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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CRACKED #201: I remember buying this issue

January 1984
by Pierre L.

This one came out at the start of 1983. I was 10. I probably purchased this in Mid-November as Fall was kicking the leaves off the trees and Winter was sneaking up on me in time for Santa's return. So, what that means is this...this issue, regardless of quality, is something I am going to get a kick out of.

Loved the Cover as a kid! I've mentioned my journeys with The A-Team before. I only saw, maybe, three or four episodes when it originally aired. (Sorry, I was a MacGyver man.) I read more parodies of them in CRACKED. That's not a bad thing.

POSTER: I hung this one on the wall! But, there was too much reading on it. Folks preferred hanging posters with a more immediate kick. There's a big red dot. It's a poster from the (Pee Yellow) State Environmental Commission. Red means air pollution is terrible and that you should evacuate the area immediately. When my Aunt Cindy read the poster and looked at me saying "So, why haven't you evacuated?", I took it down.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: I. Emma Dork - prrf rdr I believe, as a 10-year-old, that that joke would have been the funniest thing I'd seen in ages. Not only did it say "dork" but it was in the official credits of the mazagine.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - December 13th (I really remember this one!) "Dear CRACKED, Loved the cover for #200. It really illustrates how you've been nuking your competition for many years. You're always first to do the hot movies and you're just out to make us laugh instead of depress us. CRACKED is the best magazine in the whole world! -Mary Ozimok Atlanta, GA" "Dear Aunt Mary, Thanks a lot and give my best to Uncle Fed." Elaine Ozimok is our Current Editor. "JAWS" Contest Winners - 1st Prize - Donald Phelps II, Oxnard, CA Congrats, Donald. Although, I think CRACKED may have chosen the wrong summer movie to back but...

THE A-A-AYY TEAM: I had hardly watched the show. I still have hardly watched it. So, I didn't get all the jokes and...I still forget that there was a woman in the team. This bit is filled with all the normal super-stale jokes but there are a few good ones. The lady's face as she sings Tomorrow. The old woman holding up the Ban Roll-on: "She's already got protection!" The bad cops with the huge speakers sewn onto their shirts. The bits at the "Run and Torture Amusement Park" always made me smile, especially the three panels through the fun house. And, of course, the final panel where TV cops from the past dress like Mr. T...Columbo looks fine...but Fish and Barney Fife are hysterical!

Yeah, I like this bit. The corny jokes are as stale as ever but there are enough moments that make me smile.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO BICYCLE MOTOCROSS: BMX! This one has less of the "caption is translated into bad puns by the drawing" thing. There's a look at a Typical Race Track with "Whoops" and "Ouch" and "Berm" clearly labeled. There are the entertaining "levels". The kid racing around his coffee table makes me laugh. And, this has one really great, great bit...When they're discussing safety....
"And since we're on safety: never drink paint." We see a kid with white all around his mouth and holding a can of "Ace White Paint". He says "I thought it was a vanilla milk shake." "It's got nothing to do with BMX, but it is a good safety tip." Fun!

Possibly, I am experiencing several levels of nostalgia here. 1) I remember buying this issue from the Wegmans in Irondequoit as we visited relatives. 2) The Holiday Seasons nostalgia of 27 years ago is mixing with the nostalgia of today. That's good Nostalgia! Maybe that's the only way to love this run of issues?

CRACKED HOLD-UPS: Love it! You get half of the gag on page 17. Hold it up to light...Page 18 appears and mingles with 17 and there is hilarity. I always liked the lady about to go off the cliff. Strangely hostile article, though. Maybe it's the "Hold-Up" thing. One of these is a hold-up. There's a Police Line-Up. (Line-Ups!) A woman about to fall of a cliff. A car crashing into a house. People stranded on a tiny island. A woman in a cannibal's pot. Still, hostile but yukariffic.

WHY IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR PARENTS AND OTHER KIDS' PARENTS?: Odd title. Because it's one of their "compare & contrast" articles. Your parents on the left being ridiculously strict and "their" parents letting their kids get away with murder. So, the title is more of a rhetorical question attached to the article than a lead-in. Interesting. Examples?...Report Cards: Yours: "So what if both your arms were broken, what's the meaning of this A minus in P.E.?" Theirs: "Let's see. I promised you $5 for each 'A', so that's $2 for the 'D's, right?" Friends: Yours: "But mom, everybody's going to the dance." "I suppose if everybody jumped off a cliff you'd do that too." Theirs: "Mom, we're going to go jump off a cliff." "Have fun, dear." CRACKED is read by the "other" kids in the end. Breezy article. The "cliff" bit is funny but this is neither good nor bad.

DON'T YOU FEEL STUPID WHEN: These are rather extreme stupids. "When you rob a bank in New York City and get mugged on the way to the getaway car?" "When you make a perfect somersault dive off the high diving board and then finding out there's no water in the pool?" "When you break your leg while buying a pair of skis?" Stuff like that. The A-Team must have raised the violence level here. Slightly odd article. It just feels a bit off. Tough to describe without typing out the entire thing. I'm not doing that.

A CRACKED LOOK AT HOME COMPUTERS: Fun article. Random several panel strips. A "Glossary". And,a few lists and diagrams. A kid is given an actual apple by his parents. A kid watched "Dukes ofa Hazzardosa" for his Italian class (on the computer). A kid gets punched in the head (by the computer). And, a man subtracts 12 from 1500 incorrectly (on the computer). I can't wait to do that CRACKED Collectors' Edition on Video Games. I like the layout of this one. Not so rigid, more casual. This would have appealed to me as a kid.

WORD PLAY: It continues to be entertaining and I continue to get none of them right. Watch Out is my favorite.

THE ALIEN: Fun one pager. Cool art that gives it a 50's/ 60's sci-fi look mixed with today. And, when I say today, I mean Winter 1983.

AND YET ONCE AGAIN STILL MORE FROM THE CRACKED LENS: Repeat from #161. Will there be new CRACKED Lens before 212?

TREE'S COMPANY: Issue #156 was the first Three's Company parody. This one has some sweet Furley in it. There is a joke about a tree with hands. That's a Palm Tree. There is a big food critic going to Jack's restaurant. So, he needs the cast to help him out. Holy Crap! It's wacky! I love the moment when Jerk is shaking Mr. Surly for giving the "critic" cat food and Mr. S turns to us and says "Admit it folks. You haven't seen a great plot like this since The Honeymooners rerun you watched last night." Yes, pointing out how uninspired shows like this can get at the end of the article is now becoming a CRACKED cliche but...This is a charming parody. I like comparing it to the one from five years ago to see what they've done to the show.

I'm being very forgiving to this issue. Really, it's no different from the previous ones. The articles have just stayed with me for a very long time.

NEW TAMPER-RESISTANT PACKAGING: One of my all-time favorites. It takes tamper-resistant stuff to the extreme. Cigarette packages now have every cigarette separated by plastic. Hermetically sealed toothpicks in little test tubes. Peanuts - "Inside 200 Individual Safety Sealed Peanuts" The best is the Tamper-Proof TV dinner. The top and bottom covers are sealed and popcorn kernels are placed inside the ridges. When it's done cooking, the popcorn pops and blows the top cover off. I like this bit.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE SKINNY WHEN...: I could have sworn this was part of a "Skinny/ Fat" article from a past issue but I can't find it. It's just one-page of jokes about automatic doors and being used as a tent post. Strange filler bit. It's not really funny.


1 - Titanic
2 - Rest Home
3 - Sherlock Holmes

NICE!!! But...this really feels like a repeat.

BACK COVER: Sagebrush. I applaud using a "Woe not Whoa" joke on your back cover.

Yeah, you know, it's not the best issue. It definitely fades in the second half but, in the first half, I was right with it and enjoying myself. I think this might be as good as Latter Day Sproul gets.

Next Issue: Oh, the memories!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

CRACKED #200!!!!!!: Sticking it to the (Mad) Man!!

December 1983
by Pierre L.

I expected some sort of celebration. But, I guess they're keeping cool. Such an historic occasion...well, they are zapping the competition! But, the "BUY ME!" in the corner seems a bit on the "begging" side of things.

Let's go in and see what they have for us...

POSTER: "POBODY'S NERFECT" And, to commemorate 200, this is on a Pee Yellow background!

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Imogene E. Uss...again. I don't see much that looks really celebratory but looks can be deceiving.

Next issue - November 1st, 1983

WAR GAINS: A 7-page parody of this rather iconic (not incredibly iconic, just rather) 80's film with Matthew Broderick and a goofy computer. When one character says that the men who hover over the button froze, the army guy says that the air conditioning should not be up so high. This parody feels to me like a MAD parody. The jokes are less based in "Your Grampa's Puns" and more based in attempting to be satirical. Does it succeed? Well, I read it and it never caused me any trouble. I would describe this as a slightly atypical CRACKED parody that's good for some "chuckles & laughs".

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO HOBBIES: For four pages, we will learn about hobbies. "Some hobbyists raise pets." There is a guy with his dog attached to a a pulley system. The dog is in the air. One kid tries building models. Cheryl Tieggs![sic]. There is the suggestion that you try finger painting...Can you guess what the kid is painting? And, in the end, a kid is collecting CRACKED...Hmmm...Issue 200 material? Not really. Decent CRACKED material? Sure.

HOW TO BUY A NEW CAR: I showed my wife this one, as she's planning on looking for a new car soon. Divorce proceedings began on the 21st. This is structured like an older article (at least, that's what I thought) but I don't know where it's from. What Kind To Buy?... Choosing A Dealer... Getting a Good Deal... PITFALLS TO LOOK FOR... THE TRADE-IN... FINAL WORDS... (I don't know why I went All Caps halfway through there but I trust my judgment.) There is a Let's Make A Deal joke...Funny that most of the previous Hobbies bit was for kids and then this article is for adults...Who was this magazine for at this time? Because, this is when I was at the height of my enjoyment.

Checking the Wegmans or Bells every time I was in there...dying to grab the new issue...I do remember buying this one...From here until the end of 1984, I was at my CRACKED Height!!!!

But, what about this issue #200? I don't think I would have cared about the number when I was a kid. Hell, it was 1983. What would I have been able to do? Collect the other 199? I had an account on Ebay then but there was nothing for sale. It was just a blank screen.

HELP WANTED: Repeat from issue #143

WHEN ALL OF TELEVISION GOES 3-D: Bullets fly off the screen during the news! Archie Bunker will flick cigar ash on your carpet! Politicians will lean out of the TV to shake your hand. I like these kinds of bits. And, at three pages, it doesn't stretch the premise. You get some good gags and then you move on.

ACCESSORIES THAT DUPLICATE THE THRILLS OF ARCADE PLAYING RIGHT IN THE HOME: Defective Change Makers only $195. A Life-size Truant Officer $28.95. (What is a "Truant Officer"? I was 10 when this came out and I never saw a Truant Officer". Flying Elbow Attachment $49.50 "Authentic Arcade-Type Kibitzer Dummy" for $38.33. Says stuff like "Look at da hotshot blow another quarter!" I was hoping this would be more than 2 pages.

THE CRACKED LENS: Repeat from #173. It has a longer title but if they're just going to repeat this bit...I'm just going to leave out the full title. Eddie Albert is in here, too. Check out my Green Acres Reviews link to the left. Hey! They repeat, I advertise.

THE CRACKED GUIDE TO HOCKEY: Now, I'm just becoming suspicious. I was pretty sure that they'd done this before...But, I don't see it in the issues I've reviewed. So...It's another Sports guide. Some wacky illustrations, "Now, let's try shooting at the net." is illustrated by a guy drawing a gun and shooting the net & fighting and endorsements are mentioned. Yes, there is a hat trick joke that involves the ref pulling a rabbit out of a hat. You know, I don't have much energy in this issue...possibly I expected something bigger and better for the 200th and the Regular CRACKED isn't cutting it. Sorry.

CAN YOU PASS THE TEEN-AGE DRIVERS TEST?: Multiple choice and, yes, someone filled in their choices. The original owner's choices? Going from left to right by page and then down by page, by row, they picked.
1: A
2: B
3: C
4: B
5: A
6: B
7: A
8: C
9: A
10: B
11: B
12: A
13: C
14: C
15: A
16: A

Thanks, Original Owner! If these look like your choices, give me a yell. We'll discuss Fun With Cracked!


I didn't actually say what I thought about the Teen-Age Driving thing. It's OK. Like all of this issue.

YOU KNOW IT'S GONNA BE 'ONE OF DEM DAYS' WHEN...: Oh boy, this had better be the all-time best one of these! Let me read it...Oh heck, it's not. Sigh...And, we're near the end. When does the celebration begin? "...the septic tank overflows the day of your planned backyard Bar-B-Q!" " see a dark funnel-cloud whipping down your side of the street!"

CRACKED INTERVIEWS STAR WARS CREATOR GEORGE LUCRE: A decent 4-page article with two folks who aren't Nanny asking George where his ideas come from. The half-finished Death Star is based on his first Frisbee after "Spot" got through with it. Light sabers come from two custodians arguing and fighting with florescent bulbs. (Not something you want to try at home, to be honest.) Jabber the Nutt came from spilling butterscotch pudding. (You had to be there.) The inspiration for Krankor? An IRS guy! Ha!! Well, this bit's OK. Just four pages of this kind of jokeballery and some of it was funny. I think this is a decent closing article for the issue.

1 - A stewardess to a goofy guy. (Acceptable)
2 - A dad yelling at a son. (Funny.)
3 - Submarine stuff...(OK.)

Shut-Ups, you are no longer on Comedy Parole! Keep those laughs coming.

BACK COVER: Sagebrush. 2 strips..a couple of giggles. Decent back cover...Although, the Sagebrush orange and mustard yellow color isn't too enticing.

So, what to say about Issue 200 of CRACKED? From its humble beginning around March 1958 until this point, the end of 1983, CRACKED has pushed to elevate the Yuk-O-Meter of America and the World! Has it always succeeded? No. Has it succeeded quite a bit? Oh, here and there. Did #200 say "Hooray For CRACKED!"? No, it didn't. 12 pages (at least) of repeats seems lazy to me. Was there some sort of Special Edition that celebrated this? Because the issue itself did not.

Now, there is absolutely no reason for CRACKED to celebrate if they don't want to. I think this might have something to do with Mad Magazine's #200, which also went without celebration. (Thanks for the scan, Doug.)

But, MAD #'s 100, 300, 400 & 500 did have some fanfare.

CRACKED, there's no reason to follow MAD so slavishly. You should have lived it up. It was your 200th issue, after all.

Next issue: I remember buying this issue, too. I hope they all wake up in time for #201. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

CRACKED #199: Sylvester's Job Is Never Done

November 1983
by Pierre L.

Jabba The Hutt has a little too much to eat. He doesn't seem to be in his palace because there's nothing but white behind him. But, he has eaten quite a lot..."Ripple Chips"? Do those contain Ripple? And, of course, he had a "Big Mic". The glass of "Burp" is fun. All that detritus at Jabba's base reminds me of some sort of Product Round-Up for the Wacky Packages. And, of course, Sylvester's on it...Some "Alke Sellzer" to make Jabba OK.

You'd think, after all the Star Wars hoohah and the rather sizeable-ish Empire Strikes Back kerfuffle, that they'd do more on the big "finale" to the series...A joke about Jabba eating too much is funny... But, he's that size anyways. It seems a rather lame joke for the cover. Looks good at first and then makes me think "You guys couldn't do a kickass killer cover for this?" When Jedi came out, I'd read the novelization twice and saw it on opening day with a crowd of friends. It was, at that time, the best film I'd ever seen. And, I think it was that way for a lot of others. Why wasn't CRACKED quicker off the mark?

I also question the lag here. Everyone in the world knew that Jedi was coming out at the end of May...Why is the CRACKED parody in the issue that came out in August? Why not June or July? Rush it's the third Star Wars movie for Heaven's Sake!

Oh well. Let's step in to Issue #199 of CRACKED.

POSTER: DO NOT STRAIGHTEN THIS POSTER! It's off center within the cover borders...and it's pee yellow and the "wall" behind it is blue. Interesting colors.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Seymour Errs, prprrf RDrer. A guy with a chainsaw-ish item and R2-D2 bowling! Say, this might be great after all.

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: Next issue - September 20th

"Dear CRACKED, ...When, oh WHEN is your satire of RETURN OF THE JEDI going to be appearing in CRACKED??" " soon as you can turn to Page 6." Had they forgotten about it? There is a Lone Ranger/ Loan Arranger joke here. And, they just released another "SHARK COLLECTORS' EDITION".

Wait a second...Jaws 3-D came out on July 22. And, the issue that came out around the release date had a Jaws 3-D cover...But, the Jaws 3-D related article didn't actually reference the movie, apart from saying it was in 3-D...In fact, it still had Roy Scheider in it...So, they rushed out the Jaws 3-D cover with a supporting article that has nothing to do with the movie because they hadn't actually seen the movie...But, the biggest film of 1983 has to wait three months? Odd...I don't think they were paying attention.

RETURNS OF THE JED EYE: Of course, it starts with Blubba the Hut and proceeds swiftly through the set pieces. They do mention the June(?) Time Magazine that was all about Jedi and gave away stuff that happened in the movie. I remember that issue and I thought it came out before the movie was released. Well, it was 27 years ago so my memory is a touch hazy.

8 pages long and a nice parody to close off the trilogy. I am glad they watched the movie. I did complain but this is a decent parody, although they really didn't need to point out how much merchandising there is...I think they've done that previously.

So my troubles were all my own...This is a good opening parody for the issue.


Past: In the Gay 90's, a football player wore very little in the way of protective equipment.
Present: Today he resembles a knight in armor.
Future: In a couple of decades a football player will look like R2-D2's second cousin.

Baseball, basketball, horse racing, karate, tennis, skiing, scoreboards, bowling (R2-D2 again!)

It's a fun but obvious bit.

SIGNS THAT IT'S A COMPUTER AGE: It's two pages and there are some smiles here but they all come from my current comparison of the CRACKED Then and the CRACKED Now to My Now. There are jokes about kids learning the value of a dollar because of change machines. Video game inventors are now the BMOCs! Technology makes things really tiny. And, alphabet soup has letters with "computer" fonts in it! It's OK. I'm not falling out of my seat but I am smiling.


THE CRACKED GUIDE TO KITE FLYING: 4 pages...and another fun bit. Maybe I'm in a better mood today than I was during 198 but this is several swift, decent pages. I love "If you have to leave your kite while it's in the air, tie the string securely around an object you know won't be carried away." A kid ties his kite line to a fat lady! Killer stuff! The art in this one is nice and chaotic and the jokes are OK. I don't know...You start the issue with something strong and it carries along a while.


YOU KNOW YOU'RE A REAL MONSTER IF...: I could swear that this two pager is a repeat...but the guy with the chainsaw-esque device makes me think it must be post-1980 and I haven't seen it in a regular issue. Well, I love monsters so I love this...

Just saw this "Brian Buniak '83" at the end of the article...This is new. Sorry, CRACKED

"...the shaving commercial turns you on more than the program itself!" The Lon Chaney Jr. wolfman really likes those commercials.

"...your idea of fast food is a wall socket!" Frankenstein's Monster really enjoying a Charge! Great Frankie drawing!

All the monster's in this look pretty great. This is a cool bit. I wonder if it's in a CRACKED MONSTERS COLLECTORS' EDITION?

THE CRACKED FIX-IT YOURSELF MANUAL: by M. I. Handy. Maybe not so much MI! Oh, the laughs...Mitchell Irving Handy wrote the book. He shows us how to fix a broken chair leg & Troubleshoot TV Problems & Repair Hand-Held Hairdryers & Repair a Washing Machine & Fixing a Squeaky Door & Plumbing...I will admit that when I saw the title my heart sunk but this isn't bad...It cooks along for four pages. There are some fun drawings and some decent gags. TV won't turn off...Solution? Shoot it!

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) PART XXII: 4 pages, 20 laughs! Enjoy! The best one? Two guys standing in a graveyard. "Well no wonder I can't find my (hic) mother's grave. I just remembered...she ain't dead!" I think there is a still from Seven Dwarfs To The Rescue here. Nice.

HOW IS IT THAT...?: Oh, there's the filler! Three pages of this and we'd been going so strong in this issue. "When kids eat candy YOU'RE NOT EATING PROPERLY and IT CAUSES CAVITIES." "When adults eat candy they HAVE A SWEET TOOTH or NEED THE ENERGY?" "If you forget to renew things, you're IRRESPONSIBLE." "If adults forget to renew things, it SLIPPED THEIR MIND!" Next!

MISLEADING MOVIE AND TV TITLES: Time Bandits was not about crooks stealing clocks. 9 To 5 is not about gambling. Hill Street Blues was not about a jazz band. Hogan's Heroes is not about sandwich makers. A bit of a charmer this one.

ONE DAY IN METROPOLITIS: Repeat from issue #136

CRACKED INTERVIEWS THE NEWSPAPER KING: Repeat from Issue #124. A Severin Nanny.

1 - Whopper!
2 - St. Gaylord's Hospital!
3 - Stallone & Reynolds...and a lonely woman being told to Shut Up by her "friend".

Hey, these Shut-Ups are kind of mean! Why am I just noticing this now?

Woman: "' last night I saw Sylvester Stallone...tonight I'm spending an evening with Burt Reynolds!!"
"Friend": SHUT-UP!! You're not the only one who goes to the movies!"

Why yell at her? She doesn't have a wedding ring on. Clearly, she's lonely. Don't yell...I'm keeping an eye on the SHUT-UPS from here on in.

BACK COVER: Repeat from the back cover of #125.

12 Repeat pages. Less than last time but...I like this issue more. I don't think they've lifted themselves out of any sort of rut. I just think that this issue is (mostly) what CRACKED does best. This one's fun...

Next Issue: #200!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CRACKED #198: That's an awesome cover!

October 1983
by Pierre L.

So, we are just a smidge away from the big issue 200! And, this mighty shark, first appearing on the cover in 1975 (well, not him...the JAWS series), bursts out of the movie screens in 3-D! The shark is cool, the concept is fun and all the detail on the folks in the crowd are just wonderful. The UPC code does get in the way (and why does it have the yellow background and why does the top third have the yellow background). And, the whole thing feels crammed in but I like it. Hey! Check out the upper left hand corner. "Jaws Contest"! I hope it involves fighting with sticks!

Before we step know all the repeats that have been popping up lately, well...that may be happening more often now...

POSTER: Repeat from Issue #145

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Will I. Goof, pruffffff rdrrrrr" I see King Kong and...another King Kong...Hmmm...

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Next issue - August 9th" Official Cracked Fan Club going strong...Another Secret Message...I have to try and decode these things. Amos Svoboda writes! One of the letters has the "gorilla of my dreams" joke in it...Oh boy, Mickey Michaels, we want to talk to you...Are you Forrest J. Ackerman's long lost son?

THE MAKING OF JAWZ #23: Fun opening bit that covers all the Jawz films they've made over the years. Not just 3-D, but fighting Rocky and going after King Kong and teaming up with The Godfather...Wait a second...Issue #131...The Godfather Meets Jaws is on the cover. And...there is a two-page Godfather Meets Jaws section...And, this article has a 1 1/2 page abbreviated version...guys...apart from that, it's a fun bit.

WHAT YOU'LL REALLY MISS AFTER YOU GRADUATE: When I graduated from grammar school, I didn't miss articles like this. Oh, the sarcasm! From me and CRACKED... "Today in World History, class, we'll be studying the luggage of Rumania." There is a Groucho Marx joke, which is funny. But, mainly, it's three pages of all the dumb things from school...I was going to list them but you know them...The Drama Club's performance of "Fiddler" really grabbed me. I'm scanning this article again and it's so Thoroughly Average CRACKED that I can't get excited about it...sorry...

WORD PLAY: Hey! 1 Page of this! always...I didn't get any of them. Although, the giant Earth with a "What" on top of it rang a bell.

THE WIDER WORLD OF SPORTS: Repeat from Issue #139

ONE DAY ON ROUTE 14: Fun two pages. A guy following really fast chickens back to the farm. The closing gag isn't great but it's got a nice movement to it.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXI: Well, they weren't in the last issue. It's great to see them back. But, this one is 6 pages...I think that's the longest one of these they've done in a regular issue. I wonder why so long. Possibly this ties-in with all the repeated stuff. Why all of these repeats as such an historic occasion draws near?

A gentlemen left an interesting comment under #197. Giving one possible reason for some of the repeats. Give it a read.

CRACKED'S EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF "NO RESPECT": Oh no...this is just like the "What You'll Really Miss etc." article. It is only 2 pages so that's cool. "When your parents finally gave you the key to the house was it from the lock they had changed two years ago?" "If you get higher than a D on any test does your teacher think you've cheated?" "Do you have to share your hair brush with the family's cat?" "Did your parents rent out your room while you were away on an over night trip?" goes like that. Someone must have loved these sorts of articles but it wasn't me.

MRS. KONG GOES TO TOWN: Fun one pager...I am wondering why the return of Kong in this issue but, as I said, this is a charmer.

THE TRUE STORY OF THE LONE RANGER: Odd...feels like a repeat but it isn't from something I've reviewed...If I find out where it's from, I'll update this. Until then...This is a fun three page bit (they used to do bits this size more often in the past). The Lone Ranger talks about himself, and Tonto (Pronto) and other cowboys and Roy Rogers and, in the end, Lone quits and Sylvester becomes the New Lone Ranger. This is a very good bit. But...the repeat thought still nags...


GIANT "JAWS" CONTEST!!: Excellent! 1st and 2nd Prizes: Atari Home Video Games (Which ones?) 23 Runner-Up Prizes: One year Subscription to CRACKED! Well, the first two prizes are so vague...I'd shoot for #4!!

You have to find the identical sharks on a page. There are 8, pick the 2 that match. Go! There's a second page here with a huge questionnaire. What are your Favorite CRACKED features? How often do you watch TV on Saturday morning? What are your interested or hobbies? Do you own a home videogame unit? If Yes, what kind? How many cartridges do you own? How many times do you reread all or part of CRACKED? How often do you have cereal as part of your breakfast? (CRACKED Cereal!) What other CRACKED Publications do you buy? _Biggest Greatest CRACKED _King-Sized CRACKED _CRACKED Collectors' Edition _Super CRACKED _Extra Special CRACKED _Giant CRACKED (Wow!) That's not all of the questions, just my favorites.

THE FALLING GUY: Last issue, Simon & Simon. This issue, The Fall Guy. Another in the series of endless 80's hour long dramas that bore me to absolute tears. 7 pages of this. There's some fun art here but I don't know the series so maybe I'm not the one to review the parody. And, it has a joke about how dumb the show is and yet it still gets great ratings. Wasn't there a joke like that in the S&S parody last issue? Sorry, folks. This one kind of grinds the end of the issue into the ground for me.

SHUT-UPS: Oh the Fresh Air!
1 - Video Arcade (Blip!)
2 - Shoe Store (Al!)
3 - Carnival (Mom!)

Good stuff.

BACK COVER: Three strips....Sagebrush! It's not going to send you to Comic Heaven but they're fun. (I wonder if these are reprints?)

So, 13 1/2 of the 52 pages are reprints...possibly saw all those other publications I listed...Let's knock of the repeats. More than 25% of this issue is reprints and it's supposed to be the New Issue.

What's next? I'm dying to see...

Next issue: Episode 6 and the Minimal Publicity From CRACKED