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Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Blair Witch Project

Well, this is the final Saturday of the month of October, and I have to say that I'm very happy about that.  October hasn't been that great of a month at all.  Truth be told, if I were to rank all the months out of the year from best to worst, October right now would be at the bottom.  With everything going on with my mother, and the terrible tragedy that took place earlier this week, it certainly hasn't been an October to remember.

But since this is the last Saturday of the month, I thought that I would post at least one more movie entry.  And as promised, I would amp up the intensity of the films with each week.

However, some of you might be wondering why I chose this particular film to spotlight.  Some of you might not find this film to be very frightening at all.  Some of you could probably name at least a dozen films that are filled with more blood than a blood bank, more guts than a whale's stomach, and more violence than a standard episode of "The Jerry Springer Show". 

But do you want to know what kind of scary movies scare me the most?  Interestingly enough, they aren't movies like "Saw", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Final Destination".  I don't particularly like gory movies to begin with, but even if I did, films like the ones I just listed above don't do it for me.  I mean, yeah, they do offer up a little bit of fear for all of the four seconds it takes to disembowel someone, but after that, it's like...that's it?

No, to me a true scary film is one that doesn't rely on blood and gore in every other scene.  In fact, some of the freakiest films that I have ever seen have been ones that do the exact opposite.  For me, a far scarier feeling is not knowing what will happen.  Sometimes, the off screen action can be scarier that what you actually see on screen.

And well, in this edition of the blog, we're going to be taking a look at one such film that succeeded in scaring people in the most simplistic manner possible.

It seems hard to believe that it has been a little over fifteen years since this film first debuted at the box office.  The exact date of its release was July 30, 1999.  It also seems really hard to believe that this film was made on an extremely tight shoestring budget.  The final total of the cost it took to make the film was a economical $25,000.

No, that's not a typo.  The film cost about as much as a brand new car. 

Now can you guess how much this movie made at the box office?  Go on.  Guess.  Don't know?  Okay, I'll tell you.

How does a cool $248 MILLION sound to you?  That must be one of the largest box office profits that has ever been recorded in the history of modern day film, right?  Not bad for a movie that was recorded entirely with handheld cameras, featured only three main actors, and was filmed in the style of a documentary.



This is the blog entry about "The Blair Witch Project".



The story goes like this.  The year is 1994, and three college students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) decide to make a documentary on the mysterious legend known as the Blair Witch, and all three of them disappear under mysterious circumstances outside of the community of Burkittsville, Maryland.  Nobody knows what happened to them, and the mystery of their disappearance remains for one whole year.

That is until the following October, when the footage from their video camera was found.



So basically we're watching the possible moment on a hand held video camera in which three aspiring filmmakers meet their grisly end.  But here's the catch.  We have no idea who or what got them in the end.  Could it have been a wild animal in the woods?  A serial killer who escaped from prison?  Maybe one of the three filmmakers turned on the other two and s/he fled to enjoy a new life elsewhere?  Or was it the spirit of the supposed Blair Witch that caused all three to meet their untimely end?

To think that the film started off so innocently, with the three student filmmakers interviewing the citizens of Burkittsville (which interestingly enough was once known as Blair).  The townspeople all share their own personal stories about life in town as well as some historical events that took place centuries before. 

Among some of the little tidbits of information that the trio manages to get from the local townfolk (as well as a couple of fishermen who live outside of town);

- A serial killer named Rustin Parr earned a frightening reputation by murdering seven children during the 1940s in a little house in the woods, and Parr claimed that the reason why he snapped was because he was possessed by the spirit of a woman named Elly Kedward - the supposed 'Blair Witch' that was executed during the eighteenth century.
- A young girl named Robin Weaver went missing in 1888 for three days and when she returned three days later, she made comments about seeing an elderly woman whose feet were unable to touch the ground.
- At a place called Coffin Rock, five men were ritualistically murdered during the 19th century under mysterious circumstances.

Certainly these sound like impossible situations, right?  Well, as the day turns to night, strange things begin happening to the trio.  They camp out near an old cemetery where Josh accidentally disturbs a cairn that is set up near the burial ground.  They get lost trying to find their vehicle, camp out for a third night, and they soon discover that three cairns have been erected near their campsite.  Heather discovers that the map that she brought with her has gone missing, and Mike admits that he threw the map away, causing tension between the three filmmakers.



But when one of them suddenly goes missing, the other two quickly discover that the longer they stay in the woods, the more frightened they become, which leads to one of the most haunting climaxes ever featured in a horror movie.

But why spoil it for you?  Check it out for yourselves!

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Now You See It, Now You Don't"

NOTE:  This is the entry that I had intended to post yesterday before all hell broke loose in Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday morning - well, with a couple of patchwork edits, of course.  Enjoy.

As I mentioned last week, I thought that I would use today's TUBE TALK THURSDAY FRIDAY entry to go back through the world of sitcoms of yore and talk about Halloween themed episodes of said shows.  Sometimes some of the funniest episodes of a sitcom series are the ones that are based around holidays - especially Halloween.

So, what sitcom will we be talking about this week?  Well, I'll give you a hint.  It's one of these thirteen.



Remember how last week, I talked about seeing a video for sale at my workplace that featured thirteen of the most memorable Halloween themed episodes ever aired?  I bought it.  What the heck, it was only six bucks, right?

Well, in today's blog, we're going to be talking about one of these shows.  In fact, this collection of Halloween episodes will feature the only two part episode on this collection.



And it will feature the adventures of George and Weezie Jefferson who finally got a piece of the pie in their deluxe apartment in the sky.



Now, for its time, "The Jeffersons" were considered ground-breaking, and it set a lot of records for its day.  The show - a spin-off of "All in the Family" - lasted for eleven seasons and 253 episodes, which makes it one of the longest running sitcoms in American history.  And for what it was worth, almost every single episode of "The Jeffersons" was comedic genius. 

Now, certainly watching older episodes of "The Jeffersons" now, some of the humour and jokes were obviously written at a different time (the original series ran from 1975-1985), so anyone watching the show now may not be aware of some of the pop culture references that were dropped in each episode.  But the show still holds up today, in large part due to the amazing chemistry that Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford shared with each other.  A great feat, especially since Isabel Sanford was almost two decades older than Sherman Hemsley!

Alas, both actors who played George and Weezie are now deceased.  But the 253 episodes that they filmed together will forever live on.

Today, we'll be focusing on two.



The two-part episode "Now You See It, Now You Don't" aired on October 21 and October 28, 1979.  Obviously I hadn't been born yet to watch it when it originally aired.  But now that I have seen both episodes, I thought they were great.

So, the story behind these two episodes is like this.  The Jeffersons are getting ready to go to a costume party along with their neighbours Helen and Tom Willis (Roxie Roker and Franklin Cover), and Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict).  The Jeffersons' housekeeper Florence (Marla Gibbs) would also be in attendance at the party.

All six people decided to go as famous movie stars of the past.  George dressed up as Charlie Chaplin, Wheezy dressed up as Mae West, Florence donned a Harpo Marx costume, Tom and Helen wore Laurel and Hardy costumes, and Harry dressed up as some British comedian that I really have never heard of.  But at least I was in good company because nobody else knew who he was supposed to be either!

Anyway, in what initially starts off being a B-plot in the episode, Harry has brought a telescope with him so that he could use the Jefferson's balcony to get a close up view of a particular star in the sky.  But a curious Weezy gets the urge to take a peek through the telescope lens herself after George uses the telescope to spy on a woman doing aerobics in a bikini!  I suppose some incident had to trigger it.

But when Weezy looked through the telescope lens, she was completely shocked at what she saw.  In a building across town, she claimed that she saw someone dressed in a bunny costume killing someone else!  Of course, when Weezy tried to tell everyone else what she saw, everyone else thought that she had lost her mind.  But seeing how shaken she was over the whole incident, Harry agreed to escort her to the bar where the costume party was being held. 

Of course, this leads to a hysterical scene in which Harry tries to tackle another man in a bunny costume before Weezy steps in and says "he's not the one".  But unbeknownst to everyone involved, the real bunny killer was in the bar the whole time.  And he overheard Weezy saying that she witnessed him killing someone in a building across town!  And he waited in his bunny costume for the right opportunity to silence the woman in the Mae West costume.

And, well...why don't you just click below for the full episode?  Remember, it's probably only on here for a limited time so enjoy it while you can.  Each word links to one of the parts of the episode.  Click them in order to watch the whole show.

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON'T

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When "It Can't Happen Here" Happens...

October 23, 2014



"It can't happen here."

You know, I often heard that a lot whenever a terrible event takes place in world news.  Anything terrible that happens always seems to happen somewhere else. 

We all like to think that nothing bad can ever happen in our town, or our country, or even in our world.  Sometimes we get a false sense of security in where we are because we seem to feel as though we live in a protective bubble where nothing bad can ever happen because it always seems to happen everywhere else.

On the morning of October 22, 2014, that bubble of security and safety was burst open.



By now, I'm sure that you have all heard the news of the terrible tragedy that took place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  A tragedy that many are calling a "terrorist attack" on the capital city of Canada that left one Canadian soldier dead, and an entire region placed on lockdown...

...an attack that happened just a few miles away from where I live.

Like everybody else in Canada, I was absolutely shocked by the news.  I was saddened to hear that Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot at the War Memorial in Ottawa outside of the Parliament Buildings, and my sadness quickly turned to anger and outrage when we later learned that Cirillo died of his wounds.

Suddenly, those words "it can't happen here" became a lot less meaningless.  Today's incident proved to all of us that there really is no place in the world that can be truly considered safe anymore, and you know what?  It makes me absolutely upset and angry to come to that conclusion.



I should also add that this attack in Ottawa comes just one day after another horrible attack in the province of Quebec in which two Canadian soldiers were run over in the community of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada by a man who had been influenced by extreme Islamists.  One of those soldiers later died of his injuries.

And I should also note that St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec is a much smaller community than Ottawa, Ontario, thus proving the point that terrible things can happen anywhere, despite the size of the community or nation. 

Living so close to Ottawa, I can tell you right now that people in my community were saddened, shocked, and a little bit scared of what was to come.  I know that some schools and businesses just outside of my town were put on lockdown as a precaution (including a school that my niece and nephew attend).  I can only imagine what kind of chaos took place in the city of Ottawa, with major shopping areas put on lockdown, transportation systems shut down, and people around the Parliamentary Buildings in Ottawa naturally on edge.

I remember visiting the Parliamentary Buildings in Ottawa nearly twenty years ago as part of a high school class trip thinking how wonderful of an opportunity it was to see politicians at work.  The last thing on my mind as a fifteen year old high school student was that anything bad could ever happen inside the walls of Parliament.

And yet, they did just a little under 24 hours ago.

As the lockdowns get lifted in Ottawa, and as the citizens of Ottawa struggle to find normalcy in their lives following what happened in the heart of their community, Canadians all over are feeling the same anxiety, sadness, and heartache over the attack that took place in the heart of our nation.

But even though I am sickened and saddened over the actions of these cowards (and believe me, I do consider these people to be nothing more than cowards), I'm not about to let them or anybody else tell me how to live my life.  I refuse to live in fear, or do things in my life differently because of the actions of these people.  And, you know what?  I think mostly everybody else who calls themselves Canadian will stand up and say that we do not live in fear.  We are Canadians and we are proud!



My heart goes out to the families of the two soldiers who were attacked in Quebec, as well as the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.  Our hearts are broken, and we will forever remember the fallen soldiers as the heroes that they were.  Godspeed.



And, I also want to give kudos to the Pittsburgh Penguins who paid tribute to the nation that I call home and who showed their love and support to Canadians all over by playing "O Canada" before playing their scheduled hockey game last night.  That was such a noble gesture, and it was very much appreciated.



Canadians, stay strong.  There is strength in numbers.  We all need to stay together as one nation to wipe away the tears, to pick up the pieces, and to try and make sense of what has happened in both Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. 

While yesterday was such a sad event...at the same time, it made me so proud to be a Canadian.  I love this country so much, and when someone tries to hurt it, it hurts me too.

(I'll post the entry that I had meant to post today tomorrow.  I needed to say something about what happened yesterday.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Music

One of the good things about WHO AM I WEDNESDAY entries is that I can be as chatty or as quiet as I want to be.  It's really all of the things that are flowing through my brain at any given moment in time, and I'm sure that I have said that my brain can be a rather scary place depending on the day.

Well, this week, my brain is actually in a fairly good state right now, so this entry will be a little on the short side, but it is also going to be a happy one, filled with a lot of passion.

And to think that it all began with a recent activity that I began doing on my Facebook account.

October 22, 2014

Okay, so I've been doing something in addition to writing these blogs each day.  And it's something that allows me to express a little bit of creativity inside of myself.

Or at the very least, it allows me to think creatively over what choices I plan on making for this event that I'm taking part in.

The story goes like this.  A couple of my friends who I interact with on Facebook began to do this feature where they would go through some of their favourite songs from a particular decade, and post random songs on their Facebook pages.  One song per day.  You had to provide a video of the song, chart positions that the song reached in at least one country, and where the song can be found. 

In the case of my friend, Dawn, she chose two decades.  She chose the 1980s and the 1990s.  For the 1980s, she posted one song from the 1980s on her wall for eighty days straight - hence the reason why it was called "80 Songs of the '80s".  And for the 1990s, she did the same thing, only she posted it for 90 straight days, hence the reason why it was called "90 Songs of the '90s".

I have to admit, it was really fun to see her list of songs.  Many of them I had already heard of, but there were a few that I had not.  Some of them I even added onto my iPod because I liked them so much.

And perhaps the one thing that I liked about the feature the most was that it encouraged positive discussion.  And take it from me, social media is certainly a juggernaut to get through some days trying to skip over negative posts to reach the positive ones.

So, I thought that I would try the same thing.

Mind you, I'm only on day #5 of my eighties and nineties countdowns, but so far the response has been quite good.  I enjoy posting the songs on my wall, and it makes me feel somewhat great knowing that there are people out there who have similar tastes in music as I do!



But I'm genuinely a huge fan of music in general.  Mind you, I can't sing well enough for Adam Levine or Blake Shelton to spin around in those chairs telling me that they want me to join their team.  Nor can I play any musical instruments well enough to sit in for a band the way that 19-year-old did for The Who back in the 1970s when Keith Moon was unable to play.

(Ah, see how I tied yesterday's Tuesday Timeline entry to today's Who Am I Wednesday post?  I didn't plan that, by the way.)

I always listened to music when I was doing homework.  I chose music as my arts elective in 9th grade.  I played in the elementary school concert band between grades six and eight.  And I think when I was a teenager, I watched more MuchMusic than I did any other television network.

Of course, since MuchMusic has basically turned into the Degrassi channel, I don't nearly watch it as much as I used to.

I can only speak for myself here, but I consider music to be a natural anti-depressant for me.  Well, provided that I don't listen to too many sad songs that is.  But whenever I hear music playing, it makes me very happy.  I can't imagine a world without music in it.  I refuse to believe that a world like that could exist.

So, whenever I hear of school boards using music and art programs as some sort of leverage in planning school budgets, it makes me very upset.  I don't think the bigwigs in school boards know just how important music and art are to a child's development.  To cut those programs from schools just stifles creative development and prevents kids from having their own voice.

I say keep the music playing by keeping music and art programs in schools.

But again...that could just be my own opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 1976

I think that it's time for another Tuesday Timeline entry, don't you?

I tell you one thing.  Tuesday Timeline entries are some of my favourite ones to write because I learn so much about pop culture and other related topics.  And in this case, today's date marks sort of an end...before the end.  If that makes any sort of sense at all.

Don't worry.  I'll be explaining that a little bit later in this blog.  For now though, why not have a look at some of the major events that took place around the world on October 21.  A lot of interesting things happened on this date, you know?

1520 - Explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovers the Strait of Magellan or the same day that another explorer - Joao Alvares Fagundes - discovers the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

1797 - The United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched at Boston Harbor, complete with a 44-gun salute

1854 - Nurse Florence Nightingale along with thirty-eight other nurses are sent to the Crimean War

1861 - Colonel Edward Baker is killed during the Battle of Ball's Bluff during the American Civil War

1879 - Thomas Edison invents a workable light bulb at his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory which lasts a little over thirteen hours before burning out

1910 - HMS Niobe arrives in Halifax Harbour, becoming the first ship of the Royal Canadian Navy

1917 - Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie (d. 1993) is born in Cheraw, South Carolina

1921 - George Melford's "The Sheik" debuts

1940 - The first edition of Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is published

1955 - Contemporary Christian artist Rich Mullins (d. 1997) is born in Richmond, Indiana

1959 - The Guggenheim Museum opens up to the public in New York City

1967 - More than one hundred thousand people gather in Washington D.C. to protest the Vietnam War

1971 - A gas explosion at a shopping plaza kills 22 people outside of Glasgow, Scotland

1973 - The kidnappers of John Paul Getty III cut off Getty's ear and is mailed to a newspaper in Rome

1978 - Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes in a Cessna 182 over the Bass Strait south of Melbourne, Australia

1987 - In Sri Lanka, the Jaffna Hospital Massacre is carried out by the Indian Peace Keeping Force, killing at least 70

1994 - North Korea and the United States sign an agreement that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program

1995 - Blind Melon lead singer Shannon Hoon dies of a drug overdose, aged 28

2003 - "What's Happening" star Fred Berry passes away at age 52

And birthday greetings go out to the following people;  Joyce Randolph, Whitey Ford, Manfred Mann, Rhoda Gemignani, Steve Cropper, Elvin Bishop, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Everett McGill, Tom Everett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Patti Davis, Charlotte Caffey, Eric Faulkner, Carrie Fisher, Ken Watanabe, Felicity Andersen, Jeremy Miller, David Clayton Rogers, Will Estes, Kim Kardashian, Matt Dallas, and Charlotte Sullivan.

So, what's the date that we will be going back to this week?



Well, let's take a trip back in time thirty-eight years ago to October 21, 1976.

That was the day that the British rock band "The Who" would wrap up their second of two tours promoting their 1975 album "The Who By Numbers".  And the final concert of the tour was a Canadian date, playing at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario.

Now, the final show of a concert tour is usually memorable for a lot of reasons.  In the case of The Who's October 21, 1976 concert, it was especially memorable as it ended up being one member's swan song.

Less than two years after he walked away from touring with The Who, he would end up dead following a massive drug overdose.



Of course, the writing was on the wall for a long time.  While The Who could easily be considered musical geniuses of their day with hits like "Behind Blue Eyes", "My Generation", "Baba O'Riley", and "Who Are You" making headway on the charts, their tenure as a band was certainly tumultuous at times.



And perhaps no member of The Who was more troubled than Keith Moon.  We'll get into the what, where, why, and yes, who about the story of Keith Moon a little later, but for now, let's focus on the when.

The when was October 21, 1976.  The who in question was Keith Moon.  The where was Toronto, Ontario.  The what?  Well, that was the date in which he played his final tour date before unofficially retiring from the band.

But why?  That is the question that still remains unanswered.  And to answer it, we should probably take a look at the events that took place prior to October 21, 1976.

Born in Wembley, London, England on the 23rd of August, 1946, Keith Moon seemed to be a bit of a problem child right at the start.  Being extremely hyperactive as a child, he would often have a vivid imagination and this would get him into trouble at school.  He had a fondness for practical jokes, and often found himself fascinated by explosions - the louder, the better.  Remember that point for later.

Moon joined the local Sea Cadet Corps band at the age of twelve to play the bugle, but when he couldn't figure out how to play it, he switched to playing the drums.  After leaving school at age fourteen, he enrolled at a technical college, leading him to get a job as a radio repairman, allowing him to purchase his very first drum set.



Now, how he came to join The Who is a frequently disputed story, but the facts we do know is that The Who needed a new drummer after the departure of Doug Sandom in early 1964, and Moon arrived at a concert given by the band with a session drummer filling in.  The most commonly believed story goes that Moon approached the band and told them that he could play much better than the guy who was playing for them.  The rest of the band gave him a chance, and Moon played with such vigor that he reportedly nearly destroyed the drum set that was at the venue!  Moon then became The Who's permanent replacement beginning in mid-1964.

And, with Keith Moon joining the band, it caused a permanent change in dynamics of the group.  You see, the band members of The Who played beautiful music together, but it was also widely known that the members of the band had terrible personal relationships with each other.  The feud between Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend often had clashes with each other, but back when Sandom was still in the band, he acted as peacemaker and would calm both Daltrey and Townshend down.  After all, Sandom was at least a decade older than the other members of The Who when he joined.

But here came this new guy, Keith Moon, with a hyperactive personality and uncontrollable temper, and all hell broke loose.  Remove the peacekeeper, and you have four band members all struggling to be heard no matter how badly they behaved.  At some point during Moon's tenure with The Who, he had clashed with Daltrey, Townshend, and John Entwistle.

And, let's just say that Keith Moon brought his own destructive behaviour into the band the only way he knew how to.  Here's a list of some of things that took place while he was a member of The Who.

- He and Entwistle were late for a gig that the Who were playing because they were hanging out with Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, leading to a physical altercation between Moon and Townshend, and causing Moon and Entwistle to quit the band - both rejoined a week later.
- He got a limousine to turn around and take the band back to the hotel they stayed at just so Moon could throw the television set into the swimming pool.
- Reportedly caused half a million dollars in damage during his lifetime by destroying multiple hotel rooms.
- He basically blew up every single toilet in the hotel rooms that The Who stayed in with cherry bombs and explosives, causing the band to be kicked out of every single hotel they stayed at.
- Moon's 21st birthday celebrations in August 1967 were a major disaster.  The band played in Flint, Michigan and stayed at a Holiday Inn where Keith knocked out part of his front tooth after starting a drunken food fight.  When Keith was getting his tooth removed, the rest of the party grew out of control with other guests being thrown into the pool, fire extinguishers being set off, and a grand piano getting destroyed before the police were called to stop the madness.  The band was presented with a $24,000 bill and told to get out of the hotel immediately.
- He accidentally killed his bodyguard Neil Boland in 1970 when Boland was struck by Moon's car while he was driving.  Although the death was ruled accidental, this incident affected him the rest of his life.
- During a 1973 concert, Moon passed out twice during a concert in Daly City, California, prompting the band to ask a random audience member, Scot Halpin, to fill in.
- He also passed out during a 1976 concert and the day after, destroyed everything in his hotel room, cutting himself.  Had his manager not found him in time, he would have bled to death.  This was the moment in which Daltrey and Townshend considered firing Moon, but decided against it because they thought it would make matters worse.

Of course, all of these instances could easily be explained.  While it's true that Keith Moon had a certain personality that was unlike most others, the destructive behaviour was linked to his dependence on drugs and alcohol.  He had been taking amphetamines when he joined The Who, and he gradually became addicted to both alcohol and drugs.  But while Moon's drug and alcohol abuse didn't initially seem to have an impact on The Who's music during the 1960s, it all caught up to him by the time he had destroyed his hotel room in 1976 and nearly died because of it.

By the time the band was midway through their 1976 tour, Keith Moon had already become sluggish and unable to concentrate.  He had gained a considerable amount of weight and couldn't keep up with the band as well as he used to.  He had been frequently in and out of hospital due to his dependence on drugs, and the rest of the band weren't sure that Moon would make it to the end of the tour.



So, that leads up to October 21, 1976.  The final stop on the band's 1976 tour, and the final concert show that Moon would ever play in front of a live crowd.  You now know the why.  Moon had to leave the band because he physically and emotionally couldn't do it anymore.  The drug abuse, the death of his friend, his body beginning to turn against him.  It all grew to be too much.

For what it was worth, that final concert in Toronto was memorable, as he finished the show without incident. 



Sadly, less than two years later, on September 7, 1978, Keith Moon died as a direct result of swallowing thirty-two clomathiazole pills at once - pills that ironically were used to help alleviate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  He was just 32 years old.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wacky Packages

Hey, everybody! 

For this week's edition of FUNNY MONDAY, I thought that I would try something new by making the topic of discussion about something old.

Yeah, somewhere in my mind, that made sense.

Anyway, I thought that I would make this entry very short on text and very picture heavy because were going to be discussing a fad that has somehow managed to last forty-seven years and counting.  I know.  I got involved in that fad at some point in my childhood, collecting these kinds of cards.  I may even still have some of them kicking around.



Of course, I'm talking about "Wacky Packages"!

It seems hard to believe that these cards that make disgusting and gross spoofs of everyday household items were first printed by the Topps Company in 1967.  They were originally die-cut cards, similar in size and thickness to a standard baseball card where the images of the product on the cards could be popped out of the card.  By 1973, the company switched to a sticker format, which has become the most common format for the cards.  Between 1967 and 2013, it is estimated that billions of "Wacky Packages" cards have been produced, and believe it or not, at one point they outsold the Topps baseball cards that were also manufactured.  There were even posters, postcards, and even comic books manufactured!

So, for this edition of the blog, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the funny Wacky Packages that I have found online and from my own personal collection.  For some of these products, you'll recognize them right away, but for others, I'll explain what the original product is.

Let's put it this way.  You won't be finding these products in supermarkets any time soon.  There's twenty-seven in all.



1.  RATZ CRACKERS

You won't find this spoof of Ritz Crackers on the shelf at your grocery store.  You also may have a difficult time finding this card in the first place.  It was one of the original 44 cards released in 1967 that was pulled from production shortly after, making this card a rarity.



2.  CRACKED ANIMALS

Same deal with this animal crackers spoof.   This card is also a rare one to find.



3.  KOOK-AID

Obviously, this is meant to be a spin on Kool-Aid.  But I wonder what flavour it is.  Looks like grimacing grape to me.



4.  JELLY BULLY

I'm not a fan of most of the more exotic Jelly Belly flavours, but not even a jellybean deserves this much abuse!  I bet the Jelly Bully is rotten key lime flavour.



5.  SKIP-IT PEANUT BUTTER

What could be worse than not being able to rip the lip off of a peanut butter container?



6.  JIP PEANUT SHELLS

Well, I think we have our winner.



7.  DUMBSTICK ICE CREAM

I suppose that putting it on your head would be a quick way to freeze your brain.



8.  HOPELESS SNOWBALLS

Actually, these would be handy to sell in June, July, and August.  And for those of you who don't know what these are, they were a snack cake that Hostess manufactured.



9.  IVERY SNOW

Speaking of snow...the mother might want to get her clothes out of the dryer so that her child doesn't...you know...die.



10.  SMOOCHER'S STICKY JAM

Obviously a spoof of Smucker's jam products.  The secret ingredient is crazy glue.



11.  KENTUCKY FRIED FINGERS

Well, I suppose this negates the "finger lickin' good" slogan that KFC has used for years.



12.  SCARY LEE SCREAMBERRY CREEP CHEESE CAKE

Ah, the perfect dessert for Halloween.



13.  UM & UM's

Well...as a four year old, I would have liked them.  Truth be told, if there was a way that I could have made M&M's melt in my hand, I'd have found it at that age.



14.  CRUST TOOTHPASTE

Forget the garlic flavour.  The name itself is revolting.



15.  DR. POPPER

Momma had a soda and her head popped off.



16.  ORDINARY K

Actually, I always have said that Special K tasted like cardboard.  I think this name could work for the real thing too.



17.  CRAKOLA CRAYONS

Well...I suppose you could get the same effect by jumping on top of a Crayola 64-count box.



18.  RICE-A-PHONI

The San Francisco treat that keeps on giving...



19.  HOGGIN' DOGZ

I suppose that featuring a scary looking dog on the package would deter you from purchasing it.



20.  CLAMMY SOAP

I assume that this is based off of Camay soap.  But, if the soap smells like clam chowder, can it really claim to keep you clean?



21.  SWEATHARD SOAP

I actually had to look this one up to find out what the original product this card was based on.  It's a brand of soap called Sweetheart Soap (don't worry...I haven't heard of it either).  Needless to say, this version of the soap will keep your sweetheart far, far away!



22.  HAWAIIAN LUNCH

The rotisserie is controlled by the guy that Punchy kept punching.  I knew he'd get his revenge one day.



23.  GRAVESTONES UNCHEWABLE VITAMINS

Ah, another product suitable for Halloween.



24.  CRAM

As if Spam was hard enough to choke down...



25.  BARFIE:  MY SCREAM

The predecessor of the Monster High doll.



26.  OLD SUPER MARIO MOTHERS

Who knew that Wacky Packages manufactured video game cards too?



27.  GRAND THEFT AUDIO - NICE DITTY

What might have happened had Grand Theft Auto debuted during the Napster era.