1. The Jitterbug – I have the feeling this is one of those things that I found out just now but is common knowledge to the rest of the world and has been for some time. Well! Apparently there was a song/scene cut from the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz called The Jitterbug. From Wikipedia: “As the song begins, the four friends see a jitterbug flitting in the shadows from tree to tree and become frightened. The refrain that they sing is: “Oh, the bats and the bees and the breeze in the trees have a terrible, horrible buzz. … So, be careful of that rascal/Keep away from The Jitterbug.” The Jitterbug puts a magical influence on the characters, forcing them to dance the Jitterbug frenetically. Soon there are many jitterbugs, and eventually, everyone collapses from exhaustion and are subdued by the Witch’s army of flying monkeys.”
I’m not sure why the song was cut, but upon hearing it I feel like it is a little incongruent with the rest of the songs in the movie – a little less timeless than the others. The song has survived in some stage productions, however, and there’s also this amazing handheld video shot during a dress rehearsal:
The Jitterbug’s influence on the movie is not totally lost, as the Wicked Witch makes reference to having sent “a little insect to take the fight out of them”. There’s just no payoff to it and it ends up being a huge continuity error. Who knew!
You probably did.
2. Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown – One could not watch television in the 1980s without being inundated for ads selling books on just about any subject from Time Life. There were series on home repair, gardening, nature, war, the history of war, the geography of war, modern warfare, and sewing. The ads would basically hook you in with a free book and then charge you a pretty exorbitant price for the rest of the books in the series. None of the ads really spoke to me that much as a kid, except for one: Mysteries of the Unknown.
Mysteries of the Unknown was a 33 volume best selling series for Time Life, exploring all manner of supernatural and psychic phenomena. UFOs, ghosts, out-of-body experiences, psychic locations, each had a dedicated volume. I was super into this stuff as a kid, and the ads for it seemed to be directed right at me:
3. Final Fantasy X NES Intro – Final Fantasy is an RPG series that started out on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. It has since moved from its humble 8-bit beginnings to become a title that “sums up” the technological capabilities of whatever era the most recent iteration is released in. The CG cutscenes, in-game graphics, and sound are always top of the line. Well, here’s an attempt to retrofit a later-era Final Fantasy cinematic into an old NES format. It’s pretty interesting how it takes the real one 3 minutes to do what the NES would have done in one!
Here’s the real Final Fantasy X intro, for Playstation 2:
And here’s the NES version:
4. EPCOT ad image – Came across this this week. I hadn’t seen it before. I liked it. That’s it!
5. Doonesbury special – Aired on NBC in 1977, A Doonesbury Special also won a Jury Award at Cannes that year for best short film. I had no idea Doonesbury was ever animated until this week. And here it is!