Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cracked Mazagine #132: It Just Keeps Getting Better & Baretta!

by Pierre L.

We are, literally, on the cusp of the CRACKED Renaissance. The magazine has been placing all of its bits before us and, issue by issue, fiddling around and trying to show us some sort of cohesive package. It's not here yet. But, God, you can taste it! And, it's salty! But, the good kind of salty.

The cover is great. We don't normally get the black background. I, myself, have seen no more than five minutes of the TV show Baretta but there is charm here.

The poster this month has a lot of text in it. It is an announcement that March 26th has been set aside as a "special 24 hour period...between March 25 and March 27." Pithier is better.

I will try not to speed us through this review but sometimes you can see the horizon and it's tough to linger down the street.

Contents: "Noah Webster - proof reader" This will pay off. I imagine.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue is out March 9th, 1976. I was a young, squirting chap at that time. Full of things that makes a boy a boy.

BORETTA: A charming little bit. Six pages of TV-cop show gags and Boretta dressing up in assorted disguises. A little boy's grandfather was shot. Boretta is on the case! "Who's there?" "Summa." "Summa who?" "Summa enchanted evening." "Sorry, I'm not lettin' anyone in--especially with material like that!" The parodies like this are so much less heavy-handed than similar Mad parodies would be that they just flow. Fewer piles of dialogue. Jokes to go. And, those entertaining drawings. I can't complain. There are better openers out there but this is solid.

FILL-IN-THE-BLANK FORM LETTERS AND CARDS FOR EVERY OCCASION: Goofy drawings with form letters next to them. The letters have blank spots that are numbered. Beneath the letters are the numbers with various lettered choices. Here is an example in which I have made the random choices. The body of the letter is in brackets. My choices are preceded by their numbers: The Greeting Card - (1)On this your 10th attempt at a happy marriage... [May this day be bright and] (2) not so hot. [On this the] (3) saddest (boo hoo) [day of your life. We travel only once this path and for you] (4) it's been tourist all the way. [With all my prayers and all my wishes] (5) I wish someone would wash my dishes. [Your Brother, Ralph.] When you pay for comedy, comedy delivers.

WHAT TODAY'S PROGRAMS WOULD LOOK LIKE IF THEY APPEARED IN 2001 A.D.: Archie Bunker is racist towards people from Mars. Mannix's secretary is now in charge of the agency. Sponsor's hands reach out of the TV to slap you with products. NBA Basketball players are as tall as the ceiling. Everyone is bald but Kojack has hair! Remember when all this happened?

CRACKED EXPOSES DETROIT: And did they ever need taking down a peg! How lazy, drunk and stupid are the auto plant workers in Detroit? You don't want to know! And, if you do, well, Cracked has four pages worth of zings that will knock your shorts off. Take that, Detroit! Next! Flint, Michigan!

HOW DIFFERENT MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS WOULD CAPTION THE SAME PICTURE: An honest-to-goodness funny bit. Using the same picture several times, they put it on the front of different magazines and give it new captions. This is a clever idea and will make you smile. Strangely enough, I don't remember them really doing this bit again. The skeleton in rags gets headlines in "Women's Wear Daily", "National Examiner", "L.A. Freak Press" and "Utah Reporter." It's funny. Read this one.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A TYPICAL SAVINGS BACK: Keep us down to Earth. We don't want too much high comedy to mess things around. Imagine the inside of a bank. Imagine the layout of other "CRACKED Looks..." articles. There you have it.

THREE HOURS OF THE CONDOR: Fun, fast-moving. Follows the movie very closely. It does have those strange moments where you need to know the movie in order to make connections between the panels but, overall, a sharp movie parody.

ONE DAY IN THE DESERT: A guy finds a sandwich in this one-page comic. There's a yukker at the end involving condiments.

POSTCARD COLLECTING: Four pages of deltiologist-related gags. The gags are obvious but some of the drawings are funny. If you've ever seen real Americana postcards, you'll know that these CRACKED fakes aren't anywhere near as odd or interesting.

MORE COMBINED MOVIES: "Dracula" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" One page charm. A good gag at the end. It's fun to see the dwarves fighting Dracula. What is the outcome? Well, let me just say this--Dopey brings the wrong kind of stake. Got me?

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO HOCKEY: Well, as long as there are sports and hobbies, this bit won't end. Four pages. There is an anthropomorphic puck that is funny and a couple of good gags. The bit about goalies doing whatever they can to block a shot is nice. Not bad.


CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SUPER SALESMAN KING: Nanny is here and she is all-there! If you follow me. The Super Salesman King is sleazy and a liar. But, Nanny is there shoving that microphone up his moustache and tearing it up. Nanny, we love you! Is there a Nanny Fan Club? May I be the Treasurer?


1 - 4/5 (Use of word "Buttinsky" is the real selling point.)
2 - 3/5
3 - 2/5

Total Tally -
Wednesday the 4th.
(I can see the heart in the put-down this month.)

GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY: Moscow, Russia May 2, 1656 Something gruesome and Communist, no doubt.

A fun issue with genuine laughs. The pacing of everything has improved significantly. The usual stinkers aren't as damaging here. I am looking forward to getting to the real CRACKED Nitty-Gritty. This is exciting.

Next issue: A Cameo appearance from The One Who Would Save Us All

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cracked Mazagine #131: Team-Up!

Cracked #131
A Review by Pierre L.

You can see the cover, yes? Is it not superb? Oh, the team-ups will proliferate and multiply but here is the genesis. The little box to the right of the Contents on Page 3 sums it up best: "Hey, Don Corleone!! You better check your line, 'cause someone's about to make you an offer you can't refuse!! And--he's armed to the teeth!! Lotsa luck!" Let's wriggle past the Bigga Hook and leap inside...

POSTER: ATTENTION! The end of the line begins here." Yellow background. A large black arrow under the words.

CONTENTS PAGE: Proof Reader - Noah Webster (?) Looks like this will be a good one.

LETTUCE from our Readers: A pleasant romp. I really want to get to the "beef" of this one so forgive my movement.

IF HIT MOVIES WERE COMBINED: Awesome! They really hit it here. When I was a child what I wanted so badly was more team-ups. Star Wars meets Star Trek. The Sweathogs get mixed up with the Godfather. The Family from Good Times get stranded overnight with the Cunninghams. But, of course it didn't happen. (Rarely.) That's why we have imaginations (and action figures). CRACKED really spanked it here. Watching characters from movies we love cross-pollinate is awesome. Are the jokes great? Not really. But, that's not the point. Seeing is the thing. It's joy.

The Godfather and Jaws! As the cover promises. It is not a full bit just a two-pager but it works better that way because it doesn't drag.

Love Story and Bambi! That guy from Love Story falls in love with, and marries, a deer (Bambi). It's one page long so it's the perfect length for fun!

The Wizard of Oz and the Exorcist! The Cowardly Lion gets possessed by a demon. In the end the evil is driven out and the demon looks just like a certain buck-toothed mascot from another humor magazine. "So that's what evil thing was driving him mad!"

Lassie & Young Frankenstein! Can you guess the joke at the end of this one? Dr. Frankenstein, a dog? Write to me care of the blog and I can help you out.

Bonny & Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Murder on the Orient Express, Capone & the Three Musketeers! It's one page long but I'm worn out from writing down all the movies.

Great bit. It would repeat in abbreviated form over the next year or two. Wonderful beginning. Much better than a single subject parody, in my opinion.

THE FEMALE ROLE IN AMERICAN HISTORY: Jokes about women's role in American History, oddly enough. Some great drawings. The article is that strange mix of jokes celebrating women and then mentioning how they love talking and gossiping and... Well, really that's it. I can't imagine the same people who got joy from the previous article found this bit to be worthwhile. But, maybe it was for the dad's. It does contain the title of the first American etiquette book: Emily Flapsaddle's Rules for Common Courtesy for Cowpokes. So that's something.

HOW A BIG CITY CAN PREVENT BANKRUPTCY: Basically, by taxing or charging for everything. Fees for entering a city. Bigger fees for leaving a city. A city could enlist muggers to help them out. "I won't mug you if you give me a $25 check made out to Philadelphia." It's an actual funny bit. The art is just great. I'm not 100% sure who did the illustrations here but the pictures are funny enough to match up with the words. (Most times they are funnier.) Great article.

IF TV COMMERCIALS LASTED 61 SECONDS: Just what you think. Exciting. flashy commercials. CUT! Something awful happens. A woman is shown using Lady Clearall to change her hair color again and again. CUT! All the hair falls out of her head. A man shows off his new hairpiece with a smile. CUT! A little furry dog stands up from the bald man's head saying, "Are we done yet?" At three pages, it will take you all of one minute to read and most of it is fine.

CELEBRITY GARBAGE: To text-heavy. Feels like a Mad bit. Notes and bits of random trash from people's garbage. Specifically, we see Saint Nicholas, Superguy, President Ford, Don 'Godfather' Carboney, Count Dracula and Abe Beame, New York Mayor. A bit to cluttered. There are some laughs here but if I wanted to read MAD this would be the MAD Review and I don't have that much time on my hands.

CRACKED VISITS A PRO FOOTBALL LOCKER ROOM: "You're one of football's fastest running backs. What's your secret?" "I drink a quart of prune juice before every game!" You can go from there.

HAVAII 5-0: Not bad. Those TV parodies, I tell ya. I've never actually watched an episode of the show but this is a funny, fast-paced, five page bit that's got some smiles and some really goofy panels. Every time they go to a commercial a wave washes through their offices. I can only imagine what that must have looked like on the show itself. If they did the parodies in every issue like this one, I think I could really grow to love them. One solid standard; one with a little more pizzazz. Unfortunately, that's not really going to happen but--

RULE CHANGES IN SPORTS THAT REFLECT THE REAL WORLD: Sports folks being forced to play games as if they were real life. "Very few of us take the straight and narrow path in real life. Bowling alleys should reflect this fact." A bowling lane with a big curve and large gutter is shown. "Human beings don't start out equal in life, so why should horses?" A very rich man and his horse are shown at their "Head Start", which is a foot from the finish line. A poor man and his poor horse are shown going the wrong way, blindfolded and dragging a 2000 pound weight. Actually, quite a funny bit. The captions, however, are more thought-provoking than the pictures can handle. Some nice satire in here. CRACK ME, boys!

The LOSER: A funny two-page wordless cartoon with a very unlucky man. Nicely done with a great final panel.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF MOVIE GOING: Mad-style short strips with gags about people talking to loud in theaters or getting their feet stuck to the floor by gum or getting in the wrong line. Not too much fun. More of an "Oh" kind of bit than a funny one. But, some of the people are goofy and a little kid wants to see "The Giant Lizard vs. Mavis the Mammoth Moth!"

YOU KNOW YOU'RE NOBODY WHEN...: One of these bits. 12 captions followed by illustrations that show us what the caption said. A couple of the captions and illustrations are funny ("You Know You're Nobody When...The Census Bureau flatly denies your existence...") but it's filler.

The issue started out like CRACKED but it's ending up feeling like Mad. I guess they didn't exorcise that demon after all.

An ad for the CRACKED BOOKSTORE follows.

Nanny! Look at those stocking she's wearing! I'm hypnotized!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE MAGIC KING: She's back and she is Va-Va-Va-Va-Voom! I threw an extra Va in there because she's back! She interviews Melvin the Magnificent! He does all sorts of tricks and trains all sorts of junior magicians. She's not really de-bunking anything just sort of walking around with Melvin. But, she's so charming, who cares? Don't go, Nanny. Stay with us.

1 - 5/5
2 - 4/5 (There is a very fat woman in this one but the gag isn't that great.)
3 - 2/5 (Just because you give a man sideburns doesn't mean that he's as cool as Elvis.)

Total Tally - Withheld

There you have it. As I've said, we are moving towards the Renaissance but we are not there yet. They get one portion of the magazine right and let it down in the next one. Very uneven. Is it the material? Is it the presentation? Is it the order of articles? We'll find out.

Next time - Just Around the Corner from Fun!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cracked #130: Times are Getting Good!

by Pierre L.

The cover says it all and leaves me with nothing to say.

You can hear the creative engines beginning to kick into Over Drive! We are not where I think the True Start of The Glory begins but we are so close. Mr. Sproul and the Crew are sharpening their wits. They will unleash a torrent in a few issues from now. Have you brought your rubbers?

POSTER: "Will All Those People 6' and Over Please Move so that the Shorter Folk Behind You May Read This Poster!" What can a critic say? Ha Ha!, perhaps?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: January 1978. Prufe readuh - Ms. Take

Let's keep moving.

LETTUCE from our Readers: October 31, 1975 is Sylvester P. Smythe Day! So far no drop-off in the sheer Like people have for this mazagine.

GOOD TYMES: They are poor and they are funny. I had to wipe the sass off of my pants after this one. They're eating cardboard boxes, renting their couch out to lodgers and being visited by Mr. Fred Sanford. What a family! The TV skewering continues strong with this natural outgrowth of the sort of stories that Good Times used to tell. Things get really bad but really goofy. In the end, things seem to get better but they stay about the same. Throw in a couple of those 45-year-old CRACKED jokes we all know and love (Jaimes, the dad, announces that everyone has to go out and get jobs. He hypes everyone up by saying the rather stilted line, "O.K., let's all get out there and pitch." Mykal looks at us and says, "I thought we needed money. Why we gonna' go out and play baseball?") Thank you, CRACKED, for making us laugh at and with the desperately poor people living in America.

CRACKED'S GUIDE TO SHARKS: Great art, great jokes, great bit. Although, you might be forgiven for forgetting that sharks are only in the water. The fear spreads to dry land and even into apartment bedrooms here. There is a wonderful section called "Humans Can Learn From Sharks". This bit has Sproul smeared all over it. He teaches as he makes us laugh. This sort of call-back to a famous movie or TV show would be perfected in the next two years. Enjoy its humble beginnings.

THE NON-PEOPLE POPULATION EXPLOSION: What happens when insects, plants, rhinos, dogs & cats and fish populations boom? Well, one theory is that they will have more TV shows geared towards them. My favorite: "Sanford and Cat". Remember when everyone had a pet rhino? What happened to all of them? Zingers and satire mix together to make a creamy filling that I can't get enough of. They are cooking in this issue! I can't say enough about it.

A PREVIEW OF CRACKED'S NEW TV SEASON: Well, this one is mostly fun. We see the names of TV shows followed by drawings that literally present the titles. The "Six Million Dollar Man" drawing is of a bank president counting money. "The Jeffersons" is a drawing of Thomas Jefferson and his wife. Things like that. A fun scanning bit but not a lot of kick. Everything can't be gold. They do have a writing staff and everyone gets their turn. Even the ones who are terribly, terribly unfunny.

THE MONSTER: A quick one-page comic strip thing with Godzillla eating things and then getting indigestion. Satire of some kind? I've read it eighteen times and I can't quite tell.

DEVELOPING A NEW PRODUCT: Turkey Cola! (Original Name: Hitler Cola) We go through each CRACKED Step in developing this awful product. From the lab to the executives to the advertising to the pummeling down your throat. The satire content is high in this issue as they sock it to everybody. Love the art.

THE CLASS REUNION OF 1985: Instead of a CRACKED LOOKS AT this issue, we get this. Everyone from the 1975 TV line-up at a big party. Big Bird talks to George Jefferson. Kojak is wearing a lovely wig. Strangely enough, the jokes are no different from any other CRACKED LOOKS AT Article. You'd think they would be but they're not. Well, I guess that's what makes it HOT STUFF! Oh yes, Lawrence Welk is there so tell your friends.

THE FRENCH COMMOTION II: One great joke involving a flying leap. The rest is a slightly salty lozenge. I didn't laugh but I did have fun reading. It's got a decent flow although it does get interrupted here and there. I've noticed that on occasion they are so intent upon hitting the gags that transitions from panel to panel can be non-existent. Here is this character in this gag. Next panel, they are over here. If you know the movie, it's fun. If you don't, you wonder where the bit of story went. This will not improve as the magazine's rate of gaggery increases. (By the way, what happened to all the heroin?)

CRACKED GUIDE TO SKY DIVING: Standard fare. The captions, the pictures, the gags. Four pages is the perfect length for this sort of thing. A very funny drawing of a fat man at the end makes it worth your time. They have done better guides. I learned little.

An Ad follows for CRACKED ANNUALS.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO PLANT CARE: They should just publish one big guide with all these little guides inside. The issues later on will break this sort of thing up. Two guides with the exact same style and presentation of humor is a bit much. Luckily, the puns are strong and at three pages it's a breeze. Maybe I should consider doing my own reshuffle of the articles in this issue. As we pull towards the end, it is dropping off a bit. Like a weak Side 2 of a good album.

CRACKED'S CHEAPER METHODS FOR POWERING AUTOMOBILES: Six new ways of powering cars when the price of gas skyrockets. One involves manual laborers pushing from an abnormally large trunk. One is "The Hamscar". It's filled with hamsters (that look like mice). Get it? "The TNT Car" is self-explanatory. Garbage cars stink but zoom along. There is a car powered by H2O that needs to be seen to be believed. And, "The Eleband Mobile" involves an elephant. 'Nuff said, Jack? Enough charm here to keep you smiling.

Oh, look! Another ad for those binders and notebooks I never received!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SPORTS KING: Her name is Nanny but she looks like the gal from a few issue back. She's not as voluptuous as we know her. But, she does trim the Sports King a new one. He rips off a lot of people promoting his sporting events and Nanny with the help of her bell-bottoms exposes it all. There's a lot of violence in the sports world and she looks at all of it. In the end, she does it right but I wished she looked a bit different. Where is my Nanny?

1 - 3/5
2 - 5/7
3 - 4!
Total Tally: Goldwater 5-Spot with a touch of R. Richardson
(This one shut me up, all right!)

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Aviation. It's funny. It's flight.

The are still having problems with the order of the articles. Too many similar bits crammed against one another. One wishes that more bits had new jokes rather than the same ten bits of shtick recycled over and over but that's CRACKED for you! Overall, a solid issue. A slight improvement over the previous one but not where we want to be. Yet.

Next Issue: Team-Up Time!

See #128 for all pertinent credits.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cracked #129 - Bright White Teeth & Glimmers of Hope

Cracked # 129 November 1975
by Pierre L.

The slump that seemed to be approaching us is slowly being averted. The New Cracked Bicentennial Excitement has not yet arrived but this issue picks it up and starts the ball rolling.

Starting with the COVER, there is a renewed verve. There's no real joke here but it is a great image. Sylvester is on a "Titanic II" lifeboat with a S.S. Poseidon Life Preserver. The fish exists in that strange silent zone that Chaplin and Keaton used to live in. Sylvester won't hear him until a moment later. Frankly, it will be too late. But, luckily, Sylvester only exists in moments and at this moment, as his shirt says, "If You're CRACKED, You're Happy." We will see you soon, Sylvester! (It is very lonely behind him though.) Well done, Mr. Severin!

The POSTER: "Avoid Shark Attacks" in big, black letters on a yellow background. At the very bottom, flanked by large arrows, is the Patented "CRACKED ZINGER"! "Get Hit By Lightning!" Even though it is very tiny, it too has an exclamation point. Lovely!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Why are these always out of order? Regardless, Dick Shunary is this issue's "prufe readuh". Away we go!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Fred Gorkle gets it in the shorts again! People still like the magazine (or mazagine). The next issue comes out on October 15th, 1975. Where were you?

JAWZ: As I've mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of the movie parodies. They are too specific. If you haven't seen the movie, they become a series of gags about set-pieces or character quirks that can go right over your head. Luckily, Jaws is pretty universal. Everyone seems to know at least something about this movie even if they haven't seen it. The article is consistently amusing. Oddly enough, taking a final gander through, I don't see a single bit that makes me actually laugh and yet I don't dislike it. That would be a CRACKED tactic over the next few years. They aren't really kicking at the movie. They sort of gently poke it. The tricky thing with this parody that they would perfect later on is that the artist doesn't seem to know that the writer is gently ribbing the movie. A lot of the panels are really frenetic but the gags are little light zings. For some reason thought, it is quite charming. A strong start for the issue.

HOW COLLEGES CAN ATTRACT NEW STUDENTS: Buddy Hackett, big-boobed gals and, oddly enough, rickshaws litter this bit. Pampering kids to the point of indolence and reducing education to a legendary activity is the premise of this article. The guy who draws Nanny Dickering really went to town here as there is a woman who looks like her in every three panels. Not a hoot fest but at four pages it reads quick.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO BOATING: You know that I love this type of article. CRACKED carry me away and teach me about these wonderful hobbies/sports/activities! Yes, breath easy! There is a joke about a person bringing Life Savers candy on a boat thinking that they can be used as Life Preservers. If our civilization collapses and all that remains for those giants who follow us is this magazine, they will get a veritable encyclopedia of gags we loved. Here is one. In my copy, it is circled with a smiley face next to it. Dickie and Mildred have a boat. It springs a leak. Oh yes, there will be comedy! In the end, it is one of those bits where the captions set you up and it all depends on the drawings. And, they are amusing. Again, not many (or any)laughs but it is charming. It's just nothing really kicks you under your shorts.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: The art is great. "THEN" panels with the little kid doing something and "NOW" panels showing what he became. Nothing revolutionary but at two pages with the minimal amount of reading involved it's innocuous.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF AUTOMOBILES: A series of short comic strips containing gags on cars and driving. These bits always reminded me the most of Mad Magazine. And, in fact, they have just about as many laughs as the Mad articles. Except they are missing those strangely embarrassing moments that Mad would sometimes have. You know what I mean. You read it and think, "What's the year on this magazine? 1975? Seems more like 1908." This 4-page Automobile bit has a few nice bits. The gas station gag where the car fills up with gas is done with the minimal amount of people yelling "Oh my gosh! The car's filling up with gas!" It's nice and visual. Worth the read.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A HAMBURGER FRANCHISE: Why did I enjoy this article so much? It is as cluttered and as tough to look at as all the others but that seems to work here. The jokes are no funnier but the flow of the pages seem very right. What is going on? Could I actually be enjoying these "CRACKED LOOKS" articles. I've always despised them so. We'll see what happens with next issue's bit. This article's post-civilization joke saved: "The food here is absolute poison. And such small portions."

THE FREAKS OF SAN FRANCISCO: I do prefer the TV spoofs and this one is no exception. My favorite bit here is that the parody starts with an "ACT I" caption. Two pages later, Karl Malden hold up an "ACT 4" sign. The Michael Douglas character, Stevie, says, "Hey, where's Act III?" Malden's Lt. Pebbles says, "Nothing happened in Act III, so we're skipping it!" Stevie replies, "That's a dumb excuse--nothing happened in Acts I or II, but we showed them!" Zing! These are the jokes. And, they're not bad. Funnier than JAWZ but without the sticking power. I guess that's why it's runner-up in the magazine. (And, the sign does say Act 4, not Act IV. Even though the first three Acts are in Roman Numerals.)

CRACKED GUIDE TO BASEBALL: I'm not so thrilled with two "Cracked Guides" in the same issue but I can live with it. Same routine. Captions state something and the panel shows something goofy. Some jokes work; some jokes are blah. But, in general, this has a higher "HA HA!" factor than Boating. Although, the similarity of the baseball players allow for less variety in the drawings. Possibly this should have gone first.

So far no real duds. Nothing hugely hysterical but a solid mix of articles.

THE SPECIALIZED BIONIC MAN: A series of spin-off "Six Million Dollar" characters. We get: The Six Million Dollar Sleuth, The Six Million Dollar Ideal Mate, The...Actor, The...Rock Singer, The...Politician, The...Football Player. Three pages of entertaining drawings and satirical jabs at these professions (although, Ideal mate?). I really get the feeling in this issue that, although most of the material isn't much different from previous issues, last issue's mediocre presentation has caused them to step back a little. Nothing is grab-grab-grabbing but nothing is bad. Getting their confidence back. And, you know what it is--Charming. We will stick with you, Mr. Sproul!

An ad for those Binders and Notebooks that I've never received follows.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE LEMONADE KING: It is Nanny, not Nancy. But, a different artist has drawn her here. Think Goldie Hawn rather than Jayne Mansfield. But, she's still got ZAZZ! This month, she tackles a 9-year-old lemonade tycoon: Danny Dollar. Frankly, this kid is a greedy prick. (Is that the right word?) He is a mini-MBA boy and if that's your cup of tea, enjoy him. The rest of us can enjoy Nanny debunking some of his shennaigans and watch him getting beaten up at the end of the article. A little off the beaten track for our favorite lady reporter but she's still got it!

The next two pages are random cartoons and ads. The ad for CRACKED Pocketbooks offers "Half-Cracked", "Cracked Up", "Your Cracked" and "Cracked in the Saddle". At great prices! There is a "Stanley" comic strip "Continuing the adventures of the Great Paleolithic Hero" It's more social commenary than big-ass laugh. "Sagebrush" is charming like a good daily comic strip. "Ye Hang Ups" has a very funny final panel. So, look for that one. Probably the biggest smile moment of the issue.


1 - 4/5
2 - 3.5/5
3 - 2/5

Total: 9.5/15 ("Touring Melvin" is not an option! See #108)

The BACK COVER ends everything nicely wth a Great Moment in Cosmetics.

A nice issue. Warming us up for the issues to come. One year from now, we will be deep in the CRACKED Renaissance. All the leading characters are not here yet. But, don't worry. If this is a taste, wait until you try all four courses. You'll be a CRACKHEAD For Life!

Next Issue: Refulgent Gaggery? Wait and See!

See bottom of Cracked #128 for acknowledgments.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cracked #128 - Bookended with Gangsters

As one can ascertain from a perusal of the cover of this installment's issue, gangsters are once-again all the rage. Al Capone drips weaponry as a fat man would drip sweat after a jog around the old school track. Our Sylvester is left staring at him in confusion. Is it worry over how he'll clean this mess up? Is he wondering how to tell this man that his guns are showing? Has he just realized that he could kill this man and became "King of the Gangsters"? Sylvester never gives the game away. It could be all of these things--or none.

There is some sort of clue that seems to have dropped from the groin region of Mr. Capone. A small grouping of blue words: "Retailers: See page 5 for Display Program Announcement" ? We'll have to wait for Page 5.

After such a charming and questioning cover, one can only wish that the rest of the magazine matched it. Well, this dream will not come true today. There are a few lovely bits that troll the funny up to the surface but much of this issue is flailing chicanery. The editors have exhausted all their old material. They are re-hashing and muttering on. Awaiting the next pop culture explosion, I guess. Regardless, let's head inside.

POSTER: "Don't put off for tomorrow what you can postpone until the day after!" Wise words, certainly. But, there's no flare in the presentation. It's not so much a poster as some sort of sign. Where are the borders or the fun lettering? I have taken it to heart but have they?

CONTENTS PAGE: Same Proof Reader as #127. Looks like there's fun in our future. Doesn't it?


Page 5! I've found it. "ANNOUNCEMENT" It's a little box that contains information on the CRACKED display program. Interesting. It even gives an address. All prospective displayers can write to me c/o the magazine and I'll get that to you.

Who is Fred Gorkle?

CAPONY: This is a parody of some sort of Al Capone movie or something. It's no Godfather. I think that's all I need to say there. Lots of puns and similar sorts of gags. "Why'd you kill me?" "You brushed against my coat." "Sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way." & the appearance of the Sears-Robot's Public Officials on the Take Spring Catalog. It's an innocuous six pages. Good for a smile or two but with that "each panel is a gag that references a specific moment" rather than "We're going to tell a coherent gag-filled story." Sometimes they're fun; sometimes not. You can guess the side I'm dropping on.

IF TV CHARACTERS AGED WHILE THEIR SHOWS STAYED THE SAME: An excellent bit. One of the bright spots. We get to see Kojack (Gojack), Gunsmoke (Gunsmog), Medical Center (Medicine Center), Kung Fu (the always charming Kung Fuey) and Walter Cronkite and the Evening News (Walter Kronic and the Evening News) skewered. They all got old! But, the formats of the shows didn't! Bad toupees, poor eyesight, visible stuntmen and taking long naps are all here. Did the older generation know what hit them when Cracked came on the scene? The Walter Krnoic panel is particularly lovely. Hurrah!

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF MEDICINE: Earlier I made remarks about this issue not being up to par but there are two great bits in a row here. I guess the pointlessness of Capony affected my judgment. This is a funny journey through the history of doctors and all that sort of thing. Some bad gags but a few clever ones lighten it up. There is a panel stating that primitive man would use magic to try and cure people. So, we see a sick woman watching a man pull a rabbit of a skull. He asks, "Feel better yet?" Nice. The other bit that brought me to giggles was the early anatomy chart that consisted of a skull on top of a stick figure. We sure had a lot to learn! Four pages of joy.

Oh, it has finely been brought to light. The man who received the first ever medical injection was a Mr. Tenderbottom. It's worth knowing.

SOME CRACKED TIPS FOR WHIPPING INFLATION: Not bad but it's no "World Running Out of Space" from the last issue. Many of the gags are surprisingly obvious. Although, the newspaper as furniture bit and the clothing recycling gag work nice. In fact, there is one clever bit. "First run movies can also be seen for less by walking in backwards as the audience is exiting from the previous show." A couple is seen backing into an emptying theater. Of course, you'd still have to buy some sort of movie ticket. So, this one works when you've got two movies you want to see. But, in general, I can't work up much excitement for bits like "And you can avoid barbershop bills by cutting your own hair." followed by a picture of a man who has given himself a bad haircut and cut the collar off of his shirt. Let's move on.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION?: Two pages of gags that you'll forget when you turn the page. I had to write this one down: "The most unsung group of revolutionary heroes were the Boston Hourmen. ...they were just as brave as the Minutemen only they took a little longer to get ready." The art is fun and if you just look at the pictures the promise is great. Once you start reading, you want to flip the page.

But, when you do, you'll wish you'd stayed back there.

CRACKED LOOKS AT A SUMMER CAMP: Fewer gags on this spread than usual. But, they still aren't very good. Is there one about a long-haired kid getting his/her sex confused by an adult. Yes. You know what? I can't do this routine again. If you like this regular article, well, here's more of it. If you don't like it, take twenty seconds to scan and move on.

Holy Crap, there's a third page! More Summer Camp jokes. For some reason, however, this is the Most Charming page of these article I have encountered. Without the big caption on top and with a little less clutter, it is actually fun. Funny? Well, I can't vouch there but--If I were to make a CRACKED SUPER SPECIAL called "CRACKED LOOKS AT...", it would be one page long.

THE UNTOLD STORY OF HOW BETSY ROSS CREATED THE FLAG: Charming and funny. It consists of correspondence between George Washington and Betsy Ross. We see early drafts of the American Flag. We learn that U.S. originally stood for Uncle Sol Ross. This is why we read CRACKED for little bits of nonsense mixed with some good old-fashioned social satire. Some of Betsy's design are funny. The one that looks just like the Soviet Union flag was a laugh. Washington's writing "(I slept here)" under motel stationary headings is a good running bit. Who can argue when the smell is this nice?

An Ad for CRACKED binders and notebooks follows. I still have not received mine but I am a patient man--to a certain extent.

DISASTER MOVIES YOU MAY BE SOON SEEING: I will list the titles and you can decide the comedy value on your own.

The Towering Terrier Terror - A lot of dogs and poo jokes.

The Fingers of Fate - "A group of Vassar girls face a street lined with Rome's most notorious pinchers. Would they escape...ot would they get it in the end?"

Glaring Inferno - Bald stars with shiny heads.

The Towering Trash - Lots of garbage.

The Perspirin Adventure - "They were trapped in an elevator for 96 hours with nothing to eat but a stack of frozen pizzas!"

The Big Leak at the Waterbed Factory - Do I need to explain that?

Earquake - Howard Cosell jokes galore!

SUMMER IS...: Insert my "Cracked Look at Summer Camp" review here but eliminate the bit about the third page.

POLICE LADY: "Police Woman" parody. I will admit that I have not seen the show and my DVDs of Season One have been delayed. But, after reading this article, I think I'll be all right. 5 pages of an incompetent police lady. She's got a lot of hair and she combs it a lot. I have a tough time getting worked up about this one. Luckily, I see Nanny Dickering on the horizon.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE STUNT KING: Who is Nancy Dickering? This is not the woman I know and love who tackles the big issues. This is not the larger-than-life Nanny I've known for so long. This is, I don't know, her sister? Well, regardless, it seems to fit the overall blah tone of much of this issue.

Her interview isn't even an expose. It is a series of jokes about a stunt man and all the day-to-day craziness he goes through. Nancy is clearly enjoying herself but there's nothing to push at, nothing to expose. It's fun but there's no "Oomph!" to it. Bring back my Nanny!

SLIDING DOWN THE FAMILY TREE: A brief bit on Sylvester's family tree. Thomas Smythe, the man who failed to invent the first light bulb but did discover the first crew-cut through hilarious situations involving electrical shocks and such. Always a welcome addition to an issue.

This is followed by a Sagebrush cartoon and a Knights 'n' Daze strip. Fun? Yes. Let's carry on.


1 - 3/5
2 - 2.4/5
3 - 5/5
Total (With the sliding scale):

The Back cover contains a "Great Moments in Journalism" gag about organized crime. It's all right. Maybe they should rest on the organized crime gags.

I found this issue to be desparately uneven. They never seem to build a momentum with bad bits next to clever bits. The weak bits don't even feel like filler. I think they thought these were great bits. Well, they're not. Maybe it's the heat in my hometown this week but I found this issue to be less-than-a-thrill.

Next time:

#129 - We welcome a certain famous shark to the column. Stay tuned!

- Pierre L.

Translated by Del Berman
Cover image from

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cracked #127: Forever Schtick

Cracked #127 has this wonderful cover that never fails to elicit a chuckle from my person. Poor Sylvester is at the Space Zoo! How did he get there? Sylvester, what have you done? Looking on, we find the stars of our Main Feature this issue: Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Let the September 1975 issue commence!

I will admit that although the joke is not new, I found much humor in the wryity of this month's poster. It reads: "Ignorance is Bliss" in large letters. But, then it throws in the Cracked Kicker we have come to expect. " how come more people aren't happy?" Indeed.

This month's proofreader: Gotno Lernin.

Lettuce From Readers? Charming, as always.

We begin with a TV parody: Star Tracks. At this point, the original Star Trek had been off the air for 6 years but syndication had made it something special. People watched the show over and over again. Cracked knew this. They sent us a Zing-Express Delivery! I think the first joke sets it up for us. Mr. Spock sneaking into the ladies room. "...tiptoeing boldly where man has never gone before." Mr. Spock, let us join you.

The plot involves Kirk, Spock and the redoubtable Bones landing on the planet Change. When the trio return to the Starship Centipede, they begin to change. Spock's body beings to fall apart, beginning with his trademark ears. Kirk starts to become a woman. (He does do his hair.) Bones gets acne. Along the way, we get jokes about reruns and an impenetrable scientific explanation for the change from Bones, which is translated into "take two Tums".

Before the motion picture (and before Star Wars) and The Next Generation, this satire plunks it down hard on this charming, beloved show. The final panel shows the characters on the planet Cancellation being honored by Gomer Pyle, Don Rickles, Jackie Gleason and others. "We're the only survivors of a cancelled program ever to be shown more times than 'I Love Lucy'!" Well done, Cracked. A biting and funny introduction to the issue.

"When The World Runs Out Of Space"
Four pages of overpopulation jokes ranging from the pointed to the obvious. A few favorites are the triple-decker chair and the balloon homes. The real kicker in this article is the last page. When every place in our solar system is overpopulated, the government will begin advertising campaigns inducing people to leave this world, permanently. A bit darker than the regular Cracked fare. There is a crackle of black humor here. The "Sterling Silver Russian Roulette Kit by Tiffany", which is a gun with bullets, is dark. And, the "Have a Blast/ Throw a Bomb" encouragement for terrorists can take the uninitiated reader aback. (I am still afront.)

"If Other Industries Gave Rebates"
Basically, two pages of companies following the auto industries rebate policies. The article seems to be missing a page as it never really takes off. It's mildly funny but I will leave you with the best joke and save you time. Brandex Tissues: If you buy 10 boxes, you will receive "A free nosehair from a stage, screen or TV star. Now, there's a deal worth nosing into!"

"If Newspapers Carried Pictures To Match Their Headlines"
A joy. What Cracked does well done well. Big headlines with literal translations of the words in picture. So, yes, we get "Mugger Beats Two Women With Bat". A man is shown attacking two women with a vampire bat. "Poles All Over Road After Storm". A Polish Marching Band is scattered across the street. "Guerrillas Attack Army Camp" is perhaps too obvious and, obviously, wrong. But, you will giggle when you see "200 Attend Airline Talks". Wonderful. If this is being Cracked, don't spackle me!

A pointed satire on the Arab/OPEC control of the oil wealth of the world through a funny Monopoly parody. An example of the "twist": "TO START THE GAME--Each player is given ten billion in petty cash, fifty wives and five goats. The player who shouts the most stirring battle-cry against Israel gets to roll the dice first." And, you still believe that only Mad went to this place? The Punchline sends it home when a letter from the Publisher requests no more articles "...about the Arabs buying up the world". And, the new Publisher is an Arab! Boys, let me give you your Lifetime Achievement Award in Wacky!

Followed by an ad for The Cracked Bookstore. I have ordered Cracked Goes West and Those Cracked Monsters. The prices are, how you say?, reasonable.

"You Know You're a TV Addict When..."
Schtick! Lots of gas on this 2-pager about people who really love TV. Uneven, sure but worth it for the " think you're a minority expert because you watch 'Sanford & Son' and 'Chico and the Man'." The pictures are fun but the gag lines don't always add up to a one-two punch in your groin.

"A Cracked Look at a Racetrack"
Well if you felt a trickle of Schtick run down your leg during that last article prepare for the chum bucket to be dropped on your head. Apart from an appearance by the Frankenstein Monster, this is the usual blah blah blah. You know my feelings on this running article. I don't think it's worthy of Cracked. The cluttered two-page spread with funny-looking characters (admittedly) speaking age-old jokes brings my dander up north. I usually start in the upper left hand corner and read quickly. This time around all I was left thinking was "Why are there so many more gags on the left side than the right?" Maybe someone knows. I don't want to read it again.

"Airplot 1975"
I recently acquired the Terminal Pack of Airport Movies on Digital Versatile Disc. They are charming. This parody is a mixed bag. The Star Trek opener was so high up. But, it works because it was an amalgam of a TV show. The more-specific movie parodies can leave me in the dust. Here's what I learned: These films have a lot of characters. (But, where did the lovely Beverly Garland go?) The plots are contrived. Karen Black has crossed eyes. Of course, I've said before that I can never get enough George Kennedy and this is no exception. A quick read. There are some laughs for those of you who enjoy such things. But, the movie is goofball enough on its own. Cracked does not step over that line. They should. I am waiting.

"Cracked Takes A Spinoff"
Genius! As sublime as Goethe's Faust. (Changing the lead character of Good Times' name to West Virginia made my beret fly off my head with mirth.) We start with All in The Familiar--to Mawde--to Good Tymes--back to All in The Familiar--to The Jeffonsons! They spin Norman Lear(y) on the comedy spit. But, the true magic of this article comes in the spinoffs "one step further". Arches' grandson (Arches Jr.) will have a spinoff with his dog Flash--"The Adventure of Arches Jr. and his Faithful Friend Flash". They live in a cave. Eventually, posits Cracked, the dog will get his own show. Then, the cave will get its own show. This article reeks of the writing style of Unda Edjakated. Wonderful. Other spinoffs are brought up but--my Favorite? The spinoff involving the Native American cousin of the Jeffersons entitled "White Cloud and the Chicken". The Native American cousin will have crazy adventures with a giant chicken. I love it! More, please. (I did note that the Jeffonsons changed back to the Jeffersons halfway through. Oh, Unda!)

"The Cracked Guide to Self-Recognition"
Let the comedic doldrums begin. Padding Thy Name is the next four pages. Similar to the TV addicts bit 15 pages ago, this article as a "You Know You're too Fat When..." & a "You Know You're too Skinny When" Oh, comic desperation! The fat people look funny and there's a skinny guy's butt on display as he goes down the drain but nothing else of interest.

"A Teenager Is..."
Exactly the same as they were back in 1968. An article full of stale gags that feels a lot like the previous srticle. Maybe more rebates would have helped. Think of your obvious teenage joke and it's here. The girls talk on the phone and shop. The boys are dirty and eat a lot. Yawn...Where is the comedy?

An ad for 3-Ring Loose-Leaf Binders and COIL-Bound Notebook slices through the monotony. Joy!

"Cracked Interviews the Resort King"
Nanny, you have saved my funny bone!
What is Nanny doing? Interviewing Irving M. Gabonza, owner and manager of Sleepy Acres Resort.
How does she do it? Hard hitting and getting right in the thick, as always.
How does she look? Russ Meyer would be proud. And, frankly, I can't stand up for fear of rupturing my $250 Parisian trousers.
Sleepy Acres is a rip-off. I note that I cannot find Mr. Gabonza's resort on line. Nanny did her job! Each panel reveals a little more of the sleazy tactics that make resort vacationing in the Summer of 1975 so tough. This Resort King is a goofball! Way to go, Nanny!

Shut-Ups Ratings
1 - 2.5/5
2 - 4/5
3 - 4.5/5 (for including a vampire)
Total: 11/15

The Back cover contains a charming cartoon called "The Curious and the Modern Sculpture". A decent ending to a frankly uneven issue.

They have done better and would do better over the next six months. The fatigue America felt before the bicentennial is beginning to show in our beloved magazine. When they were sharp, they'd slice a hair in half. But, there's too much filler here.

Next: Issue 128 - "We Shoot-Down Capone!"

- Pierre L.

Translated by Del Berman
Cover image from

Sunday, November 05, 2006

CRACKED #126: A Bulgeful of Parodies!

August 1975
by Pierre L.

Sylvester has done it now!!!!! How are they going to shoot water up that strangely illustrated 7-story building now? I'll be honest...I didn't actually notice the full joke until I went to the table of contents and read "...what a time for a snack!" Oh, the fire & the marshmallows. Why didn't they fill in the background? The building looks like a poor graphic from an Atari 2600 game, like Amidar or something. I would say that we're definitely getting our attention drawn to the joke but I missed the joke. Is he going to pop the hose or is it just that he's sitting on it? OK...well...let's head in.

POSTER: "THIS WAY OUT"...Oh, this one comes with plenty of gaggage attached! And, hey, can we please keep it yellow? Like good strong pee?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Isza Badspeller" is the pruffe reder. Will we ever find out why the items listed in the Table of Contents are always out of order? Was that something MAD did and CRACKED followed? Hey! Ye Hang Ups! I'm sold!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Hey, it's Columbo! A guy writes to them from Sweden and Saginaw! This is truly a joyous cornucopia of people who write letters to Sprouls. Next issue - June 10th. Ten days before Jaws was released to theaters. Put that in your Mind & Smoke it.

THE TOWERING INFERNAL: Very brisk speed through the blockbuster movie of funtime proportions! I know that I've bemoaned these movies parodies in the past & the future. But, I'd recently watched this film so I got most of the jokes. ("Bluer eyes here" actually made me laugh aloud.) Possibly I should keep my bemoaning to myself? Basically, more or less, each panel is a snapshot of a scene from the film. We get a ladle of jokes, a soupcon of mirth and a pinch of High Hilarity! Nice opening parody.

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF BOATING?: Three pages of gags about boats and how folks have loved boating throughout history. Oddly enough, I don't remember much about this one. I went back and had another look (the mazagine is in front of me) and I still don't remember much of it. There's a loving couple in the end who can only afford a toy boat. There's a drawing of MASH's Radar. But, this bit refuses to sink in. It doesn't happen but every once in a while, it does. Weird.

I'll leave a few blank lines so you can write your own review in...

NEW T.V. GAME SHOW FOR NEXT SEASON: Fun, sadistic article with crazy game shows hurting people one way or another. "Beat The Light" gets a lady hit by a car. "Gambler" gets a guy to lose everything he owns. "The Price is Ridiculous" has a lady eat a bad meal of her own design. "Pay the Consequences" has a lady rob a bank and get arrested. Yeah, I laughed...My favorite moment: Mrs. Prune Danish is strolling onto the stage of "The Price is Ridiculous"...The host says: "What does your husband do?" "Time." "Time?" "Yeah, he's a convict." "You must be very proud of him." I love it because it's a CRACKED ZING! Is that a joke or not? What's going on? Why do I love it? Why is it here?

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE: Hmmm...I am tempted to pick up CRACKED Goes West. It's about time!

CRACKED GUIDE TO MAGIC: When was The Magician with Bill Bixby on the air? Ask your Big, Fat Momma. She might know. Pretty entertaining bit that shows how magic tricks are done. Your rabbit is actually a beaver in a rabbit suit that bites through the table into the hat. The mismatched girl appears because you get everyone in the crowd drunk. Card tricks? Don't forget the woodpecker. It's a decent conceit and a humorous series of comedic moments.

DISCOUNT COUPONS OF THE FUTURE: Police departments offer 20% off the fine on your 1st Head On Collision. Charlie's Tire Shop offers Free Air. Get your gall bladder removed! It's coupons for anything & everything, basically. And, it charms my cockles. I'll give it that.

CRACKED TAKES A LOOK AT SPRING TRAINING: Well..."Bonus Baby" Do they still use that term? This is a batch of jokes about lazy ball players counting their money. Hey! It's nice work if you can get it. And, if you can get it, won't you tell me please? This one is laid out kind of awkwardly. Even though I am no big fan of this sort of article, I can usually flow through it. This one feels strangely jumpy.

MURDERING THE ORIENT EXPRESS: I just watched this one recently, too. I thought it was less fun than Towering Inferno. It's a claustrophobic movie but in a way that grows tiresome. It's a series of conversations in real train compartments. Seemed like a good idea but...I don't know. I got bored and I love murder mysteries so much that I've considered murdering family members just so I could be part of the joy! I agree with the outburst of the crowd at the end but not what they're outbursting against.

PRODUCTS AND ADS DESIGNED FOR THE ARAB MARKET: A gas pump that sprays perfume on your harem. Special Camel Products! "When you've got 32 mothers-in-law you've got an Hexedrin Headache." And, the towel rack for the sheik and his 32 wives. "A dozen of the long-stemmed ones cost $3,675,000 but you've got only $2,788,000 in cash." The article is very focused on harems. Can't say I blame them! If I knew women, I'd try to start a harem.

THE MAJOR MOOSE SHOW: A Captain kangaroo parody of a schlubby guy who does bad work. Funny bit in here...There is a frame within each frame. Outside of the frame is what's not on camera and it's a clever idea. I like when Mr. Overalls gets eaten by a lion. There's a big, talking lump in the lion's stomach. "Well, he's about four feet high, has sharp teeth, a stomach capable of holding a man..." That made me laugh. The article is a reaction against "educational" shows. And, this is a slightly odd but pretty fun bit.

CRACKED ON CAMPUS?: I'm getting a binder. If your mamma don't like it, she knows what she can do.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SURVEILLANCE KING: Nanny! Less buxom that usual but a little more approachable. Mr. Tom Peeping is a perv with a little mustache who can't stop staring at people and listening to them. This guy is everywhere getting all the stink! God, him up! She does. Not as buxomly as normal but she does.

CARTOONS!: Stanley, Sagebrush & Ye Hang Ups Yuks, Yuks & Yuks!

1 - Goodyear
2- Monkeys smoking
3 - Mummy!

Total score: Total Awesome.

BACK COVER: Mass-Production of Wine-Making...Giovanni Grappelli, what have you done? The regular orange & black cover has purple bits. Nice.

You know, this is issue was fun and breezy. So breezy that I've forgotten it already. Perfect CRACKED. I wonder what they have prepared for us next.

Next issue: Sylvester, who's that guy with big ears?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

CRACKED #125: Sylvester is as large as those buildings!

July 1975
by Pierre L.

Great cover. For once, the strange background works perfectly. The red sky seems to be strange smoke. One of my favorite Severin covers of all time! Are you glad that you know that?

POSTER: Pee yellow words on the black background..."THE WORLD WILL END TOMORROW" (and a joke). I won't ruin it for you. This is quite the disaster-filled issue and, frankly, I say that it's about time.


E. Seize Nuttink, prouph reidr

There are only three writers listed! And, one of them is Ben Slo...Maybe two writers?

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - April 22nd Iron-On Feedback! Everyone loves the "If You're CRACKED, You're Happy" iron-on. I saw this letter..."Dear CRACKED, I wish you would do an interview on The Magician, starring Bill Bixby..." I just got a set of that on Taiwanese DVD! Can't wait to watch it.

EARTHSHAKE: Very-MAD like pastiche of the beautiful Earthshake! It even has the bit where the main characters look at us and tell us about themselves. Funny...this film already seemed to be a parody of disaster films, if I remember it correctly. Best joke...When the injured are put in a supermarket and the market collapses..."We gotta get the injured out of there." "Why bother?...We already know they're injured." And...the whole article is in "Quakearound". I shook this thing a lot. I liked this one. I'd seen the movie and this one nails it but...Where the heck is Marjoe Gortner?

IF PEOPLE SWITCHED FROM ONE PROFESSION TO ANOTHER: "If a car salesman turned waiter..." "If a C.I.A. agent became a baby sitter..." "If a circus act became a moving company..." "If a lawyer turned salesman..." "If a politician became a telephone operator..." This article is exactly what you imagine it is and the jokes are exactly what you imagine. The circus act don't mess up the furniture as they load the van but...those Nerds can't drive... Ahhh...

IF REAL LIFE OPERATED LIKE TV QUIZ SHOWS: This reminds me of the previous article. A courtroom...a parking lot...a wedding...a meal...a date...soup...tests...more meals...This one is more fun than the previous one with folks getting led round in circles while hunting for parking places and a man choking on his wife's jewelry. Oh, and there's actually a 5th page. Wow. This is longer than I thought...a naval vessel...chores...Hmmm, this one does go on a while.

OVERLOOKED DISASTER MOVIES: Pretty funny. Nosebleed! The Jolly Green Giant gets a nosebleed. The Taking of Elevator 123! Marlon Brando dressed as a Native American hijacks an elevator. The American Economy...It collapses! Shower Trap...A gal with long hair gets it caught in the drain and drowns. (I laughed.) Freeway is what you'd think. Famine...This one confused me a bit. I like this article. Why only 2 pages?

SHELLSHOCKED: 9 weird looking people (with names like Steve McSpleen & Ava DaGardner) watch 3 disaster movies in a row. People hang themselves and go crazy and a man jumps into mozzarella. An oddly confusing article that seems overly mean. I didn't love it but I didn't unlove it.

CAT GIFTS FOR CATS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING: Imported French Fleas and insurance policies for each of your cat's nine lives. A fridge with a special opening filled with cat food. It's two pages. It seems out of place after the previous bits but it speeds by and I smiled.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A GARAGE SALE: Very cluttered two-pager. Much like a garage sale. My favorite bit? "This sale is a fraud!" "Why do you say that?" "I made an offer of $1000 for the garage and they turned me down!" So many exclamation points! Lots of signs all over. "Of course women ain't what they used to be...they used to be girls" A woman yells at her friend for selling her vacuum. I think this is a mutli-family garage sale, personally. Too many items for one family.

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE: Those Cracked Monsters really toast my Phat pants!

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO GOLF: I actually learned more about golf from this than anywhere else. There are jokes and yuks and grins, smiles, giggles & laughs. I've never golfed but, if I did, I think I would have learned everything I know from this. And, a guy rips his pants! That's good.

FUTURE INSECT MONSTER MOVIES: The Future! Hop ahead to Those Cracked Monsters from February 1980.

PELL-MELL WITH MEL: Mel Brooks does funny things and now he's spoofing everything! He gives stale bagels to the possessed gal in The Exorcist, he finds the Atlanta Falcon instead of The Maltese Falcon. Basically, everything becomes Jewish. I thought it was hilarious!!! Giving the watermelon to the African-American woman in the Public Enemy gag made me laugh so hard that I had to call Sal's Sahara Laundry.

CRACKED ON CAMPUS: Order some binders and shut your mouth!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE SUPERMARKET KING: Mr. Milton Markup rips people off. A Big Sale Inside! turns out to be a big sail on a boat. Nanny hasn't been around in a while. It's good to see her stick it to this guy! Frankly...he's a jerk. Inflation has sent prices sky high & Mr. MM grabs the consumer and squeezes them, if you know what I mean.

CARTOONS: Stanley...Sagebrush...Ye Hang Ups. I will feel a great loss when these no longer wind up the issues. They're like morning comic strips on the next-to-the-last page of the paper.

SHUT UPS: 1 - Whips
2 - Missing Persons
3 - Submarines

I have been completely & utterly shut up.

BACK COVER: The Stone Age - Back to Those Cracked Monsters - February 1980

A completely charming, but slightly shopworn, issue. "This issue is a complete DISASTER!" is not strictly true but, at the same time, I think we're in need of a CRACKED Renaissance. Maybe having two people write everything isn't the best idea. I don't know.

Next issue: More disasters.

Friday, November 03, 2006

CRACKED #124: Hey, Godfodder. What's going on?

May 1975
by Pierre L.

The Godfather returns to our covers. Godfather II is out & is being enjoyed...and yet Marlon Brando is the featured person here. Even though he isn't in Part II. Oh well...He is in short pants. That's a hoot! The cover is amusing but...My's stark. The Godfather, Sylvester on the horse & the horse's head. Pray tell me, please, was CRACKED a cheapie mazagine? Or are all mazagines this cheap?

POSTER: Pee yellow! IMPORTANT MESSAGE...This one's pretty good. A series of small arrows along the bottom leading to the center bottom of the poster..."You're standing too close to this poster." in very tiny letters. Nice...nice & yellow.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Wedoan Aveone" is the pruphe reedre this time around. (He does nice work.) 2 writers. Hmmm...

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: A guy from Lebanon likes CRACKED! A guy named Jim Franklin tells this riveting story:

"I would like to tell you how I got my first CRACKED Magazine. I went down to my local store to browse around the magazine rack and I saw CRACKED magazine. I picked it up, looked in it and it looked good. So I bought it, loved it and now I subscribe to it." Isn't that a beautiful story?

Next issue - March 11th

THE GODFODDER, PART XXIII: Woody Allen is the Godfodder! It's fun to see him here but they don't seem to get the Woody Allen character right. This was the year of Love & Death. The Woody here seems to be sort of a Borscht Belt amalgam. He's not witty. Just cracking bad jokes. One of his sons is now a gorilla who gets shot by a giant banana. Chico Marx is another one of his sons. On the last page, everything becomes faded during the dream sequence. (I mean in the actual ink of the magazine.) Clever, clever. This isn't a killer opener but it's got some smiles & it sure cooks.

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF TELEVISION: This is a funny bit. My favorite moment? "...the modern home receiver came about in 1939..." We see a couple looking at their three kids. The kids are staring at a blank wall. Dad: Where do you want to put the TV, Margaret? Mom: How about in front of the kids, Frank. They've been staring at that wall for 8 years waiting for something." This article is fairly faithful to the history of TV. And, there's something about the initial sensation that sent people buying TVs being Milton Berle dressed as a woman that is hilariously apt & a bit strange. Westerns & reruns & color. And huge screen TVs!!! Fun bit. CRACKED teaches me!

WHAT WILL SUPER K DO WHEN HE LEAVES THE GOVERNMENT: More Kissinger jokes! Maybe they should let MAD stick to this stuff? HK jumps into baseball, marriages, TV newscasting, selling Christmas trees to the hilarious looking Rabbi Samuelson, PR for Public Utilities and working for the Mafia. He always says the right thing! He can convince anybody of anything! My third page (18) is really faded in the ink department. Did I get a bad issue?

OLYMPICS FOR NON-ATHLETES: If you guessed the first one was for politicians and the second was for the mafia, give yourself a CRACKED No-Prize. The Grand Parents Senile Steeplechase has - Cane Vaulting - Checker Playing - Operation-Reminiscing - False Teeth Cleaning - Lace Crocheting - Family Meeting. Small Kids, Doctors & Waiters all get their time to shine, too. Kind of funny but a touch on the repetitive side, especially since it kind of resembles the previous article.

HOW PAST EVENTS MIGHT HAVE BEEN REPORTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED PRESS: Unwieldy title but funny bit. "Massive Fire Wipes Out Chicago" becomes "Huge Redevelopment Hits Chicago." "Depression Unemployment at All-Time High" becomes "Leisure Time Activities Hit Record High". It's too bad they wrote other text too. Seems like a waste as the headlines do their jobs perfectly. Except for this one, where you need the text. "Democratic HQ. Burglarized" becomes "Ho Hum! Another third rate burglary." The text" "Washington - An alleged burglary was alleged to have taken place in an alleged hotel allegedly known as the Watergate." Good article.

Very political...this issue. Before they would go all Pop Culture all-the-time on us...

A CRACKED LOOK AT A BOWLING ALLEY: Did they draw these and then have the writer's come in and add random jokes? I ask this because...there is a very ugly waitress delivering food to a very snooty looking fellow. Waitress: Here's your hot fudge, banana and beer, sir. SNOOTY: Thanks! By the way, has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful brown eyes. [sic] WAITRESS: Why, no! SNOOTY: Well, then, no sense starting now. In all the chaos of this huge bowling alley drawing, where the heck did that old chestnut come from? Why put that there? Surely the food he's receiving should be the joke...but it's not. This is the weirdest sort of humor ever. I guess we're all CRACKED. I like watching people bowl and, sometimes, bowling myself. I like the layout of this one, even if the jokes aren't the freshest.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF SNOW: Love it! Love snow and love this bit! "Snow! Snow! Snow! I'm freezing. I wish summer would come back." "Sure...This way you could complain about 'Heat! Heat! Heat!'" ZING! Perfect. It's a MAD-style series of strips gags with an awesome background of falling snow at night. The jokes get no fresher here but the snow is fun. I like the ski lodge bit but what on earth does the movie theater marquee reading "Mature Kids Only: Open Sesame" mean? That's a little blue, isn't it? Is this a MAD Magazine? God, I miss the snow...

MAGAZINE COVERS FROM PLANET OF THE APES: Apeboy! Ape Sports Illustrated! Simian Cinema Thrills! Ape Love Confessions! Girl Gorilla's Home Journal! Hunting and Marauding! I would Hope that the Ape Earth has better magazines, to be honest. The illustrations are fun but the text almost dares you to read it. Seeing the pictures and the magazine names are enough joke for Pierre L.

THE NOT SO GREAT GADSBY: the book in high school. Can't remember a thing about it. Never saw the movie. To be honest, I skimmed this one. Just not interested. Sorry. What I've done is left some blank space...print this out and write your own review of it:

Ha! You make some interesting & salient points in a hilarious fashion!

THE RIDICULOUS THINGS OF LIFE: Boy, this issue is kind of sliding downhill. "Having 20/100 vision, but refusing to wear glasses because they make you look funny." "Sleeping under an electric blanket because the air conditioning is too cold." "Washing your garbage pails." Stuff like that. It's funny that an issue with a parody of Gatsby and all this political stuff would also include an article like this...CRACKED - FUNNY FOR ALL AGES! TELL YOUR MOM!


CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE NEWSPAPER KING: Hmm, this looks like no Nanny I know. (Say that five times fast.) Harry Granit is buying all the newspapers. What a douche! There are conceited reporters and crazy proofreaders and jokes about how small the newspaper would be if it was only good news. You know what? I like my Nanny bigger. This one doesn't crawl into it the way My Nanny does. I think my verve for this issue faded earlier and I'm just coasting now.

CARTOONS: Stanley invents money! Sagebrush litters! Guys get their heads cut off! God, I Love this comedy!


1 - Vera & Helen
2 - Dirty accountants
3 - Mrs. Kraus & the Air Conditioner & her Dead Husband!

Total: Elliptical Lickers!

BACK COVER: Yellow! The Man & The Mousey...pretty amusing but oh-so-yellow

This issue started great and then began to lose me fairly quickly. Well, that happens. CRACKED still keeps a hard line on Strange Quality!

Next issue: Wow! Chaos!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

CRACKED #123: Ape Men & An Iron-On! Wow...

March 1975
by Pierre L.

NB: This is being written "On The Fly". My "connection" recently gave me a copy of this issue and I've decided to read it for the first time and write as I read. I think it seems like a good idea. But, I have had some terrible ideas in my life.

The apes and Sylvester are standing in the white void so loved by fans of the "Apes" movies. (If I'm thinking of the right movies...) Look at the ape on the left... he's the best. And, an Iron-On. Could more gifts be given to one person for "only 50 [cents]". I think not, my friends.

INSIDE FRONT COVER: An ad for CRACKED Binders/ Notebooks. Where do you think I'm writing the first draft of this? In Notebook "F" with Monsters!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Hagar the Horrible? What, for real? "Kent C. Wellatol, proofe reider". Two writers... So few men making so many beautiful gags. "It doesn't ape-pear that they ape-prove of your monkey shines, Sylvester!" Truly, this is bitchin'.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Kojak! Next issue - January 28th. And... a Statement of Ownership, Management & Circulation. (I love these. Some of their funniest stuff is in here. You just have to look.) Single issue published nearest to filing date: 880,000. Slay me, CRACKED! There is a funny subscription ad here with a knight.

PLANET WITH THE APES: Sleet Burdon and Alien Burpe crash on a planet... with these crazy Ape People! "She's the gorilla of my dreams" is used and it is not a joke because she is a gorilla. The astronauts wander through the landscape of the TV series based on the movie. There's some gaggery and a very entertaining banana. I like the first movie in the series. I don't remember the others and I did not see the TV series. but, these five pages are charming enough. The producers don't use real apes in the show. They use horses in ape outfits! The article does feel a bit on the half-formed side, like it's the first portion of a parody that got stopped short. I think it's mimicking the format of the TV show but it still feels abrupt. But, then, it doesn't overextend itself or make me wish I was elsewhere so...

HOW TO STAY WARM WITHOUT WASTING ENERGY: Invite a Politician to dinner! Hot air! Have a 300 lb. gorilla sit on you! Start a small fire! (Don't burn down the city.) Gain 400 pounds! Look this is comedy for you for me and your Big Fat Mama. A series of panels that give you heating tips. Ladies grow out their nose hair and wrap it around their neck. Cuddle someone you love. I love CRACKED. Will they let me cuddle them, I wonder?

THE COUNTRY BLUES: We follow several city/ suburban folks as they move to the country... Uh oh! They have some problems. There's four pages of this (which seems a little excessive). Three panels on each line. First one is what the city person is running from... Middle panel is " [he or she] moved to the country-" and the third panel is the patented CRACKED Zing! May I share a few?

Skip ahead if you don't like being shared at.

"In the city Terry Kloth was rudely awakened every morning at five..."
We see garbage men.

" he moved to the country-"

"...where he's still rudely awakened every morning at five."
A rooster...

Another one?
"Sally Forth was tired of seeing her surroundings grow up every which way"
Building going up

" she etc."

"...where she's still tired of seeing her surroundings grow up in every which way."
Weeds! Very tall weeds!

One more? Sure...
"In the city, Molly Coddle always had to worry about intruders"
Tons of locks on her door.

" she etc."

"...where she still has to worry about intruders."
Frogs & snakes!

A CRACKED LOOK AT GOLF: Give me the phat gags! 4 pages of MAD-style jokes about golf. Ladies are terrible at it! This joke appears: "Idiot! Your ball hit me in the head! I'll sue you for $5,000!" "I said 'Fore'!" "I'll take it!" A guy hits his ball into a swamp and has "problems". The jokes go like that and we learn as we go. I didn't laugh at these jokes but I think there's something different, something deeper going on. Thank you, boys. There are some pretty buxom ladies golfing here. Why don't I learn to golf?

HOW TO MAKE WORDS PICTORIAL: I think the intro will explain it better than this French-Canadian reviewer ever could. "Why can't Johnny read? Mainly because today we live in a world of pictures. The printed word is becoming obsolete. Now, if we don't want words to disappear entirely, what we should do is make them more "pictorial" to look at. To show you what we mean, we have come up with several graphic examples of..."

Things like... s    eparate
Rdrs Dgst Cndnsd Bks
Inter    ruption

And more...
Pretty fun page. Better than that golf crap. (Ted, should I edit that out?)

IF THERE HAD BEEN WOMEN'S LIB THROUGHOUT HISTORY: Thank God for Women's Lib because without it we wouldn't get awesome articles and TV show episodes about Women's Lib. How does this one stack up alongside others? Pretty good, I'd say. Cavewomen demand to not be dragged by their hair anymore. More fashion news during Colonial Times. "Queen Guinevere & her Knightesses of the Round Table" include the Bride of Frankenstein and Gloria Steinem. And Tiny Tim. Hagar the Horrible has some peace-loving lady Vikings with him. Why is it only three pages? The golf thing was four... Hmmm...

CRACKED GOES TO AN ENCOUNTER GROUP THERAPY SESSION: All sorts of people at a group session and, yes, there is a "we need the eggs" portion. "What do you think of a Freudian slip?" "I never knew he wore one!" These pages seem alternately cluttered and then not-so-cluttered. How could they be out of jokes for this? They're just reusing the jokes that were used last time, aren't they? I love the relaxation of this article but I don't like this article. I wish I could explain it.

Well, halfway in and I, frankly, can't remember a darn thing about this issue... Let me scan my review. Oh yes. Now, I remember. Let's continue.

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE: Until they sell the Fonz for President, I'm not interested.

THE FAR-OUT FOUR: Four superheroes who are going to save America! The Six Billion Dollar Man! Super K, the Super Henry Kissinger! Silly Jack! Kung Phooey! This is a five-page superhero parody "Good Time" with our foursome cutting prices and stopping inflation! And cleaning up the cities, literally! Kung Phooey uses his stinky feet! This is sort of MAD-like satire but told through the gloriously child-like eyes of CRACKED. These pages arc by. The concept is funnier than anything that actually happens but I don't care because I will laugh at anything!

YOU KNOW IT'S NOT YOUR DAY WHEN...: Wow. Three pages of this. " see the doctor who's going to operate on you faint at the sight of blood!" " lend money to a friend of yours and the next day he develops amnesia!" " find that by mistake you've brushed your teeth with shaving cream!" Well, I guess those, and many other things, would make you think it's not your day. I wonder if I could collate the CRACKED gags and see if they've used these before? I get the feeling that I may have seen some of these in previous articles but... I do love them. I'll laugh at a good joke twice. I'll laugh at a bad joke forever.

CHINA CLOWN: Six pages of gimcrackery revolving around Chinatown. Hmm... I like the movie but, for some reason, I had trouble getting through this one. It's not that the jokes aren't funny. (I sure didn't laugh but I have more important things to do with my time.) There is a kind of wonderful strangeness to it, matching the convolutions of the plot of the movie. The art is good. Sometimes (has this ever happened to you?) I stare at these articles and I just cannot focus on what folks are saying. I just look at the pictures... Maybe someone else could read this one and love it?

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE CHRISTMAS KING: Merry Christmas! Nanny goes to New York City to interview Mr. Sandy Claws! Hooray! Turns out that Sandy has given out enough ho's today to plow every garden in America. Kids do suffer from the "gimmies". Sandy explains this fresh concept to all of us. Nanny takes a 747 to the North Pole. Turns out Sandy is married to a hot young lady. Sandy, please! Guess which reindeer dances? Sandy unplugs Rudolph's nose because electric rates are so high. We get to see the Sandy's friend the North Pole standing outside. (North Pole? get it... get it...) Turns out Sandy is thin. He just wears a lot of thermal underwear. Nanny wishes us "Seasonings Greetings!" Awesome article. I wish this was all Christmas.

CARTOONS: Stanley, Sagebrush and Ye Hangs Ups. Eat it and Smile!

SHUT-UPS: Only two because of the Iron-On.
1 - Nincompoop!
2 - Blackguard!

Total: Rub It On, Hard!

IRON-ON: "If you're CRACKED, you're happy!" Hi, Sylvester!

BACK COVER: A fun five-panel cartoon called "It Happened On Main and First". I won't ruin it. Buy the issue.

So, what did I think of this issue? Well, it's certainly filled with material. I laughed four times and chuckled twice. There was one guffaw. And, a chortle snuck past midway. I loved the Christmas bit. Because this is CRACKED, I will give them a pass on this one. Maybe I need to research and read beforehand from now on. Yeah...

NEXT ISSUE: Hey! That guy! But, he's tiny now!