Tuesday, May 29, 2007

R.I.P. Charles Nelson Reilly

70's game show mainstay Charles Nelson Reilly died this past Friday at the age of 76, apparently due to complications with pneumonia. He ruled on "Match Game" and "Match Game PM" (a game show so great it was on twice a day), the Sid & Marty Kroft weirdfest "Lidsville", won a Tony Award and, more recently, did a great job playing a sci-fi author on one of the all-time best episodes of "The X-Files" in 1996 titled "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'".

He was certainly an interesting and talented guy. And sort of a conundrum, to my young eyes at least. He was openly gay and dressed rather flamboyanty, but his sense of humor was actually pretty dry. Understated innuendo, if you will. Unlike, say...Paul Lynde, who screamed it to the heavens (no disrespect to Mr. Lynde, who
was also cool).

I'm gonna watch some "Match Game" on the Game Show network tonight.

Friday, May 25, 2007

And now a word from our sponsor

The Blogfoot offices will be closed for the Memorial Day weekend and will re-open early next week. Y'all have a good holiday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let me take a wild guess...your favorite comic book character is..."The Punisher"?

Here's an interesting listing on Craigslist forwarded to me by my pal at Big Brain Comics, easily one the finest comic stores in this great country of ours. It's a listing to sell a not-very-large comic book collection. But it's the last sentence that really makes it sing:

352 comics assembled by professional comic collector. Books range from
mid 70's to early 80's & are in absolute pristine condition. Many 1st
editions & collector editions. AC, Atlas, Cadillac, Comico, Continuity,
DC, Deluxe, Eagle, Eclipse, Epic, First, JC, Maevel, Pacific, PC,
Red Circle, & Spectrum. Face value of books is approx. $400, will sell
for $250, or will consider trade (+/-) for modern pistol or rifle.


Friday, May 18, 2007

You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave

At last, my sad quest ends! That's right: someone has finally put some snippets of footage from "Gigglesnort Hotel" on YouTube. I've checked off-and-on for the last couple years to no avail, and was starting to think that I had imagined the whole thing in some sort of fever dream. Except of course, that others on the web remember this completely weird TV show as well.

"Gigglesnort Hotel" was an undefinably strange childrens TV show that originated from Chicago in the mid-to-late 70's, and was syndicated in other areas of the country. In Milwaukee it was on at 6:30 AM weekdays, and for a couple months in 1978 (I was 11 ) I woke up early to watch it, or rather, let it flow over me. I can't explain what I found interesting about it. It was cheap, the puppets stank, the jokes were terrible, and the sets were made from painted cardboard. And yet, me and a couple of my buddies were briefly obsessed with it. I suppose it may have been one of my first dips into the waters of irony, I don't know.

I'm really glad that the clip has some footage of the character I was most fascinated with: The Talking Blob. The Talking Blob was a lump of clay on a pedestal molded to have hands and a head, and they stuck paper eyes and mouths on him to indicate expressions. He didn't really "talk", either. Rather, he whimpered, moaned and gurgled in an unintelligble fashion. Stranger still, the human host of the show (series creator / madman Bill Jackson) would mold the Blob's features on camera, moving his nose and eyes around as the Blob moaned in apparent agony! This is the stuff of young nightmares.

The clip is an interview with Bill Jackson at some TV awards show interspersed with clips from the show, so you'll have to sit through some crummy stuff to get to the crummy stuff. It's not long, though. Enjoy!

If you want more info on this epoch-shattering TV show (and why wouldn't you?), the website TV Party has a rather in-depth examination on creator Bill Jackson and the show here. If anyone else remembers this masterpiece and found themselves under it's hypnotic spell, feel free to comment.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I could have written jokes for all the variety shows. Carol Burnett, Sonny & Cher, Donny & Marie...maybe even 'Pink Lady & Jeff"

Here's a picture of erudite TV personality Dick Cavett getting a check up in the mid-1970's. Dick is making the doc laugh with a witty rejoinder. Or perhaps a wry observation. Whichever it is, I'm confident I know the subject of the joke. I'll paraphrase: "Well, actually doc, I'm felling pretty good. Of course, I haven't gotten your bill yet."

Things were easier then. Someone build me a time machine so's I can get rich.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm hooked

On what, you ask? Crystal Meth? Heroin? No, thank you very much. I am hooked on something far more insidious, something infinitely more vile and pathetic.

Reading fan fiction. Specifically, M*A*S*H fan fiction.

Oh, I've read plenty of Romero-inspired
zombie fan fiction. I've read Tron fan fiction, Star Trek fan fiction, etc. But I always come back to M*A*S*H fan fiction. Why? Simple. It's easily the worst of the lot. I mean, zombie fan fiction is a close second. It's really, really bad, with every writer seemingly contractually-obligated to use the words "putrid", "shambling" and "undead horde." But M*A*S*H fan fiction occupys an unassailable perch in the pantheon of terrible things. First of all, it doesn't lend itself to continuation at all (see: "After M*A*S*H"). The series ended, everyone went home. Furthermore, the series lasted forever, and with 11 thirty-some episode seasons under its belt, certainly exhausted all viable storylines, and in fact even repeated many tropes over and over to increasingly tepid effect.

But my favorite thing about MASH fan fiction is this: No matter who the writer, no matter what website you find it at, approximately 93% of the stories are about Hawkeye banging Hot Lips. Some are set during series continuity, but the majority have them seeking each other out and acting on their long-simmering desires and doing the rumpy-pumpy after the Koren conflict ended.

I read one story recently that had Hawkeye married to Nurse Kelly and living an idyllic life in Crabapple Cove, Maine (the story went to great pains to explain that Nurse Kelly had discovered exercise and slimmed down considerably). As I was reading it I thought "Odd...this one isn't about Hawkeye banging Hot Lips." Then, later in the story, Hot Lips came for a visit, accompanied by a tow-headed young boy. Turns out the boy was Hawkeye's son, as he and Hot Lips had screwed after all. Bravo! A masterstroke! It's not often that an experienced reader like myself can be blindsided by an unforseen plot point, but this writer did just that.

Another fascinating aspect of M*A*S*H fan fiction is that it is completely devoid of wit. I myself find the early episodes amusing, and it's strange to read stories about the characters that have no jokes in them. Instead, they are constantly having breakdowns, health problems and just reflecting on life after the war, with very few quips or double entendres in sight. Kinda like the last 3 seasons of the show, actually.

I'd post a link to a site, but I can't really do that in good conscience. This stuff is awful, and yet every couple of months I find myself digging around and reading more. I wouldn't wish this unscratchable itch on anyone.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cryptozoology University

So the wife and I completed the 3-week course "Lake Monsters, Bigfoot & UFO's" at Minneapolis Community College (AKA a rather squalid high school). Actually, we were truant for the last class, which tackled the UFO mystery, but I'm assuming it was a lot like the first two. That is, the professor insisted that they exist, told a story of how he saw one, and showed the class some blurry b&w pictures from books published in 70's, most of which I already have.

I guess I shouldn't be so harsh. The professor was a genial old chap named Dr. Charles Huver, and if I heard / remember correctly, he received his PHD from Yale and teaches Invertibrate Biology at the U of M. So he's obviously not some witless dope. However, some visual aids would have been nice. A plaster cast of a footprint, maybe pop in a VHS tape of an old "In Search Of..." episode, overhead transparencies, something.

And as interested as I have been since literally 1973 about Bigfoot, I always have maintained a somewhat realistic view of the whole concept. I mean, it's a lot easier to digest the possibility of it if you think of Bigfoot as a nocturnal animal instead of a monster. But I also think that the famous Patterson footage is a guy in a suit. But our teacher questioned nothing. He was fishing once on the St. Croix River and saw a stream of bubbles. Must be a lake monster! It's the only logical explanation. Something scared his cats one night. Must be Bigfoot prowling about! Because foxes and coyotes, those are the truly mythical creatures.

Anyway, it was something to do. And it was sorta enjoyable. And it did yield this terrific find, courtesy of a home & garden catalog some friends brought to show me:

That's right, it's a Garden Yeti! It stands over 2 feet tall, and it can be yours for a mere $98.95. Or, to be more accurate, it will be mine for a mere $98.95. I think it will really set off my lillac bushes. It's available from the fine folks at Toscano, which is appparently an Italian company that makes weird shit for fringe-dwellers. They have a variety of unicorns and wizards, not to mention this fine item:

The garden zombie. Pretty cool, I must say. Once again, a veritable steal at $85.00.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Countown to meeting Kirk & Spock: T minus 72 hours

This Sunday will be a special day, as Mrs. Blogfoot and I have paid through the nose to have our picture taken with both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy at a Star Trek convention here in the Twin Cities. That's right - both at the same time. Truly a rariety, even in the annals of weird & obsessive sci-fi fans. And before you hurl derision at me, it was my wife's idea. She's a big OS fan (orginal series, duh) and is super-excited to say the least.

The question is: what color shirt will really pop off of a cobalt blue outer space backdrop? I don't own any gold clothing.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The perfect headline

Here's an ad from the 1960's for a Tarzan model kit produced by the fine folks at the Aurora Plastics Corp. I salute the copywriter who spent all of seven seconds coming up with this headline and then headed out for a three-martini lunch. Once in while you have to just ignore the inner voice that's telling you to keep pushing for something better, because sometimes the best solution is the most obvious one.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

They don't make 'em like this anymore

Which is too bad, because I would buy any magazine that depicts a man fighting an octopus on the cover. In fact, I would happily subscribe to monthly magazine titled "Man VS. Octopus Digest" if such a thing existed.

The other thing I like about this cover so much is the title: "Man's Conquest." What power those words contain! And the editorial freedom the title provides must have been a boon to its contributors. In mean, man conquers just about anything, so anything is fair game. You could have a guy stepping on an ant on the cover and it would pass muster in terms of journalistic accuracy (it would just be a challenging assignment for the illustrator.) And the other other thing I like is that although it's a magazine, it looks just like a G.I Joe box.

Thanks to Poulpe Pulps via Boing Boing for the pic. Pouple Pulps has a giant gallery of covers through the years that depict mankind engaged in all sorts of struggles with tentacled fiends of various sizes. It's a beautiful thing, and you can gaze upon its wonders here.

For those too lazy to click through, here are some others from the octopus gallery that I enjoyed (click on pics to embiggen).

Truly, "Don Winslow of the Navy" is the greatest title in comic book history. Although I always preferred "Ralph Schneider of the Neighborhood Watch Patrol."

Any experienced newstand operator will tell you:
chicks in swimsuits + octopus = ringing cash registers.

Followed by it's equally memorable sequel "I Use A Fork To Eat."