Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fwaggles! National Puppet Radio

First posted on July 27th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

          Welcome to National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn. Today we explore a topic that few ever stop to consider. Those that grow up as royalty but choose to leave it all behind. To many of us the concept of being immensely rich and living in the lap of luxury sounds wike quite an enticing concept. Surprisingly, those that have it sometimes see things differently. With the benefits of having people constantly waiting on you hand-and-foot comes few chances to make any decisions for themselves. Many people end up throwing away wealth and power for something more valuable than gold. Personal freedom. We are incredibly lucky today to talk with the former Prince of the Universe, Alexander “Junior” Gorg.

          Junior is an imposing figure standing about 20 feet tall and about twelve hundred pounds. And let me tell you, he gets quite a bit of attention from passers-by. We meet at an outdoor cafĂ© near a public park and it is an absolutely gorgeous day, not an ounce of sunshine in the sky. It was here that we sat down to begin our meal, and more importantly our interview. I start by asking Junior what it was wike growing up royalty. I mean, the royal family that ruled over the entire universe? That seems wike a pretty big deal!

          “I never thought the world owed me anything just because I was the only son of the King and Queen of the Universe. Ta tell you the twuth, I don’t know that they were even wecognized as King and Queen BY the Universe. I mean, who were their subjects? I think they might have just been confused poor old wegular Gorgs…That being said, if they were King and Queen of the Universe, what did it weally mean in the long wun? Did it make any of us happy? We would put on these wediculous ceremonies and then we would go out in the yard and do meaningless chores, move leaf piles, plant wadishes, stare at trees, watch the moon…it was total nonsense!”

          I asked if he ever had any leisure time; any chance to break away from the stuffy traditions.

          “I guess I would have to say that my main past time was Fwaggles…Fwaggles every day, Fwaggles every night. In fact, my constant pursuit of the Fwaggles is what eventually led me to walk away from it all. I spent enough time chasing the Fwaggles, wanting to kill them or collect them or eat them or whatever the hell I was twying to do with them. One day when I was avoiding chores so I could wig up some cwazy device to trap the Fwaggles, it dawned on me. I was JUST WIKE them! Gwanted, I wasn’t as much of a hippie…but what was I weally accomplishing? What was I doing with my life? The answer was simple. Nothing.”

          “The more I started watching them, the more I weally paid attention and the more I knew. They were just as trapped by their conventions as I was. They spent their whole life devoted entirely to meaningless cwaziness. I mean, they thought their whole world kept moving because of the ringing of a bell at the heart of the dank cave they lived in. They never stopped singing and dancing, they terrorized that poor old inventor guy and his dog for no reason, and worst of all they were constantly eating those poor construction worker guys that made those gweat sculptures in their town…At least I think they ate them…Anyway they ate something or other. Whenever they weren’t eating or singing and dancing; they were in our kingdom stealing from us! We would spend our whole year growing these gweat wadishes for our potions and those little slackers would just come up and take the fweaking things! And then twy to convince the viewers that they were the good pure cweatures and we were evil!”

          I ask him who he means by the viewers…

          He glances at his left and stares into the giant blank wall of glass that everyone lives next to and he seems to be looking at people who were, of course, not there. He looks back at my confused expression, sighs and says “No one, never mind…Anyway, they were always doing these cwazy things, living out their mild little dramatic pwoblems and finding some kind of liberal moral breakthrough. I mean these guys were fweaks! Just between you and me, there were a couple of times that I could have sworn they were asking our pile of garbage for advice! Talking to the rats that lived in it and everything! That‘s not normal!”

          “Then they would wead a letter from Traveling Matt, and start the whole pwocess over again…”

          Though I have ,of course, heard of Matt; I ask him to clarify for my readers.

          “Matt was this Fwaggle who was supposed to be this bwave adventurer guy but was, in fact, a moron. The guy thought elevators magically changed the world outside of it and he thought that cars were living, thinking cweatures. I mean, he wasn’t the brightest Fwaggle in the uh….Fwaggle box?”

          “I decided that in order to bweak away from this insanity I had to make some major changes in my life. The only problem was how? And then one day the solution fell right into my lap, and incredibly that solution came in the form of Traveling Matt himself! His adventures brought him right through the kingdom of the Gorgs! And I was just lucky enough to wun into him!”

          I knew it was probably a very personal, meaningful event in Junior’s life but I had to ask, what was it that the renowned Fraggle statesman and adored world traveler said to the prince?

          “Oh, he didn’t say anything but right before I ate him (by the way, NOT all that tasty!), he happened to drop his walkman and it had this great tape on it. A motivational tape by a speaker named Anthony Anthony. And the words he said changed my life. He said people didn’t have to be bored. They didn’t have to be complacent in life. You can get both success and personal satisfaction from hard work! Now, hard work is fine but it’s better when you get a little bit of money at the end! And I found an idea that would bring more money than I knew what to do with! See while my family was cwazy, there was one idea they had that was pure gold. We used to turn radishes into anti-vanishing cream! It kept us from vanishing for generations and I took that cherished family formula and marketed the cwap out of it. I mean, I sold out for all I was worth and it paid off in spades! It is incredible how many people out there don’t want to become invisible. In reality, it’s a total scam but the people eat it up! Not literally, of course, my anti-vanishing cream is extremely toxic but they buy it by the bucketful!”

          “It also turns out that I am one hell of a salesman! I mean I walk into a room and people just seem to throw money at me. It’s wike there has always been a person inside me just waiting to get out, and that person knew sales! So that’s about the size of it. This is my new life. Now I’m no longer chasing the Fwaggles; I’m chasing the next big score! I don’t have to care about what’s going on with the Nirvana Tree! I actually chopped the fweaking thing down and had it turned into my desk. I even help out the ‘King and Queen of the Universe’ with a little bit of dough…I haven’t totally forgotten my woots!”

          I ask if there was anything he wanted to leave our readers with and he thinks for a moment…

          “I guess if there was one thing for you to take away from this; it’s be yourself! March to the beat of your own dwums and twy to find some success in life, even if it means walking away from royalty or possibly a murderous obsession with tiny imaginary cweatures in your yard. Yes, boys, I no wonger live by my oath to the Universal Royal Family. The words I live by these days are the ABC’s of Sales…Always Be Closing!”

          Always be closing indeed. I hope the amount of charisma, intelligence and charm that Junior Gorg processed came through in this interview. He may no longer be a prince but he’ll always be royalty in my book!

          As I walk away from our talk, I begin to get a whole new perspective on life. No longer will I just drift through the day, doing what I think is expected of me! I would reach freedom of my own! I had been trapped in a cage! Society norms were the bars. From now on I would do my own thing! I would make something of my life! And I would appreciate everything that I had! But mostly I think I’m gonna start trying to destroy those Fraggles myself! I mean, let’s face it; those worthless hippies have it coming, am I right?

          For National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Phantasm Christmas Special

First posted on July 26th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link

          Deadites! In honor of Rotting Flesh Radio’s Morbidly Merry Christmas In July; I have been getting into the Christmas spirit myself lately. So allow me to discuss one of my all time favorite nostalgic subjects; The Television Christmas Special! Christmas specials are a funny subject; there are the kinds of people who absolutely love them, and then there are the people who are no friends of mine! Regardless of how you feel about these inarguably awesome productions, you have to admit that the public tends only to focus on a handful of these holiday treats and the rest just slip through the cracks. Who knows what causes a Christmas Special to be overlooked…maybe it was ahead of its time? Maybe it just didn’t hit on the right pop culture trends? Maybe it never actually existed? Who knows. The point is among these lost specials are some real hidden gems that deserve to see the light of day, and during this misplaced 100 degree Christmas season, I want to give one of these its just desserts.

          Ladies and gentleman, I give you The Phantasm Christmas Special.

          The year was 1980 and the world was still recovering from the magnificent terror unleashed upon it the year before by the theatrical release of The Phantasm! Don Coscarelli and the executives at Embassy Pictures were frantically trying to find a way to capitalize on the success of the film. There were several meetings, but in the end the decision was obvious; a made-for-TV animated Christmas Special! They turned to Don Bluth, who was unanimously decided to be the perfect animator to the bring the Phantasm to the small screen. Bluth loved the project, going so far as to say that his entire career had been leading him to eventually creating an animated special based on a gory independent horror film. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister and ,of course, Angus Scrimm all reprised their roles as the voice of the characters they made famous. With brilliant animation, a top-notch voice cast and such a recognizable name, it would have been so easy to just phone-in a generic script and coast to profits. Luckily for all of us, Coscarelli chose to pen a tale that did real justice to the Phantasm empire.

          Our story begins with the usual Christmas Special title sequence as we drift through a winter night, blowing among snowflakes as the opening credits appear on the screen to the sounds of a familiar Christmas song, in this case “So This Is Christmas”. The credits wrap up and our story begins.

          Reggie and Mike are driving around at night in Reggie’s Ice Cream truck along the snowy street; past houses covered in twinkling lights and animated Santa Clauses. It may seem strange to see an ice cream truck in the middle of December at night, especially one playing Christmas carols over its speaker system…That is, until you look inside. Reggie had altered his truck and now, rather than cold treats to beat the heat; this truck deals in Christmas cheer! Roasted chestnuts, hot cocoa, candy canes, spiced cider. It’s the perfect rescue wagon for people doing late night yard decoration or chilly carolers.

          The pair wrap up their merry making and pull in to their driveway to warm up. Unfortunately, Mike is feeling anything but warm; still shaken up by the loss of his brother Jody at the hands of a fatal car crash and/or stabbing by a murderous supernatural woman. He excuses himself to go for a nighttime walk as Reggie goes into the house to start making dinner. He walks the snowy town; looking at the beautiful lights and pondering life, family and the holidays…As he walks, he passes a place we can all recognize; his local funeral parlor. To his horror, Mike sees a sight he recognizes even more. The silhouette of a figure a man. A tall man. THE Tall Man! But how could this be? Except for the end scene that may or may not have been a dream, the Tall Man was destroyed! But there he stands against the backdrop of a winter night. And he seems to be carrying a box; a long very heavy looking box. Moments after noticing the Tall Man, the Tall Man notices Mike and the terrible cat-and-mouse game begins anew. And it all starts with the one word that has been haunting Mikes dreams night after night.


          As the Tall Man begins his pursuit, Mike runs for all he is worth. He runs up the steps of the clock tower at city hall. Dodging between the bell and the clockwork, he runs with the Tall Man (still carrying his ominous box) in hot pursuit. They tear through the enormous timepiece, frightening the tiny mouse who has been working hard to repair it. Mike runs back down the steps and out of the clock, looking for a safer place to hide. They run through a seedy reindeer bar. The Tall Man chases him through a Christmas tree lot full of nothing but painted aluminum trees. They dodge between Cobra trucks carrying loads of evil rigged toys on their way to GI Joe headquarters. The evil immortal alien chased him down the streets of his town right to the traffic cop, and he only paused a moment when he heard him holler “Boy!” again. By the time they passed Scrooge McDuck’s counting house, TM’s Jawa creatures had joined in the hunt.

          They continued to race through the town, finally arriving at the community center. The River Bottom Nightmare Band was just finishing their set and Mike ran backstage expecting to find a stage door. Instead, he was met with a Christmas tree, some decorations and a solid brick wall. As the Jawas and the Tall Man closed in, Mike realized he had no where else to run and was backed against a wall. The Tall Man and his minions stepped slowly closer and closer in silence. Finally, the stillness was broken as the Tall Man slammed his box to the ground, retrieved something from his pocket and opened his mouth to speak.

          “Boy” he bellowed, “Merry Christmas!”

          Suddenly the Tall Man placed the Santa Claus hat that he had taken from his pocket upon his head. He opened the box that, as it turns out, was full of brightly wrapped Christmas presents! Out from the shadows the Jawas came forward and begin to sing. Quietly at first but growing steadily louder.

          Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

          Welcome Christmas, come this way!

          Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

          Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

          Gradually the entire group began to sing; the minions, the Riverbottom Nightmare Band, The Tall Guy, even Mike! Then Mike is surprised even further by the arrival of Reggie who smiles knowingly as he joins in on the song. They all clasp hands and sang, finally lighting up the Christmas tree and began to unwrap the gifts brought by Santa Tall Man! It is the greatest Christmas Mike has ever known and he realized in that moment that everything was going to be okay.

          As things began to wind down, the Tall Man stood pointing a finger at Mike and announced, “You might think this is the end boy! But it’s not.” Out of nowhere, a crash erupts behind Mike and two ghoulish hands break through the mirror that was conveniently behind him. The Tall Man continues, “This…Is the end!” The arms are holding a beautiful Christmas wreath with a red silk ribbon and a message in silver glitter.

          The message says, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

          The End.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Case for the Evil Witch

First posted on July 20th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link

          Hello fiends! Today we consider one of the greatest sources of bone chilling, spine tingling horror. Yes, hold on to your hats and glasses, I’ve come to you today to talk about Disney Feature Animation!

          The folks at Disney have always been creative geniuses. However there is something in recent years that Disney has begun to value just as much, if not more than the actual properties they develop. You may not know this but Disney has started to take a look at the world of advertising! Yes you heard me correctly, the Magic Kingdom has begun (ever so slightly) to take an interest in the marketing of its characters and films. I know that up until now the house of Mouse has shunned commercialism in all its form, preferring to let their productions speak for themselves.

          Now, since Disney is new to this marketing I want to take this opportunity to explore some areas they might want to focus on, so that sometime in the future they could become a really successful company. For starters, they seem to be aiming a lot of their advertising budget on kids. Now I seriously doubt that Disney’s particular brand of entertainment will ever catch on with our nation’s youth. Obviously thirty-something geeks should be the target audience…I mean, cartoons for kids? Give me a break. But if they do feel like they want to go after a children audience they are going about it all wrong. For instance look at the groups they have picked to be the “role models.” Don’t get me wrong, the idea of grouping their characters allows for easy marketing and themed parties, etc. It’s just that the groups they chose leave much to be desired. On one hand, they’ve got Princesses; spoiled helpless princesses. Now what self respecting child would want to group up to be rich respected royalty with hundreds of servants and an adoring public? To try to answer these hard hitting questions, Disney responded by introducing the “Fairy” line. Now, with the fairies Disney was getting closer to the right track. The leader of the fairies was Tinkerbell, who’s introduction into Disney films showed her to be a supernatural, manipulative and hot-headed being ultimately capable of murder. This is obviously a more suitable figure to look up to, unfortunately so few of us have the ability to become tiny, much less winged; and checking to see if clapping can bring us back from the brink of certain death doesn’t seem worth the risk. No. Fairies, while a nice try, does not cut it either. The character Disney should focus on, the characters that could really put the company on the map, the characters that both children and adults of all ages can no doubt look up to, are the evil witches.

          The evil witch has long been a beloved figure in popular culture. Whether they are helping to feed lost children in the woods by creating incredible works of gingerbread construction, or building a young woman’s self confidence by placing real-world obstacles before her as she journeys through the land of oz. Evil witches have proven themselves to be noble, helpful and resourceful ladies. Disney has taken this art form and ran with it. So let us take a look at some of the wonderful witchy women of the Disney Universe.

          Yzma – A wise and yes, I’ll say it, incredibly attractive master of magic…lover of animals, and respected mentor to her assistant Kronk.

          Lady Tremaine- Perhaps one of the classiest of all the witches while not an official witch per-se; I would be willing to bet that if given the option of possessing awesome and dark powers she would use them (to do only the best things of course for her two…whoops, I mean three daughters)

          Cruella DeVil – Also not in possession of traditional evil magic she does wield the evil magic known as fashion. And wield it she does! She proves that you can produce real artistic expression using anything you happen to have around.

          Maleficent – Possibly the greatest of all evil witches! She can teach us all that if you really stick to a plan and never give up hope, in the end an innocent person will fall victim to your cruel and horrific curse. Plus, she can turn into a fire breathing dragon…what little girl doesn’t dream of that?!.

          Evil Queen (Snow White) – Proof that unrivaled beauty and unfathomable wisdom can exist in one person. Master of disguise, genius detective and apple saleswoman extraordinaire. Did I mention that when she talks to her mirror, it talks back?

          Ursula – Four words: Va va va voom! This full-figured big-hearted queen of the sea has more than a few tricks up her sleeves (all eight of them!) while she posses power than anyone would absolutely kill for, she never passes up a chance to help out those poor unfortunate souls out there…for a small price of course.

          So there you have it…the greatest group of role models that we as a society could ever hope for. Intelligent, resourceful and possessing both inner AND out beauty. Disney just need to come to its senses and give those femme fatales the publicity they so richly deserve. And think of the parties! Candy apples, lever pulling contests, Lady Tremaine floor scrubbing lessons! Games of capture the puppies, and who stole the voice? There really is no end to the fun that could be had! So if Disney is reading this (and why wouldn’t they be?), give these evil witches a chance, and you just might be surprised. I am absolutely sure that together they will cast a monstrous, terrifying and nightmarish curse…of fun!

          Until next time; Sit Back Relax and Rot Away!…and have a nice day.

The Other Challenge of the GoBots

First posted on July 20th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

We at the Claymation Werewolf Laboratories believe in bringing you a well rounded reporting of history. Sure televisions, cartoons, toys and videogames are important; probably more important than anything else in the world. However, we can not forget the unique, if fairly insignificant, role that politics have played in the forming of our society. We are of course all human and everyone, aside from myself, makes the occasional mistake. Politicians and world leaders are no different. Making decisions that impact so many while under the glare of the media spotlight can be an enormous amount of pressure. With everyone watching and waiting for your every mistake, those mistakes can lead to incredible humiliation. It is one example of that humiliation that I would like to exploit today for my own personal gain. From the Claymation Werewolf Political desk, I’m Rhett Kahn.

The year was 1985, President Jimmy Carter was embarking on his optimistic second term. With a spring in his step and a gleam in his eye he was determined to change America. He had plans, plans for the economy, plans for foreign policy and even plans to revolutionize the novelty bottle opener industry. The centerpiece of his domestic policy however was physical fitness. You see, America was getting out of shape, from the adults down to the children. Carter believed that the children were the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way; show them all the beauty they posses inside. But as we all know, as an adult, the beauty we posses inside is about as useless as you can get. It is of course, what’s outside that counts and that is what Jimmy Carter wanted to improve. Kids had to get in shape! And the lessons they learned about health and exercise as children could be carried into adulthood. If the right approach was taken while citizens are young, it could start a trend that would sweep the nation. We could have a country full of physical dynamos and really give those Ruskies what-for!

It was a brilliant scheme. Find a popular example of physical fitness; an undeniable example of a group at the height of their condition and build a training program around them. Being that this was the United States, the search soon focused on popular culture and with that in mind the choice became a real no-brainer. There was a group so powerful, so versatile that we should all strive to emulate. And that group was none other than the GoBots.

In the 80’s, the whole nation had GoBot fever! Carter himself had long been recognized as a fan, and even a champion of the budding Transforming Robot Genre. And there was a lot to be a fan of! Never before had such a group of heroes been brought together with such grace, with such power, with such total originality! It seemed like nothing was beyond their power! They could change from robots into vehicles and then back to robots…and then vehicles and so on. Because of this huge array of abilities, on October 22nd The Carter administration announced The Challenge of the GoBots. The plan was simple; create a program of exercise, training and ultimately; national tests. Integrate these tests into the physical education programs at elementary and middle schools all over the country. At first the results of the program were great. Kids everywhere were getting some exercise. Reports from all over the country were pouring in and it seemed that America’s students had devoted themselves totally to becoming more and more like their robotic champions! Not only were children getting in shape, interest in automotive and mechanical skills had reached an unprecedented levels.

Unfortunately as time rolled on, revelations started to surface that all was not well in The Challenge of the GoBots. It seems that due to an error in planning and forethought the program was way to GoBot specific. Instead of becoming active, vibrant and healthy citizens; the challenge, as it was laid out, encouraged children to actually become transforming robots. It started simple enough with rope climbing, jumping jacks and push ups, but the advanced levels called for the children to perform unreasonable physical feats. It was required that students fold their arms, legs and head into their bodies and replace them with wheels, wings, propellers and rudders. Then children would also somehow have to become metal and robotic, rather than flesh and blood humans. Ultimately, in order to gain their certificate of completion, the kids would have to pass the final test which involved completely changing from a human into a robot, into a vehicle and then back into a robot. They would then have to defeat at least one member of the evil renegades in mortal combat (or guardians, if they in fact chose to be a renegade themselves.)

These later elements of the program appeared to be unachievable. To begin with, humans had no biological ability to become robots. Additionally, most academic experts frown on any kind of school program that ends in a battle to the death. Not only were the details of the program itself ridiculous, there had began to be an uproar about the Challenge of the GoBots existing at all. Several children were seriously injured or permanently disfigured and there was almost 100% failure of anyone to reach the final test.

Unreasonable Expectations?

Through a combined effort of liberal human rights groups protesting the challenge because it required people to no longer be “human” and conservative groups protesting because the title Leader-1 sounded “commie,” the entire fitness program had become political poison. With teachers dropping out of the program and the news media demanding answers, Jimmy Carter and his advisors scrambled to respond to the public outcry that had started to surround his bold but ultimately ill-advised Challenge of the GoBots. Carter made one of the most impassioned speeches he had ever made. He claimed that this program could work; it would work! We as a nation, could come together and if we worked as one there was nothing, nothing that we couldn’t achieve. If we denied ourselves the possibility that children could become intergalactic transforming robot warriors, why then we denied every bright hope and dream we could ever have. And hope, yes hope was the most important natural resource in the United States of America. Ultimately it was discovered that hope was not the most important natural resource (turns out it was oil) and the Challenge of the GoBots was shut down forever.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carter was embarking on his bid for a third term. In the end, everything fell apart. Despite his best intentions and his public call for understanding the people were fed up with his optimistic, cartoon based policies and he was unable to withstand the force of the campaign of Ronald Reagan. Reagan ran an aggressive campaign and the slogan “Transform failure into success, not children into vehicles!” proved to be a strong influence on the public.

In the aftermath of the GoBots debacle, our nation finally did come together. They came together to pick up the pieces left by…the GoBots debacle. Even former president Carter did his part. He began a long career in charity by starting The GoBotron foundation, a group dedicated to building custom built housing for all of those affected by the misguided program. Hundreds of thousands of people were affected but have continued their lives and ultimately have become stronger as a result. We all have our own hardships to overcome, my wife will always have motorcycle tire where her left arm should be and that is something that we have learned to deal with. Soon after taking over the office of the President, he replaced the Challenge of the GoBots with The Presidential Award for Physical Fitness. While it has resulted in a lot less injuries and considerably less cyborgs, it has also not been a smashing success. As of this date, no president has ever won the award.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Eating Purple People? Or much Worse?

First posted on July 15th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Raido Podcast and Blog - CW post link

          Monsters. They come in all shapes and sizes. They all have different motivations but never forget that they are all very dangerous. Some monsters come from the darkest bowels of our world but sometimes they don’t come from our world at all. The history of these “visitations” has been a constant source of debate throughout society and has been largely ridiculed by those who claim to be experts in the journalism and science communities. Even the most extreme skeptics however would have to admit that there have been cases that aren’t so easily explained away. Cases that are so compelling that anyone would have to admit that maybe, just maybe, they’re true.

          Today I would like to talk to you about one such case, a case that has been suppressed by those in power over the years but at the time of “the event” caused an incredible stir. On August 2nd 1958, a young farmer by the name of Sheb Wilhelm Wooley was out in the fields inspecting his crops, picking up handfuls of dirt and letting them run through his fingers…basically doing all the things that farmers enjoy. At around 2 o’clock pm , while Sheb was adjusting his scarecrow, he noticed a flash above him, and then what appeared to be something coming out of the sky. As the object grew closer, Sheb realized it was heading directly for his farm. He was able to avoid the impact and the scattered debris, but his farm was not so lucky.

          The otherworldly object tore through the middle of his land, displacing all of his carefully organized dirt and killing his scarecrow. Consumed by confusion, terror and heartbreak at the loss of his straw-stuffed friend he approached the crash sight to investigate. What had appeared to be a silver streak when in flight now looked to be a craft of some sort. Badly damaged but still structurally sound. He approached the ship and suddenly it began to hum. Then it started to rock, really rocking around. It was a crazy movement that he had never seen before and he started to quickly back away when the ship opened. A creature stepped from the shadows of the craft. An alien, a…monster. And monster was a good description according to Wooley, the creature was covered in fur from head to toe. In the center of what you would call its face, was an enormous eye and at the top of his head was one long horn. Sheb has gone on record as saying “Ooh eeh, as it stepped into the daylight it commenced a shaking, I still got me a fairly good look at it. It had the look of….well I guess the best way I could put it is that it looked like some sort of people eater. Maybe even a purple people eater but I’m not sure.” When asked if he meant the alien was purple he replied. “Well sir! I tend to be fairly vague on that particular subject. I have to admit I was horrified, I actually began to beg the creature to spare my life, and ideally not eat me” The creature seemed confused and then after possibly taking a moment to process our language said, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday, it said “I wouldn’t eat you because your so tough.” It seemed utterly ridiculous. The creatures voice was so gruff… and yet, it was also high pitched and not gruff in the least…I can’t explain it, it was a confusing time. The creature than began to fly by its own power.

          This one eyed beast eventually landed on a tree. It looked undeniably menacing and Sheb Wooley knew instinctively that while he might not be directly in danger,this creature would feed and WE were its food. He tried to keep the creature talking and come up with some sort of plan but the monster seemed to see right through his actions. It started to cause the tree to swing and sway all the while talking about a plan to blend in to society enough to begin a proper “harvest“. What happened next is best expressed in Wooley‘s own words “Well bless my soul that monster transformed before my eyes he began to look more and more human all the while creati’n this terrible sound kinda like a boop boop aboopa lopa lum bam boom. Now you understand that’s not word for word but it was something pretty similar.”

          After it completed its horrific transformation and went on its way, Sheb tried to reassemble the shattered remnants of his life. But never seemed to be able to go back to life among the normal. One evening while watching the television he saw a report about a riot at a rock concert. One girl in extremely short shorts was being interviewed and began to frantically talk about a member of the band. Apparently, during the concert one of “people” on stage suddenly grew a horn from the top of his head and began to blast an incredibly loud sound from it. He dove among the confused audience and chaos ensued. Very few of the people attending the audience survived as most were either brutally killed by the rampaging rocker, or trampled by fellow victims trying to escape.

          As Wooley watched in disgust, a powerful fire began to rise within him and he knew what he had to do he had to stop the people eater. He armed himself with all of the high tech weaponry and state of the art armor available to the average farmer and sought out a partner, a partner by the name of Dr. Elliot Demento. Dr. Demento is one of the most respected theoretical biologists in history and would be key to finding a weakness in the creature’s physiology and bring him down. Understandably, it took a little convincing to get Demento on board. “When Sheb first approached me I actually laughed him out of the office, I mean wouldn’t you? A one eyed, one horned flying purple people eater? Sure looks strange to me! But after seeing his persistence I finally took a real look at all of the evidence. It totally blew me away. I mean, this was real and it needed to be stopped. Not everyone believes us but we know our destiny and we will succeed.”

          No one has heard anything from Wooley or Demento in many years but it is my true belief that they are still out there still hunting the monster that in turn hunts us all. I think they will destroy the creature, save us all, and go down in history finally gaining the respect and the appreciation of all of the people they have spent their lives attempting to protect.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No Chills in the Summer

First posted on July 13th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link

          Okay, I realize that I’m a new guy here in the Casket Crew. The last thing that I would want to do is make waves while you ghouls are just getting to know me but sometimes I’ve just got to speak my mind. So at the risk of being controversial I’m just going to come right out and say it; I think Halloween should be in the autumn. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t celebrate that spooky holiday 365 days a year. Of course we should. I just believe that fear works best when kept cool.

          I was driving through the countryside with my werewolf bride today, it was about 86 degrees outside and we had the windows down. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. As I looked across the fields of green grass, blooming flowers and singing songbirds, the thought hit me. Boy, do I hate summer.

          It seems strange that I would despise a season that everyone else seems to love but I do. To begin with I hate the heat and always have. Not only does the heat rear its ugly head in the summer but so does it’s source. The horrible, horrible sun. Because of my pale “redhead” skin, I sunburn very easily and in fact can sunburn while sitting in the shade. Some days, when I walk outside into sunlight it’s all I can do to keep from pulling my cloak over my face and hissing. All that being said, the worst thing about summer has to be the fact that it feels so far away from everything creepy. The days get longer, the nights get shorter and the streets fill up with the one thing I really do fear. Other people. I always miss the chill in the air, the early sunsets, the wind blowing dead leaves across the sidewalk as they rustle around your feet. All these things announce to me the impending arrival of trick or treat, of bobbing for apples and of costume parties. In short the arrival of Halloween.

          Horror in general is at its eerie best in the fall. Monsters strike while school is in session. Ancient horrors return with the harvest moon and unless you happen to be at a summer camp, it is the height of poor taste to be a slasher in the summertime. One of the only things about summer that I appreciate are the barbeques and they RARELY get invaded by zombies. There are no vampire pool parties (or baseball games!) And creatures of unspeakable evil from the darkest depths of Hell do not enjoy flying kites. Fall is the time for bonfires for ghost stories and for the heavy consumption of alcohol, followed by the casual sex that will lead to your grisly doom.

          I hope I haven’t made any enemies out there. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who wishes for cold rain, biting wind and grey skies. Who longs for the day that the watermelons in the fields are replaced with pumpkins…Who dreams of fall.

          There are a lot of things at home in the bright sunny summertime. Children’s animated movies for instance! I’m just saying, if I end up being slaughtered by a cruel and twisted maniac neither alive nor dead with a rotted heart full of rage and revenge, then that would be bad. If this same slaughter happens and I also have to be hot and sweaty with the sun in my eyes? That just seems unnatural.

          Until next time…Sit Back Relax and Rot Away…and have a nice day!

From the Files of Cobra – The Springfield Newsletter

First posted on July 13th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link.

          Hi-ho Springfielders! Summer is finally here and I hope everyone has their barbeque grills running in tip-top shape! Mrs. DeCobray will be hosting her annual healthy eating class at the Community Center on July 1st. As usual I’m sure there will be a big turnout. Not that any of us seem to retain any of the information though!

          Speaking of July everyone had better get their keisters downtown on the fourth for the annual parade. This year our sponsor Extensive Industries promises it will be a celebration that has no match! After the parade and the crowning of this years Springfield Baroness; everyone will head to the town square for a huge potluck dinner (no healthy eating here!). There will be good food, great friends, games and activities and then after the sun goes down we can feast our eyes on the Arbco Fireworks Display. It should be a night to remember!

          While we are talking about nights to remember, I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the tragedy that happened last month. A man named Flint came to visit some family Jed and Diana Stone of 1422 Meadowlane Blvd. He apparently seemed uncomfortable the entire visit and went to bed very early. At some time in the night he awoke from a nightmare and found Jed and Diana to be missing. Now it’s obvious to all of us that they were with the majority of the adults in Hank Zartan Memorial Park working on this summer’s super special secret project, but Flint was not aware of this. Frightened at being alone in the house Flint became, and I don’t want to sound to harsh, but Flint became a little bit kooky. After searching the house he began to frantically roam the streets of Springfield searching for his missing cousins. When he finally managed to track them down in the park he was beyond reason. He started asking what we were up to and who was “pulling our strings” when we tried to explain that we were planning something big for the good of all Springfield. When we asked if he might want to pitch in he started screaming something about a Cobra conspiracy he made a phone call to someone called Lady J requesting backup and then ran away. Sometime later he went to the sheriffs office and began to explain that all the townspeople were kidnapped, then accused Sheriff Dearborn of being a shape shifter and jumped through the window. He then barely survived driving his car off of a cliff. To everyone’s dismay the backup that Flint called for actually showed up and our planning and building committee soon found itself under attack by tanks, helicopters and people in fatigues with laser cannons! It was a terrible night and several of the townspeople were injured. Also it was a devastating blow to the new recreation center we were trying to build. At the time of the attack we probably only had about 3 weeks of construction left and we had been able to create the entire thing without any of the kids in town finding out. It was going to be a great surprise and a wonderful place where families could get together, play sports and in general have some great wholesome exercise. The facility was a total loss. Tentative plans have been made to attempt to rebuild whenever we are able to eventually gather enough money for more building supplies. In the meantime, the children can continue to use the athletic facilities at Springfield High.

          We contacted a representative of the army and as expected these “GI Joes” have no connection to the United States Military whatsoever. They are just a group of extremely troubled (and possibly lonely) individuals. We as a community wish these people the best and hope that someday they get the help that they urgently need.

          On a much happier note, the Springfield High Cobra’s baseball team has finished first in their division! The team, led by Keith Commander has been tearing its way through every other team in its division. Commander has gone on record saying that his boys have been absolutely ruthless and are determined to rule the state finals! Their championship game was dedicated to Jimmy Bludd who up until the final game, was the teams loyal mascot Kevin Cobra! Unfortunately a member of the GI Joe hooligans viciously attacked Kevin at the final game. He shouted “I’m gonna pull your fangs Serpentor!” and rushed the field beating Kevin with an enormous fake gun. Herman “Bazooka” Bernstien was taken into custody but not before giving Jimmy several broken bones and a massive concussion. Jimmy is doing well at Tomaxamot Hospital and is allowed visitors before 5pm Monday through Friday. Stop on by or at least send a card to our own loyal Kevin Cobra so he can be back up and slithering for victory!

          In the coming months, the founders day committee will be ramping up preparations for this years Founders Day Extravaganza. Mayor Dave Stro is promising that this will be a Founders Day we will never forget. I’m not going to give too much away but there is one secret that’s too hot to keep under my hat. This years keynote speaker will be none other than that famous Cover Girl, Courtney Krieger! She is said to be bringing a large group of friends for a big surprise and I’m sure were all exited and looking forward to a fun and peaceful Founders Day!

          And from the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you for your hard work, for your caring and for everything you do to make Springfield just the best little town anywhere! And I’m sure that dedication will be just as strong next year when we re-write the town charter and become a terrorist organization that will inevitably rule the world and slaughter all those who would dare try to resist our domination!

          Have a great summer everyone!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poor Marilyn: Part of America’s First Halloween Families of the Golden Age

First posted on July 6th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link

          While I was in the yard today, watering the weeds, I was thinking about the American family. My thoughts of course soon turned to one of the first families of Halloween, The Munsters. I have always been a huge fan of The Munsters and still to this day delight in their presentation of the all-American way of life.

          While the show likes to explore the spooky side of things in a good natured kind of way, one element of the show rises past the light-hearted fun side of classic monsters and crosses straight over into the realm of terror. One character on the show cranks the horror up a notch and adds the edge that has made it tough to watch for some more “sensitive” viewers. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I am, of course, speaking of Marilyn Munster. Never before in the history of television have producers dared to present a character so gruesome, so terrifying and so plain! How Marilyn is related to a family as normal as the Munsters, no one will ever know.

          Let’s take a closer look (if we can bear it) at what separates this unfortunate girl from her more normal relatives. While she tries her best to fit in it’s obvious on sight that Marilyn Munster is destined to be an outcast. First of all she’s blonde. Blonde! Her hair is the golden color of sunshine on a field of flowers. It’s enough to make you sick, it isn’t dark or oily in the least. If that wasn’t enough, the rest of her is, if anything, even more plain. Her body is soft and curvaceous without the smallest hint of that sallow rigor mortis look that drives all the boys wild. And her complexion doesn’t have a single flaw or scar. Her skin seems to glow with life and color, and sometimes (and this is difficult for me to say) a tan. I mean, one would think that the girl had never even been dead! Her family is constantly trying to find a nice sickly looking boy to take her out but it can’t be easy. The boys that Marilyn seems to go for look like they should be on the cover of one of those horror mags you see at the supermarket checkout lane; GQ, Esquire, Sports Illustrated and the like.

          Despite the unappealing nature of these young men, they don’t stay interested for too long. Even when she does find a boy patient enough to date her and brings them home to meet the family, they end up running away in terror.

          And who can blame them? After all the girl never learned how to sew spider webs, can’t bake bat soufflĂ© to save her death, and when she dusts the house she actually REMOVES the dust that was already there! She enjoys sporting events, dances, even rock and roll concerts! Worst of all she goes out in the daytime, on purpose! Picnics, strolls in the park; the whole nine yards. There seems to be no limit to her bizarre behavior.

          I’m a strong believer that variety is the spice of life and I like to think that there is someone out there for everyone. So maybe somewhere there might actually be someone for Marilyn Munster. Despite her flaws, her many, many flaws, she really is a sweet girl and always seems to try her best. Maybe she can find a boy who can overlook all these little quirks. Look past the radiant skin and the bright blue eyes. The sunny personality and the strange daytime hobbies…But the blonde hair? How much can one guy take?

          Talk to you again real soon, and until next time…Sit Back, Relax and Rot Away! And have a nice day.

Visit the Official Munsters Page at:

The League of Extraordinary Ducks

First posted on July 6th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

          In the 1950’s, radio was king. And between 1952 and 1954 there was nothing more popular in the world of radio than the genre of anthropomorphic animal action adventure. A great example of this type of show was The League of Extraordinary Ducks! Sponsored by Red & Green brand Duct Tape this half hour show kept families all over America gathered around their radio, totally captivated. The concept was pretty groundbreaking for it’s time; During Duckburg’s greatest peril, a secret governmental agency traveled the world recruiting the most powerful ducks in existence.

          The team was led by the famed adventurer Duck Dodgers and included the half alive indestructible cyborg Gizmo Duck, the flying expert and mechanical wizard Ace Duck, the mysterious mistress of magic and illusion Morgana McCawber, the homicidal con artist and thief LeQuack and the split personality Mellissa Duck, who at any moment can transform into an unstoppable destructive monster. Finally the most mysterious member of the team, loyal only to himself, the ancient vampire Count Duckula. The cartoon actors got along extremely well and got a real kick out performing and improvising together. The gang even made several public appearances at parades and fairs, in character where they would sign autographs, mingle with their loyal fans and generally have a ball.

           Despite extremely high ratings and a ton of branded merchandise, it was eventually decided that the show was just too violent and edgy for the public. The public strongly disagreed and began the first entertainment petition drive in American history, unfortunately the show stayed off the air. The actors all went on to strong careers in television. “Mellissa” and “Duck Dodgers” signed on with Warner Bros. in their upstart Looney Toons division. They were even able to appear together in several animated shorts. Dodgers became a huge star and Mellissa eventually began to work behind the camera becoming a highly respected director. “Ace Duck” and “LeQuack” went on to play recurring rolls on the hit shows Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Courage The Cowardly Dog respectively. “Count Duckula” was given his own program which became a huge hit in the UK and would later produce the spin-off sitcom Dark Shadows. Gizmo Duck and Morgana were both given strong rolls on the crime drama Darkwing Duck.

          Years later the cast was approached about turning The League of Extraordinary Ducks into a series of graphic novels but few toons were willing to leave the booming world of television for print work and they respectfully declined. The graphic novels were later re-imagined using characters from literature. While no further properties were ever created For LOED the fan base is as loyal as ever and the cast has made appearances together at several “League” conventions. There has even been quiet talk of a reunion episode produced for the internet. One can only hope that this comes to fruition. I don’t think I only speak for myself when I say how great it would be to hear the old team back together again doing what they do best, fighting evil!