August 2nd, 2008

TV TURKEYS (1987) ***

My man Johnny Legend compiled this uneven but nevertheless fascinating look at awful TV shows from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  Hosted by Skip (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) Young, we get to see everything from lame variety shows to boring sports programs to goofy commercials.  (The Belly Bongo!)  I don’t know where Johnny Legend found most of these clips, but be glad he did!


There are scenes from an obscure all-kiddie cowboy show where the lone grown-up in the cast is the villain and the children all have their voices dubbed over by adults.  Also featured are also a handful of failed pilots like Suicide Theater (starring a pre-Star Trek DeForest Kelley!), which if ever picked up by a network would showcase a lonesome individual killing themselves every week!  But the highlight of the compilation is a crazy ass ad for the United Fund entitled, “The Meanest Man in the World” about a guy doesn’t pledge to charity.  That night he goes to sleep and in his dream, we see him kicking the crutches out from crippled kids, slapping milk out of the hands of hungry orphans, and cutting the IV’s from hurricane victims!  All of this just because he didn’t pledge 50 cents for charity?  Amazing!


Sure, there are a few bits that aren’t very funny and go on for too long, but I have to say that I was thoroughly amused by this collection of some of the oddest TV oddities ever seen.  Any fan of Legend’s previous compilation releases such as Sleazemania, Teen Mania and Weird Cartoons will definitely want to check this one out!


AKA:  TV Mania.



Remember the days before Ralph Nader when a commercial on television told you that something was good for you and you actually believed it?  Well you can now relive those wonderful days with this fun compilation of old timey commercials from Johnny Legend. 


Naturally the best commercials featured are the ones for cigarettes that boast things like “More throat comfort!” in their ads.  There are also commercials for Frisbees (“By Whammo!”), cereal (Frosted Flakes) and the famous Hai Karate after shave ad is also in there.  We also get celebrities such as Ronald Reagan (soap), the Marx Brothers (shampoo), the Three Stooges (car wax) and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez (cancer sticks) hawking products.  The best part for me though was the insane Smokey the Bear ad and the positively nutty venereal disease PSA.


Also featured on the disc is Bloopers and Beyond, which includes flubs from the cast of Gunsmoke (See James Arness mutter the word “Motherfucker”!), Rod Serling, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Rooney, and Jayne Mansfield (who almost loses her top).  The best blooper comes from Red Skelton who performs a live TV show with a cow that ends up shitting everywhere.  The first chapter of the Steve Reeves serial, Kimbar of the Jungle is also tossed in there for some inexplicable reason. 


I’ve always said that old commercials are a heck of a lot more fun than old television shows and this compilation proves my theory to a tee.  While there are one too many bland toothpaste ads in there for my taste, there’s enough random goofiness here (like the ad for Sloppy Joes) that make this collection worth a look.