A Halloween Joke – The Crown of Bogg (1981)

Before ALF, there was Bogg.  Paul Fusco, most known for being the creator of ALF, bestowed this Halloween special upon the Showtime pay-TV audience in 1981. I call it a Halloween special because a) it happens to take place at the same time Halloween occurs and b) that’s how Showtime pitched it to viewers.  Past that, there’s not much Halloween celebration to be had.

The special begins in the underground kingdom of Bogg, where a transfer of power is taking place from current-king Mildew to his son Milo. Milo’s hesitant to accept the responsibility of power. Around that same moment, Mildew’s brother (of a completely different species?) Vandal appears to present his son Vandred’s challenge for the crown.

Three extra-goofy wise-men are called to arbitrate. They decree that whoever can retrieve the Crown of Bogg from the overworld will prove themselves the rightful king. Mildew and Milo set off on their journey with Vandal and Vandred not far behind.

The rest of the special is pretty straightforward. Mildew and Milo make progress while Vandal and Vandred try to set traps or otherwise thwart said progress.  The crown is on display in a museum that’s having a Halloween party, which gives the rest of the special a convenient Halloween background. Mildew and Milo meet some children, and eventually find the crown.

A museum employee recognizes Mildew and Milo as the underworld creatures that they are, faints, then comes back to consciousness and helps them understand the curse of the crown. Essentially, the crown can only be touched on Halloween (?), otherwise turning anyone who touches it to stone – as evidenced by the myraid stone ancestors that the Boggs suddenly notice around them.  Also Vandal and Vandred are there and all of a sudden everyone has magic and also there’s a battle for the crown. It’s kind of a mess.

Mildred and Milo “cleverly” catapult the crown so that it touches Vandal and Vandred, turning them to stone. They then return to the Kingdom of Bogg victorious.

All in all, a pretty rough special. There’s some charm to be had there and the puppet designs are nice but the sets are bland and listless, the human actors are pretty flat, and the premise is pretty strained.  This effort is illustrative of the difference between Showtime and HBO in the early 1980s in a nutshell. People paid a premium to see stuff like this?

Maybe I’m just grumpy. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Five Things – 12.19.16 – Go Find Your Mother

The Spirit of Christmas

This strange Christmas special first hit broadcast in 1953, presented by “Your Telephone Company”.

It was really Bell Telephone, but for some reason that’s never mentioned in the special. That’s just the first of many things that feel….off….about this video. The unnamed host addresses us in a poor overdub, explaining how he and the rest of the telephone company employees are busy creating books in braille for blind children. Okay.  He then throws to an overlong scene in which he, as Clement Moore, gets the inspiration to write The Night Before Christmas.

Then we get to see marionettes perform The Night Before Christmas.  Guys, I understand that marionettes are difficult. It’s an impressive skill. I couldn’t do it myself, and I take my hat off to those who can.  The only question I have is, is there some unspoken rule that marionette puppets need to be creepy? This is some serious nightmare fuel.  Cases in point:

The Night Before Christmas lasts for half of the special, and we switch gears to a straightforward telling of the birth of Jesus. Again, using marionette puppets.  To be fair, this is significantly less creepy than the previous segment, but still.  Is it just their faces that makes it creepy?

Once Jesus is born and the three Wisemen show up we’re given another round of ‘hey isn’t Your Telephone Company great’ and we’re done.  A very odd Christmas special.  Even more odd (and special) is that it was produced in color even though color TVs weren’t really a thing yet.  I’m glad it was; for all my gripes about its creepiness, the special does look great and really captures the era.  Here it is.

New Leaf Entertainment Promo Video

Here’s a fascinating video from 1992, where Dennis Miller acts as a pitch-man for an eerily prescient Video-On-Demand idea for Blockbuster Video years ahead of its time. They get so much right, just a decade too soon.


Casey Cassette

Somewhere on the spectrum between Chatbot and Alphie, there’s Casey Cassette.  That growling Santa Claus song he sings is pretty impressive!


Coke And Food Go Together

Alternately titled “Coke and Layout Design Go Together”. This 1957 Australian magazine ad for Coke is fantastic.


Atari Holiday Checklist

The thing that gets me most about this ad is the call-to-action with the dotted line, suggesting that any parent receiving this checklist would give it the time of day.



Five Things – 10.6.14

1.  The Adventures of Gamepro – Gamepro hit the stands in 1989, the first big magazine aimed at covering video games of all systems for kids.  Nintendo Power was the only real competition for kids at the time, and although it only focused on Nintendo games it was a pretty stiff competitor. Both magazines featured comics, but while Nintendo’s comic was a series of one-offs relating to a specific Nintendo property Gamepro went the serial route, creating “The Adventures of Gamepro”.

Gamepro Cover

The story is basically that this kid, Alex West, beats an unbeatable game and gets sucked into the TV and becomes the superhero in the game, conveniently named Gamepro.  Sounds an awful lot like Captain N the Game Master, if you ask me.  Regardless, the artwork was pretty good for such an artificial idea – they could have slouched a lot more than this, but they didn’t and that’s saying something:

Gamepro 2

Gamepro 3

Gamepro 4

The magazine lasted much longer than the comic did.  Shocker, there.

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