a lot of big budget movies in the 1970's look like snuff films. Why? I'm not alone in my confusion - the question was posted on Metafiler, but the answers don't quite satisfy.

Whatever the reason, by the early '80s, films regained their vibrant colors and the most popular décor colors became "Southwestern soft teal" and "dusty rose". (gag!)


A big thanks to Plaid Stallions, my favorite curator of the '70s, for inspiring this train of thought.
Additional thanks to Found in Mom's Basement and Retrocrush for a couple images.
A related post on retrospace- Historical Fact: In the 70's Everything Was Sepia

11/24/08

Opinions and Rants #6: Reflections on Contempory Music (and Why It Sucks)

For a long time now I have been trying to answer the question as to why contemporary music sucks so bad. Bear with me a few minutes and hear me out on this one.

Fact: contemporary music is just plain awful.
Unless you agree with this statement, then this whole post is worthless to you. To you, there's no problem; you love what's on the radio and songs like "My Humps" are just great. Who needs bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin when you have Chris Brown (who just won Artist of the Year at the AMA) and Kanye West, right?

For a time, magazines like Rolling Stone held out hope that a band would arrive that could rejuvenate rock music (remember the Strokes?), yet none have really left an indelible mark. Album sales continue to be in the toilet, and the only musicians selling out arenas are way past their prime (Van Halen, Aerosmith, Journey, etc.) and rely on former glory rather than current chart success.

If you prefer R&B and Hip-Hop, then this is heaven. If you like rock music, you might as well turn the dial to a classic rock station and listen to "More than a Feeling" for the billionth time. It's almost as if grunge was the death moan of rock music - the sound of rock music literally croaking. As post-grunge bands like Nickleback played in the ashes, urban music filled the void.

Not that R&B and Hip-Hop have no merit - quite the contrary. For instance, Outkast is an extremely talented and worthy offspring of Parliament Funkadelic. However, I'm grieved over the apparent end of rock. And, I'm sorry, but The Shins and Coldplay are not going to save it.

Which brings me to the question at hand - what the hell happened?

Well, there's a multitude of minor reasons such as (1) The file sharing revolution and (2) the rise of the Big Four record companies, EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal, which merchandise and market, but could give a shit about creativity.

But these explanations don't satisfy. They're more excuses than real answers. What the hell did the Sex Pistols care about big corporate record companies? The still made their mark in spite of an industry stacked against them. And as far as blaming the file sharing revolution - a band like the Beatles would have taken it to their advantage and made mp3's their bitch. Nothing as pitiful as digital downloads would have stopped the Fab Four from taking the world by storm.

So, the problem still goes unanswered - why does it suck? I have strained my feeble brain over the issue and have come up with a sort of tentative explanation. I'm not currently convinced I'm right, but it might just be true.

Rock music has simply run its course. There's only so much innovation and creativity possible with two guitars, a bass, and drums. It's pretty much tapped out.

When rock music was young, there was a lot of sounds to explore. Naturally, great music abounded. Floyd, Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Beatles took all the gold from the mine... and all we're left with is the shaft.

Perhaps, someday a bright young musical talent will come around and find a brand new gold mine just waiting to be explored... and, hopefully, prove me hopelessly wrong.

11/23/08

Thanksgiving 1977: A Stoner's Dream Comes True, A Dirty Susan Dey and the Honda Hobbit

“The marijuana looked like seaweed”

Florida potheads had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 1977 as 25 tons of marijuana washed up on San Fernandina Beach, Florida. As you can imagine, the beach was soon crawling with people eager to grab a little free weed (it was the '70s after all). Evidently, a boat carrying the cargo had exploded "sending tons of Colombian gold into the air, onto the beach and into the water." (source: here)

It was such a welcome and wonderful event for local stoners that a commemorative shirt was even made: "Thanksgiving 1977 - Fernandina Beach, Florida - 25 Tons," and sported a large marijuana leaf. (Click image on left to enlarge)

I wonder if any of the Florida stoners got high that night and turned on ABC to watch the awful Thanksgiving Reunion with the Partridge Family and My Three Sons on ABC. Susan Dey wasn't able to participate because she was on location for a movie. Suzanne Crough, the youngest Partridge daughter and tambourine player, was also absent since she was filming the crappy soon-to-be-cancelled TV show "Mulligan's Stew" (photo on right).

I watched the special and remember being not too excited to watch an awkward reunion of two cancelled TV shows. I wonder if Andy Warhol also watched it; his chronology says he watched TV that night.

What movie was Susan Dey filming, you ask, that made her miss the special? Well, if you had bought the People magazine on sale that week, you would have read that she was filming First Love with William Katt. People makes it sound almost like a porno. I've never actually seen it, but am skeptical it's as dirty as they made it sound.

Also, if you had bought that People magazine you would have seen an ad for an incredibly named moped: The Honda Hobbit.

"The Hobbit turns your everyday dull driving trips into bright happy Hobbit hops"
What can I say? It was the seventies.

The Doonesbury Special

It was November 27, 1977, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and A Doonesbury Special was playing on NBC. While Star Wars was number one at the box office that week, this show was not exactly for children. The special dealt with a Walden commune and characters reflecting back on their hippie days.

The 26 minute animated special was produced and directed by John Hubley, who had just been fired midway through production of Watership Down. Sadly, Hubley wouldn't live to see the Doonesbury project finished as he would die on the operating table.


As an interesting point of trivia, one of Hubley's daughters is the drummer and singer for the band Yo La Tengo. His wife (also an accomplished animator) would write a book on the project a year later in '78, but is currently out of print.

The special is currently unavailable on DVD and try to find it on YouTube and you get: This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Garry Trudeau. I would love to see this again, if anyone has a link to find it. One day, Trudeau will see fit to release this on DVD or air it again on television. Until then, we'll just have to whine and complain about it.

11/21/08

Slim Goodbody Still Haunts Me

Everyone knows the authority on 1970's childhood trauma is Kindertrauma, but I just wanted to come clean on something that disturbed the hell out of me as a kid.

That "something" was none other than Slim Goodbody.
Kindertrauma has an excellent post on this revolting character. No offense to Slim, I'm sure he had the best of intentions educating children, but that skin tight unitard is an image permanently emblazoned upon my retina.

I can remember munching on my Alphabits in my footy pajamas watching Captain Kangaroo only to have Goodbody's genitals thrust in my face. "Form fitting" just doesn't come close to describing exactly how tight his outfit was. Every nook and cranny was laid bare on network television, somehow in the name of teaching health.
Okay, so maybe an ultra-tight unitard is not something that sounds particularly alarming to you. What if I told you it was painted with realistic veins, tendons, and organs? It was like having pre-schoolers watch a Lucio Fulci movie. At least the heart was not throbbing and bowels were still safely in the abdominal cavity. But you don't have to trust me - Kindertrauma calls his picture "the most repulsive image ever posted on Kindertrauma". That's quite a claim.

“The Adventures of Slim Goodbody in Nutri-City” was a weekly feature on Captain Kangaroo. I think these must have run during the early '80s, because I don't remember it - I only recall his guest appearances on the show. I would love to know what Mr. Green Jeans thought of Slim - I'm guessing he was a bit repulsed.





Slim even had an album released in the 70's where he proudly and provocatively displayed his wildly inappropriate attire. It evidently contained a full color poster - how'd you like to have that hanging on your wall? The horror.


Apparently, Goodbody is still carousing around the country traumatizing another generation of children. According to MSNBC:

"Slim Goodbody has tweaked his appearance and his routine to keep in tune with the times. He swapped his afro for a mullet, which he in turn abandoned in favor of a more conventional hair style. And he has added rap to his repertoire."

In a way, I feel guilty for voicing my trauma. After all, Slim is doing a public service by cutting down on childhood obesity and enlightening kids on health issues. However, I'd be dishonest if I didn't tell you his outfit is an unspeakable evil that still haunts a generation.

11/19/08

Robots Are Making Love to Our Women

Well, they haven't yet. But if comics, magazines, TV and movies are any indication, it's just a matter of time before these metallic Romeos start moving in on the ladies big time.

The C-3P0 erection trading card controversy mentioned in my last post got my mind traveling down a paralyzingly disturbing road... that of robots getting to "know" us humans. Don't laugh, there's examples a plenty.

An awesome post at the Topless Robot called the The 10 Most Insane, Child-Warping Moments of '80s Cartoons features an example of disturbing robot-love. "The most screwed-up moment in Transformers cartoon history comes when the burbling-voiced Seaspray commits several crimes against nature"... Seaspray gets romantic with a mermaid!

Of course, Transformer-mermaid lovemaking pales in comparison to the sexual encounter alluded to in this Superman comic from yesteryear. Lois won't dare tell Superman why she can't even sit down after a hot night with a robot!

If you could travel a thousand years into the future, when robots have inevitably enslaved the human race, you would find robot porn magazines that bear a striking resemblance to the Forbidden Planet promotional photos. Look at how Robbie the Robo-Perv puts on her shoes and combs her hair.

Foganozos has a great post on retro robots and ladies. This next one from an amazing collection at Dark Roasted Blend.

Let a lesson be learned from Gog, however. The lovely young lady is sure impressed by Gog's typing prowess (show off!), but it won't be long before Gog becomes a murderous "Frankenstein of Steel" as the poster proclaims.


The best example perhaps of the peril of falling in love with robots may be the case of Vision and the Scarlet Witch. Many will remember the popular series of comic books in the 80's chronicling the love affair between these two lovebirds. The two were married and had twin sons, who turned out to be not real (not surprising, considering he's a robot!). The realization sent Scarlet Witch into a breakdown.



Then there's the case of gynoids.... no, it's not a venereal disease for robots, it's actually the term for a female robot (in contrast, an android is a robot designed to look like a man). Sometimes, you almost can't blame the poor humanoids guys for falling for these sexy robo-chicks. Here's just a few examples:

The Fembots - The word "fembot" was coined by writer Arthur Rowe for a 1976 episode of "The Bionic Woman" entitled "Kill Oscar." The term was then used in the original Austin Powers movie. Elizabeth Hurley also proved to be a robot in part 2.

Pamela Gidley in Cherry 2000
Sean Young from Blade Runner
Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3
Dorothy Stratten in Galaxina
and let's not forget all those Stepford Wives.

Feminist science-fiction writer Amy Thomson, author of Virtual Girl, suggests that the fembot myth is attractive to men because it deals with a woman you create and control.


It may be true, I don't know. All I know is that this whole thing is starting to make me curious why George Jetson put Rosie in a French maid outfit. Yuck!


[Related post: Should Robots Wear Pants?]

11/18/08

Important Things to Know

What is the Worst Comic Book Sound Effect Ever?

If I have to explain why this one's bad, then it's best you just don't ask.

What Was the Last 8 Track Ever Made?
'Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits', released by Warner Brothers in 1988, was the last 8-track tape produced by a major company.


What Is the Most Offensive Trading Card Ever Made?

This one's dealt with in a previous post; read more about it there. Suffice it to say that C-3P0 is sporting an enormous erection.... I'll leave it at that.








Is Mikey Still Alive?

The combination of 6 packages of Pop Rocks and 6 Coca-Colas didn't prove lethal. John Gilchrist recovered and is a successful accounts manager at a New York radio station.








What is the Most Unsettling Comic Book Cover Ever?

Am I just so jaded and cynical that I can't imagine how editors could be so naive and allow this one to slip by? How could they possibly not see the disturbing connotation? Or, perhaps, they were just having a little underhanded fun.

More bad comic book covers can be found here and here.
Of course, when it comes to sheer awfulness, I'm partial to just about any Lois Lane comic book cover. Here is a shockingly bad example taken from a previous post .

What Is the Most Phallic Looking Snack Ever Made?

A big tip of the hat to Arthur Ignatowski for this one. This one's gonna keep me awake tonight for sure... it's not so bad when you view the enlarged image, but from a distance - the horror!

and finally... What Is the Largest Shirt Collar Ever Made?
Good Lord! Between the gargantuan collar and the puffy sleeves, a slight tailwind and this man could be airborne!

11/17/08

The Alphabet Meme

I have been tagged by Keith over at Sugar and Spice in the following Meme. Here are the rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Without further ado, here's the retrospace list. I tried to make it reflect the calibur of material covered here. So, not surprisingly great movies like Saving Private Ryan and The Godfather aren't anywhere to be found, but you better believe Smokey and the Bandit made the cut.

Asylum (1972)

Better Off Dead

Corvette Summer (1978)

Don't Look Now (1973)

Eegah! (1962)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

The Gong Show Movie

Humanoids from the Deep

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

The Jerk

Krull

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)



Moonraker

The Nude Bomb (1980)

Ordinary People

Psyche-Out

Q (1982)




Rollerball (1975)

Smokey and the Bandit

Toomorrow

Up in Smoke (1978)

Valley Girl

Wonderwall (1968)

Xanadu

Young Frankenstein

and Zapped!


And now those to be tagged:

Becca at No Smoking in the Skull Cave

Shawn at Branded in the 80's

Chick at Trash Aesthetics

Dr. Geektarded at Geektarded

Chris at Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches

(Bill at The Uranium Cafe, has already been tagged by Keith, so I'll leave him alone this time.)

11/16/08

Opinions and Rants #5: Laverne and Shirley Are Elderly

Yesterday, I innocently turned on the TV and was subjected to a Zaxby's commercial featuring Laverne & Shirley looking quite aged and infirm... and it profoundly disturbed me. I guess I've grown accustomed to watching my childhood icons grow grey and wrinkled, so this sort of thing never really affects me. However, this time there was something especially awful about seeing these two ladies together after all these years, looking positively, unmistakably, undeniably.... old.

It just doesn't seem that long ago they were thin and young and singing "Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!"

By the way, if you've ever wondered what the opening lines meant, here it is: according to a Yiddish dictionary, a "schlemiel" is a habitual bungler and "schlimazel" is an unlucky person. "Hasenpfeffer" is a peppery rabbit stew of German origin. I'll leave the interpretation up to you.