Monday, 17 January 2022

thank you for being a friend

With a television career that spanned nearly all of the history of the medium, both in front of and behind the camera as the first woman to produce a sitcom, advocate and actor Betty Marion White, born this day in Oak Park, Illinois in 1922, left us just a few weeks shy of her one-hundredth birthday. Appearing first on radio programmes in the late 1930s, White’s work in the industry covered a remarkable ten decades.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

6x6

teed-off: the worse examples of gerrymandered voting precincts in the US portrayed as formidable mini-golf hazards—via Print Magazine  

blursday afternoon is never ending: time reforms for 2022 

toponymy: Wordle (previously) place-names editions—see also 

la pista automobilistica: Nag on the Lake gives us the chance to revisit the incredible Fiat factory in Turin with rooftop test-track  

crying is for plain women—pretty women go shopping: season one Golden Girls are younger than the cast of the Sex in the City reboot and other essential reading  

undercounted: email traffic reveals how Trump interfered with US census to ensure polities with large immigrant populations didn’t gain clout

Thursday, 13 January 2022

and then there were three

Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we are reminded that not only on an episode first broadcast on this day in 1966, did Samantha give birth to baby Tabitha, it was the first appearance of the erstwhile foil though sympathetic to her relative’s mixed-marriage, cousin Serena. That same fifth season was when Darrin was replaced without explanation. Based on Elizibeth Montgomery’s own cousin “Panda,” the character was credited as “Pandora Spocks” (as in the baby doctor) in the show’s outro sequence.

do you think there will ever be a time when you’ll be hung as a thief?

On this anniversary of the first day of recording sessions in 1965 at Columbia studios in New York City with the artist producing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Subterranean Homesick Blues,” we’re directed towards Bob Dylan’s interview and press-conference held at the end of that same year after going electric. Much more at the link above.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

eeny, meeny, miney milliters

Via our peripatetic friend, Messy Nessy Chic, we are enjoying this 1978 Schoolhouse Rock! style campaign (from the same creative team) to bring the metric system to United States of America (see also) whose success and legacy presently is dubious at best.

night stalker

Based on the then unpublished Jeff Rice novel The Kolchak Tapes, the ABC Movie of the Week, airing on this day in 1972, features Darren McGavin as an investigative reporter researching a spate of murders in Las Vegas, coming to suspect that the serial killer is a vampire. The most popular made-for-television-movie to date and spawning a miniseries and a sequel for the franchise, remembering this event in TV history, shared by some seventy-five million households in the US, inspired Chris Carter to later create The X-Files.

Monday, 3 January 2022

das bayerisches restaurant-stรผck

The first of two forty-five minute specials (episode number one filmed the year before) by the Python troupe were first broadcast by ARD on this day in 1972 to audiences in West Germany and the behest of visiting television producer Alfred Biolek, who felt their absurdist brand of humour would translate well, though notably absent from the domestic comedy scene. Present in Munich first for the five hundredth anniversary celebrations of the birth of artist Albrecht Dรผrer and next for the Summer Olympics, this cultural backdrop informed their sketches. Beset with timing, pacing and interpretive problems (the first episode was performed in German and a challenge for the crew—the second instalment airing in mid-December was dubbed) and a lack-lustre initial audience reception, the this pair of German episodes has an enduring charm.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

7x7

2020—too…: the moment it hits you 

the colours of motion: spectral analysis of contemporary film classics  

the timekeepers of eternity: a printed, pagination interpretation of Steven King’s novella The Langoliers  

forefather time: on the trial of the masqueraded, marauding Jukace that herald the New Year for one Polish city  

visual vernacular: Jayme Odgers—one of the montage artists behind California’s New Wave aesthetic, creates a legacy repository of his works 

ham and banana hollandaise: a cursed collection of dishes from McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection 

those we’ve lost: a more comprehensive compilation of celebrity obituaries from the past year from Bob Canada’s Blogworld

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

a carol for another christmas

Commissioned by the United Nations and intended to be the first of a planned series of television specials to educate the public about the its mission and foster global cooperation, the modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Rod Serling (previously) aired on this day in 1964, the Joseph L. Mankiewicz not shown again until December 2012. The score is by Henry Mancini and stars Sterling Hayden and Eva Marie Saint.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

good posture is its own reward

One of two shorts before the main film The Unearthly about a crazed scientist in search of eternal youth, the educational, social guidance film from 1952 Posture Pals first received the MST3K treatment on this day in 1991, featuring a foursome of elementary students pledging to help each other improve their bearing. Hey—it’s Whistler’s Mother!

Monday, 13 December 2021

dewey “pigmeat” markham

Passing away this day in 1981 (*1904) and having earned his stage name from a routine in which he declared himself to be “Sweet Papa Pigmeat,” the comedy and singer began his career with travelling musical revues and burlesque shows in the 1920s and 1930s and ultimately began a regular act at the Apollo Theatre.  Among Markham’s repertoire was a courtroom satire, with Marin presiding in a graduation cap and gown to look officious, with his catch-phrase “Here Comes the Judge” set to music and charting in 1968, the song considered to be one of the precursors to the performance style of rapping.  A second turn-of-speech from Markham passed through the then-highly segregated entertainment industry and also onto NBC’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (previously, Hee-Haw’s Justus O’Peace was a direct appropriation for that target audience) with the admonition  to “Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls.”

Monday, 29 November 2021

there was no ransom to be paid—no song unsung, no wine untasted

On this day in 2009, the ITV network’s Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle’s debut album climbed to the top of the charts, becoming the best-selling first recording in the history of the UK. Appearing as a contestant on series three, she surprised the audience and jury with an amazing rendition of Fantine’s solo from Les Misรฉrables, subsequently rising to stardom.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

i killed that fat barkeep!

First airing as a Turkey Day—Thanksgiving special on this day in 1992, preceded by a classic episode of the soap opera General Hospital, Mystery Science Theater 3000 assayed the 1960 teensploitation crime film by Paul Frees (see previously, his first and only directorial credit) The Beatniks, shot in 1958 under the working-title Sideburns and Sympathy. A petty thug is discovered—during a stick-up of a small diner for beer money—for his vocal talents, but his success, appearing on television and an over-night sensation, earns the jealousy of his former partners in crime and try to drag him back down to their level and reconstitute the old gang, ruining our protagonist’s chances for a career. Shut up, Iris.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

8x8

turnspit: eccentric, utilitarian canine breeds that have passed out of fashion but could be revived—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see there) 

ball-and-chain: this leashless ankle weight system to control one’s toddler will only make baby invincible—via Super Punch  

miss spirit world 1960: a pageant sourced in spectral photography of the departed  

something—that if true, you couldn’t handle it: a close reading of the recently indicted QANon Shaman’s manifesto  

on รฉcrit aussi ielle: the authoritative French language Petit Robert adds a third, gender-neutral personal pronoun—a concatenation of the masculine and feminine forms (see also)  

the midnight special: eight hours of footage from David Bowie’s television programme the “The 1980 Floor Show,” an episode guest-curated by the artist  

hocus-pocus: the hidden overhauls happening the faรงades of Russian construction sites (see also)  

yes, this is dog: a video phone that allows apartment-bound dogs to call their humans

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

i will kill you!

At the risk of over-explaining the gag, the seventh episode of the second season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, airing for the first time on this day in 1990, is one of the first incidents of the above often repeated threat or pledge throughout the show’s run which is itself a reference to Sting’s portrayal of Baron Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune (1984) delivered to Paul Atrides and they both try to usurp power from the Padishah Emperor, during their treatment of the 1967 William Grefe film Wild Rebels in which a retired stock car racer is engage by the police to infiltrate a biker gang called Satan’s Angels, who are terrorising southern Florida with a crime spree, undertaken not for financial gain but rather “kicks.” Below is a short preview of the lampoon as the full episode wasn’t yet available for watching.

Friday, 12 November 2021

santa claus isn’t coming to town

With an extreme shortage of Santa’s Helpers available and unwilling to work and risk life and limb with a resurgent pandemic expected to get worse before it gets better (many of the usual candidates in character being older and larger individuals considered more vulnerable), many malls—worldwide—are turning towards a new Yuletide tradition and installing the red-light, green-light killer robot from Squid Games (previously). Adults queuing up at a shopping centre in Manchester even were served dalgona—the fragile sugar cookie-cutter candy from one of the challenges—whilst they waited patiently to have their picture taken with the giant doll.  Not to fret, however, since unlike one’s typical Mall Santas, the actual Father Christmas is immune and designated as an essential worker.

Monday, 8 November 2021

9x9

poppy watch: juxtaposed recruitment campaign for lorry drivers looks like a cheesy Whovian villain (previously)—via Super Punch 

if past is precedent: a comic illustrating vaccine requirements in public schools—via Nag on the Lake  

voleur de grand chemin: literary correspondence for Jack Kerouac’s On the Road 

wurzelkindern: a delightfully illustrated 1909 children’s book about when the root children wake up—via Everlasting Blรถrt

greatest movie never made: storyboard, note for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune, to star Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson and Salvador Dalรญ, up for auction  

nitt witt ridge: an eccentric castle on a hill—via Messy Messy Chic (lots more to see here)  

could’ve been an email: a concise plan for shorted, more productive meetings from John Cleese in 1976  

high-fidelity: a patent for a playback stylus that moved the needle rather than the record in the form of a VW Bulli 

mop and smiff: the Saw-See annual, a nostalgic diversion from BBC1 uncovered

Saturday, 6 November 2021

9x9

the audience effect: fellow blogger and internet caretaker Duck Soup passes a million page-views

ะณั€ะฐั„ะธั‡ะบะธ ะดะธะทะฐั˜ะฝ: celebrating the works of three pioneering Serbian graphic designers and topographers

mountain view: a prop gravesite used for film and television, interred and disinterred thousands of times, in a very real cemetery 

subject matter expert: the street photography of Eric Kogan—via the morning news  

utter rubbish: traumatising photographs of the garbage, sometimes neatly knolled, that humans produce  

the briefing: a definitive guide to COP 26  

greased falcon: a fan-channel dedicated to Star Wars! The Musical (2008)  

time in a bottle: hackers are amassing encrypted data in the hopes that within a few years, quantum computers will be able to unlock it—via Slashdot 

return to comfort town: more on brilliant housing development in Kyiv inspired by building blocks—see previously

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

aw, she’s the ginchiest—life does begin at forty

Broadcast for the first time on this day in 1990 and reattaining its reputation as a minor cult classic with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, the 1961 horror film Ring of Terror, following the trials of a young medical student portrayed by a significantly older actor, Lewis Moffitt, twenty-two, played by George E. Mather, then forty-two, who submits to hazing before he is able to join a fraternity. Despite a haunting childhood trauma that involved an incident with a corpse, our protagonist Moffitt puts on a brave face for his first autopsy. His initiation ritual, which involves him retrieving a ring from a dead body, proves far more frightening and reveals his past. Universally panned for its pacing and casting choice that marked the beginning of the trope of old teenagers. The only episode of MS3K to have the short after the feature, it concluded with another chapter from the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

7x7: happy halloween edition

robert the doll: Key West’s most cursed object—see also—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see here)  

zombie jamboree: Harry Belafonte’s actual ghoulish calypso number—notwithstanding the associations with the Banana Boat Song 

la calavera catrina: a sugar skull puppet presents a primer on Dรญa de los Muertos  

westsonality: enjoy Paul Lynde’s 1976 Halloween Special with a cavalcade of guest stars  

respect the sabbath: periodic movements in the US to hold no Halloween on Sundays  

main title theme: the score for John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween 

lovecraft country: welcome to my metaverse—see previously