March 23rd, 2009

Typewriter Guy

We Overthink So You Don't Have To

Today we should like to discuss a fundamental flaw in the theme song to the early 90s teen sitcom Saved By The Bell. This flaw, found in the chorus, is so great that it threatens to compromise the integrity of the entire piece. I am saddened to bring you such terrible enlightenment but much like the arrow in the FedEx logo, once you notice it you can't un-notice it. Such is my personal hell, and you're welcome to it.

Before we go any further I should also like to point out that this flaw was discovered without the help of intoxicants, psychotropics, or any other chemical which can induce in the user a state of profound introspection. (This includes caffeine pills.) That this is the case may make my findings slightly more frightening.

Let us begin by presenting the lyrics to the opening verse. Those of you who fondly remember the antics of Zack, Kelly, Screech and the gang may feel free to sing along.
When I wake up in the morning, the alarm gives out a warning
And I don't think that I can make it on time
By the time I grab my books and I give myself a look
I'm on the corner just in time to see the bus fly by
So far, composer Scott Gale has painted for us a picture of a typical teen's morning, which includes waking up early, primping and preparing for class. We are then presented with a common teen dilemma: that of missing the bus and being late for school. But the chorus provides reassurance and, indeed, a promise of salvation:
It's all right, cause I'm saved by the bell.
Collapse )

So in conclusion, I would like to point out that the French-language version of the show is titled Sauvé par le Gong which is totally a cooler name.

I thank you for your time.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

And now, today's Thing I Miss

* Movie posters in the madcap "the gang's all here, and it's wacky chaos!" style of Jack Davis.

Davis, one of the best damn artists MAD Magazine ever had (often partnering with writer Dick DeBartolo to create the best damn film & television parodies MAD Magazine ever ran) did a lot of advertising work. He created the cockroaches that screamed "RAID?!?!?!" before being obliterated, for example. And he also turned out movie posters galore, seeing as how he was a damn fine caricaturist and all.

A typical madcap movie poster would feature the stars prominently in the center while hordes of crazies ran about behind them, often doing stuff you'd get to see in the film if only you weren't a cheap schmuck who won't cough up enough for a ticket! (Hmm. Seem to have channelled certain MAD editors for a moment. So there! Fa!) And boy, were there a lot of crazies involved. So many crazies! Often the crazies got to hold signs, though I'm not sure if that was more of a sign of the late 60s protest culture as it was an overall stylistic decision. (It does help when you don't have word balloons to work with, I guess.)

Other MAD artists got in on this craze, too, such as Jack Rickard. Rickard holds the dubious honor of doing the poster for Up The Academy. I'd say this was MAD Magazine's first and only foray into feature filmmaking, only it was so bad they disowned it and paid Warner Bros. to take their name off the damn thing. Just as it is with the non-film Highlander 2, "Mad Magazine Presents Up The Academy" doesn't exist.

Bad films were par for the course, unfortunately. With a few rare exceptions (such as It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Bad News Bears and Woody Allen's Bananas) the films that chose to use these kinds of posters in their promotional campaigns weren't very good. We're talking stuff like Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr's flops Salt & Pepper and One More Time. If you saw a poster like that out, you may have a stinkburger on your hands -- or at least one that just never stood the test of time. (Your decision to be a cheap schmuck then wasn't all that bad. But don't let it get to your head!) I love the poster art, but most of the films I could live without.

The most famous of these madcap posters, the one for Animal House, was not drawn by Jack Davis or any of the Usual Gang of Idiots. It was done by artist and frequent National Lampoon contributor Rick Meyerowitz. Now you know. I hope you can win a bar bet with that knowledge someday.

Internet addendum: See? Some stuff you just can't do on Twitter. I tried it. Didn't work, and Twitter ate 1/3 of my three-message opus. Well!