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This was the funniest program ever on television. We used watch it lying
down so we wouldn't have any place to fall. My stomach would hurt from
laughing after every half hour show. My favorites were:
Two German Shepherds in "Froth and Foam: King of the Mad
Stan Laurel (before he teamed with Oliver Hardy) as Sherman Oaks in
Mysteries"; and the salute they made to a different U.S. city in each
Some of their car commercials were hilarious, too.
Hans Conreid was a perfect host for this, and very funny
I would really like to see this program come back (as reruns). I hear a lot of criticism about TV shows from the 50's and 60's, but this show was much funnier than anything on now, or in the last twenty years.
Of all the Jay Ward productions this was FAR AND AWAY MY FAVORITE!!! Rocky
and Dudley and George and all were great, but this is the show that every
week would set me off laughing. The voice-overs had a wild free-wheeling
style that felt like spontaneous jokes flowing out of their heads -- though
of course they were scripted to match the wonderful visuals. These were
either a brilliant re-editing of a single movie, or a fantastic hybrid of
dozens of them, reassembled to tell an entirely new story. That sort of
work requires a prodigious visual memory and a great sense of humor. And
Hans Conried was the perfect cherry topping it all off.
Now despite what the cranky Mr. Vogel says below, this show introduced me to silent movies, the same way I first learned classical symphonic music through Warner Bros. cartoons. The distinctive look of the early film stock, cinematography, and acting is now so closely associated with the pleasure centers of my brain that whereas most people can now barely tolerate black and white anymore, I don't even need the incidental music and can sit in pure silence for hours just treating my eyes to silent movies. Thanks to Jay Ward, I like flickers, even unfractured.
I watched this show during its initial 1964 run (as a small child) and
after forty years could still remember specific funny lines and scenes.
Imagine my delight when I read that the entire series of 27 episodes
was to be released on DVD.
I have now watched about half of them with my 14-year-old son, and we are enjoying them just as much as I did as a kid...except now I get more of the jokes. (Same story with Rocky & Bullwinkle, from the same zany group that did FF.) Sure, there are some "clunkers" (including a couple of too-long segments where the narrator is trying hard to do a Bob Newhart-style monologue), but every episode contains some laugh-out-loud moments. Hans Conreid is the perfect host, and the other voice-over talents (Frees, Foray, Scott) are in top form.
FF is the forerunner of What's Up Tiger Lily?, LA Connection's "Mad Movies," Kung Pao, etc. and more consistently inspired than any of them. That's because they knew when to stop a gag, and could jump to something completely different when necessary. Commercial parodies, zingers about 60s politicians and celebrities, surreal wackiness...it's all here and all collected in a 3-DVD set! Oh, and did I mention all the celebrity visits from people like Rod Serling, Zsa Zsa, Fabian, etc?
I caught this little gem very briefly on Ha!, what would become Comedy
Central, in the early 1990's, weekly at the ungodly hour of 2 AM on Mondays.
But, I made sure to watch it as long as they showed it. Which wasn't long,
but, I still remember it today.
If you're familiar with What's Up Tiger Lily, Dynaman, Samurai Pizza Cats, Kung Pow: Enter The Fist, or Tokyo Pig, the premise will be familiar. They take old silent pictures and recut them for comedic effect, with new soundtracks provided by some of the best voice actors of all time. Even the series host was one. In the final analysis, a show such as this must rest on whether the scripts are funny. And, with writers from such shows as Rocky And Bullwinkle and Get Smart, it succeeds. Thankfully, I was able to tape some of my favorite shorts when Ha reran them. Mine are the same as most everyone else who remembers this series: the one about Zorro, the one with the Applegate murders, with an unlikely list of suspects, including a monkey and a surprised and infuriated looking Hans Conreid.
So, it's hard to find, but, if you know someone who has these, beg, borrow, or steal their tapes. You can sure do worse with 30 minutes of your time, by far!
I've only seen a single show since the originals ended in 1963. It
featured rewrites of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (which became Dinky
Dunstun, Boy Cheerleader) and The Hands Of Orlak (Hands Across The
Fee,) and a couple of other bits. The guest "star" was Annette
Funicello, who introduced Hunchback.
The writers of this show literally destroyed the original story lines of these films and replaced them with wildly funny scripts using the Jay Ward stable of sound effects, and the talents of Bill Scott, and June Foray.
The show I saw had a tag for "next weeks show" featuring the "Adventures of Harry and Ozziet" using footage from silent classics.
I'd like to see these shows again. I believe they were ahead of their time.
I have just purchased a set of these shows from Amazon. The transfers look great. BUT, only episodes 1-6 are really good. After #6, they didn't do parodies of an entire movie again, like what they started doing at the beginning. I hate to say it, but, some of the episodes just aren't funny. Towards the end of the series, they tended to use the same snips of film over and over again.
I'd almost bet that someone in the higher-ups at Desilu told Jay Ward to 'tone it down a bit.' For this, I am sorry, as they had a good thing going there.
It lasted only one season, but FRACTURED FLICKERS was one of the
funniest series ever put on television. The accounts given here on the
thread are mostly lauding it, but I will add a few I recall.
1) A television history program that is pompously mis - announced as "FROM HYPOCRITES TO EINSTEIN." Then a small, slightly timid voice - like the owner does not want to embarrass the announcer - stating, "That's "Hippocrates"." The announcer, unfortunately sounding embarrassed, quickly says, "As I said, "FROM HIPPOCRATES TO EINSTEIN". What followed was supposedly the story of various great events of the history of western man to be shown on this series, ending with the voice announcing, "and finally, and not least, that greatest moment in modern exploration: STANLEY AND LIVINGSTON." We see two men wearing pith helmets who rise out of neighboring garbage cans and shake hands!!
2)The adventures of an eccentric, thin elderly man with a ridiculous long chin whisker and eyeglasses. He is the manufacturer of that remarkable automobile, "the Midget - Widgett" motor car (which looks all of four feet in length).
3) The adventures (narrated by the anti-hero) of a high ranking Nazi officer (Eric Von Stroheim) hiding after the war - successfully for a time - as a ventriloquist, until betrayed by his dummy.
4) The story of the 20th Century's greatest predictor of the future - whose record is tarnished to all (but the announcer, apparently) by the fact that he never gets anything correct. I recall that at one point he is sent films of the German army in the field in 1914-15 and writes a letter to Kaiser Wilhelm II, stating that after viewing the film he is certain that victory is assuredly for Germany. He then sends the letter and the film home to Germany...on the Lusitania.
5) The story of the hitherto unknown fifth and youngest Kennedy brother, who is upset that his four older siblings (including the dead Joe Jr., apparently) have outstripped him in prestige and public attention. So he takes his society friends with him from Hyannisport to the south seas, and hunts for a famous pirate treasure. And they find it too - unfortunately they are robbed of it at gunpoint by the villain: the sixth and youngest Rockefeller brother, upset that his five older siblings have outstripped him in prestige and public attention.
It was consistently amusing, and had the added plus of Hans Conreid as it's host. I am glad that it is now out on DVD (if the other comments on this thread are correct). Well worth watching indeed.
We were all familiar with that Jay Ward-Bill Scott sense of humor when
FF made its debut in the Autumn of 1963. After all, just about
everybody watched ROCKY & FRIENDS, which became THE BULLWINKLE SHOW for
Sunday evening colorcasts on the NBC Television Network. It was an
instant success with our crowd, and we tried not to miss it.
It is understandable why Silent Film Purists would pan FF. It was quite irreverent to the well known,but now in Public Domain, Silent Film actors. Each fracturing made use of the most outlandish comments and sound effects. They were added to absurd story lines. The end result was as fast a moving half hour as was on the small screen, ever.
The "fracturing" of each film made the names of such luminaries of the silent screen as John Barrymore,Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, et al.,now familiar to a new generation. The titles of the great works of the era were also brought to the forefront. After a season of FRACTURED FLICKERS, we were all given a sort of class in the Silent Cinema. I can testify that our family, as well as other kids in neighborhood, were interested in the "Old Time Movies" after that season. We were interested to either rent or buy copies.
We suppose that it was like taking a little honey or maple syrup to get the medicine down.
Yes, I was but a wee tad when Fractured Flickers graced our "television" unit. I only recall a handful of specifics. I mostly just remember how wonderfully funny it was; how my brother Barry and I sometimes fell over on the floor laughing, so overcome were we by the unselfconscious silliness of it all. These where *our people* speaking in *our language*.
And of course, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the dear memory of Hans Conried; thanks, Mr. Conried; wherever you may be. What a voice, and a tribute to the power of voice to touch you in a deep and satisfying way through humor.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Friends...have you ever wanted to laugh uncontrollably? Snicker
yourself silly? Chortle until the entire house shakes? Guffaw until you
gag??? Then you've come to the right place....Fractured Flickers is for
you!!! But seriously. I've been searching for these shows since I was a
kid. My introduction to the segments was the snippets Jay Ward put into
the George of the Jungle series. The old clips looked funnier than
anything I'd ever seen. The self-effacing humor was spot-on perfect for
the style of the show. And Hans Conried's interview segments were
A funny thing happened. I had recently heard Bob Newhart's stand-up routine about a film director who couldn't get anyone to actually follow direction, in front of or behind the camera. Hilarious bit. A couple of days later, I bought this DVD set. Lo and behold, there was the same bit, but tailored to FF guidelines - complete with someone impersonating Bob Newhart! I thought it might possibly even BE Newhart...after all, stealing a concept as identifiable as this, and even using the voice? Musta been planned and approved.
But NO! At near the end of the series run, Bob Newhart shows up in the interview segment...picketing the show!! He even mentions that they stole his routine and voice! Now THAT'S a gutsy, audacious and brilliant show.
And if you listen carefully, you can hear almost every cartoon voice Scott, Foray and Frees ever used for the Jay Ward cartoons.
BUT a fair warning. If you buy this DVD set, take it in small doses. While not repetitious, a lot of the comedy, since it is voice-over related, can get tedious with continuous viewing. Give yourself a chance to breathe, so to speak.
And since no one else has mentioned it, Alan Thicke's ill-fated talk show Thicke of the Night, before anyone ever thought of Growing Pains, featured a very similar re-dub, voice-over old films segment on weekly shows, featuring the talents of Richard Belzer, Charles Fleischer, Gilbert Gottfried and others. But they borrowed from the uber-stash of the MGM vaults. Forbidden Planet re-dubbed? Heresy!!!
The whole series run, I think. Sometime in August, 2004.
I agree with other posters. This show was hilarious, simply hilarious, and very much influenced "What's Up, Tiger Lily?"
One of its writers, Allan Burns, went on to write for "Get Smart" and "The Mary Tyler Moore" show.
Loved how they would take the Stan Laurel "Jekyll and Hyde" spoof and turn it into each weeks' "One Minute Mystery," with brief shots of silent stars and the narrator saying: "Who dunit? The butler? The widow? Liz? Dick? A dirty rat (actually old silent shot of dirty rat.)
They would convert classic silent films, like "Hunchback of Notre Dame" (which became "Dinky Dunston, USC Boy Cheerleader," unknown films, and shorts.
Absolutely hilarious. From 1963
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