Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Speaking of "I Want Candy"...

In 1965, Brill Building songwriters Richard Gottehrer, Bob Feldman, and Gerald Goldstein (they'd penned "My Boyfriend's Back" for the Angels) claimed to be Australian sheepherders and released one of the greatest trash singles of the '60s. "I Want Candy" had the unimpeachable Bo Diddley beat, a thin guitar skating up, down, and around the stomps and handclaps, a grungy sax break, and exuberance beyond measure. More than forty years later, the old saying still holds - it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

To wit:

Full disclosure: I love to dance to this song too. Earlier this year I went to a dance where they played it and I got one of those surrounding crowds of people cheering me on. A few hours later someone approached and said, "Are you the guy who was dancing to 'I Want Candy'? Dude, you fuckin' rocked that shit!" and gave me a high five. She was cute, too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Close your eyes and think of England

My introduction to the Bow Wow Wow song "Louis Quatorze" was on a mix tape with none of the contents identified. It was a very good tape, but I was drawn to this song like a bug to a zapper.

The rape fantasy acted out is troubling, but as Malcolm McLaren managed the band (as he did with the Sex Pistols), I just see it as controversy courting. What catches me about this is the sheer exuberance of Annabella Lwin's vocals. Like the song says, she was just fourteen, but she's some kind of actress - I can't think of a performance where the singer sounds more alive.

This is kind of a muddy recording; I recommend getting the best-of, which also has the more familiar "I Want Candy."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

QQQQ SSSS.... *I*!

Ah, Yatta.

Originally appearing on a Japanese sketch comedy show called, roughly translated, "Adventures of a Laughing Dog," the song "Yatta" was released in 2001 and went top-ten and triple-platinum in a matter of weeks. So basically, cross the Far East with the Blues Brothers.

The song then became the soundtrack to a piece of animutation, which is how I first encountered it. It's a little dated, yes, but the deliberately misheard lyrics and abounding non sequiturs demand you to surrender to the nonsense, and you'd be well advised to do just that.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bowie's Major Major Tom

Originally, I was going to make this posting about a mashup of the already-half-forgotten DiCaprio film Blood Diamond and the kid's kult klassick Labyrinth.

But then I thought, hmmmm... I wonder if anyone's taken the time to discuss the state of David Bowie's trousers in this movie. Or, more to the point, what's inside them. To put it baldly, Bowie's costume designer saw Derek Smalls in This Is Spinal Tap and thought, "Great idea!"

Sure enough, YouTube being YouTube, there's a ten minute clip of a guy talking about it with a fake British accent, showing clips from the film to back him up, and dancing in front of his camera in emulation as bad-mid-eighties-Bowie plays. Like he says, "You're gonna become addicted, and you're not gonna know why."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Amen Break

I'm going to spend a few days in Maine with my friend John from LA, so I'll leave you with a long piece to keep you occupied for a while. We're talking about 18 minutes, and it's just watching a record spin for the most part. Dull viewing, but fascinating listening, as far as I'm concerned.

This is about a sample that's been sampled so much it's become a part of the natural culture fabric. It's almost impossible to see it as its own individual achievement anymore. It raises questions about what's art, what's part of our culture, what's old and what's new. Enjoy it, and we'll meet again in just a few days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A real cool Yusaf

My first exposure to Cat Stevens wasn't his work on the Harold and Maude soundtrack. Nor was it his version of the song "Morning Has Broken," which we sang in church on Sundays. It was from a book aimed at really little kids called Teaser and the Firecat.

I didn't know there was an animated cartoon made from it, but a YouTube user did. Sadly, he's disabled the embedding feature, so you're going to have to click here to watch the cartoon, whose narration appears word for word in the book and which is pretty darn fun besides.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Top Five Seinfeld Monologues

One of the many things I enjoyed about Seinfeld were the monologues that popped up every now and again. Not the ones Jerry opened the show with, but the ones within a show. Nobody held forth in comic fashion for extended periods on sitcoms, unless it was a Very Special Episode or something. So the speeches were a treat; the fact that they were a riot was the icing on the cake.

The following are my five favorite monologues on the show; one for each of the four leads, and one for a guest. It wasn't planned that way; I just happened to like all this best, and in this order.

For number 5, we have Elaine trapped in the subway. The swears she absolutely cuts loose with were such a surprise the first time I saw this, and ensured that this belongs in the top five.

Number 4; Jerry's JFK-inspired deconstruction of the day when Kramer & Newman were spat upon. Incidentally, this was the very first "Hello, Newman."

Number 3; Kramer tells about his rescue of a severed toe. I saw this on a cross-country flight once; it was a treat to hear an entire plane laugh. I love his little hip-sway as he says, "Now I'm drivin' the bus!"

Number 2; George's immortal description of his treatment of a beached whale. The one lady's whoop at the reveal is a great moment in studio audience history.

What could possibly top that? Only Philip Baker Hall's guest turn as Bookman, library cop. Jerry can't keep a straight face; I can only imagine how many takes the whole thing took before he could get this much under control.

As anybody who's seen the movie Hard Eight knows, Hall's a tremendous dramatic actor as well. If you can find his one-man performance as Nixon in the Robert Altman film Secret Honor, it's totally worth your while.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

You call it madness but I call it love

It's Saturday morning cartoon time, and while that phrase has lost its luster when cartoons are available 24/7, it's ideal in that it's the weekend and you've got seven minutes and fourteen seconds to spare for some animation. No matter how brazenly stupid it may be.

So here's a cartoon I first saw in one of the Sick & Twisted Animation series, "Dirdy Birdy," about a bird, a cat, a moon, and a desperate effort on your part not to let the theme song get stuck in your head.

Friday, July 20, 2007

When Harpo played his harp

Groucho's my favorite Marx brother, as you know, but that's nothing against Harpo. I just happen to prefer say-funny to do-funny, and Harpo did funny as well as any before or since. And if others could get bigger laughs, none of them could play like Harpo could.

Here he is in Horsefeathers, performing the movie's theme "Everyone Says I Love You." (Elsewhere in the film he whistles it to a horse.)

Fourteen years later, if memory serves, he performed Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody in A Night in Casablanca. MeTubers will remember this melody as sung by Daffy and lip-synched by Jar Jar back in the day.

Finally, here's a tribute to his talents, sung by Jonathan Richman over footage from Monkey Business.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Everything is satisfactual

An awful lot has been written about the Disney movie Song of the South; Wikipedia has a very thorough take on it here. Since I've never seen it, I can only offer you this warm clip of its Oscar winning song and get out of the way.

NOTE: I was unable to resist reading the spoilers for what happens in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I wish now that I hadn't. I strongly urge you not to seek out the answers. The Internet giveth, but the Internet taketh away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Viddy well, O my brothers

Today, for no reason other than, I thought I'd put together a little Clockwork Orange fest. We'll start with the trailer to the film, which sure would've piqued my curiosity back in 1971 if I was a little older than, oh, ten months.

Now here's a very well done mashup with the soundtrack to the trailer of Reservoir Dogs.

But this is my favorite. Two girls who name themselves after the friends in Ghost World do a little lip-synching to "I Want To Marry A Lighthouse Keeper," one of the songs on the soundtrack. Oh to be that young again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Definition of "earworm"

Earworm (EER-wurm)(deriv. from German ohrwurm)

1. Slang. A song or advertising jingle that sticks in one's head, particularly an annoying one.


Monday, July 16, 2007

We all gotta start somewhere

For years I thought Harrison Ford's movie debut was in the 1966 movie Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round with James Coburn.

But I just made the discovery that he had a nonspeaking part in a movie that came out three years earlier. And not just any movie, but the Steve McQueen classic The Great Escape. And not just any nonspeaking part, but the part of a Nazi youth.

Nazi youths. I hate those guys.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A-huntin' we will go *BLAM!*

One good thing about 100 best lists is that they can introduce you to things you'd never heard of before. That happened to me back in the day when Entertainment Weekly, I think it was, had a 100 best movies list that included two Preston Sturges films in the top 20. I watched and appreciated Sullivan's Travels, but it was The Palm Beach Story that I really enjoyed. Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert are the divorcing couple who are meant to stay together, and oh what adventures they have as they figure that out.

Such as this one.

The Ale & Quail Club is a group of boozers that take Claudette under her wing on a train trip, somewhat to her chagrin. Some of the humor is a little dated, as you'll see, but there's an energy here that never gets old.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Shhhhhhh. There's a Daily Show clip still on YouTube after seven months plus, and it's got what may be the funniest line an interviewed person ever gave on the show.

Samantha Bee's looking into the creation of hufu, a tofu substance supposedly designed to taste like human flesh. When she asks marketing expert Mark Levit to come up with a winning slogan, he pauses for twenty seconds before delivering, in all seriousness, six words that bring the house down.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stewart/Colbert: Too Sexy for YouTube

Back when I posted the "I'm Too Sexy" mashups, I mentioned that there was a great one for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but that Viacom had directed YouTube to take it down. Well, they're still throwing their hissy fit, but the clip is out there, and I just had to bring it here.

So I'm going to depart from YouTube for the first time in this blog and post this wonderful, wonderful look at the two greatest minds on network TV, and that includes Katie Couric. Enjoy it while you can.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see this again. Come on, Viacom, drop the posturing and get back to making us all happy, would you please?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I'm a regular reader of Crooks and Liars, an unapologetically liberal/progressive blog that documents current events and does it pretty damn well. Besides the fact that it's updated constantly (always a treat when you're websurfing), they have a different music video clip every day, usually with thoughtful commentary of some sort.

Today they featured Tanita Tikarum and asked the question, "Can you think of any songs you positively knew would be a hit if they just got some radio exposure– but that never did?"

This is the song that vaulted to my mind.

I have very few pictures on my walls, and a signed photo of Astrid Williamson is one of them. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, she's got great songwriting skills and a wonderful voice that would make grown men and women weep if only they could hear her. If you can find a copy of Boy For You, her debut album, no price is too high.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Filth Flarn Filth

The first time I saw Eddie Murphy doing Bill Cosby was on the video for the best of Eddie Murphy on SNL. I had to stop it, rewind it, and watch it again before I could go on with the rest of the tape.

Years later, I saw how Eddie's imitation goes when he doesn't have to worry about censorship.

If you just listen and don't watch, you genuinely won't know that you're not listening to Bill Cosby. Or Richard Pryor, for that matter.

And just for the hell of it, here's somebody under 21 lip-synching it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Japan's Got Talent

Here's a damned clever bit of human artwork from a Japanese TV show.

So many things to like about this - the Red Sox jersey, the shadow figure copping a quick feel 38 seconds from the end, backmasked Roy Orbison, to name but a few. I wonder if you can make a good living doing this.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Terry Gilliam + Acid - Joy = This

I've found the most disturbing animation since the Crack Master cartoon on Sesame Street. It's from Fantastic Planet, a French/Czech film made in 1973, directed by Rene Laloux. Leonard Maltin called it "static," "aloof," and "worthwhile." Leonard's funny that way.

There are a number of clips of this on YouTube (apparently, it's in the public domain), but I'll introduce you the way I was introduced - with this particular trailer.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Meet the Beat Alls

I've only seen one Powerpuff Girls episode (I was in a laundromat at the time). Thank God it was this one, crammed to the gills with Beatle references. Any show that can be this smartly written cannot possibly be all bad.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Guest Starring

Christopher Guest has been brilliant for longer than I've been alive. Of late he's been doing his mockumentaries and doing them well. He'll always be immortal for This Is Spinal Tap. Even in the '70s, when nobody knew his name, there wasn't any stopping him.

These clips come from the off-Broadway National Lampoon stage show "Lemmings," where a heavily bearded John Belushi and a long-haired Chevy Chase performed live from New York two years before Saturday Night Live. Here, Guest does (and does in) Bob Dylan and James Taylor.

Trivia time: When Chevy was at his old school, he drummed with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who went on to be Steely Dan.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The other "Dick in a Box" video

Who doesn't know the SNL sketch with Justin Timberlake by this point? (Although it's always fun to see it again, so be my guest.) But here's another one from the evening news that's almost as funny...

Hey - I never claimed I was mature.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The next great comedy

Now that Knocked Up has won the hearts and minds of all fine moviegoers, I'm looking forward to seeing The Ten, a film from the makers of Wet Hot American Summer. It's got ten vignettes, one for each commandment being broken.

This is the unrated trailer for it. And yes, the fact that it's unrated makes it very much not safe for work. The absolute best thing about it is the way the names are announced at the end.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Fourth of July

I'm about as far from jingoistic as you can get. In high school I got spoken to more than once for not saluting the flag. And there's a lot of problems I have with the country and the way it's run. Nevertheless, it does mean something to me to be an American.

Take, for instance, my reaction to this clip.

Rick Monday, playing for the Chicago Cubs at the time, literally risked his life to keep these protesters from burning the flag, after which the crowd spontaneously began singing "God Bless America." I'll bet money he still gets letters about that to this day. Good. It just makes me feel so positive when he comes swooping in at the last second like that.

Oh, and just to show I have other ways of showing appreciation for the country, here's the classic anthem from Team America: World Police.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Perry Como Is Still Alive!

I do a little research for this site, looking for clips to show, and when I find one I like I write it down so's I won't forget it. But every now and then I find a clip that I cannot wait to post, and that's exactly what happened today.

This is Eugene Levy in his SCTV days, doing his impression of Perry Como.

You don't have to be familiar with Como's work to find this hilarious, but since it wouldn't hoit, here he is medleying with the Carpenters.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bowie and friend

David Bowie's had a great career, but it can be argued that he's at his greatest when he's collaborating with somebody. It could be a good guitarist, like Mick Ronson, or a good producer, like Brian Eno, or a good singer, like Bing Crosby.

Here are a couple of concerts where he teamed up with another singer, and the results are great.

"Queen Bitch" comes from Hunky Dory, where Bowie notes, "Some V.U. white light returned with thanks." Lou Reed returned the favor in 1997 at this show in Madison Square Garden.

And here's David, in full-on Ziggy regalia, duetting with Marianne Faithfull, who's disguised as a nun. Thank God for the '70s.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Best of MeTube

One year and 356 posts ago, I began sharing my favorite clips off of YouTube to you, my virtual audience. Today I'm going to share my favorite favorites of the past year. (Sadly, nobody submitted their favorites, so the mix CD prize will just have to go to me.) Sure, they're reruns, but it's summertime and time for reruns anyway.

In reverse order, tenth favorite to favorite favorite, here they are:

#10. The Temptations performing "For Once In My Life."

#9. The Moody Rudy toy.

#8. The Billy Nayer Show.

#7. "You'll Come One Day."

#6. The Ball Buster Toy.

#5. Miami Bugs.

#4. The Hungarian sausage commercial.

#3. "Sister Ray" on Lawrence Welk.

#2. The GI Joe PSA parody with "The Motorcycle Song."

#1. Vader Sessions.

Let's hope there are some equally good clips to come for year two.