02 August 2009
Friday/August/07 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Yesterday can teach us a lot about Tomorrow.
In the spring of 2009, Alec Baldwin and Seth MacFarlane appeared in TV ads promoting Hulu, the NBC / Fox joint-venture offering streaming-video of hundreds of television programs.
Old Time Radio.
While Hulu is a leading-edge resource for video, Ken Varga has done much the same for old-time radio. Ken is the man behind the Old Time Radio Network Library (otr.net), an amazing resource for fans of early radio. And -- while Hulu is making noise about possibly charging for content -- Ken's resource is FREE!
The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.
There was a magical era in radio before it devolved into political ranting and 24-hour news programs. Ken's Old Time Radio site is a time machine that looks back into the pre-apocalyptic world and chronicles the manner of things that made audiences laugh, cry or think in days gone by.
But if you're thinking this could only be of interest to people with shawls and rocking chairs, think again.
TV's Golden Age Had its Roots in Radio.
Many of the shows of TV's Golden Age were video versions of radio programs.
I Love Lucy, one of television's early smash hits, began on the radio in a slightly different form as My Favorite Husband. Once the show made it to television, what Lucy and Desi did with a multi-camera format, a live studio audience and syndication is still the gold standard for TV comedies today.
OTR.net boasts over 12,000 episodes of hundreds of programs, including dramas, comedies and variety shows. This is a true Radioland filled with actors, characters and storylines that would be lost without the work of people like Ken Varga.
Before James Arness ever fired a six-shooter in TV's Gunsmoke, William Conrad was watchful and a little lonely as he patrolled the streets of Dodge City in the radio version. Doc Adams was portrayed by Howard McNear (yes, Mayberry's Floyd the Barber on TV's Andy Griffith Show.)
The Lone Ranger rides again in Radioland and Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police (also with Mayberry's Howard McNear) guards its global frontiers.
Sci-fi settings and twist endings of TV's classic Outer Limits and Rod Serling's Twilight Zone were preceded on radio by programs like Dimension X and Inner Sanctum.
What's Amos and Andy got to do with Leave it To Beaver?
Amos and Andy is there in Radioland, too. This long running radio program stirred considerable controversy over the years with regard to concerns about racial stereotyping, but Amos 'n' Andy has a surprising connection to TV's Leave it to Beaver.
Don't be put off by a somewhat utilitarian look the first time you visit Ken Varga's site. As we understand it, OTR.net is funded primarily -- if not entirely -- by donations. That means there are no ads cluttering the site.
Ken has created an invaluable cultural resource. So if you find it interesting and entertaining, think about letting him know with a donation.
Sometimes to see what's ahead, it's worthwhile to look behind. You never know what you might find there.
Wednesday/August/05 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
It's about to get ugly.
Some seemingly innocent incident has touched off a potentially dangerous showdown. Maybe you've just become the target of someone's anger ... or maybe you've just targeted someone else.
Either way, your blood boils and you look into -- or out through -- murderous eyes.
Beyond the Highway
Road rage is what we call it on the highway. But it can happen anywhere and everywhere. Wherever anger seems to overtake reason. Whenever we feel we've taken just about as much as we can take.
We often blame these incidents on short tempers and bad manners, and surely that explains most of them.
Beneath the Surface
Sometimes, however, something more seems to be bubbling under the skin. Something for which the random incident is not the cause of the problem but more like a rupture point no longer able to contain volcanic pressure.
At this level of intensity, rage morphs into something more formidable, something more volatile.
We've all been through a lot lately. We've seen the institutions we trusted to govern us, protect us, invest us and inform us, one by one, desert us and expect us to clean up the mess.
We've been pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed and numbered. We've pleaded for help and waited for rescue. And after it all, we've been left to our own devices.
Mad as Hell
It's been a third of a century since Paddy Chayefsky's Network was released yet Howard Beale's magnificent monologue may be even more timely and appropriate now than it was then.
We'll get through this next apocalypse and Howard is eloquent in his suggestions how...
Tuesday/August/04 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
They weren't the Marx Brothers and didn't pretend to be.
They were Harry Moses Horowitz, Louis Feinberg and Jerome Horowitz. But if you know them at all, you know them as Moe, Larry and Curly. The Three Stooges.
Putting the slap in slapstick, their endless series of 20 minute shorts poked fun at a society stratified into the hoity toity upper-class above and the great unwashed hoi polloi below.
Their humor was hardly universal, but it was unique. They copied no one and no one copied them. At least not until the Farrelly Brothers got this crazy idea to make a movie about the trio.
There's Something About Larry
The word is that the Brothers Farrelly have been thinking about a Stooges reboot since they were working on Kingpin back in 1996. Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest was the working concept.
You've all heard by now that Benicio del Toro (Moe) and Jim Carrey (Curly) have signed on for the film. Sean Penn, set to play Larry, left the project in 2009, reportedly, for personal reasons. Other names rumored to have been considered for Stooge roles are Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp.
The Stooge-fan Farrellys believe that the task of bringing the trio back to center stage has fallen to them. After all, who else could pull it off?
Been There, Done That
In 2000, Stooge-fan Mel Gibson produced a made-for-TV movie about the Stooges. In fact, not long before Emmy-Award-Winner Michael Chiklis created the role of Vic Mackey in FX's The Shield, he was getting pies in the face as Curly in this TV movie.
Chiklis, Paul Ben-Victor and Evan Handler did a fairly uncanny job of channeling the Stooges...
If you like, you can look at the real Moe, Larry and Curly below. For a head-to-head comparison, the first scene in the clip above is a recreation of the scene at 1:20 in the timeline.
The Fake Three Stooges
The word is that the Farrellys are looking to make, not a biography, but a present-day reboot the Stooges.
Really? Isn't that like an updated big-screen reboot of the Dick Van Dyke Show, starring Will Ferrell?
For their fans, Moe, Larry and Curly weren't just characters but were the result and consequence of the grinding years of vaudeville and the hardships and hard knocks of illness and exploitation. From all this, a distinctive brand of comedy was born, particular to these performers, and particular to that place and that time.
Apocalypzia thinks that the Stooges should be allowed to rest in peace.
Monday/August/03 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
If you don't know who Maria Sansone is, you may not be in the Pepsi Generation anymore.
Maria hosts PopTub, YouTube's internet answer to Joel McHale's The Soup. (You do know, Joel McHale, right?)
PopTub is an edgy viral marketing campaign that is a collaboration between YouTube owner, Google, and Embassy Row, a Pepsi production company.
About the same time Pepsi was launching PopTub, it was ending its 50 year relationship with the BBDO Ad Agency -- a partnership that helped to change the fundamentals of brand marketing. Is Pepsi looking ahead to the next generation with PopTub?
For Those Who Think Young...
In the decades-long battle for King of Cola Mountain, Coke and Pepsi have taken very different paths to promote their brands.
Coke took the traditional in-your-face product focus. The central message of Coke commercials was that you couldn't have a good time without Coke. After all, Coke was the Real Thing!, Coke was It! And if you could just teach the whole world to sing and drink Coke, there would be peace on the planet.
Does this Coke commercial seem a little self-indulgent to you?
This is so not Maria Sansone! (Feel free to click the YouTube pause button when you've seen enough...)
Pepsi's Lifestyle Marketing
Pepsi and the company's Mad Men traveled a very different road and discovered something quite innovative along the way. Rather than putting the product in the center of its ads, Pepsi focused on the customer, and his and her desire to belong.
Pepsi helped to pioneer lifestyle marketing in the 1960's, an approach which may still be embedded today in the DNA of social media and viral marketing.
Pepsi Pours it on...
This vintage Pepsi commercial is all about having fun. Pepsi is just along for the ride. But the underlying message is make it the ride of your life! Make every moment count.
Come Alive ...
That's real livin' when a Sikorsky chopper drops a vending machine in the middle of nowhere just to quench your thirst.
But notice that the brand doesn't make an appearance until half way through the commercial. Also, Pepsi defines young not by age but by outlook. To be in the Pepsi Generation, you just needed a young view of things.
You've Got a Lot to Live...
This is possibly the most sentimental of the retro Pepsi ads and it is focused squarely on lifestyle. It's about being a part of a youthful, vibrant generation that is unique, important and, sometimes, thirsty.
We love the line "put yourself behind a Pepsi, if you're living, you belong..."
We'll take a closer look at Coke ads soon.
In the meantime, Apocalypzia invites you to check out our other posts in the Marketing / Business category.