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Sex & Violence: the first ever ‘Muppet Show,’ 1974
02.22.2012
12:52 pm

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Animation
Heroes
Television

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An interesting curio from the back catalog of the Jim Henson estate here - the first ever (pilot) episode of The Muppet Show, which was recorded late in 1974 for broadcast in 1975. From the Muppets wikia:

The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence aired on ABC on March 19, 1975, and was shot on December 10-16, 1974.

It was one of the two pilots produced for The Muppet Show. The other pilot, The Muppets Valentine Show, aired in 1974.

In this half-hour variety special, the Muppets parody the proliferation of sex and violence on television.

Subtitled “An End to Sex & Violence,” this first ever episode of the world’s favourite puppet theatre seems a bit racy for a supposed family audience. However, watching this pilot it’s clear that Henson and co. were aiming for a more adult-orientated, risqué edge to the material, akin to the sketches they provided in the very early years of Saturday Night Live (and which were deemed, in the end, not to work.)

Obviously some more fine tuning was needed on this material before it became the international hit we all know and love. Not least a honing of the format and pacing of the show. This early version is a lot more fast-moving, with quicker cuts between multiple sketches, which we return to numerous times. The show had also yet to make musical numbers its main focus, perhaps explaining the later decision to constrain the sketches to single slots allowed to play out in full.

That’s not the only thing that’s disconcertingly different though: the usual Muppet Show host Kermit is relegated to just a bit part, even though by this stage he had become well known through appearances on Sesame Street. Sam the Eagle has a lot of screen time, and an early variant on Miss Piggy makes a brief appearance.

The main presenting duties go to a humanoid Muppet called Nigel, who is backed up by right hand man by Floyd Pepper, better known as the bass player in Dr Teeth’s Electric Mayhem and the popular character Janice’s main squeeze. The main Muppets’ to-camera addresses are a lot more knowing and audience-literate than Kermit’s let’s-get-this-show-on-the-road style, again hinting at the influence of a more grown-up, hip comedy aesthetic influenced by Lorne Michaels and even Monty Python.

Still, flawed as it may be, this is well worth a watch for Muppet fans and even the more curious viewer. Below is part one, while parts two and three are after the jump:
 

 
The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence Parts 2 & 3 after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Vera Brosgol: ‘What were you raised by wolves?’
01.19.2012
05:21 am

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Animation
Art
Books

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She may be only starting out, but Vera Brosgol is one of the most talented comic artists around. Her first graphic novel Anya’s Ghost kicked ass, and last month she made available the whole of her brilliant What were you raised by wolves? on-line. This is a fantastic story of a girl who….well, you’ll find out, and can be read here.

Born in Moscow, Vera moved to the United States when she was 5. She currently works at Laika Inc. in Portland, Oregon drawing storyboards for feature animation. For more information on the divinely talented Ms Bee (and on how to get started as graphic artist) here. And look here for her books and for prints.
 
vera_brosgol_wolves_2
 
With thanks to Steve Duffy
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘My Name is Potato’ (1977)
01.17.2012
05:21 pm

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Animation
Music

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By way of the food blog, Eat Me Daily:

Taking its cues from Schoolhouse Rock, “My Name is Potato” is an Italian novelty song by Rita Pavone from 1977. It features Ms. Pavone — who was apparently 32 when she recorded this, despite looking to be about 17 — singing to a cartoon of a potato. An American potato, as he gruffly insists, who shoots guns and flies off in an American flag spaceship at the end. The animation was done by Guido Manuli, who was famous for his collaborations with director Bruno Bozetto, particularly on the film Allegro Non Troppo, a sort of spoof on Fantasia.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
9 Seconds of Iggy vs. The Thin White Duke
01.07.2012
07:12 pm

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Amusing
Animation
Pop Culture

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‘Hello, I’m David Bowie. Make way for the Homo Superior.’

Find similar here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kraftwerk’s album cover for ‘Tour de France’ gif’d
01.04.2012
01:00 pm

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Animation
Music

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I’d love to give credit, but I don’t know who made this.

(source: KMFW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Lee Hardcastle: John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ retold in 60 seconds with Pingu
01.04.2012
05:55 am

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Amusing
Animation
Movies

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“Possibly the best thing we have seen over the entire festive period…” says John Robb over at Louder Than War, and who could disagree? Animator Lee Hardcastle retells John Carpenter’s The Thing in 60 seconds, using claymation and children’s TV favorite Pingu. Sheer bloody magic.
 

 
Director’s Cut: ‘Pingu’s The Thing’, after the jump…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Eraserhead’ in Sixty Seconds


 
Via Louder Than War
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Some holiday dementia from dangerous minds
12.23.2011
11:50 pm

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Amusing
Animation
Music

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Zonaromega performs “вся жизнь впереди скачать” (Your Future Looks Bright) with a menagerie of strange creatures from parts unknown.

No reason to have these blues you’ll make it all right
Youll make it all right, the future looks bright

Youll make it all right, the future looks bright
The future looks bright

This puts me in a Christmas frame of mind.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Singing Christmas Hedgehogs
12.16.2011
02:48 pm

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Amusing
Animation

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The talented bods at Bird Box Studios have made this fun animation, Singing Christmas Hedgehogs, where you can pick and dress a hedgehog to serenade you. How neat is that?
 

 
Via b3ta
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hardcore or Die! Animated hardcore punk tribute
12.15.2011
01:31 pm

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Animation
History
Music
Punk

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Radio Soulwax’s ambitious punk mash-up mix is the “Stars on 45” of hardcore.
 

 
Thank you Glen E. Friedman of New York City, NY!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Some Crazy Magic: Meeting Harry Smith


Photo by Allen Ginsberg

This wonderful short animated film by Drew Christie recounts musicologist John Cohen’s first meeting with Harry Everett Smith, polymath autodidact weirdo, experimental filmmaker and the Grammy-award-winning compiler of the classic Anthology of American Folk Music.

It’s an absolute delight! Guaranteed to make you smile or double your money back.

There are several similarly charming Harry Smith anecdotes like this one recounted in books such as Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular (Andrew Perchuck and Rani Singh); Think of the Self Speaking (edited by Rani Singh); American Magus: Harry Smith (edited by Paola Igliori) and the monograph Harry Smith: Fragments of a Northwest Life (Darrin Daniel).

My favorite Smith anecdote, and I think this one comes via Allen Ginsberg—pretty sure—is that Smith usually wore eyeglasses that he found in the trash. If he happened upon some discarded glasses, tried them on and they were better than the ones he was wearing, he’d toss the old ones and keep the new ones!

And speaking of Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, if the animation intrigues you, and his Anthology box set is something that you are unfamiliar with, you can listen to this special podcast about it on the American Standard Time blog’s Roadhouse Radio show.
 

 
Via John Coulthart

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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