Saturday, December 25, 2010

CRACKED #212: Robert C. Sproul, Over & Out

July 1985
By Pierre L.

I don't know when exactly Mr. Sproul took over the Editing of CRACKED. Sol Brodsky is in charge of the first issue. I have the fourth one and Mr. S is on there. So, either 2, 3 or 4. Up until 212...From mid-1958 until July 1985, he led us through the world of Pop Culture alongside MAD magazine and about 100 other "Comedy" Magazines that fell by the wayside. Well done, Mr. Sproul. You made me laugh a lot. Now, let's check out his last issue.

All pee-yellow background on this cover. Maybe it was his favorite color for the cover and the posters after all? It's a fun joke. Although, I don't know about that enormous box on the mid-upper-left. Why put Simon & Simon's faces on your last issue? Maybe he was goofing with us here. Not the strongest cover to go out on but a decent gag.

POSTER: THE UNITED STATES OF CRACKED is one of the coolest posters they ever did. OK, a slight chintz on the front cover hides a cool-cool poster. Have you ever been to Grin Canyon? Or Cashville the "Hog-calling capital of the world". And, then we all go to Illbany. Thanks, Mr. Sproul, for this poster!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Belinda Asabat, prufe rader" Best Comedy Name Ever!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Dear CRACKED, I don't think you print real letters from readers. I bet you make them all up. Allan Gregory, New Britain, Conn." "Dear Allan, We don't think you write real letters. Bet you make them up." One guys says "You should have a joke section". A real jokester, that guy.

The Final Sproul Fan Club Message:

I believe he was saying "Goodbye" to us.

SIMPLE & SIMPLE: Wow...there really is another Simon & Simon parody in here. That's almost tragic. Prince shows up in their office. he says that someone is going to kidnap his drummer. So, one of the brothers puts on a huge afro wig and blackfaces himself up...and there's chicanery and goofballery and...oddly enough, the presence of Prince and the sheer joy of some good old fashioned Blackface makes me forget that this has anything to do with Simon & Simon. It's not a superb opening parody but when it degenerates into a crazy pie wins me over.

TV CABLE GUIDE: Hey! It's the alligator man from The Alligator People! Looks like this issue of the cable guide is going to have a lot of great stuff in it. "How watching TV 23 hours a day broadens you (mostly in the seat). "Strawberry Shortcakes Harrowing Day" "See what happens when Ms. Shortcake gets caught in a can of whipped cream." Da Movie Channel is playing some great stuff. This is a very in-depth article with some very funny bits. It ends with some Cable Chatter. I miss my Old Cable Guides.

YOUR MONEYS' WORTH: One-pager with great art and a very obvious joke.

KIDS, TOYS AND FUTURE CAREERS: Welfare Mother - Surrounded by dolls. Undertaker - A kid burying a stuffed animal out back in the middle of the night. A poet sits alone in a corner with all his toys far away. And, the sad one...A little girl is dancing ballet. There is a sign on her wall that says "Ballet is My Life". And, another things that says "I [heart] ballet." What is her career? ...Housewife. Wow. A little poignancy in the closing Sproul.

MAGAZINES THAT TRIED TO COPY CRACKED, BUT FAILED (Thank Goodness!): Beautiful stuff. We are shutting down here. The first one is from 1959...a magazine called Nuts. A satire magazine focusing solely on nut related humor. We see a page from the magazine and then a series of captions describing assorted reasons for its failure. Great idea and funny. "Merchants hated the magazine because it was the only one using 'nut' currency. Customers would continually pay with a 50 nut bill..." Each issue of "Nuts" was salted. Love it!

"Apples" Magazine was satire for very, very young kids. It sold well at first because fruit distributors thought it was for them. No words, only pictures. Who wrote this? Why wasn't this person allowed back all the time?

"Fool Magazine" started in 1970 and tried to get an all-female readership. It was printed on green newsprint that clashed with most women's clothing. The articles were really odd... (Housewives Are Dumb Because...was alienating to ladies and unfunny to guys.) I would have bought every issue of this magazine.

CRACKEDER MAZAGINE This one tried to go weekly but the quality wore down and down as each week passed. "As a weekly, their writers started to run out of dumb material. As a result, they made their biggest mistake of all - they turned to things that were intelligent." Remember: If you're Crackeder, you're happier!

I love this article. Best one in years.

WISHFUL THINKING: We see someone blissed out, thinking one thing...reality looms! A happy parachutist is smiling and seeing himself landing on the "X"! In reality, he's about to drop into an active volcano! A woman hands a boy a present. He's thinking "Toy Train!" She's thinking "Inexpensive socks!" It's a fun, chaotic two pages that my eye had a bit of trouble following. But, it works.

So final. Each one of these.

THE TRUE MEANING OF ART: Clever one-pager. Not a comedy bit, just kind of cool.

VCR HOME MOVIE ACCESSORIES CATALOG: Did Mr. Sproul know that this was his last issue? The CRACKED Imitators article seems to point in that direction. This one seems like standard CRACKED chicanery...How to suit up your living room like a movie theater. You can buy a robot that walks by you a dozen times a movie, making you get up over and over again. A steering wheel can be attached to the couch to make you feel like you're at a drive-in. An X-Rated film videotape container that is perfect for putting Disney films in...what better way to get the kids to watch? Cover your ground with sticky sludge, just like in the movie theater. It's fun. This is a decent bit. The world will go on, even after Mr. S. is gone.

WHAT'S GOOD...AND NOT SO GOOD ABOUT BIGFOOT: Well, when i saw the title in the Table of Contents I got excited. But, it's about the monster truck. Spare tires are huge! Be careful at underpasses! "You'll always have a good view at a drive-in." Oddly enough, there is never a full-on drawing of Bigfoot. We see the front half. Then, we see the back half. We see underneath. We see on the side. I wonder why?

EXPANDING THE USE OF PICTURE SIGNS: Wacky signs for our wacky world. A sign for the beach shows a dog with a line drawn over it. "No ugly girls beyond this point." A leaky faucet is "Caution: News Leak Area" for politics. Coaches could signal their instructions from the bench. A coach holds up a sign with a gun shooting a clock. "Kill The Clock!" It's a nice bit but no big shakes.

IF TELEVISION CENSORS HAD THEIR WAY: This feels like an old one. Howard Cosell and Let's Make a Deal gags abound. They'd censor sports, game shows, news & westerns. They'd be re-edited so John Wayne played Duck, Duck Goose with the Injuns instead of shooting them. An interview with Pinocchio would be a big thing on the News. It's a fun bit that seems like it's from a different time. If you're talking about TV censoring in early 1985, where's The A-Team? Feels odd. Sorry.

THE SILLY COSBEY SHOW: 1984-1985 TV Season. Dynasty, Dallas and The Cosby Show, respectively, rule the roost. Starting with the 1985-1986 season, Cosby would begin its five years at the top. CRACKED got in there quick...The last Sproul TV/ Movie parody begins. Pliff and Eclair are raising their kids and making America laugh. Pliff wants to take a nap but his kids keep coming and he keeps starting monologues and stories about himself. In the end, they move out and live Pliff alone. And, hey, this is only three pages long? The heck? Well, it makes its point and goes. Nicely done.

THE POND: A one-pager to close out the one-pagers. This one's just OK. I actually missed the joke at first. And then, when I'd seen the joke, I was unsure if it was funny. In the end, I'm going to say "No."

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE TECHNICAL SCHOOL KING: Hmmm..she doesn't identify herself as Nanny. She doesn't look anything like Nanny. But, Ed U. Cator calls her Nanny. Where'd Cassie go? Is this a repeat? I don't recognize it but it feels like a repeat. I'm going to say that it is not. If I found out that the last full article during Mr. Sproul's time was a repeat, I'd feel a little sad.

I also feel a little sad because this bit isn't so great. Mr. Cator's a shyster. ICCES - Ice Cream Cone Engineering School is an easy school to pass. There's a beauty school and a school for Humor Writers. There are lying commercials that air during old sictoms to get people down to the school. It's an OK bit but it never quite takes off. It doesn't seem to have enough "School" parodies in it. But, I wouldn't want to see it go longer so I'll take what I can get.

1 - Paperboy
2 - Prize Fighter
3 - The CRACKED Team Working Out!

Mr. Sproul, from me to you, Shut-Up!

BACK COVER: A SCULPTURE'S STUDIO - An obvious joke with some fun art and alternating blue and yellow panels. Somehow that sums CRACKED up perfectly. Oh, shouldn't it be "A Sculptor's Studio", unless it is actually a studio for that sculpture.

Not a great issue. It started strong and then began to fade but there are plenty of laughs here. Plenty of bright moments and that great CRACKED imitator article...I was hoping Mr. Sproul would go out stronger but the last issue seems to have spent most of their comedic energy. We'll take that one as the last and this one as a footnote.

Godspeed, Mr. S!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Randolph The Reindeer

Now listen, my children,
And you shall hear
Of the famous big toe
Of Randolph Reindeer.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When into the bar
Strode Randolph the Reindeer
With a big, long cigar.

As he stood there and snarled
Like a big, ugly cur,
The ashes he flicked off
Burned right through his fur.

Randolph stood staunchly
As he burst into flames,
But the rest of the reindeer
Just called him bad names.

Randolph stayed quite,
His steel nerves unjarred,
But except for his tailbone,
His body soon charred.

Then the room quickly filled
With a warm, friendly glow,
That came not from friendship.
But from Randolph's big toe.

Just then, in came Santa,
And he saved the day
By saying to Randolph,
"Would you guide my sleigh?"

When Randolph consented,
The reindeer all cheered,
And even old Santa
Gave a smile through his beard.

So they flew through the skies
In the blinding white snow,
And were guided by Randolph's
Smoldering big toe.

And so, if you spy
In the thick underbrush,
A hunk of burnt toenail
Lost in the rush...

Just think of poor Randolph
As he flies through the air
With a rancid cigar
And a clump of burnt hair.

Author Unknown
From pages 30-31 of CRACKED Magazine Issue #210

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CRACKED #211: "Fat People"? I gotta see this.

May 1985
by Pierre L.

Sylvester is about to get...Oh boy! Watch out, SPS! I wonder why they didn't color in the trash can? Well, it looks like there's going to be a lot happening in this issue. We better run in...

POSTER: National Students Day is on 2/29/85...Hey! Didn't they have the Day of the Child in 1979 on a school day? That meant that many children didn't actually get to go out and celebrate. It was up to their teachers to decide if they went out or not. I know it happened...I've seen the You Can't Do That On Television episode from early 1979 where the kids talk about it. I'm not sure if there's Ruddy involved. I don't remember.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I see Bob Sproul's face! In my dreams!, he's in one of the little panels. "Ms. Spell, proufradar"

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Get the first issue free!" I think Michael Jackson might be reading CRACKED! Although, the cover he's looking at reminds me of a MAD cover. "BFFV SFM WNYFA OAL WNYFA OAL PJH XFWDZ WJFT NA PJH AHGP NWWCH!

THE CRACKED MOVIE V: All the current TV detectives and action folks are called together by Mr. Sproul to find the CRACKED logo, which has vanished from the CRACKED safe. Magdumb P.I. and Nagme and Racey are the leads here. (Hey! I see Nanny Dickering!) The guys from Rippedride are there too! What a great* show! This has a fast flow as they track down the man that stole the logo. In the end, Jessycar Ketchup sums everything up. It was the people from Scaredcrow and Mrs. Cling! Pretty breezy and entertaining. I liked this opener.

ABSOLUTELY...THE CRACKED LENS...PART XXX: Keep it cool, CRACKED! Start with a strong parody and then hit us with some "Funny Fotos". There's a still from Star Wars. or Star Borez! Ha! Never fails to amuse.

PRODUCTS FOR PAMPERED PETS: Some funny stuff. The Canary Condo comes with five rooms, including an exclusive fly room with lots of Fly Space for your flying bird. Have a bored guinea pig? Buy him or her the Hathaway Story Cassette Library. Never be bored again. Henri's Fish Food Seasoning...the perfect blend of spices for your goldfish's fish food. Famous Amiss Flavored Hay - Chocolate, peppermint, bubblegum, pressed duck, Kentucky blue grass, McIntosh Apple. Three pages of smiles.

A CRACKED CATALOG OF EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES FOR WEATHERING WINTER: Another catalog? Hmmm.. Luckily, this one's fun. The Sno-Tow Walkway Rug "Our Bottoms Are Waxed For Pulling Ease." (Mine too! And, I'm Pierre L!) You roll the rug out over a walkway. It snows. You inflate the walkway and then slide it away, dumping the snow on the lawn or in the woods. Weatherperson Hate Mail! So much profanity! Wait...I'm thinking of something else. This article is three pages and I like it. On Your Guard Germ Guard! You get fake arms that shake sick people's hands for you! I like this bit.

KITCHEN LAND: The Ultimate Roach Amusement Park! So, I stop reading and suddenly the magazine becomes more fun than it's been in ages. Three pages of roaches having fun in your kitchen. We Have...Catapult Rides! They sit on the edges of mousetraps and go flying. We Have...Jungle Gyms! Playing in Swiss Cheese. We Have...Water Rollercoasters! Sliding down the drain. We Have...Trampolines! Jumping on sponges. And of course we have...Convenient, nearby, affordable, accommodations. So Come On Down! (That would be a Roach Motel.) Great article. Laffs galore.

ROCK MUSIC WORD PLAY: And, they're having fun with Word Play. Every square is a popular or classic rock tune. Eye Of The Tiger, Heart of Glass, All Night Long, Roundabout, White Wedding, Double Vision, Footloose. Cool.


YOU KNOW YOU'RE A SUPER TYPE...: OK, well. One of these in an issue doesn't hurt and it is Super Hero stuff. "...if you're struck by lightning and like the way it tickles!" "...if you're fast enough to dance with three guys at the some time." "...if you're a terrible lover because you keep fracturing your partners' rib cage." Ouch. Two pages = easy peasy. I like the art here,


A CRACKED WESTERN YOU'LL NEVER SEE: This one-pager almost works. But, the art is a little garbled at the end. It seems like there is a panel missing between the penultimate one and the final one. I get the joke but it's awkward.

CRACKED'S LITTLE KNOWN TRIVIA FACTS: Funny Fotos continue. Although, the Fotos aren't actually funny. It's what CRACKED places around them that makes for funny. We get questions...A still, sometimes with a word balloon in it... and then the upside down answer to the question. Example: Where is the world's only talking train located? We see two businessmen. One of them is looking at a train. The train is saying "Pssst! Wanna race?" The Answer: Brotwurst, Germany. Hey! The Mad Hatter is in one of these. Some very silly questions, some nice use of stills and some silly answers make for a gloriously silly experience in the land of the CRACKED Magazine. Thank you...How's that, Glenda?

SAGEBRUSH: Two pages of SB! 7 several panel bits. Wow! I haven't seen this much Sagebrush in here since Momma used to do it herself. Scintillating!

Sorry everyone. I just had a "Holiday Eggnog" and I'm feeling like the "Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back"!

THE CHARMING INDIA FIRE DEPARTMENT: Another fun one-pager. This issue is really breezing by with laughs. I'm impressed and surprised.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE BREAK DANCING KING: Why isn't Nanny around anymore? She "snagged" the Millionaire King. Way to go, Nanny! So, we have Cassie Collingwood and she's a sweetie. Less zaftig and more of a regular gal. She interviews Shabu! or Lincoln! (He has two names.) They walk around his urban neighborhood and he talks about breakdancing. We see people tangle themselves in knots and a guy "wear out his seat" spinning on his butt. But, in the end, Shabu doesn't breakdance because it's a magazine. Wise choice. Good interview. Welcome, Cassie.

IF THE WHOLE WORLD TURNED FAT: "...did you ever stop to and think what would happen...if everyone turned plump overnight?" I think it would go a little something like this. James Bond would have a big gut. Jokes about "My wife being so slender!" Elephants and rhinos would be the new house pets. Big girls in bikinis would sing songs about Tub Cola. Cher's Workout Book would be called "Fat at Last" There's a fat cast of Diff'rent Strokes and Magnum P.I. Blimp-Man would drop his giant butt on the villains. I like this article...The water bed gag is killer.

1 - Graffiti
2 - Rick Dyreks?
3 - Shoot The Clown

Shut-Ups have Shut Me Down!

BACK COVER: Hudd & Dini - They tried again and they didn't make it. Well, they're persistent. I'll give them that.

So, we have the most consistently excellent issue of the magazine in a very long time. Maybe if I hadn't stopped reading regularly the issue before I would have gone on reading forever. Good issue. Sproul Is Going Out Strong!

Next Issue: Say goodbye to Sproul. One Last Round.

*I meant "awful"

Monday, December 20, 2010


December, 1984.

I had been reading CRACKED religiously for a year-and-a-half. 1984 was The Year Of The CRACKED for me. I remember buying Issue #210. I remember believing that it would be (as many of the others were) the best issue of anything ever. It was The A-Team again! Third time in 10 issues. I still didn't like the show but I sure like what CRACKED did with it. In December 1983, I had purchased #202 and, what had been sort of a casual relationship, became a year-long Good Time.

That would end in December, 1984.

It wasn't the issue that did was another thing that I loved reading...something that I couldn't quite get into properly before. But, now, I had an allowance so I had some money every week. And...

Throughout the 80's, we would set aside one Sunday for Mall Day. This was the day we went to the malls and bought everyone gifts. And, we always picked up ourselves a little something too. This was a Very Special Year. For the treat that Young Pierre bought himself was...a comic book. Two comic books, actually.

Batman & The Outsiders #19 - with some guy fighting Superman in the reflection of a Christmas ornament.

Who's Who #1 - The first in a 24-issue index to the DC Characters.

In the past, I couldn't be assured that I could buy a comic every month so I never collected series. Too many gaps in stories. But, Who's Who was different...for the next two years, I would be in Empire Comics every month buying the next one. And, during that time, I also picked up many other comics, including The Official Marvel Amazing Spider-Man & Fantastic Four, The Watchmen, a Red Tornado mini-series, Crisis on Infinite Earths, a lot of the "New Marvel Universe" stuff and plenty of Ambush Bug. For two-and-a-half years, I was a crazy comic book fan.

But, with the Comic Age beginning, the CRACKED age ended. I did not but 211 or 212. I bought 213 because there were monsters on the cover. But, after that, I only bought randomly, mainly things with monsters on the cover.

My brief, but magic, love affair with CRACKED ends with this issue. Let's read and then we'll that order.

CRACKED # 210: Butch & Slug Won't Know What Didn't Hit Them

March 1985
by Pierre L.

I never noticed the shoddy background until right now. Didn't matter to the Kid In Me. The A-Team going non-violent was an awesome idea. I hope Butch & Slug didn't shoot the guys! Oh, and where'd the lady, that I couldn't remember being part of the team, go?

POSTER: I wanted to hang this one on my wall. But, I didn't because it would have ruined the issue. I wish folks who bought this issue 26 years ago had not hung the poster on their wall because, when they go to sell this issue on Ebay, the resell value dips into the toilet...hard. "This Poster Is Out Of Order - It read own your at risk" Yes, I know, CRACKED, I know.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Same pruuph raedre. They got rid of Elaine O. but kept the same PR. Fine with me. He does good work.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: No "next issue" box. But, there is a "Statement Of Ownership etc." And, the readership is half of what it was in the second half of the 70's. Most of those were such great issues. I wish I hadn't been a baby or a small child then because I could have read and enjoyed those heartily.

IF THE A-A-AYY TEAM WAS MADE LESS VIOLENT: It would sure be wacktastic! A little boy's hamster was kidnapped and the team goes into action! Mr. T tickles a man. They point their fingers and go "Bang. Bang. Bang." They torture a man by making him watch D.C. Cab and then...MR. T makes a man faint by showing him a picture of Boy George in a bikini. (No one man informed Pierre's sexuality more.) Fingernails scraped on a chalkboard save the day!

But, their ratings are terrible! It got beat by Lassie and then went off the air in 1973! Violence is Back! Thank Christ!

A funny opening bit and I do remember thinking that this boded well for a killer issue.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXIX: They really love those commas. 3 great pages. Hey! Shelly Duvall! Some guys scaling a building. I laugh and learn with Lyla.

DON'T YOU HATE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY: Oh well. They can't all be killers. You know (and I'm speaking to you Rob!) that I'm not a big fan of this sort of article. Occasionally they're cool but much of the time they just feel one has to work too hard to get it done or maybe they do and I'm wrong. Regardless, I'm not a huge fan but this one actually isn't bad.

...when your mother bakes a carrot cake instead of a chocolate cake? (I've always enjoyed carrot cake. In the picture here, a mom has a cake with carrots sticking out of the top. Not sure what that might be or if, possibly, this kid's mom is crazy.)

...when your sister gives you a present you cant she gets to keep it herself? (This nerd got a Cabbage Patch Kid! What a clone!)

...when everyone gives you practical gifts instead of fun stuff? (Amen!)

...when your horoscope is stupid? ("For Those Born Today: Anyone born today is destined to be average. Creative pursuits are pointless, as you have no talents. As you strive for success you'll find many stumbling blocks, don't let them trouble you, just give up, it's're a waste.)

CAREER GUIDE FOR OBNOXIOUS KIDS: Wow. Another one of these. Left side: "Does He/She..." Right side: "Future Career:" Well, it's not quite the same set-up but it's in the same spirit. "Tell fibs?" "A Politician!" "Play 'hooky'?" "Civil Service Employee!" "Throw tantrums?" "A famous entertainer!" In that one we see a kid on the floor yelling "Wahh!" Then, we see a "rock star" with a microphone yelling "Wahh" (My copy cuts off any exclamation point.) CRACKED, still going after rock and roll, huh? Oh well.

FRONTIER DUDE: Killer article! Fake magazine for "...sophisticated buckaroos who cotton to the finer things in life." There is a picture of several very severe looking Native American Women. "More Captivating Squaw Pin-Ups Inside!" This bit is five pages and whoever wrote it should have done more for this issue. It feels like effort was put into this. It's a set of old West cliches spun round into some comedy. Well done! "Side Kick" deodorant for gunslingers. There is a column by Ma Perkins called "Advice To The Gay Dog". "What sort of Maverick reads Frontier Dude?" I like this bit. If I could, I'd reproduce it for you but then I'd be arrested for reproducing copy written material on the Internet. It's Christmas...Why do you want me to go down that road?

WORD PLAY: Awesome. I love "Spiral Staircase" and I figured out that one! Two pages of smiles.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE A MTV FREAK WHEN...: Wow. They've got everything I don't like in this issue. Is there going to be a "CRACKED looks at..." later on? Yes, you want MTV dinners. Yes, you trade in a boombox for a portable TV. Yes, you count rock stars instead of sheep. Yes, CRACKED discovered MTV...move on.

RANDOLPH THE REINDEER: I will be transcribing this beautiful Yuletide Poem in a future post. Stay tuned.

YOU KNOW YOU'VE GOT BIG PROBLEMS WHEN...: Did they have a file full of these marked "Unused"? It was the end of the year. Seems like they have half of an actual issue and half an issue of CRACKED GENERICA. "The plumber arrives, looks at your leaking pipe and says...'Uh oh. I'd better call my office and clear my calendar for the rest of the week.'" "On your honeymoon, it's just..." I can't do it. Sorry. It's two pages and then it ends.

TRANSLATING TECHNICAL TALK: Seriously, guys...What the hell? Left Side: When They Say. Right Side: They Mean. Sigh. POLITICIANS - "When They Say - Because our consumer index is out of line with our gross national product, we must amplify our personal revenue commitment." "They Mean - Taxes are going up again!" WEATHER PERSONS - "When They Say - The forecast calls for cold air mass tendencies with an accessible high pressure zone leading a warm front with a 50% chance of precipitation throughout the interum.[sic]" "They Mean - Your guess is as good as mine."

THE CRACKED MONEY DIET - 22 WAYS TO SAVE OVER $600 (MAYBE): I like the art on this one. I like the bit about sending one family member to a movie and then having them tell the others about it. I like placing a mostly-empty toothpaste tube under the tires of a car and having Mom back up to get the last of the paste out. I love the "Recycles Old Greeting cards" bit. I used to do that. "John, Happy Birthday - Aunt Martha" becomes "John, and I wish you a Happy Birthday Aunt Martha." Fun article.

SAGE BRUSH: What is he up to now? Hey! It's Abundant Bill! A decent one-pager.

THE CRACKED TV WATCHERS GUIDE TO SMALL SCREEN ETIQUETTE: "The Indispensable Manual for Proper Behavior Near and Around a TV Set when Either Alone or With Others." "The phone rings during part 3 of a 3-part mini-series. What is the correct procedure to follow?" Give the phone to the dog! "So Bobby, how was your science exam?" "Ruff." "Yeah, mine was rough too." Eat like slobs during commercials but sit and watch when the show is on. There's a lot of text in this bit but there are some funny moments. How to sit while watching the Major Networks compared to PBS? Check. There is a kid watching the "Mr. T Comedy Special". That's cool.

SELL IT BACK: One-pager with a good punchline. Frontier related...hmmm, interesting theme for this issue.

THINGS THAT ANNOY US THE MOST: Do I need to make the obvious joke here? And this is the big closing article...Oh, CRACKED..."Presidential news conferences that pre-empt only the good TV shows on TV." I remember Reagan pre-empting a lot of my favorites. "An itch that's impossible to reach." "CRACKED Magazine articles that are so good, that you can really relate to and are so entertaining, you never want them to end, but they do." And this one ends...

1 - Williams
2 - Pop
3 - Tex

The New Monkees!

BACK COVER: Hudd & Dini...No, they didn't make it out of jail this time either.

And so, my Heavy Reading of CRACKED Era ends...More or less exactly as it began with an uneven issue doing some things I loved and some things that bored me silly. Well, they were still trying (I think). Now, we move to the end of the Sproul era. What did he get up to before he left?

NEXT ISSUE: A Melange!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It has been a long run. I have reviewed 86 regular issues of CRACKED, along with a few special treats. A lot of writing. A lot of work. And, I've enjoyed it.

Now, I am close to my Initial Goal - #212: The End Of The Sproul Era

My original plan had been to back up from #127, my starting point. I hope to, one day, review every Regular Issue of CRACKED. I might go forward from #213 at this point. Or I might follow the Original Plan. I haven't decided yet. I might go backwards and forwards. I don't know.

I do know that once #212 goes up I'm taking a break. I know, I've taken them before but this one is Upon Reaching A Goal. So, I'll be back in February. Maybe we'll do some Collectors' Editions. Maybe one of the CRACKED paperbacks.

Regardless, it will be fun. Thank you for reading.

Pierre L.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CRACKED #209: Turn it on, CRACKED. Turn it on.

January 1985
by Pierre L. are in trouble! I wonder what "Space Shuttle" could possibly involve?

POSTER: "Official Location Map" But, hey! It' doesn't make any sense! A series of varying shades of yellow and a series of locations make for a series of yuks in the House of Pierre!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Mick Stupp, pruuph raedre" There's a man dressed as a banana! The hell? I just wet 'em and I'm not even inside the issue yet!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - Dec. 11th, 1984. A reading turning point for this blog writer or "Bliter". Oh, did you notice...the magazine is now $1.25, instead of $1.00. Comedy isn't cheap. (Except when Pierre Writes it! I'm kidding! It's the holidays. I'm full of mirth and nog.) On Page 5, there is a "Sliding Down The Family Tree" article. "A Continuing History of the house of Sylvester" This is from Issue #128.

GRUMBLINS: Perfect choice for this time of year, this time is so much fun.. It's a 7-page breezeparody through the movie and it's fun. It goes very quickly and misses quite a few high points but, if you've seen the movie, it's fun. In fact, it actually makes me want to go and watch the movie again, which I remember being fun. The whole piece has a nice Christmas feel and if you know Pierre then you know that I've got a nice Christmas feel to me, a feel of fun.. Good parody to open the ish with, a fun.


CRACKED LOOKS AT ARCHEOLOGY: This one's sort of a free form series of panels, many without borders, that is pretty darn funny. Two archys break into a tomb proclaiming "It looks like they were more advanced than we thought." We see a guy sitting in a chair with a "GO NILE U" T-shirt on in front of a TV. There is a very funny Atlantis Hilton gag. And, they find lots of Tupperware at one site. This is a funny bit. 4 pages of me laughing and then smiling and then cheering Nile U!

YE HANG UPS: Four panels. Four learning experiences regarding being held prisoner in the Middle Ages...Dark Ages...? Could I get a date here, please?

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY...THE CRACKED LENS...Part XXVIII: 5 pages of chuckles and laughs and a still from Freebie & The Bean! The Heck! I'm in CRACKED Heaven! "I promise never to wear this tie in public again." is a favorite. "I always point my lettuce to the North." is another one. Nice.

SHOWBIZ-TYPE ELECTION ADS: "California Ron Battles The Party Of Doom" "Tax Breakin'" has old people break dancing. "Kremlins!" "The R-Team" And..."Tuesday the 6th - The Final Chapter" This is one of the very few references to the slasher era of the early 80's, which was now ending. It would go into a very independent area soon, including all of the SOV's. It is odd to see Jason's mask with the knife through the eye. I wonder if CRACKED realized how many kids loved slasher films, even if (like myself) they were too afraid to watch them.

CRACKED BLASTS NASA: "Space Shuttle" is revealed! Anyone here ever play the Space Shuttle Atari game? Starcade once offered it in a prize package. If you have played it, quit being so smug. Anyway, two pages of one-panel gags about the space program. I love the art in this one it's nutty. The gags are variable but I find myself smiling and going "Ha Ha" throughout.

IF FAMOUS LINES WERE SAID IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS: This bit looks very familiar. Roderick, could you check the back files to see if this is, indeed, a doubler?

Regardless, "I never met a man I didn't like" shows two cannibals having finished a meal. "There's a sucker born every minute." has a man at LaLee Pop & Sons, Inc. getting excited about his job. "Gee, grandma, what big ears you have." shows a girl watching Grandma haul ears of corn from the field. I put my Laugh Hat under my mouth and filled it up!

WHAT ATHLETES DO IN THE OFF SEASON: Hurdler (Mailman), Pole Vaulter (Coconut picker), Javelin Thrower(Trash Grabber), Discus thrower (Skeet Shooting Thrower), Hammer Thrower (Ace Demolition Co.) Each multiple-panel strip begins with the athlete doing their thing and then it becomes their job. Good.

THROUGHOUT HISTORY WITH THE REAL GREMLINS: 2 pages, six two-panel strips showing Gremlins on an ark (not Noah's), at the Ford Theater (you know what I mean), in Mrs. O'Leary's shed, on the Titanic, with Samson & Delilah and in the Watergate Hotel. Obvious but not without its patent CRACKED charms.

HOW SCHOOLS CAN SAVE MONEY: Combine English & Auto Mechanics! Combine Home Ec. & Biology. Pay showers! Ads everywhere! Hey! They will save some bucks! They should go with all of these plans. Really, if you need to save some money for your school system why not go to CRACKED? They've got the Inside Track! Kids can purchase a "can't be called on" card so they can't get called on. Combine classes and rent out the now unused rooms as Hotel Accommodations! I think they're onto something! My Funny Bone!

STAR DREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOOK: I never saw this movie but I read the novelization. And, I think this parody is a fine parody of the novelization of the film that I remember from over 25 years ago. Although, it does that thing where it's so busy telling it's CRACKED-style jokes that major moments (like, say, the Enterprise exploding) could be missed. So what do all the panels deal with? Comedy! Right in your Fat Pants! The place CRACKED aims for and hits!

My Fat Pants are burning right now.

CRACKED INTERVIEW THE MUSIC VIDEO KING: Lionel Itchie! I get it! Cassie Collingwood (who?) interviews Mr. Matthew Thomas Vealgrinder. (Initials, please.) He talks about running MTV and how popular they are and how they show a lot of the same things over and over...but, they rejected a video from Clara Peller. "...she had a song called "Where's The Beef?" It consisted of her mumbling that phrase 100 times to a disco beat while a hamburger danced around behind her." That's awesome! Cassie's OK. She's no Nanny. There are some funny bits here about MTV. I do forget how popular it was. I remember everyone assembling to watch Thriller. Have I told that story before? Maybe I have. "Where's the Beef?...Where's the beef?...Where's the Beef?...Where's the Beef?"

You've won me back.
1 - Volcano!
2 - Artichoke Man!
3 - Human Zoo!

This human's laughing hard!

BACK COVER: GREAT MOMENTS IN SPORTS! "Eddie (Boom-Boom) Rodriguez rides his 500th winner with no losses." He shoots the competition!!!!

Well, I liked this issue. Maybe I'm feeling overly festive but this is Hoots Town, U.S.A.

I can't wait to read the next issue...It's an important one for Pierre.

Next issue: It's an important one for Pierre. The next issue that I can't wait to read.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

CRACKED #208: Thank goodness Indy still has his gun.

November 1984
by Pierre L.

Short Round is in mid-air. Was this a greenscreen shot where the artist forgot to put in the background? Well, it is nice to see Indy back. I haven't seen Temple of Doom in years and years. Hey! Look! Another Fall Guy parody...Was Fall Guy that popular?

POSTER: Pee yellow background but with a white border..."How to Avoid Confusion!" I like this one. There is a lot of text but that doesn't ruin it. A little bald guy leads us through it and gives us a Thumbs Up in the end.

Here's the text: "Many things become confusing because we expect that other people are going to be confused about something that we may be confused about./In order to avoid confusion we must be sure to think that we think that the other person thinks that they know what we think./Don't you think that's right?/I'm not sure that I think so, but you may think that I think so and so you think that I think that you think that it's so./See how easy it is if you...KEEP IT SIMPLE!"

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Bill Sproul" is now the editor. Mick Stupp is our pruuph raedre. 9 writers.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Michael Jackson's head is in the lettuce. I think it may have been there last issue. Next issue - Oct. 30, 1884. One letter mentions a JACKSON 5 poster. Where is my Jackson 5 poster?

INDIANAPOLIS BONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM: More or less each panel covers a scene in the movie, except for the opening sequence. That takes three of the 7 pages. It felt like they were stretching out and then forced to speed it up. It reads a little weird. Maybe this should have been longer, maybe better paced. I don't know. It's not a bad read. It moves fast and there are some funny moments. It's just such a bumpy read. Strange. You think they would have got the knack of this sort of thing by now. But, I was tempted to go back and watch the movie again after reading this. That can't be bad.

A CRACKED CATALOG OF SUMMER SURVIVAL GEAR: Three pages of goofy ads...An Ice-Pack headband is just a headband with cubes of ice in it. They melt and cool you off as you go about your business. Buy a can of Cling-Off to keep clothes from sticking to you. An Insect Repellent Vest is filled with bullfrogs. And, a special tanning tape with dye packets. The sun melts the packets leaving a tan behind! (Not a "tan behind" a "tan in its wake".) And for the New "Punk Tan"...Yeah, a punk joke. Oh, CRACKED, thou art square!

THE MISS MATCH: Funny one-pager.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY...THE CRACKED LENS...Part XXVII: Sorry. I didn't feel like writing out the whole thing. 4 pages of Laffs! Really Truly, these are always fun. And, this is no different. Maybe there should be a bound volume containing every CRACKED Lens ever? It could sell for $400.


ANOTHER CRACKED LOOK AT A VIDEO ARCADE: The weirdest article in some time. We see a lot of games: Ms. Pac-Man, Food Fight, Dragon's Lair & Tron. We see Bunny Bash and Spinach Monster, which may not be real games. There's a lot of stuff in the background of these one-panel gags. And, sometimes, the foreground. A man plays the tiny version of Pac-Man as the gag happens behind him. (You know the tiny coin-op games. You got them for Christmas. I got Galaxian.) All the stuff going on makes for a lot of fun...But, it's the words that throw me. The opening: "It's been a few years since we took a peek at what goes on inside of one of those electronic game rooms and..." "Electronic game rooms"? What the heck? And, has it been a few years? That Video Game Special I reviewed was less than a year before this.

That is not the really odd thing, though.

Two ladies talking:
1: Video has helped me lose 26 pounds.
2: Go on. How could video control your eating?
A joke follows.

Two kids.
1: That's it! I've had it! No more video for me today!
2: But you love video. Why would a fanatic like you quit?
A joke follows.

Two different kids.
1: My dad says video is a waste of money.
2: Not my dad...In fact, he thinks kids should play video at least 3 hours a day.

"Video"? What in the Name of the Lord? There are no "video games", just "video". Did anyone ever call it that? The super-weird thing is that I can see them goofing like this (The Fonze) at the start of the trend. But, at this point, we're nearing the end of the 1st Wave of "Video". What the hell are they talking about in this article?

Actually, the oddness of it makes for an interesting read.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 1ST DATE AND THE 2ND DATE: Some of this is fun, like "Making Out". Maybe 1st date and 7th or 8th date, instead of 2nd. I've been on plenty of 1st and 2nd dates (Yes, even Pierre L. can find love!) and this article seems off. Something stolen from Henny Youngman's notebooks possibly. This bit has a couple of nice moments but doesn't quite make sense.


THE CAMP GOTCHAMONEY NEWS: They haven't had something this wordy since the Cowtown Gazette. It's a camp newspaper. Four pages of lots and lots of text. Unfortunately, this isn't as funny as Cowtown. It's too easy a target. Making fun of bad food, old dancers who don't know the "hip" moves, counselors that are jerks...There is, however, an editorial that is titled "Please Don't Pick On The Fat Ugly Kids" Funny title. No need to read the editorial. That's the way most of this is...If the headline is funny, don't read the article. It has nothing. But, if the headline is bland, read the article. I never went to a sleepaway camp, just saw them in movies. Maybe this would mean more if I had...As it is, it's definitely worth a read but I didn't lose my trousers over this.

rodrigues' SIDE SHOW: Three pages of some very strange one-panel bits. I like this. It is bizarre, which CRACKED is, generally, not.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS: A funny round of these goofball gags! Still love 'em!

THE FALLING GUY: The last Fall Guy parody was in #198. Was the CRACKED community clamoring for a repeat? Well, as I was part of the community at that point, the answer is No. But, I like this one better than the first one...only because I'd read the first one and was familiar with it. The joke about Lee Majors stuntman is a good one. It all has a nice flow to it that makes for an easy read. It's more coherent than the opening parody. I will, however, pass on future Fall Guy parodies, unless they're teamed with Simon & Simon.

1 - Reggie
2 - "The color's off on your set...the hair looks blue and lips look the sound is really awful!" "SHUT-UP! Nothing's wrong with my TV set. That's the way my rock videos are supposed to look and sound!"
3 - Makes no sense.

Odd...this SHUT-UP alienated me, especially the last one. Am I missing it? Does it make no sense? To the Back Cover...

GREAT MOMENTS IN INVENTIONS: Super Hold Glue! Kickass back cover. Thank you very much.

It was an issue of CRACKED. It had some good moments but many more "Huh?" moments. I can feel the era sliding to a close. And, I can also feel the time when I read the magazine, as a child, also coming to a close...What do the final four bring? Well...

Next issue: Rock & Roll! (And, we all know how good CRACKED is with that subject.)

Saturday, December 04, 2010


CRACKED Collectors' Edition
December 1983
by Pierre L.

A little break before the Final Five. As anyone who was a kid then knows, if you didn't go crazy for video games, you were a lonely kid. My cousin got an Atari 2600. The Boesels got Intellivision. The Romanos got an Atari 5200. Aunt Mary got a Colecovision. Then, my cousin got some sort of computer thing that we played Miner 49er on all day long. It was awesome.

Eventually, we got an Atari 2600. The games were all awesome, even when they clearly stunk to High Heaven. I remember very clearly the nights that we got Pac-Man and then Donkey Kong. (Maybe not in that order.) Kids came over. We sat and played for hours. Although, Pac-Man was the same badly designed board over and over. And, Donkey Kong was the same two boards again and again. Eventually, we had about 13 or 14 games. Then, in the mid-80's, it ended. In a few years...Nintendo. Another story.

The arcades? Well, apart from Chuck E. Cheese, I never used to play, just watch. Tokens for video games - I used in video games. Actual quarters - Better use was put towards buying books. (I liked books. My Target collection of Doctor Who just kept building.) I remember standing for an hour near a Dragon's Lair game that had a monitor over it that showed the gameplay. I watched (along with about 12 others) as this guy won the game. It was pretty thrilling. Then, I went home and played Swordquest: Earthworld and annoyed myself.

Seen today, that seems like a strange age where some playing in the arcade and all playing at home felt like it had a gauze over it, especially when you saw Nintendo a few years later or games today. The games were so poor but we loved it so much. I have an Atari 2600 today. I have about 40 games, more than twice what I had back in the day. Playing it is fun. The games are still a hoot but it feels like it was from 1,000 years ago. Music, movies and TV are different. What an odd feeling...the Video Game Memories.

But, of course, all of this isn't getting CRACKED reviewed...move on.

Fun cover. And, of course, the promise of a "FREE ARCADE HEAVEN GAME" is a thrill. The cover is so busy and fun that it almost makes you forget the Pee Yellow background.

INSIDE FRONT COVER: THE CRACKED BOOKSTORE! Wow...they still owe me stuff. SUPER CRACKED #15 - Unemployment Game KING-SIZED CRACKED #10 - Fonz For President T Game. (I'm not sure what a T-game is but I've got my ideas.) GIANT CRACKED #21 - Vampire Game! I want all of these!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I love when CRACKED does what they do with the photos on the right side of the page. Three big pictures of coin-op video games: Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Defender. Just three pictures, no jokes. It's enough that they show them. Like the big poster of The Fonz in #134. No proof reader. Val Mayerik is one of the artists...the heck?

Most of this issue is new stuff. If I hit something I recognize, I'll tell you.

LETTERS TO CRAC MAN: Oh yes. Truant Office jokes! The flow of jokes actually has a storyline. People play games. People spend money. People get mad at the games. They break records; they don't. And, in the end, a guy (Melvin Bluenote) prefers the change machine...he keeps his money. CRACKED, I have learned from thee.

THE CRACKED WORLD TO VIDEO GAMES: Repeat from #184. Two things: 1) It uses the same "change machine" thing as the letters page. 2) The game is not "Space Explorers". It is "Space Exploiters". Pierre goofed. Go back to the entry for #184 and jeer at my fallen pants.

ARCADE HEAVEN: Board game on two pages! You start on the outside and play and play until you get to the center...All sorts of great squares and video game icons. "Town Puts a curfew on all arcades - Back 3" "You get a bronze joystick for your birthday. - Ahead 4." Stuff like that. Space invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, Frogger...kick-aresery. I love this.

THE CRACKED VIDEO LENS: It's 3 pages of great. All the classic stills we love but everyone is about video games. A teacher strangling a student. Teacher: All right Johnny, I give in! You can take the day off to play "Q-Bert"! Charles Kuralt looking at us. CK: And now that you've been totally bored to death by another one of my on-the-road reports, I suggest you turn off the TV, plug in your video computer and play "Tron". Great stuff.

VIDEO TECH: It's the college for video game players. The Spring/ Fall 1983 Catalogue. 5 killer pages. I wish I could replicate this whole issue for you, especially this bit. You'd be swimming in it. As it is, I'm overwhelmed and not sure what to single out. There's a page of courses (Introduction to Super Zapping and Trakball 301). Campus Life, including the ceremonial "Changing of the Dollar". And, I think, my favorite, the Campus Map. Intellivison Avenue is near Hyperspace Road. Pac-Man Park is a park shaped like... Atari Drive is near the Tempest Memorial Gymnasium. Random Token & Coin Changers dot the grounds. You have to see this article.

TV CONTRAPTIONS WE'LL SOON BE SEEING: Repeat from #157. Better here than in that issue.

THE JOYSTICK REPORT: "The Latest Blips and gossip from the video game world". It's two pages and, while it's not great, it's definitely a lark. The one that really grabbed me..."The boxes of those home video games usually look so much more interesting than the game themselves." We see "Alien Attack" A spaceship speeds towards a planet. Then, we see the game...One small ship shooting tacky bullets at a lame alien. "Blip-O-Vision has decided to buck the trend. The company's games are going to be much more interesting than the containers." We see the "Jungle terror" box and it's a Pitfall-looking guy going up a vine being chased by a crocodile. Then, we see the looks like a cool cartoon...I always loved in "Starcade" when they'd offer the game "Kid Grid" and another (that I don't remember) as prizes. The boxes looked so cool but, when I saw screenshots of the games...they were hilariously horrible. I guess there was a great deal of "Turning a Blind Eye" being done then as long as we could play games.

1) Pac-Man
2) Ms. Pac-Man
3) Asteroids
4) Space Invaders
5) Frogger
6) Donkey Kong
7) Galaxian
8) Tempest
9) Centipede
10) Qix


GREAT MOMENTS IN VIDEO HISTORY: 4 pages. I'm not terribly thrilled with this bit but it's OK. It's too much like the Video Lens from early but with more explanation for the jokes. "April 1983, a New Hampshire youth went so far as to sell 'Money Trees' in order to earn quarters for Frogger. A family is shown with a "Money Tree Souvenirs" sign. A kid says "A beautiful Money Tree souvenir for your husband, lady?" And, there is something very funny about the crooner with his hands out who, in the still, is clearly singing but in the mazagine he's saying "Awwh. Come on. Won't somebody please give me a quarter to play 'Stirke Force'?"

VIDEO GAME QUIZ BOOK: "Guess the Symbol" & A "Word Search" & a "Silhouette Quiz" and a "Jumble Jamboree". It's an actual four page real Quiz Book. Wow...It's Christmas 21 days early.

ILLUSTRATED VIDEO GAME NEWS: Well, now maybe they're begin to repeat themselves. It's a mix of The Joystick report with CRACKED Lens photos. "Video Game Hotshot Plays Defender for 67 Straight Hours" is accompanied by that shot of the guy from The Alligator People getting scaly. "Video Game Theme Park Declared a Huge Success" is accompanied buy a shot of an ape throwing a guy around and a giant chicken. (Joust, sort of).

YOU KNOW YOU'RE REALLY A VIDEO GAME FREAK IF...: "...if your idea of a nerd is a guy who actually spends his lunch money on lunch." In high school, I spent my lunch money on cassettes. The catalog of Rush and XTC's Oranges and Lemons were purchased during weeks I skipped lunch. "...if the only chips you're interested in are microchips." We see a guy at the "Vendo-Snack" giving a Thumbs Down to Potato Chips! "...if an earthquake rattles the arcade you're playing in, and you think it's just the special effects." Taken from Starcade Episode #59. It's two pages. It's brief.

NEW FORMS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: Well, they are beginning to repeat themselves, in more ways than one. Repeat from #143

VIDEO GAME CALCULATOR READOUTS: Fun. One page with 12 different...wacky things to do on your calculator. Example: 4. The Organization that demanded a female version of Pac-Man (1634690 divided by 2) 11. The feeling that describes someone who's mastered the fourth and final screen of Donkey Kong. (24806 x 2 + 5566) Super cool.

I'd forgotten there was a fourth screen in Donkey Kong.


AN UNNAMED ONE-PAGER: Funny convict gag.

INSIDE BACK COVER: VIDEO PUT-DOWNS. Three panels with stills and shanks! Fat ones! One example: A man, a lot of cops and a crying woman. One cop is looking at the man. "Mr. Willard, your wife claims you pulled the plug on her while she was playing Asteroids. Is this true?" It's an OK page.

BACK COVER: A repeat from #184.

Well, it does fade near the end when things become a little repetitive. You can do that with Monsters but Video Games require a little more variety. However, this is a kickbutt Collectors' Edition. I recommend this one for anyone whose experiences were similar to mine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

#207: What do you know? This issue's pretty good...

October 1984
by Pierre L.

Michael at the height of his Living Fame. It's a fun cover. Kind of fades into strange blue figures after Boy George but still cool. Now, of course, a Pop Star is not the same thing as a character in a TV show. How much can you parody from someone who released a big, big, big album but wasn't appearing on TV every week in their own show? Well, you go after the videos, you go after their commercials, you go after their personality. Michael later in the decade would have been a lot wackier. But, this issue, oddly enough for this time, is actually quite good. Join me...

POSTER: Pink border. Pink heart. I [heart] the Jackson 5
1. Reggie
2. Jessie
3. Kate
4. Glenda
5. Stonewall

The heck! Those aren't The Jackson 5! You guys!!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Lem E. See, ppppf r der" Hi, Lem. Welcome to the magazine.
Here's an odd thing...One of the little pictures on the side is from the "Opposite Page" of the Hold-Ups. Interesting.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - August 7th. "What's Wrong With This Cover" Contest Winner - Ryan Ruggles from Camarillo, CA! Cool...Mills & Baker Burger are now Official CRACKED Reporters. Worst joke? "Dear CRACKED, After FUTURE INSECT MONSTER MOVIES comes true as you predict, can insects on TV be far behind? Frank Sommers Sun City, Ariz." "Dear Frank, Nope, In fact, we heard there's a special planned entitled BEETLE OF THE NETWORK STARS (ant we're gnat ashamed of that gag either!).

IF MICHAEL JACKSON HAD STARRED IN...: Michael in everything! "ET" & "The A-Team" & "Star Trek"...Of course, Michael was with The A-Team in the last issue but he didn't have a Mohawk...He's a Vulcan on Star Trek and they meet Boy George. It's filled with entertaining chicanery of the sort that CRACKED Dutch Rubs on your ass in every issue. Now, the puns are out in force here..."Here you go, Mr. Spock." "A tube of Poligrip? What do I want with this?" "Someone told me that the captain's bridge was loose." This stuff is fun but Oh, the puns!!

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really men it this time, for sure!) PART XXVI: 4 pages of yuks and waiters dancing through the air and Rosie Grier in overalls and Charlie Chan and it's good stuff, as always.

THE '84 OLYMPICS GO COMMERCIAL: Everything Olympics-related has a sponsor. A man with a Bic lighter lights the Olympic flame. And there is a "Free Commercial Plugs Final", which Ronald McDonald wins! The third page has various ads, like Canyon Towels perfect for crying into and "Winners Can be Losers" - a lady with dandruff has won! Very visual bit and pretty amusing.

The 1984 Olympics were the ones I watched avidly as a child. I loved all the ads. All part of the fun.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS: Wonder Woman and mermaids and old ladies falling into manholes. "STOP! Don't read this page first! The fun starts on the back of this page! Turn back and enjoy the surprise...just for the fun of it!"

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO SWIMMING: 4 pages of OK stuff. It has a nice "Guide" flow. There is a man dressed as a kangaroo and a fat lady. A guy dives into a shark's mouth. Some guys go to the beach. There is a "No Dogs Allowed" sign. So, ugly Bertha-Mae isn't allowed! The backstroke has funniness within it. One guy dives into shallow water and hurts his neck! I wish I'd learned how to swim from this. I just hit the water and swam! No comedy involved...CRACKED please teach me.

HUDD & DINI: "How To Soap Carve" leads to a "Take The Money & Run" ripoff. Oh well, Hudd & Dini, take it outside.

CRACKED'S TOPSY-TURVY VIDEO GAME PUZZLE PAGE: There's a word puzzle. The words? "Asteroids, Centipede, Defender, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Pac-Man, Pengo, Phoenix, Qix, Turbo" Let's play all of them. There are all sorts of fake goof puzzles. A Maze that grabs your shnuts. "Which of the Pac-Men Below Are Twins?" This only goes for two pages and should last for more. I like it.


TALKING EVERYTHING: Talking shoes mean that every morning we can "expect to be greeted by sole-ful comments." Washing machines, boom boxes and wallets they talk. And, they're sassy, like Dee Thomas! The bathroom scale nags your big, phat arse. Diaries have alarms. It's charming and it's a Nutrocker. Enjoy.

ONE FINE DAY AT THE BOWLING ALLEY: A guy from Bonz Demolition Co. figures out a way to stop gutter balls. The nut!

THE MAKING OF THRILLER: This is a fun article, narrated by Michael. He tells the story of how the classic Thriller video was made. It's a CRACKED LENS-style article. Michael talks. And, we see assorted stills (Herman Munster, Barnabas Collins, dancers, marching bands, Bob Hope) that relate Michael's story. This is a six page bit and it works. It's just the standard sort of article that CRACKED does well linked to the Absolute Magnificence of Pop Culture at the time. Well done, CRACKED.

THE WISH: Wacky art and a strange, almost grotesque, closing panel. But, a good gag.

CRACKED'S SUREFIRE EXCUSE KITS: All right, well, this one has a lot of text. One big drawing for each kit with all sorts of arrows and explanations and craziness and it's OK. "Dog Ate My Term Paper Excuse Kit" You get a partially chewed-up paper, fake claw marks and band aids, X-ray of your dog showing paper in tummy, reference pages that show you did your research. It's stuff like that. There's a "Ran out of gas" and a "Flat Tire Excuse Kit" and others. It's OK but a bit overdone for my tastes.


1 - Lefty!
2 - Jack!
3 - Magna Carta

Lefty Jack & King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.

BACK COVER: Cool drawing. Great Moments In Sports. The invention of Sky Diving in Monga Wanga circa 304,787 BC.

I like this issue. It moves and it's fun. The stuff that works outnumbers the bombing moments...Is this a new upturn in the Final Sproul days of CRACKED? Or is it the Last Gasp? Let's look ahead...

Next issue: The Return of The Awesome Action Hero!

Friday, November 26, 2010

CRACKED #206: This one was inevitable

September 1984
by Pierre L.

Hey! The magazine's a dollar. How long has that been going on? Back at #127, it was 50 cents. Comedy is expensive, folks. Just ask The Sprouls.

Again, why is there nothing in the background here? Regardless, Sylvester combining Michael and Mr. T is cool and, yes, I did buy this issue when it came out.

POSTER: Pee Yellow! "Everybody Makes Makes Mistakes" Do they ever! That yellow is killing me but the jokes are delightful.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Marcus Absent, pruf rdddddr" Did they do that one before? 9 Writers! This issue should be hilarious.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: More "CRACKED Reporters", another Fan club message and the next issue on sale July 3rd. James Melberg loves their UPC code.

THE A-A-A-Y-Y TEAM: Wow. They loved this show. Michael Jackson's silver glove has gone missing and he's hired the A-A-etc. Team to get it back. Mr. T counts Michael's 8 Grammys. They run around a lot. There's chaos and, in the end, they save the day...and, oddly enough, the panels on the final page are all on a giant stamp (No. 78). Like the other A-Team bits, this moves fast and has some fun in it. I don't think there are any new jokes about the show here but the addition of Michael makes it worth a read.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS!: Again...great...Find some light. Take this page. Hold it up. Do not place directly in flame

CRACKED LOOKS AT COMPUTERS: "Computers will change the way the world goes about its business..." Gangsters shoot computers for squealing. Computers have their own Christmas parties. They go on strike. Dracula will get his own computer to find people with certain blood types. The Pentagon has "Original", "Duplicate" and "Triplicate" computers. Couples that aren't talking to each other speak by computer. And, of course, there will be "A computer that helps select the right computer for computer customers". It's almost right about the way computers work now but it's got that little CRACKED Twist that gets me downstairs, if you know what I mean.


HUDD & DINI: Fake Pools! Those goofs got caught out again!

SNIDE GUIDE TO CAMPING: I don't mean to be a jerk but this looks like an article from the late 50's, early 60's. I don't know where exactly it's from but, boy, it feels like a repeat. However, as I can't prove it...There are jokes about setting up tents, pup tents, (it's filled with dogs) and bear attacks. There is a CRACKED catalog for campers page. A sleeping bag is an enormous bag. The 12-Piece Food Mooching Kit is used to get free food from fellow campers. It's like that and it's pretty good. At three pages, actually, it feels like it doesn't quite really get rolling, which is strange for CRACKED.

WORD PLAY: "Walk Around The Block" is the best. "Broadway" is pretty close, too. Love this bit. Although, some of them seem like cheating or, maybe, I'm just bad at them. "Broadway" is great and it seems like cheating.

THE ABC'S OF VIDEO: Hmmm...I got a little tired just looking at this one. 4-line poems about video games for each letter of the alphabet with wacky pictures included. I read it and then lost interest and then started again...Let me pick my two favorites:
"J is for the joystick
That you move around and 'round.
Ever wonder why you've scored so low?
You're joystick's upside down!"
A dumb kid drinking Space Cola goofs up, big time.

"Xmas is a time of love
And for sermons by Pastor Pav.
But most of all it's the time of the year
To get games that you don't have."
A kid is sitting on Santa's lap. He says "I want any, but mostly all of the 37 games on this list." I think Santa is giving us a look. I love the way the poem uses the name "Pastor Pav". That's some fine rhyming, everyone.

ONE LATE AFTERNOON IN A BUTCHER SHOP: Funny one-pager. Comedy Poultry...Find It Here!

IF KIDS TOOK OVER COMPLETELY: I never wanted to take over completely when I was a kid. I just waned to have fun. Was that so wrong? This article is exactly what you'd think...grown-ups have to be home by 10 and in bed by 11...supermarkets would no longer sell brussel sprouts and spinach...streets would have names like "Mick Jagger Drive" and "Lois Lane"...water fountains dispense goes on for three pages...Mr. T becomes president. (This drawing of Mr. T is pretty hilarious. It looks like Burt Reynolds with a Mohawk.)...Kids get better allowances and all that sort of thing. It's not an article that really grabs me because it's so obvious. But, please, read it and tell me if I'm crazy. Maybe this kicks arse...?

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXV: A giant spider. Awesome! "Quick! Who in here's had the highest score on 'Centipede'?" I laughed. Nice to see it back. Four pages of good goofs with fun on your foot!

THE CRACKED WORLD OF MUSIC: Michael Jackson for President instead of "Jessie [sic] Jackson". A couple of really gross people play loud music in their apartment. One kid thinks that everyone is watching Empty TV. But, it's M-TV! Oh yeah! A guy named Vinnie wears an "I [heart] Pasta" shirt. The older generation still hates that rock and roll! A girl is taken to see "the Police" on her birthday. Squaresville, Baby!

MORE PRESS MISTAKES!: It's funny. "He put reserved signs on the seats of all of the important guests." A fellow is shown putting "Reserved" signs on people's big fat butts! "Your carpet dealer can be found if you get your yellow pages, and start looking under rugs." You can guess what the lady's doing here. I like this article.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE HAMBURGER KING: Boy, this one feels like a repeat, too. It's the Old-Style Nanny and there's a political joke at the end that feels dated but...I'm having a tough time gauging who the political figure is so I could be wrong. If anyone can tell me if this is a repeat, that would be great. But, until then..Mr. Mac Dandy own The Hamburger King and he rips everybody off with cheap meat and all sorts of chicanery...Nanny talks to him, gives him the guff right back and then meets Randy MacDandy, their clown. It's a swift five page goof on fast food. Fun.

1 - Dump
2 - Orbit
3 - Juliet

There's wisdom in those words.

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Politics...Oh, those dictators!

Well, it was a CRACKED journey. I'm just nagged by the fact that I'm missing some of the repeated material here. But, this issue isn't a bad one. It's average CRACKED and that's all I needed then and it's all we're getting now.

Next issue: More of the same.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CRACKED #205: Thank God, it's Webster!

August 1984
by Pierre L.

Hey! Webster and Diff'rent Strokes were kind of similar! I never thought of that. I do wonder why they couldn't have put something behind or around them, like a boxing ring and a crowd. I guess with the white background that places Arnold & Webster right into the CRACKED world. If it were more elaborate, it would be CRACKED in someone else's world. Yeah, that makes sense, doesn't it? Yeah...

POSTER: Nicely drawn and shaded. "In Case of Emergency...Break Glass" Sylvester is behind the glass dressed as Mr. T.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Mr. T. is in this issue. "Jhon Smiht, prrfff rdr rdr" 4 writers on this issue.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Another CRACKED Fan Club Secret Message...I guess I would have been pissed if I sent away to the CRACKED Fan Club and then discovered that these messages were nothing but bad jokes. But, isn't there a chance that that's all they are? Well...Next issue...May 29th. I would have been 11! There is a list of kids names. The "Official CRACKED Reporters"...Lucky.

WEBFOOT: I owned this issue and I remember this bit. Some entertaining jokes about Webfoot being so small. Catrine's hair goes crazy. Webfoot has a Mr. T doll. And, someone is pulling pranks around the's not Webfoot. After we learn our Weekly Lesson, we find out that it's Arnold Drummond! He's jealous of Webfoot...Didn't Arnold do this in a previous issue's parody?

What was with the Lesson Teaching in rotten sitcoms of this time? Webster, The Facts of Life & Diff'rent Strokes really strike me as the greatest offenders. The comedy wasn't funny and we had to sit through a lesson. What audacity on the part of bad writers..."My jokes aren't funny but I'm qualified to give you a life lesson." Get the hell out of my house!


CRACKED HOLD-UPS: Snow, skating, UFOs and portages...Comedy! I do like this bit. I wish I could have you over to the house and we could hold it up to the light together...I wonder it that "Don't You Feel Stupid" bit is coming back.


HUDD & DINI: The two convicts go to scuba diving school! They go underwater and get eaten by a fake shark! Back to jail! Is the Scuba Diving School in the jail? Is that a good recreation activity for a group of convicts? The Sea has its own laws, I guess.

IF TV SHOW WERE COMBINED: Now, the issue is picking up. Here we go...

"The A-Team and Webster" - A Hoedown of Hilarity
"Knight Rider and AfterMASH" - Comedy Ahoy!
"Lottery & Dynasty" - The Das Boot of Parodies
60 Minutes and The Dukes of Hazaard" - Death by Comedy! Can CRACKED be arrested for this?
"Dallas and Diff'rent Strokes" - J. Er, Sewer Ellen and Arnold...Love it! It's nice to see Dallas in here. At this point, they were deep in their #1 or #2 struggle with Dynasty. I love Dallas.

GODZILLA TOURS WASHINGTON D.C.: Funny one-pager with a clever final panel. Nice.

VIDEO NIGHTMARES: Oh no! We see kids sleeping and their nightmares...Joey is going to set the new record when his baby brother pulls the plug! And, then the baby boy puts the plug in his mouth! Awesome! A girl is given 500 quarters but the arcades are closed due to the "Lithuanian Pizza Baking Holiday"! Oh, the Lithuanians! One boy loses his thumbs. It's a fun article that has a few real smiles in it and is chaotic enough to carry you through the four pages. And, of course, it's video game stuff.

THE THREE MOOSEKATEERS: A parody of The Three Musketeers that's pretty good. Pathos, Quartious and Sid fight some evil folks and they joke a lot...and there's a giant hand and a giant "SPLAT!" "One for ALL and the rest of us use TIDE!" "You drive a hard bargain." "No, I don't. I drive a '62 Palamino." It moves along nice. I don't love it but it's got it's charms. I do like when they go outside of the Present Pop Culture and wander around it. Would ya, please?

THE CRACKED HOME COMPUTER I.Q. TEST: CRACKED, teach me. Lots of questions. A bunch of stills. Several stills from "The Lords of Flatbush". Someone at CRACKED must have known someone who made that film. Anyway...
A few sample questions:
5) Dig Dug is
a)Ronald Reagan's pet name for Nancy
b)A home computer game
c)Both A and B.

12) What is output?
a) What an angry mother tells her son to do with the garbage
b) What American workers are paid to produce, but don't because they're too busy taking coffee breaks.

21) What is a CPU?
a) The wrong way of spelling CUP
b) The person your father goes to on April 15 to do his income tax

29) According to studies, which member of your family will most likely NOT use your new home computer?
a) Juanita your Spanish maid
b) Fluffy your whitehaired poodle
c) Larry, your brother who got lost in the jungles of the Arctic and has not been heard from since 1943
d) Anyone who didn't chip in $40 to buy it

It goes like that. As you read, it's a mix of "Hey, that's pretty good" and some not-so-pretty-goods. But, I say, read it and try it.


1 - Al & The Burglars
2 - Gail & The Bumpers
3 - Fat Don & The Plank!

Always grand.

BACK COVER: Repeat from #154

Well, the new bits are decent. The repeats are fun. But, they're still repeats so that's not so good. I don't know. When I was a kid, I remember loving this issue. As an adult, it doesn't feel like it ever gets started. Well, we are truly winding down now. Let's see where we go next.

Next issue: All right! Let's keep the Pop culture Team-Ups Cooking!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CRACKED #204: Hey! That skeleton's eating a sandwich!

July 1984
by Pierre L.

Great cover. I would have loved to have won the painting in this contest. I was buying issues at this time but I don't remember this one. Maybe I didn't buy it because there was no Pop Culture Junk on the cover. It's just a classic goofy Severin painting. It's too bad that almost a third of the cover is made up of the white header. Let me tell you real quick...Don't bowl in the street. Don't fish in the sewer. And, don't...DO NOT...put a saddle on a pig.

You'd think that was something everyone would just know not to do.

POSTER: THE CRACKED EYE CHART. Black on white. No pee yellow here! Funny sight gag.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Imogene is back as pruuuuf fder. I see Gary Coleman. And...I see a still from the Laurel & Hardy short The Finishing Touch. I saw that on the big screen in 1996. Hilarious stuff. Why remind people of hilarious things in this issue...unless, this issue is going to be hilarious...Do it, guys and gals!

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - April 17th. What were your three favorite TV shows from this time? Mine were Manimal, The Rousters and Manimal. Have I already said Manimal?

MAGDUMB P.I.: Not a show I used to watch but this is a good parody. It all takes place around the place where Magdumb lives. Two guys show up to ransom off Magdmub and then the other guys at the wherever it is where they all live. It's a fast-moving parody with a couple of laughs that works because it's in real time and all stays around the same spot. I enjoyed this. It isn't going to send me out to watch the show but it was breeze of a read.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS!: Still surprising. A scientist with a tail. A robot eating nails. And gals running and lifting their skirts. Great stuff.


THE A-TEAM WAY OF DOING THINGS: It's like one of those Fonz articles from so long ago. "The normal way of entering a house." A kid yells "Mom, I'm home." The A-Team way...Mr. T bursts through the door! They're mostly like that. Whereas you or I might not destroy everything we come in contact with, there's a good chance that The A-Team might. Basically, that's the whole three pages...You might take garbage out to a garbage can. The A-Team packs it into a cannon and shoots it at their neighbors.

YOU CAN WIN: It's the Enter the "What's Wrong With The Cover?" Contest! page. And, again, it goes to Madeira Beach, Fla. 2nd and 3rd prizes: Atari Video Games!

WORD PLAY: A frozen "FEET" is "Cold Feet". ARMS/ ARM/ AR/ M is "Arms Reduction". RUB spelled backwards is "Rub the Wrong Way". Love this article.

"...when your shoes stick to the floor to the point where you simply think about leaving them there instead of wearing them?"
"...waiting hours in line and the show gets sold out right before you get a ticket?"
"...getting caught in the middle of a straw wrapper war?"
"...when half of your malted milk balls are hollow and stale?"
"...when the snack bar counter is greasy from popcorn butter?"
"...that your hot dog is half the size of your hot dog bun?"
"...when a couple in your row decide to re-enact their own version of 'Romeo and Juliet'?"
"...when the only vacant set is in the front row?"
"...sitting next to a guy who laughs at parts that no one else think is funny?" (Slasher Alert!)
"...when the only vacant seat in the hose happens to be behind a professional basketball player?"
"...when the missing letters on the marquee make it impossible to figure out what's playing?" ("Y_CA_N__DA_U__SE" & "T_A___K__BD___GHT")

For some reason, I felt like writing it all down. Make your own decision on quality. The art is fine.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME: "In The Past"...."Over The Years"..."Nevertheless..." It's an OK bit. It's rather MAD-like. But, it goes on for four pages and that's too long for me. It's not that great. One example: "In the past man traveled at a snail's pace." We see a Biblical-era man walking. "Over the years man invented faster and faster forms of transportation." A train shoots along a track. "Nevertheless, man still travels at a snail's pace." Traffic jam!!! It's all right. Not a great bit but all right.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXIV: Four pages of fun...but there is that L&H still. Makes me think I could be watching those guys and enjoying them rather than tripping trough the uneven world of CRACKED.

ALAFFIN'S MAGIC LAND: If this ain't a repeat, it should be. Kid rubs the lamp. Genie flies out. The kid and his two friends want to be a big rock group. You take it from there...

THE GARY COLEMAN WORKOUT BOOK FOR KIDS: Not the funniest bit but it is nice to see Gary Coleman again. Gary lifts a 30 lb. salami over his head and then takes a bite. He stretches his arms to get the cookie jar. He uses the Video Pushaway at the arcade. It's kind of an underdrawn article but it's worth a read.

CAT GIFTS FOR CATS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING: Two pages of fun (mostly famous) cats hanging out with their cool stuff. "Imported French Fleas" "Fridge With Private Door For Tabby" "Curtained Kitty Litter Box" A "Cat Sampler" that reads "Every dog has his day but the nights are reserved for cats."

HUDD & DINI: They try to escape...but they don't make it!! Gorillas are involved.


1 - No Cable TV on a deserted island!
2 - The Ten O'Clock News
3 - Hang that jerk from the hanging post!

Best bit here is the little drawing on top. Dracula, as a bat, flies into his castle and finds that a cat is using the soil in his coffin as a litter box. it's fun.

BACK COVER: Great Moments in Safety...Og Bog Almost Invents The Life Preserver...But, he doesn't. Not really.

This one didn't turn out to be high hilarity. Well, all the attempts at crazy satire from two issues ago and all the attempts at new twists on old jokes are gone. We have returned to the old world of CRACKED. And, frankly, it's sort of boring me. The repeats aren't helping either.

Not a bad issue. Not a great issue.

Next issue: Hey! There's a combination!

Friday, November 19, 2010

CRACKED #203: Sylvester Looks Good...

May 1984
by Pierre L.

It says "The A-Team" but we know it's Mr. T. I wonder if they ever covered the Mr. T Animated Series? It's an odd cover because it's not much of a joke. Sylvester beats Mr. T at arm wrestling? Is that actually funny? Or is it something else...

No, I think it's meant to be funny.

POSTER: Pee Yellow and Black! The room is condemned! Your room! Oh no! This one seems like a "We've had this one sitting around for years. Let's use it now." one.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Manuel Writa, prfffffff rdr Mr. T...dressed as a woman? Awesome.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - March 6th. They are offering a chance to become an Official CRACKED Reporter - List your three favorite TV shows and win a chance to have your name appear in CRACKED. Odd...the address is in Madeira Beach, FL. Did B. Sproul leave NYC for Florida? As cliche as it sounds, that may have been what happened. Of course, that's just a guess.

THE A-A-AYY TEAM: This parody is awesome because of all the video game stuff. Someone is fixing all the video games at Glade Arcade down at the Scubby Doo Celebrity Mall so kids win tons of free games and never lose. Star Raiders, MACH 3 and Q*Bert get a mention. Excellent. I was wondering how they would justify another A-Team bit so soon after the last ones. Mix in Video Games! Video Games and Mr. T = A Formula For CRACKED Success. Of course, by early 1984, we had experienced the video game crash of 1983 so the First Round of Video Games was fading. But, hey, CRACKED is CRACKED when it's CRACKED! The article does end by admitting that Mr. T is everywhere, as it should be.

CRACKED GUIDE TO WINTER SPORTS: Excellent one. Maybe it's because I like Winter Sports, I don't know. But, this one has a fun announcer who takes us from Skiing to Ice Fishing to Sledding to Ice Skating to Duck Hunting to Heavy Petting (On The Couch). The jokes are older than ever but this one moves very fast. Not having to focus on one sport means that when they run out of old jokes...they go on to the next bit.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS!: Still great times. The bottom one where the golfer says "What's par for this course?" is kickass. This is a good addition to the magazine's regular articles.

HOW THE ADS OF TOMORROW WILL EXPLOIT THE ENERGY CRISIS: Repeat from #168, except they've changed the Cadillac Cub model to a 1984.

DON'T YOU FEEL STUPID: Well, this one's less of a great regular article. Spelling words wrong, breaking knobs off of TV sets, splattering ketchup's an encyclopedia of things to make you feel stupid...Did they do a CRACKED Collectors' Edition of "Stupids"?


WORD PLAY: Still a breath of fresh air (that feels like it's in the wrong magazine) in the center of a now-uneven publication. Breaking A Promise! Awesome!

THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE: Fun article that feels like it might be a repeat. (Two reasons: 1) mention of Farrah Fawcett & 2) a guy calls himself a "clone" - CRACKED circa '77-'78.) But, I don't remember it from anywhere else. "Look at the problem in the left panel. Can you figure out what you should have done beforehand to have prevented it?" The first one has a left panel with a wife, husband and son staring at their burnt-down house. Then, you flip the magazine and the left panel shows the boy throwing away his Chemistry Set. Stuff like that. I applaud CRACKED here. They are using the same old jokes but putting them in a different format. The activity of turning the magazine every few seconds makes this article memorable, even if the jokes are not of the highest caliber. I do love the house in the swamp. How would you live there? And, as always, the closer is a really bored kid...who should have bought CRACKED!

AFTER M*U*S*H: No 10 in the Ratings of the 1983-1984 season. Ironically, the Network put it up against its issue mate, The A-Team, and Mr. T and pals wiped the floor with After Mash. So, my first thought of "Why this show?" is answered (the high ratings thing). I only vaguely remember watching this show. What's funnier that the show or this parody is a bit from Not Necessarily The News on HBO. "First, there was MASH. Then, there was After MASH. Now..." We see two Koreans standing in and empty field. "Before MASH!" One turns to the other and says "When are they going to get here?" Best MASH parody joke ever!

THE CRACKED HUMOR QUIZ: It's THE CRACKED LENS where you pick what goes in the word balloon...Again, another tweak on the format. Each movie still gets three possibles...yes, Henry Winkler appears in a still from The Lords of Flatbush. Oddly enough, the word balloon covers (I think) Stallone's face. It's fun to do this quiz once and then carry on...But, The CRACKED LENS was the one part of this mazagine's format that didn't need tweaking. So, enjoy and carry on to Nanny.

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE 3-D KING: Nanny's breasts are at her largest in this article. Possibly something to do with 3-D. I would go see the 3-D film called "The Bean That Attacked Boston". Sidney Schlock is the 3-D King and he is preparing E.T. 3-D...hmmm, why does this sound topical? People have troubles with the glasses and...there is a strange typo where Nanny mentions the film "Robotron - The Killer Robot Who Wasn't Very Nice" and we see the poster that says "Robot Man - The Killer Robot Who Wasn't Nice." However, the audience's reaction to 3-D toothpaste is awesome and worth the price of admission. Five pages of fun 3-D gags. Odd that they love monsters so much but kept so far from slashers. I bring that up because I was a kid who loved both and this was when I bought the magazine... An article on kids trying to sneak into the slashers or hearing secondhand stories about them would have been fun.

1 - Jail
2 - Cola
3 - NASA

Total - Janasa Cola, PhD!

BACK COVER: One Afternoon in the Big City...Great one-pager. It has a video game punchline, which I love. But, what's with the colors? Pee Yellow background. All text in black. And, the panels are a sort of baby blue...Strange.

Well, they are trying to do some new twists on old material. And, they have found a new subject to base a lot of their covers around. But, we'll have to see. Most of this issue is Average CRACKED. The tweaks do give me a feeling that are thinking about ways to keep folks reading but will it be enough? What's up for the next issue?

NEXT ISSUE: Keeping it fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CRACKED #202: One of the oddest issues I've seen

March 1984
by Pierre L.

But, of course, it came out in mid-December 1983. I was 10. Christmas Vacation began. We went to the supermarket in Irondequoit (Wegmans) and I scoured the magazine racks for...Oh yes!The new CRACKED and there's a Christmas reference on the back! My mom had a mini-van. My Mom, my sister and I were driving around town as she ran last minute errands before the holiday celebrations kicked in. I'm sure I was hoping for some awesome gift of some sort (probably several) but I don't remember what it might have been. When my Mom and my sister went into one store, I sat in the mini-van. I remember that it was snowing. I remember that it was very cold. I sat, nestled into a seat, almost as happy as a boy could be, and read CRACKED #202. And, I loved it--- all of it. It was perfect.

We got home later that afternoon. Fire in the fireplace. Waiting for the USA Cartoon Express to start up. They'd been showing Christmas things. Maybe there was something Holiday-esque on that night. But, I do know, with hot cocoa in hand, I read #202 again and again...And, although it barely touched on the holiday, it was Christmas to me that year.

And now, some-odd years later...I'm reviewing the issue for whatever it is this is...Oh, Pierre L.! Where has the time gone? Well, let's dive in and see what we see.

The cover was great. #200 had MAD stuff on it. Two issues later...they're really going after them. I wonder if I would have seen this as a kid and thought "Hey! It's MAD! Oh wait..." It's such a sparse cover, though. MAD still had those elaborate covers. This is just the Mad to Cracked bit and a picture of an orangutan in a suit. "Mr. Smith!" I watched that show. Mr. Smith was in politics. And, the show bombed in the ratings and was canceled three days after this issue came out. So, when I bought it, it would have been off the schedule already...That's comedy!

POSTER: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME reading this poster because it doesn't say anything. CRACKED! You've shanked me in the Funny Bone! And, I'm bleeding mirth!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Rhoda Book - pru rrrrder Lots of writers and artists on this issue. 10 and 7, respectively.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: The "Statement of Ownership etc." is here...Total issues per month for 1983: 579,728. Boy, check out my post from 07/24/10. In 1975, they were doing a million a month. Now, they're down to half that. Why did I love it so much at this time? Why did I watch Mr. Smith? Next issue - January 24th, 1984. I was in 5th grade. Sylvester with a Mohawk in the lettuce! What's next?

THE DAY MR. SMYTH SAVED KNUT RIDER: Classic CRACKED parody. Bad puns, big panels and not too much to read to slow things down. There is something almost perverse about teaming a hit show with a show that is 72 hours from leaving the air forever...but that's the "Jaws-3D" era of CRACKED for you. This one has a nice goofy flow to it awesome twist at the end...Conold Drumming and Webfoot have hacked into KITTY (Mr. Knut's car) and is making it go kooky. That's why they call in Mr. Smith. Did you like the way I backed the plot in there? This was one of my favorite parodies as a kid...I still like it.

CRACKED HOLD-UPS: Again, they are rather hostile but oh so funny. Page 13 has the set-up. Hold it up to light and page 14 gives us the kicker! King Kong, vampires and guillotines await!

WHEN THE WORLD RUNS OUT OF SPACE: Repeat from Issue #127. But, missing Page Four, the one where the government tries to convince everyone to kill themselves.

PRODUCTS THAT JUST MISSED!: This is as great as the Tamper-Proof packaging bit from the previous issue. Samwell House Coffee "It's good to the NEXT to the last drop!" 6UP didn't make it because of one lousy "UP". Radio dinners bombed. The "Fair Humor" Ice Cream bar tanked. Really Cigarettes put the filter in the center. Heins 56....No dice! And, my favorite, the "Baby Irving" Candy bar. Great article.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF OWNING YOUR OWN PHONE: Three pages of strips about cordless phones (one funny bit has a Mom hunting everywhere for the phone) and installing phone booths in your living room and taping you wife's yap shut to keep the phone bill down! I love the bit about the kid who is late getting home from a friend's house. His friend has a special sound effects machine that plays while they're on the phone. It has "Airport", "Taxidermist", "Dentist", "Bus Depot", "Health Spa" and "CRACKED". The kid hit dentist but I always wished he hit CRACKED...what did they sound like? ("Can I use a 'Woe not Woah' joke in this issue?" "We did that last time." "Gotcha. What about a 'gorilla of my dreams' bit?" "We did that two or three issues ago!")

ONE AFTERNOON AT A COMPANY PICNIC: And the oddness appears..Don Orehek, who's been with CRACKED for years...does this one-page bit that looks exactly like a one-page MAD bit by Don Martin...down to the art and down to the joke. The Three-Legged race is won by a three-legged man...That's MAD...Or is it something else?

YOU KNOW YOU'RE BORING WHEN: Oh, this is still CRACKED. Bill Ward's wacky drawings cover all that boring stuff...your doctor wants to record your voice and prescribe it as a sleep aid...your reflection yawns when you talk...stuff like that. The best part here is the border around the article...tons of yawning and sleepy people. I don't think I even noticed this bit when I was a kid.

WORD PLAY: Change of Pace is awesome! Actually, this is my favorite one of these. I didn't get any of them but I like them.

ANOTHER SIDE OF LIFE:'s the weirdness...either CRACKED is at its most clever or I'm ill... This is a spot-on parody of Dave Berg's "Lighter Side" articles. It even has one of those bits above the title: "Birdseye View Dept". It even features an appearance by a man who looks a lot like Roger Kaputnik. It starts off calm on the first two pages. The subjects of the strips are Exercise, Diseases, Kids' Cereals and Dating. Then, they start to go goofy. Inflation (Sort of), Accordians[sic], Only Children, Vegetables, Dinosaurs, Bus Breakdowns, Baroque Pianos and Henways. Yeah, this is a parody all right, even down to the rather lame jokes and observations that MAD always had.

But...CRACKED has spent so long trying to imitate MAD that when they parody them it feels strange. The bad jokes in here are really not that different from the jokes CRACKED uses in a normal article. The strips subjects are the best part of this. Once you read them, there's almost no point in reading the actual strips. It was a bold move to parody the magazine you've trying to be for 25 years. But, it only goes to show how, at the base, no matter what the tones or structures of the two magazines, they always used the same dumb jokes.

As a kid, I don't even think I would have noticed what this article was supposed to be. I would have just thought "They're ripping off MAD again!"

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXIII: Thank goodness! New ones! I love the first one with "Very good class, tomorrow we'll learn to turn our heads to the right." But, on the third page, there's that Marlon Brando in the bath still that they've used before. How new is this one, I wonder?

FAMILY TIES: A parody done exactly in the style of MAD. So, it's a parody of a MAD parody of a TV show. It even does that MAD thing where all the main characters are on the first page and there are huge word balloons as they explain themselves. Then, we get six pages of panels filled with word balloons. They abandon the usual CRACKED pun-filled world and go into the slightly more observational land of MAD. And, it's fun. But, I don't know if they meant to force a compare & contrast but the Mr. Smith parody is more fun to read.

DON'T YOU FEEL STUPID: More of these! Although, these aren't as hostile as last issue's batch. "When you get up, rush to get ready for school, go into the kitchen and your Mom says it's Saturday?" "When you bend over to tie your shoelace and your pants split?" I don't think I remember seeing this article either.

HUDD & DINI: Have these guys been in any of the ones I've done or is this their first appearance? I'm doing a blog search and I don't see them. Odd. They've definitely been here before. Maybe prior to 127? These two wacky convicts get caught and brought back to jail by the Wily Sheriff! It's fun...And, it feels a lot like a variation on Spy Vs. Spy...

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE STUNT KING: Repeat from #128 Nancy at the start. Nanny at the end.

1 - Aces Moving
2 - Ronny Reagan
3 - Tiny Lady

Why is this so great? I'm pretty sure I went around the rest of the day, back in 1983, telling everyone to Shut-Up in an hilarious manner.

Maybe I didn't get any gifts that year?

BACK COVER: ONE EVENING AT HOME - Another Orehek parody of a Don Martin thing that seems exactly like a Don Martin thing. Christmas does appear here.

What can I say? This issue is alternately Good CRACKED, Mediocre CRACKED and CRACKED at its sharpest. So sharp in its parodies of MAD that it was years before I spotted them as parodies.

As a kid, well, this was the best. As an adult, it certainly has its moments. But, it does feel like "A Magazine Divided". What exactly are they getting up to? Maybe the next issue will reveal something? Maybe not...Let's move on.

Next Issue: Well, they came back quick.