Monday, August 10, 2009


What is Mandom? Mandom is power. Mandom is desire. Mandom is all. It's like the spice from "Dune."

Mandom was a cologne from Japan in the 70's created by The Mandom Corporation, formerly known as the Tancho Corporation. According to the always-reliable and never wrong Wikipedia, The Mandom Corporation also has it's fingers in many other fascinating pies such as "life and nonlife insurance; staffing; and general services, such as building maintenance and operation, back-office, and environmental maintenance." Well, diversity is key to survival these days.

And in a stroke of genius, they hired a pre-"Death Wish" Charles Bronson to star in a series of commercials for the manly scent in the early 70's. These commercials are, quite simply, art in it's purest form. Cozy vignettes of culture and erudite ease are interspersed with pistols - always a winning technique.

As you can see in the commercials, the key to Mandom is coat your entire torso with it, almost as if showering. You must also spin the cap off, then toss it away as if you are far too important and powerful to be concerning with things like misplaced cologne caps. Now you are living life the Mandom way.

Later in the 70's The Mandom Corporation unleashed a line of high-end men's products called "Gatsby." Awesome. I don't think Bronson was the face of this line, which is probably a good thing. A brand called Gatsby requires a celebrity that's perceived as being a tad more - well, there's no nice way to put this - drunken. Someone like Peter O' Toole or Oliver Reed.

Thanks to the mysterious and powerful Ouzo / comic-book importer known as The Drivas for the heads up.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here comes the foreman

Here's a neat little video that shows a male silverback gorilla walking upright, just like us people do. This is no lazy amble either - our gorilla friend is in quite the hurry, it appears.

After viewing this it should be pretty easy for all of you non-believers to simply imagine an eight or nine-foot version of this striding around in the Pacific Northwest, yes? We are all ambulatory, hair-covered cousins on this big blue marble.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Conan, thinking

Or maybe he's brooding - hard to tell. He's frequently described as sullen-eyed, so it could very well be the latter. Whichever it is, you'd best move along. Muscles coiled like a panthers could spring into action at any moment, with your beheading being the most likely result.

artwork by the legendary Big John Buscema

Monday, July 06, 2009


The coolness of the above image shatters every conceivable scale that mankind could possibly have in place to measure it, I'm sure you'll agree. But what is it? Well, I'll tell you.

The image is from a Japanese movie magazine circa 1975 or early 1976. It's an artist's conception of what the supposedly functional 40-ft robot gorilla Dino De Laurentiis was constructing for his il-fated 1976 remake of "King Kong" might look like. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that there are no pneumatics or wiring within, just a metal skeleton (much like Homer Simpson's failed robot), but these are minor scientific quibbles.

Reminds me of the incredible cutaway illustrations of Kaiju from a Japanese book called "An Anatomical Guide to Monsters" published in the 60's. I would pay a king's ransom for this book, but after searching for it pretty consistently since I become aware of it's existence some years ago, I fear I shall never hold it in my hands. One could say with little exaggeration that it is my white whale. I keep hoping someone will reprint it. But at least I have jpgs of some of the pages, and now, thanks to the magic of click and drag, so do you.

How to photo direct promotional materials for an upcoming film

"OK guys, we're almost done. Now Jack...for this next set, you think you could arch an eyebrow? You know - to let audiences know that you're the 'wacky one.' Wouldn't want people to think you're playing against type or anything. That's perfect....Michael, you just keep looking slightly unsure like you always do in everything you've ever done. Great..."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let's talk "Hooper," shall we?

The next time you are wandering around Target, you may notice an end-cap of discounted DVD titles for $5. Most of these titles are dreck and are unworthy of even that small tariff. However, if the stars align for you as they did for me, you may find a gem amongst the dross. I am of course referring to “Hooper,” the 1978 Burt Reynolds vehicle concerning the life of Sonny Hooper, an aging Hollywood stuntman.

This virtues of this movie are legion. Rather than go into some lengthy examination, I will list them in bullet-point form so as to aid in their digestion. So, here are the things that make “Hooper” awesome and well worth your hard-earned $5:

*The movie poster, which they were wise enough to use as the DVD cover, has an illustration of Burt blowing a bubble with some gum while wearing a big cowboy hat (see above).

*The movie is not only about stuntmen, but was directed by a stuntman (Hal Needham, the auteur also responsible for “Cannonball Run” and “Megaforce.”)

*It has Adam West with a moustache (he is the “star” Burt is stunting for during the filming of “The Spy Who Laughed At Danger.”).

*There is a scene wherein a horse drinks a can of beer. Burt then kisses said horse.

*Burt has trained his beer-drinking horse to crap on command, and he urges it to do so in the car of someone he is at odds with. This was big in 1978 cinema, as Clyde the orangutan in Clint Eastwood’s Philo Beddoe epics “Every Which Way But Loose” and “Any Which Way You Can” had a penchant for crapping in vehicles as well.

*There is a lengthy scene ( a ‘set piece’, as they call it in the biz) where everyone heads to a bar and drives along a highway drinking copious amounts of beer in broad daylight, heedless of their own safety or that of others. One even drives backwards at high speeds while drinking. When a highway patrolman on a motorcycle simply attempts to do his job and enforce the law, they attach a cable to his bike and then to a pole, which sends him sprawling. They escape punishment for this act as well.

*The stuntmen engage in a barroom brawl with a gang of large rednecks led by Terry Bradshaw, completely destroying their friend’s bar in the process.

*The rednecks are then befriended, as is moviedom’s custom, and everyone repairs to Burt’s ranch where, after a long night of partying, Burt is the lone man standing. As the other revelers slumber around him, he watches a home movie reel of his prior stunts. In a meta-scene of epic proportions, the home movie contains footage of Burt tackling the rapids in a canoe from “Deliverance.”

*Most of the stunts featured in the movie within the movie make no sense at all, no matter what the context. In one, Burt escapes from some villains chasing him by getting into a helicopter. The helicopter then goes straight up into the air and hovers, at which point Burt leaps out the helicopter and falls. As Hooper, he falls onto an airbag and sets the world record for the longest free fall drop. Bully for Hooper - but how does this makes any sense in a movie about a spy? The character would simply be splattered on the pavement. They repeat this nonsense in a scene where Burt rescues a dog (?) and attempts to flee between rooftops via a tracked cable of some sort. He makes it halfway across, then falls when the cable snaps. Again, this makes no sense for a lead character in a spy film.

*Brian Keith and Jan-Michael Vincent co-star as fellow stuntmen. Brian Keith is Jocko, the old retired stuntman, and Jan-Michael is the young upstart (they call him “The Kid”) looking to seize Burt’s crown.

*The movie was the inspiration for the Lee Major’s television series “The Fall Guy,” for which it deserves our eternal gratitude.

*The big stunt during the finale involves Burt and Jan-Michael driving a car around some type of industrial village that is being blown to smithereens, and when the bridge over a ravine collapses, they have to jump it in a custom-made rocket car, thus setting another stunt man record for longest jump. Sonny celebrates this by punching the film within a film’s director in the face before heading off to presumably drink more canned beer.

*Naturally, the movie has a blooper reel playing over the end credits. They take this up a notch by having a banjo-fueled song called "Nothin' Like the Life (Of A Hollywood Stuntman) playing as well.

There you go – although I’m certain I left out many laudable moments. I didn’t even scratch the surface of Sonny Hooper’s painkiller addiction, the possibility of his paralysis, and Sally Field bouncing around in tight t-shirts. In short, I wholeheartedly encourage you to run, don’t walk, and get your $5 copy of “Hooper” now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pointless, unexplainable desires

I just opened a business and in the process cut my pay by about 70% from what I was previously making in the ad biz. We have another baby on the way and the insurance at my wife’s new-ish job blows, meaning that after the baby arrives the stork will also be dropping off a co-pay bill for about $5k, not to mention the increased daycare costs three months after her maternity leave ends. And our house needs a new roof in a bad way.

And yet, for some inexplicable reason, about once a month I find myself logging onto ebay and looking at auctions for the large-scale Shogun Warriors Godzilla figure released in the 70’s.

Why? I’m not entirely sure. Let’s peel back the layers of my cerebellum and try and find out together, shall we? A good start might be to get all of you who are not familiar with said Godzilla toy up to speed on this item. Here’s a visual to get the saliva flowing.

Very cool, yes? Here’s some background for you: this toy was released by Mattel in 1979 as part of their ‘Shogun Warriors” line of giant robot figures based on Japanese characters. The Godzilla figure stood 19 1/2” tall and as you can see, didn’t really look all that much like Godzilla. But its scale was impressive for the time.

I know what you’re thinking – “Just another Gen-X’er wanting to reclaim the toy his parents threw away.” Not so - I never owned this toy. When it was released I was 12 years old, and had outgrown toys. But I still liked Godzilla as a character / concept, so I always looked at it whenever I was stuck at Sears or JC Penny’s with my mom and headed to the toy section out of boredom. Here’s more pics.

His “atomic breath” was simulated via a flicking plastic tongue (triggered by a lever that is prone to break) and his fist also shot off, which didn’t make a helluva lot of sense either. And his feet had wheels on the bottom, but if you rolled him too fast he simply fell over. And yet, despite these many shortcomings…I want one. The overall effect of it is undeniably neat. We now pause for a word from our sponsors.

It’s not like I don’t have Godzilla figures already. I have the re-issue of the old beloved Aurora model from the 60’s / 70's that I built as a kid, as well as some nice inexpensive vinyl figures from Japan that actually look like the character. Why does this imperfect, altogether unnecessary thing keep flitting about, moth-like, in and out of my consciousness?

Cue my wife's reply - "Because you're stupid." Well, that may be true, but there must be some deeper, darker force at work. I also must clarify that I never bid much on this item when I do try and nab it - generally I go for imperfect specimens (paint scuffs, loose firing hand, the aforementioned broken tongue lever) and bid a maximum of $50. Over the last eight years or so I have probably tried to get it on the cheap somewhere in the realm of ten times, and am always defeated.

Then again, Father's Day is fast's not too much to ask for a little green plastic love on June 21st, is it?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The sweetness

An old friend of mine recently unearthed this and posted it on his facebook page - it's a segment from Steve Martin's 1981 NBC special "Comedy is not Pretty." This has been stuck in my head since viewing it way back then, but whenever I mentionedit to people they didn't know what I was talking about. Now am thrilled - nay, honored - to be able to present it to you, my loyal readers.


I'm "with it"

I just revived my Twitter account after opening one last summer and promptly forgetting about it. Why? Because I do everything Ashton, Oprah and CEO's of large multi-national corporations do.

If so inclined you can follow my whip-smart observations there, under the name Blogfoot of course. Most of the time it will simply link you back to new posts here, but hey - you'll be way ahead of those hayseeds who simply have the site bookmarked. What a bunch of cavemen!

T-shirt pwnage

After being back-ordered for the last month and a half, I finally received this beauty in the mail, thus clearly giving me the upper hand in the ongoing "white guy with the coolest obscure t-shirt wars." Surrender now before someone gets hurt.

**NOTE** that is not me in the pic - I am much cooler than that guy, nor do I use plates and utensils when I eat.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Again with the steampunk

I like Boing Boing as much as the next grown-up nerd. Maybe more. But jumpin' Jack Armstrong*, cool it with the played-out steampunk features, would ya? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who really doesn't give a hoot what Captain Nemo's toilet would have looked like. Enough, I say, enough!

*thanks to Col. Potter

Monday, May 11, 2009

Best opening line of a book ever?

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

-George Orwell

That's got my vote. There's certainly no shortage of great openings of famous and feted books (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, A Christmas Carol, Slaughterhouse Five, Something Wicked This way Comes, etc), but Orwell's opening is impressivley simple, using just one word ("thirteen") to immediately communicate that there is something different about the world he is bringing the reader into.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Or not. Watch someone get cock-punched by a kangaroo on youtube if that's what you feel like doing. This is America, after all.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The unbelievable & horrifying truth

After toiling in the trenches for years at various advertising agencies, I recently opened up my own business - a barbershop. So far things are going well - everyday we are servicing more customers than the day before, people are leaving happy, those coming in say that their friends told them about it, etc. Fairly gratifying thus far.

And as someone who worked in advertising for 13 years, and always did so at agencies that believed that smart, challenging brand communications that blazed trails in heretofore un-plowed media terrain were ultimately the only way to build your business, I have some news to report.

It's bullshit.

Now, I'll admit we've only been open for 10 days, and we have a long road to trod yet. I also admit that we are going to do some advertising sooner rather than later. But what I have discovered so far is a couple of things that will horrify all you practitioners of craft who stay at the office late in thrall of your bosses, tirelessly digging for that pure, original message that some client can ruin by slapping an exclamation point on. Those couple things I've discovered are this:

1.) The best advertising is positive word of mouth.

2.) Direct mail works.

There it is. I leave you now to writhe in agony and question your place in the grand scheme of things.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I'm salivating

When you have a man-sized appetite, just any old packaged food won't cut it. No, when your stomach begins to rumble and roar like a caged lion, there's only one thing you can really count on - Fud.

Trust Fud to deliver only the finest deli-quality meats and cheeses to your table. Fud will bring satisfaction and smiles to any picnic, lunch table or family gathering.

Remember - Fud.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy cow

I stumbled upon this during a recent google search. No, your eyes do not deceive you - there is actually someone roaming our planet with an Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce tattoo! I'm stunned. And, I must confess, more than a bit envious.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Connecticut yankee seeks outlet

Before preparing to repel the Visigoth hordes, it's always a good idea to cleanse thine inbox and set yon heretical magic device to vibrate.

Pic courtesy of Gizmodo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I weep for the future coverage of upcoming films about the future

I just learned that the venerable "Starlog" magazine is ceasing publication as of it's latest issue, numbered 375. Like seemingly everything nowadays, it is becoming a web-only entity. Hang on for a few seconds as I shed some nostalgic tears and shake my fist at cruel and uncaring Crom, perched on his throne in the sky.

OK, I'm back. For those of you unfamiliar with Starlog magazine, it was quite an important publication back in the day - important that is, if you were concerned and/or obsessed with science fiction - fantasy films and TV shows. And who among us wasn't obsessed with those things? No man I'd care to drink with, that's for sure.

The magazine started in 1976, and quickly gained prominence among fans of the genre. You young 'uns weened on the teat of the web have to remember that it was pretty hard to find info on such topics back then, so a magazine with color photos of "Star Wars" and "Superman: The Movie" would actually sell a respectable amounts of copies. But Starlog didn't just have photos - it featured behind the scenes articles and interviews with the people responsible for current and forthcoming features. So a while before "Blade Runner" was released, you could pick up an issue of Starlog that had interviews with the screenwriters, kick-ass production designer Syd Mead and author Philip K. Dick to boot. And yes, this was indeed a big deal to me in 8th grade.

Just look at the cover of that issue - it's packed to the gills with cool shit. You have the "Blade Runner" coverage I mentioned, plus an article above the masthead titled "Should Spock Die?" (let it not be said that Starlog was afraid to tackle the tough questions), coverage of "John Carpenter's The Thing" and, as a bonus, John W. Campbell's classic short-story "Who Goes There," which is the what "The Thing" was based on, a free spaceship blueprint, and much, much more. Worth every nickel of the $2.50 cover price, I'm sure you'll agree.

They were the go-to source for advance word on classics like "Alien" and "Altered States" as well as dreck like "The Black Hole" and "Heartbeeps." They also launched a spin-off with "Fangoria" magazine, which was basically Starlog for the horror and gore crowd. The first issue of that had Godzilla on the cover and sizable article on George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead," which made for a fine debut in my book.

Farewell, magazine-format Starlog. I will miss your ads for sci-fi movie soundtracks and spaceship and robot blueprints. But I still have some of my old copies to cling to, as well as the below additions from their fine "Starlog Photo Guidebook" series - "Robots" and "Special Effects":

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Young film snobbery of the third kind

In 1977 a science-fiction film was released that became an obsession of my 10 year-old self. That film was not "Star Wars." That film was "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Don't get me wrong - I saw "Star Wars" at the theater 3 times during the summer of 1977 and was pretty enraptured of it. But then during Christmas vacation my parents took us to see "Close Encounters" and all bets were off. I felt then and still feel that "Close Encounters" is the superior film. I saw it 2 more times that winter, and also saw the "special edition" twice when it was released in 1980.

The movie grabbed me pretty quickly - possibly because it seemed much more real and plausible, even to my young eyes. At it's core, the movie is basically about an ordinary man (an electrician for Pete's sake) grappling with the unknown, as well as the question "are we alone?"

Brief digression: that last part reminds me of a quote from author Arthur C. Clarke that I've always found, for lack of a better phrase, rather mind-blowing: "Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

Well put, Mr. Clarke. Anyway, the movie contained an interesting mix of menace and wonder - kids were abducted, hard-to-define UFO's flew by casting off lens flares, the government was engaged in a cover-up, etc. Where "Stars Wars" was all adventure and spectacle, and quite obviously make-believe, "Close Encounters" was shot on locations and seemed maybe like it had, or could, actually occur. When we left the theater, I reflexively looked up at the night sky ("Hey, is that star moving?").

I watched the last hour or so of "Close Encounters" last night on some HD channel - it looked pretty darned good in hi-def, but also made me think about how well the movie has aged over the years. Certainly is has aged better than "Star Wars," and is without a doubt a more emotional and cerebral film. Collectively the acting is better, the effects are to my mind more impressive because of their real-world context, and it has a shot that imbedded itself into my brain and has never left - in my opinion one of the indelible moments of cinema. This one:

That abduction sequence was masterful as whole, but that shot - with the trees whipping around due to an otherwordly inferno being generated by God knows what kind of mechanism landing in someone's front yard - holy cow.

I was definitely in the minority at school when I attempted to convince others that "Close Encounters" was better. It had no toys or merchandising, and thus failed to whip youngsters into a frenzy like "Star Wars" did (I'll grant you that it was also much more fun to run around the neighborhood pretending to be Han Solo, pointing your imaginary blaster and going "Pew! Pew!" than it was pretending to be Roy Neary driving around in an electrical truck) . Then again, whenever mashed potatoes were served for dinner, you were presented with a golden opportunity to sculpt them into the shape of Devil's Mountain. So there.

"Close Encounters" was a huge financial success, and I think time has borne out my opinion of it's enduring quality. Certainly "Star Wars" has remained more in the public consciousness, but barring a few moments of aliens obviously played by little kids in costumes at the end (the mechanical alien puppet that does the sign language and smiles is awesome, though), "Close Encounters" isn't dated at all, and in fact seems like it could be made today.

But don't even try and draw me into an argument about whether "Close Encounters" is better than "The Empire Strikes Back." I'm not touching that one.

Hulk not understand bus schedule

Spotted the other day in the sleepy confines of Saint Anthony Village - a bus shelter rent asunder, victim of the awesome power of gamma radiation. Obviously Bruce Banner was waiting for the #4 in order to go to an interview for a dishwashing job at a downtown diner. The bus was running late, and the inevitable occurred.

Party in NE Mpls

As seen next to the parking lot of the Red Stag Supper Club. I recommend that you never kiss the cook who deigns it necessary to have a commode next to his grill. But maybe the guy is just a believer in the power of multi-tasking.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Boy, do I feel retroactively bad for all the kids in the 60's who asked for a Spider-Man costume to wear on Halloween and instead received this from their dopey, easily-confused parents. Ugh.

Fly-Man! He has the power to live for only 24 hours! Fly-Man! Unable to soar in a straight line! Fly-Man! His compound-vision goggles enable him to easily elude your clumsy swatting!

Pic courtesy of the fine blog known as Retrocrush.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just for kicks

Here's some cool vintage pics of stop motion animation and special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen at work.

Just to keep things straight - the first pic of is Ray animating one of the seven skeletons from the climatic battle in his masterpiece "Jason and The Argonauts," and the second is the big finish in "Valley of Gwangi," wherein an Allosaurus battles an elephant in a Mexican coliseum (?!).

I really like that in both pics Ray is wearing a tie. He got up, put on some nice clothes, ate breakfast and went to go animate things everyday. Pretty neat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

More fine realtor advertising

With the housing bubble having burst, selling the glut of homes on the market has become even more cutthroat than usual. And with ramped-up competition, realtors have turned to their one legal means to engender a business advantage: compelling advertising that grabs the consumer by the eyeballs.

Take Joe Kasel, for instance.

What Joe has done here is placed his faith in the time-honored practice of puns / word-play, and in this case he shoehorned it into raping a folksy saying about how every man's home is his - well, you know. To his credit, he realized that even adroit viewers might be flummoxed by this deft approach, so he threw his name in italics and then plopped a castle graphic on his logo to bring it on home. Oh - now I get it.

Then we have Terry Anderson.

Fate having denied Terry a surname that could serve a dual-purpose, she was forced to use visual trickery to command attention. Ergo, we have a gigantic, legless woman (or maybe her lower half is serpent-like? That would be cool) looming menacingly over a house. After all, research shows that gigantism inspires trust and confidence in potential buyers. I myself have rejected many perfectly suitable homes because the agent was unable to pick up a holstein cow or pickup truck as easily as you or I would a puppy.

Sorry about the semi-blurriness of these pics. They were small ads on the counter of the check-out lane of my local grocery store, and this was the best my phone could do under those conditions.

Weekend plans

I'm going to drag the wife to see "I Love You, Man," because it has both Rush and Lou Ferrigno in it, and that's good enough for me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

We have a winner

And it is Zappos, winning handily by showing up late yesterday. Sorry Netflix.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Netflix VS Zappos

If you rent DVDs from Netflix or have ordered shoes from, you know how eerily fast both are when it comes to shipping (a day or day and half turnaround is generally the norm). Perhaps you have even done as I have, and laid awake countless nights pondering which was the fastest.

Well wonder no more, because yesterday I ordered a pair of shoes from Netflix, and also returned a movie to Netflix, prompting my next shipment. Thus, the showdown begins: which will arrive first - my new pair of leather New Balance sneakers, or the movie "Synedoche, New York"? According to emails that arrived within minutes of one another, both are en route. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 09, 2009

You've got to be shi#%ing me

So the other day I was updating my facebook profile and typed in a typically pithy message, which in this instance stated that I was "working on some muppet fan fiction."

There you go - a perfectly semi-amusing facebook update. As someone who is fascinated by the whole fan fiction thing (in particular "M*A*S*H" fan fiction), it recently occurred to me that writing muppet fan fiction would be a pointless exercise of the highest order. After all, half of the fun of the muppets is the visual aspect - they are funny looking puppets that move and gesticulate in an interesting fashion. Another important quality of the muppets is the vocal aspect - each have unique vocal styles that help define their characters - again, a quality that would lost on the printed page.

But then a terrifying thought gripped me: has someone actually written muppet fan fiction, and if so, had they actually attempted to do so in a non-satirical fashion?

It turns out some mad fiends have. And here is an excerpt from one particular story I found (you guessed it) online titled "Sometimes The Sky Calls":

A shiver ran down Kermit’s spine as he sat in his cell, looking through the glass window to try and see what was going on in the other cells surrounding his own. Observing his friends from the boarding house, as well as neighbors and strangers, pacing around irritably in their mini-prisons while occasionally shouting out their demands to know what was going on. It was a whole new breed of chaos, one that the frog wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle.

He was worried, but even more than that…he was scared.

Brrr- chilling stuff, no? As near as I can tell so far the author, no doubt in the throes of an oxycotin overdose, conceived of a tale in which Muppets were rounded up like Jewish people and tossed in some type of concentration camp. Here's more:

“Dis is insane, d’ey can’t do dis to us!” Rizzo screeched from behind the amphibian, while attempting to scrape a hole in the cement wall at the back of the room. Fozzie simply sighed with worry, while Piggy stared at the back of Kermit’s head. It was only a matter of time before the other two did the same, looking toward their natural-born leader for advice.

He glanced back at them, but was unable to deliver the sort of supportive and uplifting speech they had come to expect from him when times got rough. After all, the situation they found themselves in right now was far different from anything they had encountered before. Everything was going to be different after this; and the frog wasn’t sure how he was going to handle the outcome…how any of them would.

“I’m sure they’ll tell us what’s going on soon.” Kermit finally said after a few moments, returning his worried gaze back through the window in front of him. Hoping to spot a guard that might be willing to give them a clue about the situation, although he couldn’t help doubting it that it would happen.

“D’ese guys? Telling us da truth?” The rat scoffed half-heartedly, too consumed with worry to be as sarcastic and cynical as he was normally capable of. He was beginning to let his panic set in, and quickly re-directed his attention back to the wall he was trying to dig a hole in. “I’d get us out of here before we get any info about what da heck’s going on from them!”

The others in the cell watched as he resumed his attempts to chip away at the wall with his teeth, each understood how he was feeling. After all, they were feeling it too.

A couple of hours had passed since the soldiers had stormed the town and taken everyone into custody, bringing them to this facility and putting them into the cells they now occupied; four per room. And not once had any of them been given an explanation as to what was going on, why they were there, what was happening to their friend.

They were being left in the dark, and Kermit hated it.

I will now give you a moment to let the enormity of all that sink in.

Now - I don't want to get all Statler and Waldorf here, but obviously this story has major problems. The greatest of which is that it violates a storytelling axiom I like to adhere to, which is this: there are some subjects that just flat-out defy versimillitude, or "real world" treatment. Muppets are definitely one of these subjects, as are Smurfs / Snorks, Rainbow Brite, Jem, etc. Trying to ascribe feelings of fear, doom and themes of imprisonment or mortality to these characters just doesn't work.

In conclusion, anyone seeking to pen some muppet fan fiction in the future would do well to heed this advice, and simply stick to writing stories that have Kermit banging Miss Piggy. Maybe work in a jealous Link Hogthrob for a little love triangle action - stuff like that.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Didn't your mother teach you to never pick up 4th-level Paladin / Thief hitchhikers?

Some friends picked me up to go see "Watchmen" yesterday (more on that later, or maybe not), so I hopped in the backseat of their car and off we went. I looked absentmindedly around the backseat as we chatted and noticed many of the things people commonly have in their back seats, such as ice scrapers, a box of kleenex, a copy of that weeks "City Pages," a dagger in a bejeweled scabbard...hey, what the?

That's right: a dagger in a bejeweled scabbard. Behold:

Truly exquisite craftsmanship. Mordok the Unconquerable will be pleased that you were able to pilfer this from the treasure room of his hated enemy.

Unsheathed, you are now ready to ward off a giant spider, pesky cave troll or the other dude in the backseat who's trying to gank some of your fries.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

When it rains, it pours

And now we have photographic evidence to support my claim - an actual vintage JC Penny print ad showing Super Dennis engaged in some deep knee bends in JC Penny "Super Wear Headquarters." Some guy is auctioning this torn-out ad on ebay for $11.99. A tad steep for my tastes, but I'll starve him down then make a rock-bottom "best offer" (hot financial tip - the putrid economy has also escorted us into a golden age of haggling).

Man, I wish I could read that copy, but it gets too blurry when enlarged. Once again I am tantalized by Super Dennis! On the bright side though, I think I just found my next Halloween costume.

Another thing you will note is that the actual photo and the sticker graphic below don't look very much like one another. The heads sorta match, but the impression I'm left with is that the sticker graphic was the original concept, and the actual prop is the result of budget realities settling in. In any case, pretty sloppy synergy there in the JC Penny in-house ad department, I would say. And at first blush the sticker looks cooler, but upon further study I like the photo version more. Probably because that's how I remember him from the TV spots, but those HVAC flex-tube arms and grappling hooks he has for hands don't hurt either.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm not crazy

Longtime Blogfoot readers are no doubt familiar with my sad quest to unearth information concerning a half-remembered TV campaign JC Penny's did during the 70's featuring a robot wearing jeans to demonstrate how tough and durable the dungarees were.

The product was called "Super Denim," and the character (filmed in live action) was called - to the best of my memory - "Super Dennis." Documentation on this has proved elusive - no youtube videos, no print ads scanned, nothing. Just a few people out there wondering aloud is this thing really existed. Some readers have sent emails and comments stating they remember this too, but thus far, nothing concrete has surfaced. Which has always struck me as odd, considering what a giant repository of worthless gunk the internet is.

Well, as any detective worth his salt will tell you, the key to cracking a tough case is persistence. Hence my googling the words "super dennis" every couple months. And now, finally - a payoff! Someone posted an image on a flicker page of a sticker JC Penny's slapped on the labels of the jeans. Ladies and Gentlemen, here he is - Super Dennis.

Now we have a solid foundation upon which to build our case. Rest assured I will continue to regularly grope for Super Dennis info and post any findings post haste.

In Search Of Bigfoot

The late, great 70's-era "In Search Of..." TV show hosted by the titan known as Leonard Nimoy has yet to surface on DVD, but here is the next best thing - the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has linked the the "Bigfoot" episode from youtube in two easy-to-digest portions.
Click here to watch, and prepare to be riveted to your monitor as Nimoy drops some science on ya.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bum wines

We've all been there - you're 17 years old and you want to get drunk, but you and your buddy have but a scant $4.00 between the two of you. So you decided against getting a couple 40's of Mickey's, and head over to no man's land: the cooler that holds cheap chilled wines like MD 20/20 and Night Train.

But how to know which one tastes the best (a relative term, to be sure), 0r which one will "get you there quicker?" Well, some enterprising chaps have the answers to your questions, courtesy of They review and rate each wine based on taste, alcohol content and even sense of warmth imparted, which is a nice touch. Thus informed, you can now empty that change jar, don your best pair of fingerless gloves and head out in search of some grape-flavored paint thinner.


These days it seems like every conversation revolves around the economy and how we're basically all circling the drain. Escapism is also big right now, as people like to forget about their plummeting 401ks and the marauding bands of gas-hoarding mutants canvassing the highways. Well, here's a post that kills two birds with one stone: The Forbes Fictional 15, a list comprised of the wealthiest make-believe characters, circa 2007 (market turbulence has undoubtedly changed this list somewhat). Here goes:

1) Scrooge McDuck
Worth: 28.8 billion
Source: Mining & Treasure hunting interests

2) Ming the Merciless ("Flash Gordon")
Worth: 20.9 billion
Source: Slavery, technology

3) Richie Rich (Obnoxious child comic-book character)
Worth: 16.1 billion
Source: Inheritance, Conglomerates

4) Mom ("Futurama")
Worth: $15.7 billion
Source: Tech, conglomerates

5) Jed Clampett ("Beverly Hillbillies")
Worth: $11.0 billion
Source: Oil via wayward buckshot, Banking

6) C. Montgomery Burns ("The Simpsons")
Worth: $8.4 billion
Source: Energy

7) Carter Pewterschmidt ("Family Guy" or that other dumb show the dude does)
Worth: $7.2 million
Source: Inheritance, Media, Steel

8) Bruce Wayne ("Batman")
Worth: $7.0 billion
Source: Inheritance, Defense

9) Thurston Howell III ("Gilligan's Island")
Worth: $6.3 billion
Source: Howell Industries

10) Tony Stark ("Iron Man")
Worth: $6.0 billion
Source: Defense Contracts, Transistors

11) Fake Steve Jobs (internet meme)
Worth: $5.7 billion
Source: Technology, Walt Disney Co.

12) Gomez Addams ("The Addams Family")
Worth: $2.0 billion
Source: Inheritance, Investments

13) Willy Wonka
Worth: $1.9 billion
Source: Confections, Aerospace

14) Lucius Malfoy ("Harry Potter")
Worth: $1.6 billion
Source: Inheritance

15) Princes Peach (Nintendo's "Mario Brothers")
Worth: $1.3 billion
Source: Inheritance, Commodities

Jeez - most of these slobs inherited their money. And I definitely like the inclusion of Ming the Merciless. But - if Richie Rich is listed #3, and obviously just a kid, wouldn't his net worth be entirely derived from his father - you know, that big dude with the tiny head? Why is he not on this list?

Here's a possible answer - he's drinking himself silly. I guess he got a peek at his quarterly earning report.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Sophia Loren made an appearance at the Academy Awards last night to present the Best Actress award. Afterward she gracefully excited the stage, wherein she was promptly beheaded by Harry Hamlin, who was hiding behind a pillar. Before anyone could react he tossed her head into a brown canvas sack and flew off on his winged horse and used Ms. Loren's head to turn the fearsome Kraken to stone, thus saving the land of Joppa.

Who you gonna call?

I was looking for an old issue of "Argosy" on ebay ("Argosy" was a mag that in the 60's & 70's reported on UFOs, Bigfoot and other out there stuff) because I remembered seeing one that had a sweet painted cover of Bigfoot fighting a bear, and I wanted to screen-grab the image, as I misplaced the one I grabbed years prior. On the glorious painting in question Mr. Bigfoot was brandishing a log like a baseball bat, ready to KO the bear. It was awesome.

Sadly, no one was selling that issue. But I did see this one.

Sharkbusters! There's a movie waiting to happen - guys swim around poking sharks with sticks. At the very least it could be a syndicated series starring Lorenzo Lamas shown on Saturday afternoons, right after "Acapulco H.E.A.T" and "Thunder in Paradise."

And yes, I do know what the "H.E.A.T" in "Acapulco H.E.A.T" stands for - "Hemisphere Emergency Action Team." Duh.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pardon our dust

Please bear with us as we experiment with different blog layouts over the next several days. I was getting tired of reading that type reversed out of dark blue, and thus, am searching for the the layout that best brings my rich canon of work to life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How to not get sued

Actually, I don't have any real, practical advice on how to avoid getting sued. But if you wanted such information, you could do worse than ask Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo, stars of the 1952 gem "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla." Because how these guys managed to not have every asset of theirs seized by the lawyers of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis is well beyond my realm of understanding:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blogfoot remembers: The Barbarian Brothers

If you haunted a lot of video stores in the 80's as I did, you were no doubt aware of the world's most muscular twin thespians, The Barbarian Brothers.

The Barbarian Brothers were twin bodybuilders named Peter Paul and Ron Paul that, like so many of us, had dreams of Hollywood stardom (Personally, I think it would be a much more interesting story if there were a set of twins, and one got real huge and muscular, and the other stayed scrawny, but that's just me). Generally they just lurked in the background of scenes in movies like 1985's "The Flamingo Kid" where they played, you guessed it, muscular twin lifeguards. Or they tore the doors off cars in classics like 1983's "D.C Cab", where they honed their craft alongside the likes of Mr. T and Gary Busey.

Then in 1987 the brothers got the chance to show the world their true mettle courtesy of the quality-merchants at the Cannon Group via a starring vehicle called, elegantly enough, "The Barbarians."

Made in Italy with a budget that was probably carried around in a brown paper bag, the film's plot summary on wikipedia is a thing of curt, albeit nonsensical beauty:

"Twin brothers attempt to save their people of entertainers against Kadar who lust for the ruby that ensures their talents."

I've read that about three times now and I think I sort of get it, but I'm not completely sure - it's not really English as I understand and wield it. So I instead went to the more-reliable imdb, where I found a much more richly woven tapestry:

"The young orphans Kutchek and Gore have been adopted by a tribe of clowns, jugglers, and entertainers. The tribe is led by the queen Canary and its wealth stems from her magical belly stone. The evil ruler Kadar desires Canary and her stone, and attacks her clan's caravan to gain possession of them. Before the clan's defeat one of the clansmen sneak away to hide the stone. Canary is locked up in Kadar's harem, Kutchek and Gore in his quarry to be trained as gladiators, and the rest of the clan is to live as outlaws in the woods. When Kutchek and Gore have grown up to VERY big gladiators, they run away and break into Kadar's harem with the aid of the young woman Lemone. Canary quests them to find "The Old King's Weapons" and with these kill the dragon that guards the hidden belly stone. Afterwards they should find a new queen and give her the stone, to restore the tribe to its former glory."

That's better. Anyway, I've never seen the movie, but now don't believe I can rest until I see the brothers "kill the dragon that guards the belly stone" with my own eyes.

Lest you think The Barbarian Brothers rested on their laurels, a little investigation from yours truly has divined that they kept busy in the 90's with a series of direct-to-VHS releases, seen below.

This is funny because there are not one, but two sets of twins (for clarity's sake - the Barbarian Brothers are the dudes
who look like the offspring of Jose Caseco and Dolph Lundgren). I also like the subtle reference to "Home Alone" in the blurb.

The "Think Big" logo is awesome, is it not? But my keen eyes indicate that Richard Kiel is in this movie, so I want - nay need - to see it.

Mining territory already covered by Jean Claude Van Damme in "Double Impact", this version differs in that it features twins that are 2,000 feet tall. Which would explain why that sweatshirt doesn't quite fit.

You can watch
the trailer for "Twin Sitters" here. The end credits indicate that George "I Played James Bond Once" Lazenby is in the hizzy, but I didn't spot him in the trailer. But maybe I was just struck blind.

And here's the trailer for "Double Trouble." It features yet another fight on a playground, and James "Scotty" Doohan as the hard-nosed Police Chief! I was also quite sad to see that Mr. Roddy McDowell appeared in this mess. Sorry about that, Roddy. You deserved better.

The boys managed to appear in a couple of other films in the aughts, but at this point appear to have kind of flamed out, sad to say. God willing, maybe they'll pop up someday on "Dancing with the Stars" or on some VH1 show like "Celebrity Fit Club" or 'The Surreal Life." Rest assured that in the event such a blessed thing occurs, I will be on the case and swiftly post any alerts.

The Nozzle

I don't know how many of you watch "The Venture Brothers" on Cartoon Network / Adult Swim, but it's a pretty funny show. It's basically a spoof of the old "Jonny Quest" cartoon mixed with a bunch of comic-book and spy genre gags, and concerns the adventures of two dopey teenage characters (Hank & Dean Venture), their scientist father (Dr Thaddeus Venture) and their bodyguard / Office of Secret Intelligence agent (Brock Samson) as they battle various foils such as members of The Guild of Calamitous Intent.

TOP: the cast of Venture Brothers
BELOW: the cast of Jonny Quest

Anyway, I finally got around to watching some season 3 episodes on the ol'd DVR recently, and I found the following sequence amusing, in which a former quiz show boy genius is brought to the Office of Secret Intelligence to be interrogated and then converted into a spy:

That's right: "The Nozzle." Keen viewers will also note that one of the agents in the clip is an obvious homage to Hunter S. Thompson.

Speaking of Adult Swim shows, you could also do worse than give Metalocalypse a peek.

Muzak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Muzak Holdings says its total debt is between $100 million - $500 million with assets of less than $50,000. What - is the economy so bad that people don't ride elevators anymore? Are passengers fated to endure elevator rides in uncomfortable silence, with no dulcet tones wafting gently through the air? I blame the ipod, and those people who always insist on discussing the weather.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Yes, me worry

A recent article in the New York Times (I'd link to it, but can't because I'm not a subscriber, as I am cheap) reports that venerable humor publication Mad Magazine is going to a quarterly publishing schedule (that's 4 times a year to you.).

In publishing circles, this is akin to a young Al Pacino kissing you on both sides of your face. Which means that soon Mad magazine will not exist, at least not as a news stand presence. I find this prospect rather disturbing. Although I'm sure DC / Time Warner, who own the property, will slap up some lame website in order to maintain the copyright. Whoopee.

Have we truly come to this? I realize that Mad hasn't stayed at the editorial heights it did as a magazine in 60's & 70's, but still - it's just plain reassuring to see it for sale on magazine racks. Who hasn't read or owned an issue of Mad Magazine at some point in their life?

I ask you - who will the leaders of tomorrow learn from, if not from Al Jaffe, Mort Drucker, Don Martin, Jack Davis and Paul Coker? From whence will youngsters develop their much-needed sense of societal irreverence? Surely not from hours spent whacking hookers with a pipe in Grand Theft Auto XXVVI? I guess "South Park" sort-of fills the Mad satire void, and that's all well and good, but a kid can't roll up an issue of South Park and carry it around in his back pocket or pass it around the classroom to his buddies.

I'm going to go hug my Alfred E. Neuman statue now, and dream of a world cooler than this one.