We all know grief now. We grieve the people we loved, but also the people we were before this pandemic began. If you’re old enough, you add it to the grief you’ve accrued over the years: for the children we were, the hopes we had, the people we longed to be. But if you’re lucky, the art that you need still finds you. It reminds you of who you are when you’ve forgotten, and gives you the power to imagine a life beyond this one. It lets you believe that what you’ve been robbed of will be found, that your home will come alive.
Notes about tv
If you’re a fan of the old Lucasfilm Games (and the kind of video game nerd that likes this sort of weird find…), don’t let your week go by without watching this internal Lucasfilm Games parody video unearthed by Mix n’ Mojo. Shots of Skywalker Ranch, Ron Gilbert, Larry Holland, jokes riffing off of the “Bo Knows” and “Spielvergnügen” (erm, Fahrvergnügen) ads, and even a song sung on the Ranch’s porch about their adventure games. It doesn’t get much more 1990 then this, folks!
(Bonus: watch for the boxed copy of King’s Quest V on the desk at around 8 minutes in — how’d that get in there??)
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More from the “things I did not know” file: Paul Rubens’s first widely-seen appearances, years before he hit it big as Pee-Wee Herman, were on the Gong Show.
Back of the Cereal Box noticed the jarring disambiguation message on the Wikipedia entry for Jelly Belly, and wrote:
Why is it so much better that the name Jelly Belly can refer to either the brand of fancy jellybeans or the horrific disease pseudomyxoma peritonea, in which a tumor causes excess mucus production that swells the abdomen and compresses and endangers the various torso vital structures?
David Klein, the creator of the Jelly Belly (the candy, not the stomach cancer…), responded to the above post with the trivia that the bean’s name was inspired by the name of blues musician Lead Belly, which he’d heard on an episode of Sanford & Son. I’ll go one step further down the trivia chain: I assume he’s referring to the episode “The Blind Mellow Jelly Collection” (YouTube straight to the clip)!
This almost seems poetic: Klein named his candy business after watching a TV episode about a man unwittingly selling his valuable record collection, and later he himself met a similar fate, forced to sell his rights to Jelly Belly early on, for a significantly low value.
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As Seen on TV, a tribute to doing it wrong. I love this aspect of awful informercials, and in our household we’ve even coined a specific adjective to describe it: twombly. As in “No, no, don’t use your sewing machine on the curtains while they’re still hanging! You’re doin’ it all twombly!”
Back of the Cereal Box takes a very brief look into why the patriarch of the Addams Family is named “Gomez” (spoiler: it was either that or “Repelli”, Charles Addams’ two top picks, and the cartoonist let John Astin decide). For the record, I like that he has a relatively normal name – it helps offset the other family members’ odd / jokey names.
Something I’d always wondered about: Why do all of the members of the Addams family have names that are sinister in one way or another except Gomez? Dark associations of Morticia, Fester, Cousin Itt, Thing and Lurch’s names are obvious. Wednesday gets her name from the line in the “Monday’s Child” poem — “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” — and Pugsley’s seems like a play on pugnacious or something thereabouts. But why should Gomez get a fairly normal name? A surname for a first name is hardly sinister.
From the ANIMAC to the FairLight Computer Video Instrument, a nice roundup of mostly analog video-mangling technology from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Lots of pictures and back stories, too.
(Via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals)
A thorough set of the indentity bumpers from Nick at Nite, circa 1991. Kind of surreal (and tedious) watching these back to back, but it’s amazing how many of them I remember, and how many were done by well-known animators. This is where things were at in the early 90’s NYC animation trade. A number of these folks would later be rounded up in Atlanta to help create Cartoon Network. Sadly, all of these cable channels seem to have lost their sense of purpose, with Nick at Nite now showing ‘retro’ shows like “Just Shoot Me”, TV Land focusing on reality programming, and Cartoon Network becoming a dumping ground for kid’s live-action.
Related branding regression: MTV International drops the famous animated/adaptable MTV logo in favor of a static mark, and (the horror!) Nickelodeon is moving away from their venerable and innovative “splat” logo after nearly 30 years of it being awesome.
(Via Cartoon Brew, where a number of the folks who worked on the N@N promos have left comments)
This papier-mâché Felix the Cat was the first image to be broadcast over experimental television in preparation for the first public RCA broadcast in 1928. Black and white and made of durable material, they had him revolving on a turntable, beaming out as a tiny test image so engineers could adjust the signal. Early TV technology fascinates me.
There’s more good info on early test patterns over at Design Observer.