Sunday, July 26, 2009

CRACKED #174 : And the background vanishes again

December 1980
by Pierre L.

The cover certainly nails it. The Empire Strikes back made over $200 million in 1980. The closest films were 9 to 5 and Stir Crazy in the 104 million range. Well done, Darth and friends! It's a fun cover that, like the last one, is worth a good long look. But, I wonder why the background had to vanish. I wonder if they were standing in front of something great?

"This room has been affected by the Energy Crisis!...I don't have the energy to Clean it!!" Hey pal, in this heat, we're in the same boat. The poster has yellow lettering with a black background. Hmmm... Or is it a yellow backround with a black foreground that has letters cut out of it?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Shut-Ups "Ah shut-up and read 'em!" Nice. Oh boy, the Cracked Lens title looks mighty lengthy. Why are the articles all out of order in the table of contents? It's not a very helpful table of contents then, is it? "Amy Stake - rder pruf"

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Dear CRACKED, Would you settle an argument my brother and I are having? Which is older -- the Kremlin in Moscow or the jokes used in CRACKED LOOKS AT A BIG CITY OFFICE?" Way to razz 'em, Mitchell & Larry Ritzman." Can I get an Amen?! Next issue - November 4th.

EXPLOITING THE STAR WARS FIGURES TO THEIR FULLEST: Darth Vader and Princess Leia in Gone With the Wind II. It doesn't actually seem to be a parody of Gone With The Wind but it's fun. "Chewbacca as the Godfather". He's pretty funny with his big, hairy face and the fat cheeks. Fun... OB1 Designer Jeans - "...if you find yourself having a rough time getting into them, just use THE FORCE. Luke Skywalker Lima Beans and "Odor De Tawntawn Perfume" and on and on... Yes, they will also be on TV. (Although, I'm pretty sure they did the "Star Wars folks on other shows" bit already.) Darth Vader uses his "choke you" power to convince a lady to pick his product in a taste test. Chewbacca advertises razors. Obi-Wan works for Lou Grant. It's a charming article that, in pure CRACKED fashion, never quite seems to connect with anything. It's a pleasant 6 pages to kickstart the issue. But, honestly, they seem to be out of things to say about the Star Wars folks. The verve from '77 is not here.

A CRACKED LOOK AT DUMB INVESTMENTS: Opening a "soul food" restaurant in Beverly Hills. Classy! It's all mistimed or inappropriate or just plain dumb products that people invest in. I've started this article twice and skimmed over it both times. There is one funny bit: "Investing in a Broadway musical doomed from the start." "The life story of President Millard Filmore set to music!" Two chorus gals dance on stage singing "Hello Millard!" That's funny. But, the rest of it... "Investing in any Farrah Fawcett Movie" with the movie in question being "Kiss Me, Kill me, Pummel Me!" must have been hilarious, not so much. Why do they hate Farrah so much? The rest of it is stuff like "issuing tricentennial merchandise" and buying real estate around 3 Mile Island. The art is fun. The jokes aren't bad. They just never take off. I hope this isn't a theme for the issue.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really mean it this time!): There's a still from Deranged. Gosh, these are fun. Whoever came up with this bit deserves a CRACKED Award for Awesome.

THE CRACKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS GUIDE TO RACQUETBALL: Some funny bits. A few of the "You'll need a ball to play" kind of jokes and you see a man standing in front of a formal ball complaining how expensive this sport is. But, even for gags like that, the drawings are pretty funny. "Players then alternate striking the ball." Yep, there are strikers. But, they're pretty funny looking. The cross-section drawing of the racquetball court is just a pinch better than these things normally are. And, for this being a text heavy article, the text is large and the people always fun looking. I mentioned that before but you've no idea how great it is to just have some very funny things to look at. I thought I'd dislike this but I really enjoyed it.

HOW TO WIN A SCHOOL ELECTION: Ahhh. Lance Excelent [sic] shows us how to bribe who we need to bribe to win. How to tell Lies and be as vague as you need to be to win. In the end, it's a parody on real elections and it's OK. One of those articles that I can't really grasp the point of except for the fact that this would have been right before the 1980 election. There's a good gag at the end that I won't ruin for you. It may be the best part of it.

FUTURE ULTRA REALISTIC ELECTRONIC GAMES: The future! Red Dog Football! Blood spurts out of a hole after tackles. Authentic locker room smells. Cheerleaders with 24 different cheers. It's great! Long Shot! "Now you can simulate the thrill of blowing a wad at the races in your own home...Set comes with a paper shredder that shreds the contents of your wallet!" There's a baseball game, racing game, VEGAS! and a basketball game. They all are like the real things! More or less. I like the layout and look of this one, although the jokes are hit and miss.

YE HANG UPS: 4 one-panel gags. They're fine. Giggle and carry on.

CRACKED'S LITTLE KNOWN BY-LAWS: I really needed a breezy visual piece here. This one has too much text and drawings that are funny but ehh... "Law #4: In Boston, Massachusetts, you are not allowed to place an oral thermometer in boiling water." "Law #9: In the Soviet Union, you can get arrested for saying 'More onions on the pizza, please.'" "Law #12: In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is against the law to tie an alligator to a fire-hydrant." At two pages, it doesn't wear itself out.

MASTERS OF EVIL: Three pages of monster themed CRACKED LENS gaggery. Some good stills including one from Harold Lloyd's film Why Worry. I see Count Yorga, Trog, The Mad Monster, Young Frankenstein and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Why'd they put Deranged in the regular CRACKED LENS? That's the most horrific here. Regardless, laughs!

YOU WON'T BE INVITED TO ANOTHER PARTY WHEN AT YOUR LAST PARTY...: Oh boy, gags away! These are some oldies and some CRACKIES!

" unwittingly poured cement mix in the cheese dip."
" told your friends there were going to be door prizes and you gave away 5 doors."
" came dressed as a zebra and it wasn't a costume party."
" tried to offset the money you spend on the gift by stuffing your pockets with food."

REAL INCREDIBLE PEOPLE: "Checking out the T.V. ratings the other day, we noticed an interesting fact. Audiences are starting to ignore dumb situation comedies and detective dramas and are instead turning to informational programming. Well, at first, these shows were of high quality like 60 Minutes and 20-20, however, this past spring they've been getting dumber and dumber. In fact, the most moronic of all will probably be the new one they plan to introduce in a couple of weeks entitles...REAL INCREDIBLE PEOPLE" They got a little verbose in this into. This new show will look at tap dancing trout, a man who trains dogs to take their masters out for a walk and a lady barber who cuts client's hair with her teeth. Looks great to me. Sahara Prucell, Jolly Davison and Chairo are the hosts. There first story is with Burny Mihand, the Human Torch. He's a guy who is constantly burning! Then, Otto and Jock Doubleday, Siamese twins. One's fat and one's thin. Then, some other stuff happens and eventually the article peters out. Starts strong (I remember these shows. I was a regular viewer.) and then fades. It goes on one story too long.

"Help Sylvester Fight..." Sure, I know. Six dollars for 9 issues.

CRACKED'S CAREER GUIDE FOR DISC JOCKEYS: "Besides breathing polluted air, eating food which has been sprayed with pesticides, and making fun of uncoordinated people, there is one other thing we Americans have in common and that's...listening to the radio. And because of this, radio has become a big business. Everyday, more and more high paying jobs open up in the broadcasting field. And, because we care about your future, we're now going to tell you how YOU can take advantage of these opportunities as we present..." Sometime soon I am going to do a review that has the introductory blurb for each article written out. We'll check for any connections between longer blurbs and the quality of the articles. This article, by the all right. The best joke is when they remind us that a disc jokey is a broadcaster. You see a man casting off from the shore. Instead of bait, he's casting a large-breasted woman. A broad caster! Get it! Ahhh... A lot of jokes like this. Turns out the Frankenstein's Monster isn't a good disc jockey because he mumbles too much. There's a comedy aptitude test and an application and, this is's the end of the issue.


1 - Painter!
2 - Tainter!
3 - Howard Cosell!

Total: I love a good Shut-Ups, Asshead!

BACK COVER: The Man and The Beast. A decent one-pager to close of the issue.

I like this issue. It has very little of the stuff that bugs me about CRACKED and much of the stuff I like. And, I love the fact that there isn't a single straightforward TV or Movie parody here, unless you count Real incredible People but that feels different. This is a fun issue. Let's get back on track, guys. I'm enjoying this.

Next issue: One of the very first ones I remember reading.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CRACKED #173: Now, that's a cover!

November 1980
by Pierre L.

Hey! A background! And one that is really quite wonderful! Do they have to ration the cover backgrounds over at CRACKED? Inflation was that bad in 1980? Regardless, this is one of Severin's best. But, you need to proceed inside to really take it all in.

INSIDE COVER: There it is! The full two-page spread! Just like the Cantina poster from the Star Wars's parody days. This is huge and really wonderful. There's something to see everywhere on this one. The Army of Stormtroopers in the distance. Sylvester's sled trail. C-3PO making snowballs. What a great freakin' poster! This is how they all should be.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Miss Reed - prffff rfdrer" And, in the little blurb...a strange joke: "So now everyone knows where you went on vacation, Sylvester...the ice planet! Don't stay outside too long; it looks Colth there!" Huh? I know it's the planet Hoth. But, what does this joke mean? Again, I get the distinct feeling that CRACKED saw what was happening in the pop culture world around them but really had no clue. Remember when they spelled Fonz as "Fonze"? Oh boy.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: There's a letter from a guy praising them on their Six Million Dollar parody. His letter is from March 3, 1970. Ahh... Next issue - September 23rd.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT: Fun art and a nice flow to it. But, my Lord, what's with all the rotten jokes. (They do, like they usually do, mention that their jokes are really, really old. So, why not try to think up some new bits?) Luke mentions his nose is running. The response is "Good! It'll keep your nose in shape!" Sure. Thanks, guys. Yoda cooks something on Luke's stove. Why? "Haven't you ever heard of a gnome on the range?" I'm pretty sure these jokes would have made me wince when I was a child. Now, they're giving me a heart attack. When Boba Fett demands the bounty on Han's head, guess what Darth Vader gives him? (A: A roll of Bounty Paper Towels.) Oh, when Darth says he's going to freeze Han, Han replies with "That's not an ice thing to do." I guess as long as you don't actually read this, it's wonderful.

CRACKED'S NEW SIDEWALK, STREET AND PLAYGROUND GAMES: New games for 1980! "Cowboys & Arabs!" (You can guess your own game here.) "Chicken!" (See how long you can ignore your Mom's cries for you to come home!) Three Mile Island (A water balloon and yells of "Meltdown"!) Let's Be Obnoxious (Bug somebody you don't know and run away from them!) There are several others but those are the ones I felt like writing down. I guess this article is OK. It just kind of sits there and teeters on the edge of big-time laughs. Wouldn't it have been great if it fell into the laughs?

YE HANG UPS: It's a full multi-panel one-pager! Wow! And, it's funny even if it doesn't make a lick of sense! Enjoy!

CRACKED'S UPDATED PUNCHLINES TO SOME OF THE WORLD'S OLDEST JOKES: All right... a few examples should suffice:

What's worse than an elephant on water skis?
Old: A porcupine on a rubber life raft!
New: Just about any episode of The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo!

Where's one place you can always find money?
Old: In the dictionary!
News: Under an OPEC member's turban!

What is orange and half a mile high?
Old: The Empire State Carrot!
News: The after-glow around Three Mile Island!

(Boy, they're getting a lot of mileage out of Three Mile Island in this issue.)

What tree is always unhappy?
Old: A Blue Spruce.
New: One just cut down to make way for a row of condominiums.

Like that... MAD-lite.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we mean it this time!): Hey, Airport 1975! 5 pages of joy and Marlon Brando. Always a good bit, this bit continues to always be a good bit. So there.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A BIG CITY OFFICE: These things need open spaces. It's two pages but all the chaos and frenzy of people and word balloons leaves me swimming in the jokes about the boss being absent-minded. How do we know? He took his wife out to dinner and told her not to mention it to his secretary! Not a lot of puns in this one. How many people work here? Oh, about half. Jokes like that. And, they fill up the space and some of the people look very amusing but...Who is all this for? Surely the kids who read The Empire Strikes Back parody at the start must be shrugging their shoulders at this. Hell, I am and I'm in an office right now. CRACKED, thou art inscrutable.

HOW THE GOVERNMENT CAN CUT DOWN ON SPENDING: Boy, this one is sure heavy on the political satire. Of course, the 1980 election was a few months away but, again, articles like this really don't match up with the cover or the lead article. Maybe there were a lot of disappointed kids out there after shelling out their cash on this?

In fact, I'm trying to remember how I used to read CRACKED. We didn't have a lot of money. So, we'd go to Wegmans and I'd spend the cash I had on a CRACKED because the cover's were usually so great and then...they'd be filled with articles like this or those "You Know you're Too [Something] When..." that I always disliked. But, I'd spend my money on it so, for God's sake, I was going to read all of it and love it! I guess a comic book worked better but CRACKED was Comedy! That's what it said it was! So why does it all feel so odd? I would have been seven when this issue came out. I started buying CRACKED very soon after this. Why? A lot of sizzle. Where the hell's my stake?

CRACKED FACTS: Some days I start reviewing these and they just make me tired. This is a thoroughly average CRACKED article with wacky Facts! "A large number of exotic carpets that Iran exports are produced from the dead hairs of the Ayatullah's [sic] beard." "Martin Quackery is the first man to be raised by a family of ducks. Today he is a successful down pillow manufacturer but every time he sees a duck he is seized with an uncontrollable desire to go to Disney World." The facts are never that great. They're far too convoluted and there's no kick.

What is wrong with me? CRACKED, have I lost the love?

THE CRACKED WORLD OF VACATIONS: Well, this sure didn't bring the love back. Boy, there is a grotesque pimply-faced teen in this bit. Yuktown, U.S.A. A wife demands her husband ask for more vacation. His boss obliges. The man is fired! BOOM! That was the sound of my trousers exploding from the high hilarity! Another couple goes to Italy and complains the whole time. But, when they get back, they say they love it. Have you heard each of these jokes fourteen times in the past?

A DOZEN THINGS NEVER TO DO AT THE BEACH: Two pages of advice like never offering to put suntan oil on a weightlifter's girlfriend's back. Move on...


IF RONALD REAGAN BECOMES PRESIDENT: He'll always do a re-take! Ha! Well, this is no funnier that the kind of crap Ronnie did for eight years, although it's funny to see what people thought in the Summer of 1980. John Wayne on the dollar. Superman and Miss Piggy on the cabinet. Henry Kissinger does a screen test. Oh, Ronnie! We were laughing for a while, weren't we?

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE MULTI-CINEMA KING: And, we end with Nanny. Mr. Ray Design is the man who puts together all these big-big multiplexes and, frankly, they're a bit of a ripoff. Small seats, smaller screens, theaters next to loud generators. Bad movies...Oh wait. That's not his fault. I enjoyed this round of Nanny. It was nice to see her. There really isn't anything to laugh out loud at here but it's worth your time.



Total: Momma!

BACK COVER: "Great Moments in Aviation" A guy selling balloons floats across the Atlantic with a bemused look on his face.

I think the thing that bugged me with this issue was that the cover and the lead article promise Pop Culture goofball fun. But, most of this issue is satire on the state of the union and the upcoming Presidential election. As a kid, I would have been disappointed. As a grown-up, I applaud their attempt but wish they'd stick to Mork and Coleman.

Next Issue: I wonder what this one has inside?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CRACKED #172: A TV Crossover in the Void

October 1980
by Pierre L.

Great cover...well, great subject for the cover. Where's the background? The people look great. The motorcycle and the General Lee looks great. The car is on a dirt road that fades away. The motorcycle is on...? Who knows? Are they in Hazzard County or the big city? Are they deep in the Void near Antares 13 in the Madeline Cluster? Where are they? Why is there no background? CRACKED!! Oh well, let's head in.

INSIDE FRONT COVER: A playbill for the "1st Annual Gala Jamboree Extravaganza" It looks like a great time. Lots of food. Live music (Bee Gees, Elton John and Kiss) and celebrities (Mohammad Ali, Belushi, Coleman, Parton, Winkler, etc.) Jimmy Carter will be there. But...there's a slip! Oh no! At the very bottom!

Time: Saturday, S... ... -2PM till ?
Place: W.... Pa...

You can't read when and where it is! The hell. I want to go. I want to go now. CRACKED!!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Rita Righta - pruf rita" "What's Up Front - Our Cover" I see Jimmy Carter and a man at "Veronica Lake" up in the mountains and gangsters and fisherman and the word "BEEP!!" Bodes well.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Still selling that Cracked Reporter T-Shirt. $4.95 plus 1 dollar S&H. And with CRACKED you can be assured...that's good handling! "Next issue - August 12th" People seemed to have really enjoyed the last few issues. I wonder if there's an "Anti-Lettuce" somewhere that's filled with "troll-style" letters like "CRACKED stink! MAD yes!" and stuff like that.

THE DORKS OF HAZZARDOUS WITH CHIPS TO GO: Boo & Cuke Dork go to Los Angeles for a hamburger. They drive past a smiling man whose T-shirt says "GONZAGA". Thanks, T-shirt! Punch and Yawn, the CHIPS cops, join the Dork boys in the General Flee and capture crooks. Along the way, it is clear that Dork-style law involves a lot of violence and crashes. Those cut-ups! During all of their driving around, Boo and Punch argue about which of them is better looking and who has more dates. In the end, it's inconclusive. I enjoy CRACKED's version of Los Angeles. At one point, there is an 8-lane road, which might be a freeway or not...But, regardless, there are stores along the road. I mean directly on the edge of the road. The doors open directly onto the road. Huh? What land is this? CRACKED? Have any of you ever been to Los Angeles? Unless it's a joke? But, what's the joke? Oh well...C-3PO and R2D2 show up and hijack an oil truck. I almost forgot that.

Great article. One of my favorite satires that they've done. It has a constant sense of movement. The jokes have enough life to them so when the article actually ended I wanted more. Nice beginnings.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS: 5 pages of funny. These article's are just getting better and better. One of my favorites: Calvary guys are hunched over the body of a dead Indian. One says "Remember corporal, 'The only good Indian is a dead Indian.'" The corporal replies with "I know that Sarge. Why, some of my best friends are dead Indians." Politically incorrect? Sure. More clever that the average CRACKED gag? You bet your ass, Franklin!

IF WOMEN REALLY WANTED TO BE TREATED EQUALLY: Remember how I said I wished Chips and the Dukes went on longer, well, here's one I wish was shorter. This article is about women doing all sorts of the "miserable" things that men have to do. "...Let them go for the car next time you come out of a movie and it's pouring rain!" "...Let them see how they like the 'mandatory jacket and tie rule' in scorching 98 degrees restaurants!" "...Let them move the living room furniture while the men decide where it looks best!" It goes on for two pages. There is an occasionally funny drawing but let's move on...

CRACKED FANTASIES: A man's head is in the center of the pages (Corkmonger, Walter Corkmonger) and all sorts of little thought balloons emanate from his mind. Winning Mr. America. Being allowed to marry Bo Derek. No bad weather while on vacation at Veronica Lake. Stuff like that. But, it all feels rather low-key. Nothing is ever that funny or that exciting. Maybe Corkmonger's just pitching low but it's your fantasy, man! Go crazier. This is like my 96-year-old Grampa's version of a CRACKED article. "I didn't want you to laugh too hard, Pierre. You might pull a hammer. (hamstring)"

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE WITH HIM / HER IF: Are all these articles becoming the same? One page of guys and gals saying rude things to their dates. I forgot this was here when I scanned this article for the review. That's how memorable it is.

WHAT YOU'RE REALLY THINKING: Apparently, I'm not thinking anything that witty. I'm really just kind of an angry jerk. It does end with the writer of the article running into Mr. Sproul's office with the idea for this article. CRACKED!!

CRACKED VISITS THE OL' FISHING CREEK: I wonder how they do these. Does the artist draw them and give them to the writers who stick in all the jokes? Because, unlike the covers, there is always something going on in the drawing. In fact, I love the drawing in this one and that led me to realize why these bits bug me. A lot of times, especially when Don Orehek draws them, the actual layout is really entertaining. There's so much going on. You can scan this one and see so much. Charlie the Tuna fishing. "Warning: Slow Sand" Up in the top right hand corner, near the two old men standing in the water in bathing suits and fancy hats, the fishing creek seems to wind off into the distance. Hey! There's a tugboat way, way back there. No joke around it, although it is pulling a water skier . There's the Loch Ness Monster! "Danger: Thin Ice" So much fun stuff. Why is that old guy sitting in the water up to his neck? Surely not to deliver the rotten joke that he seems to be delivering? Up to the left..."How did you come to fall in the water?" "I didn't come to fall in the water, I came to fish!" I hope no one got paid for that. Ignore the word balloons, enjoy the richness of the Ol' Fishing Creek.

CRACKED'S ALL-PURPOSE TIME-SAVING "DENIAL OF CHARGES" SPEECH FOR POLITICIANS: Two pages of "I wish to speak to you..." And then, there are several different endings to that sentence, ranging from respectful to wacky. This is possibly the most boring article I've ever encountered in CRACKED. I just cannot focus my attention. It's impossible. Sorry. Move on.

THE CRACKED PENAL CODE: Tow pages of people punished for annoying other people. Getting up for popcorn in the middle of a movie sentences you to being thrown in a vat of hot, melted butter. It's like that. A lot of very similar articles in here this month. Oh well, at least it's only two pages long. The last panel is another reference to CRACKED and rotten articles. Hmmm... Oh, one of the punishments is mandatory viewing of a 36-hour Farrah Fawcett film festival.

WHAT "HELP WANTED" ADS SAY AND WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN: You know the drill. "Want a job with punch? Learn the ropes with a challenging position." Boxer. "Move up fast in dynamic Wall St. job." Elevator operator. The final panel is another CRACKED rib at themselves. We're getting a trifle too samey with these things.

LOSER - THE MAGAZINE FOR DEADBEATS: "Exclusive: 16 pages of blank paper. (The material got lost on the way to the printer.)" Yes, fat people, old people and ugly people...they're all losers! Actually, this bit is pretty funny. A bit heavy on the text at times but with some smiles. There is a great Severin drawing of a man walking down a dark road...towards a manhole...about to step on a banana peel...with a mad dog right behind him...with a flower pot dropping out of the sky...with a thug around the corner. That's awesome. The table of contents has a series of drawings, mainly illustrating articles listed. One is an open door, an overturned chair and legs swinging. The heck? CRACKED!!! "The time I was punched in the mouth by a member of the Humanist Society." Loser Quiz...Loser Advice Column...The Inquiring Loser...Ads for Snake-eye dice and a Real piece of Poison Ivy. The best bit? I think it's a big arrow pointing at a dull guy's face. "CONTEST - Find a name for this loser (So we can tell him to get lost during the hurricane season)" Pretty good bit.

Ad for Cracked fighting Inflation is next. And, it's Sylvester in the ring with the big monster named "Inflation".

CRACKED SONGS FROM OUTER SPACE: One example will suffice..."Broken Motor Opera" sung to the tune of "Satisfaction"..."I can't get no - warp drive action. I can't get no - chain reaction,/ Well I tried/ Overdrive/ And I blew out Warp 5/ Engines don't go. Engines don't go." That's the first verse. I'm done. Onward?

YE HANG UPS: Four one-panel gags. They're fun.

JIMMY CARTER'S TELETHON FOR ENERGY: Nanny shows up at one point to denigrate Dolly Parton's figure but, apart from that, this is a brand new way to end an issue. Jimmy wants to raise a billion gallons of energy! In the end, he gets about 8 gallons. But, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton show up. Very, very topical CRACKED article. Yes, these issues are still issues today but this article is very specific to the issues of the Summer of 1980. So, even though the article is fun to look at and a breeze to's never really funny, today. However, the fact that they ended an issue like this is, frankly, awesome. CRACKED!!


1 - Conquistador
2 - Booze Hounds
Total - Conquiztabooze!

INSIDE BACK COVER: An iron-on. Sadly, their weakest yet. Two arrows: "See front of T-Shirt" "See Back of T-shirt" Let's see the back of the issue, shall we?

GREAT MOMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY: A wristwatch with a sundial! That's a heavy wristwatch!


Good issue. The highs are high and the lows are just average. A fun read that made me giggle a bit. Thank Goodness. To be honest, I was starting to lose my faith in CRACKED. But, of course, one issue does not a winning streak make. Let's check out the next issue before we start crappin' 'em out of excitement. Shall we?

Next issue: They struck back! And, it hurt my hinder!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

CRACKED #171: This Cover Speaks For Itself

September 1980
By Pierre L.

Where'd they get the Shoe Shine box, I wonder? Oh CRACKED, you've done it again! And, once again, I'm not quite sure what you've done. It is nice to know that they know the worth of their own Iron-On's: 1 dollar.

INSIDE FRONT COVER: A Three Mile Island souvenir poster. Hang it on your wall! It glows!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I am tempted to flip to the inside back cover for my valuable iron-on right now but that's not the way things work. Marcus Absent is this week' know.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - July 8th. Most people enjoy CRACKED. If they don't, then the editor sends the razz at 'em! It's actually time to renew my subscription. They do offer extra copies of this issue's iron-on for a buck. They weren't kidding! It is a buck! That's good iron-on.

IF ARNOLD WERE TREATED AND BEHAVED LIKE A REAL-LIFE KID: The housekeeper wants to kill him for all his shenanigans. Willis wants to beat Arnold when he is stapled to his bedsheets so he won't slide out of bed. Arnold uses Mr. Drummond's stock certificates to dry his pet goldfish. Arnold is grounded until age 21. A water balloon is dropped on a Mr. Haymarket who sues Mr. Drummond. Oh no...when cuteness does not work anymore, Arnold has a rough time of it. I guess this wouldn't make such a great sitcom. Oddly enough, it's not really a funny article. More of a "of course" kind of thing. Great idea. Strange use of humor.

NEW DETECTORS OF THE FUTURE: Bore detectors. Salesman detectors. Weather detectors. Odd. This one is a real strange sort of funny, too. It's more of a nod your head and say "Sure, sure" kind of thing. There are some interesting illustrations but it's not a "Ha HA!" article. It isn't even written that way. It's just kind of clever as it carries its premise along for three pages. Hmmm...

THE MEDICINE MAN: A three-pager about a medicine man who keeps doing the wrong sort of dance. If this is from before 1973, I'll eat my hat. It's kind of funny but just feels like a strange retread.

THE CRACKED BOOK OF RUNNING: Text-heavy but with some charming drawings. But, not nearly enough drawings. Hmm...I really may need to start looking at my current relationship with CRACKED.

There was a time a few issues ago where I loved it to pieces but now I find myself denigrating it a lot. But, the magazine's just not funny. And, the problem is that they don't really seem like they're trying anymore. Back in the mid 70's, we went through this but the mag revitalized itself. Now, it's backed right into a sort of repetitive style or, in the case of this article, a very word-filled style that just doesn't suit them. Odd. I love CRACKED. But, I do hope there's a change or a spike in quality soon.

ABSOLUTELY, UNDENIABLY, POSITIVELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, THE VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS: This seemed to be the vanguard of fun a few years ago. Now, it's a funny oasis in the midst of all this odd "This is humor?" stuff that they've been doing. Maybe it's "humour" and I just don't recognize it?

ADS FROM THE SPACE AGE: Again, interesting premise. Updating all sorts of ads (going to Vegas, car ads, weight loss) to the far, far future. The copy is fine. The drawings are fine. But, I'm not laughing. In fact, I'm skimmimg along. Have I, possibly, read too much CRACKED lately? Am I immune to its style of comedy? Isn't "Make Big Money Hauling Space Trash" a hoot? I don't know anymore.

NEW IDEAS FOR PHONY "OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT" CAR DEALERS CAN GOUGE THE PUBLIC WITH: We see a cross section of a car and assorted arrows pointing to various bits. An example: "Electronically controlled rain-dispersal arm-assembly (windshield wipers) - $13.95 each. Rubber wiper blades - $6.00 extra per blade". It's a funny concept that is worked out thoroughly, if not very hilariously.

COMPANY MERGERS OF THE FUTURE: This one is pretty good. Perdue Chicken Company and Goodyear Rubber Corporation merge - Rubber eggs! Celeste Pizza and Polaroid Land Camera Corporation - A camera that produces a slice of pizza in 60 seconds. McDonald's and IBM - MBM! They have glasses with pictures of all your favorite execs on them! A Super-fast computer store. What are the odds? Nice bit. This one takes the edge off.

ILLUSTRATED IDIOTIC IDIOMS: Wacky photos of things that refer to something. Number 4 has a woman sitting on some steps with a couple cans of TAB on her head. "Keeping Tabs on Someone." A picture of someone with no face is "Losing Face". Stuff like that. It's the pictures that sell this one. They're pretty goofy. It doesn't seem like the staff of CRACKED did this. Freelance?

KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE RESERVED TABLE: One of their "classic" parodies. At King Author's court, there is a crazy dragon. The knight who can kill it gets the King's daugther's hand in marriage. Her name is Princess Scrunge and she's a little gamy. Sir Callow The Timid saves the day by unleashing the Talking Blob from an issue of CRACKED. T.B. wins. The dragon is eaten. Then, the TB eats the King and Sir Callow defeats TB. In the end. Callow and Scrunge rule the land. This bit is fun. Doesn't match the beach party with the Fonz from so long ago but it's worth a few giggles and is a good read.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE INFLATION BEATING KING: The most amazing thing about this one is that Nanny has stockings on in the first panel but is bare-legged for the rest of it. Where'd her pantyhose go? The heck? She interviews Mr. M. I. Cheap who reads his neighbor's newspaper. He also bunks under the train early in the morning to get a free ride. He offers people on the street cash for whatever old clothes they're wearing. He puts one article of clothing in each machine at the laundromat. Then, when someone cleans their clothes in it, he comes in and says he forgot to take out an item. So, he gets all his clothes cleaned for free! How on earth could you do anything else with your life if this is all you did? There's nothing to "hard hit" at here. Nanny's talking to the guy to get tips. But, he's just really cheap. Did you get that from his name?


1 - Jury!
2 - Murray!

Total - J'Murray Weinstock!

INSIDE BACK COVER: Iron-on. "I'm a Perfect 10 What's your IQ?" Oh, I got comedy all down my leg! I prefer the Fonz.

BACK COVER: Some caveman almost invents the frisbee. Oh well... It goes out as it came in. Kind of mmm-hmmm-sure...

Well, I'm having some troubles here. The magazine seemed to be branching out into wonder but it, in fact, settled into a strangely bland place. Here's hoping we can snap out of it soon. But, I don't think we have a Fonz coming up anytime in the future.

Sorry. I'm Fonz-happy today.

Next issue: Well, we've got a team-up going. I sure am hoping it's a good one.

This one brought to you by...

CRACKED #170: Shouldn't that be "The Dorks of Hazard"?

August 1980
by Pierre L.

Here they are...Some new pop culture icons for us to feature on the cover. But, there will be a bit of a difference here. I'll go into more detail when we hit the parody.

POSTER: This one is an "Important Notice" on attention-grabbing yellow paper. It says that certain "onterators are traming on the permis of the derialtor." Stuff like that. They did another poster like this a while back. Big fake words warning us of something. Frankly, it worked better the first time. Unless, this is your first time seeing it. Then, what do you think?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: What the table doesn't show is that much of this issue is either MAD-lite or a throwback to the CRACKED of the mid-70's. I wish I could say that that was a good thing. Amy Stake - PrFFR RdEr

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - June 3rd. Let's move on.

THE NOT-SO-BRIGHT SHADOW: The few times I saw The White Shadow when I was young the whole look of the thing depressed the heck out of me. This parody does too. It starts with one of those long two-page banner panels with lots of people talking in a row, a la every movie or TV parody MAD has ever done. I got bored halfway through the panel and moved on. There is a good joke here about how everyone seems to be either in practice or in the showers but that's about it. This thing goes on for seven pages and I'm just not getting the juice up for it. Yes, Gary Coleman appears in the end and it is awesome. But, boy, it's a long trip getting there. It's like driving through Nebraska - endless landscape with nothing to enjoy. You just want to get out.

CRACKED'S REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL: The last article was a MAD-esque bit of stuff. This one feels like it should have been written in the late-50's or early 60's. It literally is stuff to be cheerful about. Good friends, scoring high on a video game, spinach workers going on strike, flowers, summer vacations, CRACKED. A few of the illustrations are humorous but this seems more like a very long greeting card you'd sent out to cheer someone up. What an odd article.

SUGARLESS GUM AD: You know the "4 out of 5 dentists" thing. Well, this is about Number 5 and it's a funny one.

SITUATIONS YOU WISH YOU WEREN'T IN: Sort of the flip side to "Cheerful". Letting a vacuum cleaner salesman in your house. Going to the beach and getting rained on. etc and so forth... Ummm, what's the copyright date on this issue?

WHAT IS A FAD FREAK?: The irony behind this article feeling like it should have shown up six years prior is not lost on me. "Goes to Africa to trace his 'roots' - and he's an American Indian!" "Got into a yoga position six months ago - and hasn't figured out how to get out yet!" (OK, that one's kind of funny.) "Has more gears on his racing bicycle than a Mack truck!" Close your eyes and turn the page.

USING STAR TREK LOGIC AND TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE LIFE'S EVERYDAY PROBLEMS: Way to keep those titles simple! It's a lot of Vulcan Mind probing and death gripping to pass tests and beat bullies. Your bicycle goes Warp Factor 8 to get away from a police man. When the dad's in the neighborhood show up to kill you for treating their daughters like garbage, you tell them that you're on a Five Year Mission to "get away with with what no other man has gotten away with before." The dad's accept that. Boy, I'm pretty sure Star Trek fans would have gotten their ass handed to them on a a platter if they had done that...but, why not give it a try anyway? (A platter of ass, anyone?)

YE HANG UPS: Funny but...Ye Hang Ups! It's been half a decade since we've had these. What's going on in this issue?

THE CRACKED WORLD OF SCHOOLING: Oh, Lord. We're back to MAD. 4 pages of endlessly old gags about people going to various schools. There's a joke about a correspondence school bartender making his friends drinks that he puts in first class envelopes. There's one about a lady gaining 20 pounds from taking a Chinese Cooking class. It goes on like this and it is dense and it is dull. Wow! I'm going to keep moving.

CRACKED'S RANDOM SAMPLINGS: This might explain it all. This four pager is nothing but bits and bobs, jokes and japes, that they rejected or didn't finish. They wanted to show us some of what they had sitting around. I don't know if this is true or not but it makes for far more interesting reading than most of the rest of the issue. A few bits:

Witness a man who's egg-cited - We see a man getting excited over a plate of eggs.

How To Pick Up Chicks - In two panels, a man picks up a woman and sets her down.

There is a three panel "CRACKED's Brief Guide To Handball".

A police station - A man wearing a trench coat filled with cats is identified as a famous cat burglar.

Bits like that. It's fun and fast. I'd like to see more of these.

A CRACKED SALUTE TO NEW YORK CITY: Right back to MAD. Hey! There's a lot of crime in NYC! Wall Street is a street with big walls on both sides. Broadway has a lot of women waving at us. Battery Park...Well, you can guess that one. A lot of restaurant jokes and mugger jokes and Statue of Liberty jokes. Maybe they should head back to Detroit? Remember when they took them down a peg? Let's go back!

THE DORKS OF HAZZARDOUS: This one cooks along all right. The show was very repetitive and this one picks up on that: car chases, Boss Hogg's schemes, all that sort of stuff. Daisy has really short shorts on. The Duke boys aren't too long on brains but they got a lot of heart! The Dukes would show up quite a bit over the next few years and there is a difference between them and The Fonz, Gary Coleman or Mork. The writers seem to think the Dukes of Hazard is pure garbage. It is stupid and repetitive and...well, they're right. But, it is a bit more fun when they really get behind the icon they're going after (even if they don't seem to understand it, like the Fonz). Maybe the blah nature of this issue has worn me out but they'll do better stuff with the Dukes later.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE NUCLEAR POWER KING: Hey! That nuclear facility keeps having meltdowns and explosions. And, Nanny calls him on it! And, I am rundown by this issue. Nanny works best as a little bit of icing on the cake for a good issue. For an issue like this, which is below average, she can't save it. These bits never have that much kick to begin with. I'm rolling downhill right into the...


1 - Burp
2 - BURP!!
3 - BELCH!!!

TOTAL - I messed myself.

BACK COVER: Harold the Weird invents the Adding Machine. Who cares? I thought we weren't doing these anymore?

This issue's kind of a stinker. It never gets going. There are only a few flashes of joy in here. It feels recycled, repetitive and rip-off laden. Please, guys, let's pull ourselves out of this! Please?

Next issue: Love that cover! Class...thy name is CRACKED!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cracked #169: Free Khambatta With Every Issue!

July 1980
by Pierre L.

We started with Star Trek and now they have returned. But, this time with 40 million 1979 dollars behind them. Ahhh...I went to see this in the theater with my family. There were about 10 of us. We sat in a row up near the back. I got very sleepy and don't think I understood what was going on. Just prior to that, my Uncle Rog had introduced me to another sci-fi show that I really found myself enjoying. Star Trek: The Motion Picture convinced me that the other show was better. That show was Doctor Who and, 29 years later, I haven't changed my mind.

POSTER: Yellow is the color of my P**! "FINE FOR LITTERING IN THIS AREA." In smaller letters: "Even Better To Litter Around The Corner."

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Something called "Famous Animal Celebrities". Oh boy, this should be great. "Betty Cantread, p.r.f. reddr"

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Monsters crammed into a coffin! Great image. Monster Fraternities! I want to join one. The French Canadian Blob! Next issue - April 22nd.

STAR DREK: An 8 page journey through the movie. I haven't seen it since it came out but this parody almost makes me want to see it again. Admiral Quirk keeps hitting the wrong buttons on the revamped Enterprise. At one point, he flushes the john. Comedy!! There are some good jokes in here and I never really noticed its length. As always, CRACKED's love of bigger drawings and fewer word balloons makes these things flow along. I'm looking at it to see what jokes really grabbed me but it's all just rather pleasant. A good opener to the issue.

THE COMING MINI-AUTO AGE - THE 1984 DWARF DODGEM: It's a really tiny car with some really entertaining drawings. You can pick the car up in a traffic jam and walk away. You can park four in a parking spot. Traffic cops can stack a whole mess of them on top of each other and haul them away. You can drive your car under a truck to keep out of the rain. A U-Turn? No problem. Stand up and turn it around manually. Good stuff. It's a fun article. I think the best bit is how to bypass highway tolls. You inflate a balloon in the back of the car and float over!

CRACKED HANDBOOK OF RESTAURANT OWNERS: This one's only 4 pages but it's so text-heavy that it feels much longer. Lots and lots of text with a "humorous" picture underneath. Sometimes they're amusing but there's so much reading here...Something like the National Lampoon has a lot of text but it's genuinely funny. The more text in a CRACKED article, the more you see the limitations of the writers. Most of their gags are things I could have written in Second Grade with no problem. I'd like to go into more detail about some of the jokes but they're things like "Put in Narrow Chairs" and "Turn up The Air Conditioning!" and "Don't Open a restaurant next to the Unemployment Office!" I can't get up the strength. Too dense for CRACKED.

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, THE VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS: 4 pages and it a joy. Dracula and the Thing With two Heads. Wonderful.

CRACKED GOES TO A SKI MOUNTAIN: Oh, hell! This thing is back. Two pages of overcrowded drawings with jokes so old it hurts my sac. I've got a copy of these two pages hanging in front of me. Here are the prime gags:

"Have an accident?"
"No, thanks, I already had one!"

"Do you know this slope is very icy?"
"No, hum a few bars, and I'll fake it!"

"Did you see 'Downhill Racer' with Robert Redford?"
"No, I saw it with my brother!"

"I made a record-breaking jump yesterday. I landed on the lodge disco and broke three records!"

Notice how they all have exclamation points. I wonder if a subscription to CRACKED came with a free drum roll and rim shot record?

CRACKED PREDICTIONS FOR THE 1980's: Robot Westerns. Houses with "weather rooms"., There's a desert room and a snow room and a Tropical Rain Room. Discos will have anti-gravity. People will stop using oil. CRACKED will still be the funniest thing around. Maybe not everything here came true.

PHOTOON: Always good. A nice one-page gaggerista!

FAMOUS ANIMAL CELEBRITIES: Duck Van Dyke. Marlin Brando. Mike Walrus. Bull Bixby. Rabbit Redford. Elephant Gerald. Did I write this? At two pages, it's charming enough but these text-heavy bits are getting out of hand.

COLLEGE FOR PANHANDLERS: After having said that, this is the most text-heavy article I've ever seen. It takes the restaurant bit and one-ups it. In fact, it has the exact same structure. Lots of text and then an "..." at the end of the sentence that leads to the picture. Again, there's really nothing here that I want to go too in-depth on. Nothing really grabs me here. Sorry.

THE BILLY PLUCKETT STORY: A non-specific parody of uplifting sports films like Brian's Song. A little kid becomes a football hero and gets a bucket stuck on his head. It kind of goes on like this. It's breezy and it flows along but I'm not a fan of sports movies and so I'm not so juiced about this one. Let's keep movin'...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE TREKKER KING: Nanny goes to see a very nerdy Star Trek fan. He dresses up like Kirk, makes his kids talk in Starfleet terms and has his wife shave her head. She stays with him because he's rich so everyone gets everything they deserve. They go to a Star trek convention. They argue over the terms "Trekker" and "Trekkie". Nanny gets beaten up for saying that the movie wasn't very good. It's harmless good fun with some of our greatest nerds. Huzzah!


1 - 3/5 (A burning dog...A hot dog?)
2 - 4/4 (Circus!)
3 - 1/5 (Chess!)

Total - A Beautiful Mess of telling people to clam up their pieholes! (Is piehole one word or two?)

BACK COVER: THE SWORDSMAN - A one-pager that looks like it's from the late 50's. Fun art and the joke is OK.

This issue was a bit of a slog. Some definite good bits but...What the heck? Who's writing this now? Text-heavy material is not something CRACKED should do. It doesn't suit them. The writing style here is far too simplistic. There's no kick to anything. Please, fellas, let's go back to the visual breeze that you specialize in. Please?

Next issue: Now with Mork gone...we've got some new folks for the cover.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


February 1980
by Pierre L.

What? A grown man can't be in a monster mood?! C'mon!!! I decided it was time to review a Collectors' Edition. And, I decided that it must be monster-filled. One of my favorite covers. Stare at it, give it a good look. Boy, it's awesome. Look at the detail...You know what? The same drawing is at the center of this issue so we'll go into more exacts there. Suffice it to say, what a great cover! Yes, the UPC code is Pee Yellow as is the very top of the page but the rest of it is Haunted House green, brown & gray.

Note: I know that the majority of the bits in here appeared in previous issues. If I know where they're from, I'll tell you. If not, we'll let it ride. I'm not a historian. I'm a French Canadian Reviewer.

Oh, there is no poster here. The inside covers are ads. We'll skip 'em.

No Table of contents, either. There's a still of a person being strangled by vines and saying something droll. Above this is:

"We've Done It Again!
Huge and hairy...Gigantic and scaly...They lurk in the shadows, awaiting the unsuspecting VICTIM---that's you---and you're going to DIE LAUGHING at...


Awesome. Let's step inside.

FFTD: An ad for Fiendish Florist Telephone Delivery. Send two pots of swamp roses in quicksand to a friend. It turns out the Old Witch, Dracula and Frankenstein & his bride all use this service. I'm going to give 'em a call. I just write "HAPPY NEW TOMB" on the card.

STAR PEOPLE WEEKLY & CREATURES & THINGS: From Issue #148. Here's my original write-up. "A tabloid for outer space! Hugh Hefner XII is on the cover with his outer-space Playboy Empire. And, the gals look real odd! Apparently, they just opened the first McDonalds on Uranus. How do the new Polaroids work? Pop the Polaroid Pill in your mouth. Focus on the subject. Tweak your nose. Finished photo pops out of your mouth. It's fun. This is an entertaining article that pops up in one of the SPECIALS in the next year or two. Look for it! Oddly enough, at five pages, this one could have been longer."

I would just add that, technically, sci-fi stuff like this does not actually constitute "Monsters". But, the article is still a good one.

THE MONSTERS LAUGH IT UP: Two pages of Cracked Lens stuff. This is a motif throughout the issue. Robots, giant ants, The Mad Monster and Godzilla vs. King Kong. The last one is Bela Lugosi whipping a hairy man and saying " son of mine is going to be a singer with a rock 'n' roll group!" You tell 'em, Bela. He should grow up to be a completely bat-ass bonkers mad scientist like you!

THE NIGHTMARES OF MONSTERS: This one looks familiar but it's not from an issue I've reviewed. Two pages of Dracula and the Wolfman and King Kong and The Sea Creature having nightmares. Dracula's wife tells him that she doesn't want him going out at night anymore. The Sea Creature watches men pollute his swamp. The Mole bursts through the sidewalk and gets hit by a skateboarder. The werewolf is recruited to be in a rock 'n' roll group. Hey! Maybe he's in that group with Bela's son.

HORRIBLE HUMOR: Three more pages of CRACKED LENS gaggery. (Page three is marked "More Horrible Humor".) My favorite? The Wolfman leaning on the Frankenstein Monster's shoulder and saying "No...I'm serious. Don't you think I'd look good with an "afro" haircut?" Wonderful.

BILL WARD'S CHILLER DILLERS: One page of one-panel cartoons that I know I've seen before. Pretty funny bits. A man going into a blood bank is made a better offer by Dracula. On a deserted clifftop road, a monster leans against the rock wall right on a hairpin curve. The center line comes around the curve and goes off the edge of the cliff. Someone is going to have a tough time driving tonight!

THE HOWLS ARE HERE!: CRACKED LENS explosion! Well, another page.

CRACKED PRESENTS: FUTURE INSECT MONSTER MOVIES: I know this one but I think it's from around #116. And, we're not there yet. Forward then back!! "Ever since the great box office success of the insect movie "The Hellstrom Chronicle"... Well, I didn't know what that movie was. I looked it up. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary back in 1971-ish. Wow! Isn't that fairly highbrow for CRACKED? Regardless... Moth Men, Snail Men, Beetle Men (guess what famous rock group shows up here), Ant Men, Fire Fly Men...they're all here. And it's all pretty fun. The jokes are all day-old but some of the art is excellent. Worth a read. I'll try to find out when this originally appeared. (They mention "The Sting". Why wouldn't they?)

MONSTER LAUGHS: Another page of stills and yuks!!

QUICK QUIZ: Five stills from horror and sci-fi movies. Pick the title!

Sorry to ruin it...but here are the answers.

A) The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
B) Tomb of Terror
C) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
D) War of the Colossal Beast
E) Destination Inner Space

Some answers that are wrong include:
- The Attack of the 90-Foot Banana
- The Mummy Builds a Bandage Factory
- The Battle of The Wild Walters
- The Blob Sings the Song Hits of Petula Clark
- King Kong's Ding Dong School

MONSTER PARTY: Center spread. Two pages elongation of the cover but with one drawback: word balloons. Oh well. The jokes aren't great but the art sure is wonderful. The Creature from the Black Lagoon in the punch bowl. The Ghouls at the front door. The door off to the right with the crazy lady wearing the party hat. Notice: Behind her, there is another staircase. A staircase that looks like the main staircase. Where does that one go? Think of the crazy architecture. A house with another house attached? What floor is this party on? Is the house built on the side of a mountain?

Recently, I blabbed about how bland covers were getting for the Regular CRACKED issues. The main joke was fine but there's no background. The joy of this Monster Party is that there is so much to see. It's awesome. Look on and then we'll move on.

Number 43 May 1965 - that's where this first appears. On the cover...So long ago...

CHILLING CHUCKLES: Two more pages of photo yuks from the fellas at CRACKED!

THE EVIL EXPERIMENT: An OK one-pager with a wacky scientist and a wacky potion.

KILLER-DILLERS!: One more page of CRACKED LENSery!

THE GREATEST MONSTER BATTLE OF ALL TIME: Out on a blasted plain somewhere, the monsters brawl. I won't go into it myself. I'll let the caption writer take over:

"Here we are - ringside! The bell just sounded and the fight for the heavyweight title of Transylvania is on... The Blue Mess tosses a right claw to the chins of the Sea Glob...Hairy Harry lands a short fang to the pointed ear of the Creature From The Yellow Taxi Cab...Whatta fight, Whatta fight, fans!"

FIENDISH FOR FUN!: Two more pages know.


THE BIG ONES SCREAM AGAIN!: Three pages of...

GREAT SCENES FROM GREAT HORROR MOVIES: A two-pager parody of Son of Frankenstein.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE MONSTER KING: From #143 - "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..."

MONSTER GREETING CARDS: Good stuff. Drawings of cards that monsters give each other. "A voice in the wilderness calls out...Happy Birthday, Ugly!" "To my Sweetheart, "Baby, I'm really "Ape" over you!" Yes, there is an ape on this one. "Congratulations! You Lucky Stiff!" You can guess that one. There's another great one with a gallows and a crazy man standing under the hangman's noose. He has "noose" for you. Loved it!

BACK COVER: The Stone Age -- A one-pager with smile attached!

Pure fun! Nothing too heavy in here. Sixteen pages of CRACKED LENS monsters make me giggle like a madman. This issue is a breeze. I get great joy from just sitting and flipping through it.

Hooray for Monsters!!!!

CRACKED #168: Forget the Pee Yellow background and enjoy the cover art

May 1980
by Pierre L.

Seriously...what is going on with the yellow? Why aren't there more trees around? Or a background of any kind? Are they riding around on the sun? It's such a great image (pure CRACKED) but there's nothing else to look at. You get "the gag" and nothing else. A little context around it would make it more than just "a joke". A road? Some trees? Maybe a few tents behind them? It's like they suddenly appeared in the middle of a yellow void with one big tree in the center of it. And yes, that is very amusing. But, a richer design on the cover would make the joke stronger, I think. Look at all those MAD covers with Alfred E. doing something in the foreground and all sorts of majesty in the background. When Alfred jokes, he uses the world. CRACKED uses the space right here, right now...and nothing else. C'mon guys, would a little more art on your cover have killed you?

POSTER: Well, this sure is yellow. "TEACHERS STRIKE NO SCHOOL" But, there is some small print. But, that small print is right around the staple and I'm pretty sure the joke isn't worth it. Does the yellow represent the sun?

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Noah Canreed - prufuf rdrere" The heck? Where's Emmett?

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Someone mentions how much they love Mork. The editors respond with "If you check your newsstand later this month, you'll find an all-new Special Collectors' starring Mork from Ork." Keep that in mind. It'll be important. Another reader says how much they liked the Christmas Card article - "After everyone had read it, I chucked it into the fireplace." Possibly the best gag in the issue. "Next issue - March 11th."

M*U*S*H: It's nice to see them back. The plotline here? A strange sickness is overtaking the soldiers. How is it cured? Hawkeye realizes that the sickness is real and so all the fake medicine that the props department sends over has no effect. So, they get in real medicine and everyone is cured. Not bad. But, there is a better bit. The characters keep seeing actors who have left the show. Trappedinthejohn, M.D. and Frank and Radar and Henry Flake. It's a nice sort of reminder of all the folks the show has lost as it went along but the explanation is better...Reception has been bad. They've been picking up transmissions of old shows from other networks. Their own reruns are interfering with this new episode. Nice...

Now, having said that, one Nome, Alaska joke per issue is enough for me. They make about four of them here and then mention that they've made a lot of Nome, Alaska jokes. The cornball meter is at an all-time high here. It's like they got one person to plot it and Forrest Ackerman to dialog it. It doesn't ruin anything but it gets a little ruff...sorry, rough. Sonofabitch!

HOW THE ADS OF TOMORROW WILL EXPLOIT THE ENERGY CRISIS: There's that Off-Off switch again. Three layer suits for cold offices. An old highway for sale. Strange...I'm looking at the article and it's not doing anything for me. They put effort into it but it never seems to take off. It's three pages, which is, maybe, too short. Possibly they should have gone longer or gone with something else. This one does nothing for me.

HOW MADISON AVENUE CAN TURN ANYTHING INTO A GREAT SELLING GIFT: Selling chainsaws to housewives. It's an accessory. You can wear it around your neck. You can cut meat. You can do so many things. This three-pager is better than the previous one. It has more energy and verve but it still never quite takes off. I got a page into it and thought "I hope this doesn't go on too long." and it didn't. But still... The third page has them selling sandpaper for parties and that's a little livelier but... Darnit! I just don't get much from this article or the previous one. They seem like first drafts that were not quite finished. Ahhh...

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY THE VERY LAST OF THOSE CRACKED MONSTERS: The Cracked Lens with Monsters! And, it's funny! But, it's only three pages. Why not five? Again, this bit starts, becomes great fun and then ends. It's rare for CRACKED to leave us actually wanting more. When they do it, I'm not sure how to react. Great stills, though.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO ICE SKATING: This one feels like an old one. It's the layout. It looks like 60's CRACKED to me. Regardless, it's a fun read. With a lot of those jokes where the caption says one thing and the picture is some sort of gaggery..."Now let us examine the blade..." We see a drawing of a razor blade. "Not that kind of blade, idiot!" It's just the right length at four pages although it's never really that funny. A few great drawings and some semi-clever wordplay make it worth a read but...

I'll be honest...The failures of the Advertising articles were more interesting than this one. A "Cracked Guide" is pure safety for CRACKED. They do this kind of thing in their sleep. As I said last time, I'd rather see them drop trying something new than drag the old stuff deeper into the ground.

A CRACKED LOOK AT A HEALTH SPA: Oh no! Not one of these! Chaotic drawings, too many word balloons and no funny jokes to be found! Why, why, why?! Don't tell me this bit is back? Sorry. Let's move on.

SAVE OUR AMERICAN BILLIONAIRE: Funny one-pager. It's placed by an oil company trying to save the vanishing American billionaire. Good stuff. Seems to belong in a different magazine.

IF SCHOOLS PATTERNED THEMSELVES AFTER TV: Pretty good article. History class becomes a quiz show. Kids dance during Music class. A student goes into the nurse's office with a skinned knee. A nurse puts Brand X medicine on one knee and "Hurts Like The Dickens" on the unskinned knee. Brand X does nothing. "Hurts Like..." burns through the flesh. Comedy! The punnery is at a minimum (for CRACKED) here and the whole thing flows along nicely. I don't love this article but it's fresh and it's more thought out than earlier bits.

There's that Cracked Reporter again. What does he do exactly?

HOW TO MAKE MONEY IN YOUR SPARE TIME: The basic premise is sound: Make extra cash by -- being pleasant to another man's wife over breakfast. Get hired by a rich kid to beat people up. Catch foul balls at the ballpark and sell them. Things like that. The premise is sound but (maybe I'm sick) the actual article doesn't pin me down. It kind of floats vaguely around and then it's over. Stronger art? Better jokes? I don't know. I keep reading.

MOVIE POSTERS WE'LL SOON BE SEEING: They take pictures and movie stills and write-up little gag-filled bits around them. "Doctor Dolittle" is about a really bad doctor. "Who'll stop the Rain" is about a family in a flooded apartment. "High Planes Drifter"...well, maybe you can guess that one. There are six pages of these things. They're fun at first but when I flipped to pages 5 & 6 I thought "There's more?" Some articles are far too short. This one seems like filler.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ORKAN KING: Nanny interviews Mork who makes a lot of corny jokes and flusters Nanny now and then. This bit's OK but confusing...Remember the letter about Mork from earlier? The mention of the "all-new Special Collectors' starring Mork from Ork"? Well, Nanny starts off this bit saying "As we come to the end of this special issue, boy do we have a treat in store for you...we've finally located Mork, and he's consented to meet and talk with me exclusively for this edition." What is Nanny talking about? I've never read this "all-new Special Collectors' starring Mork from Ork" but doesn't this dialog imply that this article was meant for that? Is this article in that "all-new Special Collectors' starring Mork from Ork" along with this regular issue? Now, I want to read it and find out.


Rate your own!

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Total - ?

BACK COVER: THE CHICKEN KILLER Decent one-page closer.

Strange issue. A few articles were overwritten. While others felt unfinished. I feel like we're on the verge of another CRACKED Golden Age but for some reason we're not quite getting there. Hold on...We'll see what they do next.

NEXT ISSUE: Oh yes! Everyone's other favorite sci-fi franchise is back! (Although, frankly, I'm not a fan.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Cracked #167: Still Milking that Mork Thing!

March 1980
by Pierre L.

Well, Mork is back and he is crackin' up! You see what they're doing there with the cracking up. Looks like a pretty comfy couch. I wonder why there's no background to the drawing. Just the couch & Mork & Sylvester. Are they in an otherworldly void?

POSTER: "Warning! The earth is tilting to the right. Please move to the left side of the room. Thank you." I don't know. That pee yellow color must sap all the comedy out of them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Same pfrer rErDrr as last issue. (Hey, Emmett!) No page numbers in this one. They've added a bit more verve...

If Mork Appeared In Other TV Shows & Movies - 1+2+3
The Cracked History of Automobiles - One Dozen
Test Tube Products of the Future - 7x4
G.I. Donut Boy - 30ATE
More Celebrity Nightmares - XX
SHUT-UPS - 1/2 of 100

Stuff like that. Pretty good. Someone's on the ball.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: There is another "Statement of Ownership, Management & Circulation" dated 10/1/79. Looks like the current number of copies per month is around 886,017. Looks like the subscription amount is at 488,293. One of the letters says "Dear CRACKED, Not only was your MOONWRECKER script funnier than the original but yours made sense! -Marge Velasquez, Syracuse NY" "Dear Marge, Yes, but if a magazine is to survive, it has to make DOLLARS too, so if you really like us, why not subscribe to CRACKED today." Next issue - January 29th. The first official issue released in 1980.

IF MORK APPEARED IN OTHER T.V. SHOWS AND MOVIES: Odd...The title is just big black letters with a white background. It almost looks like a mock-up title that they never got around to sprucing up. Where's the write-up? Where's the blurbage? Hmmm... Well, we see Mork in "Fantasy Island", "Hawaii 5-0", "Star Wars", "Family Feud" and "Dracula". Mork as C3P0 looks a lot like the Bicentennial Man. There's a Karl Malden joke! Godspeed, Karl! A lt of corny jokes and a lot of jumping from show to movie to show. It's a fun opener to the issue. Somehow I prefer seeing Gary Coleman in these but Mork is fun. I do get the feeling that Mork is going to pass out of pop culture soon. Enjoy him while we can.

THE CRACKED HISTORY OF THE AUTOMOBILE: Jokes about Henry Ford and assembly lines and high gas prices. Traffic jams in 1916 and new roads being built through people's homes. Lot of text in this one but it's definitely worth at least one read. After the breeziness of the Mork article, this one is a little thick. But, some of the satire is sharp and some of the drawings are good. Read it, would ya please?

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, THE VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS: 4 pages including a still from The Alligator People. This is really becoming a very great feature of these issues. Well done, Cracked. I have that Collector's Edition around here somewhere. Even if the joke isn't funny, it's fun to guess where the stills might be from.

MORE CELEBRITY NIGHTMARES: Seeing Farrah Fawcett dreaming of losing all her hair has a bit of a chill to it. But, seeing Gary Coleman dreaming about being 3'2" at the age of 83 is worth a 1,001 yuks. John Travolta asking for the negatives of "Moment By Moment" to be burnt is good, too. Chewbaka [sic] as a Wookie-skin rug is another yukfest. And...Sylvester P. Smythe is replaced by a robot! Oh no!

There's also a "Hello Larry" joke.

THE CRACKED FACT PACK; CHRISTMAS CARDS: I do love Christmas but it is July 6th so my mind is elsewhere. I do wish that CRACKED would have done more Xmas-stuff. Some of my favorite moments of MAD are their Christmas bits. What about Alfred E. Neuman staring in through the door during a snowstorm from the late 50's? One of the best. Ahh...Oh, CRACKED. Great illustrations. Gags about old Christmas cards and the evolution of Santa Claus.

"Here's wishing you Great Gorkles
during the Holiday Gezongas.
-Robin Williams"

That's probably the best joke in here. It just sounds like it might be filthy, rather than fun-loving. There's a Dracula joke, and a Julia Child gag and a Henry the VIII thing. Some guy with a big mustache rips the card from The Klongs in half. "Look, Wilma. The Klongs sent us a card saying "Have a Happy New...""

It's fun. It does, however, have the same sort of feel as the automobile article. A little more variety wouldn't hurt anyone. Would it? Well, this was late 1979. Maybe it would.

TEST TUBE PRODUCTS OF THE FUTURE: Test tube blood for vampires. Test tube fortunes will move gypsies into the atomic age. Test tube clothes and dinners. And, get this, test tube test tubes! At the end of the day, I prefer the clone gags. This bit is harmless.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO GYMNASTICS: Hmm...another one of these. Nadia Comaneci jokes abound. A lady does a gymnastic routine while vacuuming. A lot of crazy leaping around and a lot of text-heavy jokes about the gymnastic competitions. To be honest, having three articles like this in quick succession is a little tiring. I'm going to need that variety to kick!

CAREER DREAMS THAT CAME TRUE: Oh, but I really wasn't after this sort of variety. Someone says that they're going to travel all around the world - they become a stewardess! Another guy watches girls screaming at a band and says one day he will be surrounded by gals - He becomes a security guard. A writer wants to change the world with his work. - We see him begging Bob Sproul to print his article, this article. I do like the woman leaning out the window at 125 St & Lenox Ave saying that "Mr. Right" will move her up to Park Avenue. Then, we see her living at Park Ave. & 125 St.

There's that CRACKED reporter again.

G.I. DONUT BOYS: All about the soldiers who bring donuts to the front line during WWII. It's an OK army film parody with some good donut jokes but it's very one-note. At 7 pages, I began to sort of wander around near the end. It's not bad, though. Don't get me wrong. I always applaud them when they try something a little outside of the standard parodies. It's just that this one doesn't have a whole lot to it. The donut jokes even wear thin by the end. Of course, I'd rather see them fail while trying something new than when doing the same old junk. So, keep cookin', CRACKED! I'm right here.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ENERGY CONSERVATION KING: Nanny at her most voluptuous! She goes to see the Average family. They use no electricity. They wash clothes down by the old stream. His wife's name is Below. In the end, they go to their next door neighbor's house to watch the football game and play some computer games. This one doesn't seem to quite be satire, apart from the closing panels. Their daughter dries her hair by having birds in a cage flap their wings. Most of the jokes are like that. Lacking the kick of MAD, the gags are far more good hearted but there's still the zing in the end. Maybe they should have gone whole hog with the satire here? It falls kind of in the middle of the road.


1 - 2 - 3

Why bother with a total? These are always beautiful.

BACK COVER: The Beanstalk...Pretty good closer. This one has a kick to it that the issue was kind of missing.

You know, this issue is not a bad one. It's high quality throughout and it tries some new things. It's just "joke wise" -- we're a bit hit and miss. It was different when we were in the doldrums of a year-or-so ago. But, now they're trying a little harder and so the bits that go on too long or the completely repetitive format of several of the articles hurts a bit. I want to see them hit it out of the ballpark again and again. Unfortunately, this one starts strong and becomes just OK by the end. Let's see what they do next time.

Next issue - One of my all-time favorite CRACKED covers. But, how is the issue, I wonder?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cracked #166 - Welcome back, ladies. It has been some time.

January 1980 (!?)
by Pierre L.

I believe it was issue 145 since we last saw "The Goils!" on the cover. It's nice to have them back once again. The cover flashes me back to 1976-77. Good times for CRACKED. I so want them to get back to those. And, notice...the "Free Bonus!"

INSIDE COVERS: A Jimmy Carter mask! His face on the inside front and the back of his head on the inside back. "Cut along dotted lines. Make holes...[hopping ahead] Put Over Head and Talk Southern"! Thanks, CRACKED

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Emmett Fault - pfrer rErDrr"

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Nothing covers up da smell of fish like CRACKED!" Thank you. Pretty straightforward batch of letters here. Nothing to astounding. I'm itching to leap in. Shall we? Next issue - December 18th.

LEVERNE & SHURLEY: 7 pages of shenanigans! Shurley inherits "two million" from her Uncle Lumpy. So, everyone goes crazy and they buy a lot of stuff and the "Linty-Squiggly Automatic Sock Putter-Oner!" is demonstrated for possible backing. In the end, they come right out and admit that all they do is recycle old plotlines from I Love Lucy & Leave it To Beaver. And, that's fine with me. It is actually very nice to see the gals back. It makes me think fondly of the show and how much I used to enjoy it.

THE HISTORY OF ADVERTISING: There's a Mr. Pumpersump and a Mrs. Wartwhistle. There is a dancing can of Slurpo Cleanser. A "hand bill" is an enormous hand with an ad on it. They drop a car off the Empire State Building. The Queen advertises Stripoff Floor Wax. See, this is what I like about CRACKED. This article is far to cornball (the "hand bill") but it's trying. Unlike all those "You Know You're Too Whatever When..." things that bore me to tears, stuff like this has some life to it. It's about 60-40 on the side of success and that's CRACKED kicking far as I'm concerned.

POSITIVELY THE VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS: Another superb one. I would love to detail my favorites but these are so visual that there doesn't seem to be much of a point. It's got laughs and it'll make you smile. Keep on rollin', fellas.

WHEN BUSINESSES START GOING AFTER TH VAMPIRE MARKET: Vampires live forever and they will become a consumer force. We have the "Jiffy Fold-Up Coffin". You can fold it up and carry it under your arm. The "Necko Ladder" for midget vampires. "Gypsy Formula" A talcum flea powder to help out every time you turn into a wolf. There are magazines...Sundown, which is Playboy. There's a vampire on the cover of TV Guide. Two ladies are watching him. 1st: What makes you think he's a Jewish vampire? 2nd: He first dabs his victim's neck with chicken soup!" "Supervamp Comics" has Von Helsing on a pogo stick stake! Oh the fun. Poopsie's Carbonated Blood is great, too. Pump your victim full of carbon dioxide. Then, their blood is carbonated!

I know this issue hit stands in November of 1979 but it is the first one dated 1980. Could the new decade (more or less) have revitalized them? We're cooking.

ONE RUSTIC DAY OUTSIDE TIJUANA, MEXICO: OK, this isn't that great but it's got fun art and it's only one page. Move on.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO FORTUNE TELLING: Playing cards, Crystal Balls, Palm Reading, Tea Leaves, Signs & Symbols, Gypsies and Horoscopes. Lots of fun drawings but a bit to text heavy. There are laughs. A tea reader calls a lady "Clone!" so we've still got that going for us. The various horoscopes are dull but the gypsy stuff is funny. (Possibly not that funny if you are a gypsy but...) Another good one. I want to give this issue a hug.

SPECIALIZED TV STATIONS FOR DIFFERENT INTEREST GROUPS: The station for intellectuals has shows like "Airplane Tires of WWII" and part 6 of "The World of Worms". (What that has to do with intellectuals I'm not sure but CRACKED seems to like it?) Channel 8 is for the average viewer: AN adult with the mind of a 4-year-old. They watch Howard Cosell interview a horse and "The Adventures of The Shapiro Family!" "5 people accidentally reduced in size must make a new world for themselves while lost in a vat of chicken soup. Tonight - Bad break for the Shapiro's [sic] when a killer carrot threatens to topple their make-shift matzoh boat." There's a channel for construction workers and old people and people who love violence. All pretty obvious, and all pretty fun. Nice.

An ad for an "Official CRACKED Reporter T-Shirt" follows. Awesome. Order two in case you pit one out.

THE TRUTH YOU'LL NEVER HEAR: Well, it can't all be good. "Doctor give it to me straight-what are my chances?" "They'd be a heck of a lot better if I weren't your doctor." Lame Town, USA. The jokes aren't funny. The art is pretty blah. Just let this one ride. There's nothing to see here.

MOONWRECKER: James Bond-ahoy! This one has some good laughs and some fun art. The space battle is entertaining and the bits with Jawz are fun. Maybe it goes on a little too long but it's fine. It's a movie so they're hitting all the pertinent points. And, their normal incoherent jumping-around-style works perfect for a Moonraker parody because that was a fairly incoherent film. To be honest, I would have preferred more bits like the TV Stations one but, if we have to have a movie parody, this is a good one.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ROLLER DISCO KING: One of my favorite Nanny interviews. Lots of craziness with people dancing to disco on roller skates. He is named Kid Boogie and he does have a huge afro. This one is awesome. In the opening blurb, they mention how quickly fads come and go. I wonder if this fad was over before the article was published. Great stuff, though. Even Nanny steps up to the plate here. Joy.


1 - Chess
2 - Ventriloquist
3 - Old Convicts

Total - Comedy for you & me and your big fat Mama.

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Hunting. A caveman almost invents the bow and arrow but, unfortunately, hilarity ensues...right into his face! Ouch!

What a fine issue. One or two missteps here but the batting average is solid throughout. CRACKED is kicking again. The 80's have arrived and Mr. Sproul and fiends are here for us!

Next issue: CRACKED's favorite yuk-yuk-filled alien is back!