29 November 2009
Saturday/December/05 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
A longer time ago in a galaxy not so far away...
...there was a star-wars-sized battle between planets Earth and Mongo. Flash Gordon, a character created by Alex Raymond in 1934, single-handedly took on Ming the Mercilous -- ruler of Mongo -- and his army of minions.
Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's biological dad but Flash Gordon may indeed have been his cinematic great-grandfather.
Flash Gordon started in the 1930s as a comic strip but is best known as the first science-fiction movie serial. Buster Crabbe -- the Olympic-champion Michael Phelps of his day -- played space hero Flash Gordon.
Buster was obviously in high demand during his acting career. He's the only actor to have played Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Tarzan -- the top three comic strip heroes of the 1930s.
When George Lucas was contemplating Star Wars, he considered rebooting Flash Gordon. Fortunately, he decided to go his own way and create his own epic storyline, adding his own genius to the genre.
Flash didn't have Luke Skywalker's X-Wing Fighter but he did have a way to get around the galaxy (even if his rocket ship did sound like a Hoover vacuum cleaner...)
Ming the Mercilous (with way too much starch in the collar) was Darth Vader and the Emperor rolled into one
Bearded and dishelved Dr. Zharkov was to Flash what Obi-Wan was to Luke Skywalker -- except Zharkov would sell out to the enemy at the drop of a space helmet.
Clearly, Ming saw himself as a player but Flash was having none of that...
Dale Arden = Princess Leia?
Dale was the leading lady of the series but she lacked all the feisty, spunkiness of Princess Leia. She, like Dr. Zharkov, was also awful quick to throw Flash under the bus.
Enhanced Interrogation Planet Mongo Style
Dale Arden -- played by a different actress in this episode -- does about all that Hollywood directors gave actresses to do in 1930s movie serials, scream and faint.
Doesn't the guy with the wings on his helmet have a great laugh?
Question of the Day: If a fight between Flash Gordon and Luke Skywalker broke out at the Mos Eisley Cantina, who would your money be riding on?
(No rayguns or light sabers allowed)
Saturday/December/05 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
Auto Insurance is serious business, right?
Dennis Haysbert makes that case quite effectively in his "Are you in good hands?" ad campaign for Allstate. But somewhere along the line, other companies got the idea that the way to sell auto insurance was by going for the funny.
Geckos, Cavemen and Flo, Oh My!
Maybe that's a good idea when its done in a clever way. Geico with their Cavemen and geckos have been with us for a long time and have been recently joined by Flo, the Progressive Insurance Lady.
But we're talking about the stuff put out by smaller companies that shows up in local TV spots that confuses clever with crass.
The Infamous Eagleman Commercial -- Look at those low rates!
Enter Eagleman, the Dennis Haysbert of Eagle Insurance. The series of TV ads was a multi-pronged attack on the senses. Someone actually thought a guy in an eagle suit laying an egg was a smart way to sell auto insurance. Do you agree?
The Eaglewoman Sequel -- Starring Shock-Jock Mancow Muller
The Eagle landed again in this followup commercial, this time in female form. We guess someone told them that male eagles don't lay eggs.
As bad as the other two ads are, for our money this is the worst.
Not to be outdone, Chicago competitor Lincoln Insurance aired its own series of moronic ads, most starring a guy with a beard and a top hat that is maybe supposed to be Abe Lincoln, but also some kind of a judge or something.
And how's this for class?
What's your take? Does this advertising approach work for you? Would feel comfortable buying auto insurance from these companies?
Friday/December/04 2009 Filed in: Art, Music and Movement
The Cold Breath of Winter...
December in Midwest USA has been mild so far and has spared us the bitter winter storms for a few more weeks. So today, happy that we're not shoveling snow, we're celebrating rain.
Perpetuum Jazzile: The Rain in Africa
Minnie Riperton: Rainy Day in Centerville
Brook Benton: Rainy Night in Georgia
Friday/December/04 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
The monomyth in storytelling is the archetypal, winding journey by which extraordinary potential is realized within he or she who appears to be ordinary.
A thousand stories, a thousand years...
The monomyth, sometimes called the hero's journey, is the same tale told tens of thousands of times throughout thousands of years.
The characters and circumstances change but the journey itself is a familiar road upon which each twist and turn has special meaning and purpose.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell delved into the hero's journey to tease out hints of its structure and underpinnings. In doing so, he described a series of common elements, central building blocks of the tale of adventure.
Let's take a look at the monomyth in action...
An ordinary computer hacker learns that he is in actuality the techno-saviour of a humanity in unknown bondage. He is Neo, the new man, the One...
A farm boy learns that he is born of a lineage of Jedi Masters and that he alone is capable of defending the universe from the crushing domination of the evil Empire.
In the mid-1970s, after completing two drafts of a screenplay for Star Wars, George Lucas still wasn't happy with the storyline. He turned to Joseph Campbell's work for insight.
The monomyth became the underlying structure of the first film of one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.
See how this richer detail of the monomyth plays out across the double trilogy saga of Star Wars...
In what movies do you see the monomyth, the hero's journey, playing out?