Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Crack Monster!

According to my sources, Sesame Street's elusive "Crack Monster*" cartoon debuted thirty four years ago today, freaking out the few Generation X kids who saw him.  Then we grew up and wanted to see him again.
As I've written elsewhere, I got a chance to see it again this year, though I still know nothing about its history- who wrote/directed/animated it.  I'd sure like to know!
About once a month I'll get an email  like this:
"I remember that cartoon!  It freaked me out when I was a kid but now I'd like to see it again.  Except nobody seems to remember it and I couldn't find much about it but then I saw your blog..."
Yesterday I posted about Quasi at the Quackadero, another 1975 cartoon.  It was added to the National Film Registry  by the  Library of Congress  recently (to qualify, the film needs to be  "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".)  
I imagine the Crack Monster character is crumbling with envy, possibly thinking Why couldn't it have been "Crack Monster at the Crackadero?"  I coulda been a star!  An icon!  Grrrr....!

*The character, though described as "the monster," refers to himself as "Crack Master"  For continuity I've been calling him "Crack Monster".  Neither is the real name of the clip.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quasi at the Quackadero & Little Nemo: National Film Registry 2009

Sally Cruikshank's "Quasi at the Quackadero" and  Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo"   have both been included in the 2009 National Film Registry.  This is great news.  My only quibble is that they weren't inducted years ago.
As I've posted before, I  love with "Quasi at the Quackadero"- it's one of my favorite cartoons.  It's cute (without being cloying), bizarre (without being pretentious or annoying), inventive, colorful, funny and very original.  This isn't a cartoon where you can guess what happens next.
As for Nemo, I've been familiar with the old comic strips since I was a kid, but saw the animated version a few years ago.  Amazing stuff.
While very different, these cartoons have some things in common:
Each was largely the creation of a single artist, who thought up the plot, created the characters, and did most (if not all) of the animation.  Also, note how both take advantage of the medium (a fancy way to say the creators realized  Hey, this is animation, so I can make  the characters do whatever I want!)  There's morphing, surreal craziness, fantastic creatures and unique details.
And both are fun to watch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Secret of the Kraggler!

A goose kid tells us about a monster...

Since these are the Magic Geese, I originally was going to have the show they were watching presented in a magical context- appearing in a fireplace or a crystal ball. But it looked distracting and wasn't necessary for the story, so I dropped it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Medea the Mean*

(*Apologies to my late cockatiel, Quasi, who had a broken beak but was a peach)

Katella, (a gosling sorceress ) has trouble at wizard school.  Click each frame for larger image.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Magic Wandees

Here Ganderdalf's wizard nephew tells about a cool party favor.
Click images to make them larger.


It's a Bundyful Life

This here's the climatic scene from one of my holiday favorites:
The "Married with Children" episode that spoofs "It's a Wonderful Life."
It debuted 20 years ago this week.
In the episode, Al's plans to get presents for his family have been thwarted. He comes home empty handed and gets grief from his wife and kids. Alone and depressed, he wonders if he should have been born. Sam Kinison appears as his lunatic guardian angel. He offers to show Al what the world would be like if he'd never been born (video above starts here).
In this alternate universe, his family is obnoxiously content and loving. His wife happily prepares a big meal, his kids are well groomed and considerate. Alternate Dad appears, announcing they're to move to a much nicer house than this "hovel" they live in. The children assure him his love is more important than presents.
"Well this had been fun!" Al says, oozing sarcasm. (Who hasn't spent a holiday season or two feeling like someone watching everyone else have a great time?).
The Angel admits he can't find one reason why Al should have been born, griping that now he won't get his wings. Al interrupts that he wants his old family back:
"Look at them. They're happy. Not a care in the world. You think I'm gonna let that happen after all that grief they put me through!? I want to live!"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Slow Parking Lot Walkers

Maybe you're swinging by the store to pick up some bread. Or picking up dry cleaning. Or meeting a friend for lunch. There's plenty of parking, yet your path is blocked by Slow Parking Lot Walkers.
I'm not talking about someone who's slow because he has a bad knee.  I mean the average parking lot walker who strolls (or waddles) in front of your car, without looking.
I think, Let's go! 
I have two conflicting theories about them:
  1. They are evil, selfish boors who think they're more important than anyone else.
  2. Since they're approaching the store, they're preoccupied with what they need there (Okay, I need a can of coffee, burger buns, Sloppy Joe Mix...) and  what's going to happen when they get home (...when the food's simmering I can pay the bills and go over the checkbook etc...).  They don't notice there's a problem.
My second theory is the most likely. My evidence?
Once I park my car (after wishing childishly hateful things on the Slow Parking Lot Walkers,) I think things like Did I forget anything on the shopping list? Should I get fresh butter? Do I have enough soda? Do I want to cook dinner or just pop something in the microwave- shoot- gotta check my online statement to make sure... as I stroll to the store, slowly, not watching where I'm going.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Ganderdalf the Grey Tries out His New Wand

I had fun drawing this.
Then, before posting, I thought Aw come on. I bet both the name and the gag have been used a zillion times. You've committed cryptomnesia!
Then I ran both through Google.
One match for "Ganderdalf" as a throwaway joke on some message board. No matches for "wand kicks like a mule". In the Googleverse, wands seem to "kick ass," often near other things that "kick like a mule."
I think I'm safe.
Wait- have I seen those trees before??

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiny Tim's Tongue

I can't act, but that didn't keep me out of a community theater adaptation of A Christmas Carol once. I'd volunteered to be an extra, but got a small speaking part when someone else backed out at the last minute.
The kid who played Tiny Tim could act, and was cute. He was also a brat. The best part of rehearsal was his death scene. If you remember the story, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge a bleak future, where innocent little Tiny Tim has died. The family gathers around his body. His father sobs "My poor little, little Tiny Tim!"
And poor, little , little Tiny Tim would stick his tongue out. Everyone cracked up laughing. His mom shouted for him to knock it off. Yet each time they practiced the scene, out came the tongue.
I'm not sure how they got him to play the scene straight in front of the audience. Maybe they chloroformed him.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Geek Hair

Work has kept me remarkably busy. Late nights, weekends, and every meal at my desk.
When this happens, I get Geek Hair. I don't have time to style it properly and end up looking like a wacked out mad scientist. It's all over the place. No clip, bobby pin or scrunchy will tame it.
Do you ever suffer from Geek Hair?