Friday, August 31, 2007

Cracked #144: It Takes So Little To Make Me Happy

Cracked #144
by Pierre L.
September 1977

Tremendously stupendous. A bit surprising that the first Happy Days parody is only happening now but...Thank God. It won't be as much Fonz as we're used to but, Good Jesus Help Me, it's going to be nice. What a cover! Let's dive in!

The poster reads "Warning! Forget that you saw this poster This Means You!" Has their regular poster guy retired?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: The Fonz and Mr. C are featured in the little panels on the right. This is going to be good.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Only one page this issue. Next issue - July 12th.

The second page is taken up with a subscription ad pointing out that their accountant is a tightwad and that you can save $1.40 because he's on vacation. Not bad.

HAPPY DAZE: I knew it would be called Happy Daze! You just get that feeling. The plotlines? 1) Mr. C discovers that his hardware store had a huge drop in sales so they have to economize. "Maryanne" (Mrs. C) throws out the expensive dinners she keeps making and boils water. 2) Itchie is going to follow Mary Berth Wartwhistle to Hamburger University instead of Northwestern. Everyone thinks this is a bad idea eventually the Fonz is called in to help Itchie straighten up.

So very good. It's a mix of jokes that relate to the show (like Boney (Joanie) pointing out that her Dad tells her to "Go to bed" a lot - "Yesterday I slept 23 hours") to jokes that are pure CRACKED and don't relate to anything but the writer's minds (like Potsy showing up in a track suit for band rehearsal because they're going to "run through a few numbers"). I don't even know if the second type of humor could be considered actual comedy but it's all great. Everyone gets a moment to shine. There are some laughs. And, the Fonz says to Itchie, "Just remember, women are not everything? A man's career is important, too--how'd I get myself to say that?" Great opening. I feel like we're back on track again.

SUPER SKATEBOARD STUNTS: This was written right after the new skateboards appeared with the polyurethane wheels that allowed for all sorts of stunting around. It's OK. A lot of nice visuals showing skateboarders doing crazy stuff and, quite often, getting hurt. It's a solid 4-pager. "My Mummy Done Ptolemy" is written on the bandages of one really beaten-up skater. That is a reference to one of the absolute classic blues standards "Blues In The Night". When Daffy Duck sang it in a 1940's cartoon, it was topical. Were a lot of the kids of 1977 crazy about 1941's biggest hits? Did this make them set down their copies of Boston's debut and pick up the Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Howard Arlen Songbook vinyl? I wonder.

AD CAMPAIGNS FOR UNWANTED PRODUCTS: Pretty darn good. Ads for wrong numbers, junk mail, lumpy oatmeal and income tax forms. The wrong number ad shows a beautiful woman who meets a great man through a wrong number. "Say, how would you like to meet me for dinner tonight." [sic] "Me?...A girl whose last date was 5 years ago with a 90 year old Mongolian monk from Madagascar. Wow!!" We see a very lonely woman become completely thrilled when junk mail arrives. And, my favorite, they want you to visit the "Frost-Heave Inn". It is shown as a beautiful inn that is actually just a fake front up against a horribly run-down building.

AT AN AFTERNOON BUSINESS LUNCHEON: A one pager. I've done the joke in this one better in real life. Skip ahead.

IF COMMERCIALS WERE BUILT INTO TV PROGRAMS: They seem to be right back on track. Kojerk, The Bionic Lady, McClod, Walter Klondike and the Evening News and the ABD Movie of the Week all get loaded up with ads (product placement expanded). The ABD Movie is my favorite. It stars a Woody Allen character in a situation very similar to the Mad Scientist section of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex..." Ads keep appearing and it's great. I'd detail the ads and the jokes but this one's more fun to read than read about.

A CRACKED LOOK AT THE PHONE COMPANY: One of the lighter "CRACKED LOOKS". The jokes aren't funny but it breezes by and it is interrupted by...

"FREE GIFT #2" CRCAKED STICKERS! There are around 18 of them and they are all sort of like mini-posters. "Fight Ilitarasy!" A one-way sign pointing two ways. "Out of Ordre" That kind of thing.

They are cooking here. No wonder the poster in this one was blah. They saved all the great stuff for the stickers.

EXPOSING THE CON IN CONTESTS: You know, I think I see why this issue is hitting it so solidly. They never wander outside of the sort of thing they do well. Although this isn't their best issue, each article hits the strengths and leaves you smiling. This one shows big contest ads and then has a small magnifying glass in a corner revealing the fine print. The one that grabbed me right off was a picture of a brand new camper with an old hippy standing in front of it. "Win This Camper!" "The camper you win is Albert Snodgrass." The old, smelly hippy. Yes, The Fonz does appear in this under a "Win A Trip To Hollywood" thing. This one just cooks. Some jokes are better than others but it all just feels right.

DIGITAL INSTRUMENTS OF THE FUTURE: I'll just run through them real quick...

Digital Shopping Cart - Shows how much you'll be spending. (There is a woman shopping to the right of the woman with the cart. A child is yanking at the woman's pants to get her attention. And, the child has actually started pulling the woman's pants off. You can see part of her behind. Why?)
Digital Spending Meter - Measures how many tax dollars wasted by Congress.
Digital Unemployment Calculator - "registers the number of a school's unemployed graduates"
Digital Violence Recorder - For the top of the TV
Digital Pest Recorder - Shows how many insurance salesmen have come to your front door.
Digital Phone Meter - Shows how high your phone bill is.
Digital Calorie Calculator - Shows how much you're taking out of your fridge.
Digital Speedometer - Shows how high or low over the speed limit your car is going.
You know, there are more but the one you need to remember is the Digital Dumb Joke Totalizer. This one is for your CRACKED magazine.

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF ECOLOGY - Four pages of jokes about pollution, garbage and stuff like that. Nicely done. Although, CRACKED doesn't really seem to be convinced that any of this is a problem. They do the MAD thing where if hippies are involved, it must be pointless. Bravo, CRACKED! You've always stood your ground. Not a great article but you may learn a thing or two. (Or you might not.)

BAAD BAAD BLACK SHEEP: A perfect example of why the TV parodies are better than the movie parodies. If this had been for a movie that I'd never seen, I'd be snoozing because the jokes would be very scene specific. But, it's a parody of a TV show I've never seen and I love it. Who are these characters? What are they doing? Who knows? But, I'm smiling. The second page and half of the third are made up of a big aerial dogfight with jokes coming out of various planes. Nice. One woman mentions breaking her Vinnnie Barabarino thermos. Awesome.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE PET STORE KING: Our Nanny skewers some jerk who is selling people all kinds of strange pets and pet-related things. Way to go, Nanny! This Pet Store King reminds me a lot of the Fad King from a few issues back. Regardless, skewered he be! Wonderful.


Do you need the ratings here? Do you imagine they are anything less than stellar? In fact, the second one is an all-tine favorite of mine. So good.

"Gorge Hairystone Invents Rock Concerts" on the back cover. He is a caveman who hits other cavemen with a rock. Ahhh... I feel refreshed.

When they are on, they are on! CRACKED, you hit it here! As I said, they stick to their strengths and they can't be beat. Too bad we had to go through a bit of a trough but things are nice again. What will the next issue hold? Hmmm...

Next Issue: Holding Awesome!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cracked 143: Who is this "Rocky"?

Cracked #143
August 1977
by Pierre L.


Yes, there is no Kong on the cover. Yes, that's wonderful. Yes, there is no Fonz on the cover. Yes, the tears are rolling down my face, too. But, it is very nice to see someone not gorilla-esque on the cover. The promise of "Rocky" and "Silver Streak" parodies in the same issue isn't as thrilling as I'd wish it to be but...look on top! The cover declares, quite boldly I might add, "Your Very Own Chicken Poster!" So, although two movie spoofs in one issue might make me wary, all I can think is "Holy crap, a chicken poster of my own!"

Let's go in!

Hey! There is a chicken poster. "Down With The Colonel!" Nice. I've got two issues of the magazine because I had to detach this hilarious poster. It now hangs over my four-poster. Ahhh... Can the magazine be as great, I wonder?

TABLE OF CONTENTS:Proofreader is still Jhon Smiht. The comedy simmers slowly. It's like pre-heating an oven.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: You know, this month's letters column hasn't grabbed me. Normally, I have to restrain my sides. This time, it seems almost like a regular letters page with occasional comedy drawings. Hopefully, this is not how I feel about the whole thing. Next issue - June 7th.

ROCKEY: Rockey's a real bruiser! Adrian's so ugly that she wears a paper bag over her head! There's boxing and lockers and jokes about turtle food! My God, I was never much of a Rocky fan but now I'm buying all the movies and watching them three times each. The things CRACKED makes you do. Best joke: Rockey is taking Aperian on a date. He asks Brawly what his sister might want to do: "Hey, Brawly! What's your sister like to do?" "Take her some place where she'll feel right at home." "Like where?" "...the dog show." Oh, my sides. thanks, Cracked. What else have you got?

IF TV COMMERCIALS WERE HONEST: Loved it! Dorothy Hamill for Clearall. McDonald's. Long Distance calling. Rosie and Bounty. Shake 'n' Bake. Pepsi. Laundry detergent. They all get it here...and it's funny. They throw a series of zings at the adverts for these articles of merchandise and they leave everyone squirming on the ground. Razor sharp satire from America's favorite Cracked!

SPECIALTY SIGNS FOR SPECIALTY STORES: Great drawings of storefronts with very specific signage. The balding Lamb Sweater Shop has a sign that says "We want to pull the wool over your eyes." Yes, the jokes are like that. Nice and obvious so you don't get distracted from the Richard Scarry-esque drawings. I want to live in this town!

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: Everything's tiny. Tiny cars (can be cleaned in the dishwasher) to tiny wives (easy to brow-beat) are all covered. Tiny cigarettes, too. The things that inflation and shortages made us do. Look at that guy's wife! She's tiny!

POEMS TO CRY BY: Purchased from some sort of MAD Magazine garage sale, no doubt. Rejection letters and the like from schools, publishers and such all told in rhyme. I'll be honest: I don't read Mad because of this sort of article. Not enough pictures! A couple of funny poems but I can't recommend it.

NEW FORMS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT - Thank Heavens, pictures! Boy, Pong really has made everyone go crazy. This article is pretty good. Stuff to do at home! Things like putting colored lights on your turntable and watching them spin. Putting asbestos ducks in your toaster and shooting at them. At two pages, this one is a breeze.

Hey, there have been a lot of short articles in this one! Clearing house, Cracked?

A CRACKED LOOK AT A CIRCUS - Contrary to my popular opinion, I like this one. There is a lot more space in it and fewer jokes. The jokes seem more disconnected from the setting than ever but, you know what, I love a circus. I also love a parade but I haven't hit that yet.

CRACKED SPECIALIZED GREETING CARDS - What's with all the cards and letters and rhyming in this one? Would the Fonz have kept this under control? This article, at least, has pictures. "I love your doggie and his cute heart-shaped marking/ but I'm calling the cops if he doesn't stop barking!" with accompanying drawings. A sweet little piece of candy that leaves no aftertaste.

So far things are going pretty fair.

HELP WANTED - There are ads for an "environmental pollution director" but it's a garbageman! Ha HA! Well, kind of obvious. They're really turning the satire screws hard on this one, though. Most of these jobs sound great - but they stink! Next!

CRACKED LOOKS AT THE T-SHIRT CRAZE - Brief comic strips with jokes about T-shirts that have stuff written on them. Boy, this issue alternates the satire with the breezy stuff pretty easily. My favorite? Oh, thanks for asking. A mom is watching her daughter go out with a young gentleman. Mom has a rolling pin in her hand. The kids are smiling. Mom's T-shirt says "Overseer". The daughter's says "Slave". The boy's says "Master". Classy! Oh, one guy's shirt says "I Love My Splotz!"

SILVER STREAKED - Two movie parodies in one issue. Maybe this is a Mad magazine. Nope, it's CRACKED. This one's OK. I'm kind of "movie parodied" out. A couple of decent jokes but were the kids really into jokes about trains being late? Well, they could have been, I guess. Wasn't the movie mostly a comedy? Hey! Rocky's in the first panel! Way to go, Rock! Let me look for the Fonz.

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE - Hey, someone cut out the coupon in mine!

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE MONSTER KING - Ahhh, here's King Kong. (He appeared briefly in Rockey, too.) I was hoping he might have fallen from favor. Nope. Just getting sifted around in the magazine. Nanny visits the King in his giant Hollywood home. (I do mean 'giant'.) In the end, Nanny's charm causes King Kong to carry her away. She'll be back. I hope. Not really a hard-hitting interview but it was fun. King Kong has a big house! I must be in a good mood today if I let this constant "Kong Worship" just breeze by here. Oh well...


1 - 2/5 (Zing me!)
2 - 4/5 (Hang someone from a cliff and I'm yours.)
3 - 1/6

Average - 8 The final shut-up was too damp and I'm lonely.

Back Cover - Great Moments in Dentistry "Doctor Luke Wormwatter, Pioneer Dentist and part time trapper, invents the first false teeth." Kicks me right there, nice and low.

A charming mix of longer, harder pieces and shorter, flabbier bits. This issue and the last one have been like rays of light after the foul-smelling sludge of #141. I want to say that, at this point, King Kong is done and we can move on.

Next issue: Quick Quiz!

What kind of days (or daze) can we expect in the next issue?
a) Crappy
b) Sappy
c) Happy

Think carefully before answering.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Addendum to the Review of Issue #142


...if your idea of a king-sized bed is Yankee Stadium!
(We see Kong asleep. His body fills up the stadium.)

...if you get a splinter in your foot and it turns out to be the state of Rhode Island!
(We see Kong with an ouchie on his toe actually sitting on the entirety of North America.)

...if you avoid tornadoes because they make you ticklish!
(We see Kong giggling as a tornado goes up his back.)

...if giant redwoods are your favorite brand of toothpicks!
(You can imagine this one.)

...if your idea of an eating utensil is a steam shovel!
(We see a steam shovel dropping bananas into Kong's mouth.

...if you've just straightened out the Leaning Tower of Pisa...and you're not even aware of it!
(We see Kong casually leaning on the now-straightened tower.)

...if you have a mouth that's bigger than the mouths of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell combined!

...if you love Paris because of its wonderful slide!
(We see Kong sliding down the Eiffel tower.)

...if the Jolly Green Giant looks up to you!
(We see that the Giant goes up to Kong's ankle.)

...if you think the best pillows are to be found in Egypt!
(We see Kong asleep against a pyramid.)
(We also see a woman in a bikini. She has taken her top off and is covering her chest. A little caption reads "Gaza Strip.")

...if you dig Yellowstone National Park because of its hot showers!
(We see Kong washing up in Old Faithful.)

...if Death Valley is your idea of a nice sandbox!
(We see Kong in the desert with a bucket and shovel.)

...if icebergs are your favorite brand of Popsicle!
(We see Kong sucking on a Titanic Ice Cream Co. iceberg pop.)

...if your idea of playing with blocks is playing with forty-second street and forty-third street...!
(We see Kong playing with cars in the middle of a city street.)

...if your dentist has to know how to operate a jack hammer!
(We see a fellow jackhammer at Kong's teeth.)

...if your favorite surfboard is an aircraft carrier!

...if you've been afraid your sleepwalking may have been responsible for the Colosseum's condition!
(We see the damaged Colosseum in the background. In the foreground, we see Kong and he is covering his mouth with an "Oh boy! What did I did?" expression.)

...if you think windmills make nice fans!

...if you find yourself doing a lot of ducking around airports!

From CRACKED #142 (pages 22-24)
Writer unknown.

Thank God for M*A*S*H! (Kong goes 4 for 4)

Cracked #142
July 1977
by Pierre L.

The cover is actually pretty clever. You just have to look at it a bit. But, there's Kong's arm and there's Kong's face (complete with CRACKED hat!). I have no idea whether Kong will appear again on the next issue. Possibly? Who knows? I wish they'd give over to someone new or hand it back to the sweet, sweet Fonz.

The poster is a big WANTED poster for King Kong and, here's the thing: He's big. Real big. Still. The whole thing is covered with one large fingerprint. Actually, a fine poster.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: The proof reader is still doing well. Although, I've noticed that he's not a great speller.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Here we go! One of the readers got it. "Dear CRACKED, What's all the fuss about King Kong? If he wasn't so big no one would pay any attention to him. -"Shorty" Lefkowitz. Brooklyn, NY." Bravo, "Shorty". Next issue - May 3rd.

M.U.S.H.: The second appearance of a M*A*S*H parody in CRACKED. (1st - #115, March 1974) I haven't read the first one but this one is just fine. The plot: Eagleye has his arms run over by Franc who is driving a tank through the mess hall. Eagleye spends the entire time crackin' wise with casts on his arms. Col. Potted is seen in bed with his horse. Sonar runs around with a pair of teeth yelling "Choppers! Choppers!" When Eageleye's casts are removed, he waves his arms around and says, "You can't be in the army without your little armies!" Brilliant. Ahhh...I could use four or five more M*A*S*H parodies. Great opening.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO FRIZBEE: Pretty darn funny. I think the hobby parodies are generally much funnier than the sports parodies. This one has a narrator with some sass and some great illustrations, including folks playing frizbee while standing on the wings of WWI planes in flight. And, the final panel has a cameo from...The Incredible Hulk! This is a good one.

WHAT BUSINESSES CAN DO WITH LEFTOVER ITEMS: The idea here is blah but it's all in the incidentals. They discuss what to do with old, unsold LPs. And, the titles of the albums are: "Barry Goldwater Sings Russian Love Songs", "Dorothy Hamill Skates", "Beloved Opera Selections as performed by Andy Williams and Kiss" and "Hum Along With Rosemary Woods". At two pages, this one shows up, makes you smile and then goes.

So far, so great!

REDOING THE EVENING NEWS: Barbara Walters joins ABC news and CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite drops in the ratings. This article is about all the goofballery that they will engage in to keep ratings, including car chases and anchors dressing as women. Eventually, the best anchor duo ever arrives - Arthur Fonzerelli & Vinnie Barbarino! Best joke: Barbarino - "Tell me, Fonz. What's the latest in China?" Fonz - "I think it's matching cups and plates!" The Fonz laughs uproariously at his own joke. Oh man, this issue is wockin'! I wish #141 never existed.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE THE BIGGEST THING AROUND IF: Either the zenith or nadir of the "That King Kong sure is big" articles. It all depends on whether you're sick to death of him or not. Check the addendum. I'll help you decide. Keep in mind when you peruse the text that the illustrations are quite funny.

ONE DAY AT A WASHINGTON D.C. SCHOOL: A one-pager about Amy Carter in school. I didn't laugh. Am I hard-hearted?

A CRACKED LOOK AT AN AMUSEMENT AREA: Ignore the jokes on this one and look at the games. There's air hockey and that bowling game where you sent a silver disc down a mini-alley and it hit little metal things coming out of the alley under the pins. Then, the pins would go right up. Awesome! We used to have one of those! Great game! There's a game called Judge and Jury with a man behind bars inside it. And, there's a Safari Hunt game with a real gorilla inside it. I'd love to see this without all the word balloons getting in the way.

First half of the issue: 4 Stars out of 5! Cooking! This is great CRACKED.

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE: "Fonz For President" still for sale. Why not put him on the cover more often then?

ONE DAY AT A RAILROAD CROSSING: One pager. It's all right. We're easing into the second half of the issue.

HOW TO RUN YOUR HOME USING NO ELECTRICAL POWER: Going from room to room of a modern house to show how generators and dog's tails and stationary bicycles and such can lead us towards a happier life without the dependency on electrical power. This one's a bit too verbose for the funny pictures. You find yourself looking at the pictures and ignoring the text. But, there are smiles here and it's a decent article.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO BASKETBALL: The picture that matches the caption "...and technical fouls like unsportsmanlike conduct" is one my favorites in all of CRACKED. Funny! The rest of the article? Well...two guides in one issue? Didn't we just do this a couple of issues ago? Luckily, this one is OK. But, I find myself reading it quickly so I can see what is next. That's not so great.

ONE DATE AT A TIME: Well, it stank when it was on the air. It stinks now. Why wouldn't the parody be great? I can't answer that. As with the previous article, I found myself reading this one very fast. There are a couple of good jokes but it doesn't feel inspired like the M*A*S*H parody, which is too bad. It is not, however, annoying. Just not great.

LATE ONE EVENING: Decent one pager. A cat meowing and a guy throwing shoes at it.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE FAD KING: Way to go, Nanny! This Fad King sells junk! His "melted snowman" is a beaker full of water. The Pet Rock Food is a scam! A turtleneck sweater for a snake plant? Now, that I'll buy! Nice.

1 - 5/5 (Kong)
2 - 5/5 (Nixon)
3 - 5/5 (Giant bees)

Total: 100% Shut UP! This is one of my favorites. Perfect capper for a very good issue.

"Og (Fingers) Oogala Invents Fishing" in this issue's back cover "Great Moments in History" and it's mildly amusing. He is a caveman, after all. (See my "Comedy Rules #327)

A very good issue. The second half lets the side down a bit but you can't have everything. There's enough brio in the first half to keep us flying along. I'm only hoping that Kong will wave good-bye for the next issue and that we can move into new territories. We'll see.

Next Issue: Pugilist!*

*Yeah. I looked at the cover. I breathed a big, fat sigh of relief. Or is that "big, phat sigh"?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kong's Back A Third Time

Cracked #141
May 1977
by Pierre L.

You can feature Dustin Hoffman and Marathon Man as much as you want but when King Kong's huge foot is crushing a car in the background -- we know who the real star of this cover is. With his third cover appearance in a row, I give you -- Mr. Kong. One more and he'll tie The Fonz. Two more and he's got the record. Oh dear.

Inside with me, please.

The poster for this one demands "End Alphabetical Discrimination Now!" "People whose last name begins with the letter 'X' demand to be put in the FRONT of the phone book today!" Wit, thy name is CRACKED.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: You know what? Not much to report here. They list all the things that are going to be in the magazine and say what page you can find stuff on. It's really quite handy.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: What I learned? CRACKED always comes out on a Tuesday. Next issue - March 8

MARATHON JAM: I've never seen Marathon Man. I put it on my Netflix list to watch it for this review but they sent me Azumanga Daioh - Disc 2 instead. That was awesome! This is a pretty straightforward movie parody. Speeding through what is, apparently, a very complicated plot, it hits what, I imagine, are the high points and moments. The best gag is the running gag of Dustin Hoffman's character constantly running no matter what he's doing. I have such a tough time getting excited over their movie parodies, even when I've seen the movies.

Let's call it this: A decent opening that promises great things ahead.

KING KONG'S BOYHOOD: Pretty good timeline of Kong's life from when he's born until he became a Hollywood star. Although, this one seems to rely a little too heavily on the fact that Kong is really big. (No! Really big!) One of the panels says "By the age of 5, Kong was already taller than his father..." We see a small gorilla standing on a tree stump glowering at a big gorilla eating a lollipop. I don't see the joke here. For every good gag, there is one like this. The Fonz was cool and that was cool. King Kong is big and that was funny...eleven times. Now, I'm getting a little tired of Kong.

VIDEO GAMES WE'LL SOON BE SEEING: I had no idea that people were playing Pong in early-1977. I thought it was closer to 1980. Goodness gracious. Every game here looks like Pong. There is "Passing The Buck" Two small rectangles on each side sending a small dollar sign back and forth. "Bureaucrats and politicians take to this game like a duck takes to water." "The Boston Bounce" features the rectangles sending a bus back and forth. "Stubborn defenders try to keep integrated bus from landing at their school. The real losers in this game are the kids at both schools." Did they steal this article from MAD? It's nice to know that CRACKED hit the video game bandwagon as soon as possible. Things only get nuttier circa-1982.

My favorite: "Lusho - The Perfect Contest for Dean Martin Types" This one involves booze.

CRACKED'S NEW LEARN-AT-HOME SCHOOLS: MAD? Ads for the "Plastic Surgeon's Institute" and "The Cracked Humor institute" and "Become an Astronaut" pepper this one. Some stuff is pretty funny but it doesn't quite grab me. It's a bit too obvious, even for CRACKED. I do like the Humor Institute bit, though. The "pick the correct punch line" for a "Waiter, what's this fly doing in my soup?" gag is nice.

LIFE'S BIG LOSERS: Speaking of MAD, Alfred E. is featured at the top of this along with the Edsel and the American taxpayer and stuff. Super Zing! A series of three panel bits describing a loser trying to fix his or her life and getting in deeper. For example: "As a surfer, Sandy Shores was always bumping into dangerous poles..." We see a surfer running into a dock pole. "so he took up skateboarding" We see Sandy skateboarding. "...and he's still bumping into dangerous Poles!" We see Sandy being hoisted off the ground by a fellow saying "Nobody runs into Mike Kowalski, punk!" This one's OK. You know when one of these issues starts off a little weak it can take a while before it really picks up again.

This next bit ain't helping.

A CRACKED LOOK AT PLAINS, GEORGIA: Home of new President Jimmy Carter. Cluttered with lame gags about peanuts, this one has a nice background but I got about halfway through hopping from joke to joke and found myself bored. I'm really wishing on a superb second half here.

REDEMPTION COUPONS WE'D REALLY LIKE TO SEE: Am I sure I'm not reading MAD? A series of coupons to get consumers out of really annoying things. "One Night free of noise from Trash Collectors" "10 minutes of Smogless Sky" "Coupon entitles bearer to add three years to his age in order to see 'R' and X-rated movies." It's OK. I'm not bowled over by it but it's not without its charm.

THE SEARCH FOR BIGFOOT: The joke is lame but I love Bigfoot. Maybe we'll see more of him in the future? A one-pager.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO BOWLING: 5 pages and it's charming. Some funny illustrations perk up this one. I'm really looking for anything here and this one is a nice moment of "Ahhh! Now, it might pick up!" I'm hoping. I haven't felt this blah about an issue in a while.

SOME GARAGE SALES WE'D LIKE TO SEE: King Kong, NYC, Ronald Reagan and Ex-President Ford's garage sales. Selling off their belongings. Reagan's stuff is all Presidential victory stuff that he won't use. King Kong's stuff is all really big stuff. "Use his toothpicks for pole vaulting!" Ford's stuff is all about how clumsy he was. NYC has a lot of stuff like "beach sludge". At 2 pages, I hardly remember that this article is there. Again, it's just OK.

CHURLIE'S ANGELS: I think that title sums up the level of humor in this issue. A lot of humor, a touch of shenanigans. This is better that Marathon Jam but kind of a shrug. It does have a man named "Milton T. Spitheimer" in it so that's something.


CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE POWER COMPANY KING: Nanny and her nephew Dickie talk with a shady power company guy who is bilking many of his customers! Where are the nice people interviews? This guy is shifty. He overcharges people and is mean and patronizing. Luckily, Nanny and Dickie hand him his pants on a pole, if you know what I mean.

Too little, too late.

1- 2/5
2 - Noah/ Ark
3 - Turky/ Turkey

Total: Nice. A decent page of Shut-Ups. They never go wrong.

THE LONELY CONVICT AND THE PET: A one-pager on the back cover. Not really much of a joke here. Perfect for this issue.

Sigh! It's a fine line here and this one is firmly on the side of "bland" and "not funny". God, I wanted to love this issue. (I want to love every issue!) But, it starts off poor and never lifts up its head. Everyone's trying hard but no one's doing it right. Maybe it's King Kong's influence. The Fonz kept us grooving. Kong seems to have failed as the new poster boy for CRACKED. We need a replacement, pronto.

Next Issue: Will Kong return? Will I laugh?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

He Sits on A Smelly Throne

Cracked #140
March 1977
by Pierre L.

The Fonz has been replaced, officially. (Although, the contents of the magazine might lead you to believe otherwise.) King Kong is now our poster boy for CRACKED. Two covers in a row, if you need further proof. Welcome, Kong. Are you as cool as the Fonz?

Well, that cover is pretty great. The poster inside (the "Famous Big Ape Poster") is an expansion of the cover. It's pretty great, too. Not as cool as the Fonz just saying "Ayyyyyy!" but still nice. So far, so good.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I do see The Fonz.
John Smiht - pueef rederr

LETTUCE TO OUR READERS: Amos Svoboda, anyone? Yes, Kong is here. You gotta milk it on every page or it just won't go. Next issue on sale - January 25th

KING KUNG: I really think they should have just stuck with Kong-related articles rather than parodying the movie. The focus goes right off of Kong and onto the humans, which isn't helping anyone. (If you've noticed, so far - tons of articles on The Fonz including a Collector's Edition with almost all new material. And yet, no Happy Days parody. The Fonz would be sidelined by the other characters.) This is a decent film parody. As always, I prefer the TV stuff. I haven't seen this version of Kong in 20 years so the more specific the gag, the less it works on me. Overall, this isn't a bad opener but it's nothing world-beating.

I remember King Kong being almost universally gunked on when it came out. A remake of a classic! But, it's really no different from any of the hundreds of remakes they make today. Back then, we weren't as prepared for it. Now, it happens and we shrug. Then, it seemed like blasphemy. But, really, it's just a remake. It has its moments. It has some dud scenes. It has bits that are horribly dated. We can move on.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO HANG GLIDING: A rather sassy narrator leads us around the activity known as hang gliding. Some good jokes and funny illustrations pepper this one. I kind of wish the article after the movie parody had been a better one (there is one coming up) but it's decent enough. "Why is this called a crash helmet?" "You'll find out when you land." So far, we're in pretty average territory. The Fonz had already knocked #134 out of the park by this point.

THE MIRAGE: Clever one-pager. A good gag. Two guys in the desert imagine a couple eating and drinking under a big umbrella at a table.

RANDOLPH THE REINDEER: A little Christmas special from CRACKED. Good poem and excellent illustrations. What if Rudolph were named Randolph, smoked cigars and was surly? Nice. This will be a "Special Xmas addendum" in December. Watch out for it!

ONE DAY IN LOS ANGELES: Another one pager? Well, this isn't as good as The Mirage but there's a smile in here.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO FOOTBALL: Another CRACKED guide? Huh? Are we running in circles in this issue? This one is "the other" kind of guide. Whereas Hang Gliding has a self-aware narrator that lies, goofs around and sets up jokes, the narrator here is very dry. He says "The game begins with a traditional kick-off." We see the coach kicking a player off the bench. Those kinds of jokes. A very straight caption describes something real followed by a goofy picture. It's neat to see the two styles so close together in an issue that we can examine them. Hang Gliding is still very fresh in our minds at this point. Look at these two Guides as more of a learning exercise than really great comedy.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A NEWSPAPER: Well, the jokes are awful but the layout, while being very cluttered, is more interesting than the unemployment office in the last issue.

At the halfway point, I've got to say that they've abandoned a lot of the MAD-style stuff from last issue but, overall, it's been a tremendously average issue. The repetition is worrying me a little.

IF KONG MADE GUEST APPEARANCES ON TV: Excellent! Here we go...saving the cream of the crop for the second half. King Kong on Happy Daze (yes, he rides a motorcycle, gets a Fonz haircut and wears cool boots), The Sunny and Clear Show, The Walled-Ins, The Six Billion Dollar Man, Laverne & Shirly and Boretta. It's just great. Big smile on my face as I read, this was much better than the movie parody. But, this article is just the warm up...

He's back!

IF THE FONZ BECOME BIONIC: Holy crap! it's as great as you think it is. The Fonz is in an accident and he and his bike are made bionic, So good. Like a big sundae covered in marshmallow and peanut butter sauce. So good.


-Bionic Eye (for spotting girls miles away)
-Bionic Lips (lookout)
-Bionic Arms (watch out ladies)
-Special Bionic Motor
-Bionic Leg (makes starting bike a lot easier)
-Super Bionic tires (able to grip surface)
-Bionic Hair (steel comb needed)
-Bionic Brain (makes black book unnecessary)
-Bionic Ear

I don't know. Maybe they had this article hidden away. The Bionic stuff seemed to peak back around #135 but, regardless, it is 104% wonderful. They do point out at the end that "Bionic or not, the Fonz would always be The Fonz. He's the coolest!!!"

CRACKED BOOKSTORE: They offer things. But, don't cut out the coupon or you'll damage The Fonz article.

THE BLUE NIGHT: A parody of the George Kennedy TV series "The Blue Knight" It only ran for one season so you can be forgiven for wondering what it is. But, as per my previous thoughts on their parodies, a TV parody of a show I don't know is still generally more interesting than a movie parody. This is fun. Bumpy Morgun and his partner are completely oblivious to all the crime around them until the very end. They chase some crooks around the borders of the last page of the parody. I know nothing of the show but this is funny enough. It's no Bionic Fonz but it keeps the issue moving respectably.

SOME WORLD RECORDS YOU WON'T FIND IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS: Exactly what you'd imagine. A text-heavy article with some good fake world records. "World's Heaviest Beauty Queen - At 354 lbs., Hortense McHefty was the heaviest Miss America to ever win the title...she sat on the judge until he awarded her the trophy." Stuff like that. A little bit of a drop off in quality but, at two pages, there's nothing to really complain about.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE TRAVELING CARNIVAL KING: Our Nanny is back and she's at a rather shady carnival. "A rather shady carnival?" Does that actually mean anything? I love carnivals. I love Nanny. This is one of my favorite interviews from her. Nice way to close out the main body of the magazine.


1 - 2/3
2 - 3/4
3 - Your/Mom

Total - "Shut up and put it on your head!" makes it an automatic 4.36547463/5

GREAT MOMENTS IN GARDENING: "King Louis XIV introduces the first lawnmower." You can bet your ass that some poor people get hurt.

Not as slam-bang, "kick 'em in the head" as I was hoping. The first half of the issue is semi-forgettable. Some good moments but it is over-shadowed by the beauty of most of the second half. The Bionic Fonz is enough to make this an issue worth reading. Maybe an "All-Fonz Special" supplemented with "Fonz for President" is in order.

Read and enjoy and don't be a "Nerd".

Next issue: And, the Kong obsession continues...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Addendum to the Review of Issue #139


May 2, 1976
Price: How much ya got?

"Controversy Over Paving Route 203 Continues"

Bursting at the seams, city hall was packed last night as nearly 8 people came to argue the pros and cons of paving Route 203. First to speak was Phillip Orkin. "Although my car disappeared in one of 203's potholes last month, I am opposed to the paving. A dirt road is a natural road. Who wants concrete covering all of Cowtown?"

The road in question is nearly 8' long and many claim that it would provide needed industry for the town by creating new jobs for 10% of the population.

"Nearly 6 people would be needed for this massive road work," declared Cowtown's part time Highway Commissioner and Tree Trunk Inspector. "Plus, countless people would stop disappearing each week while crossing the street and slipping into one of the seven 80' deep potholes!"

The meeting rolled along as Mildred Simmons displayed outrage over how high taxes would have to be to pay for the road. 'A tax rise of 1/4 of a cent is too much. That's nine times the rise of last year. This inflation must end!"

Arguments continued for twenty minutes more before Mayor Rotgut had to adjourn the meeting when his wife Hildy yelled to him that supper was ready.

"Mayor Rotgut Retires"

"It's about time," Mrs. Kay Emmerson was heard saying upon hearing the news. "Rotgut's car needed those 4 new tires for years."

Yes, after nearly 4 years, Mayor Rotgut has decided to re-tire his car by buying 4 new radials.

"It was a major decision that needed careful consideration, but the Mrs. and I finally agreed, the time has come."

Bob Steinbaum, owner of Cowtown Tire Inc., which sold the Mayor his tires, said it was a good decision on the Mayor's part!

"After a tire has 102,000 miles on it, it's time to start thinking about new ones."

Also interviewed by the Gazette was Milton Pitfire, cashier of Cowtown Tire Inc.

"The mayor is a very neat man," reported Mr. Pitfire. "He handed me all his bills face up and running the same way."

The Rotguts have saved two years for this event and plan to start using the tires at once.

The tires declined to comment to the press at this time.

"The Daily Cow Jones Average"

Number of cows milked yesterday: 1183
Number of gallons of milk produced: 2408
[Up] 7 from day before

"Gazette's Gourmet Cookbook"



1 glass water
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cherry pit (optional)

Boil one glass of water in a 2 quart saucepan. Next place the water in a glass. Quickly add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and stir. If desired, a cherry pit can be added. This helps to see whether your family is drinking the treat or dumping it out. If they are drinking it, most family members tend to choke on the pit. Serves 1.

"Police Blotter"

Milton Bradshaw was injured when two cows collided at the intersection of South and Maple last night. The 22-year-old man was rushed to Cowtown General where, after the doctor was awakened, he was treated and released.

Tommy John Rogers called police claiming that his Star Trek ring was missing. An intensive search is now underway.

Arthur Levy was arrested and then released last night. When asked what the charges were, police said "None, we were just practicing."

Desk Officer, Sergeant Biff Cunninghams' donut choice with his coffee last night was lemon.

"Letters to the Editor"

We recognize our responsibility to publish letters on the vital issues of the day and will try to print as many letters as space permits. Note: Due to the large amount of mail we receive, we cannot give personal responses.

Dear Editor,

Bob, would you tell Tilly that she left the light on in your kitchen this morning. Thanks.

Mrs. P. Simons
820 Udder Way

"The Nauseous Nightingale"

Grand Re-Opening

Cowtown's #1 restaurant is back in business.
Luxurious steaks.
Tender chicken.
Scrumptious goat gizzards.
All at unbelievable prices!!
Special: Hamburger and 10 french fries only $12.95
Now, isn't that an unbelievable price?
Cowtown's only restaurant is back.

(our regrets to all of our patrons who unexpectedly took part in our unplanned food poisoning gala last month. The board of health has discovered the problem, and from now on, all of our meats will be refrigerated instead of just kept in a bag.)

Publisher: Bob Turner
Editor: Bob Turner
Office Manager: Bob Turner
Secretary: Tilly Turner
Reporting Staff (in alphabetical order): Billy Bleyer
Subscription Rates: Make us an offer.

excerpts from CRACKED MAZAGINE #139
Author: Unknown
Replicated directly from the text of the magazine

In With The Kong, Out With The Fonz

Cracked #139
January 1976(sic)
by Pierre L.

I didn't think the last issue, as you know, was as wonderful as the batch before it. Would this one lift up the end again and show the beautiful CRACKED fanny we adore or would it sag around and be average? (Remembering that "Average CRACKED" is better than "Above Average MAD".)

Well, the cover seems to have it all. Keeping up the "as many pop culture characters as we can" groove, we have King Kong's hand, Barney Miller and The Fonz. It's nice. But, wouldn't The Fonz just bust out of their and punch that big ape on his Nerd Nose? He looks a little too shocked for my tastes.


The Poster: "Warning! The World will end at 5:26 PM!" The fine print says something about being here tomorrow if it doesn't happen today. Well, they can't all be good. I don't understand why so many of these have yellow backgrounds? Isn't that garish?

TABLE OF CONTENTS - "King Kong arrested for jaywalking? Looks like Sylvester's made the biggest 'pinch' in history! But where are Barney and his crew going to put him? Not in with the Fonz, we hope! That wouldn't be 'cool'!" I like the way cool is in quotes. Their satire can be as sharp as a razor. They are cool because they act like grampas. They are writing this magazine. They don't understand the pop culture they're writing about. But, they know that The Fonz is really popular and he is "cool". They have no idea what they means. But, it's a buzzword so they have to include it. Even if you end up seeming like a grampa trying to be hip. Oh, the sharp charm of their immaculate wit. CRACKED! This is why I love you! It's like spelling "The Fonz" with an "e" back in #134, Brilliant.

C. ANTSPELL - Prufe Reidre

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: It is confirmed! The proof reader has been returned and the kidnappers have claimed the ransom. I wonder what ended up happening with that. Next issue goes on sale - December 21st.

BLARNEY MILLER: Never really liked the show. It had one of those theme songs like "Taxi" or "Cheers" that seemed to dare you to sit through it. But, CRACKED does a funny job here. The city is taking away all their money so they have to keep zoo animals and make sandwiches for people and stuff like that. It's fun. The TV satires are always much better than the movie satires because their imaginations have more places to go. I like all the random appearances by cops and such throughout. They just appear in the foreground or background looking at us and saying something witty. I think seeing Kojak was nice. But, when did The Godfather start dressing like The Fonz? It's strange seeing the old Marlon Brando godfather in a leather jacket looking slim and with slicked back hair. (Fonzerella was a fairy tale so it doesn't count.) Where'd they get that from?

EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: This article shows the way different species, including man, will evolve due to pollution and overpopulation and such. Deer will evolve to look like hunters. Fish will develop feet and the ability to eat garbage. Page three describes the futuristic human and he ain't pretty. I, for one, don't think I would like to develop a protective shell to protect myself from muggers. Would you? An interesting 3-page article with some clever gags. Satire of the world's troubles right after a Barney Miller parody! Is there anything they can't do? (Oh, one panel shows a man watching a commercial on TV. The product looks like a box of detergent. It says "Now!...NERD" on the box.)

THE MEN BEHIND KONG - The first King Kong article. The 1976 remake came out on December 17, 1976. This issue was released in October 1976, I think. The hype was, indeed, huge. This article covers all the folks who take care of Kong from the guys who apply his deodorant to his mouthwash team to the guys who feed him. It's Kong's big face or body in every panel and little guys doing something to it. Each panel also has an extra gag, free of charge. For example, "Kong's Prop Department" is polishing a huge pair of glasses.
"What makes you think the Kong needs prescription glasses?" "The other day he made a pass at The Statue of Liberty!" Fun.

"GOING OUT" SIMULATION KITS - I like this one. For folks who like to stay at home but want to experience going out, they can buy kits that make them feel like they are at the movies or at a restaurant or at a hockey game or at an art museum or on an airplane or at a rock concert or in the CRACKED Offices. This one (much like the Evolution Revolution) is a softer and more charming version of the sort of thing MAD does. Each kit is exactly what you'd imagine. The restaurant comes with a fake rude waiter. The rock concert puts you in the center of a group of smelly cardboard cut-out people. It's great. This one you need to see to really appreciate.

Grampa Alert! The Rock Concert kit is called the "Frankie Avalon Memorial Music Machine Kit". Huh?

COWTOWN GAZETTE: Probably my favorite thing in here. It is four pages of the local newspaper from one of the smallest towns in the U.S. See the addendum for some article samples. This feels like a non-naughty version of something from the National Lampoon. Dense and very funny.

A CRACKED LOOK AT AN UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE: They can't all be hits, folks. Crowded and unfunny. Although, the Frankenstein Monster is in the upper left hand corner. That's pretty cool.

WHEN TODAY WILL SEEM LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS 20 YEARS FROM NOW: Good God, let's keep those titles under control. It's what you'd expect. The left panel is the beef with today and the right panel is how it will be worse in 1996. Today: Telemarketers bother you. Twenty years: They bother you but you have to see them with video phones. Things like that. Problems with baseball games, smokers, fishing and so on. Today: Commercials get in the way of TV shows. 20 Years: No commercials! It's all Pay TV! This one's OK. I think it sort of feels too similar to Evolution Revolution. However, it's not bad. A quick read.

CRACKED LOOKS AT THE WORLD OF SUPERDOM: Is CRACKED trying to be exactly like MAD in this issue or are they parodying it? A series of one to several panel comic strips showing superheroes getting into shenanigans. Batman beats up a man attacking Robin who turns out to be a Truant Officer. Super Guy is seen demolishing a building. He gets picketed by the unions because he's a scab. Super Guy kicks a man in the butt. The man turns out to to be The Fonz. Fun. Another quick read. You'll forget it when you get two pages on. Well, you might not forget Super Dude. He looks like Bootsy Collins.

The CHECK-UP: One page gag. Fly by it.

THE WIDER WORLD OF SPORTS: A good one. It completely captures how rotten that show was. "Tonight, we have skiing from here! Horse racing from here! Boxing from here! And, everything!" Then, they jump from sport to sport, showing the highlights and nothing else. No suspense, no excitement. It was like flipping through radio stations. Well done, CRACKED! You nailed it! Oh, by the way, does anyone else remember this show?

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Two pages of doors with corresponding "behind them" jokes. For example, the door to the Philadelphia Zoo. Behind it, we see men climbing into animal suits. It goes like that. More MAD-like flavors. Somewhere in this issue it became very MAD-esque and a very quick read. We're speeding along. It hasn't been bad just a little Un-CRACKED.

ONE EXTREMELY FOGGY NIGHT IN MINNESOTA: Another one-pager? Huh? Is this an odds 'n' ends issue? This one isn't bad, though.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ANTIQUE KING: The smaller, non-zaftig Nanny is in charge of this one. Unfortunately for everyone, the quick-fast feel of the second half of this issue made this interview seem plodding. It didn't go anywhere new and felt a bit odd. If they're trying to tweak the format, don't end with this. This should have been in the slower first half. Oh well.

1 - 2/5
2 - 5/5 (A giant spider is always great in a Shut-up.)
3 - 4.32/5

Total - 5/5 Shut-Ups fit this new style of CRACKED Mazagine perfectly. I'm going whole hog on this total.

BACK COVER: "Great Moments in Science" Two brothers invent the binoculars and the telescope. Guess which brother has one eye?

Not a bad issue. The first half is solid and promises to make this one a classic. The second half goes off on a MAD-lite frenzy, which isn't half bad. But, it needs more space (like an entire issue) and it need some kinks worked out (Nanny). Overall, this one is worth a read but it may not stick with you. What's next? I've no idea. And, that is exciting. I'm CRACKED! What can I say?

Next Issue: "Full On Kong!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Addendum to the Review of Issue #138

Most of us are disinclined to waste any sympathy on movie monsters. This hard-hearted attitude might be corrected if we had some way of finding out...



Contempt for harassing torch-bearing villagers...13%
Disdain for annoying bloodhounds...7%
Despondency over lack of sex appeal with chicks...50%
Preoccupation with having unsightly head bolts...12%
Penchant for picking up wardrobe at garage sales...8%
Concern over having to take a blood test for marriage license...10%

Mad Doctor

Concern over power blackout occurring during experiment...33%
Anxiety over constant increases in the electric power rate...33%
Annoyance with the rise in number of monster malpractice suits...16%
Dissatisfaction with bumbling assistant...18%

Lab Assistant

Jealousy over monster getting all the attention...25%
Resentment over having to constantly dig up more body parts...23%
Rage over lack of job pension plan & other fringe benefits...52%

Female Monster

Indignation over being given an Afro-hairdo...41%
Curiosity over woman's lib position on female monsters...37%
Impatience with the creepy guy in high-soled shoes who's giving her the eye...22%

King Kong

Infatuation with Fay Wray...19%
Compulsion to climb tall buildings...17%
Worry about where next meal of 10,000 Bananas is going to come from...51%
Puzzlement over why firebirds attack him every time he climbs the Empire State...11%
Guilt over having to leave Queen Kong and Kong Jr. Back in the Congo...2%

Sea Creature

Loathing for water polluters...22%
Annoyance at having to continuously scrape off barnacles...14%
Contempt for skin-diving spear gunners...11%
Fondness for old Esther Williams movies...31%
Apprehension at winding up as the main ingredient in clam chowder...22%


Confusion over how daylight saving affects time of sunrise and sunset...11%
Morbid fear of stakes, wolfbane and marriage-happy vampiresses...31%
Disdain for slovenly victims with unwashed necks...8%
Disgust with polyester capes that last only a few years...9%
Anxiety over root canal work that has to be done on Fang...25%
Fear of biting someone with hepatitis...16%


Fear of inquisitive archaeologists and grave robbers...31%
Curiosity over whether Blue Cross membership entitles on to fresh bandages...15%
Musings on the riddle of the sphinx...12%
Despondency over winding up in a museum...22%
Anxiety over developing claustrophobia...20%


Confusion over whether to apply for two social security cards...39%
Guilt over listing self as a tax dependent...23%
Concern over identity crisis...38%

Fly Creature

Passion for rancid, smelly garbage cans...24%
Remorse at compulsion to leave specks on ceilings...17%
Yearning for an antidote to D.D.T....31%
Concern over abundance of fly paper...28%


Grief over the injustices of Salem...39%
Annoyance at broom splinters...18%
Despondency over the approach of 500th birthday...43%

Invisible Man

Preoccupation with peeping tomism...35%
Vexation at being overlooked in the last census...38%
Distress at never being able to catch a waiter's eye...32%

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Preoccupation with dandruff problems...24%
Concern over premature baldness...17%
Enthusiasm for the rock musical "Hair"...10%
Fondness for TV shampoo commercials...9%
Infatuation with a circus bearded lady...28%

Author: Unknown.
Pages 36-38 of CRACKED MAZAGINE Issue #138
Cover Date: December 1976

Cracked #138: My TV Favorites! and some things that are not really my favorites

Cracked #138 Review
by Pierre L.

"Mazagine" dated December 1976

That cover is one of the best. Everyone you need; everyone you love. And, they are surrounding Mr. Smythe. The best! One of my all-time favorite covers. How about those insides, though? We've had a heck of a run here. Three near-perfect issues with one excellent one before it. Let's step in.

The poster is a "$100,0.000 Rewarrd" for their proofreeder. Not a funny poster. It just makes me worried. I hope they get him. The kidnappers write again in the Lettuce Page. Where is he?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I see the Frankenstein Monster on here. Holy Crap! This could be great.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: People like the "The Fonz Iron-On". As well they should. Next issue is out on November 9th. Get yours!

CRACKED MAZAGINE PRESENTS THE GREAT NIELSON AIRWAVES WAR: Everybody is in this. They are all in Bunkers (or spending time with The Bunkers) and fighting for great ratings. NBC has Fred Sanford and Columbo. ABC has Laverne & Shirley and The Fonz and The Sweathogs. (Shirly kisses Squiggy to get higher ratings. "Yuk! Even his lips are greasy!") NBC has Jimmy J.J. Walker and The Bunkers and Carol Burnett. Whenever a viewer changes the channel, the performer falls down wounded. One big, burly guy with a cigar changes the channel when Elton John is announced as a special guest. I hope no one hurt Captain Fantastic. It all comes at us fast and furious. Possibly too fast. Folks we love get one or two panels and then are gone. It's nice to see them all here but, except at the end, they're separated. I miss the team-up.

Regardless of that, this is a great six page opening article. And, it ends on the cover panel so...Huzzah!, I say.

A CRACKED LOOK AT AMERICA'S OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES RUNNING IN NOVEMBER: Good God, what a title! They could have abbreviated that a bit. The first of a couple political bits in here. It's got some good gags. Here are the parties:

The American Indian Party
Presidential Nominee: Chief Skinem Alive
Vice-Presidential Nominee: Chief Running Scared

The United Weather Party
PNom: Mr. Part Lee Cloudy
V-PNom: Mr. Sonny Skies

The Greasers for Peace Party
PNom: Ignatzio Schlepp
V-PNom: Vincent V. Vaselino (Why isn't he the Presidential Nominee?)

The Do-Nothing Party
PNom: Too lazy to leave a name.
V-PNom: May be named Ramone.

The United Football Party
PNom: Killer Kadowsky
V-PNom: The Kansas City Crusher

Animals of America Party
PNom: G.O.P. Elephant
V-PNom: Democratic Donkey

PNom: Sylvester P. Smythe
V-PNom: Mr. Clean

Some nice jokes here. The best is the Greaser party because, yes, The Fonz is part of it. They have a strange "official statement". "The G.O.P.P. is made up of all the real losers in America: so we don't really expect to win..." Huh? With The Fonz in the group? Their decree that "Every Thursday will be Boring Day!" is a good one. The Fonz tells a beautiful woman that he's sorry "...but it is decreed that you spend the day with either a Nerd or an insurance salesman."

You could have had any of these great men for your president in 1976.

C.B. MANIA: Frankly, a tired re-tread of the CB article from #135. The art is cool. The premise is that now everybody uses CBs for everything. Checking the weather while taking out the garbage. Yelling at an umpire. Everything. It's all just kind of OK, not spectacular. They get it right in the end, though. We see an old man explaining what that cobweb covered contraption in the corner is to a nephew. "A very expensive dust collector." CBs, no! Well, I still have mine.

THE MAGIC LAMP: A one-pager. It's a nice little diversion. I wish CB Mania had been stronger. Frankly, this brief gag can't hold up its end that well. It's charming enough but let's move on.

FORD-CARTER FIGHT: So topical that I wanted to rub it on an ass rash I've got. Lots of jokes about Ford falling down and Carter eating peanuts. May have been the cat's PJs back in '76. Yawn! Two pages of blah. Keep moving.

Cannonball - He eats so much he explodes.
Kojerk - He trips and lands on his lollipop, choking to death.
The Walled-Ins - Their house collapses.
The Six Billion Dollar Man - Rust.
Havaii 5-0: Volcanic eruption buries everyone under lava.

What is this--MAD MAGAZINE? I thought this would be a hoot but it's mighty mean-spirited for CRACKED. I giggled a few times but this issue is going off into left field. It's not bad just not quite CRACKED.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A PICNIC AREA: I liked it! And when a "A CRACKED LOOK..." article is a breath of fresh air--something is wrong. The drawings are big and it's not overcrowded. It's set at the CRACKED picnic in the middle of January so there is snow everywhere and it's freezing. Nice.

BASEBALL'S NEW TYPE BASEBALL CARDS THAT TELL IT LIKE IT IS: What's with the titles? Hey, baseball players are greedy! They get lots of money for playing a sport! Whatever. Three pages of "not very interested".

CRIMINAL SHE-NANIGANS: It's gangster jokes but...all the gangsters are women! And, yes, their raids must be color-coordinated and the warden punishes crooks by taking away their make-up kit. When is this article from? 1919? The Godfather appears in one panel so does that mean this is a re-print from 1972? It sure feels strange in this issue. When did Women's Lib happen? Maybe a good article should have gone here instead?

What is happening with this issue?

ONE AFTERNOON IN A LOCAL STEREO STORE: 100% Awesome. A one-pager that is just great. Good gag, great art and the customer looks like Stan Hillis. Wonderful.

WHAT GOES ON IN A MONSTER'S MIND: I received such a grand response from my addendum of Issue #137 that this is one is getting printed up as an addendum for this issue.

Four great pages in a row.

THE MAKING OF SILENT MOVIE: A parody of a parody. This one actually isn't that bad. There are a couple of laughs. But, you can't help thinking that Mel Brooks could have trumped this parody of his parody easily. Interesting layout but average in the end.

The Cracked Bookstore follows with their promises of great joy that never come true.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE OUTDOOR KING: It's our Nanny! It's hard-hitting! It's perfect! She goes to the woods to chat with a guy who loves camping but may not be roughing it as much as he says. Thank Heavens for Nanny!

1 - 3/5
2 - 4/fore
3 - King/Kong

Total: King Kong makes a second cameo appearance in this issue. Could he be the next Fonz?

BACK COVER: "Dr. Rudolph Melonchok Almost Discovers Electricity!" A pile of ashes wearing a hat with a kite floating nearby. Not bad.

Well, so...we had three great issues. This one had a lot of stuff that felt "off" to me. Some laughs, definitely, and when they're good--they are gold. However, I'm worried that The Fonz's sheen might be wearing off. Or the last issue was just too good. Regardless, let's head over to #139 and see if they get back on track. You'll love the cover. Trust Me.

Next Time: The gang's all here...and they're in jail?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Addendum to the Review of Issue #137

The Richie Cunningham / Fonz Solution

I loved this page from CRACKED #137 (page 22) so much that I thought I'd present it in full. I'll list "The Problem" followed by "The Richie Cunningham Solution" and then "The Fonz Solution". I typed it out exactly as it appears in the magazine so there are one or two odd bits of punctuation.

Unfortunately, the magazine does not say who wrote the article.


"The Richie Cunningham Solution/ The FONZ Solution"

The Problem - A gang of hoods approaches you and your date on a dark, lonely street.
The Richie Cunningham (RC) Solution - You pray your date knows karate.
The FONZ Solution - You accept the gang's apology when they find out you're the Fonz!!

The Problem - In a game of Monopoly, your three female opponents all run out of money.
The RC Solution - You declare yourself the winner of the game.
The FONZ Solution - You let the game go on and make the chicks pay off their debts in kisses and smooches!!

The Problem - The guy you challenge to a motorcycle race turns out to be Evil Kneivel.
The RC Solution - You sheepishly back out of the race.
The FONZ Solution - You try not to beat Kneivel too badly and embarrass him in front of his young fans!!

The Problem - Dinner for two comes to five dollars more than you have on your person.
The RC Solution - You quietly ask your date to slip you a fiver under the table.
The FONZ Solution - You show your date that you're no male chauvinist by permitting her to pick up the tab!!

The Problem - You desperately need a five dollar increase in your salary.
The RC Solution - With great difficulty you summon up the courage to ask for only a dollar increase.
The FONZ Solution - You demand a fifty dollar raise and obligingly settle for only a ten dollar increase!!

The Problem - Whom do you get for a substitute when your prom date gets sick at the last minute?
The RC Solution - You desperately call up the class wallflower and hope she's available.
The FONZ Solution - You let all the other girls in town fight it out for the privilege!!

The Problem - While on a date, your car gets a flat in a heavy downpour.
The RC Solution - You apologize profusely while you fix the flat.
The FONZ Solution - You hold an umbrella over your girl while she fixes the flat!!

The Problem - You arrive fifteen minutes late and are greeted at the school entrance by the principal.
The RC Solution - You collapse in a dead faint.
The FONZ Solution - You use the opportunity to sell him a book of tickets to your club raffle!!

Cracked #137: Sweathogs Celebrate Summer with Fun and Sweat and Hogs

Cracked #137 : "Special Fun-Filled Summer Edition!"
by Pierre L.

November 1976 (?) (Published in NZ?)

The cover is definitely summer what with the Sweathogs and, I assume, water behind them. The coolest thing about this cover is that yellow burst right above Sylvester.
"Fonz Iron-On"! Oh yes. Let's go in.

No poster. The front inside cover is The CRACKED BOOKSTORE ad. The back...well, let me just preview it by saying that they have finally done what I thought they should have been doing for a while. (Saving a certain fellow for the end.)

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Standard with an extra touch of Vim that is propelling me to the first article.
Proof Reader: Now Accepting Applications (That can't be good.)

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: The proof reader is being held for ransom. Maybe you should write to the magazine and send some money. I don't know if they want that yet but I'll keep you posted when the next review comes up. Regardless, stand by with possible cash. The proof reader must be returned unharmed! So it is written.

HOW THE KOTTER GANG SPENT THEIR SUMMER VACATION: 6 pages detailing what the Sweathogs and Mr. Kotter got up to during summer. The article leaps back and forth between Kotter's relief at not having to see the Sweathogs to Babarino being a lifeguard to Epstein trying to get a job but constantly stealing things to Washington and Horshack trying to become camp counselors or whatever. If all this is true, than this is a wonderful example of documentary presentation from the folks at CRACKED. If it's all faked, well, I still giggled. I like this sort of random jumping around better than a straightforward parody. It's a great way to start the magazine and it seems to fit the summer theme.

ANOTHER COMBINED MOVIE - "GODZILLA" VS "THE TOWERING INFERNO": They know what I like: combining! Well done. One page of smiles.

AS THE GENERAL, YOUNG, AND RESTLESS HOSPITAL TURNS: A soap opera parody with society ladies, robberies, hospitals, crazy newspaper editors and all kinds of junk. I guess this article is here because kids tended to come across soap operas more often in the summer if Ma was watching them. Or if they were bored and just tuned in. Hey, these things are kind of racy! But, fun. Not "butt" fun but "but" fun as in "still fun regardless of whatever". It's an entertaining article. Another fast-moving one that jumps between several stories but I'm having a tough time picking a favorite moment. Oh well, I cannot win them all.

CRACKED METHODS FOR REPAIRING YOUR CAR INEXPENSIVELY: All sorts of goofball bits of chicanery to keep your old car running. Tips such as replacing a defective horn: "1) Driver sees car cutting into lane and decides horn action is needed. 2) With newly repaired horn, driver merely rolls down window... 3)...and shouts a slight warning. 'Get out of my lane you blind, bum of a driver'" Stuff like that. Filling tubes with ice cubes and covering your car in them so they cool you off. Clever stuff. I may try putting a horse under my hood later today.


IF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION HAPPENED TODAY: Hey! Those Americans! It's nothing but pollution, laziness, taxes and other junk! You guys would never have won the American Revolution today! "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" How do you see it through smog and smoke? How is the Declaration of Independence going to get signed when football is on? HA! CRACKED unzips it and shows you the zinger. All you can do is cry.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A WRESTLING MATCH: I like it. Big art, minimal jokes. One of the best "LOOK AT..." articles I've seen. So far, at the halfway mark, I'm still fresh.

BEACH BLANKET PARTY: I just got fresher! It's a parody of a beach party film with songs and fresh faced teens surfing and dancing and...King Surfer! Who's that guy in the white shorts and leather jacket? The Fonz! I knew he'd show up! Bravo! I should construct a binder consisting of nothing but Fonz articles from CRACKED. That would be great. Nothing is funnier than the Fonz's face when he yells "TIDAL WAVE!" This is the best. We are still knee deep in the cream of CRACKED's crop here. Buy this issue. Read this article. Now.

HOW TO MAKE BASEBALL MORE INTERESTING: Not bad. Their normal sports articles I shrug at but they've got a lot of goodwill going right now. Quicksand under second base. The outfielders on horseback. Three or four teams playing simultaneously. It's all great. At four pages, this is a breeze. Damn, they've got it down here. The summer theme continues and I'm smiling like an automated Smiling Machine.

W.C. FIELD LAFF-IN: Well, it can't all be great. W.C. Fields is funny. It's A Gift is a favorite of mine. This is one page of stills from his films with unfunny dialog added. I guess it's a breather before...

IF THE FONZ GUESS STARRED ON OTHER SHOWS: Oh yes! "Hawaii 5-0" "Sesame Street" "Meet the Press" "Police Woman" "The Waltons" "Star Trek" One joke from each? Sure. "Hawaii 5-0" --"And don't come back or I'll stuff you in a sardine can!" The Fonz yells as he stamps sharks on the head. "Sesame Street" -- Big Bird wants the Fonz to count past 6. The Fonz calls Big Bird a "furry, little nerd" and Big Bird makes him count up to 1 instead. "Meet The Press" -- I'm not sure I spotted a joke here. The Fonz rides across the Atlantic Ocean on his bike. Is that one? "Police Woman" --The Fonz in black face singing "Mammy!" Does it get better? "The Waltons" -- "You have to pull his udder." "His udder what?" They're talking about milking the cow. "He?" I don't think that's his udder they want you to pull Fonz! "Star Trek" -- The Fonz is able to look exactly like Leonard Nimoy without much alteration. Spock - Fonz? The same man?

CRACKED'S FAVORITE TV SCENES FROM LAST YEAR: Big stills from "Good Times" and "Happy Days" and "Kojak" and so forth. They add little word balloons with "funny" dialog. Three pages. It takes ten seconds to read. A little transition towards...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ART KING: Tiny Nanny is back! Who is this woman? Hey, this art king is a ripoff artist! Hey, most of the people she interviews are ripoff artists! What the hell? Nanny, when do you get to review someone who's not a complete con man? Soon, I hope. Fight the good fight. Bring back "big" Nanny.


1 - 4/5
2 - 3/9

There are only 2.

Total : Oneteen. A new number for a new era!

Why only two? because the bottom third of the page has Fonz Iron-On Instructions!

The inside back cover is a big drawing of the Fonz's face and the caption "I'm the Fonz on his day off!" Oh man, I need to buy a white T-shirt now. Iron-ons are my new "thing"! Love it!

Back Cover - Great Moment in History. "The First Babysitter" Cavemen, an elephant and babysitters. You do the Comedy Math.

This may be the best issue yet. The W.C. Fields page is blah. Nanny is wrong. But, the rest is so great. The Fonz features in two articles and an iron-on. Can this sheer joy continue? What does the next issue hold? Hang on to my new T-shirt and we'll find out!

Ayyyyy! It's his day off today so that makes me...You got it!

Next: #138 - It's Raining Fun! Hallelujah!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cracked #136: The Cover Speaks For Itself

Cracked #136
by Pierre L.

October 1976

Oh, that cover! Is Heaven paved with bottles of Cracked Beer? Look at "The Fonz" and his little legs! Joy! Hey, where'd the "e" go at the end of "The Fonz". Streamlined and cool. Everything about him is Boss! And, therefore, Laverne and Shirley are too! Hi girls! Welcome. Let's go in...

I'm shaking a little.

"Unemployment is not working!" says the poster. I prefer the Fonz or Bionic people. Cracked, you've spoiled me! I smell like day-old now! But, it doesn't matter. The poster and the back cover are just icing. Let's taste the meat.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I'll just quote the little blurb: "Laverne! Shirley! You're doin' a good job with our CRACKED beer, but where'd the funny looking bottle with the leather jacket come from? Oh, it's the Fonz -on your assembly line- and he's SITTING ON IT! We'll drink to that!!!"
Proof Reader: HELP WANTED I hope everyone's OK.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Here's a revealing one: "Dear CRACKED, I wish to complain about your obviously uncool spelling of the 'Fonz' in issue #134. Everyone knows that there is no 'e' in 'Fonz' (you spelled it Fonze!) C'mon Cracked, get with it! -John Manna Breddough, Vermont" Cracked editors respond: "Dear John, Issue #134 was the last job our prrof reider worked on before getting kidnapped!"

So, the proof reader has been 'napped! And, The Fonz has no "e" on the end of it. Interesting. I thought they were goofing in #134 but then they continued spelling it that way in #135. So, I thought that was the correct spelling. Boy, there are a series of red faces over here. But, we learn and we carry on... Let's see what those crazy gals are up too!

LEVERNE & SHIRLY: It's comedy making fun of a comedy! I love it! How many layers can we get going at once? Everyone is here and everyone is great. This one could have been an actual episode of the show with the exception of the species of Shirly's date and some sight gags. If you were a kid and you wanted to see an episode of the show and it wasn't on that night, you could read these. The satire is calm and lulling. I think it's great. Before VCRs and DVDs, we had stuff like this. Ahhh, Cracked! I sigh and carry on.

Oh, The Fonz appears at the end. 100% perfect.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS SEEN THROUGH BRITISH EYES: I hope you hadn't gotten complacent because the satire is back. A series of articles ("Our soldiers suffer verbal abuse in Boston drink orgy"), announcements ("Cane the ungrateful wretch"), wanted posters ("Paul Revere") and a cover of LIMEY magazine ("Man of the Year - Benedict Arnold") illustrate the way the Brits saw Americans during the war. Very obvious but rather funny. And, the more I look at it, the less it seems like satire and more like an article that a clever child would have written. Bless that Child! This issue is cooking. What's next?

A CRACKED HISTORY OF THE BIONIC MAN: Let's trace the path of the "Bionic Man" to the "Bionic Woman" to the "Bionic Baby" to the "Bionic Dog" to the "Anti-Bionic Man". If you love Bionic stuff, this article delivers. I can't get enough of the bionic people.

CRACKED'S GUIDE TO BURGLARY PREVENTION: A series of tricks and ruses to keep burglars from breaking into your house. I love this one. It's got great illustrations and all kinds of great tips like putting up a sign that says "Mean Joe Greene Lives Here!" on your front lawn. My personal favorite prevention tip: Attach a giant balloon to your home. Inflate it whenever you go out. Your home will hover in the air thereby preventing burglars from getting to it. Great.

This seems to be the third astounding issue in a row. Let's continue.

ONE DAY IN METROPOLITIS: A charming one page gag about Superman and indecent exposure. I smiled.

CELEBRITIES' HOME MOVIES: The great thing about the best issues of CRACKED is each article will have a different look from the previous ones. This issue is cooking. From the varied size of the packed frames of BURGLARY to the comic strip of ONE DAY to the faux-film frames of this one, it's all joy. You never know what's on the next page and you never know how it's going to smell. "Ewell Gibbons' Camping Trip" "Carroll O'Connor's Walk" "Gerald Ford's Sunday Stroll" and more. They're funny. They're spot on. One of them's filled with Polacks! I'll let you guess.

CRACKED GOES TO A POLITICAL CONVENTION: Well, I didn't think it would be perfect. A return to the overcrowded messes of the past with too many jokes that would have been funny during Chester A. Arthur's administration but fall a little flat today (and probably did in 1976). Scan and carry on.

CRACKED GUIDE TO SURFING: A nice time-passer. Nothing superb. Apart from a reference to Howard Cosell in the opening, this could have been from 1963. In fact, the art looks a lot like stuff from their early 60's issues. Less crazy and sloppy and more straightforward. Hmmm... Well, I've no proof so I'll carry on.

REEL GONE GOODIES: A page of film stills with "wacky" dialog added. It's OK. But, we've already had a one-pager earlier. Let's get a little more substantial, shall we?

THE FONZ THROUGHOUT HISTORY: They got me! I wish I could just present the whole article here because it is the best. I had no idea that the Fonz would pop up here but it is great. "Fonzony & Cleopatra" "Pharaoh Phonz" "Sir Walter Fonzie and Queen Elizabeth!" and the completely wonderful "The Fonz in Plantation Times" I had been wondering what the Fonz would look like if he was a black man speaking like Jim from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Thanks, CRACKED! So great.

THE BAD NEWS BORES: Wasn't a fan of the movie but the parody is a harmless 6-pages. Once again, it's a question of article scheduling. Put the Fonz at the end! An article like this is pleasant but it doesn't match the previous one. I need more Wow! here.

THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE: Buy and enjoy! If they actually send you the stuff...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE OLYMPIC TRAINING KING: Our Nanny is back! And, she looks nice. She meets up with a man training some of our Olympic athletes. And, he's kind of corrupt. She pulls the plug on this shyster and his shyster antics. Keep it real, Nanny! Oh, this is so hard-hitting I've got a pain in my gut. Way to go, everyone involved.


1 - 5/5
2 - 5/5
3 - 5/5

Final tally : 2
(three points deducted for not having The Fonz involved or being bionic in any way)

Back Cover: "Great Moments In Science" involving the discovery of snorkels and pea-shooters contemporaneously. Nice closing page to send us off.

I like it! Oh, there's a weak spot here and there but, my goodness, they are cooking! Can they keep this up, I wonder? Stay tuned...

Next Issue: The Sandhogs? or The Beachhogs? You decide. I'm tired.