March 31, 2008
March 30, 2008
will attempt to uncover whether the stunts and shenanigans in cartoons
could ever actually happen in the real world.
Six hourlong episodes have been ordered from Warner Horizon and Craig
Piligian's Pilgrim Films & Television, and will draw upon Warner Bros.
huge library of animation.
In keeping with the network's investigation-themed lineup of shows, the
project will look into whether it's possible to build a human slingshot,
"As you know, we have a lot of investigative programming on the air, and
we thought this was a really interesting way to show the process of
investigation," TruTV executive VP and GM Marc Juris told THE HOLLYWOOD
REPORTER. "We'll see if these things are scientifically possible and, if
so, how we can use this information."
Via Dan Sarto
March 29, 2008
March 28, 2008
10) Shipwreck’s Family Melts in G.I. Joe
Rule one of traumatizing kids through cartoons: abuse the most beloved character. And G.I. Joe’s most beloved character was Shipwreck, the likable naval wisecracker who was in no way based on Jack Nicholson. So the episode “There’s No Place Like Springfield” took Shipwreck and stuck him in a bizarre simulacrum of the future, in which he was living in a small town with his wife and a daughter he didn’t remember having.
Of course, the whole thing’s a plot by Cobra, and all of Shipwreck’s down-home friends and family are Synthoid androids. This is slowly revealed as people around Shipwreck start melting right before his eyes (see the eight-minute mark above), and his wife and daughter eventually try to shoot him inside a burning home, before Shipwreck’s pet parrot swoops in and melts them with a magic ray. Paranoia? Fake families? Perfect for the Cold War.
9) The Care Bears Raise the Dead in The Care Bears Movie II
The Care Bears were purportedly intended to promote Christian values, but they generally pushed the same lessons as filthy amoral heathen cartoon characters: believe in yourself, eat your vegetables, don’t litter, don’t cut in line, don’t be an asshole, and don’t sell your soul to demons. Yet there’s one moment where the sky-dwelling bears go into full-blown Jesus mode and raise the dead.
The second Care Bears movie pits the legions of bears and other toy-friendly animals against a malevolent shape-shifting creature named Dark Heart, who demands a picked-on girl’s soul in exchange for making her the best athlete in her summer camp. The girl, later realizing she’d been a moron, joins the Care Bears in confronting Dark Heart at the film’s end, and, in a strangely morbid turn for a cartoon inspired by American Greetings, catches a villain-propelled lightning bolt and, at about the two-minute mark in this clip, dies.
As the human-shaped Dark Heart cradles her lifeless form, the Care Bears devise a solution straight out of old Peter Pan plays: yelling that they care and asking all of the movie’s audience to join in. Of course, it works, thus teaching children that one can resurrect the deceased by sheer force of will. One can only imagine all the soon-to-be-disappointed kids left screaming at dead family pets or grandmothers’ caskets.
8) Turtle-Human Lust in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Over the course of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, each of the turtles got his own love interest, and none of them, mercifully, ever included their most prominent human ally, April O’Neil. As we all saw it, they were all just friends. Our perspective didn’t change until later, thanks to the Internet and a lot of things we’d just as soon not discuss.
Yet there’s at least one scene that gives us viewers pause: in the episode “April Fool,” April leaves behind her yellow jumpsuit for once and dons formal wear. For some reason, she treks down into the sewers to show off her gown to Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo. At the 3:27 mark here, all of them are on the verge of howling like Tex Avery wolves, with even Splinter, the turtles’ sanguine rat-man mentor, ogling a woman not of his species. And then the turtles follow April out of the room, clogging the door in one writhing mass of undisguised reptile lust. Horrifying.
7) The Smurfs Sing Someone to Death in The Smurfs
On the list of threatening cartoon characters, the Smurfs land just above the Snorks and just below the Shirt Tales, who could probably still tear a grown man apart if they all attacked at once. But there’s another side to the Smurfs and their seemingly innocuous world of mushroom houses and single-trait characters. And it’s not just the "GNAP" virus.
In their first Christmas special, the Smurfs were called upon to save two lost children and their longtime nemesis Gargamel from a sorcerer who, as the show goes on, is clearly painted as an emissary from Hell. The Smurfs fight back the only way they can: by singing an interminable non-Christmas song with the refrain “Goodness makes the badness go away.” And the Satan-worshipping sorcerer screams and screams and screams until he disappears. Don’t fuck with Smurfs.
6) Seaspray Loves a Mermaid, Becomes a Mermaid and Hits on Bumblebee in Transformers
Never mind all of the gruesome mechanical death in the Transformers movie or the episode where Perceptor became a robot geisha on a planet of feudal Japanese aliens; the most screwed-up moment in Transformers cartoon history comes when the burbling-voiced Seaspray commits several crimes against nature.
Dispatched to break up a Decepticon mining operation on a distant civilized planet, Seaspray quickly strikes the fancy of Alana, one of the entirely humanoid natives. In a testament to just how little the writers of Transformers cared at this point in the show, it’s revealed that she and her people use a magic pool to change into mermaids.
Though the pool is shown to destroy robots, Seaspray jumps in and becomes an Aquaman look-a-like. Not only is it weird, it also demonstrates that Transformers have souls…which makes the full-scale robot slaughters in the movie all the more disturbing. Also disturbing: the episode’s opening moments, in which Seaspray has an oddly romantic oceanside conversation with a clearly uneasy Bumblebee.
5) My Little Pony and The Hosts of Hell in My Little Pony
Unlike every other cartoon based on a toy line, My Little Pony had no pre-designated villains, leaving the writers to constantly devise new ones to wreak havoc on the little pastel mini-horses. Some of these antagonists weren’t so threatening; think giant cartoon squids and overweight witches who wanted to flood the Pony Mansion or steal all the Pony Savings Bonds. The first ever Pony villain, however, was a demon overlord.
That’s what we assume, at least. Tirac, the angry horned centaur-thing who debuts at 3:45 in the above clip, certainly looks the part, and sounds it, too, with a raspy voice worthy of Frank Welker’s finest roles. This emissary of Satan sends out dragons and lizard-men to kidnap unsuspecting ponies. Then, in scenes far too creepy for a cartoon ostensibly aimed at 5-year-olds, he chains them up, laughs at their bleats for help, and turns them into monstrous dragons by unleashing the mutating nightmare of his dark magic upon them. Still, his image is shaken later on, when the ponies and their token human ally confront him and the snarling hell-creature is crushed inside…a rainbow. Pansy.
4) Nuclear Zombie Children in Spiral Zone
It’s easy to mistake Spiral Zone for another G.I. Joe retread—because, to some extent, it is. The show’s heroes a pack of conveniently international super-soldiers in hi-tech armor, would’ve fit right into a battle with Cobra. The show’s villains, however, played a little differently. By the show’s beginning, a crazed scientist had already conquered half the world by dropping an insidious bacteria from space, turning people into yellow-eyed zombies with red fungus sprouting from their faces, as we see right from the opening clip.
Between the burned-out city wastelands of infected “zones” and the hollow-eyed victims shuffling around them, Spiral Zone was the closest thing kids’ TV had to The Day After. Sure, the heroes had names like Dirk Courage and the villains, even with their creepy facial lesions, were stupid-looking, but there’s something bleak and unpleasant about Spiral Zone. Was it an allegory for nuclear war? The AIDS crisis? Probably not, but it’s disturbing that the question should arise around a toy commercial.
3) Jem Makes Love in Jem
Censors in the ‘80s were, we assume, fairly watchful people. They’re the reason every G.I. Joe plane had parachuting pilots, and why the word “die” was avoided like profanity. If we were to pick a cartoon adept at sneaking things past those censors, we wouldn’t have picked Jem, the extended pop-music war where the most objectionable thing was the way the title character’s soulless, computer-aided songs invariably triumphed the slightly less manufactured faux-punk anthems of her rivals, The Danzig-free Misfits.
Yet it’s one of those vapid little songs that slid innuendo past the network watchdogs. In the number “Who is he Kissing,” Jem/Jerrica openly wonders if her Ken-doll boytoy, Rio, is “making love to a fantasy.” Perhaps there were board meetings and studio debates over it, but in a cartoon climate where some stations refused to show interracial dating on Robotech, we find it strange that no PTA group got Jem’s song altered.
2) The Remorseless Eating Machine from The Inhumanoids
The Inhumanoids is the cartoon every maladjusted eight-year-old boy would’ve made if he’d had his own studio of overworked Japanese and Korean animators in 1987. There are some human scientist heroes in there someplace, but it’s all about the show’s hideous giant creatures who dwell deep inside the earth and do horrible, horrible things. In the show’s opening mini-series, for example, the scientists’ lone female member is turned into a drooling skeletal horror at the touch of the undead D. Compose, possibly because she didn’t have an action figure. (See it here.)
Even more unsettling is the Gagoyle, an armless, one-eyed monstrosity with a transparent stomach. After being hatched by the show’s human villains, the creature gruesomely devours all of its unhatched siblings and then waddles around devouring things, including the arm of D. Compose and two underworld guardian statues who, despite being stone, writhe and scream as the Gagoyle rips off their heads (shown at 4:35 in that clip up there). Then the show’s primary villain, Metlar, endears himself to children everywhere by killing the creature. He was a bit too late, though; the nightmare fuel had already leaked onto the beach of our happy childhoods.
1) Naked Thundercats
By the time the ‘80s hit, cartoons had gotten away with showing Donald Duck pants-less for decades, but Thundercats pushed the envelope a little more with its first episode, in which all of the title characters arrive on their new homeworld stark naked. Yes, even Cheetara. Granted, there were no nipples showing anywhere, and the show might’ve even passed the lack of clothing off as natural; after all, they’re animals, right?
Not really, no. Later in the episode (around the 5:30 mark in the glorious Spanish episode above), every Thundercat save Snarf puts on clothing, making it quite apparent that all of them were, in fact, completely naked just a few scenes ago. And so a generation lost a little shred of innocence. Some parents doubtless banned their children from watching Thundercats five minutes into the first episode, although, when you think about it, they were doing their kids a favor in the long run.
March 27, 2008
March 26, 2008
March 25, 2008
Spectacular vistas of Saturn and its moon continue to be recorded by the Cassini spacecraft. Launched from Earth in 1997, robotic Cassini entered orbit around Saturn in 2004 and has revolutionized much of humanity's knowledge of Saturn, its expansive and complex rings, and it many old and battered moons. Soon after reaching Saturn, Cassini released the Huygen's probe which landed on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and send back unprecedented pictures from below Titan's opaque cloud decks. Recent radar images of Titan from Cassini indicate flat regions that are likely lakes of liquid methane, indicating a complex weather system where it likely rains chemicals similar to gasoline. Pictured above, magnificent Saturn and enigmatic Titan were imaged together in true color by Cassini earlier this year.
Unwanted amorous advaces on a heifer
resulted in a man's death at the hooves of the violated bovine. Sounds of
a scuffle culminated in the discovery of his naked body lying beneath the
frightened family cow. Injuries to his head and genital area were
consistent with being kicked to death.
Why did he do it?
The man's divorce had become final a mere 10 days prior to his fateful
final fling. In the divorce, and also a previous divorce, his ex-wives cited
his insatiable desire as the cause of the dissolution.
Police concluded that the man died in a rape gone wrong. They do not plan
to take action against the cow, which appeared to have been acting in
March 24, 2008
Celebrating a 24 month bloggaversary is awesome because time has gone by so fast and I've found hundreds of inspirational blogs of art, design, photography, and animation through out this time. Thank you all for sending me all this stuff too, this site has definitely become a massive collection of images, videos, and news, gathered from all over cyberspace. I hope you all find joy in the informative and often randomly strange goodies you can find here.
12 September 2007, Tampa, Florida
The setup: A woman wins two concert tickets from a local radio station. She can't believe her luck. The Dave Matthews Band, live! She invites her friend to join her. But they are in for more than a concert experience.
Flash forward to the next morning. My buddy, head of operations at the amphitheater, looks like hell. He tells me that two women were killed the previous night at the concert. I am shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened at the amphitheater. I ask for details.
Flash back to the previous evening, 8:30pm and pouring rain. The show is delayed. Two women leave the venue to escape the rain. They pass multiple free shuttle buses that run directly to the parking lot. Instead, they opt for a shortcut across a 7-lane Interstate.
They run a hundred yards through wet grass, and jump a six-foot fence that borders the road. Ahead are 3 lanes of freeway traffic, a 100' median, and another 4 lanes of traffic. Beyond that is another six-foot fence, the maze of an 'under construction' garage, and a long hike around a casino.
All in all, the 'shortcut' to their vehicle covers a distance of about a half mile. And the women are in a torrential thunderstorm. Free shuttle bus, or mad dash across dangerous territory?
My buddy was an eyewitness when the first vehicle struck the women at 8:30 pm. Oddly, this was in the first lane of traffic, on a straightaway where one can see headlights for miles in either direction. The impact hurled the women farther into traffic, and each was struck by a second car. They did not survive the collisions.
Ironically, one of the women was an "energetic and gifted athlete" who won two national championships in gymnastics. Physical prowess is no substitute for the homespun maxim:
"Stop. Look. Listen. Or tomorrow you'll be missing."
metal from an abandoned factory in Kladno. Unfortunately for them, they
selected the steel girders that supported the factory roof. When the roof
supports were dismantled, the roof fell, fatally crushing two thieves and
injuring three others.
(21 June 2007, Philippines) Three entrepreneurs planned to profit from
stolen scrap metal. They entered a former US military complex and
approached the prize: an abandoned water tank. Bedazzled by the potential
upside, the three threw logic to the wind, and began to cut the metal legs
out from under the tank. Guess where it fell? Straight onto the thieves.
Their flattened bodies have not yet been identified.
(31 July 1997) Two teens were disassembling an electric tower with wrenches
when it toppled to the ground. They apparently wanted to sell its aluminum
supports for scrap, but they failed to realize the essential role the aptly
named "support" plays in a 160-foot tower. One of the men was crushed by
the collapse of the ten-thousand-pound tower, while the other dug himself
out from under, a sadder but wiser man from his close brush with a Darwin
Award. Reference: Associated Press
Darwin notes, "What are these thieves doing, playing a deadly game of Jenga?! This entire category
may soon become too common, per the Rule of
Excellence. See also Barn Demolition."
24-year-old Jessica was working out in the Provincia Hotel's gym when she realised she needed something from the floor below. Instead of picking up the phone, using the intercom, or just walking downstairs, she decided that the open shaft of the industrial lift was the communications device for her.
So Jessica stuck her head into the empty shaft to shout to the people downstairs. And somehow, she missed noticing that the elevator was coming up towards her. If the elevator had been going down, one could say that she was in no position to observe the approaching lift. But, leaving aside the stupidity of sticking your head into an elevator shaft, if she was looking down, how could she miss the mass of metal inexorably headed her way?
Since an elevator cage and a skull are both solid objects, one had to give. Let's just say, the elevator won. Jessica will be missed by her family, but not by the gene pool.
1960 to 1964
By: Richard Keller
Saturday mornings. For nearly thirty years this small window of time was considered paradise for millions of children across America. With the parents snug in their beds, and a big bowl of sugary cereal precariously placed on the carpet, it was the only time -- long before the invent of 24-hour cable networks -- that children's shows ruled the airwaves. No karate/ballet/piano/soccer lessons back then; parents were lucky to get their kids to go for bathroom breaks during that period of time. For many it's a time of very fond memories. Some recall radio favorites like Sky King and The Lone Ranger going from their imagination to the small screen. Others remember their first introduction to Space Ghost or Scooby-Doo. Still others, like myself, recall the latter days of Saturday morning programming with shows like The Smurfs, Dungeons & Dragons and Saved by the Bell.
Gallery: Saturday Morning: 1960-64
It was a time of decoder rings, breakfast cereals, and 30-minute long animated commercials for a company's toy of the moment. A time we look back at and smile, yet realize that some of the product produced during that time was plain dreck. A time when a number of fledgling animation companies became household names to us in a few weeks.
Sadly, as the cable networks grew in popularity and the networks needed to trim costs, much of the Saturday morning programming we remember was replaced by morning news programs and syndicated fare that catered to a very select group of viewers. However, that doesn't mean that we can't remember many of the good times. Thanks to the giant attic that is the internet, and sites like our very own TV Squad, we can bring back some of those lost childhood memories. And, that's what I'm going to do right now.
I'm going to begin in the period between 1960-61 and 1964-65 seasons. You're probably asking why I'm starting with this time frame. Well, like anything in television, there's a period of trial and error, of growth, when trying something new. This five-year span was that time.
For the most part, the Saturday morning schedules of 1960 and 1961 were heavy on live-action programming and light on the animation. In fact, most of the morning schedule was filled with repeats of series that had aired previously in primetime. Some examples were the Western series Fury, the Danny Thomas sitcom Make Room for Daddy, and The Lone Ranger. The only animated shows on the schedule at that time were the Mighty Mouse Playhouse on CBS and King Leonardo and his Short Subjects on NBC.
It wasn't until the 1962-63 Saturday morning schedule that the networks began to get serious about their programming. While there was still a good amount of live action shows, more animated fare began to pop up -- most of them series that aired previously in primetime or in syndication. For example, Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat, which aired on ABC's 1961-62 primetime schedule, moved to the late Saturday mornings along with former weeknight partner The Bugs Bunny Show. Over on CBS The Alvin Show, which aired for one year in primetime, moved over to Saturday morning as well.
By the fall of 1963 more original animated series were added to the Saturday morning schedules along with primetime "rejects" like Hanna-Barbera's The Jetsons. Over at ABC The New Casper Cartoon Show began a seven year run with new Casper The Friendly Ghost episodes. Over on CBS Tennessee Tuxedo (voiced by Get Smart's Don Adams) and his best friend Chumley joined Mighty Mouse, Alvin and the return of Quick Draw McGraw. Meanwhile, over at NBC, which was a bit slow to catch up to Saturday morning programming, the first Supermarionation program appeared on American television in the form of Fireball XL5.
As the 1964-65 season rolled around the networks were finally coming to the realization that Saturday mornings could be programmed fairly inexpensively with a mix of new and reconstituted animated programs. They also devised a schedule of airing most of their animated programs in the morning hours, while they aired their older-kid, live-action programs in the early afternoon. For instance. The CBS Saturday morning schedule featured animated programs, including the new Linus the Lionhearted, while the first 90-minutes of the afternoon featured repeats of shows like Sky King and My Friend Flicka.
In addition to Linus, two additional cartoons premiered on the Saturday morning schedule in 1964. One was Hoppity Hooper, a Jay Ward production featuring the adventures of a talking frog, and the other everyone's favorite super dog -- Underdog. Voiced by actor Wally Cox, this shoeshine-boy-turned-superhero would be a staple of the Saturday morning schedule during the mid-60's.
Courtesy of Richard Keller at tvsquad.com
March 23, 2008
Swooping and swirling across the dimly lit sky, they could almost be mistaken for an approaching storm cloud. In this dazzling aerial display, over a million starlings wheel and dive across the setting sun, creating elaborate patterns and drawing the admiring gaze of fascinated onlookers.