Friday, July 27, 2007

Cracked 135: This Ain't Moronic; 'Tis Bionic!

Cracked #135
by Pierre L.

September 1976

They're a family! And, they're bionic! And, they're on the cover! Where's the Fonze? Oh, there he is. The Fonz's long, little head is in the top left-hand corner. "Hi, Fonze!" Welcome to the first Issue of Cracked A.F. (After Fonze! Nerd!)

Let's enjoy this issue by opening it up and looking inside.

Let me just step aside before I begin this review and say this: I've just flipped through this one right before the review and I was not goofing. The Renaissance of Cracked has begun! Almost everything in this issue is funny or charming or will make you go "Yes...Nice...Hmmm...Swell." Just a warning. I like this one.

Poster: The Bus to Wackytown has already left the station! Sylvester did something or other here to the Bionic bits of these bionic people and the Bionic Man and the Bionic Woman will never be the same! Hang proudly alongside The Fonze.

Tables of Contents: This one is like garlic and butter being cooked on the bottom of the pot when you're making cheese potato soup. You could float away on the anticipation.

Flip The Page

Lettuce to the Readers - No Nerds here! There is a note from the publishers saying, "The publishers of CRACKED are appealing to their readers to search in their attics and cellars for the earliest issues of CRACKED. Number 1 through 26, specifically. (They were published in 1958 to early 1962.)" Hey, folks give 'em a yell if you got any lying around. Maybe they'll treat you to lunch with The Fonze!

The Bionic Lady - Some nice laughs in here. I realized why I prefer the TV parodies to the movie parodies. There is more stuff to parody. A movie has a bunch of characters, a few big scenes and goes for two hours, on average. A TV show grinds on and on and on and builds and changes. So, when they review these there is more to milk and squeeze. And...they don't have a specific plot to parody. When they parody Jaws, they follow the plot of Jaws. When they parody The Bionic Woman, they can make up their own story as long as it fits the milieu. More freedom. That's why I prefer them. Good stuff here.

A CRACKED look at CB Radios - Do I need to elaborate here or do the words "obviously superb" hold any weight? They will do CB articles in later issues but this one is the best. It starts with a CB dictionary loaded with great drawings of happy bears. Then, it moves into how to use a CB, who uses a CB and so many great things. Good God, it's time to go up into my attic and fish the old CB out. I wonder if I can rustle up some of my old honkies?

A CRACKED Salute to the Olympics - On it! This one starts out pretty average, which means it's really worth reading. And then, it details a bunch of new events for our modern Olympics and the whole article audibly goes Shoop! right outta the park. "The Garbage Dump Jump" is pretty obvious. "The 1000 Meter Kayak Run" is a race through a polluted river. "The 600 Meter Guardian Relay" involves carrying a parent or guardian up to a 16-year-old before they try to enter an R-rated movie on their own. Ahhh...I need a break.

They gave me one!

One Evening in a Fancy Restaurant - Just a simple one-page gag. Nice. Gets in, get out. Let's move on. Thanks for the smile.

How America Won Her Independence - 1976, folks. Let's take the Cracked Time Machine back to 1776. Shall we? This one has an old-style font that I love. For this one, they did something extra special. They actually used a joke book from 1776 for all the gaggery. Some of these jokes you'll know better than you know your feet. Others will be new because they're so old. It's all capped with a patented Cracked Satire Zing! Great stuff.

A Cracked Look at an Airport Terminal - I don't know. Maybe it's the issue it's in. I feel a great warmth towards this "Look At..." I'm softening. The Fonze might call me a "Nerd!" but there are enough funny drawings and decent gags for me to enjoy this one.

The Big Budget Epic vs. The Low Budget Quickie - Zing! They really stick it to people who don't have a lot of money but still want to make a movie! Good for them! Do it, Cracked! I support you. On the left side we see what the Hollywood Epic has at its disposal. The right side is the low budget equivalent. (No stars, bad special effects, etc.) Hey, these people with less money should just pack it and go back to Detroit! Way to go, Cracked! If there's one thing we need to cut down on, it's that underdog spirit. If you don't have the money to make a film as big and slick as someone who has lots of money, make donuts for a living! Cracked does it again. And, this time, I won't even wash my hands afterwards.

Ahhh... I need a breather again. So good... The Cracked Bookstore is here. I still don't have my order but the bitterness is dissipating, especially when I glance ahead.

The Rock Craze Rolls On - Holy S**T! This issue has everything! Pet Rocks! Rock Cars! Rock Children! TV Rock! Rock Cigarette Lighters! Rock Politicians! I'm going to OD on exclamation points! So great. Three pages of sheer joy. Like eating a marshmallow sundae off of the stomach of a beautiful woman while watching reruns of The Honeymooners.

Fonzerella - Two Words: Cinderella Fonzie! No really, it's great. His presence is all around us now.

The CRACKED Guide to Skateboarding - One of the slightly weak spots of the magazine. It's just OK. It hits the craze nicely but it comes after Fonzerella. Nothing could survive. Maybe Fonzerella should have been last.

CRACKED Interviews the Political King - This ain't my Nanny! She's cute but she's tiny! Who is she? Where's Nanny? Hmmm...Maybe this issue peaked with Fonzerella? No. This is still funny. She talks with a very corrupt Senator who is, frankly, a jerk. It's OK. Not one of her best but solid.


1 - 5/3
2 - 4/6 (Clean and fresh use of a bowling ball)
3 - 5/5 (for the perfect use of comedy death)

Total: Brown

Back Cover: "Great Moments In Inventions" The First Typewriter. I smiled, which is perfect because my belly has been shakin' and achin' ever since the poster. Nice to rest.

What an issue! Like Def Leppard's Hysteria, it peaks about two songs (articles) before the end but it doesn't harm the issue. The Fonz rubs off on this and it is so good. Let's hope this will continue. (I've seen the cover of the next issue. I'm pretty sure it can.)

Next Issue: Well, tickle my Winkler! He's Back!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cracked 134!: He Is Here!

August 1976

At last!

The cover says it all. The Cracked icon for the mid-70's has now been featured on his first cover. Not in the background or in our hearts, but right here! In our faces!

Hello, Fonz! (or "Fonze") Welcome to our World (or "his" world). We are all three times cooler than we were moments ago.

Let's step inside...

I must congratulate Cracked right off the bat for their best poster ever. I have started laughing Tuesday and just finished this Thursday Morning. Yellow background. A drawing of the Fonze, arms out, thumbs up saying "Hey-y-y!" That's it. I haven't seen humor this subtle (in fact it is "humour") since I saw Phat Girlz. Brilliant!

Table of Contents: Good, good. The Proof Reader's name is blacked out! How many exclamation points will I be using during this review? You tell me?

I'm skipping the Lettuce to get to the first article...

Everything you've ever wanted to know about "The Fonze": Nerd's Watch out! The Fonze is so cool that he doesn't even have to feature in a Happy Days parody. (Happy Daze, perhaps?) Six pages of The Fonze and the way he lives--Today. There is a dictionary defining words like "Chick", "Cool", "Dig" and "Square". I can't imagine "The Fonze Dictionary" is out of print but it might be. We get the Fonze's way of "Fighting Someone", which involves stamping on their foot when they are not looking. Fonze, the best! "The Fonze's day" "What makes the Fonze, the Fonze". "The Cool and the Uncool" This article was recently inducted into the Library of Congress so I don't think it has drifted into obscurity. I would love for everyone in the great State of America to go to this library now and read this article. Things are only going to get better. This is "Our Primer". We do not stop now. Fonze, teach me the ways of cool!

The Art of Ventriloquism: Now, I'm not sure whose idea it was to put an article on ventriloquism right after the "Cool" article but it feels a bit odd. On its own, it is full of laughs. The Egyptian Hieroglyphics are funny. The smart woman and her political dummy who dumb it down for crowds is good, too. Actually, this is a great article. But, it would have worked better an issue or two ago. Please, Cracked, don't tell me we're out of steam already.

Satan's Campaign to Promote Hell: Is Satan cool? Did the editors have any concept of what their magazine started? Again, funny article about brochures and ads for Hell but cool? Not hell, my friends.

One Afternoon in Japan: One page. Smile-worthy. Where is the cool?

The Academy Awards Show: Excellent. We are back. lots of Robert Redford here. (Robert Blueford, actually! Spot on, boys!) Burt Reynolds, Jaws, Barbara Streisand, they are all here. And, I love them. This is the hot satire I want if we can't be hot and cool. This one flows and jokes and giggles with a surprise ending that I didn't see coming. Funny.

A Cracked look at Motor Cross: More picture, less chatter. i like this one. You can see the drawing underneath it. The jokes are still like this: "O.K. kid, pull over to the side. You were speeding!" "But officer, this is a race." "Yeah. Yeah. Everybody's in a hurry." But, there's a nice lovely race flow to this one. Not painful like a stomachache more bothersome like a backache.

Increasing Consumption in Order to Maintain Full Employment: Funny. Everyone should be fatter because they consume more. Teen-agers are the "ideal consumers...ergo, consumption can be increased by increasing everyone's teen years. Henceforth, everyone from 11 (eleventeen) to fifty(fiftyteen) will be declared a teen-ager." It's fun. Little snapshots of time are what really makes all this chicanery wonderful. We are not yet at the big inflation burst that hits at the end of the decade. but, we are almost there. An article like this would be utterly foolish in three years. Right now, it works.

Where has the cool gone? Wonderful issue so far but where's the cool?

Realistic Toys and Games: Best one? "Kitty Kidnap: The only doll that's constantly missing." Another funny article. Could this be the most consistent issue yet? Ever? Buy a "Chatty Hubert" or "The New Bobby Skull hockey Set" or "Traffic Jam!--Be just like daddy!" Great.

Tomorrow's Retirement Communities for the Now generation: thank god, we got a couple of hippie jokes in here! It's been a while. Where will the rock stars and motorcyclists and surfers go when they retire? trust me, Cracked tears them a new one and then lets us look and laugh. "Yesterday's Rye Bread The place where old baker's go to loaf!" We even get to see where Cracked employees go when they retire. Something to read, something to love.

Barfksy and Clutch: Only one parody this issue. 5 pages, some funny jokes and a nice pace. It's silly and good and a bit cool. So we're back on track there.

The Cracked Bookstore: My magazine and binders are never going to come.

Cracked Interviews the Movie king: Mr. Cecil B. Celluloid is a jerk! But, Nanny gives that a jerk a swift one in the snoot. "Rudolf the Kung-Fu Reindeer" never came out in heaters did it? Nanny takes a large Journalistic knife and spreads her magic all over this article. The Academy Awards and the movie king in one issue? One would think that Cracked is the most generous magazine ever.

1) 3/5
2) 5/5 (fat man and shark included)
3) 0/5 (It's great but I've heard this one.)

Let's rub our Marvin ball and see what we score...

Fresh! Total: Wallace Shawn!

What an issue! The Fonze has set it down and it is up to follow the love down. I really believe this is one of the best issues this mighty mag ever churned out. Laughs, thoughts, cool. Who could ask for something? I could ask but what would I get.

Next issue: Bionic Iconic Duo

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cracked #133: "I Don't Believe It!"

July 1976

Cracked tried to scare me on this one. Look at that cover! All I can say is "thank the Lord for the asterisk." For several seconds, I thought this column was at an end. Wasn't there more? There had to be.

There is. Cracked, I will follow your advice. As of now, I will say Goodbye! To the Blues! Let's go inside.

(Just a quick note: someone very important is in the background of the cover. Over on the left. He will make a starring appearance very soon.)


POSTER: "In Case of Emergency -- PANIC!" I assume that has nothing to do with the aforementioned Blues who were banished earlier.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I read that it is their intention to bring us "...the best in fun and keepin' those 'blues' on the run!" Thank you. Proof reader this month? Sy Clops.

LETTUCE: Letters from Michael Schaab and David Schaab! I wonder if they became friends after this.

SPACE:1998: A lot of colons there. I've never seen this show. Why, when I could watch the magic of The Time Tunnel? Some great artwork on this one and a nice layout. The jokes are cornier than a bag of unpopped Pop Secret. It moves, though, and again they avoid that cluttered slogging feeling that I get from a lot of the MAD parodies. A good opener.

CRACKED FRISBEE RATINGS SYSTEM: Finally! I knew someone was keeping track of how good I was. You are either a "Qualified Beginner", "Qualified Expert" or "Qualified Cracked Expert". Do I need to tell you which category I fall into with my 32 years of experience? Well, if I do just send an email to the blogmaster and we'll get back to you. No jokes here, just Frisbee reality. And, a joke about a stripper named "Sally Grind". Cracked? Et tu, Bawdy?

WHY IS IT ON TV YOU NEVER SEE: Five scenarios for stuff you never see. The best one? "Unenthusiastic People on T.V. Game Shows". "Let's Make A Deal" and Monty Hall encounter surly people who won't take prizes because the tax is too high. One lady holds up a sign that says "Fatty wants a Fat Deal!" Awesome. The strangest thing about this OK article is that the pages of my issue around here smell like pee. Pee from 1976. 30 year-old pee.

NEW ITEMS FOR THE AMERICAN BUYCENTENNIAL: Remember the bicentennial? Or the buycentennial? This has the same set-up as the previous article. But, it's less fun to look at. Lots of writing. The more writing I see in these magazine, the less I read. Visual and snappy is the CRACKED way. I'd take the Bicentennial X-Rays, though. "Each is an actual representation of what historians believed our forefathers' insides look like." And, there's a joke about Commemorative Air. I guess the article is pretty good. My opinions are all over today.

WINNERS & LOSERS: (and the converse) Fun drawings, old jokes. Winners on the left, losers on the right. A fun visual break after the last article. Although, I liked the last article so what am I talking about?

A CRACKED LOOK AT A TOURIST WELCOME CENTER: Cluttered. I took a few seconds and then looked for the "Th'End" in the corner. It's in the lower right hand corner. Look for it.

WELCOME BACK, KUTTER: A parody of a sitcom. Well, it's as funny as the sitcom. But, if you don't think the sitcom is funny, this won't help. I guess I'm just waiting on that One Day At A Time parody. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

ONE EVENING IN OLD MEXICO: One page gag. Good for a chuckle. Zorro is in it. For you Zorro completists.

DREAM ACRES: Lots of writing but pretty funny. A brochure for "America's Newest Planned Community: David D. Dreamy, Our Founder, Builder and Chief Profiteer" It's a beautiful, exclusive community that doesn't allow in anybody. That's the punchline and it's decent.

So far the issue is going along pretty good.

MORE COMBINED MOVIES: "My Fair Lady" & "King Kong" If you think about it a moment, you know exactly what this one-pager does. But, that doesn't mean I don't laugh my French butt off on the way there.

IF DIFFERENT NATIONAL PRODUCTS BECAME THE WORLD MONEY STANDARD: What if oil became the backing for all currency? These are jokes? Vodka becomes a standard. Sand, tourists, pizza, tea, snow and elephants join in. Funny gags. They mention a Black Market developing. It's called...Afro's Inc. "What's 'Afro's Inc.', dear?" "It must be the new Black Market that's developing." Who can argue?

A BINDER and NOTEBOOK ad: Order two and keep them in business.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE USED CAR KING: Sweet, sweet Nanny. She crawls in there and wriggles around and makes mincemeat that sleazy fellow selling used cars. Can I please get Nanny's phone number? How hard would that be?

1) 4.2/5
2) 3/5 (Where is the audible gumption?)
3) 5/5

A bird-themed Shut-Ups party. Not the strongest but the rest of the issue carries it.

BACK COVER: COLUMBUS RETURNS...and America is filthy.

A great issue. Not perfect but we are so poised on the edge of it. I am putting on my bathing cup. I am prepared to plunge into the CRACKED RENAISSANCE. We are waiting specifically on a very cool guy to help us out.

Hold on...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cover Scans

All cover scans from #133 on are from:

Go there and laugh and enjoy.

My thanks to Doug!