We’ve done galleries of amusing or startling movie posters from abroad before, but none of them have ever been quite this focused before, to my knowledge. Godzilla, that most protean of radioactive monsters, has inspired posters that range all over the goddamn map. As is often the case, the Polish posters of the late 1960s and early 1970s are hard to beat for sheer inventiveness and oddity, but the Czechs and the French, not to be short-changed, contribute bizarre wonders as well.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla gets a dashing Peter Max treatment, while the creature from Godzilla vs. Gigan is anachronistically, and energetically, pimping his radioactive RSS feed. Meanwhile, the creature on the poster of Son of Godzilla resembles a drunken Wookiee. My favorite might be the Polish poster for Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, an impressionistic masterpiece with flaming red eyeballs in the monster’s midsection and silhouettes of factories inhabiting his feet.
Godzilla, 1954 (Germany)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, 1956 (France)
Godzilla, 1956 (Czechoslovakia)
More international Godzilla posters after the jump…
The 1990 video game Pesterminator: The Western Exterminator is not as Burroughsian as one could hope. In fact, it’s not Burroughsian at all; it’s a disappointment in every way. The box promises nine infernal levels, the perfect number for a Dantesque descent into a rat-infested hell, but in fact the game only contains eight, one of which is the moon. Yes, the moon, from which Ronnie the Super Rat is “radiating the Earth with his powerful PEST BEAM,” causing our planet’s rats and bugs to rise up and demand what’s theirs. Do you really want to interfere with Ronnie’s project? I, for one, incline to the view that these noble species deserve their turn at the top of the food chain.
The hero of Pesterminator is the Western Exterminator mascot, the stern-looking, long-nosed person with the top hat and the hammer who overlooks L.A.‘s Hollywood Freeway and is variously known as Kernel Kleenup, Inspector Holmes, Mr. Little and the Little Man. Though he’s probably best known in the states where Western Exterminator has offices (California, Nevada, Arizona), I once saw a Kernel Kleenup figurine in a Philadelphia warehouse, and Van Halen fans will recognize his image from 1984 tour merch.
The game was produced by Color Dreams, a notorious manufacturer of unlicensed cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System whose subsidiary Wisdom Tree later produced many of your favorite Bible-themed video games. As an irate video game reviewer says on YouTube:
Games like Pesterminator are so horrible that they make you wonder why they were ever made at all. Who in their right mind would want to waste their time on such a futile endeavor? Color Dreams made it? Huh—well, that explains everything. They always seem to waste everybody’s time making shit, but this game is really dreadful, even for them.
“ANOTHER FINE AMERICAN MADE GAME,” the copy on the box boasts:
When you’re bugged by nasty pests, it’s time to call Kernel Kleanup [sic], the familiar character from Western Exterminator. Ronnie, the super rat, and his friends are pushing for a hostile takeover and their territories cover Houses, Office Buildings, Warehouses, Hotels, Swamps, and even the Moon. Watch out bugs, PESTERMINATOR has a big surprise waiting for you!
In the early days of the home video game console, one of the fun things that used to happen was this: you would visit your schoolmate at his mom’s condo and he would spend an hour or two “showing you how to play” his favorite games, after which it would be time for you to move on to a different activity or go home. Today, you can relive those precious moments by watching someone else play Pesterminator below. Let’s hope Ronnie and his army of plague-carriers annihilate the human race this time!
With all due respect to those who struggle with nicotine addiction (especially my good pal, the “indestructible” Lemmy Kilmister), these anti-smoking advertisements make me wish I never smoked for the week or so that I did back when I was fifteen.
Hi, Hitler! Anti-smoking advertisement, India
Unless you don’t watch television or read print media (which is of course plausible), then you may not be aware of how much anti-smoking crusaders have stepped up their campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, and to help people quit. Television ads featuring graphic testimonies and images of former smokers that have lost limbs, lips and teeth thanks to their habit are now commonplace. It’s no longer legal to smoke in clubs or bars in many places in the U.S. and starting on October 1st of this year, it will no longer be legal to smoke in your car in England or Wales if a child (or anyone under 18) is present.
Anti-smoking advertisement, UK
For people that treat the world as their ashtray, while I sympathise with your plight (I’ve watched friends go through withdrawals trying to quit - it’s not pretty), I will never understand the lack of respect or empathy most smokers seem have when it comes to the environment, or deciding to light up by a public doorway, a playground full of kids, or at the damn beach. It is not my goal with this post to be judge-y of smokers. I’ll just leave you with fact that smoking is a real fucking, life sucking drag. On us all. Thought provoking NSFW images that will hopefully help you quit, follow.
Well, here’s the WTF of the day, as far as I’m concerned: with the “Original Recipe” Colonel Sanders long having passed on to the great chicken coop in the sky, KFC has opted to do the Lazarus treatment, with the Colonel now being portrayed by ex-Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond. Having seen its bottom line droop thanks to an injection of competition from relative upstarts like Chik-Fil-A, KFC has changed its tack with an aggressive campaign intended to be evocative of KFC of days past (back when it was “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, prompting the scale-down to “KFC” to make many wonder if chicken was indeed in the, uh, chicken), with the resurrected Colonel strolling around with mandolin bands, singing, talking, folksier and friendlier than ever (albeit doused in a somewhat creepy vibe akin to some of those Burger King ads of late featuring the omnipresent grinning King).
That’s not quite the “WTF,” though, listen closely and the commercial below clearly lifts the song “A Doughnut in My Hand” by Glaswegian poet/singer/outsider Ivor Cutler, only with the crucual replacement of “doughnut” with “bucket.” Is Kevin Ayers’ reincarnation in the Drop the Chalupa dog all but inevitable?
Cutler, who passed away in 2006, was a bona fide treasure, an odd and eccentric poet and songwriter who started doing voiceovers on UK TV, then was spotted by Paul McCartney and drafted into the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film to portray bus conductor Buster Bloodvessel.
Here’s the original song “Doughnut in My Hand” so that you may make the comparison for yourself:
Collaborating with Robert Wyatt found Cutler being offered a deal on Virgin Records, then recording a slew of LPs, minimally accompanying himself on harmonium and over time carving himself a spot as a true outsider in popular culture and celebrated amongst the UK underground. The 1980s saw Cutler signed to the Rough Trade label, and “Doughnut In My Hand” comes from an especially great 1983 collection called Privilege, on which he collaborated with Linda Hirst. “Women of the World” from that album was a minor hit around that time, and a cover of that song by Jim O’Rourke found itself snatched up for a TV ad in the late ‘90s. There’s a nice Guardian piece of the life of Cutler here.
An amusing clip of Col. Sanders filming a commercial after the jump…..
James Brown famously never did anything in half-measures, and certainly this marvelous Japanese commercial for a miso soup product from Cup Noodles constitutes no exception whatsoever. Repurposing his signature tune “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” Brown apparently belts out the words “miso’n ba” ad infinitum while bobbing up and down in what was likely a green-screened kitchen set, and in the second section of the clip, what looks like a disused set for a Pepsi ad but probably isn’t. (Anyone out there know Japanese? Is he singing, “Miso on up”?)
Anyway, the single easiest way to write a DM post is to find footage of James Brown doing pretty much anything, and that’s what I’ve done here. Hope you like it as much as I do!
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Rhino has re-issued four iconic Joy Division albums on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl. Each design replicates the original in painstaking detail, including the gatefold covers used for Still and Substance. The music heard on the albums was remastered in 2007 when Rhino introduced expanded versions of the albums.
Joy Division recorded two albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, it more than made up for in quality. The band’s only two studio albums were groundbreaking and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake.
The compilations Still and Substance fill in the missing pieces of the band’s history with non-album singles (“Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”), unreleased studio tracks (“Something Must Break” and “Ice Age”), and choice live recordings (“Disorder” and the only performance of “Ceremony.”)
Driving under the influence of alcohol has not always been so frowned upon as it is today. In fact, there was once a time when “too drunk to drive” referred to such a deficit of impairment, you pretty much had to be unconscious behind the wheel to even raise an eyebrow. It wasn’t actually until the late 1970s that the law started to take drunk driving more seriously, but even then the more stringent standards for sobriety were met with resistance; groups like MADD were perceived as a bunch of busybodies and spoilsports, and public opinion was slow to recognize that it took far less alcohol to compromise a motorist than previously thought. Obviously this made for a lot of goofy public service announcements!
In 1979, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway and Safety Administration produced this little gem, which reworked the Star Wars cantina scene (complete with music) to promote the buddy system—“friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Of course, they weren’t able to secure any major characters, but Wookieepedia informs me that the intoxicated alien is of the Talz race, while his Durosian friend keeps him safe from harm by taking the keys(?) to his YT-1300 light freighter and driving them both home.
Hear that? That is the sound of a million nerds finding plot holes in a non-canonical space opera-themed drunk driving public service announcement!
And so it came to pass that the agency offered Gary £10,000—a non-trivial sum for 1982—for three 30-second pieces of music. The catch was the lyrics for each would be written by someone at the agency. That was a bit dodgy, but Gary still agreed to go through with it.
When the music arrived, the Americans at 7-Up were appalled—not because they didn’t like the music (although that was rumored to be true in some tellings of this tale) but because Mr. Numan failed to show up to the meeting as requested to present his new, er, pop masterpieces. Feeling snubbed, 7-Up declared that they would never, ever work with Numan again and stalked out.
Was this a case of rock star buffoonery? Actually, no. It was something quite serious.
The day Gary was supposed to present his vision for the future of 7-Up in the UK, he was on his way back from a music industry meeting in Cannes. On final approach to Southampton Airport, his single-engine Cessna 210 Centurion—one of the aircraft in his newly-founded airline, Numanair—ran out of gas and had to make an emergency crash-landing on a road in Hampshire. (Contrary to the legend, Gary was not at the controls but a passenger on this flight.) Everyone walked away from the incident but the airframe was destroyed.
All this happened as 7-Up and the agency waited for Mr. Numan to show up. Even after the crash became the lead item on the news across Britain that night, 7-Up wouldn’t revisit the situation. That’s why we never got a chance to see this commercial.
Numan, pictured here in a Numanair plane.
The uploader of the below clip of Numan’s jingles states that “when the recordings were sent to the Americans they had not heard any music like this, and they were expecting something in a punk style as that had just arrived over there. So these recordings were never used.”
However, a comment on the YouTube clip from Paul Gayter, one of the ad men responsible, clears up the real reason why Numan’s jingles were rejected:
I was the ad guy who wrote the idea/lyrics to this song (Yikes!) The true story as to why the client didn’t buy these ads is much stranger and funnier. Gary was supposed to present the music to 7-UP. He actually didn’t show up, so a truly unhappy client said “We’ll never work with him again!” The funny thing is it wasn’t until I arrived home later that night, that I discovered the true reason for the no-show…he was the MAIN news headline, for having to crash land his plane on a motorway!
So Numan’s career as a soft-drink pitchman died on that day in Hampshire, but he has remained active musically and in the world of aviation (as a pilot with many thousands of hours of flight time to his name) to this day.
Here’s Numan’s 7-Up tracks. I think these are actually really great skeletons and could have easily been fleshed out into legit songs after being rejected by the soda company brass:
These business cards come from Chicago during the 1970s and early 1980s—a charmingly distinguished touch for what was after all in most cases just a bunch of buddies who would get into rumbles every so often.
As the proprietor of We Are Supervision, the blog where most of these cards came from, says, these cards come from the days when “a gang was more of a neighborhood crew then what it is today.” These were the days of “fists, bats, and bottles” rather than AK-47s. “Most of the gangs were just about the neighborhood and hanging out together.”
If you wanted to make some cards like this for yourself, the first thing you’d have to do is make up a name for your crew—something like “Almighty Insane Freaks” will do. Then generate a little doodle of a unicorn or a skull, list the names of your members and voilà! you are instantly eligible to enter the fishbowl raffle at your local chain restaurant…...
Whenever some foodie gets snooty about Starbucks, it’s helpful to keep some historical perspective. Before the mass coffee chain invaded every strip mall in suburbia (plus half the truckstops in bumfuck), you were likely purchasing disgusting grocery store mud on your way to work. So yes, Starbucks is a homogenizing blight of cut-throat capitalist banality, but it has raised coffee standards for your average American, who otherwise would still be choking down Folgers.
Apparently during the early 80s young people stopped drinking coffee entirely. Soda was tastier and it didn’t make you feel like an old man punching in for his day at the mill. Okay, I just made that up, but still coffee had yet to hook the MTV generation!
In 1984, The National Coffee Association launched a campaign called “The Coffee Achievers”—trying sell coffee as young and hip. It’s not exactly clear who was a spokesperson for the ad, and who was just pasted in without their consent. I find it somewhat unlikely that NFL quarterback Ken Anderson, Jane Curtain or David fucking Bowie knew that footage of them was being used to promote coffee, but it looks like Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart were enthusiastically on board, literally; note the coffee mug being set down right on the expensive mixing board. Cicely Tyson was obviously a willing participant—and you will note that coffee makes her want to hit someone—but Kurt Vonnegut? Looks like it. The ELO soundtrack isn’t half bad, but I’m willing to bet Starbucks and the exporting of Seattle’s grunge culture did more for youth coffee consumption than the oh-so-hip Jeff Lynne.