Friday, April 21, 2006

In the Hands of Such a Lot of Fools....

Apparently the media can't decide if Howard Stern's non-Sirius subscribing fans have largely disappeared or have flocked to other radio programs. As for me, I regretfully admit that I am a longtime fan who did not make the satellite plunge.

I began listening to Howchie shortly after he started on New York City's WNBC in 1982. I was reluctant to listen at first as he was always being compared to Imus, whom I had heard once or twice and found to mightily suck. I remember the cool kids at the back of the morning bus to school exclaiming "Moby Worm is coming on!" and gathering around a boombox to listen and laugh. Listening in from my chosen seat (the couldn't-be-less-cool third seat from the front), I thought it was the lamest shit I'd ever heard, yet another affirmation for my dawning suspicion that those cool kids were in fact hopelessly, happily insipid. My sister Jackie prodded me to give Howard a try, and despite the long commercial breaks and terrible music, I was hooked almost immediately. I continued to listen until he left terrestrial radio (except for the few years I lived in upstate New York and there was no local station carrying him, which unfortunately coincided with the early Billy West-era heyday). Include the WOR show in the early 90's, the books, the movie and the E! show, and you've got a great run.

Now I only listen to the radio late at night while working, mostly Air America with occasional check-ins with AM Coast-to-Coast. I can't see getting Sirius just for Howard, because I doubt there's anything else I'd care to listen to on it. (I've already downloaded all the 70's music I like.) Now and again I try Adam Carolla, Stern's replacement here in Portland, but while I like him personally, the show just doesn't have that conversational feel that Howard's had, and the sidekicks are mostly dead weight. The other morning shows in Portland are absolutely un-fucking-listenable, the same douchey drones that have populated that sterile landscape forever, only now with farts. Today I read that David Lee Roth's show is kaput after only about ninety days. Having heard him on Stern's show, I can't imagine how anyone could take him for more than 90 seconds.

Speaking of Billy West, his website is an entertaining perusal (although his March post in the "Coffee Lounge" forum promising 26 new episodes of Futurama turned out to be premature, optimistic, and ultimately terribly disappointing) and he has a new show, "Billy Bastard," coming out, ah, somewhere and sometime.

This morning I wanted a Howard fix, so I dug out an interview with Franken and Davis from August 1987. On the unlabelled flip side I found a clip of Howard's show from November 1991, which I doubt I've heard since I taped it and I bet it was never replayed. It's a Gilligan's Island bit (based around the disappearance-at-sea of media magnate Robert Maxwell), a mildly amusing mix of baby cannibalism and doody jokes, with Billy's contributions being the reason I bother putting it up here. Howard and Fred Norris supply two or three of the voices, but Billy fills in the rest, including Maxwell portrayed as Charles Laughton (and gradually becoming Professor Farnsworth as he is eaten alive by the castaways). His Jim Backus impression always cracks me up, too...

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Newsday TV Line Ad For Hicks Nurseries, 1977

We went here every year to stroll through the animated scenes of bunnies frolicking in Easterville, or whatever it was supposed to be. Never really terribly exciting, it still beat slogging through the Stations of the Cross.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

By Popular Demand: Emmy Jo---Hi-Yo!

When I first posted about New Zoo Revue's Emmy Jo (Emily Pederson)

a few months back, I had no idea it would be such a popular topic. Lo and behold, almost once a day someone finds my blog by searching her name. I figure, what the hell, give the people what they want, so I'm posting more pictures of her. And since many of the overall searches reaching my site are folks looking for smutty shots of the various celebs I've mentioned here, I tried to approach it from that angle and capture the most salacious shots I could. Of course, it's a kiddie show, so you have to settle for pics of her knees and some vaguely orgasmic faces as she sings. (I had mentioned earlier that she looks alot like Parker Posey; taking these vidcaps, I realized there's some young Kim Cattrall and even a little Carmen Electra in there too.) So without further ado, here's Emmy Jo, hot n' saucy, Texas-style!

And for those interested in her seductive singing voice, here's a brief clip of a love song she sings to Freddie the Frog...

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Disclaimer: You'll Die Laughing.

...or perhaps you'll look on, bored and not even vaguely amused. I recently unearthed a bag of Creature Feature cards from the 70's and 80's which I had enjoyed as a kid and forgotten about.

These were sets of cards (the first sets from 1973 and the second from 1980) with stills from horror movies with comical captions:

Okay, "comical" if you hadn't yet discovered Mad Magazine. Many folks apparently recall these cards as "You'll Die Laughing," because the backs have jokes and riddles with that heading, but they don't say "Creature Feature" anywhere on them. I was thinking of putting mine on eBay, but I think they're more or less worthless. They certainly aren't good for a laugh, as this limerick from the 1973 series attests:

Had the writer of this mess ever heard of a limerick before tackling the assignment? In the 1973 set, some of the incidental actors are replaced with badly pasted-in heads, most notably in this shot from "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein":

All the pics here are from other sites, mainly this one, where you can see all the cards--fronts and backs--from the 1973 sets. I take no responsibility for those who die or are otherwise maimed (e.g., split sides) by the viewing of these horrific hilarities...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

TV Guide, 27 Years Ago This Week.

In yet another pointless exercise in pop nostalgia, this time out we find the April 7-13 1979 TV Guide with the delectable Maren Jensen of Battlestar Galactica on the cover.

In her interview, she says, "At 22, it's very nice to have a contract of maybe $100,000 a year over a term that could be ten years." Or, say, one year, as it turned out. She went on to add, "I'm definitely not hurting." Ironically, in the early eighties, she was among the first of the beautiful people to be diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (or possibly Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known in Hollywood as I-once-starred-on-a-series-and-now-I-can't-even-get-a-lousy-guest-shot-on-Love-Boat-so-why-bother-getting-out-of-beditis). Where is she now? Fifty.

On Saturday's Space Academy, "the robot Peepo invents a freezing machine to cool down hot planets, unaware that the ice it creates becomes a self-detonating explosive." Wait a minute--isn't that the plot of Cat's Cradle?

On the official Animal House TV show Delta House (not to be confused with Coed Fever or Brothers and Sisters), Michelle Pfeiffer strutted her pre-extensive-plastic surgery stuff as "Bombshell." Also in this ad: try to name the all-star cast pictured for that evening's Love Boat.

Also on Saturday night, one could check out Supertrain, Fred Silverman's Waterloo. The first model of the train cost about a million bucks, and crashed and burned on its trial run. The first four episodes were ratings poison, so it was retooled and returned with the sensational ep advertised here.

De Witt! Kopell! Farr! Tayback! The show didn't last much longer.

Among your syndicated program choices that night were The Cheap Show, That's Hollywood, Candid Camera, Dance Fever, Don Kirschner's Rock Concert and SCTV.

If you didn't stay up too late watching Wild Women of Wongo on WOR, then maybe you could have gotten up Sunday morning and checked out Davey and Goliath, wherein a "run-in with the school principal teaches Davey that God is approachable." Sounds like that principal thinks quite highly of himself. Later, on Kids are People Too, Kiki Dee and Fred Grandy will bore everyone back to bed, making them miss Alex and Annie's toe-tapping ditty about enuresis.

This show was a tremendous hit and had everyone buzzing about whether Pete and Nancy would ever get together, and then whether they would get together again, and then again, and would Randy's grandpa ever move out. Oh, and everyone had the Jill Whelan cut back then.

Sunday night featured a special on WPIX with Richard Kiley as an apparition who recalls the Passover feasts he has witnessed throughout history. It's called The Stranger in the Empty Chair, a title which creeps me out sufficiently to avoid ever being invited for any Seder anywhere. Man, I thought transubstantiation was weird.

Monday night brought us the sixth showing of It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and the first showing of the 51st Annual Academy Awards hosted by Johnny Carson. Of course, the highlight of the program was Debby Boone singing "When You're Loved" from The Magic of Lassie.

On Monday: Here Comes Peter Cottontail, with Conan O'Brien.

On Thursday's Captain Kangaroo, Blunderman helps Dr. Noshman search for a missing cookie collection. I'm sure Mr. Lantern Fishworks would lend his estimable snickerdoodle-sniffing talents to the search (although he may be the prime suspect in this case). Personally, I'd suggest typing "Fudgetown" into Mapquest.

Last but not least, on the ABC Friday Night Movie, Like Normal People. Here's the ad, the copy for which appears to have been written by a third grader:

Why is the consummation of their love forbidden? They're retarded. Not profoundly retarded, of course, but pretty darn retarded. I'm going to confess something here: as a kid, I had it bad for the retarded. I mean, nothing tugged at my li'l heartstrings like a story of the hardships facing the mentally stunted. (Odd that these days I would have such an aversion to Paris Hilton.) Before this TV movie came along, I would have to say that my introduction to this genre was the seminal ABC Afterschool Special, Hewitt's Just Different.

Starring Perry Lang and Moosie Drier, Hewitt premiered October 12, 1977, and I can guarantee that that day after school found me stifling great shuddering sobs in the den, praying that my mom wouldn't come downstairs and wishing that I could beat up those big jerks on the baseball team who teased poor Hewitt. Lang's Cyrus Dewey-worthy performance was so good that, years later, I was nonplussed to see him in another show displaying no signs of deficiency. Had he somehow gotten better, I wondered for a moment? No, dumdum, it's called acting.

Just two weeks before Like Normal People debuted, there was No Other Love.

Brenda Morgenstern and John-Boy Walton, retarded and married? It was strange enough seeing Joe Hardy be retarded in LNP. I can't remember which movie I liked better of the two. Linda Purl was awful cute, so there's that. But No Other Love had a killer supporting cast in Robert Loggia, M. Emmet Walsh and Bad Ronald's Scott Jacoby. In the end, I'll have to go with Like Normal People because a) it was a true story, and b) as I watched it that night, I was excitedly assembling my Easter present which I'd gotten that day, the Darth Vader Action Model bust.

It was wicked cool, although the "rasping breathing sound" was just a little brush with stiff bristles that rubbed against a plastic disc in his neck when his head moved back and forth. What a gyp! And actually, the more I think about it, I remember mostly being terribly frustrated by the baffling instructions and many small pieces. Maybe that helpless feeling made me identify with the damaged protagonists of the film.

Yet later, there were the Bill movies with Mickey Rooney. Did I enjoy those retarded tearjerkers too? Well, DUH!