Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Post About Stuff Going On...It's Just Talk, No Big Whup

Hi everyone. I don't have any video or images today, I'm just going through some general blog business, so here goes.

--Happy Birthday to me! Yep, today's my birthday, 34 years and counting, and I'm having a great day thanks to my family, who of course are the best gift of all!

--I'd like to thank all of my regular readers out there who are kind enough to link me on their own sites. Thanks to Todd Mason of the Sweet Freedom blog, Karswell at The Horrors of It All, Rich Dart of Dartman's World of Wonder, Dave at the Mostly Ghostly and Children's Records blogs, Rokk Krinn at the Comic Book Revolution, Lady Tink at Up Close and Personal, the King of Jingaling at Fa La La La La, and to anyone else who I may have missed. I appreciate the traffic that comes my way thanks to you guys!

--Speaking of blogs that link to mine, The Pop Culture Holiday Blog is back! Not that it ever went away, but it hasn't had a new post since St. Patrick's Day. It's back as of September 22nd, and it's already started featuring Halloween posts. Do yourself a favor and check it out in my blog list. And speaking of Halloween...

--I begin my Halloween programming next Sunday! Starting October 5th, this blog will be wall to wall Halloween, except for the Saturday Matinee, which will wrap up the Batman serial (Batman's kinda Halloween-like anyway, so it fits). I've been gathering clips since August, and I can't wait to share them all with you. I hope to increase the number of posts here in order to showcase all the fun, so please stay tuned throughout the month for awesome Halloween goodness!

In fact, this blog is going to be feature almost nothing but holiday fare for the rest of the year. I may take a break for more general post topics the first week or two of November, then get back into the holiday swing of things with Thanksgiving and then, of course, Christmas. It's going to be great!

Thanks again to everyone who enjoys this blog. Please, please, contact me at or leave a comment on any post. See you later!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Saturday Matinee: Batman, 1949 Serial, Part 11

It's time once again to step into the virtual reality theater of the blog and enjoy the Saturday Matinee, as we rejoin Batman and Robin in their cliffhanging adventure from 1949.

But first, enjoy another Rocket Man trailer:

And now---Batman and Robin!

Wow, that was great, but now I'm parched. Time to refresh ourselves with a nice cold Orange Crush!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homecoming 2008: It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown

Now is the time of year when high schools and colleges begin having their homecoming weekends, involving parades, homecoming queens, and football. Yet another sign of the new fall season. Some schools have their's as early as now and as late as mid-October. I decided to have a homecoming for the blog in my own unique way. And here it is.

It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown premiered on CBS Monday, October 24th, 1977. Charlie Brown is an escort for his school's homecoming queen, who turns out to be none other than his lifelong love, the little red-haired girl. Terrified of the prospect of making a bad impression on the girl he loves, especially after being erroneously blamed for losing the homecoming game, Charlie Brown soldiers on anyway in his duties as escort with surprising results.

I've only seen this special a few times when it first began airing, but I had a read-along book and record set of the special that I listened to hundreds of times, so this special is a particular favorite of mine (although I can say that about a lot of these specials, being the huge Peanuts fan I am).


Monday, September 22, 2008

Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree

Happy Autumn everybody! As I write this, we're just a half hour into the new season. Summer is now officially over, and I hope it was a great one for all. As great as summer is though, fall is also a great time of year with its own charms and delights. The fresh, cool air, trips to pumpkin patches and farmers' markets, the return of first-run TV, and of course, the beautiful fall foliage.

If you're lucky enough to live in proximity to a forest or state park, do yourself a favor and take full advantage of the view of the leaves changing color. It's always a specatular sight that connects you to nature and helps you appreciate our physical world.

Which brings us to today's clip. This is an animated version of author Shel Silverstein's classic story The Giving Tree, about a boy's relationship to a particular tree. It's a bittersweet story that has more than a tinge of meloncholy to it. You'll feel sorry for the tree and spiteful towards the boy/man at the end, or at least I do. I first saw this as a film strip way back in grade school (first or second grade?) in the early 80s, but it's much older than that. My friend and former coworker Todd Mason brought this to my attention several months ago, and I saved it for when the time seemed right. Why not now? Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Matinee: Batman, 1949 serial, part 10

Batman! Robin! Part 10! Right here!

Now, wernt that a mighty thrillin' adventure? Now go mosey on over to that there snack bar and git yerself some grub!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Many Faces of Pac-Man

I'm still in a Pac-Man state of mind (isn't that a Billy Joel song?), so I'm going to meander more about him today. Please be patient, as I'm going to talk about a 1980s pop culture phenomenon, and in doing so, I sometimes get high on the 80s goodness, being a young child during that glorious decade.

One thing I've always noticed about Pac-Man is the different looks he's sported in different pictures. Of course there's the usual.

Then there are attempts to make him more 3-dimentional. To wit:

Here he has arms and legs, which really help in the ghost hunting department. Notice the eyes shaped like little Pac-men.

Here he looks much the same as above, but he now has a nose and boots. The better to run after and...smell ghosts?


Here we learn two things about Pac-Man: he's much more lean that any of us expected (got to be all that marathon running)--and he really needs a dentist.

This is one of my favorite depictions of the man they call Pac, from his early 80s ABC Saturday morning cartoon show. The boots are back, along with a fedora (inspired by Indiana Jones, perhaps?) and a bright smile. You'll be seeing more of this incarnation in the future. Stay tuned to this blog in the coming weeks (oooh, blog tease).

Here is the same character design as previously seen, but for a print ad for the Nintendo version of the game rather than the cartoon show. This was when Nintendo's first home game system was the hottest thing out there, dating the ad at about 1987-89. I find this interesting, as the cartoon was off the air for a few years before this ad came out.

I love this image! It's a fan's dramatic representation of the game action, as the good guy Pac-Man (here an actual human) is chased by the fiendish ghosts, with only Pac-man's pellets to save him. Good stuff!


This is a funny illustration of Pac-Man by freelance artist Andrew Bell. The picture becomes downright hilarious when you learn its title: "You Said No One Would Get Hurt." Genius!

Finally, here is the Pac-Man image I've found the most unique, especially since it's from the very thing that started it all--the original arcade game version. Here we have legs, which is not uncommon, but he's more oval than round, plus, he has red eyes! Sleepless nights from being chased by ghosts, I guess? I 've always found it ironic that this console is Pac-Man's origin, yet has artwork that differs the most from the game version. Does anyone else think about these things? No, of course not, just me.

Thanks for being patient through this long-winded (for me) post. Coming up next: part 10 of the Saturday Matinee! See you then.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pac-Man Cereal Commercials

I love the Internet. Ya know why? Because it's like a stream of consciousness for the universe. Case in point. I was looking through YouTube for material for upcoming posts and came across one thing that led to another and I wound up at: old TV commercials for Pac-Man cereal.

Weird, to be sure, to be interested in something so obscure, yet I am. Mostly because I found no less than seven of these things! Wanna see them? Sure you do!

I'm guessing this is the oldest of the bunch, likely 1981 or no later than '82. The jingle has a good bit of techno in it, which isn't surprising as it fits a video game-related product, and this was the start of the techno-sounding 80s.

Next, the same jingle but even more 80s-ish art design (a healthy dose of neon, a glowing aura around the characters, etc.).

Looks like Pac-Man and Co. are going to houses throughout the neighborhood.

Yep, they're canvassing the hell out of this town.

In these past few commercials, I like how Pac and the ghosts, although working together to promote the cereal, still give each other uneasy glances here and there. In this next one, however, their relationship is more overtly hostile. Have no fear, Super Pac is here!

In these last two commercials, the animation is gone and is replaced with live action children dancing, no doubt thanks to the "energy" provided by the sugary cereal. In this next clip, they dance "The Pac-Man!" This commercial is covered in 80s cheese: the return of the neon, the Day-Glo clothes, techno sounds, corny choreography--awesome!

Finally, let's not forget Pac-Man's betrothed--Mrs' Pac-Man! Otherwise known as Pac-Man with a pink bow on his head.

Wow, no less than seven commercials for a cereal that no longer exists. Most licensed cereals are temporary swipes at a passing fad, but Pac-Man cereal must have lasted for several years. Did any Gen-Xers out there who might be reading this eat this stuff? I never did, although I remember its existence. Please place comments below. Thanks!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saturday Matinee: Batman, 1949 serial, part 9

You know the drill!

Trailer (an original made by a YouTube member!):

Feature presentation:

And a word from this theater. For the second time, don't forget to remove your drive-in speaker!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Happy Birthday Mommy! We all worked on this for you.

What you just saw was take 2. Below is take 1, the blooper version.

We hope you enjoy your special day. We love you!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday Matinee: Batman, 1949 serial, part 8

Better late than never, here is the next installment of the Saturday Matinee. Get your tasty treats at our consession stand first!

And now our feature presentation!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mourning the Loss of Two Entertainment Greats

I'm postponing the Saturday Matinee by a day or two in order to acknowledge the passing of two cool people from the world of entertainment. You won't know their faces, and you likely won't know their names, but they were people whose work you've very likely enjoyed.

The first is Don LaFontaine, who passed away on Labor Day. Who is he, you ask? He's this guy:

Yeah, now you know him. He is the voice of thousands of movie trailers, commercials, and all sorts of work requiring voiceover. In fact, Don was known as "King of the Voiceovers."

Here he is in a much older commercial for Hollywood Video.

Here Don briefly discusses his start in the industry and his philosophy of his work.

The other unfortunate passing is that of Bill Melendez, the director of virtually all of the Peanuts TV specials from the very beginning. I am a diehard Peanuts fan and adore the best TV specials, so Melendez's passing is particularly poignant for me.

Here is an interview where he discusses his start as a Disney animator and subsequent career.

Here is a sample of his earliest TV work on a commercial for Lucky Charms cereal.

Here is a clip from an obscure Peanuts special inspired by the film Flashdance. In this scene, Snoopy is shown doing his version of Jennifer Beals at a nightclub. The clip is filled with early 80s cheese, but please look past that and enjoy the vibrant animation that Melendez directed. A live dancer was hired to dance the steps and Snoopy's every move was based on the dancer's performance. Great work!

The contributions of both of these men are completely different, but also appreciated and loved. Rest in peace!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to School

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend and a fantastic summer!

September is a pretty hectic month for everyone. Kids and college students are starting a new school year and getting acquainted with their classes, people are working harder at their jobs than they've been the last three months, and well, it's just a busy month. Time for everyone to blow the cobwebs out of their brains and refocus for the rest of the year and get "back to school," at least in theory. Let's take that time--now!

First, let's stock up on school supplies at Staples and get the school year started off right. At least for exasperated parents, it's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

Let's recap our alphabet with the help of Professors Howard, Fine, and Howard--The Three Stooges!

Looks like Big Bird could use some help with his ABCs as well!

For a more dignified look at the alphabet, here is a wonderful clip also from Sesame Street called "Madrigal Alphabet."

Let's expand from letters to words with the help of Schoolhouse Rock, and one of their most popular segments, "Conjunction Junction!"


Let's not forget numbers, especially our multiplication tables, and remember, "Three is a Magic Number."


Science is an important subject. Let's take a tour of our solar system with "Interplanet Janet." And here at Me and You, Pluto is STILL a planet!

OK, time for recess. I'll see you all again this weekend for the Saturday Matinee!