I Heard It Through the Tape, Mime

Paramount sent me this photo from "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa." The image appears to have been taken inside a tattered airplane, but it's also my dream home theatre, mostly due to the animals and 10-minute movie reels.

Oddly enough, the setting reminds me of one horrible day during the summer following high school.

Because of a personnel emergency, my projectionist union sent me to run the far-beyond tacky flicks at the Houston Street Art Cinema in Atlanta. I was recently 18 and scared to death to be downtown in a dive, but I was working my way to college. This place would prove to be more educational than Biology Lab.

The theatre was an old, greasy automobile garage that had been converted into a makeshift auditorium. They specialized in naughty 16mm silent films for gentlemen, cough cough, and their (where applicable) guests, hack hack cough hack shudder.

To placate these discerning audiences, I was instructed to feed an audio cassette of Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love" album repeatedly through the speaker system, so the overcoat crowd would be dazzled and mood-enhanced by the miracle of sound.

"I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you, how long I have waited..."

Show business.


Thank goodness it wasn't "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head."

With apologies to Mr. Bacharach and, of course, B.J. Thomas.


100 Things About Me #160

Age Before
Beauty Sleep
I'm no longer hap'nin'.

I'm nap'in'.

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


What the Heck Was I Thinking?

Actual Messages I Wrote, Forgot, Then Found While Cleaning Out My Email Folders


I went to the dollar store. Then I ate a pizza.

My day is done.


I had never heard that song before. The good news is the dust mites just stormed out of the house. By the way, Gomer says, "Hey."


The hard drive goes numb. Much like me.



Questions for Mr. Durrett, if He Has a Moment, Posed by The Friday Five

1. If you were to die today, what would your last words be?

"Argglflbhghhhh gfkklhgalg glggphlbblllgk ... that the southland gave birth to the blues!"

2. What would you want your epitaph to say?

3. What song would you want played at your funeral?

"The Itsy-Bitsy Spider."

It's where I came in.

4. In lieu of flowers, what should loved ones do in your honor?

Defib paddles! Defib paddles! Defib paddles!

And no ticklin'.

5. What unfinished business would you wrap up?

Oh, I'm no different than most people. Cremation plans in place, all there's left for me is to meat brush on the Lynchburg Tennessee Jack Daniels BBQ Fiery Smokin' Hott (151 Proof).

Someone else can do the grill floss.


Pulling a Rabbit Out of My Quag

Whenever I'm having a bad day, week, lifetime, I detest bumbling upon a spark to brighten my outlook.

Grumpy me was at a bookstore, schleppin' and slurpin' some 'spresso. I wandered for half an hour before I found myself in the biography aisle, daydreaming more than browsing. An unfamiliar book caught my eye. I removed "Jimmy Stewart" by Marc Eliot from the shelf and opened it. The very first words I saw were these:

"Jimmy loved to work. In 1975 he was asked to do a run of 'Harvey' on the stage in London. It's about a nebbishy man who has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a friend. My producer friend Jim Wharton and I went over to see it, and Jimmy gave a magnificent performance. I'll never forget his curtain call. He came out, and took a bow, and the English audience gave him a standing ovation. Then he did something magical. He turned to the wings and said, 'Come on, Harvey, everyone wants to see you.' By his gestures, he brought Harvey to the middle of the stage and put his arm around him. Everybody in that theater would have sworn that he could actually see Harvey standing there with Jimmy. Then Jimmy stepped back and gave Harvey a solo bow, and the audience went wild."
--William Frye

I lowered the book and stood in silence for a moment.

I'll never affirm, but I may have been touched.

I walked up front and made the purchase.



My Recent Confessions and Observations on Twitter, Where Everything Must Be Said in 140 Characters or Less

I'm wearing my dreamcatcher sweat socks. How do I look?

Headline: "Neal Hefti Dead at 85." Doo doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo.

Dennis Miller on Dick Cheney's surgeries: "I haven't seen anyone walk through heart attacks like this since SANFORD AND SON's 3rd season."

Life has thrown me another vicious curve. Why go on? The Old Fat Guy From BORAT is younger than me.

...But there's still time for me to be fatter!

Headline: "San Diego man caught with lobsters in pants." The thief would've gotten away with it, too, if he hadn't started walking sideways.

Item: "Travis Fessler held 11 huge cockroaches in his mouth for 10 seconds to draw attention to his favorite charity." Madonna is a charity?

I am feeling so immensely grouchy. Grrrrrrrrrrr... Seems I've missed National Grouch Day. http://snurl.com/4f1mw

...And I bet there were cupcakes.

Follow Mike on Twitter



Questions for Mr. Durrett, if He Has a Moment, Posed by The Friday Five

1) Who was your first kiss?

A blind date. She was lovely. I was a nervous wreck. I swallowed my gumbo bowl.

2) Who is the last person you kissed?

My wife, silly. I've got integrity and the cat's not a people.

3) What is the story of your most romantic kiss?

What the American people want to talk about are the issues, not someone I kissed years ago, someone in the neighborhood. We should be talking about the issues. That's what we should be talking about.

4) What is the story of your worst kiss?

I was very apprehensive, fidgety. I knew I had to do it, my first kiss. I was on a mission. There was another couple with us that would have been merciless to me if I didn't kiss her, so I manned up and went in for the score.

I slid off her face.

5) Who do you want to kiss right now?

The American people don't want to hear about my associations, who I'm palling around with. What the American people want to hear about are the issues. We should be talking about the issues. That's what we should be talking about. What are you wearing?


What the Heck Was I Thinking?

Actual Messages I Wrote, Forgot, Then Found While Cleaning Out My Email Folders


See you at 7. Oh, Donna has laryngitis, but maybe she will be better tomorrow. If not, my ventriloquist friend Mark might come with us.


As it so happens, I'm booked every other Arbor Day at The Slanted Clam, Ellijay. I play straight man in my "Night of Senor Wences' Fist" tribute. Dino, Desi, and Billy impersonators (Seth, Bingo, and Lumpy) open for me. I do most of the singing and men's room caulk touch-ups.

At the supper show, the mascara fluff brush from Shields and Yarnell takes questions from the audience (Bingo and Lumpy and a bottomless pitcher of turpentine sangria) during my costume change into the disturbingly leaky Wolverine Pinata (Ann B. Davis Stuffed With Sour Tamales, Asbestos Caramel Turtles, and Lilt Permanent Accessories Pinata when available).

Other than that, thanks for the Allen and Rossi article. It was informative and satisfyingly creepy.


I had a nice night, but my pet ravioli was short-cheesed.


Enough Already

I know everyone means well, but knock it off. Stop the ageism. Stop treating me like I'm ancient.

It all started around the time I turned 40. People would occasionally refer to me as "sir." I never heard that earlier.

"Have a nice day, sir," or "Would you like fries with that, sir, maybe oxygen?"

Then, when I hit 50, the "sirs" became non-stop. It's a given I'm going to be called "sir" anytime I venture out of the house, excepting those flatter moments when I'm called "ma'am."

"Yes, ma'am, complimentary pap smear?"

I've been dubbed "ma'am" while sporting a five-day stubble. I have a very heavy growth, not one of those wimpy girly beards.

What the hell is that about? I don't act like a woman. My wife tells me she's bewildered over these comments, too: "No comprendo, Noah, sir."

"Cute, Gidget."

So, yesterday contained a landmark event. I was checking out of the supermarket and the cashier said, as she finished loading my shopping cart, "Would you like help with this?"

"Sir," I added.

"Wasn't sure 'tweren't 'ma'am.' Yessir, would you like help with this, sir?"

"No, thanks," I said faux cheery, yet I was crestfallen. Help with unsweetened tea, four yogurts (assortment), and Meow Mix Wholesome Goodness?


And there I was athletically sneakered.

Bouncy even.

I may be aging on the outside, but I'm still my mischievous, energetic, tot-like self on the inside.

I don't shuffle along.

I don't hum the theme from "Barnaby Jones" or hover thought balloons chocked full of Buddy Ebsen.

I don't bark Bingo numbers in a seersucker Matlock blazer, or collect and swap tales of Melba toasts, or drool much.

If a breeze blows by, cumulus dust clouds shan't emanate from me as I teeter over.

I go minutes without a cobweb.

(Full disclosure: An impure thought of Angela Lansbury in 1973. One.)

I transferred the bag of groceries to the backseat of my automobile.

A ma'am, who looked old enough to be my deceased grandmother and her mallard, approached. She offered assistance, inquiring, "Would you like me to take your buggy, sir?"

"Yes, thank you," I graciously accepted, bestowing my empty cart, which rolled and pulled her to the collection rack a few spaces down the parking asphalt.

I drove home. That was hours ago. She may have wobbled back to her vehicle by now.

I made my way to the bathroom and stared into the mirror.

"Here's looking bifocally at you, kid," I said, syrupy.

Mort, the cat, leaped onto the countertop. He swiveled his head to face mine and spoke, "Methuselah-ow."


Words of Wisdom

The Family That Stays Together Sprays Together


Stanley R. Sogg, the Man Behind Art Fern

Here's a clip of Jackie Gleason from the early '60s, portraying Stanley R. Sogg, huckster host of a local TV station's late-night motion picture, sponsored by Mother Fletcher products. Add the props, the girls, the film jokes, the shifty commercials, and Jackie's leering persona and there's the same pot of gold funding Johnny Carson's hilarious "Tea Time Movie" sketches for decades to come.

The cheesy appearances of Art Fern were the comedy highlight of the Carson "Tonight Show," but without Gleason there never would have been this fork in the road.

Mmmm, sham wows, friends...

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Can't see the video? Try reloading this page or visit YouTube.



My Recent Confessions and Observations on Twitter, Where Everything Must Be Said in 140 Characters or Less

I was ribbing my cat about opposable thumbs when he moused YouTube with me crooning: "Thumbelina dance, Thumbelina sing..." Embarrassing.

One of the HD movie channels is showing spooky flicks. I am so excited. I'll get to not see the invisible man in high definition!

We went to our little town's brand new IHOP! They've got international pancakes from faraway lands. Yum-mmm, Dawsonville and Snellville!

Headline, just in: "World's Tallest Man Has a Son." Details are sketchy, but congratulations to you, sir, and the 22-inch sperm.

Latest oxymoron: "Rosie O'Donnell Special." (RIP "Bob Hope Special.")

Yippee! I can cross another item off The Bucket List. Someone finally said to me, "for all of your fez hat and custom fez needs."

I recall the wonderful gas war of 1970 when fuel was 24.9 cents per gallon. I'd fill my VW for $2.49! Costs more now for broccoli farts.

Follow Mike on Twitter


Hey, the New Diet Is Working Out Great!

And it's all you care to eat!

I'm down six pounds and a couple of canceled after-dinner speeches. I expect to be paid, people!

Oddly enough, the good-night kisses are up.

Thank you, Chef Ghoulicious.



Mike's Mailbag

Lately, I've been sharing my outgoing emails with you. Some readers, however, may be curious to see the messages I receive.

Here's an actual sampling, starting with a question about the eagerly anticipated "Popeye the Sailor: 1941-43, Vol. 3" DVD set.

Did Popeye come out on Amazon? It sez Nov.! You tryin' to steer me wrong?

The one-eyed sailor man rules!


P.S. You think Wimpy could get credit these days with his "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday..." line?


The Popeye release date appears to have been pushed back to Nov. 4th.

As for credit, yes.

In fact, my house is mortgaged through Wimpy Mac.

Poopdeck Pappy

(Thanks for that letter from an Astroray of an Atlanta, who prefers to remain anonymous and used an alias, as do and did I.)

A Bob Walker of a Hutchinson, Kansas, writes:

Mike, Mr. Clean died. They buried him between Madge the Manicurist and The Jolly Green Giant.

I doubt the Giant was getting trimmed.

His niblets were creamated.

The gravedigger used a hoe hoe hoe.

A Bob Walker of a Hutchinson, Kansas, writes back:

OK, Mike, they can't all be gems.... May Andy Rooney gang-whisk you with his eyebrow hairs.

May you break the pointer on The Flaccid Meter.


The First One Who Calls Me 'The Dork Knight' Gets It

Continued From: "Super Mike"

The documentary of my private heroic manly life, "Super Mike," has been finished. An astute reviewer calls me a "crusader extraordinaire and one hot hero."

That's very nice, and kind of embarrassing since I am aforesaid one hot critic.

The "Super Mike" coming attractions trailer is on display at the Kodak Gallery. Yes, I am a museum piece.

Here are several screen captures of a day in the life.


'Super Mike'

Some of you may know me as the celebrated Twinkies Bob in "101 Facts From the Book of Twinkie Knowledge," the 1995 blockbuster motion picture that world premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, USA.


Yeah. Really.

I am not kidding. That trip happened. "Star-studded" is the phrase I use. I saw Nancy Sinatra's cleavage and Buddy Hackett's favorite deli and Jonathan Winter's hangout for hotdogs. I even drove by the restaurant where Bob Hope bought pies on his way home, I wanna tell ya.

Years later, I would use the urinal inside. Bob Hope's urinal.


Yeah. Really.

And now, back to our movie...

During its only public showing, our opus was seen by up to 40 people in, what, a 2000-seat auditorium?

Yes, unlike Twinkies, it didn't have filling.

But what an event! I walked the famous red carpet and I got to see my name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (I dropped my Discover card.)

In the interim, I've been approached several times each year for films, mostly by dental hygienists cleaning my teeth and shooting the x-rays.

I ask for a Winnebago and an assistant, but no.

Recently, I consented, it seems, to allow a documentary crew to follow me around in my everyday life, when I was not busy not making money at the word processor.

The filmmakers have completed the new epic, "Super Mike," their title, not mine. I'm more modest.

Besides, I spent most of my time *on set* insisting I wasn't hoarding socks in my street pants, which you can see here on the movie poster.



Meal of Fortune (Cookies)

Now, see, I never order the rabbit special with the hot and spicy sauce.

I prefer the boneless vegetables in a mild Pepto-Bismol.


What the Heck Was I Thinking?

Actual Messages I Wrote, Forgot, Then Found While Cleaning Out My Email Folders


Early detection of cancer is key. I suggest The Stone Age.


Hope you and Jim are well and warm and your hot tub hasn't frozen over this week, especially with you in it.


Yes, you may call me "Lard Ass." Perhaps, I might come up with a sweetheart name for you, too!


Cattoon Carnival

Morty at the Movies

Jack Benny in "The Mouse That Jack Built" (Robert McKimson, 1959)
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The Pink Panther in "The Pink Phink" (Friz Freleng, Hawley Pratt, 1964)
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Hubie and Bertie in "Mouse Wreckers" (Chuck Jones, 1948)
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Presenting The Great Flydini!

Continued From: "Behold: The Banana Man!"

Too infrequently, guys come along with magic in their pants. Or so I'm told. I hire inquisitors. I don't actually do the research myself.

That should cover me.

I first saw The Banana Man circa 1957. Then, there was the removal of my tush wart in the shape of Doug Henning (1981), and Steve Martin made this appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1992).

Can't see The Great Flydini? Try refreshing this page or visit YouTube.


Behold: The Banana Man!

I can't begin to tell you how much influence The Banana Man has had on me, so I won't.

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I've been a devoted fan of The Banana Man and puzzled by him for as long as I can remember. He had only one routine and toured the world with it over five decades, winding up as a semi-regular on "Captain Kangaroo." The color clip may be The Banana Man's farewell performance because his ancient props were worn out and essentially impossible to replace.

This black-and-white film is excerpted from a 1939 Red Skelton short subject, wherein TBM works an earlier version of the intricate routine.

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The Banana Man was two or more performers through the years, creator A. Robins and his successor, Sam Levine, for certain.

I've written about The Banana Man on my About.com pages, where, if you follow the links, other videos and some fascinating documentation of his story and the magical act are shared.

Mark Evanier has provided anecdotal remarks pertaining to the color tape.

I eat a banana every day. I'd be proud if it were so, but I doubt my ritual has anything to do with The Banana Man. Supermarkets produce the fruit, not my trousers.

Don't think less of me.
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