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Bloody brilliant Nintendo TV ads from the early 90s starring Rik Mayall
06.12.2018
08:04 am
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A photo of actor Rik Mayall (RIP) as his namesake Rik in UK television show ‘The Young Ones.’
 
Actor Rik Mayall, whom we lost four years ago this past Saturday, will never be forgotten thanks to his lasting gift of making us laugh at his own, beautifully executed expense. During his career, Mayall played wild fictional characters with enviable viciousness especially his highly-quotable namesake Rik on UK series The Young Ones and for most American audiences, his role in the much-loved doleful comedy, Drop Dead Fred. So when Nintendo made a power play in the UK in the early 90s to try to compete with popular rival Sega, they hired Mayall to appear in a series of television commercials. According to the website Nintendo Life, the company hoped using Mayall as a spokesperson would help them appear less “family friendly” to consumers.

Not only the star of the commercials, Mayall helped write dialog for many of the ads along with Black Adder producer John Lloyd. At the time Mayall was one of the biggest celebrities in the UK, and Nintendo lined his pockets generously for his work which Mayall used to buy a house he nicknamed “Nintendo Towers.” Seven or so spots were shot over five-weeks, and more were planned, but Nintendo’s Japanese owners didn’t “get” Mayall at all and ended his contract with the company. Since I’m fully confident our Dangerous Minds readers get Rik Mayall I’ve posted footage of his nutty Nintendo commercials below. Game ON!
 

 
HT: Nintendo Life

Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.12.2018
08:04 am
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Awesome 1966 Batman trading cards painted by Norman Saunders
06.04.2018
08:40 am
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Spikes of Death
 
Adam West’s Batman TV series debuted on January 12, 1966—the network it ran on was ABC. Over the course of a little more than 2 years, 120 delightful episodes (!) were produced showcasing West’s brilliantly deadpan comedic timing, a gallery of colorful and mentally deranged villains, and some unspecified number of celebrity cameos as the “Dynamic Duo” scaled the side of that one apartment building. It was the perfect crystallization of a certain brand of camp humor that has still never been equaled on television.

The arrival of the show ushered in ample opportunities for promotion, and one of the best artifacts celebrating the program was the Topps line of Batman trading cards painted by Norman Saunders. There were parallel lines of Batman trading cards using still photographs, but I’m not talking about those, just the Saunders paintings. Topps actually had several lines of Saunders’ Batman cards, known by collectors as the “black,” “blue,” and “red” series based on the color of the bat logo bearing the card’s heart-palpitating caption.
 

 
Born in North Dakota in 1907, Saunders broke into pulp graphics in the 1930s, when he got paid $150 a pop to do covers for classic Western tales with titles like The Lead-Slingers and Too Hot For Hell. His most famous work is likely his legendary 1962 Mars Attacks! cards that inspired Tim Burton’s 1996 movie of that name.

One of Saunders’ abiding beliefs that helps his work resonate so profoundly was his notion that effective art required a tangible real-life referent. As he told the Gannet Westchester Rockland newspaper chain (which produced my hometown Citizen Register during that era) in 1983:
 

If you do something from life, something that is really true that you see, the truthfulness and honesty in the picture comes through. I learned that. You got to paint a picture of a person, you get a person. You got to paint a picture of a dog, you get a dog. Even if you have to tack him up on the wall to see what he looks like.”


 
One of the best things about Batman as a mythic character, from the perspective of 2018, is a pleasing unity in terms of Batman’s station in life. Batman’s domain is unquestionably Gotham City, and that’s been true for the Burton movies and the Nolan movies, not to mention any number of AAA video games—and even though they are incredibly different in tone it’s also true of the original 1966 series as well. Batman fights for the people of Gotham, period. Batman isn’t some hero you can just drop into a swamp willy-nilly and make him tussle with an alligator, you know?
 

Grappling a Gator
 
Saunders never seemed to get the memo on that particular topic, and one particularly delightful aspect of his cards is that Batman is depicted doing so many “un-Batman” things, like participating in a rodeo, dealing with a ghostly baddie out of Scooby-Doo and….. yup, tussling with an alligator. (Of course, there’s a parallel lineage from the Silver Age in which escaping from deadly water traps miles away from Gotham was exactly the kind of thing Batman did.)

The cards are (obviously) prized by collectors—just a few weeks ago a single card from this set went for $599! But they’re available for far less than that as well.
 

Gassed by a Geranium
 
Many more of these delightful Batman cards after the jump…....
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.04.2018
08:40 am
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Can tears up ‘Dizzy Dizzy’ in their last TV appearance, 1977
05.25.2018
08:34 am
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YouTube user Bruno S. has taken a lot of killer TV footage of Seventies bands and cleaned up the sound and picture. (Listen, for instance, to his Captain Beefheart live at Beat-Club.)

I particularly like what Bruno S. has done with Can’s appearance on WDR’s Musik Extra, recorded in January 1977, a few months before they ceased to exist as a live band. It’s the five-piece lineup that played Can’s last shows: Jaki Liebezeit on drums, Michael Karoli on guitar, Holger Czukay on tapes and effects, Irmin Schmidt on keyboard and Silver Surfer jacket, and Rosko Gee on bass. Music does not get much better than their jam on “Dizzy Dizzy,” the first track from Soon Over Babaluma, and “Don’t Say No” is pretty good, too.

Bruno S. omits the interview Can gave Musik Extra.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.25.2018
08:34 am
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Jerry Lewis: The Day the Clown Shredded…
05.24.2018
10:22 am
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Mean-spirited? Perhaps—okay, alright, sure, it’s downright nasty—but it’s also hilarious and surreal. I think it’s a masterpiece, personally. It’ll make you laugh, it will make you cry. I was a mess!

Jerry Lewis is still big in France, you know…

(Runs away)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.24.2018
10:22 am
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John and Yoko’s bananas art hour on late-night public TV, 1971
05.24.2018
10:05 am
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“Why is Johnny Carson?”

Free Time, a series on New York City’s public TV station WNET, devoted its October 14, 1971 broadcast to Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Jonas Mekas’ performance of excerpts from Ono’s “Of a Grapefruit in the World of Park.” The title was significant. It had been the name of a short story she published in the student newspaper at Sarah Lawrence, and it was very close to the name of her first musical performance in 1961. And then there was Grapefruit (“The greatest book I’ve ever burned”—John Lennon), Yoko’s small-press, limited-edition book of instructions from ‘64, reprinted by Simon & Schuster and stocked, I imagine, in every B. Dalton and Brentano’s in ‘70 and ‘71.

Shortly before this aired, the New York Times reported Free Time was about to return in a “new format.” Perhaps this meant more bohemian, radical fare; another episode from around the same time featured Allen Ginsberg with Bob Dylan, Peter Orlovsky, and Gerard Malanga. All I really know about the show comes from former WNET president James Day’s description in The Vanishing Vision: The Inside Story of Public Television:

[The] original concept was an open studio—anyone with the desire to be seen and heard would be welcome to drop in—but that gave way to the more practical concept of a thrice-weekly, late-night (10:30 P.M. to midnight) live show with a minimum of structure and maximum of provocation. Abbie Hoffman “moderated” a panel on the press; the consuls general of India and Pakistan debated the war in Bangladesh; and Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda aired their unpopular views on the Vietnam War. The show’s tissue-thin budget produced lots of talk: open-ended discussions by Bronx street gangs, New York cabbies, black film producers, women writers, domestic help, telephone operators, and other denizens of a world rarely glimpsed on the tube. [...]

On one memorable evening, Free Time featured the spiritually inspired films of Yoko Ono, including a film consisting only of the movements of a fly on the nipple of a woman’s breast. The attention to the film was broken, however, when her husband John Lennon put in a surprise appearance, set up a ladder, and invited the studio audience to join him in “flying” off the top rung. One hapless “bird” sustained a broken arm.

Several of the broadcast’s pieces—the peeking, the flying, the wrapping—are straight out of Yoko’s 1967 performance in Liverpool. The flying routine (which goes from the 12-minute mark to about 15:40) does not develop quite as Day remembered it. The startling thing is that the broken arm comes early; long after the ladder topples, people are lining up to jump into John’s arms. “Every one a winner,” he says, as he tries to catch them. “Except the one.”

If PBS was still like this (i.e., live, unpredictable, insane, morally instructive, revolutionary), I might even contribute money during the pledge drive. But when they were hard up, it seemed “Dr.” Wayne Dyer was always bloviating, and I was always donating my scorn. How much scorn gets you the tote bag?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.24.2018
10:05 am
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Dinosaur Jr. brings its ear-splitting jams to daytime’s ‘The Jenny Jones Show,’ 1997
05.21.2018
02:20 pm
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Dinosaur Jr. persisted for eight years and four studio albums after the departure of Lou Barlow in 1989. In the spring of 1997 the band released Hand It Over and spent much of the year touring North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. On November 6, 1997, Dinosaur Jr. played Tramps in New York City, and while they were in town they taped an appearance on The Jenny Jones Show. A few days later the band would play its final show in its original iteration at the Middle East in Boston, not far from J. Mascis’ hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts.

I can’t say I ever watched it, but all available evidence suggests that The Jenny Jones Show was a very weird venue for a Dinosaur Jr. appearance. The show’s closest cousins are the scandalous daytime programs hosted by the likes of Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer, and Maury Povich, none of which, I am pretty sure, ever chose to invite Throwing Muses or Redd Kross on to perform a rousing musical number. But Jenny Jones did like to have musical artists perform on occasion, although the show’s emphasis was squarely on what is euphemistically called “urban music”—noted guests include Usher, Ludacris, Nelly, and Three Six Mafia.

Like the competition, The Jenny Jones Show loved to rile up its audience with shows involving strippers, feuding neighbors, paternity tests, “out-of-control teens,” celebrity impersonators, talent contests, and so on. A famous 1995 program on “Same Sex Secret Crushes” actually led to a murder after Scott Amedure’s on-air confession that he had a crush on Jonathan Schmitz. Three days later, Schmitz killed Amedure with a shotgun, leading The Jenny Jones Show to cancel the airing of the episode.

Aside from that, The Jenny Jones Show was mainly known for humorous rhyming show titles, such as “I Don’t Mean to Be a Pest, But You Need to Cover Up That Chest!,” “I Flash My Body ‘Cuz I’m the Next ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Hottie!,” and “You Said I Was a Weasel, But Baby Now My Body’s All Diesel!”

The Dinosaur Jr. lineup at this point was J. Mascis, Mike Johnson, and George Berz. The two songs performed on the daytime program were “Never Bought It,” off of Hand It Over, and “Out There,” off of 1993’s Where You Been (Jones calls it “Outta There”).
 
“Out There”:

 
Watch the performance of “Never Bought It” after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.21.2018
02:20 pm
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Ulrike Meinhof’s teenage riot TV movie


“If you obey, they are happy because you are ruined. Then they are cool because they have crushed you.”
 
Right before she embarked on a campaign of left-wing terror, Ulrike Meinhof produced her screenplay for Bambule, a TV movie about the miserable lot of girls in a juvenile reform institution. It was supposed to air in 1970, but the broadcast was canceled after Meinhof helped the Red Army Faction bust Andreas Baader out of prison.

The title means “prison riot,” though apparently the bambule originated as a form of nonviolent prison protest, making a “Jailhouse Rock”-style racket by drumming on anything available. “You lousy screws!”

During one scene, the girls beat a frenzied tattoo on their doors. But in Meinhof’s own definition of the term, from a 1969 radio report (quoted in Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F.), there is no mention of noise:

Bambule means rebellion, resistance, counter-violence – efforts toward liberation. Such things happen mostly in summer, when it is hot, and the food is even less appealing than usual, and anger festers in the corners with the heat. Such things are in the air then – it could be compared to the hot summers in the black ghettoes of the United States.

 

(via ARD.de)
 
Meinhof based the screenplay on her conversations with girls at the Eichenhof Youth Custody Home, for which Bambule is not much of an advertisement. They had a prescription for teens like Monika, expelled from a convent for kissing another girl: discipline and work, with occasional breaks for obeying the rules. The only pleasures in Bambule are the small acts of disobedience available to teenagers. They smoke cigarettes, curse out a few fuckwords, write graffiti about LSD and hash, play the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts.” All relationships with adults are characterized by violence, cruelty and exploitation; everyone over 20 is dead inside. It’s like watching an episode of Dragnet written by a militant leftist.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.11.2018
08:56 am
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Serge Gainsbourg’s pop art science-fiction cartoon ‘Marie Mathématique’
05.08.2018
03:18 pm
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Incroyable! Hosting the legendary French pop show Dim Dam Dom in 1965, Sandie Shaw introduces the first installment of “Marie Mathématique,” an animated short made by “Barbarella” creator Jean-Claude Forest. Serge Gainsbourg wrote the music and sang André Ruellan’s lyrics. The Marie character is the younger sister of Barbarella—she’s sixteen—and her adventures take place in the year 2830.

In total, there were six installments of “Marie Mathématique.” There was never a proper soundtrack release, but it was bootlegged.
 

 

Another five episodes of “Marie Mathématique,” after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.08.2018
03:18 pm
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Watch Bob Dylan’s seldom-seem ‘Hard Rain’ TV concert, and the better version that was shelved
04.30.2018
09:52 am
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When Hard Rain, Bob Dylan’s much ballyhooed NBC TV special aired on September 14, 1976, I was nine years old. I’d “discovered” Dylan earlier that year and owned his Greatest Hits album and the single of “Tangled Up in Blue,” which I thought was the greatest song ever recorded. I eagerly anticipated the night that a Hard Rain was a-gonna be broadcast.

However, Hard Rain just perplexed me. I was expecting something more… well, professional, I suppose, and this was really loose and informal, the exact opposite of a slick rock show. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t play his songs the “right way.”

I’d also been reading about how the Rolling Thunder Revue tour was supposed to have all of this crackling, joyous onstage energy and musical camaraderie among the musicians (Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, David Mansfield, Gary Burke, Roger McGuinn, Bob Neuwirth, Scarlet Rivera, Luther Rix, Kinky Friedman, Mick Ronson, Steven Soles, Rob Stoner, Howie Wyeth), but as you can see, the energy is downright subdued, barely a smile is cracked. By the time this performance was shot—May 23, 1976 at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado—the Revue seems to have run out of steam and the rain wasn’t helping matters. Roger McGuinn looks like he’s about to fall over and Bob just seems angry.
 

 
Only four of the eleven performances actually heard in the broadcast (“Maggie’s Farm”, “One Too Many Mornings,” “Shelter from the Storm” and “Idiot Wind”) were included on the Hard Rain live album released ten days before the special aired. Rob Stoner would later remark that Dylan had been “hitting the bottle all weekend” and speculated that the album’s sloppy “punk” energy was a result of that bender. The fact that Dylan and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Sara, had been arguing for the entire Colorado stay may have also contributed to what went down onstage (Watch him spit out “Idiot Wind. It’s easy to interpret this performance as a “fuck you” to her.)

More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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04.30.2018
09:52 am
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‘I did one and I’ll never do it again’: Tom Waits’ dog food commercial
04.16.2018
11:04 am
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Tom Waits is in some sense the poster boy for the notion of willful independence from the clutches of corporations tempting musical artists with advertising moolah. Waits isn’t just known for not doing commercials, he famously filed suit against Frito-Lay and its advertising agency Tracy-Locke in 1988 after the mega-manufacturer of salty treats ran a commercial in which a man named Stephen Carter mimicked Waits’ unmistakably gravelly voice intoning the familiar patter of “Step Right Up,” only in this case adapted to alert viewers to the charms of its new product, SalsaRio Doritos.

Waits alerted his attorneys with alacrity—four years later he was rewarded with a whopping settlement of $2.6 million.

It might surprise you to learn, then, that Waits actually did voluntarily make his gravelly voice available for a large corporation for a commercial—one single, solitary time.

In 1981 Waits did the voiceover for a commercial for Purina Butcher’s Blend Dog Food. Here’s the text Waits was required to read:
 

As dog travels through the envied and often tempting world of man, there’s one thing, above all, that tempts him most…the taste of meat! And that is why Purina makes Butcher’s Blend. Butcher’s Blend is the first dry dog food with three tempting meaty tastes. Beef, liver, ‘n’ bacon. All in one bag. So c’mon, deliver your dog from the world of temptation. The world of Butcher’s Blend. The first dry dog food with three meaty tastes.

 
The gig didn’t pay $2.6 million but it surely put a spring into Waits’ step. The period right after 1980’s Heartattack and Vine was a heady one for Waits in that he not only ended his association with Asylum and joined forces with Island but he also somewhat acrimoniously dumped his manager, Herb Cohen. After making the decision to manage his own career (with his wife and artistic partner Kathleen Brennan) and also without his old label for the first time in almost a decade, it would be understandable for Waits to undergo a process of searching and also at least dip his toe into the advertising waters.
 

 
Waits has never seriously attempted to deny that the Butchers Blend commercial happened. In his book Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, Barney Hoskyns quotes Waits as saying, “I was down on my luck. And I’ve always liked dogs.” Of Cohen, Waits said pungently that he had “gotten rid of my ex-manager and a lot of the flesh-peddlers and professional vermin I’d thrown in with.” (Captain Beefheart once said that Cohen reminded him of “a red marble in a can of lard.”)

Flush with SalsaRio Doritos simoleons, Waits could later afford to develop his (surely sincere) opposition to letting advertisers run roughshod all over musical artists. It wasn’t just Frito-Lay Waits took on, after all, not by a long shot. Waits has also tussled with the likes of Levi’s, MP3.com, and Audi whenever they threatened to use his likeness or vocal uniqueness in a manner of which Waits did not approve.

In 1999, during an interview conducted by Jonathan Valania of Magnet magazine, Waits made an oblique reference to his experience of selling his voice to Butchers Blend. Asked if he is truly “Big in Japan,” as the title of a new song (at the time) had it, Waits replied:
 

Haven’t played there in a long time. Last time I was there, I was on a bullet train, had my little porkpie hat, my pointed shoes and my skinny tie. There was a whole car of Japanese gangsters dressed like Al Capone and Cagney, really zooted. Everyone says, “Don’t go in there, don’t go in there,” but it was the only place with seats - everybody else was huddled together like cattle. And they are in this huge air-conditioned car, with tea and little cookies and six guys sitting around talking with cigars. I said, “Fuck, I’m gonna go in there and sit down.” And I did. It was like this big, heavy stand-off, then they all started laughing, we all tipped our hats and did that little bow. It was pretty funny. Then I brought my guys in and we all sat down, my mob with the Japanese mob. They always want me to do ads for underwear and cigarettes, but I never did them. I did one and I’ll never do it again. I used to see celebrities doing ads and my first reaction was, “Aw, gee he must have needed the money. That’s tough.” When somebody was on the slide, they would do an ad.

   
 
Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.16.2018
11:04 am
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