Hong Kong Phooey

If you were a kid in the mid-seventies…on Saturday morning you were happily blitzed by a morning of cartoons. When I did a post on Underdog last weekend I was asked about Hong Kong Phooey…he was voiced by the great Scatman Caruthers. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1974 for ABC. Around this time Martial Arts were extremely popular and this cartoon played on that.

Hong Kong Phooey’s secret identity is that of Penrod “Penry” Pooch the Police janitor. Penry works with Sgt. Flint and police dispatcher Rosemary. Hong Kong Phooey thinks his martial arts skills catch the bad guys…but it’s usually always Spot the Cat.

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To my surprise…Hanna-Barbera only made 16 episodes and kept running them forever. I watched this in 1974 through 1976 as it was part of the magical seventies Saturday morning programming.

1970s T Shirt Craze

It was the decade of personalized T-Shirts. When I was 12 my mom took me to a T-Shirt store at the mall to get the iron-on transfer below put on a shirt. I picked it from different pics they had…It was my favorite shirt until it started to peel and the Beatles were no longer visible.

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The origins of the t-shirt date back to the late 19th century, when laborers would cut their jumpsuits in half to keep cool in warmer months during the year. The first manufactured t-shirt was invented between the Mexican-American War in 1898, and 1913 when the U.S. Navy began issuing them as standard undershirts.

In 1950, Marlon Brando wore a white t-shirt as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, only to be followed by James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause. Thanks to these two gentlemen, the popularity of the t-shirt as a stand-alone shirt became standard.

In the seventies, I remember seeing personalized T-Shirts everywhere. The punk movement popularized it also.  Below are some of the fun ones.

I’m With Stupid, Keep On Trucking, and I’m a Pepper were quite popular…

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Drug T-Shirts were popular…I’ve seen pictures of Keith Moon wearing the Rorer 714 shirt.

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Movie Quotes Part 3

Arthur – I race cars, play tennis, and fondle women, BUT! I have weekends off, and I am my own boss.

at 1:36

The Empire Strikes Back – Try not, Do or Do Not, There is no Try

Cool Hand Luke – Calling it your job don’t make it right boss. 


Airplane – There’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

At 5:30


Anchorman – He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo

At 0:036


Office SpaceThe thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care

At 1:18


Caddyshack – Judge, give someone else a chance! You lucky devil! Come here, honey! And loosen up! You’re a lot of woman, you know? You wanna make 14 dollars the hard way?

The Breakfast Club – Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?


Full Metal Jacket –I am Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be ‘Sir.’ Do you maggots understand that?

0:00 – 0:013


Animal Crackers – One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know



Powerpop Friday – Big Star – In The Street

Most people today know this song as the theme to That 70s Show. They never used Big Star’s version for some reason. Todd Griffin covered it the first season and by the second season, Cheap Trick’s version was used. Big Star’s drummer Jody Stephens said, “I don’t know if the general population even knows that Big Star had anything to do with it.” …that is unfortunately true. The general population doesn’t know Big Star which is a crime.

The song was on their great debut album named #1 Record which was released in August of 1972. Billboard went as far as to say, “Every cut could be a single”On the picture above it says “Distributed by Stax Records”…unfortunately it WASN’T… They did a tour and no one could find the album because many record stores didn’t have it. Stax was not equipped to distribute rock records.

By the second album, this was going to be resolved. Columbia was gonna distribute Stax, and then they would have got Big Star into big-box retail outlets. But what happened was Clive Davis, who’s huge in the music world, was the one who brokered that deal… and then he was fired. So the whole thing fell apart after that. America lost out on one of the best bands it ever produced. I would recommend to anyone the documentary on Big Star called…Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

The song has a great riff and wonderful teenage seventies lyrics.


From Songfacts

Stephens played in a band called Golden Smog with Jeff Tweedy, and when Tweedy’s band Wilco came to Memphis, Jody sat in with the group. “We played ‘In The Street’ together – I sat in on drums and Glenn Kotche played the cowbell part and John Stirratt sang lead,” he recounts. “My wife was in the audience and she said when we started playing ‘In The Street,’ somebody sitting in back of her said, ‘Why are they playing That ’70s Show song?'”

In what he described as “ironic” in a 2000 Rolling Stone interview, Alex Chilton received $70 in royalty payments every time That ’70s Show was broadcast.

Cheap Trick’s cover features the lyrics “We’re all all right,” an allusion to their 1978 hit “Surrender” from the album Heaven Tonight. Perhaps a chirpy re-interpretation to suit a primetime network sitcom, the inclusion undermines the ambiguity of the original, which evokes adolescent boredom without either romanticizing or condemning it.

This ambiguity is perfectly encapsulated in the lyric, “wish we had a joint so bad” (also absent from the theme tune, although pot smoking was a recurring theme on the show), the double meaning of which can be read as meaning the protagonist’s craving to get high or for a place to go with his friends. There is certainly a theme of being disposed that runs throughout the deceptively simple lyrics, which is juxtaposed with the major key Power-Pop music.

Chilton has said that along with “When My Baby’s Beside Me,” “In The Street” is the best song he ever wrote

In The Street

Hanging out, down the street
The same old thing we did last week
Not a thing to do
But talk to you

Steal your car, and bring it down
Pick me up, we’ll drive around
Wish we had
A joint so bad

Pass the street light
Out past midnight

Hanging out, down the street
The same old thing we did last week
Not a thing to do
But talk to you

John Lennon – Working Class Hero

This song was a favorite of mine of John Lennon when I was younger. He took some flak about this one and Imagine when it came to being a Working Class Hero and having all of his possessions. His answer was

“What would you suggest I do? Give everything away and walk the streets? The Buddhist says, “Get rid of the possessions of the mind.” Walking away from all the money would not accomplish that. It’s like the Beatles. I couldn’t walk away from the Beatles. That’s one possession that’s still tagging along, right?”

When I was 18 this song was a powerful one to listen to…It still is…For me, the song was about the differences between the social classes. How some could be exploited and how people use ideologies to justify manipulating people. The song was on John’s debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

Boston’s WBCN banned the song for its use of the word “f_ _king”.In Australia, the album was released with the expletive removed from the song and the lyrics censored on the inner sleeve.

From Songfacts

This song caused a fair amount of controversy for John Lennon, as his detractors pointed out that he was raised in an upper-middle-class home by his aunt and had no right to call himself a working-class hero. In an interview with Rolling Stone just three days before his death, Lennon explained: “The thing about the ‘Working Class Hero’ song that nobody ever got right was that it was supposed to be sardonic – it had nothing to do with socialism, it had to do with ‘If you want to go through that trip, you’ll get up to where I am, and this is what you’ll be.’ Because I’ve been successful as an artist, and have been happy and unhappy, and I’ve been unknown in Liverpool or Hamburg and been happy and unhappy.”

The final take as it appears on the album is actually a composite of two different performances done at two different studios. If you listen carefully (it might require headphones) you can clearly hear the sound of the guitar and vocals change where the edit was made about halfway through the song. 

The word f–king appears twice in the lyrics. On the printed lyrics that came with the album, the word was obscured.

Why did Lennon curse in the song? Yoko Ono explained in a 1998 interview with Uncut: “He told me, ‘That’s part of being working class. It won’t be working class if what you say is all very clean and very proper.”

The line, “If you want to be like the folks on the hill” is a reference to the Beatles song “The Fool On The Hill.”

Green Day recorded this for the benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, and they also performed the song on the 2007 season finale of American Idol. In their version, the last two lines are from the original John Lennon song – John sings them. 

Lennon told the January 1971 edition of Rolling Stone about this song: “I think its concept is revolutionary, and I hope it’s for workers and not for tarts and fags. I hope it’s what “Give Peace A Chance” was about, but I don’t know. On the other hand, it might just be ignored. I think it’s for the people like me who are working class – whatever, upper or lower – who are supposed to be processed into the middle classes, through the machinery, that’s all. It’s my experience, and I hope it’s just a warning to people. I’m saying it’s a revolutionary song; not the song itself but that it’s a song for the revolution.”

This song seemed to resist all Lennon’s efforts to record a satisfactory vocal. Tape op Andy Stephens recalled to Uncut magazine August 2010 that he watched the former Beatle obsess about it day after day, singing “an endless number of takes… well over 100.. Probably 120, 130.”

Stephens added that Lennon became more frustrated as each take passed. “If the mix in his headphones wasn’t exactly what he wanted, he would take them off and slam them into the wall,” he recalled. “he wouldn’t say, ‘Can I have a bit more guitar?’ He would literally rip the cans off his head and smash them into the wall, then walk out of the studio.”

Working Class Hero

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
Till you’re so f_ _king crazy you can’t follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still f_ _king peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me


There’s no need to fear…Underdog is here!

Underdog debuted October 3, 1964, on the NBC network under the primary sponsorship of General Mills, and continued in syndication until 1973 (although production of new episodes ceased in 1967, for a run of 124 episodes.

Underdog’s secret identity was Shoeshine Boy. He was in love with Sweet Polly Purebred who was a news reporter. I would watch this cartoon before going to school in 1st and 2nd grade. Underdog would use his secret ring to conceal pills that he would take when he needed energy. NBC soon put an end to that…I loved the theme song.

The shows introduced such characters as King Leonardo, Tennessee Tuxedo, CommanderMc Bragg, Klondike Kat,  and more. Underdog was voiced by Wally Cox. Image result for wally cox

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Underdog always talked in rhyme and I’m a sucker for that.

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Two of the villains were Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff.

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For many years starting with NBC’s last run in the mid-1970s, all references to Underdog swallowing his super energy pill were censored, most likely out of fear that kids would see medication that looked like the Underdog pills (red with a white “U”) and swallow them. Two instances that did not actually show Underdog swallowing the pills remained in the show. In one, he drops pills into water supplies; in the other, his ring is damaged and he explains that it is where he keeps the pill—but the part where he actually swallows it was still deleted.

W. Watts Biggers teamed with Chet Stover, Treadwell D. Covington, and artist Joe Harris in the creation of television cartoon shows to sell breakfast cereals for General Mills. The shows introduced such characters as King Leonardo, Tennessee Tuxedo, and Underdog. Biggers and Stover contributed both scripts and songs to the series. When Underdog became a success, Biggers and his partners left Dancer Fitzgerald Sample to form their own company, Total Television, with animation produced at Gamma Studios in Mexico. In 1969, Total Television folded when General Mills dropped out as the primary sponsor (but continued to retain the rights to the series until 1995; however, they still own TV distribution rights.






Shocking Blue – Venus

If you get really bored…I’ve attempted to make an index/menu for the blog above with “All Songs from A-Z”, “TV Shows and Commercials”, and “Books and Documentaries”… I will be adding more categories as I go along. If you try it and something doesn’t work just shoot me a comment…thanks

The Shocking Blue weekend is coming to a close with their biggest hit… Venus. I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback on this forgotten band over the weekend. I like some of their other songs more than this one but it is a good song.

This is one of the first songs I remember hearing. I like Shocking Blue because of their powerful lead singer Mariska Veres and the songwriting of Robbie van Leeuwen. This was their huge #1 hit Venus and it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1970.

The group’s guitarist Robbie Van Leeuwen wrote this song. The group is from The Netherlands, which led to an interesting translation problem when Shocking Blue lead singer Mariska Veres sang the English lyrics.

Van Leeuwen wrote the first line down incorrectly what was supposed to be “A goddess on the mountain top” he wrote as “A goddness (I checked and she does say goddness) on the mountain top,” and that’s exactly how Veres sang it. the result was a #1 hit with a misspoken first line thanks to a typo.

This is from http://www.oocities.org/ofmang/greg/shblbio.html

“Venus” made Number 3 in Holland, but significantly topped the charts in several countries, including Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. The record came to the attention of a newly formed American record label, Colossus. The label’s head, Jerry Ross, signed Shocking Blue to his label and was rewarded when “Venus” hit the top there in February of 1970. Needless to say the group was hugely successful at home and had some fifty hits in Holland while their records also sold well in France and Japan.

Shocking Blue’s follow-up to “Venus”, “Mighty Joe“, made Number 1 in Holland and charted almost everywhere as its predecessor had. “Never Marry a Railroad Man” also hit top of the Holland rock chart. They continued to chart with songs like “Hello Darkness”, “Shocking You”, “Long Lonesome Road”, “Blossom Lady”, and “Inkpot”, but neither of these songs reached higher than 43rd place in the American chart.

Shocking Blue successfully combined Beat and R&B with psychedelic elements of the time like Indian sitar and odd production techniques. Robbie didn’t mind if the band included a few covers, as it took the pressure off him to constantly come up with new material. “We wrote a lot of our own stuff and the radio DJs preferred us to do original songs, but we had so many albums to do the band had to fill in with a few covers. It was quite exhausting writing all the lyrics and song myself”.

For several months in 1970-1971 Leo van de Ketterij(guitar) played with the group.

Mariska, Robbie, Cor and Klaasje stayed together for three years while they toured the world, visiting such distant lands as Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and South America. Traveling facilities were primitive compared to the sort of luxury top groups expect today, and Shocking Blue had to cover vast distances cramped together in an uncomfortable station wagon. “We never expected to be so busy”, recalls Robbie. “The whole touring business just became too tough for me.”

From Songfacts

The female vocal trio Bananarama recorded this in 1986. It was one of the first songs they started performing when they formed the band in 1979, but they wanted to record original songs first so they would be taken seriously.

Their version was produced by the team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who worked on hits by Rick Astley (“Never Gonna Give You Up”), Dead or Alive (“You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”) and Kylie Minogue (“I Should Be So Lucky”).

The distinctive guitar riff was taken from The Who’s “Pinball Wizard.”

This was produced by Jerry Ross, who also produced another Dutch group, Tee Set, who performed “Ma Belle Amie”. Ross also produced an album of orchestral arrangements of his (primarily) Dutch stable of hits, under the name Jerry Ross Symposium. 

In the US, both this and the Bananarama cover version reached #1, making it one of the few songs to do so. Strangely, in the UK both Shocking Blue and Bananarama reached #8 with “Venus” and both spent 13 weeks on the chart with the song. 

On an episode of the MTV cartoon Beavis And Butthead, Butthead makes up his own lyrics to this but gets frustrated when he can’t think of anything that rhymes with “Venus.”

In Shocking Blue’s home country, this never made it to #1. After its success in the States, the song was re-released but climbed no further that #3 on the Dutch pop chart.

In 1959, Frankie Avalon had a US #1 hit with the same title. There were two other instances of different songs with identical titles reaching #1 on the Billboard charts. “My Love” was #1 for Petula Clark in 1966 and another “My Love” turned the trick for McCartney & Wings in 1973. Then “Best Of My Love” topped the charts for the Eagles in 1973 and a different song of the same title was #1 for The Emotions in 1977. 

In the 1988 Full House episode “But Seriously Folks,” DJ and Kimmy, influenced by Bananarama, start a band and attempt to learn “Venus.”


A goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name.

She’s got it,
Yeah baby, she’s got it.
I’m your Venus,
I’m your fire at your desire.

Her weapons were her crystal eyes
Making every man mad,
Black as the dark night she was
Got what no one else had.

She’s got it,
Yeah baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus,
I’m your fire at your desire.