The Real Thing

Make Believe

It's fun in movies to see the pandemonium on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise when Picard and his crew are under Cardassian attack or when the ship is spiraling hopelessly and helplessly out of control.

People are flying all over the place as the ship tosses to the left and then lurches wildly to the right.

It makes for great viewing.

When something like that happens in real life it's no fun at all.

Look at the ordeal the passengers and crew of this cruise ship went through when the craft smashed into rough seas.

Somehow the stationary camera (moving with the rolling deck) gives us a more frightening view of what is simulated in movies by rocking the camera back and forth.

Here's a less violent example of what happens when the world shifts under our feet.

And here's is conclusive evidence that you never, ever want to be at the business end of a tornado.


A Beatles Train Wreck: If You've Got Trouble

Anyone who follows Apocalypzia knows that we're huge Beatle fans.
We even met one of the Fab Four in a strange moment of synchronicity in front of the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

But being, arguably, the greatest entertainment act of the 20th Century doesn't mean that every performance is going into the history books.

When the Beatles were cutting the tracks for the album that would become the soundtrack for Help!, their second film, John and Paul wrote a song for Ringo to sing called, If You've Got Trouble.

Somehow the record-breaking songwriting team came up with a tune that was so bad that it wasn't released until it was included on the Anthology CD many, many years later.

The song is an interesting piece of Beatle history because it fails on nearly every level.

The lyrics are laughable, the melody is almost non-existent and their performance is amateurish at best.

The strongest part of the recording is actually the vocal. Ringo does the best that he can do with what he has to work with.

But listen to his exasperation when the song segues into the guitar solo.

To the Beatles credit, they thought the song was pretty bad too. They tossed it from the soundtrack album and included a track of Ringo covering Buck Owen's Act Naturally instead.

We think this song is especially interesting because it was composed in the mid-60s when John and Paul were still very skeptical about George Harrison's songwriting ability.

John and Paul were reportedly especially critical of George's first songwriting effort, Don't Bother Me, a song similar to If You've Got Trouble thematically with, IOHO, a catchier melody and superior lyrics.

George had the last laugh, though.

George's song, Something, released just a few years later, was the second most covered Beatle song of all time, eclipsed only by Paul's Yesterday.


Weekly World News

Couple Flees Talking Bear!

Long before there was The Onion, there was an outrageous tabloid called Weekly World News.

The name sounds innocent enough but this publication made the National Enquirer look like the Manchester Guardian.

The newspaper existed somewhere out there in the media ecotone that lies between what most people thought was truly ridiculous but what some twisted few out there believed was hidden, conspiratorial truth.

Bat Boy was a running gag.

Bat Boy was a hideous half-human, half flying rodent creature who was somehow discovered by WWN every few months or so doing some crazy thing or another.

The magic behind WWN headlines was to take something totally preposterous and then give it an added nonsense that somehow, ironically, lent a bit of twisted credibility to the whole thing.

Reporting that a talking bear had been discovered just wouldn't have been enough of a story for WWN.

No, they needed an angle with that special something. How about a couple fleeing a talking bear?!

Now that's a headline!

And doesn't it make you wonder just what the bear was saying?

Maybe, "Hey you! Come back here!"

Weekly Word News ceased publication in 2007.

Bigfoot needs love, too!

It's clear in the photo that the lumberjack is not just love-smitten but suffering from a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome as well.


What really caught our attention on the lumberjack-love front page was the story at the top of the page.

If you can't read the small print under the photos of the sneezing man it says, "Reginald Kaulman reenacts his hurricane-force sneeze for photographers."

Hurricane-force indeed! His now bald as a cue-ball wife says, "it was worse than Hurricane Andrew."

Now that's bad.


Once again, in keeping with the WWN protocol, just having Einstein's brain come to life just wouldn't be enough, now would it?

But if it destroyed Cleveland, now you're talking!

Interesting that Bush renaming the planets falls below the fold.

A little off the top?

Things were always exploding in the WWN world. If it wasn't a patient exploding on an operating table, it was a man's head exploding during a trim.

It could have been worse for this guy, of course. Reginald Kaulman could have sneezed his hair off.

Perhaps the one story WWN got right.


You Bet Your Life: Groucho, Johnny and Bill

Groucho Marx was one of the funniest entertainers of all time.

What's most amazing about Groucho is that he was, off the cuff, as witty and funny as the scripted characters he played in the Marx Brothers movies.

In the 1950s, he hosted the TV game show, You Bet Your Life.
Well, it was kind of a game show. Actually, it was a half hour showcase of Groucho at his ad-lib best.

The core of the show was Groucho conversing with the contestants, producing some of the best television ever.

No Failure to Communicate here...
After being Groucho's sexy foil on You Bet Your Life, this contestant, actress Joy Harmon, went on to fame as the Car Wash Girl in Paul Newman's Cool Hand Luke, a character known well by every adolescent Baby Boomer male.

The rumor was that actual filming of You Bet Your Life ran for an hour or more. But after all of Groucho's racy bits were edited out, the show clocked in at thirty minutes.

Who Do You Trust?

Before he hosted the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson was the host of a TV show very similar to You Bet Your Life called, Who Do You Trust? and for a time, Do You Trust Your Wife?

Young Johnny showed the promise of the TV master to come, but he seemed surprisingly restrained and very shy compared to the irrepressible Groucho.

In the game show's second season, Ed McMahon joined the show as Johnny's announcer and sidekick. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

But Who Do You Trust? wasn't Johnny's first television gig. A very young and very skinny Johnny hosted Carson's Cellar on a local station.

In this clip you see the possible beginnings of the famous "How cold was it?" routine immortalized years later on the Tonight Show.

Interestingly, after Jack Paar left the Tonight Show, it was Groucho, who had done time as one of the show's substitute hosts, who introduced Johnny Carson as the new star of the program.

You Bet Your Life Redux

Late in his life, Groucho suggested to Bill Cosby, then a young struggling comic, that he might be the perfect host for a reboot of You Bet Your Life.

In the early 1990s, Bill hosted his own version of the show.
Cosby seemed to channel the spirit of Groucho but the program never found an audience and was canceled after only one season.