Monday, July 26, 2010

Toon Music: Hi-ho, Tinfoil!

The William Tell Overture, composed by Gioachino Rossini in 1829, best known as the theme song for the Lone Ranger.

First and second movements:

The second movement should be instantly recognizable, and is pretty much always used to accompany wild thunderstorms.

Third and fourth movements:

Again, both movements are instantly recognizable, being used to accompany daybreak and Western action, respectively.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jetsons secret code

Having a strong fondness for invented words and constructed languages, we've put together the coded phrases from The Jetsons episode "A Date with Jet Screamer". There doesn't seem to be any transcriptions of the episode, nor a list of these words, and since two of the phrases are only mentioned in passing, we figured it would help fans of the show to be able to refer to a written list rather than relying on memorizing George's quickly spoken lines. Despite the hundreds of times we've seen the episode, we never memorized the other phrases.

eep opp ork ah ah - meet me tonight / I love you

bloop boppa bip blip boppa boop - don't be late

wham bam bop - we're late for dinner; your mother's gonna bop us

I think George's phrase "wham bam bop" is much more economical than "bloop boppa bip blip boppa boop", don't you think? That's an awful mouthful for such a simple sentence. But that may have been the point.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toon Music: The Minah Bird

Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, Op. 26 (aka Fingal's Cave), composed in 1830, as heard in Chuck Jones' series of Inki cartoons, accompanying the odd yet menacing skip of the mynah bird.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I just realized that no one ever criticizes another person unless they think they're doing something better and the other isn't. So if you're criticizing someone for always criticizing something just because they think they're better than what they're criticizing, you're doing exact same thing as the person you're criticizing.

Try and wrap your brain around that.

So what really matters is how much better you think you are and how aware of it you are. The degree of the feeling of superiority is what really counts. If you criticize only because you think you're better than whoever you're criticizing and want to stroke your ego, but are unaware of it, then you're a hypocrite.

I've often come across people who insult, belittle, and criticize to inflate their ego and won't admit it because they don't know it. And far too often, it indicates that they have the exact same flaw they're accussing the person they're criticizing to possess, only more so.
Of course, it's different when a person criticizes another person's accomplishments as opposed to their character, and unless they have similar abilities, more often than not they can't do any better. The usual response to this is "I'd like to see you do better". This sort of criticism only works if it's constructive criticism, and the person doing the criticising actually has valid points. Otherwise, your words are bound to be ignored or defied.

The key here, I think, is that to criticize, one must be honest with themselves and have some degree of modesty. For instance, I criticize people whilst being fully aware that it is because I think that I'm doing better. If I wasn't honest with myself about that, then I would be a hypocrite. Criticizing others should also mean criticizing yourself to some degree.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The curious tale of Ringy Roonga and Freddy Fox

Children's comic books have the uncanny tendency to transform licensed characters who- in their original medium, be it film, TV, what have you- typically did little beyond get into a conflict of some sort and proceed to do some gags around the premise for about 9 minutes. Plots weren't exactly complex. In the comics, your favorite characters, ranging from Donald Duck to Howdy Doody, traveled to far-off lands, encountered fantastic creatures, and met strange people for up to 56 pages. As near as I can tell, this trend began in 1930 with the first Mickey Mouse newspaper strips, which took Plane Crazy and eventually turned it into Mickey winding up lost on a desert island (although it wouldn't be until "Race to Death Valley" that it would move beyond the gag-a-day format). The animated Donald throws a tantrum over a box of cake mix, whereas comic book Donald discovers the lost city of Camdenia.

Even more remarkable is when these writers and artists take these characters and breathe such life into them as to create their own universe with a full cast of characters and places that last for years and even decades in print, without ever being seen on the big or small screen in motion. Famous as he is, Scrooge McDuck only appeared once animated in his long career before DuckTales and Mickey's Christmas Carol even existed (Scrooge McDuck and Money, 1967), and one need only take a look at his page on INDUCKS to see his worldwide popularity- with thousands and maybe even more appearances in comics the world over. It's hard to believe that he was originally created by one man as a one-off villain.

One curious off-shoot of this phenomenon is that every now and then the characters chosen aren't very popular or even that well-known. They may have appeared only once, and the average person will never know that their adventures continued elsewhere, hidden from them between the pages of an old comic lying about in some antique store, often not even in English. One of the best-known examples would have to be Sniffles and Mary Jane, who appeared in Dell's Looney Tunes comics for many years.

Sometimes, characters who never even appeared alongside each other on celluloid will team up together and create a surprisingly coherent whole- Disney comics in particular have succesfully blended the worlds of the Three Little Pigs, Brer Rabbit, and Chip 'n' Dale, with the worlds of Snow White, Bambi, and even Bongo occassionally making appearances, all living within the same presumably massive woods.
(These don't always work out, however, and such pairings such as Supergoof and The Jungle Book will pop up, making one wonder how these could have possibly been conceived without the aid of hallucinogens.)

Licensed children's comics are odd ducks. Suffice to say, this particular entry is about one of the odder ducks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I wish people wouldn't fling around the word "immature" as if they themselves lacked immaturity and the recipient didn't. (Most of the time when one accuses another of a character flaw, they themselves have that same flaw, and are therefore hypocrites.) One of the problems with society today is that everyone seems to expect the other guy to be mature, but no one is in mutual agreement as to what the definition of maturity actually is. I can infer that today's version of maturity is generally acting like a Vulcan, and anything resembling impulsive emotions is immature, but I think we all know deep down how very wrong that is.

I can therefore conclude that maturity is of no real value in today's Western world, and therefore I do away with any attempts on my part to achieve it, and focus instead on being a good person.

You know, love and kindness and turning the other cheek and all that.

I do know a couple of things maturity isn't: being inconsiderate and self-centered. But I don't see what having a bit of passion has to do with anything...

Horror rock

You know that sort of cheesy rock music they play on the radio every Halloween and stick on CD compilations? No doubt you've heard some of the classics: "Monster Mash", "Purple People Eater", "Witch Doctor", "The Munsters Theme"... this type of music represents a brief fad that lasted from about the late '50s to the mid-'60s, where everyone loved cheesy horror films and liked to poke fun at it. You know, like the Addams Family.
(Now, this style really lasted longer than that, and never really died out, but that's a subject for another time.)

You've probably also noticed that there are a lot of bands that recreate some of the vibes these songs had, mostly working in the psychobilly, deathrock, goth rock, horror punk, and New Wave styles. But the thing is is that I'm fairly certain that these sort of musicians recreated a style that was almost nonexistent.

Why do I say that?

Well, so far I haven't found very many examples of this type of music dating back to its origins. These are the ones I can name:

  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who released "I Put a Spell on You" in 1956 (arguably the first)

  • "Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll" by Billy Lee Riley, 1957

  • "Witch Doctor", by David Seville, 1958

  • "Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley, 1958

  • "The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor" by Big Bopper, 1958

  • "Jack the Ripper" by Link Wray, 1961

  • Screaming Lord Sutch, who released "'Til the Following Night" in 1961

  • The Undertakers, by a stretch, who dressed as... well, undertakers

  • Bobby "Boris" Pickett, who released "Monster Mash" in 1962

  • "My Baby's Got a Crush on Frankenstein" by Soupy Sales, 1962

  • "Trick or Treat" by Chuck Berry, 1963

  • The Munsters theme, 1964

  • It's Monster Surfing Time by The Deadly Ones, 1964

  • "Monster Shindig" and "Monster Jerk", from the Hanna-Barbera album Monster Shindig, 1965

  • Frankie Stein and his Ghouls, who released Introducing Frankie Stein and his Ghouls (and four other albums) in 1965

  • "The Mummy" from Mad Monster Party, 1967

...And that's about it. There are examples from later years, such as the Groovie Goolies in the '70s (not the punk band), but I'm specifically talking about the "first wave", so to speak. My point is that it wasn't exactly a movement in the usual sense.
It's difficult for me to include songs from the psychedelic era, because by that point they don't have that "oldies" sound that I'm using as my criteria (but a shout-out to "Spooky" by Classics IV from 1968 seems necessary).

So beginning with the glam rock of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the rockabilly revivalism of The Cramps, a new style of retro rock with campy horror themes emerged that had a very small foundation. I can imagine that perhaps rock and pop that had darker subjects (such as all those songs about teenagers dying in tragic accidents) also played a part in influencing these artists, but I think primarily they had to look at the very genres that these novelty songs sought to satirize in the first place.