Wednesday, December 21, 2022
I came across an old Facebook post where I found myself EXPLAINING zombies to my brother Jeffrey. I was, at the time (and perhaps still am) OBSESSED with the concept - in particular, this latest rendition of zombie lore as expressed in THE WALKING DEAD series, which after 12 YEARS and 177 EPISODES, has ended.
He asked me...
"Don, I don't get this zombie craze....If a zombie is "dead" where does the hunger come into play? Why does it need to eat brains? If dead, where does the will come in to seek out the living to kill and eat? If dead, why is it necessary to blow their brains out in order to "kill" them (again)?"
Zombies have been portrayed differently throughout the years, but the ones from "The Walking Dead" series generally follow the same "rules" as George Romero's "Dead" movies do - with one major exception. I can go on forever with this but I'll try to keep it short...
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
That question has plagued me for YEARS... What the hell is a Bubblerock?
For years and years Dan has plugged Bubblerock endlessly... when he'd send Joey, Mark and I packages in the mail - which would contain lots of interesting goodies, such as news clippings about various things that mutually interested us, like The Beatles, Famous Monsters, David Bowie, The Kinks, Jerry Lewis, The Muensters, The Banana Splits, Rankin Bass - you know, ALL OUR USUAL OBSESSIONS... he'd include a drawing of one of his characters (either Botro Robot or Ka Ka Kat) with a word balloon going to the mouth which read "Bubblerock is Coming!" "Bubblerock is Great!" "Bubblerock is Out Of Sight!" - or something to that effect, sometimes just "Bubblerock!" - but there was NEVER an explanation of what Bubblerock WAS.
It would SEEM Bubblerock was (more or less) an idea... a make-believe company... an all encompassing "project" that somehow pulled all of these mindless tangents under one umbrella. When Dan began exploring avenues made available to him via social media, primarily Facebook and Youtube - Bubblerock was often peddled to the masses using the unsolicited images of various celebrities like Susan Dey and Rene Zellweger - two particular subjects of Dan's undying adoration.
But Dan's calvalcade of unwitting celebrity "endorsements" just muddied the waters further. His adverts featured the likes of Martin Short's Ed Grimley, The Cowsills, Laurel and Hardy, ABBA, Melody Valentine of Josie and The Pussycats... what did these varying entities, living and dead, actual and make believe, have to do with each other?
Possibly nothing... nothing at all...
So I began not only questioning Bubblerock with Dan, but outright protesting it! Below are just a FEW of the many, many memes I've sent to Dan over the years... sometimes he'd laugh, sometimes he'd ignore them, sometimes they'd be removed from his Facebook page as soon as they went up...
Monday, October 31, 2022
While the wife and I were handing out Halloween Treats to all the adorable little kids that rang our doorbell this Halloween - what was our friend Joey doing? Well....
Friday, October 14, 2022
Okay - it's not horrible... but it's not great either... what it IS, it's the last time Harry Nilsson ever sang LIVE onstage - at a full fledged concert backed by Ringo Starr and his band at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, September 1992.
Performing LIVE was something Harry didn't do.
Some people will tell you it was because Harry, in spite of his bawdy reputation for hard drinking and partying, was really a painfully shy man. Others will tell you that the choice not to perform live was primarily a technical one - Harry's multi-octave, at times heavily multi-tracked singing was something that would not (could not) translate well to the stage. Add to that, and it's no secret, everyone knows Harry's voice was arguably not up to par in later years.
But there was a time - this time - where Ringo Starr (a long-time friend of Harry's) had convinced Harry to do so. Todd Rundgren, who was one of Ringo's All-Star band members at the time, sang along with Harry, filling out the high notes. And wouldn't you know it - Harry picked the most difficult of all the songs in his catalogue - the #1 chart topper of his career, "Without You".
There's no VIDEO... just audio... apparently this is all that exists out there to date of his last performance. A few months after this Harry suffered a heart attack - and then about a year after that he suffered another - this time fatal. So take it for what it's worth... it's not Harry in his hey-day at the top of his game (it's anything but) however, it IS something VERY rare - - and special. It's still, after all, Harry...
I met Harry at an autograph table at one of those Beatlefest Conventions back in the mid 80s. Harry used to do Beatlefests back then as a way to increase awareness about the dangers of handgun violence. As everyone knows, Harry (and the world) lost John Lennon earlier that decade when a disturbed young man with a gun took his life outside The Dakota building, where the Lennon's had lived since 1973. Harry (who at one time was nicknamed "the fifth Beatle") took Lennon's death particularly hard, and spent the rest of his life supporting the National Coalition To Ban Handguns.
Someone (perhaps Harry himself?) had placed a sign on the wall behind him that read "KISSES FOR SALE - $1.00". (I opted for a signature.) I also gave him a cartoon drawing I did of him - and surprisingly, right there on the spot - he drew a caricature of himself that he gave to me! My buddy Lloyd held out a dollar and said "how 'bout you sing a couple of lines?" and he snatched the dollar out of his hand (and sang) "couple of lines!!" Harry obviously had a great sense of humor!
But after all, this was an autograph table encounter and everyone's supposed to move it along after a moment or two - so as great as that was, I had an even more memorable Harry encounter later that night.
Back To The Point
With my Beatlefest goodie-bag and film schedule in hand I was making my way down one of the hallways when all of a sudden, coming up fast behind me, was Harry - as he was being carried through the hallway by a small entourage, big red glass of something in one hand (his other around someone's neck) and I would swear his feet weren't even touching the ground. His "support" group was taking him towards the elevator, perhaps to go to his room, and at one point I found myself right along side of him. I figured, well - while Harry's right here let me say hello. So I did - and I asked him if he had ever planned on doing a sequel for "The Point" - an album and an animated cartoon that had changed my life forever.
For a brief moment he broke from his multiple conversations he was having with his group and looked me right in the eye. He seemed to be genuinely touched that I had asked that - and he answered, with a hint of forlorn, "...you know... I DID!!... although at the time no one was particularly interested enough, so it was dropped... I wanted to call it "Back To The Point". Then someone with him cut in and said something to the effect of "now let's get back to OUR point!" - whatever THAT was supposed to mean. It sounded like some thinly veiled reference to whatever they were planning to do once out of sight. Before I could say anything else to Harry they had already whisked him inside the elevator - and they were gone.
I turned around and headed back to the Dealer's room - with mixed emotions... glad I got to speak to Harry, but somewhat saddened by what he said - or more accurately how he sounded when he said it. There was also a nagging feeling that I was witnessing a kind of self-destruction - the very thing, the very same subject matter - that if you dig deep enough - you keep coming across whenever you read or see anything on Harry's career. There's always the mention that Harry had it in him to be great (and yes, he was) but he also had his demons. Enablers seemed to be everywhere.
But that night with Ringo was different - maybe THAT'S what makes it so special. It was Harry trying his best - and that's all anybody could've hoped for.
Miss you Harry.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place,
although there is no proof.
- - -
Okay, before I get any call from Mr. MacFarlane's lawyers let me just say that I'm ONLY KIDDING... although an acknowledgement in the credits would have been nice. About WHAT, you're asking? Okay, I'll tell you...
Back in the late 70s, early 80s - as a wee lad - I worked as an inbetweener/assistant animator at a place that seems to have been wiped from history called Ovation Films, Inc. They did mostly animated commercial spots for various clients - animated by a guy named Howard Basis and produced by Art Petricone. It was my first job and one that I was thrilled to have gotten offered right out of High School.
The studio was a very small place on 43rd street in Manhattan, right around the corner from the jewelry district - and I remember those days with fondness - learning animation while the golden tones of Mel Torme drifted down the short hallway from Howard's office into the room where my animation table was set up. Just down the hall from me was where the ink and paint department was - and it wouldn't be uncommon to hear the ink and paint ladies chatting away while they worked.
Very old school, mind you - this was before computers. Picture what you'd see when you'd watch a documentary about the early days of Disney - or Fleisher Studios - or perhaps, more accurately, Ralph Bakshi Studios - as many of the ink and paint ladies came from there. I'll never forget how one of them told me that they worked on the Popeye cartoons when he went to color - the white sailor suit era - and they thought those drawings of Olive Oyl were (in her words) "hideous". A few of them confessed (almost as if it was some type of secret they were keeping amongst themselves) that they worked on the world's first X-rated animated movie, "Fritz The Cat".
So, in short, here I am - just a kid - barely out of High School, when Howard offers me the opportunity of a lifetime... I found myself assisting him on a 60 second Public Service Announcement spot featuring McGruff The Crime Dog!
Here's the commercial in it's entirety as it appeared on TV roughly 38 years ago - - I haven't seen it since then, until now...
Now you might assume that while clicking through YouTube I just came upon this without intentionally looking for it, but no... the reason why I came across this old commercial is because I actually came across THIS clip from FAMILY GUY first! Yep... Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy used a portion of the commercial and added Brian (the family dog) as McGruff's sidekick!!
Imagine coming across THAT out of the blue! Seeing that animation again took me right back to 33 West 43rd street - - I couldn't believe it! Then of course, I followed a link to the original animation and saw even more...
So Seth, if you're out there - I was just kidding about you owing me money (really, I was) - - I guess if anything I should say THANKS TO YOU for breathing new life into something I worked on and had all but forgotten about! Seeing it again, it was like some sort of deja vu thing happened! Jeezuz...
Sadly, and much to my dismay, as hard as I've looked (and believe me I've tried) I've never found ANYTHING else on Ovation Films, Inc., or it's founders Howard and Art... surely, with everything they've created there'd be some footprint on the internet, wouldn't you think? But not really...
I mean, I have on occasion found a commercial or two that I've worked on - but it's always very random - or part of a 70s-80s retro commercial compilation... but never attributed to Ovation.
I remember once, near the end of my time there before they closed - they were throwing out PILES of painted animation cells. Sure, they were already shot on film, but piles and piles of these painted cells were being thrown out - and no one, including me, thought to save any. Well, actually - I did save a drawing that was used in an Excedrin Commercial - only to have it compensated by the guy who drew it when I asked him if he could sign it for me during a class he was teaching at Parsons School Of Design... but that's an emotionally scarring story for another day...
Saturday, September 10, 2022
I was just talking to Joey earlier today and he mentioned how odd it was for us, as grown men, to be so damn obsessed with monsters and puppets. "What's WRONG with us?" he wondered aloud - and I, well - I didn't have an answer. There's PLENTY wrong with us - but where do I begin?
Our love for monsters, puppets, and a wide assortment of oddities goes WAY back into our childhoods - and quite often we find ourselves talking about - oh I dunno - The Night Of The Living Dead... Famous Monsters Aurora Model Kits... The Winchell-Mahoney Show... Bugs Bunny classic cartoons... Gumby and Pokey... Davy and Goliath... King Kong (I could go on, but let me get straight to the point)... there's no one quite as obsessed as Joey.
Joey has such an extensive collection of monster memorabilia that it spilled from his house into a converted barn structure in his backyard he called "The Haunted Barn" - and I was lucky enough to see it in it's hey day! Once inside I didn't know where to look first... as the walls came alive with aliens, apes, giant spiders, movie posters, demon babies and God knows what else. Today, much of it is in storage and The Haunted Barn, as it was known, is temporarily closed.
Whenever Joey gets a chance he likes to bring some of his collectibles out into the fresh air, at various venues and conventions - much to the delight of curious onlookers - and he's been known to slip into a gorilla suit every now and then and terrorize the crowds.
Joey, here's hoping that the wait for the re-opening of The Haunted Barn is not too far off into the future - but until then, here's a few pics, links and a clip to enjoy....
Check out this great article from ROADSIDEAMERICA!!
Another great article from ODD THINGS I'VE SEEN!!
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Friday, June 17, 2022
You read that right... Beavis and Butthead are back in a new movie set for release this June, "Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe" and here's a little sneak peek.
Mike Judge returns as the voices of both Beavis and Butthead, and this time they're on a space mission with NASA in the year 1998 (the year after the original series ended) - - but somehow they wind up in the year 2022 (oh, God - help them!) As the NSA and the U.S. government track them down, the two struggle to adjust to this bizarre new world they find themselves in - while retaining their juvenile sense of wonder and awkward innocence. I guess the lesson here would be is, if Beavis and Butthead can get through this, so can we.
Regarding the cameo with Cher - she looks pretty damn good here (I just googled her - is she really 76 years old?) - she looks better here than she's looked 10 years ago. With modern de-aging technology available these days could there be some digital tampering afoot? Regardless, she's a good sport - even to go as far as making Butthead think he's got a chance to score with her, "You feeling' lucky, Butthead? ...You know all you gotta do is... yeah... lose... (gesturing with her eyes towards Beavis) ....lose... you know who...". Butthead lifts off his virtual helmet and looks at Beavis, who still has his on and says "Hey, Beavis... get OUT of here!" Butthead's already forgotten the whole encounter with Cher was via virtual reality. But to Butthead scoring is scoring... even virtually.
Monday, June 6, 2022
If you were at the Pine Bush UFO Fair this weekend you probably saw THIS guy! That's our Joey (with some friends) posing between the kiosks I made for him! It was a lovely event - and unlike last year the transient lunatic touching all the objects clearly marked "do not touch" was a no show - although they were ready for him this time! (I'm imagining security guards dressed up as extraterrestrials).
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
It's been roughly 4 or 5 years since I posted Sarah Silverman in a Gorilla Suit (for no apparent reason - other than Joey likes gorillas - and subsequently, gorilla suits, and I like... well... Sarah) and as I recall the hits went through the roof. Search words like "Out Of Bodies" gets barely a trickle... but Sarah Silverman in a Gorilla Suit? Jackpot!
With that in mind Sarah Silverman Flashing Various Groups of People may just crash the internet. That wouldn't be so bad, would it? We could all probably use a little downtime - we're all just a bit over-saturated with social media, aren't we? Yes we are - and that includes you too! Yes, YOU!!
This one's my favorite of the three - - oddly enough it's got the least of Sarah, but look at the expressions on those Japanese tourist's faces! (Oooooooh you - - Click! Click! Click!) And while we're on the subject of Sarah Silverman - make sure to check out her excellent podcast, The Sarah Silverman Podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts - and keep an eye out for her brand new off-Broadway Musical production of her best seller book The Bedwetter.