So in the Star Wars galaxy universe, there are a lot of people. Even more when you count the people who aren’t on-screen in one of the movies unless you zoom way in on one of the stars. So there have to be lots of people who just happen to have names like those of Our Heroes. Probability tells us there’ve got to be, like, dozens of people who are always explaining, “Yes, I’m Han Solo and yes, I’m a smuggler who has never been shown to complete a single smuggle job, but I’m not that Han Solo. Way different guy.”
And for all the people who share a name and a job with the famous ones, how about the people who don’t? I’m thinking here of the poor guy just working some boring office job who has to keep saying, “Why should I change my name away from Kylo Ren? He’s the one who sucks. And yes, thank you, I know about the Leia Organa working up in Solenoid Accounting. We don’t have anything in common besides that coincidence and we’ve already talked about that, thank you. Now if you’ll excuse me, these THX Droid forms aren’t going to fill themselves out. OK, they are going to fill themselves out, but it’s my job to make sure nothing stops them from doing that.” I guess we all have our burdens right up until someone blows up the planet and of course it’s after the Strategic and Long-Range All-Day Standup Scrum.
Sorry, I’ve been distracted all day by trying to think of the names of actors who played James Bond in the movies and somehow my brain. Thinking of things was a popular pastime before the Internet and I recommend it as a way to get yourself to daft corners. For example, right now, my brain wants to insist there was a stretch where Bond was portrayed by Roger Daltrey, which seems improbable but interesting.
I got to thinking about Fly Me To The Moon, the 2007 computer-animated film about how heroic American flies kept Soviet flies from sabotaging Apollo 11. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it, although I still haven’t seen it. It’s just that back in September 2020 I noticed some of the Internet Movie Database goofs recorded for the film. checked again and it seems like there are more goofs recorded now. Yet how could that be? Who is going in to a movie from 2007 and sneaking new errors into it? For that matter, who went and snuck into my old article and claimed it was a film from 2008 when the Internet Movie Database says it was 2007?
Anyway just so we can track the progress of whoever it is adding errors to the movie for some reason all these years later, the Internet Movie Database currently lists eleven goofs. This is less than half the number of goofs in The Third Man, so I guess we know who the craftsmen among filmmakers are here.
I owe my love thanks for noticing this. Turner Classic Movies is running a series of Dick Tracy movies from the 40s today, from 8 pm Eastern. None of them are long and the last of them has Boris Karloff so you won’t be sorry spending time there, at least. And it may help you catch up on obscure references for the daily comic strip.
But the interesting thing to me is what’s listed for 10:30 pm Eastern. It’s titled Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In. TCM’s web site offers no information about what it is and the page for it pretends there is no such thing. What it appears to be is a thing Warren Beatty does every several years, doing a performance as Dick Tracy, in order to retain the movie rights. So I don’t know what to expect other than “a thing that keeps a contract option alive”, which we’ve always known as our best entertainment value.
I don’t really have the time to go to Hollywood and pitch a script or write it up or anything so if someone could help me out how does this sound to them: movie where the person making a new version of 18 Again wakes up in the body of a person who’s making a new version of Vice-Versa? And so they both go and try to meet up and figure out how to undo this, but they find out that actually one of them is in the body of someone they didn’t know was working on making a new version of Freaky Friday? It’ll be something kind of but not exactly like something we’ve enjoyed enough before!
But in the shower this morning I realized that in all probability, they went ahead and turned fondly-remembered-but-not-rewatched TV show Mister Ed into a movie that even the people who worked on it don’t remember ever seeing. There’s an excellent chance they made a sequel where Mister Ed goes to New York or the Olympics or something too. What else are they getting up to while we’re paying attention to other stuff?
Who would have imagined that the adventures of these very round cops gain astounding powers of limited-animation by drinking soda pop as though it were spinach? Also from being injected by Horse Drugs? Of many odd things that exist, this is among them.
You may question my use of the time machine to go back and make an episode were SCTV’s Movie of the Week is the Ken Russell remake of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but what alternative would do so much to make the world a more wonderful place?
I don’t envy the people working on the Columbo prequel, other than that I assume they’re getting money for work. But they have to be glad of one thing. Any time someone complains about how we don’t need to know Columbo’s origin story, we know how he turns out, they can just glare intently back and point to the name of the intellectual property. It’s something the poor folks doing the reboot of Cool Million can’t fall back on.
So here in the Northern Hemisphere we’re looking at the summer solstice tomorrow, or today if you’re reading this at the right time, or sometime in the past if you’re reading it after that. Anyway. Please remember that while this is the longest day of the year, it is not the day when sunset comes the latest in the year. This phenomenon may seem confusing if you don’t know this piece of information: Astronomers have always hated drive-in movie operators, and vice-versa. I hope this clears matters up for you.
I don’t know how much is the appropriate amount to think about famous knock-off movie Ratatoing, but I don’t think I’m far outside the norm. Plus, Nathan Rabin blogged about it a couple days ago, and reading that made me realize: oh, that name is surely not meant to rhyme with “boing”, right? You’re supposed to think rat-at-oo-ing, so it’s even closer to Ratatouille. Rat-a-toing is just wrong. And then I tried watching the movie and it turns out? No, it’s “boing”, just like I thought when I didn’t know anything. So the week’s not even half over and I keep having to re-evaluate everything. Or I can stop thinking about stuff and, it turns out, be okay, just less tired of it all.
The current Gasoline Alley story is built on some Hollywood types coming in make a movie about the town. While the town’s residents are interesting to the comic strip readers, one might ask why anyone in-universe would care about this town? Longtime readers enjoy the more-or-less plausible lives of interesting characters. But why pick this place, other than that Walt Wallet is a generation older than Betty White?
While searching for something else, I ran across this timeline of events in Gasoline Alley. It’s a list of some of the big story events including when Skeezix turned up on the doorstep. and seems to be pretty solid for events up to about 1950, that is, the era when the comic strip made its reputation. It may not convince you — I mean, breach of promise stories? Everyone did them back then and that’s such an alien idea today, like suing somebody for not wearing a hat — but it gives some idea what all happened.
The current story had just been called when I last checked in. Some Hollywood types are descending on Gasoline Alley to make a movie. Rufus and Joel try to clean City Hall up to the point that it shines. The movie makers slip and fall on the wet floor. The comic relief pair suppose that the movie makers want to sue them for damages. After their attempts at disguising themselves fail completely, they run off to hide in a cave.
The movie folks turn their attention to Walt Wallet. They turn over some kind of prospectus for a movie based on his life. It’s a big, bold work, not bound tightly to the facts. He calls Skeezix over to describe some of them. And to recount a story that … actually, he’s told before, back in January and February of 2014. But he claims that when exploring in Egypt ages ago he and his party, desperately short on water, fell into the tomb of the Pharaoh Do-Ra-Mi. They found an urn on the shelf, with ancient, stale water that they drank happily. And then found the hieroglyphics proclaimed it the “Energy Shot – For Youth”. Which, well, he is a pretty spry fellow for being six years older than the SOS distress signal. But back in 2014 when he told this story he was making up that it was the Fountain of Youth. He was spinning yarns back then, which, fine. But when why his shock in 2022 when someone believed him?
After sharing this and some other, lesser tall tales with Skeezix, the movie folks call to say never mind. They’re not doing Walt Wallet’s life, which is a shame, since this was an excuse for Scancarelli to draw a young-looking Walt Wallet doing a lot of fun action. (One of the stories shows him hopping a train, which seems mundane enough to have happened.) But the movie folks have decided to do a science fiction piece, Teenage Thing Meets The Creature From Gasoline Alley. Scancarelli’s heart is in doing a 1950s radio sitcom and I like him for that.
The movie producers still want to get hold of Rufus and Joel. The pair emerge from hiding, when the bear they were hiding with kicks them out. And that’s where we stand. Will it turn out they’ve made a bad assumption about what the movie folks wanted them for, so that their winter hiding in a cave was foolish? There’s no way of knowing except reading, or remembering the rules of the 1950s radio sitcoms that the comic strip wants to be. We’ll check back by June, anyway.
I mean, if you told me, I’d have no way of arguing you were wrong. Here I’m talking about movies where these characters are the stars, you know, the protagonists. I’m sure every one of them had a cameo in Ready Player One, Space Jam II: Space Jammier, Scoob!, and I’m guessing that one where space aliens jam a giant Pac-Man into a city or something? I don’t know, I just saw the commercials and figured that was enough. Anyway if you want to put one over on me, and start talking about a movie starring any of these, I would never suspect you were fibbing. Also I don’t know why you’d want to put that over on me, but that’s your business, isn’t it?
Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har-Har
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
The Tazmanian Devil
Reference: The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation, Frank O’Brien.
So, now, I know that you want look to me as a respectable or “cool” figure. Before you bestow this trust in me, though? You should know that in the 80s I read more than one article about the making of Earth Girls Are Easy from in Starlog magazine. So, just, scale your expectations of me to that, please. Thank you.
Like three probes orbited or landed on Mars and one of them had a helicopter
The Kellogg’s strike
That morning we all found a box of Peak Freans on our counter even though they haven’t made Peak Freans since like 1989 and nobody could explain where all these Peaks Freans came from
That guy did that really good impression of Robin Williams learning of John Belushi’s death
Culture Club released the hit song “Karma Chameleon”
The imperatives of state bureaucracy drove European governments to impose family names on all their inhabitants, without regard to local culture or the lack of community need for such things
The controversial “Rashomon” episode of Scooby and Scrappy Doo aired
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins died
Ken Russell’s film adaptation of The Who’s Tommy uses rather a lot of beans, is unconnected to “Bean Dad”
End of the Recombination era of the universe, when electrons and atomic nucleuses finally became cool enough to bind together into atoms, allowing photons to travel great distances, causing space to no longer be opaque for the first time
Boss Baby 2 came out
Audiences were enchanted by that “so good … but no lumps!” commercial but can’t remember, was it for gravy? For Alka-Seltzer? But Alka-Seltzer was that “Mama Mia, that’s a spicy meatball” commercial, right? That was like four years ago?
Reference: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, Nick Taylor.
Despite the name no so-called “universal remote” has ever in fact been remote from the universe.
No United States president has ever been born in the future.
The 100 pleats in a chef’s hat represent the 100 times that the guy who bought the hat-pleating mechanism insisted on showing this was too a good purchase and would pay for itself in time.
In the Star Trek episode “Court Martial” Spock discusses what would happen “if I let go of a hammer on a planet that has a positive gravity”, implying there are enough zero- and negative-gravity planets around he needs to shut talk about them down before it even starts.
There must always exist at least one breadbox that cannot be put inside another breadbox. However, if the universe were infinitely large, we could not count on this being true.
No episode of the 1980s animated series of The Smurfs establishes that Gargamel knows of the Snorks.
Those coworkers whose names you aren’t sure you have yet, and it’s too awkward now to ask about? Sara and Mike. If there’s a third, it’s Darryl or maybe Darren. Go confident on the “Darr” part and underplay the second syllable and you’ll get away with it.
D is known as “the sunshine vitamin” because it was first discovered by spectral analysis of the sun. It would not be seen on Earth for nearly a generation after its detection.
Not only could they make Blazing Saddles today, they did, which is where everybody was all day and why they’re all tuckered out. You should have come over and helped, you’d have had a great time. Maybe you can catch them next month when they hope to make Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.
Despite every advance in the technology to write songs, they are likely to be outnumbered by unwritten songs through 2024 at the soonest.
Reference: A Diplomatic History Of Europe Since The Congress Of Vienna, René Albrecht-Carié.
Also not mentioned: that Tintin project because I don’t think Tintin was ever a comic strip and, like, Betty Boop had a short-lived comic even if it wasn’t good.
Also, coming back to the mentioned: Motley’s Crew? Really? Huh. I mean, I guess that’s a comic strip that existed all right, but … Really. Huh. I mean … huh. You’re passing on Bill Schorr’s The Grizzwells for this, then.
Reference: Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: How One Man’s Courage Changed The Course of History, Giles Milton.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real thin man!” — Not said by Nick or Nora Charles, The Thin Man.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real treasure of the Sierra Madre!” — Not said by Fred C Dobbs, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real love story!” — Not said by Jennifer Cavalleri, Love Story.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real wizard of Oz!” — Not said by Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Goldfinger!” — Not said by Goldfinger, Goldfinger.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real cool hand, Luke!” — Not said by Dragline, Cool Hand Luke.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real space odyssey!” — Not said by Dave Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Scrooge!” — Not said by Mr Snedrig, Scrooge.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real shape of water!” — Not signed by Elisa Esposito, The Shape of Water.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Casablanca!” — Not said by Rick Blaine, Casablanca.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real space jam!” — Not said by Lola Bunny, Space Jam.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real planet of the apes!” — Not said by Dr Galen, Planet of the Apes.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Wall Street!” — Not said by Gordon Gecko, Wall Street.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Turbo!” — Not said by Turbo, Turbo.
“Yowza yowza, that’s a real Chinatown!” — Not said by Lawrence Walsh, Chinatown.
Reference: Inside Nick Rocks: The Complete Story of the Music Video Show You Remember Being On Between Mr Wizard’s World and You Can’t Do That On Television, and How it Changed the World — and Whatever Happened To “Joe From Chicago”, Dr Will Miller.