Monday, January 30, 2006

New Zoo Revue Goes Blue

I enjoyed New Zoo Revue as a kid--that is when I could drag my ass out of bed early enough to catch it. I don't think it was ever on later than six a.m., at least when I was of the age to appreciate it. Each episode featured two people, the dorky Doug and the enchanting Emmy Jo, and their costumed animal pals, Freddie the Frog, Charlie the Owl, and Henrietta the Hippo. I don't recall him, but Chuck Woolery also appeared on occasion as Mr. Dingle, an old postman who looked litigiously similar to Mr. McFeely, Fred Rogers' Speedy Delivery man.

Twenty years ago or so, Mike (Lantern Fishworks) and I rented a generic-looking blooper tape from our local video store. It was called "Take One," and had the usual assortment of Star Trek outtakes and such. The part that really made our jaws drop was a NZR segment where Freddie and Charlie trade curses and insults. "Go fuck yourself, Charlie!," the child-like frog screams. "You're nothing but an old faggot!" The animosity soon turns amorous, however, when Freddie lifts his sweater up, revealing that, like many animal characters, he does not wear pants. Nor is any froggy genitalia evident, but that doesn't stop the lusty old owl from blowing him so vigorously that the set nearly collapses. To the howls and guffaws of the crew, Charlie then throws Freddie onto a table and humps him senseless. Mike and I laughed until we couldn't breathe, and then watched it again and again.

I wish I had stolen that tape, as I have never spotted it anywhere since and the store eventually closed down anyway. I did find another blooper tape with the segment, but it is an abbreviated version without the violent table-fuck.

Here is a crummy vidcap of Freddie offering his non-existent balls to Charlie.


I just found a 6 DVD set of the entire 1972 first syndicated season (it began as a local show in 1969) for $6.99. I dubbed off a few eps as I really don't want all 59 shows, just a representation for my collection of 70's video artifacts. It still holds up well. I don't know how today's kiddies would respond to it, but it's pretty well-produced for an obviously low-budget affair. One thing I didn't remember at all was just how hot Emmy Jo was. Played by Emily Peden, who strongly resembles Parker Posey, she often prances around in mini-skirts and go-go boots. When she sings a slow song, she sounds strangely like Willow MacGregor seducing Sergeant Howie through the wall in The Wicker Man. Oocha, and might I add, magoocha.

Emmy Jo and Doug married shortly after the show began, and apparently are still together today, running a production company in Las Vegas. There are scant few pics of her on the web, and these poor vidcaps are the best I can do...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Some L. Ron Hubbub (or, Don't Believe the Hype!)

Just thought I'd note that L. Ron Hubbard died twenty years ago this week (but of course his Thetan continues to operate). Just in case you're not acquainted with this appalling fraud, read his Wikipedia entry here, and here's more from them about his patented crackpottery.

Wikipedia also has a list of practicing Scientologists, and the Notable Names Database has one also. Take a look...
Some deep thinkers on those lists, eh? No Chomsky or Hawking, but hey, having Swayze, Dwayne Wayne, the chick from JAG and Bronson Pinchot's voice coach on your rolls certainly adds cachet.

I have no specific beef with Scientology, just a general dislike of blatant bullshit. If you feel the same way and haven't been to James Randi's JREF site, do yourself a favor. Here's his weekly commentary archive. Also to that end, the February Harper's has a terrific article called "God or Gorilla" about the Dover Area School District's "intelligent design" trial, written by a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin. Good stuff.

Bizarre note: I just noticed that my Internet connection tonight is through "Hubbard, Oregon." I have never seen that listed as my location before, and indeed have never even heard of this city. Coincidence? Yeah, right! Wake up down there! (Click link, fourth paragraph.)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

30 Years Ago in TV Guide...


Larry King's favorite, Angie Dickinson, and everyone's favorite, Earl Holliman, grace the cover of the January 17-23, 1976 TV Guide.

  • TVG reports that Welcome Back, Kotter is back on in Boston, which had banned it due to the city's "racially tense school situation." Sounds crazy, but few recall that the pilot had Boom-Boom pistol-whipping class slut Hotzi Totzi in the back of the bus. (Bonus points: who played Hotzi Totzi? Mary Hartman's little sister, used to be on Match Game a lot, died less than a year ago... (answer link here)
  • My viewing choices for Saturday morning, January 17th, beginning at 8 a.m.: Hong Kong Phooey; Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape or Bugs Bunny/Road Runner; Scooby Doo; Land of the Lost; Run, Joe, Run; Speed Buggy; Oddball Couple. Then I'd venture into the daylight, blinking and trembling.
  • On American Bandstand, actress Liz Torres sings "Hurt." She was best known then as Theresa on All in the Family and Julie on Phyllis, now as Miss Patty on Gilmore Girls (a show I really enjoy, so screw you).
  • Dorothy Hamill is shown earning a berth at the Olympics on Saturday's Wide World of Sports.
  • Kukla, Fran & Ollie presents an opera. Boy, I'm sorry I missed that one.
  • Howard Cosell's variety show on ABC features Scottish deviants Bay City Rollers, comedian "Bill" Crystal and singer (?) "Elaine Boozler." Surprise, it's the last show of the series, to be replaced by Almost Anything Goes, which, if I remember correctly, often featured people rowing an inflatable raft across an above-ground pool.

  • A CBS special saluting the Super Bowl has O.J. Simpson and Joe Namath singing "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown." I didn't see it, but I bet the word 'bad' oughta be in there a few more times. The Pointer Sisters and KC and the Sunshine Band are on hand, as are Mary Richards, Lou Grant, Maude, Phyllis, Murray Slaughter and J.J. Evans.


  • Advertisement: Another triumph! Step away from it, Arthur--now it belongs to the ages!

  • Only three bucks, or get 2 for a fin. Make the second a gift, as "anyone who has a sense of humor will thank you." No, thank you, Master Sarnoff.

  • Sunday morning finds about seven thousand religious programs (including the ever-popular Worship For Shut-ins) and multiple showings of Davey and Goliath; Harlem Globetrotter Popcorn Machine with Rodney Allen Rippy; Wonderama; Big Blue Marble (which I can't imagine any child actually sitting through, despite what these folks claim); and, of course, Abbott and Costello and Bowery Boys flicks. In other words, sleep in.
  • Here's the line-up for the Super Bowl teams. It has something to do with sports.
  • There's a show called Vaudeville on WNEW Sunday evening. Nancy Walker, Harvey Lembeck, Sid Gould... Couldn't they just let it rest?
  • On World of Disney, "The Whiz Kid and the Carnival Caper" has juvenile sleuths investigating larcenous carnies, with Mineola's own Kim Richards (who else?) as Daffy. Over on ABC, Swiss Family Robinson stars Helen Hunt, future Academy Award-winning actress, and Willie Aames, future fat coked-up Christian with a short fuse and bad ink.
  • Old episodes of Rin Tin Tin return to weekly daytime TV, but it is noted that they are now shown in sepia, not black and white. It is not explained why. On Tuesday's episode, Rin Tin Tin is mauled by a mountain lion. Oh, that Rinty!
  • Let's play "Dead or Not Dead" with guests of the game and talk shows of the week. George Gobel. Joe Garagiola. Lola Falana. Carol Channing. Sandy Duncan. Karen Valentine. Elaine Joyce. Jaye P. Morgan. Jo Anne Worley. Marvin Hamlisch. Paul Williams. Wink Martindale. Rin Tin Tin.
  • (For answers, go to IMDb.com, because I don't know and I don't care. Let's just assume they were all mauled by mountain lions.)

  • Advertisement:

    It doesn't say what this "land of intrigue" is. Kaftan? Dahara? Massapequa?
  • Synopsis of a Partridge Family repeat on Channel 5: "In Las Vegas, a leggy cigarette girl means trouble for 10 year-old Danny." I think I see a lifetime of bad decisions brewing. Danny should at least learn to check and see how hairy those legs are.
  • Tuesday brings the debut of Popi, with Hector Elizando as a Puerto Rican widower who, according to the ad, has "a knack for failing in the most hilarious way possible." Undoubtedly, this self-destructive trait charms his two young sons and the woman he's "keeping company" with.

  • Mary Tyler Moore is showcased in a Thursday night special called Mary's Incredible Dream, which indeed sounds, uh, incredible: "[Moore] sings and dances to rock, pop, and classical pieces in a show that's drawn from the Bible and fleshed out with allegory about man's creation, fall and rebirth. The show takes the form of surrealistic dream sequences that range from the fanciful to the solemn, and that have Mary playing the roles of angel, devil and woman." Manhattan Transfer does "Sympathy for the Devil," perhaps worth the price of admission right there.

    In the ad, one of Mary's guises appears to be a Marlene Dietrich-type temptress, with thigh-high boots, tight leather jacket over a bustier, and a riding crop. Okay, now that's worth the admission!

  • And to close out our viewing week, we have the premiere of, holy Christ, that's right...

    ...it's Donny and Marie! Do you think these horse-toothed Jack Mormons suspected anything, say, different about Paul Lynde? On the debut episode, Farrah Fawcett-Majors played a "used dinosaur saleswoman." This show was a huge hit from the get-go. It may have something to do with the fact that it was up against the High Flying Circus Hamburg on CBS, which was highlighted by "the Great Fattini on a sway pole."

  • Man, I'm exhausted. I'm gonna go watch some new TV. Hey, Lawrence Welk is coming on!

    We'll Be Feeling Fine on 1/20/09!

    Only three more years until there's a new president! Hooray! Nah, who am I kidding. Bushie-Bush will be impeached before then. And Cheney should go with him, so that leaves, I think, Alan Alda. Really, would the public know the difference? Sell him with the line "Alan Alda: a fake Republican, but a real mensch."

    A presidential portrait from a 1977 TV Guide.