Friday, December 19, 2008

The Chuck Cunningham of advertising

I'm wrapping up my last week or so at my agency, and today we had the third of a series of big presentations for a re-launch of a soda brand for a large soft-drink magnate (hint: #2). I was the CD / copywriter on the account, and wrote everything. But for round 3, due to my leaving, I was not included. I led the round 1 and round 2 presentations, and had gone to research groups and strategy sessions with the client, but have to assume that no mention was made of my absence. I was simply not there anymore. Maybe it occurred to someone, but most likely went unexpressed. Just like Mr. Chuck Cunningham, booted uncermoniously from "Happy Days" after it's debut season. Then again, at least Chuck was given the back story of being given a college basketball scholarship, which would partially explain his absence to viewers willing to fill in the blanks.

Speaking of Chuck Cunningham, did you know that he was played by two different actors during the one season he was allowed to exist in the "Happy Days" universe? It's true. he was played by both Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts, household names both. Even sweeter, Mr. O' Herlihy (Hmmm...Irish perhaps?) went on to play the reverse-mohawked gang leader in "Death Wish 3," one of the finest movies of all time as far as the blogfoot staff is concerned. It's a small world, as they say.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vintage pacifist science fiction

No conquering. Just wondering. I have no ray-gun or other futuristic weapon, so do not fear - you will not be reduced to a smoldering pile of grue. I just want to contemplate my alien surroundings for a while. To sit here in my spacesuit and genuflect, and look back on a life of challenges met, goals achieved, and opportunities lost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I was like a hyena

Before: a 48 oz double porterhouse

After: a large bone

This gastronomic assault was perpetrated at Manny's here in Minneapolis, a venerable steakhouse. Being fancy, they had no "I Ate All 48 oz's" t-shirt to reward me with, but our waiter was impressed enough to bequeath unto me a Manny's servers jacket, which I wore with pride.

*Special Blogfoot tip: when you give notice at your job and are in the last week or so of servitude, but sure to tag along for a free dinner with the client and order the $100 steak. I promise you that afterward you will swell with pride. And meat.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What the?

Here's a pic of old package of Kellogg's OKs, which according to the tagline on the box is a "Br-r-awny new cereal." At least it was when it was foisted upon a yawning public back in the 1950's.

That's all well and good. But I can't figure out what the story is with their mascot. Who is he? What is he? A friend and I studied his visage for a bit and came up with two possibilities.

The Kellogg's OKs mascot / character is:

A.) a Scottish Lumberjack Genie

B.) a Scottish Gypsy Hercules

The Tartan plaid present in the logo and his sash clearly indicate a Scottish bent. But the bells on the wristband, the rakishly open-collared shirt and pheasant feathers in a hat of indiscriminate regional origin defy any attempts to pin down this gent's backstory.

Them, in a bolt of inspiration and insight, I remembered that I was writing this on a computer that was linked up to the web. One google search later, we had our answer. This dude's name is...Big Otis. And this is what Big Otis is all about:

Big Otis is the brawny Scotsman who loves his sugar-coated oats. "I am the big oat man from Scotland. And OKs are made of oats. These new Kellogg's OKs are the biggest thing that's happen to Oats in 25 years. They are on their way to being the new favorite of kids and adults everywhere. Here's the meat of the oats in it's tenderest, tastiest form. Flavored as only Kellogg's knows how. OKs are rich in special oat protein. Aye, and OKs oats come to breakfast tasting better than you've ever imagined. They're K - E - Double L - O - Double Good!"

"Big Otis." I didn't know Otis was a Scottish name. If pressed I would have guessed that it had it's origins in the Ozarks or something. I guess you learn something new every day. And what of Big Otis? Well, within a couple years he was unceremoniously relieved of his spokesperson duties in favor of Yogi Bear, and consigned to the dustbin of history. Such is life in the cereal world.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The secret to being happy

Actually, I don't know what the secret to being happy is. But I can tell what it is not. It is not zooming around the internet during your lunch hour and reading a bunch of articles about the economic crisis we are in and getting the creeping sensation that things are a lot worse than people are letting on. Just sayin'.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Things Mad Magazine has taught me, pt. 1

If you vomit, a fish skeleton is going to come flying out of your mouth, regardless if you've eaten fish or not.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Uncle Forry has gone to the grave

Forrest J. Ackerman, who entertained and influenced a legion of monster movie lovers via his seminal "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine throughout the 60's and 70's, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 92.

Ackerman, a childhood (and lifelong) friend of genre legends Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, is also generally credited with coining the term "sci-fi," and also famous for the huge collection of science fiction and horror movie props and memorabilia he amassed over the years, even letting fans come into his "Ackermansion" in Hollywood to check out the merchandise.

Ackerman launched "Famous Monsters" in 1958, and the black & white magazine, with it's awesomely painted covers (many by the master Basil Gogos), quickly became a favorite of young boys, and along with Saturday afternoon showings of horror movies on TV, spurred the horror boom of the time. The magazine featured stories about horror films, make-up and special effects and the actors featured in the films, exposing legends like Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi to a new generation of fans. It was very behind the scenes for the time and was pretty influential, with young fans including Stephen King, Rick Baker, John Landis and Steven Spielberg, among others.

It probably goes without saying that as a kid I thought this magazine ruled. Anytime I saw it at the store I would instantly pester my parents to buy it. Being a magazine it was more expensive than a comic book and thus was a tougher proposition, but I still managed to get my mitts on many issues, despite my mothers distaste of the lurid covers. And, true to form, I still have a nice little wrinkled stack of those same issues.

Dr. Acula (as he referred to himself in the mag; Ackerman loved puns) eventually managed to acquire over 300,000 items in his collection of memorabilia, and he had awesome stuff - including Lugosi's Dracula cape, Mr. Spock's ears, a martian ship from "war of the Worlds," stop-motion armatures from "King Kong" and "Mighty Joe Young" and even the paper plate used by Ed Wood as a flying saucer in 'Plan 9 From Outer Space." Holy cow.

Ackerman spent his later years giving tours of his house, but also sadly fighting for the ownership rights of his magazine, because some dickhead / ass-face partner of his that came aboard in the late 80's managed to swindle them away from him. Regardless, he was without a doubt a seminal influence on the genre and early force in establishing the now-familiar concept of "fandom." His passing is a sad occasion to genre fans, and he will be missed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


As I'm writing this I'm sitting in a Chicago office building watching focus groups talk about soda packaging. Even better, someone turned off the lights in the observation room so it's nice and dark. Awesome. Now let's crank up the heat, bring on the turkey and wine and tuck me in for the night.

On the bright side, there's only 5 hours to go.