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|5 reviews in total|
"Turkey Television" was a comedy show on Nickelodeon from the mid
1980s. I watched this religiously as a kid, along with "Out of Control"
and "You Can't Do That On Television". Each episode was a collection of
miscellaneous short comedy segments. There was an exact number of clips
they'd use in each episode; I think it was 45. Each clip would start
off with subtitles at the bottom, letting you know who did it.
Actor/singer Meatloaf did a few promos for them, including one where he
impersonated a turkey.
There were some sources they'd pull more frequently than others, but it was a diverse collection none the less. You'd see short wordless cartoon clips (many from Germany), novelty song music videos, samples from British comedy shows like "The Pink Medicine Show", independent short films, the bad advice columnist "Dr. Joyce Brothers", gross-out food comedian "Eddie Slobbo" (these last two of which I've never seen anywhere else), stand-up comedy, and other assorted oddities.
As for the clips, they were sometimes a hit or miss, really. Naturally everything had to be clean for Nickelodeon. But they did find some truly funny stuff. Early stand-up material from Dana Carvey was not uncommon. There were also some skits where he played a sadistic German-accented dentist. Turkey TV even managed to squeeze in some George Carlin, like his "idiots and maniacs" rant on driving.
It's been 20 years since I've seen an episode, but I can still remember a lot of the clips vividly. I don't know if anybody in recent years has built a TV show on this same principle of source variety, but somebody should. As an adult, I now host my own comedy clip show on the radio, and although I've idolized many different comedians over the years, I do have to wonder if some of the inspiration for my show can be traced back to Turkey Television.
AC/DC's 1985 album, "Fly on the Wall", seems very overlooked these
days. None of the songs have really shown up in the band's live sets
for a while, and a lot of fans seems to rate the album low too. But as
a kid it was the album that introduced me to AC/DC (if not hard
rock/metal itself), thanks to the videos for "Danger" and "Sink the
Pink" that got decent rotation at the time on Mtv. This home video
includes those two, plus the title track, "Stand Up", and "Shake Your
Foundations". This VHS tape is long out of print, but fortunately the
entire thing has now been included in their "Family Jewels" DVD set.
The videos are all set in a dive bar with a tiny stage, which perfectly fits the no-frills raw rock n' roll sound and look of AC/DC. Everything here is strung together like a mini movie. We start with two bouncers throwing a paparazzi photographer out of their bar and onto the curb with the rest of the trash. This wakes up the animated fly, shown on the album's cover. After an introduction from the skinny hack comedian MC, AC/DC takes the stage to play the song "Fly On The Wall", as the animated fly moves from one place to another, offering some comic relief.
As the band goes through their set, we see what the other characters in the bar are doing. They're purposely 1-dimensional characters made for a really fun watch. (Who the hell is looking for Oscar material in a rock band's home video anyway?) The MC gets his face slapped with every woman he talks to. A rich couple gets the wrong drink. The photographer keeps coming back, always dressed in the traditional tan trench coat, "PRESS" label stuck in his hat band, sunglasses, and carrying an over-sized camera. In the song "Danger", he snaps photos of the bartender pocketing money and other blackmailing shots.
For "Sink The Pink", a pool hustler named Suzy Cue comes in to challenge the handsomely scruffy-looking guy playing at the pool table with the unusually pink "3" ball. (Incredible how a music video can change the meaning of a song that would have otherwise been censored! Just look at Tom Petty's "Last Dance with Mary Jane".) Though the final version aired on Mtv was different than what's shown here; I remember Mtv showing guitarist Angus Young at the end using his guitar as a pool stick to knock in the last ball. But next, a limo of secret service men pull up and mechanically strut in sequence to the serious-sounding "Stand Up". The band brings the roof down -- literally -- on the closing number, "Shake Your Foundations", which original Mtv VJ Martha Quinn once said was one of her favorite videos.
This is simply a fun little novelty to watch, especially if you're a fan of AC/DC. I can't think of too many other bands who tried presenting music videos like this, as a string of parts in a conceptual mini-movie. It seems to be taboo these days to show people having care-free fun unless it's supposed to be shocking or self-humiliating, not to mention have music that is expressive while being free of pretentiousness. But for those who remember when music videos were fun, and not blurry shots of people whining in a restroom, check this out.
"The Envelope" is a short film written by and starring George Carlin.
It was included at the start of George Carlin's fifth HBO special,
"Playin' With Your Head". It serves as a tremendously long (and
anti-climatic) lead-in to the stand-up performance. Any VHS or DVD copy
of "Playin' With Your Head" will also include "The Envelope" at the
start. It's hard to think of it as being anything more than a long
amusing intro inserted to lead into the actual stand-up comedy
performance. But since IMDb lists it as a separate piece, here's my
The short film is set as a stereotypical 1930-40s detective story. It's presented in black & white and has bits of the expected slow jazz music, albeit with synthesizer saxophone instead of real brass. Carlin plays Mike Holder, the gumshoe hero. As expected there are dames, henchmen, an attempted murder, and a chase scene. It's hard to say much more without describing the story in full.
"The Envelope" doesn't really have any laughs. In that sense it reminds me of like the SNL skit "Don't Look Back In Anger" where an elderly John Belushi looks over the graves of other cast members. Not comedy, not Oscar-winning; just a comedian having fun trying something else.
I grew up in the 80s, and "Out Of Control" was definitely one of my
shows as a child. The cast worked so well together, and the writing was
great. It was just such a wacky, fun show to watch. There were a lot of
skits, lots of in-between animation not unlike "Monty Python's Flying
Circus", weekly segments, tours of restaurants and factories, and a few
crazy one-time characters. Even as an adult, I still laugh when I think
back about some of the jokes they did.
The main set was made to look like a TV studio. Dave Coulier (who used his real name for his character, and would years later wind up in the show "Full House") was usually seen sitting at his desk like a late show host. His repeated catch phrase was "Cut. It. OUT!". Hern Burferd (Marty Shiff) was the on-the-street, hard-nose news reporter. He always wore a gray hat, sometimes with an attached card that read "PRESS", but he'd occasionally wear other verbs instead ("PULL", "PUSH", etc.). By the way, there's a great 2001 interview with Schiff somewhere online.
Diz was a character of pure madness, and definitely my favorite. Always looking punked-out with outrageous 80s clothes and too much make-up, she was the loudest character in every sense. One of her signatures was her high-pitched whistle-scream. The other main characters, Waldo and Angela, were not featured as prominently as the others, but were part of the show none the less. Angela "Scoop" Quigley(sp?) was another reporter, and Waldo was the studio's handyman and inventor (and like "Where's Waldo?" and the Waldo character of the then-popular Van Halen Video "Hot For Teacher", Waldo had thick geeky glasses). There was also HaHa, the speaking computer and joke machine of the show.
Even though it's been almost 20 years since I've seen it, I have SO many vivid memories of this show. But the frequent sketches included:
- The "Hurry Up" machine, which would speed up time itself. In each show they'd read a fictional letter from a child, requesting a "Hurry Up" to get some boring activity over with ASAP (getting a hair cut, doing chores, being in school, etc.) With a flick of the switch, they'd show clips of these events in fast-motion.
- "It's Probably True", where they'd usually go to some crazy landmark, visit some world-record breaker, etc.
- "How [Not] To Do Things". As the name implies, these were instructional documentaries with extremely bad advice.
- "Twisted Fairy Tales", where Diz would recite, as fast as she could, some classic fairy tale but with her own twist to the story.
- The show would usually end with "Let's Eat", where they'd visit an eccentric restaurant or food-related factory. At the end, Dave would present the owner with a gold "Let's Eat" trophy, complete with mechanically chattering teeth attatched to the top.
Some of the one-time guests I remember were Fred Newman, the author of "Mouth Sounds" who holds a sound-making contest with Dave, and stand-up comedian Bruce Baum who claimed to collect artifacts of the great stars. (He has a deflated inner tube which he tries to pass off as Rocky Balboa's belt, and a dirty white gardening glove as being the glove of Michael Jackson.)
I know I'm not the only child of the 80s who religiously tuned into this show. Surprisingly, I think only 26 episodes were made. Surely they can cram this on to a couple of DVDs. C'mon Nick, give us a DVD!
Usually most comedies regarding birth or marriage end up being complete
"chick flicks". I don't want to come off as sexist, but let's face it:
there are movies that captivate the average woman while _boring_ the
man, and vice versa (I remember the scene in "Sleepless In Seattle", where
the women cry over "An Affair to Remember", and the men bond over "The
Dozen", and neither group can understand the other).
Becoming a mother is certainly a life-changing experience, but so is becoming a father. How do you address the subject of coming into fatherhood, without making it overly sappy? I think "Nine Months" does a very good job. It has its emotional moments, but it has some slapstick too, and in my opinion does a good job at not going too overboard with either, while maintaining a story.
Hugh Grant plays a psychologist who's life seems to be going very well and financially secure, until he gets the news that his wife is pregnant. Tom Arnold and Jeff Goldbloom play rather secondary characters, but those characters help present the extreme sides of the "fatherhood" issue: Arnold plays a suburbia "superdad" with 4 or 5 daughters, and Goldbloom plays a somewhat wealthy (and older) childless bachelor. Robin Williams has a few comic relief scenes as the broken-english Doctor ("And now we will castrate the baby." "WHAT!?" "No, no...what's the word. CIRCUMSIZE!")
I would strongly recommend this movie for parents about to have their first child. I would say "fathers", but it will most likely be the woman who picks this out of the video store. I'm a bachelor myself, but I watched this movie with my friend and his (then) pregnant wife. We all enjoyed it.