Sid and Marty Krofft brought us some of the best television ever. While we can debate which of their fantastic, trippy, off-beat explosions of color should be regarded as 'best,' H.R. Pufnstuf remains at or near the very top of any list.
Gullible 11 year-old Jimmy ignorantly gets in a strange boat with his magic flute. Lo and behold, who sent that boat his way? None other than that wacky old witch, Witchiepoo, that's who! With a wave of her wand, Jimbo's pleasure cruise is over, and the boat attacks him! Luckily, H.R. Pufnstuf, fashionable Mayor of the Living Island, is on the scene. With his reliable deputies Cling and Clang, Pufnstuf rescues Jimmy and a famous friendship is born.
Here are two images from Maxime Mary's "Little Golden Books"-style interpretation of the television crime series Breaking Bad. I've followed his wonderful illustration blog for a while, and you can scroll through and see his other fantastic sketches of Walt, Jesse, and their underworld ilk.
Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore takes care of a jokester attempting to disrupt his on-the-scene report. (Vine)
In the small town of Binghamton, New York there spins a 1925 carousel that once inspired Rod Serling and has since become a portal into… the Twilight Zone.Read the rest
Russell Johnson, who played iconic DIYer "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island, has died. He was 89. (CNN)
Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of Dan Harmon’s beloved television series.Read the rest
“Repilot” and “Introduction To Teaching”
I’m at a loss on how to properly describe something like the fifth season of Community. It shouldn’t exist. It makes no sense that it exists, especially with original creator Dan Harmon, a singularly gifted showrunner who is at the same time cursed to be a hellish guy to work with despite frighteningly astute comedic instincts.
When Chuck Klosterman reviewed Guns N’ Roses’ mythic Chinese Democracy, he said that writing about the long-in-progress album was “not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn.” That’s how I feel about the episodes NBC sent out to critics for this fifth season. And not just about the fact that I have now seen three new episodes with my eyes—but the fact that Dan Harmon’s epic odyssey of getting fired by NBC following the show’s third season, then taking his podcast Harmontown on a barnstorming national tour while a listless fourth season aired, has ended in his miraculous and unprecedented return to the helm. Community is an improbably beautiful, lovable cockroach—like Wall-E’s little friend on Earth—that just refuses to die. And we’re better for it, because having Dan Harmon back means Community has regained its soul.
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Above is the cast of Futurama, as illustrated by an artist named Unrellius. See it larger over at deviantART. "The Cast of Futurama"
Yesterday I posted an epic collection of the "Best News Bloopers 2013." But here's a last minute great one in which KUTV Utah reporter Brooke Graham faints during a live report and instantly recovers to finish her interview! (via Bleacher Report)
Graham, who gave permission to KUTV to post the video, later wrote, "I am known to faint any time I am in high altitudes and get too cold... I could feel myself getting light headed and tried to warn the producer that I was sick."
Five incredible young people with super powers!
Battle of the Planets is a late 70s/early 80s reworking of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and was one of my earliest introductions to anime and sci-fi cartoons. With classic in its camp, we join the adventures of Mark, Jason, Princess, Key-op, Tiny and the incredible 7-Zark-7 as they defend space from things beyond space.
It's one of the first US adaptations of a Japanese anime series that I am aware of (Robotech is my favorite in this genre). Sandy Frank Productions draws on all the popular sci-fi memes of the day and brutally rips off R2-D2 to create a fast, fun and confusing series. Five young and highly-trained agents who dress like birds and fly like gravity doesn't exist gather to defend the Earth from Zoltar, the Luminious One, and planet Spectra.
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman has been recut several times over the years, not just into BotP but G-Force and the Eagle Riders as well. 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1 make Battle of the Planets my favorite.
Eminem plays Max Headroom in the forthcoming video for his track "Rap God" from the new record "Marshall Mathers LP2." Here's the teaser for the music video which is likely all we need of it. (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)
In 1977, the BBC current affairs TV show Brass Tacks ran this episode about punk and concerns of, well, anarchy in the UK. Along with several young punks, it features Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks and famed DJ John Peel. For some historical context, check out this Dangerous Minds post.
Da da da dum (snap snap). These are color photos from the set of the original Addams Family black-and-white television show that aired from 1964-1966. The photos were taken by Richard Fish (1919-2005). More background on Fish here.
What do Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Julia Roberts, Benicio del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Richards have in common? As young, mostly-unknown actors they all appeared on Miami Vice, my favorite TV cop show (except for Barney Miller). Yes, that's Ben Stiller in the above clip. "27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice" (Mental Floss, via Next Draft)
Saturday morning cartoon pioneer Lou Scheimer, whose Filmation company created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Groovie Goolies, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and many other classics of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, has died. He was 84. Above, Scheimer with some of his Filmation characters in an illustration from the cover of his book, "Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation." From the New York Times:
Filmation was considered noteworthy on two counts: it kept production in the United States in an age of increasing outsourcing (then as now, the labor-intensive work of animating many American cartoons was done in Asia) and it sought to produce cartoons with a message of social tolerance.
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As regular BB readers know, the original That's Incredible! television show had a big impact on me, with its coverage of curiosities, strange phenomena, stunts, and amazing and unusual people. I distinctly remember being moved, even as a ten-year-old, by the episode featuring Leslie Lemke, a blind autistic savant with cerebral palsy who was a fantastic piano player at a young age. According to May Lemke, Leslie's adoptive mother, Leslie sang a lot as a child. Then, when he was 14, she heard piano music in the middle of the night. She thought they had left the TV on but it turned out that Leslie was playing a Tchaikovsky piano concerto that he had heard in a TV movie that evening. Above is the 1981 segment I remembered from That's Incredible! Leslie was also seen in a 1983 episode of 60 Minutes on savant syndrome, and he still performs concerts around the country. "Leslie Lemke: An Inspirational Performance" (Wisconsin Medical Society)
In one of Jerry Seinfeld’s greatest bits from his Seinfeld-capping standup special I’m Telling You For The Last Time, he describes scuba diving as a “great activity where your main goal is to not die.” I couldn’t help thinking of that blissful state of passive survival—and his sing-song description of being underwater, “Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die. There’s a fish. There’s a rock. Who cares? Don’t die. I don’t want to die. Don’t let me die.”—as more and more confident positivity swept over the fourth season premiere of The Walking Dead. There are enough moments of a calm, happy, functioning society that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was all a dream, since there’s no way life could possibly be this happy
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Premiering on PBS next Tuesday, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle is a three-part series about the history of comic book heroes and their impact on culture. There's also a hardcover companion book, titled Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture, featuring full color art and interviews with Stan Lee, Michael Chabon, Grant Morrison, Adam West, and dozens of other icons and insiders. In the above clip from the PBS documentary, Stan Lee talks about the science of superheroes.
Available for pre-order, Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Blu-Ray in a barrel that includes the full run of the show plus 55 hours of special features, a two-hour documentary, booklet, challenge coin designed by Gillian, Los Pollos Hermanos apron. Get yerself a gram of Blue Sky and redefine binge watching. "Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (+UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]"
Claire L. Evans examines the classic Seinfeld episode "The Parking Garage" as a "specifically Ballardian nightmare: the pornography of infinity, somehow contained within a New Jersey mall."
Like the Unidentified Space Station (in this JG Ballard short story), which conceals, from the outside, its magnificent vastness, The Parking Garage becomes its own world, a replacement—literally, since they broke the apartment set down to build the mirror-garage—for the comfortable parameters of Jerry Seinfeld’s ordinary world. It seems to have its own mores; Elaine, desperately seeking a stranger to drive them around the lot and help find the car, only comes into contact with indifference and aggression. No one will help, because on some level no one here is real."The Parking Garage" (Thanks, Chris Arkenberg!)