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"This is an outrage!" "This is an inrage!" - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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June 25th, 2012


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06:36 am - "This is an outrage!" "This is an inrage!"
Well, now, this is something I didn't know about: When Things Were Rotten, Mel Brooks' 1975 sitcom based on Robin Hood. A proto-Men In Tights. And from what I read in the Wickerpedier, the show's cancellation in the face of decent reviews turned out to be a boon to popular culture because it let two of its stars, Dick Van Patten and Bernie Kopell, free to do Eight Is Enough and The Love Boat. Respectively.

YouTub has the theme song right here and yeah, it's Mel all the way. There's even a Teri Garralike.

Only one episode exists on YouTube (the kids call it The Y.T.) in two parts: A-One and A-Two. The episode is directed by Jerry Paris, who has a sitcom pedigree a mile wide. He played Dr. Jerry Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show and directed tons of stuff. Go look him up.

And in case you were concerned, and I know you can be so very concerned sometimes, the very first scene is a bunch of crowd response gags. That's our Mel.

I discovered the theme on a 9-minute compilation of intros to one-season wonders from the 1970s. It features Quark, of which I have the series run because you can never have too much Richard Benjamin, but most are mysterious surprises to me. I think that's mostly because these failures didn't quite make for cheap syndication fodder in the 80s, when I would've picked them up from any number of independent UHF stations in the area. Gotta miss those stations. WTXX and WSBK represent.

Among the finds in this compilation there's a 1979 Burrows (James) and Brooks (James L.) sitcom starring Wilfrid Hyde-White and Martin Short whose intro would have fit right in with the Murphy Brown era. There's also Dom DeLuise channeling a little Jackie Gleason in a 1974 times-are-tough sitcom called, and this is where I firmly began to believe that the clip fell from an alternate universe, "Lotsa Luck!"

I do so enjoy combing YouTube for old TV stuff. I'm glad I found this stuff to share because other than that, I've been taking comfort in the fact that in these uncertain times, one can watch a full hour of local candlepin bowling from 1982, commercials included, thanks to some obsessive on the Internet.

Insomnia is a terrible thing.

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:zhym
Date:June 25th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm agog at "Roll Out." From the video it's obviously a M*A*S*H knock-off. What wasn't obvious until I asked the Internets is that it was created by Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds. Huh.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
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I remember the episode of CPO Sharkey in which Sharkey encounters some bizarre and scary thing the kids are doing called "punk rock".

Quark turns out to be one of those things that is funnier in my childhood memories than it actually is if I try to watch an episode. But I thought it was hilarious at the time.

Hey, Martin Short!

The Paul Lynde Show looks familiar to me now, though I wouldn't have remembered that I'd watched it.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
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Huh, no, The Paul Lynde Show was early enough that it's probably not what I'm remembering. I was watching TV then, but not prime-time sitcoms much.
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From:derspatchel
Date:June 25th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
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The most I can remember about CPO Sharkey was that it was a favorite MST3K ref. I also like how I can easily tell the show's premise from the little turn at the end of the credits. Don Rickles playing an overly bombastic Navy non-com in an unglamorous position on a ship that goes nowhere? Sitcom right there.

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From:susskins
Date:June 25th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
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"A toast!"
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From:greenlily
Date:June 25th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Candlepin bowling! so very much a part of my childhood Saturday afternoons, and so very hard to explain to anyone who didn't live in New England in the 70s and 80s.
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From:ron_newman
Date:June 25th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
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And still hard to explain to people who visit New England from somewhere else and see one of these bowling alleys.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
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Large swaths of North America have some sort of small-ball bowling game, though; it just varies regionally. In much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, it's duckpin. In Canada, it's five-pin, and apparently nine-pin is big in central Texas (though it's mostly European).

I see candlepin as just the New England variant of that tendency.
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From:ron_newman
Date:June 25th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
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In Ohio where I grew up, I never saw anything other than standard tenpin.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
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I'm from around Washington, DC; duckpin was huge there, and much more accessible to kids than tenpin. So when I encountered candlepin I thought of it as duckpin but with funny-shaped pins (the rules are similar, except that I think duckpin lacks candlepin's byzantine rules allowing the use of downed wood; the ball in duckpin is slightly larger).

However, this article claims that duckpin has essentially vanished from Northern Virginia since my childhood:

http://www.bowlingdigital.com/bowl/node/5018

Candlepin is definitely still kicking, though it might not be as much of an institution as it used to be.
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From:hemlock_martini
Date:June 26th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 26th, 2012 06:16 am (UTC)
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Wow: this is the first I ever heard of that, and it appears to be sufficiently obscure to not have a Wikipedia entry (though it does have one in Britannica Online).

The closest Wikipedia gets is that apparently a 2-7-10 or 3-7-10 split in tenpin is called a cocked hat.

It sounds difficult.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 26th, 2012 06:24 am (UTC)
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...and there's a "three-pin bowling" called borella, which, however, is nothing like cocked hat but sounds more like a monstrous version of skittles for aggressive giants.
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From:meedja
Date:June 25th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
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Heh, we have skittles in the UK. Ninepin, short lanes, usually in a bar/social club, and in place of a machine to set the pins, a small child hiding in a cupboard, bribed with the chance of a bit of easy money, and the possibility of stealing drinks. OK there was always a fair risk of injury, but, underage drinking!
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
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At least some of the British variants seem to involve airborne missiles. In the US bowling games the ball is supposed to be sliding or rolling (and the transition from one to the other is critically important, especially in tenpin).
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 25th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
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...should have said "North American" there, as I'd definitely include five-pin (which I've only played once; it's unusual in that the pins have different point values).
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From:derspatchel
Date:June 25th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Familiar conversation at candlepin:

"Go on, you've got one more."
"That was my last."
"That was your second. You get three."

Then there were those who grew up on candlepin playing ten-pin for the first time:

"What are you doing? It's my turn."
"I get one more!"
"No, you get two."
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 26th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
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Not to mention the distinction between a spare and an X box.
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From:ron_newman
Date:June 26th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
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Which is not to be confused with a Microsoft product.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:June 25th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
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You didn't tell me Steve "Sam & Max" Purcell was writer and co-director on Brave, Spatch. I feel underinformed, but I now know where the "I can see my house from here" joke came from.
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From:sovay
Date:June 25th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
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in these uncertain times, one can watch a full hour of local candlepin bowling from 1982, commercials included, thanks to some obsessive on the Internet.

My life needs more candlepin bowling. I am going to make this happen.

(I feel no nostalgia for the amount of smoke I used to breathe on Friday nights, though.)
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From:hemlock_martini
Date:June 26th, 2012 04:39 am (UTC)
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I must shamefully admit that I skimmed the candlepin bowling video for the vintage commercials. Magazines as gifts. Who knew?

Anyway, I see your candlepin bowling and I raise you DB's Delight, a Saturday morning game show hosted by a DJ still working in the St. Louis radio market and a creepy-ass huckster puppet.
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From:mmcirvin
Date:June 26th, 2012 06:43 am (UTC)
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From:cloudscout
Date:July 11th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
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IS THIS CHEDDAR CHEESE?!

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