1. On Novelty Flash Drives and Related Curios!

    CONTINUING our recent Warner Bros. cartoon theme (Traffic on this blog has been up to almost the double-digits this week; I’d be a fool to switch gears now!) I offer up this little beauty:

    Huh.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand that whole “Stylized, Miniature, Disproportionate Versions of Cartoon Characters Cast in Vinyl” craze that so many of our young people are embracing these days and subsequently pissing away their money on.

    What, you don’t think I’m worth my $50 pricetag?! Bite my vinyl wooden ass!

    Similarly, sort of, I’m completely baffled by Lego video games and now all this talk of a Lego Batman / Superman movie based on such games’ popularity. I mean that I just don’t get.

    Like you, I played with Legos as a child, just like any red-blooded Slovak-American boy. I even pushed a few of the smaller ones up my nose and the noses of others and maybe even one of those little round white pegs into the back end of the dog and then ran and told Mom “Look!  Look!  Fritz has worms! Just kidding, Mom! Here, look – stand still Fritz! – see, it’s just a Lego!”  Who among us didn’t?

    And if I was still a boy – as opposed to just whatever it is I’ve become – why, I’d continue to play with Legos. But I don’t understand how if you’re a kid today, and you’ve decided to play a video game, why in holy hell you’d want to play as the same plastic, truncated, detail-lacking, limited-range-of-motion, barely articulated, stubby Lego version of the character you’re already playing with in real life right there in the middle of the kitchen floor while your mother is tripping over you trying to make dinner  – as opposed to a more realistic version – which, today, video game technology allows for!

    Now I realize each generation that came after mine is increasingly stupider, but are kids already this moronic? Really? Already? Really? That’s a shame.

    That would be like me and Jesse and Trip and Steve play-acting on the playground behind the Round Hill Community House with our World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Mego dolls (This was before “action figures” had been invented!) and then going home and not watching Batman at 5:30 because Adam West’s portrayal was too lifelike for our mushy little pea brains to comprehend.

    …Where was I going with this one?

    Oh yes:  If you’re going to make miniature versions of the classic Merrie Melodies characters, don’t use Sylvester because he ends up looking like his son Sylvester Junior. That’s all I wanted to say.

    Look, sometimes I have to pad these things a little to compensate for all the butchering my syndicate does.

    Posted by on June 28, 2012, 6:43 AM.

  2. My Stardust Melody!

    AS YOU KNOW, I’m in the “Silver Sneakers” jazzaerobacise class at my gym. Oh, it’s for women and men, that’s not the problem. But it is for seniors.

    I get around this with a cheap white curly fright wig I bought at Party City and a pair of old glasses I fished out of one of those donation boxes at LensCrafters when no one was looking. (Which reminds me – I need to get a different pair because I’ve had four people mistake me for Stan Freberg and they won’t leave me alone until I autograph their boxes of Jeno’s Pizza Rolls.)

    By the way, it’s not that I can’t keep up in a regular class with people my own age – I probably could. But why bother? In this class, Christ, I’m so much better than everyone else. I never get winded!

    One of the exercises is moving your ankles, one at a time, around in a little circle and we’re all sitting on chairs! I’m serious! Then we do this marching thing, standing up, right? But we’re only moving our arms up and down.

    Then there’s the little vinyl-covered weights we use. Everyone else uses the wussy little pink ones…?  I use the next size up, the little blue ones, which are a full eight ounces heavier!

    I tell you, I’m an iron man triathlete compared to these people! It’s doing wonders for my self-esteem!

    Last week that pain-in-the-ass Vivian “Here I Go Again About My Shoulder Spur Surgery” Kovac gets wheeled out on a stretcher when she suddenly starts complaining about some tightness in her chest.

    But me…? I’m ready for another go-round of toe-pointing. Fire up the Andrews Sisters CD and let’s get back to work! Ol’ Vivian’ll be fine!

    So I got there early yesterday and the exercise studio was still locked so I had to hang out in the room with all the weight machines until our instructor “Luz” (She’s Hispanic!) got there. They’ve got TV monitors hanging from the ceiling in this room and one’s tuned to Fox News – yeah, yeah: boo, hiss, whee, hooray, whatever, I don’t care, this isn’t a political blog so knock it off, before I have you all deported!

    With free healthcare!

    Anyway, they had this guy on there who I’ve seen before and I finally learned his name: Charles Krauthammer. And the thing is, every time I’ve seen him, he brings someone else to mind – and you know exactly what I’m going to say because you think the same thing:

    The guy looks exactly like Hoagy Carmichael from that episode of “The Flintstones!”

    Look! Look!

    He doesn’t look like the real Hoagy Carmichael, whose face didn’t seem so angular and craggy, but he’s the spitting image of the cartoon version!

    Which brings up an important point: Why did Hoagy Carmichael retain his twentieth century monicker on “The Flintstones” while no one else did?

    Here’s my guess: He was the show’s first guest star and the writers hadn’t yet hit perfected their stone-age celebrity naming algorithm as they would in later seasons with Jimmy O’Neill (“Jimmy O’Neillstone”), Jimmy Darren (“Jimmy Darrock”), and The Beau Brummels (“The Beau Brummelstones”).

    But if they manage to renegotiate that deal with underused wunderkind (industry term!) Sean McFarling and finally reboot (“rebarefoot”) “The Flintstones” and then remake specific episodes, and then reanimate Hoagy Carmichael’s corpse so he can re-record his lines, here are some suggestions:

    • Craggy Carmichael (since his caricature is so craggy, itself a “rock” word).
    • Hoagy Carbonmichael
    • Hoagy Carmichshale
    • Hydroboracite Carbonmicashale (my favorite and I’m sure there’s plenty of petrographers out there who would appreciate the joke)

     

    Or, instead of using Hoagy, when they redo the episode where Fred and Barney try to write a hit song, they could enlist the help of Charles Craghammer (Eh? Eh…?!) to get it airplay on the Rox News Network or something! See what I did there?!

    Whew, all this brainstorming has me beat! I think I’ll have a pizz-, have a pizz-, have a pizza roll!

    Man, these things are good but I’m going to be paying for all the extra calories on Friday’s class. (Tomorrow’s was canceled so we can go to Viv’s memorial.)

    Posted by on June 26, 2012, 5:19 AM.

  3. An Even More Most Unusal and Fascinating Piece of Memorabilia from the Golden Age of Warner Brothers Cartoons!

    LAST WEEK I brought you a rare piece of memorabilia from the golden age of Warner Brothers cartoons! If you missed it, shame on you!  Here it is again!

    This week, I bring you an even rarer piece of Warner Brothers cartoon memorabilia!

    Look!  Look!

    It’s a pencil drawing of Michigan J. Frog! Chuck Jones’ once funny and clever amphibious creation – the star of a brilliant Looney Tunes one-shot (or a Merrie Melodies one-shot – who the hell knows or cares?) – who, much like the character in the actual theatrical short, was forgotten for years and then exploited beyond belief when rediscovered decades later!

    But what makes this rare, unusual, fascinating? Keep your shirt on!  I’ll tell you!

    Animator Virgil Ross – who drew the best version of Bugs Bunny hands-down (don’t argue!) – is the fella what drawed this!

    I know, I know – you’re saying, “Ted,” you’re saying, “Why, that’s preposterous!  I’m an animation nerd and I know for a fact that ol’ Virg worked in Freleng’s unit, not Jones’s’s’s, and ol’ Virg, why, he’d have no reason whatsoever to draw a picture of a character that he never animated! He’d have no reason whatsoever to draw a picture of a character that he never animated especially in the exact same pose used for virtually all publicity materials of the character!”

    …is what you’re saying!

    Yeah, well, then explain to me how is it that this is an actual drawing of Michigan J. Frog, provenance provided by Virgil Ross’s distinctive and therefore impossible to copy signature in capital letters with a little dot in the ‘O’  – which appears on the very same paper!

    The frog’s colored with colored pencils, I might add – a technology which in fact existed when Virgil Ross was alive! Explain that one to me if this is a so-called fake, there, Mr. Original Animation Art Authenticator Guy [or Gal]!

    Yeah, I thought that’d shut you the hell up!

    Fact is, you should stop arguing with me and instead bid on this beauty – a steal at only a hundred bucks American on the auction website “eBay”! This is the deal of the century, pal! You don’t find quality like this at your precious “Gallery Lainzberg!”

    And the auction ends in just four days as I write this – so get that bid in now, if you know what’s good for you!

    Who knows, maybe if it goes high enough, the seller can arrange for Walt Disney to sign it too!

    Speaking of which, it’s being offered by the good folks at Gallery on Baum!

    You can read about them here!  And here!  And here!  And here!

    Oh wait!  No no no!  Ignore all those links!  Those are nothing but naysayers! Disbelievers! Jealous know-nothings spewing their bitter sour grapes all over the internet!

    What do those people know, anyway?

    But if Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick’s a fan…

    …well, that’s good enough for me!

    Posted by on June 25, 2012, 3:49 AM.

  4. Movie Night for a Buck!

    SO I WAS AT my local National Council of Jewish Women thrift store the other day and I happened upon a great deal!

    A big ol’ box of DVDs – licensed ones this time, not those illegal pirated DVDs like last time – and for just a dollar a piece!

    Here’s one I considered!

    It’s called “Beeper” and it stars Ed Quinn, Joey Lauren Adams and Harvey Keitel – three of your favorites!

    The exciting plot:  “A doctor must follow the instructions on a drug dealer’s beeper to rescue his kidnapped son.”

    Don’t laugh! You have to remember, this movie was made quite some time ago – 2002 to be exact. Back then, we didn’t have cell phones! So we all carried beepers! Hence the name of the film!

    Though I understand it was written even earlier – in 1999 – and was originally titled “Answering Service.” (But they completely retooled the script to reflect the technological advances in communications the world had enjoyed since then. You know, to make it relevant for savvy 21st century audiences.)

    It’s still there if you want it. I didn’t buy it. Harvey Keitel’s annoying, mousy, helium voice has always driven me up the goddamn wall.

    Posted by on June 20, 2012, 5:04 AM.

  5. A Most Unusual and Fascinating Prop from the Golden Age of Cartoons!

    From the rarely-seen 1958 Warner Bros. animated short “Irritable Fowl Syndrome” where Wile E. Coyote tries to best the Road Runner by exploiting the bird’s unfortunate chronic ulcerative colitis by pouring this over a bowl of  FREE! birdseed.

    Attention Leonard Maltin: Contact me directly if you want to include this in the next edition of “Of Mice and Magic.”

    Posted by on June 18, 2012, 5:27 AM.

  6. Da Na-Na-Na, Na Na-Na-Na-Na-Na BONANZA!

    SOME TIME AGO I was visiting lovely Simi Valley (always a delight!) and at a certain thrift store therein, I happened across this fun little number:

    The place where I found it is my favorite thrift store far and wide for a reason – they don’t rake you over the coals, price-wise. They don’t Goodwill you, if you know what I mean, and brother, if you read this blog with any regularity, you know what I mean! This booklet cost me a measly quarter. As well it should!

    I didn’t buy it with any thought of putting it on eBay and retiring to the gated Simi Valley community of “Parklane” with the profits. (If only, right?!) No, I just wanted a little something to read while I ate my #1 at Wienerschnitzel (two chili dogs, fries, and a bottomless Pepsi – foods I can feel good about eating).

    Anyway, like you, I’m too young to have watched “Bonanza” in its original run, probably!, but I’ve caught a few snippets of it on TV Land amounting to the time it takes me to find the remote and change the channel to find something, anything!, else.

    In doing so I have managed to acquire enough knowledge of the show to be able to competently answer whatever questions come up about it in Trivial Pursuit. (And the answers are either “Hop Sing” or “Ponderosa.” But usually “Hop Sing.”)

    My point is that like you, I’m sick of seeing, for the last twenty-five years, these things…

    …in every single antique and collectibles store – each with a sticker on the bottom or a little paper tag tied to the handle that reads “RARE vintage 1960s Bonanza tin cup – $40.”

    Pfft!  “Rare!”  Rare indeed!

    Because, folks, while enjoying a leisurely lunch there, cramming a couple of chili dogs into my face, I finally found proof to the contrary. Oh, I always knew – but to be able to prove it?! More delicious than the chili cheese fries I treated myself to for dessert. Finally, I had the ammunition to blow this whole “RARE vintage 1960s Bonanza tin cup” racket wide open!

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    A little history, first!

    “Bonanza” debuted in 1959 on NBC.  It ran for 14 seasons, for a total of 430 episodes. That means today you could watch one episode a day for three weeks before choosing to end your life rather than endure another 409 days of this torture.

    The show somehow takes place in 19th century Nevada yet near 1800s Lake Tahoe.

    Around 1965, Bill and Joyce Anderson, who owned a small ranch near where the fictional Ponderosa would have existed, struck a deal with NBC. The result, the “Ponderosa Ranch” – a “Bonanza” theme park – opened in 1967. Occasionally, the “Bonanza” people would shoot scenes and sometimes entire episodes up there! Oh boy!

    Here’s what’s amazing: It only closed in 2004! Who in hell was visiting this place after about 1975? I mean, like you, I’m entirely charmed that it outlived the show by thirty-one years. I just can’t for the life of me figure out how.

    Back to the cup: The last page of “The Ponderosa Ranch of ‘Bonanza’ TV Fame – A Pictorial Guide” features an article titled “The Tin Cup Story.” It mentions that ranch owner Bill Anderson was so inspired by Lorne Greene’s recording of “An Old Tin Cup”…

    …that he found a company in St. Louis that could make new tin cups, and ordered them up in enormous lots to be sold as souvenirs.

    These were available throughout the park’s entire thirty-seven year existence.

    So let’s do the math here:

    We all clear on this now, gang?  They’re about as rare as the hairs on my Slovak grandmother’s back. They’re about as rare as flies on a Chickahominy prostitute.

    So I have no alternative but to advise every one of you to print out this entire post and carry it with you each weekend as you go antiquing, which I presume you do each weekend.

    And when you see one of these cups, and you will – hoo boy, you will! – you pull out these goddamn pages and you wave ‘em around in the face of the crook who’s trying to sell it to you for whatever insane price he’s dreamed up. Roll up these pages and smack ‘em in the face with it if you need to!  You have my permission! My attorney here has chimed in here with “please don’t do any of that.”

    Or better yet: Instead, why not carry with you the official souvenir guide itself which has the proof right there on the last page?

    Hey, I’m finished reading it. What the hell do I need it for anymore?

    It’s even got some dried chili stuck to a few of the pages – for all we know dribbled on there by Dan Blocker himself during a break from filming the 1973 fan favorite “Hoss and the Lonesome  Sasquatch!” (One of Kathleen Freeman’s three appearances on the show!)

    First one of you who gets sixty bucks to me, it’s yours.

    Posted by on June 13, 2012, 6:24 AM.

  7. Reflections on the End of The Dick Van Dyke Show! Part I!

    LAST NIGHT I finally finished my entire one-episode-each-night viewing of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It took me many more nights than there were episodes, however, because the show disappeared from Netflix for about two months when I was about forty episodes in! What the hell?! I’m the one person who, like an idiot, still thinks Netflix is a good deal and this is how they repay me?!

    But they brought it back, so I resumed watching exactly one episode per night, precisely at 8:00 to 8:30 (episodes 1 through 18), 9:30 to 10:00 (episodes  19 – 87), 9:00 to 9:30 (episodes 88 to 114), and then, 9:30 to 10:00 again (episodes 115 through 158). I figured to truly understand the show, I needed to watch each episode in its original time slot.

    And now that it’s all over, you know who I’m going to miss the most?  No, you don’t and don’t bother guessing. I’ll tell you.

    The one I’m going to miss the most is Millie.

    Yes!  Ann Morgan Guilbert as Laura’s best friend and next-door neighbor Millie Helper! No I’m not drinking!

    She was funny. Hell, she was better than funny, she was very funny.

    I became such a Millie-booster that it got to the point around here that Denise would check synopses of upcoming episodes in advance and as I’d sit down in my easy chair with my large vanilla Frosty and my bag of Green V green peas snack

    (The Filipino market is just across the street from Wendy’s), she’d be like, “Oh, I think you’re going to liiiiike tonight’s episode. It’s a Milllllllie!” and I’d be all like, “Um, spoiler alert!”

    But how can you be mad when you just found out you’re getting a Millie?

    Anyway, if I knew I was getting a Millie that night, she’d know to leave the room and keep the goddamn kids quiet for the next 25 minutes.

    I was always thrilled when I was getting a Millie. If someone told you you were about to see an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show and it’s a Millie, you knew you were in for a good time – I don’t care if Millie only has one lousy line in one lousy scene.  That woman made the most of it.

    Forget the silly, overrated “It May Look Like A Walnut” episode. The one where Laura meets Rob’s parents for the first time and Millie runs in with the vegetables is the one to watch.

    Yes, all because of Millie. Sure, Mary Tyler Moore got plenty of laughs for her loopy performance of a nervous new wife on uppers, but it was Ann Morgan Guilbert who got the applause after exiting her frantic scene.

    Or take the pen-penultimate episode, where Laura is alone in the house while Rob and Richie join the Helpers on a camping trip. Millie shows up back at the Petrie household and explains, “Going up there it suddenly dawned on me: Where was I going? I mean, I hate camping and I hate fishing and I can just about tolerate the kids and I’m not that wild about Jerry.”

    Her shrugging honesty is in stark contrast to the sophisticated Petries with their perfect marriage and ideal home – a contrast that is further underscored when Millie matter-of-factly tells her best friend how she got in their locked home, Laura goes rigid with shocked indignation, demanding “You have a key to this house?!” 

    Of course she does, Laura – you and Rob are her best friends. Lighten up already! Sheesh!

    It makes sense the writers would give the Petries average, middle-class neighbors – the show would have become a little predictable and stale if everyone on the show is witty and urbane. Still in an exchange like that about the house key, suddenly Laura comes off as a cold snotty bitch, like the character Moore played in real li Ordinary People.

    Many fans of classic TV and just as many writers have said how he’d love to have been – or at least been friends with – Rob Petrie – great job, beautiful wife, Eichler-inspired home, for Christ sake.

    Not me, brother! Me, I’d be next door with the Helpers. Sure, Jerry’s an obnoxious ass, the kids are brats, the house is probably a mess, there’s always a lot of yelling, and let’s face it, Millie isn’t exactly a swimsuit model…but somehow it’s just more comfortable over there.

    …Oh who am I kidding – after ten minutes amid that chaos, I’ll be back over at the Petries’ place with the rest of you wannabes.

    Anyway, now that I’ve now that I’ve seen the entire run of The Dick Van Dyke Show in order, I can cross that off my bucket list and move on to more important things.

    Like watching every episode, in order, of its spinoff, Rhoda.

    Oh man – that Nancy Walker and her zingers, right?! That’s my girl!

    Posted by on May 9, 2012, 12:45 AM.

  8. TP’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes!

    WE GET CALLS here at TedParsnips.com all the time from Dick Clark Productions for some of our outtakes for inclusion in one of Dick’s upcoming specials. Now these outtakes – or “bloopers” as they’re called in the business – are those, oh, little mistakes when an actor forgets his line, or gets tongue-tied, or something unexpected happens – often with hilarious results.

    Anyway, we’ve sent a batch over that we know they’ll love but we wanted to give you, our regular, what, six readers a sneak preview at one of the funniest.

    Now here’s the set-up:

    Recently while working on a review for Taco Bell’s new over-hyped, unremarkable Doritos Tacos, we were desperately trying to get one last shot before we lost light. (Remember, we were shooting on-location, on the patio outside the back door.)

    All we had to do was get a shot of the taco sleeve while saying the word “infinitesimal” – but someone had other ideas and kept walking into the scene!  Let’s watch.

     

    Cut!  Let’s try it again!

    Will someone get Mr. Whiskers out of there?!

    Not again!  Okay, places everyone! Let’s get it this time!

    Ha ha ha!  Unbelievable!

    We’ll be right back with some outrageous clips from “Night Court” and later, George Peppard plays a practical joke on his pal Jamie Farr that you won’t want to miss!

    Posted by on March 28, 2012, 12:01 AM.

  9. Frank Zwolenkiewicz, R.I.P.

    SAD NEWS TODAY out of Baker, California courtesy the Baker Bingo Beacon.  Legendary extra Frank Zwolenkiewicz has passed away, much too young, at the age of 71.

    “Zwolenky” to his friends (probably) – and he had many (I guess) – was one of the most professional extras you’d ever have the pleasure of meeting (if you ever had the pleasure of meeting him). He was always on time, he always hit his mark, and he never spiked the camera lens (I’m presuming; I don’t know). This is all the more amazing considering that his entire career as a movie extra was limited to just one scene in one film.

    But what a film it was: Frank Zwolenkiewicz appeared in, as regular readers of this blog will know, a little masterpiece called “Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title.”

    His big scene, of course, was when “Charlie Yuckapuck” (Morey Amsterdam) lectured about abstract art to a group of university students. Frank delivered a particularly stunning performance as one of the ten kids who stood there, watched politely, clapped on cue, and chuckled at Morey’s awful jokes.

    Unfortunately for the film industry, after “Don’t Worry…,” Zwolenky, for the most part, left Hollywood behind. But the story of how he got into show business in the first place is as fascinating and hilarious as the film itself: In June of 1966, Zwolenkiewicz was just finishing up a ten-month course on air conditioner and refrigerator repair at Valley Vocational College in Encino. It was there, on a bulletin board, that he saw a little note mentioning that extras were needed for a low-budget film shooting nearby. It paid $18 for a day’s worth of work – an enormous sum back then for anyone, but a veritable king’s ransom for a struggling trade school student. Frank answered the ad and the rest, as they say, is history.

    After completing vocational school, Frank joined an air conditioning company in Ventura. Within a few years, the original owner retired. Zwolenkiewicz bought him out and changed the name to Frank’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.

    He continued working – and eventually expanded into the West Valley – until his retirement in 2005 at which point he sold the business himself and moved to Baker, California – home of the world’s tallest thermometer and well-known for its scorching summer temperatures. Whether this move to the desert by a man who spent his life working with appliances meant to keep things cold was ironic or somehow fitting is something for you to decide.

    I HAD THE PLEASURE of working with Frank, or “Mr. Z” as I called him since I wasn’t about to attempt that last name, on three memorable occasions:

    The first time was when I directed him to the kitchen to show him our broken refrigerator when Amana sent him as an outside contractor to fix it. (Thank Christ that jackass at Sears managed to fast-talk me into the usually useless extended warranty!)  Our paths crossed professionally a second time when I had the chance to interview him with regards as to where the best place to install our new central a/c unit would be – after which he installed it in that place. And we worked together a third time when the Amana crapped out again about two weeks after he first fixed it – he didn’t have his assistant with him that day so I helped him pull the refrigerator away from the wall.

    By the way, you’ll note that I mentioned that after “Don’t Worry, We’ll Think Of A Title,” Frank mostly left show business.  Mostly, but not quite. Because when he was out at the house repairing the fridge the first time, I had a chance to grill him about other famous people he’d worked with. And as it turned out, a few years before, he’d installed a new compressor in a Frigidaire belonging to – as best I can figure by the description he gave – either Jane Dulo or possibly Kathleen Freeman. He wasn’t good with names, but he was pretty sure she was an actress he’d seen before in something.

    I mentioned to him that I’d had the pleasure of working with Jane Dulo and Kathleen Freeman some time earlier – Jane was shopping at Ralphs when I bumped into her and helped her get a box of Nabisco Sociables off a high shelf that she couldn’t reach; Kathleen was coming out of the Beverly Garland in North Hollywood and I held the door open for her. As Kathleen was walking out, Herbie Faye was walking in, so I had the pleasure of working with him, too.

    But Frank Zwolenkiewicz was the modest sort – definitely not someone impressed by Hollywood star power; indeed, it was  refreshing that when I showed him photos of Jane, Kathleen and Herbie, he merely glanced at them, shrugged and mentioned that if he didn’t get the thermostat reconnected soon, we’d be heading into time-and-a-half. The man was as modest, honest and forthright as Gary Owens’ hair is purple, who I have had the pleasure of working with. (Both Gary and his purple hair.).

    Frank was that rare breed of man – all but extinct today, and even more extinct-er now that he’s gone –  who is best described as a true gentleman of the highest order: He wiped his feet on the mat before he came into the house; he asked to use the bathroom when he needed to – and then he washed his hands when he was through. (I listened at the door.)

    He was an enormously generous guy, just as quick to give you a little magnet in the shape of a van with the name of his company and phone number on it as some people will offer up a smile.  And he wasn’t stingy with those, either. I don’t know of a single person anywhere who has anything the least, teeny-tiny bit negative to say about him – no one at all! – but then I don’t know any of his friends or family or any of his other customers. Did he have a wife or kids?  I don’t know. Perhaps he did and I had the pleasure of working with them on something; sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know.

    But I sure don’t have anything bad to say about the man. Well, except that it took two trips to fix the damn refrigerator, and I lost a lot of frozen burritos and my last box of Birds Eye Fordhook Lima Beans (only available in late winter!) because of it. And I would have put that on a Yelp review, but they didn’t have Yelp when all this happened.

    Tomorrow:  I recount the time I had the pleasure of working with a fork on a garden salad at DuPars when I saw Amzie Strickland eating a grilled cheese sandwich!

    Posted by on March 2, 2012, 3:58 AM.

  10. Wheel! Of! (hic!) Fortune!

    LAST WEEK, the always delightful Pat Sajak revealed that early in his career as genial host of “Wheel of Fortune,” he and Vanna would occasionally knock back a few during taping breaks and return to their duties somewhat buzzed.

    Must have been a slow news week, because like you, I heard about it everywhere, and most of the coverage was ridiculously sensationalized. Fact is, if a big-time host actually came across as drunk on a game show, the episodes would have been on YouTube a long time ago.

    As it turns out, however, my dear, sweet, hoarding Nana Parsnips has been a fan of Mr. Sajak for years, and has (of course!) obsessively taped all his shows from his first episode onward.

    I needed only mention this current story to her before she dived right into her hoard and, paddling her way down through old newspapers and desiccated raccoons, quickly resurfaced with a handful of Betamax tapes in her arthritic claws.

    I’d get into all kinds of copyright trouble uploading the videos to YouTube, so instead, I offer you some screen grabs.

    Did all this drinking spill over into the show?  You be the judge.

    Buy the O!

    It’s a Prize Puzzle!  You’re going to Passages in Malibu!

    Like you and I, Pat & Vanna know to hit the drive-thru after some hard drinking!

    Apparently this Bonus Round puzzle was inspired by the noises Pat made when Merv tried rousing him from sleeping it off on the wheel.

    Ho ho!  What fun! 

    We of course thank http://atom.smasher.org/wof/ for the use of their handy Wheel of Fortune puzzle generator, where you can go and create your own Wheel of Fortune puzzle pictures, none of them half as funny as the ones I came up with, which is saying something because the ones I came up with aren’t really all that hilarious.

    …And what’s even more delightful than this Pat-&-Vanna-drunk story from last week? The “Occupy Wheel” joke that Pat made at the end of a show during the recent “Pure Paradise” theme week. That man should have his own late-night talk show. Again.

    Posted by on January 30, 2012, 5:33 AM.

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