It is 2008.
I think it is safe to say that WHAT I’D SAY TO THE MARTIANS (AND OTHER VEILED THREATS) (Hyperion Books) by Jack Handey will be the funniest book of this decade. Possibly for decades to come.
Yes, this is the Jack Handey of SNL’S “Deep Thoughts”. Since writing for SNL, Handey has written several hysterically funny pieces for the New Yorker among other publications.
WHAT I’D SAY TO THE MARTIANS collects most of the New Yorker pieces, along with some of his favorite “Deep Thoughts” and “Fuzzy Memories”. It also includes a few of his SNL sketches, including “Deer Heads” (where Harvey Keitel had a collection of animal heads on his wall, of descending size), “Toonces the Driving Cat”, “Anne Boleyn”, and “Happy Fun Ball” (“Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball”).
If you only know Handey from SNL, you are in for a treat. His longer pieces are even funnier. Filled with absurdist humor, words can not do them justice. I dare you to make it through “My Nature Documentary”, where he gives instructions for a nature film, without having to take a break to compose yourself.
The stories are all short, only two to four pages each. The book itself is only 170 pages. But you are probably going to get more laughs out of this than any book you are likely to read.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Jack Handey is the funniest comedy writer working today. This book is proof of that.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Disney Channel didn't always have original programming. Like Nickelodeon, in the early days, they would show a lot of Canadian shows. One of the most popular was a show called DANGER BAY.
DANGER BAY starred Donnelly Rhodes as Doc Roberts, a marine biologist who lived with his kids (Christopher Crabb and Ocean Hellman) in Canada. Each week, they would have to fight off polluters or some sort of environmental threat. If they weren't doing that, they were hanging out at the aquarium.
While I won't call it a classic, it was a fun show. Sort of the wholesome family entertainment that had something for everyone.
What I remember best about it was the theme.
One of the more memorable cable TV themes.
Rhodes, who had starred on SOAP and DOUBLE TROUBLE, continues to act today (I just read that he is a regular on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA). As for his kids, Christopher seems to have retired while Ocean has done some TV work, most recently a supporting role in a Tobe Hopper directed MASTERS OF HORROR episode.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
There is an ad currently on the air for Hertz rental cars, featuring a very familiar face, Kevin Farley, brother of the late Chris Farley. Every time I see it, I smile, and think of Chris.
In the mid 90's, when he was starring in BLACK SHEEP (the only film Gene Siskel ever walked out on) or BEVERLY HILLS NINJA, when the tabloids were filled with rumors of his personal life and drug use, I never thought I would miss those films, but I do.
The new biography THE CHRIS FARLEY SHOW (Viking Press) will make you miss him even more. Written by his older brother Tom Farley Jr as well NATIONAL LAMPOON RADIO HOUR writer Tanner Colby, THE CHRIS FARLEY SHOW is an oral biography, along the lines of the recent Tom Shales SNL book LIVE FROM NEW YORK, where it is made up of excerpts from interview with his friends and co-workers (including interviews with many from SNL). This format works extremely well for the biography, where everyone has their own memories of the subject.
Raised in an upper middle class Wisconsin family, Chris always liked to be the star of the show. Even as a child, he was constantly playing pranks at school. In one instance, his mooning of a class, the school administration thought it was so funny, that were laughing too hard to punish him.
That seemed to set the trend for the rest of his life, and his downfall. People liked him so much that they found it hard to give him the discipline he needed, whether in behavior or his addiction. No matter what he did, he was such a great guy to be around, they couldn't stay mad at him.
Chris went on to Chicago, with improv groups and eventually to Second City. In those groups, he met Tim Meadows (who would later join Chris at SNL) and he created one of his most memorable characters, Matt Foley, the motivational speaker who lived “in a van down by the river”. Foley was named for one of Chris’ close friends growing up, who later became a priest.
Chris was such a hit at Second City that he was snapped up by SNL, and the rest is comedy history. He provided some of the most memorable moments on the show in the 90’s. With Foley, The Chippendales sketch with Patrick Swayze (which Chris Rock said he always hated), and “The Chris Farley Show” (To Paul McCartney “Remember that time you were in the Beatles and there was a rumor going around that you were dead? That was a hoax, right?”)
My favorite performance of his was probably in “The Mr. Belvedere Fan Club” sketch. In it, Tom Hanks hosted a meeting of obsessive fans of the guy who plays Mr. Belvedere or Broctune as they call him.
Chris stands up at the meeting and says “Mr. Belvedere is the light of my life. He is so amazing. I wish I could know him more. I think about him all the time. So, I’m wondering ... Should we kill him?”
The way he goes from his likable self, and makes that switch to psycho was so funny, so unexpected, that it shows you that he was more than just “that funny fat guy”.
Chris' reaction to the Belvedere sketch also shows what kind of guy he was. In the book, the writer of that sketch, Fred Wolf (whose first sketch it was) says that, when it was over, Chris came up to him and said “That was funny. Thanks for the good stuff”. As Wolf says “I couldn’t believe that about him. To me, it was the other way around. I should have been thanking him.” Chris always seemed to care more about everyone around him, whether a fellow writer, or a childhood friend, than he cared about himself.
Chris’ humanity comes through in this book. More than anything, he was a devout Catholic. He always made sure to make it to mass every week, and spent a lot of time volunteering with various church functions.
After his death, his friends weren’t even aware that, for years, Chris took an elderly, formerly homeless man named Willie out to dinner once a week. He would take him to Broadway shows and other events. No one knew about this side of him.
The book is divided into three sections, his early life up through his first stint in rehab (early in his run on SNL), his sober days on SNL including when he made TOMMY BOY, and his final days, after his leaving SNL when he continually relapsed until his eventual death.
This is not as sordid a book as Bob Woodward’s Belushi bio WIRED (said to be the only book Farley read in college, and one of his favorites). The focus is on his humanity. It doesn’t sugarcoat his addiction, it is all written about. And, all the family’s emotion comes through. The final section on his funeral is heartbreaking.
Ultimately, what happened to Chris can best be summed up by what his brother Kevin says at one point.
“As a kid, when we watched THE EXORCIST, he was terrified of the idea that something evil could take over your body, possess you, and make you do things you can’t control. Here he had this thing that was eating away at him from the inside, and he was powerless to stop it. An that scared the living sh** out of him”.
His addiction was just too much for him. As much as he tried, he couldn’t fight it. He eventually succumbed to it.
At the end, he left what could have been some wonderful projects. He was the original voice of SHREK and was to star in a film version of the life of Fatty Arbuckle by David Mamet. One can only imagine what that would have been like, if it would have changed his career.
THE CHRIS FARLEY SHOW is yet another worthy entry into the growing genre of backstage SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE books. Only this is more than about the show. It is a portrait of a very funny man who left us way too soon.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Afternoon TV today seems to be more about selling tie in products than in anything else. Sell some BACKYARDIGANS toys or tickets to the next HANNAH MONTANA concert.
The early 80's were very different. Even more subversive.
Rather than getting people to buy things, they, (SHOCK!!), got them to LEARN!! And the kids watching didn't even realize this! They just thought the shows were entertaining.
You had SESAME STREET, then moved on to THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. After that, there was a show for older kids called 3-2-1 CONTACT.
3-2-1 CONTACT was about science of all things. And, we didn't even realize we were learning while watching.
The opening theme is what is probably still best remembered about the show.
There were three hosts for the show, Marc (Leon W. Grant), Lisa (Liz Moses) and, my favorite, Trini (Ginny Ortiz). Set at a house, each episode they would introduce different clips of science experiments.
I always remembered this clip, for the "Cosmic Clock"
Pretty freaky, and this was even before global warming and Al Gore.
And let's not forget everyone's favorite, "The Bloodhound Gang"
They would play part of the mystery on one episode, and you'd have to watch the next day to see the resolution. I don't think kids today could take the suspense, what with the internet and all.
The show lasted throughout the 80's, and even spawned a spin off magazine (that was a science magazine). Once the original hosts left the show, I didn't stay around. Surprisingly, none of them would do much after. Mark had some small roles, but the girls didn't. Trini seems to be teaching acting.
One interesting bit of trivia that I didn't realize until much later, but two of the cast members appeared in the great Walter Hill film THE WARRIORS. Trini played the candy store girl. And, one of the Warriors, Rembrandt, was Marcelino Sanchez, Ricardo from "The Bloodhound Gang". Sanchez died tragically in 1986.
I don't know if a show like 3-2-1 CONTACT would work today. Would kids today really want to learn?
And here is another great YouTube clip showing how they recorded the theme song
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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Back in the early 1980’s, for those that were too young to appreciate Richard Pryor, there were three big stand up specials. You had BILL COSBY HIMSELF (with “The Dentist) and, if you were allowed to see it, EDDIE MURPHY DELIRIOUS (with “The Ice Cream Man”).
The third aired on HBO in 1986, HOWIE MANDEL’S NORTH AMERICAN WATUSI TOUR.
Howie had yet to become the family friendly game show host that he is today. At the time, he was best known for his role as Doctor Wayne Fiscus on ST. ELSEWHERE, that also starred a little known Denzel Washington. This was Howie's second, and best, stand up special.
It was shot on video in Chicago. Howie takes the stage and, for a little over 50 minutes, does his act.
When Howie began his game show career on DEAL OR NO DEAL, I was a bit surprised. How could the guy, whose most quoted lines in this special were unprintable here stories about bringing chocolate bars to a bathroom, or squirt guns to a movie theatre, become the host of a network game show? He can’t have that kind of humor.
In watching this special again, the first time I've seen it since the 1980’s, the strongest points of the show are his interactions with the audience. That is where the biggest laughs come.
He interviews the audience, and makes fun of their occupations (like the one guy who is in “purchasing” which Howie turns into a bit about “I’m shopping”). This is also before his OCD took over, as he has no problems, at least outwardly, of shaking hands and such.
At one point, someone in the audience yells out “Howie!!!!!”.
Howie stops, looks back out into the audience and yells back “Person!!!!!”.
At one point, someone in the audience leaves, and after Howie makes fun of them for the fact, as soon as they are out of the room, he tells the audience “Ok, everyone hide!”
My favorite bit, which kills me every time, and I can’t do justice to the delivery, talking to one person in the front row.
“What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name? I’ve asked you three f***ing times!!!!”
As I said, it is the audience interaction that is so much fun. When he does do his actual act, a lot of the lines do not hold up (even though many of them I remember repeating for years after). He does his “My name is Bobby” voice which he later turned into a cartoon series. And, he ends by doing his famous surgical glove over his head routine.
It still is a very funny comedy special. It may not be up there with BILL COSBY HIMSELF or DELIRIOUS, but I can remember why I enjoyed it as much as I did.
Here is a bit of the special from Youtube (someone took the videocamera and filmed the TV). If you can't see the Youtube click and are on an outside reader, click through to our blog.
Never released on DVD (might be too R-rated for current Howie fans), it can still find it on VHS on Amazon. Some copies on Ebay run up to $100!!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
TV 101 is another forgotten show that probably most people have never heard of in the first place. Yet, it was an underrated show that never got the audience it deserved.
The premise of TV 101 had a teacher (played by Sam Robards, son of Jason and Lauren Bacall) returning to his high school. He teaches a journalism class, where they produce the high school TV news show. Hence the title, TV 101.
The cast included Matt Leblanc (long before FRIENDS), Teri Polo (MEET THE PARENTS) and Stacey Dash (CLUELESS and still today playing high schoolers in I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN).
Airing on CBS from November 1988 until March of 1989 (opposite WHO’S THE BOSS and ROSEANNE), the show was cancelled after only 13 of its 17 episodes. It deserved better.
Some of these episodes I remember very clearly, even though I saw each episode only once, 20 years ago.
There was an episode where the popular girl (Teri Polo) befriended a less popular student. One of the better explorations of teen cliques of the day. It was sort of like CAN’T BUY ME LOVE, without any money involved.
In another episode, a narc came to school and the class burnout, Checker (Andrew White who never seemed to do anything after) falls for her. When he finds out why she was hanging around him, he is devastated. The episode ends with the use of Bruce Hornsby’s “The Show Goes On” in an extremely effective way. That song has been used in many films and TV shows since, but this was the first and still the best use of it.
There was also a very controversial multi-part episode where Matt Leblanc gets his girlfriend pregnant. The episode spent more time discussing the issue, presenting every side of it, in a very intelligent way than any other TV series.
They had a stunt episode where they had the school elections for Class President. There were several different candidates. I remember the popular group was running, but there was a scandal that the President was cheating on his girlfriend, or something like that. The gimmick was that the audience called in to vote for who they wanted to win. I believe the foreign exchange student won. And I was actually upset by the result!! I cared that much about the show.
I keep hoping for someone to remember this and release it to DVD. Even with all the FRIENDS hype, you never heard anything about this, and Leblanc was one of the leads.
Still, in the past 20 years, with the thousands of hours of TV programming I have seen, I still remember this show.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
DEMPSEY AND MAKEPEACE was a British program that aired syndicated in the U.S. in the mid 80's.
The premise had New York cop James Dempsey (Michael Brandon) sent to London to work after killing his partner. There, he was partnered with Harriet Makepeace (Glynis Barber). Working under Chief Supt Spikings (Ray Smith), it was a typical cop show, with the addition of the culture clash between the two of them.
I used to love this show. It aired on usually Sunday afternoons on this little, very low budget channel. I don't know how many stations it aired on throughout the country. I believe it also aired on WPIX channel 11 out of New York.
Michael Brandon had his famous quote "Life is hard, then you die".
And then there was Glynis Barber.
Definitely one of the most beautiful actresses of the 1980's. Stateside, this is still what she is best known for.
There were three seasons, for a total of 29 episodes. All seasons have been released to DVD in the UK. But, none have made it to the US.
Here is the US version of the opening credits:
The show may be forgotten today. Recently, the premise seemed to be copied for another fun show, KEEN EDDIE (with Sienna Miller, almost as beautiful as Barber) and no one made the comparison between the shows.
The show's biggest impact seems to be on the lives of the stars.
In 1989, after the end of the show, Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber were married. They are still married today. I wasn't even aware of this fact until they were interviewed together on one of the British DVD extras.
So, at least they haven't forgotten it.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
GOING TO CALIFORNIA isn’t really a forgotten TV show, as most people have never even heard of it. In fact, the creators have been able to recycle scenes and even characters for their follow up series, OCTOBER ROAD, without anyone even noticing.
Created by Scott Rosenberg, GOING TO CALIFORNIA is essentially a spin off of his film BEAUTIFUL GIRLS. The pilot episode, about a group of guys living in a small Massachusetts town (Bishop Flats, the same town from OCTOBER ROAD) could be seen as a deleted scene from the film.
The show opened with a great theme song by Old 97, "Going to California / Let's Get Lost Along The Way". This song, unfortunately, isn't on YouTube. And there are no clips from the show on Youtube.
Since Sony / Tri Star has yet to release the series on DVD (even though they had it listed as a potential release on one of their last surveys of possible releases), I decided to go episode by episode to give you an idea of what the show was like. I’ll refrain from spoilers.
EP 1 & 2 BLOWING FREE (aired 8-9-2001)
Kevin “Space” Laughlin (Sam Trammell) and Hank Ungalow (Brad William Henke, who plays one of the leads on OCTOBER ROAD) are longtime friends living in Bishop Flats, Massachusetts. When their friend Cassidy leaves town, they decide to head off and find him. Along the way, they meet up with Insect Bob (John Asher) who they manage to travel with on and off along the journey.
Once they get on the road, they stop off in Memphis where they meet a transvestite (Lawrence Taylor, yes the football player).
EP 3 TAKING CARE OF BISCUITS (8-16-01)
Still in Memphis, they go to Graceland, and meet a girl who claims to be Elivis’ daughter.
EP 4 I KNOW WHY THE CAGED RHINO SINGS (8-23-01)
The guys head to Arkansas where they meet “the boy”, a sort of carnival sideshow “freak” with skin that makes him look like a rhino.
What is most interesting about this episode is that the entire story about the boy (as well as the Insect Bob character) was also told in the Scott Rosenberg scripted film HIGHWAY (starring Jared Leto and Jake Gyllenhaal). At the time this episode aired, the film was thought be resigned to a life on the shelf, so the entire story was reused for this episode. In 2002, the film was sent direct to DVD.
EP 5 RULES OF THE ROAD (8-30-01)
The guys each meet a girl, and we learn why Space is so into finding Cassidy. It also can be seen as a precursor to OCTOBER ROAD, about what happened with the Hannah character when Nick went away. In fact, the character Eddie Litekka appears in GOING TO CALIFORNIA (with a different character playing him).
EP 6 APOCALYPSE COW (9-6-01)
The guys get a job at a slaughterhouse to earn money. Featuring Jon Ashton (BEVERLY HILLS COP).
EP 7 THE BIG PADOODLE (9-20-01)
In Biloxi, where they think that Cassidy will be heading, they meet up with a rich family about to have a wedding. This episode features Jenny McCarthy (who would in real life marry Insect Bob, John Asher) and David Faustino (MARRIED WITH CHILDREN)
Also, note the date of this episode. The show was interrupted a week because of 9/11.
EP 8 FODDER FIGURES (9-27-01)
Somewhere in the South, they meet up with a gang of Civil War Reenactors. Lisa Edelstein plays a gambler who Space falls for.
EP 9 THE NAKED AND THE NUDE (10-4-01)
In this episode, they get to try out how much Showtime will let them get away with, as they visit a nudist camp. The two guys are forced to take sides between the old guard nudists, and the more attractive ones. A funny episode, even though one of the nudists is William Schilling (the principal from HEAD OF THE CLASS). I don't think anyone watching HEAD OF THE CLASS wanted to see him this way.
EP 10 A PIRATE LOOKS AT 15 TO 20 (10-11-01)
In Key West, they meet up with a group of smugglers, including Stacey Dash.
EP 11 HURRICANE AL (10-18-01)
Still in Florida, they head to a spa in Key Largo where they get caught in a Hurricane. This is probably the weakest episode of the series. Starring Poppy Montgomery.
EP 12 THIS YEAR’S MODEL (10-25-01)
The episode that really makes you wonder why this series isn’t on DVD. They head to Miami where Hank is recruited to be a model. The photographer is none other than Vince Vaughn in a very funny performances. Also in this episode is a pre-MY NAME IS EARL Jaime Pressly. I’m sure they could put Vaughn’s name on the DVD cover, as well as something about it being the inspiration for OCTOBER ROAD, and they would sell copies.
EP 13 OUR SUNSHINE STATE OF AFFAIRS (11-1-01)
The gang from Massachusetts come down to Miami, including Evan Jones (playing Ikey, the same character he plays on OCTOBER ROAD), Sean Gunn (who would go on to play Kirk on GILMORE GIRLS and now has a recurring character, Rooster the mohawked bartender, on OCTOBER ROAD), and Eddie Ebell (playing Eddie Litekka, same character from OCTOBER ROAD but a different actor).
EP 14 LILY OF THE FIELD (11-8-01)
While outside New Orleans, they stop to help a schoolteacher (Bridget Moynahan, who was dating Scott Rosenberg at the time) rebuild a school while battling school administration, and racism. There is one scene, where Moynahan gets drunk and sings songs from OLIVER outside her school superiors window, that was recreated in OCTOBER ROAD, where Nick gets drunk, and sings songs from OLIVER, outside the college administrators window.
At this point, the show was on hiatus for a few months before returning.
EP 15 A LITTLE HARD IN THE BIG EASY (1-10-02)
They meet a couple girls in a bar in New Orleans, and head out into the bayou for a voodoo ceremony.
EP 16 HOME GAMES (1-17-02)
Space realizes that his father once lived in the town they are passing through, so he decides to try to track him down. He meets his fathers wife (Rosanna Arquette). Much of the episode is made up of flashbacks to Space’s childhood, where many of the details of the character are used for the Tom Berenger father character in OCTOBER ROAD.
EP 17 WAITING FOR GORDO (1-24-02)
Running out of gas in East Texas, they pass time at an abandoned gas station. There, they meet up with immigrant smugglers.
EP 18 MIXED DOUBLES (1-31-02)
There are two stories in this episode. One storyline features some of the best writing in the series, the other, some of the most obvious.
In the main (and lesser) story, the guys meet up with two guys who are a bit too much like them (this is way overdone, and over explained).
In the other, back in Bishop Flats, a once popular girl (Lori Heuring), idolized by all the guys in town growing up, has to return home to live with her parents when she finds out her husband is gay. It touches on the themes of the nostalgia of building up people as the ideal, when they are never quite as perfect.
Some of the writing in this episode is so perfect. And there is a great use of Bread’s “Everything I Own”. But some of the stuff with the doubles is way too obvious.
EP 19 SEARCHING FOR EDDIE VAN HALEN (2-7-02)
More of the idealization of youth, where the guys go and find a friend (Jerry O’Connell), living in Austin, who they believe has become a big musician. Space meets a rock journalist. And Insect Bob spends time with a musician, a favorite of his mothers, who is now a drug dealer with ex-wives living all over town. Another episode with a lot of great writing, and a nice look at Austin (although I have to say some of the sex scenes in this episode are a bit too graphic).
EP 20 THE WEST TEXAS ROUND-UP AND OTHER ASSORTED MISDEMEANORS (2-14-02)
The guys stop for gas in a small Texas town. Space notices a girl at a gas station. After giving a variation of Michael Rappaport’s “Beautiful Girl” speech from BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, the police arrive. It seems that girl has turned up dead, and Space is a suspect because of how he was seen looking at her in the gas station. There is also a timely subplot of an Indian man arrested in the jail as a suspected terrorist. The always reliable Barry Corbin appears as a cop.
But the episode is stolen by Treat Williams, in arguably his finest, and creepiest performance, as another cop. He has a five minute scene in this episode that is one of the scariest performances I have seen. If more people watched the show, he would have won an Emmy.
That was the final episode. Airing on Showtime, and probably because of the locations, a rather difficult and expensive shoot, the show didn’t return.
It didn’t really need to because what they did was create one of the better series of the past decade. While it wasn’t always perfect, the characters were always enjoyable. Brad Henke has gone on to other work, including as I said OCTOBER ROAD. And why Sam Trammel didn’t have a bigger career boost from this, and why he isn’t on OCTOBER ROAD, I don’t know. I would have predicted big things from him. He has done a lot of TV, and had a supporting role in ALIEN VS PREDATOR, but he deserves more. He would have been perfect in the lead of OCTOBER ROAD (NOTE: This was written before Trammel began starring as Sam the bartender on TRUE LOVE, a great role for him).
Scott Rosenberg’s writing has a sort of David Mamet / Aaron Sorkin feel. It has an original cadence, and feel, that while not exactly the most natural, it is always fun to listen to. And while you might be able to point out the similarities between this show and his other work, and use that to criticize him, if anything to me that makes it even more interesting. Just like how writers often rework short stories to feature length, he likes the characters enough to reuse them, to get the situations the way he wants them, where they work the best.
If anyone from Sony is out there, this show needs a DVD release. Please don’t forget it.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
For those in New England, WSBK TV 38 out of Boston was one of the more popular TV stations. Even if you lived outside of the Boston area, it was on your cable system.
Every weekend, they would have a show called ASK THE MANAGER.
The show featured the general manager of the station and an assistant reading letters to the station from various viewers.
Most of the letters were along the lines of "Why don't you show this movie or that TV series". The general manager would then explain why. THE THREE STOOGES, a channel staple, being funny or unfunny was often debated.
It was an interesting look at the behind the scenes world of TV, how they had to buy the rights to certain shows, the costs involved, and how movies were bought in packages.
At times, the hosts seemed less interested than others. They would often have a basketball net on the set and shoot hoops rather than read letters. It was a very self indulgent show, with the hosts doing whatever they wanted. But hey, the hosts ran the channel, what else would they do?
I watched the show mostly during the 80's, where it would air Sunday nights. The GM at that time was Dan Berkery, a sort of Oliver Stone look alike. His sidekick was Dana Hersey, the voice of the channel and the host of "The Movie Loft", the nightly movie.
Later, Meg Lavigne hosted and Cliff Allen was the sidekick (in the above clip).
It ran until 1999, when Paramount took over the channel and it became a UPN affiliate. By this time, I was no longer watching.
It was a show like no other out there. A true inside look at a TV station.
There is an excellent fansite (where I took the above image) here.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
In the mid 90's, 1995 and 1996 especially, there was one commercial that seemed to be everywhere, the commercial for the LIVING IN THE 90's CD.
Like the K-Tel albums of the previous decade, this claimed to have the most popular songs of the day.
I think MTV played it on every commercial break during the era. And, yes, I actually broke down and bought the CD. So sue me.
I still see the ad a lot. It is on a 90's compilation DVD that I made up of videos and other assorted programming from old VHS tapes of MTV's 120 MINUTES from 1996.
The version I have is different than the above that was posted on Youtube (if you can't see it and are reading this from an outside site, click through). It features more of the two stars talking about the songs on the album (at one point during Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby", they claim the album has "legendary artists").
So, since I still see the ad I lot, I've been noticing an actress that turns up in a lot of commercials.
Like this screengrab from a current Verizon ad.
Isn't that the same girl? Think of her 12 years later, and it COULD be.
Commercials don't have credits, so I don't know what her name is. But it could very well be. She has been in a few ads since. So, she is still out there working.
Monday, April 07, 2008
As I write this, it is 2008. I have just realized something quite shocking and depressing.
MEGAFORCE is not on DVD!
Yes, MEGAFORCE, Hal Needham's 1982 film starring Barry Bostwick about a sort of futuristic army that goes out to save the world.
The film was essentially a big toy commercial. Although, I don't know if tie-in toys were released (and I don't remember if G.I. Joe had yet to be relaunched). As a ten year old when it came out, I saw nothing wrong with it being a toy commercial. Motorcycles with gun mounts? Lasers on vans? How cool was that?
I remember seeing it in a drive-in with my parents. I can't remember what it was playing with. And, at the time, I loved it.
Here is a clip of some of the best moments posted on Youtube.
My favorite moment from that montage, Bostwick's line "Remember, the good guys always win. Even in the 80's." I quoted that too much on the playground back then.
Only in later years, actually when I saw it again on video in the mid 80's, did I realize, well, it was a pretty bad movie. It seems to be made for 10 year olds. So, any one older than that will probably hate it.
Needham was of course best known for his Burt Reynold's films in the 70's and 80's. From SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, HOOPER (a personal favorite), and CANNONBALL RUN, he wasn't a favorite with critics, but the films were popular with audiences.
With MEGAFORCE, he didn't have Reynolds around (although he might have had fun with the Bostwick role). And other than Bostwick, Michael Beck (THE WARRIORS) and Edward Mulhare (KNIGHT RIDER) he had a pretty much (still) unknown cast to work with.
Still, for nostalgia reasons, the film deserves a DVD release. To think an entire generation has been deprived of seeing Bostwick, the bandanna wearing hero, ride his motorcycle around?
That is very sad.
Here is a Youtube clip of the Atari tie-in video game.
C'mon Fox, release this on DVD!
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Thursday, April 03, 2008
Much like YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION (and also featuring YCDTOT's Christine McGlade) was another Canadian import airing on Nickelodeon called TURKEY TELEVISION.
The show was actually co-produced by McGlade, and featured short cartoons, music videos, and other strange bits. I remember seeing French music videos. I think this is where I first saw the Barnes and Barnes video for "Fishheads"
The show didn't last long, and my memory of it is very hazy beyond the above description. But I remember watching it quite often.