Sunday, October 29, 2006


Finally, they've released the Filmation's Saturday Morning "cringe master" of a TV show, Groovie Goolies on DVD. All the other self respecting blogs have written about it, I will at least make a note for Halloween's sake.
As a kid, the look of the show had me sketching and copying every line, trying to simulate their amazing design sense. I had the coloring book, and would often trace the images and hang them up in my room.
A while back I did some faux animation cels, for friends and to just hang are the rough pencils for those cels:

Apparently, these were also the color guides...the tighter original pencils must have been sold long ago right along with the cels.
I drew these by using freeze frames from a bootleg VHS, by the way.

For more in-depth info about this great series, check out this entry..

Friday, October 27, 2006

Punkin' Hade

My buddy Leisa sent me this link and had me busy all morning goofing off...
Go carve a punkin' and have a Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Planet of the Horses

Feeling the chill of Halloween approaching, I was flipping through my old monster magazines and came across this issue of CRACKED from the 70's (or 80's). My favorite issues were the all monster theme issues.

In this issue, they reran a bit called Planet of the Creatures, where they spoofed Planet of the Apes using different common animals..i.e. dogs, cats, skunks(!), etc. (wonderfully drawn and inked by John Severin!)
One full page was dedicated to the Planet of the Horses spoof...see below.

I find this interesting and it struck me how art imitates life...imitating art again. What am a I talking about?
Let's back track a step.

The original idea for Planet of the Apes was derived from Pierre Boulle's...La Planete des Singes (Monkey Planet) written in 1963. Monkey Planet was written as a satirical look at society supposedly inspired by Boulle's visit to a zoo. Impressed by the human expressions of the apes, this spurred Boulle on and within six months, he had the basic outline for Monkey Planet. In Boulle's version, man was captive and savage, where the ape's society was civil and very much like a 1963 earth with cars, skyscrapers, etc.

(Planet of the Apes producer, Arthur Jacobs and Pierre Boulle)

Many at the time thought Boulle's satire was brilliant and inventive, but on a closer literary examination, we see that there is truly "nothing new under the sun". Some of Boulle's inspiration probably came from an Irish satirist and poet by the name of Jonathan Swift who wrote a four book epic called Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver (1726)...aka Gulliver's Travels. Most know the story of Gulliver and the island of Lilliput, but who remembers the fourth novel called A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms? (yes, it's spelled correctly!)

In this world, Gulliver finds himself captured by a speaking and ruling class of intelligent Horses, and mistaken to be a native savage human (called a Yahoo), destined to die. The Horse society rules by reason alone and can't understand emotions....similar to Star Treks' Mr. Spock and the Vulcan society. Eventually his life is spared by showing the Horse populace that he is civilized and not like the other native Yahoos. Yet another literary example of using animals as a metaphor for the inhumanity we cultivate.

So, I wonder if the writers at CRACKED read any Jonathan Swift? Probably not. So this is a prime example of ideas mirroring each other. This sort of "rehashing" happens all the time, and some...George Lucas...have built an empire on the technique.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The Halloween season is apon us, but this year I'm taking a break from doing any mask work. Just one year, I'd like to go out and enjoy the atmosphere and not stumble around trying to peer out of a rubber mask. Last year was a goal I met, but this year..I need to just enjoy the season. I might dress up as something at the last minute, but no major suit up.
This season I am happy to say, I've turned out a mask from an old mold for a friend and idol, Ed French. Ed has done make up effects on everything from "Nightmare", "Sleepaway Camp", "Exterminator 2", "Breeders", in the 80' many of Swazenegger's films, the Batman films, Buffy TV series, Mad TV series, X-Files, Voyager, ..and many, many commercials. I was thrilled to work with him side by side back in '98 on a project for AMC channel. At that time, I had made a Tor Johnson mask for my Halloween costume and brought it to work to show Ed. Apparenlty he was so taken with it, that a few months ago, he asked me to make a copy for him this Halloween.

I'm happy with this version (I've made 10 or so from that mold) and was careful to make the skin tones as real and layered as possible. Ed knows skin color and if I screwed it up, he'd spot it.
To see Ed's work and his charming on screen presence, and to see his amazing technical expertise, I suggest you buy his high quality Bald Cap video that he sells on his site. If you've ever tried to do a bald cap on someone, you know it's really hard to make it look real. Ed's techniques are amazing. After watching the video, I did a bald cap using his techinques , and my cap looked flawless...thanks to his tutorial.
You can even buy his work....he sells his foam latex appliances on his site too!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
UHF...a forgotten term in today's tangled mass of cables, digital signals, and optic fiber instant imaging.
UHF, which stands for Ultra High Frequency.
These days you can go the the mall, drop 20-30 bucks and get most of the TV series we watched when we were young. The ones that reran on local small market stations on the VHF and UHF "dials". With boxed sets, there's no commercials, no static when mom runs the vacuum, and no grainy 16 mm prints washing out the lush colors predominate in the 60s TV palette.
We don't have to record them with an audio cassette player now...they're perfectly recorded, in stereo, and neatly digitized on a disc for easy storage. No need to snap pictures with the Polaroid camera off the TV screen for a still...DVDs have perfect freeze frame capabilities and our computers can grab an image, and file it away for future reference.
So why bring up UHF you ask? Because in this day and age of DVD markets flooded with ever single series or obscure movie we ever saw, I noticed that the actual TV content is HORRIBLE. When a title is licensed for one avenue or the other, the other avenues suffer until their time comes.
i.e.-If you have a movie out in the theatres...say "Cars", you won't be putting it out on DVD at the same time because people will just buy the discs, stay at home and by pass the releasing studio denying them their wonderful profits. It's not because it's "not ready"...too many orders, it's called profit. Shake the rubes at the box office, shake 'em again in Walmart and Best Buy, shake'm again on cable....shake'm one more time when they decide to release a double disc set with crap they had from the beginning of production. Oh...and shake them one last time, saying "this is the last time this will be available on DVD" (Thank you Lucas and Disney).
So...if everything is on DVD...what's on TV? Mostly crap...reality shows, people in their swim suits eating bugs 'n sh*t...hack judges making or breaking people's singing dreams...and cops being followed around with a camera while trying to do their job.
BUT...there has been a glimmer of hope that has peeked out recently. Since the last resort for TV series is just reruns and DVD box sets, it seems the DVDs have run their course on many titles. There's is a slow reselling back to TV.
Monty Python's Flying Circus (which started here in Dallas.. FYI!) has been notorious for abandoning it's PBS roots as far back as the early 80s. It's first leap was cable, soon it ran to VHS and stayed there with an outrageous price tag for years. All the while PBS is giving us "Are You Being Served?" out the ying yang, and we're having to pay for a series that we adopted and saved from oblivion. the mighty have "silly walked". Local PBS ch 13, the original home of Monty Python (circa 1974), has been showing Python again late on Saturday nights. From what I can see...which are boxed sets of the entire series sitting in Half Priced Books stores for a fraction of their asking price of $200...the sales have dropped off a bit. There are the odd PBS commercials, but other than that, it's over son. Now Python can get back on PBS and stay there. They've milked just about everything they can, in that department.
UHF....the subject of the post.
We have a local UHF station ch 52, that, since it's inception, has continued to impress me. If anybody knows the program director, tell him I owe him a beer. Early on 52 was showing "Addams Family" and "Mr. Ed"...recently they've gotten major marks for showing "the A-Team", "Kojack", "Magnum PI" and the capper..."The Twilight Zone". If I'm not mistaken, all of these are on DVD why are they on UHF stations? These are the "small market" stations that don't really pose a threat to a tired DVD release. Basically, the license holders are double dipping and are hoping you don't notice. You buy the box set of Twilight Zone at Best Buy and get home to see it's on at 10:30 after "Married with Children"!
On the I channel, I've seen "Kung Fu", Green Acres", and "The Monkees". All on DVD...all double dipping. I'm hoping this is a trend.
Maybe now, TV will come back home and we can enjoy the effect of turning on a TV and seeing our favorite shows blaring into the they use to. Maybe it can wash the image of Simon's smirking pie hole from the air waves and replace it with Telly Savalas' catch phrase, "who loves ya baby"?
I'm wondering if I should go back to Half Price Books and buy a box set of Monty Python?

Naw, I think I'll save the $60 and tape it....on my cassette recorder.
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