The Simpsons

I could write pages on this show but I’ll keep it short.

I’ve covered a lot of cartoons but this one is special. This Simpsons is probably my favorite of all time. It has influenced countless TV shows. This show appealed to young and older audiences alike.

The Simpsons was created by Matt Groening, who thought of the idea for the Simpsons in the lobby of James L. Brooks’s office. He named the characters after his own family members, substituting “Bart” for his own name. The family debuted as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. In 1989, the shorts were spun off into the series The Simpsons which debuted on December 17, 1989.

The family members’ animated bodies have changed shape a bit since, but they have not aged much, aside from shows that looked into characters’ futures. In fact, most people would agree that Matt Groening’s goofy humor hasn’t gotten old either.

The town of Springfield has a cast of characters that really made the show. You get to know them weekly from Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Disco Stu, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Moe Szyslak, Marge, Lisa, and the list goes on.

Other shows such as Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park were influenced by The Simpsons but they are cruder and use more shock value. Nothing wrong with that but I always thought the Simpsons was more clever. The two cartoons that I have really liked since the Simpsons started are King of the Hill and Futurama, the later also created by Groening.

In the early stages, the show revolved around the young Bart Simpson’s trouble-causing antics, making it appeal to a younger crowd. Over the years, however, the writers, which have included Conan O’Brien, found viewers responded more to the father figure Homer Simpson, and he became the show’s main character.

In 2007, the family finally made its way to theaters in the Simpsons Movie.

The Simpsons have ran for 31 seasons and nearly 700 episodes (676 as of this writing). The show is the longest-running scripted series in TV history.

A few of the Catchphrases that have worked into our everyday life.

Don’t Have a Cow, Man

Eat My Shorts

Mmm, donuts

Release The Hounds

Hidely Ho…Okily Dokily

D’oh!

Woo Hoo!

Eeeeeeexcellent

Where is…Captain Kirk’s original Command Chair?

You know…who wouldn’t like Captain Kirk’s original command chair in their living room? Ok…some people would not like it but I have wondered where it is now. Many people build replicas of the chair but I want to know where the real one is. The real McCoy…pardon the pun.

The original owner picked up the chair and accompanying set pieces in 1969 after he received a call from a friend at Paramount Pictures, who alerted him to the fact that the entire Star Trek set was being scrapped and that, if he was interested, he was welcome to get whatever items he wanted before they were thrown away… I’m not sure where he stored it but I found where it was sold in 2002 for $265,000.

The late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen then bought the chair for a reported $305,000 in 2009. He also developed The Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP in Seattle and that is where the chair is right now!

The chair is probably one of the most recognized chairs in the world.

Captain Kirk’s chair was built around the black Naugahyde cushioning and slim walnut arms of a model No. 2405 or No. 4449 armchair produced by Madison Furniture Industries of Canton, Miss., between 1962 and 1968. The industrial designer Arthur Umanoff conceived the chair as part of an attempt to replicate the Danish modern look which was popular in the early sixties.

The Museum of Pop Culture or MoPoP exhibits   

This is a link to the current museum…they have exhibits on the music of Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam. It looks like a cool place. Have any of you visited this museum?

https://www.mopop.org/exhibitions-plus-events/

Displayed at The Museum of Pop Culture

Batman 1966 – 1968

Cool hideout, Cool theme, Cool uniforms, Hot Batgirl and the Coolest car. The Batman TV series ran from 1966-1968 with 120 episodes. This was a fun campy show…not a dark drama searching for the reasons why Batman is a vigilante.

I was in the generation after this aired but I loved watching the reruns. Back in the mid-seventies, I was 8 and under the impression that Batman, Gilligans Island, and The Monkees were still making these fun shows. Batman was so colorful and expressive with it’s POW, BOOM, ZAP comic book play. The campiness played great in this show.

Adam West played the campy Batman perfectly and his ward…Burt Ward was just as good with his part. One of the great things about Batman was the villains. Cesar Romero did a great Joker. He may be my favorite Joker.  Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler was also perfectly cast. I always liked Catwoman played by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Last but certainly not least Bat Girl played by Yvonne Craig.

Lee Meriwether acted as Catwoman in the movie. Yes, there was a movie that they made in 1966! Like the series, it’s just as fun! It has the infamous bat-shark repellent in the movie.

The Batmobile! I loved that car. It started life as a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. George Barris did his magic and turned it into what we now know as the Batmobile. My personal favorite of all the Batman cars.

The cool theme song was composed by Neal Hefti.

I want to thank blainerestaurantreport for suggesting Batman to write about… He also told me that Burt Ward got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame…naturally beside Adam West. Congrats Burt!

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Where is… the original King Kong model now?

I remember watching this great 1933 movie when I was 10 and loving every minute of it. I loved monster movies and this was a classic one. I was more of a Godzilla guy but King Kong was great.

I always wondered where the model was…well there were four of them. Two survive today. Eugene Hilchey saved one model from the studio, Hilchey entrusted the model to Bison Archives/Productions who brought it to Christie’s where is sold for $200,000 in 2009. The other one is the story below.

Special effects man Willis O’Brien and sculptor Marcel Delgado created two 18-inch-high full-body miniatures of the giant ape. They began by making durable metal armatures, which were covered with sponge rubber for the ape’s muscle structure, and rabbit fur for his hair. They also made one jointed 24-inch model of the same materials for the New York scenes and a small model of lead and fur for the climactic plummeting-down-the-Empire-State-Building shot.

Two of the Kong figures were later cannibalized for parts in other creations. The other armature survived because it was used again in “Son of Kong” (1933), which went into production soon after the first film was released.

The model stayed at RKO until 1962. Animator Phil Kellison rescued the Kong model from the studio. After discovering that the remaining rubber skin was beginning to eat away at the figure’s metal hardware, he had Kong steam-cleaned to its present state – the original bare metal skeleton. Film historian and collector Bob Burns, a friend of Kellison, said that when the person was told what he was cleaning, he began exclaiming “I’m killing King Kong! I’m killing King Kong!”

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In 1975, Bob found himself at the place where the artifacts from movies were stored. To Bob’s surprise, he spotted the King Kong armature in a corner, and immediately contacted Phil. After Kellison picked up the prop, Bob was surprised yet again when Phil gave him the armature for his collection – where it resides to this day.

The Smithsonian Institute has tried to borrow or purchase the skeleton from Bob. Fearful of it being lost again, he has refused.

In October of 2005, when director Peter Jackson was finishing his remake of “King Kong,” he flew Bob Burns, his wife Kathy, and the King Kong skeleton to the location in New Zealand. They spent a week as guests of the production, showing off the historic armature to the crew. The animators even filmed the model for reference (animating it probably for the first time since its use in the “Kong” sequel in 1933). And Bob and Kathy were given cameos in the film, screaming at Kong during the film’s climax.

Another model from the film

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Where is…the Shark from Jaws?

Unlike the Partridge Family Bus, I had better luck on this one. The story on the mechanical sharks they used…approximately 25 feet long is clear.

Everyone knows the great 1975 movie Jaws that made people think twice about going into the water. The movie stands up today. They had no CGI back then and had to use a mechanical shark for the scenes. All together they used 3 of them. All of them malfunctioned but they called all three of them “Bruce” after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer.

When the movie was over they dumped all three fake sharks on the backlot and let them rot away…however they kept the mold and made a fourth Bruce out of fiberglass and hung him up at Universal Studios in 1976. It stayed there until 1990, that is when Universal cut him down and sent him away to the junkyard.

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The junkyard (U Pick Parts) owner Sam Adlen didn’t consider Bruce junk and mounted him on poles until 2016 at his junkyard. Sam had died but his son Nathan Adlen sold the business and donated Bruce to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

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Bruce mounted at the junkyard

Greg Nicotero had been a Jaws fan since the day he watched the movie with his mom in 1975. He had his picture taken with “Bruce” at Universal Studios in 1976 before Bruce’s journey to the Junkyard. He had been inspired to be a special effects person because of it. He took the job of restoring Bruce to his former glory.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures plans to unveil Bruce to the public soon. Although this Bruce wasn’t in the movie he was the last made of the original mold.

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Ladybug Picnic

1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9, 10 11 12, Ladybugs came to the Ladybug’s Picnic…wah wah wah

I first saw this on Sesame Street in the 70s. I would find it coming back to me years later.

Sometimes when I play music with the guys…I’ll suddenly break out in this song in the middle of learning something else…just have some fun. It’s one that is hard to get out of your head. I get things thrown at me but I love it.

Jim Kweskin sang the original 1971 version and it was written by Bud Luckey and Donald Hadley

Thanks to nostalgicitalian for bringing this up…

Ladybugs Picnic

One two three

Four five six

Seven eight nine

Ten eleven twelve

Ladybugs

Came to the ladybugs’ picnic

 

One two three

Four five six

Seven eight nine

Ten eleven twelve

And they all played games

At the ladybugs’ picnic

 

They had twelve sacks so they ran sack races

And they fell on their backs and they fell on their faces

The ladybugs 12

At the ladybugs’ picnic

 

They played jump rope but the rope it broke

So they just sat around telling knock-knock jokes

The ladybugs 12

At the ladybugs’ picnic

 

One two three

Four five six

Seven eight nine

Ten eleven twelve

And they chatted away

At the ladybugs’ picnic

 

They talked about the high price of furniture and rugs

And fire insurance for ladybugs

The ladybugs 12

At the ladybugs’ picnic

12!

It’s A Wonderful Life

I didn’t watch this great movie until the late 80s. All it took was one time and I haven’t missed a year of watching it. I don’t tear up very easy..but it never fails at the end of the movie when Zuzu says… Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings…it gets me every time. This movie was released in 1946.

Poor George Bailey. All he wanted to do was travel and get out of Bedford Falls to see the world. Every single time he gets close…so close that it hurts…something happens and George ends up doing the right thing.

Bedford Falls needs George Bailey…every town needs a George Bailey but many end up with only a Mr. Potter. There is one thing about this movie which was unusual. Mr. Potter was never punished for what he did…which drew criticism at the time but it was more in line with reality to me.

This is a Christmas movie but really only the last part of the movie is about Christmas. It is a movie for any time not just for December. We were thinking of names for our unborn child and couldn’t think of one…I was watching this movie in November of 1999 and it hit me…Bailey…so the movie means more than some movies do.

Here is a small summary from IMDB…don’t read it…watch the movie instead. If you haven’t seen it…give it a shot…whether it is Christmas or July.

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint, Mr. Potter, from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George’s modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.