Paul Lynde

Hurry, Charley! There is not much time. — Rainier Wolfcastle

I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I been in this square for near thirty seasons, and I ain’t a’leavin’ now! — Charley Weaver, “Krusty Gets Kancelled”

paul lynde charley

The immobility of Springfield Squares contestant Charley Weaver (whose merry antics could be the subject of their own post if I had some money) is a reference to the heroism of actor and crucial center square Paul Lynde. Bake ’em away, toys:

Lynde, who featured in Bewitched and some other stuff, is probably best known for his one-liners on Hollywood Squares, where the majority of his gags centered around his not-particularly-concealed homosexuality, a humor device that would later be adopted by every single gay celebrity to get within ten feet of a microphone. How about some more zingers, Paul?

Celebrities in the ’70s had teeth, man. And weren’t funny.

Nonetheless, we principally bring up Lynde today in order to direct you to the following story, about which I would venture the Simpsons writers were thinking when plotting out the scene with Weaver on the beach. From Wikipedia:

An anecdote related during the A&E Biography on Lynde described an earthquake that occurred during the Hollywood Squares taping that frightened and alarmed many of the guests. Lynde remained in his seat, tapping his fingers, asking if they were going to finish the show.

Real men wear leisure suits. Remember that, ye foolhardies.

paul lynde suit

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It’s A Good Life

It’s good that Bart did that. It’s very good. — Football announcer guy, “Treehouse Of Horror II”

Happy Halloween-ish! It’s been five spooky weeks since I’ve posted an update! Oooo-oooo!

Bart’s “Treehouse” foray into omnipotence parodies a classic Jerome Bixby tale, “It’s A Good Life”, which depicts the horrors produced by another little boy’s nightmarish powers. You can check out the full text of the story here [.pdf pop-up] — it’s quite good and quite unsettling.

Though Bixby’s story was a success in its own right, it really came to life as an episode of The Twilight Zone. Let’s skip to the good part:

That same scene, as depicted in Bixby’s book:

“Bad man,” Anthony said, and thought Dan Hollis into something like nothing anyone would have believed possible …

… a jack-in-the-box! Thanks, television! “Good Life” is generally regarded as a pretty decent Twilight Zone ep, so it has seen various interpretations over the years, including as one of the segments in Twilight Zone: The Movie, in which Nancy fricking Cartwright happens to play the kid’s sister. Now that’s spooky.

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Where’s The Beef?

No wonder he won Minnesota. — Homer, “Lisa’s First Word”

With the presidential debates lurking around the corner like some drug-addled maniac, why not take a trip back in time to the whirlwind that was the 1984 Democratic primaries? Take it away, boys:

Boy, the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? Beside the Dem candidates’ seated postures and muted tie tones (not a single plain red or blue), it’s the same rigamarole. New ideas this, hymietown that.

And a general absence of concrete policy discussion, as evidenced by the fact that laundry ship namesake Walter Mondale was able to fell his chief competitor by quoting from a friggin’ hamburger commercial:

And that was enough for Mondale to take it! And by “it”, I mean the Democratic primary. After which, Reagan annihilated him in the general election. You’ve doubtlessly seen this before, but it’s worth a second look:

This image is somewhat deceptive. Alaska and Hawaii are actually much farther away from the mainland than that.

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It’s a pornography store. I was buying pornography. — Homer, “Mr. Plow”

Greetings, friends. How I have missed you. In compensation for my prolonged absence, today’s post will be virtually devoid of educational content and devoted instead to the human body in all its crapulence.

NSFW. Combining his competing loves of photography and nude men, Robert Mapplethorpe over the course of his life developed a perverted arts portfolio that would make even the most seasoned Abercrombie & Fitch photographer blush.

But it wasn’t all young boys and cocaine parties with Andy Warhol. Well, no, that’s pretty much exactly what it was, as that’s what it meant to be a gay creative type living in New York in the ’70s. It’s certainly okay to be jealous.

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The Camel T-Zone

Only Duff fills your Q-zone with pure beer goodness. — Doctor guy, “Duffless”

Ignoring what “Q” would stand for in the above advert, let us turn instead to the stimulating vapors given off by a cool Camel. Right … here!

I can’t tell who’s behind the website that hosts the above-linked vid, but it certainly has some entertaining old timey cigarette ads that will drop your jaw. My favorite are the ones in which the Flintstones shill for Winston. More astounding is that these ancient commercials often clear the one-minute mark. I was cruising Facebook eight seconds in.

Nonetheless, with the support of the medical community behind it, Camel would hammer home its T-zone pitch time and again in the post-WWII years. Click here for a series of equally entertaining Camel ads from the golden era of smoking right up through the forced retirement of Menthol Moose.

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The Bread Roll Ballet

Sir, I represent the estate of Charles Chaplin. I have a court order demanding an immediate halt to this unauthorized imitation. Boys? — Blue-Haired Lawyer, “Lady Bouvier’s Lover”

Yes, any Simpsons fan worth his sugar could identify Abe Simpson’s culinary choreography as an homage to the Little Tramp (especially when the other character walks in and says his name), but if you’re like me, you probably thought those were baked potatoes at the ends of his forks, didn’t ya?

Anyway, the iconic original comes midway through the 1925 film The Gold Rush, the plot of which I believe concerns some kind of stock car race. Let’s take a look:

Brilliant! But what most people don’t know is that Chaplin’s famous move was actually lifted from the tool chest of slapstick pioneer and alleged murderer Fatty Arbuckle. Here’s the original performance, from the 1917 short film The Rough House:

And nobody would give a shit I would be remiss if I failed to include another memorable clown’s reproduction of the scene, in some ’90s movie I don’t even feel like typing out:

The point here is that there are a finite number of ideas out there and a lot of scripts. You take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from? Not all of us are born with that singular genius.

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Crystal Pepsi

Listen carefully, and my words will shape images as clear as any TV show. It was a tumultuous time for our nation: the clear beverage craze gave us all a reason to live; the information superhighway showed the average person what some nerd thinks about Star Trek; and the domestication of the dog continued unabated. — Homer, “And Maggie Makes Three”

The year was 1992. Seriously! For a century, Americans had accepted opacity as the necessary evil for the enjoyment of pure cola refreshment. But change was in the winds. Play it again, Sam

Crystal Pepsi! Brewed by hippies, but distributed by a heartless, multinational corporation. Though I can’t recall ever sampling the beverage myself, the jury is split on whether it in fact had the same taste as Pepsi reggo, as the comments here attest. Although, see some damning testimony from one of the beverage’s chief architects:

People were saying we should stop and address some issues along the way, and they were right. It would have been nice if I’d made sure the product tasted good.

Unfortunately, Crystal P proved too beautiful to live. It was pulled from shelves shortly after its debut.

If you ask me, I would venture to say that the market is nice and primed for a clear cola revival. What with the success of the greenorganiclocallysourcedallnaturalingredients (marketing) movement, discerning consumers would likely jump at the chance to pay a slightly-inflated price for a bottle of “Pepsi Naked”, or however the rebranding might go. But until that magical day, enjoy this list of “alternative” liquids bottled by Pepsico over the years, including popular cross-border choices Pepsi Ice Cucumber and Pecsi.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t also direct you to that timeless SNL parody of the “Right Now” ad. I love you, too, Pepsi.

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