1st July 2007

Kwik-E-Mart Comes to Mountain View

A 7-Eleven right here in our stomping grounds has been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart. Twelve 7-Elevens in total got this treatment, and this is the only one here in the Bay Area (View location on Google Maps):

Mountain View Kwik-E-Mart
Grade-A use of duct tape
Grade-A use of duct tape

I was a little disappointed to see Bart & Milhouse flanking the Kwik-E-Mart logo, it kind of took away from any authenticity, but it’s a silly quibble, really. They did a better and more thorough job than I was expecting. One nice touch is that a bunch of paper signs have been hung up all over the store using scraps of duct tape. I have no idea if the haphazard appearance was intentional, I prefer to think it was not.

Another nice touch — pink frosted donuts with sprinkles, watched over by Chief Wiggum:

Today's pastries at tomorrow's prices

And of course, Comic Book Guy at the porn stand:

Worst. Juggs. Ever.

Ralph at the popsicle case:

My dongue ith thtuckh.
My dongue ith thtuckh.
Blue Woo Hoo Squishee
Blue Woo Hoo Squishee

There was no shortage of Buzz Cola, Krusty-Os or Squishees, but sadly Duff Beer was nowhere to be found (nor the German import, Düff).

There are a number of other strange Simpson products as part of the tie-in, including a Turkish Bathhouse Homer Simpson doll, and a Homer Simpson cookie that was baked in China and looks utterly inedible. I’ll try to add pics of those later.

Buy 3 for the price of 3!
Buz Cola 2.99
Buz Cola 2.99

This soda fountain was extra fancy — each spigot had an option to add a dollop of cherry, vanilla or lemon flavoring to the soda. Snazzy!

Apu says “Please loiter again soon!”

Apu greets customers

You can see the complete photo tour at Humuhumu’s Life in Photos.

posted in Animation, Television | 31 Comments

23rd June 2007

You’re Soaking In It!

The other day as I was doing some dishes, I was wondering if anyone actually still soaks their hands in Palmolive. When I was a kid, it made me feel so very elegant and grown up. And then, as often happens, my thoughts turned to YouTube.

’60s Palmolive Commercial

YouTube also has the original Madge commercial — the quality on that one is pretty poor, though.

posted in Midcentury, Television | 3 Comments

4th May 2007

Here Come the Double Deckers!

The Double Deckers opening & ending credits

I saw this posted on Eye of the Goof last week, and it’s too cool not to share… but I hesitate, because the theme song you’ll hear is so catchy that I can’t help but wonder if I could have legitimate legal claims filed against me for subjecting you to it. So, DISCLAIMER: WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to get to sleep because of an urgent need to dance violently and find a ticket for a double decker London bus… well, you asked for it.

Here Come the Double Deckers was a kids’ show from 1970-71, co-produced by the BBC and 20th Century Fox and filmed in England. Seventeen episodes were created, and it aired both in the UK and here in the States. The show stars seven young kids who know their way around a Watusi, and have nicknames that scream “packaged product”: Scooper, Spring, Billie (it’s a boy’s name, but it’s really a girl!), Brains (he wears glasses! he’s so smart!), Doughnut (he’s overweight! he can’t stop eating!), Sticks (he plays the drums! so hip!) and Tiger (that’s the name of the littlest girl, and her stuffed animal! so wacky!).

It didn’t sink in for me until the second viewing that their hangout is a junkyard clubhouse (!). I was distracted the first time ’round by the flailing dance moves of the kids. You can tell that the director had been yelling all morning, “Bigger! Bigger! More movement! More action! I want to see wild arm swings!” These kids make the Barney’s kids look like lumps. Lumps with lame dance moves.

posted in Midcentury, Television | 5 Comments

2nd May 2007

Ben & Jerry’s Steals the Banana Splits Logo?

JYC EXCLUSIVE: Yesterday Humu and I were strolling down the frozen dessert aisle of Whole Foods when we both spotted a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor: Banana Split. We noticed immediately how the logo on the ice cream container was a spot-on copy of the Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits band logo, minus the last S in the word “Splits”. Just compare the Banana Split package to the cover of the Banana Splits album I have:

Banana Splits logo
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on the left; Album from the 1960s band Banana Splits on the right

Here’s a closeup of both logos:

Banana Splits logo closeup

Since Ben & Jerry’s are (A) known for exploiting the nostalgia of the 60s to sell ice cream, and (B) unforgiving in their endless barrage of shameless product tie-ins, I wouldn’t put it past them to license the classic bubble-gum band to shill for them. I’m sure the Splits would do it.

I picked up the carton and scanned the entire package to see if there was any credit or trademark assignment to Hanna-Barbera, who signed the Banana Splits supergroup to their label and gave them a show back in the 1970s. I did find a copyright notice for the cow illustration that appears on the back of the carton, but I found nothing to indicate that Ben and Jerry’s had licensed the Banana Splits logo.

Is is possible that Ben & Jerry’s is the most recent company to pull a Todd Goldman and appropriate someone else’s art to pass off as their own? I contacted Ben & Jerry’s to find out more, but I have not heard back from them yet. So I decided to go straight to the source and talk to the Banana Splits themselves.

Not The First Time

Bingo from the Banana Splits

I got in touch Bingo, the enigmatic second-banana of the Banana Splits (although most music scholars agree he was the “John Lennon” of the group), for his comments. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was unaware of the situation. Like most bands from the 70s, the Splits signed over all of their rights to their record label in exchange for fame and fortune, and lost control of their image.

“We have no say any more, and Hanna-Barbera doesn’t really care about us. They cater to your every whim if you can make them some coin, but once the money stops coming in, they forget about you! It’s like you’re off the bus” Bingo commented. “And so they just let golden opportunities like this slip past them. This is not the first time it has happened. We’ve been trying for years to get royalties from Bob Marley’s estate, who lifted the chorus melody of Buffalo Soldier directly from our theme song. But Hanna-Barbera just hasn’t bothered. They don’t realize the gold mine they’re sitting on” Bingo lamented. He then hit me in the face with a pie.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the jury is still out on this one, so stick with us here at JYC for full scoop (har har) as this story unfolds. If I see that Ben & Jerry’s is planning a Sour Grape flavor, you will be the first to know.

Note: All images in this post were lifted from various places on the Internet without permission or credit

posted in Animation, Design, Food, Television | 7 Comments

25th April 2007

Fat Albert and the Junk Yard Band!

Here at Junkyard Clubhouse we love all things junkyard, and right at the top of our list are Junkyard bands.

And the Junkyard Band!

And Fat Albert has one of the rockin’est Junkyard bands ever. The groovy kids record blog Way Out Junk has gifted the Internet with not one, but TWO rips of classic Fat Albert and the Junk Yard Band albums: Creativity and Rock N’ Roll Disco.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
The famous junk yard band is organized when the kids are unable to afford musical instruments

Listening to these records will convince you that real-life junkyard instruments can sound just like the smooth sounds of studio musicians! Actually, while the pictures of the Junkyard band are pretty sweet, there’s not much in the way of classic Fat Albert music on either of these albums. The Rock N’ Roll Disco in particular is pretty bad. Hmmm. Now I’m wondering why I even bothered bringing it up. Here, watch the opening of the Fat Albert Show instead.

posted in Animation, Music, Television | Comments Off

13th April 2007

We’ve Got Crab Legs! Sea Galley!

I’m so excited about this, I might not be able to sleep tonight:

1980s Sea Galley television commercial

When I was a tyke growing up in Seattle, Sea Galley was the height of fine dining, as far as I was concerned. On our birthdays, my brother Bob & I got to choose any restaurant in the entire city for our special birthday dinner. The answer was always Sea Galley, much to my parents’ chagrin.

In my eight-year-old eyes, Sea Galley was fancy. It had enclosed booths, and nets, and nautical bric-a-brac everywhere. It was dark, and mysterious, and it felt like you were being led through a maze when you were led to your table. And there was a salad bar. It was the first place in town to have a salad bar (as far as I knew), and it felt extravagant. The salad bar had baby corn. Baby corn! We’d never seen baby corn before, it was so dainty and adult. And they let you have all the baby corn you wanted! It didn’t even count as part of your meal! What a magical place!

The kids’ menu was shaped like something — I don’t remember what exactly, probably a diver’s helmet — and it included a list of non-alcoholic tropical beverages with crusty, sea-dog sounding names. As far as I’m concerned, Sea Galley is at least 70% responsible for my love of tiki bars, even though it was nautical, and completely tikiless. Since my love of tiki bars is a fairly massive part of my life, I still have a lot of reverence for Sea Galley.

There are two places I’ve been in my adulthood that look a bit like Sea Galley, and they’re both in Los Angeles (it’s no coincidence that I adore L.A.): Bahooka in Rosemead, and the Warehouse in Marina del Rey. But I see them with adult eyes, and while I love them, the mystique is not quite there. There is only one restaurant that still gives me the same sense of childlike awe: the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve searched high & low to find my adult Sea Galley, and the Mai-Kai is it, no doubt.

Right about when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, Sea Galley started a new advertising campaign, advertising their crab legs.

Dancing crab chefs at Sea Galley, from Sanderson Studios
Dancing crab chefs at Sea Galley, from Sanderson Studios

We’ve got crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got snow-snow-snow,
Dungeness, too!

Get your crab legs!
Sea Galley!
Get your crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got crab legs!
So come get… your… crab leeeeeeeegs… TONIGHT!

This compelling bit of lyrical artistry was sung by a trio of half-chef, half-crustacean people, who literally had crab legs. And they danced. And they REALLY wanted you to eat their crab legs. I remember it being a pretty big deal — they did a whole series of commercials, and I remember all of us kids lining up Rockette-style in the schoolyard and singing “we’ve got crab legs!” complete with high kicks. I think there is an entire generation of Seattle children who cannot see crab legs without singing the song, at least under their breath. I know I can’t.

By the end of the ’80s, Red Lobster rolled into town, and ruined everything. By that time, I had finally moved on from Sea Galley, so I don’t know what kind of shape the restaurants were in towards the end. It’s probably best that I never saw what became of my beloved Sea Galley.

Hanford has heard all about the glories of Sea Galley, and has heard me sing “We’ve got crab legs!” enough times that he now sings it unprovoked himself. Can you imagine my joy at actually finding the commercial on YouTube today? Probably not. Unfortunately, the quality isn’t very good, but you can still sort of make out some of the nets & other nautical decor. Bebeya, thanks for making my day.

posted in Food, Television | 36 Comments

6th April 2007

Bing Bong Bang, It’s Boomerang!


Just when you think that the Internet holds all the answers, it fails you. My search for information about Boomerang, a ’70s kids’ TV show from my native Seattle, has turned up nearly bupkes.

I did learn something very interesting… I had no idea that Marni, the host of Boomerang, was none other than Marni Nixon.

Nixon is the reason Julie Andrews won her Oscar for Mary Poppins. Well, that’s not fair — that was a well-earned Oscar. (Those who already know this story can skip ahead a couple of paragraphs.) Julie Andrews had starred on Broadway in the hit musical My Fair Lady, and won a Tony award. But when My Fair Lady was turned into a Hollywood film, Julie Andrews was not yet a name movie-goers would recognize, and Warner Brothers cast Audrey Hepburn in what really should have been Julie Andrews’ role. Walt Disney knew better, and cast Andrews that same year in Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins, and Julie Andrews, became a smash sensation.

When the press started to dig a bit, and learned that Audrey Hepburn didn’t actually sing her parts — that the beautiful voice behind “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” was actually Marni Nixon… well, Jack Warner started to look like a fool for having ditched Julie Andrews. In Julie Andrews’ Oscar acceptance speech for Mary Poppins, she thanked “the man who made this all possible… Jack Warner,” which makes me love Julie Andrews even more.

Marni actually has a brief role in Mary Poppins, as one of the animated geese, but didn’t meet Andrews while working on that film. When Nixon and Andrews later worked together on The Sound of Music (Nixon played one of the nuns), Andrews introduced herself with a hearty handshake, and exclaimed “I really love your work!,” probably with a cheeky look in her eye. Marni also was the singing voice for Maria in West Side Story, and she did some vocal work for a Mr. Magoo album, “Magoo in Hi-Fi” and provided “ethereal voice effects” for some Esquivel albums. She was a very, very successful session singer in Hollywood.

I’m still having trouble reconciling the host of Boomerang with this Hollywood figure, but it comes together a bit when I hear the Boomerang theme song again — the song’s not exactly a winner, but it sure brings back memories, and that voice is loverly:

Click play to hear the Boomerang theme song

This still leaves plenty of holes about Boomerang the show, though. I can fill in a little bit more from my own memories: It aired on channel 4, KOMO, which was Seattle’s ABC affiliate. It was filmed during the late ’70s into the early ’80s, and continued on in reruns for a while. Marni’s co-star was a yellow puppet boy, who looked like a cross between Bert from Sesame Street and Terrence from South Park. I can’t remember his name, and I couldn’t find it online. His name was Norbert. (Thanks melberoo!) There’s one episode in particular that I remember, where Marni was hired to do a commercial for some silver polish, but she tries the polish and it doesn’t work very well, and she decides to not do the commercial. It was a lesson about not whoring oneself out, and whenever I’m faced with similar scenarios, I always think of Marni’s frustration with the silver polish. Overall, the show was on the schmaltzy side, and if we’d had the variety of cable back then, I probably would never have watched it.

So anywhere, there you go. That’s all I could find about the Seattle show Boomerang. Maybe someday something more will show up.

posted in Disney, Midcentury, Television | 138 Comments

28th March 2007

The Alluring Chicken Dance of the Jungle

And you thought the aracuan was a nutty bird:

A tropical bird’s mating dance, from Planet Earth

We saw this freaky little bird shake his groove thing this past Sunday, while we were watching the start of Discovery’s new series, Planet Earth. The 11-part series is pretty much a commercial for their Discovery HD channel, but dang if it isn’t effective — about halfway through, we were almost ready to succumb to their siren song. Almost. Thanks largely to Hanford’s line of work, we’re knee-deep in various electronic equipment as it is; we’re a little loath to add one more box to the pile.

However, the series has some truly stunning footage, both in terms of beauty and in uniqueness, and it felt like a disservice to not be watching it in HD. I wouldn’t have guessed that there was so much room for improvement in the old nature television game, but this new series is truly breathtaking — it’s a world away from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Hell, it’s a world away from Shark Week. It was like a really good IMAX film in our living room.

There’s more at the Planet Earth website (you’ll have to enable pop-ups, I’m afraid). The first three parts aired this past Sunday, and the remaining parts will be aired over the next few Sundays.

posted in Science!, Television | Comments Off

28th March 2007

The Wombles

The Wombles

When I was very, very young (but I can’t remember how young) … I had some vague memories of the Banana Splits that were not quite right. All my Banana Splits memories were from when I was pretty young, but I seemed to have memories of the Splits looking different than they normally do. All this time I had chocked it up to fuzzy, incorrect memories due to my little kid brain. But just a few years ago I came across The Wombles on the Internet, and then it all made sense. I recognized the characters faces and the hats immediately. Those early memories weren’t of the Banana Splits, they were of the Wombles. Who knew the market for fuzzy characters in costumes singing Bubblegum was so big?

I have no idea how I saw it as a kid, since it seems like it was shown primarily across the pond. Does anyone out there remember seeing The Wombles?

It’s always a great feeling to put to rest fuzzy mysterious memories that have been lingering in my head for decades.

posted in Music, Television | 3 Comments

21st March 2007

Supreme Monkey Exercise Challenge

Chimps make crappy Lose Weight Exercise buddies. Or perhaps, if Tiki-Kate is right, they make evil Lose Weight Exercise buddies. Or maybe the dog’s just lazy. [via Spectre Collie]

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