Tag Archives: cartoon

Five Things – 5.1.17 – Halfway to Hades

Nearly Departed

This 1989 NBC show features a married couple who die in an accident, yet their ghosts live on in their house and they have to live with/around the living family that moved into their house after they died and only one member of the family can see them and it’s not Beetlejuice and somehow they still got away with it.

In the spirit of fairness, there are a few adjustments to the formula.  Ghost Husband Grant (played by Eric Idle) was a professor in life, and his hoity-toity ways conflict with Living Husband Mike who’s an unrefined plumber.

The person who can see the ghost family is not the youngest member of the family (Derek, the super cool teenage babe-hound) but the oldest – curmudgeonly Grandpa Jack.

Jack hates Living Husband Mike, too, so he and Grant have some common ground. Also the Ghost couple can apparently leave the house without being devoured by sandworms.

Nearly Departed lasted all of four episodes before being cancelled.  Two went unaired. Perhaps it was the too-obvious Beetlejuice draft, but I doubt it.  It also directly claimed inspiration from the 1937 Cary Grant film Topper, so there’s at least some admission of its derivative nature.  Instead, I think it’s that it just wasn’t very good. Eric Idle’s fine in it, and there are some good bits, but it’s just not very unique in any aspect. The plot lines are typical sitcom tropes and the premise doesn’t do anything to elevate the stories.

Also, why would this family have a bed that fit four people and cram into one side of it if they weren’t aware that there was a ghost family next to them? And why would Mike hug Grant and find something tangible at all?

Here’s an episode where Grandpa is tasked with babysitting babe-hound Derek, but instead goes off to play poker and leaves the ghosts in charge… hilarity!

 

 

Quick Fast

This 1979 PSA instructs kids how to make a quick breakfast – a “quick fast”, if you will.  I’m on board with the idea, but toast with cheese AND peanut butter? That’s weird, right?

Also, where does that bowling part fit in to all of this?

 

Pink Panther Flakes (1971)

I’ll take a piece of toast with cheese and peanut butter over whatever this garbage is supposed to be. It’s pretty bad when the commercial won’t even show you the cereal.

The vocal on the verse is pretty amazing, though.

 

Silent Running Trailer

They don’t make trailers like this any more.  There’s something charming about the combination of the uneventful font, the deadpan narration, the blatant ‘this is what the movie is’ nature of the clips and the progression of the trailer’s narrative, and the circus-ringleader copy playing up the robots and Joan Baez.

 

MST3k Season 2 Promos

In honor of the recent release of Mystery Science Theater 3000  season 11(!) on Netflix, here are some promos announcing season 2. It’s pretty neat to see the promos reference TV’s Frank as the “new villain”.  It’s also neat to see some of the Comedy Channel’s look and feel.

 

-ds

Five Things – 01.16.17 – Once Or Twice In History

Kid n’ Play Cartoon

I’ve watched Hammerman. I’ve written about Hammerman.  This is no Hammerman.

Kid ‘n Play premiered in 1990 on NBC. It followed the by-then-standard formula of a cartoon celebrity show where the featured celebrities appear in live-action wrappers at the beginning and end of each story, and a mediocre effort is sandwiched in-between.

Kid ‘n Play seems to loosely follow the House Party premise, where Kid is responsible and Play is a troublemaker. Also, they’re totally normal high school kids who also happen to rap and have connections in the music industry. Also there’s a rival gang out to get them. The episodes feature pretty typical “Saturday Morning” lesson-teaching efforts; probably a little bit less than their counterparts.

Not a lot happens during these episodes, for the most part. There are no superpowers like Hammerman, no combat like Chuck Norris’ Karate Kommandos, no relatable characters like the gang in Mr. T. Just Kid and Play, making music and reacting to music.  Still, there’s something eye-catching about it. The animation is definitely crude, but the lazy “pyschedelic” backgrounds that appear during music sequences actually give the show a unique flavor.  Martin Lawrence and Tommy Davidson also provide voice work for some of the characters – that’s a level of involvement that neither Kid nor Play gave.

Check it out for yourself. There’s something charming about it, right? What is it?

Attack of the Timelord

No, not a Doctor Who game, unfortunately. This 1982 title for the Magnavox Odyssey is a pretty solid offering. A side-scrolling space shooter, a la Galaga, with voice, a ridiculously beautiful color palatte, and 256 punishing levels? Yes, please.

The box art is no slouch, either.

 

Six Million Dollar Man Toy

I’m legit floored by this two-minute ad for a Six Million Dollar Man toy.  It’s so good! Where would an ad like this have even run? The hubris of it is amazing. They are suggesting that this toy release is a ‘once or twice in history’ level event!

Jeep Gladiators

For some reason, we Americans seem to be at our best when we’re selling cars. This gorgeous vintage Jeep ad supports that claim.

 

Maxwell House Commercial

This bland Maxwell House spot is actually refreshingly straightforward, and makes me want a cup of coffee.  Just not Maxwell House coffee, please.

-ds

 

 

 

Five Things – 05.18.15 – Polished Floors Are Man Traps

1. The California Raisins: The Grape Escape – Here’s a puzzler: it’s the ’90s and the California Raisins can do no wrong as a franchise. Neither can Capcom, the developer of such hit original franchises as Mega Man and licensed home-runs like the Duck Tales games.  So why was it that a NES game based on the California Raisins and structured similarly to Duck Tales was basically completed and never released commercially?

California Raisins: Grape Escape

Here’s the plot: some jealous haters have kidnapped the Raisins and their musical notes (?), and you as the sole un-kidnapped Raisin have to go through five levels to retrieve them.  It looks like a pretty cool platformer, and the fact that your characters can (explicably) moonwalk and (inexplicably) shoot unlimited grape jellybeans gives a little uniqueness to the game.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  It’s hard to imagine how the ax could have fallen this close to the finish line – the game was reviewed in published magazines and you can see the completed box art above with a Mega Man coupon offer.

Game Player's Cover

Maybe the Raisins had fallen off of the pop-culture shelf by then? Or maybe those haters who stole the musical notes got the last laugh after all.

Thanks to the existence of review copies and the internet, emulation of this game exists. Here’s a playthrough. Rest in peace, The California Raisins: The Grape Escape, you were too beautiful for this world.

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Five Things – 1.21.13

1.  Pac Man Phone – Created at the height of Pac-Man Fever, this phone looks pretty awesome but I’d imagine the effect is lessened when he’s held up to the side of your head on an actual call.  It feels like he’d have to unhinge his jaw too much to realistically look like he’s eating your head as the pellet.

 

Pac Man Phone

 

Pac Man Phone 2

 

Little-known fact about this little-known phone, it was the first phone created by Bell to have pulse dialing.  I know!

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