Monday, February 27, 2012

Cloudy With a Chance of Purple Rain

First posted on February 26th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

Of all the tiny, effeminate, African-American mainstream pop culture mega-stars of the 1980’s and 90’s, few drew as many comparisons as Prince and Michael Jackson. For me however there was never any comparison. As a kid I was a huge Michael Jackson fan, in fact, Thriller was one of the first three albums I ever owned. I have distinct memories of listening to that record, especially the title track and especially the Vincent Price part

But it was so much more than a record. The video was like a miniature horror movie with pop music. It was epic! I remember the disclaimer in the beginning with Michael’s declaration that the video was just for fun and he didn’t believe in the occult and was neither a zombie or a werewolf…or something like that. After all, the last thing Michael Jackson would ever have wanted to do was develop a negative public reputation. I even remember standing in a department store (probably Service Merchandise) in front of a wall of TVs, playing Thriller’s behind the scenes featurette. It demonstrated the makeup choreography and everything else that went into making such a groundbreaking music video.

The reason I never compared the two as a kid is that I didn’t even have any idea who Prince even was. Apparently, for some reason my parents thought that songs like “Darling Nikki” and “Erotic City” weren’t suitable for their kid to listen to! That being the case, my knowledge of the music and career of Prince has been sadly lacking…until now. Through my assigned research for the Cold Slither Podcast, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the life and times of the royalty turned pop star Prince Albertinican.

The son of King Albertinican ruling monarch of all of Purpletopia, was always a little…different. He never showed much interest in his training and would sometimes skip his royal classes all together. At times it seemed as though he didn’t even want to be groomed to eventually rule Purpletopia, and truth be told he didn’t. His love above everything else, was music. He traveled to the Americas to pursue musical training causing outrage among the noble class of his country. The scandal eventually forced his father to public disown the young prince and remove all royal titles.

Meanwhile the Prince who now had begun to defiantly use Prince as his stage title had started to make quite a name for himself in the United States pop music scene. Capitalizing on Americas love of shirtlessness, his music videos were constantly at the top of whatever list measures the success of music videos! It looked as though this dishonored prince would rule after all. There was only one thing standing in his way. It seemed that in the United States, pop music already had royalty…it had a king named Michael Jackson.

It seemed that with every move Prince Made, that dastardly Jackson was one step ahead of him. Prince wrote a hit song, Michael wrote a mega hit! Prince got a sweet endorsement deal with the RC Cola Soda-Pop company and Michael Jackson gets an even better deal with Pepsi. Prince sets the hearts of millions of teenage girls on fire. Michael sets his hair on fire! It seemed there was nothing he could do to get the better of MJ. Then one weekend in an RC Cola (he had a lifetime supply) -fueled eruption of creativity Prince created one of the most staggeringly triumphant records to ever get into the unworthy hands of Mr. and Mrs. America. That album had everything the hits just kept coming.

The world held it’s breath to see how Jackson would respond. And respond he did. Thriller, as an album sold mildly the darker turn in the lyrics put some people off and nearly everyone was afraid of tiger cubs

What put Michael Jackson’s Thriller over the top was the music video for the title track. America suddenly had Thriller-mania and even Prince’s constant lack of shirts where not enough to help his video steal any of Michael Jackson’s thunder.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was everything in the 80's.

What Prince needed was a huge overproduced special effects music video extravaganza of his own! He needed a signature purple rain video. It would have supernatural elements but no monsters. Monsters were played out already. And besides, it was common knowledge that prince was deathly afraid of the dark. What he needed was a “Prince” video full of flair…full of sex appeal…full of Prince.

Here was the pitch:

It opens with a shirtless (of course) Prince wearing only tight leather pants and an ascot. He is on a picnic date with three women on a beach. The women all of whom are for some reason barely covered by sheets, feed him grapes and dab the sweat from his brow with silk scarves.

He begins to ask them if they would all like to be his “steady girl” when suddenly storm clouds fill the air and the skies open up with a downpour of the most beautiful purple rain imaginable. Prince, realizing that the violet rain will trigger his transformation gets so upset that he has to fan himself with a paper plate.

Before the eyes of the horrified (and by horrified, I mean turned on) women his leather pants rip apart and his legs are replaced by a glistening purple mermaid tail. He crawls (seductively) to the ocean shore and disappears head on into a crashing wave. There was no huge constantly imitated dance sequence. In the Purple Rain Video, when Prince transformed into a Mer-Prince it mostly consisted of him playing a seashell guitar, singing sexy lyrics to dolphins and writhing inappropriately on a coral reef.

Under the sea he swims and swirls amid sparkling lights and brightly colored bubbles chasing mermaids who giggle and play hard to get. Eventually in a twist ending the women on the beach are able to turn themselves into mermaids as well through the sheer force of their sex-drive. And Mer-Prince and the 85 Mer-Loves of his life frolic into the distance, beneath the briny deep.

To the lucky few who saw the purple rain music video, it stands alone as one of the greatest triumphs of any performers career in the history of the world. Had it aired the video itself may have actually replaced music entirely, such was it’s majesty. People who saw only seconds of it we said to have wept with joy for weeks afterward.

In the end however, it turned out that the Studio President’s Father had been killed by a mermaid and the whole project was scrapped.

They decided to just make a feature length movie about a singer instead.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monster Squad!...Revenge

This is a LoEB post~

          Sometimes being a pop-culture blogger has its perks. Recently I got to experience a great example of these. I was given a semi-private screening of select clips and a trailer to a new film; a sequel to one of my all-time favorite childhood movies. The Monster Squad. I went in (having been burned by 80’s sequels and remakes, too many times to count) and left blown away. I’m going to do my best to summarize what we were shown, and I hope it fills you with the same Nostalgic Spooky Excitement that I’m still feeling! I bring you; “Monster Squad! Revenge.”


          Following the events of the original “Monster Squad” the group was riding high on their incredible victory over evil. The friends grew closer than they had ever been and life seemed to have gone back to normal. As the years went by however, some of the members went on with their lives, settled down and put the horror behind them. Others were not so lucky. Shortly after the marriage of Eugene and Phoebe, the gang began to drift apart. After school, Rudy began to manage the family hardware store. He settled down with his high school sweetheart and they were blessed with a son and daughter. He continued to keep in touch with Horace, Eugene and Phoebe.

          Aside from the supernatural novels that he now wrote, Eugene didn’t have anything more to do with Monsters.

          Sean and Patrick were never able to stop chasing the shadows that haunted their lives. Sean went into, what you might call, the “family business” enrolling in the police academy straight out of high school. Convincing Horace to do the same the two stay strong friends and after graduation became patrol partners. Sean never married and soon began to throw himself deeply into his new fight against “evil”; distancing himself from everyone in his life, even his best friend Patrick.

          Patrick went down an even darker path convinced that everything that had happened to them could happen again; he believed that the only way to prevent it, was to remove the darkness from society as a whole. To separate the evil from mankind once and for all. He knew that science was the only answer to the terror that magic created. He began to study the scientific roots of evil; the genetic defects that created serial killers and other monsters of humanity. Though almost completely isolated from mankind his search led him to someone who seemed to be a kindred spirit. A London botanist named Dr. Wilfred Glendon. Glendon had published several startling papers on a method that he believed could separate the man from the monster. Through correspondence, Patrick learned that the good Dr Glendon would be visiting the US for a conference and incredibly he agreed to meet with Patrick. After the meeting, Glendon confessed that while he believed he held the secret to creating a world free of evil, the strong regulations of the British Public Health System prevented any possible tests from moving forward. Desperate to continue the project, he had actually traveled to the states in the hopes of finding a research partner and possibly…a test subject. Patrick agreed without hesitation to help and soon they were working everyday until nightfall (at which time the Dr would disappear.) At last, after months of research the day came to test the formula. Surprisingly, Glendon scheduled the test for late evening. Patrick noticed the Doctor acting strangely as he prepared the chemical but did not question him. At last he began to give Patrick the series of injections he believed could remove all traces of evil. While he waited between each injection he began to tell a story; of his own inner monster and his attempt to quell the beast within.

          He ran across the papers of a brilliant young scientist. A student of human nature and the human mind, who himself sought to end evil and madness once and for all. Though the experiments failed to deliver the desired results, they proved to be more successful than he could have ever imagined. And the story proved something else to Glendon. Evil is strong. Stronger than human nature. The idea of trying to somehow defeat it is pointless. The true victory lies in embracing the evil and becoming comfortable with the monster inside yourself. If nothing else, this young scientist, this Henry Jekyll proved that. Patrick realized too late that he was being injected with Jekyll’s serum and that the entire thing had been a lie from the start. The final injection had been administered and night had fallen.

          Before Patrick could even react he saw a familiar thing start to take place. The Doctor began to transform into a werewolf. His last words before the beast replaced his speech with a roar was; “If humanity is to survive; we must evolve. Those of us who do will destroy the weak. Soon we will all be monsters, and those who aren’t will be foooood aaarrrrghhhhhh”

          Patrick stood frozen by the creature that now stood before him, until he was suddenly doubled over by a pain like nothing he had ever experienced ripping through his body. Soon the pain became a sort of pleasure, like lightning in his veins. He felt a cold and comforting presence surround him and he became alive, he became evil, strong and huge. He became Hyde.

          The trailer begins at the scene of a terrible fire. Several police officers are retraining one of their own; detective Sean Crenshaw. Sean is franticly fighting the cops and trying to get back into the engulfed building. He just keeps screaming Horace and eventually has to be taken to the ground. Later after a 3am phone call. Sean’s sister Pheobe arrives to pick him up from the emergency room. Over a pot of coffee in her kitchen, Sean tells her a story more horrible than anything she’s faced in a long time. Horace is dead. The official police report will say that he died in a fire during a search of a warehouse said to contain a drug manufacturing operation. But that was not how Sean’s partner and lifelong friend died. He was dead before the fire even started. It was vampires. Three women…he knew the look of them. He could not forget the way a vampire moved…the look in their eyes…the stench.

          The smell of death and blood and cold filled both of their nostrils as soon as they stepped into the building. Acting on an anonymous tip they were only there to investigate what they thought was an abandoned meth lab. They didn’t expect to find anyone there. They certainly didn’t expect it to be a trap. About halfway inside an explosion ripped through the building, part of a flaming wall came down feet away from Crenshaw. The two now separated Sean had to watch in horror as three women, clad in white, descended upon Horace. Though he was a highly trained cop he had no time to react before the three were on him and in front of his partner he was ripped apart. Sean fired on the three woman but as he expected, it had no effect. Overtaken by smoke and flames he made his way out of the building, hoping to regroup. By the time the first responders arrived on the scene, the building had began to crumble. No one was willing to try to recover Horace and no one would believe his ranting.

          They were back. Somehow, the monsters were back and they were after them. Somehow they knew and they wanted revenge. The following week brought the funeral of their fallen friend and the long overdue reunion of the once strong group. After the services, the gang began to walk and discuss. They listened to Sean’s story and they believed it. Patrick remained different. distant…changed. Though the company of his friends made his heart a little lighter, the constant feeling that he was being torn in half, was stronger than ever. He knew he had to help them and he knew that in order to do so he had to rid himself of Hyde. He had to find the Werewolf Dr. Glendon and destroy him. Patrick had TWO monsters to kill, but he had to kill them on his own. He didn’t want to put his friends in that kind of danger but he could also never tell them what he had become. Without even knowing where they were going, Sean led the group to the former home of “scary German guy”… Gustav Meyrink.

          Meyrink had died 20 years prior but his home had never been disturbed. On the day of his death, Sean received a letter in the mail labeled with instructions to only open it if they were ever in true danger. He knew that there was never a better time than standing in front of his house on the first day in which the gang… The Monster Squad, was finally reunited. The letter was extraordinary it thanked each of them by name for everything they had shown him about the continued strength of the human spirit. He had told them once that he knew about monsters. While he had meant the terrible days of the Nazis, that was not ALL he had meant. He had known of another monster. From his earliest days, his family spoke of a strange secret kept only to the family. A supernatural force that could be summoned or created to defend them in the face of overwhelming adversity. That creature was The Golem.

          The family chose, in the face of Hitler’s rise, not to create their protector…to depend on the basic goodness of people. He had known it was a mistake and vowed, on the day, to never allow that mistake to happen again. He had no children to pass the secrets of the Golem to but he had grown to feel as though the Monster Squad was his family. He knew of no better people in which to share such a grand secret. He had, unknown to them, left the Squad his home and all of his worldly possessions. After the defeat of Dracula, Gustav had worked day and night on the construction of a protector who would help them defeat the darkness, should it ever rise again. Deep within the walls of his home was the body of the Golem and the means to bring it to life.

          The Monster Squad stood together on the threshold of a new war. There had already been a casualty before they even knew the battle had begun. Some of the team had never thought that they would ever again fight monsters. Some had never stopped fighting. This time things seemed different. Less innocent. More personal. The daughters of Dracula seemed unwilling to underestimate the team as their father had done. Would the behemoth known as The Golem be enough to turn the tides of this fight? Stronger still was the threat from the monsters they didn’t know. The mad Dr Glendon had long since stopped becoming a beast only at night. His ruined mind had set it’s sites on a revenge to befall all of humanity and his first victim Patrick, one of their own, had already become his first victim. The monster inside himself, day by day was quickly overtaking him; down to his very core. The Daughters of Dracula, The Werewolf of London, Mr Hyde and the Golem. This wasn’t like the movies anymore.

          It’s time for this “damn club” to prove what it’s REALLY made of.

          Unfortunately we will all have to wait for the film to find out what happens to the gang but based on the premise, the new “Monster Squad” is going to be a true rollercoaster ride. Finally a sequel to a beloved 80’s property that isn’t going to rip the heart and soul out of the original. I’m not one for the hysteria involving the midnight release of a film but I plan on being one of the first in line at my local movie house when this gets released! I sincerely hope that all of you join me in proving, with our dollars, that this is the kind of filmmaking we want Hollywood to give us. The kind of thing that takes our nostalgia and cranks it up to eleven. Buy your tickets and go see “Monster Squad! Revenge.” That is…if you’ve got the gnards.

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Open Letter to the Owners Of Scooby.

First posted on February 19th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

I’m going to be completely honest here guys. This post is about Scooby Doo Where Are You? If you see this blog entry at all it’s going to be HEAVILY edited. Some of the things I say make some very powerful people, very unhappy. I once wrote a smear piece about The X-Men’s Cyclops and it never even saw the light of day.

The fact remains that I never liked Scooby-Doo. Sure, I watched it as a kid but I also wore spandex shorts, denim shoes and drank two gallons of Kool-Aid a day.

But don’t worry, I’m not going to spend this whole article ripping on a cartoon that many people hold dear as an important piece of childhood nostalgia. I want to try to promote a positive atmosphere…I want to bring the online geek world together, not tear them apart…I want to…keep my job. In spite of my strong sense of self preservation, I feel like it would be irresponsible for me not to speak my mind. Even on a subject as harshly polarizing as Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang.


Dear Sir or Madame…or Ghost?

Your intellectual property Scooby Doo, is about to be featured in an episode of the Cold Slither Podcast. This will no doubt bring your little underground show to the big leagues and when that happens all of it’s little “flaws” are going to be exposed under the harsh light of The Cold Slither Nation. Since I am recognized world-wide as a powerful, pretend cartoon expert and in that capacity, I want to try to help you guys make this Scooby Doo thing take off. With the right direction it could develop into something on par with Captain Caveman or even JabberJaw!

Look…as sad as it might be, Don Knotts is gone. He isn’t going to be able to carry your show anymore. And since there is NO ONE around today that could be that caliber of guest star your going to have to try to be a little more creative.

Scooby Doo got some huge street-cred when they asked Batman to guest star. Why not open that up to the Batman of today? I’m sure that Christian Bale would lend his goofy, cookie monster voice to the show… Of course, he might beat up a couple members of your staff, but I’m telling you that it’s gonna bring in the fans!

The one thing that Scooby Doo has always done well is the supernatural angle.

Image by Alex Pardee
The kids today love horror…look at the popularity of True Blood and Monster Squad and uh…Lost Boys, okay some of those might not be current but my people tell me that there are some supernatural vampiry type shows that are just going gangbusters right now! The one mistake they always made was that the monster always ended up being Old Man Withers or something…wearing some kind of super realistic and incredibly flexible rubber mask. What the cartoon fans want today is real monsters! Real Danger! Evil! The Occult!

Here’s what I’m thinking: Bring in Guest Stars that are actual movie slashers! You could cross promote and brind a real edge to the show Picture it!

“A Scooby Doo Mystery…on Elm St.”

“The really New Scooby Doo Movies: The Mystery Gang Meets Leather Face!”

Image By Bingo Gastation
You might ultimately have to kill off one or two members of the Mystery Gang but who cares. Just kill Velma! After all that whole “I lost my glasses” gag wasn’t even funny the first time!

While I’m on the subject of improvement; not enough has been done in the past to capitalize on the amazing leaps in sandwich technology that Scooby Doo brought to the nation. We need to have at least 50 percent more sandwich scenes. The kids today love sandwiches. Both my little rugrats take the things to school damn near every day. And they are BORING. Peanut butter and jelly or maybe turkey and swiss. These sandwiches are small enough to fit in a lunchbox they don’t have whole wedges of cheese or entire fishes or a turkey drumstick or anything on them! Its like our youth has forgotten what it means wander (in a marijuana induced stupor) into a kitchen in a clearly abandoned, haunted house, raid the illogically well stocked ice box and pile everything you find in it between to slices of bread!

Here are some things that we don’t need:

While I wholly encourage your writers to “Bump up the weird” on this show. And no I don’t mean the kind of weird that we’ve been given in the most recent verstion of the cartoon. That was weird in a bad, uncomfortable kind of way. For instance; we don’t need a scene with Velma and Shaggy making out, Scooby catching them and then accusing Shaggy of “cheating on him”

I can also do without any more musical crossovers. It was fine when you could score top notch acts like The Mamas and the Papas, Jerry Reed or The Harlem Globetrotters; but if producers reached out to “musicians” today, who knows what we could end up with. I picture an animated, nightmare world full of terrible musical acts that are if anything less real than the cartoon they would be appearing on. If any of you were tossing around the idea of Scooby Doo meets: Lady Gaga…Justin bieber…or *shudders* The Insane Clown Possee…please! For the love of Scooby Snacks reconsider! After all were trying to raise a new generation of Scooby Doo fans. Not sending our children down a path so dark and hopeless there might be no escape!

If you don’t take these obvious steps to drag your cartoon out of it’s rut, then I don’t know what to tell you. Your wasting TV space, your wasting good animation and you’re wasting my time. I mean come on guys!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Cold Slither Podcast. Origins

First posted on February 12th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

By now, everyone knows about the Cold Slither Podcast. Since their meteoric rise to internet stardom, their every move has been covered by websites and trade publications. While their legions of listeners know all about the show, it’s origins have always been shrouded in mystery…until now.

In this article, I will bring you the (completely unauthorized) origin stories of the hosts and history of The Cold Slither Podcast.

H Classick Material:

Millionaire, playboy philanthropist, Classick rose from his roots in the mean streets of the Brooklyn comic book retail world to become a self-made titan of industry. Not satisfied with his domination of the corporate world, he began to expand his interests into technology, specifically the manipulation of human minds. He soon left the safety of his office high atop the Manhattan skyline, to travel the country in secret, searching for talent with which he could build an army. He demanded absolute loyalty from those he recruited… Those who refused to join met with a terrible fate, in the company of the shadowy and feared arachnid canine creature known as Spider-Dog. With his soldiers, he began to mold the world into the kind of place that was fit to lead. While combing through ancient archives, Classick discovered the story of a rock band named Cold Slither who rose to fame using an advanced form of mass hypnosis.

They came close to world domination, eventually falling at the hands of GI Joe; A global terrorist organization. While a bigger fan of old school hip-hop than 80’s rock from Australia, he delighted in the potential. Through his experiments in the southern United States, he began to study the use of satellite technology on this mind control tech. In one attempt, he inadvertently brought a meteor to Earth destroying eight city blocks in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Eventually he perfected the technology and created Cold Slither Industries recruiting the finest minds in the geek cultural world. Alongside his international supermodel wife, he continues his plan for Cold Slither to rule the world.

Eclectik Relaxation:

Evil, monstrous dictator…cruel master of torture…track and field enthusiast! There are so many ways to describe Eclectik Relaxation (aka Mister Sin-E-ster, aka Skel-E-tor, aka Mag-E-to!). “E” Rose to power in the mid 1980’s. Ageless, heartless, and unstoppable. He is believed by many to be the one who actually killed Optimus Prime, Robin, and Superman. He decided to only break Batman’s back because he “kinda liked the whole creature-of-the-night angle.” Amassing a horde of blindly following minions, he systematically destroyed everyone who opposed him on his own insane quest to takeover the world. At the height of his power, he and his wife, the Baroness participated in the hostile takeover of COBRA, Extensive Enterprises and all of its subsidiaries. …unfortunately, in 2003 the bottom dropped out of the evil overlord market and his industry came crashing down. Trading in his dictatorial throne for an office, he joined forces with Classick Material. In a press release following his hire by Cold Slither, Eclectik vowed to do his best, as second-in-command to Classick. …in the time-honored tradition of his malevolent managerial mentor…Star Scream.

Tim Dogg 98:

Discovered during a meteor strike in the heart of Atlanta, GA in 1998. He was found amidst the rubble of a comic book shop. He had no name and no memories of who he was. When the rescuers found him he said nothing but “Tim…Dogg..” before passing out. The following days at the hospital shed no further light on the identity of this mystery man who had come to be known as Tim. While he had no memory of his life, he displayed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of comic books and comic book history. Remarkably, he seemed able to recite on demand, even the most obscure facts and information about super heroes and the stories that surrounded them. Following his recovery he began to wander the world. Helping those he found, in any way he could (his help usually came in the form of Marvel comics related information.) In his travels, he never stopped searching for a woman to share his life with…for a place that he could call home. Desperate to find something to hold onto…and maybe give him a connection to this world. A world in which he never felt as though he belonged. His incredible powers drawing their interest, he discovered a home of sorts in Classick Material’s Cold Slither organization. Though now in the company of villains, his path remains unclear.

…In 2011, in a quest to bring their own way of thinking to the masses, Eclectik discovered a form of communication without boundaries. It was called podcasting. Soon Cold Slither transmissions were spreading like wildfire through the internet. It is only a matter of time before their destinies are fulfilled and everyone succumbs to the might of Cold Slither. Their company motto puts it best…

We’re cold slither. You’ll be joining us soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fond Memories of Point Break. The Radio Show.

This is a LoEB post~

Looking back on my childhood it seems like it was always a rainy day. Elbows propped up on the windowsill I would watch the raindrops race down the glass, sometimes merging into one. I would watch the water rush down the gutter of the street and the cars slash puddles onto the walk. These were days where there was no going outside. On my days off from school I couldn’t run and play tag. There was no sandlot baseball, no games of marbles and no chance to play Robin Hood. The homemade bows and arrows set useless against the wall next to my wooden sword and lucky baseball mitt.

On those rainy days I wasn’t even able to take two bits and go to the local picture show. I had to stay inside with only my imagination to occupy me. I used to drive my parents up the wall running around the house, shirt tied around my neck playing Superman! Eventually I would grow weary of that heavy responsibility and take a break from fighting for truth, justice and the American way. I would spend the rest of the day bored. That was, until late afternoon. Every day at 4 o’clock something happened that could brighten even the most cloudy day. Something that kicked my imagination into overdrive! My favorite show in the entire world came on. As the closing music for the Jack Benny program began to play, and my mother got along with her chores, I commandeered the radio set and tuned in to hear that familiar melody; The opening theme to Point Break! Point Break was the most keen show I had ever heard. Centering around the scuba diving and boogey-board scene of Catalina Island in California…

Private Eye Johnny Utah would battle the Surfer-Pirate syndicate each week, foiling their every plan; from bank heists to jewel smuggling he was always there to save the day. Helped by SGT Pappas, A gruff police detective with a heart of gold (who loved “the sauce” almost as much as he loved Justice.) They patrolled the islands and the sea (both above and below) in a constant mission to clean up the beaches and make the golden sands of Catalina a safe place for decent Americans!

Sponsored by Carnation Powdered Milk, the show lasted half an hour (though it always flew by too fast) and opened with the, now famous, speech;

“Now Presenting the continuing adventures of Johnny Utah, a former all star quarterback brought down at the height of glory by a bum knee. Now he plays a game with much higher stakes. The game of justice. For a small fee, he works day and night to comb the beaches, cleaning up the scum and villainy that threaten to tear the vacation hotspot of Catalina apart. He’s tough as nails and smooth as an evening tide. He’s Johnny Utah. Private Eye”

Johnny Utah was no ordinary PI though, he did his work undercover. Posing as a juvenile delinquent beach bum he worked in the very heart of the criminal world that he fought to tear down.

His only connections to the outside world were Sgt Pappas, Pappas’ dog Scoobie and of course the special dame in Johnny’s Life Lauren Tyler, the kind hearted surfer girls who ran the Point Break Seaside Cabana a juice bar for the tourists, surfers and scuba divers to get out of the sun and quench their thirst. Utah lived a life I only dreamed of! Surfing, lounging in the sun, and mixing with some of the most far out characters you could imagine. His life was spent on an island paradise! It never rained there…not like my life in Ohio. In Catalina, everything was perfect! And the best part was when he wasn’t living the life of a care-free surfer he was fighting crime always one step ahead of those dirt bags and ready to slug any hired goon or crime boss that threatened justice! On top of that busy schedule be even managed to make time for romance with his best girl Lauren…which was okay I guess but personally I always thought that mushy stuff was for girls. Who needs it!

I managed to get my parents to put up the dough to buy me my very own membership in the “Point Break Beach Squad” a sort of fan club for the show. It came with a Catalina surf club membership card, a Johnny Utah button and best of all a Private Eye NotePad! You could write secret messages on it and it would still look like a blank piece of paper, but hold it under sunshine (or a handy lamp) and then turn out the lights and the writing glowed in the dark! Perfect for late night patrol! I used to try solving crimes all around my neighborhood and at school. I was brave! I was tough! I irritated the heck out of everybody! All in an effort to be like my hero.

My all time favorite episode revolved around a band of bank robbers all disguised in the masks of US presidents, Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower. They lived a life of crime but enjoyed every minute of it. With their ill gotten gains, they paid for a life of endless adventure! Surfing, rock and roll, clam bakes, the whole she-bang! Johnny became their friend, he went to the clam bakes, became one of them and then when the time was right he struck and brought them down. It was the most!

Looking back I truly believe that Point Break, helped to shape the person I became. Without that show to inspire my youthful imagination I might have never became the fee-wheeling playboy, investigative journalist I am today! It gave me confidence, courage and a sense of adventure and now, it gives me some wonderful memories…to think about on a rainy day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NWO …A Journey

First posted on February 6th, 2012 on The Cold Slither Podcast - CW post link

When I found out that the subject of this week’s podcast was going to be, the WCW’s NWO storyline, I was a little hesitant. In fact, I initially refused to do it. I still remember my conversation with Tim Dogg. “Tim” I said “I’m not just some hired gun willing to write on whatever subject I’m told to. I am a retro journalist and I take this stuff seriously. If you want a post this week, you guys are gonna have to change the topic!” Tim responded that he stuck his neck out to get me the Cold Slither blogging job and if I knew what was good for me I would shut my mouth and write the damn post “or, so help me, I’ll make you wish you had never been born.”

So, after some thought I decided that it might not be a bad idea to try and write a post about NWO. After all, it’s a good idea, every once in a while for a writer to step outside his comfort zone and take on some new territory. But where to begin? At the risk of losing all of my hard won street-cred as a walking encyclopedia on all things retro pop culture, my wrestling knowledge is sadly limited.

Sure I watched the WWF back in the 80s, I mean, I’m not a communist! It’s just that in later years when the WCW got hot and The WWF changed its name, the ladies were keeping me pretty busy. By “ladies” I mean my teachers, and by “busy” I mean sex. At any rate I didn’t keep up with it. I saw all the merchandise, I heard folks talking about it but I…didn’t even know what an NWO was. In fact, most of my memories were of Saturday morning wrestling (which came on after Garfield and Friends and before professional fishing) The rest is made up of a combination of Hulk Hogan’s Rockin’ Wrestling and me playing with wrestling toys (the still awesome WWF Thumb Wrestlers) that my parents bought me, for some reason.

Over the years it has all kind of blurred together to the point where I fondly remember Ricky The Dragon Steamboat helping He-Man to defeat the evil forces of Nermal, Emperor Palpatine and Nikolai Volkoff (I think he might have actually BEEN communist) It’s all become so confused that at times it almost seems as though wrestling was fake.

Now, I don’t mean to say that I didn’t know the basics, most of it is common knowledge. I know of course that NWO started as a small tee shirt and beer cozy company in Newport Kentucky. They were historic in that they only sold black merchandise. Featuring products emblazoned with their company NWO logo, which stood for Newport Worldwide Originals, their popularity took-off with high school males and young blue collar workers. Soon, they had gained major fame in the cut-throat world of logo tee shirts sales in Northern Kentucky. It was time to take the company to the next level. The answer seemed obvious, contract a major sports entertainment television company to create a complicated crossover, invasion storyline based on similar plots in Japanese pro wrestling for the sole purpose of selling screen-printed tee shirts! If they played their cards right, the owners of NWO believed that they might even find an angle to push their poorly selling Wolfpack line…and what followed was wrestling history.

I had a lot to learn if I was going to take that limited information and write a post on a website as popular as Cold Slither. Trying to get a little more foundation I began to ask Classick the meaning of a few terms that I had heard in some wrestling podcasts. Phrases like “Heel turn” “Face” “Go” and “Over” He explained that they had began as industry terms that eventually expanded gained use in “dirt sheets” which were wrestling magazines or websites. I then tried asking for a few more definitions. Things like “squared circle” “top rope” “body slam” and “Hulk Hogan” He said that he didn’t have time for my dumb questions and that I needed to go do some research.

Using the time honored pretend-blogger method, I got on WikiPedia and read all I could on the subject but it all seemed so impersonal. Words …stories ….facts …what did it all mean? I had to really get to know the NWO, I had to live the life, to get inside their minds. I had to BE NWO! I immediately began going bald…but just on top of my head. I let the hair in back grow long and luxurious. I started using an enormous collection of bandanas (and sometimes cowboy hats) to cover the baldness. I also practiced ripping my shirt off, randomly throughout the day. Considering the fact that I am a little less in shape than your average professional wrestler (morbidly obese) sitting shirtless at various times in the day sometimes got a bit awkward…Sunday dinner at my parents for instance. But I carried on, for the sake of Cold Slither! I grew a glorious Hulk Hogan mustache and practiced “championship belt air guitar” day and night.

Photo by Killswitched
Finally I was ready for the greatest NWO challenge of all. I began “Invading” things. I started small by invading my living room but between the damage to my own property and my wife’s less than supportive response, I decided to take the show on the road. I invaded a local Dairy Queen scaring away all the customers and breaking a guitar (I carry one with me wherever I go now) over the manager’s head. While I was writing NWO in chocolate syrup on the unconscious manager’s back I wondered if I was getting the full experience.

I had turned heel. I had started to act like Andrew Dice Clay. I had pushed the “creativity…not rules” philosophy of my office to the limit by driving my pickup into the side of the building, spray painting on every surface I could find, getting on the company intercom to bring everybody “following messages paid for by the NWO” I even spontaneously invaded other departments. I had been arrested three times and my wife had left me weeks ago. Is this what it was all about? Was this the true meaning of NWO? Anarchy for no purpose? In the end, I decided, sure that was it. Good enough.

I sent the draft of my blog to the crew whereupon it was immediately rejected. They put a filler post in its place and asked me very politely to “try a little harder next time.” I agreed and resolved that from now on I would FULLY understand a topic before trying to write about it. I’ve already received word, that next weeks subject is “Escape from New York” I don’t know what the hell that is either but how hard can it be?