Monday, March 31, 2008

Beer - it's what's for dinner

I'll confess to being a little dry tonight in the idea department, but even so it wasn't too hard to track down something good. Namely, vintage animated beer commercials.

Here's a Claymation one for Ballantine beer.

This one has bears having a pie fight for God knows what reason.

Best of all, here are Bob and Ray doing one of their Bert & Harry Piel ads for Piels beer. This was a campaign that actually put Piels out of business - so many loved the ads that they tried the beer, and unfortunately the beer was pretty lousy.

Bonus! If it's modern funny beer ads you want, here are the folks at Red Stripe (who make the best beer ads in the world hands down) topping themselves with an infomercial.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Big O

My college roommate once said about Roy Orbison, "His eyes were too close together and he sounded like a wounded deer."

Let's just say we differed. On the part about the wounded deer, anyway. Here's a rare clip of him lip-synching "Only the Lonely," shadeless and looking pretty uncomfortable.

Here he is in better form, doing "It's Over."

A quarter century after he recorded "Crying," his voice was no less amazing when he performed it; this is from the famous Black & White Night concert.

And call me silly, but I got a big kick out of this video for "In Dreams" performed by sock puppets.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Joe Raposo, genius

Joe Raposo's best known for his work with Sesame Street, having composed "Sing (Sing a Song)" and "Bein' Green." He's done some other pretty great stuff, too (including the Three's Company theme and four songs on Ol' Blue Eyes is Back; the record company talked Sinatra out of recording an entire album of Raposo songs).

But you all know me; I've got to focus on the kiddie stuff.

A couple of big favorites of mine are "Take a Bweaf" and "There's a Bird On Me."

He performed the vocals for more than a few of the Sesame Street songs, in a really nice tenor voice; this is him singing "Trying and Trying Again" and "Somebody Come and Play."

And here's the man himself acting out a battle with the letters "UN." I'd say his gift for physical comedy is on a par with that of his songwriting.

Friday, March 28, 2008

John Cale's got a secret

I've got a bunch of Lou Reed-related clips here on MeTube, but alas, the attention I've paid to Velvet Underground cofounder John Cale has been sadly lacking. Well, no more. (Thanks to Paul in New Jersey for introducing me to this.)

In 1963, four years before VU & Nico was released, Cale appeared on the game show I've Got a Secret. His secret: he was one of five pianists who'd performed a piano piece three lines long 840 times, in a concert that lasted over eighteen hours. After the panel attempted to guess his secret, Cale performed that piece.

It's ten minutes long and, to my mind, pretty fascinating. I hope you agree.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loud and long and clear

Don't you love a good contagious laugh? I like to think I've got one myself. I remember once in college, I was having lunch in the cafeteria and started laughing at something, and two girls got up and moved to another table. That's how contagious I was.

Anyway, here are a couple of great ones. Dustin Hoffman and a reporter explore the word "cut."

And a religious TV show host nonverbally expresses his opinion of a singing caller.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fatthew Sweet

I have about ten Matthew Sweet albums, and his 1991 masterpiece Girlfriend holds a permanent place in my top 15. Saw him live once, and I was surprised at how solidly he was built. Like a linebacker, I remember thinking.

But Matthew, come on, what happened to you? To quote Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, David Crosby thinks you've let yourself go.

I mean, here he is making his television debut on Letterman, playing a storming "Girlfriend," with the late Robert Quine playing one hell of a lead guitar.

Now here he is 16ish years later, duetting with once and future Bangle Susanna Hoffs on a cover of the Beatles' "Rain."

Seriously, I see him in this and I worry for his health. The music's still pretty great and Hoffs looks glorious, but I just keep looking at Matthew and wincing. I hope he's not ruined or anything...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For all you artists and tradespeople

At last, I'm back in Holyoke, home of high speed internet, and I can make high-class updates to the blog. Better yet, I can check my email for ideas.

This one comes to me from my friend Allison in Nashville. It's a Canadian couple named Fred and Sharon Spencer, advertising their video company, and it has to be seen to be disbelieved.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Erin Still Go Bragh

This is the post I would have made last week, on St. Patrick's Day. (For more St. Patty's fun, click here.)

I have here a couple of songs performed by the Irish for your enjoyment. First we have the chalk 'n' cheese pairing of Sinead O'Connor and Shane McGowan doing "Haunted."

And now, my favorite song from the movie The Commitments, "Dark End of the Street." Most unbelievable fact of all time: Andrew Strong was 16 years old when he sang this. Keep an eye out for the guitarist - that's Glen Hansard, the star of Once.

Finally, a joke:

Q. What did St. Patrick say while he was driving the snakes out of Ireland?
A. (mime holding a steering wheel, look over left shoulder) "Ye alroight beck there, lads?"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is risen!

Happy Easter, all a y'all - let's celebrate with a little three-part harmony.

These are the Roches - sisters Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy - performing the Hallelujah Chorus. Just try not to be uplifted.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No mass communication

Well, it turned out that the house I was caring for had some cable issues, which meant no internet for me for two weeks. Not knowing what emails were waiting for me was torture, but not near as much as being away from MeTube and its faithful readers (that's you).

Well, I'm back, but in a somewhat limited capacity. I'm typing this from a dialup connection that takes forever and won't let me see the clips (or, for that matter, my emails). Fortunately, I take good notes, so I know just what I want to post.

And today, I want to post what I would have posted yesterday, Good Friday (I didn't eat my last two slices of BBQ chicken pizza in observation). Namely, the 1973 movie version of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

I recommend going to YouTube and checking out the Japanese stage version. I'd link to it, but this relic of a computer won't let me. I wouldn't be surprised if this only runs on direct current...

Anyway, enjoy, look for another post tomorrow, and by gum it's good to be back.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I'd love a bite of your sandwich

I'm going to spend many of the next 24 hours driving up to Mount Desert Island, where I'll be housesitting for the next two weeks. I'm told the house is all wired up for the Internet, so I'm bringing the computer with me in order to keep MeTube going. But just in case I can't do a timely update, I'm putting a longish one up here today.

This is an episode of Fishing With John, a very, very deadpan look at fishing in various spots around the world with actor/musician John Lurie and a different guest star every show. Unlike most of these sorts of shows, we get a lot of the dead-air moments. I suspect the show prefers these times to the times they actually catch something.

This show's guest is Tom Waits, so you know we're talking classic. It's a half hour long, in three parts.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Tor Johnson was a professional wrestler (stage name: The Super Swedish Angel) and the inspiration for a hugely popular Halloween mask. He's probably best known for his roles in the movies of Ed Wood; here he emotes in the trailer for Bride of the Monster.

Somebody out there had the common decency to post a clip of him on You Bet Your Life, then had the wit to title the clip "You Bet Tor Life." Listen to the crowd react as he walks in. Needless to say, Groucho runs verbal rings around poor Tor.

And now, as the great man once said, "Time for go to bed."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Other Elvis

He looks like Buddy Holly after drinking a can of STP oil treatment. - Dave Marsh

The reason why most rock critics love Elvis Costello is that most rock critics look like Elvis Costello. - David Lee Roth

My ultimate vocation in life is to be an irritant, someone who disrupts the daily drag of life just enough to leave the victim thinking there's maybe more to it all than the mere hum-drum quality of existence. - Elvis Costello

The former Declan Patrick McManus is one of the great rock lyricists, in the sense that his lyrics are crammed with wit and wordplay. I mean, look at the chorus from "New Amsterdam":

New Amsterdam it's become much too much
Till I have the possession of everything she touches
Till I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches
Till I speak double dutch to a real double duchess

Top that, Paul McCartney.

My personal favorites of his are, in chronological order, "Pump It Up," which in this video inspires him to dance like he's got two left feet, both of them clubs.

"Love For Tender," which has the best slam-to-a-close ending in his catalog (though this video mutes it just a touch).

"Almost Blue" didn't have a performance video on YouTube, but I don't think anyone will mind looking at pictures of Audrey Hepburn for a few minutes while it plays.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And that's just for openers

Saul Bass (1920-1996) was a graphic designer who created some of the most famous opening credit sequences in movie history. Probably his best known was Psycho.

I loved this one, for Walk on the Wild Side; how is it possible for a cat to take direction this well?

Anatomy of a Murder and The Man with the Golden Arm shared a similar look; jazz score and abstract cutouts.

Which leads to the raison d'etre for this entry - someone posted a reimagination of Star Wars's opening if Bass had been at the controls.

Amazingly, some commenters are griping about this - misspellings, too-fast music, what's with Max Rebo? Come on, people, just sit back and enjoy the brilliance.

PS - Thanks to Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule for the tip.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cussin' cartoons

"Not For Air" is a segment on the Adult Swim part of the Cartoon Network, where bleeps are not-so-randomly assigned to make it look like the cartoons are swearing a blue streak. Here are a few of them - the Batman & Robin one is far and away the best.

Which isn't to say that cartoons aren't known to swear every now and then...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bork bork bork!

There are enough Swedish Chef clips on YouTube to make up a full course meal. Let's start with the turtle soup...

Then on to the spaghetti...

...and meatballs...

(but go easy on the hot sauce)...

And for dessert - donuts!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Street Hassling

Lou Reed, birthday boy, is now 66. I've backed off a touch on my days of worship, but he's still a key figure in my life.

This is "Street Hassle," as performed by him and his band in 1980. The studio version has cellos and some spoken words from Bruce Springsteen (read Rolling Stone's take on it here); this version doesn't, but it still has one of the greatest arrangements any two-chord rock 'n' roll song could ask for, along with some of the most wrenching writing of Lou's career.

It's eleven minutes long, set up in three movements. Here's part 1:

And, after a mean pinball and an introduction to the band, here are parts 2 and 3.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The greatest of E's

What is it about this, the most common of letters, that brought out some of my favorite animation on Sesame Street?

There's this lovely work, with a sitar and an undeniably druggy feel.

There's the one with the saw and a guy who I think inspired Shane McGowan to go toothless.

One that falls apart on the lead character in a somewhat bizarre and thoroughly unexpected fashion.

One that just might cause nightmares, if you're on the sensitive side.

And one so random I defy you to watch it without laughing.