25 October 2009
My Pal Foot Foot
Even in the smoky, drugged-out haze of the late 60's music scene, the Shaggs' My Pal Foot Foot just didn't have what it takes to be a hit song.
But here we are talking about it some forty years after it was recorded. That says something that certainly can't be said for the thousands of forgotten one-hit-wonders that have come and quickly gone in the meantime. The Shaggs -- Dot, Helen, Betty and Rachel Wiggin -- made their mark in pop music history.
Drawing by Dorothy Wiggin: Foot Foot was the name of the family cat
Winning us over?
The Shaggs are easy to ridicule yet we find ourselves gradually won over by their innocent charm. They weren't trying to sound bad but felt compelled by love for their overly-ambitious Dad to strum guitars and beat drums when they likely would have preferred to hang out with their friends.
And who among us can't identify with the lengths often gone to in order to earn Dad's approval?
Not enough can be said here about the brilliant video that D. Sticker put together for this song. It has fun with the song somehow without really making fun of these young singers.
And it's an interesting yet surprising compliment to the Shagg's that their original version is arguably superior to the Deerhoof cover of My Pal Foot Foot, recorded years later.
It appears that the Shaggs had matured a bit as musicians and songwriters by the time My Cutie rolled out. It's really not a bad tune about teen angst. We see this song as kind of their Rubber Soul period -- eschewing the hard rock edge for a softer lyrical focus. The closing guitar riff is classic Shaggs though.
There's an unsubstantiated rumor that Neil Diamond, who reportedly took an interest in the Shaggs' music, is playing rhythm guitar on this recording. We don't believe it but the guitar does sound a lot better here.
The Shaggs - Still Rockin' It
Want More of The Shaggs?: It's Halloween!
They were the Jonas Brothers of the Swingin' 60's
Actually that isn't true at all. As far as we know the Jonas Brothers weren't forced by a somewhat overbearing father to reluctantly pursue a painful and talent-challenged musical career to fulfill some fortune teller's strange prophesy.
The Shaggs were.
Known today as the best worst rock band ever, the Shaggs were made up of the Wiggin sisters -- Dot, Helen, Betty and later Rachel. From 1968 through 1975, the Shaggs performed some of the most celebrated god-awful music in the history of humankind.
So bad it's kind of compelling
The Shaggs' music was so bad that, in its own way, it's endearing. What it lacked in tempo and tuning, it tried to make up for in both innocence and a brash audacity.
Mistake? What mistake?
An engineer who worked the studio sessions for Philosophy of the World, their first album, reports that he was gobsmacked when in the middle of recording, one of the Shaggs stopped playing because she made a mistake. How, the engineer wondered, could she sort the mistakes out from the rest of it?
Their most famous release is their seasonal favorite, It's Halloween!
You can listen to it right here. Please note, there is no video in this YouTube clip except for the title slide.
Want to hear more from the Shaggs?
Sure you do, because the My Pal Foot Foot song and video are just too strange to miss.
And by the way, here's the lyrics to It's Halloween so you'll be all set for Karaoke night!
Its time for scares
Its time for screams
The ghosts will spook
The spooks will scare
Why, even Dracula will be there
It's time for games
It's time for fun
Not for just one
But for everyone
The jack-o-lanterns are all lit up
All the dummies are made and stuffed
By just looking you will see
It's this time of year again
All the kids are happy and gay
There doesn't seem to be a cloud in their way
But when it's over and they've had all their fun
They'll wish that Halloween had just begun
Oh, there are witches, goblins, Frankensteins and zombies
And there are tramps, Cinderallas, pirates, angels and gypsies
So let's have lots of fun and give many cheers
For Halloween comes but once a year
It's time for games
It's time for fun
Not for just one
But for everyone
No Funny Business
In 1954 Fredric Wertham wrote a book that changed an industry almost overnight. Seduction of the Innocent was a scathing attack on comic books and the potential danger their horrific images and storylines posed to young children.
The firestorm of controversy that flared after the book's publication resulted in the creation of the Comic Code Authority (CCA), a trade-sponsored internal censorship review board established to restore confidence in the industry.
Had this last ditch effort to save the business not been successful, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman and the entire Justice League for that matter, might never have survived past the Eisenhower administration.
In the spirit of Halloween, here are some of the kinds of ghoulish comic books that sent Wertham into a tizzy...
Come on, seriously. Who hasn't had this experience?
You stumble out of bed after a particularly rough night and schlep into the bathroom. You turn on the light, look in the mirror and see something grotesque staring back at you wearing your pajamas.
James Lileks and his Institute of Official Cheer has taught us all about comic book cover perspective. We imagine he would be the first to point out that the horrified woman couldn't possibly see the image in the mirror from where she's standing but she's horrified nonetheless.
No this isn't an anti-smoking ad but it certainly could be.
We're not sure why this poor guy is so surprised that it wasn't such a good idea to jam a radioactive tube in his mouth. Certainly whoever handed him this stick of radium was either suffering the same effects or protected by a lead-lined haz-mat suit. Either one would be a tip-off.
And what about whoever carefully stenciled the word radium on this side of the tube? He can't be looking too good about now either.
Real Police Cases?! Really?
Yeah, we're sure this was ripped from today's headlines. The guy in the brown zoot suit is so shocked by the gorilla that the force of his hair standing on end has ejected his fedora from his head.
His fellow gunsel -- with the stogie flying out of his mouth -- is just ticked that he was given bad intel. After all, no one told him it was this kind of gorilla. Whatever this kind is.
And why for Pete's sake would a gorilla have a safe full of greenbacks? Wouldn't you guess it would be full of bananas?
Yes, we know this cover isn't especially ghoulish but we couldn't pass up the idea of a gorilla smart enough to have an apartment yet too dumb to arm the burglar alarm when he stepped out for the evening.
Overstating the Obvious
We don't think anyone would argue with the gun moll that a volley of tommy-gun bullets wouldn't be faster-acting than drowning the cop in what looks to be green sludge.
And certainly anyone who would first consider green sludge instead of a tommy gun as the best way to do away with this cop is most likely crazy.
And as for the joining your partner comment, that pretty much looks like a done-deal at this point.
The Haunt of Fear! Now there's a cool title.
We don't know what it means but it certainly sounds scary. We're not exactly sure why bow-tie guy is so upset by his UPS package. Judging by the lion's head mounted on the wall, disembodied craniums aren't a big problem for him.
What really strikes us about this cover is the list of cameos featured in the issue. You get the lovable Old Witch, for one. But in addition you get the Vault-Keeper and as an added bonus you get the Crypt-Keeper, who pretty much looks like the Vault-Keeper without the green doily on his head.
Sunday/October/25 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
Keeping Up Appearances
Back in July we published a post about the current SC Johnson TV ad campaign for Glade Air Freshener. This series of commercials features a woman who tries to make her friends and family believe her house smells so great because she's such a great housekeeper when it fact, it's the Glade.
The slant of our post was that there was precious little known about the actress, Dori Kelly, who portrays the enigmatic character who has become known in some circles as the Lying Glade Lady.
We're back in October to report something we're calling the Glade Lady Phenomenon.
Looking at our blog stats, in the nearly six months that Apocalypzia has been around, our post concerning the Glade Lady has been far and away the most viewed. Even our Sarah Palin song parody post -- with a link that was picked up by the Huffington Post -- couldn't compete with the underground appeal of Dori Kelly.
The post actually didn't register that high in July when it was originally published, but took off in August, September and into October, getting the highest page hit numbers for each individual month.
In fact, just mentioning the Glade Lady in another post about Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady may have helped drive that one up to be the sixth most viewed Apocalypzia article.
And that's not all.
Our Google Webmaster Tools tell us that Dori Kelly, the Glade Lady and almost anything related to this ad series are among the most popular Apocalypzia keyword searches.
And it's not just our blog that's noticed Dori.
The Grokmedia Blog reported the same type of stat spikes that we're talking about here when they posted about the mysterious Dori Kelly.
And everyone seems to be a little vague about who Dori really is.
Even the people who know her personally are having a hard time getting a fix on her.
A commentator at the 13Months Blog who claims to have known Dori when she was a teenager said: "She played a great Rosie in a teen production of Bye Bye Birdie!"
This was countered by another commentator at the blog who said: "I knew Dori Kelly from High School, a lovely girl, though, ... a girl named Diane was Rose in the Bye Bye Birdie in high school."
Missed Marketing Opportunity?
Go to the Progressive Insurance website and Flo is there to greet you on the home page.
The Dos Equis website is organized around their Most Interesting Man in the World campaign.
SC Johnson, curiously, doesn't seem to be interested in leveraging off of Dori's cult status.
Dori Kelly is hot but go to the various SC Johnson websites and we challenge you to find even a whiff of the Glade Lady campaign or the actress who portrays her. Dori's Glade commercials aren't available there.
There is a skeletal Facebook page for Dori Kelly but it doesn't appear to be a verified one.
Grokmedia asked the question: Dori Kelly, Where Are You? and suggested that this actress was, personally missing a real opportunity by not trying to capitalize on her web-cult popularity.
But in the midst of all this, SC Johnson appears to be shifting the focus of its ad campaign.
The persona of the Glade Lady as a fibbing social climber has been the core of the ad campaign, as best presented in the first installment.
But one of the most recent spots strips her of the shtick that made her popular and presents her as just another TV spokesperson hawking discount merchandise.
Bottom Line? SC Johnson needs some social media consultation, and fast...
How would you advise them to manage this campaign and the mysterious, enigmatic Dori Kelly?
Sunday/October/25 2009 Filed in: Weekend Showcase
A New Hope
Baby boomers who rushed to movie theatres in the mid-1970s to see the first Star Wars movie were thrilled by the special effects, light saber swordplay and X-Wing rocket ships. We suspect, though, that two members of the supporting cast had a lot to do with the film's popularity.
Eight Shopping Weeks Till Christmas
Droids C3PO and R2D2 resonated with a robotic chord deep within the baby boomer psyche, stirring memories of the many toy commercials they watched as adolescents. In the 1950s and 1960s, toy robots, in all different flavors, were big on Christmas shopping lists.
Let's face it. Mr. Machine just didn't have much personality. Strike that. He didn't have any personality. He just sashayed around on his little spring-driven wheels waving his arms and legs. If you had a whole squad of them, as appear in this commercial, you might have some fun for a while, but having just one doesn't sound like much of a party.
Rock'em Sock'em Robots
A real adrenaline rush here. What could give you a higher high than truly knocking your opponents block off?
Rock'em Sock'ems had it all over those wussy Mr. Machines. You could actually vent your aggression and redirect your killer instincts in a socially acceptable way. No harm, no foul.
Our favorite line in this commercial - "Just push the flying heads back and you're ready for round 3."
By the way for fans of vintage TV, that is Hazel's Bobby Buntrock in this commercial.
Garloo was a monster and not technically a robot but he certainly fit into the genre. He was large -- at least relative to the victims you imagine he's crushing -- and unlike most monsters, he rolled around on wheels.
Is it just us or is there something about the drug-crazed eyeball action of this robot that's a little disturbing? Not that watching its head flip open and fire a rocket isn't a little odd, too.
The voice control claim may have slipped passed the FTC. Only by first setting the knob on the wired remote to the command you wanted RC to execute, then screaming into the so-called microphone at the top of your lungs, could you get the feature to work. That's basically like yelling at a light switch in your home, hoping the sound vibrations will flip it.
Okay, so if Robot Commando and Great Garloo had a kid it would be Big Loo, the Moon Robot, right?
First of all, this thing is freakin' huge. Secondly, for a robot, it seems to leave you to do all the work. Thirdly, after hearing the voiceover announcer say, "hear his bell, blow his whistle," we now finally know the origin of the term all the bells and whistles.
And did we mention this thing is freakin' huge?