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.