100 Things About Me #58

Cartoon Loon

I have a deep love for cartoons, especially the animated theatrical shorts of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Perhaps, the kinship I feel towards these films is due to my adorable, piggy-like stammers, my mistaking skunks for puddy tats, my endorsements of ACME products and spinach, and the fact I can never decide whether it's rabbit season or duck season.

Plus, anvils keep falling on my head.

My favorite cartoon of them all is this one, MGM's "Deputy Droopy," released in 1955, from directors Tex Avery (who voices the small robber) and Michael Lah.

Can't see the cartoon? Try here.

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Dedicated to Excellence

Humor at About.comI've been away on urgent Internet business. I attended the big About.com staff convention.

I go for the group mouse.


100 Things About Me #57


Before                              During                              After

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Maybe He Arranges His Lozenges

"Jerry Lewis Back to Work

"The 80-year-old entertainer, who underwent surgery in San Diego last week after having what his rep described as a 'very minor' heart attack, is making a fast recovery, reports E!Online.

"The comic icon has regained enough strength to begin work on his annual Labor Day telethon for muscular dystrophy, according to a spokeswoman." --MiamiHerald.com

A Ray Taylor, from somewhere approximating Atlanta, writes:

"When Jerry goes to work on the Telethon, what does he do, check to see if the Treniers are working Labor Day?"


100 Things About Me #56

Pawn of the Dead
It makes me nervous when my wife talks about the funeral arrangements.

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Movie Piracy

Crow's-Nest Seating
Kids Under 12 Pillage Free
Salute and Say "Aye, Matey" to Our Concessionaires
Silence Your Talking Parrot Before the Show
No Hooking
Rated Aarrgh


Rustle While I Work

Overheard From My Computer
Our dizzily exciting Saturday morning was highlighted by the ceremonial changing of the goo. Out with the old cat box innards, in with the new kitty litter.

Part of this process involves the spreading of a wide expanse of fresh newspaper under the container to protect the bathroom's linoleum in case of an accident.

Mission accomplished.

Twenty minutes later, I heard the occasional whisper of paper pages in motion from the other side of the closed lavatory door. These rippling sounds persisted until my curiosity got the best of me.

Actual conversation:

Mike: Are you reading the floor?


[giggles] Yesss...


"The Nutty Professor: The Musical"

"Jerry Lewis, who played 'The Nutty Professor' in 1963, has a wacky new scheme: staging the film as a Broadway musical. ... Lewis will direct the show, which he aims to have on Broadway by October 2008. ...

"[Michael] Andrew, a 41-year-old crooner and comedian who fronts The Atomic Big Band, is set to play the lead, the bucktoothed Julius Kelp, who invents a potion that transforms him into the suave Buddy Love." --AP via "USA Today"

Personally, I'd rather see "The Patsy: The Luncheon Meat," or "Helen Welenmelon on a StairMaster," or "Hollywood or Bust" implants.

Man, my skin is crawling. This "Nutty Professor" project feels like a disaster to me. I adore the original movie, but the material is and always will be a Jerry Lewis star vehicle. The comedy is personality tailored. What makes it good is Jerry and that doesn't translate to other performers.

A "Nutty Professor" play without him is like those giant cartoon character costumes walking around DisneyWorld with Teamsters inside. Everybody's disappointed it's not the real Goofy.

What's next, Jer? "The Geisha Boy" as "The Gay Shemale?"

I exchanged exasperated messages concerning "The Nutty Professor" musical all day. Then, Frank Thompson writes me:

Who's the guy we're thinking of?
Buddy Love! Buddy Love!
Who's the hipster's turtle dove?
Buddy Love! Buddy Love!

He never needs help
he's never yella
but just like Kelp
he must have that Stel-la!


You know, ... it ... just ... might ... WORK!


Fat Out of Hell

"Someone else might have written 'Bat Out of Hell,' but Meat Loaf claims he should be the only one to use the phrase in connection with music.

"The beefy rocker, whose real name is Michael Aday, is suing Jim Steinman, who wrote the original song of the same name, alleging he has wrongly claimed ownership of the phrase. The 1977 'Bat Out of Hell' album and its 1993 follow-up, 'Bat Out of Hell II,' sold 48 million copies." --AP

This news item brought back memories of my actual, real-life brush with Meat Loaf in 1979.

I was the Program Director of WFOM Radio, north of Atlanta. I had traveled to Birmingham, AL for a broadcasters convention. Mr. Loaf was in attendance.

Late one evening, I strolled into the hotel lobby with our station's owner. We stopped behind a large chair or, perhaps, a love seat. In it, as we discovered, sprawled the immense serving of Meat Loaf himself. The more-than-chubby singer was alone.

Without a word between us, my boss moved to the entertainer's side, tapping him on the shoulder. Jerry leaned down and politely said to Meat Loaf: "Excuse me, are you The Kalin Twins?"

Meat Loaf looked a bit befuddled and said: "No."

We continued our stroll out of the room.


Four Play

"Repo Man," "13 Ghosts," and "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" were history. Five in the morn ticked closer. When I found myself outside observing "Switchblade Sisters" from a perch on a greasy drive-in auto hump, mere blocks away from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, a volatile public housing project, and a stinky rubbish landfill, I knew I was living the charmed life.

"The 'Dagger Debs' are a gang of snarling girls, and Maggie is their newest member. Lace, the ever tooth-gritting leader, befriends her but soon has doubts. -- It seems Lace's man, Dominic, head of the 'Silver Daggers,' fancies the new recruit. Lace struggles to keep control of the Debs, and a handle on Nick, as they face off against the rival gang of pushers lead by Crabs." --Amazon.com on "Switchblade Sisters"

"Lace and Nick and Crabs are the bestest friends with which any lad could hang," I heard myself inform a nocturnal scavenger pigeon ambling near a popcorn puff as it tumbled in the faint breeze. I gestured at the motion picture so he knew I wasn't crazy.

My wife, the ever tooth-gritting leader, was asleep in the car. She doesn't understand my hellraising ways. I look at movies under the moon, my darling, stay up until daybreak, and, if I'm rowdy, I chaw a whole pack of Juicy Fruit -- at the same time.

My middle name is Danger (pronounced: "David"). Tonight, I was in the middle of it.

Underneath the giant drive-in theatre screen filled with knife-slashing chicks, I was, obviously, the beverage dispenser of choice for battalions of marauding, blood-sucking insects. They zeroed in on me and flew down to tank up.

Mosquitoes are always bold and dangerous, but this strain was something extra formidable. They had BriteSmiled their stingers.

But I could play that game, too. I removed my jeans, blinding the buggers by the white of my thighs.

The mosquitoes were scared off due to the intense brightness -- and manly sinew, of course.

I finished watching the show, tossed assorted possessions into the car trunk, and directed our wheels through the exit gate.

Donna snored the fearsome wail of "13 Ghosts'" banshee #8 in a screechy serenade which covered our entire drive into the dawn and home.

"I know, dear," I whispered. "You do dig me."

Previously in This Thread: Two for the Chow | "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" | Sleepo Man | Spectacles in the Dark


Spectacles in the Dark

The original version of "13 Ghosts" is a low budget haunted house affair, presented in the miraculous process known as "Illusion-O."

To add to the cheesiness, the entirety is in black-and-white, except for the main titles and several brief, technically necessary, ghost sequences spliced into the action. As soon as the color-enhanced spooks exit from the screen to their trailers, the picture reverts immediately to the gray tones.

I'm often amused at an urban legend surrounding MGM's "The Wizard of Oz." Apparently, millions of people believe color film was invented during the 1939 production. That's their explanation for why the movie changes from black-and-white cinematography to full color after the first reel.

Please allow me to set the record straight.

Folks, color had been used in silent films much, much earlier than Judy Garland's trip to Oz, but did you know color was uninvented in 1960? Then, reinvented? Then, uninvented? Then, reinvented? Then, uninvented and so forth? It's true. "13 Ghosts" is the proof!

Veteran producer-director William Castle, a schlockmeister who worked on the cheap, was responsible for this thriller. He even went so far as to hustle "13 Ghosts" with the misleading ad copy: "See the ghosts in ectoplasmic color!" That's an underhanded inference the entire flick reflects the rainbow.

Castle had tried to position himself as an equal to Alfred Hitchcock, who was the superior showman. He took note of Hitchcock's successful self-promotion methods, which he mimicked in movie trailers and advertisements. He is seen at the beginning of "13 Ghosts," explaining the Illusion-O technology.

We were handed 3-D glasses, two years ago, upon entry at the drive-in theatre. These opticals were the type with red and blue lenses to substitute for the out-of-print Illusion-O devices, although the movie is not three-dimensional in the least -- certainly not the script, nor the acting.

During "13 Ghosts'" initial release, audiences received an official cardboard "Ghost Viewer" with two strips of cellophane attached, one red, one blue.

At key points in the action, visual cues warn of the impending appearances of ghosts! If you were brave, you looked through the red filter to see the apparitions. If you were chicken, you looked through the blue "Ghost Remover" filter and no demon would be seen.

I looked through the window into the next car and watched a beast with two backs. If they did it until I needed glasses, I was ready with the 3-D pair.

"Ahem," said Donna.

"No hymnal. I checked," I said, gazing at the Subaru whoopity-doo. There wasn't a ghost of a chance I'd miss the scary parts.

Previously in This Thread: Two for the Chow | "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" | Sleepo Man
Next: Four Play

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