Saturday, September 25, 2010

CRACKED #194: A Little Bit Sad

May 1983
by Pierre L.

Remember last time when I mentioned the end of an era. Well, here is the Actual, Real End. M*A*S*H, after 11 seasons, ends. And, CRACKED says Goodbye to it...For once, the plain white background works perfectly. It's simple and not ostentatious. It's so nice to see our old friends in the background there. I wish they had made it kind of bigger. Maybe gotten rid of the stuff on top and moved the name of the Mazagine up a notch. But, it works.

Let's head in.

POSTER: Pee yellow and red! I feel a little ill. "DO NOT READ THIS POSTER" and lots of fine print about being in trouble if you've read this far. It's too bad these gags have to intrude immediately upon the solemn charm of the cover. Oh well. Don't you dare tear this cover off! But, if you do, hang up the front cover rather than the poster.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Someone once said 'All good things must come to an end.' Well, apparently the television network executives believed that person. They have decided to cancel one of the finest shows in television history. Goodbye M*A*S*H! We'll miss you!" Wow...heartfelt sentiment from CRACKED. Do they have new staff there for 1983? Noah Candoo is the prrrff reedeer.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: One person mentions five different CRACKEDs at once "...the March Knight Rider issue, Monsters - Collectors' Edition, a Super CRACKED, Giant CRACKED and an Extra Special CRACKED." Wow. I may review another CRACKED Monster thing for Halloween. Next issue - March 8, 1983.

FAREWELL M*A*S*H*E*D - A CRACKED REMEMBRANCE: And so it goes. Hey look! It's the first issue they were on the cover of...#115 from March 1974...sigh. We'll get to that one eventually. Maybe I'll do a "Special Flashback" review to that one.

Anyway... And, the war is over and everyone is heading home. There are flashbacks to bits that we hadn't actually seen in the magazine but they we always imagined happening (IE a Hot Lips shower scene to end all shower scenes). Everyone has their final puns. Hawkeye always kept two writers stashed in his footlocker. The old cast makes brief appearances...And, in the end, everyone realizes that what they'll miss the most is all the great perks of the job and that awesome weekly paycheck. Hey! That's comedy. Goodbye M*A*S*H. We shall miss you. And, we will definitely miss you in the pages of CRACKED. CRACKED without M*U*SH (my favorite) doesn't bear thinking.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) PART XIX: Good choice. perfect placement of this article. It's only three pages but The CRACKED Lens shall never die! If the closing M*A*S*H bit had been followed by a lame filler article, I would have been pissed. This is a nice easer into the rest of the magazine.

HOW COME?: Yeah. This is the bit that I'm glad they didn't put after the opening bit of awesome. "How come you're too old to play with your brother's Hot Wheels but too young to drive your dad's car?" "How come a bag of potato chips is impossible to open, and even more impossible to close back up?" "How come if you're supposed to be so smart, you're reading this magazine?" Yeah, you tell me...At two pages, it farts by and the smell isn't too offensive.

CRACKED'S EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH AWARD: Nice two-page bit. Good gag. Feels, just a bit, like a reprint.

TALKING CARS: Knight Rider Follow Up #1! A garbage truck says "Just what I need...another yummy morsel!" A car says to a guy making out with a gal "Oh, brother! What a cornball line! No wonder you have so much trouble making out with the chicks!" Apparently, GM and Ford announced that some cars would have voice computers. If so and if this article is them, they were sassy fellows. Flip to pages 3 & 4 of this bit and it expands nicely...Ads for Talking Cars and talking car movies and the new comic strips "Carfield". I like this article.

THE CRACKED WORLD OF BAD HABITS: Is filler material like this a bad habit of CRACKED MAZAGINE? Four pages of this? All these gags are recycled from the Magical Land of MAD. But, as I've said before, when I was 10 and I would buy this magazine...every article was pored over and read again and again. The art is certainly entertaining but the jokes, really, aren't. Didn't matter. I would read through the magazine fast the first time and then let it marinate in my mind...Ahhh...good stuff.

AN OWNER AND A PLAYER NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT...1982: Those darn Sports Strikes! The bit is OK but it's no big-ass bit of gaggery. I'm not a sports guy but I do like some sports jokes...This is all right.

CRACKED EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: A three page bit with a series of well...let me give an example.
"Getting Food"
A caveman punches out a saber-toothed tiger...arrow to...
A Native American harvests maize...arrow to...
A buffalo has been bowed & arrowed...arrow to...
A pilgrim shoots a turkey...arrow to...
A snooty man fishes...arrow to...
A man in a cat a "Burger World" Drive-Thru window.

You get the idea. "Worker" (ends with a robot), "Art Work", "Music" (they still hate rock and roll...cavemen bang on things and, today, "The Ozzy Ozbourne Band" look just like cavemen and bang on things), "Fighting", "Politicians", "Automobiles" (Knight Rider!), "Movie Idols" (Chaplin to ET), "Candy bars", "Athletes" and "Literature" (Hieroglyphics to CRACKED!)

A charming bit. Obvious but charming.

ROBOT REPORT: A robot article? Why? This is a magazine for robots. Ask Roberta Robot. T-Shirt Fads Hits Robot World. Join the U.S. Army Corps of Robots. Robots In The Spotlight. I'm not sure why the robot thing is here now. The article is OK but doesn't make me go wild. Sometimes I look at one of this articles and the layout seems to dare me to read on. That's what I feel with this one. "Why does it require four humans to screw in one light bulb?" "That's how many humans it takes to find one robot to do the job."

CRACKED'S VIDEO CARTOON SHOWCASE: Video games ahoy! Two pages of Jeff Keate video game one-panel bits. pretty good. I like this guy.

3-D HORROR SHOWS: The early 80's 3-D trend comes up and CRACKED links it all to horror films. And, I suppose, most of them were horror films. Odd that this is the first appearance of slasher-related stuff in CRACKED. It was such a huge part of early 80's Pop Culture. I would have thought it should have popped up sooner. The opening page is two crazy killers leaping out of the screen as they kill with cleavers and chainsaws. "This movie is a ripoff! In 'Halloween the 13th' they chopped up nine more people!" "Yawn! I haven't seen one eyeball come flying out of that screen in the last ten seconds!" "So far the biggest horror tonight has been these #@&$! 3-D glasses that won't fit over my regular glasses!" "That phony blood looks like the ketchup at Burger Queen!" "You're wrong! The ketchup at Burger Queen looks much more revolting!" That's the best part of the article...the crowd on the first page watching the slasher film. The remaining two pages are just 3-D gags applied to going to the Video Arcade and watching movies and going to the supermarket.

Another OK bit.

WHO IN THE WORLD DECIDED THAT...?" "...hailstones should only be measured in 'Ball-Size' units?" Just for that caption the article is worth a read. "Teeth have to 'Sparkle'?" "The length of everything on TV has to be in exact multiples of 30 minutes?" I like the art on this. The actual jokes are blah but it's fun to look at.

GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY: Stills with captions...captions filled with gags! Two pages and some funny moments. But, as I'm reading them, none of them really inspire me to describe them. So, maybe it's less memorable than I thought. Tough to say. Six panels, six captions and a couple smiles. I see Ernest Borgnine and I see a lady sliding across the floor. I see fun? Maybe.

WHAT TODAY'S STRIPS WOULD LOOK LIKE IF THEY WERE DRAWN BY RONALD REAGAN: Dennis The Menace, Dick Tracy, Mary Worth, Hagar The Horrible, Garfield, Little Orphan Annie, Beetle Bailey, Peanuts, Momma, Blondie. First, I had no idea "Momma" was around back then. Second, "Little Orphan Annie" ended in 1968. Third, Garfield now loves jelly beans instead of lasagna. Hey! Some of this strips are actually funnier than the things they're based on. When was the last time Blondie or Beetle Bailey was funny? Well, some political stuff in CRACKED. Interesting angle on it. Dennis the Menace adds 2 + 1 and gets 5. "Haven't you ever heard of Supply Side Mathematics?" Hagar refuses to attack royalty or noblemen so he goes after a Union headquarters. Charlie Brown wants peace so he makes one giant snowball as a deterrent. Ronnie and his comics. I like this.


The hell? We're done?
1 - Prison
2 - Marriage
3 - Court

I love shutting up.

GREAT MOMENTS IN COMEDY: Slaves are tickled!

Well, this issue opens hard and then trails off. The filler is inoffensive. The articles are, generally, fun. But, I really can't help thinking that I don't know where CRACKED will go from here. Where can they go? I guess a full-on Pop Culture reboot is in order.

Next issue: Ahh...should have guessed it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

CRACKED #193: We are in another era now

March 1983
by Pierre L.

Great drawing of KITT, David and Sylvester inside the car. And, a very interesting orangey shape behind them. It's all very clean, this cover. But, not in a bad way. It grabs my eye and yanks me inside.


Someone peed on my poster! Actually, this one's pretty good.

LOITTERING (crossed out)
LOTIRING (crossed out)

Good gag.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Luke N. Cee is the pppp rder

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Hmmm...Here's the last letter: "Dear CRACKED, Yesterday...I spotted GIANT CRACKED #34 with your movie satire 'EaTing' in it...." Wait a second!!! I thought that, by owning the regular CRACKED magazines from this era, I was getting everything I needed. I thought the GIANTs and the SUPERs and all the others were reprints with the occasional "game" thrown in. I knew that the Fonz For President had a lot of new stuff but...The E.T. satire is only in a GIANT CRACKED? Oh no...Does that mean I need to start collecting those? Oh boy.

The yearly Statement of Ownership and etc. is here. 653,721 monthly in 1982. See the Previous Post about this.

Next issue: January 25,1983 So, the current issue is a Christmas one!

KNUT RIDER: Not a favorite show of mine. I liked it a little more than The A Team. Repetitive stuff that was almost very interesting. I do wish Shadow Chasers would have stayed on for years. I think, at this time period, Kenneth Johnson is the only person to trust with this type of show. But, this bit has some decent gags in it. Nothing really happens. They just drive around and crash into things and do wacky stuff. A classic CRACKED moment: Mike Knut asks Kit to play some music for him while he sleeps (and Kit drives). We see Mike asleep and a trumpet player, a man who has cymbals or a tuba and an older gentleman with an acoustic guitar. What is that? A reunion of the Dixieland Jazz Ramblers, first time meeting up since 1927? What's with the guy and the acoustic guitar? I thought "Well, they couldn't put a rock band there..." But, there's a guy with a trumpet?

All in all, a fun bit for a show I never liked.

NEWSWEAK:Pretty funny text-heavy bit. Set up like a real magazine (as opposed to a mazagine). "The Little Town That Could - And Did" Littleton, Montana put everyone in prison. Horse-napping on the rise! Two movie reviews: Muffin for #10, which is a very funny title, and "I Married a Deadman", which seems to be pure Weekend at Bernie's fun. A lady gives her husband rat poison instead of Tums. He dies but she pretends he's alive. It's hilarious. This is a pretty good bit.

HOW THE FOOTBALL MOGULS EXPECT TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THOSE LOST COMMERCIALS: This was Sports Strike Time! Advertising is everywhere (according to this article) when football returns. No. 7's jersey will now read "DRINK 7 UP". No. 31's will read "Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors". Band formations at halftime will spell out ads for the blimps. Bubble gum cards will have all sorts of ads built into the stats. At two pages, it's fun.

THE VERY RICH AND THE VERY POOR: One of these...Poor on one side, rich on the other. Some funny moments but it's kind of a shrug. I do like that the rich read MEGABUCK$ and the poor read SPARE CHANGE. In the intro, it says "Thanks to Reaganomics our country's impoverished middle class is disappearing faster that a roll of quarters at a video game arcade." This is Late 1982/ Early 1983! CRACKED tells the future...again.

THE PONDERING PLUMBER: Amusing one-pager. It'll make you smile.

THE GOOD OLD DAZE OF THE AUTOMOBILE: Really good bit. Nicely done. Lots of very, very early inventions to put on cars. "First Car Heater (1904): Heater worked on simple principle. When driver felt cold, he stopped vehicle to chop up firewood. By the time he finished chopping driver ceased to be cold." It's a car with a wood-burning stove on it. "First Auto Road Signs (1899): Signs reflected the era's horse a buggy mentality." The signs read "WHOA" and "School No Hightailin' it" The early auto ads stressed the positive side of negatives. A couple sits in their car in the moonlight, holding hands. "LeHeap: It often breaks down in the most godforsaken placed. Lucky You!" Great slight has that late 50's/ early 60's look to it. It doesn't look like a modern CRACKED article. I wonder if this is a re-print.

$TRIKES ILLUSTRATED: This is no reprint. More sports strike stuff. Wow, this is about as topical as we get. Awesome cover to this (once again) fake magazine. It's an empty stadium with all the teams striking outside. Great art. Ron Zalme! The rest of the article isn't quite as good. They're on strike and they're just hanging around. They love money and they're striking for more. Some funny moments but I can't help thinking that they covered this in the earlier Strike article. Maybe they should have done a Strike COLLECTOR'S EDITION

MOD FAIRY TALES: Amusing...Humpty Dumpty...good gag. What's inside that egg now when he cracks open?

A CRACKED LOOK AT CABLE TV: This was around when we got Cable TV so I am up for the yuks. This is one of those "multiple panel" ones. One kid wants to watch Channel 8,655. The other wants to watch Channel 2. Channel switching hilarity continues. I want to say that our cable box had three rows of numbers. A button under each row and a switch on the side. If you wanted 20, you moved the switch to the corresponding row and hit the button under the number. The kids in this one have a crazy cable box, apparently. The guy who asks for Cable TV dinners is fun.

I did notice: A two-panel bit with a couple in a car. He says that he thought he'd take them to the drive-in. In Panel two, she says "Why go there? The same movies are playing on cable TV tonight." But...the panels seem to be switched yet the word balloons have stayed where they should. In the first panel, they're passing the drive-in and it looks like the woman is speaking. But, the man is. In the second panel, they're in the suburbs and the man is talking but the woman is actually speaking. They switched the panels but left the words the same. I look too closely at these things.

ONE DAY AT TATTOO SCHOOL: Another decent gag. I giggled.

RONALD REAGAN'S PHOTO ALBUM: Sock it to Ronnie! Jelly beans and Nancy shopping and Bedtime for Bonzo and astrologers and all sorts of gags...Remember Rappin' Ronnie? This bit is OK. I prefer E.T. and J.R.'s photo album/ diaries.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XVIII: The Masque of the Red Death is represented. My favorite bit: A cop is getting violently kicked by a man. The cop says "Oh no! Don't do that! You're getting my pants all dirty!"

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE ELF KING: Christmas! "DO you mind if I ask your name?" "It's Sheldon." "Sheldon the Elf?" "Are you Nanny The Woman? I'm just Sheldon." Sheldon takes Nanny through Santa's workshop. He runs the place because Santa is too busy appearing in ads and on chocolates. Everything is automated and Nanny is a little disappointed. But...when they enter the "Wrapping Dept.", they find the elves sitting around a table working. "I found Christmas. I love it!" For two panels, CRACKED gets sentimental about Christmas. It is surprising and it is lovely. One of my favorite Nanny bits. Read it!

1 - Bernie & Clod
2 - Shaggy Fellows
3 - Okra For Afters

Total: I love to Shut-Up.

GREAT MOMENTS IN ENTERTAINMENT: Three words- Video Games Cavemen. Be there! 1,432,600 BC Let's play Trog Race or Rock-A-Tron.

Decent issue. Some good laughs. Some filler. But, all in all, this is full of charm. Maybe the Holiday did that to them. I enjoyed this one. I think you will too.

Next issue: Wow...It finally ends. I miss it now like I did then.